Wednesday, February 20, 2013

A Very LOVE-ly Valentines Day

So, I am only 6 days past Valentines Day. This is an improvement over the month that passed before I posted about Christmas, but still I need to get with the program and try to make a little more time for blogging and keeping things current. Until then, here is to the past...

Valentines Day...We tried to keep busy to avoid the fact that our main man daddy..and head Valentine..was not with us. We got to work the night before and enlisted the help of my nephew in decorating up some cookies.




Of course after about 2 cookies each, they were playing pirates with spatulas and I was left to decorate the rest..




After the sugar rush and bedtime, I got to work on Isabelle's Valentines for her class party. I found a cute printable on this blog that I cut out and attached to some packs of candy.




I snuck one cookie and called it a night..




The next morning I got the best Valentines gift a mother could ask for! My children slept in!!! Yaaaaay! This has happened to me maybe 1 other time EVER in my mom lifetime..

Valentine #1 after waking up to her goodies

Still having some sleepy eye going

 While the kids ate breakfast and watched some cartoons, I whipped up a little snack for Isabelle's class party.

Sweet Valentines Party Mix

**What you will need**

Chex, rice and corn
popcorn
pretzels
mm candies
sprinkles
mini marshmallows
white candy coating

In a large bowl, combine the chex, popcorn, and pretzels. Melt down white candy coating and drizzle over mixture. Turn to coat. Add in chocolate candies, marshmallows, and sprinkles and turn to coat again. Let set for 20-30 minutes and then break apart into serving dish or snack bags.




Isabelle was ready to get crafty herself and got working on some love chains for decorating.

Working hard






It was a BEAUTIFUL day out so we decided to take a little drive out to Glendale lake for some fresh air and a reminder of what life outdoors can be like.

My #2 Valentine, Prince Charming


Showing off his teeth

Walking down to the lake

It was wiinnndddyy


Prince not so Charming


At least someone was enjoying it

Looking for fish at the hatchery


We were all frozen solid so decided, how much colder could we get? Why not ice cream?



 
That night, my mother in law had a sitter come to the house and keep the grand kids, while we adults all went out to dinner to celebrate my El cunado aka brother in laws birthday.
 
 

Nana Anna and Papaw Alan came along. Such a wonderful example of Love on Valentines Day.


We had a great time laughing and chatting kids free. Well, except for one special kid..


Baby Brielle, our newest and smallest Valentine..



There's a lot of love in our family. On Valentines Day and everyday <3 font="">

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Spinach and Mozzarella Chicken

Last weekend, after my husband headed back to Florida, I stayed the weekend at my parents house. My brother and I decided to make dinner for everyone one night, but wanted to try something new. Combining recipes from pinterest and what was available at the store, we came up with this.

Spinach and mozzarella chicken with roasted red potatoes and garlic asparagus

What you will need

1 package of boneless skinless chicken breasts
10 oz box of frozen spinach {you can use fresh but our store didn't have any}
Block of fresh, soft, mozzarella  cheese
2-3 cloves of garlic (chopped)
Extra virgin olive oil
Jarred sun dried tomatoes in Italian seasoning

Split your chicken breasts in half, and pound them out a little. Brush both sides with olive oil, sprinkle with salt, pepper, and onion powder, and brown on both sides. { You can do your browning in a pan on the stove or, like I did, a George Foreman grill.} You only want to cook them until the outside is nice and brown but the middle still uncooked as it will cook more in the oven.

While on the topic of the oven, go ahead and preheat that baby to 375 degrees.

While you are browning your chicken, warm some EVOO in a skillet on the stove and add your chopped garlic. Cook garlic through for a few minutes then add in your spinach. Cook until spinach is warmed through and the garlic and oil absorbed.

Place cooked chicken onto baking pan. Top with spinach. Cut a nice piece of the fresh mozzarella and place on top of the spinach. Then top with a few pieces of sun dried tomato.

Put into preheated oven and bake until cheese is melted and chicken is cooked through.


I served mine with some frozen asparagus that I warmed through with some butter and garlic on the stove top and some roasted red potatoes seasoned with olive oil and seasoning.

I will defiantly try this again but would love a new side for it. Any suggestions?

Monday, February 4, 2013

Homemade Soft Pretzels; Better Than The Mall

My husband is a VERY picky eater. Like, would win a pickiest eater contest picky, so when he finds something he likes he wants it A LOT. He will try things at resterants and if he likes it then I will come home and try to copy it so he can have something new in his limited diet. His newest food addiction..Soft pretzels from the mall. I was getting suspcious as to why my husband was OFFERING to take me to the mall several times in the past few weeks and then I realized it was so he could get a pretzel from Auntie Annes.

I decided to try to make them at home. My copy cat receipes in the past have been good, but never taste EXACTLY like the oringinals. Until now!!! These pretzels are just as good if not BETTER than the ones from the mall!



Heres how to make them

Makes roughly 12 pretzels
Ingrediants

2 cups of milk
1 1/2 tablespoons (2 packs) of active dry yeast
6 tablespoons of brown sugar
4 tablespoons of butter, melted
4 1/2 cups of flour
2 teaspoons of fine salt

1/3 cup of baking soda
3 cups of warm water
Course salt
8 tablespoons of butter, melted into a shallow dish


Warm up the milk in the microwave or on the stove for just about one and a half minutes.  If it's too hot it will kill the yeast. You should be able to comfortably keep your finger in it. Stir in the yeast and let it sit for about 3 minutes.

 Add the butter and sugar. Add the flour about 1 cup at a time and then add the fine salt. Kneed for about 10 minutes with a stand mixer if you have one, or by hand {which is how I did it}. Put it in a greased bowl and cover with greased cling wrap. Let rise for 1 hour in a moist, warm place until doubled in size.

 Preheat the oven to 450ยบ. Punch down dough and divide into 12 lumps (I like to divide it in half, then divide each half into three, and then divide each remaining one in half again).



 Roll them all out as thin as you can. Combine the warm water and baking soda in a wide bowl. Form the dough into pretzel shapes, then dip in the baking soda water.

Place on a greased baking sheet and sprinkle with coarse salt. Bake for about 7-11 minutes or until browned. Dip each in the melted butter while hot, turning to coat both sides.

 






We made pretzel sticks and also somm mini bites, which were my favorite.



 
I have made them twice in the last week so beleive me, they are SO GOOD...Go make some, right now, you can thank me later by bringing one by my house. Your welcome :)