Thursday, January 21, 2010

Week 3 of 52 in 2010...

Turkey Corn Chili
Rachel Ray
Top 30 Comfort Food 30 Minute Meals

1 Medium onion
1 Tablespoon corn/vegetable oil
2 cloves chopped garlic
1.5 pounds lean ground turkey
1 red or green bell pepper
1 jalapeno
1.5 cups frozen corn kernels
32oz diced tomatoes (FIRE ROASTED--my preference!)
3 scallions , chopped
1 tsp poultry seasoning
1.5 tablespoons chili powder
1 tablespoon ground cumin
hot sauce
Salt and Pepper (Fresh ground--my preference!)
Cheese for topping

In a deep pot over medium-high heat, saute onion in oil for a few minutes. (3-5)

Add garlic and cook for another minute more. Add turkey and brown 5 minutes or so. Add bell pepper, jalapeno, corn, and tomatoes. Bring to a bubble, stir in scallions, spices, and hot sauce. Season with salt and pepper. Reduce heat and simmer 10 minutes or till ready to serve.

--I added the jalapeno to the original. Just pull out the seeds for a milder chili.

--This was a great recipe to make for a party. I did it the day before and then put it in the crockpot. Next day I heated it up and let it simmer till serving. Doubles well.

--I also did a red AND green bell pepper. If you double it use a variety of peppers for flavor and color.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Week 2 of 52 in 2010...

Bucatini all'Amatriciana
Rachel Ray
Top 30 Comfort Food 30 Minute Meals

EVOO-- 2 turns around the pan
1/2 lb pancetta, chopped
2 onions, chopped
6-8 cloves garlic, chopped
1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1 28oz can of crushed tomatoes
2 16oz cans of fire roasted diced tomatoes
Chopped fresh flat leaf parsley
Fresh ground salt and pepper
2 lbs of bucatini
Grated parmigiano reggiano for the table

Bring a large pot of water to boil for the pasta.

Heat a large deep pot over medium high heat. Add the EVOO and pancetta. Cook 2-3 minutes before adding the onions, garlic, and red pepper flakes. Cook for another 7-8 minutes...onions should be translucent. Add tomatoes and parsley. Season with salt and pepper. Simmer till ready to serve.

Cook pasta to desired doneness.

--I added the fire roasted tomatoes. Any time I make something calling for crushed tomatoes I also add fire roasted diced tomatoes. Drain them for this sauce since you have the crushed tomatoes. They add great flavor to this sauce!

--I couldn't find any Bucatini but our Kroger did have Perciatelli. Both are a hollow spaghetti...Perciatelli is just a tad thicker. Honestly, I liked it more than regular spaghetti.

--This recipe is doubled. I made a huge batch froze half and stashed the other pound of pasta for next time. I love doing 2 for 1 meals. They make life so much easier when you have an unforeseeable crazy day!

--We really, really enjoyed this recipe! AG was quite a fan and won a one way ticket to the bath tub afterwards. :)

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

A person who influences...

Sunday was a great day at church. We had a guest speaker that gave a great message. One that I felt a special connection to. His message was on being a person of influence. His resonating theme was that we ALL can be a person of influence if we choose to and then challenging us to figure out who is someone we can influence. This is and has been a very personal topic for me since I was a little girl. I have my parents to thank for the ability to reach outside of myself and give completely of myself to love someone unconditionally just because. When I was a little my parents were given a unique opportunity from the Lord to love someone just because and my life is richer because my parents were obedient to what the Lord had in store for our family. My older sister was adopted in to our family when she was a college student. She needed us and we needed her. It was a divine match and one that could have only come from the Lord. The beauty of choosing to be obedient by influencing someone is that the influence comes full circle. At the time when she moved in my parents were an influence and she was an influence on my sisters and me. Today those two statements are still true BUT she also influences my parents and my sisters and I are influences on her. Full circle.

Throughout that entire message on Sunday I knew who we, Andy and I, influence. For this season in our lives we've been given an incredible group of students to love just because. Students that come from different backgrounds and have different needs. We rejoice with them in their accomplishments and we love to cheer them on. I'm fiercely protective of them, too. Guess it's my mama bear instincts coming out. We LOVE spending time with them and investing in them. It has been incredible to see the relationships that have developed out of us offering a place for them to retreat to off campus. I'm not going to lie when they are gone for breaks the house seems empty. I'm grateful too for their influence in my child's life. AG lights up when they come over to visit. And they sure do love him... several of them have created personal sign language "names" for themselves and practice with AG every chance they get...we'll see whose name he says first! And I guess that is where it comes full circle...they need us and we need them. AG's life is so much richer because of the special bonds he has already formed in his first year of life. Funny how history tends to repeat itself. Be a person of influence. Love someone unconditionally. Your life will be so much richer because you did.

Monday, January 11, 2010

52 New Recipes in 2010!

After watching and being inspired by Julia and Julie to cook more...coupled with my new cook book that I received for Christmas my husband suggested that one of our goals this year should be to cook one new recipe a week for the entire year. For the most part it seems pretty doable...I might tweek it a bit and do two the week before head to the west coast in March, etc. So here's last weeks story and recipe:

Due to the INSANELY cold weather we've been experiencing I've had a hankering for soup...I pulled out my new Rachel Ray cookbook and began perusing its pages for the first recipe of the year. I settled on Ribollita-Bread Soup. If you want the original check out the above link to get the's my version.

2 tablespoons of EVOO
5 large cloves of garlic
1 medium onion chopped
2 carrots, peeled and chopped
2 ribs of celery chopped
1 bay leaf
Salt and Pepper (I prefer fresh ground for both)
2 cans of Navy Beans (any small white beans will do)
2 cans of diced tomatoes, drained (I prefer fire roasted!)
6 cups of chicken stock
3 cups of tomato sauce
3 cups of chewy Italian bread, torn without crusts
Parmigiano for the table

Heat a deep pot over medium high heat. Add oil, garlic, carrots, onion, celery, and bay leaf. Season with salt and pepper. Saute till veggies begin to soften. Add beans, stock, tomato sauce, and diced tomatoes. Cover pot and bring to a boil. Drop heat and let simmer till ready to serve. Place bowl of torn bread on table for people to add along with cheese. Ribollita can be as thick or as thin as you like. She says in the book that some are so thick a wooden spoon can be placed in the middle and it will stand upright!

In Rachel's recipe she calls for the bread to be added on the stove, however, I opted out of this because I'm a HUGE fan of cooking a meal and letting it do double duty. Whenever I can take half of what I make and freeze it for later I do it. I froze half of what I made and still fed Andy, AG, Jess (one of our hungry college kids), and myself. So by doing it this way I just need to buy a new loaf of bread next time we want to have soup.

Also another thing that we did, which was quite tasty, was Andy picked up a rotisserie chicken and brought it home. We took half of it and shredded it at the table into our soup. The other half I saved for the next night.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Give me 5...

So it's a new year and most of us spend sometime thinking about resolutions and reflecting on the last year...

Today while scrubbing the carpet where AG had just spit up I thought about how much I love the product I use to scrub said carpet...especially since AG arrived a year ago. From there my mind wondered to the thought of what five products have been crucial in my survival as a mom this first year. So here are my top five products in no particular order:

1. Fantastik! Oh, how I love Fantastik...particularly the OxyPower variety. OxyPower is what I use on the carpet for just about everything. And I have even used it on clothing items for really stubborn stains. It can pretty much be used ANYWHERE on ANYTHING. I could go on and on but I won't.

2. Microfiber cleaning cloths! I wish I had known about these from the get go...I stumbled upon them for the use of my child indirectly. A family I use to nanny for used them for cleaning purposes and I liked them so much I bought a bunch for my house. One day while feeding AG I needed to clean him up and grabbed one out of the clean pile of laundry (that needed to be folded but was waiting patiently for me in the den. Ha.) and what would you know it happened to do a great job. They are softer than anything else but the major plus is that they are virtually stain proof! Wipe him down, throw in the wash, and they come out looking brand new. Always a plus and for $5 for a huge bag at WalMart in the car care section you can stock up. (Which I did once I discovered their new found purpose.)

3. ALL Free and Clear. I opted out of the Dreft bandwagon and instead went with ALL. Cleans great AND I can combine laundry. I love that I can wash all of our clothes together. Cuts down on me having to do double the amount of laundry...which let's face it I don't have time for when I'm chasing the little man all over the house. Couple it with Clorox 2 Free and Clear and stains have no chance.

4. Dr. Starr's Teething Lotion. Simply put we can't live without this stuff. Seriously. AG is one of those kids that when he teethes he teethes in multiples and it is fast and furious. Thankfully Andy and I still have all of our hair because of Dr. Starr and his miracle teething solution. I guess it qualifies our child as a true Roman since it can only be purchased here in town at Winslette Pharmacy. Bring on the molars!

5. BabyGizmo is a phenomenal tool that I stumbled upon while pregnant. ALL of the big ticket items and even smaller purchases have come about from research off of this site. I purchased their book and then began using the website. I love it because they give editor reviews that they do plus mom reviews. They shoot straight and are no nonsense about stuff. EVERY big item that we have purchased I have been thoroughly pleased with because they think of every detail in their reviews. They leave nothing out.

Guess we'll see what is crucial this time next year with raising a toddler! Happy New Year.