Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Helping Brother

I love this picture of Adam helping Andrew read.  So Adam needs all the practice he can get, so I have him "supervise" Andrew reading. They are so cute! Adam likes being the "teacher" and Andrew enjoys the attention.  And honestly, reading is pretty easy for Andrew, so it works out great. 

Friday, June 17, 2016

Ellie

The boys just adore their new little cousin, Ellen Rose.  Adam has declared he wants to move in with Uncle Billy and Aunt Erika so he can live with Ellie.  His parents are just standing in his way....
 
Adam and Ellie

Ellie and her parents (her first trip to McDonalds after Adam's first communion...the boys were disappointed they couldn't feed her fries!)


Andrew and Ellie


Ellie and her daddy

Teaching Ellie to make chocolate chip cookies!

Tucking Ellie in with his blankie!

Look what Cousin Andrew let me have...this is a big deal as he won't even usually share with his own brother!
 
Ellie and her Great

Adam reading to Ellie

Ellie and Uncle Ray

First Communion

Adam did his first communion this year.  I will say that I was disappointed in the church preparation - I felt that the classes were not well set up for the age group and didn't seem to teach the material they needed. While the topics covered were appropriate, there was no "hands on" portions which I feel would have really helped make this a better program.  But we made it through.  Honestly, if we weren't getting a new priest next month, we'd be changing parishes this summer. (It doesn't help that our other options has a long winded, hard to understand priest that Ray doesn't like...but they seem to have a much better children's' program, which lets face it is number one to us.)  But we are really hoping that the new priest will help out the children's' programs before Andrew has to do his. 
Adam was SO well behaved, sitting in the front row with his classmates without us with him.


Class - this was the best class as they got to bake bread. The rest were really just sitting and reading....sigh.....



Cousin Ellie came - her first big outing!
 

Meatballs

 
My  mother and I recently did meatballs.  We tried two versions and were happy with both. I really liked the Salisbury and Ray really liked the sweet and sour.  We did both of these with moose meat and they turned out well. We probably should have done one more pound of meat (we package our own so it is NOT uniform) so we didn't get as many meatballs as we thought, but we were happy with it.  Notice the meatball recipes are the same - we actually did one batch of meatballs and then half of each sauce so we could try out each type. 

Sweet and Sour Meatballs
Modified from Fix, Freeze, Feast
 
Meatballs
1 tray (about 6 lbs) ground beef (we used moose)
3 cups bread crumbs
2/3 cup milk
4 eggs, lightly beaten
1/4 cup minced onion
2 tbsp minced garlic
1 tbsp salt
2 tsp black pepper

Sauce
2 cups packed brown sugar
1/2 cup cornstarch
1 (106 oz) can pineapple tidbits, drained, juice reserved
1/2 cup soy sauce
2 1/2 cups red wine vinegar

Preheat oven to 500. 
 
Using hands, combine the meatball ingredients.  Shape into meatballs and place on baking pans (grease or parchment paper or the like).  Bake for 15 minutes.  Cool meatballs.

While meatballs are baking and cooling, mix the brown sugar and cornstarch in a large stockpot.  Add pineapple juice, soy sauce and vinegar.  Stir.  Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until sauce thickens, about 20 minutes.  Cool sauce.

Divide cooled meatballs and sauce among 6 gallon bags.  Divide reserved pineapple tidbits evenly among the bags of meatballs and sauce.  Seal and freeze.

Makes about 120 meatballs, they did 6 entrees of 20 - we didn't get that many meatballs, but we have may have been shy on the weight (we wrap our own moose meat). 
 
Cook an Entrée
Completely thaw one entrée in fridge.  You can prepare in oven or crock pot (I used the crock pot). 
 
In oven, preheat to 350. Put meatballs and sauce in baking dish and bake, uncovered, for 30 minutes or until meatballs are heated through.  In the slower cooker, cook on low for 2-5 hours.   
 
Modified from Fix, Freeze, Feast
 
Meatballs
1 tray (about 6 lbs) ground beef (moose meat, I also did this once with some ground turkey mixed in)
3 cups bread crumbs
2/3 cup milk
4 eggs, lightly beaten
1/4 cup minced onion
2 tbsp minced garlic
1 tbsp salt
2 tsp black pepper
 
Sauce
1 cup (2 sticks) butter
1 1/2 lbs fresh white mushrooms, cleaned and sliced
1 cup flour
8 cups water
4 cups half and half
2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
2 tbsp beef bouillon granules (1 cube is 1 tsp, so this is 6 and I just smash them)
1 1/2 tsp black pepper
 
Preheat oven to 500. 
 
Using hands, combine the meatball ingredients.  Shape into meatballs and place on baking pans (grease or parchment paper or the like).  Bake for 15 minutes.  Cool meatballs.
 
While meatballs are cooking, melt butter into large pot.  Add mushrooms and cook, until soft.  Stir in flour.  Mixture will be lumpy.  Cook, for 2 minutes, stirring.  Gradually add water and half and half.  Cook, stirring, until sauce thickens, about 15 minutes (we had to boil it).  Whisk to make a smooth sauce.  Add Worcestershire sauce, bouillon and pepper. Stir and cool.
 
Divide meatballs and sauce between freezer bags. We also stored some sauce/meatballs separately as the meatballs are good for general use. 

Seal and freeze.
 
Makes about 120 meatballs, they did 6 entrees of 20 - we did smaller, like a dozen per bag. 
 
Cook an Entrée
Completely thaw one entrée in fridge.  You can prepare on stove or oven (I did oven).  On stove, bring to a simmer and heat until fully warmed. Do not boil.  In oven, preheat to 350.  Put in baking dish and bake, uncovered, for 30 minutes or until heated through. 
 
Serve with rice or noodles (We did noodles).

Thursday, June 09, 2016

Hockey Pictures

Some hockey pictures from Adam - he was a Mite this year. 
He's Weber 5 in case you couldn't figure that out!






Adam actually really likes to play defense - he doesn't like being in the big group, so this works better for him. 

Wednesday, June 08, 2016

Spring PIctures

My cute boys!
2nd grade, Spring 2016

Kindergarten, Spring 2016

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Garlic Parmesan Bread

I find it hard to find good bread machine recipes - they are often very dry, but I liked this one.  I will make this again. 
 
Modified from Taste of Home

1 cup warm water
2 tbsp. plus 1 1/2 tsp butter, softened
1 tbsp. honey
2/3 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
1 1/2 tsp garlic powder
3/4 tsp salt
3 cups bread flower
2 1/4 tsp active dry yeast

Place all ingredients in bread machine, in order suggested by your manufacturer.  Select basic bread setting.  Choose 1.5 lb loaf size.  Click bake on the bread machine (check after a few minutes to see if you need more flour or water, but mine didn't need anything).

Makes 1 loaf (1.5 lb). 

Beer Cheese Bread

I've made this new recipe several times now.  I'm very pleased with it. It is easy and it uses up the random beer that people leave at my house....we don't drink beer.....so you can bring yours, but take it home!  Anyway, this is very good!

Beer Cheese Bread
Modified from Cooking Light
 
1 tbsp. oil
1/2 cup onion, finely chopped
1/4 tsp pepper
1 clove of garlic, minced
3 cups flour
3 tbsp. sugar
2 tsp basking powder
1 tsp salt
1 cup cheddar, shredded
1 bottle (12 oz) of beer
2 tbsp. butter, divided

Preheat oven to 375.  Cook onion in oil until browned (about 10 minutes), then add in pepper and garlic and cook for another minute.  Set aside.

Combine flour, sugar, baking powder and salt in large bowl.  Add in onion mixture, cheese and beer.  Stir until just moistened.

Put into a bread pan (coat with cooking spray).  Drizzle 1 tbsp. of butter over the batter. Bake for 35 minutes.  Drizzle with second tbsp of butter and then bake for 25 more minutes or until golden brown (timing worked for me).  You can also test with a toothpick.  Cool in pan for a few minutes then put on wire rack to completely cool. 

Tuesday, April 05, 2016

Ellen Rose (Ellie) Stannard

Holding my brand new niece!  She's absolutely gorgeous!!  The most beautiful girl ever (I can get away with that since I had boys)! 

Monday, March 07, 2016

Creamy Coleslaw

Everyone knows I make "weird" coleslaw...and honestly I don't like "regular" coleslaw. But Ray does.  And one place I DO like it is on BBQ sandwiches.  We made these great BBQ Chicken Sliders, but they needed coleslaw to top.  So hence I found a coleslaw recipe I like.  This is nice and easy and means I have a "regular" recipe if necessary plus it tops my sliders.

Creamy Coleslaw
Modified from Taste of Home

1 pkg (14 oz) coleslaw mix
3/4 cup  mayonnaise
1/3 cup sour cream
1/4 cup sugar
3/4 tsp seasoned salt
1/2 tsp ground mustard
1/4 tsp celery salt

Place coleslaw mix in a large bowl. In small bowl, mix the remaining ingredients. Stir until well blended.  Pour over coleslaw mix and toss to coat. 

Serves 6.

Chocolate Chip Biscotti

This is my other "basic" biscotti recipe - the boys and Ray both really liked these.  They turned out well and are nice and easy. 

Chocolate Chip Biscotti
Modified from Brown Eyed Baker

1/4 cup butter (they said unsalted...I used regular butter, but I took out 1/4 tsp of salt for it)
1/4 cup shortening
3/4 cup sugar
3 eggs
2 tsp vanilla
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt (so the original recipe was 3/4 tsp)
3 cups flour
1 pkg (12 oz) semi-sweet chocolate chips (they said 1.5 cups...I just threw in a full bag)

Preheat to 375.  Line with parchment paper (I've actually been doing this on these recipes). 

In mixing bowl, cream the butter and shortening with sugar until lightly and fluffy.  Add eggs one at a time.  Beat in vanilla, baking powder and salt. Gradually add in flour until incorporated.  Finally, mix in chocolate chip cookies - I recommend doing this with your floured hands as dough is VERY stiff at this point.
 
Divide dough into two parts and shape each into a 12 inch log, about 3 inches wide.  Bake for 20-25 minutes or until lightly browned.  These will rise a little, but not much, so think about what your finished log to look like as you shape.  Let cool for about 20 minutes.  Reduce oven to 300.  Cut the log into 3/4 inch pieces with a serrated knife.  Return slices, cut side up, to baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes.  Turn them over and do bake for another 15 minutes.  Cool completely.
 
Makes about 3 dozen biscotti. 
 
My biggest "lesson" of the biscotti is that the shape of the log REALLY matters as that helps you get that crunchy final product you want.  You don't want large logs - you really do need to divide the logs. I'll probably always double this, but do it in 4-6 logs to make it easier to bake and then cut.