Monday, September 27, 2010

Mmmm Mmmm Monday: Stuffed Shell Bake

Saw the tail end of this recipe being cooked on Rachael Ray a couple weeks ago and before I could get downstairs and find it myself, my sister had found it, printed it out and put it on the counter. We tried it Saturday night and Oh. My. Heavens. It was deee-lish!

Here's what you need:
6 cloves garlic, finely chopped. Divided
1 large or 2 small/medium onions, finely chopped & divided
1 small carrot, finely chopped or grated (we didn't use the carrots but it still tasted superb!)
salt & pepper
1 and 1/2 teaspoons oregano or marjoram
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon crushed fennel seeds
2 Tbsp finely chopped fresh thyme (about 5 or 6 sprigs)
1/4 cup flat leave parsley, finely chopped
1/2 cup dry white or red wine
2 cups chicken stock
2-28 oz cans crushed tomatoes
1 pound medium or large shell pasta (not the extra-large stuffing size)
2 boxes frozen chopped spinach, defrosted and wrung dry w/a towel
1/4 tsp nutmeg (freshly ground if you have it)
2 cups fresh ricotta cheese
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 large egg yolks, slightly beaten

In a large pot, heat 3 tbsp EVOO over medium heat. Add 4 cloves of chopped garlic, 3/4 of the finely chopped onion & the carrot. Season w/salt, pepper, oregano, red pepper flakes, fennel seeds & thyme, and gently saute 10 minutes, stirring frequently. Add in parsley, stir, then add wine and reduce 1 minute. Add stock & tomatoes, bring sauce up to a bubble, then reduce heat and simmer 45 minutes.

After sauce has been simmering 30 minutes, preheat oven to 375*.

Bring a pot of water to a boil for the pasta. Salt and cook past for 5 minutes.

While pasta water comes to a boil, heat remaining 2 Tbsp EVOO in a small skillet over medium heat. Ad remaining garlic and onion and saute to soften, about 5 minutes. Add spinach to pan, seperating as needed. Stir to combine and season with salt, pepper, & nutmeg. Turn off heat.
Drain undercooked pasta and return to the same pot. Add spinach mixture to pot along with ricotta cheese and grated Parm. Stir to combine, adjust salt & pepper, then add eggs and stir.
Pour a thin later of marinara sauce into the bottom of a 9x13 baking dish. Fill dish with pasta, then top with another layer of sauce. Save remaning sauce to pass at the table. Bake for30 minutes until bubbly.

Serve directly from casserole dish, using extra sauce and parmesan cheese to top.

And don't forget to enjoy!!

(This recipe left ALOT of marinara sauce, which makes it perfect for spaghetti another night!)

Friday, September 24, 2010

Friday Finds on Etsy: Happy Fall, y'all!

Hooray for fall! Yesterday was the official first day of fall, and while I was waiting in the pick up line for Jonah afterschool, two brown leaves fell off the tree above me and landed on my windshield. I am hoping that it's a sign that cooler weather is on its way!

So in honor of autumn (one of my FAVORITE times of the year!), here are some beautiful finds from Etsy.

First is this stunning cluster flower pin from Gogal Made . Oh how I want this brooch! There are lots of other beautiful accessories in this shop too...I could spend ALOT of money there.Next is this great scarf. Festive but oh so chic. Caustic Threads has so many great scarves and shirts. But I think that this fall themed one is definitely my favorite. Last up is this headband from my own Etsy shop. I have to plug myself once and awhile, right? Anywho..this baby has been in quite a few Etsy treasuries lately, and I'm pretty proud of that. It means someone likes me!

Go check out the great stores featured today, and again, let me know if you have a shop or know someone who would be willing to offer up a product for review or giveaway.


They helped an ailing neighbor with some housework and got paid $5 each ($2 for the little one).
They waited and waited, money in hand, for the ice cream truck.
They came to the dinner table with downcast faces.
Then came the text from the nextdoor neighbor, who was aware of their plight..."I hear the ice cream truck".
Once again, the smiles reappeared.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Mmmm Mmmm Monday: Honey-garlic Chicken

Here's another ripped-from-a-waiting-room-magazine recipe. I made this on Friday night with the Buttery Dill Carrots as a side and ALL THREE of my kids devoured it. They requested that I make it again soon. This is no small feat my friends...Sophia has been quite picky lately when it comes to food. More often than not she announces that she "will not be eating wiss you tonight". She's a diva, that one.

Anyway, here's the recipe in all it's tasty glory. Make it yourself this won't be disappointed!

Here's what you need:

1/3 cup honey
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 tbsp thyme, finely chopped
1 tbsp rosemary, finely chopped
2.5 pounds bone-in chicken thighs, trimmed of fat (about 6 pieces)
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper

Heat oven to 400*. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil.
In a small bowl, stir together honey, garlic, thyme and rosemary.
Place chicken thighs on prepared sheet and sprinkle with salt & pepper. Brush with honey mixture and bake for 40 minutes, brushing with remaning mixture every 10 minutes (or until internal meat temperature reaches 160*).

It's that easy!!

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Friday Finds on Etsy: Pretty as a Peacock

Yes, I realize it's once again Saturday. My Fridays have been so busy lately that I just can't always find the time to sit down and blog. I sorry.
Anyway, I am loving all of the peacock feather I'm seeing everywhere now. The colors are so beautiful and vibrant. So once again I perused Etsy to see what unique peacock items I could find, and here they are.

This first one is a great wreath from Knock Knocking. I just LOVE the different hues. They make me happy. Next up is this fun pendant from Analiese Designs. I have a handful of her items and everytime I wear one I get compliments from everyone. She's a great assest to Etsy! And lastly is this stunning infant headband from Lilly Bella Bows. This is another shop that I frequent and her quality of items is just perfect. KC is truly a sweetheart! This headband would be so amazing on any little princess...especialy for a wedding or special occasion.
Sorry that there's no giveaways lined up. Again, if anyone owns an Etsy shop or knows someone who does and may be interested in letting me do a review/giveaway of their items, please contact me and let me know!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Call me old-fashioned...

...but there are a handful of things I read/witnessed today that I just couldn't get over. And that I don't agree with AT. ALL.

*School dances for kids younger than middle school. Jonah came home today with a flyer for the Open House on Thursday, and then a dance to follow. Ummm....whaaaa?? My son is in FIRST GRADE folks. First grade. Not sixth or tenth. And it's for the whole school....which means Pre-k through second grade. NOPE. Not gonna happen. (Noah's school is having a dance later this month as well, and no, my fourth grade son will not be attending his school dance either.)

*People driving down the road outside of the school parking lot with their kids unbuckled/hanging out the window of the car. Where is the common sense people??

*A mother sending her 9/10 year old son into the Dollar Store with a $5 bill so that he can pay for her three pregnancy tests. I dont care how bad your English is, don't send your son in for your dang tests. Let him be your interpreter, but don't send him in on his own.

*This one didn't happen today, but rather last week. And I wasn't witness to it, but it happened to my hubby's neice, so I heard about it from my sister-in-law. Schools should NOT suspend a student for showing up to school wearing a shirt that reads "Virginity Rocks". (Yes, sadly this happened to my neice on her first day of school.) You allow people to wear their gay pride shirts, wear various other awareness items, but you suspend a teenage girl for taking a stand and being smart? Not cool, public school system. Not cool at all.

Okay. I'm off my soap box for now. But be prepared...this may become a series for me. Because lately I'm realizing that there are way too many things that are considered "okay" for our youth that shouldn't be.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Mmmm Mmmm Monday: Southern Sweet Tea

When we found out we were moving to the South, my hubby couldn't stop talking about how he couldn't wait to drink sweet tea all the time. Until now I haven't had much success with making it myself, but I found this recipe in Southern Living* and I'm sure it'll be a hit!

3 cups water
2 family-sized tea bags
1/2 to 1 cup sugar
7 cups cold water

Bring 3 cups water to a boil in a saucepan; add tea bags. Boil 1 minute and remove from heat. Cover and steep 10 minutes.
Remove and discard tea bags. Add desired amount of sugar, stirring until dissolved. Pour into a 1 gallon container and add the 7 cups of cold water. Serve over ice.

I plan on making a big pitcher this weekend for the hubby and sis to taste test...I'm hoping for good results!

*Confession: I may or may not have ripped this recipe out of the Southern Living magazine in the waiting room at Sophia's ENT appointment this morning. And I may or may not have yanked out another equally good and can't-wait-to-try-it recipe from another periodical at said office. That's what they get for making us wait 45 minutes past our appointment time to be seen!

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Friday, September 10, 2010

Friday Finds on Etsy: The Kitchen Diva

I love cooking, and recently in the last few years, I've begun to enjoy baking. So I was perusing Etsy for some fun baking/cooking items and found these gems. I want ALL of them.

First, you need some recipe cards. These GREAT ones are from Wide Sarcasm Sea.I've been married to my hubby for 9.5 years, and up until a couple of years ago, my mother-in-law really did think that I couldn't cook. I have lots of lovely stories. *Insert eye roll here*
Next you need the proper cooking/baking attire. Tell me that this shirt from The Bold Banana isn't awesome. I dare ya.
And of course, when you're done with your tasty creation, you always have to clean up. Do it in style with these dish gloves from ImagineAprons. Even I wouldn't mind doing the dishes with these babies!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Ever have one of those mornings?

I drove the kids to school AND went to Walmart like this today. Didn't even notice it until I got home. Thank goodness Walmart is virtually empty at 7:30 in the morning.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Friday Finds on Etsy: End of Summer BBQ

Yes, I realize that today is Saturday. I had this post half done and then my dang computer froze up on me. Technology is so wonderful, ain't it? *Shakes head.*

Anywho, with it being Labor Day weekend and the unofficial end to summer, I thought that I'd do a post about everyone's favorite holiday weekend pastime: the barbecue. We were pretty bummed in our house this summer when the hubby had to go to training starting in July, because it meant that we couldn't have our usual weekend bbq's. True, he has been home most every weekend, but we try to save it for family time and so bbq's went by the wayside this year. But the ones we did have were always a blast!
So of course I had to go check out Etsy to see what great bbq ideas they had. And look what I found!
First up are these CUTE invites from The Zesty Desk. These are perfect for those organized bbq planners...which I am not. Our bbq's are usually planned the morning of, and we send out a mass text to all our friends and hope that no one's busy. But if I could ever get my weekends under control, THESE would be the invites I'd buy! Next up is this great platter from Lenny Mud. I really want something like this for the hubby, so that he doesn't have to use the flowery platter that we currently have for everyday use. I'm sure he gets a good ribbing from "the guys" every time he grills. And a Southern bbq wouldn't be complete without a rousing game of Cornhole. These great boards are from Beverly's Butterflies. There are other sets to choose from, but I picked these out to celebrate the start of college football (Hooray! Let's go Noles and Let's go State!).
Doesn't all that make you want to fire up the grill and throw on some burgers & dogs?
Hope everyone has a safe and fun Labor Day weekend. Bring on Fall!!

Thursday, September 2, 2010

He is his father's son.

Jonah Robert. My middle child. That right there should be enough explaination. He is like his father in every. single. way. He is his carbon copy in looks and temperment. He has passion flowing through his veins. It comes out in everything he does...sports, playing, even his temper. And OH! does he have a temper! (That particular trait may or may not have been passed down through my stubborn Dutch genes.) The boy can play baseball or hockey or basketball from the moment he wakes up until the time the sun sets and the mosquitos eat him up. It's always go, go go with him. He hates to sit still. He also has a plethora of one-liners that he zings at you when you're least expecting it. Anyone who knows my husband knows that this is all true for him as well. We definitely passed down the family name of Robert to the right child.

Another way that Jonah is like his daddy is when it comes to telling tall tales. My husband can't lie to save his life. He always gets this silly, crooked grin on his face and he bites his lip when he's trying to pull the wool over my eyes. And thank goodness, that little nuance has passed down to his children.

Today Jonah was trying to convince me that he had indeed read his book for 15 minutes for his homework like he was instructed by his teacher. Now, I have been in the same room with him all afternoon and he has in fact NOT read the book. But I decided to play along, and I asked him what his book was about. After getting mad at me for realizing that he was grinning while lying through his teeth (yes, it's MY fault he's fibbing!), he glanced at picture on the book cover...another thing he didn't think I'd notice...and saw that there was an American flag, Confederate flag and uniforms on the cover. So he looked at me and said "It's about the Civil War." I probed a bit more and asked "Well, what happened in the book about the Civil War?"

Without missing a beat, he replied, "Someone got shot."

It was one of those moments were I didn't know whether to scold or laugh. I decided on laughing and waved my white flag of surrender on this battle and save my energy for the next one. Lord knows it's coming.