Monday, February 29, 2016

Leaping Forward

Today only happens once every four years. It is Leap Day! Today would be a great day for a Random Act of Kindness. I have a few ideas up my sleeves. Shhh!

We have been busy this month. We had three birthdays in February, one snow day, and a visit from out of state family.

Since it is the last day of the month, it is time for a goals update:

  • Health Goals- Drinking more water and eating more veggies. I am doing so-so on drinking more water. I always forget to hydrate on a regular basis, especially when at work. I have eaten a bit more veggies in the latter half of the month, but not as much as I had hoped.
  • House Goal- Continuing cleaning and organizing the great room. Unfortunately, I have not made any more progress in the great room. But the good news is that I have managed to keep the areas that I cleaned in January clear of clutter. That is definitely a step in the right direction. Yay!
  • Family Goal- Reminding the family to conserve electricity. I definitely slacked on this one, and ended up turning lights off and unplugged chargers as I passed by. I will have to try this one again soon.
  • Self Goals- Cooking a few new recipes & writing a letter. SUCCESS!!!!!! I have cooked four new dishes this month. I also wrote a letter to one my of husband’s relations earlier this month, then enclosed hand written thank you notes from the kiddos for unexpected birthday treats.

 Enjoy your Leap Day!

Sunday, February 28, 2016

Cooking Spree

I'm on a roll! When I was on Pinterest, I found a whole treasure trove of recipes to pin. Hurray!

On Saturday, I made Snickerdoodle Apple Bread. One word: Yummy! Oh and the smell of the house while it was baking. . . . Delightful!

Snickerdoodle Apple Bread

1/2 teaspoon salt
1-1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1-1/2 cups flour
1/2 cup butter, room temperature
1 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 tablespoon cinnamon
2 eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla
1/2 cup milk
1 Granny Smith Apple, finely chopped

Cinnamon sugar topping
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a 9x5 loaf pan with baking spray. Line bottoms and up the ends with a strip of parchment paper (for easy removal) and spray again. Set aside. Whisk together salt, baking powder, and flour. Set aside. In a bowl beat butter, both sugars and cinnamon for 2 minutes on medium speed with an electric mixer., scraping sides as necessary. Add in both eggs and vanilla and continue mixing until smooth, again scraping sides as necessary. Turn mixer to low and add in flour mixture and milk alternating additions, starting and ending with flour. Mix until just combined. Finally add in apples and stir until just combined and pour batter into prepared pan. Mix together the sugar and cinnamon for topping and sprinkle on top of batter. Bake for 50-55 minutes until bread is set and toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Allow to cool in pan for 10 minutes and then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Serve warm or at room temperature. 

(I did it again! The kids can be quite distracting while cooking. I forgot to add the cinnamon to the sugar/butter mixture. Ha ha ha! I am bound to get a recipe complete right one of these days! I didn't realize it until I was typing up the recipe. That explains why I had a 1/2 tablespoon sitting on the counter unused. Ha ha ha!) 

Saturday, February 27, 2016

Cooking Therapy

I accomplished one of my "self" goals for February- trying at least one new recipe that sounds good. 

I find cooking fun and relaxing, but I just have not had the time and fortitude to do much lately. There are two major reasons: 1) During the school year, we spend a lot of time in the evenings doing homework. If I wasn't a working mama, then I probably would have more time to prep for dinner before picking the kids up from school. As it is hubby much rather attempt to cook, than be stationed at the homework table. So we have been having quite a bit of fast food, hot dogs, cheese toasties, cereal, and pizza for dinner. I usually get a chance to cook on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday evenings. 2) I just celebrate 11 weeks with the "boot of doom" (aka walking boot). I found out in mid-February that the problem is that I seriously messed up two ligaments in my ankle. Thankfully no surgery, but more time in the boot. I go back to the foot doctor in about a week and a half. Maybe I will graduate from the boot, maybe I will be sentenced to more time. Hopefully once I graduate, I will have some PT to strengthen my ankle since it has be immobilized for an extended period. Needless to say, I have been doing a lot of sitting on a stool when attempting to cook in the kitchen.

Back to the food, I was looking around on Pinterest and found some yummy recipes. Last night I experimented with two new recipes: One Pan Greek Chicken and Garlic & Herb Cheese Bombs. Both turned out fairly well. I will probably tweak a few things next time I fix them, but definitely keepers. I have included the link to the original recipe, but have made my changes and notes to the recipes below.

One Pan Greek Chicken

1 1/2 pound small red potatoes, quartered
1 1/2 pound green beans, trimmed
2 tablespoons light olive oil
Freshly ground salt & black pepper, to taste   

For the marinade:
8 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs
1/4 cup light olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
Juice of 1 lemon
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon oregano
Freshly ground, salt & black pepper, to taste

In a gallon size ziploc bag, combine chicken, oil, garlic, lemon juice, vinegar, oregano, salt, and pepper. Marinate for 20-60 minutes, turning the bag occasionally. Drain the chicken from the marinade, discarding the marinade. While chicken is marinading, preheat over to 400 degree F. Lightly oil backing sheet or coat with nonstick spray. Place potatoes and green beans in a single layer onto the prepared baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and paper, to taste. Top with chicken in a single layer. Place into the oven and toast until the chicken is completely cooked through, about 25-30 minutes. Serve immediately. (Note: I had about half of the amount of green beans. Unfortunately, there was not a good selection of fresh green beans at the store. I also forgot to add the oregano to the marinade.)

Garlic & Herb Cheese Bombs

Ingredients (20 bombs)
2- 7.5 ounce cans refrigerated biscuits
4 ounce Mozzarella cheese, cut into 20 cubes
4 tablespoons butter, melted
1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Separate biscuits. Place on cube of cheese in the center of each biscuit. Carefully wrap the biscuit dough about the cheese and seal. Place seam side down about an inch apart on an ungreased baking sheet. Bake 10 minutes or until the biscuits are golden brown and the cheese is melted. While the biscuits bake, mix the butter, Italian seasoning, and garlic powder together and set aside. Remove the biscuits from the oven and immediately brush with butter mixture. Serve warm. (Note: Place cheese bombs on the middle rack of the oven. The bottoms get a bit crispy if on the bottom rack while cooking the chicken recipe above. No matter how long you have been cooking, you can always learning something new. Ha ha ha!)

Have you made any new recipes lately that you would like to share? 

Monday, February 1, 2016

February Goals

I have not pondered my February Goals as much as I should. I have a feeling that it is going to be a LONG month. So it may be best to go simple. In my last post I reviewed my progress on my January goals. I am hoping to be more successful this month.

Health Goals
- Drink more water.
- Eat more veggies.

House Goal
- Continue working on cleaning and organizing the south end of the the great room.

Family Goal
- Encourage the family to turn lights off when they leave a room and unplug chargers for electronics when not being used.

Self Goals
- Cook a new dish that sounds good to me.
- Write a letter or two. 

Other things on the agenda for this month- three birthdays, maybe a movie, hopefully the library, lots of homework, hot chocolate, and hopefully more healing.