Saturday, October 8, 2011


Okay so it finally hit me right in the frontal lobe this week, Friday to be exact, the Halloween spirit. I started with a spider web on the porch, and today I managed to put up the lights on the front porch. I am hoping to drag the men of the house out to the pumpkin farm tomorrow for good times and noodle salad frivolity.

I love the way my kids look at holiday lights, their eyes light up and I can feel the magic that they see in the world around them. It is a euphoria that I nearly forget the rest of the year, only to be reminded again in October, November and December. I love the excitement, the anticipation and the inability for my middle son to wait for me to put up the decorations. He practically bursts when I bring up the decoration bins, and he cannot contain his excitement and it really reminds me how exciting life is, how good it is to be alive.
We have a garland of little skeletons over the porch stairs

This was a mistake, but I really dig it

Nothing like the orange glow enveloping the porch.

Thursday, October 6, 2011


School started for Kaleb and Evan the first of September, a week late since Hurricane Irene paid our area a visit, knocking down trees, power lines and flooding roads and our basement. Kaleb is already unhappy, lacks attention, needs constant redirection and battles me every step of the way. We have rescheduled a sleep study for Kaleb, since the septic mound is now (7 months later) repaired. I am at my wits end with him, it is only third grade and he hates school, hates doing the work. He gets good grades on his tests, but that will soon come crashing down as he does not pay attention in class and is missing crucial lessons. He does not act out in class, create disturbances or fight instead he daydreams, reads when he should not be and just does not do his seat work.  We have been starting the whole process of diagnosing ADD, but are ruling out any other possible causes first, hence the sleep study. Kaleb does snore, and in my opinion he does not get nearly enough sleep every night so this could be a very real possible problem that is causing the behavioral woes. With everything I have read, heard and seen I still am torn between feeling like he is just being lazy or feeling sympathetic that he might be physically unable to make himself concentrate. Other mothers I speak with describe similar behavior with their boys which makes me think maybe it is just boy behavior. The only reason I do not fully concede to this thought is that there is a change in Kaleb, a disengaging that is occurring. He would rather stay at home and be on the computer all day (if I would let him) then go out with the family, or do things he used to enjoy.

So, in need to some warm comfort food for dinner, and because I have cooked chicken that needs using, I have decided to make some chicken alfredo for supper tonight.


10 oz Italian cheese and herb cooking cream
6 tablespoons butter, cubed
3/4 cup milk
1/4 tsp white pepper
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
Salt to taste
2 boneless skinless chicken breast halves, cooked and cubed (about 1-1/2 cups)
2 cups frozen chopped broccoli, thawed
6 ounces cooked pasta

In a large skillet over low heat, melt cream cheese and butter; stir until smooth. Add the milk, garlic powder, salt and pepper and bring to a simmer.Stir often. Cook and stir for 3 minutes or until thickened. Add Parmesan if needed.
Add the chicken and broccoli. Cook over medium heat for 3 minutes. Reduce heat; cover and cook 5 minutes longer or until vegetables are tender. Serve with fettuccine. Yield: 4-6 servings.

Saturday, March 12, 2011


Wow has time been getting away from me lately. I really wanted to carve out some time for myself to sit down and just write, to make sure I remembered these days however tiring they may be. It seems all the boys have a head cold, and are miserable. I have finally managed to complete all the steps to volunteer at the boys' school; just have to get it to the office and annotated. I did fill out an application for Evan to go to preschool next fall, and I have been trying to figure out the swim lesson scheduling because as of right now it does not look like Kaleb and Evan's levels happen anywhere near the same time. But besides all the mundane bull crap I have tips, tips to jot down to try to remember to add to the boys survival/recipe books for when they are older. These are merely suggestions, they do not take place of seeing a doctor or doing what is best for you. I have just found these very helpful.

These tips came from a great friend, whose wisdom has helped me out of many times...

Coughing. When coughing keeps the kids up at night, slather the bottoms of their feet with Vicks Vapor Rub and put on some socks. Something about the menthol, it eases the coughing.

When cutting onions, keep a lit candle near the chopping block to help ease the crying. Also running the onion under cold water and keeping a window open, fresh air on the eyes is very soothing.

Salt is awesome. Anytime the boys get a bite or sting we take a teaspoon of salt and a couple drops of water, mix until it forms a gritty paste and then rub it on the bite. It's great, draws out the pain and itch.

more tips to come....

Monday, March 7, 2011


BROCCOLI CASSEROLE adapted from Paula Deen
I loved this it is a great side dish, and if you do not like broccoli, you barely taste it. I will definitely make this again.

  • 2 (10-ounce) packages frozen chopped broccoli, cooked and drained
  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 cup grated sharp cheddar
  • 1 (10 3/4-ounce) can condensed cream of mushroom soup (I used cream of celery)
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 2 cups crushed crackers
  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a 13 by 9-inch baking dish with vegetable oil cooking spray.
In a large mixing bowl, combine broccoli, mayonnaise, cheese, soup and eggs. Mix well with a metal spoon. Place the mixture in the prepared baking dish. Top with the crushed crackers and pour the melted butter evenly over the crackers. Bake for 35 minutes or until set and browned.

Well I have to say I was more then disappointed when I woke up to snow on the ground. Trying to ignore the weather I made myself a fruit breakfast and in doing so I remembered what it is about spring and summer that I love. I love walking out to my garden and picking fresh fruits and vegetables. I am adding to my fruit plants this year, hoping to do grapes. I made a little salad of banana, strawberry, grapes and raspberries. It was so yummy I decided to add some pecans to it, but it still looked a little bare and too healthy so a healthy serving of Reddi whip had to go atop and it was DELISH! so here I am left anxiously awaiting spring...


It has been a month of dealing with refuse both liquid and solid. We had septic issues, and while it was not as costly as it could have been it was not cheap. We had to have the honey dipper come out to pump out the tanks (we have two) which is 435 bucks. Yeah whatever, a necessary evil of septic systems, and especially here in the Delaware watershed where we have to have raised systems. EEEEWWW. Now the tanks are buried, but we have a mound for a leach field. It sucks to take care of and it worries me nearly year round. Ok, so back to our woes; the septic alarm went off, we had bigger problems then being full of shit. $960 later we have a new pump and wiring. I tell you what spending over 1K on my shitter was not what I expected to do this year. There is never a good time to live your plans, something will always pop up and surprise you. If I had waited to have kids until the time was right I would still be childless, if I waited to go rafting through the Grand Canyon until I had saved all the money I would have never went. I am thankful for all that I have  and try to remember that sometimes I just need to go do, live life, not waiting for the right moment because those rarely ever come.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011


See I cut this in half because it was the first attempt and I did not want to be inundated with something if I hated it. Well I loved it and so did everyone else except Evan. I will note my alterations in parenthesis.
12 slice(s) white sandwich bread (1-1/2 C Italian seasoned breadcrumbs)
3 Tbsp melted butter
2 package(s) (1 pound each) smoked Polish sausage, halved lengthwise, cut into 2 1/2-inch pieces (I used only one package)
2 large onions, chopped (only used 1 onion)
8 clove(s) garlic, chopped (only used 4 cloves)
1/2 cup(s) tomato paste (used 1/4 C paste)
1 can(s) (14 1/2-ounce) reduced-sodium chicken broth (used 7.25 oz of chicken broth)
1 cup(s) dry red wine (used 1/2 C of white wine)
1 teaspoon(s) dried thyme (our of thyme so I used 1/2 tsp sage)
4 can(s) (14 1/2 ounces each) Great Northern or cannelloni beans, rinsed and drained (I buy the gigantic cans so I used 1 can- 40 oz- of white beans)
I also added: 1 tsp lemon pepper, 2 tsp Adobo, 1 tsp poultry seasoning, and 1 C of cooked white rice that was left over in the fridge)
1.In a food processor, pulse bread until large crumbs form (you should have about 6 cups); season with salt and pepper. Set aside. (I did not do this I used already made crumbs)
2.Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a 6-quart heavy-bottom saucepan, cook sausage, onions, and garlic, stirring occasionally, until onions are translucent and sausage is starting to brown, 15 to 20 minutes.
3.Add tomato paste, broth, wine, thyme, and 2 cups water( I cut the water to 1 Cup and added the lemon pepper, Adobo, poultry seasoning and rice); bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer; add beans. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until slightly thickened but still soupy, about 10 minutes.
4.Stir in 2 cups of the breadcrumbs( I did not stir in any crumbs since I added the rice). Divide sausage mixture between two 3-quart shallow baking dishes (only used 1 baking dish since I halved the recipe)or eight 10-ounce ramekins. Top with remaining breadcrumbs.
5.Bake, on a baking sheet, until topping is golden, 30 minutes.

I wish I could take photos of every recipe I attempt but lately more then usual 3pm hits and the kids turn into these crazy, half-starved, attention-deprived creatures. I literally barely make the food fast enough for them, I get it to the table right from the oven no pit stops. Interesting crowd these boys of mine. 

Sunday, February 20, 2011



CHICKARITOS from Taste of Home

3 cups finely chopped cooked chicken
1-1/2 cups (6 ounces) shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1 can (4 ounces) chopped green chilies
1/2 cup finely chopped green onions
1 teaspoon hot pepper sauce
1 teaspoon garlic salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon paprika
1 package (17-1/4 ounces) frozen puff pastry sheets, thawed or pie pastry for double-crust 10-inch pie
In a large bowl, combine the chicken, chilies, onions, cheese and
seasonings. Chill until serving.
Remove half of the pastry from refrigerator. On a lightly floured
surface, roll to a 12-in. x 9-in. rectangle. Cut into nine small
rectangles. Place about 2 tablespoons of filling across the center
of each rectangle. Wet edges of pastry with water and roll pastry
around filling. Crimp ends with a fork to seal. Repeat with
remaining pastry and filling.
Place seam side down on a lightly greased baking sheet. Refrigerate
until ready to heat. Bake at 425° for 20-25 minutes or until
golden brown. Serve warm with salsa and guacamole. Yield: 1-1/2

Thursday, February 17, 2011



adapted from Taste of Home
Loved this dish because I have nothing like it, and it is not something I would have normally picked but I am glad I did.


  • 1 pound smoked kielbasa or Polish sausage, cut into 1/2-inch slices
  • 4 tablespoons butter, divided
  • 1 large head cabbage (4 pounds), coarsely chopped
  • 2 medium onions, chopped
  • 3 cans (8 ounces each) Hunt’s® Tomato Sauce
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • 3 to 4 large potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced (my addition)
  • 2 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce (my addition)


  • In a Dutch oven, brown the sausage in 2 tablespoons butter; remove
  • and set aside. In the same pan, saute cabbage, garlic and onions in
  • remaining butter until onions are tender.
  • Combine the tomato sauce, sugar and paprika; pour over cabbage
  • mixture. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover ( I would add the potatoes here they took quite a bit longer to cook then 30 minutes) and simmer for 20
  • minutes. Add the potatoes and reserved sausage. Cover and simmer for
  • 30 minutes or until potatoes are tender. Yield: 8-10 servings.

Tonight is parent teacher conference, ours is at 5:45pm and I am so not looking forward to this. Many parents, especially those who have girls, get all the wonderful adorations about how well their child sits and does their seat work and how much they participate, not my Kaleb. Kaleb is a dreamer, he is easily distracted and instead of doing his seat work he sits and does nothing. The teacher and I are at an impasse there is nothing more I can do unless I sit beside him at school and nudge him everytime he starts to wander off into thought. The truth is I feel for him, I can't tell him yet, but I used to daydream in school all the time. I remember getting lost in thought only to snap to and have no clue what we were doing in class. Tonight will be filled with us talking about having no idea what to do to make Kaleb do his seat work, how he aces tests, but that will not be enough when he goes to third grade in the other building. SIGH I hate parent teacher conference. 

Monday, February 14, 2011


Photo courtesy Taste of Home

Yes another wonderful recipe from Taste of Home, seems like I have more success then failure with recipes from their magazines. This is another tasty, simple and cheap meal to make. I have to go to the grocery store tomorrow so we are light on the food around the house, but I still had everything to pull this together, gotta love that, ok well you don't gotta but I sure love it.


  • 1 pound lean ground beef (90% lean)
  • 5 thick-sliced bacon strips, chopped
  • 1 cup sliced fresh mushrooms
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 can (14-1/2 ounces) beef broth
  • 1 can (10-3/4 ounces) condensed cream of mushroom with roasted garlic soup, undiluted
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt ( I omit the salt since there is bacon and I have folks with high blood pressure in the house)
  • 1/4 teaspoon paprika
  • 6 cups uncooked egg noodles
  • 1 cup (8 ounces) sour cream
  • 2 teaspoons prepared horseradish
  • 1/2 cup shredded white cheddar cheese
  • Minced fresh parsley, optional


  • In a large skillet over medium heat, cook the beef, bacon, mushrooms, onion and garlic until beef is no longer pink; drain. Stir in flour until blended. Add the broth, soup, Worcestershire sauce, pepper, salt and paprika. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, for 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • Meanwhile, cook noodles according to package directions; drain.
  • Stir sour cream and horseradish into beef mixture; heat through (do not boil). Serve with noodles. Sprinkle with cheese. Garnish with parsley if desired. Yield: 6 servings.
Well I finally scheduled someone to come out and clean the gutters. Yes I know that should have been done last fall, however did not get it done. I am excited because all summer and right now (because of the warm weather) we have Niagara falls outside our sliding glass door because the gutters are so clogged. Two hundred dollars for the gutters, and I should have the honey pot come suck out the septic there is another 200, then the driveway needs stone which is 200 dollars too. It is another enigma everything that needs to be done around the house is the magical number of 200. PHEW!

Friday, February 11, 2011



Loved, loved, loved this dish. There were no leftovers which was a big time bummer I could have really gone for some for lunch the next day. I opted to omit the water chestnuts, tomato and mushrooms because I have people in the house who do not like those foods. I did add some bell pepper and it was fabulous.
1 pound lean ground beef (90% lean)
2 cups cut fresh asparagus (1-inch pieces)
1 can (8 ounces) sliced water chestnuts, drained
1 package (5 ounces) sliced fresh shiitake mushrooms
1 teaspoon minced garlic
2 teaspoons sesame oil
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1-1/2 cups beef broth
1/3 cup hoisin sauce
2 tablespoons reduced-sodium soy sauce
1 teaspoon minced fresh gingerroot
1 large tomato, chopped
Hot cooked rice, optional
In a large skillet or wok, cook beef over medium heat until no longer pink; drain and set aside. In the same pan, stir-fry the asparagus, water chestnuts, mushrooms and garlic in oil for 5 minutes or until crisp-tender.
In a small bowl, combine the cornstarch, broth, hoisin sauce, soy sauce and ginger until blended; pour over vegetables. Return beef to the pan. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened. Remove from the heat; stir in the tomato. Serve with rice if desired. Yield: 4 servings.

Ok I might be addicted to Plants vs Zombies. I want to play it in my free time, and I have to fight Kaleb for the computer because he likes to play it as well. Right now is the perfect opportunity to get in some quality play time because the baby is asleep, I just put Evan up to bed and Mike took Kaleb to pack night. The computer is mine all mine for at least 2 hours. That is 2 hours of uninterrupted Zombie blastin' time...ok so maybe I am addicted.

Thursday, February 10, 2011



I loved how simple these were to make, and they look like I fussed. No baking, just a little microwaving and slapping things together. I opted to use peanut butter for one tray of 12 and marshmallow creme for the other 12. Totally tasty and worth the minimal effort to throw together.

2 doz. or 24 servings
what you need
1/4 cup butter or margarine, divided
12   OREO Cookies, finely crushed (about 1 cup)
2 Tbsp. raspberry jam
1 pkg.  (6 squares) BAKER'S White Chocolate
1/2 cup whipping cream, divided
6 squares  BAKER'S Semi-Sweet Chocolate
2 Tbsp. multi-colored sprinkles
make it
MELT 2 Tbsp. butter; mix with cookie crumbs. Press onto bottoms of 24 miniature paper-lined muffin cups. Add 1/4 tsp. jam to each. Refrigerate until ready to use.
MICROWAVE white chocolate, 1/4 cup cream and 1 Tbsp. of the remaining butter in microwaveable bowl on HIGH 1 min.; stir until chocolate is melted and mixture is well blended. Spoon over jam. Freeze 10 min.

Monday, February 7, 2011


Well the morning started out simple enough, low on milk, low on butter and brown speckled bananas on the verge of reaching inedible.  So I thought why not make some banana bread and I have a new recipe that I wanted to try, only because it calls for cream cheese and I love cream cheese. Since we are low on butter I had to substitute the butter-flavored Crisco for butter.

BANANA BREAD adapted from Taste of Home
Like I said up above due to a shortage of butter (seems people must be eating it by the stick here) I used the butter-flavored Crisco. I also added nutmeg to the bread because I LOVE nutmeg in my banana bread. I am sure cinnamon would be just as tasty. This bread has the nicest texture, soft and fluffy, with the creamiest taste. I am also imagining the alternatives to the orange flavor in the glaze...

  • 1 package (8 ounces) reduced-fat cream cheese
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1-1/2 cups sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1-1/2 cups mashed ripe bananas (about 3 medium)
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 cup chopped pecans, divided
  • 1 cup confectioners' sugar
  • 3 tablespoons orange juice
  • 1 teaspoon grated orange peel
  • In a large bowl, beat the cream cheese, butter and sugar until well blended. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in bananas and vanilla. Combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt; gradually add to creamed mixture just until moistened. Fold in 1/2 cup pecans. 
  • Transfer to two 8-in. x 4-in. loaf pans coated with cooking spray. Sprinkle with remaining pecans. Bake at 350° for 55-60 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. 
  • In a small bowl, whisk the glaze ingredients; drizzle over loaves. Cool for 10 minutes before removing from pans to wire racks to cool completely. Yield: 2 loaves (12 slices each).
This recipe yields TWO loaves which in our home is important many people wandering around and banana bread seems to go fast. This is what brings me to the sore eyes...our full house consists of Mister, myself our 3 boys, Mocha the lab and my parents. My parents came to live with us when their eyesight failed them. Yes, both of them have issues and it seems to never end which is slightly disheartening. My mom lost an eye to glaucoma because the pressure could not be controlled by her medicine and surgery led to infection and yadda yadda yadda she is a cyclop. My dad's eyesight is something else, retinal detachment, macular degeneration and cataracts with pressure issues as well. Here is the kicker bad enough that mom has only one eye left, that eye is now troubled too, the pressure seems out of control. To top off that, dad who is legally blind, is going to have cataract surgery and his pressure seems not so good so they are talking about trying to relieve some of that pressure while removing the cataract. Just so amazing that over 10 years later they are still dealing with these eye problems.