Tuesday, June 27, 2006

VBS This week

We have VBS this week, and I'm helping. Needless to say, I have very little computer time. I promise! I will post more when the week of craziness is over. I have some cute pictures of Grace's birthday cake (from her candy party)

New reviews posted:

Body Piercing Saved My Life

Grammar Snobs are Great Big Meanies

Thursday, June 22, 2006

It's Going to take a little time...

The kids are out of school, and that means that every single time I sit down to the computer, one or both either a. wants something b. wants me to do something for them or c. says "get off the computer!"whine whine whine, "you are always on the computer!"

So needless to say, I have had precious little time to do any sort of updating. I have been cooking, but my camera is full of pictures that I haven't had time to print out/download onto the computer because of the above reasons. So I don't have pictures of my fabulous flank steak I made last night, or the wonderful spaghetti pie or the banana pudding. Sorry folks!

Logan's gymnastics program is tonight. Then only two more things this week. Grace's tryouts tomorrow, and their last competition on Sunday. Whew!

VBS next week, so it will be another very busy time with not much computer time.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Another Review Update

The Stork Reality

I have got to make some time this week to do some write-ups. I have a huge stack of books sitting here saying "review me!"

Currently reading Straight Up by Lisa Samson. Lots of characters and I'm not very far into it yet. Have been working on Grace's birthday party and living through the week of gymnastics.

Didn't cook last night, was a little burned out after Sunday's extravaganza. I do plan to cook tonight though, spaghetti pie and banana pudding. Yum.

Monday, June 19, 2006

Father's Day Meal

Here is our meal we had for Father's Day. It turned out so well, I was quite pleased. The only disappointment was that I had planned to have peaches, but they didn't get ripe quite quickly enough. Otherwise, it was a great meal.

We had Rib-eye steaks, Roasted Red potatoes, and braised spinach

Prime Rib-eye Steaks with Mustard Parmesan Crust
Recipe courtesy Michael Chiarello

Mustard Parmesan Coating:
20 cloves garlic, peeled
1/2 cup olive oil
3 tablespoons fresh, roughly chopped thyme
3 tablespoons Dijon mustard
3 thick rib-eye steaks (about 2 to 2 1/2-inches)
Grey salt and fresh ground black pepper
Olive oil, for drizzling
2 cups fresh, finely grated parmesan cheese

In a pre-heated saute pan over medium-low heat, pan roast the garlic in olive oil, tossing only once. Allow to brown for about 5 to 10 minutes. Drain the cloves through a strainer. Allow to cool before mashing roughly with fork. Add thyme to garlic paste and mash that in as well. When they are pasty but still chunky, mix in the Dijon mustard.

Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Preheat a grill to high.

Season steaks well with salt and pepper. Pound the seasonings in well. Drizzle steaks on both sides with olive oil. Place meat on grill to brown, about 5 minutes each side.

Remove steaks from grill, place on a large cookie tray. Cover top generously with mustard parmesan coating. Top with large piles of parmesan, spreading out to edges carefully with fingers. Place steaks in oven for 8 or 9 minutes.

Braised Spinach
Recipe courtesy Giada De Laurentiis

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 large red onions, sliced (I only used one)
4 garlic cloves, minced
4 large bunches fresh spinach, washed with water still clinging to leaves, stems trimmed and leaves coarsely chopped
2 tablespoons soy sauce
3/4 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper flakes
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Heat the oil in a very large pot over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic, and saute until tender, about 8 minutes. Add 1/3 of the spinach and saute until it begins to wilt, about 1 to 2 minutes. Continue adding the spinach 1 handful at a time, sauteing just until it begins to wilt before adding more. Add the soy sauce and crushed red pepper. Saute over high heat until spinach wilts. Season the mixture, to taste, with salt and black pepper. Transfer the mixture to a bowl and serve.

For Dessert, we had Chocolate-Coffee Cupcakes with Mocha Ganache and Mascarpone Cream
After I made the cupcakes, I took them out of their paper liners and put them in the bottom of paper cups, it made them look like an espresso and it was too cute. They are SO good. Very labor intensive and a bit complicated, but so worth it.

For the Chocolate-Coffee Cupcakes withMocha Ganache and Mascarpone Cream(makes 30 cupcakes)
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons milk
6 tablespoons unsweetened cocoapowder (preferably Dutch process)
1/4 cup instant coffee powder
1 1/2 cups cake flour [such as Swans Down;do NOT use self-rising flour]
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter,at room temperature
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 large eggs
3 cups heavy cream
1/3 cup coffee beans, crushed
8 ounces milk chocolate, finely chopped
2 cups mascarpone cheese
1/4 cup confectioners’ sugar, sifted

To Make the Chocolate-Coffee Cupcakes
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line 30 standard muffin cupswith paper liners.Combine the milk, cocoa, coffee and 1/4 cup water in a small sauce-pan and bring to a boil, constantly whisking, until the cocoa and coffeehave dissolved. Let cool and pour into a liquid measure.Sift together the flour, baking soda, and salt. In the bowl of a mixer,cream the butter, sugar, and vanilla on medium speed until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition.With the mixer on low speed, add the dry ingredients alternately withthe milk mixture in three batches, ending with the liquid. Fill each muffin cup halfway with the batter. Bake 18 to 20 minutes until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Remove thecupcakes from the pan and let cool completely on a wire rack.

To Make the Mocha Ganache and Mascarpone Cream

Combine 1 cup of the heavy cream and coffee beans in a small saucepanand bring to a boil over high heat. Remove from the heat, cover, and let infuse for 10 minutes. Strain through a fine-mesh sieve into a clean sauce-pan and bring back to a boil. Put the chocolate in a medium bowl and pour the hot cream over it, stirring slowly, until the ganache is smooth. Spoon enough ganache over each cupcake to fill the liners to the rim.Using a whisk or in the bowl of a mixer fitted with a whisk attach-ment, whip the remaining 2 cups of heavy cream to stiff peaks. Add the mascarpone and confectioners’ sugar and whisk until smooth. Spoon the mascarpone cream into a pastry bag fitted with a medium round tip andpipe the cream on top of the ganache in a circle.

On the reading front, finishing up The Only Best Place by Carolyne Aarsen, it's an interesting story about a woman who moves from the city with her husband to take over his family farm. Lots of interesting emotions come up, I'm not exactly sure if I enjoy it, but it's good. Does that make sense?

Lots of gymnastics this week, Grace's show is tonight, Logan's is Thursday night, and there are tryouts for the pre-team on Friday, then our last Make a Splash on Sunday. Whew! Then VBS next week along with bring a friend for gymnastics.

Saturday, June 17, 2006

Being silly

Thought I'd steal this from another blog. Google: your name needs. I googled "Melissa Needs..." and here's what I came up with (after excluding everyone else's blogs with the same thing! I skipped to page 9 of the Google list):

1. Melissa needs to get off the porch rail! (hmmm, interesting)
2. Melissa needs attention and will do “things” for attention (this sounds a bit bad!)
3. Melissa Needs Your Help - Kittens/cats Up For Adoption (I am so not a cat person)
4. Melissa needs blood will you help me? (Nope, don't need any more)
5. after a night in heels melissa needs to take a break (This is true!)
6. MELISSA needs to know whether such a functional request can be executed at that instant (huh?)
7. Melissa needs automotive troubleshooting (I suppose I would if my car was broken)
8. Melissa needs lots of cash and fast, but playing by the rules is getting her nowhere (I love this one)
9. Melissa needs to find homes for Judy’s 2 male cats (Well, at least they aren't my cats this time!)
10. Melissa needs our prayers ( A Fitting one to end on, I always need your prayers!)

New Review

Here is my newest posted review:


Have a ton of other books sitting here on my desk saying, "write me up! write me up!" so I guess I need to do that really soon.

Currently reading Violet Dawn by Brandilynn Collins. Just started, but it's a captivating mystery so far.

Made some chocolate coffee cupcakes today for a Father's Day treat. I'll post a picture and a recipe tomorrow or Monday.

Friday, June 16, 2006

Welcome Weekend!

With the kids out of school I'm having trouble keeping the days straight! Even Grace asked me this morning if we had church today.

Last night I made a chicken club ring--Pampered Chef recipe. It was only hubby and I who ate, but Kimber ate later after she went to Starbucks with a friend. The kids had been to Chuck E. Cheese all afternoon so they were full of pizza and junk food.

Chicken Club Ring
3 cups coarsely chopped cooked chicken
4 slices bacon, crisply cooked, drained, and chopped (I used turkey bacon)
1 cup shredded Swiss cheese
1/3 cup mayonnaise
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 garlic clove, minced
2 plum tomatoes, sliced
2 8-ounce packages crescent rolls

Preheat ove to 375. Combine chicken, bacon, 3/4 cup of the cheese, mayo, mustard, and garlic, mix well. Circle crescent rolls around circular baking stone, wide sides facing in. Scoop filling evenly over rolls. Top with tomato slices. Fold pointed ends over filling, tucking under wide ends. Sprinkle with remaining cheese. Bake 25-30 minutes or until golden brown.

I make my own crescent rolls using a recipe from allrecipes.com. I make the rolls up through their first rising, then use them in the ring recipe just like the canned crescent rolls. It's much much cheaper than buying them.

Golden Crescent Rolls

2 (.25 ounce) packages active
dry yeast
3/4 cup warm water (110
degrees F/45 degrees C)
1/2 cup white sugar
1 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
1/2 cup butter or shortening
4 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup butter, softened
Dissolve yeast in warm water.
Stir in sugar, salt, eggs, shortening, and 2 cups of flour. Beat until smooth. Mix in remaining flour until smooth. Scrape dough from side of bowl. Knead dough, then cover it and let rise in a warm place until double (about 1-1/2 hours).
Punch down dough. Divide in half. Roll each half into a 12-inch circle. Spread with butter. Cut into 10 to 15 wedge. Roll up the wedges starting with the wide end. Place rolls with point under on a greased baking sheet. Cover and let rise until double (about 1 hour).
Bake at 400 degrees F (205 degrees C) for 12-15 minute or until golden brown. Brush tops with butter when they come out.

I've been working around the house, putting clothes away. Wow, what a chore. Grace changes her clothes so many times a day it's ridiculous! I have put her on a "no changing clothes unless clothes are filthy" restriction.

Back to the house and to reading, I have got to get it in gear!

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Fettuccine and Pie, oh my!

I will admit, I have enjoyed the show The Next Food Network Star for the past two years. I really liked Guy, the winner from this year. For his last challenge, he made two dishes that I got the recipes for and have made a few times now. They are really tasty and everyone in the family enjoys them.

Tequila Turkey Fettuccini
Recipe courtesy Guy Fieri
1-ounce olive oil
1/4 red onion, cut into strips
1/2 tablespoon minced jalapeno
1 tablespoon minced garlic
5 ounces turkey breast, cooked, sliced
1-ounce tequila
4 ounces heavy cream
1/2-ounce fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon chopped cilantro leaves
9 ounces fettuccini pasta, cooked
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan
2 lime wedges, for garnish
2 sprigs cilantro, for garnish
2 tablespoons diced Roma tomato, for garnish
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

In saute pan with high heat, add olive oil, onions, jalapeno and saute until translucent. Add garlic and continue to saute for 2 minutes. Add turkey, lightly mix ingredients, careful not to break turkey up to much.

Deglaze pan with tequila, pouring around the edge of the saute pan. Add cream, lemon juice and cilantro. Toss together, then add pasta, and toss ingredients while adding Parmesan cheese.

Nest pasta on plate, pour sauce over pasta. Lay sprigs of cilantro over top, sprinkle tomatoes on top, and crack pepper around the rim of the plate.

Here's how I changed it. First off, I have made this a couple of times. I tried using chicken and I tried using turkey, and I must say, chicken is MUCH better. It doesn't shred apart, and it gives a better flavor in my opinion. I doubled the recipe for my family, because this recipe only says it serves two. I substituted fat free half and half for the heavy cream, but I needed to thicken it a little with flour.

The next recipe is
Breath Mint Pie
courtesy Guy Fieri
6 ounces butter
6 cups chocolate sandwich cookie crumbs (recommended: Oreo)
Mint chip ice cream
1 pound mint candy, frozen (recommended: Junior Mints)
1 cup whipped cream, garnish
1 cup chocolate sauce, garnish
12 mint sprigs, garnish

In saute pan heat butter on medium heat. Add cookie crumbs and mix until butter is evenly distributed. Line a half sheet pan with plastic wrap, and cover the bottom of the pan with half of the crumb mixture.

In mixer on lowest speed add ice cream and mint candy. Slowly mix together, trying not to break the mints open. Pour the mixture onto the cookie crumbs and gently spread throughout pan, trying not to break the crumb base. Once evenly distributed, add remaining cookie crumb mixture, cover with plastic wrap and refreeze.

Cut into 12 triangular pieces, garnish with whipped cream, chocolate sauce and mint sprig.

We were all full and satisfied after dinner last night!
Microwave was fixed today...first thing Grace wants me to make when the guy left (9:30 am) was Easy Mac. I managed to hold her off until 11, but she's happily eating it now. I know, I know, I could have made it on the stove, but what a pain! Now to decide on tonight's meal...

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Crazy Busy!

I have been absolutely crazy busy the past few days with graduation and school ending and everything. Hopefully things will calm way down now, I'll just have a boatload of reading to do!

The other night I made Parmesan round steak. I found a great deal on center cut round steak, and after searching all over for a recipe, I just ended up making one up.

Here's what I did. I took five center cut round steak pieces and pounded them on both sides really well to tenderize.

Made bread crumbs from one large whole wheat hamburger bun that had been hanging around since last week and no one was eating it :) Grated about 1/3 cup of pecorino romano cheese and mixed it with the bread crumbs. Heated up a skillet with a small amount of olive oil. Whisked an egg in a bowl. Dipped each steak in the egg, then coated both sides with the bread crumb/cheese mixture. Cooked in skillet until b0th sides were browned.

In a 9 x 13 pan, I poured one jar of spaghetti sauce (tomato, garlic and onion chunky Ragu variety) Put the browned steaks on top. Sprinkled over top enough grated mozzarella to cover each piece well. Dumped another jar of spaghetti sauce over the top of that. Covered pan with foil and baked in 350 oven for 2 1/2 hours.

Served it with some parmesan angel hair pasta-roni (the things I do when I don't have a microwave, LOL, I was going to have baked potatoes with it but I forgot how long it takes them to cook in the oven!)

Today was Logan's last day of school, and he's over at a friend's house to sleep over tonight.

I'm reading And God Created the Au Pair and it's very cute. All in e-mail, which is a format I love.

Monday, June 12, 2006

Banana Bread and Graduation

Well, the banana bread turned out great. I used a Cooking Light recipe and it's been moister every day since I made it. Made French toast with it on Saturday evening, and it was delicious. It was dense but tasty.

Banana Bread
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup sugar
2 tablespoons margarine, melted
4 medium sized ripe bananas, peeled and mashed
1 egg, lightly beaten

Combine first 4 ingredients in a large bowl. Combine sugar and next three ingredients; add to flour mixture, stirring just until dry ingredients are moistened.

Pour batter into an 8 1/2 by 4 1/2 by 3 inch loaf pan coated with cooking spray. Bake at 350 degrees for 50 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pans on a wire rack 10 minutes; remove from pan and cool completely on wire rack.

Today was kindergarten graduation. Sob! I can't believe my baby is growing up so fast! I got very teary during the ceremony and when the teacher was giving out awards beforehand. I know, it's inevitible, but time just flies.

I'm currently reading Like Dandelion Dust by Karen Kingsbury. And although I enjoy her writing, I'm finding myself avoiding this one because I'm a bit burned out on her books after reading so many the past few weeks.

Off to clean a little before dinner!

Saturday, June 10, 2006

Rosemary Orange Pork Chops

This was a really good meal we had this week. On Wednesday night, our microwave went out, and it can't be fixed until this coming Thursday. That is a huge pain, I never realized how much I use it. I have to be really on top of what I'm making this week as I don't have the microwave to help me thaw things.

Rosemary-Orange Pork Chops and Lemon-Butter Broccolini

From Rachael Ray 365

Zest and juice of 1 navel orange

3 tablespoons brown sugar

1 cup chicken stock or broth

2 sprigs of fresh rosemary, leaves removed and chopped

1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes

Salt and black pepper

2 tablespoons EVOO

4 1-inch thick center-cut pork loin chops

1 1/2 pounds broccolini (I used broccoli, can't find broccolini around here)

3 tablespoons butter

Zest and juice of 1 lemon

1/4 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves, chopped

Crusty Bread

In a medium sauce pot over high heat, combine the zest and juice of the orange, brown sugar, chicken stock, rosemary, crushed red pepper flakes, salt and pepper. Bring the mixture to a boil, then lower the heat to a simmer and cook until reduced by half.

Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat with the EVOO. Season the chops with salt and pepper, then add to the hot skillet. Cook the chops for 5 minutes on each side.

While the pork chops are cooking, trim the broccoliini ends. Place the stalks into a skillet and cover with water. Cover the skillet and bring to a boil. Add salt and reduce the heat. Simmer for 5-6 minutes, until tender and bright green.

Drain broccolini and return to the skillet over medium heat. Add the butter, lemon zest, and lemon juice. Stir and toss until the butter melts, season with salt and pepper.

Add the parsley to the reduced rosemary-orange glaze. Pour the glaze over the cooked pork chops. Toss to coat and transfer to a serving platter. Serve along with the broccolini and some crusty bread.

Really good flavors for late spring!

I'm currently reading Coupon Girl by Becky Motew. It's cute so far. I have eleven RT books for this month, so I have only a short window until I have to start reading them again.

I'm making banana bread right now, because I have this bee in my bonnet to make banana bread French toast. It just sounds so good! I'll keep you informed on how good it turns out.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Ok God! I hear You!

I just want to give thanks to God for bringing the book The Secret Life of Becky Miller into my life. Ok, Ok, I hear You! What a wonderful book, and I'm not even finished with it. It is quite convicting about the balancing act we do as wives and mothers, as well as all of the myriad of things I try to cram into my day.

Wow, did I need to hear this!
If any of you stay at home moms out there want to read this book when I'm finished, drop me a comment and I will send it along. In case there are more than one of you, tell me how you try to be a supermom!

Trying again---Cookies

I made some wonderful cookies the other day when Grace had a friend over. I got the recipe from the Cookie Madness site. I substituted semi-sweet chocolate chips for the white, and eliminated the pecans. I also had some dried cherries, which I chopped up and added for a little zing. They were delicious!

White Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies
1 cup butter
1 cup light brown sugar
1 cup white sugar
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups rolled oats
2 cups white chocolate chips
1 cup chopped pecans

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Lightly grease cookie sheets. In a medium bowl, cream together the butter, brown sugar and white sugar until smooth. Stir in the egg and vanilla. Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt, stir into the creamed mixture. Finally, stir in the rolled oats, white chocolate chips and pecans. Drop by tablespoons onto the prepared cookie sheets. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes in the preheated oven. Remove from baking sheets to cool on wire racks.

I'm currently reading The Secret Life of Becky Miller by Sharon Hinck. It's really good and hitting all-too close to home for this stay at home mom!

Let's see if blogger will let me publish...I've been having an awful time!

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Apple Cranberry Crisp

I decided to make a dessert for my family last night. I know, this is more of a fall recipe, but I used what I had available, and I made something quick. They didn't care what season it was supposed to be from...they ate every bite!

I mixed up 1/3 cup oats, 1/4 cup flour, and 1/2 tsp cinnamon in a small bowl, then cut in 1/3 cup of butter.

Mixed 3 sliced, peeled apples and some frozen cranberries (fresh frozen, not sauce) in a baking dish, then mixed in a about 1/2 cup sugar. Sprinkled the oat mixture over the top, then baked at 375 for about 25 minutes.

I need to do some more reading, I'm not doing very well getting through the numbers of books I need to.

Monday, June 05, 2006

Spinach Artichoke Tortellini

Another RR recipe...this one was delish! (Like my RR impression?) It really tastes just like spinach artichoke dip!

It made a huge bowl of it, but we ate it all nonetheless. The kids even liked it, once they got over the fact that it had--gasp!--spinach in it. I told Logan to close his eyes and just take one bite. I used my standard phrase, "if you die when you eat the bite, I won't make you finish it." Glad they don't really get that yet, it is still an effective bargaining tool :)

Spinach-Artichoke Cheesy Tortellini--From Rachael Ray Express Lane Meals

1 10-ounce box frozen spinach
2 tablespoons EVOO
1 tablespoon butter
3 garlic cloves, chopped
1 small onion, peeled and halved
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 cup chicken stock
1 cup heavy cream (I used fat free half and half and it worked great)
1/8 tsp nutmeg
1 14-ounce can artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
A couple of handfuls grated Parigiano-Reggiano or Pecorino Romano cheese
Salt and pepper
1 pound cheese tortellini (I used one bag of the frozen variety)

Bring a large pot of water to a boil to cook the pasta. Microwave the spinach on high for 6 minutes to defrost.

Heat a deep skillet over medium heat with the EVOO and butter. When the butter melts and is hot, add the garlic. Using a box grater, grate the onion directly into the skillet. Saute the onions and garlic for 5 minutes. Sprinkle the flour into the skillet and cook for 1 minute. Whisk in the stock, then the cream, and bring the sauce to a bubble. Season the sauce with nutmeg and reduce the heat to low.

Place the defrosted spinach in a clean kitchen towel and wring it dry. Separate it as you add it to the sauce. Stir in the chopped artichokes and the cheese, then season with salt and pepper.

Cook the tortellini according to package directions, about 3-5 minutes. Drain well, toss with the sauce, serve immediately.

Ok...am I the only one who is just now finding out about Take Home Chef? It's a show on TLC and it's great! I want him to find me in the store and come home and make me dinner. But I would be really embarrassed if I wasn't allowed to come in and tidy up a little before they came in! Oh well, it would still be worth it.

I'm still reading the same book as yesterday. I don't have an audio going , I finished up Digging to American and haven't made it to the library yet. Nothing I have on hold has come in--just wait, all of my audio books will come in at the same time!

Sunday, June 04, 2006

I'm Done!

Books all read, reviews all written and submitted. Done for the August issue! Now onto a few other review books, first up is Body Piercing Saved My Life: Inside the Phenomenon of Christian Rock by Andrew Beaujon (a non-Christian) LeeRoy finished this one earlier last week and has been bugging me every day to start it so we can talk about it. I had to finish up the RT books, but now I'm going to read this other book before he starts to read it out loud to me!

I'm off to put Grace to bed...hubby and Logan are at a special thing at church, I don't think I'm going to let her wait up.

Saturday, June 03, 2006

Fruit Pizza and Shopping

I made a fruit pizza for my women's ministry board meeting last night. It was a big hit and I even got a small piece left over to bring home for my poor, deprived family.

I baked a tube of sugar cookie dough (yes, from the store, I was too busy tye-dyeing in Grace's class yesterday to have any time to make it from scratch, although it would have been tons cheaper) on my Pampered Chef round stone. Let it cool, then mixed a package of light cream cheese with about 1/2 cup sugar, then mixed in a tub of light Cool Whip. Spread it on, then sprinkled with sliced strawberries and blueberries. It was too easy and very yummy. And I even got a deal--the strawberries and blueberries were getting overripe, so the store had them marked at 99 cents a carton, down from $4!

Went shopping at the Vancouver Mall today (Still can't learn to call it by its proper new name) Bought tons of clothes and shoes for everyone in the family, we all really needed some new things. Well, all except for Kimber, but she got some things anyway.

I'm going to go watch a movie with the family (Millions) I still have one more RT book to read before tomorrow night, and three reviews to write up. Why am I such a procrastinator?

Friday, June 02, 2006

RR Day! Pappa al Pomodoro

I checked out Rachael Ray's Express Lane Meals from the library, and last night I made a pot of Pappa al Pomodoro.

Yes...I know, I need to do a little work with my food photography! LOL.

It was really delicious, I served the remainder of the ciabatta bread on the side with some balsamic vinegar dip.

Pappa al Pomodoro--from Rachael Ray's Express Lane Meals

1 loaf chewy bread, such as ciabatta

1/4 cup EVOO

1 sprig fresh rosemary

4 garlic cloves, chopped

1 small onion

1 cup chicken stock

1 14-ounce can diced tomatoes

1 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes

1 cup fresh basil, about 20 leaves

Salt and black pepper

Freshly shaved Parmigiano-Reggiano or grated Pecorino Romano cheese

Chop about 2 cups of the bread and reserve the rest to pass at the table.

Heat a medium soup pot over medium heat. Add about 1/4 cup of the EVOO, 4 times around the pan, then add the sprig of rosemary and the garlic. Peel and halve the onion, , and, using a box grater or other hand-held grater, grate the onion directly into the soup pot. Saute the mixture for 5 minutes, then remove the rosemary stem. Add the chicken stock and the tomatoes and bring it to a bubble. Add the bread chunks and stir until the bread has melted into the soup; the result is a soup-er thick consistency. Tear or shred the basil and stir it into the soup. Season the soup with salt and pepper to taste and ladle the soup into bowls. Top with lots of shaved Parm.

It's really delicious, good melded flavors and perfect for a rainy evening (which we had yesterday)

Tonight I have a big women's ministry board meeting, it's always interesting, but a lot of work.

Today I helped in the kids' classes. In Grace's class, it was a big mess. We tye died t-shirts for their last day of school party--ugh, my hands are very stained. We also painted "hot air balloons" that they had made from paper mache.

I'm off to read a little before I have to go get Logan from school.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

My Marvelous May Reading Month

Religiously Transmitted Diseases by Ed Gungor (A)
Literacy and Longing in L.A. by Jennifer Kaufman and Karen Mack (B)
Alaska Twilight by Colleen Coble (C+)
When Crickets Cry by Charles Martin (A-)
Lime Ricky by Jill Winters (B)
Violette Between by Alison Strobel (C+)
Princess Izzy and the E Street Shuffle by Beverly Bartlett (B-/C+)
Design on a Crime by Ginny Aiken (C)
The Prize Winner of Defiance Ohio by Terry Ryan (A)
Redemption by Karen Kingsbury and Gary Smalley (B)
Remember by Kingsbury and Smalley (B)
Return by Kingsbury and Smalley (B)
Rejoice by Kingsbury and Smalley (B-)
Reunion by Kingsbury and Smalley (B+)
Fame by Karen Kingsbury (B-)
Audio #6 for the year Don’t Say a Word by Barbara Freethy (B)
Forgiven by Karen Kingsbury (B)
Derailed by James Siegal (B)
Found by Karen Kingsbury (B)
The Reluctant Burglar by Jill Nelson (B+)
Interior Motives by Ginny Aiken (C)
Bad Connection by Melody Carlson (B-)
Pompeii by Robert Harris (C)
Georgia on Her Mind by Rachel Hauck (B)
Abiding Darkness by John Aubrey Anderson (C+)

24 books and an audio--and I finished my first for June today! I just couldn't squeeze it in last night.

Lime Cookies

I made the pasta with tomato and basil yesterday, but was in such a rush to get out the door I forgot to take a picture. So next time I'll have to show you what it looks like. I decided to make lime cookies this afternoon. Couldn't find a recipe that was exactly what I wanted, so here's what I came up with...

Soft Lime Sugar Cookies

1 1/3 cups butter or margarine

1 1/2 cups granulated sugar

2 eggs

2 tsp. vanilla extract

4 Tb. lime juice

3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

2 tsp. baking powder

Cream together butter and sugar. Add eggs, mix well. Add vanilla and lime juice. Mix in flour and baking powder. Scoop onto ungreased cookie sheet, bake for 10-12 minutes at 350 degrees, just until bottoms turn light brown, don't overbake or they will be dry.

Frost with vanilla frosting mixed with some lime juice.

Not very complicated, but they're yummy and hit the spot. I'm going to make a Rachael Ray soup recipe for dinner, I'm already dreading the kids' reaction. They just don't seem to like anything.

I finished the Yada Yada book--wow, what an incredible series. If you haven't read any of them, I urge you to check them out. Moving fiction.

Currently reading Murder, Mayhem, and a Fine Man by Clair Burney. Still listening to Digging to America, it's keeping me interested.

Well, I have one more review to write up, two more books to finish before Sunday night. I can do it if I work hard!