Sunday, December 28, 2008

Merry Christmas!!!!

Merry Christmas (belated)!! We've been a bit busy with the marathon of family get-togethers...and then the Wii...and then the beautiful day today. I was able to finally get my new kayak out on the river to give it a try - I LOVE it and can't wait for spring!! Here are a few shots from Christmas morning....

On your mark, get set....go!!!!!!!

Oakley waiting patiently for his brother to help him open his gifts...

Pokemon! I can't believe it!!! (Who knew that a $15 pack of trading cards would be such a hit?)

Merry Christmas everyone!!

Monday, December 22, 2008

Somebody stop me...

HELP!! Somebody call an intervention team!!!I can't stop baking/cooking! I need to clean, therefore I bake... I really do need to stop procrastinating on the cleaning or we're all going to gain 20lbs. before New Year...Hello New Year's Resolution!

Here are the recipe's for the yummy things we've been making...

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cupcakes (DELICIOUS!!)
~Kraft Food & Family, Holiday 2006
Chocolate Truffles
1 lb. bittersweet chocolate, coarsley chopped
3/4 cup heavy cream
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, sliced, at room temperature
2 T. Godiva chocolate liqueur (or whatever you like...we're doing Creme de Menthe next)
3 cups unsweetened cocoa powder, for dusting
Melt chocolate with the cream in a glass bowl set over a pan of simmering water, stirring occasionally until smooth. Once smooth, remove from heat and add in the butter and liqueur. Stir untill all butter has melted and the mixture is completely smooth.
Cover bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate until very cold and set, butu still soft enough to work with (about 2 hours).
Line a large rimmed baking sheet with wax paper (or parchment). Use a mini melon baller (or mini ice cream scoop) to scoop out balls of chocolate, and set them in the prepared baking sheet. Refrigrate for 20 minutes.
Put cocoa in a large bowl. Dust your hands with cocoa and roll balls (one at a time) between your palms until smooth (this gets a little messy...have a damp rag available for wiping hands every few minutes). Place each ball into the cocoa and toss to coat. Return to the lined baking sheet and refrigerate until firm, about 30 minutes. The truffles can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks.
Saltine Toffee
Peanut Butter Cookie Sandwiches
~Cottage Living, March 2008

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Christmas Cookies...for the dog

Ok, so this might be a little crazy..but T. & I made homemade dog treats the other day and the dog loves them.
And when I say he loves them, I mean he really loves them. He has, on several occasions, stood alone in the kitchen "talking" at the treat jar...trying to get us to come in and get him one. If I didn't have first hand knowledge of the ingredients I might think there was some sort of addictive substance in them. ...he is a lab though, so maybe he's just not very picky - he does occasionally like to eat a nice stick or piece of mulch. It was a fun project for T. & I to do together...
Anywhooo...We got the recipe out of a magazine my mom picked up...can't remember the name at the moment...but here's the recipe for all of you dog lovers.
Great Gravy Cookies

2 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
2 small jars beef baby food
6 T. beef gravy
1 egg
1/2 cup non fat dry milk
1/2 cup water
1 T. brown sugar
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 tsp. salt

Combine all ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Lightly pat your hands with flour and shape the mix into a big ball. Flatten the ball using a floured rolling pin to about 1/2 inch thick. Use a cookie cutter to cut into shapes. Place on greased cookie sheet (we used non greased stoneware cookie sheet and they didn't stick). Bake at 350 for 25 minutes or until lightly browned.

Allow to cool, and then watch as your dog becomes addicted.

We're going to vary the flavor by switching out the beef baby food and gravy for chicken next time to see if he likes those...I'm sure he will.

This is what it looks like just before you have to clean the camera lens...I think Oakley was tired of the picture-taking and ready for another treat.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

It's beginning... look a lot like Christmas!

Don't you normally do the chicken dance in front of the tree?

Even the light fixture is dressed for the holiday :)

Watching the Grinch, of course!!

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Handmade Garland!!

Ta Da!! The garland is finished, and up! It was surprisingly easy to make...and it's so much prettier than my old plastic stuff!!

..and so far it's still green, thank goodness for cold weather!

Speaking of cold weather...look what happened tonight!
Ok, so it's just flurries...but to us it's a blizzard. Do you see T. in the background trying to fashion a snowball? PLEASE Mother Nature...can we get some real snow this winter...pretty please?

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Buck, Doe & Skunk

As promised, our extra special Christmas visitors....
Meet Buck...

...and Doe...

and skunk..he's hiding out there behind Doe.

Today was T.'s Thanksgiving Feast at school...he was dressed as a Pilgrim (in his paper hat and collar). No pictures, I'm a bad mommy and forgot my camera.

I bit the bullet and started decorating for Christmas...what's the harm in getting it done before Thanksgiving anyway...Target has had Christmas decorations up since Halloween! For whatever reason I got the idea in my head this year that I was going to make my own garland out of the Leyland Cyprus trees we have in the back yard. I started this afternoon and completed two sections...tomorrow I will **hopefully** finish the rest and get them all up. So far, so good - I just hope they stay green until Christmas! ...not really sure about the Leyland Cyprus...guess we'll find out!

Monday, November 17, 2008

Get Ready!!

It's time to decorate for Christmas!

T. & I had mucho fun decorating our Gingerbread House...we decided that if we were Gingerbread People, we would totally want to live here.

...and it's not finished yet! We're working on some extra special Christmas visitor's.....stay tuned!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

School Picture!!

T.'s School Picture - 2008

Monday, October 27, 2008

A Lazy Post

I have two new favorite things, and because I am lazy and do not feel like getting the camera right now we will be sans photo...even though the apple butter looks really cute all dressed up in the jar. Maybe tomorrow I will not be so lazy. Geez..I can't even think of an interesting title. Anyway - I am rambling (another sign of lazy..and tired) here are my two newest favorite things.

1. Homemade apple butter, deeee-licious. It all started whe my delightful neighbor brought us a bag of freshly picked apples from Carter Mountain. There were so many I knew they were destined to be more than just sliced up apples.. thus started the search for apple recipes. I found an apple butter recipe in an old issue of Gourmet Magazine that was really simple, and thought..I can do this!! I've never canned anything before, and I must say - once you have all of the necessary tools (and a great neighbor who lends them to you so you can try it out) it's really no big production. Our bag of apples turned into 3 lovely jars of Apple Butter.

2. Trader Joes. It's new to the Richmond area, and now I see why people love it so much! What's not to love? It's inexpensive, there is a great selection, and the Trader Joes Pancake Mix is the best I've ever had. Serve the pancakes up with homemade apple butter on a chilly fall morning with a nice cup of chai...yummm!!! This is exactly why I have to keep running...I love food WAY too much.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Here's what I got...

...when I asked him to get his "night-nights" on...

I didn't know tonight was a full moon.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Shower Art

From Left to Right: T, Daddy, Oakley, Mommy

by T....

Week In Pictures...

Monday, October 6, 2008

1.6 miles

I did it, I broke in my new shoes and actually was able to run 1.6 miles this morning without much trouble..I think I will try to make the full 2 miles tomorrow morning. I definitely wouldn't have done so well without my handy new Nike + gadget...I am in love! Have you heard of this? It's a sensor that goes in your shoe (or in a pouch on your shoe for non Nike shoes) and it transmits your distance/time/calories burned to your i-pod. She tells you when you hit the halfway point and will tell you how much you have left at any point if you hit the button on the i-pod. It's like a coach & running partner that keeps the same pace as's wonderful! I am in love.

I also discovered this morning that my neighborhood is filled with morning runners! Who knew!? All this activity happening before 8am!? And now I'm part of it...Go Me!

Saturday, October 4, 2008

I'm So Proud...

This morning while getting ready I heard T. talking to himself. When I poked my head out of the bathroom, I saw this...

How did I get so lucky to have a kid that loves to read this much?

Friday, October 3, 2008

Hi there. I am still here. T. is doing great in Kindergarten and the craziness of getting used to such an early schedule is starting to become a routine. The great thing about the super early schedule is that I now can make time for myself without impacting anyone else...which feels great!

Here's my new goal (because if I write about it, I will feel accountable to do so, please bare with me as I ramble). I am going to start running..yes, me..running. I know, sounds like a joke. I want to be around for a really long time, so I can see all the cool stuff T. is going to do, and I worry that I'm not doing enough to keep myself healthy..and it's selfish to be lazy. I'm going to get myself a new pair of shoes this weekend and the routine begins Monday...NO EXCUSES! Ok, I'm done motivating myself and boring you for now.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

A Rocky Start...

..but an amazing finish! T. had his first day of Kindergarten yesterday and while the morning was a little rocky with lots and lots of tears and clinging to legs, he came home to report that it was FUN! He loves Ms. F. (his teacher), and even said that he wants to "live at Kindergarten!"

Today was great, no tears, no clinging. Just kisses for R. & I and a simple waive along with "Bye!"

It's going to be a great year!!!!

Monday, September 1, 2008

Final days of summer...

Well, here we are..the last day of summer (according to the school system & the pool). We spent the last few days enjoying the pool and playing until dark, eeking out every bit we could since school starts tomorrow. T.'s first day of Kindergarten...can't believe it's actually here! He still seems so small, it's hard to believe we are packing him up and sending him off to school on the cheese-wagon! I think T. is more ready for this than I am...actually I know he is. I'm a wreck.

Oh is a picture of T. & his "best girlfriend" H. at the pool on Monday....

Wednesday, August 20, 2008


Whew!!!! That was a close one!!! :)

Monday, August 18, 2008

Fun at Pawleys Island....

We're here & we are having a great time (of course)!!!

T. is addicted to the boogie board...he spent ~8 hrs on one today, should sleep really well! The cousins are all getting along really well and having fun playing on the beach. We're anxiously watching TS Faye...hoping she doesn't make her way up this way and rain on our far every day the forecast gets better for us :) Happy!

Ok, off to help with's a picture of the cousins in the pool...I mean, bathtub...

Thursday, August 14, 2008

He knows....

Just look at him...he knows we're about to leave him for a week of fun at the beach. Poor Oakley!!

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Cute - couldn't wait...

Ok, Ok, this is supposed to be T.'s week of posts..but these were cute so I had to share :) All pictures taken last weekend at GiGi's, one of the last times we'll see A. & Z. for a while since they are moving to Colorado Springs in a few weeks...

Nana & Z...check out those legs!

My sweet T.

T. & Z.

"What choo lookin' at?"

New post from T. soon, I promise...we didn't get to it last night because we decided to go to the river again and didn't make it home until late.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

T.'s Week In Pictures - Day 1

T. just got a new kids digital camera and is having fun taking pictures of everything..yes, everything. So, this week, it's T.'s turn to share his thoughts and photo's. Here we go, straight from T.'s mouth -

I took a picture of red, white and blue so everyone who doesn't know can know now that this is our flag.
I took a picture of myself and put it in the computer and then I went upstairs and played on the computer.
I was taking a picture of my dad mowing the lawn and I almost fell out of the seat.
The DHL truck came by and I took a picture of it while it was driving and the door was open. Why is the door open?

Monday, July 28, 2008

Tomatoes - Day 7

Grilled Bruschetta Chicken (Kraft Food & Family, Summer 2007)

1/4 cup KRAFT Sun-Dried Tomato Dressing, divided
4 small boneless skinless chicken breast halves (1 lb.)
1 medium tomato, finely chopped
1/2 cup KRAFT Shredded Low-Moisture Part-Skim Mozzarella Cheese
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil or 1 tsp. dried basil leaves

PLACE large sheet of heavy-duty foil over half of grill grate; preheat grill to medium heat. Pour 2 Tbsp. of the dressing over chicken in resealable plastic bag; seal bag. Turn bag over several times to evenly coat chicken with the dressing. Refrigerate 10 min. to marinate. Remove chicken from marinade; discard bag and marinade.

GRILL chicken on uncovered side of grill 6 min. Meanwhile, combine tomatoes, cheese, basil and remaining 2 Tbsp. dressing.

TURN chicken over; place, cooked-side up, on foil on grill. Top evenly with tomato mixture. Close lid. Grill an additional 8 min. or until chicken is cooked through (165ºF).

~Serves 4

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Tomatoes - Day 6

Spaghetti with Summer Squash and Tomatoes - Tyler Florence

Kosher salt
1 zucchini, sliced into thin rounds (again...mandolin = best friend)
1 summer squash, sliced into thin rounds
1 pint cherry tomatoes
1/2 onion, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, chopped
1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano leaves
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Freshly ground black pepper
1 pound spaghetti

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat for the spaghetti.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Combine the squashes, tomatoes, onion, garlic, and oregano in a large bowl. Add the olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and give it all a good toss. Dump that out onto a baking sheet and roast for 10 to 12 minutes, until the squash is tender and caramelized. Scrape the vegetables into a large pasta bowl and cover with a plate to keep everything warm.

The pasta water should be boiling by now. Add the spaghetti and stir to separate the strands. Cook for 8 to 9 minutes, until al dente.

To finish, scoop out about 1/4 cup of the pasta cooking water, drain the pasta, and toss gently with the roasted vegetables and Grilled Shrimp. Add the pasta water if needed.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Tomatoes - Day 5

Herbed-Grilled Tomatoes

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 garlic clove, minced
1 teaspoon minced fresh basil
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
4 medium tomatoes, halved
1 tablespoon grated fresh Parmesan cheese
1/2 teaspoon chopped fresh parsley, for garnish

In a wide, shallow bowl, combine the olive oil and next 5 ingredients (through pepper). Add tomatoes, and turn to coat them on all sides.

Prepare grill.

Place tomatoes, cut sides down, on the grill rack. Brush once with remaining marinade, and then discard marinade. Grill about 5-7 minutes on each side over medium-high heat or until tomatoes begin to blister, soften, and brown. (They can burn easily, so keep an eye on them.)

Remove the tomatoes from grill, and top with Parmesan cheese and parsley. Serve immediately.

~Serves 4

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Tomatoes - Day 4

Tomato, Basil & Couscous Salad (Bon Appetit - August 1995)

2 1/4 cups canned chicken broth
1 10-ounce box couscous
1 cup chopped green onions

1 cup (generous) diced seeded plum tomatoes
1/3 cup thinly sliced fresh basil

1/2 cup olive oil
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1/4 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper
Cherry tomatoes, halved

Bring broth to boil in medium saucepan. Add couscous. Remove from heat. Cover; let stand 5 minutes. Transfer to large bowl. Fluff with fork. Cool.

Mix all ingredients except cherry tomatoes into couscous. Season with salt and pepper. (Can be made 1 day ahead. Chill.) Garnish with cherry tomatoes.

~Serves 6

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Tomatoes - Day 3

Fresh Tomato Salad with Onions, Feta & Olives (Bon Appetit - August 1999)

5 ripe, large tomatoes; cut into 1/3 inch thick rounds
1 small red onion, thinly sliced (a mandolin works GREAT)
1/4 c. extra virgin olive oil
1 T. balsamic vinegar
4 oz. feta cheese, crumbled
1/4 c. kalamata olives
1 T. fresh parsley

Arrange tomatoes on a platter. Top with onion slices. Drizzle oil and vinegar over top. Sprinkle with
salt & pepper. Allow to stand at room temperature for at least 1 hour.

Sprinkle cheese, olives & parsley over salad and serve.

~Serves 6

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Tomatoes - Day 2

Salsa Roja

2 c. diced fresh tomatoes
1 1/2 c. diced red pepper
1 1/3 c. chopped onion
2 large jalapeno peppers, seeded and diced (**the FDA is warning against these decide)
6 garlic cloves, minced
3/4 c. chopped fresh cilantro
1/4 c. chopped fresh parsley
1/4 c. fresh lime juice
2 T. finely chiopped fresh oregano
2 T. balsamic vinegar
1 tsp. ground cumin
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. freshly ground pepper

Combine first 5 ingredients in a large bowl; toss gently. Combine cilantro and remaining ingredients in a small bowl; stir well. Add cilantro mixture to tomato mixture. Serve chilled.

~makes 6 cups

Monday, July 21, 2008

To-may-to, To-mah-to...

The FDA has finally declared that tomatoes are “safe” to eat, because they can’t determine the source of the ”bad” tomatoes. Seriously? I don’t know about you, but I’ve been eating tomatoes all summer, regardless of the FDA warning, and now I’m REALLY glad I did. I feel so bad for all of those local farmers who have lost their season, and for no good reason.

So here is what I’m going to do about it…I’m posting my favorite tomato recipes all week in celebration of the glorious summer staple in hopes that folks will be inspired to spend the second half of their summer buying and eating tomatoes.

Rick's Favorite Salmon with Tomato-Basil Sauce

4 large tomatoes, peeled and seeded*
4 (4-6-ounce) salmon fillets
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
3 tablespoons butter
1 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil

Place peeled and seeded* tomatoes in a blender or food processor. Process until a chunky purée is formed; set aside.

Season salmon with salt and pepper.
Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Melt butter and when foam subsides, place salmon, skin-side up in pan. Brown on both sides, until fish is just cooked through, about 6 minutes, depending on thickness of fillets. Transfer to plate and hold warm.

In same skillet over medium heat, combine puréed tomatoes and heavy cream, scraping any browned bits off the bottom. Simmer until slightly reduced, and sauce is desired consistency. Stir in basil. Adjust seasoning if necessary.

Place salmon on individual serving plates and pour sauce over the top. Serve immediately. (We like ours with a side of angel hair pasta and a little parmesan)

Makes 4 servings.

*To peel and seed a tomato, lightly score an 'x' into the bottom end with a sharp paring knife. Drop into boiling water for 30 seconds, or until skin just begins to tear. Remove with a slotted spoon into ice water. When cool enough to handle, peel off skin, cut in half and gently squeeze to remove seeds. Proceed with recipe.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Look Mom!!

"I cleaned my room! And I did an awesome job all by myself!"



What piles?

Looks perfectly clean to me...

At least he tried. :)