Saturday, September 6, 2014

Tea Time

What girl growing up didn't pretend to have a "Tea" party? I know I did. I would get all of my stuffed animals and dolls set up at the table. Then I’d set out all of my grandma's tea cups and saucers—although I never really understood why we had to have a mini plate to hold our cups. I pretend to have "tea time" like the Queen of England would do. I would even stick my pinky out and everything.

Recently I was called to be an activities day leader with someone who instantly became a dear friend. We planned out the rest of this year with so many fun activities that, won’t only be fun, but will also help our young women pass off their Faith in God award.

One of the activities we planned was a "Tea" party. So, we partnered up with Expo Party Rentals and transformed the nursery room. We draped the walls with beautiful draping and some pink accent lights to bring more warmth and color to the room. Nobody could have known under the beautiful decorations there was a church’s nursery room.



We decorated the tables beautifully with lilac table clothes and a lace overlay. What tea party doesn't have lace? We set the tables with a formal table setting using Expo's double rimmed gold china and flatware and water goblets for a modern twist.  Of course we had to have some kind of pink in there somewhere, so we tied pink in with the napkins and the chair sashes. 




 


Flower, oh the flowers! We got to try out the new florist at expo. She did amazing putting together different vintage glass bottle pieces. Her arrangements added just the right amount of classic to a modern tea party. They were just beautiful.


Now, one can not have a tea party with out good food. We had beautiful cake pops, chocolate covered oreos, a cherry salad, tea sandwiches, and of course strawberries. 



Of course we had to have hats. Kelli, the other leader, put together some super cute hats for the girls to decorate. It was great watching the girls decorate the hats to their personalities, beautiful and unique. And, for the first time, I wasn't the only one in the room with a hat on! 



We had a lot of fun designing our event, learning about etiquette with the girls, and put together cute hats. But my favorite memory from our event was seeing the reaction of the girls when we finally let them come into the room to see the amazing set up we had put together for them. They could tell their leaders truly cared for them and wanted to make sure they had a great time.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

School? How can this be happening!

     My Little Man is in SCHOOL!!!!! How is this possible? I keep looking at him and seeing my little baby boy that I brought home from the hospital, what seems like yesterday. He was so excited. I couldn't even get a decent picture of him looking at the camera.
     It is so cute that every morning he wakes up and asks, "am I going to school today?"  He really enjoys going and seeing his teacher and all the other kids. I sure hope that last all year long.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Wednesday Recipe!

I LOVE pinterest! I love every recipe that I have made from there! The following two recipes are what I made for dinner tonight! LOVE LOVE LOVE them! Hope you enjoy it as well!

Chinese Eggplant with Spicy Garlic Sauce

chinese eggplant stirfry with spicy garlic sauce recipe-0504

Ingredients:

2 tablespoons cooking oil, divided3 small eggplants cut into long strips2 cloves garlic, finely minced1 red chile pepper, finely diced1 tablespoon ginger, finely minced1 stalk green onion, chopped1 tablespoon soy sauce1 tablespoon black vinegar1/2 teaspoon sugar

Directions:

In a wok or saucepan over high heat, add 1 tablespoon of the cooking oil and swirl to coat wok. When wok is hot, add eggplant in a single layer. Cook 1 minute and flip over each piece so they cook evenly. Cook another 2-3 minutes, flipping occasionally.
Push eggplant aside in wok and add 1 tablespoon cooking oil. Add garlic, red chile peppers, ginger and green onion. Stir these aromatics until they become fragrant. Combine aromatics with eggplant and stir fry for one minute. Add soy sauce, black vinegar and sugar and stir to combine all. Serve immediately.

Korean Beef and Broccoli


 Korean Beef is a very standard dish. Just about every Chinese restaurant sells it but it's usually made with flank steak and sauteed with broccoli. My recipe is less expensive and easier because it uses ground beef and some really simple ingredients and I served this with steamed broccoli which was delicious.On that note . . .
1 pound lean ground beef
1/4 - 1/2 cup brown sugar (I like it sweet so I usually do closer to 1/2 cup)
1/4 cup soy sauce (I use low-sodium)
1 Tablespoon sesame oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon fresh ginger, minced (see note)
1/2 - 1 teaspoon crushed red peppers (to desired spiciness)
salt and pepper
1 bunch green onions, diced (don't skip this!)

Heat a large skillet over medium heat and brown hamburger with garlic in the sesame oil. Drain most of the fat and add brown sugar, soy sauce, ginger, salt and pepper and red peppers. Simmer for a few minutes to blend the flavors. Serve over steamed rice and top with green onions.

Monday, July 7, 2014

My little Harper

This last Friday my little Harper will be FOUR months old. So, I know I am late at doing this post but hey, better late then never.

     March 4th I was scheduled for my regular weekly apt til giving birth. Michael took the morning off for my apt as well. As I was getting ready it was just like any other apt, but Aaron wasn't awake yet (8am) so I asked Michael if I could just go on my own and it would be a lot faster. There wasn't anything real special about this apt.
     When I got in with my doctor, she asked how I was feeling. Of course I felt great! I had been having contractions off and on for about a week now but nothing that would say that I was in labor. So, I joked around with her telling her I was hoping that she would check me and tell me I was far enough along to be sent across the parking lot to the birthing center to have my baby. She just laughed and said, "we'll see!".  Well after going in and seeing how far dialated I was, turns out I was at a 4, she just said,  "okay I'll have the nurse draw up your papers".
     I didn't quite understand what she meant so when the nurse came and gave me my paper I asked her what exactly I was doing with the papers. She told me I was going across the street to get checked in to have my baby that day!!!! I was sooooooo excited! I called mike and he laughed at me cause I was telling him about me just joking around with the dr, but it being real. The funny thing was, I didn't feel any signs of labor. (it was great!) So, I told Michael to take his time and finish his homework and gave him a list of things to grab, my hospital bag the babies hospital bag, my pillow, and a blanket, makeup bag, etc..
     When I walked into the birthing hospital The lady checking me in almost didn't believe I was in labor cause I was just acting like it was another day, no pain. To be honest, it was just like another day only with a baby coming, no pain at all.
     Fast forwarding about an hour.

 Sarah had picked up Aaron and was BEYOND excited that Harper was coming that day, but I told her and Michael not to really tell anyone except our parents just incase Harper was on a different schedule then the Dr had in mind. So, our parents knew and were all excited.
     When Michael finally arrived with all my gear and makeup, I immediately wanted to put my makeup on cause I didn't want to look bad in the pictures again like with Aaron's birth. Again the nurses all laughed at me and had never really seen anyone so not in pain when this far into labor and not having an epidural. I did end up getting one just cause I didn't want to feel her come out, but as far as labor pains went, I didn't feel my contractions even though according to the nurses they were very strong.
Long story short, I finally got to push and 30 mins later my baby was on my chest and Michael was able to cut the cord.

Food Post

I am not normally a food blogger, but when I find a recipe that is as fantastic as this one, I have to share! I sure hope you enjoy this as much as my family did!

Sausage, Mascarpone Cheese & Spinach Stuffed Pork Tenderloin with Red Wine Reduction Sauce Recipe


Making the pork:
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Place 2 (packed) cups fresh spinach and 2 tbsp water in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Cover and let the spinach steam until wilted, about 1 minute. Drain and set aside.

Heat 2 teaspoons olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Remove 2 mild Italian sausages from their casings and add to the pan. Break the sausage up with a wooden spoon and cook until the sausage is browned and cooked through, 7 to 8 minutes.

In a medium bowl, combine the spinach, sausage, 2 ounces (1/2 cup) mascarpone cheese, and 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese. Mix well and season to taste with salt and pepper.

Trim and butterfly one 1 1/4 to 1 1/2-pound pork tenderloin. To butterfly, cut the pork in half lengthwise, but do not cut all the way through.

Make several additional lengthwise slices, until the tenderloin lies somewhat flat. Place the tenderloin between two pieces of plastic wrap and flatten with a meat mallet (or the bottom of a small, heavy saucepan) until the tenderloin is about 1/2-inch thick.
Spread the sausage mixture down the length of the tenderloin.

Carefully roll the tenderloin and tie with kitchen string in several places.  Rub the tenderloin with 1 teaspoon kosher salt and 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper.

Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large oven-proof skillet over medium-high heat. Place the rolled tenderloin in the skillet and sear on all sides, about 2 minutes per side.

Wrap the handle of the skillet in aluminum foil and place the skillet in the oven. Cook until the internal temperature of the tenderloin is 150 degrees F. Place the tenderloin on a cutting board, loosely cover with foil and let sit for about 10 minutes.
Making the sauce:
Melt 2 tablespoons butter in a small saucepan set over medium heat.  Add 2 tablespoons finely chopped shallots and cook until the shallots are golden, 3 to 4 minutes.  Add 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar, increase the heat to medium-high and cook for about 2 minutes.  Add 3/4 cup good red wine and cook until the sauce is reduced by half, about 10 minutes.

Add 1 cup beef broth and cook until this mixture is reduced by half, about 10 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper (you shouldn’t need much).  The sauce can be made one day in advance, and then reheated over medium-low heat.
Slice the tenderloin on a diagonal and, using a spatula, divide the slices amongst four plates. Spoon the red wine sauce over the pork and serve immediately.

Other stuffed pork tenderloin recipes:
Bell’alimento’s Napa Valley Stuffed Pork Tenderloin
What We’re Eating’s Bacon Wrapped Fig & Blue Cheese Stuffed Pork Tenderloin  Sausage, Mascarpone Cheese & Spinach-Stuffed Pork Tenderloin with Red Wine Reduction Sauce
Sauce adapted from a Siena Italian Grill & Bar recipe
The pork:
2 (packed) cups fresh spinach
2 tbsp water
2 tbsp plus 2 tsp olive oil
2 links mild Italian sausage
2 oz. (1/2 cup) mascarpone cheese
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Salt and pepper, to taste
1 pork tenderloin (1 1/4 to 1 1/2 pounds)
1 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
The sauce:
2 tbsp butter
2 tbsp finely chopped shallots
3 tbsp balsamic vinegar
3/4 cup good-quality red wine
1 cup beef broth
Salt and pepper, to taste
Making the pork:
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.  Place spinach and water in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Cover and let the spinach steam until wilted, about 1 minute. Drain and set aside.
Heat 2 teaspoons olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Remove Italian sausages from their casings and add to the pan. Break the sausage up with a wooden spoon and cook until the sausage is browned and cooked through, 7 to 8 minutes.
In a medium bowl, combine the spinach, sausage, mascarpone cheese, and Parmesan cheese. Mix well and season to taste with salt and pepper.
Trim and butterfly one 1 1/4 to 1 1/2-pound pork tenderloin. To butterfly, cut the pork in half lengthwise, but do not cut all the way through.  Make several additional lengthwise slices, until the tenderloin lies somewhat flat. Place the tenderloin between two pieces of plastic wrap and flatten with a meat mallet (or the bottom of a small, heavy saucepan) until the tenderloin is about 1/2-inch thick.  Spread the sausage mixture down the length of the tenderloin.  Carefully roll the tenderloin and tie with kitchen string in several places.  Rub the tenderloin with 1 teaspoon kosher salt and 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper.
Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large oven-proof skillet over medium-high heat. Place the rolled tenderloin in the skillet and sear on all sides, about 2 minutes per side.  Wrap the handle of the skillet in aluminum foil and place the skillet in the oven. Cook until the internal temperature of the tenderloin is 150 degrees F. Place the tenderloin on a cutting board, loosely cover with foil and let sit for about 10 minutes.
Making the sauce:
Melt butter in a small saucepan set over medium heat.  Add shallots and cook until the shallots are golden, 3 to 4 minutes.  Add balsamic vinegar, increase the heat to medium-high and cook for about 2 minutes.  Add red wine and cook until the sauce is reduced by half, about 10 minutes.  Add 1 cup beef broth and cook until this mixture is reduced by half, about 10 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper (you shouldn’t need much).  The sauce can be made one day in advance, and then reheated over medium-low heat.  Slice the tenderloin on a diagonal and, using a spatula, divide the slices amongst four plates. Spoon the red wine sauce over the pork and serve immediately.
Sausage, Mascarpone Cheese & Spinach Stuffed Pork Tenderloin with Red Wine Reduction Sauce

 

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Freezer Meals

As promised, I posted about freezer meals on my facebook page and said I would get you the recipes.

For all of these I found it easiest to put together a grocery list of everything you need from each recipe and the amount needed. Then I took the list and marked off things that I already had in my cabinets and frig/freezer (this time around I already had more then half the chicken I needed for the recipes and most of the spices.) Once that is taken care of I went shopping...I have most seasonings needed except a couple that I had to buy and I had enough chicken for a 4 of the meals. I ended up spending $60ish on everything except chicken. So adding Chicken to the mix I would say about $80 for 7 meals bagged and frozen!

When putting them all together I found it easier to put each recipes ingredient list together in separate piles to make myself a little more organized. I labeled my zip lock bags, with what it was and how to cook it, along with if it needed anything else added to it. Then did the recipes one by one. Some ppl would find it easier to do all the cutting of veggies and what not first then do it but I just found it a little confusing.
Below are just a few of the recipes!!!

Recipe #1: French Chicken

4-6 Chicken Breasts (I use the Costco Pouches and generally 3 to 4 breasts is PLENTY for my family of 4)
1 can of Cranberry Sauce (I like Whole Berry best for this recipe)
8 oz of French Dressing
1 packet of Lipton Onion Soup Mix
Mix Chicken, Cranberry Sauce, French Dressing and Lipton Onion Soup Mix in a Gallon Freezer Ziplock Bag.  After closing, take your hands and smash all the ingredients to combine.
To cook: Take the Freezer Meal out of the Freezer an hour before starting or run it under some room temperature water for about 30 seconds.  Dump meal in the a Crockpot and cook on Low for 4-6 hours!

Recipe #2: Teriyaki Chicken

6-8 Bonesless, Skinless Chicken Thighs
1 Cup Teriyaki Sauce
1 Cup Water
2/3 Cup Brown Sugar
3 Cloves Garlic
A few slices of of Ginger
Add all ingredients to a Freezer Gallon Ziplock Bag!  Don’t stres about trimming up the Chicken Thighs too much, it’s really not needed!  One of the reasons I love crockpotting Chicken Thighs is because the fat melts and only adds to the taste!!  Once bag is closed with all the air out use your hands to mix all the ingredients and make sure the Thighs are sitting in a good sauce!!
To cook: Take the Freezer Meal out of the Freezer an hour before starting OR run it under some room temperature water for about 30 seconds.  Dump meal in the a Crockpot and cook on Low for 4-6 hours!


Recipe #3: Sweet BBQ Chicken

4-6 Chicken Breasts
12 oz bottle of BBQ Sauce
1/2 Cup Brown Sugar (I like mine really sweet, so I’ll usually do a little bit more then this)
1/4 Cup Vinegar
1/8 teaspoon of Cayenne Pepper
1 tsp Garlic Powder
Once the chicken is cleaned, I like to rub it with the Cayenne Pepper.  But, if you’re in a hurry you can just add the Chicken to a Freezer Gallon Ziplock Bag and then add the rest of the ingredients.  Once bag is closed, use your hands to mash all the ingredients together!
To cook: Take the Freezer Meal out of the Freezer an hour before starting OR run it under some room temperature water for about 30 seconds.  Dump meal in the a Crockpot and cook on Low for 4-6 hours!


Recipe #4: Creamy Chicken Italian-O
This is a household favorite!!!

4-6 Chicken Breasts
8 oz Cream Cheese
1 Can of Cream of Chicken
1 Dry Packet of Italian Seasoning
Take softened Cream Cheese, Cream of Chicken and Italian Seasoning and mix together in a bowl.  Take cleaned chicken and place in a Freezer Gallon Ziplock Bag and top with the mixture.  After Ziplock bag is closed, take your hands and push wet mixture to cover chicken.

To cook: Take the Freezer Meal out of the Freezer an hour before starting OR run it under some room temperature water for about 30 seconds.  Dump meal in the a Crockpot and cook on Low for 4-6 hours!


Recipe #5: Cafe Rio Crockpot Chicken
I got this recipe from Chef in Training!

4-6 Chicken Breasts
1/2 a small bottle of Zesty Italian Dressing
1 Packet of Dry Ranch Dressing (3 TB)
1/2 Cup Water
1/2 TB of Minced Garlic
1/2 TB Chili Powder
1/2 TB Ground Cumin
Combine all ingredients in a Freezer Gallon Ziplock Bag.  Once ziplock bag is closed, take your hands and combine all ingredients together well.
To cook: Take the Freezer Meal out of the Freezer an hour before starting OR run it under some room temperature water for about 30 seconds.  Dump meal in the a Crockpot and cook on Low for 4-6 hours!

Recipe #6 Cilantro Lime Chicken w/ Corn and Black Beans
6-8 Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts (I used 2 Costco Pouches per bag)
4 Tbs Olive Oil
2+ Limes, juiced (I like a little more lime then the recipe calls for)
2 Cups Cilantro
1 large bag of Frozen Corn (or two smaller bags)
4 minced Garlic Cloves
1 finely Chopped Red Onion
2 cans of Black Beans, drained and rinsed
2 tsp Cumin or Chipotle powder
Salt an Pepper to taste
Take ingredients and split everything into two containers.
Mix bag by shaking, seal, label and put in the freezer.
Cooking instructions: Cook in Crockpot on Low for 8 hours or High for 4 hours.  Serve with hot tortillas and dress with sour cream, guacamole, and/or cheese.