Sit down, relax & enjoy my recipes for life!

Monday, July 12, 2010

Freezer Baking Week

Lately, I haven't had much inspiration in the kitchen. It is too hot to cook & I just want to eat!
I decided to do a freezer cooking/baking week. I will start by doubling all dinners for the week and freezing half. Then, I am lucky enough to have a babysitter come over to spend the morning w/ Garrett so I can get some breakfasts and lunches cooked/baked and stashed into the freezer. This will make my life easier for the next couple months while it is sweltering outside and I have no motivation.

Here is my game plan:

Stuffed Pancake Cupcakes
Cranberry Pumpkin Muffins

Pizza Rolls (I've never made these before either, I'm just making up the recipe as I go) =
Pizza Dough x 2
Chicken Taco Wraps
Chicken Taquitos (1st attempt so we'll see how they turn out)

Lasagna Casserole
Bar-B-Q Pulled Pork (for sandwiches)
Pizza Rolls (will freeze the rest for lunches)
Italian Chicken & Veggies Pasta Toss

Hopefully I will have enough time while the babysitter is here to get the bulk of this completed! I will let you know how successful I am :)

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

What's for dinner?

I've been so busy lately I haven't made any meal plans, which unfortunately has made for a cranky and stressed mommy around dinner time trying to find something to make for dinner.

But, here's what I did do last week; I did a freezer baking day.
Since I had a full day at home (which is rare) and some extra time and energy, I decided to have a baking day. I had some potatoes hanging out in the pantry that I had no intention of using and we're on the verge of going bad, so I made freezer mashed potatoes, these are yummy and will come in handy later. I also made homemade whole wheat pita bread. They made 8 good sized pitas, I ate a 1/2 at a time, used 2 1/2 and froze the rest.

And for dinner tonight I made my own version of Chicken Tetrazzini served with broccoli and garlic bread! We had company over, they were impressed, it was delicious, it made a lot, and it is toddler friendly; score!

Chicken Tetrazzini
8 oz. Uncooked Spaghetti
1 15oz. Can Cream of Mushroom Soup
1 small Can of Mushrooms (or saute fresh)
1/2 Stick of Butter - Melted
8 oz. Sour Cream (I used fat free)
1-2 Chicken Breasts
1/2-1 Bell Pepper (your preferred color) - chopped or cut into strips
1/2 Onion - Chopped
1/4 tsp Pepper
1/2 tsp Garlic Salt
1/4 tsp Paprika

1/2 cup Cheddar Cheese
Parmesan Cheese

1.) Bake chicken breasts, peppers and onions all together in a little olive oil sprinkled with salt and pepper.
2.) Cook Spaghetti according to package, but break uncooked spaghetti in half before you throw it in the boiling water.
3.) Combine all other ingredients (minus cheeses) in a large bowl and set aside.
4.) When chicken and veggies are cooked, cut chicken into bite sized pieces and chop peppers. Let cool.
5.) Mix together chicken, veggies, and pasta into the sauce. Mix in cheddar cheese.
6.) Pour into a 9x13 baking dish, top with Parmesan cheese. Bake at 350 for 30 minutes.
7.) Enjoy!!!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Children's Museum of Phoenix

On Friday, June 4th we happily were able to go to the FREE first Friday at The Children's Museum of Phoenix sponsored by Target. It was such a great opportunity for us because it was in the evening so Eric was able to go & since it was FREE, we didn't have to fork over all that cash! Plus we saw lots of people there that we knew, which was fun to be able to hang out with them.

Garrett and I have only been once shortly after it opened, he had just turned 1, and was barely walking. This time was a much different experience. He's 2 and able to pretty much do anything! We went in every room & he and daddy had such fun playing w/ all the balls & cars! It was a great family trip & again I was able to cross something else off of my "Summer Challenge" list.

Anyone who knows my son, knows that he LOVES to color, it's probably his favorite thing to do. The museum has an arts & crafts room, so that was a big hit for Garrett.

This was such a cool room, it was a fort building room, with a cool tower and lots of soft big blocks for the kids to build. Amongst this chaos, my son finds the only book in the room and sits down to read. Again, this is the artsy side of my child!

Garrett's legs were a big too short for him to ride his own bike, so he hopped on the back of some random kids and went circling around for about 5 minutes until the kid jumped off, so funny!

Garrett made his own pizza & baked it, this is the final project. He had so much fun "cooking."

I forget was this is called, but basically it's a maze of these hanging foam things. Eric took him in countless times, Garrett loved it!
I highly recommend going to your nearest Children's Museum and spend a few hours, your kids will thank you.

Monday, June 21, 2010

What's for dinner? (Week of 6-20)

I was asked by my cousin, "where are the recipes?" So I decided each week I will try to post a recipe for you :) Enjoy!

Sunday - (Father's Day) Chicken Fried Steak, Mashed Potatoes & Green Beans @ a friend's house
Monday - Leftover Cabbage Burgers w/ Salad
Tuesday - Leftover Jambalaya (Martha Stewart Living recipe)
Wednesday - Bar-B-Que Chicken Quesadillas w/ Salad
Thursday - Cheeseburger Macaroni W/ Green Beans
Friday - Sesame Peanut Noodles w/ Asian Veggies
Saturday - Dinner out at Persian Room to celebrate Eric's B-Day w/ friends

Baked Oatmeal w/ Blueberries
Yield 8-12 serving
1 cup applesauce (can sub. oil or butter)
2 Tbsp Oil
1 cup sugar
4 eggs
6 cups oats
4 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. cinnamon
2 cups milk
1 Cup fruit of choice (diced apple, strawberry, or blueberries~experiment)

1.) Preheat oven 375 degrees
2.) Combine ingredients in order listed & pour into a greased 9x13 pan.
3.) Bake for 30-40 min.
4.) Serve w/ butter, brown sugar & milk if you like

*This is a great dish to prepare the night before and refrigerate and make the next morning.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

San Diego, Sea World & Friends

Over Memorial Day weekend we decided to take Garrett to Sea World for his birthday. Some of our friends decided to join us which made it that much better! Not to mention I got to cross off another thing off of my "Summer Challenge" list.

The drive was six hours from Phoenix to San Diego, with 1 stop in Yuma to eat lunch and let Garrett get out some energy in the play area. Garrett only cried one time because he was tired and then he fell asleep. I was so proud of him!

We met up with some friends that night for dinner in downtown San Diego at The Old Spaghetti Factory. While we waited for our table we watched the street performers. Garrett was LOVING it and decided to go dance and then another little girl joined him. They were the hit of the street for 20 full minutes!

Our hotel room was really nice and roomy and even had a balcony. Garrett enjoyed the "hotel life".

Here are the sweet seals barking and begging for food.

We were waiting to see Shamu in the show "Believe". It was such an amazing show, these whales are so beautiful & Garrett was mesmerized.

Here is Eric holding a star fish for Garrett to touch. Garrett was trying to pick them up and was squeezing them a bit too hard, so daddy took over :)

At Sea World they have a whole Sesame Street playland area, "The Bay of Play." All the kids were having a fantastic time.

Jacey, Garrett & Alyssa taking a break.

Our happy family!

On Sunday we drove to Brea, CA to go visit our friends. They hosted a Bar-B-Que for all of us and tons of people came. It was so great to see everyone. Unfortunately I hardly took any pictures while we were there.

Jon & Eric taking a break from pool volleyball w/ all the guys.

Jacey & Garrett playing in the pool.

It was such a wonderful vacation and so glad that we did it. California is always a great place to visit!

Monday, June 14, 2010

What's for dinner? (week of 6-13-10)

It's my husband's birthday on Friday so I have planned a week full of his favorites!

Sunday - Red Chili Beef Burritos w/ Refried Beans
Monday - Baked Potato Bar
Tuesday - Chicken Ranch Pizza w/ Homemade Crust & Fresh Green Beans
Wednesday - Sweet & Sour Chicken w/ Asian Veggies
Thursday - Red Robin : for Eric's Free Birthday Burger
Friday - Cabbage Burgers w/ Roasted Potatoes & Apple Pie
Saturday - Jumbalaya

Lunches: Turkey & Avacado Wraps w/ Fresh Fruit
Bean & Cheese Burritos w/ Fresh Fruit

Desserts: Apricot-Honey Sponge Cake
Apple Pie

If you need more meal planning inspiration, please visit I'm An Organizing Junkie for her Meal Plam Mondays!

Sunday, May 23, 2010

What's for dinner? (week of 5-23-10)

Sunday - Angel Hair Pasta w/ Roasted Tomatoes and Cannellini Beans
Monday - Broccoli & Bacon Strata
Tuesday - Crockpot: Indonesian Chicken over Rice (didn't make it last week)
Wednesday - Italian Sausage Calzones w/ my homemade pizza dough
Thursday - Tacos @ my parents house for a family dinner
Friday - San Diego: Possible dinner on the Beach!
Saturday - Sea World!

We are taking Garrett to San Diego & Sea World for his birthday for Memorial weekend (post to come)!

*I have linked this meal plan to I'm an Organizing Junkie for her Meal Plan Monday, check it out!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Imagination Avenue

Last week I took Garrett to my parents house to spend some time with them and to stay over night. I decided while I was there I would cross something off my Summer Challenge list and take him to Imagination Avenue. I had never heard of this place until I saw it on another blog. I was wishing I had known about it sooner.

Garrett had such a great time playing in all the different little rooms. I wasn't as impressed with it as I thought I would be, however. It was a little small, and each individual room would only allow for 2-3 children. But, Garrett could have stayed all day & that's what counts. It gave us something to do together and he was so happy he didn't want to leave even after 2 hours of fun.

He "baked" me some sweets and sat down to "eat" them with me.

He loved telling me the shape of each cookie cutter.

He had so much fun in the "grocery store" taking out every item and placing them into the cart. He told me what each fruit and vegetable was. He's so smart he actually knew 90% of them!

He was making me a hot dog & hamburger w/ "dip" (ketchup).

He was talking into the walkie-talkie to his "gramma". He must have thought it was a telephone.
All in all it was a great time. The next time we go I would love to do a playdate, because the children keep themselves busy and the adults basically just sit around watching. Would be a great chance for the mommies to actually talk!

Saturday, May 15, 2010

What's for dinner? (week of 5-16-10)

Sunday - On the Grill: Cheeseburgers & Corn on the Cobb
Monday - Chicken & Penne w/ Pumpkin Cream Sauce
Tuesday - *Crock-pot: Indonesian Chicken w/ Peanut Sauce over Rice
Wednesday - Lasagna Roll-Ups w/ Spicy Marinara Sauce & Broccoli on the side
Thursday - Leftovers ( I have an evening meeting)
Friday - Daddy/Son night (I have a girl's night out)
Saturday - Bar-B-Que at a friends house!

*My goal for the summer is to use the crock-pot once a week and to try and grill more. This will help eliminate additional heat in the AZ summer.

I have linked this meal plan to I'm an Organizing Junkie for her Menu Plan Monday, check it out!

Friday, May 14, 2010

Summer Challenge

I have given myself/family a summer challenge. Since it is so hot in AZ it's hard to be outside, and I hate being stuck indoors with nothing to do, so I have found a few places that I want to go with Garrett that I think will be fun for Eric and I too. Or for playdates w/ some of Garrett's friends. Yes, now that he is 2, he has actual friends :)

The challenge is to go to 2-4 different places each month for 4 months; May-August.

Here is my list & feel free to leave a comment and give me some suggestions of other places for us to go. I still need 2-4 more places.

McCormick Stillman Railroad Park (done)
Imagination Avenue (done & pics to come)
Sea World
The Beach
AZ Science Center
Children's Museum for the Free 1st Friday
Challenger Space Center
Hall of Flame Firefighting Museum
Indoor Mini-Golf

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Cock-a-doodle doo, Garrett is two!

Garrett loves animals, especially horses. Everything needs to be a horsey. I decided to throw him a "Barnyard Bash" with all the fun barn animals and especially horses. We were so blessed to have 30 of our family and friends to help celebrate Garrett's birthday. It was the best party I have ever thrown. It was very fun, relaxed and stress free. My sweet mother came over the day before to help me prep all the food for the party. She was such a tremendous help, I got almost all of the food prepped & that evening Eric and I cleaned, then decorated. The morning of, all I had to do was plate everything and make the drinks.

The party started at 10am, so I opted to do 3 rounds of food instead of having it all at the same time, which really was a great idea & cut down on the stress of needing everything ready at the same time. I had a veggie tray, fruit tray & chips n' dip for the apps. Pigs n' a blanket, Bar-B-Que beef sandwhiches, turkey tortilla roll-ups and peanut butter and jelly roll-ups were the main course with sides of cowboy beans and pasta salad.

I put bandannas on the pitchers to "cowboy" them up!

I was really happy with all of the decorations I found. These party hats are adorable. The favor bags consisted of a little 10-page coloring book that matched the bag, a barn animal, a whistle, cowboy type stickers, and a fun dip :)

This was the centerpiece for the table so the kids could play with it.

We had 3 activities for the kids to do, this bean bag toss game pictured above. Balloons w/ animal face stickers (pig, cow & chicken) for the kids to blow up and decorate. The balloons were a HUGE hit, I forgot to take a picture but the kids decorated and played w/ them for at least 20 minutes. The third activity was planting seeds like a farmer. We got little clay pots, soil & flower seeds for them to plant and take home. They really enjoyed this and it was a nice touch that went along with the theme.

Here's Garrett eating lunch with his cousins, Lemon & Sparrowe. He was so happy, this was probably the best day of his life :)

Here's my best-friend's girls, Reagan & Mati playing in the tunnels. Unfortunately this is one of the only pictures I got of the backyard ambiance. It looked so good & the kids were super excited about it. We has hay bales out for them to play on, a picnic blanket, a slide, a child sized 4-wheeler, tunnels, etc.

So here is the main event, the cake! I was so pleased with the way it all came out, not to mention it tasted delicious. The red barn cake was chocolate & the animal cupcakes were white cake, both with cream cheese frosting. I had 8 cupcakes of each animal, pigs, sheep & chicks. I used mini-marshmallows for the sheep and I food colored coconut for the chicks. I am so glad I made it myself, I almost bought one at the store because I was afraid I would mess it up.

Garrett loved everyone singing to him, he's such a ham! One of the kids blew out the candles for him, so I had to relight them quickly so he could do it himself, we have been practicing.

We got Garrett his first tricycle. It is Mickey Mouse and it plays music sings songs, lights up, just perfect for Garrett.

Yee Haw! My parents got him this horse. Oh my goodness was he thrilled. He bounced forever.

But, his favorite gift of the day was this skateboard & helmet. He has been asking me for a skateboard since he was 18 mo. & a helmet since about 21 mo. He played with it all afternoon, we couldn't get him to go outside with us, and he went to bed an hour late.

We had such a fabulous day w/ all the people who love us and our son. It was a great day & I feel truly blessed.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Garrett's Growing Up!

Garrett will be 2 years old next week. Wow, time sure does fly. I am amazed everyday by how much he has grown in these past 2 years. He really is no longer a baby. He is talking all the time, it cracks me up. I enjoy listening to him, he so funny. It amazes me how much information he retains and then spits out at a later time. It's like this whole past year he has been storing everything I've been teaching him up, and now he is using it in everyday life. I'm surprised everyday by something he does or says. For example, yesterday he bumped into me and he said, "excuse me." Really??? I didn't even know he knew that!
Here are a few things about him that I wanted to share :)

He is obsessed with skateboards, he wants one sooo bad. He finds anything he can inside or outside of the house and pretends it is a skateboard. It is very cute and very annoying. He loves them so much, we had to get him one for his birthday.

He does the cutest things. He picked up my cell phone yesterday and pretended to call Eric. He said, "Hello Dada. Horsey, goat, yes. Bye, bye!" What??? Too funny! I always know what's on his mind, horses (most animals really, or skateboards).

He is extremely smart. He can count to 19, he know most shapes, most of the alphabet and all the colors. I think his favorite color is black, he always picks out his black shoes to wear and when I ask him what color he wants to wear he says black.

He has recently decided that he needs friends to sleep w/ him. So at nap time & night time he picks 1 stuffed animal to go to bed with him, it's usually the same 3 he trades off with. When he wakes up he is so happy to see his friend I can hear him in there talking to them :)

That's enough about Garrett for today, next week I'll post all about his amazing Barnyard Bash!

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Finding Courage

I have begun to realize that if I want to do something, I can't count on others to do them with me, or to ask me to do something with them, so I am now just doing it on my own. Being the co-dependant that I am I don't often enjoy doing things on my own, so I have really been branching out.

The first thing on my list to try on my own was MOPS (mother's of preschoolers), 2 years ago and that has worked out wonderfully and I have made some great friends.
And that was basically it for the past 2 years, short of going to the store and getting my eyebrows waxed, I haven't done anything on my own.

So a few months ago, for the umpteenth time, I was again upset because a friend did something I wanted to do w/out me. So I prayed about it and decided to find the courage to do things on my own. I have made a list of interests etc. and have started to tackle it.

Now, every Tuesday morning I take Garrett to the local library for their toddler story/song time and then to the park after to play. It has been such a rewarding experience for me to see his growth from these story times. He now sings along with the songs and knows the hand movements. He now sits quietly and listens to the story being read. In contrast to the the first few times when he would just sort of run around the room etc.

Last week I took my very first cooking class. Cooking and baking have always been a passion of mine. Something I have enjoyed doing as long as I can remember. After I was married I even toyed w/ the idea of going to Culinary School, but Eric and I thought it would be wasting money since I would just being staying home once we had a child. So, when I read an article about local cooking schools last February I jumped at the chance to take a class. Again, I asked a couple people to take it with me and of course they said no. At first I was upset thinking, once again I won't be able to do something I really want to do because no one will go with me, then it hit me GO ALONE! So, I called and registered. When Eric came home that evening and found out he was shocked and sad for me to have to go alone, but also impressed that I decided to do it. It was such a great experience, that I have decided to try to take one class every month, schedule permitting.

By being fearful of doing things on my own I have really been missing out on wonderful new experiences and meeting new people through them. God is stretching me and I like it!
It does make me sad however to not have a friend to enjoy these things with, but God is always teaching me something new, so here's to losing my co-dependence and gaining some independence. Courage through Christ!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Wildlife World Zoo

A couple weeks ago Eric and I took Garrett to the Wildlife World Zoo & Aquarium. I had already taken Garrett there w/ a friend a month prior & I could tell he remembered being there. It was such a great family day. We went right when they opened, so all the animals were out and about. We got to see a lot of them eat their breakfast. The boys watched an alligator get fed dead rats, obviously I did not watch that :) but Eric LOVED it.

Now that Garrett is talking, it is so fun to hear him say all the animals names, run over to them and get really excited. Next to horses, giraffes are his favorite animal. Garrett was ecstatic when he got to feed the giraffe, it was priceless.
Then we walked over to the kid area, there is a large play structure and a small petting zoo. Eric took Garrett in and he walked right over and talked to the baby goat & deer. The deer must have been teething or something because he kept biting every one's shirts, even the babies! Next to the petting zoo, there was an area where you could "pet" the tortoises. I loved this area :) One walked right over my foot!
Lastly, we went to the Aquarium. They have 2 areas where you can touch the sea life. Garrett touched the star fish & sea urchins. Eric got to touch some sort of shark. Of course, I touched nothing, being the big scardy cat that I am :) Oh, and Garrett refused to take his sunglasses off inside the Aquarium! He is a stubborn boy!
It was a fantastic days w/ my boys creating fun memories.

Monday, April 19, 2010


Are you tired of your mushrooms turning brown before you can use them? I have a great tip.
As soon as you bring them home from the store, take them out of the package and put them in a brown paper bag, roll it up tight and put it in the fridge. They will last a little longer.
Also, you shouldn't wash your mushrooms, you should just wipe them clean w/ a paper towel or a kitchen towel.

Thursday, April 15, 2010


Anyone use, have, or heard of the Silpat mat?
I LOVE this thing. I got it for Christmas from my sweet husband & it is now one of my favorite kitchen items! It is a non-stick mat to use when baking. Baking anything from cookies to fish sticks. And when I say non-stick, seriously it is non-stick. The very best product out there & so much better than having to cut parchment paper to size.
Also, when baking anything greasy, all the grease drips right off and doesn't accumulate on the food for you to blot off ~ Fantastic!

If you don't have one, take your BB&B coupon and go pick one up, NOW! :)

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Revelations & Rambles

These past few months have been crazy for my little family; I feel like I just got off a roller coaster. Things are finally feeling settled and I got a bug to start blogging again. Especially since I can not wait to share all of Garrett's upcoming b-day party pics, it's gonna be a blow out :)

God has been revealing many things to me through my daily prayer life, church & my MOPS (mothers of preschoolers) group. God has been answering my prayers quickly as of late it seems. Which for an impatient person like me is fantastic. Some answers are no, some are yes, and some are filled with being content.
Contentment, hmm what's that? Anyone who knows me, knows I am rarely content for long. Praise God, I am now (at least for the time being)! I have been praying more thoughtfully and specifically over the last few months & boy was that the key. God is always teaching us, and for me, He has been teaching me what is really important for me & my family and His will for us. I am coming to realize (this is hard for me) that it is not fair to me, to compare myself to others; I just get hurt. I need to want what God wants for me & not what he wants for others. Not to mention the fact that most people aren't trying to live a Christ like life, so why would I want that, right?!!!

So, back to more & exciting revelations. I was just praying last night that God would reveal to me what the next phase in my life would be, whether I go back for my Masters, get a job, or ??? So, this morning I had a steering team meeting with my MOPS group. (let me backtrack)I joined the group for the 2nd half of the year 2 years ago. At the end of that year I was asked to be a Discussion Group Leader and lead a table for the following year (this year-we coincide w/ the school year). I was very flatter and excited, I had only been there a few months and wasn't super involved because Garrett was so young.
Well, at the meeting this morning I was asked to be the Creative Director & Social Coordinator. They usually give these positions to 2 different people, but thought I would be great for both & would give me a team to delegate to. Of course I said yes & am super excited! God answered my prayer in less than 24 hours on this one :) This will keep me busy throughout the summer and for the upcoming year. I feel so blessed to have these women in my life. For the first time in my life I feel truly accepted, loved, not judged, and understood by these women. It is a wonderful feeling and something I have been praying for for nearly 25 years.
Praise God, He is good!