Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Day-by-Day Vegetable Medley

Today's recipe is six-fold! I found this recipe...I Cooking Light a few years ago. The recipe is called Day-by-Day Vegetable Medley and it makes enough to create 5 meals! Which is great for me because I am not a big fan of dicing onions...and to get onions for 5 meals at one time is great!

So, I will post the original recipe, followed by five recipes (a good variety of meals) that use a portion of the vegetable medley. So without further adieu,

Day-by-Day Veggie Medley

3 medium onions, chopped
2 red bell peppers, chopped
2 green bell peppers, chopped
5 Tbsp. olive oil, divided
1 large eggplant, unpeeled and chopped
1 pound fresh mushrooms, sliced
4 (10 oz) cans tomatos and green chiles (I like Rotel)
1/4 cup Greek seasoning (Cavender's)

1. Saute onions and peppers in 1 Tbsp. hot olive oil in a dutch oven over medium-high hear for 5 minutes. Place onion mix in large bowl and set aside. Saute eggplant in 2 Tbsp. hot olive oil over edium heat for 5 minutes. Add to onion/peppers. Saute mushrooms in 2 tbsp. hot oil over medium heat for 5 minutes. Add tomatoes, Greek seasoning, and cooked vegetables to dutch oven and cook 5 minutes until heated thoroughly.
2. Spoon 3 cups of the mixture into each of 4 freezer bags; seal and freeze up to one month. There will be 3 cups remaining to cook for that night, or you can freeze 5 portions.

Black Bean Soup

2 (15 oz.) cans black beans
3 cups Veggie Medley, thawed
2 cups chicken broth
1/4 cup lime juice
1 Tbsp. cilantro, chopped
1 tsp. ground cumin
1/2 tsp. chili powder

1. Bring beans, veggies, and broth to a boil in a saucepan. Stir in lime juice, cilantro, cumin, and chili powder. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 45 minutes.
Serve with sour cream and fresh cilantro.

Beef and Vegetable Supper (This was my least favorite, mainly because I'm not a huge fan of most tomato-based sauces with pasta. But Brent liked it.)

1 pound ground beef
3 cups Veggie Medley, thawed
1 cup chicken broth
1 8 oz. can tomato paste
cooked egg noodles

1. Cook ground beef in large skillet. Drain grease. Stir in veggies, broth, and paste. Reduce heat; cover and simmer 30 minutes. Serve over noodles.

Greek Chicken Stew (This was my favorite of all the recipes!)

4 cups cooked chicken, chopped
3 cups Veggie Medley, thawed
1 can chicken broth
1 cup cooked diced potatoes
1 cup whipping cream
salt to taste

1. Bring chicken, veggies, and broth to a boil in a large saucepan. Stir in potatoes and cream.
2. Reduce heat and simmer 20 minutes. Salt to taste. Serve with Greek pita bread!

Individual Pizzas

6 pizza crusts
6 Tbsp. olive oil
3 cups Veggie Medley, thawed
1 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella
other pizza toppings of choice

1. Place crusts on baking sheet. Brush each with 1 tsp. olive oil. Spread 1/2 cup veggies over each crust. Sprinkly each with 1/4 cup cheese and your choice of toppings.
2. Bake at 450 degrees for 15-20 minutes until cheese is melted.

Shrimp with Rice

3 cups Veggie Medley, thawed
1 cup vegetable broth
16 oz. pkg. peeled frozen shrimp, thawed (I use fresh!)
hot cooked rice

1. Heat veggies and broth in a large saucepan; add shrimp and cook until thoroughly heated. Spoon over rice and serve immediately.


And the Peppermint Cloud Recipe I tempted you with in December is soon coming! Can you wait a little while, Marianne? :)

Monday, January 29, 2007

Just a few things today

1. I don't recommend taking two children by yourself to have flu shots administered. It exhausted this mommy.

2. I have scrapper's block...but I'm trying to shake it this afternoon.

3. My dream house will have a fireplace in almost every room (maybe not the laundry room or the kiddo's rooms) but everywhere else sounds good. I like fires. Cozy. I think I could live in a climate that has warm(ish) afternoons but year-round cold nights for fires.

4. I can't believe that February starts this week. I wonder how old I was when I realized that February had an extra "r" in it, because I do remember spelling it Febuary for a long time...and I am a pretty good speller, if I do say so myself.

5. I like having a routine...but sometimes having "mandatory" places to be on a given day bugs me. Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday mornings we have to be somewhere...and Thursdays every other week...but that's my Mommy's Morning Out day...which means I can go back home if I want to! I miss my days of just hanging out at home with my babies...

Jillian tagged me to share 6 weird or quirky things about goes:

a. I am obsessive-compulsive about one thing: if I am typing (even emails) and I notice a typo of any sort (even an extra space between words) I MUST change it immediately. I try to tell myself that's it is just an email and I can leave it...but I always end up changing it.
b. I am very picky about the kind of pens I use...when I was teaching, there was only one brand of felt-tip pens I would use for everything...I am not a big fan of ball points. (My fave pen right now is the Pilot G-2 07 in black!)
c. I like to organize things by daughter's crayon box (shhh...don't tell!)
d. I have never really watched American Idol...but we really liked Rockstar INXS!
e. The hair on the left side of my hair holds curl really well but the right side does not.
f. My husband would say this qualifies: I love and have no problem watching a favorite movie over and over and over and over...I can't count how many times I have seen You've Got Mail or Pride & Prejudice (Colin Firth version, of course.) or Gone With The Wind or Breakfast at Tiffany's. That reminds's been awhile since I've watched Audrey Hepburn...will have to remedy that!

I am tagging: Hilary, Kelli, and Dot !

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Oatmeal Brulée

This is oatmeal at its finest!

Last October, my dearest friends from college and I all got together for a weekend in Norman, OK. While there, Shannon (our host) took us to a restaurant called Turquoise Cafe for breakfast. It was there that we had this wonderful dessert. I mean breakfast. It is THAT good! So I decided to try and replicate the oatmeal at home, and this is what I have come up with!

It tastes great, it looks pretty, and it uses a culinary torch (the fun part!) So give it a try this weekend and let me know what you think!

Oh...this recipe can be catered to your serving needs. The Crème Anglaise serves 6-10 and the rest of the ingredients (based on how you purchase them) will serve even more than that. You can make the sauce in advance and keep chilled so that everything is ready to assemble when you're ready to eat!

Oatmeal Brulée

oatmeal (I use Quaker Old Fashioned Oatmeal)
walnuts, chopped and toasted
dried cranberries
1-2 slices of dried mango per serving (I like the Mariani brand)
brown sugar
Crème Anglaise (recipe follows)

1. Cook the oatmeal according to package directions and according to the number of servings you need. I like to add the walnuts to the oatmeal towards the end of cooking, but you can add them on top later if you prefer.
2. While oatmeal is cooking, slice the dried mango into thin strips.
3. Distribute each serving of oatmeal onto deep plates. Top with cranberries and walnuts.
4. Sprinkle 1-2 tablespoons brown sugar on top of each serving of oatmeal and slightly flatten with the back of a spoon. Using a culinary torch, pass the flame evenly over the brown sugar until the sugar melts and turns light brown in places. The sugar will harden when cool.
5. Sprinkle dried mango slices on top of the melted sugar. Pour crème anglaise in a pool around the oatmeal. Serve immediately.

Crème Anglaise*

6 large egg yolks
1/3 to 1/2 cup sugar
1 cup whole milk
1 cup heavy cream
2 teaspoons vanilla

(You can substitute 2 cups whole milk OR 2 cups half-and-half for the milk and cream above.)

1. In a medium bowl, whisk together egg yolks and sugar until slightly thickened.
2. In a medium saucepan, pour milk and cook over medium heat, stirring, until bubbles form around the edges. Slowly whisk the hot milk into the bowl of egg yolks and sugar. Return this mixture to the saucepan.
3. Rinse out and dry the bowl, then set a fine sieve over the top.
4. Place the saucepan over low heat. Using a spatula or wooden spoon, stir the sauce gently but constantly, reaching the entire bottom of pan. As soon as the sauce is slightly thickened, remove the pan from the heat and stir gently for 2 minutes to complete the cooking. The sauce should be the consistency of heavy cream and read around 170° on a thermometer. Pour the sauce through the sieve and let cool for 10 minutes, stirring periodically to prevent a skin from forming on the surface.
5. Stir in vanilla. Serve warm with Oatmeal Brulée.

Yields about 2 cups, 6-10 servings.

*Recipe is from The Joy of Cooking. This sauce can be covered and refrigerated for up to 3 days. Allow to completely cool before covering and placing in refrigerator. To warm the sauce, set the container of sauce in hot, but not boiling, water and stir until warmed through.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Variety is the spice of life

So they say.

1. It's been awhile since I posted anything scrappy, so here is a layout from awhile ago...I love the pictures of Hadleigh in it!
2. I cleaned off my desk/scrap space in our office and I'm feeling better and more organized and productive already!
3. I am so glad that socks are easily and inexpensively come by these days...if I had to darn every sock that got a hole in our family, I would have no time for anything else. And it makes me sad, because so many of my favorite socks are just about ready for the trash can...or to be recycled by Brent for staining wood projects.
4. I have yet another does we're starting to wonder if we have allergies...oh, to be able to breathe through my nose!
5. There are children playing outside my window on our cul-de-sac. Fun! It's been awhile since anyone stayed outside for very long...the temperature report on my desktop says 49 degrees.
6. Hadleigh really enjoys wearing tights...I worried that she wouldn't because she loves taking off her socks all the time, but if we take them off for naptime or something, she always asks to put them back on....I'm glad, since I like her in dresses so much!
7. Speaking of which...what is it about Gymboree dresses that make them unwrinkley? I never have to iron those...and that, Martha, is a good thing.
8. We're having Chicken Enchilada soup tonight...yummy!
9. I got a sweet surprise in the mail today from Kelli...some Rhonna Farrer stamps she talked about here. Thank you, sweet friend!
10. My sister Katy is coming to visit us this weekend...and I am SO excited!
11. What a great response to the mascara dilemma! Jillian and Hilary, I have tried that brand and it just doesn't work for me. Marianne and Kelli...I will have to try out your recommendations and let you know!
12. Tomorrow I'm sharing a fabulous breakfast recipe with all of stay tuned! It's yummy and fun to make!

Monday, January 22, 2007

In search of

the perfect mascara.

I don't really think much about good/bad hair days...I guess that's one blessing about stick-straight long doesn't do much but be straight...and a ponytail is always an option.

But I really don't like bad mascara you know what I mean? Mascara is the one thing that I always use...every day...even if I'm not leaving the house and just wearing pajamas. Something about wearing mascara makes me feel more awake.

And in case you are wondering about the history of mascara, click here.

I only wear black mascara...although I always spend forever deciding which one to try and then get home and realize that I accidentally picked up the brown-black one or the navy one or even the purple one.
I don't like waterproof mascara.
I like mascara that comes off easily in water but doesn't run onto your lower lids and look like watercolor paint that is impossible to get off without staining your towels.
I usually just buy drugstore brand mascara but I wouldn't mind paying a little more for beauty counter brands if it worked wonderfully.
I don't like my lashes so thick that they all stick together...but I don't like them thin either.

And I can never remember which brand/style that I like in order to buy a second one, so I might just have to blog about the one I choose, that way I'll have a record of it :)

As you have probably guessed, today is not the greatest of mascara days. Anyone have any suggestions? (And by the way, my mom informed me that lots of you friends from Asheville days read this and don't you need to comment, okay? Then I can email you or blog you back and then we can be in touch, see?)

Thursday, January 11, 2007

So it goes

Hadleigh loves wearing sunglasses in the car...for a long time she wore them upside down and it always made me smile!

The glasses in the picture above are the first pair in about 4 that have not broken. I'm not sure how well the pink lenses shield her eyes from the sun, but she likes them and they're in one piece, and right now, I guess they'll do.

A few weeks ago, I noticed that they were missing. They usually stay in the pocket of the seat in front of her car seat, but I looked everywhere and could not find them. I guessed they had fallen out of the car at some point.

So today while at Target, I bought a pair of pink ones that I thought she would like (these have dark lenses that may actually shield her from the sun!)

When we got home, she spotted her empty Twinings tea canister (for her play kitchen) in the garage and went over to get it. When she shook it, it made a noise (side note: Hadleigh is obsessed with noises. Any noise she hears, she needs an explanation for. She's not usually scared of the noise but curious...) So when we opened the tin to discover what was making the noise, you guessed it. Her old sunglasses.

Does this happen to you too? It seems like as soon as I find a replacement for something I lost, the original turns up.

And, indulge me, the weather channel is calling for a high of 70 degrees today. Crazy. Hello, it's January. And tomorrow? Oh, the 30's with ice and wintry mixes through the weekend, 30ish highs through at least next Wednesday! Bring on the snow! I am crossing my fingers, having Brent bring firewood to the back porch, and hoping that the weatherman's predictions are true!

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Coffee Bean Cookies

Wow...three posts in as many days, who would have guessed? I guess I'm off to a good start in 2007! Got lots to do still while it's naptime (and Brent is coming home early!) but I wanted to share this recipe.

It's an "adult" cookie...for the coffee lover in your life! I got the recipe off of a friend's website (she's a Southern Living at Home consultant) and it is really yummy! Great with a cold glass of milk or hot coffee! I hope you enjoy them!

Coffee Bean Cookies

1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup shortening
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
2 1/4 cups flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1 cup chopped almonds, toasted
1 cup chocolate-covered coffee beans
4 toffee candy bars, chopped

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Beat butter and shortening at medium speed until creamy; gradually add sugars, beating well. Add eggs and vanilla.
2. Combine flour and next 3 ingredients. Add to butter mixture. Stir in almonds, beans, and toffee pieces. Cover and chill, if desired.
3. Drop dough by teaspoonfulls onto ungreased baking sheets. Bake at 350 degrees for 10-11 minutes until golden. Cool 1 minute on baking sheet; remove to rack to cool completely.

Yields 4 dozen

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

The Stain Fairy

So here's a little story about that yummy chicken enchilada soup recipe I gave you a month or two ago and a favorite blue shirt of mine.

This shirt is just a t-shirt. Nothing too's from Gap I think. But it is the perfect color and neckline to go under this blue cardigan sweater that I love to wear. (This sweater by the way, was an {incredible} find at Ann Taylor. Super deal. Dressy. Casual. I love this sweater.)

I may have failed to mention that you should wear an apron while cooking and eating this soup. While stirring the soup, it splattered and left a fairly decent-sized orange spot on my shirt. Darn.

Later, I began to wash the shirt. I used my trusty Shout on the stain. Wash. Stain. I try Zout. Wash. Stain. I try Zout scrubbed in with my trusty Shout brushy-thing. Wash. Stain. You get the picture. The stain doesn't even fade. I probably washed the shirt about 6-8 times, never putting it in the dryer. I really want the stain to come out but I gave up for a little while. I must do other things besides laundry, you know.

So I folded the shirt (still wet) over a hanger and hang it in my laundry room. Then we go on Christmas vacation. I forget about my shirt slightly...I was a little disappointed I couldn't travel with the sweater, but oh well.

Three weeks go by.

Yesterday, while doing the laundry from our trip, I see my blue shirt hanging there and think to myself, I'll try it one more time. So I pick it up to slather more Shout on the stain, and to my surprise and delight:

There is NO stain. Not anywhere. I am baffled. And happy.

I like my stain fairy. (Any idea how she operates?)

Monday, January 08, 2007


Isn't it wonderful to go "home again" for familiar places and faces...special memories...

And isn't it wonderful to BE home again? Aside from all the unpacking and cleaning and settling back into our routine that goes hand in hand with returning from a three week vacation, I am glad to be home!

We had a very special time with both of our's a list of some of my favorite highlights:
-taking the kiddos to see the gingerbread houses at the Grove Park Inn!
-cooking with Mom and Katy (my sister).(Mom agreed to share her peppermint cloud recipe, for those of you who I'll be posting it soon!)
-taking pictures of Hadleigh and Mom gathering pinecones to make treats for the birds.
-getting a pedicure with Mom at the Grove Park Inn Spa...seriously, fabulous. I would take one of these pedicures over 12 "regular" pedis any day. Can't wait to go again sometime...and next time we're taking my sister too!
-roasting marshmallows over the firepit at Brent's parents home.
-watching Hadleigh explore outside...I don't think she gets her love of outdoors from me :) She could stay out there all day, sun or snow!
-learning that Brent's brother and his wife are expecting number four!!!
-a picnic on the Blue Ridge Parkway on the most gorgeous New Year's Day EVER.
-an evening of chocolate fondue and games with both of our parents and Katy.
-watching Nathanael take his very first steps!!!
-Hadleigh and her cousin Sarah-Kate hugging while jumping on the cute!
-And I was excited to find under the tree for me...Photoshop Elements (from Brent) and a Cricut cutting machine from my parents! Now I just need to find time to figure both of them out!

And as for things I'd love to forget from our travels...we all got a yucky stomach bug while with my family (everyone but Nathanael and my brother Michael) and then we all caught colds while we were with Brent's family!

I have more pictures to share, but Blogger won't let me do more than two right now, so I'll post them later. Lots to blog about...with a resolution to keep all of you informed and entertained more often :)

I hope you are all having a wonderful New Year so far!

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