Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Be prepared

Every Sunday morning, we have our "Family Breakfast". And it is nice to not have to do too much preparation in order to eat and still have time to get ready and be on time to church. So I LOVE breakfasts that can be prepared the night before. (After all, I was a Girl Scout for several years when I was little!) Like this far the best recipe for breakfast casserole that I have tried. (It's from the May 2007 issue of Cooking Light.)

I used a delicious asiago cheese bread from the bakery of my wonderful grocery store...and it definitely offered a unique flavor to the dish. I also used regular sausage instead of turkey and normal eggs instead of egg substitute and regular cheese, so I suppose my version is no longer "light" but still really tasty. But I'll give you the light version and you can choose to substitute (or not). And, it tastes great reheated in the microwave...not all breakfast casseroles can claim that.

Breakfast Casserole

8 oz. ciabatta bread, cut into 1 inch cubes
1 lb. turkey breakfast sausage
1/2 cup chopped green onions
1 1/4 cup fat-free milk
1 cup (4 oz.) reduced-fat shredded cheddar cheese
2 large eggs
1 (8 oz.) carton egg substitute
2 Tbsp. chopped fresh parsley

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Arrange bread cubes in a single layer on a baking sheet. Bake for 8 minutes or until toasted.
2. Heat a medium skillet over medium-high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add sausage to pan; cook 6 minutes or until browned, stirring to crumble. Combine sausage, bread, and onions in a large bowl. Combine milk, cheese, eggs, and egg substitute in a medium bowl, stirring with a whisk. Add milk mixture to bread mixture, tossing to coat bread. Spoon mixture into a greased 2-quart baking dish. Cover and refrigerate 8 hours or overnight.
3. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
4. Uncover casserole. Bake for 50 minutess or until set and lightly browned. Sprinkle with parsley; serve immediately.

Yields about 6 one-cup servings

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Bits of Happiness

  • There is Banana Bread (with pecans) baking in the oven right now. Yummy. I love to eat it toasted with a tiny bit of butter. And tea.
  • This little girl pictured above shares my "cheesy grin for pictures" that I had when I was her age. That makes me smile. And how cute is she with all her "jewels" on?
  • Yesterday in the late afternoon, we had a very quick but heavy thunderstorm.
  • I'm trying to figure out a recipe for Banana Nutella Crepes from one of our favorite restaurants in town (I'll share when I figure it out) yummy...we ate there Saturday night (date night!) in order to celebrate:
  • Brent's new job! We are so excited and thankful and glad to be moving further north. Okay, it's only to Oklahoma, but every little degree of latitude helps, right?
  • We've been looking at houseplans...and hoping that the one we really like will fit on the lot we really like! It's fun to get to daydream about a new home!
  • Mmmmm...I can smell the banana bread now!
  • In our backyard, there is a summer phlox blooming. This is a big deal because we planted them our first spring, thinking that they would do well...not so much. Too dry here. Lo and behold, a couple weeks ago, I noticed a plant had decided to say hello...thanks to our immense amount of rain this early summer! Such a fun surprise!
  • The ironing is all done!
  • A new Pottery Barn Kids catalog came today...filled with lots of fun ideas!
  • I think both kiddos are asleep AT THE SAME TIME. Maybe I'll get some crafty stuff done today! Yesterday, Miss H. fell asleep right as Mr. N was waking up. Nice.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Be Inspired

This was the theme of a "swap" I participated in over at fabulous website if you haven't checked it out yet!
This was the second time Lisa and I have been matched together for a swap, and I have to say that opening my box of goodies from Lisa was most definitely inspiring! Lots of goodies tempting me to start working on Nathanael's scrapbook (I know, I know, I really need to get it done before the baby arrives!)

By far, my favorite thing in the package was what Lisa put so much time and heart into...a flip book of inspiration, with tons of color, texture, techniques, and ideas. Here is a little peek of it that Lisa posted on her blog...
Thank you SO much Lisa!!!

Wednesday, July 18, 2007


Hadleigh and I had a great time baking in the kitchen on Monday...I found this yummy cupcake recipe that had just enough need of an almost-four-year-old helper.
Hadleigh loves being in the kitchen with me...she's even started to stand on her stool at the sink, rinsing whatever dishes might be around. It's fun to have her helping...although baking seems to take a little bit longer :) Her favorite responsibility is lining muffin tins with the paper cups; this time I had bought some bright pink striped cups just for her, but she informed me I needed to buy more of the heart covered ones that we had for Valentines Day! She also loves to have the oven light on to keep tabs on whatever is cooking!

So this recipe is definitely good if you have a miniature baker in your home...I'll put in bold the steps that Hadleigh helped me with.

(And by the way, we didn't get around to frosting them...which was fine with me on account of the messiness and extra sugar for my children...but by all means, frost yours, even though they're still yummy without!)
Surprise Cookie Cupcakes

1 package plain chocolate cake mix
1 1/3 cups water
3 large eggs
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 package Nestle TollHouse Refrigerated Chocolate Chip Cookie Bar Dough (the break-apart kind)
1 container prepared frosting (or homemade)
Miniature Chocolate Morsels for topping

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line 24 muffin-cups with paper liners.

2. Combine cake mix, water, eggs, and oil in large mixer bowl and beat on low speed for 30 seconds; beat at medium speed for 2 minutes or until smooth. Spoon about 1/4 cup batter into each cup, filling about 2/3 full.

3. Cut cookie dough into 24 pieces; roll each piece into a ball. Place one ball of dough in the center of each muffin cup, pressing it to the bottom.

4. Bake for 19 to 22 minutes or until top springs back when gently pressed. Let stand for 15 minutes. Remove to wire rack to cool completely. Spread with frosting and sprinkle with chocolate morsels.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

blog no longer abandoned

We just took Mimi to the airport after a wonderful week together! Dad, Mom wants and needs a new camera for Christmas, hint hint! For some reason all the pictures we took with her camera came out blurry with a kind of "glow" but I still wanted to share this one above! So sweet! We had one nicer cool morning that was perfect for the park! It was lots of fun to watch Mimi slide with BOTH kiddos!

And what a blessing to me...I am definitely feeling ready (i.e. big) for this little girl to arrive and we still have three more months to having Mom here to hold and carry and just help with the little details of life was such a blessing! (If you can tell in that picture, Nathanael is just about as big...if not heavier...than Hadleigh...and he still wants and needs to be carried much of the time because, his sweet little pace is just not fast enough in the hot Texas sun.) So thank you Mom, for coming in the middle of a very busy summer! We all enjoyed the visit so much!

And while at the park, Hadleigh began to show her interest in photography by taking these pictures with Mimi's camera...some of them came out pretty well, considering :) Take a look:

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Everything Cold

Our family is all about Ice Cream. Popsicles. Snow cones. Frozen Yogurt. As long as it's sweet and cold, we're all smiles! Brent was given this little treat as a "Father's Day Gift", and we have really been enjoying it...our favorite so far is the Mocha Chip ice cream we've made...oh-so-good. I'm in search of a good ice cream cookbook now...any of you have recommendations?

Braum's is our neighborhood ice cream store of choice...they have the best peppermint ice cream ever, and Hadleigh is a huge fan of their strawberry ice cream, which she has recently started calling by its proper name instead of "pink ice cream". When I was little, I stopped biting my fingernails (thankfully!) due to Mom's promise of a Braum's ice cream cone with "two scoops"...a very big deal then...and still today! Braum's is a big deal in our family too...for Hadleigh never fails to call out "I see ice cream cone!" anytime we drive near a Braum's store...I'm amazed at how quickly she can spot their signs!

Other favorite ice cream places include...TCBY (white chocolate mousse, please), Marble Slab (my favorite is the sweet cream or cinnamon with strawberries and granola mixed in), Cold Stone Creamery (this page of their website is making me especially hungry right now!), I loved Amy's Ice Cream in college...definitely worth a stop if you're in the Austin area, and there's a new place in Waco that my sister introduced me to called Katie's Custard that is just delish! Already looking forward to my next visit there. Sadly, none of these places are in if you live nearby one of these yummy places, go take advantage of that! In the meantime, I feel like tonight is a Braum's kind of night...or maybe Bluebell, my all-time favorite grocery-store brand, especially cookies and cream....hmmmm...what to choose....
So, what's your favorite ice cream store or ice cream flavor? And feel free to share ice cream recipes too!


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