Wednesday, August 26, 2009
Bake 4-5 potatoes. (I just use the microwave setting, but make sure you stab the potatoes first.)
Warm up the taco meat.
Split the baked potatoes, spoon taco meat over it, then sprinkle cheddar cheese, tomatoes, olives, sour cream, and whatever other toppings your family enjoys.
Easy, huh? Because some nights, who has time for complicated?
Monday, August 24, 2009
5 sweet banana peppers (or hot, if you like things spicy)
1 pound sausage
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 can cream-style corn
salt and pepper, to taste
1 box Jiffy mix cornbread (and the stuff to mix it)
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
- Cut tops off of peppers and remove seeds. Cut in half lengthwise and boil in water for 5 minutes. Drain.
- Meanwhile, brown sausage and onions together, until cooked through. Drain off any grease.
- Add cream-style corn, salt, pepper, and stir. Pour into a casserole dish.
- Sprinkle with half of the cheese.
- Place banana peppers on top of sausage mixture.
- Sprinkle remaining cheese.
- Prepare cornbread mix according the instructions on the box. Spoon over the peppers.
- Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes, until cornbread is baked through.
Saturday, August 22, 2009
Pleasant thought, eh? But I know, those last few days leading up to Katie's birth were full of throwing up. I remember telling her in utero, you better be a great baby, because this pregnancy sucks.
Well, she wasn't THAT easy of a baby. Not hard, I think, looking back, but not easy. She was sick from about 4 months on, which led to lots and lots of nebulizer breathing treatments. Then around 9 months, she started throwing tantrums so hard that she'd pop the blood vessels in her face. She didn't crawl until 11 months, didn't walk until 15 months, adding to our worry. And my SIL recalls her screaming and screaming any time she babysat for us.
But, what I remember more, is sitting on the floor with a baby Katie, in front of the bookcase, reading book after book. I remember dancing to whatever video was on CMT every morning while we were getting ready. I remember her big brown eyes looking up at us, melting my heart. I remember Jay doing homework with Katie in the crook of his arm. I remember the "mama" and "dada" and the time she turned "walk" into a bad bad cuss word. I remember her laughing so hard that she'd vomit, and I'd think, "That's fair." :)
Now my little Katie is turning 8. She's just such a GOOD kid. She's one of those kids teachers love. Yes, she still has her sassy moments here, but a quick reminder to show us respect, and we get an apology and an attempt to do better. She helps out her sisters, probably too much. She wants to help everything and everyone. She wears her heart on her sleeve, and gets her feelings hurt often. She's so much like me in so many ways, which is bad in that we argue more but good in that I really do know how she feels. I love her with all my heart and soul, and thank God every day for giving me my Katie-bug.
Happy Birthday, Katherine!
Sunday, August 23
Stuffed bell peppers
Monday, August 24 – Katie b-Day
Tuesday, August 25
@ Lincoln back-to-school BBQ
Wednesday, August 26
Thursday, August 27
No Forks Allowed
Friday, August 28 – Katie Party
Saturday, August 29
Monday, August 17, 2009
Katie's first day of school is today. She's a big 3rd grader, the oldest in the school. I hope this year is everything she hopes it will be.
Maggie's first day of kindergarten is tomorrow. Our fearless leader is scared. She's been asking "what if...?" questions for weeks now. "What if no one likes my haircut?" "What if no one sits by me on the bus?" "What if I don't want to take a nap?" I'm sure she'll do fine, and, to be honest, it's kind of nice to have her need me a little. She's so darn independent that she rarely asks for help for anything. But she asked for help for tomorrow. So, she'll ride the bus from our house to school. Then I'll be at the school waiting for her, to help. Because I'm the mom. :)
Lainie's first day is September 2, but she's in denial about that wait. Every day she wants to wear a backpack around the house. There is no doubt she's ready to go to preschool. She'll be going to preschool Mondays and Wednesdays, and then on Tuesdays and Thursdays to speech at K-State. She's making progress, trying to talk alot, although she's started stuttering a lot.
I asked my SIL today if Natalie is supposed to be sitting up yet, because I don't remember what she's supposed to be doing at 6 months. Come to find out, sitting is a 9-month skill, so I can push that concern away. She's rolling all over the place, sitting with support, finding her voice, saying a rare MOMMMM, and flashing those super grins.
Jay's first day is today, too. This year, he's teaching 6th, 7th, 8th grade math, 8th grade science, plus k-5 math "assistant"....I'm not sure what the official term is. I hope he enjoys this year. It's great to see the light in his eyes, when he talks about what he's going to do in his classroom.
So, lots of firsts. I am praying that they all go well, that everyone can stay healthy, that we have a nice, normal, typical year.
Friday, August 14, 2009
I'm broken. My spirit is broken. I cried on the way to work this week, I am that unhappy. They have broken me, with their thankless demands, giving into temper tantrums, messed up paychecks, unequal pay, "can you just do one more thing" requests. I give up.
But, surprisingly, since I gave up, it's much more bearable. I'll do the minimum. I'll go through the actions. Screw long-term strategy; I'm aiming for 6 months tops. I'm no longer trying to clean up others people's messes. It's not my job. I'm only doing the minimum.
How not to inspire and motivate employees:
-tell them one thing, and change it again and again
-ask them to do something, then don't respond to any requests for instruction
-send them on a trip, and then don't pay for the costs incurred
-screw up the paycheck, and then bill them for the difference
-never say thank you
-never say please
-when you find out a project is succeeding, don't say good job, just say "next we'd like..."
-never return phone calls, acknowledge emails
-say "oh, it's okay, it's wasn't important" when you are late to a farewell reception for an employee that worked here for 25 years
Well, guess what? "They" are right. it's NOT important.
What IS important:
-my beautiful girls, 4, 3, 2, and 1. :)
-my wonderful husband, who just says "what do I need to do" when I tell him I need to change jobs
-my great friends, who say "we understand" and "I'm sorry" and "put visine in the water cooler and steal all the toilet paper"
-my family of families
And so I pray, that my next career move is the right one, that I can suck it up and leave with grace at the end of the year, that I can hold it together through the end of the year (because we've met major med and have free healthcare until December 31), and that I don't let this sour me or tarnish my reputation.
Live life so you have no regrets. I'll regret it if I'm here in a year. Ten years don't mean anything to "them" so I need to make it not mean anything to me. It's time to start saying goodbye, pick up what's left of my spirit, and find new inspiration.
Monday, August 10, 2009
Roberta's Sloppy Joes
1 to 1 1/2 pounds ground beef
1/2-3/4 cup ketchup
4 Tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1/8 to 1/4 cup white vinegar
1/2 cup water
4 tsp sugar
2 tsp yellow dry mustard
1/2 cup chopped onions
1 green pepper, chopped
1 can whole corn*
salt and papper, to taste
In a skillet, brown the meat and drain. Add all other ingredients and pour into a crock pot. Heat on low for 3-4 hours, or until heated through. Serve on hamburger buns for sloppy joes.
*The corn is definitely optional. Sloppy joes must have corn in them, in my mind, but not in everyone's. Think of it as a way to sneak more veggies in your family.
Creamy Tomato Basil Soup
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp dried basil
- 1 1/2 Tablespoon flour
- 1/2 tsp pepper
- 1/4 tsp sugar
- 1/4 tsp baking soda
- 1 1/2 cup chicken broth
- 4 cups finely chopped tomatoes*
- 1 cup half-and-half
- 1 1/2 Tablespoon chopped fresh basil
- In a large stock pot, saute onion over medium heat in oil until soft and translucent.
- Add salt, pepper, dried basil, and flour. Cook for a few minutes.
- Whisk in chicken broth to flour mixture until mixed thoroughly.
- Add tomatoes and stir. Cook over medium heat for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- (The kids LOVE watching this part, and it's a great opportunity for an impromptu science lesson.) Stir in baking soda and sugar.
- Reduce heat to a simmer. Simmer for 15 minutes.
- Add half-and-half and fresh basil.
- Stir and simmer for at least 5 minutes. Turn heat to low until ready to serve.
My family likes to add Goldfish crackers for the kids, or shredded mozerella for the adults.
*If you don't have access to fresh tomatoes, substitute 14 oz can diced tomatoes and 14 oz canned crushed tomatoes
Sunday, August 9, 2009
Sunday, August 9
Monday, August 10
Tuesday, August 11
Mac-N-Cheese, hot dogs
Pork Stir Fry
Wednesday, August 12
Thursday, August 13
Friday, August 14
Saturday, August 15
Friday, August 7, 2009
August 8 is National Sneak Zucchini on your Neighbor's Porch Day. Truly.
In honor of that, here are my top five zucchini recipes. Try one! You might be surprised by how good it will taste and how versatile the little green veggies really are.
Breakfast: Zucchini Quiche
Lunch: Grilled Zucchini Strips
Cut zucchini lengthwise into 1/4-inch slices, brush with olive oil, sprinkle with Italian seasoning, and grill until tender, turning once.
Supper: Zucchini Lasagne
Snack: Zucchini Bread
Dessert: Zucchini Chocolate Chip Cookies
- 3-4 medium sized zucchini, cut into 1/4 inch strips
- 1 cup Italian seasoned bread crumbs
- 2 cups Italian cheese, shredded
- 1 cup half-and-half
- 2-3 Tablespoons EVOO
- 4 Tablespoons unsalted butter
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
- Pour the EVOO in the bottom of a 13x9 casserole dish.
- Place 3-4 strips of zucchini in the dish, forming a layer.
- Sprinkle 1/3 of half-and-half over the zucchini.
- Sprinkle 1/3 of the cheese over the zucchini,
- Pour 1/3 cup of the bread crumbs over the cheese.
- Repeat zucchini, crumbs, cheese, and half-and-half layers twice more.
- Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil.
- Place the casserole dish on the foil, and put in the oven.
- Bake for 40-45 minutes, until zucchini is cooked tender and cheese is melted.
No, I don't mean in a corporate-you-kill-small-businesses sort of way. I just can't stand their food. And thankfully, neither can my girls.
But, we still love the occasional chicken nuggets and fries meal. This is the easiest and healthiest way I've found to make this kids-favorite. NOTE: If you want the meal to be done at the same time, make the fries first, because they take longer to cook.
- 3 boneless, skinless chicken breasted, cut into 3-inch pieces
- 2 cups flour
- 2-3 tablespoons of seasoning salt
- 4 Tablespoons of butter
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Slice the butter into tablespoon sized pieces and place in a 13x9 casserole dish. Place the dish in the oven until the butter melts, about 4 minutes.
- Meanwhile, mix the flour and seasoning salt (or seasonings of your chosing) in a gallon sized ziploc bag.
- Put the chicken in the bag.
- Seal it.
- Check to make sure it's sealed.
- Check again.
- Hand the chicken bag to your child and let them shake it until the chicken is thoroughly coated. (Or shake it yourself, but then you lose super-mom points.)
- Take the dish out of the oven and place the chicken in the butter. Turn the chicken once, so all pieces are coated.
- Put the dish back in the oven and bake for 20-25 minutes, or until chicken is cooked through (165 degrees internal temp).
And, while you're heating the house up for chicken nuggets, why not make some ...
- 5-6 potatoes, washed and cut into strips
- 2-3 Tablespoons EVOO
- 1 ranch dressing packet, optional
- Pour the EVOO into a gallon-sized ziploc bag.
- Add the potatoes.
- Seal the bag. Make sure. Check a third time.
- Shake the bag until the potatoes are evenly coated with the EVOO.
- Open the bag, add the ranch dressing mix.
- Seal the bag and shake again, until potatoes are coated.
- Spread the potatoes on a baking sheet
- Bake for 45 minutes at 400 degrees, turning halfway through.
3 cups (more or less) fully cooked ham, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
3 cups (more or less) cheese*, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
3 cups (more or less) fresh pineapple**, cut into (you guessed it) 1/2 cubes
a box of toothpicks***
When I serve this, I give each child 5-6 toothpicks, and an equal amount of ham, cheese, and pineapple. The girls love "making" their own supper, and we never have a battle about this meal.
*about the cheese: cheddar, monterrey jack, colby, any kind you like
**about the pineapple: you could use the canned slices of pineapple, but fresh is just SO much better, even in the middle of Kansas
***about the toothpicks: you can use bamboo skewers for older kids or forgo the stabbing utensils all together for toddlers
Then I married into a pork-raising family.
Now, my favorite ham comes from the meat we have processed in Herrington, KS. Something you may not realize: every meat processor has a different recipe for their ham cure, and it does make a difference. The ham from Herrington doesn't need dressed up.
But, because I can, we dress it up anyway.
My husband makes and sells jams and jellies through Farmers Markets. Two of my favorites are his Peach Jalapeno Jelly and Confetti Jelly. To make ham in our house, I place a strip of aluminum foil in a dutch oven. Then, I place a thawed cured ham on the foil. Pour the peach jalapeno or confetti jelly on top of the ham. Tent the aluminum foil.
Bake the ham at 350 degrees for about 18 minutes per pound of meat, or until the internal temperature reads 160 degrees. If you like the ham edges a little crispy, remove the foil the last 20 minutes or so.
Then, let the ham set at least 10 minutes before carving it. That will allow the juices to soak back into the meat and make for a better tasting ham.
Sunday, August 2, 2009
Toast & Jelly
Ham and fried potatoes
Monday, August 3
Tuesday, August 4
Leftover ham, fruit
Frozen pizza, salad
Wednesday, August 5
Toast and fruit
Chicken nuggets, fries
Thursday, August 6
Friday, August 7
Fried chicken salad
Saturday, August 8
Tomato soup, rolls