Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Cheese-Stuffed Zucchini Squash

It's that time of year, when zucchini is almost as plentiful as mosquitoes... almost. I try to find as many creative uses for zucchini as possible, for ourselves and for those who are buying the produce at our farmers markets. This one was DEEE-licious!

Stuffed Zucchini Squash

4 large-ish zucchini, about 3 inches in diameter
1 cup bread crumbs
1 teaspoon parsley
1/2-3/4 teaspoon garlic powder
salt and pepper, to taste
2 carrots, peeled and diced
1 onion, diced
3 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup sour cream
3 oz cream cheese
3/4 cup mozerella cheese

  1. Boil zucchini, whole, for 10 minutes. Remove from water and let cool to the touch.
  2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  3. Cut zucchini lengthwise and scoop out all the pulp. Save the pulp for later! Place zucchini in a casserole dish. (I needed to use two because I had such large zucchini halves.)
  4. Melt the butter in a large skillet. Add onions and carrot and cook until onions are translucent. 
  5. Meanwhile, mush the zucchini pulp with a potato masher or fork.
  6. Stir the zucchini pulp into the skillet with the onions and carrots. Add the bread crumbs, sour cream, cream cheese, 1/2 cup cheese, parsley, garlic powder, salt and pepper. Stir over low heat until cheeses are melted. 
  7. Spoon the cheese-zucchini stuffing into the zucchini halves.
  8. Bake, uncovered, for 15 minutes.
  9. Sprinkle the remaining 1/4 cup mozerella cheese on top of the zucchini. Broil for 3-4 minutes, until cheese is melted and stuffing starts to golden.

Summer Garden Casserole

We picked a Napa cabbage this week and, it was so huge, I stretched it out into three meals. The first meal, we made a Napa cabbage salad. The second, we had cole slaw. And the third, I intended to make cabbage rolls. But, the leaves remaining weren't big enough to roll around the meat. So, I put together this summer garden casserole from a few different recipes.

Summer Garden Casserole
2-3 cups of cabbage leaves
4-5 carrots, cut matchstick-style
4-5 small onions, diced
2 teaspoon minced garlic
1 1/2 cup cooked steamed rice
10-12 small new potatoes, cut in half
1 pound ground beef, thawed
1-2 tablespoon olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste

Sweet and Sour Tomato Sauce
1 can pureed tomatoes
1 teaspoon garlic powder
2 tablespoons white vinegar
1 tablespoon sugar
  1. Sauted diced onion in olive oil until translucent. Set aside to cool.
  2. Mix together ground beef, onion, minced garlic, rice, salt, and pepper.
  3. Place cabbage leaves in a microwave-safe bowl with 3-4 tablespoons of water.
  4. Microwave cabbage leaves in covered dish for two minutes.
  5. Make sauce by combining tomatoes, garlic powder, white vinegar and sugar in a saucepan. Heat to a simmer.
  6. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  7. In a dutch pan, place carrot matchsticks.
  8. Layer steamed cabbage leaves on top of carrots.
  9. Place new potatoes on top of cabbage leaves.
  10. Mix meat mixture with 1/4 cup (or so) of tomato sauce. Mix well and form into 1-inch balls. Place meat balls on top of cabbage leaves.
  11. Pour remaining sauce over meat balls.
  12. Cover the casserole and bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour.
  13. Sprinkle with cheddar cheese for the last 5 minutes, if desired. And we desire it, because we are a cheese kind of family.

    Saturday, June 19, 2010

    And the results...

    Spectator award for Maggie

    1st place for her age division for Katie, with a time of 9.27.

    3rd place overall (for female milers) for me with a time of 8.11... and my first trophy for running!

    Minimal hail damage for the drive home. :)

    I am proud of my girls, and of me. It was a good day.

    Monday, June 14, 2010

    Rockin' the moment

    I have many doubts about my mothering ability, but I try hard, read a lot, go on instinct, learn from mistakes, and hope that some day my kids will grow up to be happy, well-adjusted adults. In the meantime, it is just plain hard to remember to do the right thing (let's talk it out... how do you feel... why do you feel that way?) and not resort to instinct (stop. whining. now.) My mom-goal is to have a nice mix of both, because some times it's not worth the explanation and other times the discussion makes all the difference in the world.

    K and I are planning to run a 1 mile road race next week. It's just a mile, nothing uber-competitive, and M said she wanted to run, too. I was doubtful, very doubtful, that she would enjoy running a mile at all, being as how she hates to have to go All The Way Up Stairs. But, we gave it the good college try. K, M, & I set off down our road to run. Maggie loved it... for about 1/4 mile. Then she hated it. Every step. Hated it. Verbally, vocally HATED IT! It was comical to hear her: "My arms hurt, my legs hurt, it's too far, this is NO fun, I don't want to go anymore, go get the car and pick me up."

    So, after the experimental run, I told her she couldn't run at the road race. Her face made that heartbreaking expression, the subtle change that means, "I'm hurt but I'm not going to give you the satisfaction of knowing it." And that's when a "Stop. Whining" moment became a "why do you feel that way?" moment.

    It seems Miss Mags is a bit jealous of the little award Katie got the last time we ran the race, and she wants a trophy of her own. And, it just so happens this particular road race has a Spectator Competition, for the spectator who does the best, most creative job of cheering on the runners. Miss Maggie is nothing if not LOUD. The girl was BORN to be a creative spectator.

    And so, four of us are headed off to the races on Saturday: K and I running, N riding in the jogging stroller (I think), and M decked out in her best spectator outfit, which I am certain will include her new duck call, a pink cowgirl hat, and a glittery scarf. I can't wait!

    Friday, June 11, 2010

    Weekly menu, June 13-19

    Sorry I haven't been posting many recipes. We've been on rerun mode, as far as cooking. Most of what I've made lately are things I've already posted or are old standbys. But, I do still have our menu to share, and this week has some new items on it. I'm just hoping Sunday night is a bit cooler, so I won't mind heating up the oven for baked potatoes and yummy chicken! The good news is that, despite our go-go-going and K&M home from school, our grocery bill has dropped considerably. That is due in large part to our garden veggies.

    Sunday, June13
    Chef salad
    Twice baked potatoes, parmesean chicken

    Monday, June14
    Dipping lunch

    Tuesday, June 15
    Taco salad
    Vegetable stir-fry

    Wednesday, June 16
    Hot dogs, Mac-N-Cheese salad
    Picnic supper

    Thursday, June 17
    Fish sticks, mac-n-cheese

    Friday, June 18
    Cheesy tacos
    Tater tot casserole

    Saturday, June 19
    Stuffed pasta shells

    Wednesday, June 2, 2010

    Deal making

    The blogging community is awesome, IMO. Why? Because so many shares their stories, their hearts, their souls. Just glancing through my favorite blogs, I read 5 stories so sad, so heartbreaking, so devastating. A dose of perspective is always a good thing. Jay and I, we have it easy, we have it good... no, we have it GREAT! How blest we are!

    Doc said Natalie probably has a virus causing the cough/choke/gasp and upset tummy, and it will need to run its course. Daycare called and said Miss N had another 2 dirties, which means it's not as done as I had hoped it was yesterday. I just hope it doesn't continue, because I'm stringing parallels between N & L. Do you remember Lainie's months of diarrhea? That's what I'm afraid of.

    Doc also said, with sad eyes, that what I described sounded like a seizure, and with big sis's medical history, not unlikely. She offered to schedule tests, an EEG, all that stuff, but was more than willing to wait and see. I don't want to put Natalie through all that for a one-time maybe occurence. And, even if she is epileptic too, so what? Knowing definitively isn't going to change it. I just wanted to know from Doc what the game plan should be, if N does throw a major seizure.

    Then I heard myself think, actually say to God, "As long as she doesn't have a damaging seizure, I can handle it." What? Like I get to make the rules here? As if I get to decide what we will or won't cope with? That is laugh-out-loud ridiculous.

    We will deal with what we are given, and that's that.

    In the meantime, I will enjoy a few more thousand smile and giggles.

    Tuesday, June 1, 2010

    Natalie's turn?

    Lainie's seizures etc didn't just affect how we react toward Lainie. It affected how we parent all the girls. I appreciate every day a bit more and am grateful when they wake up, even if it is 6 a.m., because it means they DID wake up. Even when it's loud and chaotic with all the chatter, I am thankful for the chatter. And, there is an absolutely no eye-rolling rule, strictly enforced.

    That said, Natalie's freaking me out. I worry that she had an absentee seizure on Sunday morning, maybe a second Sunday evening. She has been sick with something minor, and no fever. But, as I was changing her diaper Sunday morning, she jerked and then stared off to the side. I couldn't get her eyes to move, dilate, or change focus, even with waving, calling her name, snapping my fingers. Then, a few (maybe 20-30 seconds) later, she looked at me and smiled. Would that have even been noticed, if not for the seizure history in our family? Is that something you would wonder about as a parent?

    Between that weirdness and the fact that she's gasped/choked awake Saturday, Sunday, and last night means we're headed to the doctor this afternoon, just in case. I'm hoping for tonsilitis... at least it would explain the gagging. As far as the other stuff, what can you! We just have to put it in God's hands and truly let go. Well, and hope. A lot.

    French Toast Casserole, aka Hot Dog Bun Breakfast

    Hot dog buns were on sale for 68 cents for a pack of 8. At that price, I had to pick up a bag, even if we don't eat buns with our hot dogs. Since we are big breakfast eaters around here, I decided to make it into a breakfast.

    6 hot dog buns, cubed
    6 eggs
    1/2 cup milk
    2 teaspoons cinnamon
    1/2 teaspoon alspice
    1/2 teaspoon cloves
    1/3 cup Splenda or sugar
    1/2 cup raisins
    2-3 Tablespoons butter or margarine
    Syrup or powdered sugar

    1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9x9 dish with Pam.
    2. Beat together eggs, milk, sugar and spices. 
    3. Add the buns (cubed) and raisins until the bread is covered.
    4. Pour egg/bread mixture into the dish.
    5. Bake 40 minutes.
    6. Add butter and about 3 tablespoons of syrup to the casserole. Bake 5-10 more minutes.
    7. Serve with syrup or powdered sugar.

      Katie added, "If you don't have a sugar allergy in your family, you could top it with a dusting of confectioner's sugar to make it fancy." I think she's watched too much Food Network.