27 April 2012

Rigatoni with Sausage and Spinach


Rigatoni with sausage and spinach

1 pound (16 oz.) Rigatoni
1 pound Italian sausage, browned
1 clove garlic, minced
1 15-oz can diced tomatoes in juice
2 tsp. oregano
2 tsp. basil
2 big handfuls fresh spinach
freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Boil pasta according to package directions.

In a large frying pan, brown sausage. When sausage is mostly done, drain fat and add minced garlic. Let cook for a few seconds, then add tomatoes, basil and oregano. Simmer until the tomatoes and herbs are well combined. Add the big handfuls of spinach. Remove from heat and allow the spinach to wilt a bit. Pour sausage mixture over the rigatoni noodles. Top with Parmesan cheese and serve.

25 April 2012

To-Do List Tuesday


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LINK UP BELOW TO SHARE WHAT YOU'VE BEEN DOING!

Sorry Facebook friends. I know you've seen this. It's just that I am really excited. I will calm down soon...maybe.

On the tippy top of my to-do list this last week - in a no pressure sort of way - was completing the actual purchase of the new  (used) car my husband has been researching ad nauseum for the last two months. I don't mean to sound critical. He's an engineer. This is how things are done. We never have buyers remorse. Ever. We never make impulsive purchases of large ticket items. Ever. It's a good thing. But it was time. We need a big vehicle for family, carpool and recreational purposes. Our current vehicle was exhibiting some disturbing problems (doors that won't open, smoke, wobbly seats). We have about 5 years until our eldest is off to college. There is some fun to have. We had seen all the cars in our size/price range. I promise. ALL OF THEM. 

There was one vehicle he just kept coming back to. He wasn't sure why it was still available. He looked at it every day and wondered why it hadn't sold yet. Saturday morning, I took action. I called the dealership and made an appointment to drive it. We drove it, we bought it. I'm not really ready to talk about how it took 6 hours to do the deal. I do want to say "I love you" to the people who owned it first. I have never seen a lovelier, cleaner vehicle in my life. I promise, my kids aren't going to eat in it or put the stickers from the pediatrician's office on the windows. I promise.


I love this car. So, the Toyota Land Cruiser isn't super fuel efficient, but what 8 passenger vehicle is? And it's "recycled" - 2002 in mint condition. In our price range and it seats 8. Hallelujah. It's a total win-win. My husband gets a truck, I get a cool carpool vehicle. Dare I say the car I've always wanted? Now I can imagine I'm on safari, or I'm a Saudi Arabian sheik, or...

What have you been up to? Link up below.

24 April 2012

Menu Plan Monday


This week is looking pretty wild. It's the last month of school and we have a lot going on. There's the middle school play, soccer season is in full swing, we have swim team tryouts, Kindergarten registration, probably I'm forgetting something... we need some quick and easy meals.

Monday

Rigatoni and sausage

Tuesday

Baked Potato Bar

Wednesday

French Dips

Thursday

Leftovers

Friday

Pizza

Saturday

Salad and Sandwiches

Sunday

BBQ - chipotle chicken sandwiches

I am also linking up to Menu Plan Monday!

20 April 2012

Scones



Scones are magical, don't you agree? The fancy-pants cousin of the biscuit and just as easy to make. Large or small, sweet or savory, no one can eat just one. 

I have a book. I actually bought it because of the title: The Unbearable Lightness of Scones. I saw the title, and I thought, "yes, I know what he means."

I made these scones for breakfast yesterday, and (though I am comfortable admitting that I have legendary skills with biscuit dough), even I was amazed at the lightness and deliciousness of these particular scones. 

Try them for yourself!

Currant Scones

4 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 tablespoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup sugar
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 cup butter cut into pieces
3/4 to 1 cup currants, depending on taste (I used 3/4 cup)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 egg
2/3 cup half & half

Topping:
3 tablespoons butter, melted
1/2 cup sugar

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.  Grease a large baking sheet or cover it with parchment paper. 
In a large bowl, stir together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, sugar, salt and cinnamon.   Use a pastry knife to cut the butter into the dry ingredients and continue cutting until the mixture is coarse and uniform.  Stir in the currants or cranberries.
In another bowl, stir together the vanilla extract, the egg, and the milk.  Form a well in the dry ingredients and pour in the liquid mixture.  Stir to combine then remove to a floured counter and knead until uniform.  (The dough will feel fairly dry and crumbly. Careful not to over-knead.  Too much kneading will develop the gluten in the flour and make the scones tough.) 
Divide the dough into two pieces and press each into 3/4 inch thick circles.  Cut each circle into six wedges and place them on the prepared baking sheet.  Melt the 3 tablespoons of butter and brush on the scone wedges.  Sprinkle them with the sugar to cover.
Bake for 15 to 18 minutes or until the tops are lightly browned.  Remove to a rack to cool.



18 April 2012

To-Do List Tuesday

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My to-do list is a little out of hand. I keep adding things to it. I usually like to show you something actually done from my To-do list, but life isn't really like that, is it?

Today I am going to do something with this pile of fabric. I can't tell you yet, because it is for the two birthday parties my daughter is going to this weekend.


Then, I have to take this other pile of fabric and make some quilt top kits to hand out at church. We are creating quilt tops to tie later at a Project Linus activity. My goal is to have 35 quilts to tie on that day. 



What have you been up to? Link up below to share!
Also linking up to One Project at a Time





17 April 2012

Menu Plan Monday

I can't believe that there are only 6 weeks of school left. Have you noticed how fast it's going?

I'm just covering dinner this week. I am predicting a week of cereal and toast for breakfast. I can just feel it. About last week: The honey lime chicken enchiladas were a huge hit - NO leftovers.

Monday
(by request of the teenager)

Tuesday
Cannelini and Spinach Soup

Wednesday

Thursday
Pizza

Friday
Mom and Dad go out - kids get Mac n'Cheese

Saturday
Leftovers

Sunday
French dip sandwiches

I am linking up to Menu Plan Monday

14 April 2012

I'm So Tired



I usually don't comment on politics here. I know that we all have our differences, and my blog really isn't the place I want to discuss that. But I'm tired of women being attacked by other women.

Hilary Rosen's comments about Ann Romney are just the latest and the loudest example. I wonder what the real agenda is behind those comments. I am a feminist (want a good article that explains what I mean by feminist? Go HERE). I believe that women should have equal opportunity to pursue a dream, whether that is in or out of the home. Just because I chose to stay home and raise my children, doesn't mean I have the right to disparage Ms. Rosen for choosing a career. Nor does she have the right to disparage Mrs. Romney, or me, for choosing to stay home.

Equal opportunity does not mean equal results. I should not expect the life Mrs. Romney has had - my husband doesn't make as much money as Mr. Romney. That said, it doesn't mean Mrs. Romney hasn't worked as hard as I have. We both have a budget to manage. We both put gas in the car and buy milk. We both have to keep growing boys in jeans and shoes. We know when the prices go up. We both have busy schedules to coordinate. We both have to find a way for personal enrichment amid all the other cares we have as wives and mothers. Wives and mothers who work outside the home have all of those cares and more. 

Why would any woman attack another woman for doing what fulfills her? What could her goal be? That's the real question.

13 April 2012

Honey Lime Chicken Enchiladas


I got this recipe from a church cook book, it was contributed by my friend Heidi. These enchiladas were so good, that by the time I thought to get my camera and take a picture, the entire 9x13 pan was eaten. I borrowed a photo from the internet. It's close enough.  Be sure and click on the "shredded chicken" link. If you've never tried this shredding method, you will LOVE it.

Honey Lime Chicken Enchiladas

1/2 cup honey
1/4 cup lime juice
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1 1/2 lbs. shredded chicken

Stir together honey, lime juice and garlic powder. Add shredded chicken and let marinate for at least 30 minutes.

2 (10 oz.) cans green enchilada sauce
1 cup half & half
Flour tortillas
Shredded Colby Jack cheese

Mix enchilada sauce with half & half. Spread about 3/4 cup sauce in the bottom of a 9x13 baking dish. Fill tortillas with marinated chicken and shredded cheese, roll up and place in baking dish. Pour remaining sauce over the top of the filled tortillas and top with more cheese. Bake at 350 degrees for 25 to 30 minutes. Serve with cliantro lime rice.
 

12 April 2012

A Little Housekeeping

Something has been driving me nuts. For a while. Yesterday I reached the end of my rope. Sometimes, with these non-essential little things, we do have to reach the end of the rope to deal with it at all. 

BEFORE:



AFTER:



It's not a huge change, but at least I can actually see all the earrings, and I think the fabric is kind of nice.
We'll see how it goes. Probably fine, if I don't get any new jewelry.

11 April 2012

The Gardening Begins


It's true - I am so excited. I love this time of year. I love the blossoms on the trees, the weird snow storms that melt the next day because it's 78 degrees and how the grass is all of a sudden green when the snow melts. The hardest thing is waiting until after Mother's Day (at least) to plant my garden. 


Out on my front porch, I went ahead and planted some herbs in pots. Usually, I plant geraniums and petunias there, but for whatever reason, they really don't do that well. I got thinking that not only do herbs smell good, but mints are especially hard to kill, so if I forget to water now and then it will be less drastic than it is with flowers...


In the kitchen are our indoor seed starts - tomatoes, peppers, basil,   the lettuces and peas and squash will be seeded directly into the ground at the appropriate times. My daughter's is all flowers and my sons' are a mixture of things.  

 
What have you been working on? Link up below!

Also linking up to:


10 April 2012

Menu Plan Monday


This weekend, we hosted a couple of BYU lacrosse players. The team was here in Colorado to play CU and CSU. Our job was to give them a bed to sleep in and feed them breakfast, then get them to where they needed to be on Friday and Saturday mornings. It is always fun - they are nice boys and my kids love having big college boys around.

Saturday night, I went to my first lacrosse game. I'm hooked. It was slow in the beginning, BYU was ahead by 4 goals. Then CSU scored three straight and the last 10 minutes was a total nail-biter. I can't wait to go to another game.

Regarding my weekly menus, I realized something. I am planning a new meal for every night. You know why I always have a couple of meals that move to the next week? It's because I am forgetting to factor in left-over nights. This last week, we had 3 left-over nights. So, this week, I am going to remember about that. Besides, doesn't that make life so much easier?

Monday
Breakfast - cereal

Dinner 
Honey Lime Chicken Enchiladas (recipe coming this week)
Cilantro Lime rice

Tuesday
Breakfast - muffins

Dinner

Wednesday
Breakfast - pancakes

Dinner
left-over night

Thursday
Breakfast - sausage mcmuffins

Dinner 
Tacos

Friday
Breakfast - cereal

Dinner
left-over night 

Saturday
Breakfast - pancakes

Dinner

Sunday
Breakfast - Hawaiian French Toast

Dinner

Linking up to Menu Plan Monday!