Halloween 2019

Our Halloween… over at my parents house on Woodhaven, of course. 🙂 We had a pretty good turnout, but still had one whole bag of candy leftover at the end of the night. We watched HalloweenTown, but not HocusPocus because my children have decided to rebel and say they “hate” HocusPocus. Ah well, at least we had the traditional Taco Soup.

Nurturing Oneself

I had an early brunch with a dear, dear friend of mine this morning. As we sat in her sweet little breakfast nook with tea, boiled eggs, and stollen, we chatted about how the year was going and she asked me what I was doing to nurture myself. Honestly y’all, I babbled out an answer full of things that made her go “THAT’S what you find nourishing?” Things like scheduling things, making sure everything had a task associated with it, being better organized, etc. She expressed a bit of doubt with my methods, but being the gracious hostess she is, she just let it go and the topic moved onward.

I got home a while later and really started thinking about it. I am not really a planner. Oh, I try and try to be, but in the end every plan lasts a few days and then I scrap it. So I spent some time just meditating on the idea of nurture and what it meant to me.

Here’s what I came up with:

  1. Nurturing me means extra time around everything so I can digest experiences. Yes, that means a bit of planning, but it is soooo good to have time around things and not just be chock-a-block busy.
  2. Nurturing me also means time for music, which I have not been making. The words “I haven’t played the piano since I got these progressive lenses” slipped out of my mouth and now that I’ve ruminated on it, I got the glasses in January (9 months ago) and haven’t really touched the piano since my mom died.  Hmmm….
  3. Nurturing me means time to read. I have “Time to Read” in my Habit Tracker, but how much have I really been reading? None. Like one day a week, which is very close to none for a Lisa.
  4. Nurturing me also means eating foods I actually like. My husband is very good about cooking dinner, but he is very bad about making food that I really am fond of. Part of that is that the kids hate everything and part of that is that we really, Nick and I, have a totally different palate. I’ve been cooking my own lunches this week and eating all the things I love, like mushrooms and onions and zucchini and sweet potatoes and cabbage, and have been so happy at lunch time!

Anyways, that’s what’s on my mind today. Time to go eat the mushroom/onion/zucchini/feta dish that’s been sauteing while I type. 🙂  Hope y’all have a good afternoon!

Sausage Mushroom Breakfast Casserole

I made a really delicious breakfast casserole this morning. Our picky eaters are out of town, so we are able to eat mushrooms and onions again. Let the rejoicing begin!

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Ingredients:

  • 1/2 of an 8 inch round onion focaccia bread
  • 5 large eggs
  • 1.5 cups of milk
  • 1/2 tablespoon ground mustard
  • 1 tablespoon Italian herb mix (mine has oregano, thyme, sage, rosemary, and marjoram)
  • salt and pepper to taste (mine was light on salt and heavier on pepper)
  • 1 long piece of beef sausage (from those that come 2 to a package)
  • 4 ounces of sliced baby bella mushrooms
  • a few dashes of parmesan cheese
  • 1 cup or so of shredded cheese, this time I used a Colby jack/Monterary jack, next time I’m trying feta

Instructions:

  1. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Spray an 8×8 in casserole with your favorite oil.
  2. Whisk eggs, mustard, and milk in a bowl.
  3. Cut foccacia into 1 inch chunks and place in bottom of casserole.
  4. Pour egg mixture over it and set it aside.
  5. Slice mushrooms, not too thin, into 1/2 inch or so sized pieces.
  6. Cook mushrooms with the Italian Herb Mix and salt and pepper until they are nice and yummy.
  7. Slice the sausage while the mushrooms cook, then when the mushrooms are just about done, add the sausage to the pan and cook for a few more minutes.
  8. Pour the mushroom-sausage mix into the casserole, giving it a bit of a stir to incorporate the mushrooms and sausage a bit into the bready goodness.
  9. Sprinkle the parmesan cheese on first, then the shredded cheese.
  10. Bake for about 35-40 minutes. Let sit for about 10 minutes before cutting into it.

 

It was delicious! 🙂

 

 

 

Yummy Food Thoughts

Had this beautiful realization today that I could cook all those veggies that I love that the kids don’t during my lunch time. 🙂 Like onions, mushrooms, cabbage….Why have I never thought of this before?!?

Protein Enriched Muffins of Joy

You know me and my muffin experiments. Today I was trying to make healthier ones that tasted good and were a bit more fiber and protein filled (no one ate veggies yesterday because we were away from home and the food choices were not ours and today is a LONG day). The kids ate these super fast and raved about them.

Preheat oven to 400F.

Dry:
1 1/2 cup generic white flour
1/2 cup chocolate flavored protein powder
1 serving scoop orange flavored fiber powder
1 TBL ground flaxseed
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 tsp kosher salt
1 TBL aluminum free baking powder
1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Wet:
1/2 tsp orange flavoring
1 cup 2% milk
1 large egg
2 TBL expellier pressed canola oil

Mix the dry and wet separately, then combine, scoop into greased muffin tins, and bake for 12 minutes or until nicely browned on top. These get pretty brown and slightly shiny, unlike my regular muffins.

Pumpkin Shaped Waffles!

Our Secret Somebody sent us another gift in the mail. Nick looked at it and said “We don’t need another waffle maker. What are we going to do with it; it’s so small.” This was my response. (Two kids have already been through and eaten the other 2/3 of the pile)D8674D7E-4932-4C8A-ACF2-1A1EF84DDC56

Status

Pinterest, Food Network, & Snacks, Oh MY!

I’ve been struggling with making lunches and snack interesting again. I’ve looked to Pinterest and Food Network and Bento Mama home pages. I’ve tried so many different things. Some, like the pizza bagels (easy peasy: toast a bagel, put it in the lunch box, add a tub of pizza sauce and a tub of shredded cheese and send to school for kids to assemble) and the Turkey/Cheese Skewers (with festive skewers ordered online) have been instant hits. Others, like the Cherry Angel Food Dump Cake (again, easy: dump one can cherry pie filling into greased 9×13 pan, dump box of angel food cake mix on top of that, dump one stick of butter on top of that. cook for 40 minutes at 350 degrees), no one loved (it fizzed in your mouth. it was disturbing).

Today I made a version of Puppy Chow that I’ve taste tested before the kids get home. It’s got chocolate and peanut butter and bits of dried fruit and random dry cereal. It has a couple substitutions for kids likes/dislikes, but I’m still thinking it won’t be a hit. Or maybe it will be. I just don’t know.

Neighbor Bread

Here’s the story: on Wednesday morning, I went to my friend Stephanie J’s house for coffee. She served the MOST DELICIOUS coffee cake EVER. It turned out to be a recipe one of the neighbor’s had given her…and she had used figs that another neighbor had given her to make it. Wednesday night I was over at the (recipe) neighbor’s house for a wine tasting party and asked for the recipe. She laughed and introduced me to Debbie, who is her “neighbor” at work who had given HER the recipe.  Hence the name Neighbor Bread. So I posted about it to facebook and this recipe now has a following. I’m posting it here in slightly edited form (It was originally sent in to a newspaper and “my” copy of it has the newspaper bit at the top, with bits crossed out, underlined, and whited out & written over, with copious notes at the bottom.).

Neighbor Bread

AKA Fresh Fig Bread with Sherry

Spread the slices with cream cheese or butter and serve at breakfast or teatime, or for dessert.  Moist, sweet, and lightly perfumed, fig bread goes well with tea, apple juice, or sherry.

 

1 ½ cups stemmed and coarsely

chopped ripe dark or light figs

1 teaspoon  each ground cinnamon and baking soda
¼ cup dry sherry ½ teaspoon each ground nutmeg and salt
1 2/3 cups all-purpose flour 1 ½ cups sugar
½ cup chopped walnuts ½ cup salad oil
2 large eggs

Combine figs and sherry; let stand at least 15 minutes. Mix together flour, walnuts, cinnamon, baking soda, nutmeg, and salt.

In a mixer bowl, beat sugar, oil, and eggs to mix. Blend in flour mixture; gently stir in figs and sherry. Pour batter into a well-greased 5×9 inch loaf pan. Bake in 350 degree oven until bread feels firm when gently pressed in center, about 1 ¼ hours. Let cool in pan 10 MIN. Invert onto rack to cool. Slice to serve. To store, wrap airtight and keep at room temperature up to 4 days or freeze for up to 1 month. Makes about a 2-pound loaf, or 12 servings. —Lee Jordan, Concord, California.

Notes on page from Connie (as passed on from her friend Debbie):

-can substitute port for sherry (or marsala)

-if using “cooking sherry” omit the salt

-place wax paper along bottom of pan & grease generously

-takes about 16-17 small figs, or 2 cups untrimmed figs

-can substitute pears for figs (takes about 3 pears- peel them)

-maybe add extra yolk if using pears.


Hope you enjoy it as much as I did. 🙂

Merrily I Roll Along

I’m adding to this post as I go on today.  Seemed like fun!

  • My bedroom & bathroom before (the parts I’m working on today only):
  • 9am
Bathroom before: the sink is rusting and I can't figure out how to stop it from dripping short of a bathroom renovation.  So I'm constantly having to wipe up down there.

Bathroom before: the sink is rusting and I can’t figure out how to stop it from dripping short of a bathroom renovation. So I’m constantly having to wipe up down there.

The tall cabinets before: Not too bad, but could be better.  The towels definitely need help and it'd be nice if my shelf were better organized.

The tall cabinets before: Not too bad, but could be better. The towels definitely need help and it’d be nice if my shelf were better organized.

Most of this stuff does not belong in my room, but it’s where stuff gets dropped when the kids can’t find other homes for stuff when they’re tidying other parts of the house. If I can’t find new homes for this stuff by end of day, I’m taking stuff to Goodwill on the way to pick up the kids.

  • After:
  • 10am:
I took  the old art bins to use as a cleaning bins for the bathrooms.  I moved out the unnecessary  sharps bin and extra cleaning supplies.  Tidy!

I took the old art bins to use as a cleaning bins for the bathrooms. I moved out the unnecessary sharps bin and extra cleaning supplies. Tidy!

I separated out mine and Nick's hoards of extra supplies into two bins up top, then tidied up the other three shelves below.  Then I put a different shelving unit in for the towels.

I separated out mine and Nick’s hoards of extra supplies into two bins up top, then tidied up the other three shelves below. Then I put a different shelving unit in for the towels.

  • noon

My spouse is home for lunch, but he is very busy preparing things for dinner. Apparently it is multi-step and I will need to assist as well. Yay?

  • 1:05pm

I just mashed potatoes for the first time ever. It was smushy. Then I added stuff to them. They smell good. 🙂 I am supposed to wait to eat them for dinner. Hmmm….

  • 1:30pm
Look: you can see the floor!  And the stack of linen-filled hat boxes have been emptied into a basket and put in the linen closet.  And the boxes of my grandmother & great-grandmother's china from the top shelf of  the linen closet got emptied into a cupboard in the kitchen and that cupboard in the kitchen got emptied into the donate-to-Goodwill box.

Look: you can see the floor! The stack of linen-filled hat boxes have been emptied into a basket and put in the linen closet. And the boxes of my grandmother & great-grandmother’s china from the top shelf of the linen closet got emptied into a cupboard in the kitchen and that cupboard in the kitchen got emptied into the donate-to-Goodwill box. I also drilled holes and installed the iron curtain tie-back things.

  • 2pm
If you look back at the day I was working on David's room, you'll remember that his closet top was very full of mess.  I cleared a bit out.

If you look back at the day I was working on David’s room, you’ll remember that his closet top was very full of mess. I cleared a bit out by moving stuff in the big bin into the little boxes that used to house china in the linen closet. Now it houses the pile o’ pants that used to be in that empty spot.

  • 2:45pm
No before picture, sorry.  I cleared out my magazine racks, filled them with the piles of Nick's magazines from the floor, and put them on shelves.  Then I cleared out the top shelf of the closet and put all the empty boxes from up there in the recycle bin.  Don't ask why I had empty boxes up there.  I don't know.

No before picture, sorry. I cleared out my magazine racks, filled them with the piles of Nick’s magazines from the floor, and put them on shelves. Then I cleared out the top shelf of the closet and put all the empty boxes from up there in the recycle bin. Don’t ask why I had empty boxes up there. I don’t know.

And last but not least, I started spraypainting Nick's side table.  It used to be blue and silver, but it was very scraped.  I say "started" because I used to have half a can of that paint and when I started spraying I realized that someone else must've used it for something because it was mostly empty. *sigh*

And last but not least, I started spray-painting Nick’s side table. It used to be blue and silver, but it was very scraped. I say “started” because I used to have half a can of that paint and when I started spraying I realized that someone else must’ve used it for something because it was mostly empty. *sigh* Anyway, I have a new-to-us alarm clock-and-Iphone-charger-player thingie to put on top of it. The younger kids are getting our old alarm clock-cd player and David is getting their old one, which doesn’t have readable numbers, but does have a CD player for him and then I’m going to hand him all the Weird Al CDs.

And that’s the end of that, because I’m having weird back spasms now.  I have definitely overdone it today.

Week of craziness

(One day soon I hope to come up with better titles…we’ll see.)

Thursday last we had a double crazy day.  I baked 6 dozen cookies over the course of the day, those yummy apple caramel cider ones I did last week, but this time with the chunk caramel rather than the bits.  Oh what a difference the chunk caramel made!  They went from yum to superextrayum!  After the kids came home from school we decorated the cakes they baked the night before and that morning.

Ben’s cake:

Ben's green car cake

David’s cake:



That night Nick took the kids to their cake auction while I went to a cookie exchange party at one of the newer neighbors houses.  I didn’t know most of the people there, but the kids did enjoy playing together and I came home with some fabulous cookies.  (photos to be added once I find them)  Nick came home with some other kids cake, as he was outbid on our kids cakes.  They totally loved that!

Friday was the quadrupaly crazy day.  Ben had eaten  one of the caramel chunk cookies without warming it first and his crown came out so he had to be taken into the dentist first thing in the morning.  Also in the morning there was a concert at school for all the kids and parents that hadn’t gotten to see/be in the big performance the week before.  My mom took Ben to the dentist and my dad, Greg, and I went to save seats at the concert.  Ben and my mom got back before the concert started but too late to sit with us.  David got to play his violin in public for the first time and did very well.

From there we went home and got some breakfast real fast before gathering stuff up for the class parties.  I’m the homeroom mom coordinator for our PTA this year, so I’d spent the week contacting all the homeroom moms and their teachers, trying to make sure all the room parties were being taken care of and that people were all signed up to bring stuff.  I brought a cartload of extras and put it in the school office in case anyone was lacking anything, as I had two parties of my own to help out with.  Fortunately for me, the other moms involved in the parties were awesome, so I was able to run back and forth between the two parties a bit.  While I was running around, I noticed this hanging in the bathroom:

Isn’t that amazing?!

Anyways, Ben’s party had bingo

and a Left/Right gift exchange (I wrapped extra gifts in case they were lacking some and passed them out to younger siblings afterwards).

David’s party made ice cream cone Christmas trees (idea from Pinterest, naturally)

and also played bingo (yes, Greg was everywhere all at once, too!)

It was a great afternoon, but I was exhausted and out of breath by the time I’d climbed all those stairs a half dozen times (sometimes I’d walk the extra distance and take the elevator, but it was pretty far away).

My parents picked us up straight from the time the bell rang and drove us down to Palestine for our annual trip to ride The Polar Express.

Mom and I dressed up in our robes for the event

The kids were likewise dressed in pajamas.  This year it was freezing cold, so everyone wore their jackets, except Greg, who tried to live inside my robe.

Looking down at the train

Sitting together

The other half

Mr. Conductor came and punched our tickets.  The kids continued to be sad that they weren’t punching words like in the movie. The elves came out and danced with Ben

and to our great surprise, David danced with her, too.  (Even more surprising actually was that Greg said “no.”)

Hot chocolate

The North Pole.  We decided to be nice and let another family that hadn’t been there before sit on the side with all the lights.  🙂

After the train ride we changed up tradition a little and ate dinner at Giovanni’s, which is right next door to Little Mexico (where we normally go).

We have no photos of Saturday at all.  Aren’t you feeling happy about that by now?

Sunday Santa’s helper Elmer the Brownie visited our house.  When he saw we were all decked out for the holidays, he brought us yummy cookies.

Monday we made some graham cracker houses (and used up all the leftover candy from the class parties).

Yesterday we got The Call and left for College Station a day early, thinking that Steph’s baby was on his way.  Sadly, he wasn’t yet (she was more than a week over due), but we did get in a little visit today and she opened his present from us (which was partly something to be used on Christmas day).  Tomorrow I’ll post some more pictures.  Aren’t you excited?