Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Catching Up...

My students are standing by their freestanding structures they had to build with a limited amount of straws and tape.  They could not talk while building them.

HH brought me flowers on the first day of school.  AWE!

I made Homemade Hot Fudge Oreo Pie tonight for church.  Thanks Get Off Your Butt and Bake for this amazing recipe!  One lady from church jokingly took the dish to her seat when going through the line as if that was all she was going to eat for dinner!  I can't believe how easy it was to make the hot fudge!

We have the big Pow-Wow this weekend.  I'll try to take some pictures of that.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Back to School...

Today was our last prep/meeting day, and we had a team lunch.  I brought Frozen Strawberry Crumble.  My co-worker George said that it kicked-*ss!  :)  HH put something on top of it, so when it froze, it messed up the top of it.  I really liked this recipe, but it was a bit labor intensive as I had to make two desserts last night.  HH wanted to know if I had any ice cream left over, and I said yes.  He went to get a bowl out, and I told him to eat it from the carton with a spoon.  He said, "That is why I love you."  I replied, "I've washed three sinkfuls of dishes, and I don't want to wash one more dish."

I made Frozen Butterfinger Dessert for church.  HH had to go put it in the church freezer last night because I didn't have enough room to store it in ours.  I should have put it out sooner to thaw out, but people didn't have a problem eating most of it.  Sorry for the afterthought picture.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Best Black Bean Dip

The girls that I am friends with have a weekly "Pizza and Movie" night.  It started up this Friday.  The host makes the pizza, and everyone else brings other items.  I got veggies.  I was kinda bummed because I had this great dessert recipe.  HH said this gave me an opportunity to show that I am not a one trick pony.

Best Black Bean Dip

I love Tastefully Simple products.  I love all the recipes that they offer on their website.  My dip was a success!

This is a staged picture HH took of me in my classroom.  He needed a picture of me to put in the first edition of the church newsletter that will be sent out to people who support our church all over the country.  This edition will profile different members of the church and what they do.  It is not a good picture to see that I got my hair highlighted and colored.  I feel ready to start the school in that regard.

HH is working on installing our pantry shelves.  We have a ton of cabinets, but I've used them for cooking supplies. 

My Grocery Store Experience...

We stock up when we go to the grocery store.  We have a local grocery store where we can get an impressive selection, but price is an issue.  I try to get the bulk of my items when I go to a big city (closest one is 90 miles).  I had the cart stacked to the heavens at the Wal-Mart checkout.  I start putting my items on the cart, and I notice that a 60ish year old lady has her stomach pressed up against my cart.  There is no one behind me.  She has a look that she is "special", and my conversation with her quickly proves this to be true.  She starts peppering me with questions, as she continues to watch everything that I put on the belt along with standing with her stomach touching my cart.  "Do you have kids?"  "Did you just get paid?"  "How far away do you live?"  I move my cart at one point, and she moves up and LEANS ON IT.  I was seriously feeling my personal space invaded!  The checker could not get me out fast enough!

Friday, August 19, 2011

What Do Pastors (and their wives) do for fun?

Lots of stuff like... right now HH is creating a bogus ticket from the city to one of our congregation members who was out working in his yard with his shirt off.  This is going to be awesome.  We are going to go tape it on his door.  The guy we are playing the prank on has an awesome sense of humor, so it will be on in a sense that he will be looking for a chance to pay us back!

HH studies hard for his sermons, prays with people, loves on them, but I am so glad this man knows how to have FUN!

We also watch Budweiser Real Men of Genius ads on Youtube like...

There are about thirty or forty more.  We have a fun mini-date the other night of just listening to a bunch of them!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

A New Love...

Welcome to the blog I've been looking at for at least an hour:

Get off your butt and BAKE!: Impressive Recipes Made Simple

It is hard narrowing down what I want to make, but here are some awesome recipes you will be seeing here soon.

Strawberry Swirl Cupcakes

Frozen Strawberry Crumble

Peanut Butter Toasted Marshmallow S'mores
(I think I am starting to have a s'more obsession.)

Lime Bars

Magic Marshmallow Cups

Chicken Broccoli Supreme

Hot Fudge Oreo Cupcakes

Red Robin BBQ Chicken Salad (Copy)

Hot Sausage Dip

Sweet Goobers

Frozen Butterfinger Dessert

Sock It To Me Cake!

Pork Chop Hashborn Cake

Chocolate Strawberry Struesel Bars

Grasshopper Pie

Upside-Down Chicken Pot Pie

I better quit now....I've got a whole lot of cooking and baking to do!!!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Dinner Tonight and Teaching Article

Bacon Wrapped Pork Tenderloin

This is the first time I have ever cooked pork tenderloin.  It was like walrus blubber coming out of the package.  I cooked it in the over on 350 for an hour.  It was incredibly moist.  I used Jamacian Jerk Seasoning from Pampered Chef that I bought from the 5th grade teacher at work.
Broccoli Salad

broccoli slaw
1/2 cup mayo
Garlic, Garlic (love this stuff)
powdered ranch dressing mix

Blueberry Sour Cream Cobbler
(I brought this to church tonight.)

Thanks, Alison from a Prairie Story....we had very happy churchgoers, and as you can see below, an extremely happy husband.

HH says, "It combines the chewiness of pie with the crunchiness of cake."

This article, Extraordinary Isn't Enough was printed in the L.A. times, and has been circulating around the education blogosphere.  Good stuff.

Monday, August 15, 2011

The Girls Are Back in Town Menu

Pretty much everyone goes away for a large portion of the summer here.  With weather restricting your travel for a good 6-8 months per year, summer is the time to go.  I wanted to host a "Girls are Back in Town" event, because the school year will be starting soon, and most people have finished their summer travels.  Here is what I made:

Emeril's Turkey and Pinto Bean Chili:

(I don't like my chili spicy or with any big kick to it, so if you are looking for that this recipe will not satisfy your needs!)

4 slices bacon, diced small
2 medium yellow onions, diced small
1 large red bell pepper, stemmed, seeded, and diced small
1.5 lbs of turkey
3 Tablespoons of chili powder
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 Tablespoon chopped garlic
2 teaspoons dried oregano
salt and pepper to taste
1 can (14.5 oz.) diced tomatoes
2 cans (15.5 oz.) pinto beans, rinsed and drained
2 Tablespoons finely chopped fresh cilantro

1.  Cook bacon.
2.  Add onions and bell pepper, cook until softened.
3.  Add turkey, chili powder, cumin, garlic, and oregano. 
4.  Cook until meat is lightly browned.
5.  Season with salt and pepper.
6.  Add tomatoes and juice, beans, and 2 cups water.  Bring to a boil.  Reduce to a rapid simmer, partially cover, and cook, stirring occasionally, until sauce thickens, 20 minutes.
7.  Serve with cilantro.  (I am leaving this as optional, since people either love or hate cilantro.)

Marc Forgione's Cornbread with Creme Fraiche (Almost)

1 stick unsalted butter, plus more for the dish
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 Tablespoons of sugar
3/4 cup cornmeal
1 teaspoon baking powder
1.5 teaspoons salt
1/2 cup whole milk
3 large eggs
1/2 cup creme fraiche

This is my first time making cornbread that wasn't from a Jiffy box.  I also hit a major snag in that I could not find creme fraiche.  I found a Mexican crema.  It didn't taste Mexican per say, but I decided to not use it.  I google "creme fraiche replacements," and found that several people had used the new Philadelphia Cooking Cremes in place.  I decided to give that a go.  I grew up with really thick cornbread, and this recipe produces a very thin sheet of cornbread.

Almond-Grape Tea Cake:

10 tablespoons (1.25 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature, plus more for pan
1 cup all-purpose flour, plus more for pan
3/4 cup sugar
3 large eggs
1.5 cups slivered almonds (.5 lb)
1/4 salt
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1.5 teaspoons finely grated lemon zest
18 grapes, halved crosswise

1.  Preheat oven to 350.  Lightly butter and flour a 3x8 inch metal loaf pan.  In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, beat butter and 1/2 cup sugar on high until light and fluffy, about three minutes.  Beat in eggs, one at a time, until combined, scraping down bowl as needed. 

2.  In a food processor, pulse almonds and 1/4 cup sugar until finely ground.  Add flour and salt and pulse to combine.  With mixer on low, beat almond mixture into butter mixture until combined.  Beat in vanilla and lemon zest.  (This was the first time I have "zested" anything.)

3. Transfer batter to pan and smooth top.  Press grape halves into batter in rows and bake until a toothpick inserted in center comes out with a few moist crumbs attached, about 1 hour, rotating pan halfway through.  Let cake cool in pan on a wire rack.  To serve remove cake from pan and slice.

I was worried about this dish, because it seemed that there was way too much batter coming out on the fork each time I tested it.  I know I cooked it for an additional 10-12 minutes.  It ended up turning out just fine.  The tea cake was the only part of the meal that HH got to sample, and he loved it.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Back Home

I took my mom back to Sioux Falls to get her plane on Friday.  We stayed the night there, and I took her to the airport around 1:00 yesterday afternoon.  Before she left, she helped Ben put up this wall art that I bought on Etsy:

Below this quote above our bed is going to be a 16x20 canvas.  I have not placed that order yet.

I also had one made with our name, and the year we got married. 

One the way there, we went to the one and only "Corn Palace" in Mitchell, SD.

Next stop was Sioux Falls Park, home of Sioux Falls.  I went to Niagra Falls in 2008.  It is no Niagra, but it is nevertheless very impressive.  I told mom if I were a guy, I would propose to a girl here!  My mom relayed the message to Ben that I wanted to have our vows renewed there.

My mom loves close-up pictures!

Of course you know I had my dessert seeker in STEALTH MODE:

I found S'more Cheesecake:  AMAZING!

Sioux Falls has an amazing vibrant downtown culture.  It is much more active than Louisville, especially when you consider how much larger Louisville is.  They had sixty sculptures that you could walk around and view.

I could not leave Sioux Falls without visiting Oh My Cupcakes!  It is the first gourmet cupcake shop in town.  They had tall shoes to fill, since I came from Louisville.  I was already well acquainted with the four gourmet cupcake shops there.  I didn't just like these cupcakes it was LOVE.  What I liked best were that you had the "mini" option.  This option was just right for me!  I got eight different "minis" to try out.  It equaled about 1 1/4 cupcakes.  There was a perfect amount of icing on them too.  I know that this shop with be a huge hit, and will be on my list of places to visit EVERY time I am in Sioux Falls.

I also went to Starbucks, got a pedicure, and visited by beloved Cato for some new clothes.  While getting my pedicure, the early sixties Asian man was singing "Don't Want to be All By Myself."  It was hilarious! 

Two breathtaking views on my way home:

Here I am this morning, holding my new notebook for work stuff.  Yes, it says, "Geek out with your beak out."  Awesome!  I also have on a new outfit from Cato.

I am having four ladies over for dinner tonight at my house.  Pictures and recipes will follow!