Thursday, August 30, 2012

Thank You Early Release

This morning my Math para said she was entering some baked goods in a local competition in honor of our Pow Wow festivities.  I asked when the deadline was, and she said 5:00.  I called to make sure that non-tribal members were allowed to participate.  I was delighted to find out we could!  I made three entries.

Maple-Pecan Cake with Brown-Sugar Frosting

For the Cake:
* nonstick cooking spray
* 3 1/2 cups all purpose flour
* 4 teaspoons baking powder
* 1 1/2 sticks of butter
* 1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar
* 2 large eggs
* 3/4 cup whole milk
* 1 cup chopped pecans

For the Frosting:
* 8 ounces cream cheese
* 1 1/2 sticks of butter
* 3/4 cup dark brown sugar
* 2 cups powdered sugar

1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  
2.  Whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt.  In a large bowl, beat butter and brown sugar on high until light and fluffy.  Beat in eggs, add maple syrup.  Add flour mixture in two additions, alternating with milk, beating well after each addition.  Fold in pecans.  
3.  Put in cake pan (two 9 inch pans, or a bundt pan), and cook for 30-35 minutes.  
4.  Make frosting.
5.  Allow cake to cool, and apply icing.

Almond Joy Chocolate Chip Cookies

These cookies were not very thick, and it was almost as if they were burnt, but they weren't.  I wished they had been more visually appealing.  I still decided that taste wise they were still worthy of entering.

Tropical Carrot Cake Cookies

These cookies were amazing.  I saved four for our neighbor Janice, and packed the rest up for the competition.

Chicken and Dressing Casserole

HH loves Stovetop stuffing.  I could make it for him every night, and he wouldn't complain.  He was delighted when he came in from working in the yard to smell Stovetop.  

The city came and dug up part of our back yard to replace a pipe that had been leaking.  I am thankful to have that fixed before winter.  

Apparently, in an Ambien induced state, I told Ben I was excited about going to Sioux Falls this weekend.  We had talked about it, and decided not to.  He brought it up a few days ago, and I said I was excited.  I'm glad he is not manipulative, because he could say I said just about anything, and I wouldn't remember it.

HH also asked what my next "kitchen" purchase I was eying was.  I told him a really nice cast iron skillet.  I have chosen this Le Creuset skillet.  I'm going to buy it at Bed, Bath, and Beyond so I can use my 20% off coupon.  If they don't have it in stock, they will mail it to you.  

Pushing Through a Sinus Infection

Banana Pudding Cookies

Apple Streusel Cake

Beef Enchiladas

HH asked what made these enchiladas different from ones I had previously cooked.  I told him that I used cottage cheese as part of the filling.  We are both not cottage cheese fans, but when mixed with the taco seasoned meat, and green chiles, you really couldn't tell.

We had another half day today.  It reached 107 degrees.  As soon as school started, we were notified that it would be an even shorter day than normal.  Instead of 12:30 dismissal, we are dismissing at 11:45.  It was such a crunch for getting kids through lunch that the 5th graders had to go to lunch with their backpacks and be dismissed from the cafeteria.  
I was proud of myself for working on my online course (mini one required for work, not a graduate class), filing some papers, starting planning for next week, etc.  I came home and made the Banana Pudding Cookies and Apple Streusel Cake, and took a nap.

One of my favorite boys from last year, Tanner, came to visit me last night at church.  I say I'd never be a foster parent, but I'd love to take Tanner.  He came to see me on the third day of school when we had an early release too.  I loaded up a plate for him and his friend to eat.  He is a precious boy to me.  I can't wait to see what comes of his life.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Visits with Special People...

One of my best friends, Christine, and my former student teacher, Chelsey:

My best friend of almost ten years: Wendy

My Gran!!!!!

Still Reading...Slower Pace

With the start of the school year, comes the unavoidable decline in the volume of reading I do.  :(  

I'm reading the professional book called: 
Opening Minds: Using Language to Change Lives 

Almost Amish (Completed)

Married. Happily


Mondays with My Old Pastor (Completed)

reWritten (Completed)

Why are All the Good Teachers Crazy?

I've got several things to get done before the weekend including: next week's lesson plans, getting over this sinus infection, my professional growth plan, and an online class (time consuming, but not difficult).  

This three day weekend plans to be filled with baking/cooking, reading, and mailing out some overdue cards.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Chicken with a Twist

I was so happy to see my kiddos today.  One of my girls, Tana, brought me two cupcakes with "homemade cream cheese frosting."  HH wrote his part of the thank you note, and I'm writing mine.  We had early dismissal again due to heat.


Applesauce Barbecue Chicken

This chicken was "different," and I would say that it is for a more sophisticated palette.  I wouldn't serve this as a down home type recipe to others.  I enjoyed it, and it reminded me of a great meal I had at a gastropub in Louisville.

Boston Market Creamed Spinach

I was so happy with how the creamed spinach turned out.  When I have made it in the past, it has always turned out "soupy."  

Andes Mint Cookies

These cookies are going to my friends at the bank tomorrow.  HH and I did have one, and they were great.

In other news, we got a bill that we had not paid enough in Kentucky taxes, so I will be mailing them $266.19 tomorrow.  

Slept Hard Last Night

At 9:20 last night, I tell HH I am really exhausted and I need to go to sleep.  I must have fell asleep by 9:22, or before my head even hit the pillow.  We have been dealing with a "first time" issue in ministry, and we've had a great learning experience for the future, but it has wore us out emotionally.

The baby shower was a lot of fun.  I made a crab dip recipe here.  I originally followed the quantity on the recipe, but after seeing how much it made, felt I should double it.  I love being able to put things in the crock pot and forget it, especially on Sundays, since they are usually so busy.

Cherry Tomato and Cheese Ravioli Soup

This was the first time I had ever cooked tomatoes until they "burst."  I never saw a "thick sauce form," but perhaps I didn't cook them long enough.  The soup turned out great though.

Not-Fried Tomatoes

1/2 cup all-purpose flour
2 large eggs, slightly beaten
5 cups crushed cornflakes
salt and pepper
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 pounds firm tomatoes, cut into 1/4 inch rounds
ranch dressing

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.  Place wire racks into rimmed baking sheets.  Place flour, eggs, and cornflakes in three separate shallow dishes and season each with salt and pepper.  Stir cayenne into flour mixture.  Coat each tomato slice first in the flour, then eggs, then cornflakes, pressing slightly to adhere.  Arrange tomatoes in a single layer on the racks and bake until deep golden brown, about 15 minutes.

What is love?  HH going to my school before he heads into work to check my classroom for SNAKES.    Yes, you read that right.  They found a rattlesnake at the entrance to the building over the summer, then they found a bull snake at the other end of the building.  Yesterday, at the baby shower, a lady on my team found a snake in her classroom....TWO DOORS down.  

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Sunflower Post Two

In an effort to get better lighting, we went out and had more pictures made with sunflowers, and some corn too.  Here they are:

Cooking Saturday

I had several awesome things I wanted to make this Saturday.  The first was a batch of cookies for HH and I. 
I made up another batch of Asparagulicious Chicken Salad.  This will be for me to munch on when I need some extra protein.
For dinner tonight we are having:

Baked Pierogi Casserole 

This recipe comes from a new blog called, "Table for Seven."

I was impatient with this dish.  I nuked the cream cheese in the microwave instead of letting it melt slowly on the stove.  This is why there is lumps in my final product.  The taste was great though.

I am going to a baby shower tomorrow, and I volunteered to make cupcakes and a hot dip appetizer. 

Mountain Dew Cupcakes

I'll post the dip recipe later in the evening.  I've got a soup and side recipe that I plan on making tonight too.

Friday's Eve....

Somtimes, your recipes fail.  Just like mine did the other night when I was making Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies.  They smelled amazing, and I could feel fall at my door.  Turns out some were still really gooey on the top, but a few were done. 

Fortunately, my Key Lime Meltaways did not fail.  Last Christmas, Ben's aunt sent us a box of these cookies from somewhere in the Outer Banks.  I let HH have one, then I claimed the rest of the box for myself.

More Kitchen Organization:

Easy Soup:

Dinner was pretty easy, since I was busy making two batches of cookies.  I just put some beans, sausage, and spinach together with chicken broth and spices.

I'm excited that I've found an Etsy shop vendor to recreate these shirts for HH and I.  The couple below has a few years on us though!  :)

Thursday, August 23, 2012

A Very Merry Me!

A few of my friends get together each Tuesday night for prayer.  I was asked to join last year, but just felt stretched.  I declined.  I said this year, I would probably join them sometimes.  I was debating going this week, even though I was very tired from the first two days of school.  HH kept trying to convince me to go (usually he is NOT like that), but I finally did go.  They had a surprise belated birthday party for me!  I was surrounded by many friends that I've made over the past year.

Here is one picture with a very special friend, Shelly.

Devil's Food Butterscotch Cookies

Peaches and Cream Cupcakes

My friend Alec has a birthday coming up, so we celebrated it last night.  The picture above shows how the cupcakes were hollowed out, and filled with yummy peach pie filling. 

1 cup butter softened
1 3/4 cup sugar
4 large eggs
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup milk
1/2 cup sour cream
1 (21 ounce) can peach pie filling, pureed

Cream Cheese Frosting:

1 cup butter, softened
1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
5 cups powdered sugar

1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line 24 muffin cups with cupcake liners.
2.  In a large bowl, beat butter and sugarixer until fluffy.  Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
3.  In a small bowl, combine flour, baking powder, and salt.  Gradually add to butter mixture, alternately with milk, beginning and ending with flour mixture.  Stir in sour cream.  Spoon batter into prepared muffin cups.
4.  Bake for 12-18 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean.  Let cool in pans for 10 minutes.  Remove from pans, and cool completely on wire racks.
5.  Using a melon baller, scoop out centers of cupcakes, leaving a 1/2 inch border.  Fill centers with 1 teaspoon peach puree.  Spread cream cheese icing over cupcakes.  Store in refrigerator.
Bacon Ranch Chicken
(No picture, but it sure was yummy!)

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Freshman Class of 2019

I'm one lucky gal to get to spend the year with these kiddos.  I have one more picture to upload for my class.  Day two of year twelve is in the books.