Thursday, September 27, 2012

Thankful Thursday


Happy Thursday!

 Today, I'm thankful for videos like this, that make me laugh out loud until I cry.






Anyone else a Friend's fan?

Question of the Day:
What are you thankful for today?

Until next time!
~Anne Marie

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Hello Fall!


Happy Wednesday!

Am I the only one who feels like this week is going by slowly?  I swore it was Thursday too many times today that I've lost count!

With the change in temperatures in our area, our household has slowly made the transition from t-shirts and shorts to jeans and hoodies.  

The little guy is in love with his jeans.  He gets so excited to wear them!



Along with the shift in weather comes a shift in how I cook my meals - when Fall hits, the crock-pot comes out.  I love my crock-pot so much in the Fall and Winter that I could hug it if it weren't so weird!  Crock-pot cooking makes life so much easier, doesn't it?

I found this recipe for salsa chicken and knew it was right up my alley.  While it doesn't look like the prettiest thing I've ever made, it sure tasted delicious.  It was a bit too spicy for the little guy, so I'm still trying to think of a modification for it.


Here's the recipe from the site:

Ingredients:

1 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts 
1 can cream of mushroom or cream of chicken soup 
1 cup salsa 
1 package taco seasoning 
1 cup sour cream 
cilantro, for serving (optional)

Directions: 

Put chicken, soup, and salsa in slow cooker. Sprinkle taco seasoning over everything. Cook on low for 6 hours. If shredding the chicken, pull the breasts out and shred; return back to slow cooker. Stir in sour cream and heat just until everything is combined.


Question of the Day:
Do you use a crock-pot during the Spring/Summer?

Until next time!
~Anne Marie


Monday, September 24, 2012

Homemade Bread in an Hour


Happy Monday!

Hope you all had a fantastic weekend!  Mine consisted of my washer breaking and me having acute bronchitis with an upper respiratory infection.  Seriously....I'm kinda done with the way my life has been going for the past three weeks!  I'm trying to keep positive, though, because wallowing in the craziness is not going to make things any better.

You know what does help to make things better?  Homemade bread.....in one hour.  I've always wanted to bake my own bread, but timing is always a factor.  After checking out some pins on Pinterest, I came across this one for one hour sandwich bread.

Kneading bread is a surefire way to work out some stress, right?

After the dough had risen

The smell of fresh bread baking was incredible.

All done!
Will I make this again?  You bet, except next time, I'll make it into more of "sandwich' type of bread.

Here's the recipe directly from the website:

One Hour Sandwich Bread

Adapted from ‘The Tightwad Gazette’.
Ingredients:
  • 6 cups all-purpose flour (1 pound, 9.5 ounces by weight)
  • 2 Tablespoons instant yeast (also known as Bread Machine Yeast)
  • 2 Tablespoons sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon Kosher salt (if using table salt, reduce to 1 ½ teaspoons)
  • 2 cups very warm water (about 120°F)
  • 2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Mixing the dough by Stand Mixer (my preferred method):
Combine flour, instant yeast, sugar, and salt in the bowl of the stand mixer that has been fitted with a dough hook.  Mix on low speed for 30 seconds.
With mixer running, slowly pour in the water and olive oil at the same time.  Continue mixing on low until the dough comes together and becomes smooth, about 4 minutes.  Remove bowl from the stand mixer, scraping any dough that remains on the dough hook into the bowl.  Pull dough from bowl with your hands and form a smooth dough ball.  Replace in bowl, cover with a clean tea towel and let rise in a warm place for 15 minutes.
Mixing the dough by Food Processor:
Combine flour, instant yeast, sugar and salt in the bowl of a food processor that has been fitted with a blade or dough blade.  Pulse 10 times.  With the food processer running, pour the water and olive oil into the feed chute.  Continue processing until the dough forms a cohesive ball.  Spin the dough ball 20 times and shut off the food processor.  Remove the dough, form a smooth dough ball and place in a lightly oiled mixing bowl.  Cover with a clean tea towel and let rise in a warm place for 15 minutes.
Mixing the dough by Hand:
Combine flour, instant yeast, sugar and salt with a whisk or fork in a large mixing bowl.  Pour the warm water and olive oil into the flour mixture and use a sturdy spoon to combine into a shaggy dough.  Use your hands to knead for 8 minutes*.  After kneading for 8 minutes, cover the bowl with a clean tea towel and let rise in a warm place for 15 minutes.
*If you find it difficult to knead in the bowl, you can turn the dough out onto a clean surface to knead it.  After kneading, just return the dough to the bowl and allow it to rise as instructed above.
Turn dough out onto a clean surface and divide in half.  Form each half into a ball and place 5-6 inches apart on a baking sheet that has been lined with parchment paper or a silpat, or has been lightly greased.  Use a sharp knife to slash the top of the loaf about ¼ of an inch deep.  This allows the steam to escape the baking loaf.
To bake the loaves:
Arrange the racks in your cold oven so that one rack is on the very bottom and one is positioned in the center of the oven.  Place the baking sheet with the loaves on the center rack and a bread or cake pan that is full of very hot tap water on the bottom rack.   Close the oven and turn your oven on to 400°F.  It is imperative that you start this in a cold oven!  Set your timer for 40 minutes.  That 40 minutes is all that stands between you and fresh bread.

Question of the Day
Have you ever made homemade bread?

Until next time!
~Anne Marie

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Thankful Thursday




Happy Thursday!

Despite the craziness in my house right now, the little guy takes things like a champ and acts as though not being able to walk into the kitchen and dining room is completely normal.

So while I'm getting dinner ready and trying to prevent him from coming into the kitchen I give the little guy my IPod.  The song he's currently obsessed with is Rumor Has It by Adele.  

I'm thankful he keeps me smiling through this frustrating time in my house, and boy oh boy does he give me reasons to smile!




Question of the Day:
What are you thankful for today?

Until next time!
~Anne Marie

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Starting a Tradition


Happy Wednesday!

When I look back at my childhood, I see that it was filled with lots of traditions.  One that stands out in particular are holiday meals at my grandmom's house where there would be escarole soup, crostini, green spaghetti, antipasti and celery wrapped in prosciutto....and that was before the main meal! Of course, in addition to the food, my grandmom's house was filled with loud, feisty Italians laughing, joking and having a good time.  This is a tradition we still keep, and it's one of my favorite traditions in the whole world.

For the past month or so, I've started a tradition with my little guy.  We've started making pizza together every Sunday.  I think it's super important to cook with him so that he gets involved with the food he's eating.  Plus, when he helps make his own food, he will typically eat more of it. 

Last Sunday I was able to record what our typical pizza making experience is like.  You'll see that he eats much more than he "cooks" but he enjoys himself nonetheless.

You may hear the little guy mention "Guh Guh's" gravy.  Guh Guh is what he calls my mom.  When he was first learning to talk, that's how he said grandmom.  The name has kinda stuck!



This is a tradition I'd like to keep around for awhile!

Question of the Day:
Tell me about a tradition in your family.

Until next time!
~Anne Marie

Monday, September 17, 2012

Well That's a Bummer!

Happy Monday!

Hope you all enjoyed your weekend!

Something I don't talk on the blog is music. I LOVE music and its ability to make you forget about things or transport you to a place you were "x" amount of years ago. One of the cool parts of working in the city is that every Friday, a local radio station hosts free concerts. Most of the time the bands are people I've never heard of but I love the excuse to get out and listen to music over my lunch break.

Last Friday, Richie Sambora was the guest, and when I heard about it, my jaw dropped.  In case you don't know who the heck Richie Sambora is, he's the guitarist for Bon Jovi.  I couldn't wait to get the chance to see him promote his album live.

I went with two girls from work and we got relatively close to the stage.




The man can play guitar amazingly......but he's a sleazeball.

After just about every song, he was talking about sleeping with this girl or that girl, or about how hot he was.

It was gross.  I mean yeah, I think the guy is attractive, but when you act like a complete douche bag, it takes away from everything.

I tried my best to focus on the music instead of the idiotic things he was saying.

Hearing him play this song made me happy, though.  (For the record, this was before I realized how nasty he was)



It was a great concert, but it would've been amazing had he not opened his mouth to talk!

Question of the Day:
What was the highlight of your weekend?

Until next time!
~Anne Marie

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Thankful Thursday

Happy Thursday!

The contractor came out yesterday and told us he has to ask for more money from our insurance company before they can start working on the house. He told us the hardest part of this whole process is being patient. Maybe that's what God's trying to teach me in all this mess? Patience is one of those things I'm not so good at.

Today, I'm thankful for taking the time to stop and enjoy the weather.  Over the weekend, despite being somewhat busy with things around the house, the hubby suggested we get out and enjoy the sunshine while we had the chance.

Enjoying the cool breeze and the warm sunshine was just what we all needed to get things back into perspective.



The little guy enjoys taking walks because he loves finding sticks.  He hordes them!

Question of the Day:
What are you thankful for today?

Until next time!
~Anne Marie

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Getting the Veggies In

Thank you for all of the kind wishes about the water damage to our house. We're having a contractor come our today to give us an estimate. Fingers crossed that all goes well!

When it comes to eating, the little guy does fairly well.  He likes most vegetables and will usually try something new when given the opportunity.  I have to admit that he does have his go-to foods that he'll always eat no matter what, but I find too much comfort in it and have started to get him in a food rut.  Sometimes I'm hesitant to make something new because if he doesn't like it, I don't want to make a separate meal.

I decided to bite the bullet and trust that he would like eggplant parmesan for three reasons:

1.  He'll eating almost anything that's breaded
2.  He'll eat almost anything that's covered in red gravy
3.  He'll definitely eat anything covered in cheese

Eggplants were on sale, so I picked up one and got to work.

First, peel and slice the eggplant into circles.  Dip them in eggs and breadcrumbs and put them on a baking sheet.


I baked these guys in a 350 degree oven for 30 minutes and flipped them halfway through.

Once they are done baking, assemble the eggplant parmesan just like you would for chicken parmesan:  gravy, eggplant, ricotta cheese, gravy, mozzarella cheese until you reach the top.

Bake it for another 30 minutes and when you are done, it should look like this.



I served the eggplant along with what we call "cheesy rice" which is just a microwavable bag with cheese sauce with rice and broccoli.  It's the little guy's favorite side dish.  I figured if he didn't like the eggplant, he'd certainly eat the rice and broccoli.


Turns out the little guy loves eggplant parmesan!  Woo hoo!

I now have another way to get some vegetables into my little guy, and that makes this mama happy.


Question of the Day:
Eggplant parm - yay or nay?

Until next time!
~Anne Marie

Monday, September 10, 2012

Catching Up

Hello everyone!

Last week I had to take a break from blogging because last weekend we had some water damage to our house.  

Last Saturday, the hubby and I noticed our kitchen floor was wet and it continued into the dining room.

Pointing to the wet spots on the carpet
Turns out the water line to the refridgerator was leaking and ruined our kitchen and dining room floors.  We had a company come out and they had to rip up three layers of floor in our kitchen and the rug in the dining room.  We had dehumidifiers in our home from Sunday - Thursday.




When we had the plumber come out to find the leak, he told us that the plastic line (seen below) was leaking.  "This is the line that is hooked up to our ice maker," he said.


Ready for the kicker?  WE DON'T HAVE AN ICE MAKER!  Yup, you read that right.  The wonderful people who installed our refridgerator hooked up and turned on water to an ice maker that doesn't exist.  You can bet I'm trying to get that company to pay for every last cent of the $6,300 worth of damage to my house.

The dehumidifers in action

So yeah, the past week hasn't been that great, but there is a silver lining to all of this - we were planning on getting the work done to our house at some point, and this accident is forcing us to act more quickly than we had planned.

Plus, the little guy is being a champ throughout this entire process.  We had to block off access to the kitchen and dining room because there are carpet staples all over the place and the last thing we need is to have the little guy hurt his foot.

Needless to say, I'll be back to regular blogging now that we're back to somewhat of a normalcy in our house.

Question of the Day:
Have you ever had damage to the place you live?

Until next time!
~Anne Marie

Monday, September 3, 2012

Happy Labor Day!

Today we're celebrating labor day, which means I have a few extra days off from work.  I've got eggplant parmesan in the oven and the little guy is up for a nap so I wanted to take the time to check in and say hello.

I'll see you on Thursday with another Thankful Thursday post.

Enjoy your week!

Until next time!
~Anne Marie