Friday, December 31, 2010

Banana Cake... aka banana bread

This morning I was looking around the kitchen to see what we have on hand, what we need to buy, etc, and then I found myself face to face with about 5 overly ripe bananas. Honestly, when they usually get that dark I throw them out. My family is not a fan of mushy bananas. I was about to toss them, but then decieded to make something with them...

This led me to make Banana Cake (honestly it's just banana bread in a bundt pan, with the cake name so my kids will eat it. I also do not own a loaf pan, so it was this or a muffin pan).

The last time I made banana bread I was again in a home ec class in highschool. The bananas they gave us to use for the bread were pretty nasty. I actually asked the teacher if they were safe to use, as they looked pretty ungodly. She assured me they were fine, but I still feel that they were found out of a grocery stores trash can. It was that bad.

This is how I made mine this am with my handy dandy Pampered Chef stone bundt pan....

2 cups mashed bananas (I used my overly ripe 5)
2 sticks butter
4 cups of flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups of sugar
2 eggs
5 tablespoons milk

Mash your bananas and set aside. Sift your flour, baking soda, powder, and salt together. Set that aside too. In your mixer cream your butter, sugar, and then add in your eggs, and next stir in your banana. Then add the flour mixture, and the milk last.

Then place all in your bundt pan, and cook in a preheated oven on 350 for 1 hour and 10 min...

I sprinkled mine with powder sugar. The girls loved this, and it was so easy. I also would like to give myself a pat on the back for using the bananas and not just wasting them. I got all fancy and placed the finished cake on my grandma's pretty fostoria square cake stand.


Thursday, December 30, 2010

Fun Times with chicken....

As the grocery shopper person for my household I know that buying a whole chicken is MUCH cheaper then buying the pieces.... I just never did it... Honestly I would just buy frozen breasts from Costco, or snag up a bunch of marked down cut up chicken from the grocery store. I ventured out of my comfort zone and bought two whole chickens from Costco a few weeks ago, and just stuffed them in my freezer.

I found a receipe yesterday that I really wanted to try, using a whole chicken, but it needed to be cut up. Truth be told, in Home Ec class in highschool I had to cut one up, but I had a partner, and a teacher giving step by step instructions...

Yesterday I googled a "how to", but I wasn't getting it...So I called over my mom and made her explain, but made sure I was the one that had to do it all. Ok so I made her take out the "stuff" from the cavity... But I did it, and it was a pain in the chicken's you know what. Honestly I wont be making a habit of always getting a whole I just don't always have time for all of that. But I have to admit, Dave and I both thought the chicken tasted a lot better...

So anyways, I made this tonight with my cut up chicken.
1 (3 pound) whole chicken, cut into pieces
1/2 cup butter, melted
1/2 cup honey
1/4 cup prepared mustard
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon curry powder
1.Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
2.Place chicken pieces in a shallow baking pan, skin side up. Combine the melted butter or margarine, honey, mustard, salt and curry powder and pour the mixture over the chicken. Bake in the preheated oven for 1 1/4 hours (75 minutes), basting every 15 minutes with pan drippings, until the chicken is nicely browned and tender and the juices run clear.

I served it with brown rice and corn. It was a big hit! I did double the curry though, as I love some curry! I also removed most of the skin. Besides the whole cutting up the chicken part, it was really simple, and I am sure you could make this with just several chicken breasts if you don't feel like hacking up a whole chicken...


Monday, December 27, 2010

Christmas 2010

I love Christmas! Seriously, I got about 2 hours sleep Christmas Eve, because I just get so excited about it! Santa came late that night, enjoyed some cookies and milk from the kiddos, and he left a bell ornament on the table as a thank you (the kids love The Polar Express). I got up about 6am, took a shower, and started on making a breakfast casserole.... Laura was the first kiddo down at 7ish to see the goodies, and she was so excited! She ran and woke everyone else up, because we refused to let her touch a thing until her sisters got up, so she pretty much shook her sisters until they woke up.

My parents came over to see what the girls had gotten, about 5 minutes after the girls all came down, and by then Laura had already stripped out of her PJ's into a Princess dress right there in our living room. Princess items were a big must have on their wish lists this year. Emily spent the rest of the morning guarding her pink Hummer from her sisters, and Rachel enjoying playing with her fishing pole.

We spent the rest of the day at my parents, and then later at the inlaws house. It was such a busy, chaotic day, but it's still at the same time so wonderful. Everyone got spoiled silly. Dave surprised me with a awesome new handbag that seriously in a million years I never thought he would get for me. I also got an Ipad from my parents, that I am obssessed with . That thing is amazing! I already can tell how handy it is going to be, not just for me, but for the whole family. There cute kid apps, that I plan on doing with the kids (supervised of course, because if they were to break it, I would make them pay up). If you have Netflix you can stream movies and shows on it. They have a Kindle app, Nook App, etc. It's just amazing....You can also get things to print to a wireless printer... I could go on...

In other news we had some serious snow....

In my 30 years we have never had a white Christmas....we have come close many years, a few days before a day or so after... but my oh my we got hit with a ton this year to make up for it! It started flurring late afternoon, and by the evening it was starting to stick wonderfully! When we woke up the next day we had a good 4 inches on the ground already, and by the time it was over we ended up with more then a foot of snow....LOVE IT!

I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas and got to spend time with the ones they love, because that is what Christmas is all about!


Friday, December 24, 2010

The Night Before Christmas....

Well it's Christmas Eve! I can't believe it is here again! Yesterday we had a party for some family. I made a lot of different items this time, all coming from my junior league cookbooks, and from my patients at work. My meat balls were actually a renal friendly receipe lol, perfectly safe in case any of my guests were in renal failure. I think it all turned out well. I forgot to take pictures, but I did manage to take a picture of my dad and Emily before everyone else arrived... Poor Emily refused to take a nap earlier, and she ended up passing out while I was holding her, so I laid her down on the couch... She woke up for a minute just to collapse on the floor with a blanket and sleep again.

This morning I ran to the bank and grocery store for some last minute errands, and then I came back and we made some reindeer food. The kids loved doing this, and it was really easy. I just let them mix some oatmeal and glitter in a bowl, stir it up, and then place in 3 zip lock bags. This evening they will sprinkle it on the grass so the reindeer can have a treat, and the glitter will help guide them to our house when they see it shining...

This evening we dont' have any major plans. We will probably go look at some Christmas lights, let the kiddos open their pj's, and hope that they all pass out early. I hope so anyways, I am starting to get sick, so my energy level is pretty much gone now!


Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Christmas Traditions in our house....

I saw this on a blog I follow, and I thought I would play along!

1. Does your family send Christmas cards? Oh yes! I love sending them, and I love getting them in the mail! This year I made ours with Shutterfly as I got them free for being a blogger. Can't beat that...

2. How soon do you start shopping? I start crazy early... like not long after Christmas... but even though I start early, I still wait near the end for the kids to make up their minds, and for the hubby.

3. Who do you shop for? Family, and a few close friends.

4. Do you put up a Christmas tree? Um yes. I would have 50 if I could find places to put them all.

5. If so, is it fake or real? I have always had a real tree my entire life. Of course we do have a fake tree in the play room (it's pink) but our main tree is real. I did almost convert over after freaking out last year when our tree fell over, but I am glad I didn't make the switch... there's just nothing like a real tree.

6. Do you like tinsel? Not a fan.

7. Do you use homemade or store bought ornaments? Mostly store bought, though I LOVE the ornaments my kiddos have made.

8. Do you put Christmas lights outside your house? No, we did one year, but the husband hasn't done it again.

9. Do you put lights on the tree? What kind of question is this? Of course! White lights.

10. How about popcorn and cranberries? On the tree? We don't do either.

11. Is there a wreath hanging on your door? Yes!

12. Do you celebrate it? The wreath? No, but I am obsessed with it, cause I made it.

13. Do you hang up your stocking? Yes. I didn't as a child, they were always laid out where Santa left our items, but I like the idea of them hanging from the mantle.

14. Does your family read "Twas the night before Christmas?" We do.

15. Favorite Christmas Movie. - This hard... honestly my favorite is a oldie from the 80's with Dudley Moore in it... I think it's called Christmas the Movie. Dudley plays an elf. I found it on Blue Ray from Costco. I love it because it brings back a lot of childhood memories for me.

16. Fave character from any Christmas Movie. Oh goodness...I have to go with Buddy from Elf I guess...

17. Favorite Christmas Song. O Holy Night, and the Mariah Carey Song.

18. Favorite Christmas Memory. The excitement on Christmas Eve night as wee one. Every year when I was little we would always go to my grandparents house, and have a big party, and open gifts from them and with my uncle and cousins. Then we would go back home that night. Often times my sisters (they were a lot older then me and didn't live at home anymore) and my granny would come spend the night in our house. Those nights were always fun because they were around, and spending the night. My sisters would make me close my eyes and they would lead me into the living room to see what Santa brought the next morning.

19. Give or Receive? Give! I love seeing the look on my children's faces (ok so it's Santa), but it's the best!

20. Eggnog or Cider? Cider. I hate Eggnog.

21. Red or Green? Red.

22. Ham or Turkey? Ham!

23. Star or Angel? Angel, but I am doing picks in the top of my tree this year.

24. White Lights or Colored Lights? White.

25. Blinking Lights or Still Lights. STILL! No twinkles for me.

26. Were you Naughty or Nice this year? I'm a work in progress.

27. What do you want for Christmas this year? skinny thighs.

28. When do you open your gifts? Christmas Day.

29. What's the best gift you've ever gotten? It's too hard to pick. I have to admit, I have been extreamly spoiled. I have the best family, their the best gift.

30. What's the worst gift you've ever gotten? A Precious Moments Soccer figurine when I was 19 I think... I hate precious moments figurines and soccer.

31. Who gives you the most gifts? My parents.

32. Have you ever had a secret Santa? No

33. Do you like wrapping gifts? Sure.

34. Do you put change in those red buckets? No I don't. We do the angel tree though, and each year the kids classes sponser a family. Between that and my own three kids and family I'm broke as a joke at Christmas.

35. Do you burn a yule log? Negative.

36. Can you name all the reindeer? Sure!

37. Do you bake cookies? Yes

38. Have you ever seen your mommy kissing Santa Clause? Sure

39. Have you ever gotten a kiss under the mistletoe? Yep.

40. Do you go caroling? When I was little I did.

41. Do you drive around and look at the Christmas lights? Yes! Multiple nights.

42. Have you ever left Santa cookies? Of course, and some treats for the reindeer!

43. Have you ever sat on Santa's lap? Of course

44. Who do you celebrate Christmas with? Our immediate families

45. Where do you celebrate Christmas? It's a busy day. In the morning Dave and I exchange, then the kiddos see what Santa brought. My parents usually come over to see what Santa brought, and I give them their gifts then. Later we go to their house, and then head to my inlaws to continue.

46. Have you ever had a white Christmas? Nope. A ice covered one though in 98 without power.

47. What part of Christmas do you look most forward to? Spending time with family.

48. Have you ever had your picture taken with Santa? Yes

49. Does your family always take a picture at Christmas? We try.

50. What are you most thankful for this year? Honestly, I am thankful that all of my sick family members have made it another year. 2010 was a tough year for many people in my family healthwise.

Our Tuesday

My older two kiddos had their last day of school for the year, with their Christmas class parties and Christmas program. I stayed up late finishing the teachers Christmas gifts, (some cookies and treats on a cute Christmas plate) and then woke up at a crazy hour to see the freaking moon. I never went back to bed, so I am obviously dragging right now...I also made the mistake of going to Walmart grocery shopping as I needed a butt load of grocries for our party. It was traumatizing, I should have just paid more and gone somewhere else.

Anyways, I had it in my head that it would be really sweet to dress the girls up in their matching dresses today. I really wanted a cute picture of all three, but this was as good as we could get it. Yes I was a semi mean mom, and made my kids pose outside in the cold by the door without jackets on in an attempt to capture a picture. I don't even know why I thought that would be a good idea, but you can see how that worked out for us:


Yeppers, that didn't fly. Rachel turned her head and started crying... So off to school we went....usually they are dropped off at the front door in the carpool line, but because I had teacher presents, I thought it would be a good idea to park and walk all of us inside. Emily was really excited and demanded to take her book bag (she doesn't go to school yet, but she has a book bag all ready for next year). She was so proud to march on in like her sisters. Maybe this was a fluke, but when we were walking down the hallway, she saw the hooks on the wall, and she stopped, took her bag and jacket off, and hung them on a hook. I had to laugh as the hook she put it on actually said "Emily" above it. She had a great time checking out the classroom, and had the biggest meltdown when we left to run back home. Maybe I should just put her in school in January....I think she would love it...

Anyways, just as soon as I got back home I had to go back to school for the parties and then their program. The program was cute, Rachel who refused to practice her singing with her class during practice sessions ended up singing loud and proud, and Laura who had come home everyday excited to talk about the singing, froze up and looked like she was about to run. That's pretty typical of her though, she does great unless there is a large crowd. Can't say I blame her though, I am the same way. It was precious though.

Monday, December 20, 2010

I am fairly certain that I have to buy one gift card tomorow, and then I am done with my Christmas shopping for everyone. The wrapping is just about done as well too. I don't know why but I have just felt completely stressed out this Christmas, and have felt an overwhelming sense of panic to make sure I have finished everything.... I am not behind or anything, so I don't know why I have been feeling this way. My husband has even impressed me this year by putting together some toys to help Santa out, instead of waiting until Christmas Eve night. That it huge people! Now that just about everything is done, and I can relax a little now, but like a idiot I have planned a family gathering at our house later this week. Yepp, that's what stupid people do.

I shouldn't say that I guess, it will be fun, and gives me an excuse to cook some treats, and an extra push to keep that kids from messing up the house, which is a full time job. Seriously what was I thinking.


Saturday, December 18, 2010

Saturday morning thoughts...

So we are one week away from Christmas. YIKES! As far as shopping goes I still have 2 or 3 more gifts to purchase, and I have not secured those yet mainly because we have had some winter weather preventing me from getting out. You have to understand, in our area of Virginia we do not get a lot of snow, 1-2 inches and everything shuts down, and people lose their minds and wreck into everything... I have been too chicken to go out shopping with the crazies with bad roads...

I did take advantage of some online shopping yesterday with promises that it would be here before Christmas, so that's something done....If all goes as planned I may be able to knock out the rest this evening... fingers crossed.

I have not been crafting at all this holiday season, unless you count me cutting out snowflakes with the kiddos yesterday with construction paper. I have had some cute ideas but time just has not been on my side... I am working on getting neighborhood goodies together though... I went with my idea of making large batches of the spiced oyster cracker snack. I have a few more batches to make this weekend, and then I will force my kiddos to take them door to door.


Sunday, December 12, 2010

More fun with mesh....

With some leftover mesh I added it to our breakfast nook light. I did this last year with wire ribbon, and I liked how fun it made our kitchen, so I repeated it with mesh this year for a different look!


My weekend....

I have had a semi-frantic weekend, as I thought my computer was shot. It was saying it couldn't find my harddrive and nothing would work... I was freaking out as I have a crap load of pictures organized on here, and my digital scrapbook stuff too... I backed everything up but it was stressful. To make a long story short I was able to fix this on my own (knock on wood), and everything is back to normal...

Deep sigh of laptop isn't that old, and I really don't want to buy a new one... I would honestly like to hold out and get a macbook pro one day, but I am kinda waiting to see if the creative memories software for my scrapbook stuff will one day be compatible with Apple products...

So enough about my drama, I have been busy with wrapping presents and trying to figure out who else I need to buy for...I have all the kids stuff done (minus Dave putting together Emily's big gift). I probably just have a few gift cards left to purchase, so that's not too bad.

The girls made some ornaments this morning with a little project I bought from the dollar store. They loved making them, and were excited to hang them on the tree. We plan on going to look at lights later tonight and go to Krispy Cream and have some treats. Should be a sugar fun fest!


Sunday, December 5, 2010

At this point it's safe to say I have gained 20 lbs...

I have two Christmas parties to go to Sunday, so I spent a little bit of time making a few goodies to take. I made another Pumpkin Log, and then I decieded to make spiced oyster crackers. A patient where I used to work made these for the staff a few years ago, and they were sooo addictive. I found a receipe, sent my husband to the store to get a few things, and then whipped out a few batches. The kids have gone bonkers over them, so hopefully I still have enough to take with me. I think I might try to be all super sweet suzy homemaker and give some out to neighbors closer to christmas...

Here's what you have to do:

3/4 cup vegetable oil
1 (1 ounce) package dry Ranch-style dressing mix
1/2 teaspoon dried dill weed
1/4 teaspoon lemon pepper
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1 (12 ounce) package oyster crackers
Preheat oven to 275 degrees
In a mixing bowl, whisk together vegetable oil, ranch-style dressing mix, dill weed, lemon pepper and garlic powder. Pour this spice mixture over the crackers in a medium bowl, and stir until the crackers are coated. Arrange the crackers on a large baking sheet.
Bake in the preheated 275 degrees oven for 15 to 20 minutes.

I also tried my hand with making Peppermint Bark. It's really easy... I just lined a baking sheet with tin foil, melted about a cup of chocolate chips, spred that on to out 1/4 thickness, then I melted some white candy coating chocolate stuff (real big technical name haha) and poured that on top once the other chocolate hardened, and then I had crushed up candycanes (about 5) sprinkled on top. Let sit in the fridge for about 30 min or so, and then break up. Super easy.


Saturday, December 4, 2010

An awesome giveaway!

My mom is having a giveaway for the cutest cookbook ever! Go to her blog now to enter!


Christmas Town 2010

A while back if you were a follower of Busch Gardens on twitter there was a special code to get tickets to Christmas Town for just $5, the deal only lasted a few hours, but I acted fast and scooped them up for us. We went last night and it was really nice! We got free parking with our regular season passes, and we had a good time walking around, watching a few shows, and eatting some treats...We had never been before. The girls favorite part was seeing real penguins, and eatting popcorn. There easy to please! The best part was there were hardly any people there last night, so we were able to take our time and now be trampled by crowds. I think most of the people in the area were at the fireworks in our hometown, but I am glad we chose Christmas Town over that as I heard it was chaotic...