Saturday, August 30, 2008

Easy Dinner Recipes and Easy Dessert

We had some very good friends over for dinner last night. We always enjoy their company and it had been a while since we had visited with them. Laura has celiac disease so I was not sure what I could prepare for her to eat. I googled (God bless Google, huh?) celiac disease recipes and of course came up with a ton of stuff. Okay, I'm not a gourmet chef by any stretch of the imagination, but I enjoy cooking dinner for my family and friends, so I was really at a loss here.

Ordinarily I might make chicken enchiladas or a meatloaf dinner, but both recipes have wheat flour - gluten - in them (I'll post my recipes below - I'm a short-cut cook - I like easy!!). So, we all decided that burgers and hot dogs on the grill would be great. Laura brought her own bun and everything else was okay for her.

But the highlight of my cooking evening was dessert. I found a flour-less peanut butter cookie recipe that fits my style: easy. Laura said it was the first pb cookie she had in over three years. I was so happy to oblige and she was happy for the simple recipe. We also had Breyer's All Natural Ice Cream and a chocolate syrup that I found at Market Street called AH!Laska Organic Chocolate Syrup that is gluten free, tree nut free, this free, that free, but FULL of wonderful chocolaty taste. Do I sound like a commercial? The cookies, the ice cream, the syrup, ahhhhh, was a taste delight.

Our evening ended way too soon, but we all had kiddos to put in bed so we'll have to get together again soon! But for those reading this, enjoy the recipes below:

Flour-less Peanut Butter Cookies
(good for those who can't eat gluten - and good for everyone else, too!!)
1 Cup Peanut Butter (I used an organic creamy, but whatever PB you use will work)
1 Cup Sugar
1 Egg
1 tsp real vanilla (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Roll into balls and place on greased cookie sheet or baking stone. Flatten in criss-cross with a fork. Bake 10-12 minutes and allow to cool. They might be crumbly, but oh so tasty.

Lori's Chicken Enchiladas
I cook without measuring many times, so bear with me on this.
Servings: oh, I don't know...four or so
2-3 chicken breasts
8 flour tortillas
1 pk cream cheese
1 tub of sour cream (I think it is the 8oz size - not the biggie)
1 small can of green chilies (I like Hatch the best)
grated cheddar cheese - how much depends on how much you like cheese, I guess!
1 can red Enchilada sauce (again, I like Hatch the best)

Oven on 350. Grease a glass baking dish (I would guess a cake pan will do the same) to hold enchiladas. Cut cooked chicken breasts into small pieces and set aside On each tortilla, spread equal amounts of cream cheese, then top with a dollop of sour cream - saving some sour cream for the top of your enchiladas. Spoon a little bit of green chilies on each tortilla, then place chicken on each tortilla. Sprinkle each tortilla with grated cheese then roll up and place side by side in greased dish. Top with remaining sour cream and top with enchilada sauce and more grated cheese. Pop in the oven until cheese is good and melted. Yummy. Tasty and most definitely not low fat!

Easy Meat Loaf
Again, I rarely measure anything. It's my Grandmothers' fault. They would add a pinch, throw in a dollop, smell if it is ready, etc.
1 pound lean ground beef
1 egg (maybe two depending on how much bread goes in)
1 cup spaghetti sauce (or ketchup, but sauce already has more seasonings in it)
1 cup bread crumbs (I have used the Italian seasoned crumbs)

Mix all together, pop in oven at 350 for about an hour and voila`, meatloaf. Easy. Add in some mashed potatoes and green beans and you're set for dinner.

Smart Politics?

John McCain (or the people around him) must be one of the most clever persons around. Following up on the heels of the Democratic National Convention, he announces his Vice-Presidential running mate, Alaska governor Sarah Palin - a woman!!!

No matter how this election turns out, it will be historic. We will either have our first woman VP or our first African-American president. How cool is that? As long as the candidates are ready and capable of leading and have the right stuff to do so, it is cool.

But I say John McCain is very clever because, well think about it....the Dems can't say she is too young because Obama is only three years older, if they say she doesn't have enough experience, well, Pot, meet Kettle. And the kicker for me was if anyone dare says she can't lead, or she's not ready because she has young children, especially a baby with Down's Syndrome, oh my, can you imagine the backlash from mothers all over the country?? Ouch.

Oh, it is politics and there will be more negatives pouring out of both camps than positives, and everyone's dirty laundry will be aired, but for this brief moment...the smartest move seems to be on the side of GOP.

Election year. Don't you just love it.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

School Daze

Home schooling is going pretty well for us so far. Hunter has told me on more than one occasion how much he is liking home school. He should. So far, we've gotten done with school work by 10 or 11 o'clock in the morning with an 8am starting time. Next week we'll add in a few more subjects, so it should take us until Noon to complete the work. Of course, that's not counting any outings we make.

On Monday we had a "Not Back to School" party with one of the home school groups and Hunter met another boy named Hunter, who is also 7 years old, and is also in 2nd grade. Both boys thought that was the coolest thing ever! Then yesterday we met up at our neighborhood park with another group and Hunter got to meet even more boys to play with.

I heard a moms yesterday talking about the "socialization" issue many have with home schoolers. The point was made that at "school" you meet and play with kids from your same age group and for the most part, the same socio-economic status (with district boundaries and all). In home school groups, you meet and play with kids of different ages and different socio-economic backgrounds. More likely what you'll meet and work with in the real world. I had not thought about it that way, but yeah, Hunter likes to play with older and younger kids as well as kids his age (and with the same name!).

Hadyn is just blending in with all of this so well. I realized today that she is actually going to be picking up on so much more than I would have been doing with her if Hunter were away at school all day. This morning I gave her a coloring book and her crayons at the table while we were doing school work. I had her repeat the color names back to me and then we would say them in Spanish. It was then I realized, I wouldn't be this detailed with her right now otherwise. And she seems to like having bubby around all the time, too.

Well, I'm being told it's lunchtime. And Backyardigans is almost over.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Back to School - Sort of

Today is the first day of school for many North Texas kiddos. Mine, too, however we are homeschooling, so it's back to school work, not necessarily back to school. Hunter was so excited this morning to start. We got up early and got ready as if we were leaving to make it to class by 8am, and at 8 o'clock, we started. He did a journal page - and wrote about how excited he is - then we started with our first day of work.

I'm using the My Father's World curriculum for 2nd grade, so everything is pretty much laid out for me. I've got a board on the wall showing what all we have scheduled for the day and will check off as we finish. Today we learned what the Pledge of Allegiance means:

I pledge (promise) allegiance (loyalty - to do good and not to harm) to the flag of the United States of America and to the Republic (a government by the people, not a king) for which it stands, one nation (country) under God, indivisible (cannot be divided), with liberty (freedom) and justice (fair and right) for all.

We also did our Bible study lesson, part A of lesson 1 of the Spelling book, a history timeline, art, reading, and his music lesson (drums) before going to a "Not Back to School" party at
with one of our home school groups. He had a blast and so did little sister.

Tomorrow we'll add science, then next week comes the math and Spanish, then we'll add the English work in. And of course, we'll go to classes and play times with the home school groups.

Lot of fun to be had!!

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Olympic Track Soapbox

Okay, I'm dragging out my soapbox again, but this time regarding track athletes in the Olympics. PEOPLE, YOU ARE OLYMPIC ATHLETES - KEEP RUNNING UNTIL YOU CROSS THE FINISH LINE!!

I am so frustrated with watching these athletes in qualifying and finals slowing up before they cross the finish line. I still remember well over 20 years after the fact that you don't ever do that. I would have gotten my tuckus chewed off for doing that and here I'm watching world class athletes doing it. Am I the only one that had a coach to ride my butt like that? I just watched one guy just nearly lose out on all medals because of it, but no one points that out.

Whatever. Yeah, I'm not an Olympic athlete so what do I know?

Oh yeah, I also know that you should have the baton firmly in your closed hand before you pull your hand away from it. Bummer.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Vacation Part 3

August 15th
At Hunter's request, today we went white water rafting in Taos, NM, on the Rio Grande. It was awesome. The water level wasn't too bad and we got some Class 3 rapids. Hunter wants to go back in May or June (however, I think the water level will be too much for him to be able to go on then). Yeah, he's hooked. And he did great. Our river guide, Jake at Far Flung Adventures, was so excellent and worked with Hunter so well.

Yeah, Scott and I will want to go back and try some more adventurous rapids for more adrenaline rush!

22 Months

My baby girl is 22 months old today. We are only two months away from her being a whole 2 years old. Man, time flies and crawls at the same time.

It seems it was just a few months ago that I was miserably pregnant with her, but on the other hand we look at each other questionably and wonder how 22 months can seem like 10 years! HA!

I just have to look at this cutie pie smile and laugh. This is why God made her so cute - to make up for the fiesty, stubborn, onery little girl that she is.


Saturday, August 16, 2008

Vacation Part 2

August 14

I forgot to put a pic of the bat on the other post. I'll put him/her on this one.

Today we drove over the pass to Taos. We had a Taos Dining catalog so we perused through it to find a good place to eat lunch. We were surprised to find so many organic and natural food restaurant options. We chose 5 Star Hamburgers to eat. Wow! It was really good! The kids enjoyed and Scott and I were really getting into it.

Then we headed north of Taos to the Rio Grande Gorge Bridge. It’s a pretty cool sight to see. As you are driving across the flat plain area between mountain ranges, BOOM! There it is! All of a sudden in the middle of seemingly nowhere is a canyon second to the Grand Canyon. Hunter is such a worry-wart usually, but today, the kid was walking to the edge of some very unstable looking rocks, much to his mother’s chagrin. Then as we were walking across the bridge, the wind picked up over the canyon and I just had a horror film vision of the wind picking up my skinny little boy and carrying him over the side (Scott had a good hold on Hadyn). But this did not deter Hunter, who would squat down, knees through the rails on the bridge peering over – and he HAD to get us in the middle of the bridge so he could be right over the river. The kid who is afraid of everything wasn’t afraid of what he might should’ve had a healthy amount of fear. Go figure.

Anyway, tomorrow, at Hunter’s request, we are going white water rafting. Whee!!! This will be added to our list of completed things like bungee jumping, snow skiing, scuba diving, and sky diving.

More tomorrow!

Vacation Part 1

August 12th

We drove to Eagle Nest, NM today. What should have taken us four hours to drive from my parents house took us close to seven. We made many bathroom stops, lunch stops, picture stops, and just stretch little bitty legs stops.

As we drove through the winding roads of Cimmaron Canyon, we noticed the outside temperature was a nice 66 degrees. Last week in the Dallas area, we were enjoying 106 degree temps. What a change. I don’t know what the temp was last night, but it was chilly. The kids have long sleeve shirts and jeans on this morning.

Our excitement last night was bat catching. Yup, bats. Everyone was in bed but me and Scott and I noticed a fuzzy little something resembling a mouse on the rock wall behind the fire. I walked towards it (yes, aren’t I the brave one) to see what is was and YIPES, it was a bat. I’ve never seen a bat that up close and in person. We gently caught the little creature and took his picture then released him outside. We sat back down to relive our conquest when we heard scritch-scratching again. Low and behold, another little bat was in the house. We caught him, too and released him (could be a her – I wouldn’t know how to look).

Anyway, it’s a good, cool trip so far. Today Hunter wants to “climb some mountains.” Yea.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Cool Weather!

I am heading north. I'm tired of the heat and I'm leaving. Well, temporarily. My niece is getting married on Friday (she wanted her date to be 08/08/08) outside of Amarillo. No, it's not really any cooler than it is here in our part of Texas, but it's a dry heat. You can cool off in a breeze under a shade in dry heat - sorta. I don't know, once it gets over high 90's, it doesn't really matter if it's a dry or humid heat. It's just hot!

Anyway, Scott is planning on meeting us in a few days to go on up to my parent's cabin in Northern New Mexico - in the mountains. I just checked the weather there: Highs in the 70's Lows in the 40's. YES!!!!!

Now, I have to try to dig out cool weather clothes for us. You know, it's always something, isn't it.

Keep cool,