Thursday, December 29, 2011

Did you can clean a penny with taco sauce?

One of Joshua's Christmas presents was a science kit with 10 pre-packaged science experiments with all the ingredients, tools and instructions. It was so fun to put together and really inexpensive.

Tonight, he pulled it out to work on an experiment. Tonight's experiment was using taco sauce to clean pennies. Simple, but fun!

I found the grimiest pennies I could find and some extra packets of taco sauce.
Put a few drops of sauce on each penny and rub in. Let sit for 5 minutes, then wipe off with paper towel.

Our first attempt left a somewhat dirty penny. But our second attempt yielded a bright shiny penny!'s from 1973 and it looks good as new!

We like Steve Spangler's Science for fun hands-on learning activities.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Oatmeal Cranberry White Chocolate Chunk Cookies

Another blast from the past...

2/3 cup butter softened
2/3 cup brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 1/2 cups old fashioned oats
1 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
6 oz package of craisins
2/3 cup white chocolate chunks

1. Preheat oven to 375.
2. Using an electric mixer, beat butter and sugar together in a medium mixing bowl until light and fluffy. Add eggs, mixing well.
3. Combine oats, flour, baking soda and salt in separate mixing bowl. Then add to butter mixture in several additions, mixing well after each addition.
4. Stir in craisins and white chocolate chunks.
5. Drop by rounded teaspoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheets. Bake for 10 minutes. Cool on wire rack.

Makes 2 1/2 dozen.

The kids love them! They are a good mix of sweet and savory.

Creamy Broccoli Casserole

16 oz. broccoli
2 tbs butter
1/4 tsp salt
2 tbsp flour
2 c. milk
8 oz cream cheese cubed
1 c. crushed buttery round crackers
1. Prehead oven to 350.
2. Steam broccoli.
3. Melt butter over medium heat, stir in salt, flour and milk until thick and bubbly. Stir in cream cheese until melted.
4. Remove from heat, stir in broccoli.
5. Sprinkle 1/2 cup crushed crackers in pie plate. Layer with broccoli mix. Top with remaining cracker crumbs.
6. Bake for 30 minutes.

Yummy! Quick and easy. The kids loved it.

Sweet and Sour Meatballs

1 lb. ground turkey breast
1/4 c. dry bread crumbs
2 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
2 tbsp minced onion
1 egg
1 16oz can jellied cranberry sauce
1/3 c. ketchup
1/4 c. chili sauce
1. Combine turkey, bread crumbs, parsley, onion and egg. Mix well and shape the mixture into 24 meatballs.
2. Bake at 350 degrees for 45 min.
3. Combine last 3 ingredients in large pot. Gently mixed meatballs in sauce.

Resurrection Biscuits

Here it is the day after Christmas and I'm posting recipes for the Easter season. Notice that chunky little hand a couple of pictures down!

Grands biscuits
Melted butter
Cinnamon Sugar
1. Flatten out each Grand biscuit. Brush with butter and place marshmallow inside. Discuss the relation between the while marshmallow and the purity of Jesus. Annoint with spices and seal up tomb by wrapping biscuit around marshmallow and pinching to seal. (I brushed tomb with more butter and sprinkled more cinnamon sugar.)
2. Cook according to biscuit directions (350 degrees for 18 minutes worked for us). Take out of oven and let cool - if you slice them too soon, they will collapse, they need to cool for it to work right.
3. Once cooled (about 20 min or so for us), slice in half. Notice that the marshmallow is gone. Discuss why the tomb is empty.

Banana Carrot Muffins

The kids and I made these recipes quite often up in Alaska in the winter time. Ingredients:
1 cup sugar
4 eggs
5 bananas
1/2 cup orange juice
2 cups shredded carrots
4 cups flour
2 tsp baking soda
1tsp salt
1 cup butter
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. In medium bowl, combine flour, soda and salt.
3. In mixer, cream butter and sugar.
4. Mix in eggs and juice.
5. Mash bananas.
6. Mix carrots and bananas into the egg-sugar mixture.
7. Stir in dry mix
8. Put in lined muffin tins
9. Bake at 350 for about 30 minutes.
Makes 24 muffins. I sometimes add some chopped walnuts if I have them on hand. I first made these for the kids in November 2008.

Peanut Sauce Chicken and Veggies

Here's another recipe from back in 2008. Yum!

1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 tsp cayenne pepper
1 clove of garlic, chopped
1 tsp soy sauce
1 tsp lemon juice
1 tsp honey
1tsp water
Whisk all these things together (except the chicken - that'll mess up your whisk!), and pour over the chicken. Place in fridge to marinate anywhere from 10-60 minutes.
More ingredients:
1/2 cup chickpeas
1 tbsp peanut butter
2 tbsp honey
2 tbsp soy sauce
2 tbsp water
dash of Frank's
Toss all these things into the food processor and blend until very liquidy...I added about 1/4 cup more water through the top to make it very liquidy so it was easier to use as a stir-fry sauce.
1. Brown chicken, add stir fry sauce and whatever veggies you want.
2. Enjoy!
Stirred into the chicken tonight I used a 1/2 yellow onion (that's all that caramelized yummy goodness sticking to the chicken and veggies in the picture!), one cup of carrots, and one cup of broccoli (that I added about 2 seconds before serving, since I like my broccoli very crispy.)
I like this meal alot. The chicken had a great flavor to it and the stir fry sauce wasn't too sweet. But if you add enough Franks to anything, it's going to come out good!

Buffalo Chicken Dip

I'm working on carrying over some previously posted recipes. So cute to see the pictures of the kids when they were a little smaller! Here's one from April 2008.

Okay, so I never said all of our snacks were healthy. This is far from a healthy choice! However, it's one of Keith's favorite things to snack on. Ingredients:
2 cans of chunk chicken, drained
2 packages of cream cheese softened
1 cup ranch dressing
3/4 cup Franks
1 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
There are two different ways we make this dish. I like it this way -
1. Heat chicken and hot sauce in a skillet on the stove over medium heat. Stir in cream cheese and ranch dressing. Cook stirring until well blended and warm. Mix in half of the shredded cheese and transfer to slow cooker, top with remaining cheddar cheese.
This keeps it in the slow cooker nice and warm for parties.
Keith, on the other hand, makes it this way -
1. Take all the ingredients, dump into Kitchenaid mixer, mix with paddle blade until well mixed, toss into baking dish, cook on 350 for 30 minutes.
It doesn't come out nice and smooth like the crock pot method. When it's baked there are still pockets of cream cheese, and it isn't blended as well. But, hey, he's in the kitchen cooking, so what am I complaining about? :)
Serve with celery or tortilla chips or Chicken in a Biscuit crackers or in Keith's case, just a spoon will do.

Awww...I miss when the kids used to eat off of character melamine plates. I think this picture was just a few months after Megan gave herself her own haircut!

Monday, December 26, 2011

Christmas Festivities

We celebrated our Christmas dinner on Christmas Eve, which means our usual traditions were a day early. The kids woke up and waited for the okay to go find the pickle.

We have a glass pickle ornament that Keith and I hide on the tree on Christmas Eve and on Christmas morning the child that finds the pickle gets an extra gift. This gift is usually something gender-neutral and wrapped with the tag of "Pickle Gift".

Notice Megan is already dressed for church, and Daniel is running around in his PJs. Megan was the lucky Pickle winner this year.

She was pretty excited!

The only present that was opened that morning was the Pickle Gift (which was a Harry Potter game for the Wii and $5). Then it was time to eat and get out the door for church. Church was wonderful, although I do believe I'm teaching in the warmest room in the church - or perhaps it's just the energy of the 20 or so 4 year olds!

Back home after church, I put together the rest of lunch. Christmas menu this year:
* turkey breast (I made it in the crock pot - super easy!)
* gravy
* mashed potatoes
* winter salad (recipe to come soon)
* roasted carrots (recipe to come soon)
* dinner rolls (made by the Fresh Market)
* pumpkin pie (at Daniel's request and made by the Fresh Market)

Keith's parents came over for lunch and when we were all stuffed, it was time to exchange presents.

Grandma and Grandpa brought a really big present for the boys!

All Daniel asked for was a sword with a holder. In the Santa wrapped box there was a...
whole Roman soldier set! Incidently, the Party Store is the absolute funnest place to Christmas shop at!
Grandma and Grandpa Holloway got Megan an Easy Bake Oven. Which will be fantastic to make treats for the beautiful tea set that Grandma and Grandpa Ketchum got Megan.

Yippee! An ice cream maker for Grandma's house. Get it ready, I hear we are having a hot summer!

Grandpa and his new Georgia Bulldogs yard gnome.

Joshua and his new Georgia Bulldogs t-shirt.

Daniel with is Pillow Pet, reading the directions to his build-your-own-fort kit.

Saving the best for last, the kids attacked the big present from Grandma and Grandpa. It's an air hockey table.

There's Keith hiding behind the tree playing with the open presents!

Daniel hiding in his newly created fort.

Megan reading about the different things she can make in her Easy Bake oven.

While the girls were in the kitchen getting snacks ready, the boys put together their new lego sets.

Tada! It's a pink cookie sandwich with yellow icing.

Kale Chips

We have a bearded dragon, Walle, and he loves dark leafy greens. Sometimes it causes some serious mommy-guilt that one of our pets eats more nutrient-dense foods than my kids sometimes! While I was in the kitchen planning our Christmas Eve lunch, I came across a recipe for Kale Chips. Bunch of Organic Kale
1 tsp EVOO
Pinch of salt

1. Pull kale leaves off of hard stock. Tear into potato chip size pieces.
2. Toss all kale chip leaves in bowl with EVOO and salt to ensure even coverage.
3. Bake at 350 for 6-8 minutes.

Daniel crushed them all up in his bowl.
Megan tried to drown them in water.
Joshua ate a few and asked for an orange.
The hubby scarfed down his bowl and ate all the kids (even the ones Daniel crushed) and asked for more.
I thought they were great and will make them again soon.

I think the biggest problem isn't the taste, or that they are green, or that they are vegetables...I think the biggest problem is that I can't compete with this....
the plate full of junk food that came home from just one classroom's holiday party.

Be sure to check out the tab at the top of the page. I'll be going through the blog over the next few days to label each of the recipes and merge our old recipe blog onto this one to share our tasty treats (and some flops) with everyone.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Merry Christmas Eve (eve) 2011

You would think after living 10 years of the Semper Gumby scheduling of the Coast Guard, we'd be used to creating Christmas traditions on days other than December 25th. Funny how now that Keith's parted ways with the Coast Guard, we're still struggling with trying to infuses some normalcy into the holidays. This time it's my schedule that's throwing us for a loop. I'm working Christmas day, which means I'll be gone from 0615-1945. That's my usual work time - first one out the door before everyone is awake, and I'm usually walking back in the door as kids are brushing their teeth and climbing into bed. It's not always ideal, but it's only 3 days a week, so the 4 days a week off work are so, so worth the 3 long days. Anyhow, we moved our Christmas lunch to Christmas Eve, which makes tonight our Christmas Eve. And just for confusion, the kids woke up to filled Christmas stockings this morning.

Bananagrams! So fun! The kids had a blast digging into their stockings and thoroughly investigating every item.
Megan putting her new ornament on the tree.

Our in the playroom, Megan worked on a paint-by-number Tinkerbell painting. While Daniel and I went to Publix (which was absolutely crazy) and Fresh Market (which wasn't as busy as I thought it would be).
When I came home to unpack groceries, these headless erasers were waiting to greet me at the table.

Each of the kids got an awesome color changing cup from the Science Center inside their stocking. Daniel got a fun straw construction set, which he is here sharing with his brother and sister.

Daniel is really wanting to believe that Santa is coming to our house. Now, we've already talked about this and we watched the Veggie Tale movie about the history of Santa Claus as well as read stories about the "spirit of Santa", etc, etc. Tonight, he tells me that since we are celebrating Christmas tomorrow, we should let Santa know. He asked to spread his reindeer food on the lawn (he made this is school this week), so that Rudolph will know that we are ready for him. Hmmm...I was a little confused, but I pulled out the reindeer food.

And there he is fresh from the tub, outside sprinkling the oatmeal/glitter concoction on the lawn. We'll see if Santa makes an appearance tonight!

I got these awesome lollypops at Ross. They are so yummy and have no artificial dyes in them. Yay! Also, while I was there this week, I scored some adorable pillow cases for $1.99. Because the kids really liked the pillows I gave the cousins for Christmas, I whipped up some of those tonight.