Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Marking pages and hearts...Teacher Thank You gift #3

Good Tuesday morning to you all! I hope that everyone had a wonderful weekend. I, for one, had an absolutely amazing weekend spending time with out of state friends and destressing. It was just what this tired mom and wife needed. Now to tackle SUMMER! Today is the last day of school here (all 4 1/2 hours of it). So that also means that it's the last day (this school year) to express my gratitude to Evan's phenomenal teacher. I was up late last night making another craft for her which I gave her this morning. I'm still going to do one more thing for her (I think a note/card, possibly something else) for this afternoon but I haven't gotten quite that far yet. I figured I would post for you my creation from last night.
I went searching online (I didn't even get to my blog list, I hit Google 1st and was presented with a wealth of wonderful ideas!) for teacher/thank you gifts and ideas. Holy Cow! There are some really terrific ideas out there! Wow! Talk about hitting the jackpot! I found so many great things I had a hard time deciding. In my search, I found a great idea that I tweaked a bit.
A no sew (I don't) ribbon bookmark. I had everything on hand (the only prerequisite) so away I went. :)

Supplies are pretty much up to you! Whatever tickles your fancy. I used 5/8" printed grosgrain ribbon, 5/8" organza ribbon, and 1/8" ribbon all cut to same length. I didn't measure it out, I just eyeballed a good length to fit most books...
For embellishments, I used a large button, a flower brad, a cloth flower and two small buttons.
(along with hot glue)

I pushed the flower brad through the cloth flower then through 2 of the button holes. After lining up (and sealing with a lighter) the edges of the ribbon and gluing them together, I carefully pushed the brad through the ribbon and folded over the ends. I used the table to help push them as tight and flat as possible. I applied more hot glue to the folded ends of the brad and applied the white heart shaped button.
I then dabbed very small dots of glue at 2 intervels along the ribbons to adhere them. I heat sealed and glued the bottom ribbon edges together and added the red heart button on top.

The fixins' for my card. I cut the base square 5x5, the red square 4.5x4.5 and the white 4x4. I chose 2 safety pins and 2 eyelets to fasten and accent. (I also used double sided tape between each layer)

Once assembled, I used a very light pencil to draw lines to guide my writing. After the message was in place, I erased the lines quite easily. I slipped the book mark behind the base and middle squares and it was ready to go.
 This project is nothing spectacular but it's heartfelt, that's for sure! I will most definitely make more of these in the future for various people/gifts.
I hope you enjoy my little creation and you try it soon! :)


Friday, May 27, 2011

For Teachers; heartfelt feelings and quick craft of Thanks

Happy Memorial Day Weekend to you!! Whether you have plans or not this long (for most) weekend, I hope that you have a great one! :)

Ok, weekend well wishes accomplished, now on to business! ;)

I want to say thank you to all of you that took the time to leave a comment, either here or on facebook, with your thoughts and ideas for Thank You gifts for Evan's teacher. I appreciate them immensely. Especially the feedback from you teachers. And while we're at it, I'm just going to thank all of you teachers out there.

I'm sure everyone has had their share of teachers that weren't as active/influential/helpful/caring as we wanted or needed but let us not let them taint the absolutely amazing work that the rest of the wonderful people that enter in to the profession for all the right reasons and make an immeasurable difference in the lives of students (and parents). Thank You to all of you!!! Your endless efforts, infinite compassion, determination, dedication, passion, and that true essence of you that you imparted on all of your students through the years is vastly appreciated and will be forever cherished.

Ok, the couple tears that fell while I typed are wiped away and now I can tell you about the 2nd craft I did for our hero. ;)
I got this idea from a dear friend from high school Shatzi (who happens to own a great company called WedAnnouncements ). When I posted my request for help she came back with 3 links of some really really great ideas. I checked out the pages and one of the pics sparked an idea. I never even bothered to click the link for the how-to but continued on with my thoughts. Actually, come to think of it, I probably should just to see what it was (how close or far from it I was). LOL  Oh well, there's time later... ;) The picture showed a little "chinese food take-out box" with a pretty label on the front and it reminded me of our thank you's from our wedding. (For our wedding I made paper fortune cookies with personal "fortunes" inside them for each of our guests)
So-that's what I did. I made a quick run to Hobby Lobby with my fabulously fun friend and crafting partner to pick up a take-out box and maybe a couple printed papers. Home I came with some great stuff and we went to work. And to your (I'm sure) great surprise, I took pictures!!!!! So-I'll share pics and a brief how-to. :)

Supplies; papers of your choice (cardstock does not work well), whatever tools you use to cut circles, double sided tape, vellum (or paper of your choice) for 'fortunes', chinese food style take-out box

I used the 4 1/2 inch circle-it's almost the same size as a real fortune cookie and it's easy to work with.

Roll the circle so that the edges cover each other but do not extend past eachother.

With finger in center, gently fold (gently as you may have to reposition if you're not centered) in half so that the overlapped edge is in the back.

Place fortune in cookie (with ends sticking out so they can just pull it out instead of opening the cookie) and use small piece of double sided tape between two "ends" to keep together.

I made 6 cookies (2 in each print). I also made a little note to fit inside the box on top of the cookies with a message to the teacher. On the back side of the note I wrote " Just pull fortune" because I had noticed at the wedding, several people opened up the cookies to get the fortune out and then the tape wouldn't hold well enough to reseal them but I hope this will help so that the cookies can be kept in tact (should she choose to keep them).

I hope you enjoy this project. My fabulous fun crafting partner is excited to use this one for the family next Valentine's Day but this one is fun and versatile enough for any occasion (or no occasion at all!).

Thanks again for all of your ideas and comments!


Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Found! A craft for some Teacher Appreciation

Oh Thank Goodness for dear friends! And teacher friends from high school and awesomely appreciated fb, blog, and twitter followers!! I can't express how thankful I am for your wonderful ideas!! And I'm going to use several of them. I'm all about multiple Thank You's for the woman that came to our rescue this year.
Yesterday, when I posted the request for help, I also text a great friend whose son goes to the same school as Evan. She's incredibly crafty and has great supplies! She came over today with a project that is easy and beautiful. I (quite shockingly I know) totally spaced taking pictures during the project but I did remember to take a few afterwards. So here, along with a basic supply list and a simple how-to is the 1st of a couple of projects I'm doing to express my gratitude to Evan's amazing 2nd grade teacher.

Basic supply list:
  • Foam square-we used 4x4x4 but you could use whatever size/shape you like
  • Popsicle sticks to go all the way around (I used 41 sticks)
  • Crafting Moss (we used 2 kinds, a drier brown and a fuzzier green) [technical terms right there huh?!]
  • Hot glue
  • Ribbon of your choice
  • 5 (or however many you choose) flower lollipops
  • Embellishments of your choice

  • affix popsicle sticks to outside edge of your foam with hot glue in 'fence like' manner
  • drizzle hot glue over top of foam and apply brown moss
  • affix greener moss over top of brown (so that some brown is visible) in above manner
  • cut lollipop sticks to desired length (less than the size of your foam) and push into foam in desired pattern
  • cut ribbon to desired length (I used 1 piece to wrap around, then a 2nd piece for the bow which I glued on top)
  • dab a spot of hot glue onto the center of the back side and wrap ribbon around to front. (my friend wrapped hers around and tied it into a cute knot)
  • apply desired embellishments, if any
We also included with ours the message pictured (inserted into ribbon on side). You could, of course, use a different message or none at all.

Let your imagination run wild. My friend said that last time she made this project she also made paper flowers that she glued to the cut pieces of lollipop sticks to mix with the lollipops for a more full and varied look.

I hope you enjoy this wonderful and easy craft-I certainly did and I can't wait to give it to our beloved teacher!


Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Need help with a Teacher's gift....

We have 4 days of school left (not counting today). Teacher appreciation week came and went (last month) and I didn't do anything for my son's 2nd grade teacher. I feel truly horrible about it especially considering she has been my son's biggest supporter this year. She has worked endlessly at trying to figure Evan out and trying to figure out how best to help him. My not-so-kidding-"joke" these past couple of months has been that I'm trying to finalize the blue prints for the pedestal I'm building her. I've also been trying to figure out which of my organs will bring the most on the black market so that I can have the maximum amount with which to 'persuade' her to teach 3rd grade next year and be his teacher again. And really, only maybe half (or less) of me is kidding. About both of those things.
She has been our hero this year. The poor woman has had innumerable struggles with my hard-to-figure-out son and she's managed to find a way through them and help us guarantee, as best we can, that he has a successful school career. She and I have a 'mini-conference' EVERY day after school. It's an average of 2-5 minutes everyday discussing his day, his behavior, his work, his mood, and brainstorming ways to work with him. She has called me several times, from her home, inquiring about Evan. She's just an absolute Angel on Earth, for lack of a better description.
She is the main reason I took him to his doctor's to be evaluated for ADHD (of which he displayed almost every single behavior for). It's because of her concern for his academic well being that we were able to start him on medications that have made an absolute world of difference!! She has been immeasurably helpful and active in the medical management side of his issues as well as lending herself to monitoring his future academic well being.
I am having an insanely difficult time expressing my undying gratitude. Thus my dilemma. I have no idea how to show my appreciation to her. My main obstacle is my lack of funds. I have no extra money to be able to purchase anything for her. I am an amateur card maker but I have slim pickins in regard to available supplies.
I'm looking for ideas. If ANY of you have any brilliant ideas as to what I could do for her before the last day of school (05/31) I would be in your debt (although not literally please as I'm workin on what I've already got....;)  ).
Please help me show my appreciation to a woman that has given us more than she can ever know....


Monday, May 23, 2011

Weeee.....Blog hopping away! :)

So I just need to say Thank you to whichever brilliant mind came up with The Blog Hop!!! It's a beautiful thing. It's kind of like a one stop shop for a variety of bloggers that post pretty much anything you can think of. It's truly wonderful! As many, if not all, of you know, I'm new to this Blogging adventure and am looking to truly make the most of the experience. Not only for me, but for anyone crazy enough to read my ramblings. (Thank you btw, for being almost as crazy, if not more so, than me!!!)
So, with that in mind, I'd like to post a 'shout out' to some of those I've found over the past couple of days. I apologize now if I leave anyone out. Since my time at the computer is broken throughout the day, it can be hard for me to keep track, but I'm definitely workin on it.
If I've left you out or if you're new to this list, comment below so we can all see you and come by for a visit (and a read, and a follow or subscription, and maybe a comment or two).

Kelly's Lucky You

Simply Stacie

Parent Palace

Modern Mom Redefined

The Adventures of Supermom

The Un Mom

That's what I've got for the moment but I can't wait to see more names/pages here soon. ~~That means comment away!~~ :)

Fabulously fast and extraordinarily easy! Woo Hooo! :)

This week has started off well like several weeks have lately, let's see if I can keep it going. Not incredibly likely since I found a great coupon for Kids Eat Free at Chili's tomorrow...but we'll see. :)
Last night I made Creamy Rice with Ham and Peas. This was great! Not only was it easy (a pretty important pre-requisite of mine) but it was super fast! Yeah Baby (in a very Austin Powers kinda way)!! And....here comes the Bonus.......
1 pan baby!!!!!
Woo hoo!!!!!!!! :)
Not too much to tell here except the obvious fact of me forgetting to take pics AGAIN!!! I promise...One day, that will change! That's an absolute promise. I will not however comment on the timeline associated with said promise... ;)
So here's the recipe courtesy of The Food Channel.

1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter or margarine
1/2 cup chopped onions (I omitted)
2 cups milk
1 cup chopped ham
1 cup frozen peas, thawed
1 chicken bouillon cube
2 cups instant white rice, uncooked
1/4 cup KRAFT Grated Parmesan Cheese (I used a little more-we LOVE cheese)
MELT butter in large skillet on medium heat. Add onions; cook and stir until tender.
ADD milk, ham, peas and bouillon; stir. Bring to boil.
STIR in rice and Parmesan cheese; cover. Remove from heat. Let stand 5 minutes.

This was delicious and easy. Definite repeat. Now...if only I could figure out how to get Justice to eat it next time.... Wish me luck or of course, let me know if you have any ideas.


P.S. I already made Monday's dinner...! Woo Hoo!!! :) Go me! :)

Rosemary Steaks, Sweet Potato Fries & Lemon Green Beans...Yumm

Another new recipe! Yay!
~~Warning, probably not a vegetarian friendly read (course, they probably wouldn't read this one based on the title...) LOL~~
This one was on the plan for Wednesday but got pushed back to Thursday. We don't do beef all that often in our house, Dominic's not a huge fan of beef plus he needs to stay away from the high absorbable iron content. I however, am all about dead cow! Bring it on!! I love me some red meat!! Mmmmmmmm!!!!!
I saw this recipe somewhere (I cannot for the life of me remember where I found it) and held onto it for one of our rare beef ventures. We've done a little more lately since Dominic has been in a rare beef friendly mood and I'm all about taking advantage of it. :)
So-I tried this out Thursday to good reviews. I threw in some bagged Sweet Potato Fries and tried a Lemon Green Beans recipe I found on MealsforYou.
This can be done with real steaks on a grill or, like I did with Eye of Round Thin Cut 'Steaks' on the George Foreman.

Rosemary Beef
Prep: 10 min, Marinate: 15 min, Cook: 10 min.
1 tsp. rosemary, crumbled or 2 tsp. fresh, minced
2 tsp. salt (optional)
1 Tbs. plus 1 tsp. pepper
2 cloves garlic, crushed (I used some garlic salt instead)
4 strip steaks, about 1/4 lb. each (I used 10 thin cut eye of round steaks)
2 Tbs. olive oil
Prepare grill or broiler. Mash rosemary, salt, pepper, and garlic together in a bowl. Rub mixture into meat and let sit about 15 minutes.(I added it all to a gallon zipper bag and rolled it around to coat then let it sit about 20 mins or so) Grill meat 3 minutes per side for medium-rare meat; cook longer as desired.

Lemon Green Beans
Prep: 10 min, Cook: 15 min.
1 lb. green beans
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup lemon juice (I used a little less)
1 Tbs. plus 1 tsp. unsalted butter
1 tsp. lemon zest
1 tsp. parsley, chopped
Place beans in a steamer basket over boiling water. Cover saucepan and steam 5-7 minutes or until green beans are tender. Rinse under cold water and drain.
Combine water and lemon juice in a heavy nonstick skillet over medium heat. Simmer 2-3 minutes or until reduced by half. Stir in butter. Add green beans and lemon zest. Simmer 3-4 minutes or until green beans are heated throughout. Remove from heat. Add parsley and salt to taste and toss.

Everybody loved it all. Almost- Dominic is not a lemon fan and thought the green beans were a little too 'sour' (good thing I didn't add as much lemon as the recipe called for huh?!) but the rest of us enjoyed them.
I hope that you do too when you try this easy well balanced meal at home! :)


Thursday, May 19, 2011

IDENTIFIED!! We gotcha on our radar allergens!

So yesterday was the highly anticipated Allergy Testing for the sweet little love. She's been pretty fussy and irritable the last 2 weeks or so, in large part because of the ucky virus that invaded her adorable and usually very healthy body, she also cut her last 2 teeth about a week ago as well. Well, in all actuality, they cut her, but whatever... ;) At any rate, we knew that she was not going to be her usual happy easy-going self with the doctor even before she got poked/scratched. We were right. Although she did exceptionally well with the actual testing.
We went into this with quite a bit of fear but also a great sense of impending relief. At last, no more eating out, shopping, cooking in fear of what she "might" be allergic to. We'll have a definite list of offenders and we can go from there. I was thinking she was probably going to be allergic to several foods not to mention pollens and who knows what animals and misc evils. Well.......I was wrong!

Her moderate-severe reaction to eggplant aside (it's not a common offender so they don't test for it unless you bring some in), it turns out that her other reactions were contact reactions, not systemic. ~Big sigh of relief~
She tested negative to all of the foods they tested her for which was the 10 major allergens as well as a couple of other tree nuts. The doctor said that her eczema has just made her skin so much more sensitive to irritants that it reacts even when the rest of her body does not. So the reaction to the nuts is not a TRUE severe food allergy. BUT he did say that we absolutely still need to treat it as such. Because nuts are such a common and SEVERE allergen, based on her skin reaction from brief touch, the more she's exposed the more likely she is to develop into a full allergy. So, per the allergist, for all intents and purposes, she is allergic to ALL nuts. He said we'll reevaluate when she's about 3 to see if we dare start introducing them or if we just continue on our current path. So....we are almost officially a completely nut free home (occupants excluded of course!). I've been working on it since easter but we've still had a couple of potentials ("produced in a plant that also processes tree nuts") lingering. I had also kept the peanut butter because I wasn't nearly as concerned since I know she's had slight traces and she's touched it. Well, after the allergists', it's now goin out the door. This last step is the one that is posing a road block as far as Dominic is concerned. He's been perfectly content basically living off of PB&J for his lunches. He can't take processed meat all the time (his body is just not a fan) and non-processed is quite costly. So, this weekend we'll be looking into other alternatives (me batch making chicken strips, chk/corn patties, etc). That issue aside, we're doin great!

We did find out that she's quite allergic to dogs though. Her reaction size was about the size of a 50 cent piece! Who'da thunk it? :) It's perfectly fine by me, I'm sooo not a dog person anymore. Now don't get me wrong, I can tolerate some and there are even a few I really like, but on the whole, I'm done with dogs. Being raised with Larger-than-average-size Great Danes (and other large breeds), I am soooooo over drool and hair and the constant need for attention and cleaning up after them, etc etc etc... I'm so much more a cat person. Too bad that I'm allergic, as is Dominic and most likely Evan. ~Sigh~ Oh well. One less being to care for, feed, and clean up after. I'm definitely good with that!!! :)

Other than dogs, she's also allergic to dust (HAHAHAHAHA, apparently not too severely given the state of my house!!!) and a mold that is in ALL soil. That explains her allergy symptoms when she's been outside. Nothing too severe though. ~Whew!~

So there ya have it. A full run down of our Allergy Testing experience. LOL
I'm sure it's JUST what you wanted to read about today, but Thank You for reading anyway! :)

I hope that you have an excellent, allergen free Thursday!!! We intend to! :)


Tuesday, May 17, 2011

A new concept for me-The Blog Hop!

So...I'm pretty new to this blogging thing. Still tryin to figure out how best to get out there as well as navigate and make the most of those that I've found. Well, today was a good day in that respect! I had some time and managed to stumble onto several "Blog Hops". Yay!
For anyone (like me as of 30 minutes ago) who doesn't know what a Blog Hop is...it's a place where you can list your blog, find other blogs, follow them, have them follow you...etc... It's great! :) Most also have "Linky's" where you can list the link to your website etc and get new fans and find new pages that way! :) What fabulous ideas!! :)
I love that almost everyday I discover something new and wonderful about the world I've joined in on and am working at being more active in! :)
So-in the spirit, even though I've put them down on the left side of the page, I'll also put a couple buttons here that I've picked up today! :)

Debbie Does Coupons

There are a couple from today so far...I'm off to find some more! I'm also off to figure out how I can also do this to share the love! (If you can help me with this, please...hit me up and let me know how at mosmomstuff@yahoo.com)

Enjoy your Tuesday! :)

Oooh! I figured it out!! Yay!!
So here's one for all of my readers/followers! :) "Hop" in and enjoy! :)

Tweet Tweet....

Let me first start by quoting what I said to one of my besties this morning (which is also what I said to the hubby the other day).. "I don't waaannaaaaaaaa get a Twitter" in my whiniest voice-which by the way is Pretty whiny!!
Now for a little explanation. I'm a stay-at-home mom. I don't have alot of adult contact. Granted, I have more now than in the past with karate and my almost daily meet-ups with my wonderful friend B. But all in all, it's not that much. What I have is very important and I couldn't survive without it, but it's just not that much. I am pretty addicted to my computer where I get to chat with one of my absolute besties most days and I can check on other friends' daily comings and goings via Facebook. I know that adding yet another social networking media is probably not a good idea. One more thing for me to latch onto. Not to mention the fact that I've NEVER been keen on the "tell-the-world-in-140-characters-or-less-business". When I have something to say, those of you that know me, know that 140 characters isn't gonna cut it!!! ;) Heck, those of you that don't really know me probably have that figured out by now!! :)
I've noticed, in all of my networking, exploring, researching of late, that most of the businesses and blogs that I've come across have Twitters. I'm seeing this trend amongst the popular and successful and it got me thinking. I want this little business of mine to get some momentum and get out there. Same with this blog. :) I had better start using a tool (a FREE one, btw) that these others are so clearly using to their advantage. So.....with some a little hesitation, I checked out Twitter today, and wouldn't ya know it??? I signed up.
I'm trying very hard to keep this biz/blog related only. To NOT get sucked in as a personal outlet. I named it for the blog and biz, I'm promoting it on the biz page and the blog. I'm "following" a few pages that I'm personally interested in, but I'm not going to be distributing this address to anyone but customers and blog followers.
So, I did it. I got a Twitter. Now what? I def need someone well versed in Twitter to help me navigate and learn how to use it best to my advantage, but I've taken the 1st step and I'm looking forward to the possibilities.
If you can lend any help/advice, I'm more than willing to listen. Feel free!
Ok-off to the land of abbreviated thoughts...wishmeluck!
(Oh! and of course, follow me @MOCreationStuff )


Monday, May 16, 2011

A wayyy late posting...New recipe from May 9th..

Yes....I'm admitting it right off the bat. I suck! I've been sitting on this post for a week now. Now, in an attempted defense, Justice was sick this last week and I just wasn't able to get on here long enough during the day to post and I've been pretty tired so I just didn't stay up to get it done. But it's still pretty bad...7 days...Yikes. I'm sorry all. xo
But in what I'm sure will be a shocking upside....I have pics!!! ;)
Ok-here we go. :)

Monday May 9, 2011

Rosemary Baked Chicken with Red Potatoes

I got this recipe awhile ago from my dear friend (our 1st Guest Poster) Chamron. She got it from a friend who served it one night to great reviews. It's actually found on The Food Channel.
It was easy and got great reviews here as well! Yay!
Here you go;

Prep 15 min  Cook 50 min
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon McCormick® Paprika (I skipped)
1 1/2 teaspoons McCormick® Rosemary Leaves, finely crushed
1 teaspoon Sea Salt using McCormick® Sea Salt Grinder
1/2 teaspoon McCormick® Black Pepper, Coarse Ground
1/2 teaspoon McCormick® Garlic Powder
6 bone-in chicken thighs, skin removed (about 2 pounds) (I only use boneless, skinless breasts)
1 1/2 pounds small red potatoes, halved

Preheat oven to 425°F. Mix oil, paprika, rosemary, sea salt, pepper and garlic powder in large bowl (I use gallon zippered storage bags). Add chicken and potatoes; toss to coat well. Arrange potatoes in single layer on foil-lined (I skipped the foil) 15x10x1-inch baking pan sprayed with no stick cooking spray.
Bake 15 minutes. Push potatoes to one side of pan. Place chicken on pan.
Bake 30 to 35 minutes longer or until the potatoes are tender and chicken is cooked through, turning potatoes occasionally.

I sauteed some yummy zucchini to go along with the recipe. This was a great success. Justice even had a little of everything! Yay!! That's a definite win in my book!! :)

Hope you try and enjoy.

Dwindling wasn't the word for it...

So I had filled you all in on the attempted potty training adventure a couple of weeks ago. Well, let me just clarify our current status. Justice has had 2 accidents in almost 2 weeks!!! :) That's it!! She's not even 18 months old and she goes potty!!! :) My sweet little love even takes naps in her Big Girl Training Panties! And she wakes up DRY!!! :) :) :) She's such a big girl.
Now, I put her in a diaper to sleep in just in case but every morning, I get her up and take her to the potty and take off her diaper and wouldn't ya know it? She's dry! Woo Hooooo!!! :)
She's even told me once or twice that she needed to potty. It was in sign language too! (Can you see/feel the pride and excitement oozing all over the page??)
The only snag we have, if you can even call it that, is that her panties are too big. I've only found one place that carries a slightly smaller size that might stay up a little better but since we have 9 pairs already, I just couldn't justify buying MORE. Ya know?!
So there it is...a wonderfully exciting milestone updated for all.
And Yes, we still take her potty everywhere but I actually only take her to the potty once every hour-hour and a half so she manages spectacularly well on outings. :)
Ok. I just had to update you all on my wonderful little (big) girls' accomplishments. :)

Enjoy your Monday!

A little giving goes a LONG way

Ok, so I get on fb this morning to 1st and foremost, check the MO Creations page. I take a brief look at my personal page then head over to the biz. I see a post from a fellow WAHM and fb 'boutique' that I happen to, if nothing else, enjoy the name of her biz, but also like her creations. She was asking for help. Well, let me tell you, since I've started this crazy-networking-build business-support fellow WAHM's-venture of mine I just had to click to see what she was asking for. I'm glad that I did. After reading her blog post I immediately e-mailed her to offer what little help I could. I'm not in a position to be able to donate money but I can donate a little effort. I shared her request via both the MO Creations page as well as my personal profile. I'm sharing it here with you now as well.


If you could take a look and help out in anyway. This is definitely a cause very close to my heart. Having been under or un-insured most of my life and having many health expenses, as well as having my sweet girl be under and un-insured for a time as well, I can feel the need. I hope that someone would be as willing to help if I needed it.
If nothing else, if you could at least see your way to bid on an item (there are 3 sets of MO Creations up) once she opens the auction, that is something! All payments go straight to help out this family, not to the vendors. You don't have a need or desire for anything up for auction?? Ok, then donate the item back to the family, or take it to your local shelter...Talk about giving!!!

I hope you take a look and find a way to help...as Dominic would quote one of his most favorite quotes... "See a need, fill a need."


Tuesday, May 10, 2011

A fishy experience from the lady who avoids domesticity - A Guest Post! :)

Happy Tuesday Friends!
Today you get a new treat! A guest post from one of by Besties, Chamron. Since beginning my recipe/cooking journey she's been sure to share with me the few times that she's tried a recipe at home and so I decided to call her out and actually make her put in some work for me and my wonderful followers! ;) So the following is her Guest Blog-I hope you enjoy it as much as I did! :)

So I had this bag of swordfish in my freezer for a few months because I had never tried it and decided it was cheaper to try it at home than in some restaurant. So I thawed it out. Then I realized I had NO IDEA what to do with it!
So I went online and looked at recipes and finally found a nice simple one that you can see
here (http://southernfood.about.com/od/swordfishrecipes/r/bl30317j.htm).

Basically it’s a mix, dump, then bake and serve dish! I LOVE the simplicity.
The changes I made were that I did not include mushrooms because I don’t like their texture and I skipped tomatoes because I HATE their flavor. Instead of putting tomato slices on the fish I sliced up a yummy sweet orange that I had on hand.
Then I followed the directions after that.

As you can see by the picture, it came out BEAUTIFULLY! It looked delicious and we were ready to eat!

Then we tried it.
The oranges had become SOUR beyond belief! We decided that it was due to the lemon juice in the mixture. And the overall flavor was of FISH with just a hint of something else. I have to assume, based on this one and only experience with this type if fish, that swordfish is one of those extra fishy flavored fish. The ingredients were really much too mild to combat the extreme fishy flavor.
My mother, my two young sons, and I were the brave volunteers for this experiment and none of us finished our fish. We agreed it was “Okay” but we just didn’t like it enough to finish what was on our plates- and what was left got thrown out. If it’s that inedible when it’s fresh, it certainly won’t be any better reheated later!
The recipe itself is probably fine….for a different fish. But I don’t recommend substituting the tomatoes for oranges like I did. I don’t believe I will use this recipe again OR bother with swordfish. It wasn’t for us.

~Note from Mo-
While I'm way excited about this recipe, it won't be tried in our house anytime soon. Nick is opposed to ALL things seafood so...
I hope that you try it (if you're a swordfish fan that is) and of course, be sure to let me know when you do!

Friday, May 6, 2011

Monday -> Tuesday's new dish - Chicken Pie w/Cheesy Mash Topping

Well Happy Friday to you!! This week started off so well...it's been a mish mash of cooking and going out. At least when we went out Monday, it was for a GREAT cause. One of the local restaurants has a "Stony Creek Night" once a month and 20% of your bill is donated to our elementary school!! :D It's wonderful! This past Monday was the last one of the school year so we decided to go ahead and support our school (since it's in desperate need thanks to the huge budget cuts). I had made dinner and it was chillin' in the fridge waiting to be devoured later when I realized that it was the last "Angie's night". I mentioned it as an option and we decided that dinner would keep in the fridge until tomorrow. And I had been so proud of myself for getting it done and ready long before dinner time for the 1st time in a while...eh well... ;)
So, Tuesday, we got to try "Chicken Pie w/Cheesy Mash Topping". I'm pretty sure I've called it every variation of those words except that exact one. I just can't seem to get the name right. Good thing is, I got the recipe right, so the rest is just a technicality really... ;)
This one went over pretty well. Nick liked it so much that he made sure to prep a bowl for lunch the next day. :) I had it when I got home late from karate and thought it was ok. Pretty bland, but certainly not bad and nothing that couldn't be changed the next go round. Dominic's response was "it was ok". LOL And I'm "ok" with that. :)
So here it is-

Serves: 4-5
3 chicken breasts
1 carrot roughly chopped
1 celery, roughly chopped
½ white onion finely chopped
2 tbsp butter
2 tbsp plain flour
2 tsp lemon juice
1½ tbsp white wine vinegar
1¼ cup milk
½ cup chicken stock
1 tbsp parsley, chopped (I used dried parsley)
55-60g Cheddar cheese, grated (I just added until it looked good)
Salt and fresh ground black pepper
For the topping:
3 Russet potatoes peeled and chopped into large pieces (I used several med potatoes)
3 tbsp milk (I used quite a bit more)
1.Poach the chicken with either one of the following methods:
-> Preheat the oven to 350°. Put the chicken into an oven-proof dish, season and cover with boiling water. Cover the dish with foil and poach the chicken in the oven for 25 minutes or until just cooked. (original)
-> Wash, rinse and pat dry the chicken. In a medium pot, add the chicken and fill with water or broth 1 inch above the chicken. Add 1 teaspoon of kosher or sea salt to the water. Bring the pot to a boil and immediately turn the heat to low. Simmer for 2 minutes. Remove the pot from the heat and cover. Let it sit for 20 minutes. Save the poaching liquid for cooking later.
2.Melt butter in a saucepan. Add the onion, celery and carrot and cook for about 7-10 minutes until just softened.
3.Add the vinegar and cook until it has evaporated, then add the flour and cook for a further minute.
4.Add the lemon juice, then gradually add the milk and stock, stirring all the time until the sauce is thick and simmering.
5.Add ½ of the cheese and the parsley, then season well.
6.Chop the poached chicken into small cubes and stir into the mixture, then pour it all into a 2-pint oven-proof dish or divide the portions between 4-5 ramekins.
7.Cook the potatoes in boiling salted water until tender. Drain and mash with the milk, then spoon over the top of the chicken mixture and sprinkle with the remaining cheese.
8.Bake in a preheated oven at 350° for 30 minutes until golden brown on the top and hot in the middle.

This one will be made again. It was easy and definitely 'kept' well.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Needs some modification...Dijon Pork Rice Pilaf

Happy 1st week of May to you all! :)
Last night, being the 1st day of the week (according to the calendars) and the 1st day of a new month, I thought I'd make my triumphant return to the world of recipes. I was looking forward to trying this new find courtesy of The Food Channel. I had originally planned to make this for the big fam dinner on Easter night but since we didn't actually really end up eating dinner, thanks to a long stay at a large buffet for brunch, I thought that I'd try it last night.  We rarely have pork in this house, and when I say rarely I really mean close to Never, with the exception of bacon which just makes pretty much everything better. I know there are those out there (several of which are my wonderfully fabulous friends) that abstain from all pork and I thoroughly support you in your endeavor, but I just couldn't live as happily without bacon. And we're all about Turkey Bacon, but it's just not the same.... ;) At any rate, I decided, in an ongoing effort to not get stuck in the same ol' dinner routine, to try this 30 Minute Dijon Pork and Rice Pilaf (that's a 1 pan meal by the way!!!).
The reviews were "......eh". So much for my "Triumphant Return!"...
In all fairness, we all think the recipe would turn out much better with some changes in prep. So here's the original recipe with a few notes at the bottom.. :)

30 Minute Dijon Pork and Rice Pilaf

Prep 10 min  Cook 20 min

2 teaspoons canola oil (I used evoo)
3/4 pound (12 ounces) pork tenderloin, cut into thin strips (I used 1lb)
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
2 cups water
1-1/2 cups instant brown rice, uncooked (I used white)
1 medium apple, chopped
1/2 cup dried cranberries (I omitted since I couldn't find any that weren't possibly cross contaminated with tree nuts)
1 tablespoon GREY POUPON Dijon Mustard
3 green onions, thinly sliced
1/3 cup PLANTERS Walnut Pieces (DEFINITELY omitted in our house!)
HEAT oil in large nonstick skillet on medium-high heat. Add meat; season with salt and pepper. Cook 8 minutes or until meat is cooked through, stirring frequently. Remove meat from skillet; cover to keep warm.
ADD water, rice, apples, cranberries and mustard to skillet; mix well. Bring to boil on medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low; simmer 5 minutes. Remove from heat; cover. Let stand 5 minutes.
SPOON rice mixture onto serving platter; top with the meat mixture. Sprinkle with onions and walnuts.

Ok-So I followed all directions until the end. I added the meat to the rice mixture about 2 minutes before serving to help add some flavor. The meat was pretty bland and the rice was still a tiny bit watery. The dijon flavor was barely there even though I added a little more than 1 tbsp. After discussing it a little we decided that we'll try this one again but instead, I'll add at least 2 tbsp of mustard in addition to using some when cooking the meat or maybe marinating the meat in the dijon before cooking. I'll also cook the rice seperately (there goes the wonderful '1 pan' feature) then add all together for a few minutes before serving. I'm going to look a little harder for cranberries without possible cross contamination because we all think they would really add to this dish.

This one definitely goes in the "try again" column. I hope you try this one, either in it's original form or with my suggested modifications. Please, as always, be sure to let me know how it goes!!


P.S. I know you'll all be shocked but, I managed to forget to take pictures of this one. See what happens when I go on cooking hiatus?! I forget what I'm doing!! (Cuz we know THAT'S real hard for me to do, hiatus or not......)  ;)