I have high hopes that with my twins in kindergarten, particularly Samuel, he will get along much better with his little brother. It didn’t happen yesterday but he wasn’t gone for very long. Those two are like oil and vinegar and just don’t mix. Sadly, they never have. Luke is usually our peace maker between the two, but he definitely gets into his own trouble and pushes my buttons. Right now he is doing that really well.
Samuel loves Italian food and Ian’s favorite is Mexican. This dinner combines both perfectly. This manicotti isn’t hard to make at all. The most time consuming part is stuffing the pasta shells, especially when two of your children are screaming at each other upstairs. Wish my boys would figure out a way to use their differences and work together. I tried explaining that to them, by using this meal as an example. All three gave me blank stares as they scarfed down dinner.
Pillsbury Annual Recipes 2012
- 12 manicotti pasta shells
- 1 pound grass-fed ground beef
- 1 (6 oz) can tomato paste
- 1 package taco seasoning
- 1 1/2 cups water
- 3 oz. cream cheese, softened
- 1 egg
- 1 1/2 cups sour cream
- 2 1/2 cups shredded Sharp Cheddar
- 2 (4 oz) cans diced green chilies
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
|Preheat oven to 350. Spray a 9x13 baking dish with cooking spray. Cook and drain pasta according to package directions. Rinse with cold water and drain. Cook beef until thoroughly cooked and stir in tomato paste, taco seasonings and water. Cook over medium heat for about 10 minutes until hot and bubbly. |
|Mix cream cheese, egg, sour cream and 1/ 1/2 cups of cheese, green chilies and 2 tablespoons of cilantro. Spoon about 4 tablespoons of cheese mixture into each pasta shell. Spoon about half of beef mixture into baking dish. Top with filled shells and remaining beef. Cover and bake for 40 minutes. Uncover and top with remaining cheese. Bake 5 minutes longer and sprinkle with remaining cilantro. |
We made it through our first morning of elementary school, all without tears. Brian thought Luke was sniffling a bit when we left, but I think he just has a runny nose. I kept telling myself that anyway. Today seems more like practice because I pick them up at 12:30 and they didn’t ride the bus. Monday might be a different story for all of us. The twins really want to ride the bus and I think it’ll be great for them. I’ve heard wonderful things about their bus driver and I know he makes the kindergarten kiddos sit up front. They have a few friends in the neighborhood and I’m pretty sure they won’t be bossing Larry around! We have a Boo Hoo breakfast on Monday morning and I’m sure I’ll do just that. We were all smiles this morning though!
Today is Luke and Sam’s last day of summer so we spent yesterday at the pool. Today we are busy getting ready for their first day of kindergarten, which starts bright and early tomorrow morning. Brian and I went to meet their teachers last night. We visited their classrooms, across the hall from each other, and sat in their little chairs at their little tables while we filled out paperwork and listened to their teachers give lots of information about the upcoming year. I was excited, yet choked up for the 3rd time this week. I am so thankful for our summer. It was exactly what I had hoped it would be. I know I need to keep it together tomorrow, but it’s going to be really hard. These two are completely inseparable, which is why we decided to go ahead and do different classes for them. I am thrilled with each of their teachers and I know it’s going to be a great first year of school. Just going to take some getting used to. I think having my sidekick Ian at home for 3 more weeks will help.
Holy Cow we’ve seen a lot of rain in the past week. It kept us from going to the store, which also helped me stay on budget for the week. Not fun walking out in the pouring rain with groceries and slow moving kiddos. I really wanted a dessert one night this week and had to make do with what we had at home. This is the easiest little dessert and it’s also so good. I love anything with cream cheese and I can easily eat way too much of it. It’s a good thing for me that this makes exactly 5 servings.
All you do is whip on high speed, 8 ounces of softened cream cheese with 1/2 cup of sugar. Stir in about 1 teaspoon of lemon zest into the cream cheese mixture. Put a tablespoon or so of graham cracker crumbs in a small dish. Top with cream cheese, then repeat graham cracker and cream cheese layer one more time. Top with a little fresh fruit. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before serving. That’s it, couldn’t be any easier.
We officially have 2 week until the twins start kindergarten. Where in the world did our summer go and why I am so sad to see it end? I’ve been trying to put together a folder and a link of my quickest meals so that when school starts and we get much busier in the late afternoons, I’ll have a handy place where I can access my easiest dinners. This one, is super simple and it can be made up to 24 hours in advance. I plan on doing meals like that quite a bit. The boys and I loved this ground beef and bean casserole. I think it had too many beans for Brian, but I plan on making it again. Because I am so thoughtful, I’ll just do beans on half of it. Makes great leftovers as well, if you’re into that sort of thing.
Ground Beef & Bean Casserole
- 1 pound grass-fed ground beef
- 1/2 medium onion, diced
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- 1/2 teaspoon cumin
- 15 oz. can pinto beans, drained and rinsed
- 4 oz. can diced green chilies
- 10 oz. sour cream
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
- 10 corn tortillas
- 15 oz. can enchilada sauce
- 2 cups shredded cheese (Cheddar, Pepper Jack)
|Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a 9x13-inch pan with nonstick spray. In a large skillet, cook the ground beef and onion together over medium heat until the beef is browned. Stir in the chili powder, cumin, beans, and chiles; set aside. In a medium bowl, whisk together the sour cream, flour and garlic powder. Place half of the tortillas in the bottom of the prepared dish, tearing them apart as needed to cover the bottom. Top with half of the meat mixture, spoon half of the sour cream mixture on top of the meat, and drizzle 3/4 cup of the enchilada sauce on top of that. Repeat the layers one more time. At this point, you can cover the dish with plastic wrap and refrigerate up to 24 hours before baking. To bake: Remove plastic wrap, cover with foil and bake for 40 minutes. Uncover, sprinkle with cheese and bake 5 minutes or so more, until the cheese is nice and bubbly. Top with additional sour cream, guacamole, diced tomatoes, salsa. |
My youngest son has been talking about his 5th birthday for months. He thinks of a new toy every single day that he wants. He hasn’t worn his favorite neon gym shorts in weeks, naturally he is saving them for the big day. I’ve also been told that he has even planned out his brothers attire. His birthday is still a month away, but I’m to the point of begging him to reconsider a party. We’ve offered a trip to Chattanooga – they have an awesome Aquarium we’ve heard and that’s one of his favorite things. He can skip chores for an entire year, he can have a friend or two over (and by his friends I mean Luke and Sam’s friends) the week before to swim. Anything, but a party PLEASE!! Brian’s dad joked about him negotiating for a Disney cruise instead. Not that far off because his only compromise has been to stay on a trip for 50 days and Mason (Luke and Sam’s best bud) comes along. He immediately changed his mind and decided a party was the only way to celebrate his 5th birthday. Last year he did insist we go to Connecticut, but settled for a camp out in the yard. Surely he will come around.
I made this cake yesterday for no reason except that it was Monday. Ian of course asked if I was practicing for his birthday. He also convinced his brothers to throw him a practice round party upstairs. I spent the rest of the afternoon blowing up balloons while they got all the guests (stuffed animals) where they needed to be. His birthday will probably be a huge let down but this cake is definitely not. Yellow cake with chocolate icing has always been one of my favorites and this recipe is absolutely the best. Oh you must try it, especially if you have a big birthday celebration coming up.
Yellow Cake with Chocolate Fudge Icing
Baking for Friends
- 2 1/2 cups cake flour (not self-rising)
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 cup buttermilk
- 1 tablespoon vanilla
- 2 cups sugar
- 2 sticks softened salted butter (1/2 pound)
- 3 eggs plus 3 egg yolks
- 6 ounces unsweetened chocolate, finely chopped (fudge icing)
- 6 ounces cream cheese, room temperature (fudge icing)
- 3 tablespoons salted butter, at room temperature (fudge icing)
- 2 teaspoons vanilla (fudge icing)
- 5 1/2 cups powdered sugar (fudge icing)
- 1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon milk (fudge icing)
- 3 tablespoons light corn syrup (fudge icing)
- pinch of salt (fudge icing)
|Preheat oven to 350 and position rack in center. Line two 9 inch round cake pans with parchment paper and spray with cooking spray. For the cake, sift the flour, baking powder, salt and baking soda into a bowl. Stir together the milk and vanilla. Beat the sugar and butter in a mixing bowl on high speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. One at a time, beat in the eggs and egg yolks, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. With mixer on low speed, in thirds beat in the flour mixture, alternating with the buttermilk mixture. Beat until smooth. Divide the batter between pans and smooth the tops. Bake 30-35 minutes. Let cool on wire rack. Run a knife around the insides of the pans to release the cake and invert onto the racks. Let cool completely before icing the cake. |
|For the icing, put the chocolate in a microwave-safe bowl and heat at medium power, stirring every 30 seconds, until chocolate is melted. Takes 2-3 minutes. Let cool a bit. Beat the cream cheese and butter with mixer on high speed. Beat in vanilla. With mixer on low, beat in the powdered sugar, 1 cup at a time. Add the milk, corn syrup, and salt. Beat until smooth and fluffy. Add the chocolate and mix well. |
Thank you so much for the calls, emails, texts and prayers for Samuel. We feel so loved. He is doing much better and back to being our family regulator. The two of us fight for the title constantly.
We had these patty melts last week. I didn’t expect to like them that much and I was simply too lazy to get my camera out. I apologize for the crappy instagram pic. Brian LOVED these and wants them to replace burgers all together. I just can’t do that, but I promise they’ll occasionally substitute burger night. I told you I was a control freak! I don’t really have a recipe, but I replaced Rye Bread for the buns, Swiss Cheese for the American, Thousand Island for the Ketchup and sautéed some onions. Brian grilled the beef and I just finished them off in the cast iron. Super easy and tasty! If you get tired of burgers and want to switch it up a little, give these a try.
We’ve stayed home quite a bit the past 2 weeks. Brought back an old favorite activity from junior high – friendship bracelets.
My best friend, Jennifer and I had quite the bracelet business in 7th grade. We made literally hundreds of them and I swear it was during classes. Maybe that’s one reason my history and geography are that of a 6th grader! :)
Samuel was finally feeling better yesterday so we headed to the zoo. Nice to see a smile after 10 days of feeling rotten.
The boys are getting tired of swimming, as am I. We went for ice cream instead. It’s weird, but my kids don’t really even like ice cream. Ian had about 2 licks and was done.
My boys fell asleep in the car as we drove back from the doctor this week. We’ve had a very rainy week and I couldn’t help but snap a picture of this beautiful scenery.
Our pediatrician has blown me off about Samuel’s fever since it hasn’t been all that high. I decided to take him to the doctor Tuesday night after talking to the on-call pediatrician about his cough, demeanor, etc. Turns out his left lung looks suspicious and it’s more than likely pneumonia. The antibiotics seem to really be helping and his fever is finally gone. The doctor did think we needed to repeat his chest x-ray in a month or two since he has a CCAM on his left lung. I’ve been trying to get his records together from 2007/2008 and it’s brought back lots of unwelcome anxiety and emotions. More than likely it’s a combination of pneumonia and his CCAM, which makes him a little more susceptible to respiratory infections. He is overall extremely healthy.
I woke up on and off during the night on Tuesday and kept having flashbacks to the period of time when he was diagnosed with this. Such strange timing that I was reminded of all of this earlier in the week. Just have to keep praying about it and trusting God. He answered our prayers over 6 years ago and I know he will continue to.
Here is another song I’ve played over and over this week. This is Brian’s favorite one. Oh how I need Him!
Oh How I Need You
My Sambird has been sick for 7 days now. Doctor can’t find anything wrong with him. Just fever and more irritable than normal. Luke and Ian are being especially difficult too. Anyway this is the band – All Sons And Daughters from our church in Franklin. We tried literally 10 different churches and we kept coming back to Journey over and over. The music and message every Sunday are just what we need. We still feel a little out of place because the congregation is mostly musicians and artists aka total hipsters. I’ve always wanted to be a lot cooler and yes I’m getting the strong urge for more ink.
Anyway this church seems to really get a lot right, in my opinion. We’re trying to push ourselves to take the next step by serving and getting involved. Just hard and nerve-wracking a little. Anyway this song (among others), Great Are You Lord always reminds me of Samuel and the answered prayer that he is.
These verses especially:
It’s Your breath in our lungs
So we pour out our praise
We pour out our praise
It’s Your breath in our lungs
So we pour out our praise to You only
I hadn’t thought about his lungs in over a year, but I was reminded yesterday and it was powerful for me. God gave him to us and it’s HIS breath in those 2 little healthy lungs. HE is always the light in our darkness no matter what it might be. I’ve been at a breaking point for many days now, which is kinda pathetic. All I’m dealing with is 3 little boys who will not listen and are making me bonkers. I’ve listened to this song and many of their others and it’s helped me tremendously today. Even if you aren’t into praise music, I can almost guarantee this band and their amazing voices and lyrics will move you. I think the Live CD is my favorite, but all are so good. Just random thoughts today. If you have 5 minutes or so, click on the Youtube link below.
Great Are You Lord
I’ve never been a fan of leftovers. I am however, a huge fan of freezing meals, especially when it doesn’t take any extra effort. We usually have our roasts in our freezer so when we have a busy afternoon or evening, I thaw one out in the fridge the day before and pop into a crock pot before we leave for the day. Whalla, many different dinner options await as well as enough beef to freeze for another dinner down the road. We usually have shredded beef tacos, but sometimes we’ll have nachos or quesadillas. So easy and really it couldn’t be any easier, especially if the meat is already cooked, shredded and frozen. This is my favorite recipe, hands down. In fact I’m using it for a night on the town to BlueBird On The Mountain this weekend with neighbors. We are taking our own food so of course I offered to bring beef as the main course. We had it with my new favorite mexican rice side dish. Recipe posted below. Enjoy!!
- 1 cup uncooked long grain enriched white rice
- 1 14 oz. can chicken broth
- 1 cup sour cream
- 1 4 oz. can diced green chile peppers
- 2 cups Monterey Jack shredded cheese, divided
- 1 cup frozen corn
- 1 tablespoon dried cilantro
- salt and pepper to taste
|In a large pot, bring the rice and chicken broth to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer 20 minutes. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Lightly grease a 1 1/2 quart casserole dish with cooking spray. Add sour cream, green chile peppers, 1 cup cheese, corn, and cilantro to the pot of cooked rice. Season with salt and pepper. Transfer to the prepared casserole dish and top with the remaining cheese. Bake uncovered for 30 minutes, until cheese is bubbly and lightly browned. |