Monday, August 30, 2010

Domestic Diva Experiment: fresh blueberry peach pie



Last week I was looking to use up some wonderful fresh produce my mom picked up for me at this place. I knew I had a great recipe for fresh blueberry pie ... but I wondered what would happen if I used peaches for some of the fruit filling. The result? A tart, sweet fruit filling that was oh, so juicy and very delicious!

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Domestic Diva Experiment: beef bourguignon


Ok, I'll admit ... I tried this recipe after being inspired by a certain movie that contained both the words "Julie" as well as "Julia" in the title. But do I regret trying this recipe? Heavens, no! Will I make it again? Heavens, yes! Is it worth the prep time and effort? Most assuredly! Get thyself to the kitchen and try this amazing recipe!

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Tea for you and tea for me...

E's been spending a lot of time playing in her room lately. She asks me to turn on "her music" on her radio/DVD player, then plays quietly....it's so sweet! There have been a lot of sweet tea parties with E, "Dolly One" and "Dolly Two". Love this girl!

Friday, August 27, 2010

Little Domestic Diva: Cinnamon Toast, part two



When making cinnamon toast, one must also be sure to share the process with a most beloved stuffed animal....in this case, Mousie was in on the action...

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Little Domestic Diva: Cinnamon Toast



E has a big affinity for cinnamon toast. Recently, she's taken to helping me make her toast each morning....check out her lovely attire. Monkey undies? Check. Monkey pj top? Check. Huge oven mitts? Check. (Monkey pj shorts? Missing....hmmmmm)

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Domestic Diva Experiment: Strawberry Pretzel Salad


Tomorrow, our church is having a potluck to celebrate our senior pastor's 20-year anniversary in the ministry. And who doesn't love a good potluck? It seems like we used to have them all the time at church when I was growing up. They're less frequent these days...but we did have one last week to kick off E's school year, and we're having this one tomorrow. Fun, fun!

What to make, what to make? I know there are a lot of jokes about potlucks and Jello salad (especially if you are Lutheran!) but I thought I'd give this yummy salad a try. We'd tried it at a friend's house months ago and loved it. It's part salad, part dessert. It's salty and sweet and crunchy and very different -- in a very good kind of way! It's a snap to put together, too, which makes it a winner in my book!

Strawberry Pretzel Salad
recipe from AllRecipes.com

2 cups crushed pretzels
3/4 cup butter, melted
3 tablespoons white sugar
1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
1 cup white sugar
1 (8 ounce) container frozen whipped topping, thawed
2 (3 ounce) packages strawberry flavored gelatin
2 cups boiling water
2 (10 ounce) packages frozen strawberries
Directions

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C).
Stir together crushed pretzels, melted butter and 3 tablespoons sugar; mix well and press mixture into the bottom of a 9x13 inch baking dish.
Bake 8 to 10 minutes, until set. Set aside to cool.
In a large mixing bowl cream together cream cheese and 1 cup sugar. Fold in whipped topping. Spread mixture onto cooled crust.
Dissolve gelatin in boiling water. Stir in still frozen strawberries and allow to set briefly. When mixture is about the consistency of egg whites, pour and spread over cream cheese layer. Refrigerate until set.
Nutritional Information

Amount Per Serving Calories: 424 | Total Fat: 23.3g | Cholesterol: 51mg

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

First day of school...






E had a wonderful morning in our church's new Pre-K program today. There are four children in her class....three girls and one boy. Oh, that little boy is going to do lots of dress up and lots of tea parties. He already told us that he will be the daddy/uncle/son/brother when they play "pretend". Too cute! -- We are so blessed by our church's school....and E loves it there! Enjoy these snapshots of her first day! (And check out these photos from her first day of school last year to compare....my how she's grown up!_

Friday, August 13, 2010

The incredible shrinking Elmo...


this week's "horrifying" discovery...


flash back several months ago:
oh, Elmo, you were so handsome!

It's really funny what you find when you clean out children's toys. That lost doll shoe, a missing checker, and any oh-that-is-where-that-went-I-was-wondering-about-that item that you and yours have been missing for the past three months or more.

Earlier this week, I rediscovered an Elmo balloon figure that E got at the mall last year on the day after Thanksgiving. Let's just say that the little red man has been on a diet -- or is severely malnourished due to lack of attention! Looking kind of puny in his much-smaller state, this made me laugh out loud!


Thursday, August 12, 2010

Domestic Diva Experiment: oven roasted red peppers


What do you when you have almost 50 red bell peppers that need attention? Roast them in the oven, peel off the charred black skins, chop them and freeze them for use in sauces, soups, dips and more ... mmmmmm, yum!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Domestic Diva Experiment: oven roasted okra


Thanks to the abundant bounty from our pastor's garden, we've enjoyed tons of fresh produce again this summer. We've enjoyed tender, fresh okra, juicy watermelon, ripe red peppers and delicious eggplant. But oh my, what to do with the extras? Aside from attempting pickled okra (it's not bad!) and blanching okra to freeze for use in gumbo this winter, I wanted to again try my hand at oven roasting okra. This method yields similar results to grilling (which I did not want to do here when it was 106 degrees outside!). This is SO good! There really is no recipe -- just toss tiny fresh okra (more tender!) with olive oil and roast under your oven's broiler until toasty. Toss with salt and pepper and enjoy! Yum!

Monday, August 9, 2010

Domestic Diva Experiment: pickled okra


Yield: About 5 cups (serving size: 1/4 cup)

Ingredients

  • 2 1/2 cups white vinegar
  • 2 cups water
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 tablespoons kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon white peppercorns
  • 1 teaspoon coriander seeds
  • 1 teaspoon fennel seeds
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 4 fresh dill sprigs
  • 2 green or red jalapeƱo peppers, halved lengthwise
  • 1 1/2 pounds small okra pods

Preparation

Combine vinegar and the next 7 ingredients (through cumin seeds) in a large saucepan; bring to a boil. Cook 1 minute or until sugar and salt dissolve, stirring frequently. Remove from heat; stir in fresh dill sprigs, jalapeƱos, and okra pods. Cool completely; pour mixture into an airtight container. Cover and chill.

Note: Refrigerate okra in an airtight container for up to two weeks.


(Source: MyRecipes.com/Cooking Light)

Sunday, August 8, 2010

How many days until school?


E is so excited about starting our church's Pre-K program this year. She's been asking me every day when it will be time to go back to school (she just cannot understand why anyone would want or need a summer break!) A few mornings ago, we worked together to make a paper chain to help her count down the days. She's so proud of her work -- and so excited about heading back to the classroom!

Saturday, August 7, 2010

A visit from Aunt Kelli...





My dear friend and kindred spirit Kelli visited us in mid-July. Why anyone from Minnesota would willingly come to Texas in the heat of summer is beyond me, but whatever.....she must really like us! We shopped, we ate, we talked and we talked some more....such a wonderful time with such a dear, dear friend!

Friday, August 6, 2010

Girlfriend fun...




We had a few of E's friends stay with us a few days last week - oh my goodness....a house full of girls! They had such a fun, grand time, but Mommy was exhausted when it was all over with! Whew!

Thursday, August 5, 2010

...and speaking of fresh okra...




...we've been enjoying fresh fried okra! Yum!
...and I'm going to try my hand at pickling it, too!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

It's that time of year again....





We've been enjoying tending our pastor's garden again this summer. Fresh okra, eggplant and red peppers....yum! And E always enjoys visiting the chickens, goats and dogs, too. The 100-plus degree heat made for sweaty work harvesting the veggies, but man, was it ever worth it!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

"Best cousin Bryce..."




Friday night, we had the opportunity to get together with our super-awesome God-son Bryce (whom E refers to as her "best cousin Bryce"...) for dinner at one of E's favorite places. After a fun dinner of burgers followed by some super yummy ice cream, we hung out at our place playing Legos, telling silly knock-knock jokes (a current obsession of E's) and just having a good time catching up. Such a fun evening with such an incredible young man!

Monday, August 2, 2010

Splash pad fun...





This morning we visited a new-to-us splash park with an awesome mommy friend and her sweet kids....oh such fun! E loved all of the kids, the water, every activity, everything about this! I'm sure we'll be going back, often! Thanks, Chambers family, for a fun morning!