Sunday, April 24, 2011

He is Risen!









Last evening, my husband was BAPTISED and brought into full communion with the Holy Catholic Church.

I am so very proud of him ♥




































(I had the honor of making the cake.)




What a wonderful way to celebrate the Resurrection of our Lord!

Happy Easter

HE IS RISEN!




Jessie

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Come on!





 This is NOT what April 20th should look like.

I don't care if it is Northern Michigan.

Eight inches of wet, heavy, nasty snow is ridiculous!

I mean... 






Come on!!





This little boy was smart...




He stayed inside.

(and if anyone can tell me how to keep my pictures from going sideways, I would be forever grateful)



Have a great evening!





Jessie

P.S. Like my new past time? Playing on Picnik!



Sunday, April 17, 2011

Spring???






Hey there! I didn't drop off the face of the earth.

I have just been having the most boring, unblogworthy life.

It has been so bad in fact...






that the highlight of my day was watching the ginormous waves crash over this breakwall.








There were 45 mph winds today.





Which churn Lake Michigan up pretty awesomely.





The worst  best part was...





There were cars lined up to take pictures of this.

We had to wait in line.

AND

I stepped out of the car and was blown away!

Well...

ALMOST.

I did lose my breath though.

AND

It was 31 degrees!

All so I could show you these pretty pictures ☺



WHERE ARE YOU SPRING!?!


Hope you had a great weekend!




Jessie

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Sunday Supper...Stuffed Shells and Banana Bread Bundt Cake








I thought that I would share with you one of my family's favorite recipes.

Stuffed Shells!

I found the original recipe on allrecipes.com (big surprise there, eh?).

But...

I changed it all up.

You can find my revised ( and WAY yummier) version here.








First, I like to bring a large pot of water to a boil, toss in  a little sea salt, and carefully add the shell pasta.

Make sure that you stir it every so often so the shells don't stick to the pot.





Next, I like to squeeze all the water from my thawed spinach.

I used spinach that we froze from our garden last summer, so I took a pair of kitchen shears to chop it up a bit.

If you are using store bought, you shouldn't have to do this ☺




My super-cute assistant helping with the next step.




Mix the spinach, ricotta, eggs, half the parmesan, half the mozzarella, parsley flakes, salt and pepper in a large bowl.
(I used half grated parmesan, half shredded parm, romano, asiago blend, instead of the plain parm. I think it had better flavor as a result.)



After that is all mixed, I toss it in the fridge until I'm ready to use it.
(I am completely paranoid about leaving raw eggs out for any length of time.)


At this point, your noodles should be finished.

I like mine al dente.  They are easier to work with, and they won't get mushy during baking.

Drain them and run COLD water over top to prevent sticking!


I set my oven for 350 degrees.

Next, I clean and chop my mushrooms.  Then toss them into a pan of melted butter, and turn the heat up to med-high.

I also start cooking my sausage.



When most of the water has evaporated from the mushrooms, turn them off.

Once the sausage is no longer pink, transfer to paper towel to drain



Tonight I mixed a bechamel sauce into my pasta sauce, to make it creamier (it was way good also. Like how I am braggin' myself up;))

Here is what I did:

Melt 3 Tbsp. butter into a heavy saucepan over med-low.

Add 3 Tbsp. flour.

Whisk together until thick and bubbly.

Slowly, add 1 1/2 cups of room temperature whole milk.
(I used a combo of 2%  milk and heavy cream)

Add a little salt and pepper.

I turn the heat up at this point to medium-high, and keep whisking constantly until the sauce is thickened and almost boiling.

Turn off the heat.

Add the jar of pasta sauce...


(sorry about the crappy sideways pic)

and the mushrooms.





Now it's time to stuff the shells.

Pretty self explanatory...





I used the entire package of shells today, because a ton of them broke. 

Just fill the baking dish as full as you can.  I don't ever measure the spinach/cheese mixture. Whatever looks good ☺





I tossed the sausage onto the stuffed pasta, but you can mix it into the sauce if you prefer.




(Another awful pic. I must learn how to operate my camera software.)

Cover with sauce.








Pile on the remaining cheese.

Cover with foil.
(Make sure the foil doesn't touch the cheese.)

Bake for 45 minutes.  Uncover.  Bake for another 15 minutes.




Ta da!!!






And for dessert...







Banana-bread-turned-bundt-cake!

Recipe here.


I only have one loaf pan right now (traumatizing Pyrex incident), so I decided to try this as one big "cake-like" thing in my bundt pan.

A few changes I made to the original recipe...



Spread half of the batter into the bundt pan.

Layer cinnamon-sugar-pecan filling (I doubled the amount of brown sugar to 1/4 cup) over top.

Spread remaining batter over top.

Bake for 50 minutes (or until inserted toothpick comes out clean).

Let cool in pan for 15 minutes.

Turn out onto a rack to cool completely.


Drizzle with vanilla glaze.



1 1/2 cups powdered sugar

1 Tbsp melted butter

1 Tbsp Karo syrup

1 tsp vanilla

Milk

Stir first four ingredients together.

Add milk a little at a time, whisking until desired consistency.




Hope you had a great weekend!




Jessie






Monday, April 4, 2011

Favorite Kid's Books








I LOVE reading to my kiddos.

Over the years it has become our special bonding time ♥

Every night, after baths, tooth brushing and jammies, we crawl onto my daughter's bed (she has a double bed, so we can all fit), snuggle in, and read.

It is my favorite time of the day.
(and it has nothing to do with me knowing that very shortly I will finally have a peaceful moment to myself...I swear;))

So...

I thought I would share a few of our favorite books!




Santa put this one in the little girl's stocking this past Christmas.

We read it every Sunday evening.

It contains a short little prayer for each day of the week.

It is a nice way to end/start the week.









If you read my blog frequently, you know that my son is autistic.

It is pretty difficult to get him really involved in any particular book.

BUT...

He really enjoys the Magic Tree House series.

He is becoming quite a history buff, and these books feed his love of anything historical.

I like that we can take turns reading, becuase they are fairly simple.











Now...

This is the little girls ALL TIME FAVORITE can't-go-more-than-a-week-without-reading-it book!!!
(I used to read this to her two or three times a DAY!!!)

If you have a little girl, and she is in love with the color pink, and cupcakes, you must buy this one.

BUT...

I must warn you...

Be prepared to read it A LOT!







Finally...

This one is my all time favorite.

I remember reading it when I was eight.

I just ordered the boxed set of ALL the Ramona books from Amazon...

And I plan on reading them, one chapter at a time, every night for the next ten years (probably won't take that long...I hope).



What are some of your favorite books to read with your kids? Or nieces, nephews, friends kids...?


Happy Monday ☺




Jessie

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Lemon Bars and Saturday Supper






I have been craving lemon bars for a few weeks now.

And when I went grocery shopping yesterday, lemons were on sale...

So...

I gave to the crave!


(pretend there is a cute little bag of powdered sugar squeezed in next to the lemons)


I will post the link to my recipe at the end of the post ☺



First, combine the butter, flour and powdered sugar.

I like to put all three in a large bowl and bled with my hand mixer until crumbly.




Place the crust mixture in the bottom of a 9x13 pan.







Press crust mixture firmly into the pan with your hands (or sometimes I use the bottom of a glass).


Pop into a 350 degree oven for 12-14 minutes.


Meanwhile...



Put the eggs, lemon juice (fresh squeezed will give you the best flavor), sugar and 6 Tbsp of flour into a large bowl (I use my KA stand mixer).  Mix until frothy.


If you are using a stand mixer, use the beater attachment. The paddle won't work well for this.

Let stand until crust is baked.



After the crust comes out of the oven...


I like to butter the sides of the pan. This will keep the lemon filling from sticking to the sides of the pan.

CAUTION: PAN WILL BE HOT! DO NOT TOUCH IT WITH YOUR BARE HANDS!
(I, being in a yank, did this once)





Carefully pour the filling over the hot crust.

Another little tidbit about this...

Do NOT pour to fast. It can create a hole in the crust (and a big ol' mess in the bottom of the pan).


Bake for 20-24 minutes, until middle appears done.





For some odd reason a big bubble formed in the middle of mine today...





Which turned into a crater after about fifteen minutes of cooling.

Oh well;)

Let cool completely before cutting.





Meanwhile again...





I fixed our supa dupa Saturday supper.


And the best chicken marinade recipe ever right here.




And...

After we chowed down on that...



Dessert.




Finally!




Mmmmmmmmm!!!!




 Unfortunately, these went down alot like the pazcki. This was my THIRD one! 

I really do need to learn a little self control;)


Here is the link I promised for the lemon bar recipe. It is my custom version of an Allrecipes submission.




Hope you are enjoying the sunshine (or at least some spring-like weather)!



Jessie