Friday, April 16, 2010

One Year

Today is Shane's 1st bday! My oh times flies. Everyone always says that but a year ago today my little guy had only been on earth for less than three hours at the time I am writing this. What a year it has been. Mommy is still getting used to her "new schedule". Waking up before 10 on a weekend was something I thought was impossible. Now between 7:30 - 8:30 is the norm. Shane has slept through the night for the past month pretty consistently. It has been so wonderful. I feel like a new person. Ok enough about Mommy.
Tonight since Shane wont remember this day we deiced to just go to Toys R US and pick out a few toys. Scott and I had so much more fun than Shane...but he still enjoyed it. We ended up getting a little firetruck he can either push or sit on and ride. He does a little dance to the music it plays. Sooo cute..he is such a dancer and loves music. We also got him a play hammer. Great Grandma and Grandpa Nichols had me pick something out that would be from them. Earlier this week I got a drill and measuring tape from the money Aunt Madonna and Uncle Randy sent. Shane has been so interested in all our tools that are out since the move. He will open that at his party.
Speaking of the party...there is a 10% chance of RAIN! I guess this is something I will always have to encounter having an April birthday baby. I am praying it is not raining during his party...because we can't fit everyone in our house!
I can't believe I have a toddler now. There are so many wonderful memories we have already created. I look forward to so many more. He is such a fun and loving kid. He makes me smile constantly. He brings so much joy to Scott and I.
Happy Birthday Buckaroo!

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Easter 2010

The cousins on Easter:)

This year we had Easter at the In-Laws. My parents, sister and fiance(as of the day before) were there with us as well. I have been wanting to try a Mac and Cheese recipe lately and figured this would be the perfect time. I also have been a little obsessed with Brussel Sprouts this year so I brought those as well. I have to say the Mac and cheese was good but probably wont make again. I probably gained five pounds cooking the dish and another ten eating it. Wow there is A LOT of cheese in this recipe. That also made it a bit expensive although I always like to make something special on holidays I think my search is not over for a great Mac and Cheese.

I hope you all had a wonderful all.. who am I kidding???..I don't think anyone actually even reads my blog..sniff sniff. Anyways..if anyone actually reads this I do hope your Easter was wonderful and that we continue to reflect on our Risen Lord and the promises He has for his children. He is Risen...He is Risen Indeed!

Mac and Cheese Ina Garten

Serves 6-8 (I doubles the recipe for 16..but totally didn't need to)

Kosher salt
Vegetable oil
1 pound elbow macaroni or cavatappi
1 quart milk
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, divided
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
12 ounces Gruyere, grated (4 cups)
8 ounces extra-sharp Cheddar, grated (2 cups)
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
3/4 pound fresh tomatoes (4 small) I did not use tomatoes
1 1/2 cups fresh white bread crumbs (5 slices, crusts removed)
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
Drizzle oil into a large pot of boiling salted water. Add the macaroni and cook according to the directions on the package, 6 to 8 minutes. Drain well.
Meanwhile, heat the milk in a small saucepan, but don't boil it. Melt 6 tablespoons of butter in a large (4-quart) pot and add the flour. Cook over low heat for 2 minutes, stirring with a whisk. While whisking, add the hot milk and cook for a minute or two more, until thickened and smooth. Off the heat, add the Gruyere, Cheddar, 1 tablespoon salt, pepper, and nutmeg. Add the cooked macaroni and stir well. Pour into a 3-quart baking dish.
Slice the tomatoes and arrange on top(if using). Melt the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter, combine them with the fresh bread crumbs, and sprinkle on the top. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until the sauce is bubbly and the macaroni is browned on the top.

Brussel Sprout Hash

Tyler Florence (His recipes are always amazing)

Extra-virgin olive oil
4 slices of thick-cut bacon
4 sprigs fresh thyme
1 lb of fingerling potatoes, split down the middle
2 cups Brussel sprouts, cut into thick slices
1/2 lb red pearl onions, peeled
1/2 cup low-sodium chicken broth
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1/4 bunch flat-leaf parsley, roughly chopped
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Set a large saute pan over medium heat and add a 2 count of olive oil. Cut bacon into long strips and add to pan together with thyme. Cook for 5 to 7 minutes to render the fat then strain and set aside. Discard half the fat in the pan then add brussel sprouts, potatoes and pearl onions. Season with salt and pepper and cook until slightly browned. Add chicken stock and steam for 3 to 5 minutes until liquid has evaporated and vegetables are tender. Add balsamic vinegar and toss to coat. Cook until balsamic has reduced then fold in fresh parsley and bacon.

I always do different variations of this recipe. Like for Easter, I omitted the potatoes since we were already having a potato dish. Sometimes I use red potatoes, russet potatoes and other times I follow the recipe just as it is. A few times depending on my guests I omit the Balsamic Vinegar since it is very distinct in flavor...but I love it...adds so much. For Easter I totally forgot the Chicken Broth and Vons was out of thyme, yet again. So since I did not want to go to the store I decided to look through my cupboard. I found that I had a seasoning packet from my chicken rice..I added some water to it and it worked out really well. Hope you enjoy this dish...even if you think you don't like brussel sprouts...try it...I didn't think I did and I could eat this every night!