Wednesday, February 29, 2012

I hit the baby jackpot

Gavin is 7 months old.  Where has the time gone? 
I know everyone likes to brag about how great their baby is, but seriously, I have the best baby in the whole world.  I thought Jackson was a good baby, and he was pretty good, but Gavin?  He is so laid back and easy going. 
He sleeps through the night.  (Really through the night.  From 8:00pm - 7:00am)  He only cries when he's hungry or poopie.  And even then, his cry is more of a whimper.  He eats.  I can take him anywhere.  I'm in the honeymoon phase of babyhood.  Don't get me wrong.  I know it won't always be like this.  I know what lies ahead.  Having a toddler is enough to bring even the best mommy to tears in seconds.  That's why I'm trying to take this all in and live it up for all it's worth. 
Having such a relaxed and easy going baby isn't without it's problems.  Gavin is, how should I put this?  Lazy.  Content. 
He's so content that he's not even rolling over yet.  Yes, that's right.  My 7 month old is not rolling over.  He has rolled over a handful of times from his belly to his back.  And he's sitting up like a champ.  But he isn't rolling over from his back to his belly.  He gets 95% of the way there, then rolls back over to his back. 
I'm not too worried about him though.  I think he's capable, he just doesn't really want to.  And besides, look at how big his head is.  That can't make it easy on him!
Also, the boy loves to jump in his jumperoo.  I mean, he really has at it.  He could jump until he falls asleep (and has many times).  It's quite funny to see him in action. 
I'm pretty sure this means I can never have another baby.  If I do, I'm bound to get a difficult one.  It's only fair. 
I could kiss those little lips, and look into those deep blue eyes all day long!
Enhanced by Zemanta

Monday, February 27, 2012

Mile High Momday: Better than thin mints

With the sale of our beloved Girl Scout cookies coming to an end for the year, I thought this was the perfect time to share my new favorite recipe.  You know, for when you run out of real thin mints.  This recipe is nothing new.  Apparently it's been floating around the internet for a while, but it's new to me.  There are several versions, but this one seems to be the easiest, cheapest, and most importantly the yummiest.  My friend and neighbor made them and they are sooooooo good.  And soooooo easy to make!  

I made them last night, when we had company, and all four of us agreed, dare we say, that we like them MORE than real thin mints.  I know!  This is barely a recipe (kind of like Rachel Ray's "Late Night Bacon" - which, if you read the reviews of the recipe on that link, you will wet your pants you'll be laughing so hard).  It's more of a how to, because it doesn't actually involve any cooking, or baking.

You will need:
Ritz crackers (regular or low fat)
1 pound of chocolate candy coating
peppermint extract
Melt the chocolate according to the directions on the package.  (I particularly like this store brand chocolate because it has a tray already in there that I can just throw away when I'm done.  No need to dirty a bowl.)
Stir in 1-2 teaspoons of peppermint extract (to taste).

Dip the cracker in the chocolate mixture
Place on wax paper, and put in the fridge for a few minute to harden.
Enjoy!  This recipe made about 40 cookies, and there are about 10 left, less than 24 hours later!  Yum!

Monday, February 20, 2012

The Best Prime Rib Ever

Here it is.  The Best (no pun intended) recipe for prime rib.  Sorry to all of my vegetarian readers.  Not because of the pictures of the raw meat I'm about to show, but because you'll never get the pleasure of eating the most delicious thing on Earth.   I got the recipe from my mother in law.  (Also a Best, so it makes sense.)  Prime rib is so crazy easy and it makes you look like a master chef, especially if you have important company over.  The hardest part of the recipe is the dent it makes on your wallet.  Fortunately for us, we found a store that sells it for crazy cheap.  I mean C-RAZY cheap!  $4.99 a pound and it's all natural, grass fed beef.  (Sunflower Farmers Market, if you're on the western side of the U.S.)  It's not always $4.99 a pound, but when it is, we buy and freeze.  

A couple notes before I start the recipe.  When you buy your prime rib, you'll want about 1 rib or less per person.  This was a three bone rib roast for the two of us, and we got three meals out of it.  When you go to the butcher, ask them to cut the bone off and then tie it back on.  This will give you the yummy flavor of the bone, without having to deal with cutting it off after you cook it.  Also, in the spirit of full disclosure, this particular prime rib was waaaaaay over done.  It was partially my fault because I broke our meat thermometer and didn't have any way of checking how done it was, and also Eric was very late for dinner that night so it sat for too long :(  Major bummer, but it still had the same good flavor, just a little more done than we both like it.  But if you follow the recipe and don't let it sit too long waiting for your husband to get home you'll be just fine.

You'll need two ingredients:
1) Beef rib roast
2) Paula Deen's House seasoning  (I make it myself and keep it on hand for lots of other recipes)

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees

Rub the house seasoning all over the meat.  (I really cake it on)

Place in roasting pan, rib side down

Roast at 425 for 30 minutes.

Reduce the heat to 350 and continue to cook for 1 1/2 to 2 hours. Check with a meat thermometer after 1 1/2 hours.  Take it out when it is about 5-10 degrees cooler than you want, cover it and let it rest for about 15 minutes.  Then carve.  (It will cook those last few 5-10 degrees while it's resting.) 

Very Rare = 130 degrees
Rare = 140 degrees
Medium Rare = 150 degrees
Medium = 160 degrees
Well = 170 degrees
Very Well = 180 degrees
We like ours medium, so I try to take it out around 150 degrees
I usually take it out of the pan and let it rest on the carving board, but this was about the time that I realized how late Eric was going to be, and I was worried it wouldn't be hot enough by the time he got home.  Another crucial mistake this time around :(
Even our pickiest eater loves it!

To make the Au Jous, remove the roast from the pan, and add 2 cups of beef broth to the pan drippings. Season with worcestershire sauce and salt and pepper.  Simmer for 10 minutes and serve with the roast. 

Enhanced by Zemanta

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Feeling the love

I've been very inspired by Pinterest this Valentine's Day.  For Jackson's Valentines for preschool, I made the one that's been floating around Pinterest and blogs for a while:
Gavin and I had a lot of fun last week....

I've been obsessing over garland on my mantel lately.  I showed you the pom-pom garland I made for Christmas and loved having it up.  So it was only natural to try something for Valentine's Day. 

I got 6 sheets of felt.  Remember from my pom-pom garland that I have a HUGE mantel, (about 14 feet long) so you probably won't need as much as me.
I cut the sheets into 1 inch strips and then in half, making them about 4 1/2 X 1 inch each.

Then I sewed the ends of two pieces together.  I didn't even stop between each set.
Just keep going and make a big long chain.  Then cut them apart to separate each set. 
When they are all separated, open them up and make a heart shape....
....then sew the ends together.
Just like before, you don't have to stop.  Just keep going between hearts.
And make one big long heart chain.  Then cut them apart. 
Then I strung them.  Take a needle and thread and start threading.  (At first, I used clear thread, but that didn't really work.  It was sliding too much when I hung it on the mantle, so I restrung it on white thread.  It worked much better!)
I like that it's kind of hand made and child like looking.  And it didn't take too much time, unlike those pom-poms.

Happy Valentine's Day everyone! 
Enhanced by Zemanta

Monday, February 6, 2012

Mile High Momday: Mini-tips for the kitchen

None of these things are worth a post in and of themselves.  In fact, I'm not sure these are worth a post, even together.  But here are a few things around the kitchen that I've found save just a little bit of time, money or effort.  

I'm feeling like you all are going to do a collective eye roll and say "Yeah Michele.  We know.  We've been doing this stuff for years" But some of this was new to me recently, so maybe it will be for you too.  

Did you know that if you keep the white parts of green onions and put them in a glass of water by the window, they will regrow?  I've been doing this and it totally works.  Never have to buy green onions again!  Just cut off what you need and leave the white part in the water.  (They grow very fast too!)

Breakfast in this house can be a little rough.  Jackson doesn't like to eat, and we are usually running out of time and have to be somewhere in the morning, so whatever I can do to make it faster is a bonus.  What I do is make all of our pancakes and waffles ahead of time and freeze them.  Then in the morning, I just pull out what he wants and throw it in the microwave for a few seconds.  I do this for bacon as well, except I refrigerate it.  

Speaking of bacon, did you know you can bake it?  That's what I've been doing lately.  I just put one of those cookie cooling racks on top of a cookie sheet and put it in the oven.  You can make a lot more bacon at one time and you don't have to man it and get your stove all bacon greasy.  

Another morning time saver is using an egg slicer to slice strawberries and bananas.  I recently found this on Pinterest and thought it was genius!  
Okay, this one is a stretch, I know.  But a while back I was listening to the radio and one of the DJs was talking about how he and his wife argue about how to load the utensils in the dishwasher.  One of them said that each kind of utensil needed to be put in a different compartment of the utensil holder while the other one put them in willy nilly.  I was a willy nilly-er, until I heard this argument, and tried grouping them together when I loaded them.  (It honestly never crossed my mind before to group them)  And I have to tell you, it really is easier when it comes time to unload the dishwasher.  I just grab the group of knives, forks or spoons, and put them into the drawer.  No sorting.  It doesn't take any more time when loading the dishwasher either.  I know this seems like a little thing, but it saves time, and any time saved right now is appreciated.  And I get a strange satisfaction from knowing that I'm doing something efficiently.  (I'm weird, I know)

I hate when a recipe calls for just a little bit of chicken broth and I end up buying a whole can, then throwing away all the leftover.  So, what I do is pour the left over chicken broth in an ice cube tray, freeze it, then store it in a freezer bag.  Then when I need just a little chicken broth in the future, I pull out what I need and thaw it.

In the picky eater department, I've been cutting Jackson's sandwiches with cookie cutters in the shape of his favorite things.  It's silly, but to a 3 year old, it apparently makes a difference.  I found this big box of 101 cookies cutters at Walmart.  It's made him a little more excited about eating a sandwich lately.  They have letter ones, so I sometimes spell small words for him to eat.  I also use the small round one to cut out ham and we make our own lunchables for school.

There you have it.  I know it's nothing profound or life changing, but if it can help make your day go a little more smoothly, I think it's worth sharing.  Do you have any other kitchen tips to add?  I'd love to hear about them!