Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Back to work

So summer is over, school has started and we have finally gotten back into a routine. Bear with me as I am learning how to do this and making myself make time to do it.

Nominations where held in May, where I was blessed to be nominated as Vice President of the PTO. Where worked on items all through the summer continuing to stay busy since school has started. With our Spirit Store kicking off the last week of August running every Friday as well as on Tuesday, Thursday, & Friday at the home games.
Then we sponsored a Scholastic Book Fair where the students could purchase their favorite books. This not only encouraged reading but also helped them find what interested them in their AR levels. This created a couple months of craziness for our teachers, so we rewarded them with a dessert day where they could have something sweet after lunch.
Now, the planning of the fall festival is going on with a month to get everything ready.

This is the time of year that I love... Baking, cooking, decorating, family, & fun. Love to be able to fun things with cooking and fall is just the season to start that in. A cute little themed snack that is super easy are the Acorns. You can make your own Donut holes or use store bought ones, dip one end in chocolate then dip in crushed nuts. Top with a small pretzel stick in the top and you have a cute little snack that looks like an acorn. Great to send to school, take to church, etc~and you will be the creative super mom!

Here are some other super easy recipes that you might want to try since fall is peeking it's head around the corner:
CHIPOTLE TURKEY CHILI WITH APPLES & CHEDDAR Makes 4 servings.
1 cup organic cider
3 tbs tomato paste
1/2 lemon, juiced
2 large cloves garlic, chopped
1 tbs sweet smoked paprika
1 tbs ground coriander
1 can chipotle chiles in adobo sauce
2 tbs olive or vegetable oil
1 1/2 cups low sodium chicken stock
2 bay leaves
1 cinnamon stick
2 green apples
1 onion, chopped
1 tbs ground cumin
Salt and Pepper
2 pounds ground turkey
Shredded sharp cheddar cheese, toasted pumpkin seeds and tortilla chips

Heat oil in a pot or Dutch oven. Add turkey and cook until brown, breaking it up. Using a food processor or blender, puree chipotles and 2 tbs adobo sauce, scrape out chile seeds. Stir 2 tbs of the chipotle puree into meat, season with salt and pepper. Reserve remaining puree. Stir in coriander, cumin and paprika. Add onion and garlic. Peel and chop 1 apple and add to chili. Chop other unpeeled apple and dress with lemon juice. Add cinnamon and bay leaves to chili, cover and cook 10 min. Stir in tomato paste, then stock and cider, simmer. Top chili with cheese, reserved apple and pumpkin seeds. SERVE with tortilla chips
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CURRY SPICED SHRIMP & RICE WITH A TOPPING Makes 4 servings.

1/2 cup cilantro or parsley leaves
1 1/2 pounds large peeled and deveined shrimp
2 tsp curry powder
Salt and Pepper
1 large onion, chopped
1 cup frozen peas
1 cup long grain white or brown rice
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 medium carrots, chopped
1 tbs olive or vegetable oil

Heat oil in a skillet. Add onion, carrots, and 1/4 tsp each salt and pepper, cook covered until tender, 8 min. Add garlic and curry powder, cook 1 min. Add rice and 2 1/2 cups water, bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer covered 15 min. Season shrimp with 1/4 tsp each salt and pepper and nestle them in the partially cooked rice. Scatter peas over top, cover cook until shrimp are opaque and rice is tender, 5 min. more. Fold in cilantro, then SERVE with this TOPPING---Mix together fat free Greek yogurt, chopped cucumber, lime juice, cumin and chopped cilantro or mint.
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ITALIAN PASTA & BEAN SOUP WITH CHEESE Makes 6 servings.

1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
14.5 oz can diced tomatoes in juice
1 1/2 cups small bowtie pasta or other small pasta
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
1/2 cup flat leaf parsley, chopped
Two 15 oz cans cannellini beans, rinsed
6 cups low sodium chicken broth
Salt and Pepper
1 tbs olive or vegetable oil

Heat oil in a saucepan. Add onion and 1/4 tsp each salt and pepper, cook until beginning to soften, 5 min. Add garlic and cook 1 min. do not let it brown. Add broth and pasta and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until pasta is tender 10 min. Stir in beans and tomatoes and cook until heated through, 2 min. Remove from heat and stir in parsley. SERVE with cheese
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ROASTED SALMON, TOMATOES & CAULIFLOWER WITH RAISINS Makes 4 servings.

1/2 tsp curry powder
2 tbs olive or vegetable oil
1 small head cauliflower, cored and sliced
1/4 cup golden or regular raisins
1 1/2 pound piece skinless salmon fillet or other fish of choice
Salt and Pepper
1 pint grape or cherry tomatoes
2 small onions, cut into wedges

Heat oven to 425°. Place raisins in a pot, add enough water to cover and bring to a boil. Remove from heat and let sit 15 min. Drain and set aside. Divide onions, cauliflower and tomatoes between 2 rimmed baking sheets. Toss each with 1 tbs oil and 1/4 tsp each salt and pepper. Roast 20 min. Season salmon with curry and 1/4 tsp each salt and pepper. Nestle it among vegetables on one of the baking sheets. Continue roasting both pans until salmon is opaque and vegetables are golden brown and tender, 15 min. more. Transfer salmon to plates. Toss vegetables with raisins and SERVE with salmon
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PASTA CARBONARA WITH BACON & CHEESE Makes 4 servings.

12 oz linguine pasta
3 large egg yolks

1/2 cup grated Parmesan or Romano cheese
7 slices bacon, cut into pieces

Cook pasta according to package directions. Reserve 3/4 cup of the cooking water and drain pasta. In a bowl, whisk together yolks, Parmesan, and 1/4 tsp each salt and pepper, whisk in 1/4 cup of the cooking liquid. Cook bacon in a skillet until crisp, 8 min. Add pasta to skillet and toss. Transfer pasta and bacon to bowl with egg mixture and toss until noodles are coated. SERVE immediately, sprinkle with additional Parmesan and pepper, if desired
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QUICK RIBOLLITA SOUP WITH VEGGIES & CHEESE Makes 6 servings.

Shaved parmigiano reggiano cheese
2 slices bread, torn into small pieces
A few grates nutmeg
1 small bunch Swiss chard, stemmed
2 sprigs rosemary, finely chopped
2 ribs celery with leafy tops, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
1 potato, peeled and diced
1/4 cup olive or vegetable oil
1 quart low sodium chicken stock
14 oz can cannellini beans, rinsed
1 tomato, seeded and chopped
1 bunch kale, stemmed
Salt and Pepper
1 large bay leaf
1 onion, chopped
1 medium zucchini
1/4 pound pancetta or bacon, chopped

In a pot, heat oil. Add pancetta and brown for 3 min. Stir in potatoes, cover pot and cook until browned, 3 min. Grate zucchini. Uncover pot and add zucchini, carrots, onion, celery, bay leaf and rosemary, season with salt and pepper. Cover to quick cook the vegetables. Thinly shred kale and Swiss chard. Stir tomato into pot. Add greens to wilt and season with nutmeg. Stir in beans and bread. Add stock and 1 cup water, cover and bring to a boil, cook 3 min. Uncover and stir to thicken, then turn off heat. SERVE soup in bowls and top with cheese
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PAPPA AL POMODORO SOUP WITH GRILLED EGGPLANT Makes 4 servings.

Coarsely grated ricotta salata or smoked ricotta cheese
1 pound stale bread, cubed
1 small onion, peeled
6 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
3 pounds tomatoes or 2 cans 28 oz each Italian tomatoes
1 small eggplant, thinly sliced crosswise
1 cup basil leaves, torn
1 quart low sodium chicken stock
1 chile pepper, finely chopped
Ice water
1/2 cup olive or vegetable oil
Salt and Pepper

Heat a grill pan or outdoor grill. Salt eggplant and set on paper towels for 15 min. then pat dry. Brush eggplant with 1/4 cup oil and grill 8 min. Coarsely chop. Bring a pot of water to a boil. Fill a bowl with ice water. Score ends of tomatoes with a large "X". Boil tomatoes to a count of 30, then plunge into ice water. Peel tomatoes. In a pot, heat remaining oil. Add garlic and chile pepper. Grate onion into pot. Stir for 3 min. Add tomatoes and crush, season with salt and pepper. Stir in stock and bring to a boil. Stir in bread and basil after 5 min. Cook until bread has broken down and soup is thickened, 5 more min. SERVE soup in bowls and top with eggplant and cheese

This homemade tip is for my special friend Sonya~Love ya girl

Homemade Dishwasher Detergent
Here's a simple recipe for dishwasher soap:
• 1 cup of borax
• 1 cup of baking soda
• ¼ cup of table salt
• 2 packets (half an ounce) of unsweetened lemon Kool-Aid
You can try to save even more by buying ingredients in bulk, but another idea is to find smaller and much cheaper boxes at your local dollar store: a good idea to since you'll want to try a small amount at first to see if you like the results. The amounts listed above are good for 16 loads -- one tablespoon each -- so even small batches will last a while.

Have a great Wednesday! Take your family to church tonight~they deserve it.

Tina

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