Monday, January 25, 2010

Mommy Needs a Break

What a good little boy I have tonight. Nestled all snug on the floor in front of the fire. Now I can do some shopping

Sunday, January 24, 2010


This weekend, Abel decided (very last minute) to invite 5 people over (in addition to the 4 of us). Our old fail-safe dinner for that many people (aside from fajitas) is lasagna. Everyone loves lasagna but the only problem is that we always end up in a war over which recipe to use--my mom's recipe or his mom's recipe. In the end, we compromised and made his mom's recipe but used homemade noodles (I was pretty insistent) and added a lot of extra cheese. Homemade noodles really make it. Anyway, I wanted to share with you the recipe:

1 lb. hamburger or sausage (I make 1.5 times the recipe because I really like sauce)
1 T olive oil
1 clove minced garlic
1 T parsley flakes
1 T basil
2 tsp salt
1 20oz can petite diced tomatoes
1 6oz can tomato paste

2 12oz cartons large curd cream style cottage cheese (3c)
2 eggs
2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
2 T parsley flakes
1/2 c grated parmesan cheese

10 oz pkg noodles (or homemade)

1 lb mozzarella shredded (I add a LOT more)

Meat Mixture:
Brown meat in oil. Add garlic, basil, salt, tomatoes, and tomato paste. Simmer uncovered until thick (about 1 hour). Stir occasionally.

Cottage Cheese Mixture:
Combine cottage cheese, eggs (beaten), salt, pepper, parsley flakes, and parmesan cheese.

Cook noodles in boiling water until tender. Drain and rinse in cold water.

Place 1/2 the noodles in a 13x9 baking pan. Spread 1/2 the cottage cheese mixture over the noodles and top with 1/2 the mozarella cheese and 1/2 the meat mixtures. Repeat.

Bake at 375 degrees for 30 minutes or until bubbly in the center.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Christmas Morning

Bella coming down stairs in the morning. It's hard to see her expression, but she was in total shock.

Bella showing off her toys from Santa.

Noah gets some love from Grandma. In hindsight, I really wish we would have taken more pictures of Noah. He was so content on Christmas and because this was the first time Bella really grasped the concept of Christmas/Santa/presents, we focused mainly on Bella. He's certainly due for a few photo shoots.

Even Mom loves Christmas.

Everyone was busy opening presents and we looked over to find Bella had climbed on top of her present to unwrap it (it was some shelves for the playroom).

This is a terrible picture of Bella, but she was trying to figure out what this present was for a long time. Uncle Josh and Aunt Amber always do such a nice job wrapping presents, so she was drawn to this one from the start--guessing anything from a Barbi to a ball. It was pretty cute when she finally opened it and found a game (and Strawberry shortcake none-the-less!).

Our Christmas Trip

I'll post some pictures of the wedding later (when I finally get them off Abel's computer), but in the meantime, I wanted to share some pictures from our trip to Texas.

I don't know any families who have five generations alive at one, but Bella and Noah are fortunate to have two great-great grandmothers. Here is Nana (isn't her coloring beautiful?).

Mimi learned that Noah hates bath time. (On a side note, I have such an attachment to my grandparent's house. Looking at this picture, with the kitchen window in the background--it's very comforting. I hope we feel the same way about our house. Maybe in time with enough memories...)

Justin and Travis...and I think the bunny ears are provided by Father Francis but I'm not sure.

I wish I would have noticed Bella drank some orange gatorade before I took this picture.

Mimi and Bella opening presents.

Our little flowergirl.

She'll hate shots like these later...

I almost wonder if I shouldn't post this, but it's an on-going issue we've been having...

Bella plays so hard all day long and gets so tired that she's been falling asleep doing weird things. One night, we were eating dinner at a restaurant and she fell asleep on Abel's lap with a spoon in her mouth (she was eating an ice cream sundae).

Here, we kept calling her because we couldn't figure out where she went. We finally found her in the bathroom with wet pants. Apparently she had to go to the bathroom but fell asleep before she could go.

Isabella Ballerina

For Those Busy Weekdays...

I wanted to share this recipe I found for a one-pot walkaway meal. The nice thing about this recipe is that you can adjust this recipe according to what you have in your frige--I only had a 6 pound chicken so I adjusted all the ingredients I really like lemon and garlic so I added even more.

Also, when browning the chicken, make sure you dry it first. I typically neglect this step and always regret it in the end (actually, I end up appologizing for it when it comes time to serving). It takes a few seconds and not only does your meal look more appetizing, you no longer have to explain that "yes, the chicken is done".

1 tsp garlic powder (I don't measure, I just dump it on)
2 tsp kosher salt (or use garlic salt instead of both of these)
1 (3-4 lb) whole chicken
3 Tbsp butter
4 sprigs fresh thyme (you can leave it on the stem)
3 sprigs fresh rosemary (about 4" each)
1 yellow onion quartered
1 (1 lb) bag baby carrots
1 lb new potatoes (or fingerling, baby yukons, etc.)
1 lemon quartered
6 cloves garlic; peeled and smashed but left whole
Ground black pepper to taste (which usually means I don't use any)

Heat oven to 325 degrees.

Combine garlic and salt (or use garlic salt) then rub all over the skin of the chicken. Set aside.

Heat a large Dutch oven (or bird pan) over medium, melt the butter. Add thyme and rosemary. Heat for 30 seconds.

Add the chicken, breast down and brown (about 4 minutes). Turn the chicken and brown the bottom (about 6 minutes).

Arrange the onion, carrots, potatoes, lemon, garlic cloves around the chicken, then place the lid over the pot (or aluminum foil if you're using a bird pan). Cook in the oven for 1 hour and 15 minutes or until the breast is 160 degrees on a meat thermometer (you'll need to increase this time for a larger chicken).

Transfer the chicken to a platter and use a slotted spoon to transfer the veges (not the lemon or stems) into a serving bowl.

Place the pot over medium heat and bring to a boil. Cook until reduced and thickened (about 5 minutes). Serve drizzled over the chicken and vegetables. (Even though it's one extra step, don't skip it because the juice/gravy is really good.)