Tuesday, November 25, 2008

kool-aid play dough

so here we are, staring down the barrel of a 5-day weekend. five days of no school for my kids. five days of hearing, "iiiiiii'm booooooooorrrred." five days of a messy house because they eat every 20 minutes. because jenna changes clothes three times a day when she is at home.

five days of mom being absolutely nuts. LOL. you know i'm joking (mostly), right?

so tonight, because i'm a cool mom and even though i'd like to hog tie my kids and put them in the freezer for a couple of hours, i chose the high road. the road that, ironically enough, DCFS would also support.

i made play dough. with kool-aid. and i was blessed with hours of quiet play. thank you, god, for giving us kool-aid. however, i haven't forgiven you yet for kool-aid man (oh YEAH!).

so...go make this for your kids. it smells great, and it won't kill them if they eat it. but don't let them eat it, ok?

kool-aid playdough

*1 pkg unsweetened kool-aid, any color, any flavor (we made ice blue raspberry lemonade)
*1/2 c. salt
*3 T oil
*1 C. flour
*1 C. boiling water (microwave it, dude)

mix together the first four ingredients. add the boiling water and stir well. knead the mixture until it becomes a soft dough. i had to add a bit more flour...

oh and a slight disclaimer? this COULD color skin. ours didn't, but we didn't do red, either. my kids are busy using my cookie cutters, the pizza cutter and an assortment of other kitchen utensils for their play dough. jeez. lucky me.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

i love your blog, too

so my awesome sister gave me this award. my best friend (and blogging criminal pal) brigitte also gave me this award a few weeks back, but i was too lazy to actually do anything with it.

well, today i'm nominating some peeps of my own. i hate doing this kind of thing, because there are SO MANY BLOGS i love. obviously.

i'm sharing the love with my p-farm homies. i have to. i spent ten years of my life there and i met some of the best (and OH EM GEE some of the ABSOLUTE WORST...) people there. i'm still friends with the ones who matter most. and so here i go, with five blogs i love:

1. irresistible irwins: my good pal stacey. i'm so grateful for her friendship. her kids are absolutely beautiful (her two oldest are very close to the same age as my kids) and she makes me laugh. i luff her.

2. fri-yet: kmp is eccentrically funny and she has the FATTEST cat i have EVER seen in my life. pictures do NOTHING for him...you have to see him to believe it.

3. jefe von hefenstein: jeff forgets to blog. often. but he's hilarious. and i bought a happenings book from him so he would keep blogging.

4. lady annika: she is a camper and a fellow dog lover. i think she has more dogs than i do! she also loves to cook and posts awesome recipes from time to time.

5. brenda: psyche! brenda doesn't have a blog, but maybe this will inspire her to WRITE ONE. HELLO, BRENDAAAAAAAAAAA! i had lunch with brenda recently and i love her. she'll kill me for saying this, but she's like an older, wiser, gorgeous big sister. she's been inspirational to me on a million levels.

so there you go. i'm giving you FIVE (well, four) peeps the I LOVE YOUR BLOG award! mwah!!

Monday, November 17, 2008

cookbook winner

hi y'all! i almost forgot i was GIVING STUFF AWAY!!!!

here's your winner, courtesy of random.org:


send a big shout out to her - she's an awesome PTA mom of all boys... that deserves an award all by itself!

for those of you who said you wanted a cookbook, i'll send you an email. if you didn't say you wanted one and you would like to buy one, let me know. i'm getting ready to put my order in. they are $10 (you might have to hook me up with a small shipping charge...but let me see how much that really is before i worry about it. maybe it will just be my gift to you for reading my blog and pretending to really, really like me!!)

congrats , shannan!!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

chicken ginger soup with homemade noodles

my good friend annika posted about making soup a few weeks ago - and so i'm sharing my favorite chicken noodle soup recipe with you. my kids will eat this, but they whine and complain about the celery. whatever. celery goes in chicken noodle soup. my OTHER friend had told me like a million times she'll give me her noodle recipe, but she's been hording it. however - i've finally found one that i like.

also - don't let the ginger throw you off. it's VERY subtle and it can be left out altogether. it adds a tiny bit of asian flair to a very american dish - and it's very yummy when you have a cold or if it's a cold day outside.

this would be wonderful to take to a friend who is under the weather - but if they aren't going to eat it right away, i'd consider leaving the noodles on the side for them to add when they reheat it. the noodles can get really soggy if it's not eaten all at once.

one other note: i can my own chicken at a local cannery, and so i use that to make this soup. i go with my good friend denise and her mom. it's super convenient for me to have one hand and this is just one of the recipes i make with it.

chicken ginger soup with homemade noodles

first, you need to make the noodles:

*1 cup flour (more or less)
*1 egg
*2 T milk
*1/2 tsp. salt

mix together in a small bowl. the dough will be very stiff. flour a surface lightly; roll out the dough to your desired thickness. i like to roll it up to cut the noodles, then i just unroll and break them up into the length i want. you can also just use a pizza cutter and cut the dough into strips. lay the noodles out in a single layer on a clean, dry towel. cover and let rest while you make the soup. (p.s. i would double this recipe for the soup below...)

now, on to the soup!

*2 15-oz cans of chicken (this is going to equal about 4 breast halves, cooked)
1/4 cup butter
*1 onion, diced fine
*2 carrots, peeled and sliced
*3 ribs celery, sliced
*2 cloves garlic, chopped fine
*1-2 T chopped fresh ginger (more on this later)
*2 T better than bouillon chicken base
*10 cups water

**(if you want to use canned chicken broth instead of the bouillon and water, use about 5-6 14.5-oz. cans)

let's chat about that ginger really fast. i have a blogging pal, mackenzie, and she did a good post on ginger way back in march of 2008. ginger is really cheap and you only need to purchase a tiny little chunk of it for this recipe - and even then you'll have extra for something else. you can use dried ginger if you have that - i'd guess 1/4-1/2 tsp. would be perfect.

second...do you have one of these?

if not, you should get one. it doesn't need to be the pampered chef brand, but you need a food chopper!

ok, finally i think we can cook.

melt the butter in a large soup kettle. chop the onions, add to the butter. season with kosher salt and pepper. chop the garlic and the ginger finely and add it to the onion. add the sliced celery and carrots to the pot, stir well. stir in the water, the bouillon, and the cooked chicken. you can cut or shred the chicken, whichever you like best. bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer for about 15 minutes. when you are ready to serve, bring the soup to a boil again. drop noodles into the water, but don't drop them in a big clump or they could stick together. the noodles will cook in 3 mins or less. i like a chewy homemade noodle...

this recipe serves 8-10. it can be halved if you like...

Sunday, November 9, 2008

bread: FAIL

it's a dark day my friends. today is the third day IN A ROW that i have tried to make bread. the first day, the dough i made wasn't even bakeable. is that even a word?? it is now! yesterday, the dough didn't really rise much - but i baked it anyway. my mistake yesterday was that i should have made just one loaf and not divided the dough into two pans. i really think it would have been fine.

today, i'm trying again. i also tried a different recipe. i'm determined to get this to work, but i'm getting pretty mad in the process, too.

when i was growing up, a woman in my hometown kept an eye on me and my sister in the summertime when school was out. her name was susan and she had 12 kids - and she made the most amazing bread i've ever had in my life. to this day - i wish i could make bread like that. i'm sure today won't be that day, but i'm trying anyway.

in the meantime - do YOU have a recipe for bread? and i don't have a bread machine - i need to be able to mix it in my kitchenaid. email me (triplej2676 AT yahoo DOT com) or post a link. i'm also really interested in bread recipes that use whole wheat flour.

p.s. enter my cookbook contest if you haven't already!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

cookbook giveaway OR shameless self promotion: you decide!

ladies and gentlemen, pay your attention to the center ring! i'm giving away a cookbook!

here's why you want it: it's got more than 400 recipes. i was an editor of this cookbook. thirty six hours of my LIFE were spent typing, editing and proofreading this cookbook. and i'm sure i missed something, somewhere.

i can't take all the credit. it's a fundraiser for my kids' school PTA. several members on the board put tons of work into this cookbook. kids submitted the recipes and each class had a contest to see who could bring the most recipes. my kids fought over which recipes would have THEIR name on them. so they made deals with each other. (you can have THIS one if i can have THAT one...)

here's the deal: i'd really like you to PURCHASE one (or more) of these. however, i realize that's just lame and you probably won't do that. but if you want to, leave a comment and i'll totally get you an order form. tee hee. they are $10 and all proceeds benefit our PTA. none of us are getting paid. like i said, there are more than 400 recipes, and it's professionally printed and bound. it also has the typical cookbook pages that outline measurements and ingredient substitutions, etc. they will make a fabulous gift to the person in your life who loves to cook.

HERE'S THE PART YOU ARE WAITING FOR!! i am giving away ONE of these lovely cookbooks to YOU, my readers. all you have to do is leave a comment and tell me one or two of the best things your mom made for you as a kid. it can be ANYTHING you want. it can also be a favorite food memory or whatever. invite your friends. if i get enough entries, i might give away TWO books.

so now. you. reader. enter. and may the best woman (or man) win. i'll pick the winner using a random number generator and post the results soon.

deadline: friday, november 14 at MIDNIGHT, UTAH STANDARD TIME. (which means about 12:15 a.m. or so, give or take a few minutes...)

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

swift spaghetti

i have adapted this recipe from taste of home magazine. yes, i subscribe to a cooking magazine. i've even checked out past copies of taste of home from the library.

yeah, something might be wrong with me.

i love spaghetti. i love pasta. even better - my kids love it, so it makes me happy to know that i'm slaving over something they'll love. i recently tried this recipe out and took half of it to my fabulous sister-in-law to feed her family, as she had just had surgery. while my first go-round with this recipe wasn't fabulous, the second one was much better.

this is awesome and can be made on a weeknight AFTER work - serve with bagged salad and store bought garlic bread and it's DINNER.

swift spaghetti

*8 oz. dry spaghetti noodles
*5 1/2 cups water
*1 pkg. onion soup mix

*1 - 1 1/2 pounds ground beef
*1 6-oz. can tomato paste
*1 8-oz. can tomato sauce
*1 tsp. basil
*1/2 tsp. oregano
*1 T parsley
*salt and pepper

in a large pot, bring the water to a boil. make sure you measure it; you won't be draining the spaghetti. when the water boils, add the onion soup mix and the spaghetti. i never buy a pkg. of spaghetti that small, so (don't cringe) i usually just eyeball what 8 oz. is. ha ha ha. cook the spaghetti according to package directions, about 12 mins. stir occasionally to keep the spaghetti from sticking the bottom of the pot. or do what dumb asses like i am do and use non-stick cookware. stir it anyway, ok?

when you put the water on to boil, in a separate skillet, brown the ground beef. i usually use very lean ground beef, so i don't drain it, but if you use 80-20, you'll want to drain the hamburger. sesaon with salt and pepper while the beef cooks. after you drain it, add the spices and the tomato paste and sauce. stir well to combine, keep warm.

when the spaghetti is cooked (almost all of the water should be absorbed...) stir the meat mixture into the noodles. heat through and serve. you'll seriously have this on your table in less than 30 minutes.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

fettuccine alfredo

warning: this recipe is not low fat. if you are on a diet, just quit reading now. close your laptop and walk away.

paul loves alfredo sauce, but he also was blessed with this freaky metabolism...i can't eat this very often, so it's a special treat at our house. it's pretty easy to make and totally yummy. add grilled chicken or shrimp if you want to serve with meat.

fettuccine alfredo

*1 12-oz. package fettuccine noodles, cooked and drained (do not rinse!!)

now for the sauce:

1 stick butter (um, do i need to point out NO MARGARINE!?)
1 pint heavy whipping cream (can use half and half)
2 cloves garlic, pressed or minced
1 3-oz. package cream cheese, cut into small pieces
3/4 cup parmesan cheese (i prefer the shredded over the kind in the can)
salt and pepper to taste

in a medium saucepan, melt butter and cream cheese together. add the garlic and combine well. stir in cream and simmer for 15-20 mins. do not boil. add the parmesan cheese, mix well and simmer for another 10-15 mins. keep the heat fairly low; otherwise the cheese may burn on the bottom of the pan. stir occasionally. sesaon with salt and pepper. the longer this cooks, the better it is, but you can adjust the cook time based on your schedule. this is also totally awesome (did i really just say totally awesome??) with breadsticks.

toss with cooked fettuccine noodles. remember me saying not to rinse them? rinsing noodles is a common mistake many people make. NOT rinsing them allows the sauce to stick to the pasta. usually you rinse pasta for cold pasta salads. however, you shouldn't rinse spaghetti that is going to be coated in sauce - or it will make the sauce watery.

serve. your family will love you.

p.s. you are supposed to use white pepper, but who has that in their cupboard? black pepper is fine.