Friday, September 25, 2009

Company and a Yummy Breakfast Treat

This weekend is a pretty big weekend in my household.  It has nothing to do with birthdays, or family members, anniversaries or traditions.  Well, actually now that I think about it, this event probably could be counted as a tradition.  A tradition that my husband looks forward to every year and one that we have been SOOOO blessed to recieve 4 free tickets to:  The annual meeting of the Penn State Nitany Lions with my husbands' beloved Iowa Hawkeyes.  Woot! Woot!!  Oh yeah, we are headed to Happy Valley, baby!
I've been hearing/reading alot of smack-talk going down between my husband and his Penn State buddies this week (we are pretty surrounded courtesy of living so close to Pennsylvania!) and I'm hoping that his Hawkeyes will pull off a victory.  Ya'll know my heart is still in Florida with my 'Noles, but hey, I love my hubby and thus root passionately for his team!  Go Hawks! 
We are taking our 4 year old with us and my Father in Law flew in tonight (all the way from IOWA!) just so he could travel with us to the big game tomorrow.  My son is soooo excited to go.  This will be his first time going to a REAL football game and he's been talking about it all week.

All that said, I wanted to have something on hand for us to eat in the morning without getting my kitchen too dirty before heading out.  We are trying to sell it for goodness sakes and it's sooo hard to keep everything "potential-buyer-clean" while still living in it!!

I remembered that I had a really yummy Egg Souffle recipe buried in one of my cookbooks and decided to dig it out and throw it together for tomorow.
I thought I would share it here as it's super easy to whip up and is soo good!  (This recipe was given to me by a sweet "host Mom" during our travels with our vocal group MISSION.)


Egg Souffle
6 slices of cubed bread
6 eggs slightly beaten
1 cup sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
1 lb. of cooked sausage or bacon, drained and crumbled (I used two boxes of the pre-cooked bacon)
2 cups milk
1 tsp. dry mustard
1/2 tsp. seasoning salt or salt (I used salt since my FIL is deathly allergic to red pepper/chili pepper...no ER visits for us this weekend, thank you!)

 Beat eggs, add all other ingredients.  
Put in a casserole dish and refrigerate at least 12 hours.
Bake at 350 for 35 to 45 min. or until set in the middle.
Enjoy!

Here is a picture of it ready to be baked in the AM!  So easy and so good!
Be blessed!
~Jenn~

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Doing Fine

"It's a new dawn, it's a new day, it's a new life....and I'm feeeeling Gooood..."

Ever have one of those weeks where so much happens all at once that it's hard to catch your breath?  These past few weeks have certainly been like that for us!  

For starters, almost two weeks ago, my husband (enjoying a Friday off of work) decided that he wanted to treat our boys and kept them home from daycare to spend some quality time with them. They had a nutritionally balanced yummy breakfast at McDonald's and then decided to pay one of our favorite fall destinations a visit.  
Ever since our firstborn was an infant, we have loved taking the boys to a local orchard during the fall season.  Beautiful decorations, pumpkins of various sizes, wonderful homemade pies, horse rides, various rich colored blooms, a playground and petting zoo make this a memory-making destination each time we go.
Jeff enjoyed letting the boys pet the goats and play on the playground for a bit, and then gave our youngest (15 months old) a piggy-back ride on his shoulders.  As our four year old walked ahead of him, my husband tripped/stepped into a hole in the gravel which sent both of them hurtling forward and our little one somersaulting over his right shoulder.  My husband kept a firm grip on his right arm to prevent him from hitting the ground and hitting his head.  Of course, the whole thing scared our little guy and he cried for a bit, but recovered quickly and they went on with their day: lunchtime, naptime, playtime, etc.
When I got home, we both noticed that he just wasn't acting like himself.  He would cry off and on for no apparent reason.  My husband mentioned what had happened and we started wondering if maybe he had tweaked his shoulder.  A few strategically placed squeezes later, we weren't convinced that there was really anything wrong.  He was still using his arm to point and could lift it fine.  However, he cried through most of dinner and nearly all of his bath time, which gave us more reason for concern.  After his bath, I laid him on the changing table to put his jammies on.  As soon as I attempted to (gently) put his right arm in the sleeve he started bawling.  My husband and I looked at each other and the decision was made.  We were headed to the ER.  
I am ever so glad that we made that decision because two hours, a little TV, a lot of fussing, and a couple of x-rays later we had our diagnosis: both bones of the forearm were fractured about two inches above his right wrist.  Needless to say we were heartbroken for him and my poor husband felt TERRIBLE!!  I'm still convinced that he probably saved him from an even worse injury had he fallen on/hit his head on the gravel!  Of course, this is the same little boy who just TWO months ago was in that same ER getting 4 stitches in his eyelid after big brother tried to "swim" between his legs in the bathtub!
  (Note to the baby hospital....we really do love our children no matter how this looks!) 
Anyways, our little guy got his cast on a week ago and is doing splendidly! 

See?

video
Also, pay no mind to the various items on his floor.  He really should try to pick up after himself a little better. 
Ahem.

As if all of that wasn't enough, for some reason I've also chosen the last 2-3 weeks of my life to become a little more adventurous in the kitchen and have cooked up a whole slew of new homemade concoctions that I have NEVER attempted before.   
Having spent the first couple of years of our married life dining on such finer things as Dinty-Moore-Beef-Stew-Over-Rice, Tuna Helper and Grilled Cheese with Ramen Noodles, to say that making things from scratch is HUGE for me might just be the understatement of the year.
My husband has been wondering who body snatched his wife happily devouring every meal and has really spoken to my "love language" with comments such as "Your batting 1000!" 
(It's really a good thing I love sports so much and will gladly take a sports analogy like this to my cooking as the sincerest form of compliment!)

Here's a short list of the things I've made (from scratch) for the first time in my life recently:
(Blogs about several of these will hopefully be forthcoming. More on that in a bit)

  • Homemade Bread (6 loaves of it!) without the use of a bread machine OR a free stand mixer (although I am now on the hunt for used versions of either...)
  • Stuffed Shells
  • Homemade Pizza Dough (for Calzones which I had also never made)
  • Homemade Pie Crust (for the yummiest Quiche Lorraine. I made a double batch of my mom's recipe, but this was my first time NOT using a store-bought crust.  It was soooo much better homemade!)
  • Homemade Cinnamon Rolls~ (Oh my word, ya'll....these were THE.BEST.EVER!!  I only used half of the dough and it made 7 pans full!  These would make a great gift-giving idea.  But don't steal, cause I'm thinking I will give these out for the holidays.  I will definitely be posting about these oooey-gooey heavenly morsels from this great mama cook soon!)

  • Stromboli (pretty basic, but my first time making it and my first time using frozen bread dough. Pretty cool when you're in a rush, but I think the next time I'll just whip up the homemade pizza dough I used for the Calzones.  Cause I can so totally "whip it right up" now. Uh-huh, yeah.



Hopefully I can find the time in the next week or so to put up the recipe 
posts for all of these, but I'm not sure that will happen since this went up last night:

Yep, our house is for sale.
(*Sniff*)
No really, it's a good thing.  It's just one of those things that you know God is in, and you know He's telling you to do, but you still have those moments where you're like "Are you sure?!"
God has put such a burden in my heart that my purpose, my calling is to be home with my children.  I have already missed sooo much precious time with them and they will only be small for a season and I don't want to miss.any.more!
We have loved our house and have soo many wonderful memories, but we know that I would never be able to stay at home while in this house.  We're trying to make the right decisions (even though they're REALLY hard sometimes) and following alot of common sense.  (We'd make Dave proud!)  
Please be praying with us for the sale of our home and that God would provide just the right place for us, whether that be another home, or an apartment, or a townhouse.  We know that all of this is in HIS hands and we are trusting in that!
So, now between working full-time, whipping up homemade creations in the kitchen, loving my husband and children, cleaning up the pee and poop my diabetic dog is leaving for me everyday and trying to keep my house potential-buyer-clean, I'll still be trusting Him to take care of every insane, crazy, stressful moment and hopefully live to blog about it enjoy every minute of it.
That, and learning how to do cool things with my blog that may, or may not annoy everyone else who reads it like striking through perfectly good words just to satisfy my own sense of humor.

Be blessed,
~Jenn~

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

~My Boys~




Just wanted to share some recent pics of my favorite little men.
We've had a great summer, and are eagerly looking forward to the fall and winter months.
For now though, I'm enjoying reflecting on God's goodness and spending some time thanking him for these two precious boys!

~Brothers~


    ~Seriously, how cute is he?~            


~Growing up waaay too fast!~

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

~A Whole Lotta Dough~

I'm not quite sure, but I probably should be embarrassed to admit the fact that I'm 32, and two weeks ago was the very first time I've ever made homemade bread. EVER.
While I'm in the confessing mood, I should also point out that I was never that "into" helping my mom in the kitchen. I didn't grow up with a love of cooking or any sort of natural inclination to just throw a little-of-this and a little-of-that and whip up something that could be called edible.
No, I was much more content to let my younger sister hone her cooking skills in the kitchen with my mom, while I fine-tuned my ability to spot an "off sides" or a "pass-interference" while plopped down in front of a football game with my dad. (Which reminds me of a pretty funny story from when Jeff and I were newlyweds which I will have to save for another day...)
Ahem.
Well, fast forward 7 years of marriage and two kids later and I FINALLY feel like I am starting to get my groove on in the kitchen! For about the last 3 weeks, I've been cooking up all new recipes that I've procured from other people's blogs and I am having a BLAST! Okay, maybe blast is a little too strong of a description, but suffice it to say that I'm enjoying my husband telling me I'm batting 1000 lately with my cooking! HA!
So, back to the bread. Having never made it before, I didn't realize that I could be saving alot of money by baking my own bread. Not only that, but when you make it yourself, it's way healthier and simply delicious!
I found my soon-to-be-first-ever-baked-bread recipe at an AWESOME cooking blog called Eat At Home Cooks. The author of this blog shares VERY simple, affordable, and delicious recipes in a way that novice/semi-novice cooks like me can really appreciate. In addition to showing a photo of the ingredients and the final product, her steps are easy to understand and she blogs about any embellishments made or what she would do differently the next time. I also love love LOVE that she has weekly, printable menu lists that I can take to the store and do all of my shopping for the week. This type of menu planning means that we are eating out less (thus saving $$) and also enjoying home-cooked meals every night! When I saw her recipe for this bread, I knew I had to give it a try! I also decided that making 6 loaves of bread for the first time wasn't enough for one afternoon and dove head-first into another dish that I had yet to try my hand at....Stuffed Shells. Both recipes turned out sooooo yummy and have now been added to my "staples."
Below are the pics of my afternoon. Enjoy!