Monday, July 30, 2012

Meal Plan Monday #8

This week is full of excitement as we move into our new house. It's still hot here in the desert, and we are super busy, so meals this week will be simple again. Maybe this weekend I will bake something in our new kitchen!

Sunday: Spicy Shrimp Caesar Salad

Monday: Loaded Baked Potatoes

Tuesday: Ham Steak, Lima Beans, and Biscuits

Wednesday: Pork Chops, Black-eyed Peas, and Cornbread

Thursday: Barbecue Chicken Roll-ups

Friday: Date Night!

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Snap Shot Saturday: Senior Send-Off

These are my recent graduates. They are heading off for new adventures in the coming weeks. I am so proud of and happy for them! Good luck, Falcons!


We got the keys to our new house today! We will be busy moving over the next few weeks, but I will try to keep up with posting. We are so excited, and I can hardly wait to start taking pictures in my NEW KITCHEN!

Monday, July 23, 2012

Bread Pudding

I went to a pre-Thanksgiving potluck supper way back in November, and I was assigned bread and butter. I wasn't sure how many people would be attending, so I carried in two types of bread - regular French bread and brown oat bread, kind of like they have at the Cheesecake Factory. Even after sharing bread with people taking plates home, I had a lot of extra bread. Darren and I ate some of it, but there was no way we would finish it all before it got stale or molded. Bread pudding to the rescue!

I have had bread pudding made with all sorts of bread, and my mom raves to this day about the bread pudding her grandmother used to make with whatever baked goods were leftover at the end of the week (rolls, biscuits, cake with frosting...). I used to eat at this little place in Sarasota, Florida, on Siesta Key, called the Wildflower that would make bread pudding out of their day-old muffins. It was amazing. I even made a small bread pudding out of the leftover brown sugar pound cake cupcakes from a few weeks ago, and I once made a bread pudding from a mixture of bread and pound cake. Anyway, the thing about bread pudding is that you can make it with whatever kind of bread or bread-like stuff you have laying around.

It is a fairly simple undertaking, and could often be thrown together with ingredients that are probably all ready in the pantry and refrigerator. In this bread pudding, I used cream, but I have also used milk when that was all I had on hand. I would shy away from skim milk, but just about any other milk should work. Bread puddings can be sweet or savory, and can be plain or have lots of mix-ins.

I think the key to a good bread pudding is mixing up the wet ingredients and then letting the bread soak up the eggy-creamy goodness before baking. This bread pudding has nuts, raisins, and dried cranberries. I also served it with a whiskey sauce, but I wasn't particularly fond of the sauce, so I'm not including it here. Anyway, you can see in this picture (that I didn't remember to take until we had started eating it), the edges are firm and golden, and the center still has a bit of jiggle to it.

Meal Plan Monday #7

We are going with fast and easy meals this week as we prepare to move into our new house! Hooray for homeownership!

Sunday: Broiled Salmon and Rice

Monday: Fried Rice with Vegetables

Tuesday: Ricotta Pasta

Wednesday: Chef Salads

Thursday: Oven Sandwiches

Friday: Date Night!

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Snap Shot Saturday: Tall Girl Tribute

This past year was one of the best of my professional career. I had the privilege of working with some outstanding students, who will be attending Brown, U. Penn., Brandeis, U. Mass., Baylor, Tulane, and a ton of other really great schools. Some of my kids were also stellar athletes - our girls' volleyball team won the state championship again. I had a blast following them to some of their games and was especially proud to see them win the state tournament last fall! I refer to those kids as my tall girls. They  are wonderful people, and I wish them the best in their coming adventures!

This kid is one of the nicest people you could ever hope to meet. She is heading off to do mission work for a gap year before starting college or whatever comes next. She is kind of my hero, and I am so proud to know her! Good luck, Cat-Fan!

This kid is going to California for college. I had the pleasure and honor of writing her senior tribute speech. She is going to be unstoppable! Go go go, J-Slide!

A Veritas volleyball star,
With a mustache attached to her car,
At Azusa she'll shine,
In graphic design,
And with a little hard work, she'll go far!

This kid is staying local for college. I hope she'll pop in occasionally for a visit. She is a funny gal and never fails to bring a smile to my face. Keep 'em laughing, T!

Best of luck, Tall Girls! I will miss you!

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Cheesy Black Bean Dip

This is a quick throw together dip that always gets rave reviews. It's so easy and it tastes really good. I usually use black beans, but have used pinto beans also. I generally use Mexicorn in a can, but have used regular canned corn or even a cup or two of frozen corn. And just about any type of cheese will work.

Use one can of refried beans, one can of whole beans (drained and rinsed), one can of corn (drained), and 4 oz. (or more) of chopped or grated cheese. Feel free do add diced chilies of jalapenos, if you like your dip a little hotter.

Stir all ingredients together and cook on low in the crockpot until the cheese is melted. Serve with tortilla chips or fritos.

Leftovers can be reheated, or even better, spread on a tortilla and warmed in a skillet to make tostadas or quesadillas. Add extra cheese, sour cream, shredded lettuce, or other standard taco toppings.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Meal Plan Monday #6

It's another hot, busy week here in the desert! Here are some plans for the week.

Sunday: Darren is on his own!

Monday: Crescent Chicken Pockets with Salad

Tuesday: Cheeseburger Hashbrowns (Browned hamburger meat and hamburger toppings of choice served on a bed of hashbrowns)

Wednesday:  Grilled Chicken Caesar Salad

Thursday: Cornbread Casserole

Friday: Date Night! (Lib's Pick)

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Sangria Saturday!

We have friends over fairly often for games and snacks, usually on Saturday afternoons. Sometimes we make sangria, which makes those Sangria Saturdays! I prefer white sangria because it is more refreshing than red sangria, although we have also served red wine punch at parties, too.

We started with a recipe from the New American Bartenders Guide, and after making it according to the recipe the first time, we have adapted it to our tastes. The original recipe calls only for sliced oranges. We use a combination of citrus fruits and apples, but have also used nectarines, too. I think strawberries would make a great addition, although I haven't tried that yet. I have had white sangria with melon in it that was very good.

Chill the wine and club soda. Make a simple syrup and allow it to cool. Juice the oranges, lemons, and limes.

Mix the juice, wine, and triple sec.

Slice up fruits and add them to the mix.

Add the club soda just before serving.