Friday, July 26, 2013

The Risotto is Mush!!

...the famous words of Gordon Ramsey! For those of you who, like me, have a sweet spot for that brassy brit, God bless you! I have always loved watching Hell's Kitchen, Master Chef, Hotel Hell...any show he's in, I'll watch! There's something about his accent and saucy demeanor that pulls me in. One of the main dishes that constantly seems to baffle contestants on Hell's Kitchen is the humble risotto. A simple combination of rice, seasonings and chicken broth can be the death of some on the show. I've always wanted to try it and so a few years ago, I did. It's really easy, but time consuming though the end result is always worth it. Served alone or with meat and veggies, risotto is a meal in itself. Hearty and comforting, and inexpensive to make, it's the perfect dish for vegetarians and carnivores alike! Try it for dinner tonight!

2 cups long grain white rice
4 cups chicken stock (or veggie..whatever you prefer)
1/2 diced onion
1/2 stick butter
Saute the butter and onion until onions are soft and translucent. Next, add the rice and stir until well coated with the butter. Slowly add about a cup of your stock and let simmer on low heat until just absorbed. Add another cup or so at a time, allowing the rice to absorb it. Be careful not to wait too long between adding the broth or the rice will dry out. Keep the heat low and once the stock is all absorbed and the rice is soft and creamy, it's ready! This recipe makes about four side servings or two main dish servings. I like to serve mine with grilled chicken and veggies. Enjoy!

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Too Much of a Good Thing?

This past Saturday, eager for something to do that was indoors, cheap, and would burn some of my kid's energy, I headed to McDonald's with my dad. We decided a cone and some playtime would be the answer. My dad is always so good with the kids and willing to help so off we went! The kids behaved marvelously for a good hour, playing, running around with new friends and stopping to catch their breath every now and then. But the time came to go and we all know this is always the hard part. I had to get going, get dinner started and so the warning was given. Not wanting to leave, they started running around like crazy, trying to hide from mommy. And then it happened. Logan took off his shirt. And then his pants and underwear. And he ran. I refuse to chase after my kids and once they take off, they immediately lose privileges so it was on. I finally got a hold of him when it was Jovie's turn. She decided her shirt needed to come off too. Really?? There I was, struggling to get Logan dressed when she started in. So it was Papa's turn. He wrangled a very angry Logan and got him dressed while I dealt with Jovie. I explained to her that while it is inappropriate to remove our clothing in public, it is especially inappropriate for young ladies. She laughed at me. So hot, sweating and eight months pregnant, I pressed on, ignoring the stares from the parents around me and got them out the door. All I can say is, thank God my dad was there to help that day. Sometimes things get ugly and at some point, you have to be able to tune out the noise around you and laugh it off. Yes, it was embarrassing but that just goes with the territory. Next time, we'll leave a little sooner...before things get out of hand!

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Pizza Pie

My family and I really like pizza...I mean, what's not to love? It's easy and quick and almost never disappoints. Lately, I've been letting my children help out in the kitchen and make their own. It's fun for them to shape the dough, spread sauce and sprinkle cheese. I love making different flavor combos for the hubby and me and overall, it's always a hit! Here's my recipe for the pizza dough. You can buy it pre-made but if you have a little extra time, go for homemade. It will yield four small pizzas or one large enough for sharing. Spread it thin and add pesto or cream sauce or make a deep dish pie with a classic marinara. Whatever you do, make it yours!!

1 cup warm water
1 pkg. instant dry yeast
2 1/2 cups flour (plus more for rolling..)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar

Pour warm water in bowl and sprinkle yeast over surface. Let sit a minute then add the remaining ingredients and mix until completely combined, scraping sides and forming into a ball. Let sit out, covered with a towel, for at least two hours. Once dough has double in size, place on floured surface and knead gently a minute or so. Then either split dough into portions or roll out for one large pizza. Cover with sauce, cheese and toppings and bake for about twenty minutes at 450 degrees. Enjoy!

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Cow Appreciation Day is Back!

Cow Appreciation Day is almost here! This week, my kids and I will be enjoying free lunch courtesy of Chick-Fil-A on Friday, August 12th. The catch is, you have to dress like a cow in order to receive a free meal. This picture is of the first time we started the tradition. This is a win-win for all. Chick-Fil-A gets lots of business, families eat free, mommies don't have to cook and the kiddos get to dress up! Fun for all (except maybe my hubby who humored me with a few dots on his shirt..) They even have templates you can print online..couldn't be easier. Enjoy!

Friday, July 5, 2013

Michael's to the Rescue

Looking for a fun and inexpensive activity to do with your little ones this summer?? Well, look no further than your neighborhood Michael's store. A place we frequent already, they have just upped the ante for this mommy with kid's crafting days. Here's the best can leave your kids for about 45 minutes while they work on an activity to take home and you shop in peace!! My little guys love having the independence of being dropped off for a bit and doing something alone. So from now until Friday, August 2nd on Monday, Wednesday and Fridays from ten until noon, you have the chance for a fun outing with the kids! The price is just $2 per child and the activities are different every day so you really could do it all three days. What are you waiting for??,default,pg.html

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Proud to be an American

I consider myself and my family lucky to be born American. We are a country that is revered, privileged and modeled after. In a world where so many live in destitution, caste systems and gender inequality, I feel that as Americans, we have it all. We are free. I don't have to worry about where my children's next meal or drink will come from, don't have to fear that I might be kidnapped, raped or chastised just for being of a certain religion, sex or race and things like human trafficking and slavery are not part of my vernacular. True, we all have problems but considering how much worse things are around the world, I can't complain. We have people who are brave enough to leave the safety net of our country and fight for our freedom and rights and who face, ultimately, death. They keep our doors and windows tight and maintain the level of safety and comfort we've gotten used to. Don't get me wrong. I am not naive. I realize there is crime and terrorism here too but the level is much less than say, Pakistan or Iraq. My favorite Independence Day song, and one that should be an anthem for all Americans is Toby Keith's "Courtesy of the Red, White and Blue". My favorite line is "Justice will be won and the battle will rage. This big dog will fight when you rattle his cage. You'll be sorry that you messed with the US of A...cause we'll put a boot in your ass, it's the American way". We are strong. We are fighters. We are Americans. Take some time to remember the fallen and the fighters of our country today. Happy Fourth!!