Friday, August 22, 2014

Pinterest Challenge Week 1 : Creamy Garlic Shells

Yesterday morning, after I took the ham out of the freezer for dinner,  I started rummaging through the pantry, as I seem to find myself doing most days, for a side dish.  (I know, I know; I should have a meal plan in place, but I'm not that organized!)  I will be the first to admit, I don't enjoy cooking.  At All.  Baking? Yes.  Cooking, real food? Not even a little.  I'm not very creative in the kitchen and try to find ways to cut corners every chance I get!  Even a "corner cutter" like me hates canned veggies.  Aack!  Sure, I have them in my pantry but I hardly ever serve them as they come.  I will always add a little of this or a little of that to make it a bit more appetizing to my kids (and me too).   But, we had green beans the night before and the kids all vetoed corn.  Already had rice this week, and potatoes too.  Soooo, where did that leave me?  Bing! This was the perfect opportunity to try out one of my forgotten Pins.  So, to the computer I went.   After scrolling through my endless board of recipes, I settled on Creamy Garlic Shells.  One, because it looked easy and I had all of the ingredients and two, pasta is something that almost everyone in our house can agree on.  See the original pin here.   

DISCLAIMER:  I have to let you know that I am terrible at photographing as I go.  I promised myself that I would show you each step but the truth is I completely forgot to take pics of a few steps when I got into the nitty gritty of the recipe.  Sorry.  I'll do better next time.   Now, on to why you're here.

I would be willing to bet y'all have all of the ingredients in your pantry because I did, and I am terrible at keeping my pantry stocked, so if I had everything then you definitely do!

So here we go!

Start by cooking your pasta.  Please don't overcook it like I did. Lol.  You'll see in the photo of the finished product that my pasta kind of fell apart due to me getting distracted and cooking it a minute... or three too long.

Once your pasta is done, drain it and set it aside until later.
Ok, return your pot to stove and melt the butter in the olive oil over medium heat.  Add the garlic and sauté it until it's golden brown, being very careful not to burn it, unless of course you like that burned garlic flavor.   (it literally took less than a minute). 

  Add the flour and whisk, cooking for 1 minute.  As you continue to whisk, pour in the milk and chicken broth. Whisk until it as nice and creamy.  Add your salt and pepper and keep stirring until it thickens up and bubbles gently (not a boil!)

Remove the pot from the heat and stir in the parsley, garlic powder, and parmesan cheese until all of the cheese has melted and mixture becomes creamy. 

(Who noticed that I forgot to take the pot from the burner???)


Mine doesn't look nearly as pretty as the original!
Now,add the pasta and stir gently.  Really gently if you've overcooked your pasta...  And you're done!


8oz. pasta shells 

1 Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 Tablespoon butter
2 garlic cloves, minced2 Tablespoons flour3/4 cup chicken broth3/4 cup milk salt and pepper1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
2 teaspoons parsley flakes


1. Go ahead and cook your pasta.  The original recipe said to use mini shells.  I used spirals and it was fine.  Any pasta that will grab the sauce will work.  Drain and set it aside.                                                            
2. Return your pot to stove and melt the butter in the olive oil over medium heat. Add garlic and sauté it until it's golden brown, being very careful not to burn (it took less than a minute).  Add the flour and whisk, cooking for 1 minute.  As you continue to whisk, pour in the milk and chicken broth. Whisk until it is nice and creamy.  Add your salt and pepper and keep stirring until it thickens up and bubbles gently (not a boil!)
3. Remove the pot from the heat and stir in the garlic powder, parsley and parmesan cheese until all of the cheese has melted and mixture becomes creamy. Now,add the pasta and stir gently.

Okay,  so there you have it.  My thoughts:  This recipe wasn't quite as "easy" as I had originally thought it would be. (clearly I didn't fully read the instructions before starting... oops.) Dinnertime is a bit chaotic as it is.  I think my kids are programmed to have a meltdown when I get busy cooking dinner.  All of you mama's know what I mean.  

I was looking for a quick, easy to throw together, side dish. It wasn't hard by any means, it just needed my full attention, which didn't work out so well.  I mean, I got sidetracked and overcooked the pasta right off the bat!  But, by the time I realized just how much babysitting this recipe needed it was too late to back out.  Aside from forgetting to "remove the pot from heat" before adding the rest of the ingredients, I did alright.  

Now, for how it tasted.  It was alright.  Ok, it was good. It wasn't as good as I thought it would be though.  I was hoping for more flavor and quite honestly it just tasted like Alfredo sauce.  So, if that's what you're after then you'll probably like this.  Even though this didn't make it onto my list of favorite recipes I definitely wouldn't call this a Pinterest Fail,  Two of the tree kids ate it (remember when I said almost everyone in our house likes pasta?) and liked it.  That's a 66% success rate people!  So, I would say my first challenge went well!  Now, I'm off to find my next challenge!  See you next week!

Saturday, August 16, 2014

The truth about Pinterest

      I know I'm not the only one obsessed with Pinterest.  I know this because every time I log on, my feed is flooded with new Pins, and this is where it all starts... On more than one occasion I have found myself sucked into the Pinterest vortex, when all I intended on doing was finding a quick recipe, or looking up the author of that book I was going to download.  The next thing I know an hour -or more- has passed and I'm late for the carpool line at Andrew's school.   Dang it, not again.  I pin and pin.  And pin and pin. And, well, you get it.  The point is, I pin a lot.  But last night, I came to the realization that I have never even gone back and looked at, or used, 99% of the things I have pinned.  Please tell me I'm not the only one.  I mean, let's be honest; when am I ever going to have the time to make a giant holiday wreath made of a hundred foam balls covered in yarn?  Or, manage to pull together one of those perfectly matched and accessorized outfits?  You know the ones I'm talking about.  Skinny jeans, riding boots, the big comfy sweater with coordinating scarf and the PERFECT "messy" bun!  Oh, and don't forget the statement necklace!  
Yeah, probably never gonna happen.

 I really do Pin with good intentions.  The problem is that I pin like I speed clean.  I shove it in a drawer, or in this case a board, and forget about it.  Because of this, I have decided that I am going to challenge myself to utilize ONE pin a week.  Yes, one.  I'm starting small here people.  Whether it be a new recipe, a craft or just a new cleaning tip.   I'm gonna admit, I have had my share of Pinterest fails, but since we're all friends here,  I'll check-in every couple of days so you all can see how things are going.  In the meantime, Happy Pinning and please come be my friend here and we can Pin together!

While you're waiting...... Enjoy

Sunday, July 15, 2012

And, this is what I'm addicted to this summer!

I love tea.  Iced sweet tea particularly. I was raised on it.  It is the "water" of the South.   I never gave drinking it a second thought until recently I read how many calories are in a 32 ounce glass and was shocked!  400 calories!!  FOUR HUNDRED!!  Are you kidding me?  I was drinking at least 32 ounces a day - probably closer to 62 if we're being honest. Um, that's like half of the recommended daily caloric intake.... on TEA.  Wtf?  I'd rather use those calories elsewhere, like chocolate cake or brownies   After my discovery I tried splenda.  Nope.  Couldn't do it.  Chemical sweetness isn't for me so I determined I was going to have to break up with sweet tea all together.  I still need the caffeine from the tea to function, (don't judge,  I have three kids)  So I decided to go naked!  Not me. My tea.  No sweeteners.  I knew it would be hard.  It goes against everything I've ever been taught.  After a few days of "naked" tea I found myself wandering down the tea aisle at the grocery store looking for something, anything to make my tea more exciting.  I was starting to be okay with the unsweetened tea but I did find myself getting a little bored with it.   So I ended up with this.

Stash makes this Superfruit Tea Sampler and I love it.  There are 3 Acai Berry, Blueberry, Yumberry, Goji Berry, Mangosteen, and Pomegranate Raspberry Green teas in each sampler.  While these aren't sweet they give just enough flavor to make my boring tea happy again without the calories!  There are a couple different ways you can prepare it but i tend to just pop a bag in a mug of water and microwave it for a couple of minutes, let it steep a while and poor it over ice.   Super Yummy!  

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Weary Wednesday

This is what the last 3 days have looked like at our house.  Both of the boys' asthma is flared up so there has been a line at the nebulizer!  Ethan missed school yesterday and Andrew has missed all week so far. I love Fall but I hate the sudden weather changes it brings,  it does the boys in every time.  When they have a flare up it can turn ugly quick so I typically set my alarm to go off every 90 minutes to 2 hours during the night so I can stay on top of the breathing treatments to hopefully avoid a trip into the ER.  I am completely exhausted but it works.... usually!  Hopefully they are better by the weekend and we can all get some rest!

Monday, November 1, 2010

Tricks and treats!

Well,  Halloween has come and gone and I think it's safe to say we're all pooped!  I hate when it falls on a school night.  I feel like I am not able to fully be "in the moment" because I am constantly watching the clock, worrying about baths, bedtimes and morning alarms that will come much too early for my liking!  But, nevertheless, we made the best of it.  We got a pretty early start and set out before the sun set in effort to keep it an early night.  I LOVED the costumes each of the kids picked out this year because they fit their personalities just perfectly. 

Hannah chose to be Dorothy this year and I was thrilled.  I think I have secretly hoped she'd choose Dorothy every year since she was 3 years old!  I LOVE the blue checkered dress and the red sparkly shoes!  This was my the year!  She has fallen in love with musicals and singing, even more than before, since she has started voice lessons, so when she saw that Dorothy costume that was it!  I had to laugh though because she wasn't thrilled with the typical Dorothy shoes.  She wanted something a little more "her" so this is what she came up with:
An old pair of Converse and some red glitter and there you have 'em!  She made a beautiful Dorothy just like I always knew she would!

Ethan wanted to be a Rock Star, which is certainly ironic if you know Ethan.   When you think "rock star" one might think of someone really outgoing and social, sometimes loud and boisertous and maybe a little self centered..... 
I know what you're thinking.  That doesn't sound like Ethan.  Ethan is quiet, likes to keep to himself, hates conflict and would do anything to please the ones he loves!  Yes, that is all true but this kid LOVES music and can play a mean air guitar.  And of all three of my kids, Ethan is the most likely to have a full sleeve of tattoos when he gets older.  This kid is so used to getting poked with needles it's nothing to him anymore!  So, when he saw this costume I knew it was so "him", tattoos, piercings and all!  Once he put it on his little personality just lit up and this confident kid came out and I loved it. 

 Then there is Andrew.  Was there any doubt that he would be anything other than "Super Duper Mario Kart?"  Umm, I think not!  If you know Andrew, you know he eats, breathes and sleeps Mario, Luigi, Princess Peach and Koopa Troopa, so he didn't have to tell us twice.  This kid goes through life just like Mario, with reckless abandon.  Without fear and full speed ahead is just his nature and I wouldn't have it any other way!

In the grand scheme of things we had a great time, aside from the little cold Andrew woke up with.  That was certainly no treat!  He made the best of it though and was the last one of the little ones to want to come in from trick-or-treating, as usual, although he did request to be carried back because he was "too tired".  
Andrew with his cousins Emma and Izzie.

The big boys had a great time coordinating their costumes this year.  Since Ethan decided to be a Rock Star his cousin Jacob decided to follow suit and be a Rapper!  These two were hilarious and it was a riot watching people's reactions as they opened their doors to this motley crew!

This was the first year that Hannah went out with a big group of friends rather than us.  She has a fantastic group of friends who are all very kind, respectful and responsible so I wasn't at all apprehensive about letting them trying it out without an adult this year.

Once we got the boys home and showered they just had to go through their bags to see what needed to be eaten immediately, what could wait until tomorrow and what had nuts and needed to be traded with Hannah when she got home!

Everyone must have had a great time because all 3 of them were asleep within 5 minutes of being tucked into bed!  

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Scary Good!

Okay, I'll be the first to admit, I don't really enjoy cooking with my kids. There, I said it. It's not that I don't enjoy spending time with them, because I do. I can just think of 1000 other ways that I would rather do it! It's not the kids that make it unenjoyable, it's the actual cooking itself.  Heck, I don't really even like cooking without my kids! I hate the preparation but even more than that, I hate cleaning up my mess!  I'm not a "cooker", never have been.  I do enjoy baking, but even that manages to stress me out if done in large doses! 
 But, I thought in honor of Halloween I'd suck it up, put on my Perfect Mom costume and do a few fun and easy Halloween cooking projects with them!  We found a couple of recipes online and got cookin'!

Hot Dog Mummies
(Makes 10) 
These were so stinkin' easy!  The kids literally did everything themselves.  All they really needed me for was to get them in and out of the oven and Hannah probably could've handled that if I had let her.

1 can of refrigerated breadstick dough
10 Hot Dogs
Mustard (optional)

*Separate the dough into individual pieces. 
*Use scissors or a knife to cut each raw breadstick into 2 strips
*Wrap the strips around each hot dog, starting at the bottom, to cover the hot dog like a wrapped bandage.

*Leave a small area unwrapped at the top (this will be the “face”).

*Wrap a final piece of dough around the end of the mummy in a turban fashion.

*Place the wrapped mummies on a cookie sheet and bake at 350° for 15 to 18 minutes until the dough is golden brown.

*Let cool for 3 or 4 minutes, then use the mustard to draw a face on the exposed area of the hot dog.
 Mummy in your tummy!

Tombstone Cupcakes
Makes 20 - 24
These were more work than the Mummies but the kids had so much fun making these!

*1 box cake mix
*16 ounces chocolate frosting
*3/4 cup chocolate cookie crumbs (we used oreo’s)
*Milano Cookies (or any oblong shaped cookies.  We used some vanilla sandwich cookies and pulled them apart.  We scraped the frosting out of the center and we got 2 “headstones" out of each cookie.)
*Black piping gel (you can find this at almost any grocery store.  Wilton and Betty Crocker both make it)
*Prepare and bake cake mix according to package directions for cupcakes.

*Lick the beaters and crumble up your cookies while you are waiting for your cupcakes to cook.

*Once they are out of the oven and cooled completely, frost them, and cover generously with the cookie crumbs.

*Use the piping gel to write "RIP", Mom, or the names of every person in your family, like my kids did on each cookie.

*Stand each cookie up and push down into the top of the cupcake to create a headstone. 

Enjoy your Graveyard!