Friday, July 30, 2010

Good Morning Brithday!

Good morning birthday, I haven’t seen you in a year! July 30 is a day (week) of celebration in our house, it is both Chloe's and my birthday (and according to a sonogram the day of conception for Addie...but that may be TMI-oh well) I was up a lot of the night with a stuffy tossing Addie. Once Bobby got up he made me a giant fresh blueberry pancake and I even used REAL butter! It was delish! Of course Bobby was so groggy at first he couldn’t remember why he was making pancakes, about half way through he came to tell me happy birthday. Once Chloe got up Elijah began galloping in circles around the living room singing “HAAAAPPPPYYY YOU! HAAAAPPPYY YOU!” when he tripped he sat up immediately and said in his deep, manly voice “I’m okay” then began galloping around the room again this time singing “Moon, Moon, Moon”. I have lots to tell about Chloe’s birthday party, it was so much fun, and the least expensive party I have thrown yet! But for now I will leave you with a recipe for blueberry pancakes, these make me smile and hum while I eat-seriously Bobby laughs at me when I eat them, I grew up with bisquick pancakes so when I got the basic pancake recipe I tweaked it (slightly) and here it is-Oh and for those of you who dont know imitation vanilla is NOT the same as vanilla extract, lets just say its like an Elvis impersonator, cheaper and easier to come by, but you can tell its not the real thing

Blu-licious Pancakes

2 cups flour
4 Tbl sugar
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
2 eggs
1 1/2 cups milk
1 tsp vanilla
3 Tbl melted butter
2/3 cup blueberries rinsed and drained (whole and fresh)

Combine dry ingredients, mix, then add wet ingredients. Stir til smooth. (Its morning nothing complicated, right?) Heat a large skillet with about 2 tablespoons butter in it, at about 75% heat (med-high). If you are going for a healthier meal use a cooking spray on the pan instead. Once hot pour batter onto hot pan using about 1/3 cup batter per pancake. Usually 3-4 will fit on a skillet at a time. Once you see "potholes" appearing evenly across the top you can flip the pancake and cook about 2 minutes until golden brown. Each time you start another set add another tablespoon of butter to the pan. This recipe makes enough for about 5 hungry people! Enjoy!

Friday, July 16, 2010

A Bunch Of Ramblings, And Boy Do I Need Coffee

I finally finished Chloes dress and I am currently working on Addies, along with a how-to tutorial.
I am so tired but as soon as I got the little ones down the phone rang, as soon as I hung up the neighbors kids came and started mowing the lawn, (Jessica is very sweet and does a great job, as she earns money to care for her 4-H pets, but she likes to keep me very informed about the progress of the lawn). So by the time I got to lay down again my mind was on everything but sleep, that and there is so much I need to get done right now I would feel guilty about napping…almost. I’m really stressed about something right now, but I am literally so tired that I cannot remember what it is. Pretty much Im just in a really bad mood and have a headache to go along with it (and if you are putting 3 and 3 together right now, well, you are wrong)…And now Elijah is awake again… My lack of sleep last night is due in part to Addie and also to the strange dreams I have been having every night lately, I have been told repeatedly to keep a dream journal, however I have no desire to remember these dreams, so there!
The last few weeks have been crazy Elijah and I have been bruised up and banged up in every way possible, him by his own doing-couch diving and such, me by others doing. Chloe has been having growing pains as well and insisting on wearing an ace bandage around her ankle. We only have one at the moment so her and I have been butting heads over whos turn it is to use it. I do not know if I over extended my arch or if it is “falling” let’s just say it hurts horribly bad most of the time. Along with that Addie clawed my eyeball the other day (as I was on the way to cut her fingernails, go figure), and when Bobby returned home and saw me in my home made eye patch, HE LAUGHED! Mean while I had made dinner, and found out just how difficult it is to measure distance and amounts with only one eye. As it turns out, you need two eyes to get full depth perception. When I finished and saw how little was in the pan, I told everyone that if there wasn’t enough they were just gonna have to suck it up and wait til breakfast!
Have you ever seen -pretty much any Disney Channel show- where some form of liquid (usually frozen yogurt) is being dumped out and the people are trying to catch it all with their mouths and hands..? I didn’t think it actually happened, but Chloe proved me wrong, when her milk shake cup broke at Chick-fil-a and she tried to contain the mess in such a manner, then began eating it out of her hands. I would have loved to get it on video, but my main concern at the time was that she was spreading the mess across the store.
Chloe’s birthday is going to be a lot of fun we are going to…HA gottcha Chloe, you thought I would tell you, jokes on you!
Chloe is pretty easy, she complains (a lot), but otherwise she is a lot of fun and makes life easier for me when she is feeling helpful. So what I am realizing now with 2 little ones is that I have begun deciding what is truly a necessity, when out with the kids. What is really so necessary that I am going to go through the process of getting them in and out of the car, fed, changed, ect? Coffee? YES! Toilet paper? Nah that can wait. Sewing supplies? Sure! Fresh meat for dinner? You know what, that chicken in the fridge didn’t smell too far gone…
Elijah brought me the coffee press (almost empty and completely cooled) and an empty cup the other day and asked “coppee, please!?” I handed Chloe the press and moments later I hear “mom! Elijah is swimming in the syrup!” As I flew over the couch I realized, sure enough he was trying to take a bath in Mrs. Buttersworth’s flavored sugar! He was sitting in a large puddle of syrup! Come to think of it this was the same day Addie gouged my eye…what a fun Tuesday!
Ugh! As I was posting this Elijah came up to me with a tub of "lock and twist" gel, it is probably the nastiest goop ever sold for profit! Just imagine a jar of snot! It is used to "lock" dreads and he was dumping it on his hair, onto the floor, and rubbing it into his hair. Yuck! Maid Wanted! In trade for yummy bread...hmm I think its time to make bread again.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Spinach Enchiladas

I really enjoyed these, Im not too fond of restaurant style spinach enchiladas, they tend to be greasy and (dare I say) too spinach-y. I found a super simplistic recipe online and went from there adding a few more ingredients. Oh and I cut corners, I dont roll enchiladas, I layer like a lasagna. I use premade tomatillio sauce when cooking with it even though I dont like the pre-made on chips it turns out great when baked.

Green-alicious Enchiladas
Serves; 5-6 cost; $8 time; 30 min or less

1 bunch, or frozen package Spinach
1 cup frozen hash-browns, or diced potatoes
2 Tbl oil
1/2 cup onion-diced
1/4 cup cilantro-diced
3 garlic cloves-diced
1 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
16 oz (2 cups)green salsa/tomatillio sauce
1/2 cup sour cream
12-16 corn tortillas
1-2 cups cheese I used cheddar and jack

Cook hashbrowns in oil with onion and garlic, when browned add cilantro and spinach, cook til wilty and steaming. Add cumin, garlic salt, sour cream, and 1 1/4 cups salsa. Stir well and heat til bubbling. Begin preheating oven to 350.
Spray a 9x9" baking dish. Pour 1/4 cup of remaining salsa on bottom of baking dish and spread across bottom. Tear tortillas into pieces and make a layer on bottom of dish-using 3-4 tortillas per layer, pour 1/3 of spinach mixture over tortillas then 1/2 cup cheese, repeat layers 3 times. Make 1 more layer or tortillas on top pour remaining salsa on top, then remaining cheese. Bake at 350 15-20 minutes.

The original recipe I saw only had spinach, sour cream, salsa, and tortillas, if you are working on a budget or trying to cut the calories-go for it, but all together this is already a fairly low cal dish.
Enjoy, I did! My kids even went back for seconds knowing it was spinach.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Happy July!

July marks the beginning of even hotter days and therefore Chloe doesn't like playing outside and Elijah wants to but no one is willing to go out there to watch him...except the bazillions of mosquitoes! It is also 1 month into hurricane season hear in the tropics of Texas, and that means fantastic thunderstorms, even when the storm hits hundreds of miles away. That said we got buckets of rain this last week...inside the house included. Elijah decided that said buckets looked like great swimming pools for him to take a dip in, and throw Chloe's stuffed fish into.
I hope everyone had a great and safe 4th of July. Here in our wonderfully country neighborhood the fireworks red glares were hitting our tree tops and our roof (couldn't hurt it much more right?)so the kids and I hid in the house blaring music and dancing to dampen the blasting booms. Bobby, having not been traumatized by fireworks as I have, watched the neighbors money burning in the air in 20 beautifully bright colors. -As for my trauma, there are so many bad "4th" experiences to choose from, I don't know where to start...babysitters driving drunk, 3 exploding and hitting me, and something about when I was younger...but I remember cars being chased...-
Right now I am working on a dress for Chloe. We are planning (hoping) to do a Prom theme dinner for our birthday on the 30th (same day for both of us!)The main part of her dress took all of 1 hour, while Addie and Elijah slept, that was 2 weeks ago, and since then I have hardly accomplished anything. I have about 30 minutes to an hour left on it, but as soon as I set up someone wakes up and its time to pack up again! Anyhow I plan to do it at 2am if necessary-just to be done with it. Its Hannah Montana meets Belle and Cinderella. The picture is of Cloe and Elijah climbing on my back as I try to hem and make flounces on the dress.
In honor of Independence Day, I am posting an American classic! Southern Style Mac N Cheese- Disclaimer! not to be eaten on a regular basis! Ultra yummy, however, it is macaroni and cheese...I guess if you are used to eating McD's everyday then this would be a step up in the health department though... Enjoy!

Baked Macaroni cost:$7-12 serves: 6* time:30 min

12oz package spiral or penne pasta
1 1/2 lb shredded cheese-I use a mixture or Mild Cheddar,Sharp Cheddar and Colby Jack (usually)
1 stick butter
1/2 cup heavy cream, half n half, or milk
2 T flour
1 package pre crumbled or 1/2 cup diced bacon
1 can corn-or 1 cup frozen (optional)
4 large garlic cloves -diced
1/2 cup onion-copped
1/4 cup chives
1 tsp cumin
garlic salt to taste

Prepare pasta according to package and add corn, garlic, onion and chives to boiling water (or you can saute them in the butter before making the sauce, I tend to boil them because it takes less time)Drain then pour into sprayed 13x9" or larger baking dish sprinkle bacon over the top (cold is fine). In the same boiling pan on medium heat add butter (saute veggies now if doing so) add cream, seasonings and 1 lb of cheese, mix until completely melted and smooth-if sauce is too tin add flour slowly 1 Tbl at a time and stir til slightly thicker-its cheese it will thicken as it cools...pour over noodles and mix together. Sprinkle remaining 1/2lb or cheeses on top. Broil until browned on top.
*for 2 more servings use a full pound of pasta, dont worry about the rest chances are you wont notice a difference in the cheesy-ness.
There are so many ways to change this recipe up, add green chilies, take out 1/2 lb of cheese, or add tomatoes and olives, have fun with it!

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Mom Barometer

It’s been a quiet day in the Bickel household…I say this as the roof leaks behind me, Addie cries and when I go to her, I step in a puddle of spit up, Chloe complains about her bedtime, and Elijah scurries about as if he downed a double espresso…but the otherwise quietness can only be attributed to Thursdays being my break day. Thursdays I have the pleasure of going to the church and taking on any task thrown at me, even if it means getting stuck in an elevator, tumbling down stairs, or dropping and exploding a case of soda in front of crowd of onlookers, all in trade for 5 hours of free babysitting (okay that is not my real reason for going, but it is a definite plus!). In other words Thursday is the day that helps to maintain my sanity, partly because it is pretty much the only time my conversations include more than fairy princesses and juice. I do love the opportunity to serve though; it brings me so much joy and refreshes my week. By the time we got home through the down pouring rain, a little gift Hurricane Alex sent our way, we only had an hour and a half before we had to leave again to get Bobby. But during that short time Elijah managed to make his mark on me and the house. Most toddlers would climb a baby gate blocking their path-mine breaks the wood and tears it down. Every time Elijah decided he wanted to toilet paper the bathroom, or see what makes the plunger so amazing; I got to do my mad dash across the house, the bathroom being the only place left we had a gate on. Aside from that, and thinking I broke my toe while trying to walk through the kitchen he “redecorated”, then pinching the skin on my hand when fixing Addie’s swing after his “reconstruction”…its been a calm day…sort of.
Mom’s Mood Barometer
1-Cracker Barrel for breakfast! =happy, goofy
2-Making pancakes=feeling affectionate, happy
3-Hamburgers=life is good, at ease
4-Spring Rolls=feeling ok
5-Peanut butter bars=something is on her mind (warning!)
5.5-On third cup of coffee=something is straining her
6-Buying ice cream=stressing
7-Sopping randomly=nerves are unraveling fast
8- Baking brownies=quick get her a glass of wine, and a masseuse and a babysitter -for a week!
9-No food-scrubbing erratically=
10-Baking white bread (with real butter)=call out the National Guard, someone is gonna get hurt!
…I smell bread, and it smells yummy-good night kids, hello fresh baked bread and Pinot Grigio!