Saturday, August 16, 2008

Settling In and Menus

Hello, F.O.T.E.'s,
Well, we're settling in, little by little down here in AL. I'll admit, being the daughter of two Tennesseeans and the wife of one, I feel a small pang of disloyalty each time I look at that Alabama license plate on the van. LOL At least it doesn't say "Crimson Tide" or anything.
The Ram has taken the Lambies to the U.S. Space and Rocket Center again today. We had a short visit last Sunday, just to whet the kids' appetites. If "y'all" get the urge, come on down and let's go see the rockets!
Now that things are beginning to fall into a routine down here, I've started back up my meal planning. I'll share what we've had and what we're having:
Aug. 4 pot roast, salad
Aug. 5 chili, raw veggies
Aug. 6 Creamy Italian Chicken* (I'll include that recipe at the bottom) with CA blend veggies
Aug. 7 ?? I forget...
Aug. 8 Buck's Pizza delivered--yummy local pizza, just too expensive a meal to repeat often, crust was thin, so each of us could have eaten 1/2 a pizza--not very filling! lol
Aug. 9 Pork roast with brown rice
Aug. 10 Taco salad, raw veggies with dipping
Aug. 11 Meatloaf with mixed veggies (just like the school cafeteria!)
Aug. 12 Lemon Chicken* (recipe follows) CA blend
Aug. 13 Spaghetti, salad, garlic toast
Aug. 14. Roast turkey breast--Lovable and I did it ourselves! First time I've massaged a turkey
Aug. 15 frozen pizza

Aug. 16 Lasagna, salad, garlic bread
Aug. 17 pinto beans, hash browns, spinach
Aug. 18 Hobo Joes (think, salisbury steak with roasted potatoes and carrots)
Aug. 19 Grandmama Money's Chicken and dumplings with corn on the cob and carrots
Aug. 20 Squashetti with broccoli
Aug. 21 Vegetable beef soup
Aug. 22 homemade, whole wheat, deep dish pizza

We generally have a salad and fruit, will. The peaches and melons are still delish.

Ok, for the recipes:

Creamy Italian Chicken
6 frozen boneless, skinless chicken breasts
2 envelopes Italian salad dressing mix
2/3 C water
two 8 oz blocks cream cheese
two cans cream of chicken soup (or 1 family size can)
rice or noodles

In a bowl, combine dressing mix, water and chicken soup. Put chicken in crockpot. Cover chicken with soup mix. Cook on low 4-6 hours (if frozen), until chicken is cooked through. Remove chicken and cut up. Add cream cheese to crock. Stir. Add chicken back in. Let heat until cheese is melted. Serve over noodles or rice.

Lemon Garlic Chicken

1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
2 pounds skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
2 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup water
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon chicken bouillon granules
1 teaspoon chopped fresh parsley

In a bowl, mix the oregano, salt, and pepper. Rub the mixture into chicken. Melt the butter in a skillet over medium heat. Brown chicken in butter for 3 to 5 minutes on each side. Place chicken in a slow cooker. In the same skillet, mix the water, lemon juice, garlic, and bouillon. Bring the mixture to boil. Pour over the chicken in the slow cooker. Cover, and cook on High for 3 hours, or Low for 6 hours. Add the parsley to the slow cooker 15 to 30 minutes before the end of the cook time.

Let me know what you think of these, if you try them. They were both first-timers for me this week, but we liked them.
Must run...I have cleaning to do before the Flock gets back from Space, the Final Frontier.
Y'all keep your wool dry,
The Ewe

Friday, August 08, 2008

My Favorite Thing about AL (So Far)

Hello, F.O.T.E.'s,
Well, it *isn't* the above-100F temperatures, that's for sure!! (Of course, KC has had high temps, too, of late.) It's also not the fire ants, which, thank goodness none of the children have stepped in yet. ICK It's not the red dirt that will not come out of clothing...No... it's the...
Yum! We stopped at one of the many roadside stands yesterday and got cheap, delicious peaches and cantaloupe. Wow. Our family ate 3 cantaloupes as dessert last night, lol. At .66 each, that was a good deal. We'll be visiting the fruit stand again. Probably today. Since we're out of fruit. :-)
I noticed, too, they had sweet potatoes and squash (as well as scores of other things, all grown locally.) I'm going to post below my favorite squash recipe. When you're wanting to feel like a gourmet chef, this is a good recipe to try.

Penne with Garlicky Butternut Squash

1/4 cup olive oil
4 cups diced (1/2-inch) butternut squash (from a 1 1/2 pound squash)
4 large garlic cloves, minced
1/4 cup water
1/4 teaspoon grated nutmeg
6 sage leaves, minced or 1/4 teaspoon powdered sage
1/4 cup minced fresh parsley
1/2 teaspoon salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1 pound uncooked penne
Grated Parmesan

Bring a large quantity of water to a boil in a stockpot. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Toss in the squash and saute 5 minutes, or until it begins to get golden. Sprinkle in the garlic and saute 2 minutes. Pour in the 1/4 cup water, nutmeg, sage, parsley, salt and pepper, and cover the pan. Cook the squash until tender, about 5 minutes more. Cook the penne until al dente, about 10 minutes. Drain thoroughly in a colander and return to the pot. Spoon on the squash mixture and toss gently. Serve with a sprinkling of Parmesan and pass more at the table.

My notes: For our family, I have to at least double this. Usually, I double the squash and use just a little more than a pound of pasta. And speaking of pasta, we've found we like plain, whole wheat spaghetti noodles, rather than penne, with this dish. And really, it's the squash, not the pasta that is the star of this show. I think we could eat just a bowl of the squash and be happy. :-) Also, we use a lot more garlic than it calls for. We do like garlic.

If you try out the recipe, let me know what you think. We'll be having it sometime in the next week.
Must run. Y'all keep you wool dry,
The Ewe

Quote of the Day: "Other people can't do my tricks. They're too big." --Tater Tot

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

A Bit of Refreshing

Hello, F.O.T.E.'s,
...and did I mention that it's HOT in AL?!? Ugh. The Ram noted that it was 103F when he got finished at work yesterday. The Ewe is in hibernation. :-)
With all the hubbub of the move during the last couple weeks, I have not had a lot of time for reading--whether online or in print. One of my folders in "Favorites" is titled "Uplifting Ladies' Reading." It's a collection of blogs that I occasionally read when I get a chance to or I need some inspiration (in addition to my daily Bible reading).
Today, I was in need of inspiration. What I *really* wanted to do was lie in bed and let the children run around like indians (no offense intended to all you Native Americans out there). I was on empty in the emotional energy/motivation department. The physical department tank was getting low, too--but I know I can overcome that physical tiredness with enough mental energy.
So, for the first time in over a month, I clicked open my "Uplifting Ladies' Reading" folder. I clicked the following one. It was the one I needed. I love the artwork on this lady's blog. I believe even if I didn't read a word she wrote, and just looked at the pictures, I would be encouraged. (Though the words are important to my "uplifting," too!)
I'll share the link with you, so you can enjoy the artwork. And, if the words encourage you...all the better. :-)

Blessings to you all. And...
Y'all keep your wool dry,
The Ewe

Monday, August 04, 2008

Just for the Record


Indeed, those were my old "stomping grounds," but I promise wasn't ME! :-)


The Ewe

Howdy, Y'all!

Hi there, F.O.T.E.'s
Well the RamFam is here in sunny (read, sweltering) AL. We got here last Monday, so today marks the 1 week anniversary of our move. It has not been particularly smooth, but I suppose most moves are that way.
We pick away at the boxes day by day. It seems like they will never end. We are enjoying our house, though. The neighbors are friendly. The subdivision is relatively isolated, so the kids can ride bikes safely. I appreciate that. Ram's drive into work is a *piece of cake* compared to the commute in Kansas City.
Still, we miss our friends and our church in KC. We visited a church yesterday, but it really didn't seem to "fit." We'll try somewhere else next Sunday. Y'all can pray for us about that. A great church family is a *tremendous* blessing.
Must run...the natives are getting restless...time to start unloading another box.
Y'all keep your wool dry!
The Ewe

Quote of the Day: "Could I have some ashes?" --Tater, asking for *cashews* lol