Monday, November 28, 2011

Christmas decorating

Just wanted to post a few pictures of our Christmas decor.  I wasn't sure what to do with all my blue and silver ornaments and such when our living room's normal decor is in the red and black color scheme.  But I added a few red elements to the balls and I think they  turned out great. Let me know what you think.

Apparently I will need to get the real camera out to take halfway decent pictures of the Christmas tree...

Reese's Cheesecake Brownies and Christmas trees

Today when Andy got home from work we went to get a Christmas tree, The thing is, that at almost 9:30pm on a Sunday night, Walmart was about our only option. And even there, the garden section was closed, so he had to carry the tree through the store.  This led to us receiving comical glances all the way through the store. Especially since he decided it was a perfect excuse to buy a handsaw...
When we got home we made a deal, that if he set up and put the lights on the tree I would make the Reese's Cheesecake Brownies that I had seen pictures of about a week ago.  He happily agreed.

The Reese's Cheesecake Brownie Recipe:
  • Brownie mix (and whatever it may call for)
  • 1 (8 oz) package of cream cheese
  • 1 can (14 oz) sweetened condensed milk
  • 1/2 cup of creamy peanut butter
  • 1 (12 oz) package of Reese's Pieces candies
  • 1 (12 oz) package of chocolate chips
  • 3 tbs of whipping cream
  • 8-10 Reese's chopped into chunks
Preheat oven to 350 degrees, and lightly coat a 9x13" pan with cooking oil.
Prepare brownies according to package and spread batter into the pan, set aside.

In a large bowl beat cream cheese until smooth, add sweetened condensed milk and continue to beat.  Mix in peanut butter.  Stir in Reese's Pieces.

Spoon the mixture over the brownie batter, and spread as evenly as possible.
Bake for 40 minutes or until cheesecake has set and is brown around the edges. Cool for 30 minutes, refrigerate for 30 minutes.

To a microwaveable bowl add chocolate chips and whipping cream. Microwave on high for 1 minute, or until melted, checking and stirring half way through. Stir until smooth.

Spread over the cooled cheesecake layer.
Sprinkle chopped Reese's over the top. Store covered in the refrigerator.

But be warned, this is very very rich, and I would not recommend serving pieces as large as shown in the picture.  Andy is convinced this is the best thing he has ever put into his mouth, I hope you all enjoy it as well!

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Track out days

The girls that I usually only nanny for in the afternoon have been tracked out, and so I have had them for a few whole days each week.  I have made it a goal to either go somewhere they would like, or do some new project each day, so as to make their break fun and special.

So far we have gone shopping, made paper animals,
made stuffed animals from socks,

made animals and ornaments from homemade salt clay

and a whole lot of drawing

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Chicken Curry

Recipe of: Lynn Littleton/Maryann Wilson :)

4-5 onions
6-8 apples
3 Tbs butter
Olive oil for sauteing
3lbs chicken breast diced
Cardoman 2tsp (or Cumin 1/2tsp)
Curry pwd 3-4 Tbs
Garlic pwd 1 1/2 tbs (or to taste)
Salt 1 tsp (or to taste)
Pepper 1/2 tsp (or to taste)
Large can of College Inn chicken broth

Saute the onions and apples in butter and olive oil. In a separate skillet, brown the chicken.  Combine chicken with the apple & onions.  Add salt pepper, cardoman, curry, garlic powder, chicken broth.  Possibly add more curry (to taste).  If it is too thin, add a little corn starch.  Bake at 350 degrees for 30-45 minutes.

Serve with yellow rice, and have coconut, peanuts, raisins and pineapples for toppings.

I will add a picture when I make it again and take one :)

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Cooking day

So this weekend a friend and I stocked our freezers with meals.  When working late and busy schedules take over, it is so convenient to have dinner in the freezer.  The prep from this point is so simple that Andy has no trouble following the instructions on the bags.  Preparing it all led to a long and exhausting day, no doubt. But I feel such a sense of accomplishment upon opening my freezer, knowing we will eat well for weeks if not months ahead.  We ended up making 44 meals, which means we won't be going hungry for quite a while, even on the days I end up working late ;)
If we had stacked these straight while they froze this would look so much better...
The menu this time around.  We went with mostly a bunch of meals that we haven't tried before, so I will have to let you know how they turn out.  But here are the links to the recipes.
Chicken Alfredo
Twice Baked Potatoes
Seafood Pasta Casserole (We substituted shrimp for the crab meat)
Bacon wrapped chicken with cream cheese filling (For this you just freeze after wrapping, and sear and bake after defrosting)
Southwest Corn & ham chowder
Cream Cheese Potato Soup
Honey Glazed Pork Chop
Angel Chicken Pasta
My mom's fantastic Chicken Curry
and a bunch of other recipes I can't seem to find the links for right now (Potato soup, Chickaroni, Meatballs, Hamburgers, Quesadillas, Crockpot Chicken Pot Pie, White Chicken Chili, and a few others).

Yes, I know many of these aren't very healthy, but oh well. I could have made things that are more healthy, and had to deal with my husband lament the fact that it is "healthy" :P

A few tips for packaging and putting things in the freezer. Everything that possibly can should be put in a freezer ziploc bag (or two). This is for convenience sake in the freezer. If you leave things in baking dishes your freezer fills up with just a few meals.  Also, clearly label, date and put cooking/reheating instructions on each bag.  I would also recommend labeling the bags at the bottom (so that you can see the name without pulling everything out).

If you are new to the whole concept of cooking ahead and freezing, check out these tips. While many things freeze very well, there are some things that are better off added fresh