Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Pinished - Food (& Winners!)

Dorian at Scrutinies is hosting Pinishers for the first time ever and I'd like to submit my low standard  entry from last Friday night's dinner which is also serving the boys tonight before we head out for baseball:  Lentil Sloppy Joes

Original link:  Vegan Dad
Link to my pin:  Here
(Follow me on Pinterest over on the sidebar there.)

I served it on homemade rolls (be impressed) and I had to use a mixture of green and red lentils since I was short on both.  I also used an orange pepper in place of green, apple cider vinegar rather than red wine, and omitted the black pepper and tabasco.  (Don't you hate when people do that to a recipe?  I am totally that person.)  Verdict?  Surprisingly good!  The boys ate them pretty well and I think Brian smiled and nodded and pretended to like them which is enough for me to serve them again.  I realized as I was making it that this recipe is very similar to my normal sloppy joe recipe so next time I'll just use that replaced with the lentils and a bit more water.  Maybe I'll share that one sometime and then someone else can pin it and make me not really famous.  Next time I'll also make sure to have enough red lentils on hand because the green never get soft enough for our taste.  I love finding recipes that are super frugal like this because I am somewhat fearing the days ahead of feeding (at least) four grown boys.  Also a win because it is Friday and Lent friendly!

I put it on a fancy plate to try to make it look specialer.

Mmmmm...fake sloppy joe...

Now for the winners of the three Pampered Chef giveaways!  I used the random number generator and the winners are:

Season's Best Recipe Collection (Wednesday) - Melanie F.
Season's Best Recipe Collection & Quicut Paring Knife (Friday) - Gina B.
Mini Serving Spatula (Sunday) - Becky

If you could send me your mailing address, we'll get your prize mailed out to you ASAP.  Thanks for playing along!  Maria and I were laughing that her request for superhero comments was taken literally.  I guess we should've put that in quotes!  Funny thing is, I didn't even think twice that people were telling me their favorite superhero until she brought it up that she meant "superhero" as in little person pretending to be a superhero like her son was!  Ha, still fun learning everyone's "favorite" superhero!  I'm not sure I have one but I guess it would be a close race between Spiderman and Batman with Batman eking out a win.  A reclusive Batcave dwelling somedays sounds like a very pleasant escape.


Monday, April 29, 2013

WIWS - Verging on Unwashed Urchin

It's spring!  It's spring!  It's spriiiiinnnnng!
The type of morning where I could open the windows as soon as I woke and we didn't need coats and everyone lingered outside after Mass because it was just so gorgeous!  

My boys looked way better than me this week so them first:

This boy was so excited to dress "just like Papa" this morning.  Which meant finding a tie that matched even if it was just a tad long.

Just a tad.

And he decided to wear a white shirt so that he could look like Mama.  (Favorite child of the day goes to...)

The little ones weren't on their best behavior at Mass so during the Liturgy first Brian had to go in the back with Luke and then to defuse a mid-Consecration meltdown, I sent David back to find them.  I found them outside hanging with St. John Neumann.  David lost eggs after Mass.  (Who uses eggs as an incentive, you ask?  We do.) 

Apparently he was heartbroken.

Did you know our parish was literally founded by St. John Neumann?  True story. 

Love that a dandelion can inspire this kind of face :)

A "boo-quet" for moi

Picking, tasting, "sniffing" dandelions
I tried to show Luke the other day how to smell flowers and now he just gets really close and nose blows them or tries to eat them.  Cutest.

(FYI: Not our car in the background)  (Ha.)

Oh, me.  This picture is tragic, really.  Tragic enough that it merits a smaller size to less assault your eyes.  I look like I'm wearing some weird Victorian pajamas or something, don't I?  I tried to look nice but what with the greasy please-shower-me hair, it was a losing cause from the get-go.  And Brian my photographer is adept at Most Unflattering Angle (MUA) so that my already large noggin looks even larger.  It's the brains.  

Shirt - hand me down from my mom
 Skirt - Old Navy last year (I didn't even like it all that much when I bought it but needed something for John Paul's First Holy Communion.  It is so hard to find nice, affordable skirts, right?)  
Shoes - I am wearing some.  Brown Mary Jane-esque things from Payless, I think.  

Now you may avert your eyes.  I'm really bad at this fashion thing.  I totally own that.  But I do try to not look like a street urchin so Jesus gives me some credit there, I think.  At least my kids are cute. 

Linking up with the ladies at Fine Linen and Purple for WIWS.  If you're just stopping by, today is the last day to enter the THREE Pampered Chef giveaways going on.  Click on over here, here, and here!

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Chocolate-Covered Peanut Butter Banana Tarts and Last Pampered Chef Giveaway!

Hi, it's Maria again!  I promised to share another recipe with you, and today, I am in the mood for something that I would consider a summer-time recipe (no oven, a little fruit, and easy to take outside and snack on).  So the Chocolate-Covered Peanut Butter & Banana Tarts from Season’s Best cookbook wins!  With these ingredients, you really can’t go wrong.

So grab your favorite little helper.  This one has plenty of hands-on things to do to keep little hands occupied, and you come up with a cute treat that everyone will love!

So first, place some mini-cupcake liners into the Delux Mini-Muffin Pan.  Then chop 1 1/2 cups dry-roasted peanuts in the manual food processor, set aside 1/4 cup for use at the end.  Let me introduce you to my helper, he is my second oldest, and his motto in life is, “If it is worth doing, it is worth doing passionately.”  And boy he lives by that one!  So he is in charge of the food processor.  There is plenty to keep him occupied (and everything sharp is fully enclosed!)

Anyway, back to the food.  While your helper is conquering the peanuts, take a 1/2 cup of the semi-sweet chocolate chips and melt them in the microwave (about 1 minute).  Stir them until they are smooth.  

Now, turn your attention back to your helper.  He is likely acting out a drama involving a peanut tornado and a truck.  Quickly save all of the innocent civilians, then take out 1/4 cup of peanuts, and set them aside.  Add the melted chocolate to the food processor and put your superhero to work.  Once it is mixed, take your small scoop and fill each of the cups with the chocolate peanut mixture.  

Using the Mini-Tart Shaper, press the mixture into the cup. 

Now, take 1/2 cup of creamy peanut butter, and 1/4 cup powdered sugar, and add them to the food processor.  (I didn’t wash it in between...don’t tell.)  Blend the two together.  

Your super hero may get bored at this point.  Give him an empty chocolate bowl to clean out.  Then put an equal amount of the peanut butter mixture into each muffin tin. If you use regular creamy peanut butter, it should be nice and creamy.  If you use the natural peanut butter it will form more of a ball.  I had to use the tart shaper again just to press it down.   

Then slice your banana into 24 slices.  The Egg Slicer works beautifully for this!  Put one slice in the center of each cup.  

Now melt 1/2 cup of chocolate chips with 2 tsp of oil.  The recipe called for canola, but I used extra virgin olive oil.  I was worried it would leave a residual taste, but was pleasantly surprised that I couldn’t taste it at all.  Now...you guessed it...put the chocolate on top of the banana, then sprinkle the leftover peanuts on top!  The recipe says to refrigerate for 10 minutes.  (But let’s be honest, it isn’t necessary.)

There are a few steps, but it goes very quickly, really.  It is delicious, and with the banana, and the protein from the nuts, we could almost call it healthy!

So there you have it!  Simple, cute, delicious and superhero friendly!  Thanks so much for letting me pop in here this week!  If you want to order from Mary’s party go here.  

And now the giveaway!

Today I'd like to give one of Mary's readers a Pampered Chef mini serving spatula!

If you want to get in on today's giveaway (no purchase necessary!) all you have to do is just comment below.  When you comment I want to know, what is your favorite recipe to cook with your favorite superhero?  

There's also still time to enter the other two giveaways here and here, both of which include the recipe book that includes these tarts! All three giveaway winners will be chosen Monday night and announced on Tuesday.

Happy Sunday!

Friday, April 26, 2013

Seven Quick Takes - Another Giveaway and Some Ridiculousness

Maria is offering another giveaway!  This time she's doubling up and offering one of my readers BOTH the Pampered Chef Quicut Paring Knife   
AND the Season's Best Recipe Collection book!

All you gotta do is comment  and tell me the item in your kitchen that you most want to replace and you'll be entered!  Winner drawn Monday night.  Still time to enter the recipe collection giveaway from the other day if you click over.  And if you're looking for kitchen supplies or a Mother's Day gift, please click over the Pampered Chef party going on for a few more days!  Thanks to all who have participated!

So David is almost four and has been really ready for reading.  I started him last week on the Teach Your Child to Read book and he is now at lesson 18.  Michael is on lesson 90 (and doing fabulously).  I'm actually really thinking that we can even them out over the next year in several subjects and teach them together.  How sweet would that be?  Homeschooling FTW.

Michael really is doing so well with reading and this was the sight I was treated to this very very very early morning as I stumbled bleary-eyed out of the kitchen waiting for the coffee to kick in:

Holy sweetness, Batman.

Baseball practices have begun and John Paul's first game is tomorrow!  Michael's season doesn't start for a few weeks.  (How I WISH they could be on the same team!!)  And the forecast for the weekend and next week looks perfect.  I'm looking forward to being out in the sunshine and hanging with my little family at the ballpark.

Several big big big prayer intentions for you, friends?  For a five month old baby boy who died unexpectedly and moreso his grieving family.  For a friend with cancer.  For my father in law and his health.  For the conversion of some specific but unnamed people.  Thank you so so much!

Tonight I'm making these Red Lentil Sloppy Joes for dinner and I will try to convince the boy and menfolk that no, it's JUST like the meat!  I think I've finally gotten over my lentil fear.  I'm not exactly sure my kids have.

Some ridiculousness to start your weekend off right:

Cheese Face

(Pretend it's in focus, please.)

Happy weekend and welcome back, Jen!

Thursday, April 25, 2013

{pretty, happy, funny, real} with Sky

-Capturing the context of contentment in everyday life-

I'm grateful for this chance to capture contentment today.  
Is it just me or has the blog world and the internet become more snarky and more biting lately?  Maybe it's just me.  It's really been getting me down.  It's been disheartening the last few days to see so many posts of criticism and negativity and tearing down.  I'm all for good debates on things (love them, in fact) and I do participate in my share of sarcasm.  But this growing genre of Catholic snark and specifically Catholic Mom Snark...yikes.  And the incessant complaining about the mom gig in the name of "keeping it real"...well, I'm not all that convinced it's that great of a thing, despite the occasional entertainment value of it all.  And that's all I'll say about that.  
(Painfully obvious but necessary disclaimer:  I'm not talking about people simply sharing struggles and seeking support or a once in a while vent.  That can be a very edifying and good thing.)

So today I've been trying to just breathe.  To step back a bit and get a little bit of air.  To capture the contentment I've been so easily losing in the noise.


Today's sky:

(Autofixed on ipiccy)

(Autofixed on ipiccy)

(unedited except for my scary copyright.  Because people are just clamoring to come steal my mediocre photos.)

(Autofixed on ipiccy)

And just for fun the view at dawn from my kitchen window a few weeks ago: 


Boy with a ball:


Boys with their bows:


The weather man said it was going to rain today:

Love when they're wrong in such a very good way!  
Our very wet, very real cellar is very very grateful.  
Ready?  (You may want to put on one of those paper flu masks...)

Perhaps this is why I do crazy things like buy a white couch or paint everything white or require that no toy ever be left out ever even when a child is taking a twenty seven second break from playing with it.  To pretend that I am not living on top of a cesspool such as this.  This is what a 132 year old stone foundation looks like.  And this is what it does in the spring when you live in a flood zone after being pumped out repeatedly.  Fixing it is next on the list and filed under Things You Never Want to Spend Money On But Have To.

I won't even show you the nasty sludge-filled broken cistern that is behind me.  You might catch something.

Hop on over to LMLD for more {phfr} and to Cari at CD for more TT.

Oh, and don't forget that our little Pampered Chef giveaway is still open and the party's going on!

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Yarn Along, Yammering, Another Giveaway, and a Winner!

See that little tiny itsy bit of knitting up there?  I finally casted on a Lazy Susan Scarf after scrolling through page after page of Ravelry to find a smallish scarf I could knit for myself with only one skein of yarn.  I still haven't learned after several years of knitting that most projects require several skeins.  I see something pretty and buy one (because I can't stomach the cost of buying more especially since I have no plan of what I'm going to do with it).  So then I have a bunch of differing individual skeins with which I can make nothing besides baby clothes.  I'm hoping this scarf will be turn out and actually be something I wear.  It's my first attempt at more intricate lacing and the yarn is a alpaca/cashmere/camel(?)/silk blend from Road to China.  I was trying to go outside my comfort zone a bit with this garnet color.  I'm a little uncertain about it but I'll knit it up (ever so slowly these days) and see what happens.  I've had so little time to knit lately!  

I'm still making my way through the bottom two books and slowly reading aloud Farmer Boy to the boys.  Can I say something about the Little House books without being ostracized from every homeschooling, literary-loving community out there?  Yes, I love many many aspects of the books but oh my!  How they discipline the children?  I sort of gloss over those parts because I'm not really comfortable with describing how a father or teacher can whip or "thrash" a little boy or girl!  I never really hear anyone mention these parts that are troublesome to me.  Not that I've been looking all that much, but still.  Anyone?  Do you read those parts to your kids?  How do you handle that?

Onto other things...it's rainy here today after a few glorious days of sunshine.  I'm trying to get a hold on life and reroutine ourselves and readjust things like chores and schedules and expectations.  Things have been a bit hairy lately and it's once again been time to reevaluate all that stuff.  My mind lately feels like I've been going a mile a minute and it never. stops.  It's exhausting.  Time for reassessing and reworking and reprioritizing and reremembering that having and homeschooling four children is a fuller than full time job.  I'm struggling with things that are too big for this space and trying to live life in the midst of it.  Every day I wonder how God expects me to do this.  And then the next minute I'm singing His praises thinking things aren't so bad and I'm not screwing up all that badly anyhow.  Aaand this pretty much always happens in my head whenever I'm sorely sleep deprived so at least I'm remembering that this time around.  I'm not sure how new chore charts will help all that but that's never stopped me before.  Chore charts will fix all the things!  Or maybe just a nap.  Yes, probably the nap.

Wow, that got a bit more melancholic than I was expecting.  
Anyway, what lucky person will be sent a brand spankin' new Pampered Chef paring knife from Maria's giveaway???  
Congrats, lady!  Hook me up with your address so we can mail it out to you!

Don't forget that the virtual party is still going on so if you'd like to hop on over to the site and shop, please do!  Free things!  Mother's Day!  Birthdays!  New spatulas!  Who doesn't need a new spatula?

Today Maria offered to give a copy of the Pampered Chef Season's Best Recipe Collection to one of my readers!  Just comment below and tell me your favorite go-to summer recipe to be entered.  (Or just say anything, I'll enter you :)  Share on Facebook (and come back and tell me in the comments) for another entry.  We'll pick a winner Monday night and there's a few more giveaways this week so stick around!

Happy Wednesday, y'all!

Linking up with the lovely Ginny!

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