Saturday, April 30

Tried It & Loved It: Salisbury Steak

I've mentioned it before, but I am always on the look out for ground beef recipes.  I saw this one on an episode of Rachael Ray awhile back and I thought it sounded so good in addition to being another variation of ground beef.  Although it's been a LLLLLONG time since I've had a TV dinner, I always remember liking the Salisbury Steak variety.  This recipe is a good one and it comes together so easy--I'll definitely be making it again soon!

Salisbury Steak ~ from Rachael Ray

1 1/2 pounds ground sirloin
5 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce, divided
1 egg
1/2 cup Saltine cracker crumbs (I used rolled oats)
3 tablespoons grated onion and juice, grated directly over meat
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)
2 tablespoons butter
2 medium onions, chopped
1 bay leaf
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 1/2 teaspoons ground or rubbed sage (half a palmful)
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups beef stock
4 cups watercress, loosely packed (I didn't have it, so this was omitted)

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

In a large bowl, mix together ground meat, 3 tablespoons of Worcestershire sauce, egg, saltines/rolled oats,  onion, salt and pepper.  Divide mixture evenly into four sections and shape into oval patties (Rachael says to do loaves.  I did patties--you know, TV dinner style).   Drizzle with 1 tablespoon of olive oil and bake for 20 minutes.

With the meat in the oven, in a skillet over medium heat, melt butter.  Add in onions and bay leaf and season with salt and pepper.  Cook for 15 minutes and add in garlic and sage and cook for an additional 3 minutes. Add in the flour and let cook for a minute or two.  Whisk in beef stock and remaining Worcestershire sauce and season with black pepper.  Cook for several minutes to thicken the sauce.

Serve steaks with onion sauce and watercress (if using) piled on top. 


This recipe is linked to Life As Mom Ultimate Recipe Swap. 

Thursday, April 28

A Surprise Trip

I had mentioned a few days ago that we were able to sneak back to HomeTown for this past weekend.  It just happened to fall on Easter weekend, so it was icing on the cake that we were able to be home for Easter.  The first motivation was to say goodbye to Hubs' cousin and her husband.

They informed us last fall that they were applying to be missionaries overseas--in Haiti, to be exact.  Around Christmas I mentioned to Hubs that we should try and make an effort to go to the farewell event if their church (our church as well back in HomeTown) had one.

So about two months ago I called our old church to see if they had something on the calendar.  She had told me they didn't, but as soon as they did she would let me know.  Just a week after I called the church, another of Hub's cousins emailed me and told us she was planning a surprise party for them and she would love for us to come down and be surprise guests at the party.  The party happened to be planned for the Friday night of Easter weekend {aka Good Friday!}.  Having that much notice, Hubs was able to juggle his schedule so we could make the trip down and stay for Easter as well.

The guests of honor.

We had a great time and it was so wonderful to be able to see his cousin and her husband and say "Goodbye For Now."  This same cousin sent us a very sweet card in the mail just after we made the move up here to SmallTown.  I just thought that little phrase was so appropriate--although not forever, it's still goodbye--but just for now.

Hubs' cousin and aunt (friend of the matchmaker).

Hubs' sister and her sweet family.

The theme of the party was Minute to Win It, with the soon to be missionaries being the contestants of the game.  My friend (remember her mom was our matchmaker?) told me prior to meeting his whole family back during the early days of our dating that Hubs' family were "big game people."  (We played Cranium the first time I met his family--it was practically the undoing of my shy-introverted-don't-draw-attention-to-me-for-any-reason-self.  Even after that, for some reason, they still accepted me.  At least I think I they did.)   Big game people they are and it was a perfect theme for them--and so much fun to watch, I might add. 

It was good for Peanut too, to be able to be reintroduced to the members of Hubs' extended family.  She had a great time and despite her running around (literally) for three solid hours , the child still failed to fall asleep on the half hour drive home.  This was all prior to the fun packed day earlier on with Grandma.  Yes, I know.

Peanut's new little friend, A.

Amongst the many activities Peanut had to keep her busy while at Grandma and Grandpa's~

Peanut actually sat still for Grandma to do two french braids (with some credit owed to Shirley Temple) while the family dog looked on.  Grandma did a wonderful job--even without stretching out Peanuts face in the process.  (My mom used to do french braids on my hair when I was little and I still tease her to this day that it felt like she was stretching my face out because she tried to insure the braids were nice. and. tight.  They were.)

She helped Grandpa mow the lawn.

And insisted Grandpa pull out Jet's pool for her--Jet--to play in.

Grandma and Grandpa bought her her very own pink Jeep, which she was quickly learning to drive.  Loved pushing down on the gas....

....Daddy had to give lots of instruction on steering.

She got to play fetch with Jet and play out on her swing set, as well as decorate cookies and cupcakes for a few indoor activities. We were lucky enough to have two wonderful, sunny and warm days on Friday and Saturday.

The nice weather even allowed us to get some family pictures--courtesy of my mom.  I set the camera's aperture and shutter speed and told my mom exactly where to kneel in taking the shots.

And Peanut may or may not have taken a tumble just two minutes prior to said pictures being taken and I may or may not have bribed a smile out of Peanut with some Jelly Bellys that were sitting on the counter.

Just sayin'.  

I set Peanut's hair in curlers on Saturday night, envisioning bouncy Goldilocks curls, dressed in her Easter best.  Peanut was fine with the curlers all the way up until bedtime.  Then the tears started along with tugs on the curlers.  So the curlers were taken out and I opted for a quick curling iron curl on Sunday morning.  Wasn't quite the same, but as I have to remind myself constantly--it's not about me.

The weather for Easter Sunday brought lots of dreary rain--despite having a wonderful reason to celebrate.

We went to church bright and early.  Peanut had a hard time going to the nursery, but when we picked her up, she was full of excitement telling us about the singing and stories she got listen to.  We said our final goodbyes to his cousin and her husband at church and came home and got ready for brunch with all of my extended family.

My uncle and his wife~an eHarmony success! :)

My cousin and her little doll.

Peanut had a very fun time with my cousin's little girl.  It is so precious to watch the two because it reminds me of my cousin and I years ago.  The age difference between Peanut and my cousin's little girl is similar to that of my cousin and I, however Peanut is the younger of the two whereas I am the eldest with me and my cousin.  That said, my cousin's little girl has gobs of patience with Peanut--as I did with my cousin so many years ago.  (Wink, wink!  You know I love you, L!)  I just love watching them interact--it's pretty special.

The strawberries were a HIT!

My mom had an Easter egg hunt (indoors) for the girls and they each had three colors of eggs designated to them.  My cousin's little girl was so good about not taking Peanut's eggs, but Peanut just figured all eggs were free reign--however,we explained that certain eggs were her cousin's and she sweetly handed them over.

The girls also got little combs and mirrors in their baskets and my cousin and I were soon the victims participants of playing hair salon. 

Peanut took in all the weekend had to offer.  She was wiped each night as we put her to bed.  We all had a great weekend, really.  Bittersweet, as they say--more sweet than bitter though.  

Perhaps sweetbitter? 

Wednesday, April 27

Say Cheese!

I mentioned just a few weeks back that Peanut was still being very cooperative in smiling for pictures and that I was waiting for the other shoe to drop.

It's dropped.

She is still cooperative at times, but now, more often than not, the response to "Peanut, look at me [the camera]" is this:

I guess it's not entirely bad, as it will force me to get better at taking candid pictures.

Cute butterfly camo, isn't it?

How long does this stage last? 

Tuesday, April 26

Construction Curiosity

Peanut has had quite a bit of entertainment outside our house these past few weeks.  First, the big tree outside our front door was taken down.  Now our landlords are having a new deck built out back for us.  They had a crew come and do the demolition one morning last week and Peanut was SO enthralled with it. 

I told the Hubs we should just go get some coffee--she would have still been there when we got back.  She was that entertained by it all. 

Of course we didn't, but it was a nice thought. 

Monday, April 25

Rosemary Potatoes

This recipe comes from my mom--these are ridiculously easy and ridiculously good--so much so that she has made these many, many times.  So many times that I may have avoided this recipe for awhile.  I do love these (I wouldn't be sharing otherwise) but I have to have my potatoes mashed or baked once and awhile too.  BUT if you want to a change up from baked or mashed or.... then these are fabulous alternative!

Rosemary Potatoes ~ from my mom

Red potatoes, scrubbed clean, cut into ~1 inch pieces
Extra virgin olive oil
Fresh garlic, minced
Rosemary (fresh is ideal but dried will work too)
Salt & pepper

Toss potatoes in olive oil.  Add seasonings to taste and bake on a cookie sheet or baking stone at 400 degrees for 20-30 minutes or until potatoes are cooked through.

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

This recipe is linked to:

Beauty and Bedlam's Tasty Tuesday
Blessed With Grace Tempt My Tummy Tuesday
Designs By Gollum Foodie Friday
Grocery Cart Challenge Recipe Swap
Friday Potluck at EKat's Kitchen
Hearth 'n Soul Recipe Swap  
Miz Helen's Country Cottage Full Plate Thursday 

Sunday, April 24

Menu Plan Monday

Hope you are having a wonderful Easter....I know we are.  We were able to sneak away for this weekend and make a surprise visit to Hubs extended family in Hometown.  His cousin and her husband are leaving in a month for a two year (potentially longer) mission to Haiti.  We are so excited for them, but the goodbye was  bittersweet.  Seriously makes me feel bad about all my whining about missing my family who are just a several hundred miles away.  Sheesh, talk about spoiled.  That is what is new here--here is our menu for the week:

Sunday-In HomeTown

Monday-Baked potato bar with chili, cheese, sour cream, broccoli, bacon and onions (didn't get to that last week for reasons mentioned above)

Tuesday-Spaghetti with green salad (with ranch dressing for salad)

Wednesday-Homemade Chinese Food:  Pork fried rice and subgum

Thursday-Quesadillas with guacamole and sour cream

Friday-Chicken Dijon (recipe to come), green salad


For other great menu ideas, visit the Organizing Junkie.  

Saturday, April 23

Tried It & Loved It: Italian Cheese Totellini Soup

Tortellini is one of those foods that I still buy.  Is it processed?  Absolutely.  Does it have preservatives?  Although I can't say for sure, I think it's a pretty safe assumption.  I've seen Alton make tortellini which I am sure is amazing and it honestly doesn't look that hard.  However it does look very time consuming, and I have a very active two and half year old and those two just don't mix.  So for now, I allow myself a purchased bag of frozen tortellini now and again. 

This comes together really fast and with the fresh spinach in it--I don't even feel bad about the tortellini.  I've also made it with a box of frozen spinach (thawed, drained, and wrung out) and it works very well too.

Give it a's definitely a winner!

Italian Cheese Tortellini Soup ~ from Sabby in Suburbia

2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 cans diced tomatoes
6 cups chicken broth
4 1/4 cups (1 lb) frozen cheese tortellini
3-4 handfuls fresh spinach, chopped roughly
1/4 cup basil pesto
Parmesan cheese, grated

In a large stock pot, saute garlic in olive oil over medium heat in fragrant.  Add in diced tomatoes and chicken broth and bring to a boil.  Add in tortellini and cook according to package directions.  Once pasta is cooked, reduce heat and stir in spinach and pesto.  Once spinach is wilted, soup is ready to serve.  Garnish with grated Parmesan cheese. 


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