Sunday, February 15, 2009

Crazy Silly Valentine's Chaos

(Happy Chaos Tip #4: Do crazy unexpected things to surprise your family! It keeps them on their toes.)

It's long been a tradition that our kids wake on Valentine's Day to find streamers in their doorways with little love notes proclaiming the things we love about them.

We did that for Zoe this year.
Weston was SURE that's what we'd do for them.

Mwhahahaha! I can't resist an opportunity to surprise someone....

Instead, they woke to find simply three strings waiting for them. And then we gave them the instructions. They had to hold on to their string and follow it until the end.
HA! They had so much fun! Their strings wound all around the house....through the kitchen, living room, downstairs and back up again. They laughed and smiled the whole time. Along the way they found love notes.

Weston's notes said things like...."We love how you love to read!", "We love how helpful you are to us!" and "We love your hugs!"

Emmett's said, "We love your big smile!", "We love how happy you are!" and "We love how much you love your brothers and sister!"

Sam's said, "We love how excited you are when dad comes home!", "We love your laughter!" and, "We love how you love to choose the right!"

At the end of their strings they each found a box of chocolate covered cherries, a new book and a small toy.

At one point Emmett said, "Let's do this again next month!"

In the afternoon, while Ryan was preoccupied with outside stuff....I locked all the doors and wouldn't let him back in! And then....

yep, you guessed it! I handed him a string and let him go about finding his Valentine's surprise. HIS string went all around, downstairs, then back up and then BACK downstairs and then up...hahahahahaha! It was quite fun.

At the end he found a dvd player for the tv for our room and the dvd, Lonesome Dove. I figured it was about time we got one for our room so we could snuggle up and enjoy some flicks together in comfort. :)

Later I took a bit of a nap(we were up quite late stringing all that yarn around the house!)and when I woke up I found a strange yarn mess hanging from my doorway and barring my way. heh heh. In the mess I found a sweet card from my cute man and a bottle of Eternity perfume.

When Ryan and I were married, that was the perfume I always wore. I ran out quite a few years ago and never bought anymore. Luckily, he thought to replinish my supply because the scent reminds us of our wedding and honeymoon. Aw, too sweet, right?

What a great lovey-dovey day!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Crockpot Challenge: Creamy Potatoes

Well, we needed to eat up the leftover pork roast. So, I shredded it up and simmered it with some bbq sauce and served it on toasted hamburger buns. It was very good!

But what to put in the crockpot? Some sort o' side dish. I had to go to Wal-mart today. pptht. (that was me spitting at the ground in disgust) So, I didn't have time this morning for a lengthy date with my slow cooker.

I ended up picking up a 32 oz. package of southern hash browns, dumping them in the pot and adding...

a can of cream of chicken
mmmm, about a half a can of milk
some sour cream
and 4 oz. cream cheese

Turned it on high and it cooked...mmmmm....for about 2 1/2-3 hours? not sure. maybe it was only 2.

Anyhoo. It was good! Well, Ryan, Weston and I liked it. The other two boys...not so much. And I don't think Zoe even tried it. what will I put in that pot tomorrow.....

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Crockpot Challenge: Chicken Parmigiana

Mmmmm mmmmm, this one is a keeper!

Chicken Parmigiana

1 egg
1 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
6 boneless, skinless chicken-breast halves (I used 3 big ones cut up into big chunks...this was more than enough for us)
1 cup Italian bread crumbs (I just used some of the crumbs I keep in the freezer and added some Italian seasoning)
2-4 tablespoons butter
14 oz. jar pizza sauce (I used a big can of spaghetti sauce)
6 slices mozzarella cheese
grated Parmesan cheese

Beat egg, salt and pepper together. Dip chicken into egg and coat with bread crumbs. Saute chicken in butter in skillet. Arrange chicken in slow cooker.

Pour pizza sauce over chicken.

Cover. Cook on low 6-8 hours.

Layer mozzarella cheese over top and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. Cook an additional 15 minutes.

We served this over pasta. But next time I would add more spaghetti sauce. Happily this got a unanimous vote onto our Family Favorite List.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Crockpot Challenge: Snack Mix, Sweet Pork, and more...

Wooh! I kinda got behind, eh?

And I'm sure you've all been obsessively checking this blog, hoping and wishing for new crockpot recipes to try.

All two of you.

Okay, so on to the recipes that I experimented with on my mean, lovingly PREPARED for my family....

Slow Cooker Party Mix

4 cups Wheat Chex (wal-mart was sold out of the wally brand, so I got corn chex)
4 cups Cheerios
3 cups pretzel sticks
1 can (12 oz.) salted peanuts
1/4 cup butter or margarine, melted
2-3 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
1 teaspoon celery salt (erm...don't keep this on hand. and really, is celery all that salty? how do exactly do they even MAKE salt with celery? odd. anyhoodles, I used a mixture of garlic salt and onion salt)
1/2 to 3/4 teaspoon seasoned salt

In a 5 quart slow cooker, combine cereals, pretzels and peanuts. Combine butter, Parmesan cheese and salts; drizzle over cereal mixture and mix well. Cover and cook on low for up to 3 hours, stirring every 30 minutes. Serve warm or at warm temp.

I tried a piece after it had been cooking for a bit. was NOT crisp. So, towards the end we left the lid off or left it cracked open with a spoon. Then it all crisped right up.

And it was pretty good. We've been munching on this since Friday. Next time I would put less salt. But it was easy and enjoyable.


Saturday night we had the missionaries over for dinner, so I made my most FAVORITE dish of late, Sundi's Costa Vida Sweet Pork. For those of you who read my writing blog(still just the two of you....:), this will be a repeat, but here it is...

Costa Vida Style Sweet Pork

1 small pork picnic roast or any kind of pork roast (a little goes a long way)
2 cups salsa
1 cup brown sugar 1 can Coke (we use caffeine free...still tastes marvelous)

Put all ingredients in crock pot on low all day long or cut up pork and cook on high for about 4 hours. (Tip: It tastes better if you cut it up into about 8 large pieces about halfway through the day). It's done when it falls apart or you can easily pull it apart with a fork. You can eat this pork in a salad with crispy cheese quesadillas cut up in pieces and sprinkled on top, in tacos or as sweet pork and cheese quesadillas.

We had this meet in soft tacos on Saturday and then in cheese quesidillas tonight. Super Yum!


Hmmmm, Sunday's experiment was so-so.

I made this Asian Peanut Butter Pork and served it over rice. It smelled pretty good while cooking. And, surprisingly, the kids liked it (well, Sam kinda picked at it, but he didn't complain TOO loudly and he ate some) and I thought it was alight, but Ryan was definitely NOT a fan of the peanut butter sauce. And it wasn't nearly as good as the lady said it was. It didn't taste bad. It just isn't something that I'd really WANT to make again. It was just okay.

I have quite a bit of the pork roast leftover (minus the sauce). If any of you have a yummy recipe for leftover pork roast, please pass it on! Maybe some kind of soup or sandwich?


Since we had our sweet pork leftovers for dinner, I put another dessert in the pot tonight.....

Hot Fudge Cake

1 cup packed brown sugar
1 cup flour
3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup milk
2 tablespoons melted butter
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 3/4 cup boiling water
vanilla ice cream

Mix together 1 cup brown sugar, flour, 3 T. cocoa, baking powder and salt.

Stir in milk, butter and vanilla. Spread over the bottom of slow cooker.

Mix together 3/4 cup brown sugar and 1/4 cup cocoa. Sprinkle over mixture in slow cooker.

Pour in boiling water. Do not stir.

Cover and cook on High 2-3 hours, or until toothpick inserted comes out clean.

Serve warm with ice cream.

This was pretty good! It made a cakey top and a hot fudgy sauce underneath. The family really loved it. And what's kinda, wasn't really my favorite thing. So, I could make it for them and not feel tempted to eat the whole dessert! eh. I's not like I ACTUALLY do that. Of course not. I can show restraint.


But not when it comes to oatmeal raisin cookies.... or peanut butter ones....or sugar ones....okay. just cookies in general. yup. that seals it. no restraint can possibly be maintained while cookies are around.

How sad.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Crockpot Challenge: Perfection Hot Dogs

Now, hot dogs aren't something we have for dinner alot, but I thought I'd try this out. I mean, the name alone was worth it. PERFECTION hot dogs. Really? perfection? In a hot dog? wow.

And they were good. I mean, granted, they pretty much tasted like any other cooked hot dog. But it was a great way to get a whole bunch of dogs cooked at once....

Perfection Hot Dogs

Put 'em in the crockpot
Cook on high for 1-2 hours.

This would be a great way to serve hot dogs to a crowd. Like if you were throwing some sort of shindig and needed some kid food on hand. Voila! Perfection Hot Dogs. They stay warm in the pot. They're not split and tough from the microwave. You don't have to spend time grilling them. Nice, eh?

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Crockpot Challenge: BBQ Hamburger Steaks

All I have to say is...


It did not get voted on the Family Favorites List!!

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Crockpot Challenge: Creamy Chicken Over Rice

It was Weston's turn to cook with me and choose the menu. He chose this, one of his very favorite dinners. This morning he got it all into the crockpot. Very helpful!

I apologize for the amount of ingredients though. Hopefully none of you are intimidated by such a difficult recipe.

Creamy Chicken Over Rice

Put chicken breasts in crock pot.

Stir in 2 cans of cream of chicken soup (or more depending on how much chicken you've put in)

Cook all day. Break up chicken. Serve over rice.


Monday, February 2, 2009

Crockpot Challenge: Peach Cobbler

Oh MY! This was really good. And sooooo easy!

Peach Cobbler

1 can (21 oz.) peach pie filling (or whatever pie filling you like)

1 package yellow cake mix

1/2 cup butter or margarine, melted (oh! I didn't see the melted bit...I just mixed it into the cake mix with a pastry blender)

1/3 cup walnuts, optional (we're not fans of nuts in things, so I left them out)

Place pie filling in slow cooker. Combine dry cake mix and butter (mixture will be crumbly); sprinkle over filling. Sprinkle with walnuts if desired. Cover and cook on low for 2-3 hours. Serve with ice cream or cool whip.

It was very rich and very filling.

AND it got voted thumbs up BY ALL onto the Family Favorites List.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Crockpot Challenge: Creamy Chicken Soft Tacos

Okay, here's the recipe we tried today(it's from my ward's cookbook)....

Creamy Chicken Soft Tacos

4 frozen boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 16 oz. jar salsa
1 cup sour cream
6-8 tortillas

Place chicken in a greased slow cooker. Pour salsa over top. Cover and cook on high heat for 6-8 hours or on low heat 10-12 hours. Shread the chicken. Add sour cream and continue cooking for another 30 minutes. Place chicken mix in warm tortillas. Top with cheese and lettuce. Wrap up and devour!

This was excellent! Everyone, but Weston, voted it onto our Family Favorite's List.

Well, Sam went thumbs down. But that was only because of the lettuce. So. I'm counting his as a yes and he gets his without greens next time.

Weston eventually managed to gag it down. Apparently, he detested the taste of salsa. But Ryan and I both thought the salsa taste was major mild! It was more like a spaghetti sauce taste.

We have quite a bit leftover. I think my chicken breasts were extra large. erm. But...I mean...I'm not bragging or anything. *shrug* Some women are just blessed, ya know?

And I put extra salsa in. Anyways, we'll be having leftovers tomorrow. Weston will be thrilled.

Next on the crockpot menu...a treat for family home evening.
ETA: The next night we had the creamy chicken over crushed tortilla chips. Weston even liked it like this.