Thursday, October 25, 2012

Cajun Chicken Pasta

I don't know why, but I always thought Cajun Chicken Pasta would be harder. After making it a few times, I've discovered that it's not only easy, but it's also a fairly quick meal!
These are my's still delicious and creamy the next day! This particular recipe serves two, although I haven't found a need to increase the amount of chicken when I double the recipe, nor do I use as much bell pepper. In this batch, I used half a green and about a quarter red. But my family doesn't like pepper as much. Looking at the recipe, I didn't use as much cream as it calls for either. So there's definitely room for variation! Anyways, here's the recipe that makes 2 servings. :)

4 oz pasta
2 chicken breasts, cut into strips
1 green onion, minced
1 1/2 c heavy cream (you can use half and half, too)
2 t cajun seasoning
2 T butter
1 green bell pepper
1/2 red bell pepper
4 fresh mushrooms sliced (I haven't used these, so their optional!)
1/4 t dried basil
1/4 t lemon pepper
1/4 t salt
1/8 t garlic powder (I've also used garlic salt)
1/8 t black pepper
2 T parmesan cheese
1. Boil the pasta.
2. While it's boiling, toss the chicken in the cajun seasoning, then saute the chicken in butter.
3. While that's cooking, chop, mince, and slice your peppers, mushrooms, and green onion.
4. Add vegetables and fungus (haha, couldn't resist!) to cooked chicken. Saute 2-3 minutes.
5. Reduce heat and stir in heavy cream.
6. Add seasonings and heat through.
7. Toss pasta in sauce and top with more parmesan if desired.
Honestly, this probably takes about 30 minutes to throw together (assuming you have all ingredients on hand). It's a great meal! Especially if you have fresh rolls or garlic/french bread to the side...mmmm...and a green salad is yummy with this also...Hmmmm...when am I eating this next? ;)

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Pumpkin Bread Bowls

My son found these at the grocery store. We had bread bowls on the menu for dinner, but I didn't really want to take the time to make my own. Not only were these easier to make (haha!) but so festive, too!

If you were to make them on your own (which I will...someday), then it looks like you need to separate out a bit of the dough. In other words, separate your dough into four large balls. From each ball, take a smaller portion to make the stem. I would get the pumpkin part and add a little bit of orange dye to the dough. The stem bit, I would add green dye to it, then place it on top of the pumpkin to raise, then bake.

Okay, just thought of an option two. Beat two egg yolks (one yolk in one bowl, the other in another). Add 2-4 drops of green dye to one yolk and 2-4 drops of red and yellow dye to the other. After your bread has raised (but before baking), "paint" the different sections onto your pumpkin bread bowl. If you're REALLY good, you could get a black dye and paint a face onto it!

Do it and tell me how it turned out for you.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Paper Bag Monsters

I did some babysitting not that long ago. I knew it was going to be several hours long, so I tried planning ahead--I didn't want them to sit the entire time in front of the tv, but I also knew that they wouldn't play outside the entire time (it ended up being about 6 hours). I also had things inside that I still needed to do. So I came up with a quick, easy craft that all the kids could do and then play with.
 These two (above) were done by the 2 and 3 year old. The three (below) were done by a 4, 10, and 7 year old.
They spent about a half hour on the paper bag monsters and would have kept going if I hadn't needed to start making dinner. The paper bags are just the sandwich bags you can get at the grocery store (less than $2 for 50 of them). I had pipe cleaners, glue, crayons, markers, paper, safety scissors, tape, and googly eyes on hand already.
So give it a shot! Get some bags, put them in front of your kids with supplies, and let them at it!

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Easy Snack

I don't know if you're like me, but when it comes to snack time, the easier the better! I know that if I get complicated, I usually give the kids more of a meal than a snack. I'll also end up with MORE dishes to do! I HATE doing dishes!! So, here's one that's SUPER easy to put together and your kids are pretty sure to like it (unless they have allergies or are really picky eaters).
You might be asking yourself at this point, "Am I seeing this right? Peanut butter on a spoon and chocolate chips?" Yes, yes you are. My kids love it! I scoop out the peanut butter on the spoon, give them a handful of chocolate chips, and they add the chips however and wherever they want them. We usually drink water or milk to help wash down the peanut butter. Another bonus? This one spoonful curbs MY appetite and sweet tooth also!

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Changing Thoughts

So, on a more serious and less creative note...

In case you hadn't figured it out, I am religious. I believe in Christ. Because of my belief, I try to be like Him and do what I believe He would do. Being mortal, I'm not always successful. That doesn't mean that I give up, though. I'm a work in progress. :)

Christ has told us to think of Him always. If you've ever tried that, it's not the easiest thing to do. We've also been told to be engaged in a good cause. It's so easy to get busy and forget this. One of the areas that's most difficult for me to be engaged in is my thoughts. I can appear to be doing what I'm supposed to be doing, but my head is a million miles away! I wonder how much living I've missed out on because of this. Well, it's stopping now. I am changing my thoughts, one day at a time!

If you've ever tried changing something, you realize it's a give and take process. If you don't have something to replace what you're used to doing (e.g. smoking, thinking, watching tv), then you WILL go back to that habit. In the church I go to (and I think it's pretty common), we have a hymnal of some 336 hymns. I've set myself the goal to memorize ALL of them...LoL That should keep me busy! I've memorized four so far...And you know what? It has helped. I constantly have uplifting music running through my head. And if I start to slip, I immediately do a self-check on the current hymn I'm trying to memorize. It has helped a lot.

Another technique I'm using is to think of my family and what they might need. I go person by person and think of my observations of them that day and what I can do for them tomorrow to help them be happier. I usually fall asleep doing that. :)

Above all, I ask the Lord for help. I ask him to help me replace the bad thoughts with good ones and to help me despise the bad thoughts so that I won't have a desire to return to them.

It's been a good experience. I recommend you try it. :)

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Slithery Snake Bread

So, I'm working to get my kids in the Halloween spirit. At the same time, I want to make some fun memories for them. I have a book from Taste of Home that is Halloween/Fall themed and I've selected several recipes to try from there.  Here's this one! It's the sausage stuff slithery snake bread. The recipe calls for frozen bread dough (I used Rhodes whole wheat), but you could use just about any type of bread dough. You roll the dough out into a rectangle and place whatever you want inside down the center, pressing it slightly into the dough.Our snake is stuffed with sausage, mozarella cheese, spinach, parmesan cheese, and some seasonings (like garlic and oregano). Pinch the edges together and place seam side down. For the stripes, use egg yolks and food coloring. I don't have anything to paint food with, so I just used my finger to apply the yolk. This is the snake before baking...
And here it is after baking! 350 for 25-30 minutes, or until golden brown.
Our biggest tastes like it should be a side dish or like it should have some sort of marinara sauce to dip it in. Gooey brains (spaghetti) would probably be a great addition! And if you're 4 year old and 2 year old liked it and my husband said it was pretty good, too!

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Halloween Craft

One of my friends from Talented Terrace Girls found this craft. It's cute, quick, and STURDY! In a house of small people, sturdy is important.
All you need is 5 2x4's, some vinyl lettering and faces, and paint. I used gauze and a tree stick too add a bit to  my mummy and the pumpkin (yes, there is a stick as a stem on the pumpkin, although it's hard to see). I suppose I should add that I used a REALLY strong wood glue to put everything together and some mod podge. As my friend said, the mod podge helps keep the vinyl from rolling off. If you have the time and everything together, you could finish this in one evening, a few hours. Mine took a few days, since I also have kids to take care of and I wanted to make sure everything had dried completely.