Friday, January 28, 2011

Time to reflect!

It's Friday – time to reflect on the week!
High points:
  • Participated in my online prayer group, Good Morning Girls, every day
  • Wrote in my blog every day
  • Put a HUGE dent in the clean laundry that needed to be put away
  • Spent time on my Dove chocolate discoveries Biz
  • Had some one-on-one time with my husband 3 days this week
  • I cut out 9oz of coffee from my diet every day
  • Did the star rewards chart with the boys every day
  • Jaxon said his first clear word “peak-a-boo”
  • Brant's teacher told me how well behaved and sweet he was. “It must be very calm in your house.” That made me laugh but what a compliment!
Low Points:
  • Drank only ONE smoothie this week
  • Did not eat one salad this week
  • Did not eat any lentils this week
  • While reading for my prayer group the kids began to fight and I screamed, WILL YOU KNOCK IT OFF?! CAN I READ THE BIBLE FOR A WHOLE FIVE MINUTES WITHOUT SOMEONE FIGHTING?!?
  • Besides chasing the kids up and down the hallway, pretending to be a dinosaur, I did not work out this week. In fact the workout DVD I bought over a week ago has only been picked up by the boys 
Random points:
My friends and family all make fun of how OFTEN I use my kitchen shears. So I have posted four examples of how I use them. To cut up a pancake for the kids, to chunk up frozen yogurt for Jaxon, to remove the tails off shrimp, to cut up green onion.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Working for chocolate

I am in independent chocolatier for Dove Chocolate Discoveries. Today I prepared and packed for my Dove Chocolate Discoveries tasting party tomorrow night. Below is the customized menu.
This is the quick cheesecake recipe I made with the DCD white chocolate smoothie mix that I will be serving.
Ingreds: 1 8oz brick cream cheese, room temp; 1 DCD packet smoothie mix; 1 8oz tub whipped topping, thawed.
In a bowl use mixer to cream the softened cream cheese. Add the smoothie packet. Mix until well incorporated. Fold in thawed whipped topping. Pour into pie crust. Refridgerate until ready to serve.

Sandy's Chocolate Tasting Party Menu
A Pre-Valentine's Day Party” - January

Sip N Say Hello Course
Mudslide Martinis
Shake up those endorphins with a chilled mudslide martini, page 10. We mixed this cocktail with vanilla vodka but you can use any vodka: regular, cherry, espresso - possibilities are endless. Treat yourself to the Girls Night Out Kit this Valentine's Day – its the gift that keeps on giving. Kit includes a martini mix, shaker and 4 martini glasses, page 10.

Grab-N-Go Course
Cinnamon dusted dark chocolate covered almonds
These are full of omega-3's and antioxidents but they taste so amazing you will want to feel guilty anyway, page 6. The almonds are packed in two, 8 oz bags so you can share or save one for later.

Indulge Course
Chocolate Mousse piped on spoons
This mousse takes minutes to make but tastes as if you have been working all day to perfect it, page 21. Serve this to your Valentine fresh or frozen. Drizzle our raspberry dessert sauce over it and take it to a whole new level of goodness, page 17.

Cool Off Course
Spiced Chai Dip
Put a dollop in your Valentine's coffee or serve with dippables for brunch, page 9. There is also a sample pack with other flavors: chocolate, raspberry and vanilla. Which one will be your favorite?

Baker's Course
Truffle Fudge Brownies and Mint Bits
A dry mix that comes with ½ lb of Dove Chocolate bits to ADD to the batter, page 19. I KNOW! Could it get any better? YES! Pour one of our sauces over the top – Chardonnay Caramel or Merlot Fudge (page 17) sound good? Or add one of baking bits to it: mint or PB (page 19)!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Toddler bean-card game

I was going through my pantry and found a bag of chickpeas that I was going to throw out. I decided to play a game with the boys instead. Please see video. It's worth watching just to see what Mason does while its Brants turn.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Birdhouse Toddler project

The kids and I went to Joann Fabrics and I saw these wooden birdhouses for a DOLLAR. I couldn't pass them up. We bought two and then they had some paint on sale for $0.99!
The boys did a great job and are excited to fill it with bird seed and hang them outside.

Monday, January 24, 2011

English Roast Recipe

I couldn't get my birdhouse project with the boys to download so I'm just going to write about dinner.
Whenever roast is on sale I buy it because I can get at least 3 meals out of it.
Prep: First I choose an oil with a high "smoke point" like canola oil. A "smoke point" is literally how much heat an oil can take before it starts smoking. Once an oil starts smoking you can't use it - you have to discard it and start over. This is because of the free radicals it releases in the actual oil. Not to mention the carcinogens released into the air.
Anyway, I want to get the oil hot to get a good crust on the meat so I warm up the oil in a big ol' chili pot (because I cook this stovetop). I rub sea salt and pepper on the meat and start searing. I don't sear to "seal in the juices;" I love the flavor it gives the meat when slow cooked.
On my last side of searing I start pouring water into the pan and fill it so the meat is half way covered in water. I add about 4 cloves of garlic roughly chopped, 1 onion cut in big chunks and 1/2 tablespoon of peppercorns. I cook it on low for about 3-4 hours depending on how big the roast is.
When cooked, I take the meat out and strain the broth into a clear bowl so the broth and fat divide. Whatever I'm making with it - potatoes, noodles, rice, etc. I add broth to the water I'm cooking it in. I'm big fan of flavoring oil or water to enhance the flavor of my meal.
Tonight I boiled potatoes in water and added about a cup of broth to it to flavor the potatoes. I made homemade gravy and for my liquid use 3/4 broth and 1/4 milk. Then I freeze whatever broth I have leftover because to me NOTHING compares to homemade broth in recipes.
I make the roast plain so I can use it for other recipes the next day like, beef fried rice, BBQ beef, beef tacos, etc.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Avacado smoothie

When I have avacados on hand I throw them in a smoothie for my kiddos - it's the only way they will eat them. This is what I put together:
1/2 c strawberry frozen yogurt (really just a fun factor for the kids they help scoop, steal tastes, etc.)
1/2 banana
1c frozen blueberries
1.5 teaspoon flaxseed oil
1/2 avacado
almond milk to thin

I use my Braun hand held blender to mix and it's finished.

I use the rest of the avacado for my grilled cheese. It's some kind of whole grain bread, avacado, tomato and a little bit of cheese. It's one of my favorite quick sandwiches to make for myself.
I bought the bread from Sam's club (free day for non members) and it's ok. It's covered with whole flaxseeds, Barley grits, etc.
There is no point in eating whole seeds unless you are chewing them enough to get all of the good stuff out for your body to absorb. And I'm always eating on the run so I doubt I'm chewing them down enough. This is why I prefer to use flaxseed oil or Tahini in my foods for added nutrition - its ready for my body absorb.

Valentine's Day Card Project

In December the boys and I made a bunch of holiday cards for a local nursing home. We had so much fun doing it that I thought, why not make Valentine Day cards? The project calls for paint and glue so it's a toddlers dream. It holds their attention quite well and I schedule this kind of project while my 16 month old is napping.
We made two different cards. For the first card, I took a pile of index cards and folded them lengthwise. I cut out half of a heart on the fold. So now I have a pile of hearts. The boys painted these hearts. I glued the painted hearts onto plain index cards. For the second card, I had the boys paint the entire front of index cards. I glued the cards that had the heart cut out of them onto the painted index cards. It's easy and no materials are wasted. I still haven't decided if we are going to send them to troops, a children's hospital or another nursing home.