Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Owl-O-Ween

HAPPY Owl-O-Ween!!  I hope you have a super day loaded with lots of cute costumes and yummy things to eat!

Today is an extra special day at our house ... it's my Peacock's birthday!!

She was a busy baker on Saturday with her Bushka.

Lollipop Ghosts ~

Nutter-Butter Ghosts ~

R.I.P. Tombstone-Candy Corn-Pumpkin Cake:

Peacock has been counting down the days to her birthday for at least a month and she honestly believes that the world celebrates her birthday by going trick-or-treating. 

This morning she got up and helped me start a crock-pot of applesauce ... it's already starting to smell like sweet apples in my house.

This evening the kiddies will enjoy some trick-or-treating and then we plan to stop by Bushka's house for some homemade doughnuts!

Hope you have a safe & fun holiday!

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Friday, October 28, 2011

Pumpkin Stuffed with Everything Good: French Fridays with Dorie

I'm a little slow today getting my post up.  Thursday afternoons are crazy-crazy for us because that's when my kids all have EVMCO rehearsal.  I usually have to be creative for Thursday night dinners because soon after I get the kids home, I have to rush off for my rehearsal and by the time I get home at 10:30pm, I'm not in the mood to do much ... even blog.  This morning I had to rush off to the dental office to have some work done and after lunch, I fell asleep on the couch for a little while.  Going to the dentist really takes it out of me.  And I'm extra unhappy with the dental office with week for numerous reasons, but we won't go into those details .. it's just a stressful place to hang-out.

On to better things....

This week's FFWD recipe was pumpkin stuffed with everything good.  I was excited to make this recipe for numerous reasons ... it could easily be done vegetarian style, it was very festive, and I'd never tried stuffing a pumpkin before this week.

The kids & I headed out for our Monday morning shopping trip this week to find a 3-lb pumpkin that Dorie recommended.  Jack-o-lantern pumpkins are close to 10-lbs at Wal-Mart and they looked too big for my oven so we grabbed a couple pie pumpkins.  A couple days later, my mom called me to let me know that she had found smaller pumpkins at Trader Joe's and she had purchased one for me.  I picked up my smaller Jack-O-Lantern pumpkin from my mom that afternoon and since Hubby was hanging out at home, I sent him out back to do the dirty business ... cleaning out the pumpkin.

I stuffed my pumpkin with a whole loaf of bread, lots of sharp cheddar cheese, salt, pepper, nutmeg, garlic, and over a cup of heavy cream.  I replaced the lid onto my pumpkin and let it bake for several hours.  Within 30 minutes of the pumpkin baking, my home smelled heavenly!  It was wonderful & I felt very festive!!

Everyone in my family tried the pumpkin.  My husband went back for 2nd's, but he wasn't interested in leftovers.  My 8-yr old liked the pumpkin part, but not the cheesy-bread part.  My younger two kids seemed to like everything and my youngest woke up the next morning wanting more for breakfast.  I loved the stuffing-bread part, but the pumpkin had a bitter taste.  I'm not sure if it needed something (salt & pepper didn't help) or if it comes with the territory of Jack-O-Lantern pumpkins.

If you'd like to try something similar, I'd recommend checking-out what other Doristas used to stuff their pumpkin with and get some additional ideas because it could be stuffed with a variety of things and seasonings.  Have fun!

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Thursday, October 27, 2011

EVMCO Christmas Concert: Come Ye to Bethlehem

The East Valley Mormon Choral Organization has been working hard since August to prepare for our upcoming Christmas concert.  I've been meaning to blog about the concert for a while now and I hope I'm not too late for some of my faithful concert-goers because both concerts are almost sold-out.    As of right now, there are some "limited view", back-row seats, and a few other odds & ends left for both nights. 

If you want to purchase tickets online go HERE.  I recommend the Saturday night performance and seats that are at least 10 rows back from the stage.

The concert will knock your socks off, but I don't think I have to do much talkin' cause the fact that about 3000 seats have already sold for a concert that's more than a month away speaks for itself!  Don't miss out!!!

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Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Harry + Hermione

This past weekend, the hubby & I went to a Halloween party.  We were supposed to dress up as a famous couple ... it was a quick & easy choice for us .... Harry Potter & Hermione Granger!

The group:

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Friday, October 21, 2011

Pissaladiere: French Fridays with Dorie

When I Googled for images of "pissaladiere", I got a bunch of variations of Dorie's recipe ... a pizza type looking thing with olives and anchovies ... ewww!  I have never tried anchovies (so maybe I have no idea on what I'm missing-out on) and I have NO intention of ever trying anchovies ... I don't even want to be the same room as an anchovy!!

But ... I didn't want to be a total party-pooper this week and skip another FFWD recipe because it had aspects that didn't appeal to me.  I checked-out the fancier olives at Costco and decided I wasn't willing to pay the price for those, so I made a Frolicking Night Owl Family-Friendly version of this week's recipe ... PIZZA!!

I wanted to try Dorie's recipe for dough because, up to this point, Dorie's dough recipes have usually been excellent and recipes that I go back to over and over again.  I had also never tried a pizza dough recipe with egg in it, so that intrigued me.  We did our Monday morning grocery shopping and grabbed from fresh mozzarella while we were out.  When we got home, I started a pot of fresh marinara sauce so it could simmer all afternoon ... I even used fresh basil from my "garden" (aka pots on my back patio).  While the kiddies had quiet time, I started my dough.  I wanted to make some oven roasted tomatoes again, but I ran out of time.

Monday was also hair day.  Sweet Ms. Donna came around dinner time to work on Miss Peacock's hair.  So while Ms. Donna did hair, I rolled & decorated dough.

I ended up making a mushroom pizza, a tomato & basil pizza, a mixed-bag pizza (partly just cheese, partly mushroom and tomato leftovers from the other two pizzas), and then I used the remaining dough and just baked it into a loaf of bread.

Results: Everyone (including Ms. Donna) loved the pizza crust ... it was thin & crispy, but don't use this recipe for make bread ... WAY too salty!  Overall, I think we had great success!!

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Wednesday, October 19, 2011

My Dad

Still going through old photos & I came across this one that must be journal-ed.

This is my dad (way back in March) on his 64th birthday with four of his five grandchildren.  This picture is definitely a keeper!

{Papaw with Grandkids}

My dad is a very good dad and grandfather.  Growing up he taught me a lot about serving others.  He always found a way for us kids to serve out in the community whether it was participating in Meals on Wheels or just finding a family around town that  needed Christmas.  My dad has always worked hard to provide for his family and because of his hard work I was able to participate in a lot of lessons and activities that helped me to develop my talents. I also have fond memories of family vacations & outings while growing up.  Now he is good to read books to my kids, go swimming with them, support them in their development talents, and the list goes on.

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Thursday, October 13, 2011

Turkey's 4 Now!

Can't believe my little guy is 4 years old!  We celebrated his birthday several weeks ago and the parties and celebrations seemed to go on for days, which he never complained about.  He got to have family dinner and a little party with all the in-laws and cousins a week or two before his birthday.  On his actual birthday, he spent the evening with my mom baking up a storm of cupcakes ... of course they all had to be decorated, too ... can't remember now, but it seems like they got turned into little monsters.

The day following his birthday, he wanted to go out to lunch, but he didn't care about the lunch aspect because he just wanted a chocolate-chip cookie!  We ended up going to Oregano's ... not the greatest food, but Turkey loves their free birthday pizookies!

And then the gifts kept coming....

{my boy likes all things cowboy!}

{he's also got the Volcom stuff figured-out}

I asked Turkey for days ... or possibly weeks ... what kind of food and treats he wanted on his birthday.  He just couldn't decide, but he seemed to keep going back to a chocolate cake or a cheesecake, so I decided to combine the two.  If you want to do something similar, it's not too difficult of a project.  I made my favorite dark chocolate cake recipe (two 9" rounds), my favorite cheesecake recipe (with no crust, also 9") and 1 1/2 times my favorite bittersweet chocolate frosting recipe.  Make and bake everything separate.  Since a cheesecake should rest in the fridge overnight, that's a good project for the day before.  The morning of, I made the chocolate cakes and then right before dinner time, I made the frosting & put all the layers together.  And because the cake is so tall and rich, a little bit goes a long ways!

Turkey's Get-to-Know-You from church:
(He filled in the blanks ... his answers are underlined.)
  • I came down to Pittsburgh, PA from my Father above.
  • My home has 16 (every time I asked, this was the answer I got) people and I don't have any animals to love.
  • I like to play with toys and go to church with my family.
  • If you see someone with green eyes and red hair, it could be me.
  • I like learning about big tractors when I go to school.
  • When I grow up I want to be a cowboy. (I think that would be cool.)
  • In my spare time I think playing in the backyard is fun.
  • And I like to eat popsicles & strawberries when the day is done.
  • I like the color green when I am making art.
  • When I read the scriptures Nephi is my favorite part.
  • On Sunday Sunbeams is the class I go to.
  • Singing Popcorn Popping is one of my favorite things to do.

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Wednesday, October 12, 2011

She's Goooooood

This morning when I was driving, I noticed an African-American (or "chocolate" according to Peacock) woman walking down the street with a young girl that I assumed was her granddaughter. On my way home, I saw this same pair still out on their morning stroll. It made me think about my Peacock and how she will probably never go for a morning walk with either of her "brown" grandmothers. There is a part of me that feels guilty for the things my daughter can not have because she calls me mom.

The house is quiet right now, so I'm going through old photos and editing.  I played with this photo my husband took about six weeks ago and ended up with this sassy picture of my Peacock.  I love this photo of her because her little personality that I know so well shines through and, in my opinion, she looks like the spitting image of her birthmother in this photo. 

Again ... my mind wanders back to the people & things she lost early in her life, but I am so thankful for the sacrifices that were made by many so that I could call her mine!

As I was typing up this post, she came in to visit with me.  I was listening to Pandora and the following (see below) song came on.   "This is a gooooood song, " she quickly announced and no goooooood song is complete without some shaking of a cute, round bottom and the clickity-clack of the beads in her braids.

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