Monday, August 23, 2010

Lavender Vanilla Sugar

Mmmmm, this is such a yummy treat to put in hot tea. I haven't tried it in anything else as of yet, but I can imagine that it would excellent sprinkled over fruit, especially a lemon dish or some sort. Here's the recipe.

1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon dried lavender
¾ teaspoon vanilla extract

Place all ingredients into blender or food processor and blitz into a powder.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Back to School, Back to Routine

While I am feeling a bit melancholy today, I can’t help but be happy that tomorrow is the first day of school. My oldest is in third grade this year and my little girl is starting Kindergarten. I have grown accustomed to my son being in school, but I have still had two at home to keep up with. Now, I am down to my two year old. How will I fill my days?

While routine is a wonderful thing and kids thrive best using them, summer is such a treat with laid back days and late nights. Sleeping in every day is a wonderful treat in itself. But back to school we must go, back to early mornings, homework and hoping the kids have the skills necessary to navigate their days in the classroom. Hoping that I, as a mother, have done a sufficient job in helping them to be independent and eager to learn.

On to the excitement. I, as many parents across the country, have really been slacking in my housework routines. Not that my house has turned into a pig sty by any means, but it hasn’t been as tidy as it should be. We have been so busy this summer with nothing in particular. We have pretty much been confined to the house with the horrible heat that has plagued the land over the past couple of months. You can imagine, with three kids in the house, it’s nearly impossible to keep up with everything. Not to mention the two new dogs we acquired and trying to housebreak them both. We also took a vacation to Florida to see my best friend and her family.

So, I must get back into my daily routine adding lunch packing responsibilities. I now have two kids to get ready for school, pick up in the afternoon and help with homework. Extra responsibilities will be easier to handle since I will have more time to get my regular housework done. I should have two solid hours of quiet when my little guy naps. I won’t know how to act with that much time not having to get onto one child or another or wiping an extra butt or fixing a lunch or…

I will get to work with my little guy in a more one on one fashion. He seems to have gotten left out of the mix so often with the other two demanding so much more of my time. I get to start potty training. Yay!!!

My husband and I are also looking forward to having some time together. He works a strange shift and is home a lot during the week. Without all three kids in tow, we get to go out to lunch at the little restaurants downtown. We also get to hit the antique shops we have wanted to see since we moved to this town eight years ago.

All in all, while the milestones are both happy and sad, I can surely see the benefit for myself in this. I will miss my kids during school hours, but know that they are making friends and learning so much. I will miss the noise in the house, but enjoy the silence that I haven’t heard in many years. All in all back to school and routine is a pretty cool thing.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Fiesta night

We love Mexican food night around here. I thought I would share a couple of my recipes.

Shredded Fiesta Chicken

6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
2 (16 oz) jar Picante sauce
2 tsp garlic powder
2 tsp cumin
2 tsp chili powder
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1 can corn (drained)
1 can black beans (drained and rinsed)

Pour a little oil in a heavy skillet over medium heat and brown chicken on both sides.
Place the chicken in the crock pot and pour sauce over making sure to cover all chicken.
Add the garlic powder, cumin, chili powder, salt and pepper.
Cover and cook on high 2 hours, reducing to low for 2 hours.
Remove the chicken to a bowl, shred with a fork, then put the chicken back in the crock pot.
Cover and continue to cook on Low for 1 hour.
Stir in the corn and black beans.
Cover and continue cooking 1 hour.
Serve in soft taco shells, flour tortilla bowls or over tortilla chips. Can top with cheese, sour cream or anything you like on your tacos. I like cheese and ranch dressing on mine. Have guacamole (see following recipe), refried beans or Mexican rice as a side.

Fiesta Guacamole Dip

3 Haas avocados, halved and seeded
2 limes, juiced
½ teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon ground cumin
½ teaspoon ground coriander seed
½ medium onion, diced
2 Roma tomatoes, seeded and diced (opt.)
1 tablespoon chopped cilantro (opt.)
pinch of cayenne pepper (opt.)
1 clove garlic, minced

In a large bowl place the scooped avocado pulp and lime juice, toss to coat.

Drain, and reserve the lime juice, after all of the avocados have been coated.

Using a potato masher add the salt, cumin, and cayenne and mash. Then, fold in the onions, tomatoes, cilantro, and garlic.

Add 1 tablespoon of the reserved lime juice. Cover with plastic wrap or wax paper making sure to have the wrap touching the dip. Let sit at room temperature for 1 hour and then serve.

I adjust things in my guac all of the time. I don't like the cilantro flavor, so I don't use that. I like lots of cumin. My husband likes tomatoes and cayenne, the kids and I do not.

Have fun with these recipes tonight. I am serving over tortilla chips this evening. Enjoy!!!