Thursday, December 28, 2006

Xmas Eve

When my brother and I were growing up, we got to exchange our Xmas gifts to each other on Xmas eve (it helped cut down the excitement somewhat and allowed us to sleep a bit better Xmas eve night!), so we've continued that tradition with my kids.

The sibling exchange:
C. gave T. two stuffed Pokemon characters
T. gave M. a green Mega T-Rex
M. gave C. a Ty stuffed emperor penguin
C. gave M. a Backyardigans bath set
M. gave T. a "Look Inside the Frog" book
T. gave C. portable speakers for her iPod

and then the kids opened their new jammies (another traditional gift so we have cute pictures the next day ;)):

and then they crawled into bed to sleep sweet dreams before Xmas day:

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Gifts for a Knitter

Yes, I do have all sorts of wonderful, glee-filled pictures of my adorable children being spoiled rotten with Christmas gifts. And yes, I *will* get around to posting them and listing cool gifts that they (and I) received. But before I forget, I wanted to link to this post written by The Yarn Harlot. I do realize that Christmas is over, but I have a birthday coming up in January, so...

Letter to a Non-Knitter

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Day 3--MUCH better!

Still some dark spots on her face:

but her back and belly are almost totally clear:

And she feels better! She got about 14 hours of sleep, so that might have been the key!

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Day 2 of the allergic reaction

M. did not sleep well Monday night (between us, in our bed, so I could monitor her breathing) and when she woke up, the rash was even worse:

So I took her back to the doctor. We have a prescription for prednisone (which I hope to not have to fill, as the last thing I want right before Xmas is a kid whose immune system is compromised), and were given the go-ahead to use T's prescription Zyrtec once a day to see if that, in combination with the Benadryl, would help with the rash/itching/swelling. After one dose, it seemed to help--at least with the itching. I hope we're on the mend...

TJ's Masala/Paneer sauce

Since both Susie and Stefaneener highly recommended Trader Joe's Masala and Korma Simmer Sauces, I couldn't wait to try them. Unfortunately, my cold prevented me from being able to taste for so long that I wasn't able to try them right away. I was pretty happy with this meal, though.

Masala/Paneer Sauce

1 jar Trader Joe's Masala Simmer Sauce
1 cup water
1 package Paneer (Indian cheese)
1 T olive oil
1 onion
1 cup frozen peas
cooked rice

Cut paneer into small squares and saute in olive oil until lightly brown. Remove to paper towels to drain. Add chopped onion to remaining olive oil and cook until tender. Add jar of sauce and 1 cup of water. Bring to a simmer and heat for about 10 minutes. Add in the paneer and frozen peas and heat through. Serve over rice and with pita, heated in a frying pan.
Homemade Paneer

I looked all over for paneer, which you can supposedly buy pre-made, but had no success. I found a recipe online and made it with the free milk I got at the grocery store this week, thinking no harm in trying. It turned out really good!

2 litres of milk
juice of two lemons
cumin powder

big pot
cheesecloth or non-fuzzy dish towel
2 cutting boards
heavy weight (bricks or pot filled with water)

Bring the milk, 1 t. salt and 1 t. cumin to a slow simmer. Simmer for five minutes, stirring constantly and making sure it doesn't burn or boil over.

Remove the boiled milk from the heat and stir in 1 tablespoon of lemon juice at a time, until the milk curdles and becomes very chunky. Drain off the whey (non chunky stuff) and wrap the curds (chunky stuff) in the cheese cloth or clean dish towel. You can taste it and see if it needs more salt or cumin, or if you want to add any other seasonings. Squeeze out any remaining whey and then shape it into a flattened rectangle of cheese. Place on one cutting board, then top with a second, and weigh it down (you might want to do this over a sink). Keep the weight on for 1-2 hours, then unwrap the paneer, rinse it, and store it in the fridge until you need it.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Will it never end?

M. woke up in the middle of the night with itchy, raised red spots all over her face, chest, back, arms and legs. Reaction to the amoxicillin, I guess. (G. and C. are both allergic to amoxicillin, so I shouldn't be surprised)

So she's had a day of benadryl (not as raised or itchy, but still red spots) and will start a new antibiotic this evening (it's a sulfa drug--the one that gave ME a bad reaction).

I just want to be done with all this stuff.

(these pictures were taken 12 hours after the rash appeared)

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Bloglines dropped me...

Of course, if you're subbed with bloglines, you won't get this feed, but....

It appears that bloglines just caught up with the fact I went to Beta Blogger and it dropped the old feed. So if you were reading my blog w/ bloglines, you'll need to subscribe to the new feed.


Friday, December 15, 2006

Quesadillas; Red beans and rice, mexican style

Quesadillas are such a fall-back meal for our family that I can't believe I haven't posted the recipe before (or maybe I have and couldn't find it). I "created" the mexican rice to get a complete protein into my vegetarian daughter.


flour tortillas
shredded cheese
whatever else (cooked chicken, bacon, green onions, olives, tomatoes, beans, etc.)

Spritz a tortilla with some oil and lay it in a frying pan. Top with shredded cheese and whatever other items you like. Add the second flour tortilla and spray it with oil. Cook over medium heat until the tortilla is brown and crispy and the cheese is melty. Flip and do the same to the other side. Cut into sixths with a pizza cutter and serve with sour cream and salsa.
Quick Mexican beans and rice

1 t. oil
1 cup rice
one can chili beans
a handful of corn

Heat oil in a pot with a tight-fitting cover. Add rice and saute lightly (to keep it from sticking together as it cooks. Add can of chili beans (with liquid) and eyeball the amount of water to make it (along with the chili bean liquid) equal about 2 cups. Bring to a boil, cover, and simmer for about 20 minutes. When rice is tender, stir in corn and heat until the corn is warm, too. Serve topped with green onions.
Tortilla chips with Fiesta Party Dip from Tastefully Simple

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Chicken Paprikash; Knockle; Green Bean Amandine

Thanks again to Rachel Ray's 30 minute meals

Ground Turkey Paprikash
(I didn't use the dill--it seemed to not really belong)

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, 1 turn of the pan
1 tablespoon butter
1 package, 1 1/3 pounds average weight, ground lean white turkey
2 to 3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
1 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
2 tablespoons sweet paprika
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon dried marjoram
Black pepper
1 cup chicken stock, available in small 8 ounce paper containers on soup aisle of market
1 cup sour cream
2 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley

Heat a deep skillet over medium high heat. Add extra-virgin olive oil then butter then ground meat. Break up meat and crumble, 2 to 3 minutes. Add garlic, onions, red bell peppers and seasonings to the turkey. Cook 5 or 6 minutes then add chicken stock and sour cream to the pan. Bring to a bubble and reduce heat to low. Adjust seasonings and serve over pasta or knockle. Garnish the prepared dish with chopped parsley.



Green Beans Amandine


canned Fruit Cocktail

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Sickness update

Two people on antibiotics now...

M's ear IS infected. The protocol for ear infection treatment is to wait 24-48 hours after diagnosis before starting an antibiotic, since most ear infections will clear up on their own. I am on board with this switch in protocol, and we did that when T's ear was infected last month. HOWEVER, you have to remember that this is the kid who broke two bones (a leg and an arm) and neither time complained any more than refusing to use said broken limb. She was SCREAMING and whining and in obvious pain with this ear thing, so I filled the prescription. I think it's already helping and I think (hope) I made the right choice.

And the doctor said that, for me, ten days with my sinus pressure and everything else meant time for an antibiotic as well.

So here we are, ten days of meds and dealing with all the tummy upsets and probiotics... But with any luck, we'll be completely healed by Christmas!

Chicken In a Pot, No Pie Soup

Another Rachel Ray recipe--this one is a real winner!

Chicken In a Pot, No Pie!

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, 1 turn of the pan
2 tablespoons butter, cut into pieces
2 starchy potatoes, skin left on and diced (recommended: Idaho)
1 medium onion, chopped
2 ribs celery with leafy green tops, finely chopped
2 carrots, peeled and diced
1 bay leaf, fresh or dried
Salt and pepper
1 teaspoon poultry seasoning
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 cup dry white wine, eyeball it
5 cups chicken stock
1 1/2 pounds chicken tenders, chopped
1 small bunch pencil asparagus, trimmed of woody ends and cut into 2-inch pieces
1 cup frozen peas, a couple of handfuls
2 to 3 tablespoons fresh tarragon, 4 to 5 sprigs, chopped
Serve with crusty whole-grain bread - a lot easier than making pastry!

Heat a large, deep skillet or a medium soup pot over medium high heat. Add extra-virgin olive oil and butter. Melt butter into oil then add the potatoes, onions, celery and carrots, adding them to the pot as you chop them. Add bay leaf and season veggies with salt, pepper and poultry seasoning, cook 5 to 6 minutes to soften them a bit. Add flour and cook another minute then whisk in wine and cook off a minute more. Add stock and put a lid on the pan or pot and raise heat to bring to a quick boil. Slide in chicken and cook 5 minutes. Stir in asparagus and cook 3 minutes more. Turn off heat and add the peas and tarragon. Stir to combine and adjust salt and pepper, to your taste. Ladle into bowls and serve with crusty bread for mopping.
Breadsmith Italian bread

My knitting is famous!

I sent pictures of my Flying Spaghetti Monster tree topper to the FSM website and the owner posted them. :)

Check it out:

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Mostly caught up (but still sick...)

Since my last overwhelmed post, I've gotten caught up on a lot of stuff.

*decorated inside and out for the holidays
*hosted TWO gatherings (Soup night for several families and C's friend Xmas party)
*have all but 1 1/2 knit gifts completed! (email if you want to peek...)
*cooked some more and stored lots of blog food posts to release one-a-day
*completed the holiday card (email if you didn't get one and want the URL)

However, this cold has completely knocked me on my butt and my house is now trashed. In addition, M. woke up screaming in the middle of the night with a 101 temp and complaints of her ears and mouth hurting. We both have appointments with the doctor this afternoon and I am hopeful that we'll both be better before Christmas.

I'm going to cram a bunch of stuff into this one catch-up post.

Friday M. had her fall zoo class--Penguin Power! This is the last zoo class that I'll be able to attend, as M. turns 4 in January, and the kids can do child-alone classes at age 4. M. was very excited to share all that she learned with C. (the real penguin fan in the family). Here's a picture of M. in the penguin costume she made:

And Friday afternoon was T's school's Winter Concert. It's strange that he's my only kid at the elementary school this year (C. was there last year and M. will be there next year). The third graders learned Carol of the Bells on the recorder! Here's a picture of him the morning of the concert:

Fish Fry

I loved the texture of the tempura batter I used to make onion rings, so I decided to try it on fish. It worked well!

Fried fish

Tilapia fillets
salt, lemon pepper
tempura ingredients
hot oil

Season the fish fillets with salt and lemon pepper. Dip in tempura batter, and then fry in oil until golden brown. Drain well.

onion rings

homemade french fries

fresh pineapple

Monday, December 11, 2006

Decorating for Christmas!

We traditionally decorate the day after Thanksgiving (and take down the decorations the day after Christmas) but since we were out of town this Thanksgiving, we didn't decorate until the Sunday after. G. put up the outside lights (you can see the boxes and boxes of them here:)

While the rest of us unpacked the indoor stuff.

Putting the tree together:

Last year, at the Christmas clearance at Target, I bought all new indoor lights. I freecycled the old, multicolored ones, and used strands of red and green for the the tree this year. It looks really neat!

Then the ornaments...

And that's the end result!

Patty Melts

This recipe comes from G's grill days (working at several restaurants in high school)

Patty melt

hamburger patty, grilled or fried
fried onions
cheddar cheese
rye bread

Butter the outside of both sides of rye bread. Layer the sandwich in a frying pan in this order:

rye bread, butter side down
fried onions
more cheese
rye bread, butter side up

Grill until golden brown and heated through.

Frozen steak-cut fried, cooked according to package directions
Claussen Kosher dill pickle

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Switch to Beta

I have been wanting to switch to Beta since it was introduced, but it wasn't offered to me. I finally realized that it's because I belonged to a blog that was HUGE and it wasn't switched to Beta. (The Mason-Dixon Knit-A-Long) So I've dropped the MDKAL and I'm hoping this will work.

I hope all of you who have me bloglined will be able to follow me...

Apologies to bloglines users...
It appears that, as I go back and update categories on my ancient posts, they all show up as new posts! yikes...

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Excuses, Excuses, Excuses!

I am actually embarassed at how long it's been since I last blogged. However, it's not like I haven't been busy! :) Some of the things I've done:

*Travelled up North for Thanksgiving with my mom (lots of fun, but dialup internet connection, so impossible to post)
*Home to decorate for Xmas and panic at how much I still have to do (also fun, but stressful)
*Hosting a really fun Soup Night with some families (TONS of fun, but I cleaned the whole house at once--egads! don't recommend that one... I even shampooed carpets)
*Knitting, knitting, knitting.... lots and lots of Xmas gifts--many for people who read this blog, so that's why there are no photos. If you're REALLY interested, email me and I can send you pics of the things that are NOT for you ;)
*cooking again! (I'd taken some time off...I have pictures of about a dozen meals I've made and all those recipes to type in...)
*working on our holiday "card" (egads... why does it take so long? oh, yeah... because I only write HTML once a year--when I do our holiday card), which should be posted sometime this week

And then I caught a nasty cold, so I've been babying myself over that. At any rate, I promise to at least ATTEMPT to blog a bit more really soon. And if not, then when DH is off for that month between semesters, I'll get all caught up!

Ok, here's ONE picture:

T., holding the Flying Spaghetti Monster tree topper, which I finished WHILE we were putting up the tree!