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Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Caprese Salad

My friend Annie LOVES this salad and I think of her whenever I make it.  With lots of free tomatoes floating around right now, this is a perfect time to make this easy and pretty salad.
You'll need:
Fresh Tomatoes sliced
Fresh Mozzarella sliced
Fresh Basil
Balsamic Vinegar (about 1 1/2 C for this size platter)
Olive Oil ~ probably about 1/2 C for this size ~ you want to lightly drizzle, not soak
Bring your balsamic vinegar to a boil over medium heat and simmer until reduced and thickened (saw that little trick here).  About 10 minutes.  Cool.
Arrange your fresh ingredients.  Drizzle with olive oil and the cooled balsamic vinegar, making sure that everything gets a little of both and serve.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Shrimp Pasta

Have you been missing a new recipe??  Sorry, ya'll know that summer is kinda my "me" time and even though I'm cooking, I'm slow on posting.  At any rate, let's get this party started. 
A friend of mine posted a recipe for shrimp that involved butter, lemons, seasoning and an oven that I thought looked interesting.  I couldn't find the actual post when I decided to make it but I'm pretty certain the shrimp are close.  I further decided that tossing the shrimp with pasta and vegetables would make a a nice summer dinner so that's what I did. 
"Best Shrimp EVER", was posted after the recipe by several people and although these are good, "best shrimp ever" is a bit much for this recipe.  I'm thinking those people haven't had really FRESH shrimp prepared correctly;)
What you'll need:
2 Lemons
1 lb Bag of Large Fresh Shrimp ~ they are typically deveined and ready to go ~ If you go the frozen route, make sure you defrost
1 stick of Butter
2 t Old Bay Seasoning
2 t Italian Seasoning
2 t Garlic Powder
1 t Cayenne Pepper ~ optional
Bunch of Asparagus snapped into pieces
4 cloves Garlic minced
1/4-1/3 C Olive Oil
1 can Petite Diced Tomatoes ~ I'd use the ones with green chili's next time but I like heat
1/2 t Cayenne Pepper or 1-2 t Red Pepper Flakes
Salt and Pepper to taste
3/4 C Asiago Cheese or Romano or Parmesan or Feta ~ pick your fav
3/4 box (smaller box) of Thin Spaghetti
4 Chicken Bouillon Cubes
While slicing your lemons, melt your butter on a cookie sheet with an edge.  When the butter is melted, throw your lemon on the pan and put shrimp on top of lemon.  Mix your seasoning together and sprinkle on the shrimp.  Bake at 350 for about 10-12 minutes.  They're done if they're curled into a C and have turned pink.
Heat the olive oil and throw your garlic in.  Stir around quick to flavor the oil.  Toss in the diced tomatoes and red pepper flakes.  You're just basically getting this hot and ready for the shrimp and pasta.
Get your water bowling with the bouillon cubes.  Toss in pasta, stir.  Throw your asparagus in when the pasta is almost done, it only needs a minute or two.  Drain all and toss into the tomato mixture.  Discard lemons from pan and dump the shrimp and butter into the pasta.  Season with salt and pepper.  Throw your favorite cheese on and give it a toss.  Dinner is served.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Miracles of Mitch

It’s a day that the kids look forward to all summer.  It’s a day when we thank our blessings and puts a little balance in our lives.  As I sat waiting for the race to start, I looked up and saw a friend from high school.  I smiled and asked if it was his kids first year and he kept smiling and said, “Yes, as an All-Star and he’s so excited”.  All-Stars are the children that my kids are running for.  All-Stars are the kids who have cancer.  All-Stars get recognition on stage and pass out the medals.  When Brody came walking in with the All-Stars, smiling from ear to ear, I couldn’t stop the tears from falling and I was completely humbled.  We just got a reality check that proved how precious life is and Max and Claire along with 700 other kids are making a difference. 

Here's a few pictures from the day.
Bright and Early...Nah, they didn't have to be there until 9;)
 Claire finding a seat with her age group
 Max waiting for a seat

 Brody is 2nd from the left

 Just got done swimming and transitioning to the bikes


 BONUS this year...Madison, Jordan and Aliva came with Mom and Dad to cheer them on!!

Scotch Egg

My favorite day of summer...the State Fair is here!!! I can smell the grease heating up and can't wait to see the new creation on a stick. This is one of Craig and Max's favorite things so if you can't make it to the fair (I can't wrap my brain around that;), make this at home.

What you'll need:

1 lb of Pork Sausage
3 hard boiled Eggs
3/4 C Bread Crumbs
Crisco for frying
Maple Syrup for dunking

Pat out a patty of Pork...say that 5 times fast;)
Put your egg in the middle
Wrap the egg with the sausage, essentially making a big meatball.Roll in breadcrumbs
Heat your Crisco. I used a smaller pan so I wouldn't waste oil and it worked fine doing a little over half at a time for about 2 minutes per side.
Cut and serve with maple syrup
IF you cut it in half and the sausage is pink around the egg~that happened only 1 out of 3~I just toothpicked it back together and fried for another minute.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Mud Run

I stepped OUT, way OUT of my comfort zone and did a 5K mud run this summer.  My friend Lisa roped me in.  It was only girls, not competitive AND it raised money for cancer.  How could I say no since I have always been curious what all the fuss was about??

Yes, I know I'm not a runner.  Yes, I know I don't really like to get dirty.  Yes, I am aware that I have never ran a 5K and am not in the greatest shape.  But you know what?  I had a BLAST!!  

3.5 miles running up hill for what seemed like most of it (yes, I did walk a little bit) and completing 14 different obstacles.  I can't decide if climbing the 15 foot wall or wading chest deep through the muddy ponds was the scariest.  Climbing the cargo nets was my favorite.  My friend Annie was my amazing support during the run.  Annie is in fantastic shape and runs marathons and she could have ROCKED this course but she stuck with me and cheered me on throughout and I love her for that.

I'll actually train better for next year.  Yes, I said next year because I'll be doing this again.  Step OUT of your comfort zone and see what you're missing.  My guess is you won't be sorry!!

Here's most of our team the Oopsie Daisies

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Cody Graduates!

Cody graduated in June on a cold, rainy day but the weather didn't put a damper on this exciting milestone.  Here he is with his Dad and what I love most about this photo is that he is SMILING!!  
He'll be attending community college this fall and I know he has BIG things in his future!


Wednesday, August 7, 2013

4th of July

I've been busy enjoying summer and slacking on posts but am trying to catch up.  Claire and Serena danced their way through another 4th of July parade.  The weather was much nicer than last year which made for a happy girl.  It's a highlight of the summer.
Good job girlie!!

Monday, August 5, 2013

Pudding Cake

Remember the jello cake I posted awhile back?  Well this is the pudding version and my kids LOVED it. I made one for us and one for a friend with one cake mix. Super easy and a really yummy dessert.

What you'll need:

White or yellow cake mix ~ made according to directions but use milk instead of water
1 large box Instant Banana Cream pudding made according to directions minus 1/4 cup milk ~ or your favorite flavor 
Small Whipping Cream
1 C Powdered Sugar
2 t Vanilla 

Bake cake according to directions.  Let the cake cool 5 minutes and use the handle of a wooden spoon and poke holes all around the cake.  
Make the pudding and pour into holes and spread the rest evenly over the top.
Whip whipping cream with vanilla until stiff, about 3-4 minutes.  Add powdered sugar and whip until incorporated.  Frost top of cake.
Chill for a few hours and serve.
Next time I would add a couple of ripe bananas to the cake mix so it would have more banana flavor but this was good as it was.  You could also garnish with nuts and/or chopped dried bananas or even fresh strawberries!

Friday, August 2, 2013

Baseball 2013

 Max started playing t-ball when he was 3.  Yes, I was the crazy parent who knew he would love an organized sport and was trying to wear off his abundance of energy so I signed him up in the "pre" t-ball session AND he loved it.  Every spring since he pulls out his baseball glove and heads to the field.

In 3rd grade we decided to play in a close suburb because their program was more organized than our local park and we made some wonderful friends.  I completely enjoyed heading to the ball field to watch Max play and catch up with the parents.

Two years ago we stepped into the traveling portion because I finally gave in and allowed him to "travel" with two sports.  It meant giving up most of our weekends in June and July.  Traveling sports is a commitment and one that I know well because of hockey.  Our life is hockey from November to March, I didn't want to give up our short summers too.  But I realized how much Max was missing the competitive game that traveling offers and I did what you do when you're a parent, I put his feelings in front of my own and we joined and he LOVED it.  Truth be told, I loved it too;)

This year was the last year that he could play with his boys because next year they'll all join their high school teams during the summer.  The season wasn't great due to crap weather.  LOTS of rain delays and cancelled games but we still managed to get our fair share in.  And, although we didn't surpass last years 2nd place finish as we hoped, we finished 3rd in districts and state!

What I was completely unprepared for was the feeling of loss when it finished.  Max has played with these boys for 7 years!!  Because of the slower pace of the game verses hockey, there is a LOT of time to chat with the other parents and really get to know them.  Because you're traveling and sometimes have back to back games with little time in between, everyone steps up and takes care of the boys without a second thought.  You run to the store for water, ice and snacks.  You ride share, you share blankets and umbrellas, you share the disappointments and wins, you become a family.

When the last inning was being played, I watched every second with a knot in my stomach.  It was bittersweet to lose the game that would send us on to the next day but was SO proud of their 3rd place finish.  It was over, not just the game but this portion of our lives with "this" family.  I choked back tears as I said my goodbyes to the first few families.  I wiped tears as I hugged and said goodbye to a few more.  And, when I got home, I let myself cry.  I knew that it was going to be tough to go through milestones with my kids but I never realized the sense of loss that I would feel with some of those milestones.  I'm truly going to miss my Richfield family as is Max.

Here are some highlights from the season thanks to Marci's fabulous photos.

My ALL time favorite field.  In the middle of a small town was this field that was right out of Field of Dreams.  They announced each player as they came  up to bat and played music between innings.  It was a BEAUTIFUL summer day and the bonus...we won the game!
 Celebrating a win over the 1st place team in state!
 He claims he wasn't flashing Marci to be funny, just untucking his jersey.  Either way, it made me smile.
 We ran into one of his hockey buddies and they're doing a little catch up between batters.
 Stand up DOUBLE
 And, this would be a triple he hit, talking to his coach and changing out his batting gloves.
 The action shots

The "it's 100 degrees with no wind" shot
The 3rd place medal shot "I" took.