Monday, October 31, 2011

Menu Plan Monday

Menu for this week is...

Halloween Party with friends!
I am bringing these cute pumpkin pop treats!

 This is a family favorite. I found it a few years back and we all loved it! It's so tasty and good for you too -only 184 calories a serving (not counting any rice or pasta you may choose to have with it, which I always do!)

Stuffed Green Peppers with Cheese - they also include beef and rice inside, 
so I call THAT a balanced meal :0)

This is a new one from "The Pioneer Woman".
 I'm really looking forward to trying it!

Date night!
(We didn't actually get to go last week!) I'm looking forward to a night out!


Stuffed Shells and green salad

     I make mine by memory from an old recipes, but it basically includes: cottage cheese, parmesan cheese, mozzarella cheese, an egg, oregano, browned ground beef, salt and pepper- all stuffed into cooked pasta shells. Then I just pour spaghetti sauce over top,
 sprinkle with a little mozzarella and bake til bubbly. YUM! I'm also making a double batch and freezing a pan for next month.

I'm linking up to Orgjunkie

Rating of Last Week's Meals + Coffee Cake recipe :)

I thought I would give a quick update on how meal planning went for us last week. I don't know that I'll always do this, but I made a few new recipes and Tim like to help me rate them so we can remember how we liked them and if I want to make them again!

Our rating system: First each of us give it a number out of 10 for TASTE, 
then I rate it for "Ease to Make"

Broiled Parmesan Tilapia (Taste: Julie - 4, Tim - 5, Ease to make-7) Now the low ratings are not really fair. I kind of botched this recipe. I plan on trying it again. #1 problem - I accidentally got smoked haddock when I shopped online. It was just too salty for us with the parmesan and smoking. #2 problem - I am still trying to figure out my stove. I could not for the life of me figure out how to broil with my oven. So the topping that was supposed to be golden and crispy was mushy - yuck. Of course as soon as we finished dinner, I accidentally pressed the right button and it went to broil - haha! Now I know! So don't discount this one - it does look like a really great recipe!

Pasta Pie - (Taste: Julie-7, Tim 7.5, Ease to make -8) I had made this one before and we had forgotten how much we liked it!

Chicken Fajitas - We didn't rat this one because it wasn't new. It's one that is easy and we love so it always gets thrown into the rotation! I set it up like a "burrito bar". Tim's exact words were, "It looks like a Chipotle up in here!"

Baked Mac and Cheese - (Taste: Julie -9.5, Tim-10, Ease to make -6) Thank you Martha Stewart for this recipe! YOU NEED TO MAKE THIS make and cheese! It was a little more involved and made a big mess (probably because the girls were helping me), but it's worth it! We ended up eating this two days in a row for lunch and dinner -yum!

Chicken Pot Pie (Taste: Julie -8.5, Tim-9, Ease to Make: 5) This was absolutely delicious! Tim loved it and thought I was from another world for making it(so of course I'll make it again). It was just a lot of little steps and I think next time I will make the filling during nap time or the night before and then just throw the crust on and bake it before dinner so that I don't loose my cool while kids are hanging on me and Tim is on his way home!
Here are the pics I took of it:

Harvest Salad - I'm a little bummed that I didn't get to this one this week. We ended up having so many leftovers, that we didn't need this meal. But I plan on making it for lunch this week :)

Nana Baylor's Coffee cake - I made this last week and a few people asked for the recipe. It's seriously amazing! I make this coffee cake for every holiday and probably once a month when there are no holidays(per Tim's request :) We all love it! Usually I make it in a bunt pan, but this last time I made part of it in a loaf pan (for our sweet neighbors who give us fresh eggs and homemade jam) and then the rest of it in muffin tins.

 Mom Baylor’s Coffee Cake
1 stick of Butter (soft) 2 Cups flour
1 Cup of sugar 1 tsp baking powder 
2 eggs 1 tsp baking soda 
1 tsp vanilla ½ tsp salt
½ pint sour cream (8 oz) ½ Cup chocolate chips
  ½ Cup of chopped pecans
¼ Cup sugar ½ cup pecans
1tsp  cinnamon
1. In a large mixing bowl, cream- butter, sugar, eggs, vanilla, and sour cream until blended
2. In a small bowl, mix flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
3. Add dry bowl of dry ingredients to wet ingredients slowly until fully mixed. 
4. Add ½ c chocolate chips and ½ c chopped pecans
5. Spoon half of the batter evenly into the bottom of a bunt pan. 
6. Sprinkle half of the pecan “topping” over the bottom layer of batter.
7. Spoon the last half of the batter evenly into the bunt pan. 
8. Sprinkle the last half of the pecan “topping” over the final layer of batter. 
**Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes (check after about 35-40 minutes – every oven is different)
Take out of oven and let cool in pan for 10 minutes. 
Use spatula or knife to release from edge of pan 
Flip onto a dessert plate to finish cooling. 

Sunday, October 30, 2011


This is NOT my idea of the "Petting Zoo Nearby" I was looking for ;)

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Mischievous and Helpful?

Double the Trouble!

It was cute at first, but I did have to let them know they had BETTER not do that again. After all, Toilet Paper doesn't grow on trees ---oh wait, yes it does. Never mind. 

I had given them  bowl of popcorn to share while I folded laundry...and well... you can see how THAT went!

They both got some good giggles out of putting the bowl on their heads and yelling into it! 

But they can be helpful too! We made apple crisp together the other day. It was messy, but we had a lot of fun :)

Rosie just keeping wanting to eat the apples. This girl is addicted to apples; No lie. 

My little girl is growing up so fast!

At one point, I turned my back to grab something and Rose jumped up on the table!

Helping me make Nana Baylor's coffee cake this morning

Love my helpful girls!

What?! I have A LOT of dishes to wash every day by hand ;)

Monday, October 24, 2011

Menu Plan Monday

Well, I am starting a new series of posts called "Meal Plan Monday". I got the idea from a new friend here in Scotland, Emily, who has this fabulous blog called, "The Adventures of Miss Mommy" and she got the idea from "Organizing Junkie" who hosts the official "Menu Plan Monday" and has all of these wonderful banners and other great ideas :) If you are interested in getting in on it, just check out her guidelines here.

I am doing Meal Plan Monday for a two reasons:
1. I want to keep myself accountable to meal planning. I am try sporadic at best in my meal planning endeavors. I always have the best intentions, but then somehow just end up running to the grocery store and grabbing things I "think" we need. Then I make meals on the fly and I HATE it because it really stresses me out!

2. I need to save money on our grocery bill. Bottom line- when you only buy what you really need for the week, you spend less! Who would have thought?! 

3. I would like to share and to get new recipes! When I link up to Org Junkie, they have a whole list of people who also do Meal Plan Monday and who have links to their recipes or have their recipes posted. I'm excited to find some new recipe ideas! So hear goes nothing!

Broiled Parmesan Tilapia, rice, and grilled broccoli
* I got this one from Emily and am excited to try it tonight!
Pasta Pie, salad, and garlic bread


Baked Mac and Cheese and green salad
Golden and crisp on the outside...
Creamy and gooey on the inside. Need I say more?!
 *When I had just had our second daughter Rose, a friend brought us this Baked Mac and cheese (by Martha Stewart) and my husband ate it 4 or 5 days in a row it was so stinkin' amazing!

Harvest Salad with honey balsamic vinaigrette and french bread
Picture and recipe by Missy of "So Freakin' Delicious"

* I just found this one on my friend Missy's blog, and am really
 looking forward to trying it!

Left overs or Date night

Chicken Pot Pie
3 chicken breasts
6 chicken thighs
1 medium onion, diced
2 stalks celery, sliced
3 whole carrots, chopped
1 cup baby carrots, chopped, blanched and shocked in ice water
1 cup frozen green peas, blanched and shocked in ice water
1 cup crimini mushrooms, quartered, and sautéed in butter, and cooled
½ cup pearl onions (fresh or frozen) peeled, blanched and shocked in ice water
1 whole egg beaten
1 sheet frozen puff pastry
1 recipe chicken sauce (see below)
Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
Place chicken, onion, celery, carrots, salt and pepper in large stock pot, cover with water. Simmer in covered pot until chicken is no longer pink. Approximately 25 minutes.
Strain the broth, and set aside to use in the chicken cream sauce.
Remove chicken and cool, cut into bite size pieces.
In a non-reactive bowl combine celery, carrots, peas, mushrooms, onions, and chicken.
Evenly divide mixture into deep pie pans.
Cut puff pastry to fit pie pan, leaving a 2 inch border.
Lay puff pastry over filling crimping edges, trimming edges if necessary.
Cut a hole in the center of the pastry to allow steam to escape.
Beat 1 whole egg, and brush over crust.
Bake until crust is golden brown, and filling is bubbly. Approximately 25 minutes.
Let stand 5 minutes before serving.
Chicken sauce
3 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons AP flour
¼ cup chicken broth
½ cup heavy cream
½ tablespoon Tabasco
½ tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
Melt the butter in a medium saucepan once the butter has melted stir in the flour. Add the reserved chicken stock and heavy cream. Stir constantly until mixture comes to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for two minutes. Remove from heat, add Worcestershire, Tabasco, salt and pepper (to taste).

Saturday, October 22, 2011

One month ago today...

 It's hard to believe that ONE MONTH AGO TODAY, we stepped off a plane in Aberdeen, Scotland. The days seem like they have just flown by! The first week with jet lag was pretty rough, but once the we all adjusted, everyone started sleeping better and feeling better too! Then we had a nice week with Tim home before he started up his studies and got to do a few "touristy things". That was nice.

Then we hit kind of a rough week (with no internet still) and very few friends yet and just some normal transitional stresses. Tim and I were feeling pretty alone and stressed, but instead of naturally turning to the Lord and each other for strength, we were kind of turning inward and struggling to trust the Lord and to serve ONE ANOTHER in love. We were reminded of Philippians 2:4 "Let each of you look not only to his own interest, but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves which is yours in Christ Jesus..."  God is so faithful to convict us of sin and to put us back on the right path. We got our priorities straight again and things started to get so much better! But of course we need to renew our minds with that truth daily and trust our great Savior for strength.
This was taken by a new friend Leah (of "Sand and Flowers" blog) who is learning more about photography by practicing. And we lucked out and she took some GREAT pictures of us! More to come :)
Tim has been enjoying his studies so far, but is still trying to settle into a good groove. He seems to be getting along well with the other guys, which I'm glad for. Right now He walks to and from school each day, which round trip is probably 3 miles. And I would say 4 out of 5 days this week he has walked home in the rain :(  He's such a trooper and doesn't complain though! We are looking for a car though. We have determined that it is just necessary with two little girls and the weather getting colder and more windy every day! So now we just have to find a good deal.
ahhh- sisters!
We are still looking around for churches. We have visited a few promising  ones. Nothing is like the quite like our church back home in Chicago though. But honestly, the churches are just so different here that we are having to adjust our whole frame of reference!  For one thing, the buildings are almost all stone on the outside and wood on the inside, very tall and beautiful. I love that part. The singing is very plain, but genuine and worshipful, and the preaching seems a little dry (often times read from a manuscript), but the few we have been too have been right on as far as scripture goes, so that's what's important. But I'm really trying to be open minded and not compare - just trying to find the best place for us now in this phase of our lives, ya know? So you can be praying that we would find the place God wants us.
Got out the warm gear already. We walk a lot in the stroller and it's so windy and cool that the girls get chilly so quickly!

The girls and I are doing really well. They have adjusted so easily really. There is a group of christian women (Aberdeen Women's Fellowship) that I have been able to jump into and start to get to know some other ladies, their kids, and their husbands. Once a month they have a social event just for the women, every Monday they have a women's bible study, and every Wednesday there is a play group! Not to mention that there are plenty of family events planned already like a trick or treat party, and a big American Thanksgiving meal together! I'm feeling blessed that we already have a community of strong believers to step into!
The girls at playgroup. I'm not sure what's up with Maddy's face :)
Please pray that I will be patient in getting to know other ladies and allowing them to get to know me. I don't want to feel like I'm always pretending to be someone I'm not, just wanting to be genuine and yet feeling a little out of place.  Everyone is so sweet and I have no need to feel that way. It's just that weird transition phase. I know God is good though and will allow those friendships to build over time.

Thank you for all of your love, prayers, and support of our family in this endeavor. It really does mean the world to us!

Here are some more pictures of our comings and goings this month if you are interested :)