Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Home Sweet Home

This week we are closing on a new house in Jacksonville Beach! We've been looking on-and-off for a house since August. We've talked ourselves in and out of moving more times than we care to admit. But, once we visited this house, we knew we wanted our family to live there.

And, as of tonight, we have put our house on the market!! This is a huge step! Do you know how hard it is to make a house "show ready" with a baby (and a husband!) living with you!? Scott is taking the listing photos, and I'm cleaning & de-cluttering my little heart out. It's been an excellent opportunity to purge unused junk in the house. We are also putting the crown (bottle top) boxes we have available at work to good use. We've packed up a couple dozen of those guys.

As I've been cleaning and packing and cleaning, I realized I've been in this house for five years! FIVE YEARS! And, I had to stop to think how good this house has been to us:
1. This is the first "house" I bought. I had a condo in NH, but this one had a yard!!
2. This is the house Scott came to visit when we were dating long distance.
3. And, it's the house he proposed to me in.
4. It's the house we brought Shelby home from the hospital to.
5. And, of course, it's the site of two crazy Christmases with any and all relatives present!

It's also where I learned about Florida wildlife (Palmetto bugs and giant snakes), hurricanes (tropical storm Fay), and the wonders of a pressure washer on cement.

I wouldn't trade any of those memories! It's been a very good house for us. And, I know our "beach home" is going to have many more memorable moments for a long time to come!!

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Week 15 Menu

It's going to be a gorgeous week in Florida. So, we're going to use the grill non-stop!

Sunday: Veal chops & grilled corn salsa
Monday: Veggie omelets
Tuesday: Salsa Chicken & Black Bean Soup ....we'll try this again. Didn't happen last week.
Wednesday: Kebobs on the grill - lots of good veggies and meat
Thursday: Vegetarian Chickpea Burgers on the grill
Friday: Leftovers....we close on the new house!!
Saturday: Something low maintenance and easy. We'll be going back and forth between the houses.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Week 14 Menu

After a weekend of eating out, it's time to get back to some home cooking!

Sunday: Grilled chicken salad with mustard, balsamic vinaigrette
Monday: Soba noodles and veggies
Tuesday: Meatballs with Marinara & Garlic Bread (from the freezer)
Wednesday: Salsa Chicken & Black Bean Soup
Thursday: Homemade Chicken BBQ Pizza
Friday: Leftovers
Saturday: Out

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

I Are Smart

It's been a long week (Wait....It's only Wednesday!...there's still 2 more days in the week?! Yipe!), and Cake Wrecks never fails is cheering me up. It's got the right balance of "I see where they were going with this" and "WTF!" I especially love the ill-planned, wording-butchered cakes. They make me smile.

These will not disappoint.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Beach Babe

This past weekend was GORGEOUS!!! We called up Harry and his parents and went to the beach. The kids took a little while to get comfortable enough to play. Harry was still a little sleepy. Shelby soon put him to shame by running around the beach like a maniac chasing the birds. You could hear her giggling and squealing all over the beach. It was pretty cute.

She ran so fast and so hard she fell flat on her face - face in the sand. She lifted her head, laughed, got up, and kept running. She's pretty resilient!

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Week 13 Menu

Sunday: Sausage paella & Oven Fries
Monday: Pulled Pork (ala Crock Pot)
Tuesday: Leftovers
Wednesday: Homemade Ravioli!
Thursday: Chinese Beef Broccoli
Friday: Leftovers
Saturday: Out!

Monday, April 5, 2010

Ravioli Party

A friend of mine at work and I were talking about homemade raviolis. And, some other girls were very intrigued. So, last weekend, I had three of my girlfriends over to try to make raviolis! I've made them by myself only once, but I've made them with family before several times.

It was slow going at first. We completely underestimated the amount of flour needed on the ravioli trays! The first little batch stuck to the tray pretty badly, but we were able to salvage them. Before we knew it, we were a dough-flattening, ravioli-stuffing, and pasta-crimping machine! It took us about 3 hours to make 13 dozen raviolis!

The physical kitchen work was only half the party. We are work friends, but, obviously, we don't have time to really hang out and get to know each other. We had so much fun! Everyone brought something to the party. I made the dough and roasted the squash ahead of time. Other people brought the ricotta, ground beef, and wine (a necessary ingredient for the chefs, of course!). And, everyone put their blood, sweat, and elbow grease into the pasta.

My friends aren't the most active in the kitchen, and most were intimidated by making homemade pasta. But, once they got involved and got the hang of it, it was awesome to see them in action coming up with better techniques to make the ravioli! I always tell them about my adventures in the kitchen and they think they don't have time or it's too hard to do. And, I am so glad I got to show them how much accessible and fun it is.

Maybe I'm old-fashioned, but there is nothing more fun than a group of girls cooking up a storm in the kitchen! It's mostly idle work, but that allows for some great conversation and friendship! Plus, you get to take home some tasty treats!....Even if it's not the best food you've eaten, you know how much love went into making it and you can feed your family some good food.

Makes 6 dozen ravioli
3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour plus additional for dusting
4 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 teaspoon salt
2 to 3 tablespoons water
1 lb ricotta
Fillings of your choice: Roasted butternut squash (pureed), spinach (water squeezed out), ground beef (1/2 lb browned and seasoned)

Blend flour, eggs, salt, and 2 tablespoons water in a food processor until mixture just begins to form a ball, adding more water, drop by drop, if dough is too dry (dough should be firm and not sticky). Process dough for 15 seconds more to knead it. Transfer to a floured surface and let stand, covered with an inverted bowl, 1 hour to let the gluten relax and make rolling easier.

Roll out dough as thin as possible. Flour ravioli tray generously. Cut pasta just larger than ravioli tray. Put 1 teaspoon of filling into each ravioli pocket. Place top pasta sheet over the lower layer and filling. Flour the top layer of pasta. Use rolling pin on tray until raviolis separate crimping the edges tightly. Invert ravioli tray and allow pasta to dry (if freezing pasta, put into freezer-safe container and freeze immediately).

Cook the ravioli in plenty of boiling, salted water for 10 to 15 minutes. Ravioli will float to the top when cooked. Lift the ravioli from water with slotted spoon.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Week 12 Menu

Sunday: Surf 'n Turf, Popovers, Baked Potatoes, & Fruit Salad
Monday: Homemade egg rolls and fried rice
Tuesday: Cantina Laredo with the inlaws
Wednesday: Pulled Pork (ala Crock Pot)
Thursday: Spinach pizza with homemade crust
Friday: Leftovers
Saturday: Out!