Friday, June 30, 2006

The car wash

Today Kinsey and I went to run a few errands before we go to my parents for the weekend. I payed a few bills, bought dog food, got the oil changed, and we went to the car wash. I love this car wash not b/c it's the fanciest or best looking place but b/c of the service. This is one of those places you drive in and it has big brushes that wash your car/truck and has big blowers at the end. But before you even get in there 2 older gentlemen come out to take your money and put it in the machine for you, then they spray some bug stuff on the windshield, and scrub the tires with a brush...something the big fancy one down the road doesn't do. They also ask how many kids you have with you and give them a sucker! While I was in the washer, one man came in with his brush and scrubbed my back window and bumper b/c they didn't get clean by the machine. For this I only pay $5!

When we went into my little village to get the mail this afternoon, they were putting up bunting, banners, and flags every where. Stuff like that just puts me in a good mood! Tomorrow is the first night of the rodeo so the town is getting spiffed up. Kinsey and I are actually going to my parents to go to a big rodeo tomorrow. DH is super busy so we wouldn't hardly see him this weekend if we were home. He already told me he was going to be late tonight....wished I had know that and that I wouldn't have to work this afternoon....I would have taken off to my parents early. Oh well, tomorrow morning is soon enough.

Thursday, June 29, 2006

I have not been in a cooking mood

I haven't been in a cooking mood lately. We usually grill in the evenings but it has been raining so I have had to cook in the house. I do this all winter and it doesn't bother me but during the summer I would so rather cook outside. Last night I made chicken fried steak with cream gravy, mashed potatoes, and corn....not the healthiest meal. I really need to get us all back to eating healthier. Neal and I both have gained weight in the last few months. He had to go back up a size in work pants and I have been avoiding some of my shorts. I guess I will pull out my new Betty Crocker's Healthy New Choices cookbook and find some recipes to try. I also need to get the exercise stuff back out and start doing Pilates and Yoga again. I love doing them and feel so much better afterwards, it's just finding the motivation to get started.

Friday, June 23, 2006

Check me out!

How fun is this! Thanks to Linda at All & Sundry I found this cute little doll to make. This is basicly what I look like except I'm a little "fluffier". I have a pair of capri pants just like these that I wear at least 2 times a week! This is a lot of fun to play with. Have fun!

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Cooking for kids

Cooking for the kids at the daycare can be fun but sometimes challenging. You have to have a well balanced meal following state guidelines while taking into account that certain people won't like certain things. It blows my mind when some kids won't eat the most basic "kid foods". I try to make things that I know they will like and eat so they don't go home starving. Dippable things are a HUGE hit. The kids love anything in a tortilla. One of their favorites is what they call "tortilla sandwich". Take a tortilla and put a slice of ham or turkey and a slice of cheese and fold in half. Put that in a sandwich maker and cook until the light comes back on (about 1 minutes) and the cheese is melted. I slice these into triangles and serve with carrots and apples. They love to dip all this in Ranch dressing. We have carrots 2-3 times a week because they love them so much. I try to have as much fresh fruit as possible too. Apples, oranges, cantaloupe, watermelon, and grapes are all favorites. Bananas only go over good with a few.
Today I made bean and cheese quesadillas. I take a tortilla and spread it with refried beans then sprinkle with grated cheddar jack cheese topping it with another tortilla. I put this on a comal or round griddle and cook until the cheese is melted and the tortillas are golden. Slice it into wedges and serve with corn and pears.
Our menu has more of a Tex-Mex flair to it because that's what our kids are use to. We do make a few Italian dishes including Pizza sticks and spaghetti. The rest of our menu consists of sandwiches and chicken or fish.

Reality TV in the summer

I'm a huge reality TV junkie! I love Survivor, The Apprentice, Hell's Kitchen, The Next Food Network Star....etc. During the summer my favorite is Big Brother. Last night CBS showed the 20 people who want to be on Big Brother this year. Out of those 20, twelve will be chosen to go into the house. I'm hoping Kaysar, Janelle, and Howie all make it in! I'm hoping with all my heart that Ivette does not make it. The new season start July 6th! Stay tuned.
A new show starting this summer is Treasure Hunters. I watched it Monday and it seems like it will be pretty good. It's some what like Amazing Race.
This week re-runs of Survivor All-Stars have been on OLN. It's fun to go back and watch these shows knowing who is going to win. You look at the contestants in a whole different way. Knowing that Amber wins amazes me because she just followed what Boston Rob told her to do.
It's nice not having to watch re-runs all summer like we used to have to do. Of course it's also nice having over 200 channels to chose from instead of 3....LOL!

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Does anyone still wear aprons?

I wonder if anyone still wears aprons any more? I remember my Grandmothers going into the kitchen to cook and putting on an apron before they did anything else. My Mom keeps one hanging by the kitchen light switch and puts hers on before cooking. I rarely wear one. The only time I put one on is when I'm going to bake from scratch. I know my mixer throws flour occasionally. Mine is one my Grandmother gave my husband for Christmas one year. It's red with S'mores people on it. I really like it because it's heavy duty and keeps the flour off my clothes.

Here's something my Mom sent me about aprons and I thought I would pass it on.

I don't think our kids know what an apron is. The principal use of Grandma's apron was to protect the dress underneath, but along with that, it served as a potholder for removing hot pans from the oven.
It was wonderful for drying children's tears, and on occasion was even used for cleaning out dirty ears.
From the chicken coop, the apron was used for carrying eggs,fussy chicks, and sometimes half-hatched eggs to be finished in the warming oven.
When company came, those aprons were ideal hiding places for shy kids.
And when the weather was cold, grandma wrapped it around her arms.
Those big old aprons wiped many a perspiring brow, bent over the hot wood stove. Chips and kindling wood were brought into the kitchen in that apron.
From the garden, it carried all sorts of vegetables. After the peas had been shelled, it carried out the hulls.
In the fall, the apron was used to bring in apples that had fallen from the trees.
When unexpected company drove up the road, it was surprising how much furniture that old apron could dust in a matter of seconds.
When dinner was ready, Grandma walked out onto the porch, waved her apron, and the men knew it was time to come in from the fields to dinner.
It will be a long time before someone invents something that will replace that "old-time apron" that served so many purposes.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

The quest for the perfect cinnamon roll....or is it a sticky bun?

Last week I made a can of those cinnamon rolls you buy in the refrigerated biscuit section of the grocery store. Pumpkin Pie was so excited and told me they were the best cinnamon rolls she had ever eaten.....WHAT?? I was a little shocked because surely I had made better cinnamon rolls than that....hadn't I? Turns out I haven't. I guess that is one of those things I haven't tried to tackle yet. I really don't want to try making bread dough just because of the whole altitude thing. I could drag out the bread machine but that would require way more work than the cinnamon rolls would be worth (to me). So now I am on the hunt for the perfect recipe that uses frozen bread dough which I couldn't find at my local Wal-Mart Super Center but did find at my local little tiny itty-bitty grocery store. I have found a few recipes but I guess I'm looking for something different....maybe a sticky bun. What I'm remembering from my childhood is a sticky gooey pecan raisin confection. I grew up in Texas and we use to go to a mall that had these amazing sticky buns. I remember that it was a special treat to get one and devour it right out in the mall. This could explain why I'm so "fluffy"! LOL! Anyways, I have the bread dough and all the ingredients now I have to find the time and energy to get these made. I'll keep you updated!

Thursday, June 15, 2006

What's for dinner?

I use to hate when I would ask my Mom what was for dinner and she would reply I have some hamburger meat. That could mean anything. My Mom was the queen of hamburger meat! My grandparents had a small meat processing business and took some of their pay in meat. We always had fresh meat to eat but more often than not it was ground meat. We just never knew what it was going to turn out as. I have to admit though in leaner times I'm glad that I knew what to do with a pound of ground meat because I have been able to stretch it into so many meals. You can add a cut up potato, can of beans, and so much more to make it go farther.
Here's one of my favorite recipes using ground meat.

Green Enchilada Casserole

1lb ground beef
1/2 yellow onion-chopped

1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 small can chopped green chilies (mild)
1/2 big box Velveta cheese (or 1 small box)
1/2 block mild cheddar cheese

1 bag tortilla chips (I like Santitas yellow corn chips)

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Brown ground beef with chopped onion. Drain grease. While the meat is cooking, put soup and 1 soup can of water in a sauce pan. Mix well then cut cheese into cubes and add to soup mixture. Cook over medium heat until cheese is melted. Make sure you stir often to prevent cheese from scortching. Spray casserole dish or cake pan with cooking spray then fill with chips. Sprinkle the meat over the chips then pour the sauce over the top. Use a spoon to push cheese sauce down into the chips. Cook in the over for 12-20 minutes until bubbly. Take out of oven and let it sit for about 5 minutes.
Serve with refried beans and a green salad.

***This is a family recipe so I had to write it from memory. All amounts and times are approximate.

All about me and my life

After reading so many food blogs, I decided to try one of my own. I love to read food blogs and to bake and cook. I have one of the smallest kitchens imaginable but still manage to cook great food in it.

I find that when I bake I have to adjust for the altitude. Not all recipes have those instructions so I have learned to add a little extra flour to any baking recipe and it usually comes out great. I live in the central mountains of New Mexico near a ski resort. We live at about 6500ft. The ski resort is at about 9000ft.

My name is Brenda and I'm 36 years old. I've been married to N for almost 6 years now. We have a beautiful 5 years old daughter I've nick named Pumpkin Pie (my favorite pie). I work part-time at a daycare. I cook lunch for 8 to 16 children every that's fun! Actually, they are really good eaters. I have tried out several new recipes lately and they have loved them all. I finally worked out a 4 week menu that is tasty and nutritious. We have state guide lines to follow that are a pain in the butt but ensure that the kids eat healthy.

I hope to share ideas, recipes, and life in general here........ENJOY!