Monday, August 31, 2009

Escape

We see a lot of time out in our household, which I think is probably pretty common for most households with a soon to be 2 year old. It started out that Bailey didn't mind time out at all. She would happily go stand in the corner and usually leave time out in a much better mood. Then we went through the phase where she hated time out. She would throw a fit and usually end up laying down in the floor kicking her feet while she cried in the corner. Now we seemed to have moved on to yet another phase. The escape phase. She cries when you tell her to go to time out, but she dutifully goes and stands so close to the wall that her nose is actually in the corner. Then she waits until she knows (sometimes thinks) you're not paying attention and she slinks away. Here's a video I managed to get the other night of her escaping. She doesn't even look up when Nick gets on to her!

video

This little girl cracks me up! I guess she thinks she's hidden since she doesn't look up. The first time she did this Nick and I were in the kitchen and the only reason we realized she was crawling away was because she first bumped into the wall because she wasn't looking where she was going! It was quite a pitiful sight...she had crumbs and dog hair stuck to her face because of all the tears and the fact that she literally drug her face over the living room and part of the kitchen floor! Sometimes it's hard to stay upset!

In Honor of Julie and Julia

If you like food, even a little, I would highly recommend going to see the movie Julie and Julia. I loved it! Nick and I both left saying that we would buy that movie when it came out...and if you know me, you know that I'm too cheap to usually buy any movie, so that's saying a lot! We went to see it opening weekend with some friends of ours, the Nichols. We all left the movie hungry and wanting to cook.
The main, reoccurring dish throughout the movie was Julia's Boeuf Bourguignon, which they kept saying was basically a French beef stew. Nick and I decided that we would make that dish and have the Nichols over for dinner to enjoy it with us. I thought I would take you through the dish with us. It was quite easy to make, just sort of time consuming. Julia said it actually tasted better if you made it the night before, so that's what we did...well, we did it for that reason, but also so we wouldn't have to try and cook around the small child that runs our household :)
All of the ingredients were pretty basic and easy to find, except for one item that the recipe calls for. "A 6 ounce chunk of bacon with rind" is what was in the recipe. A chunk of bacon? Our first thought was we would have to go to Lexington to find this, so Nick went up to the Fresh Market (seriously, I could go there every day!) but had no luck. As a last attempt I asked the butcher at Kroger while I was shopping and he said, "Oh, you want jowl squares". Huh? Sure, that's I want. He led me over to this item and assured me this is what I needed. This was one of the most interesting looking (ok, I really mean gross!) items I've bought from the grocery, but it was what we needed!

The first thing we had to do was brown the bacon and then remove it from the pan and then start browing the beef. Doing as Julia instructed, we made sure to completely dry off the meat first, because if the meat was wet it would not brown properly.

Once the meat was finished it was time to brown the vegetables.

We only had one little accident during this process...let's just say Nick is really good at sharpening the knives!

Then it was time to add everything back into the Dutch Oven. First you add a little flour to help create a little crust on the beef. Everything goes in the oven for just a few minutes, then you bring it back out, add 3 cups of red wine and enough beef stock to cover the beef and back into the oven it goes, this time for 2-2 1/2 hours.

While that was simmering away in the oven, it was time to get to work on the mushrooms and onions!

I failed to get a picture of the mushrooms cooking...but let me tell you, they were delicious! But then again, most things sauteed in butter are!

I will be the first one to say I'm not a big fan of onions. I've gotten to where I can eat them if they're sauteed with my meat and they're very small, but that's about it, so I was very nervous about these...but they were really good! And I thought they looked so pretty while cooking.

After the meat came out of the oven we strained the sauce so we could skim the fat off and reduce it down. Then everything was added back into the dutch oven and stored in the refrigerator until the next day. Let me tell you, Julia was 100% right about it being better the second day! We reheated everything, Nick boiled some red potatoes and then sauteed them with butter and garlic and we served some whole roasted garlic bread we found at Kroger. Overall, I'd say the dish was very good. The sauce is really what makes it! I wouldn't call it a beef stew more like a fancy roast. I was a little let down, I had built this recipe up like it was really going to be something spectacular, and it did taste really good, just not quite what I was expecting I guess. But nonetheless, Nick and I had a really good time making the dish together...we don't usually both work on the same meal, but I really enjoyed it. I would definitely say this recipe is worth making.

And no, that is not my photo...none of mine turned out very well, so I stole this from Google.

Aside from the food, the company was great! The Nichols have a little girl, Emily, just a few months older than Bailey. I failed to get any pictures of the girls playing...mostly because I was busy trying to make Bailey share!! But I've blogged about a previous play date here.

Bon Appetit!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Nicole - 1, Kroger - 0

As I've mentioned before, I'm becoming quite the coupon/sale addict! Yes, I do have one of the coupon binders now; no, I don't take it to the store with me...yet. :) I did so well at my last trip that I felt like I needed to share.

I've been working on my stockpile, and that's what this trip was mainly for.

While I was there I also had to pick up some chicken for dinner, a head of garlic and some bread to make my garlic cheesy bread. Here's the breakdown:

6 boxes of cereal

5 boxes of granola bars

4 boxes of Macaroni Grill boxed dinners

2 boxes of Au Gratin potatoes

1 can of corn

2 packages of Simply Pillsbury chocolate chip cookies

1 loaf of bread

1 head of garlic

1 package of chicken tenderloins

Total spent before coupons/sales: $75.05

Total out of pocket: $23.87, over 68% savings!

And each of the Cheerios's boxes came with a $1.50 off Pull-Ups, which is what we use at night now, so even better!

That's like spending about $1 on each of the items!!! This was by far the best trip yet, and we're stocked up on some of our expensive boxed items for a VERY long time!!! And, on a side note, the new Simply Pillsbury cookies are really good. I love finding convenient food that actually tastes homemade. And these cookies taste really, really close to homemade ones!

Friday, August 21, 2009

Yummy, Yummy, in my Tummy!

This past week our new recipe was Chicken Enchiladas. I had had enchiladas once, and they were the ones that you made out of the boxed kit. I wasn't too impressed and had never had them again. I'm so glad I gave this recipe a try because it was delicious!!! Not only was it scrumptious, but it was very easy to make...even better! But then again, what doesn't taste good with melted cheese on top??

On another note, I had picked up one of these Macaroni Grill boxed meals a couple weeks ago at the grocery to try one night. Now, I don't usually get real excited about anything that comes out of a box (not that we don't eat it, it just doesn't excite me!). But this was really good! And not just "came out of a box" good, but actually tasted good and made me want to go back for more good. I would really recommend this for a night when you just don't feel like doing a lot in the kitchen but want to eat at home. Nick made this last night since I was out all over creation showing houses (No, really, I was. At one point I was in Stringtown??) It's also a very easy clean up, I think he had one pot, one pan and a bowl. Doesn't get much easier than that! We tried the Creamy Basil and I think they also offer a couple of other options as well.

Happy eating!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Have You Seen Her?

Has anyone seen this girl? The sweet, growing up too fast, snuggly child that used to reside in my home?
She seems to have been replaced by this girl...
video
The one who can go from sweet to melt down in 5 seconds flat. The one who likes to hit things, throw things, kick things and scream. The one who has decided, when having a tantrum, that "mine" and "no" are her favorite words. The one who makes me want to cry and scream all at the same time. The one who makes me question everything I ever believed/said/promised about parenting.
If you see the first child, please send her home, we miss her terribly...

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Tijuana Rice

A while back I was posting our weekly menus for all to see. I stopped simply because we weren't really trying anything new and interesting so I didn't want to bore everyone. We're trying to get back on board with trying at least one new thing a week. Last night I made chicken empanadas and Tijuana rice. You really can't judge this by the photo...I used my cell phone because my camera was in the car!
The empanadas were ok. I'm in no big hurry to have them again, but I didn't hate them either.
The rice on the other hand was incredible!! It tasted just like the rice you would get at any good hole-in-the wall Mexican restaurant you might wander in to. The recipe makes enough to serve 6-8, so I cut everything in half and still had plenty of rice. I had enough that I have a complete serving for lunch today and Nick and I both had seconds last night! Bailey really liked it as well. There is a little bit of heat since there is jalapeno in it, but I just made sure she didn't get any of the little pepper bits in hers. This has definitely made it on her must have side for our Mexican dishes!

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Back to School

Somehow the summer is already over and Nick is back to school today for opening day for the teachers. I look forward to summer almost as much as if I actually had a summer break myself.

Nick, again this year, was great! He made dinner most nights, helped around the house more than usual and really got to spend some time with Bailey. This past school year was hard with him coaching two soccer teams and taking his first Master's class, there were several days during the week when Nick wouldn't get to see Bailey at all. As you can imagine this wasn't easy for her either. This made her even more of a momma's girl. This summer has been great for them! She no longer cries when I leave the house in the morning, instead just says "Bye mommy" and continues coloring with her daddy (or whatever toy they may be playing with that morning). They took several trips to the park, had a couple of play dates with another teacher and her daughter and even went swimming at a friend's house. Nick even got a little better at picking out outfits and doing Bailey's hair! He really worked with her on her counting and she can now pretty much count to 10 by herself. When they would swing at the park she would repeat the alphabet after him (I got to witness this when we went this past Sunday). I think they both thoroughly enjoyed this summer break.

This year will be hard again. He's taking 3 classes this fall and then coaching in the spring and taking at least 1 class then. But it will all be worth it in a couple of years when he's finished and has his rank I!

For now it's back to the real world. Having to get up earlier so I can get both Bailey and myself ready and take her to my mom's before work and then pick her up most nights and make dinner and clean up dinner and do the bathing and laundry and cleaning...I'm already tired just thinking about it. Not to mention my real estate career has been doing really well and I'm gone more now showing houses...which just adds a whole other bump in the road (a good bump, but bump nonetheless!).

Hope all the teachers enjoyed their breaks and hope you all have a great school year!