Thursday, February 28, 2013

Relatable Post

Ick... I am not a morning person. Whoever invented 7 a.m. is probably the same guy who decided on the spelling of Wednesday. This man obvioulsy delights in tormenting the innocent.

Needless to say, I'm a grumpy bitch today, so I figured I would post something designed to put a smile on anyone's face. Hopefully, by the time I get through adding the pics and post this, I'll be in a better mood... otherwise, someone please warn my kids!

Never EVER fails. For some reason, I die laughing everytime I see this.

*snicker* It's so true though!
100% applies to me.
I can't even... there's no words for this. It's so freaking cute, it hurts.
Giggle-worthy, but really it's all about the Channing. Mmmmm, Channing.
Most awesome dad EVER! This will totally be Jeff when the girls start dating, lol.
If that ain't the damn truth!
*ahem* I don't know who this could be referring to...
ANd this one is my favorite... In my case, it would be "Babe," rather than Mom and Dad, lol. He finally got me a Kindle in self defense... he says, and I quote "You're not the one who has to carry all those damn boxes full of books when we move... the Kindle's expensive, but not as expensive as the hospital bills when I give myself a freaking hernia!"

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Smothered Pork Chops :D

The name says it all, folks. These pork chops are juicy, tender, melt in your mouth delicious. The gravy alone is so good I wanted to take a bath in it... and so easy to make. Hubby ate 4 of them... that's right... 4. F-O-U-R! They were that good. So, I thought I'd share them with you! I only have one pic for these, as I made them before I started this blog, but it's a pic of the finished product, at least.

*sigh* Apologies for the subpar picture... it in no way does justice to how good these looked.
Smothered Pork Chops
4 bone-in center cut pork chops (about an inch thick)
3/4 cup all purpose flour
2 tablespoons EVOO (extra virgin olive oil)
1 tablespoon butter
1 onion sliced (thick or thin, depending on how you like your onions)
2 teaspoons dried thyme
1 teaspoon dried sage
1 and a 1/2 cups low sodium chicken broth
2/3 cup milk
Ready, set, GO!
1. Salt the porkchops. Now, here you can get a little crazy and add a little seasoning. I sprinkled the chops with some cajun seasoning for a little kick, but you can use whatever herbs and spices you like. Don't coat the chops, just give em a happy little shower of herbaceous love :p
2. Pour the flour in a shallow bowl and lightly dredge the chops in it, making sure to tap off excess. KEEP THE REST OF THE FLOUR!
3. Heat the EVOO in a skillet large enough to contain all the chops. Use MEDIUM HEAT. We're just trying to get a nice browning on the chops, not cook them all the way through at this stage, usually 2-3 minutes per side. Transfer the chops to the plate.
4. You should have all sorts of yummy stuff at the bottom of the skillet now. We're going to use it! Add the onions, butter, thyme, sage, and a sprinkle of salt to the skillet. If the onions start to brown too quickly, lower the heat a bit. We want the onion golden brown, about 8 minutes.
5. Now add 2 tablespoons of that flour I told you to keep and stir it in for about a minute, just to cook the flour taste out. Add the chicken broth, bring to a boil and cook for about 2 minutes.
6. Now pour in the milk, and breath the scent of that yummyness in... then add the chops to it and pat yourself on the back for being so awesome :)
7. Once the sauce starts to simmer, set the heat to medium-low and let it hang out until the sauce thickens up a bit and the chops are just cooked through, about 10 minutes. They should register 160 degrees on a meat thermometer, so if 10 minutes doesn't quite get you there, let em hang out a bit more. Trust me, extra time spent in that gravy bath won't hurt them any!
8. Let chops rest at least 3 minutes off the heat before serving, to give them time to suck all those juices back in.
*Must serve with rolls or crusty bread to sop up that gravy with! I caught the hubby using a slice of sandwich bread to swab the skillet out after dinner, lol!*
Good luck, and I hope it turns out just as amazing for you as it did for me... let me know!
Lots of love,

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Handy Little Tips

Hi everyone! Hope you all had a good morning. Mine was awesome :D Dad was home from work today, so I got to sleep in a bit while he got the kids ready for school. Sheer bliss! I don't get to sleep in very often... if you're a mom, you understand. Once your kids are up, you're up. It's the mommy instinct, I guess.

Anyway, I've got a pretty cool post for you all today. I've compiled these genius little tips from all over the internet, and once you read them... you'll probably have a similar reaction to mine. Which was "Well, now I feel like an idiot." :p Hope they help, and if you've got any tips of your own, leave them in the comments!

Got a stripped screw? Lay a rubber band between the head of the screw and the tip of the screwdriver!

Everyone's got that pair of jeans that the zipper won't stay up on. Simple solution? Thread a circular key ring through the hole on the zipper tab, pull the zipper up, hook it over the button, and then button the pants as usual. Voila!

Fun little trick for bored kids on a summer night: Grab some glow sticks from the Dollar store, activate them, and then cut them open and pour the solution into bubbles. Glow in the dark bubbles! (Parental supervision for younger kids, obviously!)

Pour pancake batter into an empty, clean ketchup bottle. No mess, and you can make letters, faces, whatever you want!

Love this one for a baby shower or maybe a little girl's tea party: Bake cupcakes in those little ketchup cups you find at fast food restraunts. Not sure where you'd find them, so a little research is required, but you wouldn't need cupcake tins. Just put them on a cookie sheet. So cute!

I am about to change your life forever... Easter egg dyeing with small children made EASY! Push the egg into a wire wisk and let the little one dip it into the dye!

Use unflavored dental floss to cut soft cheeses or cakes neatly and easily! I used this to cut a round cake into two layers... I wrapped the floss around the middle of cake, crossed the ends, and pulled it slowly and steadily. Two perfectly even cake layers!

Small bathroom in need of more storage? Find a cheap cd tower and mount it sideways to the wall! Could also be used in an entryway for mail sorting, or a cute way to store cooking utensils in a kitchen with limited drawer space. Possibilities are endless!

There you go! There's probably a billion more tips out there, and I'm sure I'll be adding more in posts to come. Let me know if you used any of them, and again, if you have any to add, leave them in the comments!

Lots of love,

Monday, February 25, 2013

Morning Ramblings

Ugh... I am NOT a morning person... my children, however, are a different story. So, in the interest of allowing you to get to know me a bit better, I figured I'd occasionally add these little morning ramblings for your pleasure. :D There's no predicting where my mind will wander or what will come out of my fingers, so please forgive me for any obvious idiocy.

To start, my little blurb tells you I'm Mommy and Goddess to four kids. What it doesn't tell you is that I apparently have two sets of what is known as Irish Twins... the boys, Alex and Nick, are 9 and 8 respectively, making them 11 months apart. Then there's the girls, Shaylee and Gianna (Gigi). They're 3 and 2, making them 10 months apart. Yes... insanity runs in my family... Anyway, people always tell me when they find out how old the kids are that they're Irish Twins. I have no idea why. Does anyone know?

What all this means is that my life is a crazy-beautiful-hectic-scream inducing mess at times. But I wouldn't have it any other way! Dad works, so Mom gets to stay home with the kids, and the dog, the cat, the rabbit, and occasionally a lizard of some sort... and develop wonderful little eye-tics due to sheer boredom and repitition. Out of defense, I became addicted to the Food Network and now own 3 years worth of The Food Network and Rachel Ray magazines. I started to experiment in the kitchen, and at first... well, let's just say hazmat suits may have been involved, but the government has sworn me to secrecy so I can't say anything more about it. Over time, however, I grew more comfortable and realized that I had a little bit of talent, especially with baking!

I'm far from the stage where I can create my own recipe or whip up a five course gourmet meal in an hour, but I'm slowly coming into my own, tweaking recipes here and there and trying new things. So, on this blogging journal, I'll be trying new recipes from all over the place. Magazines, Pinterest, and even reader suggestions! I'll make them and post the results here, and you'll be able to see the results from an everyday, average mom who's not a whiz in the kitchen.

I've also discovered a fascination with the DIY/Crafts boards on Pinterest, so I may be posting projects from there as well. There will be a little bit of everything... maybe even some cries for help on potty training an ALMOST FOUR YEAR OLD who REFUSES to use the potty... not even in pull ups! My boys were so much easier to potty train...

I will TRY to take a photo step-by-step of each recipe, Pioneer Woman-style, but just know that among the many things I am, photographer is not one of them. There might be pictures, but they may not be pretty... and may involve various pets and/or children. In addition to this, there may be some recipes that don't have photos, due to me being an airhead and not taking them, or my house is a mess and I don't want everyone to see the mountain of dirty dishes in the sink... I'll try to limit these. :p

Well, that's it for this post. I hope you're all having a great morning! I'm on my third cup of coffee and my fourth snuggle with a random girl child, so mine is shaping up to be a good one. I'd greatly appreciate any feedback from you readers, or recipes that you've been wanting to try but don't want to spend money on... I'll test them out for you! I'll leave you with this thought...

Lots of love,

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Flutter Cups

I love my kids... I say that with utmost sincerity and just a leeeeetle bit of eye twitching. But can someone, for the love of Pete, please explain to me why they want the biggest, most overly decorated, cardboard-flavored and frosted with 10 pounds of sugar, most expensive birthday cake they can find? For the boys, it was Transformers, for the girls it was Disney Princesses or Tinkerbell. Not that there's anything wrong with any of them, but stick a plastic robot or a dancing princess on top of a cake, slap it with a logo, and the price suddenly goes up twenty bucks. I'd just like my kids to have a little more integrity, people... and a cheaper outlook on life wouldn't hurt.

In any case, that's how I came up with these little beauties for my daughter Shay's 3rd birthday. They were sparkly, they were cute, and best of all, they were cheap! She loved them, and so did I. The stenciling was a bit time consuming, but it was well worth it. 24 Flutter Cups cost me around 10 bucks, and her eyes lit up like Christmas morning when she saw them.

WARNING~ They are -almost- too pretty to eat! :-)

Flutter Cups

1 box of your favorite cake mix (I used Duncan Hines Devil Food Moist Deluxe, my personal fave)
1 tub of your favorite icing ( Duncan Hines, again, whipped cream cheese)
1 bag white chocolate chips
Vegetable oil
Colored sugar
Wax paper
Butterfly wing templates
Make the cake mix according to the box directions. Fill cupcake liners 2/3 full and bake accordingly. While the cupcakes are baking, grab your waxpaper and cut one six inch square per cupcake.
As for the templates, I used these, which can be found here:
Mix one cup of the chocolate chips with 1/4 teaspoon of vegetable oil in a glass bowl or measuring cup. Melt in the microwave in ten second intervals, stirring between each cycle, until the chocolate is smooth. Pour it into a pastry bag or a ziploc bag with a small corner snipped off, which is what I did. You may have to experiment with how big a hole to make, as you want the line of chocolate to be thin but not easily breakable. If you use a pastry bag, I'd recomend a fairly small tip.
Let the chocolate sit a bit, until it's less runny, but still easy to squeeze out. Grap a wax paper square and lay it over your chosen template. Pipe the chocolate out, tracing along the design, like this!
Now, before the chocolate hardens, quickly cover it with your sugar. I did experiment with this a little, and I found that the finer sugars work better than sprinkles or coarser grained sugars. In any case, this is what it should look like:
Now it's just a matter of letting the chocolate cool. It will harden and easily peel off the wax paper!
Hopefully, you didn't forget the cupcakes. :p Once they've been frosted, you can add the wings. I found that if you cut two small slits in the tops of the cupcakes, you can sort of push the wings in a bit to help them sit up. Here's the end result...
P.S. The original recipe called for jelly beans for the body... I didn't have any on hand, so I just melted milk chocolate chips the same way as the white ones and piped out little bodies. And the rainbow sugar on this one was actually just me taking all the leftover sugar from the solid color wings and mixing it together... :p
Hope you like them!