Lauries Kitchen

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Strawberry Sprite

Ok I tried something I have never, ever tried to my knowledge....and JoGail and I loved it!    Some of you may think...ummm Laurie that's old....but I have never been an alcoholic drinker or really even one to make a drink in the blender. I know.....I know...I am just beginning to venture into that realm of cooking. Should have gone there a long long time ago. So tonight I tried a new recipe. I'm going to call Strawberry Sprite!

Blend 1/2 cup cleaned and cored strawberries with 8 ounces sprite. Place drink in freezer for about 30 minutes. Really really good! I can't wait to try this on a hot summer day! I believe it will also work well with a diet Sprite or Seven Up!  Tomorrow night I am going to try it with blueberries....

Company's a comin' this I have some planning to do. So far I have done well on the menu plan this week! Time to start planning next week's!


Monday, April 26, 2010

tuna melt and mustard crusted chicken

Ok OK I admit it...I had never had a tuna melt until tonight.....and oh my! One of my friends at church was telling me how she did it and I thought...I could do that! I opended the tuna, mixed in a smidgen of maynonaise and put it on a sandwich thin. Then I put a piece of cheese on it and broiled it for  afew minutes.......oh it was good! I had a choice of American or provolone cheese and I opted for the provolone....I bet the American would be good too...Gotta remember this for the summer..This would make a quick meal for everyone and somewhat healthy!

This next recipe is one that is going in the gotta try file. It's from Again, this can be somewhat healthy with some tweaking...I can't wait to try it!

Mustard crusted chicken

•4-5 boneless skinless chicken breasts

•1 ½ cups bread crumbs, I like to use the Italian style

•½ cup grated parmesan cheese

•1 teaspoon salt

•1 teaspoon Worchester sauce

•½ cup melted butter

•1 clove garlic, finely minced (you can use the jarred or frozen garlic equivalent)

•1 Tablespoon Dijon mustard

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Mix bread crumbs, salt, and parmesan cheese.

Melt butter in separate bowl and add garlic, Worchester sauce, and Dijon mustard.

Allow butter mixture to cool a bit, then dip chicken in mixture to coat.

Dip coated chicken in crumb mixture. Place in baking dish , 13"x9" works well, that has been sprayed with non-stick spray or butter.

Cook for 45 minutes – 1 hour until cooked through.
On a side note I found some unsalted pretzels tonight and they weren't bad! I also bought some fresh raspberries....neve rhad them as far as I know.....trying to branch out to  new things!

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Spring things...Sunday of seven

 Spring in Texas means several things to our family .....
1. Bluebonnets and wildflowers
2. Severe weather
3. Allergies/sinus troubles
4. Soccer tournaments
5. Lots of sunshine
6. Lots of mowing the yard and
7. TAKS testing

TAKS testing is the acronym for the state's tests that are given every year to school children to ensure that they are making adequte progress academically. It's a big deal to schools and kids. Schools of course want their kids to do well so they can earn a higher accountability rating. You can see this posted on banners and schools across the state. The highest category is exemplary. While I admit it is really isn't important. Yes I grew up in a household of educators and am married to one. It is hard to keep it all in focus....funding comes from the rating, communities love the exemplary ratings, and the kids feel more conficent when they do well. But it is ONE DAY IN THE SCHOOL LIFE OF A CHILD. Period. No child should be forced to feel stupid or inadequate because they did not perform well on that particiulair test on that particuliar day. Yes, I realize that Texas is under mandate from the federal government to have an accountability test. I do not have the answer. I just think way too much emphasis is put on a single test given on a single day. Both of my daughters are of TAKS testing age. Both of their normal every day lives comes to a screeching halt during TAKS week. No school activities. Limited church activities. Getting to bed early. Does it really have to be this way? For Grace, probably not. She is learning self discipline and could probably handle it. For JoGail, absolutely. Not being a great test taker and not having much self discipline yet, we have to slow her down and make sure she gets lots of rest this week. Enough of my rambling..and good luck to my teacher friends and friends of TAKS taking age!

Grace adn Coy are back at Waxahachie for the final day of the soccer tournament. I stayed home with JoGail. Gives us a littel chance to rest before out big week. (TAKS testing)  The Lady Destroyers played well yesterday even though they lost one game. The team they played was really good and probably a year older. Alot can be learned from that little scrappy team. Just to look at them you wouldn't htink they would be very aggressive or good at soccer, but they are. There's a core group of girls that has been together since the beginning of third grade. Grace is about the only one with any kind of size. Most of them are blond and skinny. A couple of red head thrown in (twins). We have one dark haired girl, MariLu. We call MariLu the matriarch since she is the oldest. She is actually a grade ahead of most of the girls in school. She is super quiet and plays ferociously. C-Ray is the youngest. She plays center mid and is a natural  in that position. She goes up against girls two times her size. I've seen her run through another players legs and flips girls twice her size. She knows how to use her shortened stature to her advantage. These girls and their families have become family to us over the past 5 years. We've watched and helped them grow up. Yes they are normal teen age girls. We confiscate phones prior to games and they giggle in the blankets at the cold games.  Why they may be normal, I think they are above average. I cannot think of a time when these girls have been mean to one another. In fact, I think it's the opposite. The maddest I have seen the team is when someone gets hurt. They are loyal to the core to one another. Yep, they have a temper when someone gets hurt or they even think someone is playing unfair. Love those girls and their families. Hope they are playing well this afternoon!

I guess I have rambled on enough for one post.
Here's my menu plan for the week. We'll see if we stick to it!

Monday : Soup and Sandwiches (planning on working in the yard)
Tuesday : Pinto beans and cornbread
Wednesday: Church ---we eat at church and it's always a surprise what we are having
Thursday: Cold shrimp
Friday: Stacia's shepherd's pie

Thursday, April 22, 2010

7 things about me.......

7 things I did before

1. Was a student

2. Wasinvolved in student government at high school and college

3. Was a summer missionary in Brownsville

4. Learned to drive a stick shift bus in Matamoros, Mexico

5. Taught physical education to elementary students

6. Was the first student female stuxent trainer at GHS

7. Kept a church nursey during college

7 things I do now

1. Cook! for friends and family
2. Check facebook every day I can

3. Read the Bible every day

4. Read Coy's blog Monday-Friday

5. Try to sleep in a little bit EVERY day

6. Love to walk with my friends in the summer
7. Evaluate and diagnose special needs kids

7 things I want to do

1. Memorize more scripture
2. Blog more frequently

3. Keep in better touch with long distance relatives

4. Work out more

5. Run, not walk a 5k this summer

6. Learn to decorate cakes with fondant

7. Do a better job remembering birthdays

7 things that attract me about the opposite sex

1. Sensitivity/tenderheartedness

2. Postive attitude

3. Integrity

4. Kindness and playfulness

5. Old Fashioned Gentlemanly habits

6. Enjoys sports and outdoors

7. Must love good , old fashioned food, good quality food. Lots of it.

7 Favorite Foods

1. BBQ chicken

2. Chips and salsa

3. Roasted butternut squash

4. My mama's potato salad

5. Cantaloupe

6. Watermelons

7. Mr. G's snowcones-cinnamon with leche

7 things I say Most Often:

1.  UUGHGHH!!!!

2. Oh my!

3. Who's is this?

4. Why is this here and not where it belongs?

5. Do I have to get up?

6. JoGail! Emphasis on the G in Gail

7. Really?

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

All alone in the house!

Yep, I am all alone in the house! Girls are outside playing and Coy is at board meeting....or a boring meeting as JoGail used to call them. Kind of nice. Kind of lonely, too. I love it ! 

Before I forget, if you haven't had a chance to see my sister's webpage for March of Dimes, check it out!  I am putting my check in the mail tomorrow! Melissa does such an awesome job of designing the team t shirts and getting everything organized. I am truly inspired by her creativity and tenacity. I was orginally planning on coming up up for the walk, but decided to come for her college graduation instead.....woop! woop! I marked it on my calendar at work today!!!!!!  :)

I had alot of leftover spaghetti sauce from the other day when I made spaghetti. So I cooked up some egg noodles, mixed it up, heated it and gave it to the girls. I mixed in some shredded cheese to JoGail's. They wiped the pan out! Yeah! Not only did I save the leftover but I actually used it before it ruined!!!!!!

My goal next month is to use my coupons better. I am relearning how to do that. I read blogs where people save alot of money with coupons. I have a couple of rules for me. 1. I  only cut out coupons for things we already use. I don't try things because it's 25 cents off. 2. I always keep them in my purse. Otherwise I forget them. So that's the goal for next month. I know, I know it's been a while since I posted a grocery challenge. I am also challenging myself to post my weekly menus.......that's hard right now, but it is a goal! Some know why it's hard, others will find out why later!!!!!   10 X 5.14

Seriously I am working on memorizing scripture. This week it's 1 John 5:4 (New Life Version)
"Every Child of God has power over the sins of the world. The way we have power over the sins of the world is by our faith."

Wow! This is so applicable to me right now. First I know I am a child of God. That empowers me. Period. How I use that empowerment is important. But I only have that empowerment through faith. To me, faith implies that there is someone or something else bigger than me. To me, that's God. I must train myself ( I am working on this) to rely on that faith when obstacles bigger than I imagine explode into my life and stay for awhile. Yep, they've been here awhile. I think they are permanent residents now. But that's ok. I'm HIS and I have faith. Period. I can make good choices and move on. He's there for me!


Wednesday, April 14, 2010

A quick Recipe

Just a quick midweek recipe.....I made these tonight after we got in from church. Really quick and easy. They stuck in my pan and I am not sure why! I made them in amini muffic pan but you could make them in a regular size pan if you wanted. I got the idea from a Pampered Chef recipe and tweaked it. You could add all kinds of stuff to this basic recipe. I was originally baking these to take to work but I don't think there will be many left by tomorrow morning! Everyone keeps walking by and taking 2 or 3 at a time! Sorry friends at work.....maybe next time.....I do love you though and if I remember {wink, wink,} maybe I will bring you something special Friday!

Salsa Bites Laurie's Way

1 brick cream cheese
1/3 cup salsa
1/2 cup shredded cheese (I useed a Mexican Blend)
2 eggs, beaten

Preheat oven to 350. Combine all ingredients and bake for 15 minutes. I sprayed my  pan with pam and they stuck, so I will spray it even more next time! Could be really cute for a party or get together!

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Eazy Smeazy Lemon Bars

I hav ebeen hunting on the internet for a great lemon bar recipe for some time now. I relaly haven't found one worthy of trying. I guess I am jsut picky about that! I ran across a recipe the other day and decided to try it with lemon.....oh my goodness this was wonderful and good and super easy! I plan to take this to church next time I need to take a dessert!

Lemon Bars
1 package angel food cake mix
1 can lemon pie filling
 Preheat oven to 350. Mix the two ingredients together. No other ingredients are needed. Spray pan with pam ( I used a 13x9x2) being sure to spray up the sides as well. Bake for 30 minutes. The cake with rise in the oven the fall as it cools. Enjoy!


Saturday, April 10, 2010

WHOA!!! What a Friday......I mean week!

First of all, I am so tired I can barely think straight but I can't sleep. Let me explain. The deficit audit I talked about in the last post? Well, let's just say it pu tmy brain on overload! Auditors gave us lots to think about and since it wasn't a 'real' one (we asked for them to come, they didn't invite themselves), we were able to ask questions and get suggestions from them. I think I took something  like 6 pages of notes. The auditors kept saying we did really well overall but we know (and previously knew) some areas we need to improve on. As my  husband would say, that's what it's all about!
Then I changged clothes and headed up to the concession stand for the junior high track meet. I was late and missed seeing Grace throw the shot and discus, but I did get to see her run the 800 and 400. She FINALLY looked like a runner running. It wasn't all choppy and jerky. She didn't place but ran great races in both. Oh my goodness I had forgotten how fun the concession stand can be. I am not joking! It was just what I needed (minus the little  snippets of BBQ). It's hard work and demanding on my body (standing so long), but I enjoy it. The people working are always a hoot. Some of those ladies run every concession stand Eustace. They do a great job. But I think I drank 4 bottles of water during my duty from 4:30 to 9:30 so I have been up going to the restrooom ALL night long!
On to some recipes.
This first one is one JoGial found in a Herhsey's cookbook she gave me for Christmas. Yeah. These are awesome and super easy! Yummmmy! They were gone at work in a record time.

Kisses Crescents
from Hershey Kisses (brand) Recipes

1 package crescent roll dough
bag hershey kisses

Heat oven to 375. Unroll dough into the 8 triangles. Unwrap 3 kisses for each crescent roll. Place kisses in the center wide end of each triangle. Place an additional kiss on top of the other two ( I kind of fit mine together like a puzzle). Roll crescent roll up. Place seam side down on a baking sheet. Bake 10 minutes or until lightly browned. Sift with powdered sugar.

Notes: Some of my dough tore when I was separating it. So I just made bit size ones with either 1 or 2 kisses in them. These were very popular since they were bite size.

I orignally saw this next recipe at Mommy's Kitchen. I wasn't sure how I would like the wonton cups. But off I went to the store to get them. Tina has great photos of hwo to prepare these at her website. The wonton cups were easy to make but seemed a little rubbery to me so next time I will just make it as a hot dip and serve with crackers or chips.

Hidden Valley Ranch Sausag Stars
from Mommy's Kitchen

1 - Package Original Hidden Valley Ranch Dressing Mix

(prepared according to package directions)

1 lb  regular sausage, browned & drained

1 - 8oz Bag Kraft Mexican 4 Cheeses

1/2 - cup green or red bell pepper (optional)

1 - package Wonton wrappers

Brown sausgae and drain off any grease, set aside. Mix ranch dressing according to package directions. Mix the sausage, prepared dressing, bell pepper (if using) and cheese together and chill for 30 minutes. Place won ton wrappers in a lightly greased muffin tin. Bake 5-7 minutes until lightly golden brown. Watch them carefully so they dont get to brown. Remove from oven and let cool a bit. When cooled add a couple tablespoons full of sausage mixture. Return to the oven and bake 5-7 minutes until cheese melts. Let cool just a bit and serve.

Well, I am off to try and sleep some more....

Thursday, April 08, 2010

Slowing down

Normally I think time flies, but these last few weeks at work had crept by! And I hve been extremely busy. The days go fast but the week as a whole is slow going! I guess I am anticipating summer too soon! But as slow it is going for me I know my best friend from high school has even longer days. She has a couple more weeks until she gets to see her husband.  He has been overseas since July. I know she is anxious to see him and he is just as anxious to see her and the kids! 

Grace has her final and district track meet tomorrow. We are supposed to have beautiful weather for it, too. I can't believe she is finishing her first year of atheltics. I know she is ready to just come after in the afternoons and ride her scooter. She loves being outside-always has! I love that about my girls....they are homebody outdoorsy girls. I have had to call JoGail to come to the car these past few mornings. She loves going out in the mornings. I tell them I al the ONLY mother in Eustace that has kids who get ready and go out to play every morning! Wouldn't trade it for anything!

Grace helped me make supper tonight. She made her fish, I made spinach for JoGail and then I made the spinach/strawberry salad. We love that salad and it's so healthy! No one even put the dressing on it tonight! Both girls had cereal for dessert. Can't beat that!

I am making an appetizer (Hidden Valley Sausage Stars) for work tomorrow. We are having a a 'deficit' audit at work tomorrow. Thought a little food would cheer everyone up! haha  I got the recipe from Mommy's Kitchm (   Check out her blog adn all the good recipes she has. I will post the recipe after I have comments from people at work!


Saturday, April 03, 2010

Easter 2010-A FIRST

Some people in my family.....who will remain nameless.....think the holiday Labor Day is for chopping wood and bringing it up to the house....well...the Holcombe's version is that the Saturday before Easter is for planting! You can see for yourself that Grace does know how to properly use the hoe....JoGail well...I think she thinks it's a stick horse or something!  The picture of Coy shows his Easter, Father's Day and anniversary present! He has definately enjoyed using it compared to  his other one! They planted it's time to wait and water ! If half the squash plants make the neighbors will be locking car doors and not answering their doors....we'll have squash and zuchinni everywhere...along with black eyed peas, green beans, okra, butterbut squash, cucumbers, tomatoes, sweet corn, watermelon and cantaloupe!

Our Easter meal was absolutely delicious! I did use two tips I thought of as I was cooking....I cheated on the apples in the salad and bought a package of apples at Subway yesterday when I was there for lunch...just the right amount and they didn't yellow! I also used a spray water bottle filled with lemon juice to spritz the asparagus before I roasted it. Kept me from saturating it! Grace sure loves that asparagus.....I was absolutely amazed that I only opened 1 canned ingredient for this entire meal (mandarin oranges) was definately a FRESH meal. The strawberry pie was a great way to finish off the meal.....thanks for the recipe, Mom.

We tried to make some BBQ chicken. And just let me insert here that NO ONE has ever matched my PawPaw's BBQ chicken in my book. No one has really even come close. Sorry but we didn't today either! I can remember him sitting in his overall under the patio all day cooking that chicken. That was my favorite thing he cooked. Now my MawMaw, alot of people love her chocolate cake, stewed potatoes (they are to die for), and famous her iced tea in either the gallon milk or vinegar jugs (yep, lots of sugar and those jugs always have her name on them!). But my absolute favorite thing was her chicken and dumplings. It was like the size of 2 dutch ovens put together. Now she hasn't made them in years, but I think that' spartly because she only knew how to make them in the biggest pot she had. I've never seen them in any type of smaller pot and there was never any leftovers that I remember.

I was sitting here in the living room a few minutes ago telling Coy that this Easter is a first....and let me tell you it's a BIG first.....Neither girl has asked or said ANYTHING about the Easter Bunny all day. We HAVE talked about the resurrection and Last Meal today and listened to Christian music while we straightened up this morning. That's pure joy in my heart. My girls ARE getting it. It's not about what we eat, what we wear tomorrow or any other gifts we might get. It's about HIM and our relationship with HIM.

Hoping we all keep Christ in our hearts this Holyday!