Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween!

Happy Halloween! We hope you had a great Halloween and trick or treated your way to lots of candy!

Fall in East Tennessee

Dylan and I went to the park on Sunday morning and I was able to spend some time taking photos while he played in the sand box. With gorgeous blue skies and the sun lower in the sky I was able to get some great photos! DSC_0095 DSC_0119 DSC_0104 DSC_0103 DSC_0122

Dave uses a knife and doesn't stab himself with it!

You heard me right, Dave was using a knife and didn't stab himself with it or slice his fingers! In case you haven't heard my husband is not very good with knives, he's stabbed himself in the leg trying to cut a branch off a Christmas tree with a pocket knife (two stitches) and cut himself other times trying to slice fruit. Usually it's because he is using a dull paring knife and sawing away instead of using a sharp knife. Guess what, it's true, you cut yourself easier with a dull knife than with a sharp one!
Anyway, the reason Dave was using a knife? Pumpkin carving! As you can see from the pictures Dylan was grossed out by the pumpkin seeds and inside, but pretty interested in the actual pumpkin carving.

Happy Halloween!!

Dylan's face cracks me up in these first two pictures.
Where to make the first cut?
Still wary of the interior of the pumpkin...
It's more fun flinging pumpkin off the deck than carving it!
The eye is done!
Also more fun? Jumping off the bench!
Final pumpkin, and not a very good picture. I didn't get one of the pumpkin lit up last night. I will try and remember to take one of Cyclops when he it lit up tonight. 

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Pumpkin Farm

Last Saturday we made our annual trip to the Pumpkin Farm. We went back to Oakes Farm after visiting a different farm last year. Oakes has lots to do, they have a "back 40" area with bounce houses, slides, a petting zoo, sand box, and more. It's $10 per person to get in to that area (includes the hay rack ride to get your pumpkin) and another $5 per pumpkin. I can see charging the kids to get into the back 40 area, but in my opinion it's a little much to be charging the adults when they aren't using the activities back there. Or maybe they could charge less for adults. It was $36 for my mom, Dylan and I for the back 40 area and 1 pumpkin, admission for family of four plus pumpkins for the kids would be over $50, that seems pretty expensive to me.

That being said, we did have a great time and the food prices are very reasonable. You can also bring your own food in which is nice. They had a huge selection of pumpkins, Dylan had fun trying to pick pumpkins up and choosing just the right one.

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Monday, October 24, 2011

Boo! At the Zoo

We had a great time at Boo! At the Zoo again this year!
Spiderman and Grandma Judy
Meeting a SHARK!
Dylan and owl
Saying hello to the owl & mummy
Trick or Treat!
Off to the next treat station!
A picture with mom
Spiderman loves the fire truck!
Riding the haunted carousel with Grandma!
Showing Bob the Builder who's boss..

Sunday, October 16, 2011

6 recipes, 2 days!

I've found if I get up and bake right away I can get a lot done in the morning! Dylan is happy eating breakfast and watching cartoons for a little while and I am happy to have some peace and quiet to start my day. Cooking and baking are definitely something I do to relax, but it's also an wonderful way to start the day. I also feel super accomplished if I get up at 7:15 and have pumpkin pancakes, chai tea concentrate and instant oatmeal cookies made by 8:15am!
Here is what I made Saturday and Sunday mornings and my plans for later this week!

Saturday morning:
Pumpkin Pancakes - my absolute favorite pancakes
Chai tea latte concentrate - perfect for Fall and very close to the Starbucks chai tea latte
Instant Oatmeal Cookies - with peanut butter, easy and quick!

Sunday morning:
Prosciutto & spinach ravioli - need I say more? I froze these. Now we have a quick dinner for this week!

Pumpkin and nutella muffins (Dylan approved!) - I've had this recipe pinned for a while now and since I had leftover pumpkin to use this was the perfect recipe to try!) - And they are awesome, right up there with my pumpkin chocolate chip muffins.
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And finally, Crock pot pork loin with cranberries and orange, which is what we had for dinner tonight. The cranberries are excellent with the pork. The recipe also only has a few ingredients and is easy to throw together.

Plans for later this week:
cupcake lasagna
cupcake tacos with beef and black beans

What are you cooking this week?

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Chicken and Rice

One of my favorite foods growing up was chicken and rice. My grandma would make it when we would visit and my mom also made it quite often. I realized when I moved out on my own that I would have to cook all the foods I wanted myself, there wouldn't be anyone else to make them for me! (Shocking, I know) So I started to cook, I tried recipes from our family cookbook that my aunts and uncles put together to chronicle all our families recipes. My grandmother was an wonderful cook, her chocolate chip cookies, cinnamon rolls, hamburgers, homemade applesauce and holiday candies are all fondly remembered by my cousins and myself. Unfortunately, a few of her best recipes did not make it into the cookbook. I am thankful that the chicken and rice recipe did though. It's super easy to make, and while it does take an hour to bake, it is totally worth it. The rice gets sticky and flavorful from the cream of celery and cream of mushroom soup and the chicken is cooked to juicy perfection. Now that Fall is upon us I think this is the perfect time to share this recipe. Friends who have tried it love it, hopefully you will too!

Chicken and Rice
Serves 4 (with leftover rice)

4 chicken breasts (you can use boneless skinless, but the chicken breasts with rib bones and skin are the best)
1 1/2 cans cream of mushroom soup
1 can cream of celery soup
1 cup milk (or water, or chicken stock)
2 cups medium grain white rice
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp pepper
1 tsp paprika

 Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix cream of mushroom, cream of celery, milk and rice in a large baking dish coated with non-stick spray. Lay chicken breasts on top of the rice/soup/milk mixture. Sprinkle salt, pepper and paprika over the chicken breasts. Cover and bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour.

Saturday, October 8, 2011