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Wednesday, November 27, 2013

What's Cookin' Wednesday!

Well, most of you are probably cookin' something tonight!  

I know several years ago we used to have two Thanksgivings so we could be with both sets of parents.  Since my mom passed, we always try to get to Dad's for the holiday itself.  I know that it shouldn't matter when you're together celebrating, as long as you're together.  But there's something about people being alone on the holiday itself that makes me sad.  I just think that everyone needs to have someone to spend some time with.  This year we will be having two Thanksgivings.  YIKES! RIGHT?

The first one is your traditional Thanksgiving at my in-law's house.  My mother-in-law is amazing, and fixes most of the dinner.  I'm so glad I was blessed to marry into such a sweet family. My hubby made my Mom's recipe for sweet potato souffle.  

The great thing about this is you can make it the night before and bake it the day of.  AWESOME right?
(The topping is supposed to be put on prior to baking, but can also be made ahead of time.  Both will keep in the refrigerator and just bake the next day when ready.)
I shared this recipe last year during my Holiday recipe linky.
Click the link above to check out some great recipes.

When we go to my Dad's, due to my siblings having a prior meal, we are taking it easy and fixing sandwiches, a few desserts and finger foods!  This gives us more time to talk, and less clean up time.

My dad put me to a challenge--or should I say I put myself to the challenge.  He swears by Marie Callendar frozen pies.  EGADS!!  What kind of holiday dessert is that when it's *shocked* store bought!  If you all know me by now, I LOVE LOVE LOVE to bake.  I told my dad that I could outdo his store bought pie.  Mind you----I don't bake pies.  EVER!  I have no clue!  I don't know how to do crust, or flute the silly edges.  BUT--I REFUSED to use a store bought crust.
 (For the record, I bought a store bought pie I was going to pass off as my own if I flopped it....sh!!)

It was filled full.  It has since sunk just a bit and looks kinda good.  My hubby was impressed, even if the fluting needs improvement.  I see me trying to perfect this in my near future! 

I wanted to have some fun with the kids in the kitchen.  I saw this cute little turkey cookie on Pinterest.....
 But I love my peanut butter cookie recipe.  I used it to make my cookies with the kids help in decorating---and limiting my resources as I didn't have all the gel colors on hand. 
We used candy eyes too instead of frosting.

You can click the image below for my peanut butter cookie recipe.

I also made my dad whoopie pies.  He knows I've been having baking orders on them lately, but he's not had any of them.  His favorite dessert was/is always German Chocolate cake.  SOO---
I made these for him to enjoy after all of us kids are gone. ;)

Below is an image of the recipe for the "cookie" part of the whoopie pie.  I'm sure you can probably use a cake mix and make a german chocolate cookie from it, but this is for a homemade shell.  For coconut pecan frosting, I like to use the one from the back of the Baker's boxes (that's what mom always did). 
Here's the link!  You can also make life easier, and use a can of coconut-pecan frosting as your filling.  

****Note, I generally throw it all together in my stand mixer.  I don't mix this together and then add this, etc...I do everything together and haven't had problems.  I also don't let things set to room temperature. I may change the way I do things if I have a bakery order, but if I'm piddling around in the kitchen, this is how I do it. :)  If a recipe calls for milk, I use skim milk.  Have to cut the calories somewhere, right? ;)

Happy Thanksgiving!!!  :)

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

What's Cookin' Wednesday!

I know.  I'm a teacher blogger, not a food blogger.  (BOY I wish I were sometimes!!  Have you seen some of those AMAZING recipes and their pictures always look so yummy????)

As I was saying, I'm not a food blogger, but I do like to share recipes almost as much as I like to share teaching tips and resources.   I mean what teacher doesn't like to eat?  AND---it's so hard to come home from work after a long day and cook supper.  We need quick meals and fairly easy prep.  I have picky kids which makes it even harder to cook.  Then with the holiday hustle and bustle sometimes it just gets too crazy to sit down for a meal.  We vowed as a family to start eating out less (it was a life saver for us during soccer season) and start preparing meals as a family.  Nothing like bonding in the kitchen together. (Yes, I said that seriously!) ;) 

SOO----It's been a while since I've posted a What's Cookin' Wednesday!  Time to get back on track.  Only this time, I'm asking you all to link up with me.  I would like to make this a weekly Wednesday to do, but let's see how it goes for a few weeks.  Now, if you're not a blogger---feel free to comment with one of your favorite recipes, or share it on my Facebook page.  I'm always looking for something new to try.  

So What's Cooking Wednesday for this family?

Chicken Cordon Bleu, Dijon Potatoes and a rip off version of 7-up bread.
(maybe it's not diet friendly--but it was so much better than eating out.)

Please ignore the picture--I don't do the best at taking food pics 
AND the chicken isn't cooked in the first pic.

We had fixed a ham a few days prior and I needed to use it up---and Chicken Cordon Bleu is my WEAKNESS.  This isn't a true version.  I didn't create a sauce and I didn't use Swiss Cheese.  I used ingredients on hand.  My son (mind you, a picky eater) LOVED this meal. 

How I fixed mine:

I used chicken tenders. We buy them in bulk at Sam's.   They are a smaller chicken breast (so it helps with portion control too).  I layed out wax paper and I stretched  out the chicken tenders by hand just a bit (didn't pound it out) to make it a little wider.  I used fresh mozzarella sliced and flattened them out just a bit as well.  Then I placed a thin strip of cooked ham on top.  

Now the messy part.  I probably should have affixed the pieces together with a toothpick. But who has time for that?   Instead, I rolled up the chicken piece (with cheese and ham) and dipped it into an egg/milk mixture.  (We also use skim milk.)  Then I rolled it into a seasoned bread crumb mixture.  I baked it about 425 for 20 minutes.  You could also go down to 350 for about a half hour depending on the size of your chicken breast. I baked mine higher because the potatoes 
 bake at a higher temperature and I stuck it all in the oven together.

I used both red and white potatoes and oven baked them with a dijon-mustard mixture.  Here is the recipe I used as a guide, but honestly, I threw basil, garlic, olive oil and dijon-mustard together and just dabbed it onto our potatoes.  I did follow the directions for the bake time for the most part.
 They were AWESOME.  

For the 7-up Bread...I wanted biscuits.  However, as the kids started making them, I realized the dough was quite messy.  I didn't want to mess with cutting them out and getting "flour" all over the counters.  I HATE messes! ;)  So, we just poured it into a 9x9 pan and they turned out just fine---without the mess. SO EASY to clean up after this meal too!!  
***Note, we didn't use 7-up.  We used diet Sierra Mist and it turned out just fine! :)

I don't have printable recipes for you this week, because sometimes--well---I just throw in a bit of this and a pinch of that. I really should quit doing that, but at least this way, you never get the same meal twice! ;)

**If you would like to link up, please grab the button at the top of the page and share your quick meal (or recipe).   Make sure you copy your exact blog post to enter into the URL!   I hope you join me in the fun!! :)

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Making Ten, and other stuff....ohh, and a few freebies!

Gotta love these short weeks!!  We were off yesterday for Veteran's Day and then off this coming Friday for an inservice.  Now as much as I LOVE these short weeks, and I do mean LOVE--my kiddos are still struggling with SO many things.  That's the great thing about these short weeks, I get more time to review and reteach.  I can't expect them to do first grade work if they're not there yet.  I can only take them from where they are---so what have we been working on and reviewing?

This morning we worked on parts of ten and making ten.  I keep ten little counters in a snack size bag to make it quick and simple to pass out for intervention, math tubs, or whole group.  I quickly made a ten frame mat this morning for them to use with their manipulatives

 But I wanted something a little cuter as we work on this some more...soo...
You can click the image above if you'd like your own black/white ten frame to use with your kiddos. 

Tomorrow I'm going to try this game with them.  
They will dress a Pilgrim doll as they figure out the missing part of ten. 

You can click the image above to grab you a *FREEBIE* to practice missing parts of ten.

Also, if you're working on Making Ten, I found this cute little song on YouTube.

In reading intervention, we are still working on our sight words. They are working so hard.  
Here's the fun activity we did today to help with our sight word recognition.
 You can find this activity in Super Readers Set 1.
Click HERE to see it on TpT.

We are also still working on our digraphs. Today we reviewed our sh and ch sounds. 

I would normally do our sort as a pocket chart activity (and print it in color), but when I found out I had FIVE kiddos out today, I went to plan B and redid my lesson plans and changed EVERYTHING for the day.  We sat on the floor together and did our digraph sort and the students taped the pictures up to the chart.  Then they completed one on their own. They seemed to have fun doing this.  I could hear them making the sh and ch noises and chanting our Phonics Dance sounds with it. :)

This activity by the way can be found in this set.
You can click HERE to see it.

I also have some digraph activities in my fall pack that my kids have enjoyed playing. 
You can click HERE to see it.

OHH, and I just finished Be A Reading Detective Mission #2: Consonant Digraphs
And you can see it HERE.

I had two activities that I didn't include in the pack if you'd like to try them out.
 Click on the image above if you'd like to try it out for your kiddos.

Ohh, and I updated a Day in the Life of a Pilgrim Child!! WOOT WOOT! 
Interactive stories, sorts and more!
Please check it out HERE!


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