Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Adam's Smores Dessert

Missing those summer campfires?

As I type this, we have been hit again with another load of snow at the end of March -- come on, spring! Where are you? I shouldn't complain. It was my fault for putting away the snow boots last weekend. Jinxed it!

Adam had a few of his friends sleepover and wanted to whip up a special dessert. I think this one is perfect for those of us who are missing those ooey gooey smores that we used to have back in the good ole' days when it was sunny and hot. Very kid-friendly for those who like to strut their independence in the kitchen!

Adam's Smores Dessert

1/3 cup unsalted butter; melted
1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
1 12-oz. jar fudge topping
2 cups tiny marshmallows
1 1/2 cups skim milk
1 small package instant chocolate pudding mix
1 8-oz  container of Cool Whip
        (you'll have twice the amount you'll need)
1/4 cup miniature chocolate chips

Place graham crackers in an 8 x 8 baking pan. Add the melted butter. Stir with wooden spoon until mixed.

Take 1/3 of the cracker mixture out and set aside. Be sure that the mixture left in pan is spread evenly, pressing gently. Place pan in freezer for 10 minutes.

Place jar of fudge topping in microwave or heat under hot water. Pour the fudge topping over the chilled cracker crust. Sprinkle marshmallows on top of the fudge.

Pour milk in large bowl. Add pudding mix. Beat for 2 minutes. Add half of the Cool Whip (you won't need the other half - save for another use). Pour pudding mixture on top of the marshmallows.

Sprinkle top with remaining cup of marshmallows. Sprinkle reserved graham cracker mix on top. Adorn with mini chocolate chips.

Cover with foil and put in freezer. Serve when firm.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Mosaic Table

Now that spring is here, I am eagerly waiting to get out in the yard and do some yard clean-up. I even dared to put the snow and ski boots away. I know I'm a little early on the draw, but what the heck. I'm done with winter, so I've decided to start living in spring mode despite what Mother Nature still insists on throwing our way.

Last summer, I shopped around for a garden dining table and I quickly discovered it is near impossible to buy one that does not come with chairs. I have twelve chairs from previous sets and I refuse to add more to our garage. My husband would kill me.

After a season of an unsuccessful table search (antique stores, garage sales, patio stores), our family decided to tackle a crafty project and make our own outdoor table. Even though I am not one for massive craft-type projects, I was excited about this idea.

So we are mounting a wooden board on top of an old kitchen table and creating a mosaic masterpiece. We purchased some stained glass in bulk and have enjoyed this March Break in getting it done.

The kids pitched in and designed some pretty cool illustrations. Samantha did a rose, Zac did a star and turtle, Adam did a skateboard and spelled his name. If you look close, you'll see a mountain bike on a forest trail and Jeremy added a guitar.

Now that all the tiles are down, we will begin sealing and grouting. I think it'll look pretty cool when it's all said and done. I can already picture the glass pieces glimmering in the sunshine.

Here's what we have so far:

Can you spot the mountain bike on the trail?
I spy Zac's peace sign and Jer's guitar (upside down)

View of Entire Table

Sam's rose (upside down), tree and sun

Zac's turtle and star, Adam's skateboard (upside down)

Now we're really looking forward to dining under a bright blue summer sky! I really hope it turns out. I'll snap a pic once it's grouted and mounted. By the way, we saved quite a bit of cash with this idea too!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Extra Fluffy Blueberry Pancakes and Waffles

Last weekend, my boys took over the kitchen. Told me to get lost as they wanted to create the "most fluffy pancakes you'll ever see, Mom!". They even took pictures of their progress so that I could "put them on the blog".

Adam's Happy Face Blueberry Pancakes
So I let them sample independence until I was needed to explain what separating eggs meant.  They were pretty excited at the whole 'yolk without the whites' concept. And, of course, I stuck around once they were in cook mode. But all in all, they were creating and whipping and beating the batter themselves.

They truly did do an awesome job creating their 'most fluffy pancakes ever!'. And it made for an interesting morning in our household. Is it too far off to envision these creations getting delivered to a certain Mom in bed on a Sunday morning perhaps?

Zac and Adam's Most Fluffy Pancakes and Waffles Ever

1 cup flour
1 tbsp. baking powder
1 cup skim milk
3 egg yolks
3 egg whites

In a medium bowl, mix flour and baking powder together. Stir in milk and egg yolks until smooth.

In your mixer, beat the egg whites until stiff peaks form. Fold the egg whites into the batter very gradually.

Fluffy Egg Whites

Heat up your waffle iron or frying pan and spray with oil or coat with butter to prevent sticking. Scoop about 1/4 cup for each pancake or waffle. Cook on medium heat until little holes form on the top. That's when you're reading to flip! For blueberry pancakes, sprinkle blueberries on top before flipping to second side. Cook until lightly browned then serve with authentic Canadian Maple Syrup.

batter ready for egg whites

"will they get fluffy?"
Adam at the stove (I know it's Teflon, but it's low heat so that's okay!)

Zac's Waffles

Kid Approved!

How is this fair?

Monday, March 7, 2011

BBQ Pizza

This weekend, we wanted to serve up some snacks for family movie night. Then I thought, why not make dinner the main feature?

So we decided it would be great to make our own homemade pizzas on the barbecue. Inspired by some background Italian music, they turned out fantastic. The kids had a blast and Jeremy and I refrained from our usual junk-food binge. Here's how the night went (scroll down to bottom for recipe):
Pizza Dough
Sam Tossin' Around Her Pizza Dough
Jeremy Prepping His Pizza

Uh...Where Did It Go?
Zac Tossing The Dough
Adam's Pizza Ready for the Barbecue
Grilling the First Side (Once you flip them over, add the toppings)

Zac and Adam Topping Their Pizzas
Adam's Pizza

Barbecued Pizza

1 package active dry yeast
1 cup warm water
2 cups bread flour
2 tbsp. olive oil
1 tsp. salt
2 tsp. white sugar

Dissolve yeast with warm water in a bowl. Let stand until creamy, about 10 minutes.

In mixing bowl, combine flour, olive oil, salt, sugar and yeast mixture. Stir to combine.

Use mixer with dough hook and mix until a stiff dough has formed. Cover and rise until doubled in volume; about 30 minutes (I usually dust the top with flour and then cover to prevent sticking. Let rise on floured counter surface).
Divide dough into sections for individual pizzas. You can shape using your hands, tossing it in the air, or rolling it out. We found tossing was fun, but using your fists and working them around the edge while holding worked best.
Once you finish shaping your dough, place pizza on top of plate that has been oiled (to prevent sticking).  Oil the barbecue grill with olive oil as well. Place dough on grill being sure that the burners are set on low. Keep checking often to ensure you do not burn the dough. Once you have browned one side of the dough, flip over and place toppings on pizza while still on grill. You can also bring them inside at this point and place toppings on, then transfer back on grill. Keep at low heat until everything has melted and cooked through nicely.

Our Toppings of Choice:

Tomato Sauce
Freshly Chopped Oregano
Roasted Garlic
Diced Turkey Bacon
Mozzarella Cheese
Goat Cheese
Sundried Tomatoes
Diced Artichoke Hearts
Red Peppers
Caramalized Onions

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Mulligatawny Soup

Spring is almost here! Can you taste it?
Well, I'm back! My family and I just spent two glorious, sunny weeks in Florida. Every day was a scorcher with the ocean inviting us into her warm waters. Aah, the beach!

Upon returning to our more familiar winter wonderland, I vow to get back in shape for the upcoming season. Whether bike races, marathons, 5Ks, adventure races or just plain bikini weather is your motivation to get it in gear, hats off to you (along with coats and mitts - hooray!).

Seems this is a tough time for all to stay motivated. The weather is bleak and February seems to have greedily sucked the last of our spirits, leaving us deflated, pale and Vitamin-D deprived. Even though I had a nice break in the Sunny State, it's hard to now be upbeat about basement workouts after  biking along the beach with a dolphin as your riding partner 6 feet from your pedals. Sigh.

But I have seen the sunny side and was pleasantly reminded that ours is just a few short weeks away! I've been to the future and it's warm and fun and only an arm's reach away. After all - we've made it to March. If we can stay motivated every day for the next month, we've all made it to spring! Remember what that was like? Birds chirping from the treetops, the sound of slush melting into water and making its way down the sewers, winter boots finding spots in storage where the sneakers and crocs have been hiding out.

So I have to ask...

What is your fitness plan as we patiently wait for the snow to retreat? If we use March wisely, we will be able to greet spring with ambition, energy and enthusiasm! Please share as I'm looking to really mix it up and vow to try all ideas brought forward. What is your favourite workout? How do you keep it fun? This is my plan for March:

-interval workouts (alternating weights with sprints on the treadmill)
-spinning indoors (at least when my bike finds its way out of the shop)
-long walks with my doggie

My husband likes to:

-workout to Gilad
-lift weights

Let's help each other make the best of the next 30 days!!

For now, I will leave you with a slow cooker soup that caught my eye with its fresh herbs. Sort of like winter meets spring!

Chicken Mulligatawny Soup
Translated, mulligatawny means: 'pepper water' in Tamil

photo by Melanie F. on Flickr

6 skinless, boneless chicken thighs
1/2 cup brown rice
2 garlic cloves; chopped
1 tbsp. curry paste, patted with paper towel to remove oil
2 tsp minced ginger (or more if you like!)
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp saffron threads
1/2 cinammon stick
2 cups apple juice (I know! Right?)
1/2 cup lite coconut milk
chopped green onion

Slice chicken into thin strips. Combine with rice, garlic, curry paste, ginger, salt, saffron and cinnamon stick in slow cooker. Pour int 5 cups water. Stir until mixed. Cook on low for 8 hours.

Stir in apple juice, coconut milk and green onion. Garnish with apple slices, cilantro and fresh lime if desired.

More to Chew On...

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