Julia's Guardian Angel Fund

Monday, February 22, 2010

Our "Go-To" Meatless Friday Meal

We eat meatless just about every Friday, being Catholic and all. This is one of our favorite meals. I hope you enjoy it as much as we do!

Toasted Cheese Sandwiches for a Crowd and Tomato Basil Soup


First, the soup:
Makes 4 big bowls or 2 big bowls and 4 little dipping bowls for the kids' sandwiches

In a large sauce pan, combine:
1 - 28 oz. can crushed tomatoes
1 - 14 oz. can chicken broth
Simmer for 20 minutes.
Remove from heat and add:
1 stick butter
Stir until it's completely melted.
Temper 1/2 c. cream with some soup, then stir it in.
Add chopped fresh basil to your taste.

Next the sandwiches:
Makes 8 sandwiches
You REALLY need to have a stoneware pan for this to work otherwise you will be flipping halfway through (which, I suppose, if fine if that's all you have).
Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
16 slices of bread
16 slices of cheddar cheese
1 stick of butter
Generously brush the one side of the bread with butter. Put the buttered side down on the pan (2 rows of 4 slices). Put cheese on top. Top with another slice of bread, generously buttered (buttered side UP). Put in the oven. If you used a stoneware pan, check it in 10 minutes. Otherwise, check bottoms to make sure they are not too brown and flip them. You don't need to flip them if you have stoneware.

Remove when golden. Slice in half and serve with soup.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

It's a tool, not a gadget!


I am a recovering Pampered Chef consultant. My motto, when I was practicing, was, "It's a tool, not a gadget!"

I am the queen of my kitchen and I have almost ALL of the Pampered Chef products I earned as a consultant. One of those products we use regularly around our house is the cheese grater. The little boys LOVE it. Do you have one? Do you have an infant eating baby food? We are moving to textures and I discovered I can serve the Wee One whatever we are having by simply putting it in the hopper of the Cheese Grater (using the larger grater cylinder) and grind her food to a very nice texture for an 8 month old.

So there you have it! You didn't need to buy ANY product from me and you got a free idea!

Happy Thursday!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Abstinance

In honor of Ash Wednesday, I will be abstaining from many things, including blogging. See you Thursday.

h/t to Bearing for the great idea.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Blessings

My dad and stepmom are some great people...but let me tell you how great.

Dad called a couple of weeks ago while I was preparing dinner for our family plus a guest. Said guest actually is a gentleman discerning a vocation to the priesthood. He's a blessing to our family in many ways. One way is that he brings most of dinner so I don't have to cook. While I was preparing the parts of dinner I was providing, my garbage disposal EXPLODED. EVERYWHERE. Black smelly sludge spread throughout the sink, on the counters, window and I won't even describe what it looked like and smelled like underneath the kitchen cabinets.

I proceeded to try to clean up the place only to find that as I was rinsing everything off, there was a trickle of water at my feet. You see, something blew so badly in the disposal that it was leaking underneath my sink. Black, smelly goo right along with the water. So now, not only could I not use my dishwasher because it was broken, I only could use one side of my sink. I cook and clean up for eight people eating three squares a day plus snacks here and I can only use one side of the sink!

So, I was explaining this lovely sequence of events to my dad as well as explaining all the other things that had gone wrong in my kitchen that week: glass broke in the inside of the oven door, dishwasher failed and destroyed about $50 worth of cooking gear and dishes. As soon as I realized I had slipped from listing the problems to complaining, I apologized. I don't want to be a whiner. I asked Dad's forgiveness for my complaining and went on to other conversations.

After dinner, the phone rang. It was Dad. They had decided they wanted to fix up the things that had gone wrong that week. I didn't know what to do or how to thank them, so I cried. My kids panicked thinking something was wrong. No, I cry when things go wonderful, too.

So, thank you, Dad and Sue. My dishwasher is working great, even though the repair guy was not very civil (again), the garbage disposal is new, shiny and not at all noisy and the oven WILL be repaired on Thursday morning. You truly blessed me.

Friday, February 12, 2010

The Spelling Bee

Little Woman and Little Princess participated in our home school spelling bee yesterday. Little Woman is also working on a merit badge for American Heritage Girls on Cake Decorating. Here's her final project for the badge. And, besides completing her badge, she came in 3rd place in the Spelling Bee. Her missed word? Cajolery. We're very proud of the other kids and want to wish the winner, a bright and wonderful young man of 10 who will go on to the Minnesota Regional Spelling Bee.

Locks of Love

Little Woman is a giver. She makes pretty little messages on paper, cuts them out and wraps them around cans of Diet Coke to give me. She decorates my refrigerator. She lines things up and makes things lovely for me. She truly understands what is beautiful and if it's not, she tries her best to make it beautiful.

When Julia was 7 1/2, just before she received First Holy Communion in May of 2007, she allowed us to cut off 10 1/2" of her beautiful hair for Locks of Love. This organization takes donated hair to create wigs for children suffering from hair loss due to major medical issues such as cancer treatments. Many hair salons will give you a free haircut if you allow them to donate your hair. We patronized our local Great Clips for her cut.

Last weekend, she did it again. This time, she donated 12" of hair. It's hard to tell here, but her hair was down to her waist. Not long enough to sit on, but she was close to being able to tuck it in the waist band of her pants. Here's the before:

Our hairstylist neatly parted and combed through her hair and put it into two braids, banded top and bottom. Then, she cut above the braids. Little Woman was worried she would not have enough hair left to put in a pony tail. Even with the 12" taken off, she still had plenty of hair left to put up in a pony tail.

By the way, this slacker mommy had not sent in the hair from 2007. Great Clips gladly accepted the pony tail from 3 years ago and will mail it in along with her current donation. So, if you have any 10" or longer pony tails lying around, do something beautiful with it and send it to Locks of Love or drop it at your local Great Clips.

Here she is holding both pony tails before getting her hair dried.

She's already planning how long it will take to have her next donation ready. She's also trying to recruit her friends and sister to grow their hair out, too.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Chicken Enchiladas for Dinner

Here's tonight's dinner. We had Rotisserie Chicken over the weekend and this is what the leftovers will become:

Chicken Enchiladas using leftover Rotisserie Chicken
Warning this is spicy! You can replace the Rotelle tomatoes with another canned of diced tomatoes DRAINED and up to 1 Tbps of chili powder (to your taste).
Yield: 5 servings of 2 tortilla

1 10 ounce can Rotelle Tomatoes with Chilis
Vegetable oil
2 small cloves garlic, minced
1 14.5-ounce can tomatoes - preferably
-fire-roasted if you can get it
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon table salt
10 corn tortillas
pan spray
2 teaspoons vegetable oil or corn oil
1 medium onion , chopped - (about 1 cup)
1 tablespoon ground cumin
3 cups cooked rotisserie chicken shredded into 1/4-inch-wide strips
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves
8 ounces sharp cheddar cheese , grated - (2 cups)

Prepare the sauce:
Coat a large skillet with oil and cook the garlic for a minute. Purée both cans of tomatoes in a blender. Add the tomatoes to the garlic. Bring to a low simmer. Add a teaspoon of sugar if necessary to cut down on the acid and spicyness from the tomatoes and chilis. You want more of the taste of the chili and less of the tomatoes for this sauce. Simmer until thickened. Remove from heat.

Create the filling:
Heat oil in saucepan over medium-high heat until hot and shimmering but not smoking, about 2 minutes; add onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until beginning to soften and brown, about 3 minutes, then reduce heat to medium and continue to cook until browned, about 3 minutes longer. Add cumin and cook, stirring frequently, until fragrant, about 15 seconds. Remove onions and cumin from heat. Mix with chicken and 1/4 cup of the sauce. Add cilantro and 1 1/2 cups cheese. Set aside.

Prepare the tortillas so they don't tear:
Adjust oven racks to upper- and lower-middle positions and heat oven to 300 degrees.
Spray both sides of corn tortillas with pan spray. Place on two cookie sheets and bake for 4 minutes until soft and pliable.

Fill the tortillas and cook:
Spread 3/4 c sauce in the bottom of a sprayed 9x13" pan. Increase temperature of oven to 400 degrees. Fill warm tortillas with 1/3 cup of filling. Roll and place seam side done into sauce. Pour remaining sauce over top and sprinkle with 1/2 cup cheese. Cover with foil and bake for 20-25 minutes.

Top with:
3/4 cup sour cream
1 avocado , diced medium
5 leaves romaine lettuce , washed, dried - and
-shredded
2 limes - quartered

Nutritional facts per serving (daily value): Calories 468kcal; Protein 28g (56%); Total Fat 33g (51%)(Sat. 16g (78%)); Chol. 118mg (39%); Carb. 18g (6%); Fiber 6g (22%); Sugars 6g; Calcium 441mg (44%); Iron 3mg (19%)

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Meal Plan for the next 2 weeks...

I thought I would share our meal plan for the next two weeks. Because of our food allergies, we do not usually use ANY canned soups or make casseroles that have allergens. We're pretty straight shooters: Main Dish, Starch, two veggies. I try to make soup one night a week. Very often the starch is Artisan Bread. Very often one veggie is Romaine lettuce, from the big Sam's Club sized bag with miscellaneous other veggies cut up on top and bottled dressing. It's pretty boring and YES, I miss food mixed together, but it just doesn't work well for my family.

I will place an asterisk after each food that might have some alteration for food allergies in our family:

Date - Main Dish, Starch, Veggie, Veggie
Sun., Feb. 7 - Spaghetti Sauce w/Italian Sausage,Angel hair pasta & Artisan Bread, Romaine Salad w/dressing, Green Beans
Mon., Feb. 8 - Chicken Enchiladas, Quinoa w/ Salsa, Corn, Black Beans
Tues., Feb. 9 - Maple Glazed Pork Tenderloin, Artisan Bread, Pea Pods, Baked Potato
Wed., Feb. 10 - Pasta e Fajole Soup, Artisan Bread
Thurs., Feb. 11 - Marinated Flank Steak, Pasta Limone’*,Peas, Romaine Salad w/dressing
Fri., Feb. 12 - Toasted Cheese Sandwiches*, Creamy Tomato Basil Soup*, Romaine Salad w/dressing
Sat., Feb. 13 - Spaghetti Sauce w/Italian Sausage, Angel hair pasta & Artisan Bread, Romaine Salad w/dressing, Green Beans
Sun., Feb. 14 - Porcupine Meatballs w/tomato sauce*, Tater Tots, Oriental Slaw
Mon., Feb. 15 - Pork Chops, Artisan Bread, Broccoli, Romaine Salad w/dressing
Tues., Feb. 16 - Chicken Parmesan*, Angel Hair Pasta, Carrots, Romaine Salad w/dressing
Wed., Feb. 17 - Cheese pizza (with veggies)*, Carrot, Celery and Cucumber Spears
Thurs., Feb. 18 - Baked Potato Soup*, Artisan Bread, 7 layer salad*
Fri., Feb. 19 - Baked Apple French Toast & Scrambled Eggs*, 3 Berry Compote

I will be posting the recipes I don't already have on this blog later this week.

Bad Blog! NO Visit!

I recently talked with some of my blogging friends (call them my blogging mentors) about what makes a good blog. Here are some of the things they said:

- It's update regularly (more often than I do)
- The blog entries are relatively short (mine aren't)
- They have pictures (only some of mine do)
- They have tend to stay on topic (most of the time mine do)

I have another blog which I will be keeping up-to-date about Catholic Home Education. Here I will keep to recipes, home, life in a large Catholic Family updates.

Now, dear reader, I am going to try to do better at those things. Hope you will come back and visit soon!