31 August 2011

Angel Food Cake Skewers

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Here we are, the last day of August…  So how are we going to celebrate?  With these!!
By the way, I’m also celebrating the fact that when I walked out of my house this morning at 6:15, I actually felt cool! 
It was such an unexpected and welcomed surprise!  It didn’t last long so if you weren’t out at the crack of dawn, you missed it. 

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The skewering crew.

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I froze the angel food cake to make it easier to cut and skewer without making too much of a mess.

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Then I let the girls drizzle some melted chocolate over the top.

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I guess we could have used honey instead but we don’t indulge in chocolate very often around here (as evidenced by the overload of chocolate drizzle… and drooling mouths). 
Besides, it’s the last day of August and didn’t you hear??  It was actually COOL this morning!! 
Go ahead, celebrate something big or little today!   

Cajun Shrimp Pasta in Cream Sauce

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Again, work with me here on this picture...  I don’t have the greatest natural light in my kitchen (esp. around dinner time) but I assure you, it was quite tasty!  In fact, too tasty not to share! 
My family loves shrimp and I make it pretty often but I’ve never made it with Cajun seasoning, until last night!

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The veggies you’ll need…

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As well as some butter, half  & half, and some Cajun spices. 

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Liberally coat the shrimp with Cajun seasoning. 

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Cook Linguine to “al dente.”

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In the meantime, sauté shrimp in butter for about 1 min. a side.  DO NOT cook the shrimp all the way through before removing from pan.  Overcooked shrimp is rubbery and no bueno.
 
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In the same pan (with all the yummy bits left from the shrimp) sauté veggies until softened. 

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Add 1 Tbsp. flour and cook into veggies for a minute or two (step not shown).  Then add some half & half.
Season with S & P, plus additional Cajun seasoning (if desired).   

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Toss noodles directly into the same pan, mix, and serve!
*I also used about 3 ladles full of pasta water to break up the thickness of the sauce.   
Ok, so we don’t go to The Cheesecake Factory very often but when we do, Morgan always orders the same thing, their Cajun Jambalaya Pasta.  Although my dish didn’t have any chicken in it like theirs does, Morgan ate every bite, asked for more shrimp, and then proclaimed it tasted like his favorite dish at the Cheesecake Factory! 
Ding, ding, ding!!!  That’s exactly what I was going for!! Winking smile
The girls weren’t crazy about the new spices but they’ll come around…
This was definitely a decadent dish for us.  I don’t often cook with creamy sauces but this was a special treat!  I also love how quickly everything comes together.  It only takes about 10-15 mins. start to finish.
I love me a quick, easy, and delicious weekday meal!    I’ll definitely be making this again!
Cajun Shrimp Pasta with Cream Sauce
1/2 - 3/4 box of linguine, cooked al dente
1 Tbsp. butter
1 lb. shrimp, peeled/deveined
4 oz. sliced mushrooms
1 small onion, diced
1 red bell pepper, sliced thinly
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tbsp. flour
1 cup half and half
Cajun seasoning
salt, pepper to taste

Heat the butter over medium heat in a skillet. Sprinkle the shrimp liberally with Cajun seasoning, and then sauté in the pan for 1 minute per side (you are not cooking it through here). Remove with a slotted spoon.
To the skillet, add the onions, peppers, mushrooms and garlic. Sauté until the vegetables are tender. Add the flour and stir it for a minute or two, to cook off its rawness. Add the half and half and stir, thickening. Put the shrimp back into the skillet to cook through. Season to taste with salt and pepper (and more Cajun seasoning, if desired). Toss with hot pasta, add pasta water to loosen the thickness of the sauce,  then serve.
*Recipe adapted from Jill
Thanks, Jill!  You’re not only crafty, you make some delicious food,  too!

Birdie Thumbprint Art

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Our family of birdies. Smile

 

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First, paint your branch.

 

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Then thumbprint your leaves…

 

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Follow that with birdie bodies…

 

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Secure googly eyes and draw a beak.

 

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Add some final touches…

 

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The girls LOVED making this craft!

 

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Here’s Faith’s.  She said that’s daddy on top since his favorite color is blue. 

 

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Grace’s birds appear to be singing!

The girls had so much fun making our family of birds!

Inspired by Jill

My craft challenged brain has been getting lots of cute and crafty ideas from her.  Most are super duper easy, too!

30 August 2011

Sprout’s Field Trip

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Our local Farmers Market Grocery Store.

 

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All our homeschoolers.

 

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Yummy cantaloupe samples.  YES, please!

 

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Don’t forget your carrots, too!

 

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Getting a behind the scenes tour of the grocery store business…

 

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Working in the refrigerated section, Mr. Jose cleans and preps the produce.  He also talked to us about local farmers and organic foods.

 

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Every department had a sample for us.  We tasted cheese at the deli…

 

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… and freshly made bread pudding at the bakery. 

 

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The kids with Miss Dani, our tour guide. 

 

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Pam (the store manager), gave the kids their very own shopping bag, stuffed with all kinds of healthy kiddie goodies!

 

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My two growing sprouts! Smile

 

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Me and the girls.

 

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Here’s what we think about Sprout’s!!  

The folks at Sprout’s gave us an outstanding field trip this morning.  The girls learned about organic vs. non organic foods and the fact that there are many different kinds of milk.  They especially liked the back room where it was cold and Mr. Jose was washing and prepping the produce. 

Community bonding, learning with friends, and Oh- my grocery shopping is done for the week! 

What a nice morning it was!         

29 August 2011

Pico de Gallo

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Oh, how I love the flavors and freshness of Pico de Gallo.  In fact, I prefer it to it’s liquidy cousin, salsa.  Not that I don’t like salsa… my family pretty much LOVES Mexican food and we could eat it everyday, in some form or another. 
I whipped up this batch of Pico over the weekend and it was gone in a flash.  I guess that’s what happens when you eat it for breakfast, lunch, and a snack!  Sadly, it never made it to dinner…  but boy, did we enjoy it! 
SO easy and SO very yummy!

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Use firm roma tomatoes.  They have less juice. 
 
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Discard the seeds.

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Use a whole jalapeno and take out the seeds (or keep them in for more spice).  Dice up some onion and cilantro.  Add s&p.

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Squeeze in some lime juice and give ‘er a taste.

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Seriously, SO good-  it’s addicting.  I could eat it by the spoonful, without chips.  Wait, I did.

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The first helping was gone right away.  The leftovers (in tupperware) were gone by the next afternoon. 
We enjoyed it with breakfast burritos, topped over grilled chicken, and lastly, scooped up with tortilla chips! 
It’s been said, “A day without Pico is like a day without sunshine.” 
Viva Pico!

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