Sunday, June 16, 2013

Food - Take 2 - Father's Day

This is my 2nd post in my June topic for my H&H (Homesteaders and Homeschoolers) blog assignment: FOOD!

Father's Day

My husband wasn't home today for Father's Day as he was "out making the bacon." Since he wasn't home, the kids and I decided to surprise him and make him his favorite dessert: cheesecake!

I am a bit of a cheesecake snob; I also love cheesecake and am really picky about them! Think Cheesecake Factory as setting the bar. :-)
I think due to this fact, I have never attempted a "real" one. Meaning, I have made the no-bake cheesecakes, but not tried the real thing. I think I have been afraid it won't live up to the amazing ones I've had before. I am a good cook, but don't have a lot of courage with the dessert spectrum. 

I decided to be brave though and found a recipe and bought the ingredients. Then, I scrapped that recipe as I realized I didn't own (nor had I even heard of) a springform pan nor did I have a clue how to do a "water bath." Guess I should have looked at the recipe a little more before buying the ingredients!

So, I scrambled and looked online and found a recipe that neither needed a springform pan- (which- sidenote- now that I know what that is- I want one! How cool!) or required learning how to do a water bath. I also had to find one that had the same ingredients I had already bought!

I settled on one from Philadelphia Cream Cheese that cooked in a 9x13 pan. Yep, 9x13! Quite a bit different from any cheesecake I've tried, but I was in desperate need of one that didn't need the springform and I have TONS of 9x13s!

Perhaps the real gift this Father's Day will be my husband trying this new creation.... not only did the kids help make it (insert a yikes! here!), but my mixer died while making it and I had to mix it ALL by hand.

 I have had the worst luck with mixers! I had a stand mixer I loved (not a KitchenAid dream mixer by any means, but a nice Hamilton Beach that was a Black Friday deal my husband got me for like $40) and the beaters rusted! Instead of just replacing them like a normal person, I bought a cheapo Walmart one. Apparently a bad move.

Well, fingers crossed it turns out okay! At least the kids had fun making it and are excited to give it to Brian! He is such a good dad, he will pretend it is the best cheesecake he has ever had! :-)

Zoe was in charge of making the graham cracker crumbs

Cian made the crust

Grace helped me hand mix the cheesecake part

Friday, June 7, 2013

What's the Beef?

Post 1 for my Homesteaders and Homeschoolers June blogging topic: FOOD!!

For this week, I decided to write about my favorite homemade food: ROAST BEEF!

When I was a little girl, my favorite meal was when my mom would make roast beef in the pressure cooker. 
I remember fighting with my brother over the potatoes that came out with the roast because they were SOOO delicious. She would get about a full 5 lb bag in there and there STILL wouldn't be enough!

This one is just to give you an idea, (it's just a free image I found online), but you can see how yummy it looks.

I remember how much work this meal was for my mom, but she would do it since it was my favorite! I also remember how long it took to cook. Even for a pressure cooker, it would still take like 3 hours start to finish. When I was a kid, it might as well have been 20 hours because it seemed like forever! The way my mom (and now I) make it, we cook the meat alone for an hour, release the steam (takes forever!!), then add potatoes and baby carrots and start it up again. It is worth it in the end for that fall apart roast beef. It can't be rushed. I remember once my mom tried to rush it and the regulator shot off the top! I think that must have been why they now have safety value in case the steam needs out!

Here are some funny things about this meal:

1. When I was first learning how to cook it, once I tried to speed up the regulator and just took it off. I ended up with a "beautiful" yellow steam mark all over my low kitchen ceiling that had the track lighting in it.

2. My husband, who loves my cooking, doesn't like my favorite meal. :(
I hardly ever make it since he won't eat it. It's just an expensive meal to do for me, myself and I. He will eat the potatoes and carrots of course.

3. I love when I watch Chopped or Next Food Network etc.. and someone can't work a pressure cooker. It makes me feel good that I know how and these cooking pros can't figure it out! I want to yell at the t.v., "line up the arrows, just line up the arrows!"

4. What kid has roast beef as their favorite meal?!? This girl!

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Hear ye, Hear ye! Grace's exciting day!

Hear ye, hear ye or should I say EAR ye! That's right! Grace got her ears pierced!

Grace and I had our Summer Goal: "Mom and Grace lunch" today at Olive Garden:
This was her mom and Grace goal from our Summer Goals list. Click here to read if you missed that post.

On our way to lunch, Grace said, "What I'd really like to do is get my ears pierced.." Then, before I could respond, I was shocked by her maturity as she continue, "if I get Dad's permission." I realized my little girl wasn't so little anymore :( 
I called Brian and was shocked he said, "sure."

So here it is, Grace's special day ear piercing!
She picked a pretty blue flower set.

She was so brave- no tears at all. Me or her, lol!

So grown up!

As an added bonus for today- while at her orthodontist appointment this morning, she found out she gets her braces off next month!

At Claire's- the go to earring place!

My beautiful girl! Now with earrings!

Monday, June 3, 2013

Preschool and "Not Kindergarten" Graduation

Graduation 2013

We celebrated two graduations today!

Zoe graduated from Preschool!
She is only 4, but next year we are going to do a 4-year-old Kindergarten program. So, I wanted to celebrate her finishing preschool!

Cian skipped Kindergarten this year and did all 1st grade curriculum. However, I didn't want him to miss the fun of a Kindergarten Graduation, so we did a "Not Kindergarten" Graduation.
He will be in 2nd grade next year.


2013 Rings:

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Summer Goals - Part 2

Here it is! Our first annual summer goals for our family. We had a family meeting and sat down and came up with ideas we wanted to do as a family this summer. We also always spend time one-on-one with the kids and we have made sure to do this ever since Cian was born, but I like how a friend of mine put them onto "paper" with her family goals and we are doing the same. The kids liked picking out one-on-one with dad as most often they get a one-on-one lunch or grocery shopping trip etc. it is usually with me.

Here is our Summer 2013 Family Goals:

1. Go to the STL Zoo
2. Go to the beach
3. Attend a summer festival or carnival
4. See a parade -Checkmarked off- July 4, 2013
5. Go to a concert
6. Go to the pool (I'm sure we'll do this goal a lot!) -yep, almost daily :-)

Grace & Mom - Go out to eat for lunch. (Italian food I'm sure!) -Done shortly after post! LOL!
Cian & Mom- Go out for lunch. (Cian likes Mexican, so I'm sure it'll be there!)
Zoe & Mom- Go out for ice cream just the two of us! -Done and yum!

Grace & Dad- Go bowling, just Grace and Dad.
Cian & Dad- Take a father/son bike ride. - Done 7/22/13 - They've done lots of kids together with Grace and Zoe, but today they went just the boys :-)
Zoe & Dad- Go play at the park together.