Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Beignets



Y'all, these are SO good and really easy. I was surprised at how easy they were to make. The longest part is waiting for them to rise in the fridge for an hour before I could fry them.

My husband and a few members of his family love board games and, when possible, we like to host at our home. It gives me an excuse to try new recipes on them and spoil them with yummy food. I enjoy having people in our home since we go days with just seeing each other. :)

Without further ado, here's the newest recipe in our collection. I will be making these again. I was able to roll them out and fry them up in under 30 minutes. Try them and enjoy!

Beignets- from Cook’s Country
Yield: 24 beignets, all different sizes

Ingredients:
1 Tbsp yeast
1 Tbsp sugar
1 cup warm water

3 cups all-purpose flour
2 Tbsp sugar
¾ tsp salt

2 Tbsp vegetable oil
2 eggs

Instructions:

Mix first 3 ingredients in a small bowl. Let stand until bubbly, about 5 minutes.
Whisk next three ingredients in a large bowl.
Mix last 2 ingredients together, add to flour mixture. Add yeast mixture when ready.
Mix all together with a rubber spatula and cover with plastic wrap. (The dough will be very sticky)
Refrigerate 1 hour to rise.

In a dutch oven, add 2 quarts (8 cups) of vegetable oil. Heat to 350 degrees F.

Working with half of the dough roll out into 9x12 rectangle. (Use lots of flour to roll out dough because it’s very sticky)
Cut into 12 pieces.
Place cut pieces on well-floured cookie sheet.
Fry 4-6 beignets at a time. Let oil come back to 350 degrees F before adding each batch of beignets to fry. Fry 2-3 minutes or until brown, flip and fry until brown.
Place fried beignets on cookie sheet topped with cooling rack to let excess oil drain.
Coat well with powdered sugar.
Repeat with other half of dough.
Serve warm and add extra powdered sugar if desired.

*Note: If you don’t have a candy thermometer to test your oil temperature, start heating the oil at medium heat. Lower or raise heat as needed. I found that on my stove a little lower than medium heat was the desired temperature, otherwise the beignets browned too quickly and I felt like they looked a little too brown. And tasted it, too.

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Interview with Natalie

Long-time readers of this blog - all 2 of you - may remember that I have mastered telekinetic abilities and inside-the-womb communication. I was fortunate enough to interview both Nyla and Naomi prior to their grand entrance. Now that we are less than 4 months away from Natalie's arrival, I decided to dust off the skills and see what the sweet girl is up to these days...

DCG: Natalie, thank you so much for taking the time to speak with me today. I know you have a lot going on.
NGG: No problem, Daddy. Anything for you.
DCG: I'll remember that in 13 years when you pretend as though I don't exist. First question, how have you been feeling?
NGG: It's nice in here. I can feel myself growing stronger every day. Mommy eats good stuff for me to try.
DCG: I'm glad. No doubt you've had a chance to hear your older sisters the last 24 weeks. What are your impressions of them?
NGG: Most of the time they seem to be well-behaved. Nyla really likes coloring and crafting. Naomi really likes being loud.
DCG: I'd say that's a fairly accurate description. How do you think you'll fit into the family dynamic?
NGG: As long as everyone knows that I'm the baby, we'll all be good.
DCG: Hmmm. Naomi will beg to differ on that one...
NGG: She'll just get over it...
DCG: I think you underestimate her powers. But anyway, do you have any questions for me?
NGG: Yeah. Why did you almost know name me Erin Harrison?
DCG: I'm sorry. What?
NGG: You told Mommy that boy or girl, you wanted to name me Aaron/Erin Harrison. Why?
DCG: This.
NGG: Yeah you got loud during that.
DCG: You will learn the ways of the Wildcat, little one.
NGG: I look forward to it.
DCG: Ok, let's play a little word association. Tell me the first word that pops into your head when I say these things.
NGG: Got it.
DCG: Honest Toddler.
NGG: Role model. I hear what you and Mommy read each other.
DCG: Unfortunately, that's probably true. Next. March Madness.
NGG: You stay home from work and are loud.
DCG: Favorite activity with Nyla and Natalie in a few years.
NGG: Beating you at Ticket to Ride.
DCG: Unlikely.
NGG: Carcassonne.
DCG: Doubt it.
NGG: And Agricola.
DCG: Awfully confident I see.
NGG: Well, yeah.
DCG: Well, Natalie, my head is starting to hurt from all the brain power I'm using. Any final thoughts?
NGG: Yes, Daddy. I'm glad you asked. When I turn 16, I do not want a hand-me-down car that Nyla and Naomi drove. Let's work on that, ok?
DCG: ... you're dreaming... but I love you.

And with that, the interview was over. As always, it is great to hear from the baby before birth to prepare myself for her little personality. Have a great weekend!

-D

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Saying "Goodbye" to KDO


Last Friday was the girls last day at Bartlett United Methodist Church's Kid's Day Out program. We have been blessed by this wonderful group of ladies for 2+ years. It was definitely a bittersweet day for this mama as we said, "goodbye" to them. They've been so caring and loving to each of our girls. I definitely had a moment not long before I picked them up from school. I know that everyone eventually leaves this program but we're leaving in such a different way than most. My girls aren't moving up to the preschool program like most or all the kids are doing. We are leaving this program to pursue their education at home (but that's a story for another day). 


Ms. Debbie and Naomi

Ms. Linda and Naomi

Naomi and her "best friend" G.
She talked about this little boy often and when I asked her a few weeks ago who
she liked to play with his name came up. And not long after that she said he was her "best friend." Talk about heart melting. :) I had to get their picture together.

Ms. Angela, Nyla and Ms. Gretchen

Nyla and Dellia
Dellia is Ms. Angela's daughter who would stay and play quite a few times when Nyla was there.
They became fast friends and Nyla wanted her picture taken with her.

We have so many great memories from this wonderful place. Nyla started out in the summer of 2012 and was in Debbie and Linda's class. She was in the 2 year old class last year with Ms. Evelyn and Ms. Tracy and loved them, too. And now she leaves the 3 year old class. It's pretty crazy to think of her in the class Naomi is in now. They grow up so fast!
Naomi started out last summer in Debbie and Linda's class and was in there all this year. She loved both of them so much and looked forward to going to see them. She never had any issues walking into her class and sometimes barely said "bye" to me.

"Goodbye" for now KDO teachers and friends. We'll be back to visit when Natalie comes, per your request. :) Thanks for the love you gave to each of my girls. I know that each time they stepped through your doors they would be loved and cared for and this mama didn't have to worry about a thing. Thanks for that!

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Menu Plan Monday: May 19-25



Happy Sunday to y'all!
We spent the morning at our sweet church worshipping our God. The music team was rocking the house today. There was even a banjo played today. It was pretty awesome!

Daniel and I just finished our leftover fajita lunches and now we're enjoying the quiet of the house while the girls nap. This pregnant mama might not be too far behind. :) I've got to take advantage while I can with the whole sleep thing.

Before I nap, I figure I'd share my menu with you for the week. I've been much better about planning our meals lately. I guess that comes with more energy in the second trimester. I'm still staying away from sourdough recipes and Jason's deli. I have no idea why but those are the two things that are completely unappealing during this pregnancy. We all have our dislikes, right?!

My menu planning has gotten better since I'm planning monthly, for the most part. I print off a basic, monthly template for the month and plan at least every two weeks. Sometimes I'll move on and fill in spaces here and there for the rest of the month. I like the view of this better than anything else I've tried. I feel like at a glance it's just better for me. And I can hang this on our fridge and we can all see what's for dinner. Whatever works is what I'm all for during this time in my life.

Monday- pretzel honey mustard chicken {new}, brown rice and vegetables

Tuesday- lasagna leftovers (I have a Bible study tonight)

Wednesday- club sandwiches, chips and fruit or yogurt

Thursday- layered enchilada bake leftovers

Friday- pizza

Saturday- dinner with Gigi?? TBD

Sunday- dinner with my parents?? TBD

That's our menu for the week. If we don't have dinner with our families, we'll have something easy, like leftovers or sandwiches.

Saturday, May 17, 2014

My View Thursday

Thursday after work I played golf with a couple of co-workers. We could see the storm moving toward us as we teed off on #1. By the time we teed off on #3, the downpour hit. 15 minutes spent under a tree. Then we were treated to one of the best rainbows I've seen. Awesome view.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Strawberry Baking Day

Yesterday morning I spent close to 3 hours utilizing all the wonderful strawberries we picked Monday afternoon. Well, not all of them, but half of them.

I love freezer cooking and knew that most of the items I made were headed to the freezer. Since baby girl #3 is coming our way in less than 4 months, freezer cooking is always on my mind. I want yummy breakfasts, dinners and desserts at the ready for the first few months after I have her. It'll make life much easier and more calm caring for 2 "big" girls and a newborn.

Here's the list of what I made yesterday:
4 loaves of strawberry bread
2 strawberry cobblers (one with cream cheese)
2 strawberry pies
2 dozen strawberry muffins









I still have about half of the strawberries we picked leftover. Later this week or this weekend, I plan on making 1-2 batches of jam, chocolate covered strawberries for the girls Kid's Day Out teachers and whatever else I feel like we'll need in the coming months.

What are some of your favorite recipes containing strawberries?

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Strawberry Picking

Yesterday, the girls and I went strawberry picking after Kid's Day Out. We have a couple local farms in the area that have "pick your own" strawberries each Spring season. The one I'm most familiar with is nearest the Farmers Market we frequent. 

Off we went to the strawberry field. We chatted the whole way about what the field would look like and what the process entailed. They were very excited the entire ride to the strawberry field.

Here are a few pictures from our big day!


Nyla girl loved picking the strawberries

I was a little concerned Naomi wouldn't get that she needed to pick the juicy, red and ripe strawberries but with a little guidance and reminding a couple times, she got it.



Nyla was extremely focused on her task of filling her bucket. She sat down quite a few times in some different spots and picked all around her. She was totally into it. Today, she asked to go back. No one was allowed to fill her bucket but her. :)  



Naomi did a great job filling her bucket. I filled mine pretty quick and helped her but only a little bit. 

Our haul! It was $13 per white bucket and the guy said he'd give me the green one, usually $4, if I just gave him $40, we'd call it even. I was down with that! 

I washed them all and put them on my pans in a single layer so the weight of the top ones wouldn't crush the bottom ones, if they stayed in the bucket. Today is baking day in my home. Tomorrow I'll post on a few items I made from only half the strawberries!
Do you have any local "pick your own" places that you go to each year?

Friday, May 9, 2014

At Our Home: April

We've had a fairly busy April, as most months are around here. Between 2 days of KDO (thankfully, that's over next week!), zoo trips and play dates this pregnant mama is pooped! Here's a glimpse into our April.



We are bookworms around here!

This girls love to color! She's been working on her little workbooks I picked up at the Dollar Tree for fun. She is mastering writing her letters.

Our tomato plants finally went into the ground. I was adventurous and planted over 30 tomatoes, a dozen peppers and half a dozen okra. There's no telling how they'll do or what I'll do with all of them. I want to can them but that'll happen right when I have baby, so we'll see!

We traveled to see my Grandmother in Georgia  and the girls did great.
This is Nyla's drawing of Daddy. She's so sweet!

Grammy (my Grandmother) had some great toys. She still had old blocks my grandfather made, as well as lego's, baby dolls and so much more. And it's all toys I remember playing with as a girl. What great memories!

Our last day in GA we went to a local park and let the girls  run off some energy. They had a big cement tube that the girls found entertaining. It's fun watching them in new places and experiencing new things.

Naomi was a little timid about the tube but after Nyla  went through she decided it was okay to try.

Our little church had the annual Easter egg hunt. Naomi was totally into it this year. She was fun to watch.

Nyla, on the other hand, wasn't too interested in hunting. She gathered as many as she wanted and went back inside. 

We had a nice, warm day so we headed to the zoo in our new outfits from Gigi.

Mama and Baby #3 get excellent prenatal care from the big sisters!

We had our big reveal for baby #3 a couple weeks ago. I did a special reveal for Nyla and Naomi and wanted baby #3 to have that too. My sister gave me the idea to buy balloons for the reveal... blue for boy or pink for girl. Daniel and I went to my OB appointment together and I bought balloons that night for the gender we were having. The big reveal happened the next night. This was the hardest secret to keep for 36 hours! My dad was the funniest about it. He texted me all day Wednesday and all day Thursday asking if I wanted to tell him or that it was okay to tell him. He cracked me up!

And baby #3 is a girl! Natalie will join our family in early September. I have to say I was more shocked we were having another girl than Daniel was. We are thankful she's healthy and the pregnancy is going well.

We've had tons of outside time and it's been great! Naomi's little imagination has really grown the last few months and it's been fun watching her grown each day. She took off the top piece of our water table and called it an inhaler. Obviously, they have breathing issues and know what an inhaler is. But for her to take that off and start saying, "I need my haler" (she calls it her haler), she had Nyla and I cracking up. Then she was trying to put it on Nyla's face, "Use your haler Nyla." Too funny!

Daniel and I celebrated 6 years together on the 26th! We like to go out for a nice dinner (if we can) each year.  Every year we go to J. Alexander's. It's always a nice place, great service and fantastic food. We are never disappointed and this meal was no different. I always get Steak Maui (a ribeye with a sweet marinade and it's full of flavor) with a side dish. Wow, it's good!

Because of all the cold we had this winter our Spring has come a little late but it's been so nice to see everything blooming. My iris's have gone absolutely crazy this year. This picture was the beginning stages of the iris's. Now I've got at least 2 dozen blooming around our mailbox. I can't wait for the Daylilies and Black Eyed Susans' to bloom this Summer.

On another trip to the zoo we visited the farm and saw they have 2 new additions. Two baby sheep have joined the family farm and they were so sweet. The little black one came up to the fence so I pet it. The girls thought it was funny.

Of all the zoo has to offer, the Koi pond is a favorite feature to the girls. I guess they love all the colors. We spent quite awhile watching all the fish and talking about their colors. The fish must've thought we were going to feed them because they kept getting closer and closer to us.

Nyla has become obsessed with little piggy tail braids. She has wanted them almost everyday for the last 2 weeks. She looks super cute with them in.

Sweet Naomi has been showing me everything she colors. This is her Jesse Bear that she colored months ago but is still loving. She likes to show it to me from time to time and this was one of those times.


That's all that's happened in our month of April. That's certainly enough, isn't it? I'm ready for Kid's Day Out to be done and we can get into our routine of being together everyday. We're ready for our summer together!