Friday, September 30, 2011

Cooking with the Shaws - Fresh Apple Pound Cake

Fall is here, people!! It’s glorious! Right now is that perfect time when it’s getting cooler but the time hasn’t changed yet so it doesn’t get dark so early. 
This recipe screams fall. I know some people don’t like fruit cooked into cakes and stuff. I used to be one of those people. But If you aren’t one of those people, try this one…you won’t be disappointed. Thanks, Libby!
Fresh Apple Pound Cake (pg 226)
3 c flour
2 c sugar
1 ½ c oil
3 eggs
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla
3 c peeled, diced apples
1 c chopped nuts
1 c shredded coconut
Mix sugar, oil and eggs; beat well. Mix flour, soda and salt. Add to first mixture. Add vanilla. Mix apples, nuts and coconut. Add to other mixture. Pour into greased and floured tube pan. Bake one hour and twenty minutes at 350 F.

I really liked it. I thought the coconut might be odd in it, but it wasn’t. And if you don’t like coconut, don’t write this recipe off…you can’t taste it. It adds a certain je ne sais quoi.
I also liked that this cake didn’t have spices in it. It’s nice to have the apple be the star without nutmeg or cinnamon or all spice trying to take over.
I used pecans for the nuts, but that’s just what I do. Walnuts would also be great.

I would also like to wish Michael a HAPPY BIRTHDAY!! He’s working. He always works on his birthday. Doesn’t matter if it’s a Saturday or Sunday or if he asks off or not….somehow he always ends up working. I have finished his cupcakes. I usually do more elaborate decorated cakes, but I just didn’t have it in me this year. I made Snickers Cupcakes…recipe to come later. If I’m going to blog every day of October, I’m gonna need lots of post ideas. We are heading to my parents’ as soon as Michael gets home. Joseph must be ultra excited because I put him down for his nap almost an hour ago and he is still in there partying. He’s making a heck of a racket with something and I have no idea what that something would be….He’s not crying so I’m not going back in there. Well, guess I should get to packing and loading the car!

I think I figured out what the banging was...I think he killed his humidifier. There wasn't any water in it and it wasn't on, so I'm still not going back there! :)

Thursday, September 29, 2011

What I'm Working On - 9-29-11

I've been moving along nicely on my cross stitch. I've been working on it about an hour a day during Joseph's naps. I'm on back stitching now and this one doesn't have a whole lot of backstitching so I should have it done by next week. Then I will have to frame it and and get my Halloween decor together.

It's been a good week here so far. Joseph started his second month of gymnastics today. He's really made a lot of progress. He still won't sit still and "stretch" before class. He runs around like maniac instead. I used to hold him down but he would just scream and that was more disruptive than him running around. He did sit down in the circle for a minute or 2 today so that was progress. We had a busy morning today.....gymnastics, paying car taxes/renewing registration, had the car washed, went to the bank and to the grocery for the 2nd day in a row. I forgot to get the stuff to make Michael's birthday cake when I went yesterday...his birthday is tomorrow. We finished the morning getting a happy meal at McDonalds. Joseph then poured his bbq sauce in his Hi-C and then dipped his nuggets in that. Maybe he's a culinary genius, but it just sounds gross. Yesterday he put all his mac and cheese in his apple juice and then ate his noodles one by one. Weirdo. But as long as he eats, I'm happy.

We are going to Tennessee to visit my parents this weekend. We haven't been down since the end of July. That's a LONG time for me. I know my parents are going to be floored when they see how much Joseph has changed and how much more he can do now.

I have a goal of blogging every day during the month of October. So you will all be hearing from me more often very soon.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Cooking with the Shaws - Golden Potato Casserole

Now this one is not your weeknight style side dish. I would say this falls into more of a special occasion or Sunday dinner dish. It's good...let me tell you, but it's kind of time consuming. This one comes from Mary Ann, Rosie, and Lillian.

Golden Potato Casserole (pg 195)

6 medium potatoes
2 c shredded cheddar cheese
1/4 c butter or margarine
2 c sour cream at room temperature
1/3 c chopped green onion
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp white pepper
2 Tbsp butter

Cook potatoes in skins, cool, then peel and coarsely shred (I just popped them in the microwave to cook). In saucepan over low heat combine cheese and butter. Stir until melted. Remove from heat and blend in sour cream, onion, salt, and pepper. Add potatoes, stirring lightly. Turn into a buttered 2 qt casserole. Dot with 2 tablespoons of butter and bake at 350 until heated through, about 25 minutes.

Everything that is in this recipe is so right, I don't know how it could ever be wrong. It was a hit! So creamy and cheesy and potatoey just the way it should be. Enjoy!

We went to the barn tonight. It was the first time we have taken Smokey. He did so good on the trail ride. Stayed by Spice's side the whole time. I couldn't have been happier. Joseph had a blast playing in the shavings and trying to feed the horses. He also rode with me for a few minutes. I love having him in the saddle with me. It was a fantastic way to spend an evening.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Secretariat Festival Big Red 5K 2011

 Although I haven't run in a few weeks and haven't really trained since early July, I stuck with me plan to run the Secretariat Festival Big Red 5K. I had pretty much decided not to run it....I mean, I haven't been training and it's a long drive (an hour) for a race that I don't think I'll do well in. But when I looked closely at the entry form and saw that the run had been moved to Adena Springs Farm, I started seriously considering it again. When else am I going to get the chance to take a run through a beautiful horse farm? So, I sent in my entry and luckily it made it in time for me to get the early entry price..I'm always looking to save a few bucks. :) The shirt was super cute, so you know I was happy!
It was a gorgeous fall morning and about 50 degrees which is perfect running weather for me. The scenery did not disappoint although I only saw one horse in the pastures and that was a draft type horse that we saw as we were driving in. It was a super hilly course and I felt my lack of training. I decided that I would be happy if I ran it in less than 38 minutes. Well, I made it in 36:59! Not too shabby for having to walk most of the hills after 1.5 miles. You can see the results here. I also beat my last year's time by 11 seconds. It's kinda sad that Joseph wore the same jacket last year. My skinny little man.
 Michael snapped some pics with his phone.
 I was trying to get Joseph to clap for me. He wouldn't.

The most exciting part of the day was getting to see Giacomo the winner of the Kentucky Derby in 2005. Joseph was being really fussy after the race so I wanted to take him to see some horses. Michael said he had seen some in the barn by where we had parked and no one had told him to leave when he took Joseph back there during the race. So, I walked on into the barn. I saw some workers and just waved at them. They didn't tell me to leave, so I stayed. Joseph got mad pretty quick because he wanted to touch the horses and I wouldn't let him because I knew they were stallions and they have a tendency to bite. One of the workers came down to where I was, but still didn't tell me to leave. Joseph was starting to cry though so I thought we should probably leave. I didn't want to make the horses nervous. On my way out, I saw this gorgeous grey horse and looked at his name plate and saw "Giacomo." Now, I don't follow horse racing closely or anything, but I tend to remember Derby winners. I was like, "nooo...can't be." But it was. I was really lucky to see him too since they shut the doors to the barn right after we left...coincidence, I think not. I'm still pretty stoked about it...that's the closest I've ever been to a Derby winner. 

I guess my next race will probably be the Black Cat Chase in Frankfort at the end of October. It's usually my last race of the year and I'm already making plans for races for next year and am thinking of doing a half marathon next year. Something to think about. Running a race always gives me the race planning bug.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

What I'm Working On - 9-22-11

 Last year I did this whole "What I'm Working On" weekly update on the blog. It showed week by week what my cross stitch projects looked like. Then I stopped....almost exactly a year ago. And I didn't pick up a needle and thread again until this week. When Joseph turned 6 months old (one year ago exactly), he stopped sleeping well, eating solids, and didn't really grow much for the next 6 months. I say that all heck broke loose between 6 months and a year. I didn't really do projects after that. But, I'm back. It's getting cooler outside and that always just brings out my creativity. I love to cross stitch and almost always have one or sometimes two going at all times in the fall and winter. The one I'm working on now is a Halloween cross stitch so I need to get on finishing it. Here is is a year ago when I put it away:

Here it is today:

I had to go buy some thread last night. I didn't have all the colors I needed. I usually improvise but I don't have a picture of this one finished and don't really know what the colors need to be.

Joseph has FINALLY gotten back to eating well!! I have discovered that he loves hot dogs...and why wouldn't he? They are fabulous. He even branched out today with a corn dog. Eating had really improved his mood. He is not quite as quick to have a meltdown now. I just hope it continues.

Hope you are all having a great week! I am working on some Shaw Family recipes and will get more of those up soon!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Thankful and Thoughtful

(I know the jersey is the wrong color, but I had to throw Michael a bone and buy it for Joseph)

I went to my MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) meeting this morning. I made Lemon Creamcheese Coffee Cake from the Shaw Family Cookbook that I will be posting later. But this post is not about delicious food...although I can tell you that it was delightful and I did not bring any home. We had a "Mom Mentor" panel at the meeting this morning consisting of moms of all ages from moms with grown chicldren and grandchildren and moms with toddlers and teenagers. They answered questions ranging from potty training and discipline to how they made time for themselves. They all had really differing views and advice and it was really nice to have insight from others who have been there. I know I'm a newbie and haven't begun to tackle a lot of the issues with raising a good Christian boy. One lady sitting next to me raised her hand to ask a question and broke down in tears. Her husband had left her and her 3 little children (don't know the ages, but I know they are 3 years apart). He wasn't helping her support the children right now and she had to move in with her dad who then kicked her out because they had a disagreement over discipling her kids. She is living with her former in laws and, of course, had to go back to work. None of us could offer her a ton of advice other than to pray and have faith that the Lord will take care of her. It made me very thankful for Michael. He may not pick up his Mountain Dew cans and they may pile up on the counters waiting on him to take them out. We may not always agreen on how to raise Joseph, but he loves me and he loves our son with everything he has. I should thank the Lord every minute for my family. So, that's all for today.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Cooking with the Shaws - Tasty Green Bean Dish

I am always looking for different ways to prepare the same old thing. This is a fantastic way to jazz up canned green beans. I was a little scared of it at first when I realized that 8 Tbsp of vinegar is like ½ a cup!! Ok, I was a lot scared….but I went ahead anyway. Maybe I used a little less vinegar…. Either way, Dot has a great green bean recipe here.

Tasty Green Bean Dish

2 (16 oz) cans green beans

1 onion, sliced thin

½ package sliced almonds

8 Tbsp vinegar

8 Tbsp sugar

8 slices bacon

Drain and place one can of beans in a 1 quart casserole dish. Place onion slices over beans. Drain and layer other can of green beans over onions. Mix vinegar, sugar, and almonds. Pour over bean layers. Refrigerate for several hours before cooking. Fry the bacon. Pour bacon fat over beans and crumble bacon on top. Bake at 350 for 1 hour.

Ok, so the first time I read that I needed to refrigerate this for several hours was, oh, about an hour and a half before I was going to serve it. So, instead of several hours, it was several minutes. It still turned out good. Everyone seemed to like it a lot. Except maybe Joseph….but he really doesn’t do green things. He did eat the bacon off the top though. That’s my boy!

I think this would be fantastic for holiday dinners and such. And Thanksgiving and Christmas are just around the corner! Where did August go?

Sliding down the slide at Michael's Employee Appreciation....he only did the obstacle course 50 times or so! :)

Picking the perfect apple

We had a fantastic weekend. We had a yardsale, and while I didn't have a lot of people stop, I sold a lot of stuff. I deem it a success. We went to a birthday party for Michael's dad on Saturday and had a blast. Even if Joseph did have a tumble and scratch his nose pretty good. I think he'll live though. Sunday we went to Michael's work Employee Appreciation Day. Joseph had more fun than anyone there probably. He loved the inflatables. He was so good and didn't even get cranky when we stayed way past naptime!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Cooking with the Shaws - Quick Corn Light Bread

I love this bread. It’s my mom’s recipe so I’ve had it quite a bit over the years. This was actually my first time to make it myself. It was easy peasy!  Don’t know why it’s called “quick” though….an hour to bake? Quick to mix, maybe. Well worth the bake time though…

Quick Corn Light Bread (pg 109)
1 cup plain flour
1 cup plain meal
½ cup sugar
2 cups buttermilk
2 Tbsp shortening
¼ tsp salt
¼ tsp baking soda
Combine all ingredients together and place in a well greased loaf pan with waxed paper on the bottom. Bake at 350 for 1 hour or until done.

If I ever have a restaurant…which I doubt…this will definitely be a staple. It goes great with soups and I bet it would make great croutons. I could also see it as the base for an open faced sandwich. The texture is out of this world.  I could eat a whole loaf.
One thing though…make sure the shortening is very soft or it is hard to get it all mixed together.
Try it…you’ll like it!!

Smokey is fitting in well. We are having some normal "puppy" issues trying to teach him what to chew on and what not to. That's to be expected. It's really hard when he's chewing on something of Joseph's and I take it away only to have Joseph go right back and give it to Smokey again. He just wants to share.
Joseph is another story completely. He has been a monster more often that not lately. I don't know if it's the terrible twos already or what!! He is really into throwing tantrums and being whiny a lot and hits me in the face when he's mad...that's the worst. We are working on it. My biggest issue is staying calm. I've been getting easily frustrated lately. 

Well, cleaning calls. I haven't been feeling well and my kitchen has kinda gone to pot. I love you, Michael, but cleaning is not your forte. So the kitchen and I had it out earlier. We both said some things that I know we will regret. :) The kitchen was throwing out phrases like, "grease fire" and fruit fly infestation" and I was brings such gems as "bleach" and "trash can" to the conversation. I haven't wanted to cook anything in there so I've got to get back in there and take back what is mine.


Monday, September 12, 2011

Cooking with the Shaws - Pork Tenderloin

This was the main dish I made for the in-laws last weekend. It was a hit. We haven’t been eating a whole lot of pork lately….it’s gotten so expensive! We pretty much stick with chicken and beef (since I have a freezer full of beef). I decided to splurge and make Linda’s Pork Tenderloin. It was a nice switch, I have to say. Pork is such a nice sweet meat. Don't be discouraged by the did not photograph well, but it tasted wonderful!

Pork Tenderloin (pg 154)
1 pork tenderloin
½ c Italian breadcrumbs
1 egg
½ c milk
½ c parmesan cheese
¼ c butter
Cut tenderloin into 4 to 5 inch pieces. Combine bread crumbs and cheese in a shallow dish. Combine egg and milk in another dish. Dip meat in egg mixture and then dredge in crumb mixture. Brown meat on all sides in butter. Place in a baking dish and bake at 375 for 30 to 45 minutes or until done.
Linda recommends serving this with wild rice. I’m sure that’s great, but I didn’t do that. I think it would be great with anything really…mashed potatoes, fettuccine alfredo, etc.
We loved it. It was even good shredded and eaten on sandwiches the next day. YUM!
Good Stuff!!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Meet Smokey

 We dedicated most of our weekend to dog hunting. After a long and exhausting application process I was finally cleared to visit Rose and Dusty. Evidently the Shelter that had Cam "tried" to get a hold of me to talk about one of my references and when I didn't answer the phone the one time they called, they assumed I was no longer interested in the dog and adopted him to someone else. Grr. He had been my number one to that point.

Well, we went to Paris Friday evening to check out Rose, a border collie lab mix. I loved her. Her hair was so soft and she was so loving and happy to be out of her kennel. But she was 55 lbs of rambunctious lab. Shelby frankly seemed annoyed by her. She gave Joseph kisses and made him giggle. However, we worried that she wouldn't just knock Joseph down, but might send him flying across the room.

Saturday we went to Petsmart in Lexington to visit Dusty, a border collie beagle mix. She was 20 lbs of timidness and her foster mom said she could be kinda neurotic. No biggie...Shelby needs counseling too. She was so sweet and had had such a hard time finding a home. My heart just went out to her. I liked that she was small and border collie and beagle mixes are awesome. That's what Shelby is although I'm certain he has some hound in him as well. She got after Shelby when he got a bit too "sniffy" so he was kind of leery of her. Joseph was tired and grumpy since he decided he needed to get up at 5:45 that morning so he really didn't want anything to do with her. We left still undecided.

We grabbed some fast food and started discussing the dogs. We both liked Rose but she is just a lot of dog. We both also liked Dusty, but didn't really know if we wanted another neurotic dog like Shelby.

We had looked at the dogs available at the KY Humane Society in Louisville and both like a dog named Bernie who was a 7 month old hound mix. He was a little younger than I was wanting, but he aced his temperment and behavior test and was approved for toddlers. I called them up to make sure he was still available. He was. So we trucked on to Louisville which also gave Joseph some time to nap in the car.

Bernie actually turned out to look just about identical to Shelby in build. He's smaller, but he will probably end up being the same size. The meet and greet with him and Shelby went well. We decided that Bernie was a good happy medium. Not too rambunctious, but not timid. We actually thought that we would keep the name Bernie, but Michael just couldn't remember it and decided we needed to change it. The UT game was on at the time so I suggested Smokey after the mascot. We both liked it and it has stuck.

He is such a sweet little dog and refuses to get on the furniture but I'm sure that will change eventually. Shelby seems happier already with his new friend. And I couldn't ask for a better dog around Joseph.

I hope you all had a great weekend! Joseph and I are both a little sick and puny. It hit me hard last night. And of course, Joseph refuses to slow down!!

 Yes, Joseph is still in his PJs...that's what happens when mom doesn't feel well.

Joseph thinks Smokey is his dog

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Cooking with the Shaws - Chicken Fried Steak

Growing up, I was not a fan of chicken fried steak. It was just ok in my book. It wasn’t until a couple of years ago when I was trying to use up some round steak that I had in the freezer that I tried it again. It was pretty good. That was just a recipe I threw together. This one is from Aunt Janey. I really liked using the crackers for the breading. It gave a great crunch and saltiness.
Chicken Fried Steak
1 ½ lb beef top round steak, cut in ¼ in slices
1 egg, beaten
1 Tbsp milk
1 cup finely crushed saltine crackers
¼ c vegetable oil
1 tsp salt
¼ tsp black pepper
2 Tbsp flour
1 ½ c milk or water

Pound beef slices to flatten and tenderize. Mix egg and 1 Tbsp milk in a pie pan or shallow dish. Dip meat slices in egg and milk mixture and then coat with cracker crumbs. Heat oil in a heavy skillet. Brown Meat on both sides. When meat is browned, sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cover skillet, reduce heat and cook slowly for 45 to 60 minutes or until tender. Remove meat to a platter and keep warm.
To make gravy, reserve 2 to 3 Tbsp of meat drippings in skillet. Blend 2 Tbsp flour into drippings. Add 1 ½ c milk or water. Heat, stirring to boiling. Season to taste and serve with meat.

As I said before, this is a fantastic chicken fried steak recipe. The 45 to 60 minute cook time was either too long or my stove was too hot because mine got a touch burnt on the bottom. It was still delicious. Just watch the steaks. I also didn't cut them into 1/4 in slices....I just cut the round steak up into individual portions and went from there. Mine was probably 1/2 in thick.

I didn’t make the gravy. Neither Michael nor I are big gravy fans so I skipped the effort.
We had a good Labor Day weekend. Sunday evening we went to my friend Kelly's house. She has a little girl that is 5 months older than Joseph and twin boys that are 6 months old. It's a busy family. We grilled out in the rain and had a big old time watching Joseph and Samantha play. They were too cute.

All the dishes turned out great Saturday night so that's 5 more Shaw recipes done!!

I know some of you don't care, but for the ones that do...we still haven't adopted a dog. We have 3 that we really like and have applications in on them. We were having problems being turned down automatically because a lot of shelters didn't want to adopt to a family with a toddler. *Rolls Eyes* I can understand their concern, but it's frustrating. If you want to see the ones we are seriously considering check them out:

Well, I guess that's all for today!! Hope you are having a great Tuesday!!

Saturday, September 3, 2011

An Ambitious Menu

Joseph a year ago all dressed in orange for the UT game...look at those cheeks!

I am having the in-laws over tonight for dinner. My mother-in-law is a reader of my blog and was interested in all these Shaw recipes. So, I decided to have her over for a complete Shaw family inspired meal. Here's the menu:

Linda's Pork Tenderloin
Dot's Tasty Green Bean Dish
Mary Ann, Rosie, and Lillian's Golden Potato Casserole
Mom's Quick Corn Lite Bread
Libby's Fresh Apple Pound Cake

I have the apple pound cake in the oven. It smells divine!! I hope I can get it all done! So you know what recipes you will see on the blog for the next little bit!!

We have had a good weekend so far. We went to the barn this morning and Joseph went for a little ride with me. He was so much more relaxed about it today. He helped me brush Spice when we were done. I gave him the face brush which is just the right size for his little hands. He even fed her some treats. But when I pulled out the actual peppermints for him to give to her, he decided he would keep those for himself. :)

I hope you all are having a great long weekend!!

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Cooking with the Shaws - Butter Me Not Rolls

As I have said before, I like to have a bit of bread with my supper. If I'm doing a "meat and 2 sides" kind of meal, I like a roll or buttered bread with it. Mayonaise muffins are my usual go to quick bread. I'm not sure if I have ever posted them on here. I will have to check and if not, I will put them up later. They are so simple and good.

Anyway, Susan's Butter Me Not Rolls (pg 93) are another good quick bread that I ran across. They have a stick of butter in them, so what is not to like?

Butter Me Not Rolls

1 stick butter or margarine, melted
2 cups bisquick
8 oz sour cream

Combine all ingredients and place in cups of muffin tin. Bake at 375 for 15 minutes.

And for heaven's sake...don't butter these before eating them!! :)

I liked them. I don't know that they will take the place of my mayo muffins, but they will be good to switch in every once in a while. They have a very nice texture...almost silky.

I promise, I will get around to posting the recipe for that chicken fried steak soon (also a Shaw recipe).

Joseph started gymnastics today. It was kinda rough. He spotted some balls as soon as we got to the gym and that's really all he wanted to do. He threw a fit when I made him come over to participate. He did pretty good on the balance beam and he liked the tumble track (a big inflated thing with sides to keep them from falling off), but he didn't really tumble. He mostly liked it because he could get right in the middle of it and I couldn't reach him. He liked that. At the end they put big blocks on the balance beam and they were supposed to kick them off when they got to them. Of course, Joseph had no idea what he was we "made" him kick the block and that just tickled the fire out of him. He was giggling so much he just completely lost any balance he had. We got him back together and went to the next block which he starting trying to kick when he was about 2 feet away from it. It was really comical. I wasn't really expecting so much actual gymnastics. I was think it would be just inflatables and mats and stuff. I do think it's interesting to see what these little guys can do.

Oh and I realized I never gave an update on Pumpkin. I did take her to the vet and had some bloodwork done. Since she wasn't in peril, we had it sent off to save some money. I missed the vet's call yesterday but the tests came back normal. So we are left with it being some sort of skin mite (since Daysie doesn't have any signs of that, I doubt she has mites), a food allergy, or stress. I'm supposed to call the vet back and talk to her but I haven't yet. I'm not in the best of moods today and really don't feel like hearing the "you must feed Science Diet" spill. She's a good vet, but like all vets these days, they just drink the Science Diet Kool Aid. I'm not getting into my thoughts on Science Diet on here. Just know that I do not buy their food.

Well, I hope you are all having a fantastic Thursday! College football starts tonight so I'm pretty excited! My Mississippi State Bulldogs take on Memphis tonight at 8! Woo Hoo!! I've got my maroon on!