Homemade Cream Cheese

February 13, 2010

Making your own cream cheese is so easy, super scrumptious, and inexpensive. This is the softest creamiest cream cheese evah!!!
All you have to do is get a quart (or two- because believe me, you are going to love this stuff) of full fat plain yogart. Do not skimp and go for the low fat- and don’t even get me started on the low fat craze. In fact, The Man just told me that he needed to go back on a low fat diet so that he would gain some weight. Ha!!!! This time I am using greek yogart, but regular yogart makes creamy deliciousness as well.
Spread cheese cloth over a bowl, and dump the yogart on top. Allow the liquid to drain out, and voila… what you have left is cream cheese. For certain varieties of yogart, you may need to tie the cheese cloth to a wooden spoon and place it across the top of a deeper bowl to allow more liquid to drain. I have not had to do that yet, but may need to with the greek yogart.
The liquid that is left is whey. It will last in your fridge for 6 months and is perfect for soaking grains with excellent health benefits. Your cream cheese will last in the fridge for 2 months (if you don’t eat it in a week).
After you make your cream cheese, I highly recommend making some caramel popcorn and dipping it into the cheese. I think I’ll go have some now.
In joy, troye

Fall Family Camping

October 19, 2009

At the beginning of the school year, J-Man came home from school begging to go to the Cub Scout information meeting. I don’t know what the council is paying that recruiter, but they need to raise his salary. J-Man was insistent!
So, against my better judgement, I sent The Man with him just to see what it was all about- with strict instructions not to volunteer for anything! And, definitely DO NOT mention that you are an Eagle Scout because they will have you running the pack. They came home that evening the newest Cub Scout and Den Leader.
I must admit that they are BOTH having a blast in Scouts, and it really does teach the kids a lot of value added lessons.
This weekend was Cub Scout Family Camping Weekend (on the coldest weekend of the year- freezing temps threatened). On Friday afternoon when we were offered a perfectly wonderful, warm, cozy cabin to stay in, I tried to sway them, but I lost. Since there was NO chance of rain in the forecast, I went along. I actually enjoy camping, and prefer cold weather camping, but I cannot handle rain.
At the den meeting before we left, the boys made fire starters, and practiced setting up and taking down a tent.

We were assigned a campsite on the side of a mountain, and this area had to accommodate nineteen families. They were like sardines for the second night, which was fortunate since there was snow in the forecast. We’re not sure if the boys earned thier polar bear patch (for camping when the temp drops below 32 degrees), but they sure did come close if not.

We had to fight not to slide down the hill all night as we slept. Good times!


Since it rained the first night, and off and on all day Saturday, I had to sacrifice and take D-Man home. It was difficult to sleep in my nice warm bed with the heat on.
But, we stayed through the day Saturday and had a blast.

We started up a whole new generation of pyromaniacs.

Both boys got to shoot bb guns…

Looking so studly in the safety goggles…


…and, bow and arrows…

It is difficult to see below, but J-Man got a bullseye, and hit the target four other times. He also won the award for the day for launching one of his arrows the farthest beyond the target. We had to send out a search party.

The only thing that we didn’t get to do was fish. It was quite devastating! Look at that face.

Someone totally cheated!!!!!!!!

All in all it was a fantastic weekend! All three boys had a blast, and they can’t wait to do it again.

September 13, 2009

Let me apologize to anyone who stumbles upon this blog today. I am going to be bragging unashamedly on my son, the triathlete, and there will be an ungodly amount of photos!
J-Man did a triathalon today. 50 meter swim, 2 mile bike, and 500 meter run! He did so awesome!!!!!

He waited patiently to jump into the pool, and then he passed four kids in the water. He did not hold back…
Until he got out of the water and decided to use his first transition time to pose for the camera and wave to the crowd.
Here he is posing with his brother, and ready for the race in his transition area. Check out that stud! As we walked into the park to prepare, he asked, “I wonder how I am going to win this thing?”

Thumbs up! Look at all of those yellow caps.


Jumping in the water!


That is J-Man’s yellow head climbing out of the pool (ahead of everyone, I might add).

Taking his time in T1.

Out on the bike.

Go speed racer!

T2


Out for the run…
Look at that determination!!!

Finished!

This is what D-Man thought of the situation at times.


Our friend Sarah Grace competed as well. Here they are trying to act “too cool” at the finish line!


We had so much fun. I think that The Man got just as much of a work out as J did, running after him to take pics. We were so proud. I have to admit that I even got a little choked up watching him cross the finish line so strong as they called his name and he ran through the finishing ribbon!!!!! He worked so hard and is ready to do another tri as soon as possible.

Duelling Mohawks

July 27, 2009

J-Dawg has only 2 weeks left of his mohawk, so we decided to cut one for The Man as well.
Don’t they look tough? Don’t mess with them!

A Decade!

June 5, 2009

Happy Anniversary, Babe!!!!!! It has been ten amazing years. Thank you for loving me- and let’s just be real- thank you for putting up with me for ten years. You are the perfect man for me! LU!

Crazy how we got married when we were 17, right?

We made these burgers for the second time this weekend, and they are the best burgers EVER…as long as you have someone to work the grill…like my man! No need to limit them to the summer as the recipe says either. These are delicious when it is cold outside as well.

Summer Feta Burger with Gourmet Cheese Spread

1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese,
softened
1 clove garlic, minced
2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
1 red onion, minced
2 lbs beef
1 1/2 cups crumbled feta
1/4 cup red wine
1 egg
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon fresh-ground black pepper

1 large heirloom tomato, sliced
1 medium red onion, sliced
8 leaves green leaf lettuce leaves
8 Kaiser rolls, split
Directions:
1. In a medium bowl, combine cream cheese, 1 clove minced garlic, basil, and dill. Cover and set aside.
2. Heat the olive oil in a medium skillet over medium heat and cook 1 clove minced garlic and onion for 4 to 6 minutes, or until translucent. Remove from heat and allow to cool.
3. Preheat an outdoor grill for high heat and lightly oil grate.
4. While the grill is heating, gently mix together the cooked garlic and onion, ground beef, pork sausage, feta cheese, red wine, egg, salt, and pepper in a large bowl. Do not over work the meat mixture. Divide into 8 equal parts and form into patties.
5. Grill patties on preheated grill for 5 to 10 minutes per side, until well done. Toast the split buns on the grill for 1 to 2 minutes. Assemble the burgers by spreading 1 1/2 tablespoon of the cheese and herb spread to both the top and bottom of each roll. Place patties on the bottom half of the rolls and stack a slice of tomato, sliced red onion, and a leaf of lettuce on each burger. Add the roll tops and serve.

ENJOY!

In joy, Troye

Favorite Pantry

February 25, 2009

A random Favorite Things Friday post…I realized a couple of months ago, that I have never lived in a house long enough to need to re-organize anything. About the time that we got to the point of needing a little fresh organization in our home, we would move, which allows for re-organization in and of itself.
Since we have lived in this house almost three years now, it is time to make a few adjustments. I started with the pantry…
Since we have wire shelving in our pantry, I started out by having The Man cut very thin pieces of plywood to fit the shelves. I covered them in contact paper, and now small bottles don’t fall over, and the weight is a little more evenly distributed.
I also added baskets to contain things like bags of chips, granola bars, and small baking items.
I also put things like extra flour, sugar, and oats in plastic containers. I want to switch to all glass, but that will take time (and $).
I added a shelf of quart sized glass jars to contain snack items such as raisins, popcorn, nuts and trail mix, and The Man cut a couple of two by fours to give some heighth for the back row. Looks great, huh?
Finally, although my spices are in a different place in my kitchen, I count those as part of pantry organization. I added a couple of tiered lazy susans- one with sweet spices, and one with savory- to be able to see (almost) all spices at a glance. I used to keep them in a bin that I had to pull out every time I needed something.

In total, this project only cost about $20 (for the lazy susans, quart sized mason jars-which I actually already had, plywood and contact paper).

Party Pooped!!!

December 31, 2008

What a holiday season! This was the year of the party.
We started with pajama day in J-Man’s classroom and the arrival of The Polar Express. Do you see the children sitting on the train? Their second grade book buddies joined us for the party.

After Ms. Corrigan read The Polar Express to the class, the teachers served a hot cocoa bar with fresh whipped cream, mini marshmellows, crushed peppermint, and colored sprinkles.
One second greader declared it “the best hot chocolate” he had ever tasted! Thanks, Buddy!
After hot cocoa, we got a call from the office that a very cold package had arrived from the North Pole. Our jingle bell necklaces had been shipped via magic straight to our school. They were still cold even!

Next was D’s holiday party at school, in which all I had to do was send in a couple of boxes of graham crackers. Whew!

Check out this cute kiddo in the Santa hat.

Next was J-Man’s school party. We decorated the teachers,decorated cookies for our snack,played a little bingo and M&M straw grab,made reindeer food to leave out for Rudolph on Christmas Eve,and made adorable snowman pins out of buttons (sorry no close up photo), and jingle bell door hangers.Somewhere in those days, we even managed to decorate gingerbread houses at homeand our family Christmas tree.

There was also a grown- up dinner party complete with leg of lamb, cocktails, and peppermint ice cream cake somewhere in the mix. How did I miss getting photos of that? Hmmmm……

We then celebrated Christmas with The Man’s fam.


Complete with cul-de-sac football.
What a grab!

One of my favorite parties of the year is our annual Happy Birthday Jesus Party. Our craft this year was a terra cotta nativity.
The Force was with D-Man’s Mary and Joseph. I did not, however, allow him to glue them there like he wanted.
We read the Christmas Story and decorated our small tree with nativity ornaments,
and we sang Happy Birthday to Jesus (even though I am pretty sure D thinks we are singing to him here).
Finally, two days before Christmas. we had our home Polar Express party with the Sanfords.
Palette…Poses…
Popcorn and cocoa…
and Jaxon’s constant reminders that the movie is about a train!

Wow! What a fun and exciting holiday season, and all of this took place before Christmas day!!! I’m settling down for a long winters nap!!!
…and to all a Good Night!

Open House

December 15, 2008

BooMamaChristmasTourIt’s BooMama’s Christmas Tour of Homes, so I want to take you on a very short tour of my Christmas Decor. Come on in the front door (complete with fingerprints because I want you to have the full effect)…

Say hello to Santa and Mrs. Claus. They welcome you to our home where they sit atop the piano and cheer for our Dawgs (next season). Ahem!!!

Stop by the kitchen table for a snack.The Man is making Stadler Christmas Candies in the kitchen (recipe below).

Or enjoy some Ranger Cookies (recipe below) or Muffins as you gaze upon our Christmas Tree in the Morning Room.

Don’t forget to check out the boys’ homemade nativities from last year’s Happy Birthday Jesus Party. And visit us next week to see this year’s homemade nativity.

Take a glance at our Christmas cards on the basement door that is covered in wrapping paper, and then…

…have a seat in front of the fire place and enjoy some homemade hot cocoa (recipe below).

Here are the recipes:

Stadler Christmas Candies:

1 stick butter, softened

4 cups confectioners sugar

1 cup coconut flakes

1 qt nuts, chopped

1 small can sweetened condensed milk

2 bags semisweet chocolate chips

Mix ingredients together, excluding chocolate. Make into 1 in. balls. Melt chocolate in microwave and dip balls into chocolate thoroughly coating each candy. You may add parafin wax to your chips help the chocolate adhere to the candies. Dry on wax paper.

Ranger Cookies:
1 cup (2 sticks) Butter
1 cup Sucanat w/ Honey
1 cup Sucanat
2 Eggs
1 teaspoon Vanilla
2 ½ cups Soft Wheat Flour
1 teaspoon Baking Soda
½ teaspoon Baking Powder
½ teaspoon salt
2 ½ cups Rolled Oats
½ cup Shredded Coconut
½ cup Chopped Nuts
Preheat oven to 350.
Cream butter, sucanat w/ honey, and sucanat until creamy.
Add eggs and vanilla; beat well.
Add combined flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt; mix well. Stir in rolled oats, coconut and nuts; mix well.
Drop dough by heaping tablespoonfuls onto an ungreased cookie sheet.
Bake 10-12 minutes or until light golden brown. Cool 1 minute on cookie sheet; remove to wire rack. Cool completely. Store tightly covered.
Makes 2 dozen large cookies.

Stovetop Hot Cocoa

Mix 1/2 cup sugar (I use sucanot a brown sugar equivalent), 1/4 cup of unsweetened cocoa, and a dash of salt in saucepan. Add 1/3 cup water and heat over medium until mixture boils for about 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Then add 4 cups whole milk and heat until almost boiling. Remove from heat and add 1tsp vanilla.

Serve with cinnamon sticks, peppermint sticks, marshmellows or whipped cream and sprinkles. Caramel makes this an extra special treat as well. See previous post for salted caramel hot chocolate recipe.

Merry Christmas!
In joy, Troye

Life with Boys

December 9, 2008

Getting ready for bed…
J-Man is jumping on his bed- it is such a calming process- and yelling “Poop” into our faces.
Repeatedly.
Over and Over Again.
J-Man: “Poop! Poop! Poop!”
The Man: “If you say poop one more time, I’m going to spank you!”
J-Man: “Pee!”

I betcha that doesn’t happen in houses with all girls.

In joy, Troye!