Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Valentine Caroling, maybe a new family tradition?

At Christmas, Mr. R was so excited about caroling to our neighbors, but alas, we all got sick and stayed sick through New Years. He was quite disappointed over missing out on caroling. Fast forward to Valentine's Day... I decided that we were going to make up Red Velvet Brownies, cut them into large hearts and deliver them to our neighbors along with homemade Valentines. When I told the kids about the idea, Mr. R got a big smile and said, "We're going Valentine caroling." I told him that I wasn't really thinking about singing to the neighbors (since that is what caroling is all about, singing). He declared that they could sing as they delivered their valentines. I asked what song and they unanimously decided on "Jesus Loves Me". So that's what we did.

First, I took some white cardstock and I printed our Valentine message on it. Here is a link to the PDF that I made. Then, I cut the cardstock in half and had the kids glue heart shaped foil paper doilies to the front. They wrote their names on the back.

Finally, we cut our brownies into large hearts (they look small because I forgot to pick up little paper plates so we had to use large paper plates), and placed them on plates covered with plastic wrap.

The kids LOVED visiting each of our neighbors, delivering a Valentine, treat, and song to them. I think our neighbors enjoyed it as well. 

Red Velvet Brownies

This was our version for "Dinner at 8pm"
and I also did a smaller version of this for the kids' dessert

I saw an idea on Pinterest the other day and decided that I HAD to try it for Valentine's Day. It was a recipe for Red Velvet Brownies. There were a couple of reasons that I wanted to try it. One, they're red, which worked perfectly for V-Day, and two, I had gotten 3 boxes of red velvet cake mix for $ .65/each (store sale + doubled coupons). I decided to make two pans and cut them into heart shapes using a couple of different sized cookie cutters. We used some for the kids' dessert, we took some to our neighbors, and then we had some for our "Dinner at 8pm" date. They were quite yummy and I've listed the recipe below with my changes.

Steak Gorgonzola Alfredo

One of our favorite "date night" restaurants used to offer this dish and I would order it every time. However, they took it off the menu [insert sad sigh here]. For our Valentine's Day "Dinner at 8pm" I decided that I was going to attempt my own version of this dish. It was delicious and almost the same, which made me happy. :)

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Dinner at 8pm: Valentine's Day Dinner

Steak Gorgonzola Alfredo
with a Balsamic Reduction

We decided to spend Valentine's "in" this year. So we fed the kids some spaghetti, mixed veggies, and French bread, then put them to bed a bit early and made ourselves a delicious dinner.

One of our favorite restaurants used to have a dish on their menu called "Steak Gorgonzola Alfredo with a Balsamic Reduction". It was my favorite "date dish" to order (i.e. a dish to order when it is just Jared and I) so I decided to attempt a copycat recipe for February's Dinner at 8pm. It turned out pretty good. I paired it with garlic herb cooked carrots and roasted garlic French bread. We then had red velvet brownies with fresh strawberries, whipped cream, and a chocolate drizzle. I also made skinny caramel lattes with whipped cream and chocolate drizzle.

We ate dinner on the couch, chatted, and watched a movie while the kiddos all slept. It is always a nice time to enjoy each other's company without spending a fortune on dinner, dessert, and a babysitter!

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Cinnamon and Brown Sugar Oatmeal [Raisin] Pancakes

Cinnamon and Brown Sugar Oatmeal Pancakes
with Mixed Berry Peach Syrup
Our family enjoys having breakfast for dinner at least 1-2 times a month and pancakes are one of the kids' favorites. I wanted to try something different than the standard buttermilk pancake so I adapted a Taste of Home recipe.

Friday, February 8, 2013

Menu 2013: February 4-March 3

This month has already started out kind of crazy and will continue to along that path of crazy busy-ness! I suppose I should share a little back-story on what I'm talking about. On January 27th, Jared accepted the position of Assistant Pastor at a church about 2 hours from us. We are very excited about how God has worked in every aspect of this call to ministry. We cannot wait to dive in and get busy, but before that happens we've much to do. We need finish prepping our current home and put it up for sale, find a new home, pack, keep up with daily tasks (cooking, dishes, laundry, homeschooling, etc.), and also get in a few "goodbye visits" with friends. With the move and such in mind, I plan to just keep things simple this month. I'm not really following a set menu (Spicy, Italian, Comfort, etc.) as I've done in the past. Instead, I am going to cook based on what is easy to make and/or easy to clean up after. :o)

Week 1: February 4-10
Week 2: February 11-17
Week 3: February 18-24
Week 4: February 25-March 3
Your turn
  1. What are some tips/tricks you've used to get a house ready to sell, pack for a big move, declutter,  quick clean-up ideas (to get the house ready for a showing), etc. OR
  2. What are some "go to" simple and delicious meals that your family enjoys?

    Wednesday, February 6, 2013

    [Gluten Free] Chocolate Zucchini Cake

    After finding out a few months ago that our Pastor's wife can't have gluten, I have been experimenting with some gluten free recipes. I am a huge fan of cakes, breads, and pretty much anything else "gluten" so I truly feel bad for those who can't have it. Today I decided to attempt my own recipe for GF chocolate cake and it turned out very well if I do say so myself. :o) It actually looked like a regular ol' chocolate cake and tasted delicious. I think that this would also make a good muffin/cupcake recipe...but I'll have to attempt that later.