Tuesday, August 27, 2013

My Un-Back-To-School post

You can't go into a store right now without seeing backpacks, lunch boxes and crayola products everywhere. Yes, it's Back-to-school time. Instagram and facebook are absolutely flooded with first day of school pics. It's fun to see all the kids dolled up for their first day.

Over the past couple of weeks everywhere we go people have asked Big A about going back to school. Most people think my big  "little guy" is going into first or second grade. It has been funny saying, "not yet, he's only 4."

Big A missed the state mandated birthday deadline by about a month and a half so he will not be starting till next year. I have to say that I am so very thankful for this. It actually completely freaks me out that this is my last year with my buddy at home with me. I guess I am a selfish Mom. I absolutely love our time together, he is such an amazing little guy, I can't imagine him not being with me everyday. I know he has to grow up someday, heading off to school and friends leaving boring Mom behind.
But not now. For now I'm still "Cool Mom", his "Best Buddy" and we have another year of great adventures together.

SO see you later Backpack, Bye Bye Lunchbox...we wont be needing you till next year!


Wednesday, August 21, 2013

"Birthday Cake" Cookies

I realized it has been well over a month since I last posted a cookie recipe....far too long! Here is a fun one that you can easily adapt for any holiday (just change the color of sprinkles you use!). It's easy, your kids can help and it makes up some awesome chewy, flavorful cookies.

Birthday Cake Cookies

 Makes 2 Dozen

1 box white cake mix (18.25 oz)
1 tsp baking powder
2 eggs
1/2 C vegetable oil
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 C Sprinkles (Pick your Color to match the occasion!)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a mixing bowl, mix together the dry cake mix and baking powder. Add the egg, oil and vanilla to the cake mixture stir to combine. Grab your "helpers" to sprinkle in the sprinkles! Stir in the sprinkles.  Drop by spoonfuls onto a lightly greased cookie sheet. Bake for 10 minutes (I turn the sheet at 5 minutes for more even baking). Bake until lightly browned (don't over bake).They will be very soft at first and need to cool a bit to harden up enough to pick up. Let sit for 5 minutes after baking before you try to move them from the tray then enjoy.

Monday, August 5, 2013

At the Lake House

   For years I have read the summer “beach reads.” They invariably end up having a week get-a-way at a beach rental in the Hamptons or Nantucket or somewhere like that. I have always thought how amazing it would be to have a family tradition at a beach house. The chances of this happening were pretty slim since we live in Utah, land locked in the middle of the west.

   In a wonderful turns of events Jeff’s parents good friends have a house right on Bear Lake. It is an amazing house and the backyard walks right out onto the beach. They have been so very nice to let us use the lake house for a long weekend the last couple of years.  It is the summer adventure of novels. We had an amazing time in the water and hanging out on the beach. There is also a cute little lake town “Garden City” that has the most amazing shake shack.
   This year was amazing and the kids had a blast. They have asked several times when we are going back to the lake house (or Lake Housshth as little a says).


Thursday, August 1, 2013

"Remy's" Ratatouille

Harvest season is upon us and it's time to start reaping the benefits of all those hours you have put into the garden (or all the hours your nice friends and neighbors have put in). The zucchini and squash are all ripening up and what better way to use them up than with an amazing ratatouille dish?

I don't know about you but I have a very hard time getting my kiddos to eat squash or zucchini (Yuck!). I have found that if I am a bit creative they will eat. One of my biggest wins was recreating the Ratatouille that Remy the rat makes in the Disney movie.  It turned out delicious, looked just like Remys (though completely cooked by humans!) and was a hit with the kids. A thanks to my friend Suzie for providing us the awesome squash!

Remy’s Ratatouille
1/2 onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, sliced thinly
1 cup tomato puree
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 Large Squash (I have used zucchini, eggplant, red bell pepper, really whatever you have like that should work)
Fresh thyme
Salt and pepper
parchment paper, 1 1/2 quart baking dish
Optional: Goat Cheese, mandolin

Preheat oven to 375 degrees .

Place baking dish on parchment paper and draw a pattern of the bottom of the dish. Cut out the pattern and see if it fits as a "lid" to the dish. You may have to trim the paper a bit. It's easiest to do this part first.

Pour tomato puree into bottom of an 1 1/2 quart baking dish. Stir in the onion, Garlic and 1 tablespoon Olive Oil, Season with salt and pepper.

Thinly slice the squash (or whatever you are using). I use a Mandolin for quick uniform cutting. I can't imagine doing this without one, but it would be possible.

Arrange the slices of squash (or what you are using) on top of the tomato mixture in the dish. Overlap the slices and alternate colors. Cover the whole dish like this (see pic below)

 Drizzle 1 tablespoon olive oil over the arranged squash. sprinkle with fresh thyme leaves and salt and pepper.

Cover with your parchment paper and bake for 45-50 minutes until squash is cooked but not limp or browned and tomato sauce is bubbling up.

Optional: Serve with goat cheese dolloped on top.

The ingredients
your Tomato Sauce

Thinly slice your squash

Arrange your squash slices
Cover your masterpiece with parchment paper
Your finished Ratatouille!