Monday, August 23, 2010

Jack’s First Day of School

The day has arrived. Early to bed worked, early to rise, worked. We we’re out the door by 7:30 and arrived right on time! I watched as the teacher escorted him from the car….I didn’t cry, instead I felt total joy for him and all of the adventures that lie ahead! He was a little anxious I think, as he informed me from the back seat that he “threw up” a little in his mouth! lol….I thought that was too cute!

I told Jack that we needed to take a first day of school photo like I always did with his siblings. He was not thrilled about this and through every photo was complaining that he was cold!


This is cold Jack…:/ btw…it wasn’t cold but there was a chill (I guess)


Cute face eh? *g*


I just couldn’t get a smile out of him, but he was happy, I swear!!


Ahh, now we’re happy because we have moved into backpack mode!

Ok, so that’s been my day so far. Now if I can manage not to forget to pick him up, I’ll have this day in the bag! Jim and I were out of town for the weekend, sort of like Summer Camp for grown ups! We had a blast and I’ll blog about it soon. For now, I’m just going to enjoy this especially quiet and relaxing day!

Hope everyone's week has started out on the right foot!

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Herbed Chicken in Pastry

I'm still in the experimental stage with Puff Pastry and learn a bit more every time I cook with it.  This is the second time I've made this recipe I'm going to share with you.  The last time I made it, I wasn't very exact with the width that I rolled the pastry out to, and I made little bundles about half the size of these. Just a fyi, I preferred the taste of the smaller ones than these full size ones.  I would suggest making it both ways (in your free time ;) and seeing what you like.

These are great for guest as it appears like you put a lot of work into them, but really they are quite easy and don't take much time to prepare.  This recipe is adapted from this one at the Pepperidge Farm puff pasty website.  I'll post the changes I made at the end of this entry. I'll post a printable recipe at the end.

If you have the foresight, you will want to take the puff pastry out of the freezer and thaw it in the refrigerator. I did this the night before I was going to make it.

Heat the oven to 400°F.  Beat one egg and 1 Tbs. of water in a small bowl with a fork or whisk. (this is for the egg wash)

Season the chicken with salt and black pepper.  Heat the butter in a 10-inch skillet over medium-high heat.
Add the chicken and cook for 10 minutes for full breast (less for tenderloins) or until it's well browned on both sides.

Remove the chicken to a plate. Cover the plate and refrigerate for 15 minutes or up to 24 hours.

I did not have any garlic & herb spreadable cheese so I made my own using cream cheese and dried dill and chives. This worked perfectly!

Next unfold the pastry and set it on a floured surface

Roll the pastry sheet into a 14-inch square

Cut into 4 (7-inch) squares

Spread 2 tbs. of cream cheese spread in the center of each pastry square.

I used 3 tenderloins instead of 1 breast for each square only because this is what I always have on hand.
Place the chicken on top of the cheese mixture.

Brush the edges of the pastry squares with the egg mixture.
Fold the corners of the pastry squares to the center over the chicken and press to seal.

Place the filled pastries seam-side down onto a baking sheet.  Brush the pastries with the egg mixture.  You all know how much I love sharing my screw ups with you, so here comes another one! I got ahead of myself (and the recipe) and failed to turn the filled pastries seam side down before I brushed on the egg wash.  Now I learned two things from this mistake. First being that they look prettier with the seams up, but I think would be moister with the cheese mixture being on the top while baking.  So when I make these again (which I will) I will do them just like I did here except I'll put the cheese mixture on top of the chicken.

Bake for 25 minutes or until the pastries are golden brown.
Let the pastries cool on the baking sheet for 10 minutes.

Hope you all are having a wonderful, relaxing weekend!


Recipe: Herbed Chicken in Pastry


  • 1/2 of a 17.3-ounce package Pepperidge Farm® Puff Pastry Sheets (1 sheet), thawed

  • 1 egg 1 tablespoon water Ground black pepper (optional)

  • 4 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves (about 1 pound)

  • 2 tablespoons butter 1 container (4 ounces) garlic & herb spreadable cheese


  1. Heat the oven to 400°F.

  2. Beat the egg and water in a small bowl with a fork or whisk.

  3. Season the chicken with the black pepper, if desired.

  4. Heat the butter in a 10-inch skillet over medium-high heat.

  5. Add the chicken and cook for 10 minutes or until it's well browned on both sides.

  6. Remove the chicken to a plate. Cover the plate and refrigerate for 15 minutes or up to 24 hours.

  7. Unfold the pastry sheet on a lightly floured surface.

  8. Roll the pastry sheet into a 14-inch square. Cut into 4 (7-inch) squares.

  9. Spread about 2 tablespoons cheese spread in the center of each pastry square.

  10. Top each with 1 chicken breast. Brush the edges of the pastry squares with the egg mixture.

  11. Fold the corners of the pastry squares to the center over the chicken and press to seal.

  12. Place the filled pastries seam-side down onto a baking sheet.

  13. Brush the pastries with the egg mixture.

  14. Bake for 25 minutes or until the pastries are golden brown.

  15. Let the pastries cool on the baking sheet for 10 minutes.

Quick Notes

These look pretty with the seam side up. If you want to do them this way just be sure to put the cheese on top of the chicken before folding the sides over.

Number of servings (yield): 4

Meal type: dinner

Microformatting by hRecipe.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Jack's First Fishing Excursion

Last weekend we received a surprise invitation from some dear friends to come and visit and bring Jack fishing in their lake.  Jack has yet to be fishing, though his father and he spent a good day at Bass Pro Shop not long ago stocking up on all the necessity's for such an event!  So of course we gladly accepted the invite, which was to include a dinner of Fish Taco's from the days catch!

This post is going to be picture heavy as our Hostess took tons of wonderful pictures and I'm having a hard time picking which ones to leave out!   A little note about these fish....Our host, Keith feeds his fish, so they readily come and nearly jump on the hook! Jack of course had a blast and caught many fish. Three he and dad managed to reel in, several broke free as we were netting them and all but one, we threw back for another day!

Feeding the fish..(better known as luring them to their demise) *g*

The first cast

OMG, are you loving this?

Sweet Success!

Heading out on the boat to catch some Bass!  This was Jack's first time on a boat as well. (yes, we're boring)

Remember, it's a current, no storms and everyone can swim like a fish!

Isn't this just beautiful? This is the view our friends wake to every day....

Well that's our fishing day in images.  Thank you Brenda and Keith for sharing your beautiful world with us (and you're fish), and the delicious fish tacos!  If I ever wrangle that recipe from Keith, I'll be sure to share it with all of you here!

Hope you're all having a wonderful week!

Friday, August 6, 2010

Looking for Something Fast and Restaurant Worthy?

I am always on the look out for a new recipe to try, but only once in a blue moon do I stumble upon one that is a true keeper.   One for me was the Tuna with Cipollini onions that I shared with you recently.  The other is the one I'm going to post to you now!  "Pasta with Bacon and Leeks".  The Pioneer Woman published this recipe a couple of weeks ago.  I have never had leeks that I am aware of and certain I have never cooked with them, but for some reason it just sounded delicious!  So this is my go at this recipe!

I've made a few changes, the biggest being that I used bacon instead of Pancetta.  I wasn't even going to bother to buy that because I know it's not a regular staple in my house and I like to make meals with things I generally have on hand.

Anyway, I made the dish last night.  It took all of 15/20 minutes to prepare.  It was AMAZING!  Not rich at all so I was able to eat enough to actually be full.  Often times when I eat pasta with cream sauces, I just can't handle the richness of them and I think it's due to the fact that I usually use butter.  I left the butter out of this recipe.  You don't need it, you really don't!  I also only used one leek.  My leek seemed humongous to me and I also wasn't certain Jack would like this.

After all was said and done, there was nothing but "Yummms and OMG's"  for dinner conversation!   This was truly as good as anything I've ever had in a restaurant and would be perfect for company as well!   For more detailed photos you can always hop over to Ree's website and take a look at her photo's and recipe for this dish.   She has a WAY better camera than I do and her pictures always rock!  (not to mention, she will have you laughing out loud!)

Gather your ingredients.....I used Penne because it's what I had.

Chop your leeks and bacon, being sure to slice the leeks thin.

Cook the bacon until it starts to brown and then add the sliced leeks and cook for 8 minutes.

Pour in the wine and cook an additional 1-2 minutes or until reduced.

Reduce the heat to low and pour in the cream.

This will thicken as it simmers a bit.

Salt and Pepper to taste and stir in the Parmesan shavings.  Toss in the pasta!

Shave some Parmesan on the top and serve!

This dish comes together VERY fast!  I was unprepared for this fact, so much so that it ended up being the whole meal because I didn't have the time to throw the salad together!  The three of us put this whole recipe away. If we "had" had a salad and maybe some bread it would easily serve 4, maybe 5 depending on how big your male counterparts appetites are.  My Male is starving when he gets home and can really devour pasta!   

Recipe: Pasta with Bacon and Leeks


  • 12 ounces Pasta, Cooked Al Dente

  • Reserved Pasta Water, If Needed

  • 3 ounces, chopped bacon

  • 3 whole Leeks, Sliced Thin

  • ½ cups Dry White Wine

  • ½ cups Heavy Cream

  • Salt And Freshly Ground Pepper, To Taste

  • Parmesan Cheese, Shaved


  1. Cook pasta and set aside. Reserve 1/2 cup of pasta water.

  2. Saute chopped bacon until it starts to brown.

  3. Add sliced leeks and cook for 8 minutes.

  4. After 8 to 10 minutes, pour in wine, then cook an additional 1-2 minutes, until reduced.

  5. Turn heat to low, then pour in cream.

  6. Add salt and pepper to taste and stir in the Parmesan shavings.

  7. Toss in pasta, adding a little pasta water to thin as needed. Serve with Parmesan shavings over the top

Quick Notes

I used only one large  leek. It was perfect. I also added a little more cream after I had mixed the pasta with the sauce, just because I couldn't help myself..:)

Microformatting by hRecipe.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Jack through the years...and getting a jump start on Christmas!

For the past year, every time I open my Picasso program to do something with photos I'm greeted with rows and rows of just little face sized images of Jack from over the years. Somewhere along the line, Picasso started with some sort of face recognition program in this software. At some point, it asked me to identify these faces, so over time I did this and now just have all these "Jack" images. It hit me one day recently just how much his little face has changed over the years, even more so in the past year.  He's lost his baby face and it's been replaced with that of a boy!

I'm pretty busy these last few weeks before school starts, but I'm setting some big plans in place come the end of August.  I've decided this is the year that I am going to implement Organized Home's (Cynthia Ewer's website) Holiday Grand Plan. With this plan you start getting your home ready for the holidays and all that comes with that at the end of August.

I've decided I'm going to work through the plan this year and blog the adventure.  Anyone that is interested will be welcome to join in with me here (or over at Organized Christmas)! And if the Holiday Grand Plan is a bit over the top for you, there is more of a crash course plan that you don't need to start until the end of October called the Christmas Countdown.

I'll leave you with a few links to the Holiday Grand Plan printouts so if interested you can get a feel for what this all entails!

Holiday Grand Plan ; They haven't updated this to 2010 yet, but they have informed us that they are in the process of doing that!

Holiday Grand Plan 2010  Calendar

Christmas Countdown Planner printouts : This includes baking planner, gift list, chores and Christmas card list.

I'm looking forward to reclaiming my house, but mostly my storage spaces which in time, I tend to just shove full of stuff.

Hope everyone is finding a way to stay cool.  We have a very hot week here in the midwest and I'm ready for autumn to come!