Apple Cinnamon Loaf

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So this weekend my son is in the Bauer Hockey Tournament in Canada.  It’s close enough to us that we can commute back and forth to the games so we don’t have to rope someone into staying and caring for the animals.  On top of the tournament our daughter starts her first games of softball tonight and I am hosting the uniform exchange at our school where people can pick up and drop off gently used uniforms rather than buying new all the time.

If you know hockey you know most games are early mornings.  With that in mind and knowing my son (who like his mother) just can’t eat first thing in the morning, I decided to whip up a couple loaves of our Apple Cinnamon bread.  It’s easy to slice and wrap for him to eat in the car on the way to a game and an extra slice for the ride home.  This along with an orange juice should give him the energy to get that PUCK IN THE NET!!!! (who am I kidding that kid will not drink orange juice it’s chocolate milk or nothing in the morning).  But either way, I still hope he gets some goals!!

This is a simple recipe and I make many versions during apple season and freeze them (such as wheat flour, agave in place of sugar, applesauce etc).  I will post those when I make them.  But for these I followed my friends original recipe as follows:

There is no wrong way to do this.  It always comes out perfect!!

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Apple Cinnamon Loaf
1/3 cup brown sugar (not packed)
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2/3 cup white sugar
1/2 cup butter, softened
2 eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 3/4 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 cup milk (I used rice milk just because I had it open)
1 apple, peeled and chopped (I used fuji apples)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour a 9 x 5-inch loaf pan. Mix brown sugar and cinnamon together in a bowl and set aside. Beat white sugar and butter together in a bowl using an electric mixer until smooth and creamy. Beat in eggs, 1 at a time, until incorporated; add vanilla extract.

Combine flour and baking powder together in another bowl; stir into creamed butter mixture. Mix milk into batter until smooth. Pour half the batter into the prepared loaf pan. Next add half the apples and half the brown sugar cinnamon mixture. Lightly pat apple mixture into batter.

Pour the remaining batter over apple layer; top with remaining apples and add more brown sugar/cinnamon mixture. Lightly pat apples into batter; swirl brown sugar mixture through apples using a finger or spoon.

Bake in the preheated oven until a toothpick inserted in the center of the loaf comes out clean, 30 to 40 minutes.

Yes, I made 2 loaves instead of one so we could eat some this morning and they can have it tonight with ice cream for dessert!! 

Kale Chips

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There are no easier chips to make than Kale chips in my opinion.  They are crunchy, lightly salted and so good for you!!  My kids asked for them after school so I made a quick batch before one was off to softball practice and the other to hockey practice.

I posted earlier about growing your own scallions for life (ok not life but it says a really long time) and I had to get some to try it.  While getting the scallions the kale was laying there all green and pretty just calling me to buy it.  I figured I would use it in a stir fry but that was not to be.  It’s now gone.

If you have never tried Kale chips and you like broccoli (as they have a similar flavor) I suggest you grab a bunch of kale at the store and try these.  Besides tasting great they are truly a healthy snack and a good way to get those greens in your body!!

Ingredients:

1 bunch of kale cleaned and de-stemmed (that means pull the leaves off the middle stem)

sea salt

olive oil

mix the leaves in a tiny bit of olive oil (just enough to give them a shine) and sprinkle with a few pinches of sea salt

lay them on a baking sheet and heat in a 350 degree oven until they are browning on edges and crisp to the touch.

Cool and Enjoy!!!

I could barely let mine cool enough to get a picture before my daughter photobombed and grabbed one.

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Choices..when does it become ok to sue for our own choices??

It seems almost daily I am reading about someone suing someone or something over what they believe as a personal wrong doing against them.  Today I read about 2 different suing scenarios and it made me angry!!  What makes these people think that everything YOU CHOOSE should accommodate your beliefs?  Here are my thoughts on this subject and while some may not agree, you can EASILY CHOOSE not to read them!!

First, parents of a New Jersey school aged child are suing the school because of the Pledge of Allegiance and the words specifically “Under God” because they are atheists.  The school does not require a child to recite it.  Second…the parents of a high school aged child in New York are suing the school because their son was sent home to change after wearing a shirt with a picture of a fire arm on it which is against the rules.  He then chose to come to school in a NRA (National Rifle Association) sweatshirt also depicting a picture of a fire arm and was suspended. 

Here’s a news flash for you…IF YOU DON’T LIKE IT OR DON’T WISH TO FOLLOW THE RULES, LEAVE!!!  There is always another choice.  What are you proving suing the school when you enrolled your children there KNOWING the rules.  What makes you so special that the whole state of New Jersey as well as New York should change what has been in place because you don’t like it?  Choose something else.

I detest Seafood….I don’t like the smell, taste or sight of it.  Am I going to sue my grocery store because they sell it laying there dead or crawling around alive waiting to be boiled???  No, I choose to not buy it and avoid that section or I will visit a whole foods store where it is not sold. 

I wanted something specific for my children and while I am forced to pay my school taxes, this does not benefit my children as they attend a private Catholic school.  Should I sue my town because I chose to send my kids to a private school and they want my tax dollars regardless?  Should I sue my school because they won’t allow my daughter to wear navy blue socks as the colors are green, white or gray as stated in the rulebook?  What is the difference? 

Do these people not have rules they expect to be followed in their homes? Do they not have rules at work or in their private businesses?  Do they agree with everyone they meet?  Do they expect everyone should do what they think is right?  Are there no other choices in the world for them to choose rather than give in to what they don’t believe?  Or is it they think everyone needs to follow their rules?  That is the question in my mind!!

I would love to hear others’ thoughts on this.

Quick Chicken Noodle Soup

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Chance’s bowl for dinner

Whenever we have chicken breasts with the bone in I boil them for 20 minutes before we put them on the grill.  I save the water to use anytime a recipe calls for chicken broth.  It’s easy to put into any container and freeze and saves quite a bit of money in the long run.

Last week we had bone in chicken breasts and I saved one after we grilled it to make a quick chicken noodle soup.  We had great weather over the Easter weekend but are back down into the low 40’s for the next few nights so figured what better way to warm ourselves up!!

Here is what I used:

6 cups of homemade chicken broth

2 cups of water with 2 chicken bouillon cubes

one finely diced carrot

one finely diced stalk of celery and the leaves to boil in the pot with the soup

one finely diced onion

one nice sized bone in chicken breast pulled off the bone

one bay leaf

salt/pepper to taste

8 oz cooked wagon wheel pasta

Combine everything into a stock pot and boil until the vegetables are tender.  Put the pasta into a soup bowl and spoon the soup over it.

**note:  I do not combine my pasta into my soups as it becomes too soggy.  I always keep it on the side until we are ready to eat and add it then**

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Served with our left over dinner rolls from Easter and everyone is happy!!

I AM NOT READY!!

It is 11:30 p.m. and everyone is tucked in and asleep for the night.  In the quietness of the night, after a very busy joyful few days filled with family and fun, I am sorrowfully trying to figure out how the Holidays will be now that my 9 year old told me this morning he had a discussion in school with his classmates and they all know there is no Easter Bunny and probably no Santa 😦  UGH!!

My 11 year old told me last year she no longer believed and she cried at the loss of her childhood traditions as did I with her.  She asked me to be honest and questioned Santa, the Easter Bunny and the Tooth Fairy.  I explained to her my belief of St. Nick and because the world has grown no one person could handle it all and parents are expected to help. We looked up the history of the Easter Bunny on google and talked about how the tooth fairy made losing a tooth not so scary and upsetting.  She was born with the maturity of an adult and mourned a few hours over the changes for her life but rationalized it’s all part of growing up.  I, on the other hand, cried for about a week at the change for her and me!!

Today with my son, his questioning was so matter of fact and typical of a 9 year old boy stating “you can’t fool me, I know it’s you and dad”.  I asked if he would like to look up the history of the Easter bunny but he was “over it” and opted to ride his scooter instead.  I decided I would speak to him before bed as there are a few things to make clear such as you can not tell your younger cousins these secrets etc.  So I approached him as I tucked him in and again he was so matter of fact about it saying he has known about the Easter Bunny since Christmas and would not tell anyone.  I was fighting tears the whole time and told him the same as I did his sister.  He simply stared at me and said, “can I stay up till midnight tonight?”

So here I am sitting at my computer, tears rolling down my cheeks, pondering will there be joy in our next Holiday?  How is this going to feel knowing I don’t have to sneak and hide things.  How can their little minds process this, they are my babies??????  I AM NOT READY!!

Ahh but life has a way of making things happen regardless of being ready or not.  I was not ready 11 years ago when my father passed away at a young age of cancer.  I could not figure out how life would go on and how I could enjoy it again, but you find it does and while there is that heartbreaking loss, you find a new way to rationalize it and have joy again.

Tonight I will mourn the loss of my baby boy still feeling in my head I am not ready to let him go just as I did his sister.  I will mourn the loss of how things have been and let myself feel the uncertainty of our future now that both of my children have matured and time has forced me to deal with what all other parents deal with.  I will continue to cry as I have been doing for the past hour and it’s ok.   Hopefully tomorrow I will awake and be ready to help him into the next stage of his life and we will find our way together as a family.

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Stuffed Cabbage Soup

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My daughter (11 year old) asked me last night at 8:30 p.m. if she could make a snack while her dad and I went to feed the animals for the night.  I said she could but no candy or sweets.  I came in the house about an hour later and this is what she had made:

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She boiled a small head of cabbage!!  This is not what I was expecting!  So the fridge is full with Easter lunch preparations and I did not want to store the cabbage until Monday so I decided to make stuffed cabbage soup for dinner.  I do NOT like to waste anything and knowing she boiled the cabbage in water, that is such a great way to start a stock. 

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I have never made cabbage soup the same way as the last one.  It’s always a “hodge podge”.  Today I used:

1 lb ground beef

small head of cabbage

1 3/4 cups left over plain jasmine rice from a few nights ago

14.5 oz can tomato sauce

1 can tomato paste (small)

small onion chopped

5 cloves of garlic chopped

2 parsnips peeled and diced

1 can white beans drained

two pinches of red pepper flakes

1 tablespoon garlic powder

1 tablespoon ground black pepper

4 cups of stock (water that cabbage was boiled in)

2 cups of water added to the stock with 2 chicken bouillon cubes

Put the 6 cups of liquid into stock pot

add the bouillon cubes, parsnips, cut up cooked cabbage, tomato sauce/paste, beans, garlic powder, pepper, red pepper flakes

In a frying pan, boil, rinse and brown the ground beef adding the garlic and onion about 1/2 way through the browning process

Once browned add that to the stockpot and let it simmer for about 30 minutes

Right before serving add the cooked rice.

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I had made a loaf of homemade wheat bread yesterday so we had this soup with bread for dinner.  It was fabulous and so good for you with all the great ingredients!!

Even though at first I was mad she decided to boil cabbage for a “snack”, how could I say anything as that is such a healthy choice and it gave us a great dinner for tonight!!!

 

Stinky Cheese….

Ok, before I go any further I must state, I am not a cheese snob.  I love cheese, REAL cheese that is.  But today, a friend of mine I ran into in the grocery store looked at my cart when I explained it was Good Friday and we are Catholic so I was making homemade macaroni and cheese.  She said…why don’t you try the Velveeta macaroni and cheese instead of all of that work.  It’s really good. 

I admit, I have never made anything with Velveeta before.  I didn’t even know where to locate it in the store. But after hearing how easy it was, so quick and creamy, I went out in search.  I found it and read the box which boldly declares this is a cheese product.  UMMM..what exactly is a cheese product?  But I paid the almost $7.00 USD for it anyway and set off for home happy to try something new.

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So this is all the ingredients needed (except for black pepper which I forgot to put in the picture and I added the garlic powder on a whim).

So I began by boiling the pasta

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Drained it, added the cubed cheese, milk, pepper and a splash of garlic powder and this is what it looked like

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as you can see I did not have enough of the elbow macaroni so I had to supplement with some penne.  You leave this on low heat until the cheese melts and that’s it.

I wish I could show you how big the pot was that this made.  Picture a full pound of pasta covered in this yellow, gooey, sticky mess.  I tried adding more milk to thin the cheese out.  I tried adding more pepper, more garlic powder, and more milk again.  This was horrid!!  My 9 year old son who loves my homemade mac and cheese tried it and said, no thanks.  My 11 year old looked at it, made a gagging motion and said that’s gross mom and along with her dad would not even taste it.  He ordered a fish fry to pick up instead!!  This was  HUGE fail.  And messy, sticky, gross one at that.

I have no idea what that Velveeta is.  It stuck to my fingers while trying to cube it, it’s soft and sticky.   I tried a piece and thought it tasted plastic like with a hint of cheese flavor but figured it had to get better cooked.  NOT!!

So I googled it just out of curiosity.  Whoa…tons of people like that stuff.  There are recipes all over the place with 4 or more stars.  My friend texted me a bit ago asking if we liked it.  We are friends so the truth must be told.  I said…ABSOLUTELY not and I have a full pot of it if you want to pick it up or it’s going in the garbage, which it did.

Am I missing something here?  I’d love to hear from you about your experiences with this cheese product!!

What’s a Sabres fan to do??

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That is the question in our house right now.  I will spare you “non” hockey fans all the details, but if you are a NHL follower, you know our horrible predicament this year.  While we mourn the end of our season, as horrible as it was, there’s confusion.  WHO DO WE ROUTE FOR NOW??? 

Normally during a hockey season you may lose one or two players.  For us, we’ve lost more than I can keep track of.  We lost some of our favorite players over the past few years and then we lost our favorite coach, goalie, center, wing, and today we lost some assistant coaches.  While you can deal with loss, this has been overwhelming.  The only saving grace for me (and my son) is we saw Zemgus Girgenson’s first game and we were hooked before most fans even knew his name.  We have enjoyed watching this kid and his crazy moves all season (hence his nickname, Crazy Eyes.  We nickname all our favorites).  We may be a farm family but we love our hockey and we will NOT (can not in this City) be a fair weather fan!

So back to our dilemma…who do we route for?  We loved Ryan Miller and Steve Ott so it could be the Blues, but we also miss Pominville so maybe the Wild.  But what about our beloved Lindy Ruff….how can we NOT route for Dallas??  But wait….what about the man we have watched for years and have more of his jersey’s than anyone, VANEK.  So now we have to like a big rival team as we can’t let Vanek down. 

I am hoping the sports God will shine down on us and let at least one of our guys win the cup!!  They may be gone but they are still a Buffalo Sabre in our hearts!! 

Hope you enjoy some of our Sabres pictures through the years!!

 

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Foligno

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Weber and McCormick

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Vaneks locker

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Chance and Konopka

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This was practice the day Nolan returned from Olympics. Our son was invited to watch

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I was so glad Jochen started in the NHL here and retired here!!

ok bad pic as I had just finished a workout but it was Jochen..I had to take our pic!!