Tuesday, March 27, 2012

What's Cookin' and Monday Night Desserts

Last night, much to the dismay of my picky children, I made stuffed peppers for dinner. YUM!

They were pretty tasty and very filling.  Here is the recipe for any that would like to give it a whirl.

Ground Turkey Stuffed Peppers

4 large bell peppers, halved
1 lb ground turkey
2 cups cooked rice
10 oz can diced tomatoes with green chilies
8 oz pepper jack cheese, finely shredded
1/2 cup finely diced zucchini
1 Tbsp minced garlic
1/3 cup chopped green onion
1 tsp olive oil
1/2 tsp chili powder
1 tsp seasoned salt
salt & pepper

Brown ground turkey with salt & pepper to taste.  Cook rice.  Set oven to 350°.

Saute zucchini, onions, and garlic in olive oil.  Add can of diced tomatoes and let cook for 2 minutes.  Add ground turkey, chili powder and seasoned salt.  Add mixture to a large bowl and add the rice and half the cheese and mix well.

Cut each bell pepper in half, I cut mine vertically but you can cut yours however you choose.  Lightly spray baking sheet with cooking spray.  Place each half on the cookie sheet with the skin side down.  Place in heated oven for 5 minutes.

Remove from oven and fill each half with 1/2 cup of turkey mixture.  Return to oven and cook for 15 minutes.  Remove from oven and set oven to med-low broil.  Place 1/2 oz of shredded cheese on each half and return to oven until cheese is bubbly and golden.

So yum, I may ramp up the heat level next time, but this was pretty delish as is.  For those of you who want to know, these stuffed peppers were 7 PointsPlus.  Very filling, especially when you add a tossed salad or some fruit.

So now that dinner is out of the way, what's for dessert?  It is Monday night after all.  This week was at our place, so Rachel and I brainstormed in the middle of the grocery store since we forgot to figure it out before we headed to the big city for our weekly grocery trip.  Here is what we came up with:

Mini graham cracker pie shells, sliced strawberries, white chocolate pudding, and semi-sweet chocolate melted and shaped for topping.  Yum! And only 5 PointsPlus. 

Last week was at Tamara's.  She made this bowl of deliciousness for us:

One banana, frozen yogurt, caramel sauce and chopped pecans.  So yummy.  6 PointsPlus unless you opted for a whole cup of frozen yogurt and then it is bumped by only 2 points to 8 PointsPlus.

So much yumminess, so little time to eat it all. :)  Smooches and squishes to you all.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Photo of the Week - Week 52 - Worst Time of Year to Drive


She wore her yellow sun-bonnet,
She wore her greenest gown;
She turned to the south wind
And curtsied up and down.
She turned to the sunlight
And shook her yellow head,
And whispered to her neighbor,
"Winter is dead."
                 - A.A. Milne

Week 52 of 52

Location: Remus, MI
Subject: Daffodil

Spring is definitely springing around here.  And yes, for me anyway, it is the most dangerous time of the year to drive.  Mostly for other drivers.  Everything is so beautiful, all the birds are returning.  I have spotted two bald eagles.  One of which I was driving with Z. on our way home from Big Rapids and he was flying over a corn field.  I quickly pulled over and jumped out of the car to watch him soar.  So beautiful.  The other drivers passing me looked at me like I was insane, but I do not care.  How often does one get to witness such a spectacular creature.  Turns out I didn't have to wait long.  That time with Z. was on a Friday afternoon.  Saturday morning on our way to service we saw another one in Barryton.  He was flying over the school.  There is a giant nest behind the school that is usually occupied by Osprey.  I wonder if he was contemplating stealing it.

I have also seen many cranes flying around.  So beautiful and graceful.  And hawks, we have lots of those around.  On my way home from service Wednesday there was a beautiful red tail hawk sitting in the middle of the road enjoying his lunch.  I reached under the seat for my camera, (which by the way has now been returned to the car for moments like this) but he was a little camera shy and took off into the trees.  As I passed by he of course returned to his meal.  Beautiful.  Not the eating of the meal part.  The bird himself or herself as the case may be.

The fields are all greening up, trees are blooming, flowers are popping up everywere.  Some places the ground is covered with little violets.  Gaaaa! All so beautiful.  I hate driving, I want someone else to so that I can just stare out the window as we go.

I am not sure what this tree is that is blooming but from a distance the tree looks so fluffy and white.  I pulled over yesterday morning to get some closeups.  I need a bumper sticker that says "I brake for beautiful things" so all those people that look at me strangely can just read that instead of gawking.

The frogs are all out.  The sound at night is amazing.  And the mosquitos have not quite all woken up yet so it is so nice to be outside at night and listen to the sounds.  This one came up to visit last night as Cameron was working on the van.

So cute.  He just stayed under the van turning around every now and then or moving from one side to the other.  So cute.

I guess that about sums it up.  Spring is here and so is the rain.  Yesterday it started raining around four in the afternoon.  And this morning it is raining again.  So I am off to finish up my letter writing territory and get that turned back in before the territory servant comes and hunts me down.

Love you all and see you in a couple of months!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Photo of the Week - Week 51 - CHICAGO

Week 51 of 52

Location:  Chicago, Il
Subject: Fun, Fun, Fun

This weekend was a blast!  Cameron and I went with Rachel and some friends for a weekend in Chicago.  So much fun!  Shopping, shopping, and more shopping.  Walking, walking, and more walking!  We were so exhausted by the time we got home.

We actually stayed in a suburb of sorts.  Schaumburg, Il.  It ended up having so much stuff to do there that we only went into actual Chicago once.  And of course we chose the worst day - Saturday.  We debated not going this weekend but we were all so anxious to go that we didn't want to postpone.  Getting to the aquarium on Saturday was a nightmare.  Didn't realize that there would be a HUGE St. Patrick's Day parade going on.  So we had to reroute several times but finally made it.

More walking!  The tunnel to Michigan Avenue, AKA the Magnificent Mile.  We didn't actually make it to the shopping end of things.  We were so tired!  And it was hot!  In the 80's, yes you Arizonan's, that is hot for us. 

The weekend was so much fun, and we have big plans to come back with the kids.  So much to do there.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Requested Recipe and Sick Day Projects

Monday was a no school day.  End of trimester, teacher grading day, something or other.  So two of the kiddos and I headed into town.  We stopped at the Goodwill to browse around and I discovered a whole bin of baggies full of old jewelry for $2 each.  So I rummaged through and picked out a few bags.  Tuesday Z. ended up being home from school sick.  Bummer.  Sick days at home with kiddos is not so great for my hours but great for catching up on projects swimming in your head.  I got busy with those bags of jewelry.  Necklaces quickly got taken apart and I finally got to use this pretty awesome pin I found months and months ago and beads from another vintage necklace I bought and took apart.

I also put to use these red components that I found on clearance at Joann's for 49 cents a package.  Gonna give these a test drive in Chicago this weekend.

And, as requested by a super cute new mommy, following is the recipe for the Spicy Vegetable Beef Soup I posted pictures of awhile back.  It is pretty yummy.  If you want Rachel to come over for dinner just tell her this is being served and she will be there in a heart beat.

1/2 Tbsp Olive Oil
1/2 Cup finely diced carrots
1/2 Cup finely diced celery
1/2 Cup finely diced red onion
1 Tbsp minced garlic
1 large jalapeƱo, finely diced
1 32 oz box fat free, reduced sodium chicken broth
1 32 oz box fat free, reduced sodium beef broth
1/2 cup diced green chilies (canned or fresh)
1 can diced tomatoes with green chilies
1 cup cooked rice (white or brown)
1 pound lean ground beef

Saute onions, carrots, and celery in olive oil until softened.  Add broth, garlic, green chilies, and jalapeƱos.  Let cook for 10 minutes.

While that is cooking brown the ground beef and cook the rice.  Add cooked rice and drained ground beef into pot.  Add can of tomatoes.  Let all simmmer for at least 20 minutes.

Very easy to adjust to your desired heat level.  I added serano peppers the other day for extra heat.  Very yummy.  Oh, and if you happen to be grilling, grill up an extra steak or two and substitute that in for the ground beef.  YUMMMMY!!  Sometimes I also throw a handful of cilantro in at the end just before serving.  Make a double batch for leftovers!  And for those of you that really want to know.  This delicious and hearty soup is 3 PointsPlus per cup.  YUM!!!!

And I know I am behind on our Monday dessert posts, but I keep forgetting to take pictures.  Last Monday at Tamara's we had mini chocolate chip cookies.  Yum!  And this Monday A. baked for us and made red velvet cupcakes with cream cheese frosting.  Yum!  Our Monday dessert night was cancelled due to a tornado watch (yikes) so picture taking was forgotten about.  No tornadoes near our house though thank goodness.  A friend of ours spotted and got video of one near Mt. Pleasant and the news reported on one that touched down 30 or 40 minutes from here.  Scary stuff!

Anyway, I think that is enough Yum!'s for one day.  I think I will go out and enjoy the sunshine since it is March and almost 70 outside!  No, that is not a typo, we are having marvelous weather right now.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Photo of the Week - Week 50 - Good Times

Week 50 of 52

Location:  Mt. Pleasant, MI
Subject:  Goofy Good Times

This weekend we attended a wedding in Mt. Pleasant.  So much fun!  They had a photo booth set up with all sorts of props.  So. Much. Fun.  Kept the kids (and grown-ups) busy for hours.  I love this idea more than the professional photographers setting up a screen and taking goofy pics.  If only for the fact that you get a copy of these ones.  They had a scrapbook set up and printed out two pics of your photo booth fun and you could put one in the scrapbook with a message to the bride and groom and keep the other.  Or keep both.  Totally up to you.  I though this was such a fun idea!

See what I mean, kids had a blast.  That photo booth started during dinner and lasted until there were just the clean-up people left.

Me and Rach posing for Zack.  I bought the hubby a new point and shoot camera and we were testing out this night.  Not sure I like that thing.  The whole night I was wishing I had brought my own camera.  Oh, and for those that are frugal or fashion curious.  My outfit:  Dress - Chadwicks - Thrifted - $3 smackaroos, Shoes - Anne Klein - Thrifted $5 smackaroonies.  Not too shabby!  Rachel's outfit?  Have no idea but she sure looked cute.

Me and the hubby who was not being too cooperative with the whole take a picture thing.

With the gorgeous daughter who says unspeakable things about herself.  I however, think she looks adorable here.

Z. and his giant piece of rainbow cake.  A sister made the huge and gorgeous wedding cake.  (Sorry the only picture taken of this cake did not turn out!)  Each layer of the cake was a different flavor.  Made it very difficult to choose a piece of cake.  I suppose you can guess which layer all the kids ate from.

J. danced with me!  He usually refuses to dance.  I guess he really is growing up.

Me, Rach, and Tamara waiting our turn in the photo booth.

Cameron and the kiddos.  Well two of them anyway, Z. was having a ball running around with all the other kids.  Either that or he was still in the photo booth.

I know, totally out of focus but pretty hilarious.  Couple of goofballs.

There is your photo of the week - pluralized.  It was so much fun that night.  We danced till our feet were sore and our cheeks were rosy.  Miss Rox up there heckled the DJ until he announced that she be "removed".  It was all in good fun though.  So much fun and so happy to see two people tie the knot.

Chicago this weekend!  Wooo Hooo so excited.  Should be some fun pictures for you next week!  Stay tuned. . . . . . . .

Monday, March 5, 2012

Photo of the Week - Week 49 - Waiting on Spring

So official arrival of spring is 15 days away.  I am thinking slightly longer for us to actually see "SPRING"!  Mom and Dad arrived just in time for one of the worst snow storms this winter.  In fact, as I sit here typing it is snowing yet again out there.

So this week's photo is dedicated to that season that is ever so slowly creeping up on us.  Spring.

Week 49 of 52

Location:  Mecosta, MI
Subject:  Lily of the Valley

On a side note, yes I know this is late.  Like technically this should be photo 50 or 51.  So, so sorry.  Things have been busy, I have been sick, excuses, excuses, excuses.  But at least you got a photo and a word or two to let you know we are all still alive up here in the great north.  Miss you all and can't wait to see you in May.