Monday, March 26, 2012

A Splash of Chaos

Last weekend we took the Team Leader to my parents' house.  Now she loves my in-laws for their love of all things deep-fried, but my mom is her most favorite person in the whole world.  She used to actually pee on the floor when my mom would come over.  Thank goodness that stopped!  Nowadays she is all about her grandma with the pool.  Ask her if she wants to go swimming and she will pace incessantly at the garage door.  She knows when we are within 10 minutes of my parents' house.  The following is what happens exactly 5 seconds after the front door is opened.

Larry (Sara-border collie), Curly (Team Leader), and Mo (Cash -Flat out goofy) wrestling over the same toy even though we have multiple water toys

Before I can even get the camera out the Team Leader has managed to jump in several times.  I think I may have mentioned her love for water a few times!

Even the bigun gets in on the action. 

She sure loves to fetch things in water.  It is all fun and games for the first 15 minutes, but the following 3 hours...not so much!  We've learned to work in shifts.

Sara NEVER gets in the water, but she is an excellent lifeguard!

Even the most dedicated lifeguard needs a break!

Once they are dry enough to come inside, they show off their skills...for cupcakes!

Time to hit the spa for rub-downs!  I like how they have their servants trained!  Sara is probably off making sure the cat does not escape the bedroom - good dog!

Hope you all have a good week filled with very little chaos!

Monday, March 19, 2012

Homemade Pasta Sauce

Several years ago I decided to learn some of the Nutrition Nazi's family recipes because I am a good family member like that!  One of the first recipes that I learned from NN's mom was Pasta Sauce.  This recipe used to seem a little daunting to me, but once I figured out how to plan for it as well as changed up the original recipe to my specific tastes, things went a lot smoother.  Now that I have been making this for years I am extremely hesitant to even purchase a jar of spaghetti sauce, let alone serve it to NN.  It is almost like staging a mutiny in his opinion.

These are the ingredients that you will need to make this delicious sauce!

I have standing disclaimer about my photography so please keep it in mind.  First saute the onions and bell pepper until they are translucent and wilted over medium heat.

The Nutrition Nazi family adds garlic to almost everything, so why should this be any different?  Add the boat-load of garlic to the onions and pepper.

Next add the tomatoes, sauce, and paste to the mixture and stir very well.

Now comes the best addition in my opinion - the wine.  My mother-in-law uses water in her recipe, but I thought this might be a fun change.  I typically add about half the bottle, and then let the wonderful aroma fill the house!  I only use Dynamite cab because of the awesome flavor that it gives the sauce.

Next add all the seasonings and stir very well.  The mixture generally needs to cook on low heat for at least 3 hours, but the longer you cook it, the better the flavor!

After all the waiting the sauce is finally done and ready to enjoy!

Pasta Sauce

Diced Tomatoes – 2-28 oz cans (56 oz total)
Tomato Sauce – 2-28 oz cans (56 oz total)
Tomato Paste – 2-12oz cans (24 oz total)
2 Onions, chopped
1 Green Bell Pepper, chopped
2-3 Bulbs Garlic, chopped
Garlic Powder
Onion Powder
2-4 T Oregano
Pepper, a pinch
2+ T Brown Sugar
1 Red Pepper Flake Packet (probably about a 1/2 -1 tsp)
2 C Red Wine (Cabernet Sauvignon – Dynamite)

Cover bottom of a large stock pot with olive oil and heat over medium heat.  Add onions and peppers to oil, and sauté until wilted, then immediately stir in garlic. 

Add diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, and tomato paste and stir to combine thoroughly.  Stir in red wine, and add more if necessary to thin out sauce.
Reduce heat to simmer and sprinkle garlic powder and onion powder to cover top of sauce twice.  Sprinkle salt to cover the top of the mixture and add a pinch of pepper. Sprinkle 2-4 Tbsp of oregano, depending on your taste.  Lastly add brown sugar and red pepper flake.

Cook over low heat for at least 3 hours, stirring well occasionally.  After the sauce is done you can serve it immediately or put it in mason jars for later.  The heat from the sauce will seal itself, so there is no messy canning, etc involved.  This particular recipe makes about 3-4 jars.

Monday, March 12, 2012

St. Nutrition Nazi

The Nutrition Nazi is a good person in almost every way shape and form.  I have yet to meet someone who has anything negative to say about him.  Although I did hear his track coach at Rice give him crap a few years ago telling him that while he (NN) may still be in great shape physically, the coach still had more hair on his head than NN! 

So a few weeks ago Saint NN drove down and picked up his Granny and Grandpa and drove them to Babies R Us to buy a crib and mattress because they REALLY wanted to get their great-grandson something and they absolutely ADORE their only grandson.  The Nutrition Nazi has been Grandpa George's boy since he was 6 and I don't think too much else makes him happier. 

The great-grandparents-to-be are so proud and excited as they pose by the display model!

Here they are looking at the dresser we are eventually going to buy for the nursery, once my 20% off coupon becomes valid.  I am frugal like that! 

Granny helped pick out a mattress for the little one's new containment area.

St NN and the grandparents with their haul for the day!  It looks like they had a blast!

 Now comes the fun part of assembling all the pieces.  Luckily I got to supervise on this project since I really cannot help too much!  Almost makes me think we should have another one, right after we win the lottery.

I was really proud of NN because he did a great job and there were no major incidents or throwing items or yelling, AND he read the instructions!

Please remember I get paid to be an accountant, not a photographer.  In this pic I am trying to show how the room is coming along, and the bedding, which somewhat worked out, but again I am a nerdy CPA who likes spreadsheets.

Some times my mind works and I think to take a close up of the bedding inside the crib, but it seems to be a rarity these days!

The blanket for the bedding, from NN's mom and step-dad,  is too cute, and because some moron put a dog squeaker in one of the lion's paws I have to hide this from the Team Leader.  It may be a rough transition for her!

Then other moments I think I should take a close-up of the bed skirt because wouldn't that be awesome if everyone could see the red fish.  Then I look at the pic and know that some ideas should remain in my mind and never come to fruition!

Have a great week and a Happy Saint Patrick's Day!

Monday, March 5, 2012

Even a Blind Squirrel Finds a Nut - Homemade Butterfingers

Some days I see ideas on food blogs and think I can make them, but really should know better.  One fall day last year I saw an awesome idea of making candy-corns with homemade butterfinger filling.  The basic idea was to make the butterfinger inside with candy corns and peanut butter, and then dip triangle-shaped pieces into yellow, orange and white candy melts.  Apparently I hated it all so much that I didn't even keep the recipe, and I have tried searching the internet to no avail.  So this is how I salvaged this minor disaster.

This is the mixture after I melted everything and froze it.  I was so hopeful at this point!  And it really does taste like butterfinger.

I put my pieces on the sticks ready to be all I am Queen of Awesome Halloween Treats.  It was short reign.  I despise working with candy melts and if anyone needs some they are still sitting in my pantry because I have vowed to never use them again.

So a few weeks ago I decided it was time to pull the remaining butterfinger insides out of the freezer and dip them in chocolate bark. 

The result was simply delicious! And now the Nutrition Nazi's inner fat kid is running around eating 6 at a time.  Man I wish I had his metabolism!  So are you ready for this super hard recipe?

Homemade Butterfingers

3C (24 oz) Candy Corn
1-1.5 C  Peanut Butter
1 pkg Chocolate Bark/Candy Coating  (or whatever you want to dip them in)

Melt candy corn in microwave in 30 second intervals until melted, stirring in between.  There is a fine line between melted and oh crap this bowl is trash because this will never come out, so don't let it get away from you.  Next add the peanut butter and stir together.  Pour into a baking dish to set up and cool.  I believe I used either an 8x8, but totally your choice on thickness.  Once cooled I put in the freezer overnight and then dipped in melted chocolate the next day.