Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Friday, August 17, 2012

Night Terror

Poor Kelsey.  She has had a stream of bad luck lately.  A couple of weeks ago her brother jumped on her and her back started giving her problems.  Then, yesterday, she was jumping at a new trampoline place with her friend and she landed wrong, spraining her ankle.  Last night it was really painful and swollen so I laid her on my bed, propped her foot up on a towel, and put a bag of peas on it.  After 20 minutes she was supposed to go to bed.  I told her she could take the blanket to prop her foot on overnight if she wanted to, knowing that she moves around enough that it wouldn't stay on.

Kelsey has a bad habit of getting up after she's gone to bed and coming out and telling us she is scared of something.  She also dawdles about telling us and tends to have a lot of pauses when she talks. So when she came out last night saying she was scared, I was a little impatient with her and didn't let her finish the sentence.

Kelsey: Mommy, I'm scared. (Insert my here-we-go-again sigh here.) I'm afraid because I move around a lot and...

Me: (Interrupting) Honey, I know you move around a lot at night, and if your foot falls off then it's not a big deal.

Kelsey: (Terrified) You mean it's going to fall OFF?!?!!?!?

Me: I meant "fall off the blanket", honey.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Chicken Parmesan Revisited

The best recipes in this house are borne out of desperation.  I kid you not.

It was 5:45, and I was just getting home from an errand.  The chicken that had been thawing on the counter for "Chicken Parmesan" all day was still more than half frozen - an unacceptable state of affairs if you plan on flattening your chicken breasts, which I do. Then to top it all off I realized that I was out of diced tomatoes.  Crud.  There went my fabulous menu plan.

I did a little scrounging and came up with a new idea.  It was so good that Olivia and Ben told me it needed to be a regular dish, and Kelsey's friend that was over for dinner asked me to give the recipe to her mother.  It's times like this that make up for all the other mediocre meals and dietary flops that occasionally grace our table.  So, of course I'm going to share it with you!  It's also super-easy, which  means it's a winner in my book.

I'm not sure what to call it, so we'll just go with this:

Parmesan Chicken Revisited
*Disclaimer: I guesstimated the measurements on this one. Feel free to adjust your recipe to taste!

1 to 1 1/2 lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts
3 to 4 Tbsp Italian dressing
1/2 to 1 tsp dried basil (can use fresh if desired)
1/4 cup sun-dried tomatoes
1/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese

Cut the chicken into 1/2-inch slices and place on a plate.  Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.

Drizzle with Italian dressing and turn to coat

Place the chicken into an oiled casserole dish (I used a 9x13 baking dish) and sprinkle with basil.  If you don't have the julienne-sliced sun-dried tomatoes, cut yours into strips or dice them so you can spread it evenly on top of the chicken.  Then sprinkle with Parmesan.  
(I forgot to take a picture of this step, but you'll see what it should look like in the next picture.)

 Cover with aluminum foil and bake at 400 degrees for about 20 minutes.  It is very important to cover while cooking for this step because it softens the tomatoes and keeps them from being hard and chewy at the end.  After 20 minutes the chicken should be almost done, but not quite.

Take the foil off and return to the oven for another 5-10 minutes until the chicken is done.  (Mine took longer to cook tonight because the chicken was still slightly frozen.)

Serve with veggies and enjoy!  Ben got doubly lucky tonight because it was one of his special fried okra nights.  (He only gets 1 or 2 a year.)  He wasn't happy that Kelsey's friend loves fried okra, too.  I had to promise him he wouldn't get any less than usual.   Here was my plate at dinner...

... and this was Ben's.  He loves his fried okra, can't you tell?

Speaking of fried okra... I'll have to blog about that sometime, too. His momma taught me how to make it, and we love it crispy!

What's in a Setting?

I love my camera.

I've had it for a couple of years now, and lately I've been afraid it was starting to lose it's charm.

You see, all my pictures indoors have been turning out yellowish or blurry unless I use the flash, which I HATE to do.

Even my family reunion pictures...
(It was so, so sad!)

And then tonight, I figured it out.

I was taking a picture for a recipe I made up that I thought I might want to blog about.  It looked terrible.

But I love to use the nifty close-up setting on my camera, so I went to change it for the pictures thinking I'd get a better shot.  I couldn't believe it when I saw my camera has been on the "sunset" setting!  And since I stopped taking pictures regularly this summer, I never even thought to check it at the reunion!

See how much better it looks now?

Of course, I still have to do a little "clean up" on the photo software to make the plate look white and the counter the right color... But the light really wasn't all that good in my kitchen.

Mystery solved!

It's just too bad I can't get a "do-over" for the reunion and get some better pictures...


I have a cucumber lover.

He is no longer satisfied with slices.

Or even half the cucumber at a time.

He wants the whole stinkin' thing.

And if he knows I'm taking his picture, he's doing that weird winking eye thing again.

Gotta love him!

Friday, August 10, 2012

2012 Crews Family Reunion

I have a really big family.  And oh, how I love them!  I wish I could see them all more one family at a time, because we are really overwhelming when we all get together.  And loud.  Very loud.

We were missing Bobbi & Savannah (Beth's girls) and their kids, but as it was we still had 25 people there.  

 And although we took a bunch of family pictures, the ones I treasure the most were the ones that showed members of the different families together.  

Jessica (Danny's wife) and Tristian (Dorothy's son)

 Austin (Beth's son) making crazy faces behind Danny

Beth and Dorothy posing together before dinner

Niel and Danny hanging out on the couch with their kids

Gwen and Olivia

Dorothy and Jessica

 This is our "Neapolitan" picture.  You can tell Dorothy and Gwen went to the lake, but Dorothy tans.  That gives us chocolate (Dorothy), vanilla (Jessica) and strawberry (Gwen), right?

Drawing with their cousins

Kelsey terrorized poor Seth the entire visit - she adored him!  For his part, Seth was a good sport about it, and I love him for it.  Not all 15-year old boys would let their niece beat them up.

So... this technically doesn't count as "mixing up" families, but you can see why I love it, I'm sure!

Mom trying to be tall (standing on her tip-toes) while her "boys" are trying to be shorter than her by crouching down.  In real life Mom is about 5'6" and Niel and Danny are 6'1".

Mom with the grandkids

Mom with Beth's two boys

Niel and Tristian

I have the coolest family ever.  I sure do love them!

But next time... can we please just go on a cruise?

Don't Blink!

Wow... where has my summer gone?!  I feel like it's been one big blur, and I barely did any blogging along the way!

Honestly, the only way I even know what we did is by looking at pictures, and I wasn't taking too many of those.  I do have a few I want to share.  These Play-Doh creations were from one day in June.  I think the girls are getting better, don't you?

This one is my favorite!
(The girls have informed me that Olivia's friend, Abbigael, is the creator of this piece of art!)

Despite the multiple colors being used, the girls are really good about not mixing up the colors when they take it apart.   Connor is not so good, so he's only allowed to use one color at a time.

We have also discovered a new FANTASTIC pizza crust recipe.  It's so good, in fact, that I can no longer stand cheap pizza like CiCi's or Little Caesars.  I cannot even begin to tell you how amazing this crust is, but here's a few pics to get you drooling.

We have cheese...


...and veggie.

 Hungry yet?  I know I am!

Anyhow, I got the recipe and instructions from this link to Just Get Off Your Butt and Bake, and there are extensive instructions for how to handle the dough.  I am convinced this "dough handling" is the KEY that makes this great, because the recipe isn't that much different from others I have tried.

You'll just have to check out her website for the instructions, because they are too long for me to re-type here tonight.  I mean, seriously.  Do you have any idea what TIME it is?!  However, I will tell you two important things:

1) The recipe calls for 1/4 tsp of yeast and an 18-hour rise time.

2) Since that will never happen at my house, I generally make the dough about 3-5 hours before dinner and increase the yeast to about 3/4 tsp or 1 tsp, depending on how close it is to dinner time.  The more yeast you add, the faster it rises.

Maybe I'll post my instructions and pictures another day.  When it isn't 100+ degrees outside and I can turn my oven on in the afternoon without sweltering.

In other news, we sold Ben's truck and bought this nifty little Chevy Malibu from someone we knew who was moving and couldn't take it with them.  I'm happy to have a second car that can fit most of the family, but Ben's just glad to have air conditioning in his vehicle again!

For the 4th of July my sister Gwen and her husband Richard came up to play with us.  Olivia had the chance to be in Edmond's Liberty Fest Parade with the Girl Scouts, so Gwen and I dropped her off and then found a place to watch with Kelsey and Connor.  

They were really excited while we waited.

I haven't been to an Independence Day Parade in years and I will admit I got rather misty-eyed when the Boy Scouts came by with their giant American Flag.

Olivia was close behind with the Girl Scouts. 

We were near the end of the parade route, so she was really hot by the time she got around to us, can't you tell?

I think Connor liked the parade, but it was a little loud...
 And though I won't bore you with a bunch of parade pictures, here's a couple I had to take for the family.

Purple slug bug!

 Mounted police on horses for the girls.

The Car That Ben Would Love To Have

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Anything You Can Do...

Last week we had our 2nd ever Crews Family Reunion in Dallas.  As part of our reunion festivities, we had a talent show.  It's one of the funnest (and funniest) things that we do.  This video was taken of Olivia and Kelsey's "practice run" for their talent.  Enjoy!