Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Let it snow...

I am still in the process of going through our Christmas photos & the pics I took while in Puyallup/Parkland, but I did come across this one of Evan from a couple of weeks ago and had to share. He just makes me smile sometimes!

I hope everyone has a delightful New Year. See ya' in 2009!

Sunday, December 28, 2008

More family favorites...

I thought I would share a couple more of my family's favorite recipes. The Baked Macaroni with Ham and Cheese has been in the Mitchel family since I was little, and Mark has adopted it as one of his favorites. Chicken Chalupa is a Taylor family favorite, and Mongolian Beef is a great recipe for the wok.
Baked Macaroni with Ham and Cheese

1/2 pound short tubular macaroni, such as ziti
6 T. butter
3 T. flour
2 1/2 cups milk
2 cups grated extra-sharp cheddar cheese
freshly ground black pepper
1/2 pound cooked ham, sliced 1/4 inch thick

Bring water to a boil for pasta in stockpot or kettle

Preheat oven to 375 degrees

Butter casserole or souffle dish.

Salt water and add macaroni to rapidly boiling water and cook only until slightly tender, 6 to 7 minutes. Pasta will cook further in the oven, so it should be slightly underdone.

In saucepan, heat 4 tablespoons of the butter and stir in flour. Cook over medium heat, stirring, until bubbly, about 3 minutes.

Remove pan from heat and vigorously stir in milk to blend well. Return pan to heat and stir and cook until sauce is thickened. Add 3 tablespoons of the grated cheese and stir until melted. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Cut ham slices into 1/4- inch cubes.

Place colander in sink and drain cooked macaroni. Shake colander to get rid of excess water. Return macaroni to pot and toss with cream sauce and ham.

Arrange layer of the macaroni in casserole; cover with generous dusting of paprika and layer of the shredded cheese. Continue layering until all are used, ending with the cheese. You will find 3 layers about right. Dot top with remaining 2 tablespoons of butter.

Bake 25-30 minutes, or until bubbling.

Mongolian Beef
Makes 4 servings
Preparation Time: 15 minutes; 4 1/2 minutes to cook

1 pound lean flank or sirloin steak, thinly sliced across grain and cut in 1 1/2-inch-long strips
2 T. soy sauce
1/2 t. salt
1 T. dry sherry
1/2 t. dried red pepper flakes
3 T. peanut oil
1 T. sesame oil
1/2 t. chopped garlic
1 bunch green onions, each cut in half lengthwise, then cut diagonally in 1-inch-long pieces

Put meat strips in bowl; add 1 tablespoon soy sauce, next 3 ingredients and 2 tablespoons oil; set aside. Mix remaining 1 tablespoon soy sauce with sesame oil; set aside. Heat remaining 1 tablespoon oil in uncovered wok at 400 degrees. Add garlic; stir-fry 10 seconds. Add beef; stir-fry 2 minutes. Add onion and sesame oil mixture; stir-fry until heated through, 1 to 2 minutes. Serve immediately. **We always serve Mongolian Beef over rice.

Chicken Chalupa

1 doz corn tortillas, softened and broken in large pieces
1/2 lb longhorn cheese, grated (I use extra-sharp cheddar cheese instead)
3-4 chicken breasts, cooked, skinned, boned and broken into pieces
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 can cream of mushroom soup
8 oz sour cream
2/3 cup milk or chicken broth
1/4 cup minced onion
1 small can diced green chilies

COMBINE: soups, sour cream, milk, onion, & green chilies.

In large greased casserole, layer as follows:
1/2 of tortilla pieces, 1/2 chicken pieces, 1/2 soup mixture, then 1/2 cheese. Repeat layers for two complete layers.

Bake uncovered at 350 degrees for 45 min.

Happy Cooking!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Candy Cane Cookies

I absolutely love this recipe! I can remember making them as a little girl, except back then our candy canes were always a little bit lop-sided!

Candy Cane Cookies
Betty Crocker Recipe Card Library

1/2 cup butter/margarine, softened
1/2 cup shortening
1 cup confectioners' sugar
1 egg
1 1/2 teaspoons almond extract
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt (I usually don't add this much)
1/2 teaspoon red food color

Heat oven to 375 degrees.

Mix thoroughly butter, shortening, confectioners' sugar, egg and flavorings. Belnd in flour and salt. Divide dough in half; blend food color into one half.

Shape 1 teaspoon dough from each half into 4-inch rope. For smooth, even ropes, roll them back and forth on lightly floured board. Place ropes side by side; press together lightly and twist. Complete cookies one at a time. Place on ungreased baking sheet; curve top of cookie down to form handle of cane.

Bake about 9 minutes or until set and very light brown. If you wish, mix 1/2 cup crushed peppermint candy and 1/2 cup granulated sugar. Immediately sprinkle cookies with candy mixture; remove from baking sheet.

Yield: 4 dozen cookies.

Merry Christmas, family and friends.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

99.9%...'s a boy :-)

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Christmas Card Photo

Evan and I had a successful "photo shoot" in front of our Christmas tree this morning. He did really great! No "sad face," no wandering eyes...his only request is to "see" himself after every couple of shots. He likes to look at the photos I've taken and laugh or say "cute!"

I think this one is going to make it into the card this year. It only took 37 photos to find that one perfect shot:

Tomorrow Mark and I find out if we are having a boy or a girl. We are super excited! Unfortunately, Mark has a final during our ultrasound appointment, so he will have to wait until after that to see the photos, and hear the results. That is if I tell him at all :-) Cindy is going to be my Mark stand-in...and keep an eye on Evan during the test. I cannot believe I get to find out in less than 24, so excited!

Monday, December 15, 2008

Sad face...

With Christmas just around the corner, I am working diligently on our annual Christmas cards. I really want to include a photo of Evan (in his new Christmas sweater), in front of our tree. He has been a little ornery lately about smiling in front of the camera, so I decided to take a few test shots. The results weren't exactly what I was hoping for!

I asked Evan to make a "happy face" for the camera, and he replies:

"No mama. I make sad face."

So what do you think? Should I include this in our Christmas card?!?

I will be taking the "final" photo tomorrow...I hope he brings his happy face :-)

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

New pics of our little munchkin.

It's been several months since I have posted updated photos of Evan, and my dad is starting to complain about not having new photos for his computer background. As the dutiful daughter, I suppose I owe him some new pics of his only grandchild!

Evan relaxing on my new Nautica pillow from Ross. Aren't the colors lovely?

Mark's favorite photo of the bunch...we love his wispy hair and cute lil' dimples!

The "I just woke up from nap and aren't too happy about it" face.

Running from exhibit to exhibit at North West Trek the day after Thanksgiving.

On the Tram at North West Trek. Can you tell that I was at Wal-Mart at 4am that morning!?!

Looking out the Tram window.

Cuddling with his favorite aunt, and perhaps favorite person, the day before Thanksgiving.

A visit to Pioneer Park in September.

Dancing at the Doodlebops concert in September.

A very wet visit to the Puyallup Fair in September.

We are getting ready for Christmas around here. I put up the tree last Thursday, and finished wrapping gifts over the weekend. Cindy is taking me to the WSU vs. Gonzaga basketball game tomorrow night, which I am so excited about! I absolutely love going to the much excitement! Mark, Evan, and I have a graduation party to attend on Saturday, and we find out if we are having a boy or girl ont he 17th. Mark is finished with finals on the 18th, then we are home free until the new year!

Mark just called to tell me that it is snowing outside...Happy Winter!

Monday, December 1, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving!

Photo courtesy of Cindy Ledgerwood.

Mark, Evan, and I spent a wonderful Thanksgiving on the West side. We were able to visit with both sides of our family, plus see Mark's grandparents, who were visiting from Arizona. Evan was spoiled rotten by grandparents (and my sister), and we took a trip to North West Trek.

Hope every one's holiday was relaxing!