Tomato Basil Goodness

It is a nasty rainy Thursday here in Southern Indiana … yet again. But I will take this over snow any day I suppose. The little boys love rainy days because this gives them an opportunity to wear rain boots and splash and play and gather… worms. They are obsessed with worms right now. So today me being the ultra cool mama that I am {LOL 🙂 yeah I’m sure} decided to throw together a make shift worm farm and who would have thought this would be so much fun. . . for THEM. They would “capture” a worm, bring it to me for “inspection” and throw it in the farm. AND this made them smile and give me kisses so I loved their farm too …  and of course in true #3 fashion he had to come in, sit down and “study” the worm book to ensure that everything was done properly. IMG_20160331_084337.jpg

 With that being said, {because the thought of gross little worms makes me want to talk food I’m sure}  rainy days make me want to stay in my jammies, cuddle up under a cozy blanket, sip my coffee and it always makes me want soup, whether it is warm or cold outside I still want soup. So I think that tonight I will whip up a pot of my Tomato Basil Soup and have some grilled cheese and call it nice.

#2 of the quartet LOVES tomatoes and last year in the barbers garden he planted 4 tomato plants just for her that produced and produced and PRODUCED…. until the end of summer. So I had an abundance of tomatoes that I had to find a use for. The barber and the quartet were so kind to get me a pressure canner and  mason jars last year for Mothers day, so I decided to put them to use and voila!!!! Tomato sauce, paste and fire roasted tomatoes for an entire year!!

One of my favorite soups is tomato basil and Panera is about the only place that I have been that I am absolutely in love with it. But, alas here in my little tiny town there is no such place so I had to improvise.

I am sharing with you my top secret Tomato Basil heaven in a bowl. . .

{obviously I can’t keep a secret}

You will need:

butter

a large can of tomato sauce

whipping cream

basil

one can of chicken broth

Parmesan cheese

Now do this: 

  1. Start with melting a half a stick of butter, watch because you don’t want it to scortch
  2. slowly add  tomato sauce, chicken broth , basil, salt and pepper
  3. once this is heated through slowly add about a 1/2 cup of whipping cream
  4. stir this together until well blended, cook about 5-7 minutes
  5. add parm to taste and enjoy

We like to add a little cheddar cheese and goldfish crackers {cause it’s fun}

I also serve this with a pepper-jack and Munster grilled cheese that is to die for . . . it’s just what you need on a dreary day like this, just waiting on a tornado to drop out of the sky at any moment.

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Try It Tuesday

This week we went Asian…. sorta.

My cooking ADHD kinda took over, so this dish is a little bit of everything. I knew I wanted to make this dish >>> found on Pinterest but then I got to clickin’ and thought that this dish looked good too >>> Bang Bang Chicken   and the sauce that she makes had me at hello. SOOOO….

With that being said I kinda took the ramen noodle idea from the first, the idea of seafood and the yummy sauce and chicken from the other.

If I know how to do anything I can fry some chicken, y’all!!

The final product was melt in your mouth divine. And I paired it with a little fried corn ( I will add that recipe later). I have to say that I wasn’t sure if I was proud or a bit disappointed that 3 out of 4 members of the quartet had no idea what “oodles of noodles” were, partly because there was a time in history when all that Braxton wanted was Ramen…. UGH!! When he decided that he was done so. were. we.

But then I thought what can I do with those easy peasy noodles to kick them up a notch and this is what you get.

What you don’t see is the fish that I baked for the barber and #1, But it used the same concept and they still had a few pieces of chicken.

I am cooking for 6 BIG eaters so modify as needed….

BANG BANG RAMEN

For the Chicken:

16 Chicken breast tenders

AP flour

Paprika

Tbsp. of cornstarch

S and P

Egg

Milk

Sweet Chili Sauce

For the Noodles:

5 packs of chicken flavored Ramen Noodles

Butter

For the Bang:

About a ¼ cup of Mayo (I used Dukes mayo because I am from the South and I don’t think there is anything better) AND for heaven’s sake use REAL mayonnaise regardless of what you use)

About 3 tbsp. of sweet chili sauce

1 tbsp. of honey

  1. Prepare your flour mixture and your egg mixture… Heat a large skillet at about med high heat with about 4 tbsps. of butter and a couple swirls of vegetable oil. Also preheat your oven to 350 degrees
  2. Bring a pot of water to a boil for your noodles
  3. I prefer the dry, wet, dry dredge but it’s your preference.
  4. When sizzling, fry up those tenders until golden brown. 5-7 minutes on each side. Don’t fuss with them … let the pan work its magic
  5. Place in a greased casserole dish drizzle a little sweet chili sauce on them and place in the oven until crispy but not too long or they will dry out.
  6. Once they are in the oven finish your noodles, add 2 of the seasoning packs.
  7. Cook al dente and drain
  8. Prepare the Bang Bang sauce in a small bowl, mixing all ingredients until well blended.
  9. In a skillet melt a few pads of butter and toss those noodles in the skillet. Drizzle your Bang Bang sauce over the noodles as they cook only cook a few minutes.
  10. Remove from heat and you are ready to eat
  11. Plate it noodles and chicken and drizzle the Bang Bang sauce over the top
  12. Your mouth will thank you.
  13. Bon A petit!!

I hope you enjoy this dish as much as we did. It was so good that the quartet was fighting over who got the last of the noodles. 😉

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super heros and rainy ice cream

Lights and sirens cut us off on the way to get ice cream this evening (I will elaborate on this excursion later :/) the Barber says “probably a serious emergency for all those cars” and from the back of our van pipes in a little voice….#3 says ” QUICK!! Call the Powerpuff girls they’ll know what to do!”

This is just a small taste of my everyday life.

They make me laugh and that makes the rain and the wind and the nip in the air OK.

Now, about that ice cream event. Southern Indiana is FAR from Florida in late March… so you can imagine with this only being the 3rd day of Spring that it is still a bit chilly in the evening…. ESPECIALLY in the wind and rain!

The barber has yet to realize, in 6 years, that I’m a Carolina girl and I’m not made for such weather. I want you to know this is the 2nd time in a week that he has loaded us up in the car and taken us for ice cream… in the rainin the cold and then made us SIT. OUT. IN. IT!!! 

I am telling you what’s the truth!!! Now everyone in the family will have pneumonia next week because he was craving an ice cream cone… IN THE RAIN…. IN THE COLD! Poor #4 was sitting there shivering as the ice cream covered his little face and dripped down his arm. But he seems to be just as stubborn as his daddy because after ever shiver he took another bite.

The things we do for love…. now I believe I will take him to Starbucks and make him drink a coffee this summer… outside…. in the rain… in 90 degree weather and give him a dose of his own medicine as I look at him and say… “bless your heart”. 🙂

Being his wife is such an adventure. In 14 years together (13 married in June) he drives me bonkers but we were clearly made for each other. I am spazzy and unorganized and he is orderly and prompt, but we haven’t killed each other yet and  I suppose this is a good thing. I do realize however, that while we are both still in our early 30’s we are more like an elderly couple especially when grocery shopping. Because I am so spazzy I sometimes  most of the time forget a few a lot of things on the list and I am notorious for throwing it in the cart.

The barber being the meticulous money manager that he is, has that store nailed down! He can tell you right now how much it will cost to make a lasagna for supper almost to the penny…. it’s rather impressive. With that being said it is not uncommon to hear us from 4 isles down “discussing” the list …

I forgot olives….. no!! no!! it’s not on the list…. hand it here! There, now it’s on the list…. grumbles and groans and mumbles under his breathe as he calculates numbers …

He loves being my barber 😉 ”
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Crazy days and Thursdays….

 

It’s gonna rain.

It’s windy.

It’s gloomy.

It’s down right nasty looking outside.

I have 8!!!! children under the age of 10 in my tiny house. {4 that are mine ;)}

I have had 4 cups of coffee… I’m sure I will need another.

I sent them out to play before the downpour  because I could see a catastrophe unfolding.

I am a switch toting {mostly for looks because I am not scary AT ALL}, crazy mama, my house isn’t spotless….EVER! My laundry is usually behind. There are always dishes to be done. I am constantly hearing the chorus of MOOOOOOMMMMM!!!!! From the bathroom and our favorite place to go is the …. Library, because we are wild and crazy like that. On the rare occasions that I am away from them I miss this life terribly. I miss the toys in the floor, the yelling down the hall. I miss the funny things they say and I can’t pretend that it isn’t what makes my life go round and keeps me humble and grounded.

Talking to a friend the other day, she said ” toys in the hall and laughing kids mean that no one is sick and everyone’s happy and here”. I couldn’t agree more.

We recently attended 2 different funerals and this usually leaves me thinking about the smaller, often forgotten aspects of my life. It makes me slow down and hug a little tighter, listen a little closer and smile a little more.

One of my greatest joys is being a mom. Yes, it’s crazy and I work harder now than I ever did working a 12 hour shift in a hospital. I get little to no adult conversation most days and rarely get out of my pajamas and I am unable to get a spotless home at this point. But at the end of the day when everything is back in its respective place and the kids are all tucked in at night and the house is eerily quite, I sit back with a cup of tea and enjoy the moment of simple and thank God for giving me the chaos.

If you would have asked me 6 years ago if I enjoyed cooking or baking or staying home with my kids all day or even if I could imagine having more than 2 kids I would have said no. But sometimes, God has a different plan, a better plan than what you had envisioned for yourself. I am so thankful that I listened to that still small voice and found my place as … mom. IMG_20160320_182901

Try It Tuesday!

When I was little my mama raised me and my sister alone. For the most part she was our very best friend but in the times that she was “mama” we learned lessons without even realizing they were lessons.

One thing that stands out in my mind that I have carried on to my children is the “you don’t know if you like it unless you try it” rule. In this home we have a very diverse palate. We love trying new dishes and we very much enjoy trying new restaurants. (OK, the barber and I do more than the kids, but one day they will thank us 🙂 )

However, I have managed to have some of the pickiest eaters ever. And this makes dinner prep and planning a bit of a challenge. I have a rule that the words “ewww, gross or I am not eating that” are NEVER to be spoken, unless you have tried it before and you know for a fact that they are “ewww, gross and never to be eaten again”. They have learned quickly and early in life. For example … brussel sprouts EWWW, GROSS and NEVER EVER AGAIN!

With that being said I have tried desperately to get my monkeys to eat everything, right down to raw oysters! Thank goodness for Pinterest. Tonight’s  “Try It” dish was “Chicken in a garlic and lemon cream sauce”. Get the recipe here

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I LOVED this dish because it was a one skillet meal. It was simple but very tasty. It was also a hit all around the table. I will definitely be making this again.

Now, I could tell you what I put in it but my style of cooking doesn’t allow for accurate measurements, it consists of a couple of “glugs” and a pinch or handful of this and that. I tweak every recipe that I try a little, making it a little bit my own but I think  this is what makes a persons cooking special.  I paired it with mashed potatoes and sweetened steamed corn (only using about a half a stick of butter) … As Paula Deen once said “I am a cook not a doctor” 🙂

I can remember asking my Granny as a girl how to make biscuits and she simply responded “it’s all in the pinky”. I am so blessed to have such wonderful cooks to share there wisdom with me.

What would you like to see me cook next week? I know that trying new things can be a little “scary”, let my family be your dinner time guinea pig.