Monthly Archives: January 2011

Fix ONE Thing…

I learned what fuels stress years ago when I worked for GMAC and they started downsizing, rightsizing or whatever the buzz word was at that time.  The fuel that feeds stress is the unknown and being overwhelmed with so many things at one time.

Running a home is similar because sometimes if I drop the ball in one area it can mess up several other areas. So this year to help maintain balance I’ve decided to fix my biggest stress area: What’s for dinner? My “fix” is to start pre-planning meals. I posted before that I’m going to start cooking more. Real cooking, not frying. But to get me ahead of the game by pre-planning on Saturday or Sunday (thus lowering my stress during the week, so like on Wednesday at 5:30 pm when I’ve just returned my last phone call I won’t panic because I have NO IDEA what I’m fixing for supper. Let’s don’t forget the kid’s are starving).

So the goal is to pre-plan and have prepared two meals on Sunday for the following week. Can you say casserole? Yes, I know this will probably get old for the kids but last week I tried a new recipe from a friend. The recipe came from Southern Living…so it just had to be good! This is a few of the ingredients…ah! fresh Spinach – and the kids ate it!

Here it is all put together (before it hit the oven).

The kids LOVED it. Hubby loved it. Fast, easy, and inexpensive. Another winner – and I didn’t fry anything. Here’s the recipe. Enjoy!

Spinach Lasagna
1 16 oz package of fresh spinach
1/3 c refrigerated pesto sauce
1 15 oz jar of Alfredo sauce
1/4 cup vegetable broth (I use chicken broth)
1 25 oz package of frozen cheese ravioli (keep frozen)
1 c shredded Italian 6 cheese blend
Garnish with fresh basil and paprika
Preheat oven to 375-Chop spinach and toss with pesto in a medium bowl
Combine Alfredo sause and broth-spoon 1/3 of Alfredo sauce- about 1/2 cup into the
bottom of greased baking dish. Then add 1/2 of the spinach, then add 1/2 the Ravioli..
Repeat the layers once and top with remaining sauce.
Bake at 375 for 30 mins. Remove from oven and spinkle with cheese. Bake  for 5 more.
Can garnish with fresh basil.
Thanks Stacie!

Keystone Colorado!

I don’t know that we have ever been so excited to go on vacation.  Over the Christmas Holidays we headed out to snow country.  When they say snow country they ain’t lieing!   At first I thought I was sick from the flight.  But NO,  it was a full blown case of altitude sickness.  If you’ve never had that before count yourself lucky.  I would rather have had a baby.  I kid you not!  By sheer luck my Hubby found some Altitude Sickness herbal pills.  So finally after three days I thought I would actually live.  If you are ever plagued with that evilness here is a picture of what saved me.  (along with some oxygen!).

The rest of the trip was super!  The view out our window looked like a Hallmark card.  Tee hee hee!  Hallmark card – get it?  (my last name is Hallmark).

The highlight of the trip for me was snowmobiling in the Rocky Mountains.  I could have done without the crew singing John Denver’s “Rocky Mountain High”.  But it sure was some good times. 

With all the snow we couldn’t pass up the chance for a snowball fight…

It’s been in the mid 30’s and 40’s this past week in Austin.  Doesn’t bother us.  Especially me…no mountain’s in site, no chance of that altitude hangover.  The last few days? the sunshine has started to comeback!

Best Friends Shoot

Rachel has such a sweet disposition.  When she contacted me about a photo shoot as a gift for five close friends I knew the day would be fun.  I wasn’t disappointed.  We started at Camp Mabrey.  It was a little chilly that day but the sun was perfect!

Sometimes it takes awhile to warm up in front of the camera’s. Not these girls. It took like a nana second. They all helped each other get over their shyness. And the laughter went on all afternoon.

Rachel also brought a stack of postcards her grandmother had sent her over the years. They were precious. She wanted to use them in the shoot somehow. Aren’t they wonderful?

We ended up at Pete’s Piano bar downtown. What a cool joint.  It reminded me of the piano bar’s I went to when I lived in New Orleans. The Manager was kind enough to open up just for our photoshoot.

Loved this place. Of course I had to bring my own accessories.

You girls so Rocked it!

Eight at 8:00

A Mom by definition is busy. With a hubby, 2 kids, 2 large dogs, and 2 jobs, I’m definitely busy. I don’t have large blocks of time, and I don’t see a free day in the next several years! But you know you will be amazed at how much you can accomplish in ten minutes. Or in my case eight minutes.  I know I won’t get big jobs done, but here are a few things everyone in my family can do to keep our house orderly. (Yeah the entire family! If my kids can navigate the Internet, tv remote, wii games, and my IPhone they can do their fair share of the upkeep!).
* fold a load of clothes
* pick up the downstairs
* pick up the upstairs
* load/unload dishwasher
* clean kitchen countertops
* clean our two glass doors (remember the 2 large dogs?)

So I’m starting this plan tonight. Eight at 8:00 PM. I will set the timer. So if you call me at that time just leave a message. You’ll know why I’m not answering.  Of course we will have to step over the dogs.  They like to take a nap at 8:00.

New Year, NEW ME!…I’m gonna cook!

Christmas time is always a reflective time for me.   I remember Christmas past and smile at the good times and try not to think about those other times.  We all got ’em.  When Uncle Fred showed up a little more than tipsy, or when Ethel and her sister Herstine screamed at each other for two hours in the front yard.   Yeah I’ve got alot of material Tennessee Williams would have enjoyed.  But let’s get back to the good. 

Every year my husband and I think about where we are, where we’ve been, and where we’d like to go.   Some of the goals we set together as a couple, some are personal.   I’ve set several personal goals for myself this year.  One I’ve already started working on.  I don’t want my kids growing up remembering when their Momma opened up a can of Chef Boy R Dee for them.  I’m going to learn how to cook.

I mean really cook.  Right now about the only thing I can do is fry.  Fried chicken, fried okra, fried squash, fried potatoes, fried catfish, and let’s don’t forget fried green tomatoes.  “Southern cooking” in the Heart of Dixie was code for fry something.

I’m not going for Julia Child, more like a cross between the Barefoot Contessa and Paula Deen (minus one stick of butter).  Tonight I tried a new recipe from a good friend of mine – New Orleans BBQ shrimp.  It was AWESOME!  The kids raved!  The husband wondered who that woman was in the kitchen. 

I did let everyone know this won’t be a daily event.  I’m shooting for twice a week during the work week, maybe three.  Leftovers one night, reservations one night.  Other days?  I guess I’ll fry something.