Thursday, July 29, 2010

Dorm Life

So you ask how living in a dorm with a bunch of college students is...? Well it has it's advantages and disadvantages I guess. This is a video we took of the boys playing what they have dubbed "talking cars" recently while camping. You may want to preview before showing to the cousins or else you may begin to think those Colorado McBrayers are a little out of hand. Enjoy!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Vegetarian Deliciousness

Alright, ladies.

I would put this meal into five categories:

  • Easy
  • Cheap
  • Kid-friendly
  • Vegetarian
  • Delicious
I got this recipe from a childhood friend of mine. Her sister had posted it on her blog. And so now we enjoy this sister-of-a-friend-of-mine's recipe regularly here at our house. I've made it twice, and both times I have been blown away at how fast and easy it is. And both times, Landon loves it. And it's one of those meals that is just as good as left-overs (for us, we get to eat it for 3 different meals!)

This recipe is from a very creative Mormon mother. So you know that this batch makes A LOT and is loved by children of all ages. 

Here it is:

You should just click on the name of this recipe to go to her website. She does such a good job with her instructions. You know, Pioneer Woman style. Just trust me.
(her picture)

Thursday, July 22, 2010

The Tivoli

I've been reminiscent of my childhood lately for some reason. Maybe it's because the boys are to the age where they will begin remembering their childhood experiences. Or maybe as an artist I have this need to create something and writing is a whole lot less messy and not something the boys can get in to or destroy and it's easy clean up afterwards. Not to mention something I've ever really done before but enjoy nonetheless. All I need is a guitar and a spiral bound note book to get "sketching."

So about 6 months ago, I took some time to write down some of my childhood memories. This led into creating a free verse poem about some of those experiences wrapped into one. Both of these I hope to share with you eventually. But for now, I have something totally out of my comfort zone for sharing but figured this was the place if there ever was one. So enjoy or turn your speakers down.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Gotta love Southern cookin'

We southerners have figured out how to make casseroles out of everything. We have casseroles out of squash, zuccini, brocoli, sweet potato, regular potato, pineapple... Over the weekend at Jasper, I tried a new casserole at Jasper. It turned out pretty good and, in honor of our Southern heritage (whether born or married in), here is a YUMMY Vidalia onion casserole recipe to try. Oh, and it's Paula Deen.

Vidalia Onion Casserole
4 large Vidalia onions, quartered
7 tablespoons butter
3 eggs
1 - 5oz can evaporated milk
1 tube Ritz Crackers, crushed (I subbed whole wheat crackers cause I didn't want to buy a whole box of Ritz)
1.5 cups grated cheddar cheese
Salt & pepper

Boil the onions until tender; drain. Heat 4 tablespoons of the butter in a skillet and saute the onions. Beat the eggs and milk together. Add the onions, half the cracker crumbs, the cheese, and salt and pepper to taste. Bake in a buttered casserole at 375 for 35 minutes. Melt the remaining 3 tablespoons butter and stir into the remaining cracker crumbs. Top the casserole with the buttered crumbs and bake for 15 minutes longer. Enjoy!


Here are a couple of really easy, remarkably delicious recipes we tried out this past week. I was pulling them together for a friend of mine and figured I ought to share here while I was at it.

Sausage and Cheese Tortellini Soup (with some of Peyton's Christmastime Italian Venison Sausage)

Vegetarian Korma (tip: add an additional 3/4 cup of water to this one when you add the tomato sauce and then reduce it down to the consistency you like otherwise it will dry out before your veggies cook. I also subbed 1/2 & 1/2 for the cream.)

Cereal Hound

Justin is a cereal hound. It's hard to keep it in the pantry he eats so much of it. He's rather have it over anything else I could possibly slave over in the kitchen. And when I met him in college, and the really through the first half of our married life, he craved that really awful for you sweet cereal too. Frosted Mini Wheats were about as healthy as he got. You know, all the ones that leave you hungry an hour later even after 4 bowls full? He could easily eat cereal for breakfast, snack, appetizer to dinner, dessert and routinely eats it before he goes to bed.

Now that we have miniature cereal eaters, I've found that these little creatures after those bowls of sugar in the morning are starving before I even get them in the dishwasher. A lot of people crave good healthy fresh food in the summers.

About 2 years ago I started trying different cereal and comparing labels. I've ingrained in the kids heads which cereals are good for you and which ones are bad for you so that they embarrassingly point out loud those consumers in the store whom have chosen poorly with regard to their health. I let them pick out their own cereal actually (but only in the 1/10th of the cereal aisle that actually houses the decent stuff.)

I'm looking for low sugar, high fiber, no high fructose corn syrup, and whole grains while staying away from corn based cereals. I think we do pretty well aside from splurging on occasion. Every kid deserves a big bowl of Lucky Charms at some point in their childhood (if you expect them to bring your grandchildren to see you later in life).

This list isn't comprehensive to my requirements or tastes but they are hitting at least one or two, especially the fiber. But take a look. You'd be surprised at how often you can sub out better for you cereals to fill the craving with a similar taste.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Family Photos

Periodically I save pics that you ladies send out in emails (these are all your pictures). After all, I hardly see you lovelies, unfortunately. I was looking through some today and loving them. I thought I'd share for some sweet memories...

There were so many that I was loving. Hope you enjoy remembering them as much as I do!!

let's start with one from the archives

can you believe we chose this lot to lead our families and father our children?

 love the open-mouth-with-cake kisses at 2. 


i have this picture hanging next to my desk. 
this is the best look of sheer joy from griffy. 
i love it.

makes me laugh out loud

so glad he chose you for our sister, LeeAnn!


love this

'Neus in "Agago"

these McBrayer boys and boobies....

master composer and musician

I love how happy Addie is in this photo!! 

so sweet

Merritt knew at such a young age this kid would be into everything. But always with the most precious smile!!!

pretty princess with a scowl 

aw.... sisters

story time, and there aren't even any pictures in that book!

the parnell boys

Monday, July 12, 2010

Here's "Sweet Baby Kale" and Boy they grow up fast....
These two have become best friends... they share toys (despite what mom says!) and now are side by side at the dinner table. But if that's one less floor I have to sweep, then fine.

This little tyke just amazes me everyday. He is so full of life and so full of energy. It doesn't matter how hectic or bad of a day I have had, he can always make me smile.
I can't believe how Fast life passes by. Just this evening he was eating bits of wagon wheels and gerber puffs, then drank his milk from a Sippie cup all by himself.
I am not ready for him to grow up so fast. This cute little kids still needs to be drinking from bottles!! It's times like this and photos like these that we have to remember, they are not little for long. Enjoy every moment. - Even the poop explosions!

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Sweet Baby Kale vs. The green leafy sort

Ok, so our sweet baby nephew Kale is much more awesome than that weird leafy stuff that is used as a garnish on main dishes at restaurants, however kale (not Kale, mind you) is an unsung hero in the world of nutrition and the world of hippie granola tendencies.

I have a friend that says she makes a kale, frozen fruit and water smoothie for her kids each morning to knock out a serving of veggies at the beginning of the day. They actually drink it, if you can believe it. So in the spirit of our dear, ridiculously fit, lean and mean, leg wrestling champion, Shocks, I decided to try my own family on it. So far, with enough honey and yogurt, my kids tolerate it and Justin said no way. So I have some tweaking to do on that.

However, I was online doing my research this week (Heaven forbid you drink something like kale for 20 years only to find out it contributes nothing nutritionally to your body) and I found some interesting info on that crazy bunch of green in the produce aisle. I read :

Kale is very high in beta carotene, vitamin K, vitamin C, lutein, zeaxanthin, and reasonably rich in calcium.

And after a few other sites that confirmed it, not to mention it cancer fighting capabilities, I was convinced I wasn't incorporating this strange veggie into our diets for nothing.

All that to say, I found a recipe that I think is worth trying (if for no other reason than to entertain yourself with a kitchen experiment). As far as I'm concerned, most anything with olive oil and salt is delicious. So the next time you need a salt fix do the following:

Crispy Kale "Chips"

Bunch of kale
Olive oil
Season salt

1. Remove the leafy parts of kale from the tough ribs.
2. Tear into bite-sized pieces.
3. Rinse with cold water really well.
4. Dry completely on a paper towel.
5. Toss dry kale with a couple tsp of olive oil and a sprinkle of season salt (I use Spike seasoning)
6. Spread on a baking sheet into one layer.
7. Bake at 350 for 6-10 min.
8. Watch carefully. They should darken but not turn brown.

They basically taste like salty olive oil but with a melt in your mouth crispiness that's somewhat addicting. Granted too much oil or salt isn't all that good for you so go light and in the end it's just got to be better than potato chips for sure!

DISCLAIMER: I haven't actually tried these on the family. I managed to eat the whole bunch all by myself before they had a chance.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Good Read

To All the Mothers Out There... and to the Mothers-to-be:

Joel's brother, Jamie, sent out this article the other day and I thought it was really good. I'm not a mom yet, but it resonated with me still. Enjoy!

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

July Fourth in Jasper

We were able to spend a long weekend in Jasper over the fourth. The Parnell crew arrived late Wednesday night, the kids staying up until 2 AM!!! But good ole Griffy was still up by 7! Nina and Big Daddy joined us on Thursday, Aunt Hailes/Uncle Goel (per griffin) came on Friday, and Peyton/Ann arrived Saturday.

The guys played a round or two of golf and some of them went to 1 or 2 Braves games. We enjoyed having 75 degree weather with fairly low humidity - when was the last time that happened in GA??? It allowed us to be outside a lot - swimming, playing on the playground, picking blackberries, and riding four wheelers.

Uncle P and Saeran (please tell me I spelled that right, ann!?)

Griffin and Mommy about to go for a ride

Griffin was really into Saeran - he loved to feed her and lay on the floor to play with her

Aunt Hailes was a great sport and gave Avery all the attention she wanted!
Addie on the swing

my boys!

Friday, July 2, 2010

Hick-a What?!?

Kind of a deformed, discolored looking sweet potato is what I think this strange produce looks like. However, pronounced (hick-ah-mah), the jicama has earned a new found respect in my mind these days. Peel it first and then take a taste of the sweet, earthy, water chestnut-like textured taste. It's delicious.

If you like cilantro and lime paired with the perfect summery dip for chips, try this recipe and you may just start noticing this at the supermarket! I could eat it by the spoonfuls. Yum.

Photo courtesy Dr. Stanley Kays

Jicama and Avocado with Cilantro Lime Vinaigrette

1/4 to 1/2 cup olive oil
1/4 cup lime juice
1/4 cup orange juice
1/2 to 1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
pinch of minced garlic
1 cup packed cilantro, chopped

1 jicama, diced
2-3 avocados, diced

Mix the first ingredients, then pour over the jicama and avocados. Serve with tortilla chips or bagel crisps.

It makes a huge batch. I stored my leftovers with the pit of the avocados in it and it seems to be keeping it from turning brown.