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I’m a stay at home mother of two beautiful children, Zoey and Zane. I spend most of my days wiping butts and cleaning up…but what can I say I love every minute of it. I love the time I get to spend each day with my children thanks to God and my wonderful husband. This blog is about our daily happenings at the Blakley Ranch. Hope you enjoy!

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Happy Cooking...

If you read my previous post you know I’m trying out new recipes this week. Luckily, my family is not too picky. I don’t include Zane’s opinion…he’s only two and his taste buds are set to love only things sweet! However, luckily he will gag a few times and continue eating...I’m one lucky mom! However, I can honestly say all my family members LOVED the last two recipes I made and ate EVERY SINGLE BITE on their plates.

Crunchy Garlic Chicken

2 tablespoons butter or stick margarine, melted
2 tablespoons milk
1 tablespoon chopped fresh chives or parsley
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon garlic powder
2 cups cornflakes cereal, crushed (1 cup)
3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
½ teaspoon paprika
6 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
2 tablespoons butter or stick margarine, melted

1. Heat oven to 425 degrees. Grease rectangular pan, 13 X 9 X 2 inches.

2. Mix 2 tablespoons butter, the milk, chives, salt and garlic powder. Mix cornflakes, parsley and paprika. Dip chicken into milk mixture, then coat lightly and evenly with cornflakes mixture. Place in pan. Drizzle with 2 tablespoons butter.

3. Bake uncovered 20 to 25 minutes or until chicken is no longer pink.

This recipe is from my Betty Crocker Complete Cookbook. I served it with Rice A Roni Long Grain Wild Rice, steamed carrots, and green onions. It was a big hit!

The next recipe and picture are from my Taste of Home Church Supper Cookbook.

This recipe is not me…I’m not a big meat eater but I knew my family would enjoy it. Geeze…the sacrifices a mom will make. Boy, was I shocked when I really enjoyed this meal. It was really something I would not normally eat and I think I needed that…it hit the spot! When I originally picked out this recipe, I did not realize the meal was completely made in the microwave. My husband will die if he reads this. He loved the meal but HATES a microwave. He will only use it as a last resort…like when I’m not home to feed him and he has to fend for himself. I’m not lying when I say this meal took me 15 minutes start to finish to make. If you made the meatballs beforehand you could have dinner ready in 10 minutes max! This meal serves 12 so I cut it in half. The sandwiches are VERY FILLING. Joey could only eat one.

Meatball Sub Sandwiches

2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup dry bread crumbs
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons finely chopped onion
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon pepper
½ teaspoon garlic powder
¼ teaspoon Italian seasoning
2 pounds ground beef (I used lean ground beef)
1 jar (28 ounces) spaghetti sauce
Additional Parmesan cheese, sliced onion, and green bell peppers, optional
12 sandwich rolls, split

1. In a large bowl, combine the first eight ingredients. Crumble beef over the mixture and mix well. Shape into 1 inch balls. Place in a single layer in a 2 quart microwave-safe dish.

2. Cover and microwave on high for 3-4 minutes. Turn meatballs; cook 3-4 minutes longer or until no longer pink. Drain. Add spaghetti sauce.

3. Cover and microwave on high for 2-4 minutes or until heated through. Serve on rolls.

I used wheat sandwich rolls. I split them and toasted them with butter and garlic powder. For Joey and me, I added the meatballs and topped with purple onions, green bell peppers, jalapenos, and Parmesan cheese…YUMMY! I served these sandwiches with potato chips and fruit for the kiddos. Happy Cooking!

Saturday, August 28, 2010

What's For Dinner???

Do you ever feel like you’re in a food rut? Nothing sounds good to eat; you cook the same meals week after week. Well, I have felt like this lately and decided to do something about it. I pulled out all my dusty cookbooks and vowed to cook something new each night for the next seven days. I sat down and made a menu and grocery list. I tried to find recipes that had ingredients that I already had at home or that were on sale at the grocery store. Last night on facebook I posted that I was making stuffed cornbread and bacon pork chops and creamy corn and avocado salad. I had several people ask for the recipe…hence this blog post. Both of these recipes were easy and can be made in advance for an easy late night supper. When I saw the stuffed pork chop recipe it sounded so good; however, I was a little reluctant to try it because it was not a cooking technique I’m familiar with. I was presently pleased to find out how easy it was to make. This picture and recipe are from the Betty Crocker Complete Cookbook.


Corn Bread and Bacon Stuffed Pork Chops

6 pork rib or loin chops, 1 to 1 ¼ inches thick (about 4 pounds)
4 slices bacon, cut into ½ inch pieces
1 medium onion, chopped (½ cup)
1 small green bell pepper, chopped (½ cup)
1 cup corn bread stuffing crumbs
½ cup water
½ cup shredded Cheddar cheese (2 ounces)
½ teaspoon seasoned salt
½ teaspoon dried marjoram leaves
¼ teaspoon pepper

1. Heat oven to 350 degrees

2. Make a pocket in each pork chop by cutting into side of chop toward the bone.

3. Cook bacon in 12-inch skillet over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until crisp. Stir in onion and bell pepper. Cook 2 to 3 minutes, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are crisp-tender; remove from heat. Drain. Stir in stuffing crumbs and water until well mixed. Stir in cheese.

4. Sprinkle both sides of pork with seasoned salt, marjoram and pepper. Fill pockets with about 1/3 cup corn bread mixture. Cook pork in same skillet over medium heat, turning once, until brown. Place pork in ungreased rectangular pan, 13 x 9 x 2 inches. Cover tightly with aluminum foil.

5. Bake 45 minutes. Uncover and bake about 15 minutes longer or until pork is slightly pink when cut near bone.

The corn salad recipe and picture are from the Taste of Home Church Supper Cookbook.


This recipe serves 12. So, I halved it and we ate the leftovers today as a dip with tortilla chips. It was even better the next day and the avocados did not discolor.

Creamy Corn and Avocado Salad

6 cups frozen corn, thawed
3 cups chopped seeded tomatoes
1 cup cubed avocado
2/3 cup sweet red bell pepper
2/3 cup green bell pepper
Dressing:
1 cup mayonnaise
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper

1. In large bowl, combine the corn, tomatoes, avocado, peppers and onion.

2. In a small bowl, whisk the dressing ingredients.

3. Pour dressing over salad; toss to coat.

4. Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes or until chilled.

Overall the new dishes were a big hit. If you don’t count the gagging sounds that came from Zane every time he got a piece of onion in his mouth. I hope this motivates you to pull out your cookbooks and try something new for dinner tonight!

Monday, August 23, 2010

Back to School...

Name: Zoey Blakley
Age: 4
Height: 42 ¾ inches
Weight: 46 pounds

School is back in session for the 2010 school year!!! Along with the first day of pre-school came new supplies, clothes, and shoes.

Zoey was not excited about waking up early this morning. She kept going on and on about an incident last year when she and a friend argued over who had a toy first. What can I say; my daughter has a hard time letting things go and does not forget ANYTHING! However, once she shook the sleep out of her eyes and made it out the door she was looking forward to her day.

She was excited to give her teacher a hug and catch up with all her old friends.

She found her name tag and headed straight for the play dough…one of her favorite craft items.

We made apple cupcakes for her classmates to welcome them back to school!

When I asked Zoey what she was most excited about learning this year she told me being a “betinarian”. For those of you who don’t speak Zoey dialect…she wants to be the veterinarian in the school play! Zoey reported that she had a great day and learned about the letter A. She also sang the song “Apple Annie” for the remainder of the day…Zane was even able to pick up a few of the lines (we sang it that much)! She also said she met many new friends.

She especially liked “the girl with the red hair”. I’m glad she had such a good day today and we both look forward to a great year!

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Pre-School Photo Shoot...

Zoey will be starting her second round of pre-school at Mrs. Connie’s on Monday. Last year, I decided to start a tradition and take Zoey out on a little pre-school photo shoot. I think this is a great way to document the changes in a child each year and I’m determined to keep this little tradition up.

However, I can honestly say that Miss. Zoey gave me a run for my money today.

She had me really second guessing the need for traditions. She has been a little testy this week. Okay, I’m minimizing this…she has been a TERROR this week. She has been pushing my every button. If I tell her not to do something...she does it! If I tell her one time to do something...I have to tell her five times. Combine her honoree mood with hot temperatures, wind, and what has now become her “underwear issue” and you get lots of deep breaths and counting to ten.

Her underwear issues you ask? Yes, I have bought over fifty pairs of underwear for her this summer in an attempt to find some that she is not constantly pulling at. If they move an inch in the wrong direction she has a complete melt down. Why has this become such an issue this summer? I don’t know. If you happen to find out...please inform me so I can resolve this issue. I’m sure no one really cares about her ongoing need to readjust her underwear a hundred times a day, but I just have to get that off my chest. So, when you see my child around town pulling at her pants and crying while I attempt to drag her into some remote corner so she can fix her “underwear issue” you know what is going on...I’m not dragging her off to beat her as she cries and holds her backside! I also failed to mention I had less than four house of sleep prior to this lovely photo shoot.

Let’s not forget the SCREAMING two year old, who was more than willing to tell the world about his dislike with being constrained in the car seat while I begged his sister to at least look in the camera’s direction.

When all else fails you go for the bribe...

So, when you look at these pictures...I want you to see the sweat and tears this mama put into getting just a few shots of her beautiful, loving, kind, UNCOOPERATIVE daughter!!! Precious, I hope you have a GREAT first day back to school and I hope Ms. Connie nips that bad mood in the butt!!!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Photo Challenge...

When one of the blogs I read, Willette Designs, posted a photography challenge to its readers it peaked my interest. When I saw the subject, photograph your loved ones eyes, this picture instantly came to mind.

I took this picture of my son, Zane, and I love everything about it...including the baby drool in the corner of his mouth. Seeing all his sweet baby features in this picture always evokes an emotional response from me. I think photo challenges are fun for everyone...it's a great way to think outside of the box. I'll be taking more eye photos this week and look forward to next weeks challenge. I hope you join in on the fun and photograph your loved ones eyes! Leave a comment with a link to your blog if you join in on the challenge...I would love to see all your photos and I could use a little blog love!