Thursday, May 20, 2010

Clothes Line Love

Hi, my name is Beth (or Bess...or Elizabeth...whatever you prefer to call me), and I'm a recovering dryer-aholic.

I have been almost completely dryer-free for about 1 month, turning it on for probably 20 minutes total during that time. My husband put up a clothes line, which started the dryer weaning. Before the clothes line installation, I abused my dryer usage, turning it on for almost any and all things washed.


I abuse my clothes line usage, hanging up any and all things washed. I even put socks and *gasp* underwear on the drying rack, mostly out of the view of neighbors. (Except for when a certain four year old grabs my bright blue undies and wears them around her waist, parading outside for all to see while I cook dinner inside. That day, everyone knew all about my undies.)

I don't do laundry on rainy just piles up until the next sunny-skies day and is usually clean-dry-done by dinnertime. Yeah, the "piling up" gets to me, but it's a small price to pay for a lower electric bill and a feeling of accomplishment. I love having a clothes line so much that my handy Hubby installed not just one clothes line, but three.

Don't ask me what I'm going to do in the winter. I don't want to think about it yet.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Tasty Tuesday: Broccoli Rabe & Sausage Bread Pizza

Ah, yes, another Tasty Tuesday! This one is courtesy of Rachael Ray!


I saw this recipe on her show and website a few weeks ago, thought it looked easy enough, and gave it a try. While it didn't go over too well with the kiddos (spaghetti & meatballs or hotdogs tend to be their favorites right now...can't seem to top them), it was an instant hit with Hubby! In fact, it is what's for dinner tonight! Give it a try and tell me what you think.

15-Minute Meal: Broccoli Rabe and Sausage Bread Pizzas
Serves 4

* Salt
* 1 large bundle broccoli rabe, trimmed, washed and dried, coarsely chopped
* 1 large (or 2 small loaves) loaf ciabatta bread, split horizontally
* EVOO (extra virgin olive oil) for drizzling, plus 2 Tablespoons
* 1 lb. bulk Italian sweet sausage
* 4 gloves garlic, finely chopped or grated
* Black pepper
* 1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
* Ground nutmeg
* 1 cup ricotta cheese
* 1/3 cup milk
* 2 Tbsp. chopped thyme
* 2 cups provolone cheese, shredded

Preheat your broiler and position the oven rack 1 rung from top of oven.

Bring an inch or two of water to a boil in a covered deep skillet. Season with salt and boil the broccoli rabe in the water for 3-4 minutes to cook out their bitterness. Drain well.

Place bread on a cookie sheet , cut side up. Place under broiler for 2-3 minutes, being careful not to burn them! Remove from oven and set aside.

Heat a drizzle of EVOO in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add sausage and brown and crumble. Remove to plate and return pan to stove. Reduce heat to medium and add 2 Tbsp. EVOO. Add garlic and stir for 1-2 minutes. Add red pepper flakes and stir. Add broccoli rabe and toss to combine. Season with salt, pepper, and a little nutmeg. Turn off heat.

Combine ricotta cheese, milk, salt, pepper, thyme, and a drizzle of EVOO. Spread mixture evenly on pieces of bread. Top evenly with sausage, broccoli rabe, and provolone cheese. Return bread pizzas to the oven for 3 minutes or until brown and bubbly on top.

Alright, alright...if you know me, I typically cannot follow a recipe word for word. I tend to substitute for lighter ingredients or ones that I have on-hand.

The first time I made these pizzas, I could not find broccoli rabe at the grocery store for the life of me. So, I substituted fresh spinach. I used lean Italian sausage, and I left out the red pepper flakes for fear of burning my mouth off. (Since Hubby prefers spicier food, I might sprinkle a few on his piece tonight.) I used 1% milk and part-skim ricotta instead of whole. Finally, I didn't have shredded provolone, so I used mozzarella.


Sunday, May 16, 2010

Dear Aimee

Dear Aimee,

Please thank Avery for pulling the fire alarm at church this morning. It makes us feel good that we aren't the only parents with curious kiddos who do crazy things. ;o)

Love ya,

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Danae-isms...More From a 4-Year-Old

I really should write a book...perhaps entitle it "Musings from My Four-Year-Old". Danae's comments have a good mixture of little girl curiosity and 70-year-old wit. She cracks me up every day!

1) While we were driving down the road...
Danae: "Mom, what's that smell?"
Me: "That's manure. The farmer spreads manure in his field to help the plants grow. Manure is poop."
Danae, seeing cows laying down in their pasture: "I bet those cows over there are pooping right now."

2) On one of my days off a few weeks ago, I babysat two little boys (ages 2 and 3) for my neighbor...
Danae, while holding two of her paintbrushes and crossing them: "Hey, look Mom! These paintbrushes now make a cross!" (turning to three-year-old Ryan and showing him her cross creation) "Hey Ryan! Who died on the cross?" (Ryan doesn't answer.) "Ryan? Are you listening to me?! WHO DIED ON THE CROSS?? MOM...Ryan won't answer me!"

3) "Here's a small french fry for you, Mom...because you're a little woman."

4) Danae: "Hey Mama, look! I can walk down the stairs backwards!"
Me: "Danae, please don't do that. I don't want you to fall down the stairs and get hurt."
Danae: "It's okay, Mom. If I fall and get a boo boo, I'll just slap a Band-Aid on it."

5) Danae is always asking me how to say things in Spanish. She learned "Can I help?", which is "Puedo Ayudar?"
Danae: "Mommy? Play-Doh ayudar?"

Have a happy Wednesday! :o)

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Tasty Tuesday

My dear friend, Amanda, started doing Tasty Tuesday, sharing delicious recipes with the readers she loves. ;o) Since I enjoy baking and cooking, (baking being one of my loves), I thought I'd jump on her bandwagon and share some food love with you! (Plus, it makes me feel like I'm connected to Amanda in some sort of way, even though she is 9 hours away. Boo!)

When I bake I usually A) make something that is somewhat healthy, or B) adapt the recipe to make it healthier. Some recipes will be lower in fat, some will be heart-healthy, some will be chock full of chocolate chips and yumminess. You probably won't find many 100% fat-free recipes here because, let's face it: if you take out all of the good fats, you'll end up with dry skin and your food will taste like...well, you get the idea.

Homemade Granola

Many people in our county make granola, all with their own special variations. That's what I love about this recipe: you can add so many different things, all to your liking!

* 4 cups rolled oats (not quick-cooking)
* 1/2 cup nuts (a mixture of sliced almonds and pecans works great!)
* 1/4 cup - 1/2 cup coconut flakes (depending on how much you like coconut)
* small handful of flax seeds
* small handful of raw pumpkin seeds
* 1/2 tsp. salt
* 3/4 tsp. cinnamon
* 1/8 cup olive oil
* 1/2 cup pure maple syrup
* 1/4 cup honey
* 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
* Dried fruit (apricots, cranberries, cherries, etc.)

Preheat oven to 275 °. Mix the oats, nuts, flax seeds, pumpkin seeds, salt, and cinnamon in a large bowl. In a saucepan, combine the olive oil, maple syrup, honey, and vanilla. Bring to a boil. Pour over the oat mixture and combine thoroughly. Spread on a lightly greased baking sheet and bake at 275 ° for 25-30 minutes, stirring thoroughly every 10 minutes. Make sure the granola doesn't burn!

Allow the granola to cool slightly. Mix in your favorite combination of dried fruit. Store granola in an air-tight container.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Mother's Day

This Mother's Day has been unique. One where I didn't obsess over the messy house and clean like a mad woman until I felt better...where I didn't feel the rush to get done some of the lacrosse work that I am so behind in doing...where I didn't feel bad about eating out and not making some sort of edible Sunday lunch.

Nope. Didn't do any of that.

Today I received a handmade card from my babies, which warms me more than any Hallmark ever could. After church we enjoyed a wonderful lunch at Isaac's, followed by my babes napping for over 4 hours, during which Hubby and I watched Julie & Julia again (thanks Sarah!) and I started to feel my writer's block diminishing.

And even though I am weepy today, and I cried several times at the drop of a hat, I'm beyond thankful for this low-key, no-pressure day.

I'm blessed to have Danae and Caedon here on two beauties who give the sweetest hugs and kisses I've ever known.

I'm blessed to have carried Josiah for 32 weeks and held him in my arms for a short time, knowing that one day I will see him again.

I'm blessed to have a hard-working, dedicated, godly man for a husband who learns with me as we go.

And I'm blessed and thankful for my own Mama, who raised four children and loves each of us unconditionally.

Yes, this is a very blessed, bitter-sweet Mother's Day.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Run With Wifey Race and Relax Contest!

I had my first 5K of the year this past Saturday. I didn't really train. Thus, I didn't really do well. Despite the absolutely gorgeous summer-like weather here in PA, I posted my worst 5K time ever. Oh, well...there are future races, right?

I'm researching and setting my sights on a few races this summer. On top of that, Hubby and I will be running in a half-marathon the first Saturday in November! Woohoo!

AND...I've entered this awesome contest to win an all-expense paid trip to Atlanta to run in a 5K! WHAT?! Seriously?!

Yes, you read that correctly! The lovely people over at The BlogRollers are having a "Run Wifey Run Race & Relax Contest" where you can win the following:

•Race & Relax Event Registration (which includes the Virginia Highlands Summerfest 5K run/walk; post-race brunch sponsored by Walt Disney World Resort; a Get Moving! Race & Relax "Powered By Red" race-day T-Shirt, train to manage your pain Red Recovery Routine and bottle of tart cherry juice sponsored by the Cherry Marketing Institute; and other goodies)
•Round Trip Airfare
•Hotel accommodations for Friday (6/4) and Saturday (6/5) night
•Transportation to airport and Race & Relax event activities.

This is how The BlogRollers describe their first annual "Get Moving! Race and Relax" event:

Fifteen women will join forces and get moving by walking or running in the Virginia Highlands Summerfest 5K Road Race on Saturday, June 5, 2010. Afterwards, the ladies will indulge in a post-race celebratory brunch and enjoy other special treats. Created to inspire women to take care of themselves, Get Moving! focuses on the importance of physical exercise and making time for you. It’s the first event in our RunWifeyRun initiative – a WifeSavers series designed to help wives be the best that they can be.

Truly inspiring for us busy wives and mamas who need a break from the ordinary! Here's to hoping I win! :o)