Saturday, January 21, 2012

Meatless Fridays

I am trying to get our family back on the schedule of meatless and simple meal Fridays. I am also trying to be creative in my menu planning for these evenings. We recently ate ChickPea Curry and Naan bread. I love Indian food, so for me this meal hit the spot. The kids were not huge fans of the curry, but the Naan was a hit all around.

Here are the recipes:

Naan


  • 1 (.25 ounce) package active dry yeast
  • 1 cup warm water
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 3 tablespoons milk
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 4 1/2 cups bread flour (I used about 4 cups)
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted

Directions

  1. In a large bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water. Let stand about 10 minutes, until frothy. Stir in sugar, milk, egg, salt, and enough flour to make a soft dough. Knead for 6 to 8 minutes on a lightly floured surface, or until smooth. Place dough in a well oiled bowl, cover with a damp cloth, and set aside to rise. Let it rise 1 hour, until the dough has doubled in volume.
  2. Punch down dough, and knead in garlic. Pinch off small handfuls of dough about the size of a golf ball. Roll into balls, and place on a tray. Cover with a towel, and allow to rise until doubled in size, about 30 minutes.
  3. During the second rising, preheat grill to high heat.
  4. At grill side, roll one ball of dough out into a thin circle. Lightly oil grill. Place dough on grill, and cook for 2 to 3 minutes, or until puffy and lightly browned. Brush uncooked side with butter, and turn over. Brush cooked side with butter, and cook until browned, another 2 to 4 minutes. Remove from grill, and continue the process until all the naan has been prepared.

Personal Notes: I omitted the garlic from the recipe. Also, I used a George Foreman grill to cook the bread. It took about 4 minutes to bake the bread using this appliance.


Chickpea Curry

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 large yellow onion, diced small
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tablespoon curry powder
  • 1 cinnamon stick (3 inches)
  • Pinch of ground cloves
  • 2 cans (15 ounces each) no-salt-added chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • 3 tablespoons ketchup
  • Coarse salt and ground pepper
  • Chopped cilantro and lemon wedges (optional), for serving

Directions

  1. In a large straight-sided skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until dark brown around edges, about 6 minutes. Add garlic, curry, cinnamon, and cloves and cook, stirring, until fragrant, 30 seconds. Add chickpeas, ketchup, 1 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon pepper, and 2 cups water. Bring to a boil; reduce to a simmer, cover, and cook 20 minutes. Uncover, and increase heat to medium-high; cook until sauce is slightly reduced, 5 minutes. Serve topped with cilantro, with lemon wedges alongside if desired.


Enjoy!


Saturday, January 7, 2012

Twas the Night Before Christmas...

The kids were filled with joy on Christmas Eve. All day and night, they tracked Santa's progress throughout the world, anxiously awaiting his arrival in Arkansas. We attended the Children's Mass at Saint Edward, then came home for our annual Lasagna Italian Dinner, followed by the opening of family gifts.


On our way to Mass! The best gift of the evening was the fantastic behavior of all three children at Mass!



The kids really enjoyed opening the gifts they received from their siblings. Each one put a lot of effort into finding the perfect gift. Isaac received a painting book. Clare received nail polish and headbands, and Dominic was the recipient of a new wooden firetruck!

And the annual gift of Christmas pajamas...

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Baking Day

Nothing says Christmas time like baking! I love being in the kitchen. Yes, I know that makes me the stereotypical fifties housewife, but it is true! I love cooking, and preparing all types of goodies for my friends and family. Nothing brings me greater joy than this!

One of our family traditions is baking Christmas treats together. Jason always teases that I try to create that commercial like image of the family baking together, with frosted window-panes in the background! Ok, maybe it is true, I am going for that, but truth be told half of the time there are kids crying and fighting over who gets to lick what spatula! ;)




Chocolate covered marshmallows were the hit this year. They were so easy to make, and the kids could not stop eating them.












Allergy-free sugar cookies were also a hit. A definite plus is that you can lick spoons and bowls, without fear of illness, since there are no eggs in the batter! The kids really enjoyed decorating the cookies. Although, I think maybe they had a little too much fun with the sprinkles and icing!


And here is a picture of our final products:


After a long day of baking, we all sat down to eat goodies and watch the Polar Express!

Monday, January 2, 2012

Christmas Break Adventures

Christmas Break, I love you! Having a two week Christmas Break, is definitely one of the perks of Jason's job. In some ways, it makes up for some of the very long hours he has to work during the year. This year we did not travel too far on break, and so we were able to do some fun activities around the Little Rock area with the kids.

Garvan Gardens


We have always heard really wonderful reviews of the lights here. Garvan Gardens is located in Hot Springs, and we were able to go for a visit on our way to see some cousins in Hot Springs. The kids had a great time. Their favorite item was the train. We spent at least 20 minutes just at that spot! We will definitely be making a return trip to this beautiful exhibit!







Little Rock Trolley


Riding the trolley around town is a favorite past-time for our children. They love it, and we love it because it is so easy and cheap. We can ride for at least 45 minutes for a grand total of $2. Even better though is Holly Trolley Day when the ride is free and includes candy canes and songs. The kids loved every moment of this fun ride!




I love all the family activities that we do around Christmas. I hope the kids will look back on these times when they are older. I treasure these moments in my heart because I know they are growing up too fast!

Christmas with Family!

Happy 2012! I hope the new year finds everyone well. I am going to be writing several Christmas posts, so you can see what we have been up to in our family life the past month. I had intended to post more throughout December, but chose to spend the time just enjoying the moment, It is still the Christmas Season, so I am not, too, late. :) To start, I wanted to post some pictures from Christmas with my Aunt Mary Ann. The kids always enjoy seeing her when we go to Ohio, and she is always so generous with them. This year she picked the perfect gifts for the kids, and they have been enjoying them immensely!


Isaac was so excited to receive two of his favorite toys Rex and the Kinder cd. This CD is by far the best kid's CD we have ever owned! The kids have memorized all the songs, and never tire of listening to it on car trips!


The long awaited Belle dress! She loves being a princess!

And Dominic, no pictures, but he received the Melissa and Doug Band in a Box! You can only imagine how enjoyable that has been for the family! ;)

Thanks Aunt Mary Ann! We love you!