Monday, May 8, 2017

Tradition Tweaks, Visiting with RT, She's Almost a Junior, THE Mac and Cheese Recipe, The Pioneer Woman's Chicken and Dressing Sheet Pan Supper AND Pinterest Stuff (List of Hobbies for Couples)

Good Saturday evening!

RANDOMNESS #1 - Okay, Guys... As most, or all of you know, Josh and his family live in Hartselle (and he works nightshift).

Austin and his family live in Hayden.

Roxie is residing in Auburn for the better part of the year.

These are just some of the factors which can make celebrating family traditions a bit difficult.

And I know what some of you are saying...

"That's nothing! I've got kids living in different states or countries," or "I have five married kids so there are five other families involved when planning times, places, etc."

I agree. It is most definitely harder for some families than others. Everyone's story is a little different, but I just thought I would share how we "did" Easter this year. It may not be for you and yours, but I thought it worked pretty well for me and mine.

First, we celebrated Easter an entire week early.

It can totally clear the calendar for the married kids.

Everyone met at the house after their church services, and we had a traditional Easter lunch with all the women pitching in with a dish.

I gave each family ONE Easter Bucket and filled it with one, two or three things for each family member. (This included the babies. They receive Easter baskets at their own house, so these were very light on the candy and Easter type-toys.)

I put one large plastic egg in each Bucket (about the size of your hand), and I put tickets to Locked-In: The Birmingham Escape Game in each egg. I even scheduled the game for that very afternoon. After a previous discussion, Austin took Mikie with him, and Melia and I stayed home with the little ones.

NOTE - I already have an idea for next year, and all nine of us will be able to participate.

I wish I could tell you.

I really do.

Call me!

I also had an semi-age-appropriate Easter book picked out for Judith and RT (Aunt Melia read it to the family), AND an age-appropriate Easter art activity prepared for Judith.

All in all, I know things will change as the kids and the family grow, but I think having it on the Sunday before Easter really worked for us.

ANOTHER NOTE - I will tell you I missed seeing Judith's Easter dress in person, but Courtney sent me many, many pics...

And it was very pretty.

This may or may not have been meant for Judith to wear.

RANDOMNESS #3 - A Visit with RT - RT and the Parental Units came by for a few minutes Thursday night...

And Nana B was a happy camper.

RANDOMNESS #4 - She's a Junior - As of 9:00 yesterday morning, The Chick is officially a Junior.

As of this morning, she is home for three weeks before heading to North Carolina as a Camp Counselor.

Here are just a few things she's been up to the last semester of her Sophomore year...

She went to New York City for the first time with friends over Spring Break...

And experienced her first blizzard.

NOTE - As you can see, this is a pre-blizzard picture, but I wanted you to get an idea of how cold it was.

She then headed to the beach to warm up before Spring Break ended, but discovered the beach was having a little "blizzard," too.

She partook of the crawfish...

And didn't care too much for the experience.

And she played in a co-ed intramural basketball tournament, and the team she was on was victorious.

Got the t-shirt, Baby!

The Mac and Cheese

You will need the following:

1 pound pasta of your choice
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup flour
4 cups milk
6 cups freshly shredded sharp or white Cheddar
1 tablespoon salt
1 tablespoon pepper
2 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup panko bread crumbs

1. Boil pasta in salted water according to package directions.

2. Melt butter in large saucepan over medium heat.

3. Sprinkle in flour and whisk and cook 2 to 3 minutes. Add in salt and pepper.

4. Slowly pour in 4 cups milk whisking until smooth and heating to a low boil until thickened. Do not stop until thick. Remove from heat.

5. Grease a 9" x 13" baking dish and add the hot pasta to the dish. Over the top sprinkle 6 cups of freshly shredded cheese. Pour the thickened cream sauce over the hot pasta and cheese. Let it sit until the cheese melts. Stir everything together.

6. Melt 2 tablespoons butter over medium heat. Add in panko bread crumbs, stirring constantly 3 to 5 minutes or until golden brown. Pour over the mac and cheese.

7. Bake in a preheated 325 degree oven 12 to 15 minutes.

I made this particular recipe for Easter. It was very good, but I am a mac and cheese leftover freak. I like to eat it cold straight from the refrigerator. For some reason, this mac and cheese isn't as good as a leftover...

But what are the odds there will be much mac and cheese leftover at any holiday meal?

Am I right?

Chicken and Dressing Sheet Pan Supper

You will need the following:

1/2 loaf Ciabatta bread, cut into 1" pieces
4 cups cornbread chunks (use your favorite recipe)
1 whole medium red onion, cut into chunks
3 stalks celery, sliced
2 whole carrots, peeled and cut into chunks
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon sage
1/2 teaspoon thyme
6 to 8 chicken thighs
1 half-stick salted butter, cut into small pieces

1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Place the bread cubes, cornbread cubes, onion, celery, and carrots on a sheet pan. Toss together with your hands.

2. Nestle the chicken thighs all around the pan, skin side up. Mix together the salt, pepper, sag, and thyme and sprinkle it all over the chicken, bread and veggies.

3. Dot the top with the butter.

4. Place the pan in the oven for 15 minutes. Use a wooden spatula to stir the bread and veggies, mixing in the butter. Do not disturb the chicken.

5. Return the pan to the oven and continue roasting for 25 to 30 minutes, until chicken is completely cooked.

6. Remove the pan from the oven, stir the bread and veggies, and serve!

This was excellent! I substituted skinless chicken tenderloin for the thighs...

And I used 7 pieces of multi-grain bread (toasted and cut into the pieces) instead of Ciabatta bread because I already had it in the pantry.

Easy clean-up and a really nice meal.

Pinterest Stuff

List of Hobbies for Couples

Target practice
Metal detecting
Working out/weightlifting
Ballroom dancing
Irish dancing
Attend NASCAR races
Plays, dance performances or comedy clubs
Visit special museum or art gallery exhibits
Film festivals or film clubs
Tour art galleries and nearby historical sites
Trace your family tree
Take cooking classes
Collect art by a certain artist
Attend auctions
Volunteer at church
Volunteer at a food bank or other outreach center

Have an excellent weekend. I'll be back in a few days with more pics and my first ever recipe with quinoa. How exciting is that!?!


The Enchanting Belinda

P.S. Because of a little this and a little that, I wasn't able to keep Miss Judith this week (for which I am very, very sad), so I'll post a couple of old pics here, because I'm missing her today.

So sweet!

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