Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Sprinkler Fun

Blogs: The Good, The Bad, and the Creative

I was really loving the blog thing for the past two years. I felt like I was a fairly regular poster and reader. As anyone who reads or blogs knows...it's a slippery slope. I found that I was spending more time with my computer on my lap than my kids. I love keeping everyone posted on what's happening in my life but I found myself at gatherings with nothing to fill anyone in on. They'd already read about it! People I hadn't seen in a while would know ALL about what was going on in my life and I would know nothing of theirs. This just didn't seem normal to me. And what with Facebooking and Twittering...wow!...It almost feel voyeuristic. I shouldn't be able to see a conversation two of my friends are having without being present. Okay...that's off my chest!

I love blogs that inspire me to get my creative juices flowing as well as one with homemade decorating ideas. I absolutely love The Nester, Today's Creative Blog and Whip-Up. I can't help but feel the need to run to Hobby Lobby and heat up my glue gun when I read them. I stumbled on to another cute and crafty blog yesterday that I thought I'd share. It's called The Apron Girls and there are some cute Father's Day gift ideas on there. Check it out.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Cultural Differences

If you're anything like me, you have a handful of staple meals. Your "Go To" dinners that you know your family will eat and that won't make you reference a recipe card 75 times in the span of it's 20 minutes of preparation. I was taking stock of my repeat meals and realized that I am very heavy on the Italian these days! I guess because it's just so easy to open a jar of Ragu and boil some water for pasta. We're a bit chicken-heavy in our house too!

I thought that it might be fun to share some recipes with each other by blogging your favorite meals from different cultures. I always welcome new ideas from other chef moms to help inspire me.

Do a blog post and then link to it in the comment section here so others can find it.

Here are some of the O'Quinn house favorites:


King Ranch Chicken Casserole

4 boiled chicken breasts
corn tortillas cut into strips (apx 10)
1 small onion chopped
8 oz grated (cheddar or mexican blend) cheese
1 C cream of mushroom
1 C cream of chicken
1 C Rotel
1/4 C chicken broth

Cut boiled chicken breasts into bite sized pieces. Mix together the last four ingredients. Layer and bake 1 hour at 350 degrees. Great served with tortilla chips.


Orange Chicken

2 pounds boneless chicken pieces, skinned
1 egg
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
Oil (for frying)
1/2 cup cornstarch
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1/4 cup flour
1 tablespoon minced ginger root
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 dash crushed hot red chilies
1/4 cup chopped green onions
1 tablespoon rice wine
1/4 cup water
1 teaspoon sesame oil
** Sauce**
1 1/2 tablespoon soy sauce
1 1/2 tablespoon water
5 tablespoons sugar
5 tablespoons white vinegar

Cut chicken pieces into 2-inch squares and place in large bowl. Stir in egg, salt, pepper and 1 tablespoon oil and mix well. Stir cornstarch and flour together. Add chicken pieces, stirring to coat. Heat oil for deep-frying in wok or deep-fryer to 375 degrees. Add chicken pieces, small batch at time, and fry 3 to 4 minutes or until golden and crisp. (Do not overcook or chicken will be tough.) Remove chicken from oil with slotted spoon and drain on paper towels. Set aside. Clean wok and heat 15 seconds over high heat. Add 1 tablespoon oil. Add ginger and garlic and stir-fry until fragrant. Add and stir-fry crushed chilies and green onions. Add rice wine and stir 3 seconds. Add Orange Sauce and bring to boil. Add cooked chicken, stirring until well mixed. Stir water into remaining 1 tablespoon cornstarch until smooth. Add to chicken and heat until sauce is thickened. Stir in 1 tablespoon oil and sesame oil. Serve at once. You may want to add grated zest of 1 orange to the sauce for flavor.


Shrimp Scampi

2 lbs med shrimp
1/4 C chopped green onions
1/4 C chopped fresh parsley
4 cloves crushed garlic
3/4 C butter (melted)
1/4 C dry white wine
2 Tbsp lemon juice
3/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper

Peel and devein shrimp. Saute onions, parsley, and garlic in butter until onions are tender. Reduce heat to low- add shrimp and cook 3-5 minutes. Remove shrimp to serving dish and keep warm. Add remaining ingredients to butter mixture- simmer 2 minutes. Pour over shrimp. Serve over fettucine or angel hair pasta.

*Cajun (and/or Seafood)

New Orleans Shrimp and Rice

1 stick of unsalted butter
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon flour
2 green bell peppers, cut lengthwise
1 large onion, halved and cut lengthwise
2 celery stalks, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
1 28 oz can whole plum tomatoes, crushed
1 14 oz can chicken broth
2 teaspoons fresh chopped parsley
1 1/2 teaspoons Cajun seasoning
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon hot sauce
1 pound shrimp, peeled and deveined
2 cups cooked white rice, for serving

Melt butter over med. heat. Add flour and stir until brown (3-4 min). Add bell peppers, onion, & celery; cook until softened (apx. 7 min). Add tomatoes, broth, parsley, spices, salt and hot sauce. Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer low for 30 min. Stir in shrimp and cook until pink (3-5 min). Serve over rice. Great with cornbread!

*All American Comfort Food

Chicken & Biscuit Casserole

4 chicken breasts (cooked)
salt & pepper
1 can cream of chicken
1 can cream of mushroom
1 can southern style biscuits

Cook chicken and cut into bite-sized pieces. In a 9 x 13, add chicken to soups. Add onion, garlic, parsley, salt and pepper to taste. Pour in enough milk to make the consistency creamy and to cover chicken pieces. You can also add peas to this recipe if you like. Top casserole with biscuits-- flip them over half way through cooking time. Bake 350 degrees until heated thoroughly and biscuits are golden. (apx 45 min)

Friday, May 8, 2009

30 Day Shred, baby!

After having 3 babies...my body just isn't the same. I went from size 4 to size 10. It is quite discouraging to have pants that used to be loose and baggy, now be too snug to button up.

I was driving in the car the other day when my friend, Lindsay asked if I'd heard about Jillian Michael's "30 Day Shred". She said that she had just bought it and was going to try it. I literally drove straight to Target to buy one for myself. I turned around and called my sister to tell her about it and she also got one. We started over a week ago and I'm terribly impressed. The first 3 days were awful! I was SO sore that it hurt to get out of bed. I'm someone who lacks the discipline to motivate myself to work-out. I just plain 'ol don't like it. And even if a work-out wave hits me, I find a reason not to do it one day and then I never go back to it. It has been really great to do this from home but to know that I have 2 people who are going to check in with me and keep me accountable (right, Lindz?).

You do it everyday for 30 days and the best part is that it's 20 minutes! I figured that if I couldn't fit a twenty minute workout from the comfort of my living room in everyday, then I wasn't serious about getting in shape. I'm choosing to rave about it because I'm already seeing results and I'm only on day 9. Now, granted, it's HARD work but bathing suit season is looming over me! The weather is getting hotter and the need for less sleeves and shorter pants is here.

If you're looking for a way to fit exercise into your busy life, give this DVD a try. You'll need hand weights to go along with it. Don't be a hero, though...go for 2 or 3 pounders!

Friday, May 1, 2009

The Sidler

There are moments in my life (almost daily) where I am reminded of either a "Seinfeld" or "Friends" episode. Is this life imitating art or art imitating life?... I'll never know but I love having characters and situations in my life that relate back to Jerry and Monica and their respective gangs that make me laugh!

I have determined that Sully (yes, my 15 month old) is a "Sidler". That kid is fast....and he's quiet. Just when you thought you left him in the other room, there he is and already in the midst of his next catastrophic mess. He is up and down the stairs so fast that I've seriously thought I lost him but then...poof...there he is by my leg. I'll have to get him some tic-tacs to keep in his pockets so I can know where he is at all times!

Do you have "Seinfeld" or "Friends" moments in your own life?