Scared, Excited and Nervous

The next 6 weeks are going to be so big for me and my family.  We are having 3 of us graduate, one of us get his license, and take our first real family “vacation” ever.   I am so scared for school to be over and the real work to start.  I will be graduating 2 short weeks from today.  The boys in just 6.  Life is changing and it is exciting.  As I have watched the kids grow and mature I have been in awe at the way they seem to try to take things in stride.  I would like to think that will serve them well! 

Rob finished radiation this week, unless they come up with something funky there are no more treatments that should come out of the woodwork for us.  LOL  He is in good spirits but still not feeling too well. 

Now the job hunt starts.  I have already had one HR director elude that I shouldnt bother to apply at her facility since they dont take new grads.. no experience, no job..   Keep your fingers crossed!  I will be a great nurse.. just need to get in the door.

Thanks to all that have supported me.  It means the world..

Happy Changes!!!

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Loaf of the Meat

OR as my husband wanted to name this.. Meatloaf Robbie Will Actually Eat!  HAHA  it took me three or four tries to get him to even try it.  But then he was hooked.   Now he asks for it 4-5 times a month.  I dont let him have it that often but that is how often he asks for it.. LOL  Keep them wanting more! 

I found the origins of this recipe in some magazine about 6-7 years ago.  For many years my meatloaf was kind of a big meatball in loaf shape.   So in true Kim form I took a recipe and kicked out what I didnt like and put in what I did.  It has been a very popular recipe among my friends and I am  happy to say is actually pretty low fat.  This recipe makes atleast a 9 x 13 pan (I tripled it and get four bread loaf pans) and it only works out to 5 points on WW for a pretty large serving.  

My mom always looks at me weird when I make this because it is different than the one I was raised on but the added veggies and odd spices make for a flavorful and healthy addition to my menu.  And Robbie will actually eat it.  Nik and Aaron dont eat it, they devour it!!  Sometimes 2-3 helpings.  My favorite way to serve is with my garlic mashed potatoes which i will be posting in a couple days, and with corn!  SOOOOOOO Yummy!

Ingredients
1 9 x 13 pan makes 9 servings  (the pictures are of a tripled recipe)  WW Points~5

1 1/2 lbs ground meat, I do half and half 93% beef and 93% turkey 
1/2 lb (3-4 links)  sweet sausage, optional but it adds depth 
1 1/2 cup bread tore up into small pieces (6-7 slices)
1 egg
1 medium sized onion
3/4 cup carrot** (these are not exact measurements, I just take some carrots)
3/4 cup broccoli ** (again, just enough broccoli to be about 3/4 cup)
1/4 tsp ground mustard
1/8 tsp sage
1/2 tsp ground thyme
1/2 tbsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/8 tsp nutmeg (or the equivalent fresh grated)
1 cup ketchup, divided
1 tbsp hot sauce or brown sugar (depends on if you want it hot or sweet)

** I have also used red and green pepper, celery is good too, hell even pea pods would be good, but carrot is always in it.  I cannot eat much celery and Rob doesnt like peppers.

Cast of Characters

With a food processor (or this handy little food grinder thingie I got) grind up the veggies. 

Put your meat and veggies in a large bowl and break up the bread into little bits.

Lightly beat the eggs and add to the bowl.

Mix the spices up and sprinkle evenly over the stuff in the bowl.

MMMMMMMMMM doesnt that look tasty!

Since I always use fresh nutmeg I always do this at the end so I can judge how much to put in.

Then add 1/2 cup of ketchup.

And mix.
Plop (and yes it does plop) it into the pans you are using.  You can use 9X13, loaf pans, even deep dish large muffin pans.

Bake at 350 total for about 45-60 minutes for loaf and 9×13, about 25-35 for muffins.  They will release alot of fluid from the veggies and the fat and that grosses me out to have my food sitting in that so once or twice I will drain off the yucky stuff into the meat container or a can or something so that I can discard it later.

When done cooking you take the other 1/2 cup of ketchup and the hot sauce/brown sugar (or both for a sweet hot mix), combine and put on top of the hot meatloaf and broil on high for 4-5 minutes until it is done to your likings!!

Here it is served with garlic mashed potatoes (which I will post in a couple days) and some of the leftover broccoli.  I didnt have any corn in the house.   😦

Meatloaf has always been one of my faves and while I do still love my moms, this is more healthy for you and tastes damn yummy.  I make large batches like this because it freezes so well.  Simply wrap in a double layer of aluminum foil. You take out the night before and put in the fridge.  About 45-50 minutes before serving put it in the oven still in the foil and bake at 350 for 30-40 minutes.  I do eliminate the glaze/broil part for ones I will be freezing and do that the evening I heat it up!   OR you can just cut off pieces and heat up individually in the microwave.  YUM!

Happy Cooking!!

Flipping Pizza

My husband is a many talented man.  Not the least of which is that he can flip a pizza.  I will have to take a picture someday of him with pizza dough sailing through the air.  Alas to that happening anytime soon, as he hates the post chemo pallor to his skin and his almost balding appearance.  He was not happy with his picture in the Cheese Its post, so I am just going to be mean to you all here and post a picture of one of his homemade pizzas.  We still buy the crust, and he stretches and flings it in the air until it is perfect, but the rest is our own thing, homemade sauce, hand grated 4 cheeses……  soon I will post a recipe and pictures but for now….. this is all I can offer.  Maybe if I get enough comments he will take pity on everyone and let me take a picture or two..


Maybe I can even get him to do a guest blogger and write up a tutorial about flipping pizza… 

Happy Flippin!!

And the Winner Is……..

I’m not telling yet.. haha.. 

Well to those who entered by comment or subscribed, or were already subscribed, I am sure you have probably been waiting with bated breath to know who the winner of my 50th Blog Post Giveaway was.  I am sure it has the only topic of your dreams and the curiousity has been killing you!!  Well wait no more! 

Okay wait a minute or two.. first of all sorry for confusion about the drawing date.  I wrote that it was going to happen on the 9th after my exam.  Well the exam was on the 11th.  For some reason I thought the 9th was a Monday.  The 9th I was actually at University of New Hampshire on a pre-orientation visit to the college my son will be going to.  That was a bittersweet day!  The drawing did not take place on Monday though because I was swamped with school stuff.  The drawing did not actually happen until this morning.. about 5 minutes ago.  I know, I am a slacker! Sowwy.

So as promised, I went out and found a Box that was easy to clean and added a couple of fun cards and Voila… this is what our lucky winner is going to get in the mail soon. 

And an assortment of colorful cards and alphabetizing cards!!!

Forgive the fuzziness.. learning to use this camera and I havent read the book..  I *NEED* to read the book..  Instructions are important.

So I suppose you are all sitting on the edge of your seat?  No.. well you should be…

And the winner is….

Courtney… aka Punken.    I used a random number generator and put everyones name on a page and numbered them.  If they were a subscriber, they got one for subscribing, and another for commenting.  Courtney, I will be getting in touch with you on how you would like to collect your prize… yeahhhhhhhhhh Courtney! I will probably do another one for my 100th post so keep watching.. I will be done my AS in Nursing in just 2 short weeks!  Then I will probably be posting most days to stave off the boredom so 100 might come up quick!

I hope you enjoyed this, even though I am a slacker and a week behind!

Happy Winning!!

Moroccan Curry Butternut Squash Soup

To say I love winter squash would be an understatment.   I have a couple of other posts in my fairly new blog about it.  I just love it.  It is so sweet and flavorful.  I could eat it all day and in so many ways. 

A word about squash types.  My favorite is buttercup.  But it is only a tiny margin that seperates it from its cousins, buttercup, acorn and hubbard.  So for the purposes of this recipe, it can be any of them.  In this case I am using up the some of the last of the packets that I froze up in this post.  Which was hubbard, butternut and acorn.   So rather than differentiate (and cause squash is shorter to write than buttercup squash) I will be just saying squash throughout the post.. okay?

Well, I have been looking for a recipe for a squash soup.  I have a certain flavor in mind and have tried a couple store bought and both times it fell miles short.  I want something mildly sweet, spiced, and full of squash flavor.  I posted on a cooking blog I frequent and got a couple of possibles.  One will be an amalgamation of 2-3 different ones to try and get the flavor I want.  And then there is this one….. while it isnt what I was looking for, it is heavenly.  

This recipe is from Prevention RDs website.  I followed a link when I posted for the squash soup recipe.  I did do some mild adapting but not much.  She got it originally from Ginas Weight Watchers Recipes (which I bookmarked thank you very much!!).  Again it isnt the one I was looking for but it is going in The Box!!!  I tried it and yum!  I figured I would be eating it alone.   NOPE both Nik and Aaron love it.  So easy, took 20 minutes and so rich and flavorful.  And my fellow WW people…… a 1 cup serving is only 2 points.  I just about died when I saw that! 

Ingredients
2 cups already cooked mashed squash
1/2 medium onion
3 cloves garlic
1 tsp cumin
1 1/2 tsp garam masala
1 1/2 tsp curry powder
2 cups chicken stock
1 cup light coconut milk
1 tbsp brown sugar
1 tsp sea salt

Cast of characters

Start off by chopping your onion

Then the garlic and mincing them together fine.

In a dutch oven or 6-8 quart stock pot, add some Pam cooking spray and saute the onion and garlic of medium heat until translucent.

Measure out the spices.

And add them to the translucent veggies.  This will be kind of odd looking in the pan and very dry seeming but the heat will release the fragrance and flavors of the spices.


Add the chicken broth.
And then the squash.

And then the coconut  milk.   I had a half a can leftover so woooohooooo one less dirty dish!

Let simmer for about 10 minutes and then attack it with the stick wand to puree the onion and garlic.

Plate it up and take the can and the last few drops can make a pretty presentation.. or a dollop of plain yogurt or sour cream. 

This soup made the house smell so good.  And it was so warm and inviting on my tongue. I really was surprised by the flavor.  I cannot wait to make this again.   I am going to be making my other sweet squash soup in the next few days but I think this soup will be coming out of  The Box atleast one more time in the next couple weeks.  Curry is good food and so is squash. 

Happy Cooking!!

Recipe Swap! Baked Campanelle with Spinach and Meatballs

This is the second in what I think will be quite a few of these recipe swaps.  On my What Cooking board we have a group of fellow foodies who love cooking and baking and wanted some new recipes! So one of the ladies coordinates these recipe swaps.  She collects the recipes from the participants and then randomly sends them out to their new chef.   This was the one I won!

I did the recipe pretty much as listed except I made my own meatballs, which is back in the blog a couple weeks/month (time is running together) and I used a different pasta.  Here is the original recipe by Jey.

My review….. I liked it, alot.  I will have to tweak it a bit to make it more WW friendly but I loved how creamy it was.  I LOVED the spinach and the basil I added.   The kids loved it.. and ate it up pretty quick!  For them it was like a meatball lasagna!  LOL   Mr Pickypants wasnts as impressed.  He isnt a huge fan of ricotta, so this didnt do much for him.   We will see how well he likes it once I tweak it a bit. 

Ingredients
I didnt put this in WW for point because I was scared too.. so this was a splurge meal for me.  It took about an hour to make including baking time.

1 onion chopped
4-9 cloves of garlic (the recipe called for 4 I used 9 because that is what Rob peeled)
1 14 can diced tomatoes
1 jar of pasta sauce
1 box of pasta cooked aldente.  I used campanelle, they look like trumpets!
1 16 oz bag of spinach
1/4 cup fresh basil
12 oz of ricotta
Pinch of nutmeg or grate fresh
S & P
1/4 cup shredded parmesan
4 oz of fresh mozzarella
25-30 Meatballs

Cast of Characters

Set up your pasta pot and fill w salted water.

Chop the onions

And the garlic

Add them to another dutch oven/ 8 quart pot.  No  need to add oil or anything.

Turn the pot onto medium high, and then drain the tomatoes.

Add the juice to the pot and use that to cook the onions and garlic.  No need to waste the flavor or to add any oil.

Next is to prep your spinach.  In a large bowl tear up the spinach. If using baby spinach then you really dont have to but if you are using regular I tear it up and take out the large center stalk.  I think they are bitter. 

Add the tomatoes once the onions are translucent.

And then the pasta sauce.

And then the meatballs.

Let simmer for 20 minutes while you finish the rest of the dish, stirring often.  I love the smell of sauce cooking.  The warm richness of the tomato and the onion and the spices!  I love alot of basil in my pasta which is why I added basil rather than parsley (like the original recipe used).  One of my favorite things to eat is a caprese salad.  Tomato, basil and fresh mozzarella drizzled with balsamic vinegar!  HEAVEN….  Oh and extra salt!    Okay back to this recipe….. haha   cut up your fresh basil into ribbons.

Add to the bowl with the spinach.  I like the barely cooked/slightly crisp aspect of the spinach and the sharp bite of the basil is a nice contrast to the creamy sweetness of the ricotta.


Grate the nutmeg into the bowl with the spinach/basil.

Then the salt and pepper.  You wont need too much salt since you salted the pasta water.

Check on the pasta frequently, you do not want it too cooked or else it will turn to mush in the oven. 

About this time your meatballs and sauce should be ready.. Just turn it off because you dont want it too thick.   MMMMMMMM I love the smell of sauce and meatballs cooking.  I just want to dig in and eat like 3-4 of these on a piece of garlic bread! 

Add the ricotta to the spinach reserving 3/4 a cup or so for the top, and combine.

Drain the pasta when it is al dente.

Then add quickly to the spinach.

Add the meatballs and most of the sauce leaving some in the bottom….

Then mix to incorporate. 

Dump back into the dutch oven..

Dot with the remaining ricotta, and the parmesan and fresh mozzarella.  Bake for 10-15 minutes  covered in a 350 oven.  Remove the cover and bake until the desired browning melting has occurred..

Then plate up with your favorite veggies.

This was a melty yummy fresh tasting wonderful mix of flavors.  I adore ricotta so this worked for me.  I would cut back to about 1/2 a container next time to make it more palatable for Rob but for the most part, this was a success with the recipe swap..

Happy Cooking and Swapping!

Happy 50th Blog Post Giveaway

Well this is my 50th blog post!  Not all have been about food.   I think I have had maybe 10 about life, kids, family and nursing school but for the most part this is 50 times that you all have entered my world to hear about my exploits in the kitchen and in this huge world we live in.  This blog, and the comments, and whole process of putting something I love doing out there has been very therapeutic through this last few months.   It has helped me deal with life and I look forward to writing up my recipes and trying to take pictures that show my love of cooking and how my family spends time making good food. 

I want to give back to my “fans”.  Haha that sounds weird to say but even though I am sure not everyone likes my recipes or my style of cooking, it is nice to know that I have people who appreciate it, well people outside of my family.   So to give back I want to help some person out there to start keeping track of their favorite recipes.  I talk about “The Box” from time to time.  It is simply a 5×7 cue card box.  Made of plastic.  Its gray.  So nothing fancy.  BUT it is durable and holds some of my favorite non human friends.   

I went out today and picked up a present to have for my giveaway…. Your very own “Box”.  No guarantee it will be a prettier Box than my dreary little thing but for me the point of the Box was not to make it a show piece.  It has a very important job, to keep my family’s favorite recipes in it.  It holds the things that make our bellies happy.  I wanted mine to be easy to clean and more a kitchen tool than be flashy and attractive.  And I want you to have that too. 

So if you are at all interested in your very own free Box, there are two easy ways to enter.   Here they are:
1. Subcribe to my blog (those already subscribed will automatically be entered).
2. Leave a comment about which type of food you like to cook; desserts, main dishes, etc   and if you have tried/would like to try any of my recipes.

If you do either of these options,  I will enter your name in a drawing to win your own Box.  If you do both, then you will get entered twice.   Entries will be taken until April 9th at 9pm, cause that is my brothers birthday so a holiday in my world and I will have finished my 4th exam for the semester!!  I will contact and announce the winner the next day!

Now all that being said, I know this is silly and a blatant attempt to get subscibers and comments.  I am aware of this.  And the prize is kind of silly too.  I mean who really needs a card box, right?  Anyone who likes to keep their recipes at hand.   Or a weirdo like me.  Or someone who likes cooking?  Or someone who likes free stuff.    Whatever your reason, thanks for reading me from time to time and I hope that I keep making things that you like.  Thanks for being around to listen!!

Happy Winning!!

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