Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Tomatillo Chicken Enchiladas with Baked Spanish Brown Rice

I made one of my favorite meals tonight and thought I'd share.

Tomitillo Chicken Enchiladas
1-1/2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breast cooked (however you like them) and shredded
3 oz cream cheese softened
1-2 jars D. L. Jardines Tamitillo Salsa
Flour tortillas - you can use corn if you like but I usually have flour on hand and just use those.
1 cup chicken broth
2 cups (or so) of shredded Monterrey jack or cheddar cheese

Today I cooked the chicken in the crock pot with some onion and garlic to add flavor while I took Charlotte to the doctor. Oh and I just throw the frozen chicken breast right in the crock pot on top of the onion and garlic. I add about 2 cups of water and the season with salt and pepper. I cook on high until done or I get home and turn it down. Grilled is also great but that was too time consuming today, and there's the small fact that I don't know how to use the grill ...Sad, I know. One day...

To assemble the enchiladas, spray a 9 x 13 glass pan with cooking spray. Mix the cream cheese with the chicken until well incorporated. Mix one jar of the salsa with the chicken broth and heat to a simmer in a small sauce pot. If you stew or crock pot your chicken you can use the broth from that, otherwise the canned stuff is fine. Ladle a little of the sauce mixture in the bottom of the baking dish. Dip a flour tortilla in the salsa/broth mixture and then lay it flat top with a couple table spoons of the chicken mixture, then sprinkle liberally with cheese. Roll and place seam side down in the pan. Repeat until you have used all of your chicken mixture. Pour remaining sauce over the top of the enchiladas and top with additional cheese. Bake for 30 minutes at 350 or until hot and bubbly. Sometimes I cover with foil for the first 20 minutes, sometimes I don't. Either way they come out wonderful. Serve with additional sauce (straight out of the jar, no need to add broth), sour cream, black beans and Spanish rice.

Spanish Rice

1 1/2 cups of short or medium grain brown rice
2 1/2 cups chicken broth
1 teaspoon lady's house seasoning - recipe is at the bottom of the page. The lasagna is to die for!
1 tablespoon butter
Heavy Duty Aluminum Foil

This is basically starting with Alton Brown's baked rice recipe. Except I use broth instead of water and add a bit of garlic and black pepper.

Place the rice in a 8x8 glass baking dish sprayed with cooking spray. Heat the broth, seasoning and butter to a boil. Pour liquid over rice, stir and immediately cover with foil, sealing tightly. Place in a 375 degree over for 1 hour.

I don't own a 8x8 baking dish so I normally double the above recipe and use a 9x13. Then to finish the Spanish rice I only use half of rice in the 9x13 and use the rest of the rice for something else. It is really good to just stop at this point and eat it. So flavorful and yummy. I never have heavy duty foil, either, and the regular stuff seems to work just fine for me. Don't use the long grain brown rice. Must be the short or medium. I can find it at my grocery store with the other rices with no problem.

Now to turn this into Spanish rice.
Baked Rice
half an onion chopped
3 cloves garlic minced
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
2 teaspoons Fiesta Spanish Rice Seasoning (found on the spice aisle - well at least in TX)
1 can crushed or petite diced tomatoes

In a large skillet or saute pan over medium heat, add the olive oil. When hot add onion and garlic and saute until onion is tender (clear). Add tomatoes, red wine vinegar and Spanish rice seasoning. Heat to a boil. Stir in baked rice until everything is incorporated. Turn off heat and cover until ready to serve. This comes out quite moist. If you like a drier rice add less tomato. If you like spicier rice add more seasoning mix. This got a thumbs up from my family tonight.

If you try either of these let me know how you like them.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Swim Suits

Over spring break I realized it was time to buy Charlotte new swim suits. She has worn the same ones for the past 2-3 years and they need to be replaced. When I was getting out suits for her and her brother to go to Sea World I realized how different the styles are for girls and boys. Rehm has swim trunks to his knees and a swim shirt. He is completely covered from his neck to his knees. Charlotte has a tankini that covers OK for a tankini and a swim shirt over top, but still no where near as covered as Rehm.

If you look in stores for girl swim suits you can find one piece swim team style suits,some tankinis or bikinis. If you find a suit that covers more on the bottom (shorts or skirts) then it comes with a tiny bikini top. If you find a tankini that covers most of the torso you get a bikini bottom. Why is this? Why do we cover our boy as much as if they were in regular clothes and put our girls in the equivalent of underwear?

I refused to try to do it again this year. I told Michael if I had to I was going to buy her boys swim trunks and a swim shirt. Luckily I found a sale at Lands End and was able to get her something that covers her up and is girly at the same time. This and this are what she will be sporting this year.

I want my girls to have things that are comfortable and appropriate for their activities but they just don't need to be running around in the equivalent of their undies. I'm done and I am really starting to sound like my mother...

Anybody with me?

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Rehm at 8

Rehm's teacher does Star of the Week at school and this was Rehm's week. He had several things he had to write or bring in for the week. He had so much fun and I just loved the results.

My Autobiography - by Rehm

I was spost to be born on 4-25-01. When I was 6 muths old 9-11-01 happened. When I was 1 I lernd to walk. So that led to preschool! When I was 2 1/2 Charlotte was born. When I was III went to Sea World for the first time. I also go to go to my Cici and Papa's house. I was IV when I went to the beach. V is when I got my athar two sistess. When I was VI I went to my first wedding. When we went to Sea World over spring brake we didn't do any rids :(

[I don't know why he decided to switch to Roman numerals halfway through the assignment. But it is so Rehm]

Student Questionnaire:

  1. What do you like most about school? My teacher
  2. what do you like to do in your spare time? Play DS
  3. What are some things you know a lot about? Math, reading, and Mario
  4. What kinds of books do you like most? Mythology, adventure and marine biology
  5. What are some things about which you would like to know more? Mythology, marine biology and technology
  6. What interesting places have you visited? Fort Macon, Sea World and Galveston
  7. What are some places you would like to visit? Hawaii and possibly Australia
  8. If you cold be a famous person, who would you be? Elvis
  9. Do you like music? What kind? Yes - rock
  10. What are you good at in school? Math and reading
  11. What do you think you might need extra help with in school? Writing
  12. What is your favorite....
  • Food? Alfredo
  • Color? Bright Green
  • TV Show? Pokemon
  • Sport? Swimming
  • Place? Fort Macon
  • Movie? Pokemon Garatina and the Sky Warrior
13. Who is your favorite...
  • Celebrity? Elvis
  • Friend? Lael
14. Complete these sentences.
I am happiest when I get to play DS
I am saddest when I have to do homework

So a few of these gave me chuckles. His favorite color is always blue. I have no idea how he knows who Elvis is or what rock music is. Oh and I think he was totally sucking up with his very frirst answer. He does really like his teacher but...

Crazy Afternoon

When I picked up the girls from school Tuesday Ruby threw a fit, and I mean fit, because I helped her wash her hands because she refused to rinse the soap off of them. Ladies and Gentlemen we are talking a 20 minute fit where she kicked and screamed and yelled "NO Mommy!" over and over as if i was beating her - I wasn't, I was simply carrying her to the car because she refused to walk because she was screaming. Finally after 20 minutes I got her strapped into her seat.

At this point it is 2:40 and we are 20 minutes from home and Rehm gets out of school in five minutes! Not good. So I'm doing my best to get home as quickly as possible. Charlotte is having a snack and starts coughing - something went down the wrong way. Charlotte has a very sensitive gag reflex. Coughing frequently causes vomit. And of course this was one of those times. We are driving down the highway at 70 miles an hour and late to pick up the boy. I have no time or way to even try to pull over for her to be sick. So she is now covered in nastiness, I'm late and Ruby is still mad at me for the whole hand washing things.

Two hours later the van, car seat and girl are all cleaned up.

Oh and when we got home and I got inside, I found Rehm sitting in a chair calmly playing his DS. He didn't even ask where we had been or why we hadn't met him like usual.

Ah the joys of small children. I think it is time to keep a container within Charlotte's reach in the van for days like today.

Toddler Dreams - Part Two

At 5:30 this morning I wake to hear Eliza Claire crying loudly. When I get to her room she is running from her bed toward Ruby's and crying, "Ruby is gone! I can not find her! She not here!" I did not want her to wake Ruby but did carry her over to Ruby's bed so she could see that Ruby really was still in their room. Apparently both girls are having a bit of separation anxiety that they are working out in their sleep.

I'm so glad I wanted to know what my small children dream about. Now if I could just get them to stay asleep and tell me about their dreams in the morning...


Friday, March 27, 2009

No Fear!

At bed time the three girls were standing on the stairs (on stair three from the bottom) arguing over who Mommy was going to carry up to bed. Ruby looked at each of her sisters and promptly launched herself off the stairs in my general direction. Luckily, I was paying attention and caught her. Funny thing is that settled the argument with the outcome Ruby wanted. She thought it was the funniest thing ever.

What am I going to do with this child?

PS. Stair three is the stair I always ask them to stand on if they want me to carry them upstairs. I don't have to lift them as high or bend as far to get them that way. And when I have to carry two of them it is the only way I can do it.

Birthday Dinner

I asked Rehm on Monday what he wanted me to cook for his birthday.

Me: What would you like me to make for your birthday dinner?

Rehm: You mean we can't go out?

Me: Nope. What do you want to have here?

Rehm: What are my choices?

Me: You get to pick whatever you want.

Rehm: Does that include take out?

Smarty pants. Says a lot about what he thinks of my cooking.

Me: Um, no. I'm cooking your birthday dinner.

Rehm: OK, I want your homemade macaroni and cheese but with the regular macaroni shape and not wheat pasta. The last time you made it, it was wheat and some other shape! (The horror of some healthy whole wheat ziti - someone please report me for child abuse).

I have yet to determine what I am serving with the Mac and Cheese for those of us who will eat meat, vegetable and/or fruit. Now I'm off to find the BH&G cookbook and Alton Brown's recipe to determine my recipe for Mac and cheese. I can never follow a single recipe and even with two I'll still do part of it different from either one. I am such a non-conformist.

I wonder if the boy will be pleased with his birthday dinner or not. At least he liked his present from us - I was afraid it wasn't going to be received well but it was.

Happy Friday - Girls are napping, well at least one or two of them but they are all quiet for the moment so I really don't care if they are napping or not.


Happy Birthday Rehm!

Rehm is eight today! Wow how time flies. More about his day to come later, but for now enjoy these pictures from the past year.

And here is baby Rehm, wasn't he just adorable?

Toddler Dreams

I've often wondered what kinds of thing small children dream about. I know my girls have bad dreams. There have been many times that I've gone in during the night because they are crying and very upset but there is nothing physically wrong. They will tell me they've had a bad dream but never elaborate. I know that isn't shocking for a two year old as they are still working on verbalizing their world.

This morning around 5:30 Ruby was crying. I went to see what was wrong. As soon as she saw me she looked at me and said, "Why Daddy leave me at Chuys?" I assured her that her Daddy would never leave her somewhere and got her settled.

I laughed all the way back to my room because now I know what toddlers dream about. It was all I could do not to wake Michael to share the hilarity but I knew how thrilled he would have been if I had. When I told him about it this morning his wry response was, "I'm glad to know her dreams are just like her mother's."

I just dreamed this week he decided to divorce me - my worst nightmare. He doesn't find it a bit humorous that the dreams where he divorces me are more disturbing to me than the ones where he dies. I hope his parents aren't getting offended by reading this. First, let me say I can not control my dreams. Second, Michael not being in my life for whatever reason is my worst nightmare. Third, him divorcing me would mean he was choosing to reject me, him dying would obviously not be his choice. That sense of rejection I always feel in these dreams are what makes it worse.

What is your worst nightmare?

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Conversation with a Five Year Old

Yesterday Charlotte called me into her room.

Charlotte: Mom, Ruby peed on my bed!

Me: No she didn't. She has had dry pants all day long.

Charlotte: Well my bed is wet and it smells like pee! (Love that she performed the smell test, wonder where she learned that one.)

Me: Really. Hum.

Charlotte: I didn't pee on it! So it had to be Ruby!

Me: It couldn't have been Ruby because her pants are dry. And I didn't pee on your bed!

What cracks me up is I'm sure it must have been Eliza Claire. She was wearing big girl pants for a portion of the day and they were playing upstairs during that time. She is definitely not potty trained. We are just starting to work on it. It never occurred to Charlotte to blame Eliza Claire. Never crossed her mind. She is still convinced it was Ruby.

Friday, March 13, 2009

The toys are not for me

I was shopping for a birthday present at Target this week and about fell over with excitement when I saw these.

Only a few problems, the child I was buying for was a boy so I could not buy these for him. I don't think he would have appreciated them. And my kids don't seem to like the Smurfs so they probably wouldn't like these. But I still wanted to buy them. Why? Because they made me feel like a giddy 8 year old, who would have been thrilled with them. I still need to dig my Smurfette doll out of my parent's attic...

I wonder if I can get the twins to like the smurfs? Then we could have a smurf birthday party complete with presents like these.

And then there are the Scooby Doo figures and Mystery Machine I keep seeing at TRU that need to live at our house. Hmm, wonder who I could get to play with those at my house?

Repeat after me: The toys are not for me. The toys are not for me. The toys are not for me...

OK, now to go find the Smurf DVD and play it for Ruby and Eliza Claire. Doesn't hurt to try, right?


PS. I'm sure the other shoppers in Target thought I was a complete goof ball taking pictures of all the Smurf merchandise and then putting it back on the shelf. OK, so maybe I am a goof ball but a blog post is always more entertaining with pictures. Ah, the things I do for the blog...

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Dancing Shoes

Ruby found these in Charlotte's room. She has claimed them as her own. They are her current most prized possession and she calls them her dancing shoes. When she has them on she only walks on her tip toes. Are the especially lovely with the ducky pajamas?

I had not planned on enrolling the littles in dance class in the fall but it looks like someone has other ideas. Do you think Miss Trish (dance teacher) is ready for them?

Monday, March 09, 2009

Hair: Messy "Bun"

Since Valentine's day, I haven't done a whole lot with the girls hair. Occasionally we will do a do that involves multiple ponies, maybe with knots, maybe with braids, maybe even a fishtail braid but nothing too elaborate. This morning was no exception but the end result really suits Charlotte.

It was basketball day so we needed to get her hair out of her face. So we decided on a pony tail. When I was doing the pony tail I decided to turn it into a messy bun instead. I should have gelled her hair first so she would not have had so many fly aways around her face, but with the messy bun it really looks cute.

To do this style, all you do is pull it into a ponytail and on the last time through the elastic only pull it halfway. Then fan the ends like you want them and voila an instant messy bun.

Um, Charlotte, what is on your shirt?

Yeah, I don't know why you have that on in March, either!

Sunday, March 08, 2009

Yum, My Favorite Spaghetti Sauce

OK it is one of my favorites, but it is the one I made this week and that I currently have in the fridge so that makes it my favorite today.

I originally read this recipe in one of Nicholas Sparks books. And until I just googled it I could not have told you which book it was. It is True Believer. I still can't tell you any thing about the book expect this recipe is in it and when I read it I remember thinking I wanted to try it. I did not write the recipe down and so by the time I actually decided to try it, it was a bit fuzzy. So here is my version.

Sparks Spaghetti Sauce
2 28 oz. cans San Marzano tomatoes (must be this type, they are sweeter than regular tomatoes, if you don't want to spend the $$ on two cans buy one and then add 28 oz of regular whole tomatoes in sauce, but it is better with the 2 cans of San Marzanos and you can find them in your regular grocery store on the tomato isle)
2 large onions quartered or coarsely chopped
3-6 cloves of garlic peeled and smashed with the flat side of a knife
1 stick real butter - no margarine please
salt and pepper to taste

Combine all ingredients in a large sauce pot, bring to a boil. Turn down to low and simmer for one hour uncovered. Use and immersion blender to puree the sauce. Serve over pasta. Top with Parmesan cheese.

I just looked up Nicholas Sparks' version of the recipe and mine varies a bit from his so try which ever you want. But I promise it is super yummy, quick and simple.

My current favorite pasta is the Racconto 8 Whole Grain Pasta. It has 7 grams of fiber in a serving and has several different grains in it so it does not taste like whole wheat pasta. I love it! I would have never bought it but thanks to The Grocery Game I found it on sale at my store and stocked up on it.

If you try this recipe let me know how you like it!

PS. Mom and Helene, if you are reading this, I have a very cheap, crappy immersion blender that doesn't come apart to be washed. I'd really like on that does come apart as this is one of the kitchen items I use very frequently. This would make a great birthday present. Yes, I know I'm not very subtle :)

Saturday, March 07, 2009

This and That

This will be pretty random but hopefully you'll enjoy it anyway.



We were riding in the car the other day and Eliza Claire piped up, in her very serious voice, with "Mommy, this is a dirty song! I burst out laughing. We were listening to Veggie Tales Campfire Songs. Why was it dirty? Well because it was skipping, of course and we have talked about about that if there is dirt, like fingerprints, on them they don't play correctly. I just hope she isn't going to school and telling her teacher that she is listening to dirty songs with her Mommy.



Ruby was playing some kind of pretend game yesterday where her Daddy was dead and because of that her sister was giving her a kidney. Huh? Where did that come from?


Eliza Claire informed me yesterday that bears eat parrots, apples and pears? No clue where she gleaned that information. I'm sure a bear would eat a parrot if it saw one but found it humorous that in her world that was the bear's main diet.


While playing in the back yard this week, Ruby decided to strip. I don't know what this girl's deal is but when she goes outside it isn't long before she feels the need to be naked. I'm so glad we have a six foot privacy fence because I don't want to know what the neighbors would think if they looked out and saw my daughter running around in her birthday suit.

It still shocks me when I open the door and find her naked. I asked her to put her clothes on. She could not locate her underwear. We looked all over the yard and never found them. I wonder where they are and if we will find them or if the dog has eaten them.


One night recently Eliza Claire woke up at 4:30 am screaming. What did she need? Well, she wanted to flush the potty! Yep, you read that correctly she was screaming like she was in pain an all she wanted was to flush the potty. No, we haven't started potty training so she isn't stressed about that.

I convinced her that the potty was sleeping and that she could flush the potty when it was light outside.

Earlier in the week she has woken up at 6:00am wanting to go potty. When she is awake I can not get her interested in sitting on the potty, but if Mommy is asleep, well then, the potty is much more alluring.


Ruby has developed a band aid addiction. I'm not sure why or how, but she must have at least two band aids at all times. When it is time to take them off, to keep from developing a rash from them, she insists on new ones in new spots. I used to be very strict about No Blood, No Band Aid, but somehow it has become easier to just give the girl a band aid than deal with a 30 minute fit.

And by band aid, I mean NexCare bandages - they are in my mind the best band aid ever made. They stay on much better than the regular ones and are truly water proof.


Self Portrait

As I type Charlotte has snatched my camera and is taking pictures of herself.


Have I mentioned that I have already decided that Charlotte and Ruby will never be allowed to go anywhere alone once any of them hit the age of 16? And they will never be allowed to live together once they leave home? OK, maybe if Eliza Claire goes along to talk sense into them but otherwise no way! I can only begin to imagine the trouble they would talk each other into.


I'm sure I can think of more funny things the children have done this week but I'll stop for now.


Sunday, March 01, 2009

How Adorable Is This?

It was a late night, so I asked Rehm to read Charlotte her bedtime story while I finished up with the twins. Love this picture! And yes, he is reading her a Cinderella book.