Savory Crescent Chicken Squares and Cheesy Potato Corn Cakes

This is the first recipe the kids and I decided to make.

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My mom printed this recipe on October 30, 1998, but as you can see, it won the 1974 Pillsbury bake-off competition! I made a few changes such as eliminating celery since I didn’t have it on hand and I don’t really like it. I also cooked chicken breasts and used my favorite spices on the chicken.

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It was super easy to make and could be adapted to taste, such as a bbq version, a spicier version, a meatless version, etc..

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After adding the chicken:

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Filing the squares.

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I topped them with Parmesan cheese rather than croutons.

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After we decided on the Crescent Squares, we needed a side dish. This one was easy to throw together too and could also be adapted to different tastes. Here is the recipe.

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My mom printed this recipe in 2006! My youngest daughter was less than a month old at that time. We were living in New Hampshire and my mom was in Mississippi.

Overall, my oldest daughter and I loved the crescent squares and my two youngest loved the corn cakes. Go figure. This is the beginning of the corn cakes.

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Here are the corn cakes frying up.

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Here are the scores: The crescent chicken squares received a 6.5, 8, 8.5, and 9. The corn cakes received a 10, 8.5, 7, and 5.

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My youngest daughter made us place cards. She also set the table. You can always tell when she sets the table because she’s left handed.

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Overall, the first dinner was a success! My kids had fun helping and I think they were surprised at how good it all turned out. Maybe a great side effect of this project is they will learn to love cooking!

 

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The Beginning

My mom has collected recipes for as long as I can remember. In elementary and middle school, we had a lot of Hamburger Helper, quiche, and lima beans. I am certain we didn’t have lima beans as much as I remember, but I do remember a lot of nights having to drink milk immediately after eating a single bean. Their texture and taste are awful. I have never made them for my kids and haven’t eat them since I was little.

Although my mom collected recipes, she didn’t cook a whole lot after I got into high school. I believe her habits are a lot like how we use Pinterest today. We pin so many things, but ultimately only cook/ make/ decorate a very small number of things that we pin.

I inherited my mom’s box of collected recipes 8 years ago. The recipes are mostly printed ones she found online, but there are some magazine and newspaper clippings, a notebook, and some hand-written recipes. The printed recipes date as far back as 1998 and as recent as 2009. Some of the magazine clippings are from 1992 and I believe some of the recipes from the newspaper are from the 80s. I am still sorting through them all and putting the printed recipes in three-ring binders. I will share a picture as soon as that job is complete. I think it’s safe to say there are more than 10,000 recipes.

I initially wanted to throw away the printed recipes because there are so many and my mom and I did not have the same tastes in food, however, a friend of mine begged me not to throw them out. So I didn’t. That’s where this idea started, to cook all of the recipes that she wanted to make, but never did. To finish what she started. Due to the amount of recipes, I am uncertain if I will finish the job myself, so that’s why I am getting my children involved. If I don’t finish the job, I would like to believe that my kids would ultimately finish this for her.

What I want from this project, is to look back on her life and imagine what she was doing when she printed this recipe. What milestones were happening in our lives? It’s also a fascinating walk down memory lane as some of the recipes have ads from the 80s and 90s.

The kids and I cooked our first meal last night, which I will be posting shortly.

 

The Rock in Wylie

I live in Wylie, Texas and the best way to describe this city is a fast-growing city that developers are slow catching on to. This means that we don’t have much here so when something opens, it stays packed for a while. Target, Rosa’s, Home Goods, Kroger, and the latest addition, The Rock Wood Fired Pizza are just some examples.

This place opened on December 29th. We tried coming that night but the wait was an hour and a half. With three children, that just doesn’t work. We tried again last night and the wait was two and a half hours. That definitely wouldn’t work! So my strategy changed and we got here this morning as soon as they opened. It worked. We got a seat instantly but the place was packed within 30 minutes. The food did take a little longer that a normal restaurant but I’m not surprised because again, everything is packed when it opens and for a new restaurant, that can be overwhelming.

What I love about this place is that it’s great for kids and adults. The kids got a box of dough along with their menu and crayons. It kept them occupied for a while, which will be great if the adults decide to have a drink. This is the nifty little box it came in….

 

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And this is what they did with their dough:

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Two of my children had the mac and cheese, which was definitely not Kraft. That’s a great thing in my book. My oldest got a pepperoni pizza, which she said was good. I got the Sharp Dressed Man, which is a steak sandwich. It was delicious. The fries are beer battered and tasted okay, but not my favorite, however, my daughters loved them and finished them off. I did like that they had mustard on every table, which is rare. I heart mustard.

I would definitely come here again. Like I said, Wylie is due for some fantastic restaurants, especially restaurants that cater to both adults and kids. Plus the food is pretty great.

Organized Life… In The Kitchen?

With three kids and a full-time job, trying to get/ stay organized is one of my most important goals. I have tried and previously failed (with expensive planners with too little room, here’s looking at you, Erin Condren, and with good, yet impracticable, ideas and intentions on staying organized), however, this is a never-ending goal and with that, I have gone a more practical route. I have decided to stay organized in a heavily used room, the kitchen, rather than a room that is used less often (but really should be as often), the laundry room.

So, here are some pictures of the large kitchen wall, which was empty until yesterday. Please ignore the chipped paint. And the color of the wall. I painted this years ago and loved it at the time, but now I think it’s just too dark, so the color will change. What I do want you to look at are the two items my boyfriend hung up last night. I bought them both at Hobby Lobby. The three sectional wire in-box thing is perfect for my kid’s school papers. I am hoping to prevent the issue with my kids shoving their school papers in my face at the worst times (under the bathroom door right after I get home from work or in my face while I am running around trying to get 4 people ready and out the door in the morning, etc…). Hopefully they simply put their school papers here after school and while making dinner I can work through the papers to keep it empty.

 

FullSizeRender(2) FullSizeRender(1) FullSizeRenderThe chalkboard will be used as a menu. I did this for several reasons. One of which is my boyfriend is the pickiest eater and while I love to work around his preferences, sometimes I want to eat what I want to eat (less meat, lots of cheese and pasta, etc…). This way he can see what we’re having and decide if he needs to pick-up something to eat or fend for himself with what we have on hand. Another reason this board will be used as a menu is because I have two older children who are responsible for planning and cooking their menu, one day a week, each. My son has chosen Wednesday, so he will be in charge of finding a recipe, while trying to accommodate everyone’s preferences, and will cook the meal, with my supervision and direction, of course. My older daughter will chose another day and do the same thing. When it’s their day of the week, they get to write their menu on the board and take pride in what they have picked-out and made.

What’s not shown is what I ordered yesterday:

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This is called, Cups for Days, and you can find it here. I love this because it will free up my two upper cabinets being used for cups (5 people means a lot of cups), kids can easily grab a cup themselves, and it’s gorgeous! This will be going to the right of the metal in-box so it will be closer for people to grab a cup. Because the cups will be in-sight, I will be getting rid of our current cups and switching to mason jars. Luckily my kids are older so using glass jars is possible.

With all of these dark-colored objects, it really makes me want to lighten up the kitchen color and add pops of color around the darker objects on the wall, with colorful frames or artwork. Any ideas on paint colors or fun things to lighten up the kitchen (both in color and seriousness)?

 

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What I’ve Been Up To….

I have been taking college classes online everyday for the past 14 months. This past week was the first time I had off since starting school what seems so long ago. This past week, I had the opportunity to come home, get in my new owl p.j.’s and watch television after work. Such a nice concept to relax and not worry what is due in my classes after working 8 hours. I have one week of this blissfulness left before school starts up again, where surely it will kick my butt some more. So, here is what I have been up to….

 

Wearing my owl pajamas….

Editing pictures in Photoshop….

And….

 

 

Making a new banner for my blog…

 

And cooking up a storm. I have no pictures of the prime rib, au gratin potatoes, loads of cookies, or anything I have cooked because the mess they create requires immediate full kitchen clean-up, and picture-taking falls by the waste-side.

Anyhow, I did receive the best Christmas present. I will only give you a hint. It’s a cat that sings a song that goes a little something like this, “Soft kitty, warm kitty, little ball of fur. Happy kitty, sleepy kitty, purr, purr, purr.” Bang!

Ok, I am off to relax. And take a cat nap.

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It’s Official!

I start my new job tomorrow! I am excited and very happy. This job has a lot of qualities that I was looking for in my long-term job. My day tomorrow is going to be really busy, though, so I am sure I will be asleep within 10 minutes of getting home tomorrow night. Here is my schedule tomorrow:

6 A.M.: Wake up, wake the kids up, take the dog to the bathroom and keep placing her back on the grass so that eventually she gets bored and poops.

6:15 A.M. Take shower

6:30 A.M. Get out of shower, re-wake up my kids because they went to bed too late tonight. Get “Take kids to school and I don’t care who seems me bra-less” clothes on. Read Chapters on Buddhism, Daoism, Confucianism, and Judaism enough so that I can do at least a few minutes of my homework due that night.

7 A.M. Take kids to school, come back home, get make-up on, get dressed, feed the animals, work on homework some more.

8 A.M. Head to work, work.

5 P.M. Leave work, head straight to my kids school to have conference with my son’s teacher.

5:30 P.M. Leave the school, go to pick up my kids from after-school care. Get home, get their Halloween costumes ready for later, make quick dinner, start them on homework.

6:25 P.M. Leave to go back to the school for a  conference with my daughter’s teacher.

6:45 P.M. Leave school, arrive home, make sure kids are ready for the Halloween Party at their after-school care, head there.

7 P.M. Arrive at party, stay for an hour and a half.

8:30 P.M. Leave party, head home, get kids ready for bed. Tuck them into bed.

9 P.M. Figure out some algebra, post 2 posts for school, finish homework project. Work some more on a project my daughter’s teacher has given me to work on for their class.

10:30 P.M. Complain how tired I am. Get a massage from my boyfriend. Fall asleep on his chest watching whatever was on television tonight.

 

I am sure I forgot something, but I am sure I will remember it tomorrow when I start panicking. I’ll let you know how it goes. Friday though, as my day tomorrow is kinda sorta, not really, just a tad bit busy.

Life gets in the way

It seems every time I make a vow to blog more often, life gets in the way. Right now, my life is like a river (I want to break out into the song, but I will hold it in online), and everything is changing at an almost daily pace.  Some of the big changes happening around here:

Kayla, my 9-year-old, is learning how to walk home from school, and be left alone for short periods of time. She is the most responsible person (adult or child!) that I know, so I know she can handle it. We have been here the past few days that she has come home from school and every day she asks us, “When are y’all not going to be here so I can be all by myself?” She’s ready for some alone time as a responsible tween, clearly.

On the job front, I think I have found my long-term job. I interviewed on Friday, fell in love with the company, what it does, it’s mission, it’s policies, and I am supposed to know something by Wednesday. I can see myself here for at least the next five years, if not more. There is room for advancement and it’s close to home. Not to mention next door to the boss from hell I worked for last year. Literally, right next door. Can’t wait to run into her! *Sarcasm*

As for what I have learned this month, my boyfriend is one of the most amazing people that I know. He is the most generous and kind man that I know. He is a breath of fresh air at the end of the day and the one who makes me need no on else on this Earth besides my children.

Oh, and go see 50/50. Best move I have ever watched. If you have personally see first hand someone die of cancer, this movie might be hard to watch though I still think you should see it. Very real adaption of what having cancer is like and how those people closest to them deal with it. Plus, by far one of  the funniest movies that I have ever seen.

 

Well, I hope to write more often, but you know how that goes…. Life gets in the way and with such a blessed life that I lead, I am okay with that.

East Coast Gal

Thanks to my good friend, Kathleen, for posting this on her blog, so I could steal the idea from her. Thanks, Kathleen!

Here is a map of all the states that I have visited. Can you tell I have primarily lived on the East coast? Hopefully now that I live in Texas I can start to visit all of the Western states!

 

My Schedule

This week has been one of the busiest weeks that I have ever had. I started a new job on Monday, my kids had to go back to after-school care, all while taking care of three kids by myself, and still being a full-time student. In the meantime, I cook, blog, sew, and am constantly trying to organize my house.  I wanted to give you a peek into my busiest day this week, Thursday, to show you what it was like.

5:45 A.M. Wake up, shower

6:00 Wake all three kids up, get dressed, organized for the day, drink coffee, make sure kids are presentable, all snacks/ lunches are packed, papers are signed, homework is done, etc…

7:00 Drop kids off at school, head to Starbucks

7:45 Get coffee, head to office

8:00 Work a full 8 hours (I am an Escrow Assistant, meaning, I get the ball rolling on all home purchases and re-fi’s that go through our office, as well as follow-up with any problems along the way)

5:05 Leave work, head to workshop for math

5:45 Arrive 15 minutes early so I do some homework on the computer

6:00  Workshop time

7:30 Left a bit early because I was starving, head home, grab myself a sandwich on the way home

8:00 Arrive home, greet family, look at school papers, change clothes, watch an hour of tv on the DVR that is about to be erased, eat the sandwich

9:00 Tuck the kids in bed, spend 30 minutes picking players for the Fantasy football league that I am in

9:30 Lay down in bed and watch an hour television, fall asleep within seconds.

 

The next morning, I get up to do a variation of it all over again. It is worth it though because I want/ need my education and I want/ need my job to start my career and make some big bucks, which I need/ want with being a single parent to three kids.  My life is going to be hectic for the next three years while I am still in school, but it will all be worth it when I am working for myself, setting  my own hours, and making good money.

 

 

The Results

I know I said that I was going to post yesterday, but life got in the way, as usual. All three of my kids started school and my dog was/ is sick. She has been throwing up almost non-stop plus she hasn’t been biting us, but licking instead. If you knew my puppy, you would know that means something terrible. She once cut her foot and still managed to bite us as she was limping around bleeding all over my white carpet.

Anyways, I wanted to give y’all an update on how the organizational things I added to our household has helped. Let’s start off with the changes in the kitchen. Adding a drawer in my fridge for cold snacks and a container in the pantry to hold the dry snacks has been great. Yesterday and today I was able to get up, pack three lunches within seconds and still manage to make breakfast and have everyone ready early, I might add.

The bulletin boards in the laundry room were great too. All of my children came home with artwork yesterday and all chose to display it on their bulletin board. My son had homework that he tacked up as well. It is so nice not having piles of paper around me on things that I need to look at, sign, go over, and things I better not lose. It’s even nicer knowing that they are not going to get lost and the child learns more responsibility for their belongings and school work.

As for the rest of the day, I am taking my dog to the vet this morning followed by school work and hopefully a nap. It is a special night folks because we have tickets to see the Rangers vs the Red Sox. We went to this game last year and it was the best time I have ever had. It lasted about 13 innings and a Red Sox player even threw us a ball. I am hoping tonight is just as wonderful but with the Red Sox winning this time!