Friday, June 28, 2013

Fun Food Friday- Broccoli & Cheese Pasta Salad

I love pasta, wither it's warm in a dish or a cold salad.  This is my favorite pasta salad.  And it makes a huge one, so it's great for things like a church picnic which is what I made it for. 

Ingredients: Rotini Pasta, Bacon, Red Onion, Shredded Cheese, Broccoli, Mayonnaise, Sweetened Condensed Milk, Sugar, Parmesan Cheese, White Vinegar

You first need to cook your bacon (or you can use pre-cooked bacon or bacon pieces).  I cook my bacon in the oven so you don't have the messy skillet to deal with.  Line a cookie sheet with foil and lay out the bacon.

Bake at 375 degrees for 15-20 minutes depending on the thickness of the bacon and how crispy you want it).  Place cooked bacon on a plate lined with a paper towel to drain the grease.

Cook the pasta in boiling water.  You can also use bow tie or farfalle pasta

Dice up the onion

To a big bowl add a chopped up medium head of broccoli...

the diced onion...

chopped up bacon...

and 2 cups of shredded cheese (I used Colby-Jack but you can also use Cheddar)

Stir it all together

Micah thought he needed to stir it with a measuring spoon and in the process eat most of the cheese.

When the pasta is cooked drain it...

And rinse with cold water.

For the dressing mix 2 cups of mayonnaise...

1 can sweetened condensed milk...

1/3 cup sugar...

1/4 cup shredded parmesan cheese...

and 1/2 cup white vinegar

Carefully stir together till smooth and combined

Add the cooled pasta to the bowl

Micah was more interested in stirring the dressing than mixing the salad :)

Pour the dressing on the salad...

And mix together.  I put about 2/3 of the dressing on the salad at first and added the rest after the salad had chilled for a couple of hours.

And there you have it, Julie's favorite pasta salad!
Broccoli & Cheese Pasta Salad
16 oz box rotini pasta
1 pound bacon, cooked and cut up
1 medium red onion, chopped
2 cups shredded Colby-Jack cheese (Cheddar works too)
1 medium head broccoli, chopped
2 cups mayonnaise
1 can sweetened condensed milk
1/3 cup sugar
1/4 cup shredded parmesan cheese
1/2 cup white vinegar
Cook pasta, drain and rinse with cold water.  Add bacon, onion, cheese, and broccoli.  Mix together dressing ingredients and pour 2/3 of it over pasta mixture.  Mix together.  Chill salad for a couple hours.  Pour on the rest of the dressing and mix. 

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Week 36 & Giveaway winner

 And the winner is....
Deb D!  Congratulations Deb!  Thanks to those who participated.  It was fun to hear from you.  I have to say my favorite response was the one who said her favorite kitchen tool was her husband when he made dinner. :) 

And on to Week 36 and my two little stinkers who are getting extremely difficult to take pictures of especially if there is a sign behind them and yet I couldn't decide which pictures to put up because they're just so silly so you're getting a lot :).



Jonathan (right)- 21.2 pounds
David (left)- 19.2 pounds

Before I start I just have to say I love tennis and am watching Wimbledon right now and oh my goodness it has just been the absolute craziest day ever!  So many injuries, so many upsets, all I can say is "O My Goodness!"  Okay, I got that out. :)

These two little guys are becoming quite the stinkers as you can see from the pictures above.  They are incredibly cute stinkers, but stinkers non-the-less.  David has now started spitting while eating:

But they really are fun.  I absolutely love it when I look over and see all my boys playing together
And these little guys are really starting to move around.  They aren't crawling at all yet, but they are learning the art of scooting, especially Jonathan who seems always end up on his tummy. 
I set both boys down on their butts near that pink sippy-cup and this is where they ended up

Here Jonathan started out sitting in the Boppy :)  Micah use to do that too where he scooted backwards and got himself under the couch 

They are still drooling like crazy but we haven't had any new teeth appear.  They are usually pretty happy guys:

It was a fairly uneventful week.  Steve did get to do an instillation service on Sunday for his seminary roommate who took a call to a church in East Grand Rapids.  It was really neat to see and we are so excited to have Zach and Kasey close by (Kasey was my roommate in college)!  One eventful moment of the week was yesterday morning.  I have no faith in the weathermen here.  I feel like they tell us there's a chance of rain so I don't go for a walk with the boys and then it never rains.  So yesterday I decided phooey on that I'm going for a walk.  Steve had looked at the radar and said it looked like it could rain but I looked outside and decided it didn't look too bad.  Yeah, it rained. :)  It actually started raining as soon as I pulled the stroller out of the garage so we waited a few minutes and it lightened up.  When I was about half way into my walk it started raining heavier and then I heard thunder so I quickly turned around and then it started pouring and I started running while pushing a stroller with over 70 pounds of children in it and holding an umbrella over Micah (the twins had a sheet over them so they were staying dry).  I got quite the looks from people driving by and I discovered I am so not a runner. :)  We made it back into the garage just as I saw the first lightening strike nearby.  So I will be listening to the weathermen from now on and just stay on the safe side.  Micah thought it was hilarious. :)
One fun thing I got to do this past week was go to a Life Expressions party which was so much fun.  While driving there I realized it was the first time since the twins were born that I went away at night without Steve to just do something fun.  It was a much needed break and I got to make a really cute sign:
I highly recommend going to one of these parties if you get a chance.  You get to choose a saying and then paint the sign any color you want and then you put the wording on.  So much fun!

And finally, just a few pictures of our growing garden:
Green beans- they of course are doing the best and I say of course because it's the one thing we planted that I don't like :) but Steve loves them so he's happy

They are starting to bud which I'm guessing is a good thing :)

My tomato plants are doing really well and the cilantro is hanging in there although with our really hot weather some of it dried up a bit
I hope you all have a wonderful week! 


Friday, June 21, 2013

Giveaway & Fun Food Friday- Apple Pie Bread

I have decided to do a give away.  Two reasons.  First off, I love getting free stuff.  Our first date after Micah was born Steve and I went to a Golf Show :).  I signed up for every give away they had and I won a free round of golf for two at a really nice golf course!  So I thought, if I love trying for giveaways, maybe you do too.  And secondly (and the biggest reason :)), I'm really curious who reads this and I figured if I did a giveaway it would get a lot of my readers to comment and then I can see who is reading. :) 
My favorite kitchen tool would definitely be my KitchenAid Mixer, but a close second to that are my magnetic measuring spoons.  They stick together so they're not all over your utensil drawer and they have two sides so you can use one for liquid and one for solids.  They're just awesome if you ask me. :)  So here is what I will be giving away:
Sorry, the cute little guy does not come with the spoons :)
To enter this give away just comment on this blog post or the facebook link letting me know what your favorite kitchen tool is.  You have until Wednesday noon (Eastern Time) to enter after which I will put all the names in a hat and draw out the winner.  I will announce the winner on next week's weekly update. 
And now on to Fun Food Friday.  Last Friday Steve and I went to his cousin's wedding.  Two ladies from church watched the boys.  They don't let us pay them, so I like to find something fun to give them.  On Monday we went to Grand Haven to the Great Harvest Bread Company.  You get to try a free sample of their bread and the one we tried was their Apple Pie Bread.  It's really good and so we got a loaf to take home.  As we were driving home I said to Steve "Man, I should have gotten loaves of these to give the ladies that watched the boys!"  I was really bummed because now that's what I wanted to get them.  So when we got home I decided I would just make my own Apple Pie Bread to give them.  It turned out pretty good so I thought I would share it with you. :)  Enjoy!
Apple Pie Bread
Ingredients: Flour, Shortening, Salt, Sugar, Yeast, Butter, Egg, Cinnamon, Apple Pie Filling

Sprinkle 2 1/4 teaspoon active dry yeast (or one packet) on top of 1 cup of warm water (105 to 115 degrees).  Let it sit for 5 minutes

To  mixer bowl add 3 Tablespoons of sugar...

2 Tablespoons shortening...

1 egg...

1/2 teaspoon of salt...

and the yeast that should now look like this

And 1 1/2 cups of flour

Mix until smooth

With the mixer on low add 1 1/2 to 2 more cups of flour...

until a nice soft dough is formed

Add the dough to a greased bowl.  Turn the dough over so the dough is coated with cooking spray

Cover the bowl and let dough rise for 1 hour or until doubled in size.
Whenever I have a dough that needs to rise I put it on a cookie rack with a pan of hot water underneath, works great. 

Pour the apple pie filling into a food processor (if you don't have a food processor a blender should work too)

Chop it until smooth..

Like this :)

Dough doubled in size

To a small bowl add 1 Tablespoon sugar...

and 1 teaspoon cinnamon...

And stir

Place the dough on a floured surface and kneed 8-10 times

To kneed take the dough...

fold in half...

and push with your wrist.  Turn the dough and repeat 8 times

Cut dough in half

Roll out each half until it is a 7x15 inch rectangle

For each loaf spread 2 Tablespoons softened butter on top

Then sprinkle the cinnamon and sugar mixture on top.  The 1 Tablespoon/1teaspoon mixture is for one loaf so you have to mix another one for the second loaf

Then spread the apple pie filling over both rolls

And then you just roll it up

Until it looks like this

Place in a greased loaf pan seam side down

Cover and let rise for 1 hour...

Until almost doubled in size.  Bake at 350 degrees for30-35 minutes

until the top is light brown and the bread sounds hollow when you tap the top

And there you go, two good looking Apple Pie Breads.
So for the ladies who watched our boys I made a basket with a loaf of bread and then I made the cookie dough from last week and put it in 9x9 square pans and cut them into 9 squares, wrapped them individually, and put them in with the loaf.  I thought it turned out pretty cute.
Apple Pie Bread (makes 2 loaves)
2 1/4 teaspoon active dry yeast (or 1 package)
1 cup warm water (105 to 115 degrees)
3 Tbs sugar
2 Tbs shortening
1 large egg
1/2 tsp salt
3 to 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
4 Tbs butter, softened
2 Tbs sugar
2 tsp cinnamon
1 can Apple Pie Filling
Combine yeast and warm water in a bowl; let stand 5 minutes.  Combine yeast mixture, sugar, shortening, egg, salt, and half of flour in a mixer bowl.  Mix at low speed until smooth.  Gradually mix in enough remaining flour to make a soft dough.  Place dough in a well-greased bowl, turning to grease top.  Cover and let rise in a warm place for 1 hour or until doubled in size.  Place raised dough onto a floured surface and knead 8 to 10 times.  Divide dough in half.  Roll each half into a 7x15 inch rectangle.  Spread 2 Tbs of softened butter onto each loaf.  Combine 2 Tbs sugar with 2 tsp cinnamon.  Sprinkle evenly over the loaves.  In a food processor chop up the apple pie filling until smooth.  Spread the filling over the loaves.  Roll up the dough starting at the narrow edge.  Pinch seams and ends together.  Place loaf, seam side down, in a greased loafpan.  Cover and let rise for 1 hour or until almost doubled in size.  Bake at 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes or until loaf sounds hollow when tapped.