Monday, June 12, 2017

A Teacher Gift That's For the Birds

Happy Last Week of School! My last day with students is Tuesday, and my son has his last 1/2 day on Thursday.  I can't believe he's going to be in 2nd grade! We are ready for a summer of lots of family fun and a new baby!

Of course as we end another school year we have to say thanks to the amazing teachers that worked so hard to help us learn. Sam picked out a little bird feeder for his teacher. Not only does she like birds, but it goes perfectly with the fact that his school does a special nature based program. Strangely enough, with all the cute teacher gift ideas out there on the internet with all their adorable packaging and witty sayings on the gift tags, I couldn't find anything bird themed. So we had to get creative and come up with something ourselves.

Sam said if it was birthday present he would say "Happy Bird-day!" I'm happy to see he's developing an appreciations for corny jokes! However, it was not a birthday present so we had to come up with something else. We eventually decided to use a common bird that shows up at feeders in our area, the black-capped chickadee, and tell his teacher that her class was "Chickadee-lightful!" I just grabbed a free clip art picture of a chickadee from the internet, added the message, and printed it out on card stock. Sam wrote his own personal message on the back. A hole punch and piece of yellow yarn attached the card to the bird feeder. Bonus -  the chickadee matched his school colors!


Monday, May 22, 2017

Easter Feasting

Happy 6th Week of Easter! In true Rose's Supposes fashion, I am just now getting around to posting about the food we enjoyed back on Easter Sunday. Isn't it great how the Easter season lasts for 50 days? That means that even six weeks later, I can still claim that my post is timely!

Previously I have shared some Easter desserts with you, like blueberry lemonies, and the dirt pudding trifle that has become Easter tradition thanks to the requests of my son. This year we move on to the main course with a stunning loaf of bread, some scrumptious veggies, and an impressive lamb roast centerpiece.

Egg Braid 

At heart, I'm really more of a baker than a cook, and this loaf is my pride and joy. It may be simple white bread, but there is something about the braid, the golden shine from the egg wash, and the sprinkle of poppy seeds on top that makes me feel very accomplished when I pull it out of the oven. Even though the lamb is the main course, this is the dish I insist on waiting to cut until all the guests have arrived!


Ingredients
4 to 4/2 cups all purpose flour
2 packages dry yeast
1/2 cup milk, room temperature
1/2 cup warm water
2 tablespoons shortening
2 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons salt
3 eggs
1 egg for egg wash
poppy seeds

Directions
In a mixing bowl combine 2 cups of flower with the yeast. Add the milk, water, shortening, sugar, and salt, and mix together.  Add the eggs and mix until combined.

Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead for about 8 minutes.

Cover the dough and let it rest for 20 minutes. Punch down and knead for an additional 30 seconds.

Divide the dough into 3 equal parts, and let rest for 3 minutes. Roll each piece into a log approximately 15 inches long.  Place the logs side by side and braid from top to bottom, pinching the ends together.

Place on a prepared baking sheet and let rise until doubled in size.

Beat one egg and brush over the loaf. Sprinkle with poppy seeds.
 
Bake at 400 degrees for 25 - 30 minutes.

Zesty Brussels Sprouts

I know that brussels sprouts are not everyone's favorite vegetable, but I just love 'em. While bacon is a traditional brussels sprouts pairing that almost  everyone loves, my husband happens to be in that weird minority of people who doesn't like bacon. I can't remember where I saw it, but one day I saw a suggestion of cooking brussels sprouts with orange zest. I gave it a try and we loved it! The orange zest really brightens up the bitter brussels, and gives the vegetable a fresh feeling that goes great with a spring meal. This Easter I threw in some bell peppers for an added splash of color and sweetness.



Ingredients: 
Brussels sprouts
Olive oil
Zest of 1 - 2 large oranges
salt and pepper

Directions:
Saute brussels sprouts in olive oil. While cooking, add salt, pepper, and orange zest. Cook until tender and caramelized.

Roast Leg of Lamb

The impressive centerpiece of the Easter table! I only cook one big holiday meal on my own during the year, so I don't mind splurging a little on some lamb. Not only is lamb a significant Easter symbol, but my husband doesn't like turkey, and neither of us are big ham people, so lamb is perfect! As impressive as it looks when it comes out of the oven, it is actually quite simple to make. Amaze everyone without having to slave away at the oven all day!


 Ingredients:
1 boneless or semi-boneless leg of lamb
olive oil
salt
pepper
rosemary
thyme
minced garlic

Directions:
Take lamb out of the fridge 1 hour before cooking. Place in roasting pan with rack

Rub with olive oil, salt, and pepper.

Broil on each side for 5 minutes (or brown each side in a pan)

Rub with fresh rosemary, thyme, and garlic

Roast at 325 degrees, at 25 minutes per pound. Cover loosely with tinfoil for 1 hour, and then remove for the rest of the cooking time.

Let rest 15 minutes before carving.

Happy Easter!

Monday, March 13, 2017

It's a Birthday Party Charlie Brown!


This year my son is obsessed with the Peanuts comics by Charles Schulz. Back in middle school when I played the role of Schroeder in a production of "You're a Good Man Charlie Brown," I got really into it too. And yes, Schroeder is a boy, but the director wanted Schroeder to really play the piano on stage and I happened to posses that skill. Of course Schroeder is my favorite character from the comic too! Anyway, my son found one of my old Peanuts books and hasn't been able to put it down since. He spends a lot of time pretending to be the World War I Flying Ace and Joe Cool. He has even suggested that if the new baby on the way is another little sister we should name her Rerunette, the way Lucy called her second little brother Rerun. Inevitably this all led to request for a Peanuts themed birthday party. The other kids at the party may not have been as familiar with Peanuts as Sam, but given my own affinity for the classic comic, it was a lot of fun to put together.

Happy Birthday Sam! You are growing into one amazing young man! 

Decorations

We went back to the dance studio for this year's party, and I think the owner repainted just for Sam's party! The new yellow walls, (actually "mango tango" I believe), made it easy to add a simple decoration that had a lot of impact. Yellow wall + strips of black construction paper + double stick tape = Charlie Brown zigzag shirt wall!  Add some Peanuts stuffed animals and black and yellow table settings and that's all you need!

That may be all you need, but we did have a little more. The aforementioned director of my middle school play was my mom, who has been involved in other productions of You're a Good Man Charlie Brown since then as well. She was able to bring in some cool props from the shows, including Schroeder's piano!


Food 

The food was very simple and kid friendly with the birthday boy's request for his favorite food - pizza. Some clever labeling makes things a little more fun and on theme!

For example, Sam read one strip where Snoopy says something like, "Joe Cool never eats at the dorm cafeteria, he always orders pizza." We knew then that it wouldn't just be any pizza, but Joe Cool's Pizza.




Of course we all know that the World War I Flying Ace's drink of choice is root beer! I found the perfect picture to go on our pop labels. To add a little variety to the beverages we also included Linus and Lucy Lemon Lime.



Instead of a traditional birthday cake, the birthday boy opted to have "Charlie Brownies." Of course you can make any brownie recipe you want, and then just top them with yellow frosting and a chocolate frosting zigzag. I used a recipe from the family cookbook titled "Julie's Awesome Brownies," (the recipe can be found at the end of the post!). They truly are awesome, some of the richest, gooiest brownies I've ever had. Thanks Julie!

 I divided the recipe in half to make both plain brownies and ones with peppermint patties mixed in, (get it?). I put the peppermint patties in the bottom of the pan and poured the batter over them. This method made the brownies stick to the pan. I had to wrestle them out of the pan a little, but they were delicious! I would recommend pouring some batter in first, then adding the peppermint patties, and then topping off with the rest of the batter to try to prevent sticking.

Games

I don't have any pictures of the games but we did have fun with them!

Peanuts Musical Chairs
We played a modified version of musical chairs that we had played at church for All Saints Day. I put pictures of different Peanuts characters on chairs and played music while the kids walked around the circle. For the music I played the soundtrack from "You're a Good Man Charlie Brown" as well as the classic "Linus and Lucy."

When the music stops everyone sits on a chair and the name of a character gets pulled out of a hat. Whoever is sitting on the chair with that character gets a prize! In this case the prize was a bag of peanuts. We kept going until everyone  got a prize.

Pull the Football Away from Charlie Brown (Pinata)
This was just your classic birthday pinata, but we got one that was in the shape of a football.  My husband played the role of Lucy and pulled the football away from all our Charlie Browns trying to hit the pinata. Of course we had to fill the pinata with peppermint patties and peanut butter cups! A black Sharpie turned some plain red and blue bags into Linus and Lucy treat bags.  On the back I wrote, "Happiness is Celebrating with Friends!"


Julie's Awesome Brownies

This is a huge recipe! It makes two 9 x 13 pans of gooey, chocolatey goodness.
This is the original recipe - I used cocoa powder instead of baker's chocolate and omitted the  extra chocolate chips, coffee, and walnuts when I made them for the party, (and of course added some peppermint patties in!)

Ingredients:
1 pound unsalted butter (you heard right! That's 4 sticks.)
1 pound plus 12 oz semi-sweet chocolate chips - divided
6 oz unsweetened chocolate
6 eggs
2 Tablespoons instant coffee
2 Tablespoons vanilla
2 1/4 cups sugar
1 1/4 cups flour - divided
1 Tablespoon baking power
1 teaspoon salt
3 cups walnut pieces

Directions:
Melt together the butter, 1 pound of chocolate chips, and unsweetened chocolate and cool slightly.

Stir together the eggs, instant coffee, vanilla, and sugar.  Stir in the warm chocolate mixture and cool to room temperature.

Stir together 1 cup of flour, baking powder, and salt. Add to the cooled chocolate mixture. Toss the walnuts and remaining chocolate chips in 1/4 cup of flour, then stir into the chocolate batter.

Pour the batter into a greased 13 x 18 pan, or two 13 x 9 pans.  Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes or until a skewer come out clean. About halfway through the baking process rap the pans against the oven shelf.

Cool thoroughly and refrigerate before cutting into squares. They are so gooey and rich if you try to cut them while they are warm they will crumble! 


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...