Saturday, November 21, 2009

Gyros and Cucumber Sauce - YUM!

At Earle Brown Days this year I discovered Dino's Gyros. Yum! And now I am addicted.

I am always trying to find new things to make for dinner and I am also trying to make sure our meals are balanced and some what healthy.

A few weeks ago I decided to make home made gyros. And they were YUM! The only difference between my gyro and Dino's were the pickled onions.

All you need is a package of wheat pitas, chicken, lettuce (we used spinach), cucumber sauce.

Cut the chicken into 1 inch cubes, or smaller. Cover the bottom of a skillet with Extra Virgin Olive Oil and heat. Then add the chicken and some oregano. Cook the chicken until it's no longer pink.

I didn't have any fresh tomatoes on hand but that would have been a good addition for the people who like tomatoes!

I also let my family assemble their own gyro like a taco. I served the gyros with a vegetable and tater tots.

Here is the recipe for the cucumber sauce. It's best to make it the night before so the flavors get to blend. I didn't know this so I made it about 1 hour before dinner and it was still very good.

1 cup chopped seeded cucumber - I used all of one medium cucumber instead of measuring out a cup
¼ teaspoon salt
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 ½ teaspoons white wine vinegar
8 oz plain yogurt
½ cup sour cream
1 tablespoon plus 1 ½ teaspoons chopped fresh mint
1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill

In medium bowl, combined cucumber and salt. Let stand at room temp about 30 minutes

Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, combine garlic, oil, and vinegar. Mix well.

Add yogurt and sour cream and stir until smooth.

Drain excess liquid from cucumbers, pressing to extract all liquid.

Fold cucumber, mint, and dill into yogurt mixture.

Store sauce in refrigerator over night (or serve right away)

This sauce is very good on gyros but is also very YUM on fries or anything else you would dip in ranch dressing.

Friday, November 20, 2009

What's For Dinner? Cinnamon Roasted Chicken and Potatoes

I found this recipe in an old cooking magazine on my bookshelf. The picture of it looked so good I wanted to give it a try but I was a little nervous about how the flavors would taste together.

So, I purchased the ingredients on one Sunday and didn’t make this until the following Tuesday!

But when I finally did it was so fantastic four adults and one child ate the entire thing. Even Heidi was impressed, which is hard to do.

Cinnamon Roasted Chicken and Potatoes
3 cinnamon sticks
3 bay leaves
1 (5 to 6 pound) roasting chicken
¾ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
3 pounds small red potatoes, skin on, quartered
1 large onion, coarsely chopped
½ cup vegetable oil
1 teaspoon Greek spice or dried oregano (I used oregano because I had that in the house and didn’t want to buy the Greek spice)
2 cups water

Heat the over to 400 degrees

Place 2 of the cinnamon sticks and 1 bay leaf inside the chicken cavity.

Sprinkle chicken inside and out with ½ teaspoon of salt and ¼ teaspoon of pepper. (I don’t measure salt or pepper. I used sea salt and just rubbed it all over the outside of the chicken. I use cracked pepper and cracked it over the outside as well. I did not put salt or pepper inside the chicken at all)

In a large bowl, combine potatoes, onion, oil, Greek spice (dried oregano), 2 bay leaves, cinnamon stick, and ¼ teaspoon of salt and pepper (again, I did not measure the s&p). Toss gently to mix.

Arrange potato mixture around chicken

Add water

I drizzled Extra Virgin Olive Oil over the chicken before putting in the oven.

Cover and bake for 45 minutes, basting chicken occasionally.

Remove cover and bake an additional 45 to 55 minutes or until potatoes are tender and internal temp of chicken is 180 F, basting frequently.

Let stand for 10 minutes before carving.

Makes 8 servings. 550 Calories, 28g total fat (6g saturated fat), 37 g protein, 36g carbohydrate, 105 mg cholesterol, 320 mg sodium, 3.5 g fiber.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

An Open Letter to Pig

My dearest bulldog Pig:

Remember how I caught you in the litter box and you acted like you had not eaten anything? Well, then please explain to me how all this litter got into your water dish.



Monday, November 9, 2009

Skating Week 3

Heidi had her third skating lesson this week. She moved up to the second level last week like we wanted her too. They worked on skating across the ice, squating, and skating backwards.

Here are a few quick photos.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

What did you do to your hair?

For Halloween we spraied Heidi's hair black. She walked into school the morning of her Halloween party and this is what happened:

Jakin (Heidi's friend, also 4 years old): Heidi! You got your hair cut!

Heidi: No, I didn't.

Jakin (looking very confused): Huh?

I left Heidi's class with Jakin still stairing at Heidi wondering if she didn't get her hair cut then what was different about her...

Saturday, November 7, 2009

My Soap Box - Halloween Etiquette

Over the last few years I have noticed that people no longer understand Trick Or Treating Etiquette so I am going to enlighten you all.

1. All Trick Or Treaters must be in costume. NO EXCEPTIONS! Please do not tell me that some people cannot afford costumes, a bed sheet will make a nice ghost, overalls and a flannel shirt make a farmer, sports t-shirt and ball cap make a sports fan. If you want candy, the least you can do is dress up.

2. 15 years old is to old to Trick or Treat. I think that kids out of elementary school are too old. I realize some people believe 6th and 7th graders are young enough. If you can drive a car you are too old!

3. Only knock on doors of houses where the porch light is turned on. Living room lights do not count! If the porch light is not on, keep walking.

4. Knock OR ring door bell 1 time. If no one answers keep moving. Do not, under any circumstances, kick the door.

5. Get your candy and leave the steps so other kids can approach the door. Don't stand there sorting your candy, you can do that at home.

6. It is very dark out, please wear something that will reflect off headlights - kids are 50% more likely to be hit by a car on Halloween than any other night.

Okay, I am off my soap box now. Please return to your day.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Trick Or Treat!

We woke up Saturday morning to snow. It brought back memories of 1991 when we had a blizzard on Halloween. That sure did not stop the kids from going out! I worked the church carnival that year and people came out in spite of 28 inches of snow falling.

The snow stopped before long and nothing stuck to the ground. It hit the low 40's but when the sun went away it dropped to the 30's.

Halloween in Minnesota is very difficult because it is almost always cold out on Halloween. This year was no exception. We were able to avoid forcing the children to wear jackets over the top of their costumes but Heidi ended up putting on a sweatshirt under hers along with a long sleeved t-shirt, tights, long pants, gloves, and boots.

This the second year that we went trick or treating with Willy and Emily. Shannon joined us again this year and so did Briana and Johannah with Taylor.

Heidi was a Monster Bride and Willy was Tiger.

They kids were excited to get going but we had to get some pictures first! I think Willy is about to kiss Heidi here...

It is near impossible to get Briana to smile. And Emily was in a mood so group photos were difficult.

We told Briana that we were not leaving until she smiled. This was the best I got.

In this picture is Briana (12), Willy (4), Heidi (4), Emily (3), and Johannah (10).

Shannon is a cat but it's hard to see her ears against the dark background.

Heidi got the thing she is holding from the Circus. We brought it with us and turned it on when it got really dark.

We went about 15 blocks before the kids were done walking. Ryan carried Emily for the last few blocks. Shannon and I made Heidi walk but she complained for a few minutes.

We ended up giving away two large bowls of candy to the kids who came to our door. We turned off the light early to get some dinner and ended up with a full bag left over. That, plus what Heidi got from the Anoka Parade and trick or treating, means that we have way to much candy in the house now!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Halloween Party for Dance

This is Heidi's second year of dance with New Hope Dance. This program is through the New Hope Community Center. It's all the bells and whistles of a regular dance studio, just much, much cheaper.

Each year they dress up for Halloween and have a little party during class.

It is a lot of fun to watch them dance in their costumes. Teacher Melissa was a Giant Candy Corn and Teacher Jordan was a Bee.

Heidi dances with her best friend, Lauren who was a princess.

Here is Heidi's 3 to 5 year old Tuesday night class!

Such cute best friends!!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Pumpkin Carving Night

Tuesday night before Halloween we all gathered around the table in the dinning room with all of our pumpkins, carving tools, and some markers for some good old fashioned pumpkin carving!

Heidi does not like getting dirty, recall the Pinata Party. It was very painful for her to put her hand on this pumpkin to gut it. Posing for the picture may have given her nightmares.

Ick! This is where she gave up and I took over.

She decided to color the little pumpkins instead.

She had a great time decorating all the little pumpkins.

Now that the big pumpkin is gutted, Daddy is giving a carving demo.

Heidi's turn. Use those muscles!

All done! Oh, no, it's the headless horseman!

Heidi did this one on her own. Good job Heidi!!

While they carved, in addition to taking pictures, I decorated this one. I like the red hair!!

Great job everyone, this one is very scary and the ear is a great touch! They already have plans for next year which include templates...

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Garden Gnome?

Just a few silly shots of Heidi in her rain jacket looking like a garden gnome. Enjoy!

Monday, November 2, 2009

Oh, dear lord, we have a kitten.

It's been just over a week and Pete seems to be fitting into the family much better. All of his kitten supplies are in Heidi's room but he ventures out a lot.

The dogs attack ever 4 minutes instead of every 30 seconds so that's a good sign.

Heidi was up at 6 am on Sunday because Pete was attacking her toes.

Saturday he was very curious about what I was drinking. He came over and sniffed my very hot coffee. I said "No, Pete, that's hot!" Then he did it again. I waved him away. Then, knowing that I would wave him away again he just stuck his nose right in and sniffed up! Commence head shaking and sneezing. I guess that's one way to learn about HOT.

This morning I had to stop my workout twice to get him out of Eddie's old man diet food. Poor Eddie just sat on the floor and watched him eat out of his bowl because the stool was not out and he could not get up there to stop him.

Then I had to run to catch the Bamboo plant he was knocking over while trying to eat.

He plays with anything he can find - Beads hanging from a hook in Heidi's room, the cord to the lamp, balls of paper, the pink to-to on the floor in the toy room, a bee in the bathroom (yes, we still have bee's in our attic)...

And he is very fast on the hardwood floors. He is getting his exercise running away from the dogs.

All of this, and more, had me thinking "Oh, Lord, now I remember what Kitten's are like!"
But the sneezing seems to have stopped.

Sure fire way to cure kitten sneezing? Call new vet and grill her on why she prescribed antibiotics when this is a virus, ask 500 questions as you browse google search results, insure her you will call back if he is still sneezing on Monday.
How can you not love this little face? I guess he's a keeper.