Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Parmesan-crusted Catfish

This recipe is from an old issue of Family Circle; I only changed the main ingredient from chicken to catfish. It's one of my very favorites. Both of my picky of eaters ate it.
12 multigrain crackers

1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

1/2 teaspoon dried basil

1/2 teaspoon paprika

1/4 teaspoon each salt and pepper

1/4 cup buttermilk

1 1/2 pounds catfish fillets

Heat oven to oven 400 degrees. In a Ziploc freezer bag combine all dry ingredients and crush into crumbs. Put buttermilk in a shallow bowl and crumbs in a separate shallow bowl. Dip fish in the butter milk, then in the crumbs until coated. Place on baking sheet and cook about 30 minutes or until fish is flaky.

Just a little window into our garden's progress

Happy little plants enjoying the winters warm sun.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Side effects for growing a family too quickly.

At 24, when I had my first baby, my beautiful Marysa, I hand made her bedding, custom-painted her room super girly, piecing together everything just perfect. I made M&M birthday cakes and spider deviled eggs for Halloween. Back then my house had a flow—from the front door to my bedroom—of rooms that had a lot of thought put into them, with matching accents and artwork. My small yard had flowers and strawberries. I still worked full-time; I just had more ambition.

I remarried at 29, adding a second beautiful little girl to the family: Tanner, my husband’s daughter. We moved into a bigger house and had two little girls’ rooms and a new place to make our home. We started off well. I bought fun bedding for my room. I replaced window coverings. I got Marysa's room on track and Tanner's room was in the beginning stages.

Then we got a call from Child Protective Services that my nephew, Joey, needed a home. There were rules we had to follow. Joey had to have his own room, and we had to have it ready long before he got to live in it. So our girls were thrown together in one room, while Joey's room became the main project. The theme: Spider-man!

Meanwhile our two girls got bunk beds. Truthfully, the room was too small for two kids. They had too much stuff and it just looked cluttered. But I didn’t have the heart to take anything out after all the changes they had been through. So we just kept adding more.

I think at this point I became neurotic about space. Instead of starting projects to make our living easier on the eyes, making cookies and gardening, I would move all the bedrooms around. The girls got the master bedroom and Warren and I the smaller front bedroom. It didn’t work, however. The girls’ room was still a growing mess; they wouldn't pick up their toys. Eventually I lost it again.

The girls went back to the small front room. This time, no bunk beds. It worked awhile until the girls became aware of the window was right next to the front door and strangers could walk right up and peek in. In the meantime, we added two new children: Sonny then Declan. So Warren and I moved into Joey's room and our three sons took the master bedroom. But again, I couldn’t take the colossal mess the master bedroom room would become with a bunch of kids in it.

Now the boys are in the front bedroom, the girls in the back, and Warren and I in the master. My next bedroom move will be into a new house. I am ready for it, after five years of quickly outgrowing our home. The girls need to be apart for my sanity. The boys need loft beds to open space to keep their items. I need a mom cave, and Warren needs office space.

Sense my chaos? My house is awful. My life is spent arguing with kids trying to get them to help out, or me doing everything myself, or me giving up. Meanwhile, we are embarrassed to have people over. In the past, I loved to have parties, but I’m in need of a new canvas with less junk and more space.

The bank account is growing, our spare stuff is being donated, and my new house is going to happen. It WILL be cleaner, and I will be proud and have parties once again. Sonny will be 5 in a year, a milestone his Mama wants to celebrate and be proud of – in a new home.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Today's Super Bowl inspired dinner for the lazy Mom

Shredded Chicken Nachos

Combine in the slow cooker two pounds skinless and boneless chicken thighs. A can of drained pinto beans, and a can of drained diced tomatoes and a package of taco seasoning and two tablespoons of lime juice and a small can of chile's. Make sure the seasoning is on the chicken. Let it cook on low for 7 to 8 hours or 5 or 6 on high.

Once its cooked...shredded chicken with a fork. It should fall apart. Stir with rest of crock-pot content.

Set the chips, sour cream, packaged shredded cheese, sliced olives, salsa and cilantro out with plates. The kids will love the nacho bar. Adding what they want on their nachos.