Baby A’s Blanket

So this one is more of a “What’s on my end table?” than my kitchen table post. When I was 9 or 10 my mom taught me how to crochet. I don’t have time to do it regularly, but it’s something I enjoy when I have a specific project in mind. Right now I’m working on a blanket for one of my twins. I made a baby blanket for each of my other kids, but they didn’t get finished until way after they were born. My goal with this one is to finish it before the twins are born, and hopefully be done with a blanket for Baby B as well.

I’m not that great at crochet, any pattern I choose to do is very simple and uses very basic stitches. The stitch that I’m using here is called a Crumpled Griddle stitch. Basically, you chain an even number and then alternate single and double crochet across the row, always starting and ending with a single crochet. I really like the texture that you get with this stitch.

For this particular blanket I’m using a “H” hook and I started by chaining 134 (don’t ask me where I came up with that number, it just seemed to be about the size I wanted). I’m only halfway through, but I’m planning on doing 6 color blocks with a small white stripe in between each block. The blocks are 22 rows of the Crumpled Griddle stitch I explained before, but my white stripes are 2 rows of half double crochet. I’m planning on doing a border around the whole thing, but I haven’t quite decided what kind yet. I’ll definitely post an update once I decide and finish this.

All the yarn I’m using is Caron Simply Soft. I like the feel of it for my baby blankets. It’s soft but still has some weight to it which is really nice for the winters here. I used “Grey Heather,” “Pumpkin,” “Dark Country Blue,” and “White.” 

Battle Wizards

So I’m actually kicking myself for not getting photographic proof that we were actually able to play a game last night. My husband invited a coworker and her husband over for dinner and then we were able to play a game afterwards while one kid was in bed and the other watched a TV show before his bedtime. Her husband ended up not being able to make it, but that just meant the game didn’t take quite as long, but was still thoroughly enjoyable.

I can’t remember if my husband or my little sister gave me this game for my birthday several years ago. I took one look at the artwork and was kind of put off by it just because it is rather ridiculous. That being said, it totally fits the game, which is ridiculous, and is a lot of fun. Last night we each ended up winning one round and I won the last one by stealing my husband’s chicken and killing him before he could kill me. I started the round with 3 hit points and he started it with 10, so you can imagine his dismay when I stole the win from him teeheehee.

Here’s a link to some the game’s webpage on the manufacturer’s website. It’s full name is Epic Spell Wars of the Battle Wizards: Duel at Mt. Skullzfyre, but I just call it Battle Wizards.

Chicken Alfredo Bake

I LOVE alfredo! It was the only thing I would order when we went to an Italian restaurant until I was about 20. This casserole bake is delicious (what isn’t delicious when you add bacon??) and makes great leftovers too!

Chicken Alfredo Bake

  • 1 lb pasta
  • 1 chicken breast
  • 8 oz bacon
  • 1 jar alfredo sauce
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1/4 cup shredded parmesan
  • Italian seasoning

Cook pasta according to package directions, strain and set aside. While pasta is cooking, cook chicken and bacon. Crumble bacon and cut chicken into bite-size pieces. Mix pasta, alfredo sauce, and chicken together. Put half of this mix in a 9x13 pan and top with half the mozzarella. Add the rest of the pasta mix followed by the rest of the mozzarella, parmesan, and Italian seasoning to taste. Bake at 350 for 20-30 minutes, until the cheese is melted.

I really enjoy using penne pasta, but a rotini or other smallish pasta would be great for this recipe. Between the time it takes the water to boil and then the pasta to cook, it gives you plenty of time to prep the chicken and the bacon.

As a side note, my son (who is 2.5) loves it when I make pasta because it’s something he can help with. He gets mad if I don’t let him stir it.

I fried the bacon and then set that aside. I actually then cooked the chicken in the bacon fat (not all of it, because there was a lot). Then I just sliced it until into pieces that were about the same size as the penne. Once everything was cooked I mixed the pasta, chicken, and alfedo sauce together in the pot I cooked the pasta in.

I then layered half the pasta mixture into a 9x13 pan and topped it with half the mozzarella. You can also add half the bacon at this point but I personally like it all on top. Add the rest of the pasta mixture, mozzarella, parmesan and bacon.

Because everything is already cooked you really just need to put it in the oven until the cheese has melted and all the flavors have come together, for me that took about 20 minutes at 350. We had a Sunflower Crunch bagged salad kit from Dole, that we at with it. not the best pairing but not a bad salad in general. The pasta was definitely the better part of the meal.

Young Women Clue

Part of what I do at church is work with some of the young women in our youth group. In addition to meeting on Sundays, they meet on Wednesday nights for an activity. Most of the time they plan their own activities but we were a little behind so I was trying to figure out something we could do.

I only have 4 girls in my group and most of them like board games. A while ago I had seen an idea to do a live action Clue game using the rooms of the church building with the girls trying to figure out what tools were used to complete a project one of the girls accidently left behind. I took that idea and just adjusted the actual Clue board and cards.

First off, I found a complete Clue game at the thrift store. Mine is part of a boxed set so I didn’t want to mess it up on accident, and it didn’t make sense to spend $15 on a new one when a $2 used one would work perfectly fine.

I started with the Clue sheet so I knew what to look for when making my cards. Obviously I kept the same number of rooms, but I added more tools (instead of weapons), and I got rid of 2 characters because I only have 4 girls. I did leave space to add 2 more people but left the names blank.

I didn’t get new character pieces, so I labeled the character cards with an original character. I let each girl choose her character card and then also label it with her own name. We didn’t play with the cards that didn’t have an actual person to go with, so we took out the 2 “blank” character cards and set them aside.

The board was easy, I just printed the new room names and taped them over the old names. I tried to have the new rooms somewhat match the old rooms but I ended up turning the dining room into the gym and the girls thought that was ridiculous.

The cards were probably the trickiest part even though they were fairly simple. I knew what all my rooms and tools were so I went looking for clip-art that went with each thing. That was mostly tricky because I can only print in black and white and wanted really simple images. Finding 6 silhouettes for the character cards wasn’t bad at all.

I knew I wanted to sleeve the cards so I wouldn’t have to worry about the girls seeing through my regular printer paper, or even cardstock. Regular cards are 2x3 so I made a table in Word with those dimensions and then just put everything in. I know there are programs that probably could’ve done that a lot easier, but it’s what I have. After that it was just cutting them out and actually putting them in the sleeves.

Thai Red Curry

Several years ago my mom discovered that the local junior college offered weekend cooking classes. They were themed and only one or two Saturday mornings per theme. We only took one class, Curries of the World, but I came out of it with a super easy and super awesome Thai red curry recipe.

Something I love about this recipe is that it’s really quick, only takes about 10 minutes to cook, and you can customize it. The more curry paste you put in, the spicier it is. Also, you can use green or yellow curry paste as well. It was interesting to learn that green curry paste is spicier than red, and yellow is the mildest. You can make one spicier by adding more paste, but if you have the same amount of each, green is the spiciest followed by red then yellow.

Thai Red Curry

  • 4 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 2 tbsp red curry paste
  • 1 lb top loin steak, thinly sliced
  • 1 can coconut milk, 14 oz.
  • 4 kaffir lime leaves, rolled and sliced
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp fish sauce
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 4 tbsp fresh sweet basil leaves
  • 4 tbsp fresh coriander leaf, chopped

Heat the oil in a pot over medium heat. Add curry paste and stir for 2 minutes. Add the beef and stir firy for 3 minutes. Add the coconut milk and lime leaves and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and add the sugar, fish sauce, and soy sauce. Cook for 2 more minutes. Garnish with basil and coriander.

So I definitely altered the recipe a bit. I decided to add some veggies this time, but it is still really tasty without them. I also tend to eyeball the measurements for my oil and curry paste. As long as the oil just covers the bottom of my pan it tends to be enough.

After I sauteed the curry paste I added some onion. I knew they would take longer to cook than the meat so I wanted to get them going sooner. 

At this point I was also prepping my zucchini. I had already  pre-cut and cooked the carrots.

There were milanesa steaks on sale so that was what I used. It does overcook really easily though, so as soon as there was no pink showing on the meat I knew it was time to add the veggies and the coconut milk. I didn’t have the kaffir lime leaves, but it definitely adds to the flavor when I can find them.

When we made this in class we were using a thicker steak and “shaved” it. The instructor tossed it in the freezer for a bit, just enough so it was a little hard, and then you could take a sharp knife and get really thin slices. It was really good and definitely a technique I’ve used on other things since then.

You can use coconut milk or cream, the cream is a little bit thicker but I’ve never really been able to tell the difference. I also will only buy coconut milk, or cream, at the dollar store because it is so much more expensive at the grocery store. I also tend to add about 1/4-1/3 of a can of regular milk just to rinse the can and mellow it out a bit for my husband (he tends to think I make this too spicy).

Once that is boiling turn it down and add the brown sugar, fish sauce, and soy sauce. At this point I tend to just let it simmer until the rice is done. I start the rice, about 3 rice cooker cups, when I start the curry but it tends to take a few minutes longer.

And then you’re done. I’ve never actually garnished it with the sweet basil or the coriander. 

This was my attempt at making it look pretty. It tends to come out more brown than red for me because I tone down the spice for my husband. Again, if you want it spicier, just add more curry paste.

This is one of my favorite recipes and it’s so easy and yummy. You’ll find that pretty much anything I do is easy – I don’t have time for anything else!

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As a busy wife and mom of two (soon to be four), my table is constantly covered with different things. Mostly it's food but board games and random projects also make regular appearances.

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