Sunday, October 27, 2013

Prep Night for Sunshine Breakfast!

Each year our teachers and staff begin our first official workweek (sans students) with a yummy breakfast given by the Sunshine Crew which was us this year. We had a pirate theme including Pirate "Mockmosas":)

We even played "Which team knows their principals best?" I know Debbie and Euberta loved seeing their heads on these sticks;)

Ashley, Lauren, Megan and I were hard at work with planning all summer long. Well, actually, this consisted of lunch dates and dinner nights with a whole lot of fun with a little bit of planning. But we did get down to business to put the finishing touches on our plans just a few nights before our big breakfast at the Welch house. Really again, just an excuse together outside of school with a few "spirits" involved. We put the cabana boy (Jason) to work while we played with CC and got her to bed. Her Sunshine aunts love her to pieces and I am blessed that my darling, young friends are willing to come to the Welch house and do bedtime and dinner routine with me so I don't have to leave CC.

Jason and I whipped up some party food in honor of our Sunshine Breakfast prep night. Wine, Hot Artichoke Bread and Salsa Party Meatballs were on the menu. We ate, laughed and prepped while my adorable hubby kept our glasses full. Did I mention that he adores the Sunshine girls? I think a lot of this has to do with the fact that while he really loves time with the ladies; he also loves these girls because he knows they make my days brighter. Being a full time working mom is not easy and something that I try to do better at each day. I work hard and as efficiently each day at school with not much visiting for this momma. I even skip out on lunch with my Kinder team which is hard. But I use ever spare second to get things done while I am at school so I can leave on time and bring zero work home. This is hard for this social momma who loves visiting with all the wonderful teachers that I work with. But is is the season I am in and just a sacrifice I make. Thankfully, everyone is very understanding! But even though I am not the most social at school, my  dear Sunshine girls always come find me and brighten my day. I never make it to their rooms (although I promise to do better at this!) but they will always come visit me in mine, bringing their work and sitting my floor so we can have a quick laugh. They help me feel connected and give me a break in my day even when I don't take the time to do it myself. I love these girls and I am so blessed to work alongside of them each day. Well, no pun intended,but they really are my sunshine:)

Recipes below and more Sunshine nights to come!

Cheesy Artichoke Bread
1 loaf french bread
1/2 stick butter
4 cloves chopped garlic
1 can of artichoke hearts, chopped
2 tsp. fresh chopped basil
2 tsp. garlic powder
1 cup monterey jack cheese
1 cup parmesan cheese
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 tsp. ground red pepper
ground pepper
1/4 cup cheddar cheese

Cut the bread in half lengthwise. Scoop out the center in each half. Crumble and save for recipe 
Heat the butter in a skillet over medium heat and add garlic. Cook garlic until lightly browned. Remove from heat. Add the artichokes and next six ingredients along with crumbled bread. Spoon into bread shells and sprinkle with ground pepper and paprika. 
Place bread halves on a baking sheet. Cover with foil coated with nonstick cooking spray. Bake at 350 for 20 minutes. Remove foil. Add cheddar cheese and bake until cheese has melted.
Ooey, gooey and yummy!

Salsa Meatballs
1 pound lean ground beef  ( I used ground turkey)
1/4 cup seasoned bread crumbs
1 egg, beaten
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 jar (16oz) jar salsa (any flavor you choose) 
1/3 cup grape jelly
1 Tbsp fresh or dried thyme leaves

1. Heat the oven to 375 Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil. 
2. Mix meat, bread crumbs, egg, garlic and 1/4 cup salsa in a large boil. Shape the mixture into about 40 inch meatballs. Place on baking sheet.
3. Bake for 15 minutes or until meatballs are cooked through, turning them over half way through. 
4. Heat the remaining salsa and jelly in a 12 inch skillet over medium high heat to a boil. Reduce the heat to low. Cook for 15 minutes or until the mixture is reduced to 1 cup. Stir in thyme.
5. Add the meatballs to the skillet and cook until the meatballs are hot, stirring occasionally. Serve with fun toothpicks or tiny silver forks.
Perfect party food!

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Sunday, October 13, 2013

Neighborhood Block Party

Over the summer, our church hosted a block party in hopes that we would turn around and go out and host our own. While we had all intentions of going to the actual church block party we had to turn the car around due to a feverish baby and very worried parents who kept calling and paging the on-call pediatrician. Bless that doctor's heart.  So we never made it. However, we did host our own block party a few weeks later so that has to count for something.

We live in a very diverse neighborhood of people of ages. I am talking people who have lived here for 50 something years. And they are lovely and we love them.  But it is fun to have friends in your neighborhood who you don't have to help back their sweet little Buicks out of their driveways because they can't see the best. Yes, this happens.  So every now and then, we see a younger couple and we have to track them down to be their friends ASAP. In Nashville, we had wonderful neighbors who were all our age. It was perfect. But here? We had to try hard to find the younger couples... but we did! And we had them all over to our house. A grand total of 5 couples...
It was a little risky because no one else had met but it worked out and everyone got along fabulously. There were even two other couples with baby girls.  The night went along great but of course, there is nothing like calling in backup to your husband who is still entertaining your new guests because your child decides she is going to poop in the bathtub on that very same night....perfect timing.
(me and the pooper before she decided to poop in the bathtub)
Everyone brought something to eat and I knew we would be fast friends when they walked in with amazing, pinterest inspired dishes. Jason and I supplied the main course, Taco Burgers and a Zesty Corn Dip to snack on. Both were hits! We even made extra taco burgers to freeze for later and they came out just as delicious when we made them again. Any recipe that makes enough to eat some and freeze some is my new favorite recipe! Anything to save this momma a night of having to worry about dinner:) And caution, the corn dip is highly addictive...

Taco Burgers
(Makes 6)
1 cup finely crushed tortilla chips 
1 envelope taco seasoning
1 Tbsp dried minced onion
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 1/2 pounds ground meat
6 slices pepperjack cheese
6 kaiser rolls
lettuce leaves
tomatoes slices

In large bowl, combine chips, seasoning, onion, egg and meat. Make 6 burgers. Grill until juices run clear. 
Top with cheese, lettuce, tomato and salsa. 
So easy and so good! 

Corn Dip 
2 cans Mexicorn, drained
10 oz. sharp cheddar cheese, grated
8 oz. sour cream
1 small can chopped green chilies, drined
4jalapenos, chopped fine
1 cup mayonaise
1/4 tsp. sugar
Mix all ingredients well. Chill overnight to let flavors blend. Serve with tortilla chips. 
Enjoy! Perfect to make ahead. 

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