This will be so much more than my Sunday's Song post, it will be a catch up from last week as well, so let's catch up!
Many little yet big things have happened this week. Let us begin...I absolutely love my job and where I work. They announced they will begin a new program, a new position. It sounds like a good opportunity, I am mixed on trying or not. It would be a great opportunity as I said earlier and who knows if I will get it or not. What I do love is how I am able to try with how little I have been at the company already. I might have to go back to school and the position is a medical coder. I have a lot of experience so I think I might have a chance at least at the apprentice position, where the company will pay for me to go back to school too. I am so torn if I should try or not.
Noah absolutely loved the painting. We are looking for another class which my hours will limit which one we can do as well. This time I would love to include Ethan. If you missed my post you can read about it by clicking here but here are our paintings.
Noah's painting on top and mine is below.
The upcoming week we will have two more birthdays within our family. Noah's will be Thursday, the 13th and Emily's is the next day the 14th. Noah will be going to his father's next weekend while Ethan and I will be going to Des Moines to attempt take two for his Senior Pictures.
Thanksgiving plans are beginning and we actually have begun Christmas shopping. I am so excited for Christmas this year! I want it to be so special. I know it will be also a rough one without my Dad this year so I have to do everything in my power to keep the spirit. The boys will be with their father, it is his year. Tonight at Ethan's birthday dinner the kids are going to start a new tradition. They plan to draw names, this will save them money, okay Todd and I money. The past few years, they have struggled and we have gone over our budget by far because we buy gifts from the kids to the kids. This year they are going to draw a name and buy a gift for this one person and not everyone. They seem to be excited about it.
The weather is changing and my knees are hurting! It is making difficult for me to work out and I kind of gave up until...we started to plan for next year's Summer Vacation. NOW, I am super excited and have more incentive to workout and get my knees hopefully stronger. A couple of years ago we went to Mt. Rushmore and Yellowstone. We only had one day in Yellowstone, our second day was robbed from us because of Todd's car breaking down. From that day forward we always wanted to return and said we would have to spend more than two days there because of everything Yellowstone has to offer. We also were so disappointed about being so close to Devil's Tower and not seeing it. This Summer we will be taking twice amount of days for our vacation, to ten days! We plan to go to Yellowstone but a different way this time. Four of our ten days will be driving to and back, this leave six days to enjoy. We are going to go in the West Entrance this time so we sill see the Grand Tetons. We will exit from the North Entrance and head up to see Devil's Tower as well. We plan to take some tours within Yellowstone this time and might even tent camp within Yellowstone. I am so excited! We are so excited! I am not sure if Joshua and Ethan will be going this year. Emily definitely will be and Matthew will as well. Matthew was not able to go with us last time. Kera might have plans of her own during our vacation time and Noah does not have a choice he will be going with us. Here are a few of my favorite photos from our first visit.
Vacation 2013~Day One/Mt Rushmore
Vacation 2013~Day One/Crazy Horse
Vacation 2013~Day Two/The Drive to Cody, Wyoming
Vacation 2013~Day Three/The Drive To/And Yellowstone National Park
Vacation 2013~Day Three/Yellowstone National Park Old Faithful
Vacation 2013~Day Three/Grand Canyon of Yellowstone Park/ Back to Cody
Vacation 2013~Day Four/Cody, Wyoming
Vacation 2013~Day Five/The Drive to Custer, South Dakota
Vacation 2013~Day Five/Big Horn National Park
Vacation 2013~Day Six/Our Last Day Of Vacation
This week's Sunday's Song ... I fell in love with this song recently. I have no clue where I was when she released the song but I love it. I love the beat. I love the tone. I love her voice. I love the message. I am very thankful for everyone in my life. The support from you all and my family and friends. This song is for you all. Enjoy!
Zucchini Noodle with Cauliflower Alfredo Sauce
- Large Zucchini
- If you want zucchini noodles that more closely resemble actual pasta, peel the zucchini before turning it into noodles. For something a little more colorful, though, keep the peel on. You can peel the zucchini with one of those new veggie noodle spiral cutter, julienne peeler, or with a or mandolin. I used the mandolin to cut mine.
- Cut slices of the zucchini off the vegetable lengthwise using a knife. The noodles should hold their form but still be fairly thin.
- When you approach the seeds, turn the zucchini and begin slicing another side. The seeds will prevent the noodles from holding together, so you do not want to use the part with seeds in it.
- If using a mandolin, use the thickest blade setting possible. Pass the zucchini over the blade lengthwise to produce long slices.
- Zucchini is rather moist, however, so you should drain them even if you plan to consume the noodles raw. There are many ways to remove the moisture but I chose to placing the noodles inside a colander and letting them drip dry for 15 to 20 minutes. When done, wrap the noodles in paper towels and squeeze gently to absorb as much excess moisture as possible.
- Fill a medium saucepan between 1/2 and 2/3 full with water. Place it on the stove and heat it over medium-high until the water reaches a rolling boil. Add salt. After the water reaches a boil, add a generous amount of salt to the water. The zucchini will absorb the salt as it cooks, thereby becoming flavored on both the inside and outside. You can add salt before the water reaches a boil, but doing so will cause the water to take a longer amount of time to reach a steady boil.
- Place the zucchini noodles in the boiling water and cook until they are tender but not quite falling apart. The exact amount of cooking time will vary depending on how soft you want the zucchini noodles and how dry they are when you start. If the noodles are still fairly moist, 2 minutes should be long enough. If they are very dry, however, you will need to cook them 10 minutes for al dente noodles and 15 for soft, silky noodles. The main thing to remember is simply to keep an eye on them. If the noodles start breaking apart, you need to stop the cooking process.
- Drain the water by pouring the zucchini noodles through a colander. Let stand for 5 minutes or so, just long enough for any excess water to finish dripping off each noodle.
Cauliflower Alfredo Sauce
- 2 cups Cauliflower cooked
- 1 1//4 cup Fat Free Milk
- 3 oz Fat Free Cream Cheese
- 1 Tbsp of Flour
- 1 Tbsp of Salt
- 1 Tbsp of Light Butter
- 3 Garlic Cloves, Minced
- 1 Tbsp of Olive Oil
- 1 cup of 2% Milk Italian Cheese Blend, Shredded
- 2 Tbsp of Steak Seasoning
- Boil cauliflower (about 15 minutes) in water. Cook until the cauliflower is tender.
- Meanwhile, melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the butter and garlic and saute for 4-5 minutes or until soft and fragrant.
- Add the cauliflower to your blender. Puree until smooth about 5 minutes.
- Once the mixture is moving, stream the olive oil into the blender
- When puree is very smooth, transfer back to the butter/garlic skillet. Add the milk and slowly add the flour and mix well.
- After the milk and flour have been mixed add the cheese to the mixture. A little at a time. Once the cheese has been melted add the steak seasoning.
(Left overs: the sauce may dry out a bit. Just add a little water when re-heating.)
(unfortunately no picture)
- Large Zucchini
- 2 eggs (slightly blended)
- 15 oz Ricotta Cheese
- 2 cups Mozzarella Cheese (divided)
- 1 tsp of dried Basil
- 26 oz of Pasta Sauce
- 1/2 pound of ground beef
- 1/2 pound of sausage
- 1/3 cup of uncooked rice
- 1 cup of Swiss Chard (shredded)
- 2 Tbsp of Minced Garlic
- Brown beef and sausage into small pieces.
- While the meat is browning, cut the zucchini into long strips (thin slices) Once you reach the seeds, turn the zucchini and begin to cut long strips until you reach the seeds once again.
- Drain the grease from the pan, where the meat has been browned. Add the pasta sauce (all but 3 Tbsp, Swiss Chard, and garlic. Simmer the mixture in the pan.
- While the mixture in a medium bowl, combine the cheese (1 cup of the Mozzarella cheese will not be included.), eggs, and basil. Mix well.
- In a 9x13 pan, spray the pan with non-cooking olive oil spray. Add the rice to the bottom of the pan. This will help with the extra moisture the zucchini will create.
- On top of the rice add the 3 Tbsp of remaining pasta sauce. Next you will add a layer of the zucchini noodles.
- On the zucchini noodles, add the cheese mixture,
- Next add the sauce/meat mixture.
- Next will just be repeat, noodles, cheese mixture, sauce/meat mixture.
- The last layer of sauce/meat mixture the remaining cup of Mozzarella cheese will be added.
- Cover the pan with aluminum foil and bake in a preheated oven 425 degrees for one hour.
- Remove from the oven and leave the foil on for an additional 10 minutes prior to serving.