Breakfast in Bed – Delightful French Toast

We’re still celebrating our Mothers!

I am always trying to dream up different and new ways to surprise my mom for Mother’s Day. Let’s face it – she is my world and she is always doing extra special things for me all of the time. One of my favorites when I was a kid was breakfast in bed. Today we are going to be making some super delicious french toast. It is perfect for a very scrumptious breakfast in bed surprise for that very special mother. It is a really simple thing to make and it is just a touch bit fancier than the usual pancakes. So take a leap and do something easy and fun, that will make your mom feel extra special and loved by you. I promise you that she will not forget it.

Delightful French Toast

Ingredients:

  • 8 thick slices of French Bread
  • 4 Eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 cup Half & Half
  • 2 tsp. Vanilla Extract
  • 2 Tbsp. Sugar
  • 2 tsp. Cinnamon
  • 2 Tbsp. Butter
  • Powdered Sugar, for dusting
  • Boysenberry Syrup

Directions:

  1. In a wide shallow dish, combine eggs, half & half, vanilla extract, sugar, and cinnamon. Beat together until combined.

  1. Place bread in egg mixture and let soak for a minute. Then flip to soak on the other side.

  1. In a large skillet over medium heat, melt 1 tablespoon of butter. Add 4 bread slices to skillet and cook for 2 minutes. Then flip and cook on other side for 2 minutes. Repeat with remaining slices of bread.

  1. Dust french toast with powdered sugar if desired. Add butter and boysenberry syrup to your liking.

Serve to your very special mother while she’s still in bed. She’ll love it!

Documenting your pregnancy

Pregnancy is one of the greatest experiences I have ever had. It was an amazing journey of self discovery and growth. The ten months spent getting to know your body and watching it grow and change is unlike anything you can ever imagine. There are so many stages and phases, that it’s difficult to keep up with it all. We read books and consult with experts so we can know what to expect. But none of those resources seem to adequately prepare you for it all. Which is why I feel that it is imperative that you take steps to document such a momentous occasion. There are so many ways to do this. I recommend that you choose a method that speaks to you.

Pregnancy is filled with so many ups and downs, oddities, and excitement. We get so wrapped up in the festivities and preparations, it is difficult to imagine that we could ever forget any of it. But the truth is that later on in life we’re going to have trouble remembering the specifics. Documenting these milestones enables you to have a tangible reminder of these special moments. My favorite reason for creating these keepsakes, is the fact that I will be able to show my daughter how great the experience was for me. It will show her just how much I loved her long before she was born.

Here are some fantastic ideas for documenting your pregnancy….

Create a Baby Journal
Whether it’s a pre-made journal from a bookstore or a homemade one like mine, a Baby Journal is a great way to document your pregnancy. I wrote in mine almost every day of my pregnancy. I talked about everything – my hopes, dreams, feelings, likes, dislikes, holidays, cravings, family, friends, everything. I wrote in my journal all the time and I am so glad that I did, because now I have something to look back on. And so does my daughter.

The Mommy MeasureView Here
I stumbled upon this little keepsake by accident one day. You can buy them online. It’s a keepsake tape measure that allows you to measure your belly as it grows throughout your pregnancy. There are really cute stickers and a marker you can use to mark special milestones like your ultrasound, first kick, hearing the heartbeat, and much much more. At the top of the measuring tape there’s a place to record the birth statistics of your baby. Plus a place to document small milestones that happen each week. This was one of my favorite little keepsakes.

Create a Keepsake Box
Whether you buy a cute little box or a make one yourself, I urge you to save your momentos in one. This is probably the easiest way to document a pregnancy. It doesn’t require any creativity or imagination. All you have to do is store special cards, test results, menus, etc. in a cute little box, like a time capsule. It provides you with yet another opportunity to look back and remember this amazing time in your life.

Weekly Belly Photos
This is the newest craze in pregnancy documentation. Each week of your pregnancy, you take a creative photo of your growing belly. There are so many creative ways that women are doing this one. It’s so impressive! My favorite so far, are the ones where they display which week of pregnancy they’re at in some funky way, like on a chalkboard or whatever. At the end of your 40 week journey, you have a fabulous time release document of your belly’s progression. It’s pretty neat.

Baby Shower Quilt
This was my own personal keepsake that I came up with. At my baby shower, in lieu of games, I had all of my friends and family decorate individual quilt squares with fabric markers. They were able to do whatever they wanted. The last trimester of my pregnancy, I used my nesting period putting the quilt together and hand quilting it. When I was finished, I had an amazing keepsake and present to give to Aaliyah when she grows up. It’s a great project for all of you creative types. And a wonderful shower activity. My guests had a great time with it.

Pregnancy Photo Shoot
This is another way that pregnant women are reclaiming their femininity. In the past, most women had very few photos of themselves while they were pregnant. They avoided the reminders of just how much their bodies had changed. Nowadays, women are hiring photographer or going to photography studios to have creative shots taken of their bellys and pregnant bodies. Each more creative than the next. Husbands and young siblings are even getting in on the ritual. It’s a fun and creative way to capture this great moment in time (like engagement pictures), so you can look back on it.

So these are just a few of the fun ways to document your pregnancy. Choose one or several to complete, so you can look back years from now, and remember what an amazing yet weird time in your life this was. I promise you that you will not regret it. In fact, you’ll be thankful that you’ll have the record. Especially one day, thirty or so years from now, when you son or daughter is having their first child. You’ll be able to show them how special that moment was for you an how amazing it will be for them.

New Year’s Eve Recipe – Lumpias

My father was working as a chef part time when he met my mother. He was an aspiring actor at the time, but had a talent for whipping up delicious food. When we were kids, my mom did most of the cooking in our home. But on a rare special occasion, my father would cook for us. He had some great specialties – shrimp scampi, jambalaya, chocolate peanut butter fudge. We always looked forward to whatever it was that he was making. Today I am going to share one of his best recipes with you. It was one of my favorites, and the only one I have mastered.

We are going to make Lumpias. It is a traditional Filipino dish. It is their version of an egg roll and it’s made with meat. They are really delicious and pretty easy to make. We serve them with a tangy sweet and sour sauce. It compliments them very well.

Lumpias

Ingredients:

1 lb ground beef
1 lb ground pork
1 bunch green onions, chopped
1/4 cup water chestnuts, chopped
4 Tbsp. soy sauce
2 pkg. of large wonton paper
Vegetable oil for frying
2 bottles sweet & sour sauce, warm

Cooking Instructions:

In a large mixing bowl, combine ground beef, ground pork, green onions, water chestnuts, and soy sauce. Mix with your hands until all ingredients are combined well.

To assemble lumpias – lay one piece of wonton paper on a clean surface. Take a clump of your meat mixture (about 2 tablespoons), and roll it into a log. Place the meat extending from one corner diagonally across to the other corner. Leave about half an inch of your wonton paper uncovered.

Next, fold the open ends up and over the meat.

The fold one flap of the wonton paper up and over the meat.

Then tightly roll your lumpia all the way closed. You may need to use a dab of water to close the flap of your lumpia. Repeat until your meat mixture is over. Should make about 35-40 lumpias

In a large skillet, heat oil over medium high heat. When oil is hot, place your lumpias inside. Allow them to fry for approximately 12 minutes, turning them to fry on all sides. Reduce heat if they start to darken too quickly. You’ll know when they’re close to being finished, because they will bubble less and less.

Remove lumpias from frying pan and cool on a plate covered with a paper towel. Repeat with the rest of the lumpias.

Meanwhile, heat sweet & sour sauce in a small pot over low heat. Serve sauce on the side of lumpias.

ENJOY!

How to get a letter or package postmarked from the North Pole

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NORTH POLE, AK – Once again this year, the U.S. Postal Service is offering North Pole postmarks on holiday mail. This is such a great treat for all your special kiddos. Send your kids a letter from Santa Claus to let them know he’s been watching. Or mail them a special book for you to read on Christmas Eve as a family. I’ve included the directions as well as the address to send your mail to. And don’t forget, they must receive it by December 10th.

Merry Christmas!

To receive the North Pole postmark on your holiday cards, you should:
Purchase stamps at any post office.
Affix the stamps to envelopes of your choice.
Address the sealed envelopes, with the cards enclosed, to those on your mailing list.

Mail them in a larger envelope, box, Priority Mail or Express Mail package to:

NORTH POLE HOLIDAY CANCELLATION
POSTMASTER
4141 POSTMARK DR
ANCHORAGE AK 99530-9998

Requests must be received in Anchorage by Dec. 10 in order to ensure delivery by Christmas. The Postal Service receives hundreds of thousands of requests each year for North Pole postmarks from around the world. The service is provided at no cost. Each card or letter must have the correct amount of postage and be addressed.

Many communities around the country have local programs set up to respond to letters to Santa Claus. In North Pole Alaska, requests may be sent to – 1 Santa Claus Lane, North Pole AK 99705-9901. Check with your local post office or call 1-800-ASK-USPS.

 

 

Vegetable Lasagna Recipe

My grandmother made lasagna from scratch when we were growing up. When I was a kid, I couldn’t really appreciate the significance of that. But now that I am older and I have eaten many frozen lasagnas, I have a greater understanding of the time and effort she put into it. Because we all know that frozen lasagna doesn’t hold a candle a homemade one. I have been in search of a great lasagna recipe for my Garcia Family Cookbook. I have tried several different recipes, but I didn’t fall in love with any of them. Although my sister-in-law turned me onto the Pioneer Woman‘s recipe. It was pretty good, but I prefer ground sausage to ground beef in my Italian food. I think it has more flavor. So since I couldn’t quite find a lasagna recipe that I loved, I decided to create one of my own. And I am in love! So here it is, and you decide. I actually use my spaghetti sauce recipe as the base for my lasagna. Which is perfect, because I can turn one meal into two. And for all of you mothers out there, we all know we love to stretch out our meals as much as possible.

Mama Kerrie’s Lasagna

Ingredients:

FOR SAUCE:

  • 2 lbs Ground Italian Sausage
  • 1 sm. Onion, chopped
  • 4 Garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 (28 oz.) can Diced Tomato
  • 2 (6 oz.) cans Tomato Paste
  • 1 (15 oz.) can Tomato Sauce
  • 2 cups Water
  • 3 teaspoons Dried Basil
  • 2 teaspoons Dried Parsley
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons Brown Sugar
  • 1 teaspoon Salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon Crushed Red Pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon Black Pepper

FOR LASAGNA:

  • 2 1/2 cups Cottage Cheese
  • 2 Eggs, beaten
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan Cheese, grated
  • 4 Teaspoons Dried Parsley
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon Salt
  • 1 Mozzarella Cheese, grated
  • 1 pkg. Lasagna Noodles, cooked

For the Sauce: CLICK HERE for spaghetti sauce tutorial

In a large skillet brown Italian sausage, breaking it up into bits as you stir. Add onions and continue to cook until they have become soft. Remove from heat and drain grease from meat. Then set aside.

In a large pot over medium-high heat, add garlic, diced tomatoes, tomato paste, tomato sauce, and water. Mix well. Then add your meat mixture to the pot and bring to a boil.

Meanwhile, in a small bowl, combine basil, 2 teaspoons parsley, brown sugar, salt, red pepper flakes, and black pepper. Mix well. Then add spices to your pot and combine them well.

Once sauce boils, reduce heat to low setting. Simmer sauce on low stirring frequently for 2 hours. Then remove from heat and set aside.

For Lasagna:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F

In a small bowl, combine cottage cheese, eggs, Parmesan cheese, 4 teaspoons parsley, and 1 teaspoon salt. Set aside.

Arrange 3 or 4 cooked lasagna noodles across the bottom of a baking pan. Using half of your cottage cheese mixture, spread over the noodles evenly. Sprinkle mozzarella cheese over cottage cheese. Spread a layer of prepared meat sauce on top of cheese layer.

Repeat this process two more times, so you have a total of three layers. Next sprinkle your top meat sauce layer with more mozzarella and Parmesan cheese.

Bake Lasagna for 20 to 30 minutes or until top is bubbly.

Enjoy!