Sunday, May 25, 2008

3 Moms, 3 Kitchens, 31 Days - A Treat-Filled Weekend

We have been enjoying a wonderful weekend filled with all kinds of treats. Eric and I will be celebrating our anniversary this coming week, so we have used this weekend as an anniversary gift to each other. We truly consider a weekend like this to be a splurge, a gift, a fun-filled, un-budgeted treat for the whole family. We do this rarely which is perhaps part of what makes it so special for all of us.

Yesterday began with a box of donuts for breakfast. Alex has been asking for donuts for quite a while, and Eric felt like treating us all to this sweet splurge. Trust me, you have never seen a dozen donuts disappear so quickly! For lunch we had cream cheese noodles. This is a childhood favorite of mine, and it is quickly becoming a favorite with all of the kids as well.

To make cream cheese noodles, melt 1/4 c. butter in a pan over medium heat. Add a 1/2 lb. of cooked pasta (any shape you want). Add 4 oz. cream cheese, garlic salt (or plain salt), and pepper to taste. Stir and cook until cream cheese is melted and some noodles are just starting to get a little crisp. This makes a very quick lunch and is a nice switch from macaroni and cheese. We also had some apple slices with lunch.

For dinner, I made BBQ beef and bean cornbread casserole and skillet corn for the kids and my father-in-law. (Unfortunately, I forgot to take a picture.) This casserole is one of Eric's favorites, and my father-in-law really enjoyed it as well. I like it for the fact that I can bulk up portions and taste with a few additions, or just serve it plain and it is equally delicious.

BBQ Beef & Bean Cornbread Casserole
1 1/2 c. ketchup
1/2 c. brown sugar
1/4 c. worchesthire sauce
2 T. honey
2 t. salt
1 t. cumin
1 t. chili powder
1/2 t. allspice
1/2 t. crushed red pepper flakes
1/2 t. pepper

Combine all BBQ sauce ingredients in a small bowl and set aside.

1/2 lb. dried beans (any kind, I usually use pinto or kidney)
1/2 - 1 lb. ground beef
1 onion, diced
salt and pepper to taste
optional: 1/2 diced green pepper, 1 diced celery stalk, 1 shredded carrot

Soak beans overnight and cook until done.
Brown ground beef with onions and any optional ingredients, and salt and pepper to taste. Drain. Combine beans and beef. Add reserved BBQ sauce and stir to coat all. Pour into a 8 x 8 casserole dish.

3/4 c. corn meal
1 1/4 c. flour
1/4 c. sugar
2 t. baking powder
1/2 t. salt
1 c. milk
1 egg, beaten
1/2 c. vegetable oil, melted butter, or meat drippings

Combine all dry ingredients. Stir in remaining ingredients until moist. Pour over beef and bean filling. Bake at 400 degrees for 30-35 minutes. (You can double the cornbread and make the casserole in a 13 x 9 dish if preferred.)

After the kids and my father-in-law finished their dinners and we got the kids to bed, Eric took me out for dinner. This was such a treat for both of us! We have had only 5 "date nights" in the past 4 years, if you do not count the time we've spent alone at the hospital when I was in labor. (Depending on my mood, I sometimes do count those though!) We went to a Mexican restaurant and had a fantastic time just being alone. We do at-home date nights often, but we realized that we really enjoy being out of the house just the two of us. We are hoping to make this a more regular occurrence.

After dinner, we stopped at Starbucks for coffee and to pick up some of the truffles I've been so excited about. They are delicious! I was not disappointed at all. The whole evening was a wonderful anniversary gift from my awesome husband!
This morning I made crepes with bananas foster sauce. I personally think this was a better breakfast than the donuts yesterday. I'm not sure about the rest of the family, although they all cleaned their plates and came back for seconds.This afternoon we decided to treat the kids with a trip to the petting farm at a local park. This is the park where Eric and I got married, so it was very appropriate to go there today. We all shared a quick lunch while there of 5 hot dogs, 1 order of french fries, and a large pop for $15.
On the way home, we made one final splurge for the weekend and picked up some ice cream for everyone at our locally-famous ice cream place. We spent $10 for this treat. This was our first time stopping here this summer and I'm sure it won't be our last. This place is an institution in our town, and it is definitely a summer tradition to stop here a few times every year.Because we had the ice cream later in the day, we were not too hungry for dinner. The kids finished off the chicken and dumpling leftovers. Eric and I did not eat dinner. We will probably have a small snack at some point tonight, but we definitely do not need dinner.

Make sure you stop by Toni and Joy's to see what they have been up to this weekend as well.


Judy 8:44 AM  

That sounded like a fabulous weekend!! Happy Anniversary to the two of you! : )

Nancy 2:23 PM  

Love the little ice cream joint! It looks like it's right out of the 1950's. And Happy Anniversary!

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