Sunday, July 31, 2011

Recipe for Family Night

This week's family night was all about firsts: hushpuppies, shrimp po'boys, and pound cake, all from scratch (except for a couple seasoning mixes and store-bought bread for the sammies).

Littles were at their dad's, so we had the Bigs plus the next door neighbor girls. When we went to the store for all our ingredients, we picked up a couple Redboxes: Diary of a Wimpy Kid II and Little Fockers. We had intended to watch Diary of a Wimpy Kid after dinner, but once we got home from our trip we were all so pooped from the heat that we all piled up and had a mid-afternoon family movie. No pics because I was firmly planted on the couch with Marc's feet on my lap and a glass of chilled white wine in my hand - sorry!

As the movie came to an end, we got to cooking. Marc was in charge of the hush puppies, and I handled the pound cake. We had a bit of team work on the Po'Boys, but I have to admit he did most of the work!

Hush puppy batter.

A few of the ingredients for the hush puppies.

Hot oil - we made due with a sauce pan since we don't have a deep fryer!
You can see the Tony's Creole seasoning over there on the side -
that was for the shrimp!

Beautiful, golden, finished hush puppies!

TWO sticks of butter going into the pound cake. I did the
sour cream version. Original version called for THREE!

Meanwhile, Marc prepared the shrimpies.

Sauteed chopped onions in butter and oil and added raw shrimp,

while the kiddos played Wii.

In goes the pound cake batter into the bundt pan - first one I've
ever bought!

Omigoodness, the finished shrimp! The house smelled amazing
at this point. Bacon, hushpuppies, shrimp, cake baking...

Sourdough for the sammies!

There's the completed plate. It took all of me to pause to take
the picture instead of digging in!!

Happy campers as we say at our place!

And here's everyone in their forced excited-about-Missy's-homemade-cake pose!

Here's the Daddy plate. Marc got a double decker cake piece,
and yes, we went on overload with Braum's Chocolate Chip
Cookie Dough Ice Cream! It was insane!!

Minus one child having to take a time out from the table for making sour faces and audible protests to tomatoes on his sandwich and sour dough bread, and multiple reprimands from adults to children being outrageously too loud while playing video games, it was a super fun night. And since we'd already watched our movie, the kids just went back to playing Wii after dinner. The highlight was the girls singing their rendition of "Beat It" to apparently get their "mojo" (their words, seriously) going for their tennis matches. And I distinctly remember Corrinne saying at one point that it was time for her to, "go gangster all up on this t.v." No joke.

Yeah, that's awesome.

Here are the recipes - enjoy!

Marc's Hush Puppies
modified from this recipe

2 cups yellow corn meal
1 cup self rising flour
2 eggs
1 cup buttermilk
3/4 teaspoon seasoned salt.
1/2 teaspoon fresh ground cracked pepper blend
1/8 cup bacon grease, plus 2-3 strips chopped bacon
approx. 1/2 cup grated sweet onion

Fry up the bacon, and save the bacon grease for batter. Don't fry until crisp, as the bacon will cook more when hush puppies are deep fried. Mix all ingredients, and add choppped bacon. Drop into piping hot oil deep enough that when you drop in by tablespoonful, they can float. If you have a deep fryer I'm sure that is best, but all we had was a deep saucepan. Also, Marc used vegetable oil, but mentioned he should have used something with a higher fat content. Maybe peanut oil would have been better, but honestly, these turned out AMAZING, so I wouldn't change a thing! Let them fry until they're a golden brown, and transfer to a plate covered in paper towels to drain.

Shrimp Po'Boys a la Marc and Missy
(this recipe is approximate, as we were making it up on the fly)

1lb. shelled, deveined fresh shrimp
1/4-1/2 coarsely chopped onion
1/4 stick butter or magerine (we like vegan butter because it doesn't burn easily)
Sourdough loaves
Roma Tomatoes, sliced
Tony's Creole Seasoning (Amount is up to you. It's just a bit spicy, just enough to give a good flavor, but not too hot)
Salt (not much)/Pepper to taste
Romaine Lettuce, torn (Marc prefers iceberg lettuce on po'boys, but romaine is what we had on hand)

Once you've chopped your onions, sautee them in a frying pan, in butter, until they start to get a little soft. Add shrimp and seasonings, and cook just until shrimp turns pink. Remove from heat. Prepare bread by slicing and spreading with mayonnaise. Add lettuce and tomato, then shrimp on top. Voila!

Grandmother Paula's Sour Cream Pound Cake

1/2 pound (2 sticks) butter
3 cups sugar
1 cup sour cream
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3 cups all-purpose flour
6 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.

In a large mixing bowl, cream the butter and sugar together. Add the sour cream and mix until incorporated. Sift the baking soda and flour together. Add to the creamed mixture alternating with eggs, beating each egg 1 at a time. Add the vanilla and pour the mixture into a greased and floured 10-inch tube pan. Bake for 1 hour 20 minutes.

Basic Cake Glaze

1.Melt 1/4 cup (4 tablespoons) of butter in a saucepan or microwave.

2.Sift 2 cups of powdered sugar into a medium size bowl.
3.Add the melted butter to the powdered sugar.
4.Add 2 tablespoons of milk. (I used soy, so Aidie can enjoy later!)
5.If desired, add 1/4 teaspoon of almond extract or 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla for flavor. (I used vanilla)
6.Beat until smooth and creamy, adding a little more milk if necessary.
7.Drizzle over a cooled cake.
Oh, and we did have some canned corn on the side, but I think you can figure out how to fix that on your own!
And there you have it, kids, one recipe for a fantastic Family Night. Now, go make some honey!

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Songs for Birth

Many of us have playlists for a variety of occasions. In my own music collection, I have the following playlists, among others:
  • Run
  • Chill
  • Wake Up!
  • Pissed (sorry for the language...that's really what I called it!)
  • Avett Brothers Mix
  • Worship music
  • Christmas
  • Birth 1
  • Marc's Mix
  • Wedding Music
  • Pop
They help me get in the groove of whatever I'm doing, or in some cases, get through the emotions of a frustrating situation. Some of them work for multiple situations; for instance, sometimes I listen to my "Run" mix at work because I associate that collection of songs with getting focused and getting the work done. And often I listen to the "Birth 1" mix when I'm just hanging around the house because, to me, it's relaxing and calming - easy listening!

Yesterday I heard a great bit on, you guessed it, npr! You really must listen to it because it includes snippets of music from Alison Macadam's playlist she created for her birthing experience, and there's only so much you can write about music without actually hearing it! What was so interesting to me is that she mentions that she needed a beat in her music. She viewed birth as an athletic, energetic experience and she needed her background music to be something that fed her that energy and kept her going through the marathon of labor and delivery.

In my two personal birth experiences, I craved soothing, steady, relaxing tunes, not without beats necessarily, but nothing particularly upbeat, if that makes sense. I chose velvety voices like Norah Jones, instrumental pieces, Tracey Chapman, Damien Rice, and everything by Enter the Worship Circle. I chose songs that reminded me of God's love, as well as love songs that were meaningful to myself and my children's father.

Quickly after I heard Alison say, "I wanted a beat," and initially though that was strange, I then remembered my "Run" mix. Many people have dance music, techno, heavy metal, and other energetic music on their workout mixes; I on the other hand have pretty laid back picks on mine, for the most part. I have everything from Matt Nathanson and Jason Reeves to Def Leppard, the Avett Brothers and P!nk. Running (more like slow jogging or trotting) is actually a very relaxing exercise for me. I'm able to think through things, release pent up energy and stress, and the steady stream of acoustic melodies and feel-good songs I can sing along to keep me going for miles. That particular mix has been my companion for two 15k races, and a half marathon.

So I got to rethinking the advice I've generally given to friends and clients about birth music, especially women who have yet to experience labor and may not have a real clear picture of how they'll feel emotionally and physically in the real moments of intensity before welcoming their children into the world. Who am I to tell anyone, "choose songs you find relaxing and calming...?" What works for me certainly won't work for everyone else. Some women may not want music around at all, and may prefer quiet, or stimulating conversation and laughter. Some women prefer watching movies instead!

There are several stages of labor, many moods, and every woman's experience is different. Some women move so quickly through labor, they can barely get to the hospital on time, while other women experience very long and slow first stages of labor for days before delivering. More often than not, it's a combination of both, with contractions stopping and starting up again.

From now on, my advice is this: make two or three collections of music so that you have more than one option in the moment. And do try to do this yourself, rather than placing this responsibility on your doula, midwife, spouse or family members. No one else can know what songs might be meaningful to you. Make one collection of music that has slower, soothing tones, and another that has energetic, upbeat music that you may listen to while cleaning your house or entertaining friends. You may even have that third option available with songs similar to what you might find on my "Pissed" mix - I think I could have used it during transition when I shrieked in pain and told my mother it was time to push!

I would also suggest that you collect several hours of tunes, if you can. I think Alison's playlist might be a bit short, but she may not have included the entire thing. You probably want to allow for a lengthy labor, if it occurs, as well as the option to skip and fast forward through something that all of the sudden seems annoying when you had anticipated it being helpful!

I'd love to hear your thoughts on birth music. Do you like it quiet or do you like big band music? What helps you breathe, or get your mind free of fear? I'd love to know; please share!

Friday, July 29, 2011

{my moment}

{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.
If you're inspired to do the same, leave a link to your 'moment' in the comments for all to find and see.

Inspired by Soulemama

Happy Weekend Lovies!



Something many of us think we'll miss out on once we're parents, once we're grown ups, once we have "real jobs," or mortgages, or an extra freshman fifteen on our hips that never left after freshman year.

Adventure. Freedom. Discovery. Free falling. Falling in love...

The truth is we have to fight for it, find it, accept it, look for it and embrace what is all around, waiting for us to explore.

Adventure is something we have to be ready and waiting for.

Adventure is
Playing "Hey Cow!" on the way to the water park,

finding, and watching gobs of fat caterpillars in your garden,

marching off the path at the park,

finding new ways to beat the heat,

roadtripping with your honey, without the munchkins,

flying kites even when there's no wind,

sneaking off to Vegas for concerts and...

exploring downtown Tulsa when Mod's is closed
(after you drove all the way down there before
checking the calendar...),

planting veggies for the first time and finding toads,

being swept away, surprised, and smitten,

fishing when you don't know how,

and veering off the highway on a routine trip to pick up the
littles from their dad's house.
Adventure is waiting.
On you.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Haiku Wednesday

he is defender
and who is like God?
little man, big boy, my baby

Happy Birthday, sweet Alec Michael!

The List

I think we're overdue for a list, don't you? This isn't the original, or the last, just one of many. I was all about lists, or the list in particular on my old blog. And right now I feel like I've got scrambled egg brain with all the projects I want to get going, the crazy life of a 6-pack (my term for our modern day Brady bunch), and well, everything else. So I think it's just time for a list of randomness. Like a salt shaker, my brain needs to be emptied every now and then just to get filled back up in an orderly fashion again. So, here goes, here's what's a-happenin' in there these days:

  1. I am loving all things domestic lately. I've been cooking and baking (see tomato pie and family night), staying on top of cleaning, meal planning, organizing feels like a breath of fresh air. I feel like I can see clearly and I have space in my brain and heart when my surroundings are at peace and I'm creating yummy things and feeding them to my family.
  2. I'm realizing I'm a lot more uptight that I'd like to admit. I get antsy and anxious and impatient, particularly with our kids, and I don't like that. I've been trying to be the laid back mom the last week or so, and not get my panties in a wad about about all the little things that don't matter. I want to love them and focus on all that I love about them, and discipline when it's needed rather than when I want to be in control.
  3. It's hard becoming a not-so-single mom, and there is a lot of pride in being an single mom. A successful one. Although I am gaining a partner in life and parenthood, I sometimes feel that I am losing a sense of strength and identity and can't-put-my-finger-on-it thing I know I fought really hard to earn.
  4. I'm pretty sure I'm in denial that I'm planning a wedding. The other day I got an email from The Knot, which I signed up for but haven't done anything with, and it said we're 87 days away. Isn't that...CLOSE? To be fair, we've got the locations, the man, the maids, the dudes, the food, the dress (after buying one then having an emotional breakdown that I picked the wrong one, and trading it in for a different one...that I had to rush order but they promised me it'll get here in time), the invitations (picked out anyway), the photographer, the band (that's a surprise...), getting close on the cupcakes, and a pretty darn good idea of decorations. That's good right? Right?! Please tell me the bridesmaids are going to be in charge of the bachelorette party. Do we do that for second weddings?
  5. I feel born again after discovering South Beach Diet. And I want to share the gospel.
  6. I'm developing an addiction to Food Network night time, particularly Restaurant Impossible, Chopped, Iron Chef America, and Tough Cookies.
  7. I'm loving going to church on Friday nights, and going to church regularly in general. I'd forgotten how much I loved it.
  8. My baby turns four tomorrow, and breaks my heart every day he loses his baby-ness.
  9. I need a list of its own just for the house projects I want to get done. Crafting, sewing, knitting projects too. And I WILL make it.
  10. As scattered as I feel most days...I am becoming acutely aware that my dreams really are coming true, and I live a truly blessed life.
That's a start for tonight. I will now force myself to go to bed, where my 5 year old awaits who has a horrible jaw length canker sore in his mouth and is Mister Pitiful. And, I'm not gonna lie, I love that he's sleepin' with me tonight.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Recipe for Family Night

Yesterday was a busy but fun Saturday. The littles woke up in the campout from the night before,
then we went and picked up the bigs and had a pretty fantastic (albeit slightly crazy with Momma laying down the law with everyone for fear someone would get their teeth knocked out with a bowling ball!)  4 year old birthday party at Broken Arrow Lanes!

Then, after naps and romping around outside, we geared up for family night. It's the first weekend we've had the full six-pack together in a few weeks, so Marc and I were really glad. He and I love to cook together, and love spending time with our kids. We made a tasty meal:

Boudiette family favorite: Chicken Lickin' Good
Marc's A-MAZING homemade mac'n'cheese.

Sauteed fresh green beans.

Plain breaded baked chicken for the dairy free and picky croud.

Homemade milk-free mac'n'cheese, also for the dairy free croud (we LOVE Soya Kaas).

Top it all off with one of our favorite whites.
Next up, snugglin' in the living room to watch Oceans. It's such a gorgeous movie, and gorgeous to see all the babies enjoying something together.
 While they started the movie, I got going on my next project. After complaining about not accomplishing anything, I've felt a serious need for all things domestic, in last night's case, baking! So, armed with my delightful new apron, care of Aunt Megan and straight from France,

I started whipping up a new adventure. I have fallen for this new show on Food Network (that Marc makes fun of) called Tough Cookies. On the last episode I watched, Crazy Susan made up a new cookie for the mayor of Ocean City that I attempted to replicate. Here we go!

Start with your standard cookie dough.

Add blobs of peanut butter and hot fudge (I added peanut butter and dark chocolate chips too).

Put the dough in the fridge while the oven heats to 375 and you chop
some peanut butter cups and chocolate covered caramels...

add a little helper (Aidan, aka "The Mouth") who couldn't keep quiet with the movie crowd...

Halfway through the baking process pull the cookies out and mush your chopped candy on top.
This is a before and after pic - on the right is a totally baked cookie before cooling.
And oh my they were good! I'd say all of those are a recipe for a killer family night! I hope you'll like the food as much as we did. Comment and let me know if you did, and share your favorite things to do on family night. Tell me about your snacks too!

Chicken Lickin' Good
(it's actually South Beach friendly!)

6-8 Boneless, skinless chicken breasts
3/4c oats
1/3c grated parmesan cheese
1/3c slivered almonds
1t salt (I use kosher salt)
1/4 t thyme (I probably used more, dried, and sprinkled fresh on top)
1/4t fresh cracked black pepper
1/2c butter
1 clove garlic crushed (I used 1 heaping teaspoon of minced garlic from a jar)

Heat oven to 375. Mix together all dry ingredients. Coat chicken breasts in melted butter, then in the dry mixture and place in a pyrex baking dish, lightly coated with cooking spray. Sprinkle remaining dry mixture over top and drizzle remaining melted butter. Bake for about 1 hour.

Missy's version of Tough Cookies' "Mayor's Cookie"

2 1/4c all purpose flour
1t baking soda
1/2t salt
1c (2 sticks) softened butter
3/4c white sugar
3/4c packed brown sugar
1t vanilla extract
2 eggs
1 "blob" of natural peanut butter (heaping tablespoon, plus some, maybe two)
1 "blob" of store-bought hot fudge (I used Braum's - we had it on hand)
1 small handful each, dark chocolate and peanut butter baking chips
2 packages of chocolate covered caramels (I used Rolos), chopped in fourths
a couple handfuls of small sized peanut butter cups, chopped in fourths

Place by teaspoon on baking sheet covered in parchment paper. Bake for 5 minutes, remove from oven and place a couple pieces of each: chocolate covered caramels and peanut butter cupse. Continue baking for 6-7 minutes, or until almost done. Remove from oven, let set on baking sheet for a few minutes before placing on cooling rack. Pour some milk (cow's OR soy!), and enjoy!!

Here's to family night!


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