Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Got the basement back!

Isn't it a good feeling when something is clean and there is no clutter?!?!

Well, for this gal... it's a HUGE sigh of relief.  I am the type of person who has a place for everything.  Clutter give me panic attacks.  Okay, maybe not that severe of a reaction, but pretty darn close. When the boys were young I think my husband was ready to have me committed because I had to have all the dishes done, laundry folded and toys put away before we went to bed.  

It's been almost one year since Zachary left for college. Our basement was the place he and his friends hung out... you know.. where the big screen TV is...

All I can say is thank goodness it was in the basement and I didn't have to look at it everyday.  
The basement was my worst nightmare!

2 teenage boys + friends = Are you freaking kidding me!
 After he left, Todd and I cleaned it up, painted the walls with a fresh coat, shampooed the carpets and a whole lot more!
 The dinning table was one my grandfather refinished and gave to us as a wedding gift.  
We can actually sit and play card games with our friends!
Ahhhh.... the simple things in life.
 This was Zach's room.  It literally took me two weeks to gut it!
Now he has a nice, clean room to come home to.


Thursday, January 22, 2015

Choosing a College

As many high school seniors, Brandon has been applying to colleges.   This is one of the toughest decisions that a teenager must make. One that will affect the rest of his life. 

I doubt there will be a clear cut 'yes' when it comes to making his college decision.  I'm sure he will question whether he is making the right decision or not.  I fear that any doubt in his decision process will increases his stress and anxiety. It's a huge commitment.  

We toured both big and small colleges/universities. Both offer advantages and disadvantages, depending upon your personality.  Brandon is a very social person. I believe that he would do well in a large university.  However, he surprised me when he expressed interest in a smaller, private college.

(Brandon's grandfather attended)

(Brandon's uncle attended)

(Brandon's hockey coach/English teacher and Sociology teacher attended)

(Brandon's favorite).

It was exciting to receive the first acceptance letters!

We are all waiting on pins and needles for a few more before Brandon decides which is the right fit.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Zachary's Half-Time Show

There was a time when the Philadelphia Eagles were Zachary's favorite football team.
Super Bowls are a big deal at our house. 
Especially in 2005 when the Eagles made it to the big game!
 During half time Zachary put on his own show by using his sneaker as a football.
Unfortunately both Zachary and the Eagles Quarterback, 
Donovan McNabb couldn't get the job done!
Zach lost his shoe.
The Eagles lost the Super Bowl.
 Zachary gave up on the Eagles and now likes the Denver Bronco's.  The Bronco's made it to the Super Bowl once since Zachary started following them, but they lost too.  
This time, however, he didn't give up on the Bronco's and every year looks forward to his team possibly participating in the Super Bowl!!

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Chicken Scallopini with Roasted Broccoli and Farfalle

4 chicken cutlets
3/4 pound whole wheat farfalle pasta
3 cloves garlic
1 pound broccoli
1 lemon
1 large bunch parsley
4 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup grated pecorino cheese
1/3 cup panko breadcrumbs
1/4 cup all-purpose flour

1 Preheat the oven to 450°F. Wash and dry the fresh produce. Heat a large pot of salted water to boiling on high. Remove the chicken from the refrigerator to bring to room temperature. Peel and thinly slice the garlic. Cut the broccoli into florets. Using a peeler, remove the rind of the lemon, avoiding the white pith; mince the rind to get 2 teaspoons of zest (or use a zester). Quarter and deseed the lemon. Pick the parsley leaves off the stems; discard the stems.

2 Place the broccoli florets on a sheet pan. Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper; toss to coat. Arrange in a single, even layer and roast 26 to 28 minutes, or until browned and tender. Remove from the oven; transfer to a large bowl. Sprinkle with the lemon zest; toss to combine and season with salt and pepper to taste. Transfer to a serving dish.

3 While the broccoli roasts, in a large pan (nonstick, if you have one), heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil on medium until hot. Add the breadcrumbs and toast, stirring frequently, 2 to 3 minutes, or until golden brown. Remove from heat and season with salt and pepper to taste. Transfer to a bowl and set aside. Wipe out the pan.

4 While the broccoli continues to roast, add the pasta to the pot of boiling water. Cook, stirring occasionally, 8 to 11 minutes, or until just shy of al dente (still slightly firm to the bite). Reserve ¾ cup of the pasta water; drain the pasta thoroughly and set aside.

5 While the pasta cooks, pat the chicken dry with paper towels; place on a plate. Season each side with salt and pepper, then evenly coat with the flour (tapping off any excess). In the pan used to toast the breadcrumbs, heat a thin layer of olive oil on medium-high until hot. Add the chicken and cook 4 to 5 minutes per side, or until golden brown and cooked through. Add the juice of all 4 lemon wedges and ¼ cup of water; season with salt and pepper. Reduce the heat to medium and cook, swirling occasionally, 1 to 2 minutes, or until slightly reduced. Add half the butter. Cook, swirling occasionally, 1 to 2 minutes, or until combined. Remove from heat; transfer to the serving dish of broccoli. Wipe out the pan.

6 In the same pan, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil on medium-high until hot. Add the garlic; cook, stirring occasionally, 1 to 2 minutes, or until softened and fragrant. Add the cooked pasta, remaining butter, all but a pinch of the pecorino cheese and ½ cup of the reserved pasta water; season with salt and pepper to taste. Cook, stirring constantly, 2 to 3 minutes, or until the pasta is coated. (If the sauce seems dry, slowly add the remaining reserved pasta water to achieve your desired consistency.) Transfer to a serving dish. Garnish with the toasted breadcrumbs, remaining pecorino cheese and half the parsley. Garnish the chicken scallopini with the remaining parsley.


Thursday, January 15, 2015

Ringing in the New Year

I want to wish a Happy New Year to all my old friends I've known for years. My new friends I just met in 2014. My blogger and facebook friends who I have never met but are friends nonetheless. I hope 2015 is a great year for all of you and all the world around you!