Sunday, October 28, 2012

Cookie Bark

This is a super easy treat recipe which children can even help make. It is also versatile, you can change the type of cookies and chips to use what every you have available or to suit different tastes. I have never tried different flavorings, but I think they could be changes as well. These are also great on holiday cookie plates, something different, but still a treat.

Cookie Bark

20 creme filled chocolate sandwich cookies
2 2/3 cups chocolate chips
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Line a 9 inch square pan with waxed paper. Coat waxed paper with non stick spray.

Break cookies into pieces. Set aside.

Melt the chips in a large microwave safe bowl on medium power stirring every minute until just melted. Add vanilla extract. Quickly stir in cookie bits.

Pour into prepared pan and spread evenly. Refrigerate until solid, about 1 hour.

Remove bark from pan and peel off waxed paper. Place bark on cutting board and use sharp knife to cut into pieces.

Store in airtight container.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Chicken Cordon Bleu Casserole

This is a recipe I developed my self when I really wanted chicken cordon bleu, but it is out of our price range. I studied what ingredients were used in it and decided to put them together in casserole form. This not only stretched the main ingredients, but I wasn't paying for the prep work. I was also able to find everything I used at home; I didn't need to but anything different.

The amounts are approximate; I just put in a little of each of the three spices and added a little more at a time until I had a visually pleasing balance between the other ingredients and spices.

I didn't have shredded swiss cheese so I just shredded some of the sliced variety I already had using a microplane grater. This did take some effort, but turned out alright.

Chicken Cordon Bleu Casserole

2 chicken breasts
2 cups cubed ham (precooked)
1/2 - 1 stick of butter or margaine
1 can Cream of Chicken soup
1 1/2 cups bread crumbs (aprox)
Shredded Swiss Cheese

Bake in 325-350 degree oven

Cut ham into 11/2 - 2 inch cubes.
Cut chicken into cubes approximately 11/2 - 2 inches.
Melt 1/2 stick margarine in skillet and add chicken pieces. Cook until no pink is visible, moving around in pan frequently.
Meanwhile in casserole dish mix Cream of Chicken casserole soup, parsley, basil, and thyme. If it seems thick you can add some melted margarine to thin it.
Add both ham and chicken cubes. Mix well.
Sprinkle bread crumbs on top.
Bake for 25-30 minutes until bubbly. ( I used a glass casserole so I could easily look at the side and tell if it was hot.)
Add swiss cheese on top and additional parsley if desired. Continue heating until cheese is melted.

My family enjoyed it and has asked for it again. It easily served 2 adults and 2 children with some left for the children to share.I have served it with broccoli, but we've felt something is missing and aren't quite sure what it is. I had thought about adding rice or crusty bread on the side, but I am not sure. I am still trying to figure out what would go best.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

What Have We Been Up To?

It has been a LONG time since I wrote anything here. We haven't been overly busy, but I just haven't been motivated to write. Since I finally put the pictures from my phone on the computer, I thought I would share those along with some of the highlights since we started school in early August.

We usually start the first week of August, but it takes some time to get into the swing of things after summer, so we usually go a little slower. Last year I tried something different,  instead of diving into each subject right away or even just a couple, we spent a week reviewing one topic or subject. This year we only had two theme weeks, one of which we spent learning about the Olympics, London, and England as those were in the news.

These are lapbooks about Buckingham Palace and the Royal family. While they were designed by In The Hands of a Child, they are only available to subscribers of Schoolhouse Teachers.

These are the Olympics lapbooks. They are a compilation of mini books from different sources. Some of them are from a set I bought, others I found for free online.

Another of our topics this year was geography. Geography seems to be something we don't get to on a regular basis during the rest of our year, so I wanted to get some basics in. We examined the differences between globes and maps, types of maps, map features, and map reading.  I wanted to keep things interesting so we used some library books, read and looked at websites, played some geography and map games, solved geography related mysteries, and made a scale drawing of our property. A couple of the books we used were Great Map Mysteries, Great Map Games, and Comic Strip Map Skills. We also read Around the World in 80 days by Jules Verne.
We have also been able to attend the monthly homeschool class at our library again this year. The topics this year have been drawing with perspective and personal finance.

We also had a field trip to the local history museum continues for their monthly homeschool event. The theme in September was Olympics.

We have also had fun playing this game which I one this fall. I submitted a made up word and definition when OUT OF THE BOX was having a contest and I won. This is an expansion pack to go with the original game. We don't have the full game so we have just made up our own way of playing. It has been a lot of fun to make up our own wacky words to match definitions.

Piano lessons have also continued throughout the summer and this fall. A couple weeks ago daughter had the privilege of playing in the competition at the local teachers music conference. She did a good job and even exceeded her expectations by receiving a score of 1. Now she is eligible to play at the teachers' state conference next month. 
So here are just a few highlights of the last few months.