Monday, September 26, 2011

Baked Sandwiches: Oh, the Possibilies!

These baked sandwiches are always a big hit with my family.  They are super easy to make and have so many delicious filling options it should never get boring.  Today, I'll show you how to do the basic meat and cheese variety, but get creative!  We've done all combinations of meats and cheeses, but then I've done traditional pizza filling (pizza sauce, mozzarella, and pepperoni); vegetarian pizza filling (pizza sauce, mozzarella, spinach, olives and mushrooms); turkey with provolone and mushrooms; chopped chicken with spinach artichoke dip; cheese only, served with marinara or spaghetti sauce for yummy dunkers- I could go on and on, but I'm sure you get the point.

Here's how to do it:
Preheat your oven to 350* and grease (or spray) a baking sheet.

Whip up a batch of the best bread dough ever, or you can use a thawed loaf of Rhodes bread (found in the frozen section at most grocery stores).  Roll the dough into a large rectangle roughly 1/4 inch thick.  (It's OK to make it a tiny bit thinner if it holds together, but you don't want it any thicker than that.  It's also OK if the rectangle is a bit wonky like mine.)
Layer your filling ingredients along one half of the dough, leaving an inch border on the edges.
Carefully fold the empty side of the dough over to cover the filling.  
Roll and pinch the edges so they are completely sealed.

Bake on the greased baking sheet for 20 minutes or until the top is golden brown.
Let the sandwich cool slightly before cutting into slices with a sharp knife or pizza cutter.
 (I can't figure out why this picture keeps publishing sideways.  Sorry.)
One nice thing about these sandwiches is you can make them ahead of time and keep them in the fridge for a fast,  grab-able lunch.  I did this when we road-tripped to Utah in March.  It was so nice to be able to hand my kids a healthy sandwich from the cooler when they were hungry instead of loading them up on snacks or Happy Meals.

This last time, I made two sandwiches.  We ate one for lunch, but I popped the second one in the freezer bag after I sliced it so I could freeze it and then grab a slice or two to make lunch prep for my 3rd grader a snap.  I hope it thaws in time!  =)


Thursday, September 22, 2011

A day

I was going to be productive today.  I've had a cold that has kicked me in the patootie.  I've gotten more naps in the past week than I have in the last 6 months (yay for a guilt-free excuse to collapse into bed in the middle of the day!) but my house is a wreck.  Today, that was going to change.

I started by doing dishes.  Success.

I moved on to straightening up the living room.  Done.

Next was the laundry.  I sorted the mountains into the correct color/temperature piles and put the first load in.  On a roll.

I was so on the ball that I went down to swap the load as soon as it was done and...crap.  A pull-up had sneaked its way into my washer and those beady things that soak up the pee in diapers were all over my nice clean laundry. 

I started the washer up again, praying that would solve the problem, and decided I had been productive enough.  I fed the kids lunch and we all took a nap.


Tonight, I saw my littlest monkey chewing on something.  I hadn't given him anything to eat since dinner and the fridge was still locked (yes, I lock my fridge- a 2-year-old only needs so many Gogurts in a day) so I asked him what he had.  He ran away and hid.  That is never a good sign, especially with that precocious one.  My middle monkey chased him down and brought him over to me.  Of course, his mouth was empty by then.

Me: Monkey, what did you eat?
Monkey: It's all gone, mommy.
Me: What was it?
Monkey: It's in my stomach.
Me: But what was it?
Monkey: A crayon in my mouth.


It was time for the boys to get ready for bed, but the littlest monkey had disappeared.  We found him hiding behind the coffee table with a fist full of Taco Bell hot sauce packets.  What he had planned for them, I hope I never know.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Halloween Costumes- Part IV- Fast and Easy

Sometimes- more lately than ever- I just don't have the time to whip up an amazing costume. My kids and I have learned to be creative and use the stuff we already have, and they don't seem to mind one bit!

I made this knight costume when I was 7 months pregnant and laid up with a broken ankle.
The tunic was made of that awesome no-fray fabric I love so much. I cut a rectangle wide enough to go across both of my son's shoulders, and long enough to hang to above the knees when folded in half and held up to his shoulders. I cut a narrow hole for his head to go through and then used a thin strip of the fabric to cinch it around his waist. Viola! The helmet, shield, ax, and breastplate were all purchased from Dollar Tree, and he wore a black turtleneck and sweatpants underneath. My little guy felt might heroic in his armor.

Ah, yes. This is the year I didn't even try. I was pregnant and feeling crappy, my kids didn't seem to care what they dressed up as, and we had enough of a dress-up stash that I was confident we could find something in a hurry. Besides, that Tigger costume is the bomb! Who wouldn't want to wear that? Anyway, my oldest wouldn't decide and trick-or-treating time was almost upon us. I told him to go downstairs and put something- anything!- on so we could go. His eyes lit up with an idea, he ran downstairs, and came back minutes later wearing black sweatpants, a black hoodie, the Darth Vader cape, and a Batman mask. He grabbed his black rainboots from the coat closet and grinned at me triumphantly. I love that kid!

The Robot
My husband gets the credit for this one. He had the idea and talked our oldest into wearing it. It's a large box covered in aluminum foil, decorated with foamies and Dollar Tree round aluminum pans, and if you look really close you'll see LED lights sticking out of the pan in front. He rigged it up so the lights would blink. He's such a nerd. =)

The classic black cat, with a twist.
We celebrated last Halloween at a church party the day before and then my kids stayed home to hand out candy on the actual day. Sadly, I didn't get pictures of their "real" costumes from the party, but you'll get the idea from these ones taken in a frenzy.

I didn't have a say in this costume. I just had to follow my guy's instructions. He was adamant about what he wanted to be and what he wanted to wear, so here you go:
A black shirt (he had a long-sleeved one on the day before), the ever-present versatile black sweatpants, and a nose and whiskers drawn on with marker. For some reason, he insisted on having red whiskers that time. I don't know why, but that's my 4-year-old for you! The tail is just a long strip of black fleece safety-pinned to the back of his waistband. I made diamonds out of the same fleece (about 4 inched tall and 2 inches wide), folded them in half to make triangles, hot-glued them to stay that way, and then safety-pinned them to a black knit cap.

So, you see, costumes don't have to be fancy (although, if you do happen to have the talent of the fabulous Brittney, more power to you!) or take a lot of time or money. Honestly, I'd rather see an imperfect homemade costume than a cookie-cutter 1 of a million store-bought costume any day. Besides, it's WAY more fun for everyone when the kids get to help choose and put their costumes together.