Snomageddon 2015 for the Caylor-Browns

Thursday February 26, 2015 Sledding #Snowmageddon

Thursday February 26, 2015 Sledding #Snowmageddon

The Awesome Day began with 8 inches of snow and a jaunt through the yard with my 11 year old Black and Tan Coonhound, Ferd .

The Caylor-Brown's House February 26, 2015 #Snomageddon

The Caylor-Brown’s House February 26, 2015 #Snomageddon

As usual, the barn shines in its contrast from the snowy-gray Grindstone Mountain.

Our Barn, Play Park, & the edge of our upper field at the foot of Grindstone Mountain

Our Barn, Play Park, & the edge of our upper field at the foot of Grindstone Mountain

We had to make our own sled run: How?

Step 1: Find the fall line and “path of least resistance” usually by sledding yourself.

Step 2: Have a person sit on the sled and drag that person to make a slick run.

Step 3: Keep trying to use the same run to over and over. After several runs, you can see and feel the track.

Ammon & Carter make snow angels on Snowmageddon Day = February 26, 2015

Ammon & Carter make snow angels on Snowmageddon Day = February 26, 2015

Thursday February 26, 2015 #Snowmageddon up on Grindstone Mountain

Thursday February 26, 2015 #Snowmageddon up on Grindstone Mountain

After sledding, Ammon and Carter had school: Math, Social Studies, and Handwriting. When lunch was over, Carter, Ammon, & Daddy S went up on the base of Grindstone Mountain while I cut small trees with the chain saw and made sure our tractor was running in the freezing weather.

We finished the day with an awesome Dinner: Baked Honey Ham, Creamed Corn, Baked Beans, Stuffing, and Cranberry Sauce.

Snowmageddon Dinner

Snowmageddon Dinner

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Winter’s Full Moon (5 Steps to a Winter, Artistic Masterpiece)

moon3_blog

After an autumn watercolor project turned out so nicely for Ammon and Carter, I decided to try one for winter.

Need (Suggested beginning doses: more paint for darker color OR add more water to lighten it up)

1 Plastic Cup

4 tsp. Water

2 drops Watercolor Paint (Van Gogh #506-Ultramarine)

1 White Oil Pastel Crayon (Holbein Oil Pastel)

Water Color Paper

1 Paintbrush

Step 1: On the Watercolor Paper, Etch out the Winter Scene lightly with a pencil. Carter, Ammon, and I elected to take a perfectly round object to trace our moon. You and yours can draw a moon anyway you wish.

Step 2: Thoroughly color in all objects you want to appear white with the Oil Pastel.

moon_blog

Step 3: Add drops of paint to the water and mix. It doesn’t look like much, but it is PLENTY. Once again if the paint wasn’t dark enough add paint droplets and if it was too dark, add a few drops of water at a time to the glass. Keep a practice Watercolor sheet handy to experiment.

Step 4: Paint! Make sure you saturate the paper. The oil pastel will repel the water (oil doesn’t mix with water).

moon2_blog

Step 5: Find a flat place for your painting to dry.

As you can see from the intro photo, we had them framed. We painted the paintings on the 1st Day of Winter, allowed them to dry, then framed them on December 23 just in time to flank the mantel for Christmas. There they will remain until spring.

Mantel_copy

Kids Prepare General Tso’s Chicken for Chinese New Year

General Tso's from the Caylor-Browns

General Tso’s from the Caylor-Browns

Ammon & Carter are From the Year of the Rat (2008), so we made them Rat Masks for some Chinese New Year “ownership”

Ammon & Carter are "Rats"!

Ammon & Carter are “Rats”!

Ammon & Carter flank the Ingredients

Ammon & Carter flank the Ingredients

Chicken 2 ½ lbs. of skinless uncooked chicken strips Chicken Coating (before frying) ½ tsp. Salt ¼ tsp. Black Pepper 2 Egg Whites 3 Tbs. Cornstarch Sauce ½ cup cold water 1 Tbs. cornstarch ½ cup Brown sugar ¼ tsp. Ground ginger ¼ tsp. Crushed red pepper 1 Tbs. Hoisin sauce 2 Tbs. Soy sauce 3 Tbs. Ketchup

Step 1: Marinating the Chicken Thoroughly rinse then marinate the uncooked chicken breast strips with approximately ¼ cup soy sauce in a gallon freezer bag. Place the freezer bag in a refrigerator crisper. I know marinating often only takes minutes, but I choose to marinate for at least 12-18 hours ahead of time.

Step 2: Baking the Chicken Set the oven 350° 1-2 hours before mealtime. Place the marinated chicken breast in a baking dish. I keep the marinate on for added flavor as well as adding water so as to submerge the chicken (keep it moist, if you will). Cover with the dish’s lid or aluminum foil. Bake for 1 hour.

Step 3: Making the Sauce while the chicken bakes In a bowl, mix the cornstarch with COLD water (remember corn starch CLUMPS in warm water). Wisk thoroughly. Add the brown sugar, Hoisin sauce, ketchup, soy sauce, ground ginger, and crushed pepper. Set aside. *If you choose and are blessed with lots of skillets, you may want to pour this sauce in another skillet while the chicken cubes brown. I tried it only one time (seen below), and I didn’t like the clutter on the range eyes.

Ammon Stirs the General Tso sauce

Ammon Stirs the General Tso sauce

Carter takes his turn with General Tso sauce

Carter takes his turn with General Tso sauce

Step 4: Making the chicken coating before frying the baked chicken Take out the baked chicken and allow it to cool (strips cool QUCKLY). While it is cooling heat your favorite wok or skillet (ours is cast iron….woo hoo! I love cooking with cast iron!) on a low-medium heat with 2 Tbs. of oil. Cut the chicken into cubes. In a bowl, mix the Corn Starch, Salt, Pepper, & Egg whites. Transfer the liquid into a Gallon plastic zipper bag. Place the cubed chicken in the bag as well then shake, shake, shake (Ammon & Carter love it… we often sing “Shake your chicken” to the tune of “Shake your Booty”). Turn the skillet up to medium high and pour in the chicken turning occasionally to allow the batter to brown. No need to check chicken temperature, it was baked through in the oven. When the cubes are browned, turn the heat down to simmer/heat. Add your sauce over the cubes. For approximately 10 minutes, stir occasionally making sure the cubes are covered with the sauce.

Step 5: Putting it all Together Pour the liquid over your Chicken cubes, and Guess what? General Tso’s Chicken is done. Serve over steamed broccoli and whole-grain rice of which both I can share another preparation recipe another day.

DIY Mardi Gras Bread in Minutes

Mardi Gras Cake

Ingredients for Monkey Bread

½ cup granulated sugar

1 teaspoon cinnamon

2 cans ( Our cans were 13 oz) Pillsbury™ Flaky Supreme Refrigerated Cinnamon Rolls

1 cup firmly packed brown sugar

¾ cup butter or margarine, melted

Rolls

Step 1: Heat oven to 350 F. Lightly grease 12-cup fluted pan (Bundt Cake Pan if you’re “Old School” LOL)

Step 2: Have your child/children either cut (case knife) or pull apart the rolls in half. Arrange in the fluted pan.

Step 3: In a small bowl, mix brown sugar and butter: pour over cinnamon roll pieces.

Mix Brown Sugar

Step 4: Bake 30 minutes or until golden brown and no longer doughy in the center. Turn upside down onto serving plate.

Ingredients for Glaze

1 cup confectioners’ sugar

3 Tablespoons heavy cream (or milk for a less creamy texture)

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Step 5: Top the Cake with Glaze & Sprinkles

Top the Cake with Gold, Purple, & Green Sprinkles. We found all 3 sprinkles at our local Party City store. 

Carter Sprinkles

Ammon Sprinkles

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Valentine Cookies in Less than an Hour

Valentine Cookies

My Carter & Ammon (just 6 years old!) made these Delicious & Quick Valentine Cookie from scratch!

Sugar cookies

INGREDIENTS:

1 Cup butter, softened

1 Cup granulated white sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 teaspoon almond extract

1 egg

2 teaspoons baking powder

3 cups all purpose flour

Stirring the Mix

Heart Cookie Cutters

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat oven to 350° F.

In the bowl of your mixer cream butter and sugar until smooth.

Beat in extracts and in large bowl. Continue reading