Tuesday, March 20, 2012

14...it's the new way to make me feel OLD!

It's such a freakin' cliche,  I know, but where does the time go?  I remember the days of Teletubby and Blues Clues birthday parties, this year it was Paintball.  It was dirty, it was sweaty and it involved balls and guns - what could make 14 year old boys (and their fathers) happier?
They had a great time!
Then it was pizza, cake, ice cream and candy... again the trifecta of Zack happiness!

I can't believe my sweet, precious baby boy is actually 14 years old!  It seems like just the other day we were watching Barney, eating peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and reading The Gruffalo and Going to Sleep on the Farm together.  Now it's Xbox and Minecraft, hours in his room,  pizza and corn dogs and zombie books.

I hear the voice deepening, I see the sprinkle of zits across his nose, the feather dusting of hair on his upper lip and see him sprouting up and up, but  I can still picture that sweet little boy in my head, the one that always told John, " Doe way, I wuv mommy!"  I know it's the natural progression of life, but I'm just amazed by how fast it goes.

What I don't see is the typical teenage sullenness, attitude, selfishness or disdain for his family.  I don't want to jinx myself, but 99% of the time he is easy going, he does what he's asked to do, he's pleasant to be around and he is funny!!  Is he perfect?  No.  He spends too much time on the computer, he can be less than motivated with his school work and I can't get him to eat a vegetable to save his soul....but he's no teenage GIRL!  There's no drama, there's no sullen silences, there's no snide under breath muttering. Boys are so different...

I find myself actually looking forward to watching him move into high school and develop into the wonderful man I know he's going to be.  Not many parents of teenagers can say that!  I consider myself very blessed and very lucky to have such an amazing kid!  Happy Birthday Zackman!

Saturday, March 17, 2012

It's all about the Hunger!

Just bought our tickets to The Hunger Games!  The movie doesn't come out for another week, but we're all in on the mania.  I've even tried to talk John into reading the book, but he says, "Why should I read the book if I'm going to see the movie?"  How did I ever marry that man?

I'm not sure who's more excited about the movie, Zack or me?  He almost had me talked into taking him to the midnight show... until  Brenna reminded me that despite her begging and pleading when she was a Junior I wouldn't let her go to the midnight showing of Harry Potter and if I didn't let her do that, there was NO.WAY. it was fair to let Zack stay up.  I guess I see her point, plus the chance of me actually being able to stay awake that long is slim to none... So, we're going 10am Sat morning and I.CAN'T.WAIT!   I can't remember the last movie I was this excited about, probably a Star Trek movie back in the day.  Hope it doesn't let us down.  I gotta go read the book one more time!

Friday, March 16, 2012

New Recipe Night - Aussie Chicken - FREAKING ROCKED IT!

On of the best new recipe nights EVER!  Again from Pinterest... Zack didn't eat it, but Mimi, John and I really liked it!  AWESOME!  I don't know why it's called Aussie Chicken, I think it comes from a recipe that you can get at Outback Steakhouse, but since we never eat there, I wouldn't know.
Aussie Chicken
4 boneless chicken breasts, pounded to 1/2 inch thickness (sometimes it's easier to filet them instead)
seasoned salt
6 slices of bacon, cut in half
1/4 cup regular mustard ( I didn't have enough so I substituted a little Grey Poupon)
1/4 cup honey
2 Tbsp mayo (didn't have it, used sour cream)
2 tsp dried onion flakes
1 cup sliced fresh mushrooms
2 cups shredded Colby/Jack cheese

Sprinkle and rub the chicken breasts with seasoning salt.  Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes (didn't do this).  
Meanwhile, cook bacon in a large skillet until crisp.  Remove bacon. ****Do Not discard grease*** Saute chicken in the bacon grease for 3-5 minutes per side or until browned. Move chicken to 9x13 pan.

In a small bowl, mix the mustard, honey, mayo and dried onion flakes.  Apply the honey mustard to each breast, then layer with mushrooms, bacon and shredded cheese.

Bake in a 350 degree oven for 30 minutes or until cheese is melted and chicken is done.  If chicken has been filleted then more like 20 min.

I serve it with rice pilaf and a salad.  It really was delicious and easy (except for the cooking the bacon) and it's made from regular ingredients that you would usually have around the house.  A great one to pull out for unexpected company.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

New Recipe Night - Pinterest Shrimp

Once again my Pinterest obsession has paid off!  Hours and hours spent pinning all sorts of stuff I'll probably never look at again, but I did find a yummy recipe.  I wonder can you be a Pinterest hoarder?  Just pin stuff repeatedly and never get rid of it or use it again so that it just accumulates forever.  At least if you're a Pinterest hoarder it's not obvious to your neighbors and the board of health won't be called!
This recipe didn't have any names or really any specifics... just a picture and some vague descriptions.

Pinterest Shrimp
1 lemon
1 stick of butter
couple cloves of garlic, minced
I package dry Italian dressing

Melt a stick of butter in the casserole dish.  Mix garlic in the butter.  Slice lemon and layer it on top of the butter.  Sprinkle half the Italian dressing seasoning over butter.  Layer shrimp on top of butter and sprinkle remainder of the seasoning over shrimp.  Bake at 350 for 15 min.

I served this with some plain pasta and a salad.  It was very tasty and so quick and easy there's no way it's not a keeper.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

It's a Christmas Miracle only 3 months later...

It can be said that my Zachary is not a morning person.  He takes after his mother in that he loves him some sleeping.  School mornings are not very enjoyable in our house.   For the last few years our mornings involve me yelling, pleading, threatening until the boy drags himself into the shower and then I still have to be on guard that he doesn't lay back down after the shower.  Alarm clocks go unheeded and the boy sleeps on.  This past Christmas Santa, in a stroke of genius found a very intriguing alarm clock.  I don't know why it took me so long to put the clock into use, old habits die hard and I guess the morning wasn't complete until I screamed and threatened bodily harm to my boy.  Because nothing says Good Morning like screaming up the stairs, " If you don't get up right now, I'm going to rip off your arms and beat you over the head with the bloody stumps!"  What teenager in his right mind wouldn't just jump up and race to the shower with that cheery wake up call!
Anyway, for whatever reason I grew tired of our morning routine and I dug the Christmas alarm clock out of the Big Pile o' Sh** on Zack's floor and plugged that bad boy in....

 For the last week he's gotten up and into the shower all by himself!  All it took was a beeping target alarm and a gun! We put the clock across the room.  The alarm goes off, the target pops up and he has to aim and shoot the target to turn it off!  It's a beautiful thing!

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Birthday in Absentia! :o(

It's Brenna's birthday today and it's the first birthday in 19 years that she hasn't been with us!  I am SAD!  She's flying home, to Radford, today from the Virgin Islands.  I don't know when we'll get to see her next.  I sent a birthday care package with all her presents, I texted her and Hey Telled her and hopefully we'll get to FaceTime tomorrow while she opens her presents, but it's just not the same!  I guess it's time we started getting use to it, but this is the part of growing up I don't like!

I can't believe my baby girl is 19 years old!  It doesn't seem possible.  I feel like just the other day we were worrying about pacifiers, potty training and temper tantrums.  Then it was multiplication facts, first boy/girl dances and braces.  And now it's study abroad tours, first apartments and career choices.  How does this happen?
I must say I've loved all the stages of Brenna, except middle school and freshman year, and was sad to see them all go by, except for middle school and freshman year.  Each stage was a new adventure, a new challenge and new opportunity for me to feel completely inadequate, but we made it through them all.

I don't know if it was good parenting, good genes or good luck, but it is amazing and satisfying and reassuring to watch and see what an amazing young woman she's become.  She's smart and funny and kind and thoughtful and I'd like to think that even if she wasn't my daughter - she might be my friend.

I love you Brenna Girl.  I'm so proud of the woman you are becoming and I can't wait to see you and to see what you are going to do next with your life.  Thank you for letting me be your mom and your friend!

Saturday, March 10, 2012

New Recipe Night - Vegetable Edition... Spaghetti Squash with almonds

New Recipe Night - Vegetable Edition... so far out of my comfort zone, it can't even see the zone.  What you have to understand about the Hyzy House is that vegetables are not popular, at least not the cooked kind.  John will eat anything, but the kids won't eat anything and I don't care much for things of the vegetable variety if the truth be told.   We can eat the heck out of a salad or a veggie tray, but drop those same veggies in the oven or boiling water and...not so much.  For me it's more of a texture issue, the kids... it's just principal. I've been known to put the veggies on my plate and wait until the kids are done eating and leave the table and then dumping them down the sink.  For years ketchup and french fries qualified as a veggie in this house and when we have spaghetti we never have a veggie cause there's TOMATOES in the sauce!  But I've been trying to be brave and branch out with New Recipe Nights.  Years ago when I was hard and heavy into Weight Watchers I tried spaghetti squash as a substitute for pasta and it wasn't awful, so when I saw this recipe in my favorite magazine...Food Network Magazine... I thought... Why not?
Spaghetti Squash with Almonds
1 3lb spaghetti squash, halved lengthwise and seeded
3 Tbsp olive oil
1/4 cup sliced almonds
2 Tbsp fresh lime juice
1 Tbsp honey
1/2 tsp ground cumin
kosher salt and pepper
4 scallions, thinly sliced

Heat oven to 400. Place the squash on a rimmed baking sheet, drizzle the cut sides with 1 Tbsp of the oil and turn cut-side down.  Roast until tender 40-50 minutes.
Meanwhile, spread the almonds on a second rimmed baking sheet and toast in oven, tossing occasionally, until golden brown.  6-8 minutes.
In a medium bowl, stir together the lime juice, honey, cumin, 2 Tbsp olive oil, 1 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp pepper.
With a fork, gently scrape the strands of squash flesh into the bowl and toss with the lime juice mixture.  Sprinkle with the almonds and scallions.

This was TASTY, TASTY, TASTY!  Definitely a keeper and so very easy.  I think I'll have to try spaghetti squash in other things as well.  It would be good in soup or maybe as a pasta substitute again.  

So, yeah for me and yeah for stepping out of my comfort zone!

Friday, March 9, 2012


We've finally heard from Brenna... the drinking age in the Virgin Islands is 18 and she's been "drunk" twice, her professors insist they call them by their first names and she's been bitten twice by mongooses.  "This. is. the. BEST. class. EVER!"

Sunday, March 4, 2012

New Recipe Night - Lasagna Soup

I've been excited about this recipe ever since I first saw it on Pinterest (my newest addiction), because it has a mixture addition called Cheesy Yum.  How can a recipe not be totally delicious if it contains something called Cheesey Yum.
Lasagna Soup
2 tsp olive oil
1-1/2 Italian sausage
3 c chopped onion
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
2 Tbsp tomato paste
1 28oz can fire roasted diced tomatoes
2 bay leaves
6 cup chicken stock
8oz mafalda pasta
1/2 cup finely chopped fresh basil leaves
salt and pepper to taste
2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
For the Cheesy Yum:
8 oz ricotta
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 tsp salt
pinch of fresh ground black pepper

Heat olive oil over medium heat.  Add sausage, breaking up into bite sized pieces until brown.  Add onions and cook until softened.  Add garlic, oregano, and red pepper flakes.  Cook for 1 minute, add tomato paste and stir until well mixed.  Cook 3 to 4 minutes or until the tomato paste turns a rusty brown color.

Add diced tomatoes, bay leaves and chicken stock.  Bring to a boil and then reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes.  Add uncooked pasta and cook until all dente.  Do not over cook or let soup simmer for a long period of time at this point, as the pasta will get mushy and absorb all the soup broth.  Consider cooking the noodles separately and then adding some to the individual bowls before ladling soup over them.  This is an especially smart move if anticipating leftovers.  Right before serving, stir in the basil and season to taste with salt and pepper.

While the pasta is cooking, prepare the cheesy yum.  Combine the ricotta, parmesan, salt and pepper in a small bowl.

To serve, place a dollop of cheesy yum in each bowl, sprinkle some mozzarella on top, add pasta and ladle the hot soup over the top.

New Recipe Morning...Cinnamon -Sugar French Toast Bites

It's getting crazy in the Hyzy house.  Not just New Recipe....but New Recipe Morning...  crazy, right?!  For a brief moment, I totally felt like a good mom...nice warm breakfast on the table.  John and Zack both liked them a lot, me not so much.  I'm just not a french toast fan in general.  I don't like the squishy soft middle part.  I think it's a whole texture issue thing.
Cinnamon-Sugar French Toast Bites
3 Tbsps sugar
2 tsp ground cinnamon
2 eggs
1/2 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
pinch of salt
1 loaf french bread, cubed
2 Tbsp butter
maple syrup

In a large bowl, stir together sugar and cinnamon.  In a large, shallow bowl whisk together the eggs, buttermilk, milk, vanilla and salt until blended.  Place the bread cubes in the egg mixture and using a large  spoon, toss gently until the cubes are evenly coated and all the egg mixture has been absorbed.

In a large frying pan over medium heat, melt 1 Tbsp butter.  Add half the coated bread cubes and cook, turning often, until golden brown on all sides.  About 5 minutes.  Transfer the cubes to the bowl holding the sugar mixture and toss to coat.  Repeat with remainder of cubed bread.  Serve with maple syrup.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

She's off!

Our girl left today for her fabulous adventures in Tropical Biology in the Virgin Islands.  I am so excited for her, but also freaking out just a little bit.  I've been fine with the whole thing, excited for her etc... until the day actually arrived and now I'm freaking out.  Battling with myself to keep Doomsday Dolly from wreaking havoc with myself.  You know, Doomsday Dolly spends all her time thinking about pirates, malaria, sharks, handsome caribbean boys... all the things that could find their way to Brenna!  As long as Doomsday Dolly shuts her damn mouth it will all be fine.
She is staying at a place called the Virgin Islands Environmental Resource Station on the smaller island of St. John.  It's right on Lameshur Bay with a marine science lab in the water.  The website claims it "is a very remote and rustic (yet charming) camp" which in college-speak means "cool, awesome private beach."  But to me says, no electricity, running water or bathrooms!  I'm happy for her to live the experience.  She's paired up with another girl, who is a junior, and they are going to do some sort of mongoose research project.

There is spotty cell coverage, so it's going to be very much like the old days.  The days before cellphones, like when I went to Egypt for 2 weeks after my freshman year in college.  I don't remember calling home even once.  I think my mom just sent me off to the Middle East and hoped for the best.  We heard from Brenna when she landed at St. Thomas, but as they got closer to St. John apparently the coverage goes really spotty.  So Dolly and I will just stay home and try and distract ourselves until she's back safe and sound and within texting distance.