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The Perfect Pairing – Tortellini Veggie Soup

Posted by casey on June 30, 2010 in In The Kitchen, The Main Show

When I suggested this summer recipe to you, I also mentioned that it would be served well with a nice, light soup. Well, this is that soup.  Yes, I think you could add some more spice to it, even just more salt and pepper to your taste but the recipe gives you a good, fresh starting point.

Tortellini and Vegetable Soup

2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
Carrots Halved Lengthwise (at least two, I did about 6)
2 Zucchinis Halved Lengthwised and Thinly Sliced
2-4 Stalks of Celery Sliced
6 Cups of Chicken Broth
1 Pound Fresh or Frozen Cheese Tortellini (I mean who really has Fresh? Come On.)
2 Chopped Plum or Roma Tomatoes
1/4 Cup Fresh, Flat Leaf Parsley Chopped
1/4 Cup Freshly Grated Parmesan

1. In a large saucepan over medium high heat, warm the two tablespoons olive oil.

2. Add the carrots, celery and zucchini.  Saute until softened, approximately 5 minutes.

3. Season with salt and pepper to your taste.

4. Stir in the broth and bring to a boil. ( I transferred everything from a saucepan to a Dutch Oven at this point to make things easier.)

5. Add the tortellini and cook for 5 minutes, or according to the package directions.

5. Stir in the tomatoes and parsley and then season again to your taste.

6. Ladle the soup into bowls, drizzle with some extra olive oil and sprinkle with parmesan.

 
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I Spy

Posted by casey on June 29, 2010 in Snapshots

…a dirty, little white fluffyon the clean sheets.
What do you see?

 
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Infamous – CKaz Apple Pie

Posted by casey on June 25, 2010 in In The Kitchen, Sweet Treats

I’m feeling generous today.  I’m also feeling patriotic with all the red, white and blue that is around.  Put those two together, and it is time to share my infamous Apple Pie recipe with you.  Infamous because I got orders for this guy (yes, the pie is male) especially come holiday time.  Seeing as how it makes quite the dessert for a 4th of July BBQ I thought that also made this perfect timing so you could get up the guts to test this one out.

First though, a couple warnings.  This is by no means healthy apple pie.   It is pie.  It shouldn’t be healthy.  It should however be delicious, which it is.  So just accept it, don’t grunt at the ingredients and dig in.  Second, it does require homemade crust which I will also give you.  Don’t be afraid to make your own crust, you can do it.  Third…okay there is no third, but it seemed strange to end after “second”.  Here we go.

The Crust
5 Cups Flour
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1 Tablespoon brown sugar
2 Cups Shortening
1/2 Tablespoon Vinegar
1 egg beaten
Water

– Mix all of the dry ingredients together.  Cut the shortening into the dry ingredients until crumbly.  Set aside
(Don’t know what “cutting into” means?  Take a butter knife and repeatedly slice through the shortening into the dry ingredients and it will start to break up and crumb up.)
– Combine the beaten egg and vinegar in a liquid measuring cup.  Now add water to the cup until there is a total of one cup of liquid inside.  Add this to the dry ingredients slowly.
– Mix the dough until it begins to stick and form a ball. To avoid over mixing, once it sticks you are done.  (It is okay if you see clumps of shortening and it isn’t smooth – let it go.)

Technically this makes about three 9 inch crust rounds.  You need two for the pie and I like rolling them out extra big so that I have plenty.  So divide the dough into two balls and form them into discs on heavily floured wax paper.

** Suggestion:  Flour wax paper underneath the dough and pat into a disc.  Then, sprinkle flour on top of the dough and place another sheet of wax paper on top to roll out on.  This will prevent sticking and allow you to roll a smoother crust round. **

Carefully transfer one crust into a 9 inch round pie dish and let the extra drape over the side.  Keep the second dough to the side until the pie is filled.  The second round it to cover the top.

That’s it! You don’t bake this one prior to filling it, so just let it sit while you mix the pie ingredients.  How are you doing?  Scarred?  Hopefully not.  Remember, if you have a question or something wasn’t clear you can always email me at lifeofthekazmanns@gmail.com and I will get back to you pronto!

____________________________________________________________________

Apple Pie

7 Granny Smith Apples
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 Tablespoon Cornstarch
3 Tablespoon Melted Butter
3 Tablespoon Sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/3 cup light corn syrup
3 Tablespoons light corn syrup
2 Tablespoons butter softened
1/2 cup light brown sugar
2 Tablespoons flour

First, peel and core the apples.  Then, slice them into thin slivers and pile them into the pastry crust lined dish you prepared with your crust.

Combine the cornstarch, salt, 3 Tablespoons melted butter, 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon, 3 Tablespoons sugar, and 1/3 cup light corn syrup.
Pour this over the apples in your pie dish.

Now depending on how gooey and unhealthy you like your apple pie, you can do a couple of things.  You can leave it just like that or you can double the above “goo” and pour another round on it.  You can also add more cinnamon in that mixture if you prefer it that way.  Just a few tips here and there.

Take the second crust round you rolled out and drape it over top your apples.  Cut off the excess around the edges and pinch to seal.  You can use your fingers to pinch in ridges or design the crust how you like.  Once sealed cut six slits in the top to vent while baking.

Bake the pie at 425 degrees for 30 – 45 minutes and take out to add topping. (It may look ready, but you aren’t quite done.)

Topping
Combine 1/2 cup light brown sugar, 2 Tablespoons softened butter, 3 Tablespoons corn syrup, and 2 Tablespoons flour.  It will seem thick and hard to work with.  Gently spread this over the top of the crust you just removed from the oven.  It won’t spread at first so just place clumps of it around and it will soon start to melt.  Yes it will look kind of like a syrup when it melts.    It might look strange to you, but it is delicious and adds the final flavoring you need!

Now put your pie back in the oven for approximately 10 minutes or until the topping you just spread start to bubble.

Remove and cool 30 minutes (it will still be plenty warm inside) before serving.
Mmmmmmmmm mmmmmmmmmm apple pie!

 
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The Congrats Goes To…

Posted by casey on June 22, 2010 in Add the Caption, Contests & Giveaways, Snapshots

Can you tell that Caden is excited to announce that the  winner of  a Starbucks gift card from our two caption contest pictures is…..

 Norma 

 

I went to each picture to pick a favorite and then was going to pick out of those two.  The first picture was a toss up between Leah’s comment and Norma’s, but in the end I thought that “Mouthwash dude!” really captured Caden’s facial expression as well as the whole of what Thrasher was doing to begin with.

The simplicity of “Immortality” as the caption for the second picture was too good to pass up.  Thanks everyone for entering both pictures and be on the lookout for another contest soon.

 
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Moving In – Memory Two

Posted by casey on June 22, 2010 in Home, Life as I Know It, Uncategorized

(Don’t know where this starts? You must have missed Memory One)

Memory two starts that same move in day as I waited with my family outside of our dorm entrance for them to open so we could start that dreaded hike up to the fourth floor.  I went “potluck” for my roommate which means we had never met, just talked on the phone prior to move in.  I was anxiously looking around at the other families trying to not be obvious that I was scoping them out attempting to find this mystery roommate.  I saw this one girl who I immediately thought looked quite nice.  Nice as in kind.  A gentle spirit.  Someone with a sweet soul.  You know, that kind of a person.  Yes, just from looking at her and the family that surrounded her that is what I thought.  Since we were moving into the same dorm and you always here about all the “new friends” you will gain I was wondering if she would be one.  I remember a brief smile we shared passing each other on the stairs as we carried things up and then guess what?  She carried her things into the room next to mine. :)

I know, you were thinking she was going to end up being my room-mate, but nope, my suite-mate.  The adventures of my room-mate are a whole other hilarious story with quite the unexpected ending that I will probably keep to just our memories. (I love you Carah- Beth!)   I absolutely for the life of me can’t get the image of her and her family out of my memory when I saw them in their getting her all settled in.  Unfortunately this also means that I can’t picture her sister as junior in college and her brother as a freshman as they are now….they are both still young’ins in my brain. This girl and I were suitemates, so we shared a bathroom along with both of our roommates but not rooms.  That was the key.  We could see each other whenever we wanted, but if we needed some alone time or were trying to “study” we could just close our doors to the common bathroom and keep to ourselves which we rarely did.

Seven years ago, I met Jordy.  Well Jordan.  But for some reason or another I don’t think I have ever called her Jordan.  Only Jordy.  In fact, I referred to her the other day to Colter as Jordan and he had no flipping clue who I was talking about.  Seven years!!!  In seven years we have….made some memories we like to keep private while in school, eaten WAY too many chocolate chip cookies from The Commons cafeteria, road-tripped to each other’s homes, helped each other through illnesses, guided me through the death of my Mom, graduated, shared in my wedding, moved states apart, visited (and made some new memories we should forget) and most recently shared in another wedding and the birth of Caden.  Do you know what seven years means? 

 We’re old.

Fine, it means that we truly are great friends.  (Check out that picture quality. You have to love self-taken pictures of yourselved with 1st generation digital cameras. Yikes!) Regardless of how our lives change and that her being in Arizona and me being here means we can’t experience everything together it means that we can get together every so often, throw on some pajamas and catch up.  That is what we did last June when I went to see her in all of her single glory as the “old, married friend”  This June she came to see me…as a new married woman and I now the old, married..Mom.  My how things can change in a year, but we can still pick right back up, chat on all the things we missed in that year and then look forward to the next visit.  There is something about friends you have history with, friendships that don’t require awkward encounters or excuses for why you haven’t called.  Friends that you can have your differences and still just keep plugging along because somewhere along the way you have added them to your sense of family.  Thanks Jordy for making the trip for a whirlwind weekend to well, sit around and coo at Caden with me.  Only good friends will leave home to travel so that they can do absolutely nothing in another state with someone else.  I think these seven years have treated us quite well.

 
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Moving In – Memory One

Posted by casey on June 22, 2010 in For Your Funny Bone, Home, Life as I Know It

Seven summers ago, my Dad, brother and Mom helped me haul countless containers of unnecessary “survival supplies” up four flights of stairs so I could begin my freshman year of college at Texas A&M University.  There are two things I distinctly remember about this day.  The first has to do with the final drop-off.

When my brother had gone to college four years prior we all sat around until the evening making sure things were hooked up, unloaded his bedding and getting him good and settled in heading back that night to leave him to his new college life.  When I went, everything got hauled up four flights (not an easy task by any means), dumped in the center of my room in a pile (picture various electronic cords woven together like snakes) and then we went to lunch.  Driving back to the dorms after lunch I was thinking everyone was going to get back out and now assist me in getting my computer hooked up, etc.  We rolled up to the entrance of the dorm (which means we stopped on the street) and my Dad and brother said, “Welp, I guess this is it. Time to go.”

I thought they were joking.  I mean time to go?  Funny, guys…real funny.  They always crack jokes and I figured this was one of them, until they turned around to look at me in the back seat as if, “Why are you still sitting here, traffic is backing up behind us.”  I must have looked at my mom with eyes like a mouse who just saw the cat stalking her, because she told the men in our family to circle the dorms a couple times because she would walk me back up.  Mercy.

A tearful goodbye (half because I was sad to leave her and half because I hadn’t the first clue how to sort through the mess that was my dorm alone) left me alone watching everyone else get their room all set-up and perfect so that they would feel nice and secure.  I was on the phone bauling to my Mom in less than an hour that I couldn’t figure out how to hook up my computer so my brother finally walked me through it via cell.  A great way to start off the college experience right?  I got up at the crack of dawn to begin my first day of rush the next day surrounded by boxes watching all of the other girls come out of their bright and neatly organized rooms as if they had lived there for months already.  All ended well, but that is memory one.  A good one don’t you think?

Memory two will come this afternoon!

 
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The House Knows

Posted by casey on June 19, 2010 in Home, Life as I Know It

This house, the one to the left – yeah, that one – it knows.  Maybe you thought that I wouldn’t personify a house too, but I’m not personifying if it really has the ability to know things and it must.  This house knows when the husband is away.

1. Two hours after the husband I mentioned above left for five days the garage door decided to refuse to go down.  I guess it thought that if it waited long enough he would come back, park his car and then it could shut itself.  Well guess what garage?  I had five days ahead of me and an open garage was not going to cut it.  So, we got to play a little game.  You all know it, the one where you press the button for it to go down and try to get it to go as far as it well before making that screeching noise, halting and starting to open again.  Then, when you hear that screech you jam down the garage button as hard as you can again so that it will come to a stop at the lowest point it is willing to sacrifice itself to.  I finally got it to lower itself enough that a person most likely couldn’t crawl under, but creatures could. Last week we had this creature visit out garage so it was already a squeamish situation before the open garage scenario came into play.  This whole game gets really fun when I am trying to leave with Caden.  It goes a little something like this.
A. Go out to the garage and play the button game to get it to actually go up this time. (Pray that you don’t run into another creature that has made it’s way under the gap)
B. Back my car out into my driveway and run back inside the garage.
C. Play the button game until it closes to its lowest point, yet again.
D. Throw Caden in his carseat. (Of course I mean, gently place in and strap in ever so delicately.)
E. Battle the dogs to leave through the front door.
F. Repeat upon return.

2. I was hungry and not feeling like going to the store for one person. So, being the good wife I thought I would try and take care of some leftovers since my husband is the true leftover King and usually does that for me.  Pop them out of the container into the microwave and after pressing start I thought to myself that the microwave didn’t usually hum quite like that.  I peeked and everything looked fine – light on, spinning the food around while heating it with some radiation, you know, the usual.  The strange thing that happened though was when I took them out of the microwave those leftovers were still cold.  That humming I heard, was the heat component no longer working.  A microwave that doesn’t heat?  Perfect.  (I suppose it did get me out of eating those leftovers though)

3. We have this schmancy water system.  A schmancy, expensive water system that is now making the kitchen faucet sound like a toilet that is running with that constant trying to fill it up sound.  I tried to make it stop.  I poked, prodded and twisted and then when it made the sound still I thought about ripping the damn thing out.  That thought made me see dollar signs though so instead I got ear-plugs.

4. I spent a great deal of time re-doing this closet we have under the stairs making it crazy organized, clean, pretty and functional while still serving the purpose of storage space too.  I just finished it a few days ago.  Today when I came home from running errands the door to that closet was open which was quite odd.  Don’t worry nothing creepy was waiting to jump at me just the entire shelf (previously put in, not a fault a shotty craftsmanship by yours truly) had ripped out of the wall dumping the contents of the shelf EVERYWHERE. Thank you very much holes in the wall.

  How does the house know he wasn’ t there to fix it?  Lets all hope it just ends with that.

 
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Caption Contest

Posted by casey on June 17, 2010 in Add the Caption, Contests & Giveaways, Snapshots, Uncategorized

The first picture we tried this out with is here.  On the line this time is a nice Starbucks gift card to treat yourself with mailed straight to your casa.  Now the rules.  You have two chances.  You can post a caption/title to the picture in the comments section for the first picture we did, or the one below, or both.  But, you can only post one caption for each picture.  The winner will be announced on Friday afternoon, so you have two days to enter!

(Due to subscriber e-mail error, the contest has been extended to Monday!)

 
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Caden the Toddler – Okay Not Quite

Posted by casey on June 16, 2010 in Caden, Caden's Chronicles, Family

Since I have practically made it to to his “Four Month Birthday” since giving you the 3 month update I probably should have just waited another week or so…but you have been complaining, so I owe you.  I’m sorry.  Memorial Day hit and Caden and I have been going non-stop ever since.

What have we been up to?

– Caden had his first trip to the zoo.  No I didn’t take him because I thought he would like it. We went to accompany my almost two year old niece.  Did he like it you wonder?  We’ll never know, he slept the whole time.

– He survived Colter’s 25th birthday get-together and all the attention for him that went along with it.  He chills out pretty well and doesn’t let anyone else, or any noise get in the way of his routine so that makes it nice.

– He met his Great Grandma Orr!  It is just so wonderful to watch her holding him and to be flooded with all of my childhood memories of the best grandparents one could ask for.

- Pop came in town and got to see how grown up Caden has become since seeing him when he was born.

As usual I have exaggerated in the title but this kid is growing up fast! It just makes us see how quickly it all will go and also makes us feel like tomorrow he will be a toddler already!  While his last few updates were about him being evicted, all is well in Caden’s bachelor pad and he has officially dropped all of his night time feedings.  I suppose he fattened himself up enough that he decided he could live off of the storage fat in his cheeks and on his muffin top instead of waking up to eat more. 

Well, the little tike has put himself (with a little help) in quite the routine now which makes life well, predictable.  A good predictable.  Not the boring where is the spontaneity in life kind of routine.  (Trust me, a spontaneous baby makes life interesting…when is he going to eat, sleep etc. is challenging)  So predictable is good. Are you ready for the schedule, I know you are just dying to be involved. He eats every three hours starting at 7 a.m. and takes cat-naps (30-35 min long) an hour to an hour and a half after he eats.  However, if the day allows he really likes to take a long nap after his one o clock feeding.  So there you go, predictable.  We start his wonderful bedtime routine around 9:00 and after his 10:00 – 10:30 feeding he is off to bed for the night.  If we are really lucky he sleeps straight until 7 a.m. but occasionally he starts to stir before then.

Now for the fun stuff. 
 –  He laughs.  Throws his head back and laughs hard.  Brings tears to his eyes laughing.  Big, chuckling laughs.  You can’t help but start laughing yourself.  I keep thinking about how I need to get this on video bit he is usually laughing at me.  Ironically he likes to laugh when we are trying to have “serious conversations” with him such as telling him we love him, or when Colter tells him to be good before going out of town.  Hopefully he won’t always laugh at us when we want to have  a discussion of sorts!

– He LOVES his hands. Sucks on them, bites on them, holds them, looks at them, even uses those little appendages to rub the pups when they lay by them.  However, he still hasn’t completely mastered the fact that he has arms.  If you see those babies whose arms just kind of flail for no reason…yeah, he still does that.  In the morning he is fine and will still lay down and sleep without them helicoptering him awake…but in the afternoon/evening “What the heck are these things flying by me and why are my hands attached to them?”  Progress, we are making progress.  Since he holds things and eats his hands it is a matter of days until the arms will officially belong to him in his eyes. Duh. :)

– He has found his feet! The problem is that he has found them with his eyes, not his hands.  So instead of laying on his back and grabbing them with his feet, he sits up and then tries to fold over forward to eat them while staring at them intently.  This proves problematic for the chunkster because his gut gets in the way not allowing him to fold quite enough which leaves him hovering above his feet drooling.  Awesome right?  He almost has them on his back so it is also only a matter of days until he will be eating his feet as well. Mmmmm mmmm, love those limbs!

– If at three months we thought he was drooling, HA! Now he can soak an outfit down to his belly button in ten minutes.  Thus, laundry has increased yet again.  It is pretty funny though watching him blow those spit bubbles and try to figure out what to do with all that dang saliva.

I will have more interesting stories for you accompanied with a little humor I’m sure about what we have done this past month but for now, what you all are really skimming this thrilling post for…the pictures.  Enjoy!

Our Big Boy

 
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Ay Yi Yi!

Posted by casey on June 13, 2010 in Home

This isn’t an interesting post.  Just a post of excuses, and a post of what is to come – hopefully.  I was doing so good writing semi-regularly for you and then well, we got busy.  A few things to add to the “excuses as to why I have slacked off” pile and a preview of all the wonderful things you will be hearing about soon.

– Caden is a 3 1/2 month old drool monster.  He is happy, chatty and always wants to play.  The kid went and grew up since the last post.

– We had a golf outing/cookout/come see the baby/celebrate Colter’s quarter-life crisis birthday get together at the house.

– That get together occurred on the same day that my Dad and Grandmother flew in from Florida. 

– I went into an organization fit that all started with a messy spice cabinet and now it looks as though we just moved into our house.  A spiral I tell you, a spiral.

– That spiral then led to my husband deciding he wanted to put hardwood floors in and tearing into the dining room.

– Annnnndddd on top of my house being a boobie-trapped obstacle course, my Dad being in town to visit Caden and  moving out of my classroom I am anxiously awaiting the arrival of Jordy this week.

Did I mention that my shoulder blade is all jacked up, I have a pinched nerve in there as well as something funky going on with all of the muscles that has rendered my right arm useless?  At least it should be useless, but alas, I press on.

I promise, I will return to you.  First about Caden, then about the house mess, and then about friends.  I even have three recipes for you too!  Say a prayer for my home…it is a disaster.

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