Sunday, May 31, 2009

Manteno Middle School ~ Eighth Grade Promotion

Nikos with his brother and sister.
Steven (left), Nikos (middle), Lauren (right)

Eighth Grade Promotion
Thursday, May 28, 2009 at 7:00 PM

Nikos received an Excellence Award from Mr. Patterson's Eighth Grade Social Studies Class in recognition of earning straight "A's" in Social Studies.
Language Arts received an "A"
Science received an "A"
Algebra received a "B" (4 points away from an A)

He did very well. We are very proud to be his parents.

Believe in yourself, what you think, what you feel,
Believe in the truth, in the good, the ideal.
Believe that your dreams can someday become real...
Forever and always ~ Believe.
Believe in yourself and in what you can do.
Believe in the good that you strive to pursue~
Believe in friends that believe in you too...
Forever and Always~Believe

He's a FRESHMAN now.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Memorial Day Special Feast ~ Chicken and Tomatillo Tamales

2 pounds of tomatillos.
Remove the husks.
In a large dutch oven, combine tomatillos and water to cover. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat; boil for 8 to 10 minutes, or until tender.

Drain tomatillos, reserving 1 1/2 cups cooking water.

Puree tomatillos.

2-3 pound rotisserie chicken, skin removed and meat shredded.

1 package dried corn husks

Soak in warm water for 30 minutes.

1 onion chopped and 4 cloves garlic minced.

In a small skilled, melt 2 tablespoons butter over medium heat. Add onion and garlic; cook for 5 to 6 minutes, or until tender.

In a large bowl, combine pureed tomatillos, onion mixture, chicken, 2 cups Monterey Jack and Colby cheese (I added mexican cheese also), cumin, chili powder, salt and pepper. Cover and set aside. Mixture can be made one day ahead.

Beat 2 cups all-vegetable shortening until fluffy. Combine 6 cups masa harina with salt, cumin, chili powder, pepper and salt. Gradually add to shortening beating until smooth. Gradually stir in reserved 1 1/2 cup tomatillo cooking water, beating until mixture is smooth.

Drain the corn husks, and pat dry. On a clean, flat surface, place 1 husk, small end facing up. Spread about 2 tablespoons masa mixture over husk, leaving a 2-inch border at bottom and top of husk, but covering right 4 inches of husk. Masa mixture should be about 1/8 inch thick. Spread about 2 tablespoons chicken mixture down center of masa mixture. Roll up tamale, starting from the right side, to completely enclose masa mixture and chicken mixture. Cut 4 corn husks into 1/8 inch wide strips. Tie top end (the small end) of tamale with a corn husk strip.

Repeat procedure with remaining corn husks, masa mixture, and chicken mixture.

A little time consuming.........I had to have Steve help me:) The whole procedure took 4 hours. Now it's time to steam for 25 minutes.

It was worth every minute. Homemade Tamales with Mexican sour cream, cheese and salsa. Fresh sliced watermelon.
Mango Martini and Iced Tea
For dessert we had Nikos favorite.........Homemade cheese cake:)
I really enjoyed making the Tamales. It was fun, you should try them.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Sunday Evening ~ Memorial Day Weekend

Before or after dinner enjoy this Mango Martini.
1 cup fresh mango
2 1/2 cups water
2/3 cup sugar
1/2 cup lime juice
1/2 cup Malibue caribbean Rum with coconut flavor
Place sliced mango in a blender or food processor; process to puree. Add remaining ingredients and process until smooth. Next get out your Cuisinart Automatic frozen yogurt-ice cream and sorbet maker. Pour into freezer bowl, turn the machine ON and mix until slushy, about 20 - 25 minutes. Serve immediately as a frozen beverage. To serve as a frozen dessert, transfer to an airtight container and place in freezer until firm about 2 hours.

What's for dinner..............Carolina Shrimp and Grits

4 cups water
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup grits
1/2 cup butter
2 cups (8 ounces) shredded Cheddar cheese
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
3 eggs
3/4 cup half and half
Combine water and salt in saucepan. Bring to a boil. Gradually add grits and cook for 5 minutes, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and stir in butter, Cheddar cheese and garlic powder.
Beat eggs and half and half together. Add to grits
Pour mixture into greased 2 quart casserole. Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes.


1/3 cup diced onion

2 tablespoons butter, divided

21 to 26 fresh shrimp, peeled and de-veined

1 1/2 teaspoons herbs de provence

1 1/2 teaspoons cajun seasoning

2 sliced bacon cooked crisp

Minced fresh parlsey (out of my garden)

Lemon wedges

Saute onion in 1 tablespoon butter in saucepan until softened. Add shrimp, herbes de provence, Cajun seasoning and remaining 1 tablespoon butter. Cook. stirring constantly, until gray sauce forms.

Pour over grits and garnish with crumbled bacon, parsley and lemon.

Sunset in Manteno
After spending the day in the yard it doesn't get any better than a Shrimp and Grits dinner with a Mango Martini.......a quick trip to the gym........and a relaxing 1 hour in the HOT TUB. Stay tuned for Memorial Day dinner. You are going to love it.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Chicken Kabobs

Can you just smell these Chicken and Veggie Kabobs on my grill. The smell was wonderful and so was the day. I marinaded the chicken over night in this excellent marinade.
1 1/2 cups olive oil
3/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
2 T dry mustard
2 1/4 t salt
1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
1 T ground black pepper
1/2 cup red wine vinegar
1 1/2 t fresh parsley (just out of my garden)
2 fresh garlic cloves minced.
Combine all ingredients and mix well. Stove tightly covered in a mason jar for a week. Or you can freeze indefinitely.
The chicken was so moist and tender, you have to try it. Excellent. Then I added BBQ.
Stay tuned for tomorrows meal................

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Nikos makes his Confirmation

"I will ask the Father and He will send you the Holy Spirit to be with you always." [John 14:16]
Today was a very special day for Nikos. He made his Confirmation at 11:00 am, at St. Joseph's Church in Manteno, Illinois by Bishop, The Most Rev. J. Peter Sartain, along with our Paster Father Al Heidecke. Nikos chose his confirmation name to be Raymond. Steven was his sponsor.
Come, Holy Spirit!
the fire of your love.
Transform all that is fearful into boldness of heart.
Inspire your servants
with Wonder and Awe
at the mystery
of your presence.
your sons and daughters
in Compassion and Forgiveness.
Whisper Right Judgment
in the midst of confusion.
Be Wisdom in time of trouble;
Reverence in the face of diversity;
Patience with the unfolding of like
and forever anoint your messengers
with deep and lasting joy.
Nikos with Religious Education Catechists Mr. Larry Spiek.
Now for the party.
The appitizers.......Shrimp Cocktail, Nuts and Mom made Cheese Straws.
Mom and Dad enjoying a Mimosa cocktail:):)
Lauren and Steven.
Wow........Thanks Mom and Dad:)
Here is Nikos with his new Alienware PC. Hopefully, this will get him through college.
Hot Roast Beef sandwiches.........yum. I made them in the crock pot, and yummy wheat and white buns, can you smell them. Italian Salad, Fresh Fruit and Potato Salad. Ice Tea with Mint from my garden.
And what's for dessert........Do you want Banana Cream pie and Raspberry Jello pie. Tom picked Raspberry Jello pie.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Mother's Day Events

I brought Crab Cups with Caviar.
Kelly brought Marinated Shrimp. We all want the recipe. It was very good.
Lauri serving us Champagne Tea with fresh fruit. Very yummy.
White crisp linens with pretty pink tulip and potted flowers for everyone to take home.
Emily, Mom and Cara
Emily, Cara ~ pregnant with baby Kelsey, and Mom. Can't wait to meet Kelsey.
Kelly, Lauren and Lauri
Sisters ~ Kelly, Me and Lauri.....minus Kendy North Carolina is so far ~ we miss you. Emily and Caty
Arugala salad with lemon dressing and shaved cheese.
Stuffed Chicken Breast with mushroom sauce, fresh Green Beans/Carrots and Potatoes. Delicious.
Mom's famous Lime cookies and Oatmeal cookies in the middle. The Lime cookies seem to be everyone's favorite.
Mom's cookies and sherbert for dessert. Perfect.
Thank you Lauri you made Mother's Day with our family perfect.
It was a lot of work and I thank you.

Day two for my Martha Stewart flowers from Steven. They smell wonderful. The Magic Bullet from Tom and Lauren. Thank you I have been wanting one.
Nikos and Steve bought me a TV for the kitchen. Can't wait for Steve to mount it tomorrow.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Gardening on Saturday

Pinot Grigio gardening all day.... what a wonderful way to end the day......................:)
Hummingbird feeder - no birds yet
Finch feeder and my birds have been here.
Burning bushes........they will get bigger. Green in summer and red in the fall
Hens and Chicks
Beautiful isn't it.........Flowering Crab
Spring is here.....this is my Lilac bush
Tomato, Red Pepper, Cucumber and Zucchini
Tabasco Chili Pepper, Jalapeno Pepper and Mammoth Jalapeno Pepper
Basil, Oregano, Thyme, Rosemary and Dill
Cilantro, Tarragon, Parsley and Sage