Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Homecoming Week Highlights

Last week was homecoming week at Nate's school. They call it "old School Spirit Week" and they have great stuff every day to do. It is a competition between the classes, with the class with the most points at the end of the week being declared the winner. Classes are denoted by color: Freshmen are green, Sophomores are orange, Juniors are blue, and Seniors are red. Each day they are invited to dress the theme (Monday- 60's, Tuesday-70's, Wednesday-80's (There's also a powder puff football game that night), Thursday-90's, and Friday-Spirit Colors, and there are competitions at lunch. The middle and elementary feeder schools participate also, even in dressing up. The week culminates with the float competition at the game, and the vote for king and queen. A table is set up at the entrance to the game. All students...even the elementary ones, get in free and they get to vote. Saturday night is the dance, which was held at a bowling alley. Nate is not a "dress up" kinda guy, but he did wear red every day (even took a red shirt with him on Friday (game days the football team wears white dress shirts, purple or black ties,dress pants and shoes. This year...The Seniors WON!!!
It was great, and I got to see it all on the school website!

 The seniors commandeered the flag pole at the school, putting their class flag up in place of the Arizona state flag.
 Nate participated in the class tug of war. Lots of strong football players helped.
 Cheering on the classes (Nate is right behind the guy with the drums and the Senior Flag holder.

 There was a sock soccer competition. It was kinda funny, because when I watched the video of this later, I saw my football player touch the soccer ball, and then pull his hands quickly and innocently away...forgot that in soccer...NO HANDS! The seniors won this competition.
 Thursday, this was a crack up...The whole school plays "Simon Says", and as an error happens, people are eliminated, leaving the winner representing his/her class. Nate is in the back row...third from the left...with his football players friends.

 Friday, the Seniors had so many points that they were declared the winners. Their float didn't win but it didn't matter. He is near the flag in the very back behind his friend Dakota in dress shirt and tie.
 Homecoming Game vs. Tempe Prep.
 Team comes on the field, with cheerleaders and marching band waiting. (this school is awesome...a relatively small charter high school, but they offer everything a regular high school does.)
 Team captains go for the coin toss. Nate is 72.(I know I post this every time, but he may not be one of the captains for every game...and I just cannot get over it...every time I see MY kid walk out there, I just cry...I never thought MY kid would be one of the captains!)

 National Anthem

And finally, the dance. This is Nate's girlfriend, Jessica. I was so impressed with him...didn't know at the time, but he actually dressed to match her! Quite the deal for a Rice boy!!! (Thank YOU, Jessica, for the guidance.)

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Pictorial: The Making of a Mohawk

Old School Spirit Week...the week at Nate's school leading up to the homecoming game. Class competitions, powderpuff football, all sorts of great things to do! The football team celebrates by getting matching haircuts, of sorts. Originally, it was meant to scare the opposition (however, I continue to question...how are they scared? The hair, or lack thereof, is covered with a helmet!) Anyway, this has been growing since the beginning of school! Nate's hair begins to curl as it grows, and last Sunday, as I looked at him officiating in the Sacrament portion of our meeting, I was glad to know this was the LAST Sunday of that!

Anyway, Morgan was here, and he got to "do the dirty deed".

Of course, after the trauma of a haircut of this magnitude, low fat brownies were in order. (too bad they burned in the pizza oven. Wood fire heat is really hard to know. The part that wasn't burned was good...at least, they thought so! Thanks Morgan for saving me the trauma of trying to cut this!

Stuff I've Made

I had so much "energy" that I even got to do a few fun things.

First, I made this countdown chart that I saw on a blog  I do need to make an "October" sign for it. The guys like it...Dee keeps asking if it's October 1st yet!

Then, I made this tutu for a 19, almost 20 year old. She saw me working on Grace's and wanted one for herself...of course, in black and hot pink. At first, it was just going to be for work...she works at Party City...but Monday, she wore it to college! Her voice teacher LOVED it and was going to make one for her daughter...so easy!

My pumpkin obsession continues...I just love pumpkins... and this one...so easy. Again, silly me...no link. I got it off another blog, and I saw it all over the place. Take a toilet paper roll, wrap a piece of newspaper around it (I used one page of an old Walgreens ad) and then wrap with a scrap of fabric, tucking all loose ends into the hole it the top. I added a cinnamon stick that I picked up at the dollar store...and rafia makes everything better!

Hawaiian Meatballs

I tried something new last week...got this recipe off of Facebook...A sweet girl I used to drive to school when she was in 7th grade...now she's a wife, mom of 2 1/2, and shared this recipe with me...Again, no pics...they ate it before I could plate it! It was really good!

Hawaiian Meatballs

1 lb. meatballs
2 2/3 c. beef broth (I double most sauce recipes...we like 'em saucy! So her amount was 1 1/3 c. which she says is one 10.5 ounce can (20 oz.) pineapple chunks
1 can (20 oz) pineapple chunks (didn't double this)
1/2 c. red wine vinegar (didn't have any, so I used apple cider vinegar)
1 c. sugar
2 Tbsp. soy sauce
1 tsp. salt
2 c. green bell pepper (I had orange cut up and frozen, so I thawed and that is what I used)
2 Tbsp. corn starch mixed with 1/4 c. cool water - mix to make a slurry

Put meatballs in large saucepan. Combine all ingredients except cornstarch in a bowl, then pour over meatballs. Bring to a boil, then lower heat and simmer 15 minutes. Add the cornstarch slurry and return to boil until thickened. Serve over rice.

I kept the meatballs out, mixed and thickened the sauce, heated the meatballs separately (some only like beef, some only like turkey), and put meatballs and then sauce on the rice.

Make Ahead Meatballs

This is a make a great recipe for a meal now, and meals later. I have a senior high school football player that is a "fat hawk". He has found that if he limits fat, he has less digestive issues, and becomes lean and mean. So, he eats lots of pasta, lots of sub rolls, and, if I have a bag of these on hand, he gets protein, and gets full. Remember, I said a senior high school football player!

Meatballs Made Ahead

4 eggs (yes, I keep in the yolks...shhh...don't tell him!)
2 cups dried bread crumbs (at first, I purchased, but making them yourself...so easy, and cheap!)
1 T. salt
2 T. Worcestershire sauce
1 - 2 t. ground white pepper (my guys like heat!)
4 pounds lean ground meat (I made two batches, one with 93% lean ground beef, and one with 90% lean ground turkey)

In a large bowl, whisk eggs. Add salt, Worcestershire sauce, and pepper and mix well. Then, crumble the meat in the bowl and mix well, till liquid and meat are very distributed. Then add the bread crumbs. This make take some "hand work" but if you mix up the liquid into the meat, it is not too bad, or too messy. Use scoop and then shape into 1"-2" balls. Place on foil or parchment covered cookie sheet. Bake at 400f. for 10 - 15 minutes. Cool.

I take a meal's worth (I use 12) and put them in a zip type freezer bag and then store in the freezer. When you are hungry, it takes just a few minutes to warm them and put them in your favorite sauce. We have tried, of course, marinara (Ragu is a favorite) or my own, barbecue sauce. This time, I used the recipe for Hawaiian Meatballs, and it was awesome!

Quick Chicken Creole

Last week, I was fighting a nasty cold/lung thing. Hence, I was taking sudafed (the good stuff...not that ineffective over the counter product), and got LOTS done. Also, son who had been away was with us, so I wanted to make some good home cooked meals (I cook every night...but the "good" is often up for debate). Here is one of our favorites. I have even used bell peppers (gotten at a great sale) that I have cut into 1 inch pieces and put in freezer bags, and it tastes great!

Quick Chicken Creole

1 T. canola oil
4 medium boneless, skinless chicken breast halves, cut into 1" chunks
2 cans (14 oz.) tomatoes, undrainded (I use the Italian seasoned tomato chunks)
1 can tomato sauce
3 cups chopped bell pepper (I usually mix any that I can get...red, green, yellow, orange)
1 cup chopped celery
5 cloves garlic, minced
2 T. dried basil (I have fresh growing in the garden, so I used that)
1 T. dried parsley flakes
1/2 t. crushed red pepper (to taste. When I cook for my mom, I leave it out till I save her serving, then add it)
3 cups steamed rice (I use brown jasmine rice from Trader Joes)

Heat the oil in a large skillet and saute the chiken for about 8 minutes till it is done, with no pink. Add herbs and garlic and saute a couple of minutes. Then add the celery and bell peppers. I cook this about 10 minutes, to get the raw taste out. Then I add the tomatoes and sauce. Simmer for 20 minutes.

Serve over 1/3 cup steamed rice.

Yield: 8 servings

Sorry, no picture. By the time I finished, the group was starving and they didn't want to wait for me to "pose the plate".

Monday, September 13, 2010

Warning: Braggy Mom!

I don't want to be a braggy mom. My kid is part of a super football team, win...or lose. They are the very best guys, raised by outstanding parents. Football is truly a team effort: everyone has to keep their guy from getting wherever he wants to get to, plus watch for others who need help. I used to watch my #72 on the sidelines...back and forth up the sidelines...waiting for a brief chance to get into the game. The next year, he played more, but I still had to really LOOK in the school photographer's pictures to see him: watching for "his" shoe, "his" glove. This year, his senior year, HE is one of the big guys...one of the stars. So, as I check each picture on the school website, I find him...over...and over...and over. I am totally in awe...not that he is better than anyone else, but that he is part of a group of great people, that he has great coaches that have taught, and prepared him well. And so, I look, and smile...and smile...and smile. Not proud...much! More than all...thankful...for those great guys that throw, catch, block, kick, run, and intercept, for the BEST coaches he could have for the past three years...and, most of all, for another night where EVERYONE walks off the field!