Usually weekends that Brent's working are a little humdrum around here, but we were blessed with great company today! Dad, Louise and Joshua (our nephew) got here around noon today, and we picked up lunch at Arby's and had a picnic at the park. (Side note...lunch for 3 adults, Joshua and my kids at Arby's was TWENTY NINE DOLLARS. What in the heck?! Thanks for lunch, Dad and Louise! Next time I promise we'll hit McDonald's instead...) Dad ended up holding Blake at the picnic table, and I think Blake ate as much as Dad did--we couldn't believe how crazy Blake was about roast beef! Louise held Graham, and he was only interested in french fries.
We played on the playground at the park for a while, then came home to put the boys down for a nap (which Graham refused to do). We played football with Joshua, and Sophie and Graham rode around in their cars for a while while Blake napped.
My cousin LeAnn got the kids some great Halloween shirts that light up, so they all matched today. We tried to get them to pose for a picture, but this was the best they'd do. I think Grandpa was honestly shocked that they wouldn't sit still and smile so we could get a good picture...now we know why photographers make big bucks!! :-)
Tonight we had our friend Patti over for dinner, which is always a treat for us! I tried to put the kids to bed early (since they didn't nap well this afternoon) and that backfired on me...the first 30 minutes of our meal was spent listening to a chorus of three screaming babies. We finally got them calmed down, but I wonder if I've blown my chance of ever getting Patti to accept a dinner invitation from me again. :-) As is her nature, she handled it with graceful Southern charm. The food was tasty, though (if I do say so myself!), so here are a couple more recipes for you! We had grilled chicken/pesto/mozzarella paninis with the stew--I grilled them on my George Foreman grill and they turned out great! Classico makes a basil pesto in a jar that is really good.
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
2 pounds beef stew meat, cut into 1 inch cubes
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 tablespoons butter or margarine
1 large onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic cloves, minced
3 medium carrots, thinly sliced
2 celery ribs, thinly sliced
4 cups water
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon beef bouillon granules
1 teaspoon dried thyme
3 cups peeled, cubed pumpkin
In a large resealable plastic bag, combine the flour, salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Add meat, a few pieces at a time, and shake to coat. In a Dutch oven, brown meat in oil and butter. Add onion and garlic; cook and stir for 2-3 minutes. Stir in the carrots, celery, water, bay leaves, bouillon, thyme and remaining pepper. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 1-1/4 hours.
Stir in pumpkin. Return to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 20-25 minutes or until meat and pumpkin are tender. Discard bay leaves.
1 (29 ounce) can pumpkin puree
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
1 (12 fluid ounce) can evaporated milk
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 (18.25 ounce) package spice cake mix
1/2 cup coarsely chopped pecans
1/2 cup melted butter
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease a 9x13 inch pan.
In a large bowl, combine pumpkin puree, eggs, brown sugar, white sugar and milk. Stir in cinnamon, ginger, cloves and salt. Pour into pan. Sprinkle dry cake mix evenly over the pumpkin filling. Sprinkle pecans over the cake mix. Drizzle melted butter over all.
Bake in the preheated oven for 50 to 60 minutes, or until the edges are lightly browned. Allow to cool.