Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Mom Sko's Pierogies

Yes, these are incredibly amazing and WELL worth the time and effort that go into making them. Every Easter all the ladies in Stephen's family get together and make these pierogies from scratch. Unfortunately, I always seem to miss out on this tradition because of the whole distance thing (booooo). I promised Hubs I'd learn how to make them, and his Mama is an excellent teacher! This is the exact recipe that my Mother-in-Law e-mailed me...literally word for word! I found it so detailed and helpful! She is an awesome cook and doesn't give herself nearly enough credit!

Give these a try! All you need is white potatoes, velveeta cheese, flour, eggs and water! Easy enough! I served them with some onions that I sautéed in butter. Hellooooo new tradition! Maybe some day Ella and I will be able to join the rest of the girls in NY! Until then, I hope I did these justice! Stephen said they were spot on (total win)! It was fun getting in touch with my Polish roots! I'm sure my Grandfather was smiling down more than usual!

Pierogies
*Just so you have an idea of amounts:
A 5 lb. bag of potatoes will fill about 120 pierogies.
One recipe of dough pockets will make about 15 pierogies.


Filling:
Peel & boil 1 ½ lbs. white, all-purpose potatoes until fork tender. (This will make a total of about 30 pierogies.)
Drain water & mash potatoes immediately.
Cut in ½ lb. or more of Velveeta cheese and mash and immediately mix with the hot potatoes until the cheese melts.
Cool & refrigerate until ready to fill pockets.

Dough Pockets *This recipe will make about 15 pockets
In a medium size bowl, pour in 1 level cup of all-purpose flour.
Add 1 large egg & using a fork, mix together with the flour.
Add about 5 Tablespoons lukewarm water & mix & knead with your hands to make a soft dough.
Add more water (a very little bit at a time) if dough is still too dry and not holding together.
Add a little more flour if your dough is too wet & sticky.
Work the dough in the bowl until it is a soft, workable dough. (Kind of like pizza dough.)

*Clean your working surface well before rolling out the dough.

Sprinkle some flour on the clean working surface and on the rolling pin.
Roll out the dough, pick it up & turn it over adding a little more flour to the working surface if needed so the dough does not stick to the working surface.
Keep rolling and turning the dough until it is the size of a pizza and not sticking to the working surface. It will be “elastic”y.
Dip a drinking glass rim in flour. (Glass with a 3 ½ in. diameter works well.)
Use the glass as a cookie cutter & twist the glass & cut out as many circles as you can.
Discard the leftover dough.
Make a new batch of dough if needed to make 15 more pockets.

Fill the middle of each circle of dough with about ½ Tablespoon of potato mixture.
Pick up the circle.
Dip your finger in a bowl of water & run your finger around the entire edge of the circle.
Fold the circle in half and pinch the edges together. (There shouldn’t be any potato filling oozing out the edges.) Do not puncture the dough when working with it.

Continue pinching the edges with some flour on your fingers.
Use the tines of a fork to seal the edge all around but take care not to puncture the dough that is surrounding the filling.
Place pierogies on a plate or cookie sheet & place in the freezer for a short while to harden them.
Pop them off the cookie sheet or plate & store in a ziplock bag.
Place in freezer right away until ready to cook.

Cooking:
Boil a pot of water.
Drop in about 10 pierogies and stir gently so they don’t break.
Bring to a gentle boil again.
When pierogies rise to the surface in a few minutes, they are done.
Lift them out of the boiling water with a slotted spoon to drain them.
Place in a frying pan with melted butter & just keep cooking & turning them a little bit on a medium fire so the outside gets slightly crispy.
Bring the water to a boil again & repeat the process with 10 additional pierogies until you have cooked the amount you want.
You can keep them in a bowl in a warm oven until the entire amount is all cooked & ready to serve.

Enjoy!!!!
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Sunday, April 27, 2014

What's cooking this week?

How on Earth is it Sunday again already?!? Every time I turn around, I feel like I'm thinking about the start of a new week. At work we're already planning all of our "end of the year" events (orientations, award ceremonies, dances...). My main focus right now is trying to motivate the students who are at risk of failing for the year. We're also getting the master schedule for next year in order! Ahhhh, summer's almost here! We're in the home stretch now, YIPPEEEEE!
Tonight: Mom Sko's Pierogies
Monday: Chicken and Black Bean Taco Salad
Tuesday: Greek Salad Wraps
Wednesday: Cream of Zucchini Soup and steak for Hubs
Thursday: Not cooking - Parent Night

Even though I'm terrified, I'm attempting my Mother-In-Law's yummy homemade pierogies later today! She sent me the recipe last week, and I've got to give them a whirl! This could be an absolute disaster, or an incredible accomplishment. I'll let Hubs be the one to decide. Whatever happens, I hope they're edible because that's all I've got planned for dinner! Wish me luck!

A Sunday blog post is never complete without pics of my sweet girl. Here are the many faces of Ella I've experienced so far this morning (don't mind the "crib head")! Happy Sunday! 
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Thursday, April 24, 2014

Our Easter

We usually drive down to South Florida to spend Easter with family, but this year they all came up to us to celebrate. I've got to admit, there's something special about having a holiday at home! It makes me feel like such a grown up! 
Of course this year was EXTRA special being that it was Ella's first Easter. We don't have any pictures with the Easter Bunny since he is seriously creepy.  My apologies! I took a little flack for that one. Apparently it's some rite of passage that I deprived my child of. Regardless of the "creepy factor"...that bunny seriously spoiled her! Maybe he's not such a bad guy? 

I tried to get a good picture of Ella in this adorable dress from my cousin Jeannie. She moves too much - it's impossible! This is the best I could do! I guess I'll have to get used to blurry pictures from now on!
We had dinner on the deck at one of my favorite restaurants. The food was insane! Baked feta, stuffed artichoke hearts, shrimp bisque....ohhhh man! We all had a great time, especially the little lady! This just might be our newest tradition!

Speaking of tradition, our eggs came out adorable. Check out the "Dapper Dozen"...
Hope you all had a lovely Easter Sunday too!
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Tuesday, April 22, 2014

First came love...

Two years ago today I married the love of my life. At the time I thought there would be no day greater. Turns out I was wrong. It was only the beginning, and since that incredible day there have been so many moments when I had that similar "on top of the world" feeling!
Last year we celebrated our first anniversary knowing that our sweet little girl would be arriving very soon! Basically, I felt like I was walking on a cloud the entire time. 
Obviously the day she was born was another high point (THAT was the best day). It's an indescribable feeling that I'm so happy I got to experience with such a wonderful husband by my side! We have experienced so many changes in the past year, I look at that couple holding the balloons and I can't believe we are those same people! Life has changed, and changed for the better!Not a day goes by that I don't realize how lucky I am to have him in my life. It won't be long before Ella realizes the same (actually I'm sure she already knows)! Stephen is such a loving husband and father, there isn't anything he wouldn't do for us girls. He is perfect for us in every way. 

First came love, then came marriage, then came Ella Rose.....next.....HOUSE!!! Year number three is already shaping up to be another good one! Happy Anniversary to US! 
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Friday, April 18, 2014

NTSST Stays

Let's address the elephant in the room....my blog has changed a little. Okay, a lottle! I'm less about the recipes and cooking and more about my Ella Rose. She is my world now, so naturally she's the focus of my blog! The transition started the minute I got pregnant, but lately I've been wondering if I should make an official switch. Do I change my blog or leave it as is"?!? I've decided to leave well enough alone (for now anyway) and just go with it! Here's why...
1. It still applies - Let's not be so literal! First of all we all know I've used the same spice twice (it would be impossible not to). We need to think a little deeper here, even beyond actual spices. I'm thinking more along the lines of every experience and day is different....things don't always turn out the way you expect...it's hard to plan ahead. Life unmeasured - get it? Am I  making sense?

2. I haven't thought of anything better - Believe me I've tried! Anything I've come up with so far is taken. I might consider a change if I could think of something completely creative and original. 

3. There is still some food - My weekly meal plans aren't going anywhere any time soon. Of course I will still post recipes that I want to share with you all. I do still eat, and I do still cook believe it or not! There are even a few recipes for baby food I plan to post!

4. It's a hassle - When I think about all of the steps that would be involved in a total blog overhaul I shudder. It's taken me a while to get to this point, I'm not sure I have the energy to start over. I'm not just talking about followers. Although, I'd like to think most of you would stick with me if I made an official change (no pressure or anything)! This is not a numbers game for me by any means. 

5. I just don't wanna - I'm not ready! I've grown attached to "Never The Same Spice Twice". This blog has evolved quite a bit over the past FIVE years. (A pretty big Blogiversary came and went this year and I missed it - total fail). Fun fact = It was first "A Day In The Life Of Sessy" for a while and I blogged about scrapbooking. No bueno, too boring although I do love my nickname Sessy!

When I came up with the name NTSST I fell in love. It's my blogger identity right now and I'm not prepared to give it up! I admit, a blog makeover sounds exciting and fun. For now, "ain't nobody got time for that". When it's time you will all know, but for now it's staying!

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Thursday, April 17, 2014

The Boys Behind The Blog {Link-up #11}

It's our ELEVENTH link-up and it's a good one! We took five of your guys questions from last month. Thanks Joe, Brian, Justin, Sam and Nate! You are all so creative! Hubs answered these questions way earlier than previous months...must have been because of all the great questions. I'm glad he remembered because my brain is total mush from work! I can't wait to come home tomorrow and read all of your posts!

I'll stop complaining about work and turn it over to this guy...Happy BBB Thursday!
1. Your significant other’s blog; a blessing or a curse?
A blessing. She’s met some really good people, brought some delicious meals to our table and shared some great stories. All in all, it’s been very positive.

2. Do you read your wife's blog?
Of course. Now, I can’t say that I pop in every single day however I do catch up at least once a week to see what she’s writing about me. I mean, I have to keep some kind of tabs, right?

3. What is one thing you can do better than anyone you know?
I make a mean chicken salad sandwich; award-winning, I dare say, if such an award existed. I also have this sixth-sense for selecting produce. Need a ready-to-eat, vine-sweetened cantaloupe? How about perfectly-ripened avocados for your guacamole? I'm your guy.

4. What is your favorite TV sitcom from the 90's?
Dinosaurs. Although, the entire TGIF lineup was pretty awesome – Family Matters, Step by Step, Full House, Boy Meets World, Hanging with Mr. Cooper. Now I’m getting all nostalgic.

5. If you were opening a small business or shop, what would it be? What goods or services would you sell?
I would open a small craft brewery. Most definitely.

Now grab a button, and link up with us!
Never The Same Spice Twice
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Sunday, April 13, 2014

What's cooking this week?

Hello gorgeous Sunday morning (again)! I've got my eye on the pool. I think another pool adventure is in order! Maybe we'll actually go all the way in this time. First thing's first...
Tonight: Thai Noodle Soup (never made this last week)
Monday: Not cooking
Tuesday: Taco Braid (my own spin on something like this)
Wednesday: Creamy Artichoke Soup and steak for Hubs
Thursday: Cucumber Avocado Subs
It's been a fabulous weekend even though I'm feeling like garbage. I've got this nasty cough and I'm beyond exhausted from this past week at work as we prepare for testing. We still had a wonderful day yesterday meeting up with my Uncle Ricky who was in town for a conference. We had lunch at a place called the Copper Canyon Grill and I couldn't pass up these INSANELY DELICIOUS fish tacos! 
Ella sat in the high chair like such a big girl. I didn't even think the bring the high chair cover because last time we tried (a few weeks ago) it didn't go too well. What a difference a few weeks makes! She sat and played so nicely for about an hour! Thankfully she had this yummy magnadoodle to keep her busy!

I'm getting a little bit of a late start today but there is still a lot I'd like to accomplish. We are running low on baby food so I plan to make another giant batch of deliciousness for my babes. I've got turkey tenderloins in the crock pot for her now. Yum! Happy Sunday everyone! 
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Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Down By The Pool

Another first for my girl! We finally took her for her first trip down to the pool. It's crazy to me that it's taken us this long to put this cutie in her suit and stick her little toes in the water. The pool has beach entry (that's a thing, I think). It was perfect because she was able to sit and splash right at the edge! The water was a little chilly so we didn't go all the way in this time. Ella seemed to enjoy her first of MANY pool-time experiences! I thought the watermelon teether was very appropriate...and refreshing! 
We are looking into buying her a float...let me know if you have any recommendations (preferably one with a shade). 
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Monday, April 7, 2014

Ella's Seven Month Update


This happy little girl has hit seven months already! Look at all of that hair! For me that it the biggest and most noticeable change. It's still too short for a clip, but maybe in a few months?! Another major change has been how this girl gets around. She is on the move! I can't say she crawls in the traditional sense. She certainly gets where she wants to go just by lunging, and then tucking and rolling. It's quite interesting to watch. Taking photos was much easier when she wasn't as mobile!
Another major change is that she sits up now. Not only does she sit up, she is now sitting up like a pro! It's hard to believe that I only posted this video on March 17th, because she sits up now like she has been doing it for months!

At the end of this month she got an ear infection. Poor kid can't catch a break. I KNEW something wasn't right since getting back from our trip. She had been SO cranky...it was rough! The Pediatrician said it was a combination of the acid reflux (she is back on the Prevacid) and an ear infection that was brewing. It's true what they say about a mother's intuition! I can't tell you how many times I said "something's up". Luckily she's back to her normal self! 

We've taken her to the park a few times, she LOVES the swing even though she hardly fits in it. This pic is from a few weeks ago when we drove down south to visit my Aunt and Uncle. She has been such a good girl with all of the traveling we have done this past month - including our NY trip. We are so proud of her. 
Thankfully this lady loves to eat. I've been introducing her to all sorts of yummy new foods I've been making for her. In the past month she has tried (and loved) peas, green beans, and even chicken! There isn't one food I could say that she dislikes. There was a freakout over peas one day at a friends house...I don't believe it was "pea-related" - she has had them since without any issues. This is the face of one satisfied baby!
We've been hearing a whole lot of "Ba-Ba" and "Ma-Ma"...no "Da-Da" just yet. She loves hearing her voice...lately she has also been making this funny growling sound, and screaming a lot!

Ella has been extremely playful. She still loves her vanity but I haven't been leaving it out as much since she starting pulling herself up on it. After she did a forward flip over it I decided it was time to put it away. Now her purse is becoming a favorite. She likes to empty it out, then load all of her toys back in. She still loves jumping in the jumparoo, climbing all over Daddy and I, and reading (chewing on) books!
The sleep routine was thrown a little off after our NY trip, but not too bad. It didn't take us long to get back to normal. She is going in a little earlier now because she naps less during the day. We start our nightly routine anywhere between 7:30 and 8...she usually goes down around 8:30 and sleeps until we wake her up around 6 during the week. On the weekends she sleeps until about 7:30. It's pretty nice! We have lowered her crib because this is what we see when we go in to get her. Uh-oh, she pulls herself up now! From what I hear, the fun is about to really begin! Love that little face!
Don't you want to just bite these cheeks?! They are hard to resist! Can't wait to see what the next month will bring. We are only a few days in...I've already seen so many changes! I'll have to save them for the next update. 
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Sunday, April 6, 2014

What's cooking this week?

Happy Weekend! It's such a gorgeous morning here in sunny Florida. We have the sliding door open, there's a nice breeze, I'm enjoying it before it gets too hot. This week needs to be simple in the meal department because I'm expecting some late nights as we prepare for testing next week. Here's my idea of "simple"....
Tonight: Crock-Pot Pasta Fagioli
Monday: Crock-Pot Tomato Basil Soup (never made this last week)
Tuesday: Turkey Meatloaf and green beans
Wednesday: Thai Noodle Soup
Thursday: Shrimp Tostadas

Ella is at that stage where everything she does is completely amazing to Hubs and I. Do they ever really grow out of that phase? She's been cracking us up as she discovers new things. I feel like I can't blink or I'll miss it! So that's what I'll be doing for the rest of the day today....not blinking! Right now she's finally napping in Daddy's arms. It's the sweetest. He's making the transfer to the glider right now....anddddd....success!!! That's how it's done! Enjoy your Sunday!
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Saturday, April 5, 2014

My Brother Rocks

It's been a little while since I've done a "my brother is the coolest" post. I'm due for one. After listening to his band The Vigilance Committee's new track 'Psychic Says Now', I figured it was as good a time as any! Ella loves listening to Uncle Peter's music. Seriously, she is bouncing to it right now! We are excited to hear the rest from their new album Lost Again which will be out on May 10th. I've always loved how intricate his music is. Check it out!
Pete has been playing the guitar for 12 years and now he is a Music Director and Guitar Instructor at The School of Rock. That place is just so amazing. We got a private tour when we were in NY. If you are considering music lessons for your little one...see if you have one located nearby! Pete has come such a long way since his first bands "MNOP", Moronik, and even Mystic Flavor (I wonder what was with all the "M's"). One MAJOR thing that stinks about living so far away is that we don't get to go to all of his shows. My parents are actually heading to one tonight to preview all of their new music. JEALOUS! For now I'll just listen to this song over and over again! Love you Bro! XO
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Thursday, April 3, 2014

The Boys Behind The Blog #11 - {Questions}

All five of this month's questions were submitted by the boys in March. Your men are so creative and Mal and I are thankful for the fresh ideas! Coming up with questions each month is harder than you think! We hope your husband/ boyfriend/ fiance/ best friend enjoy answering questions from other guys and we can't wait to read their answers on Thursday, April 17th!

The Boys Behind the Blog #11 
1. Your significant other’s blog; a blessing or a curse? - Joe @ Another Clean Slate 
2. Do you read your wife's (or insert relationship to blogger here) blog? Brian @ Heather's Hurrah
3. What is one thing you can do better than anyone you know?- Justin @ Our Fairy Tale
4. What is your favorite TV sitcom from the 90's? - Sam @ Jessie Jo At Home
5. If you were opening a small business or shop, what would it be? What goods or services would you sell? Nate @Kate & Trudy

We hope you can join us on April 17th!!!
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