Thursday, September 22, 2016

Mexican Pizzas and Making Team Bags

We survived our league tournament a couple weeks ago (and victoriously, I may add)!  Before the tournament began, I made team welcome bags for all the high schools attending, as our school was hosting the tournament.

Tournaments are all day and can get a little tiresome and boring for the teens as there is fluctuating downtime in between their games.  Our gift bags included a deck of cards, crayons, puzzles (to build team bonding) as well as the essential chap stick, gum and Kleenex tissues.

Each team had their own customized gift bags complete with their school logo, 
and colors in the tissue paper and balloons included with each bag.

The final product looked really great with all the different colors going down the hall. 

As we also hosted this week's team dinner at our house, I made my infamous Taco Bar for the girls. We had grilled chicken, steak, flour and corn tortillas, lime rice, chips, salsa, guacamole, black beans, refried beans and all the fixings to go along.  Unfortunately the locusts (aka teenage girl athletes) inhaled my beautiful buffet before I could get a photo of it.  

We did end up with some leftovers, which I pulled together to make Mexican Pizzas for our "Bleacher Picnic", we had this week while watching one of their weeknight games.  Dinners during this time of year are challenging and need to be creative and quick for our hectic on the go schedules.

Mexican Pizzas 
Makes 4 Pizzas

8 flour tortillas
2 cups prepared and warmed refried beans
2 cups prepared, heated taco meat
2 cups Taco Blend shredded cheese
2 Roma tomatoes, diced
2 stalks green onions, chopped
sour cream, for garnish

Prepare a small amount of oil in skillet at medium high heat.  Cook flour tortillas for 30-45 seconds or until just golden brown on each side.  Drain on paper towels.

Top on first tortilla, a thin layer of refried beans, then top beans with taco meat.

Put other tortilla on top of taco meat.  Add salsa on top of the tortilla.  Top with Taco blend cheese.

Put a few diced tomatoes and green onions on top of cheese.

Put finished Mexican pizzas on parchment lined cookie sheet and bake at 400 degrees for approximately 20 minutes.

Cut into fourths and serve with sour cream on top.

Traveling Mexican Pizzas and Chips'n Salsa ready to go for our Bleacher Picnic.

I love that even 17 year olds still like to color with crayons and play with cards.
Of course, my teenagers were teaching the rest of their team how to play Blackjack...what can I say?! 
 In their defense, it does help with math skills, I've always said.

VICTORY!  Tournament win...a first in their school's history!!

One Year Ago: Chicken Lettuce Wraps
Three Years Ago: Nutella Cookies

Thursday, September 8, 2016

One Pot Cajun Shrimp Pasta and Project Overload

When we found out we were expecting twins, we decided we didn't want to know the sex of didn't matter to us, we just prayed for healthy babies.  We did a neutral room in the Baby Bugs Bunny theme.  Super cute little characters in soft pastel colors.

It seems so fitting now, because my brain has turned into the (Looney Tunes character) Tasmanian Devil these past few weeks.  You know the cartoon, where he blazes around in a tornado at warp speed...yes, that is me and my brain right here and right now for the next three months.

We have a lot going on in our house and high school at the moment.  Last weekend I took my girls' Senior portraits, which had my emotions all over the board.  I was really touched and honored though that they wanted me to take them...a memory that will last a lifetime.

This week is Homecoming and District Varsity Volleyball tournament that our school is hosting.  Half of our ping pong table has turned into a custom spirit wear art area.  We are doing a Homecoming Tailgate BBQ event that I am helping with and then the next day is the tournament that I am co-coordinating on.  I am in charge of making welcome baskets for each of the visiting teams, complete with their school logos, coordinating balloons, ribbons and goodies for their baskets.

The other half of our ping pong table has also turned into a photo shop selection space.  Each year the school yearbook does Senior baby dedication pages, as well as Varsity volleyball does a dedicated Senior night complete with custom posters for each player.  I now have the task of going through seventeen years of photos and selecting our favorite five for each girl...not an easy task I can assure you.

After this weekend is complete, then we are on to our big fundraising event "Dancing With The Stars" and the year end Volleyball Banquet which I am coordinating.  In between all of this is lots of exciting high school volleyball matches that we are enjoying and taking in every moment of their final season, hosting team dinners and serving as the team parent for their Leadership Academy this year.

If your school year has started off like mine and you need a quick, delicious and so very easy dinner, this one is for you!  I could not get enough of this dish...I think I may have even gone for thirds (right out of the pot, while cleaning up the kitchen)!!!

One Pot Cajun Shrimp Pasta
Adapted from

1 pound linguine
3 Tbl butter (divided as 2 and 1)
2-1/2 Tbl cajun seasoning (divided as 1-1/2 and 1)
1 pound peeled, deveined large shrimp with tails removed
1/2 cup diced yellow onion
1/2 cup diced pepper (green, yellow, orange or red)
1 pound Andouille sausage, sliced
2 cloves garlic, mined
1 tsp. salt
2 tsp. red pepper flakes
1 tsp. dried thyme
1/2 cup chicken stock
1/2 cup heavy cream

Cook the linguine in boiling water until al dente.  Drain and set aside.

In the same pot, heat the butter, then add 1-1/2 tablespoon cajun seasoning and mix the spice with the butter.  Add in shrimp.  Cook until the shrimp turn pink.  Take the shrimp out and set aside.

Keeping the heat on, add in butter until it's melted, then add the diced yellow onion and pepper.  Cook for 3-5 minutes, until the onion is translucent.  Add in andouille sausage and cook for another minute, then add minced garlic, salt, cajun seasoning, red pepper flakes and dried thyme.  When everything is cooked and mixed well, pour in chicken stock and heavy cream.  Mix well and cook for about 3 minutes.

When the sauce is thickening, add the shrimp and pasta back into the pot.  Mix until everything is well combined.

Three Years Ago: Hot Chili Mama Salsa