Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Dinner in a Pumpkin

Halloween is just a few days away.
Professional Nannies are often responsible for dinner and Dinner in a Pumpkin is the perfect dinner for Halloween Night or any other Fall evening.
It's healthy and fun!
I made this with my first nanny family. It's very fun and festive. You might use toothpicks to stick a face on the pumpkin before you serve it.
 I don't recommend drawing one on but you could use black olives, or pickles, for eyes and broccolli, or pretzels for the hair. You could also let the children paint a face on with  foodcoloring.

Dinner in a Pumpkin

• 1 small to medium pumpkin (the size of a regular soccer ball)
• 1 to 2 tablespoons canola or olive oil
• 1 medium onion, finely chopped (about 1 cup)
• 1 cup finely chopped button mushrooms (may include stems)
• 1 1/2 to 2 pounds lean ground beef
• Salt
• Freshly ground black pepper
• 2 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
• 2 tablespoons light or dark brown sugar
• 1 10 3/4-ounce can low-fat cream of mushroom soup (may substitute cream of chicken soup), such as Campbell's
• 1 8-ounce can water chestnut slices, drained and diced
• 1 1/2 cups cooked wild rice
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Cut off the top of the pumpkin (as you would if you were carving a jack-o'-lantern), to be used later as a lid, and set aside. Discard the pumpkin pulp and seeds, making a clean, hollow space inside. Place the pumpkin on the baking sheet and bake for 40 minutes. Set aside.
Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat until the oil shimmers. Add the onion and cook, stirring, for a few minutes, then add the mushrooms and cook for a few minutes. Add the meat and season with salt and pepper to taste. Cook for several minutes, stirring to break up any clumps of beef, until no pink remains. Add the soy sauce, brown sugar and soup, stirring to combine. Cook for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, then add the water chestnuts and cooked rice. Transfer the mixture to the pumpkin; cover the top with aluminum foil and bake for about 30 minutes or until the mixture inside has heated through and the pumpkin flesh is tender when pierced with a fork.
 Transfer to a serving platter;
You can also decorate the outside of the pumpkin with a jack-o'-lantern face and serve warm.
Makes 6 servings

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Groundhog Day

Groundhog Day is February 2!

Groundhog Day is a holiday celebrated on February 2 in the United States and Canada. The story goes that  if it is cloudy when a groundhog emerges from its burrow on this day, it will leave the burrow, signifying that winter will soon end. If  it is sunny, the groundhog will see his shadow and retreat back into his burrow for 6 more weeks.
The largest Groundhog Day celebration is held in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania.
So in celebration of Groundhog Day I wanted to share with you this fun idea that Nanny Gael Ann sent me from Gourmetmomonthego
Ground Hog Day Extravaganza

If you look around her blog you will also see a link to some other fun activities for Groundhog Day.
If you decide to do one of the projects we would love to see it!

Saturday, November 27, 2010

My favorite Graphic Resources on the Web by Glenda Propst

A Few of my Favorite Graphic Resources

I have always been a crafter, I have always loved being creative and encouraging the children in my life to do the same.  I shared my favorite graphic resource with my former neighbor and good friend Tracy and she and I used to spend our days creating with computer graphics. These days Tracy uses her creative skills on her company SweetTpies Dessert Studio but I still enjoy computer crafts.
I used to create the templates myself but  today there the graphics sites that make it so much easier by offering candy wrappers, decorative gift bags and boxes, can covers, bag toppers and pretty much anything you can imagine.
The following websites have creative projects that you can download for a reasonable price and print out and use over and over again. All you need is a computer, a printer, paper and an imagination.
I hope you find something here that you enjoy as much as I do.
Most of these sites have graphics you can download and re use, newsletters with ideas tips and discount codes for 20-25% off.
The first one is PC Crafter this is the first site I found and started using. They have a fabulous message board with tutuorials and links and ideas and pictures, verses, recipes and anything else you could want. This is great for party favors. PC Crafter also has a graphics club you can join where you pay a yearly fee and you can either get your graphics on a disc in the mail or you can download them to your computer for future reference. They also have a wonderful feature on your account where anything you downloaded before you can download again if you switch computers. You can also search their graphics, get a free preview of the graphics in the set and see a craft that was created with those graphics just by clicking the link. If you don’t want to join the club you can still download individual sets of graphics and get a set of graphics with a them for anywhere from $1-$10.They also offer creatable cards, recipe templates, scrapbook paper. I think you get the idea.The other companies offer many of the same features including things you can download for FREE.
I hope you enjoy them as much as I do!
The snowman graphic came from
The Santa Gift tag is by Gina Jane Designs at

Thursday, November 25, 2010

This is one of my favorite writings by Charlotte Grimes about how we pass on our traditions from one generation to the next.
Whether your Thanksgiving is for 2 or 20, count your blessings and hold tight to your memories.


Two At The Table, Many In the Heart

THANKSGIVING MORNING the comforting ritual starts: Preheat
the oven to 350 degrees. Unwrap the turkey breast from its store-bought cellophane cocoon.

"Why on earth would you do all that cooking?" people sometimes ask. There are only the two of us, you see, my husband Tom and me, in our household. "With no one else there," people sometimes ask, "doesn't it make you lonely?"

They are interesting questions, and I set a part of my mind to considering them, while another part and my hands take over the familiar holiday tasks.

Stick the turkey in the oven to roast. Lay it on the kitchen counter, for testing the doneness, my mother's old two- pronged meat fork, its’ wooden handle worn smooth by her hand.

Thanksgiving, of course, is a day of big family gatherings, of scores of relatives - children, cousins, aunts, grandparents - gathered around the table. Even today, when it's commercialized into the beginning of the Christmas shopping sea son, we think of it that way - the Nor man Rockwell painting of American family life. But I sometimes wonder if the image is fair to either Thanksgiving or the family. From its year long hiding place above the refrigerator, down comes the turkey's oval serving platter. It is a lovely thing of china roses edged in gold, bought by Tom's grandmother as a young bride. Out of the drawer, ready for the carving, comes My father's old silver handled hunting knife. Its blade is thin ,from his patient sharpening on a whetstone, al- most too fragile for the job. Someday we'll have to retire it. But not today.

Once upon a time, like a fairy tale that some of us lived, a family was a chirping brood of grandparents, parents, and children all sharing the same house or street or county. And a gathering-in of the clan for work, for crisis, or for Thanksgiving was simple. A walk from the bedroom to .the kitchen table. A short journey by buggy, by car, by bus, to the family homestead.

Time to start the stuffing. With oysters. The recipe is from our friend Claudia.

But in a shift that my generation knows all too well, the journey got more complicated as, first, our parents moved away from our grandparents and then we moved away from our parents. The clan scattered. We went away to college. We met spouses from other cities, from other states, maybe even from other countries, and made our lives in other places. We moved from city to city, following our jobs. And families got smaller.

Today, the Census Bureau tells us, most of us are one- and two-person
households: The child grown up enough to have a place of his or her own; the
spouse who's moved out after a divorce; the widow or widower growing older
alone; couples with no children, or none yet; and empty-nesters whose children have flown.
Now for the side dishes. Roger's deviled eggs, with crumbled bacon. Aunt
La Verna's sweet potato casserole, spiced with orange juice. For a green vegetable, Kath's sautéed cabbage and onions. Aunt Erline's rolls, golden brown and gently
covered with the special green tea towel, a gift from Chuck and Anne, to keep them warm.
To be sure, the roosting instinct is strong and come the holidays many of us still load our cars or scramble aboard airplanes to travel to wherever the clan is gathering.
But some of us - more and more of us, I suspect - awake one Thanksgiving morning knowing that the big family gathering of children, grandparents, cousins and aunts isn't possible this year.
Not enough time off from work to make the long trip. Not enough money to buy
the airline tickets. Too few of our grand parents, or even our parents, still alive to draw the much smaller clan together. That could be lonely, I suppose, if Thanksgiving could be no more than a
reunion. Or if it were easy to forget how our lives are enriched by relatives who leave us heirlooms and memories, by friends who give us something of themselves.
Ah! the feast is done! It's far more than' the two of us can eat, of course. Later,
we'll take a plate to Tom's mother, in her nursing home. Another to our neighbors, Bob and Cindy, who also will be two for Thanksgiving and who hate to cook any- way. And another is set aside for the homeless man who haunts our neighbor- hood, with whom Tom often shares his everyday sandwiches.
But I revel in our Thanksgiving ritual and -as Tom carves the turkey with my father's knife and my mother's fork to lay the slivers on his grandmother's platter-
as I pass him Roger's deviled eggs, Aunt LaVerna's sweet potato casserole,
and Kath's cabbage dish, Claudia's stuffing, Aunt Erline's rolls from under Chuck and Anne's tea towel - it's hard to be lonely when I think, with gratitude of all the people at our table.
Happy Thanksgiving and Abundant Blessings to You and Yours

The Creative Nanny

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Hand Print Turkey and Verse

Head over to Regarding Nannies to get the directions and a free pdf file of the verse for this adorable handprint Turkey.

You might also like this project

Wednesday, November 10, 2010