Saturday, August 21, 2010

Friendship Festival 2010

This afternoon we went to the annual Friendship Festival on base. It is when the base opens up their gates to allow the Japanese community in. They expect between 150000 and 170000 people. There are air stunts, music stages, static plane exhibits, motorcycle shows, food, games...etc. We have heard horror stories about the heat and crowds - but I think we lucked out. We took a break from our unpacking around 3pm and caught the shuttle to the main part of base. Gavin LOVED the planes and has changed his future plans so now he wants to be a pilot. Evie liked the helicopters the best. I liked the funnel cake :-) The kids also got to play on jumpy things (no wait for the line) and got some sno-cones that were so gross, we threw them away after 2 bites.

Sorry I have no clue as to what most of these planes are. Patrick knows them all and tried to tell me...but I don't listen that well to him. Anyway, I hope you enjoy the pics!

PS - The first pic is what our back deck still looks like.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

My favorite uses for a rotisseri chicken

I love that I can buy rotisseri chicken here on base. It is the easiest way for me to get 4 meals for the week (ok - 2 meals and 2 left overs :-)

Here's what I do:
1. Chicken Pot Pie

1/2 the chicken...cubed
1 bag frozen mixed veggies
1/3 cup butter
1/3 cup chopped onion
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon celery seed
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1 3/4 cups chicken broth
2/3 cup milk

2 (9 inch) unbaked pie crusts

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F (220 degrees C.)
In a saucepan put frozen and add water to cover and boil for 15 minutes. Remove from heat, drain and set aside.
In the saucepan over medium heat, cook onions in butter until soft and translucent. Stir in flour, salt, pepper, garlic powder and celery seed. Slowly stir in chicken broth and milk. Simmer over medium-low heat until thick. Remove from heat and set aside.
Place the chicken and veggie mixture in bottom pie crust. Pour hot liquid mixture over. Cover with top crust, seal edges, and cut away excess dough. Make several small slits in the top to allow steam to escape.
Bake in the preheated oven for 30 to 35 minutes, or until pastry is golden brown and filling is bubbly. Cool for 10 minutes before serving.

2. Chicken Tettrazini

Other 1/2 chicken - cubed
1/2 lb spaghetti
2 1/2 C chicken broth
3 TBSP butter
2 TBSP flour
1/4 tsp pepper
1/8 tsp nutmeg (very important ingredient - do not skip this)
1 C heavy cream
2/3 C parmesan cheese (I often use a mozz/provolone mixture instead)

Cook spaghetti according to package. In medium skillet, heat butter and stir in flour and seasonings. Add the chicken broth (slowly) and stir until thick. Add cream.
In baking dish, add chicken, spaghetti and pour sauce over top. Add cheese to the top. Bake at 350 for 20 mins. (You can make the night before add the cheese just before cooking). Wait 5 mins to serve :-)


Also - side note. I bought one of the PF Chang frozen dinners...and it was delicious!! The only bad part was it was a small serving size. Patrick and I devoured one bag and he was still starving. But it was really really good!!!

Sunday, August 15, 2010

slowly but surely...

Well, we still have TONS of boxes to unpack and put away - but we are slowly but surely getting there. I had volunteered to babysit for a friend (who was hiking Mt Fuji) all day saturday - which actually turned out to work out great. It gave us a place to go with the kids so Patrick could start getting organized. We tried to tackle the kitchen first so that is almost done. We have tons of storage in the kitchen so it was easy to put things away. We are still rearranging the cabinets and pantry to try to make it as user friendly as possible. It is nice to have options!!! We also realized we have a lot of crap we just don't need. So we have a few boxes to donate to the 'airman's attic'. And a lot of it is good stuff. Our everyday dishes from Martha Stewart - they are in great shape - but you can't microwave them, so I had gotten some plain white Pottery barn plates that work great. No need for 2 sets of plates, so we will donate them. I feel good about donating here because there are a lot of people who really need things. We are also donating our rocker/ottoman (which I LOVE) but we have no room for. But I see these pregnant women whose husbands are being deployed and they have little to no extra money, so I feel good about giving it away. Needless to say, we are on a major purging spree and it feels good to get rid of things.

Before we left Ohio, I found an awesome outdoor storage shed from Rubbermaid. It was discontinued - so it ended up being on clearance for more than 50% off. I found the ONE Home Depot in the area that still had one and bought it. I am so glad we did, because it has given us a ton of outdoor storage space that we wouldn't have otherwise. But because of the humidity, we have to be careful of what we put in there. But it is great for our bikes, lawn mower, christmas decorations, tools, etc.

I am going to have to go through the kids toys again to decide what we really want to keep. Fortunately, their rooms are much larger than in Ohio, so we can keep most of their toys in their own rooms. And we had storage systems before - so it works out well.

We also get 20 free hours of babysitting (I have used 7) so I am taking the kids for 3 hours each day for the next few days so I can get some uninterrupted unpacking/organizing time. Hopefully I can make some more progress! Wish me luck :-)