Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Braided Hot Sandwiches

I should definitely come up with a more creative name for this most delicious meal. Several years ago a woman from church shared a variation of this recipe with me and it has been a family favorite ever since. Basically it is a hot meat and cheese sandwich with anything extra you decide to throw in.

This past week I whipped up six of these (we were sharing four with another family) in not much time at all.

Braided Hot Sandwich

First:

Make your bread dough (a real simple recipe is just perfect).

2 cups hot water
1 Tab. yeast
2. Tab. sugar
1 tsp. salt
4 cups flour
optional: 2 Tab. spices (I used this yummy mix from TJ Max called Parmesan Garlic Bread Dipping Blend)

Let rise about an hour (or stick it in your warmed oven if you are short in time until the dough rises to double).

Then:

Divide dough up. The dough recipe above will make three Hot Sandwiches.
Roll the dough out so it is a nice rectangle (maybe like 10" X 16")
Next use your pizza cutter or knife and make 1 1/2" slices all down the side of the dough (see below)
Then put all your fillings in the inside. This is where you can great creative.
Here are some ideas that I have tried:

--mustard, ham, cheese
--pesto (mixed with ranch), turkey, cheese
--marinara, ham, peperoni, cheese
--meat, cheese
Then you braid the dough. First you fold down the top of the rectangle a bit and then just start "braiding" the dough. Really it is a fake braid because you are just crisscrossing your dough strips.Gently lift of the braided sandwich and lay it on your greased and cornmeal dusted pan. Don't forget this next step...take one egg YOKE blended with 1 T. of water and brush the tops of all the sandwiches. One egg yoke was enough for all six of my sandwiches.
Let rise for a bit (maybe a 1/2 hour or stick in the fridge if you are not wanting to cook them for a couple of hours). Then Bake at 350 degrees until golden brown (probably 15-20 minutes).

They are delicious and look very pretty. If you are a veggie lover you could throw in some sliced olives, red peppers, artichoke hearts, or any other nasty veggie you can think of (just kidding...just I really am just a meat and cheese girl).

Serve with homemade french fries or chips and a tasty salad. Super yummy!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

BRACE yourself

We have again hit another rite of passage at our house this past week. Alex just entered stage II of phase I on correcting his jaw issues correlated with being born with microtia. Actually as I look at this picture of Alex, it is pretty remarkable to see his man-made ear. The first part of phase I was the palate expander that Alex has sported since August. Not only was it painful to have his mom crank his mouth apart daily but it also affected his speech (and his ability to eat cheese pizza). He hung in there though and mastered playing his trumpet and learning to say certain sounds that no longer came easy due to the palate expander.

Needless to say he was delighted to get the palate expander out this past Wednesday and get on with phase I with getting his braces. He just has four braces on the top and two brackets. The plan is to wear them for about six months and then in a couple of years phase II will start with full top and bottom braces. Alex is adjusting to the new mouth pain and had swollen cheeks all weekend. We got his wires clipped shorter yesterday and he is now feeling much better. Now he needs to re-master his trumpet playing because he has a competition in just a couple of weeks with a trio.

I think I failed to share a tender mercy that our family was blessed with this past year. To summarize...Alex was born with microtia and has since undergone five major reconstructive surgeries creating his outer ear, two creating his inner ear, and a couple of more touch-up procedures. The jaw/teeth stuff are all correlated but until recently it hasn't been the right time to do anything about those issues.

Okay, here is where the blessing comes into play. About a year and a half ago we submitted a claim to our medical insurance company to see if they would cover Alex's ortho needs since they stem from a medical issue. We were denied three times. On the last time I got really proactive and gathered together three letters from a team of craniofacial, ortho, and medical doctors all confirming that Alex is in need of ortho care due to a medical issue. I also wrote a very forthright letter and then submitted everything to the medical appeal office. Within a month we received PRE-PAYMENT for all of Alex's phase I expenses. The insurance company even paid at an in-network percentage since the ortho doctor we are using specializes in craniofacial abnormalities. The ortho office says they have never seen an insurance company pre-pay. We feel very blessed and know the Lord's hand was involved in this blessing. I wanted to share this since it seems that we hear so much negativity involving insurance companies and medical care even more importantly I wanted to make sure that our family remembers the Lord's hand in our lives.
Very handsome Alex!! He picked Oregon State colors for his bands--go Beavers!

Monday, January 11, 2010

Sunday Rock Band

For Christmas Grannie gave us an FHE (Family Home Evening) music box to try and help our pitiful family singing time. Once you add rock star Birch and jazz trumpeter Alex we don't sound half bad...well, I'm sure we wouldn't make much on the street corner but you never know. This was recorded with Momma's new web camera toy that she bought for herself. Yeah Mommy! We'll have to work on a higher quality recording so you can actually hear Birch play. Enjoy! If you want the Rock Star Dittos to come play at your wedding you better book us early.


(side note: The sound doesn't come on until 17 seconds after the recording)

Friday, January 8, 2010

Carefree

I'm thinking back to carefree days...running in the park barefoot, dancing till I was exhausted at stake dances, sleepovers, ramen noodles at midnight with my brother Matt after stake dances, EFY, babysitting, late nights of homework, reading Teen magazine with my sisters, trips to the beach with friends, youth conferences...

I just download Eternal Flame by the Bangles and I am swept over with the past. Then I look around the house and see all the pillows in the house mounded up to make a fort, Chloe walking around with a poopy diaper, PTA stuff waiting for me to finish, breakfast dishes in the sink, potty laundry waiting to be switched to the dryer...and I remember carefree is just a bit different these days. I long a bit for the past and then I am reminded of how blessed I am. Blessed...I truly am!