Sunday, February 27, 2011

New Patio Set & Cheesy Mushroom Polenta

So, I have been looking all over the internet and local stores for a plastic patio set that Dylan can't break or distroy and we FINALLY found one today at Home Depot! SO HAPPY!! While we were setting it up and rearranging things in the backyard we found our first lizzard - scarred me at first but he was a cute little guy and he stayed long enough for me to get a pic!

Tonight we enjoyed some apps in the backyard while sitting at the new set - Alex and I had a yummy mushroom and polenta dish and the kids had some fresh fruit! We enjoyed this as a little app before our AWESOME skirt steak & salad dinner, outside at our new patio set while Marley & the kidos played around and munched on some fresh fruit!

And now, drum roll is the polenta recipe-

Cooked up polenta
small container of mushrooms
olive oil
fat free shredded mozzarella
low fat ricotta cheese
Parmesan cheese
fresh parsley
fresh basil
1/4 cup sauvignon blanc

Cook polenta and place into a baking dish and top with ricotta, grated parm, fresh parsley & basil. Cook up the mushrooms in a pan in a small amount of olive oil over high heat till browned. Add the wine and reduce by half and add to the top of polenta. Top with some fat free mozz & some more parm and bake at 375 for about 15 minutes. EXCELLENT!

What a beautiful, sunny, warm Sunday Funday in Georgia!

Saturday, February 26, 2011

We're Going to the ZOO ZOO ZOO!!! How About YOU YOU YOU??

We took advantage of the early spring we are having here in GA and hit up the Atlanta Zoo! We recently bough a family membership and decided it was about time we used it! There we tons and tons of cool animals - Zebras, Panda's, Elephants, Gorillas, Giraffes, Lemurs, Komono Dragons, Bongos, Lions, Tigers & Bears - OH MY! There were 3 restaurants including a Nathan's Hot Dogs - so you know we hit that up - some yummy all beef dogs and a order of chili cheese fries for here please! There were several cool playgrounds, a petting zoo, a carousel, a train ride, a rock climbing wall and we all had a blast! It was so super fun there and we can't wait to get back - I have a feeling since right in ATL and only 30 mins away we will be there often this spring!

Side note - I really really really thought I'd miss NJ winters - well I don't - maybe it's the fact I wasn't expecting any kind of snow here and we got some decent amounts which satisfied my hunger or maybe it's because it's SO nice to be able to be outside all day with the kids running around or maybe it's because I am happier getting some fresh vitamin D in my body or maybe, just maybe it's because I like warm weather more then I thought I did? I guess we shall see, I am probably jinxing myself and now we are going to have a HOT & HUMID summer where you don't want to be out at all! Anyway, even though we are ALL suffering from some mild seasonal allergies (we are taking our daily does of local honey to combat) the Matrale's are LOVING spring time in GA!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Cousin N's Penne Vodka

2 28oz cans Italian style crushed tomatoes
1 diced onion
3-4 diced cloves of garlic
olive oil
1 pt heavy cream
1/4 cup vodka
1/2 cup grated cheese
1 tsp red pepper flakes (or to taste)
fresh parsley for garnish

Heat up some olive oil in a pan and add the onions, cook till translucent and then add the garlic. Cook for about 2 minutes and then add the cans of crushed Italian style tomatoes. Cook for about an hour and then add your vodka, red pepper flakes, heavy cream and grated cheese. Let it cook all together for about 10 minutes stirring to combine and then toss with your whole wheat penne and serve topped with some more grated cheese and some fresh parsley! THANKS NOELLE for your amazingly delicious dinner! WE LOVED IT!!

Personally I am a HUGE pea-in-my-pasta-lover, I also love adding tons of red pepper flakes - Alex isn't the biggest fan of peas or red pepper flakes so he gets his straight up!

Oh, and today I discovered this garlic bread pita that is only 100 calories per slice with 0 trans fats or preservatives - it's really tasty, sold in the frozen section, made by Toufayan and called Premium Pita Garlic Bread!



Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Nightly Trail Walk

We discovered this really cool walking trail complete with a lake steps from out house - obviously we have been on it everyday since for a walk after dinner! AJ loves leading the way past the lake and through the woods! I love pushing Dylan in the double since I get a even better work out and Marley and Alex love teaming up to run after AJ!

Twice Baked Potatoes

Here is another one compliments Pioneer Woman Cooks - I kinda adapted to lighten it up and to what I had in the house-

2 Idaho potatoes
4 TBS butter
1/2 small container low fat sour cream
1/2 cup low fat shredded cheddar
handful of bacon bits
1 tsp seasoned salt (made my own mixing a little salt, onion powder, garlic powder, chili powder & old bay seasoning)
2 green onions sliced up

Preheat oven to 400 degrees and pierce the potatoes with a fork. Cook them in the oven for 1hr 15 minutes on a baking sheet. Place butter pats, sour cream, cheese, bacon bits and seasoned salt in a bowl. When the potatoes are done and cooled down slightly, cut them in half lengthwise and scoop out as much of the inside as you can and mash them up with the rest of the ingredients in the bowl. Fold in the green onions. Scoop the mixture back into the scooped out potato skins, top with some more cheddar and then bake at 350 degrees for about 15 minutes. SO SO SO much better then those gross frozen ones - these are really really good!

Spring Mix Salad

baby spring mixed lettuces
1 fresh clementine cut up
handful of cranberries
handful of unsalted pistachios
red onion slices
low fat blue cheese crumbles
Trader Joes's raspberry walnut vinaigrette

All the mixings for a amazing salad!

Brie Stuffed Mushrooms

This one I got from the Pioneer Woman Cooks blog ( - a great website for many amazing recipes). I was in the mood for stuffed mushrooms but wasn't in the mood for sausage - these hit the spot - they were SOOOO good!!! They were easy to make and came out great! Here is her recipe (only difference is I topped mine with some Parmesan cheese right before baking, which I totally recommend!)-


  • 1 package White Button Mushrooms, Washed And Stems Removed
  • 4 cloves Garlic, Minced
  • ¼ cups Flat-leaf Parsley, Chopped
  • 4 whole (to 5) Green Onions, Sliced (up To Middle Of Dark Green Part)
  • Splash Of White Wine (optional)
  • 1 slice (wedge) Of Brie Cheese

Preparation Instructions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

Melt butter in large saucepan. Add mushroom caps and toss to coat in butter. Sprinkle lightly with salt and cook for 1 minute. Remove mushrooms from pan and place upside down in a baking dish.

In the same saucepan (without cleaning it) throw in garlic, parsley, and green onions. Sprinkle very lightly with salt and splash in wine, if using. Stir around until wine evaporates, about 1 minute. Remove from heat.

Cut rind off of brie wedge, then cut pieces of brie to fit each mushroom cap. Place inside, lightly pressing to anchor each piece of brie.

Top mushrooms with parsley/garlic mixture.

Place into the oven for 15 minutes, or until brie is melted.

Saturday, February 19, 2011


Well anyone who knows me knows I really don't love leaving my kids - I used to loath the idea of a stranger watching my kids and was even a little uneasy leaving them with people I do know and love! Now that we are in GA and the kids are both a little older and A LOT more crazy Alex & I have been dying to get out alone once in a while which is hard to do without someone to watch the kids - well we had a wedding to go to for a coworker of Alex and we decided it was about time to finally hire a babysitter! We got SO SO lucky - one of AJ's teachers gave me some names and tonight I found one I really LOVE - she is young, a kindergarden teacher, great with kids AND from NJ! What was I so afraid of - this is GREAT and we can't wait for another excuse to use her!

Here are a few shots from the wedding tonight which was at a golf course called Bears Best that Jack Nicklaus designed! It was a beautiful night and it was great to sit outside overlooking the golf course enjoying a glass of wine!

AJ's 1st Spa Manicure!

Today since I needed to get my nails done for a wedding I decided it would be fun to take AJ along with me! She was so cute and really enjoyed getting the full treatment - she got filed, cuticles pushed back, parifin in hot hand warmers, a massage and even little flowers pained on her perfectly pink nails! It really is so much fun to go and do girly things with my beautiful little girl!