30 Minute Meals

Don’t you wish you had all the time in the world to cook a healthy and delicious meal for your family every night of the week? Unfortunately, this is not the world we live in today. Most of us are rushing from activities with our kids, to a second job, to the gym, or some other must do item, which leaves us very little time to spend in the kitchen. If your life is too hectic and you feel like you don’t have enough time to make a good meal in the evenings, Rachael Ray might have the answer, 30 Minute Meals! On her show, 30 Minute Meals with Rachael Ray, Rachael prepares a healthy meal from beginning to end every night of the week. The show airs on the Food Network from 6 to 7 pm.

This Rachael Ray show is absolutely fantastic for many reasons. Rachael spends her time in the kitchen explaining to the viewers exactly how to prepare each dish. She is sure to share information about the ingredients that she uses, which can all be easily found in local grocery stores. Most meals consist of a main course and a side dish. Occasionally, she will prepare a dessert or a cocktail to make the meal a little more special. Rachael keeps the show interesting by sharing interesting family facts and stories. The viewers easily learn a lot about her, her family, and the foods she grew up with. The thing I like most about this show is how simple it is to prepare these dishes in my home. Rachael explains the steps she takes in the kitchen so clearly, it is easy for the viewer to take notes and prepare the dish at a later time. I constantly find myself in front of the tv, writing down ingredients and methods, and then creating the dish in my kitchen later in the week. If, for some reason, you cannot take notes you can get on-line and look up the detailed recipes (http://www.foodnetwork.com/food/show_tm).  If you are interested in cooking at all, I strongly suggest that you check out Rachael Ray’s show. I guarantee you will be pleasantly surprised!


It’s Party Time!!

Ultimate Blog Party 2008

Welcome to the 2008 Ultimate Blog Party, hosted by 5 Minutes for Mom! Be sure to check out all of the GREAT prizes you can win by participating!!

 Well, obviously, since our Blog is relatively new, this is our first year partying, but we are excited!! You can learn more about my sister Joy and me by visiting our About Us page. We work hard, and we like to play hard (especially her).  🙂 I am a mom to two, work full-time and operate Announcements Galore, an online business for custom photo cards and announcements. Check us outm we’ve got some great promotions on invitations going on now!

It’s nice to meet some fellow bloggers; I have to admit that I am still learning but am totally amazed by all the great blogs I’ve come across so far. You women are amazing!!  

So, we debated how we were going to throw our own party here at Three of a Kind……. Well, what does every great party need? People and food! So, Joy is contributing one of her favorite party recipes, yum! And, I’m going to do my first ever giveaway on Three of a Kind, and it’s a biggie ……. You can win a set of 25 custom photo invitations from Announcements Galore!! Whether you are throwing a birthday party, an anniversary party, a shower or a luau, we can custom design something just for you!!  I’ve also donated a prize to the party, but wanted to give something away here too.

So, here are the rules, it’s a scavenger hunt of sorts. To be eligible, you have to visit Announcements Galore and find the hiding ‘secret question.’ Then, come back here and leave a comment and include your one word answer. One comment per person, please. You can enter twice by blogging about this contest; just make sure you let me know. Have fun, and good luck!! I’ll announce the winner here on Monday, March 17. (Hint: blocks and dots)

It’s nice to meet you, so come back and visit our blog anytime! If you’re interested in getting updates and coupons for Annoucnements Galore, sign up here. If you are a blogger and interested in joining our affiliate program, email us!

Our top three prize picks are: 24, 34, and 15

We’d also love to win: 11, 13, 46, 50, 59, 67, 70 or 36

And, now on to Joy’s recipe.

Chicken Quesadilla Pinwheels
This is one of my favorite Rachael Ray recipes!

4 large flour tortillas (10-12 inch diameter)
2 cups shredded Monterey Jack
1 cup chipotle salsa
2 cups chopped rotisserie chicken meat, shredded, still warm from store or warmed in microwave
Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add a flour tortilla and blister it on one side, then turn it over. Scatter cheese on top and cook one minute. Remove to cutting board. Top the tortilla with 1/4 cup salsa, spreading it
gently with the back of a spoon to the edges. Top with 1/2 cup chicken, then roll tortilla into a log. Let stand a minute before cutting. Repeat with remaining ingredients to make a total of four tortilla logs. Cut pinwheels
into 1/2-inch slices and arrange on platter.

These quesadillas are great to make and serve for any occasion. They are easy to prepare and easy for guests to munch on throughout the whole party. You could present these quesadillas on a platter with some fresh salsa, quacamole, and sour cream. If you were serving a meal at your party, these would go great with a mexican style soup!

Dear John: Book Review

If you are a Nicholas Sparks fan, you are sure to like Dear John also. Sparks captures the emotions of true love and heartache all in one story. John, who is enlisted in the Army, returns home one summer to visit his father. During his trip, he meets Savannah, a college girl who was in town working with a group of students to build houses. John and Savannah spend a great amount of time together and quickly fall in love. As John returns to the Army, they leave each other with the promise to write and keep their love strong. Things are going as planned until 9/11. John feels a strong desire to re-enlist and the distance begins to wear on their relationship. Eventually, Savannah sends John a letter informing him that she has fallen in love with another man. The relationship is over. After some time has passed, John must return home to bury his father. During this trip, he is compelled to visit Savannah, despite the fact that she is married and living a happy life. When he arrives, she is happy to see him, and they both quickly realize that the love they shared is still there. At the end of the story, John is faced with the most difficult decision of his life.

Personally, I found this book to be a great story. I like reading romantic love stories, and the desire of wanting to know how the relationship ended, kept me from putting the book down. The story of John and Savannah’s relationship kept me interseted; however, the ending left me slightly disappointed. Sparks makes it easy for the reader to identify with the characters and want the best for their relationship. The emotions that the characters experience are clearly related to the reader. I found myself ‘feeling’ the emotions as the characters were. Even though I enjoyed reading this story, I found that it lacked some substance. The plot was somewhat predictable and there were not many complex ideas involved. There were some parts of the story that I thought were dull. I found myself quickly skimming these sections to get to the more exciting and interesting parts. Despite a few downfalls, I would recommend this book. Those who enjoy simple love stories or those who like other Nicholas Sparks novels are sure to enjoy this book as well.

Nineteen Minutes: Book Review


Jodi Picoult has written a fascinating novel about school shootings, a topic that has been on our minds and in the news too often these days. In this story, we learn about the life of Peter Houghton and his struggles through his years in public school. He was overwhelmed with being bullied and with the expectations of living up to his older brother’s standards. As a young boy, Peter was good friends with Josie Cormier and as the years passed, Josie fell temptation to becoming part of the popular crowd and left Peter behind. Peter quickly became the boy that all the popular kids picked on, day in and day out. Josie, unfortunately, was a part of that crowd. She never actually did the bullying, but she never stopped it either. She was happy being the popular girl and didn’t want to risk her reputation for Peter. Eventually, Peter’s anger filled him and he went to school with two loaded weapons and began shooting. As the story unfolds, Peter gets put on trial and the reader learns about his life and personal struggles. Picoult did an amazing job of connecting with Peter’s feelings and showing the reader the true, yet sad, effects bullying has on teenagers today.

I read this book because a fellow educator suggested it. As I began reading, I found myself struggling to remember characters and their relatives within the story. Picoult often jumps between characters and scenes, making it somewhat difficult for the reader to follow. However, as I got further into the book, the relationships were clarified and I couldn’t put it down. As one would expect, I thought I would feel compassion for the victims of the shooting. Of course, I did, but I was surprised at how much sympathy I felt for Peter. Before the results of his trial were revealed, I found myself wishing that he would not be sentenced to life in prison. After reading this story, I truly believe it is one that everyone should read. It teaches an important life lesson and has greatly impacted my life.

Quia Web

quia-logo.gifTeachers! Are you looking for a great website to use inside your classroom? www.quia.com may be just what your looking for. This website offers educators a huge collection of educational tools that can be implemented into the classroom many ways. For free teachers have access to thousands of activities, games, quizzes, and web pages that cover an endless amount of topics. Teachers can also create Class Pages to communicate with students and track students’ progress on quizzes. From Battleship to Jeopardy, quia.com offers games and activities that make learning exciting and engaging for students of all ages. Whether you teach kindergarten or high school, quia.com has something for you. If you choose, you can purchase a subscription to the site for additional perks. For $49 a year (group discounts are available), you can create your own activities, share them with others, and modify existing activities. This is a great way to share your creativity with fellow educators everywhere.

I use quia.com most frequently for the quizzes they offer. You can easily search for quizzes based on subject and assign the quiz to all the students in your class. It’s a great way to check student learning after presenting a concept in class, or to help students review key concepts before a unit test. You can assign the quiz to the students for homework or you can have them all complete the quiz during class time. Best of all, quia.com does all the grading for you! I strongly encourage all teachers to check out this website. I’m sure there is some aspect of the site that you can benefit from.