Friday, February 28, 2014

Currently



I have to fight for my smoothies with this little guy around. 

I love this. It made nostalgic. If you need me I'll be tracking down every season and binge watching Friends.

These ribs.

If I don't make this pudding for my husband, like, now he may never forgive me.

I waaaaaaaaant this stir-fry. NOW!

I made the most amazing cranberry habanero pepper jelly in the history of the universe. Stay tuned for the recipe. It's coming soon. I've been eating with cream cheese and crackers constantly. There is a pork loin in my freezer that is calling out to be covered in the jelly at this very moment.

Details from another party are also coming soon. I'm finally getting around to editing the pictures and making a scrapbook of the party for my Grandmother. I've made blank copies of the printables that I should hopefully have available to download.

I just bought a couple of these and I love them!

We are in the market for a new bed. Want to see the bed of my dreams? Here it is. I wish. I'll be looking for something a tad more affordable for the time being. But, I'll be buying something like this guy one of these days.

Oh, and History of Rap Part 5!!!!! I love me some JT + Jimmy Fallon!

This is the BEST recipe round-up each week!


P.S. All my links on my banner and side bar should finally work!

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Spinach Mango Flax Seed Smoothie aka Mommy's Magic Super Power Boosting Milk Shake Smoothie


   I finally gave up and re-shot the smoothie pictures that I complained about Tuesday. So here is my post I wrote on Monday for Tuesday but had to postpone until Wednesday but then forgot so now I'm posting on Thursday. Make sense? No? Yeah, I don't understand either. Just pretend you're reading this on Monday or Tuesday and it will all make sense.  

   This weekend I ignored my Doctor's recommendation to only eat small meals and stay away from raw fruits and veggies, hard to digest proteins, anything that is highly processed or has a lot of preservatives, basically anything other than carbs and liquids. (I know that a high carb diet does not sound like a healthy thing but it is what I have to do until we can figure out why my stomach no longer wants to digest anything these days) Fast food, lemon curd, cupcakes, rice krispie treats, bacon, brownies, olives, cheese, carrots, strawberries, chocolate cake, a chicken burger, a meatball sub, are just some of the things I devoured. To say that I was/am sick is an understatement! Since I refused to act like a responsible adult this weekend, and chose to eat like a crazed lunatic, I am on a liquid diet today. Therefore it's SMOOTHIE TIME!!!!!


   This smoothie is also the one way I can get more than a couple of bites of anything green into C. He swears aliens use green veggies to control minds. Yes, my 4 year old believes that if he eats broccoli an alien with take control of him. He makes life interesting, to say the least. This is my answer to it. He will also drink it with strawberry instead of mango. He believes that it will give his super powers a boost. He will tell me his Hulk strength is stronger, his Iron Man Blasters go boom better and he's as fast as the Flash almost immediately after drinking it! Don't judge me for lying to my kid! I'm desperate. He has gone multiple days skipping one or more meals because I implemented the, “You eat what I give you or you don't eat” rule, thinking that he was just being a kid who wanted to be picky, I now believe he honestly has a hard time with certain tastes and textures. I never let him go to the point it would be harmful, but this kids has will power like nothing I've seen before. Now, he will try three bites of anything I give him, often it is still a battle but he does try new things now, but he is simply not a fan of certain textures. I'm the same way when it comes to certain foods. I cannot even look at beans without feeling nauseated. I'll eat peas or chickpeas but they have to be pureed. I cannot bite into a whole, raw blueberry or a grape without gagging. So, I know he is trying and he really does want to like vegetables but right now it is a slow process. So I make him a glass of this smoothie a couple of times a week now. He thinks it takes like a milk shake and frankly so do I.




Serves 1-2 people

1 large handful of spinach
1 handful of frozen mango*
6 oz greek yogurt *optional*
2-3 tablespoons flax seeds
approximately 1/3 cup coconut water
approximately 1/3 cup orange juice
approximately 1/3 cup almond milk

Combine everything in a blender and blend until all produce is broken up, seeds are no longer visible and has a milkshake like consistency. Drink immediately.

*Just about any fruit would be good in this smoothie so feel free to swap things out. And, if you want to use fresh but still want the texture of the frozen fruit pre-freeze bananas and add one to each smoothie.

The smoothie pictured above does not have yogurt but I always add it when my son is going to be drinking it. The texture seems more “milkshakey” with the yogurt and he is more likely to drink anything if he thinks I added ice cream.


Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Pistachio Cranberry and Goat Cheese Truffles

   This is not the post I planned on sharing today. These cheese truffles are good, I mean, can you go wrong with pistachio and cranberry? I don't think so. My original plan, was to post the smoothie I had for breakfast and lunch yesterday and for lunch at least twice a week for the past month. Unfortunately, when I tried to upload the images they weren't there. I have no clue what I did, but I'll try again when I'm not propping I'm eyes open with toothpicks to stay awake.


      These are a quick and easy appetizer to throw together for a party or dinner with friends. It would be so easy to make and customize them, the possibilities are endless. I made these and my mom made a cream cheese, cheddar and almond version for my Granny's birthday party. This would also be a great little recipe to whip up and stick in the fridge and pull out one with a couple of crackers for a quick afternoon snack.



Makes 18-24
Pistachio Cranberry Goat Cheese Truffles

10 oz goat cheese
1/2 cup chopped dried cranberries
1/2 cup chopped pistachios

In a medium sized bowl , combine cheese and cranberries, mashing with a fork or spatula. Spread Pistachios out onto parchment paper and set aside. Using a teaspoon scoop a small amount out and roll in a ball. They should be about 1 to 1 1/2 inches across. Roll the truffle in chopped nuts and set aside. Continue with the remaining cheese mixture. Refrigerate until ready to serve.


Friday, February 21, 2014

Currently.


I have had my new camera in my hand constantly this week. Most of my pictures are just so so now but once I get this thing figured out I cannot wait to see what I can capture.



This is what I've been working on and one of the reasons I have been absent this week. It is my Granny's birthday party and I have been making menus, banners, gathering jars. I'll be posting blank 8x10 and 4x6 PDF files for download next week along with pictures and hopefully some recipes too.

My bestie sent this to me this week. It's like she knows me or something.

These make me ready for spring/summer to get here.

I foresee these being hung in the window of my kitchen. LOVE!

I am obsessed with this brunch. It is an annual thing so make sure and click through the links of the older parties.

I just bought this and I cannot wait for warm enough weather.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Hot and Sour Soup {Everyday Dinners}

   I love Hot and Sour Soup. When I was growing up my Mom and Granny took me to get Chinese at least once a week. Egg Drop was my soup of choice, every once in a while I would get Wonton Soup, which is my egg hating Mom's soup of choice. It wasn't until I was an adult that my Dad convinced me to try Hot and Sour Soup. My first time I was hooked.




   Here is the funny thing about my Dad and Chinese food, when he dated my Mom she tried to get him to eat it all the time. He, being a very picky eater at the time, refused. It wasn't until he started dating my Step-Mom that she forced him to eat it. He was hooked after he almost died by covering his egg roll in hot mustard. Now that is a funny story! My little brother did the same thing with wasbi about five years ago. Their genius clearly runs in the family. Yeah, they will never live it down. That's what family is for right?




   When I first married my husband he and I went out for Chinese often. We had a favorite restaurant we ate at at least twice a month. Once cold night the owner gave us a complimentary bowl of hot and sour soup to share. I didn't get a drop. My husband was now hooked. He had no clue he was eating tofu. Now that kind of thing doesn't bother him, but back then, he would have never, ever even tried it knowing there was tofu in it. It's amazing what being married for six years to a woman constantly forcing new things on him can do. I had no clue how easy it is to make. It is a new staple around here! I may have to make a second batch to send to my Dad. When I updated my Facebook status sounding my victory over producing a winning Hot and Sour Soup he dropped a not so subtle hint that he was in need of a bowl of the liquid gold. 





Hot and Sour Soup
serves 4 full sized portions or 8 appetizer portions

1 tablespoon seasme oil
2 cups sliced shiitake mushrooms
1 tablespoon grated ginger
1 tablespoon grated garlic
4 cups chicken or beef broth
3 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoon Sriracha* or Red Pepper Flakes
2 tablespoons corn starch
3 tablespoons rice vinegar
1/2 package of tofu, diced
2 eggs, beaten

In a stock pot or large wok over medium high heat oil and saute mushrooms after a couple of minutes add ginger and garlic. Once the mushrooms begin soften add broth, soy sauce and Sriracha. Bring to a boil. In a small bowl whisk corn starch and vinegar. Stir into soup and let thicken, it should only take a couple minutes. Add in tofu. Bring back to a boil. Add the eggs through a slotted spoon making ribbons. Give a stir and taste, season accordingly. Serve warm.

*I made my own and used this recipe.

Friday, February 14, 2014

Currently...


Happy Valentine's Day! We originally didn't plan on doing anything, since we don't really celebrate it, but since my husband managed to get tonight off and my kids will be with their Nana and Papa we decided to have a date night, we usually go out one Friday a month anyway. Last night we looked at each other and and I was like, "well crap, we can't go out on our normal Friday date, all of the restaurants will be packed. Want to pick up sushi and watch tv?" Dang, Valentine's Day, why you got to ruin my date night? I only get one a month!

We had a little snow this week. I have to admit, I like that we only get more than an inch or two every few years. The fact that it doesn't happen often means there is some sort of magic in the air that makes it special. But, now that its melting I'm ready for Spring.

My husband bought me a new camera for my birthday and he could not keep me inside because I was too busy taking pictures in the snow. I still have no clue what I'm doing but I got a couple of good shots.

I went to Target the other day to get a birthday present for my nephew and three birthday cards. I left with a heart shaped plate, heart straws, a new skirt, two shirts and yoga pants. And let's not talk about the things I put back or talked myself out of! What is it about that place? I cannot go in without buying more than I need!

This burrito! We had it Wednesday, it went against my want and need to eat healthier lately but it was so worth it!

Speaking of eating healthy. We went grocery shopping the other night and I looked down and in our cart was the strangest array of food. We had chia seeds and flax seeds, tons of fruit and veggies, the ingredients for chili dogs and Captain Crunch Oops All Berries sitting side by side. Seems like we can't commit to a particular way of eating.  I guess everything in moderation.

I'm Sandy. I'm not sure if I agree or not. Who are you?

On the menu:
Cafe Caramel
One Pan Coconut Shrimp Noodle Bowls
Crispy Croissant Sundaes with Red Wine Hot Fudge
I'm dying to find some of those pink cherries!
Toasted Marshmallow Salted Caramel Cookie Bars

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Strawberry White Hot Chocolate

I love everything Valentine's Day, mostly because I love pink and hearts, but we don't really celebrate it. It just isn't a priority. I'll make some treats and we will go out to dinner at some point, but nothing more than a normal date night. Of course, our anniversary and my birthday surround it and I better get treated like a queen those days! I'm just selectively high maintenance. It works well for us.

But......

I made you a present. I hope you like it. Since I can't give it to you, I gave it to my guys for Valentines Day.


It's super easy. And delicious.


To start go make this Strawberry Syrup. It's handy to have around.
And it's so much better than the fake stuff you can buy at the store.


Then make this hot chocolate but let's change a few things. 
See below or the full recipe! 



Strawberry White Hot Chocolate
serves 4


8 oz white chocolate, chopped 
2 cups milk
1 1/4 tablespoons cornstarch

In a a saucepan, over med/low heat, heat your chocolate and strawberry syrup. Stirring often, do not let the chocolate burn. Once the chocolate is melted, whisk in 1 3/4 cup milk, making sure that all the chocolate and milk combine evenly. In a small bowl stir the remaining milk and cornstarch together, making sure there are no lumps. Stir it into the hot chocolate and let it cook until thickened, stirring often. Serve warm with whipped cream, marshmallows or alone. (I prefer unsweetened whipped cream)



Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Strawberry Mango Coconut Smoothie

   I love smoothies. I mean I LOVE smoothies and so do my boys. We drink them fairly often and now that I'm under doctors orders to stay away from raw fruits and vegetables, unless they are pureed, we will be eating having them on a even more often. 

   Which, can I whine to you a little? I am craving a spinach salad like CRAZYYYY!!!!! The lack of raw veg in my life is making me cranky! And of course the other thing that I can't eat is junk food. Basically I need to eat as little preservatives as possible but I can't eat too many fruits, veg, or meat. Basically I can eat carbs. I know sounds like a dream right? Well, I'm less than thrilled. I always want what I can't have, at least when it comes to food. 



   Now, that is out of my system, let me tell you about this smoothie. I originally planned on adding carrot juice or spinach and flax seed but I am out of all of the above. I need to restock my refrigerator. But this smoothie is perfect for getting kids who are normally picky eaters to feel like they are drinking a milk shake. The Greek yogurt and coconut milk make it creamy enough to trick a picky eater into thinking, it is in fact, a treat. Like with any other smoothie, I wouldn't look at these portions as set in stone, just a guide. I added honey this time but if my fruit was a bit sweeter I wouldn't have added any this time. I would also rather use fresh produce but I often go to frozen for convenience. If you do the same, make sure you not using fruit that has been packed in syrup. You want fruit that has be cleaned cut and frozen. 



Strawberry Mango Coconut Smoothie
serves approximately 4 people

6 oz (3/4 cup) Greek yogurt (I used strawberry)
7 oz (1/2 can) coconut milk
6 oz (3/4 cup) coconut water
4 oz (1/2 cup) orange juice (I used fresh squeezed)
3 tablespoons oats
2 handfuls frozen mango
2 handfuls frozen strawberries
*honey* optional

Combine everything in a blender and blend until smooth. Drink immediately. 

Monday, February 10, 2014

Everyday Dinners... Turkey Quinoa Enchilada Bake


It's time for another EVERYDAY DINNERS, this week I'm sharing a Turkey Quinoa Enchilada Bake. This one could take a full hour if you didn't do any prep work. Like I mentioned here, I make big batches of quinoa and rice ahead of time and since we were having Nachos a couple of nights before I went ahead and browned my turkey. The only thing I had to saute that night was the corn and peppers, although that could have been done ahead of time as well, the rest was layering and baking with a little shredding. I always buy blocks of cheese instead of shredded. I do this for two reasons, first the price difference for the amount it ridiculous, I'm all for getting a little work out and saving some cash. The second reason is that fact that shredded cheeses are coated with something so that they don't stick together. I don't think they melt a well as freshly shredded cheese, maybe its all in my head but I'll stick with my big blocks of cheese.

This is another one of those recipes where I make way too much so that we have lunches for the next couple of days. I fed all 4 of us dinner, and my husband has seconds, plus we have three lunch portions ready in the fridge. Tomorrow I'll make a big pot of Spicy Peanut Noodles and toss in some steamed veggies for the remainder of the weeks lunches.

Turkey Quinoa Enchilada Bake
Serves 6-8

8 cups cooked quinoa (that's 2 cups uncooked)
½ cup salsa (I've adapted Pioneer Woman's recipe for my own liking)
approximately 1.5 lbs of ground turkey
1 16 oz packed of frozen corn kernels, thawed
1 bell pepper, diced
½ can sliced black olives* (optional)
1 10 oz can enchilada sauce
8 oz (I block) Monterrey jack cheese shredded

Preheat oven to 375 F. Prepare your quinoa by bringing 4 cups of water to a bowl, rinse 2 cups quinoa in cold water, drain and add to bowling water. Return to a bowl, turn down to low and cover. Cook 15 minutes. In a medium sized skillet over medium high heat brown ground turkey, add taco seasoning while breaking up with a spoon. Stir in half of salsa to keep it from drying out. Set meat aside. In the same skillet over medium high heat combine corn, bell pepper and remaining salsa. Cook until peppers have softened. In a casserole dish, layer quinoa topping with 1/3 enchilada sauce, then turkey topping with 1/3 of sauce then top with corn mixture and olives and add remaining sauce. Bake for 15 minutes then cover with cheese and bake another 15 minutes.

*I served mine with fresh cilantro and a slice of lime.

**In all honesty you could saute and shred and layer everything the night before, come home from work preheat the oven and toss it in, then top it with cheese. Or in my case I could make it ahead and then the mister could bake it while I'm on my way home. Just a thought.




Friday, February 7, 2014

Currently

I may be addicted to Parks and Recreation.  This poster might be living in my kitchen or hallway very soon.

This makes me happy.

My granny is turning 87 this month and her mind, well, it's, ummm... Let's just say she has good days and bad days. There is paranoia, delusions and no sense of time on the bad ones. But, on the good days, she's my stubborn little Granny who loves to laugh and has been known to drop a cuss word or two and has on a few, okay, several occasions whipped out her middle finger. Anyway, her sister is in the last stages of Alzheimer's and Granny spent the week of Christmas with her nephew to spend some time with my Aunt Viola. So, in true spit fire fashion she decided since she missed our big family get together at Christmas, she wants a party for her birthday, and it better be big. She said she may not hit 90 and she wants EVERYONE to shower her with attention. Of course, now when you ask she says she just wants to see her kids, grandkids and great grandkids nothing big. She's a big ole' LIAR! She wants something major. You should go look at the Pinterest Board that my Mom, cousin and I have been pinning to. If you like flowers, purple, and mason jars you'll love it! I made this little cutie as an inspiration for what we are going for with the theme.

I'll be sharing the invites and menus soon.

I am OBSESSED with this kitchen. In fact, I hate how much I love it. It makes me want to re-do our kitchen something fierce, but I can't so I now hate mine even more because I love this one a little too much!

I need to make this, this, oh and most definitely these! Oh and this, shut the front door, I need it in my life!

So, I finally went to a doctor to help figure out why I felt like I was dying after every meal and in between. I thought she was going to look at me like I was nuts. Apparently I'm not and she has a good idea of what is causing this and I can be fixed! It is either caused by a bacteria, which will mean antibiotics and and acid reducing medicine or caused by the fact that I threw up almost everyday multiple times a day for my last pregnancy and it cause my system to confuse itself and now my stomach won't break down foods properly. I'm not sure how they'll handle the second, which is most likely and harder to prove, scenario. She isn't a fan of just putting me on a medicine and leaving me on it for the rest of my life, which I must say I am thrilled about. I am hopeful. In the mean time, I am not supposed to eat raw fruits and vegetables and eat more carbs. Yeah, so that is problematic for me since I don't eat carbs like crazy (which is not what you would think judging from this blog) and would rather have fruits and veggies. She also recommended that days where I feel particularly horrible to stick with a liquid diet. I asked about juicing and smoothies, since I had already planned on doing that as ways to sneak in extra nutrients, and that is just about the only way my body will deal with the good stuff for the time being. Be prepared for more juice and smoothie recipes. It is so nice to know I'm not nuts, that this is a real thing and won't be a lifetime problem either!