Sunday, January 31, 2010

I feel like a recipe millionaire...

So, who woulda known that there are blogs dedicated solely to RECIPES!??! If you know me well, you will know that I LOVE to read cookbooks, especially ones with pictures, but any cookbook will do. :) I have found over the past few months that these blogs that I've stumbled upon hold a wealth of tried-and-true recipes! I've had a few that turned out fine, but I have definitely had some that are make-for-friends worthy. One of the great things about recipes from blogs is that the blogger can you tell you their take on the recipe and what they did to adapt it.


My hubby is a lover of all asian-style foods. I enjoy Thai peanutty dishes. This meal below ranks in my top 10, if I have one of those. Justin even requested it to be on a monthly rotation.

Thai Chicken Peanut Noodles
originally from blog Picky Palate,
but I found it on the blog Sisters' Cafe
1lb whole wheat thin spaghetti noodles
1 garlic clove, peeled
1 (1 inch) piece of fresh ginger, peeled OR 1 heaping teaspoon of refrigerated ground ginger (it's moist, kinda like a paste)
½ Cup smooth peanut butter
2 Tablespoons sesame oil
¼ Cup soy sauce (I used reduced sodium)
2 Tablespoons brown sugar
1 Tablespoon rice vinegar
1 scant teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 Cup hot water
2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
½ Cup finely chopped white onion
½ Cup finely chopped red or orange bell pepper
2½ - 3 Cups cooked, shredded chicken breast (I used 4 grilled breasts.)
¼ Cup finely chopped cilantro leaves (I DID NOT use cilantro.)
1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste
¼ Cup dry roasted peanuts, chopped (I used honey roasted and DID NOT chop.)
2 Tablespoons sesame seeds (I DID NOT choose to add these.)
*Note: I had this meal planned for my week, so Justin grilled extra chicken one night when we had bbq chicken. I marinated the chicken I'd planned for this dish in Italian dressing. Altogether, I used grilled chicken for this dish.
1. I made the Spicy Peanut Sauce that you'll find below.
2. In my small food processor, I chopped garlic and the refrigerated already ground ginger (not dry ground ginger). Then I added peanut butter, sesame oil, soy sauce, brown sugar, vinegar and red pepper flakes. Pulse until well combined and slowly add hot water. Set aside in a bowl.
3. Start a pot of water boiling for the pasta. Add pasta whenever it's ready.
4. While pasta is boiling, I used my food processor/chopper to chop onion and red bell. Then place olive oil in hot skillet over medium heat. Saute onion and bell pepper for 5 minutes or until softened. Stir in chicken breast, cilantro (I didn't use cilantro), and salt. Stir until heated through. Add peanut sauce to skillet. Stir until heated through. Turn off heat. Add drained pasta. Toss to coat and garnish with peanuts and sesame seeds, if desired.
5. Sauce tends to pool at the bottom, so when serving, dig deep with your serving spoon.
Makes 6 servings.
* Another Note: I didn't find this spicy at all. If you want it spicier, add whatever heat you like, OR serve the sauce below over the dish. We loved this sauce drizzled on each of our servings. It's got some kick.
Spicy Peanut Sauce:
1 Tb peanut butter
2 1/2 Tb canola oil
3 1/2 Tb soy sauce (I used reduced sodium.)
2 T sugar
2 tsp vinegar
1/2 tsp sesame oil
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1 Tb green onion, minced (I didn't have green onions this week, since this sauce was a last minute addition to my meal.)
2 Tb cilantro, chopped (I DID NOT use cilantro.)

Whisk sauce ingredients together without cooking.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Clara's first snow here at home!

Well, last night there was "snow" in accumulation of maybe 1/2" all around us, but there was none here. This morning we woke up to a mixture of ice, 1" snow (in some areas of the yard there was less), and sleet. Kinda gross, but we made the most of it!

What to wear in this snow/ice/sleet? Izzy got to sport Daddy's hunting tobogan, and Clara wore mittens Nana sent to her and a halloween penguin costume that we've never put to use. It looked pretty warm, not to mention the costume being a penguin fit the icy weather! We went outside at 7:15am with just Izzy, but we only stayed for about 10 minutes before the painful-to-your-face sleet started to pick up.
After breakfast, we brought Clara out:
Mushy slush:
Precious penguin!

Back inside with our rosy cheeks!

Friday, January 29, 2010

Stomach Virus, a Hat, and a Walkway

I haven't been my normal blogging self. The picture below should prove that 3 out of 4 of our family members were plauged by nasty Mr. Stomach Virus. Izzy got it first, along with double ear infections. Then Momma went down, so Daddy stayed home from work all day with the little girls. Too bad for him, he got the plague the next day! Izzy and Justin had it the worst, but I had the bloody eye... ewwwww.
The funny thing is last winter Izzy had RSV/Croup, then a couple weeks later she got the stomach virus and gave it to me. This year she got pneumonia, and then a couple weeks later she got the stomach virus and gave it to both parents. Crazy sickness for Jan/Febs from the past two years.
We are thankful that this one didn't last anywhere near as long as last year's, and we love being back to the land of the living. Also, CLARA survived without sickness!!! God is good and gets us through the hard days. I appreciate good health a little more than usual. Hopefully, we won't have a second round this winter!
Look at my 5.5 month old cutie in her daddy's camo hat:

Last weekend BEFORE the plague hit us, Justin used some gift cards from family members (THANKS!) and bought some thick walkway stones. The dogs/us were wearing a pathway from the garage to the gate, but now it's so much fun to walk on the stone path! Justin dug the stones down into the ground, so they are very sturdy. I learned that trick from my dad from all the stone paths he put in over the years. :)
(The frist stone is wet.)

Last but not least: I had my MOPS table of 8 moms over about a week and a half ago for a game night. I definitely enjoyed getting to know them better!

Here's the invite wording I sent out:

"The TROUBLE with the GAME OF LIFE is that sometimes we moms are going up and down so many CHUTES and LADDERS, which can cause some AGGRAVATION. Once in a while we need to use our CRANIUM and take a CLUE to have some TRIVIAL PURSUIT!!!

Leave Dad at home to man the BATTLESHIP! He can be SOLITAIRE for one night, right? (Hope that won't cause a FAMILY FEUD.)

Please bring an appetizer to share... and remember if you don't come, you'll be in DOUBLE TROUBLE. Lots of fun in store!"

Well, blog readers, that was my extra creativity for the week! I'll write again sooner rather than later. Izzy and I have been busy with her "preschool" program that we've been working on in the mornings during Clara's nap. I'll let you know more about that soon.

Monday, January 18, 2010

House Transformation

Ok, here is the house when we first bought it:
Then it got some color, furniture, and accessories:
And... now its windows have dressings:

We are enjoying our gifts--the rods from Calvin/Jennifer and curtains from Justin's parents!
The room is so warm now. :)


Izzy was working hard to not let squiggle-wiggle fall off the changing table!
She even squeezed a smile out of Clara. :)
Justin and I are thrilled that his sister and brother-in-law have finally publicized that they are expecting a baby due on our anniversary, Aug. 5. We are going to be first-time uncle and aunt!!!
These girls will have their very first cousin!
I have such amazing memories of life with my cousin Johnny.
Psalm 139:13For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb.14 I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well.15 My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth.16Your eyes saw my unformed substance;in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Mmm... Even my dad liked this recipe over Christmas!

Spicy Shepherd’s Pie

1lb. lean ground turkey (or beef)
1 onion, chopped
1 can black beans, drained
1 can diced tomatoes with chiles
1 can corn
1/2 can olives, sliced (I didn't add these)
1/4 cup taco seasoning (or 1 packet)
1/2- 1 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 garlic clove, minced
4 cups mashed potatoes (I made real ones)
1 cup grated cheddar cheese

Brown ground beef with onion; add all ingredients except potatoes and cheese. Simmer for 2-3 minutes. Pour into a 9x13” pan. Top with 1/2 cup cheese. Spread mashed potatoes over the cheese and meat mixture. Top with remaining cheese. Bake at 350 for about 25-30 minutes or till hot and bubbly. Serves 6-8.

Want a Quick Homemade Dinner?

Quick and Easy Stromboli Dinner:

1 tube (11 oz) refrig crusty French loaf
3/4 to 1 c. shredded mozzarella
3/4 to 1 c. shredded cheddar
1/4 lb. thinly sliced deli salami
1/4 lb. thinly sliced deli ham
1/4 c. chopped roasted red peppers, or 1 jar (2 oz) pimientos, drained
1 T. butter, melted
2 to 3 T shredded Parmesan

Preheat oven to 375. Unroll the dough and pat into a 14"x12" rectangle. Sprinkle with mozz. and chedd. cheese to within 1/2" of edges; top with meat and red peppers. Roll up jelly-roll style, starting with a short side; seal seam and tuck ends under. Place seam side down on an ungreased baking sheet. Brush with butter; sprinkle with Parm. Bake at 375 for 25-30 min or until golden brown. Slice with serrated knife. 4 servings

ps. Serve with marinara sauce and add crushed red pepper flakes to the boli if you like it a little spicier.

A Cart Carrying Clara

Izzy's friends Cora and Mary Grace introduced her to a new use for her grocery cart :
They both lovvve it!
Thanks for the grocery cart, Aunt Maggie!

Friday, January 1, 2010

Happy but not so healthy start to the new year!

On New Year's Eve morning, I heard some wheezing from Izzy. Justin heard it, too. He thought maybe after her having a cold for a week, she should get checked by the doc before the long holiday weekend. I got a text message at 11am from Justin that she was going for a chest x-ray. Found out she has pneumonia and double ear infections! What a shock! She has never once touched her ears. Izzy's still playing with her baby stroller and fake food, but she does have a few more melt downs over trivial things. Dr. K gave her 2 prescriptions. :)

Here's a few pics of the nebulizer treatments:
Happy sick girl! haha.
Justin explaining what was gonna happen:
A first time for everything as young parents, huh? ;)
I'm looking at you, Mom!
We love our girl!