Friday, August 22, 2014

Artichoke Tomato Chicken

And now for another week of food-blogging! One of these days, I'll actually blog more frequently about crafting and cleaning and such, but in the meantime, I've been trying lots of new recipes with many successes this week! Yay!! Including this wonderful meal, artichoke tomato chicken.

I tweaked this recipe slightly to accommodate the ingredients I had...that, and I may have misread and used basil instead of oregano. But, that was an amazing mistake!

And I used colby-jack cheese instead of provolone, which tasted very nice as well.

It doesn't seem that I normally have so many beautiful meals, but this one looked and tasted quite lovely.

I would recommend cooking the dish for at least another 5 minutes as it seemed to be just slightly undercooked, but otherwise, oh yum! It was delightful, kind of like a pizza without the crust. I especially liked it when paired with noodles (smothered in olive oil and an assortment of herbs).

So, the mistake of using basil rather than oregano is a mistake I will continue to make. I have no words. It was delicious. I have already made this dish twice and loved it both times. Also, it reheats well. Bonus!

Friday, August 15, 2014

Slow Cooker Quinoa Tex Mex

This has been a week for slow cooker meals. So many slow cooker meals. It's been frustratingly humid, and I haven't wanted to turn on the oven or the stove for fear of warming up our house more than it already is. My slow cooker has been a lifesaver!

Here's one of the many new recipes I tried this week. Slow Cooker Quinoa Tex Mex.
Photo from Pinterest
I wasn't sure about rinsing the quinoa - thinking about it falling through the colander, so I used a mesh strainer, and that worked wonderfully. 

This dish took longer to make than I expected. The blog said it would take anywhere from 3-6 hrs (how's that for a range?), and it seemed to take about 5 hours for the quinoa to soak up all the liquid. 

I added ground beef, but this could easily be a tasty vegetarian dish. I did not have any green onions or mozzarella cheese. So, instead I used colby jack cheese and just left out the green onions. I wasn't able to get a picture of it as soon as it was done, because I had rehearsal for a musical that I'm a part of, so I took it to my mom's to finish cooking after I added the cheese. 

The consensus was that this dish was tasty, although needed a little more salt. It wasn't quite as quick as I would've liked, but it still turned out really tasty. My mom put the food into a tortillas shell and I am looking forward to trying it that way my ownself.

This is a keeper recipe that we will certainly be making again.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Eggless Chocolate Chip Cookies

Much to my delight and happy heart, my family - siblings, mom, nieces, nephews, and of course my husband and children, went camping. It was a glorious weekend filled with fun and food and games and rest and more food. Oh yeah, that's my kind of vacation! I love to eat. Have I said that before? I'm pretty sure I say it an atrocious amount of times. 

Anyway, my job was to bring cookies and veggies. Veggies were simple - just cut them up, bag them and keep them refrigerated. Cookies, on the other hand, was just a bit more challenging. Although, more just by my own volition. My brother is allergic to eggs. My go-to cookie is the best homemade cookie in the world: the chocolate chip cookie. However, it has eggs in it. And, although my brother will take one for the team and eat them with eggs and sacrifice himself getting sick (yes, he could just not eat them, but that makes far too much sense) :), I decided not to put him through that rough decision and instead tried making these, eggless chocolate chip cookies. 
Photo from Pinterest

The recipe was very simple. I did not take any pictures of the process as the blog linked above is a great picture tutorial as well as being easy to follow. I did not have a problem with my cookies being dome shaped as some seem to have had from the comments in the blog. And, because I like shortcuts and am a wee bit lazy at times, I tried not rolling the dough into a ball and rolling it, as suggested in the blog.  The cookie on the top was not rolled, the cookie on the bottom was rolled. The only difference is that it doesn't look as, not as pretty.

These were very good cookies. They aren't as good as egged chocolate chip cookies - but they were still decent. The biggest problem I had with them is that they don't travel well. Before the end of our weekend camping trip, they were all crumbled into a million pieces in the ziplock baggie. However, as I type that, I'm realizing that could also be because they were in a ziplock baggie....

Anyway, they turned out alright, but certainly weren't the best. But, my mom, who for many, many years has been on the search for a good eggless chocolate chip cookie recipe for my brother said these were the best she had ever had. So, there's that. If you need eggless, give them a try. I don't think you'll be sorry. :)

And with that, here are some pictures from our campout.

While we were there, we celebrated my mom's birthday - and I made all of the siblings (and mom) matching shirts. Because I'm dorky like that.
My son swinging
Elsie's first experience on a swing. She loved it. And her brother and cousins were begging to push her. This would be a good photo to caption "look out future boyfriends - this girl's got bodyguards..." :)

Before we left we went on a lovely hike and enjoyed the cool morning and the beautiful Santiam river. So much fun.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

We Give Books

I'm working through some super old pins in my Pinterest account and have found some really interesting things. One of the pins I just (re)discovered was this awesome website,

Photo from Pinterest
In order to use this website, you do have to register, but it's pretty hassle and pain-free. None of this "please enter a symbol, number, capitol letter, and an accent to create a password" bologna. It was straightforward and quick.

Once I signed up, I was excited to get reading with Cade. You read the books through the site itself, so you aren't downloading anything. They have some great books. The toughest part was navigating to the books. Up at the very top (in the black bar), you'll want to click on the button "read." From there, you will see lots of books options based on age (anywhere from 0-10), genre, author, classics, etc.  I went to the age range 4-7 and found a few "Llama Llama" books as well as many, many other options.

After I clicked on the book we wanted to read and enlarged it to fit the whole screen, the reading began. This book seems appropriate for my little nudist son...

So, there you have it - an awesome website with so many books to read online! This'll save you a trip to the library when your day is already full. Happy reading!

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Binkie Bag

Back when Cade was a baby, I had seen this blog about making a binkie bag. I never managed to get it done before he outgrew the binkie. I had many excuses: time, supplies, my sewing skills are embarrassingly lacking, fear of messing it up and frustration.

Photo from Pinterest
But, after a nightly struggle of finding her binkie as Elsie woke crying after managing to throw every binkie she owned behind her crib, I finally decided the excuses and frustration would be minuscule in comparison to being awake at 3 in the morning, searching in the dark for the discarded binkie. This is proof of the binkie disappearances as I found them behind her crib while changing her sheets.

This project was ridiculously easy. I didn't measure the fabric precisely or cut straight, but it was totally fine! I loosely measured the fabric and then eyeballed to actually cut it - mainly because I didn't want to go searching for anything to mark my fabric with.

Here it is once it was cut - in all it's uneven glory.

Once it was cut, I folded it in half, right sides together, lengthwise.

Then it was time to sew! I stitched up two of the three sides and left a one to two inch opening that wasn't stitched at the top so that it could be folded over for the sewed hem.

Then, I folded over the fabric and eyeballed the fabric as I sewed the hem. I didn't even use pins for this part or anything, I was being really lazy.

Voila! It's a bag!! Now to add the ribbon and the boning.

When I added the ribbon, I did use pins - there was no way it would look good without. And I changed out my thread so that it would look better. I know; I went all out for that part. ;)

I stitched as close to the hem line stitch as possible to continue to allow room for the boning to go in. And left the end open with a long tail for the ribbon to be tied to the crib.

Then, I inserted the boning (which you can find near the thread and ribbon at the fabric store) - the most time-consuming part of this project. And that was nothing.

I then stitched up the end where the boning was inserted so that it wouldn't wriggle its way out. And it was done!

Ok, all of my fears and excuses shouldn't have stopped me. This was, by far, the easiest sewing project I have ever done. Simple. Quick. Fun. TOTALLY USEFUL! I love this. Lesson learned - I should try things before I get too worried about them. This is awesome. This is most definitely a Pinterest success!

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Cheesy Ground Beef Rice Casserole

So....this post is going to be boring, unimaginative and brief. My brain doesn't want to work so hard to be creative, so I'll write within the capabilities of my tired brain and call it good. Get ready for short and sweet. 

Photo from
I didn't have any sour cream, so I used plain greek yogurt. I didn't care for the taste of the greek yogurt all that much in it, but it worked. I also didn't read the directions closely enough and put the greek yogurt and cheese in before I popped it in the oven. So, the picture of my dish vs. the one above doesn't look near as tasty. Oh well.

After it was all baked, I plated it with some steamed veggies and we ate.

This was delicious, although next time I will try it with sour cream and add it in at the right time. My husband thought it was a bit too cheesy, but for those who love cheese, this is definitely a good meal and it doesn't take too long to make.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Sticky and Sweet Slow Cooker Chicken

I know I've said it before, but why do I not think to use my crock pot more during the summer? It doesn't overheat the house and you still get some mighty tasty meals. I tried a new recipe in my crock pot the other day. Sticky & Sweet Chicken Drumsticks.

My husband is the master griller, but we were on a tight schedule the other night so I knew there wouldn't be time to stoke up the BBQ and get the meat all grilled before I needed to leave, so this was the perfect alternative.

The preparation wasn't too hard, and I actually pulled the chicken out of the freezer and put it directly into the crock pot. The time-consuming part was making the BBQ sauce. You certainly don't have to make your own sauce, I'm sure, but I thought I'd try it out. 

After the sauce was made, I poured it on the chicken and turned the crock pot on high. The recipe calls for covering the chicken in the sauce and making sure it's all mixed in. 

I turned the chicken and made sure to smother the BBQ sauce all over the meat about halfway through since I wasn't able to do it in the beginning with the chicken frozen solid. I had it cook for a little over 4 hours on high since the meat had been frozen. I don't think that was necessarily a good choice; the meat wasn't very juicy by the time all was said and done. But, it smelled amazing.

After the chicken was broiled on both sides, we served it up with some yummy salad, rolls, watermelon and pasta salad.

This dish was beautiful and tasty and summery. In the future, I may not cook the chicken for as long since it was a bit dryer than I would've liked, but it still turned out quite delightful. Sweet and, indeed, sticky, but yummy!