Monday, September 15, 2014

Tomato Basil Chicken

I love fresh basil and the taste and smell of it. Oh yum! We've gotten a lot of basil in our CSA box recently, so I have been frequenting the Pinterest boards to find new, tasty recipes. The most recent wonderful recipe I've discovered is this Tomato Basil Chicken.

Photo from Pinterest
This is refreshing. Kinda sorta tastes like summer. It didn't dirty up too many pots and pans, either, which is always a plus.

I used some cherry tomatoes and some romas. This is a dinner that is sure to delight your tastebuds. Give it a try and bask in the final days of summer.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Summer Squash Burritos

As I've mentioned before, we get a produce box weekly from a local farm. Generally, we end up with veggies that I wouldn't buy on my own, making it a fun weekly challenge to try out new recipes. Recently, we received yellow squash in our produce box. Yellow squash is probably not that difficult to find a good recipe for, but I never had really tried - other than just sautéing it. But, I found a fabulous recipe that I really enjoyed. Summer Squash Burritos.

Photo from Pinterest

I changed the recipe up a bit and added steak to the burritos - making them no longer vegetarian. I guess I just like meat too much. But, for my vegetarian friends - this is vegetarian friendly!

I first sautéed some onions, then added strips of steak and then put in the yellow squash. I have also added zucchini to it, and that is quite tasty as well.

Add the tomatoes and cheese and wrap in a tortilla and you have a meal. A tasty, rather quick meal. I have now made this recipe multiple times, so this is definitely a tried and true. And you should give it a try and see if I'm telling the haha! Ok, it's late - that was a bad one. ;)

Monday, September 8, 2014

Duct Tape Wallets

Hi Blogosphere!

I'm back! I'm sorry for my long-time lack of posting. Last week, I had a glorious vacation with my family at Disneyland and ran the Disneyland 10k (for those non-runner types, that would be 6.2 miles).

It was absolutely wonderful. I intended to have a few blog posts ready to go before I left, but I let time get away from me and never got it done. But, I'm back now! And ready to go!

A few weeks ago, I watched some of my nephews and one of my nieces. It was a wonderful, busy, full, active time at my house.

As usual, the kids were anticipating and looking forward to the project that Aunt Heidi would have planned. Because of the vast ages (10 months to 10 years) ranging at my house, finding a project suitable for all ages seemed a challenge so I focused on a project for the oldest boys. As they had to be the helpers for the day, I thought it nice to reward their hard work.

Finding a project for boys that are 9 and 10 years old is challenging. So, I did a Pinterest search for "Activities for Tween Age Boys." Much to the chagrin of my sister ("my boy, a tween?! eek!"). But, I found the right activities for them.

The first pin I found was a perfect find: 20+ unplugged activities for Tween Age Boys. There were many, many good ideas on there - but I found the one that intrigued me the most and went with it: Duct Tape Wallets.

The items needed for this craft: duct tape, measuring tape. That's it. I actually used a grocery bag as well, to mark down the measurement spots so  I could use it a few times without having to keep the measuring tape out. That worked well. 

My niece and other nephews were a little bummed that they couldn't do this project as well, but it was kinda difficult for the older boys and I knew frustration and tears would've been the results of having the littler kiddos trying to do this as well. Thankfully, they got distracted and enjoyed playing together. 

Apparently, duct tape is a comfy pillow and mask?? :) Silly boys. The first layer of tape was pretty easy for the boys to apply, the next layer, not so much. We ended up having to rip two sets of the first and second layers when all was said and done. News flash: duct tape is sticky. This project is easiest when you can use 4 hands. 

The instructions for the pockets on the wallet were a little tough for me to understand, so I struggled with that, but the boys were happy with the results regardless...and I think I kinda got it figured out...however I don't have a clearer way of writing it than what is said in the blog, so I can't help you any further in understanding it...sorry.

The one thing I would caution, if you are using a directional patterned duct tape - like Superman, here - you will want to make sure that the overlapping is done at the top of the pattern rather than the bottom of the pattern. Gabe's wallet had to be adjusted a bit so it wasn't upside down. It worked out alright, but we just had to change it up a bit.

Check out the instructions on the blog - they are pretty clear and the boys loved making these. And they are able to hold library cards, cash, and the like in their fashionable duct tape wallets. 

Oh! And I got in on the action as well. Have you ever seen the patterned duct tape at the store and thought "boy, I wish I had a use for that! Oh well, I'll get it anyway." Well, I had some of that duct tape and finally found a use for it in this duct tape wallet. :) I made one for Peyton and one for myself.

None of them were perfect, but they are all useable and fun! And now you know. A fun project to do with you *gulp* tweens. And to finish it off, here are two more pictures from our trip to the happiest place on earth.

(Cade got that costume as a surprise gift when we got to Disneyland..afterward, he wouldn't take it off. He was in Heaven. And Disneyland is the perfect place for it - according to cast members at Disneyland (aka Disney employees) he wasn't in a costume - he WAS Buzz Lightyear.)

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!