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Monthly Archives: July 2012

Pintrest Recipes

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I have over 100 pins on my “recipes to try” board, and I’ve tested every single one about 20 of them. Tonight I made  Honey Lime Chicken from the Kitchen Meets Girl blog.

Image from Kitchen Meets Girl

Yum! Served on wild rice with a side of mashed sweet potatoes.

It’s fantastic, definitely one of my favorite ways to make chicken. Tonight I was too lazy to walk to the BBQ area at the pool, so I used a grill pan on the stove. I always sear the chicken on one side, then cover the pan with a cookie sheet so the heat cooks the chicken. After a few minutes I uncover the chicken, flip it to sear the other side, and cover again until the chicken is cooked through. Viola! You have moist, thoroughly cooked chicken. I only made slight changes to her recipe – more Siracha and cilantro, adding lime zest, and omitting the red pepper flakes because I didn’t have any.

  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • juice and zest of one lime
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tablespoon Siracha
  • 2 tablespoons cilantro
  • 1 pound skinless, boneless chicken breasts (I pound them to about 1/2″ thickness)

Instructions

  1. In a small bowl, combine your ingredients, through the cilantro. Mix thoroughly.
  2. Pour marinade over chicken breasts and turn to coat. Cover and allow to marinate for at least 1 hour.
  3. Grill on medium high heat for 6 to 8 minutes per side, until juices run clear.

After dinner Leia and I tested this recipe for Creamy Nutella Popsicles from 52 Kitchen Adventures.

I love everything about nutella. You could put it on a cardboard box and I’d eat it. I’m not a big fan of cool whip, but the picture was so enticing I grabbed a tub of the frozen corn syrup and hydrogenated oil product at the store to give these a try.

  • 1 cup cool whip
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 3 tablespoons nutella

Stir until blended (I used a whisk, using a blender as suggested would mean cleaning the blender and I’m lazy). Add to popsicle molds and freeze for a few hours. Drumroll please….

Kind of disappointing. I definitely tasted the coolwhip. There are some changes I think I can make that will make these much better. Because, darn it, I really want to have a reason to eat more nutella.

  • Ditch the cool whip. To create a creamy base I’m going to use an equal mix of heavy cream and vanilla greek yogurt. Or maybe half and half.
  • I used unsweetened vanilla almond milk, and would do so again. I considered chocolate milk for a second, but I don’t think I want the chocolate flavor to compete with the nutella (you see, I’m a freak).
  • Since the cool whip is overly sweet I might need to add a packet of stevia to my unsweetened ingredients.
  • Add an extra tablespoon of nutella.
  • Use a sillicone popsicle mold. These got stuck in my plastic mold, running them under hot water didn’t even do the trick. I had to scoop out the popsicles to eat in a bowl with a spoon. Small paper cups might also work – just peel the cup off after it’s frozen. Or you could freeze it in a big container and scoop it like ice cream.

I’m always looking for something easy I can serve to Leia in the mornings. We are definitely creatures of habit when it comes to that first meal of the day – yogurt, fruit, cereal (for Leia), coffee (for me). I hate eggs, so I rarely remember to cook them for her. I make pancakes sometimes, bacon occasionally (I’d be 200 pounds if I made bacon as often as I want). I thought muffins might be a good option, except I can’t be trusted with a pan full of buttery, crumb topped, blueberry muffins. I’d make them at night with good intentions and there might be a few crumbs left for the little girl in the morning. My solution? Bake healthy muffins. Less guilt when I eat too many, and I feel better about what I’d feeding Leia.

I tried these Banana Oatmeal Muffins from Keeping up with the Joneses.

Image from Keeping up with the Joneses

  • 2  1/2 cup old fashioned oats (not quick cooking)
  • 1 cup vanilla fat free greek yogurt
  • 2 eggs
  • 3/4 cup sugar (she mentioned using 2 tablespoons of stevia as an alternative)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 bananas

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Spray tin with non-stick cooking spray or use a silicone muffin tin because they are sticky.
2. Place all of the ingredients, including bananas in a blender or food processor, and blend until oats are smooth.
3. Divide batter and bake for 20-25 minutes, or until toothpick comes out clean.

I really wanted to like these, but they were just a little bland and gummy. I felt like I was trying too hard to be healthy. Or maybe I’m a muffin snob. Leia took a few bites, but they ended up in a bag with our bread crusts to be fed to the ducks at the lake. I guess I’ll stick to homemade granola to spice up our breakfasts.

I need an adventure

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…and I don’t mean heading to Trader Joes and Vons in the same morning, or sifting crayons out of the cat liter. I want to go somewhere on a plane or a train or a boat, somewhere far away and new. My “places I’d like to go” board has too many amazing, beautiful, breath taking pins. I hope that reference to Pintrest ages me in 10 years and makes Leia laugh 😉

A glass igloo to watch the Northern Lights

 

Barcelona, Spain

 

My Dad took us camping a lot when I was a kid. We didn’t go far, usually the local mountains or the desert. Once we went to the Grand Canyon and another time to Yosemite, those were exciting times, great memories. When I was in my early 20’s I went on a few cruises, mostly around the Caribbean. I love cruising, but it’s definitely not a way to experience the places you travel to. Every time we were on land we were surrounded by tourists (like us), without enough time to really get lost and explore. I’ve traveled more outside the U.S. than in it. I’ve only been to a handful of states – all over California, Washington, Arizona, Florida, Hawaii. I have my fingers crossed for a trip to the northeast (MD, NY, CT) this fall to visit friends.

I don’t think I really fell in love with traveling until I booked a trip on a whim with two friends from work. I was 25 years old, single (divorced two years prior), bored at work, stuck in a rut. It was completely spontaneous, the conversation went something like “$400 to Europe round trip is insanely cheap, we should book it!” So we did. Rachel, Carrie and I spent two weeks running all over Europe and that adventure changed my life. Two years later we all went to South America together.

Girls in a pub! Pretty sure this was our first night in London.

 

Drinking champagne after taking a tour of the Moet Chandon cellars in France.

 

Machu Picchu, Peru

 

Carnival costumes in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

 

There’s a few quotes about not really knowing your friends until you travel with them. We definitely became better friends, and I hope when we’re old and grey the three of us will still go on adventures. I’m thinking about them tonight because they just returned from Africa (Africa!!). The year before they went to Greece. Obviously I’ve been living vicariously through their travels until Leia is old enough to join me.

Until then, I’ve been day dreaming about being stuck at sea for a few days. So if anyone has a yacht and wants to take me (and the little one…and really whoever else wants to come) sailing, I’ll happily pay you in freshly baked treats, wine and giddy conversation. Seriously, lets go get lost.

One and done?

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My mom group is amazing, I’m lucky to share my parenthood journey with these inspiring women. Leia has friends, I have friends, it’s a beautiful thing. Our kids are all turning two this summer, give or take a few months. Two years seems to be the magical sibling spacing as almost everyone has had (or is having soon) baby number two – or two and three for one mom who had twins! A few families are waiting a while (to finish school, financial stability, etc.) before having another. I think I’m the only mom in our group that hasn’t even considered another child. My first reaction to realizing this was “well it’s because I’m single.” If I was married and we could afford it of course I’d be having another, right? I’m not sure. For the record I think it’s ideal for children to have two parents, but I have to pat myself on the back for doing a kick ass job as a single parent. Leia is loved by both parents and I know that’s what matters. So what if I won the lottery and could afford to have another child through a sperm donor or adoption? (Full disclosure: with this windfall of cash I would hire a part-time nanny, or at least a cleaning lady) I would probably give it more thought, but I’m not convinced it would automatically feel like the right thing to do.

It’s not that I don’t want Leia to have a sibling (she does have one! I’ll get to that…). Siblings are a wonderful thing – friends within family, people to share childhood experiences with, people to share memories of what our family was like when I am gone. I want Leia to have all that, I just don’t think I want to be a parent to another child. Seeing newborns doesn’t make my uterus tingle or make me feel warm and squishy. Am I happy for the family? Of course. Do I wish it was me? Heck no. I don’t see pregnant women and get nostalgic. As Leia gets older, I’m happy to give away most of her baby things. I love this stage so much more than the newborn one.

I got really lucky, Leia was an easy baby – thanks mostly to the convenience of breastfeeding and babywearing. She’s an easy going (as long as she’s close to me), loving, happy toddler. I look at her and see a perfect little human and think “crap the second child would probably be a nightmare to balance the scales.” Plus, I love being able to give Leia so much one on one time, so much attention. It makes me sad to think of her having to share my love with another child. I’m fully aware the goal of raising a healthy, happy child is to help them grow into independence. I want Leia to go off on her own someday filled with confidence, compassion, curiosity, to grow up and have her own life and family. One of my favorite quotes about parenthood says something about being a mom requiring strong arms to hold our children up in the early years, and stronger still when we let them go.

Moms of 2+ are probably rolling their eyes right now. I believe them when they tell me your heart grows to fit two, watching your kids love each other is magical, giving your child a sibling is a gift, and children need siblings when parents grow old and die. I just can’t wrap my head or my heart around wanting more than Leia.

Mike is getting married in a few weeks to Leilani, who is wonderful and a great mother figure for Leia. They had a little girl, Dresden Elle, on June 15th. Viola! Leia has a sister, an ideal outcome from my perspective. Is it traditional? No, but I’m hoping that makes it special. Leia also has her cousin Johnny, who is turning one in October. I didn’t know our cousins growing up. My mom’s brother and sister didn’t have kids. My dad’s relatives are all on the east coast and keeping in touch wasn’t as easy as Facebook makes it now. I didn’t experience that cousins-that-grow-up-like-siblings phenomenon, but I hope Leia and Johnny do. I’m pretty sure Mike and Leilani and Racheal and John will go on to have more kids, so Leia will have lots of family her age as she gets older. Whew.

big sister and little sister

cousins

But what if I meet someone? What if they want kids? Getting married years down the road and having another child isn’t ruled out as an option, but only slightly more possible than the lottery winning scenario above. I’m not interested in dating anyone right now, it seems overwhelming and time consuming. Typically dating comes before marriage (haha) so being married in the distant future isn’t something I think about. Although should Mr. Right come along it would be ideal if he was sterile and traveled a lot for work. This way I still get a lot of the alone time that I love and need. If I don’t want more kids, there’s no pressure on my end. If I did we could always adopt.