Monday, June 30, 2014

Asian Marinated Boneless Pork Chops

I'm going through some kind of a rut right now with my recipes.  I have about 10-15 recipes that I can whip up pretty quickly, are easy and I know Jeff and I love.  Eventually though, I just get tired of making the same thing over and over and that's when my mind starts stirring.  I start reading the cookbooks that were getting a little dusty, searching through the internet or Pinterest.  Anything for a little inspiration.  

Mostly though, my go to way to think of a new recipe is by thinking what I would want if I went to a nice restaurant. First I start with a protein, and then a side... and I go from there.  This week, I was craving pork chops!  Salt and pepper is always a great way to start to season your meals but you just have to switch it up a little here are there to get something different.  So here we go, my little pork chop creation. Asian Marinated Boneless Pork Chops.

Difficulty: Super Easy
Prep Time: 1hr  Total Time: 1hr 20mins

6 Bonesless Pork Chops
3T Soy Sauce
3T Mustard
4T Olive Oil
Fresh Parsley (chopped)
Fresh Chives (chopped)
Salt and Pepper
1/2 C Heavy Cream

1. Lay out your chops on a cutting board and season well with salt and pepper on both sides.  Put in a bowl or baking pan and add soy sauce, half of the olive oil and mustard.  Mix well.  Let rest about an hour.  I did mine about half in the fridge, and half out to let the pork come to room temperature before cooking. This makes it cook more evenly.

2. Heat a pan with the other half of the olive oil to a medium-high heat.  Once your pan is hot put your chops in the pan and cook until brown about 3-4 minutes. Flip and cook on the other side 2ish minutes. Make sure you put all the sauce your chops where marinating in, in the pan to cook together.
3. Take the chops out and let rest on a plate.  Add your heavy cream (you can also use regular milk if you have that but will have to thicken the sauce with something... Corn starch or flour) and mix well making sure to scrape all the brown bits of the bottom of the pan. Stir and cook on medium-low heat until well mixed and thick to a gravy consistancy. 
4. Serve gravy over chops with your favorite sides and enjoy!

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Pinterest Recipes I've Tried And Loved

You know how it goes, you spend mindless hours pinning food on Pinterest and maybe if you're feeling really good one day, you finally get around to trying one, but mostly they just sit on your lovely food board because well, what if they just don't turn out? or they look too hard and you don't have the time.  Are there too many ingredients? Maybe you can cut some out but you just don't have the time to play around with the recipe.

Well let me help you.  Here are some recipes I've tried from Pinterest that we loved as a family.  Maybe you can try them out too since I'll be giving you all the deets.

1. Basic Zucchini Bread -  This is great for dessert, or a little snack.  Super easy to make.  I didn't change the recipe much other than added an extra cup of zucchini.  It made two loaves.  I froze one and ate the other one.  Perfect amount. I think I'll add a cup of chocolate chips next time but also very good the way it is.

2. Black Bean and Guac Burritos - Ok, this idea is great and these ingredients are yummy, but this is a recipe that you can make a million ways with any ingredients you have around the house.  So, for me, I say, make a burrito with any left overs you have and then put it in the panini maker to make it crunchy which is really all that matters to make it amazing and you're good to go. Remember - Panini maker = Amazing

3. Cherry Pie Bars - I'm an all chocolate dessert type of woman, but once in a while I come across something that changes my mind, even for just one day.  This is one of them. Super simple and I like simple.

4. Guava & Cream Cheese Pastry - Ok, another fun fact, I'm also a pastry addict, mostly the Panera ones. Of course chocolate. But my mom gave me some guava paste after her trip to Hawaii and what's a girl to do with a whole jar of guava paste?  Exactly this.  If a chocolate pastry is a 11, this is a 9. 

5. Enchilada Veggie Quesadilla - Here we go again.  Mexican food rocks.  Mostly because you can add any Mexican ingredient together and they always taste good.  Case in point.  This.  I'm sure you have these items laying around the house. Go make one.

6. Savory Ham and Cheese Muffins - I've tried a couple of different ham and cheese muffins and this one is the best. These are flaky and very tasty.  They are perfect for an on the go breakfast with a cup of milk.  It makes a bunch so if there are only two or three of you I would cut the recipe in half.

7. Chocolate Chip Banana Bread - Another bread.  I must have a thing for bread.  This one though, super moist and great for those bananas that have been sitting around for a little bit too long. 

8. Brown Sugar Spiced Chicken - This girl is amazing.  Her food in general is amazing.  This is one of my favorites though.  You basically put all the ingredients together in a gallon bag, marinate, and toss in the oven.  And you're done.  Make a side of cauliflower mash, and you're all set!

9. Chocolate Chip Clouds - This is the way to go if you feel guilty about having dessert. It's actually not that bad for you. It's low calorie and it tastes great!

10.  Black Bean Burger - And finally, we'll end with another healthy one after all the desserts and Mexican food that I apparently enjoy.  Listen, just so you know, do not expect this to taste like real meat as my husband expected.  It is as the title says, black beans... but you can enjoy a burger even without mean.  It's a little more work that my usual recipe but worth it in the end for a healthy alternative and a great option for meatless Monday.

Geez, do I like dessert or what? Looks like I might have to branch out!

Monday, June 23, 2014

Weekend Recap

Well, after the nice week off work, and our fun Anniversary trip to Detroit, we finally made it to the weekend.  And it was just Noah, Jeff and I.  I love weekends together with no plans.  Noah and I made it to Target, yet again this week for some errands and a quick grocery trip to hold us over until grocery day.  Of course I ended up picking up a couple of things for myself.  Target always gets you!

We spent the rest of the day exploring the back yard and walking literally E-VE-RY-WHERE!  The kid just doesn't stop.  And of course I'm constantly picking things out his mouth since I'm pretty sure he thinks everything that fits into his mouth is food.

There is no rest for parents.  You just don't know what tired is until you have children.  I can't believe I ever thought I was tired before... especially in college.  "Oh, I'm just going to take another two hour nap, just because I'm tired..."  Ugh.  Can we go back to random two hours naps ever? Maybe when he's a teenager?

By the time we made it inside for dinner and bed, the kid was out like a light-bulb.  The best sound in the world is silence.  Of course by the time he woke up the next morning Noah was ready to go all over again and very refreshed unlike me who was still a zombie at eight.  And that's sleeping in too.

We tried to go to church in the morning and realized as soon as we made it into the empty parking lot we must have missed the memo on the change of time. Bummer.  Of course; Noah's nap time is at ten and really wont make it much past then so we crossed our fingers and headed to another church only to make it about half way before Noah lost his marbles.  So, we went home for nap time and decided for some splash pad fun afterwards.

And, as anything with water always is, it was a success! First though, Jeff and I had to figure out how to turn the dang thing on.  We just stared at it for at least a good fifteen minutes while two moms (who I'm sure knew what was going on considering their pack of kids) just sat there and stared at us, and I'm pretty sure laughed to one another while we contemplated if maybe the water just turned on by itself on a timer...  Sure enough some kid runs around and presses the smallest button on earth and makes us feel like total idiots as all the water starts spraying everywhere.

Once it got started though, it was great. Lots of squeals and laughs coming out of Noah.

It was so hot, and so great being outside with Noah.  We just love when he's happy.  We finished our night with some dinner, bath and bed.  Then I cleaned like a maniac from our fun filled week and was out the second I hit the bed.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Bath Paints and Summer Days Off

I've really been slaking over here in the blogging world.  I took an entire week of work just to hang out with the little guy and to get some much needed mom time, and let me tell you, it's been great.  I did a major six hour shopping trip earlier this week all by myself. Got some Starbucks... ate chocolate pastries... ugh, amazing.

I had my sister in law come in for a couple of hours each day so I could get some alone time and it's worked out great.  I'm not sure about other moms, but for me, sometimes it's hard to feel good about leaving your child with someone else just to take time for yourself.  I must say though, finding the right person that you trust is a game changer and something that if possible all moms must do.  It makes taking time away from the little one so much less stressful. 

So, with that, I also caught up on some Orange Is The New Black which I just recently discovered (Amazing! but do not watch with your kids, lol)  and did some really long walking on the treadmill which felt great! Of course I did lots of cleaning and laundry.  It sure does feel nice to be caught up and relaxed once in a while. 

Finally, with some of my extra time, I ventured into Pinterest for some fun Noah activities and decided on some finger bath paint.  I can't say that Noah was super into it at first, but he did warm up to it and ended up going wild in the tub. 

For the life of me I could not find the original recipe, but this one seemed pretty close.  The only change to the first recipe was to just put all the ingredients in a container and mix.  You can use it right away. 

Next up, how about some Clean Mud? Or maybe some Bouncing Bubbles?
And guys, the best part? My vacation is not over yet.  I still have two more days and Jeff and I are celebrating our four year anniversary! <3

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Links To Love

I've hit the jackpot of links on my facebook and strolling through the internets the last couple of days.  Some of these are hilarious and some and just fun to look at.  I thought I'd pile them up for you to enjoy.
I really hope my children are smarter then this.

I love pesto. Every summer I get so excited to grow my own basil and make it at home since it's so expensive to buy. But the last couple of years I've planted it I wait to it to grow, and just when it does it gets super hot around here and it wilts and then I have no pesto and I'm waited all summer!  I saw this recipe and for a second thought about planting some more again this year.... but instead I made my co-worker do it for me and I'll just wait patiently.

I'm super anti swimming in any open body of water for exactly this reason.  I love pools and that's the only place I would swim if I had a choice.

This website is entirely amazing. They have so many DIY projects I can't wait to make for the new house.  How about this jumbo sequin ampersand for the office?  Looks pretty awesome to me!

 I've always wanted to dance like this. This couple is great. Where can you learn this?

Can someone get me a baby goat for Christmas?  I promise I'll kind of take care of it and let Noah do the rest of the work.

When Noah is older and he gets grounded I'm thinking this is a great idea for his to learn a couple of lessons. 

Once upon a time, like in college, my friends would make fun of me when I cried because it was so rare and I was so "tough".  They would snap pictures of me just to say they saw me crying.  It's was a big deal.  Now, I cry almost every day.  Happy and sad, at most sappy videos, movies and TV shows.  When I'm super excited or really tired. Just all the time; I have no idea what happened.   So then I come across this video in an e-mail.  Total waterworks.  No surprise there.

Monday, June 9, 2014

Noah's First Birthday Party

Noah's first birthday party was such a success.  We had many people stop by and join us for some really yummy burgers and cupcakes.  It was nice that everyone could join us to celebrate our little Bear.

We had a great set up with food on the deck and the party was downstairs under our big shaded tree.  The weather could not have been any better.  Thankfully the rain stopped in the morning and we ended up with a beautiful, not too hot day. Of course I forgot to take a picture of the finished table with all the chaos but the party planning was a success since I ended up not forgetting anything.

Noah was such a good baby the whole day.  With the triathlon in the morning and the running around in between naps were a little shorter but he handled it great and loved being around so many people.  He does however need to learn some manners when it comes to playing with other babies.  He has no regard for anyone near his size and uses everyone and everything as a climbing device.  Obviously he doesn't know better but it's pretty funny (and a little nerve-wrecking) to watch him all over other kids.

We did the usual Happy Birthday song and the cake smash.  Noah was a little leery at first but warmed up quite nicely and finished with frosting all over his face and hair. I ended up making a healthy cake, with normal store bought frosting. What I really should have done though is made healthy frosting and a normal cake because he pretty much just ate the frosting and skipped the cake all together.  I mean, the frosting is a lot more fun anyway.
Lessons for baby number two!

We couldn't be happier to start Noah's second year.  We're excited to see how he grows and learns and watching him turn into a little boy.  Personally I'm excited to hear some of "momma" and "I love you"s and get some good hugs and kisses.  Here is to the next year Baby Bear Noah!

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Week 52/One Year!

The time has come and momma is happy.  My little baby bear Noah, you are one year old! It seems like this year dragged on for the most part except these last couple of months where I think we've finally figured it out as a family.  You are a wild one; always moving unless you're napping or eating.  You're personality is so big.  You know what you want and you want it now. Just like your mom. You're a playful kid and just all around happy. We love you so much. This year would not have been the same without you.

We're looking at a full day today. We have a family triathlon this morning followed by your party this afternoon.  There will be lots of burgers and beer for mom and dad, who for sure deserve one after this year! We're excited to see how you will like your first cake and hope you take a nice long morning nap so you'll be well rested for the rest of your special day.

And on that note, we're finishing with our last weekly picture which at this point you want absolutely nothing to do with! Daddy's hand finally had to make an appearance to hold you down just long enough for this.

  • Stats: Size 3-4 diapers | 12mo or 18mo clothing | The kid walks! | Starting to put things together, stacking cups, stacking rings...etc | Sleeps with his butt in the air | Eats mostly solids |
  • EDIT: Stats after Dr Apt: 25lbs 5oz (94%),  32.1 in (>99%)  The kid is huge!
  • Sleep: Sleeping consistently from 7:30pm to 7:30am. Naps twice during the day. A morning, an afternoon for about 1.5 hrs.The third nap is pretty much out.  Sometimes it's just quiet time in his crib and that works out fine too.
  • Food: We're pretty much all solids now.  I've been pretty lazy about making new pureed food knowing he doesn't really need it and can just eat whatever we eat. Making progress on the sippy cut and will drink 2-3oz during meals.  Next up, cutting the morning bottle and then we'll just have the bedtime one.
  • Milestones: He's a walker now.  No doubt about it.
  • Mom Check-In: Well, my bad luck with sickness continues.  Went back to the Dr. and found I have another ear infection. Luckily with the medicine they gave me, it seems to have cleared up rather quickly. Cross my fingers I get completely better soon!
  • Looking Forward To: Today! Happy Birthday Baby Bear!

Monday, June 2, 2014

Week 51

I cannot believe we're going to have a toddler living with us in less than a week.  The time is finally here and although it's been an ok ride, I'm way more excited for the next year of Noah's life. I'm pretty sure all the party planning is set to go and now it's time to count the days. 

Of course with Noah's new found skill of walking, he was completely against taking weekly pictures because you know, that means he can't walk for 3.1 seconds.  He rolled away shortly after and life was good again.

  • Stats: Size 3-4 diapers | 12mo or 18mo clothing | The kid walks! | Starting to put things together, stacking cups, stacking rings...etc | Sleeps with his butt in the air | Eats mostly solids |
  • Sleep: Sleeping consistently from 7:30pm to 7:30am. Naps twice during the day. A morning, an afternoon for about 1.5 hrs.The third nap is pretty much out.  Sometimes it's just quiet time in his crib and that works out fine too.
  • Food: We're pretty much all on solids now. Sometimes some pureed fruit in the morning but more for our convenience.  I've found some new recipes and made a lot of "toddler" food last week to have around for easy access.  Some broccoli meatballs, chickpea pancakes, and tuna balls.  So far he seems to like all of it and it's nice to have food waiting for him if all I'm eating is a sandwich and chips for lunch.
  • Milestones: He's a walker now.  No doubt about it.
  • Mom Check-In: I'm still sick.  We're going on almost a month now and it's pretty crazy.  Granted I feel a million times better than I did originally but this cough will NOT go away.  Noah and Jeff still have the cough too so we're all just sickies together.
  • Looking Forward To: Our annual Enrichment Dinner at Grand Valley is this week.  I've ordered a couple of dresses from as I have in previous years and I'm excited to try them on today when I get home.  Hopefully one of them fits!  I always enjoy this night of dressing up and eating fancy food.  It's like prom but better because I get to go with my hubby. =) You can see the last couple of years here --> 2013, 2012 (and 2011 but I didn't have a blog yet!)