7.20.2018

libby 6th bday collage

Happy Birthday Libby.

I hope you will always remember waking up to a room full of balloons and ice cream cake for breakfast on this day.  My birthday wish for you is that you embrace every new adventure the year ahead brings.  I can’t wait to see what you do with the next 365 days.

Love,

Momma

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Jicama Salad

jicama salad

This moving business is getting really real y’all.  Last week our appraisal came back….no corrections required…which should keep us on track to settle in a few weeks.  And just today I got a request to show the house we are currently renting…the one that we have to keep paying rent on until either a new tenant signs a new lease or our lease expires…in December.

Needless to say, the crazy is about to go into overdrive to get the rental in its best possible shape to show.

Did I also mention that our A/C at the rental is kaput…and we are midway through the first really awful heat spell of the season?  I’m hoping the property managers expedite getting that issue resolved pronto even if it has nothing to do with our comfort and everything to do with them wanting to get a new tenant.

I’ve come to believe that the rental was a baby step that The Mistah and I needed to take.  A time out of sorts.  Time to re calibrate our notion of what we needed vs what we wanted (off street parking = need; roof top deck = want) and what we were willing to pay for something that checked all of our need boxes.  Time to be in the reality of paying a higher housing cost and seeing that we can accommodate it.  Time, as my counselor pointed out, for our whole family to have this new beginning together after the deployment.

So, I’m going to embrace the next few weeks as a time to usher in a new season….if. it. freaking. kills. me.

Jicama Salad

Adapted From Magnolia Table

BAH Note: To make this super easy to execute, I buy jicama already sliced at Trader Joe’s.  While I’m there I might also pick up some of their frozen quesadillas to go with the salad….dinner is done.

  • 1 pound jicama peeled and sliced into planks (see note above)
  • zest and juice of 2 limes
  • ½ teaspoon paprika (smoked or sweet)
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 avocado, diced

Combine the jicama, lime zest and juice, paprika, and salt in bowl. Just before serving, add the avocado and give everything a gentle, quick stir.

{printable recipe}

Chocolate Nut Butter Bites

nut butter bites

Miss Libby is at an age where she like to be in the middle of whatever I’m doing.  Unless she is able to watch cartoons.  If cartoons are an option, then there’s no question that they win every time.

Having a “helper” in the kitchen is easier now that we have a bigger kitchen but it’s still an exercise in patience for me.  While I love pulling Libby into the process of taking a bunch of different ingredients and turning them into a finished product, I get twitchy watching anybody in my kitchen doing things differently than I would.  I do a lot of tongue biting and counting to ten and, in the end, everything (usually) comes out fine.

So far her involvement is limited to mixing, stirring, pressing the button on the food processor, cracking eggs, and scooping dough.  And to keep the voice in my head from throwing a hissy fit over the way her things look, I “sometimes” prep/shape/scoop most of the recipe and then let her have her way with the rest.  See that tray of nut butter bites in the background behind Libby?  I did those before handing the scoop over to Little Miss.  Her results were…shall we say….less consistent than mine.  And. That’s. Ok. Especially when my helper that day is Snow White.

Now if only she could do that trick where the animals come and make the house all tidy.  Then maybe I could sit and watch cartoons with her instead of doing dishes.

Chocolate Nut Butter Bites

Adapted from Love and Lemons

BAH Note:  I was tempted to omit the flaxseed because I had such a struggle finding it in a store.  Glad that I didn’t since is acts as a binder (in lieu of egg) and allows this to be a completely no bake recipe.  Do yourself a favor and just double the recipe below from the get go.

  • 1 cup old fashioned oats
  • 1 tablespoon ground flaxseed + 3 tablespoons water
  • ¼ cup nut butter of choice (I use cashew butter)
  • 2 tablespoons agave nectar or maple syrup
  • 3 pitted Medjool dates
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ cup unsweetened coconut
  • 1/3 cup chocolate chips

Toast the oats on the stovetop over low heat until they begin to smell nutty.

Combine the flaxseed and water in a small bowl and set aside to thicken.

Pulse the nut butter, agave nectar/maple syrup, dates, coconut oil, and salt in a food processor until combined.  Add the thickened flaxseed and process until smooth.

Add the oats and coconut and pulse until evenly combined.  Add the chocolate chips and process until the mixture begins to pull away from the side of the food processor into a chocolatey ball.

Use a small ice cream scooper to portion the mixture into individual bites onto a sheet pan lined with parchment.  Place in the fridge to chill before transferring to an airtight container and storing in the freezer.

{printable recipe}

Random Recipes You Need

to post graphic

I’ve been digging around the junk drawer that is my draft folder.  In a concerted effort to clear out the mental clutter, I’m posting this drafts ‘as is’….

This is the final installment of my draft folder clean out.  These are recipes I’ve made and hope to make again.  But like the random bits of life that accumulate at the back of the junk drawer….fuzz, dental floss, gift cards, subway tokens, and floppy disks….it is all getting cleaned up in one fell swoop.

 Chocolate Coconut Pound Cake via bonappetit.com

Quick Pickled Cucumbers from foodinjars.com

Roasted Tomato and Bread Soup by alexandracooks.com

Salt and Pepper Roasted Chicken Breast a la taylortakesataste.com

Short Rib Ragu from the pages of finecooking.com

Dorie’s Cardamom Brown Sugar Snickerdoodles as seen on doriegreenspan.com

 

7.20.2015

libby 2015Three years.  In a blink of an eye.  Everyday my heart gets a little bigger taking in all that you are.

You are sassy, and funny, and sort of a bossypants.  You are fearless and you are vulnerable.  You are a do it yourselfer and a helper.  You are quiet and kind.  And you are big and loud.

You look for the ladybugs and bees.  You still chase the cat.  You stop to touch the piano keys at school every day.  You love to splash but hate getting your face wet.

You have been up high on mountain tops and down below in caves.  And you love to go round and round and round on the carousel.

You are the reason I am a momma….you are my sunshine.

Butter Broasted Carrots

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They aren’t exactly braised.  They aren’t exactly roasted.  They’re somewhere in between…they’re broasted.  And they are exactly how I’m cooking up six pounds of carrots this weekend.  I know that sounds like a whole hell of a lot but between a carrot loving toddler, the base for a carrot soup, and a pot luck contribution, I think it might not be enough.

Butter Broasted Carrots

Adapted from Cooking Light, Pick Fresh

BAH Note:  I’m a wimp when it comes to high heat roasting.  It always ends up badly for me.  If you are braver than I am, try using Cooking Light’s recommended temp of 425 degrees for 15 minutes.  Me, I take a lower and slower approach.

  • 2 to 3 cups roughly chopped carrots
  • 1 tablespoon melted butter
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

Heat oven to 375 degrees and line a sheet pan with aluminum foil.  Combine the carrots, butter, olive oil, and salt on the baking sheet and toss to fully coat the carrots.  Bake for 30 to 40 minutes or until the carrots reach your desired tenderness.

{printable recipe}

Red Pepper Tomato Sauce

Red Pepper and TomatoI have a news flash for you…life with a one year old is pretty freaking chaotic. Pick me up, put me down, catch me, chase me up the stairs, read me a book, let’s play picnic, BANANA! Put that on a loop and repeat at 90 second intervals throughout the day.  This can’t possibly continue indefinitely, can it?  Because just typing that sentence makes me feel manic AND exhausted.

In my house there are two barometers that show the current level of crazy.  The toys scattered around every inch of floor space don’t count because that’s just a given.  No, I’m talking about the dining room table and the refrigerator.

When the surface of the table is no longer visible because of the mail, receipts, grocery bags, boxes and cans of food that didn’t get put away, daily reports from daycare, lunch bags, the Sunday Post, and god only knows what else, it makes me twitchy.  The longer the mess sits around, the more anxious I get, until finally I go through it grumbling and cursing the whole time about people not cleaning up after themselves.  Naturally then, the majority of the crap on the table turns out to be mine.  So I could save myself a whole lot of time and aggravation by either not letting the table deteriorate into a DEFCON 1 situation or by choosing to ignore it.

Likewise, peeking into the fridge will give you a pretty accurate assessment of my mental state even if I’m faking it with the dining room table organization.  Is the fridge relatively clean?  Then all is well…or as well as it can be.  Is the fridge disorganized and maybe a wee bit crowded? This tells you that I am being hijacked by my toddler to entertain her.  This may or may not include viewing episodes of Peppa Pig and hosting spontaneous dance parties in the kitchen . Does my fridge have an unidentified funk that haunts your senses?  Then simply close the door and run because the person having a nuclear meltdown in the corner is not my child, it is me.  Little Miss won’t take a nap and refuses to drink milk from anything but a bottle, she insists on watering the tables with the contents of her sippy cups, there is cat litter scattered all over the floor along with cheerios and bits of half chewed chicken, I have three or four sewing projects in various stages of completion, the dirty laundry is multiplying exponentially, and there is a knob of ginger on my counter that I have so utterly neglected that it actually sprouted.

By the time things actually start to smell, pretending not to notice….the chaos or the funk…is no longer an option.  That’s where I was last night.  So while The Mistah was on duty with bath night (also known as I will scream at you until you take me out of this damn tub), I emptied the fridge shelf by shelf, sniffed out the offenders (yeah, I’m looking at you cauliflower and ignored cup of milk), tossed a few other things that were about to take a turn for the stinky, wiped everything down, and restored order in my Frigidaire.  And damn if it didn’t feel so good when I was done that I kept going with the clean and tackled my stovetop.  For someone who hasn’t been doing a whole lot in the kitchen, I sure managed to make one hell of a mess of my stove.

Along with the physical clutter that I cleared out, I also gave myself a bit of mental breathing room.  And I have to say that felt pretty good too.  I know it will get better and that eventually Miss Libby won’t need constant supervision. Which means that my days of manic exhaustion are numbered.

Red Pepper Tomato Sauce

Adapted from Alexandra’s Kitchen

BAH Note:  I wanted a bigger batch of this sauce so that I could put some up in the freezer for those DEFCON 1 days.  Since I didn’t bother to write down a single note on how much tomato or peppers I used, I’m going to use the quantity from Alexandra’s post as a starting point.  You can bend and twist this to your liking.

PS…I discovered that this also makes the base for a pretty rocking red pepper tomato soup.  So you do what you like.

  • 2 cups red bell peppers, chopped (about 2 peppers)
  • 2 cups tomatoes, chopped
  • ½ cup water
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon butter, room temperature
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • basil (optional)

Place the peppers, tomato, salt, pepper, and water in a pot.  Simmer for approximately 30 minutes over low heat, stirring occasionally.  If the tomatoes want to stick to the pan during cooking, add a bit more water to the pot.

The sauce is done when the tomatoes and peppers are tender and most of the liquid has evaporated.  Transfer the sauce to a blender or food processor, add the basil (if using) and process till smooth.

Return the sauce to the pot and add the butter and olive oil. Taste for seasoning and add additional salt and pepper as desired.   Serve with your pasta of choice, or if the day has been really bad, enjoy a nice tomato sauce sandwich.

{printable recipe}