Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Alive and well.

Remember that one time I dropped my camera in the sink and it died?

Well...

Sunday was Easter.

And today...


IT'S ALIVE!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Apparently it was resurrected at some point this weekend. :-)

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Bath time!...for my camera?

Why is it okay for chubby babies to show their belly buttons, but not adults?

...oh yeah, because they're so much more cute!

Today was a very eventful bath day.
This was taken while the sink was filling with warm water.
...for the second time.

The first time around, my dear, sweet baby decided the water was perfect temperature...
for pooping.
On my hand.
In the sink.
On his sponge.
Sick.

I yanked him out. Drained the sink. Cleaned the sponge. And filled the sink back up with water while I cleaned his nakey shakey bum.
I put him back in the nice, warm, water.
This time it was the perfect temperature...
for peeing.
On his face.


I wiped it off his face, chuckled, and continued forward.
A little pee in the tub never hurt anyone.
Kids always pee in water.
Tubs, pools, lakes...
It's healthy. Good for the skin I think.

I thought I should document this fun bath day on film, so I had my camera handy.
An image flashed through my mind:
camera falls in sink and never works again. pictures lost.
I brushed it aside, deciding to be extra careful.


This face (and body) was too cute not to photograph!
When bath time was over, I carefully placed the camera on the counter.
Baby splashed. Then slid.
Hand swooped in at lightening speed to prevent baby drownage.


Camera was picked up in swooping, lightening speed hand.
Camera drownage was unpreventable.
Camera took the plunge.
It did not survive.
Camera is now sitting in a bag of rice.
The SD card made it out alive.
Hallelujah.

Good thing my birthday is on the 27th of this month. Anyone want to contribute to a new camera fund? 
Or perhaps just suggestions for a new, good quality, inexpensive, point and shoot I can add to my birthday list.
Farewell hopes of new clothing that fits...

At least I'm really great about laughing about things like this.
...in the moment anyway.

Monday, April 18, 2011

The Salmon. Part 2

I know, I know, it's been 5 days since my original Salmon story, followed by a couch story, and now I'm back to the Salmon.

Alot has been going on around here. The babe and I took a trip down to southern Missouri to visit some family. He met his Aunt D, Great-grandpa and two of my cousins and aunt and uncle for the first time. We had a great time visiting and playing and he actually slept the entire 3 1/2 hours home. It was glorious.

Upon arrival home, the hubby immediately took control and picked up dinner, changed a diaper, and cuddled with the babe. He knew I was a little bit of a mess...no shower, hardly any sleep, lots of driving, and lots of screaming baby before the lots of driving. He's a good man. Remind me to never travel with a baby and without him again.

The following day, I developed a wonderfully terrible case of a spring-time cold or allergies. Despite that, I traveled 5.9 miles to watch and listen to Stephanie Nielson speak at a women's conference. It was truly inspiring. Not a dry eye in the audience. Read more here.

And I also failed at the "No Dairy" decision I had made and ordered a pizza when the power went out on Tuesday night at 6:30 pm. Then I consumed more because there was no noticeable rash on the babe. However, I am now reverting back to the cow-less product days with a longer commitment to see a more noticeable difference. I am not perfect.

And last but not least, my dear mom bought us some peanut butter from an Amish store. Have you ever thought to smash honey roasted peanuts into peanut butter? I hadn't. But these people had. And did. And it's amazingly delicious. Sweet and salty perfection.

So now on to The Salmon. Part 2. *cue theatrical music*

As per many requests on how to make The Salmon taste delicious, here is what I did.

First, here are the spices you need:

 If you couldn't guess, inside that silver vessel is a wonderful combination of whole black peppercorns. The citrus grill seasoning can be found at most grocery stores, except Wal-Mart. 
Wal-Mart isn't really a grocery store though, it's an all around-you-can-get-anything-except-citrus grill seasoning-there kinda store. Also, you need some garlic salt.

Sprinkle this lovely spice trio on the bottom side of your Salmon fillet.
Please don't be skimpy.
Skimpy is never good. 
Especially at the pool on people who perhaps have enjoyed a few too many chocolate chip cookies in their life. Myself included.

Generously shake the citrus grill all over the fish.
Grind some peppercorns over top.
And lightly dust some garlic salt. 
(the citrus grill has some salt in it already, so you can omit the garlic salt, or just use a little. It's up to you and your salty preference)
Rub everything into the meat.
Flip.
A free-standing back flip in your kitchen, please.


Now repeat all of the spices on the top side of the Salmon.
Citrus grill. Peppercorns. Garlic salt.
Rub.
On my back. My shoulders are a little sore...


Plop the meat gently into a pan.
Toss into a preheated oven set at 400 degrees.
Set the timer for about 20 minutes (less if your filet is thinner)
Go accomplish something in your life.

Forget to take a picture of the finished product.

Pair with these veggies:
who are also lacking a finished product picture. we were hungry.
For this lovely pan of color I cut some bell pepper, asparagus, carrots and onion. Because onion makes everything else taste better.
I rubbed a teaspoon of olive oil on everything, then sprinkled peppercorns, sea salt, garlic powder and a touch of Italian Seasoning.
I cooked it for the last 12 minutes of the Salmon time.
Translation: When the timer on the Salmon said 12:00, I tossed this pan in the oven as well, and took it out when the Salmon beeped. 
It was quite a delicious blend of crunchy, sweet, salty and spicy.

Oh, and I toasted a couple whole wheat pita halves to offset the spices in everything else.
Enjoy a delicious, healthy and flavorful meal! 

And that, my friends, is how I made the most delicious Salmon I've ever eaten.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Living room makeover

Remember this post about the steal of a deal couches we bought on Craigslist? We were seriously blessed with those beloved couches. And we really did love them. Alot.

Until they started swallowing our apartment...

We still loved them, just got a little annoyed at their size. And the endless pillow mess. And how they were TOO soft sometimes.
But we never lost our gratitude for the blessing we received at a crucial time.
We just decided it was time for a little update.

Remember how this chair took up our dining room? We sold it awhile ago with the ottoman.



Here is what our living room looked like with our blessing couches.
Big, comfy, and took up alot of real estate.

Here's another angle.

So we saved our pennies, got a bonus, went shopping, and found an amazing deal on this bad boy:

 (unfortunately my camera does not have a wide enough lens and backward zoom to get a great shot. Especially because there's not that much room to back up into to get everything in the picture.)

Chocolate brown microfiber. 
Sectional.
No more pillow mess.
Mmm.

Here is our new living room set up:


We have a ton more space in the middle to stretch out, exercise, and move around in.
It's gloriously amazing.

Oh yeah, and I guess we got something else too...
It's been on hubby's wish list for a long time...
He's literally been saving his pennies just waiting for the day...

So that's the makeover.
And we feel pretty good about it because of the deals we found.
And the money we made selling our old stuff.
And also it's the first brand new furniture things we've ever bought.
Including our bed...that was a hand-me-down.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

The Salmon.

When I was a wee sprite I was a hypochondriac. Yes, it's quite a large word. Perhaps this will help:

 hy·po·chon·dri·ac


[hahy-puh-kon-dree-ak]
-noun
1. a person who worries or talks excessively about his or her health.


Yes, my friends, I worried excessively about my health. I thought music too loud would cause me to go deaf. I thought light too bright would cause me to go blind. And I thought every piece of cooked fish had a big bone hiding inside, waiting to jump out and lodge in my throat, suffocating me to death.


I was weird.
I was also 12...ish.


One night, during this hypochondriac stage of life, my dear mother made the most delicious dessert on the face of this earth: Blueberry Dumpcake. I was so ridiculously excited! Until I found out that my dear, sweet father was making grilled Salmon. 


Now, at this point in my life I did not have a hatred toward fish. I thought it was okay. However, I had a very difficult time eating it because of the bones


First I would take a very itty bitty, teensy weensy, bite and chew and chew and chew. I chewed fish until it turned into a goopy, gloppy, mouthful of tasteless mush. Then I rolled that mush around and around in my mouth and cheeks feeling every square millimeter to double, triple and quadruple check for the tiniest bone that could lodge in my throat and choke me to death. Seriously. Then I would finally proceed to swallow very slowly so that the bone could lodge in my upper throat, a more easily accessible location, instead of my lower throat. Of course I chased down every one of these bitterly painful bites with huge gulps of water so as to hopefully assist the bones in making it to my stomach instead of sticking in my throat. 


As you can imagine, it took forever to eat a very small piece of fish.


Back to the night of The Salmon. Perhaps my family was going through a rough financial patch, or perhaps my father did not like to see food wasted, or perhaps he desired more Blueberry Dumpcake for himself. Either way, that night I was required to finish the entire contents of The Salmon on my plate before any thought of dessert. 


Now, Salmon is a fish that the more chewed, mushed, rolled, and masticated it gets, the more horrible it tastes. 


So, of course, after the first grueling half of mushiness, I dug my heels in. Then I grunted. I groaned. I whined. I complained. I tried to negotiate. I did everything in my power to not eat The Salmon. I begged my mother for mercy. But of course, she was on Team Dad. Eventually I finally realized there was no hope, and I pulled one last trick out of the bag: tears. Big, fat, juicy crocodile tears.
(which did not work) 


As I force fed myself The disgusting Salmon with gargantuan crocodile tears running down my face, I chanted this phrase over and over in my head: "I will never, ever eat Salmon again. I will never, ever eat Salmon again." 


And for many, many years after this very traumatizing experience, I really never ate Salmon. Even when my dear mother took me out for Sushi and suggested I try Salmon, I resisted. I thought for sure it would taste identical to The Salmon. Eventually, I folded and tried Salmon in the Sushi variety. Surprisingly, it became my favorite Sushi piece. However, you still couldn't pay my enough to eat Salmon cooked. 


Until one day, I realized Salmon has a vast variety of health benefits for your body. I thought in my head "well, I'm a really good cook, so maybe I can make Salmon taste not like The Salmon." And guess what? 


One day I went out and bought a Costco sized bag of frozen Salmon and baked us a piece. 


I've never had such delicious Salmon in my life.

 

p.s. this is not what my salmon looked like. I forgot to take a picture.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Blog Comments Mystery

Pretty much every time my mom and I get on the topic of blogs, the same thing always comes up...

BLOG COMMENTS

And we always end up discussing these "issues" with blog comments:

1. What type of subject matter does it take for people to leave comments on a blog?
2. How do people get 100+ comments on a post...10 minutes after writing it?
3. Why don't people leave more comments on posts? Especially funny ones. 

So even though I have said a million times "I guess it doesn't really matter if I get comments because my blog is more for me as a record, and because it's fun" I really actually like comments.

Alot.

It makes me feel special.

And loved.

And like I'm funny.

Especially when I write a post that I think is quite clever, hilarious, inspiring, or all three. 

And when I open my blog to see 0 comments.
My heart breaks.
Just a little.
Okay, it doesn't really break.
That was melodramatic.
But it is exciting to see comments.

I have no idea who all reads my blog.  I only know a couple people who do. And one person in particular who always leaves me a comment. Thank you Alaina for making me feel warm and fuzzy when I open my blog page! 

Maybe someday I'll solve the Blog Comments Mystery, but maybe I won't. Maybe it helps to post the link on facebook. Maybe it doesn't. Maybe I should email all my friends every time I post. Maybe I shouldn't. Maybe I should stop writing every day. 

Maybe that would work. Maybe it would leave all my lovely readers wanting more. And then maybe I'd find out who those lovely readers are. Because maybe they would leave a comment. Maybe not.

But for now, the dishes need some love. 

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Cafe Rio in Missouri!

There's a Cafe Rio coming to Missouri!!!

....just kidding.

But, if you're craving some delicious Sweet Pork burritos or salad, head on over to my place!
Just give me some warning first...please.

We had Cafe Rio night tonight. It was divine. It has been way too long since I've had the delightful opportunity to dine at that fantastic little place. My mom has a recipe that I used tonight. It all turned out great. So, I'm sharing the goods.

But, here's the thing: Soooo many people have Cafe Rio recipes, and they all say they taste "JUST LIKE the real thing!!!" I've only tried this one. So I don't know what the others taste like. But I know this one is stellar good. You can pick and choose whatever recipe floats your boat. Just know that two Cafe Rio recipe staple ingredients are: coke (or dr. pepper) and lots of brown sugar. If a recipe doesn't have those two ingredients, don't waste your time. It probably won't taste the same. So because I'm so nice, here ya go:

Shredded Sweet Pork:
The night before....
3 1/2-4 lb pork roast (bone in or out, lots of fat)
2 T brown sugar
1 tsp cayenne pepper
2 tsp cumin (I will definitely at least cut this in half next time, too strong for me)
1 tsp salt

Combine the spices and rub all over the pork roast. Throw in a crock pot and cook on low. All night.
In the morning, add:
1 can coke (or dr. p)
1 c. chicken broth
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 small onion, diced

Continue cooking on low all day. An hour before serving, shred the pork and add:
1 c. brown sugar (or 2, or 3...whatever tickles your fancy. I may or may not have added around 2...)
1 can coke, or dp...if you want
some more chicken broth...if you want

Tomatillo Ranch Dressing:
3 tomatillos, quartered
1 pkg. buttermilk ranch dressing mix
1 c. mayo (miracle whip doesn't work quite the same way)
1/2 c. buttermilk
1 c. fresh cilantro, (1/2 a bunch)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 jalepeno, seeds removed
juice of 1 lime

Toss it all in a blender and mix well. Chill at least 1 hour before serving.

Cilantro Rice:
3 c. rice
1/2 small onion, minced
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 bunch fresh cilantro, chopped

Make the rice and add the stuff. Or make the rice with the stuff added. However you want to do it. You could probably add a squeeze of lime in there too and get delicious results.

Serve all of these things with delicious tortillas, black beans, lettuce, pico di gallo, fresh parmesan cheese, and whatever else you want...or don't. YUM!

Did you know you could make your own buttermilk at home? Just add a tablespoon of vinegar OR lemon juice to 1 cup of milk and let sit for 15 minutes or so. You can also substitute almond milk and get the same results, just dairy free. Wahoo!

He has big, pouty lips. And he's already a ladies man.
Oh dear.
:-)

Saturday, April 9, 2011

A night in my kitchen

I've always wondered how people like Pioneer WomanBarefoot Contessa and Rachael Ray create recipes and become famous. Do they just think up ideas in their head? Do they find recipes written by other people then modify and call them their own? Did they attend culinary school? Or do they just have an amazing knack and talent for mixing spices and ingredients?

I decided last night that they make things up in their head. And I wanted to be like them, so I made something up in my head:

BBQ Chicken Burgers with Bacon and Guacamole.

mmmm.

I would share this delicious recipe with you all, except there's just one problem:

It didn't turn out like I expected it to in my head.

So instead, I will take you through a 3-step process of a night in my kitchen and share with you my amazing guacamole recipe, which I made up in my head, and which works. (please be impressed with my picture taking skills.) Here we go...

Step 1: Guacamole:

Here's what you need. Minus garlic salt and chili powder.


First, cut the avocados in half. I can never remember how to spell avocado. Avacado. Avacodo. Avocado.
Next, if you don't know how to de-seed them, try this:
Yell "Hi-YA!" and karate chop that seed with your knife like pictured. 
Twist slightly and the seed should come free. If it doesn't, you have real problems.
Just kidding. 
Scoop it out or something.

Next, score the avocado like a giant tic-tac-toe board. 

Then squeeze it all out into the bowl.
This is not a bowl.
It's a tupperware container. (Glad to be specific) I like to be simple sometimes.

Then you mix all the other ingredients in with a fork. Be gentle. Avocados don't do so well when they're smashed to smithereens. It's much better to have some chunks.
Trust me.
For the salsa, I used black bean and corn from Costco. Pace Picante sauce is also yum.
 Enjoy with your favorite chips!!

Step 2: The "BBQ Chicken":

For this step, I missed out on alot of pictures. But here is one very important one.

Please don't ever, EVER, make your chicken look like this:
 Yes, I managed to cook the outside while the middle was still frozen. 
My microwave has mad skillz.
Please be normal and better than me and let your chicken thaw in the fridge, or on the counter, or under water. Microwave thawing is not recommended. 

Here is what try 2 looked like on the grill:

I would want you to have the recipe for this chicken, but it didn't taste like I had planned it to.
It was good nonetheless, but not what I expected. I was searching for a delicious sweet, smoky, bbq flavor combined with the salty guacamole, buuuut sometimes glazes change flavors when grilled.
This was one of those times.

Step 3: Assembly:

For this step you will need some additional ingredients. Things like: onion, sliced tomatoes, lettuce, maple bacon (very important), and toasted hard rolls from Wal-mart.
Why is it that I find the best hard rolls at Wal-mart?

And let me stress the importance of maple bacon:
VERY IMPORTANT!!!
It's sweet and delicious and fills your house (or apartment in my case) with a delicious maple aroma that causes your salivasalivatory, salvitory... drool glands to overproduce.

Plus, it tastes amazing on this sandwich.

Okay, so toast the sliced-in-half hard rolls at 400 degrees for 2 minutes. (or pop them in the toaster to keep things simple, which I didn't.) 
Smear the bottom roll with guac. And layer:
bacon
chicken
lettuce
tomato
onion
(or however you want to layer, I don't really care)

Then try to open your mouth big enough to take a delicious bite and get food all over your face, hands, and the table. 
YUM!


Oh, and isn't he the cutest?  
Here are the recipes!
(and I'm giving you the chicken one because I'm nice. and maybe you might like it and think I have talent. maybe not.)

Guacamole
3 smallish avocados
1 teas. minced garlic
1 1/2 TBL lime juice
1/2 c. salsa
1/8 teas. garlic salt (optional)
1/8 teas. chili powder (optional)

Half and score avocados. Squeeze chunks into bowl. Add all other ingredients and mix gently with a fork.

Chicken (not really) BBQ style
1 chicken breast half (boneless, skinless)
1 TBL bbq sauce
1 teas. apple cider vinegar
1/2 teas. worchestershire sauce
1/2 teas. minced garlic
1/2 teas. sugar
1/4 teas. salt
1/8 teas. pepper
a few drops of mesquite liquid smoke

Mix in a small bowl. Brush on the chicken while grilling. This turns out more salty than sweet. It's still good, just not what I was expecting. Like I said, sometimes things change flavors when you cook them.

And that, my friends, was a night in my kitchen this week!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Twilight Visitor

Twi-light.
-noun
1.the soft, diffused light  from the sky when the sun is below the horizon, either from daybreak to sunrise or, more commonly, from sunset to nightfall.
2. Not the Edward and Bella saga.


At twilight on Monday night, we had a special visitor.


Meet Rocky.

(yes, I know that is the most dumb, overrated, stereotypical, name for a raccoon. please don't judge.)

Rocky apparently smelled the delicious stench, reek, aroma of spit-up covered baby a mile away and decided he needed to check things out.
Or maybe he was looking for food.
Or perhaps he just needed a twilight adventure.
Either way, he proceeded to pop his little nose through the slats in our deck and climb aboard.

When I saw that nose peeping through those slats, I nearly fell out of the couch.
which is hard to do because it's 4 feet deep.
literally.
(we measured.)

First there was this:
"Hun!! Get over here, NOW!"
"huh? what? Why?" 
"Because! Where's the camera!?" 
I think he thought there was a black widow crawling on our baby or something because my voice was pretty urgent.


There was alot of this:
"Oh my gosh! I've never been so close to a raccoon!"
"Whoa. Cool!"

And some of this:
"How many pictures do you need to take?" (man)


After finding the camera in the last place I left it, I proceeded to snap picture after picture while this thing scavenged our deck and examined our baby.




Rocky desperately wanted to come inside...
I think he knew we had food in here.
And a baby too.
Because they could see each other.

See that blue thing in the corner? That's the arch of the play mat my baby was playing on. About 4 inches from the door where this guy was peeking in.
(I guess it could've been a girl...)

His cute face kinda makes me wish I would've let him in. 

But those beady eyes...those aren't so cute. 

We teased him a little bit. Tapped on the glass and stuff.
Hubby tried to let him inside by opening the glass but keeping the screen shut.
I had none of that. Coons could probably rip the screen to shreds I bet.
Rocky teased us a little by acting like he was going to leave.
But then he didn't.
We thought we might have to have animal control come visit, too.

He also stared me down right in the eyes. Kinda reminds me of my parents dog, Cosmo, begging at the door to come in.
He also looks a little like a miniature bear here.
The babe didn't really like him apparently...

I decided taking a video would be a really cool thing to do. 
I think Rocky has ADHD...
video

After exploring human life on the deck through the glass for about 10 minutes, he finally got bored.
We offered no food, why would he stay?
He smashed his body all flat and slinked-slank-slunk through the 3 inch slats in our deck.

Now tell me, how does a creature the size of a dog slink through wood slats the size of uh...the size of... well, the size of 3 inches?

Monday, April 4, 2011

Weekend news

What a wonderful Conference weekend!!!!
I loved hearing the Prophet and Apostles of our church speak. It was just awesome!!

The score for today (so far) is:
Baby- 3
Mommy -1

Oh boy.
I've been peed on, spit up on, and had to wait til 2 pm to eat lunch.
But I ate breakfast before he did!
He's such a cutie that I guess it doesn't really matter.

This weekend we also discovered something.

Something is going on with the babe, his tummy, his skin, and nursing.
We think he's struggling with milk protein.
awesome.
On Saturday I had milk, cheese, cinnamon rolls (butter...), creamy soup, etc.
Sunday morning he had the most horrifically large diarrhea ever.
We went through 4 diapers in about 15 minutes.
Then he got this awful red rash all over his face.
Looked alot like Eczema.
And he spit up alot. And has been gassy. And didn't like eating as much as usual.
all are symptoms of food allergy.
Monday morning (today) the rash looked better, but got more red after he ate.
Then looked better before the next feeding.

So I'm pretty sure something I ate made him uncomfortable.
I really think it's dairy.
I've thought it before but I haven't done anything.
After seeing the diarrhea diaper(s) (there were 3...in a row) and the rash, I'm more convinced.
So I have enrolled myself into the "No dairy while breastfeeding club."
At least for now.
I'm really hoping it'll help.
He doesn't seem too upset or bothered by things. But it bothers me.

That's my news. I don't have much else to report except that I hope we sell our couches this week!!!