Thursday, November 29, 2007

A Quick Update

I'm Back!
I had a great time with my family in San Francisco- shopping, eating, sightseeing, a lot of walking, Macy's Christmas tree lighting, eating, shopping,etc. Now, Kasey is in town and it's non stop fun! (Olive and I have been up for 48 hours straight!) When I can find my camera and sanity, I will post some pictures.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving! And... We're Off To San Francisco!

Happy Thanksgiving!
May you be surrounded by loved ones and plates of food!

Tomorrow the three of us are off to San Francisco for a few days, then Folsom for a night, then on Tuesday we'll head back to Lakewood with Kasey, Jackson, and Riley!

I hope everyone has a great couple of days and that we are all able to fit into our jeans tomorrow.
Take Care!

Monday, November 19, 2007

An Interesting Trip To The Pier

The Seal Beach pier through Olive's $3 binoculars.

Slick the seal.

A pigeon.

A fisherman.

Some snaggletooths.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Super Sarah!

Sarah is fantastic! Everything she does is done with grace, style, and a sense of humor. She is an inspirational mother, a devoted wife, and an excellent friend. I am very grateful to not only stalk her blog, but to call her a friend. Thank you, Sarah for being you.

Let's Share Recipes! Week 2

This is my favorite burger recipe! It does take some time 30-45mins, but it is easy. I have even entertained with this meal and it's always a hit. I usually use ground turkey meat and make everything (except the fries) in the afternoon while Olive is napping and pull it all out when it's time to cook.

Chicken or Turkey Spanakopita Burgers and Fries with Yogurt Dip
Recipe courtesy Rachael Ray

1 package store-bought frozen fries, any variety
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, 1 turn of the pan, plus some for drizzling
1 tablespoon butter
3 cloves garlic, 2 chopped, 1 crushed
1 red onion, 1/2 chopped, 1/2 thinly sliced
1 box, 10 ounces, frozen spinach, defrosted
2 teaspoons dried oregano, lightly crushed in the palm, divided
1/4 pound feta crumbles
1 1/3 pounds ground chicken or ground turkey breast, 1 package
1 tablespoon grill seasoning (recommended: Montreal Steak Seasoning by McCormick)
1/3 seedless cucumber, thinly sliced lengthwise, plus 1 small, 2-inch piece of cucumber peeled, trimmed and chopped
2 plum tomatoes, thinly sliced lengthwise
Salt and pepper
1 1/2 to 2 cups good quality plain yogurt, look for Greek yogurt
1/2 lemon, juiced
1 cup arugula, coarsely chopped or shredded
4 crusty rolls, split
2 roasted red peppers, drained
1/4 cup flat-leaf parsley, a generous handful
1/4 cup 10 to 12 pitted kalamata olives
Hot pepper rings or pepperoncini, optional

Preheat oven to directions on the package and bake fries until crisp.
Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. To one side, add a little extra-virgin olive oil and a tablespoon of butter. When butter melts, add the chopped garlic and chopped red onion and cook 5 minutes. Transfer the onions and garlic to a bowl to cool. Return pan to heat.

Wring the defrosted spinach dry buy twisting it in a clean kitchen towel over your sink. Separate the spinach as you add it to the bowl with cool onions, garlic and season with 1 teaspoon of oregano. Add in feta crumbles then chicken or turkey, grill seasoning and a drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil. Mix and form into 4 patties, 1-inch thick. Raise heat on pan to medium-high. Add patties and cook 6 inches on each side.

Season the sliced cucumbers and tomatoes with salt and pepper. Toast rolls, if you prefer.

Place remaining chopped cucumber, the crushed clove of garlic, yogurt, 1 teaspoon oregano and juice of 1/2 lemon in a food processor. Add a little salt and process the sauce until smooth. Transfer to a small dish and serve with the fries as a dipping sauce. Rinse out the processor bowl and return to base.


Wednesday, November 14, 2007

100 Things About Me

I saw this on Vicki's blog a while back and thought it was something I would eventually like to do. Well, the time has come.

1. I am impulsive
2. I am LOUD
3. My favorite colors are orange, red, hot pink and yellow. Anything vibrant.
4. I prefer cats to dogs.
5. I CANNOT live without Carmex. I must have it with me at all times.

6. I have touched a Hammerhead Shark
7. I love to cook and bake and create my own recipes.
8. I enjoy math.
9. I splurge on dresses and coats.
10. My sister is my best friend. My mom is a close second.
11. My grandmother's death was the hardest thing I have ever endured. I still miss her terribly.
12. I don't have any credit cards. (My choice, not the bank's or my husband's.)
13. My husband is 10 years older than me.
14. I am intimidated by horses.

15. I do not like horror movies.
16. I will not kill bugs. Too gross.
17. My hands and feet are always cold.
18. I have been coloring my hair since I was 10.
19. Saliva freaks me out.
20. I love the smell of sulfur.
21. I am generally a happy, up-beat person.
22. I cannot hold a grudge.
23. I was diagnosed with ADHD when I was 23.
24. I must have my house clean and smelling nice at all times.
25. I could watch the Food Network all day.
26. I love to laugh and make others laugh.
27. I am uncomfortable with my weight.
28. I strongly dislike bananas.
29. I had Olive at the same hospital where I was born.
30. I tan well.
31. There are two songs that reduce me to tears EVERY TIME I hear them: The theme song to Disneyland's "Main Street
Electrical Light Parade" and the"Star Spangled Banner".

32. I have never broken a bone.
33. I know when I am wrong.
34. I love to garden: planting, watering, weeding- it's very therapeutic for me.
35. I always think I have bad breath.
36. I crave candy and sweets. They are crucial to my survival yet, are my downfall.
36. I wish I was a better golfer.
37 & 38. I have my AA from Orange Coast College but not my BA. I do have a strong desire to finish college soon.
39. I wish I was pregnant.
40. I have been to England, Whales, and Ireland.

41. I belong to a wild BUNCO group.
42. Disneyland is a very special place for me. I could go everyday.
43 and 44. I am not comfortable flying but do it occasionally because I enjoy traveling.
45. I love dresses with pockets (see #5).
46. "Is it sexy in here, or is it just me?" I love cheesy jokes and phrases.
47. I enjoy reading.
48. I love being Catholic. My faith is very important to me.
49. My daughter's laughter is my favorite sound.
50. I am a homebody.
51. My least favorite chore is washing dishes.
52. I love taking pictures.
53. Pizza with a caesar salad and a cold, Barq's root beer is my favorite meal.
54. I have 34 shirts and sweaters hanging in my closet. 19 are striped.
55. Rob and I once won a gold fish at the Orange County Fair. He lived for 4 1/2 years.
56. I played softball for 13 years.
57. I love the ocean. I will never move away from it.

58. I lack confidence in my writing skills.
59. I have no living grandparents.
60. My first real kiss was at 17.
61. I do not know how to type.
62. I love my nephews as if they were my own children.

63. I love playing board games.
64. I have a heart condition. I was diagnosed with it when I was 13.
65. I wear my heart on my sleeve.
66. I like having my way.
67. I am not afraid to speak my mind.
68. I love being a mother and a wife.
69 and 70. I have worked for Trader Joe's for almost 7 years. It's the longest job I've ever held.
71. I love to sing and dance, especially with Rob and Olive.
72. My favorite month is October.
73. I like my middle name- Alexa.
74. My marriage to Rob is my second marriage.
75. I am a morning person.
76. I treat myself regularly to manicures and pedicures.
77. I love my freckles.
78. I am constantly thinking about my next blog entry. It's been a great outlet for me.
79. I love making crafts.
80. I am not mechanically inclined.
81. I am addicted to a soap opera- Days of Our Lives.
82. I'm not a big fan of spicy foods.
83. I like watching sports.
84. I love Christmas lights.
85. I once paid $120 for a cab ride.
86. I will not go to bed with any windows open in the house.
87. I have had braces. Twice.
88. I am patient.
89. I love the rain.
90. My favorite flower is the Ranunculus.

91. I got my first surfboard for my 10th birthday.
92. Rob and I were engaged on the Golden Gate Bridge.

93. Clorox Clean-Up is my favorite cleaning product.
94. I love candles.
95. I have a tendency to judge myself harshly.
96. 85% of my (measly) paychecks are spent at Target and Trader Joe's.
97. I love slurpees. Cherry Snow is my favorite.
98. I have traveled all over the country on a tour bus.
99. I love that my daughter and I share the same distinct eye color- blue with a yellow ring around our pupils.
100. My favorite shows are Ghost Hunters and The Office.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Has This Ever Happened To You?

Have you ever woken up to a new day with your daughter yelling from her room across the hall "Uh Oh!" only to find that she (sometime during her 10 hour slumber) decided it was a good idea to remove both her pajamas AND her diaper?

Good Morning!

Have you ever (after a rough first part of the morning tending to a wet clean-up) decided that a hearty breakfast of pumpkin ice cream would be a great idea only to find that your husband (after a late night binge) has irresponsibly returned your beloved creamy treat back to the... REFRIGERATOR!

I hope he had painful bouts of brain-freeze.

Have you ever gone to the grocery store and found two, cute, little girl scouts peddling cans of mixed nuts and chocolate covered raisins, approach you in the parking lot with the line, "Hey lady! Whanna git yo nuts on?" and then have your daughter (the nudist bed-wetter) repeat that phrase for the next 30 minutes while you shop?

Only in Long Beach.

Have you ever returned from an anxiety ridden trip the grocery store only to find your mother's dog (whom is more important to her than her own children and grandchildren, and that you are "watching" while she is out of town) is sitting cluelessly on your front porch because you forgot to make sure to close the door behind you after you loaded your screaming toddler who refused to sit in her car seat, in your car?

Someone call the ASPCA and Child Protective Services.

Have you ever wanted to crawl back into bed and call it a day before noon?

Anybody know the name of a good shrink?

Friday, November 9, 2007

Let's Share Recipies!

I enjoy cooking and baking and LOVE eating! On week nights (schedule permitting) I like to prepare healthy, quick and easy meals whenever possible. I am always looking for new recipes and thought a weekly blog would be the perfect place to swap ideas! Each friday I will share a dinner, lunch, breakfast, or dessert idea I have tried and tested and feel worthy enough to pass on. I would love if you would reciprocate by sharing one of your own recipes either under comments or on your own blog (whichever is easiest). So, without further ado, the first idea:

Parmesan-Crusted Chicken with a Creamy Honey Mustard Dip
courtesy of Robin Miller and the Food Network

I love this recipe! I love that the chicken is rolled in oats and baked rather than rolled in bread crumbs and fried. I usually have extras which make for a great lunch or snack the next day. Sometimes, instead of cutting the chicken into strips, I cut it into toddler-friendly, bite-size pieces.
Just serve with a salad or steamed veggies and presto- dinner is served!

Parmesan-Crusted Chicken:
Cooking spray
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
Salt and ground black pepper
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts cut lengthwise into 1/2-inch wide strips
1/3 cup milk
1/3 cup grated Parmesan
1/2 cup quick-cooking oats
3/4 teaspoon garlic powder
3/4 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano

Creamy Honey-Mustard Dip:
1/2 cup sour cream, regular or low-fat
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
2 teaspoons honey

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Coat a large baking sheet with cooking spray.
In a shallow dish, combine flour and 1/2 teaspoon each salt and black pepper. Add chicken to flour mixture and turn to coat. Place milk in a separate shallow dish. In a third shallow dish or resealable plastic bag, combine parmesan, oats, garlic powder, onion powder, and oregano. Dip chicken into flour and turn to coat. Dip flour-coated chicken into milk and then transfer chicken to oat mixture. Turn to coat chicken (or shake bag) until well covered with oat mixture. Place chicken on prepared baking sheet and spray the surface with cooking spray. Bake 15 minutes, until crust is golden brown and chicken is cooked through.

To make dip, in a small bowl, whisk together sour cream, Dijon mustard and honey.

Serve chicken with dip on the side.
Some other dipping options I've tried are marinara sauce or low fat ranch dressing. The options are limitless!

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Robert The Great

After recently reviewing my blog, Rob expressed his surprise on the lack of entries regarding him (thank goodness he missed "Close Encounters of the Bird Kind"). And he's right. There are mentions but no real entries. So, here's a little bit of a bio on my husband.

He's a world traveler.

Traveling is very important to him. Wether it be a quick road trip, an adventure with "just the guys", or a trip to England, it's key to his survival (that and beer).

He's sporty.

He is very athletic and loves to participate in any sport. He played football all through high school and college and is up for any sport such as soccer, softball, basketball or thumb wrestling.

He's a terrific family man.

He was a perpetual bachelor until he met and married me at the ripe age of 39. We quickly bought a house and had Olive thus abruptly ending the "just me" phase of his life. And it was the best thing that ever happened to him, if I do say so myself! He is a wonderful provider, caring and devoted husband and Father of the Year in my books. He loves Olive and I dearly (as well as his family and mine) and provides us with an exciting, adventurous, and joy-filled life.

He's very handsome.

That's not him.
Wrong picture.

He loves Mickey.

So much so, that he makes sure we always have Premium passes to Disneyland. Now, that's love.
I love you, Geez.
You're my favorite.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

I'M BACK!!!!!

I am officially back after a six week hiatus (due to laziness, craziness, road trips, computer crashes, etc).
Here is a quick overview to keep everyone up to speed:

Rob, Olive and I took a road-trip to.....

Santa Barbara


and finally Monterey, to the Monterey Bay Aquarium

We celebrated my cougar's, I mean, my husband's 41st birthday

Visited the local pumpkin patch

Flew to Idaho for my cousin's wedding WITHOUT my husband and daughter and met my sister out there WITHOUT her husband and kids and partied it up for four days with all my fun relatives where we....

witnessed my mom let loose....

and, at the wedding reception, accidentally set the centerpiece on fire (who knew it was made up of real AND artificial flowers....that sucker was a fireball in no time! Sorry Whitney and Jason).

Drove up to Folsom with Olive to visit Kasey and her boys where we made guest appearances to a few ward Halloween parties
(Olive was not a pink poodle, she was my mom's dog Roxie - as per her request)

Made it out to Disneyland to partake in their Halloween festivities

Olive's first Halloween Trick or Treating (with the neighborhood kids)

Had a "girl's night out" that consisted of pedicures and dinner at Outback

Visited the Long Beach Aquarium where Olive enjoyed "sharwing appol wit da crwabs"

I missed you all and am happy to be back!
Blog you soon!