Wednesday, June 29


Our gracious landlord invited us over once again to enjoy their pool and once again our response was, "What time shall we be there?"  Of course upon arriving, as she is giving Peanut a candy necklace and a big hug, she tells us, "You do realize I have completely ulterior motives."   Hmmmm, sounds like someone else I know.  Our landlord has children near our age and neither have produced a her grandchild yet.  So with Peanut, she can play the role of grandma-in-training.

She takes her job seriously.

Hubs had some one on one time with Peanut in the pool, which was good for her.  She loves being in the water, but only with Mom or Dad.  She's not too comfortable with learning any skills in the water, so it's good for Hubs to be pushing her to learn to paddle and kick and float (all fully assisted of course).

We also enrolled Peanut in a five week parent assisted swimming course.  Although Peanut has thoroughly enjoyed herself, both Hubs and I were a little disappointed with the class.  We should have asked a few more questions about the class prior to enrolling.  Children under three have to be in the parent assisted class, but this class is for newborns up to three years old.  That's a big age difference.  It's a half hour class, and you sing songs the entire. time.   I didn't expect Peanut to be able to swim the length of an Olympic sized pool when this was over, but I thought there might be some water instruction.  There isn't.  You just sing songs and get them used to being in the water.  So we were a little bummed....and wow, there are a LOT of children's songs I don't know.  Tiny Tim?  The second verse to Ring Around the Rosie?  Wait, there's a second verse?  Talk about making me feel like a terrible mother because I didn't know most of them (so of course neither does Peanut)....but then, Hubs kept it in perspective and said, "Well you've taught her Jesus Loves Me and Do-A-Deer."  Yes, there is that I suppose.

The silver lining is that there is free time at the beginning and end of class so we can teach Peanut some water skills during that time.  It is what you make of it, I guess.

And I do like lemonade. 

Tuesday, June 28

Peanut is Now a Fashionista

I got her dressed this morning and then went to make our bed.  When I came back, this was Peanut's very own fashion sense and accessorizing:

as in the words of Stacey and Clinton, "It doesn't have to match, it just has to go." 

Monday, June 27

Chipotle Lime Corn on the Cob

I know some people that just absolutely LOVE corn on the cob.  I like it just fine, but you'll never see me lining up for it.  Normally it's served at a cookout or backyard barbeque and there are usually tons more exciting things to eat--exciting things that are a lot less effort to eat too.  Yes, I have mentioned this many times, but I am that lazy.  Plus, I need to be at my own home (or my Mom and Dad's) where I feel comfortable enough to hog the bathroom while I floss immediately after eating.  I can't stand having food stuck in my teeth.

But I digress, as my dental hygiene was not the purpose of this post.

Now if corn on the cob was always served with this yummy, fabulous, change your life forever and ever topping--I just might have to rethink everything I just claimed to be true about myself and corn on the cob.  Because this stuff is just that amazing if you ask me.  Hubs loved it too--I think I might have seen him shed a tear over the beauty of this recipe....oh, how I kid.  But we both really, really enjoyed it.   

(But our daughter who will happily eat broccoli, green beans, celery, and cucumbers?  I cannot for the life of me get her to eat corn.  Such a strange child, I mean, isn't corn every child's favorite "vegetable"?  Well, it's not our Peanut's that's for sure.)

Anyhow, please make this....and then drop me a line to tell me how your life has changed for the better.  Because it will.  I promise.

Chipotle Lime Corn on the Cob ~ adapted from Taste of Home

4 large ears sweet corn, husked and rinsed
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 tsp. pureed chipotle pepper in adobo sauce (here's what you do with the rest of the can)
2 Tbsp. fresh cilantro, minced
1/2 tsp. lime zest
2 Tbsp lime juice
1 garlic clove, minced
Grated Parmesan cheese, for serving

Fill a large stock pot with water and bring to a rolling boil.  Place ears of corn in boiling water and simmer until corn is cooked through, about five minutes.  Remove from water and place on a serving plate and cover with foil to keep warm.

Mix together mayonnaise, chipotle pepper, cilantro, lime zest, lime juice, and garlic in a small bowl.  Serve over *slightly* cooled corn on the cob and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. 

This topping also makes a fabulous salad dressing if you have any leftover! 

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

This recipe is linked to:

Beauty and Bedlam's Tasty Tuesday
Blessed With Grace Tempt My Tummy Tuesday
Designs By Gollum Foodie Friday
Grocery Cart Challenge Recipe Swap
Friday Potluck at EKat's Kitchen  (Friday Potluck will be hosted at girlichef for the month of July)
Hearth 'n Soul Recipe Swap at A Moderate Life

La Bella Vita's Fresh Clean and Pure Friday 
Life As Mom Ultimate Recipe Swap
Miz Helen's Country Cottage Full Plate Thursday 

This Chick Cooks Recipe Swap

Sunday, June 26

Menu Plan Monday

It's going to be another warm week, so I think that summer is finally upon us!  We will definitely be enjoying it too, as we don't normally get this nice of weather in Hometown so we want to take advantage of it while we can.  For this week~

Sunday-Taco salads with taco meat, black beans, cheese, tomatoes, sour cream, salsa....

Monday-Roasted chicken, mushroom quinoa pilaf, green salads

Tuesday-BLTA's, oven fries

Wednesday-Nachos with leftover chicken, black beans, cheese, tomatoes, sour cream, salsa....

Thursday-Pan fried pork chops, rosemary potatoes, green salads

Friday-Summer pasta salad with chicken


For other great menu ideas, visit the Organizing Junkie.

Saturday, June 25

Tried It & Loved It: Lemon Poppy Seed Bread (or in my case, muffins)

This is another good one!    I would have totally made it with my soft white wheat, but I ran out (because I love it that much!) and I won't be able to get any more until the beginning of next month.  So, this time I opted for all purpose know, for the lighter texture.

Lemon Poppy Seed Bread Muffins ~ slightly adapted from The Happy Housewife

1 3/4 cups flour
3/4 cup sugar
2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 egg
1 cup milk
1/4 cup oil (I used melted, coconut)
1/4 cup lemon juice
Zest of one lemon
1 tablespoon poppy seeds

Mix flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, and poppy seeds together and set aside.  In a separate bowl, mix together remaining ingredients and combine both wet and dry ingredients until just moistened.  Pour in a sprayed loaf pan or sprayed muffin cups.  Bake at 350--the loaf for 45-55 minutes or the muffins for 20-25 minutes or until toothpick inserted in either comes out clean. 

Tuesday, June 21

My Peanut's Daddy

Like last year, we celebrated Father's Day a few days late (today), rather than on Sunday.  Hub's worked all day long on Sunday--helping others have special moments with their daddies and families.  Such is life in restaurant management.  So we had a special day today instead.  It was going to be a nice day, so Hubs suggested going on a picnic.  I said sure, as long as you don't mind having PB & J--a picnic wasn't something I had planned on, otherwise I would have prepared something a little (but, not much) more elaborate.  Ever the paranoid I guess PB & J was just as well, because then you don't have to worry about food borne illness.

We got to the park and as we were finding a spot to set out the blanket, I asked Hubs if he brought the camera.  He hadn't, so I got his keys and started back towards our car to get it.  When I was about 15 yards away from the blanket, on my way towards the car, Peanut called out to me (loudly).  "Mommy come back!  I LOVE YOU.....We're girls!"

What a funny girl!  (She's very much into gender these days...Dolly is a girl, Buzz (Lightyear) is a boy, Grandma is a girl, etc.)

As always, our little girl had lots of fun at the park. When Daddy showed her underdogs (apparently some call these underducks?!?!?!) while pushing her on the swing....well, it was all over from there.  She was permanently affixed to the swing.  She did wander over to the play structure at one point, however the swing got most of her attention. 

A little girl at the park quickly adopted Hubs.  She saw him pushing Peanut on the swings and made herself right at home on the swing next to Peanut and asked Hubs to push her too.  So he did....a little begrudgingly at first though, as he later told me.  This was his day to spend with Peanut and he felt bad giving some of that attention to this other little girl.  However, he told me Peanut didn't seem to mind at all, as each time Hubs started to "neglect" the other little girl, Peanut would let Hubs know.  "She wants to go higher Daddy!  Higher!"  Peanut got as much of a thrill from watching this other little girl have fun as she did herself. 

And can I just share how s*e*x*y it is to see my husband take care of our little girl?  Just makes my heart go pitter patter.  I just love the way he takes care of her.  It's not like he was doing anything extra special...but to see him watch over her and look out for her and put sunscreen on her and make sure no one is being mean to her on the playground--you know, just being such a good daddy?  Yeah, baby--that just speaks to me.  That's probably why my top love language is "Acts of Service."

Warning:  Huge Confession That Shows What An Egregiously  Self-fish Person I Truly Am:

Before we had Peanut, my biggest fear was that our children would replace me as the object of Hubs' love and affection.  I was scared that he wouldn't have enough love to still love me after loving our children.  That he would only ever show affection towards them.  That he would only have time for them.  Of course, he assured me that would never be the case--and it isn't.  He told me that he would love me even more as both a wife and mother to his children. 

And I was never prepared by how much more I would love him in watching him be a father to our little girl.  And as I said, it's just darn s*e*x*y.    And in all seriousness, it's just so wonderful seeing him be a dad and it's so nice to be able to lean on him daily in those tough moments. 

My daughter and I are truly blessed. 

Monday, June 20

Fresh Garden Primavera with Smoked Ham

The inspiration for this dish came from a recent issue of Taste of Home, but by the time I was done with it, it was really my own creation.  I thought I had everything listed on the original recipe needed for this, but as I was cooking it, I was taking things out and tossing additional things in.....ahh well, cooks have to get their inspiration from somewhere don't they?   It was also a great way to serve up lots of veggies and also use up some of the ham in my freezer. 

Fresh Garden Primavera with Smoked Ham

1 lb. pasta (I used whole wheat penne pasta)
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup sliced carrots
1/2 lb. button mushrooms, sliced
1 1/2 cups sliced zucchini (about 3 small)
1/2 large red pepper, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/3 cup flour
1 1/2 cups milk (I use whole milk)
3/4 cup frozen peas
1 1/2 cups fully cooked ham, cubed
Salt and pepper
Parmesan cheese, freshly grated
Fresh basil, chiffonade cut 

Cook pasta according to package directions. 

In a large saute pan, melt butter and saute carrots for about 10 minutes--this will give them a head start in cooking since they are a lot firmer than the other veggies being added.  Add in mushrooms, zucchini, and red pepper and cook for an additional five minutes.  Stir in garlic and once it is fragrant, add in flour and stir to combine.  Immediately stir in milk.  Once sauce has started to thicken, stir in peas and ham and season with salt and pepper to taste.  Add in cooked pasta and stir to combine.  Serve warm with freshly grated Parmesan cheese and fresh basil for garnish. 

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥
This recipe is linked to:

Beauty and Bedlam's Tasty Tuesday
Blessed With Grace Tempt My Tummy Tuesday
Designs By Gollum Foodie Friday
Grocery Cart Challenge Recipe Swap
Friday Potluck at EKat's Kitchen
Hearth 'n Soul Recipe Swap  

La Bella Vita's Fresh Clean and Pure Friday 
Life As Mom Ultimate Recipe Swap
Miz Helen's Country Cottage Full Plate Thursday 

This Chick Cooks Recipe Swap

Sunday, June 19

Menu Plan Monday

It's really going to warm up here this week, so lots of "hot weather" foods on menu this week.  Plus, with Hubs working all day today, our special meal with him will our own little celebration on Tuesday. 

Sunday-Linguini with clam sauce, steamed broccoli and green salad with basil pesto ranch dressing

Monday-BLT Chicken salad  (I know we just had this a few weeks ago, but it really is so yum!)

Tuesday-Steaks, baked potatoes, green salads

Wednesday-Hamburgers, corn on the cob, oven fries

Thursday-Quesadillas with homemade tortillas, with leftover steak, cheese, sour cream and salsa

Friday-Homemade Chinese food (pork fried rice and subgum)


For other great menu ideas, visit the Organizing Junkie.

Saturday, June 18

Tried It & Loved It: Soft White Wheat

I am officially a wheat grinder.

Yes, I know. 

One of my closest friends, that was her joke, in terms of this new world of whole foods.  It's one thing to be avoiding processed foods and trying to eat better--but wheat grinding?  Well, you've officially gone over the edge.  I still laugh about it, because I never thought I would go there.  And here I am

A few months back, I twisted Hubs' arm convinced Hubs to let me spend the last bit of our tax return on a wheat grinder.  Previously, I had been purchasing hard white whole wheat flour (King Arthur's) and it's off the charts expensive.  I mean, it is still just flour, so it's not like you are purchasing flawless diamonds, but it terms of cost just for flour--it's pricey.

Grinding your own flour is less expensive because wheat berries are less per pound as compared to flour (at least any kind of whole wheat flour that I've seen) and one cup of wheat berries will yield anywhere from 1 1/3 to 1 3/4 cup of flour, depending on the variety of wheat berry you use.  I've also heard that grinding your own flour is better for you, as a lot a nutrients oxidize within just a couple days of the flour being ground--but I've also heard that isn't true, so?  With the health benefits, I guess you'll just have to make your own call.  

As I have delved into this whole foods thing, I've learned a lot about flour.  First, when you buy whole wheat flour at the store, typically it is made from hard red wheat berries, giving it the darker color.  There is also hard white wheat flour, which is made from hard white wheat berries.  These are a lighter color and don't have the strong bitter flavor that traditional whole wheat has.  In most grocery stores, I've only seen the King Arthur brand selling white whole wheat flour, which is made from the hard white wheat berries.

I've come across a lot of testimonies that swear if you grind your own wheat and use hard white wheat, you can't tell the difference between freshly ground white wheat flour and all purpose flour.  Snicker, snicker.   Well, maybe they can't, but I still can.  BUT before you write it off completely--while I can still tell a difference, hands down, freshly ground flour is better.  It just tastes fresher.  I am sure that is so incredibly helpful.  But think about asparagus or broccoli--fresh is always better than frozen, right?  How about store bought bread compared to homemade bread, fresh from the oven?  Fresh is better.  Heck, even Krispy Kreme doughnuts are way better all piping hot, compared the ones that were made 24 hours before. 

Then about a month ago, I discovered soft white berries.  These are different from their hard white wheat cousins.  I read that they provide a lighter texture more suitable for baking goodies like muffins, scones, cakes, and cookies.  So I thought I'd try some and I ordered some through my whole foods co-op.

They changed my life. 

They are aaaa-mazing!  With these, I can't tell the difference.  Neither can Hubs.  After doing a little more research, I haven't found that the nutritional value between hard white wheat and soft white wheat is hardly any different either.  I think the protein value is like a gram higher per serving in the hard white wheat, and the iron value is slightly higher in the soft white wheat.  The textures of the flours (hard white wheat versus soft white wheat) are very different as well. The soft white wheat is just a lighter and fluffier flour.  I figure, as long as it's a whole grain, I am not going to sweat the slight difference in nutritional value--it's still whole wheat and if it tastes better, then I am all for it.  You have to pick your battles, right? 

While I haven't done a side by side comparison of bread qualities from both the hard white wheat and soft white wheat (yet), from what I understand, hard white wheat is more suitable for yeast breads and soft white wheat is more suitable for quick breads that use baking soda/baking powder for leavening.  While I do bake my own bread, I still tend to do more quick breads like muffins and biscuits, so my pantry will be stocked with more of the soft white wheat berries, but I know I will still continue to use the hard white wheat berries as well. 

So for the one, maybe two of you who might be considering a grain mill (wheat grinder), I say go for it....but that's just my humble opinion. 

Thursday, June 16

June Jubilee

It was the final tumbling class of this year.....

She got a trophy and everything.....our girl is getting so big. 


Tuesday, June 14

Tea Party

When I was finished getting ready this morning, I walked into the Peanut's room and found her with her whole entourage having a tea party.  Dolly, Rubber Ducky, and Buzz were all there.  My little girl loves the Toy Story movies--and she loves Jessie and Buzz Lightyear.  Have I mentioned how she imitates Jessie in yodeling?  Jessie was no where to be found for the party, but Buzz was there--much to his dismay, I am sure.  We have such a well rounded little girl don't we?

Action figures at tea parties.

Ducky had a big appetite (either that or we need to get some more glasses for Peanut) as her food was served in a saute pan.  Despite that, it was quite the party.  Everyone was already planning another soiree before today's was even over; it was that much of a success.

Oh, and have I ever mentioned our girl and her toe walking? 

I like to think it's the budding ballerina in her....but Hubs tells everyone we are training her to walk in stilettos. 

Monday, June 13

Fresh Fruit Compote

This one I am particularly proud of.  The inspiration come from a container of blueberries in the fridge that the Peanut wasn't eating fast enough.  The child can't get enough fruit, but when her mommy has blueberries and cantaloupe and oranges to offer her at any given time, somethings gotta' give.  Such was the case for the blueberries this time.  They gave.

I started imagining those thick, goopy berry toppings that come with pancakes and waffles from those breakfast chains that Hubs and I used to meet at before class during our dating days.  And I knew I could make it better.  Because fresher is always better, isn't it?

I made blueberry the first morning and apple the next morning.  Blueberry is my fave, but my husband digs the apple.  The Peanut is lover to all fruit, so she was no help for a tie breaker.  Both of these would also be an excellent topping with vanilla ice cream.  YUM!

Blueberry Compote

2 cups fresh blueberries
1/2 cup maple syrup
1 tsp. arrowroot powder (you may use cornstarch too--use about 1 1/2 tsp.)

In a small pan over medium heat, slowly heat berries and syrup.  In a small bowl, mix arrowroot powder/cornstarch with about a tablespoon cold water.  Stir thickener into berry mixture.  Once berries are heated through (sauce may not be thickened at this point) crush berries with a potato masher.  I did this with about half the berries.  Stir occasionally while allowing compote to thicken.  Compote is finished when sauce has thickened and coats the back of a spoon, about 15-20 minutes.

Apple Cinnamon Compote

2 large apples
1/2 cup maple syrup
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. arrowroot powder (you may use cornstarch too--use about 1 1/2 tsp.)

Peel, core, and chop apples into a small dice.  In a small pan over medium heat, slowly heat apples, cinnamon, and syrup.  In a small bowl, mix arrowroot powder/cornstarch with about a tablespoon cold water.  Stir thickener into apple mixture.  Stir occasionally while allowing compote to thicken.  Compote is finished when sauce has thickened and coats the back of a spoon, about 15-20 minutes.

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

This recipe is linked to:

Beauty and Bedlam's Tasty Tuesday
Blessed With Grace Tempt My Tummy Tuesday
Designs By Gollum Foodie Friday
Grocery Cart Challenge Recipe Swap
Friday Potluck at EKat's Kitchen
Hearth 'n Soul Recipe Swap  

Kelly the Kitchen Kop's Real Food Wednesday
La Bella Vita's Fresh Clean and Pure Friday 
Life As Mom Ultimate Recipe Swap
Miz Helen's Country Cottage Full Plate Thursday 

This Chick Cooks Recipe Swap 

Sunday, June 12

Menu Plan Monday

 it nearly Monday already?  These days just seem to keep flying by....or is it just me?   I have less than three months until Peanut's third birthday and I have way. too. much. to get done.  Ahhh!!!  But we still have to eat between now and then, so in the mean time, we will be having:

Sunday-Black Bean Orzo Salad

Monday-Club sandwiches, potato salad

Tuesday-Spaghetti with Italian sausage and fresh basil (hurray for summer!), green salads with ranch dressing

Wednesday-Hots dogs (I got some organic, chemical free (read: expensive) kind--we'll have to see how they are...all that to use up some homemade relish (read: amazing) my landlord gave me!), baked beans, corn on the cob

Thursday-Hamburgers, leftover baked beans

Saturday-Pizza with homemade crust, homemade sauce, and Italian sausage, green salads

For other great menu ideas, visit the Organizing Junkie

Saturday, June 11

Tried It & Loved It: Graham Crackers

Many years ago my Mom's friend gave me a cookie calendar that included a recipe for graham crackers.  I remember just being floored that those were something you could make at home.  I am little older now and a little wiser (at least I hope I am) and I have been a stay at home mom for nearly three years.  I have learned time and time again that most everything you can buy premade at the store can be made at home with fairly simple ingredients.  Whether it's household cleaners or snacks, you can probably make it at home.  And if it's a food item, you control the ingredients, so then you know exactly what's in them too, which is SO cool.  Finally, if you are like me, and you have more time than money, then this can save you money too!

My friend sent me this recipe probably close to a year ago and I haven't bought premade graham crackers since!  They are sooo good and they make an excellent graham cracker crust for your favorite pie recipe too--if you ever have enough leftover to get that far!

Homemade Whole Wheat Graham Crackers ~ slightly adapted from Heavenly Homemakers 

2 ¼ cups whole wheat flour (I used graham flour this time, but whole wheat works/tastes just as well)
½ cup rapadura
1 tsp baking powder
½ tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
¼ tsp cinnamon
4 Tbsp honey
¼ cup water
1 tsp vanilla
 ½ cup butter, melted

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a stand mixer or larger bowl, mix together dry ingredients.  Melt butter and stir in honey, water, and vanilla.  Add wet ingredients to dry and mix until a dough ball forms.  Split dough ball into two equal portions.  Laura suggests rolling each portion out between two sheets of parchment.  I use my Silpats and roll each portion out on the Silpat mat and place on the cookie sheet(s).   Using a pizza cutter, slice rolled out dough into two inch squares.  Prick each square with a fork several times.  Bake for 18 minutes, rotating sheets halfway through baking.  At the 18 minute mark, turn off the oven, but leave the crackers in the oven.  Leave in the oven for an additional 30 minutes to one hour.  The 30 minute mark works well with my oven, but you may want to play around with it to see what works for you. 

The key to these are two fold.  First, roll the dough out very thin.  Second, leave the crackers in the oven for the additional time after you turn off the oven.  Some people might call that following the instructions.  I didn't do this the first time I made them, and while they still tasted good, the texture was more of a cookie, not a cracker.  The additional time in the oven allows them to crisp up without over baking. 

Store in an airtight container.

Friday, June 10

The Reveal

The picture taking of the final product actually went pretty well.  I remembered to take the pictures this morning (aka using as much natural light as possible) but also remembered to do it before nap time, which would otherwise provide for some pretty wild hair.

As I was saying in the teaser, my Mom gave Peanut a free hair cut graciously cut Peanut's hair last weekend.  We started out in the kitchen, however Peanut was mighty distracted on wanting to know what was going on behind her (Grandma cutting her hair) and she was just a wiggly. worm.  So we moved said hair cut operation to the living room and popped in Peanut's new favorite movie Do-A-Deer, or for most everyone else, The Sound of Music.   I typically only let her watch the singing scenes as the rest of the film is way over her head, but oh my gracious, does the child love this movie.

And to hear the Peanut sing Do-Re-Mi?


And my girl with her newly cut hair?  She looks so much older.  I don't have a toddler....I have a little girl. 


How did that happen? 


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