Tag Archives: family

The Best Burger

14 Jul

  
Dan and I love entertaining especially over the summer when the BBQ is involved. Last weekend we had my sister and cousins and their kids over for dinner. When planning my grocery list and menu I decided that although all the kids are under 10 and we were making easy peasy burgers and dogs I would get some more adult toppings for our burgers. I decided on caramelized onions, balsamic roasted Roma tomatoes and arugula. The result? Totally delish! 

   
    
    
    
    
   
My Gourmet Backyard Burgers

Here’s what I did:

Dan seasoned the burger patties with Meat Magic spices and made a well with him thumb and filled the well with Worcestershire sauce. 

I took 5 Roma tomatoes and sliced them in half lengthwise, I placed them in a baking dish and sprinkled them with kosher salt and fresh cracked pepper, then drizzled it with about three tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil and then about a tablespoon and a half of balsamic vinegar. I roasted the tomatoes in a preheated 375 degree oven for 35 minutes, flipped them, then another 35-40 minutes. I then squished them lightly with the back of a wooden spoon to just break their form.

I caramelized the onions by slicing some sweet yellow onions thinly, adding them to a pan heated with olive oil. I added salt lightly and about two-three tablespoons of white sugar. I carefully made sure to move the onions around the pan so they wouldn’t burn. I cooked them over medium low heat until they turned golden brown. 

I then build the burgers. With mild cheddar cheese, the tomatoes, onions and arugula on a sweet roll. There  was no need for any sauces because the meat and toppings were all so flavorful and juicy. So excellent! 

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St. Patrick’s Day Fun

17 Mar

When I was pregnant with my daughter I had this vision of the kind of parent I would be. I thought I would be the mom who never gave her child processed food, who would never use a TV as a babysitter for a moment, who was easy breezy and would let my children freely express themselves creatively regardless of the messes that would be created, etc. But things do not always go the way we invision them. Although the thought of my daughter painting anywhere on my property makes my skin crawl (yes, I’ve discovered I have a slight OCD issue with messes) and I just can’t seem to get around to making all my family’s food from scratch I have made a concerted effort to be a ‘fun mom’. Now note I don’t want to be a ‘cool mom’ i.e. a mom who lets their kids get away with everything and anything. I would like my kids to grow up and remember the fun and surprising things that I would do for them and with them. To that vein I have decided to make a big deal over all the holidays- even the silly ones.

For St. Patrick’s Day I decided that the leprechauns would come by to our house to bring something special to the kids- but I let my daughter know that leprechauns only come to bring treasures to little girls who wear green nail polish. So I picked up some forest green polish at Target (yay clearance).

Which she loved- she calls them ‘leprechaun nails’. I picked up a couple little things for the leprechauns to leave her, a green shirt, necklace, and a green My Little Pony. I did just a little decorating since I made them and I picked up some little gifts for my coworkers.

A lucky charm treat for my coworkers. I made little ‘rainbow seeds’ packs for my student workers and some white chocolate dipped pretzels with green sprinkles for my little munchkin. 

My mom used to always make Irish Soda bread for us when we were growing up so I decided to make some for my family. I cannot wait to try it tonight with the Irish Stew I have going in the crockpot!

Even though St. Patrick’s Day is not a major holiday for us, I still thought it would be fun to make a big deal and create some family traditions and memories. Maddie was so excited to wear her new green shirt and necklace and play with her pony- not to mention eat her treats!

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

Good Morning Smoothie

4 Aug

Pretty much in no uncertain terms my OB is not pleased with me. She let me know that I am 7 weeks away from my due date and 2 lbs away from the maximum amount that they wanted me to gain of 25 lbs (probably would have been good for them to set up expectations prior to me getting close to that amount). So of course my husband starts joking asking if ‘eating cookies while lounging on the couch is a recommendation for that’, which she laughed at but was like ‘no, I’m pretty sure that no one recommends that.’

Ok, so I have to do better. I know that although I have gained a few more pounds than I planned I am not too far gone and whatever I do and put in my mouth now is going to effect my ability to get back into all my cute pre-pregnancy clothes which I miss dearly. It’s a little tough thinking about getting up and getting out there to get more exercise since I have hit that 3rd trimester wall of being exhausted by every activity, from things as small as walking downstairs from my office to refill my water bottle to a full hour long grocery shopping trip with my three year old. Not to mention that it is just about a million degrees in Southern California as we have started the month of August. My body is revolting against me when I even think of going outside. But I know that I need to get more exercise to be able to have a smoother delivery and recover more quickly from the birth. But besides getting outside and taking a walk or a jog, or hitting up the gym during lunch while I am at work I know that I need to still keep working hard (much harder) to sustain making healthier choices when it comes to what I am putting in my body, and no I don’t spend all day or evening eating cookies on the couch. I often have to wait to eat breakfast until I get into work since I usually choose sleep over getting up a minute sooner to do anything extra in the morning. Which means that sometimes my breakfast selections are influenced by what I see on the way to work, like fast food etc. Now I only do this maybe one to two times a week but I know it’s not good and I need to start somewhere. So I am issuing myself a little challenge to eat a healthy breakfast at home each work day this week.

To kick things off this week I made my Good Morning Smoothie. I am pretty picky when it comes to smoothies and I am definitely not on the level of most of my friends with their green smoothies. To me, I don’t really care how good whatever crazy ingredients are for you, I care about taste. But with this smoothie I am able to incorporate lots of good healthy ingredients with great antioxidants and the taste is still great! It has a great berry flavor but with a slight citrus tang and is hearty and healthy! It’s very refreshing and I especially love this smoothie in the summer even though with the use of mostly frozen ingredients I can have it any time of the year.

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Good Morning Smoothies

Ingredients:
1 cup frozen Strawberries
1/2 cup frozen raspberries
1/2 cup frozen pineapple chunks
1/3 cup frozen blueberries
1/2 fresh banana, sliced
1/2 cup orange juice
1/2 cup 2% milk (could use another kind of non-dairy milk if desired)

Empty all ingredients into your blender and liquefy to desired consistency. *If it needs more liquid, I recommend adding more orange juice. Enjoy!

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Sickly Bickly

13 Jul

My mom used to always call us ‘sickly bicklys’ whenever we were under the weather. Unfortunately this weekend (and the good majority of all week) my whole house has been full of sickly bicklys in it’s entirety. For those of you who have never been sick at the same time as you child and spouse- you don’t know how lucky you are. Add on being 7 months pregnant to the mix and you can imagine how delightful it’s been all week. My three year old has an ear infection with a cold, which she passed to my husband and I. I must say chasing her around the house threatening to take stickers off sticker charts and toys away if she did not take her medicine was quite exciting, this of course was after bribing her with ice cream at 8 am, extra stickers, etc. thank goodness this morning was the last that she would need to take the liquid version of a Z-pack. I would love to have gotten to curl up and die (more like collapse on the couch with my sage green fuzzy blanket and watch 8 hours of tv-o’d cooking shows with some nice herbal tea) but being mama means I can’t. So we watched 3 hours of Sesame Street instead.
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Yesterday we came dangerously close to running out of tissues, I mean we were about 4 tissues away from having a shortage crisis on our hands. It was time for a grocery trip. So I mustered the troops and we made it through a sneezing, sniffling, slowly shuffling through the aisles shopping trip. I knew that I was running out of options for delivery (which are already quite limited where I live) and frankly nothing was appealing. So let’s face it, mean fall apart when they are sick, they completely shut down so I knew what my guy needed to feel better: Jewish penicillin. And while I was at that, I wanted one of my Jewish food favorites- noodle kugel.
Whenever I make someone else’s recipe I tend to change it to my tastes- which I did with these, however I have made their original recipes and they are fabulous as well!
I made Dave Lieberman’s Noodle Kugel recipe, but instead of raisins I substituted two golden delicious apples peeled and chopped and sautéed them with 2 tablespoons of butter, juice from half a lemon, 1/4 cup granulated sugar, and a healthy dash or two of cinnamon until tender. Then constructed the recipe as depicted.
I love the lightly sweet creamy custard with the slightly crunchy top noodles, it’s delicious and satisfying.

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I also made the chicken noodle soup with matzo balls. I love Ina Garten’s recipe except I didn’t have the time or energy to do everything myself, so I made my own recipe which takes some help from the store with chicken stock and rotisserie chicken rather than roasting my own and taking 12 hours to produce my own stock- however if you have that availability, by all means you should use her recipe.

Chicken Noodle Soup & Matzo Balls
Recipe
48 oz Chicken stock (I used Swansons)
3 ribs celery, rinsed and chopped
5 carrots, peeled and chopped
1/2 small yellow onion finely chopped
Salt & ground black pepper
6 oz wide egg noodles
1/2 a rotisserie chicken, skin off and shredded
Matzo balls (I used and prepared the Manischewitz mix)

Instructions
Prepare matzo balls, remove from water and set aside in a bowl.
In a large saucepan heat chicken stock over medium heat, add cut up vegetables and bring to a simmer for appropriately 6-7 minutes. Add egg noodles and cook 10 minutes. Add shredded chicken and matzo balls and heat through.

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It may not be a perfect cure for a cold but it definitely is delicious and easy to make.

Gardening With The Lil’ Bear

7 Jun

I love gardening and I wish I was better at it. It’s a little tough being 6 months pregnant to get down and do all the things I want or need to do to maintain my little plants. Madeline has seen a lot of episodes of Curious George where growing things is the main topic, she also watched mommy with her ‘plant babies’. She started asking if she could get some seeds and grow some flowers so we took a little trip to Lowe’s to get some supplies. We came home and potted all our little plants along with the seeds that Madeline picked out.

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Two weeks later, I am proud to say we have not yet killed any of the plants and the seeds are starting to sprout! Madeline is very excited.

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It’s Been A Long Time

5 Jun

We’ve been pretty busy in the past 6 months prepping our little house for a big new edition- a lil’ dude will be coming soon. We’ve been in each of our busy seasons at work as well so time is passing as quickly as it can when you’re growing a tiny human in your belly.

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I had a rough go at it in the first three months but fortunately the last couple have been much easier for me. However not feeling sick all day, everyday means that I have had plenty of time to do what pregnant women do best- eat. I’ve gained more than I would have liked to by now so it’s time to get better about what and how much food I’m putting in my body. Of course cooking and eating comfort food is more fun (at least for me) than ‘healthy’ food. So now it’s become important to me to try and reincorporate my healthy meals into my routine. Making eating healthy into something enjoyable is my new challenge (oh and getting the house ready for baby #2).

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Last night we grilled chicken breasts (that we marinated in Italian dressing for 30 minutes in the fridge) sliced some fresh mozzarella and Roma tomatoes sprinkled it with kosher salt and pepper and drizzled it with balsamic vinegar. I served it roasted asparagus that I had drizzled with extra virgin olive oil, and dashes of kosher salt and pepper. It’s quick, easy, doesn’t require too much prep, and is pretty healthy.

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This morning I had some leftover egg whites from a new recipe I made earlier in the week so I decided to make us an egg white scramble. I took a good assortment of vegetables in my refrigerator and chopped them into small pieces. I used carrots, asparagus, zucchini, and spinach (which I wilted whole rather than chopping).
I heated extra virgin olive oil over medium heat in a medium frying pan and added the carrots, asparagus, and zucchini and sautéed them till just about tender, I added a clove of minced garlic and the spinach and sautéed until it had wilted. Once the vegetables were cooked, I added salt and pepper and poured in 8 egg whites. I cooked the eggs with the vegetables until cooked through. It was simple and light but filled me up on good stuff rather than my usual carb heavy breakfasts. This vegetable scramble can easily be made with any kind of vegetables you have on hand.

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For lunch today I made a spinach salad with sliced strawberries and sliced roasted almonds with a light honey Dijon dressing (I like Ken’s Steakhouse).

Birthday Weekend & Holiday Decorating

9 Dec

We had gone through a rough holiday season last year in the middle of a double move, lost our cat Riley, had to miss out on holiday celebrations due to illnesses, etc. So with this being our first holiday season in our new home I wanted to make sure it’s full of fun, celebration, and lots of happiness.

This past weekend I celebrated my birthday in my typical style- casual and lots of good food! I went to brunch with my girlfriends, dinner at Paul Martin’s with my hubby and Madeline and then had lunch with my family the next day complete with mini cupcakes from A Sweet Design.

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After going back and forth about whether to get a real Christmas tree or to get a ‘reusable’ tree we decided to go with the natural option this year and I can say that it just smells so nice! With the Arctic front that is chilling the western states right now, it definitely felt like Christmas when we went to the tree lot- it was freezing!
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If you have read any of my posts, you will know that I love Pinterest and I use it to get great recipes I would have not otherwise seen and craft ideas, etc. I generally don’t do gifts friends for the holidays but I wanted to make a little something for my girlfriends so when I saw these two ideas I thought- that’s perfect! I love most things that are white a gold, so when I saw this idea to design a mug for my coffee and tea loving girlfriends I had to make it: Tidy Mom’s hand painted holiday mugs. And then I saw what turned out to me SO amazing, decadent and just plain easy- Peppermint Oreo Truffles! I had a couple snaffues with the white chocolate- it did not cooperate, so I did half in white chocolate and half in semi sweet chocolate, which ended up looking nice anyway. I love polka dots too, so I made the mugs with gold polka dots and wrote one of the pet names I call everyone “lovey”. I popped a couple of these in each bag and put them in the decorated cappuccino cups.
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I had so much fun making these gifts and was happy to have a couple left over to snack on (and so was my hubby). I am still working on decorating our little tree and will post on that soon! I hope you are all having a wonderful holiday season so far!