Month: April 2014

Happy 100 Blog Posts!

100

This is Sprinkles in my Lunchbox’s 100th post! I can’t believe I’ve already hit 100. I guess I had a lot to say! And mostly, I’ve eaten a lot.

100 posts might not seem like a lot compared to the beautiful blogs I follow, but for this little bloggy blog I started back in October 2013, almost 6 months ago, it’s a big deal. For me, anyways. It’s a dream that I made happen. I am happy I did it. It’s cathartic, it’s fun, and it’s been a great purpose for me.

To celebrate, I made a 100th Post Cake. Because…cake.

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Right away, I knew what recipe I wanted to use for my celebratory cake.

I used Willow Bird Baking’s White Sheet Cake with Fluffy Whipped Icing.

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I have been following Willow Bird Baking for about five years, and the writer of the blog, Julie, is such an inspiration. When I decided to start this blog, I would refer back to hers for moral support. And she always has such lovely writing, great pictures, and fabulous recipes. There was one post, in particular, where she gave out advice to other food bloggers. I loved her advice. She also had a recipe with that advice. I loved her recipe. I knew I had to make it.

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So I did. To celebrate. Not that you need, in my humble opinion, a “real” reason to make a cake. Who’s with me?

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I halved the recipe, since I knew that if I didn’t, I’d eat a whole cake. And as much fun as that sounds, I don’t want to set a bad example to my little boys. And other reasons. Apparently sitting down with a full cake on your lap and a fork in your hand is frowned upon. But whatever.

I used a weird sized pan because that’s what I had.  It still came out. I could have used a 9×9 for a thicker cake, but there is something about a long cake that looks so appealing to me. And it was short and squat too. Sort of like a cake made for a dollhouse.

Even cuter.

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Julie was right – the addition of the almond extract, in both the cake and the frosting, really gave the cake a bakery taste. I love a bakery taste. I love almond cake. So delicate. So bakery.

I love the word, “bakery”. It conjures up the most beautiful pictures in my mind. “Cake” does too. Is that weird?

The cake itself was really easy to whip together.

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So was the frosting.

Moist, white, almond-cake, covered in a sweet, smooth frosting.

Yes please.

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Thank you to my family, friends, and followers of this blog. I am so thankful to have an audience that cares what drivel I find myself writing down each time. I am grateful for you.

And thank you to Julie, for being a great starting point for me, a mentor of sorts, and an inspirational support.

Thank you friends!

Sincerely and God Bless,

Kristin

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Recipe for the cake and frosting that you need to try yesterday:

http://willowbirdbaking.com/2013/02/05/white-sheet-cake-with-fluffy-whipped-icing/

I can see clearly now, the rain is gone!

Or in my case…my glasses! I’ve been wearing glasses for the last 12 or so years, from sunup to sundown. I finally worked up the gumption to give contacts a try. What a frustrating day! Anyways, I think I got the hang of them, finally. Life is so different without having to constantly push my glasses up. I can also see things while laying down, workout without having the sweat cause my glasses to slide down, and actually have people see my eye makeup that I just learned how to do properly. Ahhh yes, it’s good to have options now!

In addition to all of that, we have been busy!

We had our Friday playdate at a new park. We love trying out new parks. It was a really nice day.

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There were tire swings, bridges, a play train, slides, and more!

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And the park was right next to real train tracks, which my boys loved!

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CHOO CHOOOOOOO!

And I packed them a special, summery lunch.

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I made beach balls out of their PB&Js, gave them each an applesauce squeezy fruit, a box of raisins, and some goldfish crackers. And for Bigs, I also packed some chocolate covered banana chips.

The next morning, we had pancakes (back on track!). I used a different kind of gluten-free mix – King Arthur Flour. As far as how the actual pancake turn out, this was the best GF mix I’ve tried! I added lots of vanilla bean paste and some caramel extract. They were delicious.

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They came out golden and fluffy, like how they look in commercials.

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I served them with little turkey sausages and some Maine Caviar – blueberries from Maine in Maine maple syrup (from my Mom-in-law). DELISH.

I made the boys a quick craft to play with at home with my husband, while I was getting my contacts lesson at the eye doctor.

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Bird-watching binoculars! Thank you Pinterest!

Bigs had a great time with them.

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Bird watch here…

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Bug watch there…

Smalls crushed his before I could even leave the house.

Awesome.

And I made a good dinner on Sunday (not something I find myself saying very often)! Truth be told, the only reason it came out better than okay is because my husband grilled the meat part.

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Earlier in the day, after church, I had thrown some steaks in a Ziploc with some GF soy sauce, lemon juice, fresh garlic, and olive oil. By dinnertime, they were ready to be grilled. That simple marinade came out so delicious.

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I served them with rosemary roasted potatoes (I used fresh rosemary that my friend Kristin, and fellow blogger, gave us) and balsamic green beans.

I also threw together some oaty, banana “cookies” while the oven was still hot. I mashed one super ripe banana, and mixed it with a handful of oats, some honey, and some cinnamon and baked them.

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I poked one semi-sweet chocolate chip into each of them and the kids thought they were cookies.

Mommy:1

A great end to a busy, but nice, weekend.

It was a bright (bright), bright (bright), sun-shiny daaaaaay!

PS – check out my friend Kristin’s blog! She’s a great friend and cook.

http://thefoodgeekdiary.com/

Pecan, Peecan, Pecahn

Last night was a first for me. I went to an Ingredient Party. My lovely friend opened her beautiful home to a few friends and we shared a great meal, with all the components sharing a few common ingredients. It was fabulous. Our host couldn’t decide between the pecan and the lime. So it was a pecan and lime themed party.

We started with cranberry lime adult beverages:

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That’s the way to start a party! They were very refreshing.

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My Lime Cracker Pie sat proudly next to those drinks.

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The appetizer tray was right up my alley – chips and salsa, stuffed olives (oh, yessss), and one of the most delicious things I’d ever tasted (I find myself saying that a lot). They were little limey, goat-cheesy, white chocolately tarts. That’s what I said – lime, goat cheese, and white chocolate…in a tart shell. You heard correctly! They were divine. And our host got them at PUBLIX. That’s another reason why (my newly re-done) Publix is so wonderful – they have their own gourmet fromagerie. Seriously.

Anyways. I could go on all day about cheese.

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I can’t be stopped. So don’t even try.

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Another friend also brought a cheese for an appetizer, about which I could also talk all day. BRIE. I love my brie. I could put away a whole wheel. I’m not even jesting. Who says that? Anyways, my friend marinated pecans in a brown sugar and orange liqueur mix overnight, and then baked it, and served it with crackers and sliced apples and pears. I meannnnnn.

After pickies, it was time to sit down and eat.

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We all felt like we were at a fine dining establishment, which doesn’t happen all too often with us, all having thirteen kids between the six of us.

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We had gorgeous pecan-crusted chicken breasts, shrimp with a limey mango dip, a beautiful salad with bacon, pecans and a bunch of other really amazing add-ins, and a fiesta quinoa with corn, black beans, cilantro and more.

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DELICIOUS. Seriously.

Imma need those recipes.

Do you call pecans “pe-cahns” or “pee-cans”? I am from the south and I tend to call them “pee-cans” although some Southerners would argue that is what you used to keep undah ya bed.

Either way.

We took dessert on the patio. Surrounded by candlelights and laughter, we enjoyed some dark chocolate bark (with so many yummies in it – goji berries, pepitas…), Butter Pecan ice cream, and my Lime Cracker Pie.

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So the pie turned out exactly as it was supposed to, and it couldn’t have been more easy to throw together. It had FOUR ingredients and ended up tasting like a Key Lime Pie.

I made it earlier in the day and it sat in the fridge, flavors melding together. If you like Key Lime Pie, this is a great recipe for you. Sadly for me, and also ironically, since it’s the recipe I both made and had been wanting to make for a few years, I don’t care for Key Lime Pie. I mean, I’d EAT it and I did, but it isn’t one I’d order usually.

Here the the world’s most simple recipe:

http://www.seriouseats.com/recipes/2011/07/10-minute-lime-cracker-pie-recipe.html

Try it (but only if you like Key Lime Pie).

If you ever get the opportunity to go to an Ingredient Party, go! Thank you again, to my friend, for hosting!

I hope you have a wonder Friday!

Kristin

PS – Quesitos.

Have you tried those? I ate a  lot of them in my youth – my high school Spanish teacher (with whom I am still amigas – Hola Sra.!) used to sell them as fund-raisers. I gave a lot to that “charity”. Anyways, they are a pastry filled with cream cheese. Yummers.

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My Mom picked up a few for me earlier this week. I shared one with Smalls (Bigs was in school) and froze the other. Go me!

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Smalls was a fan, as evidenced by this photo. 🙂

We worked off those shared calories, in a shared way:

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Riding the exercise bike with a 20 month old on your lap is quite a work out. I better treat myself to another quesito for getting through that work out.

Adios!

B-A-N-A-N-A-S!

I made dinner with a recipe. I almost never do that. When it comes to dinner, my family is just lucky to get a cooked, warm meal. I am a baker, what can I say!

So, I happened upon a sausage recipe on the same day I was thawing sausage (without a direction to go in). It was kismet, meant to be.

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I had all the ingredients too (which almost never happens)…or so I thought.

Here’s the recipe I found:

http://willowbirdbaking.com/2013/09/19/quick-weeknight-dinners-hot-sausage-tomatoes-fried-polenta/

The only changes I made was the type of sausage (not spicy) and that I added a whole chopped red bell pepper. Oh, and oops, I didn’t add fresh basil (had dried) and no sun dried tomatoes (those aren’t my thing). Okay, so LOTS of changes, but it was pretty much the same. It was DELICOUS! I could drink that red-wine infused sauce all day long.

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I went to go make my polenta and ran into a bit of a problem (as oft I do). What I thought was polenta in my cupboard was really ground white maize (cornmeal).

Whatever.

Luckily, I had quick cooking brown rice on hand.

Doesn’t even matter. That sausage and sauce would have been good on an old shoe.

Try it.

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In addition to that semi-successful meal, I also made something else that worked out! A few weeks ago, we went to a park birthday playdate. At that playdate, the Birthday Boy’s Mom, also my friend, brought the most delicious black bean and corn dip I’d ever had. I tried my best to recreate it.

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I knew it had black beans, corn, cilantro, lime juice, and avocado. I mixed all that together and also added tomatoes.

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It was really good!

1 can of black beans, drained and rinsed

1 can kernel corn drained and rinsed

small handful of grape tomatoes,

1 ripe avocado

1 lime, squeezed

1 bunch of cilantro (or cilantro from that tube in the refrigerated section in produce)

Yummo.

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I put mine over lettuce that my big brother grew in his garden.

This one is a winner of a recipe and feels so summery. I know a lot of this country is not particularly enjoying their snowy weather, but WE have been experiencing (and mostly enjoying) what feels like summer weather, where we live. We spend a lot of time outside, usually at the parks. But in between parks, we spend time in our own yard, where the boys like to pretend mow.

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And blow bubbles, we do a LOT of bubbles.

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Bigs was pretending to be a goat yesterday.

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Baaaa

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It’s going to be a great summer. I can feel it.

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Smalls running and playing while waiting for Bigs to get out of class

Last night, we went to Bigs’ school’s Spring Fling, where they showcased the kids’ renditions of classical art. I was very impressed with my little artist’s talent!

Artsy Fartsy Bigs

Mondrian, Monet, Eric Carle…and Bigs!

And today was Rainforest Animal day in Bigs’ class. I went with a gorilla theme.

Gorilla Themed Preschool Lunch

I made a gorilla shaped PB&J made the crusts (aka branches) green. I also made a little fruit salad of grapes, strawberries, and pineapple. And for dessert, he got some animal crackers and some chocolate covered bananas (that’s what gorillas eat for dessert, you know). For snack, I gave him a spinach and banana muffin with a string cheese.

And naturally, he had to wear I had to put him in his gorilla shirt.

Gorilla Time

Me Tarzan.

Oh! I almost forgot, have you seen these?

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Apple fries? We went on a field trip this week with Bigs’ class and got these as a treat – gluten free to boot! They were awesome. Cinnamon-sugar coated apple “fries”. SO GOOD.

Hope you have a day that is just top banana!

Kristin