Category: Dinner

There’s always time for cake!

There's always time for cake

Even though my busyness continues, there’s always time for cake. That’s SORT of ironic, only because making a cake is not always a fast process. You’ve often got multiple bowls going for your wet and dry ingredients, you’ve got to cool before you frost (usually). But somehow, if it is needed (isn’t it always), I always find time to make a cake. This time, I made a gluten and dairy free Chocolate Chip Zucchini loaf cake (under the guise of a “bread”). It came out great – moist, chewy, chocolately, healthy(ish).

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I love packing vegetables into food. What a great way to get a serving in your diet!

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I used three whole zucchini for this recipe. I’d never get away with roasting them and serving them at dinner. Well, Smalls might be all about it, but he’s weird. He didn’t even want this cake. Like I said, weird.

Up Close

I bet if Smalls knew it had so much zucchini in it, he’d have eaten it. He’s my savory-loving little boy!

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Here is the link:

http://www.foodfanatic.com/2013/09/gluten-free-zucchini-bread-decadently-chocolate/

We had simple salads for dinner to go with our veggie theme:

Oh Salad

And here’s today’s elephant themed lunch:

Elephant Themed Preschool Lunch

And elephant shaped PB&J (standing on his rock made out of crusts), an applesauce squeezy fruit, some corn, and some goldfish crackers. I used some elephant themed decorations I had, as well.

Have a wonderful Thursday (almost Friday, yay!),

Kristin

Ketching-up

Ketchup

Well, well, well. What a long break I’ve had from you. It’s felt long to me, too. I hope you haven’t forgotten about my itty bitty bloggy. Right? I need you to tell me you haven’t forgotten. Lots has happened since I’ve last written, but when I sit down to write, I can’t remember much! So we’ll just go down the list of food I’ve made or eaten. That’s mostly all I remember. That’s what I created this space for, mostly, anyways, the important food stuff.

I WAS going to post a few pictures of what I thought was a great dinner, but unfortunately, I had a little tummy bug and saw that dinner come up again and again the whole night. So. I cannot bear to look at it. You aren’t missing much anyways.

So last week was my husband’s birthday. You might remember my ill-fated birthday cupcakes. The next day, we took our kids to a theme park to celebrate Husband’s birthday in a bigger way. It was a long fun day! I packed lunches for the boys:

Mickey Mouse Themed Lunches

I made Mickey Mouse shaped PB&J, gave each boy some goldfish, gave Smalls some applesauce, and gave Bigs some whole grapes and a gummy worm.

We don’t normally spend money on overpriced theme park food, but it was a special day. Upon getting there (in the morning), we started with a Mickey Mouse shaped macaron (could have done without that one, flavor wise) and a surprisingly worth-the-money-for-the-taste lollipop. You are a hero to your almost 4 year old if you let him have a lollipop right after breakfast, especially one with Mickey on the front and that is bigger than his hand. Trust me. You’re a hero.

Mickey Mouse Food

That lollipop left its mark on just about everything we owned – sticky town!!

Aaaaand, we got the most buttery, salty popcorn life had to offer. Yum.

Popcorn Piggy Face

The next day was another working-in-Bigs-classroom day for me. I love those days! We were learning about trains so I made an appropriate lunch for Bigs.

Train Themed Preschool Lunch

A train shaped PB&J (what else!), pretzel sticks, a clementine, and some pudding in a cup. Chugga chugga!

And I packed myself a lunch, too.

Mommy School Lunch

I made a quick farro salad the night before. I boiled and drained farro. I added rice vinegar, some Asian spices, peas, and corn, and S&P. On the side, I packed a clementine and two small (cut up) bell peppers. For snack, I had pretzels and hummus.

Bigs also had a day where he learned about air planes.

Airplane Themed Preschool Lunch

It’s an airplane shaped PB&J (Food Writers details), the word “Air!” stamped in bread, a box of raisins, graham crackers, grapes, and a clementine.

Well that catches us up only to Thursday. See? I told you it was a long week! Friday, one of my favorite days of the week, was a zoo playdate days. Here are the boys’ lunches:

Animal Themed Zoo Lunches

For Bigs, a camel shaped PB&J for Bigs (lightly sprayed gold and eye and toe details added), a clementine, grapes, a box of raisins, and some bear shaped cookies for dessert. For Smalls, I packed a bear shaped PB&J (my track records for adding bear details to a bear shaped sandwich are now 2/2…as in, I’ve messed up 2), some bear shaped cookies, some grapes, and a clementine.

Just before meeting our friends at the zoo, I took my little sweeties to one of our favorite places – a Mom & Pop donut shop! I daresay…and with confidence….this donut shop beats Dunkin’ Donuts AND Krispy Kreme. I can’t even handle how good they are. And my boys think it is such a very special treat going there.

Donut Date

When you walk in, you smell fresh donuts being made. It is such a different kind of donut shop. I adore that place. Look how cute my boys are peeking in the donut case. I hope one of them works there when they turn working-age. Anyways, Bigs picked his usual sprinkles donut (gotta love a kid who knows what he wants!) and I got the same for Smalls. They were almost out of donuts (this place is popular) so I chose ones I don’t normally choose. And I’m glad I did. I have a new favorite. The German chocolate donut was literally to die for. I am dreaming of it now – a not-too-sweet raised donut that was full of cocoa flavor, a rich, coconutty icing dollop, streaks of chocolate frosting. Yes, it’s my new favorite. The bottom left was a strawberry and cream cheese one, also to die for.

Sluuuuurp! **wiping drool off**

Bigs loves sprinkles (he’s the reason, after all, for the name of this blog!!), but Smalls and his sprinkle donut? That was quite a different story. He attempted to  pick off each sprinkle and discard. The horror!!

Then we were off to the zoo! Sadly, it was the day that the entire tri-county school system brought kids in for a field trip. But we still had fun!

Zoo Date

We saw the new giraffes, we ate our funny lunches, rode the choo choo train and the carousel. It was a great day.

That brings us to Saturday! We volunteered for a “Serve Day” at our church.
The kids decorated and filled snack bags for the other volunteers doing more physical work (landscaping, cleaning, etc.).

God is Love

We handed out the bags and the kids said, “Thank you for serving!”, and it was so wonderful to see the kids get it – giving back and being a servant. Love our church!

That night, we were feeling burgers. And peanuts.

Burger Mania

Five Guys is a place where you can get both. AND you can make a big mess of the peanuts, something that is highly appealing to small children. Making a mess on purpose and not getting in trouble? Sign them up!

And lastly, here is today’s camping themed lunch. I LOVE this one!

Camping Themed Preschool Lunch

This might just be my new favorite lunch for Bigs. I did a couple of little cocktail weenies, a packet of ketchup, some corn off the cob, and for dessert, a make your own s’mores (a few graham crackers, a few tiny marshmallows and one little Hershey square). I hope he loves it!! It gave me the giddy giggles to put it together.

Alright. All ketch’d-up. Hope you have a great Tuesday!

Kristin

Birthday, Cake, and Pizza!

Happy Birthday

Today is my husband’s birthday! We LOVE birthdays in our family. We like to make a big deal out of them. It’s so fun and it’s that person’s special day, so why not!? Usually, my husband takes off work for all of our birthdays, including his own, but since Bigs is in school now, we decided celebrate in a bigger way on a different day, so that he wouldn’t miss school. But we made my husband’s day special! Happy Birthday Penguin from BigsBigs picked out that penguin graphic for his Daddy. 😀

I made my husband some gluten free, dairy free cupcakes. And let me just tell you…everything I’ve touched today, so far, has turned to poopy. This new recipe was, of course, no exception.

For the cake, I followed the directions exactly. Only one difference. Which isn’t exactly then, now, is it? The only difference I made was in the type of GF flour, which shouldn’t have made the cupcakes try to eat themselves. Oh. I just remembered I did something else different – honey instead of maple syrup. You know we eat a lot of pancakes around here. Maple syrup doesn’t last. But honey should be a very viable replacement. Right??

Let’s rewind, shall we? One of my wonderful friends sent me a recipe that was right up my alley – gluten free, filled with vanilla flavor and healthy zucchini.  But let’s not mince words – It’s not exactly unheard of for me to follow a recipe exactly and have it turn out…um…not so appetizing.

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Let’s call this a case of “I did the best I could”. These cupcakes looked slightly less than decent right out of their trip to the oven. But I knew there was more to the story…that top middle cupcake was already warning me…mocking me.

Within three minutes and a transfer to the cooling rack, those little – I am lacking the correct word for them – “beauties” began to sort of eat themselves.

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I literally have never seen such a thing, even on a soufflé.

Let’s bring on the frosting, because THAT makes everything better, right?

RIGHT??!!

No.

Not always. I’m sorry if that popped any sort of frosting-makes-it-better theory you may have had.

But you’ll be in good company. My frosting bubble is completely deflated.

Sort of like my cupcakes. But not as bad.

This one is my fault though, like, for sure.

The two-ingredient-vegan frosting recipe required chocolate chips (check!) and full-fat coconut milk (che…oh. of COURSE I don’t have full fat, because whilst at Publix earlier on, I did the ‘right’ thing for my slightly less than girlish figure and got ‘lite’ [seriously…lite? you can’t throw a ‘g’ or an ‘h’ in there?] coconut milk).

So. my lovely, fluffly, whipped chocolate frosting turned out to be just a simple ganache. Not normally a bad thing. But totally so, when you are expecting something along the lines of this:

veganchocolatefudgefrosting 4838   2 Ingredient Chocolate Fudge Frosting

Say it ain’t so.

“So yeah…uh, definitely they were supposed to come out like this!

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Especially that wonky one on the top left…you know I like weird stuff.”

Oh, sorry, just practicing my Happy Birthday speech to my husband, who deserves the best ever cupcakes in the world. So glad I could come through for him. 😀

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I have to admit that I tried one, too. I mean, I can’t put my baking name on the line without trying my product, right?

They were about what you’d think they’d be like, considering my day’s track record.

A bit greasy, half baked, sort of oddly fried on top. And now covered in a too rich, too thick, cloying chocolate ganache.

Yep.

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Soooo…..Happy Birthday. May all your dreams that don’t have to do with delicious food come true.

Happy Birthday Cupcakes

At least they look okay if you squint and only focus on the star sprinkles.

And also at least they were all boys that I served them to and they don’t care.

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I mean, they ate them. They were even better once I’d refrigerated them.

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INSERT: The lovely writer of the recipe let me know that coconut flour cannot be replaced, so ooops! I will be trying them again but with the correct ingredients. My apologies! I have learned a valuable lesson. Thank you Kayla!

We ordered pizza, my husband’s choice for his birthday dinner!

We got a GF, DF pizza from Domino’s:

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And for the rest of us (including one of husband’s oldest friends), we had pan pizza from Pizza Hut – just the best!

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By the by, here are the two recipes I used:

http://ohsheglows.com/2013/05/20/2-ingredient-chocolate-fudge-frosting/

http://healthyalamode.com/2014/02/simply-healthy-vanilla-cupcakes/

Happy Birthday Husband!

Kristin

Anniverary Leftovers

We had a great anniversary…because we spent it together. Did we do fun stuff during the day? Ehhh, no. Our little one, Smalls, had an unusually high fever the day before and we’d been treating it. But yesterday, our anniversary, we took him to the doctor’s. It was just too high of a fever. So after two hours of waiting at our Pediatrician’s office, we left with a double ear infection diagnosis. Such a bummer. Pray for him? And to not spread sickness?

BUT…we DID go out to an early dinner without the kids. We went to a favorite of ours – Cheesecake Factory! We love that place! And guess what? They have an entire gluten free menu for my husband!

We started off with Shrimp Spring Rolls. We always used to get those when we were dating, so it was nice to have sort of a ‘throw back’. They were delicious.

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I love the dipping sauces. Once the spring rolls were gone, I used their fabulous bread, simply as a means to scrape more sauce out of the bowls, since licking them in public is frowned upon for some reason.

We shared an “adult” beverage, as well – the Pineapple Mojito! YUM!

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It was gorgeous! I’d not had that drink there before. I love how the aesthetics of it were just as beautiful as the flavor.

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And mint is one of my two favorite herbs (tied with cilantro). YUM.

I enjoyed it…

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…A LOT. 😀

I ordered the Luau Salad. I love ALL their salads, but I was feeling…tropical this time. No matter what salad I get there, I ALWAYS order a side of their house-made ranch dressing. I am sort of a ranch snob. I can pick out a store-bought bottled dressing anywhere. So. I URGE you to get their ranch. To dip your bread in, as well.

I am a pig.

Oink.

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With and without ranch. SO much better. Their ranch is a good accompaniment to any of their other dressings, as well.

Enough about their ranch, or they’re going to have to start paying me.

Just kidding.

Sort of.

Husband ordered a hamburger off of their GF menu. It was one of the best burgers he’d (and me!) ever had. It was juicy and with the addition of bacon, the cheese wasn’t really missed.

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It was nice for him to have a meal that didn’t make him wish he wasn’t dairy or gluten free.

Until dessert time…

…when I ordered the Mango Key Lime Cheesecake.

YUM YUM YUM. I am eating the leftovers as I type this now.

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It was the perfect end to a celebration of five wonderful years.

Oh! And to catch up on food from the week, since that’s what I do…

I made yummy Oat Energy Balls!

Energy Balls 1

SUCH an easy recipe. A friend of mine posted the recipe on FB and it reminded me to make them. They are so easy, delicious, and HEALTHY!

The basic recipe is:

1 C dry oatmeal

1/2 C chocolate chips (I did a little bit less)

1/2 C peanut butter (I did homemade)

1/2 C ground flax seed (Costco sells a huge bag!)

1/3 C honey

1 t vanilla

I also added about 1/3 C shredded coconut. You mix all the ingredients together in a bowl and place in the fridge for about 10 or so minutes. Then you roll them into balls and keep in the fridge for about a week.

Energy Balls 2

My husband can’t keep his hands off of them. And I’ve been putting them in Bigs’ lunchbox for snacks.

Energy Balls 3

Try them! You can almost put anything in them, as long as the protein and sticky components are there.

I also made arepas. Have you had those?

Arepas 2

Nothing beats an arepa straight off the flat top grill from an outside cart in Miami, but hey, we aren’t there, so I make my own. Unfortunately for my DF husband, no cheese (no GOOD cheese) is allowed on these, but they were still so good! They remind me of my in-Heaven Southern Grandma’s hoe cakes. These are the Latin version.

Arepas 1

I used Harina PAN cornmeal. Super easy – recipe on back. Nothing fancy.

Hmm, I think that’s it for now.

Have a wonderful Friday (FINALLY here!!),

Kristin

 

Valentine’s Day Leftovers

I hope you all had a wonderful Valentine’s Day week. We sure had a busy one! And it spanned over a few days, too. We filled food bags for hungry kids through our church and school (which is the same thing for us). It was a great way of showing Bigs how to show love to others, even if we don’t know them.

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It was nice to let Bigs pick out the pantry items to put in the bag.

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And then to see the sea of red bags in the foyer of his school was just heartwarming.

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Then, Bigs’ Thursday class party was just precious. The kids sang (so very softly and with some nervousness too) “Skinnamarinky Dinky Dink”. Then we ate. And it was just a perfect day.

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Bigs and his Valentine’s for his teacher and the Admin 🙂

Bigs woke up to his last “What I love about you” heart on his door on Valentine’s Day. Each morning, starting February 1st, I put a new heart on his bedroom door while he was sleeping. It was a fun thing for him and it allowed me to put in writing for him to see, some of the things I love about him.

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On Valentine’s morning, I made pink almond pancakes with sprinkles.

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They were so good. I put conversation hearts as decoration, although they were highly coveted by The Big One.

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I let him only have a few, knowing how sugary sweet the rest of the day would, inevitably, be.

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And Cupid came, wrote a poem, and left his poop (hey, I live in a house where poopy humor runs [get it?] rampant)!

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We went on our Friday playdate, where the kids exchanged Valentine’s (just like at school the previous day). It was a lot of fun. I packed up the cookies I’d made earlier in the week (what’s interesting to me is that the kids liked the Sweethearts candy more than the cookies! Oh well – more for us Moms!). I had made sure to make double batches of everything so we’d have enough.

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After we got home and napped, I took the boys to the market to get some dinner supplies. I wanted to make a nice meal for them and my Sweetheart. I made Chateaubriand Filet Mignon (such a rare treat!!) and asparagus, and had a few salads.

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To make the steaks, I let them get to room temperature, sprinkled them with Kosher salt, and placed in my preheated, olive oil-coated grill pan. I seared them for a few minutes on each side and transferred them to a sheet pan. I put them in a 400 degree oven for about 12 minutes and brought them out to rest. For the asparagus, I rolled them around in olive oil and Kosher salt and roasted them in the 400 degree oven for 13 minutes on a sheet pan.

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I served them with a strawberry and spinach salad, and a cucumber and dill salad purchased from the market. It was all delicious!

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We had chocolate covered strawberries for dessert, quite fitting.

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That night, I made a Flourless Chocolate Cake (the recipe was already gluten free and I made the ganache dairy free) to celebrate my father-in-law and husband’s (husband has birthday coming up) birthdays the next morning.

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The cake came together easily and so beautifully. It was dark, dense, and oh-so-chocolately. The ganache was glossy, rich, and shiny.

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http://www.kingarthurflour.com/recipes/flourless-chocolate-cake-recipe

While I was making that, the boys painted their little ceramic elephant craft we’d gotten them for Valentine’s Day. They had a lot of fun. It was a lovely day.

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Bigs

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Smalls

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Final product: Bigs, left, and Smalls, right

Bigs also did his Valentine’s Day homework that his awesome teacher sent home! It was a neat Sweethearts themed one!

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It involved counting and coloring heart shapes and sweethearts. SO CUTE!!

The next morning, we got up and “released” Bigs’ Valentine’s Day heart balloon. I sort of love doing that. It’s fun to watch it flit away, wherever the wind pulls it. The kids liked it too.

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I like to think that if I saw a heart shaped balloon flying in such a gorgeous, crisp, blue sky, it would make me smile!

Then we went to my husband’s parents’ house to celebrate his and his father’s birthdays with chocolate cake and a sunshiny day!

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We played with sidewalk chalk and played hopscotch. Does anyone play that anymore?

Then…cake!

I used this knife that my wonderful sister-from-another-mister friend gave me:

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It’s always been my life’s motto! Even as a young child!

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The cake was RICH! So rich, like a truffle. But very good.

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Despite being a short little old thing, it fed a lot of people – my in-laws, my own family, I gave some to my parents and also to our neighbors! The cake that kept on giving!

We ended our day with walking around a craft store. Look at this cute bike bell I found – it’s a donut! I just need a bike now!

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Although I didn’t get it, if I did, it would have been like buying the shoes first…THEN the outfit. That’s normally how I do it.

Church on Sunday was wonderful. We love our pastor and his messages. The boys had fun in Sunday School and had a fun snack before naps:

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Yogurt Banana Splits!

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I cut a banana in half and lengthwise and put vanilla yogurt and chopped strawberries in between. The boys got such a kick out of it. We needed to get back to simple eating after all the festive, rich foods we consumed this weekend.

And back on the diet. :/

I hope you all had a blessed “holiday” weekend! I’m ready to slow down, get back to “normal” (schedules, diets, LIFE!).

Kristin

A Pizza my Mind!!

It was Pizza Day in my Bigs’ class yesterday!! You can tell by the number of “!” how excited I was. I am so food-inspired. It’s weird. Anyways, my Bigs was excited too! We love our pizza – OBVIOUSLY. I make a lot of it. We eat it a lot. Even Smalls likes it. And he likes saying it…”Peepoo, peepoo, peepoo!!”. He’s cute.

Pizza - Close Enough

Yup.

I made Bigs a pizza-themed lunch, also obviously. It’s what I do.

Pizza Party Themed Preschool Lunch

This one was so much fun to make! I made a pizza-shaped PB&J (this kid and his PB&J’s!!) and used my food-safe spray to make a golden crust and sort of reddish sauce. I cut out fruit leather “pepperoni” (I add the crusts and bread leftovers back into the bento after picture taking – no one wants to see those things), which served as his dessert. I added pretzel chips and real pepperoni so Bigs can make little snack stacks. Is that even a phrase? He also has an applesauce squeezy fruit. I got such a hoot out of making this. I can’t even handle it.

And obviously, we had to dress the part! I can’t help myself!

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Just a red and white striped shirt (my friend, B, let me know that she found Waldo!!) and…PIZZA EARRINGS. I can’t even.

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Food jewelry makes me happy. Is that weird?

Anyways, I painted pizzas on my nails too. Was it too much?

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All the girls in Bigs’ class squealed with delight when I showed these to them. The boys could care less, although Bigs and Smalls liked it, at home!

I do it for the kids. What can I say?

And Bigs dressed the part too (Smalls always matches big Brother, so he had the same shirt on that day too), wearing a shirt with pizzas having a party.

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I know. I know I’m ridiculous. I admit and accept that.

Bigs’ wonderful teacher had really fabulous pizza themed activity centers! And for snack time, each kid got to make their own little English muffin pizza. It was so fun! I loved seeing how different each pizza came out.

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This has sort of been a pizza week for us. I made Pizza Pasta earlier in the week.

I made it up. I mean, I’m sure it’s been done a time or thousand, but I came up with it on the fly, with what I had.

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It basically came out of when dinner time rolled around and I hadn’t thawed anything. And it worked with our pizza theme.

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I mixed spaghetti sauce with teeny pasta shells (GF for Husband), added mini pepperoni, cheese (none for Husband), and olives, only for me.

I served it with peas and apples. It was good and it totally looked like I planned it.

And today, Friday, I made pizza for dinner. Just to “round” out the week.

I used this GF & DF crust mix:

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It’s pretty good. It comes with a packet of yeast, so it’s at least more like a “real” pizza crust.

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This was the pizza for Bigs, Smalls, and me. GF, but with cheese, ham, and pepperoni.

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My husband’s looked a little more pitiful without the cheese and three lonely pepperonis.

But dessert made up for it (it IS Dessert Friday, after all!!)!

I made vegan Chocolate Haystacks.

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This simple recipe consists only of making a quick, vegan chocolate sauce, mixing it with rolled oats, and freezing. That’s it!

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They came together in minutes and were fantastic!

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I think these would make for a really lovely Valentine’s Day dessert.

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Try them! They are so easy and you probably have all the ingredients!

Here is the recipe:

http://www.becauseilikechocolate.com/2013/12/vegan-chocolate-haystacks.html

My kind of blogger – “Because I like chocolate”…

ANNNNND, since we are on the topic of dessert, my beautiful friend had a birthday yesterday and shared her cupcakes with some of our other beautiful friends. We had a great time and cupcakes are ALWAYS a plus. 🙂

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Aren’t they just gorgeous? I meannnnnn….. I can barely contain myself where there is a cupcake around. Just wonderful.

I hope you all have had a lovely week and that your weekend is just as lovely!

Kristin

Too Cool for School

I have the world’s coolest kids. I just do. These kids are the reason I am certifiably insane, but they, and my husband, are a constant in my life that I can count on (to make me certifiably insane…and to make me happy).

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My little Buzz Lightyear loves riding his bike with his wings on. He’s just cool.

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To infinity…and beyooooooond!

And my little Smalls has been loving doing almost everything on his own. He can now “blow” bubbles.

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And by blowing bubbles, I mean eating the bubble blower thing.

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And he loves being walked by his dog. Isn’t this hilarious? Our dog is like Rudolph, pulling Santa’s sleigh. Giddey-up! [Smart parenting lol]

We’ve also been very busy eating food.

I enjoyed good (i.e. food not cooked by me) food for a friend’s birthday. I got gussied up.

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I ate this.

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Fresh, warm pita, edamame humus, goat cheese stuffed peppadew peppers, roasted red pepper hummus, briny olives. I can’t even handle how good that was.

I also ate this.

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Lemony, pine nutty, olivey Moroccan chicken over Israeli cous cous. Yes.

And this…shared with the birthday girl and the rest of our gang:

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Chocolate Lava Cake. And vanilla ice cream. I mean, I could legitimately eat lava cake every day of my life. I have a soft spot in my heart for it (Get it? Soft spot in the middle, JUST like the lava cake? I’m basically a lava cake.).

I also made lots since I’ve last written! You know…because my family thinks they need to be fed or whatever. So weird.

Meatloaf Sandwich

I made this meatloaf sandwich for lunch. Aren’t those good? I like to order them from restaurants too. TooJay’s has a good one. And so did this other little country type restaurant before it turned into a funeral home (don’t ask).

I ate this too:

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Oats with coconut milk, cranberries, and granola. It was a power breaky. Sadly, it didn’t give me power OR energy enough to keep up with my littles.

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Dairy free, gluten free cinnamon pancakes, turkey bacon, and fruit. Yum. We eat a TON of pancakes in our home.

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I made lamb shoulder steaks, vegetables, and fruit.

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My husband LOVES lamb. I pan seared it (after sprinkling on steak seasoning) and finished it off in the oven.

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And for dinner last night, I made this little fun thing. You KNOW how much I love all things cafeteria themed! I made chicken nuggets from scratch. Like, from ground chicken. I happened upon a recipe and it was DELICIOUS!

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They were so easy to make and MUCH MUCH healthier than any chicken nuggets that could be purchased, pre-made.

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I’ll never buy another pre-made chicken nugget for my family again! SO EASY!

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I served them with carrots I peeled and boiled in cinnamon water, chopped pears, cherry halves, applesauce with sprinkles (because…sprinkles), ketchup, and GF bread and butter. It was a hit with EVERYONE! Smalls ate more than I have literally ever seen him eat. I think it was a hit.

Here is the recipe:

http://www.sheknows.com/food-and-recipes/articles/817988/Tonight-s-Dinner-Homemade-Chicken-Nuggets

I’ll be making those again and again!

I also went old school and made marshmallow cereal bars.

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I used Cheerios (it was all I had that would have worked), white marshmallows, and fruity marshmallows.

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They were great! I put one in Bigs’ lunch for school and when we were discussing what he had to eat (during dinner), he said he loved his “biscuit with marshmallows” HAHAHAH! I literally laughed out loud! He’s funny. And weird.

Below is a link to general guidelines for making cereal marshmallow treats. I love that you can use almost anything and don’t have to be too precise in measurements.

http://food52.com/blog/8304-how-to-make-any-cereal-treats-without-a-recipe

Speaking of school lunches, Tuesday was Construction Worker day in Bigs’ class.

Construction Themed Preschool Lunch

I normally use a reusable compartmentalized plastic lunch container, but since I had this adorable construction-themed sandwich container, I used that instead. I put construction-themed stickers on each little individual baggie. So. He got a PB&J (what else!), on which I drew (using my Food Writers) a “Detour” sign with an arrow. I also packed carrot sticks, a squeezy fruit, pretzel stick “logs”, and a small Cheerio marshmallow treat. For snack, he got a box of raisins and some wheat crackers.

And don’t you know I love a theme? He wore a construction-themed shirt.

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A digger/back hoe thingy with “I dig my Dad” on it. Too cute.

Anyways, enough catching up on kids and food!

Off to paint my nails for Pizza Day (oh, just you wait!)!

Kristin

Parenting, Police, and Biscuits

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I feel as though I am constantly messing up as a parent. It’s a really hard (but so very blessed) job. I find myself changing my tactics all the time, after learning or reading something about studies showing how harmful that particular tactic is. It’s exhausting. And I’m sure it is for Bigs and Smalls too. One day Mommy acts like this, the next day, a different Mommy. You’d (I’d) think that I’d have it “down pat” by now, but the truth is, I don’t. I don’t know what I’m doing. Probably in life either. But, I love that life (and my boys) give me second, third, fourth, etc. chances. Even if I have a particularly horrible “Mommy Day”, the next day is a new day, a clean(er) slate, of sorts. I was going to write mostly about biscuits and meatloaf today, but I read another article on “correct” parenting behavior this morning and how the antithesis of that negatively affects them. It’s so much pressure. And there are so many articles. I am actually sitting here feeling bad for myself and for them. But there’s hope. There’s ALWAYS hope.

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I think I’d like to try a more “Back to Basics” approach, since I literally cannot possibly keep up with all that I am supposed to do. The Bible says in Proverbs 22:6, “Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it.” Surely that is enough to get me ‘started’ on this whole parenting thing (that which does NOT come with an instruction manual), right? Here are some other verses which are helping me.

Psalms 139:13-16 For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them.

Ephesians 6:1-3 Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. “Honor your father and mother” (this is the first commandment with a promise), “that it may go well with you and that you may live long in the land.” 

Sure, my kids are supposed to obey me. But they also see my reactions and imitate. That’s something I need to constantly work on.

Ephesians 6:4 Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord. 

Colossians 3:21 Fathers, do not provoke your children, lest they become discouraged.

I am taking this to be directed at ME, as well, not just “Fathers”.

This isn’t saying that we shouldn’t discipline our children:

Proverbs 19:18 Discipline your son, for there is hope; do not set your heart on putting him to death.

The Bible says, in fact, that we SHOULD discipline. I think it’s just how we go about it.
Proverbs 29:17 Discipline your son, and he will give you rest; he will give delight to your heart.

My job as a parent to Bigs and Smalls is to provide structure, discipline, my love, kindness (and a million other things). I need to bring them up as God wants and build up their confidence in this world.
[CAVEAT: I hope you take this as I intended – as a Biblical guide that can be a starting point. I am (quite, humbly and obviously) not a perfect parent (SO far from it) and am learning everyday.]
[CAVEAT II: I was discussing this with my husband and he was telling me that parenting does not come with an instruction book (as I mentioned and you all for sure know) and that all these articles cannot tell us exactly how to parent. We just change the things we want to change. Ahhh so simple – men see things so very differently!]
You know what else I don’t do so great (even though I HAD instructions)? Gluten free, dairy free biscuits. Or “hardtack”, as I am now calling them.
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I thought I’d “whip” up a batch for us for dinner last night. The dough wasn’t so bad.
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I did like that I could over-mix the dough without the fear of making it tough.
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Oh, I SHOULD have had the fear of tough biscuits, however.

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Those suckers came out like baptism wafers. The hard kind. Luckily, my husband sort of likes those.
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Don’t let this picture fool you – they were still white as snow. And hard as rocks.
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But so very strangely addictive. Especially with butter and honey.
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Look at that height (LOL)!!
Seriously. Weirdest things ever. I had to make them dairy free as well (the recipe was just GF) so I am not sure if THAT is where things went wrong? Who knows. Did I have ALL the proper ingredients? No. But whatever!! I’m the Queen of Improvisation and Replacements!
Here’s the REAL recipe, if you are interested:
http://www.seriouseats.com/recipes/2013/03/gluten-free-buttermilk-biscuits-recipe.html
(I used almond milk and vegan butter and coconut oil since I, naturally, ran out of vegan butter.)
Some adjectives I heard around the dinner table: hard, white, chewy
By the by, they get harder. I went for one this morning and almost broke a toof.
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I served it with some gluten-free (usually I use breadcrumbs and remembered too late that I had cornflakes I could have used instead) meatloaf. I used about a pound of organic, grassfed ground beef to which I added fresh parsley, dill, and rosemary (from my neighbor’s garden), and a Mrs. Dash seasoning packet. I made the beans and carrots I always make. I also served it with sliced pears, cranberries and candied nuts.
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And we’ve really made an effort to get back to the Simple Life these past few days.
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The kids plucked our very own (SOUR) tangerines off of our tree.
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We tasted those sour little boogers.
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And my husband grilled out while the boys and our dog pretended to wash the pool deck.
It really is the simple things.
Also, today is Police Day in Bigs’ class!
Police Themed Preschool Lunch
I cut out “P O L I C E” on a piece of bread and made a PB&J (always) on that bread. I used my Food Writer to make a “reds and blues” police light boarder. I served red tortilla chips (sorry, I KNOW these have mega red dye in them!) and corn. And for dessert, I picked the red and blue Smarties out of the little package I’d frozen since Halloween and some peppermint yogurt covered raisins. On the baggie, I wrote, “Police Lights Dessert – Eat last or go to jail!!”. I hope he likes this lunch! 🙂 It was a fun one to make.
Remember that we are never too old to learn, and there is always hope – to grow, to change, to make things better.
Hope you eat your healthy food first today!
Kristin

Hammy Time!

What a week. Seriously. I know I say that all the time, but what a week. Both boys had doctor’s follow up appointments (both better – yay!), both boys had a little kid gym class (they go each week on different days), both boys had a make up little kid gym class (on different days), Bigs had school and one on of those days, I worked in his classroom. And also Smalls got reinfected with pink eye and had another fever night (booooo). But he’s better again. But seriously. Whaaaaat? Why does this keep happening?!

I absolutely love working in Bigs’ classroom. The parents of the kids switch off days, so that every day has a helper parent. It’s a wonderful opportunity to get to know our kids’ teacher, classroom and procedures and learning itself, and classmates better. I absolutely adore Bigs’ teacher and classmates. He’s expressed that he never wants another teacher again. Just the one he has. 🙂

I showed up to class rocking my donuts. You just might recall how much my Bigs and I love donuts. It’s sort of a thing for us.

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I put on my donut sweatshirt and earrings. And then I remembered that I had a donut necklace.

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So I put that on, too. Because…you can’t just wear SOME of your donut stuff. Sure I looked like Flava Flav a bit. And maybe also a clown. But you know what? The kids (and adults) thought it was a hoot. And I did too. Love donuts. And someday, probably not too far off in the future, my Bigs will be (and I hope he isn’t!!) mortified when I show up like this. I gotta capitalize on him loving my wackiness now.

Tootsies

My feet matched. I try to do that.

It was a blast of a day, hanging out with my big buddy.

So, back when I’d posted about this sweatshirt, I sort of mentioned that it was a Christmas gift to myself and that my husband didn’t know it yet. I’d already purchased it and was going to give it to him to give to me. But sweet Husband took it upon himself to get it for me before knowing I’d already done the dirty work. It was quite a hubbub to return it. So I EXTRA appreciate it!

Besides the boys not taking naps yesterday, which by all scale-of-tiredness-accounts they should have (and I needed one!), it was a lovely day.

I also made a ham dinner. For some odd (and I DO think it’s odd), Bigs’ favorite meat is ham. I feel like kids Bigs’ age (almost 4) would rather chicken. But I’m glad he likes it! Especially because he’s having it for dinner again tonight. 🙂

Hammy Ham Ham

I glazed it with cherry preserves. I also made a cheesy hash brown casserole.

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This is from the copycat recipe for Cracker Barrel. Do you have those near where YOU live? If not, just get off on the next interstate exit and go immediately. That place is so good. For this recipe, it calls for a cream of soup and sour cream. I didn’t have enough sour cream but I DID have a tub of ricotta cheese. I threw that in, hoping it would help make up for my lacking ingredient amounts. It turned out great, you couldn’t even tell.

I also made beans.

Beans

I sautéed a mix of carrots, green beans, and wax beans in coconut oil with whatever seasoning feels right (lemon pepper this time) and freshly grated garlic. I add dried cranberries when it’s almost done. This time, I burned the lot, but it still tasted good. And, oddly enough (my life must be “odd” because I find myself saying this a lot!), this was the only thing Smalls ate last night. He literally turned down cheesy potatoes and frozen yogurt (I froze actual yogurt for the boys to have for dessert) for beans. That kid is something. But I’m glad that if he’s eating anything, it’s beans.

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It was yummy.

Dinner

And like I said, we’re having it again. I love leftovers.

Yummers

Just yes.

Oh yes ham

After such a long few weeks of sickness and not really having the energy to cook, it was really nice to have a homey, comforting meal to eat.

And I love knowing that no matter what happens today, we’ll get that same homey, comforting meal again. And I don’t have to even cook it again.

Have a wonderfully blessed Friday (seriously TGIF!!)

Kristin

Do you know the Muffin Man?

Do you know the muffin man

I happen to know him. He doesn’t live on Drury Lane, like the song says. He lives with me.

I know the muffin man

He’s a little boy, actually. It’s my son. He’s the muffin boy. Well, on Friday, anyways. This past week in school, Bigs’ class read If You Give a Moose a Muffin. I love that series. I still have the mouse one from when I was a little girl.

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The kids made moosey muffin boxes. How cute is that?! So on Friday, we made those yummy little Jiffy muffins. I let Bigs do all the work.

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He poured the mix into the bowl, poured the milk (that I measured) into the bowl and whisked those together with the egg that I cracked. He used my scoop to put the mix into a mini muffin tin. He did great!

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Here’s his “thumbs” up (it’s his pointer finger). Cuteness.

So what if I overcooked the muffins. He’ll never really know.

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We ate them for snack and read If You Give a Mouse a Cookie since we don’t have the moose book at home. It was a fun activity and Bigs was proud he made the muffins on his own. And I was proud too!

It was a yummy food day, that day, since I also made those healthy Snickerdoodle Pancakes again! I gave them to Smalls one at a time to hold and eat at his leisure.

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And for lunch (for Hubs and I), I finally made that tropical(ish) cous cous salad I’d been wanting to try.

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It was SO good! I couldn’t stop eating it and that was okay, since it was so healthy!

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Would it have been better with fresh cilantro (versus dried)? Yes. Would it have been better with a super ripe and fleshy, golden mango? Yes. But we work with what we have, people! Well, I do. Because I never have all the ingredients on hand. Ooops.

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It was REALLY tasty. Chock full of good grains, beans and mango.

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I loosely based it on the recipe from here:

http://greenlitebites.com/2010/09/03/mango-black-bean-couscous-salad/

Like I said, I didn’t have fresh cilantro, my mango had almost seen better days and I didn’t even have chives or a hot pepper. I cubed my mango and tossed it in a teeny bit of brown sugar, just to macerate it a little bit. I think it helped it taste more ripe. I made enough cous cous for 3 servings (according to the box). While that was absorbing the water, I drained and rinsed the black beans and made the sauce. I used about 5 tablespoons of olive oil and some really good squirts of lemon juice (would love to have used a real fresh lemon, but you already know what I’m going to say…). I added salt and pepper, a little bit of garlic powder and I had a Weber’s Mango & Lime grill seasoning for fish that I put in there. It really lightened up the flavors. I then added quite a bit of dried cilantro. I whisked away and once the cous cous was ready, I mixed it all up together. I added cayenne pepper to mine. It was great!

And my husband only eats hot things (mostly) and this salad can be served warm, although it is abundantly better cold, in my very humble opinion.

I hope you try it!

By the way, thank you to those of you who have prayed for my baby son. We had to take him to the doctor’s office two more times since I’ve written and also today, we took him to the hospital for chest x-rays. They were looking for pneumonia, which they did not find. God is good! I just need my little spicy baby to get better and back to his spunky little self.

Keep praying?

Thank you!

In Christ,

Kristin