Tuesday, July 21, 2009


Let's face it ladies.
We need inspiration.
Dinner time rolls around and the same 20 ingredients stare you in the face in your kitchen.
I'm back in the kitchen again too.
Every night.
On my own, for the first time in over a year.
Here's a new one I tried tonight that I really liked. I altered it to be a sauce without heavy cream (substituting a roux with whole milk) and added chunks of pre-cooked chicken to it and served it over pasta. I liked the fresh taste of the mushrooms with the snow peas. I also added some frozen peas to the sauce for my little pea-in-the-pod Kate (her favorite vegetable).

Chicken with Creamy Mushrooms and Snap Peas
adapted from The Food Network Magazine, June/July 2009

4 chicken cutlets, patted dry, salted and peppered, lightly dredged in flour
2 Tbs. oil

1 Tb butter (I used olive oil)
2 scallions, thinly sliced
8 oz mushrooms, sliced
1 3/4 cups low-sodium chicken broth (1/2 cup wine and water can be sub) 3/4 cup heavy cream ( I used whole milk)
2 cups snap peas, stemmed and cut in half lengthwise
Heat the oil in a large heavy skillet on medium high heat. Sear the chicken breasts on each side until golden brown for about 2 minutes per side. Remove from heat and place on a plate.

Wipe out the skillet and add butter. Saute scallions and mushrooms over medium heat until mushrooms begin to brown, about 5 minutes. Add broth and bring to a boil. Scrape the bottom of the pan to scrape the browned bits. Let boil until liquid is reduced by half, about 3 minutes. Add cream (milk) and stir to combine. Add snow peas (and peas), then top sauce with chicken breasts and cover, reducing heat to medium. Simmer until chicken is cooked through about 5-8 minutes.
Season with salt and pepper and serve.

Monday, July 20, 2009


You could say I have a following.
Some people read my blog for my daughter.
Some people peruse it for nutrition advice.
Most people are just curious.
And a few people prod me until I give them these kinds of recipes.

My mother didn't make cookies for us growing up except occasional oatmeal raisin for my Dad, but she always made muffins. These were one of those food moments that I remember my very first bite of all those years ago. The smell is incredible. They freeze beautifully and they are by far the best muffin I have ever had, hands down. Once again, from the one and only Frog Commissary:

Coffee Walnut Chocolate Chip Muffins
- makes 1 pan of 12 and 1 pan of minis

1/2 cup unsalted butter softened
1/2 cup white and 1/2 cup brown sugar
3 Tbs. instant espresso powder
2 tsp. vanilla extract
2 eggs
2/3 cup milk
1 3/4 cup flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1 Tbs. baking powder
3/4 cup chocolate chips
1 1/2 cups coarsely chopped walnuts

Preheat the oven to 350F. Line muffin tins with paper liners or grease
well. Cream butter and sugars together until light in color. Add espresso powder
and vanilla extract. Beat together eggs and milk. Whisk together dry ingredients
(flour, salt and b.powder) seperately. Add dry and wet ingredients, alternating.
Mix until barely combined. Add chocolate chips and walnuts. Mix again briefly.
Fill tins with a 1/2 cup scoop or until 3/4 full. Bake 20-25 minutes. Cool 5
minutes (do not skip this step) and remove from tins. Let cool.

Our version of camping

is staying in an old cabin in the woods, according to Travis who adamantly stated, "Nora, we will NOT be camping until all of our children are at least six."
We spent a wonderful weekend in Pine, which is about an hour and a half away..and about half the temperature of Phoenix. It even rained and we had a thunderstorm on Saturday night. We went with our friends the Ross' and Richardsons. It was an experiment as we had six adults and five children under five in a smallish cabin-- but we proved we still had them outnumbered :) Everyone did very well and despite our run-in with the accidental wall hot-water heater waking Kate up our last night, we had a blast. We even braved a hike to the Natural Bridge which was beautiful. It was only ten minutes away and the perfect amount of hiking for all the little ones. We brought a hot-dog picnic with us and ate on the rocks underneath the waterfalls while the little ones splashed around in the cold pools around us. It is a blessing to be out of the extreme heat and to witness the beauty of God's creation in person, not from behind glass or from a chilled home or car.
Here is Kate all cozied into her backpack--we borrowed from our friends, and she loved it. We can't wait until it gets cooler and we can take her on more hikes.

Friday, July 10, 2009


It didn't work.
No vent hood last night.
But look at the steal of a deal we got on craigslist.
Have I said I love craigslist yet???!
We got a brand new Martha Stewart 8X10 rug for $125 dollars. Ridiculous deal. Retail: more than $500.
It is thick and plush and a great pattern-- not too modern but not too traditional.

Thursday, July 09, 2009

Devious plans and clever tricks.

I am trying my darndest to get my husband to install my vent hood...
My method of persuasion is unusual, I must admit, but definitely not intentional.
First, burn some beans on the stove, then rescue them for dinner and call it "Smoky Bean Soup". Pretend it's delicious and serve it to him as leftovers as well.
Then, make his favorite dessert, pie, and allow the juice to burn on the bottom of the oven.
Allow more smoke to saturate the downstairs.
Let's see if my clever trick works after I feed him this.

Sunday, July 05, 2009

Thursday, July 02, 2009

How many licks???

This was the best birthday present she thinks she received!

Wednesday, July 01, 2009


I attempted to take a picture of her in this adorable outfit on her birthday, the one her Daddy bought her when she was just a few days old. She was too busy being a party animal.
Here's her stats at one year, one week:
21lbs - 45th percentile
29 inches- 70th percentile
Still a peanut head at the 25th percentile....but good thing it grew a whole inch :)
We cannot believe it has already been a year. What a joy!