Beauty Sleep

This morning we hosted playgroup and had 14 kids (all 4 and under!) and 8 moms over. Despite our tiny house, it was awesome- and Jack and Isla took AMAZING naps this afternoon. Jack stumbled out of his room around 4:30 and tells me, “Sorry mom, I just can’t sleep.”

Uh, you’ve been in there for 2 1/2 hours…

Mama took a nap, too. We went to bed late last night, and then apparently the large iced coffee from Dunkin Donuts was a bad choice because I just stared at the ceiling for an hour. Isla also coughed all night long, which means no sleep for her or us. Hopefully tonight goes a little smoother.

For dinner I heated up a bag of the frozen quinoa from Trader Joe’s and dressed it with olive oil, lime juice and salt. For our protein I baked some of those tortilla-lime crusted tilapia filets from Costco, and we also had a giant salad (baby kale, tomatoes, cucumbers, red pepper, avocado and feta with champagne vinaigrette):

Not too shabby and SO easy. Barely any cooking!

So check out what FedEx dropped on my porch today:

My sweet friend Marie works for Hatch Beauty and Beauty’s Most Wanted. You can find their collections from various makeup artists and beauty experts at Costco, and I have been eyeing their products every time I make a Costco run (which, let’s be honest, is A LOT). I’m so, so excited that she sent me all of these goodies to review, and you can expect me to report back soooooooon. Woohoo!

Posted in July 2014 | Leave a comment

Weekend o’ Fun

Hey guys- fun weekend! Maybe too fun? Mama is tired. On Saturday morning I headed to La Duni for a baby shower for my sweet friend Beth and baby Norah. Can’t beat brunch with some of my favorites! Then on Saturday night my parents took the kids to spend the night at their house so we could have a night out. We met friends for dinner at Fireside Pies, then headed to Social House in Uptown for my friend Kira’s 40th birthday. See the blondie next to me? I hope I look half this good at 40!!!

We haven’t gone “out” (other than maybe dinner and a movie) in forEVER. Like so long that we didn’t even know where this bar was, and by midnight my old lady feet were killing me. I may have been on the dance floor barefoot. We got home after 1am and then I made Brian go back out for Taco Bell. So lots of good choices, obviously.

Anyway, hosting playgroup tomorrow AM so we’re furiously cleaning right now… hope everyone had a great weekend!

Posted in July 2014 | Leave a comment

Turkey-Mango Picadillo

Tonight Brian took Jack to the KC pool because they were holding a poolside showing of The Lego Movie. I was all geared up to relax, shower and maybe even read some magazines… aaaand then did that annoying thing where I’m moving laundry over and notice a basket of stuff in the corner that needs to be sorted, so I start that and then realized that another shelf needs to be organized, and then there’s that light bulb out in the kitchen, and I really need to get rid of all of this extra (Easter!!!) candy. Oh and when I climb up to change the bulb, I noticed all of the cobwebs and dust on the chandelier and ceiling. Gross. Gotta find the Swiffers. So anyway, now it’s 10:15 and I’m exhausted and just now sitting down to blog. Fail, fail, fail. And now I REALLY need a shower.

We ground turkey in the fridge that needed to be used ASAP, so tonight I pulled out one of my old recipes for turkey-mango picadillo. It’s actually a Weight Watchers recipe and SO easy. You just brown ground turkey, then throw in spices, scallions, salsa and mango. I also sauteed a bunch of mushrooms for a few minutes before adding the turkey. The spices definitely make the dish, and if you use mild salsa then it’s fine for kids. Of course mine wouldn’t touch it, but what else is new?

The recipe recommends serving over brown rice, but I had mine in romaine “cups”- lettuce wrap style:

For a side I sauteed a diced onion and 2 zucchini (cut into half-moons) in butter and olive oil, then added a can of diced tomatoes, basil, oregano, S&P.

So today I ran to Northpark for a quick errand before the kids got out of school, and for the life of me I could NOT find a parking spot. Annoying, and weird for a Thursday at noon. So after 10 minutes I find one, run into Nordstrom and then spy this insane crowd… like hundreds of people…

Apparently Kendall and Kylie Jenner were at some store signing autographs. Seriously?? This is the crowd that gathers for a not-quite-Kardashian? Not sure whether to be impressed or horrified.

Posted in July 2014 | Leave a comment

Paleo Chicken Salad

We had a pretty crazy day today. This morning Brian and I took Jack to look at a potential school, which is all part of our “What do we do? Stay where we are? Buy another house? Public school? Private school? Boarding school (kidding… for now)?” dilemma. I’m so sick of it and I just want someone to come make the decision for us. ALL THE DECISIONS. Luckily afterward we had fun plans- met our friends Kira, Belle and Luna at Alamo Drafthouse for one of their free kid movies. I believe that they show them every morning at 10:30 (at least for the summer). Today was Kung-fu Panda. The kids had a blast! We will definitely be taking advantage of this again, because it’s too hot to do anything else.

Then this afternoon everyone refused to nap. Ugh. Isla just stood in her crib for 2 hours, yelling, “I NOT NAP. I NOT NAP. I… NOT… NAAAAAAAAAAAAAAP.”

It was fab. I thought that surely she would wear herself out, but no. So after “naps” we headed over to Lauren’s to play in the sprinklers with Caroline (and some wine for mommy).

Those cuties. I want to eat them up.

As I mentioned, I’m trying to stick to the Whole 30 plan as much as possible- especially when dining at home. I’m more flexible when we’re at restaurants. I’m not going to lie, it really sucked having to worry about what type of oil the kitchen was using, if there was any sugar in the salad dressing, if they were using regular butter or clarified, and on and on and on. It was fine for 30 days, but seriously- ain’t nobody got time for that.

At home though, it’s gotten pretty easy for me to eat in compliance with Whole 30. I tend to find meals that I like and stick with them, especially for breakfast and lunch. One of my absolute favorite lunches is avocado chicken salad. I could eat that every day and be a happy gal. What I usually try to do is make a big batch of shredded chicken on Sunday (throw a bunch of chicken breasts in the crock pot with some chicken broth and spices, cook on high 4 hours, then shred… so easy), then just mix up the avocado chicken salad throughout the week.

That was my plan earlier this week, but then I realized that ALL of our avocados overripe and nasty. Tragic. I had my giant container of shredded chicken in the fridge, so instead of crying over mushy avocados, I had the bright idea of mixing up a batch of paleo chicken salad! Genius! (Or really freaking obvious. Duh.)

If you wanted to make your own mayo, you could easily make this Whole 30 compliant. However, I’m lazy and just buy Sir Kensington’s mayo at Whole Foods, because it’s delicious, easy and paleo. Good enough for this girl. Their ketchup is the bomb too, FYI.

Soooo… here’s the general idea of what I did. Sorry that I don’t have exact recipe measurements; it’s really a taste-as-you-go type of thing. Add or subtract as needed!

Paleo Chicken Salad

In a big bowl, mix:

  • Shredded chicken
  • Mayo (enough to moisten, but don’t get too crazy)
  • A couple squirts of Dijon mustard
  • Chopped apple (could also use grapes)
  • Finely diced onion
  • Handful of sliced almonds (pecans would be perfect, too)
  • Handful of unsweetened, dried cherries (or cranberries, or diced dried apricots)
  • Splash of red wine vinegar
  • Salt & Pepper
  • Optional: Onion powder, diced celery, green onions, even curry powder.

Just stir it all together and let it hang out in the fridge for a bit for the flavors to meld. I love it with plantain chips, stuffed into mini bell peppers, wrapped in romaine leaves for lettuce wraps. I may have had this for breakfast one day this week. Don’t judge.

So simple and it keeps really well in the fridge!

Posted in July 2014 | 2 Comments

Summer Salad, Round 2

We’ve been all about the salads ’round here these past few days. I think it’s penance for all of the crap we ate (and drank… whoopsy) on vacation.  Tonight I threw together a quick cobb-like mix of butter lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers, avocado, feta and the remainder of those insane bacon ends & pieces from TJ’s.

Really, it’s just too hot to cook. Tonight I was simultaneously roasting broccoli, baking turkey corndogs for the kids, frying bacon and pan-grilling Trader Joe’s chili lime chicken burgers… and it kind of made me want to die. Too. Freaking. Hot.

I’m glad you guys liked my little DIY artwork in Jack’s room! I’m still playing around with more decor. We literally have four different giant maps and are trying to decide which one looks best. Then I stumbled across this guy at Target today:

He had all of this babyish stuff on those floating shelves. I still don’t love the shelves, but I also don’t love the idea of taking them down and patching the holes… so up they stay, at least for now. I need to find more to fill them.

Posted in July 2014 | Leave a comment

Summer Salad

After a week off, I was… maybe… excited about cooking again?? Weird. This morning I was scrolling through my usual blogs and came across this nectarine and fig summer salad with crispy pancetta on How Sweet It Is. Not only did it look amazing, but just yesterday I purchased a big box of fresh figs at Trader Joe’s. Total impulse buy, obviously. Brian was like, “Um… so what exactly are you going to do with those?”

No clue. Probably something with goat cheese?

And then I saw the salad. ‘Twas meant to be.

Not going to lie, it’s a little fussy: fresh figs, sliced nectarines, avocado, pancetta, arugula, field greens, chopped pistachios and crumbled goat cheese, topped with a homemade nectarine vinaigrette. But. BUT. Totally worth it, IMO.

I made a few modifications. Instead of field greens & arugula, I used a spinach/arugula blend from Central Market. Also, I substituted Trader Joe’s bacon ends & pieces for the pancetta. Holy geez, that was pretty much the best idea ever. I was dubious when I opened the package and saw a bunch of really fatty looking chunks, but fry that baby up and it turns into big hunks o’ BACON (and a river of bacon grease in the pan, FYI). Finally, the dressing instructions suggest pureeing the nectarine and then straining out the juice, but I used the food processor and what I ended up with was a pretty thick puree- no need for straining. Oh and I used white balsamic instead of golden.

So so so so good. Brian had 2 huge servings. It’s really the perfect summer salad, because fruit is ridiculous right now. Our fridge is literally crammed full of watermelon, grapes, cherries, nectarines, figs, mango, blueberries, strawberries. It’s fabulous but I really have no idea how we’re going to eat it all. May have gone a tad overboard? Oh well.

Posted in July 2014 | Leave a comment

Vacay Recap

We’re baaaaaack! We made the drive from Gulf Shores back to Dallas on Saturday- left at 4:30am and got home close to 6pm. The kids did amazingly well in the car. Huge sigh of relief there.

Vacation was SO much fun! It was awesome getting to spend so much time with my parents, brother, sister-in-law and sweet nephew. Jack and Isla both loved the beach- Isla took a minute to warm up to the ocean, but Jack just dove right in (literally, like the minute we arrived… in his clothes…). Of course I snapped a million pics, so I’ll share a few here:

And now it’s back to reality. Boo. We woke up this morning and Isla immediately demanded, “Let’s go to beach!!”

I wish, kiddo. But it’s good to be back in our own beds, and tomorrow morning I can pick up Chloe from the kennel. Missed that sweet snuggly girl. Hope everyone had a great weekend! Back to blogging as usual (and hopefully healthier eating- yikes)!

Posted in July 2014 | Leave a comment

Go Your Own Way

Hey friends! So we’re still on vacation in Gulf Shores… I promise that I fully intended to post as usual, but apparently we’ve just been having too much fun. I saved a couple of posts before we left, so that’s what you’ll see tonight and tomorrow night. And then on Sunday I’ll be back to nightly posting (with tons of beach pics, obviously). Hope everyone is having a great week! -HB

Poor Jack. For months his room has been in this weird limbo between baby and big kid. We took down some of the baby-ish artwork and added a cool US map. Moved his bed but weren’t 100% sure if we were going to keep it or move it back. Where it is now allows for a nightstand and seems a little more grown-up, but where we had it before (pushed into the corner, against one wall) gave him a lot more floor space for playing. It’s definitely a work in progress.

But… BUT… I did manage to finish one project during naptime this week. Before Jack was born (so 5 years ago) I was super excited to order this Keep Calm and Carry On print for his nursery:

And then within a few months that stupid graphic was EVERYWHERE. When we started toying with the idea of the big boy room, I looked on Etsy and found a bunch of prints that I liked, but they were all pretty pricey. At this point we’re going with kind of a travel/geography/science theme so I liked the idea of incorporating a map (yet another map) into the artwork.

On a side note- maps are surprisingly hard to find. Did you know this? I didn’t. And yet again, what I found online was $$.

But guess who has them??? Lots and lots of GIANT, classroom-type maps? Half-Price Books. A big display of these tall tubes of maps, and they’re $10 each. I will say that some of them are pretty random/specific (giant map of Idaho anyone?) but I dug around and found a huuuuuuuuge map of Texas. Score.

See? Huge. I told you.

I ripped that Keep Calm print out of the frame and used it as a template to cut a poster-sized portion out of the map. Sorry, Texas. I cut you.

I wanted to have Dallas in there somewhere, but also wanted some variation in color and topography, so I just moved the matting around until I liked what I saw. So scientific.

Then I used giant black stick-on letters from the scrapbook section at Michael’s for the text (Who doesn’t love Fleetwood Mac? And can you guess what’s been playing nonstop in my head for the past week?), and re-framed that bad boy:

Woohoo! Overall I’m really pleased! And since I already had the frame and matting, this whole project cost less than $20.

Posted in July 2014 | 3 Comments

I Like Tacos.

In case you were wondering, getting a family of 4 ready for a beach trip is not simple. This whole week has been a blur of errands, laundry and to-do lists. The past 2 nights I’ve found myself at Target at 10pm (not that I’m complaining- it IS my home away from home after all). It’s just a tad overwhelming… but will be totally worth it when we’re sitting on the beach, right?

Anyway, not a whole lot of cooking is going down around here. I actually ate both lunch and dinner out today, for the sake of convenience. For lunch I met my mom at Torchy’s. I had The Independent (fried portabella with black beans, roasted corn, carrots and avocado) and the Mr. Orange (salmon with corn and black bean relish).

Then tonight we grabbed dinner at Chip’s. We don’t eat there very often, so I always forget about the bacon-jalapeno ketchup. It’s amazing. My dinner = burger salad with a turkey patty.

Off to fold, pack and hopefully SLEEP sooner than later.

Posted in July 2014 | Leave a comment

Kitchen Sink Spaghetti

Today was pretty perfect- we basically spent all day at the pool with friends, then the kids came home and took amazing naps while I caught up on a bunch of pre-vacation to-do’s. Thank sweet baby Jesus for the pool because I don’t know what I’d do without it. It’s sweltering out and mama can’t deal with another episode of Dora. Nope.

For dinner tonight I made a batch of “kitchen sink” spaghetti. Basically that involved pulling everything useable out of our produce drawer, chopping, sauteing and tossing it into a big pot of sauce. Onions, garlic, carrots, celery, mushrooms, ground turkey. For sauce I used 2 jars of marinara- Mario Batali and Kirkland brand.

Zucchini noodles for me, rotini for errbody else:

Night!

Posted in July 2014 | 1 Comment