Verde

Isla had her last day of school today! It was bittersweet- her teachers this year were so wonderful and such a good fit for her. We will definitely miss Miss Karen and Miss Vida! Also bittersweet: that I spent 3 hours of my last day “off” for the next three months sitting at the Toyota service department. Ughhhhhhh. But at least now my inspection sticker is legal. So there’s THAT.

Ok so here’s part 2 of last night’s dinner. As you know, I made the pineapple-teriyaki salmon, which was fab. A few weeks ago I bookmarked this recipe for A Pinch of Yum’s 5 minute magic green sauce. We weirdly always have pistachios on hand (one of the few things Isla will eat), plus avocados and limes… and the rest was easy to gather: cilantro, parsley, jalapeno.

Literally 5 minutes later, this:

I actually added more lime juice and a splash of red wine vinegar, because I just always crave more acidity. But this was really good! Last night I tossed some with cold zucchini noodles to make a quick, random salad with dinner:

Per the recipe, this sauce would also be great as a dip or a marinade. Lots of possibilities!

Happy Memorial Day weekend everybody!! I’ll be back on Tuesday! Which just happens to be my birthday! Just saying!

Posted in May 2015 | Leave a comment

Summer Countdown

Sorry that I didn’t post last night! We had a meeting at school for kindergarten parents (HOW IS THIS US ALREADY????) and then grabbed dinner with friends after. Oh man, kindergarten. I feel like I went through the whole, “My baby is growing up!!” freak-out last year, since Jack started at a new school and went from going 2 days/week to 5 this past fall. And freak out I did. But kindergarten doesn’t seem SO earth shattering now. He’ll be at the same school, with the same kids… the main difference being that we have to get him there an hour earlier. And let’s not talk about that. I think the only morning person around here is Isla. Oh and he’ll wear a uniform, which I think is awesome (Jack disagrees).

Anyway, it was interesting to hear from the kinder teachers and get an idea of what they expect from the kids. Luckily we love his school and are totally confident that he will be as happy in kindergarten as he has been in pre-K.

Today Isla and I met friends for lunch at Northpark and somehow made our way into the Nordstrom Half-Yearly Sale. Oh man. Holy cute kids clothes. I didn’t even let myself walk through the grown-up stuff, but I found some great deals on Mini Boden (my fave) and Tea for Jack & Isla.

Two new recipes for dinner tonight, but I’ll save one for tomorrow’s post. Our main tonight was this Pineapple Teriyaki Salmon. We actually had everything on hand, including pineapple juice leftover from that mango chicken I made last week. I marinated the salmon for probably 2 hours and then baked it in the oven.

It turned out great and cooked perfectly, though I wish there had been some kind of glaze on top. The marinade is so thin that it doesn’t really adhere to the fish, so the teriyaki flavor is pretty subtle. Next time I might reserve a bit of the marinade (before adding the salmon) to use as a sauce after. Or possibly even reduce it on the stove and then brush on as a glaze. Either way, the flavor is good and it’s a quick, healthy weeknight option.

I snapped this tonight as I was trying to get pics of my plate… this is what’s really going on in the background of my food photos. And notice that the kids are eating corndogs and mac & cheese. Per usual.

Off to work on teacher gifts… Isla’s last day is tomorrow!

Posted in May 2015 | Leave a comment

Summatime

It’s starting to feel like summer! The school countdown is on (5 days!)… and it was like 90 degrees this afternoon. Not super excited about THAT, but I am thrilled about the start of SNO season. We headed there today after school for a little treat- kind of for the kids, but more for me.

Here’s the difference between my children. Jack, offering me a bite of his shaved ice.

Isla, eating MY shaved ice, even though hers is the exact same flavor.

And then she took my cup and literally dumped the contents into hers. Guess she’s looking out for me… swimsuit season does start this weekend.

We had playgroup this morning, but before we headed over I threw a few things into the crockpot for this 4-ingredient slow cooker salsa verde chicken. We had everything on hand, too- chicken breasts (I used half fresh, half frozen and it turned out fine), salsa verde (TJ’s), beer and cumin. It smelled REALLY around 5pm! At the end I shredded the chicken and added it back to the crock pot, along with the juice of 1 lime and a bunch of seasoned salt.

Not all that pretty on its own…

But so good on a taco salad!!

It makes a ton of chicken and you could easily use this for enchiladas, tacos or quesadillas. It’s not very spicy, so if you have kids who will actually eat things like shredded chicken (LUCKY), this would be fine for them. Aaaand it takes about 3 minutes to assemble, so that’s always nice. Especially for a Monday.

Posted in May 2015 | Leave a comment

Getting to Work

How is it Sunday already?? Despite having a pretty empty schedule this weekend, we stayed BUSY. But good busy. I’ll get to that in a minute.

On Friday I had a much-needed haircut. I’m in this constant pattern of growing my hair out, immediately getting sick of it and then chopping it off. And then I’m sad that it’s short… and the cycle continues. Does anyone else do that? Well I’ve been in a “CHOP IT” mood lately and have been dying over those wavy, mid-length styles. SO. We chopped it. #awkwardbathroomselfie

I like it but am not sure about the maintenance. I’m pretty used to just rolling out of bed and throwing my hair in a ponytail, and this is not that. But it’s a fun change for now.

So, while I’m busy ruminating on hair, my friend Lauren wrote a musical!! Yes she did. So Friday night a group of us went to see the first staged reading of The St. Blaze Alumni Musical at Fair Park. It was FABULOUS and so funny and I’m so proud of her. I love having talented friends.

Our POD arrived on Saturday, and despite having panic attacks about bringing in another truckload of STUFF, it was actually really fun to see what’s been packed away since February. It was like Christmas for the kids- tricycles, scooters, art table, stuffed animals, toys toys toys.

Speaking of toys, we have a second living area off of our den that we intended to use as the playroom. It’s been basically empty until this weekend, except for our piano and an entertainment center that we’re trying to sell (know anyone that needs a TV cabinet?? I’ll give them a great deal…). We got to WORK this weekend. I’m in love with the Emerson industrial bookshelves at World Market but have been waiting for them to go on sale. Finally a few weeks ago I got a 25% off coupon, plus we had a bunch of $10 rewards from buying other furniture, so we pulled the trigger. We bought two to go on either side of the window and filled them with baskets for toys and books.

I also found that indoor/outdoor rug on sale at Target, and the PB chairs came out of the POD. The kids are excited… and apparently so is Chloe.

Still a work in progress, but I’m so happy with how it’s shaping up! And thrilled that we’re no longer living in empty rooms! I’ll update with more pics once it’s completely finished.

Hope everyone had a great weekend!

Posted in May 2015 | Leave a comment

May Flowers

It’s 8:30 and the kids are bathed, brushed and IN BED. Hallelujah. Brian’s at a concert tonight so my goal was to get them down as early as possible. They’ve been going to bed so late recently, and Isla barely ever naps anymore. So the sleep is definitely needed.

And now I have a quiet night to binge watch alllllll the shows.

So with the house sale/moving/unpacking, we’ve been majorly slacking on the healthy eating front. I’m trying to get back into meal planning and cooking at home, which has the bonus result of tons of leftovers that I can use for lunch. Remember that pineapple-mango chicken I made on Monday? All week I’ve been using it for improvised taco salads at lunch:

SO GOOD. And SO FANCY on my paper plates. Butter lettuce, spinach, grape tomatoes, diced avocado, fire roasted corn, black beans, tortilla strips, jalapenos and the shredded chicken. I got the idea after seeing it on Pinterest Told Me To. And on top I use this awesome Greek yogurt-based dressing that I found at Target:

The blue cheese and ranch versions are amazing too… especially with some Frank’s Red Hot stirred in.

SO happy that tomorrow is Friday. Our POD gets delivered this weekend, and I honestly can’t remember 75% of what we put in there. It’ll kind of be like Christmas! Or a nightmare trying to figure out where to put everything. But I’m sure the kids will be excited to have toys again, haha.

Oh and have you spotted the peonies at Trader Joe’s yet?? I went on Saturday night and they were SO picked over. I ended up with these tight little buds that have just now started to open up. You can see my sweet Mother’s Day hydrangeas in the back (chosen by Jack, of course… nothing but blue for that boy).

Love spring.

Hope everyone has a great weekend!

Posted in May 2015 | Leave a comment

Rain Rain Go Away

Hey!! Can I say how much I am over this rain? And it seems to only really pour when we need to go somewhere… like to pick up Jack from school. This afternoon it was practically flash flooding at 3 and I still really needed to go to the grocery store to get ground chicken for dinner. So obviously we ended up at Whole Foods because they have a PARKING GARAGE. Genius. And particularly genius because then my kids eat 8000 samples and beg for stuff, and I end up spending an insane amount of money (and walk out with like 5 things). Well played, Whole Foods. WELL PLAYED.

Jack has been so awesome lately about trying new foods. It’s probably mostly because he’s going through a growth spurt and eating us out of house and home. Whatever, I’ll take it. Mealtime battles are killing my soul. Anyway, I made these chicken lettuce wraps a few weeks ago and he gobbled them up, so I tried them again tonight. Not sure what the difference was but he complained that they were too spicy and wouldn’t take more than a bite. Sigh. They DID, however, go to town on some brown rice noodles (yet another WF purchase). They’re awesome because they cook in literally 3 minutes.

So yeah, the lettuce wraps.

They’re so good! And easy. The sauce is just rice vinegar, soy sauce, hoisin, sriracha and ginger (I used powdered) so it’s easy to keep the ingredients on hand.

Off to bed. Here’s hoping for sunny skies tomorrow!

Posted in May 2015 | Leave a comment

Tostadas, Round 2

Today was gorgeous out- sunny and not too hot. We took advantage and played outside all afternoon, because it’s rained for the past who-knows-how-many days and we’re expecting showers for the rest of the week.

Those two. They’ll just run around the backyard for HOURS. I don’t even know exactly what they’re doing half the time. Sometimes they’ll ask me to time them while they race, sometimes they’ll hunt doodle bugs, sometimes they just wrestle each other on the trampoline. It makes me excited for summer, when we’ll have no schedule and loads of playtime.

(Please remind me of this in July when I’m about to lose my mind.)

Anyyyyyway. For dinner tonight I made yet another tostada meal: Mango Chicken Tostadas. This one jumped out at me because it seemed like something that Jack would actually eat. You just throw some chicken breasts in the crock pot with pineapple juice, then shred the chicken and mix with mango chunks, red pepper, green onions and avocado. I followed the recipe pretty much to the letter (though I found that I only needed about 2 cups of pineapple juice to cover the chicken). Also I found that I needed to season LIBERALLY with salt and pepper before serving, and also squeezed a lime on top.

Served over tostadas spread with Trader Joe’s spicy black bean dip… with a little jalapeno Tabasco:

Not bad at all! The chicken would be really good in quesadillas or even over a salad. Oh and for the record, Jack DID try it and loved it. I’m so glad that he’s becoming more of an adventurous eater. Don’t get me wrong- 10 times out of 10, if given the option he’ll order a grilled cheese. But at least he’s getting better about sampling new foods. Lord I hope that starts to rub off on his sister soon, because GEEZ. Mealtimes are an all-out war with her.

Off to shower… I’ve been out in the yard with the kids all afternoon and Brian just informed me that I have “Wal-Mart feet.” Keeping it classy.

Posted in May 2015 | Leave a comment

Kid Pic Overload

Happy Mother’s Day! Hope all you mamas had a fab day. I had a great one, despite being woken by tornado sirens at 7am. Yikes! But everything was fine- just bad storms. Obviously I went back to sleep. 7am on Mother’s Day is just crazy talk.

We had a BUSY weekend. On Friday Jack’s class put on their Mother’s Day presentation. Holy cuteness. The whole grade performed a few songs (and a square dance!!) in the auditorium, then we headed downstairs to their classroom where they had desserts and gifts for the moms.

We each received a silhouette portrait and an “All About My Mom” book. Also check out my portrait… those eyelashes. I WISH.

Then they played a video slideshow of pics from the beginning of the year until now. Literally every kid holding a “My first day of school!” sign, up until Western Day last week. I was trying SO hard not to cry, but they just looked so tiny and sweet in those first pics!

On Saturday we had Isla’s tap recital. Again, holy cuteness. She did the dance for about 30 seconds and then just kind of stared at everyone, smiling- but it was adorable. She loved having all of these people there watching her.

Sweet cousins post-recital:

On Saturday afternoon I took Isla to a birthday party while Brian and Jack ran errands. We got home before they did and had a little bubble party in the backyard, then she ran inside and started playing peek-a-boo with the curtains. Love that sweet Squish… even if she does try to pull down my curtains:

This morning we visited my grandmother, then headed to lunch at Alfonso’s with my parents.  Getting pics with these kids is impossible. And let’s not even talk about getting a genuine smile. But it was awesome getting to spend time with family!

The kids and Brian gave me some great Mother’s Day gifts- flowers, candy, a reed diffuser and a new charm for my Helen Ficalora necklace. I also got a couple hours this afternoon to myself. I ended up vacuuming out my car (I know, it sounds sad but I think it’s like therapy- the one area of my life that’s actually clean & organized at the moment) and headed to White Rock Coffee to catch up on blogs and meal plan. Every Sunday I plan to be super productive and it NEVER happens, so it’s nice to have somewhat of a head start on the week.

So there’s our weekend! Catch y’all tomorrow!

Posted in May 2015 | Leave a comment

Sheet Cake Cookies

Hey guys! Sorry for not posting last night. We ended up driving up to Plano to look at furniture, and then when we got back (late) I hopped into bed with our book club selection. By some miracle I actually DID manage to finish The Girl on the Train today!! Isla passed out in the car on our way to Trader Joe’s, so I ended up just heading to Jack’s school an hour early and sat in the parking lot reading while she napped. Worked out great! Apparently I need to just keep a book in the car at all times because that’s the only time she’s going to nap. I did like the book- it definitely held my interest, and I think all of the comparisons to Gone Girl kind of threw me off to where I wasn’t totally expecting the ending.

We had book club tonight and I whipped up a batch of these Texas sheet cake cookies. OMG the icing. That’s what Texas sheet cake is all about, right?

These are NOT hard to make. You do have to cook the icing on the stove, but no double boiler necessary. Just some whisking. Then you just pour the icing over the cookies and let it set (I just poured the icing on the cookies above- they were still pretty gooey).  Also don’t be put off by the minimal amount sugar involved in the cookie dough- the icing is PLENTY sweet enough, so the cookies almost have a shortbread (yet soft) flavor. Yum.

Oh wow- it’s midnight and I still need to assemble teacher appreciation gifts! Catch y’all tomorrow.

Posted in May 2015 | Leave a comment

Monday Routine

We did our usual Monday routine today: playgroup, lunch, Target. Isla has been terrible about naps lately, so I decided to push her through her normal 1pm “nap” and try to put her down after we picked Jack up from school. Well I was about a block from our house and looked back to see this:

Poor girl. And then once we got home from school, I moved her to her crib- where she slept for another 2+ hours.

I stumbled across a pretty awesome recipe for dinner tonight: Honey Mustard & Lime Chicken Tostadas from Mix and Match Mama. I cooked the chicken in the crockpot (with a little chicken broth & seasoned salt) for 4 hours on high and then shredded with a fork. For the honey mustard I used Annie’s light honey mustard salad dressing, and for the salsa verde I used Trader Joe’s brand.

Layered on a tostada: mashed avocado (mixed with lime juice and salt), chicken, red onions, cheese. Squeeze a lime wedge on top.

SO GOOD. The chicken was awesome and we have a ton left over. This would be great in tacos, rolled into enchiladas, or even just plopped on top of a salad. I’ve made that whole crockpot chicken taco recipe (chicken + salsa, or chicken + taco seasoning) a million times and I’m kind of bored with it, so it’s nice to have an alternative! The chicken wasn’t ready until close to 7, so the kids had turkey corndogs for dinner- but I actually think Jack would love this chicken. IF I could get him to give it a chance. That’s the hard part. Regardless, I’m definitely adding this one to the rotation.

So we’re reading The Girl on the Train for book club this month, and despite being really excited about this book, I am wayyyy behind. That whole moving thing really cramped my style. Anyway, I’m going to try to catch up tonight- so see y’all tomorrow. Happy Cinco de Mayo!

Posted in May 2015 | 1 Comment