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.

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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)!

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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.

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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

Pucker Up

Poor Isla Grace hasn’t been feeling well the past few days. She’s been congested, coughed all last night and then woke up from her nap this afternoon with a fever. Jack never gets fevers (knock on wood) but Isla gets them ALL. THE. TIME. I’ve been giving her honey and Tylenol and it seems to help. Fingers crossed that she’s all better tomorrow. Apparently she wasn’t feeling TOO terrible, because tonight she managed to find one of my lipsticks and went to town… after her bath, naturally:

Oh well. Not my color anyway.

Is anyone else cherry-obsessed right now? I can’t stop. I found a great deal at Trader Joe’s a few weeks ago (2lbs for $6) and they were PERFECT. I went back for another batch and all they had left were smaller packages of organic cherries- more $$ and totally flavorless. Womp womp. But all is well because Costco had them today! Good ones, too!

Equally exciting- they also had Kim Crawford Sauv Blanc for $11.89. My friend Melissa brought it to a mom’s night out and it’s my newest wine obsession. I think I’ve mentioned this but Whole 30 totally changed my palate in terms of wine. All the wines I used to love taste so sweet to me now, and those I used to find too dry are now perfect. Weird.

Cooking sounded awful tonight, so we ended up grabbing dinner at Taco Joint. I skipped lunch and was starving, so these didn’t last long:

God, what is in their salsa?? Unicorn tears? Don’t even get me started on the jalapeno ranch.

My dinner (besides 7829374 chips)- taco salad with chicken:

And now, more cherries for dessert.

Posted in July 2014 | 4 Comments

Monday Monday

Hey hey. So we slowwwwwly got back into the swing of things around here today. Isla slept really late- poor thing has a cough/runny nose and I think it’s interfering with her rest. Hate that. We had a fun playdate at my friend Brooke’s house this AM, then headed to Central Market for a few groceries (except it’s never “a few” groceries at CM, amiright?).

The kids both took crazy long naps today. Hooray! Apparently they’re both still recovering from the weekend o’ fun. I’m kind of trying to clean out the fridge before vacation, so for dinner I grilled a package of our Aidell’s chicken apple sausage and had that over some Trader Joe’s sauerkraut w/ cucumbers. But most importantly, I also made another batch of eggplant fries! As I’ve said before, they’re a little time consuming (like maybe 20 minutes of prep? Nothing crazy…), but well worth it.

How’s that for Most Boring Post Ever? But seriously, try the eggplant fries.

Posted in July 2014 | Leave a comment

Happy 4th!

Hope everyone had an amazing holiday weekend! We sure did. On Friday AM we were up bright and early to head to our friends’ house for a little pre-parade breakfast:

Is there anything cuter than kids dressed up in red, white and blue?? Nope.

Our neighborhood parade was a huge success- Jack went crazy snagging candy with his buddies and Isla loved seeing the high school cheerleaders and dancers. So fun.

(Thanks to my sweet friend Sarah for snapping a family pic… we NEVER get shots of all four of us!)

After the parade we packed up the car and headed to the lake. After a long nap (for me- the kids were still buzzing from all the sugar, ha), we took the kids swimming and then to watch the neighborhood fireworks show. The fireworks were REALLY close and we basically had ash raining down on us. I was pretty much convinced that we were all going to burn to death, and Isla and Jack were not impressed… to say the least. Eeek. There’s always next year.

The rest of the weekend was perfect! Lots of swimming, eating, boating, *small* fireworks on the tennis court (much better reception from Jack, thankfully), a golf cart “drive-in movie” on the golf course. Maybe too much eating? My dad made ice cream and I’m pretty sure I ate my weight in homemade vanilla… and pie.

So there’s our weekend! Now back to reality, at least for the week. We head to the beach on Saturday!

Posted in July 2014 | Leave a comment

No-Brainer Breakfast

Hey guys- so sorry I didn’t blog last night! I was pretty miserable yesterday: sore throat, achy, fever, just not feeling great. So I was in bed by 10 and I’m feeling a lot better today. Still congested but no fever or sore throat. Summer colds are the WORST, and I think our whole house has it now, too. Ugh.

In other news, I have a new breakfast obsession. Breakfast is the meal that I struggle with the most because I’m in no way a morning person, usually hate eggs and can’t stand the idea of cooking first thing in the AM. It’s best if I can find one good meal option and stick with it for… forever? I’m incapable of thinking before 10am.

Anyway, I found this bread at Costco this weekend. I bought it kind of on accident. A couple of friends had recommended this amazing bread from Costco and I grabbed this thinking it was the one (it’s not). BUT- it is good, at least toasted:

So I’ve been toasting a slice, smearing it with mashed avocado (mixed with lime juice and sprinkled with kosher salt), then topping THAT with an over-easy egg.

Trust me, it’s SO GOOD. You know how much I love avocado toast, and the runny yolk just puts it over the top. Love, love, love.

Off to go drug myself with Sudafed and Airborne so I can breathe. Catch you guys tomorrow!

Posted in July 2014 | Leave a comment