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Monday, April 4, 2011

Baby at the Ranch

Luke went to see his Mimi and Poppa this weekend!
Deric's parent's own a family ranch in the Texas panhandle. This is where Deric was born and raised until he went away to college.
As a city-born, city-raised girl, it was quite the culture shock to visit his hometown. The population figure I found online was 36. Yup. 36 people. I have close to 36 people in my immediate family!

It really is another way of life... a good life. It's almost like you step into an old western film...

I'm so blessed to have inherited all of this into my family. And I'm more happy that Luke will be able to experience some of what his daddy did growing up.

He had his first taste of real ranch living this weekend.
He watched his poppa bottle-feed a baby calf, and he even went on his first horse ride! He loved it all!
I thought the animals would scare him, but he seemed right at home around them... a small cowboy in the making :)
video

Monday, March 28, 2011

Consignment Heaven!

It's no secret: I LOVE baby consignment sales.
My friend's sister introduced me to them when I was a few months pregnant.

My first experience was successful, and I was hooked from then.

I have no problem with used clothing/things. Most of my clothing growing up was hand-me-downs from my sisters, or donations from my mother's employers. I grew up shopping at thrift stores and Goodwill, and I still enjoy the hunt. It's like a treasure hunt... looking for that unique item that doesn't look used, and that is such a bargain... oh yeah I love the hunt!

Now at the baby sales, favorite things to buy are clothes and shoes. Especially play clothes... I refuse to pay full price for things that Luke will spit-up on and stain.. not doing it! 95% of his clothes are from consignment sales. The other 5% were gifts from friends and family, and I bought him a couple things that he needed right away.

I went to one last Thursday, and walked away with $150 worth of stuff.... ALOT of stuff... I basically have Luke outfitted until he's 3 years old (he's 8 mo. now)
Here are some examples of my favorite finds!

Two very cool onesies: $3.00



1 Very cool, modern hippo toddler bed-set from IKEA: $5.00
(included 1 pillow, 1 pillowcase, 1 fitted sheet, and 1 duvet cover! awesome! can't wait to use it!

Friday, March 11, 2011

Soy-Ginger Shrimp Salad

About a month ago, we had dinner at the Cheesecake Factory. Not one of our typical dining spots, but I had one of the best salads EVER there! It was a seared Ahi tuna salad over greens and an awesome soy-based dressing.

Well, I think I have come close to recreating the dressing. Haven't tried searing tuna yet, but that's on the calendar for this weekend!

It started with the dressing recipe I found online. It was the first recipe I looked at, what luck! :Soy-Ginger Vinegarette

Since I didn't have tuna on hand, I used some frozen, peeled, deveined frozen shrimp. I thawed them out and marinated them in some of the dressing for 45min.
Meanwhile, I chopped up some red bell pepper, shelled some edemame, and shredded a couple of carrots. I piled those on some mixed greens.
Then, I used some spray oil, and cooked the shrimp for a few minutes on each side. The splatters are from the marinade, which has oil in it, so you probably don't even need to spray your non-stick pan.
Add shrimp to greens, drizzle dressing, enjoy! Soooooooo goood!


I also found some chinese sweet buns in the freezer (I am in the process of cleaning out the freezer because we are moving at the end of the month)
... so i steamed the buns for 15 min, and they were awesome. It almost looks like an egg! The outside is the lightest, pillowy rice dough, and the filling is a sweet egg custard. oh yeah!




Wednesday, March 9, 2011

I'm Such a Romo Mamma!

When I was young, I swore I would never be like my parents.

Well, I am a parent.

And I am turning into my parents!!!!!!!!!!

Exhibit A:
How to be a Romo mamma:
Step 1: Worry about your child catching a "draft"
Step 2: Bundle your child up at the slightest breeze
Step 3: Insert baby's pants into socks before bedtime:
This will prevent any stray draft from entering up the bottom of his pants and traveling to his lungs where he could potentially contract pneumonia!
Step 4: Go to bed, sleep easy, know that you have single-handedly saved your child from contracting all the major illnesses carried by drafts.
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Indian Cooking School

So, the only cuisine that's more exciting to me than Thai food, is Indian food. I haven't cooked much Indian food, until now! I ran across this awesome website. This woman, Manjula, cooks vegetarian Indian dishes, doing video tutorials on all of them. She makes them look easy and takes the mystery out of the spices/flavor combinations. I will sometimes spend an hour just watching her videos (I no longer get Food Network on cable :( ....

Last night, I tried one of her dishes for the first time. Okra is a family favorite. The past 3 summers we have grown it in our garden. Usually we just boil it and eat it, no spices, no fat, just goodness! But I ran across this video when I googled okra recipes. Yumo! I even let Luke lick the spices off the okra and he loved it!

I had to make some substitutions because I didn't have 2 of the spices. Here is her recipe with my modifications :

Bhindi Masala – Spicy Okra

Serves 2 to 3.

Bhindi Masala Spicy Okra

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 lb okra (bhindi)
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons oil
  • Pinch of asafetida (hing) ** (I didn't have this, I looked online for substitutions, and used some garlic and onion powder)
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds (jeera)
  • 1 tablespoon coriander powder (dhania)
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne (adjust to taste)
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric (haldi)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt (adjust to taste)
  • 1/2 teaspoon mango powder (amchoor) **(Also didn't have this, I sprinkled some lemon juice instead)
  • 1 tablespoon gram flour (besan) (optional) *Didn't use*
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped yellow bell pepper(optional) *Didn't use*
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped red bell pepper(optional) *Didn't use*

Method:

Wash the okra and pat dry. Make sure to completely dry the okra as wet okra will be sticky when cutting.

Cut off the both ends of the okra, and slice lengthwise in halves. Set aside.

Heat the oil in a frying pan on medium-high heat. Test the heat by adding one cummin seed to the oil; if seed crack right away oil is ready.

Add the cumin seeds and asafetida (hing). When the cumin seeds crack, add the okra.

Stir for a minute and reduce the heat to medium.

Cover the okra for two to three minutes.

Remove the cover and add the coriander powder, red cayenne pepper and turmeric.

Next add gram flour (besan) and continue to stir-fry until the okra is tender. Add the salt, mango powder and bell peppers, cook for another minute. Salt is added last to avoid the okra becoming lacy.

Variations:

  1. Adding colorful bell pepper is a great garnish for the okra and adds flavor to the dish.
  2. You can substitute the bell pepper with sliced tomatoes as a garnish.
  3. You can also slice the okra in 1/4 inch pieces and follow the same method above.

I also used another Tasty Bite sauce to make a Chicken, Pepper and onion Tikka Masala. Served over brown rice. The only thing missing was some naan! Hope this inspires ya'll to try something new, it's so easy! Go on, give your taste-buds a party!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Bathroom Bliss

We are almost owners of a new-house! well, new for us! Momma's getting a big kitchen :) !

We are also going to hang on to our current home and rent it out. We spent this past weekend doing all the little things around the house that we've been neglecting : painting, hanging shelves, trimming bushes, fixing broken door, etc.

One of my projects was the bathroom. We had our little Master bath redone a couple of years ago. But we never really put the finishing touches on it. So all we did was paint and hang 2 $6.99 shelves from Ikea, put some towels, baskets and plants on them, and voila! Room complete! Too bad we're moving out and won't enjoy it :(

What do you think? Has my countless hours of HGTV watching paid off? Or should I be watching more?
BEFORE

AFTER



Monday, March 7, 2011

Easy, Tasty Thai

I LOVE Thai food! I think I was born with a Thai stomach.. or at least taste buds..

Nonetheless, I can't afford to eat out whenever I get a hankerin' for my fav stuff...
So when I was at the market last week, I found these pre-made sauces. They are 100% vegetarian, vegan goodness. So easy, just cook your veggies or protein and add the sauce, simmer and enjoy!

So here's what I did:

Tofu, Mushroom & Bell Pepper Satay
  • 1 Bell Pepper
  • Small pack sliced mushrooms
  • 1 pack Extra-Firm Tofu
  • 1 Pouch Tasty Bite "Satay Partay"
  • 1 tsp. Soy Sauce (optional)
  • 1 Tbsp. Cornstarch (optional)
Saute mushrooms and peppers in some olive oil for 5 min. Follow instructions on pack. Add sauce and water (I added more water than instructed). Simmer with top on for 8-10 minutes. Enjoy!
* I tasted it at this point and thought it was too sweet ... that's when i added the cornstarch dissolved in the soy sauce.... this also thickened the sauce.*
*You can use your favorite vegetables and protein, so the possibilities are endless! I was just trying to clean out my fridge*

I served it over Quinoa (did you know this has as much protein as an egg? 6g/serving baby!) and steamed green beans... Healthy, yummy, cheap!

Next I"m trying one of their Indian sauces... mmmm... with some Naan maybe... and spicy sauteed okra.. mmmm......




Friday, March 4, 2011

Window Sill

I love the way my window sill looks after I've been to the market. Fresh lemons, limes, basil, cilantro, and a bottle of rose from our trip to France. Aren't God's creations beautiful?
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Steak & Potato Dinner

Dinner tonight: Steak, Potatoes and Tomato/Avocado Salad
Tomato/Avocado Salad in a cilantro lime Dressing: Adapted from a Paula Deen recipe. I just omitted the corn and used shallots instead of red onions. So good! You could chop the tomato and avocado into small pieces, it would make an awesome dip for tortilla chips!

Oven roasted Red potatoes: Deric's favorite! I just used trial and error to find a temp and method that I liked for the potatoes.
Oven Roasted Red Potatoes:
-Preheat oven to 425F
-4-5 small/medium redpotatoes, cut into wedges
-olive oil
-sea salt
-Pepper
Drizzle potatoes with olive oil. Toss to coat. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
Arrange on a baking sheet.
Bake for 20 min. Flip potatoes to other side and bake until cooked through or crispy to your liking.
Then eat with alot of ketchup! :)

Grilled Sirloin Steak:
I have yet to make a perfect steak... but it won't stop me from trying! This is as close as i've made it...
I marinated the steak (courtesy of Deric's parents' ranch) in McCormicks' Mojito Lime Marinade. Then I grilled it, 6 min on each side. Let it rest, and it was a good medium steak... not perfect, but good.

Tonight, we ate like kings!
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Monday, February 14, 2011

LOVES

In honor of Valentines Day, here is a list of my top 15 Loves :)

1. My savior, Jesus Christ, without Him I am nothing. He changed my life. Freed me from the captivity of sin, and made me a new creation in Him.

2. My loving, sexy, best-man-I-know husband.. u know who u are ;-) I love u, being married to you, YOU!

3. My favorite babbling, bouncing, bundle of joy, baby boy, Lukester, mommy loves you more strongly and deeply than you'll ever know!

4. My large, crazy, wouldn't-have-it-any-other-way, immediate family. (here's most of us :)

5. My large, even more crazy extended family! (I would need a really wide lens to have a picture that could hold all of us!

6. My close friends, don't have alot of them, but I am so grateful for your friendships. (don't have a group picture :)

7. Cheese: all kinds, all the time.

8. Chips: the real stuff, best if u are a kettle chip - don't feel the same about the baked ones, they would probably make it on my HATE list.

9. Chocolate: best if in the form of chocolate frosting or cake. but i will take any kind.

10. Coffee: :) :) :) yes, coffee makes me smile, peps me up, and smells sooo good!

11. Clothes: women's, men's, babies', u name it, i'll shop for it! and if we ever have a dog, he/she will also have a wardrobe. (not my closet...I wish i had room for wooden hangers)

12. The color ORANGE, seriously more of an obsession

13. Crafty stuff: crocheting, sewing, paperfolding, napkin folding, homemade stuff, etc. craft blogs (etsy.com especially!)

14. Cooking: that includes baking. Love to create stuff, try new recipes. (below is a tofu stir-fry I made... It's become almost a weekly dish at our house.

15. SHOES: oh yes, flats, heels, boots, loafers, wedges, running shoes, cross-trainers, mules, slingbacks... you never disappoint.. no matter how my weight fluctuates, you remain the same.. consistent... I heart u :)

Friday, February 11, 2011

I Heart Garlic!!!

Maybe it was the way the flourescent lights in the freezer section hit the packaging just right.

or maybe it was something greater than myself... maybe it was destiny!!

Either way, I ended up with 3 lbs of peeled garlic cloves! those darn warehouse stores can make you or break you!

So now i have alot of garlic to use up... but no fears! I love garlic! only second to onions... mmmm...

and doesn't garlic have superpowers?! I'm not just talking about making vampires writhe in pain, turn to dust and disappear... it's really good for you and your body! except maybe for your love life if you're still single and trying to mix it up... us ol' married folk have given up all that "puttin' on airs" stuff ... "Hey! you're supposed to love me in good and BAD! and BAD means stinky too!"

But garlic isn't really stinky.. it's aromatic.. ahhhh, yes... beautifully aromatic.

It's great raw.. but have you tried it sauteed, baked, roasted, pickled???? I can't decide which way I like it best!

So now, to begin my culinary journey with garlic.. oh the places I will go! hey, I've always wanted to try the classic French 40-clove garlic chicken recipe :)

I'll keep you posted!

This is the garlic... after I gave my friend Sarah about 1lb of it :)
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Sunday, February 6, 2011

FanTABI-lous!!!

I just want to take a moment to brag on my very talented seeester, Tabitha, or as we call her Tabi, Tabs, Tabster!

She has always liked photography, and I remember she would make us sit still for pictures all the time!

Well, she has become a wonderful self-taught photographer! She has an eye for it.. and can find beauty in the simple things...

She loves to take pictures of her family and of her pups :) She gets better all the time, and I am always amazed at how much she can do with just one camera and 2 lenses!

I can't wait to see what she will accomplish as she follows her passions!

Visit her blog for greatness!

A Father's Love

The only thing that melts my heart more than my son.. is seeing my son with his daddy. I used to wonder what kind of dad Deric would be... would he be distant? would it take him a while to jump into the role? would he be hands on/off?


He has been a great father from the moment Luke was born.


First time he held Luke



He is sweet, caring, loving, funny... and Luke loves him so much!I can only thank God for the way that Deric loves Luke. Seeing them together is pure joy.


Safe in daddy's arms



He loves to sing and read to Luke. Currently they are reading about animals and also French comic books :)


Story Time


First ballgame together - I have a feeling it won't be the last :)



Here they are "working" together. Deric gave Luke his own keyboard that is unplugged, which he can bang on. He loves it!


Engineer in the making



My cup runneth over :)










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