Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Weekly Menu

I'm keeping it real this week. I'm back to watching 4 children ages 3 and under during the day and we just all caught the same nasty springtime cold. This means that I need recipes that TG can step in and do if I'm down for the count.

The chicken parmesan rollatini's were good, but I should have stuck with my gut instinct, which was Pioneer Woman knows best. Enough said. As for the polenta, well I liked it because I like grits, but TG who is a traditionalist was not a fan. Live and learn. To be fair to polenta I used the instant kind and it was my first go so I told TG not to judge by his wife's surely subpar version of what is thought to be a pretty tasty side dish. Anyone out there have a foolproof recipe that will make my hubs go weak in the knees?

I started my herb garden just in time for Mother Nature to decide that she was going to give us one last wintry blast complete with snow and 20 degree temps all week long. Thankfully, all of my little plants except the parsley (I have bad luck with parsley, why is that???) are doing just fine with some daytime sunshine and the warmth of the garage at night. Thank God I planted them in containers that were small enough for me to move each day.

Enough of my blabbing. On to the menu!

Wednesday: Date Night!
Thursday: Chili with Fritos (my version)
Friday: Chicken and Cheese Quesadillas (my version)
Saturday: Kid's birthday party - we'll probably eat out
Sunday: Pulled Chicken BBQ Sliders with Ranch "Slaw" and potato salad (Framed Cooks)
Monday: Pan Fried Chicken with Baked Potatoes and Corn (shout out Twinnie!)
Tuesday: Outback Steakhouse's Alice Springs Chicken (Big Oven)

This week's recipe is courtesy of Framed Cooks, who uses recipes from multiple sources and shares her version and notes. You have to check out her blog if you haven't before.

This particular recipe was in the Southern Living's Christmas 2010 magazine. Look at the picture Framed took of her sliders....ahem...sorry I just had to wipe the drool from my mouth.

Tasty as I'm sure the original version is, I had to alter it to meet the picky tastes of my household. I don't much care for pork bbq (I know it's a crying shame), TG doesn't like blue cheese, and none of us like coleslaw.

3 C shredded coleslaw mix (I'm subbing just shredded lettuce)
1/2 C ranch dressing
1/4 C blue cheese crumbles (I'm subbing cheddar crumbles)
1/8 tsp pepper
2 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled
3 C warm pulled pork BBQ (I'm subbing a shredded rotisserie chicken)
1 pkg mini slider buns or hot dog buns
1/2 C warmed BBQ sauce (KC Masterpiece all the way!)
Dill pickles

1. Combine first five ingredients in a bowl and mix well
2. Mix meat with BBQ sauce
3. Put 1/4 C BBQ mixture on bottom half of bun, top with 1/4 C "slaw", garnish with pickle slices, top with bun.

What's not to love? Simple ingredient list, yummy BBQ, and NO ACTUAL COOKING TIME? That's the way to a busy working mom's heart!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

OTC: Sweet Little Aprons

For Riley's third birthday, among other things, my mom gave her this sweet tiny apron to use for cooking and crafting. Gammy ordered the apron from a friend of hers and it is adorable. Riley loves it so much and while I was looking at the stitching and details I realized that the pattern was fairly easy. I decided to give sewing a similar apron a try as birthday presents for several of Riley's little friends.

Step 1: I used Riley's apron to trace a pattern onto a recycle brown paper bag.
Step 2: I picked a very bright, fun patterned fabric from IKEA.
Step 3: I traced the pattern onto the backside of the fabric using a Crayola crayon.
Step 4: I cut out the fabric and using a coordinating ribbon I pinned it to the edges to make a finished edge instead of hemming it.
Step 5: I used a scrap of fabric, cut it into a thin rectangular piece and as I fed it through the sewing machine I bunched it to make a ruffle trim.
Step 6. Sew the ribbon hem and attach the ruffle.

Here's the finished product!

Seriously, the IKEA fabric, so affordable ($1.99/yd) and so fun. SA-WOOOOON.

In all it's ruffly, ribbony goodness.

Riley's was monogrammed, but hello do you know how much they charge for putting a name on something these days? So until my dream of owning one of those machines myself comes true, I decided to use a glittery puff paint to write the names of the little girls top center.

If you are a beginning sewer this is a project you can do! Feel free to email me for more detailed instructions or if you have questions.

Monday, March 28, 2011

11 Months

Today my baby turned 11 months old.

Truth is, my baby is almost a big boy. A walking big boy at that.

I can't believe that he's almost one, but he's certainly acting like it.

From getting a good 11-12 hours of sleep a night to drinking from a sippy cup, only traces of my baby boy remain. He's quickly becoming a daredevil, sweet smiling, fun loving, ALL boy, little man. Lately Camden can be found Frankenstein walking more, playing with the magnets on the fridge, trying to climb into the dishwasher, emptying my tupperware cabinet, following around TG while he vacuums, wrestling with his big sister, climbing the stairs the second the gate comes down(even though he knows he isn't supposed to), eating rocks, dirt, grass, leaves or whatever he can get his chompers on, or banging on the window as he watches the neighborhood.

He LOVES his "Dada" and that's the first thing he says when he wakes up and the word he shrieks when he sees TG. His sister is his best friend and I'm pretty sure I've heard him saying "SASSY!" a time or two lately. As for me, I'm still wrapped around his finger. He doesn't know a stranger, although he does play a bit shy when someone new says hello, by smiling and then quickly tucking his little head into my neck before peeking out for another round of the game.

As for the milestones, he's a perfectly healthy, average 11 month old who we just love to bits. Because really, how could you not love his matching big belly and big smile?

I never thought I'd know what to do with a son, but I'm so glad God knew otherwise. Only one month to go and we'll be celebrating a big first birthday!

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Little Chef and Tiny Chef Unite!

On one lazy day my littles and I decided to break out something we discovered in the baking aisle at the Teeter.

Choco-brownie-chips. Enough. Said.

My little chef was eager to begging to lick the spatula every step of the way. I managed to hold her off until I had finished using it.

What, you don't wear a fluffy feather tiara when you bake? That's odd.

She licked that thing with gusto and a little of her trademark sass.

At this point Tiny Chef started to protest, loudly, about being left out of the fun. So I gave him a spoon of his own.

Hello. I'm in love.

Someone managed to skip out on the dishes, by informing me that there was a "pitchers that just needs to be col-warred Mom". I need to remember that tactic for tomorrow night after dinner.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Straight chillin

Sometimes you just have to roll without a shirt on.

While you play with your blocks...

And keep tabs on the happenings of the neighborhood.

aka smudge your fingerprints all over Mommy's clean windows. :)

Friday, March 25, 2011

A Little Irish

I'm fairly certain that my Dad is some part Irish, which makes me a lesser part Irish and my kids, well it's certainly muddied by now.

However, that didn't stop me from dressing them in head to toe green for the day!

The little leprechaun visited Riley and left her a new headband and some gold coins. He did not make a mess that I would have to later clean. He did manage to dye our pancake batter green though.

Which I used to make four leaf clover pancakes that both children enjoyed. Camden ate 3 of them and he was hollering so loudly I could barely get them on his plate fast enough.

That night while my "Lil O'Cutie" enjoyed a snack...

TG surprised our lil princess with a very fun activity of instant snow, that was green to boot!

She made quite a mess, but how could I tell this little face no?

Hope you had a great St. Patrick's Day and may the luck of the Irish will be with you this year.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Little Chef

Riley loves helping me in the kitchen, so I've dubbed her my little chef.

A few weekends ago we were stumped for a lunch option and then TG remembered that we had all the ingredients on hand to make personal pan pizzas.

The two of them got to work while lil man and I kicked up our feet for a change.

"Mom! Come quips! Come take a pitchers of my wittle pee-zas!"

Enjoying the fruits of her labor.

"Mom! Go! Eats! Your! Pee-zas!"

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Weekly Menu

Woohoo! I managed to get this one lined up in the posting queue on time this week!

I should tell you, the truth is that while I do plan the menu every week I don't always stick to it 100%. For example on Monday I realized that an entire gallon of milk had leaked into my vegetable drawer in the fridge. In addition to the nauseating stench that was permeating our house all my veggies were ruined. So we improvised and TG hit up our local pizza joint for their sweet Monday take out deal; a large NY style pizza for only $6.99. YUM.

With that confession made, here's the plan for this week:

Tuesday: Roast Chicken with Spring Veggies (pushed over from last week's menu)
Wednesday: date night
Thursday: Carbonara with Asparagus
Friday: Egg and Prosciutto Panini
Saturday: Roast chicken with spring veggies
Sunday: Chicken Milanese with spinach salad
Monday: IKEA's swedish meatballs with mashed potatoes and lingonberry preserves
Tuesday: Chicken Parm Rollatini with Polenta

This week's recipe is from the JAN/FEB 2011 issue of Food Network Magazine. I'm a purist when it comes to chicken parmesan and if you haven't made Pioneer Woman's version yet, well then you just haven't lived. However, I also like to try new things and this recipe seemed fun!

Chicken Parmesan Rollatini- Food Network magazine April 2011

1 C fat free/low sodium chicken broth
1 clove of garlic, thinly sliced
1 14.5 oz. can crushed San marzano or fire roasted tomatoes
5-6 fresh basil leaves, torn into small pieces
kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
4 thin (1/8 in. thick) chicken cutlets (about 4 oz. each)
1/4 C chopped fresh parsley
1 C shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
1/4 C grated parmesan cheese
1/4 C breadcrumbs
1 large egg white
Cooking spray
Instant polenta, for serving (optional)

1. Position a rack in the upper third of the oven and preheat to 450. Cook the broth, garlic, tomatoes, and basil in a skillet over med-high heat, stirring occasionally, until slightly thickened, about 15 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Cover to keep warm.
2. Season the chicken with salt and pepper; place smooth-side down on a work surface. Sprinkle with the parsley and mozzarella. Starting at the short end, roll up to enclose the filling. Secure with a toothpick.
3. Mix the parmesan and breadcrumbs in a shallow dish. Put the egg white in another dish and beat until foamy.
4. Mist a skillet with cooking spray. Dip the chicken rolls in the egg white, then coat with the breadcrumb mixture. Place in the skillet, seam-side down. Sprinkle with any remaining breadcrumbs and mist with cooking spray. Bake until cooked through, about 20 minutes. Serve with the tomato sauce, and polenta.

I should also note that I love fresh herbs and now that it's warmer weather where I live I am starting planter pots of herbs that I purchased from Wal-Mart that will hopefully last me all spring and summer long!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Out With The Old, In With The New

You may have noticed that I changed the blog.

It was a little bit sad for me because it's just another marker of the end of Riley's sweet babyhood. I started Parents to a Princess three years ago as a way to keep family and friends updated on our little princess as she grew.

My how she has grown and during that time we also welcomed our sweet baby boy to complete our family of four. It was definitely time to give him some cred on the blog.

I've been meaning to update for a while but I couldn't come up with a new blog name that I liked. There were several ideas that I thought were okay, and then one night two weeks ago I was driving home from a late night at the gym and Brad Paisley's song Little Moments came on. The song is about his wife, but I felt like the sentiment was perfect for our life and blog . Because right now it is all about the little moments in our life that I just don't want to forget.

So welcome to the new blog! I'll still be making changes until it's entirely updated, with the family bios up next on my list.

And just so I can remember here's one last look at where this all began...

Monday, March 21, 2011

A Boy And His Bowl

Who me?

Oh, I'm so silly.

This bowl is tastier than the oatmeal that was in it.

I'm even sillier than before.

Yay for me!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Weekly Menu

I would rather do my St. Patrick's Day post, but it's late and I dont have the energy to upload those pics just yet. So in order to off set my laziness a little I figured I would do my weekly menu post albeit almost a week late.

Tuesday: Beef tostadas with a homemade smoothies dessert - yummo!
Wednesday: date night
Thursday: Turkey club sandwiches with chips and smoothies
Friday: Spaghetti with salad
Saturday: Roast chicken with spring veggies
Sunday: Ravioli with artichoke sauce
Monday: Eggs hollandaise with asparagus
Tuesday: Taco bake

Another blog I read also does a weekly menu post and she had the brilliant idea of sharing one of her weekly recipes every time. I love this idea so I am going to follow in her footsteps and try to post one per week, but if there is ever a recipe you see on here and want please leave a comment and I'll be happy to email it to you!

Beef Tostadas - Food Network magazine April 2011

2T vegetable oil
1/2 small red onion
2 cloves of garlic
3/4 lb ground beef
Kosher salt
2T tomato paste
1 T chili powder
1 15 oz. can refrained beans
8 corn tostadas (flat taco shells)
1 1/2 cups shredded Monterey jack
Shredded lettuce, salsa, avocado and/or cilantro for topping

1. Heat the vegetable oil in a large skillet over med-high heat. Add the onion and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, 1 minute. Add the beef and 1/2 tsp salt and cook, breaking up the meat, until browned, about 3 minutes. Add the tomato paste and chili powder and cook, stirring, about 2 more minutes.
2. Meanwhile, heat the refried beans in a small saucepan. Thin the sour cream with about 2T water in a small bowl.
3. Spread the beans on the toastadas, then top with the beef and cheese. Drizzle with the sour cream. Top with lettuce, fresh avocaco, salsa and/or cilantro.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Her Highness

Should anyone ever doubt her royal status, as princess of our hearts.

She looks the part.

And even has her royal wave down pat.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Great Falls

A few weeks ago TG and I were sitting on the couch reminiscing about our time in Charlotte, NC when we were DINKYPOPS. One of our favorite activities used to be hiking at Blowing Rock, Chimney Rock or Grandfather Mountain. We haven't done any hiking since we moved to VA which was almost 6 years ago.

We were already looking for something to do outside with the kiddos on that day and when TG mentioned hiking I suddenly remembered several Facebook friends posting pictures of their families at Great Falls.

It wasn't exactly gorgeous weather, but it was warm enough so we decided to give it a go. After Camden took his morning nap I packed a light picnic lunch, TG bundled the kiddos up in layers and we made the quick drive to Great Falls Park.

Snug as a bug and ready to go.

While on the path from the car to the first overlook Riley found a walking stick and proceeded to "pokes it in the muds" every chance she got.

She could hear the waterfall.

Practicing her rock climbing skills that she would put to good use later in the day.

At the first overlook.

The view and the sound of all that rushing water was breathtaking.

TG wore Cam in the Ergo on his back the entire time. Camden loved it.

After checking out the falls from the three overlooks we headed off the trail and did a small climb carefully down the cliffs to a little beach by the water. Riley was in heaven throwing pebbles by the handful into the river.

We ate our lunch down here and gave little man a break from the Ergo.

As we were posing for this shot a park ranger helicopter came swooping in from our right over the rocks and flew low over the river, circling a few times before heading out. Riley and Camden loved it.

After lunch and all the helicopter excitement I spent a little while sitting on the rocks, holding Cam, and watching the water while Riley kept throwing pebbles.

See? In heaven.

I let Cam put his toes in the shell sand.

Then it was time to call it a day and head back up the hill.

Riley is a natural climber. I kept close to her, but she wanted to do it "alls by myselfs" and she did. She might have jumped in as many mud puddles as possible as she climbed.

We had the perfect day and we can't wait to go back again.