Monday, August 29, 2011

Adventures in Deception

I already wrote about the applesauce muffins I made with squash puree. Well tonight, I decided to try a meal from Jessica Seinfeld's Deceptively Delicious. The meal of choice was chicken nuggets with broccoli puree. You basically chop chicken into nugget sized pieces, then dreg it through a mixture of broccoli puree and one beaten egg before rolling it around in a breadcrumb mixture. 

(The recipe called for whole wheat breadcrumbs with a variety of seasonings. I just used a mixture of Italian seasoned breadcrumbs and parmesan cheese.) The recipe said to fry the coated nuggets in a frying pan with olive oil, but I'm notorious for burning anything I try to fry. So I just threw it in the oven at 400* for 20 minutes.  

Before it went in the oven.

This was Lucy's reaction:

I have no idea what happened with this picture, but you can see how much she enjoyed them.
Grrr. I am getting so frustrated with this kid. She didn't even try one. Never even picked it up. She started screaming as soon as I put them on her tray. Apparently she wasn't in the mood for chicken? She ended up eating leftover mac n' cheese (from last night). At least she doesn't notice the carrot puree I stick in the mac n' cheese. So she ended up getting her veggies, just not in the meal I made specifically for her.

Anyway, the verdict: I thought it was delicious! I didn't taste broccoli at all, but the puree helped keep the chicken moist. 

I'll keep trying with the purees. Maybe eventually I'll hit on something Miss Pickypants will actually eat!

Saturday, August 27, 2011

The Saturday 7

*Warning: Don't read this post if you're on a diet or ravenously hungry!* ;-)

1. Lucy had her 15 month doctor appointment this week.  I'm sure most of you have seen the stats on facebook, but I want them here too. She's 21 lbs. (25th percentile) and 31" (75th percentile). I don't know how Justin and I got such a tall kid! Haha. It's probably just a growth spurt. She'll level out.

We talked about her egg allergy and the doctor recommended trying them again when she turns 2 because that's a commonly outgrown allergy. And I asked about how her left foot turns in when she walks. The doctor said it was minor, wasn't too concerned, and said we'll just re-evaluate at her 2 year appt. Sounds good to me!

Other than that, she's perfectly healthy and wonderful. :-)

2. Lucy's favorite word is definitely "uh-oh." I must hear it 6,000 times a day. This morning, she slept 'til 9:15! Unheard of for her! And I awoke to her chirping "uh-oh" from her bed. Haha. She throws her binkies on the floor then cries "uh-oh!" until I come in to get her and retrieve them.

3. I've been feeling bad lately about what a pathetic housewife I am. I don't have a vegetable garden, I don't can anything, I barely cook, I don't bake, I certainly don't sew.  But this week, my domesticity emerged! I got this idea in my head that I was going to make zucchini bread, so I looked up some recipes, borrowed Kelly's food processor, and whipped up some delicious bread:

It was so good! And the recipe actually made 2 loaves, so I froze one for later . . . and pulled it out about 4 days after I made it because I couldn't wait any longer! Haha. The recipe was super easy and I had all the ingredients on hand except for the zucchini.  This is the recipe if you want to try it yourself!

4. Then yesterday, Kelly came over and we whipped up some vegetable purees. My boss had the book Deceptively Delicious sitting out the other day and I asked her if I could borrow it.  Kelly and I both have trouble getting our girls to eat veggies, so we decided to get proactive and sneak it in their food! We pureed carrots, butternut squash, broccoli, and spinach. Then we each made a recipe from the book to sample. I did applesauce muffins with squash puree.*recipe at the end*

They were delicious! And I definitely didn't taste any squash!

Kelly made brownies with spinach and carrot puree.  
They were a little spongy, but we realized later that the recipe called for egg whites and we just used the whole egg. Think that may have contributed? Other than that, they were delectable! The book was very clear to wait for them to cool or you'd taste the spinach. We ate them lukewarm and didn't taste spinach at all! Amazing! We both had some leftover veggie puree to freeze, too. We're going to do it again next week. Stay tuned! :-)

5. This morning, I decided to try one of my Pinterest finds: microwave monkey bread. I'm not sure if I bought the wrong kind of biscuits or what, but it did not work very well. 

Where's all the caramel? It's about 1/2 an inch on the bottom. Not enough!

I ended up doubling the amount of caramel mixture (just brown sugar, butter, and water) and pouring it over the top, so they looked like this:
They were good, but not my favorite monkey bread ever. I probably won't make them again.

6. My long lost friend Carissa came over this week. We were best friends in high school, and roommates our first year of college, but we're both busy and don't do very well with staying in touch anymore. It was great to catch up with her! 

7. I'm about to put Lucy down for a nap and then I'm going to go to the library all by myself! I'm so excited! She loves the library, but she hates standing in one spot while I look at the books. I managed to grab a book earlier this week when we were at the library with the kids. I finished it yesterday, but it was nothing special. (Love Finds You in Sisters Oregon by Melody Carlson) I'm looking forward to taking my time browsing and finding something fabulous today!  

* Applesauce Muffins Recipe as requested by Missy:
2/3 c. old-fashioned oats
1/4 c. brown sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon
2 tbsp. margarine, melted
- Stir together and set aside for later

1 1/2  c. all purpose flour (I can't type that number very well. It's one and a half cups of flour.)
1 c. old-fashioned oats
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1 c. unsweetened applesauce
1/2 c. nonfat milk
1/2 c. squash or carrot puree (I'm sure you could omit this if you don't care about sneaking veggies)
1/2 c. brown sugar
1/4 c. vegetable or canola oil
1 large egg

To make the batter, combine the flour, oats, baking powder, baking soda, and cinnamon in a large mixing bowl or zip-loc bag and stir or shake to mix. In a second bowl, mix the applesauce with the milk, veggie puree, sugar, oil, and egg.  Add the flour mixture slowly, stirring until just moistened. Do not overmix - the batter is supposed to be lumpy.

Divide the batter evenly among the muffin cups (sprayed with cooking spray or lined with cupcake wrappers) and sprinkle with the streusel topping. Bake at 400* until the topping is lightly browned and a toothpick comes out clean when inserted in the center of the muffins, 18 to 20 minutes. 

Saturday, August 20, 2011

7 Quick Takes Saturday

1. Unity was awesome last Saturday. Of course, it did storm, and I had to be my anxious self. Niki and the boys stayed in the open field with their aluminum umbrellas, but I ran back to the car to wait it out. The horrible thing is my anxiety only extends to myself. I wasn't worried about them dying - only me! How wretched am I??? Anyway, the storm itself was pretty short. We did get rained on numerous times throughout the day, but it wasn't too bad.  We saw Chris August, Josh Wilson, Sidewalk Prophets, Francesca Batistelli, Matthew West, and Michael W. Smith.  I was really impressed with everyone except Francesca. But in all fairness, she had some major delays at the airport and arrived at the event 10 minutes before she had to go on stage, so she probably would've been better under different circumstances. And Michael was amazing. The nostalgia washed over me like a wave and I belted out "Place in this World" with all the other 20-30somethings who were only allowed to listen to Christian music as teenagers. :-)

2. I worked 3 days this week for the first time since June. I had gotten pretty used to my 2 days. :-) But we definitely need the money, so I'm grateful for that.

3. I finished Bossypants this week. It was hilarious, but pretty raunchy. Much more swearing than I'm used to and a lot of sexual innuendo. Don't say I didn't warn you.

4. I cleaned out the "office" closet on Monday. It's the catch all for old textbooks, high school and college papers, pictures, things I want to save (ticket stubs, certificates, wedding memorabilia), random CDs and DVDs, books, etc. It's always amazing to me how much junk we've moved from place to place. I threw out so much. It was fun to re-read some of my college papers, though. This time of year, I start to miss school just a tiny bit.

5. I've been gaining weight. Mostly in my stomach. So I've taken to wearing looser-fitting shirts. This is a double edged sword. On one hand, less stomach flab is visible, but on the other . . . I feel like I'm starting rumors. I can almost hear people whispering, "You think she's pregnant?" Let me clear it up once and for all. I am not pregnant. And I probably won't be for a while. ;-)

6. My new favorite meal staple is the rotisserie chicken. They were on sale at Meijer for $4.99 this week. So we had that on Monday, then Justin shredded up the leftovers. On Tuesday, I made a Velveeta meal thingy. It cost $1.67 and only required water and chicken. Used some leftover chicken in that. On Thursday, we had fajitas - finished off the rest of the chicken. 3 meals out of one bird! Woot woot!

7. I'm actually writing this entry on Friday night because I won't have time on Saturday. We're having a craft/vendor expo at church Saturday morning from 9am-2pm. I'm working in the kitchen, so come get a yummy chicken wrap from me! Then Saturday evening we're hosting small group at our house.  Needless to say, I've been prepping and cleaning all week. Busy busy!

Ok, that was kind of a lame one. But apparently so was the last one. I must be getting boring with age. ;-)

Saturday, August 13, 2011

7 Quick Takes Saturday

This is going to be a Lucy-heavy update. She turned 15 months old this week, and has just been cuter than usual lately. :-)

1. Lucy is suddenly finding great enjoyment in shoes. The other day, she wandered into my room and came out with a pair of seldom worn high heels. She loved them, and kept making me put them on her. She also discovered her own shoes this week. There are like 10 pairs of hand me downs in her closet, and she brings me a new pair every day to put on. Such a girl. :-)

2. She has also really started to become obsessed with her baby lately.  She carries her around everywhere, cuddles with her, rocks her, feeds her, wraps her in blankets, and takes great delight in making me put her diaper on then ripping it off. She's started to sleep with the baby, bring her in the car, and bring her to work. I love it. So cute.

3. Justin taught her a fun trick this week: giving "knucks" - you know, like pounding fists? It's hilarious and adorable.

4. I finally got a copy of Bossypants from the library last night. I've read about half of it, and it is hilarious. I seriously had tears running down my face through most of it. Mostly just because I relate to so much. Haha.

5. I have a new obsession: Pinterest. Kelly got me hooked on it, and I've been wasting hours of my life playing with it. So. Much. Fun.

6. Yesterday, I was looking for something in the basement and I was overwhelmed by how dirty my house is. Haha. I'm a fairly good housekeeper. I keep up with the laundry and dishes. I pick up every night, so everything is in its place. But I don't scrub and dust and clean out crevices often enough. I feel like everything is coated in dust and Lola hair. So last night I decided I'm going to deep clean one room a day for a week. But by the time I finish that, I'll just have to start over again. How depressing.

7. We had absolutely gorgeous weather all week - sunny and mid 70s. I'm pretty sure that's what heaven will be like. So of course today, the forecast calls for rain and storms because we have outdoor plans. I'm going to Unity Christian Music Fest with Niki and the boys. It's outside in a huge, open field. So if you never hear from me again, just assume I was struck by lightning. ;-)

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

A Tall Dr. Pepper Kind of Day

When most people have a bad day, they come home and pour themselves a large glass of wine. When I have a bad day, I pour myself a tall glass of Dr. Pepper. Today was a very tall Dr. Pepper kind of day.

Last week, I promised Lyla that I would take her to Java Gym for her birthday. It never really worked out until today. The kids were so excited. Lucy woke up early from her nap, so we were set to have plenty of time there, it was a beautiful day, etc. I got all three kids dressed, fed, and groomed. Drinks and snacks packed in my purse. Carseats installed in my van. And then I noticed it: flat tire. Grrrrr. I spent the next hour on the phone with Justin and a Progressive Insurance agent in Arizona. Eventually, an "auto emergency" vehicle showed up to put my spare on for me. No, I do not know how to change a tire. I've never found a reason to learn since we have free roadside assistance. The guy who changed the tire was apparently an aspiring pit crew member. He literally ran around my vehicle, and threw the receipt at me when he was done. Kind of humorous.

By the time all this was done, we didn't have time to go to Java Gym and make it home in time for naps. You can imagine how excited the kids were about that! It was a fun morning.

Lucy hardly napped in the afternoon. She has a killer tooth trying to poke through and it's really bothering her. She's actually had a fever on and off all week. She's hardly eating and she just walks around whining. Poor baby.

All this is to illustrate that I was already feeling irritable when Beth got home. Then she got to talking about how annoying it is when the Grandmas come to watch the kids. [The reason I'm only working 2 days a week this summer is because her mom comes one day and his mom comes another.] She said she hates how Grandma always gets the kids fast food and how she drives them all over the place. Um, I get them fries from McDonald's roughly once a week and I drive them alll over the place. I thought she liked that! I thought she appreciated that I take the kids on field trips and spend my money on them. Now I feel like that was her subtle way of telling me she doesn't like me doing that stuff either. Those field trips are the only thing that gets me through the week!! I was as devastated as the kids today that we couldn't go to Java Gym. I can not spend all day playing cars, making train track courses, and breaking up fights.

So I drove home defeated and afraid my little donut tire was going to explode or fall off. And Lucy still hasn't stopped whining. To make matters worse, soccer started tonight. Justin is coaching a JV team in Grand Rapids, so starting today he will go straight to practice from work every night and get home around 7:30 at night. So I'm pretty much single-momming it for the next 3 months. :-(

I'm going to have to make a Meijer run for all the Dr. Pepper I'm going to need to get me through this night.

Thank you, Jesus, for roadside assistance, for safety on the road, for my sweet, healthy baby, for a side job that Justin enjoys that brings in some cash, and for this absolutely gorgeous weather.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

The Saturday 7

1. I've seriously been craving chocolate lately.  On Monday, I had my chocolatey fiber bar as a snack like usual. Then after dinner, I decided I needed to run to Meijer for a box of Magnum ice cream. While I was there, I got a Ferrero Rocher to eat in the car on the way home! Lol. Out of control. [And nooooo, I'm not pregnant! The opposite problem, actually, is contributing to my cravings!]

2. Who wants to go see "The Help" with me? It opens on August 10. I want to be able to say in that snooty way, "Oh, the book was so much better than the movie."

3. Both of my sisters and my mom were all helping out at Bair Lake Bible Camp all week. It was brutal without them! I did text Niki a little bit, but it was weird not seeing them and talking to them all the time like I usually do! I stayed pretty busy during the week, though. Monday night was the Bachelorette finale (alone in my house - that was sad. I usually watch it with Niki.), Tuesday night Justin and I watched White Collar all night, Wednesday night was Bible study, Thursday night I hung out with my cousins, and on Friday . . .

4. Lucy and I picked up Kelly and Presley and went to the zoo! It was $1 day, so the zoo was a zoo. It was madness!! Fortunately we got there when it opened, so at least we got a parking spot, but it was just stroller after stroller, kid after kid allllll day. But the girls enjoyed it, and Kelly and I always enjoy an excuse to be together and chat! We finished the day with McDonald's. On the way home, the girls were cracking each other up, just laughing and laughing in the backseat. It was so sweet. And then they both fell asleep about 10 minutes before we got home. Silly kids.

5. So I was looking through my baby book the other day and noticed that I was potty trained by 20 months. Lucy will be 15 months in a week. Uhhh . . . do I need to get started on that?

6. Have I ever told you about my 5-year journal? Every night before bed I write a few lines about my day in a journal. The idea is to do the same thing for 5 years, so you can look back on what you did this day 3,4,5 years ago. Well I started it last year on August 5, so I got to go back to the beginning and start the new year yesterday. It was cool! On August 5 last year I was still on maternity leave and thought I was dying of a kidney stone! Also, Lucy rolled over for the first time. It's so crazy how different she is in a year!!

7. I've been doing terribly with my summer goals. I've only read 4 books (the goal was 10 by Labor Day), and I'm still only to the day we brought Lucy home from the hospital in my scrapbooking (the goal was have her 1st year done by Labor Day - ha!). We have gone to the beach and taken Lucy to the zoo. And we're trying to find a day to take her to the gardens. But it's not looking too good for the rest of the goals. Haha.
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