Saturday, June 30, 2012

Conversations with Big Sister

** Vacation Edition **

Car Insurance 2

Big:  Look at that lizard!

Mom:  It's not a lizard; it's a gecko.

Big:  So, is it going to try and sell us car insurance?


Mom:  This island is called Hawaii or the Big Island

Big:  What is the island called where we live?

Mom:  Where we just were?

Big:  No, like where our house is in Claremont

Mom:  We don't live on an island.

Big:  But there's the beach in California so how come it's not an island?

Good Behavior

Dad:  Do you think you had good behavior today?

Big:  I was really good today . . . . . . except for when I slammed my sister down and banged her head.


Big:  What does "relentless" mean?

Mom:  Where did you hear that?

Big:  A lady at the pool called me that

Sunday, June 24, 2012

A year ago . . .

On our family vacation to Hawaii, it's been hard not to compare the vacation and the girls to last year.  Little was crawling and taking first steps and not saying much last year.  Big spent most of her time in the pool and loved all the new experiences.  This year, Little is running everywhere, loves the sand, and has a definite opinion that shapes our days.  Big still loves all the activities but prefers snorkeling and swimming in the ocean to the pool.  I thought I'd show you the side by side photos for comparison. More vacation updates to come . . .

2011 - bamboo pole fishing
2011 - smiley sisters
2011 - Little at the beach

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Turkey Cutlets with Boursin Mushroom Sauce

I'm on vacation this week but here's a recipe I made the week before we left.  It was delicious, low calorie, and came together super easy - all big factors in my weeknight meal planning.  The original recipe called for 4 chicken breasts which are first sauteed which would also be good but I had lean, thin turkey cutlets and this preparation worked really well with them.  I don't often use Boursin cheese (or other soft cheese spreads like that) but it's also light and flavorful.  You could probably substitute some herbs and a soft cheese like goat cheese or feta if you would rather.  From what I could determine, the Boursin is gluten free but double check the ingredients.

Turkey Cutlets with Boursin Mushroom sauce (serves 4)
adapted from Baked Bree

4 turkey cutlets
salt and pepper
olive oil
1 cup baby bella mushrooms
1 T butter
1 minced shallot
1/2 c. white wine
1/4 c. Boursin cheese (the spreadable kind in a tub - I used garlic & herb)
2 T chopped parsley

Season the turkey cutlets with salt and pepper and very lightly dredge in flour, shaking off excess.  In a large skillet, heat a little olive oil over medium heat and add the turkey cutlets.  Cook without moving or turning for 3-4 minutes.  Flip them over and cook another 1-2 minutes until golden brown (inside should be opaque and the temperature should reach 160 degrees).  Transfer to a plate and cover with foil to keep warm.

Add the mushrooms, butter, and shallots to the pan.  Cook until the shallot begins to soften, about a minute.  Add the wine to the pan and cook until the wine cooks almost all of the way out, stirring often.

Take the pan off the heat and whisk in the Boursin cheese and parsley.  Season with salt and pepper.  Pour the sauce over the turkey cutlets.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Strawberry Oatmeal Cookies

I bought some beautiful strawberries the other day and my girls kept telling me (insert whiny voice):  "I don't waaaannnt those" when I'd put them on their lunch or dinner plate.  Okay.  I couldn't stand to see the strawberries get soft and go bad so I thought I'd bake something instead.  I'm still trying to watch my sugar intake and lose a few pounds before Hawaii so I only had one (~85 calories/cookie) but it was delicious.   And, now I hear "I want a cookie!" instead of the complaining.

At first I was skeptical about the step of refrigerating the dough but it was too soft when it was all mixed up.  I thought the strawberries would start to macerate or get brown by letting the dough sit in the refrigerator but they held up well.  I diced them small, right before I mixed them in so that there wouldn't be too much liquid and it worked well.  I didn't add the chocolate chips or pecans this time but it would taste good with them!

Strawberry Oatmeal Cookies (1.5 dozen)
adapted from Cooking Light

3/4 c. whole wheat flour
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 cup oats
dash of salt
3/4 c. packed dark brown sugar
2 T butter, softened
2 T unsweetened applesauce
1 tsp. vanilla
1 large egg
3/4 c. diced fresh strawberries
1/3 c. toasted pecans (or white chocolate chips) - optional

In a large bowl, whisk flour, oats, salt, and baking soda together and set aside.  In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat applesauce, butter, brown sugar, and vanilla on low speed.  Add egg and beat until fully mixed.  Gradually add the flour mixture into the wet mixture and stir well.  Gently fold in the strawberries (so they don't mash) and pecans or chocolate chips (if using).  Mix until fully combined.  Cover the dough with plastic wrap or foil and chill in the fridge for about 2 hours.

Once chilled, remove from fridge, preheat oven to 350 degrees, and line or lightly grease a baking sheet.  Scoop cookie dough about 1 tablespoon at a time onto the sheet, leaving about 1/2 inch space between scoops.  Bake for 10-12 minutes or until cookies are golden brown.  Cool on a wire rack.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Flappy Jacks

First, for your listening pleasure, a kids' song that we love:

In our house, we love going out for breakfast.  Our favorite spot has always been Cafe Verde in Pasadena, but now it's a bit of a trek if we're not heading that direction anyways.  The default in Claremont has been the Village Diner or IHOP.  My girls *love* IHOP but I'm getting a little tired of it.  We took the girls to a Glendora classic, Flappy Jacks, a few weeks ago and now they're hooked.  

Daddy had the Cream of Wheat pancakes which were delicious and the girls each got a Mickey Mouse pancake with some mini chocolate chips . . . any chocolate at breakfast time is exciting for them.  I had the pecan waffle and it was to die for.  A note of caution:  the portions are huge and you can easily split - especially the omelets, skillets, and regular portions of pancakes.  A bonus:  if your kids are early risers like mine, they open at 6am Monday through Saturday :)

Flappy Jack's
640 W. Route 66
Glendora, CA

Big and Daddy with their pancakes
Little - the spoon seems a bit irrelevant since she kept eating with her fingers

Pecan waffle

Mickey Mouse pancake

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Flip Flop Party 2012

It's that time of year again!  I know the post is late but I've been a bit behind on the blog lately.  A few weeks ago, I hosted my Flip Flop Exchange & brunch.  It was super fun to see old friends and drink mimosas . . . especially since, being crazy, I ran a half marathon the morning of the party.  Amber was here from Washington and helped me pull it off.  Okay, she pulled it off and I limped around.  We had cute flip floppy food and I wanted to share the photos and give a recipe for one of my favorite salads.

Amber made cute cucumber sandwiches with flip flop cupcake picks
Flip Flop Nutter Butter cookies . . . Amber's idea from Pinterest

Vanilla Chai Bundt cake with Chai tea glaze

Strawberry Spinach Salad

To make the strawberry spinach salad, you toss spinach with a white wine vinaigrette, sliced strawberries, candied walnuts, and goat cheese.  I use the Brianna's Blush Wine Vinaigrette and typically make my own candied walnuts (use about 2 T sugar to each 1/2 cup of walnuts, heat in a skillet stirring constantly, take it off the heat before it burns).

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Sesame Peanut Noodles with Chicken

Another recipe to add to my imaginary Cooking with Rotisserie Chicken cookbook!  This was tasty, easy, and a nice cold noodle salad for summer.  Big didn't like it as much as Little did but they each ate some, which is saying a lot these days.

Next time I'd probably throw in some of the toppings that I put under "optional" ingredients.  To boost the protein, try adding some cooked edamame to the salad.  I used soba noodles but you can easily substitute whole wheat spaghetti if it's more readily available.  I think it would also be good with cooked (grilled?) salmon or tuna instead of the chicken.  The ginger gave it a little kick and we added red pepper flakes and Sriracha to boost the heat.

Sesame Peanut Noodles with Chicken (serves 4)

2 T rice wine vinegar
1/4 c. low-sodium soy sauce
1/4 c. smooth peanut butter
2 T grated ginger
1 T dark sesame oil
juice from 1 lime
1/2 cup hot water

1.5 cups shredded cooked chicken
8 oz soba noodles (or whole wheat spaghetti)
1/2 bag store bought cole slaw mix 
1/2 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
2 green onions, thinly sliced

Lime wedges
chopped roasted peanuts
chopped cilantro
toasted sesame seeds
hot sauce / red pepper flakes

Whisk together the first 7 ingredients until smooth.  Put in a large bowl.  Add the chicken and let it set while you boil the noodles according to the package directions.  Run the noodles under cold water and add to the chicken.  Stir in the cole slaw mix, red bell pepper, and green onions.  Top with any (or all) of the optional ingredients and serve (can be refrigerated for awhile first if you'd like).