Service announcement

Hello everyone! Sorry I have not been posting. Weirdly for not posting lately I have been really busy with the blog. Thankfully Lauren is keeping up better than I am.

Lauren and I are making some big changes on the back end of the blog. This will eventually lead to some awesome changes on the front end. Unfortunately right now, it just looks a little bit awkward. Bear with us.

Also I have a half finished post on fried chicken wings. That shit is good. Hopefully that will be completed in the next 24 hours. If not, you can call my son and complain to him. It’s his fault.

Quick and Easy Meatballs

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We finally getting our life back together after vacation. The house is clean (ish), we are cooking regularly again and Peanut is back on his sleep schedule. I also finally got a chance to take him to tot time. I try to go pretty regularly to make sure Peanut gets a chance to run around and socialize with other kids. Apparently, it had been too long for Peanut. I debated whether or not to take him since he seemed tired. But decided he would sleep better for it. We were also trying a new place. At first Mason was pretty shy and clung to my leg. After about 30 minutes though he was practically running from activity to activity while throwing his back with a wild, maniacal laugh. Needless to say we will be returning.

Today’s recipe is quick and easy meatballs. I don’t know why but Peanut really loves meatballs. Whenever I am worried he is not eating enough meat I make meatballs since I know they will be devoured in minutes. He is kind of weird kid. If you offer him vegetables or chicken fingers. He will choose veggies – every time. I realize there are worse problems to have when it comes to a child’s eating habits.

Whenever I make meatballs for a potluck I just buy the pre-made ones and make my own sauce. For my family though I try to stick to the homemade kind. The ongredients in the store bought kind bug me. 1. Why are there so many ingredients? 2. Why are so many of them soy?  I have even seen meatballs with high fructose corn syrup. What the what guys? Why is this at thing. These meatballs take 30 minutes so you can throw them together pretty last minute. We have eaten them hoagies, spaghetti and in soups. Make extra and freeze them then you will have them on hand and dinner will even less time.

Quick and Easy Meatballs

Ingredients

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1lb Ground Beef

2 cloves Garlic

 1/4 cup Heavy Cream (Milk also works)

2 Eggs

1 cup Breadcrumbs (Panko is also delish)

1 1/2 teaspoons of Italian seasoning

salt and pepper to taste

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

1. Place all ingredients in medium size bowl and mix with hands

2. Form into balls – I made them about the size of a golf ball but you do you. If you make them larger you may need to adjust the cook time.

3. Place on a cookie sheet lined with aluminum foil.

4. Bake for 20 minutes.

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As you can see my kitchen helper is not about that patient life and was ready to dig in.

Green Smoothies

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Hey Guys! We just got back from vacation and now I need vacation from vacation. We spent a week in Florida visiting my family. It was great to see my family and of course they were excited to see Peanut. But guys, lets be real for moment. The highlight for me was seeing Harry Potter World. If you are fan of the movies/books  and you have the opportunity to go then GO! It was seriously awesome; like walking into the movie. I rode the Hogwarts express and went to Honeydukes. Sorry, my nerd is showing.

Anyways, back on topic. We went on vacation. Peanut got to go to Disney World. For him, the whole vacation was about the Dumbo rode and riding trains. He loves trains. So getting to see and ride so many was really exciting. The one thing we did not do was eat a lot vegetables. So when we came home we really wanted to eat something healthy. B has also wanted me to start making her green smoothies. I was fortunate Kris at The Nerdy Chick lent me her Vitamix to try out. It’s awesome and now on my wishlist.

So today I have two green smoothie recipes. Peanut is obsessed with these smoothies. As soon as I poured the Berry Green Smoothie into a glass he lost his ability to chill.

Pineapple Banana Green Smoothie

Ingredients

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1 Cup Greens (I used a mix of Kale, Spinach and Chard)

1 Banana
3/4 Cup Pineapple Chunks

1/4 Cup Coconut Milk (Almond, Soy or Cows Milk will work too)

6-8 Ice Cubes

Directions:

Wash greens then add everything to the blender. Blend until smooth. Devour.

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Berry Green Smoothie

Ingredients

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1 Cup Greens

1/2 Cup Frozen mix berries

1 Banana

1/2 cup Pineapple

1/4 cup Coconut Milk

4-6 Ice Cubes

Directions:

Wash greens then add everything to the blender. Blend until smooth. Devour.

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Baby Approved!

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DIY Hand Salve

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Lauren and I seem to be on the same page this week; desperately in need of hand lotion. I suffer from awful hand eczema. Seriously guys, its gross and painful and awful. In general I have become pretty good at keeping it in check. The past couple weeks have become of a perfect storm for one of my worst flare-ups. It was a combination of washing my hands non-stop because everyone was sick, the bitter cold weather we have been experiencing and the lovely timing of my cycle.

Every. single. finger. cracked.

Ugh, it was the worst. I couldn’t put my hands in water because it was so painful, which is impossible since I have small menace running around my house. I tried all my usual go-to lotions: Working Hands Hand cream, nipple cream (normally, this will heal anything) and coco-butter. Nothing worked, my fingers continued to crack open. Finally I remembered I pinned a hand salve recipe on pinterest – from this site. I decided to bust it out. I tweaked it based on what I had in my house.

I started using it on Sunday.

Sweet Jesus guys, it worked. I haven’t had anymore fingers split open and the split ones are healing up. I didn’t take before and after pics because it was gross and I care about your eye sight. You’re welcome. Try it out and let me know if it works for you!

Hand Salve

Ingredients

8 Tablespoons Shea Butter

2 Tablespoon Avocado Oil

2 Dropperful Vitamin E Oil

20 Drops Lavender Essential Oil

20 Drops Tea Tree Essential Oil

Directions

1. Place Shea Butter and avocado oil in a double boiler over medium heat. Stir gently until completely melted.

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2. Carefully remove the bowl from heat. Stir in Vitamin E Oil and Essential Oils

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3. Place mixture in a 4oz jar ( I used two 2oz jars).

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4. Place the cream in the refrigerator for 20 minutes to allow it to firm up.

Enjoy!

Kitchen Staples

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Last week I wrote that we were in transition.  After being sick, Peanut immediately went into a sleep regression. For almost a month we existed on a mere couple hours of sleep each night. We are through it and now I officially have a walker. He has transcended to a whole new level of menace. Can I also just mention that when I read all the baby stuff before Peanut was born, no one ever mentioned sleep regressions! They wear me down every time but Peanut always comes out of it with some kick-ass new skill.

Onwards friends! So I have been reading Lauren’s organization posts and it has inspired me to get organized as well. So I cleaned out my fridge and pantry! Just kidding, I have a toddler. I just stared and tried to use the force to make it happen. When that didn’t work I just grabbed the girl scout cookies and closed the door. Her posts make me want to be more organized though. So that’s a start.

I when I was making my grocery list this week, I realized it was mostly staple items I was repurchasing. With the weather being crappy we haven’t been going out to the store every day but making meals from the basics we always have on hand. So I wanted to make this post about some of the staples I always keep in the house.

I love having these basics always on hand. Sometimes I see a recipe online or just decide I want to make something on whim. Having these ingredients in the house makes it easier. There are some other items that we usually have on hand that I didn’t include but they are pretty specific to the type of foods we usually cook.  Below is a handy list with the basics.

Pantry Staples PicWhat kind of staples do you always keep in your house?

Cranberry Scones

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We are in transition. Transition to what I am not 100 percent sure.

I actually wrote this post at 3 am. Sadly I wrote it in my head and I cant remember half of what I wanted to say. Everyone in our house is finally feeling better and that is something to celebrate. Peanut is walking more than crawling these days. That is something to celebrate…I think. He also has a new word, duck. If I have your cell phone I have probably sent you the video. I have been annoyingly sending it to everyone. Sorry not sorry. Seriously, its adorable and I am totally not biased.

We have been buying scones from Panera. It started as one random scone and has really spiraled out of control. When I was trying to decide what to make this week {B} suggested I try scones so we can stop buying them. I’m not going to lie, my scones are way better than Panera’s. Plus there is a choose your own adventure in the middle of the recipe! Unfortunately, I forgot to start taking pics until halfway through the process. My bad, guys.

Peanut was my helper today.  I wore him and he bopped me in the back of the head with a wooden spoon. It was…fun?

Scones

1 3/4c Flour

4 teaspoons baking powder

5 tablespoons unsalted frozen butter

2/3 cup heavy cream

1 egg yolk

1/2 of fruit, candy, whatever mix-in you like; you do you

Optional: Powdered sugar

Directions

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

1. Add all dry ingredients to a processor and pulse a times to mix.

2. Either chop up butter and add it in or if you have a grate the butter and add to dry ingredients.  Pulse a few times until butter is incorporated.

3. Measure out cream. Add egg yolk to cream and beat a times to mix up. Add egg/cream mixture to dry ingredients.

4. Pulse until everything is incorporated. The dough will look a little crumbly.

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5. Add in your favorite mix-in. We used dried cranberries. (I would be totally lying if I didn’t that I stared at the Health bar crumbles for a long, long time. Next batch.) Pulse one or twice to mix a little. You don’t want to overmix

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6. This next step is a choose your own adventure! You have two options:

A. Roll the dough out to about 1/2 in thick. Use a biscuit cutter or cup to cut out circles of dough

B. Just grab a small amount of dough and make a ball.

(You can guess which I choose. Perfection has never been my strong suit)

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7. Let the dough rest on the pan for about 15 min. Then bake for 15 min.

8. Dust with lightly with powdered sugar.

Korean Oxtail Soup

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Is this week over yet? If not, I quit anyways. I’m done. I’m not here for it.

Lets have a little run down of this week, shall we? Peanut got the stomach flu, the next day my wife got the actual flu, the next day Peanut came down with the flu, we had a couple days of everyone on antibiotics and no sleep. Finally we got a night of complete sleep. Yay! Then Peanut started teething again. Guys, I’m exhausted. My brain has officially quit.

So in the middle of this madness I made Korean oxtail soup. This soup is delicious. There are also tons of health benefits and it’s also really simple to make. The only downside – it takes time. But it’s so worth it! It takes my mother in law 3 days to cook. It took me about 4 hours mostly because I’m lazy. I know what you are thinking, there is no way you going to spend this much time on one recipe. Just try it! Or come to my house and I will make it for you and after you’re done singing about how it is giving you life, you are going to run home and make it. It will fill your soul.

Korean Oxtail Soup

Ingredients:

3-4lbs Oxtail

4 Large cloves of  garlic

salt and Pepper to taste

Optional: Green onion and turnips or Korean radish

Directions

1. Trim the excess fat off the oxtail

2. Place the meat in a bowl with enough water to cover.

3. Let it soak for 1-2 hours – changing the water after one hour

4. Drain the meat and place it in a large pot with about 16 cups of water.

5. On high heat, bring the pot to a boil. Skim any impurities that rise to the top.

6. Lower the heat to low and simmer for 3-4 hours.

7. After 3-4 hours, remove oxtails from water, place in a bowl and cover. Skim the water again and place the pot in the refrigerator overnight.  (Also put the oxtails in the refrigerator.)

8. The next day, all the fat with be solidified on top – Skim it off.

9. Place the oxtails, garlic and thinly sliced radish in to the broth. On high heat bring it to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer for 20 min.

10. Serve with sliced green onion. Allowing each person to add salt and pepper their own bowls.

Tip: We like to make white rice and add it the soup when serving.

Banana Bread

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So I was planning on making and writing about fruit leather. I had an interesting story about the first time I heard of it. It involves, crunchy people, chickens, children with salmonella and playing with poop. It’s all very fascinating. But I have a whole list of reasons why I didn’t make it. Instead I made banana bread.

I wish I could say that I have a funny and quirky story about banana bread but really I just had two bananas turning black on my counter. Also banana bread batter takes about 5 minutes to mix. Full disclosure, I got this recipe from Simply Recipes.  The recipe is pretty delicious, especially for my first time making banana bread. The problem for me was that it took much longer than stated to bake. I am not sure what I did wrong and I was dealing with a fussy baby so I didn’t spend much time analyzing. I might make a couple changes next time, like making smaller loaves or increasing the temp on the oven. I will update this post when I do.

As I sit stuffing my face with banana bread I have two thoughts.

1. This bread could have used a third banana but I was too lazy to go to the store.

2. This blog is going to make me fat if I continue to eat everything I make. Good thing I am willing to suffer for my art.

Bonus: 3. As I am attempting to write this blog, I have some how ended up in a texting debate, with my mom, about strippers.

Banana Bread

  • 2-3 very ripe bananas, peeled
  • 1/3 cup melted butter
  • 3/4 cup of sugar
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 1/2 cups of all-purpose flour

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and grease a bread pan.

2. Mash bananas in a bowl.

3. Add melted butter and stir

3. Mix in egg and vanilla extract.

4. Mix in baking soda, salt, sugar and flour.

5. Pour into greased pan.

6. Pop into the oven for 1 hour 10 minutes – checking at 50 minutes. Toothpick should come out clean.

Note: This is where this recipe went awry for me. This bread easily took an hour and a half to bake. Good thing it was delicious.

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Crossfit – Or that time I saw the light while working out…

exercise-is-aThat sounds about right…

I went to crossfit last night. I have been thinking of different forms of exercise I want to try. I decided to start with crossfit because go big or go home, right? Right? Before this I did yoga and loved it. But it was time to branch out, try something new. Let me just preface this by saying I was scared….shitless. But it’s healthy to do something that scares you once in awhile.

The Beginning – Delusions of Grandeur

I showed up at Crossfit Infinity at 6PM and met with Monika Scott, the founder. She went through a brief questionnaire about my past fitness experience, goals, injuries/health, the usual. Then she showed me around “the box” – this is what crossfit gyms call their space. She showed me how they track progress and explained how the program works. We were going to do a baseline workout. This allows her to see where I am physically.  The baseling consisted of 5 different exercises. While going through it, Monika had me do 1-3 reps. At this point I’m feeling pretty badass since I am rocking these moves. Then Monika pulls out a stopwatch and states its time to start the baseline. :::record scratch::: I thought I WAS doing the baseline. Apparently she was just seeing if I needed any modifications.

BASELINE – Save Me Jesus

So the actual baseline consisted of a 500 meter row, 40 low squats (butt almost to heels), 30 sit-ups, 20 push-ups and 10 pull-ups, timed. The goal was to go as quickly and efficiently as you can without injuring yourself and/or passing out. By the time I started the pull-ups I felt like death, I had my eyes closed the whole time and I am pretty sure I “saw the light”. I finished in 11:08 Minutes. Monika said it was really good and that a lot of people vomit or quit. Uh what,  you didn’t tell me quitting was option. I thought I had to stay here until I finished.

Conclusion – High On Endorphins

I felt really awesome; stupid endorphins. I was pumped and proud of myself for finishing.   I am honestly considering buying a pass and continuing to go. That being said, I am so sore I can only type this post because my arms get to rest on the table.

Never Try, Never Fail – The Story of French Fries

Is there anything better than fresh, crispy french fries? Probably yes, but these are pretty high on my favorite food list. Really any crispy potato product – tater tots, hash browns, mmmm. I find that there are two camps with french fries, people who love them golden and crispy and people who love them limp, I mean soft (you can tell which person I am). There is NO in-between. If you say it doesn’t matter to you I will make you pick a side!

I really love homemade french fries. They just make me feel so much better about my life choices as swallow the entire plate whole. Normally when I make them I use the Pioneer Woman’s fry recipe. Its perfect and beautiful every. single. time. Side note, is anyone else obsessed with her. I binge watch that show like people watch netflix. Not only does she make me want to stuff my face with all the foods. She makes me want to pick up, move out west and buy a ranch. I have a small container garden on my back deck so I feel totally qualified to run a farm – read: not at all.

Sorry, I keep getting distracted trying to avoid the inevitable. While I love the Pioneer Woman’s recipe, sometimes I just want homemade fries without the standing at the stove frying them portion. So I have been working on oven fries. They seem so easy. I just want them to be perfectly crispy and golden on the outside and soft in the middle just like I fried but without the work. Is that so much to ask? I researched lots of recipes and took notes and even used some things from Pioneer Woman’s recipe. The results?

Total Fail!

FriesI just my cell phone to snap this pic. You don’t need high def to see these sad sally’s. Despite the brown parts, they were complete mush. On the bright side, I learned that you CAN NOT broil parchment paper. Guys, that paper disintegrated in my hands the minute I touched it. But I am always interested in learning new things in the kitchen, so yea. Lucky for me, my wife likes mushy fries (everyone has their crazy) so she doesn’t mind eating my failed attempts.

Fries: 1 Lori: 0  (I’m coming for you potatoes!)