Fancy Eating – Day 2

Here’s what I threw together yesterday – I was trying to make use of some ingredients I had on hand, as well as some leftovers (aka carne asada – LOL).

Dish #1
Ciabatta bread with olive oil and salt
Topped with goat cheese, prosciutto, grape tomatoes, and carne asada – roasted in the oven for 30 minutes

Toasted Ciabatta

Toasted Ciabatta

Dish #2
Spaghetti pan-fried with bacon fat (oh yeah), scrambled eggs, and parmesan cheese sprinkled on top. Finished with roasted zucchini slices and grape tomatoes. Served with balsamic vinegar on the side.

A Fresh Version of Pasta Carbonara ala Zucchini and Tomatoes

A Fresh Version of Pasta Carbonara ala Zucchini and Tomatoes

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One Lucky Mom

Hubby asked me what I wanted to do this year for Mother’s Day…after almost 10 years, a once bittersweet day is finally one that I can celebrate and feel celebrated. Not many people are in my shoes and understand the emotions that I feel the days leading to and the actual day itself. I would feel sad, forgotten about, unappreciated…after all, I am only the stepmother. Why would the kids want to spend any part of their day with their stepmom? In my heart, I would hurt as I did and gave everything I could for those kids like a mother would, but it broke my heart that I did not get to spend time with them on this day.  Thanks to my kids, who are older now, it has been easier to get through Mother’s Day. When they were younger, they didn’t have much of a say as to how they wanted to spend the holiday – the parenting plan dictated that one. But now that they’re older, by choice, they have extended their gratitude and love to me on their own, which means the world to me.

My response to the Hubby was that I didn’t want to do anything that would be stressful like dining at a crowded restaurant. I wanted to just be with the kids who were with me and spend quality time with them. I wanted to be in the moment with Ella and Phoebe. I said perhaps a picnic in the park. Check. Maybe we could try out a new place for dessert. Check. I’d like to go to church. Check. And have breakfast somewhere. Check. Hubby also surprised me with my favorite dark chocolate and a delicious steak dinner at home – yum! And our one and only son came over to make me a Sushi Dinner – I felt like a Queen!

I feel like the luckiest Mom in the world to have five amazing kids. I felt so much love from the messages I received, the beautiful memories made, and the time my family spent thinking of me and showing me in their own ways how much they love and appreciate me. Truly the best Mother’s Day yet!

Messages my two older girls wrote to and about me <3

Messages my two older girls wrote to and about me <3

 

Picnic in the park

Picnic in the park

 

On our way to Azucar

On our way to Azucar

 

Azucar sweets

Azucar sweets

Foodie in training

Foodie in training

Breakfast after church

Breakfast after church

 

Impromptu photos of Mommy with her two littles

Impromptu photos of Mommy with her two littles

 

Spoiled by my oldest and only boy

Spoiled by my oldest and only boy

 

Delicious!

Delicious!

 

 

 

Favorite Things Party: Recap

 

My first attempt at a Favorite Things party was a success! The only little glitch was that one of my girlfriend’s names was in the bucket 3 times and we only had one set of gifts left to give away (translation: she would have received 3 of the SAME thing). No bueno, but we fixed it and everyone left with FIVE new sets of favorite things. Check out the photos! In the future, we will pre-select names to avoid such a dilemma ;-)

The details:

  • Orange and yellow color scheme (because it’s so happy) with splashes of the chevron pattern
  • Everyone brought their favorite dish or dessert – I brought a toasted goat cheese salad, truffle parmesan fries and French macaroons from one of my favorite cafes, Opera Patisserie
  • Each person had a turn at presenting their favorite thing – it was nice to hear why their giveaways were so special to them

It’s always nice to get together with my favorite friends. I couldn’t have asked for a better day. :-)

Did You Miss Me???

I’m still here – just been a little busy. ;-) Here’s a glimpse of what I’ve been a little preoccupied with.

I remember when she was just starting pre-k and now here she is…ready to enter Jr. High! All grown up, and I must say, I am very proud of this young lady. Congrats! XOXO

Aly’s 5th Grade Promotion

To celebrate a special “milestone” in her life, I was happy to continue a tradition I started for all of the girls in our family – Women’s Day. I took her to The Cheesecake Factory, gave her a long…letter full of advice about growing up into a young lady, and showered her with gifts. It was indeed a special day. <3

Women’s Day

I was also busy discovering some delicious NEW places…one being Gordy’s. Thanks to my SIL, I have found a new place to get my sweet fix. :-) BTW, they have the most amazing Peanut Butter Bars that remind me of elementary school, and they are perfectly named “Lunch Lady”.

Gordy’s Bakery (photo from yelp.com)

And, it’s been 30 years since I’ve been to one, but I finally made it to a drive-in theater to watch Brave with our little one, our nephew and our extended family. What a wonderful experience (would have been more enjoyable if I wasn’t sick and pregnant – LOL).

Santee Drive-In

The Hubby and I have been in “nesting mode” and have been cleaning and organizing like crazy. Here’s a look of me consolidating all of our scrapbooking/crafting supplies.

Organizing, organizing, organizing…

In the midst of all this, my best girlfriends managed to surprise me with a lunch/baby shower! For those of you who really know me, pulling off a surprise goes down as one of the most impossible things to pull off. LOL I have the most amazing friends!

“Welcome Aboard” theme – love it!

And yes, I’m just growing bigger and bigger as the days and weeks go by. I am close to the finish line and cannot wait to see my little bundle of love soon. <3

Getting ready to POP!

 

Tried & True (Thank You, Pinterest)

I think I’ve tried more recipes from Pinterest in the last few months than I have from my numerous cookbooks and magazines put together. Here are some amazingly delicious recipes that I tried out myself and loved:

Cake Batter Rice Krispie Treats

*Notes: I used generic puffed rice cereal that was on sale. The second time I made these, I added MORE cake mix. The taste is very subtle, but very good. I love the sprinkles – they just add that “happy” pop of color!

(photo credit: http://pizzazzerie.com

Reese’s Peanut Butter Banana Bread

*Notes: Instead of Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup Miniatures, I used the regular sized ones and just chopped them up. If you are like me and love banana or peanut butter flavored ANYTHING, this is for you. It’s a pretty dense, rich loaf but you’ll love it!

(photo credit: cookiesandcups.com)

Strawberry Yogurt Cake

Notes: OMG – this cake was SO GOOD and I think I owe it all to the Greek Yogurt and lemon zest. Only downside is that this cake stuck a little to the bundt pan, so it kind of ruined the shape a bit. Have no fear…all I did was cut slices and arranged it on a platter. We served this up for our Memorial Day BBQ and it seemed to be a big hit! So moist and full of flavor, and perfect for the summertime. My SIL said that it reminded her of a Starbucks pastry – I’ll take that as a compliment. The taste was everything I had imagined…next time I will grease up my pan even more to avoid the sticking. Must try!!!

Bought This to Make That

Today, I bought this:

Image

So I can make that:

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How delicious does this sound all blended together to make a yummy treat? I cannot wait! Thank you, once again, Pinterest!

  • Can of pineapples with juice
  • 1 banana
  • Can of coconut milk
  • 1/2 tablespoon of vanilla

New Cookie Recipe: You Gotta Try It!

 

This past weekend, I decided to try out a new cookie recipe that I found on Pinterest (love Pinterest). What attracted me to this particular recipe were the pieces of OREO cookies in this cookie batter. You can use the generic brand like I did, and it will still come out delicious. Here’s the super-easy recipe!

  • 1 stick softened butter
  • 6 Tablespoons sugar
  • 6 Tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 ¼ cup flour
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 11 broken pieces Oreo Cookies
  • 1 cup chocolate chips

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Cream butter, and sugars until well combined. Add egg and vanilla until mixed well.

2. Place flour, baking soda and salt into a large bowl, stir to combine. Slowly add dry ingredients to wet ingredients then stir in oreos and chocolate chips until just combined.

3. With a medium cookie scoop, scoop onto baking sheet. Bake for 10 minutes or until cooked, but still soft. Let cool on baking sheet for 3 minutes before transferring to cooling rack.

Snaps from Our Holla-Ween Party

The Hubby and I had a blast throwing our Spooktacular Holla-Ween Party last month. This is the very first Halloween party we’ve thrown at our house since we moved in over 6 years ago. Now that we have Little Miss Ella, it excites me to plan fun parties for her and her little friends since they are growing up way too fast (plus, it’s a great way for us to hang out with our friends too).

So thankful to have a Hubby who enjoys planning parties as much as I do). We enjoyed decorating the house with our kiddos, cooking, and making Halloween cake pops. THAT was fun and I have to admit that the Hubby was better than me at decorating them. :) We also bought fabric with a fun festive pattern as well as lots of fun props from the dollar store that we used for our “photo booth”.

Another thing that motivated us to throw a spooky party this year was that Halloween fell on a Monday this year – Ella, along with a lot of her friends, have school the next day. We thought it would be fun to get the families together on a non-school/work night (Saturday) and ask them to bring treats for the kids so they can “trick-or-treat” in and around our house with all the parents and grandparents handing out the candy…and you bet, we had spooky tunes in to get us all in the mood!

And this year, we dressed up as…RUN-DMC and Jam Master Jay! Enjoy the snaps…

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