Saturday, March 26, 2011

Saturday - The Food Edition

My friend Erica and I are doing Weight Watchers together.  These are some things I'm loving right now.

1.  Tilapia.  I'm on a fish kick and we're eating lots of this.  So easy to make, not "fishy", and two out of three children will eat it.

2.  Diana's Bananas.  These come in dark or milk chocolate, and apparently some sort of nut covered flavor.  My favorite is the milk chocolate.  They are so yummy!  (4 WWP points)  This week at Publix they are buy one, get one free.  At first I thought a frozen banana was going to be weird, but I let it get a little soft and it's delicious.

3.  Almond Breeze, unsweetened vanilla.  I love this in oatmeal instead of milk.  And in my new favorite smoothies (see numbers 4 and 5. . . ).  The vanilla is a tiny bit sweet, but it's enough.  (1 cup = 1 WWP point.)

4.  Green Smoothies.  Why green?  You add spinach.  Yes, I'm serious.  I do 1 cup of Almond Breeze, about 1 cup of baby spinach, a handful of frozen berries, and a banana.  It's tons of fruits and veggies, you can't taste the spinach, and it's super creamy (1 WWP point!).  I drink this on my way to work.  I was very, very skeptical at first, and am hooked now.

5.  Weight Watchers Smoothies.  (This photo is of the old box - the points are not 1 anymore.)  I've been a fan of these for a long time.  There are several recipes inside the box and you can make it in a variety of ways.  My favorite is with Almond Breeze and lots of ice (3 WWP points).  

6.  International Delights Coffe House Inspirations creamers.  My favorites are the Skinny White Chocolate Mocha and the Skinny Caramel Macchiato.  One tablespoon is one WWP point. . . I need to measure when I'm using, or I think I use probably three-ish servings.  However, it's sweet enough that I don't use sweetener in my coffee.

7.  Trader Joe's single serving goat cheese medallions.  Love.  Melt on veggies.  Spread on a bagel.  Use in a sandwich.  . . . the options are endless.  70 calories and 2 WWP points.

8.  Jacobsen's Snack Toast in Blueberry.  A little odd, I know.  It's like Melba Toast, which I realize is probably for old people.  However, it's crunchy and sweet, and just the right size.  One slice is one WWP point.  I can only find these at Publix.  Or, oddly, on Amazon.

9.  Morningstar Farms sausage patties.  Sort of as a general rule of life, I find sausage to be disgusting.  The process, the thought of it - it all grosses me out.  However, the Morningstar Farms sausage isn't sausage - it's faux sausage.  And it tastes like sausage and has the same texture.  It's pretty much genius.  Two WWP points per patty.  And a child tricker - my kids don't know the difference and I feel much better about serving this to them than actual sausage.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Calling All Hoarders

We are in the market for a new back door.
Our neighbor recommended we go to this salvage place.
Um, hello hoarders.
This place is unbelievable.

One person owns all of this.
He apparently purchases things on clearance from 
Home Depot, Lowe's, etc. in the five surrounding states.
And sells it all.  At. His. House.

The amount of stuff here cannot be accurately described.
It was a massive amount of anything you could need to 
do any project at your house.  Anything.
And cheap.
We found a door that is probably $600 at the HD for $180.

It's totally unorganized and a wreck, but it was great.
And next time I go I will not take my children.
It's not exactly child friendly, and it was hard for me to concentrate.
But I assure you, we will be back!

Edited to add:  This is in Beechgrove. 
Email me for directions if you're local. 
It's SO worth checking out.

Grilled Tilapia Foil Packets

We had the best dinner tonight!  It was so easy, and very good.  I made grilled tilapia, but did it in foil packets because I hate losing half of the fish through the grates of the grill.  I didn't really have a recipe.  I got a pound of tilapia from the fish counter (it was five filets).  I sprayed five pieces of foil with non-stick spray, and piled veggies on the foil.  I seasoned each filet with some lemon herb seasoning, put some minced garlic, salt, and pepper on the veggies, and put the fish on top.  I folded each packet up and grilled on medium temp for fifteen-ish minutes.  We served it over white rice and squeezed lemon on top.  It was D.E.L.I.C.I.O.U.S.

(Henry and Jack thought it was great. . . David ate a ketchup sandwich.  Baby steps people.  Baby steps.)

Henry the Savvy Shopper

This is what I found the other day. . . 
Henry shopping on eBay.
He was bidding on something as a guest.
It was $149.99.
Clearly we need to get some sort of filter for that.

The ABCs of KJS

I'll join in with lots of other bloggers I've seen lately and do the ABC's of KJS

A. Age: Thirty-three (holy crap, how is that possible?  I'm not nearly grown up enough or responsible enough to be almost thirty-four years old.  That's like a real grown up.)

B. Bed size: KING.  And I will never go back.

C. Chore you dislike: Unloading the dishwasher.  I would rather hand wash dishes all week than unload the dishwasher.

D. Dogs:  Max (a basenji/terrier mix) and Georgia (a chihuahua/terrier/something-but-who-knows-what mix).  Max pees all over the place when he gets excited and Georgia would lick you to death.  Both were adopted from local dog shelters.

E. Essential start to your day: Coffee and a shower.  I am a zombie until I've had both.  Then some talk radio on my way in to get my brain working.

F. Favorite color: Pink.  Duh.

G. Gold or silver: Silver.  I am having a new-found love of gold though.

H. Height: 5' 5"-ish..

I. Instruments you play(ed): Clarinet.  For about 10 minutes.

J. Job title: Paralegal and office manager.  Mother of my office.  Mama at home.

K. Kids: David, Henry, and Jack.  

L. Live: Bedford County, Tennessee.  A smallllll town.

M. Mom’s name: Mummy or Mama

N. Nicknames: Kim, Mama Kim, Kimbo

O. Overnight hospital stays: The births of my three children.  And each of those felt like a vacation.  I would have a baby tomorrow just to get three days in the hospital.

P. Pet peeves: People that are lazy and selfish. Mouth noises.  Excuses.  Chewing with your mouth open.  Disrespect.

Q. Quote from a movie:  "Do or do not; there is no try."  or "Nobody puts baby in the corner."

S. Siblings: 1 sister, Vanessa.  She's 5 years younger and we are w.o.r.l.d.s. different, but get along better now than we ever have in my life.  I think I have my children to thank for that.

T. Time you wake up: It depends. Typically between 4:30 and 5.  

U. Underwear: Yes.  I wear it.

V. Vegetables you don’t like: Beets and cauliflower.

W. What makes you run late: Three children.  My husband.  Reading blogs when I should be doing something else.  My job.  Not finding my phone.  Making sure everyone goes potty.  Putting the dogs in their crates.  Not being able to find my shoes.  Forgetting someone's drink. . . this list could be endless.

X. X-rays you’ve had: Maybe 2?  I can't even remember.

Y. Yummy food you make: I can bake a mean cake. . . . I'm a pretty good cook.  I asked Chris, and he couldn't list them, but he had a list of things he DOESN'T want me to make again!

Z. Zoo animal favorites: Koala

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Hey Batter!

The boys are all playing baseball this season.
Yes, even Jack.
Isn't that a riot?

The funniest part?

He's a natural.
Seriously.  He's good.
Better than David or Henry.
Even with a broken arm.

Winner, Winner, Chicken Dinner!

Seriously ya'll, I never win anything.  Except I did!  My friend KJ over at Goode Time Girls had a giveaway.

The prize?  A Babycakes cupcake maker

And. I. Won.

It's an adorable little George-Forman-Grill-esque cupcake maker that makes mini-cupcakes in 5-8 minutes.  It's adorable, and we've had a lot of fun with it already.  We made cupcakes on day one.  Then muffins the next morning.  It's perfect!  Mine is red, and we love it.  Thanks KJ!

Sweet Goodness

We got the boys haircuts yesterday.  What should be a normal thing to do is always more exciting with three little boys.  And I never decide we're going to get it cut until pretty much the morning it happens.  That's how I roll.  I decided Henry looked a little too much like Justin Beiber it was time for trims all around, so I psyched myself up and we headed to Sport Clips.  (I will add that I normally have my stylist Chloe do their hair. . . this was a hair emergency and I acknowledge that it's not in great taste to text her with a 9-1-1 hair emergency due to my lack of planning.)

Haircuts = bribes up in this house.  The bribe this time?  A trip to Sweet CeCe's for some DIY frozen yogurt. 

Oh. My. Goodness.  I wish we never went.  Why?  Because now we all want to go every day.

We loved it.  A lot.  I told them they could each pick two toppings.  Not because I'm so controlling.  Because you pay by how much your ice cream weighs and we can be a little free flowing with the toppings.  Oddly, all three children chose Raspberry Pomegranate Sorbet.  I know - I was surprised too.  David selected Fruity Pebbles and M&M's for his toppings (barf).  Henry got M&M's and Reeses Pieces.  Jack got chocolate chips.  It was so good!  We'll definitely be back.

Boy Sout Blue and Gold Banquet

David joined Cub Scouts this year, and he loves it.
The Blue and Gold Banquet was a couple of weeks ago.
It was a medievil theme.
The boys had to make a cake with their dad.
No mother assisted cakes.
Uh, thank you.  No problem.

The entire cake had to be edible.
David and Chris made this castle cake.
And it looked WONDERFUL.

At the banquet, the cakes are auctioned off
to raise money for the den.
David and Chris' cake sold for $16.00.
We paid $31.00 for the white castle cake in the upper right corner.
I'm still trying to figure out how that happened.

Chris David won for "Best Theme Cake".
(And, as a sort-of-but-not-really cake professional,
I think it looked great!)

David also did a skit for the whole group.
I have no idea what it was about,
but he looked so freaking cute.

Sweet Henry

Henry loves, loves, loves to read.
We read every night before bed.

On this night he read to Jack.
All snuggled up together.

I could just eat them up.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Pitiful Boy

See this little thing?
He broke his arm.
He has a buckle break.
Caused by falling off of the trampoline.
Not because the trampoline is unsafe.
Because he is.
He crawled out of the net and was crawling around the edge.

He was SO good about getting his X-rays.
And he's been so good about wearing his brace.
The first thing he said when they put it on?
"This is hard.  I'm gonna hit David with it."
The first thing he wanted to do when he got home?
Jump on the trampoline.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Hallway Re-Do

We have a sort of awkward space between our kitchen, bath, dining room, and living room.  It's a very small hallway, and there are four doors coming off of the hallway.  We removed the door between the hall and the living room to open it up a bit more.  There's a built in storage area that has had several uses just in the five months we've lived here.  It's been a linen closet with a curtain hanging on it.  It's been an open shelving area that was poorly utilized and seemingly was always a mess.  It's been a bit of a butler's pantry.  It's been a waste of space.  It's not anymore!  Removing the door to the living room (which opened to block the shelving - what genius thought of that?!) made a huge difference.  Then I decided to paint it.

We painted the backs of the shelves the same blue as the dining room.  It looked great, and we planned to use this area as a built in bookshelf.  Then Chris decided he would trim out the shelving to make it more finished.  He did such a good job!

It's so difficult to get a good photo in this area, because it's so small.  We also painted the walls a khaki color (I think called stone.) and it looks great.  We replaced the weird light-kit-with-a-glass-shade that was hanging from the ceiling with a vintage copper light fixture that came from my great-grandmother's house in Green Pond, New Jersey about 50 years ago.  It originally had multi-colored glass panels, which we are replacing with frosted glass.  Chris used the ceiling cap from the brothel chandelier in the breakfast room and spray painted it copper to match the light fixture.

I love the light fixture, and am so excited to have it.   It was in scary electrical shape when my parents gave it to me, but Chris (who loves a project as much as I do!) rewired about 15 minutes after taking it out of the box.  And, I will add, when I walked in the house with the water-stained box that the light was in he looked warily at me and said, "What the hell is in that box?"  He was less than excited about it at first glance.  Maybe it was the exposed wiring that frightened him?  I don't know why. . .

I haven't decided yet what will go on the shelves, and I'm sure it will be a bit of an ever-changing space. I'm thinking some baskets on the bottom, books, photos, etc.  I'm excited to get it pulled together.

Coffee Filter Wreath

I know the coffee filter wreath has been all over blogland.  I'm not sick of it though.  You may remember the wreath I have in my dining room.  Or the tree I made at Christmas.  I love some coffee filters.  Well I had a housewarming party to go to Sunday at 2:00, and it would take me about 45 minutes to get to the party.  I decided at 11 that I would make a coffee filter wreath for the party.  And I hadn't showered yet.  Best decision of the day?  Probably not.  This, my friends, is how I roll.
Thankfully, I already had my supplies.  I had a wreath form (from the Dollar Tree), coffee filters (a fresh pack that I hadn't even opened!), some ribbon, a glue gun (or in my case, three. . . don't ask please.  I don't have an answer.), and some glue sticks.

This is not a difficult project folks.  Grab a filter, fold it up in the direction of your choice, and glue.  Work around the perimeter of the form from the outside in.  And have some patience.

I like to lay out a bunch of filters while I'm working on it so I don't have to stop each time and peel them apart, etc.  It seems helpful to me.

I will say that when I made the wreath and tree previously, I glued directly onto the plastic around the form.  That wasn't an option with this one, and I HATED gluing it to the floral foam.  It just made a mess and the glue didn't adhere immediately.  It ended up being fine though.  I love how they turn out - and it's exceptionally inexpensive with a pretty dramatic result.

Amazing Red Velvet Cake

Seriously y'all, this is the BEST red velvet cake you will ever put in your mouth.  I've told you before how much I love the Cake Mix Doctor.  She is a baking genius.  This is her red velvet recipe.  I made it this time with a basic cream cheese icing, but this would also be fabulous with the white chocolate peppermint cream cheese icing recipe she's got.  They are perfection.

  • 24 paper liners for cupcake pans (2 1/2 –inch size)
  • 1 package (18.25 ounces) plain German chocolate cake mix
  • 1 package (3.4 ounces) vanilla instant pudding mix
  • 1 cup sour cream (see Note)
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 bottle (1 ounce) red food coloring
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 cup miniature semisweet chocolate chips
Note: Use reduced-fat sour cream, and you’ll sacrifice only fat and calories, not flavor. If you can’t find plain German chocolate cake mix, buy the pudding in the mix version and forgo the added pudding. For more chocolate flavor, use chocolate pudding mix instead of vanilla, but the cake won’t be as red in color.White Chocolate Peppermint Cream Cheese Frosting
  • 6 ounces white chocolate, coarsely chopped
  • 4 ounces (half an 8-ounce package) reduced-fat cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) butter, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon peppermint extract
  • 2 to 2 1/2 cups confectioners sugar, sifted
1.  Place a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 350° F. Line 24 cupcake cups with paper liners. Set the pans aside.
2.  Place the cake mix, pudding mix, sour cream, water, oil, food coloring, and eggs in a large mixing bowl. Blend with an electric mixer on low speed for 30 seconds. Stop the machine and scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula. Increase the mixer speed to medium and beat 2 minutes more, scraping down the sides again if needed. The batter should look thick and well combined. Fold in the chocolate chips. Spoon or scoop 1/3 cup batter into each lined cupcake cup, filling it three quarters of the way full. (You will get between 22 and 24 cupcakes; remove the empty liners, if any.) Place the pans in the oven.
3.  Bake the cupcakes until they spring back when lightly pressed with your finger, 18 to 20 minutes. Remove the pans from the oven and place them on wire racks to cool for 5 minutes. Run a dinner knife around the edges of the cupcake liners, lift the cupcakes up from the bottoms of the cups using the end of the knife, and pick them out of the cups carefully with your fingertips. Place them on a wire rack to cool for 15 minutes before frosting.

Meanwhile, prepare the White Chocolate Peppermint Cream Cheese Frosting.

4.  Place a heaping tablespoon of frosting on each cupcake and swirl to spread with a short metal spatula or a spoon, taking care to cover the tops completely. Place these cupcakes, uncovered or in a cake server, in the refrigerator until the frosting sets, 20 minutes. The cupcakes are ready to serve.
Store the cupcakes, in a cake saver or under a glass dome, at room temperature for up to 3 days or in the refrigerator for up to 1 week. Or freeze them, wrapped in aluminum foil or in a cake saver, for up to 6 months. Thaw the cupcakes overnight in the refrigerator before serving.

White Chocolate Peppermint Cream Cheese Frosting:
I dream about this frosting slathered on any dark chocolate cupcakes, because I love the cool creaminess of it. And, as a bonus, it’s a breeze to make.
Preparation time: 10 minutes
  1. Place the white chocolate in a small glass bowl in the microwave oven on high power for 1 minute. Remove the bowl from the oven and stir with a wooden spoon or rubber spatula until it is smooth. Set the chocolate aside to cool.
  2. Place the cream cheese and butter in a large mixing bowl. Beat with an electric mixer on low speed until well combined, 30 seconds. Stop the machine. Add the melted white chocolate and blend on low speed until just combined, 30 seconds. Add the peppermint extract and 2 cups of the confectioners’ sugar and blend on low speed until the sugar is incorporated, 30 seconds more. Increase the mixer speed to medium and beat until the frosting is fluffy, 1 minute more, adding up to 1/2 cup more sugar if needed to make a spreadable consistency.
  3. Use to frost any chocolate cupcakes of your choice.