Wednesday, July 29, 2009

More Nebraska Bugs and Bran Banana Bread

I went outside to look at my tomatoes this morning and saw this thing. It's like an ant/spider/bumble bee hybrid.

I made some bread this morning too. I hate baking, so it's rare that I experiment with breads. I didn't want to use a boxed bran bread mix, so I put a few things together and it worked! This has 2.5 bananas, organic applesauce (no sugar added), a tbsp of Smart Balance Light, an egg, a pinch of organic brown sugar, baking soda, whole wheat flour, wheat germ, and I think that's it. Oh, and cinnamon. It's moist and lovely! I need to start measuring things or I won't remember how to make things that turn out nicely.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

A Little White Handsomer Lie

Maximus told his first "little white lie" tonight!

Lately, he doesn't like to go to bed. I bathe him, give him milk, let him cuddle with Jesse (who's usually asleep before him) and put him to bed. Tonight while I sat with him on the sofa giving him milk, I could hear him ripping ass...that's what we call it. After he drank milk, I asked, "Maximus, did you make the poo-poos in your diaper?" Immediately, he nodded and said, "dah". "Dah" is the German inside him. I went to his room, took off his diaper and there were NO POO POOS! I said, "Maximus! You did not tell mama the truth and that is not what nice boys do." I dressed him and then he made the hand sign for milk. I made him more and of course he didn't drink it. He definitely knows what he's doing now and how to wrap his parents around his finger. Rats.

Monday, July 27, 2009

It's Fun When Dad's Home!

Jesse's work schedule has been so lame lately. He gets up at 4:15am and comes home around 6pm SIX DAYS A WEEK. When he comes home, he's exhausted and goes to bed before Maximus. It's sad, but it'll be over in a few months and then we get to move home! On his day off, we just chill and do whatever sounds good. No errands- just fun, good food, family and relaxation. Yesterday morning we FINALLY slept in! Max woke up at 5am, but went back down and we all got some much needed sleep. I made Jesse a "manfast" breakfast made for a man while he and Maximus played outside in the little pool. Notice the 2 sharks in the pool...

That afternoon, Jesse's parents had a big bbq at their house and when I heard that smoked ham was involved, I almost cried. I love that stuff. We had so much fun! We played horseshoes, there was a slip-n-slide, badminton, volleyball and tons of ham. And even a rooster. I love animals, so even seeing a cow is pretty cool. Here's Maximus and the rooster.


Here's me doing a really bad job of playing horseshoes.
Maximus got a pair of Jordan 6's and we think they help him with his basketball skills. Not only is he able to run faster, he can throw his dodo into a beer.
We were tired and we headed home. I think he looks just like Jesse in the picture below that we took a few years ago.

Friday, July 24, 2009

What's in Maximus' Cup Today?

I realized that I could put anything into Maximus' little spill proof cup and he'll eat it. Today, it's plain whole wheat pasta bow ties. I was making this killer salad and before he ate the cooked pasta, he insisted on eating several dry pieces. Yuck! But this artichoke, sun dried tomato, red onion, kalamata olive and caper salad...oooh maaan...

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Even Healthier Oven Fried Chicken

I decided to make a healthy "southern" dinner. Instead of friend chicken, or even oven fried chicken, I made one with Ak Mak crackers as the breading. Most people use Corn Flakes as the breading, but they really aren't that great for you. They're enriched, processed and have high-fructose corn syrup. I used Ak Mak crackers that are stone ground whole wheat/sesame combined with a few other things and the chicken rocked. As a side, I made creamed spinach with toasted pine nuts instead of the typical collard greens that are soaked in butter and bacon. Here's my recipe for the chicken: if anyone wants it

I never write down my recipes and I never measure anything, so this is how I remember it...

2 egg whites
1 tbsp Dijon mustard

Entire box of Ak Mak stone ground crackers

1 tsp dried thyme

1 tbsp dried rosemary

½ tsp dried oregano

¼ tsp garlic powder

salt

pepper

¼ - ½ tsp cayenne pepper

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts

Smart Balance Light

Maybe a pinch of Parmesan


Whisk the egg whites and Dijon mustard together until smooth.
In a food processor (with steel blade attachment), place the broken Ak Mak crackers, thyme, rosemary, oregano, garlic powder, salt pepper and cayenne pepper. Process until you have medium breadcrumbs. Preheat oven to 400. Dredge a chicken breast in the egg mixture, coating well. Dredge in the breadcrumb mixture and turn it on all sides until it’s well covered. Continue this process with the remaining chicken pieces. Place the chicken on a foil lined (and sprayed) baking sheet. If you crumple the foil before placing over the baking sheet, it will ensure the chicken will be crispy on the bottom too. Bake for 5-7 minutes and then place 2 – 3 small bits of Smart Balance Light on the top and let melt, another 2 minutes. Turn the chicken over and continue baking until cooked to an internal temperature of 170, then add a few more bits of Smart Balance Light to the side facing up and turn off the oven and let the butter melt. This will make the chicken juicy while it reaches an internal temperature of 180.


As far as the spinach goes, I used 2 boxes of frozen spinach and drained them. I pretty much made it the same way any creamed spinach recipe goes and used shallots, garlic, a pinch of nutmeg (you have to use nutmeg and you can't even taste it because the spinach won't taste right if you omit it) and instead of heavy cream, I used fat free half and half. I toasted a handful of pine nuts and I'm telling you, along with the chicken, it tasted DIVINE!

And look at the chicken, it only looks unhealthy!


Here are the fabulous crackers I'm talking about...

With dinner, we had Greek salads and tzatziki sauce. I go to actual Greeks and buy this from them once a week because they make it right.

I can't believe Max loves it so much. Proof that he is a true Greek! He dips pita in it and licks it off and repeats.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Sandra Lee's "Semi-Homemade" is Semi-Disgusting


I watch Food Network almost daily and I almost dislike Sandra Lee as much as Rachael Ray. The only reason she's a step above Rachael is because I was watching her show when my water broke and I started hard labor. I don't know how either of them still have shows. Food Network, you can hire me to replace them!

Anyway, today Sandra was using saffron with INSTANT RICE! That's such an insult to saffron! I have never seen saffron priced less than $85 per ounce, so why would someone add it to cheap instant rice?! It's flavor is beautiful and in my opinion, it should be used simply. Don't complicate it by pairing it with cheap ingredients or other strong flavors. Maybe pairing it with lemon and a few chives would be acceptable, but don't risk it. And to top it off, she added dried cherries to her ghetto rice dish. Gaah!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

What the HELL are these creatures?!

I'm a bit of a clean freak. Those who know me know that a mess terrifies me. I can't sit down and relax if there are toys out or dishes to be put away. It could be my childhood O.C.D diagnosis or the fear of germs my oncologist instilled in me during cancer treatment. Anywho, we keep Jacqueline's extra food under the sink. I pull the bag out every evening to fill her food bowl and tonight...I saw these:
They are tiny! I honestly don't know what a maggot looks like because I've never seen one. Are these maggots or what the hell are they?! They are so tiny that I couldn't get a clear close up of them. You'll have to click on the picture and squint to see them better. Has ANYONE seen these? They were obviously attracted to Jackie's dog food and they died with one squirt of Windex and a Lysol wipe. GAAH!!! I hate stuff like this in my home!

Frittata Love

Frittatas are so easy because they usually require leftovers. We don't really eat potatoes, so I used whole wheat penne instead. It's another egg dish like quiche and you can put anything you want in it. I put spinach, pasta, eggs, fresh thyme, paprika, parmesan and bacon in this one. And it only took 20 minutes to make!

Monday, July 13, 2009

Surprise Visit

Brynn, Emma, Dave, Me with Maximus in my lap, Holly holding Simon, Eli and Addie.

Friday night as we drove home from the rehearsal dinner, I got a call from my brother! I haven't talked to him in a very long time. He was calling me because he and his family were driving through Nebraska. They live in St. Louis and had been in Utah for the last couple of weeks. He asked if we could meet up when they came through Lincoln and although we had the wedding the next day, I would do anything to see him.

He and his family arrived and I can't explain how great it was to see him. The last time I saw him was at my grandfathers funeral (5-6 years ago) and I hadn't even met his two youngest children. I can't believe how skinny my brother is! And I think he shrunk! His two oldest daughters (Emma and Addie) were so tall and beautiful. And his middle child, Brynn, isn't a baby anymore! The last time I saw her, she was Maximus' age. Eli was running around like a typical 4 year old and little Simon (8 months) was all smiles as he crawled around. My brothers wife, Holly, was all hugs and kisses as usual. His children are the best behaved kids I've ever seen. You can tell they were raised well. I MISSED THEM.

We all hung out, played, talked, laughed and hugged for an hour or so. They couldn't stay for a while since they had a long drive ahead and that worked for us because we had a wedding to get to. Maximus met five of his nine cousins! I'm really at a loss for words because I can't explain how amazing it was to be with them. I love them dearly and I can't wait to live in Salt Lake so we can have them and more of my family visit us at our home. Saturday was one of the best days I've ever had.

Maximus playing with Simon and Emma in the playroom.

Handsomer's "Hurts"

We don't call scrapes and bruises "owies" like most people. We just call them "hurts". We wanted Maximus to not have a scrape on his body for the wedding. But sure enough, he falls on gravel during the rehearsal dinner and scrapes his forehead. Then he jumps off the back of the couch and hits the hutch behind it. The day after the wedding, he biffs it on the basketball court and cuts his forehead, nose and hand. He is so fair and now has THREE bumps on his forehead. Why?! Jesse thinks he's learning to run faster and I think he was really tired this weekend and got clumsy. Poor beat up kid.

Wedding Pictures

Here are a few pictures from DJ and Ashlie's wedding. We were in the wedding and thanks to Jalena, we have pictures of it. It was such a busy weekend, but it was a lot of fun. Friday night was the rehearsal dinner and the wedding was Saturday evening. The weather was beautiful and they couldn't have asked for a better day.
Stacey, Maximus, Jesse, DJ, Ashlie, Dan, Vicki and Fletcher.
Jesse, DJ and Fletch. I love this picture! The brothers look so handsome.
DJ and his ho's :)
Ashlie and me.
Jesse and Fletcher sharing brotherly love.
Handsomer and "guy-tun". She chased him around during the entire ceremony and reception.
Maximus working on his abs after the wedding ceremony.
Picture of a stud.
Family picture.
Jesse and I dancing at the reception. I had to change out of my dress. It was the most uncomfortable thing ever. I couldn't hold Maximus when I wore it, so I felt sort of lame putting on the only clothes I had there with me.
Ha! Chocolate syrup, dish soap, toilet paper, maxi pads, plastic wrap and streamers simply say: CONGRATULATIONS DJ AND ASH! We love you guys!

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

It Worked!

My tomato plants successfully produced an edible tomato. There were two little red cherry tomatoes and I had to pick one. I ate one half and Maximus ate the other. Jesse hates tomatoes. And get this...it tasted homegrown! I thought it would taste like a store bought one, but to my amazement, it tasted like a dream. Christy, are any of yours red yet? :)
Here is the other one. I'm going to let it sit for a day or two more before I yank it off the vine and eat it. I'm planning on eating my weight in tomatoes this summer...at least three times.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Greek Chicken with Orzo

So good! And the easiest thing ever! I used my trusty Crock Pot and was able to capture authentic Greek flavors while making it taste fresh. I added the orzo and fresh lemon juice and peel in the last 30 minutes and it was awesome! You can pretty much go Greek if you use oregano, lemon, garlic, rosemary, sun-dried tomatoes and kalamata olives. Mmm! It looks sort of ugly, but it was so good. So good. You can pretty much figure out how to make this by looking at the pictures. There was no added fat and when you only use whole foods to cook with, you can't go wrong health wise. I really think that people would live until they're 100 if they quit eating fast food, packaged foods and enriched/refined foods. But that's just me preaching.

This is the creation on low for 5 hours. It looks scary to those who haven't tasted real Greek food. I think Greeks live forever because of the good fats and lean meat they eat. And the fact that they're Greek. Jesse is going to make fun of me for this one. He thinks our son isn't half Greek...uh, okay...

Time Out

Maximus went into my sewing desk and pulled out a container of hand needles. He shattered the box they were stored in and scattered the needles all over his playroom (that's also my sewing room) and hallway and who knows where else. He actually knows he is not allowed to open the drawers of my antique sewing desk, but just in case, I've removed my scissors and other dangerous things. Jesse and I noticed how oddly quiet he was and we heard his quiet giggles every so often. I checked on him and nearly hit the floor when I saw that he was playing with sharp needles! What a fantastic mother I am! We decided to sit him in his chair and point to the desk and ask him, "Maximus, are you supposed to play with mama's sewing desk?" (He knows he's busted when we use the words "are you supposed to...") He sat like a good boy in "time out" for one minute because he's one year old. I think he understood. It was pretty amazing. He sat quietly and hasn't touched the desk since.

Monday, July 6, 2009

4th of July Weekend!

So much fun! I had to post this picture...it's Maximus' tux for the wedding this weekend. I picked it up Thursday night and he wasn't happy wearing it because it was so hot. But he still looks totally handsome.
Friday night we went out to dinner with a bunch of people. Jesse had plans to take his brother out with a few friends to go bar hopping for his bachelor party, so we all went to dinner beforehand. Max and I had to leave early because it was his bedtime and he crashed out in the car on the way home. I let him sleep on the couch while I ran his bath.
This is Max's new car! He loves it so much! He played in it and wasn't interested in the amazing fireworks that were going off. Jesse's brother, DJ, is a pyromaniac and bought 3 giant boxes of fireworks and we were setting them off like kids. We had so much fun! And in Nebraska, you can buy REAL fireworks. Ones that you only see in shows back in Utah. It was such a blast.
DJ and I were playing street football and the ball hit a tree. He noticed this little nest! The eggs look like Easter candy.

This is Handsomer and Grandpa. Since he was an infant, he's loved his beard.Toward the end of the evening. We were both noticeably tired.
It was so, so much fun! Jesse's youngest brother, Fletcher, has been on a nationwide tour with his band for the last month and we finally got to see him. We grilled, hung out, played, set off explosives, laughed and had such a good time. Super casual/laid back events are some of the best times.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Prius Commercial

video
What is it about Toyota Prius commercials that captures Maximus' attention?