Friday, May 27, 2016

Chicken & Beets with Quinoa & Caramelized Onions

The Mr. and I were trying to think of a clever name for this dish and he suggested “Chicken Beaters”……….because it’s chicken and beets…..you know, like egg beaters? hahahahahaha Oh we are so corny lol  Instead you are stuck with a name that’s admittedly way too long but doesn’t make you think of eggs.  So yea, there ya go :-)

Anyways, on Monday I shared the recipe for a colorful side salad, and today I’m sharing an entree option to go with the salad.  Chicken & Beets with Quinoa & Caramelized Onions

Ingredients:
3 medium beets, peeled & diced
EVOO
sea salt, to taste
pepper, to taste
1-2 tbs coconut oil
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp organic maple syrup
1 lb chicken tenders, lightly salted & peppered
3/4 cup quinoa
1.5 cups vegetable stock
2 clementines or 1 medium orange, juiced
1/2 tsp dried rosemary
4 ounces feta, for garnish
Don’t you love it when dinner starts like this?
YUMMMMMMMMMMMDSC_0501-2

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Put beets on a baking sheet and lightly drizzle EVOO, sea salt, & pepper on top. Let roast for 20 minutes, then stir, and roast again for 20 more minutes.
2. Meanwhile, in a saute pan (I use a cast iron skillet) on low-­medium heat, add coconut oil, onions, garlic, maple syrup and a big pinch of sea salt.  Stir occasionally until the onions are translucent, about 10-15 minutes.
3. When the onions are done, remove from the pan, and using the same pan, add chicken and saute until done on both sides.  If you need to, you can add another tbs of coconut oil so that the chicken doesn’t stick.
4. While the chicken is cooking, add vegetable stock and quinoa to a saucepan and bring to a boil.  Once boiling for a minute or so, put the lid on and turn the heat down to low for about 10 minutes.  Then fluff quinoa with a fork.
5. Once the beets, chicken, and quinoa are done, toss everything together and add the onion mixture, orange juice, rosemary, and garnish with feta.
6. Enjoy!
DSC_0520-2

Monday, May 23, 2016

Colorful Summer Salad

In my kitchen, I really try to use what is in season for meals.  This salad is right up my alley because it’s using foods that are in season, it’s cheap, it's fast to make, it’s pretty…..and uh duh, it’s delicious.  I could eat this for every dinner during the summer months.  Seriously you’ve got to try this salad.  Colorful Summer Salad
Ingredients:
1 lb asparagus
2 lemons, juiced
2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved (I like to use a mix of colors just because I think it’s pretty.)
1 avocado
1.5 tsp basil leaves, chopped
1/4 cup EVOO
2 tsp Dijon mustard
1/4 tsp sea salt
ground pepper, to taste

Directions:
1. Steam asparagus for 8 minutes. Then put in a bowl of ice water immediately to stop the cooking process.
2. Put EVOO, lemon juice, mustard, sea salt, & pepper in a mason jar. Shake it up…. while listening to Taylor Swift ;-)
3. Place asparagus, tomatoes, basil in a bowl and lightly coat with the dressing. Plate food and top with avocado.
4. Enjoy :-)DSC_0516

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Tomlin & Rooney: Pupdate

DSC_0300Okay it happened.  I think I always knew it was going to happen eventually but I was still caught off guard and feel super convicted.  I received an email from a reader, and it honestly was a great email; she was so sweet!  But she asked about Tomlin & Rooney…...  If you’ve been around here for a while then you know that those are our precious pups, but if you’re new around here you probably don’t know about them at all and that’s because I’ve had a complete #momfail.  I just haven’t updated LWTH on them in a long time…... like probably a year and half (that just makes me cry!)  Gosh it makes me feel terrible that I haven’t shared about them.  I haven’t purposefully left them out, it’s just that nothing has really changed.  No news is good news?  But I’m so so so so glad that she asked about them; it brought to my attention that I need to make sure that they are getting their due around here.  I’ve given y’all probably way too many Bumpdates in the past year and a half so how about a Pupdate for you this time? ;-)
DSC_0297DSC_0264Tomlin is now 5 and Rooney is 4 (they’re 9 months apart)!  I honestly can’t believe that we’ve had them both for about 5 years.  That is crazy town!  So much has happened in our world since then.  I think we must have prepared the pups well for becoming a big sister and a big brother (our preparation here) because they have transitioned soooooo well!  They smoothly welcomed Dutch, and I was so nervous that they would be jealous but they adore him!  Especially now that Dutch is getting older.  They love to all play ball in the backyard, and let Dutch feed them treats every night; they are both so gentle with Dutch.  I think their favorite time of the day is dinner time.  We make them sit in the living room on the carpet so they aren’t begging…..(correction, so they aren’t begging right at our feet lol).  As soon as we are done with dinner and I say “Clean-up!” you would think I just awarded a pack of elephants with a Publisher’s Clearing House supply of peanuts the way they barrel into the kitchen to lick the floor under Dutch’s chair.  It’s hilarious!  I’m not sure they’ve noticed that Ellis is here yet.  They’ve both kissed her on the head but that’s about the extent of their interactions.  Maybe when she’s mobile they will notice her?DSC_0300DSC_0178
Tomlin, my oldest baby, goes by T-T and T-girl these days.  She is still my quiet and gentle girl.  She is sooooo sweet with family and friends, but if you want to deliver a package to our house she will threaten to shred you to pieces.  She is very protective of our home and will certainly alert us to anything even remotely out of place.  Tomlin follows me around all day, is frequently sitting next to me or at my feet (like she is right now), and hops up in bed with me and the babies in the morning after the Mr. leaves for work.  When the boys are playing hockey or cars in the house and it’s getting loud she retreats to the guest bathroom rug for a nap and peace and quiet (sometimes Ellis and I hide with her j/k ….sort of).  I often think Tomlin would have been a great mama, and I sometimes feel guilty that she wont ever have pups of her own.  Tomlin's favorite things are still bubbles and balloons.DSC_0301DSC_0680DSC_0575
Rooney, my first baby boy, still goes my Roo-Roo.  He continues to have a tough time with chronic ear infections for the past year and a half.  He has been on so many medications and even had a special $80 a week of duck only diet for a few months. In January he developed a hematoma in one of his ears because of his ear infections.  It’s sad but we still can’t get them cured long-term.  Rooney has had health issues since we got him, and that’s one of the reasons we got him (He was drugged as a puppy when we rescued him at 4 weeks old).  We’ve spent a lot of time at several doctors with him over the past 4 years to keep him healthy because of his rocky start.  Maybe this is the year that we’ll get the ears under control?  Roo spends his days lusting for the Mr to return home.  He sits on the edge of the couch looking out the window for The Mr’s truck and sleeping. Roo doesn’t listen to a thing I say, but I swear he can hear the Mr. turn onto the street in the evening.  If he’s outside he will throw himself (I swear I’m not exaggerating) against the backdoor to get to the Mr and alert me that he is almost home.  It’s partly funny, and partly pathetic.  Roo is head over heels and completely obsessed with the Mr. and could not care less about me.  Roo loves to go camping and fishing with The Mr, and loves to lay by the camp fire.DSC_0265DSC_0789
Okay I feel better now.  I’ve reported on my sweet fur babies.  Y’all please hold me accountable to share about them if it goes too long again!

Monday, May 16, 2016

What’s For Dinner?

 Meal planning seems to be a big deal in the internet world these days.  Maybe it always has been and I’m just now paying attention? Honestly, I am one of those weird people that loves to menu plan.  Any body else?!?!?! I love going through my recipes and seeing what I’m going to make for the week, jotting down my grocery list, and even going to the grocery store.  Yes, the Mr. and I look forward to grocery shopping every week.  It’s as close to a date as we’re going to get for a while, but we love it none-the-less (and honestly we loved it pre-kids so we can’t claim that kids made us boring or lame…….we just are Ha!).  This post is not a "how-to" or "you should"....nope nope nope, this is just a “how we do it” post.Fresh Harvest

Who Does The Cooking? Until about a year ago when I got pregnant with Ellis, I was the official house chef.  I could honestly count on one hand how many times the Mr. had cooked anything, with the exception of smoking meat & grilling.  He has always done that, and I have never smoked or grilled anything.  I was the primary chef and baker though.  We never really had a discussion about it, it just worked out that way since I had more time and really enjoyed it.  When I got pregnant with Ellis I was very sick for the first 21 weeks, so the Mr. stepped up and really dove into learning how to cook.  When I say he dove into cooking, I really mean it, he has an entirely new culinary vocabulary, and he has taught me so many things lately!  Now he usually cooks dinner on the weekend to help me out, and I cook during the week to help him out. 

What Do We Eat? We typically eat organic and pasture-raised food.  We eat as fresh as possible, thus I shop on the edges of the store.  Have you noticed that the best stuff for you is on the edge?  Stay out of the center of the store where all of the processed food is.  Now, I’m not going to claim to be perfectly fresh!  Of course we don’t eat clean all the time, and we cheat.  DUH!!!! We're human and we love to eat :-) 

Where We’re Shopping? There are 4 places we venture to when we’re shopping: Costco, HEB, Trader Joe’s, & the local farmers market.  It’s kind of an event when we hit up all of these places.  We go every week because we like our food as fresh as possible and to not stock pile food that will either be frozen, forgotten, or chucked. 

Where Do I Get My Recipes?  A lot of my recipes initially come from a cookbook (I really like all of Pioneer Woman's books), magazines (I get Southern Living and Food Network), or Pinterest.  Lately I have been using Real Plan to help me schedule and brainstorm. This is a meal planning website that uses only natural and "real" ingredients.  You put into your settings what type of diet you want, what ingredients to exclude, how many meals you want per week, etc.  Then you can add more meals or recipes from other websites....and the service makes your grocery list for you and everything.  In all honesty, unless I'm baking, I rarely stick to a recipe.  Call me a rebel!  I just add or subtract what I think sounds best.  So I take a recipe from one of these places  and then modify it to my liking or to what I have in my pantry.

How Do I Plan & Schedule?  This is my weekly routine for scheduling.  I do it like this every week; I’m a planner and list maker folks!  If I don't keep this routine it is culinary chaos and junk food galore!  Soooo I have to stick to the routine. Every Friday during nap time, I menu plan for the following week: I go over what activities or commitments we have for the following week and pick our recipes according to time availability, write my grocery list (on paper, not digital..I just can’t get into the digital thing.  Call me “old school”), and write the menu on a chalkboard I keep on the kitchen counter.  Having the chalkboard is good for keeping everyone on the same page for what the week has in store.  I have another chalkboard in the kitchen that we use as a running grocery list throughout the week.  On Saturday morning we shop!  We used to do Sunday afternoons but that got to be too crazy.  Now since we’re up early on Saturday, the Mr. goes to the gym while I get the kids up and fed.  We go to the park, and then start on our shopping before naps.  We eat dinner every night at 6pm.  If the Mr. isn’t home yet I feed the kiddos at 6 and just wait to eat with him when he gets home. Lunches during the week we usually have leftovers from the night before.

Eating out?  We used to eat out alllll the time, like every meal from Friday night to Sunday night.  That was a different time in our lives.  Now we may only eat out once a week and if we do it’s Sunday after church.  Friday nights if we eat out, it’s take out and usually pizza or Vietnamese.  

Whats For Dinner Meal Planning
 When do I cook (and what do I do with the kids)? If it is a crockpot meal then I prep (chop, etc.) all of the food the night before so that I can throw it in the crockpot as soon as I wake up (before the kids get up).  Or, and what happens most of the time, I cook during Dutch's afternoon nap.  If Dutch happens to be awake then I include him in meal prep (which, yes, means it takes longer and is a bigger mess, but I figure that he has to start learning at some point and his wife will thank me one day).  If I'm in a hurry and Dutch isn't into independent play at the moment I will wear him on my back.  Or like last night we played wiffle ball in the house while I was making dinner....I would throw it and then stir/chop, throw and then stir/chop.  Motherhood is the art of multitasking, right? When I'm not around the stove/oven I just wear Ellis on my front or nurse her.  If she's sleeping then I just bring the bouncer/swing/rock'n'play in the kitchen with me.

What Does A Typical Week Look Like Taste Like? I took a picture of everything we ate one week just to give you an idea of what we eat during a very typical week.
Saturday Lunch- Me
Caramelized onion, kale & brie grilled sandwiches, with a three-citrus mint salad, with roasted golden beetsCaramelized onion, kale & brie sandwiches, with a three-citrus mint salad, with roasted golden beets-2
Saturday Dinner- The Mr.
Carnitas Saturday Carnitas-2
Sunday Lunch- Me
Avocado eggs, sage & maple chicken sausage, & mustard vinaigrette spinach saladAvacado eggs, sage chicken sausage, & mustard vinegarette spinach salad-2
Sunday Dinner- Me & the Mr.
Fried chicken, green beans & mashed potatoes perfectly paired with sweet teaIMG_20160403_184450-2
Monday
Chicken enchiladas with Spanish riceIMG_20160405_155837-2
Tuesday
Bang bang shrimp served over steamed broccoliIMG_20160405_180710-2
Wednesday
Leftovers

Thursday
Spatchcock chicken with garbanzo beans & roasted sweet potatoes sauted in bacon
Spatchcock chicken with garbanzo beans & roasted sweet potatoes
Friday
We did take out for dinner

So there ya have it! This is how we do food in our house. 
What do you do? Where do you shop?
Do you have any recipes we need to try? Come on share your favorites with me!!!!

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

What I’m Lovin’ Wednesday: Favorite Shops for BABY HIM

People think that shopping for girls is more fun than shopping for boys.  I USED to agree with them.  Let me just say: I was wrong!  Shopping for little boys is so much fun; they are so adorable! I think for me it was challenging until I got my shopping groove and found my favorite go-to stores.  Last week I shared with you my favorite BABY HER stores with my spring and summer wish list picks, so today here are the BABY HIM clothes that I’m lusting for!Burts Bees Baby Spring for BoysCarters Spring for BoysH&M Spring for BoysOld Navy Spring For Boys
Looking at both my BABY HER and BABY HIM lists, I realize how predicable I am!  For both I clearly like blue & stripes lol

Okay, so now that you’ve seen my picks, where else should I be shopping for these Hawley Peeps?!  Where do I need to go and what do I need to get them? Give me your tips friends!

I was not paid for this post, but if these companies wants to start paying me, I’d gladly accept the compensation ;-)

Monday, May 9, 2016

Rosemary Pear Pork, Lemon Quinoa, & Parmesan Green Beans

Rosemary Pear Pork
I posted this picture last Tuesday on Facebook & Instagram about what we had for dinner, and there was an overwhelming request for the recipe.  I wrote it down as fast as I could so it wouldn’t fall out of my brain (ya know what I’m say’n?!)  This really is such an easy & healthy dinner.  You can make this all in less than 45 minutes…..even with 2 kids demanding your attention for dinner and an elaborate game of indoor wiffle ball ;-)  Go ahead and try this recipe and then report back to me what you think and what suggestions you have!!!!

Rosemary Pear Pork

Ingredients:
2 lbs pork tenderloin
coarse sea salt
fresh ground black pepper
1-2 pears
2-4 tbs coconut oil
2 cups white wine (I used pinot grigio)
1 tsp dried rosemary (or 1 spring of fresh rosemary)
2 tbs spicy mustard
4 tbs butter

Directions:
1. Preheat the oven to 400F.  Slice the pork tenderloin into medallions (about 1.5 inches thick), and season the pork on both sides with salt and pepper.
2. In a cast-iron skillet, heat the coconut oil over medium high heat. Add the pork and cook for 2 minutes, then flip the pieces and cook 2-4 minutes until the pieces are browned. Remove to a plate.
3. Add the wine, rosemary and mustard to the skillet and bring to a boil, scraping the brown bits from the bottom of the pan with a whisk. Cook until the liquid is reduced to half, then remove from heat.
4. Return the pork and the juices on the plate to the skillet and place in the oven for about 12 minutes (flipping the pork and adding the pears half-way through). Cook until the pork 145F at its center.
5. While the pork is in the oven make the quinoa & green beans (recipe below)
6. Remove the skillet from the oven and place the pork and pears on a serving plate.  Place the skillet back on the stove. Add the butter and whisk to make a sauce. When you go to serve, pour this sauce over the pork & pears.

Green Beans

Ingredients:
1 lbs fresh green beans
1 large lemon (for juice & zest)
1 tbs Dijon mustard
3 tbs EVOO
coarse sea salt
fresh ground black pepper
shaved parmesan cheese

Directions:
1. Fill a sauce pan half-way with salted water and bring to a boil. Add green beans (with trimmed ends) and cook beans until tender, about 8-10 minutes.  Transfer green beans to a bowl of ice water to cool and stop cooking process.
2. Whisk together the mustard, lemon juice, lemon zest, and EVOO. Drizzle 3/4 of the dressing over the green beans and season with sea salt and fresh ground pepper to taste. Top with shavings of parmesan cheese.

Lemon Quinoa

Ingredients:
Organic quinoa
Remaining dressing from the green bean salad above

Directions:
1. Cook quinoa according to the package instructions.  Once cooled, lightly top quinoa with left over dressing from green bean salad.

Serve and enjoy!!!!
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Friday, May 6, 2016

I Get To Be The One

edits-0011My mind is in complete denial.  I can't believe that this mother's day I will be celebrating with TWO babies.  I'm in complete shock that I'm a mama; I still can't believe it.  You'd think that the pain of giving birth to these kids, plus the demands of having two under two would really let the motherhood role sink in.

It hasn't.

I'm still so shocked that God picked me to be a mom, and to be their mother no less.  I mean, He has met me.  He knows me.  He knows my faults and my general tendency to just be a serious hot mess, and yet He still picked me to be the mother of these two precious babes.  We were matched.

I don't know what it is that I bring to these two, but God does and I trust Him.  He chose me because there is something that I get to teach them, or say to them, or in some way impact their lives.  WOW! What an honor.

What an honor to be chosen to raise these two. To love on them. To watch them grow.  To be the ear that listens.  To be their ultimate life-long cheerleader. To be their teacher.  To be their personal nurse and chauffeur.  To be their birthday party planner.  To be the president of their fan club and stage crew.  To be their tissues for all their boogers.  To tie their shoes.  To teach them right from wrong.  To demonstrate Jesus' love, grace, and forgiveness. To proudly wear their slobbery kisses.  To read them the same book 4 thousand times in one day.  To rock them to sleep as they break a fever. To kiss their boo boos.

I can't believe I get to be the one.

Thank you Jesus for these precious treasures that I've done nothing to deserve.

Dutch and Ellis, how does someone so small hold my heart so tightly?  I don’t know, but I love you completely, and I am the lucky one here.



Well hello,
Little baby.
Your eyes have never seen the sun
You should know
Little baby
That I am the lucky one
 

I get to be the one to hold your hand
I get to be the one.
Through birthdays and broken bones
I'll be there to watch you grow
I get to be the one.


 Don't feel alone now,
Little baby.
Do you hear me singing you a song
I can't wait to show you
Little baby
How to crawl
How to walk
And how to run


 I get to be the one to hold your hand
I get to be the one.
Through birthdays and broken bones
I'll be there to watch you grow
I get to be the one.


 How does someone so small
Hold my heart so tightly
I don't even know you
I love you completely


 I get to be the one to hold your hand
I get to be the one.
Through birthdays and broken bones
I'll be there to watch you grow
I get to be the one to hold your hand
I get to be the one.
Through birthdays and broken bones
I'll be there to watch you grow
I get to be the one. 

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

What I’m Lovin’ Wednesday: Favorite Shops for BABY HER

Happy hump day friends! One fun thing about little kids is that they are out-growing their clothes constantly.  While I know this is insanely expensive it’s still pretty fun.  I’ve been doing my fair share of online shopping lately, especially since it’s my first spring & summer with two kids and a baby girl.  Occasionally I get questions about where I get something that my kids are dressed in, so I thought today I would share with you some of my favorite shops and include my top picks for this spring & summer for BABY HER.  Next week I will share my favorites for BABY HIM.  Some of these items my kids already have, while others joined my wish list as I compiled my favorites for you here lol  Now I have to admit that I’m a little jealous of some of these items.  Why don’t they make some of these cute outfits or fabrics in my size?!?!?! In general I tend to really prefer neutral tones with a really simple or plain look.  I’m not really an animated person, so while I know this is coming one day, for now when I get a say, I say “no” to animation themed clothes lol  After looking at what I picked as a favorite, I think my selections were pretty predictable….

If it has stripes? YES! 
If it has stars? YES!
If it is blue or white? YES and YES! 

Burt’s Bees Baby is not just lotions and lip balm!  It is one of my all-time favorite shops for baby clothes.  They use organic fabric and they are so so so so soft.  I want them to make clothes and jammies in my size!Burts Bees Baby Spring for Girls

I think everyone loves Carter’s!  Am I right, or am I right?! They have the cutest prints, and when there is a little appliqued animal on the booty…..weeeeeelp there goes my wallet!  I love that they have such great bundles at Costco too; I load up my cart there! Carters Spring for Girls

Lately I have really been loving the styles at Old Navy.  Their children’s clothing selection is super cute!  The prices for the styles are just unbeatable!  I really want some of these in my size!Old Navy Spring For Girls

I love the styles for ladies and kids at H&M.  Something that I just love about their pants for children is that they have the extendable waist band.  This means that I can really get my money worth even if the kids are growing really fast.  Not only that, but if you cloth diaper, you will really appreciate this fit over the fluffy bum.H&M Spring for Girls

Okay, so now you see why I’m going to go broke?!?!
And now you see why I’m jealous??!!?
These outfits are just so adorable!  I need one of everything here!  Next week I’m going to share my top boy picks with you.
What are you favorite shops for children’s clothes? Where else do I need to be looking?! 

I was not paid for this post, but if these companies wants to start paying me, I’d gladly accept the compensation ;-)

Monday, May 2, 2016

Back to the Patch

Happy Monday friends!  I hope that y’all had a great and relaxing weekend.  I have one last day to share with you of my mom’s visit.  Since it’s so warm in Houston we have the longest strawberry season and I thought going to the strawberry patch would be so much fun.  I remember going with my mom when I was a kid so I thought this would be a great memory for Dutch and my mom.  We went last year and had so much fun, and I mean, come on, look at that little baby boy! He is so cute, but where did my itty bitty baby go?!?!?!
IMG_20150509_125321DSC_0091DSC_0086This year was totally different since we had Granny and Ellis, but it was even better than last year.
We all got our boots on and headed to the patch….and we scored big with some deliciously red berries.
Such a great trip to the strawberry patch!DSC_0988DSC_0013DSC_0017DSC_1008DSC_1011DSC_1022DSC_1024DSC_1047DSC_1062DSC_1088DSC_1071Some things just don’t change.  The view in the backseat last year (top) and this year (bottom) both looked the same.  Dutch wore himself out picking (and eating) so many strawberries :-)2015 & 2016We really did have just the best time.  I’m pretty sure I can see us going again this season, but it just wont be the same without Granny!
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