Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Valentine's Day String Heart Door Decoration

I don't know about you, but my Pinterest feed has been full of Valentine's Day gifts, decorations and foods.  I love all the brilliant ideas I've seen but there is one thing that keeps catching my eye - String Heart Decorations.  They are absolutely adorable and look relatively easy to make. 

So, I decided to update my front door Valentine's Day Wreath with a String Heart Door Decoration.  I love how it turned out, so bright and colorful, and get so happy every time I pull up to our house! 
Valentine's Day String Heart Door Decoration

Monday, January 26, 2015

Mini Vegetarian Quiche

We celebrated Littlebug's birthday this weekend with a breakfast birthday party with a small group of friends.  Have you ever hosted a breakfast party before?  Seriously. Best. Thing. Ever.   It was completely stress free and both My Love and I got to spend the entire party socializing with our guests and enjoying our kiddos!  But, I'll share more about the party in a couple weeks.  

Today, I wanted to share my Mini Vegetarian Quiche recipe with you.  I decided to edit my normal vegetarian quiche recipe (I'll share that recipe another time) into single servings in order to make serving and eating easier.  These little guys are hearty, full of flavor and have a perfectly crunchy crust.  I love everything about them!!  They can be made ahead and reheated which makes them the perfect thing to serve at parties or make on the weekend for quick breakfasts all week long. YUM!
Vegetarian Quiche Recipe

Sunday, January 25, 2015

What's for Dinner?

Hey friends!  Happy Sunday!!  

Don't have much time to chat, but wanted to post our menu for the week.  

I hope your week is off to a great start!  

~ Sam

So, what's for dinner?

SundayChicken Tamale Casserole with fresh fruit (pushed out from last week)

Monday:  Grilled Steak, cauliflower puree and grilled asparagus

Tuesday Chicken Parmesan with spaghetti and steamed broccoli (recipe coming soon)

Wednesday: leftovers

Thursday: Eat out

FridayBBQ Pork Fried Rice with fresh fruit

Saturday:  Chicken & Strawberry Salad with Crusty Bread

What's on your menu this week?

'What's for dinner?' That question used to haunt me until I started Menu Planning a couple years ago. Now, menu planning is a scheduled part of our weekend routine. See how we do it here.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

DIY Valentine's Day Bookmark

I prefer to avoid sending candy Valentine's to school, if I can help it.  It's not that I have anything against candy.  In fact, I LOVE candy.  I just prefer to send something that Lovebug's friends can enjoy for more than a few minutes, like these Loopy Straws we gave out last year.

This year, we decided bookmarks would be perfect Valentine, since Lovebug loves to read.  So, we spent a morning in the craft room playing around with some craft paper and heart shaped punches.  Throw in a laminator and some ribbon and suddenly we had these super cute Valentine bookmarks ready for Lovebug's friends!
Candy Free Valentine's Bookmark

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

So Into / So Over - Episode 21

If you know me personally, you know that I am a very honest person and not at all shy about sharing what I think, whether it is good or bad.  So Into / So Over posts provide me a forum to share my thoughts on things that make me happy as well as things that make me, well, not so happy.  Here's what I've been So Into / So Over this week:

So Into: Getting my Kitchen Knives Sharpened
OK.  So, if you've been here a while, you know I have a mild serious obsession with kitchen knives.  It borders on a little unhealthy.  But, we cook a lot in our house and a good sharp knife is a cooks best tool (outside of clean hands, of course!).  

It occurred to me, as I struggled to cut through something last week, that I hadn't had our knives sharpened since right before Littlebug was born.  More than a year ago!!  How is that even possible??? I usually get them sharpened every five to six months!  

Luckily, I had Monday off of work so I headed down to my favorite knife shop, The Phoenix Knife House, to get them sharpened.  I probably only spend 5-10 minutes in the shop when I go, but I love it there.  They have a giant display of knives for purchase and the staff is incredibly knowledgeable and friendly.  

I literally get giddy with excitement as I pull up to drop off my knives.  Depending on how busy they are, it can takes anywhere from 1-3 hours to get the knives sharpened.  So, I will keep myself distracted busy running errands, until they are ready.  Once I get the call, I head straight over to pick up my beautiful knives and race carefully drive home to break in my freshly sharpened knives.  

Honestly, it makes such a difference to work with sharp knives.  If you cook a lot and haven't had your knives sharpened, I highly recommend it.  For one, it will make chopping and prep work so much easier and, two, it is so much safer to work with a sharp knife than a dull one.  You can find your local shop by doing an online search or asking for a recommendation from a kitchenware store like Williams Sonoma, Crate and Barrel or Sur La Table.  That's how I found The Phoenix Knife House. :)

I am SO into having my kitchen knives sharpened!!  Seriously, one of my favorite things on earth. Ever. 

p.s. Just to be clear.  It did not cost me $53 to sharpen 4 knives.  That is what I paid to have my 3 chef's knifes, 1 santoku knife, 3 paring knives and 8 steak knives sharpened.  So, it was $53 for 15 knives.  Which is totally worth it, in my opinion.  

p.p.s.  I don't usually get my steak knives sharpened since we don't use them as frequently as the other knives.  But, it's been several years since I had them done and they were pretty dull, so I figured it was time. :)

So Over: COLDS!
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For the last two months, at least one, if not all, of us has been sick. Sore throats, runny noses, fevers, chills, aches and pains.  Oh my!   It has been awful!  It's like a symphony of coughs, sneezes and nose blowing in this house.  I'm so over it!!  

Just when I think that we are on the mend, I hear a cough or see a runny nose and know that we are starting a new cycle of the sickness.  It's been so bad that I've seriously considered quarantining each of us until we are all healthy.  Ok, maybe not seriously.  But, the thought did cross my mind.

I cannot wait for warmer weather so that we can get past this cold and flu season!!  I know, famous last words.  But, I promise not to complain about the AZ heat if my family can be healthy again!

What are you into and over?  I'd love to know!

Monday, January 19, 2015

Quick & Easy Chicken Fajitas

We love Mexican food at our house and these Chicken Fajitas are definitely a family favorite, especially for Lovebug.  She just loves assembling her fajita, layering the food and talking through what she's doing as she does it.  It's too cute.  But, I digress.   

My Love found the fajita recipe by Nigella Lawson several years ago and we have made minor tweaks to it until we settled on this version.  We don't always have garlic flavored oil on hand, so we use olive oil and garlic powder to accomplish the same flavor profile and I like to add more lime than she calls for.  The result is a finger lickin' delicious meal!

The best part is that these Chicken Fajitas come together super quickly, so they are one of our go to weeknight meals.  I usually start by putting some beans over super low heat, while I cook the fajitas. That way, our beans are ready when the fajitas are.  Dinner is served!  YUM!
Quick & Easy Chicken Fajita Recipe

Sunday, January 18, 2015

What's for Dinner?

Like most parents, My Love and I will spell things out in conversations when we don't want Lovebug to know what we're talking about.  It is both convenient and easy and doesn't require anyone to learn a foreign language so we can discuss gift ideas, surprises or everyday life that might be too mature for Lovebug to hear about.  

However, Lovebug can sound things out now, so we have to spell quickly and/or quietly or remind ourselves to chat about whatever it is we are hiding later, when little ears aren't around.  So, our days of keeping secrets through spelling are numbered. (I guess it's time to take up that foreign language or make up our own language?  I think the latter might be easier!)

Anyway, this week Lovebug proudly informed me that she is going to start spelling words out rather than say them when she talks, "like mommy and daddy do"!  


My poor sweet girl thinks that once you are an adult, you spell words out in conversation instead of just saying them.  

Not sure what to do with this one...  Do we tell her that we've been keeping things from her by spelling things out?    She would be so hurt!  Or, do we let her believe that it is normal to spell words instead of say them?  I can just see her saying, "M-O-M, can we go to the P-A-R-K today?"  or place an order at a restaurant by saying "May I please have a M-I-L-K?"  

At this point, I'm thinking we'll just let her spell things out and hope she gets over it quickly.  In the meantime, at least she is working on her spelling skills, right?

Anyway, what's for dinner?

SundaySmothered Pork Chops, steamed green beans and applesauce

Monday:  Spaghetti and Baked Meatballs, roasted zucchini

Tuesday Leftovers

WednesdayChicken Tamale Casserole with fresh fruit

Thursday: Take-out

Friday: Chicken Fajitas, refried beans, fruit

Saturday:  Macaroni and Cheese with Ham, steamed broccoli and fruit

What's on your menu this week?

'What's for dinner?' That question used to haunt me until I started Menu Planning a couple years ago. Now, menu planning is a scheduled part of our weekend routine. See how we do it here.
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