Monday, June 27, 2011

Sunday Night Dinner brought to you by Bloggers everywhere

Yes - I've been MIA lately.  I got a new job.  This is a pretty big deal for me since I was at my last gig for almost 7 years, and for a good chunk of those years, it's where I thought I would stay.  But alas, things change, opportunities arise and I moved on.  It's taken a lot of brain power to

a) wrap my head around the change
b) stay focused on the things I needed to do to wrap up at the last company
c) stay focused on the things I would need to carry forward to my new job
d) begin new job and have week 1 under my belt

Tomorrow I start week 2.  It's all good though, and in the middle of all of that change and focus, we've had birthdays, summer school start and end for the big kid, the medium kid with us and lots of other life details big and small.

This weekend has really been the first weekend where I've felt free to relax.  I don't have a bunch of if/then's or how or but's bouncing around in my brain.  The change is done.  Now I just have to settle into it.  I have to remind myself that might take a little time even though I wanted to feel settled on my first day.  But like I said, it is all good.

Like I was also saying, this weekend was the first one in quite sometime, where I felt a bit more relaxed and visited some of my favorite food blogs that I haven't seen much of over the past couple of months. I had lots of fun catching up on some great recipes and my hour's worth of browsing actually inspired over half of our dinner menus for the week, including tonight's which was so yummy.

For the main course we had:
Photo respectfully borrowed from
Barbeque Chicken Burgers via
Oh. My. Goodness.  These were so tasty.  You can find the recipe in the two links above.  I modified ours a bit.  First of all, I used a sourdough hamburger bun (toasted).  I followed her burger recipe with the exception of cornmeal and scallions.  We didn't have any, so I used breadcrumbs and a shallot instead.  I also totally cheated and used bottle BBQ sauce since we had some on hand.  Oh - and we didn't grill.  I just cooked these on the stove, because it was on the verge of raining, but even with my modifications - these were fantastic.  Oh, and I had lemonade with mine instead of beer.  :)
Photo respectfully borrowed from
Mexican Corn on the Cob via
I decided to pair them with a tried and true favorite from one of Heather's favorite bloggers - Homesick Texan.  We no longer have corn on the cob any other way than this.  It is the bomb.  Seriously.  Unfortunately for us, we didn't have parmesan cheese (a good substitute for the cojita cheese) on hand, so we went without, but honestly the corn is still great.  I love the hint of spice that the chipotle gives it.
Photo respectfully borrowed from
Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter Oatmeal Cookies via The Brown Eyed Baker
And to top dinner off, we had these.  I met these cookies earlier this year when I made them for the night of the Oscar's.  It was love at first bite.  These have 3 of my favorite cookie ingredients all in one - chocolate chips, peanut butter and oatmeal.  So good.  I've made these many times since the Oscars.  I do three things differently than the recipe.  First, I just measure.  Second, I make the cookies smaller than what the recipe calls for.  Third - I don't make them into balls and twist - I find that just using a spoon to make a rough ball shape is all the action required to give them a "crinkly top"  I also think I prefer using mini chocolate chips vs. the big ones.  But, seriously - the cookie dough - addictive.  So, so good.  Go try them today.  You won't regret it.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins

Lelia is a regular fixture around our house during the summers and school breaks.  She is Felicia's half sister, but Emily has claimed her as her full sister - even confusing her teachers at daycare for a few days by talking about her big sister.  We love Lelia.  Lelia loves Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins, which is funny because we haven't had them since last fall, but she remembers them.  So when I asked the kids what sorts of snacks they wanted in the car ride to Disney, she was the first to yell, "Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins!"  So I had to oblige by letting her make some.  

I found this recipe awhile ago, over at Meal Makeover Moms.  I've used a lot of their recipes over the past couple of years.  Some I've adapted to our own tastes, and others I stay true to the recipe.  This is one that doesn't need any tweaking.  It's easy, good and best of all - the kids all love them!
Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/4 cup ground flaxseed or wheat germ
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup canned pure pumpkin
  • 2 large eggs, beaten
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup 1% lowfat milk
  • 1/3 cup canola oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2 cup mini chocolate chips

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly oil or coat 24 mini muffin cups with nonstick cooking spray and set aside.
  2. Whisk together the flours, ground flaxseed, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt in a large bowl. Combine the pumpkin, eggs, brown sugar, oil, milk, and vanilla in a medium bowl and stir until well combined. Pour the liquid ingredients over the dry ingredients and stir until just moistened. Stir in the chocolate chips.
  3. Spoon the batter into the prepared muffin cups. Bake 15 to 18 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Transfer the pan to a wire rack and cool 5 minutes. Remove the muffins and cool an additional 5 minutes before serving. When making 12 full-size muffins, bake for 20 to 23 minutes.

Monday, June 20, 2011

The lost birthday

Yes - it's been a few weeks.  Life Happens.  This week will be all about catch up so what better place to start than with my birthday.

We headed to Disney to celebrate my 40th birthday and Emily's 4th.  This has been a trip that's been in the works for almost a year, and in hindsight, I'm happy we had all of the anticipation because that in itself was so much fun.
The first day we headed to Magic Kingdom, which also happened to be my birthday.  We spent most of our time in Fantasyland.  Emily loved It's a Small World.  We met Pinocchio, which Emily loved despite not having a clue as to who he is (we still have some classics to catch up on).

Em wanted to eat every 5 seconds, so it made the morning a bit challenging and then it started to rain.
And it rained.  By this time my sister had taken Felicia and Lelia off for their own adventures and we decided to hunt the princesses down.  Emily was most interested in seeing The Princess and the Frog, so we found her garden and we waited.  And waited. And waited.  After an hour, it started to rain again but the princess keepers came and got us and led us to a gazebo area that was covered, and there we met the beautiful Princess Tiana.  She was very sweet and had the perfect New Orleans drawl.  
After that, we decided to head back to the hotel while Liz and the girls stayed to enjoy the Electric Light Parade.  

I had not felt great the day before - I slept a lot of the afternoon, so when we got back from the Magic Kingdom, I laid down again, and then proceeded to stay in bed for the next 2.5 days with an oh-so-fun-but-not-so-magical stomach bug.
While I hung out in the room, the rest of the family went on to enjoy the Animal Kingdom on day 2 and Blizzard Beach on Day 3.
The met lots of characters - Goofy was a favorite, and Emily lasted each day until about 2-3pm, which I thought was pretty good for her.  

Heather and Felicia took part in one of their favorite traditions - the eating of the sour candy.  This is something I will never understand, because I long ago gave up the notion that sucking up a bunch of sour powdered candy was fun, but they do it whenever they find the stuff and I do my part by taking pictures.
The last day I was feeling better and we ALL headed to Epcot, and we started it off with breakfast with the princesses.  We met Belle, Aurora and Cinderella.  Watching Emily watch the princesses was priceless.  She was wide-eyed and excited.  When they came up to us, she got a little more shy, but was still thrilled with the whole experience.
We hung out in the land area, and visited the Nemo area.  The most impressive experience of Epcot to me was the Talking Crush show.  Kids and People got to interact with Crush the Turtle from Nemo and it was really really cool how they did it.  Heather, Em, Leila and I headed back to the hotel around lunch time and proceeded to enjoy the afternoon at the pool.

It was definitely not the trip I was anticipating, but it was nice to have a break and overall I think the kids really enjoyed the experience.  I feel fortunate to have had the opportunity to go, and look forward to our next trip - probably in a few years - where, with some luck, we'll all be able to enjoy the entire adventure!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011


There is a LOT going on in my world right now.  It's all good stuff, but I'm trying to be smart about not trying to take EVERYTHING on at once. So if you don't see a lot of me in the next week or two, it's because I'm trying to focus on the really big transitional items in my life right now.  Hopefully the dust will settle soon and I'll be able to share and get back to normal green bird ramblings.  For now, just know that these two songs have been on heavy repeat in my internal playlist.  Yes - the Brady Bunch sing inside my head more than I should probably admit.  :)

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

celebrating 40 (things about me)

My birthday is today - June 1.  I love my birthday and I love making a big deal about it.  But what a lot of my friends and family probably don't know is that I also get quite introspective around my birthday.  I think a lot about what I've done over the past year, what goals I've met and not quite met and where I want to go.  This year is the big 4-0 and I find that the decade years are always a good time to reset.  I've been looking to 40 for quite some time.  The older I get, the more comfortable I get in my own skin, and I can't help but think that with that forward motion the decade of 40 is going to rock.

In addition to all of the reminiscing, thinking and daydreaming I've been doing around the big day, I decided to celebrate myself in doodle + word.  This was a lot of fun and it was something I did over a couple of days whenever I had a few minutes.  Totally recommend this for everyone big and small!  Here's the list I came up with:

1.  I am a mom and an aunt mom
2.  I try to see the good in people
3.  I am a gurl
4.  I love flowers
5.  I am creative
6.  I am funny
7.  I am a dreamer
8.  I am silly
9. I am honest
10. I am a good sister
11.  I have more good days than bad
12. I am getting better with boundaries
13. I cry at (some) tv commercials
14.  I celebrate
15.  I imagine
16.  I make mistakes
17. I don't know everything
19.  I make goals (and sometimes reach them)
20.  I am a good person
21. I love to sing
22.  I am inspired
23. I am not perfect
24. I love swirls
25. I still love my tattoo
26.  I can be shy
27.  I have great friends
28. I am learning to trust my gut everyday
29. My own skin gets comfier with age
30.  I like swirls and polka dots (also see 16 and 24, since I have two references to swirls)
32. I love blowing bubbles
33. I believe in ghosts.
34.  I am goofy
35. I would totally climb up the beanstalk
36. I get scared.
37.  I don't hang out with negative voices.
38.  I get starstruck
39.  I love a good challenge
Happy Birthday to me!
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