Monday, December 15, 2014

Neighbor Holiday Gift.

I have to say this is one of my very favorite things to eat: chips and salsa. It is my dear friend, Betsy's recipe. She made it for my family a few years back for a Christmas neighbor gift, and I had to ask for the recipe, because it was that good. (Not to mention it was completely refreshing to have a non sweet goodie gift for the holidays. I didn't feel like I was gaining a ton of weight by eating this. And you won't either!)

I made it for our neighbors, and I thought it turned out so cute with the red/green chips and cute polka dot ribbon... and it doesn't hurt that the salsa itself is red and green!
Betsy's Salsa

1 lg. can of crushed tomatoes
1 bunch green onions, chopped
1/2 bunch cilantro
1 small can diced green chilies
garlic salt, to taste

Blend all ingredients except garlic salt in a blender or food processor. Add garlic salt to taste. (Don't be shy with the garlic salt.) Serve with your favorite chips. Enjoy!

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Sewing: Jungle Baby Set

A friend asked me to make her a set of burp cloths and a taggy blanket for a baby gift. She wanted a jungle theme. I had a lot of fun looking at fabrics online (where I do all my fabric shopping nowadays). These are the ones I ended up choosing: an elephant, citron green scribble, and alligator print from Ed Emberley's Happy Drawing collection. I love them. I bought green minky for the blanket and some assorted ribbons from Hobby Lobby in green, bright blue, and gray. (Finding ribbons that looked jungle-y was harder than I thought it'd be. The geometric ones reminded me of the alligators and felt tribal for some reason, so I went with them!)
 I love the blue birds sitting on the alligators' backs.
And here they are all bundled up and ready to ship out to a sweet mama to be. I have to say that sewing for babies and their mamas makes me really happy.
And looking at these adorable prints almost makes me want to have another baby! (Almost.)  ;)

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Recipe Share: Roasted Chicken with Balsamic Vinaigrette and Roasted Baby Potatoes with Herbs

These are Giada DeLaurentiis recipes that are so tasty! I always make them together, (the way she suggests), as they compliment each other so well and they both bake for the same amount of time at the same degrees. If you have people in your family who are weary of eating chicken off the bone and with skin, I suggest making the chicken as directed, then pulling the chicken from the bone, removing the skin, and serving it that way. (I've tried marinating boneless, skinless breasts and cooking them, but it doesn't taste as good.) Isn't this meal pretty? The food is just as delicious as it looks!

1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 garlic cloves, chopped
2 tablespoons olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 (4-pound) whole chicken, cut into pieces (giblets, neck and backbone reserved for another use) 1/2 cup low-salt chicken broth
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley leaves

Whisk the vinegar, mustard, lemon juice, garlic, olive oil, salt, and pepper in small bowl to blend. Combine the vinaigrette and chicken pieces in a large resealable plastic bag; seal the bag and toss to coat. Refrigerate, turning the chicken pieces occasionally, for at least 2 hours and up to 1 day.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Remove chicken from the bag and arrange the chicken pieces on a large greased baking dish. Roast until the chicken is just cooked through, about 1 hour. If your chicken browns too quickly, cover it with foil for the remaining cooking time. Transfer the chicken to a serving platter. Place the baking dish on a burner over medium-low heat. Whisk the chicken broth into the pan drippings, scraping up any browned bits on the bottom of the baking sheet with a wooden spoon and mixing them into the broth and pan drippings. Drizzle the pan drippings over the chicken. Sprinkle the lemon zest and parsley over the chicken, and serve.

1/2 pound small red-skinned potatoes (about 1 3/4-inch diameter), scrubbed
1/2 pound small white-skinned potatoes (about 1 3/4-inch diameter), scrubbed (I just use whatever potatoes I have on hand and cut them into small chunks - although baby red & yellow potatoes are divine, if you have them on hand)
1 tablespoon herbes de Provence, plus extra for garnish
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra for drizzling
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Put the potatoes into a large bowl. In a small bowl, whisk the herbs, garlic, and oil together until blended, and then pour over the potatoes. Sprinkle generously with salt and pepper and toss to coat. Transfer the potatoes to a heavy large baking dish, spacing them evenly apart. Roast the potatoes until they are tender and golden, turning them occasionally with tongs, about 1 hour. Transfer the roasted potatoes to a decorative platter and drizzle with extra-virgin olive oil and herbes de Provence, if desired. Serve hot or warm.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Avery's Ariel party!

Things have been a bit crazy at our house lately, as we are preparing to move in a few days! We knew Avery girl's birthday was coming up though and she'd been talking about having an Ariel party for quite a while now. I decided Tuesday of this past week to throw a party together for her since her birthday was yesterday! Somehow, I got it all done. I think I work well with a short time limit - I make decisions faster, and I am able to simplify (well at least a little bit). Here's a photo of Ariel I used for color inspiration in planning this party. I originally thought I'd use turquoise, purple, and yellow (for Flounder) in the color scheme.
But as I started gathering what I'd found around my house (the seahorses) and from Target and such, I quickly realized that I wanted to stick with purple and turquoise with white as the neutral. I took these few photos the night before the party when I was staging the food table.
I didn't do a whole lot for décor. I made this simple sign for the front door by printing a picture of Ariel from the internet and then running it through the printer again to put the words on it.
I hung these streamers above the food table.
When the kids first got to the party, they guessed how many candy fish were in this jar. They wrote their answer on a post it note, and whomever guessed close enough got to take the whole jar home with them.
The kids also decorated bags for the piñata candy.
My sister-in-law, Janine, made the amazing cake and cupcakes. I love how they turned out! They are gorgeous! (I was so happy she agreed to make them, as I am not a great baker.)
Since all 3 of my kiddos are allergic to eggs and nuts, these cupcakes were just for them. This is the best vegan and egg/nut free chocolate cake recipe I've come across. It's really good.
I had completely forgotten about these sea horse hooks I had. I got them years ago from Pier 1 to hang my aprons on in my kitchen. I didn't have a place for them in my current home, so they've been sitting in my hutch for 3 years. I was so happy to rediscover them for this party! They were the perfect touch for the tables and I love that they added some height. The flowers and blue vase fillers were awesome Dollar Store finds.
Here's the food table. I was so excited to find this awesome blue tablecloth from Target! I think the geometric pattern was great to balance out the flowery feel of the décor and pretty Ariel picture. I also love that it looks like the color of the ocean. All the food labels were designed by my sister, Jaime. Love, love, love!
 I saw this idea on Pinterest: take Vanilla Oreos and make "sand dollars" using icing gel to make a pattern on the top. I also put brown sugar on the tray first to make it look like they were on the sand. So cute, yes?
 I  had the idea to make this sign for the table a few hours before the party started! I found this picture of Ariel online. The pretty cursive font felt right for the pretty picture of Ariel.
The octopus hot dogs were hysterical. Some of the kids were grossed out by them, so I made them regular hot dogs. Ha!
 After the kids ate, we played "Put the sea shell in Ariel's hand". I got the game at Party City.
We had a slip 'n' slide, water table, sand castle molds, and buckets and shovels out for the kids to play with.
We also hid plastic star fish in the sand for the kids to find. After the kids played for awhile, we came inside to sing to the birthday girl and have cake and ice cream.
 After dessert, we let the kids take a whack at the Ariel piñata.
 For some reason I always find the piñata to be so entertaining. Just look at the kids' faces! So awesome!
Opening presents was hysterical, too. Avery kept taking one thing out of a bag then taking something out of another without finishing the first.
We all laughed when Avery got a new puppy toy that was just like Stella the real puppy. Avery looooves Stella (our cousin's dog), so it was the perfect gift!
All in all, the party was so much fun! I felt like the kids had a blast outside and the adults had fun talking and eating. Here are the party favors. Simple lollipops from Michael's with cute ribbon and twine tied around them.
We love you, Avery girl! Happy 3rd birthday!
 Took these of Avery in her new birthday outfit her cousins gave her. She was showing me how old she is now.