Wednesday, May 30, 2012

First World Problems...

Your dog commandeering the baby toys...

Feel free to share yours!

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Honey Pecan Glazed Chicken

This meal is so easy and quick it almost doesn't deserve to be call a recipe. I routinely throw this together on weeknights when I forgot to think about dinner until 4 o'clock and I need something I can get on the table in a jiffy. From start to finish this takes less than 30 minutes (that is with chopping your own pecans).

Honey Pecan Glazed Chicken
1 lb. of boneless skinless chicken tenders (or breast that are sliced or pounded out)
6 tbl. of honey
6 tbl. of chopped pecans
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. black pepper
1/2 tsp. onion powder
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1/4-1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper (the sweet and spicy makes this dish but you can eliminate/reduce cayenne on some of the chicken to make it more kid friendly).
2 tbl. Butter

Mix salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder and cayenne together. Season chicken breasts liberally.

Melt butter in pan over medium heat- add chicken and cook 5-6 minutes (or until almost cooked through).

Remove chicken from pan and set aside. Add honey and pecans to pan (with pan juices) and cook 5 minutes (your honey needs to come to a boil to really meld with all the pan juices and pecans).

Return chicken to pan, cover, and cook an additional 3 minutes (or until cooked through).

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Monday, May 28, 2012

Daddy's Day DIY

Tate wanted to make his daddy a little something for his first Father's Day- he was thinking a poopy diaper but I steered him in another direction.

I have used salt dough in the past for Christmas gift tags and decorations when I saw this on Pinterest from The Imagination Tree it got me thinking. I liked the idea but knew I would want to execute it differently.


1 Cup Salt
1 Cup Flour
Up to 1/2 Cup of Water

Salt Dough

Mix the salt and flour together and add water.

Knead until smooth. 

Roll out to desired thickness. I chose 1/2 an inch thin enough to hang but not so thin it will be too fragile.  I rolled it out directly onto cookie sheet to minimize any tearing, stretching.

Imprint child's foot, hand, etc. (I tried to get a hand too but Tate was not cooperating)

Cut around impression using bowl, cookie cutter, etc. (I used a vase)

Peel away excess dough and put two small holes at the top (I used the end of a paint brush) for hanging.

Bake at 170 degrees (that is as low as my oven goes) for 2 hours.

Cool and let sit overnight. Pay no attention to the other empty salt dough, those were a craft fail. But I am currently rethinking the process on those and will blog all about it when if I get it right.

The salt dough has a tendency to have not the cleanest of cuts. I just sanded the edges of my dried plaque to remove the stragglers. You could paint here if you wanted to but I kind of like the natural creamy color of the salt dough.

Thread ribbon through to complete.

There you have it. I know Father's Day is still a ways away but I wanted to share this in case anyone else was in need of a little gift inspiration!

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Keep It Simple Apple Pie

So often we complicate things and in the process forget how good simple pleasures can be. This apple pie is just that, one of life's simple pleasures. There are no fancy ingredients, no complicated vanilla bean caramel rum sauce, just apples, sugar and cinnamon. But from humble beginnings something truly amazing is born. This is the apple pie of my childhood (literally, I grew up making this along side my mama) and it is still an absolute favorite of mine.

So in honor of Memorial Day (because what's more American than Apple Pie) here is without further adieu, Apple Pie with Dutch Crumb Topping- I would love to site a source for this recipe but it is unknown.

Apple Pie Filling
4-5 Granny Smith Apples
1/2 Cup Sugar
2 Teaspoons Cinnamon

Dutch Crumb Topping
3/4 Cup Sugar
1 Cup Flour
1/2 Cup of Butter (softened)

1 Pie Crust (I used frozen prepared crust because like I said I'm keeping it simple)

Preheat Oven to 450 degrees.

Peel, core and pare apples. Placing the already sliced apples in ice water while cutting up the remaining apples keeps them fresher.

Mix 1/2 Cup Sugar and 2 Teaspoons Cinnamon in a small dish. 

Drain apples and place in pie crust. Sprinkle sugar cinnamon mixture over the apples.The apples cook down significantly so I pile them in there, if you want a less full pie just use less apples. 

Mix remaining 3/4 Cup Sugar and 1 Cup Flour in large bowl. Cut in butter using a pastry blender (or in lieu of a pastry blender you can use a fork just make sure your butter is very soft).

Cover pie with crumb topping. 

Bake at 450 degrees for 10 minutes. Reduce heat to 350 and cook an additional 40 minutes. I check it at about 20 minutes in to see if the crust edges are browning too much. If they are (and they always seem to be) I use aluminum foil to prevent further browning. 

Hope you all have an amazing Memorial Day! 

"Land of the free because of the brave" 

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Adventures in Babyfood

We are still 2 months out from solids for Tate (if I can wait that long). But today I had some apples in my fruit bowl that had seen better days. It was either use it or lose it and so I used them to make Tate some Apple Puree.

Recipe from Baby Bullet Cookbook

Apple Puree
1 Apple 
1/4 Cup Water

Peel and core apple (I cut mine into chunks because thats how I core apples). 

Boil or steam (we boiled but I think you could also roast it). I cut the apples into large chunks and it took about 15 minutes to boil them to softness. 

Put into Baby Bullet (or food processor) and voila! 

I used Granny Smith apples and used the water from the pan to thin the puree though in my opinion you didn't need a lot of water. Maybe if you steamed or roasted them but after boiling them they had plenty of liquid. 

Diesel loves apples and sat diligently at my feet the whole time I peeled, cored, sliced, and pureed.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Best Buddies

Because it is too sweet not to share...

Tate at 3 and a half months with his favorite toy! That was 1/3 the price of Sophie and he loves it three times as much. I'm still hoping Sophie will earn her keep when he starts teething.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Getting Crafty

I may know my way around a power sander and a paint brush but I don't consider myself terribly crafty. Though, I do come from a long line of amazingly crafty ladies on my mother's side. Maybe it skipped a generation...however when itty bitty baby items were taking over my cupboards and closets I realized I needed more closets some way to contain it all. So I headed to the thrifty lady's organizational mecca- Ikea. There in the showrooms I found a storage container for every possible type of clutter I could ever hope to own. And then I wandered around to the store and was taken aback! Ikea you are supposed to be CHEAP! Ikea you even require assembly of small storage containers! Ikea this is just a cardboard box covered in fabric why would I pay you $10.00 for it! And there it came to me-I have cardboard boxes, I have random bits of fabric, why not make my own fabric covered cardboard boxes for the purpose of corralling baby related clutter? And so I did.

From This

To This

What follows is my very real attempt at a tutorial. This tutorial makes this project seem way more complicated than it is. In reality this took only slightly longer than assembling the Ikea fabric covered box (I bought a few because I didn't know if this was going to be a craft fail or not).

1 Box- I used a shoe box but you could use anything
Fabric- I used an old tablecloth that shrank
Foam Brush (optional)

You will want enough fabric to wrap around the box you chose. I eyeballed everything because measurements and spatial skills are not my strong suit. 

Mark with a pen (I put masking tape to make it more visible for photos) your cuts. You want to cut away the edges of the fabric to leave a cross or plus sign when all cuts are made. IMPORTANT: In order to create the finished edges you need to leave yourself just a little extra fabric (1/4 of an inch)

After you cut out all the corners this is what your fabric should look like.

The apply a liberal amount of glue to the bottom of your box (I use the foam brush to spread it evenly but you could use your finger) and position it in the center of your fabric. Turn over and push the fabric into the glue making sure to get out any air bubbles.

Then apply glue to the side of box and bring up the corresponding panel of fabric and adhere to the box. You should have 1/4 of an inch of fabric hanging over on each edge. Then glue the fabric to the inside of the box. Pulling tight and making sure there are no air bubbles.

The ends of box should each have that 1/4 inch of fabric hanging over like so.

Repeat the above steps for the other long side of box (or if your box is square just the corresponding side).

Once both sides are done (two glued on and two naked) place a line of glue along the box next to the fabric overhang. Fold the overhang around the corner of the box and press down tightly.

Repeat for all the fabric overhangs (there should be four). Then spread glue along the two remaining sides of the box and bring up the fabric panel. Apply glue on top of the fabric overhang that you folded down and then fold in the corresponding fabric overhangs on the panels that are not yet in place. 

The finished corners should look like this. Then glue the fabric inside the box.

If your box has a top then simply repeat the same steps for the box top.

Here is my finished product next to the box I bought from Ikea. I think I like mine better.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Project Pantry

About a year ago in a fit of pregnancy nesting I was inspired by The House of Smith's pantry makeover. My pantry is considerably smaller and serves a multitude of functions (read: storage of mixer, ironing board, trash can, amongst other homeless objects). I was a pregnant lady with a mission. That was a year ago and I have nary touched it since.

My pantry today- a hot mess.

Worse still is that unorganized mess seems to beget more unorganized mess and duplicate purchases (who doesn't need three large containers of mayonnaise). As I've watched my cereal boxes move from the top shelf to teetering off the side of the middle shelf to their current location on the floor (and inching closer to the trash can by the day) I have had it in my mind to tackle the pantry but its amazing what gets prioritized in a house with a 4 month old. But today it happened- Tate was napping, the rest of my house is some semblance of clean, and most importantly the cable was out.

First things first- EVERYTHING came out (sorry for the blurry picture I didn't realize it till I uploaded it)

Everything got sorted.

Pantry got throughly cleaned.

Side note: Those of you who are not blessed with solid shelving in your pantry and instead have these ridiculous wire shelves I have found that thick plastic shelf and drawer liner helps the shelving act more like a solid surface and greatly reduces the amount of items that topple over (I even use it for my shoes in the bedroom closet).

And then everything got put back in (minus the water chestnuts those got donated to the food shelf because I hate water chestnuts and I have no clue how a can ended up in my pantry). I even have room for more food!

I like to decant most items into glass see through jars. My flour, sugar, pastas, etc. are in these Anchor Hocking Canisters from Target.

I also save just about every pretty glass jar that comes my way- jams, pasta sauces, salsa. Mostly I use left over Classico pasta sauce jars. Classico uses Atlas canning jars that have squared edges and are also the perfect size for bread crumbs, chocolate chips, etc.

This Coca-Cola crate I picked up at a garage sales ages ago- it had been on a garage shelf holding junk very important car cleaning supplies until it was called to serve this higher purpose (bonus it is reminiscent of it's past purpose). 

Now it's not nearly as esthetically pleasing as The House of Smith's but it is certainly a marked improvement! What do you think?

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