Wednesday, August 29, 2012

G-O Let Me Hear You Say GO!

We have a cheerleader in the house now. Lo is cheering for 4th grade tackle football. It's really a great program, she has one practice and one game each week and she has been having a lot of fun! I just love watching her-giggling with her friends and having no clue what's going on in the game but cheering her little heart out. 

Noa can't cheer until next year, but that doesn't stop Lil' Miss Sassy!

We even got to make a run-through. It's what the football team "runs through" before the game. Each girl gets to make their own and design it how they want. Lucky for Lo her mama's crafty so we had everything we needed already! It was so much fun and really brought back many fun high school memories of making posters and run-throughs with my cheerleading squad.

She even let Noa have a turn.
So proud of her finished product!
I love that she's having a good time and trying something new. Despite the fancy uniforms and the twice a week commitment, it's a pretty low key activity which suits us well. I love that she's being active and she loves that she gets to be silly with her friends. It's a win-win situation! 

Chicken Piccata

Since I've been on my maternity leave I've had much more time to cook and try out recipes new recipes. Earlier this week I made one of my favorite dishes growing up, Chicken Piccata. I just love the lemon-y-ness and tangy capers in this dish. It was super easy to make and even tasted good reheated the next day. The girls "chopped" me on this one, mainly because of the capers, but they did like the chicken plain so it's still a dish my whole family can enjoy (and means more of the yummy sauce for me and the hubby).

Chicken Piccata

  • 2 large lemons
  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 1 1/2 pounds), rinsed, dried thoroughly, and trimmed of excess fat
  • salt and pepper
  • 1/2 unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 4T vegetable oil
  • 1 small shallot, minced or 1 small garlic clove, minced
  • 1 cup chicken stock or canned low-sodium chicken broth
  • 2T small capers, drained
  • 3T unsalted butter, softened
  • 2T minced fresh parsley leaves
  1. Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position, set large heatproof plate on rack, and heat oven to 200 degrees.
  2. Halve one lemon pole to pole. Trim ends from one half and cut crosswise into slices 1/8 to 1/4 inch thick; set aside. Juice remaining half and whole lemon to obtain 1/4 cup juice; reserve.
  3. Sprinkle both sides of chicken generously with salt and pepper. Measure flour into pie tin or shallow baking dish. Working one cutlet at a time, coat with flour, and shake to remove excess.
  4. Heat heavy-bottomed 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat until hot, about 2 minutes; add 2 tablespoons oil and swirl pan to coat. Lay half of chicken pieces in skillet. Saute cutlets, without moving them, until lightly browned, 2 to 2 1/2 minutes. Turn cutlets and cook until second side is lightly browned, 2 to 2 1/2 minutes longer. Remove pan from heat and transfer chicken to plate in oven. Add remaining 2 tablespoons oil to now empty skillet and heat until shimmering. Add remaining chicken and repeat.
  5. Add shallot or garlic to now-empty skillet and return skillet to medium heat. Saute until fragrant, about 30 seconds for shallot or 10 seconds for garlic. Add stock and lemon slices, increase heat to high, and scrape skillet bottom with wooden spoon or spatula to loosen browned bits. Simmer until liquid reduces to about 1/3 cup, about 4 minutes. Add lemon juice and capers and simmer until sauce reduces again to 1/3 cup, about 1 minute. Remove pan from heat and swirl in butter until butter melts and thickens sauce; swirl in parsley. Spoon sauce over chicken and serve immediately. 

Monday, August 27, 2012

Make Over Your Monday

Ahhhh the last Monday of August...does that mean fall is just around the corner? I love fall. I love the scarves, soup and boots it brings with it! 

How did you do on last week's challenge? Did you find some time to do something for yourself? Lil G didn't think I needed to do as much sewing as I had hoped, but I did find some time this weekend to sneak away for a lovely pedicure! My poor feet desperately needed it. The cost of being a runner is not so pretty feet. My favorite part is when they rub the hot stones and my legs and put them between my toes. I could have stayed in the chair for forever!

The challenge this week is to do something you've been putting off.
It's a rainy Monday here in Indy and the perfect kind of day to get things done...and boy to I have a L-O-N-G list! 

Have a great last week of August and we'll check in next week,

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Mommy Time

The hubby took the girls to the pool and G is sleeping. If you need me you can find me heaven
Happy Saturday,

Friday, August 24, 2012

Cloth Napkins

We do our best to be green around here. We started small at first, focusing on the 3 Rs, reduce, reuse, and recycle. The girls are very interested in all things related to nature so it wasn't difficult to get them onboard. It's been a fun family activity to come up with ideas on how we can show the earth how much we love it. One of Lo's suggestions was to stop using paper napkins. Such a great and easy switch for the family, plus I get to make adorable cloth napkins! I took advantage of the having some alone time with G this week and got down to work.

These are for NoJo's lunch box. She only has school three days a week so she only needed a few. 
I love the colors she chose, they match her pink princess lunchbox perfectly!
They are super easy to make. All four were cut and stitched together during one nap-time (with the little one, my projects are measured in how many nap-times they will take to complete). Each napkin is double-sided. I chose to make both sides out of the same fabric, but you can mix it up however you'd like!

To make them I took two 10" x 10" squares and placed ride sides together, then I stitched around all four sides leaving a 2" opening. Then I flipped them right-side-out and topstitched all the way around to close the opening. They make the prefect sized napkins for the little ones. I think it would be fun to embroider them with the days of the week or your child's initials, so many fun choices! 
Next going "Going Green" project is matching reusable snack bags. G and I hit Jo-ann Fabrics earlier this week and now I'll I need is for him to take a nice LONG nap!

What does your family to to be green? Shout 'em out! We're always looking for inspiration!

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Melt Your Heart Smiles

This week Lo is at school and Noa has been at camp. That means I've been able to spend some quality time with my lil' G. Originally I thought I'd get a lot of crafting and cleaning done, but how can you do anything but stare at this adorable face all morning long?

I call this one the "Joey"..."How you doin'?"

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Home State Home

If you've been following me for awhile you know that the hubby and I have moved a few times in the past twelve years. It's always a tricky question when someone asks us where we are from. Where are we from??? We used to call Cali home, but we haven't lived in that "home" for over 12 years. While we LOVED Boston, we never really considered it "home." Indy was supposed to be a two year pit-stop, but 6 years later we're not sure we're ever going to leave. For us, home is truly where our hearts are. When I found {THIS} from The Vintage Lemon I knew I'd found the perfect way to express how each "home" has found a special place in our hearts. 

To start I needed to print out each state. The website states that they are formatted for 11 x 14 prints but I could not get them to work, the photo printing site kept telling me they were not formatted for that size and the quality would be low. In the end I did 8 x10 prints which fit my space much better. For me, Costco was the most cost effective place to have my photos done (BTW, they have fab-u-lous prices on large poster prints and canvas. Just something to keep in mind for your future projects.). I also had the sheet of hearts printed as well.
I already had two of the black frames (from Target), lucky for me they are a stock item and I was able to pick up another one! I love when the crafty planets are aligned! I used the hearts to mark the city that we lived in in each particular state.

Now all I needed was to find the perfect spot in our house. 

The corner of our entryway has looked like this for quite awhile...
And now it looks like this...
I LOVE it! 

(Of course now I think the table needs to be painted! Ha! That's how it goes around here!)

Not only do these make great decorations but they would also be a unique gift for a wedding or anniversary, marking where the couple met, fell in love or got married. Lots of opportunity to be creative!  

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Grilled Chicken Florentine Pasta

I love when I put dinner on the table and I hear my girls gasp because it looks so good! That's what happened last night when I served my girls this lovely plate of yumminess:
Not only is it full of creamy cheesiness, but it's full of good-for-you spinach. When Lo asked for seconds I think my heart actually skipped a beat! I found it in my latest issue of Cooking Light magazine. It's super easy to make and I'm sure if you have any leftovers (we certainly didn't), it would be great the next day too! Vegetarians can omit the chicken and I also think adding fresh tomatoes would be great too! This will definitely be added to our dinner rotation! 

  • 2 (6 ounce) bone-in chicken breasts, skinned (I used boneless)
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt, divided
  • 3/4 teaspoon black pepper, divided
  • 8 ounces uncooked linguine
  • cooking spray
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh garlic
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1 cup fat-free, lower-sodium chicken broth
  • 3 ounces Parmesan cheese, grated (about 3/4 cup)
  • 4 cups fresh spinach leaves
  1. Prepare grill to medium-high heat.
  2. Sprinkle chicken with 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Place chicken on grill rack coated w/ cooking spray, and grill for 8 minutes on each side or until done (I used my George Foreman grill). Let stand 10 minutes. Carve chicken off bones, and thinly slice.
  3. Cook the pasta according to package directions. Drain well; keep warm.
  4. Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add oil to pan; swirl to coat. Add flour and garlic; cook until garlic is browned (about 2 minutes), stirring constantly. Add milk and broth, stirring with a whisk; bring to a simmer, and cook 2 minutes or until thickened. Add cheese, stirring until cheese melts. Add remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt, remaining 1/2 teaspoon pepper and spinach; stir until spinach wilts. Add pasta and chicken; toss to combine.
So delish! Enjoy!

Serves 4 (serving size: 1 1/2 cups)
CALORIES 332; FAT 10.3g; PROTEIN 24.8g
CARB 35g FIBER 2g CHOL 46mg
IRON 2.6mg SODIUM 579mg CALC 195mg

Monday, August 20, 2012

Make Over Your Monday

Happy Monday! Did you have a great week? We have our first week of school under our belts and I am happy to report it was a huge success! I love that Lo has had a HUGE smile on her face as she's gotten of the bus each day. She's also so excited to tell us all about her day. She loves her teacher and now that she's in first grade she gets to go to music, PE and art which she thinks is just the coolest thing ever!

So how did last week's challenge go? Hopefully your gave and received quite a few compliments. I really focused on complimenting the girls last week. Giving them props for their good behavior rather than criticizing them for their less than desirable manners. I also received a few compliments myself. Nothing like hearing kind words to brighten your day.

This weeks challenge is to do something for yourself.

Noa has camp this week so G and I have 4 days of quality time together! We have a lunch date with friends, a field trip to Jo-anns and lots of sewing in our future! It's been awhile since I've been able to sit at my crafty desk and sew and I am SO looking forward to it!
I've said it before, but I truly believe for us to be able to take care of others we first have to take care of ourselves! So this week-take care of you!

Have a wonderful week and I hope you treat yourself well!

Friday, August 17, 2012

Friday Favorites-The Running Edition

I don't know if ya all noticed, but my mileage counter has been going up! This week started my training for the Indy Monumental Half Marathon. To be honest it feels a bit weird to be starting my running at the end of the running season, but it feels so great to be hitting the pavement again. It's hard to believe that it's been almost a year since my last race. In addition to the Monumental I have my annual Tufts 10K in Boston this October, a 5K Turkey Trot on Thanksgiving and I'm hoping for a 8 or 10 mile race in December to finish out the season. I still have no desire to run a full, but the Flying Pig Marathon in Cincinnati is offering something new next year. They have a 3-way where you run a 5K, a 10K and a half in two days. I'm trying to convince the hubby to forgo the Indy Mini Marathon (since it's on the same day as the Flying Pig) and do the 3-way with me instead (insert inappropriate comment here). He has run the Mini every year we've lived here in Indy and he wants to continue the tradition. I'm all about my race bling and REALLY want the extra medal and the bragging rights that comes with doing three races in two days! We're still in the "negotiating" stages, but regardless of what race(s) we do, it's sure to be fun!

Today I'm sharing what I consider my running necessities. The great thing about running is that you don't need a lot of equipment, but if you want some fun accessories they're out there for you too. 

A Training Schedule
There certainly are a lot out there and you need to find the one that suits your needs. There are schedules that have you run 5 or 6 days a week. The hubby found a few for the busy crew that have you running only 4 days a week. Generally the less days you run, the higher the daily mileage. My new favorite is Hal Higdon. What I like most about it is that the daily runs aren't always mileage based. Some days, he's like, "run for 30 minutes at your 5K pace" and for me that works. Especially if I need to run on my treadmill. I can set the time and go, no need to keep checking the display to see how far I've run. For beginners the Couch Potato To 5K is very popular and eases you into a running program. Most programs run about 12 weeks long (full marathon training is typically longer) so you need to plan accordingly. 

I've been wanting one of these babies for a VERY long time, but they can be pricey. I was lucky to come across someone who was selling a new one for a RIDICUlOUSLY low price-YAY me! Carrying water has become my nemesis of running. I hate water belts and carrying a bottle in my hand gets so cumbersome. This wonderful invention is a great little backpack with a reservoir inside to hold water and a little straw that sits on your shoulder for when you need it. They're not just for running, Camelpak makes various sizes and shapes for other sports such as hiking and biking. 

I love this app. It helps keep track of my calories, my exercise and my weight. I've used it for a long time and recently they added a barcode scanner which is FAB-U-LOUS! I just scan the food barcode with my phone and it instantly adds it to my food log. So easy (and fun!). You can also log-in online and it will give all sorts of reports and things, but I don't usually do that. The app does all I need.

I've mentioned her before, she's my baby and I L-O-V-E, love her. She tells me how fast I am going and how far I've gone. Since adding her to my running gear I have increased my pace by almost 2 full minutes and I give her all the credit.

Daily Mile

I use Daily Mile as the primary place where I log all my miles. Not only does it give me the fancy-schmancy button counter on my blog, but it has an awesome route maker. I can put in my address and with a few clicks map out my run. It saves all my routes too making it super easy to keep track of all my miles.

Those are a few of my running "must haves" you have any of your own? Shout 'em out! I'm always looking to try new things! The weather is going to be perfect this weekend for running. I can't wait to get out there!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Tandoori Pizza

Oh boy do I have a treat for you! This is quite possible the best thing I have made in a LONG time. It was so easy and de-lish. It kinda, sorta happened by accident. Naan was on sale. I like a sale so I bought two packages and googled "Naan Pizza" and the result was beyond A-MAZ-ING!

Tandoori Chicken Pizza
Source: Bev Cooks
Ingredients (makes 2 pizzas)
  • 2 chicken breasts, diced
  • 3T plain Greek yogurt
  • 2T (or more if you like it spicy) Tandoori paste (The hubby has a peanut allergy and could not have the Tandoor paste so I used BBQ sauce for his chicken and he said it tasted great)
  • 1T EVOO
  • 1/2 red onion, thinly sliced (next time I would use a whole onion, once it was cooked it reduced quite a bit)
  • 5 frozen Mango chunks, thawed and thinly sliced (I omitted them)
  • 2 store bought Naan breads
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  • Cilantro for garnish
In a bowl, stir together the yogurt and Tandoori paste. Add the chicken, cover and marinate in the fridge for at least an hour.

Preheat oven 400.

Heat the oil in a medium skillet over low. Add the onions and caramelize them until they become super soft and sweet, about 30 minutes (If you are in a hurry you can just saute them, but I think it's worth the time to caramelize them). Remove onions from the pan and set aside. 

Add the chicken to the pan, marinate and all. Saute until chicken is cooked through and the sauce reduced a bit. About 6 minutes. Remove from heat.

Layer the chicken over each Naan bread. Top with caramelized onions, sliced mangos and top with shredded cheese.

Slide into the oven and bake 10 to 12 minutes, until the cheese has melted and is brown and bubbly. 

Garnish with Cilantro. Slice and Serve.


The First Day of First Grade

Even though I've been counting down the days to this moment, I'm sad it's finally here. Sure I'm looking forward to a little more quiet, less screaming, running and door slamming, but with that leaves all the giggles, "I love yous" and snuggles I've received all summer! 

Today Lo starts first grade! She was a little hesitant a few weeks ago, but we went to the Ice Cream Social earlier this week and she got to see who was in her class and meet her teacher and now she is definitely excited. The most exciting thing? Her class is RIGHT next to the cafeteria-it's always about the food-that's my girl!
Need to catch up on your Lo trivia? Here's an excerpt from a recent interview: 
  • Favorite Color: White
  • Favorite TV Show: Doc McStuffins
  • What do you want to be when you grow up?: Veterinarian or Zoo Keeper
  • Favorite Food: Nutella on bread
  • Best part of summer: G being born
  • What are you looking forward to most at school?: Science (She is extremely excited about science and that makes this mama so happy!)
Although I'm sure she's a little bit sad to lose her playmate, Noa is also VERY excited for Lo to have school! She's been counting down the days too! Two days a week she gets me and the house to herself! She gets to play what she wants to play, watch what she wants to watch and there won't be anyone to boss her around "influence" her decisions. For our first "Noa and Mommy (and GG) Day" she has requested shoe shopping and Mexican food for lunch. I can't think of anything better!

This year I can honestly say there were no tears at or after the bus stop. My "baby" is growing up, but I'm so proud of her that I can't be sad!