Thursday, June 21, 2012

three

Birthdays are so bittersweet for me.  I love my boys to death.  And I would love to pretend that they will be my little boys forever, but birthdays are the harsh reminder that they are growing up, getting big and turning into little men right before my eyes.  I can't get through singing "Happy Birthday" without tears.  Completely not possible.

I cried the moment when we first met him. I was overwhelmed with gratitude. The baby we waited for for three long years had finally arrived. I couldn't even believe it was true.


Today, he turns three.



He is our sweet and handsome...


funny and charming...


 articulate and chatty...


happy and giggly...


 redhead and wild...


 curious and thoughtful...


daredevil and fearless...


loving, snuggly and affectionate...


We love you so much Grant. We are so lucky that we get to be your Mommy and Daddy. You bring laughter and joy to every day and our family could never be complete without you.

*********

I am going to try not to cry today. I am going to try and just soak up each moment and be grateful that we get to be his parents.  I am going to try my hardest not to acknowledge the fact that he is only going to be my little baby for a little bit longer before he becomes my little man.

We are off to have some birthday waffles with whip cream and then we are spending the day at the fair to celebrate this sweet boy.

Happy Birthday Goose!!

30 minute thursday's: chicken teriyaki



Sometimes a recipe is so darn easy, I almost feel guilty for sharing it.  Chicken Teriyaki is one of those recipes.  But, I'll share it anyhow.  Because it is easy and it is quick and it is a weekday lifesaver.  And you can make it for way under $10.  Way under.

Let's get started.  Here is what you'll need:

::Calrose Rice {this is a great staple to have on hand, especially if you have a rice cooker}
::Rice Cooker {you could make this recipe without a rice cooker, but save yourself the trouble.  I use this kitchen gadget/appliance all the time and you will too}
::16-24oz Cooked Chicken Breast, chopped. 
::1/2 Cup Soy Sauce or Teriyaki Marinade
::1/2 Cup Brown Sugar
::Green Onions, Chopped
::3 Tablespoons Seasoned Rice Vinegar

*********

Let's cook.  Ready?



First start the rice in the rice cooker.  Mine calls for 2 cups of rice, with 2 1/2 cups of water.  I add the rice and the water, plug it in and click the switch to 'cook'.  Done.  So easy.


While the rice is cooking, warm up the chicken in a little bit of Teriyaki marinade.  This is the one I use.  Just a couple tablespoons will do.  If you just have soy sauce, just warm up the chicken as is.  Warming it up in soy sauce will make it way too salty.


This is the chicken I use.  I'm so lazy.  It's precooked, pre marinated, pre chopped and it's $5 at Trader Joes.  But....another way to prep this is just too cook or barbeque an extra 2-3 chicken breasts next time you have chicken for dinner.  Store the chopped and cooked chicken in a Tupperware, and it will be ready to go for this recipe a day or two later. 


Warm up the chicken in a saucepan with a little bit of the marinade and toss with a spatula to coat.


Meanwhile, start the teriyaki glaze.  All you need to do is combine 1/2 cup of brown sugar and 1/2 cup of soy sauce or teriyaki marinade in a small saucepan and bring to a boil.  Once it starts to boil, off the heat, stir and let thicken. 


Keep an eye on the chicken and don't let it get too hot.  You don't want it to dry out.


When the rice is done, pour over a couple tablespoons of the seasoned rice vinegar and stir well.  It's important to do it while it's still steamy.  The combination of the steam and the sugar in the vinegar will make the rice sticky, which is what we are going for.


Add a mound of cooked rice to a plate, top with warmed chicken and drizzle the teriyaki glaze over the top.  Sprinkle green onions on top if you like, and enjoy!

{Note: a little of the teriyaki sauce goes a long way.  Use it sparingly.}

Thursday, June 7, 2012

30 minute thursday's: bbq chicken and bacon pizza with arugula salad

Thanks so much for all your sweet comments last week.  I'm really excited about this series and I'm glad you are too!

For week two, I made BBQ Chicken and Bacon Pizza with an Arugula Salad, Shaved Parmesan and Lemon Vinaigrette.  It was so good.  I actually made it for lunch one day when Mark came home.  It's a really fresh and light dish, perfect for summer.  I hope you love it as much we did!


Ready to cook?

Here is what you'll need:



Ingredient List:

BBQ Chicken and Bacon Pizza

2 cups cooked shredded chicken, about 8 oz.
1/3 cup bbq sauce, approximately
1 pizza crust
10-12 pieces ready bacon, cooked and crispy
1 cup shredded mozzarella
2 tablespoons cilantro, chopped

Arugula Salad with Lemon Vinaigrette

1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice {approx 1 lemon}
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground pepper
Block of parmigiano-reggiano
1 package baby arugula

Okay, here we go...

First preheat your oven to 425 degrees {or if you are using raw pizza dough, like me, you can just heat it to the temperature that the package directs}.


Start with your chicken.  Measure 2 cups into a bowl.

{Note:  this is just shredded chicken from those deli chickens you can buy for $5 in your grocery store deli.  I always have some shredded chicken on hand.  There are lots of emergency meals you can make with shredded chicken, so it's a good staple to get every time you go to the store.  Shred it up and put in in a Tupperware when you get home and you will be glad you did later in the week.}


Next add in your bbq sauce and coat the chicken well.  Add more sauce if you need to until it looks well coated.


Since I don't use the pre-baked pizza crust, mine needed to par-bake for 5 minutes so I did that next.  If you use a pre-baked {like Boboli} you can skip this step.


Distribute the bbq chicken evenly on the pizza crust.


Next, chop the ready-bacon and distribute that on top of the chicken.


Then shred the mozzarella and top the bacon-chicken layer evenly.  Bake according to directions on pizza dough package.  If you are using a pre-baked, this should take about 12-14 minutes.  The cheese will be melted and bubbly and the top will get brown and done looking.

While the pizza is cooking, you can make the salad and prep the plates.


For the vinaigrette, first juice the lemon...


Add the lemon juice to a bowl with the olive oil, salt and pepper and whisk it all together. Taste for seasonings.


Toss the arugula in a bowl with the vinaigrette, adding just a few tablespoons at a time.  You don't want too much dressing or the arugula will be overpowered by the tart, lemon flavor. 


 Just enough to lightly coat the leaves.


Add a heaping portion of the dressed arugula to the side of each plate.


Using your vegetable peeler, peel a few ribbons of parmesan onto the salad and add freshly ground pepper on top.


By now your pizza is done and out of the oven.


Top with the chopped cilantro and allow it to cool for a few minutes.


Then you can transfer it to a cutting board and cut it into slices.


Serve alongside your gorgeous salad and enjoy!!

*********

Here are 4 more quick "emergency" meals you can make with a shredded deli chicken on hand:

Grilled Cheese with Shredded Chicken
{Just like you always make for the kids, only add some chicken between the layers of cheese.  Serve with tomato soup}

Chicken Caesar Salad
{Just buy a bag of ready to go Caesar from the produce dept and add your chicken to it.}

Chicken Quesadillas
{Cheese, tortillas, and scallions.  Serve will sour cream.}

Chicken Taco Bar
{Serve buffet style with tortillas, chopped onion, cilantro, and salsa.  Rice and beans are great sides if you have more time.}

*********

Happy Thursday Everyone!! The weekend is almost here!!








Tuesday, June 5, 2012

tuesday randomness via instagram

Tuesday is here.  And you know what that means, right?! Randomness...

Here are a few pics from instagram this week.


Hydrangeas are my favorite.  There are some neighborhood girls that sell them in their driveway.  $2 a stem.  I'll take hydrangeas over lemonade all day long!


A custom Sydney necklace.  You could totally make that a date tag and use this as a wedding or anniversary gift.  I love it.


Chubby hands and red hair.  Playing musical chairs in the car and waiting for Daddy.  This boy is getting big so fast.  3 is right around the corner...


Reid and his manatee report.  He was proud.  This was a big week for Reid, so there are lots of pics to follow....next week I'll be more equal opportunity with my instagram shots.


Reid had his open house at school one night last week and my parents stayed with Grant so that we could give Reid our undivided attention.  That never happens.  It was really nice.


He is growing up into this smart, self assured little person and I am realizing that we are halfway between being a baby and being a man.  And that scares me to death.  I worry about giving him enough love, preparing him the right way, teaching him how to be a good person.  I worry about it all.  Being a parent is scarier than I ever realized it would be.


Mrs. Brown taught both first and second grade for Reid.  We are going to miss her terribly.  It feels very weird that we will have a new teacher next year.  He has grown so much under her care.


We are in the middle of playoffs.  Reid's team pulled off an upset in Round 1 and then lost by 1 point in overtime in Game 2.  But, Reid got the gameball.  I think that face paint helped him play harder, don't you think?!  He cracks me up...


We play again tonight...it get so intense at the games.  Our boys are only eight, but this playoff stuff, it is serious business.


Grant and his little friend.  He loves snails.  Like, really, really loves them.  I have given up the fight. 


We walked down to Pizza Port for dinner last Friday.  It's a fun, local restaurant and brewery.  And it's just a short walk from the house, which I love.  There is something about walking to dinner.


Thai Chicken Pasta from Trader Joes.  So good.


And I leave you with this.  My new iPhone case from Nordy's.  Tory Burch.  Yes, please.
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