Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Roasted Chipotle Chicken Breast

Last week I wanted to do a little something different when cooking chicken for dinner.  A few weeks before my friend, Mandee (The Kitchen Wife), had posted a recipe for what looked like a really yummy chicken dinner (Roasted Chipotle Chicken Breast with Black Bean Salad over a Baked Potato).  My husband is not a fan of potatoes so I just decided to make the chicken breast.  The recipe calls for the taco seasoning that I used for the DIY tacos (of which I'm making again tonight). Here's Mandee's recipe for the taco seasoning:

2 tsp. Chili Powder
1 1/2 tsp. Paprika
1 tsp. Onion Powder
1/2 tsp. Salt
1 tsp. Garlic Powder
1/2 tsp. Cumin
1/2 tsp. Oregano
1/2 tsp. Pepper
1/8 tsp. Cayenne Pepper

I baked the chicken for 25 minutes and should have used my handy-dandy meat thermometer that my step-mom got me for Christmas to check and make sure it was cooked all the way.  They smelled delicious and for the most part tasted good.  That is until my husband found some raw chicken.  I felt so bad - at least half of his chicken breast still needed to be cooked longer.  Moral of the story is to always check you meat before serving.  I probably should have baked them for 30 minutes and will do that the next time I make them.

If you like potatoes, try out the rest of Mandee's recipe.  I think when my mom is in for a visit, I might try them as well as some other recipes that Mandee has that the husband won't like.

Oh, Mandee did tell me that her husband said that the chicken would probably taste really good on the grill.  I think they would.  I might try it out on our Foreman the next time, but can't wait for warmer weather so we can have the nice charcoal flavor added to it.
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Friday, February 21, 2014

Making a cake with a toddler

My husband had bought some cake mix with the intention of making it for Valentine's Day, but that never happened.  Yesterday I thought that I would try something out that I haven't done with Michael, let him help me out with making something in the kitchen.  Michael is always in the kitchen at my feet when I'm trying to cook dinner, but I've never let him get involved because I'm always trying to get things done and never have time to go at his speed.  I decided that I would let him be involved with making the cake.  He seemed to have a great time helping me out.

I brought one of the kitchen table chairs over to the kitchen island so that he would be able to watch and help.  I opened the cake mix bag so that Michael could pour it in the mixing bowl.
He actually did pretty good.  Got almost all of the bag in the bowl!  I then cracked the eggs.  After I cracked the first egg, I handed the shell to Michael to throw away (he loves to throw trash away in the trash can).  He touched it, made a face, and handed it back to me.  After cracking the second and third eggs, I handed them to him and he hopped down from the chair and threw them away.

I then measured out the oil and handed it to him to pour into the mix.  He did really good and got it all in the bowl.  The same with the water.

Now to the part I was a little nervous about, the mixing.  I started the mixer and showed him how to use it.  He loved it, as I'm sure must boys do.  I mean it's the kitchen power tool!  He wanted to use it so I let him control it, but with me still holding it.  He had a blast!  Here's the video that I took:

He did such a great job!  I think I might have to let him help me a little more when I'm cooking in the future.  Maybe I have the next Chef Gordon Ramsay or Chef Robert Irvine living with me!
The whole entire time, he had a smile on his face.  I asked him after the cake was baked and cooled if he wanted to help with the icing and sprinkles and he said no.  He was too caught up in his TV show and I was ok with him not helping.  I probably avoided a big mess.

What are some things you've let you toddler help you with while cooking?  I do think that I will try and involve him in the future while I'm cooking in the kitchen.  That is, if he's interested in doing so.
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Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Microwave Cooking Formula

When I was a Tupperware consultant, I learned some awesome information about how to properly cook food in the microwave.  Here's the "formula":
  • 6 minutes per pound to cook. 
  • 6 minutes per pound to defrost.
  • 6 minutes per pound on 50% or 60% power to preheat (with 50% power is your defrost cycle).
  • 1/3 to 1/4 of your cooking time is standing time.
Formula based on microwaves that are 600 - 800 degree watts.  Higher wattage microwaves (900 - 1200 degrees) decrease your cooking minutes per pound to 4 1/2 to 5 minutes.  Increase your cooking time to 7 minutes per pound for lower wattage microwaves (500 or less degrees).

I have cooked porkchops in the microwave before and they turned out yummy.  The key is to let your meat sit in the microwave after it's done because the meat is still cooking.  I normally let it sit in the microwave for half the time it cooked.  So if you have a pound of meat, you'll run the microwave for 6 minutes and let it sit in the microwave for 3.
Next time I have porkchops, I'll cook them this way and do a post about it.  As well as the container I use to cook them in.
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Friday, February 14, 2014

Valentine's Day 2014

Every Valentine's Day since Michael was born, Jon and I have gone to The Outback Steakhouse for their Valentine's Day special.
Since Jon has Fridays off from work, we decided that since they opened at 11am on Valentine's Day that we would try to be there around opening.  It took a little longer to get ready, but we were still able to get there when it wasn't too busy.  Made for a quick and easy lunch.  It was delicious like every time we've been there.  This is what the deal included:
Even Michael loved this bread.
Ended up taking a good bit of this home with us.
My salad without the Bobs and Larrys (tomatoes and cucumbers - people who watch Veggie Tales will get that).
Jon's 9 oz sirloin with fries and apple slices & grapes since he doesn't like salads.
My 9 oz sirloin with fries.

We actually ended up having to take half of our food home with us because we were so full.  You also received a slice of cheese cake which we had them box up for us to take home.  All of that was $35.  Not a bad deal at all.  We love that they open early on Valentine's Day so that we can get in and out since we have Michael with us.  We got great service as well.  The first year that we did this deal, one of my friends actually watched Michael for us.  We had called a head, but still had to wait a long time.  Service was still good, but rather slow due to the fact the place was packed!  I noticed that this year Outback is having this special all the way through the 16th!  So, there's still time to take your Valentine out for a great meal even if it's not Valentine's Day.

Yeah, we decided to get a little dressed up.  Why not?  It's Valentine's Day!  After lunch, we went home and opened up our gifts, mostly candy.  
Jon got me some more long stemmed strawberries since I had already eaten my original batch.  
We got Michael The Jungle Book (Jon's favorite Disney movie).  I got Jon all his favorite candies.  
We had to go to Walmart to get some diapers so Jon also got me an arrangement of flowers of my choice.  I'm not too big on flowers, but really like the colors and wanted something for a center piece on the dinning room table.  We plan on maybe doing some Valentine's Day crafting tomorrow since we might be snowed in.  Maybe a blog post about that tomorrow!  Hope you all had a great Valentine's Day!
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Thursday, February 13, 2014

Our First Snow Storm of the Year (2014)

Yes, this our first real big snow storm for us in Northern Virginia.  All of our family members have been hit with tons of snow for weeks, but we sometimes didn't even get an inch.  I had been wanting a big snow to come so that we could go out and play with Michael.  He's almost three and had yet to see how much fun snow is.

Last night it started snowing when Jon was coming home from work.  We decided that we would go get a pizza for dinner.  While we were out, I ran into Home Depot to see if they had any sleds.  No luck.  The snow was coming down and roads were starting to get covered so, we decided to not search anywhere else for a sled.

When we got up this morning the Mazda was completely covered and it was still coming down.  We went out once it stopped snowing and measured before we did anything.  It was 14 inches and we're suppose to get more tonight.

Well before any fun could be had, we had to be able to get out of our house.  The snow had come up to the bottom of the front door.  Michael had fun helping shovel out the driveway, cleaning off the Mazda, and even helped out our neighbor.

Once we were dug out and the car cleared off, we went to the back of our house where there's a hill.  Since we had no sled, we took the lid off of a storage container and used that.  I was even thinking of using our buggy board, but had forgotten that it was in the shed and not the garage.  Surprisingly, the lid worked really well.  The first time Michael and I went down, we actually ended up ahead of the lid.  We had so much fun, but had to go in because we'd been out for several hours and Jon and I were getting pretty wet.  Here's the video we took and definitely, if you don't have a sled but have a storage tub use the lid!

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Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Cleaning Toys in the Dishwasher

This past weekend Jon and I worked on getting the playroom cleaned and ready for Michael.  We had some leaking pipes down there about a year ago and had a good bit of the drywall cut out.  Well, plumbing got finalized, the drywall got patched back up, and room was repainted.  With all that work being done, all of the toys down there got really dusty.  I hand cleaned all the larger toys, but really was not looking forward to cleaning all the small toys.

I had seen somewhere about cleaning toys in the dishwasher so, I decided I would try.  I had washed Michael's baby teething toys and pacifiers in the dishwasher and they came out fine so, why not regular toys?  I made sure that there wasn't any toys that played music or had anything that might not do well in the dishwasher.  All the larger toys, mostly larger cars, were put on the bottom shelf.  I also put all the Lego Duplo parts in the utensils holders as well as anything else that's small.  The top shelf held everything else.
I put the regular detergent that I use with my dishes as well as the rinse aid.  Set it to a normal wash and also used the sanitize option.

Everything came out nice and clean.  Didn't see any problems with the toys.  Some had some water in them so, I put them in the drained and on a towel for them to dry.  So, next time you have a lot of toys to clean, save yourself time and load up your dishwasher!
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Tuesday, February 11, 2014

A Yummy Valentine's Day Treat

When we were doing our grocery shopping, we found these large strawberries still on the stem.  Since it's getting close to Valentine's Day, they had a whole lot to choose from.  The way I choose my strawberries is not just by looks, I smell them.  If they don't have that beautiful strawberry smell, I don't get them.  I kept going back to the large stemmed strawberries, made in the USA.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Cleaning Fruit

Just recently I learned an awesome way to clean fruits.  I used to just run my apples or whatever fruit under running water.  How could tap water really clean your fruits?  It can't.  Here's the way to do it.  Fill your sink with water and a cup of vinegar, mix it up and then add your fruits.  Let them sit for about 10 minutes.  This not only cleans the fruit, but also helps them last longer.  The fruits will smell like vinegar for a day or two, but will not effect the taste at all.  Hope you enjoyed this helpful tip! If you like what you just read please click to send a quick vote for me on Top Mommy Blogs- The best mommy blog directory featuring top mom bloggers

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Do It Yourself Tacos

making homemade tacos,
Yesterday when planning out our weekly meal plan, my husband and I decided we wanted to do something different with the hamburger meat that was already in our fridge.  I think it was intended to be used for Hamburger Helper, but we wanted something else and different.  Jon had suggested we make tacos with it.  I was shocked that he even suggested it since he's not a big taco fan, but that is what he wanted.

Monday, February 3, 2014

Cooking Wings With Jon

Jon is a lover of wings.  Me, not so much.  I mean don't get me wrong, I love me some chicken, but not so much wings with BBQ sauce.  Since last night was the Super Bowl, Jon felt that he had to make wings for supper (even though we watched very little of the game).  He decided that he would just make them naked and we could add the sauce of our choice to them while we ate.  They were actually really yummy and I think I might have him make them more often.

We had bought a big bag of frozen wings from Walmart.  So Jon thawed them out before he did anything with them.  To make the wings naked, this is what you'll need:
A little salt, pepper, and olive oil.

Sprinkle some salt on the wings.
Then some pepper.  I'm not big on pepper and on the first batch, Jon had put too much on them.
Pour the olive oil in the palm of your hands and rub into the chicken.  Flip the wings over and do the same process on the that side of the wings.
Don't forget to wash your hands after handling raw chicken.
Place the wings on a cookie tray and have your oven preheated to 400 degrees.  Bake the wings for about 25 minutes.  Let the wings sit for a few minutes before serving.  Jon poured Buffalo Wing sauce on his wings and I dipped mine into a sweet honey barbeque sauce.  These wings were good with out the sauces.  I was rather surprised at how good they were and how fast it took to make them. If you like what you just read please click to send a quick vote for me on Top Mommy Blogs- The best mommy blog directory featuring top mom bloggers

Parenting in Public

I have been thinking about posting something about this for awhile now.  I love the YouTube channel The Mom's View.  I just can relate to these moms and I feel that I'm not alone in my trials with raising Michael.  This past week they posted a show about how they deal with their children melting down in public.  Does your parenting style change when you're out in the public?

I'll admit that mine does.  I'm a lot more aware of my surroundings and try to act as cool as I possibly can.  A few weeks ago we were at Target and this mom had a daughter that was a lot older than Michael throwing a fit.  I felt sorry for the mom, but I also felt sorry for the daughter.  The mom was yelling at her and, in my opinion, not handling it the best way.  I would have just went and checked out and left, but this mom kept shopping and screaming at her daughter.  There have been several times where Michael has acted up and I had to stop what I was doing and leave.  Every time, I felt so embarrassed because my son was not behaving.  I had a mom come up to me one time and tell me not to worry about it, that we've all been there.  That made me feel better, but I still sometimes feel judged when I'm out in public and my son doesn't behave.  That's one of the main reasons Michael and I stay at home so much during the week.

It doesn't seem to be as bad when Jon is with me.  If Michael acts up, Jon takes him to the bathroom and has a talk with him and maybe even gets a spanking if one is called for.  If that doesn't work, one of us will take him to the car and sit with him there until the other is done with what we were doing.

Since becoming a parent, my views about a lot of things have changed.  Before kids screaming would drive me up the wall, but now I completely feel for the parent that's child is screaming bloody murder.  Most of the time I feel like it's mine that's doing that and generally if we've been waiting for a very long time it is.  What precautions do you all take when going out with your kids?  I always have several cars in my purse for Michael to play with and we always have some Michael friendly games downloaded on our cell phones.  I never wanted to be one of those parents that put a phone or iPad in front of their kid to keep them quiet, but sometimes if you want to go out to eat in peace, it's what has to be done.

The thing I hate is when he does act up, all the judgmental looks that you get from people.  Even if they clearly can see we are doing everything in our power to stop the melt down.  One time we were waiting to even be acknowledged to get a seat and Michael started screaming.  The people behind us were like, "Oh, my God!"  After that was said, we left.  Don't need to be in a place that people are going to act like that when they could clearly see we were trying to get Michael under control and that we had been waiting for awhile.

I have noticed a difference within the past month or so.  I can go to the mall and actually have lunch with Michael.  Well, as long as he has some cars to play with and my phone to play games on.  Before he wouldn't even sit down - he would always be running off.  We're slowly understanding each other.

Let me hear what you all think and what has worked for you.  Like they said in the video, every child is different and you just have to learn what works best for that child. If you like what you just read please click to send a quick vote for me on Top Mommy Blogs- The best mommy blog directory featuring top mom bloggers

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