Category Archives: Food

Chicken Pox and Salsa

So it’s been awhile again, but we’ve been on vacation (more about that later though when the pictures are ready to go)!  Of course it takes time to get ready before, so it’s been busy.  The thing is it was even busier than it should have been because Mr. Tyler came down with the chicken pox about a week and a half before we left.  He came down with them on a Saturday the same day as we were supposed to go to a birthday party and had a busy weekend planned!

Tyler didn’t have a bad case tough.  They weren’t even bad enough to get a spotty dotty picture luckily!  He had had the chicken pox vaccine, but only the first one so far, so my special little boy is even more special since he’s that 1 out of 10 people that still gets it after the first vaccine.  He was better in about 4 days and got one fun day with Grandma E. and really didn’t itch much at all.  He was a bit grumpy though 🙂

Since all our plans were cancelled for that weekend to keep everyone away from spotty Tyler, it meant that some cooking could be done.  It was time for fresh salsa!


The tomatoes, cilantro, onion and cayenne peppers

Garden tomatoes, onion, cilantro, lime and salt

Garden tomatoes, onion, cilantro, lime, cayenne peppers, and salt

The tomatoes and the peppers came from our garden.  I used:

  1. 5 small to medium tomatoes,
  2. about half an onion finely chopped,
  3. about a quarter cup of cilantro finally chopped,
  4. one lime juiced,
  5. 3 cayenne peppers,
  6. 1/2 tsp salt

I just combined them and then refrigerated for a few hours and it was time to enjoy and we certainly did!  There’s nothing like garden fresh salsa in the summer!

Digging into the fresh salsa

Digging into the fresh salsa


There’s No Nuts in Nutella!

Ok there are actually nuts in Nutella, but it doesn’t taste like there are, and that’s all that is important in our household.  Neither Eric nor I like peanuts or walnuts or cashews.  It’s actually pretty surprising that Eric likes peanut butter (which I don’t).  However we both love Nutella, so when I decided that I wanted to make ice cream, Nutella ice cream seemed liked something we’d both enjoy.  By the way, be prepared for lots more ice cream recipes as we move through the summer.  I love my ice cream maker plus in my mind, if I make it, it’s not nearly as fattening! 🙂

All the steps towards making the ice cream.

All the steps towards making the ice cream.

I made a recipe found here because it wasn’t just a smooth ice cream but is “crunchy” as well.  Compared to some of the ice creams that I’ve made this one has very few ingredients, egg yolks, heavy whipping cream, half and half, Nutella and salt.  I only had to buy the half and half for this recipe. The reason that this is termed crunchy was because at the end more Nutella is swirled into the ice cream, which is really tasty and ramps up the Nutella flavor.  I didn’t swirl all of the 1/4 cup in, but I wish I would have.  For us, it didn’t seem to add a crunch as much as just a different texture.  It’s kinda like finding chocolate bits in your ice cream.  It makes it go from tasting like chocolate ice cream to Nutella in my opinion.  One note from me is that you might want to put this in something microwaveable. It gets VERY solid when it’s completely frozen and even our really sturdy spoons and ice cream dippers felt like they were going to bend when dishing this out.  A quick zap in the microwave would really save some spoons I think.

The ice cream has the nutella swirled in and is ready to go into the freezer

The ice cream has the Nutella swirled in and is ready to go into the freezer

We’re still finishing this ice cream off.  It’s hard to have a dessert in the evening when you have a toddler you don’t want to share with and he keeps going to bed later and later!  Not to mention trying to eat a little healthier.  It was really good though, and I now want to try other Nutella desserts as well!

My dished out ready to eat bowl of ice cream.  Yum!

My dished out ready to eat bowl of ice cream. Yum!

Start of the Growing Season

It’s that time of the year again!  Time to start planting our garden.  With all the rain we’ve been getting lately, it’s been hard to find decent weather to get into the garden (maybe there will be a lot less watering than last year! Darn drought years!). When we had amazing weather this past Monday through Wednesday (always has to be on the weekdays), I decided it was time to get some of the early crops into the garden.

Rock produce from our garden and what the plot that I planted looks like

Rock produce from our garden and what the plot that I planted looks like

I actually started getting the garden ready for this year’s crop last weekend.  The first step was to clean rocks out of the plot.  We have no idea where all these rocks came from! They had to have been there last year, but they must have been buried and decided to come up to the surface during the winter. Cleaning these out took me a good 2 hours but then it started raining, so that put an end to the gardening for the day. I got a pretty full sack of rocks out of the garden even though I had to quit early. I’m not sure what I’m going to do with them now though.

Green beans and spinach are currently planted!

Green beans and spinach are currently planted!

Finally on Tuesday, the garden had enough time to dry out from our weekend rain, so I got to work on the digging.  We didn’t even have to get the tiller out this year because the soil was soft enough that one turn with the shovel was all it took to be ready for planting.  Unfortunately, that means there won’t be the annual shot of Eric battling the tiller!

Green bean seeds ready to start growing.

Green bean seeds ready to start growing.

This year we plan on having spinach, green beans, tomatoes, onions, peppers, a few herbs, and some sunflowers.  While we weren’t confident enough the weather would cooperate to break out the warm weather plants yet, we did pick up some spinach, green bean, and sunflower seeds at the grocery store. It is getting a little late in the season for the spinach, but since it has been on the chillier side, we decided to try it anyway. I got the green beans in the ground too. Since it’ll take them awhile to sprout yet, hopefully they won’t be too harmed by a late season frost.

Next weekend we’ll probably pick out our pepper, tomato, and herb plants and get those in the ground ready to go. Before then though, we’ll get the Preen down to make sure we have to do minimal weeding during the season. We’re always looking for a few short cuts! Hopefully, we’ll be able to get our annuals going outside too next weekend. I can’t wait for our yard to look green and flourishing again. The next time I post about the garden maybe there will be something green growing other than dandelions in the garden!

My adorable little helper, helping with the gardening!

My adorable little helper ready to start digging in the garden.

Going Bananas

Another weekend has come to an end, a very busy weekend.  I couldn’t wait for this weekend.  I was going to get my garden planted, my house was going to be sparkling, and I was going to bake up a storm.  Well then I realized I didn’t have time for everything on my to do list.  I still got a lot accomplished even with the cold temperatures, the rain, and deciding I just wanted to have some fun instead of running around like a chicken with my head cut off!

We had a great time going out to dinner and then having a fire pit at our house Friday night.  On Saturday, Eric, Tyler and I went out for breakfast while all the marathoners were still out running, we went to Sam’s Club to try out the free weekend (and bought a lot of stuff and are considering renewing our membership), I bought a few new spring/summer clothes, and cleaned out my car!  My wonderful parents came to visit on Sunday.  It’s always fun to see them and Tyler interact, and Tyler was certainly putting on a good show for them today!  If that wasn’t enough, I also got a little bit of baking in, some amazing banana bread.

I have a bad habit of buying 5 bananas, one for each day of the week, to eat for breakfast.  Well lately I’ve been eating a little more food than that on the days that I get my butt out of bed to run in the mornings .  I haven’t been using up all my bananas.  This week I decided instead of tossing them out on the next trash day it was time to make something yummy with them.  I’m not a fan of just banana bread all by itself, and Eric doesn’t like chocolate chips in his banana bread.  As a compromise, I decided what we needed was a streusel topped banana bread.  I’d seen muffins like this and figured there had to be a recipe out there for a loaf of bread of it.  I found one on the blog, Just a Taste!

The ingredients that I used to make the banana bread.

The ingredients that I used to make the banana bread.

This bread was very quick and easy.  I think I was able to pull the batter and streusel topping together and into the oven in less than 20 min. Of course it took nearly and hour to bake, but during that time, I could accomplish other things like buying clothes online!

Bread batter before the streusel topping

Bread batter before the streusel topping

I did make one change to this recipe.  Instead of using buttermilk, I just used regular whole milk since that we have on hand for Tyler.  It still takes great, so I don’t think it made any difference at all.  Tyler even ate a good half a slice if not more this morning, so if Mr. Picky will eat it, I think nearly anyone would.  I think this quick and easy bread will be on the menu again when I have bananas that I don’t use!

The finished product.  The blurry picture is due to a little boy squirming!

The finished product. The blurry picture is due to a little boy squirming!



Boozy Brownies

We had a lovely sunny weekend after a pretty bad week.  Last week included Tyler getting another ear infection, lots of rain, and our main credit card getting hacked, and someone using it at the Home Depot in Surprise, AZ.  Surprise!  Really it wasn’t so bad though because Chase caught it for me pretty quickly and took care of it very quickly.  On the bright side, the plumber came out and fixed all our minor problems (3 of them in an hour!), and we started the refinance of our house.

Then Saturday came around, and it was sunny and beautiful.  I helped work at the Science Olympiad and got to catch up with my former officemate, which was a lot of fun!  Eric had a less than fun day because he came down with strep throat…again.  I have a feeling that the liquid amoxicillin that he and Tyler were on wasn’t strong enough to kill all the germs like the pills did since I didn’t get strep again.  Thank goodness.  This time Eric got a fun penicillin shot in the hip!

Then Sunday, I got to work on a lot of projects that I’d been putting off for awhile.  While I worked on a few crafty projects that I can’t share yet, I also got some baking in this weekend.  I made some yummy Kahlua brownies that I found on Pinterest.  They were from a blog called Homemade By Holman.  Eric always loves having Kahlua and Bailey’s in his desserts, the boozier the better!

The ingredients for the brownies

The ingredients for the brownies

The brownies were made from scratch, and they came together pretty quickly.  My biggest problem with the recipe I found was that it didn’t say what size of jelly roll pan to use.  I used 15″x10″ pan, and only baked them for 30 min.  They still came out a little over-cooked though.  If I make them again, I will probably use a 13″x9″.  They were a little thinner than I would have liked.

All the ingredients to make the Bailey's icing

All the ingredients to make the Bailey’s icing

The icing was really simple.  I even mixed it by hand.  I probably added a third extra to the recipe.  The original amounts certainly didn’t make enough.  At least it was easy enough to make more. Starting out with the beginning amounts and adding on worked out well.


Someone got into the brownies a little early!

Someone got into the brownies a little early!

They are really good.  The only real downside is that we can’t really taste Kahlua, but the Bailey’s comes shining through! We’ll definitely be trying them again!

A Hobby Update

Other than hobbies related to Tyler’s birthday, I realized I hadn’t written about any other hobbies I’d been involved with lately.  I have had a little bit of time, specifically last weekend to do some baking and some sewing.  Unheard of to have that much time right?

Actually the baking came about because I made a cake to take into work last week, and accidentally bought the ingredients for the wrong cake.  Luckily I had all the ingredients for the one for work, but that meant I had all the ingredients for the other sitting around.  When Eric found out that it was hot chocolate bundt cake, he decided I needed to make it right away and even gave me extra time away from Tyler to make it.  It was pretty good.  I thought it was a little dry unlike the chocolate sour cream bundt cake for work.  Eric has eaten the majority of this cake (definitely unheard of!) although I have eaten my fair share.  The interesting thing about this cake is that it uses hot chocolate mix in the cake and the glaze.  I think you can definitely taste the mix in there.  It is an interesting cake.

Eric's Hot Chocolate Cake

Eric’s Hot Chocolate Cake

Also last weekend I started working on my next sewing project, our chair cushions.  I realized I need to do a zipper.  This was definitely not a beginner’s project, and I probably should have sat down and really thought it out a little more before I started cutting.  I “think” it will turn out ok though.  I’m itching to get started on it again, but haven’t really had time this week to go somewhere to buy a couple zippers.  Hopefully I’ll get one done this weekend, but that’s a pretty lofty goal at this point. I think I’ll just be happy if I get the zippers bought.

In other news, it’s only a week until Tyler’s birthday, and he’s walking a lot more.  I still haven’t caught it on video though.  Hopefully we’ll catch it this weekend since he’s been coming home pretty grumpy from daycare this week.  In their reports they tell me he’s doing a lot of walking though.  Sometimes even pants-less!  I’m definitely looking forward to the end of the work day tomorrow!  Yay Friday and Happy Weekend!

S’more weekend fun!

So I totally decided to go with this title to annoy Eric, hater of puns and word play!  It’s the weekend, and even better it’s a long weekend…for me anyway (I wish Eric didn’t have to go to work tomorrow).  It was definitely a long week, so having a long weekend to look forward really helped.

We started off our weekend with a morning playdate with some of our Frasca friends and their kids.  It was fun and while Tyler decided he just wanted to be held by Eric for last half of it, Eric and I enjoyed seeing our friends.  We’re also starting to look at new kitchen appliances because at least 2 of ours seem to be on their last legs.  The dishwasher has stopped working on a delay, and we have to push the start button a minimum of 3 times (maximum is around 10) before it actually starts.  It’s also a crapshoot whether the soap will actually discharge to clean the dishes or not.  The other problem (I think from Guster standing on the door licking dishes clean) is that the whole thing will randomly come unscrewed from the countertop and all the dishes in it will end up on the floor unless we move really quickly to catch it. As for the oven, its timer and clock haven’t worked since we’ve lived here,  The oven also runs really hot (500F when set to 350F), so we have to always kinda guess when the food is done.  The other thing about the oven that I didn’t know until this weekend is that it blocks a drawer!  It sticks out about 3″ past the edge of the counter, which makes it hard to get into a cabinet next to it, but I had no idea there was even a drawer there until Eric showed me it.  He had painted it to look just like a portion of cabinet that was stationary!  I think he succeeded at that project!  Now I really want an oven that actually fits in the space, so we have a free drawer!  The fridge (knock on wood) seems to be in decent shape.  It’s just a lot smaller than the allotted fridge space, so a bigger fridge would be really nice since our current one is always really full!  We think we’ve found ones that we like.  We just have to figure out if we’re ready for such a big purchase.

The other excitement of the weekend was that Eric and I finally agreed on fabric for my sewing project!  I sent Eric 5 options last night.  He didn’t like any of them! Luckily, it was the enough to get him to do some Googling himself to find some fabrics he likes since I’m much more agreeable than he is. 🙂  Hopefully that means maybe next weekend I can get started on that project.

This weekend though, I had another project in mind.  Ice Cream!  For some strange reason I was in the mood for ice cream, and Eric had been asking for this s’mores ice cream for quite some time.  I’d said no because it’s a lot of work and requires free time during both days of the weekend, which finally January has had plenty of, as long as we’re not sick.

Graham crackers, custard mixing, and a fudge ribbon are tasty!

Graham crackers, custard, and a fudge ribbon are tasty!

This s’mores ice cream recipe comes from one of my favorite blogs, Brown Eyed Baker, so there’s a good chance you’ll see more of her recipes at some point.  For my birthday last year, I asked for the ice cream attachment for my KitchenAid mixer from Eric and Tyler mostly so I could try this recipe.  This is a custard based ice cream, which involves cooking eggs but not overcooking the eggs.  Unfortunately, I got distracted during the first go around and ended up with scrambled eggs (very sweet and vanilla-y scrambled eggs, but pretty gross nonetheless).  Luckily I had just enough eggs and milk to try a second time, and it turned out perfectly.  I haven’t made my own graham crackers for this recipe, mostly because that would add one more step and I’m ok with store bought, but I bet it would be good that way too.  I also can’t find vanilla bean at the grocery store.  I’m guessing it’s there, but I just don’t know what section to look in.  I just threw in more vanilla extract since I didn’t have vanilla bean.  I only finished this around 2 this afternoon, and Eric’s already had 2 servings!  It’s pretty tasty.

S'mores Ice Cream!

S’mores Ice Cream!

Happy MLK Jr Day tomorrow everyone!  Have a good day off or have a great normal Monday (only without mail)!