Tuesday, January 31, 2012

What's on my iPhone

Life Lately:

Babysitting our favorite little chunk. She cried so hard she made herself sick and threw up on Hans three times. You shoulda seen his face....
Monorail puppies
Papier Mache hot air balloons for a mutual activity. Fun... but messy.
Girl's Night!
Erin the Hairstylist
Crazy faces
Ombre cake batter. More to come....

Trail run playlist

We've been running a lot lately. I use the word "run" kind of loosely, because I'm still incredibly slow and I still have to walk a lot. Nevertheless, we run 3-5 miles 3-4 times during the week plus the 7-mile loop around Town Lake the past couple weekends. We're slowly getting better. But here's the thing - I get bored. I have a decent playlist, and that's helping, but I could definitely use some new stuff to add in there. What's on your playlist? (And try not to judge me too harshly on mine ;) I know some of them are embarrassing!)

  1. Ashlee Simpson - La La  
  2. Avril Lavigne - What the Hell 
  3. B.O.B. - Magic 
  4. Breathe Carolina - Blackout -
  5. Britney Spears - 3 
  6. Britney Spears - Hold it Against Me 
  7. Britney Spears - I Wanna Go 
  8. Britney Spears - Til the World Ends 
  9. Daft Punk- Around the World/Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger
  10. Dandy Warhols - We Used to be Friends
  11. David Guetta & Nicki Minaj - Turn Me On  
  12. Family Force 5 - Love Addict 
  13. Far East Movement - Like A G6 
  14. The Fratellis - Henrietta
  15. Glee - Animal 
  16. Glee - Dog Days are Over
  17. Glee mashup - It's My Life/Confessions Part II 
  18. Gwyneth Paltrow and Glee - Forget You 
  19. Hot Chelle Rae - I Like it Like That 
  20. Hot Chelle Rae -  Tonight, Tonight 
  21. Jay Sean and Lil Wayne - Down
  22. Jessie J - Price Tag 
  23.  Justin Bieber- Baby
  24. Kanye West - Power 
  25. Kanye West and Jay-Z - Ni**as in Paris (clean version) 
  26. Kat DeLuna - Whine Up
  27. LMFAO- Sexy and I Know It 
  28. LMFAO - Party Rock Anthem
  29. Maroon 5 - Moves Like Jagger 
  30. Maroon 5 - Get Back in My Life 
  31. Michael Franti & Spearhead - Say Hey (I Love You) 
  32. Muse - Supermassive Black Hole 
  33. Nelly Furtado - Maneater 
  34. Outkast - Rosa Parks 
  35. Ozomatli - Saturday Night 
  36. Pitbull & Ne-Yo - Give Me Everything 
  37. Rihanna - Shut Up and Drive 
  38. Selena Gomez - Naturally 
  39. T.I. - Bring Em Out 
  40. Taio Cruz - Dynamite 
  41. The Vines - Ride 
  42. 3Oh!3 & Kesha - My First Kiss 

Monday, January 23, 2012

Breakfast.... cookie?

Yes. This is a cookie you can eat for breakfast. And it's delicious. And I made them too small, so don't judge me for eating three for breakfast this morning. Did I mention that they are gluten free (provided you use gluten free oats), can be made vegan (without the chocolate chips), and have no sugar, flour, butter, or eggs? And yet... still delicious. And yes, mom and dad, I ate something with bananas in it. And liked it. Have your moment.

Here's what you need:
1 1/2 cups regular rolled oats
1 cup coconut flakes
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon allspice
1/4 cup of almond meal
1/2 cup nuts, finely chopped (I used pecans and walnuts)
1 cup fun stuff - this is where you add what you like. Dried fruit is good - I used dried cherries, golden raisins, and threw in a few dark chocolate chips (about 1/4 cup)
3 ripe bananas, mashed
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 teaspoon vanilla
Combine the salt, cinnamon, allspice and almond meal in a large bowl. Mix well. Then add in the oats and coconut and combine. Add in nuts and goodies (make sure the dried fruit isn't clumping together).

I mashed my bananas up in a food processor, so it made sense to add the oil and vanilla to that and just mix there so I don't waste another bowl. Do what you will.

Add the wet ingredients to the dry and mix until it's all coated.

Getting these onto the cookie tray is the challenge. The "dough" isn't very dough-y, and can fall apart easily. For the first batch (not pictured... for a reason), I just used a cookie scoop and plopped them on the tray. They stayed little balls. They taste great, but look weird. For the second batch, I used the cookie scoop to make sure my portions stayed the same and scooped into my hands. I rolled it into a ball and then mashed it down flat. You could probably also use the bottom of a glass once you've scooped the balls onto the tray. Whatever works.

Bake at 350 for 12-15 minutes. Good both warm and cold.

Original recipe from Blueberry Girl.

Friday, January 20, 2012

January in pictures

I went a little MIA the past couple weeks.... cedar fever and a bad reaction to a vaccine made me very sleepy. So rather than play catch up on the blogs behind, I'll let the pictures do the talking.

Roommate Blair married his sweetheart Camille (with us and roommate Paul and his new wife, Nhexi)
Back in October, I bribed the Beehives. Complete one project or five experiences before the end of the year, and I'll take you to the Melting Pot for some dessert fondue. They all did it (sadly, S. couldn't make it to the celebration). Had a great time with my sweet girls!
I made a cake! The very talented Erin Frazier helped me learn some basics about stacking and smoothly covering my first tiered fondant cake. BTW, this is my new go-to chocolate cake recipe.
Miss Stephanie's birthday! Check out the flames on that thing ;)

Monday, January 9, 2012

Chicken butternut squash stew (with quinoa)

My first new recipe of the year sounded so delicious and I was so excited about it. The look on Hans' face, both before and after, was less than enthusiastic. Whatever. I liked it... for the most part.
Adapted (only slightly) from Cookin' Canuck

What you need:

1 1/2 lb. butternut squash
3 1/2 cups chicken broth
1 1/2 lb. boneless, skinless chicken (I suggest tenders, see below)
1 tbsp olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped
1/2 tsp kosher salt
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 tsp dried oregano
1 can (14 oz) petite diced tomatoes
2/3 cup uncooked quinoa, soaked and rinsed
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Fill a small bowl with water and add your uncooked quinoa. I haven't done this in the past and was really put off by the bitter taste of the quinoa. I let it soak this time while I did the next two steps and it greatly improved the flavor.
Peel the squash and chop into 1/2 inch cubes (removing seeds). I hear costco has pre-peeled and chopped butternut squash - that would certainly cut the prep time in half.

Steam the squash for about ten minutes. Remove about half the cubes to a bowl. Continue steaming the other half another 4-6 minutes. Remove them to a different bowl and mash up with a fork.

At the same time, bring the chicken broth to a boil. Add in the chicken. Now, the original recipe calls for thighs. I discovered, after using thighs, that I don't like them. They felt slimy and gross and too fatty. I didn't like this recipe nearly as much as I thought I would and I think it was because of the chicken. I'd suggest using tenderloins because there'd be less cutting and less fat. Breasts might work, if you cut them into smaller pieces first. I'd also like to try this recipe with those pre-roasted chickens you can get at HEB. That would also cut the prep time down considerably and would probably be pretty tasty.

Anyway, if you're cooking your own chicken, boil (covered) until cooked through, about 15 minutes. Remove the chicken to a plate and shred with two forks. Remove the broth to a bowl until later.

Return the pot to the stove, add olive oil, and cook onion on med-high until turning brown. Add in garlic and spices and cook until fragrant (doesn't take long!) Add in tomatoes and both the cubed and mashed squash.
Finally, add the broth and the drained quinoa. Simmer the whole thing for about 15 minutes. Then add the chicken and simmer a little bit longer.Then eat!

Makes enough for a small army. You could probably freeze half of it for a later date. I really liked it for dinner that night - loved that after a long run on a cold night, it was a warm, protein and fiber packed meal low in calories in fat. I did NOT, however, like it when I took it for leftovers for lunch the next day. I really blame the meat. I'll make it again and try with pre-cooked chicken. But if you're looking for something healthy and filling, this might be your dish.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

DIY mugs

Now that Christmas is over, I can post this DIY project. It was a fun gift for an ugly old man - also known as, grandpa Gene.

The inspiration came from Design Mom via Pinterest. What you need:

  • Some plain white mugs (mine in a pack of two from Home Goods)
  • A black Pebeo Porcelaine Pen in Fine Point (Mine came from Michaels)
  • A print out of the word you want to transfer (I used Sketch Rockwell )
  • Pencil and tape
Print and cut out your word strip.
Shade the back of it with your pencil. This could also be accomplished with tracing paper.... which I couldn't find. Pencil costs nothing, too.
Then I taped the stripe to the mug and traced the outline of each letter with the pencil. That transferred the outline to the mug. I went over the outline with the porcelaine pen and then sketched in thin diagonal lines to match the font.
Let it dry for 24 hours and then put it in the oven at 350 for 20-30 minutes to seal it in. Then it's dishwasher and microwave safe!
And don't ask me why I call him Ugly Old Man. It started a long time ago. And he is. Him and his mustache, too.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

2012 Intentions

We finally got around to having a little family sit-down about goal planning for 2012. Last Sunday once again found me teaching an impromptu YW lesson and, not having time to plan and it being New Year's Day and all, we talked about setting goals. The conference talk I used referenced an earlier quote from John H. Vandenberg: "It has been said that if you don't know where you're going, it doesn't matter which road you take." I encouraged all the Beehives to pick a couple things they wanted to improve on in 2012 and set up a plan to get there. Here's what Hans and I came up with.
And in case you can't read that....

1. Continue good habits formed in 2011 - Continue visiting the temple once a month, continue to be on top of regular tithing payments (instead of lump sums at the end of the year) and work on food storage.

2. Read Doctrine & Covenants and the Pearl of Great Price as a family.

3. Go to bed earlier. It's unusual for us to go to bed before midnight, with normal being around 1 a.m. This will change. From now on, we're dropping everything at 11 for scripture reading and prayers and going to sleep at 11:30.

4. Run. Hans is shooting for a half marathon, I'd settle for a good 10k.

5. Pay off remaining credit cards. We're almost there and I think we can do it in the next four months. Woot!

6. Take a vacation. Our cruise last month was the first trip we've taken in two years. Hans had actually only taken one day off in all of 2011. It means we burn out quick (and we're like less sparkly and attractive versions of the Cullens). Taking that cruise showed us that we really need to make time, and room in the budget, for "us time" and a chance to recharge our batteries. I suspect we'll be looking at another cruise in 2012.

7. Hans put "Do hometeaching" on the list. I think they must have talked about it in EQ last week....

8. Home improvements - While this list could be a long one, landscaping the front and back yards and adding crowning molding and baseboards throughout the downstairs top the list. In a dream world, we'd redo the kitchen this year. But that's a lengthy project that includes new countertops, backsplash, upper cabinets, a banquette, a new dishwasher and oven and a farmhouse sink. We can dream, right?

9. And last, but certainly not least, take more pictures of ourselves. We're really good at taking pictures of food. And our house. And ours dogs (oh gosh, we're THOSE people....) but we have very few pictures of the two of us. In fact, when I was making that photo collage, I discovered that despite our nine years, we have shockingly few pictures of us. We're working hard to improve that already.

Deep breath aaaannnnnddddd...... Go.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Need Ideas!

Any former Young Women who read this blog, help me out here! What was your favorite mutual activity, one that you really remember? We're having our 2012 planning session tomorrow and I feel like I used all my good ideas in 2011. Thanks!

Happy New Year

Oh man, I think I'm still recovering from New Year's Eve. A) I'm getting too old to stay up til 3 a.m. and B). No one should EVER eat that much food.

We started the evening at Maggiano's Italian restaurant in the domain. And we loved it. So delicious. Definitely a special-occasion-go-in-a-group kind of place. You pick two appetizers, two salads, four entrees, and two desserts and it's served family-style and just keeps on coming 'til you can't eat anymore. And then they pack up the leftovers (also good the next day).

Then we needed a little walk before we all exploded. Hey, the Macy's Tree is still up, yay!

Next stop, Casa de Mockler. We played some fun games, ate some more, and watched the ball drop while listening to the worst version of "Imagine" ever. (And seriously, that fur coat and giant watch made Cee Lo Green look even more like a midget).
Brain food - apparently, we only like the cheese variety. But it left pretty hearts....

And after this party, I don't think we'll ever convince any of these people to play Nertz with us again... which makes me sad.

Happy 2012, everyone!