Sous Chef

I, seriously, typed “Sioux” first and then had to rethink that.  Geez.  Anyway, moving on…

At least once a week I cook with my mini.  Sometimes we bake, sometimes she helps with pancakes (to which she is a pro at mixing), sometimes it’s prepping crock pot dinners.  Whatever it is, it’s hands on, and she loves it.  We talk about measuring, practice counting and talk about the ingredients.  So, today, when she asked for pizza for lunch AGAIN, we got to cooking.  I told her she was going to help mommy make pizza and she RAN and got her stool yelling, “I’m so excited, mommy!”

Sometimes I make my own pizza dough (crazy, I know), most times we buy it from Trader Joe’s.  Today was even easier.  Crescent rolls to the rescue!  First, I opened up the canister and took half of them out for her to roll out a little (can you tell this isn’t her first time with that rolling pin?).

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Next, she added sauce and sprinkled on the cheese…and ate half of it while she was working.

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Then she rolled it up and got it ready for mommy to cut.

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She was so proud of what she made.  Can you tell?

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And the best part?  She did not leave anything on her plate at lunch!  That’s a mom win, for sure.

Questions:

Do you cook with your kiddos?  What do you like making together?

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Recipe of the Week

So, every week I usually try one new recipe.  For the past month or so, they have all been in my Istant Pot (more on that later).  Tonight, I reconnected with my crockpot.  The beauty of the crockpot for me is that I can prep everything and get it going during my mini’s “quiet time” and it’s ready to go by dinner time.  Tonight, thanks to Pinterest, we had THESE Asian Crockpot Lettuce Wraps!  My Threenager tried it and immediately told me it was yucky and asked for her staple diet of the moment of grapes and a quesadilla.  Whatever.

I did make a few changes to the recipe though because I shop at Trader Joe’s and sometimes they just don’t have all the ingredients in a recipe.  So, my changes are listed below:

Asian Crockpot Lettuce Wraps (Printable Recipe)

2 lbs ground turkey (original recipe called for ground chicken)

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 red bell pepper, cored and finely chopped

1/2 cup finely chopped red onion (original recipe called for yellow onion–I used what I had on hand)

1/2 cup hoisin sauce (I made my own with this recipe)

2 Tbsp soy sauce

Salt and freshly ground pepper

1 (8 oz) can sliced water chestnuts, drained, rinsed, and roughly chopped

1 1/2 cups cooked white or brown rice

3 green onions sliced

1 tbsp rice vinegar and 1 1/2 tsp sesame oil

2 heads iceberg lettuce

Brown turkey and garlic until cooked through.  Drain any liquid and add meat to crockpot.  Add in bell pepper, onion, hoisin sauce, soy sauce and 1/2 tsp of salt and 1/2 tsp of fresh ground black pepper. Stir together.  Cover and cook on low 2-3 hours until chicken is tender.

Stir in water chestnuts, cooked rice, green onions, rice vinegar and sesame oil.  Cook until heated through, about 3-5 minutes.  Season with salt & pepper as desired.  Serve in lettuce leaves.

Enjoy!

It doesn’t look like much, but it sure was yummy!

Asian Crockpot Lettuce Wraps

 

Greek Farro Salad

Once upon a time, I used to “make up” my own recipes.  Then I became a mom, and Pinterest became my best friend for new ideas and recipes.  But, sometimes, just sometimes I get in there and see what I have and what I can make out of things.  That’s how this salad came about.

We love Farro here.  It’s a break away from brown rice or quinoa.  It’s versatile.  And more important…my toddler will eat it.  Sometimes, though, we need new ways to eat it.  That’s how this recipe came about.  It’s a great side for grilled chicken or shrimp.  Or just eat it all by itself.  Hope you like it.

 

Greek Farro Salad (Printable recipe)

1 cup Farro

1/4 cup English cucumber, diced

1/8-1/4 cup grape tomatoes, quartered

1/4 cup crumbled feta

1/4 cup minced red onion

3-4 tbsp minced parsley

Sprinkle of Greek Seasoning

2 lemons, juiced

Lemon olive oil, to taste

 

Cook Farro according to package directions.  Once cooled, combine with cucumber, tomatoes, feta, onion, parsley and Greek seasoning.  Mix well.  Add in the juice of 2 lemons, and olive oil to taste.

 

What’s your favorite farro recipe?

 

Mom Life

Before we moved to Idaho, I was a full-time working mom in San Diego.  I tried my best to juggle work, family and friends and be somewhat successful at all three.  Sometimes it worked, and sometimes it didn’t.  I was BUSY.  Then came an amazing opportunity for my hubby and we relocated to Idaho.  Despite my first reaction when he told me there was a possibility (my exact words were, “we’re not f@$&ing moving to Idaho”), we made the decision to move.  This meant that after 12 years in the classroom, I left my job.  No more daycare for my mini.  It would be me and her all day, as I was blessed to become a stay at home mom.  I thought I was busy before…um, no.  I am way more busy now than ever!  All my other SAHM friends should have warned me.  But, I wouldn’t want it any other way.

With an active 3 year old who DOES NOT nap any more, some days are busier than others.  Some days I have planned activities/projects for us to do, other days I fly by the seat of my pants.  Some days there are play dates, and other days  I reach into my teacher bag of tricks (or 12 storage boxes in the garage–I gave away so much stuff before I left) and do educational things.  We cook together once a week, bake together, play lots of games, and oh…I should probably clean the house, grocery shop, laundry, etc.  Wait, let’s squeeze in some workouts in there somewhere too.  Tired yet?  Yep, me too.  Welcome to my life.

We definitely have our routine, and like a big ol’ nerd, I have a cleaning schedule that I stick to so my house is not a tornado of toddler mess.  But, sometimes the most fun times are when we make do with what we have around the house.  And, like I said, I have 12 storage boxes of teacher stuff to dig in to if I need it.  I didn’t need that today.  Today’s fun was simple.  Paper plates, popsicle sticks, duct tape, and a balloon was all we needed.  I gathered my supplies, and in less than 5 minutes we were playing and laughing and practicing those gross motor skills!  Who wants to come play?

 

 

Balloon Play

 

 

 

I finally did it!

After months and months of friends telling me that I needed to open up an  Etsy shop, and after months and months of being on the fence about it, I finally did it!  What prompted me to actually take the plunge and try to sell my creations on Etsy?  Well, a few posts on Facebook of what I have been making, let to some people wanting to pay me (like actual money) to make things for them.  That started in October.  By December, and the rush of Christmas, I had made over 20 mermaid tail blankets, shark blankets, dragon blankets, and even an orca thrown in there for good measure.  These were all for friends, and then eventually friends of friends.  And then the interest just grew and grew.

So, with my mediocre photography skills, and my crochet hook, I created items for a shop.  Right now it is just my most popular pieces, with the option to custom order items.  I still have the Facebook page I created too that has everything I’ve done, or am willing to make again (hello R2D2 blanket, I’m talking about you…never again).  But maybe, just maybe, I can create a little business for myself.  You know…with all my “free” time.

I’m already off to a good start, I think.  Lots of “conversations” on Etsy about special orders, and even an order here and there.  I may just like this new venture. .

DIY Slime

As a teacher, one of the things that was always dreaded was “rainy day recess” schedule.  That meant the kiddos were trapped inside.  “Recess” was inside.  Lunch was inside.  Energy was contained in one school classroom.  All. Day. Long.  Those were the longest days.  After leaving the classroom, I didn’t have to worry about this…or so I thought.

Enter Idaho.  Our move from San Diego to Idaho meant that there are not only rainy days, but SNOW days.  Days where we stay inside because it’s too wet, too cold, to snowy, or all of the above.  With an active 3 year old, this can be a challenge.  Sure, we have tons of toys she loves playing with, but sometimes that’s not enough.  Even our big house, with room to ride her balance bike in isn’t enough.  That’s when mommy needs to get creative.  We do science experiments, art projects, cooking, baking…anything that is interactive and FUN.  Lucky for me, my mini can communicate what she wants to do now.  The other day she requested that we make slime!  A quick Pinterest search, and I had the recipe.  So, while she was at preschool, I ran out to get all our supplies so we could have some fun!  I had most of the supplies already, but the others I grabbed super quick at WalMart.

After we ate lunch (I told my mini we had to eat lunch before making slime and I’ve never seen her eat so fast in my life), we got to making our rainy day, ocean slime.

In a bowl, we added the glue.

We added the color and glitter…lots of glitter.

Then we added the starch

And we mixed and mixed until we got the right slimy consistency.

 

We made a few more colors, and in a little less than 30 minutes, I had a happy girl who loved stretching and touching and playing with her new batch of ocean slime.  It looked super cool as we mixed the 3 colors together, but now is just one solid blue color.  She doesn’t care.  She’ll spend an hour at a time playing with it.  We added sharks, and even Elsa and Anna have taken some turns in the slime.  We grabbed our play-doh cutters and molds, and the imagination is flowing!  Unlike other slime I have made (usually with borax and white school glue), this one is still stretchy and slimy and fun 3 days later.  We keep in in a ziploc bag at night.  And it’s ready for more slimy fun whenever she is ready.  She’s already requesting pink, and purple.  I better go get some more supplies.

 

Breakfast Reboot

So, it’s the beginning of another new year and that usually means a new resolution.  I never do resolutions.  Like, ever.  I do make changes though.  And this change NEEDED to happen.

I don’t know about you, but I get into breakfast ruts.  I don’t mind them, really.  But, sometimes I just need a change.  For a while it was avocado toast and an egg…still so delicious.  Then it was the breakfast sandwich…and who doesn’t love a breakfast sandwich?  Really, anything I could quickly make and shove in my pie hole while I guzzle coffee and do the morning craziness with my mini.  I’ve also done smoothies, which never seem to keep my full, and even yogurt, berries, and granola.  It was time for something new.  Enter the Acai bowl.

You’ve seen them, for sure, in health magazines.  They look so delicious…and healthy…and fancy.  I’ve pinned them on Pinterest, and flagged the recipes in said magazines, but never tackled them myself.  I’ve always wondered, “Will this keep me fueled for the morning, will I have time to really sit down and enjoy it?”  So many questions.  Just do it already, Jaime.  So, off to the store I went and picked up the supplies.  And, it couldn’t have been easier or more delicious.  This may be my new normal for a while.  There are so many options!

If you know me, you know I don’t cook with “recipes”.  I have an idea in my head and go with it.  Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t.  This SO WORKED and I had almost all the ingredients on hand (well, they are staples at my house).  The only out of the norm thing was the acai packets.  Where did I score these delicious creations?  Our local farmers/whole food type store.  Although, I believe my local Wal-Mart has them too.  Who knew.  So what did I do for this creation?

 

Acai Breakfast Bowl

  • 1 packet Sambazon frozen acai pack
  • 1 banana, frozen if you have it
  • 1 cup frozen berries
  • 3/4 cup vanilla coconut milk
  • Toppings: granola, kiwi, unsweetened coconut
Break the acai pack into pieces and add to blender with banana, frozen fruit, and coconut milk.  (If you’re feeling crazy, throw in a spoonful of peanut butter–or even better, coconut peanut butter), and blend away.  Pour into a bowl, and top with your desired toppings.
It was like eating frozen yogurt for breakfast!  I mean, just look at it.  Well, maybe it doesn’t look that pretty, but it sure was good!
Acai bowl

 

 

 

Enjoy!