Friday, February 5, 2016

Do You Blue Apron?

I've been seeing lots of home meal delivery options pop up all over the internet.  So when a girl in a Mom's group posted about trying one out for free I jumped at the opportunity!  It's no secret that I've been in a major cooking rut for a while.  I hoped this would jumpstart my desire to get in the kitchen again and even give me some new recipe ideas.

We got our box last Friday while I was out of town.  I was impressed with the way it was packaged.  The ingredients were labeled well which is important if you don't cook a lot.  Everything was still very fresh (I opened it on Sunday evening to look at it) and appeared to be good quality.

I made our first meal on Monday evening.  I had a horrible migraine and honestly on a regular night we might have ended up eating PB&J or macaroni.  But the ingredients were pre portioned so I set out to make the first dish!

The first dish was Beef Grinders with Potato Wedges.  I added a couple extra potatoes to make sure we had enough to share with the boys.  The grinders were super easy.  Chop & onion and mushrooms.  Saute with the beef.  Then make a quick cheese sauce!

The food was good.  It wasn't the best I've ever had, but I would make it again.  I do think the directions could be hard for someone who hasn't cooked before.  Occasionally it would tell you to "season" the meat or the sauce.  And if you aren't familiar with salt you could WAY overseason or under-season.

The portion sizes were large and we definitely could have had enough to make small sandwiches for each of the boys as well.

The second meal was probably our least favorite.  It was a Chicken Pot Pie.  Instead of pie crust it had buttermilk drop biscuits on top.  It had carrots, turnips, celery & chicken.  Honestly it was just ok.  I make a fabulous chicken pot pie so my expectations were high.  It didn't taste bad, but it wasn't anything I would ever make again.

Apparently the third time is a charm.  Because this Shrimp & Pineapple Jasmine Rice was to die for.  It was so easy and I could have eaten about 14 bowls.  I guess it's good that it was pre portioned or I just might have!!

The rice bowl had garlic rice, pineapple, shrimp, carrots, scallions and cashews.  It was flavored with lime, soy and an Indonesian chile sauce called sambal oelek.  I'll share this recipe because it is one that I'll definitely make again!

Shrimp & Pineapple Fried Rice
10 oz shrimp
1/2 cup Jasmine Rice
1 Carrot
4 Oz cubed pineapple
2 cloves garlic
2 scallions (chopped)
1 lime
2 T Soy Sauce
2 T Cashews
2 Tsp Sambal Oelek

Peel and mince the garlic.  I use a easy!  Chop the pineapple, scallions and carrot.  Roughly chop the cashews.

Heat 2 tsp of oil.  Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute.  Add the rice, a pinch of salt and a cup and a half of water.  Boil, cover and reduce the heat to low.  Simmer for 11-13 minutes.  Remove from heat and stir in 2 tsps of lime zest.

Toast the cashews and remove from the pan.

Heat another 2 tsps of oil and cook the carrot and scallions.  Add the shrimp, pineapple and saute until the shrimp is pink.  Add the garlic-lime rice, soy sauce, cashews, the juice of two lime wedges and as much of the sambal oelek as you like.  I suggest adding just a small amount first and then tasting.  It's definitely a hot pepper!

Stir until thoroughly combine and heated through.  season with salt and pepper to taste.  Garnish with the green tops of scallions and lime wedges.


The produce we received was beautiful!

We're trying one more week of Blue Apron because honestly I forgot to cancel.  I'm excited to taste a couple more recipes and I think the service ultimately is great!  I don't think it is worth ordering each week (it's $60 per week for 3 meals that serve 2 people) but I would totally use it on a week that I knew we were going to be super busy.  It would also be a great way to send meals to someone!  You can cancel meals as often as you like (like Amazon Subscribe and Save).  I didn't get a reminder email this week to update my choices so I definitely would like to see that feature.  Overall if you are busy or a budding cook, I would definitely give the service a try!

Don't forget to check out Mica's recipe of the week!! 

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Insanity at IKEA

Remember that time you thought it would be a good idea to go to IKEA by yourself with all three kids, at lunchtime, without a stroller?

Yeah me neither.   Because why would anyone ever think that was a good idea??

It all started when I took all three kids to the dentist this morning.  They did such a great job.  I did have to hold Kelsey while the dentist examined her, but the boys did fabulously.  Reed wore sunglasses the whole time and Stafford made sure to tell the dentist that he forgot to brush this morning.  Overall though, the visit was a win.  And I got cocky.

So we set off to STL to return a coat to the Carters store.  I took Kelsey in the stroller and promised the boys a trip to Trader Joe's if they were on their best behavior.  Reed spent his time picking out fedoras and necklaces for Kelsey and Stafford spent his time trying to make Kelsey behave.  It wasn't the best of visits but it wasn't the worst.  

We returned to the car and I realized we had two shirts in the stroller that we hadn't purchased.  So we got everyone out of the car again and went back to the store.  Once we were back inside Reed revealed a set of hairbows he had conveniently placed into the stroller pocket for Kelsey.  So thankfully we managed to escape without shoplifting anything.

We made it in and out of Trader Joe's easily and the boys had fun pushing their own carts.  And that's when I got the bright idea to stop by IKEA on the way home.

I hadn't packed a lunch and I really wanted to pick up some plastic dinnerware that we never seem to have enough of.  So we pulled into the parking lot (that Stafford interestingly referred to as "nice and cozy") and got out of the car.  It's not like this is the first time that I've taken all three kids to a store.
In fact, I actually take them shopping pretty often.  But IKEA.  I was not prepared for IKEA.

As soon as we walked in the kids were enthralled by the large TV screen.  And if I had been smart I would have dropped them off at childcare.  But I knew they needed to eat so we headed up the escalator.

The cafeteria at this IKEA is beautiful with big picture windows and a special kid section.  We made our way to the line and as I was telling the servers what we'd like Kelsey makes a beeline for the stairs as fast as she can.  With one shoe on.  I instruct the boys to wait by our tray and I literally RUN after her.  I managed to pay and get us all to a table in the kids section.  

The boys and I start to eat and I tried to feed Kelsey.  She managed to get a little food on her face so I asked Stafford to get napkins.  He was gone a LONG time.  (In his defense when I finally got up to look for them I couldn't find them either).  He returns finally with THREE BOTTLES OF WATER that we clearly hadn't paid for.  And by this time Reed had followed him and had one of his own.  I jumped out of my seat (which was practically on the floor since there were no adult size tables left in the kid section) and told the boys that the needed to put the water back.  I turn around and there is Kelsey, walking away from the table with an ENTIRE piece of chocolate cake in her hands.  Oh my word.  I look up and every single lady at every single table is laughing in a "oh my word I am SO glad I am not that Mom" kind of way.  Thankfully one of them was nice enough to give me some wipes because not only did I not bring a stroller but I came in without my purse as well.  

Kelsey was so proud of herself.  One of her favorite words is "cake" and she went right for it.  She then proceeded to try to eat all of the macaroni and cheese from a fellow shoppers plate.  This little girl wasn't into sharing her lunch (who would blame her) and I managed to finally wrangle Kelsey back to our table.  

We finished up rather rapidly and headed to the bathroom to clean up.  Thankfully the rest of our visit was without much drama.  We spent our seven dollars and hightailed it out of there!

So lesson learned.  Just because you can make it through the dentist or the DMV or the commissary does NOT mean you should take your kids to eat at IKEA!

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

52 Weeks of NEW Food

I have to admit, I have been in a cooking rut for about 2 years.  Seriously.  Apparently I'm in a blogging rut too because I haven't been updating regularly since the K-girl was born.  In order to get myself out of this run my friend Mica and I have agreed we will cook one new recipe a week for the next year.  And we are going to share them with you!

I got a pass for the first couple of weeks since I had recipes planned so here are some of our old favorites!  

This is so easy to whip up on a busy weekday night.  Just purchase a roasted chicken when you are at the store!

This is my number one pinned recipe.  It's kid friendly, easy and super yummy! 

You can me at artichokes & soup!

This is a family favorite of Peters.  I haven't mastered it yet (I don't bake too often with yeast) but I'm willing to keep trying!

This is one of my favorites to make when I'm taking a meal to someone.  It's easy to double so we can have it at our house and it warms up beautifully!  Beans, pasta and yummy white sauce!  You can substitute cream cheese for the mascarpone to make it a little more cost friendly.

Yummy.  Pretty.  Easy.  Enough said.

I keep the ingredients for this one in the house at all times.  Just 5 of them!  It's a crowd pleaser but kind of unassuming so there always seems to be leftovers when I take it for an event.  Peter and the kids are never mad about that!

Can't wait to start sharing more of our family favorites with you!!  

Most of my cooking involved little fingers taste testing!!

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Book Review--Avenue of Spies

I have been reading World War II history books for years but normally my focus tends to be on Germany.  I was thrilled to have the opportunity to learn more about Nazi occupied France in Avenue of Spies.

Alex Kershaw brings to life the story of Dr. Summer Jackson, an American who risked his life to help save the lives of American Pilots, Jewish friends, and ultimately opened his home as a hub of the Resistance.  Jackson lived in the center of a Nazi hotbed in Paris, yet he continued to aid the Liberation network of the French resistance, ignoring the danger that literally lived next door.

I loved this account because the information was all new to me!  The book was fast paced, thrilling and inspiring.  I definitely recommend Avenue of Spies!

Thursday, October 1, 2015

54 Weeks

It's been 54 weeks since I saw this kind of a sunset.  This was our last night in Tacoma.  And I know the Lord created this night for me before the start of time.  He knew that I would need one last look at our beloved mountain. One last hug from a beloved best friend.  And one last laughter filled evening as our children played on the playground and we pretended that tomorrow wasn't coming.

I left with hope.  Hope for a new start.  Because we had no choice.  The life we have chosen doesn't give us much of that at this point.  And that's ok.  But it doesn't make the goodbyes any easier.  And it definitely doesn't ensure a happy new life the minute you move.  Or even months later.

Over the last year God has continued to bless me with beautiful sunsets.  A reminder that even though the day is over, tomorrow is coming.  And He goes before me into it.  Regardless of how alone I feel.  Today marks one year since we moved into our house.  And it has been a year filled with twists and turns and pain and grief and tears and hurt.  I literally can not see through the pain sometimes as I have watched my family, my friends, my children and so often myself struggle through it.  It's suffocating.

But God keeps sending me those sunsets.

And so today I took the time to look back through the sunsets of the last year.  Because honestly what I want to do is bottle the entire 365 days up and throw them into the sea.  Instead, I offer them up as encouragement to you.  That even in the darkest of days, HE is still there.  He is NOT silent.  And he is GOOD.  So very good.

I spent the months of November and December in what I would call a fog.  I'm not sure if I was experiencing post-partum depression, or just depression in general.  Regardless, I remember trying to take a picture of myself one day...and I couldn't do it.  I couldn't stand to look at the pain in my own eyes.  I remember snapping this...thinking that maybe my reflection wouldn't show my feelings.  Instead, it serves as a reminder to me of how far I have come.  How far HE has carried me.

I snapped this picture today.  Confident.  Loved.  Secure in the knowledge that no matter how hard it gets, I can and I will make it through.  Certainly not on my own.  But by leaning on Jesus.  Constantly.  Daily.  Moment by moment.  He does not leave us or forsake us.  And HE HAS OVERCOME THE WORLD.  That verse has become a lifeline for me.  Take heart friends.  No matter what this world throws at you, He has already won the battle.  He is victorious.  And we must choose to rest in that when the world around us seems to be spinning out of control.

This was my first Illinois sunset.  It spoke to me of promise.  That just like in Washington, God would provide.  The sun sets in both places.  I thought it meant the year would be full of new friendships, laughter, a fun new start.  What I didn't know was that He would show me how He can provide like no one else can.  Not family.  Not friends.  Not my children or spouse.  He has taken me from a point of brokenness...where I literally had no one to call on for help.  And I see now that He was showing me that HE IS ENOUGH.

Isn't it fitting that He lit up the sky for me on Wednesday night.  Almost a year to the date of when we got here.  And this one just sang to me.  See what I am doing in you?  See how I have kept my promise?  I have carried you.  And you are never, ever alone.

Friday, September 11, 2015

Capture the Moment--book review

With three little ones sometimes I am so busy running around I fail to appreciate the little moments.  The ordinary things that make our life what it is.  

After reading and looking at the incredible photographs in Sarah Wilkerson's "Capture the Moment" I've been inspired to slow down a little. To look at everything from light to shoes to sheets in a different way.  To grab my "big girl camera" more often and to make sure I capture some of the little moments of our lives.  

I love how the tips are organized and illustrated with a photograph so you can really study what the photographer has done and then practice it!

I will be referencing this book for years to come and I know I will be capturing the little moments in a new and innovative way!

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

August 2014

She covers her face while she sleeps...

Date day at the glass museum

Sunrise view from our bedroom


Sunset from our back porch

Typical day at our house...

Walking at Point Ruston

Anniversary Dinner at our favorite spot

Seattle Zoo & Ferris Wheel to celebrate our four year old!

Sitting up on her own!

HIs best bud gave him a picture of them for his birthday.  He STILL prays for her every night over a year later!

Wearing Mama's dress for her dedication.  Same one I wore!

We love the Johnson sisters!!

Miss Amanda reading to all four boys

Best part of baking

Nachos to go to start out our first camping trip!!

Visiting Lamar & Sheila when they camped up in La Conner

First time in the Bumbo

One of my favorite pictures of him....I love his sweet little smile. He kept chasing me with the "monster"

Having an important conversation 


My $3 thrift find!!

Can't even tell you how fortunate I am to have this girl in my life!!

She started up by the toy beside me!

Tacoma Rainiers game

Ruston...we go there a lot!

Healthy 4 year old check-up

Watching Kali at her volleyball tournament

Trip on the train with the Thomassons

That's Mt. Rainier right there...majestic eh?

Her first doll

That's a wrap on August 2014....our last full month in Tacoma!  We sure filled it full of fun and friends!!


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