Tuesday, July 12, 2011

New Mexico Sunset

I took this picture tonight when I went for a walk in our neighborhood. Isn't it beautiful? I love where we live! I will definitely be sharing more pictures soon!

Sunday, July 10, 2011

A Few More Originals...

Here are a few more of my original recipes. Above I made Fried Zucchini with a Sriracha Ranch Dressing. I bought a bunch of zucchini at the store the other day, more than I needed, so for a snack one day I decided homemade fried zucchini would be great, and it was! Here is how you can make it:

  • Slice zucchini in thin discs (I used the slicer on my food processor, and it worked great).
  • Set up a breading assembly line with 3 bowls. In the first place flour seasoned with a little paprika and any other seasonings you like. In the next bowl, beat 2 eggs, and in the final bowl, place panko breadcrumbs. These are Japanese breadcrumbs you should be able to find at any grocery store.
  • On the stove, fill a pot with canola oil and heat to medium high. Make sure the oil is nice and hot before frying.
  • Take sliced zucchini, dip in flour, shake off excess, dip in egg, making sure all of the zucchini is covered, then dredge in breadcrumbs. Make sure you do this in small batches. Drop zucchini in oil, and let fry for 2-4 minutes or until golden brown. Place on a plate lined with a paper towel to soak up excess oil. Sprinkle salt and paprika over fried zucchini.
  • For the Sriracha Ranch, pour Ranch dressing in a bowl (I use Light Ranch, tastes the same and isn't quite as bad for you), then pour Sriracha in the ranch and stir it in. Just add a little at a time, tasting to figure out when you get to the spice level you prefer.
This was really good! I made it again the next day for Josh, and he loved it. Would be fun for a party too.
I had hot dogs for lunch on the 4th of July, and made them a little differently. I thought this technique was good because it made the bun crispy and melted the cheese well. You just boil or grill the hot dog as you normally would. While doing that, butter the buns and place them in a 350 degree oven. Once the hot dogs are ready, take the buns out, place the hot dogs in them, then cover them with diced green chile (very delicious), and cover with a slice of cheddar. Place them back in the oven and keep an eye on them. Once cheese is melted, remove from oven and cover with any other condiments you like.

I made these Red Chile Chicken Enchiladas the other day, and they were pretty tasty too. I poured one jar of Cervantes Red Chile Sauce (made in Albuquerque!) and one can of cream of chicken soup in a pan with 2 chicken breasts cut into cubes. I cooked them on medium heat until chicken cooked through then let it simmer a while. Next I heated up flour tortillas (you could use corn tortillas if you prefer) in the microwave for about 30 seconds then poured a little chicken and sauce mixture into each tortilla, rolled them up, and placed them in a greased baking dish. Make sure you put all of the chicken in the tortillas. Pour the remaining sauce over the top of the enchiladas and cover with shredded Mexican cheese. Bake in oven at 400 degrees until cheese is nice and bubbly (can't remember how long this took, maybe 10 minutes?). I served mine with an egg over easy on top and sour cream. I would have served rice and beans for the sides, but didn't have any, so just used tortilla chips instead!

New Recipes

Taking a little break from the recap posts to share pictures and recipes of things I have cooked lately. Above is an improv meal I made one night with ingredients we had around the house. It is a Cajun Chicken Sandwich with fries. I seasoned the chicken with Tony Chachere's Creole Seasoning, and I think that was it. I sliced some jalapenos and sauteed them in a pan, once they were done, I removed them and cooked the chicken breasts in the same pan. When the chicken was cooked through, I placed them on a bun I had toasted with garlic butter. I covered the chicken with cheese and the jalapenos and served them with french fries. I found these frozen fries at Whole Foods and seasoned them with Tony Chachere's as well and topped them with the leftover jalapenos. I made a Creole Mayo I had seen in a recent issue of Cooking Light. You can find the recipe here (it goes with a shrimp recipe they had). We both loved this meal, and I will definitely do it again!

I made this Summer Squash, Bacon, and Mozzarella Quiche from another recipe in the recent issue of Cooking Light. Josh loved it (he is a huge fan of quiche), and I thought it was pretty good (I am not as big of a quiche fan in general). It was pretty easy to make, and pretty healthy as well.

Friday, July 8, 2011

New Mama

This is a picture of one of the happiest moments of my life (I know I am not looking my best, but that is beside the point). Here I am holding my son Jack just moments after he was born with my wonderful husband and my sweet mom.

I have always wanted to be a mom for as long as I can remember, however, I was not in too big of a hurry to make it happen. A little over a year ago, Josh and I decided after almost three years of marriage that we were ready to start trying to have a baby. I was thrilled when we found out we were pregnant last June. God had given us a gift we did not deserve. Pregnancy for me was good. I felt pretty good throughout most of it, I only got sick a few times, and felt pretty comfortable and energetic for the most part (until about the last month). I enjoyed being pregnant. Some women absolutely hate it, others love it, even preferring it over not being pregnant. I would say I fall in the middle of the two extremes. I enjoyed feeling my son moving inside of me, seeing my stomach grow as he did, and anticipating what was to come (and I am not going to lie, I even kind of enjoyed all the attention). I did not enjoy the nausea (especially since I was in D.C. for most of that period, which you can read about in my posts from last summer), I did not enjoy gaining 50 pounds (especially in undesirable places like my rear end and thighs), and I especially did not enjoy the constant heartburn that kept me up most nights.

During pregnancy I talked to other moms and read all about giving birth. It is so nice to have the internet and be able to research and have a better understanding of what you are about to go through. Now I can't imagine how women did it before! Although those things helped prepare me, nothing could truly prepare me for the experience of having a child. There is absolutely nothing like it on this earth. I know every mom says that, but it's true.

Here is the basic rundown of my experience giving birth. This is the abbreviated version, even though it may seem long. Just know I could have gone much longer. I began having contractions at about 11:00 the night before Jack was born. I always wondered how I would know if they were the real thing, but after timing them for a few hours and feeling them get progressively worse, I had a feeling it was the real deal. We called the doctor and went up to the hospital around 4 a.m. (I think, but my memory is fading). When I arrived, they put us in a little room to monitor the contractions and check to see if I was dilated. We stayed in there for about an hour or two. I did not enjoy that time at all. I was in pain, I was tired, the room was dark, and the hospital floor seemed eerily quiet. Needless to say, I was very happy when they told us they would be moving us to the Labor and Delivery room, which was much bigger and very nice. I got an epidural around 9 or 10 that morning, and it made a world of difference. I am so glad I did it. I know some people are very opinionated one way or the other about the whole epidural thing, and I think it is completely up to the mom, but I will say I had a great experience with it. I was glad I did it for many reasons, but one of the main reasons was that I was able to sleep for about an hour or two afterward since I was no longer feeling the contractions. Josh was able to sleep too, and we both agree that was a great thing so that we were well rested for the delivery.

I think I began to push around 12:00, but once again, my memory is fuzzy. For some reason, I didn't realize how long I would have to push. I figured this would take about 30 minutes (I guess I missed this part in all of the online articles I read...hmm). Well, it took much longer (another reason I am thankful for the epidural). Without it I don't know if I would have had the strength to keep pushing. Plus it was really wonderful not to feel any pain! Jack finally arrived at 3:14. There is no way to accurately describe the moment he arrived. I was completely overwhelmed with joy. They gave him to me right away and tears of joy were streaming down my face. It was incredible. It was also amazing to share that moment with Josh. We both agree it was the best day of our lives (even better than our wedding!). My mom was in the room too, and it was so special to share that experience with her. My dad and Josh's parents were in Lubbock too, and soon after they were able to come in and meet Jack. What a blessing for Josh and I to have such wonderful parents to celebrate this moment of our lives with!

Next time I will write about the first few months of motherhood, but now it is time for bed!

New Look, New Name, Not Quite the Same...

Well, it has definitely been awhile since I have written. Life has been a little busy. We had our baby in March, in May Josh graduated from law school, I finished work, and we moved to Albuquerque. If you are going to have some big changes in life, you might as well have them all at once, right?

The birth of our son Jack was amazing, and I am loving being a mom (more on that some other time). The first few months of adjusting to motherhood, then moving to a new city kept me very busy and distracted. Not until recently did I begin cooking again on a regular basis and feeling like I wanted to start writing again. As I thought about coming back to blogging I debated whether I should continue to write primarily about food, or if I should expand the blog to cover more things I am interested in. After a little thought, I chose the latter. Why not right about all of the things I find interesting rather than just one? I know most people have stopped checking my blog at this point, and there probably were not too many people reading it to begin with, but even if no one reads it, I think I will enjoy getting back into the practice of writing on a regular basis. It's just fun. I think as a stay at home mom it is good for me to have a hobby like this too.

So, all that to say, I am changing things up a bit. I will be writing about the things I enjoy most, and those things which I find myself doing most often. That will include cooking (and anything to do with food), design (especially as I am decorating our new place), being a mom (this is the topic that will probably come up the most), travel, and the outdoors. Of course, there will most likely be other topics that will creep in here and there, and some that may end up creeping in a lot. So we will see where things go.

In the next few posts, I want to just talk about all of the things that have happened in my life over the past four months. So, enjoy!