This is Two…and a Half

Every day is an adventure with Averi and every day is a mystery. Will she eat today? Will she nap today? How bad is bedtime going to be? It’s exhausting.

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She is not a great eater, lately she is refusing meals all together. One day she will eat a huge bowl of mac and cheese and then the next week, if she had her way would throw the bowl across the room.  She isn’t a huge meat eater, anything green she will push away.

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Sleep is another thing that we have been struggling with. Naps are random, some days she is asleep for a couple hours and some days she cries and cries and cries until I can’t take it anymore and get her up. Bedtime, for the most part has been a breeze but again, lately she is fighting it. So, with that we decided to convert her crib into the toddler bed. Like right now, she is in there for the first time. No she is not asleep but she is still in her bed and not screaming. Maybe it wont be so terrible.

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She loves cartoons ,Elena of Avalor and Mickey Mouse ranked highest and getting time with the iPad without sister around. She has no interest in potty training yet and loves shoes.

Hopefully the potty training will come soon so we can look into preschool a few days a week. This kid is with me every.single.second.of.the.day. I think she will really benefit from being away from me, socializing with other kids and having someone else tell her “NO.”

But, she is my little love, my cuddler and my baby girl. Happy 2 1/2 Averi!

Roasted Chicken with Herbed Goat Cheese

When I roast a chicken it tends to be in the oven anywhere from 75 minutes to 85 minutes, depending on size. Then factoring in rest time, it’s not the quickest meal…but it’s the best way to cook chicken.

When I came across this goat cheese roasted chicken recipe, at first I thought “how come I didn’t think of this?” and then quickly noted to make it this week.

Kaili gets out of school at 3:45 and once we walk home it’s after 4:00. Knowing I didn’t want to spend much time prepping the dish, I went ahead and bought herbed goat cheese. I put a head of garlic and some lemon in the cavity of the chicken and shoved as much goat cheese as I could under the skin. A drizzle of olive oil and a shower of salt, I had it in the oven before I left to pick her up. Normally this wouldn’t work if the husband wasn’t home, hello…not trying to burn the house down. But since he was, it worked out great.

Averi was eating it as I cut it up, I had to slap her little hands away. Kaili gobbled it up but demanded more salt and after dinner we didn’t have much left over.

Such an easy and delicious meal!

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Recipe adapted from: How Sweet It Is

Wrapping up the Holidays

To say I slacked on Christmas pictures this year is a bit of an understatement. I procrastinated taking our pictures and then slightly panicked when after I purchased them,I was told they may not make in time. On top of that, I somehow didn’t order nearly enough. So if you did not get a card from us this year, I apologize. You will next year.

We took some day time photos at Crystal Pier in Pacific beach. I think they turned out great.

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On Kaili’s last day of school before break, her class had a Christmas performance.

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It was the cutest thing and they sang some great traditional and non-traditional songs.

Once school was out I decided I probably should take them to Santa.

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As you can see, Averi didn’t want to sit with Santa but other than that it was painless.

Our Christmas was nice, despite poor K bear getting sick most of Christmas day. She wanted nothing to do with her presents until later  when she started to feel better.  I hope everyone had a great holiday. Only a few days left on 2016 can you believe it? See you in the new year.

The Best Key Lime Pie

Ok, so in all seriousness, I have never made a key lime pie before. I know, I know, so how can I call this “the best?” Well because for me it is, and three other people agreed, pretty sure that’s claim to fame…pie fame.

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Sometime during one of our long car rides Shane mentioned that he has never had Key lime pie before. Perfect excuse to make it…right?

Dinner with friends showed up on the calendar, I knew exactly what dessert I was going to bring. The key lime pie I have never made. So, after a few searches on Pinterest and then making sure my few favorite cooking sites agreed, I went for it.

It really is a simple dish to make, that is if you have the necessary tools: needed lime juicer    (the last thing you want to do is hand squeeze a fricken pound of tiny limes)

Graham Cracker Crust

1 tablespoons Butter, melted
11 full Graham Crackers
¼ cup Sugar
¼ teaspoon salt

Pie Filling
2 tablespoon key lime zest ( 1 TBS reserve for garnish)
3 Egg Yolks
1 can (14 ounces) Sweetened and Condensed Milk
¾ cup Key Lime Juice (from approximately 1 pound of key limes)

Whipped Cream
1 cup Heavy Cream
1½ tablespoons Sugar

Preheat oven to 350ºF  Graham Cracker Crust:
Make graham cracker crumbs in food processor.
Put butter in a med-large mixing bowl and mix in graham cracker crumbs, sugar, and salt until combined.
Put mixture into a 9-inch pie dish and pat it down with your fingers to make the crust. Bring the crust up the edges as well.
Bake for 10 minutes or until very lightly browned.
Allow to cool while preparing pie filling.

For Pie Filling
Whip 1 tablespoon lime zest (reserving 1/2 TBS for garnish) egg yolks in a large mixing bowl for 2 minutes or until thickened.
Add sweetened and condensed milk and mix for 3 minutes or until thickened.
Add lime juice and mix until combined.
Pour mixture into pie crust.
Place in oven for 15 minutes.

Pie will rise slightly but the filling won’t change color.
Allow to cool for ½ hour at room temperature before cooling completely in the fridge for at least 2 hours.

Top with whipped cream and enjoy!

 

Farro, Watermelon, Tomato and Feta Salad

A few weeks back we had a very nice lunch in Little Italy. Aside from a couple of delicious pies we also ordered a farro, watermelon, tomato and feta salad with mint and arugula. It was AHmazing. I have been thinking about that salad ever since. I almost made it for Thanksgiving but wasn’t sure that was the best audience to try it out on. Safely back in my own kitchen, I set to work.

In all actuality it’s a fairly easy recipe. If you make the farro ahead of time then you shave 20 minutes off of your prep work. The end result is the perfect combination of sweet, salty, chewy, and a tad spicy, but the punch of mint is the real winner.

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1 cup whole grain  farro
2 cups medium dice heirloom tomatoes
2 cups medium dice watermelon
4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil divided
4 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar
2 cups baby arugula
6 ounces feta cheese, crumbled                                                                                                                             3 tablespoons chopped fresh mint leaves

Bring a medium saucepan of salted water to a boil over high heat, stir in farro, reduce heat to medium and simmer until farro is al dente, about 20 minutes. Remove from heat, drain then spread onto a rimmed baking sheet to cool.

While the grains are cooling, make the rest of the salad. Combine tomatoes, watermelon, 1 tablespoons of the olive oil, a pinch of salt, and some freshly ground black pepper, stir then set aside until flavor is intensified, about 20 to 30 minutes.

Combine remaining olive oil and vinegar in a small jar, close, and shake until well combined. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper then mix with the cooled farro.

When tomato-watermelon mixture is ready, drain off any juices and add the mint then stir the mixture into the farro, add the arugula and feta and stir through. Serve immediately.

*recipe adapted from Aida Mollenkamps Salt & Wind

Thanksgiving and Homebound

We had a very nice and low key holiday. I don’t know why I say “low key” because there were 17 of us but since the kids were so entertained it felt, well calm.

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The girls had so much fun with their cousins, it’s too bad we don’t live closer.

No one went hungry. We had Brie en croute and plenty of snacks,  ham, turkey, all the side dishes and a plethora of desserts which I couldn’t even manage to eat until late that night.

I didn’t take any food pictures which is very odd and I have no excuses.

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We  woke up way too early the next morning to hit the road, home bound. We drove from 6:00 in the morning until 6:00 at night, went through five states and saw much of nothing but the girls did amazingly well considering. A good book doesn’t hurt either.

imageWe stopped for the night in Bishop, Ca. Luckily there was a Holiday Inn express with one room left that suited our needs. Once we were checked in we headed to a small Italian place for a decent pizza and then to bed so we could do it all over again But since we went so far the first day, the second day was much shorter. We pulled into San Diego by lunchtime.

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Wine About It

We spent most of the day wandering from winery to winery. Downtown Walla Walla is basically one after the other, the only problem  is deciding which ones to skip. You could easily wine taste for days just downtown.

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We started the trip with a list of wineries we haven’t been to so we could try some new wines.  Some were great, some too expensive and a few just amazing.

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K Vitners, also known as Charles Smith has  very good wine, especially their Syrah’s.

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We headed to the airport to try a few new ones and revisit an old favorite.

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Of course we had to pop into Sleight of Hands since we are members.

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And luckily two of the wineries we are always hoping to visit but are always closed were open.

Va Piano was a great experience. Not only did they have playmates for the girls,

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we met the winemaker. He gave us a taste of his Rose out of the barrel and although it wont be ready for months is was already delicious, all of his wines were five star.

We got to visit the cellar and witness the aftermath of a wedding proposal.

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Hard to follow that but we still tried. Dusted Valley had some above decent wines and a large lot for the girls to run around.

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We have done some pretty good damage in the wine department.