Dinner Winner!

12 Jul

I really enjoy cooking! I would not call myself an amazing cook but I know my way around the kitchen. But a huge problem for me has been getting dinner prepared in a decent amount of time. It’s not unheard of for me to spending upwards of 90 minutes or even 2 hours on a simple lasagna or enchiladas. I didn’t believe that you could actually prepare a full meal in 30 minutes or less (partly because I’m not a fan of Rachel Ray, just saying…). So last night I decided to give this recipe a try from Bon Appetit.

I had some chicken thighs marinating because I had planned on just throwing them in the oven but we really prefer the skin to be crispy which never seems to happen when I bake chicken. So I was very excited to make this:

Perfect Pan Roasted Chicken Thighs via bonappetit.com

Unfortunately, because my chicken was too wet from the marinade my thighs came out like this:

However, they were still delicious! In the future I will forgo the marinade for just salt and pepper and be sure to “air dry” the chicken in the fridge for a few hours. I paired the chicken with a roasted vegetable medley from my recent farmer’s market trip. Some olive oil, salt, pepper, a dash of balsamic vinegar and about 25 minutes in the oven – so simple!

All in all this was about a 35 minute meal. Chicken thighs with the skin is certainly not the most healthy cut of chicken but it’s an inexpensive option and with recipes like this, a very tasty option too! Bon appetit!

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Haute Stuff: July Birchbox is here!

12 Jul

My July Birchbox has arrived. This month Birchbox has teamed up with Glamour magazine and the collaboration brings some hits and misses. This box is supposed to be about “celebrating the five senses” and provided products that guarantee a “multi-sensory experience.”

For the me the Hits are the:

  • Eyeko London Skinny Liquid Eyeliner in black (presumably full sized)
  • Color Club nail polish in Blue Ming (very reminiscent of  the popular Turquoise & Caicos by Essie)
  • Tea Forte Minteas breath mints (I usually hate getting food items but I always like having breath mints on hand)

The Misses are the:

  • City Sunscreen Serum (this sample is useless and doesn’t come close to the recommended amount of sunscreen application which is supposed to be something equal to a full shot glass. These tiny pouches might be enough for my hands)
  • Harvey Prince Aeu Flirt (this is a new perfume, too “woodsy” for my taste)

On the fence:

  • ear buds (they are a fun cobalt/hot pink color combo but not something I would ever buy or even grab for free. But I suppose it never hurts to have an extra pair of headphones handy)

So 3 out of 6 Hits is good with me! Usually if just one product gets me excited I consider it a good month for Birchbox. These haute beauty products will help me stay cool and pretty this July!

Here’s a couple more pics:

Let Sleeping Babies Lie

12 Jul

Nap time is one of the most welcome times of the day! Myles is SUPER busy, on the go every second that he’s awake. His naps are a welcome opportunity to eat, shower, or even just sit still for a few minutes. I used to run around and try to be “productive” during his naps but now I take it as “mommy time.” I like flipping through a magazine, perusing wedding sites and now blogging.

But for all the parents out there – have you ever been paralyzed with the fear that your kid will wake up “any second” and therefore you get nothing done? I’ve seen many hours of precious time slip away because I was fearful of starting something when it seemed like Myles was on the verge of waking up but then ended up sleeping for 2 hours as I stood there in anticipation almost the entire time. Sometimes I do enjoy just watching him. I think God made babies exceptionally cute when they sleep so that you forget just how much they test your patience when they’re awake!

But I’ve learned to enjoy all time to myself, be it 5 minutes or 3 hours. I’ve also taken the pressure of myself to be “productive.” No big deal if I don’t work, clean, cook, do laundry etc. I’m embracing and enjoying this down time. Now, when will it no longer be frowned upon to enjoy a glass of wine at 1pm? =)

How Did You Celebrate the Holiday?

8 Jul

No, not the 4th of July – friday was National Fried Chicken Day! There was a segment about it on the Today show therefore it’s a totally legit holiday! It was the perfect excuse to defrost the loads of chicken in the freezer and fry it up. In my opinion, everyone should know how to fry chicken. It’s a classic dish that even the healthiest of people will indulge in every once in a while.

I have several family recipes that I’ve tweaked over the years and I’ve come up with a few “secrets” of my own. For starters, I believe in the double dip – dip your chicken in the egg wash, seasoned flour and repeat. My other requirements are seasoning/flavoring the egg wash and for added crispness, I add some panko bread crumbs to my flour mix.

Since I’m one week strong into bootcamp and trying to improve my eating habits (as well as my family’s), I balanced out all the golden fried goodness with the warm quinoa salad over spinach. It was perfection and so easy to make! I’ve just recently started buying quinoa and so far we’re all really liking it!

the double-dip egg wash & flour method

cast iron skillet – my favorite way to fry!

golden fried perfection!

paired with a warm quinoa salad. baby spinach topped with quinoa and sauteed corn, tomatos & mushrooms. Light and tasty!

Speaking of Birthdays….

5 Jul

America almost had to share her birthday with Myles. My original due date was July 4. But my strong-willed son made is debut in dramatic fashion, 11 days late and via emergency cesarean. His first birthday was quite the ordeal – our “ONE-derful” Celebration took me months to plan and while it wasn’t crazy expensive, it certainly wasn’t a drop in the bucket. I stressed out for several weeks leading up to the party, the day of and for a couple of weeks after (about sending pictures and timely thank-you cards). The turn out was nice, the kids had fun, Myles was fast asleep by the time we were singing happy birthday. Nonetheless, we sat him in front of his cake, sang and posed for pictures while he slept. (How is it that he’ll wake up at the sound of a pin dropping at home?)

Now with his 2nd birthday just 10 days away, I have no plans. And I have zero desire to throw a party. Is this wrong? Am I a bad mom? I’m bombarded daily with the cutest and most creative images of kids’ parties on Pinterest. Typically, I love throwing a party for any reason. But this just feels different. I’d much rather do something simple and intimate with immediate family. Why not save the pomp and circumstance for when he’ll actually remember and actually understand that it’s his birthday.

Some days I am fine with this decision. Other days the guilt is overwhelming. Are kids’ birthday parties a right of passage? Is it ok to just be practical and put any money we would spend on a party into his savings account?

But just in case I have to throw something together at the last-minute, here are my top two inspirations:

Yo Gabba Gabba – Myles favorite show
via Pinterest

The Very Hungry Caterpillar – Myles’ favorite book
via the Hostess with the Mostess

Wedding Details: budget friendly favors

4 Jul

6:45 a.m. I waited in this insanely long line. 5 hours and 2 stores later, I had the goods. My goal is to create a “shoe valet” with creatively displayed flip-flops available for guests. A friend did this at her wedding and I thought it was such a thoughtful and fun touch!

via Love Is All You Need

Score! 35 pairs of flip-flops

line in front of Old Navy at 6:45am!

I battled the crowds at the Old Navy One Day Wonder $1 Flip Flop sale. It was madness. I had no idea so many people got so hype about flip-flops. There was a limit of 5 per customer so I had to get creative. I dispatched my mom and aunt to Old Navy stores in their city and I headed out on my own at 6:30am. I recruited a group of 14 year olds that were only getting a couple of pairs each to help me max out the limit. I got all that could from the first store, picked up my family and headed to store number 2.

But for needing 50 pairs, I never would have endured these shenanigans for the 5 pair limit, I’d rather just pay full price and avoid waiting in line for over an hour.

Up next I need to add a decorative label and figure out how to display them. More importantly, I have to figure out the best way to transport them all the way to Mexico.

After all this drama I better see a packed dance floor full of flop-flop clad guests! This is any easy to do and affordable favor that I hope my guests will use again.

Plan B

2 Jul

I survived the triple digit Arizona heat, the corporate pep-rally and the 6am fitness activities! However, I came to the realization that there is zero chance of being prepared to run this 5k on July 8. And quite frankly, I just don’t want to do it. There I said it. But the accountability factor of having this blog has weighed on me. In fact, I briefly thought about just lying and saying I did it anyway. But then I immediately felt pathetic and guilty. Although I’m new to blogging and still learning about blogger etiquette, lying about your workout routine just seems like a “no-no.”

The good news is that I’m on to Plan B: bootcamp! I started today and will continue 5 days a week for the next month. On a good day I can motivate myself and get through a 2 mile run. On a bad or even average day, forget about it. I much prefer a treadmill, weights, loud music, an instructor screaming at me and the challenge of not being out performed by the 70 year olds spending their golden years in a gym (seriously, there are at least 3 or 4 seniors in the class and they are getting after it).

I feel good about this plan. Proud of myself for getting started (always the hardest part) and for being honest about it all.

Plus, I traded my latest breakfast favorite of Trader Joe’s Aebleskivers (swedish pancakes)

via SF Gate

for something a little healthier. Not an easy task, those little suckers are addicting and so convenient.

So Day #1 is in the books (again)!