Friday, February 27, 2015

I Wanted A Burger (chipotle, roasted garlic burgers)

I thought, around 2:00, I really would like a burger and fries for dinner. Maybe I should splurge and buy one. 

Note: I recently discovered how good Five Guys is while in the hospital after having Warren. My lunch was really late (after 1pm). I was craving protein and getting grumpy. Then they brought me tomato soup and a grilled cheese. What a disappointment to a woman who just had a baby!! I wanted to cry. So, my brother-in-law, wonderfully, ran out and bought me Five Guys. It was incredible. It was probably the best burger I have ever had. Part of that could be because I was in the hospital. :) I was incredibly grateful for that burger. 

Anyhow, I seriously considered buying Five Guys for dinner, but decided to take a look through my ATK cookbooks first. I discovered a burger recipe that I thought looked amazing (green onion, chipotle peppers, and roasted garlic). Then I thought, I don't have rolls and have no time to make yeast rolls.  So Martin and I threw together pretzel rolls. I finished it off with some oven-roasted sweet potato fries, that I tossed with a bit of olive oil, cinnamon, and sugar, and a salad leftover from last night. 

 I just wanted to mention two things they learned from cooking burgers that I found fascinating. 
1. If you like your burgers medium-done, poke a hole in the middle to help the burger cook evenly. That way the edges won't get super done before the middle is finished cooking. 
2. Grate your cheese into the burgers, if you want a cheese burger. If you melt the cheese on top, you end up over cooking the burger while trying to get the cheese to melt. 

Burger (Plain or Chipotle, Onion, Roasted Garlic)
*these can be grilled or pan cooked - I cooked them in a cast iron skillet over medium heat

1-1/2lb burger
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper

Add in for extra flavor:
1 T chipotles in Adobe sauce chopped
2 T chopped green onions
3 garlic cloves, dry roasted in a pan for about 8 minutes and then minced

I also added in 1/2 c. quick oatmeal because I was using frozen turkey burger that didn't have much form. 

Mix together. Make into four burgers (4-1/2" in diameter, 3/4" in height). Cook 3-1/2 minutes per side for rare. Cook 5 minutes per side for well-done. 

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Seven Books

I had forgotten that I was 35 pages from the end of a book I started in January. I finished it tonight while nursing Warren. So that brings me to 7 books for the year! 

And I am so glad I read the space trilogy! It was like finding a lost treasure. :) I love CS Lewis. I can't say I loved every book, but I enjoyed them as a whole. 

One Week

Wow. I can't believe it has been a week since I posted. In the last seven days, we celebrated my mom's birthday, it snowed twice, the baby has learned a bunch of new things, I almost finished the space trilogy (only 25 pages left), and Martin keeps doing well in potty training. 

I made a lasagna (new ATK recipe that is amazing), stuffed shells (from Aunt Suzanne's recipe), cowboy cookies, no knead bread, and the most amazing chocolate fudge cookies ever. But that is not all we ate. My sister made a fruit salad, green salad, and delicious barley soup. She also bought a smith island cake and ice cream. We like to eat good food and send food home with each other too.  :) 

This week I have made the baby laugh several times. He Is delightful. The baby also rolled over both ways in one day. He consistently rolls over several times a day now when I put him on his stomach. He also looks like he wants to crawl. He has scooted several inches while I am not watching. He is so much more active than Martin was, but I guess he is trying to keep up. 

I have decided this space trilogy is really good and I want to read it again, not now, but maybe next year. The third book is like a grown up Chronicles of Narnia. It wouldn't be quite as good without the first two books. So, you should read them all! If you are a Lewis fan, you will wonder, why have I never read this third book before? 

My goal was to read 4 books a month. I am coming in at 6 books so far this year. So, not quite as many as I had hoped, but better than zero. If you have any suggestions for excellent fiction or interesting biographies or non-fiction, let me know. 

The brothers

Thursday, February 19, 2015

40 Bags in 40 Days

I am intrigued by the 40 bags in 40 days decluttering challenge. I have seen several people mention it recently. I don't plan on doing it, but it has inspired some decluttering.  I attacked some baby clothes, my dresser, and my linen closet. Next up is the top of my dryer. So far, I have:
2 bags of maternity clothes, baby clothes, and toys for the pregnancy center 
1 bag of clothes for Salvation Army
1 bag for a friend
3 bags (grocery size) of trash
1 bag of clothes for a clothes exchange
1 bag of toys for the clothes exchange

And I am burning two small candles from my massive collection of unused candles. So they will be in the trash by nightfall. 

Here is my linen closet. I do have blankets and towels behind the storage bins. I took the drawers from an old organization caddy that I had during college. I find labeling things help them stay in the right place and helps me find stuff faster. Jared built this closet for me a few years ago and I love it. The wall was where the old chimney used to be and was hollow and empty. Now it is a useful closet. He found the door at the ReStore. 

And I also organized some of my drawers. It is amazing how much stuff fits when it is folded and rolled. I keep my stockings also in a small bin to keep that from getting tangled. My bathing suits are in the Gap bag on the far right. 

Tuesday, February 17, 2015


Isn't snow pretty? We probably have about 8". Jared still had to go to work today. Boo. I have some homemade chicken stock, which I plan to turn into some sort of soup for dinner. Maybe I will even make some warm bread...  

Martin woke up this morning and I could hear him talking to the baby. The baby gargles back some noises, which are really just the sound of him trying to eat his fist. Then Martin started singing, "mommy, up please". 
So, I went in and first he asked to see the baby. After smiling at the baby for a while, I asked if he wanted to see the snow. I opened the curtains and let him look out. He said, "Martin play big snow?"

Oh, and 2/3rds the way through the second space trilogy book, I have gone back to enjoying it. I am having trouble putting it down. The first book, as boring as most of it was, has made this one more satisfying. It is almost as if you needed the first book to make this one as  understandable and intriguing. 

Monday, February 16, 2015

A few words

I am sitting by the window nursing the baby, watching the snow (6" maybe...) start, drinking tea, reading a new Lewis book, and listening to Martin play on the piano. 

Yes, that is the 2nd space trilogy book... I am still not sure how I feel about them. Sometimes I almost put them down because I am overloaded with fantastical images that I don't relate to and sometimes I don't want to ever put it down because it is so interestingly descriptive and seems to give me a new understanding of a simple concept. I love how Lewis comes up with these word pictures of common ideas.  Anyhow, the jury is still out.

Enjoy the snow. 

Friday, February 13, 2015

Favorite Kitchen Items

Do I need any words? I wouldn't bake or cook as often without my KitchenAid.  It make my life so much easier.  I love the color. It makes my kitchen so cheery. If it ever breaks, I will replace it with the plum colored one. I don't think they had that color when we got married. Purple is my favorite color. However, I don't think it will ever break. It has been doing many loaves of bread and desserts each month for almost six years. 

Two notes: I have the shredder and slicer too, but we don't use enough of anything shredded to warrant pulling out the attachment. Is is a pain to clean. 
Also, I have the fancy spatula mixer attachment. I HATE it.  I thought I would love it, but I don't. I still have to scrap out the bowl when using it, probably more because it smears stuff against the walls instead of scrapping them. Also, food sticks to it, so at the end of mixing you have a glob of unmixed ingredients all over it. I have tried it on many different kinds of recipes and they all fail. I am through with it. 

Jared bought each of his siblings the KitchenAid off their registries when they were married. So they, and Jared's parents bought us ours when we got married. Thanks! We love it. I love using it.  Jared loves the food that comes out of it. :) 

Boston Creme Cupcakes and a Question

I am testing out recipes for Boston Cream Cupcakes for a pregnancy center benefit our church is having in March. There will be coffee, music, a silent auction (quilts, VP shoe gift card, stay at a hotel in OC,etc), and these: 

I was trying out the ratio of chocolate to cream to cupcake. I also tried out a new yellow cupcake recipe. I didn't have enough cream, so I threw so yogurt into the filling. It came out kind of tangy, but still good. 

I need to pick up some fancy cupcake holders. Where would be the best place? Hobby Lobby? What color do you think I should use? I was thinking maybe just the silver foil ones... 

Monday, February 09, 2015

Oh, Amazon 3rd Party Seller...

I requested The Big Book of Questions and Answers About Jesus. 

I received a Canadian history Book. 

Happy Birthday, Martin and Potty Training

First off, I am guessing it is a universal truth that Moms rewarm their coffee or tea many times a day. Ha ha. I was just thinking about that earlier today as I warmed up my mug of tea for the fourth time. I am finally drinking the last half while my boys nap.  I don't judge the number of times I rewarm my tea as a good or bad thing. Mostly it just meant I was busy. Busy is good. I am glad my kids keep me busy. I love them. 

Jared had off three days between his old job and new job. So, instead of enjoying ourselves, going on a few day trips, or relaxing, we decided to attempt the 3 day potty training method. Ugh. It is the most exhausting thing I have EVER done as a parent. Nursing. No problem. Sleep training. No problem. Eating real food. Easy. Washing cloth diapers and cleaning out baby poo. Simple. Potty training. Ugh. Jared and I were so tired and in such bad moods for the first three days. 

Days 1-3 were awful. We wanted to quit after day 1, but we pressed on. It was horrible. We just sat there and watched him for any sign of anything funny going on. It was so tiring, even with two people.   Day 4 and 5 were better and more promising. He actually started going by himself to the potty. We had a little setback at church because he was terrified of the big toilets and their automatic flushing. So I am going to have to start working on going in big potties. For now, I have ordered a cheap potty to put in the bathroom at church. Any tips on using larger toilets in public restrooms are welcomed!!! I don't know what to do about them. 

This is day 6. So far, we have had no accidents.  He has run to the potty at least 11 times this morning. Yay! I know this is going to be a process, so I am not celebrating yet. Some days I am sure he will do wonderfully and other days he won't do so well. But I am so glad for the good days. 

Martin is in his room, supposed to be napping, but that doesn't happen much anymore. He is reading Cat in the Hat. This is what I hear:
"Shake hands, one, two"
"No no!! Cat away!! No play!"
"Bump!" That is probably his favorite line in the whole book. Then something went bump, how that bump made us jump. 
"Big broom, little broom" 

Happy birthday, little buddy. You are my favorite oldest son. You are a joy. I love you so much. I love your imagination and your sweet, cheerful spirit. You make me laugh and smile so often. You are such a wonderful older brother. I am so happy you love Warren and want to help with him. It is cute how you pat him, fetch me diapers, share your cars (I see you sharing your least favorite cars - we will have to work on that), and bounce his chair when he cries. I thank God for you all the time. What a blessing you are. Happy birthday. I am glad you were born. 

P.S.  I am glad the city sent the street sweeper to our house today for your birthday. I am glad I moved my car off the street so they could clean under it. I am glad it had been 2 or 3 years since I had moved the car while they swept, so you could see them back up several times and the sweeper beep. I love that all your cars are beeping as they back up now. 

P.P.S. I just sneezed and he said, from his bedroom, "bless you, mommy." It might be my favorite thing that he says. 

Note: if you hear paper ripping and you know your son has no paper in his crib, you should go check on him. He is probably ripping up A BOOK, something he has never done before, while you write a Sweet post about his birthday. I have explained the consequences of ripping books to him. 

These two boys keep me busy. I have to go rewarm my tea again. 

Cindy took this picture at dinner last night. Who does he look like? 

Thursday, February 05, 2015

This Quilt

I am currently making this quilt, with different fabrics. 
Isn't it lovely? If it turns out as well as I hope, I might make this pattern again with some of my 1930s fabrics. 

Tuesday, February 03, 2015

Chocolate PB Cheesecake and other random thoughts

1. I don't like cheesecake, but I made this for one of Jared's friends at work. It is peanut butter cheesecake with chocolate ganoche swirled into the batter. I also made a chocolate crust and melted chocolate over it, before pouring in the batter. As I said, I don't like cheesecake, but I had a piece of this and it wasn't too bad. 

2. Today is Jared's last day at his job, where he has worked for over ten years!! He starts a new job on Monday. 

3.  I ordered Martin's birthday presents yesterday. I bought some preschool curriculum (I like to plan ahead by a year or two) and six new Bible story books and/or devotionals for bedtime. I ended up buying:
* The Big Book of Questions and Answers - Ferguson
* The Big Book of Questions and Answers about Jesus - Ferguson
* The Gospel Story Book Bible
* The Names of God - Sally Michael
* The Providences of God - Sally Michael
* Another Sally Michael/Desiring God book

I will let you know how they all work out. I am excited. As much as I LOVE the Jesus Storybook Bible, after over 10 times through it, I need a bit of a break. Someone at church lent me the Big Book of Question and Answers to look through and I love it!!! I can't wait until the kids are a bit older and can do some of the memory work and activities.  

Current reading: The Shaping of a Christian Family by E. Elliot