The Nap Thing and Stuffed Peppers

Sunday and yesterday we were back to two naps again.  Sunday, we had some of Aaron’s family over for lunch and so Sam got lots of play time and took two 1.5 hour naps.  Then we headed to church at 430 and that wore him out too.  He was having a bit of a rough day/weekend.  I think he might have been feeling a little sick or maybe teething because he was really grumpy and didn’t sleep very well Friday night.

Yesterday, we were pretty low key.  We ran to Office Depot in the morning (bad plan..back to school time.  I didn’t realize there was ever a line at Office Depot).  Then we pretty much hung out around here the rest of the day with a short stroller trip to the post office.  Aaron was at work until like 7 last night but that worked out well because Sam’s second nap went until 5 pm last night so he was up until 8.

Today… we took a walk to the main park in Mt. Lebanon this morning.  I thought it was only a mile but turns out it’s more like 2 so it took us about 40 minutes each way.  The way there is mostly down hill but then the way back is mostly uphill.  We played at the park for a bit, had a park bench diaper change where Sam opened the container of wipes and threw the whole thing on the ground… then we headed home.  I just put him down for a nap at 11:15 so we’ll see how the day goes.

At the park, possibly licking that spinning thing.

Last night for dinner, I made stuffed peppers.  I bought gypsy peppers at the farmer’s market last week and finally got to make them.  The original recipe is here but I altered quite a few things so what I did is below.

Turkey Stuffed Peppers

Serves 6

Ingredients:

  • 6 gypsy peppers or other bell peppers
  • 1 tablespoons butter
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 large chopped onion
  • 3/4 of a 28 oz can (about 20 oz) tomato sauce
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 teaspoon dried leaf oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried leaf basil
  • 2 teaspoons salt, divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper, divided
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 1/2 pounds lean ground turkey breast (uncooked)
  • 1 1/2 cups cooked long-grain rice (I used brown jasmine)

Preparation:

Cut tops off peppers; remove seeds and membranes. Chop edible part of tops and set aside. Rinse peppers under cold water. Place peppers in a large pot; cover with salted water. Bring to a boil; reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 5 minutes. Drain peppers and set aside.Heat olive oil and butter in a large skillet over medium heat until hot. Sauté chopped pepper (from tops) and chopped onion for about 8 minutes, or until vegetables are tender. Add tomato sauce, crushed garlic, oregano, basil, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon of pepper. Simmer for about 10 minutes.In a large mixing bowl, combine egg with remaining 1 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper, and Worcestershire sauce. Gently stir to blend; add ground turkey, cooked rice, and 1 cup of the tomato mixture. Mix well. Stuff peppers with meat mixture and place in a 2-3-quart baking dish. Pour remaining tomato mixture over the stuffed peppers. Bake at 350° for 55 to 65 minutes.

Here they are straight out of the oven.  I had extra turkey mixture left over so I just put it on top of the stuffed peppers.

They turned out really well!  Maybe a bit on the salty side so maybe I would cut down 1/2 a teaspoon on the salt next time but I would definitely make them again.  They’re easy to make.  The only thing that was annoying is that it dirtied quite a few pots and pans.

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Shrimp Fried Rice

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Last night we had shrimp fried rice for dinner.  I’ve been making this pretty frequently whenever I can find uncooked Argentine shrimp at Trader Joe’s.  They’re good!  Try them out if you shop at Trader Joe’s.  Another item I use from Trader Joe’s for the fried rice is their soyaki sauce.  I used the island soyaki here but I’ve used the regular stuff too.  I’ve also definitely seen this sold at other grocery stores.  Same bottle shape with just a different label but it’s still called soyaki.

The actual cooking part of this recipe is quick – maybe 15 minutes.  I chopped the carrots and onions and cooked the rice earlier in the day and then just cooked everything together for dinner.

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Shrimp Fried Rice (or chicken or tofu)

Servings: 6 

  • 3-4 cups cooked rice
  • 2-3 Tbsp canola oil
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 lb uncooked shrimp (no shell or tail) or chicken or tofu
  • 4-5 carrots peeled and chopped small
  • 2/3 cup frozen peas
  • 1 onion diced
  • 2-4 Tbsp soyaki
  • 1-2 tsp soy sauce
  • 1 tsp sesame oil (optional)

Heat a large pan or wok over medium-high heat.  Add 1 tablespoon canola oil.  Add the shrimp and cook for about 1 minute on each side (You want them to be about 90% cooked through).  Remove shrimp from pan and set aside.  Mix up the eggs in a bowl and then add them to the pan and scramble until about 90% cooked.  Remove them from the pan and set aside.  Add another tablespoon of oil to the pan and add the carrots and onions.  Cook for about 5-8 minutes until the onions are translucent and the carrots are softened.  Add the peas and cook another few minutes.  Add the shrimp and egg back into the pan as well as the rice, soyaki, soy sauce and sesame oil.  Cook everything for a minute or two until hot.  Add soyaki to taste and serve.

sam and aaron

It’s been a few months… Slow Cooker Split Pea Soup

My picture a day posts ended abruptly…  I probably still take at least one picture a day but I had blogging burnout.  I’ve been thinking about starting a new blog and started searching for domain names but I haven’t decided if I want to do that yet.  I’m just kind of sick of this domain name..  Maybe I’ll stick with it though.

I’ve been wanting to start posting our dinner meals and links to the recipes on here because it’ll help me remember the things that we liked and also maybe people will like to get some easy meal ideas too.

Tonight we had split pea soup.  I usually make a pot of soup in the crock pot once a week.  It’s nice to have dinner prep done in the morning plus it usually makes a TON of leftovers which we all eat the next day for lunch. Sam too, unless it’s too spicy.  This recipe is based off of an Allrecipes.com recipe.  It’s supposed to be vegan but I un-veganed it by using chicken broth.  Here’s the original recipe.

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Slow Cooker Split Pea Soup

Servings: 8-10

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 tsp garlic powder
  • 2 cups dried split peas
  • 1/2 cup barley (if using quick cook barley like I did, add for last 15-20 minutes)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 5 cups water
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 3 carrots, chopped
  • 3 medium sweet potatoes, chopped
  • 3/4 teaspoon dried parsley
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

Put everything in the slow cooker and cook on high for 4 to 4.5 hours.

Easy and we all liked it!  And now we have two large containers of leftovers.  Win.

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13 Week Update

Hello! Pregnancy has brought back the almost sort of frequent blogging!

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Sorry about the weird shadow. I’m not sure what the problem was.

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So not too much different from 12 weeks though I feel bigger. I took this idea below from another blog that I read and I’m going to try to include it in the weekly(ish) posts.

  • How far along? 13 weeks, 4 days

  • Total weight gain: 3 lbs as of 12 weeks, 6 days

  • Maternity clothes? Not yet but I wore the belly band one time

  • Sleep: very good

  • Miss Anything? not worrying about falling down stairs

  • Movement: zero yet

  • Food cravings: barbecue sauce, meat, milk, shrimp curry from Taste of India

  • Food aversions: hummus, salsa, Mexican food

  • Gender: No idea but will find out March 5th!

  • Symptoms: Not too much, pants getting tight, hungry a lot

  • Looking forward to: Finding out the sex

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On Sunday I tried out another chocolate chip cookie recipe for potluck Sunday at church. I’m trying to find my favorite chocolate chip cookie recipe so every time I make them, I’ve been trying a new recipe. I used this recipe from Brown Eyed Baker (who is a big time Pittsburgh blogger) which is originally from America’s Test Kitchen.

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I liked this recipe. The cookies didn’t come out too flat which is my issue with a lot of cookies like the Nestle recipe. I like that you use melted butter so no need to remember to let the butter get to room temperature. I also liked that it required no unusual ingredients and did not call for nuts. I did not like that you are supposed to let the cookies cool on the cookie sheets. This resulted in me dirtying every single cookie sheet I have and required me waiting around one or two times for a cookie sheet to cool. I doubled the recipe so I had A LOT of dough to make into cookies.

The cookies did turn out very soft and chewy but I thought they were a bit too sweet. Maybe a tiny bit more salt would help or use bittersweet chips rather than semi-sweet. I’m not sure. I used Trader Joe’s semi-sweet chips for these. My doubled batch made about 55 cookies. I didn’t make them quite as large as the recipe suggests.

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And another new recipe that I tried out last week was a pork chop recipe. That was the first time I ever made pork chops. They were good! I used this recipe for Pork Chops with Country Gravy from My Recipes. I followed the recipe exactly except used Trader Joe’s 21 Seasoning Salute in place of the poultry seasoning.

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Lastly, Aaron got his diploma in the mail this week! Exciting! Here are some pictures of it.

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Yay!

Hopefully Perfect Roast Chicken

Good Evening!

It’s 7:50 pm right now. It’s Aaron’s third to last class for the Summer! He picked me up after work so that I could have the car today so I have to pick him up a little later.

In the meantime, here is what I wore today. Exciting!

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– green cow neck shirt (Target)

– grey, wool pants (J.Crew)

– pink shoes which I’m pointing at in the picture (Gap from a few years ago)

Here’s another picture with the ever present paint samples in the background.

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My big Nikon DSLR battery died yesterday so we took these pictures with my Canon Powershot. When I uploaded the pictures today, I realized Aaron had taken a bunch of pictures of me while I was painting the dining room, in all my sweaty, adidas short glory.

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Painting the trim here:

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Not sure what’s going on in this one… but I have paint all over my legs.

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After dropping off Aaron in Oakland today after work, I headed out to Trader Joe’s, grocery shopped for the week and then made Ina Garten’s Perfect Roast Chicken. Here’s the recipe that I followed. The only thing I changed was I used potatoes instead of carrots and fennel in the roasting pan. Otherwise, I followed the recipe to a T.

Here it is prior to going in the oven. I have two tiny issues with this recipe. (1) Not everyone has kitchen string which can be off putting for people and (2) Ina never says which way the chicken is supposed to go in the pan. She says tie the legs together and tuck the wings under the body, but that’s it.

I flipped it over a few times trying to figure out which way made more sense when tucking the wings under… It ended up like this picture below so we’ll see what happens…

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Alright time for me to relax a bit before I have to go get Aaron. Chicken has about 30 minutes to go!

Banking Attire & Pizza for Dinner

Hello!

It’s a million degrees in my house right now. MILLION! I have the laptop sitting on a pillow on my lap because the bottom of the laptop is too hot for me. I had the excellent idea of making pizza for dinner in this heat. 450 degree oven. Bad plan.

Anyway, I thought I would jump on the blog bandwagon and post a few pictures of myself in what I wear to work. I work the investment department of a bank so it’s a pretty conservative environment.

Here I am, pushing the envelope, with blue shoes.

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I handed Aaron the camera this morning and asked him to take a picture of me. He didn’t even question it.

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– black and white dress (Marshalls about 3 years ago I think)

(I’m also wearing it backwards because there is a small stain on the other side)

– black cardigan that couldn’t be taken off all day because of the stain (Gap, this year)

– blue shoes (Gap 2ish years ago)

I’m not sure if you’ll find these pictures interesting at all but it’s kind of fun for me so there you go.

I bussed home from work today because it was too ridiculously hot to walk and then made pizza for Aaron’s dinner later.

I had frozen dough that I made last week that I defrosted in the microwave Recipe Here from Eating well. I double the 1 pound recipe and freeze half. All we had for cheese was cheddar so I decided on barbecue turkey meatball pizza…

I mixed up some barbecue sauce using this recipe then took a few Trader Joe’s turkey meatballs out of the freezer and mixed it with the sauce. I stretched out the dough, spread the sauce, added pineapple chunks, onion and cheese and baked for about 17 minutes.

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This recipe is pretty quick and it’ll be easy to package up for Aaron to reheat when he gets home from class and for lunch tomorrow.

Alright I’m going to go put clothes in the dryer and then hang out in the air conditioned bedroom. Can’t take it out here anymore!

This weekend/maybe tomorrow, I’m going to sew curtains for the dining room! I have 5 yards of linen fabric! YAY!

Our Backyard Garden

Good Evening! It’s Wednesday night already! This week is FLYING. Aaron is at class right now though he should be heading home pretty soon. I’m blogging from my bedroom because it’s the only air conditioned room in the house and it’s been 90+ degrees the last few days here!

The last couple of weekends, Aaron and I have spent a lot of time in the backyard building raised beds and planting our first garden.

It started out with building walls around our weeds.   

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Then it became digging up half of our yard and dumping it over the hillside.

Plus some weed and feed which promptly killed about 50% of our yard because it was about 50% weeds.

Then some grass seed.

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Plus edging our little walkway. And then we were ready to plant!

For those of you who don’t know, we live next door to a cemetery.

Perhaps this is why the soil seems so fertile.

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So we planted about a week and half ago now. Unfortunately I didn’t take any pictures that first day but the plants have been growing like CRAZY lately especially the zucchini which is seriously crowding the tomatoes.

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We planted about 9 tomatoes plants (3 kinds), 4 pepper plants (2 kinds), zucchini, eggplant, basil, and kale.

It was super windy today so I staked them with a couple of random dowel rods and some quarter round that I ripped out of the dining room the other day.

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The kale, basil and eggplant are in the little garden. The only thing that doesn’t seem to be growing that well is the eggplant. I’m not sure why. Maybe it’s a later season thing?

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I also took to the spray paint again. This would be the third thing I’ve spray painted white this week. I spray painted two shelves white for the bathroom, our giant Goodwill mirror for the bedroom and now the vents and outlet covers for the dining room. The vent covers were super dirty and rusty so Aaron cleaned them today then I sprayed them. They look great and we saved a little money by not buying new ones.

The outlet covers were sort of yellowy/beige probably because they are about 50 years old but now they’re shiny and white again!

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I also baked cupcakes for a neighbor’s dinner party a couple of weeks ago that I don’t think I ever posted.

Chocolate cake, filled with raspberry and then chocolate buttercream. Fondant flowers on top.

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This would be my sad attempt at staging food photography. I’m trying.

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Alright that’s about it for now. We’ve been taking many pictures of the progress in the dining room but I’m going to wait to post until it’s finished. We have a few more steps that we might be able to accomplish this weekend then it’ll be done!