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

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!

Chicken, Chicken, Pork, Turkey

I told my sister-in-law about two weeks ago that I was going to start posting easy recipes with step by step instructions on here for her.

The first one was supposed to be a chicken recipe. Well..I’ve tried two different ones and I wasn’t happy with either. Boooo.

First I tried slow cooker chicken noodle soup. I thought it ended up kind of bland tasting. Poor Aaron was stuck eating it all last week. I used low sodium chicken broth and I think that was the problem.

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Next I tried to make goat cheese and sun-dried tomato stuffed chicken breasts. Hmm. I think I used too much garlic (apparently there is such a thing!) and too many sun-dried tomatoes. I’m going to give this one another try with different ratios and see how it goes. i.e. more cheese less everything else.

Aaron ate it happily though!

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Last night I had a little more success with dinner with pork instead of chicken though. I bought a pre-marinated pork tenderloin from Trader Joe’s over the weekend and cooked it while waiting for Aaron to get home from work. It was SO EASY!

I just browned the tenderloin in a pan over medium-high heat with an onion and some olive oil then added a little beef broth, covered the pan with aluminum foil and baked for about 30 minutes until my thermometer read 160 degrees.

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With kale and sweet potatoes on the side. Aaron LOVES sweet potatoes and so do I. We were big on the aluminum foil yesterday. No dishwasher in our little house.

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Straight from the stove to the oven to the table in the same pan:

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Where’s the kale Aaron???

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I ate it all.

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This evening, I decided to make some chili. Originally I was going to make turkey burgers because we had ground turkey breast that I needed to use.

I got home and didn’t feel like standing in front of a pan trying to guess when the burgers were cooked all the way through without cutting them in half… so I went with turkey chili instead.

The recipe that I used called for chili seasoning which I didn’t have so I looked up a recipe for that too.

I pulled out a million spices, propped up the iPad next to me with the recipe and mixed my own chili seasoning.

I used this recipe except didn’t have dried onion so I added a bit of onion salt.

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Then I put it back in the chili powder container:

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Now my chili is in the crockpot and will be done at about …ohhh….11 pm.

boooo

Recipe: Maple Glazed Chicken with Goat Cheese and Pears

Good Morning!! I’m so happy it’s finally the weekend! It’s snowy around here in Pittsburgh today. Last night Aaron had a man date with his friends watching the Three Stooges and eating snacks. I went to the mall and exchanged gloves from Christmas that were a bit too big and then went to Target and bought the biggest package of paper towels that they sell. I spent $17 on paper towels last night. They better last a while.

I got home from Target around 8:30, ate some ice cream and then decided to purchase my first iBook. I like iBook because it lets you read a sample of the book before you buy it and the samples are usually about the first 50 pages. I ended up reading the sample of Unbearable Lightness , the Portia de Rossi memoir, and got hooked and purchased it. And then proceeded to stay up until 12:30 AM reading it.

Since the holidays are over, I’m making a commitment to cooking more dinners again. I kind of stopped cooking for the few weeks leading up to the holidays because we were so busy. On Thursday at work, I wrote my first recipe!

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I got home after work and started getting out the ingredients for my recipe which I titled Sauteed Balsamic Chicken with Blue Cheese and Pears. And then I realized we didn’t have balsamic vinegar. Kind of a key ingredient in Balsamic Chicken.

The recipe quickly became Maple Glazed Chicken with Goat Cheese and Pears.

Maple Glazed Chicken with Goat Cheese and Pears

Ingredients:

  • 2 T olive oil
  • 2 pounds boneless skinless chicken breast, trimmed of fat
  • 1/2 t salt
  • 1/8 t pepper
  • 1/4 t herbes de provence (optional)
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 3 – 4 T apple cider vinegar
  • 2 yellow or red onions, sliced
  • 2 pears, chopped
  • 2-4 oz goat cheese

Heat 1.5 T olive oil in large skillet over medium-high heat. Sprinkle chicken with salt, pepper and herbes de provence and cook on hot skillet. Cook for about 6 minutes on each side until cooked through. Remove chicken from pan, cover with aluminum foil and set aside.

Add the remaining 1/2 tablespoon oil to the pan and the onions. Cook for about 6 minutes and then add the pears, maple syrup and apple cider vinegar to the pan. Cook until the liquid reduces a bit and the onions and pears are tender, about 5 more minutes. Pour the mixture over the chicken, sprinkle with goat cheese and serve.

Serves 4

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Aaron and I both loved this recipe! Don’t skip the goat cheese. It is the best part.

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I drink out of a water bottle at dinner.

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Serves 4 unless your husband is very hungry and you don’t serve any side dishes with it.

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Aaron is still sleeping right now. Plans for the day:

  1. Exercise of some sort maybe?
  2. Eat breakfast
  3. Pack
  4. Drive to the Inn with a stop at a car dealership to look at cars!
  5. Mingle with other Inn guests while drinking tea and tiny sandwiches.
  6. Dress nicely and eat a 7 course meal.

Have a good day!!

  

A Christmas post about pork and cheesecake.

This has probably been one of the longest periods of time that I’ve gone without blogging. Christmas happened, New Years happened, Aaron started classes again today and I am back to blogging!

I uploaded pictures from the week of Christmas today. It’s been two weeks since Christmas!

I baked the cake pops below for Aaron’s work holiday party. I ended up baking 80 total – 60 for Aaron’s coworkers and 20 for one of mine. They were chocolate cake. Of course because no one likes anything other than my chocolate cake. AHHHH. Anyway, dipped in white chocolate candy coating and sprinkled with sanding sugar.

I also printed little labels that said Happy Holidays and stuck them on green pieces of scrap booking paper. Let me just note right here that I am not a scrap booker. I scrap booked once and it was TEDIOUSLY BORING. But three cheers for those of you who are into it. It’s pretty cool, just not my thing.

My thing is dipping tiny balls of cake in chocolate and hoping they don’t crack.

Not a great thing….

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Cake pops taking over the dining room table:

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And a close up of a finished one. I thought they turned out pretty well. I’m SO OVER making cake pops though.

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Moving on to Christmas day…

Aaron and I woke up bright and early, made coffee and opened each other’s presents. He got me great presents! For example, these pretty Crate and Barrel nesting bowls:

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Though mine are slightly cooler colors. Cooler like better.

After we finished opening presents, we spent all day cooking! Aaron chopped and peeled a million things for me.

I made two cranberry apple stuffed pork loins for the main course. The recipe is from Simply Recipes and can be found here. I also made streuseled sweet potato casserole from Cooking Light, a salad with blue cheese, candied pecans and pears and a maple cheesecake with maple cranberry sauce for dessert. Aaron’s parents also brought two stuffings. One with bacon and one without.

I would recommend all of the recipes to you. Aaron LOVED the pork though I wasn’t a huge fan. I loved the sweet potatoes (add a pinch of cinnamon) but my absolute favorite thing was the cheesecake. Here’s a link to the recipe. Make it. Seriously. Make it. It is a wonderful cheesecake! I baked it in a water bath per the instructions and it didn’t crack at all.

Thanks to my mother for getting me a subscription to Taste of Home. That’s where the cheesecake recipe came from. Also, thanks to my mom and dad for getting Aaron and I an iPad. We love it!!!

Check out the little roses in a cranberry-filled vase. Channeling Martha Stewart.

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Aaron man-handling the pork:

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Aaron’s grandma Dorothy!

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Aaron’s parents looking at the wedding album that my parents made. Oh yes we’re on the back of it looking over the water in black and white.

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And Aaron’s brother being Santa and handing out gifts.

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Alright Aaron is out of the shower now and it’s almost 10 pm so I’m heading into bed soon. I always claim on here that I’m going to get back into blogging and do it more often. Those claims never actually happen so this time there will be no claims.   

Aaron and I are off to an Inn this weekend and I’m so excited!! We’re staying in the Lilac Room. Yes!