Saturday, July 20, 2013

Sharing my "mommy thoughts" with my babies.

I have mentioned before that I set up an email account for each of my kids and that I send them emails when I have the chance.  I send them individually and sometimes with both of them being the recipient of the same message.    Sometimes, I send a quick photo with a caption, I tell them about funny things they said or did and other times I will send them what I think of as my "mommy thoughts".  These "mommy thoughts" are deeper and are the things I think about and want to share with them.  They are things I want them to know about me, the world and just life in general.

After writing my email to the both of them today, I thought it was a good one to share.  I am not sure when I will share this email account with them, maybe in middle school or high school, but I hope when they do, they truly enjoy reading the letters and snippets I've written to them.   As a graduation gift, I will likely go back and print every one of them and have it made into a book as gift to them.

Here is todays mommy thought.

Hello my dears,

You're both napping together at the moment in the camper.  We are up north at Great Grandma Hodack's for a weekend getaway.  Mommy read you both a few books and Gwen wiggled around, not wanting to fall asleep for quite awhile before dozing off.  You are quite a ball if energy and sass.  ;). Jude took a moment too, but was admittedly tired so didn't take as long.

I always think as your mommy what I hope you both become.  I don't think about what career, how many kids I wish you to have, what sports and activities you should do etc, so much as I do the characteristics I want you to have.  The other day I tried to think of what the one characteristic would be (if I could choose) that i wish you both would possess and it came pretty easily to me.  If I could wish you had any one character trait it would be that you are both compassionate.  

To be compassionate to those around you is one of the greatest things I think you can be.  Not only are you helping others and being the person someone needs at that moment but your soul in turn is being rewarded.  There is a certain sense of joy I feel from helping someone whether it be something little or big.  It's so important to put that compassion out into the world because others will see it radiating out of you and want to follow your path.  It simply makes the world a more beautiful, pleasant place to be for everyone.  

It's important to be intuitive to reach people on a level that is more than what is on the surface.  This means that if you sense someone is hurting, not themselves or needs someone but isn't able to or is ashamed to ask for help, you are able to recognize it.  When you do, don't ignore it for fear of getting involved or being apprehensive about crossing any lines but act on it.  Reach out to them, talk to them, hold their hand and just be there to listen.  It takes a brave person to do it and step up to the plate.  

In essence, I just want you both to be caring, loving people and do not be afraid or so insecure that it holds you back from sharing that with the world.  A woman is not weak for doing such a thing and a man is not any less macho for showing a caring nature.  It's something that God wishes us to be.  

I love you my sleeping angels.  You are my world and know always that mommy loves you.

Sent from my iPhone

The Recipe--Panko Crusted Fish

Here is the long awaited recipe for the Panko Crusted Fish with Wasabi Tartar Sauce.  Rachel's recipe was for Fishwiches.  We ran with the sandwiches too but I made fresh baguettes rather than use buns.

Lets begin with the Wasabi Tartar which I opted to take the easy route on.  You simply mix (1) cup of mayo, (2) tbsp of soy sauce, (1) tsp fresh lime juice.  Then stir in (1) tsp wasabi paste and (2) tbsp of sweet pickle relish.

This tartar was spot on.  Perfect.  I would def make it for other fish recipes as well or for an Asian style taco.  

For the tartar there is an alternate recipe of making the mayo yourself with eggs, lemon juice, etc.  Ain't nobody got time for that!  Just kidding...I was just lazy.

I placed this in the fridge until the fish was done.

For the fish---that turns out wonderfully, the steps are easy peasy.  The ol' basic, flour coat, egg wash and batter.

I used (4) pollock filets but any white fish would work and is what Rachel recommends.  (pretty trustworthy source).  I seasoned the fish with Old Bay seafood seasoning and a bit of salt and pepper.  Filled a dish with 1/2 cup of all-purpose flour, another with (2) eggs beaten with a splash of water and the last with 1 1/2 cups Panko mixed with 3 tbsp of freshly chopped chives, (1) tsp ground ginger and (1) tsp garlic powder.

Heat a large skillet with 1/4" canola oil on medium high heat.  Fry the fish for about three minutes on each side.  Flip the fish gently when the three minutes is up on the one side so it doesn't break apart and so you don't get splattered with crazy hot oil of course.  Place it on a paper towel lined plate when it's all done.  

As I said, we had ours on baguettes and topped with a coleslaw blend and the yummy Wasabi Tartar.  I served with lime to squeeze on top.  It was so fresh and yummy.  

This was certainly a must try recipe.  I will likely make this my go to fish fry recipe.  Unless, Rachel Ray throws another scrumptious idea my way through her next issue! 


Friday, July 12, 2013

Panko Crusted Fish with Wasabi Tartar Sauce

Today's culinary creation came again from the same June issue of Everyday with Rachel Ray.  (I wasn't lying when I said I loved this mag).

The fish turned out to be flippin' amazing and was cooked perfectly. (not to toot my own horn).  Also, Clint couldn't get enough if it!  There is something fantastically delicious about making food my family loves that brings me great satisfaction.

Recipe to follow later tonight so stay tuned!

Thursday, July 11, 2013

The results: Coconut Curry Chicken

Yesterday's post was about two recipes derived from Rachel Ray's June issue.  Well, I grilled up the chicken after letting them marinate over night and I can sum up the results in one word:  Ahhhhmazing!  It was so good.  The freshness of the cilantro and fresh lime totally completed the dish!

Here it is...refrain yourself from eating your screen.

I highly recommend this dish and as I had predicted it went great with the Cucumber Radish Salad and Jasmine Rice.  I didn't have time to grab a fresh pineapple so that will be for another time but what I had was perfection by itself!

Nom Nom.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

I <3 Rachel.

I am a magazine junkie.  I subscribe, I buy and I borrow and receive others who have finished reading them.  There is one that I particularly love getting every summer....and it's this beauty!  

I looooooove the Rachel Ray summer (June) edition.  There is always such good variety and amazing salad ideas.  I particularly love any salad where cucumbers are the main ingredient on a hot summer day.  This issue had a Cucumber and Radish salad that I just had to try.  I must say it was delish!  I also have another recipe from the same issue marinating in my fridge called Coconut Curry Chicken.  I think the two will go nicely together as they both have a asian flair to them.  I'm letting the chicken marinate til tomorrow since my hubs will be gone til the wee hours for football and the kiddos will be with Grandma.

So while my kids were building forts on the other side of the room, I was giving these recipes a go.

The Cucumber Radish Salad was a cinch to make.  Simply combine and whisk together 1/4 cup fresh lime juice, 3 tbs of sugar, 2 tbs of fish sauce and 1/4 tsp of crushed red pepper.  Add three sliced cucumbers and four radishes cut into strips and you're done!  How cinchy?

I gave it a try and it was perfect.  A little bit of tartness from the lime and a little bit of heat from the radish and red pepper.  Yum.

The chicken was simple to get prepped as well.  I actually added a bit more of the recipe as my kids are going through a phase of constant eating.  (Growth spurt on the way)?  I will share what the actual recipe calls for in case you don't have heathen kids who are asking for grub every ten minutes.  

For the Coconut Curry Chicken you simple whisk 1/2 cup of unsweetened coconut milk, 1 tbsp of grated ginger and 1 tbs green curry paste.  Add (6) boneless, skinless chicken thighs and marinate for 15 minutes.  Grill them on an oiled grill on medium heat for about fifteen minutes, until cooked through.  Top if with 1/3 cup of fresh cilantro and serve with lime slices.  

As I said, mine is going to marinate over night.  And we won't be eating til tomorrow so I don't know what the outcome will be but I do curry a lot and this marinate smells oh so yummy.  I'm pretty confident it will be delicious,  but will certainly let you know.  I am thinking about grilling pineapple to go with and we will serve up some jasmine rice with it as well.

As a note, in case you have a hard time finding unsweetened coconut milk - it wasn't in the international aisle with the regular coconut milk.  You can find it in the baking section.  You might want to check both places as I am sure it depends on the grocery store.

Try the recipes out and let me know what you think!  


Sunday, March 3, 2013

Preschool Snack Day

I am so excited to share what I did for Jude's class for his snack contribution this session.  Remember I mentioned in this post that I would be sending a snack in muffin containers?  Well, I did.  I called Jude from work right after school and he said "Mommy, do you know what?  All of my friends loved my snack so much!"  I could hear the excitement and appreciation in his voice.  I was even more happy to hear that he ate his "all gone".

After scouring the aisles and changing my mind over and over again on what to put into each space of the four compartments I was able to narrow it down to applesauce (this fit in one of the spaces nicely), the multi-colored Goldfish, grape tomatoes and sliced cucumbers with veggie dip and fun shaped marshmallows for a little something sweet. These little marshmallows came in the shape of ice cream cones and strawberries and are chocolate filled and both are dusted in sugar.  These were a big hit according to Jude!

Look at how cute!

I topped each one with a spoon for the applesauce and a coordinating napkin that matched the cupcake liners.  Each kiddo also got a little container of veggie dip and a juice box of 100% apple juice.  Just as I had hoped, the teacher kept the containers to use for a project at a later date! 

I am so glad the kids enjoyed the healthy, (with one exception) fun packaged snack and most of all that Jude was so excited to share them.  He helped me assemble by placing the liners in each space and eating some of the goldfish and tomatoes along the way as I packed the rest.  I can't wait until its our turn again. 

Linked up to:

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Love yourself.

So I have been debating on writing this post for almost two weeks now.  I don't know what my hesitation has been but I cannot deny that its been there.  It's nothing huge but just my reaction to my day of shopping.

So not last weekend, but the one prior I took my mom shopping because there were (ahhhhhmazing) sales going on.  I only knew this because I got a flyer in the mail from J.C. Penney.  I never go shopping for anything but groceries, household items or kids clothes anymore.  A store literally has to send out a nearly full size colorful flyer to get my attention.  I am glad this one drew me in because not only did they have sales from 60%-80% off, but so did Macy's.  And of course, I stopped and found some great deals in Gymboree and Children's Place for the wee ones.

My mom and I have a odd way of shopping together.  We go into stores together, start in the same area but quickly get separated leaving us having to call one another and me telling her to stay in her spot so I can locate her.  She shops really really slow.  On this particular day, I wasn't rushed since Clint was at home with the kiddos so I took my time.  In my shopping and my people watching I overheard some interesting conversations around me.

Have you heard the expression "if you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all"?  Of course you have.  Everyone has heard it.  By the end of my shopping excursion, this expression kept going through my mind.  Why you ask?  Because while browsing I heard countless women put themselves down.  Either they'd say to their co-shopper "I could never pull this off", "This is too young for  me", "My hips are way too wide", "This would look great on you but not me", "I'm too fat now" and another person said to her friend in the next dressing room "I looks like a disaster".  I have to admit, I said similar things to myself when picking up items and replacing them on the rack.  All of the women including myself were all shapes, sizes, young and old.

Back to the expression - "if you don't have anything nice to say, don'y say anything at all".  I got to thinking...why doesn't it apply to the things we say to ourselves?  Why are we so quick to put ourselves down?  I think that often times we unknowingly and  unconsciously put ourselves down so often that we don't even notice it anymore.  If you are guilty of this - STOP IT because you ARE gorgeous.  Even when you don't feel it or a in a rut, there is someone that is noticing the smile you just shared that made their day, your bright eyes that exude kindness, your perfect button nose, your hands that offer a kind touch, your laugh that is infectious or even what is on the inside -your heart that is so lovable that it feels physical to others.

When you overhear someone putting themselves down I encourage you to build them back up.  Even if they aren't busy putting themselves down and you happen to see something that catches your attention offer a compliment. Tell them what you notice that's great about them that they don't see.  Don't just offer the compliment to people you know but give one to a stranger.  Trust me, there isn't a person that you can come into contact with that doesn't have a great quality.  The way it makes them and yourself feel will make a world of difference.

Like I said, I don't know what my hesitation of posting these thoughts were, but now that I have I am glad I did.  I have literally been thinking about it every day since my outing.  Thanks for reading and remember...if you don't have anything nice to say - even about yourself - don't say anything at all.  You ARE gorgeous!

Monday, February 18, 2013

Brussel Sprouts...yum!

When I was younger I could easily say I didn't like these tiny little veggies that look like mini cabbages. The way my parents made them was to boil the ones that come frozen in a pot of water. This didn't allow me to truly appreciate what their potential could be.

Now that I am older and wiser (seriously...I will be THIRTY in just over a week), I have come to realize, if cooked correctly Brussels Sprouts are amazing!

First step, without a doubt is to buy fresh brussel sprouts. Get fresh. You will need 8 cups or about four pints of them. Next, gather these following items for the recipe. As always, I cook mostly with things I have on hand, so it's likely that outside of the sprouts you have these things too...

3 slices bacon, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 apple, cored and cubed into 1" pieces
2 teaspoons red-wine vinegar
Coarse salt and ground pepper

Preheat oven to 425 degrees and when it's warm put the bacon on a baking sheet in a single layer. Bake for 10 minutes. While the bacon is cooking, wash the brussels sprouts, trim the ends and cut in half. By the time the bacon is done you will be ready to add them to the baking sheet in in a single layer as well. Before returning them to the oven sprinkle the whole thing with salt and pepper. Roast for 12 minutes.

Now for some sweetness. Pull out the pan and add the apples. Back in the oven it all goes for another 10-15 minutes.

Using a spatula take all the yumminess from the pan and into a bowl. Mix in the vinegar and serve!

This may be your new favorite veggie side dish.

I refrained from eating it all but took a bowl of them to work the next day as a snack! Delish!

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Kids are cute. We love Turtle. Unknown Man.

I know that everyone always say kids say and do the most adorable things ever.  Well I have proof.  Jude went to his room to go to bed and when I went in to go see him, this is what I found.  
Jude fell asleep with his headlamp on holding his Turtle.  

Speaking of Turtle, yesterday the kids and I went to meet my mother in law (Grandma Horsey) and her hubby (Grandpa Chuck) from the airport.  They were returning from a two month long trip to Hawaii.  Their flight was delayed so we were waiting for a little while and Jude had to take Turtle in with us.  Gwenyth kept herself busy with just running around.  Thankfully it was late so there were very few people there.  Well in our excitement of seeing Grandma and Grandpa we forgot Turtle.  We left the area and went downstairs to the baggage claim area.  Ten minutes later a man and what must have been his granddaughter approached me, held out Turtle and asked if we had left it upstairs.  I thanked him and told him how devastated my son would have been had we left him.  I took Turtle to Jude and told him what happened and was so happy.  He held Turtle tight the entire ride home and kept saying "sorry for leaving you behind Turtle, I am so happy to have you back." 

This morning, he said to me was "wasn't that so nice of that man to bring me back Turtle?  He didn't have to do that did he?"  I responded with "no, he didn't" and we both agreed "he was awfully nice."

There is so much good in the world.  

Thank you unknown man with his granddaughter at the airport.  
We will certainly pass on the good deed.

Back to kids and cute things---sorry, seeing Turtle in the picture got me off track.  Isn't this adorable?  I love that he insists on wearing his headlamp.  He wears it when we read books in his bed at night. 

So there is your proof.  Kid's most certainly do the most adorable things.  (and people are simply wonderful for just being kindhearted and perfect).

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Buffalo Chicken Balls

I know that the last recipe I posted was a spicy one and this is no different.  I tried these out forever ago and they were a big hit!  Lucky for the cook, they were a cinch to make!  These would be so great for an appetizer when having friends over to watch a game or even for finger food at a party.

The ingredient list is minimal and most likely, you have some of these ingredients on hand.  Here's the list:

(4) cups of Cooked shredded chicken
(1) brick of softened Cream Cheese - 8 oz.
(1/2) cup shredded mild cheddar cheese
(1/2) cup Parmesan cheese
(1) stalk of celery chopped super fine
(1/3) cup of Franks Buffalo Wing sauce (or any brand you wish)
(2) eggs lightly beaten
(1/2) cup flour - you will have some left over.
(3) cups of Kellogg's Corn Flakes

First things first, preheat oven to 350.

I started by placing the cereal in a bag and crushing them with a can of petite diced tomatoes.  You can use any canned good of your choice or if you have a mallet or just want to use your hands, those work too.  I just happened to have the can out for another recipe so that's what I used.  So resourceful aren't I?

Next, while the chicken was still warm I combined it with the cream cheese and then mixed in the rest of the cheese ingredients, celery and wing sauce.  Set up an assembly line at this time.  First a bowl of flour, then the eggs and lastly the cereal.  Roll the chicken mixture into 1 1/2 inch balls, flour them, egg them and cereal them.

Place them on a cookie sheet and bake in the oven you preset earlier for 25 minutes.  Serve warm with ranch or blue cheese and of course, celery sticks!

So yummy!

Muffin Tin Love.

Has anyone heard of Muffin Tin Mondays over at  (formerly MuffinTinMom)  It's a place where people link up pictures of meals served in muffin tins.  Each week there is a theme.  I don't know if its because I am half Asian and love that its a play on bentos.  I have always loved this idea for serving food to kids in this fun way and have found the things that people come up with so fascinating!

Here are some examples:
Pac-Man.  I love the little ghost!

This is one where all the fixins one needs to assemble a taco are provided!  
My kids would love to put their own toppings on!  (The mess they'd make would be worth it)!

Here is a pirate themed one that is based off a book. 

These ideas are not limited to actual muffin tins alone.  You can use actual bentos.

Look at this one!

Starwars!  Not only is this great for Jude, but the hubs would LOVE this!

And look at this one!  A light saber pic? Are you kidding me?

What a great Halloween one.

And what iPad playing kid wouldn't love this Angry Birds theme?

I not only love this idea because they are absolutely amazing but I think it is a great way to get kids excited about food and its a new way to offer them variety.  In many of these ideas all food groups are covered and most are very balanced meals.

Well, I have been dying to create my own combination and thought the best time to do it would be for Jude's snack day at Preschool.  Each session there is a sign up sheet where each student gets to pick a day to bring a snack.  Jude is all signed up for February 28th! 

I have not yet decided exactly what I want to do but have already bought some supplies.  There are fifteen kids to prep for so it needs to be easy to assemble but still amazing.  I had thought that i would get disposable metal tins but couldn't think of a cute way in which I would cover all of them.  Then a few weeks ago while driving some back roads to work I stumbled upon a cake supply store.  

That is where I bought these!

I also bought a bunch of bright colored cupcake liners to go in each space.  
I plan to also make labels to go on top.

I will certainly post afterwards what I came up with so be looking forward to it. 

In the meantime, if anyone could suggest some ideas I would greatly appreciate it.  I want it to be a gender neutral theme and I want there to be a protein, fruits and vegetables.  I also wouldn't mind crackers and a little something sweet.  

Whenever its our turn, one requirement I always have is that the majority has to be healthy and then there can be something not so healthy for a little sweetness. 

So please offer your ideas as I would love to hear them.  Not only would I love to hear food ideas but even theme ideas.  So go on a put on your thinking caps and suggest away!

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Grilled Cheese with a KICK!

I think the key to a great sandwich is first and foremost great quality bread!  Of course I like my classic PB&J on cheap white bread, but a good quality sandwich calls for good quality bread.  Next is the cheese.  MmmMmm.  These two ingredients can surely make or break a sandwich.  I am telling you now that it is so worth dropping into Panera Bread or your local bakery and spending a little extra dough!  (pun intended-I know-I am a nerd).  

So I bought some sourdough and made this yummy deliciousness;  a Jalapeno Grilled Cheese!  Oh my word was it delicious and it had just the right amount if spice to it for myself but a tiny bit too much for the hubs and way too much for the kiddos.  

First thing I did was ever so carefully slice the peppers in half and remove the seeds.  As a note, it is a good idea to wear gloves and to dispose of them after use.  Do NOT to touch your eyes especially after handing these potent, innocent looking green beauties. I baked them in the oven flesh down in the oven at 400 degrees after tossing them with a little extra virgin olive oil and sprinkling with a tad of salt. I let them bake for about 12 minutes until the skin on them blistered.  I removed them and let them cool a bit.  In the meantime, I sliced some generous slices of the sourdough, lightly buttered one side of each with butter and the side of one slice with cream cheese.  I added a slice of cheddar and lined a piece with the roasted jalapenos.  Then in classic grilled cheese fashion, I added the other side of the buttered bread and cooked on medium heat in a pan.  

This is the result:

Boy was it amazing!

It is something that I will make again, especially during Lent as I often eat vegetarian sandwiches when meat is being omitted from my diet.  I think this would be amazing with the addition of mushrooms to add to the heartiness as well as a few tomato slices!

If you want to add a but of creaminess to your grilled cheese, add some cream cheese and for kick, be adventurous and add some yummy jalapeno!


Each day when I look at my little babies I wonder how they went so quickly from this:

Or even this:

To this:

It is heart breaking and joyous at the very same time.  

Please slow down my sweet darlings but know that I am cherishing each and every moment.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Documenting Memories in the Modern Day

I think that for forever I have been trying to find the best solution for documenting the cute things my kids say and do, the experiences we share and the wonderful thoughts I have of them as their mommy and recently found it.

I have to be honest, I actually didn't think of it myself, it was actually Jude's preschool teacher who told me about the idea.  It is something she said a friend did for her child(ren).  I had emailed Jude's teacher to let her know that Jude had been setting his stuffed animals up and pretending to be a teacher and to thank her for being so great.  I included a picture of all the stuffed animals all lined up in a row.  She responded and said I should write this stuff down and told me that her friend set up an email account for her kids so that she can send quick emails to them.

Can we say GENIUS?

I loved this idea since it's absolutely perfect for the modern day, working mom on the go who has technology at her fingertips through her phone, iPad, and computer.  I have tried several things in the past but have always found that I didn't have time to drop what I was doing, find what I did with the journal I bought each kid and write them a handwritten note.  I always tried to include a photo in the journal if possible which meant, taking the photo, sending it to Walgreen's or CVS for printing, picking it up, taping it in the journal, etc.  The genius in the email idea is that I can take the photo I had already taken with my phone and attach it to the email message I send.

I love it and write to them often.  I find time in my every day ventures to take the time to do it.  I do it while waiting in the doctors office, in the grocery store line, in my car when I arrive a few moments early for work, in the drive thru waiting for my large unsweetened iced tea with light ice from McDonald's for my daily must have beverage and while I am lying in bed trying to will my eyes to shut.

Someday, I will disclose to them what their email address is and the password I set for them so that they can read them and have those memories.  I thought that for a graduation gift, I would access it and print them all out and make it into a book.

I write just about every other day.  My favorite messages have to be the ones where I express the joy they bring to my life and the love I have for them.  As an example, here are today's entries:

To Jude:

You have a little mailbox that Grandma Horsey gave you.  I have been leaving you little notes on the kitchen counter for you to come home to.  You asked me to start putting the notes in your mailbox and showed me where you'd leave it, which was on your desk.  Today, I placed a note in your mailbox and you asked me to read it to you.  It made you so happy which in turn made me happy.  Your smile sure can light up a room. 

To Gwenyth:

I hope that you feel my love each and everyday because it is so real.  The love a mother has for their child is not comparable to any other kind of love.  It is immeasurable and unstoppable.  

This weekend you stayed overnight with Jude at Aunt Amanda's to spend time with your cousins and so mommy and daddy could go on a much needed date.  When you arrived home, you were so excited to see me and it made my heart swell.  You looked at me, threw your hands above your head and ran to me yelling "mommy! mommy!"  We hugged and kissed as if we hadn't seen each other in ages when in fact it had been less than a day!  We didn't let one another go with hugs, kisses and laughter for about thirty minutes!  

I will always cherish those moments.  They are etched in my mind.  

I love you my sweet angel baby. You are a joy!


I am so grateful to Jude's teacher for this idea because it is finally something that truly "works" for me in my busy life as an over-achieving working mommy and wife who finds a gazillon ways to keep herself busy.  If there are any other mommy's out there who have tried other memory keeping ideas that have failed, you may want to give this a whirl.  For me, I find it to be such a special connection that I have for myself with my kids.  I hope that someday they will hold these memories near and dear to their heart as well.