Tuesday, July 30, 2013

{recetas} Balsamic Vegetables

I need to remember to take pictures while I cook. Whoops!

As a side dish to the Maple Venison Chops from last night, I made some balsamic vegetables. They were delicious! This recipe makes enough for 4 people, with plenty of leftovers!

What you need:

  • 2 bell peppers, of any color (I used red and orange)
  • 1 small onion
  • 1 zucchini
  • 1 package of mushrooms (I used baby bella mushrooms)
  • balsamic vinegar
  • olive oil
  • minced garlic
  • salt
What you do:
  1. Slice all of the vegetables to your desired thickness. Place them in a 13" x 9" baking dish.
  2. Pour some vinegar and oil over the vegetables. I didn't measure. Use just enough to have a layer of oil and vinegar cover the bottom of the baking dish.
  3. Sprinkle salt over the top of the vegetables and mix them around, so all vegetables are coated with the oil and vinegar mixture.
  4. Add two tablespoons of the minced garlic. Mix the vegetables again. At this point, I tasted the marinade/dressing with my fingertip and decided that more salt was needed. I sprinkled a little more, and mixed the vegetables once more.
  5. Cover the vegetables with foil and bake at 325 degrees, for about 20 to 25 minutes. The time is variable. I checked them after 15 minutes and decided they needed about 7 minutes more. Just cook them to your desired degree of "done-ness."

Sunday, July 28, 2013

{recetas} Portobello Mushrooms & a Meal Plan

Ahh, another week begins.

This week brings August.

Know what that means?
(School starts soon!)

Here is my meal plan for the week:

Monday: Maple Venison Chops
Tuesday: Fish Tacos with Avocado Cream Sauce
Wednesday: Family Dinner
Thursday: Enchiladas with Tomatillo Salsa
Friday: Dinner @ a friend's house
Saturday: Garlic Whole Chicken
Sunday: Family Birthday Dinners

This week brings a lot more cooking than last! I'm a little bit excited for it!

Last week, we had some friends over for dinner. We made venison burgers and, for the vegetarian, portobello mushroom burgers.

What you need:

  • 4 portobello mushrooms
  • 2 tbsp. balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • 2 tbsp. rosemary

What you do:

  1. Wash the mushrooms and remove the stem. Place the mushrooms on a plate.
  2. In a separate bowl, mix together vinegar, oil, and rosemary.
  3. Brush the marinade over each mushroom cap.
  4. Place the mushrooms on the grill for 7 to 10 minutes. Brush the extra marinade over each mushroom as needed.
While I am not a vegetarian, I ate a mushroom cap as a bun for my venison burger. It was delicious!

Friday, July 26, 2013

((this moment))

((this moment))

A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Family Reunion

The husband and I (and the baby) just recently got home from a family reunion.

It was with his dad's family. People I had never met before. Never even knew existed.

Isn't it interesting? I knew that the hubby's grandma had two sisters, but I didn't necessarily think about their kids and grandkids, and even great-grandkids.

We all met at a campground in the black hills of South Dakota. If you've never been, add it to your list of places to travel. Mount Rushmore was neat and the scenery was beautiful! Each morning, we had breakfast together then parted ways for daytime activities. Everyone met up once more at the campground for happy hour, dinner, and cards after dark. I was pleasantly surprised with the whole trip.

But isn't it interesting? I grew up seeing my mom's cousins and their kids on a rather regular basis. I graduated high school with a couple of them. We still see everyone at least twice a year.

But given the circumstances, this family had spread out thought the country. People left home for college, jobs, and spouses. It's just what happens, and what you willingly do for your significant other.

And when that happens? People travel from near and far for a family reunion. They pack up their families, take vacation time from work and begin their trek to South Dakota. Hopefully with this family, they won't wait another 18 years for the next reunion...

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Meal Plan

I have to admit that this week's meal plan is kind of lame. Yep, I said it. Lame. We won't be home over the dinner hour much this week, as our summer calendar (especially July) is always booked.

But, here we go:

Monday: Grandma Pat's 85th Birthday Party (dinner there)
Tuesday: Coriander Cumin Pork Chops
Wednesday: Family Dinner @ the Brother-in-Law's new digs
Thursday: Venison Burgers with Grilled Zucchini (Portobello Mushroom for the vegetarian)
Friday: Stuffed Peppers
Saturday: Rehearsal Dinner
Sunday: A Wedding

Like I said. It's a bit lame. I only have to cook three out of the seven nights.

Okay, that's pretty nice if you ask me!

Stay tuned for the delicious venison burger recipe!

Monday, July 22, 2013

Cucumber Vodka

Ah, Pinterest.

I spend many an hour on Pinterest.

This cucumber recipe is probably one of the first Pinterest "projects" I have completed.

I finally made the move because I bought these fabulous Weck carafes from Crate & Barrel. They've been sitting on my kitchen counter, waiting to be used. I had re-pinned a "recipe" for cucumber water and decided that'd be perfect for the carafes.

Okay, side note. When I find something on Pinterest, am I supposed to make a link to the pin, or go directly to the original site and link to that? I just don't know... Anyway, this is the website of the pin. If I'm supposed to link to the pin, let me know!

So, I sliced my cucumbers (well, I peeled them first) and loaded them up in to the two Weck carafes. I filled one with water and stuck it in the fridge.

I went a little crazy with the other one...and filled it with vodka!

Supposedly the water will be ready in 2 to 24 hours....I'm excited!

Everything I've read about infused vodka says to wait 3 or more days. We're having some friends over for dinner on Thursday. I think that is the perfect time to try the cucumber vodka with a little tonic and lime.

What do you think?
this one is vodka -- the cucumbers
floated in the water
Linked up here.

*UPDATE* The cucumber vodka was delightful! I maybe left the cucumbers in the vodka for a day too long, but it was still a refreshing drink! (7/26/2013)

Friday, July 19, 2013

((this moment))

((this moment))

A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Big Time Problem

My husband and I have a problem.

And I don't know how to deal with it.

It needs to be fixed, as lives could be at stake. 

Do I have you all perplexed?

Don't worry, it's not that bad. Here's the problem:

I apologize for the horrible photo. It was two in the morning, after returning home from a trip. The camera was still packed, so I used my phone.

This little bugger is actually quite big. I'd say at least 15 pounds. And he's been on the deck every night for the last week eating our bird seed. He needs to go away. 

The thing is...I have a question. How do you get rid of a raccoon? This beast of an animal could easily injure the pup. A vet friend of mine mentioned a raccoon causing some damage to a black lab. Black labs are big. Finn is not. Since he is currently at "summer camp," we have until August 3rd (when we pick him up) to get rid of the raccoon. But how!?

I love where we live, but it is thinks like the raccoon that really get to me. Raccoons, tornadoes, and wood/deer ticks.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

First (and probably last) Furniture Makeover

I love to peruse blogs and Pinterest to see the amazing furniture makeovers that people complete. After spending a few minutes hours doing that, I typically head over to Craigslist to see if there are any cheap pieces of furniture to do my own rehab.

While pregnant with Kid, I did just that. My goal was to find a changing table for under $75. I found a super cheap one and contacted the seller right away. Cheap-o as in $25. Pretty cheap, pretty awesome. It was a fairly ugly changing table, but in working condition, so we bought it and brought it home.

It's one of those particleboard changing tables, covered with a super ugly wood grain veneer. Just not cute, and not my style. At all. So my project was to complete the changing table (and nursery) before the boy arrived. Because he was 6 weeks early, none of that happened. I started the changing table before he was born, but it wasn't finished until 3 weeks after he was born. And the nursery? That still isn't complete. I'm working on it.

Here is my furniture makeover:

I, of course, did not get around to taking a before picture. Whoops!

But here is the after:
don't pay attention to the dog head...I was in a hurry!
Isn't it nice? I used the same brown that was used for two of the stripes in Kid's room. I like how dark it ended up, after two coats and some polyurethane. I'm thinking, though, that I want to change the color of the drawer pulls...thoughts on that?

But here's the thing. I am not a fan of redoing furniture. It takes FOREVER. Especially if you're pregnant and fume-sensitive! And then, when you have a newborn in the house.

But in reality, it was the best thing to do. We paid $25 for the changing table. And that was it. We already had paintbrushes, primer, brown paint and polyurethane from other projects.

So, at 25 bucks, it was pretty cheap (but the most expensive piece of furniture in Kid's room).

Linked up here and here.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Tres meses

G Baby has now been here for just over three months. And it is so hard to believe.

While the time has gone so quickly, it feels as though he's been a part of our family forever. We, of course, are blessed to be his parents.

As is typical for the hubs and I, we took a family road trip with the boy. I know what you're thinking: do you ever spend time at home? Durning the summer, not so much.

This time, we had a family reunion in Omaha, Nebraska. It probably was the last reunion that my (85-year-old) grandma will get to. We thought it important to be there, too. Grandma is, after all, the last of her siblings to still be alive. Needless to say, it was amazing to see what was created from just two people, my grandma's parents. There were easily 200 people in attendance, with every age covered.

And the best part? There were activities for all: minnow races for the 10 and unders, a bags tournament for everyone else (me and Joel (a somehow relative I hadn't seen since I was 12) made it pretty close to the championship round, but we lost to the team that ultimately won), and a water balloon toss for everyone. First, the littles (up to age 13), then the young middles (14 to 24), then the middle middles (25 to 39), the old middles (40 to 79), and finally, the elders (80 on up). The elders round consisted of my grandma and her sister-in-law. And they just ended up throwing the balloons at each other, not even attempting to catch them. 

But the best part of the trip as a whole?

The Henry Doorly Zoo. Probably, okay, definitely the best zoo I have ever visited. It was phenomenal. I definitely suggest you take the time to visit. 

Okay, finally. The real reason for this post:

Kid is 3 months old (on July 2nd). Someday I'll do one of these posts on time...

Kid Stats:

Weight: 13.5 pounds. You sure have grown in the last three months!

Length: we won't find out until August.

Clothing: 3 month. Although, you can still wear some newborn shorts, and 0-3 month onesies. And a few 3-6 month onesies as well.

Diapers: size 2

Favorite Food: breastmilk

Favorite Toy: you love mirrors!

New developments: your head control continues to improve, and we are shocked by your strength! You're starting to drool more and more. Your smiles are more social, and you are talking all the time! You've started to bat at toys, and will hold a rattle for just a few seconds if we put it in your hand. You've been rolling from tummy to back for a little while now.

It's amazing to see how you are developmentally on-track with your adjusted age (8.5 weeks). Your cousin was born on your due date, and you seem to be on his schedule!

We love you sweet boy!

Sunday, July 7, 2013


I have a secret dream.

And I've decided to make it not-so-secret. Because right now, only my husband and I know about this dream. 

Maybe it's more of a goal. 

Either way, I'm here to tell you about it.

My husband hunts. He hunts deer, pheasant, and has a grouse hunting trip planned.

Hunting is not something I could do. But, I do enjoy the fruits of his labor.

Especially the venison.

Last year, he brought home about 50 pounds of meat. We didn't use any of it until April, because I was nervous about eating venison while pregnant. And because I like my red meat on the rare side and that is a no-no during pregnancy. I didn't want to eat well-done venison.

Anyway. We've gone through more than half of our freezer full of venison since April. I assume it isn't something that most people enjoy, but I love it. Especially when we use our homemade maple syrup in the marinade!

Okay, now the time for my dream/goal.

I would like to avoid buying beef for one year.

No. I'm not becoming a vegetarian. I am hoping that my husband can bring home enough venison to replace our beef consumption for a year.

That's my goal. I hope, if the hunting in November goes well, it's something we can accomplish...

Have no fear, I'll keep you updated.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Already an Expert

I feel as though I can call myself an expert in traveling with un bebé.

That's right. We're traveling again (have we even been home for a week yet? (no)).

This time, we're on our way to Omaha, Nebraska. It will be the little man's first time out of the state, and I am not letting myself pack nearly as much as I did for the last trip.

Here are some things I've learned through this month of traveling with the peanut:

1. Pack a lot of clothes for the kid. They're needed. Long sleeves, short sleeves, pants, and shorts.

2. Don't pack too many clothes for the kid. They won't be used. No need for a million onesies per day. Just not necessary.

3. Bring the comfort of home. Bring the Boppy pillow. Bring the Sleep Sack. Bring the noise machine. You'll need them. Well, maybe your kid isn't as fussy / particular as mine is at this point in his life. But those comforts of home have been life saving.

4. Leave stuff at home. You don't need everything. The kid will make it with or without the super soft blanket that is always in his crib (I'm sure I'll be singing a different tune when the boy is a bit older!).

Those are my tips for traveling with the baby. Very clear and concise:

Pack a lot, but don't pack a lot at the same time!

Monday, July 1, 2013

Weekend Away

I spent my first night away from the boy. And second.

We had gone on a camping trip with my in-laws to Lake Vermillion. At the end if the trip, I headed northeast to Grand Marais and the Gunflint Trail. A much needed girls' weekend was waiting. Well, not really waiting, as I was the first to arrive at the cabin.

I left the hubs with the baby and just about a million ounces of milk. And it all was fabulous. I don't know if I was more nervous, or the hubs. But everything went well. 

And the weekend away with the girls? 

Just what I needed.