Saturday, April 5, 2014

Mama's Rice & Beans

Y'all, the heavens rained down on my kitchen a couple weeks ago. My mom was in town and made an amazing lunch for us.

After it was gone, I made her make it for dinner too.

It rocked, was easy, and keeps well as leftovers (if there are any).  She wrote down the recipe for me and I knew I had to share it with you. So with out further adieu...


Texas Rice & Beans
(For the record, the name of it is a tad misleading... it's nothing like the Texas rice & beans I've had before.)

Mix the following together:
  • 1 can of black-eyed peas or garbanzo beans, drained (I didn't have either, so I used light red kidney beans instead)
  • 2 cans of black beans, drained
  • 1/3 - 2/3 cup of roasted red bell peppers 
  • 1/4 chopped poblano pepper (I didn't have poblano, so I used an anaheim pepper... and I chopped the whole thing and threw it in, so we ended up with more than the recipe called for. Hey, we like our peppers around here...)

Stir all of the above with 1/4 cup of Texas Vinaigrette (below) and let sit for a few. I recommend adding maybe even 1/3 cup cause this stuff is so good!

Toss the above with however much brown rice you want.
(I used quinoa because when I opened up a bag of rice, I became confused and didn't know what to do with my hands. So I went with ole faithful that is familiar to me.)

(I hope y'all got the Anchorman reference above and don't think I literally didn't know what to do with my hands.... okay, maybe I sort of didn't, but whatever...)

Texas Vinaigrette 
Texas Vinaigrette (All praise Jesus for this compilation of tantalizing flavors!)
  • salt/pepper to taste
  • 1/4 cup of olive oil
  • 1/4 cup of lime juice
  • 2 tbsp of cilantro
  • 1 tbsp hot sauce
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin

So the above can be, and has been, eaten a few different ways. I like to scoop mine with tortilla chips, but it can be rolled in tortilla to make a burrito, or just scooped as is with a spoon.

Finished product
AHHH!
You know what else would be good in this??

AVOCADO!

(My husband just suggested it, hence the last second mention of it.)

If I had avocado, I would totally cut one of those bad boys up and throw it in!

Let me know if you try this and what you think about it!
Word to my mama for introducing it to me! :-)



Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Gasp! Another Recipe!

I must be butter. Because I'm on a roll.

Da-Da-Ching!

Okay - that was a completely lame joke. (That's the best I've got).

But I DID cook again. This time I tried to copy a recipe of my mother-in-law's because it was amazing when she made it. It was some sort of rice, tomato, soy sauced up tofu thingy. I really don't know the name of it, but it rocked.

Except the recipe never was written down. So I had to wing it. This is what I think the recipe was. But it may not have been? I don't know...

(Disclaimer: Since I don't know the best way to write a recipe - because, let's be real, I never read them - the way this is written may be annoying. Sorry ahead of time. But this dish had four parts, so that's how I'm splitting it up because that's how it makes sense to me.)

(Also - there aren't any specific measurements in this. We do everything "to taste"... meaning "a lot." Bryant likes to have leftovers, so I always try to make a ton of everything.)

Tomato/Soy Sauce Mixture of Goodness Part:

  • tomatoes chopped/diced
  • red onion
  • cucumber sliced
  • cilantro
  • small sweet peppers (red, orange, & yellow)
  • soy sauce (we use low sodium)
  • (You could add other peppers too... like jalepenos or thai chili peppers or something if you like heat.)
Nothing in this part was cooked. Everything was diced/chopped into relatively small pieces and then drowned in soy sauce. Once done, I set aside to let the flavors settle and marinade for a while.
(Did that last sentence make it sound like I know what I'm doing??) 
(Because I don't.)


Quinoa Part:

(My MIL's original recipe used rice instead)

  • however many cups you want to make (I used 3 cups so we had leftovers)
  • double the cups of water, so 6 for you non-math folks
Throw quinoa and water in a pot and bring to a boil. Lower temperature to low-medium for 15-ish minutes, or until the quinoa is fluffy and not watery anymore. Get that simmer going.

I mix regular and red quinoa together, hence the red in this

Green Part: 


  • coconut oil
  • an entire extra large container of fresh spinach
  • one bushel of kale (or more... whatever works! Remember, we love our kale around here)
  • minced garlic
  • garlic powder
  • pepper
  • 1 lime
I heated the oil on low-medium and then threw all the greens in together, tossed some garlic in, peppered and powdered it (to taste, I guess). Then I squeezed a whole lime over it.  I cooked it like this until the greens were soft and bright green. 

(This portion of the recipe almost didn't make it to the end because I kept eating it from the pan. Oops!)



Tofu Part:

*Alright people, I know most of you probably don't like tofu. BUT this fabulously vegan and uber-healthy meal could be made a little less fabulously vegan and uber-healthy if you substituted chicken or something here.... if, of course, you didn't want to be fabulously vegan and uber-healthy.  BUT... for those who have issues with the texture of tofu - because honestly, it doesn't have much flavor, so I don't buy that excuse - I cooked this tofu more crispy. More like a little tofu-y chicken nugget, if you will. Anyway, I encourage you to give it a try. This is my absolute FAVORITE way to eat tofu. :-)
  • extra firm block of tofu
  • chili powder
  • pepper
  • salt
  • vegetable oil
The tofu needs to be drained and then squished with a paper towel to get any extra moisture out. From there I sliced it up into bite size pieces. Then I brushed a little bit of oil on them and seasoned with salt, pepper and chili powder. I stuck them on parchment paper (since cleaning pans suck) in the oven (400 degrees) for 10-12 minutes. I then flipped them over (with a little more seasoning on the other side) for another 10-12 minutes. 



Once everything was finished, the last thing to do was combine and enjoy!! I think we've added sunflower seeds to the top before, as well.

Let me know if any of y'all try this and what you think! My mama (who is NOT a tofu-y type person) loved it!

Thanks MIL for the recipe!!


1. Quinoa
2. Greens
3. Spoon tomato concoction with soy sauce over greens 
4. Add tofu

Monday, February 10, 2014

An Ode to Weeman: 5 Signs My Dog May Need Pet Therapy

Meet Weeman.

He's our 10(ish) year old extreme rescue mutt.



I say "extreme" mutt, because... well, the muddied bloodlines of this mutt are indeed just that - extreme. There is no pool of clarity on what breeds may or may not be thrown into the waters here. Every vet (or self-proclaimed dog expert) we've inquired of has proclaimed Weeman carries a mix of a multitude of different breeds.

Yes - a mix of a multitude.

Nobody agrees on just a breed or two. So we're going to assume he has them all. All the breeds.

Art credit to: Hyperbole & a Half
Anyway, as I was saying...

Meet Weeman. Weeman has an issue.

His issue is that he has ALL the issues.


This dog is so dag-gum awkward and weird, it's embarrassing. And a lot of people think he's cross eyed.

(Which he is not. His eyes are just set closely together. So there.)



Anyway, here are the 5 signs that showed me Weeman probably needs some Zoloft. If your dog suffers from any or all of these, you may need to seek some professional help, as well.
1) He shivers and shakes when you look at him.
2) He shivers and shakes when you don't look at him.
3) He finds the most awkward and uncomfortable positions to lay in.
4) He sits in corners for hours, not making eye contact.
5) He sits in corners for hours, not breaking eye contact.  
But I do want to go on record and state that Weeman is a phenomenal kid dog.

But not your kids.

Just mine.

He loves McKenna and Meda to death. Every time Meda cries, he rushes to her door and waits for me to get there... or he'll come (shaking, of course) to get me. And you'll notice, in many of McKenna and Meda's pictures, Weeman is photobombing somewhere.






So he's a good dog. (Sometimes). But he's a socially awkward dog. (All the time.)

Here's to you, Weeman. You officially have made it to your own little slice of the inter webs because of your weirdness.




Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Kale Jenga

Are you sitting down? You'd better do it, if not.

I cooked dinner again the other night. But this time, for real. 

I know... good thing you took a seat.

So, as I was saying, I got a wild hair up the rear and decided to throw some veggies in a skillet to see what happened.

Here's what met its final destination in my belly.
  • Big ole scoop of coconut oil to lather up the pan (mainly because I love the smell)
  • Roughly 3/4 of a large, but sort-of small onion
  • A few cloves of garlic.... I think I used 3? Maybe? I don't remember.
  • A bunch of small sweet peppers
  • 4-6 baby portabella mushrooms
  • 1 extra large, honkin' zucchini 
  • pepper
  • salt
  • rosemary 
Because I lack creativity in the culinary arts, I wasn't quite sure what to do with all the veggies once they were done, so in another pot went, what else? Spaghetti noodles.

After the noddles started cooking, at the last minute I chopped up a tomato and a little, some, quite a bit, colossal load of kale to go in, as well.
(Three bushels, to be exact. Not a Costco sized bushel, though. We're Kroger stock holders around here, so whatever size Kroger bushels tend to be are the size we used.)
(I'm pretty good at this whole measurement thing, aren't I?)
(PS - Don't you need to go pick up some extra sugar or something at Kroger after you read this? Just a friendly and totally non-biased reminder.)


If you aren't able to tell from the above picture, the cooking adventure became quite the strategic game of Kale Jenga. That's a 13 1/4 inch cast iron skillet, people. We don't play game when it comes to kale around here.

Though no worries, I won.
(What can I say? We love our kale.)

So once it all cooked, I put a tiny bit of marina sauce (to make it taste more like spaghetti, of course) and voilĂ 

Our dinner of kale and a side of veggies and noodles was served. 


And everybody liked it...
(I think...)

And everybody lived.... 
(Despite a couple times where the smell of burning noodles and kale overtook the kitchen and emergency personnel were almost dialed. But don't worry - I can count on only one hand the number of times I had to reach for my phone to almost call in reinforcements. No big deal.)

And the best part? I didn't have to clean after.

Booyah.

Monday, February 3, 2014

Join me in a Stalker Fest!

If you're like me, you easily get caught up in stalking reading of blogs online. There are lots of interesting people out there. I thought I'd do a quick run down on some of my favorite blogs to stalk follow that post regularly.

(For the record, these are not the only ones I follow, but some of the ones that popped into my mind immediately. If you want a complete list of who I follow, check out Bloglovin.)


Hyperbole and a Half
One word. Hysterical. She just recently published her first book and it was awesome. Her blog is filled with comics about her life and experiences. And her blog is the birth place of the ALOT monster.


The Matt Walsh Blog
And here's the controversial blog. Matt Walsh is a former radio DJ that stirred things up a bit when he posted about SAHMs. I love his straightforward, sometimes sarcastic, and always unforgiving style of sharing thoughts and opinions. Probably because I tend to agree with him on his "controversial" topics.

A Bowl Full of Lemons
This blog makes me swoon with envy at her completely organized and clean home. Not to mention her home is beautiful. Quite a few of her posts have helped me de-clutter my cluttered, but not as cluttered anymore life. :-) (Follow all that?) Since I started following this site, the blog has grown from a 1 man operation to an entire community and organizing team. It's pretty awesome.

Tuttle Tales
This is my sister's blog, and while she doesn't post on a regular basis (just like her older sister), she does post some pretty stellar pics of my adorable niece and nephew. They live in Missouri on 80 acres and I live my wanna-be cowgirl life vicariously through them.

Denim & Dots
A New Mexican turned Seattleite turned New Yorker, Amy Reh is a former sorority sister of mine who's a fashion guru that shares fashion ideas & recipes often. She and I went to high school together and sang in the "legendary" LCHS choir, once upon a time. (Note: "legendary" is a loosely used-term in the preceding sentence.)

Single Infertile Female
I've been following SIF for a few years. It was one of the first blogs I ever read, actually. I was suckered in by not only her intriguing story, but also her wit and blatantness about... well, everything. Since then, we've become what I would call "online friends" and she's actually now my book's developmental editor. Pretty cool, if you ask me. BUT... she just put out there that she's putting an expiration date on her blog. SIF will no longer exist after December of this year. GASP! To which I say...


Simple Life of Delta Daises
A Memphis lifestyle blogger. She's a teacher and most often posts about fashion and some recipes. She is super cute and seems super sweet. We've talked about getting together a couple times, but it just hasn't happened yet. Hopefully soon... she's probably heard the truth about me and is staying as far away as possible.

Simply Smithwick
Another Memphis blogger. I've met Caroline a few times and she's super sweet. We met through the running community and then over our children's mutual enrollment at The Little Gym. Very cool girl who shares about her new embarkment on Mommyhood, among other things.

Big Mama and Boo Mama Blogs.
These two sweet, southern ladies CRACK ME UP. Boo Mama (aka Sophie Hudson) wrote one of my fav books out there right now and Big Mama (aka Melanie Shankle) wrote another of my fav books on motherhood. They even have a podcast together and it always makes for a good time.

Landee See Landee Do
Because I'm such a crafty person (ummm.... not....) I decided to start following Landee a while back just because she makes pretty things. With her blog, I was able to look at pretty things in the pretty pictures she posted. (Swoon.) After a while, I got tired of just looking and decided to try my hand at a couple of them. (Anyone remember the random wreath post?) And it worked. So, if I can make something pretty, just like Landee, then you definitely can!

The Southern Wife
A fellow Memphis runner, Christin is another lifestyle and running themed blog. We've hung out together a few times and we both enjoy a nice glass of wine and wearing running shoes. Oh, and if I recall correctly, she also has an appreciation for ABC's The Bachelor and The Bachelorette.


*for the record, I received nothing in return for this post... I just wanted to share who I'm stalking keeping up with these days.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Snuggles for All the Nights

"Mom, what does 'penetrate' mean?"

I was folding laundry in our living room as McKenna watched "Austrailia's Deadly Dozen" on Netflix when this question arose. I looked up, confused. 

Not confused about what you may be at this point, because yes, our child often watches documentaries, instead of 'Dora The Explorer' like most normal kids. 
(I'm kind of wishing Dora was picked to watch more often because her songs are much more catchy than NatGeo's.) 
(But McKenna has grown attached to this particular episode and isn't afraid to point out my sub-par intelligence level because she knows the differences between a Box Jellyfish and your average everyday jellyfish.)
(I'm assuming any jellyfish is a jellyfish to be avoided. Am I right or am I right?)

"Huh?" I looked at her, to the TV, and back to her again, wondering if I heard the question correctly.

"What does 'penetrate' mean? You knoooow, like the Stonefish penetrates its fin through a person's shoe when they walk and poisons them..." This came complete with an exasperated eye roll and annoyed palm-to-the-ceiling motion of her hand. 

This confused me even more. When did my four ("and a half," she'd be sure to correct me) year old child turn into a thirteen year old? She clearly has the teenage eye roll and parental exasperation thing down. But I didn't realize my daughter could pronounce a word like 'penetrate'. 

Because isn't she still supposed to be learning how to say "Ma-Ma" and "Da-Da?" Wasn't just yesterday she singing "Geezus wuvs me?" 

Maybe it was I just didn't realize she was truly absorbing what the show was teaching... Sure, I thought she listened and remembered it, but for the most part, I figured she liked watching the show because it was filled with exciting, exotic animals on it. Either that or she has a serious desire to visit Austrailia and wants to be enlightened on the whereabouts of the deadly cone snail.

(Because her mother probably wouldn't survive a swim in the ocean with her minimal jellyfish knowledge.)

Okay, yes, yes - I know. Children learn quickly... They're like sponges... And what do I mean I "didn't realize" she was learning and speaking words such as 'penetrate?'

What I mean is... Where the hell is my baby girl and where have the last couple years of her life gone?? 

I have to be at least two to three years behind in the McKenna Growing Up race. At this rate, she'll be twenty years old when I am just about ready for her to turn ten. 

I'm only four (and a half) years into this whole parenting deal, but my mind was blown today when I realize how big my "baby" is getting to be. Then I looked at little Meda and realized she is already eight months old. I know that doesn't sound like a lot, but y'all...

I just gave birth. Seriously. She is supposed to still be a blob of immobile, feces-creating flesh... Not the smiling, laughing, crawling, and soon-to-be walking and talking child she actually is. 

After I resisted the urge to make a sarcastic joke about the word 'penetrate' answered her question, I made McKenna promise me something. I made her promise when she's fifteen, she would still snuggle with me. And then when she's eighteen and then twenty five and every year after. In response, I received a snuggle and an "okay, mama." 
(Be still, my heart.)

After promising this, McKenna leaned over, grabbed my head, pulling it close to her, and whispered in my ear, "Will you promise me something, Mom?" 

I nodded.

"That'll you'll snuggle me all night all the nights when you're older?"

Y'all. The tears sprang up before my first full nod was completed. 

I plan to hold her to her promise. And I expect her to hold me to mine too. My heart is aching right now because I love both my girls so much. So much I want time to stop.

They say it goes by fast and the days are long, but the years are short. I'm not sure I've heard of more true words when it comes to parenting. 

I looked at MK and tried to capture that moment and tuck it away in my (pretty empty) brain rolodex. I want to remember every detail of this time in her and Meda's life. How McKenna winks at you with both her eyes when you give her a thumbs up. How Meda kicks both legs, swings one arm and sharply sucks in air from excitement after first seeing you following a nap. How McKenna won't speak to me until she's greeted her baby sister first thing in the morning. 

Because apparently I've been too busy looking forward to their futures to store in my memory bank any of the past. 

Though, I am looking forward to the promise to give and get all the snuggles, all the nights, when I get older. :-)




Monday, January 27, 2014

Operation Grown Up Bedroom

Around Christmas, I got the bug to vamp up our master bedroom. 

It happened as I was helping McKenna make her overstuffed, fluffy PBK bed. Then I walked into Meda's room to straighten up (story of my life) and saw her handcrafted wall art that perfectly matched her own PBK outfitted bed. 

Being in my 30's now, I became jealous of my children's fully decorated bedrooms figured it was time for a grown-up room. Before we moved to Memphis, Bryant and I invested in an amazing king sized mattress set...

And stopped there. 

(Best purchase we ever made as a couple, by the way. That bed is so comfy.)

The furniture pieces we have in there are almost all hand-me-downs. We have an old dresser of his sister's and one of my parents. The (one) side table we have was leftovers from my sister. The other side table is a dog crate covered with a blanket. While what we have in there is fine, it just doesn't flow together as magazine-like as my daughters' rooms. Which I decided to change.

So I started scouring Pinterest for ideas on decor and furniture to recreate my own "sanctuary." We already have an oversized armchair in there, so I moved furniture around to create a little reading corner; a place where I can hang out to read and/or write when I'm not actually sleeping. I still need to add a small table next to this.
And, of course, I also checked my email to see if any of my favorite retailers were having any deals...



And lo, they were. 

So just after the new year, I cashed in on the PB outlet's white sale and scored new bedding stuff I'd been eyeing since the release of the new season's items... you know, pillow shams, a duvet, etc...

Then I somehow was blindly dragged over the river and through the woods of Pinterest and Internet Land to Right Grain's Etsy shop. They make customized prints such as the one I just received pictured below.

I have been wanting to add some cycling (remember the hobby turned obsessive profession of my husband?) decor to the house, and thought this would be perfect. So what did I do?

I ordered it. (As well as this other PB pillow cover I saw online, that works perfectly in our living room.) 

I was able to pick out the colors of the bike and background of the print to match the bedroom. The owners of Right Grain were awesome to work with and the result was better than I originally pictured. 

It was destiny, I tell you... destiny.

Then I was put on a spending halt by my cheap reasonable husband for a while.

Boo.

So, in the meantime, my mom is going to bring the other matching dresser to us and I'm going to do some online searching for a bed/headboard, side tables, lighting, and other decor that might suit my fancy.

So we're getting there a couple items at a time.

Below is a picture of the print hanging up, and I'm really happy with it. The pictures were taken with my phone, and the colors don't show up very well because of weird lighting, but it'll do. 

Do you have any fun (and cheap) ideas you would suggest? Stores or places to check for other items to add? 



Thursday, January 23, 2014

Recipe Alert! (Non) Homemade (Mostly) Vegan Pizza

A few days ago, I posted a picture of our vegan dinner on Instagram and FB and got a lot of positive feedback on it. So I wanted to share the recipe. (If you're lucky, maybe I'll make it a habit to post some vegan recipes now and again like this one? Only time and my laziness will tell.)

Non-Homemade Vegan Pizza

1) Visit the Papa Johns website. (Or any pizza delivery website, really.)
2) Click special offers. (Because we're cheap around here.)
3) Pick a special offer where you can customize your own pizza.
4) Customize your pizza.
     - Add any of the veggies listed on the right side of the page.

      - Select "NO CHEESE" at the bottom under "Special Instructions."

5) Pay & Order. (Sometimes they will call you to double check the "no cheese" option was correct. This is normal in the life of a (mostly) vegan pizza ordering person.)
6) Sit back and wait for pizza to arrive. Enjoy an appetizer of Pinot Noir or something while you wait.

And Voila! A yummy, (mostly) vegan, (non) homemade pizza. And it only takes 2-5 minutes to make (not including delivery time) and doesn't cause a mess in the kitchen.

Here's a picture of what mine looked liked from the other night.

Enjoy!

(*This is considered a "mostly" vegan meal because I am not sure if there are any animal products used while making the crust. We will go into this meal assuming there is not.)








Monday, January 20, 2014

Meda Video Fun

She may or may not be a fan of peas.... The jury is still out.

 (Apologies to those who hate watching little kids eat, like I still do used to. Go ahead and skip this video.)

 

Thursday, January 16, 2014

McKenna Video Fun

Something leads me to believe McKenna wants to be a singer/performer when she grows up.

Or a hairstylist.

 


Below is a playlist of McKenna's Christmas performance at school. I'm secretly proud of her sass. ;-)