Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Homemade Tortilla Chips

These are so quick and easy, plus they are a much healthier alternative to store bought chips.

You can do this with corn tortillas, flour tortillas, pita bread. I used corn tortillas for mine that were just hanging around after we had tacos.

Cut them into chip sized triangles and arrange on a baking sheet. Spray with Pam and sprinkle with any seasoning you wish. Garlic, seasoned salt, onion powder, kosher salt. Then you pop them into the oven which you have pre-heated to 350 or 400.

I baked mine for about 7 mins at 350 and turned them for an extra couple minutes. Be sure to not let them turn brown too much, then they will taste burnt. These are just so good and fresh when you pull them out of the over. I made some homemade guacamole while they were cooking.

If you do this with pita bread, you can use them for dips like spinach dip, hot artichoke, or my famous buffalo chicken dip!

Monday, March 29, 2010

Closing in on 11

We've been married almost 11 years. And it's funny because it has taken me about 10 1/2 years to figure something out about how my husband works.

Things have not always been rosy. I am not embarrassed or shy about saying that and my friends whom I trust all know it. I am one of those people that wears my emotions on my sleeve so trying to hide my feelings or pretend is not my strong suit. I am also a strong believer in not secret keeping with those I trust. It stresses me out. My friends are my friends for a reason...because I trust them and want them to be part of my life, good or bad.

Anyways, this year really has been great for us and it has been especially good recently. It's that little secret I figured out that has been great. What is it? Well, I figured out that if I don't take everything on myself and actually ASK for help, I get it.


I recently told hubby that the laundry was taking me over like a bad monster and laundry is not something I cherish. I said "Honey, the laundry is consuming me. Can you help me fold on weekends?". BAM!

So I tried it again. "Honey, the kitchen clean up after dinner, it comes at the point of my day where I am just kind of done." BAM!

You should try it.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Smart Puppy

I was speaking with a fellow puppy owner about the wonderful parts of having a smart puppy. She has a shiba inu cross. Shibas are the national dog of Japan so I am particularly in love with them. They are very smart, very cute and active dogs.

Boston Terriers are also known for being smart and clever and Baxter is no exception. I was thinking about all the stuff he knows, all the commands and he really does understand much of what we say. Here are some of the cute, clever and funny things he does:

-when I say "Go to your room" he goes into his crate

-I can ask him to "go kiss Ellie" and he will hunt her down and kiss her. Same with any member of the family, even the cat! If I say "go kiss Cooper" he will look for him and kiss him on the face.

-He just learned how to "drop it", a feat I'd never thought he would learn.

-He can "shake" but usually he just swats my hand. But if I tell him "nice shake!", he will rest his paw on my hand gently. This one is so cute!

-If I say "Do you want some lovin'?" he will stand on his hind legs so I can pick him up and snuggle. Awwwwww!

-If I say "so you wanna play like that, huh!!!" he will run and grab his rope toy so we can play tug

-he can cat wrangle. If I tell him to "go get Cooper" when Cooper has escaped, he will chase him down and herd him back into the house.

-when he has done something naughty like chewing on something, we simply have to show it to him with no words at all and he gets the look of guilt. The ears go back and he slinks over and sits at my feet. Then I ask "did you do this?" and he looks even more guilty. After I scold him, I tell him to say sorry and he gets up on his hind legs to "hug" and kiss me. If I show him the same item hours later, his ears will go back again and the guilt shows. He is so funny!

The thing I love most about him is that he really does see the kids as his "pack". Not just our kids but the kids of the neighborhood. When they are in the backyard, he must be out there playing too. When we go to the dog park, he runs ahead with them. I really think he views himself as one of our children. And we love him like he is.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Made By Me Monday

We had Craft Club this past weekend at Kim's. Thanks so much for the fun time and great food!

We made banners, which are all the rage. I decided to do mine for the mantle upstairs. I don't decorate too much for the seasons but I always do my mantle. This year, I did it all in green and white for spring so I made a coordinating banner.

I also learned how to make this adorable flowers that can be used to embellish many things. They look great on the banner!

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Go Summer

Ordered and shipped! Starting small and see how it goes!

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

He Got It Right

Overheard this evening:

Lots of kid noise

"Kids, the last thing you should do right now for Mummy is to horse around and be noisy. She is sick and it will make her tired".

Jangling of the leash. Sound of little footsteps out the front door.

Taking the dog and kids out for a walk.

He got it right. I love it when that happens.

Monday, March 8, 2010

One Dinner, Two Versions

I do this from time to time. Make one dinner but with an adult and kid version. Last night, I made homemade chicken nuggets. Well, it's called Karaage Chicken in Japan but it's basically nuggets :) I feel a lot better serving this than the bagged, frozen chicken yukkets (though there is a time and place for those)!

I made the kid version: plain with rice and furikake, apples on the side:

And the adult version with a simple sauce added (recipes below). Also served with tsukemono (Japanese pickled veggies):

Chicken karaage

  • 2-4 boneless chicken thighs or breasts, depending on how big they are
  • A piece of fresh ginger about the size of your thumb, grated
  • 3 Tbs soy sauce
  • 1 Tbs sake or sherry
  • cornstarch
  • oil for deep frying (I use vegetable oil but I have heard peanut is good)

Cut up the chicken into bite-sized pieces. I use skinless breasts that I have pounded with a tenderizer.

Put the chicken pieces in a bowl. Add the grated ginger, soy sauce and sake, and mix well. Let marinate for a minimum of 1/2 hour, and up to about 1 hour (not too long or the salt in the soy sauce will toughen up the chicken.)

Heat the oil. Toss in enough cornstarch into the marinated chicken so that each piece is completely coated. Fry the chicken pieces a few at a time until a deep golden brown.

Drain well.

Simple Karaage Sauce

Mix 2 tbsp soy sauce, 1 tbs vinegar, 1 tsp honey, 1 tsp sesame oil with cut up green onion. Drizzle over chicken.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Green Month

With March being St Patrick's Day and all the plants and trees renewing their lives, it just begs to be dubbed the Green Month in our house. My mantle is decorated for spring, all in green and white. So our thoughts are with how to GO GREEN this month.

What are we up to? Well, I have started doing the countertop composting thing. I keep a container on the counter and all food scraps and compostables go in there. Getting the kids involved....they take it out to the yard waste every evening. I am a little concerned about this for the summer, preventing fruit flies etc.

Talking to kids about the earth and what it means for the earth if we don't do these things has been easy. They genuinely want to do the right thing. Lucas has started keeping his nightlight off. His reason being "I want the earth to always be green". (Julie J, I think the Cars light has seen it's last day!)

We have also been scrutinizing the stuff we put into the garbage. Is it recyclable? Is it compostable? Stopping to think before anything goes in the trash.

Getting ready to put the garden in for this year. It will be an expanded one, and will try out a potato cage . Garden plans include tons of green onion, cherry tomatoes, purple heirloom tomatoes, lettuce, herbs.

Just want to challenge everyone to make March your Green Month too!

Friday, March 5, 2010

Fun Idea

The kids are bike crazy! All 3 girls in the cul de sac are now on 2 wheels so I am sure this will be a summer of biking fun.

One of the Dads came up with a great idea that the kids are loving. He made a "bike path" with chalk that weaves all around the cul de sac. It goes all over and up driveways and the girls have been following it all over. They just go 'round and 'round and barely stop! In fact, one of the girls was out there at 9 this morning!

Monday, March 1, 2010

Lucky me

Lookie what I won! A personalized table runner handmade by a sweet gal and tremendous mom.

Head over and check out Liz's blog.

Thanks Liz! I love it!

Hanging Photo Collage

It's Made By You Monday!

It's amazing when, from some small and simple item, comes sweet inspiration. Beautiful Tia inspired this cute project from an item she spied at Ikea.

It was just a set of 5 clear plexi squares meant to frame photos.

We transformed it into a hanging photo collage with embellishments and fun!

You can embellish on the outside of the plexi too. In fact it adds dimension and interest.

I just kept it very simple. I didn't even print my photos on photo paper, I simply printed them off on regular printer paper. It was more important to me to finish the project rather than make sure I had perfect everything ready. Simplify things for yourself! Sometimes I over prepare or take way too much time gathering. Don't take your crafting too seriously.

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