Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Pete Turns 7!

We've been out of town for almost 2 months.  We did lots over that time but the biggest thing was Pete turned 7 this year and celebrated with lots of family!  We had a huge family party for him including a death star pinata, and star wars cake! He got lots of new legos (currently his favorites are Nexo Knights), a robot thing, a switch and go dinosaur, and a bit of money that is burning a serious hole in his pocket.  I think he had a great time and is already talking about how he wants his birthday party to go next year!
The awesome cake I made with no food coloring!

Birthday boy with his cake!

Modeling his lego set

Death Star Pinata

Monday, August 21, 2017

Instant Pot Stuffed Peppers

1 pound hamburger (uncooked)
1 cup instant brown rice
4 green peppers-tops cut off and "gutted"-stab the bottoms to let liquid drain out while cooking
1 onion, diced
2 cloves garlic
1 can diced tomatoes
1 TBL chia seed in 1/3 cup water (or 1 normal egg)
spices (I used Italian seasonings but more Mexican style would be tasty too)
4 oz shredded cheese-topping

Mix together the hamburger, rice, onion, garlic, tomatoes, egg, spices and diced pepper tops.  Stuff into the pepper. Place the stuffed peppers in the instant pot on the trivet.  Pour 1 cup cold water into the instant pot. Cook on manual for 15 minutes high pressure with natural pressure release.  Once finished top with cheese if you want, and let melt.  Serves 4.  10 smart points per pepper (assuming you have enough stuffing for 2 more peppers for a total of 6 servings)



I had extra stuffing leftover.  I'm going to pick up some more pepper to finish it up for another dinner this week because Phil loved them.  I had found a couple other recipes for stuffed peppers but they didn't suit me and the family so I changed it up.  I thought it needed salt and pepper while eating.



Monday, June 19, 2017

End of the School Year Campout at First Landing State Park

Thursday was Pete's last day of school for the year, we do finish up later here than back home but school didn't start until after Labor Day so it makes sense we go so long into summer.  Pete had been asking about going on a camping trip so Phil reserved a campsite at First Landing State Park in Virginia Beach-like 20 minutes from our house.
The traditional last day shot
We headed out after Pete finished up his last half day of school and got there just in time to set up our campsite.  The temperature dropped that day for us and was around 70-75 that day while the day before had been the mid 90s.  They had been calling for rain, but it stayed dry for the whole time we were camping and didn't start raining until just at the end of vacuuming the mud out of the van.  The campsite was mostly mud, but worked in our favor for keeping Nora entertained while cooking and setting up the tent, though didn't stop her from constantly asking when we were going to eat.  (if you are wondering this proves she is my daughter...)


Relaxing watching dinner cook

Kids watching the fire while cooking

Her pose cracks me up

For dinner we had corn on the cob, baked potatoes and sausage peppers and onions. All turned out perfectly 

This grill is a true Indiana girl with how much she loves corn

Pete has lost enough teeth that I have to cut his off the cob to eat, Phil finished it off for him though
We had an interesting experience while hanging out at the campsite, a military base borders the park, a ton of helicopters started circling around fairly low and loudly.  A ranger came by to check on everyone and make sure everybody understood everything was fine and it was just a training for the base.  The kids were a little freaked out but once we explained they were practicing and would be done in a little bit they were ok.  

After going to bed at the normal time of 8pm and waking up at the standard time of 6am (I felt a little bit sad for our neighbors that stayed up partying until 1am, because my kids are not quiet upon waking) We ate breakfast from the fire and went on a celebratory doughnut birthday run, except Whole Foods was out of Nora's safe ones and we got a cupcake instead-she didn't complain.  Afterwards we headed to the beach for a bit.  It was cloudy and bit foggy and cool that morning so we only stayed for an hour and a half, but going to the beach isn't that crazy for us since it only takes 5 minutes to fit the coast for us.



Camping with the kids was totally doable and a fun time.  I prepped all the food before leaving the house and next time will do more for breakfast prep because my kids wake up hungry and didn't like waiting for the charcoal to turn white let alone for bacon to fry up. Next time the breakfast will be precooked and just warmed up and melted over the fire.  


Sunday, June 18, 2017

Nora Turns 3!

Nora turned 3 the other day.  This year she got to celebrate with cake 3 separate times even!  The first cake was with Grandma and Grandpa while they were visiting, the next time as a breakfast treat on her actual birthday and finally today on her family birthday party.  She had a fun time and got lots of legos, which is what she wanted.  She loves the disney princess lego sets and now has a couple frozen sets, cinderella and an ariel set (which she used her birthday money to buy), she also has the standard batgirl lego set. 


It is hard to believe that you are already 3 years old.  You are so fun to have in the family and fit in perfectly- you do a great Darth Vader impression, love legos and super smash brothers, have fun during dance parties, can take down Pete in a wrestling match, but still like to be the family princess-though armed with either a lightsaber or sword depending on the outfit.

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Spring with the Calls

Ok so I just blew off the last 3 months as far as blogging is concerned.  Life has been busy, between traveling, end of the school year stuff, sickness it has just been down right crazy. So here is a quick overview of that time, a whirlwind tour of our lives the last couple months.

Phil shaved his head for St. Baldricks, along with a visit from Matt and Tashina's family!

We've built stuff at Home Depot


they built easter baskets

Nora became an astronaut

We got a new to us sandbox


 
 Pete had his first school concert

Played with legos

Played with more legos

Visited the Capitol

Visited the DC Temple

Played at the beach

We've watched waffle cones being made at doumars.
 We've had guests and done fun stuff the last couple months.   Hopefully I'll be better at updating the next couple months, though I make no promises.  Phil was accepted into grad school at the University of Virginia and Pete was accepted into Norfolk Academy! 

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Egg-free Coconut Chicken with Fruit Salsa

1 1/2 -2 lbs boneless skinless chicken breasts- cut into strips

Breading 
1 cup coconut (sweetened or unsweetened)
1 cup panko breadcrumbs
1/4 cup flour
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp ginger
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/4 tsp salt

Dip
4 TBL water
2 tsp oil
4 tsp baking powder
1 TBL brown mustard

Preheat oven to 425. Grease 2 cookie sheets. Mix up the breading and place in a bowl suitable for dredging.  Mix up the dip in shallow bowl.  Dip prepared chicken, coat in breading fully and place on cookie sheets.  Bake for 17-20 minutes or until done.

Fruit Salsa
1 Mango-diced
2 cup strawberries-diced
1/2 onion-diced
Cilantro to taste (I don't use much-I'm not a fan)
TBL lemon juice
(optional) 1/2 jalapeno-seeded, membranes removed and diced

Mix together and let flavors mingle for a couple hours.  I mixed it at lunchtime for dinner in the evening and it was perfect!


Overview
We made this tonight for dinner and it was a huge success!  Nora loved it all we served it with basmati rice and a side salad for some veggies. Tortilla chips would also be tasty but I wanted it lower calorie for me. I'm trying to be good... below you'll find the option for the egg version for the dip.  I loved how well the dip/breading adhered to the chicken, normally I have issues with the breading not sticking-not an issue with the egg free version. I also ran out of baking powder and made my own out of soda and cream of tartar. I've altered this for our tastes and how I knew we'd like it from here.


Optional dip recipe using eggs for the chicken:
1 TBL water
1 TBL brown mustard
2 eggs