Sunday, December 18, 2011

Last minute gift ideas

How adorable are these polaroid fridge mags from Ambrosia Creative? Love! I want to do this with our new family pics that Jess took last week. Also, Walgreens is having a special right now on their photo orders. We got our Christmas cards and photos for 37 percent off and saved almost $40! Use 37OFF20 code at checkout.


Also, the Empty Fridge Winner will be announced early this week!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Empty fridge meal contest

Soo...what to make for dessert when your oven coils break and are being shipped by Dec. 21? Yes, that's right no oven until Dec. 21.

Well, today I made some no-bake cookies with crunchy peanut butter and yesterday I made my grandma's fudge with 70 percent cocoa and semi-sweet chocolate. Both were amazing.

Brandon jokes that it's like I am on Top Chef where they keep taking away your appliances mid-way through a cooking test. So far I have made beef stew with our local beef (and I substituted a little Coke instead of wine/beer and it was divine. I adapted the famous Julia Child beef bourguignon recipe and didn't use mushrooms or carrots and instead used sweet potatoes in place of carrots. Mmm. Brandon loved it and the girls liked the steak although it was wasted on Sophia who is not feeling that good right now.

Also we had stuffed ricotta shells with homemade pasta sauce that I made in a 12-inch skillet, pizza toasts today in the skillet, and we are toasting english muffins in the skillet for breakfast, which according to Rhulman are how they really are made.
Picture from Rhulman's site
Homemade English Muffins

Which brings it all back to how much of a better cook you can become when forced to improvise. I mean some of my favorite recipes have come about on those empty fridge days, including my family's favorite--roasted spicy cauliflower. Roast cauliflower, butter, chopped garlic, red pepper flakes and kosher salt in oven at 350 until roasted. mmm.

I dare you to try to use what you have in your fridge and pantry and to try to make some new items from scratch this week. With careful planning it can be done!

When making something new:
  • Have your mis en place in order (everything measured and cut)
  • Use your imagination
  • Try reading cooking blogs like Ruhlmans that makes things from scratch or KERF or other blogs.
  • Reread your kitchen's cookbooks.
  • Find out the right cooking technique for a stew (dutch ovens are amazing) or how to properly cook your recipe right then mess around later with adding on. A great item I learned to cook was steak and then salmon. Many times I will reread the recipe for a couple of days to learn the steps. Then, I don't have to rely on the recipe and can do it by memory later on.
What are some of your favorite empty fridge meals? There is a $5 Starbucks card to one lucky random commenter. Comments will be done by Friday, Dec. 16!!!

Friday, December 09, 2011

Keeping it real

Mom Devos
I just saw this devotional suggested for me on and loved the first part of it! It's about motherhood and written by Jen Hatmaker in Austin, Tx.

I can relate with her first part of the story of a disastrous school day, when Ava was the only kid not dressed for her Halloween parade. I literally got her dressed quickly in the bathroom and left for the gym feeling the mom fail as all of the other girls were beautifully dressed as princesses and my little Ava didn't want me even touching her hair. Her Ariel outfit was missing so she had to dress as a cowgirl, which she fought me all the way. It was a bad day that at the time seemed so much more worse than it was. I left the school almost crying as I watched other parents gathering in the students rooms (didn't know this was scheduled either) for a class party.

Being a mom is tough and you are not always going to have "perfect kids" or "perfect moments." Good reminder to this perfection-minded mom.
Out of the Spin Cycle: Devotions to Lighten Your Mother Load

Running streak

Me at home after running and Brandon and I on Thanksgiving day after our trail run in Michigan.


Did you know Runner's World is having a Runner's World holiday running streak? The mag is encouraging runner's to run at least one mile each day between during the holidays. Since I am prego, that's not going to happen. Every other day is a great thing for me to accomplish. So I am doing a every other day running streak. ha.

Tuesday I ran 3 miles, including some slow hill work, and then Thursday I ran 4 miles with the last half at an incline of 7.0 and slow. It felt really good to work other muscles. Since pregnant, it takes me almost a third longer to get in four miles. This means my time in the gym is longer as well and can include major boredom of the treadmill.

To combat bordom, I pick fast people to run by for extra encouragement or I just think of future goals or how lucky I am to be able to run at this point in my pregnancy (17 weeks).

What is your favorite way to work out when it's cold? Do you like running or yoga or pilates?

Also, it's Christmas soon! If you have a person who runs that you want to buy a gift for I am working on a holiday Christmas list. What is your recommendation?

Thursday, December 08, 2011

Happy Birthday Sophia!!

Week 17 is going great! Little Sophia is 3 today! She is having a Sophiapolooza and got to have a family birthday party on Sunday night and friend playdate at Graeters on Wed. She loved her playdate party and her little friends. She ordered the black raspberry chocolate chip ice cream and loves playing with her little cat, Edwin the cat, from Aunt Becca. Our family also spent time with both sets of grandparents and got to FaceTime the Ragains. That was a blast.

When we were talking last night over dinner, Brandon said the coolest thing, "We are so blessed to have so many people who love us in our lives." And it's so true. God has really blessed us and friendship is such a great, great thing.

We got Sophia a red coat that she personally handpicked and a Max and Ruby book. Sophia is three and is a nurturer, loves dogs and cats, loves to nurse her babies when they have a "booboo" and loves shopping and "looking pretty." Her favorite foods are pizza, grapefruit, ice cream, yogurt and anything "for her mouth." She is such a blessing in our life.

Sophia was born on Dec. 8, 2008 at 6:58 in RM. 08. So many 8s!