Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Crave Wednesday: Buffalo Style Wings with Blue Cheese Dip

You guys know how much I love tradition.  Well, apparently Thatboy feels the same way, because we have gotten into a very routine Father's  Day.  Then again, it is filled with all of his favorite things so you can't really blame him for wanting to do it every year.

We start out at the Original Pancake House so Thatboy can have his 49er pancakes.  The little guys don't mind this at all.

The shirts were Thatkid's idea.  We were at the mall when he saw it and wanted it.  Then he saw a matching adult one and decided we had to buy it so he and Thatboy could wear it on Father's Day.  We tried to find one in Thatbaby's size, but no go.  I did manage to find the next best thing for him though - a t-shirt with a parrot wearing the same shirt!

After Thatboy took the boys to play tennis, which is new this year, although a fairly common Sunday activity for the boys.  But really, they were killing some time before our main draw of the day - the waterpark!

This is the third year in a row we've headed to the Wave Waterpark for Father's Day.  We rent a cabana, so there's always a nice, shady place to sit, and then hit the water activities.  These year was especially warm, so it was especially appreciated.

We spent more time in the pool this year than years past.  Guess those swim lessons are really doing their job.

Although there definitely was some lazy river time.  Just not nearly as much as years past.

The waterpark is in Vista, which is home to a great many of San Diego's breweries.  We decided on Indian Joe's to round out our Father's Day.

We grabbed a space outside, which gave the kids a little leg room while Thatboy and I shared a flight of beer.

One of the reasons we chose this brewery is because they had food.  Which meant we could grab dinner there.  Sunday night Native Kiicha Frybread was there, serving up amazingly delicious frybread.  The kids had hot dogs wrapped in frybread while Thatboy and I had jalapeno frybread.

It was amazing, but a weekend of eating like that (Saturday we hit up the fair) left me feeling totally gross come Monday.  I love fried food, but when I actually indulge in it, I am reminded that fried food does not love me.  Right now the foods that sound good are fresh fruits and vegetables.  I'm living off of smoothies and salads.  And trying to convert traditionally fried foods into a non-fried variety.  Like these buffalo wings.  Buffalo wings are typically fried before tossing them in wing sauce.  These are skinned and baked instead.  And what gives them the special kick is the fact they aren't just tossed in wing sauce, they are slow cooked in them.  Allowing the sauce to penetrate into the meat itself instead of just on the fried skin.

Buffalo Style Drummettes with Blue Cheese Dip (From Cooking Light)
Cooking Spray
3 lbs chicken wings, skinned
3/4 cup thick hot sauce
2 tbsp cider vinegar
1 tsp low sodium Worcestershire sauce
6 cloves garlic, divided
1 cup 1/3 less fat cream cheese
1 cup fat free sour cream
6 Tbsp blue cheese, crumbled and divided
1/4 cup canola mayonnaise
  1. Preheat oven to 450.  Line a baking sheet with foil and spray with cooking spray.  Place chicken on the pan and sprinkle with freshly ground pepper.
  2. Spray chicken with cooking spray and bake for 7 minutes.
  3. Combine hot sauce, vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, and 2 cloves of garlic (minced) in a slow cooker.
  4. Place chicken in slow cooker, tossing gently in the sauce to coat.  Cook on high for 3 hours.
  5. When chicken is done, beat the cream cheese in an electric mixer at low speed until smooth.
  6. Add sour cream, 3 Tbsp blue cheese, mayonnaise, and the remaining cloves of garlic (minced).  Beat until smooth.
  7. Stir in the remaining blue cheese.  Serve with the wings.

Monday, June 19, 2017

Mommy Mondays: Living with two at 2 (and 5)

It's time again for a check-in.  How things REALLY are in our little house.  Which feels even littler with two crazy boys bouncing off the wall.  So how does life work with a 5 year old and 2 year old?  Well it goes a little something like this.

5:15am - Thatbaby wakes up.  We play a very dangerous game of Russian roulette by bringing him into bed with us and we get incredibly lucky.  He falls asleep.  (We tried this again the next day and were not as lucky.)

5:45am - Thatboy's alarm goes off.

6:00am - Thatboy wakes up.

6:20am - Thatkid and Thatbaby wake up.  I get Thatbaby dressed while Thatkid dresses himself.

6:30am - I make breakfast for the boys, a waffle for Thatbaby and peanut butter toast for Thatkid.  And watermelon smoothies for both. I'm never fast enough for Thatbaby who helps himself to some grapes from the fridge as he waits.

6:39am - While the boys eat breakfast, I get dressed for my morning run.

7:00am - We all leave the house.  Thatboy takes the boys to preschool.

While Thatdog and I go for a run.

7:44am - Home from my run, I hop in the shower, get dressed, do my hair, and throw a load of towels in the wash.

8:30am - I make breakfast for myself, scrambled eggs with mushrooms and spinach.

8:41 - Log into work.  Ahh the benefits of working at home.  I eat breakfast while I scan over my emails.  And since it's nice out, I've decided to work outside.

9:56am - I have a meeting with the director of another department.

10:20am - Done with the meeting.  I've got another meeting this afternoon, so I use the rest of the morning to review aspects of a regulation that is going to be involved.

12:04pm - Lunch break.  I throw the towels in the dryer and make myself some sweet potato soup and a salad.  I also pack some soup away for Thatboy's lunch the next day.  I go back to work while I eat.

1:48 pm- I take a little break to make dinner - Spaghetti with tomato strawberry sauce.  I like to have dinner ready before the boys get home, because it's really difficult to get anything done when they're around.

2:06 pm- Back to work!

2:39 pm - My boss calls to chat.  He's been in and out of town, so we use this time just to catch up on what's been going on while he's been gone.

3:00 pm- Back to work

3:45 pm - I take a break to unload the dishwasher and wash dishes while I wait for my meeting to start.

4:00 pm - My afternoon meeting. I make myself a smoothie/yogurt bowl to snack on while we discuss the issues.

4:22 pm - The meeting is over.  I wipe down the counters and get back to work.

5:02 pm - Work is over.  I close up shop and go to pick up the kids.

5:30 pm - We get home.  The boys make themselves some grapes to snack on while I reheat the spaghetti.

5:36 pm - Thatboy gets home!

5:55 pm - dinnertime

6:23pm - bath time for the boys.

6:42pm - Thatboy is done with Thatbaby's story.  I go in and nurse him and put him to bed.

7:30pm - As you can see from the above picture, Thatbaby is NOT tired.  He's wide awake and not wanting to sleep at all.  I leave his room and go give Thatkid a kiss goodnight.

7:35pm - Thatboy goes in to see if he can get Thatbaby to sleep.  I use this time to do some at home workout.

7:52 pm - Thatboy has no luck.  I trade off and go in and see if I can get Thatbaby to sleep.  I am successful.

8:15 pm - Thatbaby's asleep and I go back to my workout.

9:04 pm - I pour myself a glass of wine and jump on the couch next to Thatboy to catch up on some television.  Tonight we watch Elementary.

9:53 pm - wash up and bedtime!

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Sunday Runday: San Diego Fair 5k

For the past five years I've read about Wan's adventures running the Orange County Fair 5k.   The entire thing sounds like so much fun, with detours during the run to take part in fair activities like rides, games, and photo opportunities.

A couple years back I noticed that the San Diego fair was going to be starting a 5k of their own.  But for some reason or other I was never able to run it (silly things like giving birth the week before the race).

This year there was nothing keeping me from running.  It was my year to join in the fun.  When I saw that kids 5 and under could run for free, I asked Thatkid if he wanted to run with me.  He did!

So yesterday morning when he woke up at dawn, I roused myself.  We got dressed and headed over to the fairground.  We picked up my bib and race shirt (Thatkid got to run the race, but didn't get any of the perks.)

We skipped into the empty fair grounds and made our way over to the area they had us all corralled into.  A  fitting term since we started on the horse track!  There were all sorts of tractors and farm equipment.  After seeing other kids climbing all over them, and signs saying "photo opportunity" Thatkid asked if he could sit on a tractor too and I said yes.  Right as I snapped this, security came over and said no one was allowed on the equipment.  Whoops.

Instead we went and took part in the warm up.  Especially when Can't Stop the Feeling started playing and Thatkid broke out in a huge smile since it's his favorite song.

We did eventually line up to get the race started.  They let us go in waves of 300, and we were in the first wave!

Thatkid and I had a talk on the way into the race about pace.  It's not his strong skill.  And a 5k is still a really long race for him.  The last one we did he spent almost the entire time complaining that his legs hurt and asking to be carried.

But this time?  This time he NAILED it.  He kept his pace nice and comfortable, instead of taking off like a rocket the way he often does.

We ran through the area the area that was set up for the International Beer Festival.  But since it was 7:30 am, it wasn't open yet.  Thatkid did mention that he thought his dad would REALLY like this place.

Apparently before the fair is when the cows take their morning showers.  And we ran right past them as they bathed.  The last part of the race had us run through the area where the cows and goats are kept, so these heifers started and ended the race for us.

We ran down the row where all the food vendors were, their shops shuttered, but still featuring their wares and we looked at some of their more interesting offers while Thatkid spent some time thinking about what he wanted his "fair treat" to be this year.

And then we were in the games and rides areas.  Thatkid slowed here, so he could look at every game and ask how it worked.  And admire the stuffed animal prizes.

When we got through all the games and rides, we found ourselves back on the horse track, with less than a mile to go!

This is where Thatkid started getting tired.  We did quite a bit of walking here.  And had a stop at the water station.  And he got a couple of Jelly Belly Sport Beans I had brought with me, just for this occasion. BUT there wasn't a word of complaint! Which is just fine by me!

We crossed through the cows and goats and saw the finish line.  Which was odd, because I just finished showing Thatkid we were at 2.90 miles.  But when you're running with a tired kid, I see no need in quibbling about a race that was a couple meters short.

True to form, Thatkid had saved a little bit of energy for this moment, and he took off toward the finish.  Weaving around, through, and under anyone between him and the finish line.

My overall feeling about this race was positive.  There's a lot to look at on the course and it's always fun to be in a place where the general public isn't.  The miles came really quickly.  But I do think that the race misses the mark a bit.

One of the great things about the Disney races and Zoo races (when they did them), and Sea World races, is the photo opportunities.  And there were  really none during the race, other than the physical race itself.  With the theme this year being "Where the West was Fun" it would have been neat to have some cowboys along the course to take pictures with.  Or cutouts to stick your face in.  Or any other number of opportunities.  Even the Cardiff Kook race this year had a backdrop on the course.

I also was a little disappointed that the San Diego race doesn't have the "Fun detours" that the Orange County race does.  This was a super family friendly event, and I know that families would have really loved to take part in more of the "fair" atmosphere during the race.  Plus, the Orange County race has medals.  Which to me aren't terribly important, but I know Thatkid was disappointed in having nothing from the race - no shirt, no medal.  He was pretty easily cheered up with a pitstop on the way home for smoothies.

Despite the drawbacks, it was a really enjoyable morning.  And both Thatkid and I could see ourselves running this one again!

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Crave Wednesday: Tex-Mex Beef and Bean Dip

This is a very busy June for us.  It started with Thatbaby and my birthday.  Which went pretty well.  As expected, it revolved mostly around him.

I did get to pick the dinner location, and Thatboy got a cake with both our names on it, so not all lost!  But with his party the next day, my free time was mostly spent prepping for that.

After our birthdays was his birthday party.

This week is Thatkid's "preschool graduation" and Father's Day.

Pretty much everyone gets celebrated this month!

There are also the minor festivities - end of school year parties, picnics, dinners with friends.

With all these activities, it's good to have a quick and easy dish to bring to occasions.  Chips and dip are always a hit.  I'm happy with some good ole fashioned salsa and tortilla chips, but I like to step it up a notch if I'm not in my pajamas in the living room.

Thatmom used to throw velveta and salsa together, which is probably the only way I will eat Velveeta cheese.  This is almost as easy, but way way healthier.  Beans, beef, and tomatoes are simmered together and topped with fresh (real) cheese.  The addition of beef makes me feel like this could be a meal on it's own.  If you like that sort of thing.  You know, for those nights when you're in the living room in your pajamas and feel like maybe you should have more than salsa?

Tex-Mex Beef and Bean Dip (From Cooking Light)
1/2 lb ground sirloin
2 Tbsp no-salt-added tomato paste
1-2 tsp chipotle chile powder
3/4 tsp ground cumin
1 can pinto beans, rinsed and drained
1 can diced tomatoes, undrained
3/4 cup crumbled queso fresco
1/4 cup thinly sliced green onions
3 oz baked tortilla chips

  1. Cook beef in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until browned, stirring to crumble.  Drain well and return beef to pan.
  2. Add tomato paste, chile powder, cumin, beans, and diced tomatoes and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and simmer 5 minutes until thick, stirring occasionally.
  3. Spoon meat mixture into a serving bowl. 
  4. Top with crumbled cheese and green onions.  Serve with tortilla chips.

Monday, June 12, 2017

Mommy Mondays: 24 months!

Weight: 33 lbs (+ 24 lbs, 12 oz) 
Height: 36.5" (+ 14.5") 
Head: 19" (from 18 months)

Sleep: I pretty much covered this one last week. This past week has been so much better.  Although it terrifies me to write that down.  He hasn't been waking as often, although Monday-Wednesday took hours to get him to go to sleep.    If it isn't one thing, it's another.

Eating: He's been eating a little lighter lately.  Not as much.  Between that and the sleep I wonder if he isn't going to be getting those molars in soon.  But in terms of variety, he's still loving breakfast foods the most (yogurt, waffles,  eggs) and fruit like crazy.  We're heavy into melon here.  He has been known to get up from  dinner, and go get himself a bowl of melon to eat instead.  

Best Moment:  We went out to dinner with friends.  There are two "babies" in the group, both born last February, Baby A and Baby B.  Thatbaby was so looking forward to seeing Baby A, he couldn't stop talking about it.  But when we got there, it was Baby B he kept dragging around...calling him Baby A.  All night.  We had to keep telling him this was "B" and not "A."  But it was adorable to watch him being the big kid, and grabbing B's hand, "Come on Baby B!"

Monthly Wisdom:  Everyone talks about the terrible twos.  And in a way, two year olds are more difficult than one year olds, but in another way they are easier.  They can communicate more, they do really cute things.  My goal is to enjoy this next year, because three?  Three makes two look like cake.

Goals for the Upcoming Month:
- Weaning.  I want to drop the last nursing session.
- Passports.  Still.

Things Thatbaby is doing:
-  He loves itsy-bitsy spider.  He wants it sung on repeat.  I came up with a new version, which involves the spider coming down and tickling his stomach.  He starts giggling immediately and loves it, throwing himself on my lap and begging for itsy -bitsy. 
- We get "Hear dat?"  all the time.  Anytime there's a noise.
- When  I wear him in a back carry, he calls himself "Mama Backpack."
- He kisses himself in the mirror, or pictures of himself.
- He plays "doctor."  He makes us lay down, then feels our heart and our stomachs.  Then he says "I'm going to check your diaper, okay?" and lifts the waistband of your pants.
- When I nurse him before bed, he runs to the chair before me and lifts up his shirt, saying "Mama turn."
- He constantly pretends he's a puppy.  He licks everything and does tricks.  He also loves his stuffed puppy dogs.
- When I'm working on something he will say "Yay! you did it mama!"
- He love goggles. We finally got him his own pair because he was always wearing Thatkid's.
- He now will stand up and jump into the pool!

Wednesday, June 07, 2017

Crave Wednesday: Mixed Berry Coulis

I have officially declared this the "Summer of Berries."   Even though technically it's still spring.  But "Spring of Berries" doesn't have the same ring to it.

First there was the blueberry picking on Mother's Day, then the Strawberry festival.  And last weekend we rounded it out with blackberry picking at Stehly Farms.

Stehly Farms is a 300 acre form in North County San Diego which grows fruits and vegetables that it sells throughout Southern California.

Saturday they opened the blackberry field for a one day event, allowing the public to come pick.  And pick we did.

Thatbaby was not as adept at blackberry picking as he was with blueberries.  We really had to work to convince him to just pick the dark berries.  He was drawn to the redder ones.  And there are more prickly parts of a blackberry bush.

Thatkid made it his mission to find the largest blackberries the patch had to offer.  If they were smaller than his fist, he was not interested.

Needless to say, Thatbaby and I filled up our basket before Thatkid and Thatboy.  We walked away with 3 baskets full of sweet, ripe, blackberries.

In addition to the blackberries, there was also a petting zoo, playground, fire truck, tractor, and miniature horses!

We finished up our time at the farm by going on a hayride - a tractor pulled tour of the grounds.

My biggest problem whenever we pick fruit is that I don't want to use it.  I have a million ideas in my head on how I want to use it, but there's a fear that if I do, they'll be gone.  It's silly, I know.  Because fruit goes bad.  I can't keep it around forever!  I don't actually have any plans for the blackberries yet.  I'm not sure what I'm going to do with them.  But the blueberries and strawberries have already found good homes.  Like this mixed berry coulis.   Which uses both!  It's fantastic on top of ice cream, brownies, even waffles and pancakes.

Mixed Berry Coulis (From Cooking Light)
1 cup sliced strawberries
1 cup blueberries
1 cup raspberries
1/3 cup sugar
Juice of half a lemon
1 Tbsp Chambord

  1. Combine berries, sugar, and lemon in a medium saucepan.  Cook over medium heat 5 minutes or until berries soften and sugar dissolves, stirring occasionally.
  2. Place berry mixture in a blender, removing center of blender lid to allow steam to escape (Place towel over the opening to avoid getting it all over your kitchen).  Blend until smooth.
  3. Pour pureed mixture through a cheesecloth lined sieve.  Drain well, pressing fruit mixture with the back of a spoon to remove as much liquid as possible.  Discard solids.
  4. Stir in Chambord.  Cover and chill 2 hours.