Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Cilantro Lime Rice

I tried a new recipe for Cilantro Lime Rice aka: The best rice ever from Chipotle.

I have made CLR (not the cleaner) before and it was pretty good. So I decided to venture with a new recipe and make a few extra changes.  I attempted to use brown rice for health factor.

The recipe was great....but my version failed miserably!  

Click Here for the REAL recipe...

Continue to see my mistake I mean my version...

2 teaspoon Smart Balance Oil
4 teaspoons fresh cilantro-chopped
2 cups basmati rice (I used brown basmati rice)
4 cups water
1 teaspoon salt
Juice of one lime (I used frozen lime juice that I thawed)

So first lets just point out all the mistakes...

A.  Using brown Basmati rice-The flavor is way too strong...I mean it tasted like what a corn crib at a farm smells like. Brown Basmati has a very nutty flavor which didn't allow for any lime or cilantro flavor to penetrate. Next time I will stick to White Basmati Rice!

B.  Freezing lime juice is dumb. A while back I thought I would freeze the juice of some leftover fresh limes I had.  Apparently, freezing the juice causes some sort of breakdown in the flavor which leaves the juice extremely bitter...I am sure others already knew this.

C.  I used way too much water...The rice was sticky and overcooked.  

So the point of this post is to help others not make the same mistakes I did.  I am pretty certain if you follow the real recipe from the link above...the rice will turn out stupendous.  I will let you know once I make it again!

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Tot Tuesday: Our Favorite Things...

A few of our favorite things...

1. Logan is obsessed with Tractors, Trucks and other Transportationy things.   I created some Tractor/Transportation printables for him to help with educational play.  So far, we have used the number pages  (I printed and laminated each page).  He loves to look at them and say "tractor" 100 times over.  All attempts to actually count and/or recognize the numbers seem useless...but I know that he is absorbing so I just keep trying.  Here are pictures of two of the pages below...

2.  We watch PreSchool Prep videos   on a regular basis.  Logan loves the Meet the Colors video. Probably because the cover of the DVD has a red tractor.  He refers to that video as "Tractor." All of these videos have proven to be very helpful in learning letters.  Logan has already started to repeat the letters, identify some letters beyond the video and just yesterday he started to repeat the names of some colors.  Check out a sample below...they didn't have the Red Tractor but the Blue Ski Jumper will do...

Logan also loves to watch our other videos which he refers to as "Baby."  He gets to watch one or two videos per day (unless he is with Daddy in which case he watches more), and the "Baby" videos are Praise Baby and Baby Einstein.  

3.  When Logan goes to Grandma L's house, he gets to check out trucks and tractors all day long.  Grandma takes him outside to see them work.  I am certain this is where the Tractor obsession began.  I attribute him speaking words like "dirt" and "dig" to Grandma L!

4. I have noticed that Logan is very into pointing out letters.  When we drive by Jewel-Osco, he points out the "O" every time.  I don't want to be the parent who is constantly pushing him if he is not ready for things but since he shows interest, we have been very focused on letter recognition.  When we are driving we have conversations about the names and letters on buildings and signs.  I generally have no idea what he is saying but again, I just keep plugging away.  Every once in a while he will throw out the correct letter like "B" for Baskin Robbins.

5.  In order to assess and keep track of Logan's learning, I downloaded some assessment sheets from a blog I love.  http://www.1plus1plus1equals1.com/TotSchool.html  
This blogger has tons of printables and resources for toddlers.  She is a homeschool mom (no I don't plan to homeschool) who has simplified some learning techniques for others.  Her blog is a little unorganized...but there are some treasures to be found.  Be sure to check it out!

6.  For Christmas, Logan got some homemade peppermint play dough from my sister Shari (she is a kindergarten teacher).  He loves to squish and cut out shapes using but of course....Truck and car cookie cutters.  I am working on getting the recipe for the play dough from her and I will post it as soon as I do. The peppermint smells so good when we play...so much nicer than the nasty smell of real play dough!

Monday, January 30, 2012

Meals and more...

Our new year focus for meals is to continue to cut grocery costs while still eating whole and mostly homemade food (eliminating as much processed food as possible.)

In October, my grandmother was diagnosed with Breast Cancer.  Luckily, Grandma's cancer was only at Stage 1.  She had a double mastectomy, but her treatment has only consisted of medications...No Chemo and No Radiation therapy!  Since cancer can be genetic (although in this case it probably isn't) we are focused on eliminating a lot of processed foods.

Also, in November, I found out that my father is having some pretty serious heart issues.  He underwent exploratory surgery to define exactly how bad things are.  The surgery revealed that his heart function is only at 30% capacity.  This is scary for him and for us as well.  The one thing (besides medication) that the doctors have told my dad is to lower his sodium intake.  This means cutting a lot of processed foods.  For that reason...I am really trying to maintain a relatively low-sodium diet...especially since heart issues usually run in the family.

So here is this week's menu...

B: Smoothies/Oatmeal
L: Pork (Slow Cooker Carnitas) Quesadillas 
(i know pork is high in salt...but I had a large pork roast in the freezer that I needed to use.)
D: Salad 

B: Yogurt with Blueberries/Granola
L: Parmesan Tilapia with steamed broccoli and 
Balsamic Roasted Carrots
D: Egg salad Sandwiches with red peppers spears

B: Oatmeal with Bananas
L: Leftovers
Baked Sweet Potato Fries

(It was a 14 lb roast...looks gross in the package!)

B: Scrambled Eggs with peppers
L: Chicken Kiev (I will add recipe later)
D: Dinner with Friends

B: French Toast Stars
L: LO's
D: Memorial Service Dinner

D: Superbowl Feasting
(We are gonna try to watch the sodium intake...)

Notes:  I made both the Carnitas and BBQ Pork ahead of time...I was able to freeze more than half of both for future meals.  I also plan to make the stuffed shells  and energy bites a day early.  I will double the recipe and freeze some for a future meal.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

New edition to our family!

Hello.  Well I have to admit I am quite embarrassed by my lack of posting in recent months.  I allowed busy and travel to completely derail my blogging endeavors.   I was surprised by the number of people who have commented that they were reading my blog until I stopped posting...It was pretty encouraging...so I am back.

We had a wonderful Christmas and I am super pumped about the 
newest edition to our family...

wait for it...

It is my Silhouette Cameo.  
(You thought I was gonna say I am pregnant  Sorry if you are disappointed.)

What is a Silhouette Cameo?
A Silhouette is similar to a Circuit Expression.  
It can cut designs on paper, fabric, vinyl and other print mediums.
It can also sketch designs.  
I love the Silhouette because it is 
compatible to use with my Mac (or PC) computer.  
I simply download the software from 
their website and I design right from my computer.  
This gives me access to all of the fonts already loaded onto my computer.  
I also don't have to hassle with buying cartridges because
 I can purchase and download images and designs individually from the Silhouette website.

I have done a few projects...this is one of the first....
a flower using a free template I downloaded from the Silhouette website. 

You can download this template from the Silhouette America website...
the template is called 3d_fanned_flower_C03086_1.

To find more design ideas...check out the Link Party on Maggie Muggins Blog.

I am excited to be back!  Hope you all will start reading again!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Toddler Tuesday: Fun Fall Photos

I have been trying to get my act together to take some pictures of Logan before the Fall leaves become compost and snow arrives.  
Finally, today I found some time and it was a pretty nice day.
So, Logan and I set out on an adventure to Hammel Woods for a photo session.  I was able to shoot the following photos before the batteries in my camera died.  Boo.

Meals Meals Meals, 10/31 through 11/6

B: Banana Mango Smoothies
L: Veggie Burger on greens salad with 2 TB of dressing; homemade applesauce
D: Chicken Tortilla Soup Crockpot style (I didn't end up making it for Sunday's meal)

B: Whole Wheat Pancakes
L: LO Soup
D: Shrimp Stir-fry

B: Yogurt and a Banana
L: Spinach salad topped with leftover shrimp; homemade applesauce
D: Chili Lime Chicken Burgers (Trader Joe's Freezer Section)

L: Egg Salad Sandwiches, veggies and hummus
D: Creamy Pumpkin Pasta

B: Veggie Strata Bake
D: Mini Meat Loaves, Baked Potatoes

B: Banana Muffins
L/D: Out with friends!

B: Toast with PB
L/D: Family in town

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Menu Monday...on a Wednesday

I have been slacking in the blog department but I am hoping to get back in a routine pretty quick.  So here is my menu plan for this week...I really did make it on Sunday but just now got the chance to post it.

B: Smoothies
L: Salad with 2 TB of dressing; apple
D: Balsamic Chicken with spinach and cous cous (this was delish!)

B: Eggy Peek-a-boo Toast-Logan's favorite
L: BLAT's made with turkey bacon and avocado
D: Baked Tilapia (seasoned with a little salt, pepper and paprika), steamed broccoli and sauted red onions

B: Yogurt and a Banana
L: Grilled Chicken Salad (used leftover chicken from Balsamic Chicken recipe)
D: Roasted Veggie Lasagna-made with eggplant, roasted red peppers and whole wheat no boil noodles

B: Toast with PB
L: Spicy Peanut Penne
D: Leftovers (Joe gets LO as I am going to visit grandma Nova)

Spending time with Grandma Nova-my plan is to watch my portions and avoid sugar

B: Cereal
L/D: Not sure yet

B: Oatmeal
L/D: Chicken Tortilla Soup-crockpot style