Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Mexi-Chicken Salad

This is a bastardized version of Chipolte's chicken salad and a mexican skillet meal. It's super easy, super refreshing, and, without Chipolte's awesome fattening ingredients... super healthy.

Chicken breasts
chili powder, salt and pepper
black beans
lettuce (I like green leaf, but use whatever)
salsa or pico de gallo

Spice the chicken breasts liberally with chili powder. Add a dash of salt and pepper.
Broil the chicken.
When done, cut into bite-size pieces.

In individual bowls (or a large platter, however you prefer to do it) layer the ingredients.
First the lettuce.
Then corn.
Follow with black beans.
Top with salsa, or pico de gallo.


Last Night

This morning around 4am my daughter woke me out of a sound sleep to tell me she was going potty. Fine, fine. I sent my husband to deal with it, since I knew the middle of the night baby feeding was just around the corner.

In my sleepy haze I bleared at the clock and realized it was past time for the baby to be hungry. He should at least be lifting his two little legs high into the air and slamming them down on his mattress. I bleared over at him.

Very Still.

Suddenly I was wide awake. I listened, but could only hear the sound of bathroom tinkles. I reached over from the bed to the cradle and gave the baby a poke. Nothing. Not a stir.

Panic Rising.

I sat up and reached down and felt his cheek. Not just cool. Cold. And he still didn't move. This is where I literally felt my own heart STOP. I put both hands on him and gave him a big shake.

He took a great big breath and groaned a sleepy little baby sound.

Thank God.

I sometimes fret that I started having children so much later than I wanted and I'll have less time with them than if I'd started earlier. Last night just scared another 10 years off my life.

WFMW: Potato Packets

I cannot possibly top Rainy's pie. I can, however, attempt to make HER drool. Since I'm conceding the sweet category to her, I shall attempt the savory category.

(I love grilling out. A lot. The only thing I want for my birthday is a T-shirt with a picture of a grill and the legend "If You Can't Stand The Heat, Go Get Me a Beer." Well, that and a kabob basket.)

This makes enough potato goodness for four people, and as you'll see it scales well.

2 red potatoes, skins on, cubed
1/4 vidalia onion, chopped
Garlic salt, lots
cumin, little
lemon juice, enough to dampen the top layer

Mix everything in a bowl. Pull out a square of heavy duty foil, fold it in half, and loosely fold the sides in to make an envelope. Spoon in a fourth of the potato mixture and throw in a dollop of butter. (See, Rainy, I cheated too.) Fold the top in.

Take your foil envelopes to the grill. If you have already cooked the meat, bury the packets in the coals. If you haven't, lean the packets along the sides of the kettle, facing the coals, and turn them around every so often.

If you're using a gas grill, I ask you, why do you think you're grilling out when all you've done is move your stove out to the deck? NO POTATO PACKET INSTRUCTIONS FOR YOU.

The key to "doneness" is the smell. If you can't smell them anymore, you're burning them.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

WFMW: Chocolate Ribbon Pie

I wish I'd taken this gorgeous photograph. But when I make this pie it doesn't sit around on a plate long enough to be all gussied up for photos.

I always promise people I will give them the recipe, and then I never do. I either secretly want to be the only Bestower of Pie, or else I'm just too lazy to write it down and send it. Probably both.

But tonight I'm feeling a little crazy, I'm up way too late because of packing for our trip, and I need a good recipe with 5 ingredients or less for today's "Works for Me Wednesday" blog festival. And oh HOW does this pie ever work for me. You have to make this pie. Today. (That includes you Sanya.)

Here's what you need:
4 oz cream cheese, softened (half a brick)
2 cups and 1 Tablespoon of milk
1 tub (8 oz) whipped topping, thawed
1 prepared chocolate flavor crumb pie crust (6 oz or 9 inches)
2 packages (4 serving size each (the small box)) instant chocolate pudding and pie filling

Beat cream cheese, 1 T of milk and 2 T of sugar in a large bowl until smooth. Gently stir in half of the whipped topping. Spread over crust.

Pour 2 cups of milk into a large bowl. Add pudding mixes. Beat with wire whisk 2 minutes (mixture will be thick). Pour over cream cheese layer.

Lick the bowl. If you have children, fight them for the bowl licking rights. YUM.

Refrigerate 4 hours or until set. Just before serving, spread or dollop remaining whipped topping over chocolate pudding layer. Garnish with shaved chocolate if you can resist eating it long enough to decorate it.


(All right, I know some of you want to call "shenanigans" on me because you are much too clever to let me sneak those 2 T of sugar past you. Yes, there is a tiny little 6th ingredient. But really, what's a little bit of sugar between friends? I simply could not deny all of you this wonderful pie over a Mere Smidgeon of sugar. And frankly, one time I made it without the sugar for a diabetic friend and it was still great. So if you are going to be a stickler about 5 ingredients, consider the sugar OPTIONAL.)

The Dog Master

When we first got this:

There were requests from Turbo and Bear that we send it right back and get a cat.

Bear is still on the fence, I catch him staring wistfully at the neighbors' cats... and hiding from the dog with our cats upstairs...but Turbo?

Where does Turbo stand on the fence?

Well... he's become the dog master.

One day, I found him training her to 'sit.' Then he progressed to 'stay' and when she gets too jumpy, he turns his back on her. He's not afraid of going near her, keeps his distance from her little nippy teeth and enjoys chasing her and trying to get her to play fetch. It's not just her, either. It's EVERY dog. Uncertain, testy old aussie shepherd? One look from him, one soft spoken 'sit' and it's on it's rump. Mouthy monstrous weimaraner?
Down, and down it goes. He isn't intimidated, but he isn't stupid about it. He 'gets' that he must be alpha. He's all of four. He's uncannily good with being alpha... Fear him, but never mind that. The thing is, is most favorite thing to do, most of all, is to play a controversial game with this dog that children are discouraged from, especially with nippy dogs like this, and that children this young shouldn't be playing at all, on account of the fact dogs are bigger. I first discovered him doing this when I couldn't find Turbo or Crazy. He'd shut her in his room, and I only needed to follow the sounds of laughter and happy play sounds to discover them in an illicit game of... Tug.

These pictures are candid shots taken when I discovered him starting and playing this game... without my approval, of course.

And the killer thing, the most amusing thing about all of this? Is, at the end of the day....

Turbo... won....

Too Late

One thing that I could really improve about myself is my "too late" attitude. If I don't get an early enough start on something, I have a tendency to write the whole thing off.

Some examples:
Too late to homeschool, because my oldest is almost in preschool and I haven't picked out a curriculum.
Too late to lose weight and be the fun, skinny mom.
Too late to have a discipline plan that works, because my preschooler is already whiny and entitled.
Too late to get promoted at work.
Too late to have any more kids (I'm 34).
Too late to clean the house for our vacation tomorrow. (true)

Okay, I know you see the flaws and ridiculousness of some of the things on my list, because I see them. But sometimes it just seems like my life is racing by me at 100mph and I keep missing it. I have this fear that one morning I'm going to wake up and my daughter will be 16 and my son will be 13 and it will be too too too late.

I did find some peace this weekend though. I was taking pictures of my daughter telling secrets to her little brother. When I saw this picture I could see what a little girl she still is.

Maybe it's not too late after all.