Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Recipe Wednesday - Oatmeal Smoothie

This is what I have for breakfast most mornings. For anyone tracking Weight Watchers Points, this is 5 points.

In a microwavable bowl, put in:
1/2 c. oats (2pts)
1c water
Sprinkle w/ dash of salt
Microwave for 2 minutes
Take out and put into Magic Bullet or blender, then
Add dash of cinnamon
1/2 tsp. coconut oil (1pt) (can omit if you don't have this, no biggie, but I use this in place of butter)
1T honey (1pt)
1/2 c. milk (1pt for 1%)
Blend up, enjoy.

Quick, easy, filling :)

Saturday, March 27, 2010

A visit to the farm

Ajay was on Spring Break last week. The week before, he went to school on Monday, then Monday evening he got a fever. Alex already started his fever on Monday morning, so he was a few hours ahead of Ajay on this one. Both boys had fevers for a few days and I caved and took them to the doc on Thursday. Ajay, it seems, had bronchitis (again) and was given a prescription for an antibiotic. The pediatrician never said if Alex had bronchitis, too, but he did say he had an ear infection, so we were given a prescription for an antibiotic for him. I'm not a fan of so many prescriptions, but I am also a chicken and don't want to be that mom who let an illness go too far. Ajay's round of abx was only for 5 days, and I spaced giving him his final dose - that was the day we left for my parents. Alex's amoxycillin was to be twice a day for 10 days - ugh! I can happily report that I didn't miss a dose for him, even with the road trip! I've since read somewhere that garlic oil is good for ear infections, so maybe if we end up with another infection, I'll get my hands on a more natural remedy.
So Spring Break started with the boys recouping from their illnesses, but to look at them, they didn't act sick for the most part. We loaded up the van and headed out for a 3 hour drive. I checked out a couple dvds from the library for the boys to watch in the van - honestly, that dvd player is getting a lot more use than I thought it would! (Only on long trips, though, nothing playing if we're just driving around town!) We hit up McD's for lunch then headed to my brother and sister-in-law's place, since my parents were still at work. We spent most of Wed, Thurs, and Fri hanging out with the cousins - luckily they were on spring break, too! Brandi and the kids were such a great help and fun distraction for the kids. I was even able to finish up a couple of craft projects. No way would I have been able to complete them if I'd have been on my own.
Ajay got to help Papa a time or two with chores, we ate dinner with my younger bro, Jeff, one night, at dinner with my older bro, Matt, once, and even got snowed in again. Remember Christmas?? At least we weren't snowed in for 3 days this time. Luckily it all melted fairly quickly. The roads were a mess, though, so we weren't able to come back home until Monday - which meant Ajay missed another day of school. Oops! And the kicker is we had parent-teacher conferences this week, so preschool didn't have school Wed-Fri!! If you will count along with me - in the last 3 weeks, Ajay went to class....twice!!
(To add - I'm finally getting around to posting this later than I had planned. In case you're wondering, Ajay has made it to school M-W and will be going tomorrow. There is no school on Friday or Monday. What the tarnation?? This school has more days out than I ever had growing up!)
These pics were taken with my phone since I forgot the camera at home.

Here are the boys playing on the swingset on one of the nice days:

First thing Thursday morning we headed over a few hills to get the boys a haircut! Boy were they shaggy!

After the trim, we took the boys up to town. It was great weather to play at the park. The swings were a big hit - there's Aunt Brandi pushing Alex, Brandon flying high, then Jenna and then Ajay.

Alex trying out the slide.....

Ajay doing some excavating....

The boys playing with another child, Ajay getting buried in the sand and loving it....

Alex doing his best to give cousin Brandon a push on the Merry-go-round thingy....

Then he tried his hand at pushing Aunt Brandi...

Back to the farm again. Here is Alex on the front porch.

Pretending to be blown away by Ajay (he's scooting backwards, saying "ahhhhh!")

And then the snow came! The boys enjoyed a little snowball fight with Papa...

I enjoyed a little adult beverage with Mom and Brandi! This was our strawberry margarita. There was also a small glass (or two) of pina colada!

On Sunday before the snow melted, the boys got a little more outside playtime in.
(This is Ajay, rolling around in the snow.)

And Alex (he gets colder quicker than Ajay, so he didn't last as long outside).

And here is our masterpiece! Notice the baby carrot for a nose and jelly beans for the eyes and mouth!

Uh...a little behind.

I've got blog posts lined up in my head, and pictures to go with them, too!  I just need to get busy and write it all out.  So essentially, this is a post to tell you that I am going to put a new post up soon :) 

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Recipe Wednesday - Spinach Dahl

Time for another yummy recipe.  I've adapted my own version from the recipe found here.  I read through all of the comments there and also added my own twist.  Give it a try and let me know what you think!  (I usually double this recipe.) 

1.5 cups yellow lentils - rinsed/drained several times
2 Tbsp. canola oil
About 1/2 Tbsp. mustard seed
1 onion, chopped
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp.  turmeric
1 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. garam masala
1/2 tsp. red chili powder
1-2 Chicken Bouillon Cubes
3.5 cups water
Frozen Spinach (I don't measure, I just open the bag and put some in until it looks right - maybe 1-2 cups?)
1/2 cup Coconut Milk (optional) 

Soak lentils for 20 minutes.
Heat a good sized sauce pan (or dutch oven if doubling the recipe) to medium.  Add oil.  When hot, add mustard seeds.  Once seeds pop, add onions and cook until tender, transparent. Add in salt, turmeric, cumin, garam masala, and chili powder.  Cook for 1-2 minutes, stirring so they don't scorch.  Add in the lentils, bouillon cube(s), water and spinach.  Stir to combine.  Turn up heat to bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes, or until lentils are tender.  If you'd like, now add in your coconut milk and heat til warm.  Serve over rice. 

I made this last week and took a picture of the spices while cooking -

So in the pot you will see the tender onions (not quite transparent) with the mustard seeds.  The spices are - top right, red chili powder, the the left, turmeric, bottom left is cumin, and bottom right is garam masala. 

Give this a try!  It is very yummy and pretty healthy for you with the lentils and spinach and all! 

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Recipe Wednesday - Turkey Curry

Cooking anything Indian for dinner is usually left to Biju.   There are, however, a couple of dishes that have become "mine."  Turkey Curry is one of them.  It is actually quite easy (which is why I can do it!).  The hardest part for most of you will be finding a store that carries all of the spices you need.  You cannot, for example, find Garam Masala at WalMart.  I suggest looking up Asian or Indian stores online and seeing what is available in your area (or w/in a half hour drive).  Luckily, we live just a few blocks from an Asian store.  Biju has about 3-4 different stores he uses.  He's decided which place has the best price on this, the freshest that, etc.  (Now that I've come back to finish this post, much later than when first started, I wonder if maybe you could use "curry powder" instead of Garam Masala.  It's worth a shot - and let me know how it turns out!)

So here is what I do when it is my turn to make grub:

2-3 Tbls. Canola Oil
Mustard Seeds- about half a tablespoon?
One onion - chopped
1 good sized spoon of Garlic-Ginger paste 
1/2 spoon of Garam Masala (more if you want it spicy)
1/2 spoon of red chili powder (more if you want it spicy)
1 spoon of Turmeric
1 spoon Cumin
1-2 spoons Corriander
1 can diced tomatoes
1 16oz. bag of frozen mixed veggies (carrots/peas/corn/green beans)
2.5 lbs ground turkey  (this is the size of tray that comes in the two-pack at Sams)

*About means that I never measure anything, I just toss it in. 
You can tailor this recipe to suit your tastes, so do whatever pleases you!  Try different veggies, a different meat, whatever. 

Heat a large skillet to medium, add the oil.  When oil is hot, add in the mustard seeds and wait for them to pop.  Then add your onion and cook until tender.  Add in your spices and let them cook a minute or two - stirring so they don't scorch.  Add in the diced tomatoes, stir, then the frozen veggies, stir, then plunk in the ground turkey (surely you could use ground beef or ground chicken if you like).  Mix it all together, cook for about a half hour or so, stirring occasionally to break up the meat and incorporate all the flavors.  Serve over rice.  (I also like adding a dab or two, or three, of plain yogurt.  This, to me, enhances the flavors, and also cools the spices if I made it too hot.)

 This makes up quite a bit, but we like making lots so we have enough leftovers for other meals, Biju's work-lunches, etc.  I don't believe we've frozen this, but I'm certain it would freeze well. 

If you have any questions, or if you try this recipe and have comments, please leave them in the comment section. 

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

A playdate!

I'm enjoying this spring-like weather.  I'm a little concerned that we may still get snow at some point, but in the meantime I'm just going to enjoy the warmer air and the RAIN!  I love a good gentle rain. 
To celebrate the coming of Spring, we invited some friends over for a playdate last week.  They came by for some spinach dahl, some outside fun and some games - Candyland and a Thomas the Tank Engine card game.  The boys really enjoyed their company.

Getting set up to play Candyland.  

Monday, March 1, 2010

Spring is on the way

I swear it is on its way, I swear it!  We're out of the 30-degree weather for now and I think we're even supposed to touch 60 sometime later this week.  And look what I found when I was out working in the backyard yesterday:
Little flowers all excited to make their entrance!!