Monday, June 30, 2014

Cooking with Pinterest.8

Below are recaps of the new recipes I tried in the last couple of weeks:

Pork and Snap Pea Kebabs with Ginger-Hoisin Glaze via Martha Stewart

Martha Stewart recipes can sometimes be a little frou frou for my taste, but this was an excellent one. It cooked really quickly on the grill. Kabobs are becoming my go to meal for summer – there are so many combinations and it is easy to combine a meat and veggie. Jack wasn't a fan of the peas, but loved the meat and rice.

Parent Score 5/5 | Toddler Score 4/5

Honey Porter Chicken Skewers with rice and green beans via The Beeroness

More kabobs. These were another hit. The flavor of the meat was smooth – the marinade smelled like beer, but the kabobs didn't taste like beer at all. We all gobbled these kabobs up. No complaints.

Parent Score 5/5 | Toddler Score 5/5

Beefy Nachos via The Wanderlust Kitchen
I browned some beef and used leftover black beans and rice for this dish. Creating a crust from crushed tortilla chips and butter really makes this dish – it is flavorful and crunchy. The dish didn't need rice, but I had leftovers and it fit well. Overall, not off the charts spectacular, but a tasty dish.

Parent Score 4/5 | Toddler Score 4/5

Pineapple Orange Banana Popsicles via Gimme Some Oven 

Easy, healthy and toddler approved. This was a great blend of flavors and the leftovers worked well as smoothies.

Parent Score 5/5 | Toddler Score 5/5

Dad's Famous Pancakes via Blessed Success

These were good pancakes, but I think I prefer my mom's recipe. They were a little heavier than I like, but the addition of brown sugar was a nice touch. We added blueberries and Jack downed 3 pancakes before I told him no more so that I could have some to eat.

Parent Score 4/5 | Toddler Score 4/5

One-Pot Chicken Burrito Bowls via Number 2 Pencil 

I was distracted by Jack helping with cooking and didn't get a photo. For this dish I used some leftover beans, rice and corn from a previous meal. I sauteed the chicken and the dish cooked up quickly. It was very tasty and made for great leftovers.

Parent Score 5/5 | Toddler Score 5/5

Browned Butter, Peanut Butter, Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies via Cooking Classy

Jack and I have been on a bit of a weekly cookie baking streak. I try to keep things relatively healthy, opting for oatmeal and peanut butter when possible. These cookies were a hit. The browned butter gave the cookies a bit of a nutty taste. 

In addition to the original recipe, I decided to add 1/2 cup of finely chopped pecans. Other changes include using 9 tbsp instead of 10 tbsp of butter, natural peanut butter and then sugar with molasses instead of brown sugar (I was out). Also, I use dark chocolate chips instead of regular chocolate chips. The cookies were yummy, but a bit crumbly (probably due to not having enough butter and using a medium egg instead of a large egg). Thumbs up from the Moore family though.

Parent Score 5/5 | Toddler Score 5/5

Zucchini Pizza Boats via Damn Delicious

The original recipe I found required pre-cooking the zucchini. I wanted something a little simpler, so I combined the ingredients from the Damn Delicious recipe with the idea of Zucchini Boats I found on Dashing Dish. The end result was easy and delicious. A win for the whole family.

Parent Score 5/5 | Toddler Score 5/5

As you can see, we had some great hits with the Pinterest recipes this week.

Friday, June 27, 2014

Love Where You Live: East Brow Ride

I recently discovered Roots Rated and it is quite possibly my new favorite web site. Roots Rated gives great details about outdoor activities in select cities and Chattanooga happens to be one of the cities they cover.

Happily we have already discovered many of the activities and places on this site, but there are plenty of new places left for us to explore. 

One of the activities on Roots Rated that we had yet to discover was the Brow of Signal Mountain. It promised at least 7 miles (round trip) of amazing views.

We live about 2 miles from East Brow and decided it would be worth the ride from our house. 

The views definitely delivered. We have driven on this road before, but riding (or running) on it gives you more time to really soak it in.

We biked until we were almost at the W Road. Conveniently there was a grassy section on the right side with an amazing view of Chattanooga. 

The plot of land probably belonged to the people who owned the house across the street, but we took advantage of the opening in the bushes and parked our bikes out of sight and enjoyed a picnic with this fantastic view.

East Brow is rolling hills, so be ready for your legs to burn a bit on the uphills, but the fast downhills more than make up for it. 

The steepest section for us was actually coming out of our neighborhood, past Green Gorge Park and down to East Brow. What goes down must come up, so the final hill up to our neighborhood was a brutal one.

We biked about 5.5 miles on this ride. My fastest speed was around 17mph but I know Daniel (and Jack) were going much faster than me on the downhill sections. Our elevation gain was about 600 feet.

We enjoyed having Daniel home on a Friday, he has been working crazy hours the last couple of weeks and may have to go back tomorrow. 

Have I mentioned that we love where we live?

Wednesday, June 25, 2014


Not much has been going on in my neck of the woods lately. We were really busy and then we weren't. Sometimes you just need a break.

It seems that summer camps in the Chattanooga area are a big deal. A really BIG deal. I haven't been able to totally sort out my feelings on this. 

I grew up going to church camp when I was in grade school (for one week each summer to Camp Omagh in Ontario). Then as a teenager I spent many summers attending Wilderness Trek (a backpacking trip in Colorado) with my youth group. I really loved those trips. 

Now I have a toddler and there is pressure to sign up for summer camps. I just don't know. Won't he have as much fun hanging out with me at the pool or Y or whatever Daniel and I decide to do with him on the weekends? Is the summer camp thing really necessary?

Anyways, that is where my head is. I have this belief that if Daniel or I didn't need or do it as kids, then it isn't really a necessity. Just my thoughts right now. Maybe I'll eat my words and sign Jack up for gymnastics next month... who knows.

In other news, Jack got into preschool for the fall. I am really stoked about this. Somehow it makes me feel more like a grown up – I had to call the school for information, visit the school, meet the teachers, ask my questions, fill out an application and then get really excited when I got the call that we were off the waiting list. It is weird that I'm 33+ and this makes me feel like a grown up?

One of the things on my Bucket List is to drive across the country, camping and visiting National Parks. I'm a little jealous that one of the bloggers I follow is doing this with her family. Ashley Ann, her husband and 5 kids are traveling this summer and doing what I dream of doing. I am living vicariously through her blog right now...

In addition, a friend is currently visiting Yellowstone, one of my college professor's just returned from visiting the Badlands, and the parents (of a friend from my high school days) are riding a motorcycle from Arkansas to Alaska as we speak. I am very much enjoying all of their photos on Facebook (and trying not to be too jealous).

On the workout front, I have really been enjoying the boot camp, pump and Pi-Yo classes I have been going to. They give me some time to myself and some days I just need a break from Jack – it's amazing how an hour of doing something that is just for me can make my bad days better. It makes me a better mom. Working out has also helped me work through some of my feelings about my miscarriage. I was bummed, but also a bit angry about the experience. Group exercise has allowed me to work through those feelings in a way I wouldn't have been able to otherwise.

Anyways, that is just a little update on me lately. Boring life, living vicariously through others and working out to get my endorphins going and make me a better person.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Dinner, a Movie, and a Project

We had another busy weekend for the books. Recently Daniel's sister, Amy, offered to come hang out with Jack for a weekend so that Daniel and I could have some time for ourselves. As parents this is not the kind of offer you pass up.

So Amy came down Saturday, bringing Jack's Nana and Great Grandmother with her. It worked out that Jack took an early nap and woke up shortly after everyone arrived. 

After lunch together, Amy and Nana took Jack to the Discovery Museum while Daniel and I spent the afternoon figuring out where we wanted to hang artwork and getting most of the downstairs art on the walls. 

It feels so good to have that project (mostly) completed. There is something about stuff on the walls that makes a house really feel like home.

Saturday night Daniel and I left Jack in the capable hands of family and went out for dinner and a movie. It seems like we do this about twice a year, so it was a special treat.

Unfortunately the timing for a nice sit down dinner and a movie we really wanted to see weren't aligning. We chose a good dinner over a movie we would love. We made our way to the Lakeshore Grille in Hixson and enjoyed a beautiful view of the lake and amazing food. I tried their fish and chips and it was the best fish and chips I have tasted. Seriously. Daniel's salmon was also amazing.

After we ate, we checked movie times and found a comedy to go to. We would have much rather seen the newest X-Men movie or The Fault in the Stars, but the timing wasn't working for us. The comedy was ok, but in general it was nice to sit in a movie theater for once.

Saturday was Father's Day and we enjoyed visiting with family. I made a country breakfast before church and then helped Amy cook a Mexican spread for lunch. I think Daniel had a fun, low-key Father's Day. That evening he requested a picnic at the park across the street.

So, a busy, but also laid back weekend. We enjoyed visiting with family and having some time to ourselves and marking a project off the list. Jack had a ball playing with his Aunt Amy, Nana and Great Grandmother.

Family Hike at Fiery Gizzard

On Saturday we had originally planned to go on a group hike on the Fiery Gizzard Trail , but it was cancelled at the last minutes. So...