Wednesday, February 17, 2010

My Newest Obsessions

Here's what I'm loving lately...

Olympics! My whole family has Olympic fever. For some members, we had to start with the basics - "Mom, what's a competition?". For others, they are getting a geography lesson in disguise. Last Friday night felt like a holiday. The anticipation of the opening ceremonies was akin to that of waiting to open our gifts on Christmas.
We got into our jammies, camped out on the living room floor with our blankets and pillows and armed ourselves with heaping bowls of popcorn. It turns out that we are not quite the party animals we thought ourselves to be. After all of that anticipation, we only made it to the "G"s in the parade of nations.

Tyler's journey at Please take a moment to visit his website if you aren't already familiar with it. He is such an inspiration!

Yummy Chocolate Peanut Butter Treats

I am a HUGE (big big big) fan of Reese's Peanut Butter Cups. I could seriously eat them until I make myself sick. While I don't have a recipe to duplicate that heaven on earth, I have a recipe that has similar tastes and is really easy.

This recipe is from my mom. Thanks, mom. I made these little babies for Christmas and they received rave reviews. You would never guess that they are so simple that my three year old has mastered this recipe.

Chocolate and Peanut Butter Treats

Sleeve of Ritz Crackers
Peanut Butter
Milk Chocolate Chunks for melting (I generally use chocolate specifically made for melting. It can be found in the baking isle of your grocery store. Chocolate chips should work fine too.

1. Spread peanut butter on one Ritz cracker and top with another to make a sandwich. Use as much or as little peanut butter as you would like. I slather it on pretty thick since I personally believe that one can never have too much peanut butter. Prepare all of your sandwiches before going on to the next step.
2. Melt the chocolate by microwaving for a minute and then stirring. Repeat until the chocolate is fully melted.
3. Dip the cracker/peanut butter sandwiches in the chocolate. Shake off the excess chocolate and place on wax paper until chocolate is set.

I was planning a different post for tonight, but there is a Reese's Peanut Butter Cup sitting on my counter top and I've been fighting the urge to devour it for hours now.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Valentines Day

My sweetie and I had an awesome Valentines Day celebration. We actually celebrated a couple days early. Since babysitters are pretty hard to come by for us, we take advantage of the time when our kids are at school. Normally we are at work during the day while our kids are at school, but once in a while we coordinate vacation days and have a kid free date day.

It's so nice to have a leisurely day together. On this particular day we REALLY treated ourselves. We headed over to the Bonneville Hot Springs Resort and Spa in North Bonneville, Oregon. It's located in the Columbia River Gorge and the drive out was spectacular. The Gorge really is a MUST SEE. It will take your breath away. The Columbia River Gorge provides views of the Columbia River, rugged mountains of the cascade range, and gushing waterfalls.

Why did we head over to the Resort and Spa? To get pampered with spa treatments of course! You see my husband loves the pampering just as much as I do. We opted for the couples soak, wrap, and massage package. The couples rooms are nicely appointed with a large two person soaking tub, fireplace, large picture window with a view, and a massage area. First you soak together in the mineral bath while enjoying the fireplace and view. Next you are wrapped in warm linens on a heated cot. Lastly you finish off your treatment with an 80 minute massage. If you're up for more relaxation, you can head over to their hot springs tub and pool to soak again.

By the time we were finished with our spa treatments (2 1/2 hours later) we were STARVING! So, we headed over to a favorite restaurant and devoured our seafood and lobster lunch. How do you end such a great day? With a long nap before heading over to pick up the kiddos from school.

I hope you had a great Valentines Day to reconnect with your loved ones as well.

Another Breakfast Recipe For The Freezer - Single Portions

I have become a big fan of preparing foods in advance and storing them in my freezer in single size portions. We use these items as our convenience foods in order to avoid fast food drive thrus. This allows us to eat healthier and save money.

I have frozen meals that I've prepared in advance before and that works great. But what happens if you just want a lunch size portion or a snack? Do you thaw the entire dish and hope that it gets eaten before it goes to waste? I have found that we really enjoy the flexibility of single size portions.

Previously I showed you how to make and freeze Breakfast Burritos. The next most popular breakfast recipe at our house is:

Blueberry Pancakes: This recipe makes 12 pancakes. You can omit the blueberries and serve plain pancakes or substitute another fruit in it's place.
  • 3/4 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour (if you don't have wheat flour or don't like it, just use 1 1/4 cups white flour)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 1/4 teaspoon white sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/2 tablespoon butter melted
  • 1/2 cup frozen blueberries thawed


  • In a large bowl mix dry ingredients.
  • In a small bowl beat together egg and milk.
  • Mix the egg/milk mixture, butter and blueberries into the dry ingredients and stir just until blended.
  • Heat a lightly oiled griddle or frying pan over medium high heat.
  • Pour approximately 1/4 cup of batter onto the pan and brown on both sides.
  • To freeze, let the pancakes cool completely. Then wrap either one or two pancakes in plastic wrap (I'm totally addicted to Press & Seal!) and then into a ziploc bag. Be sure to remove as much air from the bag as possible. I like to use a straw to suck the air out.
  • To reheat frozen pancakes, remove from bag and plastic wrap. Set on a microwave safe plate in a single layer. Microwave for one minute to one minute and 30 seconds. You could probably reheat them in the oven, but I never have that much time.

My kids eat these pancakes for a quick meal or snack. Since we oftentimes eat breakfast in the car, this is a good grab and go item that doesn't make a big mess. When we eat them on the go, we don't top them with anything. They taste great on their own.

In the next installment of freezer meals, I'll show you some of our favorite muffin recipes. Muffins always freeze well and can be packed with fruits and even veggies to make them a healthy snack or breakfast.

This post is linked to Kitchen Tip Tuesday at Tammy's Recipes.

Monday, February 15, 2010

My Baby Boy is Four Today!

Today my baby boy turns four. Happy birthday to you, big guy. Here is how he chose to celebrate: He invited his preschool classmates and cousins to a swimming party, he had family over for dinner with a special menu of his choosing, and he played with all of his new legos for hours and hours and hours. That pretty much sums up a perfect day for him.

What does a four year old choose for his birthday menu? If you're Brady you choose sausage (which apparently looks like a giant weanie), macaroni and cheese, broccoli, and pink lemonade. For dessert we had chocolate cake with chocolate frosting (from a can).

He loved his new Spiderman bike. He said that it was "big and strong". He's so funny!

Happy birthday, my love.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

My New Appreciation For My Freezer

I have these fantasies of being a stay at home mom and preparing perfectly balanced and delicious meals for my family every day. I can just see myself in the kitchen with my apron (channeling June Cleaver) humming as I prepare what is sure to be a meal that my family will savor and appreciate. Nobody would complain that they didn't like the dinner. Nobody would ask for chicken nuggets or macaroni and cheese from a box. Nobody would cry that they want each speck of green food removed from their plate. I would serve these meals on matching china as we all sat together to discuss our days. We would linger at the table savoring the evening and the time we have together.

That is my fantasy; what is my reality? I get off of work at 4:30, rush to the gym for an hour, get home shortly before 6 pm, eat a quick meal (sometimes well planned and executed and sometimes pizza for the third night in a row), play with the kids for a short while, bathe the kids, get the kids to bed, get a bit of housework done, lament that it's now past my bedtime and I haven't sat down once, go to bed, and do it all over again.

I am slowly realizing that I can prepare delicious homemade food for my family to enjoy anytime. I just prepare it when I have time and then put it in single size portions in the FREEZER. I've already shared one recipe with you for make ahead lunch wraps. In the coming days, I'm going to share with you even more recipes for freezer eats.

I really love having these prepared items in single size servings. We use them for lunches and quick easy dinners. I REALLY hate packing my lunch for the next day each evening. It only takes a few minutes, but it is really a pain in the butt!! This has really helped me save money and calories by not eating out as often. The excuse that fast food is more convenient just went out the window!

I can still retain some of my June Cleaver fantasy, but I get to do it on my own schedule. My family is still savoring the fruit of my labor, just not exactly how I pictured us sitting down for a leisurely meal.

So let's start at the very beginning: Breakfast. Since I love to sleep every minute that I can, I have to eat breakfast on the go. Oftentimes it would consist of one or all of the following being eaten in the car: toast, yogurt, banana. Then one day while perusing my favorite recipe website ( I found a recipe for breakfast burritos. What's great about these babies is that you can make them to suit your preferences, freeze them, and then eat them for quick on the go meals.

Breakfast Burritos (adapted from allrecipes)

12 slices bacon, diced
12 eggs, lightly beaten salt and pepper to taste
10 (8 inch) flour tortillas
1 1/2 cups shredded Cheddar cheese
1/2 cup thinly sliced green onions

In a skillet, cook bacon until crisp; remove to paper towels. Drain, reserving 1-2 tablespoons drippings. Add eggs, salt and pepper to drippings; cook and stir over medium heat until the eggs are completely set.
Spoon about 1/4 cup of egg mixture down the center of each tortilla; sprinkle with cheese, onions and bacon. Fold bottom and sides of tortilla over filling. Wrap each in waxed paper and aluminum foil. Freeze for up to 1 month.
To use frozen burritos: Remove foil. Place waxed paper-wrapped burritos on a microwave-safe plate. Microwave at 60% power for 1-1/2 to 2 minutes or until heated through. Let stand for 20 seconds.

Don't like bacon? Are you crazy?!?!?!? You can substitute sausage instead. I typically use turkey breakfast sausage. In keeping with the original recipe, I cook the sausage, remove from pan, then cook eggs in drippings as directed. This recipe would also be a great way to use up leftover ham.

My kids don't like either bacon or sausage. For them I omit the meat and begin the recipe at step 2 making them egg and cheese burritos.

Often times I will add in extra sauteed veggies. I have added onions, peppers, chiles, and mushrooms.

Go crazy with the fillings and cheeses, add some yummy toppings (if you're not eating this in the car on the way to work) and enjoy!