Summer Salsa

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My favorite thing about summer is the fresh fruits and veggies that are in supply at all the grocery stores. I just love walking down the aisles and seeing the beautiful colors and smelling the fresh smells.

And don’t even get me started on Farmer’s Markets. LOVE.

When I saw this recipe on Pinterest, I knew immediately that I wanted to make it. So I did. I changed it up a bit for our tastes, but most of the recipe is the same.

Summer Salsa
Adapted From: Be a Pot Stirrer

Ingredients:
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 tsp chopped garlic
1 lime, zest & juice
pinch of salt
drizzle of olive oil
4 roma tomatoes, chopped
1/4 green bell pepper, chopped
1/4 red bell pepper, chopped
1/4 yellow bell pepper, chopped
1 jalapeno, seeded & diced
1 can of black beans, drained and rinsed
1 can of whole kernel corn, drained and rinsed

Directions:

In a small bowl, stir together onion, garlic, lime juice and salt. Set aside while you prepare the other ingredients.

In a large bowl, mix together tomatoes, bell peppers, jalapeño, black beans and corn. Add in onion, garlic and lime juice. Add salt and more lime juice to taste.

Be prepared… this makes A LOT of salsa. But it’s so good, you will want to eat ALL of it. At least it’s healthy though, right?!

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Serve with tortilla chips and enjoy!

Cinnamon Rolls

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As I mentioned yesterday, The Nerd’s favorite breakfast food in cinnamon rolls. I think if I would let him, he’d eat a dozen at a time by himself.

I’ve always wanted to try the Pioneer Woman’s recipe for cinnamon rolls, but having 40-50 cinnamon rolls in my house is not a temptation I want hanging around.

So, I found another great recipe and adapted it to suit our tastes. These cinnamon rolls are extremely rich and decadent… it’s like having dessert for breakfast!

Cinnamon Rolls
Adapted from The Novice Chef and The Pioneer Woman

Ingredients:
For the Dough:
3/4 c warm water
2 1/4 tsp fast acting dry yeast
1/2 c granulated sugar
1 tsp salt
1/4 c buttermilk, at room temperature
1 egg
1/3 c canola or vegetable oil
4 1/2-5 c all purpose unbleached flour

For the Filling:
1/4 cup butter
1 1/4 cups packed light brown sugar
2 1/2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
2 tablespoons cornstarch

For the Frosting:
1 bag powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla
3/4 c milk
1/4 c melted butter
1/8 tsp salt

Directions:

Combine the buttermilk, egg and oil in a small bowl, then set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, mix together water, yeast and 1 Tbsp of the granulated sugar. Whisk and let sit for 5 minutes. When the mixture looks bubbly and frothy, pour in remaining sugar and salt. Mix on low for 15-20 seconds. Add buttermilk mixture and mix until combined.

Switch to the dough hook and add 2 cups of flour into mixer. Then mix on low until incorporated. Sprinkle flour into the mixer 1/4 cup at a time, mixing until dough forms a ball and no longer sticks to the sides of the bowl. The dough should be sticky, but not sticky enough to stick to your hands when touched. Turn mixer on medium-high and knead for 5 minutes.

Remove dough from bowl, grease with butter and replace back into mixing bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and a dish towel. Rise for 1-2 hours or until dough has doubled in size.

Grease two 8×8 pans with nonstick baking spray. Stir brown sugar, cinnamon and cornstarch together in a bowl until combined. Set aside.

Flour a large clean table and rolling pin. Roll dough out to be a 20×30 rectangle, while moving dough around to ensure it’s not sticking to the table. Spread 1/4 c butter on the dough, being sure to go over the entire surface. Go right to the edges, leaving a 1-inch strip untouched on on the edges of dough.

Evenly sprinkle the brown sugar mixture onto the top of the brown sugar layer. Roll the dough up into a tight log; sealing the edges with a little water and your finger. Cut log into 2 inch slices.

Place in two greased 8×8 pans, leaving room for dough to rise/spread. Cover pans with plastic wrap and dish towels. Refrigerate overnight.

In the morning, preheat oven to 350°F. Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until tops start to brown. Be sure to watch them so they don’t burn!

Meanwhile, whisk together the frosting ingredients. The frosting should be thin enough to pour, but still pretty thick. Add milk to reach the desired consistency if needed.

When the cinnamon rolls are done, remove from oven and pour frosting over them immediately. Be sure to get down in the cracks and crevices of the cinnamon rolls. Serve warm.

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Enjoy!

Breakfast in Bed

For Father’s Day, Andrew and I prepared breakfast in bed for The Nerd.

Saturday night, I started preparing homemade cinnamon rolls. I’ve always wanted to try my hand at making cinnamon rolls from scratch, as it is The Nerd’s absolute favorite breakfast. I thought his first Father’s Day was just the occasion to do so.

When The Nerd got home from work Saturday evening (yuck for mandatory overtime), he commented on how hot the house was. I had noticed, but thought it was just the afternoon sun and the Texas heat warming up the house. But no, our air conditioner had stopped working.

If you know anything about Texas summers, you know that’s a MAJOR problem, especially with a newborn. Luckily, my brother’s family has recently moved to our area, and we packed up to spend the night with them. They were gracious hosts, especially when I walked in the door bearing dough for cinnamon rolls.

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We still served The Nerd his breakfast, just in a trundle bed with sock monkey sheets instead of our own.

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Andrew *really* wanted to try the cinnamon rolls.

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But then Mommy’s camera caught his attention… so much for breakfast in bed.

 

 

Father's Day Photos!

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There’s a long-standing joke in our relationship that The Nerd doesn’t love me enough to put a photo of me on his desk at work.

We’ve been married for three years and the man has never, not once, put a photo of me on his desk. No matter how many times I mention it.

It just doesn’t matter to him. Work is for work. Why would he have a picture of his wife there? That just isn’t logical.

A few days after Andrew was born, The Nerd asked me if I could text him some of the photos I had taken of our new son. “Why?” I asked. He had just returned to work, and confessed that everyone at work was asking to see pictures of the new baby. And he had nothing to show them.

See what I mean? The thought never occurred to him to take pictures of his new son.

We certainly are a pair, aren’t we? Me, who never puts the camera down, and James, who never thinks to pick it up.

Well, for The Nerd’s first Father’s Day, I wanted to take some special photos of Andrew.

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I had this one framed so he could put it on his desk at work. And you know what? He actually did it.

I guess he loves Andrew more than me, haha.

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We had so much fun taking photos of the Dude for his Daddy.

Father's Day Collage

We even got River and Eli to share in the fun! This was their Father’s Day collage for their dad.

Of course, we had to give The Nerd something he’d actually enjoy on Father’s Day — so we got him a gift card to Steam.

It always comes back to video games in our house.

What did you do for Father’s Day?

 

 

Chicken Tortilla Soup

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Yes, I know it’s summer. Yes, I know it’s hot outside. Yes, I know you think I’m crazy.

But last week, I made chicken tortilla soup. And it was yummy.

Hey, cut me some slack — it was rainy and a little chilly (if 80 degrees counts as chilly?) and I was really looking for any excuse to make some soup.

I found this yummy recipe from The Pioneer Woman and that sealed the deal. I changed her seasonings a bit and added a few things, and I think this recipe is one of the best I’ve tried.

Chicken Tortila Soup
Adapted From: The Pioneer Woman Cooks

Ingredients:
2 cups shredded, seasoned chicken.
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 1/2 tsp cumin
1 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1 pkg Ranch Dressing mix
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup diced onion
1/4 cup diced green bell pepper
1/4 cup diced red bell pepper
1/4 cup diced yellow bell pepper
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 cans Rotel, drained
32 ounces, fluid Low Sodium Chicken Stock
3 Tbsp tomato paste
4 cups hot water
2 cans black beans, drained
2 cans whole kernel corn, drained
3 Tablespoons cornmeal

Garnish:
5 whole corn tortillas, cut into uniform strips
Sliced avocado
Shredded monterrey jack and cheddar cheese
Diced onions
Cilantro

Directions:

Place the olive oil in the bottom of a stock pot on medium-high heat. Add the onions, bell peppers and garlic to the pan and sauté.

Mix the cumin, chili powder and garlic power together in a small bowl. Stir the spices into the sautéed vegetables, along with the Ranch Dressing mix.

Add the shredded chicken and stir to combine. Pour in the chicken broth, then add the Rotel, black beans, corn, tomato paste and water to the pot.

Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer on low for 45 minutes uncovered.

Mix the cornmeal with a small amount of water, then pour it into the soup. Cook for 30 minutes more. Allow to cool a bit before serving.

Top with tortilla strips, sliced avocado, cheese and other garnishes, as desired.

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Enjoy!

My Poor Sick Baby

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This is my reality right now: Rocking a fussy, sick baby. Trying to get him comfortable for just long enough so he’ll fall back asleep.

When Andrew was born, I thought his time in the NICU was the worst thing I would have to experience — the separation, not knowing if there would be complications and just living day-to-day.

We were blessed — there were no major complications and Andrew grew and thrived. He came home after only three weeks and has done so well since then.

But the last month, we’ve been battling illness in our little man. And I can honestly say this is the most helpless I’ve ever felt.

It’s nothing too serious, but it seems like as soon as he’s over one sickness, another pops up. Right now, we’re battling a double ear infection, after two bouts of strep throat last month.

Let me tell you, it isn’t fun.

It is so hard seeing my normally happy, giggling little angel with tears streaming down his face because he hurts so bad.

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How do you nurse your babies when they’re sick?

 

Droid RAZR from Verizon Wireless: My favorite apps for kids!

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Since I first received the Droid RAZR from Verizon Wireless, it has become an essential tool in my daily life.

No, not because of the super-fast 4GLTE network — even though that is definitely a perk.

Not even because of the awesome wifi hotspot capability — although that’s certainly a plus.

No, the reason I can’t function without the Droid RAZR is because it is now my son’s favorite toy.

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You might think it’s a little crazy that a six-month-old can recognize a phone and reach for it. And then throw a fit until Mommy hands it over. I completely agree.

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I don’t know when this shift occurred, when Andrew started recognizing that the little black box with a bright fun screen could actually DO things, but he knows.

Plus, the Gorilla Glass is strong enough that IF he drops it, the phone survives. Awesome, right!?

There are a few apps that we use every day that I wanted to share with you.

These apps are lifesavers. They allow me to actually be able to taste my food during dinner, instead of just wolfing it down as quickly as possible. They allow us to ride peacefully in the car on road trips. I can’t count the ways that just five minutes of entertainment has made my life easier.

 

Toddler Lock

Free in the Google Play Store

This is my #1 favorite app for Andrew. It turns your phone into a fun, colorful screen that chimes and makes other fun sounds. Best of all, it locks your phone so that your child doesn’t accidentally make a call or send a text.

 

Baby Toy

Free in the Google Play Store

This app is a lot like Todder Lock, except that it shows animals and instruments and even robots. When your child pushes one of the buttons, the animal (or whatever) will make a sound. Again, it locks your phone so they can’t accidentally dial out. Great app!

 

Trunky Learns Letters

$2.23 in the Google Play Store

A fun, educational app that my niece and nephews adore. It’s a bit old for Andrew, as it functions just like a video game. They love it so much… they sit and play it over and over again.  I highly recommend it!

 

Kid Musical Toys

Free in the Google Play Store

This is such a fun app! Your kid “plays” musical instruments by tapping the screen or even shaking the phone. It’s so awesome to watch Andrew make noises with this app and then look at the phone like, WHAT was that!?

 

Netflix

Free in the Google Play Store

If Andrew is getting fussy on a road trip, this is our go-to app. He LOVES the Backyardigans because they sign and dance. It’s so great to use this in conjunction with the Verizon Wireless 4GLTE network… no buffering and the video plays perfectly smooth.

 

Do you let your child use your phone? What are their favorite apps?

 

 

**Disclaimer** I am a Verizon Wireless Ambassador. I received a wireless device and phone/data plan free of charge to use for review and evaluation of Verizon Wireless products and services. As part of the program, I was asked to share my opinions with others, however, my opinions are my own. Please contact vzw@comblu.com with any questions about the Verizon Wireless Ambassadors’ Program.

 



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