Sunday, January 29, 2012

Cooking and baking all day... hopefully!

I have been terrible at managing my time the last few weeks... 
and a few of my favorite things have had to sacrifice, cooking/baking and blogging.
AND... I am soooo sorry!

So to get back in to the swing of things I will be spending the next few hours cooking and baking
{ yay! }

And I'm sure you would all { LOVE } to know what I will be creating in the kitchen, right?!

Well here you go, a glimpse into my culinary exploration for this Sunday morning...

Only like the best Fall and Winter food EVER. 

Homemade Mushroom Soup, recipe & { amazing } photo courtesy of Season with Spicehere, get the yummy recipe here.

Vegetable Chowder, recipe and photo courtesy of, get the recipe here if you would like to try it for yourself.

I'm hoping that both of these will freeze well, seeing as they are for my lunches for the next couple of weeks.

Along with making some soups, I'll also be baking up a batch of these...

Whole Wheat Pita Bread, recipe and photo courtesy of Annie's Eats, get it here.
{ I'm hoping they're as amazing as the Greek pitas I get at Metropolitan Market }

And I couldn't make some pitas without planning for a meal of Chicken Gyros...
recipe and photo also courtesy of Annie's Eats, get it here.

In case you need some inspiration for your weekly meals, check out my  Pinterest boards 
for some yummy recipes...

Have you tried any new recipes lately?  
I've been doing quite well at this since the new year, we generally have 2-3 meals a week 
that are new recipes for our family...
it's so much more fun cooking when you get to experiment with new recipes { smile }

Have a WONDERFUL Sunday, lovelies!  On top of cooking and blogging, I'll also be doing a ton few loads of laundry.  { yippee... not so much }

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Tuesday, January 24, 2012

We braved a snowstorm { pictures }

It was only a week ago that the Seattle area was covered/blanketed in cold/crisp white snow... 

I am not exactly a hater of snow... I just prefer for it to not be on the roads because when it is it makes for a treacherous commute to work for me and all of the other Seattle drivers.

it is A LOT of fun watching my little 2 2/3 year old prince play in the cold-white-stuff.


Mommy and the prince took the doggies out to play in the snow...  so of course he had to throw some snowballs.

And more snowballs... 

Cooper didn't care for the snow as much as Roxy and the prince... so since there was still some uncovered grass he decided this would be his spot.

Roxy on the other hand loves the snow... she especially loves trying to catch snowballs.
{ I only wish I could have gotten a pic of the prince throwing them for her }

Then came the sledding adventures at the end of the storm when we had the most snow!

The prince { LOVED } riding on the sled...  he even enjoyed going down a hill on it...  
but walking back up the hill { only the worst part of sledding in my opinion } he didn't like so much.

Next it was the hubby's turn to go for a ride on the sled.

{ Don't worry. No hubbies were actually hurt in our sledding adventures.  
The truck seems a lot closer than it actually was. }

Cooper & Roxy { our fur-babies }

She wanted to be a part of the fun, but when we finally put her on the sled with the prince she couldn't get off fast enough { smile }

And last, but not least throwing snowballs at Mommy { I heart him }

So are you a fan of snow?

Until next time, lovelies...  have a wonderful Tuesday!

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Saturday, January 21, 2012

A week in { instagram }

To say the least, this week has been anything but normal.

The Seattle area/PNW was blanketed in snow almost this entire week...  luckily it has now been raining since yesterday so that yucky stuff called snow is now melting { yay }

Anywho...  here's a quickie post with my instagram photos for the week while I work on a few other posts
{ like... playing in the snow, update on how the prince and I are doing with our new lifestyle,
and a recap on some of the culinary masterpieces I've been making }

the prince driving Papa's school bus { could he be any cuter }
fire roasted green chiles for our dinner { see next pic for finished product }
chicken enchiladas in green chile sour cream sauce { the hubby LOVES these }
met up with Papa for lunch while he was on a trip with the wrestling team

pepsi. enough said. because it's like only the best pop EVER.
the prince and his Roxy { he really does love his puppies even though he terrorizes them }
the prince eating some almonds from Grandma { he LOVES those things }
my new FAVE magazine. ShopSmart by Consumer Reports { you must read it }

Oh and a little treat for all of you...  
the recipe for the chicken enchiladas pictured above { smile }
courtesy of Joyful Momma's Kitchen... FYI it's the same recipe that I ranted and raved out here.

We like to have cilantro lime rice with ours...  here's the recipe for it too... enjoy!
BTW I recommend using 1 cup chicken or vegetable stock and 1 cup water...
and both times I've made the rice I've never used the vegetable oil and it's still been AMAZING!

Have a wonderful Saturday, lovelies!

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Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Choo-choos... perfect for the prince!

hello lovelies!

It is now less than 4 months until the prince's 3rd birthday...
and that means that I am now officially in planning mode! 
{ I love this stuff }

This year I knew automatically that trains/choo-choos, specifically "Thomas and Friends", 
would be my inspiration...  

Photo courtesy of
Seriously, what little boy doesn't { LOVE } choo-choos?!?!  Mine sure does!
We watch Thomas daily and usually { ALL } morning...
I am not exaggerating.

So here are all of the goodies/inspiration that I've found { so far} for the prince's b-day, seeing as I have 3 months surely I will find more...

choo-choo party fit for the prince

{ as usual many of my finds are from the fabulous shops on Etsy }

invitations. invites. "tickets".
{ BONUS!  All of the invitations I'm considering are sent in a digital file to your email after purchase, so you can print them yourself }

These three are the current front-runners...
1.  I love the train ticket look of this one and the addition of Thomas is perfect, 
designed and created by Olive Press Paper.  

2.  Another take on the train ticket style, but this time it's also a tad traditional, 
designed and created by Dazzle Expressions.

3.  Lastly, an invitation showcasing the birthday boy with a touch of choo-choo fun, 
designed and created by Scriptiva Paper Studio.  I love the contemporary feel
and that the prince would be the main focus of this one.

{ If you hadn't noticed by this point yet...  the colors are likely to be red and sky blue, 
maybe with a touch of GREY- my fave color }

4.  Peace train sign/art:.  I absolutely { LOVE } using decorations for the party that can be repurposed as decor for the childs bedroom.  This cool license plate art was created by Rural Originals, check out their other pieces in their Etsy shop.

5.  Paper straw sunburst:.  Seeing as how I might be a tad obsessed with the striped paper straws, this tutorial for making a "Straw-burst" from Woman's Day will be perfect for the party...  and again it can be used in the prince's bedroom after the party.  { I will definitely be doing this! }

6.  Paper suitcase set:.  These cute and functional suitcase can be found in so many different places, I found these online at Shop Sweet Lulu.  They can be used for displaying party favors or just stacked on the table for decoration.  I think they go fabulous with the choo-choo theme and the colors are spot-on for this party!

7.  Paper straws:.  Both for the "Straw-burst" and for drinks...  added color and so very fun.  I am in love with the different shades of blue that they used in this package.  Get them or other colors at CupcakeSocial, but be careful because there are lots of tempting lovelies in this shop...  { you have been warned }

8.  Cookies:. I found these amazingly-perfect train cookies on Pinterest, thank-goodness for Hostess with the Mostess and Landon's Plaid Train Birthday.  I will be attempting to duplicate these cookies for the prince's party, I seriously couldn't have dreamed of a better cookie... down to the color and pattern!  First things first, finding the cookie cutter... I want my cookies to be as close to this train shape as possible.  So with the help of the internet I found the { perfect } cookie cutter on Wilton's website...  that I will be buying soon, very soon!

{ BONUS:   Check out Sweetopia for the perfect sugar cookie recipe...  and The Sweet Adventures of Sugarbelle for the supplies you'll need for making beautiful sugar cookies like the trains. }

9.  Cupcake toppers:.  This adorable set that I found on Etsy at Lora Lang Designs can be customized to the colors for your party { perfect } and it's digital like all of the invitations I found... so you can print them yourself { saving you both time & money } 

10.  Cupcake liners:.  I { LOVE } Sweet Estelle and all of the pretty liners she sells in her Etsy shop!  I found these blue and red ones that are perfect for this party, but she seriously has hundreds to choose from... even mini ones.

11.  Glass apothecary jars:.  This set of three can be used for candy, like the light blue M&Ms pictured above or maybe some saltwater taffy, jelly beans { Jelly Belly's are my fave }, Swedish Fish or whatever candy you or your child desires.  Candy buffets are a huge hit right now and if you don't already have a huge collection of pretty glass jars { I know I don't } then check out Save on Crafts for some amazing deals...  this set of 3 jars is currently only $19.99...  there are many other great deals too so check them out!

12.  Lollipop tree/bush/topiary:.  I saw this and thought it would go perfect on the dessert/candy table.  This wonderful creation is from Meet the Dubiens, you can get the tutorial here!  { love this }

Well that's it for now, but like I said I have just over 3 months to find more inspiration { smile }
I'll keep you posted on more of the specifics as they come up.

Have a wonderful Tuesday lovelies!  

I'm thinking that I'm going to get to stay home today from work...  afterall it's snowing!
And when that happens here in the Seattle area it's not worth trying to drive the 20+ miles to work just to get stuck in the traffic that comes when everyone leaves at the first sign of snow.  
Last year it took me 3 hours { for what is normally 40 minutes commute } to get home and there were a few times that I thought I might not even make it home.

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Friday, January 13, 2012

2012 Resolution { update }

hello lovelies!

It's now been almost 2 weeks since the prince and I started our partial-vegetarian lifestyle
and it's going well-- { REALLY well! }

I've been surprised how easy it's been to find recipes that sound yummy to me and are also
hubby friendly/approved.   There's the pappardelle pasta and tomato basil sauce that we had last week... I was raving about it here.  Along with these meals...

Tortellini spinach bake in a creamy basil garlic sauce.

The original recipe from Our Best Bites is a creamy lemon sauce, but seeing as how we're not really fans of lemon for our pasta sauces I used considerably less lemon than it called for in the recipe, get it here, so instead the sauce became a creamy basil garlic sauce for us.

Petite lasagnas, recipe via Can You Stay for Dinner?...  get it here.

Delicious and lowfat, what could be better?!  Oh wait!  EASY to make, too!  And I now have lunches for a  few days in the freezer

Baked pumpkin pie oatmeal.
{ this is not a hubby fave... he doesn't like pumpkin pie }

I'm loving this oatmeal, I froze the extras and can now take it to work or just warm it up at home.
{ very yummy }

The recipe is from Inside NanaBread's Head, get it here.  FYI...  I didn't have any raisins on hand so instead I substituted the dried cranberries I had and they are fab!  

If you would like to try any of the fabulous recipes I've found, then check 
out my board on Pinterest here.

I love trying all of these new recipes, it makes dinnertime a lot more fun for me { smile }
And the prince has been having a lot of fun cooking with Mommy, too { even bigger smile }

Have a wonderful weekend lovelies!

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Thursday, January 12, 2012

A week in { Instagram }

hello lovelies!

It's been over a week since my last post, so I thought I would devote this post to catching 
you up on our happenings/doings for the last week.

So... with the help of Instagram { my new fave iPhone app } 
here's a peek at what we were up to this last week...

beautiful pillows I need at Target { I especially love the Chevron print }
baked pumpkin pie oatmeal, get the recipe here
ingredients for black bean brownies { thumbs down, must find a better recipe }
the prince's cookie from Central Market, almost to pretty/cool to eat { almost }

yummy little satsuma/mandarine/cutie, my morning snack
all the goodies for Mom Woods' birthday dinner { it was a hit }
the prince reading his george books
petite lasagnas { yummy & EASY to make } get the recipe here

waiting for our { yummies } at our fave teriyaki place
absolutely amazing cookies made by the prince & grandma Woods
cannellini bean soup { my work lunch }
veggie sandwich w/ roasted garlic hummus & homemade kalamata tapenade

{ FYI- we've been doing great with our resolution...  specifics in an upcoming post }

So what were you up to this last week?  I can't wait to here everything { smile }

Have a wonderful end to your week, lovelies!

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Friday, January 6, 2012

Absolutely { LOVING } Instagram...

Have you tried Instagram?!?!

I've been using it all week and I'm in LOVE with it!  

You may be thinking...  what is Instagram?  
Well... it's a photo sharing App for your iPhone and it's { coming soon } to Android.  
First, you take a photo with your phone in the App; then choose a filter to transform the look and feel of your photo; and finally you share your photo via Facebook, Twitter, Flickr and/or email...  all with this App!

Totally EASY-PEASY and I love the unique look I can give my photos with the filters!

Here are some of the pics I took this week using Instagram...

my fave tortilla chips { Juanita Tortilla Chips }
my view from my desk at work
amazing deal i found at Safeway after Christmas
my fave pitas from Metropolitan Market { AMAZING }

ANOTHER fab thing you can do with Instagram is that you can use the photo filters in the App on other pictures you took previously with your phone.  Here are a few pics from my phone that I tweaked...

headed to Grandma Woods' for Christmas day in his fab new coat { thx Uncle Les & Claire }
the prince being silly while lounging on the couch
breakfast at The Saw Mill with Grandma Kelly and Papa
finally we have a microwave... it was a Christmas gift { thx again Les & Claire }

{ Trust me } you've gotta try this App!  
If not for the fact that it makes sharing your photos easier, then because I said so!  { smile }

Follow me on Instagram { stephsloves }
I can't wait to see all of your pics, too!

Have a happy weekend!

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Monday, January 2, 2012

Day 1- 3 recipes down...

On our first day of trying our new semi-vegetarian lifestyle, the prince and I had some yummy meals...

For breakfast, we shared an egg and avocado breakfast sandwich.

Quite delicious and a nice start to the day.  
Get the recipe here if you would like to try making one yourself.

Then it was on to my mid-day project, Cannellini Bean soup...

A tad bit of prep work, but well worth it.

All packaged up and now in the freezer, ready to take to work for my lunches
{ yum }

Get the recipe here if you would like to make a batch.

AND, last but not least, the masterpiece pasta we had for dinner...  
I'm telling you this dinner was 5 star, also hubby and prince approved!

Pappardelle noodles in tomato basil sauce with ricotta and italian chicken sausages...

{ DELICIOUS } and so very easy!

Here's what I used...

This type of pasta was a bit harder to find, luckily Central Market had it, all be it a tad pricey, but dinner was so yummy that I would totally buy it again!

Along with two cloves of garlic (minced) and 2 Open Nature Italian chicken sausages and this recipe.  

FYI, the recipe calls for 4 cups of marinara sauce, but the jar is only 24oz = 3 cups, don't worry just add the same amount of water and everything will work out fine...  you can also use less noodles, that's what I did, afterall.

Here's another glimpse at our dinner in the making...

SIMPLE, QUICK and DELICIOUS...  you must try it!!

We also had some wonderful rolls with dinner...

Also a must try! We warmed them in the oven for about 5 minutes at 325 degrees = scrumptious!

Have a wonderful week, I'm headed back to work tomorrow and the prince is now telling me he is ready for bedtime... so, goodnight!

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Sunday, January 1, 2012

New Year's Day brings a RESOLUTION for me!

It's officially 2012!  

Did you celebrate big last night?  More importantly did you stay up until midnight?!
We didn't...  the hubby had to be to work at 4:30am, the prince isn't quite able to stay up that late yet, and I just decided that I'd rather get some much needed rest { ahhh }  

But before we all went to bed, we enjoyed a quiet evening with some much needed family time  { smile }

And with the new year also comes the topic of resolutions...

About a week ago the hubby and I talked about eating healthier once the new year came around.

I then decided that adding MORE vegetables to our vegetable lacking diet was a necessity!  
So we are going "all-in"...  

Photo courtesy of
You may be asking...  What does "all-in" mean? 
 Well, for me it means that rather than just adding a serving of vegetables to each of our meals, instead the prince and I will try to eat a semi-vegetarian diet.  AND the meals that we have which include meat will be healthier/lean meats like boneless skinless chicken and ground turkey.

I made the choice to try a semi-vegetarian diet rather than going entirely vegetarian because while it would be easy-peasy for the prince and I to do, the hubby is a-whole-nother story.  Therefore our family meals will generally have the addition of a lean meat, while those that the prince and I have together will be almost entirely vegetarian.

Once I made this decision, I then turned to Pinterest for some inspirational recipes...  check out the recipes I've found so far here  { yummy}

Once I found the recipes I then needed to do some grocery shopping...
I have to say that grocery shopping is kinda enjoyable, dare I say fun, for me when I'm shopping for the components of some wonderfully-yummy recipes like these.

Tonight I was preparing some of the ingredients for the sandwiches I'll be taking to work this week... 
And I was using the new slicer/shredder attachment for my KitchenAid stand mixer, too.

Someone's little hand getting into the vegetables... like I've said before he { LOVES } him some veggies!

Next time I'll use the thicker slicer attachment and coarse shredder...  both the cucumbers and carrots were just a tad-bit to fine sliced/shredded.

Here was my inspiration...

Photo & recipe courtesy of
I chose to make the olive tapenade myself with kalamata olives because...
 1st- I've made it before and
2nd- I think that kalamata olives go fabulous with the hummus and the other ingredients 
{ yumm-o }

Here are the ingredients/recipe for my tapenade... 
{ FYI- I am not claiming that this is an authentic tapenade recipe, rather it's my attempt at creating the closest thing to what I know a tapenade to be without actually using a recipe
...  and I think it's pretty stinkin' good }

1 cup pitted kalamata olives
1 clove of garlic, chopped
2 tsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tbsp kalamata liquid

Add all ingredients into your food processor and blend/pulse until you get the consistency you want and all ingredients are blended, I recommend finely chopped.

{ I've used capers previously, but didn't have them this time...  I highly recommend adding at least 1 tsp of capers to get a more authentic tapenade flavor. }

Tomorrow I will be making some soup...

Photo and recipe courtesy of

Cannellini Bean Soup to be exact and I can't wait...   
I'm hoping this will freeze well so it can also be for my lunches  { crossing fingers }

Oh! and in case you were wondering here's what the prince and I will be having for breakfast...

Photo and recipe courtesy of

So as you can see { a lot } of the recipes I found came from, but seriously I found the website to be a great resource (there were so many recipes), check it out!

Also another thing I'm starting to do...  I'm beginning to make the transition to ORGANIC products.  This will take some time, but if the price difference is minimal I'm pushing myself to choose the organic version.  

{ Stay tuned for weekly updates as to our progress with this healthy lifestyle change }

BTW, did you make any resolutions for yourself this year?
I would { LOVE } to here about them.

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