Thursday, July 29, 2010

Swagger Wagon

Yep, we have joined the ranks of the minivan club.  Due to my growing belly, and obvious growing family, we decided to get a new ride.  We were really torn between the Honda Odyssey and the Toyota Sienna.  In the end, the better deal was with the Sienna for what we could find.  We purchased an '09 in the color "salsa red pearl"...not my first choice in colors, but it is growing on me, and I kind of like it!  I am excited about the stow-and-go seats in the back, as well as the dual sliding doors on the side via remote!  A must have with two young kids.  Also, the MP3 jack is a bonus.  It was very traumatic saying goodbye to my Honda Civic I had for 13 years, but I am liking the van more and more each day.  Another plus is it is way more easy to get Matthew in and out of now!  For those of you unfamiliar with the term "swagger wagon", check out these fun clips on YouTube...each of them had me laughing!

Matthew is ready to drive!

Love all the room with the back row folded down!

Matthew can not get enough of the button that closes the door...

Peach Raspberry Galette

 So I had the second half of the refrigerated pie crust to use (I used the first on the Plum Tart), so why not make another galette?  I found this recipe in one of our local grocery stores...they had cards with the recipe on them from a cooking demo.  This was also very easy and quick to make (thanks to the ready made pie crust dough), and oh so delicious!

Peach Raspberry Galette

1 1/2 lbs. fresh peaches (about 4 to 5), peeled, pitted, and cut into 1/2-inch thick wedges
1 package (6 oz.) fresh raspberries
1/2 cup plus 1 Tbs. sugar, divided
3 Tbs. corn starch
1 refrigerated pie crust, at room temperature
2 Tbs. butter, cut into small pieces
1 egg white, lightly beaten

1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.  Cut some parchment paper into a circle, about 10 1/2 inches in diameter; place in a 9 1/2-inch pie plate.  Spray parchment paper with cooking spray.

2.  In a large bowl, toss peaches and raspberries with 1/2 cup sugar and cornstarch.  Unroll pie dough in to prepared pie plate; spoon peach mixture onto center of dough leaving a 2 1/2-inch border around edges.  Sprinkle butter over fruit mixture.  Fold border of dough up and over edge of fruit, crimping edges slightly and leaving and opening in center.  Brush dough with egg white and sprinkle with remaining 1 Tbs. sugar.

3.  Bake 35 to 45 minutes or until crust is golden brown and filling bubbles gently.  Remove galette from oven.  Loosen edges of galette from parchment paper.  Cool galette for 15 minutes, then use parchment paper to lift up galette onto wire rack to cool completely, or serve warm.  Cut into wedges to serve.

I served it with Breyer's peach ice cream...incredible!

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Summer Salad with Fresh Dill

There was another great cooking demonstration at our Farmer's Market featuring tomatoes this morning by Learn Great Foods.  This salad is summer on a plate!  So fresh and full of yummy goodness.  I was able to get at least 90% of the ingredients at the market, and only had to get the lemon and dill at the grocery store.  Everything else I already had.

The cast of characters...
*Note* The recipe calls for mayo...I only had Miracle Whip on hand, I think plain mayo would be better...

On a side note, just look at this bunch of fresh basil I bought for only a dollar!  Made pesto sauce tonight...

Summer Salad with Fresh Dill

2-4 tomatoes (depending on size, etc...pick a few of different colors!)
sprinkles of salt
1 cucumber, peeled
1 onion (I used red)
1 bell pepper (I used green)
1/3 cup sour cream
1/3 cup mayonnaise
2 tsp. lemon juice
1 Tbs. chopped fresh dill
salt and pepper


1.  Cut tomatoes in half, sprinkle with salt, and invert on a paper towel for 15 minutes.  Chop.
2.  Chop cucumber, place in a colander, and sprinkle with salt.  Let stand for 15 minutes.  Pat dry with paper towels.
3.  Chop onion and bell pepper.
4.  In a medium bowl, toss together tomatoes, cucumber, onion, and bell pepper.
5.  Blend sour cream, mayonnaise, lemon juice, dill, salt and pepper (to taste) in a small bowl.
6.  Dollop dressing on mixed vegetables.  Serve. 

Sunday, July 18, 2010

21 Weeks

Another week has gone by, wow...

Grilled Chicken and Yellow Wax Bean Salad

I saw this recipe being demonstrated at our Farmer's Market this past Wednesday.  I knew I had make it this weekend when Chris was home.  It screams summer with all the fresh veggies and the grilled chicken.  I used half yellow wax beans, and half green bean just to add more color.  I also love the garlicy/tarragon dressing it is tossed with.  It makes the salad!

Grilled Chicken and Yellow Wax Bean Salad


1 or 2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 tsp. dijon mustard
3 Tbs. lemon juice
1/2 cup olive oil
1 Tbs. honey
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. freshly ground pepper
1 Tbs. chopped fresh tarragon

2 large skinless, boneless chicken breast
4 red skinned potatoes
2 Tbs. olive oil
1 red onion, cut into 1/2 inch slices
1/2 lb. yellow wax beans, cut into 2 inch pieces, cooked until tender
1/2 lbs. green beans, cut into 2 inch peices, cooked until tender
8-10 cherry tomatoes, quartered
1 red bell pepper, cut into strips
sprigs of tarragon for garnish


Whisk all the ingredients together in a medium bowl, or shake vigorously with a jar.

1.  Place the chicken breasts in a glass dish or plate and pour 1/4 cup dressing over them.  Turn to coat.  Let sit for 30 minutes to come up to room temperature.
2.  Parboil the potatoes until just tender, about 10 mintues.  Slice 1/2 inch thick.  Brush with some of the olive oil and season with salt and pepper on both sides.
3.  Brush the red onion slices with the remaining olive oil and also season them with salt and pepper.
4.  Preheat the grill to medium hot.  Grill the chicken, pototatoes, and onions until the chicken is done, the potatoes have nice grill marks, and the onion is tender.
5.  Cut the potato and onion slices in quaters, and slice the chicken.  (I cut them into bite-sized pieces.)
6.  Compose the salad by tossing all the ingredients together, and tossing with the dressing.  Garnish with more tarragon if desired.

A Yummy Meal

I made this quick and yummy meal after we spent the day at the water park and running various other errands.  It came together in no time! 

For the main course I made these quick beef and bean burritos from The Pioneer Woman website.  I halved the recipe, and they turned out super delicious!  Served it with some Spainish rice and guacamole.  Here is a link to the recipe.

Matthew was covered with guacamole by the end of the meal!

For dessert I made this super quick and easy plum tart.  It really was a cinch to put together.  Serve it with some ice cream for a perfect ending to a great meal!  Here is the link to the recipe.

Magic Waters, Finally!

We finally made it to Magic Waters for the first time this year this past Friday, and we even have season passes!  Needless to say either weather, other commitments, and everything I have dealt with this pregnancy so far have prevented us from going up til now.  It was a great time, and the weather was fabulous.  Matthew was way less afraid of everything this year.  He kept saying "my beach" or "my pool" everywhere we went.

The frog slide in the kiddie area was Matthew's favorite...

Chris took the safer way around on the lazy river this year...

Chick Pea Salad

I made this salad this past week for a going away party for a dear friend who is a vegetarian.  I love the two different types of beans, and cheese in it.  I got the recipe from my hair dresser who said to chill it for an hour or two with the dressing...I found that was too long since it was pretty wilted by party time (my inner cook should have told me so!), but I think chilling it for 20-30 minutes would be good.  It still had excellent flavors!

Chick Pea Salad

3 cups red leaf/romaine lettuce, sliced thin and cut up a bit 
1 container cherry tomatoes, cut in quarters
1/2 cup black beans, drained and rinsed
1/2 cup chick peas (garbanzo beans), drained and rinsed
1/2 cup chopped black olives
3 oz. monterey jack cheese (or cheddar and monterey jack combo), cubed small

1 heaping tsp. dijon mustard
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup canola oil
salt and pepper to taste

Combine all salad ingredients in a large bowl.  In another bowl whisk dressing ingredients until well combined.
Toss salad with dressing, and chill for 20-30 minutes before serving.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

20 Weeks - Half Way There!

I can hardly believe I have hit the halfway mark already with this pregnancy!  It is amazing to think of everything we have been through in the first half of this pregnancy, so we are praying for "smoother sailing" the second half!  Still waiting to feel the baby move, but I have noticed some small "flutters" that are ever so faint occasionally.

4th Festivities

Well, a week late, but better late than never.  My Mom, Matthew, and I had a quiet 4th of July at home, but did venture out a little after 9pm to see some fireworks from our car.  Matthew squealed with delight at the "booms" in the sky. 

It took about 4 attempts, but Matthew quickly figured out how to do the "pop its" on the pavement...

The herb goat cheese and tomato tart we made for dinner was so good!  We also had corn on the cob and watermelon, and a delicious strawberry rubarb crisp for dessert...

Grammy helping Matthew with his first "sparkler"...

Me at 19 weeks!

Sunday, July 4, 2010

It's a BOY!!

This past week I had a Level 2 ultrasound down at the Maternal Fetal Medicine Department at Rockford Memorial Hospital.  It was really neat to see the baby from so many different angles, 3D, etc... Right away the tech could tell it was a boy.  No doubt about it!  We are excited that Matthew will have a baby brother to play with. All the measurements on the baby looked great.

Baby at 18 weeks, 3 days...

It's a boy...;)

A Day at the Lake

The Saturday before last we spent a fun-filled day in Lake Mills, WI.  The weather was gorgeous the entire time.  Chris's friend Steve took us out on his boat once again this year.  Matthew loved to "drive" it.  He even jumped off the side of the boat a few time to Chris in the water!

Enjoying the ride...

"Driving" the boat...

All smiles after jumping in the water...