Curly Crafty Mom: May 2011

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Cumin-Dusted Chicken Breasts with Guacamole Sauce

I wanted to share a recipe that is going around work right now... If I am correct, I believe it is from Cooking Light's website. One of my coworkers made it, and now everyone at work is trying out this recipe. It is REALLY, really good! Especially if you like avocados!

sauce
Mix together the first eight ingredients to make the sauce that you will smother on top of the chicken.


seasoned-chicken
Season the chicken with brown sugar, cumin, salt and pepper


seared-chicken
Sear the chicken for 3 minutes, then bake in oven for 10 minutes (or until done)


final
Take out of the oven, smother with the guacamole sauce, and voila! I also made some sticky brown rice to go with it, so yummy! Enjoy! The recipe is below...

Cumin-Dusted Chicken Breasts with Guacamole Sauce

Sauce
1/4 cup finely chopped green onions
1/4 cup finely chopped cilantro
1/4 cup fat-free sour cream
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon ground cumin
1/8 teaspoon ground red pepper
3 ripe peeled avocado, seeded and coarsely mashed


Chicken
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
4 (6-ounce) skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
Cooking spray


To prepare sauce, combine first 8 ingredients; set aside.

Preheat oven to 400°.

To prepare chicken, combine sugar, 1 teaspoon cumin, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon black pepper; sprinkle evenly over chicken. Heat a large ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add chicken; cook 3 minutes or until browned. Turn chicken over. Place pan in oven; bake at 400° for 10 minutes or until done. Serve chicken with sauce.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Monday List

1. Clean/Organize Basement - This is pretty much done, I just need to vacuum and carpet shampoo the section by the windows. I also need to clean the bathroom down there. It looks so much better. I will post pictures whenever I get it all done.

2. Mail Pile - Done! Now, sadly, I need to organize all of my divorce papers! I have a huge pile... so, that is next. What fun! (Not!)

3. Reading - Still reading Susan J. Elliot's Getting Past Your Breakup. 77% through! I think I am going to read Hunger Games next.

4. Landscaping in Backyard - The hard part of this is done, as the bed is brought out more and I moved a few perennials over. Now, I need to decide what I need to buy to grow in there so there is something blooming through Spring/Summer/Fall. I will probably do this the next time Jeremi has the kids (in a couple of weeks).

5. Running - I finally got back on the treadmill! I am starting back at it slow, only 2.5 miles at a time... I plan to build back up to where I was in the next couple of months. I want to definitely do the Halloween Go! 10K in October again, and I should be ready for it. I plan to start out running 2.5 miles, four times a week for a total of 10 miles a week. Hope to get back to 15 miles a week sometime, though. It feels so good to get back into running. Once I can do 3 miles, I hope to do some more outdoor running as there is a trail (Grants Trail) close to my Mom's where Jeremi picks the kids up at, so I may try to run it a couple of times week if the weather isn't too HOT.

Memorial Day at City Garden

CITY-gardenarch
Everyone at my work keeps raving about City Garden, and how neat of a place it is for young kids. I decided today was the day I was going to take them to see it, I'm off work and its hot out! Perfect!


Nathan-on-bunny-ears

Behind-bunny
We got there early (9:30am) to beat the extreme heat and crowds since they are also having Ribfest downtown. The first sculpture we saw was of two bunnies, which the kids loved.


View-of-CityGarden
The park is off of Market Street and is on two city blocks. There are three different wadding pools/fountains for the kids to play in, sculpture, foliage and the Terrace restaurant.


Ftns_Both-kids
Of course, the kids spotted the water jets (all 108 of them) and had to play in those right away.


Ftns_Nathan-infront-of-arch

Ftns_Nathan-smile

Ftns_Nathan-splash
More photos of Nathan in the spray jets. I love the one with the arch in the background.


Autumns-face-wet

Ftns_Autumn-touching
Autumn was a little hesitant about the water jets at first, but then became more excited about them. What she liked best was what we hit next, the rock and water pool.


Pool_Autumn-smile
Such a cute little picture of Autumn. She found the pool!


Kids-on-rocks
The pool was 16" deep with just an open area for the kids to wade in on one side, and the other side has a lot of stepping stone rocks and waterfalls.


Autumn-infront-of-ftns
Just a little afraid to go in at first...


Autumn-walking-in-water
There is my fearless girl!! She had so much fun! It was nice to get out of that hot sun, too!


towels
Drying off


The-Terrace-Room
Then we went inside the Terrace to eat lunch. It is really nice inside, it looks like you are out in the garden when you are sitting inside because all of the walls are glass. The kids ate SO good, I think because all of the water play made them famished! Everything at the restaurant is organic, so it was all very fresh and delicious. I ordered spaghetti and it was one of the best I have had, and then I ordered the kids a cheese pizza and then split it (as well as an order of french fries). I did not think the kids would eat the pizza as they didn't put tomato sauce on it, but they did and said it was the best they had ever had. Ha! Yum!!!


pinochio
We had so much fun, I think I really want to take the kids back here again later in the summer. It did start to get more crowded when we were leaving around 12:30pm. So, it really pays to get there a little early.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Day 7 of StayCation... Relaxing at Home. Enjoyed some Pink Lemonade. And... Potty Training Success!

Nathan-nerf
Today we had the most BEAUTIFUL weather... I almost took the kids to the Zoo, but decided against it and we enjoyed our last day of vacation at home relaxing. We spent a lot of time outside, I worked on planting more of my annuals, pots and 2 tomato plants while the kids played. Nathan got a nerf gun for his school birthday party, so I got that out of the box for him and he had fun shooting it outside. He did bring it inside later and decided to shoot Dora on TV (he would rather watch HIS show, Spongebob! hee, hee!)


Autumn-flowrees
My poor flowers, Autumn had to pick some of them for her pink bucket. She is a cutie. She is doing REALLY good with potty training today, she went the entire day with NO accidents! She did have a poopy diaper when she woke up, but the rest of the day she pee'ed in the potty. I was SO proud of her! I knew she could do it!


loves-corn
For dinner we had hot dogs and corn on the cob. Autumn is crazy about corn on the cob!! Look at her cob! Not a piece left!


ingredients
Way back in my 2009 blog posts, there was a Highlights recipe for making Pink Lemonade. I thought this would be really fun to do with the kids again, especially since Autumn was a baby the first time we made it. She loves everything PINK, so it was perfect. Here are the ingredients... 6 lemons, sugar and cranberry juice.


Nathan-squeezing

Autumn-squeezing
Squeezing the lemons. Autumn's face is hilarious.


Autumn-with-lemonade-and-my-socks
I will post the recipe below, but here is the finished result. Autumn is so cute, she is wearing my fuzzy socks... I am addicted to fuzzy socks, I love to wear them around the house. However, they look like leg warmers on her!


Nathan-giving-lemonade
I dug the cardboard lemonade stand upstairs that I am saving for when they are both old enough to sell lemonade on the street. It is really a cute stand but is getting a little bent up. Here Nathan is serving Autumn some lemonade.


Autumn-and-her-lemonade
Yum, yum!

Jeremi has the kids Saturday and Sunday, and then I will have them most of Monday morning and afternoon. I am going to work on my landscaping in the backyard tomorrow since the weather should be nice (I hope, as it is raining now!), then dinner at Bacana (some sort of Brazilian place where they bring meat out on sticks, never been!) with my family, and Thor in the theater. Should make for a fun weekend, but I am going to miss the kids! I am hoping to take the kids to City Garden and the Terrace restaurant on Monday, which should be a lot of fun.

Here is the recipe...

Stir Up Some Pink Lemonade

6 lemons
1 cup of sugar
cranberry juice


Put 1 cup of sugar and 1 cup of water in a pot.

Cut 6 lemons in half. Squeeze the lemons until you get 1 cup of lemon juice.

Pour 1 cup of lemon juice, 3 cups of water, and 1 cup of cranberry juice into a pitcher. Add the sugar mixture, stir, and chill.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Strawberry Cake from Scratch

ingredients
Remember how we went strawberry picking? Every year I get excited about picking out a new strawberry recipe... last year I did lemon strawberry muffins, and this year I decided to try out a strawberry cake from scratch recipe that I found on Allrecipes.com. Here are the ingredients.


first-mixing
In a bowl, mix together softened butter, sugar and strawberry jello box. And, might I add... RIGHT after I did this step the tornado sirens started going off... So, I had to take the kids downstairs, then finish this cake when I had planned on doing it all during Autumn's nap. Momma was not happy! Especially, when I got downstairs and they said there was a suspicious cloud right over the Arnold water tower, which I can see from my back yard. Such a stressful afternoon! I really get so scared over crazy weather, and we have been having a lot of it lately!

Then beat in the eggs. Thankfully, I did NOT do this part until after we came back upstairs!!


milk
Combine the flour and baking powder; stir into the batter alternately with the milk.


vanilla
Then add vanilla


strawberry-puree
And, lastly, add the fresh strawberry puree (from my delicious ripe strawberries from Eckerts!)


before-oven
I was going to make two round cake pans of cake, then stack them inbetween icing and sliced strawberries... BUT, thanks to the storm, I decided to opt out of that because Autumn was no longer napping and I was rushing to finish it before I had to start dinner. Did I say stupid storm yet? So, I just dumped it in a 9x13 pan. Nothing fancy.


ingredients
Then, to make icing for the cake... and, this is a Cream Cheese Icing. You get together all of these ingredients, including the cute little girl holding the lemon.


Butter-and-Cream-Cheese
Take softened cream cheese and butter, mix together.


Icing_Add-lemon-juice
Add icing sugar and lemon


finished-cake
Ice the cake after it cools, and I would say keep it refrigerated because of the icing. SOOO yummy, especially warmed up in the microwave. Sorry I didn't garnish the top of the cake with strawberries, but... after that stupid storm I was tired! So, this is good enough... and, it was GOOD! Yum!


I am copy and pasting the recipe below as it appears on All Recipes.com.

Strawberry Cake from Scratch

2 cups white sugar
1 (3 ounce) package strawberry flavored gelatin
1 cup butter, softened
4 eggs (room temperature)
2 3/4 cups sifted cake flour
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 cup whole milk, room temperature
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup strawberry puree made from frozen sweetened strawberries


1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease and flour two 9 inch round cake pans.

2. In a large bowl, cream together the butter, sugar and dry strawberry gelatin until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs one at a time, mixing well after each. Combine the flour and baking powder; stir into the batter alternately with the milk. Blend in vanilla and strawberry puree. Divide the batter evenly between the prepared pans.

3. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes in the preheated oven, or until a small knife inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Allow cakes to cool in their pans over a wire rack for at least 10 minutes, before tapping out to cool completely.

Cream Cheese Icing
1 (250 g) package PHILADELPHIA Brick Cream Cheese, softened
1/4 cup butter, melted
2 cups icing sugar
1 teaspoon lemon juice


Beat cream cheese and butter in large bowl with electric mixer until well blended. Gradually add icing sugar, juice and peel, beating until well blended after each addition. Spread on top of cake.

And, might I add... I have two more REALLY good recipes to share whenever I get time to make them and blog about them... Cumin-Dusted Chicken Breasts with Guacamole Sauce AND Cinnamon Rolls from Scratch (seriously, they are THE BEST CINNA ROLLS ON THE PLANET. Seriously.).

Day 6 of StayCation... Science Center.

gears
Today it was really sort of nasty outside, so the kids and I stayed at home and relaxed until lunch time... I am working on potty training Autumn, and of course she went poopoo TWO times on me in her undies! That wasn't very fun... but, then when I was taking a shower she came in and went peepee on the potty. She is so cute, she will go and then dump the peepee in potty container into the bigger toilet and flush it. I think tomorrow I am going to start rewarding her when she pee's with 2 M&M's. I hope that helps a lot. I hope. After lunch, we went to the Science Center. Here are the balls that you see when you first come inside.


smiley-kids
Two smiley kids... Since when did the Science Center start charging for parking? And, NINE dollars! I was a little bummed that the Discovery Room was closed for cleaning today, as I have never taken the kids to see it. We will try again sometime in the future, as I think its ages 3-7, so Autumn is still not 3. There was still plenty to see there, though, and we had a lot of fun!


Kids-and-dinos
There was a lady (you can't see her in the picture) that told the kids all about the dinosaurs they were holding... Nathan learned about a Brachiosaurus who was a dinosaur that ate leaves and even rocks that helped them digest their vegetarian diet.


sodium
We watched part of a show where we saw a scientist make a huge cloud that poured over into the audience. Autumn at on the sodium seat.


Autumn-stuck
Nathan and I built 3 buildings, the different bases had different stabilizers. Autumn, who I have now knicknamed Autumn the Explorer (since she loves Dora so much) MIGHT have been placed somewhere by her Momma so Nathan and I could build our buildings without her little road runner legs carrying her out of site. :o)-


Aut-dryer
There was a hurricane table where there was a blower that you could angle to blow off the different styles of roofs on these two houses. Autumn was hilarious, she thought it was a heat dryer like you would find in the women's restroom. She was rubbing her hands like she was drying them. Too funny!


above-hwy-nat-and-aut
Then, I took the kids to the section that goes across Highway 40. They had fun looking at the cars through the scope. They got really excited when they would see a school bus go by.


Car-speed
Nathan had fun seeing how fast different cars were going


Autumn-flying
This is neat, it looks like Autumn is really flying because she has her hands out, but it is really just a painting on a wall- not an actual yoke.


What a fun day! Then we came home and relaxed some before I took the kids to see their Daddy for dinner. While Jeremi had the kids for a few hours, I went for a run for the first time since... February 22nd! Wow! I have made a goal for myself to run 2.5 miles (going to start out small since I haven't ran in quite some time) four times a week. I am going to try my hardest to stick to this... so we will see. My goal is to run a 10k in October again- the same Halloween Go! race that I ran last year.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Day 5 of Our Staycation. Nathan's Last Day of Preschool and Bowling

Nathan-with-Mrs-Miller1

Nathan-with-Mrs-Miller2
Today was Nathan's last day of preschool. Mrs. M had planned a fun day at a park close to the school, but the morning thunderstorms ruined that plan. The kids still had a really good day at school and it was even dry enough to go outside. Here is Nathan with his two teachers.


Autumn-and-her-babies

Autumn-and-her-ponies
Autumn had so much fun in Nathan's classroom. She played with the dolls in the kitchen and then got the ponies out. She really is ready for preschool! She still has another year, though... she can stay my baby for now!


All-the-preschoolers-in-gym
First the kids went into the gym for some games and fun


Nathan-marshmallow

Nathan-ballon-inbetween-legs
They played a game where they held a marshmallow on a stick and had to balance it. They also did some games with a balloon.


Autumn-bouncing
Autumn had fun in the bouncy house while she bounced away while the big kids did their games


water-balloons-basket
Then the kids went outside for some water balloon activities. One Mother had been kind enough to fill 200 balloons with water. Ohhhh boy!


waterballoon-toss-game
They played a 'gentle' game of toss with the balloons with a partner, and amazingly enough the balloons didn't really pop too easily.


Mrs-Miller-Getting-Hit2

Mrs-Miller-Getting-Hit
Then they played "Hit Mrs. M" and the kids had so much fun trying to get Mrs. M with their water balloons.


Autumn-water-balloon
Autumn checking out a water balloon


Pinata
Then, the kids got to do a ribbon pinata


Aut-pretzel-eye
Then we all had a hot doggity lunch


me-and-kids
My little boy is now going to be a Kindergartner!! :,,,( He is getting so big. Congratulations on finishing preschool, Nathan! :)


looking-at-balls-in-case
After school, we went bowling... this is the first year that I signed up for the free bowling program that is in St. Louis and other cities. It is really neat, the kids get 2 free bowling games (I think it is every day or a few days a week all summer long) and then you just pay for shoe rental. I paid $5 total on shoe rental for both kids. I have always wanted to take Nathan bowling, just haven't had a chance... so it was fun to take them both today, finally!


Nathan-getting-ball

Autumn-picking-out-ball
Picking out their balls... they were only 6 lbs, but Nathan looks like he is carrying a 20 lb ball here! LOL!


Nathan-bowling

autumn-bowling
Here they are bowling... Nathan LOVED it, he had so much fun. However, Autumn was in love with it too, until she went up there to push a ball off, and then decided to run after it. I felt so bad because I was trying to get a picture of her, and she fell (because it was slippery on the lane) and hit the back of her head! My poor baby had the biggest tear drops. I felt terrible! She was ok and decided she was more interested in the hand blowers after that episode. She did get back into it near the end.


Autumn-and-her-ball
Both kids had neon orange balls that looked identical to me, but for some reason they were both VERY possessive of their own ball. Kids!


Last-score
Final score! We only bowled one game... I think this would be better to do with just Nathan next time, Autumn is a little too young. She enjoyed it a little though, but she got bored quickly. It was worth the trip, though, since Nathan enjoyed it so much.
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