Friday, May 30, 2008

FNB--Baked Sandwiches


I bumped the "previously scheduled" FNB to report on this new recipe we tried last night. It is a definite make again...both G and R ate it up and were so busy chowing down they didn't notice the mushrooms (could be a first in our house!).

R and I made it together in the morning and we all enjoyed playing in our backyard as it baked at dinner time.

Baked Sandwiches Egg Casserole
8 slices bread
1 t olive oil
1 small onion, diced
8 oz container of mushrooms, diced
1 1/2 c steamed broccoli florets
1/2 pound of ham (we used a Applegate Farm 7oz package), diced (can easily be omitted to make it vegetarian--just add a bit of salt to taste)
1/4 t dried thyme
1/2 t paprika
1/4 t ground pepper
2 c skim milk
8 eggs (we used some egg whites)
2 c 2% milk shredded sharp cheddar

In a large nonstick pan, add the olive oil and heat to medium. Add the onion and mushrooms and cook for 5 minutes. Add the broccoli and ham and cook for an additional 3-4 minutes, or until the liquid has evaporated. Stir in the thyme, paprika, and pepper and remove from the heat.

In a 9 x 13 pan coated with cooking spray, place four pieces of bread to cover the bottom. Layer half of the ham mixture on top, then 1/3 of the cheese, then 1/2 the ham and another 1/3 of the cheese (keep the remaining cheese for the very top). Place the remaining four pieces of bread on top so it looks like you made four "sandwiches" in the pan. Combine the milk and eggs and pour over the entire pan, making sure all the bread is covered.

Chill overnight (if using as a breakfast dish) or at least 8 hours if making it for dinner. Once read to cook, preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Take the remaining shredded cheese and cover the bread. Cook for 45 minutes or until the eggs are no longer runny. Let set for about 10 minutes before cooking.

R helping layer the bread:
The ham and vegetable mixture goes on top:The egg mixture covers the sandwiches before it goes in the fridge:R loved how "poofy" the sandwiches were when they came out of the oven:The finished product:Certainly not a gourmet meal, but wow, was this yummy!

Have a sweet weekend,

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Onion Tips

I have finally found a fool-proof way (for me, at least) to dice or chop an onion. I am so tickled, I thought I would share. If you are snickering because you have known about this trick for years, well, then humor me...

The trick is keeping the root end of the onion intact while cutting it:Then I cut parallel cuts, almost all the way to the root end and then again like so:The result? Perfectly chopped or diced onion without any hassle.

Another quick onion tip: if they make you cry, and you have contacts, wear the contacts while cutting the onion. No more tears.

Life is sweet,

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Seared Tuna Salad

SPC interrupts this blog post for a quick PSA:

**The FDA and EPA recommend that pregnant women, nursing mothers, and young children limit their weekly intake of tuna and other large fish. If you want the breakdown of the recommendations, click on this
backgrounder on mercury levels in fish.**

SPH loves seared tuna. This week we picked up some fresh Yellow Fin Tuna and seared it up for this easy recipe. This probably a dish you won't be serving the little ones, so consider it a treat for a night when you and your special squeeze want to have a date night in.

Seared Tuna Salad

2 fresh tuna filets
1 T black sesame seeds
1 T sesame seeds (or use 2 T if you can't find black)
1/2 t salt and pepper
fresh spinach
shredded carrots
2-3 radishes, sliced
2 T sliced almonds
2-3 T Newman's Own Ginger Sesame Salad Dressing

Mix the sesame seeds, salt and pepper in a shallow bowl. Dredge the tuna in the mixture, coating on all sides. On a hot grill or in a hot pan, sear the tuna for 2-3 minutes on each side. Meanwhile, mix your spinach, veggies, almonds and dressing in a bowl. Serve the tuna on top of the salad.

I caution even calling this a "recipe," because it really is more of just a meal "idea." I will say though, it is incredibly delicious. Isn't your mouth watering looking at this picture?
Sweet Eats,

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Monday Musings, Tuesday Style

Did you have a good Memorial Day weekend?

Still unpacking and catching up on laundry from our trip this past weekend. We spent a good bit of time in the car driving to and from Virginia, during which I confirmed a prior epiphany:

Boys, no matter what their age, think bodily functions are hil-ar-i-ous.

Case in point: R and G spent easily 30 minutes in the car yesterday trading attempts at making, what we somewhat politely call "poot" noises. R started making noises, which G thought was absolutely hysterical. After a few minutes, he chimed in, which R thought was the best ever: "G is making pooting noises!! Ha ha ha ha!!"

I have to admit, I did get a kick out of it and the fact that they were entertaining themselves was wonderful. When I made a face to SPH about it, he just shrugged and said, "they're boys!"

Second case in point: A couple weekends ago the circus was in town. The elephants marched from a train depot near our home downtown, to the arena where they would be performing. I popped G in the stroller and R, G and I walked to see elephants walking down our city's streets:Closely following the parade were these street cleaners, for the, um, you know:
Can you guess what cracked R up more?

Ok, so enough potty talk. We have a short week *and* this is the last week of SPH's business school experience. We have a lot of stuff going on during the week so easy meals and a few nights out:

Seared tuna over spinach salad (recipe to follow later this week)
Taco night
Baked Vegetable and Cheese Sandwiches (a new one, will post recipe if it is a winner)

Have a sweet week,

Friday, May 23, 2008

Long weekend with the family

We're off to the Blue Ridge Mountains for a long weekend to celebrate Papa's 60th birthday. Happy Birthday Papa!

...'til next week,

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Super Veggies

I stumbled across this list of 5 veggies that make any salad super a few weeks ago. So I started with 3 of the 5 veggies:Instead of leeks, I used chives, since we have a prolific chive plant and I figure they are both members of the onion family, so maybe I can boast that this salad has 3 1/2 of the 5 super veggies? Instead of red chickory I used shredded carrots.

While I cooked Barilla Whole Grain Thin Spaghetti, I cut the veggies up and put them in a bowl. I drained the pasta and mixed it with the veggies like this:

The lid helped *really* steam the small pieces of veggies so they weren't still raw. Meanwhile, I mixed up the dressing and then mixed it all together to create:

The result? G ate almost all of it, except I pulled out the artichokes since I thought those were too tough for him. R ate just the pasta and broccoli, but said he liked the taste.

Super Veggie Asian Pasta Salad

1/2 pound whole wheat or whole grain thin spaghetti or angel hair pasta
1 c broccoli cut into very small florets
5 radishes, diced
1 c artichoke hearts, diced
1/2 c shredded carrots
1/4 c fresh chives, minced
1/4 c fresh basil, minced


1/4 c cider vinegar
1T canola oil
1t sesame oil (or just use extra canola)
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 T brown sugar
2 t lime juice
1 t soy sauce
¼ t chili pepper flakes

Cook the pasta according to the directions. Meanwhile, cut and place the veggies in a bowl. Drain the pasta and pour over the veggies and cover for 10 minutes.

Chop the chives and basil, set aside. Mix the dressing in a small bowl. Once the veggies and pasta are done being covered, mix the herbs and dressing over the pasta mixture.

Serve with grilled chicken for a perfect summer meal.

Sweet eats-

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

I'm (not) lovin' it...

Yesterday's plan was to go to the grocery store, pick up some fish, cook it, and serve it with the salad I had planned. A nice, healthy meal, n'est pas? Instead, R ended the day feasting on McNuggets, fries and an apple juice box. What happened?

We went to the airport to pick up SPH from his golf trip/boy's weekend. As we were unloading the car, R fell (I blame his new, larger Crocs, but I digress...) and hit his head. SPH picked him up and was consoling him when I noticed blood streaming, yes *streaming* down SPH's back. R's forehead had a huge gash in it that left no doubt, we were headed back to Nationwide Children's Hospital ER for the 4th time in less than 6 months. (side note: the woman who checked us in at triage recognized us--never a good sign)

Long story short, R ended up with more than a dozen internal and external stitches and a minor head injury. All in all, it could have been much worse. When we arrived he was a mess, literally and emotionally, but a few prayers were sent up and R calmed right down. It was a miracle...he laid on the bed during the stitches for 45 minutes without having to be held down.

As he was laying there, I was right over him so he could see me while they had him partially covered. I talked to him the whole time and the subject of dinner came up:

SPC: When we are done, do you want to get a special treat?

R: Yes...

SPC: Would you like to choose something special for dinner?

R: Yes, I would like to go to a fancy restaurant.

SPC: (hmm, not sure which fancy restaurant would welcome a blood soaked kid with a head wound) Ok...

R: Yes, let's go to McDonald's because it is *very* fancy.

The kid cracks me up. We never go to McDonald's, so I guess it was the allure of a forbidden fruit.

Why do I usually withhold the golden arches from my sweet R? Well, besides not being that into fast food in general, I have a problem with their whole position on transfats. When other restaurants are ditching transfats quicker than you can say "heart attack," McDonald's actually hired a lobbyist in New York to lobby against the ban on transfats that their legislature was considering.

But despite my grudge against Mickey-Ds, I figured a trip to the ER warranted my throwing caution to the wind and getting the poor kid a Happy Meal.

Life is still sweet,

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Easy Peasy Pita Chips

I was cleaning out the fridge last night and came across some old, but still good, whole wheat pitas. What to do? Turn them into...

Easy Peasy Pita Chips

2 Pita breads, cut into 1" strips, then cut in half
Olive oil (I use our "Misto" to spray it on, but you can drizzle a bit (say 1-2 t on too)
3/4 t chili powder
1/2 t onion powder
1/4 t garlic powder
1/4 t dried oregano
1/4 t salt

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Combine all ingredients on a cookie sheet (you don't even have to use a bowl, just mix on the pan) and spread so the pita pieces are in one layer. Bake for about 5-7 minutes or until slightly brown. Let cool.We love to eat these with our I'll-never-buy-grocery-store-hummus-again Hummus.

Sweet eats,

Monday, May 19, 2008

Sometimes life isn't fair

The whole "life isn't fair" is lesson we have all heard or taught. I am not into self-pity, and I really am not bitter, but let me do a side-by-side of this past weekend:

SPH: Away on a long golf weekend with about 10 of his closest college friends to celebrate his graduation and a friend's graduation from vet school.
Me: Went to my parent's house with the Sweet Peas for a bit of the weekend for a little bit of help.

SPH: Weather, sunny and in the 80s
Me: Cloudy, windy, rainy and times in the upper 50s/lower 60s

SPH: Beach house, Outerbanks of NC
Me: My parent's house, outside of Cleveland

SPH: Lots of meals out, adult beverages poolside
Me: My mom's home cooking (Okay, I have the leg up there)

SPH: weekend activities? Golf, more golf, beach, pool
Me: Nurse R back to health after a 3 hour stint at a Cleveland urgent care with a very high temperature, vomiting and the like.

I am overdue for a girl's weekend!

Our meals for the week:
Popeye Calzones, Chicken Apple Sausage, Fruit Salad
Baked Burritos
Cashew Chicken
Spinach Salad (topped with bacon, white beans, red pepper, green onion and walnuts)

Have a sweet week,

Friday, May 16, 2008

FNB--Mom's Oh-so-good Tilapia

We didn't eat much fresh fish growing up. When I met SPH, he was determined to turn me into a seafood eater and it worked. My mom told me that is one of the ways she knew it was love...that he was able to convince me to eat seafood.

Now that we eat it all the time, my mom has started to cook it more too. This recipe is one she developed as an easy way to cook the ubiquitous tilapia or any other mild white fish. It is super yummy for new seafood eaters and veterans alike. Enjoy!

Mom's Oh-so-good Tilapia

1/2 c pineapple, peach or mango juice (make sure you get 100% juice or nectar)
3 T teriyaki sauce
1 T brown sugar
2 t corn starch
1-2 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 t ground ginger
1/8 t ground red pepper
1/4 c panko
1/4 t salt
1/4 t fresh ground pepper
1 T sesame seeds (optional)
4 tilapia or other white fish filets
1-2 T olive oil

Combine the juice, teriyaki, brown sugar, corn starch, garlic, ginger and red pepper in a bowl. Reserve for cooking after the fish. Mix the panko, salt pepper and sesame seeds (if using) in a large bag (a la "shake and bake). Place the fish in the bag with the panko mixture and shake to coat. Heat olive oil in a nonstick fry pan to medium. Once the oil is warm, add the fish, and cook about 4 minutes, flip and cook 3-4 minutes more. Once the fish is done, place it on a plate covered with foil to keep warm and add the sauce to pan, bring to a boil, cook one minute.

Plate the fish and top with sauce. Good with brown rice and sauteed broccoli florets/spears cooked in a little olive oil and garlic, topped with a touch of parmesan cheese.

Have a sweet weekend,

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Multi-tasking in the kitchen

Whenever I make my Chicken and Vegetable Tetrazzini, I use this quick tip I saw Jamie Oliver demonstrate on his show once. Instead of cooking the pasta and cauliflower separately, I do this:
Both get cooked at the same time so there is less work, less mess, and less energy used to cook the food.

Any tricks up your sleeve that you would like to share?


Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Kitchen sink perspective

When we moved into our house nearly two years ago, I was blown away with the beautiful perennial beds the prior owner had cultivated and created. We have an amazing garden, for which I can claim no credit yet am very thankful.

This spring our lily of valley and lilac have been been particularly fragrant (or perhaps last year I was just still too deep in the newborn haze to fully appreciate the smell), wrapping our yard with the sweetest of perfumes. Since R recently developed seasonal allergies we have had to keep our windows closed and I have missed those spring smells wafting through our home.

So two weeks ago I began to bring the flowers inside and place them throughout the house. One time I had a few extra flower stems and decided to place them in a small vase on our window sill immediately above the kitchen sink:
With as much time as I spend at the kitchen sink endlessly (it seems) doing dishes and cleaning up after meal after meal after meal after meal I can't tell you how this little vase of flowers has brightened my days at times.

Really, the whole window-over-the-sink has brightened my perspective. How easy it is at this stage in my life to lament the kiddie chores and often mind numbing repetitiveness of it all. When I find myself sinking into a sea of sighs, these flowers, the view from the window and the beauty of the outside world often help me shift from a small insular view of life to the outside world and why I spend my days the way I do.

In our prior house we had a wall above the sink. No contest. I will take a window view of life over a wall any day.

Life is sweet,

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Take out fake out

Vietnamese food rocks and yet gets so little attention compared to Chinese and other Asian food. So below is my little shout-out to Vietnamese food. This is a recipe the Sweet Peas gobble up.

I adapted this recipe from the very creatively entitled Vietnamese cookbook, "The Vietnamese Cookbook." Once I got past the plain Jane title and the unusual picture on the cover, I have not once been disappointed by the recipes inside.
This recipe also shows how you can take three things that many sweet peas will eat, chicken broccoli and rice and make it interesting enough to appeal to the most distinguished of palates.

Sesame Chicken and Broccoli with Orange Sauce

1 pound boneless, skinless chicken, cut into small strips
2 T flour
1/2 t each salt, pepper and sugar
2-3 c of broccoli florets, steamed
1 c orange juice
2 T fish sauce*
2 T honey or brown sugar
2 t corn starch
1 T canola oil
2 minced garlic cloves
one small onion chopped
zest from one orange
3 T sesame seeds

Combine the chicken, flour, salt, pepper and sugar in a bowl, stirring to coat and let sit for 5 minutes while you prepare the sauce.

In a small sauce pan, combine the orange juice, fish sauce, honey, and corn starch. Stir the mixture regularly as you heat and bring briefly to a simmer to thicken. Once thickened remove from heat.

Meanwhile, place the the oil in a wok or large fry pan and heat until hot (test by flicking just a teeny tiny amount of water in the oil...if it makes a frying noise, the oil is ready). Add the garlic and onion and cook for 1 minute. Add chicken and stirfry until cooked, about 3-4 minutes. Add the broccoli, orange zest and sesame seeds and cook for 2-3 minutes. Pour orange sauce over entire mixture and cook for an additional 2-3 minutes.

Serve with brown rice and chopsticks (over course!).

*If you don't have fish sauce, you can usually pick it up most larger grocery stores with the rest of the Asian food items. The first time I smelled fish sauce I assumed ours had gone bad. It is rank. But it works in this recipe--I promise.

Sweet Eats,

Monday, May 12, 2008

Can't get more locally grown than this

We planted vegetables this weekend. If the secret to getting sweet peas to try vegetables is having them help in the kitchen, than the key to getting them *excited* about trying those vegetables starts in the garden. R and G, boys that they are, love to dig. When mom and dad let them dig in the mud and get really, really messy, well, we're talking kiddie nirvana.

This year we took advantage of every square foot of sunny soil and planted a whole slew of veggies: cauliflower, mesclun mix greens, zucchini, cucumbers, tomatoes, bell peppers, chilis, herbs and the pumpkin plants we started by seed in April (which aren't looking that hot, but I am hoping they make it!). Even if we don't produce a huge bounty of food, we had fun planting and I know the boys will have fun tracking the progress.

SPH, R and G finishing up some planting:

R showing off his work on the peppers and tomatoes bed:

G after a good dig (his hand obscures his mouth full of mud):

R and G, messy as can be, and yet somehow this picture doesn't do their messiness justice:

SPH and G, walking to go inside after a some watering:

Last year the garden did pretty well and we ended up making our garden pasta salad a lot. So if I can do this, with my olive-y, not-quite-green thumb, dig up some earth and get planting!

Now about our meals...

I usually do our meal planning on Sunday, but since yesterday was Mother's Day I didn't do any of my usual Sunday stuff. We will see what I can conjure up this week from the pantry and maybe a mid-week grocery trip.

Any ideas?

Sweet Eats,

Friday, May 9, 2008

An early Mother's Day gift

This morning, out of the blue, R says to me as he, G and I were playing, "Mommy I will never stop loving you." I told him that he had just given me the best Mother's Day present.

Tonight our sitter is coming over and SPH and I are going out for our last B-school event. Only 3 more weeks of class until he graduates. I won't be cooking, so no real "Friday Night Bites" for today's post.

Instead, I give you mothers out there a couple links of recipes to share with someone you love to help encourage them to make *you* a meal on Sunday. We have a tradition of breakfast in bed, which I love. But whatever you do, here are some great ideas:

photo from
Easy Overnight Baked French Toast

Making Breakfast in Bed Article (with video instructions for those who are truly inept in the kitchen)

Food TV Mother's Day Menu and Recipe Ideas

I leave you with this poem (Author Unknown) that I heard recited on the radio once:

Before I Was a Mom

Before I was a Mom
I made and ate hot meals.
I had unstained clothing.
I had quiet conversations on the phone.

Before I was a Mom
I slept as late as I wanted
And never worried about how late
I got into bed.
I brushed my hair and my teeth everyday.

Before I was a Mom,
I cleaned my house each day.
I never tripped over toys
or forgot words to lullabies.

Before I was a Mom,
I didn't worry whether or not my
plants were poisonous.
I never thought about immunizations.

Before I was a Mom,
I had never been pooped on,
Spit up on,
Chewed on,
Peed on,
Or pinched by tiny fingers.

Before I was a Mom,
I had complete control of myself;
My thoughts,
My body,
And my mind.
I slept all night.

Before I was a Mom,
I never held down a screaming child
so that doctors could do tests or give shots.
I never looked into teary eyes and cried.
I never got gloriously happy over a simple grin.
I never sat up late hours at night watching a baby sleep.

Before I was a Mom,
I never held a sleeping baby just because I didn't
want to put it down.
I never felt my heart break into a million pieces
when I couldn't stop the hurt.
I never knew something so small could affect my
life so much.
I never knew that I could love someone so much.
I never knew I would love being a Mom.

Before I was a Mom,
I didn't know the feeling of having my
heart outside my body.
I didn't know how special it could feel
to feed a hungry baby.
I didn't know that bond between a
Mother and her child.
I didn't know that something so small
could make me feel so important.

Before I was a Mom,
I had never gotten up in the middle of
the night every ten minutes to make
sure all was okay.
I had never known the warmth,
The joy,
The love,
The heartache,
The wonderfulment,
Or the satisfaction of being a Mom.

I didn't know I was capable of feeling so much before I was a Mom.

Have a sweet weekend,

Thursday, May 8, 2008


Recently my friend Erin clued me into the Bisphenol-A (BPA) and its potential leaching out of certain plastics. There is concern that this chemical can be a possible carcinogen and yet it is used in many infant and children's items. Canada has recently banned the use of this chemical in baby items and stores in the United States are banning BPA too. Amazon has even set up a BPA-free Store on its website.

Below is a good summary article and a chart that helps makes heads and tails of this plastic issue.
The Green Guide: Summary of the Debate Surrounding BPA

Plastic Products at a Glance Chart

I am still trying to come up to speed on this issue while not panicking that R used Avent bottles (one of the worst BPA leaching offenders) for an entire year.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

An alternative mash

SPH came up with this recipe during his ultra-low carb kick. I think it is a pretty popular concept, using cauliflower instead of potatoes to have a mashed side. We continue to use this side dish since it is easier (no peeling!) and healthier than potatoes.

Mashed Cauliflower

1 medium sized cauliflower head, cut into a large pieces
1-2 garlic cloves
1/4 + c light sour cream
1/4 + c skim milk
1/2 t salt
1/4 t ground pepper
2 T parmesan cheese

Steam the cauliflower and garlic for about 10 minutes or until the cauliflower is very tender. Place in a food processor and begin to puree. Add 1/4 cup sour cream and milk, salt, pepper and parmesan cheese and continue to puree until smooth. Depending on the size of your cauliflower, you may need to add more sour cream or milk.

Sweet Eats,

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Sweet Pea Lexicon

In case you have trouble deciphering my overuse of acronyms in my posts, I present the Sweet Pea Lexicon:

FNB--Friday Night Bites, my weekly weekend recipe, usually something that is a definite "make again."
G--son #2, born in early 2007
"make again"--any meal that meets three scientific criteria: 1. it is tasty, 2. it is healthful/natural, 3. the Sweet Peas all eat it
pumpkins--other people's children
R--son #1, born in early 2004
SPC--your truly, the Sweet Pea Chef
SPH--my wonderful husband
sweet peas--other children
Sweet Peas--my children
UFI(s)--Ultra-Funky Ingredients/Unidentifiable Food Item, basically weird things on the ingredient lists of our foods that make you go, "huh?" Examples: Sodium Benzoate, Potassium Sorbate, Carrageenan

I blame 9 years of working in the federal government for any acronym over-reliance.

Monday, May 5, 2008

Two lists

A long, long, long time ago, Steel Magnolia tagged me to do a "100 Things About Me" list. I started this last fall and just recently came across my uncompleted list. Here is my list in no particular order:

  1. I have lived in three (North America, Asia, Europe) continents and five different states.
  2. Turkey is my least favorite part of Thanksgiving.
  3. I used to figure skate competitively.
  4. I have a scar on my chin from an ice skating fall.
  5. I really wish I would have kept with the ice skating.
  6. I love having fresh herbs in my garden, but my favorite, cilantro, I can never grow.
  7. I love mint juleps.
  8. I have never read the book “I Love You Forever” without crying or tearing up. Not once.
  9. I think people who dress up as clowns are odd.
  10. I am not the least bit superstitious.
  11. Oprah isn’t a show I watch but maybe a few times a year.
  12. I try to avoid cynical people.
  13. I love all cheese, but goat is my favorite.
  14. I am married to a wonderful, sensitive, thoughtful man whom I am more in love with today than when we got married.
  15. I absolutely believe the Easter story.
  16. I don’t know how to dive.
  17. I’m not that great of a swimmer.
  18. I once thought boating was glamorous until I spent the better half of a weekend sailing trip with my future in-laws green and sitting at the edge of the boat. I don’t like boating.
  19. Lilacs, hyacinths, lavender and honeysuckle are my favorite flower smells, but my favorite flowers, tulips, gerber daisies and hydrangea don’t have a smell at all.
  20. We don’t have any pets and I am 110% okay with this.
  21. I learned how to ride Western style horseback when I was 9.
  22. I am not athletic, but I love watching sports, except soccer.
  23. I was on dance squad and a pom pom girl in high school.
  24. I played basketball my freshman year of high school and only scored 2 points the entire season!
  25. I have amazingly good balance.
  26. I would love to learn to do calligraphy
  27. I own and use (for small projects) a sewing machine.
  28. I love to do watercolor painting.
  29. I made both my son’s baby food.
  30. I have two sons who I love with all my heart, and then love them more the next day.
  31. Although I tell him often, I don’t think my husband knows just how much I respect him as a father.
  32. I love my mother-in-law and father-in-law.
  33. I was a girl scout.
  34. I get moody when I am hungry or tired.
  35. I am pretty sure I could live a vegetarian lifestyle…except for bacon.
  36. I LOVE bacon.
  37. I think I enjoy watching kid’s shows on PBS as much as my 4 year old.
  38. My faith is supremely important to me.
  39. Mean spirited gossip makes me mad
  40. I can’t stand ignorance
  41. I can be very competitive, but I am not a sore loser.
  42. I love the Buckeyes, Indians, Browns and Cavaliers.
  43. My mom is one of my best friends.
  44. My dad was a fighter pilot in the Air Force.
  45. My dad died when I was 3.
  46. I have a wonderful stepdad.
  47. I lived in DC for ten years.
  48. I am extremely, perhaps excessively, sentimental.
  49. I love entertaining and playing hostess.
  50. My husband and I love to cook gourmet food together.
  51. I think I am a bit of a food snob.
  52. I try to eat 100% natural food.
  53. I don’t drink soda, but I love ice tea and lemonade, or better yet, an Arnold Palmer.
  54. I burn, I do not tan.
  55. Getting a massage is a real treat.
  56. I can parallel park really well.
  57. I can’t act to save my life.
  58. I am double jointed.
  59. I can’t sing really well, but love to do so in the car.
  60. Really comfy PJs make me happy.
  61. A couple years ago I started doing Bible Studies…I never knew how much I was missing out on by not knowing and studying the Bible.
  62. I think whoever invented putting chocolate and peanut butter together was brilliant.
  63. I think whoever invented the mint/chocolate combo is pretty smart too.
  64. I am not sure if I am done having children.
  65. I graduated from a small liberal arts college in Ohio.
  66. I was in a sorority.
  67. I was a political science major.
  68. I actually used my poli sci major by working on Capitol Hill for 9 years.
  69. Nothing I learned in my poli sci classes in college really prepared me for working in Congress.
  70. I love the Weather Channel and I secretly wish I had trained to be a meteorologist.
  71. I am a recovering plan-aholic.
  72. I still call my mom every time I am sick, for a virtual hug.
  73. I love spicy food.
  74. I used to be a neat freak, but you would never know it seeing my toy-ridden house right now.
  75. I check in on my boys every night before I go to bed and just marvel at them as they sleep.
  76. I have never smoked or tried anything else more potent.
  77. No coffee for me, I am a cappuccino or tea girl.
  78. I love wine.
  79. I hate to iron.
  80. I am not a big shopper, but I love getting a good deal.
  81. I hate wearing hose/nylons, wool sweaters or anything that is the least bit itchy.
  82. I love clementines.
  83. I love going to the beach, but spend most of my time on the sand, not in the water.
  84. I wish I were at the beach right now.
  85. I love crisp, freshly washed sheets.
  86. I love the feeling of fresh air coming through open windows in our house after the winter ends.
  87. I have a very small bladder.
  88. I love good surprises.
  89. We only do fresh Christmas trees, I just love the smell.
  90. I used to write news stories for a CBS affiliate.
  91. I interned at CNN.
  92. I have been to the White House several times for official events and once found a way into the White House Christmas Ball.
  93. I love Sonoma/Napa.
  94. I would love to have a home garden a la Martha some day.
  95. I don’t have a fear of public speaking.
  96. I once sat in the cockpit of a 747 flying over the Atlantic Ocean (pre-9/11).
  97. I was working on Capitol Hill on 9/11.
  98. Right after we were married, we moved to London to live for three months.
  99. I love London.
  100. I believe life is sweet and every day is a gift.
Now another list, our meals for the week:

Popeye Calzones with a green bean salad
Burgers on the Grill with pureed cauliflower and salad
Layered Taco Salad (probably tonight for an attempt to celebrate Cinco de Mayo)
Garden Pasta Salad

Thanks Shannon for having us over for dinner this week! I love having a night off from the cooking...

Have a sweet week,

Saturday, May 3, 2008

It's Derby Day!

My late Great Uncle was a Kentucky Colonel and a big fan of the Kentucky Derby. He would sometimes say in his thick Scottish brogue, "I always get tears in my eyes when they begin to play, 'My Old Kentucky Home.'"
So to honor Uncle Bob and to, let's face it, have a really good excuse to drink some mint juleps, the Sweet Pea family is having some close friends over to watch the Derby.

We'll be feasting on some wonderful southern fare and drinking SPH's famous mint juleps. But what about the Sweet Peas? They'll be drinking my new invention, the mint fool-up. Basically it is the same syrup you use for the julep, but mixed with club soda (because anything fizzy=more fun to drink).

Mint Fool-ups

1/4 c mint simple syrup (simmer 2 parts sugar to 1 part water with about 8-10 mint leaves)
1/2 c club soda

Mix well, garnish with a straw.

Easy, peasy.

Friday, May 2, 2008

FNB--Pancake fun

Last night was our "breakfast for dinner" meal at the Sweet Pea home. I once tried to use pancake molds on our pancakes, but I wasn't really happy with how they turned out.

So I tried a new trick with our pancakes that I wanted to share:First I put a little batter in a kitchen squire bottle...
...then I covered it with the pancake batter with sweet potato mixed in (unfortunately R was not a fan of the sweet potatoes in his pancakes, but I digress)...

...voila! Personalized pancakes for my Sweet Peas.

Of course G got one too!

Trust me, this sort of creativity and extra effort rarely happens during our weeknight meals. I had one of those wonderful days where the boys played well together, my stress was minimal, and I was feeling artsy in the kitchen.

What a fun way to put an extra special touch on dinner.

Have a great weekend,

PS--Happy Anniversary Mom and Dad!!!