Monday, June 29, 2015

Fun Things, Plus Food

Much fun and a lot of sun was had this past weekend. There was a swim meet on Saturday morning that lasted forever, but it was at "home," the kids swam well, and Cora had a fantastic time eating everyone's food and clapping for all the races.


but with hair!

I went home around noon to put the snack stealer to bed and then the meet went so long the big kids had to remain at the pool while James coached his lessons, so they didn't get home until nearly 4 (after arriving at 6:45 a.m. for warm-up). The big kids were still going strong, super pumped about a friend's birthday party at 4:30, but James walked in the door, said hi to me, and then walked to our room and appeared to hit our bed and fall asleep at the exact same time. Shoes on, hat on, and seriously dead asleep. I left him a sticky note in the kitchen with our location and proceeded to the party. We got home at 7 and he'd just woken up. Cora was in her diaper, some beads, and water shoes, so he knew everyone had had a great time.

On Sunday we went on a long family walk, he got to swim (for fun, in an indoor pool, though I still don't know how he craves more pool time), and during a magical hour while Cora was napping, I even got in the pool! My new bikini needed a test drive, so I got my full body pool float, kindle (in a ziploc bag for water safety), spa water, and bluetooth speaker playing my beloved Tween pandora station and floated about while the kids marveled at how I was "almost swimming!" They were so proud of me.

Then Cora got up and DEMANDED to be in the pool by banging on the glass windows in the sun room and pointing vigorously. She allowed for an outfit change and then walked right in the steps. This is my only picture because I had to immediately grab her when she walked off the second one and spent the next 30 minutes cheerfully trying to drown herself. She had the BEST time. It was adorable. And terrifying.

Which pretty well describes Cora.

When not swimming, we have been doing a lot of eating. Our menu for the week:

Sunday: steak (for James and me); chicken sausage (the Costco one with roasted red peppers and spinach for the kids because they don't appreciate steak); my new favorite salad (leafy green lettuce, finely sliced green onion, sliced snow peas, cucumber, mandarins, sesame ginger vinaigrette- so good!); bread.

Monday: Pesto Chicken Salad Sandwiches, chips, fruit. Sandwiches were awesome and Cora ate two bowls of the pesto chicken salad.

Tuesday: Skewerless Shish Kebabs (large diced chicken breast, pineapple, red pepper, purple onion tossed with TJ Soyaki sauce and spread on a baking pan and broiled for 10 minutes, served over rice, so delicious and so quick and easy!)

Wednesday: Tacos (though Claire was concerned they were not on Tuesday)

Thursday: Crockpot Red Beans and Rice; corn bread

Friday: Out! Somewhere with margaritas

Saturday: 4th of July Pool Party! We're hosting. I'm making this BBQ shredded chicken and serving it with Costco's pretzel buns and my mom's famous Vermicelli salad (plus fruit, veggies, and chips supplied by friends). You need this pasta salad recipe, it's so different and so good and goes with all BBQ and Cookouts:

Glenda's Vermicelli Salad

1. Break 1 (12oz) pkg of vermicelli into 2" pieces. Cook, rinse, and drain.

2. Add and marinate overnight in the fridge (I put it all in a gallon ziploc, works great):
1 T Accent
3 T lemon juice
1 T seasoned salt
4 T oil

3. Add the rest of the ingredients below and let set for several hours in the fridge:
1 chopped green pepper (about 3/4 cup)
1 c. sliced celery
2 small cans sliced black olives
1/2 c. chopped onion (I always sub one bunch of sliced green onions; I like the milder flavor)
1 c. mayonnaise

Everyone who has ever had it loves this salad. Our friends are bringing fruit and other sides and then I'm thinking about making dessert, just to make sure we have enough (James and I have high expectations when it comes to dessert quantities)- does anyone have a favorite 4th of July or summer dessert recipe? I'm not big on fruit in dessert (no pies!) which seems to dominate the 4th of July offerings, but am open to delicious suggestions!


  1. So, first of all your shishless kebabs have been on my regular rotation since you first made them. Perfect. And now I'm def trying that salad.

    Second of all - really good and easy dessert that people absolutely love. Mound a bunch of whipped cream cheese (plain) in the middle of a large circular serving plate. Make a little nest in the mound, and spoon in a jar of lime curd. Surround with ginger snaps. The guests slather a bit of cream cheese and lime on a cookie, and it tastes delicious. My friend calls them key lime cookies. It would be dangerous to pre-smear each cookie - the cookies fairly quickly get soggy and disintegrate, which is why it's self-serve. But I serve them every year at my derby party and they get ET UP.

    Another dessert is banoffee pie. I made this all the time when I lived in England. I suppose this is both fruit AND pie . . . but it's really a big serving bowl full of caramel with some bananas sprinkled on top. You boil sweetened condensed milk in the can til it turns to caramel/toffee, then you put it in a pie shell and put whipped cream and bananas on top. That recipe has a lot of extra steps you could skip - use a store bought crust and store bought whipped cream. Sometimes I'd put it in a chocolate pie shell.

    Last - I've always loved bread pudding and custard. Another fave from England, where you can (and people routinely do) just buy a can of custard at the grocery (I used to pour it over canned peaches . . . mmmm). I also used to make this when I worked in a bakery - all the leftover bread went into these cute little single-serve bread puddings that people would buy on a stroll around town after lunch.

  2. First - I love that Cora is apparently getting a 20 year head start on her Mardi Gras prep. I predict her game will be strong.

    Secondly - desserts!!! I decided that this would be the summer of desserts, so I've been making some kind of dessert every weekend. My top two picks:

    Ritz Pie - Yes, it's pie, but there's no fruit. My great-aunt Ida called it a trailer trash pie, but she was snooty about any pie that involved a tub of cool whip.
    3 egg whites
    1 tsp baking powder
    1 cup sugar
    20 crumbled Ritz crackers
    1 1/2 cups chopped pecans
    1 tsp vanilla
    1 8 oz container of cool whip
    Preheat oven to 325. Grease a 9-inch pie dish. Beat egg whites and baking powder until stiff. Blend in sugar, add crackers, pecans, and vanilla. Pour into dish and bake 30 minutes. Cool completely and top with cool whip. Chill. To push it over the top, grate some over the top. To be super fancy, make chocolate ribbon curls to decorate.

    But if you don't want pie, you can make THE BEST CAKE IN THE WHOLE DAMN WORLD.
    1 box lemon cake mix
    1 3oz box instant lemon pudding
    4 large eggs
    1 cup water
    1/3 cup vegetable oil
    1 lemon
    1-2 cups powdered sugar (depending on how much glaze you want)
    Preheat oven to 350 and prep a bundt pan (I like Baker's Joy)
    Mix cake and pudding mixes, eggs, water, and oil until moist, then beat at medium speed for 2 minutes. Bake at 350 for 35-40 minutes then cool on wire rack.
    While cake is cooling make glaze. Juice one lemon and mix with 1 cup powdered sugar. Add more sugar if desired.
    Move cake to cake plate/stand and poke holes with a toothpick/skewer. Slowly pour glaze over cake allowing cake to absorb glaze.

  3. we love making home made ice cream - it's really easy and a crowd pleaser. do you have a maker? they are cheap at target.

  4. This is a Tiramisu Toffee Torte from Pillsbury. I've often turned it into a trifle by baking in a 9x13 and cutting cake into cubes, then brushing cubes with the coffee. Layer it and sprinkle on some chocolate delicious! My husband requests it for his birthday cake every year. In trifle form, it serves many people and doesn't require cutting into neat slices. Here's my pic of it from Facebook but I wonder if it will show up here? You'll have to friend me on Facebook if not...not so strange in fact. I've friended another blogger and now she knows about me too albeit in short commentary. Here's the recipe link....

  5. S'mores Cookie Cups....SO GOOD and so easy!!

  6. Yay, thanks guys! I'm saving some of these for the party and beyond!