7 Quick Takes {36}

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1. At the risk of losing all of you at the beginning of my takes to this awesome website, I am posting it first http://pinstrosity.blogspot.com/.  But it is totally worth it, especially if you are a pinning maniac.

2.  There was a coffee spill on the laptop yesterday.  It killed keys 1 thru 0 along the top.  I am unable to "exclaim" anymore.  Which means I can't say mean things anymore and wrap them up sweetly in exclamation points to soften the blow.  I am a monotonous typer now and I have no idea how to cope.  I'm already boring the hell out of myself.  I am also unable to type the percentage sign, ampersand, at symbol and parenthesis.  I am completely lost.  I can't smiley face.  I can't exclaim.  I now am forced to face my exclamation point addiction face-on.  

3. After seeing and sharing this hysterical photo on Facebook last week:

We gave it a Gale-whirl:

But since you couldn't see Elena's face, we tried standing up the next day for our group shot.

Roman is angry.  But just because he don't need no stinkin' help

He can stand all by himself.  OY exclamation point

Well - he's not COMPLETELY independent yet smiley face

4.  I just made it three whole takes without talking about food.  WHAT?exclamation point
So here is my new post-worthy recipe.  If you have any of these, or just most of these ingredients on hand, make this recipe.  Your taste-buds will thank you.  But then you might cry when you finish the leftovers.  So buy triple of all the ingredients so you can make it 3 times.  

  • 4 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 4 tablespoon water
  • 4 tablespoon creamy peanut butter
  • 2-3 teaspoon Asian chili paste
  • 6 tablespoons Expeller-Pressed Coconut Oil
  • 3 cloves minced garlic
  • 2-3 teaspoon minced ginger
  • 1/2-1 cup julienned mixed vegetables (carrots, yellow squash, zucchini
  • 12 medium to large shrimp peeled and deveined
  • 1 package rice noodles soaked in water for 50-60 minutes
  • eggs scrambled in exp pressed coconut oil and salted
  • 1 cup bean sprouts
  • 3 tablespoon packed light brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoon rice wine vinegar or distilled vinegar
  • Chopped Romaine lettuce for garnish
  • Chopped jungle peanuts for garnish
In a small bowl, whisk together the soy sauce, water, peanut butter, and chili paste until smooth.
Scramble two eggs in expeller pressed coconut oil and lightly salt.
Heat a large wok over medium-high heat, and add coconut oil. When the oil is hot, add the garlic and ginger and let cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the vegetables and shrimp, and stir-fry until shrimp is cooked through, about 2 minutes. Add noodles and toss to coat. Add eggs and bean sprouts
Add peanut/spice paste, brown sugar and cider vinegar and toss to distribute. Cook until heated through, about 2 minutes.
Spread chopped romaine on a platter. Serve pad Thai on top of lettuce and garnish with chopped jungle peanuts.

 Photography 101 Fail

If you are lucky, your kids won't like it.  And then you can eat directly off their plates.

5. I think one of the reasons why I am branching out into ethnic cuisine is because during Lent last year, I really struggled to make meat free dishes on Fridays.  I am trying to learn out to cook foods that are nutritious parenthesis not pizza endparenthesis, and meat-free.  We also can't afford to cook with a ton of meat anyway.  So, our next recipe is Indian exclamation point.

Look at my spice mountain :]  Mmmmmmm...

I think I have posted this recipe before?  But this one is a little different and very mild and subtle.  Delish/ can that be my new exclamation point???

  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 large onion diced
  • 4 cloves garlic minced
  • fresh hot pepper minced optional
  • 1 tsp. sugar
  • 1 tsp. cumin
  • 1 tsp. coriander
  • 1/2 tsp. garam masala or curry powder
  • 1/2 tsp. turmeric
  • 1/4 tsp. paprika
  • 1/8 tsp. ground ginger
  • 1 cup dried chickpeas cooked or 2 cans of chickpeas, drained
  • 1 can tomato sauce or diced tomatoes
  • 1/2 tsp. amchoor powder (optional)
  • tsbp. butter
  • cayenne pepper or hot chili powder to taste
  • salt to taste
In a saucepan over medium-high heat, saute the onion in the olive oil until soft and golden brown. Add the garlic and hot pepper, if using, and stir, cooking until soft and fragrant. Add the sugar and spices and stir to coat the onions, keeping the ingredients moving so that they cook but do not stick too much to the pan. Add the chickpeas and tomatoes, stirring to combine, and scraping any brown bits from the bottom of the saucepan. If using amchoor, add it now. Allow the mixture to come to a boil, then lower the heat and gently simmer to bring the flavors together for 10 minutes, adding a bit of water if the curry becomes thicker than you desire. Stir in the butter before serving.

6. After watching Fireman Sam for the umpteen billionth time, I kicked the kids outside.  I checked on them after a few minutes and found them playing Fireman Sam.

They built their very own firetruck

It was pretty awesome.  Until Leo figured out that Elena wasn't pulling her own weight.

7. The blacktop in our backyard turns the kids feet black within seconds of contact.  I'm sure we are leaving a trail of black footprints everywhere we go.  It is pretty gross.  But, I do bathe my children.

Go see Jen for Takes with real exclamation points

Lake Sweet Home

Deep Creek Lake April 2011

When I was growing up, my parents owned a small condo 3 hours away at Deep Creek Lake that we would go visit year round.  We went skiing every weekend in some winters and we went boating all summer long.  I had "the" life.  Our house in Deep Creek was my real home as far as I was concerned.  It was the only place where my little brother didn't annoy me and we actually played together.  We had a grocery mart attached to it and could be completely autonomous.  I barely saw my parents.  I survived on Rainblo gum and deli sandwiches.  Occasionally, I went to town on a 5 dollar bag of candy from Candyland.  It was a true vacation home - no appointments, school, homework, housework, etc.

We lived right next door to the Honi Honi bar and even though we were separated by a thick set of trees, I would wake up on Saturday mornings with the sounds of the same live country rock band.  I got my introduction to 60s or 70s country rock music in Deep Creek.  And when I hear Creedence Clearwater Revival today, I still picture that house.

Leo and I in Deep Creek August 2008

The bar was a popular docking spot for many boaters.  It was even packed on Sunday mornings when the priest from the city 20 minutes away would come and say an outdoor Mass for all the vacationers.  But on Saturdays, my little brother and I used to love running through the woods to the park behind the bar to play with all the kids whose parents were enjoying their vacations to the fullest.

We came through the thick trees on the left of that photo.

One day, we were playing with a group of about 6 kids and one of them saw us come through the woods and asked where we lived.  My little brother is a smart-ass and loves to get into trouble...

and so, in all of his 8-year-old wisdom, he told our new friend that we were homeless.


An 8-year-old girl overheard us and turned to ask me if that was true.  

What happens in Deep Creek stays in Deep Creek, right?  In all my 12-year-old wisdom, I told her: Yes.

Suddenly, a large group of kids swarmed around us asking all sorts of questions.  Did we have parents?  What did we eat?  Where did we sleep?  We made it up as we went along.  You could practically hear the world's tiniest orchestra playing the saddest song just for us.

Then, the 8-year-old girl returned.  But she wasn't alone.

Jason and a 2-month old Leo in front of the park at Honi Honi

Her mother started screaming at us: WHERE DO YOU LIVE?  WHERE ARE YOUR PARENTS?  You tell me the TRUTH right NOW!  ARE YOU REALLY HOMELESS???   She was aaaaaan-GRY!

So we did what any normal kids would do.  We stared her right in the eye, then looked at each other, and we got the hell outta there.  We ran as fast as we could back through the woods to our condo.  I think it took us a few months before we dared to go back to the bar to play...

Jason and I at the Honi Honi Bar (Leo is under the blanket passed out)

My entire family misses our old Deep Creek house.  It is always a sore subject since none of us can really afford to take our children on vacations very often.  We would have loved to share it with our kids and each other now as adults.  I'm not going to lie - not having that house anymore really sucks.  But we did manage get one last hurrah in Deep Creek with our extended family last year.  Was it enough for us?  Not at all.  We still jabber on-and-on about pooling our resources to pick up some land up there.  

But - Look what I found!!!  Jason and I have been trying to explore our new area for the last month.  We took a drive left this time instead of right and found Lake Palestine.

A whopping 25 minute drive away.

I am beyond ecstatic.

I am one of those "Just add water" kind of people.

But not just any water.  I'm a lake girl.  Not so much a beach girl.  I'm trying to watch my ghost-like complexion. 

Now I just need to find some wealthy friends with a lake house.

I'll be their baked goods slave for life.

The lake is huge too.  This is just a small cove for gassing up.

AND - most importantly - Lake Palestine is in a wet county!!!

I foresee many trips to the lake for our little family.  Maybe some day we will be able to own property up there.

For now, I'll settle for a cheap cabin rental on the water.

But one day, I want the whole dang lake all to myself.

Hey - A girl can dream can't she??

7 Quick Takes (#35)

7 quick takes sm1 Your 7 Quick Takes Toolkit!

1) By the end of the day, we will no longer be homeowners!!!

Today is closing and I cannot WAIT to be done with the selling process.  But I can only hope that we can find a neighborhood a fraction as cool as our Frederick neighborhood.  We are going to miss our old crew.  Our neighbor even posted a picture of his son Nikolas on our front porch missing Leo and Elena.  Leo misses him so much...

2) I am having so much fun getting messy in the kitchen again!

I saw these on Pinterest and absolutely HAD to try them.
Don't they look amazing???

The rental we are in has a very tiny kitchen with almost no countertop space.

So I had to go all Dexter on our temporary foldout table in order to roll the dough:

I even wrapped my wine bottle in saran wrap to make a rolling pin so I could make homemade pastry puff dough (flour, butter, sour cream)

Drop in some avocado, cream cheese and salsa and top with a little salt and pepper.

They looked pretty.

But they were just not good.  They were bland and a complete disappointment.  Which is sad because a lot of butter went into them.  The original recipe used a sweet mango salsa which I didn't have and it might have been the super special ingredient.  I used regular-old salsa??  But I'm not shelving the recipe altogether.  I just need to figure out how to make them taste good.  Anyone??

3) I found an awesome small Asian market here in Tyler.  They have everything I need to be able to make homemade Vietnamese and Chinese food.  Including 1 pound bags of MSG.  When I am feeling a little tired, I bathe in MSG.  It's like legal crack cocaine.  Try it sometime.*

Due to our complete lack of funds, I am learning how to make as many restaurant foods as I can.  But not just Molten Chocolate Lava Cake, but more foods with lots of veggies.  I am sooo bad at regularly serving vegetables.  My new resolution is to include a ridiculous amount of vegetables into our diet.  That way, I'll at least end up with 1 veggie on the table.  I'm a realist.

I had the Vietnamese Fresh Spring Roll sometime last year at our local Pho place and fell in LOVE!!!  So I hit up the Asian market and started stocking up on supplies to eat these on the regular.

I'm only in it for the peanut sauce.  But making these was surprisingly easy and they were SOOOO delicious!!!  (Even though I was missing all the Thai basil, mint leaves, cilantro AND lettuce!)

*Please do not do this at home.  MSG is the devil.  I do not really bathe in it.

4) I was patting myself on the back for purchasing all these rice products.  Rice is healthier to eat on the regular than wheat products, right?  WRONG!  AGAIN!  EVERYTHING YOU EAT IS DANGEROUS!!  Start foraging for poisonous berries and just off yourself now.  Because everything you consume is bad.

(Graphic from prevention.com)

"Arsenic is showing up in our rice"
"'Significant' and 'worrisome' amounts of inorganic arsenic in nearly every rice product tested" 
"Arsenic not only is a potent human carcinogen but also can set up children for other health problems in later life."
I'm so done.  Gluten is the enemy!  Sugar is the devil!  Dairy is for baby cows not humans!!  Your teflon pots and pans are slowly poisoning you!  Sure there are ways to prevent your toxic exposure by cooking things the right way, but I'm seriously so done.

My new food mantra is "I do what I want."  And it started last night with 2 gallons of Blue Bell ice cream.  And now I should probably go to confession.

5) This guy:
...fancies himself a big kid and has been trying to stand.  He'll make it a few seconds on his own before he falls over.  But his new hobby is pulling himself up and trying to let go.  He is only 7 months old and already a thrillseeker.  We are in so much trouble...

6) We have been in Texas about 3 weeks and we can finally see the light at the end of the tantrum tunnel.  Leo took the move the hardest.  He just acted out A LOT!  Elena wasn't as bad.  But that's not saying much.  Now that I have my normal children back, normal activities have resumed.  And I LOVE IT!

7) Check out this video made by the St. Louis based Lovebird Studios.  I would have loved to have a wedding video like this.  (https://vimeo.com/48246306) 

a surprise & a pure love promise // emily + daniel SDE from lovebirdstudios on Vimeo.

Can't get enough?  Well then here you go.  And have a merry weekend.
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