Friday, July 8, 2016

Peace Out, Preschool!

So something big happened just over a month ago.  Something HUGE, actually.  Redmond, my first born, my baby, finished preschool.

He is done with preschool.

And, even though he's been done and out of school for over a month, I'm still having a hard time acknowledging that my little guy will be starting kindergarten in a little less than two months.

He's going to be gone all day.  I have spent almost of his last five and a half years on earth with him.  What a huge adjustment this is going to be.  For both of us!

He has grown so much in his last year of school.  We couldn't be more proud of the little man he's becoming.  He's smart, helpful, kind, generous, and sooo funny!  And, apparently, he prefers pictures taken on the first day of school opposed to the last ;)

We are so happy with the school we chose for him.  Picking a preschool is tough!  But, he has thrived, made a lot of new friends, had lots of fun, and learned so much!

Redmond, we are SO PROUD OF YOU!!!!  We couldn't ask for a better son, and I know your sister could never ask for a better brother.  Keep being you are and you are going to soar!  Can't wait for all the adventures and stories Kindergarten will bring your way. 

Mommy and Daddy <3

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Cream of Anything Soup

It's not often I am in need of a can of Cream of (whatever) Soup, but every once in awhile, I am.  One thing is for sure - you won't find me using the sludgy stuff from a can!  Making your own is super simple and quick.  All it takes is five minutes and, you most likely already have everything on hand.  This is how to make a Cream of Broccoli Soup.  To make a different cream soup, just switch out the 1/2 cup of broccoli for a 1/2 cup of something else (chicken, celery, asparagus, mushroom, potato, etc.).

Cream of Broccoli Soup
Equivalent to one 10oz can

1 cup milk (skim, 2%, or whole)
2 tbsp cornstarch
1/2 cup finely chopped broccoli
1 tbsp unsalted butter
3/4 tsp vegetable bouillon (chicken or beef would work fine too)
Pinch of black pepper

1.  Whisk together the milk and cornstarch in a small saucepan until well combined.  Turn the heat to medium and add the rest of the ingredients.  Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally.  Reduce heat and simmer until soup has thickened.

Bon Appetit!

~ Sara :)

Monday, July 4, 2016

Eggplant *or* Chicken Parmesan

Eggplant Parmesan is, hands down, my favorite meal.  Like, if I got to choose my last meal, this would be it.  What's not to love?  Cheese....eggplant.....breading....cheese....sauce....cheese.....  Did I say cheese???  It just so happens that one of Jason's absolute favorite foods is Chicken Parmesan.  How convenient is that!?!?  So, it's a great Carnitarian (I invented that word, patent coming soon.  Ha! ;) meal for me to make. 

We had a break in our summer temps earlier this week so I was able to actually use the oven without overheating the house.  Jason suggested chicken/eggplant parmesan and I was allllll about it!  I choose to bake instead of fry mine to keep it a little lighter.  I'm still able to get the crispy outside without all the extra calories from using oil.  It has great flavor and is such a hit in our house.

Eggplant or Chicken Parmesan

(This was the perfect amount of ingredients for 1.5 lbs of chicken breasts and one medium eggplant)

1.5 lbs chicken breast
1 medium eggplant, sliced 1/2 inch thick
Kosher salt
1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan
1 cup whole wheat panko bread crumbs
1 tsp basil
1/2 tsp oregano
1/2 tsp garlic powder
2 eggs, lightly scrambled
Cooking spray or olive oil
8 oz fresh mozzarella, cut into 1/4 inch slices


To prepare the eggplant:
Place the eggplant slices on a drying rack over a cookie sheet and gently sprinkle with kosher salt.  This will draw out excess moisture and will help result in a crisp coating on your eggplant.  Let sit for 30-60 minutes, wipe off excess moisture, flip and repeat on the other side.

1.  Preheat oven to 450.  Cover a baking sheet(s) with parchment paper.  Create a dredging station - place the eggs in a large, shallow dish and combine the parmesan, panko, basil, oregano, and garlic powder in another dish.  Coat both sides of the eggplant/chicken with the egg, place in the panko mixture, flip, sprinkle with more panko and gently pat to get a good coating on it.  Shake off any excess and place on the prepared baking sheet.  Repeat until all eggplant/chicken is coated.

2.  Spray the tops of eggplant/chicken with cooking spray or drizzle with olive oil and bake for 15 minutes.  Remove from the oven, flip, spray with cooking spray and bake for an additional 10-15 minutes or until chicken is cooked through and the eggplant is tender. 

3.  Place a generous amount of marinara atop each chicken breast/eggplant slice and top with the mozzarella.  Place back in the oven and bake until cheese is melted, about 5-7 minutes.  Remove from oven and serve.

Bon Appetit!

~ Sara :)

Friday, July 1, 2016

Garden Update

This spring and summer sure have flown by!  I keep thinking 'I need to post about our garden' but life continually gets in the way.  Finally sitting down to write about it a bit - it's doing so well this year!!

We planted quite a bit this year, but still are not utilizing our whole garden.  We didn't want to get too crazy.  Plus, after a very un-plentiful season last year, we didn't want to get too crazy just in case this year went like last year.

I'm happy to say that the garden is thriving this year!  We've had some flops - we've lost a handful of plants, but I figure that's to be expected.  A lot of the seeds I started in our mini greenhouse didn't make it either - I think I started them too early in the season (plus we had a very late frost this year which kept us from getting plants in the ground).  But, now I know that for next year and won't start them quite as early as I did this year.  But, I was able to transfer some jalapenos, zucchini, pumpkins and Brussels sprouts.  And, I'm happy to say that they're all doing fabulous :)

First, I'll share some photos from when we first planted our garden.  We've got corn, peppers, tomatoes, cucumbers, pumpkins, peas, beans, Brussels, broccoli, zucchini, romaine, celery, watermelon, onions, kale, and swiss chard planted this year.

About 6 weeks later and our garden looks like this:
Everything is doing great!

We've got cucumbers growing, baby zucchini, tomatoes ripening.  So. Exciting!

Looking forward to the first (of hopefully many!) harvest!  I'm thinking we may have some fresh cucumbers this weekend :)

Happy Gardening!

~ Sara :)