Leftover Quinoa "Stir Fry"

Thursday, July 31, 2014

This afternoon, we had the end-of-the-year parties at the girls' school. They're about to be promoted to the next room up, which always makes my heart ache a little. These years go by so quickly....Juliette is about to be in her FOURTH classroom at our school! I just can't believe it. And we have her birthday coming up too... heart. ache.

So we got home a little later than usual tonight (later for our new schedule later...yay!), and I needed to put some dinner together quickly. The kiddies weren't too hungry because there had been snacks at the parties.

I scanned our fridge real quick and saw:

- rotisserie chicken, already pulled off the chicken
- cooked but unseasoned quinoa, leftover from another recipe
- green beans from last night
- eggs

Hmm. We tried a new ramen/yakitori restaurant last night, so I already had rice dish/stir fry-ish things on the brain. I thought, what the heck? I'll give it a whirl.

Isn't it pretty? Ha.

This could obviously work with myriad ingredients, but the idea is using LEFTOVERS.

Here's what:

1. Melt some coconut oil or butter in an omelette pan and let it get hot over medium heat.
2. Added however much quinoa (depending on how many you're cooking for) and let it heat up (rice would work too, obv).
3. Crack 1-2 eggs into the pan, let them cook a bit.
4. Shred some of the rotisserie chicken in the pan (any meat would work).
5. Then add some green beans (or something green).
6. Season with onion powder, garlic salt, s&p...it probably would've been nice to cook some onion and garlic at first, but I was in a hurry and doing this on the fly!

Cooking without measuring anything=my favorite.

If you care, this is technically gluten-free (wink), but not Whole30 compliant (the quinoa).

Choosing a White

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

We moved into our house four years ago and promptly painted about five rooms...first the dining room, then the kitchen (and again), our bedroom and bathroom, the hallway, and the den. We were going for comfortable, serene, and some variation of green (being my long-time favorite color) infiltrated its way into about three-fifths of that list. Except for painting our kitchen yellow (it was an attempt to tone down the blasted wood cabinets, but exacerbated the problem), I don't regret any of the paint colors we've chosen.

Being a 1950s ranch, my house has your standard 8' ceilings. This doesn't really even enter my mind, except recently in our den, I've felt like the walls were closing in a little.

Once we found out we were staying here for residency/being in our house for a while, I started letting myself realize how dark and low the den felt. It doesn't feel dark in a bad way, I don't think...cozy, mainly. But I was really ready to brighten things up, clean things out, and make things feel a little more fresh.

Step one was acquiring a rug my mom had offered me a while backa neutral bound carpet piece with a simple/understated pattern, and thus moving our traditional Persian rug into the front living room (I still love it, but it didn't help the den feel "light" in the least. There's a small shot of it here). [You can see some reallllly rough "before" photos/current green paint color in the den here.] Side note: The Persian rug's move to the living room has made that room start to feel like an actual room in its own right, and not just look like our pass-through/expanded mudroom.

Step two was finally hanging the TV on the wall, which I've wanted to do forever and has been accomplished (thank you, T-Bone). It makes everything feel less cluttered and cleaner already. (insert visual image here. sorry!)

Next, I started considering painting the fireplace white or trim color (here's a festive/instagram shot of our fireplace). I remembered from reading Young House Love back in the day how drastically light-colored paint can transform a brick fireplace and thought maybe we would escape having to paint the room and just paint the fireplace (not that that sounds easier, when you think about it...).

But it's really good-looking brick. Exceptional, even.

And, you can't undo painting brick. Jonathan put the kibosh on it anyway, so white paint for the walls was the next place my brain went. We used Benjamin Moore's Old Prairie in the front living room, as well as both entries/vestibules, and the hallway. It's one of my favorite paint colors, and is sister to BM's Camouflage, another beautiful color and the first color we painted in this house, in our dining room (still love it as much today as I did then). BUT, I'm ready for something just a little brighter/fresher in this room.

A disclaimer: it's hard for me to post "inspirational" images because I don't want you to get the impression that I'm going to be able to change much of ANYTHING else about the room besides the paint, for a while. We're in it with the furniture/curtains we have for now (which is fine! really! except our couch, I hate our couch).

Have loved Joni's blog for years, and of course, adore her den. This is actually the closest to what our "stuff" looks like, from what I've seen surfing the internet trying to write this post.

image here

So bright and clean! (Funny though, that rug looks really similar to the one we just moved out! Who knowsit may get swapped back in post-paint.)

Not a den/living room, but one of my favorite kitchens ever:

image here

I'm really excited to do this, and have (attempted) to give myself the deadline of Juliette's birthday in two weeks to accomplish it. Cross your fingers it'll happen.

Now I just gotta pick a specific "color"do you know how many whites there are?!

How did I write this whole post and not use a single photograph of the room in question? And do I deserve an award for this or a slap on the wrist?

I'll (try) to be back, with actual photos.

p.s. my friend Hannah just painted her dining room white, and it's awesome. The internet speaks for itself here.

July 25th

Friday, July 25, 2014

This week has been so busy, with work, and also all that goes on after work (this week, vacation Bible school for Jules in the evenings too!). I really tried to Fresh20 this week, and it's been awesome (with prep and all!). We had this delicious crispy chicken with apple-celery slaw (YUM) last night that was knock-your-socks off good.

I'm dealing with our annual fly problem in the kitchen, around the windows. This happens every year, at this same exact time. Not sure why I haven't tried it before, but I finally busted out a gallon ziploc bag half-filled with water and several pennies inside. Have you heard of this? (And does July feel like the longest month of the year to anyone else? January may be a close second.)

Apropos of nothing, here's a little story for you...this morning, I made the girls some waffles (well, toasted some already-made frozen ones). After putting Jules' plate in front of her, along with a fork she's perfectly capable of using, she looked up at me and said, "Mommy, I'm not gonna use a fork cause I want my fingers to get some exercise."  --> Cue the age-old follow-up, where do they get these things?

I'll take us out of this nothing-of-a-post with my favorite pic from this week (grammed of course):

Happy weekend, mes amis!

Things That Are Red

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

1) My cat, but only in name.

You may or may not know/remember that we have a black kitty named Red. My friend Leanne keeps asking me why Red has up and vanished from the blog (kids!), so here goes.

The best thing about cats is their independence; they decide when/if they need or even like you you, and how much.

The best photo of Red ever taken, of course by Stephen Jerkins.

The worst thing about cats is that they are so independent, you can almost forget they're there.

We feed him, and Jonathan takes care of his litter box, but unless he does something annoying (ahem, meowing at 5:45 AM), I am so focused on the kiddies or housework most of the time we're home, I really forget about him a lot. Poor guy! We try to make it up to him when we watch TV (he'll snuggle us on the couch), and he still sleeps on our bed every night. This whole paragraph makes me sound like a terrible person, I have just found it hard to be a devoted cat parent since becoming a human baby parent.

And it appears I didn't blog about this back when it happened, but about 3-4 weeks before I was due with Molly, Red escaped for a few days. We were so sad! He came back one morning, 3 days after going missing, when Jonathan went out on the porch at his breakfast time, calling for him. We were so relieved! (At the time of course, my late-term pregnancy logic determined that the only way to make it better was for me to have the baby. Made total sense at the time.)

2) Jamie Fraser's hair. But apparently not as red in the (forthcoming) show as in the book?

Yep, I've been reading the Outlander Series. Upon first recommendation from my dearest Erin, I've been really enjoying the concept, and eagerly anticipate the new show that debuts August 9! I read it on my kindle, so I can't tell you how many pages it was, except to say that it seemed like plenty of book to get through if you're looking for something summer-y to dive into.

I won't give anything away, but know the series involves: 1) Scotland 2) time travel from post-World War to the 18th century 3) a [very] lovable hero/heroine duo in Claire and Jamie. I can't wait to see what they do with this cinematically (I hope it doesn't go all Game of Thrones and cross the line with the love scenes). I'm now in the middle of the second book and counting down the days til the show starts. It's going to be 16 episodes in the first season covering the first book, split into two 8-episode mini seasons. There are 8-ish books in the series, and they're old enough to be pretty cheap on Kindle (and in paperback too, turns out).

Just...read it, and then email me so we can fan-talk about it.

2015 One-Page Calendar

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Somehow (a mystery), but I'm on the ball, again, with this.  :)

It's the same format for the 2015 version of my one-page calendar (if you've been following along for the past few years).

Here's a look:

2015 one-page calendar, color version (free download)

2015 one-page calendar, black-and-white (free download)

If you're into this sort of thing. Ha. Putting up 2014 and this new one was one of the first things I did at the desk at my new job. I love to be able to see the year laid out, what dates fall on what days of the week, etc. (like, Christmas on a Friday next year! yessir).

Also, here's a reminder that our Long Leaf Planners are still for sale! We have a few left if you're a teacher or a student or just someone who thinks in the school-year format...we've got you covered!

Bedtime Coping Mechanisms

Wednesday, July 09, 2014

It's totally easy to put almost-three-year-olds to bed.


I've written about this before, but getting our oldest to bed can sometimes be a bit of a challenge. Almost nothing can make me more instantly frustrated than the mind games and back-and-forth ... if you haven't experienced this, I can't describe the frustration triggers accurately enough to do them justice.

Some nights are easier than others for sure (and def. better than it used to be back when I wrote this post), though it does feel like there's a bit of mysticism as to what actually "works" on any given night. Jonathan is known as "the closer" in this process, but I've been trying to up my game recently since he'll be working more.

This is not a solution (this process has made me far too superstitious to declare myself possessing The Answer, no matter what I said before) but here's one thing that's helping my sanity (when my co-parent is home for the evening, obviously): taking walks.

Molly still goes to sleep really early, usually around 6:45, but I bathe them together, so Jules is clean and fed long before she's ready to go to sleep.

It's been so nice, loading her up in the single stroller, turning on Pandora while we bee-bop down the sidewalk, no shoes for her, maybe a book, enjoying the summer evening light and warm weather. I love this one-on-one time together, sometimes we talk, sometimes we just listen to the music while we stroll. It's the perfect, relaxing activity for that hour in between dinner/bath and bedtime.

Sometimes I'll do a little C25K and sometimes not.

So yeah. Nothing original here. Take a walk at night with your kid in the summer. You're welcome.

A Patriotic Pie

Monday, July 07, 2014

July 4th should always be on a Friday. How great was that?!

A sick baby kept me from making a pie on the actual 4th this year... but I rebounded last night.

Recipe here, from the dark ages of this blog. I tweaked it a smidge to make the stars/stripes seen above, so I'll just transcribe it afresh in this here post (since, in a stunning display of blogger prowess, my original recipe post didn't even include a photo of the finished product slash the photos are eye-numbing).

1 prepared 8 inch pastry shell, baked and cooled (this is my favorite homemade pie crust, if you're so inclined—I had one in my freezer already that I thawed, pressed out in the pan, and baked with pie weights on 350 for about 15 minutes)
2 pints fruit—this was about 1.5 cups blueberries, and the rest a mixture of raspberries/strawberries
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon butter (the real stuff)
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/2 cup white sugar
1/4 t vanilla
1/4 t cinnamon


Pour half of the berries into the cooled pie shell. Then mix the rest of the ingredients (in order) in a medium saucepan until juicy and bubbly, adding remaining fruit last. 
Pour combined fruit/goopy goodness on top of the uncooked berries (if doing the blueberries separately for the "stars," spoon a big spoonful of the sugar/flour mixture into separate small saucepan after it's bubbling and then stir in blueberries to cook).  
If you want to make the flag configuration, make dividers out of aluminum foil, arranging them wedged in between uncooked fruit before pouring bubbling fruit on top. Top with cut-out stars/stripes. Bake at 450 degrees for 15-20 minutes, or until crust is golden brown (I used a pie crust shield for the last little bit). You want the insides to be bubbling. Let cool completely before serving. 
Here's a reference for the aluminum foil "dividers" ...

We actually couldn't wait til it cooled to eat it, so it was more of a cobbler. Ha. 

In other news/photos...

The night before the 4th, we went down to a Memphis gem, the Levitt Shell, and enjoyed "Patriotic Pops," taking our big girl along. She loved it. 

Local group the Memphis Dawls sang some Andrews Sisters (any opportunity to link to Wikipedia, you better believe I'll take) songs with the orchestra, which was a bit of a dream come true for our gal (we may or may not listen to the Andrews Sisters on vinyl from time to time).

The next morning, we once again took part in my parents' neighborhood parade (baby cousin Jane's first one!). This little chickie was rocking about a 100° temp, poor lamb (turns out, she has had a sinus infection). She wa acting pretty alright, not fussy at all, just puny. It was also the first time I attempted big-girl piggies in her hair. Heartbreaker.

Martha and I went a little overboard on our wagon/stroller decor this year...when in Rome.

We didn't do the best job with photos during the parade, which included things like potty trips, swim suits (for firetruck spray fun), and the like. There's always next year, right?

The weather was incrediblethe high on July 4th was something crazy like 81°. It actually got down in the 60s or something that evening. So lovely!

I kept the little sickie home from church Sunday, and we took a lovely and worshipful walk that morning. So much thankfulness for His creation!

I hesitate to put this in writing, since it's part of my schtick to hate summer, but I'm sort of coming around to it. Everyone's so relaxed, there's so much daylight, no jackets or coats to fret over...cold treats, abundant fruit/veggies, looser schedules. I sort of get it.

Hope yours was swell.

2013 July 4th post
2012 July 4th post
2011 July 4th post
2010 July 4th post
2009 July 4th post (in which you can learn more specifics about our parade, and in which Jonathan and I look really young. Arf)
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