Friday, October 31, 2014

Currently


  • I thought I was going to have tons of posts for you this week, then I realized, when my husband takes his yearly fall staycation,  he becomes a terrible influence on me. I have a ton of dishes to do, not one piece of food photographed and a pile of laundry that reaches the ceiling! Ok, maybe not that bad but I have been far less productive, since he's been home everyday. I wound up missing work. Monday we wound up doing fun Halloween things with the kids, then I ate something that, apparently, makes my gastroparesis act up, so I was too sick to work Wednesday. Luckily my job is flexible and I get to work when I can, had I known I was going to wind up sick, maybe I would have worked Monday, instead of binge watching Scooby Doo.
  • We painted pumpkins this week and they are adorable but I think, I love the way the paper, we put on the table, looks more than anything. I thought about trying to dry it out, cutting it down into 11x14 sections and calling it modern art. 
  • My Mom made my boys the most adorable skelelton, bat and ghost cookies this week and sent, what was left, home with them. Apparently some stuck together because I just looked up at Caleb and he is eating a HUGE conglomeration of cookies,that were stacked and stuck together. He looked at me and said "What!?!?? you said I could have a cookie and thiiiiiiis is, ONE cookie." I like the way this kids thinks!

  • I made some amazing pumpkin butter yesterday! I will be posting that recipe soon! So SO so good!!! You should be jealous of my toast. I think, I want to mix it with Nutella and make my breakfast delicious and lose all nutritional value. 
  • I am not ready for Halloween to be over! I love all the fun things leading up to it. The cute and spooky pjs, food and activities! UGH!!! I. almost, love Halloween as much as Christmas! 
  • I feel the need to make THESE CARAMEL APPLES!!! (Please forgive me for yelling, they look so dang good!)
  • Pumpkin Midnight Cake! Her cakes are so inspired!
  • Useful info for slowcooker fanatics, like me.
  • Thai Crunch Brussels Sprouts
Happy Halloweening!
xoxo,
Ashley

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Balsamic Barbecue Sauce

   Ever been to a restaurant and tried something so good that you had to recreate it? This Balsamic BBQ sauce was inspired by a trip to our favorite date spot. After I tried a pulled pork sandwich with a similar sauce, I had to rush home and try it. 
   It was the best sandwich I have ever eaten, but I wasn't as intimidated by the thought of recreating this one. This sauce seems close from what I can remember and it is so good. I put it on pulled pork the first time, but it was good on chicken and salmon too. It would probably be good on just about anything... a spoon... you finger... Whatever you chose to put it on, know that you will soon want to cover the world in it, maybe not, maybe that's just me... Probably is just me. 
Balsamic Barbecue Sauce
Yields approximately 1 cup
(Click here to print)

1 cup balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup ketchup
1 cup brown sugar
1 tablespoon freshly minced garlic
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

In a sauce pan, over medium heat, stir together all ingredients. Bring to a boil, stirring often. Once the mixture thickens, remove it from the heat and allow to cool.


xoxo,
Ashley

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Currently


  • Have you ever put cream cheese in your mashed potatoes? You totally should! I rarely make them, so when I do I feel the need to indulge. I add butter, cream cheese, garlic, salt, pepper and milk. I always mash, never whip! I hate how gluey potatoes get when whipped. I'm a high maintenance when it comes to my mashed potatoes, much like I am in all aspects of life. 
  • Italian Quinoa Risotto Lasagna with Truffle Oil. I mean... Get. In. My. Mouth!
  • THIS cake!!! Uh, yeah Ima need to make that!
  • Have you watched Forever? I am obsessed. It may be my new favorite of this season.
  • All the pumpkin things!
  • This Pasta! And this one too!
  • I've been feeling like super poo for the past couple of weeks. I'm trying to keep it together but I am exhausted. Why do I love the fall season, when it hates me so much? 
  • Last night, we went to our local zoo for Boo in the Zoo. The boys got to see tons of their favorite characters, play games, do a scavenger hunt, get tons of candy and of course see the animals. So much fun! We loved it! 
  • Aaaaannndddd! They got to try out their costumes!
How adorable is my werewolf and Mickey Mouse?
  • My Mom made both costumes just like she always did for me. She amazes me with the things she creates! I wish I had payed more attention to learning to sew when I was a kid. 
  • Last night we introduced my parents to Pure Sodaworks. It is amazing! If you are from the Chattanooga area I highly recommend you find some and try it all! Behind the Root Beer my husband's favorite is the Strawberry Jalapeno. I love the Honey Lime and the Hibiscus Lemon. 

Now to dive into making some caramel pretzel brownies! Yummmmm! (I hope!)
Happy Sunday!
xoxo,
Ashley

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Snapshots


Sally girl previously known as Shark Bite. 
Caleb decided to change her name and went to Nightmare Before Christmas for inspiration.

Salsa before blitzing.

Chocolate Heath Doughnut

Found this shot of one of my iris from this summer. Is it really already fall?



veggie lo mein with a fried egg and black sesame seeds. 

Asian inspired BBQ pulled pork stuffed sweet potatoes with bok choy, sesame slaw.

coconut berry smoothie

 Spinach and Broccoli Cheese Soup (Recipe coming soon!)

Ramen Noodle Bowls with alllllll of the toppings!

This is Denmark. Love her eyes!


Date Night, well sort of...
Both kids were gone to church and I was sick but we were alone for a couple of hours. 
We sat in the floor, ate and watched Selfie. 
You take what you can get. 

OK, last picture of this meal. It was so dang good! I think this recipe will be coming soon too!

Starting him young. 

 I doughnut see you! Get it? Get it? I'm lame...

 Made my Mother in law red velvet no bake cheesecake pots for her birthday. 

 We went to a pumpkin patch recently and the boys LOVED every second of it! 
This slide got tons of use from Caleb.

 Sudden and unexpected naps are the best!

 My newest salad creation. It was missing tortilla chips. I should have hidden them!
It consisted of chipotle orange shredded pork, Monterrey Jack cheese, quinoa, spinach, homemade salsa, cilantro lime puree, avocado and bell peppers. It was sooo sooo good but sooo sooo ugly! 

 Veggies!!!!!!
Whipped cream is the bestest!!!

Happy Tuesday!
xoxo,
Ashley

Monday, October 20, 2014

A Day at the Pumpkin Patch (and how to streamline your scrapbooking projects)

I had planned on a food post for today, but I've been feeling pretty under the weather. Since I haven't been cooking much, I thought I would share some cute pictures and tell you about how I keep my scrapbooks up to date, even when life is hectic.

We recently went to a local farm that does a big pumpkin patch with tons of activities during the fall season. 
The boys LOVED every second of it and honestly so did we. 

   One thing, that I have started doing to keep some of my scrap booking up to date, is making collages using Picmonkey. This isn't a sponsored post, I just use the site all the time. I edit all my pictures either in Picmonkey, or in Photoshop. I then go to Picmonkey's home page and select collage and add all the pictures I want to use. It should automatically come up as a square and I keep it that way for these. I'll be printing them to be 8x8 when I'm done. I build my collage the way I want, then I save it and open it back in the regular editor and add whatever words or journaling, or even decorations, I want, then it is ready to be saved and printed. Another nice thing about this, I can make double copies so that each boy can have his own book and I don't have to make two different pages for every single event. It can be hard to keep up with chronicling all of the big, small, meaningful, silly, fun, serious, heart breaking, fleeting and life shaping moments now that I have so much on my plate, but these are the memories I really need to keep immortalized on paper. This allows me to do that and still enjoy my bi-annual fun field getaway of crafting, eating all weekend, drinking tons of coffee, and staying up all night watching bad movies I call "ladies retreats". I can focus on doing the pages I want to do in 12x12 or 8.5x11 not what I feel obligated to do.

So maybe not really a DIY, but a craft streamlining suggestion post.

Happy Monday!
xoxo,
Ashley

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Currently

I need to be real with you. I cannot believe I am about to type these words, but here goes... I love deep fried Oreos. I thought they would be revolting, I was wrong, so wrong. I could only handle a little but because they are so very sweet but dang, they are good. Should I have in my food snob card now?

I'm most definitely coming down with something  but I don't know what. I just know, I feel like I've been hit by a truck. I think I've slept more than I've been awake in the past 4 days. I've also been super dizzy, but it isn't anything like the vertigo I've had in he past, so that is a good thing. But sheesh! I just want to feel good.

Love me some alone time .

I'm an over-analyzer too!

An interview with my FAV food blogger.

OMG!!! Bananas Foster Tiramisu!!

Theeeeeeese truffles! I mean...  I. MUST. HAVE. THEM.

How to store and and clean produce. Useful info!

I've been toying with making some cheeky kitchen art, but this lady went and did it for me!

Cream Cheese Apple Coffee Cake. Hello BEAUTIFUL!

Wonder if I can get little mister picky to eat this Mac and Cheese?

Loving this bedroom re-do!

This pizza is proof of why she is my fav!

Love this shared kids room.

Basil Red CURRY Biscuits. Get in my mouth!!!

Now, I've got o get the pork butt out of the slow cooker, make my balsamic BBQ sauce and the apple fennel slaw with orange dressing. I'm trying to make up for the Oreo.

Happy Sunday,
xoxo
Ashley

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Mango Honey Chicken Stir Fry

Yowza! This chicken is the new best thing I've ever made. 
(That may change tomorrow but whatever...)


Chicken + Mango + Honey +OJ + Sriracha = DELICIOUSNESS at it's best!



   This started how most of my best stir frys do, I had some chicken that had to be cooked right at that moment, because it was teetering on becoming vile and a fridge full of random ingredients. I'm terrible about laying chicken out to thaw and forgetting it. I have ruined more than my share of meat that way. It is one of my greatest flaws. I'm working on that. Anyway, back to the stir fry... I often find that I don't have anything planned for dinner and I have three males whining, one of them is an adult but that doesn't stop him. These guys get HANGRY! I do my best work then. I pull out what sauce ingredients speak to me and load it full of veggies and try to make magic. This one isn't loaded full of veggies but with fruit this time. I can't believe I hadn't thought this combination before. 

Mango Honey Chicken Stir Fry
serves 6-8

2 lbs boneless skinless chicken
2 mangoes
2 red bell peppers
1 tablespoon oil, for frying
1 cup orange juice + 2 tablespoons reserved
1/2 cup honey
1/2 teaspoon sriracha
3 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon cornstarch

steamed white rice

Start by cutting your chicken into chunks. Next, cut the mango and bell peppers into pieces about half the size of the chicken. In a large skillet, over medium high heat, add the oil and saute the chicken until golden brown. Once the chicken has started browning, add the mango and pepper, stirring often. While that cooks, make your sauces, in a bowl whisk together juice, honey, sriracha and soy sauce. Once the chicken is cooked through and the mango and pepper are tender crisp, add the sauce. Bring to a bubble stirring often. Once the sauce has cooked down and everything is cooked through, this usually takes 3-4 minutes, stir together the remaining OJ and cornstarch, making sure there are NO lumps. Stir into sauce, allowing to cook 1-2 more minutes. The sauce will thicken and you are ready to serve!


xoxo,
Ashley

Monday, October 13, 2014

Apple Cinnamon Baked Oatmeal

You want to make this oatmeal. Trust me. You really do. The apples, brown sugar and cinnamon make for such a cozy feeling!
   I try to make one big batch of oatmeal, muffins or mini frittatas each Sunday for us to eat for breakfast throughout the week. I have a base recipe for all of these things but change up the ingredients each time, so we don't get bored. This baked oatmeal is the misters favorite. The boys, obviously,  prefer chocolate chip oatmeal but that is a rare treat. Lee is an apple fanatic but he doesn't like them raw. I, on the other hand, love raw apples but am not a fan of baked apple desserts. I actually like this recipe because I don't cook the apple to long so they still have a bite to them but they're cooked enough that Lee likes them too. Compromise, it's what makes the world go round! Now, if we could only solve the worlds problems as easily as we have solved our apple debate.
You know what I learned today?
 This is a recipe that doesn't look very tasty in photos. 
But it is so very tasty! 
Apple Cinnamon Baked Oatmeal

Serves 4-6

for the apples:
2 tablespoons butter
3 apples, peeled and cut into chunks
1/3 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 tsp fresh grated nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon salt

for the oats:
3 cups oats
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup almond milk + extra for topping after it's baked
1/2 cup apple sauce
2 tablespoons butter, melted
2 eggs beaten 
1 tablespoon vanilla

Preheat your oven to 350 F and get out a casserole dish. Start with the apples. In a large skillet, over medium high heat, melt your butter, then add apples and toss to coat in butter. Stir in brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt. Allow to cook, stirring often, until sugar has dissolved and bubbles and thickens. In a large bowl stir together oats, brown sugar, cinnamon and salt. In another bowl, whisk together almond milk, applesauce, butter, eggs and vanilla. Stir the wet into the dry, then pour into you casserole dish. Top with the apple then bake for about 25 minutes or until oatmeal is golden brown and set.
It's like an apple fritter but oatmeal! 

Happy breakfasting!
xoxo,
Ashley

Saturday, October 11, 2014

September Wrap Up!



Dudes! It'a already October. Whyyyyyyy is time going super speed?
I suppose it's time for me to finally get around to posting a September Wrap Up! 
Click on the pictures to get to each post. 



xoxo,
Ashley

Friday, October 10, 2014

Currently



1. Eww!!
2. I'm Sherlock.. Which detective are you?
3. I made the BEST taco salad last night AAAAAAND it was pretty healthy! Whut!?
4. I want this for breakfast. EVERYDAY.
5. I think I should make this salsa for my husband and little brother! We will see if they can really take the heat!
5. My sister really needs to make me this dip, since she is queen of all things Heath Bar!
6. Do you know all the lyrics to the Fresh Prince theme song? My bestie tagged me in a post on my FB page, because she got 100%. The funny thing about that was, I had taken the quiz the day before and planned on tagging her in mine but I got distracted and never shred it.
7. Speaking of Fresh Prince, this made my inner 90s kids squeal with glee!
8. Um. Yeah so not much going on this week. I'm currently overwhelmed in my real life so I haven't been present here or well, anywhere too much. It's nothing major, just a lot on my plate lately and dealing with what I want vs. what I need, apparently. So, have a happy weekend and I am going to turn things around his weekend and get some sleep. My children have both woken up after 11 and stayed up until 4 or 5 at least 3 times this week. Mama needs a nap.

xoxo,
Ashley

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Sprinkles! Sprinkles Everywhere!

"I want breakfast at Mammie's house for my birthday dinner!" 
That is what Caleb said to me a couple of months ago when he was asked what he wanted to do on his birthday.

   Every year we do a combined party in between their birthdays, but on their actual birthdays, we have a few tradtions: sprinkle pancakes (usually with strawberries), a family activity in the middle of the day and a family dinner with grandparents and any available aunts and uncles. We went to Red Robin for Liam's second birthday, back in August and planned on a restaurant for Caleb's. He usually picks a Hibachi restaurant, but this year, he wasn't having any of that. He looked at me and said he wanted a big family dinner with everyone because he loves his family so much, Who can say no to that? Oh, and Sprinkle Pancakes for breakfast, lunch and dinner. What!? I made him eat somethig different for lunch, but he did get two meals of his pancakes and bacon. 

I can't believe he is 5! Next year he will start Kindergarten! Where has the time gone?!?! I really want to bore you with 5 years of pictures, but I won't do that. Ok, maybe just a newborn shot!
It was love at first sight, that is for sure. He has not stopped amazing me since. 

I hate how grainy this shot is but I didn't have time to adjust my settings before he blew out the candles and dug in. 

   Honestly, this was a pretty easy dinner to orchestrate and good too! Although, I doubt I'll be making pancakes any time soon. I made around 150 pancakes that day. The 4 of us, plus 8 grandparents and 4 aunts and uncles that could make it (there were 4 that couldn't) and miscalculations on how much one batch makes led to a lot of pancake flipping.  

1. pancakes fit for celebration. / 2. & 3. Blueberries before and after the syrup making process. / 4. browning butter for that fabulous granola. / 5. Prepped pancake batter.  / 6. A mountain of Oatmeal Cookie Granola. 

1. For appetizers we had, pigs in a blanket, sausage balls and a granola station. 
2. For dinner we had pancakes, sausage, bacon, hashbrown casserole, breakfast casserole and fruit.
3. We also had a coffee bar or a gourmet chocolate milk station if you were a child. 

When I asked everyone if they could make to my parent's house instead of a restaurant, they all volunteered to bring things. My mom took care of all meat products and the faux peach bellinis (not pictured) and the hash-brown casserole. One set of in laws, brought breakfast casserole that is a Christmas family tradition. My other set of in laws brought fresh fruit (gots to get something healthy in there), although had I thought about it, I would have had my father in law make his sausage balls. He makes the BEST sausage balls! I could eat my weight in them and I normally HATE them. Finally, my other set of parents brought the coffee bar. When they asked what they could bring, I naturally said coffee since my Dad runs a coffee bar every Sunday at church. Of course, they went full coffee bar for their oldest grandson. I made pancakes and the granola, plus fixings for the parfaits. 

  
 At this point, he was wired and there was no calming him down, but he knew he was loved and that is what really matters. Plus, I think we all spent less than we would have had we gone to a restaurant to eat. 

xoxo, 
Ashley