Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Lindsey's Grumpy Cat Impression

I took a bunch of pictures of Lindsey yesterday - it was a beautiful sunny afternoon and she has so many sized 12 month outfits that she hasn't worn yet, and is starting to outgrow them so I wanted to let her wear at least one more that I thought was pretty dang cute and good for pictures too. I had done her 10 month pictures over the weekend but most were a little blurry because my lighting wasn't good, so these were sort of additional "10 month" pictures too. This is one of the many incredibly cute faces she made while I was snapping away, and Kent said it was her grumpy cat face! What do you think??!! :)

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Barilla Thin Spaghetti with Garlic, Red Pepper and Olive Oil


This is a quick, easy, and tasty side dish brought to you by Barilla! There is even a quick tutorial video you can view here.

This is such a great base recipe too - you can toss in some stir fried or steamed veggies, add some diced chicken or sliced steak and you have a terrific single dish entree instead of a side dish! Or just enjoy this simple recipe as a meatless meal one night.

My 10 month old loved these noodles as well - and I will use some of the leftovers chopped and mixed into her veggie purees for a quick and tasty lunch for her. I thought this was a very good recipe - very simple, subtle flavors, and just a touch of heat from the pepper flakes. Serve with a little extra cheese on top if desired. I used dried parsley since I didn't have fresh, but as usual I'm sure fresh would be better! I really liked the taste and texture of the Barilla Plus pasta in this dish as well!

Barilla Thin Spaghetti with Garlic, Red Pepper and Olive Oil from Barilla on AllRecipes

1 (16 ounce) box Barilla PLUS® Thin Spaghetti
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
3 cloves garlic, sliced
1/3 cup chopped fresh parsley
1/4 teaspoon red chili pepper flakes
1/4 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, freshly grated


  1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil.
  2. Cook Plus(R) Thin Spaghetti according to package directions.
  3. While pasta is cooking, heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add garlic, parsley and red pepper flakes; saute 2 to 3 minutes.
  4. Drain pasta, reserving 1/2 cup pasta water. Immediately add hot pasta to skillet. Stir in reserved pasta cooking water. Mix well. Add cheese and toss lightly.
  5. Transfer to a serving platter or bowl.

My sweet sleepy photo assistant.
Can't believe our little girl is 10 months old!

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Sometimes Life Hurts...

Things have been pretty rough off and on around our house for really the past year and a half, but especially the past 3 - 4 months. I don't typically talk about things like this publicly or even privately. I tend to keep ugly things to myself and just deal with it and trudge through. But my heart is aching today more than usual and I suppose I just need a place to vent and maybe it will bring a little peace and healing to me, just spending a few moments getting it out and not leaving it in for a change.

Here are some of the picture images that represent where I am today:

There is pain in my home, and there is still hope. There is suffering in my heart, but there is still faith. There is sorrow, and sadness, and guilt, and loneliness and I pray each and every day it will get better. I breathe, I go to work, I pay the bills, I come home and love on my children and thank God for them. I thank God for their health and for mine. I pray in time my husband will find peace and healing too. PTSD is a horrible, horrible thing and with it comes a tornado of awful coping mechanisms and more. Some days I feel like I am a walking zombie, some days I feel like I am walking on egg shells, some days I feel completely hopeless and helpless. Mostly I feel alone. Completely alone and sad to the very depths of my soul. I long for normalcy, for my husband to be my friend and partner again, for him to not be so lost and in pain. Some days are good, I am so grateful for the good days. Some days are rough, and we tough it out and get through, some days are a disaster. On those days I just breathe, I fall apart, and then I just breathe...  Today I am just breathing and that is enough.

Wednesday, July 09, 2014

Home again, home again...

Kent, Lindsey and I spent the week of July 4th in Washington state visiting my family. It was a whirlwind and wonderful trip. Lindsey hasn't had the chance to meet any of my family yet, so she got to experience a lot of new faces and places. She did really really well on the trip! I was super proud of her. She handled the long (5.5 hours there, 4.5 hours on the way home) flights like a champ, and happily went from one person to the next while we were visiting. She went on long day trips with us, day after day, and only got really grouchy one day. She was able to spend the next day home with her grandma and grandpa and catch up on her naps and was feeling good again by the following day. (Lindsey's version of being grouchy involves being a little fussy and a LOT bitey!! She kept trying to bite my shoulder.)

Meeting Aunt Kylie!

Love my sister's smile. :)

Cuddles with my Aunt Diane and her second cousin Paisley.

Spending quality time with her grandpa.

Lindsey loves some WATERMELON!

More grandpa cuddles at the park.

Lindsey's first time in a swing! Happy girl.

Hanging out in the wading pool at Greenlake Park - Lindsey had a blast!

Kent, of course, found a cute pug to pet and love on.

Kent also found trees to climb!

Lindsey took a little nap in grandpa's arms.

I attacked a frozen snocone.

Kent and Lindsey posing on the Freemont Troll!

Lindsey and her cousin Sofia - two sweet girls!!

My cute crabby kiddos on Camano Island.

Lindsey's first pony ride. :)

We went to Camano State Park and Kent went off to explore the beach - and found a stick.

The baby containment unit was put to good use.

Family dinner on Camano - Lindsey gets to meet my Aunt Bobbi (and she loved chewing on that ear of corn!)

Lindsey with my Nana.

Breakfast time at Mr. T's in Mt. Vernon!

Kent taking on a giant plate of biscuits and gravy.

It's a beautiful day at Deception Pass - and Lindsey loves her Uncle Jake!

Kent went down the steep paths to get as close as he could to the edge. The water was beautiful.

Lindsey and I sat higher up and played with flowers and grass.

My little family!

Kent in front of the fountain near the Science Center - starting out our Seattle day with water!

More water to play in!

Metal squid... Kent approves.

Kent was having fun with all of the street art!

Me and my siblings in Bubblegum Alley at Pike Place.

We ended our trip with the 4th of July parade. Lindsey seemed mesmerized by all the noises, cars, and people!
I am so grateful we had the chance to go for a week. It was really a special time for me to share with my family and I am so glad I got to introduce everyone to our little Lindsey. Things have been very stressful for me at home the past few months in particular, and this was a much needed break from life.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Secret Recipe Club: Whole Wheat Oatmeal Molasses Bread

Happy Reveal Day!! It's another edition of Secret Recipe Club, and for the month of June I had a blast meandering through Renee's blog Kudo's Kitchen.

I enjoyed reading about Renee - a mom to two grown son's, and wife for 30 plus years to a lucky man! She is very artistic and creative, and it was a joy to browse through both her painted art and kitchen art! Her comments about her sons appreciating her kitchen creativity now that they're grown has given me hope - my 15 year old is starting to get more comfortable in the kitchen but I still get plenty of eye rolls and exasperated faces (from him and my husband!!) when something new is (yet again) on the menu.

Just a FEW of the delectable treats that snagged my attention: Orange Honey Crescent Rolls, Bacon, Egg and Cheddar Scones, Cheddar Chive Biscuits,  Applesauce Cinnamon Chip Muffins, Chicken, Bacon, Avocado Calzones, and Chicken Beer Bake with Almonds!

Those are all seriously on my "I need to make these in the near future list"... I think I could have browsed and saved recipes for another couple hours if I'd let myself (I didn't even get all the way through 2014, much less into 2013 or later!!) I opted for something that had an ingredient that I just recently used for the first time in forever - molasses. I have had a container in my pantry for quite awhile (purchased for I don't even remember what, and then forgotten about and not even opened). I used it in this salmon recipe recently, and when I saw Whole Wheat Oatmeal Molasses Bread on Renee's site I said yes please!

Everyone in our house is VERY happy that this is the recipe I picked - it is absolutely fantastic. My husband and son both devoured two pieces fresh from the oven, and wanted more but we behaved ourselves (somewhat) and stopped after the two pieces. I had one first thing the next morning, toasted with some butter... mmm... This is a delicious, chewy, hearty bread with a hard to describe texture. Somewhere between a normal yeast bread and something like a quick bread or beer bread. The smell is dark and fragrant, but the taste is mild and just right. We will definitely use this one again!

Whole Wheat Oatmeal Molasses Bread

2 packages active dry yeast (4 1/2 teaspoons)
3/4 cup warm milk (110 - 115 degrees)
1 1/2 teaspoon granulated sugar
2 1/4 cups boiling water
2 cups quick-cooking oats
3 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
3/4 cup dark molasses
1/4 cup butter, melted
1 tablespoon salt
3 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour

  1. In a small bowl, heat the milk and then stir in the yeast and sugar until dissolved. Set aside and allow yeast to proof.
  2. In a medium sized bowl, add the oatmeal and then pour the boiling water over top; stir gently to combine. Allow to rest 10 minutes so the water is absorbed and then stir in the butter, molasses, and the salt.
  3. In a third large bowl (I used the mixer of my Kitchen Aid), add in the all purpose and whole wheat flours, and combine. Next, add in the oatmeal mixture, stir a few times to begin blending and then add in the yeast mixture. Stir well, the dough is very heavy and thick. (I used the dough hook, and allowed it to blend for about 5 minutes to try to blend well and incorporate as much flour as possible). If you're not using a Kitchen Aid, knead thoroughly.
  4. Put the dough in a well oiled bowl, cover with a towel and allow to rise for approximately an hour in a warm environment. (I poured the dough out onto the counter, got rid of the excess flour in the bowl, poured in some oil and then put the dough back in).
  5. After the dough has risen, punch the dough down and pour dough onto a lightly floured surface (if the dough feels sticky, if not, the extra flour isn't necessary). Cut into 2 portions, shape into 2 loaves. Spray 2 loaf pans with cooking spray, place dough in the pans, cover and allow to rise a second time for 45 - 60 minutes.
  6. During the last 15 minutes of the rise, preheat oven to 350 degrees. When dough has risen, place in the preheated oven and bake 50 - 60 minutes or until golden, and they should sound hollow when tapped.
  7. Cool the loaves in their pans for about 15 minutes, then remove to a cooling rack to finish cooling. (Then try not to eat it all at once!)
My sweet girl is already 9 months old! Where is the time going??!