March 31, 2011

Tofu Stir-Fry

Pretty darn straight forward, no?

I used to not like bell peppers. Something about the watery crunch...yeah, not for me. I would order pepper steak without the peppers. Fajitas without peppers.

Then I went out of town for a baby shower and had dinner at a friends house. We ate broccoli rabe, salad and grilled shrimp skewers with peppers, onion and pineapple. Two amazing things came out of that dinner. I discovered Tony Chachere's Cajun Seasoning, and I now use it on almost everything...and peppers. The yellow pepper was so perfectly grilled to almost charred. It was delicious. I even stole peppers from my friends plate when she wasn't looking.

This opened up a whole new world for my husband. I avoid pickles for him, he avoided peppers for me. That's love.

Once I proclaimed my love for the yellow pepper, my husband dreamed up this power food stir-fry. I love it. I've made this stir-fry twice a week in the last three weeks. Filling in the weeknights that I don't make this.

Peppers
Two peppers, chopped. I used one yellow and one orange. I like to point out the obvious.

Spiced Tofu
I used two blocks of extra-firm tofu. Sprinkled liberally with Tony's.

Wok-ed Tofu
Any time I try to bake/roast tofu it becomes one with the pan. So I prefer to wok it. Cue Beastie Boys: I'll stir-fry you in my wok

Peas
I threw in a little over half a bag of frozen peas and cooked them until they were slightly caramelized.

Quinoa, Peas
I always have quinoa in the fridge. So I put it in. Be careful, it will stick, so only throw it in at the end and just to heat through.

Tofu Stir-Fry
I throw everything back into the wok, just to heat and meet.

Tofu Stir-Fry
A close up. For reals, this is delicious.

Tofu Stir-Fry
2 Peppers (any color), cubed
2 Extra-Firm Tofu packages, drained, patted dry and cubed
Cajun Seasoning to taste
1/2 lb Frozen Peas
1/2 cup prepared Quinoa
Salt & Pepper to taste
1/2 tablespoon Vegetable Oil

Heat a wok.
Add vegetable oil to wok, heat to a shimmer.
Add peppers, gently. Hot oil splatters and burns, FYI.
Cook until caramelized. Eat hot out of the pan. Burn your tongue, remove to a bowl. Set aside.
Add in half the tofu. Cook to your preference. I like mine crisp on the outside and tender on the inside. Remove to a bowl.
Cook remaining tofu. Stop eating peppers and tofu that you've already cooked.
Remove all tofu.
Add peas. Cook until unfrozen and again, to your preference. I like mine slightly caramelized. If you like them more "poppy" don't cook so long.
Add quinoa. Be careful. The quinoa will burn and stick to the wok quickly.
Add in peppers and tofu.
Stir together and serve.

March 30, 2011

How-To: Aaaaagh-nts!

I was prepared to share my recipe for Tofu stir-fry, but....

So yesterday I was watering the lawn. Or lack of lawn. Basically I was wetting down our dirt and dry weeds so it isn't a fire hazard. Preparation and prevention, people!

There were some tiny little ants. Itty bitty tiny ants in their little line coming from outside the fence. I did what I had to to save my family.

I flooded their ant hole.

I have a soul. It just doesn't hold compassion for crawly, multi-legged critters. I'm not alone, there's a whole aisle dedicated in Wal-Mart for people like me. And I know that now since I'm forced to shop there since my town only has that and two other choices, neither of which can beat Wal-Mart's price on diapers, toilet paper and paper towels. But that's neither here nor there at this time.

So I went about my merry business, watering my dirt and there was another ant hill.

People, these ants are so large they could carry off my dog, children and contents of my fridge...with one arm/leg.
Aaaaaagh-nts!
So I flooded their ant hole.

You know what those fuc.. buggers did? They used the plastic trap I had set out as a life flotation device!! They used it as their personal buoy to ride out the flood.

Stupid worthless plastic flower

By the time I finished at soccer practice, they had reconstructed their home...with an additional entrance.
Aaaaaag-nts!
This. Means. War.

My husbands friend told us that he eliminated the ants at his house by mixing sugar and Comet cleaner.
Comet: Lemon Fresh!

Sugar
I'll let you know how well this works.

March 29, 2011

Eating, Watching, Reading

Eating
Monday-Tofu Stir-fry with yellow and orange peppers, peas and quinoa. I even took photos so I can share it with you later this week. (Gah, I'm so giving. lol)

Tuesday- White Chicken Chili. We're watching Black Swan tonight (my husband doesn't know that, but he's cool with it). See what I did there? White/Black, Chicken/Swan. I should throw a movie themed dinner party. I even took photos of this so I can share it with you. Sometimes I even amaze myself.

Wednesday-Black Bean Tacos. With lots of cilantro and guacamole. Word. I will take photos of this so I can share it with you.

Thursday- Karma Sutra Veggie Burgers. My husband bought Tony Horton's (the P90X guy) book and he has a recipe for veggie burgers. I'll take photos to share with you. Have you read the ingredients on the back of a Gardenburger or Boca Burger box? Scary!! Evidently, you can complicate vegan.

Friday- White Bean Spinach Salad. I made this two weeks ago and we had it twice that week and once last week. It's good. Although I will omit the bacon this week since I'm making it on Friday and it's Lent. I might be wrong but I think Jesus is okay with bacon, but I would hate to be wrong about that one. (I don't wilt my spinach as much as the original recipe calls for and we put red pepper flakes for a little heat) Look I took a picture of this one to share with you.

(It's a ghetto-fabulous photo since the light in my kitchen sucks, it was late and I had to use my on-camera flash. FYI-Food hates direct flash. I don't have a fancy flash or a bounce card, so I bounced the flash off my white blackberry. Boom.)

Watching
I'm on a mission to watch all the Oscar Nominated movies. I was ahead of the curve since I watch Toy Story 3 at least twice a day. I. Am. Cultured.

We watched 127 Hours last week. That scene around the 124th hour??? Whew! I think James Franco did an excellent job; but you know who I think would have done an even better job? Emile Hirsch. I suppose he doesn't want to get type-cast as a "stranded in nature" type of guy, but I think he would have been amazing. (Plus I think he's cuter than James Franco.)
(I'll take the one on the right. Rawr.)



✩ Black Swan
✩ The Fighter
✩ Inception
✩ The Kids Are All Right
✩ The King’s Speech
✩ 127 Hours
✩ The Social Network
✩ Toy Story 3
✩ True Grit
✩ Winter’s Bone

The ones I've watched are marked off. I'm not really looking forward to Winter's Bone. Like I get that it's all Academy Award Nominated so it should be a good movie, but...no. Not my cup of tea. Since most of everything I do is half-butt, I'm okay skipping this one. I will still be able to sleep at night.

We went to the movies this weekend. That alone is a huge announcement. Don't get too excited, we saw Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Rodrick Rules.  I am that mom.


Also ***HUGE ANNOUNCEMENT*** United States of Tara is back!!! I do heart me some USoT!! I missed a large chunk of Season 2 (like, almost all of it except for the fist episode) so I have in my hot little (crooked) hands the season 2 DVD. My husbands schedule switched to nights...so now I have something to do at night. Other than sleep. I mean, I like sleep A Lot. But sometimes sleep can get in the way of other things, like browsing the Internet and watching tv shows and reading.

Reading
I'm almost done with Goldie Hawn's memoir. Wow. I just love her and I think I will have to have a Goldie Movie Marathon. Oooo...that would be fun! It's decided, I'm doing it.

I also ordered Molly Wizenberg's book, A Homemade Life and Matthew Amster-Burton's book, Hungry Monkey. In a future post I will tell you how Barnes and Noble screwed me, but I'm still angry and bitter about it.

I've also been catching up on When Parents Text. I cannot wait until my kids have cell phones. Yes, I just typed that. They will also go to middle school, go to high school, drive, date and eventually go to college. We will pay for laptops, electronics, car insurance, dates, textbooks. But I plan to do everything I can to keep them home with me until they are middle aged and can't even build a proper bunk bed. I think there's a movie about that.

So tell me, what are you eating, watching and reading? Any new must-try recipes, must-watch movies/shows, have-to read books to add to my ever growing list?

March 23, 2011

Photo Drop

I had to make more room on my phone. I came across a few...gems. Also, it's obvious which kid I spend the most time with.
I call this one: "Babies Love Bacon" (4/2010)
Inspired by breakfast at a dive diner that serves the best coffee and biscuits and gravy.

Babies Love Bacon, part dos (4/2010)

Awww...this little fart ran away today. I found him in an alley two streets over and he rolled in a puddle before I lifted his 75lb butt in the car. He's in huuuuuuge trouble. (4/2010)

Babies Love Pasta Salad, Mass Amounts of Pink Lemonade and Run DMC (7/2010)

Babies Love UFC (5/2010)

His Monies. He steals the change from my car and puts it in his piggy bank.
He's a full $4 ahead of the other two. (2/2010)

Post-Library. 

Yep...I don't know what's more embarrassing...my face or the fact that my hair matches
the Awkward Wood Walls perfectly. Hmmmm...

March 22, 2011

Tough Decisions

We're on Spring Break: Day 2.
Don't tell anyone but we're still in the same pajamas from Day 1.
Other than sleeping in and lazing about; we have no plans.

It's a tough life.

This morning I heard Brandon huffing and puffing in the kitchen. I knew he had to be having some sort of mini-meltdown, so I let it ride for a couple of minutes. No one was yelling at each other and it had been at least five minutes since Shane had hit anyone with a toy, so I left Brandon to figure it out or decide to ask me.

I went in the kitchen to warm up my coffee and Brandon was standing at the cabinets in his (torn)pajamas and Mardi Gras mask, slightly huffing.

"I...I just...I just don't know what kind of cereal I want. Cinnamon Toast Crunch or Honey Nut Cheerios."



Like I said, it's a tough life.


Oh to be seven again.

March 20, 2011

A Different Wrap-Up

Whew! No Weekly Wrap-up this weekend. It's been a full, busy two days and I'm exhausted.

Brandon's birthday is today. He's 7. Seven!

His birthday has been on-going since Friday afternoon. Cupcakes and ice cream to his class, which if I was in the first grade, would be an awesome kick-off to Spring Break.

I also got to talk...And I'm totally gonna name drop right now...to Molly Wizenberg and Matthew Amster-Burton. Yeah. That was totally awesome. And get this...THEY called me. I'll post more on that later, because talking to Molly and Matt totally deserves its own post.

Then, red-faced and sweaty from doling out treats to 20 kids, I made a video. I'll even let you laugh at me. Please ignore my smudged mascara.



Awkward wood-paneled room strikes again!! {and now you know what I sound like...It took great restraint to not talk with my hands...I'm usually a hand and eyebrow talker. I didn't wave my arms about like I normally would as to not draw attention to the awkward wood-paneled room.}

I'm ready to curl up on the couch and read.

March 17, 2011

How-To: Leprechaun Trap

1. Look for last years trap. Know you packed it in a random box labeled "Kitchen." It is not in any box labeled "kitchen." Maybe you threw it away last minute? Shame on you, bad Mom.

2. Go to Hobby Lobby, pick out a small Craft Paper house for under $5. Curse because it's the weekend of Valentine's Day and all the V-Day stuff is marked down. St. Patricks Day stuff...is not.

3. Leave the bag on the floor of your bedroom for a month.

4. Remind yourself and your son weekly that you need to do that Leprechaun project.

5. Move the bag from the corner to next to your bed.

6. Move it back to the corner.

7. Project is due in 12 hours. Crack the whip.

8.  Slap some stickers and faux gold on/in the house.
Leprechaun Trap

9. How do we trap that little guy? Didn't think about the door cutout that won't close...Stick some extra-sticky sticky tape across the floor and convince your son that it will keep him stuck.
Leprechaun Trap

10.  More stickers.
Leprechaun Trap

Happy St. Patrick's Day!!

March 16, 2011

Talking to the kids about...

Japan.
Painting by Katsushika Hokusai -Tsunami with Mount Fuji, Japan

I let my kids watch the news. Together we watched the first Chilean Miner come out of the collapsed mine.
The next day Brandon gave a full presentation to his class about it and drew a diagram on the white board of the mine, the collapsed tunnel and the tunnel that was drilled to save them.
He got it.

We don't gloss over sad news. No those people aren't sleeping. No, those weren't paint guns.

We don't scare the living daylights out of them, but we let them know "Hey, this is what goes on in the world. Not everyone is good. Not everything on the news is bad. Sometimes people make stupid decisions/choices/mistakes. Sometimes some things are just out of our control."

Everything is a lesson.

What happened in Japan was out of our control. Its nothing that anyone "did" or caused to happen. It's the way the Earth works. Of course there is a Scientific explanation of why it happened. We talked earthquakes, Ring of Fire, shifts of the earths layers, how the earth has layers. Then we talked about tsunamis (or Salami's, depending on how your 8 year-old pronounces it), how the shift from the earthquake under the ocean creates such a strong force of water, what happens when that water approaches land and the catastrophic effects of such a strong, fluid force.


We got in the bathtub. I showed the boys how the Earth's plates move under water. They flattened their hands and moved them side by side, jostling the water. Creating waves. Now imagine the force is so strong those waves get bigger and bigger.
They got it.

Together we watched people stand in lines to check names on lists outside of shelters, stand in line for food. We watched a man who owned a noodle shop, who lost everything else, open his shop and feed people for free. We explained how people lost everything. Homes, cars, beds, toys. We explained how people lost each other. How some families become separated; some reunite, some never see each other again. We explained how it changes everything.

So much explaining.

Let them see what's going on. Explain what's happening in Japan, Egypt, Libya ...all around them. They do have the capacity of understanding, even if you have to explain it in simple terms (don't dumb it down).

I guess my point is...talk to your kids.

March 14, 2011

Mail Bag

I got some very interesting things in the mail this weekend (and today). Soooo...I thought I'd share.

This came in the mail today. Melissa saw that I had posted that I was waiting for my library to have this available and she sent me her copy to read. How sweet and thoughtful is that? I was beyond thrilled to see a package from Melissa and even more excited that she lent me her book. I love Goldie Hawn and remember watching old Laugh In re-runs as a kid. I couldn't even tell you what they were about, but I remember the wall with the doors and they would pop out of the doors with punch-lines. Or when they would dance and the music would stop. Goldie had the cutest hair cut and was sooooo Mod she made Twiggy look...well Twiggy was pretty darn Mod too.

















I got a few new catalogs too. I like requesting free catalogs from companies. I don't have a problem. Besides, it keeps the kids busy. Brandon happens to "love the canvas storage bins" from Pottery Barn Teen. Yup, he's definitely my kiddo.
I enjoy all of these quite a bit and for different reasons. The Land of Nod and CB2 are just fun to flip through. To be honest, I'm not quite as gaga for Anthropology as most people seem to be. I mean, I like the aesthetic and I enjoy browsing, but I would never actually pay that much money for any of it. Good thing the catalog is free. :)

This one...this one I looooove. I first got the Toast catalog over a year ago and I look forward to it each season. Again, I would never pay that much for any of it, but I love so much about this.

This is just the House & Home issue. They also offer a Womens and Mens' catalog. This may sound strange, but I've noticed quite a few magazines and catalogs where the pages are starting to feel...thin. Like the paper is really flimsy. Does that make sense?

Toast has a really nice heavy paper and it smells heavenly...if you like the way paper smells. I do. I also think they have some fabulous photography.

Isn't this patio dreamy? I'm now convinced I need a patio space like this in my house. My husband just rolled his eyes...well actually no. That's a lie. It's a lie because I won't bring it up in my huge list of house wants. But if I were to tell him I wanted some English/Spanish patio hybrid with a fireplace, he would roll his eyes. 
I had to press the pages down because the paper is so stiff.
Please ignore my un-manicured fingers. 

I would totally invite every single one of you over for Sunday Brunch. Yes. And when was the last time you saw a photo from this angle that worked well? I think it would make for a cute, unassuming engagement photo. Just a photo where the people in the photo communicate well without looking directly at each other or the camera. 
Oh, there's a kid in the upper corner. That's what they're looking at. Didn't even notice. Whoops.

You could stay in my guest room with a fancy little veranda. I've never used the word "veranda" before, but this photo inspires words I've never used before. Like "full-nights sleep." It feels like it's been forever since I've used those words together. Since November 18, 2008 to be exact...but who's counting?

Back cover credits.

Have you gotten any interesting packages lately? It seems like since we've moved we've been getting more interesting stuff in the mail rather than the run of the mill bills that always pop up (booo! free internet for everyone!!)

March 13, 2011

Weekly Wrap-Up

Exercise:
  • None. Nil. Zip. Zilch, Zero. Cero. Non. We had soccer Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday. Tuesday was the trip to the vet. I don't even feel slightly guilty about it. So lets not talk about it.


Read:
I posted earlier this week about Half Broke Horses...I had read Shanghai Girls by Lisa See earlier this year and even though I really enjoyed Snow Flower I liked Shanghai Girls better. {I started The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Neffenegger.}

Memorable TV Watched:
  • Season finale of Southland...
We usually spend Monday evenings watching Intervention and Heavy, Tuesdays were for Southland, Sundays for Undercover Boss, Real Housewives of Orange County {the only RH we watch} and CSI: Miami.


Memorable Eats:
  • I made ribs last night and that went over well with the kids
  • I had a brisket burrito smothered {banado style} with green chile, sour cream, guacamole and cheese. It was the un-healthiest thing I've eaten in two months and it was delicious. After back-to-back soccer games yesterday {resulting in 4 hours spent at the soccer fields. Evidently my face sunscreen wasn't made to last that long. Ouch.} we went out to eat. Yes...twice in three weeks. I admit that not having to cook and clean is better than the food. 
  • I made this chocolate pudding. Don't be put off  by the simple ingredient list or the tofu. It was good. The kids didn't even know. No photos of it because I couldn't get the pudding to not look like a puddle of poo. 
  • I made these protein waffles this morning. They were absolutely wonderful.


Going into next week:
  • Soccer three times. No complaints but I am glad that I only have one kid I need to have at practice and games.
  • That darn Leprechaun trap is due. I swore I we wouldn't wait until the last minute. I We still have until Tuesday.
  • Cupcakes and Ice Cream to Brandon's class on Friday. His 7th birthday is Sunday.
  • Not get Spring Break fever early.

What TV am I missing? I like 30 Rock a good deal, but I always miss it so I'll eventually work my way through the DVD's. Any good movies on Blu-Ray/DVD I need to see?

March 10, 2011

Thursday

Wake up late.
Throw husbands lunch box together (eggs, sauteed jalapenos, leftover shredded chicken, red chile and beans.)
Back to bed.
Wake up late for school.
Keep kids home for breakfast.
Make breakfast.
Get kids ready.
School. Late.
Drop off donations.
Vacuum.
Sweep.
Dust.
Dishes.
Pick up kids.
Grab snacks.
Avoid the Dr. Pepper craving monster.
Laundry.
Soccer.
Dinner.
Blog.
Read.

It was a busy, full day.

March 9, 2011

Wednesday

Yesterday's vet appointment played out exactly how I described it would. Except I didn't anticipate the level of Dug's anxiety. He freaked out in the waiting room and became so agitated he began shedding...and wouldn't stop. He was pretty close to passing out in the exam room.  We calmed him down once he was away from the other animals and it was all good...until they took his temperature.

You know how they check a dogs temperature, right?

Brandon didn't know. So once Dug calmed down, Brandon freaked out. "What are you doing to my dog?!?!?!?! You're checking his temperature in his butt????"

I was very much in need of a margarita by the time we left.
****************************************************

It's Ash Wednesday, the beginning of Lent.
I don't go to church. My husband goes, but I prefer to stay home and deal with whiny kids instead of dealing with whiny kids at church. I fight boredom on my own turf. Plus I make waffles on Sunday's.

Oh yes, my point. I think we're giving up meat for Lent. I've already given up all the other good stuff (soda, chocolate, sugar, bread, rice, pasta, potatoes) the only thing left is coffee and meat. I am not giving up my coffee.

Coffee keeps me from sinning. Hand to God it does.

Everyone likes me more after two cups of coffee. Even God.
***************************************************

Caedon got another call for soccer. It's the team that just can't come together. I got a call two weeks ago, then nothing. Then I got another call, then nothing. Brandon started practice, the first games were played over the weekend and I just got the final call that Caedon's team has a coach.

I told Caedon there was still a chance for him to play. His response? "I'm over it."

He'll spend his summer golfing (hitting the links I think they call it...I gotta brush up on my jock lingo)
***************************************************

This post would be better with photos...but my camera is waaaaaaaay over there and I'm waaaaaaaaay over here.

March 8, 2011

Tuesday

I have to take Dug to the vet today. Instead of the usual come home and do nothing homework, snack, clean, I have to load up the dog and three kids and go to the vet.

Dug always refuses to get in the car. Wasn't a big deal when he was a puppy. But now he's 65 lbs. I'll have to lift him, which is always interesting because he crouches down as close to the ground as he can get. Lower than a chihuahua. Then as soon as I get my arms around him, he rolls over. But it's more like a flopping over and he begins to spaz out.

The boys will turn around and try to coax Dug into the cargo area of my SUV. "Here Dug." "Duuuuug." "Dug." They'll even hold pieces of bread and those nasty smelling T-Bonz treats Dug is fond of. Dug will begin to belly crawl under my car.

Then I'll have to lift him out of the car, keep him out of traffic, pull him into the vets office, count to 3 every time we get in and out of the car/office to keep track of kids, get kids in the car and re-do the whole get the dog in the back of the SUV in the vet parking lot...which is conveniently located right off the main road in town. So everyone in town will get to see me lift the front end, then the back end of a 65 lb Golden Retriever in the car. Knowing my luck we'll be done right at 5:05 while everyone is driving home.

That dog never wants to go anywhere.
I don't know where he gets it from. ;)

***************************************
We're giving up meat for Lent. MedicDad wants to give up all animal products but he loves his eggs in the morning, so we had the whole "substitute vs real thing" conversation. Real thing it is, in moderation.

**************************************
I finished Half Broke Horses last night. I don't know why I didn't read it sooner. I loved The Glass Castle so much I was worried that HBH couldn't be as good. It was almost better.
***************************************
I bought two books from Hasting's the other night...they're hiding in my glove box. We had a long talk about "stuff." I love stuff. My husband does not. So I went out and bought more stuff. :) Oh, two books is not a lot of stuff, right? Right.

*************************************


How's your Tuesday shaping up? Better than Monday?

March 5, 2011

Weekly Wrap-up

Exercise:

  • 1 day. Just one. I wasn't very motivated this week....but my jeans prior to Shane fit! Next goal: Jeans prior to Brandon. (That's an Express size 7, Express used to make the best jeans then they changed them somewhere around 2004 and they are soooo not the same. Lucky for me I have a variety of pre-2004 jeans in sizes ranging from 1-7. Yes, they've been hanging in my closet, some for 9 years and they've moved from apartment to apartment to house to apartment to house with me. Don't judge me.)


Read:


Memorable TV Watched:

Memorable Eats:

  • I honestly can't say. I made some pretty good enchiladas today.

Going Into Next Week:
  • Stay away from the Easter Reece's Peanut Butter Cups. Those are my absolute favorite. Especially the white chocolate ones. They are more peanut buttery than the regular ones and they are the perfect shape for shoving in my mouth. I don't even like peanut butter. I've avoided them, so I'm going to keep that up.
  • Back off the coffee. That many cups in one day can't be healthy for me. 
  • I'm soda-free for 2 months now. Let's celebrate with an ice cold can of Dr. Pepper. Just kidding. Kind of.
  • Dug has to go to the vet. We need to make sure his shots are current. I don't think we ever got his last round of puppy shots and he needs them to be licensed in town. They are reportedly very strict about animal licenses, fines and mandatory community service. I joke about disowning him if he ever got out and rounded up by animal control,{Oh that dog. I don't know him.} but I would never do that...I think. Just kidding. Kind of. Besides the license fee is $4, the fine is somewhere around $250.
Dug aka Sir Dug-las


How was your week? Memorable reads, tv or eats?