Sunday, March 21, 2010

Our Best Guy

...celebrated another trip around the sun yesterday! We had a super-busy day, but the weather was beautiful and we celebrated in true Hovik fashion.
The kids were so involved in picking out his gifts this year. March 1st rolled around and they were already discussing what their Dad would like. It has always been really important to Chris to have a relationship with each of the kids individually, and they KNOW what he likes because of how well they know him.

Savi chose solar powered pathway lights for the front walk. Gunnar gave his Dad a Nerf football so they could toss it around and practice for Gunnar's upcoming flag football league.

Sydney chose a pancake pan that has round indentations with animal faces in them. She loves when her Daddy makes pancakes on Saturday mornings!

I gave him a new tie and some Carolina gardening books....he's got a lot of work ahead of him!!

The Birthday Boy spent most of the day getting his hands dirty. I went with him to select 8 shrubs so he could get started on the landscaping on this beautiful first day of Spring! We chose 2 of each, English Laurel, Forsythia, Loropetalum and Viburnum. We're also on the hunt for some good looking Tea Olives. Just the start of many, many shrubs and trees that will beautify our yard for years to come.

Happy Birthday Weekend to our Tree (and Shrub) Loving, Pancake Making, Adventure Seeking Guy!

We love you!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Thursday Treats

I feel like all my posts have been about food lately. It's strange. I have a lot of other things going on, but this is what ends up on my camera. ;P

I was supposed to bring brownies to a girl gathering last week. We got together for a friend's birthday and had snacks and pedicures after the kids' bedtimes. It was glorious!

I didn't actually have a brownie mix as I went to make them that afternoon, but I DID have a chocolate fudge cake mix, so I improvised and threw together some Chocolate Chocolate Chip cookies, aka C3 Cookies. YUM.

They were a hit with the kids as they were, but when they discovered that this thin cookie makes a really excellent ice cream sandwich, they disappeared really quickly!!

C3 Cookies
  • 1 Dark Chocolate Fudge Cake Mix
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter or margarine, melted
  • 1/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans or walnuts (optional - - I did not use any)
  1. Preheat oven to 350 ºF.
  2. Place cake mix, eggs, butter, brown sugar and vanilla extract in large bowl. Stir with spoon until thoroughly blended. Stir in chocolate chips and pecans. Drop by level measuring tablespoonfuls onto greased baking sheets.
  3. Bake at 350 ºF for 12 minutes for chewy cookies (cookies will still be puffed) or 14 minutes for crisp cookies. Cool 2 minutes on baking sheets. Remove to cooling racks. Cool completely. Store in airtight container.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

What's Cooking?

This was dinner on Sunday.

Carnitas. Doesn't that just SOUND yummy?! So delicioso!

Dish 'em up! I made that pico de gallo too. It was to.die.for. (if I do say so myself)

It was so good in fact that Chris took some to work for lunch the next day....and he very rarely does that!

It makes me so happy when my family LOVES what I made for dinner! I put so much thought and effort into it and it just kills me when the result is ho-hum. So I take my victories to heart.

The last couple of weeks I've been trying to be more conscious of what we already have in the house that needs to be used and writing down menu ideas that I'm only missing a couple ingredients for. I'm so pleased by the way it's working out. I don't have the 5:00 stress of, "Oh no! What am I going to do for dinner!?" like I used to do sometimes. Especially when Chris started coming home every night for dinner...that was a bit of an adjustment.

I finally made a "Regulars List". I've been meaning to do it F-O-R-E-V-E-R. It's basically a list of things you cook on a regular basis broken down by the main ingredient type. Can you believe that off the top of my head I had 45 items? I couldn't either! I think I may turn into a menu planner yet! (or maybe I already have)

One of the many benefits of doing so would be planning my menu based on what's on sale that week. For instance, if Pork Roasts are on sale, DING, Carnitas! OR Cranberry Pork Roast!....if Ground Turkey is on sale, DING, Turkey Chili! OR Shepard's Pie! get the idea. I always allow for a down night too, like Tuna Melts or Omelets...something easy and off the cuff...and of course a leftover night as needed.

Here is what my list of ideas looked like the last 2 weeks:

  • Soyaki Chicken & Veggies
  • Chicken Tikka Masala
  • Carnitas
  • Panera knock off Broccoli Cheese Soup
  • Homemade Pizza
  • White Roughy & Parmesan vermicelli
  • Lasagna Marinara
  • Andouille Chicken Sausage and veggie stirfry
  • ABC Turkey Meatball Soup
  • Salmon w/ Mango Salsa
  • Spaghetti with ground turkey marinara
  • Shepherd's Pie
I ended up making all but 2 of the things on my list, and now they are on my list for this coming week (or so)

  • ABC Turkey Meatball Soup
  • Salmon w/ Mango Salsa
  • Chicken Sausage Kabobs
  • Corned Beef & Cabbage
  • Chicken Parmigiana
I'm also trying to make fish at least 1x per week. Keeping track of what I'm cooking will help me do that better! It also helps to know that your frozen roast or whole chicken needs to be moved from the freezer to the fridge 2-3 days before you plan to cook it. That's hard to do when you don't plan. I hate to admit that I ended up wasting a lot of meat that way in our last house.

I'm hoping to waste less (not at all), not do things on the fly, and provide balanced meals for my family. These listings are just the main entree...of course I add salads, fruit, steamed veggies, etc. Just thought I'd share, since I know all of you other Moms (Chief Chicks In Charge) are battling the same issues as I am everyday. At least I like to think so.

What's been working for you?

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Marching Along

It's March! Wow.

This is a big month for us as a family. For one, my two best guys celebrate their birthdays this month. They are exactly 30 years and 1 week apart. :) :) (We also have a few other extended family birthdays this month)

Plus, you know, SPRING!

But before all that comes St. Patrick's Day. I am not Irish, nor is Chris, but we do love to celebrate this holiday with a traditional meal. Although, I am somewhat of a European Mutt, so maybe somewhere in there is some Irish blood...which would explain my love of all things Corned Beef.

(this one's from 2008)

Am I the only one who gets excited about this? I can't wait until the Flat Cut goes on sale for $1.49 a pound and the cabbage is .39/lb! Ahhhhh, the yumminess of it all!! My Dad used to make this when I was growing up...maybe it's all the nostalgia talking here.

I'm especially looking forward to the warming trend that is supposed to be happening in the next week. HELLO, highs in the sixties! How perfect will that be? Because, I'm telling you, when I woke up this morning for my run and it was 26 degrees, I just wanted to crawl back under the covers. But, I got up, and out the door...and that is most of the battle for me! I'm in week 3 of my 8 weeks of training for the 10K I'm running on April 10th....and I'm doing well so far.

What are you looking forward to the most this month?