Monday, September 17, 2012

The extra cute and funny day

Today was one of those days where the kids were just oozing cuteness and comedy. Andrew recited numerous "quotes of the day" and Olivia was being silly. I already can't remember everything that I thought was especially noteworthy today and there are a few things I wanted to make sure I don't forget.
1. Andrew standing in front of the open fridge and pulling out cans of pop. "I'm picking out wines at the grocery."
2. Olivia discovered she can make funny fart sounds while I'm feeding her if she presses into me. She thought it was so funny as she did this repeatedly then looked up at me and giggled.
3. Andrew singing "Severus Snape, Severus Snape" over and over after seeing some Harry Potter puppet show parody on "My Tube".
4. Andrew hugging me before bedtime and saying we were having a cuddle and then rocking and singing, "go to sleep, Mommy. Go to sleep, Mommy". What a perfect end to the night :)

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Goat Cheese and Roasted Red Pepper Stuffed Chicken Breasts

I was looking for a new chicken recipe the other day and found one that inspired me to make this. It turned out really tasty and could easily be adjusted for a bigger or smaller group. I bought thin cut chicken breasts, but still pounded them a little thinner.

6 thin cut chicken breasts
1/2 cup light sour cream
1/2 cup goat cheese
3-4 pieces jarred roasted red pepper, chopped
1 Tbsp minced garlic
3/4 cup Panko breadcrumbs
1/2 cup grated Parmesan
1 Tbsp Italian seasoning
Italian dressing

1. Pound chicken thinner so it can easily be rolled up. Place chicken in container and cover with Italian dressing. Allow to marinate several hours to overnight.
2. Combine sour cream, goat cheese, red pepper, and garlic in small bowl. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
3. Combine Panko, Parmesan, and Italian seasoning in small bowl.
4. Spoon a couple tablespoons cheese filling onto each chicken breast. Roll chicken around filling and secure with toothpicks. Place filled chicken in baking dish.
5. Sprinkle breadcrumb mixture over chicken.
6. Bake chicken uncovered at 400 degrees F for 30-40 minutes, or until thermometer placed into chicken reads 160. Let rest 5-10 minutes before serving.

We really enjoyed this recipe (even 3 year old Andrew) and I'll definitely make it again.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Andrew's 3rd Birthday

Andrew's third birthday was on Saturday. The occasion had me reflecting over the last three years since I've become a parent. First of all, I wondered how I ever became such a grown-up (or am I, really?!)! But really, I thought about how fortunate I am to have two healthy, amazing children and that I get to watch them learn and grow every day.  Even on the worst day where I would do anything to be on a sunny island paradise by myself for some mental health time, before I go to sleep I peek in on Andrew and Olivia to whisper "I love you" one more time and the stress of the day is forgotten.

Of course we celebrated with a big party! Many family and friends were able to join us and those who could not make it were missed.  Although, with the weather, it is probably a good thing everyone couldn't come since we couldn't be outside at all (it was a bit cozy in our little house). Luckily that shouldn't be a concern next year! Andrew had asked for a pinata, so I ordered a race car one and filled it with treats and assorted trinkets. The kids did a good job taking turns pulling the ribbons to see who would get the "magic" ribbon that would open the pinata.  Sadly, none of the ribbons pulled it open so Carl quickly punched through the side and ripped it open.  

I constructed a monster truck cake for the party, per Andrew's request. I used marshmallow fondant again and made all the cake and frostings from scratch. The truck was a dark chocolate cake with peanut butter filling/frosting. While delicious, the peanut butter frosting became quite melty since the house was so warm and dripped a bit.  It was OK though because it just looked like mud dripping from the undercarriage :)  The base cake was a white cake covered with chocolate fudge frosting.  I made the truck's wheels and undercarriage from Rice Krispie treats and covered them with chocolate marshmallow fondant. The Rice Krispies held up pretty well supporting the weight of the truck, but one of the wheels sank into the chocolate frosting quite a bit causing the truck to lean. Again, I think the heat played a part. Regardless, the cake was a big hit with Andrew and the party guests alike, and I think, tasted even better than it looked (see picture of cake aftermath).

Andrew received lots of great gifts from everyone. We got him a play kitchen. Some other highlights include: Lightning McQueen bike and helmet, doctor kit, fishing game, giant bubble blowing Mater, Sesame Street DVD, Transformers stuff, a few books, and some art stuff. Quite the haul for a three year old, requiring toy rearranging/organizing.

Overall, it was a great party and I'm very happy that Andrew got to spend the day with so many loving family and friends.   

Big loaf cake (cut into 2 layers) topped by mini loaf cake
Rice Krispie treat tires
Peanut butter heaven
Covering the truck in red fondant
Working hard!
Rice Krispie treat undercarriage and wheels placed on base cake
Carl helped with the transfer
Birds-eye view
Front/side view
Happy birthday boy blew out his candle!
The aftermath
Andrew's friends helped him open his presents