Thursday, July 14, 2011

Chicken with Lime and Avocado Salsa

Its like I said before, we eat way to much Mexican food! This one wasn't spicy or heart burn causing or tasteless at all though so I would give it a 8 out of 10. Partly because it was Mexican food which I am SO sick of and partly because the chicken was just a little dry. But that might have to do more with the cooker not the food itself because I had to cook it longer then the directions said so that it wasn't pink and I had to do that because I used chicken breast instead of chicken cutlets (which are thinner then breasts). What ever the cause, they were just a little dry. Now when I say a little dry I don't mean Hubbies grandmas turkey dry were she cooks it in the oven for 24 hours at .2 F ( no offence granny if your reading this) no, I mean a little dry as in not juicy but not so dry you feel like you need a glass of water. So if you don't mind that then you can use the chicken breast like I did and just cook them longer at a lower temperate. Other wise, just fallow what the recipe says.

You will need : a indoor grill, tongs, a medium mixing bowl, and a large spoon.
  • 4 chicken cutlets (or two chicken breasts sliced down the middle in two)
  • 3 TB Spoons EVOO (Extra virgin Olive oil .... I will use this abbreviation for now on so look out)
  • 3 Large avocados, halved, pitted, peeled, and chopped
  • 1 large tomato chopped
  • 1 medium onion, cut into strips
  • 1 Jalapeno pepper, cut, seeded and sliced
  • 3 TB Spoons lime juice
  • 1/4 Cup cilantro
  • lime wedges (optional)
  1. Preheat grilling pan to high heat. Coat the chicken in 2 TB spoons of the EVOO and season with a generous amount of salt and pepper.
  2. Cook the chicken on the grill for 2 to 3 minutes or until no longer pink and juice runs clear. turn one with tongs.
  3. Mean while, in the medium bowl combine the vegetables, lime juice, and remaining EVOO. Season to taste with salt and pepper and stir to combine.
  4. serve with lime wedges and chicken.

Pina Colada Cupcakes

Because I already described these to you in my sisters birthday post, I'm not going to go to much into how good these were. I just have to say that when I make these again I will NOT be using the butter cream icing again. I think something more simple like a vanilla icing with roasted coconut and a cherry on top would be better or maybe even royal icing but NOT the better cream. Any ways, the cupcakes themselves were actually really good so here's the recipe for them. Enjoy :D

p.s. Just thought of this... one of these sweet puppies would be great to finish off a mango salad for a nice tropic picnic or out on the deck or porch.

You will need: a cupcake pan (makes about 24 so you might want two if you don't want to do it in batches),  one large mixing bowl, a rubber spatula, and cupcake liners

  •  1/2  lb unsalted butter
  • 2 Cups Sugar
  • 2 Cups flour sifted
  • 1 Tb Spoon lemon juice
  • 1 T Spoon vanilla
  • 5 eggs
  • 1/2 can of crushed pineapples
  • 1/2 lb bag of coconut
  • about 1/3 Cup rum ( I used coconut white rum to add to the coconut flavor but you can use what ever)
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 F. Line the cupcake pan with cupcake liners.
  2. Cream the butter and sugar together until smooth. sift in the flour. Stir just enough to blend.
  3. Add in the lemon juice and vanilla. Add eggs one at a time and mix well after each.Stir in the coconut.
  4. drain the pineapple and add half the can to the mix. Combine.
  5. spoon about 1/3 of the mix into each lined cupcake dish and bake for about an hour or until the cupcakes are golden brown.
  6. Once cupcakes are done immediately spoon a small spoon full (about 1Tb) of the rum onto each cupcake. Let cool and serve decorated with icing.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

A Very Merry Birthday

The weekend before last the Hubby and I made a visit to my sisters house for her amazing 21st birthday! Its kinda scary to think that I have a little sister that is 21! Its hard to believe I'm married to such an amazing man too but I guess life goes on and people grow up... well, in some ways.
We three definitely had some fun going thrifting. We went to three thrift stores, a habitat for humanity store, and one antique store. I didn't really take any photos of the stuff they had there ( and now I regret it but I promise to next thrifting adventure) But I do have some photos of the stuff we snagged.
We got this adorable silver platted serving tray at a Goodwill for only $3.96
I just love the detail and the antiquity of it.
I think I raved about what a great steal this was about five times to the Hubby. Whats even more funny is that when we went to the antique shoppe we saw the exact same one (with the silver plating a little less tarnished) that was $10! I'm already using it for a table setting and the Hubs used it on our anniversary for breakfast in bed. *cue the collective aww*.
While we were at the thrift store (the same one) my amazing husband found this beauty.Its was only $4 dollars! I could so see it being something you would find at target for like $15. We are trying to do our back yard/porch in these colors ( in the future because we live in an apartment right now) and we both couldn't put it down. I think we stood there ewwing and awing over it while my poor sister just stood there embarrassed for a good three minutes.
The photo above looks a little salmon but I assure you, its very orange.

This one is actually a much better indication of its color even though you can't see the awesome orange on the inside of it. We plane on using it for a small herb garden with lush tasty herbs flowing out the side. I'm thinking vinny oregano would be great for around the lip of it and some lush parsley along with some leafy basil to fill in. Anyone else getting hungry? I'm thinking Italian. mmmmm! Anyway.... back to the show post.
After scopping out two more thrift shoppes and searching like vaulters .... broke people.... mad deal hunters, we were about to give up. Mind you, not from boredom or lack of faith in the good deal fairy but from driving around at 90 degrees with no ac/ hunger/ and only an hour left before it was five o'clock (which is when most antique and thrift shops close). That was when we found this a little thrift shoppe that wasn't even on the map or google. We just had to stop in and check it out. It was rather hopeless and right before we were heading out the door I found these.
There was six of them and at only 50 cent each I couldn't say no. They are so simple but at the same time have such a retro look. Anyone else think of there grandmas glasses when you look the handle? No? Just me? Yeah that happens. Anyways, they are little tea cups and I could SO see me using them for a table arrangement with some vase filler in one or two along side a vase of flowers or, better yet filling them with flowers. I just love the versatility of them and though they would be great for serving pudding, moose, jello or some other small dessert in them.
Once we got home from thrifting around and running errands, everyone sat down to rest and just enjoy chatting and having a good time... that is, everyone but me. No I was in the kitchen cooking up a little treat for the birthday girl.
Each cupcake had a different design on the butterfly. They were pina colada flavored cupcakes with a butter cream icing. I have to say though, I wasn't a fan of the butter cream recipe I used. It was like eating country crock right out of the tub. I mean, I've heard of people who do that and if its your kinda thing and you just can't get enough of Paula Deen's butter fetish then this butter cream might have been for you. Personally, I'll never make it again. But, and that's a big but, the cupcakes themselves were delicious and I most certainly WILL be making those again!
After scarfing down two cupcakes each (dad... I saw you eat that third one so don't think your included in that!), I made dinner and we sat around chatting and just catching up with old time. It was nice to just chill and have fun talking and watching the ol'tube ( we don't have one so its kind of a novelty) before heading off to bed.
The next day.... you thought this post was over? The next day, we went out to eat for her birthday dinner and we surprised her with a couple of friends.
That's her friend Carley from high school. And she indulged in her first (legal) drink.
She had a lemoncello. I wasn't brave enough to taste it because I'm not a fan of sour stuff but everyone else said it was really good. When dinner was over we all went back to my parents house and celebrated by scarfing down more cupcakes while my sister cought up with her friends and watched online videos. It was all rather laid back and I hope she had as much of a good time as we did visiting. Its funny how you get older and yet so much stays the same. Then, when you look around you everything is different. I hope Sher (my sister) has a wonderful year and can't wait to see were the road will lead her next.

Have any of you felt really old when you look at your younger siblings? How about when you look at your kids? have you ever had a drink you just loved or made something so bad you'll never dare to make it again? What about all you thrifters? Find anything good lately or have you ever ran across something you bought at a thrift store at anther place for way more?

Friday, July 8, 2011

A Capital Fourth of July

Because our fist anniversary was during this past weekend, the Hubby and I decided to make it a mini vacation. So, he took Friday off which gave us a four day weekend!
Yeah my hubby's pretty much awesome.
Because we live so close to DC we figured this was a great opportunity to visit the capital on our countries, and our, anniversary. It was also fairly cheap because we eat breakfast before leaving and packed lunches for two of the three we went days and eat dinner at home one of the days. That, and the zoo and all the museums at the national mall are free! So all we paid for was dinner for two of the days, gas for the hour drive, and $12 parking a day. That's a cheap vacation if you ask me.
 Friday we decided to go to the zoo
 I was so excited because although I have been to a zoo before, I've never been to one so nice or one with as many animals. It was also the only zoo that I've been to that had pandas, seals, tigers, or flamingos. I know, crazy. I'm telling ya' the zoos I went to before were tinny!
Sadly, the pandas were getting there cage cleaned when we were by them and it was just way to hot out for the hubby's to bother walking all the way back just to see them. But i figure its ok, we live close. :)
We did get to see the tiger though and oh, how beautiful he was!

I also stood at the flamingo cage for about 5 minutes just taking photo after photo.
 I just can't get over how pink they are! I mean, duh, their flamingos but its a much bigger slap in the face with the color when your there in person. I kept asking myself what God must have been thinking when he made those guys. :P
I mean look at that!

Especially when I looked at the little baby flamingo they had.

Another awesome thing this zoo had that none other I've visited had was a butterfly garden. I should worn you that My Darling said it was small and laking but to me it was amazing!
 Maybe its because butterflies are my favorite animal, or maybe because I had to pass an open exhibit of spiders to get to it or maybe it was because the butterflies would land right on you, but what ever it was, I just couldn't leave that place.
 I'm swear, Hubby had to drag me out of there. 
It was truly stunning.
But when we did finally leave the butterfly house we went over to the monkey house.

I didn't take a whole lot of photos but they had a whole slew of different types of monkeys. Most of them were to fast for my  speed setting. Which I'm sure I can set faster if I sat down to figure it out. Alas, I did not. so here are the few good ones I got.

They also had other types of primates such as these adorably, fluffy, fat, little lemurs.

I think they are smarter then half the crazy monkeys were because they weren't just going crazy all over the place. No, these savvy little buggers would look right at me and stair at me until I snapped a photo and RIGHT THEN look away.
They also would sit next to the edge of the tank and do what ever until I pulled my camera to my face. Then, they would run to the other side of the tank, sit down, and look across at me! I swear, they were more clever then the orangutans!
 After seen a few more animals, (and sitting at the lemur tank for 15 minutes) Hubby and I decided it was time for a lunch break. For lunch I made us these easy tasty open faced sandwiches that I found on this awesome site.

Its basically scrambled eggs, smashed avocado with lime juice, grilled french bread, topped with smoked salmon with flesh crashed pepper on top. I made the avocado with lime,  the eggs, and grilled the bread before we left. Then, since its supposed to be served cold, I just packed everything in tubawar in the cooler and put them all together when it was lunch time. I have to say, its a nice change from the normal lunch-to-go ( pb & j's or lunch meat sandwiches). I even had some left over that we had for breakfast the next day. To finish off I packed some homemade chocolate chip cookies in some parchment and tied them up with raffia. (sorry, forgot to take photos).
Then we continued to explore the zoo for the rest of the day. ( for the sake of not making this the longest post in the world I'm going to skip the rest of the zoo...sorry all, but its free so go check it out!).
Saturday we walked around and explored a few of the many museums at the national mall. I didn't get a lot of photos because it was crazy crowded. I think it was partly because it was a weekend and partly because it was a holiday weekend. But I did get this photo of a plate designed by Frank Lloyd Wright. (thought you might like this mom)
and some photos from the national museum of natural history. Which was rather amazing because I had never seen dinosaur bones before (I know, there a lot I haven't seen). there was a lot of other things there like a cool video we watched about the ocean and tectonic plates as well as fossils and a whole array of displayed animals and information about each one. I tell yeah, if you don't like zoos you could just come here and see them all dead and stuffed. It was almost scary. It was like a taxidermy's dream in there! No joke! Anyways, here's some cool photos I got of the already-dead-before-they-could-stuff-them dinosaur bones that I photographically obsessed over.
 I didn't actually get a photo of my favorite one, which was the Apatosaurus. It had such a long tail and was so big, it also was a plant eater which I liked better then the meat eaters with the big head of teeth.
Sunday, we took a break and stayed at home. Hubby and I went to the book store (since paper is the traditional gift for your first anniversary) and I got this cute book. Its basically full of questions and information that the both of you fill out and answer to better know each other. I thought it was a perfect first anniversary gift.
Then, My Darling helped me do a photo shoot for Pepper since I realized we don't really have any good photos of him that I can frame. And this is what we came out with.

When I get photo shop I want to blur the back ground on the above photo.

And on this one.
I can't stress enough how crazy  hard it was to get these photos. He wouldn't listen to my Sweet so I would have to tell him to sit and wait but when I got up or sat down to take the photos he would wonder off. I think I took about 100 photos and these three were my best... well, favorite. But I think its good practice for when I do photo shoots with children or a group of people. It was nice to relax from all the walking around though and to just have a little us time.  We also went to Michel's and got some craft stuff for a project I'm working on (more on that later) and the Hubby checked out a phone he might get. All in all, it was a pretty chill day. I guess we were saving all our energy up for Monday; that's when we decided to check out the botanical garden at the national mall.

My favorite part was the indoor Jungle garden. They had everything from a medicinal garden to a prehistoric garden! It was so beautiful and I'm a little sad I only got photos of the flowers and no photos of the full gardens. I think next time we go I'll have to be careful to get some full garden photos for my future garden and inspiration! Here's a few of the flowers I loved.

I don't remember the name of this one but I love the star shape.

I need to find out what this one is too, so I can try to grow it... if its not endangered or something. (they had a lot of endangered species and threatened species)
Hubby and I both really liked this one and I almost fell over off the third story catwalk trying to bend over the edge to take this photo. I think it was worth it. :P
 The plant is a hanging plant and we though it looked kinda like little bumble bees which I just love.
We also saw a cocoa been hanging on a cocoa tree!
I thought about snagging it and taking it home but then reality came back to me and I realized I was in a national building next to the capital building, around a ton of people. So, oh well.
After we left the Gardens, we walked around the Art Park (can't remember the actual name for it) and stopped at the center of it to soak our feet in a fountain.

And there is the brave little lone duck that was swimming around everyone's feet.
 Can you believe they actually allow you to soak your feet in the huge fountain. It made me think of a scene out of Under the Tuscan Sun . Only this fountain had signs all around it that said no wading so I'm sure you can't just walk out into the middle of it. Even though it was only deep enough to cover my ankles... and at 5 foot 2' that's saying something.  It was still really nice and I got some good photos of the little duck that I didn't even have to zoom in for!

Once we got our shoes back on, we headed over to a museum and grabbed some food (we didn't have cash for the numerous vendors and hot dog stands that were about thanks to fourth of July). It was nice because My Hubby picked the native American museum. The side of the building is all windows and is right against a fake stream and water falls so the view was great for dinning. I didn't grab any photos because we were talking and just soaking it all in before we made a mad dash to the capital building to grab a good spot for viewing the fireworks.
It took two hours of sitting before they started the show but it was worth it. You can watch the show up close in person if you go early in the morning and there was several famous artiest that sang so I'm sure it would have been worth it. But, we decided to sit far away from the show so we could get the best view for the fireworks. Which, for me, were the main attraction.

They were so amazing! And watching them over the Washington Memorial just seem that much more patriotic.

And here's a little tid bit so you all can enjoy the fun we had.

Well that's it for our fourth of July mini vacation.
 What did you all do for your fourth of July? Anyone go to a cook out? Did you go on a vacation? Have you ever tried to photograph your pet and found yourself pulling your hair out at the end? What about lunches, anyone make a super tasty quick lunch that was out of the norm? Have you've gone to the zoo and though 'what on earth was God thinking when he made that'?! Would love to hear from you all and hope you'll have a great weekend.