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Tuesday, December 11, 2012

She's Back!




 I know, I know.

This Mommy blogger has been M.I.A. and I have no good excuse other than LIFE.

Beautiful, wonderful, crazy, LIFE has wonderfully interrupted my adventures in blogging.

Ahh. Truth be told, I have missed you! Busy life or not, I am resolving to make time for you, for all of you.

A lot has happened since we last shared space in the blogosphere...let's start with a doozie....baby #2 is on the way!  Another little girl will be gracing us with her presence at the end of April and we are thrilled to be growing our little family.

We also moved from a condo into a house and are loving the space, the yard, the location.  Let me tell you, however, I didn't fully anticipate how difficult it would be to move with a 15-month-old and another sweet nugget in my belly. But alas, we survived and we are loving our new digs.

Speaking of SURVIVAL...... my Mom spent the last 6 months having been diagnosed with, treating and BEATING breast cancer. You always anticipate at some point you will have to face a serious medical challenge as a family but you never quite realize until you are in the middle of one how consuming it can be....if you let it.

My Mom did not let it.  She was a fighter from day one, determined to stay positive, determined to wage war and WIN.  Thankfully, she is now a SURVIVOR and we are all so proud and thankful for her strength and courage.  We feel so fortunate they found it early, they successfully operated and her body responded well to treatment. We have MUCH to be thankful for this year indeed.

So why now? WHAT PROMPTED THIS RETURN?

Nesting.  It happened with my first, it's happening again...this time it's just happening in my blog instead of in my home.

I will be posting dailybi-weekly, weekly, OK let's be honest, I will be posting SPORADICALLY but I promise to be as consistently SPORADIC (which makes no sense, I'm aware) as life allows.....

So...off we go!

One of my very favorite things my Mom made growing up was APPLE CRISP. I don't know if she ever used a recipe, it looked and tasted different every time, but it was always delicious and always comforting.

In an effort to replicate a sensory experience in the form of apple crisp, while trying to cut back on refined sugars, cholesterol packed or processed foods and non-essential fatty oils, I have created an APPLE CRISP recipe which is wholesome and delicious.

The substitution of Coconut Oil for Butter is an easy way to make this recipe dairy free as well as provide additional nutrients and eliminate non-essential fats and cholesterol, while giving an added boost of flavor.

Coconut Palm Sugar is used in place of brown sugar and provides a naturally low glycemic index (which is favorable during pregnancy and for good health in general) and because it is less processed than typical brown sugar, it provides more micronutrients as well.


 Try it, enjoy it with family and friends and come back to visit soon, I promise I will be here.

Apple Crisp

Prep Time: 15 mins
Cook Time: 35-40
Servings: 8

INGREDIENTS:

5 - 6 Medium Organic Apples (appx 6 Cups), sliced
(I like to use Honeycrisp this time of year if you can find them and I always leave the skin on as it contains valuable vitamins and nutrients)
1 Organic Lemon, cut in half
3/4 Cup Organic Granulated Cane Sugar
1 Tbsp Cinnamon
3/4 Cup Organic Coconut Oil, chilled
1 Cup Organic Whole Oats
1/2 Cup Organic Whole Wheat Flour (can substitute coconut or all purpose flour)
3/4 Cup Organic Coconut Palm Sugar
Cooking Spray

Directions
Preheat oven to 350 degrees

  • Spray bottom and sides of an 8 X 11 glass baking dish with cooking spray, set aside
  • Slice apples (approximately 1/8 inch thick) and squeeze juice from 1/2 of the lemon over apples, place apples in a large mixing bowl

  • Sprinkle apple slices with cinnamon & cane sugar, toss to coat and spread evenly in baking dish (little hands make excellent helpers for this step!)


  • Combine remaining ingredients in medium mixing bowl, using a fork to combine (will be lumpy)

  • Sprinkle mixture evenly over apples

  • Bake uncovered on the center rack for 35 - 40 minutes (until apple slices are tender and topping has browned)
  • Remove from oven and let cool for 5 minutes


  • Can be refrigerate for up to 5 days, enjoy!






Wednesday, May 30, 2012

3 Wishes Wednesday - Kvetch Mom is in the house!

We all have that friend who has a way of being honest without being ugly or hurtful and if you're like me, you wish you could more easily emulate that quality.

Jennifer from Kvetch Mom is one of those people. Honest, incredibly funny and fearless as she navigates life, being a Mommy to three beautiful children, blogging and oh so much more.  I can always count on her to provide a good laugh with a side of provocativeness, Kvetch Mom is a blog I love seeing pop up in my inbox.  Check her out, follow her, laugh, ponder, and enjoy!

Twitter: @jlweinberg
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/KvetchMom
Blog: http://kvetchmom.wordpress.com/


Wish away Jennifer.......


Thank you, sweet Meg, for inviting me to participate in your wonderful
3 Wishes series! It's an honor to be here. This has been a very
thought-provoking post to write.

It is really difficult to chose something that I would change about
the past because I feel like I am a sum of its parts. The good, the
bad, the ugly. It seems that changing one thing could alter the whole
path that got me to where I am today. And happily, I am doing pretty
well these days! So, I might not change anything but whisper in my
young ear along the way something like this: You are exactly where you
are supposed to be at this moment. It'll all come together one day and
make sense. Rather than resist the intensity, ride it like a surfer
would a wave and trust you'll be okay and that it's all part of the
process. P.S. Wear sunscreen every day and stop skipping class!

My wish for today would be, I guess, to listen to that voice that's
whispering in the ear of my younger self. I want to live my life with
less fear and more courage. Eleanor Roosevelt said, "We gain strength,
and courage, and confidence by each experience in which we really stop
to look fear in the face... we must do that which we think we cannot."
If in the next twenty years I can have the confidence to go after my
dreams undeterred by fear and self-doubt I will be a very satisfied
person. I think this applies to parenting, marriage, friendships and
creative endeavors.

As I move into the future I hope to achieve balance in my life with
grace, laughter and with patience. I aspire to be fully present for my
husband and children and at the same time honor my own needs for
creative and professional growth. (A book deal would be great!) I want
to grow older without fear and see wrinkles and laugh lines as things
of beauty. I wish for my children to always have a sense of humor and
be above all kind, thoughtful, and generous. I wish them financial
stability, love and friendship, too. For my husband, a peaceful heart,
good health and lots of opportunities to sleep. Genie wishes: Free
airfare to visit friends & family any time, money to pay off mortgage
and student loans, a cancer free life, and all the free housekeeping a
girl could ask for.

In honor of my dear friend Sarah, who has so many qualities I love and
admire, I'd like to share a simple summer drink recipe that I think
she'd like.

The Salty Dog (from Bon Appetit
http://www.bonappetit.com/recipes/2010/07/the_salty_dog)

Ingredients
Coarse kosher salt
Ice cubes
1/2 cup vodka or gin
3/4 cup fresh grapefruit juice

Preparation
Pour coarse salt onto small plate. Moisten rims of 2 highball glasses.
Gently dip rims into salt to coat lightly. Fill glasses with ice
cubes. Pour 1/4 cup vodka over ice in each glass. Divide grapefruit
juice between glasses and serve.

Monday, May 21, 2012

MMM Monday! All-in Smoothie


When I was pregnant with my daughter, my saving grace during the first few months were smoothies.  My appetite was minimal in the first trimester and I had 24-hour nausea for the first 10 weeks.  I knew I needed to be filling my body with nutritious foods for my growing little one but the thought of eating fruits and vegetables was daunting.  

Enter smoothies.  Light, delicious and nutrient rich, smoothies were a great way to pack a lot of punch into a palatable treat that actually coated my stomach and helped reduce my nausea symptoms. I felt good knowing I was consuming essential nutrition for our baby and even better that I could make one in less than five minutes.

The All-In Smoothie is one of my favorites.  Filled with antioxidant rich ingredients, folic acid (essential for pregnant mommy's), vitamins and nutrients, this delightful smoothie will treat your taste buds and give you an easy pick me up any time of day.

Pregnant or not as the summer heat approaches, smoothies can be an excellent substitute for a light breakfast, lunch or snack and a great way to filly your body with nutritious food.


All-In Smoothie

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: N/A
Servings: 2

INGREDIENTS:

1.5 Cups Organic Light Yogurt Plain Yogurt
1 Medium Banana, sliced
¼ Cup Pineapple Juice
¼ Cup Frozen Blueberries
¼ Cup Frozen Strawberries
¼ Cup Frozen Raspberries
1 Cup Fresh Spinach
1 Kiwi, peeled and sliced
 ½ Cup Ice
1 Tablespoon Agave Nectar 

Directions
·      Combine all ingredients in blender, blend until smooth  
·      Serve immediately, enjoy!




Monday, May 14, 2012

Roasted Beets 
O.K., O.K.  This blogging Mommy has been slacking....BIG TIME....let's just say family trips, a girls trip to Vegas for Cinco de Mayo & the Kentucky Derby, and a traveling husband have been pulling my attention away for the last few weeks but I HAVE RETURNED!!!!


Did you miss me?

Beets.  Hate them or love them, that's usually how it goes.  This girl happens to love them (although I used to hate them).

Scary.  That's what I thought cooking beets myself would be.

HAPPY!  That's how I felt when I pulled out the old Betty Crocker recipe book and found out roasting beets was easy!

This simple recipe results in delicious beets ready to serve warm with dinner or they can be chilled and served later as a salad (add a little goat cheese, pine nuts or shaved almonds and drizzle with organic olive oil, salt & pepper - DIVINE!).

Try it, let me know what you think.


Roasted Beets



Prep Time: 10 Minutes
Cook Time: 30 - 60 Minutes
Serves: 6 -8

Ingredients
2 Bunches Organic Medium Beets (approximately 6 - 10 depending on size)
4 Tablespoons Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil, divided
2 Tablespoons Organic Sea Salt, divided
Aluminum Foil

Directions

  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees
  • Remove stems and thick ends from beets; wash thoroughly with a vegetable brush but do not remove peels
  • Spread a large piece of aluminum foil onto a cutting board or other flat surface.  Place beets next to each other (not on top of) and drizzle with 2 Tablespoons EVOO and 1 Tablespoon Sea salt
  • Take another piece of aluminum foil and cover the prepared beets. 
  • Fold edges down to seal off an to create a "steam pocket" for the beets
  • Place in center of oven 
  • Bake for 30 - 60 minutes; depending on beet size, begin checking them at 30 minutes and every 10 minutes thereafter.  Beets are done when they can be easily pierced with a fork through the center. 
  • Remove from oven, open a corner of the pocket to release steam
  • Remove top sheet of aluminum foil and allow beets to cool until they can be handled easily
  • Remove beet peels simply by using your fingers or you may also use a paring knife (you will be amazed how easily the peels just pull off with your fingers)
  • Once peels are removed, cut beets into 1/4 inch rounds
  • Place on a serving tray, drizzle evenly with the remaining olive oil and salt
  • Finish with shaved almonds, cracked pepper or crumbled goat cheese for some added flare or serve simply as is. 
  • Enjoy!








Wednesday, April 25, 2012

3 Wishes - Kir from The Kir Corner is here today to wish away!

I'm back! After a nice two week spring break (of sorts) I am happy to be back with you all and could think of no better way to return than with one of my favorite bloggers, Kir from The Kir Corner.

Kir is a busy Mom of twin boys who is honest and heartfelt about rising above a difficult childhood, struggling with infertility, navigating parenthood, and embracing life.  She has a huge heart which shines through in all she writes and she is always good for a laugh (or five).  Her honesty is envious and her take on life, a constant reminder to be our best selves in every situation.  Did I mention she also LOVES CUPCAKES?? A girl after my own heart.

Please enjoy Kir's wishes and be sure to follow her:
Twitter
Facebook
The Kir Corner

Wish away Kir..........

Meg asked me to write for her and I was so struck with the invitation. Honestly, I am surprised when anyone asks me to write for them, it truly humbles me and I gush and say YES and then try my very best to give them my best.

Thank you so much Meg for asking me to be here, to share my wishes and share your space.
 I am so happy to be here today.

Wishes, they are so magical aren’t they? Just like the Pixie dust that Izzy of the Neverland Pirates holds or the Ruby Slippers in the Wizard of Oz, or the wands in those delightful Harry Potter movies, wishes come from a little work, a little faith and a whole lot of magic.

I myself am a great believer in all of it and so I come here 3 wishes and a heart full of whimsy and wonder.

If I could WISH, if I could make it all come true with a prayer in my heart here is what I would say:

Past Wish
I want to be grateful for all the things I’ve been through, to know that there are lessons in the journey. While I embrace my past with the good and bad stuff, I often wish that my heart and head would reconcile it. My childhood of violence was actually not something that I want to wish away; instead I would rather own it and know that along my journey I have nothing to prove and nothing to hide when I meet people and am unsure about what to show them.
I truly wish I’d known that things would work out, that I’d never have to live in fear again of being left or being hit or being taken for granted.
And I wish I would have never blamed myself for anything. It was all lessons, it was all leading me toward the Kirsten of today and even mistakes would be worthy. I followed my heart a lot and that is one thing I will never wish away.

Present Wish
I wish there was more time.
More time to just stop and live in this moment; more time and patience to just sit with my children and not have to think ahead or behind to anything that needs to be done. I wish that I could stop time and have more MOMENTS with family, friends, my writing and myself.
I would love more money or opportunities, but they are hollow offerings. Today, I just wish for more TIME, for the clocks to stop and offer me a lifetime of opportunities to laugh, to bask and giggle. Instead of wishing away the hours of a job or a tantrum, I wish for an endless period of instances where I can keep trying to get it right.
More Hugs, More Love, More Patience, More Naps, More Motivation, More Authenticity.

Future Wish
Well it’s my Harry Potter moment isn’t it? Or maybe my Aladdin moment?
And I have to admit, I’m more than a little giddy with the chance to make a wish like this.
I wish for Peace, I wish for a time in our country when judgments and bullying don’t exist. A place where my sons can grow up knowing that they can be special and make others feel that way too without competition. I wish for LOVE to have more worth than material things.
I wish my family was always healthy and happy.
I wish I could see my name on the cover of a book.
I wish I could retire in Cape May, NJ with my handsome husband and have a house big enough to welcome my sons and their families (my grandchildren!!!). I’d love to wake and drift off to sleep with the sound of the ocean and the love of my family surrounding me.

Soooo…send the Pixie Dust! ;)

Oh Meg, thank you so much for letting be here with you today. You are dear, sweet friend and I am so thrilled you asked me to share my wishes.







Monday, April 9, 2012

Spring Break!

Pressure Cooker is taking a Spring Break!  I am not a teacher or a student and I don't have kids in school yet but hey, we have a lot of travel coming up over the next 2 weeks so spring break it is!

See you soon!

Friday, April 6, 2012

Friday Wrap Up - Is it Friday Already!?




It's Friday at 9:00 p.m. and this is the first chance I have had this week to sit down to write.  It's Friday at 9:00 p.m. and I don't have the energy to think about what I want to write.....so instead I will be poaching an article from Yahoo I found via  a friends Facebook page.  

Being a SAHM is a wonderful privilege most  many days but more often than not, it is like being the conductor on a high speed train barreling down the tracks with lots of moving parts and many passengers who need immediate and frequent attention.  I truly didn't understand what I was signing up for when I left corporate America and I can say I am guilty of not understanding how busy a SAHM's life truly could be.  (enter Judgy McJudgerson).

Whether you are a SAHM, a working Mom, single with no children or your children are grown and out of the house (what must that be like?!?!), I hope you will find a chuckle or two in this article and I also hope you will have a better understanding (even appreciation) for the life of a SAHM.

I certainly have a huge admiration for working Mom's...it seems we (SAHM's and working Mom's) are always in a constant state of one-upping; who works harder, who has it worse, who is a better mother, wife, woman.  Really?

Really, it's all hard. Staying at home is work, hard work; if it wasn't we wouldn't have to pay people to do it for us while we work outside of the home.  Working and being a Mom is hard work too; finding balance is a constant challenge and often guilt is ever present whether you are thinking about your kids at work or thinking about work when you are home with your kids.

What isn't hard is being supportive of your friends, your children, your sisters, your neighbors, in whatever works for them - for their families.  It isn't  shouldn't be a contest and making it one doesn't help any of us get through the day more easily. We are all rock stars.

In spite of the lack of sleep, constant cleaning, constant soothing and tending too, constant exhaustion, constant neglecting of myself....I wouldn't trade it for the world. I couldn't be a working Mom, this I know.  I am lucky to have the option, this I REALLY know.  And the bon-bons and soap operas are pretty great, too. (enter enormous sarcasm).

Enjoy!

Shine! On Yahoo
"This is What a Stay-at-Home-Mom Does All Day"
http://shine.yahoo.com/parenting/this-is-what-a-stay-at-home-mom-does-all-day-2522745.html

 


Monday, April 2, 2012

MMM Monday! Pulled Pork Sandwiches














Pulled Pork Sandwiches
As a busy Mom, there is nothing better than a meal that you can throw into a crock pot while you go about your day.  As a southern transplant, pulled pork was one of the first things I decided to add to my cooking repertoire.

This recipe is extremely low on labor and extremely high on taste. Serve on buns with coleslaw and pickles or serve with your favorite sides.  Enjoy!

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 8 - 9 hours
Serves: 8 - 10

Ingredients

  • 5 - 6 Pounds Organic Boneless Pork Butt, cut in half 
  • 1/2 Can Ginger ale
  • 1 Medium Organic Onion, peeled and quartered
  • 3 16 oz. Jars of your favorite BBQ sauce (I like Stubbs)
  • 2 Teaspoons Salt
  • 2 Tablespoons Ground Black Pepper 
Directions

  • Place onion slices evenly on the bottom of a large crockpot
  • Place pork butt halves on top of onions
  • Pour ginger ale over pork butt
  • Sprinkle with salt & pepper, cover with lid
  • Cook on low for 6 hours
  • After 6 hours, drain excess liquid and onions
  • Chop pork butt into pieces and return to crock pot

  • Pour 2 jars of BBQ sauce over pork and cook on high for 2 - 3 hours
  • Add last jar of sauce and keep on low until sauce is heated through and pork falls apart easily
  • Serve sandwich style or with your favorite sides, enjoy!


This recipe also freezes well and will store in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.

Friday, March 30, 2012

Friday Wrap Up - If I were a 1/2 billionaire...


If you haven't heard the Mega Millions jackpot is 500+ million dollars, good.  One less person keeping me from winning tonight.

All of this talk (I swear it has been on every news program, every radio station, and a headline in every paper today) of the chance that someone could overnight be a 1/2 billionaire got me thinking.

If I were a 1/2 BILLIONAIRE, what would I do with the $$$? Not what would I "politically correctly" do
with the money but what would I really do with all of that cash?

Here are the top TEN things I would do (when I win tonight) in no specific order:

1.) Retire my husband (although I know even with that kind of money he would fight to keep working)

2.) Buy a jet.  And a pilot. And a crew.  Then fly in it. EVERYWHERE. STAT.

3.) Share.  I would share with my family, my extended family, my friends...I don't think it would be any fun to have all of that money if I didn't have any one who could enjoy it with me.

4.) Hire someone to blow dry and style my hair every day; currently two of my least favorite things to do ever.

5.) Buy a few houses.  Here, there, everywhere.  Down market? It wouldn't matter. Maybe even a castle in Ireland just for fun.

6.) Donate to charity. Charities for military families, for babies with no medical care, for orphaned children, for research for very rare diseases affecting those I love.  It would be AMAZING.

7.) Hire a personal chef.  Yes, I love to cook, but I am sure given my status as a 1/2 billionaire I would be allowed to cook in my fabulous state of the art kitchen when the mood struck.  Correction, I would hire a "Get me skinny and keep me there" personal chef. 


8.) I would invent a sound proof, breathable, UV protected buggy that attaches to a golf cart so I could play golf every day with my husband without missing out on time with our nugget.

9.) I would hire a personal shopper and stock up on every thing I have ever had my eye on.

10.) I would pay Bethenny Frankel to be my  neighbor, best friend and go-to for play dates.

What would YOU do with all of of that cash?!?!?!?  I would love to hear what your caviar wishes and 1/2 billionaire dreams are!


Wednesday, March 28, 2012

3 Wishes Wednesday - Jamie from Chosen Chaos Wishes Away!


Welcome to the second installment of 3 Wishes Wednesday.  I am more than excited to have one of my favorite bloggers, Jamie of Chosen Chaos, joining us this month. 

Jamie is a friend I met at a friend's wedding several years ago; little did I know she would later become my blogging mentor, my Mommy hero, and a constant source of support for Pressure Cooker.  

Jamie is the mother of four (YES, four!) beautiful babies including two boys under 5 and a set of twin girls who just turned one.  Jamie is one of those people you instantly want to be your friend, she is a super-Mom, super-wife, and super-hero in every sense of the term.  She is constantly on the go, whether with her family, friends, blog, tweets, Facebook updates, etc. etc.  

I have NO idea how she does it all (including guest blogging for little 'ol me) and envy the energy and passion she has for the wonderful chaos that is her life.  Jamie may tell you it's thanks in big part to her not-so-quiet passenger, Patty Perfect.  I would argue she is simply a phenomenal woman with an amazing sense of humor and trust me, she is someone you will want to know, too.

Be sure to follow her on:
Chosen Chaos, Twitter, and Facebook!

Wish away Jamie......


Wish #1 - Past
What is something you wish you could re-live and why or something you wish you could go back and change and why? 
I’m not much of a regret kind of person and I fully believe that everything happens for a reason. If I could go back and change one thing from the past I wish I had taken better care of myself physically. I wish I had started healthy habits like running, yoga, and eating right long before my 30,000-mile check-up at 30 years old. If it were habit then it might not be as challenging to keep it a habit now!

Wish #2 - Present
What is something you are hoping for, something you want to do or accomplish now and why? 
My wish for the present is to be present. I feel like this is the place we spend our lives wishing for. When we are younger we wish to be grown-up and with a family, job, living life. When we are older we wish to go back to this time when our kids are babies and the world revolved around nap times and milk. I wish to present so that I don’t miss it. 

Wish #3 - Future
If you could do anything, be anything, have anything, or accomplish anything in the next 20 years what would you choose and why? 
My wish for the future is to start my dream business. The business plan is gathering dust in a nightstand drawer. Every time I drive by a vacated building I wonder if that would make a good home for it. Our growing family put it on hold but my wish for the future is that we give it a go.  


Recipe 
Please share a favorite recipe of your choice.


This recipe is a favorite of mine. I got it from one of those old Betty Crocker specialty cookbooks, called Soups or something. I’ve long since gotten rid of the cookbook but this soup is engrained in my brain! 


What you need: 
Italian Sausage – I typically buy the Bob Evans tube variety (and saying tube in reference to sausage is grossing me out.) 
Can of stewed tomatoes – sometimes I buy the Italian variety but it doesn’t really matter. 
Can of Italian cut green beans 
Can of beef broth 
Package of pre-made ravioli – I’ve never used frozen but I’m sure it would work and sometimes I use tortellini instead Parmesan cheese 


What you do: 
Brown the sausage. I use one pot for this recipe, so brown the sausage in the soup pot. I’ve never had to drain the grease. Add the beef broth, one can of water, and the tomatoes. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Add green beans and ravioli. Simmer until ready to serve. Garnish with Parmesan Cheese. I’ve used chives on top before as well. It’s a delicious hearty soup that I’ve served for parties and Sunday meals. It warms up well the next day too! 


 Thank you Meg, for having me!!

Monday, March 26, 2012

MMM Monday! Taco Lettuce Wraps













Taco Lettuce Wraps


I am constantly on the hunt for new ways to create old favorites.  Trying to eat more wholesome, organic foods is high on my priority list these days.
A great, low-carb alternative to your traditional taco, these lettuce wraps are easy and delicious and a treat your whole family will love to make and eat.

Ingredients
1 Pound Organic Grass Fed Ground Beef
1 Head Organic Lettuce, washed and leaves removed whole
2 - 3 Organic Tomatoes, chopped
1 Medium Organic Onion, chopped
2 Cups Organic Shredded Mexican Cheese
1 Cup Organic Sour Cream
1 Cup Organic Salsa
1 Packet Organic Taco Seasoning
2 Tablespoons Juice from Jalapeno Jar
1 Can (12 oz.) Organic Black Beans (optional)
1 Jar Organic Large Pitted Black Olives (optional)
1 Can (4 oz.) Organic Diced Chile Peppers, do not drain
Organic Cooking spray

Directions

  • Spray  medium skillet lightly with cooking spray, heat to medium-high and add beef
  • Cook until just brown, pour jalapeno juice over meat; simmer for 1-2 minutes
  • Add diced chile peppers; continue simmering for 3-5 minutes
  • Add taco seasoning packet to meat (no need to add additional water as juice from the chile peppers and the jalapeno juice adequately blend with seasonings)
  • Simmer on low heat for 3 - 5 minutes
  • While meat is cooking, heat beans in a small saucepan
  • Cut head of lettuce in half and remove leaves in whole pieces
  • Drain beans and meat
  • Begin filling lettuce cups with meat, beans, cheese and toppings
  • Roll lettuce to wrap contents
                                                      

  • Serve immediately; enjoy!

Friday, March 23, 2012

Friday Wrap Up - Moments



As I am writing this post we (my husband, nugget & I) are driving to Pinehurst Resort, Pinehurst, NC.....the site of our wedding two years ago this week.


I remember making this same drive a few days before the wedding festivities started....I remember worrying I had left something behind, left out an important detail, constantly running through the check list that had grown in my mind during the previous year of planning. I remember the beautiful feeling of anticipation, knowing we were about to have the most amazing four days of our lives.

I remember clearly feeling the breath escape my lungs as we turned the corner to view the regal entrance to the resort; the azaleas were towering from the trees above in gorgeous pinks and whites, the sun was radiant, there was no better place for us to spend this weekend.

My husband and I love to play golf together...in the 4 years we dated, we had spent countless weekends making silly bets, drinking adult bevys, soaking up the sun and learning about each other. Pinehurst Resort is a legendary golf resort and a magical place dropped as if by accident into a quaint little town in the middle of North Carolina. From the first visit shortly after our engagement, we knew this was the place, this was where it had to be.

Our wedding consisted of four days of events: a welcome BBQ and croquette tournament, a golf tournament, bridal luncheon, rehearsal dinner for all 140 guests, pre-wedding champagne on the lawn, the ceremony, cocktail hour, reception, after party, and a farewell brunch. It was more than I could have ever dreamed, it was a perfect 72 degree, sunny day...it was indeed a celebration filled with an abundance of love.

Thinking back now, I don't remember every detail, every menu item, or every perfectly placed flower.

What I do remember are the moments.

Seeing my husband laughing with his brother, with my brother, cracking up with his closest friends. Seeing my family, my friends, all who travelled far to be with us. I remember the speeches, the thoughtful heartfelt words that filled our hearts with so much love, the conversations on the porch in a wooden rocking chair with my Mom about what was moving to quickly in front of our eyes.

I remember being told at the end of our rehearsal dinner there was a surprise for us outside; we walked out to see our family and friends holding lanterns to be released into the sky, floating on wishes of love and happiness for our future together.  The most thoughtful, amazing gift from my brother and sister-in-law.


I remember sitting on the veranda outside of our suite with my girlfriends, who had been the sisters I never had, eating pizza and drinking wine well into the early hours of our wedding day. Reminiscing about high school, college, old boyfriends (who thank goodness we didn't keep around), laughing about funny things that happened so far that weekend, dreaming of what tomorrow would be like...would feel like.

I remember the moment I woke up on my wedding day. I remember thanking whoever would listen in the great big Universe that I had found my life's companion; the most generous, loving, light hearted, funny, handsome man I had ever met. I remember the butterflies. The butterflies dancing in my stomach when I finally slipped on my wedding dress; the moment my Mom hooked the last button. The moment my veil was finally "just so" and my Mom and bridesmaids and I all squealed, cheered and decided it was time to celebrate.

I remember the moment my Dad came into the entryway of our suite and stood smiling, quiet, soaking in what was a moment I knew he had been dreaming of with conflicted anticipation since the first time he held me. I remember the hug, asking him to tell me a joke so I wouldn't cry and ruin my makeup. I remember just before the doors released for us to start our walk to my future, deciding we would play "I Spy" while we walked so that neither of us would cry.....and it worked.

I remember seeing my husband well up, doing the same myself. I remember one of our dearest friends conducting his first (he was ordained just for our wedding) ceremony with such great poise, humor, and love. I remember the moment he announced us as husband and wife, the sheer joy that ran from the tip of my head to the tips of my toes.

There is truly nothing like that moment. 

I remember our first dance, dancing with my Dad, seeing my Mom so incredibly radiant and beautiful. I remember the moment my Dad started his speech...feeling such pride and love for this man who was pouring out his heart all while making a room full of 140 people laugh and cry with him.

Most of all, when the events were over and the guests had headed back to wherever they called home, I remember sitting on the porch in wooden rocking chairs, having a glass of wine with my now husband, talking about how amazing the weekend had been, how loved we felt, how very thankful we were.

Most of all, I remember talking about our future, our family, our unborn children. I remember how we said how incredible it would be to someday return there with our kids, to that very suite, to that very bottle of wine. To rock with our babies as we celebrated what was the most incredible time in our lives...hitting golf balls with them...taking them to get gelato at our favorite soda shop on Main Street.

At this moment, I am looking at our little nugget fast asleep in her car seat, and realizing we are doing just that. We are starting the tradition we talked about that day...we are taking our baby girl to our favorite place. We are starting new memories, with new moments, moments that will forever be ingrained in our memories....in her memory.

In this moment, I am remembering the the last line of the vows we wrote to each other:
"I promise to strive to make every day better than the last, knowing that on my last day, my life will have been better because we have loved each other."

And it has, and we do....and we would do it all again and again.....and again.

I am linking up again this week with Yeah Write, don't forget to read some great blogs and vote for your favorite five this Thursday!