Jul 31, 2012

July photoaday recap

July has been such a fun month for us and I think you can see that in my photoaday July recap.


1-self portrait 2-busy 3-best part of my day 4-fun 5-on the floor 6-chair 7-garden 8-lunch dinner 9-big 10-my favorite color 11-letter 12-texture 13-open sunshine 14-building new bed 15-finger 16-sign deep thoughts 17-my addiction 18-plate 19-pet 20-eyes 21-9 o'clock 22-upside down 5 randoms 23-mirror 24-a stranger no nap girl 25-heart 26-sunshine birthday cake 27-on the road toes 28-cup 29-last thing i bought 30-calm 31-toothbrush salsa

For larger images and explanations, check out my flickr 2012 PhotoADay set. You can also click on these links to see January, February, March, April, May and June collages.

Here's a link to August's photo-a-day prompts.

Seven months down and five to go. For those of you that are new around here, I'm @recipeforcrazy on instagram.

Jul 29, 2012

4 months


My baby is 4 months old today!


In the last month you found your toes and are totally fascinated with them and work really hard to cram them into your mouth. Gross.


You also have been doing a little more rolling but I think every time has been an accident so far. That's okay, no rush, you'll get the hang of it soon enough.

I think I've also been replaced as your favorite person. You totally love your sister. She can just walk by and you'll give the biggest smiles to her. Seriously, I work really hard for those things and she doesn't have to do anything to get one.


You guys love it when I hold you up, facing her while she jumps. She laughs, then you laugh, then she laughs because you're laughing, then you laugh even harder. It's awesome!


You also really enjoy belly time and almost prefer it. You love laying on blankets watching your sister dance around or run screaming by.


Girlfriend, yes, that's what I call you sometimes. Okay, a lot. Not sure where it came from, or why I say it with a major accent, but I do. Anyway, you are so sweet, happy and so very content. You are such a huge part of our family already and are so very loved.


Happy 4 months of life!!


Jul 25, 2012

A letter to my TWO year old

P turns 2 web

Happy Birthday to my sweet, sweet girl!!

Today is your birthday and you are so loved. Right now you are all about purple, princesses and monsters. That's right. Your favorite movie is Monsters Inc.


You are so much fun and your personality has really come shining through in the past year. You are extremely funny and you love making people laugh. Such an entertainer.


I'm not sure where you picked up your dance moves but they are, um, unique. Awesome and unique. You love to dance with me in the morning and you usually want me to turn on "keeber" (that means cucmber, aka, veggie tales Sunday morning songs.) We dance and little sister watches. You make her laugh the most. I'm pretty sure you guys will be the best of friends. If not, I'll make you. I can do that, you know, I am your mom ;)


I'm pleased to tell you that you are still a great eater. Although you don't love everything I cook, at least you'll try everything once. And, if someone gave you a sucker and we tell you that you have to eat your dinner first, you literally will choke down foods you detest, like zucchini fritters. Sorry about that. I won't ever make you eat one again!


Some of your favorite foods, that need no choking down, include cheese, crackers, donuts and chips and salsa. You amaze me at how you eat spicy food already. You eat most meats, including fish and you love all fruits. As for veggies, you have found that you don't really care for them, other than tomatoes. You can eat your weight in those any day.

Now that you're in your big girl bed you are ready for your sister to join you in her room. Sorry, she gets up 2 hours earlier than you and I'm not quite ready for you both to be awake that early. In time.


Your top favorite phrases right now include: "yeah, okay," "yeah, sure," and "stop it." Where you picked that last one up, I'm not sure but I do know I don't care for it much. And while we're on that topic, your little independent self does not like it when you don't get your way. You have mastered the art of a fit and I'm working on mastering the art of putting an end to it.


You really are a great kid. You have so much joy and you wake up in the best mood most every day. I have enjoyed watching you grow, learn and become this beautiful little girl. I look forward to many more years watching you.


We've had so much fun with you over the last two years and you have blessed our lives in such a wonderful way. You are an awesome daughter and incredible sister. Your daddy and mommy love you so much and am so proud of you.

Happy Birthday.

P.S. here's a little look back.


Jul 23, 2012

Greek Chicken with Roasted Okra - recipe

I shared a picture of this meal on instagram and had a couple people ask for the recipe so here it is.


The husband requested Greek chicken the other night and I didn't want to go to the store so I had to use what we hand on hand. I found this recipe for Greek chicken adapted it to fit our tastes.

I had 6 boneless, skinless chicken thighs in the fridge and marinated them over night (marinade recipe below).

1/4 cup lemon juice
1/2 cup olive oil
1 tablespoon basil
1 tablespoon oregano
1 teaspoon fresh oregano
1/4 teaspoon thyme
3 cloves minced garlic
salt and pepper

Just whisk it all together in a bowl and pour it over chicken in a gallon freezer bag.

So it marinated over night and the next day I put the thighs in a baking dish and tried to save as much of the marinade as I could and spread it over the meat. I baked them for 30 minutes then turned the broiler to high and cooked them another 5 minutes, or so, until the skins started to get brown and crisp.

As for the okra, I had picked several pods from the garden and an instagram friend (@omarchris - he makes the most delicious food) suggested I roast them. I've never had roasted okra so I had to try it! Turns out it is super simple to make and so very delicious. Now, I do love me some fried okra but I've had plenty of that already this year and the roasted was a nice change.

Anyway, for the okra. I cut the stems off each pod and cut them in half vertically and spread them out on a cookie sheet. Then I drizzled them with olive oil and seasoned them with salt and pepper and baked them at 400 degrees for about 20 minutes or so, until they started to get a little black in places.

I served the chicken (topped with a little crumbled feta) over couscous alongside the okra and it was one of my husband's favorite meals.

I'm making it again this week but am attempting to make it with a whole chicken in a crock pot. I'll let you know how it turns out.

Anyway, have you ever had roasted okra?

Jul 19, 2012

Canning Adventures Part 1 - Salsa

Canned Garden Salsa

Every year my husband plants way too many tomato plants than we could ever need. In past years we have given the excess to neighbors and co-workers but this year we decided to try a few canning recipes for our tomatoes. I've never canned in my life and was surprised at how easy is was.

Easy, yes.

Quick, no.

Canning takes time and a whole lot of it. First there's the prep work. Cleaning, chopping ingredients and sanitizing EVERYTHING. Then there's the cooking time, processing time and my least favorite part, the clean up. It's pretty much a whole day affair.

That said, it's also pretty fun. I have since canned a variety of things that I'll share over the next few weeks but I'll start with my first adventure: salsa.

I went to the store and got a few canning essentials. 

canning basics 

A water canner, plenty of jars and a handy little canning cook book.

And this is how it all went down.

Main ingredient: tomatoes picked from the garden. 

a day's garden harvest

I had to blanch like 12 pounds of those bad boys before coring and taking most of the seeds out. Side note, I never blanched anything before and was amazed how fast and easy it was. The skins peeled off without much effort. 

blanched tomatoes

Anyway, time to remove the cores. I didn't have a fancy corer so I improvised and just used a melon baller. You can call me a genius, I don't mind. 

coring tomatoes with melon baller

Next up was chopping all the tomatoes, peppers and other ingredients. Ideally, you would do all this with a food processor but I didn't have one at the time so I put my fancy, super sharp knife to work. 

pre-chopped ingredients for salsaingredients in canned salsa

Once everything was chopped, it was time to cook. I started with the tomatoes first. 

tomatoes for canning salsa

Cooked those down a bit before adding all the other stuff. 

making garden fresh salsa for canningmaking garden fresh salsa for canning

Let it all come to a boil before ladeling it into the jars.

Let me pause here. Anyone know why it's called canning and not jarring? You don't use cans and I'm pretty sure the first people to "can" didn't use cans either. 

Anyway, there's a whole process in this that I won't bore you with but basically you have to have your jars heated so they don't break when you put in the hot salsa. Then all the jars go back in the water canner and "process" or continue cooking in boiling water for a certain amount of time. 

Canning homemade salsa

Then it's time to take them out and wait to hear the magical "pop" of the lid sealing. It's pretty awesome. 

 Canning homemade salsa

I must also say that I was a little more than disappointed at the amount of salsa 12 pounds of tomatoes made. I was hoping for a pantry full of garden salsa that I could eat on for years but I ended up with a few jars full. Oh well. We had some salsa that didn't fit in the jars so we had a taste test. The flavor was awesome but it just wasn't hot enough.

 Canned Garden Salsa

I'm always afraid to make things too hot and ruin it but I'm realizing that even if I double the amount of peppers a recipe calls for, it's still not hot enough. Better luck next time. As for the jars we do have, I have been adding chopped habenero peppers and letting it sit for a day before eating it and it's pretty perfect. 

So, what did I learn from my first adventure in canning? 

One, I need a food processor - which I know have thanks to a dear friend.

Two, I love blanching things!

Three, I should can on the weekend and not try to fit it in during nap time because there's just not enough time.

Four, I need to triple peppers when making salsa to meet my need for heat.

And, lastly, a personal cleaning assistant would be awesome because my kitchen looked like a crime scene with all the juice from working with 12 pounds of tomatoes scattered all over the place.

I don't have a recipe to share because I'm not 100% sold on my version but here's the one I used as a basis for mine: spicy tomato salsa, thanks, @theprairiehen. I just used more tomatoes and fresh peppers instead of dried.

Jul 16, 2012

Big Girl

This past week I've been cleaning, sanding and painting my old bed from when I was little for Sweet P.

She tested out the springs and we moved all her blankets over. Now she's sleeping in a big girl bed.


I may have shed a tear or two at the fact that she's never going to be in a crib again.

This was her when she was a wee little one, peeking out at me from her crib.


How do they grow up so fast?!


So very fast.

Jul 9, 2012

Homemade Pesto

homemade pesto

I have to start off letting you know I used to hate pesto. Like really hate it. I love fresh basil so it was weird to me that I didn't care for pesto at all. That all changed this year.

Our basil bushes have been doing quite well this year and I've been clipping it like crazy and making a lot of caprese salads and adding fresh basil to just about everything. It's been wonderful!

Since we have SO much basil I decided to make my own pesto and give my taste buds another shot. I mean, really, it's probably been 10+ years since I tried it and I'm certain my tastes have changed since then.

I looked up a lot of recipes online for pesto, read a bunch of reviews and made up my own version based off of this one. Turns out I love pesto!

Total surprise to me but I'm so glad I gave it another shot. I've been creating all sorts of dishes just so I can use it.

I first tried it alone on some fresh sliced tomatoes from the garden.

garden tomatoes with pesto


Then I heated some up in a skillet with a little cream and poured it over gnocchi and chicken.

chicken and gnocchi with pesto

Delicious again!

Then we had our homemade pizza night and I made a pizza with pesto as the sauce. I topped it with tomatoes, onions, sausage, feta and more cheese and baked it.

Homemade pizza with pesto

Again, delicious.

And the latest meal was just some store-bought chicken and cheese ravioli tossed with warmed pesto.

chicken and cheese ravioli with pesto

No surprise here. Delicious.

To top it off, it was so easy to make and as you can see, so versitile.

Have I interested you in making your own yet?!

If so, here's what you'll need:
ingredients for pesto

1. 3 cups chopped basil
2. 2 tablespoons minced garlic
3. 2/3 cup parmesean cheese
4. 1/2 teaspoon cayenne
    1/2 teaspoon salt
    1/4 teaspoon pepper
5. 1 cup extra virgin olive oil
6. 1/2 cup roasted walnuts, chopped

Ideally, you would blend the basil and a tablespoon of olive oil in a food processor until it was a paste, but I didn't have a food processor at the time so I used my magic bullet. Anyway, once you have a basil paste, gradually add the nuts, garlic, spices and remaining olive oil and blend until smooth. I just stored mine in a jar and stuck it in the fridge to use when I need it.

I know I have parmesan cheese listed and you need it, but I also read that if you leave it out your pesto will last longer. So, I just add the cheese as I use it but if you prefer to add it, just blend it in when you add the nuts and stuff.

That's it. Hope you enjoy it!