Thursday, August 30, 2012

Jalapeño Jelly Chicken



1 small pkg chicken breasts of the boneless and skinless variety

5 tsp of dijon mustard

8 tsp of jalepeno jelly (I found it at Reasors)

6 tsp of honey (go local!)

salt and pepper



Mix the mustard, jelly, and honey in a bowl. Put chicken in pan. Lightly salt/pepper chicken. Pour on sauce. Shove in oven. Preheat to 350, cook for an hour. I used a spoon to “baste” the chicken a couple of times so it had that nice even coating.

Those of you who like honey seared chicken at pei wei…this reminded me of it in the texture of the chicken and sauce.  This chicken however, has no breading.

We did steamed broccoli, cauliflower, and carrots with a small amount of butter as a side, but I think brown rice and edamame would pair well too!

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Peach and Bleu Cheese Steak


*Bold directions are great for Little Helpers


1 pkg Bleu Cheese Crumbles

1 peach per steak (but you can ALWAYS eat extra grilled peaches because they are delicious)

Balsamic Vinegar

Salt and Pepper

Ribeye Steak



Let your rib eye sit on the counter until it is room temperature. I normally skip the salt and pepper when I’m using balsamic vinegar because it is so flavorful, but you can lightly salt and pepper the steaks if you’d like. Otherwise, I put just a few drops of balsamic vinegar on each steak. A little BV goes a long way.

Cut the peaches in half and remove the pit.

Our grill drives me nuts, but I try to turn it on medium heat (whatever that is). Generally, I try to cook out steak about medium. I give it about seven minutes on each side on my grill and that normally does it.

I normally wait about five minutes after the steak goes on and put the peaches on “meat” side down. You want to be able to squeeze the peaches and feel that they are pretty soft.  This for me generally takes about ten minutes.

Put steak on plate. (Tip: Let the steak sit for 5 minutes or so before you plate and serve.  This allows it to reabsorb all the juices. You can then cut off a small piece to make a “mini” steak for kiddos). Slice up peaches into pretty little wedges and arrange prettily so you look like a culinary bad ass. Sprinkle bleu cheese. Oh, hell ya! That’s gorgeous!

Additional awesomeness: You can use this same topping on grilled pork and it’s amazing. You can mix the peaches and blue cheese up with a little BV and freeze it to use as a sauce later on too.

Sausage Pockets


*Steps that are bolded are great for Little Helpers

Ingredients: 296091_10100789687237412_2132316739_n

1 package of sausage (original)

5 or 6 baby bella mushrooms

1 package of feta crumbles (I like to use the flavored garlic and herb feta as a short cut)

2 package of crescent rolls

2 cups of shredded spinach

1 cup shredded mozzarella

*Makes 8 pockets



Prep (I do this in the morning after breakfast so I don’t have to worry about it):

Cook sausage in a large skillet. When sausage is fully cooked, place on paper towels to absorb extra fat and oil.  Next, slice and firm up the baby portabella mushrooms in the same skillet (using the sausage fat as your oil).  You want them to turn a nice caramelized color. Remove extra oil by allowing them to rest and cool on a paper towel.  Dice the mushrooms and mix in a bowl with the sausage and allow it to cool in the refrigerator until you are ready to actually cook the pockets.


Dump feta crumbles and mozzarella in bowl with chilled sausage and mushrooms. Rip spinach into small pieces and toss the entire mixture. It should look super pretty and impressive now.

Open crescent roll package.  You will use two triangles for each pouch.  Lay the two triangles over one another just slightly so that the shape looks more like a square. Using a rolling pin, roll it out a little to de-emphasize the seam.  Spoon filling into the middle, the pull the four corners together and pinch seams. You want a good amount of filling, but don’t overstuff. (Tip, practice with one pocket first to figure out what the “right” amount of filling looks like, then stuff the rest).  Place pockets on a lightly greased cookie sheet.  Preheat the oven to 350 and cool until golden brown (for me it normally takes 15-20 minutes).  Enjoy hot. Wrap up and eat cold or warm as a leftover.


Tuesday, August 28, 2012

So, my son died…

I realized today while going back over my blog that I hadn’t even posted on this one what happened to Rowan, my little Wolfling.

The long and the short of it is simply that Rowan’s body wasn’t compatible with long term life. We wanted it to be. We did what we could to give him his best chance at a long and happy childhood, and when that was no longer even a remote possibility, we decided to love him and enjoy the time we had left, making it the best possible.

Hospice was not only the right decision for our family, but a beautiful time for our family.  We lived the way I wish we’d always live and know we will continue to live. We loved him. We said goodbye.

He died on July 29th, holding our hands. He died peacefully, free of pain.

My son was a beautiful, amazing little boy that we knew would only be with us for a short time. Kids with his heart defects don’t die of old age. Same for kids with Cystic Fibrosis.

You can read about my little Wolfling on the blog we dedicated to him as we chronicled his short but meaningful life at

One day, I will sit down and write at length about hospice, “allowing” death, and what amazing peace hospice gave us as a family, but for now, this is enough.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Enjoying Dinner…at a restaurant

Last Friday, Doc and I took my sisters and Little Bird to a restaurant.  We had appetizers, dinner, and dessert.  Little Bird did great!

Believe it or not, Little Bird does fantastic at restaurants the majority of the time.

We had a few little training tricks we used to help her become familiar with what is expected at a restaurant.

#1: Eat out at Breakfast! Diners that serve breakfast are a great place to introduce a kiddo to eating out. Morning is Little Bird’s best time of day, so we had her eat with us at BBD (Brookside By Day) on a few mornings. Restaurants are less crowded if you go early and you can take your time explaining how things work.

#2: Explain how things work. “We will be given a table for us to eat at.  We will each sit in our own chair.  In a restaurant, people move around a lot, so we will try to stay in our seat so we don’t fall or knock people over.” As well as, “the waiter will bring us our food.  We have to tell them what we’d like and they will bring it to us when it is ready.”

#3: Have them order. When Evelyn orders her food, she accepts responsibility for that order. It gives her some control. She also orders her drink and says please and thank you to the waiter.

#4: Games. Make shapes with sugar packets (emphasizing that we will have to clean these toys up when the food comes) or stack jellies.  You are teaching your child ways to occupy themselves when waiting is hard. It’s a good trick.

#5: Talk. Have normal conversations about what you will do later that day or that weekend. Involve the kiddos. Talk about the food. What is delicious? What don’t you like very much? Talk about the kind of foods you are eating.

Following these steps have made mealtimes out and about not only relaxing, but FUN!

Sure, every now and then we have a spill, or we have to chase a little girl who is racing for the bathroom, but most of the time…it’s actually nice to take our kid to a restaurant.


So, I have made a lot of progress on my goal of finding food sources that are more localized.  This is largely due to using Reasor’s for the food I can’t buy directly from the farmer’s market or butcher.  Reasor’s sells a lot of my favorite steals that are Oklahoma products, including bread made from wheat grown in state.

With that said, we’ve been refocusing our food in our home. Healthier? Not really, we do a pretty good job of that normally.

What we have been doing is making mealtimes family time. No meal takes place away from the table unless it’s a special occasion.  No electronics are allowed whatsoever. We try to eat in courses as often as possible to enjoy the food as well as teach Little Bird how to enjoy food and patiently anticipate the next course.

Little Bird now sets the napkins and plates on the table. She will be working on getting silverware set this week.

She also gets her own drink.

We have one rule: Everyone must try everything.

This rule applies to Little Bird AND Doc.

I’ve been having fun in the kitchen trying new things like Jalepeno Jelly, cooking a whole chicken, stuffed mushrooms, even mini cakes.

We only eat at specific times throughout the day.  Breakfast, Lunch, Snack, Dinner. All take place at the table.  Drinks are allowed whenever anyone wants one.  Drinks being Juice, Water, Milk, Tea, and Coffee.

Doc works a lot this month, so having a meal together at dinner has been priceless.  Little Bird’s conversation skills have skyrocketed.  She is learning summary skills when she tries to relay her day’s happenings to her dad. She is learning courtesy and how to show interest in other’s stories while we talk at the table too.

Little Bird helps me cook most days.  She is really great at pouring in pre-measured items, stirring, and tasting.  She is much more likely to eat things that she helped prepare.

We also “plate”. You can make anything look thirty times more tasty if you arrange it nicely on a plate.

This shift back to our old habits has been highly therapeutic. It’s nice to know that even if the day is hard, we’ll have a nice dinner at the end of it.

COMING SOON: …what to do when dinner goes badly and you have no time to get something together because today was THAT bad.

WARNING: If your kid struggles to eat anything other than cheese or bread or fruit snacks, adopting this way of eating, cooking, etc. takes a few weeks for them to adjust to. Enforce the “try it” rule. They may act like they are going to starve themselves, but eventually most kiddos come around when they figure out what to expect.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012



Well, I have too much free time on my hands so you know what that means!


My new project – BREAK FREE OF CHAINS! …or at least most of them.

I want to stop shopping at Walmarts/Targets/Old Navys/etc.

I don’t expect to do this overnight, so consider this a series.

Step 1: Food

Step 2: Clothing

Step 3: Shelter

Step 4: Misc.

Not all chains are “bad” but I think that if I can throw my money back into the local economy in a more direct way and help the small business owners that are keeping diversity alive in the local market, I’m going to. So here we go!

Step 1 I will be attacking this week!