Thankful

Happy Thanksgiving to everyone celebrating today! I hope those who can enjoy the holiday with their families are doing so! I’m so very thankful for my life and those who are in it specially my family who is a constant support and show me more love than I deserve.

Now go and eat until it hurts!

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What We Ate – Cousin Edition

Here’s another post where I tell you about the embarrassing amount of food I consumed in one weekend.

We started with Arepas because who wouldn’t? I made a quick guasacaca from scratch and it was amazing, we added it to almost every meal throughout the weekend. I only used avocados, garlic, onion, salt and red wine vinegar and it was perfect.

What We Ate // Pancake Saturday

What We Ate // Pancake Saturday

That same morning we got the boneless pork ribs in the crockpot for the tacos we were planing for dinner. It was just pork ribs, a bottle of beer, cumin, smoked paprika, onion powder, garlic powder and salt. Cooked slow for 10 hours and then shredded. Topped with my very favorite cilantro slaw (cabbage, cilantro, lime juice and salt), shredded cheese and more of that guasacaca. I drape the tortillas through a few of the slats on the oven rack and they toast in the perfect shape for tacos.

What We Ate // Pancake Saturday

We also prepared a big batch of sangria – it was so good. I’d never made my own so I owe that to my cousin, it was easy! Just a bunch of fruit and sweet red wine in a pitcher left to marinade in the fridge for a few hours. What We Ate // Pancake SaturdayThe next day we decided to make a mini Thanksgiving! After having Arepas for breakfast again (this time with eggs and bacon as the filling), we headed to the mall for a little while. We accidentally bought this bucket of mini donuts. UGH. In Alex’s defense, she only had one little donut. I can’t say the same for myself.

What We Ate // Pancake SaturdayWhat We Ate // Pancake Saturday

Later that day we got started on Thanksgiving and made my favorite stuffing muffins or Alex, mashed potatoes for Mr. HC, a whole roasted chicken (turkey is my least favorite Thanksgiving dish), and green beans. You can tell from the photos that it was super informal.


What We Ate // Pancake SaturdayWhat We Ate // Pancake Saturday

Sunday we went to church and after leaving Mr. HC home with the twins we headed to lunch just Eva, Alex and I. We went Hayden’s Grill & Pub in Canton and ordered fried pickles, coconut shrimp and jalapeno cheese dip  for appetizers, A bruschetta burger for Alex and an osso bucco pork Cuban sandwich for me. The food was delicious. Those fried pickles have my heart.

What We Ate // Pancake Saturday

What We Ate // Pancake Saturday What We Ate // Pancake SaturdayWe can’t forget the Dream Bars we made the second she got off the plane. We polished those off by the end of the weekend. No shame. 
What We Ate // Pancake SaturdaySo there you have it. I eat too much.

Finding The Light

Disclaimer: I’m sorry if you’re squeamish, I briefly talk about Eva’s injury.

It has been an emotionally draining week at our house. We’ve had many ouchies and kissing of boo-boos. We also had an injury that sent Eva to Urgent Care. Thankfully she’s okay, just bruised up but I know it could have been worse. She wanted to sit at the adult table to eat her lunch like a big girl. Of course she’d sat at the table many times before so I agreed. If you have a toddler you know they absolutely cannot sit still, it’s in their nature. I turned my back to change one of the twins’ diapers and heard the loud bang that all moms associate with their child falling and hitting their heads. When I turned around I saw Eva on the floor face down, she’d fallen out of the chair. I immediately ran over to her and scooped her up and ran back over to the changing table so the baby wouldn’t fall, too. When I finally peeled her off of my shoulder I noticed a lot of blood in her mouth and a very swollen jaw.

After I got her to settle down (and put the baby in a safe place) I got a good look at her mouth and noticed she bit the inside of her cheek, but man, if I hadn’t already heard that mouth injuries produce a lot of blood I would have been freaking out. Her face was what really concerned me. After talking to Mr. HC about the injury and sending him a photo, we decided to take her to get an x-ray to be sure her jaw wasn’t broken. Eva was a trooper and she allowed the doctor to look her over, but that’s no surprise. I’m pretty sure I have the only child on the planet who loves going to the doctor. No broken bones just a swollen, banged up girl. She’s in great spirits and loves telling everyone about the bruise on her face. I wish I could say that fall was the hardest thing I’ve encountered this week.

We have a few family friends that were dealt really scary hands this week. One was in a car accident that should have killed her but only because God was watching over her she survived. Her recovery will take months and I can’t pretend that I know what that’s like. My other friend is having surgery today to remove what would have been her third baby from her womb. I can’t imagine hearing the heartbeat one week and not the next. Also, something I know nothing about.

The thing is, I could sit here in my house and think to myself that it’s not really my problem to worry for others because I have three kids to think about. Or I could say, “Wow, so glad my family is okay”. But what would that say about me? Where is the compassion and love God commands us to show for our neighbors? It’s easy to forget what others’ pain is when we don’t have to confront it every day.

At the end of the day when all the kids are in bed, the last bottle washed and toy picked up, I think the same thing to myself,  “Wow, what a day it’s been”. And do you know that every day I wake up thinking maybe I won’t have that thought today? Maybe the kids and I will have a ‘good’ day. What does that even mean? A day where I don’t have to raise my voice? A day where I don’t have to rescue Pierre from Olivia’s clutches because she’s using him as a step stool AGAIN?

I admit that I get caught up in day-to-day frustrations and I don’t look at the whole picture. Instead of thinking about how exhausting it can be to care for 3 small children I could be thanking God for giving me the opportunity to stay home with them. If your kids aren’t in daycare, everything they learn from the time they are born until they go to school comes directly from your mouth (and your spouse’s mouth). Kind of a scary thought, but it done’t have to be. You can choose to find the light in every situation. You can choose to control your temper, you choose the words that come out of your mouth and you choose your actions. Just as you choose to show compassion and love for your neighbor.

You can choose to find the light every day. The light that will give you peace and hope. The light that will comfort you when you’re down or give you strength when you just can’t take another step. For me the light is Jesus.

Thoughts for Thursday

Happy Thursday! We’re starting something new around here called Thoughts for Thursday. It’s basically me rambling on about random things. You’re welcome.

Do you like football? I use to be super against it because I didn’t like the way some people get totally sucked into the TV and start yelling and wearing team jerseys everywhere they go. Well, I’m one of those people now (except the jersey part), as of two seasons ago. I just didn’t understand the game until now! Once Mr. Hotcakes (yeah, that’s what I’m calling my husband from this point forward) explained the game I really started to enjoy it. He’s a Miami Dolphins fan (note the kids’s appeal for church a few weeks ago) and always has been so I guess that makes me a fan by marriage. My favorite team is Green Bay but don’t tell him that. So anyway, this year Mr. Hotcakes convinced me to get a Fantasy team and, well, I’m #1 in our league. HA! Me! So funny because I have no clue what I’m doing. But it sure is fun to be a winner.

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I’m currently obsessed with these candles. I randomly came across Detroit Rose Candle CO. when I was at Detroit’s Eastern Market about a month ago and I can’t stop burning their candles. At first I just bought one Campfire candle, which smells AMAZING by the way, but then the following weekend I practically begged Mr. Hotcakes to take me back and I bought 3 more, Pipe Tobacco, Toasted Chestnut and a second Campfire because OMG. You need to buy one of these candles ASAP.

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Speaking of Eastern Market, if you are in the area you should definitely go there. I love outdoor markets (in the summer, of course), the locally grown produce is beautiful, delicious and well priced! They have more than just food, too, but of course that’s what I loved the most. The atmosphere is wonderful and you can support local farms! There are a few food trucks offering great eats and a BBQ pit right on the sidewalk! We went two weeks in a row (ahem, I NEEDED more candles) and there is still more that I didn’t get to check out. Definitely worth the drive.

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Fall is coming to Michigan. I am not ready. I was enjoying the heat and sunshine and now it’s all being ripped away from me. So unfair. I do enjoy the cooler weather but once winter hits I’m pretty much inconsolable. It’s just so darn long. The trees are already changing color

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Cilantro mustache. That is all.untitled-149

I’m at the gym 6 days a week taking a variety of classes. Even though I’m still holding on to way too much pregnancy weight I feel strong and I’m toning muscle, which I’ve never had. I was ‘skinny fat’ for a long time and then I gained a lot of weight after I got married. A year after Eva was born I did Insanity and I really enjoyed it (you can read my review here). I had never pushed myself like that before and I lost a lot of body fat and inches all over. Enter twin pregnancy. I gained WAY too much weight and it’s being super stubborn and hanging around longer than I had hoped. But getting up every morning and making it to the gym really makes me a better wife and mom. I get some separation from the kids and do something for myself that I really enjoy. My body is far from perfect but I love it a little bit more each day because I know I’ve done something to better myself. untitled-158

Do you like football? What’s your favorite team?

Any favorite classes offered at your gym or workouts?

the beginning (sort of)

I had a pretty good thing going with my last blog, Chef By Invitation (you can fine it here , I’ve also merged it into this blog so you can easily find recipes) but when I got pregnant with the twins everything kind of changed. My life is very different than it was a year ago. And not in a bad way. I remember when the thought of caring for two infants and a toddler terrified me. The thought of my life, my marriage, my relationship with my first born changing was so scary, it would keep me up at night. But here I am on the other side and I can truly say that I love it. Being a long, juggling every day life, it’s exhausting and certainly comes with it’s challenges (I’m looking at you potty training), but I can say that I am happy, I have joy and I love my family dearly.

I miss developing recipes and it’s not to say that this blog won’t have any of that but just less. I have less time for recipe development but more time for kissing my babies. Less time for trial and error cooking but more time to ask my husband about his day and really listen to his response.

I’m excited for this blog because it’s new and fresh and begging to be written. Thanks for stopping by!

Hi

I totally haven’t forgotten about you! I know it seems like it. Since our trip to Baltimore a few weeks ago my brain and life have been all over the place. Where shall I begin?

Well, I guess it all started with the 8 hour drive to Maryland and back within 3 days with a 7.5 month old. Actually, Eva did really well in the car considering her circumstances. I had a lot of toys and my iPad with videos to keep her entertained. I wish someone would cater to me on long car rides! This kid has got it pretty good.

Our time in MD with friends was priceless. I absolutely loved being there and seeing everyone I miss so much! Going to our old church and getting to meet all the new babies there, too, was just awesome. One of our awesome friends, Brian, opened his home to us and we were so appreciative. Unfortunately, Eve really does not like to sleep anywhere other than in her crib. I spent so much time sleep training her to sleep in her room that now she will only sleep in her room. SO, she slept with Pierre and I. I use the word ‘slept’ very loosely here because she rolls around and just wants to comfort nurse all night long. Ouch is right. And, of course, I’m freaking out all night because I don’t want to smoosh her. Let’s just say that I’m super spoiled now that she sleeps 10+ hours in her room when we’re home. I feel like I deserve it though because she ‘slept’ with me for the first 4 months of her life, I’m still trying to catch up on my sleep.

Moving right a long. We got home from MD on Monday night so my days were all turned around and I kept thinking it was Sunday. I thought Friday was Thursday and posted a recipe instead of Photo Friday. But don’t worry you weren’t the only one jipped. Pierre’s office always buys them lunch on Fridays so they can all eat together as a team. I, completely believing it was Thursday, packed him a delicious lunch. Oh, but of course as he was heading out to his car I handed him his lunch box and in an attempt to cheer him up I said “Hey, it’s Friday!”. I’m totally crazy.

Normally, I work Monday, Wednesday & Friday. Well, one of the girls that works at the gym just stopped showing up while I was in MD so I’ve taken on Thursday, too. Well, not for long. On Monday I told my boss I can’t commit to a schedule anymore. One thing you should know about me is that I hate to disappoint people. Anytime I’ve had to resign from a job or even just say no to someone I feel like total crap. But here’s the thing. Eva has now made it clear that she hates the gym. We are there in the mornings into early afternoon and it cuts right into one of her naps. She doesn’t sleep well in the stroller like she did when I first started working there. She now screams her head off from about 11:30 am to 1 pm until I get her home into her crib for a nap. It’s completely heart breaking. So after Thanksgiving I won’t be working anymore, unless they need me to cover a shift now and then. This also means I can actually get to workout! I never have time anymore. I have seriously looked at a calendar 4 times while writing this post because I don’t know what day it is or how long ago we went to MD.

Hmmm, what else? Oh yeah, I’m trying to reorganize the entire house. We are renting a really small house and we have a lot of crap so it gets messy quickly. I feel like I need to be smart about organizing and get creative when it comes to putting things away to maximize space. Pinterest is my best friend. I went to Target to return a hat and mittens I bough Eva and I ended up leaving with 2 bags full of things AND two items too big for bags. Oy.

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In conclusion. I’m tired, confused and I haven’t forgotten about you! I have some recipes and other things I want to post soon. Let me just figure out where my brain is first.

Crispy Herb & Olive Potatoes

I love potatoes. I ate so many french fries when I was pregnant that I’m surprised Eva wasn’t born a potato. Any potato cooked any way = gimme.

These potatoes are inspired by potatoes I had at the Nordstrom Cafe a few years ago. I’ve made a variation of this recipe many times and it never, ever disappoints. Do you hear me? Never ever. I added olives this time and it’s a winner!

Crispy Herb & Olive Potatoes
Serves 2

1 large russet potato
1/4 cup fresh oregano, chopped
1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped
1/4 cup fresh mint, chopped
1 garlic clove, grated
2 tbsp chopped onion, white or scallion
2 tbsp chopped Kalamata olives, about 5 – 6 olives
1 lime, juice & zest
2 tbsp olive oil
Salt & pepper to taste

Preheat the oven to 425ºF. Cut the potatoes into 1″ pieces, toss with 1 tbsp of olive oil salt & pepper, and bake for 20 – 25 minutes until they are cooked and crisp on the outside. While they bake, prepare the herbs. Toss all the remaining ingredients in a medium bowl and set aside.

Add the hot potatoes to the herb mixture and toss to coat. The hot potatoes will absorb so much flavor, it’s divine.

This recipe, like most of mine, is completely customizable. You can use any herb or spices you like and you can even use different types of potatoes if you have something else on hand. The point is this, eat potatoes.