Saturday, October 29, 2011

Popcorn parties!

This update has one of my favorites.. plus a little update on the boys and what we've been doing around town since it's been beautiful..

I will start with my favorite!

For the last couple of weeks, Keegan has been phasing out his naps. It's bittersweet..and I think all you Mommies know why.. But, instead of naps.. Keegs and I will sit with bowls of popcorn.. tell stories, play games, read books.. or most days watch an "oldie but goodie" episode of THOMAS the TANK ENGINE..
So, not having the quiet time to myself, with both boys napping VS. getting to make one of my fav things everyday...that's a toss-up...

So, here is how I make the yummiest all natural POPCORN in the world..

1. purchase the organic or natural popcorn kernels
2. Grab any pot with cover
3. For every 1/4 cup of kernels, I put 1 tbspoon of olive oil (you could use, coconut oil, canola oil, grape seed oil, veggie oil..)
4. Put kernels and oil in pot, cover with top, and turn on high
5. Cook until you hear no more kernels popping.

I serve Keegs with Spray butter and a sprinkle of salt.


Now, for a little of how we've been enjoying the good weather..

Fun at our fav playground, Leeward!

Enjoying the Zoo

Thanks to Aunt Bridget... Daddy and I at the LSU - Auburn game...

We had an incredible DINNER WITH THE COUSINS a few weeks ago.. We merged the Miciotto and Tonores... and everyone had a great time! Can't wait to do it again!!!

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Saturday, October 8, 2011

Wine on my mind... a few more I love..

-   HESS - Cabernet - This is a great tasting wine that is also affordable... between $10-15...  According to the winemaker.. "Earthy flavors enhance the fruit flavors in this wine, especially with foods such as herb roasted chicken, grilled pork, caramelized onions, eggplant, sautéed greens, roasted potatoes  or vegetables and aged jack and Gouda cheese."
Winemaker goes on to say.. ".... full-bodied wine with rich flavors of blackberry and currant paste. Aging in American oak barrels for 16.5 months (25% new) brings a toasty nose of vanilla and nutmeg. "

This is a great Pinot with aromas of blackberry, cherry, plum.. and a little minty-ish.  This one would be a great one to bring to any holiday dinner...accompanies food and dessert very well. 

Friday, October 7, 2011

More Favorites... Oatmeal and pecans!

Ok.. here are a few more things that I love....and some good reasons why you should, too :)
 --- OATMEAL - To be completely honest, I think I go through at least a pound a week. I add oatmeal to everything. And, I get the raw, fresh, organic (if I happen to go to Whole Foods)..

     A few reasons why I love it!
     - tastes so yummy
     - A cup is only 130 calories..
     - High in fiber and protein, and low in fat (highest protein of any grain)
     - Gluten - free, and supposely my family has a history of being gluten senstive.. trying to be proactive.
    - protects against heart disease and cancer
   - protects against heart failure .. which also runs in the fam
  -   if you are nursing, it is said to help your supply ..

 - Pancakes
 - Muffins (box mixes, too)
- I also put more oats into any oatmeal cookie recipe.. a little extra gives it a little more chew
- meatloaf
- yogurt... along with fruit and nuts
- homemade bread

Favorite really REALY healthy recipe..


 For a while, I cooked with pecans all the time just because my parents were the "typical southern family" with a pecan tree in their front yard..and I HAVE bags and bags of them in the freezer..  Now, I do it for that reason and much more....

A few reasons why I love them

- They remind me of home
- They remind me of how lucky I am to be a southerner :)
    - They are yummy!
    - They supposely protect the mind..
   - Naturally-occurring antioxidants in pecans may help contribute to heart health and disease prevention
    -  19 vitamins and minerals – including vitamin A, vitamin E, folic acid, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, several B vitamins and zinc
   -  Sodium Free
   - Fats in pecans are heart healthy

A few things I sneak them in...

  -  Throw them in icecream
 - mix in yogurt
 - mix in any cookie I make
 - instead of anything breaded.. I crush pecans and use that as the coating..
 - mix in breads (pumpkin, banana, apple)
- mix in muffins
 - crumble on top of brownies..
 - decorate cakes with them
-- use in about any dish for Thanksgiving.. best with sweet potatoes..

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Lately....Football, Tractors, Cotton, ...and such...

We've been busy getting back to school, traveling to PA,  Keegan to Monroe, and hanging out with friends.

I wanted to post pics from an ExxonMobil family day where Keegan rode his first rollercoaster and other rides...I seemed to me more afraid than he is.. I use to think he was my cautious one..but, that changed at some point.

Starting from a few weeks ago.. here are some pics from a day at Blue Bayou for Exxonmobil day..

This was a dream come try for them... they had a blast!

Keegan's first coaster.. he was a pro!

Keegan finally agreeing to ride the horses that go up and down and Conner holding on for dear life..

Just a shot of the boys before they went to school.. it was gameday for the Tigers..

And, off we went to PA. Brett, myself, and Conner heading up to Reading, PA for a visit with the family, then, that weekend ... Brett and I went to Penn State, while Conner spent quality time with his Grammy and Poppy.
Conner had so much fun and we couldn't thank Brett's parents enough for giving us time to go to State College to spend a incrediable time with our friends..
Here are a few shots from the week and weekend....

Meanwhile in MONROE... Keegan was...











Friday, September 2, 2011

Cleaning up my Pantry, I am making some much needed changes to what I have stocked.. I recently watched a very frightening "Doctors" episode while on the treadmill.. and I convinced myself I need to watch a little more of what I am feeding the boys (all Three) and myself. let's start with some of my changes, and move on to the boys.. they'll put up more of a fight :)

A few Changes to begin with...

-----So, let's start with what I start my day off with everyday.. COFFEE

So, I have been drinking about 2 cups of Folgers everyday.. I have been wanting to make a switch to something more natural/organic.. but, everything I saw in stores was so expensive.
Recently on a girls' trip, we stopped at TARGET and purchased  the Seattle's Best Organic Fair Trade Coffee.. It was so good, and, bonus, it was marked down to $3/package. Apparently, if it gets anywhere near the use by date , they mark it down.
 ------ Creamer. Embarrassed to say, I had been using the powdered cream.. and after looking at the ingredients, and seeing it didn't have any sort of milk product, I knew I needed to make a change. So, I splurged adn bought Horizon Organic in Vanilla. It actually wasn't that expensive, and it doesn't take a lot to flavor my coffee.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Hot Day at the Zoo

I admit it, I was desperate for something to do after school last week... So, the boys and I drove out to the zoo.. prepared with lots of water and cool snacks. Drove up, and thought they were closed.. only about 3 cars in the lot. The person at the check out desk looked at me like I didn't get the memo. Whatever.. let's see if they can get creative inside after 3 months indoors..

Ok.. so, here are a few shots..

Conner was questioning this whole zoo visit in the 90 degree weather at this point..

keegan didn't let the heat get to him... he still had a blast!

my boys weren't phased by the tiger jumping up right against the glass in front of them. I mean, not even a flinch. This is probably because they have been to this exhibit since they were little bitty. I would like to think they would at least run if they encountered one in the real world :)

keegan thought this was the coolest thing. i was giving him branches off of the bushes to feed them. We haven't been back to the zoo to see if they survived all the random plants we fed them.

I figured since I was the last one a the zoo.. it would totally fine to go ahead and let them hop in the fountain. Oh, the little things. To be honest, I was about to dive in, myself.. It was brutal.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Girls' and Boys' Weekend 2011

This was a great weekend for the whole family. I was fortunate enough to be able to join my bestest girlfriends (Leigh, Becca, and Katie) to Charleston, meanwhile, Poppy flew in to join Brett down in Baton Rouge for the weekend. Everyone had a great time.

The girls and I visited some awesome restaurants in Charleston, as well as some really fun bars. It was priceless drinking coffee, eating out, staying out late, sleeping in really late (11am one morning), not changing any diapers and just taking care of myself! so many memories..

Here are a few of the fun places we ate and hung out..

first day
FIVE LOAVES - Leigh and I ate lunch here as we waited for all the girls to arrive. Yummy soups and sandwiches.. Great atmosphere..young and old. I can see why it might be a fav lunch spot in C'town
CYPRESS -  First night dinner.. such a cool setting. High ceilings and paintings of cypress trees everywhere. Brick walls with very rustic, but, modern lamps.. gave me a ton of inspiration for decor.

second day
VIRGINIA'S- lunch (late.. no schedule :)!!!) perfect southern C'town food. I had the most delicious grilled pear salad.. never had anything like it.. might try and make it one day. Rebecca and Katie had one of their signature dishes.. Fried chicken with a few sides. It was seasoned with Rosemary and it was UNREAL!
CHAI'S - It was OK.. nothing special about food.. actually it was flat out random.. but, the atmosphere. None of us was really that hungry.. but, then we headed to a Thai restaurant, BASIL, as they were closing.. it was ok, too

third day
Lunch from Publix on the beach. Yummy sandwiches.. awesome view
Out to concert that night at Patriots point on Sullivan's Island. Saw Guster.. was really a perfect night on the beach!

fourth day.
Poogan's Porch - really good.. I think we were all exhausted at this point of all the eating.. but, food was delicious!

MEANWHILE IN BATON ROUGE.. the boys were having an awesome time with Daddy and Poppy..

Here are a few pics...

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Fab Find...still can't believe it!

$69 online.. if you print coupons.. I think you can get it even cheaper than that from the store.

so, my camera really doesn't do it justice.. so, I copied the link to Kirkland's website. you guys this lamp is so awesome... french , wisteria-ish..heavy, which is hard to believe, especially coming from Kirkland's. Normally Kirkland's is too ornate for me.. but, Brett and I were desperate to find a piece to put our new surround sound system in (his bday, christmas, and anniv gift from me). We did find a piece of furniture, it had a leg missing (they gave us 50% off) So, we bought it, Brett fixed it, ends up we can't use it..something about it being too small and the equipment getting overheated. So, we're back to square one on that... BUT, we did find this awesome lamp. Debating getting another...

Sister time.. Rolling Grape Leaves

Bridget and I had the chance to roll Grape leaves this Sunday and had so much fun. Bridget, who's recently become a Pesce-Vegetarian (includes fish), rolled hers with rice and a very yummy and fragrant herb mix. I made my very traditional style, instead of ground lamb or beef.. I used Venison (I've been avoiding cow meat for a month or so).
They turned out delicious! Here are a few pics from our cooking..