recipe box: twenty three

July 31, 2012

lemon dill ricotta dip



what you need
one cup fat free ricotta
two tablespoons fresh dill
one tablespoon of fresh lemon juice
salt & pepper to taste
sliced hot house cucumber 
& crackers to scoop



 tip: the gourmet garden herb tubes are amazing.
they are organic and free of preservatives and dyes.
the pros, if you don't grow your own herbs-
it's ready to use, it lasts at least a month
in the refrigerator and it's fast to 
squeeze into any recipe!

we currently have garlic, ginger, cilantro and dill.
there is no peeling the garlic or ginger, grating, chopping
mincing or smashing, it's all done for you! 



what to do
place first three ingredients in bowl
 mix together until well combined.
 add salt and pepper to taste.
 you'll want to keep refrigerated until serving.
in the meantime, slice the cucumber in diagonals.
serve on top of, or on the side with crackers.
my friends loved it scooped up with cucumbers.

enjoy! 

recipe box: twenty two

July 25, 2012

spicy turkey lettuce wraps


what you need
filling
twenty ounce of lean ground turkey 
one medium onion- diced
salt & pepper to taste
two large cloves garlic- chopped
two heaping tablespoons of fresh ginger- peeled & minced
 three green onions- chopped
8oz can sliced water chestnuts- drained & chopped
fourth of cup peanuts- chopped
 lettuce leaves- rinsed and patted dry

sauce
one tablespoon sesame oil
two tablespoons soy sauce
half tablespoon water
one tablespoon natural peanut butter
half tablespoon honey
one tablespoons + one teaspoon rice vinegar
two teaspoons chili garlic sauce 
(or you make your own by mixing sriracha with minced garlic) 
dash of fresh pepper




 what to do
Heat a large, non-stick skillet on high. 
Add chicken, onion, salt & pepper
and cook until chicken is nearly done
stirring often to break up the meat. 
Add in garlic and ginger and 
continue cooking until chicken is no longer pink.

Meanwhile, in a microwave safe bowl, 
combine sesame oil, soy sauce, water, 
peanut butter, honey, rice vinegar, 
chili garlic sauce and pepper. 
Microwave for 20 seconds, then stir until smooth. 
Add into the skillet and stir to combine.

 Add green onion and water chestnuts into the skillet 
then cook for one to two minutes until the onions 
are soft and the water chestnuts are heated through.
Sprinkle with chopped peanuts (we used spicy peanuts)
and serve with cold lettuce leaves.


note
this is a healthier, lighter version
of pf changs lettuce wraps- we used turkey
instead of chicken just by preference.
you could totally make this vegetarian
using whatever meat substitute 
or tofu you choose!


 tip
we made a dipping sauce using
House of Tsang Bangkok Padang Peanut sauce (1/4 cup) 
two tablespoons rice wine vinegar
two teaspoons sesame oil
a few dashes of soy sauce
whisk until combined and it's ready
dip or drizzle it over your wraps!
enjoy

family vacation


calabash, nc
twenty twelve

until next year

<<<>>>

July 18, 2012

[taken by me last year at Ripley's Aquarium]


vacation starts tomorrow afternoon!
I'll be posting about it once we return-
happy weekend

sweet summer time

July 17, 2012

summer for us has never been a big deal
it was like any other day but because 
Adriana is in school now, it's a break for her.
the time we had on the days when she didn't have school
we spent out or at home doing things- things we don't
really have the time to do with me being in school full time, 
daddy working full time and her in school all day.
but it's summer time, so this is THE time to make sure those
days count and to make sure she has as much fun as possible
before first grade sets in and the hard work starts.
and of course for Ryland before he starts
kindergarten Fall of 2013.

we've been keeping super busy with
 activities at home like art projects, reading,
going to museums and special places for them.
here are some pictures I wanted to share
of what we have been up to.






<<<>>>
p l a c e s
we've
b e e n

Ed McKay's Book Store
Adriana does a summer reading thing with 
them where if she reads ten books she gets 
a five dollar credit, so buys more books! 


ArtQuest
Adriana and Ryland LOVE this place
it's got tons of art activities
and it gets their brain juices flowing.
they can be as creative as they wish to be!


Fun Fourth
a fourth of July festival Greensboro has
and we go every year, we were part of
trying to make a high five world record!

The Children's Museum
an amazing place for all ages
to become interactive with the fun
environment they have set up.
it's amazing!


The South Elm Urban Market
while this is more so for teens and adults
there are a lot of activities they aim 
for children at this wonderful market.
ice cream truck please?















happy sweet summer to you
soak up what is left because
it will be cold before you know it
{thank goodness}

adriana turns six

we woke up and did our usual happy birthday dance
and got ready for the day. she had decided she wanted
to come to class with me so she could see me dance-
so off we were, dropped Ryland off with my parents
and headed to class where she giggled and played
and watched me dance for a couple hours. 

daddy got off work around noon in time for us 
all to meet at the house and head out for a day 
of celebrating our little lady's birthday!
 we go to the children's museum to find out they 
are closed on the ONE day we needed them open.
thankfully, there were no tears so we packed up
the car once again and I headed to the best place
I knew would cheer her up- starbucks!
I got her favorite drink (split with Ryland, always)
a caramel frapp with no coffee and tons of caramel syrup
and a birthday cake pop.
all sorrows were forgotten and we headed to high point
for a movie and dinner afterwards.
we loaded up on popcorn and drink then headed in
to find our perfect seat to watch Brave.
and let me just say, it was amazing! 
not the story line I anticipated but boy 
every moment of the story line was exciting 
and I even cried a few times.
 It's a must see if you love Pixar!
We enjoyed a relaxing dinner 
and had ice cream cake when we got home.
It couldn't have been more perfect and
Adriana had so much fun!


thank you to everyone who made it extra special-
to family and friends who wished her a happy birthday
and/or sent her a gift- she loves everything
and loves you very very much! 



for more pictures 
find me here!

her story

July 14, 2012

I am so in love with this little lady.
words can't even describe how much I love being her mommy.
the whole reason I'm posting is because those sweet 
little cheeks and lips and tiny little nose
turn six on Monday (July 16th).
my first for so, so many things. 
without her, I don't even know if I would 
have been lucky enough to have kids. 
I've never really talked here on my blog
about this day and I've been asked, so here goes.
I found out I was pregnant with her a month before
I graduated high school, I was five months along- 
yes I'm one of those women who had no idea she 
was pregnant- ask anyone I know who knew me then,
I didn't look pregnant until that fifth month.
I graduated June 6th, 2006.
I felt accomplished but overwhelmed.
my life was going to start in a way I hadn't anticipated.
I was rushed to the hospital July 13th, 2006.
Adriana was suppose to be a September baby but instead
wanted to grace us with her presence two months early.
I was in labor for three days until I couldn't take
the magnesium any longer, so we made the decision to let 
her come as she pleased and that we would be ready for
whatever lay ahead of us, good or bad. 
She was born July 16th, 2006.
I don't really remember what I should have
because of the magnesium but I do remember seeing her 
briefly before they rushed her to the NICU.
I was cleaned up and everyone left the room.
I tell you, that was the only moment in my life where
I felt completely alone and vulnerable. 
I sat on the bed, everyone gone, everything clean
as a whistle, my belly empty, no baby and all who was
in the room previously and those friends and family
who came to sit and wait had followed like a flock
of birds to gather around and see Adriana for
the moment they strolled her out to the elevator.
I sat there on the cold bed, quietly.
I had never felt this sort of emptiness.
was my baby girl okay?
was she going to make it?
I held my belly.
I cried.
a nurse came in and asked me if I needed anything, 
water? ham sandwich? crackers?
I said no but in my head I was screaming-
I hate ham! I don't need water!
I just want my baby.

I remember being wheeled up to the NICU.
I could hardly contain myself-
I was anxious, exhausted and ready to see her.
she was in an incubator, 
I remember reaching my hand in to touch her
and it being double the size of her head.
I remember thinking how much it had to have hurt
to have an IV on the top of her head
and that with each pump of her chest as her heart
beat the little stickers would shake.
I feared for so long that her condition (being so early)
was a result of something I had done.
but I was reassured that I was healthy,
and that these things happen without explanation.


I had many hardships leaving the hospital-
the most important of all was leaving without my baby.
I had NICU nurses who made me feel like I was
the crappiest mother of the year because I wasn't
in the hospital every second of every day.
I was eighteen. 
they looked right through me.
I was some "teenage mother" who didn't care.
I was judged walking in and walking out.
what they didn't know is how ready and willing
I was to be a mother-
not because it happened and I had to be,
but because I had a responsibility and I wanted to be.
I was there as often as I could be.
I wasn't out partying, I wasn't out doing my thing, 
I was preparing for her early arrival at home.
I was there every second of every day that I could be.
I suffered from postpartum depression for a while
and struggled more than I could handle at times but
when Adriana got closer and closer to the weight she
needed to be to leave the NICU, the better I healed.
I had finally got to bring her home and just in time 
for the celebration of her birth and arrival-
her baby shower.

 
I remember moving a lot.
finding my way as a mother.
finding our way as a family.
it wasn't easy- 
there were a lot of bumps in the road.
but nothing in the whole wide world could have
prepared me to love such a sweet little soul
as much as I love her.
I couldn't prepare for something like that.
I felt my love for her way before I felt her move.
and nothing, nothing in this world
could ever, ever change that.
I'm so proud of her.
she is bright and beautiful,
bold and encouraging, 
silly and contagious,
daring and creative
healthy and loving.
she's out of this world perfect to me.
I can't wait to spend the rest of my days
growing older and watching her blossom!


happy birthday sweet little lady.
I love you to the moon and back a million times.
, mommy

summer vacation: the car ride

July 08, 2012


[our beach trip July 2011] 

The car ride can sometimes be the hardest part about going on
vacation with little ones but I tell you, the more I do it
the more I learn so I'm doing this post to make a list
for myself but to also help moms and dads out there 
who have a vacation planned and need some idea's!




keeping busy
you always want to make sure you bring enough things
to keep the kids busy- this results in less boredom
which we all know leads to unhappy kids
and parents who want to pull their hair out. 
you can bring coloring books and crayons
it's always a big hit with my kids.
a fresh new coloring book
and sharp new crayons- there is nothing better!
I just bought two dry erase boards that
came with the marker and eraser from Target
for $1.00 each, they keep my kids content
for hours- so it was a steal.
make sure you have their favorite music
downloaded on your ipod, mp3 player or on cd.
this could make a tantrum or boredom
turn into a dance/singing party.
you can pack their favorite books
and read to them or have them read it to you!
another level up to make books fab on your car ride
books on tape/cd- you can even download them now a days.
games are a little harder for younger kids
but travel size games are always great-
this can include flash cards, card games, all
the way up to I spy or connect four- you name it. 
they make all sorts of games now in travel size
so it's easier for your kids to play
in a much smaller space.
My kids have the leap pads- those are
great for car rides, just remember to bring
all of the games and extra batteries
if you don't use the rechargeable ones!
Always make sure to grab one or two
of their favorite toys from home, something they
are familiar with in case they do get bored 
with the newer things or aren't happy 
with them to begin with.
some really great idea's too!


<<<>>> 
I mentioned iPods and electronic devices
just make sure they are juiced up for the first
few hours and remember to bring your chargers-
including a car charger which may make it easier 
to charge up if it dies- you want to make sure
they are in working order and don't shut off
while their favorite book or song is playing.
Also for parents who let their kids play
games or do things on their phones,
great time to let them play!
 


pack snacks
I always want to get to where we are going as
fast and safely as possible and by fast I mean
if we don't have to stop, that's ten times better.
For me, this means packing enough snacks for the 
car ride and if we are on the road for 
lunch or dinner, to pack wisely for each.
This means more money in our pocket for our trip!
We always make sure to grab a bag of ice
and fill up our cooler- some of my ideas;
a fruit salad with melon and berries
I bring toothpicks to make it fun to eat- they love it. 
bananas and apples are a perfect pre-wrapped snack
as well as raisins, banana chips, or dried fruit.
Shelled edamame are super tasty cold and fun to eat 
with fingers as are carrot and celery sticks
with peanut butter or hummus. 
We also really like frozen grapes- it's a huge hit.
For lunch I like to make sandwiches like, 
pb&j, hummus and cheese or turkey and avocado.
Pasta or bean salads with veggies and 
an herb vinaigrette are also good idea's that 
keep up well in the cooler on the ride.
For toddlers, pre-made toddler and baby foods like 

Sprout Organics, Plum Organics, Happy Baby Foods
are good to think about and bring as well.   
Whole wheat crackers, soft bagels, no-salt pretzels
 rice cakes, dry cereals, sugar free yogurt with granola,
string cheese; all good things to bring as well.
I like to stock up on a few avocados and saltines- 
I peel the skin back and voila
perfect mommy/daddy snack for the car ride!
Always make sure to have tons of water and juice boxes.

I have a really great tip for no mess juice boxes, too.
you know the triangle flaps on either side?
pull them up!
have the kids hold them by the flaps
instead of grabbing it by the sides to prevent
squeezing and juice going everywhere.
like this; it works every single time!!

  

<<<>>>
for those with smaller children
snacking isn't always a good idea in the car.
there is a choking hazard where as it would be hard
to aid a child who is choking.
it may be easier to stop at a rest area
and use that time to have a small picnic
and take a potty break!




 taking turns
make sure if you have your partner with you
or even a friend to take turns with the kids.
you need a moment to yourself even if it's driving
or laying in the passenger seat to rest your eyes.
It can be stressful and exhausting- let the other drive 
and take turns making sure the kids are content
and hey, if they are already take advantage of
that time and let them be solo as long as possible
who knows they may just fall asleep
and then none of this information will even 
be necessary until the car ride back, if even then!
 if they can be happy by themselves
the less hectic and more fun the car ride will be.
Bring some music and ear buds with you
grab an avocado or a bag of popcorn
and your ice cold water with lemon,
put your feet out the window,
close your eyes, take a deep breath
and imagine being on the beach 
or where ever you may be going-
 it's totally worth it
and before you know it you'll be there!


<<<>>>
What ever you do, don't let the kids sense
that you're tense about them being unhappy-
 If you need to stop to stretch, do it! 
It may end up being just what they needed.

achievement surprises

July 02, 2012


I had no idea this piece of paper was in the mail
and on it's way to me until hubby 
brought it to me early last week.
I've never made dean's list,
so it's kind of a big deal for me. 
I've been working so hard to just graduate
that I never really slow down to realize 
just how good I'm doing or what my results are.
I'm so preoccupied with the deadlines, projects, 
papers, homework, exams- the works.
It's good to feel appreciated for the work I do.
It feels good to know that my work
really does pay off and that it's not just
another saying to make me feel better or work harder.
2008 was so long ago-
I should have graduated by now
but if I had, my career path would have been different
and I wouldn't have been able to work towards the family
I'm so so so so lucky and proud to have!
I push myself for them.
and now I have this certificate to show it.
end of story.


so cheers to graduation next spring
may twenty thirteen

<<<>>>

urban market volume two


I'm long overdue for a post on the vendors
I have enjoyed buying from and looking through.
here are some from the past few weeks. 
I will start doing these weekly as Sundays pass!



goat lady dairy
seriously guys
I have become such a fan
of goat cheese after not liking it at all
because of this company. 
if you have tried it yet- do so!
I guarantee you'll love the many varieties
they have to offer and they have
an amazing farm based restaurant.





seersucker chef

this guy is pretty amazing-
his dips are incredibly delicious 
and it's not the only thing he sells!
he makes everything fresh and uses
all local ingredients.




chaz's gourmet chow chow
I had only ever had chow chow once
before meeting Charles and boy was I missing out.
this chow chow is beyond out of this world-
we buy the hot and use it with everything, 
especially mixed into cream cheese!
it's the best dip I've tasted by far.

contact info
336 908 6568




Ben's Ice Cream

kid tested and approved-
this is Ben's ice cream made with their
fresh picked peaches from the farm!
this stuff is seriously creamy, sweet
and perfectly chunky with peaches!

info coming
soon



 sommerville cornucopia
  I have bought many things from these lovely farmers-
those veggies include; zucchini, squash & kale!
you can tell their produce is happy
and well taken care of to be sold every 
week to lucky consumers like us!
there is no website or facebook to date.

info
coming soon




congolina farm

I just met these lovely farmers this past Sunday
and not only were they out of this world nice
but they knew exactly what kind of recipe
fit with their amazing produce. 
we purchased the beans 
& we've been munching since.
there is no website or facebook to date.

info
coming soon




Patillo's Patella & Stick Mouse

these ladies make the most gorgeous handmade
jewelry I've seen in a long time. 
each is absolutely original and unique
and I've fallen in love with a few necklaces!
check them out- I promise you'll fall in love too.





The Ice Queen

from ice pops to handmade milkshakes
this lady's got it going on!
it is totally kid tested and approved.
if you see this truck passing by- run!
she's pretty amazing.

facebook 
article 




candle-loupe
I met this super cute lady the first week of the
market and fell in love with her handmade
candles that smell out of this world amazing!
I purchased one for a friend who loves it
and I purchased the mango for myself.
go check her out!

etsy 






<<<>>>
until next week
let me know if you've visited these farms
or have experienced the urban market!
for those of you who don't live in Greensboro, 
what is your favorite farmers market 
in your town? tell us why!