Saturday, March 31, 2012

Friday Favourites

(I am well aware it is Saturday)

I came across The Domesticated Diva Blog this morning, and every Friday she asks a question, and invites all of her readers to answer!

This Friday's question: What is your favourite thing about the weekend?

My favourite thing is having Steve home with us. Things just run so much more smoothly with an extra set of hands around to help with the kids. Or to help me get stuff done when Max is being particularly needy. I am able to leisurely cook dinner, and we might have something just a little yummier because I have more time to make something awesome!
I love taking the opportunity to get out of the house with the kids and do something, even if it is just a trip to the store, but preferably spending time outside walking or at the park (bring on the spring weather!)
I love being able to stay up with Steve watching some TV or movies because he doesn't have to wake up to an alarm (even though that always backfires due to our crack-of-dawn alarm, Hannah :P)

The only problem is that sometimes Steve has to work Saturdays (like the last month) so our weekends are reduced to one day. But the plus side is I get a random weekday with him home!

So long story short, my favourite thing is family time.  :)

Friday, March 30, 2012

My Living Nightmare

This past week has been one of the most stressful of my whole life. And last Friday, the 24th was probably the worst day I have ever been through. One of a parent's worst nightmares come true.

Click through to read my long story

A Challenge for April; A Photo a Day

Good morning!

Yesterday I came across a blog called Fat Mum Slim and it quickly became one of my favourites. I just love how real she seems and doesn't make herself out to be superior than you like so many other blogs I have read. She is someone I can see myself hanging out with, which is what I look for in a blogger!

Something awesome about her is she does these fantastic challenges every month. They are photo-a-day challenges! She provides you with a photo prompt for every day of the month, and encourages you to share your photos with the world and be as creative, or as literal with your prompt interpretations as you want! I love this idea sooo much and I am upset that I didn't come across this until now, I could have been doing this for months! I also don't know if I can handle waiting 2 days until the 1st before I can start lol.

I am going to be posting my daily photo here, as well as on facebook. I want to say twitter too so my photos can be linked to the hashtag, but I don't want to get TOO ambitious.

Click here for more details on her challenge!





Roasted Red Pepper and Goat Cheese Alfredo

Wow the name of this dish is a mouthful! I should probably have added spinach and chicken into that title somewhere, but I thought I should leave it alone.

I spend a large chunk of my day nursing my 9 week old son. And I spend a large chunk of that time on Pinterest. Thank goodness I have nursing as an excuse to do it :P (Although I have yet to find an excuse for the time I spend on that website NOT nursing...). I started using Pinterest to browse hair styles and craft ideas, but now almost all I do is look for new and interesting recipes to try.

I came across this recipe last night, and I kept it open in a tab to come back to (as I do when I find something I want to look over with more detail later). I thought it sounded and looked super yummy. I came back to it during our 5am feeding as well. I don't know how I feel about goat cheese (and I most definitely don't know how Steve feels about it), but I figured if it was seasoned with herbs like that, it can't be that bad!

So I went and picked up my ingredients this morning. I plan to double the recipe as I normally do. And as one normally does, I did alter my version of the recipe a tad; I did not double the goat cheese, as I wasn't sure if I would like it (turns out I do!), I added about half a bag of spinach and did not use the optional artichoke hearts, I threw in some chicken (my hubby isn't big on strictly veg meals lol), and I did not puree the sauce and roasted peppers together (mostly because my food processor is just a wee one, and in my mind my hand mixer was going to do the same thing.... unfortunately it wasn't until I had already turned it on that i realized how brain dead that idea was lol... "hmmm those aren't chopping blades are they...")

My ingredients and the recipe I mostly followed

Oh! And the chicken!

Everything came together really well. A great thing about these kinds of recipes is that you really don't need to be THAT accurate in your measurements... I added 2 cloves of garlic more than double what was called for, and I totally eyeballed the half and half and cheese. It still came out amazing.

I wasn't sure what to expect from the goat cheese... my grocery store didn't have a herb and garlic kind but they did have herbed, I figured that was close enough. I expected to be wrestling with chunks of goat cheese in my sauce while it was cooking. I debated pre-melting it. But I'm glad I didn't because it melted beautifully, and oh man, the herbs that it was coated in MADE this sauce. SO amazingly delicious.


Oh I had also never roasted a red pepper before.... my house smelled AH-MAH-ZING while they were roasting! But when it came time to peel the skin and cut them up I was not a fan! Those things are slimy!! lol, and when you cut into them all of these thick oily juices pour out! (not to ruin your appetite, but I could only compare it to a woman's water breaking lol.............. sorry)


They sure are purdy!

It all came together great! I would make this over and over again! I DEVOURED my dish full it was ridiculous. But Steve also loved it, and Hannah was SILENT at dinner and ATE FOOD! Hallelujah! I don't care how expensive goat cheese is, if I can get her to eat it's worth every penny!


I served it over linguine noodles (not penne like my ingredients photo shows... I gave hubby the choice and he picked linguine over penne (huh?))

My only regret is that I forgot to pick up some fresh french bread to serve with it... NEXT TIME!! :)


Roasted Red Pepper and Goat Cheese Alfredo


Ingredients



  • 4 whole red bell peppers
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 2 small or one medium onion, diced
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 cups half and half
  • 4oz herbed goat cheese (can double if desired)
  • 1 1/3 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 bag of baby spinach
  • 2 or 3 boneless skinless chicken breasts, cubed
  • your choice of pasta, cooked al dente (I like penne or linguine) (I don't like giving measurements of pasta because only you know how much your family will eat)
  • salt and pepper to taste
Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 500ºF, arrange red peppers on a foil lined baking sheet and place in the oven for 20-30 minutes, or until nicely charred. Once done, take out and cover with another foil, let cool.
  2. Turn oven down to 350º and cook your chicken until no longer pink. (15 - 20 minutes maybe?)
  3. Add pasta to a pot of boiling, salted water and cook until al dente.
  4. Put olive oil in your pan and sautee onions and garlic until soft
  5. Add in half and half, goat cheese and salt and pepper. Stir on low heat so the cheese melts.
  6. Take your peppers and peel off the skin and remove stem and seeds. Slice into strips.
  7. Add the peppers and your parmesan cheese to the sauce. 
  8. Optional: Pour sauce into a food processor or use an immersion blender (I did not take this step because I had neither machine, and I loved having the whole pepper strips)
  9. Stir in spinach and chicken and cover for 5 minutes. The spinach should soften and shrivel.
  10. At this point you can either mix the pasta into your sauce, or pour over the pasta on a dish. Whatever your preference.
  11. Optional: Top with more parmesan cheese and serve with crispy bread.


Tuesday, March 27, 2012

L'oreal Sublime Mousse Hair Colour - Product Review

So a few weeks ago I picked up two boxes of the new L'oreal Sublime Mousse on sale. WEEKS ago. I am someone with a lot of hair so I couldn't dye it without a cut first. Well on the weekend I finally got my cut so I decided to finally colour my hair last night.

I had heard really good things about the new Loreal mousse dye, and I was excited to try it. Maybe some day I will have the disposable income to drop $150 + to get my hair coloured at my salon, but until then, I am the box dye queen.

I DREAD dying my hair. I have so much of it that it seriously takes FOREVER to get all of the colour through my hair, and even then I always miss some spots in the back, Sometimes I think I should really go for a third box. I considered it this time too even though I got my hair cut and thinned, necause I find that 'novelty' hair colour always tends to have less. But thankfully that wasn't the case this time, and it went pretty well!


Okay there is the dye! The colour I used was called Spicy Auburn Brown... I had spent the past 6 or 7 years of my life as a bright and vibrant redhead, but once I became a mom, hair coluring was few and far between and it just got gross. So I decided it would be best to go brown to get as close to my (non grey) roots as I could. It worked a bit but you could always see a bit of red shining through, which I kind of liked. So this colour was the closest to how my hair turned.

So I was especially excited because I read that the application was just like shampooing. So easy enough, no dropping hair colour, and lathering it made me feel like it would be hard to miss spots.



   My extremely faded colour before


All of the "ingredients"

So the application was pretty great. The dye came out as a foam from the applicator which meant I didn't drip a single time! And it was pretty much exactly like lathering shampoo. Easy Peasy! 
The only part that bothered me was that the pump was hard to push when your gloves are all wet and slippery from the dye, but that was only a minor annoyance. You leave it in for 30 minutes (which is slightly longer than most hair colour, but it was the least of my concerns).

You can't really tell the colour too well in this picture... the sun was super bright barrelling into my washroom at 7:30 am
This one's a little better... but not really...  I really like the way the colour turned out, and so far I haven't come across any missed spots!

Any way, in conclusion, I thought the product was awesome and I will without a doubt be getting it again. And lucky me my couponing queen friend Jessie gave me 4 coupons for $4 off a box! Score! :)


Sunday, March 25, 2012

Things my daughter says #1

So my daughter is almost 3, and she sometimes says some hilarious things. I think when she has a particularly hilarious day, I am going to post the best quotes here :)


"I love a double double double cup!" (Steve's and my coffee order)

Hannah sipping from a tea cup: Me - "What are you drinking?" Hannah - *long sigh like it's been a rough day* "Coffee."

Hannah looks at her baby brother in his bounce chair: "OH NO! HE'S GONNA SNEEZE!"

"I'm gonna run and I'm gonna catch me some webbins!!!" (Robins)

And then of course, after 2 hours of not napping in her room, I discover this while making dinner...



I love that kid...

Tuscan Chicken - Product Review

I'm a huge fan of the Clubhouse seasoning packets you can get. I am an alright cook, but I am not very good with working with spices and knowing what they do. I'm learning, but I'll take help when I can get it, and Clubhouse is great at helping!
I was out grocery shopping today and I decided to start in the aisle where the Clubhouse packets are to find a yummy meal to make! (lucky me there was a sale!) Of the many usual ones I picked up, I decided to give the new Tuscan Chicken a try!
(i picked up two because I'm going to double up...we are big on leftovers)









The best part was that there was not a single ingredient that I don't normally pick up from the store or have in the house routinely.






(The bananas and apples are not part of the ingredients.... I just have zero counter space)









So it was extremely easy to make, and aside from the half and half there was nothing in it that is relatively bad for you.

So I made 2 batches and we ended up eating most of it because I also fed my mother-in-law (who spent the day with us at our place to help us clean... she did the bathrooms... score!)

I thought it was delicious! Soo flavourful! I used more peppers and onion than called for and it was worth it! The only issue with it was that it was a little spicy. I have no issue with spice, in fact I love a little spice, but unfortunately my mister can't handle it, it gives him insane heartburn. So unfortunately I don't think I will be making this again unless it is for a dinner where Steve won't be eating... in which case I would absolutely, 100% make it again!

And I of course didn't take a finished product photo... seems to be a recurring theme for me... but i assure you it looked as good as it tasted!

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Spring (cleaning) is in the air!

Steve (the mister) and I are smack dab in the middle of a very serious bout of spring cleaning. Like we are going HARDcore. (We're talking renting a carpet cleaner, moving out the refrigerator kind of cleaning) It is quite difficult trying to clean with a (practically) three year old running around, always wanting to be involved (which is amazingly sweet, but also frustrating), and a 2 month old going through a growth spurt, constantly needing access to my ample supply of milk lol.

Hannah being the age she is is very frustrating (she never listens to a word we say) but also fascinating. She knows SO much more than I could have ever taught her. She is curious and eager and amazed by the world around her. So I thought to myself that rather than trying to find various ways to occupy her while we are cleaning, why not involve her? Having a child who is eager to help out around the house won't last forever. So this thought has inspired me to research some ways we could involve her.

This website lists the chores that are appropriate to different age groups of kids, from age 2 to 18. Hannah already (reluctantly) picks up her toys and books, and holds the vacuum while we use it, but some of the other ideas were quite cute. I especially liked the dust with socks on her hands one. Not only will that be helpful, but super cute.
This blog has some fantastic ideas for preschoolers. She even has a chore chart that I would love to try and implement in our home even after our spring cleaning is done. Giving Hannah responsibilities at this age will hopefully encourage her to continue to be responsible for life.

I'm going to enlist my little helper to make the beds with me, dust, bring the dishes to the sink, tidy up her toys, bring clothes to the laundry room.... she's not gonna know what hit her! lol

Any other ideas for how to involve a preschooler in cleaning? And make it fun so it sustains their interest? And any tips on how to get nasty linoleum kitchen floor clean? Can't wait until we can stop renting and stop dealing with stained flooring.

My "Famous" Burgers


So I figure a good place to start this blog would be to post something not too heavy... And by heavy I mean not so serious... I don't intend to be serious in this blog too often, but when I am it's because I need a place to get my thoughts out of my head.
But that's not today! (i have stuff to get out but I choose not to today)
I have only ever tried to make homemade hamburgers once in my life, and I essentially made meatloaf patties by mistake lol. So I never really tried again. I was very happy with my storebought frozen ones.

But after this nice big list of recalled meats, I felt like none of the frozen kinds were okay... because let's face it, that list has like every single kind on there.

So it inspired me to try homemade again! Since the ground beef in my freezer was not on that list, and we had that fabulous summer weather that was screaming BBQ.

I did not want a repeat of my meatloaf burgers lol, so I scoured my FAVOURITE recipe site, All Recipes for a tasty burger to make. Searching for recipes makes me frustrated because I NEVER have all of the ingredients. EVER! I can generally find a decent substitution, and going out to get the missing ingredients is not usually an option because I am cooking when I am home with the kids and without the car while mister is working. ANYWAYS I was coming across this same problem when I was looking at all of the mouth-watering recipes for burgers... So I said screw it, and I just took note of all of the basic things that were in a lot of the yummiest ones and decided to wing it. And DAMN it worked out!! :) So here is what I did!

Ingredients (I  must note that I didn't think to actually measure things)


-2lb of ground beef
-1 egg (to keep it allll together)
-3 or 4 cloves of garlic, diced/crushed (I love garlic so adjust to your taste)
-1 medium sized onion diced (I've used more too.. I also love onions)
-Honey garlic BBQ sauce (I didn't measure this)
-Worcestershire Sauce
-1tbsp (I think?) Of dried basil (I would have liked to use fresh but no biggie)
-Salt and Pepper to taste

Pretty basic right? I bet most people have this stuff kicking around. For the honey garlic sauce, you can really use any bbq sauce but I love the sweetness of it. I used Diana brand, but I will put a little recipe at the bottom to create your own.




How To: (Please forgive the photo quality, I only had my blackberry to use at the time)


1. Grab your helper (not required, but totally recommended!)




2. Combine all of your ingredients in a bowl. For the BBQ sauce, since I never measured, I will say that I squirted it in a circle the circumference of the bowl 2 1/2 times (if that makes ANY sense), and the Worcestershire sauce i kinda just shook it for 3 seconds. Like I said everything with this recipe is 'to taste'... I love flavour so I am always generous.


















3. Form your patties! A tip I got from Rachael Ray is to form your patties with the middle a bit thinner than the outside (like kind of make a lip around it).. This helps the patties cook more uniformly. I like to make a little one for Hannah :)

4. BBQ away! I made ours with bacon and slices of marble cheese. SO good... I had planned on taking a picture of the finished project, but baby boy was desperate for a feeding once I finally got dinner finished, so I got to eat cold supper, as usual lol... and by then I was just so happy to be eating I forgot all about taking a picture :P

Maybe next time I make it I will retake the photos and get one of the finished product :)

Honey Garlic Sauce
It is pretty easy to make the sauce... just take any kind of BBQ sauce (I have never tried it with anything overly strong or smokey, I usually just use a regular kind) and mix it with equal parts honey. Then, crush up 3 or 4 cloves of garlic and mix it all together... from there you can make adjustments to suit your tastes. This sauce is amazing on ribs and chicken wings as well!

Happy BBQing!







About Ashley

Welcome to my blog!

My Blog
I decided to really get into writing this thing after a horrible experience we had involving our son. I felt like I needed an outlet. The thing is though, that it was a while before I even had the nerve to type about what we were going through, and I just started blogging about other things instead. (I did get to it though... read it here)

I don't have any specific ideas for my blog at this point. I think I am just going to let it become something organically. I plan to just write about what I want to, and take it from there.

Me
I have a lovely little life. I have been with Steve since March 8, 2008 (you will see me refer to him as 'mister' or 'hubby' as well). We have a lot of fun together. We are big geeks and love watching WWE wrestling, and we stay in most nights watching our shows. We both have a love for Wal Mart shopping and spoiling our kids. We used to be big party animals, clubbing every weekend! Those were the days haha :P We have big hopes and dreams for our future with each other and our beautiful children. We will get there! And if we don't, well we already have the world anyway :)










 We were forced to grow up rather quickly as we got pregnant with our daughter Hannah about 6 months after we began dating. Steve decided to make an honest woman out of me (lol), and proposed on Christmas Eve, 2008... we have yet to get married ;) I absolutely loved every moment of being pregnant. I loved my body and I was proud to show it off. Hannah was born on May 2nd, 2009 and is such a beautiful joy in our lives. She is smart and gorgeous and hilarious and sweet.... Made our lives a million times more worthwhile!









Around Hannah's 2nd birthday, I became pregnant with our 2nd child! We had been trying for only a couple of months, so we were overjoyed at how quickly we got that positive test (and terrified)! I had another fabulous pregnancy, healthy, happy, zero problems. When we found out we were having a boy, we just couldn't believe it! The million dollar family! I was very emotional (no stretch from a non pregnant Ashley) thinking about how Hannah would react to her little brother. I was worried she would be upset with me, and our relationship would change. On January 24th, 2012, Max arrived in our lives.  Our family was complete. Hannah turned into an amazing big sister, my worries were unnecessary :) Our big beautiful boy brought us so much happiness. "How could we possibly be any happier or more full of love?" I would wonder. But we just were.


Haha well done Ashley

I just read over that first and only post from forever ago... I totally did exactly what I said I would do, except I didn't even get past one post! Lol too funny... Well here I am back again... I got a cool new phone (Samsung galaxy ace) and when I saw that blogger had an app, I thought why not give it a try... Now I can blog any time something strikes.
(loving that it came with a white cover for the back)


Lately there has been a lot happening in life that has made me wish I had a friend to talk to... For venting or to get advice or even just to share my silly thoughts... I have a select few friends but with my busy life with two kids now, its very difficult to find a time to talk that works (and without interruptions).. At least blogging can be at my own, pace.

Baby crying? Toddler getting into something? Save draft until all is calm again.

I'm not going to make any false promises to myself that I will do this regularly, but I do want to try... And maybe gain a few followers, and make a few friends... Or maybe no one will ever see this but me and that's okay too. I am just needing an outlet.