Thursday, October 29, 2009

Week 3, Thursday: Shrimp Pot Pie With Fennel

Ah, finally! A delicious dinner with almost nothing I would change!

Week 3, Thursday: Shrimp Pot Pie With Fennel

Yeah, my first thought was, what the heck is fennel bulb?! I asked the produce man, and I learned something new. In our stores it's called anise and it is a white bulb with hairy fern-like leaves that has a mild licorice taste to it. Which really freaked me out for this dinner: shrimp pot pie with licorice, yum! But I was very pleasantly surprised, you really couldn't taste the fennel (or the leeks, too much, anyway).

This dinner had several components to prepare (chopping and thawing), all very simple, but requiring more time than I had anticipated by looking at the prep time listed on the recipe. One thing I fell in love with: frozen puff pastry. Holy moley, I will totally use it again, it was so quick, easy, and divinely flaky. (Plus, I bought a package of two, so I have another one in my freezer right now!)

Here is the whole pot pie:

And here is the plate:

To sum it up:
Disclaimer: I once again substituted chicken broth for white wine. Despite the fact that Isaiah made gagging sounds and fell to the ground as if he were dying when he took his requisite two bites, this is a recipe I could totally get behind. The sauce was so creamy, the vegetables were mild, the crust was so flaky . . . the only thing I would do is reduce the amount of shrimp a bit or substitute chicken if the shrimp wasn't on sale or on hand.

Week 3, Wednesday: Seared Lamb Chops With Minted Spaghetti Squash

Week 3, Wednesday: Seared Lamb Chops With Minted Spaghetti Squash

I have never had lamb chops, ever. But they were so tender and juicy. Adam pointed out that the texture of the meat was denser, almost like liver (but good, I promise!). And though no one else in my home appreciates a good spaghetti squash, I was so excited to eat it as I was cooking. I couldn't stop tasting it. *blush* I was tickled that the recipe called for microwaving the squash to cook it--that's just the way my mom would make it!

This dinner would have been perfect if I could have omitted one ingredient: the mint. It was just too strong. And, as we've found with almost all these recipes, reducing the amount of onion is pretty much necessary. I almost always use half or at most three-quarters the amount stated, and it is still much too strong for us.

To conclude:

When I can find lamb chops for less that $5/lb I might cook them again. Or for a special occasion. Next summer when the spaghetti squash is at it's best I will try tossing it with olive oil again. Mmmm . . .

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Week 3, Tuesday: Meatballs With Sauteed Chard

I just want to take a moment to thank all of my loyal followers (because I know there are thousands of you!) who have encouraged me throughout this challenge. Really, although I'm doing this for myself, the challenge and fun of it, I would have quit long ago without your interest evidenced by your kind comments. Thank you!

There were several mishaps in the preparation of this meal, but since I've had so many of those lately, I will spare you the details. Suffice it to say that my knight in shining armor came through yet again to save the day, and the meal was made as the recipe stated, and not even that late into the night. Thank you so much, Adam!

The Swiss chard was a little much, but Katie and I enjoyed it. Even Max ate his helping. The meatballs were different, sweet with just a hint of crunch from the pine nuts, and everyone but Katie seemed to like them. And, of course, the bread was quickly devoured.

Bottom line:
Good dinner, and I may make the meatballs again, if I can find the right pairing for a side dish that doesn't include leaves bigger than my children:

Any suggestions?

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Max - 12 months

12 months
Loves: growling, walking, pushing buttons, hitting, biting, peek-a-boo, being silly
Hates: diaper changes, being put in the highchair, being told no, being left behind
Milestones: switch to whole milk, first word (Daddy), second word (Isaiah), first unassisted step, fifth tooth

Max, you're a whole year old! I love the little man you are turning into, full of spunk, independence and a sense of humor. This marks the end of the monthly journal I've been keeping for you, but I'll still try to keep up with everything you're learning and doing. I'm so proud of you!

Monday, October 26, 2009

Max's First Birthday Party

Well, tomorrow my little man turns one. It's hard to believe, but he's becoming a toddler now. We had a monkey party for him on Saturday, here is the barrage of pictures!

Invites (most of which are still sitting in my car, forgotten, unfortunately)

Monkey cupcakes! So happy with them, and they were so easy!

Party favors: Runts, animal crackers, and animal parachute toys

Party Table (Before I put out the balloons, oops! Notice the cute handmade party hats on the left.) We played "Monkey in the Middle" (rolling the ball across a circle on the floor), "What Animal Am I?" (pictures of animals taped to backs), and we skipped "Monkey See, Monkey Do" (dancing to music as an animal would, Simon Says-style), although Max and Kamry and I played on our own.

Party Table, revisited. A picture of every month of Max's life. (Please ignore the leftover eyeballs invading the party!)

Birthday boy tearing into his presents, with a little help from Katie. Unfortunately she thinks she need to help him play with them, too. He just started capturing the vision of presents in the last two or three. Good thing Christmas is on it's way!

Mmmm, cake! (Notice the coordinating monkey bib; thanks again, LeAnn, we looooove those bibs!) No pictures of this, but the rest of the guests made banana splits, yummy!

Better than cake (which has been abandoned in the seat of the high chair): Balloons!!

Week 3, Monday: Chicken With Sweet Potatoes and Onions

Warning: Ugly picture ahead! This dinner did not work out as planned. Or rather, I forgot to really plan ahead at all. So it's not beautiful, and was kind of bland.

So, I went grocery shopping for the week, third week of the challenge. Was it easier? Ummm . . . no. Well, easier because I only had one child with me instead of three like last week. But still had to ask people four times to help me find what I was looking for. *blush*

And then I got home, looked at the recipe for today, and realized I made a mistake. The shopping list said "Chicken, 3.5-4 pounds (10 pieces)." What I understood as I ran around Albertson's was that I needed 3.5-4 pounds of chicken, which was no problem because I recently bought a giant box of chicken breasts to put in my deep freezer (20 lbs? 40 lbs? I don't know, but it was a lot!). But what it meant was that I needed a 3.5-4 pound whole chicken, cut into 10 pieces. Duh! I, however, do not have chicken pieces in my freezer, nor do I have a whole chicken, and if I did I wouldn't have time to thaw it anyway. In fact, by the time I realized this, I also noticed that this dinner was the longest of all the dinners of the month; the recipe listed an hour, and I usually take about 20 minutes longer than the recipe. It was already time to get started if I was going to get dinner on the table before the ravenous monsters I call my children ate me alive.

So, after consulting with the resident chef (Adam), I decided to use chicken breast and hope that it would all work out. However, between the plain (bland) chicken breasts and the sweet potatoes (not yams, why didn't the shopping list call for yams when it had yams in the picture?!), my picture is a woeful representation of what this dinner was supposed to be.

Now, if you're still with me after all that whining, you're amazing! And you get to see the dinner:

And to be short in the description of the taste:

Bland, bland, bland. The skin of the chicken would probably have helped a lot in adding some flavor (read: fat). I am really liking the sweet potatoes, though. And even if no one else does, Max agrees with me. I'll definitely be adding sweet potatoes into our dinners, whether they be roasted like tonight or cooked on the stove like in Week 1.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Week 2, Friday: Creamy Rice With Roasted Shrimp

Wherein I ignore the fact that our family hates tomatoes . . . .

This recipe was the first one where I departed from the actual ingredients, and not just because I couldn't find something. You see, it called for a cup of dry white wine. Those of you who know my standards know that we don't drink alcohol. Adam and I have no problem cooking with a tablespoon of wine, but a whole cup of wine?! In something I will feed my children? Nope. (And don't tell me it cooks off; the recipe says it will be absorbed, plus there's this and a zillion other sites out there that I've found proving that myth wrong.) So, looking for the best substitution, I came up with chicken broth. So, my disclaimer on this recipe review is the following: I can't actually say how it should taste because I substituted a major flavor. There. Now you know.

That said, the rice was the yummiest part of the dish. I probably won't cook Arborio (pearl, or risotto rice) often because it costs so much more, but since I have some in my pantry now, I will cook it again. It was delish!

The roasted shrimp was great (I probably should have given it a minute or two more, but still great), and the tomatoes were robust. The thyme added an essential flavor, so I'm glad I splurged for the fresh sprigs.

Here's the plate:


Will make the rice again. If I choose to cook shrimp again, I may roast it. Will not make the full recipe with tomatoes.

Just so I don't forget . . .

Words Katie has used this week--correctly: "delectable" and "exquisite"

Words Katie has sounded out to write: "Isaiah" (IZAYU) and "Mom" (MOM)

Thursday, October 22, 2009

It's almost Halloween!

Have you taken your pumpkin for a walk today?

(Max is trying to use everything he can find as a push toy/walker so he can jet around faster. And today he took his first unassisted step for Adam!)

Here are some things I made for a Halloween party I went to tonight (Witches Night Out!):

Found these Forked Eyeballs in my FamilyFun and thought they would be a good "spooky treat" to share.

We made these cute hats at Stamp Club (Stampin' Up) last week, and when I was thinking was gift I could take, this came to mind.

Hope everyone is getting their own witches' night out of some form or another . . . and that you're all getting "spooked" about Halloween!

Week 2, Thursday: Goat Cheese Omelet

Week 2, Thursday: Goat Cheese Omelet

Do you know how hard it is to find goat cheese in the St. George area?! I went to three stores before I found one of the last three packages of goat cheese at Albertson's. Luckily we had this meal late in the week, and I already had to go to the store every day for one reason or another (Max's birthday party is this weekend, there was a party tonight, and I have stuff tomorrow as well--just a busy week) so I just looked wherever I happened to be.

Another new adventure: arugula. I was forewarned that it is really bitter, but Adam and I liked it fine. It's also supposed to be a palate cleanser. That's our pretty salad on the left:

Another thing I learned while making this meal, which probably is obvious to everyone but me, is to use a rubber spatula when making omelets. I have never figured out how to lift an omelet with a regular spatula (pancake-turner), and now I know I was using the wrong tool!

In conclusion:
Adam, Max, and I all gave it a thumbs up, as long as you use one-quarter the amount of green onions. Isaiah and Katie gave it two thumbs down. I especially enjoyed our sourdough baguette. If I ever find goat cheese on sale (assuming I can find goat cheese at all) I'll make it for a nice breakfast or brunch for us as a couple (and the kids can have scrambled eggs!).

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Week 2, Wednesday: Chicken Posole

Week 2, Wednesday: Chicken Posole

Smelled yummy cooking, yet again not a favorite of the family. I had two helpings, though. Here's the picture:

Ever had hominy? I hadn't--until tonight!

Bottom line:
My family are decidedly not tomato eaters, which I've always known. (I really enjoy a good tomato once in a while, usually when we have them growing in our garden, but I'm the only one.) For this reason, the recipe won't come back into our kitchen.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Week 2, Tuesday: Steak With Potato-Parsnip Mash

How more familiar and simple can you get than steak and mashed potatoes? Well, apparently, it wasn't familiar enough:

Max: "No, no! Those potatoes taste awful!"

Katie, after finishing off the meat, refuses to eat more than a taste of the mash, and instead chooses cold cereal for dinner.

Not a hard dinner, even with peeling and cutting the potatoes and parsnips. I chose to dish up the kids' mash before adding the scallions seeing as how they are quite picky and I knew that would ruin it for them. Sure enough there were all kinds of moans and groans when they saw the garnish (but they were relieved when I let them pick it off). Here's what their plates looked like:

Even leaving the green onions out, the parsnips were too strong-tasting to make the mash palatable for them. Even Adam had to choke it down (I got a resounding thumbs-down reaction from him). The steak was good, nice and juicy, but there wasn't anything special about this steak, just seasoned and pan-fried.
Here's my plate:

Bottom line:
Now I know how long to expect steak to take to cook, and I know that parsnips must be cut to half the size of potatoes to cook in the same amount of time. But that's about all I can take from this dinner. But tomorrow-soup! Mmmmm . . .

Monday, October 19, 2009

Week 2, Monday: Pork Chops with Garlicky Broccoli

Oh, shopping was not fun this week. It downright sucked. I should have known better than to take all three kids on a challenge shopping trip, because half the things on the list I am unfamiliar with, so it takes complete concentration on looking for the items. Which is impossible when Max is "honking" the car shopping cart horn while crying with snot running down his face, Katie is hanging out the cab, singing, and Isaiah is sitting in the basket on top of the car taking up all my basket space, moaning "when are we going to be done?!" But to top it off I shopped at Lin's, which I generally prefer to Albertson's, but not only has less selection of "exotic" foods (like rice, apparently), it was also packed today.

The good thing was that I spent less on the groceries than last week, but it might not end up much less after I go back to the (other) store for the rotisserie chicken and goat cheese later in the week. It really did help that both the steak and the shrimp were on a good deal, though--I might actually go back for more frozen shrimp since I noticed tonight that I'll need shrimp again next week.

Now for our dinner recipe: Week 2, Monday: Pork Chops with Garlicky Broccoli

This meal was simple to prep (even for these easy dinners), but I didn't have a large enough oven-proof skillet for all the meat, so I came up with my own trick. I preheated the oven and put a large pan with a tablespoon of olive oil into the oven while I browned the pork chops on the stove. Then when I transferred the meat to the pan, it was already hot and ready to go. Unfortunately, the cuts of meat were a bit tough, and I overcooked them just enough for them to be a bit dry. I think I'll stick to boneless chops in the future--they usually do good for me.

Here's Isaiah's tip for eating this meal: "If you mix the broccoli into the rice with the pork, it's really good!" (This is a huge breakthrough, Isaiah hates vegetables, especially broccoli, but he ate a good helping!) I have to agree; cut up your pork, and mix it all together--voila! Yummy!

Look how beautiful it is!

I will make this again, but with boneless chops. Everyone ate it (even Max had some chopped up tiny), and the only complaint was how dry and bland the meat was. I might tenderize and/or marinate the meat to give it more flavor.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Week 1, Friday: Spicy Orange-Glazed Drumsticks With Green Beans

Because I was expecting my friend Carol, and her little boy for dinner tonight, I switched up the dinner so I could serve what sounded like the best (and most plentiful) dinner of the week while she was here. Unfortunately, my kids are sick this week (they were sick last week, too!), and when it was clear the fevers were not clearing up, I called Carol to cancel. We still got to eat the yummy dinner, though, and here is the recipe of what we had:

Week 1, Friday (Wednesday): Spicy Orange-Glazed Drumsticks With Green Beans

Yeah, this was our best dinner of the week, hands down. But I'll get to that in a minute. This was also the longest dinner to prep, but it took a little pressure off me because I didn't feel like I was a super-slowpoke. And because the chicken was in the oven, I had enough time to wash some of the prep dishes before we ate! The novel thing in this meal for me was fresh green beans. It's really sad that I've never cooked fresh green beans before, but there you have it. And now I've learned to make them really tasty (even Katie liked them!).

One thing I have made, and many times, is cornbread. So when I saw that the shopping list called for buying cornbread muffins, I thought, "Psh! Store-bought cornbread? Pass!" Finally, something I knew I could make without thinking too hard! And they came out great! Here's my favorite cornbread recipe: Corn Bread Loaf. I just greased a 6-cup muffin tin, and spooned it into the muffin cups. It took approximately 15 minutes to cook.

The chicken was also really, really easy, and though I cooked it in the oven, it would be great on the grill, too, and would take even less time to cook.

Here's the complete meal:

And my conclusion for the week:
We will make this meal again, and maybe try it on the grill next time. Definitely a crowd-pleaser. As far as my challenge goes, I'm happy with how well it's gone so far. We sat down as a family and decided whether to keep going. I read the recipes for next week, and got a resounding, "Yes, let's keep going!" So despite mixed reviews on the majority of the meals, everyone is happy to keep trying. We'll see how next week goes.

Week 1, Thursday: Roasted Pork with Brussels Sprouts and Apricots

Here's today's recipe:
Week 1, Thursday: Roasted Pork with Burssels Sprouts and Apricots

It was interesting trying to find a pork tenderloin. I'm not well-versed in my cuts of meat, but I eventually found the long, skinny tenderloin on the top shelf in the pork section of the meat. And, did you know that smaller brussels sprouts are less bitter? So if you're buying fresh brussels sprouts, pick the smaller ones.

This recipe says that it takes 25 minutes, but it took me a full hour. I don't know if I didn't brown the meat long enough or what, but it took a half an hour in the oven for the tenderloin to reach the proper temperature. As a consequence of that the brussels sprouts "salad" was waiting, getting cold:

But boy, was it worth the wait! The meat was so tender and so juicy, and everyone liked it (well, Katie only wanted a few bites, but she is sick).

I really liked the brussels sprouts, apricots, and almonds. What a great combination! Everyone else thought it was a little too bitter (and I suspect the stomach ache I had later in the evening was the fault of the large helping I had). The tenderloin was so delicious, we may have to try it again.

P.S. As I was cooking, Adam came in with the mail, including my November issue of Real Simple! We'll see what kind of adventures I'm cooking up next month!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Week 1, Wednesday: Spaghetti with Sweet Potatoes and Ricotta

Because I'm having guests at dinner Friday, I made a decision to change up the dinners this week. I'm still taking a risk cooking something completely new for guests (including children), but at least I'm cooking something they can recognize. So, for this dinner I cooked Friday's entree: Spaghetti with Sweet Potatoes and Ricotta.

I was under a lot of pressure as I was cooking last night because we had several things going on, and at the last minute my friend, Stephanie, who lives in Logan showed up unexpectedly at my doorstep. (What an awesome surprise!!) I had exactly 30 minutes to make dinner, and in the end I made Adam only a couple of minutes late for his first meeting. But the sweet potatoes were burned because I ran across the street to pick a rosemary sprig off the neighbor's bush (no joke--I forgot the rosemary while I was at the store, and I found fresh herbs in the neighbor's front yard while I had things in the pan!). It was definitely still edible, however, so in the end I think it was better for having the rosemary. Here it is:

Bottom line: It was still a bit bland, and there was a little too much ricotta (no one liked the ricotta but me), but with enough salt and pepper I actually liked it a lot. The thing I'm taking from this dinner is the method of cooking the sweet potatoes. I really liked how they tasted (despite the burning) and how quick and easy they were to make. On their own, they could be a really great side dish.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Week 1, Tuesday: Beef and Bok Choy Stir-Fry

Week 1, Tuesday: Beef and Bok Choy Stir-Fry

As I looked at this recipe, I knew it was going to go over better than Monday's because we eat rice and stir fry all the time. Bok choy was something I had never cooked or eaten, but in general the picture didn't look any scarier than anything Adam and I tried in our Chinese cooking class 6 years ago.

It took me a few minutes to slice the flank steak correctly, but once I did we were in business. This recipe really was quick and easy, and the flavor was amazing! I think the fresh ginger really did it. I use dry ginger all the time, but there really is no comparison. The kids loved the meat, and we all loved the dish. I wasn't in love with the bok choy (it's bitter, imo), but Adam said it was pretty good if you chop it up small and just mix it in with the rice and beef.

Tasted so good! And everyone ate at least a little, so it was a hit with the family. If I make it again, I might tenderize the meat, and serve it with a steak knife. And I'd add cornstarch to the sauce to thicken it up. This recipe is a keeper!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Real Simple Dinner Challenge - Week 1, Monday

You may have noticed my background change. This is in honor of my own version of a "Julie & Julia" challenge. See, I got my first issue of Real Simple last week, and from the moment I hefted it I was in love. The cover story, "A Month of Easy Dinners" didn't catch my eye first thing (I was hooked in by "21 smart, real-life laundry strategies" because laundry is overcoming me lately), but as I perused the magazine, I read the article and was intrigued by the idea of cooking these quick but (for me) exotic meals. I had never cooked fish, had no idea what shallots or bok choy tasted like, and had yet to introduce my children to fresh green beans (they've only ever had frozen or canned!). So although not all of the dinners appealed to me, I liked the idea of having every weekday meal planned for me, complete with shopping list, and trying out some fresh, healthy alternatives to our usual chicken/ground beef/pork chop dishes. It took me a few days to commit, but when I had to go to the grocery store anyway Monday morning, I decided to jump in.

Here are my self-made rules/goals for this challenge:
-I will start with the first week only, no expectations beyond the first week, and cook all the meals as laid out. If all goes well, I'll continue for the rest of the month.
-I will follow the recipes as closely as is prudent. For instance, I will not make substitutions unless absolutely necessary (unable to find an ingredient in the store), but sometimes amounts will be adjusted. For instance, there is absolutely no point in putting two whole peppers in a meal when I know not a single person in our family will eat them (peppers will still be used so as not to change the flavor, just not as many as is called for).
-Once the meal is cooked it will be plated to look as much like the picture in the magazine as possible instead of being served family style. Presentation counts big time when you're serving new foods to picky eaters.
-I will take pictures of each completed, plated dish.
-I will taste every ingredient in each meal, and clear my plate (or at least eat until I'm full). The children are expected to taste everything at least once, and then they are allowed to make themselves something else if they really dislike everything being served. (This is breaking from our usual dinner rule, "You get what you get and you don't throw a fit!" Meaning, you eat what you're served or you don't eat.)
-I will blog about each new cooking experience, noting how I would change the recipe if I were to cook it again.

Okay, are you ready to begin? Because I already have!

Week 1, Monday: Tilapia with Peppers and Olives
(I'm linking the recipes because it would be so time-intensive to type them all out--be sure to click on the links so you can see the Real Simple picture to compare it to how mine came out!)

Okay, first thing I thought when I read the recipe: "Oh, no! Fish!" The second thing: "Green olives? You have got to be kidding me!"

I have never cooked fish. Actually, I think I tried to cook a salmon once, early in our marriage, and that is what solidified my resolution to never cook fish. You see, it makes your whole house smell fishy. And since both Adam and I having grown up in land-locked states, there has never been a great love of fish between us, beyond the occasional fried shrimp or fish sticks (we don't even eat canned tuna!). So, I took a deep breath and went timidly to the meat counter. Luckily the butcher was helpful (not only with the tilapia fillets, but some of the other meats I needed for the rest of the week's dinners), and it was pretty painless bringing it home. Cooking it was very simple, and it didn't really make the house smell as fishy as I anticipated. Tilapia is, after all, the least "fishy" of the fish, I've heard. Here I am cooking (yeah, I'm a little dressed up, I went to see Footloose last night):

Cooking went off without a hitch. Katie helped me with the prep, measuring out the olives and fetching and pouring. It took about twice as long as stated in the recipe, but 40 minutes is still a quick meal if you ask me, and I'll get faster as I get used to all the prep. Here's the final product:

And here are the reactions from the diners:

Which led to:

To sum it up: I really enjoyed the meal. I was pleased with the combination of tastes, and was surprised to find I don't mind green olives (I'd never tasted them before!). I told Adam that if I'd ordered it at a restaurant, I would be satisfied, and happy with the meal. And it was quick to make and not terrible to clean up. However, because it did not get resounding approval from the rest of the family this recipe will not be a keeper.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Troy's BBQ

We ate out for dinner last night, which actually turned out to be more inconvenient than convenient, but more fun than staying home. We decided in our spontaneous mood to try something new: Troy's BBQ. It was a really fun experience, and I loved it so much I whipped out my iPhone and took pictures, knowing I was going to blog a review after only a few bites. (Remember, I used my iPhone to take pictures, I realize they're awful . . . I think they still add to my review because some things you just have to see.)

It was a different kind of restaurant than we had been to before, the atmosphere of a hole-on-the-wall kind of place with really unique and fun decor, like this tailgate bench to sit on while you wait to order.

You can dine inside or outside, and right now the weather is perfect for outdoor dining! The food had unusual names like "yanked pork" or "dirty rice," which actually made it taste better, I think. Here's my plate, I mean basket:

I had the 2 meat combo, with yanked pork and bodacious brisket, leek rings and potato salad on the side. You can see our order of yanked pork nachos in the middle of the table. Adam had the 3 meat combo with the same meat choices as me plus the bbq chicken, with fries and dirty rice on the side. The kids each tried one of the two kids meal choices: Katie had bbq chicken and Isaiah had grilled cheese. (Max ate off our plates--he loved everything!)

What we'd recommend:
Our favorite meat was the brisket, but the pulled pork was good, too. The nachos were amazing, and the salsa was even better (so good, but pretty hot, beware). We didn't try all the dipping sauces, but we did like the liquid gold--kinda sweet and tangy, like honey mustard. If you go, be prepared to get a doggy bag. If your not a big eater, you might want to share a plate. The kids meals were pretty right-sized, though. The biggest surprise to me was the leek rings. They were really good, like a twist on onion rings. I'd definitely recommend them.

What we'd skip next time:
The chicken, and maybe the dirty rice. The dirty rice had a really different flavor, not bad, but not your everyday rice, so you should try it and make up your own mind.

Bottom line:
Very yummy food, memorable atmosphere, a new favorite.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Friday Favorites - It's all about the hair

It's pretty vain of me to be as obsessed about Katie's hair as I am. But I'm not going to apologize for it because I love, love, love her hair, and doing her hair up pretty is one of the things in life that truely makes me happy.

Here are some new favorites:

Goody's "petite" bobby pins (I found them at WalMart). I love the shorter length for Katie's hair because regular bobby pins are just too long.
These "braiding rubber bands" from Sally Beauty Supply. I can't even tell you how much I think these are wonderful!! We have tried every type of rubber band known to man, from Target, WalMart (four different kinds from WalMart), and even Family Dollar. I know I got another kind from Sally before, too. But they all sucked. I actually don't mind the ones that you find in the baby section at WalMart, but I have to double them up. And they cost twice as much as these ones you can find at Sally (you can save even more if you have a Sally's card), so it's like it costs four times as much when I use them. And I really like that these are clear because we are always out of pink and have way too many red and blue ones when we buy the colored ones .

It's been a while since I've posted my favorite hairdos, so here are some from over the summer and up to the present:

French Braid Loops

Don't these pictures make you miss summer?! As much as I'm loving cooler weather, I'm not looking forward to the weather a month from now. This is my favorite easy but impressive-looking do's. Two french braids, then loop them up and rubber band them at the nape of the neck. Fluff out the ends and add bows (or flower clips--these are my favorites, aren't they so full and pretty?). This is a great 'do for a swimming party because it looks really cute and fancy, but you can pull out the bows and loops and it's a great "hold-the-hair-out-of-the-eyes" 'do, too.


So fast and so easy, I taught Adam to do them (not that he ever will!).

Ribbon Headband

(Don't mind the blurry face shot--Katie hates when the camera "blinks" at her, so she's always dark and blurry in pictures.)


This took way to long for the final product, but I still thought it was pretty cute.

(these final pictures were taken today)
I finally convinced Katie to let me curl her hair!! And isn't it just stunning?! Katie and I were looking at Curlformers on Babes in Hairland, and I think those beautiful curls convinced her that it was worth taking the time to do her own hair that way. After watching a demo on YouTube of Curlformers, I went to Sally myself and drooled over them. I really don't mind using the curling iron on Katie for ringlets (I have pretty good control and vision of the hair on the back of her head), but I would really love them for my hair. However, the $60 price tag is just too steep for me to just go out and buy them (I'm so cheap with things like that!), so we're using the curling iron for now. But Katie and I both are hoping Santa has a Sally's card and delivers some to our house this Christmas ;)