Saturday, July 30, 2011

Chopped 2

For dinner tonight we decided to do another Chopped night. So we called our brother, told him what we were doing and asked him to give us the first four ingredients that came to his mind. We have hooked him on watching Chopped so he knew that we were looking for unusual combinations. He gave us celery, eggplant, pork cutlets, and acini de pepe pasta (the pasta used in frog eye salad). We have never cooked eggplant and celery is not our favorite ingredient (except in turkey stuffing) needless to say we were struggling to come up with an appetizer, entree/side dish, and dessert. But with a little creativity we made it work. Here is what we got:

Creamy Eggplant Soup (James): Pork loins, Eggplant, celery, onions, garlic, basil, cilantro sauteed in olive oil. Added water, chicken broth, whipping cream and cooked pasta. Sprinkled with feta cheese.

Pork Loin and Eggplant Panini (Kathy): grilled pork loin, sauteed eggplant with onions and celery. In between sourdough/sesame seed bread. Topped with pesto/pasta combo, three cheeses (cream, feta, and cheddar), grilled til golden brown. Side dish of frog-eyed salad (couldn't pass it up).

Eggplant Ice Cream (James) This was alot better than it me. Eggplant was boiled, pureed with pasta, cream cheese and sugar, frozen into ice cream. Put in Mrs. Field's dark chocolate dessert cup, topped with whipped cream and peanut butter crumble. Now I know this sounds odd, but it actually tasted good. We took it over to our neighbors to try and they gave it two thumbs up. It was very creamy and had good flavor.

The best part was just getting to spend time in the kitchen cooking together, while taking turns keeping MaryKate out of trouble. Thanks to Ben for the ingredient suggestions.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Compare the Similarities

Nope... no baby yet (for those of you that got excited to see a post & hoped it was a birth story). But I do have a few things for you to look at and hopefully laugh at.
Below are 2 pictures taken the Sunday before my due dates... the first picture in Oct. 2009 & the second picture was this Sunday (July 2011). I wore the same dress to help with the comparison. Pretty similar. Right? My hair is even in my face in both (not on purpose).

Now for the funny part of this post. A week or 2 ago my sister, Becky & her family were watching Napolean Dynamite at my house while visiting. MaryKate walked into the room, took one look at Napolean on the screen and said with enthusiasm, "Daddy! Daddy! Look it's Daddy!" We all laughed and laughed. Have a look for yourself... I'm not exactly sure I can see any resemblance, but maybe you can.

Then today we were watching an Elmo DVD that is one of her favorites. In the movie there is this fantastic song that Ray Charles sings to Elmo. (have it memorized) When Ray Charles began to sing MaryKate ran up to me and said, "Mama. Ben! Ben! It's Ben!" It made me laugh out loud. Ben is my brother and I have never thought he looked much like a 70 year old black man, but when I put their pictures side by side just now I think that MK might just be right! They do look a bit alike. You be the judge...

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Memories in Moab

The final count down is on... I am due to have Gardner Girl #2 in 2 weeks on July 28th. Yes. So soon! I decided I had better post a few pregnancy pics before this pregnancy is over. I am as big as a house! (literally I am a house for a little lady and growing bigger everyday) So it is with much humility that I post these pictures of our trip to Moab. We had a blast and I am so thankful we went. It was a great little adventure with our friends, the Johnson's, over the 4th of July weekend. I'll list the fun things we did & recommendations of things to do or eat just in case you and your family want to go too. (Side note: My friend Amy is also pregnant so everything we did is pregnant & kid friendly.)

Things we did:
Stayed at Lazy Lizard Hostel- only $30 a night. We liked it... but its cheap for a reason.
Hiked to Sandstone Arch- tiny walk & sooo fun for kids to play in the sand
Hiked to Landscape Arch- longer hike but very pretty & longest spanning arch in world
Woke up @ 4:30 & hiked to Mesa Arch for sunrise- GORGEOUS!... but swarms of mosquitoes. It is a dream for photographers but not really for kids that early.
Hiked to North & South Windows/Turret Arch- easy, kid friendly & pretty
Walked to Delicate Arch Overlook- easy 100 yd walk but the view wasn't great
Hiked & Swam at"Left Hand"(locally known swimming hole)-hot hike, but fun
Fed animals at Hole in the Rock Exotic Zoo- cool, strange animals...MK loved it!
Hiked to Corona Arch- super cool hike, a bit hard 8+ months prego & with toddler b/c its 3 miles and has scrambling using chains at the end & was HOT, but worth the hike to see it. (This hike is not in Arches National Park, has very few tourists,& is free... so I recommend it!)

Places we ate:
Moab Diner- overall it was good, great chicken burrito w/ green chile & ice cream
Love Muffin- crawling w/ hippies but best waffle & burrito of my life... must go again!
Milt's Stop & Eat- looks like a dive but their Albuquerque Turkey Sandwich & Burgers were so yummy... oh, and their shakes were very good too. I highly recommend it.

The kids having a blast on the rocks & sand

James on top of Sandstone Arch

The Johnson's & us at Mesa Arch at sunrise... so tired, but worth the next pic.

Mesa Arch... love it! The canyon view is breath taking & goes on forever.

Turret Arch

MaryKate's best friend & true love...

Feeding a camel at Hole in the Rock Exotic Zoo... (the ostrich made me scream!)