Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Yummy in my tummy!!

I love to cook...but let's be realistic...all I really do is follow a recipe and if it is fabulous, I call it my own, and if it is BLAH I blame the recipe!  I often look for random ingredients in my cupboard, type them into google, and try something new!  The following meal is from a recipe I found and completely changed so I am calling it my own!  Also...it is NOT Aiden friendly as it contains shrimp, butter and linguine noodles...he had grilled chicken, blueberries and rice!

Shrimp Linguine with White Wine Tomato Sauce


In the thick of it...


The End!

2 tablespoons olive oil
3 cloves of garlic minced
2 cans of diced tomatoes with garlic and onion
1 cup of dry white wine
1 tablespoon of butter
salt and pepper to taste

3/4 package of linguine

1lb of peeled and deveined shrimp (mine were already cooked but usually I use raw)
Old Bay Seasoning
2 tablespoons of olive oil

Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat.  Add garlic, cook for 2 mins.  Add tomatoes and wine.  Simmer for 20-30 minutes stirring frequently.  Add butter, salt and pepper.

In separate pot boil linguine noodles for approximately 11 minutes.  Drain well

Season shrimp generously with old bay, salt and pepper.  Heat remaining oil in skillet over medium high heat, stir in shrimp and cook until pink, about 5 minutes.  (if already cooked, heat shrimp with seasoning for approximately 2 minutes)  Stir shrimp into sauce and then add linguine in and stir.  Simmer for 3-5 minutes and serve!

Oh Yeah...if your tummy if full...this little boy fills my heart!

Sunday, January 16, 2011

The joy of giving...

This Christmas Leif and I were able to give a truly amazing gift to our beautiful nieces Kassidy and Kasey.  Kassidy is 8 and Kasey is 5...this past year has been extremely difficult on these 2 little girls.  My sister is going through a very difficult divorce and unfortunately it is affecting the girls tremendously!  My parents seperated when I was 11 and I still remember how hard that was on me.  Kasey is so young and I really don't think she "gets" what is going on but when I look into Kassidy's eyes I see so much of myself!  When my parents separated I took on all of the problems that my mom was facing and I tried so hard to be a "little adult".  I knew way too much about way too much!  I was the person my mom talked to about everything and if she wasn't talking to me she was talking around me and I was listening!  I can see that same weight, pressure and fear in Kassidy's eyes!  She hangs onto every word and I believe she is having a harder time than anyone can tell.  If I could swoop these girls up and shelter them from everything, I would!  If I could protect them from all of the drama, the fights, the change, and the anger...I WOULD!  I have tried to do my part and I have lost a lot of sleep wondering what I could do...my hubby always tells me that I can't "fix" everything...maybe not...but I can sure try!  I wanted the girls to remember this year for something other than all of this change and craziness!  I have always wanted to be able to give a really amazing gift to someone really deserving...if I had all of the money in the world I would love to just give deserving people amazing things!  I had an idea of what I wanted to do but thought there was no way Leif would agree....but HE DID!!!  And so my dream is that for these two little girls, this Christmas will be the one where they received the ultimate gift.  What would that gift be?  Well first let's set the scene....

Opening the "small" gift!
A Poem...

Kassidy and Kasey,

Do you believe in magic?
And fairytales too?
Do you believe in Neverland?
A place where dreams come true!

If you close your eyes
And make a wish
Where would you want to be?

In a castle? 
On a ride?
With your family?

This box is full of memories,
In March they will arrive.
Go ahead, unwrap it
And your dreams will come alive!
What's in the box???


I really can't put into words how AMAZING it feels to be able to give such a gift.  I get really choked up every time I think about how lucky Leif and I are to be in a position to spread a little happiness!  In March we will be taking Aiden, my mom, my sister and Kassidy and Kasey to Disney World...our treat!  I know the girls are really excited...they ask my sister everyday if we are leaving for Disney yet...I think it might drive her crazy but I LOVE IT!!!  Over the next few months as we anticipate our trip, my hope is that the biggest worry in these little girls heads is where do we go first...Epcot, Magic Kingdom, Hollywood Studios or Animal Kingdom???  Can we fit in SeaWorld?  When does the pool open and what bathing suit should I wear?  Is it bedtime already? and Can we do it again tomorrow?  Ya know...all of the things that little girls SHOULD be worrying about!!!

Monday, January 10, 2011

The Bread Winner...

Having a baby with a milk and egg allergy can sometimes be a challenge!  Although I feel like we have become pro's at packing food for Aiden, creating yummy meals, and learning to substitute ingredients in recipes I still feel like there is so much more that I can do.  Think of all of the things that most kids eat...mac n cheese, pizza, cheese sticks, pasta, chicken nuggets, bread, waffles, french toast, scrambled eggs, yogurt, ice cream, chocolate, ravioli, spaghetti o's, hot dogs, muffins, cupcakes....each and everyone of those foods contains either milk, eggs, both or some sort of milk or egg bi-product!  To add to the frustration Aiden's pediatrician keeps telling me that he is below the 5th percentile and really needs to gain weight!  I am doing the best I can!!  I am really not sure if Aiden is sick of the very few things that he can eat but I know I am sick of giving him the same things every other day!  I thought maybe if I bought a bread maker and used a bunch of substitutes, I could make him some nice filling bread, dough, muffins etc...FAIL!!!  So back to the drawing board...I came across a recipe today that provided multiple substitutions for each and every "allergic" ingredient....it seemed so simple that I had to try it immediately!  Trust me when I tell you that I am no Betty Crocker...I can follow a recipe with success but once you start changing it up....FAIL!!!  Well today we experienced a HUGE SUCCESS...we attempted some banana bread and it was amazing!  It was moist, soft, full of flavor and Aiden approved!!!  ENJOY...(we did uuuhh I mean Aiden did)

The Ingredients

Aiden helping Daddy mash the bananas!

Everything mixed together...

Aiden patiently waiting...

Looks promising...


He likes it!!!!

Banana Bread
1/2 Cup Applesauce
3/4 Sugar
1 1/2 All purpose flour
1 Tsp Baking soda
1 Tsp Salt
1/2 Tsp Cinnamon
4 small ripe bananas (I used 3 large)
1 Tsp Vanilla Extract

Preheat Oven: 325
Lightly grease bread pan
Mix applesauce and sugar in large bowl.  Slowly sift in flour, baking soda, salt and cinnamon.  Mash bananas in separate bowl and then add into larger bowl and mix (I used a mixer).  Add vanilla extract.
Bake for 60 minutes or until knife comes out clean.
Allow to cool before slicing!
Here is the original recipe with other substitution suggestions!

Ice day...

While some are enjoying a snow day, we here in Charleston are enjoying an ice day!  Precipitation + Below Freezing Temps = Ice and Ice + Charleston, SC = Closings (school, gov't, roads, bridges).  I thought I would take advantage of the weather and test out my new camera lens....ENJOY

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Happy Birthday Josh!!!

Just wanted to wish my best friend a very happy birthday!  Josh and I go way back...and I mean waaaaay back!  We have been friends almost our whole lives! What started as an unlikely friendship between two kids in the neighborhood turned into Josh and his family being my Saving Grace!  Lucky for me, Josh was always willing to share his parents with me!  THANKS JOSH!  His Dad was and is the perfect example of a father and to this day I have put his Mom on a pedestal that no one will ever touch.  She was my hero and now our guardian Angel!  With the craziness of life, months can pass and I won't see or speak to Josh but whenever I am in my hometown I make it a point to see him and it is like we were never apart!  Josh and I have been through a lot together...more than I think either of us can or really want to put into words...I love him for so many different reasons and there is not one thing I wouldn't do for him!  HAPPY BIRTHDAY JOSH!!!  Thank you so much for being in every single amazing childhood memory I have!  I know you hate when I get all sappy and teary-eyed so I won't say it to your face...but I love you! I admire, respect, cherish and value our friendship more than you will ever know.  Our childhood memories have most certainly shaped the person I am and the mother I strive to be and for that I am eternally grateful!  I am so proud of the independent, driven, and responsible man you have become...and I know I am not the only one ;-)

Monday, January 3, 2011

Very Merry Indeed

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!  For us, it was very Merry indeed!  There are so many great memories from the past 2 weeks and hopefully over the next few days I will be able to recap them!  Aiden's first Christmas as a mobile little boy was amazing!  He enjoyed every second of it and seemed to be beyond thrilled with all of the gifts.  His actions on Christmas morning were truly heartwarming.  We are in Elmo overload here in Gunderland!  Aiden now owns more than 8 Elmo's world DVD's, a pizza pie talking Elmo, tickle me Elmo, jibber jabber Elmo, Elmo boo boo buddy, Elmo magna doodle, Elmo band-aides, Elmo toothbrush and an Elmo book...WHEW!!!!  Add to that some clothes, lots of toys, a basketball hoop, a ball pit and some fun puzzles...he is not only spoiled but he is cherished by so many of our family and friends!  We enjoyed Christmas eve here with my in-laws and then most of Christmas day at home before we traveled to MD to see more family and friends!  I will be the first to admit that I love presents but I also love spending time with my family and friends and having the opportunity to spend some serious quality time with a lot of very special people was the highlight of my Christmas!  Enjoy some of our favorite moments from this holiday!

Now accepting all of my gifts while in the ball pit!
Elmo...Need I say more!
My family!!!