Thursday, March 28, 2013

Cranberry Orange Muffins

Ever since the hubby got us a fancy cappuchino machine last year, a friend of ours has been stopping by on occasion for a couple cups of Joe before heading into work. I just LOVE that! (even the though last time he came, the hubby forgot to tell me and I answered the door to my messy house with PJs on - good one, sweetie!). He usually stops by with Panera goodies in hand, but this morning, we told him to just bring himself and that I'd be providing the breakfast treats. So what does he do? He brings us these gorgeous fresh eggs that his hens laid just last week. Looks like the Easter Bunny paid us an early visit this year! Thank you thank you thank you, Easter Vinny! :)

Perfect timing because I had JUST used up the rest of my eggs making this mess! Decided to make not one, not two, but THREE different kinds of muffins this morning, 'cause when I go, I like to go large! I was excited about baking this morning, so I actually woke up at 6:45am to get jump on things. Luckily I did, because guess what?!?!? I ran out of baking powder - like not even enough for one batch so off to the store I ran. DOH!

I was excited to try a new twist to my favorite MOMables Easy & Delicious Blueberry Muffins recipe: Cranberry Orange Muffins and I have to say, they were my FAVORITE yet! And our friend Vinny agreed, as did the hubs. Gotta find out what the girls think as they just had their usual blueberry variety.

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I just followed the recipe for MOMables Easy & Delicious Blueberry Muffins and added 2 Tbsp of wheat germ, 2 Tbsp of ground flax seed, 1 cup dried cranberries soaked in hot water for about 10 minutes to plump up and soften (and drained), and 1 orange, peeled and chopped up. That's it! And baked in my convection oven, they came out perfectly crispy on the outside and soft and moist on the inside.

Here's what was left of my morning of muffin madness after gobbling some up, sending some along with Vinny and packaging some up to send along to the girls' teachers for a little morning treat. Blueberry, Raspberry, Cranberry Orange trifecta of muffins. Which one sounds good to you? Be sure to check out my Muffins Galore! post for more variations.

I'll leave a few more out to nibble on and freeze the rest for future use in quick breakfasts, snacks and lunches. They reheat deliciously just by sticking them in the toaster oven at around 350 for about 10-15 mins. Just as crispy on the outside and moist on the inside - like fresh out of the oven a second time!


MOMables - for sharing so many delicious and healthy recipes with us!

Thanks so much for stopping by and please feel free to make my day by leaving me a comment, joining my blog in the top right corner or liking my on Facebook at MyEpicureanAdventures - the more the merrier! :)

Christine, aka happyvballgirl :)

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Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Comfort Food: Real Simple's Chicken Curry in a Hurry

I have lots of comfort food, like chicken pot pie, ramen noodles, hot dogs and Chinese food, just to name a few, but for some reason, I just find this one to be extra comforting: Real Simple's Chicken Curry in a Hurry. Despite the name, it's actually not spicy at all. In fact, I kicked it up a notch tonight by adding 1 Tbsp of curry powder and a few dashes of ground cayenne pepper but it was comforting just the same. Oh yeah, I also substituted about half of the cream with 1% milk. :)

Big Sis had soccer practice tonight so I didn't have much time to cook, but with the hubby working a little later tonight, it gave me just enough time to whip this dish up. What makes this dish go extra fast is having cut up rotisserie chicken on-hand. I often buy them when they are on sale, shred it up and stick it in the freezer for future use. That future use was tonight! Took it out of the freezer about 30 mins before I needed it and it was goodly (Little Sis-ism) thawed enough. :)

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In this meal:
  1. Ling Ling's Mini Vegetable Spring Rolls
  2. Green Giant's Healthy Vision Frozen Veggies - these are great quick and easy veggie
  3. Chicken Curry in a Hurry
Thanks so much for stopping by and please feel free to make my day by leaving me a comment, joining my blog in the top right corner or liking my on Facebook at MyEpicureanAdventures - the more the merrier! :)

Christine, aka happyvballgirl :)

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Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Bunny Lunch

Disclosure: Affiliate links are used on this blog so feel free to help a girl earn some extra change and use them to get some fun bento stuff. :)

Here's a quick lunch I made last week for the girls. Hoping I'll get around to one more bunny lunch before this weekend but that remains to be seen. :)

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In this lunch:
  1. Ham and Cheese Bunny Sandwiches using Applegate Deli meat/cheese and Nature's Own 100% Whole Wheat Bread
  2. Organic carrots with ranch dressing on the side
  3. Cantaloupe bunnies for Little Sis and Peeled Snacks AppleClusters for Big Sis
  4. Annie's Homegrown Organic Cheddar Bunnies for Little Sis and Traditional Party Mix for Big Sis
  5. Trader Joe's Bunny Gummies with filled center as their treat du jour
Keepin' it short and simple here. Got a pile o' mulch I gotta contend with. Must clear out a path so I can get my car out to go buy a proper wheelbarrow. Doh!! Wish me luck. :)

Thanks so much for stopping by and please feel free to make my day by leaving me a comment, joining my blog in the top right corner or liking my on Facebook at MyEpicureanAdventures - the more the merrier! :)

Christine, aka happyvballgirl :)

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Here are some items used in this post. To see a full list of my favorite bento gear and such, just visit my "Products I Love" page! :) Any purchases made through these links earns me a little extra cash to support my bento habit, which my hubby would really appreciate. haha! So thank you!!! if you choose to use any of 'em! :)

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

The Happy Birthday To Me Lunches

Today's my birthday (woo hoo!) but when you're a mom, it starts off like any other day: made waffles from scratch for the girls because we were out of Eggos (not SUCH a bad thing, I know) and then it was lunch-making time. As usual, I didn't want to spend too much time on it, so this is what I threw together in LESS than 10 minutes. Quick.Easy.Healthy.Fun. Done! :)

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In this lunch:
  1. Ritz Whole Wheat Crackers
  2. Trader Joe's antibiotic/hormone-free Muenster Cheese, Applegate Naturals Roast Turkey and Applegate Pepperoni for Little Sis. The meat and cheese are ALL antibiotic,hormone AND nitrate-free (except for those that are naturally occuring from celery)!
  3. Peeled Snacks' Cinnamon AppleClusters
  4. Trader Joe's dried cranberries and roasted sunflower seeds for Big Sis and fresh blueberries and blackberries for Little Sis
  5. Maplehurst Bakeries' Peanut-Free Mini Cupcakes
I ate up all that time I saved by taking pictures of it and then almost making my girls miss their bus! LOL! :) But because it's my birthday, the hubby didn't give me a hard time about it, rushed them to the bus in his PJ's and upon his return, started to do the dishes, clean up from breakfast and told me "Go blog. It's your birthday." This man is too good to me!! And to be honest, he's ALMOST always like that. <3

So, what wonderful things do I have in store for me today, you ask!??!

Well, I can't wait to unassemble/flip/move/reassemble Big Sis' perfectly fine HEAVY/GIANT new loft bed system we bought on our Trip to Asheville, NC that we had delivered AND assembled yesterday. It only took the 2 "professionals" 2 hours+ to assemble in the exact spot and configuration I told them. But alas, after it was all said and done and they were gone, the hubby and I came to the sad realization that we didn't like it where it was and to move it to the spot we actually wanted it would require us to disassemble it, move it, reconfigure it AND reassemble the beast. :(

On top that that, I had a brilliant idea of "Oh, let's not flip it, but just move it to the right spot and we can mess with reconfiguring it another time" at 8pm last night. Guess what?!?!? Bad.idea. and It.Didn't.Get.Done. and only left our almost entire upstairs in a shambles. Oh well, despite ourselves, we all still ended up getting a good night's sleep (except for the alarm I accidentally set for 6am when I was dusting in our bedroom last night). Haha!

Just so you know, 2 major screw ups does NOT make a right! But it is what it is and we're working today on rectifying the situation. Can't wait to see the finished product! At least Little Sis' Operation.New.Bed went off without a hitch.

And I won't even bother going into our new tall dresser silliness! (...which I'm just gonna blame one on Sweetie).

Oh look! Sweetie's makin' me lunch (look at him, so hard at work!) as I'm getting ready to go out for run after having practiced a little piano on my "new" keyboard using my old piano books my parents just brought to me this weekend. Sweet! :)

So intensely making me lunch. hee hee
I decided I needed to go out for a birthday run because I just recently started to notice that the ol' metabolism isn't what it used to be and I actually have to WORK at staying in shape. Humphf. The nerve of those 40's! So I put on my good ol' Christmas running socks (I really have no shame) and headed out that door. At approximately 4:35 mins into my run, I noticed that I could really hear myself breathing hard and then I realized - DARN IT! I forgot my iPod! I thought about turning back but Woody, my FedEx buddy told me I could do it! And so I did. But it wasn't easy (at first), until my breathing gradually simmered down. Ran 42 minutes for 42 years of a very happy, lucky and wonderful life, plus 2 for good measure because it's just a travesty to stop your run at the top of a hill! The scary thing is that I felt like I could just go on and on an on, but alas, a loft bed that needs rebuilding calls.

Upon my return, this is the lunch hubby had waiting for me, just the way I like it and oh so yummy, with just the right amount of kick. I love my Sweetie!!! But c'mon, would it have killed ya to add a pick or two?!?! hahahah :)

In THIS lunch:
  1. Applegate Turkey sandwich with Applegate Provolone cheese on Nature's Own 100% Whole Wheat Bread with mayo, mustard and Wickles. Oh yes. Wickles. :)
  2. Trader Joe's Low Sodium Roasted Red Pepper Soup in a box. Love that stuff. :)
  3. Farmer Carrots :)
After lunch was had, guess what was next up?!? THAT bed!!

Best way to attack this would be just to list 'em out. I love lists. :)
  1. Big Sis' bed explosion in the hallway
  2. Big Sis' bed explosion in the guest room
  3. Big Sis' bed explosion in Little Sis' room
  4. Look at that bed on the right. It totally jammed up the entry to her room in the original location. :(
  5. The bed in the WRONG spot in the WRONG configuration. My bad!
  6. Step by step, flipping the beast. Hubby hard at work
  7. Hubby being his usual metiuclous self. I'm pretty sure we would been done sooner had it not been for the sticky goo that was left behind on so many of the pieces that he needed to remove, even though he never woulda known it's existence had I placed the beast correctly in the first place. But you're not hearing that from ME! :) I SO wish I could have capture his "When I do S*$#, I do it RIGHT" face. hee hee.
  8. Little Sis seemed just as excited as Big Sis. So cute I found her perched like a little birdy, right here. But alas, we had to tell her to shoo.
  9. Flipped! and in the right place! Sooooo close. 
Have to add that Sweetie and I made a good, no make that AWESOME team yesterday and got this all done in a surprisingly short amount of time.

Here's the 'After' pic. Big Sis was quite pleased with our work. :)

And finally, capped off the day w/ a seafood birthday dinner at Red Lobster (hee hee). My buddy, Cindy, whom I've hung out with since 4th grade when she lived just down the street from me, joined us for dinner and this is one of our two "go-to" places. The other one is Sweet Tomatoes. :) Bring on those cheesy biscuits, we demanded!

Meant to, but forgot to snap a pic of us for posterity. :(

Ok, I think that's finally it (minus the TaDa pic of Big Sis' bed). 

Thanks for putting up with me and letting me share my b'day play-by-play with you! :)

EasyLunchBoxes - love my ELB's!!

Pack lunches fast with EasyLunchboxes

My favorite Bento supplier @ All Things For Sale.  Just click on the pix to view/purchase now! :)

 Japanese Bento Box Accessories Food Pick Cute Animal Fork 8 pcs  Japanese Bento Accessory Food Pick Hat 3D food picks 8 pcs

Applegate for providing organic nitrate-free yet oh-so-convenient pre-packaged deli meats. Check out my FB post professing my love for them: FB post professing my love for Applegate :)

Peeled Snacks for a healthy fresh fruit alternative (for Big Sis)

Maplehurst Bakeries - for providing my girls safe and delicious peanut-free cupcakes!

Thanks so much for stopping by and please feel free to make my day by leaving me a comment, joining my blog in the top right corner or liking my on Facebook at MyEpicureanAdventures - the more the merrier! :)

Christine, aka happyvballgirl :)

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Sunday, March 17, 2013

St. Patrick's Day 2013

This is a bittersweet St. Patrick's Day because this is the year (actually week) that Big Sis officially "knows" about the Leprechaun, the Easter Bunny, the Tooth Fairy and yes, even Santa. :( We're sure she's known for quite a while yet had chosen to "believe". But being the relentlessly inquisitive type, she just had to have answers at the same time. At the age of 9, it's about that time, but it's still a sad day to realize that my baby is growing up.

But it's also a sweet time because now she's "in on the secret" and we think that makes her feel that much more special and she is excited about helping keeping that secret from Little Sis. Plus, we reassured her that just because she's in-the-know now doesn't mean that the fun has to end.

Last year, she and Little Sis SOOOO enjoyed their St. Patrick's Day: St. Patrick's Day 2012 when we did it proper for the first time.

This year, she added a little special surprise of her own for Little Sis' St. Patrick's Day by wrapping up a little present for Little Sis and leaving in front of her door, saying it was from Mr. L. :)

So it's all good and let it be known that these silly little girls will be my babies forever and ever.

Thanks so much for stopping by and please feel free to make my day by leaving me a comment, joining my blog in the top right corner or liking my on Facebook at MyEpicureanAdventures - the more the merrier! :)

Christine, aka happyvballgirl :)

St. Patrick's Day 2012

In all my years, I have never celebrated a St. Patrick's Day other than maybe wearing a little green (sometimes accidental, occasionally planned) on the day. Never even had so much as a sip of green beer (oh the horror!)... which means we've also managed to escape visits from little leprechauns - until this year.

Little Sis came home from school SOOO excited on Thursday because the leprechauns visited her pre-school and left such a mess (and yummy little cupcakes behind)!! They dumped out the ponies and knocked over the container of blocks. They turned over chairs and just left the place a mess. She was SO excited.

With Big Sis home sick from school Friday, they had way too much time on their hands to prepare for potential leprechauns' visits. First it started with making leprechaun traps in their rooms but then they decided it was much nicer to give them a warm welcome. They hauled upstairs way too much doll house furniture and set up house for those little creatures. Apparently, they are pretty small they concluded. Here's what they set up:
Big Sis' Room:

Little Sis' Room:

The rest of the day was spent talking about what the leprechauns and what do to their rooms and of course mixed in with lots of plushie-playing (stuffed animals).

Finally, it was bed time. We had the girls clean up their messes from the day, because otherwise, how would we know what messes were made by leprechauns and what messes were made by little girls? In the process of getting ready for bed, they each went in and out of their rooms several times, inadvertantly knocking some part of their setup over (how could they not when it's covering nearly their entire floor?) and each time Little Sis noticed something tipped over, she was convinced it was a leprechaun's doing.

So, my sweet foolish little daughter, who had been so excited all day preparing for and talking about how Leprechans are coming to mess things up in her room and around the house was now afraid to fall asleep because she thought they had already arrived and were hiding in her room. DOH! After several gettings-out-of-bed and reassurances, she finally fell asleep. Whew!

The next morning, Little Sis got up way earlier than usual - even earlier than she did on Christmas morning!! And when Daddy got up to check on her, he said the look on her face was just too precious for words. She was genuinely amazed looking at what the leprechaun had done and was very busy collecting up all her little treats of gold chocolate coins and green and gold Rolos. About an hour after that, we found them both jumping up and down in sheer excitement in the bathroom looking at the leprechaun gel clings that were left on the mirror and soooo astounded by each new discovery throughout the house. Big Sis even declared, "This is now my 2nd favorite holiday after Christmas!!!" Soooooo stinkin' cute they were. :)

So that there was our first celebration of St. Patrick's Day. :) And who knew that those Leprechauns had such a sense of humor? Check out what they left behind:

Big Sis' Leprechaun Toilet:

Little Sis' Leprechaun Toilet:

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...which inevitably led to Little Sis's question:

"When can we eat the poop?"

Hope you all had an enjoyable St. Patrick's Day!!! Maybe next year I'll try some green beer. :)
Thanks so much for stopping by and please feel free to make my day by leaving me a comment, joining my blog in the top right corner or liking my on Facebook at MyEpicureanAdventures - the more the merrier! :)

Christine, aka happyvballgirl :)