Saturday, May 10, 2014

Cilantro Lime Cream Sauce Recipe

I wanted to try something new with my stuffed peppers tonight and use red/sweet peppers instead of green bell peppers. Since the red peppers tend to be sweeter, I wanted to add a sauce that would be the perfect amount of tart and punch.

Cilantro Lime Cream Sauce

You need:
16 oz sour cream
1 bunch of cilantro
2 limes, will make about 1/4 cup of juice
8 green onions
garlic powder
chipotle powder
salt & pepper

Roughly chop cilantro and green onions, then add them to the blender.

Add all 16oz of sour cream.

Squeeze the limes to make about 1/4 cup of juice, then add it to the blender as well.

Blend on high until smooth.

Add seasonings to taste. I used about 1/4 tbsp of ground cumin, 1/2 tbsp garlic powder, 1/4 tbsp chipotle, and 1/2 tbsp each of salt and pepper.

Serve alongside spicy or Mexican-inspired dishes for a nice pairing. Our peppers and sauce are pictured below. :)

Sunday, March 23, 2014

SOS: The Difficult Search for Colorful Kitchen Decor

If you've been around my blog before, you'll notice I have colorful utensils, orange and blue Rachael Ray pots and pans, and even colorful Fiesta dinnerware (made in the USA.)

I've long hated the played-out vineyard, rooster, sunflower, chef, bistro, hot peppers, and other kitchen themes. They bore me, and if you really look at them all next to each other, you may even realize they look a lot alike! Same color scheme, and it all looks old and tired to me.

I want/need a kitchen that is energized. It's one of my favorite rooms in the house, and I need it to look like citrus and happiness, not red brick and old moss.

That said, it's the most difficult design/decor quest on which I've ever had to embark.

Who knew that a Google search for "colorful kitchen mats," "Easter kitchen mats," or "colorful kitchen decor" would produce so little!

I tried Wayfair, Amazon, Overstock, all the department stores you can imagine, World Market, Pottery Barn, and so many other places online.

A few searches were fruitful, but weren't quite right. Example: I found this set on Amazon, but it's only for one floor mat, a sink mat, and a counter mat. I really just want 3 brightly-colored kitchen floor mats for spring!

I remembered my Crock-Pot, which is a colorful French Bull edition. After searching French Bull's site, I found their only two kitchen mat designs were sold out.

It's hard for me to imagine there isn't a demand for colorful kitchenware and decor. Part of me thinks that women and wives aren't as happy, energetic, and comfortable in the kitchen as they once were. For me, the office and the kitchen are my happy places, and I want them to reflect my personality and my love of those spaces. It's very difficult when your options are limited.

I'll be searching for other sites/products like French Bull for the kitchen as I fight to find some springtime floor mats. If any of you have ideas/suggestions, let me know!

There are sites for colorful/upbeat office supplies like See Jane Work, Erin Condren, and Poppin. Why aren't there similar sites for kitchen decor? Am I just missing them? Help!

Friday, January 31, 2014

My Erin Condren Life Planner - Delivered!

I've been excited for this day since I placed my order on January 19th. Here we are on the 31st, and it's here. My Erin Condren Life Planner wasn't even supposed to ship until February 3rd, but here we are!

2014 should be an eventful year, and instead of buying another year's worth of the Franklin Covey Master Plan for my FC binder, I wanted to do something different. A Facebook friend and former co-worker recommended, so I checked it out. Thanks, Sarah!

LOVE. The site, the colors, the style, the idea... so I ordered (after 2 weeks of debating which design I'd get personalized.)

I look forward to doing a detailed review in the future, but for now I'm just excited it's here.

Customer service has been messaged about a possible issue - I was eligible for a freebie that wasn't in the package. Maybe it ships separately, but just in case - I let them know it was missing.

SO excited to get this puppy set up, buy some washi tape for labeling days/events, and get started on documenting 2014.

Chuc Mung Nam Moi 2014! What a great way to start.

Check out the beautiful packaging and branding:

^^Beautifully illustrated motivational and inspirational quotes are sprinkled throughout the planner, btw. <3

Friday, January 24, 2014

Soaking Berries to Keep Them Fresh Longer

This one's easy. Strawberries and blueberries don't last through the week for us without this method. With it, we still have crisp berries for nearly 2 weeks!

How to Soak Berries and Keep Them Fresh Longer

1 cup white distilled vinegar
1 sink full of cold water
1 colander

Fill sink with water and vinegar to height that won't allow berries to float out of the colander, place colander in sink, and the berries go in the colander.

Easy peasy. Let em soak for 45 minutes, shaking the colander every 15 minutes to dislodge any dirt.
Rinse with cool water, pat dry. I store mine in Rubbermaid containers with a folded paper towel in the bottom.


Thursday, January 23, 2014

When The Road Gets Bumpy (or Tires Go Flat)

I'm writing this from the patio waiting area outside of Sterling McCall Ford - the BEST dealership in Houston, not a hyperbole - and I'll explain later.

So, things have been a bit rough lately.  The job I'm at now recently mandated I take a course (required for all supervisors/management) from 3-5p each Thursday from now until the end of next month. My usual schedule is 7a-4p, because my 1.25 hour drive home turns into a 2.25 hour drive if I leave after 4:30p. Hypercommuting is not for the faint of heart.

With these classes, I won't be getting on the road until 5p or later, so I have 8+ days of 2-hour drives home within the next 2 months. Not cool.

On the drive home yesterday, my rear driver-side tire blew out. I've never had that happen before, so that was fun. My roadside assistance people through Ford were friendly, and they got me back on the road within the hour. Alas, I still had a damaged tire and a spare that only allowed me to drive 55 mph the rest of the way home. I felt like such a jackass.

When I got home, Vince was happy to see I was safe, and he inspected the tire himself. A couple steps into the house, I smelled it. Bravo had stepped in dog shit and tracked in into the house on my tile floors while Vince was in the garage. If I could've snuck him out the back door, cleaned him up, and mopped up the floors, I would have. Knowing there was no hiding it from Vince, I asked for his help. We got Bravo cleaned up, Vince swept, and I bleached the kitchen floors.

We raced off to Whataburger for supper, because there was no chance I was cooking last night. Not after the trip home.

This morning, I had to make the trip into the dealership instead of going in to work. Though missing out on that place seems like a good deal, I wasn't looking forward to paying for a new tire. We were pretty sure we'd forgone the Road Hazard plan when we financed the Explorer.

Little did I know, two wrecks on Hwy 59 had caused a 2 HOUR delay, and traffic was at a standstill once I made it to the beltway. Here I am on my dinky spare tire, and now I'm sitting in a parking lot conga line. It took me 2 hours to get to the dealership - usually a 45-minute drive from home.

Sterling McCall Ford is located just outside the loop in Houston, TX. Taking US Hwy 59 N into Houston, you take the Hillcroft exit, go through the light, and the dealership is on the right side - you'll see the giant American flag.

I asked for the Service Manager, Mike Davis. He knows all about customer service, and I wish more service-industry people were like him. He and Paul Diamanti in sales make this the BEST dealership in Houston.

Though the tire would've cost around $250 for us, he went out of his way to match Discount Tire's price AND give us a discount on top of that. Talk about relief.

So now I'm enjoying the cool weather and free wi-fi outside in their waiting area. After the past 24 hours, I needed this break. Part of me wishes they'd take an extra hour to get the new tire on so I could catch up on reading, blogging, and resting. :)

Hoping for more positive things to balance out all the negative crap. If you're reading, I hope you have and excellent day!

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Because Eating Healthy Feels Good

Disclaimer: I also drank a 12oz can of Coca-Cola today. But it felt much less horrible knowing what I ate the rest of the day.

For breakfast, I had 1/2 cup vanilla yogurt with coconut flakes, blackberries, and almond slivers.

I snacked on strawberries, blueberries, Chobani yogurt, a mini Babybel cheese, and a Clif bar before and after lunch.

Lunch was a garden salad (spinach, romaine, cucumbers, grape tomatoes, and balsamic) with a side of green peas and mushrooms.

At 3pm, I wanted a Coke. It reminded me that home wasn't that far away.

And I even managed to drink 30+ ounces of water so far! For me, it felt like 5 gallons.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Fried Rice with Baked Sweet & Sour Chicken

In our house, fried rice is usually served with stir fried chicken or pork and a bottle of teriyaki or stir fry sauce - not tonight. Tonight, I made my own sauce from scratch and baked sweet & sour chicken with a simple batter coating. The results? Delicious!

Fried Rice with Baked Sweet & Sour Chicken


For Sauce:
4 tbsp ketchup
1/2 cup white vinegar
3/4 cup sugar
2 tbsp soy sauce
1 tsp minced garlic

Chicken and Batter:
3 tbsp canola oil or coconut oil
1/2 tbsp salt
1/2 tbsp black pepper
1 cup cornstarch
2 eggs
2-3 large chicken breasts

Fried Rice:
2 cups frozen peas and carrots
1 small onion, diced
2 eggs, slightly beaten
3 cups cooked rice, white or brown (better if cooked the day before and left in fridge overnight)
2 tbsp sesame seed oil
3 tbsp soy sauce

Monday, January 6, 2014

Loaded Sweet Pepper Nachos

I feel like we totally pigged out tonight and went off the deep end. Did I really cook, serve, and eat nachos for supper? Yep. Sure did.

Sweet Pepper Nachos

1 bag small sweet peppers (I didn't use the whole bag, only 8-10 of the biggest ones)
1 lb lean ground beef (substitutions work well here - turkey, etc.)
1 can black beans
1 small can (6oz) tomato paste
taco seasoning or your favorite taco spices
Optional toppings:
diced tomato
sliced jalapeno
1 cup shredded cheese
sour cream
green onions
hot sauce


Preheat oven to 375°F.

Make taco meat:
Brown meat on medium-high heat, season. Once brown, add rinsed can of black beans and remove from heat. Stir mixture. Add tomato paste and continue to stir. Depending on your meat choice, it may be thick. Add tablespoons of water until proper chili consistency.

Prepare peppers & assemble:
Cut tops off peppers, then slice lengthwise, creating boats. Layer boats in 9x13" baking dish, and spoon chili mixture into boats. Any remaining chili can be on top or in between peppers.

Bake at 375°F for approx. 30 minutes, or until peppers are fork tender.

Top with shredded cheese and let it rest while the cheese melts.

Add jalapenos and diced tomatoes to the dish, and add sour cream and green onions once served.

The yellow peppers look a lot like Fritos Scoops, but taste so much better.