Tuesday, March 27, 2012

what's for dinner?

One of my most favorite cook book authors is Nigella Lawson. The following is a little twist on her Crunch Pork Chops. We had them for dinner tonight and decided it is so good we could eat it at least once a week. It also all comes together in 30 minutes (if you are on your toes!). She has a new cookbook coming out this year, I hope to add it to my collection!

Pork Chops:
Pork Chops, pounded thin
1 egg
2 tsp Dijon mustard
1/2 tsp dried oregano
3 tbsp olive oil
1 cup bread crumbs
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan
1 cup canola oil, for frying

Warm Arugula and Tomato Salad:
3 medium tomatoes
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tbsp olive oil
Juice of one lemon
4 cups arugula, not packed

Beat the egg with the mustard, olive oil, oregano, and salt and pepper into an empty pie plate. Set aside. In another empty pie plate, combine bread crumbs and Parmesan, and salt and pepper.

Dip the chops in the egg mixture, coating both sides. Then dredge them in the bread crumb mixture, being sure to cover evenly.

Meanwhile, pour the canola oil into your cast iron skillet over medium heat. When a small cube of bread sizzles when dropped into the oil, you know the oil is hot enough. Cook the chops until they are a deep golden color, 5-7 minutes per side, depending on how thin you got them and how cold they were before starting.

While all of this is going on, combine the arugula, chopped tomatoes, minced garlic, olive oil, lemon juice and salt and pepper in a bowl.

When the chops are ready, remove them from the pan. Quickly put the arugula mixture into the hot pan (it will splatter, but you are made of tough kitchen stuff, so you don't mind). Toss the mixture until well coated and heated through (maybe 3 minutes, tops).

Serve the warm salad along side the chops. For added flair, you best serve roasted cauliflower too!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012


My super hero is fierce.

He is known as Super Paint.

His cape looks like a painting apron with the strings cut off worn backwards. It of course ISN'T those things, it just LOOKS like it.

Super Paint has some amazing ninja moves.

His belt is a Native American head-dress that is worn around the waist, upside-down. I am sure this provides some super power I haven't been schooled on yet.

He also has x-ray vision he can turn on and off. Clearly he's into eye protection as well.

Friday, March 16, 2012

girls just want to have fun

Do you remember about 6 months ago when I took a nasty fall during a hike and tore 5 ligaments? yeah, that was no fun. After that, I swore off hiking (I really don't like it anyway).

Here's my surprise for you:
Last week I fell off a zipline and hurt my other ankle. This time is not as bad as last time. But I still hate it. I'm more mobile than last time, but my ankle is so swollen I'm afraid it is legitimatley a cankle. Also, I have a nice hobble about me.

Here's the thing, I am not swearing off ziplines. They are so fun (as long as you don't fall off of them). However, hiking is still out.

This picture cracks me up. The kids are cute, but Nate's reflection in the mirror is beyond words.
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Thursday, March 8, 2012

Wizarding Muggle Secret Agent Society Meeting

What happens when two birthday party ideas for two very different kids collide and become one? I'll show you.

Spy Guy Party, meet Harry Potter Party:
The Wizarding Muggle Secret Agent Society Meeting

The Spy Guys/Hogwarts Pupils met in our living room. It was easy to coordinate as all the pupils were actual cousins of the birthday children. They were given a magic wand constructed out of magical secret ingredients and materials that I somehow uncovered at the hardware store. Also you should note these wands were not intended to poke each other's eyes out.

We were all given secret agent names. Agent Thunder, Agent Tranquility, Agent Stardust, Agent Dusty, Agent Centurion, Agent Dasher, Agent Sheepskin, and Agent Scarlet were all present.

Once appropriately named and wanded it was time for training exercises. The first was to weave oneself through a series of "lasers" in the hallway (think Catherine Zeta Jones in Entrapment only with hot pink crepe paper taped to the walls by my brother instead). A tricky feat, to be sure.
The next exercise was one in disguise. There are times when an agent needs to quickly move from being seen as a muggle to a wizard and back again. I think this by far was my favorite game.

Following our training exercises it was time for potions class with Professor Laryngology. The class was held on our patio, as most potion classes are. I think Professor Laryngology is so much cuter and manly than slimey Snape, don't you think?
Their first potion: Dragon Toothpaste. There are many field assignments in Bulgaria near nasty dragon breath. It is worth your while to know how to defeat dragon halitosis.
It erupts quickly!
Here's our youngest recruit. Darling, huh?
After class it was time for refreshment. Please note that fabulous looking punch. Much of that came from the magical fruit of our citrus trees. Delightful to be sure.
After our repast it was present time. Jimmy is one kid you just want to give presents too, mainly because of his reaction to every gift. This is his face after opening up Trouble:

Here he is after opening a book. He just stops amidst all action and dives right in to read. Good thing this one wasn't a chapter book, he would have been there for quite sometime.
Grace takes a serious approach to her gift opening. Yeah, she's fun to watch too!
Want to know what time it is, ask Grace the Ten Year Old.
Here are some of the birthday trappings:
And the final activity? Well, I can't tell you. Its a disguised secret!

Happy Birthday, Grace and Jimmy!!!!

Ten and Six never looked better!
We sure love you!!!!
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