Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Creamy Pasta with Artichokes and Tomatoes

This was so good and so easy. I will most definitely be making this again and again.

I first saw this recipe on Lauren's blog (who got it from another blog but I did Lauren's version) and was immediately intrigued by it. I love pasta, artichokes and creamy sauces so I knew that this would be a winner.

Next time though I think I may add some pieces of chicken breasts. Alberto gave me the side eye and asked me where was the meat. A meal is not a meal for him if it doesn't have any meat. I thought it was great as is.

I apologize for the crappy picture. I forgot to take a nicer picture when it was nice and fresh. The pic below are the leftovers that ended up being my lunch the next day.

Creamy Pasta with Artichokes and Tomatoes Ingredients
  • 2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
  • 2 Tablespoons Butter
  • 3 cloves Garlic, Minced
  • ½ whole Medium Onion, Finely Diced
  • 1 can Artichoke Hearts (14.5 Oz. Quartered Or Whole) Drained (and briefly rinsed)
  • 1 can Diced Tomatoes With Juice (14.5 Oz.)
  • 1 cup Heavy Cream
  • ½ cups Chicken Broth (More As Needed)
  • ½ teaspoons Nutmeg
  • Salt And Pepper, to taste
  • 1 pound tri-color rotini
  • 1 cup Parmesan Cheese, Freshly Grated
  • 2 Tablespoons Fresh Chives (or Other Herbs) Chopped

Cook pasta till al dente. Drain and set aside.

Melt olive oil and butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onions and garlic and saute for 2 to 3 minutes.

Add artichoke hearts and tomatoes. Stir and cook for 8 to 10 minutes. Reduce heat to low. Stir in cream and chicken broth. Add nutmeg, salt and pepper to taste (do not under salt!) Cook over low heat until heated through, then turn off heat.

Place drained pasta in a large bowl. Sprinkle with 1 cup Parmesan. Pour sauce over the top. Add chives. Toss lightly to combine and coat; add a tiny bit of reserved pasta water if sauce seems too thick.

My verdict: This was so good. The only thing that I did differently was not use freshly grated Parmesan cheese. I only had the powdery stuff in the container. It was still good so I can only imagine how much better it would be if I had used freshly grated. Oh and I didn't add any fresh chives. I hardly ever have any on hand. If I were going to make this for guests then I'd add the chives.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

First Haircut

For those of you who don't know Stephanie she has a lot of hair. A LOT of hair. She was even born with a full head of hair. And hair on her back, thighs, arms, etc.

Here is a picture of Stephanie meeting my oldest daughter Alexandra in the hospital. It looks like a bad wig. Even Stephie looks upset by it.

She had enough hair for a haircut since she was 1 day old. We, however, waited until she 19 1/2 months to take her for her first haircut.

Alberto and I spoke several times about taking her and finally decided on a whim to take her. We (well, I) really wanted to take her to Kidz Kuts since it was kid friendly.

Daddy and Stephie walking around waiting to be called.

Mesmerized by the Dora dvd.

Will you look at all of that hair?!?

Once the stylist pulled out the hair dryer Stephanie had had enough. She wouldn't even sit still to have her hair styled so she was left with this wet "hair do".

Yes, those are mini M&M's. I ended up having to use those as a bribe to keep her still. Whatever works, right?

We were also given a small certificate with the date of Stephanie's first haircut along with the first pieces of hair that were cut. Very cute idea!

Win a Free Cookie Cookbook!

I was just browsing through some blogs when I came across a giveaway on Lauren's blog. I love giveaways so I decided to post about here (and increase my own chances of winning).

It looks like an awesome book that shows you how to make amazing cookies using refrigerated cookie dough, cake mixes, brownie mixes and even cereal. My kind of baking!

Go to the Picky Palate and follow the instructions on how to enter this giveaway.

Good luck!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Most annoying toy yet

We have lots of annoying and loud toys here that thankfully have an off switch. Aaaahhh.....silence. But that has all changed since Stephanie learned how to turn all of her toys on. Sometimes all at once. Who taught her how to turn them on? I know it wasn't me.

As if we didn't have enough toys around here Alberto decided to buy what I think is the most annoying toy yet.

Introducing the Fisher Price Dora the Explorer Mega Tunes Guitar. I am normally a fan of Dora and her many adventures. I enjoy listening to Stephanie trying to sing along with Backpack and watching her dance and spin around to "We Did It!" but this toy has gone too far. Although it does have an on/off switch it does not, I repeat, DOES NOT have volume control. Are you kidding me? Who made that decision? Obviously not a parent who already has too many loud toys in the house.

This thing wasn't in the house 24 hours before Alberto hid it in our bedroom. It didn't take Stephanie too long to find it. And turn it on. And wake up her sister from a nap. I can't wait for it to run out of batteries.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Thanks goodness for washable crayons

While I was nursing Eva this morning Stephanie decided to go into my diaper bag and rip open a box of washable crayons and color my floor.

Those are her hands trying to grab the box of crayons. Nothing is safe when Stephanie is around. Yesterday she got into my bag again and took out the goldfish and was snacking away. I need to start keeping my bedroom door closed.

It wasn't too much of a mess but I have to figure out a way to curb her jealousy issues with her baby sister. When I'm nursing, Stephanie will almost always do something bad to get my attention. She has emptied out my drawers, unravel whatever I'm crocheting or color the floors. Thankfully she hasn't lashed out at the baby. I try to give Stephie extra attention when Eva is napping but I guess she needs more. I'll have to come up with something before she figures out a more destructive way to get my attention.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Granny Skull Cap

I am always searching for new patterns to make hats. I made these for Stephanie to go with her fall jacket. Unfortunately she will not keep a hat on her head but my friends saw the hat and loved it and requested some for their own kids.

For the hats above I used Lion Brand Cotton Ease and it was really nice and stretchy. I've also made it with Caron Simply Soft (my go to yarn) and have also had great results. I tend to crochet kind of tight so I had to modify the pattern a bit to make it work for me and the different sizes I was making.

Below is the original pattern and in pink you will see any changes that I made. Since everyone crochets differently my adjustments may or may not work for you. This is a cute and fun hat to make and best of all it works up very quickly!

The link will bring you to the site where I originally found the pattern.

Granny Skull Cap

Ch 4, join with sl st to form ring.
Rnd 1: Ch 3 (counts as first dc now and throughout), 2 dc inside ring, ch 1, (3 dc in ring, ch 1) 3 times, join to third ch of beg ch 3. (12 dc, 4 ch 1 spaces)
Rnd 2: Sl st in next dc, Ch 3, 2 dc in same stitch, ch 1, (3 dc in next ch 1 sp, ch 1, skip next dc, 3 dc in next dc, ch 1) around, 3 dc in last ch 1 sp, ch 1, join to third ch of beg ch 3. (24 dc, 8 ch 1 spaces)
Rnd 3: Repeat rnd 2. (48 dc, 16 ch 1 spaces)
Rnd 4: Sl st in each of the next 2 dc and in next ch sp, ch 3, 2 dc in same sp, ch 1, (3 dc in next ch sp, ch 1) around, join to third ch of beg ch 3.
Rnd 5-11: Repeat rnd 4 7 MORE times for a total of 11 rnds.
Rnd 12: Ch 1, sc in same st as joining, sc in each dc and in each ch sp around, join to first sc.
Fasten off. Weave in ends.

Attach favorite flower or rose to front side of skull cap.

Toddler - Size G Hook - follow the pattern as is but add an extra row of sc.
Rnd 13: Ch 1, sc in sc around, join to first sc.
Fasten off and weave in ends.

Child - Size H Hook - follow the pattern as is up to Rnd 5. Add 2 more rows.
Rnd 5-13: Repeat rnd 4 9 MORE times for a total of 13 rnds.
Rnd 14: Ch 1, sc in same st as joining, sc in each dc and in each ch sp around, join to first sc.
Rnd 15: Ch 1, sc in sc around, join to first sc.
Fasten off and weave in ends.

Adult - Size I Hook - follow the pattern as is up to Rnd 5. Add 4 more rows.
Rnd 5-15: Repeat rnd 4 11 MORE times for a total of 15 rnds.
Rnd 16: Ch 1, sc in same st as joining, sc in each dc and in each ch sp around, join to first sc.
Rnd 17: Ch 1, sc in sc around, join to first sc.
Fasten off and weave in ends.

Monday, January 11, 2010

I love my girls...

But there are some days that I'm tempted to put one of them in a box and ship them to be with their paternal grandmother in Argentina. Today is one of those days.

Just about everyday I hear a small explosion coming from Eva's diaper and I dread changing her and seeing this.

See how it already spread down her chubby little thighs? So gross. The real mess was underneath her onesie but that was way too gross to post on here. This happens almost daily. Thank goodness that my mother was here today to help me get her undressed and not spread the poop all over the place. I threw out the onesie because a) by the time I got her undressed the onesie was covered in poop and b) I'm sick and tired of soaking, pretreating, washing sometimes 2 or 3 times trying to get the stains out.

I'm holding onto to this picture to torture her when she's older.

Autum Roasted Chicken and Sausages with Balsamic Drizzle

I was watching Rachael Ray a few weeks ago when she made Roasted Chicken and Sausages with Balsamic Drizzle and it looked so yummy that I went online and bookmarked the recipe. I love a dish where I can throw everything into a pan and forget about it for an hour. Just add a salad and dinner is ready.

I did a few things differently because I didn't have everything. I used dried herbs instead of fresh and used the big red potatoes because my supermarket didn't have the baby ones. The shallots that I bought were a bit gross when I cut them in half so I used a regular yellow onion and I wasn't interested adding the black grapes.

Sorry about the bad picture...I took it with my cell phone. I ended up adding more of the balsamic drizzle to my dish....yummy!

Autumn Roasted Chicken and Sausages with Balsamic Drizzle


  • 4 pieces bone-in chicken thighs with legs attached
  • 1 pound Italian sweet sausages
  • 3 tablespoons EVOO - Extra Virgin Olive Oil, divided
  • 3 to 4 sprigs fresh rosemary, 2 finely chopped
  • 7 to 8 sprigs fresh thyme, 4 finely chopped
  • 12 baby potatoes, such as baby Yukon gold
  • 8 shallots, halved through root and peeled or 4 small red onions, quartered through root end
  • 1 pound bunch black seedless grapes, snipped into small clusters
  • Balsamic drizzle, to garnish


Preheat oven to 425˚F.

In a large, shallow roasting pan, dress chicken and sausages with about 1 tablespoon of EVOO. Season with chopped rosemary, thyme, salt and pepper.

Toss the potatoes, shallots and black grapes with remaining EVOO, salt and pepper and add to the roasting pan. Bundle the rosemary and thyme sprigs and toss them in the pan as well. Roast 45-50 minutes until the meat juices run clear and the chicken skin and sausage casings are crispy.

To serve, arrange meat, sausage, potatoes, shallots and grapes on dinner plates and garnish with pan juices and balsamic drizzle.

My verdict: It was good. I looooved the balsamic drizzle as did everyone else. The next time that I make it I will definitely season the potatoes more since they were a bit bland. I will definitely make this again.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Please say it isn't so!

I think that my almost 3 month old is already teething. She has been whining and shoving her little hand in her mouth. I know it's possible because Alexandra had 3 teeth come in at 3 months. Stephanie, however, didn't get her first tooth until she was 8 months. Every single tooth that Stephanie has gotten or is getting as been pure torture for her and for me as well. I don't remember them being so bad for Alex and I hope that it's not too bad for Eva either.

Stephanie as usual has been as crazy as ever. I had my friends over the other night and they were cracking up watching her toss her baby doll across the room before she'd start pushing her stroller around. I don't understand why she refuses to keep the doll in there. I wonder if I should be concerned since I also have a 3 month old. Note to self...do not let Stephanie push Eva in the stroller LOL!

Another one of Stephanie's favorite things to do is watch television in her favorite spot.

Inside of the drawer of the tv stand. We have lovely leather furniture and she even has her very own Dora fold out sofa but she loves to have a front row seat to watch her favorite show.

As crazy as she makes me she can really make me laugh and make my day!

Monday, January 4, 2010

Crock Pot Lentil Soup

It is soooo freaking cold out. Thanks goodness that I don't have to go out with the babies. It's the perfect day to stay home in sweats (oh who am I kidding....we're still in out pajamas) and make some soup. I got this recipe for lentil soup from one of the ladies from a message board that I frequent. The ingredients are things that I always have on hand.

Crock Pot Lentil Soup


1 c. dry lentils
1 c. chopped carrot
1 c. chopped celery
1 c. chopped onion
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp. dried basil, crushed
1/2 tsp. dried oregano, crushed
1/4 tsp. dried thyme, crushed
1 bay leaf
3 1/2 c. chicken broth or veggie broth
1 1/2 c. water
1 (14 1/2 oz) can Italian-style stewed tomatoes
1/4 c. snipped fresh parsley
2 Tbs. cider vinegar


Rinse lentils. In crock pot place lentils, carrot, celery, onion, garlic, basil, oregano, thyme, and bay leaf. Stir in broth, water and undrained tomatoes. Cover; cook on low-heat setting for 12 hours or on high-heat setting for 5 to 6 hours. Discard bay leaf. Stir in parsley and vinegar (if desired). Makes 6 servings.

My verdict: Very good. Even my super picky 19 month old ate some. I ended up adding chunks of pork into the crock pot because, well....why not? I had a couple left over and cut them up into bite sized pieces. I liked it and maybe next time I'll make it with beef and use beef broth instead. I also cooked some pasta separately and added it to the bowls as I was serving dinner. I hate mushy pasta so I always cook it separately.

I love pork chops

I really do.

Yesterday I spent the day at the mall with my BF and our kids and I came home not in the mood to cook (when am I ever in the mood to cook?) but knew that I had to cook something. I decided on Sauteed Boneless Pork Chops with Tomato-Sage Pan Sauce. Sounds fancy, right? It is so easy and so yummy. I originally saw the recipe in Cooking Light but changed it up a little to make it even easier. I'm not quite sure how my changes affect the fat and calories so as usual the original recipe is above. I served mine with buttered bow ties.

Sauteed Boneless Pork Chops with Tomato-Sage Pan Sauce

  • ground sage
  • kosher salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 - 5 boneless center-cut loin pork chops (about 3/4 inch thick)
  • olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 can diced tomatoes
  • 1 cup fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth

Sprinkle both sides of pork with sage, salt and pepper.

Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Coat pan with olive oil. Add pork; cook 3 minutes on each side or until browned. Remove from heat; set aside.

Add chicken broth and minced garlic to pan, scraping to loosen browned bits. Cook 1 1/2 minutes or until reduced to about 1/4 cup. Stir in diced tomato and another sprinkle of sage, salt & pepper and cook 4 minutes or until slightly thick. Return pork and accumulated juices to pan. Cover and cook 1 minute or until heated.

My verdict: YUM, YUM, YUM! This is definitely one of my favorite ways to make pork chops. I don't always have white wine in the house (we prefer drinking red) so I just add more chicken broth instead and I think it still tastes great.

Friday, January 1, 2010

First post of 2k10!

I hope that you all had a wonderful New Year's Eve!

I hadn't planned on posting anything today because I'm not cooking today (we have leftovers from last night's take out!) and I'm not yet ready to post the patterns for the hats and scarves that I'm working on. But I just to post about my middle daughter Stephanie. This child truly cracks me up on a daily basis but yesterday she really outdid herself. Alexandra had already left to spend NYE at her father's house, Eva was napping in the swing and I was in the kitchen with Stephanie while she ate her lunch. I'm not quite sure what happened because I was on my laptop (yes, yes, I know....bad mommy) but I looked over at her to see if she was done eating her grilled cheese yet and saw this.

No, you're not mistaken...you are seeing 2 pieces of grilled cheese nestled into her hair. Sigh....this is the child that's going to give me gray hair.