Friday, June 10, 2011

Freezer cooking day 3

Chicken tacos with black beans
Pulled pork

OK. These are three of the BEST foods I have ever cooked. Like .... probably ever. They are soooooo good and embarrassingly easy. You almost have to try to screw them up. The gravy takes a little finesse, but it is worth it. I love it because it is made entirely of veggies so I don't have to make a whole chicken or, God forbid, a turkey to get flavorful gravy.

* Gravy*
1 carrot
1 celery rib
1 onion
3 T. butter
1/4 flour
2 c. chicken broth
2 c. beef broth
1 bay leaf
1/4 t. thyme
5 whole peppercorns
salt pepper

Food process carrot, onion and celery. Heat butter and saute veggies 7 minutes. Reduce heat to medium and stir in flower for 5 minutes. Whisking constantly, gradually add broths. Reduce to medium low and add herbs. Simmer and reduce 25-30 minutes. Strain solids through a mesh strainer and discard solids.

* Chicken tacos *
3 chicken breasts browned in olive oil
1/4 t. cumin
1 t. oregano
1 small can diced green chilies
1 can black beans
1 can diced tomatoes
1 onion diced

Brown chicken and put in crock pot. In the same pan that you cooked the chicken, saute the onion for 1 minute then add the chilies and tomatoes for an additional minute. Add to chicken and mix in herbs. Cook in the crock pot for 4 hours on high. Add the black beans for the last hour and stir the entire mixture breaking up the chicken. Add small amounts of chicken broth if it seems to be getting too dry. Voila!

I make these chicken tacos every other week for dinner. I made them into 6 oz. lunch portions and froze them and have had a taco salad every day this week for lunch and I am not tired of it yet.

* Pulled pork sandwiches *
1 T. brown sugar
2 t. salt
2 t. garlic powder
1.5 t. ground mustard
3 t. chili powder
1 3 lb. bones less pork shoulder (**I used pork country style ribs. YUM!)
1 8 oz. can tomato sauce

Mix herbs together and rub over the pork. Place pork in crock pot. Cook for 7-8 hours on low. In the last 30 minutes of cooking, stir in the tomato sauce. That's it. You literally only use one pot ... the crock pot. How easy is that?!?!?

I made the pulled pork for the first time this week and served it on French bread with lettuce and avocado. You don't want to look up from your plate or interrupt the eating by wasting time talking .... it is so good. These would also make insanely good tacos. OK, great ... now I'm hungry. Happy freezer cooking!

Monday, June 6, 2011

Devon: May

At least once a day I say out loud,"Devon is blowing my mind today." He is so staggeringly smart I am just amazed at the way his mind works, how he speaks, the way he thinks about things and what he is learning.

No, we did not get this dog, although, I wanted to. I have decided that a Husky is my kind of dog. Beautiful, soft, loyal, smart, calm and good with kids. We aren't going to get a dog until we totally fence in the yard, but I am not taking care of a dog so Devon has to be old enough to help feed, bathe, walk and train it. I take care of enough people (and a 20 pound cat with a litter box) so I am not dealing with a dog as well.

Devon loves to sit with Dada in his truck when he gets home from work. He turns on the wipers, steers, uses the gear shifter and rolls the windows up and down.

We visit a park at least once a week and Devon has gotten more adventurous with trying new things and climbing the equipment. He loves to play with his friend Roman and talks about him all the time.

This little boy loves his grandparents. Devon, Audrey and I go over to their house once a week for an hour or so and play in the garden, Grandma's toy room or we just sit around and let Devon talk to us ;)

Devon requested nail polish on his toes. I let him pick out the colors and he had a blast! He sat so still while I put on the color and watched intently as it dried. Joe thought it was hysterical and Devon loved to show off his toes where ever we went.

Heroes and Villains was having their "free comic book day" event so Devon and I went and got a few comic books about Super Dinosaur, Shrek and Spiderman. Local "Star Wars Fans" showed up to sweat it out in their official Star Wars storm trooper uniforms and shake hands and take pictures with customers ... for free. They were all incredibly nice, patient and accommodating with Devon and even let him hold their guns and "light savers".

We went into the store to get our free comics and Devon wouldn't leave the front window. One of the storm troopers came over and gave him a high five through the glass. He kept calling them "white guys".

Fumbs up white guys!

The splash park finally opened for the summer and I didn't think Devon would even get in the water so I didn't put him in swim clothes. He surprised me and was excited to play in the water with his super sweet friend, McKenzie. The fact that there was a gun helped encourage him as well ;)

I still love to baby-wear my babies. Audrey in the front in my new Pikkolo carrier and Devon on my back in the good 'ole Ergo.

I took Devon to see "Elmo LIVE" at the TCC and he. Had. A. Blast. It was so over the top and so amazing it was sensory over load.

He sat in his seat for the entire first half (45 minutes) and made it 15 into the second half before he got up and started walking back and forth in our row. No one was sitting by us so it was fine. It was so fun to take him to something that I knew he would like and something that was so outside what we normally do.

I try to take Devon out somewhere every week just the two of us and I really treasure that time together. He is such a funny kid and I love being able to give him my full attention while we do something fun that I know he will love. It usually involves going to Costco for diapers and formula and ends up with a hot dog and soda lunch.
Devon loves to shoot his Dada with the water hose when they play out in the yard every evening and tend to the garden. They wrestle on the bed and Devon knows how to get out of a rear naked choke (by turning into the choke), he can do a take down, get in your guard, side control and he is great a punches in bunches. He loves to fight!

Audrey: May (10 months)

Oh how I love this little girl. Nicknames include: baby doll, little lady, little girl, La la and Aud. She was reaching up to run her fingers through my hair, I would squeal, she would laugh and so the game goes.

Little Audrey is this close to crawling. She doesn't get up on her knees, but she goes from sitting and pushes forward onto her belly. She tries to get up on her knees, but they slide out from under her and she ends up moving backwards. I think in the next month or so we will have a crawling baby.

Audrey loves to play toys, clap her hands, coo and "dance" to music. I think music and food move her in the same way because she sways when she eats as well ;)

This baby loves to eat! She prefers to feed herself and will swat your hand away if you try to give her food until you allow her to take it from you so she can feed her self. She loves pasta, fruit, eggs, crackers, green beans, sweet potatoes, pretzels, Cheerios and chicken. She's not picky and is quite content in the high chair.

She loves to be held and when she wants to be held .... she will let the entire neighborhood know! She is very good about sitting and playing by herself or with Devon for 20 minutes or more, but if you happen to walk by and she sees you you better be prepared to pick her up. If you choose to not pick her up, she will let out a scream that is so alarming it sounds like she is missing an arm or something when all that's wrong is she wants to be picked up.

In spite of her condition that Joe affectionately calls being a "hold-a-holic" or as I call it, having "hold-a-holism", she is such an easy baby about naps and sleeping at night. I can just lay her down and walk out of the room without having to wait until she is asleep. In fact, she doesn't really like being rocked to sleep and much prefers to just lay in bed. She loves to "pet" the cat and is starting to show preferences to who can or can not hold her. Can't believe she's nearly 1! Planning the party already ;)