Remind me Again

I’ve had a week long hiatus from classes, so now I am doing my best to catch up on life’s moments. However, I have been struggling with MO-MEN-TIA {MO’men(t)SH(ē)A}. “A persistent disorder of the mental processes caused by one or more children marked by memory disorders, personality changes and impaired reasoning.” In other words, losing my memory, madness due to said loss of memory and slight insanity. The worst part, I can’t blame it all on the the kids, I am doing it all on my own. Age I suppose? Too many balls in the air, I am not the best at compartmentalizing. I’m not even sure what I was going to write today, I had an idea, sat down at my computer, and then I was asked what 9 x 30 was. So obviously, I had to stop and ask Siri. The next thing I knew, I was up and preparing tomorrow’s lunches, then I put the girls stuff in the wrong backpacks. Luckily they caught me before they were stuck in class with the wrong lunch. I find myself having to go upstairs multiple times because I forgot what I went up there for in the first place. And, last weekend, I even forgot to feed the girls breakfast. I just went ahead with my morning workout and then Kaili comes in and asks me when she could have breakfast, uh crap, breakfast… So just in case I forget, I have ribs in the oven and cookies to bake.

Before our cruise, we all {sans kids}went out to dinner to celebrate my mom and uncle Brian’s birthday.

I’d like to tell you what we had but I’m not sure anymore, I know there was dessert.

I also took two of the girls out for a lunch date in Bay Park. Kaili ordered fish and chips, which were so good, Averi ordered….wait for it….mac and cheese, which she didn’t like because she is an animal and doesn’t like anything. I had poke, always the poke.

I found this picture on my phone later that day.

I think my original plan was to tell you guys about a recipe. This is an old Cooking Light recipe that I couldn’t even find on their site anymore. I have the recipe printed out, old school style.

I’ll tell you what, I had this dish prepped and in the oven in about 20 minutes. The fact that it can feed a handful of people and/or make for leftovers, it’s a perfect weeknight meal.

Obviously over the years my culinary talent has improved and I have become one with the kitchen. Since this is an old recipe, I made changes to suit our palates. Originally the recipe called for reduced fat cheese…um no thanks. Instead I used half shredded pepper jack and half Mexican blend. I changed the type of beans, the cheese, the oil and even the tortillas. You do you! Let this recipe be a starting point and then go for it. It’s a casserole, it will be so good in the end, no matter what cheese or sour cream you prefer.

The chicken is the most time consuming part of this recipe. If you can grab a rotisserie, you’ll save yourself an hour.

Cooking Light’s Chicken Enchilada Casserole

1 tablespoon canola oil (or olive oil)

1 cup chopped fresh onion

1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin

1 teaspoon chili powder

1/4 teaspoon garlic salt

Pepper to taste

1 (15 ounce) can white Cannellini beans, rinsed and drained (black beans are just as good)

2 cups shredded skinless, boneless rotisserie chicken

1 cup thinly sliced green onions, divided

1/2 cup sliced ripe olives, divided

18 (6-inch) tortillas, divided (corn or flour)

Cooking spray

2 cups (8 ounces) preshredded reduced-fat 4-cheese Mexican blend cheese, divided

1 cup 1% low-fat milk

1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro

1 (16-ounce) jar salsa verde ( I used a medium spice level)

10 tablespoon sour cream, you can use light sour cream.

Cilantro sprigs, for garnish

Directions

Preheat oven to 350°

Grab your 13 x 9 inch baking dish and spray with cooking spray.

Heat your oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add the onion; cook 3 minutes or until tender. Stir in cumin, chili powder, garlic salt, and pepper; cook a couple more minutes. Stir in the strained beans; cook 2 minutes. Add chicken, green onions and half of the olives, stir well, and then remove from heat.

Layer 6 tortillas on bottom Spread 2 cups chicken mixture over tortillas; sprinkle with 3/4 cup cheese. Repeat layers once. Top with remaining 6 tortillas.

*Note, these measurements are completely at your discretion.

Combine the milk, chopped cilantro, and salsa in a blender, and process until smooth. Pour over top of tortillas. Cover and bake at 350° for 35 minutes. Uncover, sprinkle with remaining cheese, remaining cup green onions, and the remaining olives.

Bake for 10 minutes or until the cheese is bubbly and you can’t wait any longer.

Serve with sour cream. Garnish with cilantro sprigs and your favorite hot sauce.

Plenty of Fun

The hours seem to go by slow but the years, they fly by.

Now we found ourselves at the end of the school year.

So long first and fourth grade.

We jumped right into summer break by visiting the trampoline park.

And then….no and then.

We went to the beach.

Which, let me tell you is so disappointing after Mexico, sigh. The water here is cold, I couldn’t find one person offering adult beverages, you guys, we are doing it wrong!

At least the pool water temp was better.

My baby K bear.

She may catch up to my tan soon.

We also went to the movie theaters for the first time in ages. We saw Spirit Untamed. It was good, don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. Popcorn, candy and some tears!

Last but not least, we put out a slippin’ slide.

Jess and I used to spend the majority of our summers making up dance routines on these things. However we never took it to the next level and used soap. (why Jess, why?)

Probably because we were too busy using tanning oil and Sun-In and working on our dance moves, ha ha.

If someone can provide video of us, I dare you!

It’s nice to gather with friends and family that we have missed so much. Almost as good as getting my hands on some great local wine. If you haven’t been to Edwards Vineyards in Ramona, you need to make it a priority.

It’s officially summer.

The mornings are overcast but the days are warm and sunny. Plenty of fun to come!

A Little This a Little That

It’s been a week and a half since Averi’s transition from the crib and I have to say it’s gone very well. Let me follow that up with why. We made sure to do it when Shane would be home and that played a huge factor. When the girls are upset at night, me entering their room makes it worse, Shane walks in and they shut up. Monday he had to go back up to work. Bedtime wasn’t too bad but Averi did try to pull out all her tricks to avoid sleep and keep me coming in, luckily it was short lived.

She woke up crying at 1:30 in the morning just long enough to wake me. I lied awake and read for about two hours until finally drifting back to sleep only to have her wake up crying again at 4:00. She refused to nap this morning and spent an hour crying in her bedroom. I popped her on our bed with cartoons so I could shower and while I was doing so,  she took a hand full of her poop and painted our bed sheets and comforter with it.  This kid..sigh. I am not holding my breathe for a smooth bedtime tonight, but hopefully she will be too tired to fight me. I can hope.

This past Saturday we took the day to drive up to Julian. A little snow, some wine tasting and lunch. All the while I had Anthony Bourdain’s New Mexican Chili in the slow cooker.

There was snow and rain and ice and it was cold, I was not prepared. Having just been in Washington I thought I would be ok but that was a negative. I didn’t bring gloves or an umbrella and spent most of the time in damp clothes. The little town was busy and the weather was forcing everyone into all the restaurants and cafe’s. We finally found a place without a wait and we tucked into a corner booth for a mediocre lunch, but hey, at least we were dry.

 

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Once we have seen all we wanted we wandered down the way to Wynola and popped into julian Station. It’s a neat building that houses tasting rooms, a taco bar, a few video games, a pool table and entertainment space for live music. Something almost out of the wild West. Definitely worth stopping at if you are in the area. We will be back.

Heading home we drove through Ramona and stopped at one of our favorite wineries, Chuparosa. We caught up with the wine maker who just got back from Walla Walla and then let the kids run free.

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We had just enough time for one last stop. A winery none of us has been terribly fond of but it’s been years since we have tried their wine.  The tasting room was inside  a tin can, okay more like an airport hanger with paintings and statues of naked women dotting the property.

img_1034 The wine wasn’t as bad as we remembered however…we all ordered a wine flight of five wines, all red. They were all the same color, the Pinot was the same deep burgandy as the Zin. None of them had any real personality so we left empty handed. I think we all agreed we don’t need to go back.

The Bourdain chili recipe from his latest cookbook was really good, depths of flavors from roasted chili’s and beef. We enjoyed it with some red wine and a game with friends. Not a bad way to spend a Saturday.

A Day by the Sea

We have been keeping busy the past few weekends. The Chula Vista Harbor fest is the one thing we do each year. It’s the perfect mix for kids and adults. Most of the time you find these festivals have it all, food, booze and a kids zone. But in the city of San Diego, the booze has to be kept in a 21 and over “beer garden.” In Chula Vista, they don’t give a shit and we like that kind of thinking. We can grab a drink and walk around with our kids or sip our wine while our kids bounce in the jumpers. I mean it really is common sense, happy parents + happy life?

The girls had so much fun. From the bouncers to the ice cream…they were kept busy.

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Kaili did a little bungee jumping.

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Ave’s had fun on the playground.

 

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There was hula hooping. I just realized I don’t know how to spell that…is it hula or hoola? Oh, man.

It’s all fun and games outside of SD limits.

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After the festival we headed to Coronado for a late lunch. A day out in San Diego really does feel like a mini stay cation.. What’s not to love?

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The Party

This year Kaili had some of her own ideas for what she wanted at her party. Reminding her that Disneyland was her big present, we weren’t going to go overboard on the party. A few of her demands requests were that there was to be a piñata, preferably Peppa Pig and she wanted butterflies on her cake, she was totally reasonable.

I was able to get all the party shopping done in a day. I made the cupcakes and the birthday cake the night before. Kaili suggested a Peppa Pig birthday and even though she loves that show I wondered if it was a tad too immature for a fifth birthday. Right or wrong I agreed on some Peppa decor and of course the piñata. In the end, it was perfect.

My only concern was this precious face.

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So sweet but yet so deceiving. She has become so attached to me that anyone trying to take her or occupy her usually led to a complete meltdown, noodle body and all. It took a village to keep her away from me and we are not above using sugar as an incentive.

I set up a cupcake decorating station which was a hit. I ordered round plastic palettes from Amazon. I bought a bunch of different topping ranging from mini m&m’s to sprinkles. We put the cupcake in the middle of the palette and gave them a cup of frosting and let them have at it. Huge hit.

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After they devoured the cupcakes or should I say licked off the frosting…we moved on to a few party games and some memorable face painting.

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The kids were more than patient waiting for their turns.

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The party isn’t complete until someone beats the bacon, or pig or sausage….

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The piñata..

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was perfect for these little people..

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Kaili had her besties with her and that is all she really wanted.

When she blew out the candles I really, really wanted to ask her what she wished for but, I’m sure no matter what it is…

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Her dad and I will do all we can to make sure her dreams come true.