Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Cauliflower Tortillas


Yes, there is such a thing! I think cauliflower has been one of those veggies that gets a bad wrap. I hear them described as tasteless and pungent smelling when cooked - and all is true if you just steam it. I always roast cauliflower with a little bit of olive oil, salt, and pepper; roasting brings out that nuttiness and it's so yummy.

I have seen renditions on other ways to use cauliflower. I think the most popular right now is cauliflower pizza crust. But here is another one that should not be overlooked:

Cauliflower Tortillas

These are not hard to make at all. A little time consuming with prepping the cauliflower but by no means difficult. Preheat oven to 375 F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Break down a head of cauliflower. 
You just want the florets and not the thick stem.

Dump it into a food processor and pulse away.
Stop when it resembles couscous.

Transfer 2 cups to microwave safe bowl and heat for 2 minutes. Stir and then heat for another 2 minutes. Now for the not so fun part...take the cooked cauliflower and strain out all the moisture. You will need cheese cloth and SOME GLOVES CAUSE IT IS HOT!

Whisk a couple of eggs and throw in chopped cilantro, lime juice, salt, and pepper.
Stir in the strained cauliflower. Mix well.

Take the mixture and form 6 small tortillas. The mixture will be wet.
Tip: Form the tortillas on top of the line baking sheet. You can easily pat them
into a thin layer this way.

Bake for 10 minutes then flip and bake for another 5-7 minutes. Let them cool on a wire rack. After slightly cooled, heat up a pan and brown each side for about 2 minutes. You can press down slightly while they brown.

Serve warm and with any condiments you like!

PS I made mine a little on the thicker side since I knew I wasn't going to add any fillings. But next time I will make them thinner for soft tacos!

Thank you Recipe Girl for the inspiration!

Monday, May 18, 2015

The BEST Chocolate Chip Cookie I've Ever Made

Happy Monday!
Oh don't you just roll your eyes when you see something titled, "The best..."? I totally do! I have been in the slumps with my chocolate chip cookie baking. Something hasn't been working with the recipes I have. Even my favorite Doubletree Cookies have fallen short. What was once nice puffy, yet crispy and chewy cookies have turned to crispy, chewy, but FLAT. Same recipe, same oven, same ingredients. What the?! And I tried all those tips on making cookies chewy or cakey or crispy or flat. No matter what...flat has been the outcome. Until today!

Hello layers. I've missed you.

You must try Alice Currah's recipe for THE BEST CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIE EVER. She has a fabulous blog called Savory Sweet Life. So overjoyed to have found this recipe.

Like super happy.

Follow the recipe EXACTLY! Yes, beat the batter for 3 minutes. Yes, beat again for another 2 minutes after adding eggs and vanilla. Yes, you need to open that second bag of chocolate chips if you are using a 12 oz. bag. JUST DO IT.

And no, it's not a typo...preheat oven to 360 F.

No baking rack needed. Let cool on the parchment paper.
No, the cookies will not have soggy bottoms.

And to make sure this was the real deal recipe, I made all different sizes. And each cookie size I tried came out perfect. To me, a good recipe will accommodate any size with the same ingredients and temperature. 

Did I tell you how much I love the layers?

Chewy, crispy, and puffy!

Heaven.

PS This post was inspired by my youngest, for this is what she answered on her Mother's Day card to me...

 And just for a good laugh...


Thursday, May 7, 2015

What I want my girls to learn . . .

Dear Sophia & Kalista,

Another year has passed and I am definitely older. Wiser? Well, maybe I can give you an answer next year. But I doubt it.

On my birthday I went for a long run and got caught up with what I have learned over the years; lessons and realizations I want to pass down to you. I hope this blog will still be around when you are older to understand. I will make sure to print this one just in case.

"YOU ARE JUST TOO SENSITIVE."
I am going to tell you right now, I ABSOLUTELY HATE THIS STATEMENT! Whenever this has been said to me, it's always been at a time when my feelings were hurt. And I don't mean hurt because there was a disagreement or a joke/prank gone wrong. But the kind of hurt that would have me feeling disappointed if either one of you did or said such a thing to someone else. 

So this is what I have learned about that statement . . . It's not about being too sensitive, but it's the mere fact some people are insensitive. Because in all honesty, that statement is somewhat of a cop out. From my point of view it's like a "get out of jail" free card for inexcusable behavior. It's like asking someone, who has just been robbed, if they had locked the door. What's the point? 

Not everyone would agree to my conclusion of this statement. It may even "strike a chord." And to that I say, "Maybe YOU are just too sensitive." (PS - The older I get, the more comfortable I become with sarcasm. It's the right of passage for old people.)

YOU DO NOT NEED TO IMPRESS ANYONE.
Don't waste time comparing your life to someone else's. Sadly, some adults still feel like they need to keep up with whoever they feel has the next best thing; whether that "best" thing be a car, whirlwind vacations, houses, designer-fashion "musts", etc. If only those people knew what they looked like to people who are the wiser. People like your dad and me. And it's not because we can't keep up, it's because we don't need to. We have no one to impress.

This also means, you don't need to prove yourself to anyone. Accept challenges in life because you want to push yourself and not because you want to prove to others what you are capable of accomplishing. You are your competition.

The rule of thumb . . . If you find yourself doing something only when someone else is or could be watching: YOU ARE NOT DOING IT FOR YOURSELF.

NOT EVERYONE DESERVES TO BE FORGIVEN
Yes, you read correctly. Your dad might have a different view, but this is my post. :)

There are a lot of sayings you will hear during your lifetime, but these 2 you will hear most: 
"To err is human, to forgive divine."
"Learn to let go and forgive."

Letting go and forgiving are almost always used synonymously. But I have learned these two things are completely different. Now, I do believe in letting go but I don't believe forgiveness needs to always follow. Like many, I don't think being unforgiving will cause internal turmoil or sleepless nights, but I do think carrying on about something will. However, it is important for you to know if you need to forgive to let go, than do so! But it is just as important to know you are not holding a grudge by not forgiving. You are holding a grudge by not letting it go.

APOLOGIES SHOULD BE MEANINGFUL
Plenty of times in my life I have apologized for the sake of "being the bigger person." You will hear this saying as well. And in retrospect, I wish I wouldn't have. 

Your grandfather tried to teach me early on not to apologize if I didn't mean it. And of course, like all children at some point, I didn't listen. I now understand what he was trying to teach me all those years ago. Don't offer an apology that has no meaning. Offering an apology you don't believe in doesn't make you the "bigger person." It can make you resentful. 

FIND THE JOY
Truly easier said than done. This applies to your career, your hobbies, sports, your friendships, your relationships, etc. If something or someone isn't bringing you happiness, then change your terms to fit your needs. And if you can't, then move on. But remember, it is YOUR terms you need to change not someone else's. 

STAY HUMBLE
The two most humble people I know are your grandfather and your dad. They have a charismatic way of being sincerely modest about everything in life. Never boastful. Never conceited. They are the element of surprise. 

BE MORE CONCERNED OF WHAT YOU THINK ABOUT YOURSELF THAN WHAT OTHERS THINK ABOUT YOU
This will be one of the hardest lessons to learn. It will be hard not to worry about what someone else thinks of you. There will be times you will put forth a lot of thought about the impressions you make on others. This is all normal! But just know, how you feel about yourself far outweighs how others feel about you. If you can master this lesson, you will learn to . . . 

LOVE YOURSELF
This is the most important lesson to be learned. And it could be the most difficult. I want you to wake up every morning and go to bed every night loving and respecting yourself. Only you have the power to make this happen. No one else and nothing else. Just you. 

WHEN YOU BECOME A MOTHER
For now, this is the last lesson I want to share. It's the one lesson the two of you can learn only from me or from your own experiences someday.

Being a mother is the hardest job I have ever accepted. It's more than a full-time job. It's a lifelong commitment.  

As your primary school days became closer, I fantasized about all the "time" I was going to get back. I think all mothers have this fantasy. Mine wasn't filled with pedicures or shopping or lunches, but just with the mere fact I would be able to grocery shop by myself and prepare dinner in advance and clean the house without having to maneuver around little people. I looked forward to being at your school volunteering in every way possible. Eventually that day did come. And yes, I did all those things. Then one year, it happened, I lost sight of what was important. . . 

Although I still did all those things mentioned above, I found myself becoming preoccupied. It became more than just taking a little time for myself. Funny thing is, I didn't even enjoy what I had become preoccupied with because of all the nonsense behind it. And it took more nonsense for me to realize I had lost sight of my commitment as a mother; to always be there for you in every way, shape, and form; physically and most of all, mentally.

I want you both to know, I will always be committed to you. I will help you accomplish whatever you are determined to give 100% of your time and efforts towards.  I won't meet you half way. I will meet you all the way. I have had my time. You are my priority.

The beauty of learning, is you can do so at any age. These are just a few lessons I want you to think about. Someday you will have your lessons as well and I can't wait for you to share them with me. And when you do, I will be ready to learn.

All My Love, 

Mommy







Monday, May 4, 2015

Teacher Appreciation Week & A Salty Sweet Delight


Teacher Appreciation Week starts today! I love this week because it is a great way to honor the wonderful teachers in Sophia & Kalista's lives.

We have been having fun prepping for this week. 
The girls have special treats for their mentors and can't wait to deliver them:
These were so easy to assemble! The amaz'on one is my fave. Here is the tutorial.
Candles make a great gift too! These simple printables make them even more special.

Today Sophia's school is having a dessert bar for all the teachers. I decided to make a sweet and salty treat and found this recipe for Salted Caramel Pretzel Crust Brownies:
These were easy to make and very yummy, I might add.
 If you are looking for that combination of sweet & salty,
well look no further!

Happy Teacher Appreciation Week!
Thank you for everything you do.

Friday, April 24, 2015

My kid runs faster than...Me!

THIS GIRL . . . IS AMAZING!

We had our annual jogathon a couple weeks ago. Sophia was determined to earn a medal like she did last year. She did not disappoint!

And thanks to official chip timers, the results came in quickly! Thirty minutes at an 8:19 pace yielded her 3.6 miles. Sophia finished at the top of all first grade (tying one boy), but she was the 3rd overall girl in the whole school; coming behind two 5th graders. Let's just say, LOWER SCHOOL ROCKS!

And now my admission to not only bragging about Sophia's mad skills but she is officially faster than me. In general, I am not sure I can keep an 8:19 pace; maybe as the distance became greater since I like distance, but let's just say I tried to break her pace a few days ago and I couldn't. In my defense, the hills are what caught me, but excuses are for the weak. hahaha

Our school has a prize room for all the joagathon participants who raise at least $150.00. The students get to enter the room in order of donation amounts. Sophia was lucky #7. She knew there was going to be a couple of American Girl Dolls in the room, but I told her not to get her hopes too high since there were 5 girls ahead of her. Boy was she overjoyed to find Grace Thomas (AG Doll of The Year - 2015) sparkling in front of her. Sophia was tickled even more knowing they share the same name (her middle name).
Welcome to the family Grace!