November 5, 2010

The best way to use avocados!!

I found this recipe for fish tacos that had this amazing avocado cream sauce...oh my goodness! Sooooo easy and soooo delicious! It goes good on the fish tacos but is also a good dip and good with salsa!

Avocado Cream

2 RIPE avocados
1/2 - 1 cup sour cream
fresh cilantro (amount to taste...I like alot!)
juice plus zest of one lime
salt and pepper to taste

Put all ingredients into blender (or food processor) and add just enough EVOO to make it blendable. Pulse until smooth. Refridgerate and serve!

Could also use some chopped garlic or other fresh herbs to your taste in this! The lime zest and FRESH cilantro really make this "pop" so don't leave those out!!


September 24, 2010

Pumpkin Chip Muffins


4 eggs
2 cups sugar
1 can (15 oz) solid-pack pumpkin
1-1/2 cups vegetable oil
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp. baking soda
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. ground cinnamon (optional: nutmeg,cloves)
1 tsp.salt
2 cups semisweet chocolatec chips

IN a large mixing bowl, beat eggs, sugar, pumpkin and oil until smooth (I use a hand mixer). Combine flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon (and other spices if using) and salt; add to pumpkin mixture and mix well. Fold in chocolate chips. Fill greased or paper-lined muffins cups three-fourths full. Bake at 400 for 16-20 minutes or until muffins test done. Cool in pans 10 minutes before removing. Makes about 24 muffins! These also freeze well!

Note: I also add a dash of vanilla with the wet ingredients. And you don't have to mix the flour mixture seperate. I just add all the dry ingredients in after I have beaten together the wet ingredients.

August 13, 2010

My favorite Chicken Salad!!

Tarragaon Chicken Salad

recipe from Stephanie Nelson's book, "The Coupon Mom's Guide to Cutting Your Grocery Bills in Half"

3 large boneless chicken breasts (1.5-2 lb package)

3/4 cup Mayo

1/4 cup sour cream

about 1/4 cup fresh tarragon

1-2 stalks celery, diced

4 oz. red or green grapes, cut in half

1/4 cup toasted almonds or pecans (optional, I leave these out)

salt and pepper to taste

I usually poach the chicken, but you can also roast it. Then I dice very finely, but if you have a food processor, you could also use that to chop up the chicken. Just don't process it too much, you want some good chunks! That's why I like to cut mine up by hand! Then combine the chicken with all the other ingredients and chill.

I use extra mayo, sour cream, grapes, and celery, just because I like to make it taste real good :) The original recipe called for low fat mayo and sour cream, so feel free to use those if you like, but I prefer the real thing, fat and all! The fresh tarragon is really what makes it, so I put in alot! You can get it at Kroger or Publix, so it's not hard to find. You will want to pull all the skinny leaves off of the "stalk" (don't know what is called) of the herb, and then chop it up really well. It smells soooo good!

I like to serve this on those thin sandwhich rounds, but its also good with pita, or just eaten with a spoon!


August 3, 2010

A tribute to the Goldies in my life

For some reason today I got thinking about the few, but fiercely loyal canine companions I've had in my life. Maybe it was my mom flirting with the idea of getting another Goldie puppy, I'm not sure. But I thought it would be fun to share! I thought the golden-color font would be fitting, too!

I grew up with a wonderful, and unforgettable Golden Retriever, Sandy. My parents had her since she was a puppy, and her mother was actually part of the family, too. We have a peculiar love of Golden retrievers on the Richardson side of the family! Sandy was our trusty family companion, along with our two cats. She was the sweetest dog EVER! Went through three babyhood's, with all the ear and tail tugging there could be. Mom tells me stories of Sandy "keeping an eye on us" while she got groceries out of the car. She moved overseas with us, but was pretty well advanced in age by that time. I have fond memories of walking here through the German countryside and endless fields. It seemed like each day she grew weaker and would start to just lay down on our walks, because she couldn't go any further. It was so sad to see her get old....she was the only dog we ever had. This may be the reason I cried more in "Marley and Me" than most movies I've ever seen. I think each of us in my family still gets teary-eyed talking about it. She passed away somewhere around my freshman/sophomore year of high school (is that correct mom?) at the good ol' age of 16. She lived a long and full life and brought so much joy to our family.

Here she is, with our trusty and feisty cat Flo-jo (who I think lives on in our cat, Tilly!) We love you Sandy!

Fast forward a couple years, and a move to Warner Robins, GA (HELLO, MAJOR culture shock coming from Europe!!) and Mom decided to finally get a new puppy. A pure bred Golden Retriever who we (oh-so-cleverly) named Sadie. S for Susie, A for Aneesa, and D for Deke, the three siblings. I know, I know, we are SO original! Mom knew she was the "right one" from the start! She was the CUTEST puppy ever (see pictures!) and we fell in love with her instantly. But....Sadie had, and still has, some major quirks!! She would not walk farther than our driveway when she was a puppy because she was scared of, yes...the MOON. It was a desperate effort of our whole family to get her to just walk around the block. To this day, she is still scared of laundry baskets, brooms, large pool toys, and many other random household objects. Mind you, Sadie is now close to 100 pounds. Again, quirks. But, anyways....I remember the days of coming home from my VERY fulfilling career at...none other than...Cheddars, and Sadie running onto my lap and licking me all over, because I smelled (see picture). I also remember the day she got her poor little puppy head stuck in the baby gate. This was about the time we realized Sadie would be a very special little dog :) I also remember the horrid feeling I had in my stomach when I saw her jump out of the back of my brother's truck onto a highway (while we were going at least 50mph) on the way to get a Christmas tree. I didnt' have kids at the time, but I think it was the closest I would come at that time to feeling what a parent would feel if their kid fell out of a moving vehicle. Thank goodness, she was fine besides a torn-up paw. Sadie quickly became our second Sadie, and she IS my parent's fourth kid!! She may be just a little spoiled, but we love her anyways. She loves my kids, too! Whenever she is here, she goes into a panic when they start crying. And we usually always find her sleeping beside the crib of whatever baby happened to be in there at the time. Sadie has survived life with us for about 6 months (was it Mom?) and international travel, including a Nazi-concentration-camp-like quarentine in England for 6 months! She is a trooper and she loves her family like crazy! I can surely look past her incessant shoe-picking-up, ear-piercing yelps from outside when she can't come in, kitty-litter eating, food stealing from innocent babies, and licking of my dad's legs until they are dripping wet....for the pure sweetness of her little doggie heart and her companionship for nearly eleven years now! Sadie, I will never forget the time you ate my child's dropped corn dog, STICK and all....or the time you dug a hole under our fence, because we left you in the backyard to go to dinner for an hour, or the time you jumped out of the window at Eagle Springs to chase the ducks, or the time my husband made me bathe you while I was eight months pregnant :) We love you, sweet girl.

Most of you would probably assume that I am decidedly NOT a dog person, but actually I am. I just am not ready for one in my house yet....maybe the four boys have something to do with it! I would love for my parents to start the journey all over again with a new Goldie, that my boys can grow up with. Sandy and Sadie...thank you for all the memories you gave/give to our family.
After reading this, I encourage you to go read or watch Marley and Me, and get a sense of what our family feels if you've never had a Goldie of your own. It's an adventure, but a fun one that your children will always remember!

Sadie, as a puppy, and as a grown dog, with our chunkster Gabe.
Isn't she adorable?

August 2, 2010

Mrs. Wren's Buffalo Chicken Dip

This stuff is so easy, you'll want to make it every week! It also makes for a great party food! I add extra hot sauce, so you can adjust the amount to suit how hot you like it. I usually put shredded sharp cheddar on top, but have also tried a mix of cheddar and Montery Jack and that was good too! Recipe courtesy of Wren Daniels (Michael's beloved preschool teacher and friend of mine!)

Buffalo Chicken Dip

1/4 cup hot sauce (or more to taste)

2 large cans chicken

8 0z. cream cheese, softened

1/2 cup Ranch dressing

8 oz. bag Shredded cheddar, or cheese of choice

Mix together first four ingredients. I like to break chicken up with a fork, and then stir together. Top with the shredded cheese. Bake at 350 for 20-25 minutes until bubbly and cheese is melted! Yum Yum!!

Serve with tortilla chips or the dipping device of your choice!

July 15, 2010


Baby Caleb was born on July 16, 2009. He was 8 lbs. 4.3 oz...again a week early. I was induced yet again with him, at 39 weeks....really just beacause I had done it that way three times and it had worked out fine, and I was ready to get him out!

I went in about 4 am that morning to get started. By the fourth one, I pretty much didn't need much. My husband left at breakfast time to eat at Chick fil A. Then left at lunch time to eat pizza in the cafeteria. All while I couldn't eat anything and was starving again like i was with Joseph. I hadn't eaten since the night before! During this time I think I dilated to about 5-6 cm. But I have to add, I gave Nick permission to leave...but just think its a funny memory. I also remember breathing through some intense contractions, grabbing my bed rail and looking out thru squinted eyes at my snoring husband on the couch. But, really, he was so helpful :) I woke him when I had to go to the bathroom and needed to be "unplugged" :) NOTE: Nick is the BEST Dad and husband ever and I am so thankful he was right there with me through all my labors! I couldn't have done it without him! He will even tell you himself that the last two labors I asked more for the nurses that I did for him. I had some great nurses (shout out to Candace!!!) I also got my beloved orange popsicle again and was good to go! Usually by the time I'm telling Nick "I can NOT do this anymore, I'm going to die" is when I'm 9 cm and ready to push! And that was the case with Caleb too. No epidural, I think I may have had phenegren again when I started feeling sick. Out he came, with red hair and a giant nose :) He may well be our firecracker number two! I love that boy with all my heart...and he will be one year old TOMMOROW!! Happy Birthday Baby!! Momma loves you!



Joseph...aka Jo jo, was born on August 16, 2007. He was the biggest of all the boys, weighing in at 8 lbs. 7 oz.... a week early! As you can see, from above picture, I was a TRUCK with Joseph. This was why I was induced yet again. I could barely walk, it felt like he was going to fall out anyday, and I had so much pelvic pain I couldn't stand it. So when they did an ultrasound at 38 or so weeks and realized he was already 7 lbs. 13 oz....they said yeah, it think it will be ok to induce you :) Quite a jump from my two previous little seven pounders!

I think (sometimes my labors blur together a little) I went in the night before with Joseph and they started the pitocin early in the morning. I just remember being SO hungry during labor. I just kept asking for "just a little orange juice" or anything! The hunger I think was worse than the contractions! Finally, I was allowed to have an orange popsicle and that was the best popsicle I have EVER gave me the strength to finish it on out :) Everything else pretty much the same, no epidural, I think I may have had some stadol or phenegran because I hate feeling nauesous. Joseph was the easiest delivery, I guess after two they just slide right out maybe ;) When the nurse announced his weight I sat straight up and gasped in amazement "8 lbs 7 oz???" He was easier to push out that my seven-pounder....I was shocked! However, he was apparently very blue-colored so they whisked him off to the NICU. I didn't know what was going on, but the cord had been wrapped around his neck, and cut off his breathing for a while. He was back within five minutes and healthy as a horse! That child was ready to eat the moment I held him, knew exactly what to do and went right for it....hasn't slowed down since! He is the sweetest little thing and I love him to death. He will be three in about a month! I can never get enough of his sweet face!!


Baby number 2....our little firecracker Michael! Born on November 21, 2005. Only 16 months after Gabe was born! Weighing in at 7lbs even, making him the runt of the pack. But what he lacks in size that boy makes up for in SPUNK!

I was also induced with Michael, but this time it was simply because my parents were flying in from Iceland and my dad could only be there two days and I wanted to make sure he met little Michael! I was induced just a day before his actual due date. Rather uneventful labor....except just Nick with me this time. I wasn't as quiet this time though...not mean or yelling crazy stuff, nothing like that. Just not quiet. No epidural, as planned and no high blood pressure this time. The only slight problem was michael was determined NOT to come out, we still joke that he was hanging onto my rib for dear life! They had to vacuum that little booger out, and he had a huge purple bruise on the top of his head for days. We should have know he would be our strong-willed one, when he refused to be BORN. Never thought my heart could love so much! He was very much a momma's boy from day one...and I still like to think he is! He is four years old now and I love him to pieces!

My babies!

My precious first born, Gabriel Daniel, born on July 22, 2004. He was 7 lbs. 2 oz.

Just to clarify, the picture of me pregnant with Gabe shows quite a bit of liquor, but don't worry, none was consumed at the baby shower..... :)

I went in for a checkup three days after my due date had passed. I was feeling fine, just very swollen and fat...but who doesn't at nine-plus months pregnant?! The doc. said my blood pressure was high, and bordering on pre-eclampsia so he sent me to the hospital to be induced. We quickly ran home to grab our stuff and headed to the hospital! I got evaluated and monitored that night and was scheduled to be induced early the next morning. I had my mom and dad bring me my favorite pregnant meal, which was a sonic breakfast burrito and tater tots. Even though they gave me something to help me sleep that night, I still couldn't. My sweet husband slept in the hospital bed with me (which looking back must have been pretty difficult for him since I was very, very huge....) He slept, I didn't. (watch for this theme in all of my labors...) I was just too darn excited about what was to come!! Around 6 am, the doctor came in and started the pitocin and later broke my water. I had my whole family here for this labor. Everyone except my brother Deke. Mom coached me through this one, with lamaze-type breathing. My sister rubbed my back and took care of my hair (thanks Sus!) dad pretty much just narrated the video tape he was recording. I honestly don't think I said much at all through my very first labor. Until somewhere around 9 cm I sat straight up and declared, "oh my, the baby is coming!" and indeed he was. A couple minutes of pushing and there he was! I had some complications with Gabe though. My blood pressure continued to rise through labor and they had to put me on some sort of medicine for that....I forget the name. His heartrate dropped dramatically once and they talked c-section for a while, but thankfully they turned me the other way and gave me some oxygen and he was fine. I had a couple doses of stadol (which really did nothing for the pain, but just made me feel very very drunk and loopy) but that was it! He was the most precious, handsome newborn I have ever seen! I loved that boy from the minute I saw him! And here he is today, at almost six years of age

February 25, 2010

Is cooking a hobby? If so, maybe I do have a hobby ....

Ok these are are out of order...but here is the finished Rum Cake I made, really should have put an icing on it but ran out of powdered sugar. It was very yummy. Next time will put more chocolate in it too.
This is the rum glaze I poured on top cooking down, hubby thought the cake was too "rummy" I said that's why I give the kids some cake right before nap time... he he

right after it came out of the oven.

Then I tried homemade Chicken Salad. Roasted the chicken with some spices and olive oil the night before and then chopped it up and added lots of goodness....

It turned out quite yummy too!

February 12, 2010

Michael's Valentine's Day party at his preschool, here he is with his friend Conner!
Showing me the card he made!

doing the "I love you" sign, but Mommy didn't quite catch it

Here's a heart for you mommy!

Look at that little baby girl's face, she was trying to steal food ;)

Yummy cupcakes!

saying their prayer

his little place setting!

beautiful table scape...for three year olds!

notice how my son is the only one NOT sitting on the mat, his head is not even in this picture. that's how out of the box he is.

January 15, 2010

Michael (4) and Jo Jo (2) reading!

Michael and Joseph "reading". I have a video of Gabe reading Goodnight Moon, but its taking FOREVER to load, so maybe sometime later I"ll put that one up!