Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Christmas Day Food & Fun!

Happy New Years Eve!  Anyone have any exciting plans?  I'll live vicariously through you since my crazy night will most likely involve eating cake and falling asleep around 10, woohoo.  Now onto one of our best days last week... Christmas!  Wyatt was staring at the tree as soon as we walked down the stairs.


Jay helped Wyatt figure out his big gift from Santa, a fancy kitchen.  Wyatt has been playing with this every day since Christmas.  He loves to "Cook lemon".



Auntie Andi was there helping Wyatt unwrap his presents.  There were SO many!  The kid is spoiled for sure.



The lucky kid didn't get just one bus, he got three.  I tried to tell my family to stop buying buses but nobody listened.



Wyatt got some nice gator gear too!  Too bad we are moving to the one city that hates gators, haha.  I will dress him in those anyway :)



Now onto the food!  We had another day of appetizer lunch.  First up, cheese stuffed dates wrapped in bacon.  They look pretty much burnt in the pic, but they were SO tasty!  I stuffed them with 2 types of Canadian cheese... Oka and Niagara Gold.  Getting in all our Canadian goodies while we can.



I had phyllo dough in the freezer I needed to use, so I came up with the idea of making caramelized onion cups.  I'm so happy they came out great.  They tasted almost like French onion soup.



After playing with Wyatt most of the day, it was on to dinner!  My husband was in charge of cooking an Italian Christmas dinner.  We started with his antipasto salad.  It is the best!



Then for our main meal we ate manicotti, meatballs and sausage.  Everything on the table was made from scratch by Jay.  I'm so lucky I married such an amazing cook!



I was in charge of dessert.  I bought the cannoli shells from the grocery store, but made the filling from scratch.  They were good, but I felt like something was missing.  I don't think these will be on my menu again anytime soon.



We were so lucky to have family and awesome food for Christmas!  Wyatt is one lucky little boy with lots of people to spoil him. I'm already looking forward to our next Christmas, when we will be a little closer to home in Florida.  What was your favorite part of your Christmas holiday?

Linked up to Peas & Crayons WIAW

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Christmas Eve 2014


 I'm back from my Christmas blog break.  We had an amazing time over the holidays.  My sis and mom made the trek to Canada to celebrate our last Christmas here.


The stockings were hung (a little late!) on the bookshelf.  I wanted to put them on the mantle, but Wyatt was trying to pull them down as soon as I put them up.  As you can see, Wyatt's holder has his favorite thing drawn on it, a school bus.  The kid is obsessed!



Our festivities started off with Christmas Eve, we made some early afternoon appetizers to tide us over until dinner.  First up was a simple but delicious crostini with goat cheese, apricot-riesling jelly and prosciutto.



Appetizer #2 ended up being my mom's favorite food of her whole trip here... White Pizza Dip from How Sweet Eats.  It's easy to make and oh so tasty!  The four of us ate about half of it on Christmas Eve, and have been savoring the leftovers.



We ate dinner at 5:00 so Wyatt could enjoy it with us.  Madre made us a delicious Noche Buena meal.  We had to show off our Cuban heritage on Christmas Eve of course!  On the table is Lechon (roast pork), yuca, black beans and avocado salad.  Unfortunately the fried plantains had to be tossed because they were wayyyy too well done, booo.



We gave Wyatt a little bit of everything to try, but he only ate the black beans.  The messiest food always gets his vote!



You can't have a holiday dinner without some dessert!  My mom usually makes flan (hers is the BEST I've ever had).  But we decided to switch it up and make a Tres Leches.  It could have used a little more sauce, but it definitely hit the spot.  It's a recipe I would definitely make again!



See you guys tomorrow for my Christmas day recap!  Do you do any celebrating on Christmas Eve?

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

It's Moving Time Again

We got some very exciting news over the weekend, we are officially moving to our new destination in January!



It will be bittersweet to leave our home here in Ontario.  We have had so many good times here, and Wyatt has grown up so much!  I wonder if he will have any memories of Canada?

Where are we going next??  Back to our home state!



Yup, we are going back to Florida.  But we are living in city that neither of are familiar with... the state capital of Tallahassee!

As a Florida Gator, my first thought was... "Dang, we are moving to 'nole country?".  But now I am truly getting excited for this move.  We will be closer to family and friends, plus I get to shop at my beloved Publix again!

We still have a few weeks left here in the GTA, and I'm hoping for a white Christmas.  Who knows how long it will be before we get the opportunity for one of those again.

Have you been to Tally?
Will you be having a white Christmas this year?


Friday, December 19, 2014

Cookies for Breakfast!

Cookies so healthy you can eat for breakfast?  Yes please!  When I saw Chocolate Covered Katie's recipe I knew I had to try it out.



These are SO easy to make and also make great toddler snacks!  Wyatt has been gobbling these suckers up.  I might have snuck one quite a few in myself.  I've made three batches in the past couple weeks and did a little tweaking to the original recipe, but not much.  It's a great recipe to experiment with a little and I will be doing lots more of that in the near future.


Breakfast Cookies
8-10 servings

  • 1/2 cup rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup applesauce (or mashed over-ripe banana)
  • 1/4 cup peanut butter (or other nut butter)
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 3 tbsp raisins (or chocolate chips)
  • Pinch salt
  • 2 tsp sugar (only if using applesauce version)

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. 
  2. Mash the applesauce or banana with the nut butter, then add all other ingredients and mix until well-combined. 
  3. Shape into cookies and bake for around 15 minutes. 

What kind of cookie would you love to eat for breakfast?

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

While Wyatt is Napping...

I remember the good old days, when Wyatt would take 5 naps a day, ahh.  Maybe those little moments of peace are made for brand new moms to have adjustment time.  Now at 20 months old, Wyatt takes 1 nap a day.  I try to put him in his crib about 5 hours after he wakes up (which is usually around 11 am).  He will sleep anywhere from 1 1/2 to 2 1/2 hours.  I attempt to get things done that I can't really accomplish while he is awake... or if it's been an extra rough morning just relax.  Last week I decided to make an attempt at food photography.  I would love to take a class on this someday!



A few times a week, I actually get a workout in.  Last week I was taking advantage of the free 2-week trial of barre3, courtesy of The Fitnessista.  Man do those workouts burn!



Then when I think about working out but don't actually want to exercise I work on my fitness calendar. Green = done!, yellow = partially done, red = i'm lazy. I try to schedule in 30 minutes of working out a day.  That seems about what I have time for.  After the holidays I really need to make an effort to exercise more, even if it means a 5 am wake up time, ugh.



Wyatt's nap time is also a perfect time to eat!  I usually eat my lunch at some point during his nap, unless I really want him to try my food. Sometimes I sneak snacks in his bowls.  These are roasted chickpeas, crunchy & delicious!  They are made by the Good Bean.  I found them once in Costco, but haven't seen them since, boo!



Once in a blue moon I try to organize something.  A blue moon is once a year right?  Organization is not one of my strong suits.  This week I've been trying to organize my over 800 "Delicious Food" pins into more specific categories.  Too bad every time I do this, hunger takes over my brain, hehe.



How do you stay organized?
To all the mamas out there... what do you do during your kiddo's nap?

Friday, December 12, 2014

I Mustache You Some Questions

I've been seeing this survey around the internet and thought it would be fun :)  Have a great weekend everyone!

Four names that people call me, other than my real name:
  1. Nat
  2. Mama
  3. Natster
  4. N.O.
Four jobs I have had (not counting any current jobs):
  1. Olive Garden server
  2. TCBY 
  3. Motorola intern
  4. Hotel sales manager
Four movies I’ve watched more than once:
  1. Harry Potter - yes, ALL of them
  2. Fight Club - Brad Pitt awesomeness
  3. Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory - not the Johnny Depp version, yuck
  4. Dirty Dancing - my sister made me!
Four books I’d recommend:
  1. Gone Girl
  2. The Omnivore's Dilemma
  3. Hunger Games - yes, ALL of them
  4. I Hope they Serve Beer in Hell - Hilarious!!!
Four places I have lived:
  1. West Palm Beach, FL
  2. Orlando, FL
  3. Modesto, CA
  4. San Rafael, CA
Four places I have been:
  1. Grand Cayman
  2. Venice, Italy
  3. Belize
  4. London, England
Four places I’d rather be wouldn’t mind being right now:
  1. New Orleans - great food, drinks, and music!
  2. Tahiti - why not?!
  3. Pigging out at The French Laundry - as long as I'm not paying :)
  4. Back on my honeymoon in Belize - best trip ever
Four things I don’t eat:
  1. Hard boiled eggs - nauseating
  2. Mayo - the only fattening thing I hate
  3. Mushrooms - bleh
  4. Cucumber - tastes like grassy water
Four of my favorite foods:
  1. Mac & cheese
  2. Sushi
  3. Burgers
  4. Chocolate chip cookies
Four TV shows that I watch:
  1. American Horror Story - so weird, I love it!
  2. Homeland
  3. Modern Family
  4. The Walking Dead
Four things I am looking forward to in 2015:
  1. Moving back to the U.S. 
  2. Seeing Wyatt growing up - he amazes me every day!
  3. Going back to Ireland to visit Jay's family!
  4. Seeing more of my family & friends
Four things I’m always saying:
  1. "What's our next meal?" - I'm obsessed with food
  2. "Wheels on the bus..." - Wyatt's fave song, I hope this ends soon!
  3. "Ay dios mio" - when my Cuban side comes out
  4. "Wyatt, don't throw (hit, spit)" - he's a little wild sometimes

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Hubby's Birthday Dinner

Yesterday was Jay's birthday! He turned the big 3-something, hehe. He was hard at work all day long, so I wanted to make sure that he had an awesome meal to come home to. As soon as Wyatt started his nap, I broke out one of our favorite cookbooks. The hubby requested Gratin Savoyard, very similar to potatoes au gratin, but using stock instead of milk. It is so worth the potato slicing!


After the potatoes were prepped, it was on to the dessert. Jay's request was Pineapple Upside Down Cake. I made it using a recipe from Tyler Florence's new cookbook, Inside the Test Kitchen. 



The cake was done and the moment of truth arrived... the flip.  Looked pretty darn good!



Jay's busy day was over... and we finally got to drink some wine, listen to music, and eat some food!
The plate looks a mess because we were so friggin hungry.  In addition to those yummy taters we had parmesan roasted asparagus and steaks.  Jay is the master at cooking steaks in the cast iron skillet now.  The meal came out perfectly!



BUT, then came the moment of truth... the cake.  It was a total let down.  It was still raw in parts (even though I tested it, grrr!).  This morning I tried to salvage it, but it just tasted like a really thick pancake.  That was an epic birthday cake fail.


Thanks to Jenn for WIAW!

Have any cake tips for me?  
What has been your favorite birthday meal?

Monday, December 8, 2014

Chocolate Chip Banana Nut Bread

Happy Monday!  Chocolate is a must to cure the Monday blues.  Combine it with some yummy baked goodness...even better.  Has anyone out there never tried the deliciousness that is banana bread? I think not!  This classic bread is pretty much a staple in our household.


I've made several recipes throughout the years.  Through tweaking and testing all different methods, this is my favorite way to make it.  I make it so often, I don't even read the recipe.  Too bad the one we just had ran out, because now I am craving it as I type.

                    

Chocolate Chip Banana Nut Bread

Ingredients:

  • 1 egg
  • 1½ - 2 cups mashed banana (about 4 large)
  • ½ cup butter, melted
  • ¼ cup milk
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 1½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips
  • 3/4 cup chopped walnuts 

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare an 8½- by 4½-inch loaf pan by greasing it or lining it with parchment paper (allowing an overhang on sides).

2.  Beat egg, mashed banana and melted butter in a large bowl until thoroughly blended. Stir in milk.

3. In a separate bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Add to banana mixture and stir until just moistened. Gently stir in chocolate chips and walnuts.

4. Bake for 55-65 minutes, until toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.



Do you add anything to your banana bread or are you a purist?

Friday, December 5, 2014

Friday Faves!

Happy Friday!  It's Wyatt's nap time and I actually got everything done that I needed to, so I get to blog, woohoo!  I love linking up to Friday Favorites by Housewife Glamour.  Here are some things I've been loving on this week.

Local Craft Beer
We don't have too much longer up here in Canada (not sure yet exactly where we are going).  But I know I'm gonna miss some of these local brews.  One of my favorites is Beau's Brewery's Tom Green Beer.  It is a yummy Milk Stout that we buy for a treat.  Love the quote on the bottle..‟This is The Tom Green Beer. It’s not The Green Tom Beer. This is my favorite beer Because it is my beer.” – Tom Green.



Mixing
This is a fairly new activity that Wyatt likes to partake in.  About once a week I will bake something, and he loves to "help mix".  Unfortunately his batter folding skills aren't baking quality yet, so one day I let him mix his own flour and water.  He loved it!  We finally found something new that entertains him for more than 5 minutes at a time :)



So Delicious Creamer
This stuff is the best!  Great taste without lots of chemicals.  I use it religiously in my coffee, which I need every single morning to keep up with Wyatt's 6am wake up time.  I tried the coconut oil thing for a week or so, but I just couldn't handle it anymore.  I was going through creamer withdrawals.



What are you loving this week?



Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Just Another Thanksgiving Recap

Howdy folks!  I'm a little late on the game for showing off all our Turkey day eats, but here they all in all their glory.  Our Thanksgiving preparation started on Wednesday with the hubby performing a little turkey injection.  The injection consisted of a homemade vinaigrette mixed with some extra herbs and spices.



We were aiming to eat dinner around 4 so Wyatt could have an enjoyable meal with us before his nighttime routine began.  We all shared some of this local brew as an appetizer.



The star of the meal, our fried turkey, was looking good!  It was very hard not to pick at it while we were letting it rest.  It's hard to resist that crispy skin.



We were finally ready to eat!  We put out our spread and sat to admire it for a minute or two before our rumbling stomachs took over.  Notice what is missing?.... veggies!  We went green free this year, hehehe.



Who knew cranberry sauce was SO easy to make?!


Look at that beauty!  All carved up and ready to go.


Can't forget the stuffing!  This one is apple & sausage with fresh French bread.


This may look like dog food but it is a kick butt sweet potato casserole.  I used my aunt's recipe that she got a long time ago from a neighbor she had in Georgia.  I think the key is the thick, sweet, crunchy crust.  It was amazing!


While it may appear that Wyatt is extremely satisfied with his meal, he is really rubbing gravy all over his shirt.  I gave him a little bit of everything, but he only ate the cranberry sauce and sweet potato casserole.  He might have had a bite or two of stuffing, but it was hard to tell in the food shrapnel that was his covering his high chair.



After devouring my amazing food it was time for Wyatt's bath & bedtime.  Then we had some wine and good conversation until it was time for dessert!  This pecan pie cheesecake was SO good last year I had to make it again.  This time I decided to make that luscious looking salted caramel sauce. It was a fail!  It was creamy deliciousness until it hit that cold cheesecake.  I had to peel off that topping from the cheesecake in order to eat it.  Boo!  But at least the cheesecake turned out well!


What was on your table for Thanksgiving?