Monday, June 30, 2014

Caribbean Chicken Wings

This is Chad’s number 1 request meal and I honestly don’t make it very often. I’m not really sure why because it’s fairly simple to make these wings and they are really good. They have just the right amount of spice.

2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons packed light brown sugar
1 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon fennel seeds
1 teaspoon cayenne
1 teaspoon allspice
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1/ 2 teaspoon ground ginger
2 garlic cloves
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
2 tablespoons fresh orange juice
3 lbs wings

Combine soy sauce, honey, both sugars, fennel, cayenne, allspice, thyme, ginger and garlic in a blender. Add the vinegar, lime and orange juice and blend until smooth. Marinate the wings at least 4 hours. I typically marinate overnight at least.

Preheat oven to 350. You’ll want to line your baking sheets in parchment paper...This will help with the clean up! Bake 20 minutes.

Meanwhile bring the marinade to a boil over med heat and cook until reduced by 1/3, about 10-15 minutes.

Remove the wings from the oven and brush with glaze. Raise temp to 400 and bake 20 minutes longer. 

Friday, June 20, 2014

High Five for Friday

Happy Friday friends!!! I hope you all had a great week. I looked at our calendar earlier this week and discovered that we have something going on every weekend except two from now until September. I almost had a panic attack! I’m looking forward to all the fun stuff we have planned, but would love it if time could just slow down a bit. Anyway… here are some of the hi-lights from our week.

Trace has become quite obsessed with our neighbors outside kitty. Every morning the first thing he says is “Black’s hungry.” Oh yeah, I guess I should mention that Trace has taken the liberty of renaming him (or her?) to Black. Luckily our neighbors are nice and don’t mind if Trace feeds their kitty occasionally!

Soooo my bff S is back in town for the summer. I just love having her over to our house to play and Trace sure does too. She came over for awhile on Saturday. We started off by heading to Schnucks for doughnuts. Then the kids played Play-Doh in the driveway while I painted our front door. After that we headed out back for lunch w/ Nick and Lauren too. Fun day.

I took Trace to one of Daddy’s softball games this week. Last summer his bedtime was still at 7:30, but we pushed it back til 8:30 over the winter so this was his first softball game. The games before ran over by an hour so T and I only stayed for two innings before I had to get him home, showered and in bed. On the way home Trace said “I liked the Cardinal game.” Poor little guy thought the softball game at the local park was major leagues. Too funny! He’s going to his first Cardinal’s game in a couple weeks and we’re excited to see how he’s going to react to that. He loves going to Blue’s hockey games so we think he’ll love the Cardinal’s games too.

My sweet little boy was at the grocery store with Daddy one night this week and they passed the flower display. Trace asked if he could buy Mommy some and Chad said yes. It sure did make my heart smile to see Trace get out of Chad’s truck holding a bouquet of flowers.

We had my family over one night earlier this week for dinner. Those of you who know me really well know that I don’t often relax and let loose. This is something I’m working on and I feel like I succeeded in doing some relaxing while the fam was over. We had a blast!

I couldn't get this picture to rotate for some reason... weird. 

I hope you all have a great weekend!!

Monday, June 16, 2014

Buffalo Ranch Chicken Panini {{ or Grilled Cheese }}

This sandwich is awesome. Like a toasted chicken wing!

What you need:
1 bun (I used an onion bun here)
1 teaspoon butter
1/8 cup cooked chicken, shredded
2 tablespoons ranch dressing
2 tablespoons buffalo wing sauce
1/8 cup shredded mozzarella
3 tomato slices

Step 1) Preheat Panini press or skillet. Spread butter on the sides of the bun that you want toasted.

Step 2) Place bottom bun on Panini press (or skillet). Spread 1 tablespoon of wing sauce on non toasted part of bun. Drizzle 1 tablespoon of ranch on top of the wing sauce. Top with chicken and then cheese. Drizzle remaining wing sauce and ranch over cheese and place the top bun on top.

Step 3) Cook your Panini. My press took about 7 minutes. Remove from press and gently pull slices apart to add your tomato slices.

Step 4) Enjoy!! 

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Trace's Butterfly Habitat

For Christmas my parents (Mama and Papa) bought Trace a butterfly habitat from Insect Lore. It came with a coupon code to order the caterpillars. For $5 shipped we got 5 caterpillars!!! They came in a plastic jar along with their food. They started out as tiny little things and grew very quickly. Trace was super excited to periodically “check on” his caterpillars.

As they grew....

About 7 days after we received the caterpillars they turned into chrysalis and attached themselves to the top of the jar. The jar actually had a very thin piece of paper that the caterpillars attached to instead of the actual lid. 

The directions said to give them 3 days to turn into chrysalis before transferring them to the butterfly habitat and that is what we did. The directions said to safety pin the paper they were attached to the inside of the habitat and they should turn into butterflies several days later. Trace and I were helping them making their move one morning and I only had one safety pin handy. Well I pinned the paper to the habitat and accidentally hit one of the chrysalis with my hand. It started swinging and shaky like crazy and it was so creepy. I just screamed. Trace looked terrified. Looking back I wish I could have kept my act together, but I was NOT prepared for it to move. After the paper was attached, it became clear that one safety pin was not good enough. So T and I had to run upstairs to get another one. Trace asked where we were going and I told him “To save the butterflies.” We got the 2nd safety pin and then repeated the process of the chrysalis shaking and hitting my hand and me screaming. Pretty neat stuff. It then became obvious that one more safety pin was needed. I told T we had to run upstairs again and he screamed “Save the butterflies!!!” and took off running for the stairs. The 3rd safety pin worked like a charm and we were done for the time being.

The aftermath of the food jar...

Several days later the Painted Lady butterflies began hatching. Now this was neat to see!!! Chad, Trace and I all randomly checked the habitat to see how they were progressing. I think Chad and I were just as excited as Trace was about it all. Fun fact- When butterflies hatch out of their cocoons this red liquid bursts everywhere so the habitat looks like a butterfly massacre occurred. You can keep the butterflies in their habitat for about a week as long as you feed them. We used cotton balls soaked in sugar water and the butterflies really went crazy whenever we dropped a fresh one in.

Once they were ready to be released we did so in our front yard. The instructions said they typically stare in the area where they were released for a week or two, but we didn’t see those suckers again! 

Trace was also gifted a butterfly feed garden, but we didn’t use it this time. I plan on ordering another batch in the next couple weeks and will use the feeder outside after we release them to see if they stay in the area. This is such a fun toy and I'm glad Trace has it! It will be fun for years to come because it's not something he'll outgrown in a year or so!! 

Monday, June 9, 2014

Spicy Crab Dip

This is Chad's most requested dish. I'm pretty sure he asks me to make a double match about twice a month. This is best served with Red Hot Riplets... take my word for it... the perfect combination.

8 ounces softened cream cheese
7.5 ounces chunk style crab meat (imitation is fine)
1/4 cup of light sour cream
3 tablespoons milk
1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cayenne (I always start with 1/2 teaspoon and add more in small doses to get my desired spiciness)

Total hands on time: 5 minutes
Total time (including chilling): 1 hour and 5 minutes

1) Chop crab meat as small as you can. I like to run through my food processor for a few pulses and it chops quickly.

2) Beat cream cheese, sour cream, crab and milk together until thoroughly mixed. I use my stand mixer, but you can just as easily use a hand mixer or even stir by hand. If you do this step by hand make sure the cream cheese is very soft to begin with.

3) Add the spices and mix well. Remember to add the cayenne pepper in small doses until you get to your desired level of spiciness.

4) Chill for at least an hour before serving. Since the cream cheese is so soft at this time you will need to let it firm up a bit.

5) Serve with chips (Red Hot Riplets! or crackers) and enjoy!

I posted this recipe back in 2010, but wanted to share again since it had been so long. I hope you like it as much as we do!

Friday, June 6, 2014

High Five for Friday!

Happy Friday! We have zero plans on Saturday and I could not be more excited about it! We had a busy week so a lazy day is much needed. We have done a ton of work on Trace’s bathroom remodel and it should be done by early next week. I can’t wait to share pictures! I’m also working on some before and after pictures of our house. We are on the last room that needed remodeling (out of the entire house) so we have spent a lot of time and effort. We’re really happy with how things are coming together. Anyway, here are the highlights from our week…

Trace caught his first fish!!! Chad took him fishing on Saturday and they had a blast. Chad is really looking forward to the day when Trace is old enough to go on big fishing trips. Me… not so much! I won’t know what to do with a quiet house.

My mom, sister and I took Trace to a school carnival. It was held at the school I went to Kindergarten through 8th grade at so it was weird being back. The picnic sure has changed. Trace had a blast though!

I noticed our master bathroom seemed to need a little something. We remodeled it, but the walls just looked empty. I saw this idea on Pinterest and it seemed easy enough. I really like how it turned out!

Chad planted a tree in our front yard this week. When we moved in our house had zero plants/trees. We added a tree to our backyard last summer and it has really taken off. We can’t wait until the one out front gets a little bigger.

Trace’s new favorite thing to do is ride his tricycle anywhere he can. He especially loves his “bike hat” as he calls it. I think he looks so freaking cute in his bike hat.

I hope you all have a great weekend! XO! 

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