Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Family Dinner: Citrus Couscous Salad w/ Chicken

Israeli Couscous Salad

A few weeks back I was returning something to Nordstroms (side note: the half-yearly sale is on now!) and I treated myself to a citrus couscous salad at their E-bar Cafe. YUM!!! It was a delicious combination of Israeli couscous, citrus flavored chicken, dried cherries and mandarin oranges.  The next day I couldn't get the salad out of my mind so I decided to try and recreate it myself, and I must say I did a FABULOUS job!

Here's the recipe if you want to give it a try.  I made the salad vegetarian by substituting Quorn Chik'n Tenders in for regular chicken so my mom and sister could eat it, but it's great either way.

  • 2 chicken breasts or 1 package Quorn Chik'n Tenders
  • 1 box Israeli couscous (8-9 oz)
  • 1 can Mandarin Oranges (29 oz)
  • 2 cups fresh arugula
  • 1/2 cup dried cherries 
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1/3 cup fresh squeezed orange juice
  • 1/4 cup white vinegar
  • 1/2 cup olive oil

1. Marinate chicken or Quorn Chik'n in 3 tbsp lemon juice and 1/4 cup olive oil for 20 min.  Cook over medium heat with a pinch of salt and pepper. Cool and cut into bite size pieces.

2. Cook couscous according to direction on the box. Cool and set aside.

3. Chop mandarin oranges into bite size pieces and set aside.

4. Combine chicken, couscous, mandarin oranges, arugula, and cherries in a large bowl.

5. Make salad dressing by combining remaining 1/4 cup olive oil, 1/4 cup vinegar,  orange juice, and remaining 3 tbsp lemon juice. Whisk until well blended and poor over salad.

6. Serve at room temperature or refrigerate and serve cool.

This is a perfect summer salad and pairs very nicely with a light Pinot Gris. Enjoy!

Monday, May 27, 2013

Old MacDonald

A couple weeks ago, during the Seattle heatwave, my mom and I took Ollie and my niece Keeley to Kelsey Creek Farm, a restored and working farm that is owned and operated by the city of Bellevue.

Visiting Kelsey Creek Farm

The animals we're out grazing in the fields enjoying the sunshine so we were lucky enough to see ponies, sheet, goats, pigs, rabbits, and chickens.  I'm not a huge fan of petting zoos, they tend to overwhelm me and I always think some kid is going to get bit, so this was a fun way to see farm animals while staying safely behind the cute white picket fence.  Ollie was pretty neutral on the farm visit (10 months is a bit young), but Keeley (older and wiser at 20 months) loved pointing out and naming all the animals. She would walk right up to the fence and talk to them, and then turn back to Ollie wondering why he didn't do the same!

After we got our fill of the farm we walked through the park to the playground for a picnic lunch.  Keeley has been enjoying dining 'alfresco' (currently one of her favorite words to say) so she and Ollie had a great time sharing strawberries while my mom and I sipped our Diet Cokes.

What a wonderful day! Hopefully the rain will subside soon and we'll get a chance to visit again!

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Photo of the Week: Newsies

Ollie and Great Grandpa Padden reading the morning news.

Ollie and I drove down to Vancouver, WA to visit Ollie's Great Grandparents.  We had a fabulous time sitting around the kitchen table drinking coffee, eating brown sugar cookies (recipe coming soon), and telling stories old and new.  We were also lucky enough to see a bunch of aunts, uncles and cousins while we were there. It's so nice to have family only a short drive away!

Friday, May 17, 2013

Birthday Boy: 10 months old!

Ollie turned 10 months earlier this week and I'm just now getting around to this post, better late then never I guess. Where does the time go??!!

This past month with Ollie was filled with travel fun.  We tool a family trip to Edinburgh and another to Santa Barbara. He's become a master flyer at such a young age!

Ollie is mastering new skills everyday, some of the highlights from his 9th month include: 
  • eating almost solely finger foods (exempting oatmeal)
  • continued interest in books, especially page turning
  • throwing the ball
  • attempting to crawl by going up on his hands and knees
  • clapping and waving
  • pulling himself up on Mom or Dad
  • continuing to find his voice . . . by screaming!!
  • showcasing his opinion with increasingly loud grunts until you figure out what he wants
  • jumping like crazy in the Johnny Jump-up
  • showing signs of separation anxiety with strangers 
  • giving tons of smiles and cuddles =)

Can't wait to see what happens in month 10!

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Photo of the week: Play Ball!

Ollie's new favorite past-time is throwing things . . . which is both cool and dangerous. Luckily his favorite item to throw is a ball which provides us with countless hours of entertainment.

Above is a picture sequence of Ollie throwing the ball in his 10 month birthday shirt. Who knows, could have a future major leaguer in our midst!

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Product Review: BABYBJÖRN soft bib

Ollie has been on a steady 3 solid food meals a day for a few months now, but I only just discovered this fabulous baby product. The BABYBJÖRN soft bib is WONDERFUL!

If you have a dog who cleans up after your baby's meals you may not need this as much as the rest of us, but if you're like me and you spend 5-10 minutes picking food up off the floor after each meal then this is the bib for you!!!

The soft bib catches all the slippery food that pops out of Ollie's hand on the way to his mouth, and he's even figured out how to reach into the bib pocket and pull out missed bites (both cool and somewhat gross at the same time). We've been encouraging Ollie to feed himself, so having this food catcher strapped around his neck has helped immensely.  I can only imagine how much it will help when he starts using a spoon.

If your baby eats like this, you NEED this bib!!

Hidden bonus with this bib . . . it doubles as a toy! Ollie loves to chew on the soft plasticy material (maybe not the best thing but it keeps him happy!), and he recently discovered the clasp and has been trying to figure out how to open and close it. 

Never thought I'd talk this much about a baby bib, but there you have it! As always, this post was not sponsored, I just really love this product and wanted to share.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Good Day Sunshine!

Seattle has been hit by a mid-May heatwave and we've been loving it! Yesterday Washington recorded the highest temperature in the country, amazing! I guess the bluest skies really are in Seattle, I knew it!!!

Backyard Dining

Alex, Ollie and I have been staying with my parents (thanks Mom and Dad) while we wait for our house to sell (fingers crossed!).   It's been really fun hanging out with my parents, and with Francie, Bobby, Keeley and Corina living about 5 minutes away we've been taking advantage of the good weather with family BBQs and backyard dinners.

Yesterday we bought the kids a blowup baby pool and they had the best time splashing around and playing out in the sunshine.  Ollie and Keeley have become the best of friends and play really nicely together . . . at least when they're not trying to kill each other with aggressive hugs (Keeley) and thrown toys (Ollie).

Kiddie Pool Fun

What are your favorite warm weather activities? I love visiting Seattle's various wading pools but unfortunately they don't open until June. Oh well, guess the kiddie pool will have to do =)

Lets hope this good weather sticks around!!

Splish Splash