Monday, May 4, 2015

Little's Lunches 19

Happy Monday! I had a great weekend filled with beautiful weather and a lot of relaxing, I hope you did too! We had baseball games, marshmallow roasting in the backyard and Louis and I even got to sneak away and have a winery date on Sunday!
My little bunny friend is still coming around and getting fatter each time I see him. Isn't he the cutest thing ever?!
Saturday night we grilled fajitas and had dinner and roasted marshmallows outside. It was delicious and I could have eaten just the grilled veggies by themselves and been happy. I used the Homesick Texan's recipe for fajitas and used it on chicken; it was delicious and so simple to make!
Monday: for lunch, we were stuck in the car all day through hail, a brutal tornado warning that gave me a panic attack and at least 1 hour of sitting stopped on the top of a bridge trying to get home from Louisiana. We snacked most of the day and stopped at Bucee's for sandwiches.
 Tuesday: Peanut butter Tortilla roll ups, baby carrots with ranch, coconut cashews, mandarin oranges for B and dried apple chips for M
 Wednesday: Black Bean and cheddar grilled cheese sandwiches, baby carrots, chex mix and coconut cashews
 Thursday: Shrimp and Crab Spring Rolls with Thai sweet chili sauce to dip, edemame and carrots, blackberries and cinnamon cooked apples
Friday: Wheat Pita Bread with Greek Yogurt Spinach Dip, coconut pomegranate chews, edemame with carrots and blackberries
I also found out on Friday, that I WON the grand prize for the Healthy Solutions Blogger Contest! Thanks so much to everyone who went and left comments on my recipe!
I also was very excited to receive my prize from the Avocados from Mexico contest!
Let's see how long I can keep this device from being loaded with kid games!

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Little's Lunches 18

Hi there! I usually post my lunch ideas on Monday, but yesterday we were stuck in the car driving back to TX from LA and it took for.ev.er. so by the time I got home I was too tired to do anything! Here's what my kids had for lunch last week:
 Monday: Peanut Butter and Jelly on whole wheat sandwich thins, sweet baby bell pepper rings, raisins and dried pineapple
 Tuesday: Roasted Red Bell Pepper Hummus, crackers, baby carrots, cucumber, grape tomatoes and baby bell pepper slices, applesauce and dried cranberries
 Wednesday: Tortellini pasta salad and applesauce
Thursday: Roasted Red Bell Pepper Hummus, Cheddar Cheese Bread, dried veggie chips, applesauce, dried cherries and granola bar bites
Friday was spent in the car all day long driving to Louisiana for my cousin's wedding. We stopped at Bucee's and the kids got hotdogs and sandwiches from the deli. I got a hummus and pretzels pack and a cup of sliced veggies with Ranch. I figured if I ate the veggies it would make it ok when I ate all of the homemade potato chips that came with the kid's meals. In theory that sounded like a plan to me, but once in the car the kids ate all the carrots and baby tomatoes and left me only a few sad looking celery pieces for me...so chips for lunch it was!

Monday, April 20, 2015

Little's Lunches 17

Happy Monday! This morning the kids had dentist appointments that took for-ev-er so I'm just getting around to posting today. There were no cavities for them, and I didn't pass out or gag, so I call this dentist visit a success! Here's what I packed in our lunchboxes last week:
Monday: Sliced ham, cucumbers and baby carrots, potato salad, ranch dip, cheddar cheese rice cakes and dried apple chips all packed in the yumbox
Tuesday: Ham and Honey Mustard Tortilla Wraps, cheese sticks, ranch and baby carrots and dried cranberries
Wednesday: Sliced ham, cheddar cheese rice cakes, salsa ranch, broccoli, yellow sweet peppers and yellow grape tomatoes, blackberries and strawberries and coconut pomegranate bars in the yumbox- the coconut pomegranate bars I found in the bulk bins section at HEB and the kids LOVED them! As soon as they got off the bus they were asking where I got them and if I had more- totally yummy!
Thursday: Turkey and Hummus sandwiches, ranch dip, broccoli and sweet baby bell pepper slices and blackberries
Friday: Turkey Rolls, Sweet Potato Focaccia Bread, cashews, veggie chips, blackberries and yellow sweet baby bell peppers, dried pineapple slices and the last of the coconut pomegranate bars in the yumbox
This weekend was busy for us, as always! My son made his first communion, my in-laws were in town and Louis and I even got to sneak away for an evening to meet some friends and  check out a new neighborhood food truck park, The Rusty Mule! It was perfect weather, and we really enjoyed ourselves. The  place is huge with many different seating areas, places for the kids to play, fire pits, roaming chickens and a full bar. There are four trailers to choose from: one is the bar, a cupcake stand, a Mexican taqueria and we ate at Chico & The Fox
 
Louis got the "Threesome"- Shaved ham, pulled pork and bacon splashed with spicy honey mustard and I got the loaded wedge fries- seasoned fries topped with pulled pork, green onion, pickled jalapenos, red bell pepper and a sriracha greek yogurt sauce
The whole time we were there I kept telling Louis how much fun it would be to get my own food truck and park myself in there...one can always dream, right?


Wednesday, April 15, 2015

The Art of Food Photography

A while back I was having lunch with a friend and we were chatting about the different things I wanted to do to improve my little blog. I got really excited when she mentioned a local food photography class that I could take and immediately booked it.
Then my nerves set it.
I am not confident at all in my "photography skills" and I for sure don't know what all the buttons on my Nikon D80 do, or even mean. I wanted to learn more but didn't want to be sitting through a class looking clueless the whole time and go home with more confusion than what I went there with.

I was so relieved once I got there and class began. It really was geared for every level student, from those that are well versed in camera lingo to the complete novice, like myself. I was also surprised to hear that a few people were taking the class for a second time as a refresher. The class is small, which I loved, so there wasn't a time to feel lost in the crowd. We began with a discussion of hand outs that covered the basics of food photography and then we got to practice in 6 different bays of set ups put together by food stylists.
I really enjoyed the hands on approach to the class. No one wants to be lectured to all day and this was a great way to learn while doing, which is how I learn best. We were broken apart into groups of three and I was lucky enough to be paired with someone who had a similar camera to what I have and he actually knew how to use it!
 I was so fascinated by the food styling and really wish there was a class just for that!
It was fun to see her explain to us all of the MacGuyver type tricks she had up her sleeve to get just the right shot
I also really liked that every bay had a different feel to it. I am not a huge fan of the bright white set ups but it was good to be able to work with it and see that I don't need to invest in a backdrop and lighting like this for myself. I know it can be beautiful if shot by the right person, but for me it felt so sterile.
The all green shot was gorgeous, and it was good to see that doing a monochromatic shoot isn't impossible as long as there is texture and the right lighting.
I wanted to steal the cheese plate and grab a glass of wine for myself!
 The mojito bay was my absolute favorite though! I just think it's so beautiful, I loved watching the stylist put it together and it felt so fresh!
The class was 4 hours long, but it felt like I was there for 30 minutes. It truly flew by!
The desserts made me hungry! Gorgeous and almost too perfect to touch!
If you're in Austin and would like to learn more about food photography, you need to go visit  Melissa and Kristina at Precision Camera! It was so inspiring to get a behind the scenes look at their work and every class they put on has completely different bays to shoot so you'll never get bored!

Monday, April 13, 2015

Little's Lunches 16

Good Morning and Happy Monday!!
I had a great weekend, I hope y'all did too.
 About a month ago I signed up for a food photography class and I finally got to go this weekend. It was such an inspiring afternoon and I really learned a lot. Come back on Wednesday and I'll tell you all about it!
After class, I went home and as soon as I pulled up I noticed there was something in the backyard. The kids were so excited, B tried her hardest to convince us to catch it and keep it but we resisted and let him hop away.....I think maybe I've been living out here too long when I seriously am considering catching wild bunnies and getting chickens.
I'm also super excited to be getting my ipad mini in the mail this week for the Avocados from Mexico contest!! I have already declared this a kid free device......we'll see how long that lasts!
Here's what I packed in the lunchboxes this week:
 Monday: I found these containers at Michael's for 88 cents a piece! If the kids break or lose them it won't be a huge deal and I like the size of the compartments. I'll probably go back this week and get a few more. I packed a turkey and cream cheese tortilla roll up, baby carrots, cucumber and mushroom slices, ranch to dip and dried cranberries and cashews
 Tuesday: Turkey slices, French bread, green beans and baby carrots, honey mustard dip, dried apple trail mix and yogurt in the yumbox
Wednesday: Baby Kale and Spinach Quesedillas, hard boiled egg, baby carrots and green beans and strawberries
Thursday: Artichoke and Parmesan Chicken Sausages, mustard to dip, hard boiled egg, baby carrots and cucumber slices, and homemade trail mix granola bars (recipe coming soon)
Friday: Artichoke and Parmesan Chicken Sausages, cheese sticks, cornbread, baby carrots
 and prunes
If you have a moment this week, and need a delicious healthy spin on a Mexican favorite, go check out my entry for Greek Style Baked Turkey Taquitos with Tzatziki Drizzle. If you like them, leave a comment for me. The judges are busy testing out our recipes and I'd love them to see what my friends think of them! Thanks so much!!
 

Monday, April 6, 2015

Little's Lunches 15

Happy Monday! I hope y'all had a great weekend and Easter Sunday!
Ours was super busy, as usual, and I celebrated my birthday on Friday. It was filled with delicious food and lots of spoiling, which was perfect! Here's what was in our lunchboxes this week:
Monday: My parents had been in town for the weekend to visit for my birthday. I went out with friends one night to celebrate and then Louis and I went to see a concert the next night, so by the time Monday morning rolled around I had no energy and no groceries. I felt really guilty about it, but the kids were SO excited to get hot lunch. Even though I didn't pack a lunch, they ate as soon as they got off the bus. My dad had brought an entire Muffeletta from one of my favorite little hole in the wall restaurants in New Orleans, R&O's so we had an awesome after school snack!
Tuesday:: cubed turkey, triscuits, trail mix, dried apple slices, yellow wax beans and olives and jelly bellies in the yumbox
 Wednesday: Turkey Tortilla Roll Ups, ginormous strawberries, a whole wheat fig bar and celery sticks with Ranch
 Thursday: Kale and Baby Spinach Salad with cucumber, tomato, carrot, cheese and ranch, cheddar cheese rice cakes and homemade trail mix granola bars
Friday: Turkey and Cucumber Sushi Roll Ups, baby carrots, hard boiled egg, ranch and a homemade trail mix granola bar
 

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Creamy Cabbage Soup

Last week I showed you the pile of produce we caught at the St Patrick's Day parade and this soup was my kid's favorite meal made from all of our goodies! I saw a recipe for Creamy Cabbage Soup on pinterest, and as usual, made some changes to it and it came out great! I love Havarti cheese and I think the dill was delicious in this! This could easily be made meat free and would be perfect on a cold night
 
Creamy Cabbage Soup
(recipe adapted from here) 8 slices bacon
1 cup diced onion
1 cup diced celery
1 cup diced carrot
1 cabbage, shredded
6 cups chicken broth
1 12 sticks butter
3/4 cup flour
1 1/2 cup milk
1 1/2 cup chicken broth
6 ounces Havarti cheese with dill, cubed
12 teaspoon thyme
1 teaspoon dill
1 teaspoon white pepper
 
Cook bacon in a large soup pot over medium high heat, remove when crisp and place on paper towels to drain. Add the onion, celery, carrot and cabbage and sauté until soft. Add broth and simmer for 30 min. While vegetables are cooking make sauce as follows: Melt butter in medium saucepan; stir in flour and cook 1 minute, stirring constantly. Stir in milk and remaining 11/2 cups broth. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally until thickened, about 8-10 minutes.
Add cheese, thyme, dill and white pepper.
When cheese has melted, add to vegetable mixture and stir well. Add crumbled bacon and serve
I also have exciting news to share!! I just found out that the little slider I made a few months ago won a runner up prize for "Best Mexican Themed Recipe"!!! I will have an iPad Mini, 16GB w/Wi-Fi delivered to me soon! Now I just need to figure out how to keep my kids from taking it over first...
Black bean dip (I made mine but feel free to use store bought)

Chipotle hot sauce
 warm Hawaiian Slider Buns
1 small can Mexicorn
 Cotija cheese
Mayonnaise
 Cilantro
2 ripe Avocados from Mexico
 Crushed tortilla chips
 Pickled red onions (I made my own but you can certainly use store bought)
 
To make these, make sure you start with cold ripe avocados, they stick together best when they're cold. These are super easy to make and Just season and taste as you go!
Stir together the black bean dip and chipotle hot sauce and spread on the bottoms of the slider buns. Combine the mexicorn, cotija cheese, mayonnaise and cilantro in a small bowl and spoon on top of the bean spread. Coarsely mash the avocados, season with salt and pepper and form into small patties. Roll avocado patties into the crushed tortilla crumbs and place patties on the buns. Top with pickled red onions and serve immediately.