Thursday, August 30, 2012

Lucia, meet Washington

At the corner of Olympia and Washington in Olympia, Washington

We had a great time in Washington a few weeks ago. There were a lot of firsts for Lucia...first time on a plane, first time at grandpa Mark's and grandma Debbie's house and first time meeting her Washington family. Oh, and first time on a golf course. It was great to have some time to relax with family and enjoy Washington in the summer. And Lucia did great especially considering that she met and was held by about 50 different people in 5 days.

On the first morning there. We hadn't felt 65 degrees in what seemed like an eternity so we were pretty excited about that.

 We spent some quality time with the Anderson side of the family.

 The Anderson siblings.

 Grandma Debbie holding Lucia by 'Lucia's garden'


 And Becca and Justin will be next with the arrival of their son Beau coming up in just a few months!

 And here were the two best dressed in the Anderson Open. (Can you tell the theme was plaid?) But Mark took the cake since he actually wore his outfit on the golf course.

 Then we enjoyed some time with the Johnson side of the family. I like this picture because great-grandma Marilyn and Lucia's eyes look so similar!

 Downtown Olympia

 A park not far from downtown Olympia

 We took a walk on a path at this park and didn't realize there would be stairs so Matt and Mark ended up working a little harder than they thought.

 Lucia loved it and squealed with delight.

 It wouldn't be complete without a little time with Nate and Emily. It was great to see them, as always. And we wished we had more time with them, as always.

 And Lucia liked them too...

 Lastly, Lucia got to meet lots of friends and some future playmates:)

She couldn't leave without showing off her fake little cough noise that she just loves to do. Thanks Mark and Debbie for hosting us! It was a great trip and great to see everyone!

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Blue-Rasp-Straw Berry and Rhubarb Muffins

I don't bake much. I prefer the 'taste-as-you-go' cooking thing rather than the 'exact-measurements-only' baking thing. That being said, these were my most favorite thing that I have ever baked. I will definitely make them again.

The Recipe: adapted from here

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 Tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 4 Tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled
  • 1 1/4 cups sour cream
  • 6 oz. (1 1/2 cups) berries (I used a cup blueberries, 1/4 cup raspberries and a few tablespoons of strawberry/rhubarb jam).

The Method:
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray 12-cup muffin tin (or 2 12-cup mini muffin tins) with vegetable oil spray.
  2. Whisk flour, baking powder and salt in medium bowl until combined.  
  3. Whisk egg in second medium bowl about 20 seconds.  
  4. Add sugar and whisk vigorously until thick, about 30 seconds.  
  5. Add melted butter in 2 or 3 steps, whisking to combine after each addition.  
  6. Add sour cream in 2 steps, whisking until just combined.  
  7. Add berries to dry ingredients and gently toss to combine (don't add jam yet if you are using).  
  8. Add dry ingredients to sour cream mixture and carefully fold with rubber spatula until batter comes together and berries are evenly distributed, 25-30 seconds (small spots of flour will remain and batter will be thick). Swirl in jam if using.  Do not overmix.  
  9. Divide batter evenly between muffin cups. (I made mini muffins and baked for less time.) If you want, sprinkle sugar over muffins as a topping.  
  10. Bake until muffins are golden brown and toothpick inserted in center of muffin comes out with few crumbs attached, 25-30 minutes, rotating tin halfway through baking.  
  11. Invert muffins onto wire rack, stand muffins upright and let cool for 5 minutes.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Chicken Tacos

These are really good! It's all about the sauce made from an interesting combo of ingredients that I wouldn't think to put together like OJ, chipotle peppers, cilantro and mustard. I saw this recipe on America's Test Kitchen (I love PBS cooking shows!) but I'm too cheap to subscribe to the website to get the recipe so I googled it and found it from some random blog. And now I just need to write it down myself so I don't forget it. I mean, that's actually the point of me writing out all these recipes...I tend to make something once, love it, then forget about it unless I record it in some way. Anyway...

The Recipe:
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 teaspoons chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, minced
  • 1/2 cup orange juice
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 3/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts or tenders
  • 1 teaspoon yellow mustard
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 12, 6-inch flour tortillas
  • For serving: grated cheese, shredded lettuce (I used spinach), chopped tomato, diced avocado, sour cream

The Method:
  1. Melt butter in large skillet over medium high heat. Add garlic and chipotle peppers and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in orange juice, Worcestershire sauce and 1/2 cup of the cilantro.  Bring to a boil.
  2. Add chicken and simmer, covered, over medium-low heat until chicken is cooked through and registers 160 degrees, about 10-15 minutes, flipping chicken half-way through cooking.
  3. Remove chicken from sauce mixture, transfer to a plate and set side, tenting with foil.
  4. Increase heat to medium-high and cook until sauce is reduced to about 1/4 cup, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and whisk in mustard.  
  5. Using 2 forks, shred chicken into bite-sized pieces.  
  6. Return chicken to the sauce. Toss with remaining cilantro and toss until well-combined.  Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve in tortillas with desired toppings.

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