Monday, March 28, 2016

Happy Easter!

Oh what a wonderful weekend we had! We traveled to Leesville for our annual Easter visit and, as always, it was just eggs-cellent! ;) This is an incredibly stressful and busy time for both Chris and I, so a little weekend away from it all was much needed. We packed the van on Friday and made our way to the big LV! 

Not to deviate too much from our regularly scheduled program, we headed straight to Fox's Pizza...because it was Friday night and we eat pizza on Friday night. EVERY. FRIDAY. NIGHT. I'm actually quite thankful that Fox's Pizza was not around when I lived in Leesville because it's delicious and I would have eaten there constantly. Running into friends was the icing on the cake! 

Once the kiddos were in bed, the adults relaxed on the couch and watched a movie in our pjs. Scott is the ultimate VIP at the local library and is constantly given random (and sometimes brand new) movies to enjoy before the masses. This time is was "Mom's Night Out" and it was cute. Following  the evening of a few stressed out moms, plans get derailed and hilarity ensues. While I enjoyed the general message of the movie, I had a couple critiques. The main one being the stereotype that dads aren't capable of watching their children alone and moms aren't capable of letting go. Let me just say this....dads aren't babysitting their children...they are parenting their children...stop using the term babysitter...it kills me! Dropping the mic and stepping away from the soap box...

Saturday morning we woke up without an alarm clock and just enjoyed the morning. Sarah arrived and we headed out the meet Uncle Steve at the "ranch". Now, if you need some enjoyment, it would be in your best interest to friend my Uncle Steve on Facebook. He is hilarious! For a few weeks, I've laughed out loud each time he talked about talking to the cows and their reactions to his soft rock music. Seeing it in action was amazing. When we arrived, he had a hayride ready for us. When we got to the pastures, he was disappointed that there weren't too many cows to see...but then he just started hollering and, I kid you not, the other cows just started running his way! He was just a talking to those cows and they were just a moo'ing back. It was unbelievable...and the Henry kiddos ATE IT UP! Those two kiddos loved riding in the tractor, crawling all over the hay, petting the chickens, and watching the cows! After a full day of running around the ranch, an easy night was a must. We enjoyed some of GranZee's spaghetti with Uncle Alan and Uncle Steve before dying a few eggs and heading to bed! 

Sunday morning, our alarm clock was Lily...she was excited to see if the Easter Bunny visited...and of course, he did! The kiddos enjoyed their treats while GranZee made cinnamon rolls that looked like bunnies before heading to church at East Leesville Baptist Church. The Henrys were decked in seersucker (well three out of four) when Lily informs us that she was going to sit in Big Church. Oh yay! ;) She was actually quite behaved...thanks to a sticker/coloring book! We all left service covered in Easter stickers!

After church, we had a brief photo session, changed, cooked, and headed out to "A-hole Hill". It was a gorgeous day and our traditional Easter meal was delicious! While the Henrys skipped the BBQ chicken, we did enjoy the potato salad, deviled eggs, mac & cheese, and baked beans...topped off with homemade lemon ice cream by Uncle Alan! The kiddos loved running around, searching for eggs, and exploring while we just enjoyed each others company! It was perfect! I didn't take nearly enough photos...but enjoy!

Lily never stopped talking...which means she LOVES it!

Aren't they adorable!?!

She didn't really "love" holding the chickens!

She liked the cows...at a distance!

This girl loves to pick the flowers!

Lily and the "cow whisperer"!

Caught in the action of skipping towards a stray cow! 

My sweet boy!

This little boy loves his Pops!

How perfect is this picture!?!?! My two very favorite boys in matching seersucker shirts...be still my heart!

Seriously...they are my favorite boys!

Lily was just refusing to participate...so this is just about the best we could get!

Aw...three fifths of the Gradys!

Cuteness!

And now the hunt for eggs is on!






Please disregard the spear in my two year olds hand...it was immediately removed!

What a cool guy!

Doing what they do best...comparing notes!

Crazy Sizzer...

As you can see, it was an amazing weekend! I'm seriously dreading returning to the "real world" tomorrow...but alas, I must. (insert sad face)

I hope you all had a wonderful time with your loved ones celebrating a truly joyous occasion on a gorgeous weekend!

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Bang Bang Cauliflower


I wanted to try something fun and adventurous in the kitchen...that also didn't take a ton of time or effort. During the week, I have my limits! ;)

The kiddos love fried rice and when trying to find something yummy to pair with it, I came across this recipe for Bang Bang Cauliflower...it was a hit...Enjoy!



Ingredients

1/2 a head of cauliflower
2 cups of panko bread crumbs
2 large eggs (whisked)
2 tablespoons of sweet chili sauce
2 teaspoons of Sriracha sauce
1/4 cup of mayo
1 tablespoon of honey

Directions

First, pre-heat your oven to 400 degrees while you cut your cauliflower into bite sized pieces. Separate your egg, breadcrumbs, and cauliflower into three separate bowls to create your assembly line of fun!


Dip your cauliflower in the egg and then roll in the bread crumbs, coating each piece before you place it on a baking sheet.


Bake for 20 minutes or until each piece is lightly golden and crispy!

While they are baking, mix up your Bang Bang sauce! Dump the remaining ingredients (sweet chili sauce, Sriracha, mayo, and honey) into a bowl and mix until smooth.


To plate, simply drizzle your sauce over the cauliflower and enjoy!


This dish was delicious! The cauliflower was crunchy and the sauce was the perfect mix of spicy and sweet!


Did the kids enjoy it? Oh..no...wouldn't even try it. BUT, the adults loved it! ;)

Saturday, January 23, 2016

5K Success!

My three week, 5K prep journey consisted of a lot of monogrammed running gear, Nelly Radio on my Pandora, and just doing what I could.



I didn't push myself but I didn't give up either! My goal the first week was to just run one straight mile. When that goal was achieved, I just kept going. Finally, I bit the bullet and bought a nicer pair of running shoes. Happy Birthday to me!


 I LOVE them! Varsity Sports was amazing...as always. My first run in my new kicks (Brooks Launch) was the longest consistent run I had done. So clearly...it was an amazing purchase! ;)



I knew I was ready to tackle the race! Not only did I complete the Louisiana Marathon 5K...but I ran the entire time and shaved two minutes off my time from last year! WHAT!?!?!?!? Enjoy some pics from the day!

Pre-Race...attractive, no? ;)

Pre-Race selfie!!!

Yeah...that's not what I thought I looked like when I ran...but whatever!

Post-Race with Lily! Poor girl had the sun in her eyes! ;)



The Louisiana Marathon is really a well run event...I had a blast! Of course, now I have the running bug!  After three weeks of "training", I can more easily run a 5k and still smile about it! My average mile was around 11 minutes and I hit the race 4lbs lighter than when training began. So...what's next!?!?!?!?

I'm trying to work out scheduling to sign up for the Mardi Gras Mambo 10k next month! Of course, it's three weeks away and I've never ran that far...but why not!?! Training can start tomorrow! 

 Stay tuned!
#10kprep

Sunday, January 3, 2016

Spaghetti Nests and Zucchini Balls


My kids love spaghetti. Like, Lily loses her mind when I tell her we are having spaghetti for dinner. Anytime I see an opportunity to get creative with a meal that I already know they will like, I jump on it! So, when I saw Zucchini Balls on a blog that I follow and Spaghetti Nests on Tasty...I immediately took notice and added it to the plan! These dishes aren't hard but they do require a bit more preparation than most weekly dinners, so we did this during holiday to ensure it was done properly! This will be a future fun weekend dish! Just keep that in mind if you want to add this to your rotation! Enjoy!



Zucchini Balls Ingredients

Olive Oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 medium zucchinis
1 cup Italian-Seasoned breadcrumbs
2 tablespoons of dried basil
1 large egg, beaten
1/4 cup of Parmesan cheese
1 jar of quick marinara sauce
Salt and Pepper
Cooking Spray

Spaghetti Nests Ingredients

Cooked Spaghetti Noodles
1 large egg, beaten
1 cup of Parmesan cheese
1/4 quick marinara sauce

Directions

First, start on your zucchini balls by preheating your oven to 375 degrees and grating your zucchinis (skin on). Go ahead and spraying a baking sheet with your cooking spray.


Next, heat your olive oil in a skillet over medium heat and toss in your garlic. Saute until golden (about 30 seconds) and then toss in your zucchini with a dash of salt and pepper. You want to cook out as much of the water in the zucchini as possible for about 5-7 minutes. Then toss in a colander and attempt to squeeze out more.


Once you have squeezed and pressed, toss your zucchini into a large bowl with the breadcrumbs, cheese, egg, and basil. 


Mix well!


Now, it's time to get your hands dirty! Mold the mixture into little one inch balls and place on the baking sheet. Spray the top with the cooking spray once more and then toss in the oven to bake until firm and brown, approximately 20-25 minutes.


Heat your sauce in a deep skillet and place your cooked balls in the sauce to simmer until ready to serve!


Now, let's move over to your Spaghetti Nests! First, whipped your egg in a large bowl.


Next, toss in your cooked spaghetti, cheese, and some of the sauce from your zucchini balls. Mix well! I cooked an entire package of spaghetti noodles and only tossed in half. 


Spray a  large muffin tin with cooking spray and fill each section with your spaghetti mixture.


Take a rounded spoon (I used a tablespoon) and press the center of each to create a little indention.


Bake at 375 degrees for 15 minutes.


Once cooled, they are easy to remove for plating!


Place one of your zucchini balls into each spaghetti nest and then sprinkle extra sauce and a little cheese over each.


So pretty on the plate! Am I right!?!?!?! Served with a little salad, it's a gorgeous plate!


And seriously tasty!


Chris and I tore these up! And the kids...well, the kids LOVED it! They were a big hit! And, they tasted great the next day for lunch! Look at Lily's sweet little spaghetti filled grin! Harrison was too busy eating to smile! ;)