Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Two- Let Me Remember

Two is the age of my child.  Two.  Sometimes I cannot comprehend that I have a child, let alone a two year old child.  How have I helped to raise a person?  For two whole years?


It hadn't really hit me yet until tonight.  I haven't even sat down to read his birth story all over again, to relive the best day of my life.   Finally though, I found myself tearing up while thinking about all the things I love about Liam at age two.  

Sometimes, as I'm sure many parents do, I find myself staring at Liam while he's doing something.  Playing, eating, sleeping, whatever it is I am sitting there with my eyes on him willing my mind to take a mental picture of that moment.  Asking myself to please remember what this was like- what it feels like to have a two year old son right there in front of me, living his life.  

Then, almost in the same minute I sometimes find myself fast forwarding to fifty years down the road.  Me being an aged woman laying in bed, falling asleep, trying to pull from my mind these images that I took mental pictures of years and years ago.  Not being able to remember exactly what this all felt like.  It's painful to think that these days are too fast and that we won't even be able to remember every little bit of them.

One reason why blogging is good- it helps you to remember.  And if you can't maybe someone else read your post and they can remind you. ;)

I thought that maybe if I expressed some of these things in "writing" I might give myself an advantage to remembering these good ol' days.  Remembering the way that Liam says "hug me" when we are laying in bed in the morning and grabs my head with his arms.  Remember the way he asks "heart beat?" and pulls my head onto his chest so I can listen to his heart beat, ever since I have shown him exactly where his heart beats in his tiny body.  Remember that when we are walking the canal together that he gets "thirsy", grabs his cup, points to me, and says "Mama thirsy too" and encourages me to stay hydrated.  Remember the way he randomly starts hopping around a room, shouting "hop, hop, hop!".  I want to remember that after every meal I have with him at home that I grab him out of his chair and tell him it's "mama-baby time" and he sits on my lap and we talk and tickle and laugh for a few minutes before he runs off to play again.  And that every time after dinner I ask him what time it is and he says "mama-beeby-time" and jumps into my lap.  I hope to remember that he counts the number of stairs as he walks up them.  I need to remember how he has me dance with him before bed, how we look out the window for the moon every single night and when it's not there I can feel his disappointment.  I want to remember that his favorite foods are mac and cheese and cake.  

I want to remember everything, but I know I won't.  I can't even remember the details of last week as well as I did yesterday.  Time puts distance between us and our memories.  And it really, really is a shame.  

For now, let me remember these wonderful things.  I know every time I read this post I will get a smile on my face, thinking back on my child as he was when he turned two years old.  I know these little moments may no longer exist next year at this time, for Liam will have grown immensely and may not have the same interests as he does now.  So, for God's sake let me remember.  Remember what he was like at age two.


Monday, June 17, 2013

"Oven fried crispy onion pork chops"



Last week I wanted to do something new and creative with boneless pork chops for dinner.  Now that I'm on summer break I feel a little bit more creative in the kitchen and I  have much more time to prepare dinners since I'm not rushing home or going to the gym right after work.  I pretty much had my mind set on oven frying the chops, but the only way I knew how to do that is to use eggs to hold the stuff on.  Google helped me to find this amazing recipe for oven fried chicken made with Chobani and I was so freaking excited that I could do something a little more healthy and different from what I've done before.  I created this recipe with influence from the Chobani recipe.  I'm a huge greek yogurt fan and an even bigger Chobani fan so this technique for preparing meat and oven frying it really caught my eye.  I shall now share with you my very own recipe for "Oven Fried Crispy Onion Pork Chops".

P.S.- I also factored the weight watchers points for all of you weight watchers participants!  

Ingredients:

5 boneless skinless pork chops

For the "batter":
1 cup nonfat greek yogurt
2 tbsp TraderJoes Garlic Aoili Mustard or Dijon mustard
2 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper

For the "breading":
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
2/3 cup crushed crispy onions or french fried onions (I used salt and pepper crispy onions)
2 tbsp reduced fat Parmesan cheese


*Makes 5 servings.*

*Roughly 8 points plus per pork chop.*


Directions:

1.  Whisk together the greek yogurt and mustard in a large bowl.  Add salt and pepper.


2.  Place pork chops in the bowl and coat them entirely on both sides in the greek yogurt mixture.  Cover bowl with foil or  plastic wrap, place in the refrigerator, and let the chops marinate for about 30-40 minutes or up to 12 hours.


3.  Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

4.  Cover a large baking sheet/cookie sheet with foil.  On top of the baking sheet place a wire rack or cookie cooling rack on top and spray with a non stick coating.

5.  Place crispy/fried onions in a large zip lock bag and crunch them up by using  a large spoon or other type of cooking utensil.  Pour onions into a small bowl.  Add flour and 2 tbsp reduced fat Parmesan cheese.  You can also add salt and pepper to the mixture, though I did not since the crispy onions I used were already seasoned with salt and pepper.  



6.  Remove pork chops from refrigerator.  Pick up one of the chops and shake off any excess yogurt mixture.  You may end up having some of this mixture left depending on how big the pork chops are.



7.  Place the chop in the bowl with the onion/flour "breading".  Turn chop to cover both sides and pat onion/flour mixture down onto the meat so that it sticks to its best ability.  

8.  Place coated chop on the baking rack on top of the baking sheet.  Continue to cover each chop completely in the onion/flour mix and place them on the baking sheet.  Lightly spray pork with cooking spray.


9.  Bake pork chops for about 25-30 minutes.

10.  Once removed from the oven, allow pork chops to sit for 5 minutes before serving.  


Top with more mustard and enjoy!

Suggested sides: parsley red potatoes and asparagus


Thursday, June 13, 2013

Liam's Second Birthday: Liam's Favorite Things

Last weekend we celebrated Liam's second birthday. Planning this party was much different from Liam's first.  My husband and I came up with the theme of "Liam's favorite things" about a month prior to the date.  Yes, only a month.  Regardless of the late decision, we wanted to give Liam a day filled with all of his favorites- toys, food, and people.  What better place to have it then, than his grandparent's house?  Liam loves his Nonnie and Papa's house more than his own home.  I swear we have tons of stuff to do here, but he loves to explore their gardens, run through their large yard, hide under the willow tree, chill by the pool, point at fish in the pond, and relax on the swing.  Boy heaven!

  

My parents were generous enough to provide the space and the majority of the food.  We bought tons of pool and water toys, bubbles, balls, balloons, and other outdoor fun stuff.  Even a few of his gifts supported his hobbies- a water table, a basketball hoop, and a new car.  These were all set up and presented to him prior to the party so that not only Liam could enjoy, but everyone else could as well.  


The food was simple and delicious.  Basic picnic food was served including Liam's absolute favorite: macaroni and cheese.   For dessert my mom made dozens of cupcakes in a variety of flavors: key lime pie, blueberry cheesecake, mocha, and chocolate raspberry.  She's a fantastic cupcake baker.  To top it all off we served an ice cream buffet since Liam (and myself) are huge fans of those sweet frog/froyo type places. 





Favors for the children included a ball, bubbles, a fun straw, and play dough, which are just a few of Liam's most favorite play things.  Unfortunately though, many of the children never even received these gifts since I did not remember to give them out until more than halfway through the party.  Major fail.     

Although that was definitely a screw up, I feel like the party went extremely well.  The pool kept most of the kids occupied, lime-a-ritas and/or strawberry-ritas kept the adults relaxed, and Liam was surrounded by his favorite things and the people that he enjoys the most.  He had a blast.  So did we.   








4 more days until the real birthday!  
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