Monday, July 30, 2012

Sonoran Hot Dogs


My mom has been raving about Sonoran Hot Dogs for over a year now, ever since she read a blurb about them in Sunset magazine last summer and served them at a family reunion I couldn't attend. I finally got to enjoy them this past week when my family spent time at the beach in North Carolina, and they definitely lived up to the hype!  I'm a big fan of traditional hot dogs with ketchup and mustard, and was skeptical that a hot dog so far removed from that would be tasty, but the new flavor combinations were incredible!

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Friday, July 27, 2012

Printable Olympic Medals Chart


The Olympics have always been a really big deal in my family. I remember watching every event we could squeeze in during waking hours when I was growing up; we put a strip of packing tape on the floor of the living room when I was little and pretended it was a balance beam, and I'm pretty sure I wrote in my journal about how much I wanted to be Shannon Miller or Kerri Strug, or both at the same time; my sister has a collection of Wheaties boxes featuring her favorite Olympians from past games; my brother worked at the Salt Lake games, saw the infamous pairs figure skating scandal (the French judge!), and snuck onto the field for the closing ceremonies; my brother and sister flew to Beijing on a last-minute whim to see the 2008 games in the Bird's Nest; "Paul and Morgan Hamm", "Lenny Krayzelburg", and "Li Xiaoshuang" are terms that come up in everyday conversation; and I have tote bags, shirts, berets, and more from Salt Lake City, Barcelona, and everywhere in between.

I want my kids to love the Olympics as much as I do, and to have fond childhood memories of them when they're grown. So, in addition to tuning in to the opening ceremonies tonight, I made up this fun, "educational" chart for them to keep track of the US medals count every day. And yes, if they lose interest or forget to do it, Mommy will color in the little circles herself.

UPDATE: You can now download a new medals chart for the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics! The Winter Olympics traditionally have fewer medals to be won, so you'll notice that the new printable has larger circles and fewer of them. Just FYI.


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Monday, July 23, 2012

Easy Chicken Souvlaki


We've been visiting my little sister and her family in North Carolina for the past week, and boy is it blazing here! My poor little Pacific Northwest babies practically wilt every time we open the door and go outside to play. It doesn't usually get this hot or humid in our backyard, but even in our temperate neck of the woods, there are some summer evenings when even I don't want to fire up the stove or turn on the oven. This quick, cool dinner is one of my favorite ways to beat the heat. It is fresh and flavorful, and I have a hard time not eating the whole bowl!

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Monday, July 16, 2012

Lemon Ice Cream


July is National Ice Cream month, and we've been extra patriotic this summer by eating tons and tons of creamy homemade ice cream. My current favorite is this tart and tangy lemon confection from Epicurious. I first made it last year and accidentally left out a bunch of ingredients. Oops! Needless to say, when made correctly, it is dreamy and smooth, and packs a hefty citrus punch. It makes your lips pucker and your mouth water, and by the end of your first cone, all you can think about is having another!

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Friday, July 13, 2012

Honey Dijon Ranch Chicken

When I was growing up, we lived around the corner from the Olson family. They had girls the same age as me and two of my little sisters, and we spent all summer playing at each other's houses and going swimming in each other's backyards. The Olsons were very cool: they had a miniature playhouse behind their house, Paul Mitchell hair products in all of the bathrooms, and a deep, undying love for the New Kids On The Block!

The Olsons had my whole family over for dinner once, and the meal was delicious and obviously very memorable: Honey Dijon Ranch Chicken, Cheese and Avocado Dip (a family favorite I'll post another time), and Blueberry Crisp. The Honey Dijon Ranch Chicken is one of those dishes that, all these years later, I still think about. The original recipe called for marinating chicken breasts in Honey Dijon Ranch dressing, but in the 20+ years since we ate dinner at the Olson's, they've stopped making Honey Dijon Ranch. This quick and easy marinade produced chicken that was just what I remembered: moist and delicious, with the perfect balance of sweet, tangy, and savory flavors. It is a hit with my whole family; my kids love it just as much as I did so many years ago.

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Monday, July 9, 2012

Spinach Salad with Strawberries

When I threw the strawberry baby shower for my friend Annie last month, this delicious salad was the star of the show! I wasn't sure how many people were coming to the shower (RSVP's were sketchy), so I bought tons and tons of food. There were lots of tasty leftovers, but every last bite of spinach salad got eaten. Every tender leaf of spinach, every crunchy, sugared almond, every sweet strawberry slice...gone!

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Monday, July 2, 2012

July Favorites {Give-Away}, Stars and Stripes edition

**The give-away is now closed and the winner will be contacted shortly. Thanks for stopping by!

My July favorites are inspired by Old Glory and good ol' red, white, and blue!

1.  favorite DIY starry wall art: Constellation Embroidery from Diana Hulme seen on Say Yes to Hoboken
I'm a sucker for anything even vaguely scientific, so these gorgeous embroidered constellations are right up my alley.

2.  favorite latest crafty obsession: digital paper downloads like this red, white, & blue digital paper set from hue too on Etsy
You know when you have a picture in your mind of how you want something to look, and then you search the scrapbooking paper aisle at your favorite craft store in vain? Well those days are long gone thanks to downloadable digital paper sets. These adorable patterns come in coordinating sets of 8-12, cost less than $1 per pattern, and arrive in your inbox to be downloaded to your computer and used over and over and over again! I've already bought several sets and have gussied up baby shower invites, menu cards, and book club bookmarks. And I love the sweet, clean, sophisticated colors and patterns from hue too--no cutesy cartoon animals or obnoxious patterns here!

3.  favorite totally American thing to wear on the 4th of July: DIY Bandana Shirt from Gypsie Sister
What's more American than wearing red, white, and blue on Independence Day? Wearing a cute red, white, and blue country-inspired cowgirl shirt! This adorable little project makes me want a 10-gallon hat and some sassy cowboy boots.

4.  favorite way to dry off after a summer swim: Striped Cotton Turkish Towel from bathstyle on Etsy
So, I think turkish towels are the hot thing right now! I've spotted them all over the blogosphere and in print magazines, and with their happy colors and preppy stripes, I can see why they're all the rage. Who needs boring old terry cloth?!

5.  favorite starry bling: Midnight Sunstone Gold Necklace from FriedaSophie on Etsy
Every piece in Friedasophie's shop is a beautiful, handmade treasure, but this Midnight Sunstone necklace is magical! It looks like the entire night sky is captured in a midnight blue nugget nestled in 14K gold. It's on my wishlist, but if anybody out there wants to buy it for me, we'll be bff's. Promise.

6.  favorite embellishment for pretty much anything: Maraschino bakers' twine from The Twinery
If I had to pick my #1 craft staple, it would be baker's twine, hands down. Giving cookies to neighbors? Tie the package up with baker's twine! Sending someone a thank you note? Add a little baker's twine bow to the front! Making some miniature flags for the top of a cake? Hang 'em from baker's twine! I seriously use baker's twine more than any other supply in my stash, and The Twinery is my favorite place to stock up. Their twine is thick, sturdy, and soft, and comes in 18 super-saturated colors.

The give-away this month will knock your crafty little socks right off: the winner gets to choose any digital paper set from hue too and two spools of twine in their choice of colors from The Twinery! I'm already jealous! Big, big thanks to Cody of hue too and Nicole of The Twinery for donating prizes this month; they were a dream to work with!

To enter this month's give-away simply leave a comment on this post. Make sure you leave me an email address so I can contact you if you win. I'm serious about this, people: if I can't notify you that you won, I'll choose a new winner! The give-away will be open for one week, and I'll choose a lucky winner next Monday.  Best of luck, and have a safe and happy 4th of July!
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