Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Cowboy Caviar


I can think of no better way to introduce a recipe with cowboy in the title than "giddyup!"

I made this for Mom2Mom on Sunday night, and while there weren't any cowboys there, the mommies sure did like this!

And speaking of mommies, this is my Mom's recipe.  I feel like there are one million recipes for Cowboy Caviar, but naturally, I think this one is the best :)

Cowboy Caviar

For the dressing:

1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/3 cup canola oil
1/2 cup sugar

I like to make the dressing first, because it has to cool.  Combine the dressing ingredients in a medium sized sauce pan over medium heat.  Bring to a boil and boil for one minute.  Remove from heat and cool completely.

For the beans and veggies:

2 cans shoepeg corn, drained
1 can pinto beans, drained and rinsed
1 can black eyed peas, drained and rinsed
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 cup diced celery
1 cup diced bell peppers (I like a mix of red, orange, and yellow)
1/2 cup diced red onion

A note about the dicing:  I cut the veggies to be bean sized for the sake of continuity.  And because I think I saw that on Top Chef once. 

A note about all those beans:  I'm a die hard fan of the mighty, yet humble black bean.  But, black eyed peas?  I think it's in the bean family, but I'm not even sure.  I've never consumed one outside of this recipe.  Don't let it freak you out!  Take the plunge!  Do it!  Do it!  (that was the junior high boy "do it!  do it!" chant)

A note about shoepeg corn:  I don't know what in the heck a shoepeg is, but the corn sure is good!

Aaaaaaaanyway, enough with all of those notes!  On to the good stuff :)

Combine the beans and veggies in a large bowl.  Pour in the cooled dressing and stir to combine.

The recipe says that you should let this chill over night, but nobody's watching you, so you can let it chill for however long you want.

I like to serve this with plain Sunchips.

Cowboy Caviar

I like how delicate yet somehow sturdy the Sunchips are, and I love how the saltiness inter-plays with the subtle sweetness of the Cowboy Caviar.  There's a bit of earthiness to Sunchips that I enjoy as well.

Cowboy Caviar

That being said, you can totally use tortilla chips.  Or, I think this would be excellent served on top of fish or chicken or pork.  You could even toss it with roasted sweet that sounds really good!  OR, you can eat it a little ol' bean salad!

I do recommend that you serve this with a slotted spoon to minimize the dressing running all around the plate.

Cowboy Caviar

This recipe just feels like summer to me, too!  This would be perfect to bring to a barbecue or family reunion or even just to snack on while watching ridiculous summer reality TV shows.

Not that I would do that ;)

Either way, you should just make this!


Tuesday, April 29, 2014

A Quick Visit

We had a quick visit to my parents' house on Friday and Saturday!  We squeezed a lot into a short amount of time!

On Saturday morning, Leah and my dad went for a ride on the tandem!

She really enjoyed it!  I mean, they rode to Hobby Lobby...what's not to enjoy about that?

While my Dad and Leah were gone, Maggie and Gracie played downstairs with my mom.  First Gracie was doing some kitchen-ing...

and then there was some baby doctoring.

After my dad and Leah got back, we headed to my brother and sister-in-law's new house!  It was so beautiful, and the kids had a great time playing together.

Gracie and Charity played/reenacted Frozen!

They are SO adorable!

Leah was happy to take her turn in the Frozen playing.

Do you like the Anna-esque "hair" streak?  :)

We enjoyed a lovely pizza lunch!

That's all of the cousins except for Jon, who got to sit with the adults.  It's cool to be the oldest some time!

About the pizza...we had Papa John's which was fun because we don't have them by us.  But, that garlic butter dipping sauce?  I think I would eat my own foot if it was dipped in that sauce!  Deeeeeeeelicious!

We stopped at my sister's house, too, to see it decorated.  Her house looked great, too, but apparently I was done taking pictures :)

2/3's of our children fell asleep on the way home AND nobody cried...oh wait, there was crying.  Oh well, you can't win them all!

Have a great day!

Monday, April 28, 2014

Highlights of Easter

I feel like I took several million pictures of our Easter weekend, but that's just an approximation.

We made cute cookies:

Aaron's mom and dad did a fun Easter egg hunt!

They even hid one big egg per grown up!  There was a clue inside...

you like my fancy nail polish?

directing us to a prize inside!

Mine was not by a poinsettia or Christmas tree (my initial thoughts), but by a Christmas cactus :)  My sister-in-law is a florist, so she helped me out.  The kids found my egg before I did and they had to direct me to it, too!  Apparently I need a lot of remedial attention ;) 

The cousins dyed some eggs...

It took longer to set up the egg dyeing than it did to actually dye the eggs!

We headed out to feed some ducks, too, which was when Aaron took the cute pic of me and the girls.

We got a pic of the girls standing on a rock

with the Minnie Mouse sandwich box.

The girls and the sandwich box were then joined by the cousins!

The ducks got some free lunch from winter coated girls in mid April

and Aaron and I took a picture!

The girls found their Easter baskets on Easter morning.  We got them fake glasses which was a huge hit!

Maggie immediately started talking and acting like "a grandmother" as she said in a funny voice :)

We came home from church...

and after lunch we did some cute posing...

you should know that I'm a casual Easter dress kind of mom


flower picking, 

cat avoiding explorations,

more swinging,

and some imaginative salad making!

After supper, the kids wore the pajamas from Aaron's parents and settled in to watch Frozen.

The nightgowns are pretty much the cutest ever!

The drive home on Monday wasn't bad, either (even though I didn't record details like I did for the way there)!

Have a great start to your week!

Friday, April 25, 2014

Project 365: #16

Well, my has gotten off to a great start and I hope your's has, too!

Day 107:

Getting all settled in for our road trip!

Day 108:

Leah is petting Midnight, her favorite barn cat. 

Day 109:

Something really exciting was going on outside :)

Day 110:

She's a baller.  She's a game changer.  All she does is win.  Especially in an Easter dress :)

Day 111:

The Dowager (that's the giraffe Maggie gave me when I got my wisdom teeth out) and I went on vacation together.  And by "on vacation," I mean that we went grocery shopping without children ;)

Day 112:

Leah wore her Earth Day crown/hat home from school and was very disgusted when she found litter in the road.  LITTER.  ON EARTH DAY!!!

Day 113:

This is how homework has been getting done lately.  Leah is kind of offended that she has homework, so she sometimes has a hard time buckling down to get it done.  I used to have her do it when I was getting supper ready, but it's kind of a hectic time of day.  Now, I sit with her so I can help her.  It's working for us...for now!

Day 114:

Gracie and I were playing dolls together...a kind of Frozen and Sound of Music hybrid.  I was feeling like a great mom until she informed me that it was boring.  Apparently she appreciates the dramatic outbursts and occasional crying of her sister :)

Have a great weekend!

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

3 Things

It's been a day!  

We made it home from Aaron's parents' house well and had a great weekend!

I have lots of cutie pie pictures to share but not a ton of time, so I'll just quickly share 3 things.

Thing 1:

This is the construction on the way into our little neighborhood.

That is a really, really big hole!

Thing 2:

It was like a lightning strike.  Aaron took this picture of me and the girls, and this was the first and only picture he took.

Pretty much a miracle :)  And, I like how Maggie really wanted to have Minnie Mouse in the picture...

Thing 3:

We sang this song at church on Easter and I love love double loved it!

Have a great day!

Monday, April 21, 2014

The Journey

I enjoy a good running diary.

Not to be confused with a diary of running, as I don’t participate in those :)  The whole running thing puts a damper on that.

Anyway, I thought it would be fun to chronicle/keep a running diary of our drive to Aaron’s parents’ house.  

I considered calling it “Tour de Bathrooms” or something equally silly, becuase, let’s face it, that’s what a roadtrip with kids can become.

Except, the girls did awesome!  They went to the bathroom once on our 4 hour and 13 minute drive.

So, I guess this is more of a chronicle of the ups and downs of our trip!  Enjoy :)

Friday started out interestingly enough, with the minivan getting literally stuck in the road construction when Gracie and I were taking Leah to school.  I’d read on the city website that I should have been able to get through a certain way, but I couldn’t due to large machinery digging large holes.  

I went a different way and got stuck in the mud/bottomed out in the mud/road.  


Some really nice construction guys came to help me. I genuinely never got the impression that they swearing at me under their breath or anything.

We were looking at the situation and trying to figure out the best way to get me unstuck.

Did I mention that I was wearing my pajamas (and winter coat)?

Because I was :)

They ended up pulling me out with a backhoe/escavator/bulldozer/digger thing.

Leah was late for school, which she is usually not okay with, but she handled it remarkably well!  

I figured the day could only get better from there, and it did!

We were able to be all packed by the time we needed to pick up Leah and Maggie from school.

So, we piled them all in

and hit the road at 3:23.

The girls did a great job looking out the window and talking about their school days.

For 10 minutes.

Then, they wanted to watch something.

We don’t have a DVD player built in the minivan, but we do let the girls watch a DVD on my laptop.  The battery doesn’t last forever (a couple of hours or so), so we have to use it strategically.  

They were going to have to wait 27 agonizing minutes until 4:00, at which point we would be joined by Veggie Tales and Max and Ruby.

Maggie proceeded to ask, “How many more minutes?”  about every 90 seconds.

“23 more minutes,” I counted down.

“Is that long or short,” Maggie would ask.

“LONG!” Leah emphatically informed her.

Yeah, so there was that.

Until, at 3:48, I realized that we could listen to music.


We had recently taken The Sound of Music Live! soundtrack off of hiatus, so the girls were happily distracted by singing their parts to the songs.

They even wanted to finish listening to High on a Hill was a Lonely Goat instead of watching a DVD at exactly 4:00.

They waited until 4:02.

They’re really maturing...right before my very eyes :)

We rode happily until 5:20, when Aaron and I decided we should stop for a bathroom break and to get supper out.

Were they ever excited to visit Burger King!

Don't worry, I kept Gracie from playing in the ashtray/garbage can

We were super efficient due to their being 3 stalls.

They even had the blower hand dryer, which Gracie really enjoyed :)

Yeah, that's me in the mirror

Who needs the playland when you can swing on a bar?

We headed back to the minivan and I got out the JImmy John’s I’d bought before we left!

I’ve found that the girls do better eating Jimmy John’s in the car than they do eating chicken nuggets from McDonalds.  There isn’t any dipping sauce to spill or happy meal toy to fight over.

On a side note, I feel like McDonalds employees should be trained to give out the same toy in each happy meal in a single order.  Maybe that’s just me, though.

Anyway, Leah was so happy with her meal (which I’d rounded out with apples, pringles, a little brownie, and a juice box)

that she expressed her appreciation by rewarding me with the sticker from her Jimmy John’s wrapper!

And we were on the road!

A 9 minute stop!  That has to be some kind of record.

But, then, the computer battery ran out. At...

Things got interesting.

Leah found some sticky glue residue and started decoarating her face.

She told me I could put these on here :)

We looked out the window at ridges.

Maggie started crying because she dropped her doll.

We looked out the window at streams that had over flowed with water.

Gracie started laughing because she made Maggie cry by poking her with her foot (Help me, Jesus!).

They were starting to turn on us!

But, then, about 20 minutes from our destination, we stopped here.

My favorite Caribou ever!

I mean, look at the inside of this place!

I ran in (by myself) for drink/mommy fuel to make it the rest of the way.

Aaron drove on as the girls may or may not have been starting to emotionally fall apart.

Ahhhhhh, yes, we made it!

In 4 hours and 13 minutes.