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dining in

I love eating out. Love the idea of making sure everyone is cleaned up and piling in the car for someone else to cook us a meal, for everyone to get what they want without me cooking 3 versions of that meal, and for said nice strangers to clean up after wards.  Then I love coming home, satisfied, to a clean kitchen.  Isn’t that a fun feeling?

Don’t get me wrong.  Love love love cooking and baking as well. But sometimes it’s just nice to go to restaurant and have it all taken care of.  It’s interesting – because one of my least favorite things is people cooking in my kitchen (other than you, mom).   And going to other peoples houses for dinner scares me a little (family of picky eaters).  But restaurants provide that satisfaction of having a menu of options to meet your mood, selecting your favorite meal, done the same way each time, with a nice person to give it to you and clean up afterwards who either 1. wont’ judge you overtly for your somewhat ill-behaved children (smart if he/she wants a good tip) or 2. will overtly judge you and will save you money on a good tip – either way – you’re going home and don’t need to face them again soon.

There are some nights when the restaurant outing isn’t possible – but you still crave that delish dish… I often find myself trolling through blogs and sites to find the recipes for some of our favorites. One of my favorites is copykatchat

I love pasta.  There is an amazing Italian Restaurant downtown; Zeffirellis that serves an amazing Penne Michelangelo.  A couple of weeks ago, when my partner in crime was away for a few days and I was alone with the kids – I was craving that divine pasta – and some wine.  So I created my own copy cat version – it was pretty fantastic, to copy this you’ll need:

-penne pasta, 1 chicken breast, fresh or canned peas, sun dried tomato, chicken stock, white wine, garlic, parmesan cheese, butter: about 20 min total cooking time

  • boil penne pasta to al dente (10 min)
  • cut chicken up into bite sized pieces, put a TBSP of butter in a pan and fry up 1 clove of minced garlic – add chicken and cook – browning slightly (about 4 min)
  • add 3 TBSP of white wine and sun dried tomatoes, simmmr for 2 mins then add 1 cup chicken stock – leave it to simmer for 5 min
  • add freshly grated parm cheese and throw in the peas last minute -pour drained pasta into the pan with the sauce.  toss it – serve with a little extra cheese on tip. YUMmichaelangelo

We are also frequent fliers at a place that serves amazing an teriyaki chicken rice bowl (can you guess where?)- this is my version, I’ve shared it with a bunch of friends and it’s a favorite:

Spicy Yogurt
1 Cup Plain yogurt (or 2/3 c Sour Cream instead)
1/4 Cup Mayo
2 tsp Powdered Ranch Dressing mix
1/4 tsp Cayenne Pepper (or more to taste)

Mix this all together and let sit for an hour (or more) before serving.
The Cayenne will get hotter as the dip sits. It keeps in the refrigerator for 5 days.

for the teriyaki chicken rice bowl ….

1/4 Cup soy sauce
1 Cup water
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp garlic powder
5 Tbsp packed brown sugar
1-2 Tbsp honey
2 Tbsp cornstarch
1/4 Cup cold water

Mix all but 1/4 C cold water & cornstarch in saucepan and begin to heat.
mix cornstarch and cold water in separate cup until it dissolves, then add to saucepan.
Heat until thick. add more water if it is too thick.

add chicken and veggies that are pre-cooked for about 2-3 min and serve over white rice (or brown if you’re a health nut). YUM again.

So? what are your favorite recipes borrowed from the restaurant greats?

brontosaurus love

Our biggest little one often starts a sentence with “now I’m a brontosaurus”.  It really makes whatever comes next a little more amusing. I might try it one day. 


He and his dad can often be found having dinosaur races around the kitchen and family room with whichever sister is willing to hop on for a wild ride that ends in laughter and sprawling limbs.  These might look like simple horsey rides – but they are actually very real dino-rides – complete with roaring and stops for munching on leaves.

brontosaurus races

This is a quick one –  just wanted to show you a fun little valentine shirt I made for our favorite dinosaur lover. I found the girls Valentines shirts very easy but boy love is harder to make and still have it look tough-ish.


dino shirt


A subtle hit of valentines day red mixed in with his favorite vegesaurus. love that kid.



organized chaos

In our house I’m famous for saying “i’m sure we have one of those… somewhere”.  I love organizing, colour coding, putting away – and having a wonderful space.  And then we both go to work, the kids wake up, we eat, play, dress, mess, and repeat … five times.  And the following weekend I finally get around to that whole organizing thing once again.  This time with the added fun of our version of hide and go seek for the item that is mysteriously missing.  Right now it’s the awesome rounded bags I found for Matthew’s valentines.  Can’t find them anywhere…

Seems a bit futile some weeks.  But I do admire those people who make an art of it.  My favorite organizational blogs:

1. Honey We’re Home: Megan has lots of great diy tips and a fun fetish for washi tape

2.Simply Organized: Samantha is real, innovative, and has great diy ideas that she shows you in great steps

Like most people we struggle daily with keeping everything organized – and celebrate the little successes like a bench and cool coat rack in the mud room or wrapping paper on a curtain rod in the craft room.  A few other organizational things that we enjoy:

1. ikea cupboards for the kids play room and my craft area – keeps (almost) everything away and in a place


2. zip lock containers for all left overs (who doesn’t do this?), and old mason jars for all my craft supplies (looks vintage – costs pennies)

3. OXO containers for all our baking/dry food storage – amazing for freshness, price, and durability

Any fun organizational tips you live by?