Tag Archives: Chipotle

He’s Baaaaaack…..


As the More is More Mom®, I’m all about……having more of a full house! In the eight weeks since we’ve dropped Nick off at college, Chuck, Amanda, Wrigley and I have settled into a new, if not quieter, routine; all of which went by the wayside this past week when Nick was home for fall break.

 

While Amanda and I were out stocking up on orange juice (we haven’t consumed a single drop since Nick’s been at school), cookies and snacks, Chuck zipped out to rendezvous with Nick’s carpool home. We were all “Wrigley excited” (there’s excited, then there’s Wrigley excited; drool induced tail wagging and body wiggling) to see him. When he stepped through the door he looked taller, more mature and even more self assured than before he left. Not to worry. He’s still the same boy he’s always been; he kicked off his shoes, flung his baseball hat on the island where he dropped his keys, wallet, cell phone, scorecards, golf balls, tee’s, souvenir’s from the course he played in French Lick, IN, and slung his pullover, slacks and shirt (inside out) over a stool at the counter. I’ve missed my boy.

 

The race was on; squeeze in all the visiting, sleep, and normalcy that could be had in eight days time. Number one on his list was to catch up with the fellas that were also home for break and those that go to school nearby. College Town, USA is sorely lacking in civilized dining, so Nick’s first stop was Chipotle. He was in Heaven playing pick-up basketball, golfing and popping in to see his friend’s families. In fact, while visiting at Miguel’s, his mom measured Nick on the family wall, just as she has done since he was in grade school. Apparently he’s grown an inch and a half since he left for school in August (Nick was thrilled!).    

 

What a great week. We all got a little Nick time, even lunch and dinners with both sets of grandparents. The best parts though, were the time we spent just the five of us. Truly, I didn’t even mind the near fist fights between Frick and Frack at the health club over who performs the exercises better.

 

It’s funny how we slipped right back into sync; family dinners, our Modern Family marathon and snuggling Wrigley. But all good things must come to an end, at least for now. Sunday, we all piled into the car; clean laundry, golf clubs, back pack, retainer and Wrigley, headed back to school. Amanda finally got to visit campus, on a private brother/sister only tour with Nick, while Chuck and I were relegated to meandering around on our own with Wrigley. After introducing Amanda to the famous garlic burgers at Marvin’s, we squeezed Nick one last time and hit the road; homeward bound. Fortunately, Thanksgiving is just four weeks away.

 

More returning to normal, more family moments, more time with Nick……. 

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Too Much Paper Work…..


As the More is More Mom®, I am all about……more fun for the High Schooler’s! ‘Tis the season to enjoy Homecoming Festivities. I have a senior and a freshman, with two very different perspectives and priorities……

 

Amanda is a More is More kind of gal herself; opting to partake in and enjoy as many Rah-Rah school activities as humanly possible. She takes full advantage of the opportunity to ditch her school uniform on Friday’s, showing her school spirit on Spirit Day, at St. Feels Right For Her, while Nick is rarely even aware of School Pride Day at the Be All and End All Academy. I believe he has been known to wear his gym shirt, found wadded up in a ball in his locker. Such things are so low on his radar that he even forgot when the entire school was permitted an out of uniform day in honor of the Varsity Hockey Team (he’s plays Center) making it to the play offs.

Even as an 8th grader, Amanda rarely missed a St. Feels Right For Her home game (and that’s when we thought she was going to the Be All and End All Academy). She would race to the field right after gymnastics, throw on their school colors and meet her pal, Coco, to cheer and watch the game. On the other hand, I think I can count on that one hand, the number of football games that Nick has attended since freshman year. I suppose he’s just as happy golfing and playing hockey on a Friday night.

I can’t say that I am the least bit surprised about their opinions about going to the Homecoming dance. The kids have only been back to school for a few weeks, and the poor freshman have barely had a chance to meet anyone new (especially boys!). Amanda and her gal pals were at the mall doing a little window shopping over the weekend and decided to try on party dresses. As soon as she got home, she plopped down at the island and announced that she and Rosebud had decided that even though the dance was still three weeks away, rather than wait to see who might ask them from their own school, they were each going to each ask a friend from another school to accompany them to Homecoming. More power to you sistah’s! Amanda is a take charge kind of girl, master of her own fate, and texted her dear (since Kindergarten) friend’s older sister and asked if she thought that she should ask her brother. The sister responded with an, “absolutely, I think you should.” So, she did.

 

Sunday night, Amanda and Rosebud made cute poster board signs, in their school colors, which read, “Do you want to be a “Warrior” (their school mascot) for a night? Homecoming, 2010.” It was a Chinese Fire Drill; Missy, Amanda, Rosebud and I hopped in the car, ringing doorbells, carrying signs, delivering football shaped iced doughnuts to the boys to ask them to Homecoming (a total formality because it was a done deal about an hour after they had thought of the whole thing Saturday night). This is what Chuck would refer to as a Lucy and Ethel moment….

On the opposite end of the spectrum, we have Nick. I’d been asking him for weeks if he and his darling girlfriend (Amanda LOVES her, they text each other and once she took Amanda to Starbucks and Amanda was tickled pink) were going to go to Homecoming. There was the matter of the suit, and girls typically like to have enough notice so they can select a dress. I don’t think I was being too much of a nag in this instance (other instances…TOTAL NAG). First he said they weren’t going to go. Then he said they were going to go to her Homecoming, as she attends a different school. Last weekend, when I asked him to try on his suit, he said, “Didn’t I tell you that we’re not going?” “Why?” I asked. To which he replied, “Too much paper work.”

It appears that in order to attend a school function, at a school where you are not a student, you are required to file paperwork that your school must endorse. Rather than go through the hassle of all that paperwork, Nick’s girlfriend is going to take him out to dinner for his birthday instead. As a man of simple needs, when she asked where he would like to go, he responded, “I don’t know. Potbellies or Chipotle?”  

Either way you slice it, as long as the kids are having good, clean fun, what’s the difference? More time with friends, more dances, more dinners, more good times, more memories…..

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Fourth of July Celebration, Day Three; Appetizers


The very best way to kick off any bash is with cocktails and appetizers! As your guests gather and visit, it’s the perfect time to nibble and nosh. Even if I’m serving a big meal, I like to treat my guests to delicious starters. My Fourth of July celebration is no exception!

 

Cheese and Crackers

Margarita Chicken Skewers

Grilled Pizza with Bacon and Tomatoes

 

Cheese and Crackers:

 

Really now, what is there to say about preparing cheese?  I like to select a nice variety, for instance, at my 4th of July party I am serving; Chipotle Gouda (creamy and spicy!), Monteray Jack with Dill and Garlic (such fresh flavors!) and a Yellow Cheddar with Horseradish (not your everyday cheddar). For the sake of streamlining my preparations, I cube the cheese the night before and store it in none other than a Ziploc Baggie (the object of my obsession).

I believe that I mentioned a certain fabulous slate cheese board that my friend Mrs. Lilly found for me from William Sonoma…. The night before my party, I write the names of the cheeses in chalk directly onto the slate. Informational and quirky! You know how crazy I am for cracked black pepper, so I always serve my table water crackers and my Triscuit’s with a little kick!

Margarita Chicken Skewers:

Talk about a wallop of flavor, especially if you are partial to a classic little drink from South of the border….

 

 

In a large Ziploc Baggie (again with the Ziploc) combine;

1 ½ lbs skinless, boneless chicken breasts cut into 12 strips (I actually purchased chicken breast tenderloins, so I was one step ahead of the game, rather than behind the 8 ball)

1 10-ounce can frozen margarita mix, thawed (oddly enough, this can be found by the frozen oj)

2/3 cup tequila (isn’t Jose Cuervo ever bodies friend?)

½ cup fresh cilantro chopped (so good!)

2 Tbsp chicken seasoning

Squeeze the air out of the bag and marinade over night.

Prior to grilling, soak enough wooden skewers for each chicken strip in water.

 

Remove chicken from the marinade and thread each individual strip onto a skewer.

 

Pre-heat the grill to medium. Oil the grate and grill for several minutes per side.

 

Arrange the cooked chicken skewers on a lovely bed of arugula or baby spinach and serve. You can certainly choose to garnish with fresh slices of lime. Garn-y is pretty.

Grilled Pizza with Bacon and Tomatoes;

 

I did pull out the big, bad boy for this one…..my Kitchen-aid.

 

In a 2-cup liquid measuring cup stir together;

2 1/4 oz envelopes of active dry yeast

2 cups of warm water

Let stand for 5 minutes.

 

In your large mixing bowl (attached to the industrial mixer, if you are using) stir together;

Yeast mixture

3 cups of all purpose flour

1 cup whole wheat flour

2 tsp salt

2 tsp sugar

1 ½ tsp dried thyme

Option: add 1/3 cup of cheese such as parmesan or asiago, whatever you like

Add;

½ cup of olive oil

Beat at a low speed until well blended (scraping the sides of the bowl when necessary).

Stir in another 1- 2/3 cups of all purpose flour to make a good stiff dough.

 

In a lightly greased large bowl, place;

Dough

1 Tbsp olive oil

Turn to coat

Cover with a towel and let rise for about 45 minutes (or until nearly doubled in size). Punch dough down.

 

Turn dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead 4-5 times, kneading in an additional 1/3 cup of all purpose flour (who knew there was so much flour?).

 

Divide the dough in half and shape into balls.

 

Roll each ball into a 14” circle (yeah right! I actually loved the odd ball shape of my dough. It screamed homemade!).

I did this the night before. To store, I placed a piece of wax paper on a cookie sheet and placed to dough on top. I layered on an additional piece of wax paper, and placed the second rolled out dough on top of that. Then I covered the whole kit and caboodle with plastic wrap to ensure its freshness until the following day.

NOTE: This dough freezes quite nicely. Simply divide the dough into two balls prior to the kneading process. Wrap in plastic wrap and place in a freezer proof Ziploc Baggie. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator and pick up with the kneading process. The dough can be stored in the freezer for up to 3 months.

Now you should go crazy with the toppings!

For the adults, I chose;

Shredded mozzarella cheese

6 slices of bacon, cooked and chopped (typically, I have cooked bacon on hand in the fridge because I cook it 2 lbs at a time. I store it, layered with Bounty Paper Towels (No endorsement, I’m just a paper towel snob.) and keep it in a sealed container. I pull it out for salads, sandwiches and burgers.).

16 cherry tomatoes, halved, or quartered, depending on the size

Basil leaves, fresh and thinly sliced

NOTE: I prepare my toppings the night before as well. I wrap each individual topping in Bounty Paper Towels to absorb any moisture, especially from the tomatoes. Then I tuck them all safely together into a Ziploc baggie to keep them fresh. You’ve totally gotta love Costco and their bulk products (like baggies and paper towels….and everything else they carry).

Pre-heat the grill to medium heat.

 

Brush oil directly onto the pizza dough and flip over onto the grill, removing the wax paper. Grill for 8-12 minutes (you may need to rotate for even cooking). Brush oil onto the top of the pizza dough and with two spatula’s carefully flip over to the other side.

 

Add your toppings. Cook for another 8-12 minutes (you may need to rotate for even cooking). Remove from grill. Let cool, slice and serve.

 

Now I only hope you and your guests have paced yourselves and are ready for…..more tasty morsels!

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Chicken Noodle Soup is Umm, Umm Good!


As the More is More Mom® I love more of everything, including making dinner for my family. This afternoon I am heading in to the city for an Interior Design Style Event and I won’t be home for dinner. We rarely eat out. I have found that my pals are always so busy that they typically prefer to be at home (except for Nick and his new found love of Chipotle), and besides, I must admit, I am a pretty good cook. I am all about planning ahead.

I knew that this was going to be a busy week with Amanda making her Confirmation last night (and family joining us for dinner at 4 o’clock in the afternoon), hockey games, seminars, homework and work, work, so planning ahead was imperative. My people LOVE chicken noodle soup; they like it enough to eat it twice a day, so today I made a great big heaping batch of Almost Home Made Chicken Noodle Soup. It’s so easy! In fact I prepared the ingredients on Monday, and tossed it all together this afternoon and voila…….dinner! It’s a soup and sandwiches kind of night.

This recipe is a family favorite from The Food Network.

Almost Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup:

For more, double and triple up!

½ medium onion, thinly sliced

1 small carrot, thinly sliced

2 stalks celery, thinly sliced

2 sprigs of flat leaf parsley rough chopped

2 sprigs fresh thyme

6 cups chicken broth, homemade or canned

½ cup water

Kosher salt and ground black pepper (I always prefer black cracked pepper)

1/3 pound wide egg noodles

1 ¼ cups shredded (chopped) chicken meat (from about one breast). I did this in advance, chopped it up and stored it in a Zip-Loc baggie lined with Bounty paper towels (my favorite brand because it is the quicker picker upper) to absorb the moisture ensuring the meat doesn’t get slimy over night. No one likes slimy food.

In a stock pot filled with chicken broth and water, put the onion, carrots, celery, thyme, parsley (again, I prepared these ingredients in advance and sealed them in a Zip-Loc baggie lined with a Bounty paper towel over night).

Bring to a simmer over medium high heat until the veggies are tender, which should take -5-10 minutes.

Add the noodles and cook until tender for another 5-8 minutes.

Add the chicken, warm through and add salt and pepper to taste.

Serve with crackers or warm bread for a hearty and delicious treat!

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