Monday, May 30, 2011

Fruit Pizza!!!

Summer is officially here (according to our recent weather), and that means lots of yummy, fresh fruit is here! This makes me especially happy because it means it's prime time for making my favorite summer dessert - fruit pizza. I love fruit pizza not only because it's delicious, but also because it's really easy to make...and it's really pretty when you're finished.
I made a fruit pizza last weekend for a get together with some friends and the 6 of us nearly demolished the entire thing in one sitting. So, beware this dessert won't last long - you're going to have to make sure you're ready to grab a slice for yourself before it's gone!
Without further ado, here is the delightfully simple fruit pizza recipe!

Fruit Pizza

1 roll (18 oz.) sugar cookie dough - I use the pre-made rolls of dough you can buy at the store, but you could make your own if you like
8 oz. cream cheese (softened)
8 oz. frozen whipped topping (thawed)
1/3 C sugar (optional)

Start by rolling the sugar cookie dough into a pizza shape on a cookie sheet (any shape will do, really as long as it's one big cookie). Cook dough as directed. You may need to add a few minutes to the cooking time since it's one large cookie. Once baked, let the cookie cool completely.

In a small bowl mix softened cream cheese, thawed whipped topping (I use Cool Whip), and sugar.

Spread mixture over cooled cookie.

Top with your favorite fruit.

You can serve the fruit pizza right away or put it in the refrigerator if you plan on serving it later.
Enjoy the "fruits" of your labor. *sigh* I love a good pun :)

PS - If you have any extra topping left over you can dip the extra fruit in it and enjoy it that way!

Friday, May 27, 2011

7 Quick Takes Friday (Vol. 16)

7 quick takes sm1 7 Quick Takes Friday (vol. 128)

1) I ate raspberries for the first time - ever in my life - this week. I'm not sure how I made it this far in life without ever eating an actual raspberry, but I think it has something to do with my aversion to ALL berries as a kid...and teenager...and young adult (for a time). Needless to say, the raspberries were delicious.

2) I made my first fruit pizza of the season last weekend. It's one of my favorite summer desserts. I meant to post the recipe earlier this week, but the week got away with me (aka - I didn't get a chance to upload the pictures from my camera). You can expect the recipe to be posted soon! 

3) The thought of having a baby in my arms in just a few weeks (4-8 weeks theoretically) is a little surreal. I feel him kicking around and moving inside me, and we've been planning for his arrival for months now. His room is basically ready, and I'm pretty sure we have everything we'll need for when he comes home. But, I still have a hard time imagining us with a baby at home. I guess it's one of those things that you just don't know what it's going to be like until you experience it. Needless to say, we're still very excited and can't wait for his arrival!

4) I stocked up on tons of essentials for Will and me this week. A friend suggested I do this so it'll be one less thing to worry about once the baby arrives. I've been keeping a running list of everything we don't already have a good stash of - particularly bathroom stuff - for several weeks now. I finally made my way to Target to officially stock up before the baby arrives. I'm pretty sure we have enough shampoo, conditioner, razors, soap, toilet paper, paper towels, laundry detergent, etc for the next 6 months at least. 

5) Is it just me or is anyone else bummed to hear that NBC is cancelling "The Event"? Will and I started watching the show this past fall and I've really gotten into it. I find the show intriguing, but not overly gory (Will tends to like shows with a lot of violence/gore). I hope another network picks the show up, but I'm not counting on it.

6) I'm looking forward to a long weekend with my husband. We've got a couple BBQ's we're going to this weekend, and I think we're also going to try to go see a movie. We're not sure which one yet, but we haven't been to the movies in forever and I bought 2 tickets on Living Social that we need to use by June 4 :) If you've seen any movies lately that you would suggest we go see please let me know. 

7) My favorite Facebook post of the week goes to my sister, Alyse. She's just a few days away from coming home from Spain. I'm not 100% sure what this status says, but I think it's something about her heart and not wanting to leave Spain?? Anywho, I'm excited she'll be home even though I won't see her for another couple months.
"me duele el corazón, no quiero salir de España!"

I hope everyone has a wonderful Memorial Day weekend!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Why Pregnancy Rocks - Part 2

I have more reasons to add to my list of why pregnancy rocks, so I decided to make a second post for them. I'm trying to stay positive even when my back hurts - that's my main complaint these days. I just wish I could sit for any period of time without my back hurting. Alas, if that's all I have to complain about then I think I'm doing pretty good.
Some of the items on this list I thought of shortly after I posted my last post about why pregnancy rocks, but for whatever reason didn't add them. Other items I have thought of or experienced recently.

Why Pregnancy Rocks - Part 2

- Pregnancy means taking part in the creation of another human being. Another soulHow awesome is that? What a blessing it is to be able to join God in the creation of another life!

- Being pregnant means I was able to get pregnant. Many couples struggle with infertility, so the simple fact that I can get pregnant is something to be joyful about. I try to remember all those women who have struggled or are struggling with infertility when I feel like complaining about something pregnancy related and offer up my pain or discomfort for them (although I don't always succeed in doing this - my selfishness often gets in the way).

- People seem to be extra kind to pregnant women. I've had people offer me their seats on the metro, and this past weekend I had no less than 4 offers for a ticket for a seat at a graduation I went to (there was limited seating). Many people have offered to help me carry bags or anything slightly bulky, and they've been accommodating when I've asked for help. I had to do this when buying a tv stand at Target - one of the workers helped me both load the tv stand in my cart and get it into my car. If only everyone was this kind to all strangers all the time! Can you imagine what a wonderful, inviting place this world would be?

- Being pregnant means you have a deadline, and this is a good thing. I've gotten so much accomplished since I've been pregnant. So many unfinished projects have been finished. And so many other projects that need to be completed have been properly noted and added to my to-do list. I love that I get to make so many lists and that I've gotten to check off so many of the items on these lists.

- You get to keep people in suspense. Not that Will and I have done this - we've already told both the sex of our baby and his name. But you can withhold such information if you so desire (some people withhold this information longer than others). I guess that could be kind of fun, but we've enjoyed sharing the news early!

Is there anything about pregnancy that you particularly enjoyed? I'd love to hear from you!

Friday, May 20, 2011

7 Quick Takes Friday (Vol. 15)

7 quick takes sm1 7 Quick Takes Friday (vol. 127)

1) Why is batter (of any kind) so delicious? It's especially hard to avoid eating it when you're pregnant. Sometimes all I want is a little cookie batter or to lick the spoon after making pancakes. Alas...this is my life for at least 5 more weeks (or so).

2) It's been pretty rainy and overcast all week. So, while I've enjoyed the reasonable temperatures that have come along with this weather - upper 60's low 70's - I can't wait for a few sunny days in a row. And I especially can't wait for swimming/pool season. I love sitting by the pool on a nice sunny day, and I'm only going to have the first half(ish) of summer to do this, so bring on the sun! It can rain all it wants once I'm stuck inside and sleep deprived with the baby.

3) I finally got the bassinet put together. So, the only thing left that has to get done before the baby arrives is installing the car seat, and I've delegated that to my husband. I'm pretty sure we've covered all the other essentials (diapers, wipes, clothes, etc), but you know I continue looking at lists and creating my own lists of things I've missed. I just know we're going to get home from the hospital and have forgotten something important. I'm not sure what that important thing is, but I'm sure we're going to miss it. Here's to being type-A and making comprehensive lists so that sort of thing doesn't happen!

4) Was anyone else a little disappointed with the season finale of The Office last night? I mean, I understand why they made the entire episode a series of interviews. But it got a little old, and some of the characters were just weird. I can't even decide who I want to be manager. The practical side of me wants Darryl or really Jim (but I guess he's not in the running). For some reason I think Darryl would make a good manager. But, would that make for a boring show? Kelly just annoyed me last night. Andy was quirky as usual, and I think he would make a hilarious boss for the show, but then again...maybe not. If he becomes boss, then nothing can happen between him and Erin - right? Or maybe that would be a plot twist. *sigh* There were just so many options and I have no idea who they're going to choose. I hate not knowing, but I guess that was the point.

5) I'm thisclose to hiring someone to maintain our yard. I still feel like we should do it ourselves to save money, but I'm just so uninspired. Those darn weeds just won't go away and my tulips only lasted a couple weeks. Seeing those poor tulips die so soon is what really made me disgruntled about maintaining the flower beds. I put so much work into weeding, preparing the soil and planting those darn things - and they didn't even last very long!!! And my husband doesn't have time to work in the flower beds unless I don't want to see him at all on the weekends (maybe that isn't true, but that's how it feels). I'm going to give it another few weeks, but if I haven't changed my mind (and actually gone out there to do some significant work) by the time the baby arrives I'm pretty sure we'll be hiring someone to take over our yard.

6) I'm going to make a fruit pizza this weekend! I can't wait! Fruit pizza is one of my favorite summer desserts and I can't wait to make one. Now that I think about it, I don't think I've ever even made one for my husband. This will be his first one which makes this even more exciting!!! I'll be sure to post the recipe in the near future.

7) I had a hard time choosing my favorite Facebook quote of the week. I couldn't decide whether to go with a reference from "The Office" or with a reference to the impending "Judgement Day." I ultimately decided to go with the latter. So, my favorite Facebook quote of the week goes to Caitlin.

"Eternal Earth-Bound Pets, USA, a business run by atheists which for $135 will take care of your dog or cat if you're among those believers who are whisked away on Saturday." LOL!
An evangelical radio broadcaster who has said before that Judgment Day was coming, has predicted that this time it really will happen on May 21. Care to pay someone to take care of your pet in case you're swept up to heaven? You can.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Caramelized Roasted Vegetables

During lent Will and I and some friends got together for dinner and prayer/reflection each Saturday. Each week we would bring food to share. One week it was our turn to bring a vegetable. I found this recipe in "From Our House to Yours: Comfort Food to Give and Share." It looked delicious, so I decided to give it a try. The list of vegetables they suggest is optional - you can use whatever vegetables you want, but I went mostly with the list (I only skipped the fennel) so I wouldn't have to think too much (am I getting too many veggies? too few? etc).
I also loved this recipe because it has so few ingredients - other than the variety of vegetables - which made preparing this dish a cinch.
One other thing to note, I would prepare the eggplant first so it has time to drain. I didn't pay attention to the directions fully and didn't have time to let the eggplant sit for 30 mins. But if you cut it up first and set it aside it can be draining while you're preparing all the other vegetables.

Caramelized Roasted Vegetables
1 sweet potato, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch-thick slices
1 unpeeled russet potato, cut into 1/2-inch-thick slices
2 green zucchini, cut into 3/4-inch-thick slices
2 yellow zucchini or summer squash, cut into 3/4-inch-thick slices
1 eggplant, cubed, salted, allowed to drain for 30 minutes in a colander, and patted dry
1 head garlic, broken into unpeeled cloves
2 yellow onions, cut into 9 wedges each
1 fennel bulb, trimmed and sliced into wedges
1 or more red bell peppers, seeded and cut lengthwise into 1/2-inch-wide strips
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
2 fresh sprigs, or 1 tablespoon dried rosemary

1) Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Arrange all the vegetables in 3 or more large roasting pans, drizzle with the olive oil, and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Using your hands, toss the vegetables so that all of them are evenly coated. Break up 1 of the rosemary sprigs and distribute it over the vegetables, or sprinkle the dried rosemary over them.

2) Roast until the vegetables are brown and tender, turning them once or twice to avoid sticking, about 1 hour. Transfer to a large platter and serve warm, with a sprig of rosemary on top.

The picture in my cookbook shows the vegetables in a glass dish. I used 2 large cake pans and 1 large, glass casserole dish to cook in. The vegetables didn't stick to the cake pans at all, but they did stick to the glass dish and all the vegetables were equally delicious. So, if you can avoid using glass to cook in it will make you're life a little simpler when it comes to clean up.
I realize this picture doesn't make the vegetables look all that appetizing, but trust me they were delicious!

Saturday, May 14, 2011

7 Quick Takes Friday...err... Saturday! (Vol. 14)

7 quick takes sm1 7 Quick Takes Friday (vol. 126)

Before I jump into my 7 quick takes I would just like to say this is only late because Blogger was down all of Thursday evening through most of Friday. I even had this thing written ahead of time (minus the pictures being inserted)! 
Also, I decided to deviate from how I normally do my 7 quick takes and go with a theme this time since much of my week has been filled with getting the closet organizer in the nursery installed. So, without further ado I present to you:

The 7 Steps of Installing a Closet Ogranizer

Step 1: Get excited. You've just bought a beautiful new closet organizer that's going to make your life so easy - and organized! 

Step 2: Brace yourself. You actually have to install this thing, but before you can do that you must first remove the old shelf + clothing rod. Be sure you rip off some paint and drywall in this process - remember you're always looking for opportunities to give yourself more work.

Step 3: Open the box and begin to read the directions. After reading steps 1 and 2 you can take a break because you just realized that you need a 1/2" drill bit and a step stool. And by "take a break" I mean put off installing the closet organizer for a couple weeks. During this brief hiatus you can also ponder where the studs are and how this is going to impact the installation process. Go to your local hardware store and purchase said items.

Step 4: Now that you have all your stuff in order, begin the installation process. When you get stuck trying to get the toggle bolts through the 1/2" holes you just drilled take another 2 day break to ponder how you're going to overcome this hurdle.
1/2" holes that toggle bolts wouldn't fit through
Step 5: Don't fee like an idiot. The directions didn't tell you the hole would need to be slightly larger than 1/2". Expand drilled holes as necessary to accommodate the toggle bolts then finish installing the closet organizer.
The horizontal and vertical tracks on the right
side of the closet have been installed.
The (almost) completed project.
All that's left to do is have my husband finish screwing in
this bolt and fill those extra holes I drilled. Oh yea - and fix
the paint/drywall.
Step 6: Admire the work you've just done, and start planning your next shopping spree. You know, the one for the cute baskets that will go on the shelves you just installed in order to complete this organization endeavor. Don't forget to prepare your husband for this upcoming shopping expense :)

Step 7: Celebrate all your hard work and do-it-yourself skillz by making yourself a delicious smoothie.


Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Clare's Baptism Weekend

My mom came up this past weekend for my baby shower and I was able to download all the pictures she took the previous weekend from the baptism. She had some really cute pictures from the weekend so I thought I would share a few.
Apparently before Will and I arrived in Chicago my nephew crawled in the dryer...
...and decided to pose for my mom and dad. He's such a ham!
My mom, Julia and my niece are all ready for mass and the baptism.
Clare seems pretty content with her other grandma right before her baptism.
This is me with Adam before the baptism. He was still relatively calm at this point.
Adam is losing focus. Ok, he lost focus long ago while we were still in the pews, but this is the picture I have of him squirming to get out of his dad's arms so he can go run around.
But his squirming lands him in Uncle Will's arms for a bit.
Don't be fooled. He squirms for Uncle Will, too.
In the meantime my sister and I check out Clare's baptism candle.
Group shot after the baptism. Notice where Adam's attention is focused.
Adam with Grandpa. He really likes lights.
Julia and me with Clare.
Adam and Uncle Will get along great.
This would have been a really cute picture if it had Julia's entire face :)
Nanna and Grandpa with grandkids.

Friday, May 6, 2011

7 Quick Takes Friday (Vol. 13)

7 quick takes sm1 7 Quick Takes Friday (vol. 125)

1) My neice/goddaughter's baptism last weekend was great. She was so cute and hardly fussed the entire time! Her brother, on the other hand....well...let's just say he now has a record for crying through baptisms :)

2) I'm less nervous about giving birth now that I've seen and held my neice (she was only 2 weeks old at her baptism). My recent experience with babies has been of babies anywhere from 2 months to 2 years(ish). And their heads...well...they're just so large! But little Clare's head was nice and small and made me think "yea - I can manage that."
You lookin' at me?
Do you have a question, Clare?

3) This week has been a little bit like Christmas. My Pampered Chef order came in. Our stroller for the baby came in. We got the cutest shoes for baby Rayel in the mail (but we have no clue who sent them). And my baby shower is this weekend. Woohoo for fun new toys and cute baby stuff!

4) I'm starting to get into couponing. It's awesome how much money you can save. The only tricky part is making sure you only buy stuff you're going to use and have a place to put the stuff you buy. My freezer is currently stuffed to the max. Two or three kids from now I'm sure we'll have to invest in another freezer to supplement the one in the kitchen. And maybe have some extra shelves in the basement to hold our "stock" of food :)

5) I've been slacking on my blogging lately. I actually have two recipes that I've made and taken pictures of, but I just haven't gotten around to posting them. In fact, one of them I've been meaning to post for several weeks now and just haven't. Hopefully I'll get to at least one of them next week.

6) Even though baby Rayel isn't in my arms yet my life already seems to revolve around him. I'm already at that point in pregnancy where I see the doctor every two weeks and getting the nursery together seems to get more and more pressing with each day that passes. I realize it's still at least 6 weeks until he arrives, but that just doesn't seem like a very long time to get everything in order for his arrival. The next big hump I need to get over is installing the closet organizer (and no, that's not something my husband is really up for - I'm the handy one around here). Until that's done I don't feel like I can organize anything in his room. The fact that I'm a bit of a perfectionist and want to make sure I do it just right so that it holds everything he needs and doesn't come crashing down from too much weight also seems to be slowing down this process.

7) My favorite Facebook quote of the week goes to my friend, Nicole. She works for DC public schools and I think this status gives you a sense of what life is like on a daily basis in the DC public school system.
"There was actually toilet paper, paper towels AND soap in the bathroom this morning. I think it is the first time since winter break we have had all 3 at the same time. Maybe that means this is going to be a good day."