Grilled Lemon Chicken & Zucchini Skewers

It’s finally warm outside!!! Thank God. Now it’s time to GRILL.

I saw this recipe on Pinterest and thought it looked pretty amazing. So, we changed it up based on what we had on hand, and it turned out really well!

The perfect late spring / early summer meal.

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French fries on the side were perfect. I added a touch of vinegar alongside the normal olive oil that I use to bake the fries and they were so crispy and awesome!! Totally my new go-to way of baking fries.

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Ingredients:

  • 3 chicken breasts
  • 1 1/2 zucchini, halved and cut into 1/2″ pieces
  • 3 lemons, sliced thinly
  • 1/2 onion, cut into 1″ pieces
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 tbsp minced garlic
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 1 tsp oregano

Instructions:

  1. Cut chicken into 1 to 1 1/2″ pieces.
  2. Combine olive oil, minced garlic, salt, pepper, and oregano in a medium bowl. Coat chicken with mixture.
  3. Spray skewers with nonstick cooking spray.
  4. Add chicken, onions, lemons (folded in half), and zucchini to skewers.
  5. Grill chicken for about 15 minutes until cooked through.

Bake15: Skillet Blueberry Apple Pie (Pie #11)

I am SO BEHIND on pie posts. Like, three pies behind… Including some from around Pi Day, which was over a month ago. Oops. Better late than never, right?

So I’ll be honest: I made this skillet pie so long ago that I can’t find the recipe I used, and apparently I didn’t pin it on Pinterest. But, it wasn’t the best recipe, so not a huge deal.

I absolutely LOVE the concept of skillet pie. Probably because I am slightly obsessed with my cast iron skillet. If you don’t have one, you need one. Put it on your birthday list ASAP.

The great part about this pie is that it requires one dish: your skillet. You cook the blueberries and apples in a bit of butter, add your spices (in this case, aka why the recipe was horrible, was a TABLESPOON of nutmeg. I thought I’d follow the recipe against my better judgement. Never again).

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So then you end up with this bright purple filling.

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And you literally just lay your pie crust right on top. So. Stinkin. Easy. (Even a caveman could do it!)

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Brush with a beaten egg and place cinnamon sugar on top, and it’s all ready for the oven!

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And then you end up with a super easy-to-make pie. Seriously, the crust was AMAZING on this one. It cooked went on perfectly, cooked perfectly, etc. Unfortunately, that darn nutmeg made this pie not our favorite.

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I do believe that there will be another skillet pie recipe coming, because I love the concept and want to try it again. We’ll see when we get there ;) And I have to catch up on all of the other pies first…!

The pie ratings:

The pie rating scale is a Mike-determined scale from 1 – 10, with a 5 being the “classic, homemade apple pie”, and 10 being the highest rating.

Emily: 3.5

Mike: 2 (He REALLY didn’t like the nutmeg)

Chore Chart

Awhile ago, we started a chore chart for Caleb based on a section we read in Toddler411. Toddlers can totally do chore charts, and after a few weeks (or however long you determine), the chore chart can be stopped and the hope is that the kids will still be willing to do the chore even without reward.

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For Caleb, the chore was to clean up after himself. Basically, we were getting tired of so many toys all over the place! After each row is completed on this chart, Caleb gets a new Hotwheels car. He sits on our bed and takes foreverrrr to choose a new car each time. He loves it.

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We increased the number of times he has to clean up to get a car, maxing it out at seven, so that he would get the hang of the process. Sometimes, it takes 2-3 weeks for him to clean up seven times since he is not even two yet :) But he understands the chore chart concept for the most part.

Today, he finally finished the first total chore chart after 2.5 months! It took way longer than we thought – but we thought he’d be sneaky and dump out his toys right after picking them up to get more stickers. Thankfully, this only happened once :)

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Since it took awhile and Caleb took a big interest in this chart, it was ripped down a few times and some stickers were removed – definitely time for a new one! Although this is the stopping point that Toddler411 talked about, I think we will continue with the chart since he is doing so well with it. In the future, we plan to add more tasks to the chore chart, and possibly use it for potty training.

So, here is a PDF of the chore chart that we used incase you would also like to use or share it: Chore Chart.

Bake15: Salty Pretzel and Mint Chip Chocolate Cream Pie (Pie #10)

One of my absolute favorite things to eat when I was younger (and, okay, now) was mint chocolate chip icecream… with pretzels. Dipping the salty pretzels into the sweet mint chip icecream makes for a pretty darn perfect combo. When I saw this recipe for a chocolate cream pie, I decided to use Joy the Baker’s Salty Pretzel Crust from Homemade Decadence and top the pie with her Mint Chocolate Chip “frosting”.

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I have started to realize that buttermilk pie crusts are a good thing. A really good thing. They are perfect for both sweet and savory pies, and the texture is just fantastic.

This crust from Joy the Baker’s Homemade Decadence uses salty pretzels and gets pre-baked before adding the filling.

The filling is from the original cocoa cream pie recipe that I found on forgottenwayfarms.com. It starts out very thick, gets very thin when the milk is added, and then thickens again to an almost pudding-like texture.

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I took another tip from Joy (although she didn’t write the cocoa cream pie recipe, she has a butterscotch cream pie in Homemade Decadence) and put a layer of plastic wrap touching the filling. This way, a film will not form on the filling.

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Once the crust and filling both cool, the filling can go in the crust.

Then, to get the mint chocolate chippyness, I wanted to add another layer on top. Originally, I planned to use Joy’s Mint Chocolate Chip “frosting” – I keep putting this in quotes because it is a very light and fluffy frosting with minimal sugar, almost like whipped cream – from Homemade Decadence. I thought it would be the absolute perfect topping (and still hold to that). However, I had no heavy cream. Silly me looked up a substitution that said a cup of regular milk + a tablespoon of cornstarch is a SURE substitute for heavy cream. Yeah, no. Not at all. Total fail!!! So I decided to try more of a thick layer of mint chocolate goodness, and it’s a lot on the sweet side. Totally disappointing! I am not even putting that part of the recipe on here because I don’t want you to try it.

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Next time, no substitutes.

 

The pie was still really good, though – in very, very small slices! I highly recommend this cocoa cream pie – it’s very easy, and super good. I also obviously recommend reading Homemade Decadence, since I’ve mentioned it about 21491287 times so far in this post.

The pie ratings:

The pie rating scale is a Mike-determined scale from 1 – 10, with a 5 being the “classic, homemade apple pie”, and 10 being the highest rating.

Emily: 6 – although I think this would go up quickly if I tried again with the right topping.

Mike: 6.5

Gardening Books

 

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I recently read a lot of gardening books. A LOT. And some of them were really great!

How to grow Perennial Vegetables: not totally what I was looking for. This was a very glazed-over book.

Edible Spots & Pots: My absolute favorite of the books. Every pages was worthwhile and contained a wealth of information. This seriously helped me plan out my garden well!

Gardening Lab for Kids: A wonderful read that has awesome ideas for kids of all ages. I would love to get Caleb involved with gardening, even if it’s just in growing a few seedlings or making a few garden stones! There is lots to learn and teach when it comes to gardening.

Homegrown Harvest: This is a season-by-season book that I think would be better suited for those who can do year-round gardening – which obviously doesn’t happen in New York! I also didn’t think that the book went into enough detail about actually planting anything in the garden. There were some helpful plant and harvest charts in the back of the book.

Groundbreaking Food Gardens: This was another favorite. If I had really read the synopsis, I probably wouldn’t have picked it up, but I really liked the cover (haha!). This book goes through the designs of many different gardens, and was very helpful for figuring out how to divide up my gardening land and plan everything out. There are tons (or, specifically, 73) different ideas for all types of yards.

Gardening 101: If you want to see oldschool pictures of Martha Stewart, this book is your book! It was a little broad for me, and went through gardening LOTS of items, including trees.

So, if you are looking for a good gardening read, Groundbreaking Food Gardens and Edible Spots & Pots are two that you should definitely check out!

Bake15: Blood Orange Meringue Pie (Pie #9)

I got blood oranges recently. DELICIOUS, right? And also beautiful. Probably my favorite fruit to look at – there are natural gradients!

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I figured that it might be cool to do a blood orange meringue pie – like instead of a lemon meringue pie. It sounded good! But did not end up very well.

^ This crust though? Awesome. It has pecans in it. I’d totally use that again.

I think this was the killer. A layer of raspberry jam at the bottom. It made the pie WAY too sweet for my taste.

The filling looks a little… neon… when the blood orange juice is added.

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But lightens up with sweetened condensed milk (which always sounds so good, but was probably also an additive to the mega-sweetness…) All of those little floaties at the top are bits of orange / orange zest.

Last was the meringue – which I had never made before!! It was easy and fun to make. 

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So then the recipe said to put the meringue on the filling without cooking the filling first. This was a pretty big red flag for me, but I figured that I would ACTUALLY FOLLOW THE RECIPE (for once in my life), and I regret it.

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The whole pie baked at once.

And ended up looking like this, which doesn’t look so hot in my opinion.

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But this here picture looks a little bit better!

This is the recipe from food.com.

The pie ratings:

The pie rating scale is a Mike-determined scale from 1 – 10, with a 5 being the “classic, homemade apple pie”, and 10 being the highest rating.

Mike: 4

Emily: 2

This pie was way too sweet, and I wasn’t a huge fan of the consistency. Unfortunately, not a winner.

The easiest (and cutest) toddler Valentine craft

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Valentine’s Day is just around the corner! And while I have no idea what Mike and I are doing, if anything, Caleb and I already made our Valentines. They are obviously adorable and I kind of want to keep one for myself. That would be fine, right?

Supplies:

  • Cardstock (8.5″ x 11″)
  • Marker
  • Tissue or origami paper
  • Scissors
  • Elmer’s glue

We used the full 8.5″ x 11″ paper for a few very special Valentines and also made quarter-sheet Valentines – the size is up to you! Determine your paper size, draw a heart, write “I love you to pieces”, and cut tissue or origami paper into 2″ x 1″ rectangles or smaller. Then hand it over to your kiddo for some art action!

The plan was to have Caleb dip the pieces in glue and then stick them inside the heart… but that didn’t last for so long. What he enjoyed much better (being the messy boy that he is) was putting glue all over the heart and then making the pieces “rain down” onto the heart. This also ended up working out a lot better for his *ahem* short attention span.

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Easy crafts are always the best crafts for the little guys… especially when you get to share the results with others!

Adapted from babyology.com.au.