Friday, May 17, 2013

Honey Lime Chicken

Man, this nice weather has got me in the mood for grilling.  How about you?  I love how fast you can throw together an amazing tasting meal with the help of the grill.  This is one of my go-to recipes during the grilling time of the year.  My family loves it, and the chicken comes out moist and flavorful every time.

Honey Lime Chicken
Printable Version

6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
2 tsp. vegetable oil
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. chili powder
1/2 tsp. onion powder
1 tsp. kosher salt
1 tsp. cumin
1 lime
1/2 c. honey
chopped cilantro for garnish, if desired.

Preheat grill to medium-high heat.  Mix together in a small bowl: garlic powder, chili powder, onion powder, kosher salt, and cumin.  Zest the lime and add it to the mix.  Trim excess fat off chicken breasts.  Drizzle vegetable oil over the chicken and rub it in with your hands.  Rub the mixed spices into the chicken breasts.  Grill for 3-5 minutes on each side.

While chicken is grilling, warm honey in the microwave for 15-20 seconds.  Remove from microwave and juice the lime into the honey and whisk to combine.  Reserve 2 tablespoons of this glaze and set aside.  Brush the rest of the glaze onto the chicken in the final moments of grilling.  Remove chicken from the grill and drizzle reserved tablespoons of glaze over the chicken.  Garnish with chopped cilantro if desired.

Recipe adapted from Spicy Honey Chicken recipe from Our Best Bites

Saturday, February 23, 2013


Well, she's here!  The newest, most cuddly, good-smelling, and sweet member of our family, A!

Alright, well she actually arrived here three months ago, but then we had the holidays and then we moved, and then the stress finally hit me in the form of some bad baby blues, so I am just now getting around to posting about our lovely little girl.  Be patient with me, friends.

Warning:  The following is excessively detailed and maybe a tiny bit graphic, but I want to record the details before I forget them.

First off, the answers to the usual questions:

What were her stats?  She was 18 inches long, and her recorded weight was 7 lbs. 15 oz. which would have made her my biggest baby yet, but we found out later they weighed her wrong.  Yep.  The following evening in the nursery she weighed in at only around 5 lbs. 15 oz.  Since she was otherwise perfectly healthy and eating well and had NO reason to have lost that much weight that quickly (as well as the fact that everyone was thinking she seemed awfully small to be nearly 8 lbs.), our pediatrician figured out that there must have been a mistake in weighing her.  I think the nurse that weighed her may have been a student nurse and maybe didn't know how to work the scale right, who knows.  We aren't too bugged about it, but we just have to guess at her actual weight which we think was somewhere around 6 lbs.

How did everything go?  Really well, but really fast!  I have gone early with all my kids now (hallelujah!), so it wasn't a huge surprise when I went into labor six days early, but it progressed really quickly, which wasn't so expected.  We got to the hospital around 12:30 a.m. and they checked me in and my nurse hooked me up to the monitors and stuff, then she disappeared, promising to come back and check me in an hour to see if I was really and truly in labor and if I was going to get to stay at the hospital or be sent home to wait.  I know that's standard procedure, but really?  This wasn't my first rodeo or anything.  It's not like these were little contractions--they were the real deal, squeeze-the-blood-out-of-your-husband's-hand type.  It's probably because I said my pain level was a 7.  I should have listened to Brian Regan ("Say eight!  Say eight!"). 

Anyway, about fifteen minutes later the contractions were getting really, really bad, like dig-your-nails-into-your-husbands-hand type, and the nurse came back because the monitor that was supposed to be registering my contractions wasn't working.  I don't think it ever really worked the whole time I was in labor.  I mentioned to the nurse that the contractions were getting really intense, but she just said she would be back in 45 minutes to check me. 

After the longest, most painful 45 minutes of my life she came back and checked me, to find me dilated to a five and my water about to break.  So they called the doctor and the anesthesiologist because I'm one of those girls that doesn't care about proving she's a woman by going natural--bring on the epidural, baby!  About one minute later my water broke, and the nurses started to bustle around pretty darn fast, like they knew things were going to start happening soon.  The anesthesiologist arrived shortly thereafter and said he wasn't sure if there was time to get the epidural working before I delivered, but did I want him to still try (absolutely!)?  He was just cleaning my back in preparation, when I felt that urge to push I had heard about but never really understood until then.  I announced my need to push calmly (o.k., I might have screamed it), to the nurse who then hurried over to catch the baby, and the anesthesiologist quietly packed up and left, having not had time to save me from experiencing natural labor in all its glory.  About one and a half pushes during that one contraction and our little girl was out!  My doctor was on the elevator at the time and managed to arrive just in time to sew me up since I tore a little.  Once all was said and done, I went from being dilated to a five to delivering my baby in ten minutes.  Yikes, and ouch!

What is she like?  She is absolutely, seriously and without bias the best baby I could have asked for.  She is so sweet, and chill, and smiley!  She has been a great sleeper from the beginning, although she grunted and made so much noise in her sleep when she was brand new that we couldn't have her in our room.  The boys all love her so much, they can hardly leave her alone, even to sleep.
Here's C, "reading" to baby sister.

J holding her for the first time. 

Daddy holding his baby girl. 
I am so grateful that everything went so well, and that I have these three beautiful children in my life.  I make so many mistakes as a parent, but they love me in spite of it all, and we are figuring out this whole thing together.  Here's to being a family of five!

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Conference Coffee Cake

For those of you who don't know, this weekend The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints holds its semi-annual General Conference.  It is held twice a year on the first weekend of April and October, and for many of us who belong to this church, it has become something like a twice-a-year holiday with its own traditions surrounding it.  And my family being a food loving sort of family, these traditions are usually centered around food.  For example, on Saturday evening during conference, the men 12 and older go to a meeting while the women of my family get together for pizza and to talk each others' ears off.  My husband and his brothers always go to this meeting with their dad, and afterwards they have root beer floats.  My very most especially favorite food-centered conference tradition, though, is this coffee cake. 
Every year my mom makes this for Sunday morning breakfast and everyone pieces on it the rest of the day until we barely have room for Sunday dinner that afternoon.  Yes, it is worth spoiling your dinner for.  And yes, I do see the humor in the fact that we're Mormons eating something with the word "coffee" in it while we listen to our church leaders.  Have no fear, this doesn't contain any coffee, but I'm sure if you are of the coffee-drinking sort it would go great with that beverage.  I prefer mine with a big, cold glass of milk.
Conference Coffee Cake
For the cake:
1/2 c. oil
2 eggs
1 c. milk
1 tsp. salt
3 c. flour
1 1/2 c. sugar
4 tsp. baking powder
For the topping*:
1 c. brown sugar
4 Tbsp. flour
4 tsp. cinnamon
4 T. melted butter
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.  Mix oil, eggs, and milk together in a medium bowl until combined.  Add salt, flour, sugar, and baking powder, and stir until just combined.  In a separate bowl, mix topping ingredients together.  Gently stir half of the topping mixture into the cake batter, just mixing until it has a slightly marbled appearance.  Pour batter into a greased 9x13" pan and sprinkle with remaining topping mixture.  Bake at 375 for 30-35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
*If desired, you can cut the topping recipe in half and skip the part where you marble half of it into the cake batter and just sprinkle it all on top.  I highly recommend the version above, though.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Coming this Fall...

This may be old news to some of you, but it's high time that I announce this formally on my blog.  (Cue the movie preview man voice:)  Coming this fall to a Where It's Green family near you...a baby unlike any other to come to this family...

That's right, this fall we're expecting baby #3 and it's going to be a girl!  Special thanks to J for doing the artwork on this.  In case you can't tell, that's me on the left holding baby girl's hand.  And even though it looks like I have a huge bum, I'm actually wearing a dress in this picture.  I think.

Now, I've got to be honest with you guys.  I'm super excited about having a girl, but I'm also a bit nervous.  After living in all-boy world for the past nearly-five-years, I'm not really sure what to do with a girl.  And our playroom is already pretty darn packed with toys for boys.  I'm hoping she really likes tools and cars and superheroes.  Now to answer the usual questions:

I'm due toward the beginning of November.

I'm feeling fine, though I was definitely sicker toward the beginning with this one.

J is so excited to have a new baby in the family, especially a baby sister.  C is just confused why I can't just take the baby out of my tummy right now and show her to him.  And he thinks he has a baby in his tummy too.

Peter is excited too.  And a little nervous since he knows even less about baby girls than I do.

I will post some pregnancy pictures as soon as I actually start to look pregnant and not just awkward.  You see, I carry all my babies really low.  So low that I never get that cute little pregnant bump thing going on--I just sort of get thicker somewhere around my waist area.  Oh, how I envy the cute pregnant bump, but I'll take what I can get.  It's a very small price to pay for a healthy baby.

We are so excited!

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Lindsay's Amazing Chocolate Cake

I can't take credit for this dessert.  This comes to me by way of my fantastic sister-in-law, Lindsay.  It.  Is.  Delicious.  We all drool over it whenever she brings it to family get-togethers.  The recipe was created by her dad who played around with different versions of chocolate cakes and came up with about seven different ones.  This one is really called "Denise's favorite cake," and it may very well be my favorite chocolate cake I've ever eaten.  It is dark and moist without being one of those that you have to down a gallon of milk just to swallow (although a glass of milk does go very well with it).  It is also nice and easy since you start with a basic devil's food cake mix which you then doctor up with ingredients you probably have on hand.  If you're looking for an idea for a dessert to finish off your Valentine's dinner, this is the cake for you.

Lindsay's Amazing Chocolate Cake (aka Denise's Favorite Cake)

1 box Devil's Food cake mix (I use Duncan Hines)
3.9 oz. box instant chocolate pudding
2 cups sour cream
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, melted
5 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups semi sweet chocolate chips (mini ones work best, but I use regular sized ones all the time with still great results)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Mix first 6 ingredients together (all but the chocolate chips) in a stand mixer* on low speed for 1 minute.  Increase speed to medium and mix for 2 minutes more.  Fold in chocolate chips.  Pour batter into a greased bundt pan and bake for 60-65 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in cake comes out with only a few crumbs on it.  Cool on a cooling rack for 20 minutes, then remove cake from pan and allow to cool for 20 minutes more.  Frost with chocolate icing (recipe below).

*I do not recommend using a hand mixer for this cake.  I tried it once and burned out the motor on mine.

Chocolate Icing
1 cup granulated sugar
5 tablespoons butter
1/3 cup whole milk
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Heat sugar, butter, and milk in a saucepan over medium-high heat until mixture comes to a boil, stirring constantly.  Boil one more minute or until sugar is dissolved, stirring constantly.  Remove from heat.
Add semisweet chocolate chips and stir until the mixture is smooth and the chocolate has melted.  Spread or drizzle icing over cake.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Who's Afraid of Chocolate Chili?

I've gotta be honest--chili recipes with chocolate in them used to make me nervous.  Then I read this in my Our Best Bites cookbook:  "Don't be scared of chocolate in a chili recipe; it just add richness and depth in a very short amount of cooking time."  So I tried adding cocoa to a chili recipe I was working on, and I tell you what, I'm sold.  I think this chili would be fantastic on top of tortilla chips, taco salad style, but I loved just a big bowl full of it with a little cheese, sour cream, and green onions on top.  It had just the slightest bit of heat to it which was perfect for me since I'm pretty wimpy when it comes to spice, but you could add more heat if you wanted to by adding another tablespoon of chili powder.

Chocolate Chili

1-2 tablespoons olive oil
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 large onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 lb. hamburger
1 16 oz. can whole tomatoes (I used half a quart of home bottled tomatoes)
1 8 oz. can tomato sauce
2 tablespoons chili powder
2 teaspoons cocoa powder (unsweetened)
2 teaspoons salt
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

1 can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
Optional ingredients:
Sour cream
Cheddar cheese, grated
chopped green onions

Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat.  Saute onion, bell pepper, garlic, and hamburger until the meat is cooked through.  Add remaining ingredients and bring to a simmer.  Reduce heat and continue to simmer for 1 hour.  Serve topped with sour cream, shredded cheddar cheese, and green onions if desired.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Homemade Hot Cocoa Mix

This would be a lot more timely if it felt a little more like winter around here, but I like hot cocoa year round, snow or no snow.  Now I don't know about all of you, but I often find store-bought hot cocoa mixes disappointing.  I usually get my mouth all set for warm, thick, chocolaty goodness and instead end up with a mouthful of something watery and chocolate-ish.  The solution:  make your own, and I think this recipe is just right for it.  For me it's just the right amount of chocolate, but you could certainly doctor it up to your liking using more or less chocolate or dark cocoa powder.  You could even play with the flavor of coffee creamer you use.  I'm drooling over the idea of using amaretto flavored creamer instead of vanilla. 

Be careful to use a good-quality chocolate bar (not baking chocolate, btw) or it won't melt as nicely as it should.  It would be great to put in jars and give away as gifts.  This makes about 3 1/2 cups of mix.

Hot Cocoa Mix


1 cup cocoa powder (not cocoa drink mix)

2 cups sugar

1/2 cup vanilla flavored coffee creamer (the powder kind)

1 4-oz good-quality chocolate bar


Finely chop the chocolate bar.  Combine all ingredients and stir together until well mixed.  To make one serving of hot cocoa, heat 1 cup (8 fl oz) milk to almost boiling.  Add three tablespoons of mix.  Whisk or stir thoroughly until chocolate bits are melted.