Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Moraccan-Style Flatbread

I have mentioned my love for Publix and I recently fell in love with their Aprons Meals. I would have never tried this recipe except for the fact that they were sampling it one day as I was doing my grocery shopping. It was DELICIOUS. Even Doug mentioned on his first bite at how great it was. I did subsitute chicken for pork here - just used some left over shredded chicken from another recipe. It was great - and I had it for lunch a couple of days too.

1 red pepper
2/3 cup + 1/3 cup cilantro (coarsely chopped)
1 pork tenderloin (about 1 lb)
3/4 cup fresh pre-diced red onions, divided
1/4 cup + 1 tablespoon canola oil
2 tablespoons paprika
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 tablespoon water
Pinch crushed red pepper (optional)
2 naan or flat breads (regular or garlic flavor)
Cooking spray
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
6 oz fat-free light Key lime yogurt

Cut one-half of red pepper into bite-size pieces (2/3 cup).
Chop cilantro.
Cut pork lengthwise, turn and slice evenly into thin strips (wash hands).


Place red peppers, 2/3 cup cilantro, 1/2 cup onions, 1/4 cup oil, paprika, cumin, garlic, tomato paste, water, and crushed red pepper into blender; blend until smooth.
Preheat large sauté pan on medium-high 2–3 minutes. Coat bread with cooking spray; cook 1 minute on each side or until golden and crispy. Repeat with remaining bread. (Or heat bread following package instructions.)
Preheat large sauté pan on medium-high 2–3 minutes. Season pork with salt and pepper then place in pan with 1 tablespoon oil; cook and stir 3–4 minutes or until thoroughly cooked.
Reduce heat to low and add sauce; cook 1–2 minutes or until warmed. Top each flatbread with pork mixture. Stir 1/4 cup onions into yogurt; spoon lightly over top of pork. Sprinkle with 1/3 cup cilantro. Cut into wedges or quarters and serve.
CALORIES (per 1/4 recipe) 530 kcal; FAT 26g; CHOL 80mg; SODIUM 710 mg; CARB 41g; FIBER 4g; PROTEIN 32g; VIT A 45%; VIT C 70%; CALC 15%; IRON 20%

Monday, August 30, 2010

Little Smock Shop Texas Style

One of our joys last week while visiting my family was spending time with my niece Flannery. She is my sister, Lauren's, daughter and soon to be big sister to a baby girl in December. She recently celebrated her birthday in Dallas, Texas - where her parents live - and we obviously were not able to celebrate with her.

One of the wonderful things about seeing her this go around is that I was able to hand deliver her birthday present to her - this sweet little simple dress with a pink cowgirl boot smocked on it. I have talked very little about my sewing projects as of late and have failed at documenting photos of the creations I have made over the last several months, so here is my attempt at doing a better job.

The kids had such a wonderful time playing with her and Douglass Charles LOVED her so much - always asking about her after each nap and when up every morning. Motherhood is always special to share with those you love and even more meaningful between sisters. I am thankful for our time together - since it may be next summer before we see each other again.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

My Big Boy!

I referred to Douglass Charles just yesterday as "the Baby." Doug graciously reminded me that he wasn't a baby anymore and obviously, by looking at these pictures, he isn't. I mean, look at his shadow in the second picture. I am about to schedule his 18 month appointment (he was 18 months old yesterday) and I am interested to find out just how tall my little guy is - not much shorter than big sister.

Anyway, it is funny how I still look at him as my baby, but he is starting to put his vast vocabulary together and he is understanding more and more - like cleaning up our toys, brushing teeth, and knowing where to go for time out. It is amazing how much they grow and change and sometimes I just have to stop and watch it because in all the busyness I seem to miss some of it.

I have so much to share and I am behind on some of my posts. I have a great recipe, a Lagniappe in the works, pictures to share from our trip and our first Chucky Cheese visit and also a new character in my line of graphics to introduce soon. So... stay tuned for a whole lot more heading your way over the next few weeks. Oh, and I have my Stock Up and Save event coming up next month that you won't want to miss - a great way to get started on that holiday shopping (I know, is it really time to start thinking about that???)

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

What We're Watching...

Thanks to Elmo and Sesame Street for introducing my children to such beautiful music. Charlotte actually prefers this version to the Elmo version - because of the "petty lady. She princess!" Can't tell you how hearing her sing along just melts my heart. Brings tears to my eyes.

We are back in the saddle again and are home. Adjusting back to real life after a good visit with some of my family. Pictures will be coming soon. :)

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Polka Dot Party Fun

So an Aussie mom contacted me earlier this summer with a request - she wanted my Polka Dot invite. Her color scheme pool and red. I must say, after finishing her adorable invitations and rsvp cards she had me hooked on this color combo, but after seeing the pictures of her daughter's party I am in awe. How cute is this party? You can learn more over at her blog at Just Call Me Martha. Thanks to Leoni for allowing me share these pictures with my readers.

The kids and I are off for a little R&R with some of my fave people - my mom, sister, two nieces and sister-in-law. Hope you have a great week!

Monday, August 16, 2010

Giving Joy

After a rough and emotional week this sweet face...

and these beautiful flowers were just a couple of the things that warmed my spirit.

Hoping these bring a little smile to your face no matter what you might be dealing with today.

Happy Monday

Friday, August 13, 2010

There's a Little Shout Out...

about The English Pea over at one of my favorite blogs - Grosgrain. Check it out and stay tuned for more. She will be offering a nice little giveaway in a couple of weeks. I will let you know so you can join in.

Happy Friday!


I finally did a little analysis on the grocery bills over the last seven months. I compared January and February bills to June and July's bills. Obviously there were several variables - like formula in January and more diapers (because Charlotte wasn't potty trained yet) and vacation and trips in June and July, but I must say I was PLEASANTLY surprised. So what were the results??? We are saving $200-$400 a month on groceries since I started clipping - WOWZERS! I am SO excited. Not only does that mean I officially do not have to shop at Walmart anymore (so thankful), but we are saving $2400-$4800 a year on our grocery bill. That is HUGE for our small budget.

This just motivates me to get better and again, I keep asking myself "Why did I wait so long to start doing this." The savings are AMAZING!!!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Party Time

Fly Fly Away Invitation

Hoe Down Invitation

Noah's Ark Invitations (great for twin birthday)

(inside the invitation)

I promised there were a few new things headed your way in the party department. I apologize for taking so long to share these with you, especially since I promised the "Hoe Down" invitation back in April. Oh well...

I must say I love all of these invitations and hope to add a few more things to my party collections - like cupcake toppers and party favor stickers. Is there something you would like to see added to a birthday party pack?

Also, I do have a question to pose to you, my loyal reader. What do you think about offering printable invitations. I have been pondering over this as I have seen other designers offer this option. My big reservation has been about the quality. If you have ever seen or ordered my stuff I am pretty particular about trying to use the best and offering the buyer the option to print their own things takes this "quality control" piece away from me.

BUT... it is much more economical for those that want to do the work to print and cut the invitations (and the rest of the party pack) themselves. So... tell me what you think. The great thing about printing it yourself is that you can print as many as you like so if you want a crazy big party you don't have to spend over $100 for 100 invitations. What do you think?

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Restless Night

Monday evening I had a truly restless night. I got a call from my boss Monday morning asking me to meet with him before our department meeting that was scheduled for this Thursday. When he said I could bring the kids (because I explained I had lost my sitter) I knew his message would most likely not be positive.

I have known for a while that things were affecting business. Thankfully, Chick-fil-A still does pretty well despite what is going on around them - I chop it up to God blessing the fruit of the labors of those who founded that company. So when my boss informed me that my position was being absolved I wasn't completely surprised.

I am officially unemployed. Being laid off has its ups, I mean, I have just been handed what I have wanted for FOREVER - to be home full time and to concentrate my creative energy on The English Pea. But what I am experiencing is a little blow to the ole ego. Oh, a good dose of humility can't hurt me, but I am amazed at how much it makes me question my ability, talents, and even my creativity. It is definitely a form of rejection and in its worst kind for this people pleaser - rejection from a superior.

Thankfully God is good and I couldn't have planned it for myself any better. The finances will work out and we will one day look back on this and smile at God's grace, mercy, and provision. And honestly, how can I be disappointed about less stress, more playdates, picnics, and creative energy to give to the two cutest kids I know. I get to go forward creating memories and truly relishing in the wonderful life I have been given.

So, for this laid off lady I am going to brush it off and venture forward living out my dream of being wife and mother - with a little creativity thrown in between.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

8 years ago...

I married my best friend. Today Doug and I celebrate our 8th wedding anniversary. It is actually hard for me to believe it has been that long.

We celebrated over the weekend with a fondue dinner and a night out away from the kids. We had a nice time - and enjoyed our little fondue experience.

I can't say enough about how much I love this man. I am one lucky girl. He is wonderful in so many ways - dedicated, loyal, good provider, man of faith, wonderful father, adventurer, supporter (both emotionally and financially), great friend, but most of all he loves me for me - faults and all.

Thank you, honey, for the last 8 years. It has been a fun and wild ride. I look forward to many more years together. I love you!

Monday, August 9, 2010

boo boo

Well we had a boo boo of a week last week with Doug going back to school. I know, cry me a river, right? I had my hubby home for 2 months. I mean, there is nothing to feel sorry for me over is there. No, there is not, but it is always a transition and we did enjoy having him around.

The week brought us some unexpected changes - like having to part ways with my wonerful sitter because of some scheduling issues (Oh, we will miss her) and a summertime cold for everyone so far but daddy. We are on the up and up and determined to have a better week. There is nothing like a little transition to develop a little character and boo boo's - whether physical or emotional - can do just that.

Had to share the picture above with you. We sport Dora Bandaids over here at our house and Charlotte busted it nicely over a week ago. She is almost healed, but still insists on a "Dandaid" as she likes to call it. On this particular day her brother was not to be outdone - he wanted one too for his itty bitty scrape so they are showing them off here. If it is any consolation - seeing as my son is wearing a Dora bandaid - I did purchase Spiderman and Shark snacks this week at Publix (since they were on sale of course). It was high time that poor kid had some more masculine things purchased for him.

Happy Monday!

Friday, August 6, 2010

New Look

So I have been thinking of updating my logo for a while now. Since I am gradually learning my new software program it is making things like updating a little easier - most of the time. I'd love to know what you think!

Happy Friday and Happy Weekend!

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Brownie Sundae Cheesecake

I fell in love with cheesecake many years ago when I taseted Michelle Gerlach's delictable concoction at her husband's restaurant Gerlach's in Atmore, Alabama. That restaurant is long time gone and with it this delicious dessert, but it was truly the best cheesecake I have ever eaten.

My young, teenage mind was not aware how easy this dessert was to make and when I attempted a Southern Living recipe for a dinner I was having for friends I was amazed at how delicious and easy it truly was.

So, if you are intimiated of making a cheesecake - don't be. Just follow the directions for this piece of heaven and enjoy. I promise, you won't be disappointed.

Brownie Crust:
Make your favorite box of brownie mix (I love Betty Crocker the best). Follow the directions on the box and pour it into a greesed spring form pan (you can easily purchase one at Walmart, Target for aroun $10.00)

Deluxe Cheesecake Recipe - from the Ultimate Southern Living Cookbook (with a few things omitted for this particular dessert)
3 8-ounce packages of cream cheese
1 cup sugar
3 large eggs
1/2 teaspoon vanialla extract

Beat cream cheese at high speed with an electric mixer until creamy (I start with my cream cheese at room temperature and then cut it in cubes before I mix it, it seems to mix more smoothly - no lumps); gradually add 1 cup sugar, beating well. Add eggs, one at a time, beateing after each addition. Stir in 1/2 teaspoon vanilla. Pour into prepared crust.

Bake at 375 degrees for 35-40 minutes or until cheesecake is set - you want to avoid cracks so don't overcook it. You will know it is set because it won't jiggle mutch or look like there is liquid in it)

Cool at room temperature on a wire rack; cover and chill 8 hours. Enjoy!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Splendid Summer

Today Doug heads back to work. I am totally in denial as I keep pushing the fact that it will be nine long months until his next break again. I have been one spoiled girl.

But we did have a splendid summer. These photos are the ones I spoke of after our 4th of July weekend with Suzie and Brad Kimmel. If you remember, Suzie is my photographer friend and I am one lucky girl to have such beautiful "every day" kind of photos of my kiddos in their normal element.

Every time I look over these pictures I will think of this summer - the fun we had as a family, our vacation, time with friends, swimming and just spending time together. These pictures help me appreciate how precious this time in my life truly is. Doug's job will eventually take more time, our summer's will be shorter, and my kids, well, they will soon be more interested in their friends and their own activities than hangin with the fam. So this summer was just, to put it simply, splendid.

So thanks to Suzie for capturing my little family - once again - in our element and allowing me to see just how special and happy this time in my life truly is.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Man's Best Friend

or in Charlotte's case - girl's best friend. This poor animal is one of my very neglected puppies. We have two - Jemison (not pictured because he hasn't liked the kids since we brought Charlotte through the door and he was replaced) and Mo (the poodle you see here) - our little protector (or tolerator).

Both of the kids have really begun to admire, love, and care about our Mo. They would Jemison too if he would give them the chance. I don't blame him as Mo normally tolerates ear pulling, patting a little on the hard side, and squeezing just a little too tightly. Thankfully he is sweet and allows the kids to love on him.

Had to capture this moment with Charlotte. It was a rare occurrence of Mo actually being somewhat relaxed while being held by her. Glad that even if they aren't getting enough lovin from me, they are getting at least a little from my two kiddos.