High Five for Friday

It has been a few weeks since I’ve done a high five for Friday post, so even though it’s pretty late in the day, I didn’t want to miss out on doing one this week! I’m racing the clock to see if I can finish this post before my timer tells me that dinner is ready…so as per usual, let’s jump right in!

1. Today my guest post for Elizabeth who blogs at Elizabeth Loves went live. I wrote all about how to make an amazingly delicious and creamy pasta Alfredo, so be sure to head over to her blog, show her some love, and check out my post!

Pasta Alfredo Header

2. My baby boy turns one on Tuesday. It’s blowing my mind. I can’t believe how much he has grown and changed in the last year. But I won’t get all emotional mom on you right now…that’s for his one year post. Haha.

3. My husband, who works at Microsoft, got a free phone from work which means I am inheriting his phone. It’s a Windows phone, and I’m excited for something new and different (and with a much better camera than I have now!), but any kind of technology change always makes me really anxious. I don’t know why, but I am really resistant to technology change. I hope I like it!

4. Recently Evan has been strongly asserting his independence at meal times and pretty much insisting he feed himself everything. The other day I decided to give him a spoon and let him go at it with a small bowl of prunes…and it was hilarious. He had a blast! Sometimes the mess is totally worth the fun. In case you don’t yet follow me on Instagram, here were the results of his first time using a spoon:

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5. I have a fun new DIY craft idea that I am really excited to try! We have almost no wall art in our apartment, and I feel like it’s about time we start making more of an effort to make our apartment feel like home instead of a temporary place. I’m still hoping we get to move into a new place when our lease is up next month, but man oh man–apartment hunting in Hawaii is the worst. Fingers crossed we find a place!

In case you were wondering, I didn’t beat the dinner timer. Ha! But that’s okay. Dinner was delicious and I still finished my post, so everything I wanted to finish is still getting checked off my list.

Linking up with Lauren ElizabethFriday FavoritesConfessional Friday, Friday Blog Hop, and Oh Hey Friday!

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Portobello Mushroom Stroganoff

I wish we lived in an age where computers had smell-o-vision. Think about it…wouldn’t that be fantastic? If you need some convincing, let me help:

Portobello Mushroom Stroganoff Header

Yum, right? Don’t you wish you could smell it? Well, you can! You just have to make it yourself. No worries though–it’s a simple recipe and takes less than 30 minutes. You all should know by now that those are my favorite recipes!

Recently I’ve been trying to find more vegetarian dishes to cook because sometimes I feel like our family eats far too much meat. I stumbled across this stroganoff variation, and since I am a sucker for anything portobello mushroom I knew I had to give it a try! I adapted the recipe quite a bit (okay…a lot), but if you want to view the original recipe you can do so here.

Mushrooms close up

Ahhh they look so yummy. Okay, okay…I’ll stop teasing you. Here’s the recipe:

What You Need:
3 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon (2-3 cloves) garlic
1 medium sized onion
2 portobello mushroom caps, diced
4 medium sized crimini mushrooms, roughly chopped (optional, but delicious)
3 tablespoons flour
1 1/2 cups reduced sodium broth (veggie, beef, or chicken works fine)
1 tablespoon soy sauce
2-3 dashes Worcestershire sauce
1/2 cup sour cream
salt and pepper to taste
fresh parsley, as a garnish
8 oz egg noodles (pasta, rice, or even quinoa would be a nice variation as well)

The How To:
1. Over medium-high heat, melt the butter and saute the garlic and onions until the garlic is browned and the onions are somewhat translucent.

Onions and garlic

2. Add the portobello and the crimini mushrooms to the pan, and cook until they are browned.

Adding mushrooms
3. Make a small well in the middle of the mushrooms, and add the flour. Let it cook for just a moment, and then stir it into the mushroom mixture. Salt and pepper the mushrooms to taste. Remember, don’t go overboard on the salt! You will still be adding broth and soy sauce. You can even omit the salt completely in this step if you so choose.

4. Pour in the broth of your choice. If you are trying to be strictly vegetarian, veggie broth works fine. I only had beef broth on hand, and it created a wonderful flavor. Use whatever you prefer!

Adding broth
5. Stir well, making sure the flour has completely incorporated into the broth and that there are no lumps. Add the soy sauce and Worcestershire sauce, stir, and barely bring to a boil. Allow it to cook like this for a minute or two so that the broth reduces a bit and the flour begins to thicken it slightly.

6. Add in the sour cream and mix to ensure it is completely blended. Lower the heat and continue to cook until the sauce thickens to your liking.

Adding sour cream
7. As your sauce sits on low or warm, stir it occasionally. Meanwhile, bring a pot of water to a boil and cook your egg noodles according to the directions on the package. Do not over cook the noodles! Al dente pasta just tastes better.

8. Serve the noodles with the sauce on top, and garnish with parsley if you so choose.

Here, taste the sauce. Isn’t it delicious?!

Mushrooms on spoon

The fresh herbs at my supermarket didn’t look particularly inviting, so I decided to omit the parsley, but oh man it would be delicious with it as a garnish. It’s so yummy either way, though!

Finished mealI hope you enjoy this as much as I did! Haha we have made this two times since Saturday already. That’s how good it is!

Linking up with Delicious Dish TuesdayTuesday’s Table, and Hot Momma’s Kitchen!

 

Weekending…All Week Long!

Two weeks ago my sister came to visit. We had such a great time! I took the week off of blogging when she was here (with the exception of a yummy Mongolian Tofu dish I shared) so that we could explore O’ahu and spend as much time together as possible. Even the threat of a hurricane or two didn’t kill our party!

After she left I decided to take one more week away from the blog to enjoy one of the last weeks of summer before Brinton starts school again and our schedules become insane! So, I apologize for being absent…but I’m not actually sorry. Ha! It’s always nice to take a vacation from technology, especially when it means enjoying a beautiful island and spending time with family. I’ve had a great last two weeks, and I hope you have too!

Enjoy some of our pictures, and I’ll see you this week as I dive back into my normal routine!

(P.S. I know my sister is about ten shades darker than I am…but I promise we really are related!)

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Linking up for the first time today with two new blogs I stumbled upon– B Loved Boston and Champagne and Suburbs!

No Bake Cheesecake

No bake desserts are some of my favorites to make–and eat! Here in Hawaii in the summer my apartment is usually outrageously hot, so anything I can make that doesn’t require me to turn on the oven is a winner in my book. Plus, this comes together fairly quickly (if you don’t count the chill time) and is perfect for group get-togethers. A few weeks ago we had a special dinner event for our young women at church, so I doubled the recipe and made 18 mini cheesecakes and one large regular sized cheesecake. It was a hit!

No bake cheesecake header

This cheesecake is creamy, dreamy, and delicious. Trust me, you’ll be in love from the first bite!

Mini cheesecake side closeup

Seriously…it looks dreamy, doesn’t it? Mmm…

When I was looking for a recipe, I ended up scouring Pinterest and asking some friends for recipes they had. I ended up combining a few different recipes based on the ingredients I had on hand, and came up with this! I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

What You Need:
8 oz cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup sour cream
2 teaspoons vanilla
3 cups fresh whipped cream*
18 mini graham cracker crusts, or 1 regular graham cracker crust

*See notes at bottom of post

The How To:
1. Beat the cream cheese until smooth, and then gradually add in the sugar. Beat until well blended.
2. Mix in the sour cream and vanilla.
3. Gently fold in the whipped cream. It is important to fold it in–do not mix it in! If you mix it in it will lose all of its fluffy goodness, and that would be a sad, sad day.
4. Once everything is incorporated, pour the mixture into the graham cracker crust. If using mini crusts, spoon a few tablespoons of the mixture into each crust. I find spooning it into the minis to be much easier than pouring.
5. Refrigerate for 4+ hours or chill in the freezer for about 2 hours.

Once it has set, you can serve with your favorite fruit topping**! Enjoy!

Mini cheesecake closeup 2

Notes:
* To make fresh whipped cream, you’ll need 1.5 cups of heavy whipping cream and 3 tablespoons of sugar. You can use granulated or powdered sugar, but I usually use powdered because I find it to be smoother and easier to blend. Beat the heavy cream using an electric stand or hand mixer until it begins to look slightly thickened, and then add the powdered sugar one tablespoon at a time. Beat just until stiff peaks form.
** To make fruit topping, follow the instructions for this fruit filling. Feel free to use whatever fruit/berries you prefer.

Linking up with Delicious Dish Tuesday and Tuesday’s Table!

Mongolian Beef, Chicken, and Tofu

First, I just want to say that I know I have been pretty absent for the past week, but it probably isn’t going to get any better this week. My sister is here visiting which means we are out doing fun things! I’m just too busy this week to be able to post consistently. Next week I will (hopefully) be back to normal!

Oh also, I’ve decided I’m just going to combine my July and August favorites because I completely fell behind on that too and with how busy this week is I feel like it’s going to be way too late to play catch up.

Okay, now that all my housekeeping is done…on to Mongolian goodness!

Mongolian Tofu Header

The first time I had P.F. Chang’s Mongolian beef I was in love. It became my new favorite dish. Eating out often is way too expensive though, so I decided to find an at-home recipe that was just as good as the real thing.

Doing my research, I realized that most of the Mongolian sauce recipes online were all the same, and to be honest I really haven’t changed it up at all. What I do like to change up is the protein. This sauce is delicious on beef, chicken, and tofu, and I’m sure it would be just as delicious on pork or even just veggies alone. This particular time I made it, I used tofu.

I love making this on a weeknight when I don’t have a lot of time to cook but when I still want a filling, delicious dinner. This recipe is quick (under 30 minutes!) and keeps well for leftovers the next day.

What You Need:
For the sauce:
1 tablespoon oil
2-3 teaspoons of garlic (to taste)
1 teaspoon ground ginger (again, to taste)
1/2 cup soy sauce
1/2 cup water
2/3 cup brown sugar
3-5 scallions, green parts only

For the protein:
1 pound of your choice of protein
1/4 cup cornstarch
2 tablespoons oil
salt and pepper to taste

The Sauce How To:
1. In a medium sized saucepan, heat the oil, add the ginger, and saute the garlic until lightly browned.
2. Stir in the soy sauce and water until well combined.
3. Add the brown sugar, mix until dissolved, and allow it to come to a boil for about three minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.

The Protein How To:
1. If using beef or chicken slice into strips. I recommend flank steak for the beef (make sure to cut against the grain!) If using tofu, which is what I used here, cut it into cubes and press it to drain some of the water.
2. Salt and pepper your protein, and then toss with cornstarch so it is lightly coated. Let that sit for about 10 minutes to let the cornstarch stick. If you’re using tofu, you don’t have to wait the 10 minutes.
3. While you’re waiting, you can cut your scallions–green parts only–into inch-long strips. Set them aside.
4. Heat oil in a pan, and cook off your protein until lightly browned. For beef, this only takes a few minutes. You don’t want to overcook it! If you are using chicken, you will want to make sure it is cooked all the way through.
5. Once your protein is browned and cooked, add the sauce to the pan and stir to coat your protein. Let the sauce come back to a boil and then turn off the heat. Add the scallions and mix them in.

You’re done! I usually serve this over white rice, but brown rice is delicious too. If you’re feeling really adventurous I’m sure you could even use quinoa. I’ve also experimented with adding sauteed broccoli for some extra veggie goodness, but that’s totally up to you.

Tofu 1

Note: A lot of recipes I found say to saute your protein in a lot more oil (almost a cup) and then once it is mostly finished cooking, they say to drain the oil and return the protein to the pan. I usually just use less oil to begin with and skip this step.

I hope you enjoy this! Sorry I don’t have step by step pictures (again!). This was kind of a last minute idea for a post after I made dinner last night because I realized I hadn’t posted in a while. Again, I’m aiming to be more diligent with the blog next week. Right now though, I’m off to go hiking!

Linking up with Delicious Dish Tuesday and Tuesday’s Table!

High Five for Friday

This week hasn’t really gone exactly as planned…

I have so much to write and tell you guys, but pretty much no energy to do so. I had everything nice and planned out for the blog this week, but on Tuesday I was in a car accident (everyone is fine!) and instead of blogging that night I spent my evening with an ice pack on my back and filing a claim with my insurance. The next morning I didn’t really feel like getting dressed up for my outfit post, so no pictures were taken…and everything just kind of unraveled from there. I planned on having my July favorites post up yesterday, but that obviously didn’t happen! I was going to combine it with this post, but I’m sleepy…so with any luck it will be up tomorrow instead. At least…that’s the plan!

Anyway…here’s five highlights from the week!

1. My phone fell in the toilet on Sunday. I completely and totally forgot I had put it in my back pocket–I thought it was still in the den–and the next thing I know I was fishing it out of the (unused, by the way) toilet, positive that I had just killed my phone. But…I married a nerd, and he saved it for me. It still works perfectly. I love him.

2. Brinton and I had a date night last night and we were so excited to have some time together just the two of us. The plan was to go and paint pottery and then get something inexpensive to eat…but oh my goodness…the pottery place we went was so ridiculously overpriced that we just left. We were baby-less for the evening but had no idea what to do with no time to plan…so we went to Wendy’s and then we went to Walmart. Haha, can you tell we are poor college students still? We still had fun though, and now we have a lovely new tv-stand/bookshelf in our den. I feel much better about having spent money on that rather than an overpriced platter or something like that. Maybe I’ll post a picture eventually.

3. I finally got some pretty white plates from some friends who are going to be moving soon. I’m excited that the black plates are outta here! Hooray for prettier food pictures in the future!

4. I think Evan’s sleeping pattern is finally getting back to normal after this last bout of teething. Poor kid cut four teeth at once…ouch. Meanwhile…my baby has eight–yes EIGHT–teeth! Say what???!!! He’s like a whole big person now! I mean, they are all still coming in…but it wont be long before he has a very toothy little grin. Babies grow too quickly!

5. Tomorrow morning I am supposed to be at the church by 7am to help clean the chapel and the building…which means I’m going to bed, y’all. Goodnight!

Oh! You get a bonus sixth thing, because I just realized none of my highlights have a picture to go with them and I can’t have a blog post without a picture. So, here you go! The other day as I was waiting outside with Evan for a friend to pick us up, he kept looking around at everything, and wouldn’t stop pointing at the tree. Eventually I finally looked up and saw the most beautiful bright yellow flowers. It made me laugh because only a few days before that I had seen a post on my husband’s cousin’s wife’s (is there an easier way to say that?) blog about how her little boy did the exact same thing. Kids are amazing, aren’t they? I hope you enjoy the flowers as much as I did. PS if you follow me on Instagram I post there a lot more regularly!

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Linking up with Lauren ElizabethFriday FavoritesConfessional Friday, Friday Blog Hop, and Oh Hey Friday!