Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Crave Wednesday: Pulled Pork Sandwich with Mustard Sauce

A long long long time ago Thatboy had made a deal with Thatkid about staying dry through the night.  He let Thatkid come up with a reward for every 10 nights.  And if he stayed dry for 30 nights, Thatkid picked a trip to Sea World.  But those 30 days came and went and we all kind of forgot about it.  Until last month, when we finally made good on our promise.  Hey, we didn't promise we'd go immediately, right?

This was by far our most successful trip to Sea World to date.  Thatbaby is old enough to really enjoy and participate it.  And Thatkid is old enough to take advantage of his favorite things.  Like he can finally stand still long enough for the feeder fish to nibble at his fingers.

As usual, we let Thatkid pick out the things he wanted to do.  Sharks were very high up on the list. 

Both boys love the shark tunnel, which lets you get right up and close to the sharks. But with a very thick layer of glass keeping you bite-free.

We also went to the Arctic area to check out the belugas, walruses, and crawl through the polar bear tunnels.

Thatkid is finally tall enough to ride almost all the rides.  Which he loved!  We took turns going with him.  Thatboy did the flume ride and the flight simulator, I did the raft ride.  Thatbaby is also now big enough to ride the little kid rides, so we all met up there.

And of course, SeaWorld is just chock full of ways for these boys to stretch their legs and burn off energy.

This past weekend was the first and last weekend where we had almost nothing planned.  There's always something, but this weekend it was just soccer, swim lessons, and Thatboy took Thatkid to see Lion King.  I'm laughing as I read that, but really, Sunday was the first day in forever I didn't leave the house!  And I took advantage.  I took advantage of that and the fact that it is far too warm to actually be summer.  I set Thatbaby up with the water table, and fired up the grill.  A long Sunday at home means pulled pork all week!  The tangy mustard sauce reminds me of the barbecue from summers in South Carolina.  I miss real barbecue!    We even ate dinner outside, complete with pickles, potato salad, and cole slaw.  I love my cole slaw atop my pulled pork.  That's not a South Carolina thing, that's a "me" thing.

Pulled Pork Sandwich with Mustard Sauce (from Cooking Light)
7 to 8 cups hickory wood chips
2 Tbsp brown sugar
1 Tbsp dry mustard
1 Tbsp smoked paprika
1 Tbsp black pepper
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 boneless pork shoulder
2 Tbsp olive oil
3/4 cup finely chopped onion
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
2/3 cup Dijon mustard
2/3 cup cider vinegar
1/3 cup molasses
1 tsp hot sauce
16 whole wheat hamburger buns

  1. Soak wood chips in water at least 1 hour, drain.
  2. Combine sugar, mustard, paprika, salt and pepper in a bowl.  
  3. Pat pork dry and rub with sugar mixture.
  4. Remove grill rack and set aside.  Prepare grill for indirect grilling, heating 1 side to high and leaving 1 side with no heat.  Pierce bottom of a disposable foil pan several times with the tip of the knife.  Place pan on heat element on heated side of grill.  Add 1 1/2 cups wood chips to pan.  Place another disposable foil pan (do not pierce this pan) on unheated side of grill.  Pour 2 cups water in pan.  Let chips stand 15 minutes or until smoking.  Reduce heat to medium.  Maintain temperature at 300.  Place grill rack on grill.  Place pork on grill rack over unheated side.  Close lid; cook 6 hours at 300 or until meat thermometer registers 195; covering pork loosely with foil after 5 hours.  Drain and add 1 cup additional wood chips every 45 minutes.  Refill water pan and add charcoal to fire as needed.  Remove pork from grill; let stand 20 minutes.  Unwrap pork; trim and discard fat.  Shred pork.
  5. Heat oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat; swirl to coat.  Add onion; cook 2 minutes, stirring frequently.
  6. Add 1/2 cup sugar, mustard, vinegar, molasses, hot sauce and 1/2 tsp salt.  Bring to a simmer.  Cook 15 minutes or until thick.
  7. Arrange about 3oz pork and 2 Tbsp sauce on each bun.

Monday, September 26, 2016

Mommy Mondays: 15 Month Favorites

 Thatbaby definitely has second-child syndrome.  I was so involved in stimulating Thatkid when he was a toddler, playing with him, documenting and feeding into his loves.  Like when daycare said he sat "reading" a book the entire time they were outside, I just had to purchase a copy to have at home.
Thatbaby on the other hand?  Well he spends most of his time following Thatkid around, so I don't work as hard at entertaining him.  He rarely gets new toys, frankly, he rarely plays with his own toys, preferring to get his hands on whatever Thatkid is playing with.

So, loaded with guilt, I figured I should document some of the things that keep him interested lately.

Thatbaby has reached an age where if you want him to sit down for a hot second, you just need to pull out a book.  Of course, you then need to be prepared to read that book over and over and over again.  These are his current favorites.  (The first got read 5 times consecutively yesterday before I found "Hungry Caterpillar within arm's reach.)

It's Pumpkin Day Mouse
Touch and Feel: Wild Animals
Pat the Birthday Bunny
Corduroy 's Trick or Treat
From Head to Toe

Color Wonder Markers
Thatkid loves to color. It's a fairly typical weekend morning activity.  The only problem is that Monkey See Monkey do.  And it's really hard to color with a 26 lb monkey hanging all over you. We also ran into the problem that he enjoys writing all over his face with markers.  Color Wonder markets address both issues.  Now when Thatkid starts coloring I grab these for Thatbaby.  He colors in his book, Thatkid colors in his. And since they only mark on their specified paper, I don't need to worry about marker on faces (or couches or rugs or tables).

Water Table
It's been really warm here, so often when we get home from school/work/daycare I'll fill up the water table and let the boys play while I get dinner on the table.  We never had a water table with Thatkid, so he's making up for lost time.  Thatbaby has a double bonus of having an activity he likes, and that his brother likes to do with him.

Swings/Slides (Playset)
This is a blessing and a curse.  The playset was a gift from Thatmom to Thatkid for becoming a "big brother."  The idea was that it would give him something to do that didn't require parental supervision while I was taking care of the new baby.  Except now it requires parental supervision, not for Thatkid, but for Thatbaby who is capable of climbing up, reaching up the beams and swinging out. 

He also has discovered his own way of swinging that doesn't require anyone to push him.


Roller Boys on Vimeo.

This is one of those "it's good to be a second child" things.  Thatkid didn't have any scooter experience until he was 3.  Thatbaby gets to play on his brother's much earlier than that.  And he loves it. 

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Sunday Runday: Scent of a Runner

There's no question that running, like most other sports, brings with it a certain...smell.

Your clothes smell, your body smells, your shoes smell.

Let me share with you some of my secret weapons. 

For clothes, I know a lot of people swear by specialty detergents.  And maybe those detergents are better, but I've had great success with plain ol' Tide.    What can I say?  I'm a simple girl.

As far as body scent, if I get to go home after a run, I rely on a good, simple shower.  Thatboy and I share shower gel, so it's not terribly feminine.  But I wonder if the fact that it's made for men means that it's a little stronger than the frou frou girly stuff?  At any rate, it's a sure-fire way to de-stink.

But a little secret - I don't always have time to jump in the shower.  Especially lately when my Saturday morning runs bleed into Thatkid's soccer games which bleed into Thatbaby's swim lessons.  Yesterday I didn't get a chance to shower until after dinner!

It is definitely not ideal,  but we all do what we gotta do.  So on those days, I rely on multiple products so I don't offend the general public.

First step is Cetaphil wipes.  Which is my "scent preventative."  Removes any lingering sweat.  And there is usually lingering sweat.  Plus, it makes me feel almost showered.  Or at least cleaner.

Next comes deodorant.  I hate my current every-day deodorant, so for occasions like this, I rely on a trial size version of something more potent.

The most important scent holder is hair.  If you've ever been camping (or to Vegas) you're all too familiar with this fact.   So when I don't have time to wash my hair, I'm a big fan of dry shampoo.

So that's what keeps me from smelling like a runner.  Any tricks you've got?

Friday, September 23, 2016

Soccer Star: Roast New Potatoes with Rock Salt and Rosemary

With baseball season over, it was time to pack up the mitt and move on.  For Thatkid, that means soccer!

JDubb's mom found a league that only met once a week that had 2 open spots and just like that Thatkid and JDubb became Pumas.

 Thatkid loves soccer.  And he's pretty good at it.  I say that with the objective awareness that he's my son and I'm probably biased.  But he's fast, he's aggressive, and he's dedicated.

Thatboy was in the right place at the right time (or maybe the wrong place at the wrong time) and ended up getting made coach of the team!

And, with the objective awareness that he's my husband and I'm probably biased, he's a pretty fantastic coach.  He does a great job of rotating the kids when he sees them getting tired, and ensures that everyone gets to play whatever position they want.

So right now, and for the next few months our Saturdays are soccer Saturdays.  But my boys wouldn't have it any other way.

Not only is it soccer season, but its now officially fall.  According to the calendar.  And the overcast clouds and rain have rolled in.  It's still pretty warm out, but the grey skies make warm cozy meals seem fitting.  I've pulled out the crockpot.  I'm roasting vegetables.  The nice thing about roasted vegetables is that they aren't labor intensive.  Toss them on a pan with some oil, salt, and herbs and let the oven do the rest.

I love the way roasted potatoes get crisp, and a pan of potatoes goes with just about anything.  We had these with crockpot short ribs, and then I chopped up the leftover and tossed them with some pasta.

Roast New Potatoes with Rock Salt and Rosemary
24 baby new potatoes
1/3 cup olive oil
3 tsp rock salt
5 sprigs rosemary
2 cloves garlic, minced
4 Tbsp butter
  1. Preheat oven to 350.  Place the potatoes in a large roasting pan, drizzle with the olive oil adn sprinkle with 2 tsp of salt and some pepper. Bake for 30 minutes.
  2. Add the rosemary, garlic, and butter.  Shake the roasting pan and bake for another 10 minutes.
  3. Serve hot, sprinkled with remaining salt.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Crave Wednesday: Open Faced Pimento Cheese BLTs

One Monday Thatbaby's daycare provider and I were trading weekend stories.  She told us about this great botanical garden she had been to with her grandkids, a park she thought Thatbaby would love.  Of course we had to check it out. 

The garden is divided into 15 different "themes" or areas.  The prehistoric garden features dinosaur sculptures and one of the world's oldest trees.

The Pan-Asian garden features bamboo, and a gazebo with hanging cranes.

And the Mediterranean garden features a rose covered gazebo, pond, culinary and medicinal herb gardens, and the Mouth of Truth.

Roman Holiday anyone?

We also spent a lot of time in the Children's Garden.  They have a "sensory garden" there, and while the kids weren't impressed, Thatboy and I couldn't get enough of the cotton plants!

The boys were more interested in crawling through the giant tunnel.

But what really won them over was the musical portion of the garden.

We didn't get to every part of the garden.  Which means there will definitely be another trip.  It is a great way to spend the afternoon, and since it's dog friendly, the whole family can enjoy it.  There were also little vistas and tables set all over the gardens, which makes picnicking a must.   Especially if you love picnicking as much as I do.

For this trip, I packed pimento cheese sandwiches.  If you're not from the south, this may be an unheard of concept.  They are impossible to find here in California.  It's a cheesy spread, and given the name, that's probably not a surprise.  Neither is the fact that the other main ingredient is pimento.  It's served either cold, egg-salad like, or warm, in an amazing grilled cheese.

This version is cold, over thick, juicy tomatoes, under thick, crispy bacon.  It has everything.

Open Faced Pimento Cheese BLTs (From Cooking Light)
1 cup reduced-fat shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1/3 cup grated fresh Parmesan cheese
2 Tbsp bottled diced pimentos, drained
1 Tbsp grated peeled shallots
2 Tbsp canola mayonnaise
1 tsp cider vinegar
4 slices sourdough bread, toasted
12 tomato slices
4 center cut bacon slices, cooked and halved
1 cup arugula

  1. Combine cheese, pimentos, shallots, mayonnaise, vinegar and some ground black pepper in a large bowl.
  2. Top each toast slice with 3 tomato slices.
  3. Sprinkle tomato slices evenly with salt.
  4. Spread 3 Tbsp cheese mixture over tomatoes.
  5. Top each sandwich with 2 bacon halves and 1/4 cup arugula.

Monday, September 19, 2016

Mommy Mondays: What Is A Good Mom?

You guys, things are hard everywhere.  No one has it easy these days. 

Sometimes it's work.  Sometimes it's a relationship.  But if you have kids, often times the hard times are directly or indirectly caused by them.

This is not an indictment against children.  But for most of us, our lives are all consumed by them.  Whether we're worrying about them, or trying to manage other issues in addition to them, it's a constant presence.

And we are all far too hard on ourselves.    It's a cycle.

So I'm going to tell you something about being a mom.  It's not revolutionary.  It's not controversial.  It's simple, really.  But it's something that not enough of us know.  Or at least believe.

A good mom is not one who buys her children their every want.  Or takes frequent trips to Disneyland.  Or who reads their children educational material several times a day.  A good mom is not one who works.  Or one who stays home.  A good mom doesn't make homecooked meals.  Or cookies.  Or clothes.

I should rephrase that.  I don't mean to imply that if you do those things you're not a good mom, rather, that none of those things are required to constitute a good mom.

Too often we compare ourselves with the "mom next door" and that's not fair.  Life is hard enough as it is without having to live up to unrealistic expectations.   So if none of those things define a "good mom,"  what does?

My requirements are basic.  A good mom tries her best to provide her children with food, shelter, and clothes.    She makes them feel loved.    That's it.  Everything beyond that is gravy. 

So on those days where you can barely hold yourself together, let alone a household, remind yourself of that.  You don't need to be super mom.  You just need to be mom.

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Sunday Runday: Fit Foodie 2016 and Race Discount!

A couple weeks ago I mentioned that my October was busy because some of my favorite races were going on in October.  Like the Fit Foodie 5k!

The Fit Foodie 5k is one of my all time favorite races ever.  Mostly because it's so much more than just a race.  Run by Cooking Light and Health Magazine, it's a weekend of amazing food, great fitness events, and an atmosphere that's unlike any other race I've participated in.   With the amount of giveaways, it's a race that really caters to runners.   This year there's an added emphasis on charity and giving, because it's always nice to be able to give back.

 The details:

This year the Fit Foodie Weekend is October 21-23. 

Friday, October 21, 2016 is the "Party With A Purpose."  This is the straight foodie portion of the weekend.  Celebrity chefs, Editors from Cooking Light and Health Magazine, and of course, yummy food. 

Saturday October 22, 2016 is the main event.  This is where the food and fitness meet.   First comes the race, along the Embarcadero in Downtown San Diego.  Which is currently my favorite race course.   Along the bay, a view of the water, weaving through gorgeous trees.  After the race is John Hancock's Vitality Village, with both food demos and fitness "classes."  And of course, row after row of vendors who are pressing you to take as much as you can carry.  

 Sunday October 23, 2016 is the Sweat Session, a high intensity cardio sweat session.  But don't worry, it's geared toward all levels.  Heck, I even did it when I was pregnant with Thatbaby!

And I'm super excited about what's new this year!
* In addition to a 5k, this year the event is also offering a 10k!  Which means a longer beautiful run.

* Friday night's "Party with a Purpose" is collecting a donation for Soles4Souls.  If you're like me, you have a stockpile of old, worn out running shoes.  This is the time to say your goodbye and donate them for a worthwhile cause.

* Speaking of charity, this year the race is offering a "Fit Foodie Premium" package.  In addition to all the regular swag, this package includes a Fit Foodie tank, but more importantly, a $5 tax deductible donation to the Fit Foodie official charity,  The American Diabetes Association.

* This year's  elite athletes include “Boston Bill” Rogers, and Meb Keflezighi

Seriously, what's not to love about this race?  Which explains why I was so super excited to be invited once again this year to be an ambassador for the Fit Foodie Run.  Y'all remember what that means right?  It means you should stay tuned for an upcoming giveaway for a race entry.  It also means that I have a discount code for you to use if you don't want to wait for that.  Just sign up at with the code PAVEDWGOODINTENTIONS for 10% off your entry for either the 5k or 10k.

Can't wait to see you there!