Tag Archives: holidays

What’s in the Box? Recipe Roundup #9

What's in the Box?

It has been a week since Harper and I stepped foot on Irish soil and life here is truly “grand” (as they say).  I could go on and on about everything we have seen and experienced, but for now, I will let Instagram do all the talking…

First stop?  A proper pub on the mountaintop complete with Irish dancing and finished off with an Irish coffee :)

Pub Antics

How do you recover from a crazy night out the with locals?  Well, an Irish Breakfast of course…

Irish Breakfast

After filling my tummy with goodness it was time to brush up on my Irish history and explore some ancient ruins…

Irish History

Harper was so inspired by digging down deep into her Irish roots, she decided to pick up the tin whistle…

Harper and her whistle

We have also visited the local zoo, done some cooking and of course lots of relaxing.  Life in the motherland (as my mom calls it) is gorgeous :)

And you know what else is gorgeous?  Last week’s links…all 12 of them.  What I love most about each week’s link ups is how much I learn from you guys.  And this week is no different.  Agrigirl taught us that corn silk has many health benefits…who knew?  And The Novice Gardener introduced me to Lemon Balm in addition to giving me loads of ways to use it.  Now I want to grow it all over my garden.  And finally, Have Dessert First is back at the party with a killer recipe for Grilled Shrimp and Polenta.  Thanks to everyone who linked up and shared their delicious dishes.  I appreciate your support and loyalty :)

As for me, there is no box this week.  So I thought I would share some of my favorite CSA BBQ recipes with you all.  With the 4th of July right around the corner, I couldn’t help but ensure that we all have at least one inspired CSA dish at our cookouts.

So without further ado, CSA produce does BBQ…

While you wait for the grill to heat up and prepare to cook your meat, why not grab for a healthy and delicious dip that utilizes only the freshest of ingredients…Seven Layer Bean Dip with Fresh Tortilla Chips

Seven-Layer Bean Dip with Fresh Tortillas Chips - In Her Chucks

As much as I am a meat girl, no BBQ is complete without a bunch of side dishes.  This is the best way to load up on CSA fruits and veggies.  Some of my favorites are Roasted Beets with Gorgonzola and Walnuts

Roasted Beets with Gorgonzola and Walnuts

and Summer Pasta Salad

Summer Pasta Salad - In Her Chucks

For the mains, why not try something different this year and throw some lamb on the grill…Cumin, Honey, and Mint-Marinated Lamb Chops

Cumin, Honey, and Mint-Marinated Lamb Chops

And finally, we all know that no meal is complete without dessert…Pluot Crumble

Pluot Crumble - In Her Chucks

Your turn: What are your favorite ways to incorporate your CSA fruits and veggies into your BBQ and cookouts?  Looking forward to drooling over your dishes.  

Linking up for the first time?  Click here for more info…and Welcome!

PS:  Don’t forget to tell your readers about the party by linking back to this post and grabbing the official “What’s in the Box?” button at the bottom of my blog.  Thanks!

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December Photo A Day Challenge: Day 17-31

december challenge

Happy New Year everyone!  I hope your 2012 went out with a bang :)  I fell asleep at 10:30 so I was celebrating in my dreams.  I guess that’s what happens when you are chasing after a toddler and in the midst of moving.  Lots of exciting things happening in 2013.  Grateful to see another year!

But before I start my journey in the new year, I wanted to do a quick recap of the last few weeks.  December has been a busy month full of fun, family and festivities.  Take a look at what we have been up to…

1. Day 17: on the floor- As I have mentioned before, Harper loves to build castles with her Mega Blocks.  But I think her favorite thing about these blocks is dumping them on the floor.  Something about taking the bag and flipping it upside down and watching the blocks fall from the sky gives her a thrill.  Thank goodness she is getting to be a pro at picking up after herself too.  Because stepping on one of these in the middle of the night is no joke!

2. Day 18: makes you feel merry- I love this time of year for many reasons.  But as far as my taste buds are concerned, peppermint definitely makes me feel merry.  And these chocolate peppermint almonds are to die for!  I picked up a container of them at Whole Foods and they only lasted a few days.  Dangerous…but worth every bite :)

3. Day 19: something beginning with “s”- When the weather gets chilly, I like to make food that warms my soul.  And this beef and butternut squash stew is a new favorite.  I have plans to post the recipe soon…promise!

4. Day 20: weather- Being a California girl, I am used to one season…the 75 degree season, all year long!  But this winter has been a bit chillier than usual.  It’s hard to make out the temperature in this picture, but it reads 48.  48 is far below my level of comfort.  Which means I am doing a lot of cozying up on the couch with my love bugs to keep warm.

5. Day 21: tree- There is no better gift than a homemade one.  For the holidays, my mom handmade a few of these adorable trees using a collection of old sweaters that she cut into different size circles and strung together with some wire.  I love all colors she used and of course the star on the top.

6. Day 22: decoration- During the holidays, there are decorations everywhere.  But this is the most creative Christmas decoration I have seen.  I stopped by to visit my girlfriend and fell in love with her house plant decorated with a strand of green garland, colored lights and one ornament.  Tis the season…

7. Day 23: joy is___-  “shopping at Target with my toddler”.  Harper loves to shop.  Especially when it involves a shopping cart just her size.  She was running up and down the aisles popping wheelies, giggling up a storm.  Oh, the simple joys of youth are quite refreshing.  Especially in the midst of the holiday rush.

8. Day 24: tradition/something you always do- Ever since I can remember, my parents would take me to church on Christmas Eve.  To be honest, during my teenage years, it felt more like they were dragging me there, but now that I am old enough, I appreciate them teaching me the true meaning of Christmas.  I am so excited to be able to pass on this tradition to Harper.  It is a lovely way to celebrate the holiday together.

9. Day 25: lunchtime- Christmas morning is all about taking it easy.  So by the time we got around to breakfast, it was pretty much lunchtime.  Freddie requested my famous French Toast which we served with homemade orange juice and a side of crispy bacon.

10. Day 26: mess-  I love to cook up a storm in the kitchen.  The only downside is the dishes.  Which is why I am grateful that we have a dishwasher.  And an amazing husband.  Because whatever doesn’t go in the dishwasher, he washes by hand.  A little something he started when we first got married…I cook, he cleans.  I happen to be a big fan of this agreement :)

11. Day 27: how you relax- Between being a wife, a mom and a music teacher, I don’t get much downtime.  But even 5 minutes of solitude to play a game of Words with Friends can be quite relaxing.  It helps to take my mind of things for a moment while still challenging my brain to think.  In 2013, I will be working on getting some real relaxation time in, but for now, this will do.

12. Day 28: cold- My sister and her kids came to visit us from Texas.  Whenever they come to town we like to hit up a few theme parks and other local attractions.  This time we decided to take a trip to the aquarium to check out some penguins.  Even though most penguins do not live in the snow, they always remind me of a colder climate.

13. Day 29: hot-  For a belated Christmas present, I bought my brother a 6 month subscription to an Artisan Coffee Company (are you surprised?)  To make it fun and festive, I wrote out a gift certificate and placed it inside of a hot beverage mug that was decorated with camo.  A great gift for a coffee lover!

14. Day 30: something that made you smile this year- Nothing makes me smile more than watching my little girl grow up.  Each day comes with new milestones and new adventures.  I am so grateful to be on this wonderful journey of motherhood.  It is an absolute joy!

15. Day 31: self-portrait-  It wouldn’t be a self portrait if it didn’t include my Chucks.  I have done and accomplished a lot this year.  And all while wearing my Chucks.  In celebration of the New Year, I picked up a fresh pair of Chucks in which to start my journey into 2013.  There are lots of exciting things on the horizon and I look forward to sharing them with you.

If you haven’t figured it out by now, I LOVE photo challenges.  And in 2013, I am excited to participate in a new photo challenge with Alli of the Big Green Parenting Experiment.  I hope you will join me in capturing this new year with a photo a day.  Check out this post for more details.  And feel free to follow me on Instagram (@inherchucks) to keep up with the daily challenge.

Happy 2013!!!

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Merry Christmas!

card

I LOVE this time of year.  Nothing makes me more happy than humming cheerful carols in my head, feasting on delicious food or spending lots of time with my family.  Christmas is indeed the most joyful holiday of them all.  We celebrated tonight by attending a lovely Christmas Eve service at church, followed by a warm bowl of homemade bisque and an ornament swap.

Now its time to get cozy under the covers so that Santa can make his big appearance.

Wishing you all a wonderful holiday.

Merry Christmas!

XOXO

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Apple Crisp

A few months ago, we traveled up north to go apple picking.  After our successful blueberry picking adventure, we were excited to fill our baskets with fresh, peak season, fall produce.

Apple picking

The farm we visited, offered three kinds of apples, Granny Smith, Fuji and Golden Delicious.  It was nearing the end of the season so the trees were pretty picked over.  They had a ton of Granny Smith but finding the other two varieties was a bit of a treasure hunt.  Luckily I was able to snag a few Fuji and Golden Delicious for snacking (only a few made it in the basket) and I have to say, the Fuji’s were the best I have ever tasted.  By far my new apple of choice.

At the end of the day we came home with a ton of Granny Smith apples.  Freddie wanted to make sure we had enough apples for a few pies (his favorite dessert).  But after trying my neighbors homemade Apple Crisp, he asked me to make him one of those instead.

Ingredients

3/4 cups sugar

1/2 tsp nutmeg

1/2 tsp cinnamon

Dash of salt

2 1/4 cup flour, divided

6 cups thinly sliced Granny Smith apples (about 4-6)

1 cup butter (2 sticks), chilled and cubed

1 cup brown sugar

Preparation

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.

In a large bowl whisk together sugar, nutmeg, cinnamon, salt, and 1/4 cup flour.  Add apples and mix until coated.  Pour apples into a 9 x 13 inch glass baking dish.

To prepare crumble, mix 2 cups flour, butter and brown sugar by hand until mixture resembles a course meal.  Sprinkle mixture on top of apples.  Bake at 425 degrees F for 10 minutes.  Reduce heat to 375 degrees F for another 20-30 minutes.

Since apple picking, I have made this recipe at least 5 times.  All with the hopes of getting a few pictures of it to share on my blog.  And every time I make it, it is gone in 60 seconds…no lie!  Every one who tastes this, falls in love.  Something about warm gooey apples topped with crispy, crunchy, goodness makes people swoon.

And let’s be honest, it’s all about the crisp.  Yes, there are a good amount of apples in the recipe, but the best part is the crisp…which there is plenty of.  And of course, this dessert wouldn’t be complete without a scoop of vanilla ice cream.  Or if you want to be fancy, then by all means, ask for it a la mode-y.

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Snow Day at the Zoo

There is nothing like a little snow to put you in the holiday spirit.  But this snow day wasn’t your typical blizzard.  Our snow day consisted of Snow Leopards, and Lemurs, and palm trees!  Oh, my!

This morning we got up bright and early to attend the Snow Leopard Festival at our local zoo.  The event was put on to raise money for and bring awareness to the critically endangered Snow Leopards.  Forty tons of snow was trucked in and placed in various animal cages throughout the zoo.  There was also patches of snow that were formed for kids and families to play in and explore.  They even had two sledding hills that were constructed by zoo staff.

Proceeds from the event went to benefit the Snow Leopard Trust.  This organization has worked for over 20 years to help protect Snow Leopards and their habitat.  Due to lack of food and poaching efforts, there is said to be only 3,500 to 6,500 Snow Leopards existing in the wild.

Our zoo has two Snow Leopards in captivity.  It was amazing to see them up close.  They are some of the most beautiful creatures I have ever seen.

This year, in honor of the holiday season, each dollar donated to the Snow Leopard Trust, up to $60,000, will be matched.  So, if you are having trouble deciding on gift ideas for your friends and loved ones, why don’t you consider a contribution to the Snow Leopard Trust.  Your support will help protect this endangered species and improve the lives of impoverished families who share their habitat.

Donating is fast and easy.  Simply click this link and make a donation online.   Or you can mail your donation to Snow Leopard Trust, 4649 Sunnyside Avenue North, Suite 325, Seattle, WA, 98103, USA.

Another way to benefit the Snow Leopard Trust is to purchase one of their items from their gift shop.  With everything from Handbags and Accessories, to Toys and Ornaments, you are sure to find the perfect gift for the one you love.  Plus, your gift has an incredible story behind it, which makes it special and unique.  And the best part…shipping is free for domestic orders over $50.

Finally, for everyone who has always wanted a Snow Leopard to call their own (I mean, who hasn’t?), the Snow Leopard Trust offers Snow Leopard Adoptions.  Ok, so maybe you can’t take one home with you (not sure your neighbors would be pleased anyways…), but you can follow one of the wild Snow Leopards in their natural habitat.  Your adoption package includes a personalized certificate, snow leopard toy, pictures, fact sheets and more.  And with up to 20% for the holiday season, it’s a bargain!

I have always been an animal lover.  To know that these amazing creatures are at risk of extinction makes me sad.  Today, after seeing the Snow Leopards in person and hearing their story, I was moved to action.  I hope you will consider doing your part to make a difference as well.

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