Monday, February 4, 2013

My Perfected Lettuce Wraps!

I have spent the last 6 years tinkering around with all kinds of lettuce wrap recipes to find one that I love. I was getting so frustrated with these recipes that had a million ingredients, a separate sauce for the cooking and one for the serving. They had pricey ingredients and I was having to sift the corn starch and simmer the dipping sauce and blah blah blah. I wanted it to be super healthy, pretty cheap, simple to prepare and serve and really yummy. So, after a lot of experimenting I present to you..... THE PERFECT LETTUCE WRAP! I will warn you that this is not trying to be a P.F. Chang knock off. This is my own creation and I'm pretty proud of it considering that I couldn't cook at all only 6 years ago.

Serves 5 @ 1 cup mixture each. It makes 3-6 lettuce wraps per cup depending on the size of leaf you grab.

1 lb lean ground turkey
3-4 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
2 inches of fresh ginger, finely diced
1 large white onion, diced
1 lb white button mushrooms ( or whatever is cheapest), diced
4 large handfuls of fresh baby spinach leaves, chopped
1 carrot, shredded ( or cut into thin matchsticks)
Lettuce- I like to use butter lettuce but sometimes it's crazy expensive so I'll go with romaine
              ( I know PF Changs uses Iceberg but it's really hard to peel it into those perfect cups and it has      no nutritional value at all)
2/3 cup low-sodium soy sauce ( otherwise it can get kinda salty)
2 tbls. oyster sauce
2 tbls. hoisin sauce
5 green onions, thinly sliced for garnish
Chili garlic sauce, optional garnish

1. Brown turkey in a large skillet.

2. Drain and set aside.

3. In the same skillet cook together garlic, ginger and onion. Cook until the onion sweats.

4. Then add mushrooms, spinach and carrots. Cook until the spinach wilts.

5. Then add the sauces (I know my soy sauce isn't the low-sodium but it's what I had on hand)

6. Stir together and simmer 5-10 minutes.

7. Wash and dry your lettuce leaves

8. This is the chili garlic sauce we like to spoon on top. It's pretty spicy so be careful if you are a delicate flower. We dish it with baby spoons so if you have some handy they work great.

9. Serve warm and it stays warm for a surprisingly long time.Don't forget to put out the green onions to garnish.

10. Enjoy!

NUTRITIONAL FACTS: Cal. 161, Fat 5.8, Carbs 3.6, Protein 22.4 Fiber 0.2     WW Points= 4
        * I figured this by combining the facts from of all the ingredients and then dividing them by the 5 servings. So, take it for what you will.

NOTES:  If you want to stretch this for more servings you can add up to double the mushrooms and just add maybe just a little more sauce and it is still awesome.
               Its also great served over brown rice for a take to work lunch the next day.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

California Academy of Science trip

On our last trip to San Fransisco we went to the Academy of Sciences. It has animals and aquariums lots of places to run around and explore. we were excited to take Patton and he loved it. It's so fun seeing him discover new things!

 At lunch Parker was cracking Patton up just by putting a piece of paper in his mouth and taking it out. It was so funny
 This is a rain forest aquarium. It's really humid and has tons of butterflies flying around. Last time we went I almost passed out from a panic attack because it's so high up! So Marge and I decided to sit it out and let the boys go.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Patton's first Hair cut !

Just a couple of weeks ago I gave Patton his first hair cut! There aren't a lot of 3 month olds that need a real haircut. But my boy did. It was getting to where I had to tuck it behind his ears and after it dried it would get taller and taller until he had Elvis hair. This before picture doesn't really show the mess that his hair usually is but there it is. ( Also this picture is of the first time he ever wore shoes :)

We took off an inch and a half in some places! He was really good through the whole thing, he is such a good baby. And doesnt he look handsome? ... so grown up.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

starting up the ol' blog again

Ok I am back from my baby sabbatical. Our family has been very busy and has changed a lot! We got a new guy, Patton. We are so in love with our little boy. I feel like there are a million things to say and record about all that has happened in the past few months but that would be impossible so I am gonna skip it for now and start from the present time.

I am the happiest homemaker there ever was. I absolutely love staying home and taking care of my sweet baby. I feel so lucky have a wonderful husband who supports my decision to stay home with the kids. I am learning how to take better care of our home and how to better run the budgeting and housework and cooking. It has been such a rewarding experience.

I have also been enjoying the challenge of decorating our home on almost no budget. It actually make it more fun I think. I will do a post later of before and afters around the house. I had resisted the temptation to really decorate because we didnt know how long we would be here, but we have been here so long now with no signs of having to move so I thought why not. I am trying to keep in mind that all my decorations should be able to translate to and apartment where I will be stuck with eggshell white walls. boo. There are s many times that I think white will look so good against this wall or that wall but then think, "but it will look terrible against he white walls we are moving to. My hope is that we will live here until Parker graduates and then we will only have to be in an apartment for a short time before we can hopefully buy our first house. I have so much that I am ready to do to a house of my own!

As far as being a mommy, I love it! There are so many joys as well as challenges but I am learning unlimited patience. I keep reminding myself that there is no situation that is worth losing my cool over. It has been an interesting experiment. Patton is doing really well despite his rough start. We are so blessed. I couldn't be happier, well, I would like some more sleep, but other than that, I couldn't be happier!

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Our Story

I was just thinking today about Parker and I and trying to imagine someone else in our family. It has just been us for a long time. I don't want to come across as unhappy in anyway that we are expanding our family, but things are about to be very different.

I started thinking that I never ever want to lose sight of the fact that it started with us. Before all of the family stuff we will be doing for a long time, we were just two people who loved each other. We grew as individuals and as a team. We spent a lot of time doing special things for each other and having just one person in the world you would do anything for. I thought I should write down our story while it is still just our story...

Parker and I were both in the Auburn 5th single's branch. I was teaching Relief Society and Parker was the Elder's Quorum president. I just knew him as someone that everyone seemed to be friends with but didn't really know him past that. After all I was only 19 with no intentions of even finding a date let alone a husband and he was a much older 23 years old! haha. Although, I didn't know him I remember the first time I really noticed him. The entire bishopric was out of town so Parker was left to preside in Sacrament meeting. I remember seeing him up there and thinking, " That is the kind of guy I want to marry." He was totally confident in himself, had no trouble being a leader, and he was kinda cute.. :)

I didn't really meet him until a little while later when he called me out of the blue and asked me to go the movies. Unfortunately, at the time I was finishing my last week of beauty school and I had to get in extra hours to graduate on time so I truly didn't have time to go. It makes me totally sick to think that I turned him down and I came so close to losing that chance. Thank heaven's for text messaging!!! I would never have had the guts to call him back and say, "I do really want to date you" so I sent him a text that obviously changed my life. I just said, " I didn't mean to sound like I didn't want to go because I do. Can we go some other time?" Of course, he said yes and we started texting from there.

He was asking me things like if I liked sushi... in which I answered heck no! A day or so later he called me to talk and we talked til about 3 am. After that I don't think there was a single day that we didn't talk on the phone and I mean for hours! My parents cell phone bill that month was 500 dollars!!! Yikes... totally worth the investment in my love life it turns out.

For our first date we decided to throw a party together for the singles branch. I should also mention here that Parker' house was the party central for the ward because his parents were never in town. It was perfect to break the ice.

The next day we had our first alone date. Parker took me to a steak restaurant called The Owl in Grassvalley. The funny part about this is my whole life my parents used to joke that I better make sure my dates take me out to steak and not Mcdonalds. I was a steak girl not a fast food girl... anyway... It was so good and yes, I was totally impressed. Later we went back to his house and watched Polar Express. I had never been on a date like this before with a guy I really liked before and I remember being totally amazed at how comfortable it was to be around him. We snuggled on the couch and played footsies... scandalous!

We kept going out all the time and after the first week or so I kept thinking, I know he's being a gentleman but will he hurry up and kiss me already!!! Well, the night I was thinking that he finally kissed me and I was trying to be all cool about it but as soon as he left I jumped up and down like little girl. It was awesome!! He is a really good kisser... haha TMI I know....

One of the reasons that I knew he was going to be the one was that we were always so casual and comfortable about talking about our future together. Even from the first couple dates we would say things like, " Well, if this works out..." or " If we were ever to get married..." It was so cool. I also remember him talking about things he wanted in his future with his family and job and goals and I started feeling almost like I will be so sad if I don't get to be a part of that. I could imagine our whole lives together and we rocked! I knew right then that I wanted to always be with him, I want a life with him, I wanted him to be my children's dad, I started imagining us buying our first house and taking our kids to school ( all that cheesy stuff). It was a done deal for me.

Then he goes and asks me one night, " what would say if I asked you to marry me?" I was instantly confused because a part of me wanted to say YES YES YES, but then I thought, " Is he actually asking? If he is being hypothetical and I said yes, would that totally freak him out? Did he want me to say yes? Was he just curious in case he decided later that he wanted to marry me? If that was the case there is only one option of an answer. I said no. Not right now. He asked why not, but didn't really push it.

Later, Parker was driving me home and we had a serious conversation about getting married and we agreed that we want to make it official. I was so excited then he says, "Well, I still need to go to the temple and pray about this ..." I love him so much for that but at the moment it kinda popped my happiness balloon. That Saturday he went to the temple and all day I was waiting for his phone call to confirm our engagement. I called him the second he got out and I asked him what the answer was. I was a little scared he had gone in and changed his mind. He just laughed at me and said that he wasn't going there because he wasn't sure if he wanted to marry me or not. He was going to talk to the Lord about it like a son talks to his dad about big stuff like this. That was it. I knew I had said yes to the perfect guy.

He later got a ring and took me to Muir Woods to propose. I had no idea that he had gotten the ring. I could tell he was a little figity during the day but he eventually found a spot off a little trail and took the ring out of the camera case and got down on one knee and asked me to marry him. The ring was amazing! I never could have imagined that I would have a ring like that. And he picked it out. Good job honey! We have tried to go back to that tree and take a picture every time we go. So, this first one is the actual day he proposed and the rest are after that.


We got engaged pretty quickly so we had a long engagement ( for Mormon standards) 6 months.

Engagement pictures:

We got married on October 20th 2006 in the Sacramento CA temple. It was the best day ever!! I'll write about that some other time.

We moved our stuff into our first place the day before we got married. It was a 2 bedroom condo in the most ghetto part of Auburn. It was only 750 a month. It was called The Greens. It had a terrible reputation but actually it turned out to be pretty nice. We loved it because it was ours! After the wedding I could wait to decorate and put up pictures and make dinner in the kitchen. We had a lot of fun there.

Eventually, we moved to Orangevale for a little while then moved up the street to Fair Oaks. While there, Parker and I decided it was time for him to really get serious about school. He quit his job and went to school full time while I worked at a hair replacement studio as a stylist and hair extension specialist. We really came to love our new ward down there. Parker became the Sunday school president and I got called to the Young Womens presidency. We met the greatest people and we were so busy with work, school and our callings that time just flew by.

Fair Oaks Apartment:
Sorry it's the day we moved in but there is the living room.

And the bedroom.

But this was our view in the back:

We had been married for just over four years and I woke up one morning in January 2010 and all I could think was, we need to have a baby and it needs to be now! I thought about it all day. And I mean every second of the day. Parker and I had agreed when we first got married that we would wait until he graduated to have kids. So, I didn't know how to tell him. So, I didn't. But the feeling didn't go away for a whole week. I have never heard the spirit talk to me so loud and clear.

I made it my project to figure out how we would make things work if we did this before he graduated. I had done all the research and had all the facts I needed to spring the news on him that it was time. Bad idea. Poor man was completely blind sided. Eventually, together we decided on a date to start trying for a baby. And can I tell you how everything, I mean everything that we had ever worried about (money, housing, my job, school, insurance...) completely came together and not one of those things has been an issue since.

That brings me to us now, I am 8 months pregnant, we live in a house in Auburn, Parker is still going to school full time and just got the perfect part time job, I don't have to work and can just get ready to have this baby.

We are totally ready to bring on this new addition. I hope that Parker and I will never forget the story of us.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Who'da Thunk....

So, how come I have a perfect life?

I'm seriously not trying to brag but want to express my gratitude for what I have been blessed with.

I have been noticing my blessing a lot more recently and I want to say that I know for sure that Heavenly Father is aware of me and for some reason keeps blessing me more than I deserve.

As I was doing the bills the other day, I realized that it has been a couple years now that we have really had to worry about being able to pay a bill. We make very little money right now but some how, we have not had to stress about it, in fact we pretty much can do whatever we want and not have to think about it much. This is not to say that I don't plan things carefully because I do, but that had not been my strong suit before... why am I good at that now? Then, when we are coming to a time in our lives where the extra expense of a baby comes, a great job falls into Parker's lap that will work around his school schedule and allow us to stay living comfortably. Did I mention that I don't have to work? In my opinion the greatest blessing of all! I can stay home and prepare for our baby and be here for him when he arrives.

We also are being blessed by the generosity of both our parents who are so supportive of us and they know how much they do to help us through school and give us the best head start we can have.

All of these things so far have been material blessings, but they are a significant part of my life.

But even better than that, I have been blessed with a very easy life. I am so grateful that things that are right are obvious to me. That I don't have to go on a long, difficult quest to find what will make me happy. I know what will make me happy and I have been able to go out and just follow the plan and I can't be more content or happy with how my life has gone so far.

I am blessed with the best husband a girl could ask for. He is so attentive and sweet to me. He respects me and my ideas and includes me in all of our decisions. We are truly equal partners. At the same time he is his own confident person who goes out and pursues his dreams. He is successful in everything that he does and I never have to worry whether or not he will be able to support me and my family. I also have no doubt that he will be a great father who will be a worthy priesthood leader in our home.

I have the coolest friends out there. I never have to worry about drama or my friends being "work" ( you know the kind). We can get together as often or not and still stay the best of friends. Katie, I'm sorry but I am really glad that you aren't going to the peace corp because I am so stoked to have friends like her around to help me on this baby journey.

I am so lucky to have the opportunity to work with the youth of the church. In my patriarical blessing it says that I will influence the youth of the church and it is so clear that I am getting those chances. They are the best people in world and I fall in love with every one of them and I have such a desire to serve them and help them find who they are. What a cool age. I wouldn't go back to that age myself for the world but I love being around them now and watching them discover the gospel and learning to feel the spirit. There is no better feeling in the world.

Of all the things that seem unimportant in the whole scheme of things I am blessed with skills that are making me happier and enhancing my life. ( "I don't even have any special skills. Girls only like guys with skills.... nun chuck skills, bow staff skills, computer hacking skills".... sorry I just watched Napoleon Dynamite) In my last post I was whining because I was struggling to be a perfect homemaker. Well, I have been working hard to improve myself and I really have improved. I was able to organize myself in such a way that is making my life so much easier. I am also finding more joy in housework, which is something I have never experienced. :) But, I know that Heavenly Father has heard my sincere desire to do better and is showing me how it's done. What a silly thing for God to worry about but he is aware of me and the desires of my heart to be a good homemaker.

I also cannot start to express my gratitude for the gift of being able to have kids. I know so many people who struggle to get pregnant and I had to try for a whole two months and I was blessed with Patton. I can't understand why this blessing came to me so easily and not others but I do not take it for granted. I also can't believe how easy my pregnancy has been. I have not been gotten sick once. I have really only experience slight discomforts here and there. I thought it was supposed to be so hard. I will never forgive myself for not starting our family sooner but I am so grateful for the prompting that I had that has lead to the family we are starting now. I have also had no complications so far. I go into the doctors and he just tells me every thing is perfect and sends me on my way.

I don't know what trials are to come, and I know they will. I am sure I won't always get a " free pass" like I feel like I have gotten so far but I am thankful for the good life that I have had. Of course there are so many more blessings in my life but I just really felt the need to put it out there the things that I have been noticing lately.

Heavenly Father and the Savior live and they are so mindful of us. Look around and I am sure you'll see miracles occurring in your life that were meant just for you!

p.s. maybe this was way more info than you cared to know but maybe someone needs to be reminded of the blessings right in front of your eyes :)

p.p.s. For anyone who hasn't seen the pictures done by Mark Mabry called Reflections of Christ and Another Testament.... you need to see the book or better the DVD. It is such an amazing experience to think of the Savior in such a personal way. I love it!