December 22, 2014

Grilled salmon fillets with sun-dried tomatoes

I saw this recipe on the Today Show recently and even though I'm not a huge Salmon fan, Kathie Lee raved about it so much that I couldn't resist making it.  
And it was as delicious as she promised.

I'm definitely going to make this again and absolutely going to experiment more with baking sundried tomatoes like this.  It was almost like crispy little sun dried tomato bacon bits!

4 salmon fillets with skin on (6 ounce portions)
3/4 cup sun dried tomatoes, finely chopped
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
2 tablespoons grapeseed oil
1 tablespoon Mrs. Dash original blend seasoning
Pam cooking spray for high temp cooking
Aluminum foil

Remove salmon fillets from refrigerator and allow them to reach room temperature.
Make topping: In a small bowl, combine sun dried tomatoes and butter. Mix thoroughly and set aside.
Preheat grill or cast iron griddle to medium heat. Brush fillets with grapeseed oil and season with Mrs. Dash seasoning.(I used a bruschetta seasoning I had on hand).

Generously spray cooking surface with cooking spray. Place fillets on the grill, skin side up. Grill side without skin for approximately 2-3 minutes, watching carefully not to burn.
Flip to skin down side and grill for 3-4 minutes. Cover with foil until skin is crispy.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Place generous portion of sun dried tomato topping on top of fillets. Heat for another 6-7 minutes, until sun dried tomatoes begin to crisp.
Serve immediately.

December 18, 2014

Easy Chocolate Peppermint Loaf Cake Recipe

If you like minty things, and especially minty chocolate things, make this!

It tastes like a fudgy Thin Mint and is totally easy.

I made some for my neighbors today.  Instead of making two large loaves I made 5 mini loaves.  That why I got to keep one for myself.  :)

One of them deflated in the middle for some reason, so I gave that one to my very understanding neighbor.  

Merry Christmastime.  'Tis the season for peppermint everything!

Easy Chocolate Peppermint Loaf Cake


  • For Cake:
  • 1 box (16.5 ounces) devil's food cake mix
  • 1 box (3.5 ounces) chocolate instant pudding mix
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 3/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 2 teaspoons peppermint extract
  • 1 1/2 cups (9 ounces) mini semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • For Topping:
  • 1/3 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons water
  • 12 to 16 peppermint candies, chopped


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (325 degrees F for dark or nonstick pans and 2-3 minute longer baking times). Grease and lightly flour mini loaf pans.
For Cake:
In a large bowl, blend together mixes, sour cream, oil, eggs, water, milk and extract at low speed for 30 seconds. Continue mixing at medium speed for 1-2 minutes. Stir in chocolate chips. Pour batter into pans and bake for 30-35 minutes for mini loaves (40-50 minutes for full-sized loaf) or until top springs back to touch and toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool completely before removing from pan.
For Topping:
In a small bowl, stir together sugar and 1 teaspoon water. Add a few drops of water at a time to reach desired consistency. Drizzle over cooled cakes and top with candy pieces.
Tip: Mini chocolate chips will distribute throughout the cake and create a more uniform chocolaty texture. If using regular chocolate chips, toss them with a teaspoon of flour before incorporating to help keep them from sinking to the bottom of the pan.

Get Cooking:

December 15, 2014

S.O.S. at 6am

Waking up at 6am every morning is for the birds.   Actually, it's probably before the birds get up.  

What is a person supposed to do at that hour?  

I had made a meatloaf by 8am this morning.  That is not even normal.

Usually by 10:45 am each morning, when I've been awake for 5 hours, I'm already thinking about how nice it will be to get in bed.  But instead I try to think of something to do to entertain Jack for the next 7 hours.

Alright, I've played with all my toys.  What's next, mom?
Do any fellow stay at home moms have any recommendations for activities for babies who are too old to be entertained my shiny objects but too young to do crafts, etc.?  I need something to supplement our toys at home, our beloved box fort, and the pastime of spilling over a dog bowl again and again and again.

December 11, 2014

Game Changers

This past week has been incredible.  Thanks to a few new things I have discovered that have truly changed my life.

1) This cheese:

It melts like a damn dream and has some spice in it.  It transformed some really good enchiladas into some epic enchiladas Sunday night and I couldn't be more excited for the homemade Mexican future.  I found it next to the normal cheese in the refrigerated section.

2) This:

I don't want to go as far as say I'm an "inventor", but I'm pretty sure I just found a revolutionary new way to eat fries while driving.

Dump the fries into the bag.  Sprinkle with Ketchup.  Then rip the entire top off of the bag.  It's like an in-car tray sent from the McDonalds gods to help ease your drive and fatten your ass on long car rides.

3) This mirror for babies in the car from Baby Einstein.  I've mentioned many times how Jack hates his car seat.  And I don't know if it's a sudden change in personality or a combination of maturing ;) and getting a convertible car seat and this miracle mirror device.  But I do know that I can actually go places now and not feel like a total prisoner in my own home.  Jack hasn't cried in the car in over a week and we go multiple places per day.  I'm a real girl again!

4) Jarred baby food.  I tried making my own for 3 months and Jack would barely eat anything.  Between the inability to go anywhere without Jack screaming and his absolute refusal to eat anything, I was honestly developing a stress induced breathing problem.  No joke.  Now that I gave up and switched to jarred, he is eating 3 solid meals a day plus lots of finger foods (blueberries, black beans, etc.) and I actually look forward to meal time instead of dreading it with all my might like before.

I feel like doing an Irish jig!  Now I can actually envision having another child.  Before these major breakthroughs it was really too daunting to consider.


But mostly, that cheese.

December 05, 2014

Boys and Bathrooms

Yesterday I ate my lunch while sitting on top of a toilet (with the lid closed!) while Jack played in a bathtub (with no water in it).  Score: F for lunchtime setting.  A+ for containment of child while eating.

Like his forefathers before him, Jack is obsessed with being in the bathroom.  Every time I let him lead the way he makes a straight shot for one of our bathrooms.

What is it with guys and bathrooms!?  If he isn't peering into the empty bathtub, he's either trying to sort the trash, eat the toilet seat, or make toilet paper confetti.

Also, should I be alarmed that my child will gladly eat toilet paper and dog food but has no interest in the organic, nutritious, wholesome fruits and veggies that I make him?  

If I could describe Jack in a nutshell it would be:

Lover of life, Rosie, and the pursuit of bathrooms.

Passionate hater of anything involving straps and food.

December 04, 2014

Neither Here Nor There

Have you ever heard celebrities say they lost all their baby weight by breastfeeding and then "chasing around a toddler"?  And automatically thought they were an asshole?

I have.

But I think I might have been wrong.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not losing any weight at all.  But I do now spent 12 straight hours a day chasing around Jack while he crawls everywhere in our house.  Whether he is trying to eat my shoes, snack on dog food, bath in Rosie's water bowl, or stand up with his hands gripping the toilet seat (new trick), I basically never sit down.

Ready, Set, PLAY

These days it takes me about 6 hours to watch one episode of Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, 2-5 hours to finish unloading the dishwasher, and clearly like a week to write a blog post.  

I guess I can't blame the little guy for wanting to explore everything.  I mean, why would he ever want to play with plastic donuts and teddy bears when he could get his little paws on cords, dust bunnies, and toilets?  

He's a busy man.

I on the other hand am in some sort of weird mom limbo in which my child is young enough that he still has to base his life around naps, but too young to be able to do any actual activities.  So until that changes we will be spending A LOT of time together, inside, trying to avoid life threatening objects.

December 02, 2014

Pumpkin Caramel Tart with Gingersnap Crust

If you're like me you're pretending to be really healthy this week after feasting way too much over the Thanksgiving holiday and eating lots of desserts like the one below.

But if you are not, then make this.  It has a variety of textures which keeps it interesting and all the warm flavors of Fall in it.  Plus it's a cinch to make and pretty unique so it's an all around winner.


  1. 2 cups firmly packed gingersnap crumbs
  2. 1⁄4 cup butter, melted
  3. 3 tablespoons sugar
  4. 1 large egg white, lightly beaten
  1. 1 (12-ounce) jar hot caramel topping*
  2. 3 large eggs, divided
  3. 1 (15-ounce) can pumpkin
  4. 1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
  5. 2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
  6. 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  7. Garnish: whipped cream, pumpkin pie spice, caramel topping
  1. To prepare crust: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a medium bowl, combine gingersnap crumbs, melted butter, sugar, and egg white, stirring to combine well. Press crumb mixture into the bottom and up sides of an 11-inch tart pan with re- movable bottom. Bake for 10 minutes; set aside to cool.
  2. To prepare filling: In a small bowl, whisk together hot caramel topping and 1 egg, whisking until smooth. Pour caramel mixture into prepared crust. Bake for 20 minutes. Let cool for 10 minutes.
  3. In a small bowl, combine pumpkin, sweetened condensed milk, remaining 2 eggs, pumpkin pie spice, and vanilla, whisking until smooth. Pour pumpkin mixture over caramel layer. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes or until set. Let cool completely in pan. Store refrigerated. To serve, garnish with whipped cream, pumpkin pie spice, and additional caramel topping, if desired.

November 21, 2014

Quick Question...

Why are cats allowed to do whatever the hell they want but dogs are expected to stay inside and out of people's way?

Several of my neighbors have cats and they are always willy nilly losing them like it's no big deal.

But now it is a big deal to me.  My new neighbors started letting their cats out of the house about a month ago and since then it has been Bark City at the Rush household.  Whenever Rosie sees one of those free-for-all felines, she goes ballistic.  Usually this involves waking up Jack from a nap, annoying the crap out of me, and just generally causing an unnecessary ruckus.

So my question to you cat owners out there is this: Why is it OK for you to let your cat roam freely in my yard, under my car, upsetting my dog, and making me feel dirty, when I have to train my dog and keep her on a leash?

Sure, in a dream world, all animals could safely roam as freely as they wanted to and return safely home each night.  But it's not a dream world.  
Case in point: Doritos don't make you skinny.

If I wanted a cat in my yard or my car, you best believe I would get my own.  I don't have a cat because I'm highly allergic and highly unattracted to them.  Recognize.


November 19, 2014

Fall Break 2K14

Last week I went on a much needed vacation.  It was beautiful and relaxing and fun as hell.  But there is nothing to make you feel more like a 30 year old than partying like a 20 year old all week.

By the time I returned my body was screaming for hydration and legumes and by soul was begging for mercy.

But it was all worth it.  

My only minor regret which resulted in a major bruise was slipping into the pool at Nippers.  In my defense, the pool was apparently painted in slime and shaped in a way that had no apparent edges by which to reach the side of the pool.


But in the defense of the pool I also had more than one rum drink at lunch.  

Let me just tell you, the only thing a girl over a size 6 loves more than wearing a bathing suit in public, is taking dramatic falls into bodies of water in that bathing suit.

Don't worry though, I managed to hold my drink above water and it remained unscathed in the accident.

Now I'm back to life, back to reality, and back to the sweetest little face in the world.  But I'm already excited about my next vacation, whenever that may be.

November 12, 2014

Chicken in a Creamy Parmesan and Sundried Tomato Sauce

This is the bomb.  This is beautiful.  This is so easy and delicious.

The author of this blog makes the most amazing looking things and I always want to try them, but never want to make them because they look too complicated.  But this recipe is so easy! 

Chicken in a Creamy Parmesan and Sundried Tomato Sauce
  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • 4 (~6 ounce) skinless and boneless chicken breasts, pounded thin
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine (or chicken broth)
  • 3/4 cup chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup heavy/whipping cream
  • 1/4 cup oil packed sundried tomatoes, chopped
  • 1/4 cup parmigiano reggiano (parmesan), grated
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil, thinly sliced (or 1 teaspoon dried basil)
  1. Heat the oil in a pan over medium-high heat, add the chicken and cook until lightly golden brown on both sides and cooked through, about 5 minutes per side, before setting aside.
  2. Add the garlic and red pepper flakes and saute until fragrant, about a minute.
  3. Add the wine and deglaze the pan.
  4. Add the broth, cream, sundried tomatoes and parmesan, bring to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer until the sauce thickens a bit, about 3-5 minutes.
  5. Mix in the chicken along with any juices, season with salt and pepper to taste, remove from heat and mix in the basil.

It involves all of my favorite ingredients and it really is beautiful in color.  And even though it involves heavy cream, it's really not that high in calories but taste like a decadent delight.

I served mine with rice and roasted asparagus.  It is a winner!

November 05, 2014

White Chicken Chili Recipe

This is the easiest chili recipe I've ever made and one of the most delicious.  I was surprised how much flavor it had because it really is so simple.  But it is packed with flavor thanks to a cornucopia of spices.

Chicken Chili | ©
Serves: 6-8

  • 4 skinless, boneless chicken breasts
  • 4 cups chicken stock
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 1 (15-ounce) can white beans, with liquids from beans
  • 1 (4-ounce) can diced green chilis, with liquids from chilis
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • ½ teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh oregano
  1. Add chicken to a 4-quart, heavy bottomed Dutch oven or stockpot. Add chicken stock and cook until tender, about 15 minutes. Shred chicken with two forks and then add back to the liquid.
  2. Add garlic and onion to stockpot, white beans, green chilis, dried oregano, cumin, chili powder, salt, pepper, and chopped fresh oregano. Stir until well-combined. Taste for flavor and adjust to your preference.
  3. Simmer over low heat for about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and serve.
I just added a dollop of sour cream to each cup and a few dashes of hot sauce and it was the perfect light but delicious soup for a crisp fall lunch or dinner.

November 03, 2014

Body Paint

Two weeks ago I saw Wicked in NYC.

Last weekend was Halloween.

Naturally, I have full body and face paint on the brain.  I do not see how anyone could get painted like this every single day of the week, and twice on Saturdays in the case of the Wicked witch.

You see, I know a thing or two about full body paint.  One year in high school I got conned into dressing up as the planet Mercury with my parents for an elaborate solar system themed party that, I must point out, was no where close to Halloween.  I had braces at the time and apparently that made me the perfect silver candidate.


I remember picking silver paint out of my ears for days after the actual initial painting.  

I can't remember how or why I agreed to this, but I hope I either got a big bonus in allowance or was in trouble and serving out a punishment.

October 27, 2014

Thoughts on Motherhood - 7 Months

Isn't it ironic that the greatest gift you and your spouse can give one another is the gift of a child?  Yet the meanest thing you can do to one another is leave them alone with that child for the entire weekend?
I was alone with Jack all weekend.  Which wasn't in a big deal because it was the just the same as every other day of my life, but it still would have been nice to have been alone for 5 or 10 minutes.  I know, I'm high maintenance!
I started wondering how I could possibly still be excited about the weekend even though it wasn't really a day off for me.  (I'm sure it wasn't mostly due to the pizza and friends I was having over that night.  Pizza + friends makes everything better).  I realized this either means that every day of my life is kind of like a weekend....or that in reality I'll never have an actual relaxing weekend again for at least another 18 years.
I think my main beef with the whole situation was that I had to wake up at 6 on both Saturday and Sunday.  That ain't even right.  Hats off to single parents out there.  I don't know how they do it.

October 22, 2014

I'm With Stupid

Do you ever feel like your mind and your body aren't on the same page?  I do!
Due to Jack's all encompassing hatred for his carseat, whenever we are out and about I am basically in constant fear that he is going to freak out and I'll have to abandon my missions.  That usually leads me to be very hot, sweaty, and nervous when on the town.  And almost always a little distracted too.
Today I went to the gym for a class.  Jack was tear free for the car ride there, the whole entire time I was "taking my exercise" (as my grandfather used to say), and even when I put him BACK in the carseat, which is usually the time he really lets the screams out.
I decided I was going to take advantage of this amazing opportunity to go to Harris Teeter and get him some prune juice.  The poor little lad has been having some very painful stomach problems in the last few days.
He was wonderful the whole time we were at the store.  I even took the time to order a sandwich!  I was getting so carried away.  It was wonderful. 
And then I knocked down an entire display of 2 gallon Gold Peak Iced Tea when I gingerly lifted one bottle off to take home with me.  Boo boo to my foot that it fell on.  Gaping wound to my pride as I stood there with a stunned baby, a fallen wooden shelving display, and lots and lots o' tea.
The manager kept asking me again and again if I was OK.  It was not totally unlike this experience at Outback Steakhouse.
Needless to say, that little ordeal had me just a wee bit flustered.  So naturally I checked out with my groceries in the self checkout, too embarrassed to interact with actual humans, grabbed my receipt, and then left all of my groceries on the counter and got into my car.
So whenever you think you are alone in your mind-body disconnect, just remember there's always some other idiot in Wilmington making it rain iced tea and leaving her overly-confident groceries at the store.
*Obviously I went back for my groceries after I realized my mistake.  I wasn't going to leave a perfectly good sandwich abandoned, no matter how embarrassed I was!

October 21, 2014

Early Bird Gets the Worm, and All the Coffee

Sometimes I can't believe I live in a world in which I wake up in the 6 o'clock hour everyday. 
If you had told my college/post college self that, she would have laughed in your face.  But it would have been sometime after 10 or 11am when she was just getting up, excited that she could skip breakfast altogether and go straight for lunch.  See, she loves sandwiches.
Now if I get to sleep into until 7am, I am positively thrilled. 
That's why it was no big deal to wake up at 5:00am to go see the Today show in New York City last weekend.  I found the perfect spot to stand with my mom in which we were situated perfectly behind a set of large lights.  That way we could see everything perfectly and no one would ever put us on TV because of the giant equipment in front of us.  Pretty much our dream situation in all of life.
It wasn't until we left the main set and leisurely walked over to the cranberry bog that we accidentally ended up front and center on TV.
A friend sent me this screen shot of us:
That's officially as famous as I ever want to get.

October 14, 2014

Jazzy by Sherpa

Jazzy by Sherpa - The Park Avenue Pet Carrier
You may try to convince me that there is a better name for a product out there, but I simply won't believe you. 
My mother in law's sister sent her this bag as a dog carrier.  And I am not sure if it's a joke or not.  And I'm not sure if you are technically allowed to use it outside of Park Avenue.  But I know I am obsessed with it.
A cross section between New York style...
Any Park Avenue chic.

October 07, 2014

Thoughts on Motherhood - 6.5 Months

1. The first thing I say every time I hear Jack wake up on the monitor is "What time is it!?"  I basically don't even care if I got good sleep or not.  I just need to know if Jack has slept through the night.  It's like the mom version of being superficial.  But instead of caring about clothes, appearance, etc., I care more about hours of sleep slept versus actually being well rested. 
I don't actually care what time it is.  Why would I?  I live in the most adorable version of groundhog day and have nothing to do.  I just need to know that my baby will one day sleep from 7-7.
Admitting you have a problem is the first step...
2. Alarms no longer exist.  If there are things to be done that involve waking up before a baby wakes you up, I do not want to do them.  Unless it involves being in a Caribbean time zone.  And me being on vacation.  And the baby being in a different time zone.
I basically haven't woken up naturally in over 6 months.
3. I have started following so many mommy blogs on Facebook that, since I read almost every post in detail, I am almost always either laughing my ass off or quietly weeping on my phone. 
The humor about shared experiences and sadness about parental loss is real and deep and constant on social media.  Tissues not included.
4. I think I finally got my shit together.  6 months later.  And I'm not talking about baby weight.  In fact, let's never speak of baby weight again, mmkay?
I'm talking about prioritizing the shit out of my time.  When Jack was first born, I used all of his sleepy time to catch up on TV shows.  Now that he only takes 2-3 naps a day I try to be like a naptime ninja so I feel more accomplished.  Today in his afternoon nap I painted an entire dresser AND bathed myself.  Miracles do happen.
5. The whole "not having a job" thing has finally caught up with me in terms of my fun money cash flow.  AKA, fun money is a thing of my Jackless past.  That being said, I will also paint your dresser.  For $100.  But I'll need at least a week to do it.  And for you to take care of my child during the painting of each coat.  Don't everybody call at once.
6. I love Fall!  I can finally pile on the layers I love so much and stop worrying about my alabaster baby getting a heat rash every time we step outside.  Life is good!