Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Baked Southwestern Corn Dip-- Yum!

Sean digging in

The last time we made the trek to visit family a few hours away, we brought home a bag full of their fresh-grown sweet corn, squash, zucchini, tomatoes, and peppers. I was in heaven. Until I realized we could only eat so many ears of corn on the cob. That's when I remembered this delicious recipe for Baked Southwestern Corn Dip. My mom found this recipe in our local newspaper years ago and we have since adapted it to our tastes. Our family almost always has this dip at holiday parties, but I figured, why not in the middle of the summer? And, for kicks, why not have this dip for dinner instead of an appetizer? It's full of yummy veggies so it can't be completely unhealthy, right? Yeah, just read the list of decadent ingredients.... it's definitely not health food. But it is seriously good!!

Baked Southwestern Corn Dip
About 2 cups fresh corn or 1 Can Yellow Corn Kernels
1 Can Sliced Black Olives (2-1/4 oz)
1 Can Ro-Tel (10 oz)
1 Can Black Beans (15 oz)
1 Medium Fresh Jalapeno Pepper (2 Tablespoons Chopped)
2 Jarred Roasted Red Peppers, chopped
1 Cup Shredded Monterey Jack, Colby Jack, or Pepper Jack Cheese
½ Cup Grated Parmesan Cheese
1 Cup Mayonnaise

Cooking Oil Spray
Tortilla Chips for Dipping

Preheat Oven to 350
Drain black beans and Ro-tel tomatoes (and corn if you used canned). Mix drained vegetables and corn in a medium size mixing bowl. Add jalapeno, roasted red peppers, both cheeses, and mayonnaise. Stir well.

Spray a 2 quart baking dish lightly with cooking oil spray. Pour the dip into the dish and smooth the top. Bake until the top is bubbly, about 30 minutes. Serve with tortilla chips. Spicy bulk sausage also tastes great in this.

Friday, September 25, 2009

My Little Tinkerbell (and NEWS)

Now that fall is finally approaching-- even though it hardly feels like it here yet-- I'm working on getting my little bug ready for Halloween. I love Halloween!! The costumes, the cool weather, the face paint, and, of course, the candy. Last year at Halloween, Hadley wasn't quite two months old yet, so we dressed her in a bunting bag costume. She was a little ladybug and was so cute it was ridiculous.

This year, Hadley will be about 14 months, and she is totally old enough for a real costume. I have had the best time scouring shops for little toddler costumes. I wanted something fairy-like with a skirt or tutu, but most importantly, I wanted the costume to reflect Hadley's personality. I finally found the best costume last weekend. It's a Tinkerbell costume and is girly and frou frou and even comes with sparkles. The costume is much greener and less yellow-y in real life. And, best of all, the costume requires no headpiece, which Hadley will most definitely not wear.

I tried the costume on Hadley as soon as we got home and her response was mixed. At first, she pulled the skirt out, looked at it, and then looked at me like, "Huh???" Then, she quickly forgot about her costume and went back to playing. I guess that passes the test, right? She looked so cute in it, too-- like my own little fairy princess.

Now, I'm on a quest to find a treat bag, preferably one that is monogrammed. On pretty much everyone's recommendation, I searched Pottery Barn Kids, but their stock seems kindof blah. I want something a little girly yet generic enough to work year after year. This is one possibility I have found:

It's close but I'm not completely sold yet. Let me know if you have suggestions!

And now, for the big news of the day, I have a new little niece, named Caitlyn Grace, who was born yesterday! She is amazing and beautiful and if I get permission from my sister, I'll post pics soon.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Design HELP!!

Just recently J Crew added a Q&A for the men's section entitled "Jack Knows Best." Men can send in questions they can't ask anywhere else about appropriate clothing 'n such! Great Idea!

Send your man to the J Crew men's section for the rest of the invaluable info!

Some sample question:
How long should my pants be?
Where can I wear a linen suit?
When do I wear a crew-neck sweater versus a V-neck?

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Dear Hadley: Month 12-- Happy Birthday, Sweet Pea!!!

Dear Hadley:

Happy Birthday, my sweet baby!!!! You turned one a few days ago, and I am still amazed that a whole year has passed since your birth. I remember those last, few days before you were born as I prepared meals to freeze, made last-minute purchases for your arrival, and generally nested like crazy. I remember the first moment I met you when you stared right into my eyes and pursed your lips into a sweet rosebud. You did that with your mouth for the first few weeks, and I spent most of that time just staring at you and taking you in. I remember introducing you to our family and friends, bringing you home for the first time, settling in and developing a routine with you, and struggling through those rough, first weeks of breastfeeding. I remember when you learned to roll over (both ways), began cooing and then babbling and jabbering, began smiling and laughing, learned to crawl, stand, and then walk, and finally, started talking. It has been an amazing ride, Sweet Pea, and I have loved every moment with you.

Your birthday was a fun, fun day. You, Daddy, and I woke up early to take care of last-minute preparations for your big birthday bash, then we had a nice, relaxed lunch, and got dressed for the party. You took a looong nap that day and woke up about 15 minutes before your party started. I was getting a little worried that you were going to sleep through the party, but you woke up just in the nick of time!

Your party was so great, too. We had tons of family and friends there to celebrate, and you had so much fun playing and opening presents. You didn't really know what to make of everyone singing "Happy Birthday" to you, but you really LOVED your cake. You started out daintily dipping one little finger into the icing and tasting it. Then, once you realized how good that icing was, you dug both hands into the cake and shoved as much of the cake and icing into your mouth as you could. You even shared your icing with me and Daddy. You are such a sweet baby!

You have really grown from an infant into a little toddler this month, little one. You took your first steps at the beginning of August and by the end of August, you were walking pretty confidently on your own. You decided one day about mid-month that you were ready to walk instead of crawl, and you practiced constantly. Now, you pop up and walk just about everywhere. You still only make it a few feet, and sometimes only a few steps, before you plop back down, but you're getting where you want to go.

You are also talking now. You repeat words that we say, you consistently say "book," "banana," "Mama," "Daddy, and "bye," and you scream "BELLA" all the time. I'm not sure Bella really appreciates it, but you definitely get her attention-- and ours, too! Speaking of books, you LOVE your books right now. You have always loved for us to read to you, but this month, you realized that you can ask us to read to you. And, you do-- constantly. You have a favorite book that you get down from a table in our living room and bring to me. You then flip the book up into my lap and say "boooo" and smile really big at me. After we read the book, you flip it into my lap again and say "aga, aga," as in "again, again, Mama." And, we read it again and again and again. Sometimes we read your books 14 time in one morning. I make sure we switch up your books, but you always come back to your favorite. I love that you are loving your books. I'm thinking you are going to love to read as much as Daddy and I do.

You also have this adorable thing you do right now when something makes you happy. You bunch your little hands at your chest, scrunch up your face, and smile really big. I love when you do that! And, your laugh. Right now, you are so incredibly giggly-- at everything and nothing at all. You giggle at Daddy, you giggle when I hand you something, and sometimes, you just giggle for the heck of it. You are definitely a giggly, little girl.

I love you, my sweet baby and can't wait to see what this next year holds. If it is anything like this last year, we are in for a wild ride!!

Your Mommy

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

I'm Here-- I Promise!!!

I so owe you guys a post! I know I've been MIA for the last couple of weeks, but I have a good excuse, I promise. I've been meticulously planning and prepping for Haddy's big birthday bash during just about every waking moment for the past couple of weeks and unfortuanately, everything not party related, including this blog, kinda fell by the wayside. Oops. But, I'm back now. And, all of my hard work on the party really paid off! The party was fabulous and so fun-- more details and pics to come.

My baby is one!!! I still can't believe it and am still a bit in shock. We have spent this week recovering (i.e., relaxing) from her big birthday bash, attending Hadley's one-year checkup, and organizing Hadley's toys since she really racked up at her party. I hope to post Hadley's 12-month letter tomorrow. Keep your fingers crossed.

Oh, and my amazing sister-in-law, Jennifer, will be posting guest blogs on her favorite topic, interior design. We share a love of modern design and I'm so excited to read her posts. The first two she posted in late August are great. You can find the posts here and here.

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