Roasted Shrimp

Here’s a super simple and incredibly flavorful summer dish for you-Roasted Shrimp.  I served it with a simple orzo salad and it made a perfect light weeknight meal.

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To get started, preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Peel and devein one pound of shrimp. Dry with a paper towel and place in a bowl.  Add 1 tbsp salt, 1 tsp pepper, 3 cloves minced garlic and 2 tbsp. olive oil. Toss well so all the shrimp are coated.

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Spread the shrimp out evenly on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.

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Roast the shrimp in the oven for 8-10 minutes. Allow to cool and serve! I also use these for fajitas, with cocktail sauce as an appetizer, and with grilled vegetables.

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How do you enjoy shrimp?

Fun Friday Finds 11

Friday has arrived!  It’s been absolutely gorgeous week in our neck of the woods. Our big news is they’ve broken ground on our new pool! Wednesday the trucks and digger pulled in and we are all giddy with excitement.  Steve and I because of the pool- the boys because of the digger! Griffin is just amazed by having a real live construction site in his backyard.  While the boys have been occupied by that, I’ve had a little extra time to cook and write.  Keep an eye out for some recipes next week!  In the meantime, here are some things I’m loving this week. Share yours in the comments!

Joanna Gaines’s recent Facebook post about parenting is so sweet and very reassuring.  It’s a must read for all those fellow moms out there in the trenches! Read about the post here.
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In 2008, while training for a half marathon, I was fitted for running shoes at Marathon Sports in Cambridge. I learned that the Nike Air Zoom Structure was the perfect shoe for me. That was the good news. The bad news was the pricetag. Over $100 for a pair of sneakers? Yikes. My friend Jessie told me to look for the shoe on EBay in an older model. Bingo! It worked. I simply did a search looking for the exact shoe, model, and size I was seeking. And the price was a fraction of the the current model. I’ve never bought sneakers at full price again.

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Griffin got this toy, Bucky Turtle, for his birthday and it’s fantastic!  Not only does it teach him how to buckle and unbuckle things, we have also been working on colors and numbers.  An added bonus-it kept him occupied for a long time on our car ride to the Cape. Score!

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Waze is the bomb!  I started using it about a year and a half ago and I just love it. It is an app that uses crowd-sourcing information to give the most current information about traffic.  It provides you the quickest route from Point A to Point B.  Sometimes this means avoiding major highways and going a VERY scenic route, but I’ve found that it’s very accurate.  You can also plan trips in the future by inputting an address and an arrival time.  It will then notify you as when you should plan to leave.  You can also look at traffic trends.  It’s just really, really helpful!  Check it out!

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What are you digging this week?

20 Years….

This past weekend I attended my 20th high school reunion. It was a joyous night and I was pleasantly surprised at how genuinely happy people appeared to be at being reunited. Clique lines seemed to melt away as friends greeted friends who’d grown up together in 4 small towns in rural southern New Hampshire. Conversations flowed easily and hugs were abundant.

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Much has changed, but I was struck by how many people were exactly the same. Circumstances have changed, of course, but personalities shone through that were cultivated at Timberlane 2+ decades ago. We were lucky to grow up in a time and place that provided not only a wonderful education, but a safe environment, rich extracurricular activities, and so many options for growth.

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It’s hard to believe 20 years has passed, but the reunion offered me a chance to reflect-on what I’ve accomplished, what I’ve learned, and who I’ve become.  Here are some things I’ve learned:

*Some friends are meant to be on your journey forever and some friendships are fleeting.  Hold the dear ones close.

*The cruelest people need the most love

*Having children is humbling

*Confidence can be cultivated

*I’m drawn to people with similar experiences, world views, and senses of humor

*Life is hard; be kind to yourself

*Family, education, and health are gifts

*It really is about the journey.  Stop and smell the roses, take pictures, capture moments, make memories.  That’s the good stuff.

*Be your own advocate.  No one else is going to fight for you like you can.

*Travel is so important and wonderful and can change your world view for the better

*Once you find your passion, cultivate it!

Whether you’ve been out of high school for 2 years or 60, what have you learned??

Crepes

We had a special visitor overnight on Saturday, our niece, Lara. Lara is the middle of three girls and is ten years old. She is so much fun and I’m glad she decided to spend some time with us! She is a wonderful help with the boys and even taught us a new card game called Trash. She had one request when she arrived-that we cook! I can do that!

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Growing up, whenever my father had a business trip, we girls had a special treat for dinner-Norwegian pancakes.  They are very similar to crepes and we’d smother them with jam or sugar and eat to our heart’s content. Saturday night felt a bit like those childhood nights with my mom and sisters, and it was a joy to share it with Lara.  And crepes are SO SIMPLE.  As Lara has a dairy intolerance, we substituted water for milk and olive oil for butter and honestly, they tasted just as great. Here’s the recipe:

Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups flour

1 1/2 cups milk (we used water)

2 eggs

1/2 stick melted butter (we used 2 tbsp olive oil)

1 teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon sugar

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Mix all the ingredients in well in a large bowl. We used the stand-up mixer and the batter came together in no time.

Heat a large skillet to medium heat and add a dab of butter or olive oil. Place one ladle of batter in the middle of the pan and evenly distribute, creating a thin layer. Allow to cook until the edges begin to pull away from the pan, about 2 minutes. Carefully flip and cook the other side for about 1 minute.

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Spread your favorite ingredients and either roll up or fold into quarters and enjoy!  Here are some suggestions for tasty toppings:

Nutella

Bananas

Berries

Jam

Sugar

Honey

Syrup

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Griff prefers jam.

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Lara liked Nutella and strawberries.

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Easy Chicken and Veggie Fajitas

I have an easy recipe for you today-chicken and veggie fajitas.  I often make this for a crowd because everyone can create their own using whatever toppings make them happy.  Serve with a side of black beans or salad and you have an great meal! Here’s the recipe:

Ingredients:

1-2 lbs. chicken breast strips (I generally buy 1/2 lb. of meat for each person)

1 onion

1 bell pepper

1 zucchini

2 avocados

diced tomatoes or salsa

1 packet fajita seasoning

1 small container sour cream

shredded cheddar cheese

flour tortillas

Directions:

Mix the fajita seasoning with 1/4 cup water, per the package instructions.

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Add the chicken strips and half of the seasoning mixture to a ziploc bag and allow to marinate while you prep the other ingredients.

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Slice the onion, bell pepper, and zucchini and saute with a bit of olive oil on medium-high heat.

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Add the chicken to a saute pan with a bit of olive oil and cook about 3-4 minutes on each side.

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Add the remaining seasoning mixture to the veggies and continue cooking until they are soft.
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Once the meat and veggies are cooked, serve them with the flour tortillas and the other sides-avocado, sour cream, shredded cheese, and salsa.

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Enjoy!!

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Thanks to Viki for being my model!  Perfect fajita folding and eating form!

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Fun Friday Finds 10

It’s Friday and you know what that means…a roundup of my favorite things this week.  We are getting back into the swing of things on the home front, working our way through piles and piles of laundry and having some fun in between. Here are some things I’m loving this week, please share yours in the comments!

The Wax Room is an awesome place located here in Reading, MA. Who likes bikini waxes? No one I know! I dislike them so fiercely that I put it off until, well, let’s say I’ll scare the other beachgoers.  My experience at The Wax Room was, dare I say, PLEASANT!  Bryanna is a pro and I never even screamed.  She offers a host of services and booking online was a breeze.  Definitely check out The Wax Room if you are in the area!

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Last week while on vacation, I had the luxury of starting-and finishing-a book! And what a book it was.  When Breath Becomes Air is the account of the life of Paul Kalanithi, in his own words, as he faces cancer at a young age.  Poignantly written, I couldn’t put it down. This is one book that won’t be forgotten for a long time.

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We found this puzzle for Griff last week and he has been obsessed with it ever since. The pieces are magnetic, making it a huge draw for him. You can find it on Amazon here.

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Here’s a list of easy make-ahead breakfasts compiled by Julie at Peanut Butter Fingers.  She’s a blogger I follow and these are really great options. I especially love the fritatta!

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What are you loving this week?  I’d love to hear from you in the comments!

Cape Cod Part 2 and The 4th of July

Our week in Eastham was wonderful. The beach was beautiful, the kids (mostly) agreeable, and we had food and drink aplenty. Our last night on the Cape was spent at Race Point Beach in Provincetown with our friends Linda and David and their friends the Clark-Dowell Family. We roasted hotdogs and s’mores as we watched pod after pod of seals swim by us. The sunset was brilliant and capped off a perfect week. On our way north, we stopped in Marshfield for a 3rd of July cookout and then partied with our playgroup on the 4th in Nahant.  It was a spectacular night.  Here are a bunch of random pictures from our week…

Spinach salad with corn, cucumbers, blueberries, tomatoes, bell pepper, and manchego.

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Dinner at the Wequassett…pesto linguine with sun-dried tomatoes and shrimp.

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The view from my run…doesn’t get more serene than this!

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Blueberry pancakes!

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We explored the Audobon Society Center in Wellfleet and took a gorgeous walk down to the shore.

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Dinner out with Viki & Fausto at the Bookstore in Wellfleet.

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Dinner was mixed greens with beets, avocado, goat cheese, and salmon.  SO GOOD, can’t wait to recreate this at home!

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While the kids nap, I drank a beer in the outdoor shower.  Bliss.

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S’more hands with Katherine.

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Parker snuggling with Linda.

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Parker turned 9 months on the 1st!!

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North Andover 5K on the 4th.

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4th of July party at the MacDonald’s in Nahant.  Griff loved Addie’s chair!

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Parker and Liam, who we later learned is the grandson of friends of my parents, Andy and Sue Mello.  Small world!!

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In conversation, Meghan and I discovered our fathers worked together in the 80’s!  It was so nice to meet her and her family!

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We hope you all had a safe and happy 4th of July!

Cape Cod

We are down on Cape Cod for the week with friends and we’re having a blast! We’ve spent a lot of time at the beach and playing in the yard. We’ve also been enjoying yummy food and drinks.  Here are some pictures from our week so far…cape1 cape2

Parker sleeping on the beach…bliss!

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Griffin asleep…notice the Crayon book is in his crib. 🙂

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Dinner of grilled steak and spinach salad with fresh corn and tomatoes.

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Scrambled eggs and sweet peach.
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Griff and Jax playing on the beach.cape6

The remnants of steamers

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A visit to the Cape Cod National Seashore Visitor’s Center on a cloudy day.cape8
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I think both of the boys are getting teeth…their hands are in their mouths constantly!cape10

Lunch!cape11

Lobster roll

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Guacamole for an afternoon snack.

More to come!

 

Spinach & Meat Lasagna

I have a yummy recipe for you guys today! I often make this before a trip to bring along to lessen the time I spend in the kitchen. It’s definitely a crowd pleaser. Spinach & Meat Lasagna uses ground beef, sweet sausage, and fresh spinach to create a comforting meal. Here’s the recipe which makes 1 large and 1 small lasagna:

Ingredients:

1 package no-cook lasagna noodles

2 24 oz. jars of pasta sauce

1 lb. ground beef

1 lb. sweet Italian sausage links

32 oz. ricotta cheese

16 oz + 8 oz. mozzarella cheese

2 eggs

1 package fresh baby spinach

1 sweet onion, chopped

6 cloves garlic, minced

1 tbsp. Italian seasoning

1 tbsp. salt

1 tsp. pepper

Directions:

Chop up the sweet onion.

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In a large bowl, mix the ricotta cheese, 16 oz. of mozzarella cheese, Italian seasoning, and 2 eggs.

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Add the fresh spinach and incorporate well.

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Meanwhile, cook the onions for about 5 minutes with olive oil on medium heat. Season the onions well with some of the salt. Raise the heat to high and add the ground beef. Season again with salt. Add the minced garlic at the end and cook for about one minute.

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In another large bowl, combine the meat, garlic, and onion mixture with both jars of tomato sauce.

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If using links, remove the meat from the casings and add to the hot pan. Break up the meat and brown evenly.

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Add the sausage to the meat sauce mixture.

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In a large casserole dish, begin layering the ingredients starting with a small amount of meat sauce on the bottom of the dish. Next, add a layer of uncooked pasta sheets followed by a layer of 1/3 of the cheese mixture.

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Continue layering until all ingredients have been used.

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The last layer is typically meat sauce. I then finish it off by sprinkling the top with the remaining 8 oz. of mozzarella cheese. Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes. Allow to cool for 10 minutes before serving. Enjoy!

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Fun Friday Finds 9

Hello! We’ve had a great week and I have to admit, I don’t miss the sheer exhaustion I used to experience in June as a public school employee! June can be a really hard month for a lot of people and it feels really decadent to meet today with gratitude and energy.  If you are just finishing up the school year, THANK YOU for your work and enjoy every minute of summer!

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Here is a roundup of some things I’m loving this week.  Share yours in the comments!

cauliflower rice

Organic cauliflower “rice” was introduced to me earlier this week by my friend Katie.  She sauteed it with veggies, grated ginger, hot sauce, and soy sauce, adding 2 beaten eggs at the end to create fried rice. It was outstanding and a fraction of the calories of the classic dish! Cauliflower rice can be bought frozen at Trader Joe’s.

 

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More Space Place is amazing!  My hair stylist, Tina, told me about this place last Fall. The owner, Keith, came out to measure our closets and a week later complete closet systems were in place and ready to be organized. It took him just a couple of hours to install them in three separate closets. And it was a fraction of the price of other companies. I HIGHLY recommend More Space Place to anyone who needs their closets done!  *I used the store in Salem, NH.

 

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Oh…this book.  I think I’ve read it about 400 times this week alone.  The Day the Crayons Quit is hilarious and such a hit with Griffin.  We received it as a gift from Griff’s cousins Wyatt and Wes and we are so grateful we did!

 

thinkbaby

 

Thinkbaby sunscreen is a fantastic sunblock for your little ones.  As the days get sunnier, make sure you lather them up with this great stuff.  It isn’t goopy or sticky like many other brands and absorbs quickly, crucial when dealing with a toddler who just wants to PLAY!

What are you loving this week??