Showing posts with label summer. Show all posts
Showing posts with label summer. Show all posts

Monday, July 22, 2013

Foodie Something or Other: Coconut Milk & Strawberry Banana Popsicles

I can't pretend to be following a resolution anymore. It's embarrassing to even say, but I have only made one loaf of bread in the past few months. And my freezer is jam-packed. It's been that kind of season, I guess. At least there's a lot of frozen fruit and veggies in there.

I wanted to capitalize on the amazing deal I got on organic strawberries at Whole Foods the other day and make popsicles for us to enjoy in the intense heat we've been having here in the Midwest. And I have 3 cans of coconut milk that are practically begging to be used. Pair that with always having bananas in the house means I had myself quite the combo! I won't pretend this was my idea, and instead found the recipe here.

We have adult-sized pop holders that will run you around $12 on Amazon and kiddo ones that are about $7. And you guys... B loves these popsicles and I love that they're easy for him to hold. And, they have a built-in drip tray. He pulls them out of the freezer himself and about loses his you-know-what if we take too long getting one to him after they're in sight. I feel pretty good about them being healthy for him and adding a little extra fat from the full-fat coconut milk, too. It makes the bars more creamy than icy, though coconut milk does have coconut water content in it, which makes the adult pops slightly icy if you prefer to bite the popsicle. If you wanted them really creamy, you could pour out the coconut water in the can and just use the creamy content. Make sure you're using a powerful blender and few to no frozen ingredients though, as blenders do need some liquid to help the process along.

Here's my method for cutting strawberries... it wastes the least amount and leaves them looking quite pretty! 1. Remove leaves. 2. Using a paring knife, cut out the core. That end waste was from 24 strawberries!

1 can coconut milk (or equivalent amount)
12 ounces of strawberries
1 fully ripe banana
1-2 TBSP honey (I used agave)
1 TSP vanilla (optional)

Of course, like all recipes, you can use what you have and go with your own flavor pallet. Blended, this will make about 4 cups. I made 6 full-sized pops and 8 kid-sized pops out of that amount. The kid pops only come in a 4-pack, so I left the mix in the fridge and just refilled when the first batch was eaten.

Super tasty and the little guy can't get enough!

Monday, July 15, 2013

Would You Moo, Too?

Totally sounds like a kid's book, right?

You can see where my head is at most days. The level of sophistication I used to have has been reduced to books with fewer than 30 words-- many of those words being repetitious.

We didn't really moo, but we did dress like cows for free food. We went to chikc-fill-ay (spelled incorrectly as not to be among Google's search results on the topic) for their dress-like-a-cow-and-get-free-food event. It happens once a year in the summer and a friend of ours went with her family last year and scored full meals (with the delicious lemonade!) for zero bucks. No tax, nada. Just a good time and free food.

So logically, I scored B and I some used clothes and went to town on coloring spots. It took probably 1/2 hour, but something that required no real effort otherwise. I stuck some felt spots on my hat and shoes, taped other spots to our pants and B's shoes and we were on our way!

You might ask... what did you eat, you crazy vegetarian? They actually have a wrap on the menu that I asked to have chicken on the side. They also have salads that are delicious. Their fries are vegan and their lemonade is seriously so yummy. Benjamin had a kiddo meal and was happy to say hello to the dressed up cow character walking around the restaurant. And after lunch? A little fun in the play-place for the kiddos while us adults chatted away over lemonades on a hot summer day. Kind of fun for a free adventure! It gave us something different to do, and I knew B would be totally interested in the other kids and big cow. I also knew the food would be hit or miss as he apparently detests food (still. though he eats at least one great meal a day and 2 crappy ones... I'm just less stressed about it as he seems to be normal in size and ehm...diapers), but it was worth a shot. One nugget, 1 fry, and 1 whole container of chocolate milk. He has a love affair with milk. And chocolate milk? Basically perfection.

So would you {dress like a} moo cow for free food? Perhaps putting aside any political issues you might have with the chain?

Here are some photos to help you decide. I mean, we look ridiculously awesome.

Group photo (minus Jim who already left). We all ate free food! Some of the spots/outfits were already off as we were headed out after the play-place fun... until next year!
p.s. Thank you all so much for your thoughts on B's night terrors. While they haven't stopped, they've been temporarily replaced by the screaming in the middle of the night due to a stuffy nose. The sickies can probably be traced back to the children's museum we just joined. After two visits and a mom who was probably not diligent enough in washing hands right after (I have a thumb-sucker... argh!), we had ourselves a snotty baby. I will be buying stock in hand sanitizer. It's always something... kind of feels like having a newborn all over again. Le sigh.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Road Trip! CHI to STL

In true Wilson style, we booked a hotel a week in advance and headed off to St. Louis. It's been ages since I've been there, literally. Like my age was probably about 10 the last time I was there. And the only time, I think. Elliot had been to MO before, but never St. Louis. And we have nothing better to do. What the heck, right?

We set out around noon on Friday and carpooled with our friends Derrick and Liz. Carpooling is so much better than driving almost the entire length of the state of Illinois alone. It's so. freaking. boring. People, trust me on this one. The only thing you pass on the way is Springfield and a crapload of Cracker Barrels. No historical landmarks, viewpoints, nada. It's a boring state that's flat as a pancake.

After stopping off at one of those Americana antique places (read: lame) off the side of the highway and circling a street multiple times to finally arrive at a sketchy Thai food restaurant, we made it to the Brad Paisley concert. Lawn seats, of course. Who wouldn't want to sit next to a bunch of drunk strangers who smoke like chimneys? Country concert, obvy. No worries. We had our own pre-game tailgate party in the parking lot beforehand. We're too cheap to buy $10 beers. Hence the lawn seats. That was just the beginning of our very indulgent beer-drinkin' weekend.
Our friends & carpool buddies, Derrick and Liz.
Reminds me a bit of last summer when we saw Brooks and Dunn with them in IL! I was happily pregnant then, of course.
View from out hotel room on the 16th floor. Not bad, except the part where they were out of King beds so they "upgraded" us to a hypoallergenic room (+) with two full beds (-). We have a King bed at home and wouldn't have it any other way. I need my space while sleeping and sleeping on a full bed is no bueno. Everything was great, HYATT, except what was most important. Meh. Luckily the full bed came in handy the first night as I had a major breakdown. It was one of those typical out-of-control and completely unpredictable ones that didn't even have a known trigger. Lasted maybe an hour. Grief is so tiring.
On the rooftop observation deck checking out the scenery. Happy husband doesn't look so happy here. But I promise, he is. ;) Maybe it was just how tired he was from consoling the hot mess that I was the night before in the sobfest I had scheduled but forgot to mark on my calendar.
This is the photo perspective my husband chose...
And here's the perspective I chose...
This is one of those times where you tell the person to do "something funny" to the large structure. Holding up the Leaning Tower of Pisa, meh. Overdone. Be more creative, people. And when I asked Ray to do something funny at the arch, he said he planned on squeezing one of the sides. Apparently the photographer didn't get the memo. FAIL. I almost didn't write a caption here and let my husband look like a complete crazy. Almost.
Walking into the Dred Scott courthouse. Okay, it's not called that but the Old Courthouse. It's the site of where the Dred Scott case was heard in the 1800s.
Stair photos because they're so gorgeous!

We headed out to meet out friends at the Anheuser-Busch factory and stopped off at this amazing place on the way.
The interior. Photo compliments of my husband. Only because it's not that good. ;)
Some of you might eat this birdie for dinner.
Pretty church on our walk to drink beer. What's that new Miranda Lambert song, Heart Like Mine?
I heard Jesus, He drank wine and I'd bet we'd get along just fine...
On our extremely lame because they wouldn't show us the most important part, bottling, tour of the Budweiser factory.

Le Factory de Budweiser. I managed to butcher a couple languages there, I think.
We're waiting to go into that building to be told that we can watch a video that is shown on a broken screen and that we can't see the bottling process today. Boo. 
 That's Bevo the fox on the corner of the building. Bevo was a drink Budweiser used to make-- essentially alcohol-free beer. Bevo the fox is shown there with a chicken wing in one hand and a cup of Bevo in the other.
The tour may have been crappy, but we did get free beer! Cheers to that! Just the beginning of our shenanigans, really. Beer #1 of about 10 for the day.
Next stop, Schlafly Bottleworks. You know, another brewery. Our friend Liz's brother lives in the town and took us around for the day. He and his wife went with us on the Budweiser tour for their, I think, 4th time. He was more knowledgeable than the tour guides themselves! Schlafly also served up homemade veggie burgers. It was at this point that I realized St. Louis is more up my alley in the food department than Chicago. Chicago is a meat-eating city. I'm a veggie. The two don't always jive. I saw more hippies in this town. Colorado, California, Oregon, Washington (my beloved west) are all full of these people... St. Louis has now been added to the veggie list. Lots of pot smoking, hookah, and pipe shops. Yes, those earthy folk are usually the sign of good eatin' for veggies like me. Hello, potheads... yes I will gladly eat your veggie burgers.
 And the beer drinking continues! What we didn't know was that during our second beer tour of the day, we'd be trying all of these beers again! Ah! Belly full!
On the Schlafly tour (a million times better than the Bud tour, btw), Ray saw a coupling sitting on a cart. This part is made by his company in Chicago. We spot them on machines everywhere and especially love factory tours where we can spot gems like this one. This is their "pantry" room where the Schlafly folk keep the beer makin' goods. The girl talking next to the pole, that was our tour guide. She was a pretty raging hippie.
After drinking our weight in beer, we headed to Busch Stadium where we hoped to catch a Cards v. Royals game. No such luck. We didn't want to pay a ton and were hoping to scalp some tickets. The problem was that there were 5 of us and the stadium was pretty full. We could've scored $35 standing-room tickets but figured we'd get just as good a view from watching outside the park. Bummer. Back to the car we went...defeated... just like the Royals.
Then we found ourselves here. One of the 10 greatest streets in America according to some lame organization no one has ever heard of the American Planning Association. We had dinner here. You know, because we were all still stuffed from lunch and the 10 beers we had throughout the course of the day. Why not order all-you-can-drink root beers? Also home to the 2nd veggie burger I consumed that day. Perhaps a record!
Later that night I attempted to snap a night photo from the inside of our hotel room. A little bit of a fail here, too, as you can see the glare of the television. Also, it would've sucked anyway.
Lots of scenic photos here... if you're interested, enjoy. If not, sorry.
The Old Courthouse from the earlier photo...
 The Arch... one of many
At the top!
 Happy husband with little bitty windows to peer out through
One side of the city...
We liked this photo opp because it shows the baseball stadium on the left, the courthouse in the center, and our hotel (brown building, bottom right) all in one!
There was some photo session or flag ceremony going on at the courthouse. When we finally got back down on the ground, the flag was gone, as were the fire trucks. Check out the cool shadowing, though!
 Happy husband ready to head back down to safety.
 View from the other side of the Arch facing the river and a very large barge carrying loads of coal.
See that flag again?
In line to head back down. I was a little bitter at this point because we had to share an elevator car up and because we are only a family of two, we had to share an elevator car down, too. We should really just be a family of three for so many reasons. And one of those reasons is because I want cute photos of my chubby baby at the arch and to share our very own elevator car together. And did I mention how many pregnant women and babies I saw on this trip? Sheesh. At the Budweiser tour, check. Here, check. Blah. Blah. Blah.
 A better look at the elevator door. It's quite narrow!
Happy, blurry husband on the ride back down. Because the Arch is shaped like a parabola, they have a vertical and horizontally moving elevator. It moves much like stairs. Down, in, down, in... all the way to the ground. It takes about 4 minutes.
 More pictures? Sheesh, lady! I know, I know.
 No boats were allowed because of all the flooding from the river. Even the docking area was underwater.
 Final picture...
Thanks to our great friends Derrick & Liz for driving, supplying us with their company, and the iPad Scrabble for entertainment on the boring commute. There seriously could not be a more boring drive. Okay, maybe through Nebraska.

p.s. I hate you blogger for deleting about 12 of the last photos and writing that I had to re-do.