Dec 24, 2008

this week we celebrated two annual occasions in the vender/evjen families. last saturday was tamale time at adrian’s dad’s house. we get covered in masa and red sauce but we have a blast making them! it’s a day full of joking around, great family time and most of all seriously yummy rewards when we get finished. the hours of work are definitely worth it! i think adrian has ate two dozen tamales himself since then. here’s a pic from that day of claire and her tio eric who came into town for the holidays:IMG_0063

and yesterday the girls of the evjen family (plus our new addition of matt’s gf yasmine!) got together to bake like crazy ladies. we made cookies, bars, bark, balls and i even tried my hand at a disasterous macaroon recipe. hint: when it calls for parchment paper don’t try to sub wax paper, it does really funky things to your oven and cookies! we spent the evening getting covered in flour, doing our best whitney houston impersonations and laughing until our faces hurt. i look forward to this time with my mom every year and i am so happy i get to share it with two very special girls now. here’s a pic of us gorgeous ladies:IMG_0133

hope you had a fun time preparing for your holidays!

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Dec 11, 2008

we seriously have the best friends ever. there’s a group of 5 couples that we meet with regularly from our church, some are old friends and some new but the support, love and fun we share is unmatched. they are the kind of people that you know would do ANYTHING for you and can always count on. they’ve been our prayer warriors through all of this, our gracious help when i was stuck on bed rest, and our entertainment when we need some social time. tonight a bunch of us got together for dinner @ one of our fave places joe’s farm grill– it was a great time! the highlight was our friend’s one year old daughter, evie, saying “bye claire, i love you” over and over and helping adrian push the stroller. too sweet for words. here’s a couple pics of adrian, me and claire bear tonight.



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yum yum.

Nov 6, 2008

yesterday i made my parents and adrian dinner and rediscovered my love for this unique spicy-honey cashew chicken recipe that i haven’t made in forever. it’s adapted from a rachael ray one. trust me, it’s got heat so if you are not a fan of the burn then don’t use the chili just the sauce from the adobo can. think if it as a southwest twist on a chinese food staple. hard to explain but sooo good! and it is a breeze to make!

Spicy Honey Cashew Chicken


  • 1 TB vegetable oil
  • 2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into 1 inch chunks
  • montreal steak seasoning (eyeball it)
  • 2-3 TB soy sauce (eyeball it)
  • 4 cloves chopped garlic
  • 1 red bell pepper (thinly sliced)
  • 3/4 large onion (thinly sliced)
  • 1 small can water chestnuts, drained
  • 3 TB chipotles in adobo sauce (1 pepper diced and 2 TB sauce) (find it in the mexican food section) or sub 1 and 1/2 TB ground chipotle powder
  • 1 TB ground cumin
  • 2-3 TB honey (eyeball it, 2 good size drizzles around the pan)
  • 1/3 cup real maple syrup (not the fake stuff)
  • 1 cup cashews (sometimes i use more to make it extra crunchy)
  • small handful of chopped cilantro


brown the chicken in the vegetable oil over med high heat. season with steak seasoning while cooking. after it’s done, drizzle with the soy sauce and move to one side of pan. add garlic, onion and red bell pepper to the pan. cook 3 minutes then add water chestnuts. mix veggies and meat together in pan. add chipotles and cumin and toss to coat. drizzle with honey and maple syrup, then toss to coat. turn off heat and mix in cashews and cilantro. serve over brown rice.

money saving tip

i buy frozen boneless, skinless chicken breast tenderloins in bulk from costco. so all i do with this recipe is put the chicken i need in the pan, season it while it cooks, then remove it when it’s just done and chop it into the 1 inch chunks on a cutting board. then i throw it back in the pan and drizzle with the soy sauce and follow the recipe from there. i also buy the chopped garlic in a glass jar. i think it’s 1/4 tsp equals one clove of garlic. makes it go by faster if you don’t chop it yourself!

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top 5.

Oct 12, 2008

i love lists. i also love when we do icebreakers at the beginning of our church smallgroup that involve our favorites about a certain topic. it’s so fun to share yours and then hear what your friends love about something too. anyway, since halloween is approaching, i thought i’d share my top 5 candy loves. this is on my mind since my halloween candy stash in hiding in my kitchen cupboard and i am doing my best to avoid stealing some from my future trick-or-treaters. here you have it-

top 5 candy loves

  1. kit kat: my absolute favorite.
  2. take 5: chocolate, caramel, pb and pretzels!? yum!
  3. sour patch kids: i will eat them until my tongue is raw from the sourness.
  4. plain m&ms: mixed with popcorn is my ultimate movie snack.
  5. hot tamales: they are so weird but so addicting.

now it’s your turn. what are your top 5 candies?

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well i don’t have much to say today. miss claire has been quite cranky for the past few hours, courtesy of a gassy tummy.

we had some good news yesterday that claire will NOT need a hip brace for the time being. her pediatrician said the looseness is not too severe and she would just want to do a repeat hip ultrasound in a few months. we also cancelled all her neuro appointments today. we began to feel really uncomfortable with the idea of the CT scan and exposing her to radiation for a non-emergency situation. she’s already had quite a few x-rays which makes us want to limit any more of them. i’ve realized with all of the medical interventions she needs that you really have to research things and not take doctors at their word. with so many specialists involved, they really do not do a great job of communicating with each other and it forces parents to decipher what is best for their child. in my opinion, the more we are able to allow claire to be a normal baby and give her time to grow the better. so all that brain stuff is on hold for now.

instead we enjoyed a beautiful lunch date with daddy and even lily at joe’s farm grill. sitting in the shade under the huge trees, enjoying lemonade and sweet potato fries- it was a lovely day. that is until the gas monster arrived. 🙂i'm mad!

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