Monday, January 30, 2012

Quinoa Stuffed Bell Peppers

We are ringing in the year 2012 with a healthy new grain we absolutely love. The texture, taste, and health benefits make Quinoa (kin-wah) the perfect grain to replace rice with. 

Nutritional Value:
   -Protein content of 12-18%
   -Contains nine essential amino acids making it a complete protein source
   -Good source of dietary fiber
   -Good quantities of calcium, phosphorus, and iron

 How to Cook:
        -Soak the uncooked grain for a minimum of 15 min to 1 hour.
        -Rinse for 2-3 min in a fine colander. 
        -Use less water than you would to cook rice, 1:1.75 ratio.
        -Bring to a simmer on the stove, cover, and cook for 25-35 min.
        -Remove from heat and let sit covered for an additional 5 min.
        -Fluff & serve. (Can be added to stir fry, chicken n' rice, etc.)
(Cooking on low heat, for longer, and using less liquid makes fluffy, not gummy, quinoa.)

Quinoa Stuffed Bell Peppers

Quinoa Recipe Ingredients:
     -5 bell peppers, cleaned & halved 
     -Course salt
     -1 pound ground beef
     -1 medium onion, chopped
     -2 tsp. minced garlic
     -1 pkg. taco seasoning
     -1 can black beans, rinsed & drained
     -1 can whole kernel corn, drained
     -1 can Rotel (diced tomatoes and green chiles), drained
     -1 1/2- 2 cups quinoa, cooked (amount based on preference)
     -Cheese, shredded 
    -Place halved bell peppers face down on a baking sheet & sprinkle with course salt.
    -Roast bell peppers at 450 degrees for 10-15 min until browned & bubbled (rotating once).
    -Cook ground beef, onion, and garlic in a large skillet til' browned.
    -Add taco seasoning to browned beef according to package directions.
    -Add black beans, corn, Rotel, and quinoa to skillet.
    -Fill each bell pepper with meat mixture and bake at 350 degrees for 15 min.
    -Top with cheese and cook for an additional 5-10 min or until cheese is melted.

Let me know what you think of Quinoa?!

Team Tolman        

Saturday, January 28, 2012

The Melting Pot

Our date night was spent at a fabulous, romantic restaurant,
The Melting Pot. It's a four-course, fine dining experience including a cheese fondue, salad, entrĂ©e, and chocolate dessert. 

1st Course: Spinach Artichoke Cheese Fondue
          Rich Fontina and Butterkase cheese blend with spinach, artichoke hearts and garlic

2nd Course: Salads
       Caesar: romaine lettuce, caesar dressings, shredded parmesan, seasoned croutons, with 
                    parmesan-encrusted pine nuts (fabulous!)     
       California: mixed baby greens, roma tomatoes, candied pecans and rich Gorgonzola 
                         cheese with raspberry black walnut vinaigrette

3rd Course: Main Entree
        Sesame-crusted sushi-grade ahi tuna (we left that alone), white shrimp, seasoned choice angus sirlion, herb-crusted all-natural chicken breast, and teriyaki-marinated sirloin all cooked in Court Bouillon--vegetable broth hand-seasoned with herbs and spices

4th Course:  Cookies 'n Cream Marshmallow Dream
        Dark chocolate topped with marshmallow cream flambeed and topped with bits of Oreo cookies, chocolate, caramel, and candied pecans... Divine!

It was fun to dip the bite-sized pieces in the various fondues. Each course had amazing flavors and when our main entree came out raw, we were totally confused! Luckily we figured out we are the one's cooking our dinner and it was a fun twist. We spent almost three hours at dinner, had a fabulous time, and decided dessert was our favorite course!

Team Tolman                       




Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Annabelle at 15 Months

Annabelle weighs 23 lbs (pure muscle plus a baby belly) and is 31 inches long.
I've said it before and I"ll say it again... We can't believe how much our baby girl has grown!

Favorite Activities:
  • Snow. Annabelle runs through every pile of snow she sees, plops down, goes crazy trying to push the snow every direction, and then of course eats big handfuls.
  • Climbing. Just when I thought my house was baby proof, Annabelle learns how to climb on the toilet and empty my bath buckets!
  • Stacking. --blocks, tuperware, sippy cups, books, couch cushions--
  • ABC Magnets.
  • Reading. (She knows exactly which pages she likes in every book and will only read those.)
  • Finding people's belly-buttons!

  • Sign Language. She can sign: more, done, tired, music (she used to wake up barking but now wants music every morning!), again, diaper, milk, & water. 
  • Talking. Annabelle is now saying the words with her sign language & copies most things I say. She can say: more, done, mom-mom, dadda, go-go-go, vroom, diaper, shoes, jacket, eyes, nose, ball, block, cup, cheese, cracker, apple, bath, on, out, uh-oh, & where'd go? (P.S. she has the most adorable little voice.)
  • Sounds. Yup, she's still growling & barking... at everyone! She also has recently learned "quack", "moo", and spits (for yucky) when we change her diaper.
  • Letters. Annabelle can pick out A, B, & D from a cluster of 4-5 letter magnets. 
  • Body parts. She can find her nose, head, eyes, ears, knees, toes, foot, belly-button, & fingers.
  • Technology. She was definitely born in the New Millennium! She can turn on and scroll through the pictures on the camera, rotates the iPhone and calls random people, points to the computer and signs music for Pandora Radio, & scrolls through my iPod.

Random Things: 
  • Eating. Annabelle has declared her independence. One day peas are her favorite food; the next day she's stuffing them in her high-chair and throwing them halfway across the living room, making mealtime a war zone. When all else fails, strawberries are still our go-to food. Recently, we researched "how to feed your toddler" and learned to just give her options and let her choose what she eats... so far, it's been working really well.   
  • "Go Crazy." That's Annabelle's cue to wave her arms back and forth really fast & scream. Unfortunately, she does this randomly and did it during church last Sunday!
  • Bedtime. Annabelle is so easy to put down. Sometimes she will sign "tired", grab her blanket, and just walk in her bedroom to wait for you. It's adorable.
  • Squeaker Shoes. Annabelle randomly brings me her shoes to put 'em on her and then she starts doing "quick-feet" to make 'em squeak as fast as possible.
  • Wrestling. When Travis and I wrestle, Annabelle gets so concerned and starts saying "mom-mom-mom." It probably doesn't help that I'm screaming, "Help Annabelle!" 

Recent Pictures:

"The Buddah Wrap"

Annabelle did this by herself!

She loves carrying around purses:)

Her bed is always full of diapers after her nap! 

Mini Shopping Cart
Annabelle later found a 2nd cart and was determined to push both at the same time!

Recent Videos:
Daddy's Latest Tricks

Stroller Drifting
Animal Sounds
Happy 15 Months,                       
Mom & Dad