Sunday, June 13, 2010

Mt. Rainier 2010

Our little family

We finally went on our first camping trip. We went to Mt. Rainier with Ryan's family and it was so much fun! Emma was such a good girl. Thanks to my parents we took their tent trailer which made it so nice and comfy! We enjoyed great food, awesome weather, great company, hiking and site seeing! It was so fun and we can't wait to do it again! Here are some pictures of our adventure!

The family hiking

Emma and I being silly.

Emma playing and being such a good girl :)

Packing up and getting ready to go. She is such a little ham!

Family picture in front of Rainier. Emma is passed out from the long weekend, but it was perfect :)

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Stuffed Chicken Parmesan and Parmesan herb rice MMMmmmm...

This recipe is SO good and SO easy to make. It can be adapted to whatever ingredients you have on hand and you don't have to exactly follow the recipe. I made this one evening when Ryan was super hungry, I needed to go grocery shopping and thought I had nothing to make for dinner. I was able to concoct it from a bunch of different recipes online to fit the things that I had in my pantry. Needless to say, I was avoiding having to do that pesky grocery shopping! Here goes to Chicken Parmesan. Easy, quick, and even better when your man LOVES it!

Chicken Parmesan:

2-3 Chicken breasts thawed
1 cup Ricotta cheese
1 cup Parmesan cheese
1/2 spinach
1 T Parsley
1 T Oregano
1-2 T Fresh minced Garlic
Salt and Pepper to dash
1 bottle your favorite marinara sauce or try THIS homemade recipe
1 Cup Panko Bread crumbs
1 egg
2 T milk


1. Heat skillet with a little olive oil. While Skillet is heating crack egg and whisk in med. size bowl. Add 2 T milk to egg. In another medium size bowl add bread crumbs. (If you desire, add garlic powder, onion powder or your favorite seasoning to your bread crumbs for extra flavor).
2. Before dredging chicken cut a pocket in center of each of them. Then dredge in egg/milk mixture, then in bread crumbs. Then place chicken in hot skillet.
3. Sear chicken on each side for 2-3 minutes or until bread crumbs are crusty and brown. You are not cooking the chicken, simply cooking the outside ingredients. Take off heat when done.
4. Take your Ricotta cheese, Parmesan cheese, spinach, oregano, parsley, and garlic and mix together in bowl. Then place a good amount of mixture into each breast. Place stuffed chicken breasts onto an oven safe dish.
5. You will cook them at 375 degrees for about 30 minutes or until the meat is tender and done.
4. While chicken is cooking heat up your sauce. If you made homemade, go you!! If it is bottled simply heat it up. Sometimes I like to add sauted onions, mushrooms, or artichoke hearts to my sauce if I have them on hand. SO good!
5. When chicken is done, place hot sauce all over the top and extra Parmesan cheese if you like. Enjoy! So good!

Parmesan Herb Rice:


1 Cup white rice
1 Cup Parmesan cheese
2 cups chicken broth
1 T garlic
1 T Italian Seasoning
1 T Parsely or Basil
Salt and pepper to taste


1. Place all ingredients except your Parmesan cheese into either a rice cooker or a pot on the stove. Give it a quick stir and then cook according to rice package directions.
2. In the last two minutes of cooking stir rice and add your Parmesan cheese and then serve with your main dish.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

This is for reals...

This is serious folks. She REALLY has it down now...

Garlic Chicken Alfredo Pizza

Pizza of all kinds has become a favorite in my family. It is easy, quick and can be so fun adapting so many different kinds! One of our favorites is garlic chicken alfredo. You can use leftover chicken if you have it on hand for this and if you really get into it... make your own dough! This dough recipe is a "no failure". I got it from our friends the Hoyles and lets just say... They don't mess around when it comes to their pizza. Also, you can really add any toppings you like. The recipe below is what I always have on hand to do, but I have added many different things to this recipe such as mushrooms, sun dried tomatoes, fresh tomatoes or mozzarella, onions (when Ryan isn't looking) or whatever else you like! It is all up to you!

For the dough:
1 3/4 Cups Hot Water
4 1/2 Cups Flour
1 tsp. Yeast
1/2 Cup oil
2 tsp Salt

Directions:*Mix all ingredients together into bowl.
*Place a towel over bowl and let rise for 2 hours

Cooking Directions:
*Heat oven to 55o degrees for 25 minutes
*Roll out dough 1/4 inch thick
*After rolling out dough place cornmeal on paddle, then place dough on the paddle. Add your sauce, cheese, and toppings. Easy enough!

For the pizza:

Alfredo Sauce (try this homemade one from
1 tsp. minced garlic
Salt and Pepper to dash
Fresh Basil4 cooked strips bacon
1 cup cooked chicken
1/2 cup mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
1 tsp olive oil
Italian Seasoning to dash

1. After dough is rolled out, spread olive oil, garlic and Italian Seasonings on dough. I like to bake my dough for about 2 minutes to instill these flavorings on the crust. Then take out and place toppings on.
2. Place alfredo sauce, chicken, bacon, dash of salt and pepper, and cheese all over pizza. I like to add cheese, then add basil, then add a little more cheese. Cook for 8-10 minutes and then serve.

It should look like this! Yum!

Crawling and Standing...

I sit here quiet and look lazy so they think I am being good...

And then when I have the chance...

I go! I start out slow and give Mommy a smile as if to say, "Mind your business Mommy. I am just hanging out."

But then...

I am off! And, I am going fast!!!

Here I come Doggy food! No one can stop me!!! Chevy will starve if I have it my way!!!

Ut oh... Mommy is coming to get me...

I like to stand and greet Mommy now when she comes to get me. I am just so nice like that...

And, look what Grandma Ihnen caught me doing. Hehehe...

I am Sick...

I cuddle a lot. Mommy LOVES this and feels like she is in Heaven. Even when I don't feel good I am such a good baby. Mommy sometimes thinks she wants 10 of me. I think she is crazy... And, I am not willing to share my ice cream truck treats!

This is what happens when I am sick and finally get some sleep!!!

Spring Fun!

This spring I have been doing so many fun things. I attempted helping Mommy and Daddy with planting the garden, but realized very quickly I am not so sure about the grass. The patio is for me :)
So I crawled on it. Mommy wasn't very happy about this, but she is grateful that the shout cleaned my clothes up well! I love the sun!

I also realized how much I love the ice cream truck. I don't know why Mommy doesn't give me more of these because she really should... Don't you think?

Things I am looking forward to this summer...

*My 1st Birthday and destroying the cake
*Walking soon!!
*The new Swing Set that Grandma and Grandpa bought
*And the swimming pool that Mommy has been promising me

Hooray for Summer to come!

Dear Grandpa Ihnen,

I love my new High Chair. It is beautiful and Mommy loves it too. My Grandpa is so talented. I love you.

Look what I can do in my new chair...
I can eat in it...

Be silly and look so cute in it...

And even ignore Mommy and watch Cartoons in it. Who likes taking pictures anyway?!

It is the best! Thank you Grandpa!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Spaghettie Carbonara and Bruschetta

This recipe is SO good... Probably because if you are on a diet, this isn't something you would want to make. If you can tell in the picture my portion size is small, but it is worth it to me to have that little piece of heaven! This is a great recipe to make for your husband as a surprise, Valentine's Day, Date night, Father's day (which is coming up soon) or just because it is down right delicious! I think the only thing that makes this dinner healthy is the bruschetta or if you added a vegetable side. The night that I made this we had artichokes, which with all the butter they aren't that healthy, but a great idea is to save your artichoke hearts if you don't eat them all and freeze them for spinach and artichoke dips or other pastas! Just an idea... Here goes for a little entry into pure heaven...

Spaghetti Carbonara:

1 Large handful Spaghetti pasta
1 cup cubed ham
1 cup cubed bacon or pancetta
2 T garlic
1-2 cups whipping cream
1 cup parmesan cheese
1 cup fresh spinach
1 bunch fresh parsley and basil chopped
Salt and pepper

1. Place water in pot with noodles and begin to boil and cook noodles. Dash with a little salt for extra flavor.
2. In saute pan cook bacon. When bacon is cooked, cut into little pieces and place back in bacon grease with ham. Cook for 2 minutes.
3. Add garlic and saute another minute.
4. Add whipping cream. Stir to coat everything. Let the cream cook for about 3 minutes on medium high heat and then reduce heat a little. It will start to thicken.
4. Add spinach, Parmesan and continue to stir for everything to cook. The spinach will only take a couple minutes.
5. Dash with salt and pepper. Lastly, add your noodles from the pot with a little water and stir altogether.
6. Top with fresh herbs and more Parmesan cheese and it is ready to serve!

2-3 Tomatoes
1 small bunch chopped basil
1 T fresh garlic
2-3 T Olive oil
1-2 T Red Wine Vinegar
1 large Crusty bread
Fresh mozzarella cheese (optional)


1. Chop tomatoes. Add garlic, fresh basil, salt and pepper and oil and vinegar and stir. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
2. Cut crusty bread into little circles. Place olive oil on the bread and heat in oven until browned. Serve with bruschetta and fresh mozzarella cheese.

Coming soon is my favorites - Salsas and Guacamole!

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Beer Can or Cola Chicken

This dinner item is a tradition in Ryan's family. His Mother has made this every summer since I have known them and it has always been delicious! I have decided that I would master my own bird and try it as well. If you don't want to use beer you can use any Cola that you prefer. All it is for is to help tenderize the bird and make it juicier. It is not meant for taste. This is fabulous as a dinner item and the left over chicken freezes well for other dinners such as enchiladas, soups or is even great on sandwiches. There are all different techniques on how to do this and I seemed to find an easy way for me. The trick is to get the bird to stay standing without falling. To make it easier I found this little contraption posted below at Yokes for only $12.00. It is great because the bird stands free, the juices fall to the bowl so you can keep basting the bird for more flavor and is easy to use. Only problem is cleaning it! You can use it on the grill or in your oven. Either way, it is delicious, easy and great use for more than just one meal! Enjoy!

Chicken cooker contraption
(The bowl is for juices, the tube is where you place the liquid or veggies)

The Chicken ready to go

And she is ready to eat!

Beer can/Cola Chicken


1 4-5 pound chicken thawed (Costco is great priced)
1 stand to cook bird
(Or you can use cooking string, the can, and a cookie sheet to keep it in place)
1 can beer or Cola (Coke or sprite)
1 bunch cilantro
2 jalapenos chopped
1 T cumin
1 T garlic + 1 spoonful minced garlic
1 T onion salt
1 T thyme
1/2 T. ginger
1 T cayenne pepper
1 T paprika
Salt and pepper to taste
2 T lime juice


1. Mix all dry Ingredients together.
2. Wash bird in water and pat dry with paper towels. Clean out inside of bird and discard.
3. Rub dry ingredients all over outside of chicken, under skin (May have to cut) and inside. Place in refrigerator for 2 hours to marinate.
4. In can or container place beer or cola, minced garlic, chopped cilantro,lime juice and jalapenos.
5. When grill is ready place chicken on contraption or can and place on grill.
6. Cook on grill for one hour at Medium/high heat for one hour. If cooking in oven cook for one hour at 375.
7. Chicken is done when it has reached 165 degrees on your thermometer.


***This recipe is a mix of 3 recipes taken from foodnetwork and changed to my liking :)

Bon appetit!

Posing Pretty

This lucky little girl named Emmalee received a beautiful dress from her Nana for Easter. She posed all pretty, smiles and all so Nana could see....

Bright eyed Angel Baby

Close up to those chubby cheeks

Heaven's precious gift

Giggles, Giggles all the time

We Love You Nana!

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Food, Cooking and my Thoughts...

I have been thinking a lot about food. We need it for survival, sometimes we need it to feel better, other times we need it because it is "Oh so good". I love food... I love to eat it, taste it, cook it, smell it, you name it and I love it. I love to try new things, mess up, get the silent treatment from my Husband (Silence as in this meal is the best I have ever had) and more. I love summer because of my garden and cooking everything that I grow. I LOVE it all! I don't know how I have managed to keep up the cooking while working so many hours, but as my husband would say.... It is my sanity, my stress reliever, my happiness. I love the kitchen! Growing up Ryan and I both shared Mother's who LOVED to cook and who are both not only great cooks, but great teachers. We each had the blessing of a hot meal that was prepared by loving hands every night. It is because of this that I have not only been taught to love to cook, but really do love it. I believe that the kitchen is the heart of the home. Your day starts there and will most likely always end there. And... Most importantly your family will always be there with you. I like to joke with Ryan that because of this I think that someday in our dream home I deserve the ultimate kitchen :)

My goal this summer is not only to cook and fill the hungry bellies of my family, but to share the recipes that I have found that I love. We are so lucky today to have so many blogs, websites and cookbooks that share the same inspiration and love. So far, I have managed to not once cook a casserole for my husband since we got married. That is right ladies! No tuna casserole, chicken casserole, cheesy casserole has been served in this house! I have tried to keep it entertaining, new and exciting. Some dishes are healthy, some aren't which makes them down right delicious and some are just fun. Sorry this entry is rather long and boring and filled with no pictures, but I will be posting plenty of Beer can/cola chicken, Pork in Green Sauce, Spaghetti Carbonara, Asian lettuce wraps, Double fudge mint brownies, Chicken cordon bleu burgers, Fresh garden salsa and many more... Would you like to stay?

BTW... Emma is growing beautifully. Just about crawling, chatting away and absolutely beautiful. New pictures to come. As for Ryan, he is still waiting for work, but waiting happily and as handsome as ever. I am so lucky :)

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Does this thing even exist?

Bubbles, bubbles everywhere!

Splash! Splash! Emma's taking a bath!!

Don't let her fool you with those big pretty eyes...
Don't worry there is a shampoo bottle blocking her privates :)

It has been forever since I last blogged. Soo much has happened! I am a working machine! I wish I could be home with my baby, but we are still going through some lay offs! We are hoping that in the next month or two things will start picking up and Ryan will be back at work so we can switch places, ha ha. Although, he is the best stay-at-home Daddy!!! I am supposed to be training for a half marathon that I am running with my sister and my Mom. Although, I have to admit I am struggling with working so much and still having the energy to get up early and run. But, after seeing Mell's blog about the run she did I am way more motivated. Wish she was here to run with me!! Some other new things are that I have applied for financial aid and hope to get started back in school! Life is crazy, but it is so good! Busy, happy and fulfilling each and every day!

Some new and exciting things about Emma is that she is a rolling machine. And, she ends up in the weirdest of places!!! (In our office Ryan has two big boxes that he still has yet to go through and some how she managed to push them apart and get stuck in between them) She is talking up a storm. She is like the text book baby and says "Goo Goo Ga Ga" all day long! She cut her first tooth the other day and has another one about ready to pop out! That has been miserable for her, but so fun for me to feel the tooth and she is extra cuddly! She LOVES bath time which is great because she used to scream through it. I now have to hold her down in the tub because she is so excited that she either dive bombs for toys or splashes water all over me. It is the best :) She wants to crawl so bad, but still has yet to get her chubby bum moving! I just love her!

I hope everyone is doing well! Sorry it has taken me so long! I guess life has to come before my blog, ha ha!

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Family Pictures!!!

The Ihnen Family 2009

We finally got our first family pictures! With the lay offs money has been tight and I wasn't sure if we would be able to do this, but thanks to Sears Photo and their great Holiday Coupons and my parents for giving us Christmas money every year... It happened!!! It was the best present ever. Emma was such a ham and apparently she loves the camera and attention in the spot light. Should I be worried? She did great and they turned out really well. I hope everyone had a safe and fun New Year's! We enjoyed getting our pictures done, a great pizza dinner and our friends Heather and Andrew and their two boys. We watched movies and made it to bed by 10:00pm!!! Ha Ha we are so lame!!! But, it was great and perfect!

Daddy and His Little Angel

Mommy and Angel Baby

Thank you Julie Hoyle for this dress! Amazingly it was the tightest squeeze ever for being a 6-9 mos. dress! Emma is 18 pounds and it didn't want to come on, ha ha!

Loving her smile and big blue eyes!

Happy Baby...

Look at me Mom!

Loves those toes almost as much as her thumb!