Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Cinco De Mayo Recipes

Happy Cinco de Mayo!  

I thought I would do you a favor and put together a list of the best of 
All Things Libby's Mexican recipes
so that you can scroll through them all in one place!  

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Easy Asian Lettuce Wraps

On a cool, windy spring day (make that, week) like this,
I always want something light and springy 
(think beach-body ready)
but something equally comforting when the wind is howling like it is...

Something for when you are torn between
curling up on the couch or hitting the 'dread' mill.  

These Asian Lettuce Wraps are the answer!
And, you guessed it...
next time I make them,
I will make more because the leftovers were just as tasty.  

Not only are they delicious,
they were also sooo fast,
so you will have time for the couch and the gym 
because you won't be in the kitchen for hours!  

Started by browning up 2# of ground chicken in a tablespoon of olive oil,
topped with 1 tbsp of minced garlic, 1/2 tsp of ground ginger,
salt and pepper, to taste.

While that was browning,
I chopped up 2-3 Green Onions and tossed them in.

Then added 1 cup of chopped cashews,
for a little browning and flavor actions.

For the sauce,
I didn't even feel the need to mix it up separately.

Just added 1/2 cup of Hoisin Sauce. 

Hoisin is a thick and pungent sauce typical of Chinese cooking.  
It has a strong fermented soy and vinegar aroma. 
So, it goes a long way in a dish! 

1/4 cup of soy sauce and
1 tbsp of Sriracha (my boys all added more!)

Stir it all up and this is what you get...

A pan full of great flavors and textures!

I loved the smell of the ginger,
but the Hoisin is what brought the kids in from the yard.

Each leaf of butter lettuce was filled with a couple spoonfuls of the meat.

Could have easily been paired with some rice for a carb or
shredded carrots for more texture and veg.

We were all hungry and fighting for more! 

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Serves: 6

2# of ground chicken (pork, turkey, beef would all work great!)
1 tablespoon of olive oil
1 tbsp of minced garlic
1/2 tsp of ground ginger
salt and pepper - to taste
3 green onions - chopped
1 cup of chopped cashews
1/2 cup Hoisin Sauce
1/4 cup soy sauce
1 tbsp Sriracha - more if desired

Additional Options:
Cooked Rice 
Shredded Carrots

  • Brown meat in pan with olive oil over medium heat, add garlic, ginger, salt & pepper. 
  • Chop onions and cashews while meat is cooking. Add to pan. 
  • Add sauces, stir well and serve in butter lettuce leaves. 

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Oreo Cheesecake Bars and Alayna's 11th Birthday!

This latest dessert is compliments of Alayna's birthday treat!

When I asked her how she liked them, she said
"They were great, if you like cheesecake!"
And, apparently, she doesn't.

Oh well…
guess the next time she asks for Oreo Bars,
I'll have to figure out a way to make them without cream cheese.

You all know how birthdays are…

Alayna on her 6th birthday in 2010.

You just can't help but wonder where the time has gone!

Alayna on her 11th birthday, last week.

At her soccer game yesterday,
I literally didn't recognize her on the field.

I saw this tall young lady with such long blonde hair…
I was honestly wondering where my daughter was! 

After doing a double-take,
I came to the realization that, yes,
that was my not-so-little girl.
(Warm fuzzy/heart sinking moment!)

And while she makes me so proud to be her mom day after day,
it is still so bittersweet to realize that our babies are growing up before our eyes.

Enough nostalgia,
let's get on to the goodies.

Started with about 30 Oreos in a bag,
being pulverized manually
because my mini-chopper has seen better days. 

And, it's not the end of the world to have the kids put a little elbow grease into it
from time to time.

The crumbs were topped with 1/2 stick of melted butter
and combined.

Then pressed into sprayed 10x14 baking dish.

A pastry cutter was used to press the crumbs into the pan
for a good pressing and if some chunks were broken along the way,
even better.

The crust was baked at 325 F for 10 minutes.

While the crust was baking,
3-8 oz bricks of cream cheese were blended with 1/2 cup sugar, 
1/2 cup sour cream and 1 tsp of vanilla extract.

Three eggs were added and mixed well.

Before the batter was added to the pan,
another dozen crushed oreos were mixed in.

Spread out by the birthday girl, herself.

Topped with a few more crushed oreos
and baked for another 40 minutes.

When it was done, the edges were slightly browned
 and the middle was slightly firm.

The pan was covered with foil and cooled overnight
before cutting.

Prep Time: 30 minutes
Bake Time: 40 minutes
Servings: 24-30

1 large package of Oreos - divided (especially if there is going to be any tasting going on)
1/2 stick of melted butter
3-8 oz bricks of cream cheese 
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup sour cream
1 tsp of vanilla extract
3 eggs

  • Preheat oven to 325 F. 
  • Crush about 30 oreos and combined with  melted butter. 
  • Press Oreo crumbs into sprayed baking pan. 
  • Combine cream cheese, sugar, sour cream, vanilla and eggs. 
  • Mix in about a dozen crushed oreos. 
  • Pour onto crust. 
  • Top with crushed oreos, bake for 40 minutes. 
  • Allow to cool before cutting. 

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Washington D.C. - Kids Choice Awards

Now that we are home and have had a chance to let 
all of the sightseeing and excitement set in, 
I have asked the kids what their favorites were
and I'd like to share them with you today! 

Starting with Ryker's favorite,
pictured above, 
was visiting The White House.  

Even though this was as close as we got,
it was still cool to be there
and probably the fact that 
President Obama landed in his helicopter when we were nearby
and there were snipers on the roofs of the surrounding building,
also helped.  

The day we hit up the White House 
we also had a few other highlights I'd like to share…

We started at 
The Library of Congress that morning

Admired the intricate detail of the building. 

Took a look into the main reading room at the library
even learned a bit about the history of Nike

was named after the Greek Goddess of Victory,
and the swoosh symbol comes from 
the shadow of her wing. 

Pretty cool bit of pop culture picked up along the way. 

From there we headed to the Capitol
Not only was the dome covered in scaffolding, 
but no food or drinks are allowed,

Since it was before 11 am and we had a whole days' worth of 
food packed, we decided to forgo the inside. 

Next time, 
stop here later in the day. 

Upon Alayna's request,
we visited the National Archives
where we could view the 
Constitution and Declaration of Independence. 

this was underwhelming for the kids.  

The adventure continued at 
The Smithsonian Museum of Air & Space.

This museum has so much to offer, 
I think we were a little too tired and hungry to take full advantage of it.  

Time to re-fuel
and no place like 
to take advantage of a great meal.  

Alayna and Landon in the very front seat, checking out the tunnel!

Of course, 
another highlight of the DC area for kids is often
The Metro.

Managing to hit the metro during 
non-rush-hour is a huge plus. 

There is actually room for everyone to sit
and time to allow the kids to navigate a bit. 

Lincoln Memorial view through the World War II Memorial.

The next day we wandered around the National Mall 
and took in some of the most famous sights
and it was a perfect day for it!

The Wisconsin pillar at the World War II Memorial.

As we walked toward the Lincoln Memorial, 
we met up with some friends from home. 

While Alayna didn't mention that as one of her highlights,
I do believe it is something that she will never forget! 

And, I know that Jerry doesn't totally qualify as a kid,
The Lincoln Memorial 
was one of his highlights of the trip.

The building is so impressive and
bears so much significance.

Ryker, Alayna and Landon hoping for knowledge by osmosis. 
Another family tradition is to hang out a bit with
Albert Einstein (Memorial). 

If I looked hard enough, 
I could probably find pictures from when I was about this age
climbing on him. 

We took our first pit stop of the day there,
grabbed a seat along with some snacks and water.

The beautiful day we were enjoying wasn't going to last,
so we ducked inside the
International Spy Museum. 

The kids enjoyed trying to memorize a cover,
decoding messages and
attempting to hang on to the edge of a building
just like Bond, James Bond.

One of the biggest disappointments for me was missing out on 
Ford's Theatre.

The day we stopped by,
the theatre was closed (boo, hiss)
and I didn't want anything less than the full experience.

So, in order to ensure a visit the next time around, 
I will order tickets in advance, 
otherwise same-day tickets are available at 8:30 am.  

Alayna hoping to see money be made!
Our final stay started in-line bright and early,
in two of those same-day ticket lines I mentioned earlier.

Alayna and I got in line at the
Bureau of Engraving and Printing.

Got in line at 7:50am and had our 5 tickets by 8:10,
and were all set to come back for a 9:45 tour.

(They said only 4 tickets/per adult, 
but apparently don't adhere to that policy).  

This was one of Alayna's favorites!

Learning about how money is made is pretty cool,
but actually watching $5 bills be printed was another!

This has always been a treasured highlight of mine, 
so I'm thankful that the kids enjoyed it just as much. 

While, of course, there are not pictures allowed on the tour,
at least we could see how much our kids were worth in $100 bills.

I know it can be a little hard to see, 
but they are each worth over a million dollars each!  =)

DC Sweatshirts compliments of Grandma Mary

Part of traveling is taking the good with the bad…right?

Well, we weren't able to get tickets to go to the top of the Washington Monument either. 

Since we were traveling during peak 'school-trip' season, 
advance tickets sold out early. 

So, we got ourselves into one of those infamous
same-day ticket lines at 7:45. 

Ticket distribution started at 8:30 and were gone by shortly after 9. 
Even people who were there at 7 am didn't get any…

Best thing to do is get them on-line in advance!

Lots of people see the Washington Monument from afar, 
but this is what it looks like up close!

Those bricks, uh, boulders, 
not even sure what to call them, 
are huge! 

We kept plugging along and made our way to 
The World Bank
for lunch with my sister. 

While this was one of Landon's highlights, 
I don't believe that it is open to the public without being a guest. 

And, funniest part is that what he loved about it was
the Cafeteria. 

In true 9-year-old-boy style, 
he picked himself up a personal pizza and some mashed potatoes. 

Strolling through Peace Plaza.

Our last stop on this DC Adventure
 was the Old Post Office Pavilion. 

Another attraction with family memories, 
this also has a bell tower, 
which is the 2nd best view of the city since we didn't get to the top of the 
Washington Monument…

this is now closed as it is being converted into a hotel.  

We certainly saw a lot 
and thankfully there is plenty more to see 
the next time we venture to 
our Nation's Capital. 

I am a bit torn about the need for all of the advance tickets, 
I do prefer to be a bit of whimsical traveller
and just take it all in as we go. 

Too many advance tickets 
can make for a bit of a rushed trip as we hustle from one destination 
to the next…
so, I'll have to balance out the opposing forces. 

Great times and great memories had by all!