Grilled Stuffed Jalapeños + Scenes from the Weekend

We had such a great weekend at home with family and friends. I'm sure like you, it's a rare thing for us to have a weekend with ZERO plans. It was nothing short of amazing. 

Jon had to work late Friday, so we ate leftovers and were passed out by 11:00 [which, sadly, is late for us]. On Saturday, we all got up, ate breakfast, adults had coffee, little man had milk, and we were lazy until about mid morning. 

Then we decided to venture out to our local farmer's market where we bought a TON of organic veggies for less than $20! They also had great meats, jellies, decorations, etc. I can't wait to go back! Near the farmer's market was an adorable [dangerous] boutique that I can't wait to go to again. If you live in the Tomball/Cypress/Spring area, I'd highly recommend Vickie B's on Main. I got the most adorable cover-up and a great top - bonus the top was on sale so I got it for $12! I'll post pics later. 

I had to share these memes. I've been feeling lots of #momlife vibes lately. 

But really. This is perfect. And it applies to daddies, too. 

Gotta love the $4 bunches at HEB. Nothing makes me happier than seeing fresh cut flowers on the table. The cheaper ones usually last longest, too. 

We scored a majorly adorable hat at Target the other day. Best thing is that C will actually leave it on his head for longer than two seconds! 

We also scored some awesome Crocs that match his daddy's from Academy the other day. 

I'm not sure there's ever been anything cuter than this chubby man wearing those stinkin' crocs toddling around the house in his diaper. He's constantly asking for his new "sshhhoooossss". 

On Friday during Corey's nap time, I managed to do some much needed gardening. I actually planted our first flower bed in the new casa! Here's the before and after:

Hopefully these little lovelies will last despite my very non-green thumb. 

I have a new wine rec for the summer. This delicious little number is very light, has slightly fruity hints, and goes down super smooth. I love me some chardonnay, but in the summer, I really like the rosé-type lighter wines. This gem was only about $12, too!

Saturday night it was all about food, family, and fun. We had some delicious grilled sausage from Chappell Hill [best ever] along with sautéed veggies from the farmer's market and these yummified grilled jalapeños. I have to say that they are on of the things I look forward to most in the summer. They're wayyyyy better than the premade ones you buy at the store. They don't take much effort either.

Beware of the spicy jalapeño fingers. They burn. Make sure you wash your hands before, during, and after with antibacterial soap. That seems to take a lot of heat away. Also make sure you remove the membranes and seeds from the jalapeños because that's where the really spicy heat is. Or leave them in if you're that much of a rebel. You do you. 

This is one of the few recipes that I've never really measured anything. I go by looks and tastes. I love a lot of bacon bits, cilantro, and green onion. By all means add or subtract anything you love or hate from this recipe. Definitely make sure your cream cheese is at room temp though before you start mixing. Otherwise, you'll end up with huge goops of cream cheese with no other lovely flavors. Sad.

Grilled Stuffed Jalapeños

Cream cheese, room temperature*
Shredded cheddar or colby jack cheese
Cilantro leaves, chopped
Green onions, chopped
Bacon bits
Splash lime juice
Freshly ground black pepper
Jalapeños, tops, seeds, and membranes removed, cut in half lengthwise

In a large bowl, combine all ingredients minus the jalapeños using a fork. Mash everything together until it's a pretty homogenous mixture. Stuff each jalapeño half. Grill over medium heat on a bed of foil for about ten minutes or until the jalapeños are tender but still have crunch.

Garnish with cilantro.

*I use about 1 oz. cream cheese for each whole jalapeño. The rest is really to taste. I don't add anymore salt though because the bacon bits have plenty in them. 

The Good Girl by Mary Kubica

If you liked Gone Girl, then you have to read this one! My sister-in-law gave it to me once she heard I loved GG. It's a suspenseful thriller about a girl who grows up under her oppressive and selfish judge of a father. Her sister is perfect in every way in his eyes. Her mom can do nothing right, however. And then there's the good girl. She does everything wrong and receives nothing but negative in return. 

Her bad luck in life doesn't end with her family. She ends up being kidnapped after being stood up by her boyfriend at a bar. The story flashes back and forth from before she's abducted by a stranger and after she's rescued. You hear from different view points (none of which are the girl's). Your viewpoint of the characters will continue to change right up until the very last page. I love a good book that really focuses on character analysis (yes, I'm a nerd). The plot moves quickly as well, so you're not stuck reading about the seventy shades of brown of the inside of a cabin. 

You'll love reading this one by the pool this summer! I finished it in no less than two days, my friend. You won't be able to put it down. 

Life Lately

I'd be lying if I didn't admit that we just can't seem to catch a break these days. We've got totally "first world problems" as they'd say, but lemme tell you somethin'... they start to wear on you. Corey and I have had a cold (yes, just a cold... already went to the dr) for seriously three weeks now. It just won't quit. I'm thinking we're just getting used to all the Houston allergies and germs and things like that. It will pass. 

On top of that, we're having to have our upstairs floors refloated (again). That means movers (again) and keeping Corey sequestered to only about half the first floor or outside. Seems like no biggie, except that he's A TODDLER! My in-laws have all been so gracious about letting us hang with them. I'm less than thrilled about having to unpack and redecorate everything (again) when all of this mess is over. I'm really ready to have some even floors though. Walking on literal hills every time I'm upstairs has been enough to put me in the looney bin. 

Anywho - whining over. 

I'm gearing up for summer on our porch and at the pool! We've already been grilling a ton thanks to Houston's great weather so far (remind me I said that in August). I'm on the hunt for new swim suits, too. I did find a couple of great cover ups I'm loving already though. 

I found this one at Francesca's the other day:
[I can't find the link, but go to the store anyways. You'll have more fun!]

And I have this one from Nordstrom that I bought last year:

My dad's old Suburban, Juanita, just hit a big milestone! I love driving around in his truck because it feels a little comforting. I still have all his parking stickers from work, my brother's "I'm Proud of My Eagle Scout" sticker, and even Daddy's sunglasses still hanging. Hopefully ole Juanita lasts another 100k for us!

I'm going to give this little uBiome project a shot. If you haven't heard of it, you're going to be either completely disgusted or intrigued. My grandpa and my dad both had colon cancer, so to say that our family is obsessed with poop would be an understatement. The uBiome project is basically compiling samples (yes, those kinds of samples) from folks around the world. You provide your family history, and they were very interested in mine considering what I've mentioned, then send in your sample. They analyze everything and send data back to you. They also keep you information as part of the research they're doing. Pretty cool! Plus, it's all free!

[click here to read more]

ZAC FREAKING BROWN BAND! They have a new album, so we of course had to snatch it. Jon loves Amazon Music, and I'm a diehard iTunes person. We now have two copies of the album because we both refuse to switch to the other platform. This song really hit me for some reason. It's been on repeat like crazy. It's funny because ZBB's albums have coincided with our lives so much since we got married. This one is no different.

Lots of feels on this one. Being sick makes me a little more "emo" I guess, but this quote really struck me. Nothing will make you appreciate your blessings like losing some of them.

And to end on a lighter note...

But really the toilet paper. There's only one right way.
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The Crossing by Michael Connelly

You've gotta love Half Price Books. They had this fella on display. I've been really trying to branch out and read new genres this year, so I went ahead and grabbed it. It's a murder mystery/thriller based on the Bosch character (there's a TV show). Connelly writes so extremely well that it's easy to read, but you still get a ton of visualization as you're going. 

The basic plot is that Bosch is a retired cop who goes to work for his defense lawyer brother-in-law. It's a big no-no in the LAPD world, so Bosch has to fight with his conscience for a while. He takes the case anyways. After doing some investigating of his own, he comes to believe the accused is being framed. The plot is a twisty-bendy-oh-no-he-didn't type of scenario. The bad guy/girl/guys/girls are so insanely bad, you can't wait to see what happens next. 

It's the perfect book to bring on vacation or to read right before bedtime!

On another note, but still related to the book---
There's a quote in the book that makes me kind of get choked up as a parent:

"It had only been five years since then but he had come to believe that parents see their children not only as they are but as they hope they will be in the future. Happy, fulfilled, not afraid."

What a truly poignant thought. We see our kids past, present, and future every time we look at them. I think that's one of the reasons parenting is the most difficult and blissful thing you'll ever do. All the hopes, fears, dreams, worries are wrapped up into tiny glimpses of our kids. 

This quote is definitely not even close to what the book is about, but I thought I'd share that touching point!

Hyatt Lost Pines - Mother's Day Weekend Recap

We had SUCH fantastic time for Mother's Day weekend. We had some Hyatt points, so we decided to travel the mere 2 hours to Austin to stay at the Lost Pines Resort. It was absolutely gorgeous, joyful, and relaxing. 

(Sorry for the tons of pics, but I just couldn't help myself!)

Don't let Mr. Grumpy's face fool you... he had a great time!

The resort is perfect for kids of all ages. The pool alone has a splash pad, small kiddie pool (super shallow), volleyball and basketball areas, sand area, shallow area in the large pool, and a lazy river. The lazy river was my absolute fave... they have inner tubes with floors in the bottom. We'd put Corey in there with a cute little hat, and we'd all float around with him and our cocktails. He loved it. We loved it. Win. Win. 

The food and bevs were fantastic as well. We ate every meal on the resort, and sometimes just in our hotel room. They have a fridge so you can store leftovers, which we did for Corey so we could easily give him breakfast/lunch. The curtains are blackout too, which was fantastic for nap time! 

One of my favorite spots was the bar (can't remember the name) with a patio that overlooks the playground. We'd take turns letting Corey run around and play on the playground while the others would relax. As I said before, the food and bevs were just scrumptious. I'd recommend the Mexican Martini at the bar and the Mai Tai at the pool. Any food you get is going to be great, too, but I had the best grilled cheese ever. And then spent an extra 7 hours at the gym working it off! 

They also have a huge trail along the river you can walk/stroll. There are excursions for fishing, zip lining, hay rides, etc. There's also the golf course and spa, but we ain't got time for dat (you know what I'm sayin'). They have bikes for all ages, longhorns, llamas, ponies, and even a game room for kids to play inside. I could go on and on and on, but this place is a definite redo for our family! 

I do have to add that Thursday, the 11th, would have been my brother's 23rd birthday. I was very, very grateful to get to spend it with my sweet Momma at this gorgeous place. I know Jimmy would have loved it, too. We saw a cardinal on our walk down by the river (that was Jimmy's high school mascot), and somehow it made me feel like he and my dad were with us. 

I hope everyone enjoyed their Mother's Day!

Streusel Coffee Cake

If you're looking for a do-ahead crowd pleaser, look no further, my friend. This lovely pan of delicious is extremely easy to make and can be stored in the fridge until you're ready to chow down (if you can wait that long).

So, I can't post this recipe without getting a little sentimental. I made this for a brunch one time at my dad's house when he was just diagnosed with terminal cancer. The doctors had only given him another couple of months to live, so I was cooking my way through it all. My unbelievably caring and compassionate (future at the time) mother-in-law wanted to make sure she got the chance to meet my dad just once. [Now you have to know, I had only known Jon for a few months at the time. We weren't even talking about marriage yet.] We lived in Dallas at the time, and his parents were in Houston. She made her way over one morning for a very quaint, down-to-earth brunch with me and my dad. We had this coffee cake as well as a few other things, and every time I make it, I think back to that sweet morning.

That's what food is for - good memories with good people.

I've had this recipe for a really long time, and it's still a fail-proof friend I can always count on. It's got a great texture (soft and pillowy), and it's not too sweet. Nothing worse than a sugar high followed by a crash at 10 am. We don't need cranky people at the pot luck, right?

If you'd prefer, you can leave out the nuts. If you can though... definitely leave them in. The almond extract in the batter added to the crunch of the nuts in the crumb topping takes it over the top!

Here's the original recipe from Southern Living: Streusel Coffee Cake

Streusel Coffee Cake

½ cup unsalted butter (1 stick), room temperature
1 (8-oz.) package cream cheese, room temperature
1 ¼ cups sugar
2 large eggs
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. salt
½ cup whole milk
1 tsp. vanilla extract
½ tsp. almond extract

Preheat oven to 350°. Beat butter and cream cheese at medium speed with an electric mixer or in a stand mixer until creamy. Gradually add sugar, beating at medium speed until light and fluffy. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating just until yellow disappears.

Sift together flour and next 3 ingredients; add to butter mixture alternately with milk, beginning and ending with flour mixture. Beat at low speed just until blended after each addition. Stir in vanilla and almond extracts. Pour batter into a greased 13- x 9-inch pan; sprinkle with Crumb Topping (see below).

Bake at 350° for 35 to 40 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Let cool 20 minutes before serving.

Crumb Topping

½ cup all-purpose flour
½ cup sugar
½ cup coarsely chopped pecans
¼ cup unsalted butter (1/2 stick)

Stir together flour, sugar, and coarsely chopped pecans in a bowl. Using your fingers, smash butter and flour together until mixture resembles small peas.

Make ahead: Bake the coffee cake the night before, cut into the size serving you want, wrap in plastic wrap, and store in the fridge. Allow to come to room temperature before serving.