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Archive for January, 2009

With Scott out of town several days to Vegas last week for work and then again in Dallas this week, I haven’t been as motivated to work lately.   I don’t know why, but I’ve really been in nesting mode.   This week I’ve spent some time planning Avery’s 1st birthday and working on Valentine’s day cards.   I know my Avy’s Birthday is several months away but I’m so excited about it.  I went to Hobby Lobby and started picking out all kinds of goodies for the party.   The theme is going to be spring flowers and butterflies and we are going with hot pink and lime green as the main colors.  Yay!  I can’t wait.   I’m making her entire outfit.  I learned how to make a tutu on Youtube this week and I found these super cute iron-on transfers that are perfect for her top and will match her tutu perfectly.  I also learned how to make really cute hair bows and clips.  Youtube is awesome!  I’ll show the results when I’m finished with it all.  I have lots of ideas for her big day.  I’ve also been spending some time to learn more with Photoshop.   I stayed up until 1am last night designing Avery’s Valentine’s day cards, and I have to say, despite the terrible headache I still have from going to bed so late and burning my eyes out on the computer, the effort was totally worth it.  I love the outcome!   I’ll post it on Valentine’s Day after they are all sent out and you all can let me know if you think I need more practice 😉   I learned how to make my own patterns and brushes which is really cool.   Designing has really given me a productive outlet for my creative side.

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We all have our unique versions of dance.  It often becomes our signature.  Avery’s signature dance is the cutest of all (of course, I’m subjective 🙂 ).  She bounces, shakes her leg, and mostly bobbles her head which we were able to capture on video.  Some spots are kind of shaky because I couldn’t refrain from laughing.  Avery debuts at the #1 position for all time best dancing in the Hibner family:

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I decided to give myself a new challenge!  I love challenges and the feeling of accomplishment so what better challenge than that of becoming healthier.    I love exercise and physical activity so now that I have a routine of walking twice a week with Phoebe, I’m ready to step up my personal challenge.  I am going to start making sure that one meal a day is completely raw veggies or fruit.   I’m not doing this to lose weight (maybe two pounds would be nice) but rather to ensure a healthier life.    I actually don’t think this will be too difficult.   On a typical day, my breakfast entails a glass of milk, lunch is a sandwhich and chips or a Smart Ones microwave meal, and dinner is the full meal deal.   My plan is to start eating fruit for breakfast so I got the ball rolling and had fresh cherries this morning.  Now that I posted this,  I can’t veer off the road because I’m holding myself accountable to maintaining a healthier life!

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For this week, my inspiration for cooking is with chicken.  I found this recipe in my cookbook, and I’ve been focusing on Tyler Florence’s recipes because they are simple and excellent! 

chicken-legs-with-herbs

Ingredients

  • 2 heads garlic, cut in 1/2 horizontally
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 whole fresh thyme sprigs, plus leaves from 6 sprigs
  • 2 lemons, juiced, plus 2 lemons, halved
  • About 1 bunch flat-leaf parsley, leaves chopped
  • 1 (4 to 4 1/2-pound) chicken, cut into 10 pieces
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 heads radicchio, preferably Treviso, cut into quarters
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar

Directions

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Cut a piece of aluminium foil about 12 inches long.

Put the garlic on 1/2 of the foil, sprinkle with salt and pepper, drizzle in some olive oil, and add 2 sprigs of thyme. Fold the foil enclosing the garlic, making a pouch, and add a couple teaspoons of water. Fold the foil over the garlic to enclose and fold in the edges 2 or 3 times to seal. Put the package in the oven and roast for 30 minutes, or longer, until the garlic is soft. Open the package and let the garlic cool a bit, then squeeze out the cloves into a food processor or blender. Add 1/2 cup olive oil, the lemon juice, parsley, and thyme leaves and puree to make a thick vinaigrette.

Preheat an outdoor gas or charcoal grill to medium heat.

Rinse the chicken and pat dry with paper towels. Put the pieces in a bowl, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and drizzle with olive oil; toss to coat with the seasonings and then refrigerate while you get everything else together.

Put the radicchio in another bowl, drizzle with olive oil, balsamic vinegar. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and toss; set aside.

When you’re ready to cook, take a few paper towels and fold them several times to make a thick square. Blot a small amount of oil on the paper towel and carefully and quickly wipe the hot grates of the grill to make a nonstick surface.

Season with salt and pepper and place the radicchio quarters on the preheated grill. Cook the radicchio for about 2 minutes per side until it has a nice char; pull it off the grill, place into a bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and set aside to steam and finish cooking.

Then put the chicken on the grill, skin side down, and grill. Grill the chicken for about 20 minutes, turning once, then baste with about half of the vinaigrette and keep cooking until an instant-read thermometer stuck into the thickest part of the thigh reads 160 degrees F and the chicken is nice and caramelised all over, 15 to 20 more minutes. During the last few minutes, throw the lemon halves on the grill, cut sides down, and cook until just marked and smoky.

To serve, separate the radicchio into individual leaves in a big bowl. Add the chicken and the rest of the dressing and toss well. Serve with grilled lemon halves, squeeze the lemon over the chicken, and top with reserved dressing.

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Capturing the Moment

Avery at 9 months

A Daughter’s Gift

When I imagine
the life you will live,
I think of the pleasure
your presence will give.

I see the joy your smile will light
and the wonders you’ll weave
when your dreams take flight.

I feel the hope
that will grow with your grace
and the difference you’ll make
to each heart you embrace.

I imagine your life
as I know it will be;
for, my daughter, you’ve given
all this to me.

-Unknown Author

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My New Year’s Resolution is to try a new recipe every week. This week, my special recipe of the week was spaghetti alla carbonara. It was really, really yummy!
spaghetti-carbonara-image

Ingredients
1 pound dry spaghetti
3 count of extra-virgin olive oil
8 slices of bacon, cubed or sliced into small strips
1 onion (chopped)
4 garlic cloves, finely chopped (optional, I did not use)
6 tablespoons heavy cream (I substitued milk because did not have cream)
3 large eggs
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, plus more for serving
Freshly ground black pepper
1 handful fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped
Directions
Prepare the sauce while the pasta is cooking to ensure that the spaghetti will be hot and ready when the sauce is finished; it is very important that the pasta is hot when adding the egg mixture, so that the heat of the pasta cooks the raw eggs in the sauce.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil, add the pasta and cook for 8 to 10 minutes or until tender yet firm (as they say in Italian “al dente.”) Drain the pasta well, reserving 1/4-1/2 cup of the starchy cooking water to use in the sauce if you wish.

Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a deep skillet over medium flame. Add the bacon and chopped onions and saute for 8-10 minutes minutes, until the bacon is crisp and the fat is rendered. Add the garlic into the fat and saute for less than 1 minute to soften.

While the bacon is cooking, whisk eggs, cream, and parmesan cheese together. Pour the bacon/onion mixture into serving bowl with the eggs/cream/parmesan mixture, whisking quickly until the eggs thicken, but do not scramble (this is done off the heat to ensure this does not happen.) Thin out the sauce with a bit of the reserved pasta water, until it reaches desired consistency. Drain pasta and add to the mixture. Invert a plate and set of serving bowl so it holds in heat for 5-10 minutes and allows pasta to set. Season the carbonara with several turns of freshly ground black pepper and taste for salt.   I used lots of  fresh cracked pepper.   Mound the spaghetti carbonara into warm serving bowls and garnish with chopped parsley.  Pass more cheese around the table.

Recipe by Tyler Florence

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Weight:  19 lbs
Height:   26 inches
I document these milestones so we’ll remember later how she grew and developed.  Unfortunately for us, she is growing so fast!  Avery has been using her pincer (yep, that’s spelled correctly 😉 grasp for several weeks, a developmental milestone that most babies reach when they are about seven to 11 months old.  She imitates really well.  I click my tongue on the roof of my mouth, and she has learned to do it and now thinks it is the best thing.  So funny!  She waves when waved to.  Avery drinks from a straw and sippy cup, but also takes a bottle and likes to hold it herself.  She laughs at Bentley all the time which I absolutely love.  She is able to stand up by herself without support for a bit.  Just two days ago, she climbed up on her stand and play karaoke machine.  Thank goodness we were right there.   She loves to climb on everything.   I think her only real word is mo-mo for “more”.  I’m still not sure if she understands the meaning of dada, mama, nana, etc. though she says them all.   She loves to sing and dance.   My favorite is the Elvis when she shakes her one leg to music.   She now has 4 teeth, two on the top and two on the bottom.   We know within 24 hours when a tooth is coming because she gets fussy, and she isn’t a fussy baby.   Those toofies are so mean!
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Daddy giving Baby kisses:
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Daddy making Baby laugh:
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A week before her two top teeth popped out:
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