Saturday, August 27, 2016

Farmer's Market Fried Rice

I've said it before, I'll say it again:  Cook once, eat twice.  This is especially crucial these days when I no longer have 1+ hr to cook dinner anymore.

The first couple of months of motherhood I shamelessly got Zingerman's sandwiches delivered, picked up way too expensive caesar salads from Zingerman's roadhouse (and side of mac & cheese, let me be honest), Hediye's Breakfast from Cafe Zola, Dumplings and Yaki Lo Mein from Tomukun...this glorious list goes on and on.  Ann Arbor has awesome food options and I'm thankful for that even more than ever.  It is actually shocking to me that I lost baby weight instead of gaining food weight, ha!

But I love to cook.  I love to grocery shop.  And I was itching to get back into cooking meals at home.  Thankfully I didn't lose my strategic meal planning skills.  We headed to the farmer's market and let our dinner plan itself...

^^ I posted this photo to my Instagram (@charlielbl) almost two months ago and that was the start of our relationship with our Farmer's Market Fried Rice dinners.

We usually make this once a week because it is easy, filling, healthy enough and delicious.  This particular batch I used both baked chicken breast that I made and leftover pork chop from Knight's downtown for the protein.  (The Instagram photo was a different batch of fried rice with chicken sautéed in the wok that evening.)

This is kind of weird, but I was really excited about taking the peas out of the pod from one of my farmer's market purchases.  But I love frozen peas for this meal most of the time.  I always include carrots and red onions.  I've included zucchini, broccolini and I like to include basil whenever possible.

Start by preparing the rice (we usually do this midday or the day before) and chopping all the veggies (again, I chop and prep throughout the day or day(s) before) and cooked protein.

Next, heat up some olive oil in your wok, add onions and carrots.  Once those are soft, add the more delicate vegetables, like zucchini and broccoli.  Once those are nearly done, add your peas, rice and cooked protein.  Make sure the stove is up really high and you're stirring intermittently so everything gets nice and hot/crispy.

When you need more moisture, I add a swirl (couple of tablespoons) of soy sauce and a sprinkle of salt.  I do this once before the final step.

Which is, to add your eggs.  I crack them in a bowl before I start cooking since everything happens fast and I don't want to risk accidentally cracking some shell into the hot pan.  One to three eggs will do the trick, depending on your egg preference - I like a lot of egg!  I push everything to the sides and make a hole in the middle.  Add a teaspoon more of olive oil there, drop in the eggs and begin stirring with a spatula.  You want the eggs to cook and gradually get all of the good stuff coated in egg.  Once the eggs are mixed in, I'll let each "side" of the batch cook before "flipping" in order make sure the egg gets cooked all the way.

I guess this is technically the final step.  I add basil if I have it.  Roll up leaves in a cigar like fashion and chop (or use kitchen shears), then sprinkle into your fried rice.  Turn the heat off, stir it in and serve it up!

Pack up the leftovers in an air tight container for storage in the fridge.

When you're reheating the next day, put into a hot pot or wok and hit it with another swirl of soy sauce (or water if it is already salty enough for you) to add moisture while reheating.  Sometimes I'll even add more veggies or protein.  This is a great meal for leftovers alone or to build on top of as a base.

Enjoy :)

Sunday, August 21, 2016


Hi, hi, hi, hi!

It's been a while.  As you can imagine, blogging gets knocked way down the priority list when cooking, cleaning, work and sleep need to be squeezed into my baby-free time!  But I haven't given up on my LBL.  I take so many pictures and I need this outlet to organize, preserve and share our goings on ;)

We are in a stage where Cal consistently fights his third nap of the day and we don't try too hard to convince him to sleep since bed time is right around the corner and night sleep > nap sleep !!!

To keep everyone sane, it works best to go do something during his so-called witching hour, and last Tuesday that was going out to dinner at Mikette - a new french bistro that opened recently on the north side of town.

Calum had the tasting menu.  Meaning, I looked down and he was eating the menu.  He also sneaked in a mouthful of the table.  Oops!

^ That is his tired & guilty face

And this is Andy's not tired and happy face :P

We shared the haricot verts - with onions, hazelnuts, basil and olive oil.  These were so good and I'm looking forward to trying them at least one more time before I try to recreate this at home.

I was craving mac & cheese and was happy they didn't question my ordering off the kids menu.  It hit the spot!

He was sooo tired but also happy to be sitting outside and quite interested in our food...


We also shared the poulette and frites, which I posted on Instagram the other day.  It was delicious, great to share and came on a pretty plate FTW ;)

So we're not up to anything crazy these days.  Just enjoying this precious time with our newest family member and working on settling into our new normal :)

(...all while chasing around our naughtiest family member, Mr. Jules)

Thursday, May 26, 2016

What We've Been Up To Lately...

Since this post is a jumble of photos and blurbs, I'll just jump right in with these cuties :) :) :)

Andy and Calum in their Arsenal kits is just too cute.  We got him a 6-9 month onesie and he's already in it - we have a long (tall?) baby!

He just blew past all the newborn sized clothes we had (hand me downs thankfully!) and we had to make sure to get him into the smaller stuff before he outgrows it.  This onesie was made in the Philippines and was gifted from Grandma in honor of Cal's background, 1/8 Filipino!

Calum is taking a bottle like a champ and Andy loves to feed him.  Como Tomo FTW.

At about two weeks old, Calum and I headed out without Andy for the first time!  But we had Ariel and Nathan for support.  We strolled the mall and, of course, our beautiful boys attracted plenty of attention ;)

We went to Grizzly Peak - Victor's Gold and chicken club (AND polenta fries, Cparks would approve)...

^^ Cal is ironically wearing his First Draft Pick from his Aunt Kristen.  Like I would ever let him play football bahaha...

The first time chilling out on our deck.  It has been too cold, too windy, too hot, we had a wasp nest....finally it got just right out there for him (yes, we are helicopter parents :P )

Seriously, these Cal + Daddy moments are my life.  Calum loves story time so we lay on the floor and read books to him.  His first favorite was Green Eggs and Ham but he recently has started loving Big Little ;)  Where is Baby's Belly Button? is a huge hit too!  I'm personally loving Giraffes Can't Dance and the Little Blue Trucks but he's hot and cold on these hehe

Andy and I like to take him for walks around our neighborhood in the Tula.  I just ordered a Tulasaurus one so Andy and I can have our own.

Tummy time and more outfits...

^^ The one on the right cracks me up.  He tucked his little legs and has a huge cloth diaper on and his grin, oh man, what a goof!  (PS Rosie Pope onesies, pictured on the left here, are the BEST, thanks Ali!)

{Calum at LAB}
{Calum at Jolly Pumpkin}
A late lunch at Cafe Zola with my MIL, GMIL, Ariel, Nathan and Calum! 

{Calum at Kilwins}

{Calum at Argus Farm Stop}
Calum and I ventured out alone to Kerrytown one Wednesday.  We picked up some vegetables from the Farmer's Market since there was a man spraying rat poison/hand sanitizer on food at the local grocery stores, wtf.

Cal held the eggs ;)

^^ His first trip to Zingerman's for bread!

We made it downtown for Mother's Day.  We had an early "dinner" at Isalita:  Chicken Gorditas and Cuban Quesadilla.  While tasty, I was regretting eating either of them really quickly...

Since we've been living off of this salad - Organic Girl Kale or Baby Spinach, tomato, cheddar cheese, avocado, red onion and if we're feeling fancy, sliced cucumber.  So the richness of Isalita was a little jarring!!!

^^ Maybe we can manage to get some chicken on it and almost always we include a slice of Zingerman's Farm Bread.  We spend way more money at Zingerman's these days than I care to admit.  But it is delicious and easy.

Jules is suffering from mild bouts of depression but we still love him so much!  I had just put Cal down for a nap and came to hug Andy when we hear a "mew" and look down to see Jules' big eyes looking at us longingly.  I scooped him up and cuddled him into our hug.  He was purr-ty happy!

Cal is meeting more and more family and friends -

{Papa Joe}
{Mee Mee}
Grandma and Grandpa ...


{Gigi - Great Grandma}

{Great Grandpa Herb}

{Drew & Alyssa}

'Aunt' Anna and 'Uncle' Chris and Christoper... 

From day 1 we swaddled Cal to help him sleep.  As he has gotten bigger and stronger, we realized that a swaddle blanket + our swaddling skills would not contain this hulk baby.  It is pretty comical at how bad I am at swaddling.


^^ Ziggy Baby swaddle worked for a little while but the velcro started sticking to me and scratching me.  When he started to break out of the velcro swaddle we moved on to the Easy Swaddle by Aden & Anais.

Someone wore pants for the first time!  I LOVE this picture, he's so cute!

We had our first family selfie.  Calum was not that interested lol.

Sporting the locavore onesie from Aunt Anna and Aunt Elisabeth!  (Pictured on the blanket from Marj, best blankie ever!)

We made the transition to cloth diapers!  We have a bunch of GroVia covers but the Flip covers are our favorite, especially for summer since they are thinner.  We're using DyDee Diaper service for the inserts.  We originally were going to wash our own inserts but that went out the window real fast.  Laundry is on repeat.

^^ Calum got his 2 months vaccinations and got some cool stickers in return.  I wore a white shirt to this visit and of course he bled all over me, poor guy!

And one more of our fur babe.  The big brother.  He's matured so much in the couple months!  He hisses at strangers (to him) but loves his Calum <3