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Wednesday, February 27, 2013

BLT Salad with Salmon

BLT, who doesn't love one! Classic, simple, and tasty. I hadn't had a BLT in years until recently on Christmas Day, my husband, son, mother and father decided we would eat Christmas lunch out, and pulled up to the only restaurant open, a cute little diner. And what better diner food than a BLT! And that's exactly what I got. I haven't stopped thinking about it since! So much so that I decided to make a BLT salad...with a twist that is. 

Instead of using bacon I pan fried pieces of  prosciutto, instead of using lettuce I used sliced brussels sprouts, I kept the T of the BLT and for the final twist I topped my salad with a piece of pan seared salmon. This is a great variation on the classic BLT sandwich and the presentation and taste will be sure to impress!

BLT Salad with Salmon
5-6 cups brussels sprouts, shredded or sliced very thinly
2 cups cherry tomatoes, cut in half
Prosciutto, one whole slice per person
Salmon steak, one per person

1/4 cup balsamic dressing
1/4 cup olive oil
1 tablespoon sugar
1 crushed garlic clove
salt and pepper to taste

Combine all dressing ingredients and set aside to let the crushed garlic clove permeate the dressing.

Start by heating a pan on medium heat and spray with a light coating of non-stick cooking spray. Place pieces of prosciutto into pan and cook until crispy; set aside. Cook your salmon steaks and set aside to rest while you assemble your salad. Place shredded brussels sprouts and sliced tomatoes in salad bowl. Pour desired amount of dressing over salad and toss to combine. Plate a helping of the brussels sprout mixture on each plate and top with one piece of salmon along with a piece of crispy prosciutto. Enjoy!

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Potty Mouth

I recently had a dream of potty training Easton. Specifically for two reasons. First being that it would be nice to just not change diapers anymore. Secondly and most importantly because Easton HATES having his diaper changed. Imagine trying to change a rabid raccoon's diaper and then multiply it by 5 rabid raccoon's, and you get an idea of what it is like to change E's diaper. I went so far as to purchase both a little potty as well as little man underwear  I was all in, and waiting for the perfect weekend to try the 3 day method that I have heard so many friends talk about. There was just one on earth one very important thing could have possibly slipped my mind I have NO idea. Obviously potty training includes pee but even more so includes poo. And Easton's poo is still as wet and explosive as when he was a newborn. How was I supposed to potty train a kid when I was changing three, yes three people, of these every day!!
This is what I found one afternoon when I opened Easton's door to gently wake him up from a nap. Of course it was the smell that hit me first. I knew I had a serious issue on my hands but I didn't know how bad until I got closer...
It turned out to be everywhere. On a book I let Easton take to bed, his face, his sheets, his nails. You name it, it was covered. Even looking at these pictures again brings back horrific aromas to my mind. 
So three day potty training method...ya, not gona least until the before mentioned bowel movements become waaaaaaay more solidly manageable :)

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Elastic Bookmarks

If you would have told me 8 years ago that I would be reading for enjoyment I would have called you crazy. Let me explain. Over 8 years ago I had changed my college major three times and was at my wits end with school. College was beginning to feel like a career at this point. I needed to figure out what I wanted to do, what classes to take and get the heck out of dodge and do it with a degree! At that point I decided to change my major to what came easiest to me so that I could expedite the process. I knew I could read and I knew I could write...a major in English it would be. At the same time I also decided I would minor in history. Little did I know that between the two majors I would be inundated with sooooooooooooo many books to read that it would turn what was a pleasure of mine into a serious burden. After graduating I all but swore off reading for the rest of my life. And its true, I don't think I picked up a book to read for probably 3 or 4 years. Sad but true. But I am happy to say that I got over my hump and I have regained my love for reading. A few of my favorite reads the last few years have been:

The Power of One (one of my all time favorite reads!!!) *Warning* do not see the movie, it is horrible and does not follow the book at all. If you have seen the movie and not read the book then you need to forget that you saw the movie and go read the book :)

Modoc. Be prepared to cry.
So sweet

The Education of Little Tree
Humerous, sad and moving

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society. Crazy name but a great book

The Zookeepers Wife
Moving Historical Book

The current book I am reading is 
A Fine Balance
I haven't finished it yet but I am enjoying what I have read so far.

Now that I am back in the swing of reading I can't tell you how many times I have set a bookmark into a book to hold my place only to have it fall or slip out somehow. And how frustrating is it to have to thumb through the pages trying to figure out where you left off! Tell me I am not the only one!! Well I have created the solution to my long felt problem...elastic bookmarks made with, you got it, elastic! Perfection in a bookmark folks! Best part is that you can use them for tall, short, fat or thin books, they don't discriminate! I even made three elastic bookmarks for my nieces last Christmas. It was a total hit! All I did was cut some felt into a shape I wanted, add some trimming or embroider a design, attach elastic to the back and cover it with another piece of felt the same shape and tada, elastic bookmark!
Check out a few of these beauties now in the rotation:

Sunday, February 17, 2013


This years Valentines Day was definitely a bit on the disappointing side. Now before you suspect me about to bash my husband for not showering me with chocolates and flowers and gifts, let me stop you. I am definitely not that kind of girl who expects the day to be all about her. Quite the contrary. I would be happy with a red box rental, a bowl of popcorn and a snuggle on the couch with my man. Why this Valentines day was so disappointing was because Ben and I were both crazy crazy sick. Too top it off, Ben is working on his second masters degree and he has class every Thursday from 5:30 -9:30 pm that he cannot miss. So I was sick at home trying to entertain Easton without vomiting and poor Ben was in class trying to retain information for 4 hours while not vomiting. It was quite a day.
There were some notable perks to mention however!! Ben took a brake from work and drove home to surprise me with my favorite flowers ever!! They are a flower we discovered while in Hawaii last month visiting Maui's lavender farm. And spending time with my little Valentine turned out to be great. He was such a little trooper while his mommy was basically incapacitated, and even let me take a few cute Valentines Day photos of him.
Hope you all had a great Valentines day filled with much less sickness than we had going on at the Lichty's Party Palace. 

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Chocolate Chip Nutella Cups

So by now you know that Nutella and I have had an ongoing love affair for some time now. And consequently I am always looking for a reason to use it in EVERY dessert I make. This dessert is no different. 

I couldn't decide between making cookies or cupcakes so I combined the two using a cookie recipe and baking them in a cupcake tin. BUT! These just aren't chocolate chip cookies baked in a cupcake tin....they are stuffed with a dangerous helping of Nutella. So if you don't currently have any cavities, you just mihgt after you try these!!

Chocolate Chip Nutella Cups

chocolate chip cookie dough (your favorite recipe or a store bought dough)
1 jar Nutella

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Spray your muffin tin with a non stick cooking spray. Once you have prepared your cookie dough mold it into each cavity of the muffin tin being sure to press it up the sides. Leave a gaping hole in the middle. Take a large dollop of Nutella and drop it in the hole you created in your cookie dough. 

Bake for 8-10 minutes or until the cookie dough is just golden around the edges. Let cool in pan for 5 minutes before removing to a rack to completely cool.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Baked Crab Cakes with Garlic, Chili Creme Fraiche Dipping Sauce

Yes folks, I've got crabs...crab cakes that is! Every New Years my family has a crab feast and we gorge and gorge and gorge ourselves on the freshest most delicious crab that we can find. My father orders way more crab than should be legal and we lightly crack each leg and body open before putting the pieces in a "to die for" sauce that my mother concocts to simmer before serving. I don't think more than two words are ever spoken during that meal, more of a symphony of noises like hmmm, ohhhhh, and ahhhh.

This year our crab feast left us with a few stragglers for leftovers and I decided to put them to good use and make a delicious baked crab cake recipe with a creamy garlic, chili creme fraiche dipping sauce that is good enough to eat by the spoonful! These cakes are best made with real crab meat that you can find at any fish counter in almost any grocery store, and Costco actually sells some really great chunk crab meat that would be perfect for this recipe as well. I promise you wont miss frying up these cakes in a pan; they come out of the oven with the greatest crispy crust that locks in all of the juicy smooth flavors waiting on the inside.

Baked Crab Cakes with Garlic, Chili Creme 
Fraiche Dipping Sauce

Baked Crab Cakes-
1 egg, beaten
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon Worcestershire
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon hot sauce
1/2 tsp Old Bay seasoning
1/4 capers, drained
1 scallion, finely chopped
1 pound lump crab meant
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup panko bread crumbs

Garlic, Chili Creme Fraiche Dipping Sauce-
1/2 cup Creme Fraiche
1/2-1 tsp garlic chili hot sauce (can be found in the Asian isle of your grocery store)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Spray a baking sheet with nonstick cooking spray. In a bowl mix together the egg, mustard, Worcestershire sauce, lemon juice, Old Bay seasoning and hot sauce. Stir in the scallion and capers. Gently fold in the crab mat, 1/4 cup of panko crumbs and salt and pepper to taste. Place the remaining panko bread crumbs in a shallow dish. Divide the crab mixture into about 8 mounds. Round out each mound and place in panko bread crumbs to fully coat. 

Transfer to your prepared baking sheet and flatten the crab cake slightly. 

Continue until all of your crab cakes are coated and on the baking sheet. Place a very very thin pad of butter on top of each crab cake and place in the oven to bake for 10 minutes. Gently flip each crab cake over and bake an additional 8-10 minutes longer until golden and crispy.
For your dipping sauce simply combine your creme fraiche and chili sauce and taste for heat content and if you desire adding any salt.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013


Wowza! In a matter of two years I went from having never been to Hawaii, to having been twice now. I feel like one lucky girl!! My first experience was with Ben in Honolulu and I was just 6 months pregnant with E. It was our last hoorah before giving birth. This time Ben, E and I went with Ben's brother Josh +Joshua Lichty , wife Maria +Maria Lichty  and son Caleb. The two little ones are just 4 months apart and since Josh's family lives in Utah we don't get to see them very often. So this was a great time to get together and create some fun memories while staying in paradise.
We were little uneasy about the 5 1/2 hour plane ride with Easton. Our dream included E sleeping his way through over half of the flight since it left so early in the morning. Reality dictated that it would include a 20 minute cat nap. Now what to do with the remaining 5 hours and 20 minutes?!!! Thankfully there were no major screaming fits or meltdowns to remember.

Our second day in Maui, Maria booked us a private tour of the Ali'i Kula Lavender Farm including a delicious breakfast of lavender scones and tea and a private cart ride through the farm.
Our tour guide Harrison was nice enough to cut us the most beautiful flowers along the way and wrap them up in a bouquet to enjoy the remainder of our stay in Hawaii.
One must do excursion that we heard constantly from locals and tourists was to drive to Hana. It is considered the most natural and "untouched" area of Maui. With every recommendation also came a warning. The drive to Hana is over 3 hours long and longer if you stop to admire the views and take pictures. If that wasn't bad enough it is over 3 hours of the windiest roads imaginable, making it the perfect equation for some severe car sickness. Early in the trip we had decided that we just would not be taking that gamble, especially with a finicky 1 1/2 year old who is already less than enthused about his car set. But, as each day came and went we decided that we needed to at least give it a try; this might be the last time we would ever be in Maui and we didn't want to leave with any regrets.
I am happy to announce that we survived the drive without even a hint of car sickness. It was probably because we were so focused on one of the most incredible and beautiful scenic views of all time. Pictures can not do it justice!!
Finally we made it to Hana Bay Beach, boy were we glad to be out of the car! Now for the 3 hour ride back home!!!
Most of our vacation was filled with lots of beach and pool time and tons of relaxing.
I just love E's little sand footprints
One of my favorite shots that Ben caught was E walking in between our shadows.
Pool time
These two little dudes had a blast together!
And of course we couldn't leave without at least trying some local delicacy! Spam lovers might want to skip ahead. Bottom line we did not finish the spam... definitely not something our pallets could get used too.
Lots of sunsets in paradise.
Goodnight and goodbye Maui...until we meet again!

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