Friday, July 29, 2011

Vacation Time!

After this week, I am more than ready for vacation. We've been having a little too much together-ness and sister time in the babysitting world. I have seen not only World War three break out this week, but possibly four, five, and six too. This was the first week anyone has been banished to their room. And today I didn't just have my regular three, but the neighbor's three as well. Lesson learned: I will never have six children. Ever. The Duggar's house must be really loud.

Tomorrow we are headed north to New England for the week. We will be visiting Matt's family in Massachusetts and as well as spending some time in Maine. It's going to be a very exciting week. There are lots of events planned, but I have to save the details for a later date. Anyone else take any exciting trips this summer? Look forward to some pictures from Yankee (not the baseball kind, the civil war kind) territory.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Recipe of the Week!

Here is a recipe I really liked! Just a warning's a little on the spicy side, even for me who loves spiciness and has a high tolerance for spice. The yogurt was a nice neutralizer, though. I will definitely make these again!

Grilled Steak Gyros


  • 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon dried mint (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1/2 cup 2% plain Greek yogurt
  • 1 onion, sliced into 1/2-inch-thick rounds
  • 1 pound skirt steak
  • 4 pocketless pitas
  • 1 tomato, chopped
  • 1 bunch watercress, roughly chopped


Preheat a grill to medium high. Make the marinade: Whisk the olive oil, garlic, mint (if using), oregano, paprika, 1 teaspoon salt, and pepper to taste in a large bowl. Transfer 1 tablespoon of the marinade to a small bowl; mix in the yogurt and 2 tablespoons water. Add the bell pepper and onion to the bowl with the remaining marinade and toss; remove to a plate with a slotted spoon. Add the steak to the bowl and toss.
Grill the onion and steak, turning once, until lightly charred, about 4 minutes per side for the vegetables and 4 to 8 minutes per side for the steak (depending on the thickness). Set aside to rest, about 5 minutes. Meanwhile, grill the pitas until marked, about 1 minute per side.
Slice the steak against the grain. Fill the pitas with the steak, grilled vegetables, tomato and watercress. Drizzle with the yogurt sauce.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Hot Child in the City

It has be HOT here in DC the past week-ish. When I say hot I mean like 115 degree heat index. Brutal. On a typical day in Adventures in Babysitting we go to the pool. Well that lasted until about Wednesday this week and then I could take no more. The bugs were biting and the sun was burning so we needed some new indoor activities. You know how they say there's no such thing as a free lunch? Well I have some data to prove those people wrong. We did four free activities on Thursday and Friday last week.

We began on Thursday morning at the Fairfax Corner movie theatre. We watched Marmaduke free of charge and it went over well. Every Tuesday and Thursday they have free kids movies at 10 am. This week we will be taking part in Ramona and Beezus. Thursday afternoon we went to the library, not too original, but still free. The Friday adventures crossed state lines. We stalked out Georgetown Cupcake on facebook and decided to go to the Bethesda store (better parking situation) to receive the free cupcake of the day. We also took a trip into the Apple store which I think they liked better than cupcakes. In the afternoon? Free bowling. We covered a lot of ground this past week, right? Here are some happy cupcake faces. Let's hope for a quick, less hot, week and then...VACATION!!!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Recipe of the Week!

Honey Chicken Tenders

I made this chicken at the same time I made last weeks rice. They were a good combo, but this chicken would go well with anything. I really liked it. It was just a little sweet and a lot crunchy so it was perfect. I think the chicken would also just be good coated in the honey and apricot mixture without the bread crumbs if you are interested in trying it that way. I feel like this would also be a kid favorite! 


2 boneless chicken breasts cut into small strips

  • Panko bread crumbs
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 2 tablespoons apricot preserves or jam


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a small bowl, combine honey and apricot preserves. Stir to combine. Brush honey mixture on both sides of chicken strips, dredge in bread crumbs. Line coated chicken on a baking sheet coated with nonstick cooking spray. Bake about 30 minutes until slightly browned.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Family Visit

I mentioned last week that my mom and two of my aunts were coming to visit, and that they did. They arrived late Thursday night and left yesterday afternoon. We were all over the place. Thank goodness for the wonderful moderate temperatures and low humidity that makes playing tourist a lot more pleasurable. Friday morning we went to Georgetown Cupcake. We were able to get the secret flavor of the day (they give out 100 free cupcakes to the first 100 people who ask for the secret flavor each day!) and purchased a few other flavors to try as well. I highly recommend the Lemon Blossom. We moved right on to the monuments and White House tour and then met Matt after work at the Capitol.

We decided we would make the trek to Adams Morgan that night for dinner to attempt getting a table at Pasta Mia. I LOVE LOVE LOVE this place! It's definitely in my top 5 favorite restaurants to go to, but we hardly ever go cause it a pain to get to, and its also always an adventure to eat there. The restaurant is tiny, doesn't take reservations, and the line starts to form down the block before it opens at 6:30. And I'm not joking when I say the kitchen is smaller than mine and I'm pretty sure they cook one table's worth of food at a time. I highly suggest going here, but if you do be prepared to wait outside to get in and then be prepared for terrible service and a long wait for your food. I also suggest only a few people go, don't bring a big group. It's worth it, I promise, and you will have leftovers for days. It's owned (I'm pretty sure) by this Italian woman who is there every time and trying to get people to buy her iPhone app and there is another guy who is also always there...maybe her son? Sound entertaining?

Ok enough of my rambling on about Pasta Mia. On Sunday we went to Eastern Market and walked around Capitol Hill. I love doing this. It doesn't get old. There is always lots to look at. You also have to visit Capitol Hill Books. That place just cracks me up. Its a huge mess of books and the owner is hilarious, but somewhat scary at the same time. My mom and aunts also visited the American History Museum and then we all went to the top of the Old Post Office Tower. We also drove around the Navy Yard so my aunt could see where my cousin will be working soon!

All in all it was a great weekend. I had to go back to work today, but luckily I was down to one kid. So quiet and so easy. I can't believe we are halfway through summer already! It's going so quickly!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

A Week Off

I have the week to myself this week. The kids I babysit are spending the week with their grandparents I believe. In past summers I would always give myself a few days right after school ended to do absolutely nothing all day...just sleep in and sit and watch as much TV as possible. That never happened this summer. So that's pretty much what did happen (for the most part) on Monday and Tuesday. Yesterday, though, was a little adventure. My friend Nicole and I planned a little winery date (something else I use to do every summer with my teacher friends) because the family she babysits for is also on vacation...perfect coincidence!

So yesterday...we decided we would pick up a little picnic lunch at Wegmans before heading to Paradise Springs Winery in Clifton. I could go on a whole tangent here about my extreme love for Wegmans, but I won't. I will just say I continue to drive 15-20 minutes back to where I use to live to keep going to that Wegmans I love it so much. Our little trip to Wegmans also turned into a celebrity sighting. Yes, that's right Jacqueline from Real Housewives of New Jersey was in the house, along with her fellow D-List costars husband, Chris, and Albie and Chris Manzo, Caroline's sons. They were doing some promotion on black water. Weird? Yes. Even weirder...Nicole going celeb creeper status around the aisles of Wegmans. 

Back to the winery. It was fun. We had both been there before, but they also just remodeled and it's really pretty and nice. The wine was decent. I actually ended up liking the white wines better than the red when it's usually the opposite. We purchased a bottle and had our picnic lunch on their new deck. After getting word of a severe thunderstorm approaching, we hit the road back to more populated parts of Northern Virginia. It was a great day and made me wish a little bit that I had more free time this summer. I am ending my week's vacation with a visit from my mom and two of my aunts. They arrive tonight so I'm sure I will have some excitement to share come Sunday!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Recipe of the Week!

Spiced Rice with Nectarines this sounds weird, but it's decent. I'm not sure what I was expecting out of this, but it's just kind of a confusing dish over all. Obviously I am going to put the recipe below, but first I'm going to give you some tips. I got this recipe out of the Food Network magazine I get each month. I would suggest using far less rice than they use or upping your other spices and ingredients to make it better. Also I didn't feel like grilling my nectarines so I cooked them on the stovetop for a little bit. This isn't something I would make regularly, but it was something different if thats what you are looking for. It also went well with the chicken recipe that I will be sharing next week. So here ya go:

Preheat grill to medium high. Cut 2 nectarines into wedges and toss with olive oil and a big pinch of cumin, cinnamon, cayenne, and salt. Grill until marked. Chop and toss with 3 cups cooked rice, juice of half a lemon, splash of olive oil, a pinch of cumin and cinnamon, and a 1/4 cup each of almonds and chopped dill. 

Sunday, July 10, 2011

City Garden Update

A more leafy garden!
Remember my city garden? Well it's much more productive these days! We have two tomatoes that are ready to be picked and will be eaten with dinner tonight. We use the herbs that I planted on a regular basis, at least a few times a week. And our lemon tree, while fruitless, is doing much better than in the winter months. Our strawberry plant has given us quite a few strawberries, but I wouldn't call them delicious. They are really small and have a weird consistency. And we also have the red pepper plant that I think might have been a mistake, but it is flowering right now so who knows. I think the Earth Box should really not have three plants in it, only two. So my plan for next summer is just tomato plants since that is what seems to be working best. And of course I will have tons of herbs...I love having those cause buying the ones at the grocery store end up being such a waste. Anyone know how to get lemons on a lemon tree?


Friday, July 8, 2011

Recipe of the Week!

Kale Chips

Ready to be cooked
Well apparently Kale Chips are all the rage these days. I was fascinated so I had to try them. So easy and surprisingly good! You can try them right now...I bet all you need to do is go buy some kale. I don't really know people who keep it laying around. Take your newly purchased kale and rinse it. Then remove the leaves from the tough stems. Put all your leaves in a big bowl and toss with olive oil. Lay your leaves flat on a cookie sheet, sprinkle with salt, and bake in the oven for 25ish minutes at 300 degrees. Simple!
Finished Chips

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Erin Plus Three

Who takes a summer job when it's basically the equivalent of a bonus in teacher world? That's right...this crazy person. I'm babysitting the three fabulous ladies above all day, every day for the majority of the summer. So far it's good, but 4 girls all day is a lot of drama. To say the least. We've had a lot of adventures already and it's only day eight...including one (semi) lost child, a dead car battery, the day when no one listened or told the truth, swim team, and this one to Sweet Frog. Sweet Frog is one of my new obsessions...self serve frozen yogurt! More adventures to come...with no lost children I hope.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Recipe of the Week!

Black Bean and Avocado Salad

This recipe is perfect for this holiday week. It's delicious and refreshing and will fit wonderfully at any cookout. 

1 15 oz. can of corn
1 15 oz. can of black beans
2 avocados
2 small tomatoes
half a red onion
1 lemon
cilantro to taste

In a large bowl combine the chopped tomato, avocado, and red onion. Drain the corn and add to bowl. Drain and rinse black beans and add to bowl. Toss together. Squeeze the juice of one lemon and toss again. Next chop and add cilantro (I used a lot because I love cilantro, but I know some people hate it so you can also leave it out if you want). Enjoy!