A lot of ideas came to mind when I picked up the Key Lime Pie Frosting Creations flavor packet. I thought perhaps I could make a cake, or a special kind of pie, or more ice cream. However, with such innovative key lime flavor, I knew that I had to do something exciting and new!
So, with that delicious Key Lime Flavor Packet, I made…
CILANTRO LIME CHICKEN WRAPS! That chicken is marinaded in a delicious Cilantro Lime Marinade using the Duncan Hines Frosting Creations Key Lime Pie Flavor Packet.
Yeah, that’s right. You can use frosting flavors to create innovative savory recipes, too! And, for the record, it’s actually really easy, too.
Start by cutting up 1/2 cup of cilantro, mincing it very finely, as finely as you can manage.
Okay, so maybe mine isn’t quite that fine, but just do your best. I am not a patient woman!
Once you’ve minced up that cilantro (smell it! So yummy!), add in a finely minced clove of garlic, 1/2 C Balsamic vinegar, and 2 C Extra Virgin Olive Oil. A couple of large pinches of salt and a sprinkle of pepper will add a little more flavor.
Sprinkle in the contents of one Key Lime Pie Frosting Creations Flavor Packet. Do not add any Frosting Creations Starter Frosting– it’s a bit too sweet for this recipe, so you’re just sticking to the flavor packet on this one.
BAM! Marinade. Now, you’re welcome to stop here and just let this sit for awhile by itself (refrigerated, please!) so the flavors can meld. Use it as a salad dressing or dipping sauce. Or….
…you can see just how far this rabbit hole goes, and try out your marinade on some meat.
I chose chicken, because I feel like Cilantro, Lime, and Chicken work VERY well together.
Cut it up nice and small.
Then soak in your marinade for at least one hour… but preferably longer. The more you soak it, the more flavor you’ll get out of it!
After marinating, cook your chicken in a nonstick skillet.
Once it’s cooked, again, you could stop here and use the chicken any way you please… chicken tacos, a yummy cilantro lime chicken pizza, served over salad (hint: before marinating, reserve some extra marinade to use as a dressing). The sky is the limit!
But, if you want that fancy picture I showed you up top, again, keep going with your Cilantro Lime Marinade to make some Cilantro Lime Chicken Wraps!
Lay out the tortilla of your choice. I used a flour tortilla, but you can use any kind you’d like. I also put on some shredded lettuce and Mexicorn, then topped it with the chicken. Cheese would be another great addition, as would fresh tomatoes, but this is what I had in the fridge. I didn’t exactly plan ahead for dinner…
Wrap it up, then serve with chips and salsa or beans and rice!
And that, my friends, is how you use a Duncan Hines Frosting Creations Flavor Packet to make a marinade! Which flavor do you want to try?
For a printable version of this recipe, check out the Duncan Hines Website, here: http://www.duncanhines.com/recipes/specialty-desserts/jenni-schoenberger/cilantro-lime-chicken-wraps-ft-cilantro-lime-marinade
Are you creative in the kitchen? Enter Duncan Hines’ Spring Baking Contest on their website, and you might win a trip to the Duncan Hines Test Kitchen, where you’ll get to meet me and many other talented bakers this fall! Hope to see you there! What are you waiting for? Go enter!
In Kansas, sometimes it seems that the frost will never go away. It seems like, when it’s still snowing in May, the ground will stay hard, and the moisture will never sink into the ground. But then, just days later, we end up getting sunny, stellar weather, and the hard ground softens with warmth and rain, the temperatures getting back to normal.
There are many parts of the world where this isn’t the case, though! In Siberia, for example, there is a thing called “Permafrost,” where the ground never fully unfreezes. Even though the top of the ground will soften during the warmer seasons, deep down, it stays frozen, hard, and impossible to soak or build down through. When we were studying Russia, we encountered this fact, but we never fully understood how this would affect life.
Luckily, we encountered this great experiment in our My Father’s World curriculum that gave us a better visual representation of what permafrost looked like, and it used simple household materials: a bowl, Jell-O, dirt, and ice.
Start by making Jell-O! Any flavor will work, including the unflavored, but we just happened to have some Cherry Jell-O on hand. You’ll want to prepare it in a glass or otherwise clear bowl so you can see the effect it creates!
Once it’s set, it’s all ready to go!
Cover that perfectly good Jell-O with a layer of dessert (if you’re smart, unlike us, you’ll make a second set of Jell-O before getting to this step… because you’ll sit there craving it through the whole lesson!)
Once you’ve got a good couple of inches of dirt, you’ll want to top that with some ice!
Now that you’ve got the ice on there, you’ve got a fairly decent representation of Siberia. It’s time to sit back and wait.
You see, the Jell-O represents the permafrost. The dirt is, well, dirt. It represents the ground in Siberia. And finally, the ice is the frozen tundra, which will thaw and melt, and you’ll see how the permafrost affects it.
At first, from a side view, you’ll notice nothing is happening. There will be an ice layer, a dirt layer, and a permafrost layer.
As the ice melts (as though spring and summer are coming!), you’ll notice that the ground gets soggy…
…but the sogginess doesn’t permeate or soak into the Permafrost (Jell-O) layer at all!
Eventually, your ice will totally melt! Summer has arrived!
But look… it still never fully permeates the permafrost! There is always that layer there– meaning the ground will be very soggy.
So what does this mean for people who live in Siberia? For one, paths are really muddy! But the worst part is that muddy ground like that will obviously provide a very unstable surface to build on. It means that many of the older homes are uneven and sinking into the ground. Newer buildings must be built up on stilts that sink far into the ground, allowing them to stay sturdy and stable, so they don’t sink or fall into the ground. It can cause some major problems when you spend time dealing with all of the water on the surface or extra mud.
Permafrost is a difficult concept to figure out or explain sometimes, but this is a great, visual way to show how permafrost works, and the effects that it has on structures and surfaces in Siberia.
I had another post planned for today, but yesterday, I saw my son explore something he’d never gotten to explore before, and it changed my mind on what to write about. I felt this topic was so important, weighing on my heart so much, that I really need to share it with you.
I remember a few years ago, before my son was born, when the Crayola colored bubbles first came out. I was excited about them. When it turned out that they stained, I was okay with that. You know what? That’s why we have some stained hand-me-downs. No big deal. Another mom and I got into a discussion, and at one point, it got fairly heated. She said that she was absolutely not okay with her children playing with things that would get them dirty; she went on to say that destroying clothing, even old ones, was a waste of resources, and it was a waste of energy to clean up after the mess. I always said I wouldn’t be “that mom.” When I was little, my mom frequently allowed me a roll in the mud. She firmly maintained the stance that both children and clothing were washable.
So, when the new Crayola colored bubbles were released (still staining, but not quite like the original), I bought them. And honestly, Zach loves them. The thing is, I can’t tell you how many times Zach has come to me with a new marker tattoo when the pen strayed off of the page. I can’t tell you how many bubble-and-sand hairdos we’ve had.
One particularly fond memory was an evening when I gave Zach some chocolate pudding. I handed him a spoon, and he started eating it, the same way he does with his yogurt. Suddenly, though, that spoon was not enough, and before I knew it, he had chocolate pudding all over. His face, his ear, his hair, it had pudding. Chocolate, smeary pudding.
As soon as I saw him, I shouted “Zach! What are you doing?” Then, I saw him look down, ashamed, and I thought… wait a second. It’s not getting on anything. (Well, except for Zach). So I opened up another pudding cup, and began eating it directly out of the cup. Before I knew it, I had pudding on my nose to match his.
So yesterday, when Zach and I were playing outside, and I noticed a large stream of water flowing through a muddy path in the backyard, instead of keeping him out… I opened the gate and said “Go for it.”
He splashed. He slid. He used it kind of as a slip-n-slide. He went mud skating. He mushed it in his fingers. All of this is important. It’s a texture that he’s never felt before, a feeling he’s never experienced. And this was one more step in his learning process.
Sure. His clothing got muddy and wet. His hands were icky and mucky. If you look closely, you can even see some green marker from an incident earlier in the day.
As Zach grows, naturally, he will learn that there is a time for messy play and a time for clean play. Dressy clothes aren’t for mud pies, and mud pie clothes aren’t for church. But for now, these experiences mold and shape him. They make him who he is. They help him learn about different consistencies and textures, as well as the thought that dirt and water combine to create something that isn’t really dirt or water, but some sort of substance in between.
Obviously, as soon as his mud play was over, he went straight into a bath. And, within 30 minutes, you couldn’t even see a speck of evidence of the mud or the marker.
In some ways, I have to compare this to my journey in faith. I go through life. I sit there, and I get all of this muck, and filth, and dirt, and grime, and it’s everywhere. It’s in every nook and cranny, under my nails and between my toes. And I am gross. Disgusting. And then, I get this healing water, this Holy washing, basically, and I am made clean. I’m renewed. I’m a NEW creation in Christ. And all of that filth, that dirt, that grime, is gone. Washed down the drain, out of sight. Just like the mud on Zach’s skin. It’s just… gone.
I love that. I love when life provides me with a metaphor that helps me so clearly relate what happens in my life to what has happened to me spiritually, what is STILL happening to me spiritually. I still sin. And even then, God washes me and makes me new.
In the end, I really have no control, and no desire to have control, over whether or not another parent will let her kids play in the dirt and mud. In many ways, I kind of feel like they will anyway. Dirt, mud… it isn’t for everyone.
But as for me and my son, we’re going to be stocking up on a lot of stained clothing, colored bubbles, and pudding cups, because I see a LOT of messy days in our future.
(Products in the layout above are from http://www.designhousedigital.com)
You may remember the one, two, four hundred times I told you guys about my amazing trip to the Duncan Hines test kitchen last year. I’m a pretty devoted DH junkie, so it was the trip of a lifetime for me to get to see the amazing inner workings of the Pinnacle Foods headquarters and get to know the amazing people behind my favorite products and flavors.
Well… I’m going to let you in on something really, really major… Duncan Hines has invited me and my fellow winners from last year back THIS year to join them at the Duncan Hines kitchens in September!
But that isn’t the only really exciting thing that is going on with Duncan Hines… the other exciting news? They’ve released four amazing seasonal flavors of their Frosting Creations! You’ve seen me work with Frosting Creations several times on the blog before, but I’m excited to be back in the swing of creating fun new recipes using these brand new flavors!
Today, I’m working with the Fruit Punch flavor. This is one of the flavors that I was lucky enough to taste test last year while it was still in it’s final stages of development. I remembered the flavor being really fun, and definitely kid-friendly, so I was anxious for the flavor to be released to the public!
I thought a kid friendly flavor of Frosting belonged in a very kid-friendly treat, and what better treat than something popular with all ages…. ICE CREAM! I mean, seriously, I scream, you scream… we all scream for it, guys!
Start by warming 1 cup of half and half and 3/4 cups sugar over a medium heat, stirring constantly just until sugar is dissolved.
If you see granules, you’re not there yet… the mixture will change in color slightly as the sugar dissolves.
When the sugar has dissolved, pour it into a heat-safe bowl and let it cool to room temperature. Add in another cup of half and half, a cup of heavy whipping cream, 2 teaspoons of vanilla, and 2 teaspoons of lime juice, then stir.
Cover the bowl with saran wrap, pushing the wrap to the surface of the ice cream base so it won’t form an odd skin or film on top. Refrigerate this for at least two hours, until the mixture is very chilled.
Once the base is chilled, pour it into your ice cream maker and follow the directions. This will get you to a soft ice cream state with your base.
Here’s where the Duncan Hines Frosting Creations come in! Don’t forget that you’ll want to purchase the Frosting Creations starter base and…
…the Fruit Punch flavor packet! (Or whichever packet you’d like to use to make your ice cream uniquely yours!)
I have it on good authority that there are some coupons to get those flavor packets a little more cheaply on the Duncan Hines website at http://www.duncanhines.com, so be sure to check it out.
The frosting creations contain extra headroom in the container for easy mixing. Go ahead and make a well in the center of the frosting, then pour your frosting creations packet into the well.
Then, stir! One of my favorite things about the Duncan Hines Frosting Creation is that they lend both flavor and color in one easy step. And there’s a wide variety of colors and flavors available, so you can choose the perfect fit for your celebration!
When your ice cream has finished mixing, grab it, and your frosting, as well as a freezer safe container.
Pour a thin layer of ice cream into the container, then add some large dollops of Fruit Punch Frosting. Repeat again and again until you’ve used all of the ice cream.
Seal the container and freeze for several hours until it is hardened.
Scoop, serve, and enjoy that delicious frosting swirl.
Look at that incredible frosting swirl.
You can find a full printable recipe of the Sweet Cream Ice Cream on Duncan Hines’ Baker’s Club website here, plus submit your own recipes using Duncan Hines products over on their website!
The symbol above may look like some odd form of tribal art, or a strange emblem from a tattoo or CD cover. But this emblem, it isn’t any of that. It’s actually a very personal representation of my DNA. Isn’t that crazy to think about?
I should start at the beginning. This year, in Jeffrey’s homeschooling unit on Exploring Countries and Cultures, we thought it would be interesting to find out a little more about the countries and cultures we come from. So as soon as we saw a groupon for a company called ConnectMyDNA, we jumped on the opportunity to buy a couple of test kits!
The kits arrived as a nondescript envelope, something small, that when you opened it up, held something very powerful and personal.
The inside of the envelope contained two swabs and an envelope, as well as information on how to register your barcode (which is also printed on the envelope) on the website.
You start by taking a cheek swab on each of the two swabs, making sure to twirl them as you swab, so you can totally collect your DNA.
Once your swabs are sealed in the envelope, you mail them off, and within a couple of weeks, you get an email letting you know your results.
I honestly didn’t expect to be surprised by mine at all. I’ve always known that I have some pretty strong ties to Ireland (as evidenced by the red tones in my hair and my incredibly fair skin), and it’s no shocker that I’ve got all kinds of European blood in me.
When I got my results, I looked them over. Irish. Number one. No surprise. Farther down the list, Bosnia and Greece… I had no idea about those! Portugal, Cyprus, Macedonia.
My number 2 match was more of a surprise… Peru? I had never known that I might have South American heritage. A look at my family tree reveals a lot of Europe, but not a lot of South America, if any.
I mean, I knew my ancestry was pretty mixed, pretty blended, but I had no idea what kind of diversity I had floating around in my own bloodstream!
I’ve always made a point to think about my Irish heritage, to learn more about the German heritage I got through adoption rather than blood. And I’ve worked hard to follow my family tree when I can. But… to find this whole world, literally, of heritage that I had never known was thrilling.
Countries I never expected to have anything to do with, I found out, were a part of me!
I am a huge history and geography junkie. I love to know about cultures, which is why I love the My Father’s World unit, Exploring Countries and Cultures. Every two weeks in the curriculum, we go to a different country, in our minds, and learn as much as we can about it.
To extend that into a chance to find out where we’re REALLY from using ConnectMyDNA is amazing.
And it definitely will make me think twice about using the “come here” motion with my index finger to ask someone to come to me– apparently, in Peru, that’s not a nice signal at all!
Check out my results below on my personalized DNA poster!
Have you ever been surprised by some family history you’ve stumbled upon? What do you think of the idea that you can have a DNA test tell you where you’re from?
It is so strange to me that having just one or two rooms out of commission for renovations can so throw off my entire schedule! It seems like while we’re in the process of these renovation products, I am not getting as much accomplished, but then I remember how many things I am accomplishing around the house.
It’s hard, though, because I miss being here to check in with the blog daily as I was before. With any luck, though, the house will be done soon and we’ll be able to share some amazing before-and-afters with you.
One of my biggest projects lately has been getting our photos and art back on the walls as we finish each room, and in the meantime, updating what pictures are shown in our frames. We’ve always had a hall of fame approach in our hallway, with photos from posed to candid lining the walls, featuring every member of our very large family. Many of the photos show off our individual talents and passions… a photograph of me holding my Cherry Masher Sandwich Cookies from my Duncan Hines win, photos of Jeffrey being a soccer star, and photographs of Zach drumming.
It truly is like our own Hall of Fame, showcasing the best of our lives, and I love that. It makes me feel accomplished, proud, and enthusiastic to continue.
We also have our own set of candid shots of us just being us. No special significance, no special skills… just each of us, doing what we do. To me, this is great, because it helps me remember that in life, we have just as many bloopers as we do highlight reels. It’s a mixture of both.
This song by The Script and Will.I.Am shares a lot about how I feel about our own Hall of Fame. It also shows a lot of my wishes for Zach, so every time I listen to it, I get a bit teary-eyed. I’ve never understood those parents who said “My child can be anything.” I always thought, “yeah, but surely there’s some sort of caveat there, surely you know there’s got to be something they’ll not do.” But really, seeing my son, day in and day out, seeing him explore and change and grow and learn, I firmly believe, right now, he can be anything he wants to be. He can be a politician, a leader, a teacher, an astronaut… he has all of that potential inside of him, and I know he can do any of it.
The best part is? No matter what he does or where he goes, he’s my son, and I will be proud of him, and I will love him.
Tell me about your personal hall of fame moments. What is your biggest accomplishment? Did you ever think you’d get there when you were younger?
Not long ago, probably two months, I was up. Again. It was somewhere near 4am and my son was bouncing off the walls. Between a long, late nap, teething troubles, and all around general suckiness in terms of a schedule, we really were not handling things well.
Even though he’d sleep late after staying up so late, I always felt like my schedule (and routine) were off quite a bit. But how on earth do you convince a child who isn’t yet two that sleeping earlier is good for him?
I had no idea. And after one sleepless night too many, I realized it was time to bring in the expert… my mom.
See, she knows everything when it comes to parenting, or at least, from my perspective, she does. And she actually had a really smart idea.
But again, how do I get a toddler to stick to a routine like that? Well, the answer was obvious, right there in my face, and I simply didn’t get it.
If I wanted him to go to bed early… I had to power down, too.
In this age of tweeting and texting and facebooking and blogging and working on the latest, greatest project to share with you guys, I would get caught up in work and often would be editing photos on my laptop while trying to get him to go to bed, or replying to an email on my phone.
The constant screen time meant I was saying “Okay, just a minute!” to Zach while I saved just “one last photo” and published “just one last post.” But what I didn’t realize is that my work and my screen time was negatively affecting his schedule.
It was time to switch off.
Zach now has a routine in place. The “big light” overhead stays on for 30 minutes after we head to our room, so he can color quietly at his desk, play with blocks, or read books. We then read a book together, and turn off the big light, switching to the “little light,” a small lamp on the bedside table. During this half hour, he and I can read books while he’s in bed, or he can play educational games on the Kindle or catch a few minutes of a favorite show like Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood. At exactly 10 (we start the whole routine at 9:00), the little light and the Kindle go off, and in our dark room, we cuddle and I tell him I love him. We talk quietly for a few minutes, and then I say “I’m going to sleep now.” and close my eyes. He does the same, and within minutes, he’s out.
Having a routine helps him, because he knows that this is the set schedule he goes through every night, and he’s able to sleep soundly, without protest that it’s time to power down. Why? Because it’s at that time that mommy powers down, too.
Before our new routine, we were fighting because I would tell him to turn off the kindle, but I was unwilling to part with time spent on my laptop or phone to give him the uninterrupted nighttime cuddles he needed. Sure, he was getting my attention, but it wasn’t my undivided attention, and I wasn’t shutting off everything to give him that mommy and Zach time.
Why should he have to sleep if mommy wasn’t sleeping?
The routine works for me just as well as it does for him. During his big light time, I am able to tie up any loose ends that MUST be taken care of before he sleeps. And really, it also gives me a chance to let anyone I’m talking to know that from 9:30 until Zach falls asleep (before 10:30), that I cannot be reached. This is his time with me, and I’m not interrupting that for anyone else’s needs. The world can live without me for an hour!
It helps me wind down for the evening, too, and relax in a way I never did before. My day usually consists of running from computer to phone back to computer, albeit with some spots in between for playing with Zach and working on other projects. This one hour of time where I’m not tied to twitter, facebook, wordpress, instagram, and every other social media tool I use is nice, because it’s time where I can just… be. I can enjoy the forehead kisses my son gives me, and giggle over his ham-like personality. I can just gaze into his blue eyes, and spend time holding my son. And that is priceless in a way that spending time on social media or trying to capture these moments with a phone app just isn’t.
It is hard being a mom in a digital age. That’s why I created this blog– to help parents in a digital era learn how to balance, and how to be that pro at everything from baking to entertaining with minimal effort and time spent away from the kids. But as a blogger, and as a mom, I have to remember that balance is a big part of life, and that not every moment can be spent attached to my tech.
The internet will still be there when Zach falls asleep at 10:23, or 10:10, or 10:34, or whenever he crashes. And there will be a lot less bedtime tension if mommy takes some time away from the computer, just to spend time with him.