Category Archives: Baby

Crockpot ‘Best Chicken You’ll Ever Have’

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I love daylight savings time. I love when it stays light later into the evening and on the other side, I love when it gets light earlier in the morning. I wasn’t thinking this love would last once we had Gabs, since I heard that kids don’t adjust quite as smoothly as adults (who don’t always adjust so swimmingly either..) but she must have the same love as I do, because she’s still sleeping the same! I think it’s because she was sick during the time change, so she wasn’t sleeping normally anyway.

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All she wanted to do was lay on the couch and cuddle with Violet- it was sadly adorable.

Either way, we’re adjusted, back to healthy and luuurvin’ it.

So, even though there’s more daylight in the evenings now, that doesn’t always mean you want to spend more time on dinner. I found this recipe online, and though it may not be healthy- IT IS MY FAVORITE. I’m getting used to taking pictures of my recipes again, so if you want to be sold on the recipe, visit the original site and don’t be repulsed by my gross ones!

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These are the leftovers on a sandwich. We had it by itself for dinner the night before, but ate it too fast to take pictures.

You must make it and watch your family devour it before your very eyes (even the picky ones) and then proclaim their undying love for you afterwards.

Then the next day, put the leftovers in a sandwich and hear it all over again.

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Meanwhile, you’re just excited because you spent literally $1.54 per serving and 4 minutes in prep time (that’s being generous.)

Joey and I have a friend from college who told us about what his mom would do each evening at dinner. She’d serve a wonderful meal to her family of all boys- and tell them how much each serving cost to make while serving it. It became almost a fun game to see how delicious/cheap she could make her meals- and a great way to keep yourself in check when planning meals!

~Enjoy! M

P.S. yeah, it’s not healthy or technically low in fat. BUT. Whenever I make a meal that might not be waist-friendly, I just serve my portion over a big handful of chopped romaine. Honestly, I’ve found that pretty much any dinner tastes good over crunchy lettuce.

Crockpot ‘Best Chicken You’ll Ever Have’

serves 4

recipe from littleblackraincloud.com

ingredients:

4 chicken breasts, frozen or thawed. (adjust cooking time if frozen)

1 box chicken flavored stuffing mix

1/2 cup sour cream

1 can cream of chicken soup

1/4 cup water

Directions:

Place chicken in bottom of crockpot. Open up stuffing mix and dump it on, right on top of the chicken.

Next, mix your sour cream, cream soup, and water in a bowl, and dump it on top of the stuffing.

Lid on, and 4 hours at low (thawed chicken) or 4 hours on high (frozen chicken).

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Filed under Baby, Family, Food Stuffs.

Healthy Pumpkin Cinnamon Chip Cookies

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Ahh.. I just love fall. Love it. I love being cold, and bundling up. I love the crisp cool air, and running without hardly sweating.
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I love pink noses and space heaters. I love thermals and thick socks. I love the early sunrise and pumpkin flavored everything. I love the colors of fall and soups of all kinds.

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And I looove these cookies. They aren’t the melt in your mouth ohmygoshineedanotheronebutfeelguiltyaboutit type cookies. There’s no butter and minimal sugar! The pumpkin, oats, and spices and cinnamon chips make these cookies chewy and satisfying as a snack.

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Cinnamon chips have got to be the best invention for fall baking. Cinnamon scones… Coffee cake… Cinnamon rolls… Muffins… You could put ’em anywhere and they’d be good!

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I’m finally getting on top of my snacking and grazing- and these cookies are the perfect slightly sweet craving smasher. Plus, cinnamon chips are not nearly as good by the handful as the chocolate variety. Just sayin.

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Later this afternoon we are doing a photo sesh with my precious Gabsy- believe it or not, Joey had a great idea for this year’s Christmas card! You ain’t seein’ it til Christmas though… IF it works out.

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🙂 Recipe below!

~M

Healthy Pumpkin Cinnamon Chip Cookies
adapted from two peas and their pod

Ingredients:
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp pumpkin spice
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup coconut oil
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup sugar
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup pumpkin purée
3 cups oats
1 cup cinnamon chips (I used one cup but 1 1/2 cups would be perfection)

Preheat oven to 375.

Whisk flour, pumpkin spice, nutmeg, cinnamon and salt together in a bowl and set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream together the sugars and oil together until combined, about 3 minutes. Add in the eggs and vanilla, scraping down the sides as necessary. Then fold in the pumpkin purée.

After the pumpkin, slowly incorporate the flour mixture. Fold in the oats and chips.

Drop by tbsp onto greased baking sheets and bake for 10-12 minutes. They do not flatten at all- they maintain the exact shape you dropped them as! Let cool on sheet for 2 minutes then transfer to wire rack. Enjoy without guilt!!!

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Filed under Baby, Baking, Cookies/Bars, Food Stuffs., Holiday Baking

Blend-til Soup (Lentil Soup)

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See what I did there? Blender…Lentil… Soup = Blend-til Soup.

Clever, huh? My good friend Katy made this soup for us when we had a lunch date a while ago. We met in town to go for a walk, and then went to my sister in law’s for lunch afterwards and to watch our kiddos play with each other. Well, kind of. We have a 2 month old, a 7 month old, and a 17 month old, so I’m using the term ‘play’ liberally. The young ones pretty much watch my niece play, but it’s still completely adorable.

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I fell in love with this soup immediately and Katy was nice enough to email it to me ASAP. I got to work about 2 hours after I got home and made it for dinner. And I’ve been eating it for lunch ever since! The recipe is based on Giada’s Lentil Soup recipe- but I used cabbage instead of celery, left out the cheese and noodles (it’s still yummy, promise) and added in mushrooms and zucchini.

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It’s a warm, filling and flavorful soup and you can blend it to make it smooth and velvety. I love soups that are thick and hearty, and Gabby loves watching the blender- she thinks it’s hilarious. 

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Or maybe she thought that it was hilarious that I filled the blender TOO FULL at first and it exploded everywhere. Hilarious, Gabs.

With the weather cooling down, soups are now an acceptable meal. Let this be your first soup offering! The recipe makes a TON, so I froze some and kept some for lunches throughout the week.

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~M

Lentil Soup

adapted from Giada de Laurentiis

Ingredients
2 tablespoons olive oil, plus extra for drizzling
1 medium onion, chopped
12 baby carrots, peeled and chopped
1/2 head of green cabbage, chopped
6 mushrooms, sliced
1 large zucchini, sliced
2 garlic cloves, chopped

Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 (14 1/2-ounce) can diced tomatoes
1 pound lentils (approximately 1 1/4 cups)
11 cups low-salt chicken broth
4 to 6 fresh thyme sprigs

Directions
Heat the oil in a heavy large pot over medium heat. Add the onion, mushrooms, carrots, and cabbage. Add the garlic, salt, zucchini and pepper and saute until all the vegetables are tender, about 5 to 8 minutes. Add the tomatoes with their juices. Simmer until the juices evaporate a little and the tomatoes break down, stirring occasionally, about 8 minutes. Add the lentils and mix to coat. Add the broth and stir. Add the thyme sprigs. Bring to a boil over high heat. Cover and simmer over low heat until the lentils are almost tender, about 30 minutes. Carefully ladle into a blender (or use an immersion blender) to blend soup until smooth.
Season with salt and pepper, to taste.

Ladle the soup into bowls and serve!

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Filed under Baby, Food Stuffs., Soup

Privileged to Complain

20131002-104324.jpgIn the spirit of full disclosure, I’m sharing this embarrassing 3 am picture. I am TI-RED. This morning most mornings this month, Gabs has woken up between 3 and 4:30. For the most part, it’s not a big deal because I only work a few times a month- but it feels like a big deal at 3 am! I can barely keep my eyes open and my squirmy little wormy is tired, but awake and hungry. In those moments, sometimes I get caught up in feeling bad for myself. This morning I had a case of the ‘feeling sorry for myself’ pretty bad- and as I poured my morning coffee and mashed up some bananas for little one, I glanced at the mail I had brought in yesterday but hadn’t looked at yet. On the top of the stack was a new issue of ‘Tabletalk’ by RC Sproul- I said a quick thank-you to the Lord, grabbed it, and indulged myself in some real good reading as Gabs had breakfast.

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Reading from the Bible with a little guidance from RC Sproul (a theologian I love) totally shifted my mindset. I am so thankful that God can hear my mind and intercede for me on those mornings that discontent and weariness cloud all the blessings that my life is full of. After reading a few articles, I moved on to read a blog that I keep up with daily. And whaddaya know, her post this morning just took the words right out of my mouth!

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I am so privileged to be able to complain. Despite the early mornings, unexplainable (occasional) tantrums, dirty bathrooms and piles of laundry- I am so blessed and happy to wake up and live my life. Despite being unsure how to balance an early career as a nurse with a beautiful daughter, I have a job I love and a daughter I adore. With the sticky floor and cemented baby food on the dishes, I am blessed in having dishes and cleaning supplies! I’m blessed to be irritated by a mess!

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Yeah, I don’t always remember that first thing. But boy… God reminded me today, and I am just too blessed to be anything but overjoyed to live this life He gave me.

I get irritated, cranky, sweaty, tired, smelly, impatient, selfish, proud, and a boatload of other things- by the grace of God, sometimes He gently brings me back down to a place where I’m just simply happy. I love social media and hate it at the same time- I love posting pictures of all the things I love about Gabby, and I love seeing other people enjoy their lives too! I have many friendships that have flourished through social media- and many faces I get to see that I otherwise wouldn’t without FB or instagram.

On the other hand, I’ve read so many things about how depressed and discontent people are nowadays because all we ever see are the AWESOME and FUN parts of life from others on social media- even though subconsciously, we know nothing is perfect. Even though we know. We KNOW!

So…. let it be known. Gosh, I love blogging, but I am NOT the world’s best baker. Half of you (or more, most likely more) are way better in the kitchen than I am. Everyone has beautiful kids. Everyone has reasons to be happy and thankful. I hope that no one mistakes my love for blogging and social media for bragging or misconceptions about perfection. If you know me, you know I’m not.

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I’m privileged to complain, and therefore, TOO privileged to complain. Thank you JESUS!

~M

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Turkey Club Meatballs

Vegetarian month challenge ended last week, and we have been celebrating ever since. It’s kind of embarrassing, actually- chicken, Turkey Club Meatballs, burgers, and pot roast. That’s been our list of dinners since the challenge ended, so whatever ‘good’ happened with all those veggies was completely undone within 4 days.

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That’s how we roll! I still have a bunch of recipes that we enjoyed during our challenge, so I’ll continue to share those in the future- a lot of my favorites were actually just roasted veggies(mostly sweet potatoes)  with hummus and cottage cheese. I seriously could live on that, almost did in fact.

Until my body was screaming for meat, in which case I answered that plea with those Turkey Club Meatballs I was talkin’ about earlier. Whoa dang- whoever’s idea it was to blend bacon and mix it with turkey and cheese into a sizzling ball of tastiness needs to be my friend. Blenders are the business right now, folks. We had a few friends over for dinner the other night and this was a total crowd-pleaser!

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We gobbled these up so fast, I only had time to snap a photo of the last two that made it into my salad for lunch the next day.

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I found the recipe over here! I just added mozzarella cheese, so I could rename them Turkey Club Meatballs. Cuz I make the rules here.

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And, of course, a picture of my little meatball. Dang, I wish I dressed as cute as Gabby! They should sell adult women’s outfits in ‘sets’ like they sell infant clothes. They should also be the same price. Capiche?

~M

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Baby Art

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While I never really developed any artistic ability, I do want to give Gabsy a fighting chance. And even if she’s not terribly artistic either, we are always up for painting. Especially the kind of painting where it’s messy and edible.

It’s much easier for Gabs to paint than draw right now, since she has more interest in eating the crayons/colored pencils than color on paper. So we combined her two interests (putting things into her mouth and smearing food) into yogurt painting!

I didn’t come up with this idea (PINTEREST, as per usual) but the original momma used cool whip instead of yogurt. We had greek yogurt in the house so that’s what we used! Besides the yogurt being chilly, it was a blast for both of us. We spent about an hour covered in breakfast, then another hour of Gabs splashing in the kitchen sink.

Can’t wait til next summer when sidewalk paint happens!

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{yogurt + food coloring= body paint} ** after a quick google, I read that Greek yogurt is awesome to use because it’s strained much more than regular yogurt so it’s a little easier on the baby digestive system than cool whip or any old yogurt. Having said that, babies are tough and can probably handle a tablespoon of any of those options, since that’s all that Gabs really tasted. She was too busy painting me. 🙂

~M

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Filed under Baby, Family, Favorite Things

Baked Cheesy Quinoa Mac

Ah, a breath of fresh air provided by my non-vegetarian sister. Felt gooood! I talk to her almost daily and it is so inspiring to hear her talk about her day whether it be at her internship or at work. Way to go Katie! Next step, doctorate. You know it’s gonna happen, even if you don’t accept it yet.

While she’s busy finishing school and eating her meat, I’ve been cooking up quinoa and deciding that cheese is my favorite. My cheese drawer in the fridge (I think that drawer is actually meant for lunch meat, but in its absence, it is filled with CHEESE) is absolutely packed.

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Goat cheese. Parmesan. Feta. Gruyere. Tillamook sharp cheddar. Boursin. Gouda. Fontina. Ay yi yi I can’t get enough! I was desperate for some mac’n’cheesy last week and cheesy quinoa mac is what I came up with, with some help a lot of help from Giada de Laurentiis.

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I got the recipe from her book , Giada At Home. A lot of times, I find that I don’t have half the ingredients that she calls for in her recipes (fresh herbs, weird pasta/grains, gourmet meats) but usually the recipes still work with the substitutions I use. Improv, dudes.

The recipe is actually online and available for you to see without having to purchase the book! Woohoo! My substitutions were: quinoa instead of farro, no mushrooms, no tomatoes, dried thyme, and I added cheese to the topping, obviously. Why didn’t I add the mushrooms/tomatoes?? That would have been delicious… I must have not had them on hand. Don’t leave them out!

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I used my leftovers all week in my lunches- usually just heated up and mixed into a salad, or eaten cold by the giant spoonful.

I’m totally into cooking large batches and eating leftovers for days right now- makes it SO easy to choose good things to eat for lunch. I started logging my eats in an app called “Lose It” and am slightly horrified at my habits- I don’t usually have a hard time eating healthy main meals, but my snackage logs more calories than my meals all combined! Niiiiice. Sounds like I have another challenge to undertake… or just delete the app. 🙂

In other news, we are SOOO ready for fall! I am a lover of cool weather, and bundling up to go outdoors. I am jittery with excitement for when I can wear sweats and put Gabs in a cozy tracksuit and hit the trail!

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~M

 

 

 

 

 

 

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