Monday, February 11, 2013

Let's try new things!

Here are some of the new recipes that I'll be attempting in the next week:

Lemon Garlic Shrimp Penne

BBQ Pork Tenderloin in the Crock Pot

Red Velvet Gooey Butter Cookies

Parenting Read of the Week:

How do we fit all of the activities, work, meals, and quality time into 24 hours? And then prep for the next day?

Time Out
"Time crushes in on me from the very moment I open my eyes and beg the clock for just ten more minutes of sleep. When the begging stops and my feet hit the floor, the moments start ticking, start mocking me for how slowly I am moving, start taunting me with how many moments I am missing."

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

It's a new year, it's a new meal!

It's a new year and I've decided to cook more in 2013.
This could pose a challenge with two kids (one of whom is a newborn).

But I like spending time preparing a meal for my family. Even if that time is actually rushed, and I'm wearing a baby and I burned the bread...

I prefer semi-homemade, semi-healthy, budget friendly meals that take 30 minutes or less, or can be prepped in advance. I also focus on a list of ingredients that could be used for several different recipes in one week, thus making my shopping list more concise.
If you like this idea, visit the Grocery Budget 101 page for weekly shopping lists and recipes.

These are some of the new recipes that I have tried in 2013:

4- Ingredient Pesto Ranch Crock Pot Chicken Breasts with mushrooms
(adapted from this recipe)
multi-recipe ingredient: Basil, Chicken Stock
served with: pasta, mashed potatoes, salad

Rachael Ray's "You Won't be Single For Long" Vodka cream pasta
(adapted from this recipe)
I added Johnsonville Chicken Sausage - Three Cheese Italian with herbs
multi-recipe ingredient: Basil, Chicken Stock, Crushed Tomatoes, heavy cream

Bite Sized Mini Cinnies 
Tiny cinnamon rolls made with Crescent Roll dough
(adapted from this recipe)

Corn and Bacon Chowder
(adapted from this recipe)
multi-recipe ingredient: Chicken Stock, Heavy Cream, Bay Leaf, Shallot

I sauteed the leftover shallot in the bottom of the pan to start this recipe.
I also added bacon bits, a bay leaf, a can of diced new potatoes, and a half cup of chicken stock.

Chicken Pot Pie
(adapted from this recipe)
multi-recipe ingredient: Chicken Stock, Heavy Cream, Bay Leaf, Shallot

I added a bit of the shallot, a bay leaf, and a can of the diced new potatoes.
Instead of pie crust, I layered the chicken mixture in a 9x9 pan and covered it with a roll of seamless Pillsbury Crescent Roll dough.

Happy Eating!

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Violet! You're turning VIOLET!

While I haven't actually been craving specific food items, I find myself more in the mood of "well that looks good". It means I get to buy things like Toaster Streudel and Red Velvet Cheesecake Ice cream.

I've been really into sweet breakfast foods and love the muffins at Sweet Tomatoes/Souplantation.

So here is the recipe for their amazingly yummy Wild Maine Blueberry Muffins:

Wild Maine Blueberry Muffins

Makes about 2 dozen muffins
1/2 pound frozen blueberries, thawed and drained
2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup whole-wheat flour
5 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 2/3 cups buttermilk
1 cup white sugar
2/3 cup canola oil
1/4 cup eggs
1 teaspoon blueberry extract 

Combine the dry-mix ingredients in a bowl and whisk to combine. Combine the wet mix ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Beat wet mix to dissolve the sugar. Add the dry mix to the wet mix and combine thoroughly. Gently fold in blueberries.
Spray muffin pans with nonstick cooking spray or line with paper liners. Scoop batter into muffin pans with a 2-ounce scoop. Bake in a preheated 325-degree oven for about 15 minutes, or until golden brown.
(From Souplantation)

Monday, July 23, 2012

Great Gifts for second time parents

As we anticipate the arrival of our second baby in the fall, we have lots of family and friends who want to offer their support and help. It is a true blessing to be surrounded by so much love.

I've heard about special gatherings called "Sprinkles" which is a more intimate gathering rather than a large shower, where family and friends come together to celebrate this new addition!

Buying gifts for a new mom is easy because she needs everything. At the same time, first-time moms often register for items that don't get used and then find themselves buying additional items that they didn't realize they'd use so often.

Here is a list of ideas:

1. New linens and bath items - these are regularly used items that many moms will not put on the list but it's nice to replace them. New sheets and blankets for the crib, new washcloths and towels, additional shampoo and lotion will come in handy. See if mom or dad will tell you their favorite brand!

2. Diapers and Wipes! If you can find out what brand mom likes best, help stock her changing table with sizes 1, 2 and 3!

3. Gift certificates for services: Whether it's a restaurant, a movie rental service, a cleaning service or a yard clean up, parents will appreciate having another set of hands to take care of weekly needs.
Give second-time parents one less thing to worry about with a meal at their favorite restaurant or a subscription to an online video streaming service. Having a maid service for the day is much appreciated too - who doesn't love a sparkling clean home? Or if you know a fantastic photographer, consider a portrait session for the family - or the new siblings - at mom's convenience, of course! (Remember, you can even give an iTunes gift card which could be used to buy a new mommy app - used for tracking naps and eats. Or a toddler app to entertain during "quiet times".)

4. The Gift of Time: A new baby demands lots of time and many parents will struggle to juggle duties! Offer to watch the newborn while mom and dad spend quality time with the older sibling, or hang out with older brother or sister so that they can concentrate on the newborn.

5. The Gift of Relaxation: Even though Mom may not be able to pull herself away from the newborn, offer a relaxing break with a spa treatment or massage. A nice, new robe might be nice for mom as she wakes up multiple times throughout the night.
 6. Made for TWO: A double stroller can come in handy if you have two young children. Second car seat will also be needed! You can also spruce up an older car seat with a soft car seat cover available at major retailers - or try Etsy for a unique or monogrammed cover!

7. Care Calendar for meals and visits - help out the new family by using an online service to organize the family and friends who want to reach out and bring dinner. You can even mention food allergies and specific meal times so that the family can expect visitors in advance.

What would you recommend as a good gift for second-time parents or younger siblings?

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Love-ly Love my Family

Our new favorite jam in the car is "Lovely, Love My Family" by the Roots which we sing at the top of our lungs during the ride to and from school.
It's the biz. I highly recommend adding it to your rotation along with Caspar Babypants "Butterfly Driving a Truck" - Yes, Caspar Babypants is a former member of The Presidents of the United States of America.

Yesterday was Valentine's Day so we had a pajama party at school which left me repeatedly explaining why it was in fact acceptable to attend school in one's pajamas on this one particular holiday.

The class had a love-ly breakfast and exchanged Valentine's which were cute and creative!
Our valentines were Teddy Grahams. Inspiration came from Pinterest.

Hope everyone had a sweet holiday! Next up, EASTER!

Friday, January 13, 2012

A Very Minnie Birthday!

We celebrated my sweet girl's second birthday!
She loves Minnie Mouse and I wanted to create that theme without just buying plates featuring the characters. I went with a polka dot theme in red and white, because it seemed retro-inspired and fun!
Here are some of the Minnie Mouse themed decorations I made with inspiration from Pinterest

Birthday Cake Pretzels

Cupcakes using Mini Oreo Cookies for Mouse Ears
You can make homemade cupcakes or buy store bought. Just grab a bag of mini-Oreos and scrape off the creme filling. Perfect Mouse ears!

Polka Dot Mantle Garland made with a Cricut Cutter and some Dollar Store Ribbon

Printed Name Decorations made with free clip art

 High Chair Decorations made with Cricut Cutter and polka dot tulle
Table Runner made with dollar store tablecloth and leftover holiday wrapping paper

Hope you got some inspiration, too!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Pinterest put to work!

We moved into a beautiful new dream home a few weeks ago. Sometimes I walk around and can't believe we live here. It's fantastic.
But it needed some work, some touches to make it OUR home.
So I put Pinterest to work and here are some of the projects that I completed:

In our kitchen, we needed something to cover the area under the sink. There was a small hole. So I did this:

I covered the floor of the cabinet with wipeable, vinyl tiles.
They are easy to cut and easy to clean!

I also created more space and accessibility to the spices in our cabinet with this:

It's a lazy susan or turntable.

Mine looks like this. You can buy them at Bed, Bath and Beyond.
Copco 12' Turntable

Then, my husband took on a project of his own. A few years ago, I was given a cork board kit ($25 at Kohl's) and I completed the board. We were looking for a place to keep our keys and post notes, so he added small gold hooks to the base of the board and mounted it on the wall.

Cork Message Board and Key Hook: