Sunday, November 27, 2011

Thanksgiving Dinner!

This year, we had out second annual "Second Thanksgiving." We spent Thanksgiving with Ryan's family and had a wonderful time seeing everyone. Saturday, we had a few close friends over for a second Thanksgiving feast. Here is the menu:

Grilled Turkey

The store was out of cajun butter, so we made our own to inject in the turkey before it hit the grill.

1 cup butter, melted
2 tsp Tony's
2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp onion powder
2 tsp white pepper
2 Tbsp Kosher Salt

We injected the marinade in the turkey about an hour before the grilling started. We placed the turkey in a foil pan, covered it with foil, grilled it at 300 degrees for about 5 hours. It tasted amazing!!!

Crack Potatoes

I found this amazing recipe on Pinterest...shocker. And it is so addicting. Watch out. I made it according to the original recipe, but next time this is how I will make it.

2 16 oz containers sour cream
1 ranch dip mix
2 pkg bacon bits
2 cups shredded cheese
30 oz pkg frozen hashbrowns

Mix sour cream, ranch dip mix, bacon, and cheese. Stir in hashbrowns. Pour into a greased 9x13 pan. Bake at 400 for 50-60 minutes or until bubbly. Don't eat it all in one sitting:)

I made cornbread dressing and can find the recipe from this post last year.

Second Thanksgiving was a huge success!

9 months old!

Hayes Patrick is growing up so fast. He is starting to stand by himself for a few seconds....before he plops to the ground. I'm sure he will be walking before we know it. He eats all kinds of fun foods...chunky sweet potatoes, avocado, chicken, pasta, pancakes...and the list goes on:) He "talks" all the time and his voice is the sweetest sound I have ever heard.

We love you so much, Hayes Patrick!

So thankful...

We are so thankful for our family and friends. We are thankful for our jobs, our house, our neighbors. We are thankful for our health and for each other.

We are especially thankful for this little guy.

Hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Know what's good?

Creamy White Chicken and Artichoke Lasagna. That's what. Yet another Pinterest success! I did alter the original recipe a little. Here is the orignial version...and my version!

2 cups chicken, chopped (I used crock pot chicken)
1 pkg sundried tomatoes, chopped
1 can artichokes, chopped
2 cups Mozz cheese
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
2 blocks cream cheese, softened
1 cup milk
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1-2 tbsp pesto (I used 2, I love pesto!)
12 lasagna noodles

Cook and drain lasagna noodles. Rinse in cool water.

Combine chicken, tomatoes, artichokes, 1 cup Mozz, and Parmesan cheese. In a separate bowl, beat cream cheese, milk, and garlic powder until creamy and smooth. Stir in pesto. Add half of the cream cheese mixture to the chicken mixture. Now it's time to assemble! Spread half of the remaining cream cheese mixture in a greased 9x13 pan. Place 3 noodles in the pan. Top with a third of the chicken mixture. Repeat layers, ending with a layer of noodles. Top with rest of cream cheese mixture and mozz cheese. Cover and bake at 350 for 25 minutes. Remove foil and bake for an additional 10 minutes or until bubbly. Enjoy!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Lemon Blueberry Yogurt Cake

Oh have revived my interest in cooking. I spotted this recipe and my mouth started watering. Luckily, it tastes as good as it looks.

Lemon Blueberry Yogurt Cake

1 1/2 cups + 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour . 2 teaspoons baking powder . 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt . 1 cup plain whole-milk yogurt . 1 cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar . 3 extra-large eggs . 2 teaspoons grated lemon zest (approximately 2 lemons) . 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract . 1/2 cup vegetable oil . 1 1/2 cups blueberries, fresh or frozen, thawed and rinsed . 1/3 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease and flour your pan. I used a loaf pan for this.

Sift together 1 1/2 cups flour, baking powder, and salt into 1 bowl. In another bowl, whisk together the yogurt, 1 cup sugar, the eggs, lemon zest, vanilla and oil. Slowly whisk the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients. Mix the blueberries with the remaining tablespoon of flour, and fold them very gently into the batter. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for about 50 (+) minutes, or until a cake tester placed in the center of the loaf comes out clean.

Meanwhile, cook the 1/3 cup lemon juice and remaining 1 tablespoon sugar in a small pan until the sugar dissolves and the mixture is clear. Set aside.

When the cake is done, allow it to cool in the pan for 10 minutes before flipping out onto a cooling rack. Carefully place on a baking rack over a sheet pan. While the cake is still warm, pour the lemon-sugar mixture over the cake and allow it to soak in (a pastry brush works great for this, as does using a toothpick to make tiny holes that draw the syrup in better). Enjoy!

Baby Food Bananza!

And the baby food making adventures continue! To recap, last week we did steamed carrots and banana slices. On this week's menu, banana pancakes, baked apples, peas, lima beans, and avocado.

The avocado was pretty simple. Just smashed it up, added lime juice and garlic powder, and done.
Peas and lima beans get steamed with some seasonings added.

I spent a lot of time looking for baked apple recipes I liked. I ended up just throwing stuff together. I sliced and peeled my apples. I only did 2 at a time so I didn't have to worry about storing them for too long. In a small bowl, I mixed a tbsp of flour, cinnamon, and nutmeg. I tossed the apples in the flour mixture until they were coated. I put them in a greased casserole dish and added milk until the bottom of the dish was covered. I baked them at 350 for about 50 minutes. And done!

Banana Pancakes! I found this recipe on this great website for moms who are making baby food, Momtastic's Wholesome Baby Food. I found so many fun finger food ideas and recipes that I can't wait to make.

To make banana pancakes:

Pancake Mix (I used multigrain)

Mix your pancake batter according to package instructions. Slice your banana up into coins. Coat the coins in pancake batter and cook on griddle until done. They don't take long to cook since they are so small. Hayes loved these for breakfast this morning! They can be frozen too! I used 3 bananas and made enough for breakfast for the rest of the week! These are so good for kids...and adults:)


Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Spicy Tuscan Soup

I love soup. Especially this time of year. When I saw this recipe, I knew I had to try it. I love the Olive Garden version of this soup, Zuppa Toscana and this recipe hits pretty stinkin' close. It is easy to make and doesn't take much time. Enjoy!

Spicy Tuscan Soup

1 lb ground spicy sausage
1 red onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbsp oil
4 cups warm water
3 chicken bouillon cubes
3 medium potatoes, thinly sliced
1/4 bunch kale, roughly chopped
1/2 cup whipping cream
salt and pepper

Brown your sausage in a large pot. Move to a separate dish and reserve for later. Add oil to the pot and saute your red onion until tender. Add in garlic and stir for approx 1 min. Add in warm water, bouillon, and potatoes. I used red potatoes, so I had to add a little more water to cover the potatoes. Simmer for 15-20 minutes or until potatoes are done. (The more thin your potatoes are sliced, the faster they will cook.) Add in kale, cream, and sausage. Simmer for 5 more minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Enjoy!

Monday, November 7, 2011

Not all "Firsts" are fun...

Today we had another Hayes "first." And it wasn't a fun one. Hayes had his first emergency room visit. Around 12:30 this morning, he woke up with a horrible cough and wheezing. His breathing got worse and watching him struggle to breathe was torture. So we loaded up the car and headed to the Children's hospital.

I think the hospital needs little blue gowns for sick baby boys. Peach isn't really Hayes's color.

Please excuse the phone pic. And my 1 a.m. hair.

Little Hayes has a nasty case of croup. I hate seeing my baby sick, but I'm glad it wasn't something worse. After a couple of hours and a dose of steroids, we headed home. We spent all day cuddling. I'm ready for my baby to feel better, but I could spend every day cuddling. I hope it's a long time before we go back to the ER.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Adventures in baby food...

Being a parent is the best job I have ever had. And the most complicated. And, it seems to change every day. The most challenging part of this for me has been eating. Food. Mealtimes. How much do I feed him? How often do I feed him? When do I increase food? When do I add new foods? Ahhh! Being in charge of a growing baby's nutrition is so stressful. I had toyed with the idea of making our own baby food, but we have been using Gerber since he started solid foods. He has been showing more interest in all foods and feeding himself. His gross motor skills have also been improving, so I think we are ready to make the transition into chunkier foods. I also think now is a great time to start making more of Hayes's food. My hope is that I will be able to make Hayes's meals from our meals. But, I don't want to make my goals too overwhelming at first. I am starting off with making either one veggie or one fruit a day this week. I chose carrots and bananas for week one. I will start sharing my baby food recipes on here. My hope is that I will create a great collection for me in the future, that I will be able to help others in their baby food journey, and that other moms will have great suggestions for me too!

Mashed Carrots!

I used a double broiler with a steamer insert to steam my carrots. Once they were tender, I mushed them with a fork. I added some cinnamon for flavor and done! Hayes LOVED them!

I'm so excited about this new journey in parenting!

Easy Suppers...Part 2

I recently did a post on quick meals for busy moms. Here is another easy favorite we like...especially when we go grocery shopping on a week night after we both get home from work and are way too tired to think about cooking but don't feel like fast food. Whew. That sentence kinda makes me tired. it is. Crazy easy recipe # 2....

Saucey Shrimp Pasta (name may need work)

1 bag stuffed pasta (frozen tortellini or ravioli work well and are cheap)
1 lb frozen raw shrimp
1 jar favorite pasta sauce

Thaw shrimp and cook in pan with olive oil. Season with lemon juice, salt, and pepper. I love the flavor that lemon juice adds to makes it taste more like fresh shrimp. Cook pasta according to package. Once pasta is done, drain. Add in pasta sauce, shrimp, and any other seasonings you want. (Basil is our favorite add-in) Let it simmer until sauce is heated. Top with cheese or herbs. Done!

Pumpkin Pasta!

I love pumpkin. And...I love pasta. So when I heard about Pumpkin Pasta from a co-worker, it sounded like culinary perfection. Here is the link to the original website! And here is the amazing recipe...enjoy!

Pumpkin Pasta

1 small onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tbsp butter
2 cups pumpkin puree
2 cups chicken broth
1/4 cup whipping cream
1/2 cup sour cream
nutmeg, salt, white pepper
1 lb pasta
1 lb Italian sausage (optional)
Parmesan cheese for topping

Melt butter and add in onions and garlic. Saute until tender. Add in pumpkin puree, whipping cream, and sour cream. Cook over medium heat for about 10 minutes. Add in seasonings. Stir in pasta and cooked sausage and let simmer for a few more minutes. Top with Parmesan cheese!

By the way, I used whole wheat pasta for this recipe. The nutty flavor was a great complement to the sauce. I also was not paying attention when I was adding ingredients and added 4 cups of pumpkin. So, I just upped the rest of the ingredients and put the extra sauce in the fridge for a quick meal later in the week!

Hurry and make this dish before canned pumpkin is gone from the stores! Or, just stock up on canned pumpkin now so you can make this anytime...