Saturday, May 31, 2014

Lindsey Rose is 8 Months Old




Lindsey's 8 month fun facts:

  • She is a movin' groovin' machine. She started crawling a couple days before she turned 8 months and has been on the GOGOGO ever since! 
  • She is pulling herself up onto her knees, and gets one foot on the floor but hasn't pushed off to stand yet - she's trying hard though.
  • She doesn't like anything that straps her in or down - making long car rides much fun. She'll tolerate her jumper and walker for short periods of time, but she'd rather be free to terrorize the house and puppies, thank you very much.
  • She loves her toy piano and often dances to her own music.
  • She still loves feet, dog feet, and shoes (and still puts them all in her mouth when the opportunity arises).
  • She finally seems to have gotten over the past month's cold / ear infection / runny nose since returning to daycare. Knock on all things wood.
  • Her top 2 teeth have just started breaking through, so she's currently a drool and snot factory.
  • She eats solids about 3 times a day and has tried a variety of fruits, veggies, and some proteins. We recently introduced pumpkin and she likes that a lot. She also seems to love peas, and she still really likes bananas.
  • She is still not a great sleeper or napper. At daycare she usually only gets about 2 30 minute naps because of all the stimulation. At night she's waking up about once now - usually between 1 - 3am for a 4-oz bottle then back to sleep until between 6 - 6:30 (I usually get her up around 6:10 on weekdays to head out for daycare).
  • She is a happy girl, and gives very sweet sloppy kisses. And sometimes she bites. That is not sweet.
  • When she is tired she smacks everything. We call her the whacky baby.
  • She has just started using "mama" and "dada" to refer to said mama or dada - especially when she wants me to pick her up or rescue her from something she'll use mama a lot.
  • She keeps us on her toes and we love her to pieces!

Turkey and Black Bean Burger

This is a very tasty turkey burger recipe. I really loved the caramelized onion with the melty cheese on top. My son ate two of these, and I took the leftover to work the next day with a little BBQ sauce to dip it in! Yummy!

The turkey I used was a little on the "wet" side, so a couple of these sort of fell apart when I was cooking them, and there's no way they would have held up on the grill; I could have added some breadcrumbs to help but I opted to just let them be a little crumbly! I will definitely use this recipe again for a tasty go-to turkey burger recipe.

Turkey and Black Bean Burger by Bear, DE on AllRecipes

1 pound ground turkey
1/2 cup black beans, rinsed and drained
1/4 cup salsa
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
1 onion, sliced
4 slices American cheese (optional)


  1. Mix ground turkey, black beans, salsa, garlic, garlic powder, and Worcestershire sauce together in a large bowl; shape into 4 patties.
  2. Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a skillet over low heat; add onion, increase heat to medium-low, and cook and stir onion until softened and beginning to change color, 10 - 15 minutes. Transfer onion to a bowl and set aside.
  3. Heat remaining olive oil in the skillet over medium heat. Fry patties in the hot oil until no longer pink in the center and the juices run clear, 8 to 10 minutes per side. An instant-read thermometer inserted into the center should read at least 165 degrees F.
  4. Top each patty with some of the onion and a slice of American cheese.

Our sweet girl is already 8 months old!!

Friday, May 30, 2014

Sweet Potato and Black Bean Quesadillas

Sweet Potato and Black Bean Quesadillas slightly adapted from tinatan1713 on AllRecipes

2 sweet potatoes, scrubbed
6 (10 inch) tortillas
1 - 1.5 cups shredded sharp Cheddar cheese, divided
1 (15 ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained, divided
1 cup salsa


  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Cut several slashes into each sweet potato.
  2. Bake the potatoes in the preheated oven until tender, about 45 minutes. Mash the hot sweet potatoes in a bowl. 
  3. Heat a skillet (or quesadilla maker) over medium heat. Warm the black beans in a bowl in the microwave for about 45 seconds. 
  4. Lay one tortilla in the pre-heated skillet and sprinkle with enough cheese to cover the bottom (to taste - appx. 1/3 cup). Layer with 1/3 of the mashed sweet potatoes and sprinkle on 1/3 of the black beans. Sprinkle on a little more cheese if desired, then top with another tortilla. Cook for a few minutes, until browned and then carefully flip, and brown remaining side.
  5. When browned and heated through, move to a cutting board and then dice into wedges.
  6. Top with salsa, or serve as a dip on the side. 

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Roasted Brussel Sprouts

I bought some brussel sprouts at the store for the first time in pretty much ever - I love them, but my son isn't a huge fan. I was hoping maybe his tastes had changed over the years! These actually went over VERY well with him; I didn't use the full amount of seasoning called for below but should have because mine were under seasoned.

There were varying opinions I noted when reading reviews about how long to cook them. Some thought getting them to the point of being black was WAY overdone, others raved about the flavor and creamy interiors. How long you cook them and to what "doneness" I leave totally up to you! I cooked mine I think somewhere between 30-45 minutes and most had the blackish exterior (I saw many say 15 - 20 minutes was long enough). I didn't particularly like the flavor of the really dark leaves, but I did like the soft interiors and flavor contrast of the mild brussel sprouts with a bit of that darker / charred taste from the outer leaves.

Roasted Brussels Sprouts by   on AllRecipes

1 1/2 pounds Brussels sprouts, ends trimmed and yellow leaves removed
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Place trimmed Brussels sprouts, olive oil, kosher salt, and pepper in a large resealable plastic bag. Seal tightly, and shake to coat. Pour onto a baking sheet, and place on center oven rack.
  3. Roast in the preheated oven for 30 to 45 minutes, shaking pan every 5 to 7 minutes for even browning. Reduce heat when necessary to prevent burning. Brussels sprouts should be darkest brown, almost black, when done. Adjust seasoning with kosher salt, if necessary. Serve immediately.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Eat The Pantry Challenge - Week 1

Pantry - Day 1 of  Challenge

We have a chest freezer in the basement, and part of this challenge is to make an effort to clean it out so it can be defrosted properly, and to make sure we eat the items in there that tend to drift to the bottom and are never heard from again. We pulled everything out, and made a list of all of the items we found. We also took the opportunity of having it empty to knock the worst of the built up ice off and clear it out a little bit before putting everything back in.

We filled a bucket half way up with the ice we knocked off of the sides of the freezer!

We took a quick inventory of the upstairs freezer as well and put things back in a more organized way to make it easier to find things and hopefully help us make use of the food we've already bought.

Our week 1 got a little accelerated - we had 2 "normal" days - and then day 3 of our first week we got a phone call from a friend of ours who was in a motorcycle accident on Saturday. We spent most of Sunday with her (her husband is in the hospital, she was injured as well but not as severely) driving around to pick up a trailer, then pick up the wrecked motorcycle from the tow company, then back the hospital, then dropping the trailer off at their house. We'll go back over to her place today to help unload the bike. We decided to make a few meals we could take over to help stock their refrigerator so at least they don't need to worry about cooking for a little while. We made large batches, and kept some of the items in our refrigerator for our own meals, and are packing the rest of the food up to take to them.

Here are the meals we made this week:

BBQ Chicken Pizza with Caesar salad.

BBQ Cheddar Meatloaf and Mashed Potatoes

Spaghetti Sauce with Meatballs and pasta (I doubled the meatball recipe, and froze half of them uncooked to use later).

Shredded BBQ Chicken, Macaroni and Cheese, Honey Glazed Carrots

We made all of these meals with items in the refrigerator, freezer, and pantry. I'm looking forward to what we come up with for the coming week and hoping to try to make it through the next 3 weeks without buying groceries. We'll see if we're up to the challenge!

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Homemade Baby Food ~ Chicken Dinner

I started branching out a little from the single ingredient purees finally and introducing more protein into Lindsey's meal rotation. This one worked out very well, and Lindsey seems to really enjoy it! She didn't like it much the first time, but has eaten it happily since then. This one will probably need at least a half cup of liquid to thin since you're adding in chicken - I used the water from the potatoes I had just boiled for this meal. You can use whatever potatoes you want - sweet, Yukon, gold, red, etc. I used red potatoes since that's what we had on hand.

Lindsey has not been a big fan of the green bean puree I made a couple weeks ago, so I've been trying to find ways to incorporate them into other things so she might like them better and thought some chicken and potatoes might be a good combination - and it seems to be a good one! I added a sprinkling of garlic powder to the mixture as well. I am slowly trying to introduce her to spices / seasonings as I move towards being able to share what I am eating with her in the next few months!

This freezes fine, but it will be very rubbery when you thaw - you need to reconstitute / reheat it in a saucepan on low heat on the stove, stirring until the ingredients blend together into a smooth consistency again. You may want to add a little additional fruit / veggie puree and / or water, breast milk, or formula if needed to thin.

The first time I fed this to her and she wasn't liking it, I added some applesauce to it and that seemed to help - you could even add an apple to the mixture (cook with the potatoes) if desired, for a sweeter flavor.

Chicken Dinner

6 oz chicken, baked and diced into 1" cubes
3 oz green bean puree
2 medium potatoes, peeled, diced, and boiled until tender (about 10 - 15 minutes)
Seasoning - garlic powder (optional - as much / little as you're comfortable adding)

  1. Use a slotted spoons and remove the boiled potatoes from the water and place them into a blender. Add in the diced, cooked chicken and green bean puree.
  2. Cover and blend until mixture reaches desired consistency, using water (you can use the water you boiled the potatoes in) to thin if needed.

Monday, May 26, 2014

Secret Recipe Club: Chicken Parmesan Hero

It's the May edition of Secret Recipe Club and I am excited to share this tasty treat from Homemade Cravings. SOOOO many yummy things you can find at this wonderful website full of family friendly meals. You will easily find something you will enjoy making and serving for you and your family here! The author of this terrific blog is a New Jersey stay at home mom to 4 kiddos, and you can see a glimpse into their lives through the wonderful recipes she shares on her website.

I opted to make Chicken Parmesan Heroes (using the Chicken Parmesan Tenders recipe as well). Some of the other items I bookmarked to make later include: Chicken Enchiladas, Garlic Bread Steak Sandwiches, and Crispy Honey Pork!

These sandwiches are so good! You can't go wrong with tender, flavorful breaded chicken topped with sauce and cheese and sandwiched between a baguette. It is a wonderful combination, and these were eaten happily and quickly in our house! My son wanted the leftovers as soon as it was lunch the next day - he had to fight me for them though. These are a great addition for the quick weeknight meals as well.

Chicken Parmesan Hero Sandwiches

1 lb chicken breast, pounded thin
1 cup buttermilk
1 cup Italian seasoned bread crumbs (or 1 cup plain breadcrumbs or crushed crackers with 1 TBS Italian seasoning and 1/2 TBS garlic powder)
1/2 cup grated Parmesan
Olive oil
2 - 4 oz sliced cheese (Swiss, mozzarella, Monterrey jack, etc.)
1/2 cup spaghetti sauce
1 baguette

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Combine chicken and buttermilk in a bowl and let sit 15 minutes (or longer in the fridge).
  3. Combine bread crumbs and Parmesan.
  4. Dip chicken pieces in bread crumb mixture and place on a baking sheet.
  5. Drizzle with olive oil and bake for 15-20 minutes until crispy on top.
  6. Meanwhile, slice baguette into sandwich sized pieces and slice lengthwise.
  7. When chicken is done baking, pull out of the oven and spread sauce over the tops and cover with sliced cheese. Put back into the oven and bake 5-10 minutes or until cheese is melted. Put bread into the oven at the same time to toast (remove after about 5 minutes, or when lightly toasted and heated through).
  8. Cut chicken to size if needed (so it will fit on the baguette). Layer chicken on bottom half of baguette and top with the other half. Serve immediately (serve with a side of spaghetti sauce to dip in if desired).

Lindsey is 8 months old! My sippy cup sweetie. :)