Sunday, February 27, 2011

First Word

Maybe she's been planning it in her little cat brain for the past 11 months and that's why she has implanted herself in every piece of baby stuff in the house. I don't know if she's that sharp, but Joseph said his first word (besides ma ma and da da) and it was "Daysie." He was patting on her and saying "Daysss" over and over. Michael witnessed it too so it wasn't just in my head. I haven't gotten him to say it again though. It wasn't a far fetched first though since he is very proficient in d's and s's.

Other than that, it hasn't been a great week in our household. I started getting sick last Sunday with chest congestion. I felt some better on Monday and went to work out....which was not a good call. I felt REALLY bad on Tuesday and Wednesday with a terrible cough. I lost my voice on Thursday but felt some better. I felt even better on Friday but my voice kept coming and going. Actually the real reason I felt better on Thurs and Fri was because I was taking decongestants, etc. Then I started feeling like my milk production was going to poo. Turns out decongestants dry you up in more ways than one. So, no more of that. :( Well, I've been back to feeling pretty bad this weekend so I will be calling the doctor first thing in the AM. I still have no voice, my throat is swollen to the point where I can hardly swallow and is crazy sore, and I've still got a pretty rough cough. Today also kicked off the summer weight loss challenge at my gym and I joined in. The food thing is going to be pretty rough since all I want to eat are milkshakes. Working out is going to be challenging too since you really need to be able to breathe. Hopefully my doctor will be able to help me get some relief. I'm just so glad that Joseph hasn't gotten it and that Michael only seems to have a mild cough. Of course, Joseph is probably who gave this to me....the little germ incubator. His immune system is way better than mine. Michael and I have agreed that we really need to start taking better care of ourselves to better fend this stuff off.

Of course, taking care of yourself requires energy....something I have little of at the moment. At least I haven't been missing any great weather as it has been raining or cold all week.

All I know is that I've got to get better..this no talking stuff is for the birds. Have you met me?

Friday, February 18, 2011

They can't all be winners

Today was just a day full of disappointment. Now, I'm not saying today was ALL bad. Munchkin and I had a good day together laughing and playing. He was really in rare form. I love that little guy so much. Sometimes I don't know what I would do without him. :)

Anyway, it was just one of those days though. First, a friend of mine basically canceled some plans we had made a while back for Monday. Well, actually, she hasn't officially canceled YET, but I know her...I know she's going to.

Then Michael, who has been out of town all week, had to work late and was still 3+ hours away so that meant he wouldn't be home for supper or even before Munchkin went to bed.

It got better for a second when a new friend of mine called and wanted to go out to eat at Johnny Carinos (a place that Michael doesn't like and I LOVE but I'm not going to go by myself). I thought we were basically set except for a time. I told her I would call her when Joseph woke up from his nap. So, I did, but by then she had made plans to go out to eat with her mom since she hadn't heard from me......I guess we had a bit of miscommunication.

To add disapointment on top of disappointment....Michael has still not called to say he is on his way home and it's almost 9. :(

Well, I don't know what ya'll do when you're down, but I cook/bake. For tonight's inspiration, I used these calendars that I have in my kitchen which have recipes on them. I have one that is Betty Crocker (not healthy, but tasty) and one that is from "Eat Better America" (healthy, but as I found out, not necessarily tasty). This month's Betty Crocker recipe is for cupcakes...but it's not really a recipe when all it is is a boxed cake mix, canned frosting, and chocolate drizzle...come on, people! On the healthy calendar there was a Healtified Chocolate Cake.

Healthified Chocolate Cake...I could use that. We could all use a little "healthification."

Sadly, it was one of those cakes that you just know isn't going to be much pumpkin when you put it in the oven. The batter was just not tasty....and it was a lot of work. Melting chocolate, tempering egg yolks, beating egg whites stiff. But I was committed.

Believe tastes "healthified."

So, that's what it looks like in the picture....doused in whipped cream, chocolate syrup, and strawberries.

It needed the help.

I'm not putting the recipe on here since there are many other cakes you can top with whipped cream, strawberries, and chocolate syrup that would be much more appealing.

But the Bourbon Cream over that is fabulous...and much appreciated on a night like tonight. :)

Fun in the Sun

This is how we have spent our past couple days of warm weather and (mostly) sunshine.

Joseph has loved it.
But I just wonder....
Why does my child always have a stick in his mouth? Crawl softly and chew on a big stick? I don't think that's how it goes, bud.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Caramel Baked French Toast

This is one of my favorite breakfast dishes (when I'm not concerned with calories). I've made it when I've had people stay with us. I've made it for breakfast potlucks. I even made it for my parents this weekend. It's really good because you do most of the work the night before and then all you have to do is pop it in the oven in the morning. I know I hate to do a bunch of prep early in the morning.

I will say that if you have issues with foods that kinda stick to your teeth like my husband does, then this may not be the dish for you. If you are like the rest of us (normal...jk) people, then try this. You'll like it.

Caramel Baked French Toast (from Pillsbury Annual Recipes)

6 Tbsp butter
1/3 c heavy cream
1 c packed light brown sugar
1 Tbsp light corn syrup

8 slices day old french bread cut diagonally (you can use more slices if your bread is smaller...say baguette sized)
3 eggs
1/2 c milk
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla

Heat the topping ingredients in a saucepan over med to med low heat stirring constantly until melted and combined. Don't boil.

Pour topping into a greased 9x13 glass dish.

Beat eggs with milk, vanilla and salt. Dip bread in egg mixture. Place bread in a single layer over the topping.

Cover and refrigerate overnight (at least 8 hrs).

Bake uncovered at 400 for 20-25 minutes. Flip the slices of bread over and serve.

This is also delicious cold and left over...just so you know. :)

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Personal Chef for a Weekend

I just love this picture. I was playing fetch with the dogs. You can see how focused Shyann is, but Shelby...he's a bit ADD.

Well, I told ya'll about me cooking for my parents this past weekend. I have to say that it was successful. Now, it's not like I've never cooked this many meals in a weekend, but I've never cooked this many meals in a weekend for my parents. My dad tends to like what he likes. As I said before, he's not real big on experimental.

Here's breakfast Saturday morning:
Caramel Baked French Toast (recipe to come later), bacon, and eggs. I don't think Dad was real keen on the french toast. That's fine...Michael isn't either, but that's why we had bacon and eggs! I think Mom and I could live on the french toast. YUM!

Michael, Munchkin, and I had lunch with my friend Joanie on Saturday, so I didn't cook then. Here is what we had for supper:
Garlic Butter Roast Chicken, roasted asparagus, and fococcia bread. This was a HIT! My dad ate like half the I think he liked it ok. The bread was sooooo good! I had never made it before.

I failed to take any food pictures Sunday.
I didn't plan on making breakfast on Sunday since we usually have food at church. Joseph was up a good bit of the night throwing up, which was very traumatic for me since he's never done that before. I still don't have any idea what caused it. So, we missed church. :(

For lunch we had Slow cooker london broil, rice, and broccoli with lemon butter.
For supper we had the Other White Meat Pizza. It was all good.

Since I've been home, I've eaten mostly cereal and KFC. Michael is out of town and my kitchen is closed except to cook mac n cheese for the Munchkin.

Anyway, the Munchkin is asleep and I'm about to finish watching Eat Pray Love. Have a good one!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Joseph just loves his Shelby. Shelby...not so much...unless Joseph is eating. Then he LOVES Joseph because Joseph loves to share his food.

Anyway...I made these today. All I can say is GOODNESS!! I am usually immune to rich foods. People will be like..."this is sooo rich, I can't eat much." And I'm all like, "I could eat the whole thing!" But these, these are rich. I finished icing them right after Michael got home and couldn't wait to try them. I had made them for him as a Valentine's treat. Well, we shared one. I don't know if it's because I grazed while I made them, but I was good with half. I figured we would have another one for dessert, but we're both still good. They are fantastic, though. I fully recommend them if you have time to make them and 50 sticks of butter laying around. :) It only took me 3 hours to make them. But of course, I had help from the Munchkin, so it probably wouldn't really take that long for a normal person.

Well, we are off to TN tomorrow for the weekend again. Let's hope for better sleep from the Munchkin than last weekend. I'm pretty excited because I'm shutting down my kitchen for the weekend and moving into my mom's. Yep, I'm fixing the meals this weekend. I wanted to do something nice for my parents. It might not be so nice for dad though....he's not usually very big on experimentation. But I think I picked some things he'll still like. I guess we'll see! He can just eat cupcakes if he doesn't like anything else. :)

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Great Green Beans

I don't post enough side dish recipes. The main dishes and desserts seem to get all the credit, but side dishes are important too! These days, I usually throw a box of frozen veggies in the microwave and call it a day. These are pretty quick though and I've gotten a few people who tried them out of our wedding cookbook that rave about them. I think they are pretty good and an excellent way to spruce up a can of green beans. Now, I make these just any old way but I'll give you a base recipe that you can tweak according to your tastes.

Great Green Beans
2 cans green beans (I used French style...that's why they look funny in the picture.)
1 cube beef bouillon
1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp soy sauce
1 Tbsp butter
1 pinch garlic powder
1 pinch black pepper

Drain green beans, reserving half the liquid.

Dissolve bouillon cube in reserved liquid in a sauce pan over med high heat.

Add green beans to the liquid. Add Worcestershire sauce, soy sauce, butter, garlic powder, and pepper.

Reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes (or until the rest of your meal is done..I think I've cooked them 30 minutes before). Serve.
Enjoy! Please don't judge the shape of my ham steaks...I cut some ham off of my "chunk o ham" to cube for some soup and did some bad planning. So, they had a flat edge. They ate just the same, just so you know!

Monday, February 7, 2011

Munchkin Madness

We went to my parents' house for the first time in 6 weeks (an eternity for me) this past weekend. The Munchkin, who had gotten in such a good sleep groove for the past little bit, decided not to sleep this weekend. I'm talking the shortest of naps (if he took one at all) and being up most of the night. For the most part, he was in good spirits (amazingly). We chalked it up to all sorts of things...teething, growth spurt, too cold, too cramped/uncomfortable in his pack n play, getting sick....any number of excuses and who knows if any of them are the culprit. He doesn't tend to sleep as well at his Grandparents' as he does at home, but he doesn't usually do nearly as bad as this weekend.

We even went out and bought a crib for my parents' house. Had to buy it at Wal-Mart of all places. UGH. It kills my soul to buy a pack of gum at Wal-Mart, much less a piece of furniture. But if it would help my baby rest, then so be it. I would shop at the devil store. Well, it didn't help my baby rest. Maybe it will in the future. I'm still holding out hope that we didn't just throw money down the drain.

He did sleep for nearly 3 hours during the car ride home. But then, last night, the anti-sleeper struck again at bedtime. He was sleepy at 7:15 which is the normal beginning to our bedtime routine. Well, after wrestling with him for some time, he was still awake at 8:45. I had HAD it. I was tired and grumpy and irritated. I put him in his crib and was just done with it. He fussed about that. I mean, isn't this sleep stuff supposed to get easier? He's over 10 months old.....shouldn't we be moving forward instead of backward? And shouldn't I be better able to handle this stuff when it happens? Because I seem like I'm a lot shorter tempered when it come to sleep issues...I'm pretty good with other issues. I discussed my feelings with Michael and he didn't think things were as bad as I was making them out to be. He thinks things have improved...and I'm sure they have...I was just having a low point.

Well, while we were discussing that, Munchkin actually put himself to sleep. I went to bed shortly thereafter and I didn't have to get up until 3...over 5 hours of uninterrupted sleep! It improved my outlook tremendously. I know I shouldn't worry and that he will sleep eventually, but it's so hard to be positive sometimes.

Also, it snowed again today. I am so sick of snow. Hurry up, Spring!

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Cheddar Potato Soup

Since I've been back at the gym, I've been on the hunt for recipes for dishes that I can make earlier in the day or prep and have Michael throw them in the oven or whatnot. Even if I make it to an earlier class (5:00 PM), I still don't get home until close to 6:30 and then it's really had to make a meal and eat before Joseph needs to go to bed. I have found soups to be a good option and we've been eating a lot of them. Plus, they are great reheated and thus make good lunches for me and the Munchkin.

Here's one that I made a little bit ago. I adapted it from Taste of Home. Here's how it's made:

Cheddar Potato Soup
Serves 10ish

1/2 onion, chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
1/4 c butter
5 c peeled, cubed potatoes
3 c water
3 cups milk, divided
4 chicken bouillon cubes
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1/4 c all purpose flour
4 cups shredded cheddar cheese
6-8 slices of bacon

In a dutch oven, saute onion and celery in butter for 5 minutes.

Add Potatoes and water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer 15 minutes or until potatoes are tender.

Stir in 2 c milk, bouillon, salt, and pepper. Combine flour and remaining milk until smooth. Add to the soup gradually.

Bring to a boil and cook and stir for a couple minutes or until thickened.

Reduce heat and add the cheese. Stir until cheese is melted.

Cook the bacon and crumble over top of soup.


This is a really awesome super rich tasty soup. There is nothing light about it. Just the thing to eat when you get home from the gym! :) I work out really hard so I deserve a splurge occasionally. Tonight class was so hard I feel like I've been hit by a Mack truck. I think I'll be hitting the bed soon!