Happy Halloween all!
I've been using this very simple recipe for years, dating back to my Weight Watchers days. Usually, chocolate is the go-to cake flavor but, for breakfast muffins that would be more baby friendly, I went with carrot this time and the results were delicious enough to share:
Carrot Pumpkin Muffins
1 box carrot cake mix (I used Betty Crocker Super Moist)
1 can (14.5 oz) pure, packed pumpkin
1/2 cup raisins
1/2 cup dried cranberries
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line cupcake pan with 12 paper inserts, or mist with cooking spray.
Mix dry cake mix and pumpkin until combined. Batter will be thick but, do not add any wet ingredients. Fold in raisins and cranberries. Divide evenly among cupcake tin.
Bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes.
Still window shopping is fun and putting together a list of fun, inspiring and maybe-will-be-mine-one-day things is harmless. Right? So here goes:Avid-reader mom + loaded diaper bag + very little home storage + running all over the city for work = Kindle 3 solution. In Graphite, I think. This one would actually save us storage space. So, really, it just makes good sense. Well, if I'm dreaming of the Kindle 3 it would need to be protected and a case with a light for night-time reading would be a natural extension. In Apple Green *yum* because, is there really another option? I think not.
Shredded Chicken Tacos
Package of chicken breasts (+/- 3 good size breasts)
1 can corn (14.5 oz)
1 can diced tomatoes (14.5 oz)
1 can black beans (14.5 oz)
1 packet taco seasoning (I used McCormick)
Add all ingredients, including liquids in cans, into crock pot and cook on LOW 8-9 hours.
Shred chicken with two forks and mix all ingredients when finished cooking. Serve with hard or soft taco shells with cheese and the fixings.
This is the easiest recipe I have ever made and is just delicious - and healthy!!! If you are watching sodium in your house, McCormick also makes a low-sodium taco seasoning packet. If you aren't a taco fan, it would also be delicious served over rice...with a dollop of sour cream, of course.
- love to play hide and seek. We will hide around a corner and, as you find us you break out in peals of laughter
- are chewing through the rails on your crib. You may only have the two bottom teeth but, they are sharp and strong!
- are a big fan of our windows. We have large windows with window sills that are the perfect height for you to rest your little arms and peer out at the world below. You spend a lot of time walking back and forth along the sills, watching the cars come in and out of our complex and particularly love the show put on by our landscapers using the leaf blowers.
- wear mainly 12 month clothes now. The pants are still a bit long but all of your 9 month pants are highwaters...you are stuck in between, my boy. You are still wearing some of your 6 month onsies though (thank you Carter's). You are in size 3 diapers and likely will be for a while longer.
- eat anything we put in front of you. You still take fruit and veggie purees but are also a big fan of chicken, fish, ground turkey, rice, banana, toasted cheese sandwiches, hummus on whole wheat and cooked veggies. At dinner time you eat whatever we cook. It is a pleasure to see you enjoy your meals and use that well developed pincer grasp to self-feed.
- love music! You dance to the Toddler Tunes channel on our t.v., the music on your exersaucer and love listening to your kid's music playlist on Mama's iPhone when we are in the car.
- have discovered the drawer of baking pans under the oven and like to drag them out and use them as vehicles to navigate the kitchen floor, or as very loud make-shift musical instruments.
- are starting to show a bit iof separation anxiety. You don't like to see Mama or Baba leave the room and protest loudly when we do.
- are becoming more social. You enjoy interacting with other kids on our playdates, share toys and are gentle in approaching your friends.
- give hugs. While you are mostly on the move all.the.time. you do have some quieter moments where you will fling your little arms around the nack of whoever is holding you or, will sit quietly on a lap and cuddle.
It is so hard to believe that you are just two months from your 1st birthday and have come so far from the sweet, tiny bundle we brought home from the hospital. We are loving every little bit of your growing and changing but, stay a baby just a bit longer for us, okay?
I love you to the moon and back,
Now, when he wakes in the morning I go in to find him standing in his crib, reaching up to me and, sometimes, greeting me with "Mama!"
At first glance it seemed that this recipe would be too time-consuming to make with a 9 month old crawling around my ankles. But, it turned out to be the opposite so, I needed to share for this weeks Mom-Friendly Meal Monday. It's cooked in stages and each only takes a moment, then sits for 10-20 minute clips. Perfect for a busy mom, actually! It's a simple twist on a classic American recipe and was delicious. Even G thought so!
(adapted from a Bobby Dean recipe I recently came across HERE)
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1.5 pounds lean ground beef
1.5 pounds lean ground turkey
1 large onions, finely chopped (about 2 cups)
2 14.5-ounce cans diced tomatoes, fire roasted
1 29-ounce can tomato sauce
3 tablespoons soy sauce
2 teaspoons dried basil
2 teaspoons dried oregano
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon garlic powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 cups uncooked elbow macaroni
1) In a large Dutch oven, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Brown the meat in the oil about 10 minutes, breaking meat up with a fork as it cooks. Add the onion; cook and stir for 5 minutes.
2) Add the remaining ingredients except the macaroni. Reduce heat; simmer, covered, for 20 minutes. Stir in the macaroni; simmer, covered, for 20 minutes. Let the goulash stand for 20 minutes before serving.
Servings: 8 to 10
1. If you could travel to anywhere in the world, where would you go?
I've always had a bit of wanderlust so, choosing one dream location is impossible. Even though I've traveled quite a bit I still really want to see Egypt and the Great Pyramids, back to Israel to visit the Dead Sea and spend more time in Jerusalem, China to walk the great Wall. And, on one of our trips to Greece I am determined to spend a few days in Santorini.
2. Which do you like better, cooking or baking?
Baking. Though I rarely have the time for it at this point, I love the measuring, mixing and watching for the delicious end result. Baking is relaxing for me, while cooking is a necessity.
3. What type of music do you listen to?
A little of everything but, my heart belongs to 80's hair bands, Billy Joel and the Beatles.
4. What's your favorite holiday?
Thanksgiving. It's just about family and food...love both :-)
5. Are you an introvert or an extrovert?
Introvert, which is strange considering that my job (career?) is in staff training and engage in public speaking all the time
6. Are you excited for fall? If so, what do you love most about the season?
I *pinkpuffyheart* autumn!!! The crisp temperatures, baking with apples, the rich colors, the crunch of fallen leaves underfoot. Love.
7. What websites do you frequent most often?
The Bump, The Nest and my Google Reader
8. What is your favorite childhood memory?
Camping trips with my parents and sister - pitching the tent, campfires, swimming in the lake.
In turn, I'm tagging these four bloggers to answer a few questions of my own:
Aurie at It's Our Good Life
Tania at Altered Moments
Sara at NinjaPanza
Lynn at Murphy's Law
Here are your questions, ladies!
- As a child, what did you want to be when you "grew up?" Are you doing it now?
- What is your favorite, quick go-to recipe on a busy evening?
- Do you burn candles in your home? If so, what is your favorite scent?
- What was the best vacation you can remember?
- If you have a wedding album, how often do you look at it? Where is it stored?
- What is the thing your treasure most about motherhood?
- What is your favorite day of the week and, why?
- Are you doing anything to be more "green" or earth-friendly?
BBQ Pulled Pork (Slow Cooker)
Adapted from Southern Living, Oct. 2010
1 (3- to 4-lb.) boneless pork shoulder roast, trimmed
1 (18-oz.) bottle barbecue sauce (I used Bulls’ Eye Original)
1 (12-oz.) can cola soft drink
1 packet McCormick Slow Cooker BBQ Pulled Pork seasoning
2 sweet onions, roughly chopped
1. Place roast in a lightly greased 6-qt. slow cooker with onions; Mix together barbecue sauce, cola and seasoning and pour over roast over roast. Cover and cook on HIGH 5 hours or LOW 8 to 10 hours, or until meat shreds easily with a fork.
2. Transfer pork to a cutting board; remove bones shred with two forks, removing any large pieces of fat. Skim fat from sauce, and stir in shredded pork.
1 bag broccoli slaw
1/2 cup Light Sweet Vidalia Onion salad dressing (I used Ken’s)
Toss slaw mix with dressing and refrigerate several hours.
Sweet Potato & Zucchini Hash
(Adapted from Martha Stewart)
2 large sweet potatoes, peeled, quartered lengthwise, and thinly
2 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 medium yellow onion, thinly sliced
Coarse salt and ground pepper
1 medium zucchini, quartered lengthwise and thinly sliced crosswise
1 medium zucchini, quartered lengthwise and thinly sliced crosswise
1. In a large nonstick skillet, heat oil over medium-high. Add onion and potatoes and season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring frequently, until potatoes are almost cooked through and golden, about 15 minutes.
2. Add zucchini, reduce heat to medium, and cook, stirring, until zucchini is soft and potatoes are cooked through, 7 minutes.
It doesn't get much better than this!
Turkey, Sweet Potato and Cranberry Stew (Slow Cooker)
3 lb turkey breast (boneless, skinless)
1 lg onion, roughly chopped
2 tbsp honey
2 tbsp cider vinegar
1 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
1 C chicken stock
2.5 lb sweet potatoes, peeled and cut in 1" chunks
1/2 C dried cranberries
2 tbsp cornstarch
2 tbsp cold water
1. Combine turkey, onion, honey, vinegar, ginger, salt, pepper, and stock in large slow cooker. Cover and cook on low 5 hours.
2. Add potatoes and cranberries. Cook until potatoes are tender, 90 minutes more.
3. Drain liquid into a bowl and set aside. Whisk together cornstarch and water until smooth (adding more water if needed). Pour mixture into reserved liquid and whick together to make a gravy.
4. Toss meat, potatoes, and cranberries with gravy and reheat if necessary.
This turned out delicious! I made a few adjustments from the original recipe published in the magazine and was happy that I did. 1 pound of potatoes would not have been enough and I substituted turkey breast so that I would not have to remove meat from bones. The result was very flavorful and moist. This is one I'll plan to make several times this fall and winter.