Sunday, July 25, 2010

The Art of Using Leftovers

   OK. Let me just start by telling you that I'm the luckiest girl alive! Adam will eat anything I cook. He's not the slightest bit picky. At school, when I'd pull out my lunch, I heard from many ladies about how their husbands only liked certain foods and wouldn't eat leftovers. Are you kidding me? Talk about wasteful! Normally, when I was working, all of our leftovers were strategically planned out as future meals for the week. So, there was never an opportunity for seconds or creative concoctions the next day. Now though, I've had lots of chances to exercise my creativity in this area. Yesterday is a good example. . .
     A few nights ago, I made chicken enchiladas with tomatillo salsa for dinner. It's one of my "go-to" recipes that has had a place in my recipe folder for several years. It's pretty labor-intensive and, for some reason, I always end up with extra filling. We were out of tortillas, so the extra filling just sat sadly in the refrigerator for a couple of days. That is, until lunch and dinner yesterday. That's right. . . I stretched about a cup of extra enchilada filling into 2 complete meals. 
Meal #1: Lunch (Mexican Chicken Salad Sandwiches)
Some of the filling (cold)
lettuce, tomatoes, and thinly sliced red onions (leftover from hamburgers)
"pita pockets" (really just some of my homemade buns that turned out flat)
- You'd be surprised at how delicious these sandwiches were. Who knew?

Meal #2: Dinner (Chicken and Tomatillo Pasta)
1/4 of a box of wheat pasta (leftover from a previous meal)
the rest of the enchilada filling (warm this time)
Caramelized onions (leftover from hamburgers)
1 sliced of sharp cheddar cheese (leftover from hamburgers)
1/4 cup of grated Parmesan cheese (all that was left in the refrigerator)
- I just mixed the cooked pasta and enchilada filling together and then topped it with caramelized onions and cheese. After a quick 20 minutes in the oven, it was ready. It wasn't the best thing I've ever put in my mouth, but it was tasty and sufficed for a quick dinner. I didn't get a picture of the end result, but here are the ingredients I used.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Play Date

     Last night, we had a big play date at our house. The Reneaus (Justin, Diana, and Tristen) and the Kendalls (Brady, Staci Jo, and Rivers) joined us for a hamburger dinner. Our sweet babies were all born within a two week span. Diana and I even delivered our babies in the exact same room at Highland Hospital. Pure coincidence, of course! Tristen is the oldest of the bunch at 14 weeks old. He's already rolling over! Rivers came next. She is 13 weeks old and has been sleeping through the night since 9 weeks. What lucky parents! Then, there's the youngest of the group, our sweet Sara Beth. She's 12 weeks old and really getting control over her little hands. She's grabbing everything she can find and putting it right into her mouth. 
     These three have played together before. . . maybe you remember seeing the pictures from our Mommy and Baby yoga class. I'm 100% sure they will play together for a long time to come. In fact, we're planning a hiking, rock climbing, camping (in cabins) trip in the fall. By then, the babies will have better head control and will be able to ride in their daddy's backpacks.
     We all had such a great time last night. The kiddos played so well together. They even layed on Sara Beth's activity mat together while we had a grown-up diner at the table. Amazing! I got my friend, Stephanie, to monogram each baby a onesie that said "Future Rider" on it. They were a big hit! We took lots of pictures, as you can see. All of us, the mommies and the daddies, are into all kinds of adventure sports. We hope our little ones are too one day!
The guys with each other's baby
Playing together on the mat

Matching outfits (I don't know why this one is turned sideways)

It was a long night for little kiddos!

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Cooking Frenzy

Some people clean, some read, some watch TV, but me. . . I cook. I cook when I'm happy, when I'm sad, but most of all, I cook when I'm bored. It makes me feel accomplished. Thursday, I got on one of my cooking kicks and ended up with 3 yummy concoctions at the end of the day.
First, I made homemade granola bars. I've always wanted to make them, but alas, this was not the perfect recipe. They were tasty, but nothing to write home about. They were a little too cake-like and not crunchy enough for my liking. Check out the recipe here:

Next, I made No Bake Chocolate Peanut Butter Oatmeal Bars from the same website/blog: They were so tasty and super easy to make too. I need to remember this recipe for when Sara Beth gets bigger. It seems like one that you could make with kids.

Last, I made a delicious soup out of yellow squash. A friend of mine, Cinda McKenzie, was so sweet to bring a big bag of home-grown squash to me the other day. I had to come up with a way to use it up before it went bad. Yellow squash is an OK veggie, I guess. It's pretty good grilled, but most other cooking techniques leave it mushy (which is never good). I knew it made a good soup because my friend, Carol Williams, makes cream of squash soup sometimes. So, my mission was to make squash soup with a Brandi twist. Here's the recipe (all my own):

Brandi's Curried Buttermilk Squash Soup
1 onion, diced
1 carrot, diced
2 stalks celery, diced
4 cups yellow squash, cubed
2 cloves garlic, chopped
2 cups chicken broth
2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp mild curry powder
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
1 bay leaf
salt and pepper to taste
1 cup buttermilk
Saute the veggies in a little bit of olive oil until they are tender. Add the spices and cook for a minute or two. Pour in the chicken broth. Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer, covered, for 10 minutes. Remove the bay leaf. Puree the soup until smooth (I used a stick blender, but you could put it in a regular blender if you want.). Stir in the buttermilk and heat it through.
Makes 6 cups of soup
I know it doesn't look that appetizing in this picture due to my inferior photography skills, but I promise it is so delicious!

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Don't Turn Your Nose Up At Cauliflower!

So, what's your opinion about cauliflower? Love it or hate it? While it's not my favorite vegetable, I'm pretty much open to all foods. So, when I saw it in the reduced produce cart at Brookshires-- 2 heads of cauliflower for $1, you know I couldn't pass it up.
I used some of it in a vegetable curry one night. The rest, I simply roasted in the oven with some olive oil, salt, pepper, and rosemary. Roasting does amazingly wonderful things to cauliflower! You should try it! All of the sudden, it tastes nutty and rich instead of dry and crumbly. I used the roasted cauliflower in a yummy pasta dish one night. I honestly can't remember everything that was in it (because I waited too long to write this post), but here are a few that I recall: roasted cauliflower, whole wheat pasta, chicken breasts, carrots, onions, garlic, white wine, chicken broth, Dijon mustard, Parmesan cheese, and a tiny bit of heavy cream. It was kind of a wintery dish for such a hot summer night, but delicious none the less.
Raw cauliflower
Roasted cauliflower
The finished dish

Friday, July 16, 2010

Tummy Time

We've been trying to get Sara Beth on her tummy more often these days. When she was a newborn she loved being on her tummy. Now she hates it. She gets super frustrated because when she tries to lift her head, her feet fly up in the air. I guess she needs a little more fat on her thighs so things can even out a bit. Anyway, tummy time on the Boppy is our solution to that problem. She doesn't exactly love it yet, but she's getting better every day. Here are some of her cute faces from a recent tummy time. Enjoy!

(OK. This one big eye look is just like Adam!)

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Homemade Pasta

Every now and then I pull out my pasta machine (the hand cranked kind) and make a batch of homemade pasta for dinner. . . And then I remember how much work it is and realize why it's been hiding in the drawer since last summer. One night last week I made ravioli and a fresh tomato cream sauce. It was delicious, but only made 2 1/2 servings and it took hours to put together. A couple of nights later, I took the leftovers, rolled out some fettuccine noodles, and added some more veggies to the sauce to stretch it a bit. Yummy! I love eating at my house! =)

On a side note, I need to learn more about taking pictures of babies and food. My pictures are always blurry because I turn the flash off so it won't look washed out. I feel like all my pictures look the same. Any suggestions?

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Meeting the Team

For nine months they watched my belly grow larger and larger. They refused to throw the baton to me for fear of hitting the baby. They nagged me about getting down and up from the floor as I choreographed parts of the routine. Well, last week, they finally got to meet the baby they'd been so protective of for so long. I brought Sara Beth to the gym for Senior Team practice so they could see her. There were ooos and aaahhs and nobody wanted to get started with practice (Do they ever?). I guess Sara Beth is their little mascot now! Later in the week, I brought her to their dress rehearsal. They were getting ready to leave for nationals so I had to see the results of all their hard work. All the Dixie Diamonds were happy to meet her and tell me what a good twirler she'll be one day. I did bring a little baton for her (you can kind of see it in the last picture) even though I've insisted that she'll be a mountain biker, not a twirler. You never know. . . I may change my mind. . . or she may change it for me!

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Sara Beth at 2 Months Old

I can't believe how fast 2 months has gone by. Sara Beth is now 2 months old and she's growing up so fast. Every day she does something new. Being her parents is such a blessing for us!

At 2 months old she is. . .
-smiling and crinkling up her nose
-throwing her arm across her face when she's napping
-grabbing things (Boy, does she have a tight grip!)
-holding her head up 90% of the time
-kicking, punching, and wiggling as long as she's awake
-taking a bottle of breast milk occasionally
-only waking up once during the night
-loving her pacifier
-outgrowing a lot of her clothes because she's so long
-taking a walk with Mommy and Zilla every morning
-going to the farmer's market at least once a week

Today, we went to see Dr. Ritch for her 2 month check-up and vaccinations. She weighed 10 pounds 15 ounces and was 23 inches long. Her weight is in the 50th percentile and her height is in the 75th percentile. We knew we had a tall girl on our hands! She did such a good job with her shots. She screamed and turned bright red while the nurse gave the injections, but 30 seconds later, she was sucking on her pacifier again and looking content.

At home and ready to go visit Dr. Ritch
Oblivious to what's about to happen
My hot pink band-aids

Here are a few pictures of what we've been up to lately.
Mommy and Baby Yoga class
Farmer's Market
Adam's first Father's Day
Sara Beth's first time in the pool


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