Monday, June 30, 2014

Weekly Wrap Up

Colin spent this past week at Memaw's in TN so it was just Charlie and I during the day. Colin got to go to the Discovery Center twice, visit his TN friend Ben, and go to the pool a lot. I cut my hair shorter, Colin had his birthday party at the park Saturday, and Charlie turned 7 months old!

(Charlie has 3 teeth, is crawling, puling up onto his knees, eating puffs, starting a sippy cup, and we are sleep training - again, ha!)

Photos in no particular order:

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Weekly Wrap Up

I am way behind. Here are just a few photos: Charlie learning to play independently, taking friends to the water fall in Helena, the boys entertaining themselves during a power outage, Charlie sporting a new accessory (teething necklace) and starting to pull up on his knees, and Colin soaking up some sun and getting brave and putting his face in the water.

Friday, June 13, 2014

Making Baby Food

Since Charlie has been a really good solids eater, I've been making his baby food. I've been using a combination of recipes from Pinterest and baby food cookbooks that I've borrowed from friends and the library.

I make up batches of each and freeze them in ice cube trays for easy portion measurement. Here's where I am.

1. Peas
2. Squash
3. Green Beans
4. Sweet Potato
5. Carrots
6. Apricots
7. Blueberry Sauce
8. Peaches
9. Cherries

Now here's the breakdown on how I made each.

1. Peas
I like to keep it easy. So I bought a bag of frozen peas, cooked in the microwave according to package directions, cooled, and then put through the food processor or blender. Add water as necessary to produce the consistency that your baby prefers.

2. Squash
I don't know much about buying these, so to keep it easy I bought a packaged of squash already cut into chunks that microwave in the bag. After they cooked I allowed them to cool and then pureed in the food processor.

3. Green Beans
Just like the peas, I purchased frozen and cooked according to the package directions. I allowed them to cool then processed through the blender, adding water as necessary, to get as smooth as I could. (I found peas and green beans hard to get to the right texture. I end up mixing them with other purees to get Charlie to eat them, so it hasn't been a huge issue.)

4. Sweet Potato
These are SIMPLE. I wash, pierce, and then roast in the oven until fork tender (425 degrees for 45-60 minutes). Once they are cooled, I scoop out the insides and send them through the food processor until smooth.

5. Carrots
Charlie hasn't been huge into his carrots, so I've only done this one once. I simmered baby carrots in a sauce pan until fork tender. Once cooled, puree the carrots and add water as needed to get desired consistency. 

6. Apricots
Charlie LOVES these. Take 1 cup of dried apricots and 1 cup of water and bring to a boil. Turn down the heat and simmer until they are fork tender, about 10 minutes. Allow them to cool and save the liquid from cooking. Put the apricots in the food processor or blender. Add back the cooking liquid while pureeing to get desired consistency. Sometimes I have to even add more water than I cooked with to get it as smooth as I want it.

7. Blueberry Sauce
You can use fresh or frozen blueberries. I use froze because I can keep them on hand and when I run out of some already made, I can whip up another batch. If your using frozen berries, thaw them. Then puree until smooth. Send it through a fine mesh strainer to get out all the pieces of skin that didn't puree. Heat the sauce over medium-low heat in a sauce pan for 3-5 minutes.

8. Peaches
I used frozen on these. Pour a 20 oz package of frozen peaches and 1 cup of water into a sauce pan. Bring to a boil and then simmer for 10-15 minutes. Allow the peaches to cool, then add to the food processor or blender and process until smooth.

9. Cherries
I used fresh for these, but you can use frozen (I probably will next batch). If they are frozen, thaw them. If using fresh, wash them and remove the pits. Puree in a food processor or blender until smooth. Add to a sauce pan and heat over medium-low heat for 3-5 minutes.

Not pictured - Pears
He ate all of these so I didn't have any to take a picture of. I have a bunch sitting on my counter now, just waiting for them to be ripe so I can make him more of these. Quarter and core 4 ripe pears. Bring 1-inch of water to boil in a pot. Add the pears to the steamer basket and set in pot. Steam  for 7-10 minutes or until they pierce easily with a knife. Allow the pears to cool then scoop the fruit out from the skin and puree.

Judging by most recipes, you can keep the purees in the fridge for up to 3 days, or freeze them for up to 3 months. I freeze the purees in an ice cube tray and then move them to freezer bags. Each morning I pull out what I will use that day. If they aren't thawed completely by the time I get to them, I heat them in the microwave on a low power.

We mix a lot of these purees and that will be another baby food post - flavor combinations. 

Monday, June 9, 2014

Veggie Lasagna

I've been getting cookbooks from the library lately and love the selection. This recipe is adapted from one of the The Deen Bros cookbooks. I changed a few things that we didn't like or to make it a little easier.

9 uncooked lasagna noodles
3 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
12 oz portobella mushroom, sliced into 1/4-inch thick pieces
1 medium zucchini, sliced lengthwise into 1/4-inch thick strips
1 red onion, sliced into 1/4 inch thick rings
10 oz frozen spinach, thawed, and excess water squeezed out
1 (26 oz) jar pasta sauce - I used Bertolli Tomato Basil
8 oz ricotta cheese
2 packages (16 oz total) Kraft shredded Italian cheese blend

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Bring a pot of water to boil and cook lasagna noodles according to package directions, until al dente. Drain noodles well and arrange in a single layer on a dish towel lined baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil (I also brush the entire noodle so it wouldn't dry out) and set aside

Spread the mushrooms on a baking sheet. Spread the zucchini and onions on another baking sheet. Drizzle each with 1 1/2 Tbsp of olive oil and season with salt & pepper. Roast the mushrooms for 25 minutes and the zucchini & onions for 35 minutes. Allow both to cool, then combine in a bowl with the spinach.

Spread 1/4 of the pasta sauce on the bottom of a 9x13 baking pan. Place three lasagna noodles and then layer with 1/3 the ricotta, 1/4 the pasta sauce, half the vegetables, & 1/3 of the Italian cheese. Place three more lasagna noodles and repeat the layers. Place the last three lasagna noodles and then add the remaining ricotta, sauce, and lastly the Italian cheese.

Cover loosely with foil and bake for 45 minutes. Remove the foil and increase the oven temperature to 450 degrees, baking for about 10 minutes more (until the cheese bubbles and is starting to brown around the edges).

Remove from oven and let stand for 10 minutes before serving.

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Mushroom & Kale Stroganoff

Finally posting a recipe! This is one I found on pinterest. I don't like Kale but enjoy in this. I did expect it to wilt more like spinach in this recipe, but it doesn't get as soft. Just want to put that out there in case you were also expecting that texture.

2 Tbs extra-virgin olive oil
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 portobella mushrooms sliced, or 8 oz of baby bella sliced
1 tsp smoked paprika
1 Tbsp all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cup vegetable broth
1 Tbsp tomato paste
1 bunch of kale, stems removed and chopped
1 bay leaf
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 bag of egg noodles, cooked
salt and pepper to taste

Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onions and saute until they begin to soften. Add the garlic and mushrooms and season with paprika, salt & pepper. Saute for another 3 minutes, until the mushrooms are softened and dark in color.

Add the flour and toss to combine. Add the broth, tomato paste and stir until the paste dissolves. Add the bay leaf and simmer 5-10 minutes.

Add the sour cream and remove the bay leaf. Stir in the cooked egg noddles.


Monday, June 2, 2014

Weekly Wrap Up

Two weeks worth since we were in Florida.

Two weeks ago (the 21st) Colin had his last day of school. The day before they had a field day complete with a picnic we got to attend and even the ice cream truck was there. He enjoyed running around with his friends and I know he will miss playing with them so often this summer. I've exchanged numbers with one of the moms and hopefully we can get together so the boys can play a few times before school starts in the fall.

Colin's last day of school was the next day and right after school we loaded up and took a long freaking drive to Florida. An hour and a half of the way into the drive we had to stop for a bathroom break and Colin was so excited because he thought we were there...

My Dad moved down to The Villages this past fall and this was our first visit out there. We loved the slow pace of the trip and Colin loved the golf cart rides. There were golf cart lanes on the side roads, and then golf cart paths throughout the community between the high traffic roads and all the golf courses. We rode it everywhere - dinner, Publix, Peachwave, the pool - Colin (and Andrew) said that was their favorite part.

We asked Colin before the trip if he would like to go to Disney or Lego Land when we visited and he choose Lego Land. We had 1/2 price coupons (loved the park, but would not pay full price!) and we had so much fun. I got to ride a couple roller coasters (one with my dad, one with Papa. They were the only ones that liked rides) and Colin actually road one fast ride along with the slower speed ones he preferred.

One fun thing about Lego Land - you bring one of your mini figures to trade though out the park. We brought this ugly strange clown we had. You find a Lego Land worker with a mini figure attached to their name badge and just ask to trade!

Photos from that trip (probably not in order):

And when we got home, we had a visit from the Madewell family! They came down on Saturday after a visit with her Granny. We took the boys to The Depot for lunch and then went to the park across the street. That night Andrew watched all four boys while Hallie and I got to go to the mall and out to dinner. It was so nice. She said we did not stop talking once - and she was right! It was so nice not to be interrupted by little kids. I took Hallie to The Club and to show her the view.

Bless Andrew, he did a great job. And the little boy from next door came over too, so he ended up with 5 kids at one point. And since he survived, I'm not afraid to ask that of him again. LOL