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Sunday, December 29, 2013

Menu for 12/30/13-1/5/14

A belated Merry Christmas and an early Happy New Year to all of you!

We have been so swamped with family visits that I've hardly had any rest at all, but it was totally worth it. We got to spend some quality time with all of the family. We have one more big visit tonight (I'm making lasagna for Dad's family) and then we get almost the entire week off. Well, we at least get four out of the next five days off (I do have a dentist appointment on Thursday) so I can finally get the house clean, a full run at the grocery store, some bills paid, and all the laundry done.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

Oatmeal is one of my favorite healthy foods. A warm bowl of sweet oats with fruit and nuts on a cold morning really hits the spot. My family uses oatmeal as filler in meatloaf instead of bread crumbs or crackers, and oatmeal adds a lovely chewy texture to chocolate chip cookies (or Dad's favorite, butterscotch cookies).

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Menu for 12/23/13-12/29/13

This week is going to be tough. It seems like we have something planned for every single day. In fact, it seems like we have pre-nap and post-nap plans every day.

We have dinner with Yaya, a visit with Aaron's Mamaw, Christmas celebrations with Nana, Yaya, Admiral (whose family has all come in from out of town to visit), and Grandmother and Papaw, a birthday celebration for my cousin, and at some point I'm going to have to do some grocery shopping and laundry. Who needs sleep, right?

I got to spend some quality time with my bestie on Saturday making cookies! I came home with tons of cookies, and I do mean tons.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Honey Lime Marinated Chicken

I don't often marinate chicken... or meat in general. I have been trying some marinade recipes lately, but usually I have a difficult time remembering to marinate the meat long enough before dinner. It's kind of like when I use the crock pot. Sometimes I don't get the crock pot going until 2:00 in the afternoon because I completely forget how long crock pot meals can take.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Orange Cranberry Oatmeal Cookies

These cookie swap things are awesome. I've never actually participated in one but I made the cookies for Yaya to take to hers. It gave me an excuse to try a new recipe before the big Christmas baking day with my bestest friend (coming up this Saturday and I can't wait!) and again I didn't have to choose the new recipe this year because Yaya did it for me.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Menu for 12/16/13-12/22/13

How do you gear up for Christmas?

For us, part of it is decorating the house and tree. We also enjoy driving around town to see other family's decorations. Bailey loves the lights. Every time we get in the car to go somewhere after dark we hear from the back seat, "Pretty lights!"

Friday, December 13, 2013

Meatball Sliders

I love a good recipe that utilizes leftovers and this one absolutely takes the cake for me.

However, sometimes I just want these sliders without having spaghetti so this time I made a batch of meatballs and sauce specifically for this purpose. (I actually saved most of the sauce to use in my lasagna on Saturday.)

Monday, December 9, 2013

Chocolate Covered Cherry Cookies

Last Christmas one of my friends had a bit of cabin fever. She had lost her job recently, she doesn't drive, and her mother had suddenly become very busy at work. The result was that my friend was pretty much stuck at home all day, every day.

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Menu for 12/9/13-12/15/13

You know what I love about holiday baking? I get to try new cookie recipes!

This week I made cookies for Yaya to take to a cookie swap and I have to say they turned out fantastically well! She chose chocolate covered cherry cookies (which I made for the first time last Christmas) and a new recipe, orange cranberry oatmeal cookies.

I promise to share the recipes with you soon (as in this week soon) because how could you resist this...

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Crock Pot Pineapple Chicken

We have been fortunate this week to have Aaron home with us during the day. First he had a four day weekend, then it rained him out of work part of this week. Needless to say, Bailey has been thrilled to death. She really enjoys having him home during the day, though it is a bit more difficult to get her to go down for a nap.

Dinners have been easy. Tacos on Tuesday, pizza on Wednesday, and tonight...

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Menu for 12/2/13-12/8/13

Christmas preparations are going to drive me batty. I've spent the weekend trying to schedule every family gathering, baking get-together, and coffee date with my friends up through the end of the year, and then I realized I forgot that Dad's family is coming in for Christmas as well.

I haven't put up the tree yet. I wanted to do it Friday but I was so exhausted from Thanksgiving that I slept in and then spent the day just being lazy.

Friday, November 29, 2013

Yaya's Broccoli Casserole

What is your favorite thing about Thanksgiving?

I love spending time with family we don't often see and I love the delicious food. Thanksgiving and Christmas are the only two days of the year that I get to have pumpkin pie and it's my absolute favorite pie. I do enjoy the turkey, and the ham (especially when we get honey glazed ham, oh-my-yummy-goodness!), but my favorite part of dinner is definitely the broccoli casserole.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Menu for 11/25/13-12/1/13

Can you guys believe it's just a week until December? I'm amazed how quickly this year has gone. I keep thinking Is it really almost Christmas?

The week of Thanksgiving has finally arrived. Our family is still a little unsure of what our plans are. Usually we would have Thanksgiving lunch at Nana's around 1:00 and then run out to Aaron's parent's house for a second lunch around 3:00. I am generally responsible for mashed potatoes (I make these delicious loaded mashed potatoes with red skin potatoes, turkey bacon, and fat free sour cream) and Yaya is responsible for my favorite part of Thanksgiving dinner,

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Spaghetti with Meat Sauce

How many spaghetti recipes can one girl post?

I must confess: I love pasta. Pasta is probably one of my favorite foods whether it's the main course or on the side. I'm sure anyone who likes spaghetti has a favorite sauce. Mine is actually the sauce from Louis' Drive-In here in Knoxville, TN. It's probably one of the only ground beef sauces I truly enjoy.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Menu for 11/18/13-11/24/13

I cannot believe I have made it more than halfway through November with only 5 posts!  It was not intentional, I promise.  I even had plans for extra posts the past few weeks that have yet to make it past my brain.  I keep forgetting to take pictures or the pictures turn out grainy or dark or the recipe isn't what I was hoping it would be.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Chicken Pot Pie Soup

Dinner tonight was A-MA-ZING!!

I really need to stop cooking such incredible food because I can't keep myself from overeating.  I probably had three bowls of this soup.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Menu for 11/11/13-11/17/13

Who has seen the new Thor?  I have!  I have!

Thankfully, Aaron gave me Friday night off to spend an evening child-free with Dad, his girlfriend, and my brother.  We are huge Marvel/Avengers fans!  In fact, my brother and I are already making plans to go see the new Captain America and the new X-men when they come out sometime in May, conveniently right around my birthday.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Soy and Ginger Marinated Pork Tenderloin

For some reason I can't get in the mood to write lately.  I know I've been neglecting the blog the past few weeks so I'm trying to get motivated.  It's hard when Bailey has all of these new toys and wants me to play with her all the time.  I'm having trouble finding the motivation to even clean the house or cook dinner.  All I want to do all day is color.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Menu for 11/4/13-11/10/13

I know I'm a couple of days late posting the menu for this week, and that I failed to post any recipes last week, but I was just so busy.  On top of all of my normal Mommy duties I also had to make this:

and these:

Monday, October 28, 2013

Menu for 10/28/13-11/3/13

My weekend was jam packed with exciting activities!  First we had portraits with Li'l P Friday morning, dinner with Grandmother and Papaw Friday night, I had to work Saturday morning, and then I came home and made cupcakes for Nightmare Night.  At Nightmare Night we got to meet some ducks and a goose (just like the game!) and interrupt everyone's games, and dance to some dubstep with a glow stick!  This was actually the first time Bailey has ever thrown a fit over being put in the car seat.  Actually, she usually climbs in all by herself.  And finally on Sunday night we visited Admiral and played with crayons and stack cups and finger puppets after dinner.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Tomato and Mozzarella Pasta Florentine

Whenever I find a recipe that I know Aaron won't eat I volunteer to cook dinner at Yaya's house.  I use them as guinea pigs and if dinner turns out well I trick Aaron into trying it by making it for his parents.

This recipe will never fly with him.  He won't eat spinach or diced tomatoes and he definitely won't go for a meal with no meat so he will never ever try this, but I thought it was fabulous!

Monday, October 21, 2013

My Big Little Girl

I will be the first to admit that I don't do everything right as a parent.  Some things I don't realize that I'm doing wrong.  Like it took me 3 months to figure out that all I had to do was tell Bailey to push and she could put her arms in her sleeves all by herself or that if I say "Step in," she will just step right into her pants like a big girl.

I mostly let Bailey do things by herself.  She's a pretty independent kid.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Menu for 10/21/13-10/27/13

I was going to tell you about my week but somehow a horrible headache crept up on me.  I'm having a little trouble seeing the computer screen so I'm just going to jump right to the menu.  Maybe sometime this week I'll have time to catch you up.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Fried Apple Butter Turnovers

Have you ever had a non-traditional birthday cake?  Personally I prefer brownies to cake.  In fact I prefer blondies to brownies.  I have been known to request brownies instead of cake on my birthday.

My brother would rather have apple butter turnovers.

I got lucky with these because I have a jar of Nana's homemade apple butter which makes these some of the very best turnovers I've ever had.  They are not like traditional turnovers with the flaky pastry.  They are made with canned biscuits (though you could probably do them in the oven with crescent rolls) making them more like a hand pie than a turnover, but my family has always called them turnovers.  They are fried in salted butter creating an interesting dynamic between the salty, crispy outside and the sweet, soft center.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Ginger Chicken with Broccoli

I love Chinese takeout.  I really love Chinese takeout.  Seriously, I am super in love with Chinese takeout.

Ya know what I don't love? I don't love driving to pick up Chinese takeout.  I don't  love calling to order Chinese takeout.  I don't love paying for Chinese takeout.

Folks, I may have found a way to have Chinese takeout without having Chinese takeout.  You can make it at home, and it is amazing, and easy!

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Menu for 10/14/13-10/20/13

We had a fun week!  Nana got to come home from rehab this week, and I feel like I actually accomplished things this week.  I don't know why but I was on top of the cooking and cleaning stuff every day.

We switched our weekly plans with Yaya to Mondays instead of Tuesdays leaving me four blissful days in a row to do home things.  I do laundry, clean the bathroom, living room, and Bailey's room, buy groceries, plan meals... I even worked in a cupcake order this weekend.  I am so on the ball!

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Mozzarella and Pepperoni Stuffed Chicken

This month will see two versions of chicken cordon bleu.  This is the first, and the second (in a couple of weeks) will be an actual traditional chicken cordon bleu.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Menu for 10/7/13-10/13/13

Bailey made a new friend this week and we are having a play date with her tomorrow.  I can't wait!  Her new friend is four years old, but she's a small four and Bailey is a big (almost) two so they look like two three year olds playing together, except that Bailey can't talk as well.  Thursday they played with pine needles in the parking lot until Bailey's hair was full of needles and leaves and dirt.  We had to do bath time before nap time.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Shredded Beef Enchiladas

Tonight was the last night of leftovers from that amazing roast beef I made Monday night.  I'm sad that all of my roast beef is gone, but I'm also really glad that I made the most of it.  I'm also glad that I got to try something really out of the box with this recipe.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Leftover Roast Beef Stew

Sooooo I'm an idiot.  I admit it.  I willingly admit that I'm a nerd and a dork, but tonight I am a total idiot.  Dinner tonight was supposed to be made in the crock pot.  I put all of the ingredients in the crock pot just like I was supposed to.  I turned the crock pot on low and went to sit down in the living room.

Death by Chocolate Bundt Cake

Lately I feel like I've pinned every recipe on Pinterest that I'm interested in.  I spend more of my time looking through my own pins than looking for new ones, but the other day I came across one that I hadn't seen before and I couldn't wait to try it.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Yaya's Crock Pot Roast Beef

Aaron is always asking me to cook him meals that his mother cooked when he was little.  He wants these sour cream chicken enchiladas that she used to make (which I've tried to make twice with different recipes and he still says they're not right), her beef stew (which as it turns out is just like Mom's vegetable beef soup only a bit thicker), and his favorite food to ask for is roast beef.  Now, Mom always made roast beef in the crock pot.  She would put it in the night before and cook it really low overnight.  By morning the beef was cooked and we could have a roast beef sandwich for lunch!

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Menu for 9/30/13-10/6/13

I am so ridiculously excited about this week!

First- I'm cooking a two pound beef roast in the crock pot (just like Mom makes hers) and serving it with mashed potatoes and gravy and peas (just like Mom does hers) on Monday.

Second- I'm using some of the leftover roast beef to make a really simple pot roast stew.  I love making soups and stews.  It really starts to feel like fall when I pull out the soup recipes.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Spiced Roasted Pork Tenderloin with Apples and Sweet Potatoes

Happy New Recipe Night!

When I put this recipe on the menu I had no idea how hard it would be to get my hands on a pork loin.  It just never went on sale at the grocery store so I had to improvise.  I used a pork tenderloin instead and I could not be happier with the results.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

How To: Stop Being a Lazy Bum After Almost a Month of Allowing Yourself to be a Lazy Bum

Long title, I know.  I'm just being a little silly though.

I really have been a lazy bum.  Somehow my laundry has piled up (in that odd way where I haven't actually put away the clean clothes I washed last week so the new dirty clothes are in a pile where the laundry baskets usually sit while the clean laundry is in the laundry baskets), I have neglected the dusting, I've neglected the dishes a lot, and last week I never even made it to the grocery store!

Monday, September 23, 2013

Ranch Mashed Potatoes

Back before Bailey was born, when Aaron and I lived in an apartment and ate mostly fast food because it was just easier to pick it up on our way home from work than to actually take the time to go grocery shopping and cook dinner after work, one of the few things that Aaron actually wanted to eat at home was (of course) macaroni and cheese.  Now, everybody has those weird food combinations that they like.  Mine is Wendy's french fries and a frosty.  I like to dip my fries in the frosty.  My brother used to (not sure if he still does) like Little Debbie Swiss Cake Rolls with nacho cheese.  Pregnant women are notorious for wanting strange things like pickles and ice cream.  Aaron's strange combination is ranch flavored Wavy Lays chips and macaroni and cheese.  He likes to use the chips as a scoop for the macaroni and cheese.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Menu for 9/23/13-9/29/13

After another seemingly endless week I am dying for a nice, normal, relaxing week.  I want my routine back.  I want my house cleaned from top to bottom.  I just want everything back to normal.

This month has been busy and strange.  I have skipped planned meals in favor of fast food (which is uncharacteristic of me) or to eat with family.  Last week I didn't feel like cooking Wednesday night so we ordered pizza.  I had errands to run on Wednesday and Thursday and somehow we never made it to the grocery store so I didn't have the ingredients for Friday's planned meal so I just decided to cook what I'd had planned for Wednesday.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Ranch Crusted Fried Chicken

For anyone who reads this blog regularly, you will know that fried chicken is basically a staple in my house.  We have several different recipes with different seasonings and different kinds of bread crumbs, but hardly a week goes by that we don't eat some kind of fried chicken at least once.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Menu for 9/16/13-9/22/13

I have exciting news about Nana!  Last Friday Nana was moved to a rehab center to recover from her recent fall.  She has two broken wrists and her pelvic bone is broken in three places.  After a whole week in rehab, doing physical therapy every day, she is feeling wonderfully optimistic!

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Crock Pot Chicken and Barley Vegetable Stew

I think I may have found a new second favorite blog!

My favorite blog is still Annie's Eats, possibly because she posts tons of really original cupcake recipes (most recently Samoa Cupcakes which I can't wait to try) and because I have yet to try a bread recipe from her blog that did not turn out amazing.

Friday, September 13, 2013

Huli Huli Chicken

Have you ever been to a Chinese restaurant that serves something called chicken sticks?  They're boneless, skinless chicken thighs, marinated and skewered, and then grilled to caramelized perfection.  I love those things.  In fact, sometimes I used to order just plain fried rice and an order of chicken sticks from China Garden down the street from my office.  It was enough for two meals for me.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Spicy Sausage Pasta Skillet (updated)

I know it's not been that long since I wrote my original post for this recipe.  I wouldn't have updated it so soon, except that after I made it the second time Aaron decided he didn't care for it.  Since I had made some sacrifices in the recipe for his sake (such as switching the can of diced tomatoes and green chiles for a can of tomato sauce and a can of green chiles) I decided I was going to start making this as a hot lunch option for Bailey and myself.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Menu for 9/9/13-9/15/13

A couple of awesome things happened this week.

1) Starbucks brought back their fall seasonal drinks.  For many of you this means that your precious pumpkin spice latte is back.  Don't get me wrong, I love the pumpkin spice latte (and most pumpkin flavored things for that matter) but for me it's all about the salted caramel mocha.  I've had an obsession with it since I first tried it on Halloween in 2008.  Near the end of my pregnancy I couldn't keep from going to Starbucks up to twice a day for a venti decaf soy no whip salted caramel mocha.

We got hit hard this week...

It has been a rather eventful week yet again.

Nana injured herself (pretty severely) and spent the entire week in the hospital.  She was moved to a rehab center Friday and we're not sure how long she will be staying there yet.  She fell and broke her arm, the other one, at least as badly as she broke the first one in May, and fractured her pelvic bone in three places.  She's completely incapable of caring for herself as they have to keep her pelvis immobilized and she no longer has a hand to do even simple things like holding a piece of paper in front of her face, let alone feeding herself or anything else.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Baked Taco Macaroni and Cheese

Tonight I was going to share our new recipe of the week with you, but something happened to my brain this week and I totally forgot to take any pictures of it.  I guess it will just have to wait until the next time I make it.

The recipe I'm sharing tonight is my own creation, but it's based on chili-mac.  Aaron and I like to eat leftover chili mixed with macaroni and cheese.  We always have leftover chili and we always seem to have leftover taco meat.  I frequently do this with leftover taco meat, but sometimes I just want the taco-mac.

Monday, September 2, 2013

Menu for 9/2/13-9/8/13

Would you like to hear how crazy my week has been?

Dad's family gathered here in Knoxville for a visit last week, throwing our schedule right out the window.  I'm not complaining.  As much as I like routine, there's no way I would sacrifice quality time with out-of-town family just to keep our schedule.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Menu for 8/26/13-9/1/13

Our snack plan has worked out great!  I did have to make a tiny modification.  Bailey would prefer to have her snacks after nap and before bed.  I know it's probably not a good habit to have a bedtime snack, but I only give her healthy snacks like fruits so I'm not going to worry about it for now.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Crock Pot Barbecue Chicken

This is probably one of the easiest meals you could possibly make.  The hardest part of it is opening the bottle of barbecue sauce.  Truthfully, you could make this with only two ingredients: chicken and barbecue sauce.  I just happen to think it tastes better when doctored up a bit.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Chicken Salad

Chicken salad is one of those things that everyone does differently.  A local grocery store here makes fresh chicken salad in their deli with roasted red peppers, Nana makes hers with hard boiled eggs, and my Grandmother's recipe calls for chopped sweet gherkins and pickle juice instead of relish.  Arby's chicken salad has nuts and grapes in it and some other restaurants even add chopped apples, dill relish, grated carrots, or black olives.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Sweet Corn and Bacon Skillet Mac and Cheese

It's new recipe night!

I love new recipe night.  Tonight was particularly fun because the new recipe is one of Aaron's favorite foods.  That's an almost guaranteed hit with him.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Apple Cinnamon Oatmeal

Toddlers get bored with foods so easily.  Bailey loves yogurt one day, but refuses to eat it the next.  Sometimes I put a plate of green beans in front of her and she scarfs them down as fast as she can, other days she throws them on the floor.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Menu for 8/19/13-8/25/13

Normally we do a lot of snacking during the day when we are at home.  I'm the kind of person who eats when I feel hungry, but also when I'm bored.  I'm trying to keep Bailey from picking up that habit so this week I made a meal schedule out for us.  The entire day of food is planned out so we don't do that I'm-bored-so-I'll-see-if-there's-something-good-in-the-fridge thing.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Chicken Alfredo Roll-ups

Tonight I completely threw any thought of a diet out the window.  Let's be honest, you've seen what I normally eat so you know I'm kidding about the diet, but seriously this will explode your calorie tracker if you are dieting.  Gotta love any recipe that includes a stick of butter and a pint of cream!

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Lazy Days

Some days you just feel like being a bum... hanging out at home in your pajamas, snuggling on the couch (or in our case the recliner), and snacking while watching Netflix.  I had one of those mornings today.  It's laundry day and grocery day, so we didn't get off completely free of work today, but we did spend the morning munching on dry cereal and watching My Little Pony while the laundry did its thing.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Twice Baked Potatoes

I may have mentioned this before, but a month or so ago I made twice baked potatoes for the first time in six years.  They came out so perfect that I almost forgot why I had ever stopped making them in the first place.  Then I saw Aaron's plate after dinner and realized why... He only eats the inside and throws out that wonderfully crispy, salty skin!  No matter though because I don't mind to eat his shell with a tiny bit of cheese melted into it for lunch tomorrow so I tossed it in a container and put it in the fridge.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Menu for 8/12/13-8/18/13

This is two weeks in a row that Bailey has completely finished all of her fruit before it was time to go to the store again.  I've been trying to keep up with her, but the kid just loves fruit.  I usually buy a pint of blueberries, a quart of strawberries, and then a 6-8 oz container of raspberries or blackberries (or in this case I bought both) and if cherries or grapes are on sale I'll grab a few pounds of those too.  This week I had all of the berries I mentioned before, plus two whole apples, half a bag of apple slices leftover from the week before, and three peaches.  She ate it all!  I'm glad she likes fruit and all but we're going to go broke buying it for her.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Maple Dijon Roast Pork

I don't get to enjoy it often, but pork is one of my favorite meats.  We cook a great deal of chicken here because Aaron prefers chicken and because I can get it pretty cheap, but I've noticed the past year or so that I can usually find pork loin on sale at a decent price too.  I like to buy a 5 lb pork loin and cut it into chops.  I can generally get 10-12 chops out of it which is three or four meals for us.  I've found a few flavorful pork chop recipes this spring and summer that even Aaron appreciated, but this is my first attempt at a pork roast in seven years.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Menu for 8/5/13-8/11/13

We have had one very busy week/weekend.  I feel like I have run around like crazy all week.  I made two trips to the store this week, one to Kroger for groceries and one to Target for diapers and toiletry items.  My very best friend in the whole world accidentally forgot her umbrella in a restaurant on my side of town (about 45 minutes from her house and almost an hour and a half from her office) so I went to retrieve it for her.  We had some fun outside at Yaya's house Monday night chasing wiffle balls in the back yard... until we had an accident with a firefly and decided to go back inside.  The spaghetti and meatballs was a huge hit again when I made it for Aaron's parents Saturday night.

Friday, August 2, 2013

Chicken and Potato Burritos

I love my Mom's cooking.  Like I've said before, she has a certain throw-things-together-and-see-how-they-taste style of cooking.  Most of our favorite original recipes started out as one thing and evolved into something else.  The chicken veggie spaghetti pie started out as spaghetti pie with meat sauce and somehow got mixed with spicy chicken vegetable soup.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Menu for 7/29/13-8/4/13

Some cool stuff is happening this week.  First of all I have two new breakfast recipes that I am super excited about, as well as our "new" recipe this week which is one of my favorite recipes of Mom's.  Second is we are probably going to swim at Nana's tomorrow, one of Bailey's favorite activities.  Well, actually anything involving water is automatically Bailey's favorite activity, but the pool definitely makes that list.  And third is that we get to go to Dollywood again!  We will be spending Thursday at Dollywood with Aaron's sister-in-law, Aunt Shelia.  She says there's a show right now that's all about bubbles and the whole room gets filled with bubbles!  Bailey will love it!

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Peach Cobbler

We spent another lovely evening at the lake with Aaron's sister-in-law, celebrating her birthday.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Blueberry Streusel Muffins

I have been wanting to do some fruit muffins for awhile now, especially since I have all the fresh (and affordable) fruit I could ever want.  I keep buying way more fruit than Bailey and I can eat anyway.  I have a freezer stocked full of the "leftovers" to use for smoothies, but this is another perfect use for all that extra fruit!

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Baked Sweet and Sour Chicken

I had planned to share two recipes tonight, but I think the rice recipe needs a little tweaking first.  I found some recipes on Pinterest and decided to try them both at the same time.  The rice may have been a mistake, but the chicken... there was no mistake with the chicken.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Mamaw's Fried Okra

Fried okra just tastes like summer to me.  I remember being 5 or 6 years old and Nana had picked the okra out of her garden (which was more like a farm it was so big) and she and Mamaw were frying it in large batches to freeze.  They would lay it out on a sheet pan to cool and I would come in and steal bites.  I say bites... Nana says I stole handfuls.  She said she was afraid they wouldn't have any to freeze because I would eat it all.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Menu for 7/22/13-7/28/13

Tonight was supposed to be big sandwich night, but I made this really awesome new bread (recipe sometime next month) and it wasn't conducive to big sandwich so we sliced it up and had little sandwiches instead.  I was especially excited about this bread because I have been eyeing the recipe for almost a year, but never had an occasion to try it.  It's Challah bread.  I've only ever had it once before.  If I remember correctly my Aunt brought it to our Thanksgiving gathering one year.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Honey Garlic Chicken

When I was pregnant I couldn't get enough Chinese food.  There was a restaurant down the street from my office, China Garden, I would order from on the way home some nights, but Chinese food can get expensive when you order for two and one is extremely picky.  Aaron liked the Honey Chicken which came with Pork Fried Rice, but he only ate the chicken, wasting all that scrumptious rice.  If I was given a choice I would usually order either the Chicken with Broccoli (spicy because they do that for me there) or the Steamed Chicken and Shrimp with Broccoli, also spicy (from the diet menu it comes with garlic sauce on the side and steamed rice), but they're both also a bit pricey and since Aaron will only eat the honey chicken and waste all that rice I sacrificed a little.  I ordered his honey chicken, but with the chicken and rice in separate containers (which by the way also guarantees extra chicken because they use the same size container as before but they almost completely fill it with chicken) and I would eat the rice while he ate the chicken.  If I was really hungry I would order some Chicken Sticks (you know, those ridiculously well marinated chicken thighs they stick on a skewer) and Aaron might get some Crab Rangoon.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Red, White, and Blue Smoothie

I really wanted to post this for Independence Day, but things got so busy that I never did get my camera into the kitchen while making one.  This is kind of a go-to breakfast here.  I've been getting lots of fresh fruits at the store since they're in season, but we can never finish all of the fruit.  I'll buy two pints of blueberries, but only use one before they start to go bad.  I work fruit into the menu whenever possible.  Still, sometimes the fruit goes bad and I feel so lousy throwing it away.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Menu for 7/15/13-7/21/13

I'm not sure how your area has been, but this has been the rainiest summer I can remember.  I can't complain too much since it has kept the heat down some, but it's crazy humid and hardly ever sunny long enough for us to go out and play.  Saturday while I was visiting Mom's cats and picking up her mail we had a downpour so heavy that it flooded my way home.  I had to make a U-turn and find another route.  According to the 5-day forecast here we're looking at 2 days of mostly sunny weather for Bailey to enjoy some outside play time!

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Fresh Green Beans and Corn Off the Cob

We spent all day Tuesday freezing corn.  It's all the corn my Nana is getting this summer so we had 7 dozen ears of corn to put back.  It had to be shucked, silked, cut off the cob, cooked, cooled, and bagged for the freezer.  I know my Nana and Mamaw used to do this every year when I was little, but this is the first time I've ever done more than help shuck the corn.  I got to do most of the cooking (which is way too easy because it cooks in the microwave) and bagging.  Each bag gets about 3 ears worth of corn in it and is enough to feed 2-3 people.  It's already cooked and seasoned so all you have to do is thaw it and heat it up before you serve it.  I had a blast but it is hard work.  I'm glad I don't have to do that every day.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Lemon Chicken Romano

Well, this was our new recipe for the week and it turned out spectacular!  I was very pleased, especially for a first attempt.  The chicken was tender and juicy, not overcooked, the crust was crispy, and the cheese was melted and bubbly brown the way I like it.  The breading was delicious and well seasoned.  I think the lemon zest and fresh oregano do a lot for this recipe.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Menu for 7/8/13-7/14/13

I'm hoping to get to share my chicken salad recipe with you this week, maybe my family's fried okra recipe (which is pretty much the best thing in the whole world), and our new recipe for the week which I found on Pinterest.  It looks awesome; I can't wait to try it!  I am also looking forward to making some bread this week.  I need to restock my freezer.  We're almost out of honey yeast knots and sandwich bread.  I have to go grocery shopping tomorrow, but when I get back it's going to be a bread baking festival in my kitchen.

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Grilled Meatball and Mozzarella Sandwiches

As I've said before, I eat most of the leftovers around here.  I reheat some leftovers, such as chili, hot dogs, and mashed potatoes, but I will eat leftover chicken, pizza, pasta, steak, and a whole mess of other things cold right out of the fridge.

Pretty much the only leftovers I just don't like to eat are meatballs because they just don't taste good cold or reheated, unless you take the time to reheat them on the stove, and I never seem to have leftover pasta so I have to cook fresh pasta to eat the leftovers.  The only way I can get Aaron to eat leftover anything is to use it in a different way.  We use leftover chicken from dinner to make sandwiches or quesadillas for example.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Cheesy Chicken Baked Potatoes

Happy Independence Day everyone!

Today has been just plain ugly.  It rained almost all day.  It was even sprinkling when we stepped outside to watch our neighbors' fireworks.  That's probably okay since they scared the living daylights out of Bailey.  She was so conflicted, wanting to watch the pretty part but wanting to hide from the sound.

Since the forecast for the day was like 90% rain all day we decided not to do a cookout.  I was fine with that decision being that I would have ended up standing in front of the hot grill either in the rain or in the 90 degree heat.  The only problem was that I didn't know what to make for dinner.  I didn't buy anything to cook tonight and I don't generally keep extras of anything around.  I did happen to have 2 extra chicken breasts for the week, the boxed macaroni and cheese that I keep stocked in the cabinet, half a crown of broccoli from last week that was still good, and some extra potatoes.  I chose to make something new since technically it is new recipe night, and I have been on a baked potato kick for the last few weeks.

I used to order a spud at McAlister's Deli that had deli ham and turkey, cheese, and black olives.  There was another one I used to get that was topped with grilled chicken and mozzarella.  I made a sort of cross of the two.  I used baked chicken, black olives, butter, and shredded colby jack cheese.  It was a delicious combination and a very satisfying meal.  I don't think Aaron was quite as excited about it as I was, but he'll get over it when I make the spaghetti and meatballs tomorrow night.

Monday, July 1, 2013

Creamy, Cheesy Potatoes

Sometimes I find a recipe that seems just too good to be true.  This is one of those recipes.  It's only 3 ingredients!  Despite the excessive amount of time it takes to bake, it is absolutely delicious.

One Christmas my Aunt Chuck came to visit and made these amazing potatoes.  They were sliced thin and layered in a baking dish with sharp cheddar cheese, blue cheese, and cream, then baked in the oven until the potatoes were tender and the cheese and cream had turned into a wonderful melty, crunchy...

Sunday, June 30, 2013

Menu for 7/1/13-7/7/13

After the excitement of the hospital Friday I was relieved today when Dad cancelled dinner tonight.  I was looking forward to having some down time.  We did get together for ice cream this evening.  I got to share some wonderful mocha almond fudge with Bailey.  Actually, she ate some of everyone's ice cream.  She kept stealing bites of Dad and CJ's mint chocolate chip too.

This is what it's like having a child with a medical condition.

Well, we got to spend an unexpected 5 hours at Children's Hospital on Friday.  Isn't that what you do when your child has a tummy ache?  No?

Unfortunately because of Bailey's shunt every tiny headache and stomach bug is probably going to mean a trip to the emergency room.  See, some of the symptoms of inter cranial pressure are headaches and vomiting.  So when she woke up Friday morning crying and then threw up before I could even get her some breakfast I called the pediatrician.  I'm assuming that's pretty routine.

Friday, June 28, 2013

Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

I remember when I was little and Mom would make oatmeal raisin cookies and I thought they were the best cookies ever.  They probably were pretty darn good, but for some reason I can't seem to make good oatmeal raisin cookies.  I thought it was just me.  I thought I was doing something wrong.  I have a friend who is an amazing cook, but can't make a cookie to save her life.  Even frozen cookie dough turns out wrong when she bakes it.  I thought maybe I just wasn't meant to make oatmeal raisin cookies just like my friend.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Herb Crusted Chicken with Basil Cream Sauce

Tonight I was completely blown away by dinner.  I've been anticipating this recipe all month.  It's the one new recipe I picked just for me because I wasn't entirely sure Aaron would eat it.  I put it off until the end of the month, stupidly.  I wish I could make it again tomorrow night, and the next night.  I wish I could eat this sauce on pasta and potatoes and vegetables and pork chops and chicken every day for the rest of my life.  It's so good, I think I could eat it on cardboard and still enjoy it.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Menu for 6/24/13-6/30/13

Well, I finally got my hair cut this week.  I was supposed to have had it cut for my birthday last month.  I love to have my hair short but it doesn't flatter my face.  I have a very fat, square jaw that looks even more fat and square when my hair is short.  I tend to leave my hair shoulder length or longer so my face doesn't look so fat.  I love layers though and they make my fine hair look more full.  The girl cut it shorter than I had expected, but this time it worked out.  Though it took a few days to get used to I'm really happy with it.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Pizza Dough

Ah, this is a go-to recipe for me.  It always turns out perfect and it freezes well.  I have made this dough so many times that I know the measurements by heart.  I use it for pizzas, calzones, and occasionally I will make plain old cheesy garlic bread with it.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Chicken Parmesan Baked Pasta

Oh man, I've been waiting to try this one for months!  It's been calling my name all week... "Sara, cook me."

Seriously, I've wanted to try this since I first pinned it in, like, February.  The pictures on the original post look so appetizing, which is saying a lot because most photographed food doesn't look appetizing at all, including mine.  I frequently wonder how Ree and Annie (Pioneer Woman and Annie's Eats) get such amazing photographs of their food, but then they probably spend hours setting up the food just so and perfecting the lighting and such whereas I usually snap a photo of my plate just before I dig in.