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Thursday, May 30, 2013

Spaghetti and Meatballs

I have an easygoing style of cooking.  I estimate rather than measure most ingredients.  I improvise when I discover I'm out of an ingredient (though that rarely happens) and I modify recipes to accommodate peoples' preferences.  As a result I have a difficult time giving specific instructions for certain recipes, especially original recipes.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

How I spend my Tuesdays

We start with breakfast.  As soon as Bailey wakes up she gets some milk and some breakfast.  Usually I feed her yogurt with multi-grain Cheerios in it.  She likes to drop the Cheerios in herself.  Yogurt requires little effort on my part.  I don't have to cook it or even cut it up like some of her foods.  I rarely feed Bailey breakfast in the high chair except on weekends.  We generally share a bowl of cereal or oatmeal, or I break pieces off of my muffin for her.  On particularly lazy days I pour Cheerios and raisins or cranberries on her high chair tray and let her feed herself while she runs around the house.  I buy baby or toddler yogurt for her which is made with whole milk.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Menu for 5/27/13-6/2/13

Two years ago this weekend Aaron and I were preparing for a Memorial Day cookout with his family.  I was 3 months pregnant, couldn't fit in my normal clothes already, and the best part was that we hadn't told his family about the baby yet.  I remember standing in Aaron's parents' kitchen with his sister-in-law who glanced down at my belly (or probably just blinked but what I saw her do was stare at my belly) and I was thinking Oh my gosh!  Does she know?  Please don't let her tell his parents before we get a chance to.

She still says that she had no idea.  She says that every woman in her family has always assumed that she already knew they were pregnant before they told her.  She says that she is so oblivious to the world around her that she never knows until they tell her.  I'm sure that's true, but it truly felt like she knew.  I kept waiting for her to take me aside and ask me, but she never did.

Memorial Day always makes me think of Grandfather.  Dad's dad.  He was a Colonel in the Air Force.  He died in Vietnam on August 2, 1967.  Dad was only 10 at the time.  Dad is named after him.  Grandfather was a Jr, Dad is the III, and my Dad named my brother (he says) after Grandfather as well, so my brother is the IV.  Although I have no first hand knowledge of Grandfather's personality, Dad and his sisters say that he was a great man and a great father, and I believe it.  I miss him.  How is it possible to miss someone you never met?

My distant cousins found my Grandfather's name on the Vietnam memorial wall.
Anyway, it is Memorial Day weekend and we will be grilling on Monday.  I will be manning the grill again, making some delicious burgers and probably some hot dogs as well.  I may spend Sunday night working on hot dog and hamburger buns because homemade ones are just so much better than store bought.  What else should you enjoy on the unofficial opening weekend of summer?  In my opinion: Barbecue!

Friday, May 24, 2013

Strawberry Buttercream

Tomorrow will be the last time I see my cousin Z for 6 months.  He will be in Kenya doing mission work, helping build schools or something like that from what I understand.  It's a shame he has to leave right now because Bailey is at the perfect age to play with him.  She will miss him so much, but it's a good thing he's doing and I'm proud of him.  He's the youngest of Nana and Grandpa's four grandchildren and this is one of the most independent things he's done so far.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Cheesy Potato and Smoked Sausage Casserole

Well, we have discovered yet another food that Aaron does not like: smoked sausage.  As disappointed as I am, I have come to a point where I just don't think I need to cook around his tastes quite so much.  So what if he doesn't like smoked sausage.  Bailey does.  I think from now on I'll cook around her tastes more than his.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Hysterical Laughter

I've been posting so many recipes lately I feel like all I ever talk about is food.

It's true, food is a passion of mine, but there are lots of other things in my life that I keep meaning to share with you.  Either I'm so tired from cooking or playing with Bailey that I fall asleep typing or I just forget by the time I do get computer time.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Chicken Parmesan

I've been working on a new method for cooking chicken.  I always seem to burn chicken when I cook it on the stove and it never gets the color I like when I cook it in the oven.  I read somewhere (and honestly, don't ask me where because I have completely forgotten) that if you start meat on the stove and finish it in the oven that you get the color without burning it.  I tried it with my Blackened Chicken on my birthday and it seemed to work well.

Menu for 5/20/13-5/26/13

Do you mind if I overload you with adorable for a minute?  Bailey has been wanting to wear her boots ever since her birthday but they were just way too big for her.  She finally fits in them now (well, with 2 pairs of socks on) and she is just the happiest kid ever when I let her wear them.  She keeps bringing them to me so I can put them on her and she stomps on the hardwood floor to hear the neat sound they make.  Isn't it cool when everything is new to you?

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Honey Garlic Pork Chops

For some reason we don't eat a lot of pork in our house.  I love pork chops.  When I was young one of the first meals I learned to cook was pork chops cooked in French dressing with broccoli and cheese rice and creamed corn.  Yes, the meal was completely my creation (besides the French dressing, that was my Dad) and I chose the sides and everything.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Menu for 5/13/13-5/19/13

Mother's Day was great!  It's only my second year celebrating as a mother so it's still really special to me.  Bailey and I spent the day with Yaya playing outside with new toys.  We took Yaya out for Mexican for dinner and Bailey got to try her first chips and salsa.  Yaya even helped her dip her chips.

I woke up today in an empty bed, wondering where Aaron had gone.  I checked the bathroom, the living room, the kitchen, looked outside and didn't see his truck, and finally went to get my phone to call him before I realized that it was Monday and Aaron was at work.  I think someone needs more sleep.

Friday, May 10, 2013

Cracker Barrel Grilled Chicken Tenders

Are you one of those people who is always looking for the menu items at a restaurant that sound healthy?  I am.  I'm fully aware that just because something is listed as grilled doesn't mean that the chef didn't drench it in steak butter before putting it on my plate (and in the process make it both totally delicious and totally not fit my allotted calories for the meal), but I feel like a failure when I don't at least order the item that sounds healthy.  Lucky for me I love salads and whether you load them with fatty cheeses, meats, and dressings or not they still sound healthy when you order them.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Butterfinger Buttercream

I scoured my Pinterest "Desserts" board to find a recipe for my birthday cake and finally landed on a pin that was titled "Butterfinger Cupcakes."  I thought, Fantastic!  Cupcakes with Butterfinger in them!  When I looked at the recipe I realized I was mistaken because the recipe doesn't actually cover the cupcakes at all.  It's only a recipe for the frosting.  I was a bit disappointed because I was hoping for the Butterfinger cupcake recipe, but I went ahead and made a batch of these chocolate cupcakes from Annie's Eats.  (Note: The link is actually for her Turtle Cupcakes, but the cupcake recipe is her standard chocolate cupcake base.  She just changes the frosting.)

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Blackened Chicken, Roasted Broccoli, and Black Beans and Rice

My two favorite vegetables are asparagus and broccoli.  Aaron doesn't eat either.  I love rice and beans, and black beans and rice used to be one of my favorite meatless meals.  Aaron doesn't eat rice or beans.  I haven't had blackened chicken in over two years.  The last time I had it was my Grandpa's birthday when I was pregnant with Bailey.  It's one of those things that I used to get when we went out to eat, but we go out so seldom now.  Aaron says it's too spicy for him (but he can eat tons of buffalo wings, I don't get the difference) so I've never made it at home before.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Menu for 5/6/13-5/12/13

I've had a fun week.  Bailey had her 18 month physical on Friday and she is a very healthy girl.  Nana and Grandpa bought me lunch after Bailey's appointment and I finally satisfied that craving for Chinese food (ginger chicken with broccoli and fried rice).  To make things even more awesome my birthday is Wednesday!  Tonight we celebrated with my Dad, and his girlfriend made me lemony-garlicky shrimp pasta!  Wow!  It was so delicious!  More awesomeness:  My dad ordered me a new KitchenAid stand mixer.  I cannot wait for it to get here so I can try it out.  It comes with the dough hook, the paddle, and the whisk, and also a pasta attachment.  I've never made my own pasta successfully so I'm just itching to use that.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Buffalo Chicken Pasta Bake

Aaron has an unhealthy obsession with Pizza Hut's boneless buffalo wings.  On Wednesdays they have a deal where the wings are only 50 cents each.  An 8 piece buffalo wings only costs $4.  Back when I used to go to Mom's on Wednesdays instead of Tuesdays Aaron used to order wings while I was out.  He's been trying to find a cheaper substitute because Pizza Hut is kind of expensive, but nothing really compares to Pizza Hut.