Sunday, May 31, 2009

Meal Planning

I don't know about you, but I feel so much better when I have my meals planned out for the week and then all I need to worry about is actually *making* the meals! There are definitely weeks (months?) when I'm totally uninspired to cook and nothing looks good, but lately *everything* sounds good! (Gee, pregnancy cravings kicking in?)

A month or so ago I found a link to this great meal planning-and-grocery list sheet and it's been working out perfectly! I can sit down with my cooking magazines/file of recipes, pull out the ones I want (I usually only cook every other day and I only plan out dinners), write them in on the weekly planning sheet and write in the ingredients I'll need on the grocery list section. Then I post it on the bulletin board in my kitchen, add to the grocery list as we run out of other things, cut off that part of the sheet and take it with me to the store. Voila! Simple! :-)

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Summer Recipes

There's something about beautiful, sunny days outside that makes me want to make a mad dash to the nearest Farmer's Market so that I can eat healthy & fresh food (well, until it turns dark outside and then...Tillamook chocolate-peanut butter ice cream is "fresh", right?). Tonight we had a yummy and easy dinner, so in case you're looking for some cooking inspiration, here's a new menu for you!

Baja Fish Tacos (from Clean Eating magazine, my new favorite)

1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 pound tilapia fillets
1/2 cup Greek yogurt or light sour cream
1/2 cup mashed avocado
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
Garlic powder, salt & Splenda (to taste)
pico de gallo salsa
1 cup shredded green cabbage
1/2 cup Queso Fresco cheese, crumbled
whole wheat (or white) small tortillas
cilantro, for garnish

Coat a frying pan with oil, then place over medium heat. Cook tilapia fillets for approx. 3-5 minutes per side, or until opaque and flaky. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, whisk together the yogurt/sour cream, avocado, lime juice, garlic powder, salt and Splenda. Heat the tortillas on a microwave-safe plate, covered with a damp paper towel.

To assemble tacos, place cooked fish in tortillas and top with cabbage, salsa, Queso Fresco, cilantro and salsa.

1 taco: 240 calories, 5 grams fat, 9 grams fiber, 29 grams protein

Fresh Corn Salad (by Barefoot Contessa)

and French Potato Salad (by Barefoot Contessa), leftover from our BBQ last night
(to the basic recipe, add:
1 small container of cherry tomatoes
1/2 pound green beans (boil in salted water for 2 minutes, drain and put in bowl of ice water until cold, then drain and dry)
1/2 cup capers, drained
1/2 cup small-diced red onion

The only thing that would have made this meal even better is if Barefoot Contessa's peach & raspberry crisp would have magically appeared on my table! That's one of my all-time favorite summer desserts. :-)

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

It's a...

Gee, aren't we clever, holding up little signs to tell you our big news after the ultrasound?! Click on the photo to see the answer to this question: "Maddie is going to have a little..."

We are so excited! My mother's intuition was correct! The ultrasound went well and they got all the measurements they needed. (I'd been anxious/nervous all long as I saw a heartbeat I was going to be happy!) He was wiggling around a bit and sucking on his fingers, but those ultrasound machines really don't give you the best images--they all look a little alien-like to me! :-) I asked the tech where my placenta was and she said the placenta was in the front of my uterus and the baby is towards my back--that would help explain why I haven't felt much movement yet! Nothing like a big "pillow" to cushion the blows to my abdomen! :-) One thing my doctor will need to follow up on is that according to my last cycle, I should have been 20 weeks today but according to the baby's measurements he's only at 18 weeks. So at this point, we're not sure if my doctor's initial date was wrong or if the baby is behind in his growth. I'm really hoping it's not the latter, since that was a problem for Nicholas (intra-uterine growth restriction is the term) and he wasn't getting the proper nutrients and oxygen from my placenta. With Nicholas, I had ultrasounds every month and he measured behind in growth every time, so we knew there was a problem. With this baby, I only had one ultrasound at 7 weeks and he was right on target at that point. I'm guessing my doctor will order another ultrasound in a month or so to check on this baby's growth again. I'm going to try my best *not* to worry about any possibilities until I have more information from my doctor (but I could use your prayers on that--I'm a pro at going from zero to sixty in the worry department!)

Tonight after the ultrasound we went out to my parent's house for a delayed Memorial Day BBQ. Turkey burgers, French potato salad, green salad and strawberry-cream cheese tart. Mmmmm!! And to top it all off, a ride with Papa and Daddy on the tractor. Doesn't get much better than that! :-)

Saturday, May 23, 2009

On Our Own

Keith has been gone this week at a bachelor party in Ohio, so Maddie and I have been on our own...and considering my last post, I was not looking forward to it! But I have to say she's redeemed herself over the past few days. Not necessarily an angel (she's still 2 1/2 after all), but at least she's been pleasant to be around. :-) I must say though, nights without my dear husband seem very looooong and we miss him dearly!

Here are a few of the ways we've been entertaining ourselves...

This is Maddie's typical look after helping me bake...the evidence is always obvious.

She kept saying, "Take more pictures of me, Mom!"

Today we made chocolate sandwich cookies with frosting in the middle (from Allison's mom's awesome recipe that she always made for Superbowl Sunday when we were growing up). Maddie was so excited when I brought out my rolling pin, she ran to her Playdoh box to get *her* rolling pin and cookie, no! Gross! (You can see it at the end of the counter in the picture.) "This is just like doing Playdoh, Mom!" she said.

"Mommy, I your good little helper, huh?" :-)

We've had daily trips to the park, since the weather has been beautiful, and before bed in the evenings she gets to play outside while I water all the plants. Our yard is in full bloom and looks great! It seems like everything has doubled in size since we put it in last Spring it'll probably look like a jungle!

P.S.--Tonight we made a quick trip to the grocery store (with what seemed like everybody else in the neighborhood!) and we happened to walk by an Indian woman who was dressed in full garb...loose dress, sandals, head covering. Maddie yells out, "Hey Mom, look--there's Mary! Is Joseph here too?" HA!! The lady didn't appear to hear her (or else it would have been quite more embarrassing), and I couldn't help but laugh. Kids sure say the darndest things! :-)

P.P.S.--Oh, next Tuesday is the big day! We have an appointment at 3:45pm for an ultrasound to find out if Maddie will be getting a baby brother or sister! Stay tuned for the announcement!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Terrible, Horrible, No Good...

Very Bad Day! That's just what today has been so far. With kids, you know these days are going to come, but that doesn't make them any more fun. It started with Maddie waking up crying. Usually she's happy-go-lucky and yells down in her sweet voice, "Mommy, I awake! It's light outside! Come get me!" So much nicer than the crying. As soon as I enter her room this morning, it's like a Desitin bomb has gone off. I flip on the light and diaper cream is *everywhere*! In her hair, covering her arms, legs, in between her toes, on her sheets, her comforter, her Curious George book, all over a big pile of wipes. She'd used a whole brand new tube! Oh, good grief! She knows she's in big trouble now.

She cries all through her bath. Through me stripping down everything in her room. Through the "you know Mommy loves you, but I'm *really* not happy with what you did" speech.

We go downstairs and she calms down enough to eat breakfast, so I go into the kitchen (just steps away) to make eggs for myself. During which time she proceeds to "feed" her baby doll yogurt...which turns into a slimy yogurt facial. "But Mommy, baby is so hungry...her tummy is rumbling!" One more mess to clean up. Grr...

A little later she gets out the thermometer from a drawer and says, "I need to take baby's temperature. She has two fevers." Fine, go ahead. I smell that she's had an accident in her Pull-Ups, so we head to the potty and she has the thermometer in hand. As she's sitting on the potty and I tell her to put the thermometer guessed it...PLOP! It falls into the potty, poo and all. So now I have to disgustingly fish that out. More cleaning to do.

As we get ready to head to the store for a few things, Maddie is once again asserting her independence and not listening to my directions. So after a warning and her giving ME the "wait-one-minute finger" (oh no you didn't!), she gets a swat on the bottom (which is a new thing around here). Now she's crying again. I'm frustrated. We get out to the car and it's raining and I realize her carseat is still in the house. Great! (Background: Yesterday after my dr. appt, our Jeep decided to up and die on me. My sweet husband drove to meet us and try to fix it, but no luck. So we had to get it towed to our house. Keith thought he fixed it last night, but...) I clip Maddie in the carseat, she's wailing about something new now, and I go to start the car--nope! Won't start! THAT'S IT! THAT'S MY LAST STRAW!!! Now I've lost it. She's crying, I'm crying. I whisk her inside, put her in her bed (which of course has no bedding on it anymore) and lock myself in the bathroom for a good cry.

I sure hope the Gypsies don't come to my house today because I might just be tempted to sell her off to the highest bidder...

Let's hope our afternoon starts looking up! It's got to get better from here, right? :-)

Saturday, May 16, 2009

My Inner Pastry Chef

I've always loved to cook and bake, but I've been intimidated when it came to making pastries like pie dough and tarts. This week I decided to tackle the challenge! We were invited to our dear friends' house for dinner last night, so I offered to bring a dessert. I absolutely love anything made by Barefoot Contessa (you can see her on Food Network) and since I had a coupon for free strawberries, I decided to jump in and make these strawberry tarts. They look like something you'd pay $7.00+ for in a fancy restaurant! They did taste really good and I was so impressed with the way they looked! Although Maddie barely ate her dinner (as usual), boy did she perk up when dessert was brought out! She climbed right up on the chair and reached for a whole tart, saying "I'll have this one, Mommy!" Nice try, darling! Keith was nice enough to let her share with him (big mistake!) as she proceeded to eat almost half of his tart, shoving pieces in her mouth before he could get to them! That's my girl. :-)

Perhaps this summer I'll try my hand at pies (although nobody can touch my Mom's pies, in my humble opinion...she started making them in high school to bribe my grandpa and boy, did she become a master!) :-) Now I'm drooling thinking about pies...peaches & cream, strawberry-rhubarb, marionberry with streusel topping...mmmm!