Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Chicken Pot Pie

This was a wonderful week night meal - super quick and easy to throw together and tasty, warm, comforting, and filling. The boys really liked this one and the leftovers disappeared the next day! I love how adaptable this one is - use mixed frozen veggies, canned veggies, fresh veggies, etc. Use whatever combination you have on hand or that sounds good to you! I would probably go ahead and add some carrots and onion next time too, but was just in a hurry and didn't have time to prep fresh veggies when we made this one. It was really tasty and definitely a keeper! It would be yummy with some cheese mixed into the Bisquick crust, and a little in the meat / veggie mixture too.

Impossibly Easy Chicken Pot Pie slightly adapted from I Am A Honey Bee

2 cups chicken breast cut into bite sized pieces
1 - 2 TBS olive oil
1 can corn, drained
1 can peas, drained
1 can sliced mushrooms, drained
1 can (10 3/4 ounces) condensed cream of mushroom soup
1 generous pinch of black pepper
1 cup Original Bisquick mix
1/2 cup milk
1 egg

  1. Heat oven to 400ºF.
  2. Heat the oil in a large non-stick skillet; add chicken and cook until lightly browned on the outside and no longer pink in the middle (about 10 minutes).
  3. In an ungreased 9" pie plate, dump corn, peas, mushrooms, soup mix, and cooked chicken. Stir gently until combined.
  4. In a separate medium sized bowl, mix the Bisquick, egg, and milk together. Spread over the top of the chicken and veggie mixture.
  5. Bake 30 minutes or until golden brown and heated through.  
Miss Lindsey Rose - about 7.5 months old here. She's not quite crawling yet, but she's SO close! She gets in the hands and knees position and wiggles! :)

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Johnsonville Sausage 6 Ingredients or Less Challenge Makeover Recipe!

I made this recipe up for the Johnsonville 6 Ingredients or Less challenge - and it was definitely quick and easy, and it was tasty, but not great. The tomato soup and chili powder were a little lacking in my opinion. I love the idea of this one, but think it needs something other than tomato soup for the base - I'm not quite sure what though! The flavor of the sausage is wonderful, so it doesn't need a whole lot in the flavor department, just something that would complement. Maybe some diced tomatoes in place of the condensed soup. I think using shredded cheese would also work better for this than the processed cheese slices - just personal preference!

Ground Sausage, Rice, and Cheese adapted from   on

1 cup white rice                              
2 cups water
1 pound ground Italian sausage                                
2 (10.75 ounce) cans condensed tomato soup
1 - 2 tablespoons chili powder
8 slices processed cheese (or use 1 cup shredded cheddar)

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Cook rice with water, according to package directions.
  3. Meanwhile cook ground sausage over medium heat in a large non-stick skillet. When meat is cooked, drain excess grease.
  4. Mix in tomato soup and chili powder and combine.
  5. When rice is cooked, layer half of it in the bottom of a 9x13 baking dish, layer half of the meat mixture over top. Sprinkle 1/4 cup of cheddar or lay 2 slices of cheese atop this layer.
  6. Add remaining rice, meat mixture, and then top with remaining cheese.
  7. Bake in preheated oven for about 20 minutes.                                                
Have to end this with our little Lindsey - just about 7.5 months and visiting her Nana and Papa in the mountains.

Monday, April 28, 2014

Homemade Baby Food ~ Sweet Potato Cauliflower Puree

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I have been wanting to get around to making Lindsey's food at home for awhile now, and FINALLY decided to stop procrastinating and just do it! This was my first attempt. She is 7.5 months old now and I decided to go with a little cauliflower blended in with some yummy sweet potato (which she loves).

Lindsey has been pretty easy with new foods - she sometimes makes a face the first few bites and every now and then has disliked something the entire first feeding, but every subsequent time I've tried something she didn't seem to like at first she's eaten it really well. This was no exception. I gave her a first bite and she made a horrible face! Then she decided it wasn't so bad and finished off the full serving. :) (I always taste test her food, and found this one to be very mild, I didn't really taste cauliflower at all, mostly just the sweet potato).

I've always known making baby food at home is easy, I just kept putting it off, but I am quite sure that I won't be buying any more jarred food anytime soon (unless it's for convenience of carrying around without needing refrigeration for travel, etc.) I still have about 15 jars of food in the pantry that we'd bought previously, but those are mostly fruits. I generally give her a fruit in the AM and a veggie in the PM (sometimes daycare feeds her twice during the day, but usually just once in the morning). On the weekend I'll try to feed her mid-day as well and that's usually a toss up as to what she'll get at that feeding, whatever I happen to grab usually!

I'm looking forward to making many more dishes for Lindsey to try - I think I'll probably make banana-cado (banana and avocado mushed and blended) and applesauce for her next. For her next homemade veggie dish, I'm thinking green beans or peas will be on the menu. I want to make sure to have at least 3-4 options at a time to rotate between so she doesn't get bored or burned out on the same things, but don't want to have to keep a TON of freezable little containers around either. I think aiming for 2 fruits and 2-3 veggies available at a time will work for now, plus mixed with fresh items she can eat without having to prep them (like fresh banana, avocado, etc.). I'm hoping to branch out into proteins soon as well - I keep seeing the idea for grating things like meat and apples for little pieces of baby safe finger foods so I might just try that. We'll see!

I was really happy with how easy this was and love that I finally got to use these great little Oxo containers too! :)

Homemade Sweet Potato Cauliflower Puree
Yield: about 8 ounces of prepared food

1/2 a large sweet potato, peeled and diced small
Appx. 1 cup of cauliflower florets, rinsed and broken into "smallish" pieces

  1. Place a steamer insert into a large pot, and fill with enough water to just reach the steamer basket. Turn heat to high and cover with lid. When water is boiling, add sweet potato chunks to the steamer insert and cover - allow sweet potato to cook about 3-4 minutes and then add cauliflower. Set a timer for 10 minutes.
  2. Check for "doneness" - both should be easily mashed with a fork.
  3. Move cooked pieces to a bowl and use a hand mixer (I used my Cuisinart stick mixer) or blender to blend; add cooking liquid to thin (I probably added somewhere between 1/4 - 1/2 cup of liquid to get the consistency I wanted). 

Secret Recipe Club: Oatmeal Cookies

Welcome to the April edition of Secret Recipe Club! This month I had the pleasure of perusing Hapatite, an incredible collection of unique multi-cultural reviews, recipes, and how-to's influenced by (according to her blog) her "family who is ethnically Chinese, Cherokee, German, and American, but culturally Hawai’ian." There was SO much to look through - I definitely have not had a chance to take it all in, but I am certainly inspired by many of her recipe posts and hoping to give one or two a try in the near future - here are some that caught my eye: Chilled Chinese Noodle Salad, Tangy Seared Chicken Wings, and the Soy Glazed Burger... YUMM!!

I had been craving homemade cookies, and when I saw Oatmeal Cookies on her recipe index, I went straight there and there was no turning back! These were very good - soft, chewy, and full of yummy bits of chocolate chips and Reese's pieces (which is what my son picked to stir in!) I wish I had ground about half of the oatmeal - the oatmeal we have is large and a little on the chewy side for whatever reason - I don't usually have that problem with Quaker brand but this is an off-brand I think. It didn't affect taste at all, just texture - and either way these were delicious cookies that we have all really enjoyed!

This is the first time since Lindsey was born that I've made cookies I think - so it was nice for me to be able to get in there and whip these up - even if my son did have to jump in and help out with the baking when I had to go put baby girl to bed! :)

Oatmeal Cookies from Hapatite

½ cup unsalted butter plus 6 tablespoons, softened
¾ cup light brown sugar
½ cup sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1½ cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon salt optional
3 cups oats quick or old fashioned, uncooked
1 cup mix-ins raisins, chocolate chips, fruit, etc


  1. Heat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl (I used my Kitchen Aid mixer) blend the butter and sugar on medium / high until well blended and creamy. With the mixer on medium, add in the eggs and vanilla and blend well.
  2. Combine dry ingredients: flour, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt in a medium bowl. Incorporate dry ingredients into the wet mixture just until combined. Next stir in the oats and your chosen "mix-in" ingredients. Stir by hand until combined evenly.
  3. Drop dough by large rounded tablespoonfuls onto ungreased baking sheets.
  4. Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until bottoms are lightly browned. Cool for a minute or two on the baking sheets and then transfer to cooling racks. When cool, store in airtight containers.
Our sweet girl from this past weekend in the mountains with her Nana and Papa! She's 7 months 1.5 weeks old already!

Friday, April 25, 2014

Happy 7 Months Lindsey Rose!

Our baby girl is growing up so FAST! This month has absolutely been flying by and Lindsey is now 7 months old. We went with pink camo for this month's pictures along with some of her daddy's Marine Corps gear for props. She loved the helmet and kept wanting to touch it and examine it. She thought the laces on the boots were pretty interesting too, and possibly good for eating (as are most things she can get her hands around these days!)

Lindsey has had a long ear infection this past month that started not long after she started back to daycare (about 4 weeks ago). She was pretty sick for about a week, then the ear infection has lingered. She was given a round of antibiotics, but vomited it back up every time we would give her a dose. We dealt with fighting her over meds for about 4 days before giving up. When she was checked again earlier this week the infection was still there, so she's on a different type of antibiotic which thankfully she is taking without a fuss so fingers crossed it is cleared up by her recheck on May 5th. She's still tugging on her ears every now and then, but also looks close to breaking her front top teeth through, so it's hard to tell what is ear infection pain and teething pain.

She is such a PRECIOUS girl!! I adore my baby so much - I cannot wait to see her face when I'm on my way home each evening and am always so thankful on weekend days to have the chance to enjoy her all day long. She is my light. I love seeing her smile, seeing her discover her world around her, hearing her giggles, and watching her try to figure things out. She is a roly poly and likes to roll all around the house. She seems like she's getting closer to crawling, almost achieving the hands and knees position but and wiggling her butt back and forth but not moving her knees forward just yet. She likes to stand with support and bounce or "dance" - she's such a wiggle worm!

She grabs at EVERYTHING she sees now. She used to be entertained by the bathroom mirror when we go in there at night for her tubby, but now she locks straight onto whatever is on the countertop and tries to throw herself from my arms to get at it... she does that pretty much all the time now. Whenever I'm holding her and we walk by something she wants, she throws herself at it. Makes carrying her around lively!!

She has gotten so much more vocal the past couple weeks. Making very distinct "ma, ba, ga" sounds, often in repetition, but definitely deliberate and clear. She gets REALLY talkative sometimes and we'll have conversations where we repeat back whatever serious of sounds she makes and wait for a response.

She has a very distinctive squeal she makes when Max, our basset hound, comes over to visit her which is absolutely adorable. She squinches up her eyes and turns away when he licks her face, then turns right back to look at him and try to pet / grab at him. She always goes for his eyes. Poor puppy. He's so patient with her.

Fun facts:
* She rolls ALL OVER THE HOUSE - this way, that way, here and there.
* She pulls her knees up under her, but isn't crawling yet.
* She's feeding herself her bottle really well at this point....
* She still doesn't sleep through the night - she wakes up 2-3 times still (between 8pm - 8am)
* She loves to smile and giggle when she first wakes up and is generally a very happy girl.
* She's back at daycare now and seems to be doing very well and enjoys all the activity.
* She has 2 new teeth so far (bottom front), and we're guessing the top 2 are on their way soon!
* She loves to pull on my hair whenever she can get her fingers around it.
* She really likes smooshed fresh banana!
* She loves her "bear movie" aka "Brave" that she gets to watch most mornings before daddy takes her to daycare.
* She is our little sunshine and I just love her to pieces.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Amazing Breakfast Muffin Cups

This is a wonderful "all-in-one" breakfast treat! You end up with your hash browns, sausage, eggs, and cheese in one easy to eat and enjoy muffin-sized treat!

The only changes I made to the recipe below were to use fresh potatoes (3 smallish / medium sized ones), grated and then I blotted as much excess liquid as I could get with some paper towels. I used margarine in place of butter, cheddar cheese instead of Mexican-blend and I omitted the chives / green onion. I didn't fit the full sausage link per muffin cup because I was afraid they wouldn't fit - but maybe they would have; I'll have to try filling them a little fuller next time.

I love how easy these are to throw in the refrigerator, or wrap and freeze, then reheat for a quick and filling breakfast another day!

The Johnsonville sausage links are delicious - and this is one of many wonderful ways to enjoy them!

Amazing Muffin Cups from  on AllRecipes

12 links Johnsonville® Original breakfast sausage                                
3 cups frozen country style shredded hash brown potatoes, thawed
3 tablespoons butter, melted
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper  
6 eggs, lightly beaten
2 cups shredded 4-cheese Mexican blend cheese                                
1/4 cup chopped red bell pepper                                
chopped fresh chives or green onion (optional)

  1. Prepare sausage according to package directions. cool slightly and cut into 1/2-inch pieces; set aside.
  2. In a bowl, combine hash browns, butter, salt and pepper; divide evenly into 12 greased muffin cups. Press mixture onto sides and bottom of muffin cups.
  3. Bake at 400F for 12 minutes or until lightly browned. Remove from oven, divide sausage pieces into muffin cups.
  4. In a bowl, combine eggs, cheese and bell pepper. Spoon mixture evenly into muffin cups. Sprinkle with chives or onion. Return to oven, bake 13-15 minutes or until set. Serve.

Lindsey isn't quite ready for muffin cups yet - but she sure loves some fresh banana!

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Monday, April 21, 2014

Crispy Hashbrowns

Crispy Hashrbrowns slightly adapted from Hugs and Cookies

4 medium potatoes, peeled
3 TBS oil of your choice for frying (I used olive oil)
salt, pepper, paprika


  1. Shred potatoes. (I grated by hand, use a food processor or something similar if you have one!) 
  2. Squeeze excess water from the potatoes (you can put the shredded potatoes in a salad spinner or blot / squeeze with paper towels) 
  3. Heat oil in a large skillet on medium high heat. 
  4. Layer shredded potatoes on the hot oil, spreading evenly and pressing down with the back of a spatula. 
  5. Season with salt, pepper and paprika to taste (sprinkle lightly over the top). 
  6. Fry for about 5 minutes, or until golden brown and the potatoes are holding together. 
  7. Once browned, flip the patty over (you can cut in half and flip if easier). Season the other side if desired.
  8. Fry until golden on the bottom and then serve. 
Lindsey at 6 months 3 weeks with her fuzzy pink bear!

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Happy Easter from our Baby Bunny!

Happy Easter 2014! Here are Lindsey's Easter pictures I took this year - our little baby bunny had fun chewing on all the eggs!

Lindsey makes picture time so much fun - I always have a blast taking her pictures and looking back through them. So fun to capture these memories. She's just turned 7 months old - the days are passing so quickly!