Tuesday, November 25, 2014

virtual book club + thanksgiving menu

In honor of my brother's upcoming visit, I've decided to (finally) read his favorite book. He's always been a voracious reader and it's time to get out of my comfort zone.
My parents will be pulling in the driveway around noon tomorrow, and for the first time ever I am hosting my very first Thanksgiving. I am breaking out my fancy serving platters, wedding silver, white napkins, and using our dining buffet for the first time as a serving station. As my friend Taryn loves to say, Wahooooo!  

I am ecstatic and have been pacing around the house all day in anticipation. This year the meal is a group effort. Our great friends are smoking the turkey and bringing the appetizers, and we are making the sides and dessert. I've been contemplating the menu for weeks and here is the final version!

Honeycrisp apple sangria (I've made this recipe three times and it's a WINNER)
Rubus Shiraz Barossa (a steal at 13 dollars a bottle)
...followed by Black Box Cab Sav (the 2nd round of wine...only rich folks get to drink top notch wine all night and we are po' folks!) - but BB is smashing good wine at a value!


Cornbread Stuffing (Paula Dean)

Pecan Pie (Ree Drummond)

And of course a big smoked TURKEY! As you can see, we decided to keep it simple this year with a few really great sides, and I love that we are scaling down and choosing quality over quantity. My "bigger and more is better" mentality with all things is taking the sideline this year, and I am choosing to scale back and focus on spending time with the people we love. 

from my sweet little 6 week old turkey! 

Monday, November 10, 2014

four weeks old + newborn essentials

Our baby boy is already four weeks old, and he is the sweetest little bundle of joy. I'm so lucky to be at home with him to see all the small subtle changes that are happening. He can suddenly put a death grip on my fingers and has the most adorable grumpy face I've ever seen. 
It's taken a month to feel like I have a handle on the Charlie show, but now that we are settling in to a routine with naps, bath time, bed time, and one middle of the night feed I'm ready to get out in the world a bit and actually cook a little! My mom has stocked our freezer with delicious meals so I have been enjoying my favorites for the last month. I literally skip into the garage every morning to make a selection from our freezer. I get to choose from her chicken gumbo, black bean soup, chicken lasagna, and beef bourguignon, and yes I know that I am spoiled rotten. This winter I am going to do a special feature on freezer meals with my mom's top 5 recipes. Truly, the best gift you can bring to someone that needs a boost is a homemade freezer meal. It's love in ziplock. 
This week I'm trying a weekly meal prep in an effort to eat more real foods without having to fuss with fixing anything at lunch time. I'm getting pretty tired of my flat out wrap turkey sandwichs, so yesterday I roasted sweet potatoes, made taco meat, grilled chicken, and quinoa. I have a vegetable drawer full of spinach, romaine, and bell peppers. I already feel great starting the week out with lots of healthy lunch options in the fridge. 

For the expecting or new moms out there, here are my top ten lifesavers from month one (all purchased on Amazon except the Milkin' Cookies and Moms on Call)

If you are wanting to surprise a new mom with a treat - the Milkin' Cookies are phenomenal. I love both flavors, and was introduced to them as a gift from a work friend. Freezer meals and wine also do wonders for the soul! 
  1. Halo microfleece sleep sack - I use the SwaddleMe during the day and Halo at night
  2. Fisher Price Rock n Play
  3. Chico stroller caddy to match our Keyfit 30 car seat - I can fit 100 dollars worth the groceries in the bottom basket 
  4. Mylicon gas drops and Gripe Water
  5. Moms on Call book (this would be the ONE book I'd buy looking back), along with Bringing up Bebe 
  6. Graco white noise machine - the swaddle and noise are key to daytime naps
  7. Mam pacifiers
  8. Earth Mama Angel nipple butter - essential for breastfeeding moms!
  9. Milkin' Cookies - I have one every afternoon with a small cup of coffee
  10. White newborn onesies and Aden + Anais swaddle blankets - Charlie lives in these every single day

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Virtual Book Club

Any Maeve Binchy fans out there? I've been wanting to read one of her novels for ages, and I think I picked a good one.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Cookie Dough Greek Yogurt

As long as I can remember, Ben & Jerry's chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream has been my favorite. A waffle cone with two scoops used to be the ultimate treat, saved for straight A's on report cards and the like.
Fast forward a few decades, and here I sit looking for healthy nutritious snacks to keep me fueled while I'm nursing Charlie. Unfortunately, ice cream is not on that list, but this greek yogurt dip is perfect! I love honeycrisp apples, and this dip is so good I hid it in the fridge so as not to be discovered by other household members. 

Cookie Dough Greek Yogurt 
from Family Fresh Meals

1 cup plain Fage greek yogurt
1 tablespoon nut butter (peanut butter or almond butter)
1 tablespoon sweetener (maple syrup or honey)
1/4 teaspoon vanilla
1 tablespoon mini chocolate chips
dash of sea salt

Mix ingredients together and stir well. Enjoy on it's own or as a dip for apple slices.