Sit down, relax & enjoy my recipes for life!

Monday, August 3, 2009

It's been a while...

Hi! It has been a while since I have posted anything. I haven't had much motivation or encouragment to blog. I just wanted to do a quick post to say "I'm back" :)

Blog posts to come:

Family vacation to Wisconsin, w/ tons of great pic!
Meal plans & recipes
How to make your own table runners

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Michigan Trip w/ Pictures Galore!

Last month (actually the day of my last post) I took Garrett to Michigan, along with my parents, to visit my Grandmother, sans Eric. We were there for 7 days. It was so wonderful to be able to see my son with his Great-Grandmother. Family is extremely important to me and I hope to instill this in Garrett as well. My Grandmother (my dad's mom) has lived in Michigan my whole life and I have only seen her a handful of times, so we are not close, but she is my only living grandparent, which made the trip even more special for me. I wanted to plant memories in my mind and document with video and pictures for Garrett so he can see a piece of his family history when he is an adult.

Garrett sitting with Grandpa before take off on his very first airplane trip! I was a little nervous about how Garrett would act on the plane ride & how the other passengers would re-act to him (and to me). It was a night flight so I knew the passengers would want some quiet. Luckily it was Garrett's bedtime, so as we took off I put him in his car seat and he went to sleep. 45 minutes into the flight he woke up and cried (screamed) on and off for about 30 minutes. Finally I just took him out of his car seat and held him. He was much happier to be awake, so my parents and I took turns holding him and giving him snacks. He was great for the rest of the flight!

4 Generations of Zalots!

I walked into the living room and Grandma was holding Garrett, I was little surprise since she's in her 80's I thought he might be too heavy for her, but she held him more than I expected :) Sitting in the chair with them is her little 6 lb. dog Molly. Garrett and Molly played together quite a bit throughout the trip.
Garrett was having so much fun playing in the kitchen. He loved all the knobs on the drawers, it kept him entertained while I cooked his breakfast!

She had this tiny bathroom, with an even tinier shower. Garrett played in it every chance he got. He kept climbing in and out and would look at me and laugh. What a cutie!

Something else to keep him entertained, my suitcase. He had a great time climbing in and out. So by the end of the trip I removed all my clothing and just kept toys in their for him to "find" when he opened it :)

Can you see the resemblance? My dad looks just like my grandmother & after spending time all together I could definitely see the resemblance in my face as well, which surprisingly made me happy. The features I hated most on my face I now love (which has given me new features to hate ~ gotta love being a woman)!

This was our last day, right before we left for the airport. That was a sad time for me realizing that I may not see my grandmother again.

I had mixed emotions about going, but all in all I am glad I went, it created memories that I will carry with me forever. No regrets!

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Girl's Night Out!

I have really been needing some "girl time," I was getting pretty stressed. So my friend Christina suggested a Girl's Night Out! She lives about an hour away, so we packed up our stuff to stay the night. The husband's stayed at her house and watched the babies while we had a nice evening of dinner and dancing. Then the next morning all the guys played golf while we had breakfast and lounged around with the babies. It was a pretty good set up!

We had Sushi for dinner, a favorite of all the girls, and then off to a nearby club for dancing and bonding time. It was so much fun and I can't wait to do it again. It's nice to have some time apart from being a wife and mother to discover your sense of self.

Me & Liz

Here is Candida and Christina line dancing! :)

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Spaghetti Squash

I promised that I would tell you all how my Spaghetti Squash turned out; it was amazing! Eric was skeptical that the squash would actually look like spaghetti noodles and he thought the sauce would be weird on the squash. I was just trying to have a positive attitude, hoping we wouldn't hate it :)

I took pictures so you can see, it was so delicious, healthy and super easy to make.
Here is how I made it:
1.) Preheat oven 400 degrees. Cut the spaghetti squash in half lengthwise, drizzle a tablespoon of olive oil on each half and sprinkle w/ salt and pepper. Place cut side down on a baking sheet and roast for 40-45 min or until flesh is tender.
2.) While squash is roasting make your desire sauce and let simmer until squash is ready.
I made a tomato based sauce with ground beef, onions, mushrooms and green bell pepper.

3.) Take squash out of the oven and use a fork to pull the strands away from the skin. Leave in the shell.

4.) Spoon sauce over the squash and top with fresh basil, fresh parsley and Parmesan Cheese.
5.) Enjoy!

Monday, May 25, 2009

What's for dinner? (week of 5-24)

Sunday - Leftovers for me (Eric had a poker night with some friends)
Monday - Brats on the grill, rice & broccoli, chips & queso dip, Mango Margaritas!
Tuesday - Green chili beef enchilada casserole & corn
Wednesday - Chicken pot pie w/ red potatoes & veggies, homemade cheesy biscuits on the side
Thursday - Soup & Sandwiches (then off to the airport)
Friday - Eric only - leftover Enchilada Casserole
Saturday - Eric only - Dinner at a friends

*Baked good for the week : Banana Nut Bread
**Dessert for the week: Double Chocolate Covered Pretzel Peanut Butter Cookies
If I am not too tired I am going to attempt these today!

Garrett and I are leaving Thursday evening to take a trip to Michigan. We are visiting my grandma, Garrett's great-grandma. Eric will be staying at home and I have been stockpiling some meals for him in the freezer. Banana Nut Bread is his favorite, so I will make that for him before we go :)

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Happy Days!

Garrett got several toys for his birthday; he loves them all. He is at such a fun age exploring and learning something new each day. These great toys are providing him with hours of fun, which is leaving me with a bit more extra time, yea!

Here are Garrett and daddy playing with the super fun Water Table. This this provides endless entertainment! Garrett loves to be wet, he just laughs :)

My mom got Garrett this great all star sports center that plays music, claps when you make a basket & lights up numbers w/ each basket. You can see that Garrett loves to spin the football as fast as he can!

Here, he has just made a basket, a skill that he has recently learned.

Last week I was really craving one of those little cheeseburgers from McDonald's. I decided, since Garrett is now one, has 11 teeth and pretty much eats everything, that he could have one too! So this is his very first bite of a fast food burger... is that a bad mom? :)

He was loving the cheeseburger, he couldn't get enough of it!

Eric and I are having so much fun with our newly 1 year old toddler. Thanks for sharing in this journey. We really love reading all of your comments you post on our blog!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

2 More?

This morning I was doing my morning ritual of tackling Garrett to the ground to change his diaper. He is in this wonderful stage where he twists his body every which way and then crawls away so I can't change him, I'm usually half way through the process when he starts doing this so there's generally poop involved; fun times!
Anyway, while he was screaming I noticed a tooth poking through, a molar on the bottom. So awhile later I stick my finger in to check things out and sure enough, there are 2 molars! So now he has 3 molars and a total of 11 teeth, wow! So, needless to say I don't have any food restrictions anymore, I feed him whatever I am eating basically. Yesterday he even tried shrimp :)

Monday, May 18, 2009

What's for dinner? (Week of 5/17)

Breakfast for the week : Baked Oatmeal w/ Apples (this is the most delicious thing I have ever made! Garrett just loves it, he bounces up and down in his seat the whole time I feed him.) I'll post the recipe later
Wednesday Breakfast Brunch @ MOPS - Apple Cinnamon Puff Pancake (I can't wait to make this it looks fantastic!)

Sunday - Bar-B-Que at a friends house
Monday - Slow Cooker Honey Mustard Lime Chicken w/ rice and mixed veggies
Tuesday - Shrimp Scampi
Wednesday - Spaghetti Squash w/Super Thick Bolognese Sauce (I have never tried spaghetti squash before, I'll let you know how it turns out)
Thursday - Chicken Enchiladas w/ beans, lettuce & tomato
Friday - Sausage, tomato & peppers w/ penne pasta
Saturday - Girl's Night Out! - RA Sushi

Dessert of the Week : Strawberry Shortcake Cookies (from this month's Martha Stewart Magazine) These are so delicious and really do taste like shortcakes and for a MS recipe, they were surprisingly easy.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Looking Back

After posting about Garrett's 1st Birthday got me thinking about when he was a newborn. He was so tiny, sweet and cuddly. I miss the days when the babies just curl up on your chest when you hold them. Here are a few pics of Garrett throughout the year.

This was at one of my baby showers. I had Garrett 3 weeks later and my stomach was already super huge!

Garrett was jaundiced, so he had to spend the night in the nursery under these lights to simulate the sun. It was very sad, however the little glasses he had to wear were adorable.

For the first couple months he used to pucker his lips and make this little "kissy"face.

Having fun with some tummy time.

He used to smile and coo at this little owl on his swing, so cute!

He loves to play with balls, lots of fun :)

Auntie Brooke made this adorable hat.

He loves to stand up on everything, especially the couch because he can bounce!

I hope you enjoyed this little look back on the stages in Garrett's life.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Garrett's 1st Birthday!

This is a little late, I took a week off from using the computer. I've been so busy that I needed a break.

We celebrated Garrett's birthday on Saturday, May 9th, at our house. All of our closest family and friends came over. It was such a fun day! Since Garrett loves water so much, I decided to have a water party. I bought him a water table & the most adorable baby pool that you hook up to the hose and it has little sprinklers that shoot out.

Since the AZ sun is so bright and hot, my smart husband Eric, set up our camping gazebo so the kids wouldn't get sunburned. Inside the gazebo on the right is Garrett standing up playing at the water table. To the left is the pool with Quincy (Candida's baby) and Tyler (Christina's baby). Quincy absolutely loved the little pool and was swimming around like a fish. Tyler was a bit unsure about the pool and got out pretty quickly.

Ezra loved helping Garrett play in the water table. He thought it was pretty great :)

Grandma Zalot (my mom) is helping Garrett play with the sprinklers in the pool. He was so funny, he kept trying to grab the shooting water.

This picture is a little fuzzy because it is taken through the gazebo, but I thought Garrett looked so old.

Garrett is so happy to help rip open his presents. He got so many cute new outfits, books & some really great toys. He had the best time of his life. He never stopped smiling the whole day!

A family pic, we didn't get too many, we were so busy with the festivities.

This picture is hilarious. So I put the cake out in front of him and he just looked at me not knowing what to do. I stabbed it with a spoon to get him going and he ate the spoon a bit, then he decided to touch the cake. He didn't like the way it felt but he wanted to eat it, so he decided to just dig in with his face! He was eating it like a dog, we all were cracking up. Eric took some great video of it I can't wait to watch it over and over each year :) . It was such a happy day for all of us, my baby is now a toddler, look out world!

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Garrett gets his cast off!

This has been such a busy week preparing for Garrett's 1st birthday and taking him to his doctor's appointments. On Thursday, I drove out to Mesa for Garrett to get his cast off. It was a 3 part process.

1. They took us back, I held Garrett on my lap and the nurse used this electric saw and buzzed off the cast. Garrett let out a little cry at first because of the noise, but then he just watched with interest. I was so proud of the way he handled it, like a big boy.

2. They did x-rays on his leg to make sure the fracture was repaired. The last time Garrett got x-rays, he screamed and it was a horrible process. This time the nurse gave him a little snack (Teddy Grahams) and he was happy, he hardly put up a fuss at all.

3. We met with the Doctor who showed me the x-rays. The fracture healed perfectly. New bone has grown and the doctor said it will be stronger than before. Praise the Lord!

When we got home from the appointment, Garrett kept standing up and sitting down, over and over. He was very happy to have the cast off and try out his leg :)

His leg was super dry and flaky when the cast came off. This picture below was taken after 3 applications of lotion & it is still really gross. Eric gave him a bath that night and the next day most of the flaking was gone.

On Friday, his birthday, he had his 1 year well check. If you remember his 9 month well check he lost weight, then he had a weight check appointment when he was 10 1/2 months, he gained almost a pound. Well at this appointment, my little buddy gained 2 more pounds, yea! He now weighs 17.5 pounds. The doctor is happy and I am relieved.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

What's for dinner (week of 5/3)?

Sunday - Classic Grilled Cheese & Tomato Soup
Monday - Vegetable & Cheddar Quiche
Tuesday - Cinco de Mayo Potluck w/ our Bible Study
Wednesday - Greek Tortellini Soup & Garlic Bread
Thursday - Fettuccine Alfredo w/ Chicken, Mushrooms & Brocciflower
Friday - Homemade Mushroom, Tomato, & Pepper Pizza w/ a Garden Salad
Saturday - Garrett's 1st Birthday Party (subs, sides & cake)

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Garrett Grows Up

As Garrett's first birthday is fast approaching, my tiny baby is becoming a toddler. He has grown in many areas weight & hieght, independence, motor developement & brain development. It makes me proud to realize that I am a good mother after all. The attachment anxiety that he went through made me feel horrible and embarrased to go anywhere with him, but with God's help I got throught it and so did Garrett. The result of that has made him a more secure and happy person.

I can't belive the strides he has made in only 1 month. Garrett is so much more independent. He loves exploring everything. He wants to stand up all the time now, anything that he can find to pull himself up on, he will. He even climbed all the way up onto the first step of our stair case. It's about time to put up the baby gate (yuck, such a hassle).

Garrett has started talking so much more and really trying to communicate w/ me. He understands so much more that I thought & he really follows directins when I tell him to do something, it's amazing! Last week he was eating his snack and grunting for more, so I asked him to say, "more please mama," as I usually do, but this time he said, "mama" as a reply. This kid is so smart. When he is eating his lunch or dinner, he tries to say more. When Eric comes home, he says, "dada" to greet him. It really is astonishing. It's like he was storing up all this information and then decided to spit it all out at once. A couple days ago he started clapping a ton and waving to people.

He has also started noticing tiny buttons on everything and is now pushing them, which is great for me since I was always having to do it for him for the toy to make noise. When he wants me to change the channel on the remote to his beloved Moose & Zee, he grabs the remote and presses buttons! Hilarious! He's also been getting two alike objects (2 balls, 2 stars, etc.) and banging them together to make noise. Man, this kid is so smart it blows my mind!

This morning I was reading him books and pointing to the facial features in the book and then the same features on my face. Meanwhile he was touching the features on his face as I named them. Can you believe it?! Do I have a genius on my hands? Should I enroll him in a prodigy school? Just kidding :)

I am looking forward to this new stage in our lives, it will be so much fun. Look out world, here come Garrett, just wait until his cast comes off to see what else he'll do!

Monday, April 27, 2009

Spicy Tomatillo Chicken in the Crock-Pot

In honor of Cinco de Mayo coming up & the Ultimate Recipe Swap at (check it out for tons more yummy Mexican recipes) here is a Mexican recipe that I adapted to make my own.

It is really hard cooking for 2. Most of the recipes I find are for about 8. I generally halve the recipe, but on occasion is is just more cost effective to prepare the whole recipe.

About a month or so ago I got a ton of tomatillos from the Bountiful Baskets Food Co-op I participate in, and I had no idea what to do w/ them. My friend who got the same basket was making this yummy crock-pot chicken w/ them. I made it (halved the recipe) and we loved it. 2 weeks ago I got these tomatillos again. I was smarter about my meal plan. This 1 recipe gave me 3 dinners.
I served the chicken the first night w/ tortillas and beans. A couple days later I made them into Quesadillas, the third time, which is this Friday will be using the last of the leftovers for Chicken Taco Soup from Rachael Ray's Yum-O Cookbook.

Spicy Tomatillo Chicken in the Crock-Pot
-Serves 8
10 large tomatillos
2 jalapeno peppers
1/2 diced onion
3 garlic cloves
4 chicken breasts
1 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp salt
1 chicken bouillon cube

1. Boil tomatillos & jalapenos in water for 15 min. Take out cut off all stems & peel tomatillos.
Put them in a food processor or blender and blend for about 15 sec. You'll want it to be chunky.
2. Transfer to crock-pot & all all remaining ingredients.
3. Cook on high for 3 1/2 hours, then take chicken out & shred. Put chicken back into crock-pot, stir & cook for an additional hour.
4. Serve w/ tortillas & sour cream

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Meal Plan 4/26

On Sundays, I like to make a more extensive recipe for dinner since Eric is home to help out with Garrett. This allows me more time to prep and cook, this also gives us leftovers for Tuesdays. On Tuesday nights we host a Bible Study in our home, so we have to eat dinner earlier than normal, which doesn't allow for much time for cooking.

Tonight I tried a new recipe; this amazingly delicious Classic Lasagna. I prepared it w/ bichamel sauce, instead of ricotta & mozzarella cheese, which makes it so heavy and greasy. I was a bit nervous Eric wouldn't like it because he loves his cheese, but it was a crowd pleaser!

Sunday - Classic Lasagna Bolognese
Monday - Potato & Beef Moussaka (a Greek dish)
Tuesday - Leftover Lasagna & Garlic Bread
Wednesday - Jambalaya
Thursday - Leftover Moussaka w/ Homemade Herb Popovers (I got new popover tins for my B-day that I want to try out)
Friday - Chicken Taco Soup
Saturday - Bar-B-Que at a friends house

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Happy Birthday to Me!

Yup it happened, yesterday I turned 30 (yuck)! I will quickly get over myself and focus on the positive :) I had such a wonderful day filled will love, family, friends & blessings.

I awoke to a kiss and a present from my husband... a gift certificate for a massage and eyebrow wax, YES! He already had the coffee brewing and eggs awaiting. Then we had a nice lunch planned. Eric met Garrett and I at Red Robin, where I had a coupon for a FREE Gourmet Burger from their B-day Club & a coupon to get a FREE Cold Stone Creamery ice cream next door. Since Eric met me from work he was in his uniform, as our lunch was ending our waitress came over to tell us that a couple had paid for our meal! Then the couple came over and told Eric "Thank you," for his service. What a blessing to us!

Here is Garrett, enjoying his very first taste of ice cream at Red Robin! They also gave him a balloon, which turned into hours of fun.

Later that night, my parents came over to babysit Garrett so that Eric could take me out to dinner. When we got to the restaurant, Buca di Beppo, all of my friends were sitting at the table! My sweet husband had been planning a surprise party for me for weeks! He even had a special pink cake made for me ! That really helped the whole 30 yr. depression (lol) go away :) It was a great night.

What an amazing and thoughtful man God placed in my life to set all of this up for me. I am truly blessed!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Frugal Finds

I have had a few friends lately ask me how I am saving so much money and the different resources I have found to help me. I would like to share a few with you.
I have been saving about $200/ mo. on grocery shopping, meal planning & less eating out. I do this by using coupons and buying all of my produce from a food co-op instead of the grocery store.
I have also saved us about $50/ mo. by calling our phone/cable and insurance companies to renegotiate our prices. They wouldn't come down by much, but hey, that's an extra $50/mo. we didn't have before.

Bountiful Baskets Food Co-Op is amazing! Never buy grocery store produce again! Bountiful Baskets is a food co-op that buys produce direct from the grower. You are getting the same produce that the stores get for a much lower price. Since we get it direct it stays fresh much longer. I get a basket every 2 weeks and it lasts for 2-3 weeks! You get about $30-$40 worth of fruits and vegetables for $16.50! Basically you order a basket online on a Wednesday and pick it up at your closest location on a Saturday morning. They also offer delicious breads for a great bargain.

Paperback Swap is a free service that allows you to trade books you don't want any more for books you do want. I have not used this service yet because I am lacking for reading time, but I know a couple people who use it and love it. Basically you only pay for the cost to mail the book (not shipping it). You even print out the label/envelope/stamp right from your computer. Such a great frugal concept!

Swagbucks is an online search engine (uses Google) that give you points (bucks) just for searching. When you get enough bucks you can redeem them for prizes such as Amazon gift cards etc. This is not a scam I promise. They don't send you any emails either! You also get points for every person that you can get to sign up. So, if you are thinking about signing up, please do so through my referral link HERE so that I can get some bucks! :)

More to come on Money Saving Tips and Frugal Finds, so keep checking back! Also, leave a comment or question so I know what you think or what you would like to know more about.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Meal Plan 4/19

Since Garrett went to the hospital last week, I didn't have time to make those yummy Ranch House Pork Chops, so I will be making them again this week. You can view the recipe from last weeks menu.

Sunday - Ranch House Pork Chops w/ rice and green beans
Monday - Spicy Chicken Chile Verde in the crock-pot w/ tortillas, rice & beans
Tuesday - Fettuccine w/ Salmon, lemon, artichokes & asparagus
Wednesday - Rollover Chile Verde Chicken from Monday night:
Chicken Quesadillas & Corn
Thursday - Fried onion topped Tuna bake
Friday - Birthday Date Night
Saturday - Birthday Party- Catered Babbo

* Dessert for the week- Strawberry Layer Cake

I try to make one baked good per week, sweet or savory. I am enjoying learning to work with yeast, etc.
I had a friend over Saturday night and had a ton of fresh strawberries. I found a recipe for this delicious Strawberry cake w/ cream cheese frosting. Here's a picture, it is moist and delicious. You are supposed to decorate w/ fresh strawberries, but I ran out of time.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Garrett broke his leg

As you all know, Garrett has been teething like crazy. He has 8 teeth already and has been trying to get in all 4 molars at the same time. Sometimes they really bother him, others he doesn't seem to mind them. Monday afternoon he was acting fussy and I could feel one of his molars starting to pierce the skin, so I assumed that was his problem. We were upstairs playing and he had pulled himself up onto a toy and then wanted to get down. So, he dropped himself onto his butt per his usual, except he did this weird flip over thingy and started crying really hard. I figured he bumped his head and he would be fine in a minute. I held him for a while and he wouldn't let me put him down ALL NIGHT. If you know my child, then you know he clings to me anyway, so this wasn't that unusual. The next day I notice that he would cry when I changed his diaper, lifting his leg. I just loaded him w/ Tylenol and Oragel thinking it was his teeth bothering him. Then Wednesday morning when I got him out of his crib he was standing up but wouldn't put his right leg down, weird. I called the doctor and she told me to take him to Mendy's Place (a pediatric ER) to just get him looked at and X-rayed. She said because babies grow rapidly they can get infections in bones/joints.

I took him in and he was seen by Triage first, and he said Garrett was fine and we didn't need to come in. We then saw the doctor and got X-rays. The x-ray process was horrible. It took about 30 min and Garrett screamed the ENTIRE time. My heart went out to him, he was so scared. The doctor came back with the results and sure enough. He has a spiral fracture to his right Tibia. I couldn't believe he actually broke his leg. The doctor said this type of fracture is very common and it is even called the Toddler's Fracture. So, they gave him a temporary splint and told us to go get a cast put on the following day (Thursday).

Here he is at Mendy's Place. They gave me a baby gown to put him in, how cute is that! :) Garrett didn't like it, but I couldn't help but take a picture.

Eric was working and didn't go with us, but was so sad to see Garrett w/ the splint when we came home. He couldn't believe what had happened. Eric had been working and at school so much that he didn't realize anything was wrong w/ Garrett. I just mentioned to him that I thought his leg was bothering him.

We woke up Thursday morning and got ready to go to Phoenix Children's Hospital (PCH). I noticed that one of Garrett's molars definitely broke through the skin; everything has to happen at one for this child. We picked Eric up from work and drove downtown. We were in and out so quickly you could have missed it if you blinked. The staff there were amazing. They let me hold him while they put his cast on so he wouldn't cry and he didn't; not a tear.

What a trooper. The cast is so tiny and cute. I am glad it is only half his leg so he can still crawl around. The doctor put in some extra padding on his foot so he would be able to stand on it and even walk if he wants. The cast will only be on for 3 weeks. They will take more x-rays at that time to make sure it healed properly.

The cast doesn't seem to bother him. I am not sure he even noticed it. As soon as we came home he was crawling all around.

His mobilization is hindered however by the cast. It gets in his way when crawls through a small area or wants to go from a sitting to a crawling position & vise versa quickly. He has been a little more fussy than normal and wants to be picked up more often. But again, this could just be because of his teething as well.

I am happy that the cast will be off on May 7th, just 1 day before his 1st birthday. So he will only have to wear it for 3weeks in total.