Sit down, relax & enjoy my recipes for life!

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.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Menu Plan 4/13

I have been making weekly meal plans since I have been married. It is a huge time & money saver for our family. It also allows me to be creative and try out new recipes by planning for them, instead of being frustrated each night trying to decide what to make. I try to plan my menu on Sundays, but sometimes it falls on Mondays depending on how busy I get.

Monday - Chicken, Roasted Tomatoes & Penne in Basil Pesto Pomadoro Sauce w/ Garlic Bread
Tuesday - Shrimp Pasta Prima Vera w/ Garlic Bread
Wednesday - Mexican casserole
Thursday - Ranch House Crock Pot Pork Chops w/ Garlic Mashed Potatoes & asparagus
Friday - Leftovers
Saturday - Out to eat
Sunday - Grilled Salmon w/ dill cream sauce & roasted potatoes & vegetables

* I made the Ranch House Pork Chops once before and substituted the potatoes for brown rice and it was delicious. The pork is so tender it just falls apart, amazing!

Monday, April 6, 2009

The Cow Says...

I read books to Garrett everyday. He has 4-6 books that he "allows" me to read to him, depending on his mood. He is a very particular . He has 2 great board books, one that teaches body parts, clothing & food, the other that teaches all about animal names, sounds, shapes, and colors. He absolutely loves them. I generally just read to him, touch each picture while I name them, or make the noise, etc. Lately, though I decided I could really be teaching him something. So I started touching the picture, "eyes," and asking Garrett, "where are your eyes?" and so on with the facial features. Within a day he started closing his eyes for me to touch, opening his mouth for me to touch, and tilting his head up for me to touch his nose! Amazing!

Yesterday morning I was reading him the animal book. I pointed to the cow and said, "the cow says moooooo." He immediately said, "moooo (well more like bpoooo)!!!!" Adorable, how smart is my child? I'll tell you, very :)

We went to my parents that afternoon to celebrate my brother's birthday, and Garrett was more than happy to show off his new skill. I would ask him what the cow says, I would say moo and he would promptly reply w/ his version of moo. Apparently this is the easiest animal noise for him to make :)

Aren't babies so much fun?! I think the older he gets the better mom I am becoming. He cried so much of his life, all I could really do to comfort him wa hold him and take him on walks. Now that he is getting older, he enjoys exploring new things and learning as a result.

Friday, April 3, 2009

It finally happened

Everyone told me that when Garrett started eating solid food it would be very messy and get everywhere. Thus far I haven't had any problems. He is an excellent eater and grabs the food out of my hand before I can put it on the tray.

At lunch today, I gave Garrett his last bite of cottage cheese mixed with carrots and it finally happened, he spit it out IN MY FACE! Yikes. I was all dressed, hair and make-up done because we were going shopping right after lunch. All I could do was laugh because he is cute and what are you gonna do, yell at a baby?

The joys of motherhood are endless :)