Friday, November 22, 2013

HEALTHIER Grilled Cheese

In the last two weeks, I have lost 10+ pounds by working out hard daily and eating right. No pills no shortcuts. I am doing this for me. The perk of the method I'm using? It's my own. I'm never hungry and I still get to eat amazing things like grilled cheese.


Today I'll show you how you can make a grilled cheese WITHOUT BUTTER!

You will need:

2 slices of bread
1 slice of cheese
non-stick spray
a waffle iron

Plug in your waffle iron and let it heat up. Spray both sides with just a mist of non-stick spray. Lay one piece of bread on the bottom followed by the cheese and the second slice of bread.

Close the waffle iron and keep an eye on your sandwich as it will cook quicker than a waffle. Let cook until it turns golden and crispy. Remove from iron and enjoy!


One of these sandwiches is only 230 calories! Not bad for a grilled cheese. Especially since adding 2 tbsp of butter brings it to 330 calories! I'll save those extra calories and go the waffle way :)

Friday, November 15, 2013

Homemade Pizza and Pizza Crust

Just for the record: if you have questions on a recipe, please either leave your e-mail address in the comment or make sure you aren't a no-reply blogger. If I can't e-mail you back, I can't answer your questions! Sorry to everyone who I haven't responded to!!

Now, I love pizza. The kind with the thick crust and delicious toppings, know what I'm talking about? The problem is we are trying not to spend as much money. We want to get the biggest bang for our buck while shopping. The good frozen pizzas are expensive and sub-par at best, cheap ones aren't worth talking about, and delivery or pick-up pizza is super spendy. My friends, we have a solution. These pizzas can come out to as little as $1.50 apiece and are better than any frozen pizza you can buy.

You will need:

  • 1 package active dry yeast 
  •  1 teaspoon white sugar 
  •  1 cup warm water 
  • 2 1/2 cups bread flour 
  •  2 tablespoons olive oil 
  •  1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 can or jar of pizza sauce
  • Mozzarella cheese to taste
  • Any other ingredients you can't resist
Preheat oven to 450*

For the crust:  Mix yeast, sugar, and water together and let sit for 10-15 minutes or until yeast is creamy as opposed to still in pebbles. While it's sitting, stir together flour and salt. When yeast water is ready, pour into flour and salt. Add oil and mix well with a fork. When it gets tough to mix with the fork, knead it with your hands until the ingredients are all mixed together.

On your hole-y pizza pan, spray some non-stick spray and sprinkle a little flour to keep the pizza from sticking. Press the dough into the pan gently spreading it to fit the pan making sure to not tear it. Spread on your sauce, all of your ingredients, and finally the cheese. I always do cheese last so the veggies don't get over-cooked. We have made sausage and pepperoni, pepperoni, and pepperoni and sweet onion and all three were ahhh-mazing


Bake at 450* for 15 minutes or until the crust is golden on the bottom. Let stand for 5 minutes after you remove it from the oven before cutting. This will prevent a lot of the messy-ness that can happen from cutting an overly hot pizza. Serve hot. YUM!

The pizza didn't last long enough to get a cooked shot, so you'll just have to make one and see for yourself. DEEEE-LICIOUS. 

Friday, November 8, 2013

Best Ever Pulled Pork {Party-Style}

We entertained 40 people for Kylie's first birthday party so coming up with a meal for that many was no easy task. We decided on pulled pork and it was amazing. It went over SO well and we were complimented left and right on it.  This is a modified recipe that we found on Allrecipes.com.

Now, when I share this recipe, know that we were cooking for 40. So if this is just for you and your sweet little family of four, you may want to split it up... a lot.

You will need:
5 (4-4.5 pound) bone-in pork shoulder roast (we assumed about 1/2 lb per person)
 5 cups root beer 
7.5 tablespoons light brown sugar
 6 teaspoons kosher salt
 1 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
 4 1/2 teaspoons ground paprika
 1 1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
 1 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
 3/4 teaspoon garlic salt
 3/4 teaspoon celery salt
 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
 3/4 teaspoon ground ginger
 3/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
 1 1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
 6 cups root beer
 6 fluid ounces whiskey
 1 cup brown sugar
 1 tablespoon olive oil
 3 cup prepared barbecue sauce
40- dollar buns

**LEAVE THE FAT ON THE PORK while it's cooking. Trust me. 

Place the pork shoulder roast into a large plastic bag, pour 1 cup of root beer over each roast and squeeze out all the air from the bag. Seal the bag closed, and refrigerate overnight. 

When your "overnight" is somplete, mix together the light brown sugar, kosher salt, black pepper, paprika, dry mustard, onion powder, garlic salt, celery salt, cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg in a bowl.


Take the pork out of the root beer and rub the spices on all sides. Wrap your rubbed pork in plastic wrap and refrigerate for  2 hours.

When your 2 hours pass, heat the olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat, and sear the meat on all sides until the meat develops a brown crust, about 3 minutes per side. Place in your roaster pan.


Mix together the balsamic vinegar, 6 cups of root beer, whiskey, and brown sugar in a bowl, and stir until the sugar dissolves. Pour this mixture over the meat, set the slow cooker to High (or 350*), and cook for  4 to 6 hours or until the meat is cooked through and falls apart.


Remove the pork from the slow cooker, and shred with 2 forks. Discard the bones if there are any and the fat. Done and done! We served the BBQ sauce on the side since the meat was SO good without it. That way people can choose their topping. I wish I had a picture of the final product but it was so delicious I couldn't snap one in time. 


Thursday, November 7, 2013

Happy Birthday, Kylie!

I know I wished Kylie a happy birthday here once before, but I wanted to make sure to (finally) share the details of her party too!


We made all of the decorations from scratch including the banners, the wreath (not pictured here), the cupcake toppers... everything. We also made all of the food from scratch (apart from the chips) and everything turned out WONDERFUL! 


We ate a lot and laughed even more. Eventually we moved to gift opening which lasted all of 2 minutes till Kylie was bored. This means I got to open everything while Kylie provided the entertainment. Little stinker...


Fortunately, some of Kylie's little friends picked up where she left off and helped me open a few. Our families and friends were WAY too good to our little sweetheart. While she got a TON of great things, her "toy of choice" was a piece of string. Go figure...


Once gifts were opened and the givers were thanked, we moved on to her cake! The party-goers all got cupcakes while Kylie got her very own big-girl cake. 


We ended up giving her a cupcake though because she tried and tried to lift her cake and couldn't it was slippery and frustrating so we decided to just give her something a little more manageable. She LOVED it!


After cake, daddy was in charge of cleaning the baby while I cleaned the rest of the mess. When all was said and done, she was clean, tired, and we were able to blow lots of kisses and see everyone off before laying our newly-one year old girl into her crib. We cleaned up the mess and took down the decor that night so that when we woke in the morning, all was back to normal. 

We are so grateful to all of our family and friends who came to help us celebrate Kylie's birthday. We are so blessed to be surrounded by so many people. Now, on to year two... :)

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Birthday Numbers {DIY}

There's a difference between seeing pictures in their electronic format and holding them in your hand. There's something special about holding that piece of history. I thought that for Kylie's first birthday, I would do something special for her. Something that she can hold onto and remember. Then, I thought of birthday collages. Better yet - birthday NUMBER collages! This way, you can use them for decor AND hold onto them for the future. I'm all about dual purpose.


For this project you will need:
  • Styrofoam poster board (one for single digits and two for double)
  • A pen
  • Scissors or a box cutter (do not use the box cutter on your floor... we put the board on the floor in the garage)
  • double sided tape
  • an array of pictures from the respective year (I went to the Walgreens app that allows you to print photos from your phone, instagram, facebook, etc... in a 3x3 photo. Perfect for collages)
  • fun tak (blue sticky goo that you can hang things with that doesn't destroy walls.
Draw your number on the board. I went as large as possible and did free hand... but you can certainly use a ruler or something if need be. Cut out your newly drawn number and set it aside. Gather the rest of your supplies. 


Now, start collage-ing with your double stick tape. I started to go chronologically, but that got old in a hurry... so I just started putting pictures wherever they fit.


Finally using bits of the fun-tak, you can hang your work of art. I am in LOVE with the outcome and intend on doing this for every birthday for all of my children. 


Friday, November 1, 2013

Pastry Pinwheels

These little gems are not only too-easy to make, but they are super adorable and will impress any guest. Like I said before, they were our biggest "seller" at Kylie's first birthday party!

For this, you will need TWO ingredients. TWO! 

  • A can of pie filling or jam. Keep in mind that the pie filling is more structurally sound meaning it'll be less likely to melt and make a mess. Also, I used apple pie and cherry pie filling. The apple went over much better (I think the season has something to do with it) but make sure to cut the apples up a little so they fit in the pinwheel.
  • One sheet of puff pastry thawed in fridge.
Preheat oven to 350*

Spray a cookie sheet with non-stick spray and roll out (or unfold) puff pastry dough. Cut into 9 equal parts (should be about 3" each)

With each of your now-cut squares, cut the corners on each to about 1/2" from the center (to keep the pinwheel connected). Place a small scoop (about two tbsp) filling in the center.



Fold in every other corner. The non-stick should help it all stick together.



Bake for 20 minutes or until they start to turn golden - but not to the point where they're all brown. Serve warm or cooled!!!

YUM!

(For easy pinning:)



Wednesday, October 30, 2013

DIY Clothespin Frame

I was in need of a way to display all of Kylie's monthly photos with Mr. Bear for the party. There wasn't a frame big enough to hold them all so I had to improvise a little.


For this project, you will need:
  • One large frame (empty would be ideal. I bought a giant screen and cut the screen out. This meant I also had to line the whole thing with hot glue to prevent people from getting cut on the remnants. Still worked great!!)
  • spray paint for frame
  • 3 sets of hanging wire (5lb capacity is plenty since it'll only be clothes pins and pictures on it)
  • one "hanging teeth" piece with nails (didn't know what else to call it... this came with my picture wire but you'll see it pictured below)
  • clothes pins
  • printed pictures
  • wire cutters
Spray paint screen desired color. You may need to sand it down first if there's flaked paint on it already. I didn't because mine was already in really great shape.

Measure the dimensions of the opening only. Draw dots where you want to screw in the wire holder. Space the dots out so they are an equal distance apart making sure to leave enough room for the photos (don't want overlap).

Screw in wire holders. Slip wire through holes and make sure to pull tight. Clip the wire with the wire clippers so that there is about 4" past the hole. You will need to wrap the wire around itself as much and as tight as you can until you run out of wire. This will hold it in place good and tight.


Next, measure the distance horizontally on the frame and center the "hanging teeth" to the picture holds straight when hung.


Finally, using clothes pins pin up all of your pictures and stand it upright so you can confirm the wires are evenly spaced. 


Now you can hang the frame! Easy and I assure you, your guests will LOVE it!!


Friday, October 4, 2013

PB-B Bites


I am a sucker for peanut butter. And chocolate. And sweets in general. This could be bad-news bears for my waistline. Not to mention I have recently started working these buns off in a big and serious way so I can't justify going to DQ for a "light snack" every time I have a sweet tooth.

My improvisation skills were set to work and I gathered things from around my kitchen to whip up this delish dish. Here's what you'll need:


2 tbsp prepared PB2 (powdered peanut butter mixed with water to the desired consistency - SO much better for you than regular peanut butter)
2 tsp mini semi-sweet chocolate chips or regular sized chips
1 medium sized banana

Mix the PB2 and chips together. Slice the banana into 1/2" pieces and create a sandwich with the PB2 mixture. Refrigerate till cold (my preference) or eat room-temp. Delicious either way. 

If you'd like to add a few calories, but increase the YUM-factor, dip in semi-sweet chocolate and refrigerate till cool. YUM!!!


Wednesday, October 2, 2013

A Walker. We Have A Walker

This blog is about my family. My passions. Our experiences. Our milestones.

I started writing here when we got married. I was a smitten little wifey to my 4 and a half year high school/college sweetheart. Then, we became pregnant. I wanted to document that journey as it was foreign and new. It was beautiful.

We became parents and this little space became a world of baby. Baby.

Well, last night my baby became a little less baby (but a baby no less... my baby. Forever.).

Last night she took more than 16 consecutive steps. I may have cheered and laughed and nearly cried. Over the last four nights, she has doubled her step count. She went from two steps, to four, to eight, to now 16+. It's amazing. It's unbelievable. It is beautiful.

I video taped a little of it which is a poor sample as she only takes a few steps. She's still wobbly and a little clumsy, but she's a walker and I couldn't be more proud.


We are so very blessed to have such a strong, healthy baby and we love her more and more every single day. Parenthood is the best thing ever.

Also, because I love videos, I have to share these two as well.

1: Kylie and her best friend.


2: This roller coaster is better than a hamster wheel!!!


Friday, September 13, 2013

Turkey and Zucchini Hotdish

I had turkey, and I had zucchini. I had to come up with something without going to the grocery store because I had already had a long day and didn't need cranky grocery store people to add to it. Challenge accepted.


This turned out delicious and MUCH easier than I ever anticipated. Also, we had lots of leftovers for work meals that froze easily and re-heated perfectly. Bonus? It is a BEAUTIFUL dish for fall.

You will need:

1lb ground turkey or beef, browned
1 large can diced tomatoes
1 large zucchini
1/2 c grated Parmesan cheese
1.5 c shredded mozzarella cheese
1 lb cooked pasta (I used penne and spiral because I had partial boxes of both.)

Preheat oven to 350*

Cook and drain pasta and place in a large bowl. Strain about HALF of the juice out of the can of tomatoes and dump the remainder into the bowl with the pasta. This will add moisture which you may need for cooking.

I peeled the zucchini and cubed it. You can make smaller if you wish. I wanted to keep a little crunch and not let it moosh so I left them bigger.

Add browned meat and cheeses and stir all ingredients together.

Place in a 9x13 baking dish and  bake for 30-45 minutes or until zucchini is cooked. Serve and ENJOY!



Have a fantastic weekend!

Friday, September 6, 2013

Fried Zucchini

This recipe is easy and almost TOO delicious. I'm not kidding, it's one of my favorite appetizers.


For Fried Zucchini, you will need:

1 large zucchini
2 cups canola oil
1 large egg white
1 cup bread crumbs
1 tbsp garlic powder
1 tsp seasoned salt
1 tsp onion powder
1/4 tsp paprika
1/4 cup ranch for dipping

Slice zucchini into fries (optional: peel skin off) and set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk egg white into a froth and set aside.

In a large bowl, mix together the bread crumbs, garlic, onion powder, paprika, and seasoned salt.

Heat oil till a small chunk of breadcrumbs sizzles when dropped in. While that is heating up, dip zucchini fry into egg wash until coated. Cover in crumbs and if you want them extra crispy, do the egg wash and crumbs again. When oil is heated, drop coated zucchini in and let fry until golden.

Remove from oil with tongs and place on a paper towel covered plate to get rid of the excess oil. Serve with ranch for dipping.


YUMMMM!!!

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

I Pray

As I was watching Kylie sleep in my rear-view mirror, her pacifier fell out. I was about to reach back and help her get it back because I didn't want her to wake up from her obviously wonderful nap but before I did, she (with her eyes closed) found it and returned it to her mouth. I realized that my kid doesn't always need me.

This was hard.

It's hard to realize that you created this little person who, in your eyes, will always be your baby. Someone who, since day one, has not only wanted you, but she's needed you. This little child is not going to be a child forever. She is going to start to do things on her own. She'll walk. She'll run. She'll be able to put her hair into a little pony tail all by herself. She'll be a big girl and there's really no stopping it. But would you want to?

It's difficult as a mom to really understand what this means. Their happiness and growth is only in our control for so long. After we're no longer in control, we are simply a support system. A support system that will be there for our babies forever and ever because we love them so fiercely. So unconditionally.

I guess what I'm saying is that while all this growing up is happening, all you can do is pray that they dream happy dreams, smile their biggest smiles, and live wonderful lives. 



Friday, August 30, 2013

Green Chili Chicken

It's Food Friday again and I am so excited. I've never felt more TGIF-ish than I do today. I plan on a weekend full of windmill making, road-tripping, and wedding festivities for my cousin Mariah.

My friend Lindsay is the greatest person ever and will be helping me make windmills tonight. She doesn't know what she's getting herself into. She did send me a text though saying I'll pick up a new bottle [of wine] with a cute label. I judge wine by it's label. Obviously. To which I replied umm me too. Because they frown upon cracking one open to sample. Boo. I think we'll be just fine.

We're also heading to a wedding (where I will be rocking PipLey Boutique all week!!). Oh, I'm so excited!

To keep the excitement rolling, I have a delicious recipe for you!


I call this one Green Chili Chicken. If you want to save it for later, click on the hovering PIN IT button right over the picture to pin the image and recipe. I promise it won't disappoint! You will need:

  • 1bag frozen corn
  • 1c sour cream
  • 1c mild chunky salsa
  • 1c water
  • 4 large chicken breasts
  • 1 can petite diced tomatoes
  • 2 cans diced green chili peppers
  • 1 packet taco seasoning
  • 2c shredded cheddar cheese 
  • Soft shell taco shells
Mix corn, salsa, water, chicken, tomatoes, chili peppers, and taco seasoning in your crockpot.

Cook 4-5 hr on high until chicken is cooked through. Using two forks, shred chicken and return to crock for 30 minutes. 

Add (stir in) sour cream & cheese. Set to low until melted. 


Put your tortilla in the microwave for 10-12 seconds to make more flexible. Serve in a bowl lined with a soft tortilla. We tore the top of the tortilla and ate it like a taco, then ate the remainder like a soup. It was soooooo good.

Have a great weekend!


Thursday, August 29, 2013

Baby's First Birthday - Planning

I'm trying not to think about the fact that my child will be one... ONE... in a few short weeks. I can't even say months anymore because months turned to month. Singular. And you don't say My baby is ONE in one month, two weeks, and three days because people may think that you're counting down. And you normally count down for exciting things, right? This isn't really exciting. Ok, it is a little. But really it's a little sad that this whole year has already come and gone. Where did that year go? Did we do enough in her first year of life? I mean, a year is a big deal!

You see? I could ramble about this bizz for days and still say nothing. So, I've decided to distract myself. I am in full-out party-planning mode over here and I've finally hit a wall.

Our theme is Pinwheels and my poor, poor fingers are raw from making teeny tiny itty bitty pinwheels.


My poor friends who've volunteered to help make them this week and next week have NO idea what they've committed to. This'll be fun, right? RIGHT?!

I'm doing a variety of sizes and using them in nearly all of our decor. The draw-back? I have focused only on pinwheels and not on the food I want to serve. Or who to invite. Or basically any other detail other than pinwheels.

Ahh!

Ok, some may think I'm being irrational because I have a month and a half left, but I have a busy month and a half ahead including two business trips (where I FINALLY get to meet my blog friend, Samantha... AHHH!!) and frankly, I'm crunched.

I feel like there is so much to do. Including invites (which I didn't think of until RIGHT this second.. dang).

Who do you invite to the first birthday? Babies her age? Kids from her daycare? Or do you stick to family until she is a little more interactive and can play?

I need ideas. Food ideas, decor ideas, anything. I've never hosted a first birthday before so I will take all the help I can get!

Ready? Go.

Friday, August 23, 2013

White Chicken Lasagna Roll-Ups

I made these last week and posted a picture on Instagram and Facebook where a few people asked me for the recipe. I ended up getting WAY too busy to post last week because of an impromptu camping trip, so you get it this week instead.


You will need:

  • 1 box of Lasagna noodles cooked and placed on wax paper
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp minced garlic
  • 4 large chicken breasts, thawed
  • 1 large bag of broccoli cuts
  • 1, 15oz ricotta cheese
  • 1 cup of cottage cheese
  • 2 cups mozzarella cheese separated
  • 2 large eggs

Preheat oven to 350*


Put olive oil and garlic in a pan and saute over medium heat for 2-3 minutes. While garlic is cooking, cube thawed chicken breasts. Put into pan with 1/2 c water and cook through.  Drain water from chicken and place in a large bowl. Mix together with broccoli, eggs, ricotta, cottage cheese, and one cup of the mozzarella cheese.

Place about 1/4 cup of the mixture on one end of the noodle and roll. Line a greased 9x13" pan with these rolls. Bake covered at 350* for 45 minutes. Uncover and bake for 5-10 minutes more or until they just start to turn a golden color.


Serve HOT!

So so yummy and EXTREMELY easy (while looking challenging).

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

My First 5K

This post was a long time coming. I suppose that could be because it happened a month ago (today). Or maybe because I was planning and "training" for it for a few weeks before that. All I know is that I did it.

This all started last year in July when my sister and her friends did the Color Run. They had a BLAST and she made sure I knew. She also made sure to make me commit to doing it with her next year. I made her (what I had hoped was) an empty promise and I said I'd do it.


Months went by and it was forgotten (mostly because in that time I had a baby... which kind of takes your attention and runs with it). Then, registration opened and I knew I had to think of an excuse quick. Unfortunately, Becca got her way and we signed up (late, mind you... so I had to pay an extra $5. What IS that crap?).

And so - we ran.


I won't mention our time because quite frankly, it wasn't great (think 30). I suppose some of it may have had to do with the corn starch powder and the fact that Becca had one piece of advice: inhale before you get into the color.


Yeah, that didn't happen. Needless to say, it looked like a smurf pooped in my teeth throughout the run. The taste, the fact that it clogged all of my necessary breathing orifices, these factors may have all played a role in my sucky time. (I have to come up with excuses because my time when running at home was around 29 (still not fast but I'd have been happier with that))


I must have looked a mess at the end, or maybe it was because she was hungry and excessively tired, but the second Kylie saw me she started screaming and crying for her real mommy. It was pretty funny.


Now, will somebody please help me come up with an excuse for next year (or buy me a baggy of colored chalk to toss into the fan of my treadmill so I can practice)?


On a side note - I usually have the TV or radio on while I work so I have some background noise (man, I wish I worked in an office) and Juno is on... it just made me very excited for Fall. That's all.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Essentials for Camping with an Infant

Let's start by saying that this is what I've packed so far. You see, we've never brought Kylie camping before. So next week I may have a what you REALLY need for camping with an infant post.

Don't forget to share the love and pin-it!


This is what we've packed. A list for the newbies, if you will. For our 4 day trip, we packed:
  • Pack and play - baby needs a place to sleep, right? Well Kylie HATED the pack and play when we first got it. We had a little case of Princess and the Pea and the little cootie didn't think it was comfy enough. We ended up at Amazon.com and found a reasonably priced (new, obviously... I have a thing about used mattresses... ick) pack and play mattress. Wrap that thing in a cozy blanket (TIGHTLY) and make sure there isn't any blanket the baby can get caught up in. Bam. Baby is comfortable and sleeps like a bear in hibernation in this thing. 
  • Bottles and spare-paci - Don't think oh, I can get by with one or two. Remember that you may not have running water so you'll want to have enough to get you through a good part of the day or at least until you can find somewhere to wash them. Fortunately we have a restroom with running water a short ways from our site. We should only need 5 bottles and 3 pacifiers.

  • Weather-appropriate clothing. You guys - today's high is 84 degrees. Shorts weather, no? During our trip, the weather is going to be hi 69* lo 47*. We are bringing pants, shorts (just in case the sun tricks us), sweatshirts, winter coat, and a hat for our kiddo. Not only that, but we still don't let her sleep with blankets. Ever since I discovered a family member passed from SIDS many years ago, I have been a bed-time-Nazi. I am so worried about blankets and (I was worried about) rolling over that I lost lots of sleep over doing things the safe way. So instead of tossing blankets on KJ to keep her warm, I am bringing her socks, pants, and a long-sleeved onsie to wear under her fleece PJs. She'll be juuuust right. This weather thing is stressing this mama out!
  • Baby carrier - We plan to go hiking a couple of the days and while strollers are awesome, I don't think they'll be able to handle the terrain, so we're huffing it. KJ will have a cozy spot on my back. We're big fans of the ErgoBaby carrier because of how it gives baby the most natural hip placement when baby-wearing and I know this thing is going to be a lifesaver when we get to the trails.
  • Backpack - You may need water or snacks or a meal for you and/or baby on the hike. Bring a backpack. Don't forget to include diapers, wipes, and a change of clothes for the little nugget though. Those carriers hold snug to their little bums and can cause an impromptu blowout. Be warned. Also, let someone else carry the backpack. A baby and a pack might be a little much on one person.
  • A backpack-friendly changing mat - You're going to want something that makes changing baby easy. Get a mat that has a spot for diapers and wipes so you're not trying to find everything when the moment strikes for your child to stink up the wilderness. Be prepared!

  • Stroller - Even though we're bringing a carrier, I know we're going to need a stroller for when we stop for pie or something on the way to our camping site. A stroller is ideal for these occasions. A collapsible one is a super-bonus!
  • FOOD - Kylie is in an awkward stage where she loves to self-feed, but I also sometimes give her baby food to help compensate for all of the stuff that lands on her lap. I am in LOVE with pouches. They don't have to be warmed and can come with little screw-on spoons that make it easy to feed baby. I almost always make Kylie's food, but when refrigeration is unavailable, we don't hesitate to buy. We also got a variety of pick-up snacks so she'll always be plump and happy :) (We brought a lot more food than this... just so you're not concerned)

  • Travel/camping friendly toys - This means (if you want it right between the eyes) bring reasonably sized toys and make sure they aren't too loud and obnoxious to where you may tarnish the relationship between you and your neighbors who may be able to solve the issue of a missing ingredient so you don't have to drive 30 miles to the nearest gas station.

  • An amazing coffee mug - This isn't for coffee, friends. You know how sometimes when you're in a strange environment, baby might wake up in the middle of the night? Well, camping provides the strangest of environments and while it'd be nice to just stick a bottle in the microwave for 35 seconds to achieve the perfect temp, we don't really have that opportunity. Instead, spend the money on a nice coffee mug that keeps water hot for hours. I got this one at Caribou Coffee for $25 about 5 years ago, but I think Walmart is now selling them for around $10. This bad-boy keeps water at an undrinkable hot for hours. Sleep next to this, a bottle of cold water (to counter if it's too hot), and your formula separator and you're setting yourself up for a very quick midnight feeding.

  • A collapsible high-chair - I am and will eternally be a Joovy advocate (and no, they don't know, nor did they pay me to write this). This high-chair is easy to clean and folds up no bigger than a folding chair. This is IDEAL for travelling and I think you need one.

Of course you need all of the mommy essentials like a camera and whatnot, but those might just be covered next week when I tell you what we ACTUALLY used. Wish us luck, this could get interesting!

Friday, August 2, 2013

Potato Egg Bake

Have you ever heard of an egg bake? If not, you're totally missing out. It's easy and delicious. Simply the best breakfast to wake up to. Tip: PUT THIS IN THE FRIDGE OVERNIGHT AND JUST STICK IN THE OVEN IN THE MORNING. It really makes life so much easier. (And gets your tummy full faster!)


Here's what you'll need:

1 bag original Simply Potatoes (they're shredded)
Salt
Pepper
12 large eggs
1c milk
1 bag frozen broccoli
1lb bacon cut into 1" pieces and fried/drained OR browned sausage
2c cheddar cheese
2 tbsp softened butter


Make sure your bacon is fried BEFORE starting to assemble the egg bake.

In a large mixing bowl, pour in the potatoes, some salt, some pepper, and the butter. (When we tried this, the potatoes were a bit bland, so I am recommending this step to jazz them up a little.) When mixed well, spread into baking dish evenly.

Sprinkle cooled, drained, browned meat and frozen broccoli as well as the cheddar cheese so that the potatoes are covered.

In the same bowl where you mixed the potatoes, scramble the 12 eggs and the milk until the yolks are all broken. Pour this over the top of the rest of the ingredients, cover the dish with foil, and put in fridge till morning.

Wake up (duh), preheat oven to 350*, and take straight from fridge to oven leaving on the foil. Bake for about one hour, checking periodically to see if they are cooked through.

After about an hour (when sides are bubbling a bit), remove the foil and bake for 15 minutes more. When eggs are cooked through, breakfast is ready!


Happy weekend, everyone. Go do something fun!
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