Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Frozen Crockpot Dinner Review

I promised this a while back and totally forgot about it. Fortunately, a wonderful reader (Alicia) called me out on it.

I'm here today to fulfill my promise for a review of the frozen crockpot dinners I posted about before I had KJ. The whole reason for making these bad boys, is that I figured I wouldn't want to cook immediately after Kylie was born, but would likely still want homemade meals. Enter: easy meals. Below you will find reviews of all of the recipes I posted about in September.

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If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to ask!

First, you should know that it took me about 2 hours to cut and prepare all of the meals. One general rule of thumb that I decided I will do in the future is double the meat. There is so much juice and so little meat (primarily in the chicken meals). Here are my thoughts:

I LOVED the Orange Chicken. This one took the most time to prepare, but was one of  my favorites. Worth the extra time.

Teriyaki Chicken: This one was the best out of all of them. Hands down. It was sweet and delicious and was amazing over brown rice.

BBQ chicken: This one was OK. Not memorable really. Know that I enjoyed it, but it wasn't anything to write home about.

Vegetable beef soup. I loved this one. The texture of the veggies and the meat is perfect!

I wasn't a huge fan of the Goulash/Beef Stew the first time I made it, but the second time I added a cup of water and a Knorr Homestyle Stock cup (totally didn't follow the package instructions) and an extra cup of sour cream at the end and it was awesome. I would maybe recommend waiting to put the stock and water in until the day you make it.

Overall, these meals, as promised, were delicious, convenient, and oh so easy. 

Let me know if you give them a try or have any recommendations of other frozen meals!! 

Friday, March 15, 2013

Food Friday - Banana Pudding Dessert

You guys.

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You HAVE to try this. It is so good and TOO easy (as in, you want to make it all the time, too easy). My friend prepared and served it and while I made some slight modifications, I loved it.

It is a simple way to get that sweet you've been craving or something easy to toss together for company. AND (bonus?), it's cheap to make!

You will need:
  • 2 yellow bananas
  • 1 box yellow cake mix (prepared according to the directions on the package for a 9x13 cake)
  • 2 boxes of instant (we used sugar/fat free) banana pudding (have milk ready for this... but don't make it till the cake is cool. Don't want it to thicken up before the cake cools...)
  • 1 8oz container of Cool Whip
  • 1 box of Nilla Wafers
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Bake cake according to directions on the package for a 9"x13" pan.

Once cooled, poke holes in it like you would for BTS cake, slice the bananas, and cover the cake with your banana slices.

Mix up pudding with the milk and before it sets, pour it over the cake/bananas using a rubber spatula to spread it out and cover completely. Top with Cool Whip (again, using the rubber spatula to spread).

When ready to serve, crumble the Nilla Wafers so large chunks remain. (If you add the Nilla Wafers too soon, they can get soggy. If you don't intend to eat the whole thing (which you 'll want to), I would recommend putting the wafers on on a per slice basis.) Serve cold.


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Wednesday, March 13, 2013

While the Dark Impedes my Thoughts...

As I sit here, my house is quiet with the gentle hum of breaths in the baby monitor. My exhausted husband is sleeping soundly in our room and all I can do is think of how wonderful life truly is.

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At the same time, as this title states, the darkness begins to impede my thoughts.

Now I'm not referencing some metaphorical darkness or any kind of evil. It's simply physical darkness. And with the darkness, comes (what seems like) 8mm film projector reruns of my life. The beautiful moments. The moments I want to hold onto forever.

The day I met my husband and the day he proposed. Our wedding day. I'll always remember the morning we discovered we were expecting, and holding our little girl for the first time. I remember the day Tyler and I stood in the kitchen, holding each other while I cried, praying to see the precious heartbeat of our little girl that couldn't be found at our routine appointment. I remember the tears when we discovered she was a little girl and imagining the bows and ribbons I would buy.

While trying to come up with a witty tale of how our daughter made us laugh today (which happens on a more-than-regular basis) all I want to do is write. Un-criticized, unedited, and without any judgement. I will not proofread this as it is a memory. A feeling that I want to capture.

Tonight, when Kylie woke to be fed after going to bed far earlier than her norm, I became very nostalgic. I was holding my child who was so very soft and warm. Someone who is so trusting and calm. It just seemed like such a surreal feeling. A feeling that I just wanted to hold. To put in a frame so I can glance at every once in a while and know that this is what perfect is.

She had trouble going back to sleep because of her cough left over from RSV so I got to simply hold her. To stare at her. I carried my infant to the living room, turned off the lights, the tv, the computer, and my phone and I sat on the couch with the most perfect person I have ever met. 

While this put me in a state of pure contentment, the darkness began to make me reminisce.

This couch that I am sitting on was, for a short while, my bed. The place where I laid awake the whole first night that Kylie was home because I was so scared. So nervous that she was our responsibility. I was in foreign territory. All I wanted to do as my eyes were begging me to fall asleep was to call the night nurses from the hospital and ask them how much I had to pay them to come over and watch Kylie so I could sleep. 

When I looked over at the love seat, I remembered that when I decided the bassinet was too high relative to the couch and I needed her to be right next to me so I could simply open my tired eyes and make sure she was OK, it acted as her bed. I laid on the ottoman next to her, on the left side of my body, for an entire week. I didn't miss a single cough, sneeze, or whimper.

When I looked around the dark room, I remembered what once was. Once, we had a pack and play out here so we wouldn't have to change her in her room. Once, we had swings out here so we could hastily make supper without clinging to her. Only to rush to her when supper was finished. Once we had a bassinet out here so she could nap as near to us as possible.

Now, Kylie is sleeping in her crib. She sleeps 12+ hours a night and wakes up once (maybe twice) to eat, then is right off to dream land where she remains until morning. She eats more than I can supply and while it kills me to not be her sole source of nutrition, I'm happy she's getting all she needs to grow. To thrive. 

She is such a happy baby. She is constantly smiling and now giggling and she even rolls over with such ease and flow. She holds my hand with both of hers when it rests on her belly as if pleading for me not to let go. When I put her in her crib tonight, she grabbed me as quickly as possible as if she knew I was going to leave, but begging me to stay. She wakes us with her giggles.

As I sit here in the darkness staring at our mantle, I can't help but to imagine our little family sitting near the fireplace. Playing, and laughing, and making forts with all the blankets in the house like I did when I was young. I imagine the sleep overs and the Disney marathons and smile in anxious anticipation.

As I sit here in the darkness, I can't help but to miss the days we had, and beg for time to stand still, if only for a minute. I want to remember the little things and celebrate them. I want to hold my baby for that extra minute and know that I didn't set her down too early. That I didn't rush to do the chores that needed to be done. Laundry, dishes, and work can wait. I want to bask in the beauty of motherhood.

We have so many beautiful memories. So much to appreciate. And we have so much to look forward to.

This is truly such a beautiful life. My heart is overflowing tonight...

As I sit here in the darkness.

Friday, March 8, 2013

Food Friday - Ham Egg Cups

Easy easy easy.

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This recipe makes THEE best breakfast and it is so incredibly easy.

I am obsessed with my muffin tin(s) so I use it at every opportunity. I saw this picture on Pinterest and rather than looking at the recipe, I thought I'd just wing it. Another perk? It's really not bad for you! You can also skip the yolk and cheese for a lower cal option.

You will need (for 6 egg cups):
  • Muffin tin
  • 12 slices of deli ham
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup of cheddar cheese
  • 3 tbsp skim milk 
Spray your pan with non stick spray and lay 2 pieces of ham in every other cup.

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In a small bowl, beat your eggs and milk together and pour into ham cups. (You can add veggies/meat to this too at this point. One time, we added mushrooms and onions and the result was awesome.)

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Sprinkle the top with cheese.

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Bake for 25-30 minutes at 350* or until eggs are heated through. Remove from oven and let stand for a moment to cool. I would say try it first before adding salt as the ham already contains a bit. So pepper to taste!

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Voila! You look like an expert chef and only spent 5 minutes in the kitchen. WINNING!

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See you next week with another new recipe.

Friday, March 1, 2013

Food Friday - Cinnamon Sugar Crisps


Welcome back for another Food Friday!

Remember when I posted Jalapeno Poppers? Well we had a LOT of spare wonton wrappers and I wanted to use them because if you let a wonton wrapper out of it's package for too long, it begins to harden and be unuseable. So, use the spares.

I decided to make Cinnamon Sugar Crisps.

You will need:
  • 20 wonton wrappers (the small 3x3 squares) cut in half to make triangles
  • 1/2 stick melted butter
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
Mix cinnamon and sugar together.

Spread out the wonton wrappers on an un-greased cookie sheet.

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With a basting brush, brush the butter on one side of the wonton wrapper. Sprinkle with the cinnamon sugar and put in the oven at 350* for 5 minutes or until they start to turn a light golden color.

Let cool then serve.

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Cheap, easy, and SUPER delicious.

Have a great weekend!

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