Thursday, March 29, 2012

Sausage, potato and cheddar quiche

I've been getting creative in the kitchen lately in terms of using whatever is it that we have in the fridge or pantry (aka pantry party). I do this to save money and avoid the grocery store.  Yesterday evening I made a sausage, potato quiche and paired it with a spring green salad. I love breakfast for dinner. And I love quiche. So it ended up being a great meal (not all pantry parties are!).  Erik was happy because it was basically a meat and potato pie.



Sausage, potato and cheddar quiche

Ingredients

1 store-bought pie crust
6 eggs
1 package sausge (I used Jimmy Dean)
1/2 cup shredded cheddar
2 medium sized red potatoes, thinly sliced
1/3 cup sour cream
1 tablespoon olive oil
Salt and pepper

Preparation

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place sliced potatoes on a greased baking sheet, top with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.

Roll pie crust onto an ungreased glass 9 inch pie dish. Place potatoes and pie dough into the oven and bake for about 8 minutes. Remove from oven and reduce the temperature to 350 degrees.

While potatoes and pie crust is in the oven, cook/brown the sausage in a frying pan. In a bowl, mix together the eggs and sour cream.

Layer the sausage (I only used about 3/4 of the sausage), potatoes and cheddar into the pie crust. Top with the egg mixture.

Bake for about 20-25 minutes or until the eggs are set.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Lemon-orange chiffon cake

During my pregnancy I craved sweets. Mostly cake, but anything sweet would do. My honey was awesome and learned to bake cakes and even frost/decorate them for me. I was beyond impressed when he baked me a double layer chocolate cake (even though it was from a mix) for my birthday and then a red velvet cake for Valentines Day (not from a mix!).

Having Juliet has done nothing to relieve my sweet cravings. It's still in full force. And so for our dinner party on Saturday, I thought a lemon cake would be perfect for spring (and perfect for me to have leftovers afterwards!). Yes, I am still on Weight Watchers, but with breastfeeding I get 40 points a day. To those of you familiar with the diet, you know that 40 points for a woman is a TON of points. Which means I can still eat cake. YES. Breastfeeding rocks.

Lemon-orange chiffon cake (recipe via My Recipes)

Ingredients

2 1/2 cups sifted cake flour
1 1/3 cups sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup vegetable oil
5 large eggs, separated
3/4 cup fresh orange juice
3 tablespoons orange zest
1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
Garnishes: edible flowers, kumquat slices, orange slices or lemon slices (we used lemon)

Preparation

Preheat oven to 350°. Combine first 4 ingredients in bowl of a heavy-duty electric stand mixer. Make a well in center of flour mixture; add oil, egg yolks, and orange juice. Beat at medium-high speed 3 to 4 minutes or until smooth. Stir in zest.

Beat egg whites and cream of tartar at medium-high speed until stiff peaks form. Gently fold into flour mixture. Spoon batter into 3 greased and floured 9-inch round cake pans.

Bake at 350° for 17 to 20 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pans on wire racks 10 minutes; remove from pans to wire racks, and cool completely (about 1 hour).

Spread Lemon-Orange Buttercream Frosting between layers and on top and sides of cake.

We followed the recipe for the cake but used store bought creamy vanilla frosting (about 1 and a half containers). We added a couple tablespoons of freshly squeezed lemon juice as well as a few teaspoons of lemon zest to the frosting.

Damn, this cake is good; moist and light and airy and lemony and orangy good. I was very happy with how it turned out. Erik did a great job frosting the cake and I think the lemon slices added a nice touch.

This cake isn't that tough to make. I prepared it in less than an hour the morning of the party. And it really is perfect for spring.  I hope to continue having some time for baking.  I think it will have to take place mostly on the weekends when Erik is home to watch Juliet for an hour or so while I'm in the kitchen.  When she's old enough she'll bake with me, I can't wait.

Monday, March 26, 2012

A spring, outdoor dinner party

Erik and I hosted a laid back outdoor dinner party on Saturday.  We had wonderful weather, 72 degrees and sunny.  Hanging out on our deck, I was reminded, once again, how much I love MN springs and enjoying every moment of it in our backyard.  I also realized that while it is totally possible, hosting a dinner party with a new baby is a lot of work.  I was exhausted by the end of the night!  It was worth it though, and I think Juliet loves being outdoors with friends as much as we do.

On the menu:

Drinks
Sangria, wine and whiskey (for the boys)

Appetizers
Two kinds of crostini: caprese bruschetta and white bean with thyme
Cheese and crackers

Main course
New York strip steaks
Garlic mashed potatoes
Asparagus

Dessert
Lemon orange chiffon cake  (this cake is amazing, perfect for spring).  I am doing a full post on the cake tomorrow so stay tuned!










Our fabulous guests!  Libby and Summer snuggled with Juliet as I ran back and forth from the deck to the kitchen, prepping food.  I did get to sip a glass of Sangria and it was delicious.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Overnight oats

{Photo credit: Oh She Glows}

Lately I've been trying to find recipes that make my life easier. Overnight oats is one of those recipes.

There are recipes all over the web, but I think this Blueberry Banana Pie Vegan Overnight Oats recipe by Oh She Glows looks particularly tasty, I mean...it has the word pie in it so it must be good.

This recipe can be adapted, I don't have chia seeds, but apparently they help with thickening so I may have to add a tiny bit more oats. I'll let you know how it turns out. In the meantime, if you want to try overnight oats here are some additional recipes:

Overnight oatmeal by Whole Foods
Overnight oatmeal by Food For Thought
Overnight oats (in a crockpot) by Food Network

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Buffalo "chik patty" salad

This is a go-to salad when I'm on Weight Watchers. It's super easy and tasts great. I love buffalo sauce and it gives me my fix.

This salad was sort of a pantry-party salad yesterday because I threw in leftover potatoes since they needed to get eaten. I actually really enjoyed the texture the potatoes added to the salad and of course who doesn't love some carbs with your salad.

Buffalo "chik patty" salad

Ingredients

1 Morning Star Chik Patty
1 roma tomato, chopped
5-7 baby carrots, chopped
1/2 cup roasted red potatoes, chopped (optional)
1/4 cup shredded cheddar
Couple handfuls of salad mix (I used an organic spring mix)
2 tablespoons light ranch dressing
1 tablespoon Franks Red Hot Buffalo Sauce

Preparation

Microwave the chik patty according to package instructions and cut into small squares. Add the Franks sauce and toss to coat. On a large plate add the salad mix, veggies and chik patty. Top with ranch dressing.

Total Weight Watchers Points Plus = approximately 12-13. To reduce the points omit the cheese and potatoes (cuts the points in half). I can eat a bit more (ok a lot more actually) points each day because I'm breastfeeding so I've been able to add cheese to things I otherwise wouldn't.

Enjoy!

Monday, March 19, 2012

Juliet: one month!

My baby girl turned one month last Friday! I was hoping to get a post up sooner but we have been BUSY. Now that the weather is so nice and Juliet is a little older, we have been taking her out and about. Bringing her out is easy. She is such a good baby. I keep holding my breath thinking, any day now, she is going to turn into a huge spazz baby. But it hasn't happened yet. I think she just has her daddy's laid back disposition.

She is so much fun.  I love her silly facial expressions when she's awake and alert and also her sweet, peaceful look when she's sleeping.  Her lips get pouty and full when she's asleep and I just stare and stare at her. 

Juliet has started getting pretty strong and moves her neck/head from side and side and can hold it up for moments at a time.  She doesn't like tummy time too much and she actually rolled over about a few days ago.  I told Erik that was an anomoly and it probably won't happen again for a while, babies don't usually roll over until at least 4 months (right?).  She is still quite an eater but we are continuing to work on technique (isn't it weird that there is proper technique to breastfeeding? I had no idea).  I love seeing Juliet gain weight and I think to myself proudly, I am helping her to grow! 

And though Juliet is more alert and active my favorite pasttime continues to be sitting with her quietly and snuggling, as I hear the phase when they love to lie on your chest is fleeting, so I take advantage of doing it every minute I can.

Like I mentioned, we have been busy!  But with a baby it's a different kind of busy.  We have a lot of family time.  St. Patrick's Day couldn't be more different now that Juliet is here.  Without a baby, we probably would have been downtown St. Paul drinking green beer (well, Erik for sure would have been).  This year we went to my parent's house to celebrate with my siblings.  It was a lot of fun, just a different kind of fun!
Yes we dressed a very non-Irish little girl up for St. Patrick's Day.
I whipped up some green, festive non-alchoholic beverages that had Sierra Mist, limeade and lime.
They were super refreshing and more than once I thought to myself how they would have been great with vodka :)
There is nothing wrong with store-bought cupcakes and cookies!  Weight Watchers starts today so I loaded up on sweets as though I'll never eat them again.
Not pictured, my sister and her husband made a delicious Shepherd's Pie.

And of course, grandma and grandpa can't get enough of Juliet and she loves spending time with them. Saturday was the third time we saw grandma last week!

We are looking forward to another week on maternity leave, it is supposed to rain a bit all week so we may be having lazy days on the couch, which is fine with me after such a busy weekend.  I hope you all enjoyed your weekend, did you do anything crazy for St. Paddy's Day??

Thursday, March 15, 2012

First BBQ of the season!

Yesterday the weather was in the 70's in Minnesota. It was glorious. I went for a walk in the Moby during the day with Juliet and then Erik and I grilled out, just the three of us. It was one of the best evenings I've had in a while.
I drank a glass of cab while Erik grilled. 
Kody kitty sunned himself on the porch while we ate.
We kept the meal very simple and had brats with sauerkraut, roasted red potatoes and corn. Juliet had milk :)

Love Minnesota spring, I feel so lucky to be on maternity leave right now!!!

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Lemon cake

{Photo credits: Martha Stewart}

It really feels like spring in MN. I enjoyed the mid 60 degree weather with my mom, niece Chloe and Juliet on a lovely walk yesterday. Today is going to be in the mid-70's. These lemony cakes remind me of something I'd serve for a spring dinner party or lunch.

I'd love to eat cake every day for the rest of my life.

But let's get real. I have 10 more pounds to lose from pregnancy and another 5 after that (that I should have lost before getting pregnant). I'm starting Weight Watchers on Monday. I wanted to give myself a whole month after having Juliet to not give a damn about what I ate. And I haven't (given a damn). Not that I've been feasting on french fries and pizza but I've had cupcakes and chips a few times without thinking twice about it.

WW will be interesting. It's been about a year since I've been on any serious sort of diet. But it's time. Mostly just time to get as healthy as can be. And I need to get my ass in shape, too. Did I mention that during the walk with Juliet last weekend I had to stop and catch my breath? Yikes!

Now back to the cake talk, because I still have a 5 more days before WW begins.  I'm sure I won't have time to bake a cake, but perhaps I'll scour a local bakery for lemony treats.  In the event you do have the time, check out these recipes and let me know how they turn out!

Lemon cake
White Lemon Cake with Lemon Curd Filling

Monday, March 12, 2012

A weekend filled with brunches and beautiful weather

Last weekend was nothing short of amazing. With a baby there is a new kind of amazing.

Amazing because of firsts.

Amazing because of precious time spent with good friends.

Amazing because of an almost 5-hour stint of sleep!

Amazing because I drank a mimosa :)

My weekend:

Good friends Kristin and Tim came over on Saturday with brunch.  Kristin made a delicious hashbrown, veggie quiche, bacon and she brought HUGE buttery croissants from a local bakery.  I forgot to take photos, unfortunately, but we had a great time visiting with them.

On Sunday Emily, Shannon and Natasha came over with brunch as well.  We had mimosas, coffee, quiche, a beautiful fruit salad and the most amazing blueberry coffee cake.  I hadn't seen these gals in about a month and a half and it was an awesome time. 


Don't be intimidated by coffee cake, it's really quite simple to make and so, so good (Emily introduced me to this recipe).  Check out the recipe here
Lunds carries delicious quiche pre-made.  Keeps things easy and quick! 
My sister, Kat, came over on Friday afternoon and we checked out local cupcake shop, Sweet Bebe Cakes.  I bought 6 cupcakes, this one was vanilla with raspberry filling and vanilla buttercream.  So moist and tasty.  I still have my sweet cravings for sure.
The weather this weekend was insanely gorgeous, the mid 60 degree temps broke records and felt so damn warm.  We took Juliet out for her first ever walk.  She was very alert/awake the whole time...taking everything in.  We purchased that Quinny Buzz stroller used from a coworker and it worked quite well (I was worried I didn't like it because it's heavy and hard to fold down, still is hard to fold, but it rides very smooth).  Erik loves it. 
And finally, a photo of Erik and I snuggling our sweet baby. There was a LOT of that going on last weekend. Don't mind me...that's no make-up and super funky hair!

I hope you enjoyed your weekends as much I did!

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Baby Juliet: 3 weeks!

Juliet is 3 weeks today! Time is flying by, which surprises me because I thought the days would feel longer. We haven't gone out much (yet) because I'm avoiding crowds the best I can until Juliet is a bit older (we'll probably start going out in another week or two).

Our time is spent hanging out at home all day, mostly in the living room and nursery.  We take naps (well, I try to nap when she does but it rarely happens), breastfeed a lot, and our latest favorite past time is hanging out in the Moby wrap. The Moby allows me to hold Juliet close all day while she naps or is awake but I have two hands to do things like eat!

Juliet is more alert these days and a bit more fussy (to be expected now that she's out of her super sleepy phase).  We have gotten a couple 3-4 hour stretches of sleep in at night which feels amazing, but besides that she is still eating every 2-3 hours (more like every 2 hours at night).  We've seen a lactation consultant twice since being home from the hospital and Juliet is doing amazing at breastfeeding (lactation consultants are a new mom's dream, so helpful and supportive).  She is gaining weight like a champ and is beginning to sport a double chin and chubby cheeks that I kiss all day long.

I wanted to include some of my favorite baby items that I can't live without right now:

Burp cloths - we have these placed all over the house so they're always within an arm's reach.  You can never have too many.  We are super lucky and received tons of hand made burp cloths as gifts. 

The Moby Wrap - I adore this!  The lactation consultant showed me how to wrap it and now I'm obsessed.  I want to carry Juliet around in this thing until she's 18!

Any and all breastfeeding supplies - including my breast pump, drying rack, bottle cleaning brush, storage bags, etc.  These things are not exciting but are invaluable. 

Pacifiers - I was told by a lactation consultatnt (the one that taught the breastfeeding class I took) not to introduce a pacifier until at least a month.  Um...that sooo didn't happen.  We gave her one around a week and a half.  My friend Mel is a pediatrician and actually recommended giving her one early on.  Babies need to suck to be soothed. Juliet likes her paci, but we try to only give it to her around nap time, night time and if she is being super fussy.

Couple questions for all you moms:

Juliet doesn't like sleeping in her pack n play (we have it right next to our bed in our room).  She prefers to be held to sleep or to sleep in bed with us).  I know bed-sharing is supposedly a no-no (I would do it in a second every night while she is an infant if it wasn't considered unsafe) and I need my girlie to sleep better at night.  Do any of you use the Fischer Price Rock N Play Sleeper?  I've read mixed reviews on Amazon (some saying it contributes to flat head, scary!) but moms on The Bump swear by it.  Or how about the Arm's Reach Co-Sleeper?  I'm thinking the co-sleeper would be best because she would be closer to me but it's really not that much different than having the pack n play next to my bed. 

What do you think is my best option?  Oh and I realize Juliet is still super young and her sleeping patterns/needs are pretty normal.  I just want her to be as comfortable as possible and am considering other options then the pack n play. 

And finally I wanted to let you all know that after talking with a bunch of friends and receiving comments/email advice, I probably will not be starting a separate mom/baby blog.  Instead I'll be incorporating that content into Eat Drink Pretty.  It won't be constant, but probably on Thursdays for sure (Juliet was born on a Thursday and I'll be doing weekly updates).  Everyone thought, and ultimately I agreed, that there is no way I'd have time to maintain two blogs and also work full-time (which I'll be doing after maternity leave is over).  I hope my regular readers won't mind this additional content and if so, I would simply recommend avoiding my blog on Thursdays. 

And lastly, big thanks to Liz and Nicole for the cute hat and ruffly diaper cover that Juliet is modeling in her photos.  So cute!

On To Baby blog feature!

I am super excited that the maternity/nursery photos taken by Canary Grey Photgraphy are being featured on On To Baby blog today. On To Baby is one of my favorite mom/baby blogs filled with nursery inspiration, beautiful maternity sessions, newborn photos and the most amazing baby showers I've ever seen.  Be sure to head over there and check it out!

I'll have a full post next week with all the details and budget for Juliet's nursery so be sure to check back!

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Steel cut oats with vanilla almond milk and blueberries

I just discovered my new favorite breakfast, steel cut oatmeal with vanilla almond milk. It is so good. The vanilla almond milk contributes so much sweetness that it almost tastes like dessert for breakfast. I didn't realize how sweet it would be so I also added sugar in the raw, which I didn't really need.

Almond milk is something I'm trying these days in an attempt to cut back on dairy.  We think dairy might make our little girlie's tummy gassy/upset (but it could just be her immature digestive track and have nothing to do with dairy).  Regardless, I don't mind cutting back a bit on dairy if it might make her feel better. 

Steel cut oats supposedly help with milk supply for breastfeeding. I don't know how "real" that is but I've read it in multiple places. Either way, we all know oatmeal is filled with health benefits. The only downside is that steel cut oats take a while to make, I only made one serving but wish I would have made enough for the entire week.

Steel cut oats with vanilla almond milk and blueberries (one serving, recipe adapted from Quaker Oats)

Ingredients

1/4 cup steel cut oats
1 1/2 cups vanilla almond milk
Handful of blueberries
Sugar in the raw, optional

Preparation

In a medium sauce pan, bring the milk to a boil, add the oats and reduce to a simmer, stirring occasionally for 25-30 minutes. Pour oats into a bowl and top with blueberries and sugar.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Real party: a bundle of joy baby shower

This "bundle of joy" baby shower was sent by Callie V and is filled with tons of pretty blue details and sweet touches.  I'm a big fan of the donut tower (duh!) and hanging row of bow-tie onesies. 

Callie is a Minneapolis based photographer and we met a couple years ago through blogging/social media. Remember the Minnesota lake life wedding inspiration shoot (part 1 and part 2) she styled and photographed?

Callie is due in a couple weeks with her first baby (a boy!). In addition to her photography business, Callie recently started a mommy blog that's filled with yummy recipes and great advice, check it out!

As told by Callie:

"My sisters and my mom did such a wonderful job pulling together my winter themed "bundle of joy" baby shower! The dessert table and the bowtie onesies were my favorite part. The afternoon was filled with sweet treats, fun games, good company and lots of love for Baby V!"

Mmmmm, cupcakes.
A donut tower is always a good idea.


I love a baby shower with booze :)


Baby V is set with stylish onesies. It's a good thing, too because in my experience these little babes need clothing changes multiple times a day!
Thanks so much to Callie for sending this shower my way.  Can't wait to hear about baby V's arrival!

Vendors

"Baby V" banner and "It's a boy" straws - Etsy shop Loralee Lewis
Snowflakes for cupcakes - Etsy shop Modern Luxe Events
"Bundle of Joy" bags - Etsy shop Gosh that's Posh

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Baby Juliet: 2 weeks!

My baby girl is two weeks already. We had a very quick photo session this morning that did not go very well. Juliet got a little mad at momma. So we cut the photos short and snuggled instead. I still managed to capture a few cute ones and even one of her cute little grumbly face!

This cute rose outfit was going to be her "coming home" outfit but it was way too big.  Still is.  She had it on for about 30 minutes and then spit up and had to be changed. 
Little miss grumbles

Juliet's favorite things this week:

Cuddling with daddy in the evenings when he gets home from work
Sleeping a lot during the day
Eating...all the time!
Soft blankets
Skin-on-skin with momma anytime

Her least favorite things:

Sponge baths
Being cold
Getting her diaper changed
Sleeping at night (let's hope this gets better, she is very awake at night and doesn't like being put down in her pack n play)

Week 2 went well with our baby girl. She is definitely gaining weight as I can see her little cheeks filling out (this is a relief since she lost 10% of her birth weight within the first few days of being born). I'm a bit tired and have a little cabin fever this week but other than that I'm feeling pretty good. I've mastered eating standing up or one handed while I hold her as well as taking super quick showers.  Make-up seems to be a thing of my past.

I'm really looking forward to the weekend when Erik is home all day to hang out with us.  We're also spending time with my family and I know Juliet is excited to see her grandma, grandpa, aunties and uncles!