Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Quinoa Chili

Are you looking for a cheap, healthy, easy, and deliciously satisfying meal?  This Quinoa Chili is where it's at.  I suggest you go make it ASAP.  It is so darn good!  The only thing different I did was to add about a 1/4 cup of nutritional yeast into the chili.  I love that nutritional yeast not only adds in the flavor (tends to have a cheesy flavor) but amps up the nutrition of foods.  Add avocado, plain greek yogurt and some cheese on top of your chili and you've got a delicious meal!

Monday, October 21, 2013

Chicken & Spinach Pesto Lasagna

Quick post before babies wake up from their morning nap.  I made this yesterday and it was an AMAZING take on lasagna.  I actually got the recipe off a bag of cheese, but I've made some revisions so it's healthier...and just better overall.  It is melt in your mouth delicious...perfect for a cool, fall evening. :)


12 lasagna noodles (I used the ready to go ones that you don't have to pre cook, just put them in the pan and they bake in the oven, I wish they had these in whole wheat though...)
2 T. olive oil
1 onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, crushed
2 packages (12 oz. each) frozen chopped spinach (thaw out a bit before cooking with it)
3 cups cooked diced chicken
1/2 tsp. black pepper
1/2 tsp. salt (if desired, I actually didn't use any)
2 cups low-fat ricotta cheese
1 egg
1 1/2 cups prepared pesto sauce plus 3 T. (I used our favorite, Bertolli's pesto)
1/4 cup nutritional yeast  (you don't have to use this if you don't have it on hand)
3/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
2 cups shredded low-fat mozzarella cheese


1. Preheat oven to 350.
2. Spray 13 x 9-inch casserole or lasagna pan with nonstick cooking spray.
3. Heat oil in large skillet over medium-high heat.  Cook and stir onions and garlic until transparent.  Add spinach; cook and stir about 10 minutes.  Add chicken and stir about 5 minutes.  Season with salt and pepper if desired.
4. In a large bowl, mix together ricotta cheese, egg, pesto, nutritional yeast and parmesan cheese until thoroughly blended.  Add chicken and spinach mixture to bowl and stir to combine.
5. Spread 3 T. pesto in bottom of prepared pan.
6. Layer lasagna noodles slightly overlapping.  Top with one third of spinach ricotta mixture and one third of mozzarella.  Repeat layers twice.
7. Bake about 40 minutes or until hot and bubbly.

Serves 8.

*I paired our lasagna with broccoli and home made drop biscuits.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

A couple recipes! Finally!

It's been a very long time since I posted some recipes.  Even though life has been crazy with the twins, I have still found some time to cook.  I usually do something super easy and quick, but 1-2 times a week I do something a little more involved.  Not too crazy involved, but something that takes a little more prep time.  Most days I use the crock pot (love!) or throw something in the oven.  I tend to prep or make dinner during the babies afternoon nap.  If it needs to stay warm I put it in the oven on the warm setting until we are ready to eat.  This way after the babies 5:00 pm feeding the hubs and I can eat before we put the babies to bed.

I made this chicken recipe yesterday and it was a hit!  It cooks for a while in the oven, so if you are busy (who isn't??), I'd recommend making it ahead of time or having it prepped so you can throw it in the oven once you get home from work or whatever.  The recipe calls for 1/3-1/2 cup of Sriracha sauce, but because I'm nursing I only used about 1/4 cup of Sriracha sauce and it still had a kick!  I can't imagine using 1/3 cup of the sauce, but if you like your food super spicy, go for it.  I got the recipe from a local blog that I love.  Here is the recipe for the Firecracker Chicken.  It won't disappoint :)  Tasted like PF Chang's!  I served it over brown rice and paired the dish with acorn squash and sugar snap peas...yummmo!

I also wanted to post a pumpkin "cookie" bar recipe I made that I found off Pinterest.  Man oh man do I LOVE pumpkin!!! Ahh this time of year is the best for pumpkin, but I always wonder why I don't just make pumpkin things throughout the year??  Anyways, try these "cookies."  They are healthy and so good.  The hubs would eat them for breakfast, they are great for a snack or dessert as they have lots of good nutrients in them.  I followed the recipe, however I did not use gluten free or vegan products, just regular and they still turned out good to me.  These bars were demolished in about two days...


Monday, October 7, 2013

4 months

I sat down to write this post and a sweet girl named Abby wanted some cuddles.  So I put the computer down and there we sat on the couch as I watched the Today show and snuggled.  She fell asleep in my arms, I love when that happens.  Such a peaceful feeling that comes from holding a sleeping baby.  Time with these babies is so precious and time is going by oh so quickly.  I am trying to get in as many snuggles and cuddles with Abby and George as much as possible.

How are they already four months olds?  I can't believe it.  This is really my most favorite month so far.  The hubs and I had a date night on Saturday and we kept talking about how we can't believe we survived the newborn stages with two babies.  It was SO hard but now we feel things are really so much easier and so much more fun.  I do have to say (and I am biased) but we have two pretty awesome and good babies on our hands.  I think God figured he put us through enough with the pregnancy that he'd give us some good babies...and He did!  That's not to say they don't cry and have their fussy times because they def. do, but all in all they are really good.

George rolled over (front to back) for the first time at 16 weeks at the end of September.  I got it on camera and was soooo excited about it!  Now he loves rolling over.  It is so cute!  He also is a HUGE talker...or coo'er if that's a word.  He just talks and talks and talks and talks.  It is the most adorable thing EVER and we can't get enough of it.  George has really been smiling tons lately too.  He is the most chill and happy baby you have ever met.  As long as he has food in his belly, he's generally pretty happy and easy.  George also loves to stand while being held.  At the babies four month pediatrician appointment George weighed 11.8 pounds.  They got their four month shots and did great with them.  

Abby rolled over at 17 weeks, but I have yet to see it!  She rolled over for my Mom once when she was watching the babies but hasn't done it since.  She is a mover though and scoots all over the play mat when she's on the ground.  I have a feeling we are going to have two crawlers by Christmas.  eek!  Abby's smile will light up a room...she has the biggest smile ever, it is so adorable.  She also does this shoulder shrug when she smiles and it looks like she's a huge flirt.  We will be in trouble when she is a teenager.  Abby also coo's and "talks" but not quite as much as her brother.  She is a sweet girl but always has her bewitching hour in the evenings.  Dinner time is not fun around here as she is usually pretty fussy.  We tend to put her in the swing that time of night and that usually does the trick so we can eat our dinner before putting the babies to bed.  Abby weighed 14.5 pounds at their 4 month dr. appt.  She is a great eater...just like me when I was her age.  I could just eat up her cheeks and thighs.

George and Abby are definitely starting to notice each other.  They will look at each other and "talk" back and forth.  It is precious.  George gets worried when Abby is upset, it is so sweet.  Both baby's are also grabbing things and holding their rattles.  We were given two super soft Little Giraffe blankets and George really loves his blanket.  They love the feel of them and snuggling with them.

Both babies rarely spit up anymore and no more of throwing up...thank goodness that stage has passed. Abby is still on her reflux meds but we have stopped them with George.  I don't think Abby will be on them much longer.  Abby is still exclusively nursed, and I nurse George most of the time.  He still is a bit of a "lazy" eater so doesn't always do the best with nursing.  We give him a bottle a few times a day of breast milk to make sure he is getting enough.  Overall they are super easy to feed these days and feedings don't take nearly as long as they used to.  Phew!

Both babies are good sleepers.  I really think it's because of the routine we started when they were about a month old.  Our routine is around 7 pm to give them their baths, then swaddle in their sleep sacks, feed them, then bed.  They love this routine and usually go to sleep pretty easy.  They wake up once in the middle of the night anywhere between 2 and 3 am.  I feed them together, put them back in their cribs to sleep and then they wake up for the day usually sometime between 6:30-8 am, just depends what time their middle of the night feeding was.  We have a light dimmer in the nursery so for the middle of the night feedings we don't change their diapers (unless they are poopy which is rare), we don't talk to them much and keep the lights dim.  This way they eat while half asleep and fall back asleep easily once fed.  Hopefully in the next month or so they will drop their middle of the night feeding.  For now it is not too bad though and I feel like I'm getting good sleep these days.  We put them to sleep with their arms swaddled down, but lately they have been getting their arms out and wanting their arms out.  That is fine as long as they don't startle themselves and wake up from that.  They have been doing pretty well though with their arms out.  We transitioned them from their rock n'plays to the crib a couple weeks ago.  They did great with the transition although I was worried about.  They have had no problem with the crib.  They were sleeping in the same crib but getting too long for that so last night we put them in their separate cribs.  They did great.  They are growing up!

Mimi watches the babies about once a week so I can run errands and get things done.  It is very nice and Mimi loves the time with them.  This is a picture of Mimi taking them for a walk in the stroller that my Mom used for my twin brothers.  My parents have also watched the babies overnight twice for me and the hubs.  It has been hard for me (I always cry) but it is a nice break and nice to get some uninterrupted sleep (well besides getting up to pump).

Papa and Abby

I think those are the main updates for now.  We are so blessed to have these sweet babies in our lives!  What joy they bring to us!  My love grow more and more for them everyday.