Wednesday Wisdom

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

"Be yourself: No one can ever tell you you're doing it wrong."
James Leo Herlihy

Pizza Night

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

David and I are huge fans of an easy, order delivery, pizza night. Let's be honest, who isn't? In an effort to make something a bit healthier I decided to take delivery pizza night into my own hands. I am SO happy I did this. Here's the scoop.

I actually made one pizza, and one stromboli. Either way you can really get creative with your ingredients. I went basic with the pizza, and used spinach that I had already as my inspiration for the stromboli. To make this a do-able meal on a weeknight I started with the Pillsbury Classic Pizza Crust. If you're making a normal pizza you'll pre-bake it. If you choose to make a stromboli, no pre-baking needed. I just cooked it in 6-8 minute increments and kept a close eye on it.

Our pizza was pepperoni, green pepper and cheese. I went light on the cheese and heavier on the other toppings. Super easy to do. Pre-bake your crust on a cookie sheet. Add toppings of choice. Put back in the oven to cook and melt cheese. Your pizza will be ready in approximately 15 minutes total!

As mentioned, my stromboli inspiration came from some spinach that I already had at home. I picked up some mushroom alfredo sauce (I decided to make a white pizza), prosciutto (I was going to do bacon bits, but our market didn't have any, darn!), sun dried tomatoes, a red onion and garlic. You'll saute the onion and garlic in olive oil (probably 2-3 tbsp) to start. Once those are starting to cook down and soften you'll add your sun dried tomatoes, and prosciutto. I added my spinach when the prosciutto started to golden in color. Since the prosciutto is a salty meat, you don't need to add more salt. I seasoned with black pepper and red pepper flakes. Don't cook the spinach all the way down, I'd say about 2/3 of the way. It will finish in the oven. Now that your toppings are cooked, roll out your dough just as you would for a regular pizza. Pour your ingredients "long ways" across the dough in the middle. I topped it with a bit of shredded Italian cheese mixture (the same cheese that I used for our pizza), then wrapped the dough around the spinach mixture, pinched closed, and topped with a bit more cheese. Total, I think my stromboli cooked for about 20 minutes.

I'm sorry I don't have measurements. I guess I really am becoming a home cook. I just throw things together, and hope for the best! I promise though, if I can do this, you can do this. Happy cooking!

Weekend in Review

Monday, July 22, 2013

Hi Friends! How was your weekend? Ours was exhausting. Nice, but exhausting. You see, a baby with a cold (a pretty bad one) is really not fun. But, things are looking up today, so I think it's all downhill from here - besides the fact that I now have a cold. Oh well, better me than baby Noelle.

Friday ended with a visit from Nene and Da after they got into town from Las Vegas.

Saturday rough. This was the peak of Noelle's cold. We started the day with a trip to Target to load up on anything that might kick the cold and cough. Thankfully, we ran into two other moms who gave me their advice on curing babies cold. Noelle napped as much as she wanted, didn't eat very much, but otherwise was very normal. Not fussy or seeming uncomfortable. She's such a tough chick! That afternoon we attended a birthday party for our next door neighbors daughter and son who are turning four and two. It's been so nice living in such a great neighborhood. We've made friends with all of our neighbors, and couldn't be luckier for everyone's welcoming attitude and willingness to help. Most importantly when we need a humidifier for Nono's room, and our next door "mom away from mom" came to the rescue with their vaporizer! Yay! We capped the evening with dinner where all of Nene and Da's friends melted over Noelle.

Sunday was lazy in the morning, and full of family in the afternoon. We went to the suburbs to relax by the lake and have lunch with family. The dogs played, we fed the swans (and Noelle) crackers, ate some watermelon, and enjoyed the beautiful day - until it down poured, and we headed home. Daddy enjoyed lots of play time with Noelle before bath and bed time.

Like I said, exhausting. Nice, but exhausting. And, on that note, I'm hitting the hay before 11 today, but will  leave you with this. Tonight I made, the best spinach Stromboli. No recipe, I created another meal. What's happening to me? I guess all of the Food Network I watch is finally paying off. Recipe to come soon - promise!

Night night, all.

P.S. Sorry for the lack of pictures this week. As mentioned, there were a lot of naps this weekend!!

Noelle's 9th Month

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Well, last weekend concluded Noelle's 9th month. She's officially been alive as long as I cooked her. Wow. It's hard to say which went by faster. I'll tell you though, I'm certainly enjoying this summer a lot more than I enjoyed last!

I think this month Noelle has changed the most significantly compared to the rest. She eats well, sleeps great,  and is standing wherever there is something she can pull herself up.

We had her 9 month check up this week and the doctor was very happy. Noelle weighed 18 lbs 10.5 oz on Tuesday, which now puts her into the 50% as opposed to the 25% that she's been until now. She also grew two more inches since her 6 month check up - 29 inches, 90%! But now to the fun stuff - pictures! Enjoy!



Wednesday Wisdom

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

"Until you make peace with who  you are,
you'll never be content with what you have."
Doris Mortman

Noelle's First Fourth

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

So, I'm a little late on this one. But, as they say "better late than never" right?! We had an awesome 4th of July, and I think Noelle had a good time too.

We started the day with breakfast made by David, and drinks made by Mallory.

Breakfast and beverages were followed by running around in Nono's DJ booth (her not us), Skyping with Nene and Da in Las Vegas, and playing in the backyard.

In the late afternoon we headed to the suburbs to families house for dinner, fireworks and fun. They live on a beautiful small, no motor boat lake. It's always a great time. The dogs (all three of them) run around the yard, we eat good food, and blow off a ton of fireworks when the sun goes down.

It was one of my favorite Fourth of Julys to date.

Weekend in Review

Monday, July 15, 2013

This weekend was perfect. Nothing too crazy. Just some errands, relaxing at home, and a bbq Sunday night to cap off a beautiful two days.

 We started the weekend playing with Halas in the backyard on Friday after work.

 On Saturday, I vacuumed (seriously, look at that face),
and had some coffee (the tears are what happened when I tried taking the cup away).

 Mom sunbathed while Nono napped (and daddy worked).

 And later we took a nap together. (I woke up first.)

Our plans on Sunday got a bit silly when I killed the car battery while installing Nono's new "big girl" car seat.
So, daddy spent half the morning fixing it while we ran around the house on our own.

 Then we took a nap because supervising a car battery install is exhausting.

 On Saturday we bbq'd with some friends, and ate some chips.

 Halas had a playmate over too. We were all exhausted by bed time.

No Noodle Lasagna

Thursday, July 11, 2013

The baby has been bathed, fed, and is snug as a bug in bed. Dinner has been cooked - chicken caesar salads tonight - and I'm enjoying a little quiet time (with House Hunters) before the hubs gets home from work.

Tonight I have a delicious new recipe to share. Although the hubs hasn't tested it yet, I'm sure he'd approve. It's made with a common theme that we use often in our house...Italian sausage and peppers! (You can find my sausage and peppers pasta recipe here.) Many of you saw my Instagram picture yesterday of me cooking with Noelle. This is what I was working on.

It's definitely a bit more work than I usually like (especially on a weeknight) but is totally doable. Here's what you'll need:

1 lb hot Italian sausage ground (I use the links and remove them from their casings)
1 red pepper diced
1 green pepper diced
1/2 an onion diced
2 medium zucchini cut into wide thin strips (I just cut mine as thin as I could, but would probably use a mandolin slicer next time)
1 jar of vodka sauce
2 cups of Italian blend shredded cheese

1. Drain zucchini (some people prefer to salt it, and some bake it for a short time)*
2. Pre-heat oven to 350
3. Brown sausage and drain grease
4. Add chopped peppers and onion to the sausage until tender
5. Add 3/4 jar of vodka sauce and stir until well mixed
6. Put thin layer of sauce in the bottom of a 9 x 13 casserole dish
7. Add layer of zucchini strips
8. Add layer of sausage and peppers mixture
9. Top with 1 cup of cheese
10. Repeat steps 6-8
11. Put in oven for 30 minutes or until cheese is bubbly and starting to turn golden brown**
12. Remove from oven and let set for 10 minutes
13. Cut, serve and enjoy

*I did not drain my zucchini (forgot how much moisture it has) and it was a bit waterier than I would have preferred. However, it was perfectly fine reheated today for lunch.
**Mine didn't brown in the 30 minutes, but the cheese was totally melted so I put it under the broiler until it was golden brown.

So, like I said, it's more work than my usual weeknight recipes, but it's so easy and you can actually do most of the steps while other pieces are working (i.e. draining zucchini while you brown sausage while you chop veggies).

I really hope you like this one. It makes 12 servings, and if you're like us, is perfect for leftovers to take for lunch the next day. Bonus? Yup, there's a bonus with this one. It's only 200 calories/serving!! If you ask me, that's a hell of a deal for a delicious and filling dinner.