Thursday, January 30, 2014


I made this Cornbread recipe.  The only change I made was to use nonfat plain yogurt instead of buttermilk, because I always have yogurt on hand and almost never have buttermilk.  This produces a thick, sweet, moist cornbread.  I almost never make it plain though.  I usually top each slice with a jalapeno slice and sometimes stir in chopped jalapenos, shredded cheddar cheese, and/ or corn kernels also.

Savory Muffins with Goat Cheese and Rosemary

Savory Muffins with Goat Cheese and Rosemary

I had some extra goat cheese on hand that needed to be used up and decided to give a savory muffin a try after being inspired by a few recipes that I've seen recently.  This produces a nice moist muffin, with almost a biscuit like texture.  I thought they turned out really well, but I realize that this flavor combination in a muffin might be a little surprising for some people.

-2 cups all-purpose flour
-1 Tbsp baking powder
-1/2 tsp salt
-Lots of coarsely ground black pepper
-2 eggs, room temp
-1 cup plain nonfat yogurt, room temp
-6 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted and cooled
-2 Tbsp fresh rosemary, finely chopped
-5.5 oz goat cheese, crumbled
-Sea salt, for garnish

Preheat oven to 400F. Grease a 12-cup muffin pan or line with paper liners. Sift together the flour, baking powder, salt, and pepper into mixer bowl.  Lightly beat eggs and add to mixer bowl. Add yogurt, melted butter, rosemary, and goat cheese. Mix on medium speed until just combined - do not overmix.  Scoop the batter into the muffin pan. Sprinkle with sea salt. Bake for 20 minutes, until well risen, golden brown, and firm to the touch.  Let muffins cool 5 minutes in the pan before removing. Serve warm or cool completely and store covered for 3 days.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Goat Cheese Stuffed, Bacon Wrapped Dates

I've made these Bacon Wrapped, Goat Cheese Stuffed Dates a few times now, and had them several times when friends made them also.  Initially, Jeremy and I did not expect to like these.  Man, were we wrong!  These have quickly become our favorite appetizer.  The sweet, salty, cheesy combination is to die for!  These get devoured at every party I have seen them served at.  People can't stop, they can't eat just one.  Please make these, you will thank me, and then maybe curse me after you eat too many.  They are a simple, no fuss, elegant, crowd pleasing recipe to have in your arsenal.

Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins

I made these Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins.  I followed the recipe as is and thought they turned out really good.  I'm sure I'll be making these again.

Friday, January 24, 2014

35 weeks

Here is what is going on with Elisha this week according to;

Your baby's vision — previously about 20/40 at best — is now almost adult-like in its clarity and depth perception. Though your baby's short-range sight is still best, his long-range vision is good enough to recognize people and objects across a room. He may see a toy on the other side of the room and try to crawl toward it. His eyes are also probably close to their final color, though you may see subtle changes later.
Your baby may start looking for dropped objects and may use his index finger to point at them. He can easily use his fingers to rake up a piece of food and hold it with his fist closed, and he's learned to open his hand to drop and throw objects with greater precision. He's probably beginning to master the pincer grasp, too — the delicate maneuver that lets him pick up small objects with his thumb and first finger.

Your baby's also a fan of poking things and getting his little fingers into holes, making this a great time to cover outlets around the house.

There'll be times when your baby is afraid of things he can't understand. Even things that didn't bother him before, like a ringing doorbell or a whistling teakettle, may frighten him. When this happens, the most important thing you can do as a parent is comfort and reassure him. Tell him that you're there and he's fine — a hug or a snuggle may be all he needs.

Elisha is doing great!  A lot has changed for him in the last 2 weeks.  He has gone from rolling all over the floor as his mode of transportation, to an army man scoot/ crawl, and now to crawling on his hands and knees.  He is also pulling up to standing using every piece of furniture he can find, and at times letting go and balancing for a second or two.  Now I have to watch him closely because he quickly moves from room to room in search of every cord and shoe he can find.

He still nurses about 6 times a day and loves eating pureed solid food, but isn't showing any interest yet in picking up small bits of food and feeding himself.

The very top of his first tooth has started to break through his gums also.  He has seemed a little more irritable than normal during this process, but overall is still such a good sport through the pain.

Over the last two weeks he also taught himself to clap his hands without our prompting and regularly claps, laughs, and smiles at the silly antics of his older brother.

He loves to play trucks with his brother, to be outside, and he's a very enthusiastic audience when we sing songs, particularly Bingo.

Here was Noah at 35 weeks.  They may have some similarities, but overall, I think they look very different with completely different head shapes.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Green Beans with Cranberries and Nuts

Green Beans with Cranberries and Nuts

This is my go to side for Thanksgiving and Christmas when I don't make Green Bean Casserole.  I've been making this with sliced almonds for years, but this time I used walnuts instead, and I think I liked that even better, so use whatever type of nut you prefer.

-1 lb green beans (fresh or frozen, whole or cut... your preference)
-1/2 c dried cranberries
-1/2 c chopped walnuts (or nut of your choice)
-1 Tbsp olive oil
-1 Tbsp butter
-1/2 tsp salt
-1/4 tsp pepper
-2 Tbsp honey

Blanch green beans in boiling water for 5 minutes, drain.  Heat butter and oil in large skillet over medium heat.  Add beans and saute until desired tenderness.  Add remaining ingredients over heat, stirring until all of the seasonings and honey are well spread throughout the beans.  Serve.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Fruit Tarts

Fruit Tarts

These are a simple, light, healthy dessert that can be thrown together in a matter of minutes.  You can vary the fruit depending on your tastes- I definitely would have used a blueberry, blackberry, or raspberry had I hand some on hand.  I think the filling would also be great replacing the vanilla with lemon juice for a slightly different flavor.  For a slightly more elegant and glossy presentation you could melt a little light colored jelly or jam in the microwave (apple or apricot perhaps) and brush over top of the fruit to give it a sheen.

-1 (8 oz) package cream cheese (fat-free, or neufatchel works great)
-1/2 c sugar
-1 tsp vanilla
-1 c frozen whipped topping, thawed
-2 packs (15 shells each) phyllo tart shells
-desired sliced fruit

(Optional)  If desired, for more crisp shells, you can bake them at 350 for 3-5 minutes prior to filling (which I did).

In a medium bowl, beat cream cheese at medium speed until smooth.  Add sugar and vanilla, and beat until mixed.  Fold in whipped topping.  Spoon "cheesecake mousse" into phyllo cups, top with fruit, and serve, or chill until serving.  (Do not let these sit filled for too long or they will loose their crispness).

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Teriyaki Salmon

Teriyaki Salmon

This was delicious!  We both LOVED it, in fact, Jeremy said it may be the best thing he has ever eaten.  And for something that is so simple, and healthy, we will definitely be making this again.  This sauce/ marinade would be good on anything... I definitely see some chicken breasts and pork tenderloin prepared this way in our future.  Ginger and/ or sesame oil would also be great in here, but it was good as is.  You are going to want to serve this with rice, to soak up every extra bit of the delicious sauce.

-4 salmon fillets
-2/3 c soy sauce
-2/3 c brown sugar
-1/4 c lemon juice
-1/4 c olive oil
-4 cloves garlic, minced
-1 tsp sriracha sauce
-2 Tbsp cornstarch

Whisk together soy sauce, brown sugar, lemon juice, olive oil and garlic.  Marinade salmon for at least 2 hours, and up to 8 hours.  When ready to cook, wrap each salmon piece in an individual foil pouch and pour a spoon of marinade over top of it, then roll up to seal.  Bake salmon at 425 for 15 minutes, then open up the foil packets and broil for 5 minutes.  While salmon is baking.  Whisk together leftover marinade and cornstarch in a saucepan.  Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring regularly.  Reduce heat to medium low, cooking, and stirring often, until sauce has thickened (make sure it simmers at least 10 minutes to kill any bacteria from the raw fish).  Plate salmon and drizzle sauce/ glaze over top... garnish with sliced green onions if desired.

Friday, January 10, 2014

33 weeks

Here is what is going on with Elisha this week according to;

Your baby may be creeping (pushing himself around on his belly), crawling, or moving about by bottom shuffling — scooting around on his posterior using a hand behind him and a foot in front of him to propel himself.

Creeping is your baby's first method of getting around efficiently on his own. Usually, he'll first learn to pull himself with his hands and then get up on his hands and knees. Then he'll figure out how to move forward and backward by pushing off with his knees. (A "combat crawl" is a variation in which one leg is the pusher and the opposite arm the lead puller.)

All of these variations on crawling strengthen the muscles that will soon enable him to walk. Whichever mode of mobility your baby's using, it's fascinating to see how he solves the problem of getting around.
Your baby may be able to pull himself up to a standing position while holding on to furniture. In fact, if you stand your baby next to the sofa, he may be able to hold himself up, although he may be hanging on for dear life.

At this stage some parents put their children in baby walkers, but that's not a good idea. Walkers are unsafe: Your baby can use a walker as a stepladder to reach things he couldn't normally get to, such as a hot stove or bottle of bleach. What's more, they discourage floor play, which helps him learn to walk by giving him opportunities to crawl, pull up, and cruise while holding on to furniture — all activities that lead to walking.

Your baby's newfound mobility means that he's now entering the land of bumps and falls. These are an inevitable part of childhood, and although your heart may occasionally skip a beat or two, try to enjoy watching your baby explore his surroundings and discover his limits.

Restraining your innate desire to protect your baby allows him to grow and learn for himself. However, do make every effort to make your home baby-safe. A good way to do this is to get down to his level to find the possible danger zones. Secure fragile objects so they won't topple, for example, and keep rickety furniture in rooms that don't get much baby traffic.

Now's a good time to move drapery and blind cords out of reach, pad sharp coffee-table corners, install toilet-seat locks, relocate hazardous houseplants to higher ground, lock away poisonous cleaning supplies and medications, cover electric outlets, and secure safety gates at the top and bottom of each staircase.

(a pic of all the cousins when we were in Ohio for Christmas)

Elisha is doing great!  He is so laid back and easy going.  Very rarely does this poor child get a nap that doesn't get interrupted because I need to wake him up to leave the house, or he wakes up from hearing some loud noise from his brother playing.  But despite all that, he remains so happy and cheerful and never seems to be disgruntled at his interrupted sleep.  In general, he tends to take 2-3 naps a day, although the first one is often a very short one on a car ride somewhere.

He is still enjoying 1-2 meals of solid food a day and nursing every 3-4 hours.  We usually do banana and yogurt for his late morning meal and some type of vegetable and rice cereal for his late afternoon meal.  I have yet to see this kid seem to act full or refuse food.  He always seems to eat as much solid food as I'll give him, even if he just nursed.  I've seen him eat a whole banana, and some yogurt in one sitting, and that just sounds like a lot for such a small person, with such a small stomach.  I tried giving him some Cheerios to eat this week, but he didn't really seem to know what to do with them even though he saw me and Noah eating them.  He kinda just mushed them around, gagged a little, and then spit them out.  He doesn't have any teeth yet.

We already have the sense that Elisha is an extravert, and very engaging and relational.  When Noah was this age, I remember him wanting to get everyone to look at him, but once he had their attention he would look away and carry on with some display of behavior that was a show for anyone he could get to watch.  With Elisha, he makes eye contact and tries to engage everyone, but then holds it.  He wants to stare deeply into your eyes, continuing to engage you.  

He rolls all over the place to get to what he wants and he is doing a little scooting and a lot of rocking up on his hands and knees.  He loves his jump up and spends multiple hours a day swinging and bouncing around in it.

Within the last 2 weeks Elisha just started sleeping in the crib in the room with Noah, so we are no longer prisoners in our own home, unable to use the kitchen and bathroom after Elisha is asleep.  So far things are going pretty well with both boys sleeping in the same room, but we haven't quite figured out whether it's better to put one of them to bed first, or to put them both down at the same time.

Elisha and Noah love each other so much.  They love playing and rolling around on the floor together.  Despite the fact that Noah constantly harrasses Elisha and invades his personal bubble Elisha is always noticeably happy when Noah walks into a room, he is always so excited to see him and watch his shenanigans.  

Here is Noah's update at 33 weeks.

Grapefruit, Avocado, Feta, and Walnut Salad

Grapefruit, Avocado, Feta, and Walnut Salad

This is my new favorite salad.  Closely rivaled by the Green Well Salad.  I love the flavor and texture that each element provides, and how they pair so well together.  

-spring mix or butter letuce
-feta cheese
-chopped walnuts
-sliced ruby red grapefruit
-sliced avocado


-1/2 c olive oil
-1/4 c lemon juice
-1 Tbsp dijon mustard
-1 Tbsp sugar
-1.5 tsp salt
-3/4 tsp pepper

Assemble salad ingredients in a bowl.  Whisk together dressing ingredients and drizzle desired amount over salad.  Enjoy!

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Watermelon and Feta Salad

I already have a recipe for Watermelon, Cucumber, and Feta Salad that I really like, but since my book club is reading through the book Bread & Wine I gave Shauna Niequist's version a try.  I posted the recipe below as listed in her book, but when I made it I added cucumber to the salad, and added 1 Tbsp of sugar to the vinaigrette.  I thought the salad was very good according to her recipe, and I really liked the presentation touch of serving the watermelon mixture over the greens.

Watermelon Feta Salad
From Bread & Wine by Shauna Niequist


8 cups watermelon, cubed
8 ounces feta cheese, crumbled
3 tablespoons fresh mint, chopped
1/4 of a red onion, finely chopped
10 ounces arugula
2 limes
1/4 cup white balsamic vinegar or white wine vinegar
1/2 cup olive oil
salt and pepper to taste


Cube 8 cups of watermelon, and let the cubes marinate in the juice of one fresh squeezed lime for several hours.


Combine the fresh squeezed lime juice and zest from the remaining lime, white balsamic vinegar or white wine vinegar, olive oil, salt, and pepper.

At serving time, toss arugula with half the vinaigrette, and combine watermelon, feta, red onion, and fresh mint. Layer the watermelon mixture over the arugula, and drizzle with remaining vinaigrette.

Serves: 6 to 8