Monday, September 30, 2013

Kitchenspiration {Link-up}

It's time for another round of Kitchenspiration!
Chelsea and I are SO excited to bring you this weekly link-up! Kitchenspiration is all about ANYTHING that inspires you in the kitchen. 
This can be:
-Recipes you've tried or want to try
-Weekly meal plans
-Pinterest recipe ideas
-Food related tips
-Your favorite kitchen essentials
The possibilities are endless!
You can link-up a brand new post OR link-up anything food/meal/recipe related from your blog that you posted within the previous week.

Before you scroll down to link up:
***Check out some Kitchenspiration from this past week on NTSST:
My Weekly Meal Plan
3 Easy Meals by Jaime
Never The Same Spice Twice

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Sunday, September 29, 2013

What's cooking this week?

Morning! I planned my meals for the week, but I've got to say it is not NEARLY as fun as it used to be. I feel really limited because...well...there is just no time to cook when you have a newborn. There, I said it. I was in denial before. I thought I would still be able to make time to be creative in the kitchen. I've lost my touch...but the good news is I KNOW this is only temporary. As soon as things settle down  and we get Ella into a routine (2 months, 3 months...6 months maybe/hopefully not) I will be back at it. Regardless, I'm still sharing my plans with you all. It does feel good to be prepared for the week even if it's nothing fancy! Pretty soon my stockpile in the freezer will be gone and I will have to find a way to cook more meals anyway! 
Tonight: Stove Top Meatloaf (thanks Jaime!)
Monday: Chicken Fajitas (in the freezer)
Tuesday: Loaded Veggie Pizza
Wednesday: Pasta with Bolognese Sauce (in the freezer)
Thursday: Mom Sko's Chicken Pot Pie (in the freezer)

It's been a pretty good weekend so far. Ella has been taking lots of incredibly short naps EXCEPT for last night when we took her out to dinner and met up with some friends. She slept for four hours....FOUR! Why doesn't she do that when we are home? It was nice because she was a good girl, very content the entire time. We sure did pay for it last night when we got home though! It's okay - in a sense it was worth it! We will see how it goes today. Right now she is chilling in her glider. Do I dare close my eyes? 
The rare four hour nap!
I hope you are all having a fantastic weekend! 
(***Birth Story is ALMOST complete...coming soon, promise!)
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Friday, September 27, 2013

Friday Five

It's Friday, YaY! It's been a pretty good week, I've got to say! We have made some progress with the Little Lady. It's amazing how much could happen in just one week - especially with a newborn! Last night I did get some sleep, but fingers crossed for some much needed nap time today!

First, let's take a peek at some favorites...
1. I'm loving lounging with my cutie. How cute are these ladybug feet?
2. Success with the bottle!
3. Another sneak peek from our photo shoot.  I'm obsessed! I'll share more very soon!
4. Her fingernails were like claws...I successfully cut them...hi-five indeed!
5. Fall scents from Bath and Body Works, my favorite!

Happy Friday!

Linking up...
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Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Ella's Three Week Update

 
Hi Friends! I can't believe I'm a Mommy to this adorable little three week old! Those cheeks..OMG! I can't get over how much she grows and changes from day to day! I'm still getting adjusted to Mommyhood even though it has already been a few weeks! Ella is doing well - we are still having quite a few rough days and nights, it's to be expected but it's getting a little easier to handle. She is often fussy but Hubs and I are starting to get to know her a little better. We are learning a few ways to help settle her, as well as the things that set her off even more!
She is such a doll, I still look at her and can't believe she is mine! A big milestone from this past week is that she started taking a bottle! I've been pumping and she has been taking small amounts of the breast milk at a time in the bottle! This is good because now Stephen can help with feedings! We are also going to start supplementing with formula because there has been a question as to whether or not my milk alone has been satisfying her. She still wants to feed OFTEN! Sometimes it could be every 45 minutes to an hour! 

We are going back to the Pediatrician this morning to check on her weight (last night we weighed her at 6 lbs. 6 oz.), and talk a little more about supplementing. Last time we were sent home with a can of Nutramigen...which supposedly tastes terrible! I'm hesitant to immediately jump to this formula not knowing with 100% certainty she has an issue with cows milk. Between the taste AND the expense (it's like twice as much), I'm wondering if maybe we should try something different first. Anyone have any experience with Nutramigen? 

We have also been giving her Zantac for her acid reflux, and I have been noticing it seemed to have helped a little bit as well. She spits most of it out because she absolutely hates the taste. Who knew you have to ask the pharmacist to put a little flavoring in there? This is one of the many things I'm learning! Check out her Zantac face...not thrilled...
Overall, I could say things are starting to get a little easier. She has been slightly more content in between feedings instead of screaming from one feeding to the next. Napping throughout the day has been a little better too. We are making progress with little Miss Ella Rose! We even took her out again yesterday to the grocery store, and did a little shopping at Bath and Body Works. She slept the entire time...I'll take it! She got a lot of attention. Must be the adorable Sassy Baby Essentials headband!
   
Our visit with Grandma Sko has been AMAZING for all of us! She has been getting Ella to take nice long snugly naps, and she has been cooking yummy meals for Hubs and I! Such a lifesaver! We will miss her, but thankfully she will be back in a week with Grandpa Sko! How lucky are we!
   
I want to thank ALL of you so much for your kind words, encouragement, and support as I journey into Mommyhood! It helps so much knowing you all have my back! XO
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Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Jaime @ Mommy and the Minister {Guest Post}

Hi, I'm Jaime from Mommy and the Minister. I blog about life as a new mom and wife to a Youth Minister. When I found out Stephanie was in search for guest posts during her first few weeks at home with baby, I jumped at the opportunity. I know how hard those first few weeks can be because I recently had a baby boy back in April.

I remember the first month it seemed like I never left the couch between feedings every 2 hours and a baby that never wanted to be put down. Cooking during that time was the last thing on my mind. Luckily, the first 2 weeks were taken care of by great friends who dropped off meals, but once those 2 weeks were over it was up to me. I relied on these super easy meals to help with the stress of new baby, and feeding the whole family.

Stove Top Meatloaf
I am not the first person to make this, it is all over Pinterest, but it truly is amazing meat loaf. The best thing about it? Only 4 ingredients!!

1 lb ground beef
1 box Stove Top Stuffing Mix (I have used chicken flavor and savory herbs)
1 egg
1 cup water

Mix and bake at 350 for 45-60 mins

If your looking for a super easy and amazing side dish check out my  Okra Succotash

Creamy Chicken Bake
This is my go-to potluck meal because it is so easy.

1 box chicken flavored rice
8oz sour cream
8oz chive and onion cream cheese
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 de-boned rotisserie chicken
French's Fried Onions

Cook rice per box directions. Once cooked mix soup, sour cream, cream cheese and chicken together. Place in casserole dish and cook 350 for 30 mins. Take out of oven and cover the top with fried onions (I like to mix the casserole before putting on the onions so that they stick to the top) cook for another 5 mins or until onions are browned. Serve hot.

Cresent Roll Mexican Pizza
Out of all the meals I cook, including gourmet and very time consuming ones, this is my husbands favorite.

1 can Pillsbury Cresent Rolls
1/2 pound ground beef
Taco seasoning
1 can refried beans
1 cup shredded cheese
Taco toppings

Roll out cresent rolls (leave them all connected so that it looks like a big square of pizza dough) on greased cookie sheet. Bake as directed or until brown on top. While that is cooking brown your ground beef and add taco seasoning.
Once dough is cooked take out of the oven and spread refried beans (this is like your pizza sauce). Then spread taco meat and cheese on top. Then top with all of your favorite taco toppings except for lettuce. Place back in the oven until cheese is melted and enjoy.

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Monday, September 23, 2013

Kitchenspiration {Link-up}

It's time for another round of Kitchenspiration!
Chelsea and I are SO excited to bring you this weekly link-up! Kitchenspiration is all about ANYTHING that inspires you in the kitchen. 
This can be:
-Recipes you've tried or want to try
-Weekly meal plans
-Pinterest recipe ideas
-Food related tips
-Your favorite kitchen essentials
The possibilities are endless!
You can link-up a brand new post OR link-up anything food/meal/recipe related from your blog that you posted within the previous week.

Before you scroll down to link up:
***Check out some Kitchenspiration from this past week on NTSST:
My weekly meal plan
Christina's YUMMY Banana Bread {Guest Post}
Never The Same Spice Twice

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Check out my lovely 'Savory' Sponsor:

Sunday, September 22, 2013

What's cooking this week?

Good Morning! My Mother-in-law is here, and she is such a huge help! We have some meals set for the week that she is helping out with. Once again, I figured it was worth sharing what we have planned (starting from last night)!
Yesterday: Baked pork chops, with homemade apple sauce, and a spring mix raspberry salad
Tonight: Lemon Basil Fettuccini with broccoli and a parmesan sauce 
Monday: Mom's Bowl Tippin' Chicken Soup
Tuesday: Chicken Cutlets with Pesto and Mozzarella and boiled parsley red potatoes
Wednesday: Baked Ziti (frozen)
Thursday: Chili (frozen)

We have been having a nice weekend! Yesterday we took Ella to the farmers market, and she was SUCH a good girl! She slept right through lunch. We ate outside at my favorite place (City Fire), there was live music...it was glorious and so nice to be out in public! I've been feeling like I've been confined to my couch forever with the peanut attached to my boobs...NON-STOP! I was so excited to be out that I got choked up a few times, no joke! 
I hope you are all having a fabulous weekend as well! 
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Friday, September 20, 2013

Happy Friday!

It's Friday, YAY! I still get excited about Friday even though I'm not working. Friday means it's almost the weekend, and weekends mean Daddy is home! This Friday is extra special because my Mother-in-law is coming to visit!
Let's take a look at some of this past weeks moments...
1. Ella seems to be getting a little bit better about being content when I hold her in between feedings! She feeds so often (every hour to hour and a half) that when she is in between (unless I could get her to sleep, which is rare) she often cries. It's nice when she is calm and we could have some Mommy/Ella time together!
2. I figured out how to work this contraption, and started pumping! Wish Hubs and I luck as we try to transition her to bottles! So far it's not working out too well.
3. You know how I said she rarely sleeps? Hi five for big yawns!
4. We went for our first walk yesterday. She seemed to have liked the bumpiness...we shouldn't have pushed our luck and went for a second lap. Baby steps!
5. Grateful doesn't even begin to describe how happy I am that Mom Sko is coming tonight! In addition to being excited for her to meet Ella, Stephen and I could really use her help and expertise! She did raise 6 kids, and now has 10 grandkids! It's going to be a great visit!
Linking up...
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Thursday, September 19, 2013

The Boys Behind The Blog {Link up #4}

It's the FOURTH round of the Boys Behind The Blog already! Man time sure does fly!  I've been looking forward to this round, can't wait to see how your guys answered these questions (especially the first one)! Thanks to all of you and your boys for linking up with Mal and I!  

Let's hear from my cutie husband and incredible new Dad - Stephen!!! 
1. If you were an animal, what animal would you be?
I dunno… maybe an ass? I think back to Couples Retreat.
"The ass. You are the ass. Stubborn and immovable, the mighty ass tirelessly bears the heavy burden of others. But when the ass is on the move, nothing can stop the ass. Be an ass for your marriage, be an ass for your children, be an ass for love."

2. What is your favorite meal?
If you read the blog, you know my wife is nothing short of amazing with all her meal planning and experimentation. It’s always delicious. There would be no way for me to pick just one thing as a favorite and still do justice to everything she does in the kitchen.

3. Do you use any forms of Social Media? What is your favorite?
I’m only on Facebook. It’s already difficult enough to keep up with just the one and now I have even less time for it and much more important things to keep up with at home. It’s not necessarily a favorite, but I do use it as a way to keep in touch with family and friends since we moved away.

4. Beer, wine, liquor, other, or none of the above?
I’m a connoisseur of none of the above, but enjoy a cold brew from time to time. Accordingly, it’s my favorite time of year now since Pumpkin Ales and Oktoberfest beverages are back on the shelves.

5. Complete the sentence: "Never have I ever..."
…answered a “never have I ever” question prior to today.

Now grab a button, and link up with us!
Never The Same Spice Twice
<div align="center"><a href="http://www.neverthesamespicetwice.com/p/boys-behind-blog.html" title="Never The Same Spice Twice"><img src="http://i903.photobucket.com/albums/ac236/sascoma/BoysBB_zps9c35357c.jpg" alt="Never The Same Spice Twice" style="border:none;" /></a></div>

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Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Ella's First Photo Sesh

This past weekend we had a photographer come to the house to take Ella's newborn photos. Since these were scheduled for almost TWO weeks after she was born, I still wanted the "fresh out of the womb" (LoL) pics from the hospital! She has changed so much already! I'm so glad we did them! Thanks Mom!
 
I absolutely can't wait to see all of the photos from this weekend!!! Here is a teaser! OMG, that face!!!!  XO
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Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Christina @ This Woman Cooks {Guest Post}

Hi! My name is Christina and I run the blog This Woman Cooks! I'm a SAHM to a beautiful, dramatic, energetic 13-month-old toddler. You can read all about us on my blog, from what we eat to where we shop to what we do on a daily basis. I'm so happy to be here helping Stephanie out while she adjusts to life as a new mom.
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On my blog you'll find lots of recipes. I love to cook and I love to bake. I thought I'd share one of my favorite recipes with you today. I have always loved banana bread. My mom used to make it all the time when I was a kid. Her recipe is written on an old, beat up index card, with stains from years and years of baking. She always adds chocolate chips to her batter and I do the same. It's just not the same for me if it doesn't have chocolate chips!
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This is not my mom's recipe, but an adapted version of hers, with no oil, or butter. I use applesauce instead of oil and butter and swapped one cup of white flour with whole wheat flour. The chocolate chips are also dark chocolate instead of milk chocolate. These little changes make me feel a little better about eating it, and about giving my daughter a piece to try. She loves this banana bread as much as her mama!
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2-3 mashed bananas
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1 container of applesauce, sweetened or unsweetened
1 cup all purpose flour

1 cup whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 heaping teaspoon vanilla
1 cup dark chocolate chips, plus more for topping


Make 1 loaf.

Preheat oven to 350 and spray a loaf pan with cooking spray. Take a large bowl and add the sugar, eggs, and applesauce. Mix until combined. Add mashed bananas and mix again. Add the dry ingredients to the wet- flour, salt, vanilla, baking powder and baking soda. Mix until combined. The batter should be nice and thick batter. Pour in the chocolate chips and fold them in. 

Pour the batter into the loaf pan, sprinkle a few chocolate chips on top. Bake for 45-50 minutes. I start checking after 40 minutes. If a toothpick comes out clean, with a few moist crumbs, it's done. Cool on a wire rack for 30 minutes. 


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Monday, September 16, 2013

Kitchenspiration {Link-up}

It's time for another round of Kitchenspiration!

Chelsea and I are SO excited to bring you this weekly link-up! Kitchenspiration is all about ANYTHING that inspires you in the kitchen. 
This can be:
-Recipes you've tried or want to try
-Weekly meal plans
-Pinterest recipe ideas
-Food related tips
-Your favorite kitchen essentials
The possibilities are endless!
You can link-up a brand new post OR link-up anything food/meal/recipe related from your blog that you posted within the previous week.

Before you scroll down to link up:
***Check out some Kitchenspiration from this past week on NTSST:
My Weekly Meal Plan
Cocoa Pebbles Football Treats (Veronica's Guest Post)
Cottage Pie (Tayler's Guest Post)

*Thanks so much to these lovely ladies for guest posting!!!
Never The Same Spice Twice

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Sunday, September 15, 2013

What's cooking this week?

Look at me, planning meals for the week! It's nothing fancy by any means. I'm taking the easy route for sure, but I thought I would share anyway! 
Tonight: Turkey Lasagna (in freezer)
Monday: Rotisserie Chicken and Sweet Potato Tots
Tuesday: Tomato Basil Penne with Shrimp
Wednesday: Tortellini Soup 
Thursday: Sausage with Kale and Canellini Beans (in freezer)

I'm still in the process of trying to figure out if there is something in my diet that is upsetting Ella's little tummy. This is a factor I had not considered when I was cooking meals and freezing them. Regardless, we need to start clearing out all the frozen meals to make room for a stockpile of breast milk once I start pumping. I really could use a bigger freezer! Anyway, speaking of breast milk...this is one very satisfied customer (indents on her face and all)! 
Wish me luck, her newborn photo shoot is later and I'm worried that she will be all worked up and cranky by the time the photographer gets here! It's been a pretty rough weekend with my fussy little monkey! Fingers crossed for a calm afternoon! Right now she is asleep on Stephen's chest...it's the sweetest EVER! I'd snap a pic but my phone is playing lullaby music on Pandora and I'm not messing around with that!  LoL!  

Happy Sunday!

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Saturday, September 14, 2013

Tayler @ Our Fairy Tale {Guest Post}

Hi! I'm Tayler from Our Fairy Tale! I'm super excited to be guest blogging on Stephanie's blog today! 
I am an English and history teacher who loves to cook and is starting her second year of marriage! Three years ago, I traveled to Wales on a language and history study abroad. There, I learned an interesting fact!
Did you know:
Shephard's Pie = ground lamb
Cottage Pie = ground beef

I learned this in Wales, when during my inclusive course, they served us shephard's pie at the beginning of the week, then cottage pie at the end of the week!

So, for all you Americans out there, this is ground beef pie.

And it is yummy!

Ingredients
- 1 lb ground beef
- 4 cups instant potatoes (cooked)
- 1/2 cup mixed veggies
- 1/3 cup cheese
- 1/4 small yellow onion
- dash of nutmeg
- dash of all-spice
-dash of ginger

Directions
1) Pre-heat your oven to 350.*

2) Cut up the onion and sautee it as you cook the ground beef on medium-high heat.

2) As you are cooking the ground beef and onion, sprinkle the nutmeg, all-spice, and ginger in and mix it up.

3) Once the beef is fully browned, Do not drain the beef!

4) Mix in the veggies with the beef in the pan.

5) Take an 8x8 casserole dish and pour the veggies and beef in. Make sure to drizzle it with the left-over grease/juice left from the beef. This is important, otherwise the beef will dry up in the oven and you want your cottage pie moist and juicy!


6) Cook your instant potatoes! Follow the directions of whatever brand you have, and make sure to make 2 cups worth of instant potato flakes!

7) Mix in the 1/3 cup of cheese.

8) Pour the cheesy potatoes on top of the beef and veggies.

9) Take a fork to whisp up the edges so it looks like this:


10) Pop it in the oven for about 20-30 minutes, depending on how fast your oven is. When the tops of the whisps are brown and crispy, and the rest of the potatoes are yellowish, it is finished. It should look like the above picture.

11) Spoon it out and enjoy!


Come see some of my other delicious recipe!
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