Thursday, November 29, 2012

Fake Out

So this morning PC decided that she would fake me out with her pathetic cries to signal that she was awake.  So just when I was up and at 'em, I opened her bedroom door to find her sound asleep again.  I watched her for a few minutes on the monitor to see if she would stir, before making good use of my time.  I showered, threw some clothes on (to run the garbage out to the truck with wet hair), even put a little make-up on, and ate breakfast all before the princess really deigned to open her eyes.  And then we got this:
So glad the extra shut-eye was worth it!

Maybe she gets her faking out abilities from me.  I like to pretend I am crafty...the Queen Mother has it down pat, so compared to her, I am a real novice.  Without work, I am seriously channeling my attempts at creativity into the nesting department.  I enjoy attempting cheap, easy things like this to liven up the place:
Some salt in the bottom made to look like fresh fallen snow with fresh cranberries on top.  The cranberries were $5 for 2 bags and it took all of 7 minutes to dump everything together.  I'd say that is a steal of a deal for how pretty they look.  And added bonus- the King will not eat this display being that it is fruit (made that mistake when I decorated with candy corn and peppermint candies)!  

I even had enough cranberries leftover to do this:
I am slightly concerned that they may go bad-that would be my luck in the crafty department, but for now they are lookin' festive!

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Got 15 minutes?

Then you've got soup!  So I told you yesterday that this is soup week.  And I meant it.  Lately, I've been making a "15-minute" soup.  Mainly, because that is about all the time I have!  It's really versatile and can be adapted to make a variety of your favorites.  My step-MIL gave me the idea when she came to visit after PC was born and I ran with it.  She made an incredible meatball soup, much like Italian Wedding.  I love throwing this soup together at the beginning of the week and storing it in single servings to pull out and heat up for lunch throughout the week. 

Most important is my addition of a secret ingredient at the end to really flavor the soup- pesto.  I use, basil pesto, but again, I'm sure that can be subject to preference.  This way there is no need for salt, pepper, garlic or herbs because it is all right there in the pesto!  

So we're eating soup to be all healthy and lose weight, but there is a certain baby in my life that is trying to gain!

I know I'm shameless, but I had to sneak a picture in somewhere!  She had a weight check today and as it turns out (if you can't tell by those chubby little cheeks), she has been successfully gaining!  Hooray.  I really hope that the mom and baby yoga she did this morning was not little yogi having a stretch. 

15-Minute Soup


  • Pre-cut mirepoix (and other veggies if you feel so inclined)
  • olive oil
  • 32 oz. broth (choose for your taste, I like chicken)
  • Meat (rotisserie chicken and frozen Italian style meatballs are personal faves.  Sausage would be tasty too!)
  • Beans (I enjoy small white beans)
  • Spinach
  • Pesto 
  • Grated parmigiano reggiano cheese
  • Croutons
  • Options:  Cooked pasta, heavy cream, bacon, pumpkin, diced tomatoes
  1. Heat olive oil in your pot over medium heat.
  2. Sautee your pre-cut mirepoix until soft (about 7-10 minutes).
  3. Add in broth, meat, and beans and bring to a simmer (about 4-5 minutes).
  4. Drop in your spinach and allow it to wilt (2-ish minutes) and stir in the pesto to taste.
  5. Spoon into bowls and top with grated parmigiano reggiano cheese.
  6. Serve with croutons.  Obviously.
Look at all those healthy vegetables!  And I just did the math...this recipe may need to be adapted to be called a 15-ish minute soup.  Math is not my strong suit.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Honey Beer Bread

So with Thanksgiving done and over and Christmas cookies looming in the very near future...there is a lot of soup on the menu for this week!  And while we are being healthy by eating soup, we need something to mop up those last delicious bites.  This quick and easy honey beer bread has fast become a household favorite.  In fact, I now have to make 2 loaves and freeze one so that we always have some on hand for the King!  I could tell him we were having kale, spinach, vegetable broth soup (or something equally as disgusting) as long as I said it was being served with beer bread, he'd be all in ready and waiting with a spoon.  Last night, it was served up with Baked Potato Soup.  The King went back for seconds, so it must not be disgusting.  Just don't tell him that the soup is secretly made with cauliflower AND potato thereby increasing it's healthy quotient.  We'll keep that our little secret.  

If you're naturally skinny and don't have to worry about your waistline, you are not my favorite.  But it has been recommended to me that you slather this bread in butter (oh wait it already is!) and coat it in a cinnamon sugar layer to make it taste like a beer bread donut.    Yum.  Or you can always add a cup of cheese.  Everything is better with cheese.

Sunday, November 25, 2012


Based on PC's (Princess Crouton) reaction to Christmas lights:
Or lights in general, the King and I knew that we had to take her to our local Botanical Garden's "Winter Walk of Lights".  We went last night and she managed to keep her eyes open for all of 10 minutes.  Translation-she was impressed.
Her eyes were open here, but due to the shock of the flash, she closed them.  But, as you can see, she is having a blast!  It was pretty chilly out so it was a brisk walk through the illumination displays.  She managed to stay warm and snuggly in her carseat approved fleece sack.  We hope she may be more suitably impressed next year.  It could become a Crouton family tradition...

Another Christmas tradition I have been working really hard on is a Christmas Book Advent Calendar.  According to Pinterest this is what it should look like:
I am clearly relying heavily on pinterest for many of my holiday dry brining my Thanksgiving turkey.  I am really hoping that the Christmas Book Advent Calendar turns out a little better than the turkey!  How can you go wrong with books?

My family, my own bookshelf, and Amazon have been helping me collect a ridiculous number of Christmas books to unwrap.  Here's the rundown of what I have at this point.  While she may not understand it just yet, it's a fun tradition to have for when she does.

21.  Snow

This list is subject to change.  

Are there any glaringly obvious ones that I am missing?

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Thanksgiving 2012

Thanksgiving found us with a lot to be thankful for this year:
And we celebrated in a very relaxed fashion.  Just the King, Princess, a turkey and I and a few of our favorite side dishes.

We thought we were up to the challenge, but as it turns out, we had a lot of leftovers!

Here's the run-down of our menu:

My favorite side is mashed potatoes, so I made 2 kinds:
And of course gravy was needed and necessary.

The green beans were steamed and then tossed with butter and browned panko breadcrumbs and our corn was tossed with bacon bits (how can you go wrong with added bacon).

The king got his favorite crescent rolls (homemade rolls were a little ambitious with a new babe in the house) and I made my favorite Pepperidge Farm stuffing...all could say it resembles broken down croutons in a way.  And Wegmans cranberry orange chutney.  Yum.

I dry brined the turkey in a rosemary, orange rub which seems to be all the pinterest rage, but was not the greatest.  I think having it hang out in the fridge in a bag for 3 days caused it to change funny colors and be a little dry.  Thankfully, it still makes great leftover melts, as what cannot be delicious with the addition of cheese (much like bacon):
and I plan on giving this one a go shortly- Panera's turkey artichoke panini

And the story behind Thanksgiving dessert- a few weeks ago, my mom came for a visit and I tore her away from snuggling the princess to put her to work making apple pies.  So for Thanksgiving dessert we had delicious homemade apple pie curtesy of the Queen Mother.  I can't really provide an exact recipe because she kind of does her own thing with the apple spices to make it taste incredible.  I also caught her off guard in my request for pies, so she didn't have her crust recipe.  SO sad.  We made do with this.  Not the same, but an acceptable substitute.  We had enough apples, so we used a Pillsbury crust for a second pie and that was actually much tastier than the homemade crust.  Maybe next year I will have the ability and the time away from the princess to create an apple pie masterpiece according to the Queen Mother's recipe.  And as a side note, apple pie can always be made better by eating it during the first viewing of the season of The Muppet Family Christmas movie (via YouTube) and National Lampoons Christmas Vacation.

All in all, it was an excellent day spent with my little family with plenty to be thankful for.


As of late, I have taken my paycheck in smiles.  I took a leave of absence from my job for the year and I love being home with the princess everyday and am so thankful for this time with her!

The king is truly the best for making it all possible!  He continues to work long days to make up the vacation time he took to be present for the birth of the princess.  On top of that, he comes home and puts the princess to bed every night so that I have a few minutes to myself.  He's an amazing father already and the princess is only 10 weeks old.  I don't know what I would have done without him in the first few weeks of her existence.  He changed diapers, prepped bottles, and burrito-fied our baby like the best of 'em.  He entertained guests and ran up and down the stairs, to the grocery store, and the pharmacy, and chauffered the princess and I to doctor's appointments and Starbucks and just for drives around town to get us out of the house.  THE BEST.  

And now, I'm pretty sure, she has decided to pay us back in the world's sweetest smiles.  Getting up at 3AM to feed her is no longer a chore, but something I look forward to because I know when she sees me a big, goofy grin will spread across her little face and everything will be right in her world for just that brief moment.  And here's proof:
And then she realizes that she is starving and the crying begins again.

Princess Crouton responds best to fish faces and goofy eyebrows.  She is also a huge fan of light reflections in people's glasses.


So a few things have changed in the past 10 months since I've written last:
We've added a Princess Crouton to our clan!  She was welcomed to the world on September 13th...arriving 2 weeks before her due date (thank goodness).  

It all started on a normal Thursday morning.  I got up at 7AM to head in for a progress check with the doctor while the King stayed in bed.  He nonchalantly asked if I would mind turning off the alarm.  I walked over to hit the button, when my shorts felt wet.  I thought the Princess had a put a little too much pressure on my bladder, so I continued on my merry way to the bathroom for a shower (I even got to shave my legs!).  When the leak didn't let up, I know this was about to get real and decided to rouse the King.  I will never forget the look of shock on his face when I told him he best get up and pack his suitcase.  We scrambled to throw everything in the car and hit the doctor's office where I have never been seen so fast! He confirmed that a baby would be born to us that day!  We calmly (while inwardly panicking) walked over to a full labor and delivery unit where I bounced someone to get my room (there were 14 babies in the nursery our first night there!).  Contractions were induced and the fun began.  AMEN to the epidural.  I got to watch "Crazy, Stupid Love" while the King napped.  Fast forward a few hours to a dinner that consisted of an orange popsicle and I was "ready" to push at 7:45PM.  I'll spare you all the details...just believe Lorelei Gilmore when she says "And while some have called it the most meaningful experience of your life, to me it was something more akin to doing the splits on a crate of dynamite".  The princess arrived to us at 9:02PM and did a brief stint in the NICU.  The King accompanied her while I was checked and rechecked every 15 minutes for an hour and then we all met up in the recovery room.  It was the longest wait of my life (the 9 months were nothing compared to that hour!).  I didn't even get to hold her or take a picture of her before she was carted off.  But, all is well that ends well and in this case it ended with celebratory chocolate birthday cake and snuggling our beautiful baby girl.  

Since then, we've endured some trials and tribulations, but overall it has been the greatest. She is a pretty easy-going lady with the patience of a Saint for putting up with our novice attempts at parenting.  And some days still go like this.

But overall, parenthood is pretty far.  
*Note:  No babies were harmed in taking this photo- she was immediately scooped into my arms and given hugs and kisses until she was happy again.