Thursday, September 29, 2011

Crock Pot Tuesdays

This past Tuesday, we continued the tradition of Crock Pot Tuesday!! Yaay!

I asked hubby all day Monday what meat he wanted. Hours went by, he never told me. It came time to go to the grocery store, so I decided on chicken and found a recipe. He said, "Oh, I was hoping for something with steak in it..." Are you kidding me? Now you tell me?

I digress.

I decided on a chili recipe I saw on pinterest a couple days ago. It's a beef chili from Better Homes and Gardens dot com. You can find the recipe here.

(decided to lead with a picture of the finished dish, to get you excited!)

1 pound of round steak, cubed (3/4 inch), fat trimmed off
1 T cooking oil
2 cans diced tomatoes
1 can beef broth
1 C chopped onion
1-2 fresh chopped jalapeno peppers (I used a can of chopped green chiles)
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 t chili powder
1 T brown sugar
1 1/2 t dried oregano
1/2 t ground cumin
1/4 t black pepper

Brown the meat in the oil. No need to cook all the way.

Then, put tomatoes, broth, onions, chiles, spices and steak into crock pot on high for 5-6 hours (10-12 on low). (I did high for 6 hours and I stirred occasionally.)

On top here is a bean salad I made (it's on the website). It's one can of pinto beans (drained and rinsed) and one can of black beans (drained and rinsed) tossed with the zest and juice of two medium limes. I refrigerated the bean salad for a couple hours before eating.

We paired our chili with cheddar cheese, sour cream, tortilla chips and the bean salad, of course. 


The lime made the dish. Oh so delicious! It sort of turned out more like a soup, though. I think if I had added the beans in to cook (which you can totally do) it would have thickened up the mixture a lot. I would say this recipe made 6 servings. Pretty good deal. 

Hey, I even had leftovers of it today. And I never eat leftovers. :)

Check out my kitchen helper:

I expect our energy bill to be a few cents higher this month. :)

Adventures in baby food making: Lamb casserole and Peach-pear-strawberry puree!

I know what you're thinking. . . I know. "Lamb??? Who are these people?" :) But seriously, it was on sale with my Kroger card and Hector and I also got a meal out of it. Here goes.

1 lamb rib chop, trimmed of bone and fat and diced
2 scallions, thinly sliced
1 large sweet potato, peeled and chopped
1 medium tomato, peeled, seeded and chopped
pinch of dried rosemary or mixed herbs
1/2 cup unsalted chicken broth

*Can I just say that I wasn't thinking about how lamb is actually baby sheep, until I was reading Cohen a story that night and it went over all the names of animals and their babies..... 'nuff said.*

That's our unsalted broth there (we have to mix it up ourselves).

Chop it all and toss it in the casserole dish. Cover and bake at 350 for 15 minutes, then reduce to 300 degrees and bake for another  45 minutes or until lamb is tender.

Then puree. It also said for older babies you could just do a good chop of all of it, like a chunky soup. Well, Coco has no teeth yet, so that was a no for us.  

He liked it! And wanted more. :)

Gotta get that sippy cup any way he can. Pure talent right there.

Picking up his puffs. He's so big!!

Nom nom nom!

So, it was pretty good. But, as for our lamb dinner (mine and Hector's) ((and he looked up a yummy rub recipe with brown sugar, ginger, garlic powder, etc)) we were not impressed. We probably will not buy [baby] lamb again. It had a different taste... made me think of... a baby lamb... crying. Or something like that. Regardless, lamb has B vitamins, iron and zinc. After 6 months, the store of iron that babies have from mama is gone. So they need a lot of supplemental iron. 

I also made Cohen a new fruit dish. Peach-pear-strawberry puree. 

Very pretty fruits!
I looked at my receipt and it said nectarines, instead of peaches. But they were in the peach bin... So, who really knows. 

Cook in a sauce pan for a while. They'll make their own sauce. I recommend chopping the peach and pear into smaller pieces, it took a while for them to get real soft.

Very pretty color!

Baby liked it! But he did a little shiver every now and then... it was a little sour in a few places. :) But, pretty sweet overall.

This morning I warmed up a serving and added a couple scoops of oatmeal. It turned out delicious! 

Adventures in baby food making: Chicken Puree!

We went to Granna and Pop's house last week and got to make Cohen his first meal with chicken in it! This is big. Because I feel like chicken is a staple in our house. So, we want to get the boy to likin' chicken.

I flipped through my cook book and decided on one called "My first chicken puree."

1/4 cup washed and sliced white part of a leek
1 T vegetable oil
3 ounces boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into chunks
2 medium potatoes, peeled and diced
2 medium carrots, peeled and sliced
2 plum tomatoes, peeled, seeded, and chopped
1 cup unsalted chicken broth

Saute the leek in the vegetable oil until softened. Then add the chicken and saute until it has sealed. Add the potatoes, carrots, and tomatoes and pour in the chicken stock. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and cover and simmer for 20 minutes. Puree. 

Pop holding Coco up for his first bite of chicken! He liked it! It was very smooth and creamy. 

Cohen crawled up on Granna and Pop's fireplace, like it was no big deal. :(  He would sidle up there and scratch his little hand on the metal screen.. he loved the sound it made. He even learned how to get OFF the fireplace without busting it. My big boy...

Mama and Coco :)

My wonderful parents with their little grandson. 

Nice trip to Paris with a cool new meal under our belts! Can't wait to go back, we miss Granna and Pop a ton!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011


Yes, people... before the 13th of October rolls around, I should do Cohen's 8 month update! I know this.. and I've known it for the last two weeks.. But alas... here it is.

better late than never. right?

So, again, I wasn't home for the Tonka picture.. But Hector did a gr8 job this time! No pj's!

8 Months Old!

He's fascinated with wheels! So, he turns the Tonka truck over and spins the wheels. Very cute, in my opinion. 

checking out those wheels!

that sweet baby face.. melts my heart.

Literally spinning the wheel. (Parks and Rec, anyone?)

baby boy, full of admiration for his Daddy. 

Sleeping: I don't think Cohen will ever sleep all night. He was doing pretty good.. But now he's waking up multiple times a night. :( He takes two naps still. Those are nice. And sometimes at night, he wakes up around 5 am wanting a bottle. We live in an apartment, people. So, we can't let him cry like that at 5 am. So, we give in and give him a bottle. Because 5 am is entirely too early to be awake, if I'm not working. 

Eating: LOTS of yummy things! :) He has about (4) 8 oz bottles of formula a day. And two meals, usually brunch time and dinner. I won't list things here, as you can read all about it here, here or here!

Activity: ACTIVE!!! 1 day after his 7 month birthday, he started crawling! Yes.. he's mobile! He mostly does this army crawl maneuver.. kind of on his elbows? Like he's having to go under a bunch of low beams or something? It's cute. And toys.. he likes them. But he also likes the tv remote, our iPhones, the laptop, or things hanging on the kitchen cart. It's alright... until you're trying to blog, and someone pops off the "L" key.  o_O

Speech: Babbling all the time. "bah bah bah," "bla bla bla," "da da da," "mmmmmmm"

Teeth: None, but teething! I just know he's teething... He is chewing on his fingers a lot (and everything in his path) and drooling all over the place and being just plain cranky. We're using an amber teething necklace for Cohen, to try and ease his discomfort.

Amber is not a “stone” but a natural resin. So as it warms with the body’s natural temperature, amber releases its healing oils (these oils contain succinic acid )which are easily absorbed into the skin and then into the bloodstream. Baltic Amber has some of the highest concentrations of Succinic Acid found in nature, and this is what makes it so special. Succinic Acid is a natural component of plant and animal tissues, and it's presence in the human body is beneficial in many ways.

Most people say, "But can he get it in his mouth?" They're not for him to chew!! It's a topical comfort!

So far, I honestly believe it has helped cut down on crankiness. Lately, he's been fussy, but I think that he's about to cut a tooth. Surely. :)

He looks darn cute in it, huh?

We're just loving this phase! He gives kisses too! Big, open mouthed, slobbery kisses. We say, "Can mama have a kissie? Kissie for mama!" and he'll lean in and land a big wet one on my cheek. I just love it! We love you, Cohen Alexander! You make our lives so fun and rich. 

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Crock Pot Tuesdays and a new study

This perfect Tuesday was spent cooking, playing with Cohen and studying scripture.

The girls in our community group are doing a study on Beth Moore's book To Live Is Christ. In our busy lives, we plan to meet just as girls twice a month. So, we're meeting tomorrow for the first time. I'm so excited to finally have a study to look forward to with them, I'm just giddy! I've been working straight weekends since June... meaning I've missed a lot of church. I've been once. On my birthday. Poor me, right? Well, the Lord provides. This book is a study of Paul's life and dedication to Christ. I can't wait to see how God uses this book to open my eyes to more of His plan for me.

My favorite verse, from today's reading:

 4 Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one5 Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. 6 These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. 7 Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. 8 Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. 9 Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.
                           ----Deuteronomy 6:4-9

I wrote this out and hung it in our home. It's a convicting reminder of how we need to be teaching our children the Love of Christ and his laws any chance we get. 

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Ok ok.. new name, old address

So, I changed the name of our blog to "the chronicles of us" and I also changed the address, but no one could seem to find it. So, it's back to  Maybe now my followers can actually read my posts! :) Happy blogging!

Friday, September 9, 2011

Crock Pot Tuesdays

I'm a nurse. I work with a bunch of women. Seriously, no male nurses. :) I LOVE this about my job.

So, we talk about lots of womanly things. Shopping, our kids/family, and food. And on our unit, we will find any excuse to have a pot-luck party at work. Oh, the Mavs are in the playoffs? LUNCH PARTY. International Day? Mexican fiesta!! Father's Day? Sweets n' Treats! End of summer? BBQ!!!

So, with all these opportunities to bring in food, it brings about lots of discussion of recipes. One day (our Labor Day Soup and Salad luncheon day, in fact), while discussing recipes, a friend said to me, "Emily..have you joined Crock Pot Girls yet??" Interest piqued. "Crock pot girls?? No.. what's that?" She then proceeded to blow my mind with all that is Crock Pot Girls. They also have a Facebook. :)

This is an amazing website, started by girlfriends, with tons of recipes to be made in a crock pot. Now, I have a crock pot. And up until now, my extent of adventurousness with the crock pot has been: Chicken Taco Soup and French Dip Sandwiches. Yea... pretty boring.

You hereby have my vow, that I will try a new recipe in my crock pot every week. On Tuesdays, to be exact. The girls on the website coined the term Crock Pot Mondays. Monday's are just not good for us. Hector has Club for YoungLife and will usually be eating there. And I don't want to make a crock pot meal  for just me to eat. So, this past Tuesday, I started out with a meal recommended by my friend Laurie from work. She'd made it for her husband and daughter and said it turned out VERY well. I even went as far as to make the same sides as her. Thanks, Laurie! Great idea!

Creamy Italian Chicken (find it here)
3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (frozen) ((I used 6 breast tenders)) (((it's what I had)))
1 package of cream cheese, softened to room temperature
1 can Cream of Chicken soup
1 packet dry Italian seasoning

Place chicken on bottom of crock pot. They recommend using a roasting bag. (I've never heard of such.) In a separate bowl, combine the softened cream cheese, soup and Italian seasoning. Pour over chicken. Cook on low heat for 6-8 hours. I also added a splash of white wine (probably about 1/2 a cup). I opened it up and lightly stirred it a couple times. I put it all in at 12:30, low setting, and we were eating by 6:30.

Chicken on the bottom.

Other three ingredients in a bowl.

Smear over chicken. 6 hours on low.

I served ours over steamed brown rice with steamed broccoli. 

This was amazing. The chicken was practically falling apart. So glad I went with something that was 1) easy and 2) recommended. I knew it should taste good, you can hardly mess it up. And the brown rice was so good! We definitely both made "happy plates."

Can't wait for next Tuesday!! 

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Adventures in baby food making: Apricots with pear!

I like to try to make one fruit dish for each veggie dish I do. Babies need a variety, just like we do.

I will say, this recipe called for papaya, not pears, but 1) we'd just eaten papaya and 2) Central Market didn't have any papaya (!?). So, I decided on pear. Because I knew he'd liked pears several weeks ago.

So, I'll just list my edited recipe here.
1 C dried apricots, chopped
enough water to cover the apricots
2 Bosc pears
4 ounces firm tofu

Boil the apricots for about 5 minutes, covered, until tender. Roughly chop the pears then steam them in water for about 20-25 minutes. Peel them. Put pear chunks, apricots and chopped tofu into food processor. Puree until smooth. Add cooking liquid as needed.

Lens kept fogging up!

Ok. I don't regularly buy tofu.. the recipe really called for soft tofu. But this was the only organic, I got firm. Apparently soft tofu is more like a cream, good for smoothies and such. Oh well.

Made a pretty parfait in the processor. Pears, apricots, tofu.

A perfect consistency.

And into the tray. (Look at that sweet baby on the floor!)

Hector was working on a project outside, so I didn't get any pictures of Coco trying this one. But he really liked it!

Tofu is rich in protein, calcium, iron and potassium. It can help protect against some types of heart disease and cancer. Dried apricots are a great high-energy snack. Note to self: don't feed to Cohen too close to bedtime. 

Adventures in baby food making: Carrot puree with lentils and cheese!

All out of the beef stew, I hit the books (OK.. one book) to find a new, exciting recipe for the little. I try to pick new recipes based on two criteria: does it sound good to me? and, will it offer Cohen a new ingredient, that is also nutritional for him?

I landed on: Carrot puree with lentils and cheese.
1/2 C finely chopped onion
1 1/2 t vegetable oil
2 T red lentils
3 medium carrots, peeled and sliced
1 1/2 C boiling water
1 T unsalted butter
2 tomatoes, peeled, seeded and roughly chopped
1/2 C grated Cheddar cheese

**I did use three carrots, but only pictured two; somehow I missed the "red" in the lentil description and bought white(?) lentils

Saute onion in oil 3-4 minutes until softened. Rinse and drain lentils, add to onion. Add carrots and boiling water. Cover and cook for 25 minutes over medium heat.

Melt butter in separate sauce pan, saute tomato until mushy, add Cheddar cheese.

Drain carrot and lentil mixture and reserve cooking liquid. Combine carrot and lentil mixture with tomato and cheese mixture. Add 1/2 C cooking liquid. Puree.

He wasn't sure about the first couple bites...

But then he finished his serving with a smile! And I even gave him another serving! 

What really happened:
-I would use a bigger tomato next time.. like on-the-vine tomatoes. After I Hector seeded the tomato, there didn't seem to be much tomato left to cook with!
-White lentils worked fine... who knew there was more than one kind??
-I had to add nearly 2 more cups of water to the carrot/lentil mixture after 25 minutes AND cook for 20-25 minutes longer! The cooking fluid was completely absorbed by twenty-five minutes. And, I would've stopped here and started blending, but Hector tasted the lentils and said they were still very hard. So, back on the heat for another 25. 

All in all, a great recipe for Coco. And bonus! Lentils are a great source of protein and fiber. Also, they are a rich source of potassium, zinc and folic acid. I find myself doing diaper laundry a little more than usual, thanks to the fiber, I'm thinking. :)
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