Monthly Archives: August 2012

Our Top 10 Pinterest Recipes

In no particular order, here they are.  There are some new dinner staples, favorite treats and make-to-impress-your-friends-recipes, all with my two cents worth.

Birds Nests – Chloe helped Aaron make these and had a grand time putting hashbrowns in muffin tins.  We scrambled the eggs instead of cracking an egg in each tin, but that’s just personal preference.  We ate a few the next day for breakfast and the rest were frozen and reheated really well.

Chicken and Black Bean Casserole – Easy, healthy and the whole family will eat it.  This is a winning recipe for our family!  We made it ahead of time so all we had to do was pop it in the oven when we got home from work.

Salted Chocolate Caramel Pretzel Bark – Pretty easy to make and “share with your friends so you don’t eat the whole pan yourself” delicious.  The original recipe tells you to line a pan with tin foil – we used a SilPat and it worked great. 

Bacon Ranch Foil Packet Potatoes – We’ve made these at home and while camping.  Instead of making separate packets, we did it all in one foil packet.  As we do with pretty much every recipe, we used more bacon than the recipe called for 🙂  Everyone was a fan. 

S’mores Bars I love S’Mores.  I loved these bars.  Enough said!

Chicken & Veggie Nuggets – Chicken nuggests are a staple in most toddlers diets and they’re great for a quick meal.  However, I’m not a fan of the uber-processed store bought nuggets.  These are a great substitute!  We used ground turkey the first time we made them and it worked great.  Chloe scarfed them down, while looking at us adoringly like we were the best parents ever. (Part of that happened. I ‘ll let you decide which part…)  We also froze about a dozen that weren’t eaten right away and they reheated great.

Pretzel Crusted Peanut Butter Cookie Candy Brownie Bars – It may take a  while to get that name out, but it’s totally worth it!  These are really pretty easy to make and very tasty.  There’s a version that uses chocolate chip cookie dough and Oreo’s that is equally good.  I would recommend sharing with friends, because these definitely don’t fall into the healthy or low-calorie category!

Macaroni & Beef with Cheese – Delicious, easy, fairly cheap. The recipe as written makes 2 9×13 pans.  We halved the recipe, made 2 8×8 pans and froze one.  (If you line an 8×8 pan with foil, then you can put the whole dish in the freezer, pull it out the next day, pop out your casserole and put it in a ziploc bag until you’re ready to bake it.  This saves you from having a pan stuck in your freezer!)

Banana Bread (Muffins) – I like this recipe because it uses whole wheat flour, honey and applesauce.  I made it as muffins instead of a loaf and baked for 20 minutes instead of an hour.

Ultimate S’Mores Cake – This is definitely ultimate.  I really mean it this time – do not make this unless you have a lot of friends to share it with! It’s also ideal if you have a couple days to work on assembly.  It’s an amazing cake, but very rich – and I don’t say that very often!  If you want to give it a try, but don’t have a lot of time, you could use a boxed brownie mix and premade cookie dough to save on time. 


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Easy Jambalaya

I’m a big fan of Jambalaya, but we rarely have it at home.  Most recipes I’ve seen are pretty complicated and although I admittedly to enjoy the boxed jambalaya you can buy at the store, I’m pretty sure it’s horrible for me.  So I’ve been on the lookout for a good recipe for quite some time now.  And we finally found it!

The original recipe is from the 100 Days of Real Food website.  Here’s what we did:


  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • ½ pound of sausage, preferably andoullie, or bacon (we did 1/2 and 1/2)
  • 1 large bell pepper, any color, in large dice
  • 1 large onion, in large dice
  • 1 small head garlic, cloves peeled and minced
  • 1 teaspoon Creole seasoning (sold premixed or make some)
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
  • 2 large tomatoes chopped (or equivalent quantity of cherry tomatoes)
  • 3/4 pound raw shrimp, peeled
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1.5 cups quick cooking brown rice
  • 2 cups chicken stock/broth
  • 1 cup water
  • Hot sauce, to taste (optional – I thought it had enough kick without it, but Aaron poured it on)


  1. Combine the butter and sausage and/or bacon in a large soup pot over high heat. Cook for about 6 minutes stirring occasionally.
  2. Add the bell pepper, onion, garlic, Creole seasoning, salt and black pepper to taste. Saute over high heat for about 8 minutes, or until the veggies have browned and carmelized.
  3. Add the tomatoes, shrimp, and bay leaves, and stir for a couple of minutes.
  4. Add the rice, stir gently, then add the broth and water. Gently stir the rice again to make sure it is not sticking to the bottom of the pot.
  5. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat, cover and simmer for about 15 minutes or until the rice is tender. (After about 20 minutes, our Jambalaya was still quite “soupy” but the rice was cooked, so we just drained off most of the liquid as we dished it up.)

Devon sat this one out, but Chloe, DaddyMort and I all gobbled it up.  Chloe tried to say she didn’t like the shrimp, but she hadn’t tried it yet.  I told her it’s one of my favorite foods ever and we ate a big bite together.  She got a big smile on her face and told me “I like it, mommy!”  I was super proud that she tried it and even happier that she liked it 🙂  Bonus: It made good leftovers for lunch later in the week!

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Tubes, Round 2

Devon adores his big sister. He loves to follow her around the house and try to do whatever crazy thing she happens to be doing at the time. So it would only make sense that he’d be getting tubes in his ears, just like she did at this age. He wouldn’t want to be left out, right?  😉

In all seriousness, it seems like if Devon hasn’t been miserable from the ear infection, he’s been miserable because of the antibiotics, despite our best efforts with probiotics and yogurt for months on end now.  After back-to-back ear infections for most of the summer, we’re hoping this takes care of the problem before winter colds arrive! We just went to the ENT last Friday, but they had an opening left for tomorrow, so we jumped on it. We’ll be reporting to the hospital bright and early at 6AM. For once, Devon’s tendency to wake up ridiculously early might work in our favor 🙂 

We had to squeeze a pre-op physical in on Monday, which ended up being less than routine. The doctor found a heart murmur, again, so he had to have some additional tests to make sure he’d be okay to undergo anesthesia.  The chest x-ray came back fine, but we’re still waiting on results of the ECG. Apparently, his murmur isn’t the bad kind (whatever that means!) so the doctor cleared him based on the chest x-ray results. We should hear back from the pediatric cardiologist in the next couple days about the ECG. When we get those results, I’m hoping I can also get some more answers on why the murmur would appear again after 10+ months of him checking out okay.

In the midst of all this, Chloe Mae has continued to be an amazing big sister.  She went to the (very long, with lots of waiting) ENT appointment with Devon and I. I think she was more patient than I was. The nurse didn’t give me any stickers though, so that might have been the difference…  And this morning, while she was packing her suitcase with 2 shirts, a skirt, 2 pairs of socks, 5 pairs of panties, her jammies and her blanket (“Does Nanna have sheets or should we pack mine?”)  for Nanna and Dudad’s tonight (because if she had to wake up as early as her brother tomorrow, she would be Miss CrankyPants!) Chloe talked again about how Devon’s ears are going to get better so he doesn’t get sick anymore. She thought that was pretty alright. She was also excited about using her toothbrush that she gets to keep at Nanna and Dudad’s. Ahhh…to be 3 again!!

Wish us luck in the morning! If it’s anything like it was with Chloe, the worst part will be keeping my chubby, hungry boy happy with no food, or even breastmilk, until it’s all said and done.

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Just Another Saturday…

We went to the Iowa State Fair on Saturday with my older brother and family and my younger brother.  Since Gibson, my nephew, is only 2 weeks old, he was going to stay home with Nanna and Dudad.  Not wanting him to feel left out, Devon also spent the day at home with N & D.  He taught Gibson some of his tricks – like how to play with a water bottle, how to poop on the carpet , and how to be a punk and not eat your bottle.

At the fair, we mainly just ate.  Chloe also got a couple tattoos, admired the baby animals and the ginormous animals, and was tended to by a paramedic for the first time.  (She was pushed off of some playground equipment by another kid and hit her head on the way to the ground.  We were right next to the first aid station, so we headed over for an ice pack. The volunteer insisted on getting a paramedic to check her out.  Good news – she was fine after a few minutes with an ice pack.)

Double Bacon Corndog!

Could these girls be any cuter?!?

Pork Chop “On A Stick”

At the end of the day, we decided to confuse things by holding each others kids for pictures.

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The Boy Update



Believe it or not, Devon is 10 months old already!!  I think this is one of my favorite ages for my kids.  They’re are learning so much and there is something new almost every day.  He started crawling a few weeks ago and quickly mastered it.  He still can’t keep up with his sister most times though, and that’s pretty frustrating for him.  Devon loves playing patty-cake, peek-a-boo with his taggie blanket, balls, blocks and books.  

He’s turned up his nose at most pureed foods.  He’d much rather eat what we’re eating!!  He also loves drinking water from a sippy cup.  He’ll drink a whole cup at dinner if we let him.  

At this 9-month check up, he was 28.75 inches, 21 lb 14 oz and his head was 48.5 cm.  He was just above 50% for height, a little more for weight, and still over 99% for head circumference.  Luckily, my kids are cute even with their big heads 🙂  This week Devon was diagnosed with his 3rd ear infection in 2 months (and he’d had a couple before that) so we’re headed to the ENT later this month for (hopefully magical) tubes.

And here’s his 10-month lion shot.  He’s dirty, disheveled and in his jammies, but I kept forgetting to take it.



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