Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Top Ten Favorite Breakfasts

I used to not be a breakfast person. When I was young, I would always eat leftovers from the previous night's dinner, or super gross things like a bowl of baked beans with melted cheese on it. That was a favorite "breakfast" for awhile. Although I like the taste of cereal, it never fills me up and I'm stuck either eating 4 bowls and still being hungry, or eating 1 or 2 bowls and having to supplement with something else. Which is fine. I guess I just wanted something more out of breakfast. And once I got older and got to try some more yummy things, I realized I love breakfast, I just like certain things for breakfast. So here is a list of some of my most favorite things that I love to eat for breakfast, in no certain order, except the Swiss BircherMuesli, which I have mentioned before, and I can never find the exact recipe to match this delectable treat I used to get when we stayed at the Ritz Carlton. (Remember, we used my husband's comp nights there folks, we don't really have that much money!!)

  1. Waffles with yogurt, fresh strawberries, a dash of cinnamon, and syrup. this has been my favorite lately, just using regular multigrain waffles from the store! But I also used this recipe for homemade waffles too!
  2. Muesli. Even though I can't find the recipe for my beloved Swiss BircherMuesli, I found a recipe that calls for soaking a bowl of oats in milk overnight, and the next morning you add fresh yogurt, fresh fruit, toasted nuts, and whatever else you'd like! It's the closest I've come to my favorite, and it is pretty tasty! I think if I had the exact combination of whatever they put in my favorite, it would taste the same. I need to keep trying!
  3. Quinoa. I blogged about this one and it is great with the same combination of fresh fruit, a little milk, cinnamon, and toasted nuts!
  4. Oatmeal. I guess I love this combination of fruit (cut up apples), a splash of milk, a little cinnamon, and toasted nuts! It is great on a warm bowl of oatmeal too!
  5. Breakfast burritos. We love to make them before we go on trips or need a quick to-go breakfast early in the morning. They are good with eggs, potatoes, sausage, peppers, cheese, etc. You can add really whatever you have on hand!
  6. Yogurt Parfait. This is another favorite lately, even with my 5-year-old daughter! We use fresh strawberries, any kind of yogurt, and granola!! I'm so glad she actually wants something healthy for breakfast!!
  7. Biscuits and Gravy! Even though we don't get these very often, Tad cooking biscuits and gravy is the best!! When it's made with spicy sausage, it's amazing!! And you can't beat a warm breakfast with sausage!
  8. Breakfast Casserole. This is one of my all-time favorites. I didn't grow up having this for breakfast, but once I had it, I was in love. Who doesn't love a warm breakfast with sausage, cheese, and eggs all baked together? I found a fabulous recipe from an old church cookbook that I make, and I love it because you can make it the night before and pop it in the oven the next morning. Can't beat it!!
  9. Egg Sandwich. This is Maddy's favorite. One morning I had some leftover peppers and onions to grill up, and ended up scrambling some eggs and cheese with it, then fried up some deli ham, and put it on toast for a breakfast sandwich. Maddy was quickly requesting it!
  10. English muffin. I love to toast an English muffin and add butter and peanut butter while it is still hot so they both melt on top of it. I tend to love these when I'm pregnant! I know I ate a ton of them while I was pregnant with Maddy! No wonder she loves peanut butter!

So that's the short list, I guess! I'm sure I could think of more, but for now, that's good as far as what we've been eating lately. I would love to hear some of your favorite breakfast treats!! And of course, you can't go wrong with fresh squeezed orange juice and an iced coffee!

Head on over to ohamanda.com for more blogger's Top Ten Tuesday!!


Monday, January 30, 2012

Orange Breakfast Muffins

I get on these kicks where I get an idea to make something and I won't let it go until I find a recipe and get it made!! Lately, I have been on a major baking kick and for some reason I really wanted to make some orange breakfast muffins. Tad had bought a lot of fresh produce since we got a new juicer for Christmas, so I think I was trying to make some things from what we had. Since we had so many fresh oranges, muffins sounded perfect!! And I found a recipe that used fresh squeezed orange juice!! Perfect!! If you don't have a juicer, you can certainly use whatever you have, even your hand to just squeeze the juice out since you only need 1/3 cup.
This recipe is from a foreign cook so I think they adjusted the ingredients except for they converted the butter from grams to ounces, and I think I figured that out right!! The muffins turned out!! Hope you enjoy these tasty muffins! Enjoy them warmed up with butter and a cup of coffee or tea!!

Orange Breakfast Muffins
Nigella Lawson - Nigella Bites

2 1/2 oz (75 g) unsalted butter, melted (6 Tbs.)
1 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. baking soda
2 tsp. baking powder
1/3 cup sugar
Zest of 1 orange (about 3 tsp.)
1/3 cup freshly squeezed orange juice (about 2 oranges)
1/3 cup milk
1 egg

1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
2. Melt the butter and set aside. (Do this now since it needs to cool off!)
3. Combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, sugar, and orange zest in a large bowl.
4. Measure the orange juice and milk into a jug and whisk in the egg and then the cooled, melted butter.
5. Pour the liquid ingredients into the dry ingredients, mixing with a fork as you go.
6. Bake for 20 minutes or until they begin to turn golden brown.
7. Cool for 10 minutes.

I doubled the batch and froze them so that we can have some fresh muffins after the baby arrives!! I was hoping they were good since I made double!! And they were! Also good for a yummy afternoon snack! Enjoy!

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Entertaining: Do's and Don'ts

I love entertaining. It's something I never knew I loved until I got married and started having people over. I had no idea what to do! But over time, I got ideas of how to have my house in order and cook and have a meal ready for people to come over! I really love having an excuse to super clean my house (my house doesn't look like this all the time, folks!) and to cook some really yummy food. It's the perfect combination of getting my house clean, cooking, and hanging out with friends!! But although I love it, entertaining has become a pretty stressful thing around here.
Although people might say I'm good at entertaining, they don't see the mayhem that goes on around my house before people arrive for dinner. Trying to clean a house with little ones running around who practically destroy your best efforts right behind you is exhausting. I try to clean throughout the week if I know people are coming over, but how quickly things get in disarray as the kids play. I don't want to tell them they can't play or make a mess, but inevitably their rooms go off limits at some point closer to when people will come. They just can't help but destroy them!
I have done a pretty good job of stressing out my poor husband when company is due to come, leaving him probably wishing we didn't entertain instead of all the stress that comes with people coming over. I guess I have 2 options: to either let go of my standards of how the house should look when people come over or have a better cleaning/cooking schedule that allows more time to get the house ready.
But it's not all horrible!! I really do enjoy it, and I will share some of the good things I have learned to do when having guests over, which I did a lot more of in Chicago, and am starting to do more of here in Oklahoma!!

I love to have people over for dinner, moms over for a morning playdate with a mid-morning snack, an afternoon playdate with snacks for the kids, dinner with friends, and I have been wanting to do a brunch for the ladies! Someday!! I have learned to plan to cook during the kids nap time and to try to keep as much stuff warm in crockpots so that I'm not rushing around finishing dinner when company gets here. I used to be finishing my cooking when people were walking in the door, and if I wasn't finished, it was stressful to try to talk to them while measuring ingredients and cooking. I would rather calmly greet people at the door and be able to talk to them instead of frantically cooking and finishing dinner!!
Something else I did was to start writing down dinners that went well for company, were easy, and had a good reaction. That way when company is coming over, I can just look up a meal I haven't made for them, and it's something I'm familiar with and I'm not as stressed out about it. I used to always cook a new recipe for company, but using a familiar meal cuts down on the nerves about dinner turning out!!
With little kids, you can still clean earlier in the week and get things done, and then close off the rooms, like the bathroom, master bedroom, kitchen counters, surfaces, decluttering, etc. You can pick the areas that they can't reach or you can shut off to clean earlier in the week, and save the main areas that they will destroy throughout the week for last. That way you aren't cleaning the same area more than once.
Do you think my house always looks like this?? Why do you think I had to take a picture? To enjoy this sweet, brief moment!!
And the more you can get done ahead of time makes your time with company more enjoyable. Get out all the plates, napkins, utensils, and cups. Make the drinks ahead of time and have them in the fridge. Prep the coffee for dessert, set out dessert plates and forks, and pick a dessert you can make a day or more in advance so that isn't even on your list for that day!! Make to-do lists for each day until they arrive, so all the stress isn't at the last minute. Make a to-do list for your husband on the Monday before they come so he has all week to get it done. Like right now, since I'm pregnant, I can't do heavy lifting. So I try to save all the big stuff for him to do when he gets home from work. That way you aren't yelling at him at the last minute to get stuff done. He knows ahead of time what you expect him to do, there isn't miscommunication about it, and he can get it done in his time. Which believe me, isn't your time!!
So, sorry this is so long!! Hopefully this might give you some ideas about what to do, and what not to do, and of course, adapt it to how you like to entertain and get things done!!

Happy Entertaining!!

Monday, January 23, 2012

Oatmeal Waffles

I try to make one special hot breakfast a week on one of Tad's days off. On this particular morning, I decided to make waffles in the waffle maker, but quickly realized I was out of the pre-made mix. I went to find an easy recipe to whip up real quick, and found a winner!! The waffles I found had a high rating on allrecipes.com, which is always something I look for, so I decided to try it! It sounded pretty healthy, so I was hoping it would taste good, lol. My family all loved it and my sister and brother-in-law ended up coming over that morning and said they were really good. We followed the instructions on the recipe and topped them with vanilla yogurt and fresh strawberries. Strawberries have been on sale at Aldi's lately so I have been buying them up and having them as part of my breakfast every morning!!

Oatmeal Waffles

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup quick-cooking rolled oats
1 Tbs. baking powder
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 eggs, slightly beaten
1 1/2 cups milk
6 tablespoons butter, melted
2 tablespoons brown sugar

1. In large mixing bowl, stir together flour, oats, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt; set aside. In small mixing bowl, stir together eggs, milk, butter and brown sugar. Add to flour mixture; stir until blended. Pour batter on to grids of preheated, lightly greased waffle iron.

The rest is pretty much self-explanatory according to your waffle iron and how fast it cooks waffles. You and your family will love this easy, tasty breakfast!! And the best part is you probably already have all the ingredients on hand!! You can top with yogurt and fresh fruit or syrup and powdered sugar, or all of the above!! Or whatever you like! Enjoy!

Monday, January 16, 2012


Well, I think nesting has officially set in!! I am officially obsessed with having a clean house, which if you have young kids you know, never really happens!! I have been breaking my back to try to get every nook and cranny sorted through and organized lately, before baby arrives!! I really should be slowing down now, since it doesn't take much for my back to hurt when I'm cleaning/bending over and picking up toys!! I am almost done going through all the different areas in my house, that I can do anyways, and all of the baby clothes are washed, folded, organized, and put away until about 6 months. It's crazy how at the end you really step it up into high gear to get things done and ready for baby!! And at the time when it's hardest to do so!!
But we are excited!! I can't believe I'm gonna have another baby in about 6 weeks!! I don't think the reality has really set in with Tad yet. A couple times I have been folding baby clothes and he looks at me with big eyes like "we are gonna have another baby soon!" I think the pregnant woman is much more fully aware!!

So, I am just counting down the weeks and hoping for a smooth labor and delivery!! If you know me, you probably know that I have had some rough deliveries/recoveries in the past so I'm hoping this one will be different!! I'm 34 weeks today!!

Monday, January 9, 2012

10 Things I Look Forward to After Baby

I'm not necessarily one of those people who love or hate being pregnant. There are certain things I like about each, and each pregnancy is different as well. I have had such random, weird things happen to me during each of my pregnancies, and it can make it difficult to deal with some of them. But probably without fail, there are things I cannot wait for after the pregnancy is over!!! As I am 33 weeks this week, I am definitely ready to be done being pregnant! So, here is the list, in no particular order!

  1. Being able to sleep comfortably in my bed! Though I won't be able to sleep through the night, or for long stretches of time, at least I will be able to breath when I lay down and not have to have a million pillows for support!
  2. No heartburn!! I rarely ever have heartburn unless I'm pregnant! Won't be missing it either!
  3. Being able to run/workout!! I have missed my usual workout routines, and since the first trimester have barely worked out since I was so sick right away! Then I guess I just got into the habit of not working out.
  4. Being able to clean the house or do anything else without back pain! I can't believe how fast the back pain sets in when I'm doing regular chores, standing up for short periods of time, or even just shopping at Walmart! I feel like an old lady!
  5. Being able to drink more caffeine!! I drink my one small cup of coffee in the morning, but having to turn down the espresso in Starbucks drinks is depressing! Especially when you're tired!!
  6. Not having the extra weight! This growing belly is getting pretty heavy, and I won't miss having a hard time getting off the couch or out of bed in the morning!
  7. Being able to start dieting! Okay, I'm not really looking forward to that, but at least having the option to start curbing my diet in order to start shedding that baby weight!
  8. Being able to get more housework done without the help of my family so much!! I have to leave so much stuff to Tad (heavy lifting) or Maddy (bending and picking stuff up off the floor) and it will be nice to be able to do it myself again!
  9. My sanity back! Ok, that is not necessarily a guarantehttp://www.blogger.com/img/blank.gife, but maybe I won't cry at the drop of a hat and make my husband think I'm crazy? Ok, not a guarantee.
  10. Being able to hold my precious baby, nurse her, sing to her, rock her, and have my blessed, amazing, healthy family of 5!

Well, I'm sure there are more things, but for now, those are some of the things I am looking forward to. They are coming soon!!

Check out other fun Top Ten Lists at ohamanda.com!!

Top Ten {Tuesday}

image credit


One of Tad's favorite dishes I have made is called Cassoulet, which is a French stew-like dish containing beans and 3 different kinds of meat!! It is very hearty and filling, perfect for those cold winter nights!! It is simmered in red wine and made with white beans, which is traditional for the French style stew. It does take a little bit to prepare, as you need to cut up the bacon, trim the fat off of the pork roast (which took awhile for me!), and cut up the kielbasa. But once you have it all done, it doesn't take long to cook!! Comfort food in one pot!!

(Recipe coming from a magazine, not sure which one, probably Family Circle??)

6 slices bacon, chopped
1 boneless pork roast (2 pounds), trimmed of fat and cut into 1-inch cubes
1 medium onion, chopped
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning
8 ounces (1/2 package) reduced-fat kielbasa, cut into coins
3/4 cup red wine
1 can (14.5 oz) diced tomatoes with garlic and onions, drained
2 cans (15 oz each) butter beans, drained and rinsed

1. Heat a heavy pot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add bacon and cook 6 minutes, until browned and crispy.
2. Add pork, onion, salt, pepper, and Italian seasoning to pot, cooking 4 minutes, until pork is no longer pink. Stir in kielbasa and cook 2 minutes more.
3. Increase heat to medium-high and add wine. Simmer 4 minutes. Stir in tomatoes and continue to simmer 3 minutes. Stir in beans; heat through, about 1 minute. Serve warm.

And there you have it! Super simple to make, and your hubby will love you for making this super meaty, hearty, warm stew for dinner!! And plus, one pot meals are the best! Enjoy!!

Head on over to momscrazycooking.blogspot.com for some more awesome comfort food recipes to try!! Click the link below!!

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Crazy Dog

In just a few short months, look how big Minnie has gotten!! We got her in August and by January this is how big she is! She has about grown out of her kennel and we will need to be getting one shortly!! She has been a pretty good dog, although, she isn't the indoor dog we thought we were getting. She is so hyper that she really needs to be outside all day to get her energy out, not destroy things in the house, and not jump all over the kids. She comes in and sleeps at night, and luckily, we have a little gated side yard where we put Minnie when the kids play in the backyard. She barks at all the neighborhood dogs, barks at kids on the path behind our house, and takes naps in the sun. And when Maddy left her doll outside once, it became Minnie's favorite outside toy! She has chewed off the hands and it looks disgusting and heinous but she plays with it everyday!! The cutest thing is that right when we brought her home, Maddy gave her one of her stuffed animals and she sleeps with it every night! She usually cuddles it between her paws or rests her head on it! I can't believe I have 3 "kids" who need their stuffed animals at night!!
She has "run away" 2 times, but luckily we got her back. Our gate broke and she got out, but once Tad went and got her in the car, and another time she came back to our front porch!!
She loves our local dog park. We hadn't been for awhile, but recently we went and had her run on the "big dog" side, which is huge, and she loved it! We have a medium-sized, fenced-in backyard, but it is nothing compared to the fenced-in dog park!!
Tad is going to start running with her, as he has been getting into running again and Minnie has tons of energy!! They thought she was a terrier/lab mix but we aren't totally sure. She is all puppy and a sweet dog, just a little much for this super pregnant momma to handle sometimes!! Like yesterday when she got ahold of my slipper when I was getting her food. I did not want to chase her all over the backyard, thank you very much, and I was not happy as I watched her feast on one of my new slippers in the backyard all morning. Tad rescued it when he got home from work, and now I have a slightly dirty slipper, but it still works!
One day, I hope to have a more mellow dog who will lay around or just walk casually around the house without mauling the kids, but in the meantime, she is a crazy, hyper outdoor dog! But we love her!!

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Judah turns 2!!

Happy New Year! I can't believe it's 2012 already!! Our sweet boy turned 2 on Christmas Eve, so we have had a packed holiday/birthday season!! But it has been fun! Last year, we moved 2 days after his birthday! He didn't understand it, he was really sick, and he touched the candle on his cake and got burned by it! Then he was afraid of his cake and wouldn't eat it!! So, needless to say, it was a little traumatic last year!!
This year, it was nice to be settled in a house and not have all the craziness of moving during his birthday! I can't believe we have been in Oklahoma a year already!! Judah understood a little more this year that he got to open a bunch of presents and was saying "birr-day" all day! It was so cute!!

I know people will give me a hard time about this, but I did put his presents under the tree and some of them were wrapped in Christmas wrapping paper. People who have December birthdays are so adamant about splitting up the birthday and Christmas, but look, he's 2! He really didn't care this year!! He just enjoyed ripping open all his presents and seeing what was inside!!
It didn't take long for him to get the hang of opening all those presents!! And the fact that the next day he got to do it all over again! I think December 26th was a letdown!!
He had a little birthday party at grandma's house with one of his favorite dinners, lasagna, and a time of opening presents with the family!! He had a Thomas the Train birthday party and got lots of fun new trains and toys!!
Here he is playing with his first train set!! He is really into trains, trucks, tractors, planes and cars so he got lots of "boy toys" for his birthday!! Hopefully he will trade in the dolls and dress-up stuff for these new toys!!
He is at such a cute age right now and is talking a lot! I think this is one of my favorite ages! He is really such a sweet boy and is a lot more laid back and obedient than Maddy was at that age!! He is truly a joy and we loved celebrating his 2nd birthday!! We are so blessed to have him as part of our family!!
Happy 2nd Birthday, Judah!!