About Me

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I love Jesus, my husband, being a stay at home mom to my little boy, New Orleans, crafting, cooking, fitness, nutrition, homemaking, hospitality, being outside, black coffee, chai tea, reading, journaling, thrifting, and deep conversation. Food is my love language; through food I savor memories, create traditions, and serve others.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Spinach Pie

I made this Spinach Pie for a simple vegetarian dinner (but it would be a great side dish to any meat).  It was quick, easy, and delicious.  I left out the eggs and the egg wash because I made it for my mom who doesn't eat eggs, but if that wasn't a concern I'd add those in next time.  I also switched out the cottage cheese with feta and was very happy with that decision.

Friday, April 11, 2014

46 weeks

Here is what is going on with Eli this week according to babycenter.com;

Your baby probably enjoys looking at books and leafing through the pages, though she won't always turn them one by one. Indulge in great picture books, like Anno's Journey, by the great Japanese artist Mitsumasa Anno, Tamara Hoban's Is It Red? Is It Yellow? Is It Blue?, which introduces primary colors through photos of everyday objects, and The Snowman, by Raymond Briggs, a full-color cartoon book about a snowman who comes to life. Or stick with sturdy and inexpensive board books that can stand up to small fingers.

To add variety to your baby's reading time and to find out what appeals to her the most, try your local library or the kids' section at a family-friendly bookstore.

Your baby has probably been wrestling with bouts of separation anxiety during the last several months. This is natural: She loves and depends on you, so she's distressed when you leave.

To ease departures, make them short and sweet. Be matter-of-fact when you leave your child at daycare or with a babysitter at home, and don't prolong the agony with extended goodbyes. Your baby's tears will subside soon after you're out of sight.

You can help your baby feel more independent by not hovering over her all the time. Of course, she still needs to know that you're around and dependable. So if she toddles to another room, wait a couple of minutes before following. If you go to another area of the house, call to her when you're in the next room — but don't come running every time she squawks.

Poor 2nd child!  I blogged every week the whole first year of Noah's life and this is my first Eli blog in 2 months. 

Eli is doing great though!

I think I've pretty much switched to solely calling him Eli and almost never calling him Elisha. 

He has been walking for about 2 weeks (since he was 10 months old) and can walk around the whole house on his own.  Now we're working on getting used to walking in shoes and not just barefoot.

He loves to clap his hands and does it all the time.  Within the last couple of weeks he's just been learning how to wave hi and bye to people.

I just finally transitioned him out of sleeping in a sleep sack this week and am now giving him a blanket.  We also lowered his crib to the lowest notch, because I think it was somewhere around this age when Noah figured out how to hurl himself out of the crib.  We also child proofed all of our cabinets, which is something that I had never done with Noah, but it has made my days dramatically easier since I'm not spending 98% of my day policing cabinets now.

He now has his 2 bottom center teeth and 2 top center teeth, plus has an additional one on the top just starting to break through the skin.

Eli has hardly ever been left with anyone other than me, Jeremy, or his mom, but we are slowly getting him used to it.  A few months ago, he wasn't making it through a whole church service and they would call me to pick him up from the nursery after about 15-20 minutes because he was still sobbing.  Now he makes it the entire service, but still gets pretty sad when I drop him off, and pick him up.

Despite the drawbacks of having less blogs and alone time with me from being the 2nd child I think he is getting a lot of benefits (for him anyway).  I didn't let Noah eat any food with added butter, oil, salt, sugar, or fried food until well after his 1st birthday (I think).  I pretty much already feed Eli just about anything that I'm eating which has included desserts, chips, french fries, meat, nd lots of other delicacies that Noah wasn't experiencing at this age.  I also never let Noah watch tv before he was 2 (I think), but since Noah currently watches a few shows a day, as soon as Eli is old enough to notice and care then I will let him watch with his brother.

In reading Noah's 46 week blog I'm reminded of how much he loved to read at this age... Eli, not so much.  I can't get him to sit still for a whole book, and usually he just tries to grab books out of my hand.  In fact, when I'm reading a book to Noah, Eli will come from across the room just to try to take the book from us.  On his own though, he is frequently known to pull all of the books off the bookshelf and sit amidst a pile of books flipping through them, he just doesn't want us reading them to him.

But while Eli doesn't have the same love for books that Noah did at this age he does have a love for balls that Noah didn't.  He loves to catch, throw, and roll balls.  We'll see if this carries over into athleticism in later years.

He has developed a bit of an attitude and will throw mini fits/ tantrums when we take away something that he wants.  Fortunately he is easily distracted.

He says mama and dadda, dadda way more than mama.  He also says Noah, but hasn't showed any interest in some of the other common words yet.

One of his favorite things to do is to lay on any couch, bed, or set of pillows and just flop and roll around.  He grins and growls the whole time.  He also loves being held upside down, going for walks, playing peek-a-boo, watching bubbles, and going to grandma's.

This little boy is so happy and full of personality.  He is independent... when I see other kids his age hover by their moms in social settings he is always on the move, curious and exploring.  He is stubborn tenacious, and will continue to go back to the same forbidden action time and time again without giving up.  These traits of curiosity and tenacity are also strongly exhibited in his brother, and while they can be frustrating in small children I think they are great qualities for adults, so we are doing our best not to stifle them out of him but to attempt to direct them in a constructive manner.

Here was Noah at 46 weeks.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Felt Crown and Owl Mask

I made this felt owl mask and felt crown for a special little girl's birthday.  I've really been enjoying whipping up some super quick projects with felt lately.  I used this template (minus the eyelashes) for the owl, and this template for the crown.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Easy "Risotto"

I made this Ina Garten baked risotto recipe that produces an authentic risotto-like product, without all of the hands on work of stirring and watching.  I thought it turned out great!  I didn't have any wine on hand, so I eliminated it altogether, and added 1 Tbsp of lemon juice, because I like a touch of lemon with spring vegetables.  Next time I might even add some lemon zest.  I did find the finished product a little too salty and would reduce the salt by 1/2-1 tsp next time.  I also reduced the butter to 2 Tbsp, and might even cut it back to only 1 Tbsp next time, the cheese made it rich enough for me.  Other than that, such a great and easy recipe that can easily be changed to include your veggies and cheeses of choice... I definitely see an asparagus and mushroom versions in my future, and one with goat cheese instead of parmesan.

Monday, March 24, 2014



This is yet another recipe from the book Bread & Wine.  I've adjusted the original recipe from the book with the 3 changes that I made (add red pepper flakes, increase the tomatoes and reduce the bread crumb topping) to suit my taste.  This dish was simple, healthy, earthy and filing.

-1 Tbsp olive oil
-1 lb. Italian turkey sausage
-1 1/2 cups chicken broth
-1 onion, thinly sliced
-3 carrots, cut into 1/2 inch dice
-3 parsnips, cut into 1/2 inch dice
-2 tomatoes, chopped, or one 15-oz. can whole tomatoes, drained and chopped
-3 15-oz. cans cannellini beans, drained
-5 sprigs fresh thyme or 1 t. dried thyme leaves
-1/2 t. salt
-1/4 t. pepper, freshly ground
-1/4 t red pepper flakes
-3 cloves garlic, minced
-1/2 c bread crumbs
-1/4 c fresh parsley, chopped
-2 T. butter

In a large Dutch oven, heat the oil over medium heat. Cook the sausage until well-browned, breaking it up with a wooden spoon. Remove from pan and drain on paper towel. Set aside.

2. In same Dutch oven, add the chicken broth, vegetables, beans, thyme, salt, pepper, red pepper flakes, one third of the garlic, and the sausage.  Bring to a boil.

Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer, stirring occasionally, for about 1 hour until the cassoulet is thickened and vegetables are tender.

Heat oven to 400 degrees. In a small bowl, combine bread crumbs, parsley, and butter. Sprinkle evenly over the cassoulet, and place in the oven. Bake, uncovered, until the crust is golden brown, 10-15 minutes.

To make ahead and freeze, prepare without the bread crumb topping. Cover and freeze up to 4 months. When ready to cook, uncover the cassoulet, sprinkle with bread crumb mixture, and bake, unthawed, 45 minutes to 1 hour at 400 degrees.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Turkey Sausage and Butternut Squash Lasagna

Turkey Sausage and Butternut Squash Lasagna

This recipe is a slightly adjusted version of a recipe from a friend of a friend.  I used skim milk, because I always try to keep things on the lighter side.  It turned out well, but if you're not as concerned about calories I think you'd get an even better flavor using 2% or whole milk.  Next time I think I'd also consider adding a layer of sauteed spinach, because I really like the pairing of greens and butternut squash.

-1 Tbsp olive oil
-1 yellow onion, diced
4 garlic cloves, minced
-Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
-1 lb Italian Turkey sausage, casings removed
-1/2 stick butter
-1/4 cup all purpose flour
-3 cups milk
-1 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, divided
-1/4 cup chopped fresh flat leaf parsley
-1 Tbsp minced fresh sage
-15 whole wheat lasagna noodles, soaked in hot tap water for 20 minutes
-3 lbs butternut squash, neck portion only, peeled and sliced into wide thin sheets (quickly did this in my food processor)

Heat the oil in a large non-stick fry pan, over medium-high heat. Add the onions and cook, stirring occasionally until soft and translucent, about 8 minutes. Add the garlic, salt, and pepper and cook for 30 seconds. Transfer to a bowl.  In the fry pan over medium-high heat, cook the sausage breaking it into small pieces, until browned and cooked through, about 8 minutes. Drain the sausage on paper towels, then add the onion mixture.  In the fry pan over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the flour and cook, stirring constantly, for 1 minute. Slowly stir in the milk, increase the heat to medium-high and cook until thickened, 8 to 10 minutes. Transfer to a separate bowl. Stir in 3/4 cup of the cheese, the 1/4 cup parsley, the sage, salt, and pepper.

To assemble the lasagna, spread 1/3 cup sauce on the bottom of a greased 9x13 pan and top with a single layer of 5 noodles. Top with a layer of squash slices, 1/2 the sausage, and 1/3 the sauce. Repeat the layering of noodles, squash, sausage and sauce.  Top with the remaining noodles, sauce, and 1/4 c cheese.  Transfer the pan to the oven and bake at 375 until the lasagna is browned and bubbly, about 35-45 minutes.

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Pasta with Turkey Sausage, Spinach, and Smoked Gouda

Pasta with Turkey Sausage, Spinach, and Smoked Gouda

This is my take on a recipe that a friend made from her church cookbook.  This dish combines many of my favorite foods/ flavors and is fairly simple to throw together.  When making/ serving casseroles like this, I almost always make them first thing in the morning while the kiddos are happily playing and then refrigerate and bring to room temperature for an hour before baking prior to dinner.  I find that my afternoons and evenings can get off course based on the ups and downs of kid behavior during the day, and it's always nice to know that dinner is already prepared and that all I need to do is pop it straight into the oven.

-1 box whole wheat pasta, cooked al dente (I used penne)
-1 lb Italian turkey sausage, cooked and crumbled
-2 Tbsp olive oil
-1 onion, diced
-2-3 assorted bell peppers, diced (I used 1 red, 1 yellow, and 1 orange)
-6 cloves garlic, minced
-1 (29 oz) can diced tomatoes
-1 tsp salt
-1/2 tsp pepper
-1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
-8 oz baby spinach leaves
-2 1/2 c smoked gouda, shredded, divided use

Heat oil in medium pot over medium heat.  Add onion and peppers.  Saute until beginning to soften, about 5 minutes.  Add garlic, saute 1 additional minute.  Add tomatoes, salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes, stirring well.  Add spinach, cooking and stirring until just wilted, about 5 minutes.  Toss pasta and sausage with tomato mixture and 2 c of the cheese.  Spread into a greased 13x9 pan.  Top with remaining 1/2 c cheese.  Bake at 375 20-30 minutes, until warm and cheese is melted.