Thanksgiving Favorites

Thanksgiving Favorites

Usually I’m all about planning out a Thanksgiving feast. I research new recipes, I make a plan on when I’ll start each dish, figure out what I can make ahead…you know a game plan. However, this year I’m trying to take it easy since little baby might come anytime. Plus, standing and cooking in the kitchen for a lengthy amount of time just sounds like a backache, literally. I feel a bit like I am giving in, but I know it’s the right thing to do. Being 38 weeks pregnant for Thanksgiving is a bummer, man.

To take it easier, we decided to order a small pre-cooked turkey from Whole Foods this year. I was actually impressed that the price wasn’t as terrible as I anticipated given a raw turkey plus all the brining and cooking ingredients would come out not that far off…not to mention the price of your time and labor. Hopefully it’s delicious!

Another shortcut this year is on dessert. Our realtor, Harber Home Group, offers a free apple pie every to his past customers every year. This year we’re taking them up on it. It pains me not to make dessert. Baking is one of my favorites. If we get the pie and it’s not up to snuff, then I’m hunkering down and baking something (see below: Dessert).

I already make the stuffing and froze it, so all I need to do is defrost it. Then, I’ll make a simple side the day-off and there we have our feast. It’s just Josh, Caleb, and me so it doesn’t have to be a huge meal. Just a nice way to celebrate together and eat some delicious food.

Maybe you’re reading all this and saying, “man, I’m totally down for a huge feast with all the homemade fixings.” Power to you! I would reply telling you to check out this game plan I wrote a couple years ago . Also, How Sweet Eats timeline or the Faux Martha Cooking Schedule have some organized schedules for you.

Or, maybe you want to know some of my favorite Thanksgiving dishes. You can pick and chose if you want to make any of them. YES! I love sharing, let’s do this.

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Toddler Halloween Snacks: Pumpkin Oranges and Mummy Muffins

Toddler Halloween Snacks: Pumpkin Oranges and Mummy Muffins

This is super last minute since tomorrow is Halloween, but these two snack ideas are so cute. I whipped them both up yesterday, so I think you can still manage to make one or both of them yourself in time for Halloween.

I made these especially for Caleb’s preschool class. It just so happened that I was assigned to bring snacks (we bring a snack about once a month) the day before Halloween. Since they don’t have school on Wednesdays, I knew today was the day to do something fun for Halloween. And that’s how we ended up with these snacks. Yay!

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5 Easy Week Night Meals in a Bowl

5 Easy Week Night Meals in a Bowl

The age-old question: What's for dinner? It's a tough one. It was hard when I worked and didn't have a child, and it's hard when I don't work but have a child. I think everyone can relate to the challenge of getting a delicious, healthy meal on the table in a timely manner during the week. If you find it easy, then by all means comment and let us know your secret. ;) 

Also, you may be wondering, why in a bowl? I ask you this, why not in a bowl? Josh and I were talking about it, and we eat the majority of our meals from a bowl. It's just so handy - everything goes one dish, it's easy to scoop up the food, and each bite is exciting. Forever we used small bowls and realized it just wasn't big enough. We're hungry people! We got these bowls from Cost Plus World Market, and they are perfect. 

I have my meal planning method that I'll share some time with you. For now, in short, I plan everything over the weekend, grocery shop on Sunday, make most of the meal during nap time each day and finish up (or heat up) the dinner in the evening. It makes nap time busy, but it's worth it at the end of the day for me. 

For today, I've collected five favorite bowl meals that I make regularly. And five meals will get you through one work week (yay for math)! I do enjoy cooking, but I haven't mastered creating recipes. However, I do feel as though I'm good at finding recipes. I am mostly a true-to-recipe follower, but I do make adjustments based on ease of ingredients, my own likes/dislikes, and whatnot. I've shared what I do differently in case you'd like to try it my way.

Oh, and I get like 98% of my recipes from bloggers. Check out the sources for my recipes - I love all these blogs. Ready? Let's go.

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Let's Celebrate Saint Patrick's Day: Dinner, Treats, Crafts

Let's Celebrate Saint Patrick's Day: Dinner, Treats, Crafts

I feel oddly committed to the Saint Patrick's Day holiday. Or, well, maybe it's not so odd. I do have the maiden name O'Neill. Growing up I thought it was such a cool last name even though that apostrophe caused so much trouble in computer systems. Not to mention, there is enough Irish in my father for him receive dual citizenship. Some of that got past down to me - somewhere about 25% Irish. That's enough to make my Irish eyes smile. Oh, and fun fact, if I had been born a boy, my name would have been Patrick. That's all pretty Irish. 

To celebrate, my mom would cook corned beef and cabbage for Saint Patrick's Day when I was growing up. However, my dad would tell you that this is one of the last things you'll actually find in Ireland for Saint Patrick's Day. He actually can say this because he has been to Ireland. He's been more than me (I've been once). The first trip was when we all went together as a family. I was much younger - high school, I believe - and all I recall eating was tomato soup and brown bread. Oh, and there was an Italian restaurant I really enjoyed. I also remember being very cold. Beautiful, but cold.

Okay, enough of my Irish jibber jabber and memory lane stuff. Let's talk celebrating. Every year, I make an effort to have a meal, treat, and/or craft. Generally, they end up being something green, Guinness, rainbow, leprechaun, or shamrock themed. But I hate it when someone says, I made avocado toast and deem it Saint Patrick's Day fare. That's all wrong. Just wrong. I want to be a little more authentic, but it's tough to do and not as cute or fun. So I tried to find a middle ground.

I started by consulting Wikipedia to be sure I was accurately informed on Saint Patricks' Day. I learned that Saint Patrick was thought to bring Christianity to Ireland. Green is associated with Catholics in Ireland and that it's said Saint Patrick used the shamrock, a three-leaved plant, to explain the Holy Trinity. So we can say green and shamrocks are authentic. Of course, Guinness is authentic. I'm not sure about the rainbows, though. Now that we know what's more authentic, let's talk food and crafts.

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Recipe Love: One Bowl Carrot Oatmeal Muffins

Recipe Love: One Bowl Carrot Oatmeal Muffins

My son is a picky eater. This really shouldn't have been a surprise for me since most kids are pretty picky eaters. And I'm pretty sure I was a picky eater. I guess I just had it stuck in my head that my son wouldn't be picky because my husband eats practically everything. Like father like son, no? Nope. I feel like I can count on my hands the foods my son will eat consistently. Wait, I think I really can do that...let's see there is yogurt, fruit, breakfast sausage, frozen yogurt (or ice cream), and pouches. Those are consistent, like 99% of the time he'll eat them. But he'll also usually eat peas, pancakes, crackers, chicken nuggets, and toast. That's about it. Did you count those on your hands? Yup. 

Honestly, I feel so defeated feeding him sometimes (who am I kidding, I feel this way all the time). I used to do more experimentation, but I've been let down too many times and I lost hope a bit. I'm really feeling like I need to launch into another effort to introduce and re-introduce some foods, but #tiredmom.

It's especially tough since I love cooking and baking and I get so excited about making things for him. Then he "returns to sender" - aka, spits it back out. At least he tried it, eh? Better than not even putting it in his mouth. 

All that said, I get excited. No, I get ECSTATIC when he eats something new. A few weeks ago I helped host a baby shower for a friend. We had some leftover baby carrots. What to do. Caleb won't eat baby carrots. Then I thought I'd bake them into a muffin and see what happens. I remembered really liking these carrots muffins in the past, so I pulled out the recipe. Guess what? He ate TWO muffins that day. TWO! That's unheard of. That's crazy. Wait, is that my child? But he continued to eat them over the next few days and he enjoyed them. "Mommy, nom nom," he would say. YAY!

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