Friday, May 24, 2013

Meals for the Rest of the Week

Tuesday Night
We had Pasta Primavera from my Community of Faith Christian Fellowship Cookbook. This recipe was contributed by Kendra Aguilar and Carolyn Marcus.  I have so much respect for each of these moms and have learned (and continue to learn) from each of them. Here is the recipe:

2 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 red pepper, julienne
1 cup broccoli flowerets (I used frozen chopped)
1 carrot, julienne
1/2 pound fresh mushrooms, sliced
1 tsp basil
1 tsp fresh minced parsley (not our fave so I just added a little bit)
pasta (I used farfalle this time)
cooked shredded chicken (optional, I had some in the fridge that I needed to use, so I threw it in)

6 Tbsp butter
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese (added an extra 1/4 cup)
1 clove garlic, minced
cream cheese to taste (used 2 oz but would use less next time)

1. Stir-fry vegetables in olive oil. Season with basil and parsley. Turn off heat, and cover to keep warm.
2. Cook pasta.
3. While pasta is cooking, prepare the sauce (melt butter and then add cream, parmesan cheese, cream cheese, and garlic). Cook over low heat stirring frequently until cheese are melted.
4. Toss vegetables, chicken, pasta, and sauce together.
5. Serve immediately.

Prep and Cook time: 45 minutes
Servings: 6 

Lydia enjoyed this dinner and ate all of the veggies. There were two servings leftover. I had one serving the next day, and it was not as enjoyable as it was the night I cooked it.

Wednesday Night
Seth had college FG, so I made grilled cheese for Lydia and me. It was a peaceful dinner with no fussing. She also had applesauce (possibly the #1 food she asks for).

Thursday Night
I made another recipe from the Community of Faith Christian Fellowship Cookbook, "Bubble Up Pizza Casserole," contributed by Sandra Asermelly. This is an easy dish that you can prepare ahead of time. I cut the veggies for it on Tuesday night when I was preparing dinner and put them in ziploc bags in the fridge.

1 lb lean ground beef
1/2 onion, chopped
2 cups tomato sauce
1/2 tsp dried basil
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp Italian seasoning
1 cup mushrooms, quartered
1 bell pepper, sliced
1 tube frozen biscuits, quartered
1 1/4 cup Mozzarella cheese

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Brown meat and onion over medium heat. Drain.
3. Stir in tomato sauce, basil, garlic, and Italian seasoning.
4. Add mushrooms, peppers, pepperoni, and cheese. (I also added some spinach I had on hand, and it was a good addition.)
5. Add quartered biscuits, and stir gently until biscuits are covered with sauce.
6. Pour mixture into a 9x13 inch baking dish coated with cooking spray.
7. Bake for 25 minutes. Sprinkle cheese on top to cover, and bake an additional 10 minutes (or until biscuits are done). The biscuits were a little undercooked this time, so 15 additional minutes may be more accurate.
8. Let stand 5 minutes before serving.

Prep time: 30 minutes
Cook time: 40 minutes

Servings: 8

This dinner was also Lydia-friendly and makes great leftovers.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Pizza for Dinner

Since it has been almost a year since my last blog post, it may seem odd that I am posting about what I made for dinner. I have been organizing and cleaning out lately (or at least thinking about it). In an attempt to organize my recipes and become better at meal planning, I thought I would try using the blog. If you are not interested in reading about what we eat, no worries.  
It is mostly for me! 

This is my third time making White Pizzas with Arugula from Barefoot Contessa Back to the Basics: Fabulous Flavor from Simple Ingredients, by Ina Garten. Besides the white pizzas, I also made several red sauce pizzas.  

I used to be afraid of making pizza dough and would just buy it frozen, but it turns out that it is not very difficult to make or time consuming. I will have to get back to you as to whether or not it saves money to make it yourself.  The last time I made the dough I put one ball in the freezer to see if it would be good taken out and used at a different date. I wrapped the dough in clear plastic wrap and placed it inside of two zipper bags (just to be on the safe side), and I am happy to report that the frozen dough did not appear to be any different than the dough that I made today.  

I used Trader Joe's Pizza Sauce ($1.99). One jar is enough sauce for making pizzas twice. Next time I would like to try making my own pizza sauce and see how it compares in taste, price, and time (Easy Pizza Sauce). Leave a comment if you have a pizza sauce you like to make.

The pizzas are cooked at 500 degrees for 15 minutes (or until cheese is melted and crust is golden brown). Be careful when you are opening the oven because 500 degrees is very hot!

The red sauce pizzas were on the small side, so I cut them into thin strips. The options were cheese, pepperoni, and veggie (mushrooms, peppers, onions). I used all of the dough (what the recipe makes plus one more small ball), and it feed three adults and one child with leftovers.

Kid-friendly? Yes! Lydia ate several slices of the cheese and a small slice of the white pizza and the arugula. 


Pizza Dough
1 1/4 cups warm water
2 packages dry yeast
1 tablespoon honey
Good olive oil
4 cups all-purpose flour, extra for kneading

Garlic Oil
(for the white pizza - tastes and smells delicious)
Olive oil
4 garlic cloves, sliced
Red pepper flakes

Mozzarella cheese
Goat cheese
Ricotta cheese (not in the recipe and not my favorite; just use a little)
Italian Fontina cheese (what the recipe calls for)
Bell peppers

Arugula Salad
1/2 cup good olive oil
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
8 ounces baby arugula

I did not serve anything on the side tonight. Since the white pizza has an arugula salad on top, I counted that as the veggie. If I was going to serve something else with it, I might just do a fruit salad. I am also planning on serving the white pizza as an appetizer for the dinner I donated to the CFTS cake auction fundraiser. 

I am new to taking photos of food, and I know that it is an art. Bear with me as I learn to take good photos!

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Boston Birthday Celebration

Lydia will turn 1 on August 12.  It is hard to believe how fast this year has gone.  I have heard it said that the days are slow when raising children and the years are fast.  I would have to say that I agree based on this one year.  

Since we will be on Tempe on her actual birthday, which she shares with several of our friends here in Boston (Sean Richmond, Ron Goode, Dan Snape), we had her birthday party this past Sunday evening.  It was a lot of fun, so I wanted to share some photos.

I had a lot of fun preparing the decorations and food.  The theme was from the book by Eric Carle, The Very Hungry Caterpillar.  If you follow me on Pinterest, you probably saw a lot of my decorating ideas on my "Party Planning" board.

Here is the food table.  The menu included the fruit that the caterpillar ate in the book along with some savory items.  

Here is an up close view of the cake.  Seth won a cake from a favorite place of his to hang-out, Treats on Washington in Brighton Center, and they did an amazing job.  It was really delicious as well as looking unbelievable!

Here's the birthday girl!  The outfit was provided by my Aunt Roselyn.  Thank you!

What a sweet face!

This is a great pic of Lydia being so excited with our friend and amazing babysitter, Missy.  Missy has watched Lydia for us a couple of times, and they always have an adventure (e.g., hiking, going to get ice cream).  We love you, Missy!

A little telephone before the party started.

"Reading" The Very Hungry Caterpillar

Auntie Mills arrives

Jeff giving Lydia a preview to the birthday song.

Who needs cake when this balloon is so much fun!?

And here comes the cake.  Hmmm.  Not sure what to think about this.

So, what am I supposed to do with that?

Family Photo

I think she enjoyed the cake!

This is Lydia's friend, Belle.

Annie Kate and Lily helping Lydia open her presents.

The end of the party.  Everyone had a great time.  It was a big success.  Seth told me yesterday that I set the bar high for birthday celebrations.  I enjoyed every moment - from planning to party.  Hope you enjoy!

Friday, May 18, 2012

Catching up...

Well, I guess I haven't been the best blogger over the past few months. I have been a bit overwhelmed with life, but I think that I am ready to jump back in to regular blogging. Not sure what "regular" will be. :) One reason that I haven't blogged is because I haven't known where to start. I totally skipped over December, and now it's May! A lot has happened in these past few months, so this blog is going to be a quick overview.

I turned 29 on December 18, 2011. One more year in my 20s! I had a sweet birthday celebration with a few friends at the Paramount Restaurant in Beacon Hill. From left to right: Sarah, Tanya, Me, Lisa, and Jacqueline. Unfortunately, I read the website wrong and thought that it opened at 7am. Actually, it opened at 8, so we spent an hour at Starbucks, and then we headed over to the Paramount. It allowed for some extra time together. Oops!

We went to Georgia for Christmas. We were supposed to drive, and at the last minute (literally, 2 days before we were leaving), we had car trouble that could not be fixed in time. So, we bought airline tickets for a pretty reasonable price, and flying home allowed for a few extra days. The picture above is Lydia sleeping in a bassinet at Grandma Dot's house. It's the same bassinet that Seth's dad slept in.

Lydia was as excited as the rest of us to see what was in her stocking. There are tons of pictures from Christmas, but since it's April, I'm going to move on. Needless to say, we had a great time with our family in Georgia. Lydia's first Christmas was wonderful!

My parents came to Boston for a long weekend to watch Lydia during our annual World Mandate Conference. It was such a blessing to be able to be fully engaged in the conference without having to worry about Lydia. Thank you, Big Mama and Big Daddy! 

We sent our good friends, Ben and Carolyn Marcus, along with their kids, Aeden, Naomi, and Eli, to serve on our long-term team in Indonesia. It was such a blessing to have them in Boston before they headed to the other side of the world. We are excited that we get to see them this summer when we lead a CFTS short-term trip for two weeks in June.

We had the opportunity to visit Seattle in February. There is an Antioch church plant in Seattle, and they invited Seth out to help setup their new sound board and run sound for a conference they were having. Lydia and I tagged along. We were able to stay with some friends from Boston who moved to Seattle and are a part of the church there now.  Brian and Danielle were great hosts.  Seth and I love exploring new places, and although our trip was short, we were able to get a good taste of Seattle.

Danielle (in Seattle) takes photographs, and this was a really sweet one that she captured of Lydia.

This was Lydia's first Valentine's Day, and she had several Valentine outfits to wear. While in Seattle the previous week, I was feeling a little sick. The sickness was similar to how I remembered feeling when I was at the beginning of my pregnancy with Lydia. So, I told Seth that I was going to take a pregnancy test when we returned to Boston just to make sure. I was pretty confident that it would be negative since Lydia was only 6 months, and surely I wasn't pregnant again. :/ I went to Target on Valentine's Day to get Seth a present.  I bought a test and took it in the Target family bathroom with Lydia in the carseat.  I couldn't wait until we got home. Well, in about 30 seconds, it showed that I was indeed pregnant.  Lydia and I went home, and I gave Seth three presents that night: one from me, one from Lydia, and one from the new baby.  His initial reaction was shock, but within 30 seconds, he said with a big smile on his face, "I'm ready. I'm ready for more kids." Seth's reaction made me feel a lot better. I knew that we would be in this craziness together!

Guess what? There isn't a market for 6 month old "Big Sis" shirts, so I made this one myself.  We told our families over Skype, and everyone was surprised and excited. Here we go again!

Lydia and I took an unexpected trip to GA in March. We were able to spend some good time with family. Lydia got to meet my grandmother (my dad's mom) for the first time. She lives in Savannah, and we do not make it to Savannah every time that we are in GA. It was so sweet to see my 89 year old grandmother with my 7 month old little baby girl.

We were able to see Seth's parents as well, Papa and Jan Ma. We flew out of Charlotte, and they drove us to the airport.  Always blessed to be with grandparents!

Seth's sister, Aunt Amy, picked us up when we got to the airport in Atlanta. We had a nice lunch with her, and she was also able to come to Augusta while we stayed with Seth's parents.  Lydia is looking forward to going on fun trips with her Aunt Amy someday!

Here is a pic from Lydia's first St. Patrick's Day. It's a pretty big holiday in Boston.

We were able to meet my parents in Hollywood, FL, at the beginning of April for a nice vacation in a warm location. Thank you for a relaxing time at the beach, Big Mama and Big Daddy! 

We joined 4 other couples at our church to dedicate Lydia.  She was the only girl being dedicated that day.  It was a special day where we committed to raise Lydia to know our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. 

Lydia is sitting in her high chair and eating food by herself.  We have entered a new messy stage.  It looks pretty good in this photo.  We must not have given her too much food to make a mess with. 

My friend from college, Pam, and her son, Reid, came to visit us during their spring vacation for a long weekend.  We had a great time.  Lydia loved playing with Reid!  He entertained her for hours everyday.  We went to the Boston Children's Museum and the North End for pizza one day.  Other than that, Pam and Reid tagged along with the normal happenings of our life (which included Faithgroup, a birthday party, and church).  It was a great time to reconnect.  Thank you for coming, Pam and Reid!  

These last photos are from the Public Garden during my favorite time of year - when the tulips are in bloom.  We had a picnic dinner next to the water, and then we took some photos with the flowers.

I love this photo of Lydia with the George Washington statute behind her!  It is a good Boston picture.  As you can see, she still doesn't have much hair.  Almost everyday someone asks how old "he" is.  I politely say, "She's 9 months."  It doesn't matter what she is wearing either.  I was at the grocery store one day, and she was wearing a long sleeve pink shirt and two people commented on how cute "he" was.  Not sure what to do.  Oh well!

As I said at the beginning, it is my goal to blog more regularly, but I'm not making any promises for what that will look like.  Hope you enjoyed catching up with us from the last few months!

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Five Months Old

Lydia is five months old today. It is hard to believe that five months have passed, and at the same time, it is hard to remember what life was like before having her. I have wanted to post something the last couple of months when she has turned another month older, but this is the first time that I have actually done it. We'll see how the rest of the year goes!

I have several books that I like to read to find out what she "should" be doing. I know that every baby is different, so I don't get too uptight when she isn't doing exactly what the book says she should be doing. Some of the books I reference include What to Expect the First Year, The American Academy of Pediatrics Caring for Your Baby and Young Child: Birth to Age 5, and The Gerber Generation: Health Record. Here is a list of some of the developmental markers at her age with notes about what Lydia can do:

-Holds head steady when upright (check)
-On stomach, raises chest, supported by arms (not so much - she still doesn't like being on her tummy - maybe by the end of the month)
Rolls over (not yet but she is getting very close)
-Pays attention to very small objects (haven't noticed)
-Squeals in delight (check - best sound in the world)
Reaches for an object (check)
Smiles spontaneously (check - love this)
Grasps a rattle held to backs or tips of fingers (check)
Hold head steady when sitting upright as neck muscles strengthen (check)
Say ah-goo or similar vowel-consonant combinations, repeat strings of syllables in a rhythmic way (check)
Babble to get attention (check)
Experiment by making new sounds like "raspberries" with her lips - razz (check - she started doing this recently and it is so cute - I especially like when she is doing it with a very concerned look on her face)
Turn in the direction of a voice (check)

If you saw the last video, we started Lydia on rice cereal today. She seemed to like it pretty well. I also let her drink from a sippy cup with a straw. She has not wanted to take the bottle for two months now. I decided that when I started solids that I would also work on drinking from a sippy cup. It was successful today, so we'll see how things go tomorrow.

I was talking with Seth today about how thankful I am that Lydia is a chill baby. This morning we went to Park Street School's chapel, and she didn't have her normal nap. She only slept for about 30 minutes instead of 1 1/2 to 2 hours, but she was happy as she could be. Our life hasn't slowed down too much since she has been born, and I'm sure having a baby who can just go with the flow helps facilitate that.

This little girl has won my heart!