It's friday and time for another installment of fabulous food friday! When I see a recipe that says best recipe ever I am willing to give it a try. I recently made a homemade lasagna that I found from Family Ever After via Oopsey Daisy. It lived up to the hype, I really loved it.
2 celery stalks
2 garlic cloves
1 lb. ground sausage
1 14oz can tomato sauce, or a handful of fresh tomatoes
1 can vegetable broth
2 TB butter
1/3 cup flour
2 cups milk
1 cup cream
salt and pepper
pinch of nutmeg
pasta sheets (I recommend Barilla no boil)
To make the Ragu-
1.Wash and chop onion, carrots, celery, and garlic.
2. Heat butter and oil in pot. Saute vegetables briefly (I forgot celery so I left it out).
3. Add sausage. Saute.
4. Add tomato sauce, stock, salt and pepper.
5. Simmer on low for 1 hour.
To make the Bechamel (a white sauce)-
1. Melt butter. Add flour, stirring with a whisk, appx 1 minute.
2. Slowly add milk, then cream, stirring constantly.
3. Simmer on low until thickened, 5-10 minutes.
4. Season with s&p and nutmeg.
1. Preheat oven to 375.
2. In a 9x13 baking dish, spread a teeny tiny layer of the bechamel, preventing the pasta from sticking to the bottom.
3. The layers will be in this order- pasta, ragu, bechamel, mozzarella. Repeat 3 times.
4. Top with parmesan and a few pats of butter. (you don't have to do the butter, but its amazing)!
5. Bake for 40 minutes.
It really was as amazing as it looked. I am really bad at taking pictures of it nice and plated because I eat it so fast. It was fantastic. Have a great weekend!
This past weekend James came to visit. He was at training in Alabama so it wasn't too long of a drive over. This was his first time visiting baby Max and we had fun hanging out.
Max liked his bottle for a few minutes, then he got angry bird mad that it was a bottle.
When Max was napping the older boys were doing projects. David purchased a small shed to put in the yard to store the lawn mower and other yard tools. We really needed the room in the garage so we can park both cars in and have access to all 4 doors on my vehicle.
We have a lot of birds that chirp in our yard all day so I thought it was about time that I step up and feed them.
I purchased this bird feeder from Walmart after going to a few of the home improvement stores and not finding anything fun.
They say to hang it away from trees and fences so you don't have squirrels and other predators trying to get the food and birds. We really don't have squirrels in our yard since we don't have a ton of trees and are backed up to other houses I think.
I love the pretty design and it reflects very nicely in the sunlight. We have a lot of little bird friends that come visit daily and they seem to really enjoy the spread we put out.
We have already been through a 5lb bag in 2 weeks time. Pretty birdie.
Our knock-out roses have really blossomed early this year with the warm weather we have going. I just love to look at them.
Molly enjoys the weather outside also. Check out the jungle we have growing in our backyard. Davids going to be working on trying to maintain our yard this year as the weeds are just out of control.
We still need to clean out the old garden from last year that got infested with grass. As we were looking at some of the things still growing we noticed something red in there.
Upon closer inspection they are strawberries!! I planted them last year and nothing happened and this year they came out! We have quite a few and thats pretty exciting. I am mad that the garden looks so bad that we can't really use the space. I am going to finally get some of my vegetables to pots and start the outdoor garden. It's been slow going with this little guy who has decided he doesn't like to shop around with me anymore.
I have finally sent out Max's birth announcement and they are mostly delivered so I thought I'd share the final product. I ordered them on Photo Affections and really liked the quality. I wanted one with lots of photos since we had Max's newborn pictures to use. If you are family and friends that have found the blog via the birth announcement then WELCOME, glad you stopped by! We'll be sharing updates about little Max and our family here so stay a while.
I decided to have some fridays as food recipe day as they aren't the most fun to read, but I still like to reference the blog for recipes. This recipe is one of my favorites for the summer grilling season. It takes a little prep work inside before heading to the grill though.
4 oz Italian turkey sausage (1 link, I use 2 though)
1/4 C diced red onion
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 medium tomato (about 1/2 C diced)
1 1/2 T chopped fresh basil (or abt a teaspoon of dried)
2/3 C Italian cheese blend
1 T Italian style bread crumbs
Slice zucchini in half length wise, leaving the tops on. Scoop out the centers, saving them in a bowl. Leave at least 1/4 inch around the edges and bottoms. Take the good parts of the zucchini guts you just scooped out and dice up 1/2 C. This will go in your filling. Head over to OBB for a great tutorial on what this should look like, I failed to take a picture of this part.
Drizzle the zucchini shells with a little olive oil and use your hands to rub it on all sides. Sprinkle with some kosher salt and black pepper and set aside.
Preheat your grill outside and then start your filling in a skillet on the stovetop. Start by browning the sausage. When you no longer see pink, add the onions, garlic, and diced zucchini. Cook for 2-3 minutes until onion is tender. Add tomato and basil, 1/4 t kosher salt and a few cracks of black pepper. Remove pan from heat and set aside.
Take your zucchini to the grill and put them hollow-side down (don't mind the sausage in the background, I used the others in the package to serve on the side with dinner). Grill for about 5 minutes on medium heat. They should have nice charred marks and look tender on the inside.
Take them back inside. Add cheese and bread crumbs to filling mixture. Stir to combine and then divide the filling between the zucchini. Top each zucchini with about 1T cheese and sprinkle with 1/4-1/2 t bread crumbs. Lastly, give them a little drizzle of extra virgin olive oil.
Place them back on the grill (filling side up- please!) Close grill lid, and cook for another 5-7 minutes. Larger/thicker zucchini will obviously take longer to cook.
I was telling you the other day that I was having issues with milk production and trying everything possible to increase it. I am happy to report that I got over 4 oz (total) when I pumped last tonight! I can't say what worked exactly, but it can't hurt to try it all. I pump after he breastfeeds during all the day time feedings, I am trying to drink more water, trying to eat more (to get enough calories), and have oatmeal cookies. I have heard about milk makers cookies, but at $50 per month that is way out of my price range. I sought out to find a recipe that had similar ingredients. I found this info. and cookies from the Peaceful Parenting Blog. Now these cookies aren't just plain oatmeal cookies they have some key ingredients.
Oats (or oatmeal) are key in boosting milk supply because of the iron they contain that nursing moms are frequently in need of. Oats are also filling, dense with healthy calories - and nursing moms need calories! Make sure it's not instant oats.
These are the ones I got from vitamin world. Make sure the flax is milled.
Brewer's yeast is an ingredient that has also long been touted to increase milk supply (although contested by some). Brewer's yeast is one of the best natural sources of B vitamins, which are essential to overall health of a nursing mom (and any woman). Even if milk supply were not impacted by brewer's yeast, the boost of energy (and increased sugar metabolism) that comes from brewer's yeast consumption is worth including it in lactation cookies (or other things you bake).
The oil from flax seed is considered by many to be a galactagogue (substance that improves lactation). It is also a great form of fiber. And, while it is again debated among those who believe in flax's galactagogue properties or not, one thing is certain: flax is power packed with omega-3 (essential fatty acids) that are absolutely crucial to a nursing mom's diet (as well as baby's diet, and all human health in general).
1 1/2 c. flour (they suggest whole wheat flour, but I didn't have any) 1 3/4 c. oats 1 tsp baking soda 1 tsp salt 3/4 c. almond butter or peanut butter (I used peanut butter) 1/2 c. butter, softened 1 c. flax 3 T brewer's yeast 1/3 c. water 1 tsp cinnamon 1/2 c. sugar 1/2 c. brown sugar 2 tsp vanilla 2 large eggs 2 c. (12oz) chocolate chips 1 c. chopped nuts of your choice (I left the nuts out)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit
Combine flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt in a bowl.
In a large bowl, beat almond butter, butter, sugar, brown sugar, vanilla, brewer's yeast, flax and water until creamy. Mix in eggs. Gradually beat in flour mixture. Mix in nuts and chocolate chips. Add oats slowly, mixing along the way.
Place balls of dough onto greased baking sheets or baking stones.
Press down each ball lightly with a fork. Bake 12 minutes. I had more dough left than what I made above so it makes prob. close to 3 dozen. I have been keeping them in the freezer and just microwaving them when I want them.
Wish I had a better final picture, I got hungry.
You can't taste the flax or brewers yeast, it tastes like an oatmeal rasin choc. chip cookie that is very filling. I eat approx.3-4 per day, for the baby of course :) Oh, and you won't produce milk if you aren't breastfeeding. I might have told David that he would so he didn't eat my cookies though, shh.
Our little Max is already 2 months old. We have had our hands full this past month since most my help family has returned to their homes. It's been nice to try to get a routine and schedule going to be more consistent.
2 Month Stats-
Weight- 10 lbs 13 oz (I'll update this and height/head circumference) when we officially go to the doctor next week).
Personality- The Good: He is such a giggle boy at certain times during the day. Right after we feed him we change his diaper. After that he just lays on his changing pad, giggles and talks to us for 10-15 mins.
The Not So Good: Little Max is a very fussy baby. I wanted to document this to reference back. He cries a lot, not sure if its classified as colic or not. I've figured out how long he can be up for and that is either swinging, playing on his play mat or just laying on his changing pad. He is not content if you just want to sit with him, read to him or put him in the boppy. He only likes being held over your shoulder while patting him on the back. I thought it might be acid reflux as he was spitting up a little, but we tried Zantac and it really made no difference and he is rarely spitting up or upset after/during eating. If we go somewhere and he fusses in his car seat when we get there and we take him out, it is really difficult to calm him down. He will just scream (not a little scream, its extremely loud) and we have to swaddle him or swing his carseat and make loud shh'ing noises. We're going to the pediatrician later today to make sure that theres nothing seriously wrong with him just to rule things out. Not sure if this is just a stage that he'll grow out of. At home we have a routine down and it isn't that bad. *update* we're back from the doctor and everything checked out just fine. Looks like we just have a fussy buddo on our hands.
Eating- He is still exclusively breastfeeding although I had a few issues this month (man, I just seem like a big downer in this post, but just wanted to be honest as this mom thing is tough). A few weeks ago I just felt like I wasn't getting enough and Max wasn't aggressively eating so I pumped exclusively for a meal and fed him the bottle. I only got 2 ounces out total and I started to freak out because he should be eating between 3-4 oz. I know that pumping you don't get as much as he eats and all that good stuff. I was in conversation with the lactation consultants at northside hospital (such a great service, they have a number you can call for advice 7 days a week during business hours). They had me pump after breastfeeding during the morning sessions (when you have the most milk) to send a signal that you are out and he needs more. Well that started working, but not that much so I called back and she had me pump after EVERY feeding if I could (I am not doing the night ones).
Needless to say, it is basically a full time job feeding him, getting my pumping stuff ready, pumping, playing with Max, putting him down for a nap and repeating this procedure. Good thing I am taking these 12 weeks, no way I could have handled going back earlier. Between pumping more, trying to eat better and more food, drinking more water, trying to relax and making oatmeal cookies (with flax seed, brewers yeast and oats-all said to increase supply) it is working. I can pump out between 3-3.5 as a meal and I am feeling much better about it. I did want to note that he was always getting enough dirty/wet diapers and gaining weight fine during this time.
Sleeping- He is sleeping pretty good, still not that long in a row though. Here is his schedule now:
7:30am ish- Wake up time, eat and play time
8:30 or 9- Nap time
10:30- Eat and play time
1:30- Eat and play time
4:30-Eat and play time
7 or 7:30- eat, bed time routine which is bath and twinkle twinkle little star song before bed
8pm- In bed by 8
10-11pm Dream feed
-He usually wakes up between 2:30-3:30am and then we hopefully try to make it till wake up time at 7:30am on a good day, but sometimes he does 3am and 6am or 2:30am and 5:30am and then that second feeding he thinks its wake time and starts his giggles and wake up.
-He is napping usually in his swing and I've started trying to introduce his crib more, which he isn't minding just doesn't nap as long in there. At night hes sleeping in the pack and play cuddler next to our bed which he is getting too tall for so thats why I am trying to get him comfortable in his crib to hopefully make that transition to his crib in the next month exclusively at night.
This whole 2 month photo shoot took place for literally 30 seconds, I am that fast (have to be) and this is really what goes on after the 30 seconds.
Randoms- We are using 2 types of bottles right now, Tommy Tippee and Playtex Drop-In Nursers and he likes both, but I really like the Playtex nursers right now. He doesn't make a huge gulping noise like he does with the others and hes able to take breaks and drinks more like he does at the breast. He also doesn't take in as much air and has less gas/burpies.
-He also still loves his bath time.
- He is in size 1 diapers
Here is a comparison from 1 month to 2 months. I don't see that much of a difference, but he is becoming such a big boy. We love you buddy!