Monday, June 27, 2011

Healthy Blueberry Waffles


When visiting Clark's family, I was accused of bringing healthy recipes into the house. While his little sister was overjoyed at the prospect of taking in better substance, his mom, little brother, and eventually father, were not as thrilled.

This morning was the first morning since we've been in our new apartment that Clark and I were able to sit down to a breakfast together. So, I decided to make it special.

We have a debate in our household: pancakes vs. waffles. I am more of a pancakes person myself. Clark prefers waffles. Since this was his first morning to a sit down breakfast, I caved and made his preference... but not without a price! Now that we're home, healthy is officially taking over. Not to mention it's important for baby to be getting the right nutrients.

While these waffles are healthy, they still taste amazing. Odds are you could get away with making them, not tell your guests or partakers what they're made with, and nobody would guess that they are healthy... other than the blueberries found within them!

SUPPLIES:


- 1 C Unbleached, All Purpose Flour
- 3/4 C Whole Wheat Flour
- 1 TBSP Baking Powder
- 2 TSP Wheat Germ
- 1 TSP Sugar
- 1/2 TSP Salt
- 1 3/4 C Skim Milk
- 3 TBSP Vegetable or Canola Oil
- 1 Egg
- 2 Egg Whites
- 1 1/4 C Blueberries (frozen or fresh, but I always prefer to use fresh!)

Directions:

- In a large bowl sift or mix together the flours and baking powder. Add the wheat germ,sugar, and salt and mix in following these supplies if you are sifting.
- In a smaller bowl, combine the milk, oil, egg and egg whites. Whisk together passionately. Then add the wet ingredients to the larger bowl with the dry ingredients. Whisk all of this together.
- Add the blueberries. I use 1 1/4 C because I thoroughly LOVE blueberries overpowering my waffles. If this is not the case for you, use 1/2 C to 1 C.
- Follow the directions for a lovely waffle maker that you have!

This recipe should make around 5-8 standard sized waffles with the waffle maker. Bon Appetit!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

New Apartment Blues... and how to deal.

It's amazing how when you move you have no idea how you've collected so much stuff. You have your childhood memories crammed into a box next to your kitchen linens. However, when you get to the new place, whether it be from an apartment to a house, house to house, house to an apartment... you have no idea how there's so much that you need.

When we were moving we tried to downsize. We realized we were moving from a two-story condo to a one-story apartment. We knew all of our stuff wouldn't fit. Also, we realized how many things we had been holding onto that probably should have been replaced years (meaning at least two years) ago, or things that just really didn't matter anymore. For example, we got rid of a cutting board that should have been replaced because it was wooden and after awhile the lovely juices of everything you cut up seeps into the wood. You know what I'm talking about. Then, there were some things within our childhood keepsake boxes that we had no earthly idea why we had held onto them.

Now, moving into our new apartment, it's amazing how much I think we need. A lot of it is to deal with the quirks of the new place. For example, the bathroom is a lot smaller so we want one of those metal or wooden stands to go over the toilet to hold towels and such. Our kitchen pantry has no shelves whatsoever, so we need a "baker's rack" sort of deal so all of our food doesn't have to sit on the floor. Not to mention it'd be nice to use one of the shelves, or part of one of the shelves, for my pots and some of my pans. Needless to say my cabinet space is limited.

Thinking about all these improvements we want to do, or rather necessary evils we need to spend money on so I don't go insane, it makes me feel a little glum. I never realized that this new place would be as much work to put together as our last place was to pull apart.

Then I thought of something else.

This happens to everyone.

Everyone at some point goes through a move in their life where they just want to lay down the credit card and go to town with fixing up the new house. It's hard not to, after all. The society we live in puts so much pressure on your home appearing perfect, along with your nice car and fancy accessories. While most of the things I feel I need really are things that would help my sanity, there are many that I can deal without and come up with a sort of system and it won't drive me crazy.

So, I'm coming to terms with the move. There's a pathway cleared through all of our stuff so I can get around easily and hopefully unpack a lot today while the hubby is at work. He has, after all, been more interested in figuring out what we need to make the apartment work, rather than unpacking what we have, first. Today I really hope I can get a lot done. I'll just have to ignore the presence of the heavy stuff and hope that most things can be lifted/unpacked/organized without needing assistance.

If you're at a point where you're getting ready to move, and perhaps you're upgrading or downsizing, just remember that everything takes time. My mom likes to remind me that she, just now, has gotten this and that for her house and she's ___, (I'm assuming I'm not allowed to share her age here). I just have to keep in mind I have years to go before everything comes together... and even then it may not be precisely what I want... but it will, hopefully, be precisely what I need.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Cream of Mushroom Baked Chicken

I know, I know. This is probably one of the oldest tricks in the book. Because I am missing my other arm that is my camera at the moment, I'm just posting on this simple dish and hoping that you do not need photographs to help. If you do, I promise to update it the next time I make it so you can see. Even if you don't need them for help, you can judge if it looks appetizing at all!

SUPPLIES:

- 1 lb of chicken breasts
- 1 cup of brown rice
- 1 bag (your choice on the size) of frozen broccoli
- 2 small cans (or 1 large can) of cream of mushroom soup
- 1 1/2 C of water
- breadcrumbs

DIRECTIONS:

- Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.
- Mix together, in a 9 x 13" baking dish, the rice, water, and one can (or half of the large can) of the cream of mushroom soup.
- Place the broccoli in the mixture in the baking dish.
- Coat the chicken in breadcrumbs of your choosing. I like to use Italian breadcrumbs because it gives it an extra kick. OR you can make homemade breadcrumbs by using a food processor and chopping up bread of your choice (whole wheat if you wish to be healthy!)
- Place the chicken in the baking dish on top of the rice mixture and broccoli. Top the chicken with the rest of the cream of mushroom soup to give the chicken extra flavor! You can mix all of the soup into the rice, but I prefer to top off the chicken.
- Cover this with tin foil and cook it for 45 minutes to an hour. I usually check on it after 30 minutes because it depends on the oven. For the last fifteen minutes or so of it cooking, uncover it. This will help the rice absorb the extra water!

ENJOY! It's super easy and a wonderful dish to whip up for company if you are short on time or supplies!

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Yard Sale Steals

I have never been a fan of yard sales. I always found them to be annoying to go to. After all, there are a bunch of people looking for specific things... or not... walking around bargaining and, in my opinion, just wasting time and money. Who wants to walk around and look at used stuff that you could easily buy when there was a sale?

My mind has been altered.

After feeling rather down about a few things, my husband decided that we were going to go yard-sale-hopping yesterday morning. I wasn't very excited, assuming that we wouldn't find anything worth our while, but I decided to go along because I knew it was important to him.

I definitely deserved a big, "I TOLD YOU SO," after our day.

After a couple of no-success yard sales, we came upon one that had something we desperately need: a crib. Now, it wasn't in the best of shape. It's got scratches from the way it was stored or carried around or whatever, but when it was put together we found that it was completely sturdy, no parts were missing, and the only work it needed was to be refinished or spruced up. Did I mention this was a Graco sleigh crib and they were selling it for $20?! It was probably sold originally around $200, and was probably still worth at least $100 or so considering it really just needed some TLC.

I tried to keep my jaw from dropping.

We walked away with a crib that we knew we could easily work on. It's nice to have a handyman husband who does some fine wood working. Have I mentioned he's building the dresser for the baby's nursery? Here's a sneak peak at that!


And here's some work we did on the crib today. We have to sand it down before we can refinish it. I decided I didn't want it the darker color, which is rather unfortunate because if I did all we'd have to do was fix the specific spots that were a little dinged up. Now we have to sand the whole thing down before we can paint it. Yes, I said paint. I'm somewhat of a traditionalist, I guess, and I want white baby furniture. Call me old fashioned if you like!


(Clark got the easy way out because he got to use the orbital sander...)

(Whereas I did everything by hand. Don't I look lovely?! ;) )

(This is what I accomplished in an hour)

So, I've learned my lesson on yard sales. Another lesson I learned is don't say you'll go back to a yard sale you pass once. The first one we passed there weren't any signs or anything so we weren't sure, but there were three couches amongst other things sitting in someones driveway. At the end of our escapade (around 12:30pm) we drove back and they were still there. We got out. It was a couch/love seat set in good condition (not perfect, but could have easily been fixed up a bit just to get us through a little longer without nice furniture) for $40! However, we missed out. Someone who had already seen the set had left to get money and pulled up right as we were inquiring. So, the lesson? Don't wait. If you see something you may be interested in, stop immediately. Otherwise, chances are, you'll miss the opportunity.

Maybe we should have known that lesson ANYWAY, as it tends to apply to life most of the time...

So, now I'm all about yard sales.

We have a wedding this coming Saturday, but chances are the next one I'll be up and ready to go (day/weather permitting, of course) to set out to find some more things we need!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Baby on the Brain!

At 7:39pm mountain time on May 30, 2011 (Memorial Day), my older sister gave birth to Maile (pronounced Miley-- it's the Hawaiian spelling) Elizabeth! She was two weeks early but healthy as can be and the entire family is doing well. My mom was able to make it out there just an hour before Maile came into the world. It was a very special day.

Hearing the story of how Maile came into the world, it got me thinking that I only have a few months to go before I have a story somewhat like it.Now, I sincerely hope I'm not in labor for 24 hours like my sister was, but one can only hope and pray. I am, however, sincerely looking forward to having the admiration and love that my sister and her husband have for their little girl. Only, it will be for mine and my husband's little boy.

Putting everything into perspective, I've just been praying that all will fall into place and everything will be ready for our baby boy. I pray that he'll be healthy, that there will be no complications with delivery, and that he'll come when the time is right. There is a lot going on in our lives right now, but the idea that we're about to have this small human being join us in a matter of months is what really takes the spotlight. The baby is the reason for my strange posts/bursts of worry and concern. After all, there are so many changes that have to take place before he gets here!

My sister told me that every mother understands. That once the baby's "here", you would go through the pains of labor and all the problems in the world again and again just to accomplish the feeling of parenthood and to hold that child in your arms. I can't wait for the feeling. It's what I keep focusing on when things are looking grim or like they're not going to work out.

So, just to make this post seem like it has a little more than a revelation of a mother-to-be and the fabulous news surround my new niece, here's a list of just a couple of things that you will need if your baby arrives early (according to my sister):

- Car Seat (this is a BIG one)/ Stroller (they make those new travel systems that come with the stroller and the car seat if you're interested)
- Bassinet or Crib (basically somewhere for the baby to sleep once you bring him/her home)
- A few onesies (just to start, but I imagine you'll need more than just a few once he/she starts growing)
- Diapers & all that goes with them (I wouldn't suggest getting these until the baby arrives and you know what size he/she needs, but just keep in mind the hubby or whoever you have helping you will need to get them before the little bundle of joy joins you at home)

There are plenty of other things, but these are the bare necessities. You don't need bottles unless you're not going to breast feed, you don't need toys in the very beginning, you don't have to have a swing or seat or anything (even though they may be useful), you just need enough to get the baby settled and then you can go out and get the rest of the things that you feel like you should have for baby!