Monday, January 30, 2012

Minestrone soup - the lazy way

I've been loving soup and sandwich for lunch lately and I would rather make soup and bring it than eat canned soup. It just seems so much healthier to me.

So here is the original recipe that I've been using:

I was introduced to a few months ago and I LOVE it!  I love being able to make more healthful versions of usually decadent or unhealthy food. 

Yesterday when I had originally planned to make soup, I only needed a few things from the grocery store, and used a few substitutions so as to reduce the amount of items that I needed to purchase.  My modifications are as follows:
  • Instead of diced tomatoes, I used canned whole tomatoes and just diced them up (b/c I had a ton of whole tomatoes and didn't get the right size can of diced tomatoes while shopping).
  • I used dried herbs instead of fresh (b/c I was lazy).
  • I added 3 cups of fresh baby spinach instead of 2 (b/c I like spinach).
  • I added 1 cup (before cooking) of ditalini pasta (b/c that is what I had).
  • I added 2 tbsp parmesan cheese (b/c I didn't have a leftover cheese rind).
  • I added more like 4 cups of reduced sodium chicken broth - I didn't measure.  I just poured it in my crock pot until it looked full enough.
For a 1 cup serving here are the nutritional values of my modified/lazy version:

111 calories, 23 g carbs, 0 g fat, 8 g protein, 5 g fiber. 

Paired with a sandwich or salad and it's the perfect lunch for me!

Sunday, January 22, 2012

An Overdue Christmas Oberview

The Christmas season is a busy time for everyone and we are no exception.  Between Thanksgiving and Christmas is when I do "the baking."  It's a stressful time for me - but I love doing it and I cannot imagine not doing it every year.

This year I tried a new chocolate crinkle recipe and it did not disappoint.  You can find the recipe here.  I quadrupled the amount as I like to have a good amount of every type of cookie that I make.  I could have probably tripled the amount and been fine.  In fact, these cookies are the only ones that we still have left.  :)

For our Christmas day meal, I always make the same meal.  It's one of my favorites to prepare and is quite nice to make a lot of the dishes ahead of time.
Spiral cut ham with cloves and pineapple
Creamy Potluck Potatoes
Smashed Sweet potatoes
Rosemary and Sea Salt Rolls
COOKIES for Dessert

Since I am baking cookies for a month prior to Christmas, I don't see a point in making another extravagant dessert for Christmas Day.  Instead I just put out a big plate of every kind of cookie and let my family graze on them.

I assemble both types of potatoes the day prior to Christmas or Christmas Eve so all I have to do on Christmas day is bake the ham (so simple), warm/bake the potatoes and rolls and cook the corn and peas.

I don't change much from year to year for the dinner menu because it works and it's SO good.  With the leftover ham this year, I diced it up and stuck it in the freezer and now any time I'm making an omelette or frittata (which happens quite frequently), I grab a handful of ham to throw in.  LOVE IT!

R-ster had a fabulous time opening gifts.  The fact that he is the only nephew/grandchild in the family makes him QUITE spoiled, but hopefully we are doing an OK job of keeping him at bay in the spoiled brat category.  He asked for a Spider-man Toy "like Joshua's" and a piggy bank this year.  Santa did bring him the Spider-man Toy and thankfully it was JUST like Joshua's.

My youngest sister L made Reed this amazing piggy bank!  (My middle sister J and I are insanely jealous of L's craftiness.)

R-ster insisted on wearing his new tie all day from Grandpa G and this Spider-man mask from Grammy made an appearance throughout the day - on numerous people naturally.

And lastly, my favorite picture from Christmas Day.  :)

Happy New Year!  I hope 2012 is a great year for everyone!

Friday, January 20, 2012

Yet another example of how having kids changes you

I ran across this article the other morning which made me kind of happy.

I'm a fan of Jay-Z.  Not in the I have all of his albums kind of way (I don't think I have any), but in the "if I hear him on the radio I turn it way up" kind of way and I kind of appreciate the fact that he's going to stop using the B-word.  Baby steps, but I appreciate it nonetheless.

Since having R-ster, EMX and I definitely had to edit our musical choices at home.  When R-ster was first born, we listened to A LOT of Radiohead and Coldplay.  Nice, easy, softer tunes with no real threat of bad words.  Now, everytime I hear either band, particularly Radiohead, I think of the early days of babydom.

I like to "get my groove" on to all kinds of music.  One of my favorite things to do is to put some music on and just dance around the house with R-ster.  Thankfully, he usually likes to do the same, so he obliges.

Monday, January 16, 2012

"Kid B"

So here we are.  Week 25!  HOLY COW this pregnancy is going fast.  I'm definitely not complaining about it.  I'm not the "Oh I LOVE being pregnant type."  Don't get me wrong, I don't despise it, but I like NOT being pregnant more.  :)

Seeing as I haven't written much about the pregnancy at all, I figured I would give a little update - don't worry.  It won't be TMI.  :)

So according to this pregnancy website, the baby is now the size of an eggplant.  Yea!  It's now weighing between 1.5 - 2.5 lbs.

As you may notice, I am calling Kid B "it."  I know this may annoy some people, but I have no problem calling Kid B "it" until "it's" born, since we don't know if "it" is a boy or a girl.  In daily conversation, sometimes I call Kid B, "he" and sometimes I call Kid B, "she."  I have no idea one way or the other and the words I use change daily - or sometimes several times through the day.  And I'm OK with that - so you better be too!

I'm feeling great so far.  In the first trimester, I thankfully didn't get much of the dreaded morning sickness.  I had moments of queasiness and certain foods totally grossed me out, but thankfully, I felt overall OK. In the second trimester, I'm continuing to work out as much as possible, to try to keep my weight gain down since I gained "a little" too much weight with R-ster.  I've had a couple of cravings that were non healthy (the day I HAD to have a Tom Wahl's cheeseburger and fries instead of the veggie burger and roasted vegetable meal I had originally planned for that night, and the pizza and wings that we had last night), but overall, I've been wanting to eat a whole lot of baby spinach, both steamed and raw, with a little splash of dressing or lime juice, and blueberry stuff (yogurt, blueberries in my morning oatmeal, etc.).  So that has definitely helped me so far in my weight gain situation.

I'm continuing to track my food intake vs exercise.  I'm definitely more sporadic with it since I'm supposed to be gaining weight.  But it helps to make sure I'm not overindulging too much.

As a family, we are keeping SUPER busy.  It seems that we have at least one activity planned each weekend, or even multiple activities.  Maybe that is what is making this time go by so quickly.  :)