Thursday, March 29, 2012

Simple Stuffed Mushrooms

These are by far the simplest appetizer ever and the most delicious things in the world!!! Okay possibly a little exaggeration but seriously so yummy.

What you'll need:
  • 16 oz package of Jimmy Dean plain sausage
  • 2 packages of mushrooms (the ones in the blue styrofoam box - you can definitely use 3 boxes but they just won't be stuffed as full)
  • 8 oz package of cream cheese
That's it! So simple right???

First you wash the 'shrooms and pull out the stems. You can scrape out some of the center if you want to have a greater sausage/cream cheese to mushroom ratio but you don't have to. Cook the sausage in a pan and drain the grease when it's done. Add the cream cheese and cook on medium until it's thoroughly combined. Spoon the sausage/cream cheese mixture into each mushroom and set them on a baking sheet (preferably one with sides because the juice from the mushrooms will puddle at the bottom as they're cooking and that will be messy if you use a cookie sheet with no sides).

Bake in the oven for 20 minutes at 350 degrees and then please for the love of Pete, let them cool off before you bite into one. Don't be like me...

I made 6 of these last night and scarfed down 2 before I could even take a picture. SO yummy. Even my mushroom-hating husband tried one (and ate all of the filling but left most of the mushroom).

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Pregnancy thoughts so far

Things to NOT say to a pregnant woman: "I'm surprised you're already showing!"

Things that no longer fit: my size 8 jeans from Old Navy. Does it matter that they didn't really fit before?

Things I crave: nothing out of the ordinary. What can I say, I've always been a lover of food...

Things I pretend to crave so that I can eat them without feeling too guilty: ice cream and Ruffles chips (with sour cream) and stuffed mushrooms (recipe tomorrow)

Pounds gained: 10 as of this morning

Pounds that are actually from making a baby: probably 2-3

Pounds that are from me being lazy and not working out and pretending to crave things like Ruffles: the other 7-8

Baby update: 19 weeks, about 6-7 inches long and not quite 1/2 a pound

Things I'm impatiently waiting for:
  • the stroller that we ordered (courtesy of my very generous parents!!! Thanks Mom and Dad a.k.a. Grandma and Grandpa Bell!),
  • the ultrasound tomorrow in which we find out if this baby is a boy or girl, (I keep saying "in which we find out what it is" and my husband keeps responding "Yeah, we could find out that it's an alien growing in there and not even a human.") 
  • a real belly so I don't just look like a fatty anymore but like an actual pregnant lady,
  • our first baby shower in May because we'll be in LA with family, we'll go to Disneyland and I'll get cheesecake.
Things that are weirding me out so far: my DREAMS. I'm telling you there have been some weird ones where I just wonder how in the world my brain is coming up with these scenarios. Like being on Indiana Jones and there's animatronic raptors (which there are not). And the guide tells us "you have to feed them chocolate to pacify them" so my sister does even though I try telling her they're not real but she insists that she has to "just in case". And then I freak out because I'm not supposed to ride Indiana Jones because I'm pregnant. Or a dream where I go to downtown LA with my mom and all I'm wearing is a towel because I just showered. And I think to myself "I should've put on something warmer" as if it's totally normal to wear a towel. I won't tell you about the nightmares because those are terrifying and have me waking up clenching the sheets, drenched in sweat. Also weirding me out: my sudden inability to spell words. I've been a champion speller since the 1st grade (I have trophies to prove it) and all of a sudden, I can't even spell beautiful.

Thoughts in general: pregnancy is easy! Hahaha...jk. But seriously. Aside from being sleepy at weird times in the day and having strange and terrifying dreams, I haven't really noticed anything out of the ordinary. I'm sure that will change in the weeks to come but so far it's been nice and smooth sailing so bring it on baby!

My Instagram baby bump pic:

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Chili My Way

I know everyone has their own chili recipe and that's why they have these things called chili cook-off's but I decided to share my simple, non-fancy recipe that's oh-so-easy and of course, husband-approved.

What you'll need:
  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 2-3 tomatoes diced (or a can of diced tomatoes)
  • 1 green bell pepper (chopped up)
  • 1 large can of pinto beans
  • Taco seasoning
Brown the ground beef in a pot (drain the grease if you want to be healthy). Add bell peppers and cook for a few minutes. Add diced tomatoes and pinto beans and simmer for 20-30 minutes (until the tomatoes are all soft and squishy looking). Add taco seasoning to taste (usually I do about 2-3 tablespoons but sometimes I wing it and just shake the whole container over the chili until it looks orange-y enough....Which sometimes results in super spicy chili). Serve with some grated cheddar cheese, sour cream and corn bread.

My typical I'm-too-hungry Instagram pic...


See? How simple was that... And the beautiful thing is that you can tweak it however you want. My husband and I happen to super dislike kidney beans so guess what? I don't use kidney beans. But this is definitely a basic start that you can make fancy or you can just stick to this recipe and have a meal ready in 30 minutes.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Unintentional Blog Vacation and some Monday thoughts

Has it really been 2 weeks since I've posted? Yikes. I guess I've been a little caught up in other things and blogging has fallen on the bottom of the list of priorities.

Where have I been?

I'm not sure really.

I've spent almost all of my spare time these past few weeks studying for our women's ministry meeting at church. I'm teaching the first part before discussion groups (*gulp) but so far I've been so blessed by what I've been studying and I'm excited to share with all the women!

I've also spent a lot of time with my husband. We drove down to LA last weekend for a quick turn-around trip to see my lovely friend get married and catch a few minutes of face time with some friends.

Oh! I held a baby. A real live one. He was super squirmy. And I don't think he liked me very much but I couldn't really tell. He kept making faces like he was going to cry and then didn't cry... or maybe he was just trying to weird me out. It worked. Also it was very awkward trying to figure out exactly how to hold this baby. I decided on the football hold but a baby who's arching their back doesn't exactly work with the football hold. I gave up after a few minutes and passed him back to his parents.

I also held another baby. A bigger, older one (in an Ergo carrier, in fact, which was quite comfortable). She wasn't so squirmy but I think she was weirded out that a stranger was holding her so closely. But it's okay, her mom and I are friends so it's not like some strange lady just handed me her baby in a baby carrier. I'm just strangers with the baby because she doesn't have Facebook.

After my experiences (literally I've only held one other baby in my life before these two), I have to say I'm a little nervous. Why don't these things come with manuals? And will my baby like me? Is it going to cry when I hold it and judge me because I don't know where to put my hands to support it?

That's the #1 reason why I don't hold babies. They're SUPER judgmental. They start screaming if you hold them wrong. They start screaming if you look at them weird. They start screaming if they just generally don't like your appearance. And it makes me nervous to be holding a creature that really dislikes me so much that it feels the need to literally wail about it.

I'm hoping that this alleged motherly instinct kicks in sometime soon but right now I just feel like this baby will have to be seriously resilient if it's going to survive our parenting skills. (Note: This is the kind of mother I will be: I had NO IDEA you're not supposed to give babies honey. I suggested that to my husband as a remedy if the baby has a cough and he thought I was joking. Except that I wasn't and then he freaked out a little.)

Someone sign me up for a newborn care class because I think we're going to need all the help we can get.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Recreating restaurant meals

Now that we're pretending to live on one income, our eating out has really taken a hit as in it doesn't happen at all anymore. I will be honest, this was a really, really hard habit to break but I'm making do by recreating my favorite restaurant recipes.

In a recent low point of really wanting Rubio's fish tacos, I was determined to make them from scratch instead of spending $15 for a meal for 2.

I think it's no surprise that I turned to Pinterest to find a copycat recipe.



Sorry for the tiny pictures - that's what was on the website. I used a bottle of Black Butte Porter that we got at Bev Mo! since we didn't want to pay for a 6-pack. Tilapia was the fish of choice and we opted for no pico de gallo since neither of us likes it very much.

It was.... delicious!!! I used my really tall 12-quart stockpot for frying (filled about 1/2 an inch with oil) because oil splashing everywhere scares me. It took a few pieces to get the frying process right but none of them burned and none of them were undercooked. We had a little bit of batter left over even though I recalculated based on the pieces we were actually making. All in all it was a total success that cost us about $5 so in your face Rubio's!

I will say this: this is a very filling meal. I had 2 tacos and some refried beans and I felt like I overate which is not normal for my fish-taco-loving stomach.

And here's my normal I'm-too-hungry-for-real-cameras Instagram pic of food:

Friday, March 9, 2012

Finally Friday

This weekend I will be:
  • going to Babies 'R Us and Target to test some strollers and finalize registries (since invites for our first shower are going out on Monday).
  • purging my closet once again. I've already cleared out 3 trash bags of clothes and I feel as if I haven't really made a dent. One more purge oughta do it.
  • crocheting. Because I love it!
  • having a date night with my husband which doesn't really mean anything now that we're saving money but if I call it "date night" it feels special. :)
  • laying out. It'll be a blistering 75 degrees!!! But seriously after months of frigid weather I'm so excited the sun will be making an appearance this weekend!!!
  • losing an hour of sleep. What!?!?! I always dislike this part of daylight savings. Why can't we just always gain an hour and then in 24 years lose a day? Like leap year?
  • filling out this baby book that I ordered. They were doing some 50% off thing that day so $12.50 and a few days later I got this adorable box and book!


Also yesterday I received our first baby gift (from my awesome ex-roommate Sarah - remember I styled her family/newborn shoot here) and I have to admit at first I was like "awwww..." and then my husband and I were like "Whoa. Something that tiny is going to be here in a few months." And it was size 3-6 months so the real life baby will be even tinier! Crazy.

Have a lovely weekend!

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Not meant to be...

I know it's two recipe posts in a row but it's either that or I'm going to bore you with details of my cloth diaper research. I'm guessing this is more fun to read about than what kinds of diapers hold pee better.

I've been trying to spice up our dinner time. I make red sauce enchiladas every other week practically but I thought I'd try white sauce ones. They all look so yummy in pictures and what could be wrong with a sauce made entirely from cheese?

Lots, people. Lots could be wrong.
First I tried Pioneer Woman's White Chicken Enchiladas
From The Pioneer Woman
Verdict: Way, way, WAY too greasy. I don't know why it doesn't show up in her pictures but there was like a puddle of grease on the bottom of the plate and eating something so rich and greasy makes me feel like I need to wash my face immediately. Even my husband wasn't a fan... The taste just didn't outweight the grease factor.

I actually gave them one more try thinking that maybe I did something wrong the first time but lots more grease puddles later, I decided this recipe wasn't going to work. Plus it's a LOT of work (I mean she uses a "roux" base for Pete's sake. I had to Google it.).

Then I saw this recipe on Pinterest

Looked much easier and less greasy so I gave it a try last night.

Verdict: way, way, way too cheesy. Also, a little bit flavorless (although that could be because I left out the green chiles at the request of my husband) and the cream cheese was very weird to me. Ultimately, I was left with that gross, greasy feeling of needing to wash my face immediately afterwards.

So I've decided that white enchiladas are just not meant to be. I mean, it's totally an American creation anyway so it must be my true {half} Mexican-ness that's getting in the way. Besides if you ask for white enchiladas at a Mexican restaurant, you'll be laughed right out of your sombrero.

My husband's words were "I know you're sick of the monotony but I really, really like the old enchiladas."

Verdict: I'll be sticking to the old enchiladas to make my sweets happy. Plus it's what I really know how to do anyway.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

A Pinterest Meal

In the past few weeks I've been pinning food ideas like mad because a) I'm tired of making the same thing every week and b) I am a little bit addicted to Pinterest.

Last night I decided to try the first experimental Pinterest recipe. I was nervous because we've had some disastrous "new recipes" before from PW (who I'm beginning to lose faith in) and when a whole dinner is ruined, there's not much you can do about it except eat ice cream.

Pinterest Recipe #1

Pinterest Recipe #2

I am very pleased to report that these two combined were sooooooo delicious. I made homemade marinara instead of using the jarred stuff but other than that I stuck to the recipes. The pepperoni's add just the right amount of kick to a spaghetti like dish. It was so yummy I had to literally force myself to stop eating it because when your stomach says you're full but your mouth wants to keep tasting the goodness, it never ends well.

My husband cleaned his plate off in 5 minutes and even had a hard time believing I made the breadsticks from scratch. Husband impressed: check. Husband gets seconds: check. Husband happy: check. Recipe = success!

Here's my cool instagram pic of it because I was too hungry to get a real camera...

Friday, March 2, 2012

My so-called life

What a crazy week it's been... I've cried almost every night this week - twice for reasons that still remain unknown to me. Pregnancy hormones in full swing? Check. Prepare for a semi-serious post.

This has been a very interesting and life changing week for us and has really caused us to put our faith in the Lord completely. That means being in full obedience and knowing that He'll provide. Scary at first. Terrifying really. But after some conversations with my husband and my very encouraging sister, I feel much more confident that the Lord is good and He won't leave us hanging.

That being said, I'll let you in on part of it: we're making plans for me to be a stay-at-home mom. Who would've thought? Definitely not me a few years ago, but the more I think about it, the more excited I get. It's going to be rough of course. We're already adjusting our budget to pretend like we only have one income (which is already proving to be very difficult for my shopping addiction tendencies).

We're also making plans to still be in our little 1 bedroom apartment when the baby comes. Not because we really want to be in a cramped little spot, but because buying a house these days is quite a process and we're thinking that adding that into our lives might make things more hectic. That means I've been faced with the challenge to make it work and by golly, I will do it! *Side note: Has anyone seen Ratatouille? You know the part where Linguini gets all crazy eyed and screams "LET'S DO THIS!!!"? That's what I did. I might've scared my husband. And possibly the baby but I can't know for sure.

So sure we might have to sell our dining table to make room for a crib or get rid of some of my clothes to make room for baby clothes but I know God is gracious and I also know I have way too many clothes. I've already started "nesting" or rather I'm guessing that's what it is when you start obsessively cleaning things out and organizing. We're most likely going to turn our dining room into the nursery corner so you probably won't see any cute rocking chairs or cool painted walls but I will try to share pictures of how I make it work in our teeny space.

I mean babies are small so you'd think it would totally fit but baby stuff is big. And bulky. And takes up space. But I'm going to do my best to maximize the space we have.

Anyway, that's where I've been all week... making grown up decisions, battling raging emotional breakdowns and frantically organizing, cleaning and making to-do lists. I know you're all just green with envy...

Have a great weekend!