Friday, October 26, 2012

Nursery Reveal

I talked a little bit about my vision for Aimee's nursery back in the summer when I shared the trials and tribulations associated with the curtains I made (white furniture, gender neutral wall color, fun fabric, etc.), but I never got around to showing off the final product. So without further ado....the big reveal! We are pretty pleased with how it all turned out--sweet and girly without being over the top. And I especially like that both Jason and I contributed to Aimee's room (me with the curtains, Jason with the painted walls and refinished white cabinet). Although she doesn't spend that much time in there right now, I hope Aimee will enjoy it for years to come! Just like her, it was a labor of love.

(All pics except the last one are thanks to the fabulous Leigh Dameron)

Here are the details:
-Wall color: Benjamin Moore Wythe Blue (lattice pattern courtesy of Jason's awesome/meticulous taping skills)
-Curtains: Wavery Pom Pom Play Spa (fabric from, sewn by me)
-Crib: Baby Mod Olivia from WalMart 
-White cabinet: something we already owned and refinished
-Crib skirt: Etsy (seller BabyLove)
-Chair: our biggest splurge....Little Castle, ordered from Belfort Furniture
-Letter A: Craft Cuts
-Knit blocks: Dwell Studio (from Amazon)
-Dresser/nightstand: Ikea
-Somewhere over the rainbow picture: Etsy (seller sugarfresh, colors selected by me)
-Whale picture: Society 6

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Two Months

I can't believe my baby is two months old already! And what a difference another month makes. Aimee is becoming a little person who does more than just eat, sleep, cry and poop....okay, those things still make up the bulk of her daily activities but now she smiles and coos and is beginning to really notice the world around her. It's pretty exciting to watch...I can't wait to see what the next month brings.

2 Month Stats: 8 lbs 6 ounces (staying strong on the 4th percentile growth curve) and 22.5 inches. 

Holy moly! She's grown 3 inches in the last two months-- newborn sized footie pjs are no longer possible and, as you can tell from the pic, even newborn size onesies are getting a little tight....which means we are officially into the 0-3 month clothes (or 3M in Carter's) although they are definitely a little big on her still.

She had her first round of vaccinations this week and did pretty well-- there was some intense crying but thankfully the nurse was really fast and had all three injections done in less than a minute. One of the keys to calming her down-- I nursed her for a few minutes before we got her dressed and headed home. She slept pretty much the entire afternoon but was pretty much back to normal by the next day.

Aimee at 1 month

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

From the Slow Cooker: Ratatouille and Orzo

I know I am overdue for a post on life with a newborn, but, in keeping with my blog's original theme, I thought I would first share one of the things I've learned about trying to cook dinner with a baby on hand so far.

I am on maternity leave until after the holidays, and aside from taking care of Aimee during the day, I try to make dinner most nights. Early on, I focused on frozen meals but we quickly got tired of our Trader Joe favorites and the baked pastas and casseroles that I had made prior to Aimee's birth. So I started trying to think about quick and easy dinners that I could get on the table with relative ease.

So far, I have found that the trick to cooking with an infant (for us anyway) is to either a) cook something all day (in a slow cooker/crock pot) or b) cook something really quickly right before you are going to eat (when Jason is home to keep an eye on the baby). Cooking all day has actually been the easier thing for me--I can get things ready to go during Aimee's morning snooze in her swing and then pretty much "set it and forget it" until Jason is home from work and we are ready to eat.

Aimee snoozing in her swing the day we brought her home from the hospital!

Unfortunately, I am short on good slow cooker recipes that aren't soups, stews or pot roasts. I have tried a few in the last 6 weeks but was only really happy with one of them -- ratatouille and orzo. This was insanely easy-- chop up some vegetables and throw them into the slow cooker with some olive oil and a can of diced tomatoes. Cook on low all day and add some orzo in at the end. Top with fresh basil, goat cheese, and a little balsamic vinegar and you've got a delicious and healthy meal. It's also easy to eat with one hand if you need to hold/calm a crying infant with the other!

Do you have any suggestions for good slow cooker recipes?

Ratatouille and Orzo
From Parents Need to Eat Too

1 large eggplant, cut into 1 inch pieces
1 medium onion, roughly chopped
1 red peppers, chopped into 1 inch pieces
1 14.5 ounce can diced tomatoes
3 large garlic cloves, minced
1/3 cup olive oil
3 large zucchini, cut into 1 inch rounds
3 TBL chopped fresh basil
1/2 cup orzo
Goat cheese
Balsamic vinegar

1. Combine eggplant, onion, pepper, tomatoes and half of garlic in the slow cooker. Add olive oil and toss to coat. Cover and cook on low for 2-3 hours.

2. Stir in zucchini. Cover and continue to cook on low for another 2-2.5 hours.

3. During the last hour, add remaining garlic, 2 TBL of basil and salt and pepper to taste.

 4. In the last 15-20 minutes, add orzo. Before serving, top with crumbled goat cheese and remaining basil and drizzle with balsamic vinegar.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

From the Freezer: Chicken Tamale Casserole

One of my third trimester goals was to fill our freezer full of delicious homemade meals that we could easily reheat once Aimee arrived. I had initially planned to make a few dishes each weekend in August until our little girl was born, but that did not end up working out exactly as planned thanks to the fact that Aimee decided to cozy up to my sciatic nerve and I was left with pretty terrible back pain when standing or walking the last few weeks of my pregnancy. I was able to suck it up long enough to make a few items the weekend before she was born and supplemented with some of our favorite frozen items from the neighborhood Trader Joe’s*.

I tried a couple of new recipes including one for a chicken tamale casserole that we really enjoyed. The recipe comes from one of my favorite “lifestyle” bloggers— Kate from Elefantitas Alegres. The original recipe includes making homemade enchilada sauce and roasting up fresh chiles—no doubt these extra steps would make the dish even more amazing, however I decided to go with her time-saving suggestions (since I was also trying to bang out a few other freezable meals the same day) and went with canned instead. It was a cinch to make and froze/reheated beautifully. I made it in two batches—we ate one on our first night home from the hospital and the second a few weeks later with chips and guacamole (from Trader Joe’s of course).

I would highly recommend this dish—whether you are making it ahead for yourself, for a friend, or simply planning to eat it the same day. Yum.

*In case you are interested, here are some of our favorite Trader Joe's frozen foods: meat lasagna, eggplant Parmesan, chicken tikka masala and naan, tamales (cheese and green chile and the chicken ones), and Mandarin chicken).

Chicken Tamale Casserole
Adapted (barely) from Kate at Elefantitas Alegres

1.5 c. of corn muffin mix
2 eggs, beaten
kernels scrapped from 2 small ears of corn
½ c. milk
2 4oz. cans of chopped green chiles, drained
2 ½ c. cheese, grated (Kate suggests pepper jack-- I used a "mexican cheese" blend from the grocery store)
¼ T. chili powder
½ T. cumin
1 10oz can of your favorite red enchilada sauce
Meat from one natural rotisserie chicken, skin removed and shredded

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
2. Fold eggs, corn kernels and milk into corn muffin mix. Add green chiles, 1/2 cup of grated cheese, chili powder and cumin and combine. Pour into a greased one 9×13 or two 8×8 inch baking dishes. Bake for 30 minutes, or until the middle of the mix is firm.
3. Pierce tamale base all over with a fork. Pour the majority of the enchilada sauce over the tamale base, then top with shredded chicken and remaining cheese. Drizzle the remaining sauce over the whole thing.
4. Casserole can either be baked immediately for 20 minutes at 400 degrees or wrapped and frozen. If you decide to freeze it, simply bake at 400 for 40 minutes or until hot.