Days 10 and 11 – bottles and balls

Even though I’m not working during maternity leave, weekends are extra special because David is home with us. He i so good with her, such an amazing father, I love watching them together.

Day 10, Saturday July 12
We’ve been exclusively breast feeding and plan on continuing to do so for quite a while. However we will have to introduce pumped milk in a bottle when I go to work or if we ever want a date night again. On Saturday, I pumped a little to try out the bottle and to mix with her vitamin drops. She doesn’t like the drops straight from the syringe. David gave her the bottle. It was magical to watch him have that experience and bond with her in a new way. As for Annabelle, she was trying to take it all in. It seemed to confuse her that she was getting her familiar food from a different person and in a different method. I love breast feeding so much, it’s an incredible experience, but I’m glad someone else gets to have the joy of feeding her too.

David gives Annabelle her first bottle. The cats observe.

David gives Annabelle her first bottle. The cats observe.

Day 11, Sunday July 13
During the first two weeks at home we got to watch lots of World Cup. I’ve never paid much attention to soccer (excuse me Futbol) but David loves it. And it was a lot of fun to watch with him. We watched the first US game during my labor and most of the games that were on when he was home. Only during US games did we determine it was best if he didn’t hold the baby. I even watched the last US game when he was at work because I’d gotten into the entire thing. Sunday was the finale and we watched Argentina and Germany play. For David it was a perfect day, he got to hold his baby, have a beer, watch soccer.

Beer, baby, soccer. Perfect Sunday for David.

Beer, baby, soccer. Perfect Sunday for David.

I also made us some soft pretzels (one of my favorite things to bake) in support of Germany. Someday soon, I’ll post my recipe. I love to bake, especially breads, and I hadn’t done any baking since Annabelle was born. It felt good to be baking again even if it did take a lot of energy and planning around a newborn feeding schedule!

Yummy pretzels. I made these with whole wheat flour.

Yummy pretzels. I made these with whole wheat flour.

Four more years until the next World Cup. But there’s women’s World Cup next year in Canada!

What I’ve Been Cooking Lately

This was promised to be a general life, house, cooking, DIY, crafting, knitting blog and here it goes. (No pictures this post because I didn’t take any.)

I don’t get home most days until 7ish or 8ish when I was commuting from the Eagle River library. I also tend to want food NOW not food in an hour when I’ve cooked. And we’re still trying to eat healthier and avoid pre-made processed foods and mixes with their crazy chemicals and loads of sodium.

My solution is a combination of a few quick easy meals, cook ahead and freeze cooking, the crockpot, and leftovers.

Monday is my day off. I’ll usually make a large something that can be frozen in smaller batches or be leftovers for the rest of the week. (I try not to have more leftovers than we will realistically eat in a week. When in doubt, freeze it.) Monday is also my day for new recipes, more elaborate cooking, grocery shopping and prepping as much as possible for the rest of the week, not to mention as much cleaning, errand running, and housework as possible.

Lately though Monday has also been my day to read as much as possible for the Newbery award. Details available here. This has meant even more crockpot and easy cooking than ever.

Slow Cooker Tortellini Soup
First off I made this creamy slow cooker tortellini soup I saw on pinterest. I mostly followed the recipe, except for a few changes.
*I thought I had mushrooms, but I didn’t. Didn’t miss them though I bet they would be excellent.
*I didn’t measure the amount of spinach I put in, just chopped up one bunch. It seemed to be about right.
*Since I had just finished a batch of chicken stock, I used a cup of that instead of vegetable broth.
*And the biggest change was that I didn’t have a white sauce mix envelope. I just added the ingredients from this white sauce mix recipe that would be equivalent to one quarter the total. Or to say I put in 1/4th of what was called for of every ingredients (mixing it in the crockpot). With dried milk put in twice (once in the original recipe, once in the sauce mix recipe) it was rather thick and milky so I added an extra cup of water. Worked perfectly.
The only major thing I will do differently is not to add the butter in that white sauce mix recipe. It tended to separate when reheated. But this was an amazing soup and David and I loved it. Will definitely be making again. Not very healthy though with all the milk/cream based yumminess.

Stovetop Easy Chicken Bake
Yes this is a mostly processed food. My sister told me about this a mix of bite sized chicken and veggies mixed up in condensed soup and sour cream with stovetop stuffing baked on top. It’s yummy, easy, and filled with lots of veggies. Just be aware that you’re getting a ton of sodium in this one recipe and plan the rest of your day accordingly. The recipe is on the back of the box of Stovetop dressing or online here. Make it once and you’ll have it memorized. The main thing I changed was to use a smaller bag of veggies (12 oz) and cut up a fresh broccoli head with them. I didn’t steam the broccoli before cooking so it was relatively firm/not mushy. Delicious. David loved it. Sneaks full servings of vegetables in. Prepared in under 10 minutes.

Pumpkin Poppers
On the sweeter side I made these pumpkin poppers. They were like addictive pumpkin donut holes. I ran out of allspice (how does that EVEN happen?) and so I used cardamom instead. Fantastic, but next time I’m going to try upping the pumpkin and leaving out the oil. Would make them healthier and more pumpkin flavored. Both of which are good things. I ended up giving most of these away at work so David and I wouldn’t eat an entire batch. They disappeared quickly.

Side note about allspice – doesn’t it seem like if you have that it should be sufficient for all your spice needs? I was so sad as a child when I realized that was a specific spice and not a substitute for every spice or an instruction to toss in all the spices in your cabinet.

Additionally I made a weight watcher recipe (stuck behind a pay wall on their website) that was slow cooker Caribbean chicken with sweet potatoes and pineapple. Also amazing. When we had it for leftovers, we combined it with rice.

Long entry, but I see everyone’s pinned recipes and I always like hearing the “I tried this but changed this and here’s how it worked” stories. I would (and probably will) remake and recommend any of these recipes.