Sunday, December 27, 2009

Sweet sweet baby skin

I never realized how perfectly sweet my baby would be.  I remember when I first smelled his little breath as I lay in the hospital bed the day he was born.  I was in perfect wonder over the life in my arms, amazed that we had all made it safely through delivery, when I first caught a whiff.  His breath was like nothing I'd ever smelled before.  Perfect freshness.

And now the rain-fresh breath is no more, but he has this perfect, silky skin.  It's darkish toned like his dad's, and soft and smooth and wonderful. 

And he has these irresistable leg rolls, my mom calls them Dairy Queen wrinkles :)  He loves it when I am the nom nom monster and nom on those little rolls!  Baby laughs... but that's another post.

It's safe to say I'm intoxicated by my beautiful baby. 

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Caleb v puffs. Round 1

Since he started eating purees, Caleb has tried all the Stage 1 fruits and vegetables.  The only one that he didn't seem to care for was the bananas, and I think it's because of the texture.  He seems to have a sensitive gag reflex (which has already given me a few near-heart attacks) and texture/dryness seems to really set it off.

We decided to try these little puff cereal things that dissolve really quickly.

They are a yummy strawberry flavor so we thought he'd enjoy them.


Well, so far the body language isn't giving us a lot of hope for the puffs...

What is this stuff you're feeding me...dirt??


Sorry mom, I gave it my best shot!  Maybe next time!

Fancy Macaroni

For the past couple years, the women in my family have worked ourselves silly preparing and cleaning up after Christmas Eve and Christmas Day meals.  This year we declared from the get-go that we weren't doing it this time, we wanted easy, good food, and we wanted to have time to sit, visit, and play with the baby. 

For Christmas Eve, we decided to do a casserole and my mother in law put me in charge of finding a good recipe.  You know I can always count on the Pioneer Woman to drop a recipe of such mouth-watering proportions that I have to make it and this time she did not disappoint.  As soon as I saw her post about Fancy Macaroni go up, I knew I'd found my Christmas Eve casserole.

It was so wonderfully good, the sauteed onions and all the yummy cheese, not to mention BACON, made this one spectacular dish.  Below is the Ree's recipe exactly as she posted, with notes for my slight adjustments.

Fancy Macaroni
Source: The Pioneer Woman Cooks!


4 cups Macaroni
8 Tablespoons Butter
2 whole Medium Onions, Cut In Half And Sliced Thin
10 slices Regular Bacon
1 Tablespoon Bacon Grease (reserved From Bacon Slices)
¼ cups All-purpose Flour
2 cups Whole Or 2% Milk
½ cups Half & Half
2 whole Egg Yolks, Beaten
Salt & Pepper (to Taste)
½ cups Grated Gruyere Cheese
½ cups Grated Fontina Cheese (I used Butterkase because I couldn't find any Fontina)
½ cups Grated Parmigiano Reggiano Cheese
4 ounces, weight Chevre (soft Goat Cheese)


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Cook macaroni for half the time of the package instructions. Drain and set aside. (I also rinsed the noodles with cold water so they wouldn't stick together)

Fry bacon until slightly, but not overly, crispy. Drain on a paper towel. Reserve grease.

Melt 4 tablespoons butter in a skillet and saute onions over medium-low heat for 10 to 12 minutes, or until golden brown and soft. Set aside.  (besides sauteeing the onions in the same skillet I'd cooked the bacon, I added the reserved bacon grease to the butter)

In a pot, melt 4 tablespoons butter. Sprinkle in flour and whisk to combine. Cook, stirring constantly, over medium heat for 1 minute. Pour in milk and half & half, then cook for 3 to 5 minutes or until thick. Reduce heat to low. Add salt & pepper to taste. (Do not undersalt!)

Beat egg yolks and drizzle 1/4 cup hot mixture into the yolks, stirring constantly. Stir to combine. Pour egg mixture into sauce and cook for another minute.

Add cheeses and stir until melted. Add onions and bacon and stir. Taste for seasonings and add more salt if needed. Add cooked macaroni and stir to coat.

Pour into a baking dish and bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until sizzling and hot.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Caldo Soup

Thank you mom for blogging this for me, and also, thank you for sharing this awesome soup!  She brought it down for us to have over Thanksgiving.  It froze and reheated really well, collard greens really hold their own.

Did you ever want to make something different, something you’ve never tried before? Last week I took out my Paula Deen’s ‘The Lady and Sons, Too’ and decided that whatever page it opened to I’d make something from that page. It didn’t make any difference if it was a dessert or a pot roast, anything.

It came as no surprise that it opened to a page with a recipe I have used many times, but on the opposite page was Susan’s Caldo Soup. I don’t know Susan, and I didn’t know what was Caldo was so I read through it and decided that Caldo must mean collard greens, one of the ingredients it called for. In doing a little more looking I found that Caldo is Portuguese for broth so I learned something new that day.

I also learned that day that my little home town grocery store did not have frozen chopped collard greens. So, I headed across the street to visit with my neighbor from Mississippi to see if she thought replacing collard greens with spinach would work. Well, that’s when I found out that they are not interchangeable. The next evening she came bringing me a bag of frozen chopped collard greens that she had picked up at a large supermarket when she had been out of town that day.

So, I was all set to make the soup, what follows is the exact recipe and then I will tell you what I changed. I thought it was really good, something very different from anything I had ever had, and I will definitely make it again, that is, when I can get the collard greens.

Susan's Caldo Soup
Source:  The Lady and Sons, Too

1/2# Hillshire Farm Smoked Sausage
2 Tbsp. butter
1/2 cup diced onion
Three 14.5 oz. cans chicken broth
5 small new red potatoes, quartered
1 tsp. Lady’s House Seasoning
10 oz. frozen chopped collard greens

(I used the whole pound of sausage, doubled the butter, used all of one large onion and the can of chicken broth was 49.5 oz.)

Cut the sausage into ¼” slices. Melt the butter over medium heat, add the onion and sausage, sauté until the onion is transparent, about 10 minutes. Add the broth, potatoes, and House Seasoning. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat, cover and cook for 10 minutes. Add the collard greens, cover and cook for 20 minutes. Before serving, using a fork, mash some of the potatoes to thicken the soup.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

All I Want For Christmas...and a seven month update

Is my two front teeth!  At least that's what Caleb says.  As you can see from some of these pictures, he already has one bottom tooth, it came in two weeks ago.  Another one is coming through today and my poor baby is sure feeling it.  I took these pictures last Friday afternoon, we all had fun playing since I got off early.  And yes, he's still in his PJs, we don't always get in a big hurry to get dressed when we are playing at home on the floor, I think he's warmer in his PJs and we don't have to worry about him pulling off his socks.  If you're reading this, Aunt Colleen, thank you so much for the fun presents!  We put the others under the tree for Christmas day, but this fun bendy ball we opened right away and he loves it.  Thank you!!!

(Please pay no attention to the man on the's a good thing he never reads this blog, he'd probably be mad I took a picture of the top of his head, poor dude.  I still think he's sexy though)

While Caleb, Brent, Sadi and I were all playing together on the floor, Too Cool for School Gracie posted up on the couch. 

Also, Caleb turned seven months old yesterday!  He has all kinds of neat tricks including scooching around the room Army-crawl style, holding his own bottle, and babbling like a champ.  He also can eat an entire jar of stage one veggies twice a day, plus another half a jar of fruit at each meal too.  He's a good eater and even likes squash and peas!

Friday, December 18, 2009

Holiday Bacon Appetizers

This is one of the appetizer recipes I taste tested before deciding what to take to the office holiday pot luck lunch.  This one was high on my list, but I really thought they tasted best within an hour out of the oven.  Since I try to be at work by 7:30 every day, the two hour bake time definitely didn't fit my weekday morning schedule.
You can't go wrong with the sweet and salties, however, so believe me, this recipe will make another showing at least once this holiday season.

Pioneer Woman's Holiday Bacon Appetizers
Source:  The Pioneer Woman Cooks!


One package Club crackers
1 pound thin sliced bacon (might I suggest maple cured...the sweet and salty...YUM)
Grated Parmesan cheese (or brown sugar...I'm doing this next!)


Place crackers face up on a cookie sheet. 

Using a teaspoon, sprinkle grated Parmesan on each cracker.  Cut bacon slices in half and carefully wrap each cracker in a slice of bacon, making sure to cover the entire cracker with the bacony yumness.  Place on a cookie sheet fitted with a rack and bake at 250 degrees for around two hours.  I checked mine and took them out after about an hour and forty five minutes and they were perfect.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Needing a sick day

Last week Caleb was diagnosed with a little infection, nothing serious, all it took was a little antibiotic and some cuddles from his mama and daddy to make it all better. 

Of course, there were definitely some sad faces...

And notice the little drool bead collecting on his chin?  Besides being sick, he also cut his first tooth.  All this happened in one weekend, mind you.  Little Man had a reason to be unhappy.

We spent our time hanging out together, alternating between playing on the floor with his toys and taking breaks for cuddling and comforting.  He can be very independent sometimes, so I have to admit I enjoyed that he wanted held for hours and hours. 

He might not have felt well, but he still knew how to have fun!  Check out that little goof face! I imagine he was talking to me when I took this photo, he can chatter up a storm!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Santa's making his list!

Caleb met Santa today!

Santa scheduled a quick stop off at my office building today during lunch. Caleb made it a point to get dressed up in his Christmas sweater so he could sit on Santa's lap and ask for such things as, and I quote, a brand new "Ahbwabwabwa" and a really awesome "dadahbwa". Hopefully Santa has a better ear for Caleb's bourgeoning language skills than I.

Unfortunately Santa had set up shop in front of a huge bright lobby window, causing the faces to be a little underexposed, but this little grin lights up the shot for me :) And Santa, for some reason, you look suspiciously like the security guard who checks and rechecks my badge before letting me in the door. Hmmm.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Jalapeno Popper Spread

I've made this dip about four times since I first discovered the recipe and I have yet to get a good picture of it because it's always at night. It's been a hit at every gathering to which I've taken it and on the off chance there is some left over, it reheats wonderfully. One of the things I love about it is that the heat level can be adjusted so easily so you can cater to your friend's needs. Brent and I love spicy stuff, but his mother can't eat it without feeling badly, so I cut the jalapeno quantity in half when she's in the crowd.

Jalapeno Popper Spread


2 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
1 cup mayonnaise (I used light mayo and it still tasted great)
1 (4 ounce) can chopped green chiles, drained
2 ounces canned diced jalapenos, drained
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese


Combine cream cheese and mayonnaise in a large bowl until smooth. Add the chiles and jalapenos and stir until combined. Pour mixture into an ovenproof bowl, top with Parmesan cheese and bake at 350 degrees until bubbly.

It's best served with crusty bread because it truly is a spread, not a dip.