Saturday, March 30, 2013

Meatloaf "Muffins"

I've seen this meatloaf muffin idea floating around online and thought it was such a great idea!! Do you know I have never made meatloaf before? Unless you count heating up Stouffer's Meatloaf as making it. In that case, I'm a pro!! ;-) Nope, never made my own before. Kind of sad, especially now that I know how EASY and how much BETTER homemade meatloaf is!
Now, I know what goes in a meatloaf so I threw it all in and was super pleased with how it turned out. These babies had great flavor!
Y'all know I don't measure, but I'll do my best to recall about how much of everything I put in.

Meatloaf "Muffins"
*makes 6 small muffins*

1/2 lb lean ground beef
1 tbsp minced garlic
1 egg
appr 1/4 cup green bell pepper, diced
1/2 cup bread crumbs
1 tbsp onion powder (use chopped onions if you like)
a couple shakes each of Oregano & Parsley
appr 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
splash of milk
1/4 cup ketchup
dash of salt & pepper
1/2-1 tsp ground mustard
2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce

Mix all ingredients together well.
Form into balls and place in greased muffin pan. Press down gently.

Top with small spread of ketchup. 
Bake at 350 for 25-30 minutes.

Serve alongside your favorite side dishes. Mashed potatoes are usually my first choice, but they were delicious with my squash casserole.

Perfectly moist, flavorful, individually-sized meatloaf muffins!! I can promise you, after you try out making meatloaf on your own, you will NOT go back to the precooked stuff!! I know I won't!

Friday, March 29, 2013

Squash Casserole

I'm excited to share the recipe for squash casserole I made last night. It is that good and that easy!! 
If you like creamy, cheesy, and crunchy all in one, get busy and make this!

Squash Casserole
*serves 4-6*

3 small or 2 large yellow squash
appr 3/4 cup sour cream
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp garlic salt(not as strong as garlic powder)
heaping cup of shredded cheese (I used Sargento 4 State Cheddar and HIGHLY recommend it!!) OR you can just grab a big handful like I did. ;)
salt & pepper to taste
appr 3/4 sleeve Ritz crackers, crushed
1/2 stick butter, melted

Cut up your squash and throw in pot full of water. Boil for 4-5 minutes until just tender. Drain well and dump in bowl. 
Add in sour cream, onion powder, and garlic salt. You can use chopped onion if you like them. You can even saute them, and season with the garlic salt and some salt & pepper, then add to the mixture.
Add in cheese and mix until well combined. Taste for seasonings and adjust as needed. I also added a little bit of plain sharp cheddar, along with the 4 State Cheddar. 
*Add a splash of milk if you want to thin it out just a tad. It'll add more creaminess to it, as well.*
Pour into a greased pan and top with crushed crackers. 
Pour melted butter over the top and bake at 350 for 30 minutes.

Serve with delicious meatloaf muffins!! (recipe coming tomorrow!)

Or just devour all on its own!
You can't go wrong either way.
I love this stuff way more than should be allowed.

The 4 State Cheddar really sent this squash casserole over the top, but you can use ANY kind of cheese you like. Make it your own, 'cause it'll be delicious regardless of what type of cheese you put in it. ;)

Happy Friday, friends!!
Thursday, March 28, 2013

Finding Happiness in the Day to Day...

Today was a great day. Not because something amazing happened, because I won the lottery, or went on some wonderful trip or adventure. In fact, I didn't do anything close to what one would call "amazing". Hudson and I just went to Publix for a few things, but seeing the joy that comes over his face when he gets a balloon or carries on a conversation with yet another fellow shopper who passes by, makes even these small, routine tasks wonderful and joyous. Relishing in the delightful sunshine was an added bonus.

We also just played the same ol' learning apps, built with the same ol' legos, and watched the same ol' Bubble Guppies. But somehow watching Hudson dance and laugh at those same ol' songs and silly phrases brings such a big smile to my face it doesn't even matter that we watched the same episode 2 days ago. Watching him become so proud of himself when he completes a puzzle or matches his shapes makes me even more proud.

A new shirt that's not only comfy BUT cute as well makes a day pretty good too. Who doesn't love a good throw on and go top? I know this girl does, especially right now!!  
It came from The Red Dress Boutique.
Necklace from Caroline G.

Then dinner time rolls around and after months, upon months, upon months of your child only eating ONE vegetable, green beans, he finally, and happily, decides he likes corn!!
Persistence pays off! One point for Mama!!

Being a girl who loves cheese the way I do, it sent me over the moon to find this stuff.
This takes dishes to a whole. new. level.

Like, say, this delicious squash casserole I made for dinner. Best squash casserole ever, thanks to this cheese!! I'm not even kiddin'! Just try it for yourself.
Yours truly also whipped up some homemade deviled eggs (first-timer and they were awesome!) and meatloaf "muffins". I'll post these recipes over the next few days. All so easy and SO good and flavorful! Tasting that all of the love and hard work I put into a meal paid off is one of the best feelings ever, I'm pretty certain. 

So, you see, not every day has to be spent in some exotic location, with fancy and luxurious surroundings and material possessions to be a wonderful, happy day. You have to look for happiness in the little, day to day things. And I think if you've found that, then you're doing pretty well. 
I count myself immensely blessed to have the life I live and I wouldn't trade places with anyone in the world. The people I get to spend my life with make it the best life I could ever imagine. 
And I can only imagine how much better it's going to be in about 6 months.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

13 Week Appointment

We had our 13 week appointment & ultrasound today and it went great! We were thrilled to see that both babies are doing wonderful and growing right on track. As much as Joseph was dying to find out what we've got cookin' in there, it was too early to tell. Hopefully we'll find out in 4 weeks when we go back.

We got to get a good look at both babies today and see what they're up to. "Baby A" was so funny. He/she was just laying there playing with his/her feet and hands the whole time. So sweet. Heart rate was 154.
 Look at that pretty profile!

"Baby B" was on his/her side, hence the semi-creepy skeleton face. Haha! Heart rate was 150.
The u/s tech mentioned that Baby B was slightly bigger than A. Not in a worrisome way. Just measuring slightly longer. 

Here's a view of both babes. It looks like they're in the same sac, but they're not. Their sacs are just a lot closer together now.
It's still so weird to see two babies in there hanging out at the same time!!

My doctor is very pleased with how the babies are looking and how I'm looking as well. 
It was great to hear that and to see them bouncing around in there. We just need healthy, happy babies!! That's what I keep hoping and praying for. 

Happy Wednesday!! It's a beautiful day in Alabama. I hope it's a beautiful one where you are too!!

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

13 Weeks!

Today I'm 13 weeks pregnant! On one hand, it feels like I should be at least 20 weeks, because it seems like it's been forever since we found out, and on the other hand, I can't believe I'm already at the end of the first trimester. That's the funny thing about pregnancy. It makes time go by in strange ways.

I really don't have a "bump" yet, but I do have that beautiful bloat thing going on sometimes...especially after I eat. It's hot. I have my 13 week appt/ultrasound tomorrow so I'll try to remember to take a picture since I'll look decent. Today I'm slummin' it at home with a toddler.
You don't wanna see that. ;-)

How Far Along? 13 Weeks.

Total Weight Gain/Loss: My appetite has been better so I'm up 1-2 pounds from my pre-pregnancy weight now. It's hard to tell what's actual weight and what's just "bloat" weight.

Genders: No idea. Joseph is adamant that there's a boy and a girl in there. And he's determined to find out tomorrow at the ultrasound....even if it means taking a really really big magnifying glass. Silly man. I don't have a feeling any way about the genders yet, but boy/girl is nice and even so I'll go with that for now. ;-)

Maternity Clothes? No, but I've been sporting the BeBand with my jeans. They'll still button and everything, but it's just more comfortable that way. And I'm all about comfort.

Stretch Marks? No. I didn't get any with Hudson, so here's to hoping I have the same luck this time around.

Sleep: Great!! Can't get enough!

Movement: I thought maybe I felt some small flutters the other day. I was sitting still and quiet so I was able to notice them. 

Food Cravings: My appetite has been much better over the last week or two, but I'm not having any consistent cravings for anything. Although I am addicted to Welch's fruit snacks! HA! I've just wanted sweet and salty things, and even some spicy things.(which is SO unlike me!) I am loving sweet tea with lemon, too.

Food Aversions: I was able to drink my first cup of coffee in about 6-7 weeks several days ago. It was glorious! Still can't think about eating breakfast. I'm still not really into too heavily spiced dishes or anything super rich. Sometimes I can eat chicken, sometimes it makes me gag. Don't get me near any fish or seafood! I go back and forth with Mexican food. It all just depends on how I'm feeling at the moment.

Labor Signs: No!

Symptoms: Morning sickness is much better, but some days I still get sick. I'm very sensitive to smells, especially in the mornings. Fixing Hudson's breakfast is still a challenge some days. I'm tired but not as exhausted as I was. Headaches seem to have taken the place of the exhaustion. I have them every day. Luckily, Tylenol helps me a little. I'm hoping the doctor can prescribe me something a little stronger that kicks in faster and keeps them away for longer than the Tylenol does. To avoid getting sick while changing a lovely diaper(you know the kind I'm talkin' about!), I wrap an unused diaper around my face and secure it with one of the tabs, like a mask.(kinda genius, if I do say so myself) This feels so silly, but it really helps and it's better than the alternative. (puking in the middle of changing your child's diaper. no bueno)

Belly Button In or Out? In.

Wedding Rings On or Off? On

Miss Anything? Not really, but I wouldn't mind a big ol' plate of pancakes & bacon for breakfast! Maybe one day I'll want it again. ;)

Best Moment This Week: The quality time we got to spend as just the 3 of us this weekend. I love those weekends, and cherish them even more now.

Looking Forward To: Our appointment tomorrow to see how the babies are doing!

I'll update sometime after the appointment tomorrow.
Have a great Tuesday!
Monday, March 25, 2013

Chicken 'n Dressing

Didn't y'all know? It's Thanksgiving!! At least, it was at our house tonight. Who says chicken & dressin' can only be served in November? I say that's ludicrous! I'll have it when and where I want it. And this gal wanted it for dinner tonight. Boom.
Chicken & dressing used to be this daunting dish that really intimidated me and I was terrified to make it. Honestly, it's really one of the easiest things to throw together. 

And in no time, you can enjoy a nice plate of Thanksgiving of your March...on Cinco de Mayo....the middle of July....whenever it strikes your little fancy!
Before you panic, you should know that there was definitely cranberry sauce served alongside. I'd rather do without dressing altogether than eat it without "the sauce!" It's of vital importance, y'all.
Moving on. I could talk about my love for jellied cranberry sauce all day, but I'll spare you.
You're welcome.

Chicken & Dressing
serves 4-6

small pan cornbread, cooled and crumbled (I used appr a 6" pan. perfect for a small pan of this stuff) double recipe if you use a big pan)
2-3 boneless skinless chicken breasts, boiled and diced
1-2 stalks celery, diced into small pieces
appr 2 cups chicken broth (I used broth from the boiled chicken. You can also you boxed broth.)
1/2 can(yes, just 1/2 can) cream of chicken soup
appr 1 tbsp rubbed sage (sage makes the dressing, in my opinion. but too much kills it! best bet: add a little, taste before you add more. taste taste taste!!!)
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp onion powder (use real onions if you like)
salt & pepper to taste

Mix all ingredients together. Add a little more broth if it's not moist enough. You want the dressing to be very moist, because it will dry out a little as it's baking. Spread out in a greased pan (8x8 or 9x9 will work great) and bake at 350 for 30-40 minutes.
Mine was heavy on the chicken, but you can add less and make it more about the dressing if you'd like. You can also add boiled chopped egg, onions(y'all know my hubby hates 'em), and make a gravy to accompany. I didn't feel like putting in quite that much effort tonight. :)

Serve with Pioneer Woman's mashed potatoes, some green beans, and the ever important cranberry sauce, and you've got a quick & easy Turkey-chicken day, Monday, Thursday, feeling fat day, or any other day meal!!

I could hardly keep Joseph's face outta the pan of this stuff, y'all!! This was a huge hit, and I've satisfied my craving for some dressin' for a while. :)

Y'all have a great Tuesday!!
Sunday, March 24, 2013

Broccoli Cheese Soup

Look, I'm gonna tell y'all something. I don't really do broccoli. There, I said it. I'm really good about eating my vegetables and I don't consider myself a picky eater.(although I do loathe those dern water chestnuts....and curry. Just cannot do curry. Oh, and olives. Bleh. Maybe I'm a smidgen picky.) But the only way I'm gonna eat some stinky broccoli is either if it's covered, and I mean covered in cheese, or if it's in broccoli cheese soup. Notice a common thread there? Apparently I just love anything smothered, covered, and completely taken over by cheese. I mean, who doesn't?

A couple weeks ago, we tried out Bruegger's, which is a deli down the road from our house. Their specialty is bagels, and they offer all kinds of different bagels, cream cheese spreads, breakfast bagels, sandwiches, etc. They also offer lunch bagels/sandwiches, as well as soups and salads. I tried out a turkey bagel sandwich and some broccoli cheese soup. Their soup has really good flavor, but a little on the thin side for my taste. It needed bigger chunks of broccoli in it, too. So, I've been wanting to make my own ever since and I finally did today! Oh, it was everything I had been imagining! And it was so easy and quick too. It was ready to eat in less than 45 minutes. 
A yummy, warm bowl of cheesy (albeit broccoli-filled) goodness! 

Who can resist? If this girl, who doesn't exactly jive with broccoli, loves it...YOU will too!!

Wanna enjoy a bowl of love for yourself? 

Broccoli Cheese Soup
*Serves 5-6*

- 1/2 stick butter
- 1 clove minced garlic (you can use garlic powder as well)
- 4-5 tbsp flour
- appr 3 cups chicken broth(or vegetable)
- 2 cups milk (I used skim)
- appr 1/4 tsp nutmeg
- 14 oz bag frozen broccoli florets(use more or less if you want)
- appr 2.5-3 cups shredded cheddar cheese
- dash of salt and pepper

In a large pot, melt butter over medium heat. Cook minced garlic in butter for a few minutes. Don't let it burn!
Add flour and whisk in well. This will create a roux that will help thicken the soup. Whisk constantly, allowing flour to cook for about a minute or so. You want to get rid of the flour taste.
Pour in milk, stirring as you add it. Let it blend together and do its thing for a sec.
Add in chicken broth next, then season with the nutmeg. (add in your garlic powder here too if you're using it instead of minced garlic)
Throw in the broccoli and let simmer until tender. (about 20-30 minutes)
Throw in the shredded cheese and mix in well. I used sharp cheddar but you can get creative here. Add whatever you like, or combine some. The possibilities are endless.
Now, this is where you can make a choice. I totally intended to use my immersion blender to blend up about 1/2 of the soup. But, after it cooked a while and got really tender, I found it just as easy to just mash up some of the broccoli with my spoon, while keeping a good bit of the pieces in chunks as well. It came out to the perfect consistency. If it's too thick for you, you can add a little more milk or chicken broth. 
Taste and adjust seasonings as needed.

Top with more cheese, because,'s CHEESE!!!

Side note: I freak out a little every time I see the reflection of the fan in the spoon in this picture. 
It looks like a spider and it's almost more than I can take. Haha!!

Serve with a nice piece of crusty bread, crackers, or croutons and you've got a nice hearty meal!! Also pairs well with a panini or a salad.

Give this one a try the next time you want a warm bowl of soup. Or the next time you want a lot of yummy cheese! ;-)

I hope y'all had a great weekend!
Saturday, March 23, 2013

Easter Bunny > Santa Clause

This afternoon, we went out for lunch and a quick trip to the mall.
Hudson was in love with our waitress at City Cafe, especially when she brought him a coloring sheet and crayons.

 Daddy got in on the action.
 I'm sorry, but isn't he so handsome? (ok, I'm not sorry)
 The icing(or ice cream, I guess I should say) on the cake was the fact that his kid's meal included a little bowl of ice cream for dessert. This child LOVES ice cream!! Mention or show it to him, and he says "Mmmmm!!"

 So after a little spoiling at lunch, we headed to the mall for a couple things. Hudson also loves being strolled around the mall so sometimes we'll go just to walk around.

We weren't really planning on stopping to see the Easter bunny. I mean, I would've totally dressed him differently had I known we'd be stopping by, but oh well. We walked by Mr. Bunny on the way in and he was all alone, with nobody waiting to see him. Joseph said, "Let's get Hudson's picture made with him." I said no. Well, on our way back out, there was still no one in line to see him, so my husband insisted Hudson was getting his picture made with him. Now, I completely expected a meltdown like his last Santa debacle. But, he's older now so I guess that makes a little difference. Plus, he has a stuffed bunny that he loves so I guess that helped make the experience turn out like this....
He would not let go of his New York Life balloon a little lady gave us as we passed by her station in the mall. (more like we didn't want to see what happened if we tried to take it away!) ;)
Y'all. This child LOVED the Easter bunny!! Like, kept reaching for him to go back to him even when we were 10 feet away watching other kids with him. So sweet. We might have to go back to visit him again before he's gone. I'm pretty sure they're BFFs now.

And while Hudson got a cool balloon and a bunny hat...mama got some new shades! My others have been scratched (like, big, deep scratches....note to self: make sure they're secure before you put your head down and they fall lens side down on the asphalt) since about a week after I got them (4+ years ago!) and it was time for a fresh, new pair. Now if only the sun would come out so I could sport 'em!

I hope you're having a wonderful Saturday as well!! 
Y'all be good.

Friday, March 22, 2013

High Five for Friday!

Even though this week has gone by pretty quickly (to me, anyway), I am SO glad to see Friday roll around! I've been feeling MUCH better in the morning sickness department this week (2nd trimester next week, woot!), but the headaches have taken OVER!! Afternoons and evenings are the worst. I'm not one to get headaches much at all so when I do, I become a pretty big baby about it. We had absolutely NO Tylenol in the house, which is all this pregnant lady can take, but the sweet hubs came through and got some for me. He's a good'un! All I've wanted to do is lay down and go to bed, but that's not really an option when you're in charge of a (just about) 2 year old. Anyway, enough of my complaining, huh?
Let's move on to some of my favorite moments of the week, shall we?

1. I posted something on Facebook about wanting some Krispy Kreme. That sweet husband of mine came home from work with a box of those lovelies in-hand. I think I'll keep him!! And he even got one of my favorites!! (the chocolate iced kreme filled is totally the way to go!)

2. Hudson and I were in his playroom the other day and he sat at his table and acted like he was about to read a book to me. Reminded me of all those days I'd play teacher when I was little. 

3. Sweet boy had a blast drawing while I fixed dinner last night. He even drew a picture of "dada". ;-)

4. Since I've been feeling better, I was able to drink coffee a couple times this week. Ohmygoodness I've missed it SO MUCH!!! I'm not really a caffeine drinker, but when I do drink it, I try to only allow myself one caffeinated drink a day. Some days I'll have some sweet tea(the caffeine in tea is so minimal though), while others I'll have coffee. I've really been wanting some sweet tea with lemon lately! And Publix cold green tea! YUM!

5. It's amazing what you find in your recliner! HA! These puzzle pieces have been missing for a small eternity! I was way more excited about finding these than one should be. 
Now if I could just find that dern 1!!

Y'all have a super weekend!! And don't forget to link up with Lauren to share your week!

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

It's All in The Details

If you remember from this post, I recently updated our bedding accessories with coral & peacock blue accents. I am in LOVE with it, but the other little details in the room needed some tweaking to coordinate.

First, I changed out a few things in the wall collage. I found all of these online so they didn't cost me a thing. (unless you count a couple sheets of paper and a little ink)
Love this coral monogram. It's the same blue one we had, but now it matches the pretty pillows on the bed.
 Coral quatrefoil pattern to play off the duvet on the bed.
 I've always loved the & symbol for decorative accents, especially in the bedroom or a spot dedicated to a couple....because we're an "&"! 
It's cute and has some meaning behind it, which I like.

I mentioned yesterday that we moved the TV over to the other wall across from the bed, to the dresser that had the mirror on it. We removed the mirror (since we have a leaning mirror now) and put the TV there. It was too close to the bed anyway and it's opened up the room so much more after moving it.
I was torn about what to do with the chest of drawers that the TV was on, but I finally put some stuff together on it this afternoon.

I found our old engagement picture that we had our wedding guests sign and thought it'd be perfect to put on the chest of drawers and lean against the wall.
 I added a couple more pictures, and some decorative candlesticks and voila!
I also really like how there's a picture from each stage of our relationship. Pre-wedding, wedding, and our life with Hudson.
 I love this picture frame and the fact that it has coral in it. I got it at Hobby Lobby last week not even knowing where it would go, just that I HAD to have it, especially since it was just $9(1/2 off)!! 
I'll probably tweak this set-up a little bit, but for now, I love it. It's accessorized, but not overly-so, and everything that's included is something special. I like using things with special meanings whenever possible. They make me love a room even more!

Happy Wednesday!!