**The comments are now open on my last two posts: my first StitchFix recap and Adeline’s 15 month recap (with an update on how night-weaning is going)! I don’t know why they were closed in the first place, but they’re open now!**
Hello friends! I thought a random list of happenings around the Cooper house was in order for this chilly Tuesday! Enjoy!
1. I’m so over the cold weather. The days when the temperature is above 20 feel SO NICE! I’m also ready for the snow to be GONE so that I don’t have to keep mopping up salty spots on our floors. I blame the cold weather on the fact that I just watched ALL FIVE SEASONS of Friday Night Lights in a shamefully short period of time.
2. My sweet friend Brittany at Delights and Delectables just became a MOTHER!!! Yay Adoption!
3. I’ve been loving coffee creamers lately. Mmmm. I’m trying to stick with Natural Bliss creamers (no funky ingredients) but I do like the Italian Sweet Cream creamer from CoffeeMate. I keep finding creamers at a great discount at the grocery, so that’s why they’ve been sneaking into my shopping cart! After we finish the creamers in the fridge, I’m going back to using milk or soymilk- I get plenty of sugar from chocolate, no need for extra sweets in my morning cup of joe!
(You’re welcome for the super awesome WebCam selfie that I took while writing this post)
4. Our home is on the market (we rent a unit in a 2-family building). It’s been really stressful trying to keep the house tidy for showings and such. There was an offer on the house last week, but it fell through after the inspection. There’s another offer now, and my fingers are CROSSED that our current landlord accepts the offer so that we can be finished with these showings! We *should* be able to stay where we are, but you never know! Toddlers really really like to un-do any type of cleaning/organizing that you attempt.
5. I’ve been in a workout rut. I blame the cold weather and dark nights. Also, Adeline’s toddler antics have been keeping me much busier in general! I’m STOKED because I won a giveaway from Lindsay at Running with Tongs for a new workout plan- Michelle Bridges’ Twelve Week Body Transformation, here I come! I’m not really looking to *transform* my body, but I definitely would like a kick in the pants to get back to working out more regularly! I’ll definitely do a recap of the program with “progress pics” as well! Maybe Michelle will even let me host my own giveaway? I’m kind of excited because everyone who signs up goes through the program at the same time! I love that there’s a community aspect built in!
6. My dear friend Ashley recapped the birth of her second daughter, Nora. She is AMAZING. Get some tissues, I totally cried.
7. Our church, Missio Dei, is awesome. Each week, we leave feeling challenged. One of my favorite aspects of our church is that the teaching is directly from scripture. We are also reminded of the gospel at EVERY gathering. God created the world -> sin entered the world (and we were separated from God) -> Jesus Christ was born -> Jesus died on the cross to cover ALL of our sins -> Three days later, Jesus rose to conquer sin and death and give the gift of salvation to all who believe in Him alone for eternal life. AMEN! I am so so glad that we get to hear the gospel message each week- this is what our family believes!
8. So many friends are expecting babies, my heart is about to explode! And I have so many friends who are on their journey to conceive as well! I love seeing how God moves to grow families
9. I love my husband! He rocks! He works so hard for us, and he and Adeline are the best of friends. We had a “date night” in the other night, and it was so nice to just snuggle on the couch. He’s definitely on the top of my list for #MCM (man-crush Monday)
10. My heart is also sad because my aunt Helen passed away last week. We were unable to attend the funeral due to the copious amounts of snow that showed up on Saturday. She will be dearly missed by us all. My mom has 8 sisters and 7 brothers- to say that Helen will be missed by many people is an understatement. (Helen is in the middle, my beautiful mother is on the right!)
11. I’m super excited about getting back into the kitchen! Last night, I made a TON of enchiladas (just simple, black bean enchiladas). My blogging buddy, Nicole at Making Good Choices, has also been getting back into the kitchen, check out what she’s making! I’m also hoping to try out this Soft Wheat Sandwich Bread for Daniel from Heather at Fit Mama Real Food.
12. I do meal planning each week! We set a pretty rigid budget for our groceries, and I do my best to prepare us wholesome, nutritious and delicious food while respecting our finances. Turns out, my blog-friend Brittany from A Healthy Slice of Life and I do our meal planning in almost the same way! Check out her Anatomy of a Weekly Meal Plan post!
Do you meal plan? Are you doing any training/workout program right now? Share a recipe you LOVE!
Happy Friday! Thanks to The Lean Green Bean for hosting another “Pin It” party! Today, I’m sharing 5 of my favorite RECIPE posts! Click on over to Lindsay’s blog to see all of the other posts that bloggers have created. Pin away!
Super easy granola made in your MICROWAVE! Great base for customized granola based on what YOU want!
A quick and easy marinade for pork chops, could also be used on chicken, tofu (YUM!) or beef. Ginger, garlic and soy sauce form the base for this yummy marinade!
If you have plums, sugar and water, you can make this “jam”. It has the consistency of apple butter, and doesn’t require any pectin. It is tart and sweet, and we plowed through our first jar in a week!
A perfect soup for nights when you need something simple for dinner. The fire roasted tomatoes really bring a great depth of flavor to this soup, and it’s ready in under an hour with minimal preparation. Just open a few cans, add some spices and you’re ready to have a wholesome meal in no time.
Now that Adeline is chowing down on sweet potatoes, I don’t make them with honey anymore (babies under 2 aren’t supposed to have honey). BUT- this is one of my favorite ways of making roasted sweet potatoes!
There you have it! Some of our favorite recipes Happy Pinning!
What is your Pinterest handle? Can I follow you?
Hello folks! This is my very first WIAW- What I ate Wednesday!
WIAW is a link-up of bloggers sharing some of their recent eats. The WIAW “party” is hosted by Jenn over at Peas & Crayons (she has some AWESOME looking recipes!) This week, I’m sharing some great recipes that we’ve made in the Cooper home over the last few weeks!
My new “cooking philosophy” is cook once, eat multiple times. I’ve been making a big batch of dried beans each Sunday for us to use throughout the week and any recipe that can be prepped ahead of time is my BFF. We’ve also been plowing through fruits and veggies (we ate 10 mangoes, a dozen bananas and 4 avocados last week!) Here are some of our eats (note, none of the photos are my own, if you click on the picture, it will take you directly to the recipe YUM!)
Recipes we Have Made
I think I’ve made these 4 times now. They are delicious and simple and don’t require you to buy any chocolate. Plus, Carmel is a Kentucky blogger, I love reading blogs from places I’ve lived! They definitely satisfy a chocolate craving. The original recipe calls for honey as the sweetener, but we ran out of honey the second time we made them. I made some “date paste” and subbed it 1:1 for the honey. The fourth time we made them, I made about 1/2 c. of prune puree and 2 bananas (~1/2c. prunes, soaked in hot water, drained & blended with a little bit of the soaking liquid). My favorite version was the one using dates! I haven’t made the coconut oil frosting yet, but it would definitely take these to the next level.
These easy burgers were pretty tasty! Brown rice and quinoa make up the base, and zucchini and carrot add a punch of veggies. Since the ingredients are pretty simple, I’m excited to add in some extra spices and change-up the veggies a bit! I had the same problem as Gina (The Fitnessista), my patties fell apart pretty easily after baking. Next time, I’ll try pulsing the brown rice and quinoa in the food processor for a minute so that it sticks together a little better!
This was another winner! We didn’t use as much cheese as the original recipe called for. Next time, I think I’ll stir in a bit of reduced-fat cream cheese into the filling before baking (instead of using shredded cheese). We finished this dish fairly quickly, so next time, I’ll make a bigger batch!
This was another winner! I love how Jodi gives you so much room to play with the spices. She gives a list of spices and orders them according to “copiousness of use”. We doubled the amount of chickpeas and served the curry over brown rice + quinoa.
We’ve also been enjoying our own kale salad recipe. The kale has been looking a little bit wimpy lately, so I’m excited to use similar ingredients with a different green (spinach!)
Recipes to Try
I’ve seen these 2 ingredient cookies floating around the internet, I just need to get my hands on some gluten-free oats to make them!
I’m intrigued by the idea of baking with polenta! I’ll probably never make this recipe, but it looks mighty delicious!
These look a little bizarre, but they also kind of look delicious. That little puddle on top is mozzarella cheese. This is a savory muffin, I think it might go nicely alongside a simple bowl of tomato soup!
- What are some of your favorite “go-to” recipes?
- Do you tend to make recipes that have lots of leftovers?
I love looking at recipes. We eat pretty much the same thing each week, but browsing recipes is one of my favorite pastimes. Thank goodness for Pinterest. What did a nursing mother do before the invention of the internet or smartphones!? We pretty much eat the same thing every week, but I’ve been trying to get a little bit more creative in the kitchen by using recipes that use the ingredients we purchase at the store on a weekly basis. I’d love to have smoked salmon with lemon-grilled asparagus alongside truffle-garlic mashed potatoes for dinner every night… but we’d rather save up $$ for vacations (and college), so we keep it simple.
Recipes We’ve Made (and liked)
Let’s start with cookies, shall we? I made a double batch of Peas & Thank You Totally Oatmeal Scotchies for our small group last week.
My cookies were not as pretty, but boy were they tasty.
- TIP: refrigerate your dough for at least 30 min before baking. I baked in batches and the last batch (that had been in the fridge the longest) was the least crumbly!
- TIP: don’t use thicker types of rolled oats (i.e. Trader Joe’s GF oats). I made a second batch with TJ’s oats and while they delicious, they are also a crumbly mess. The quick cooking Kroger brand oats (not instant and also not GF) held together better.
Last Sunday, I made a huge batch of Brittany’s Vegetable Lentil Soup.
It is everything I love in a lentil soup- hearty, warm and filling. Great job, Brittany!
We have also made this White Chicken Chili twice! It’s delicious with a squeeze of fresh lime!
This Chopped Winter Salad recipe from Real Simple is stellar. With chunks of sweet roasted butternut squash and salty feta cheese and kalamata olives, this salad is satisfying and packed with flavor.
I’ve been experimenting with 2-ingredient Banana Pancakes ever since I saw them on the Carrots ‘n Cake blog.
My favorite combo is 1 medium to large Banana [mashed], 1 Egg + 1 Egg White [beaten], a pinch of Baking POWDER, and cinnamon to taste. Mix your “batter” well. Heat a pan over medium-high heat, add some fat (cooking spray, butter or my favorite- Coconut Oil) and cook for 3-5 minutes on the first side (the top should have tiny little bubbles and should be pretty much set), and cook on the second side for 2-3 minutes. Serve with peanut butter. YUM
Recipes to Try
I’m going to go eat some more cookies (seriously) while I browse Pinterest for dinner ideas! I’m guessing we’re not actually going to be eating anything new for dinner tonight, but at least I’ll have more dinner inspiration, right?
Do you have any recipes that you want to make? What are some of your go-to recipes?
Hey friends, sorry we’ve been a bit MIA over here! We’ve been filling our days with walks, visits with friends and lots of snuggles. I’m excited to post Adeline’s 3 month update in a few weeks- and I’m also excited to share my 3 month post-partum update as well.
This morning, Adeline took a GREAT nap, and it gave me the chance to get back in the kitchen. I find myself making a good portion of our dinner in the morning when the baby is napping. It seems a little bit silly to have such savory flavors filling our kitchen early in the day, but it guarantees that we won’t be stuck scrounging up whatever we can when dinnertime hits. (My kitchen helper, after her nap)
I wanted something full of veggies (to counteract all of the chocolate that I’ve been munching), and I knew I wanted the dish to bake in the oven (makes for easy reheating).
Vegetarian Kale and Tofu Bake
This is a gluten-free (and noodle-free) layered bake (dare I say, this could be made as a sort of lasagna?) The green kale and red tomatoes give the dish a festive holiday look, and you could adjust the seasonings inside to suit your tastes!
- 3 Russet Potatoes, washed and thinly sliced (I used the mandolin on the thinnest setting)
- 1 block of firm tofu, crumbled
- 4 cups (one bunch) of Kale, washed and chopped
- 1 can diced tomatoes (drain off most of the juice)
- 1 Shallot, diced (or 1/2 of an onion, diced)
- 2 cloves Garlic, minced
- 1/4 tsp. Black Pepper
- 1/4 tsp. dried Basil
- 1/4 tsp. fresh Rosemary, chopped
- 1/2 tsp. Smoked Paprika
- 1 TBSP Low Sodium Soy Sauce
- Juice of 1/2 a Lemon
- Olive Oil
- Salt, to taste
- Shredded Cheese (like parmesan), optional
- Preheat oven to 350. Spray a 9 inch glass pie-plate with cooking spray (you could also use a loaf pan, I had a bunch of filling leftover when I used the pie plate so a loaf pan may actually be a better choice).
- Heat Olive Oil in a skillet over medium-high heat, add Shallot and Garlic and cook for 3-5 minutes, or until fragrant and soft (do not burn)
- Add Kale, cook until you have enough room in the pan to add crumbled Tofu, Diced Tomatoes and spices (Black Pepper, Basil, Rosemary, Smoked Paprika).
- Cook until there is barely any liquid (from the tomatoes) left in the skillet, add in Soy Sauce and Lemon Juice. Remove from heat.
- Arrange potato slices on the bottom of the pie plate, overlapping slightly. Add a thick layer of your kale and tofu filling, and top with another layer of potato slices. (If using a loaf pan, you should have enough space to add another layer of filling and another layer of potatoes!)
- I kept the potato layer on the top so it had a sort of “crust”.
- Spray the top layer of potatoes with cooking spray (to get it nice and brown), and add shredded cheese to cover the top (as much as you want!)
- Bake for 30 minutes or until potatoes on top are golden-brown.