Thursday, April 18, 2013

THE Most DELICIOUS Grilled Cheese

Roasted Cauliflower, Onion Grilled Cheese
I was watching the Today show one morning and they had a professional chef fancying up normal day to day recipes... I was busy playing with the kiddos, so I didn't catch the recipe, I just heard her say "You've got to try this roasted cauliflower grilled cheese", and I thought... brilliant! I must try this!
So here's what I put together, which turned out to be the most flavorful grilled cheese I've ever had!

1/2 head of cauliflower, washed and cut into small florets
2 Tbsp coconut oil
2 tsp dried rosemary 
dash of garlic powder
1/2 small onion, diced
1 Tbsp butter
1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
sliced mozzarella/white cheddar cheese
shredded mozzarella & parmasean cheese
olive oil
bread (any kind)
spinach leaves

~First you need to roast your cauliflower. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Wash and cut your cauliflower and cover with coconut oil, rosemary and garlic powder in a small bowl.  Layer on a cookie sheet with parchment paper and pop in the over for 20 mins.
~While the cauliflower is roasting, saute your onions in melted butter. Once they are caramelized, add the balsamic vinegar and saute a bit longer. Once the cauliflower was done, I added it to the pan and sauteed a few more minutes with the onion to give it more flavor, adding a dash more garlic powder.
~Now, the art of grilling your sandwich! Butter each side of your bread... (with my high needs family, I actually had to use 3 different types of bread! Gluten free for Adam, Ezekiel for Caleb (no soy), and Wheat bread for me.) Add some olive oil on a heated pan (medium/low heat)... throw on your bread and build! Add sliced cheese, layer on cauliflower and onions, sprinkle with shredded cheese, add a few leaves of spinach and top with your second piece of bread and grill!
ENJOY! Simply delightful, and fancy :)
Caleb's first bite... he gobbled it right up!

NOTE: We made these again tonight, and this time added organic, nitrate(ite) free bacon... AMAZING! :)

Crockpot Chicken Lasagna Soup!

When thinking about a new dinner idea, I looked in my fridge for some ingredients and inspiration... I had: Chicken, homemade chicken broth, and veggies I knew I wanted to use. So I began looking up different recipes and decided to modify a few crockpot lasagna recipes I saw to create this amazing soup! This recipe is naturally soy free, and can easily be made dairy free (just don't add the cheese), and gluten free if you use gluten free pasta! I just threw things in there, so hopefully I can accurately duplicate it for you... here it is:

1 lb chicken breast
3 cups of chicken broth
4 tsp garlic, minced
1 Tbsp dried parsley
1 Tbsp dried basil
1 Tbsp Italian seasoning
1/2 cup onion, chopped
1/2 cup green/red pepper, chopped
1/2 cup of spinach (i used frozen)
1 roma tomato, diced
28 oz organic crushed tomatoes
6 oz organic tomato paste
3 T riccota cheese- optional (doesn't need it if you want dairy free)
salt & pepper to taste
1 cup water
2 cup of pasta- uncooked (we used gluten free)
Shredded mozz cheese to top

~Place all ingredients, except water and pasta, in the slow cooker. Stir. Cover and cook for 6-8 hours on low or 4-6 hours on high. During the last 30 minutes, add your water and uncooked pasta and let cook another half hour, until pasta is cooked. Serve, and top with cheese if desired. ENJOY!

~This is also an easy recipe to freeze and save/share. Just leave out the pasta and water, and combine all the ingredients in a gallon freezer bag. When ready to eat, plop in slow cooker and follow directions above.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Crispy Quinoa Bake

I have recently added a new grain to my kitchen... quinoa! I have heard more and more recipes containing quinoa and how "good it was for you", that I did my own little research before I attempted my first few recipes. And boy was I excited once I learned all the many benefits that quinoa has to offer our bodies :)
In summary I've learned these significant facts about the grain:
~Quinoa is gluten free and very rich with nutrients
~Quinoa contains much more protein and "good" fat compared to any other grain such as rice, noodles, wheat, etc.
~Quinoa has natural anti-inflammatory properties and rich in antioxidants
~Quinoa is also high in fiber, therefore easily digestible
~Quinoa can be sold pre-packaged or in bulk and is EASY to prepare!

So why not add this key grain to our diets?! YES PLEASE! My dear sister-in-law Sara was actually one of the first to introduce me to this phenom. And here is a recipe she shared with me, that was absolutely delicious and a must try.

1 c. quinoa
1 T + 2 t olive oil
2 c chicken stock (see previous post on how to make your own)
1 c. onion, diced
1/2 green pepper, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 c. zucchini, cubed (2 small)
1 15oz can black beans, rinsed
1 4oz can diced green chiles (optional)
1 28oz can diced tomatoes
1 c. frozen corn
1/2 t cumin
1 t oregano
1 t chili powder
1/2 lime, juice
2c. sharp cheddar cheese

-preheat oven 375 degrees
-grease 9 x 13 baking dish
-rinse quinoa with cool water for 2 minutes
-in a medium saucepan, heat 2 t of olive oil on medium-high heat
-add quinoa and cook, stirring for 1 min, it should cry out and start to pop
-add chicken stock, stir and bring to a boil... then turn the heat to low, cooking covered for 15 minutes
-remove and let stand covered for another 5 mins
~meanwhile, in a large skillet, heat 1 T of olive oil over medium heat.
-add onions, peppers, and cook. Stir until soft (approx 7 mins)
-add garlic and zucchini and cook another 3 mins
~Fluff the quinoa with a fork, and place in a large bowl
-add onion mix, beans, chiles, tomatoes, corn, cumin, oregano, chili powder, and lime juice and mix thoroughly
-transfer to a baking dish and bake for 30 mins.
-top with cheese and bake an additional 10 mins, until cheese is melted. 

:) comments/modifcations/suggestions always appreciated!

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

This post is completely dedicated to me gushing about my adorable son CALEB! Enjoy a recap, month by month, of his first year of life :) 

Our sweet boy Caleb Timothy was born on Dec 29th, 2011, at a tiny 6 lbs 0oz, 20 inches @ 10:46pm. He was welcomed into the world by his fabulous mommy & daddy, his grandma and grandpa "O", uncles Brian and Nicko, and his sweet "grandma Linda Bob" who made the trip from Milwaukee! He had many visitors throughout the first few days :)
From the moment Caleb entered this world he was bright eyed and alert! He's sweet little raspy cry warmed out hearts instantly. In his first week he dropped to 5 lbs, 5 oz, but once he got the hang of eating he slowly gained it back. 
At 1 month old, Caleb weighed in at 7 lbs 7oz, 21 inches. Our first month with Caleb was quite different than expected... although as new parents what DO you expect?! Caleb breastfed every 2-2.5 hours regularly. Had extreme colic, but he loved to cuddle, have his little hands up by his face, and being held seemed to be the only way to keep him happy. We quickly discovered the beauty of bouncing on an exercise ball! On his 1 month birthday he SMILED for the first time :)
Throughout Caleb's 2nd month, he met many of his favorite people for the first time... his Wallschlaeger grandparents and his godmother Jackie to name a few. We tried a chiropractor for the first time, and even hit up a timberwolves game where he spent most of the time in our beloved moby wrap (another godsend, he lived in that thing). This month Caleb went to Children's hospital for an upper GI test, and tested negative for reflux. He was still eating 8-9 times a day, but introduced his first bottle, and exclusively breastfed. He was still in newborn clothing and diapers. Little peanut. His weight was at 9 lbs 9 oz, 22.5 inches @ his 2 month appt. 
At 3 months Caleb weighed in at 11 lbs 4 oz. He was imitating sounds, sticking out his tongue, sticking his hands in his mouth, and cooing. He loved his Whinnie the Pooh mobile and sucking on his nuk. His colic was still really bad, and we spent much time on the exercise ball to get him to sleep. Caleb moved up to size 1 diapers and 0-3 month clothing :) He would sleep few couple hour stretches in his crib at night, but would sleep longer and co-slept with us, where we would get up to 4-6 hour sleep stretches. This month two of his favorite friends were born (Your cousin Blake, and friend Olivia!)
Caleb's 4th month was fun because he was blabbing and giggling much more. He hated his carseat and still struggled with tummy pains and colic. He was tested for allergies (RAST test) and took many stool samples to see if there was any bacteria in his gut. Everything came back clear. He remained a mystery. So we kept at it, still exclusively breast fed and sleeping 4-6 hours at night, with short naps throughout the day. He started grabbing at toys, rattles, and taggie balls on his playmat, and rolled over! Caleb began playing in the jumperoo too! Caleb was dedicated to the Lord on May 13th (with his cousin Blake) at Grace Fellowship Church. At 4 month appt he weighed in at 12 lbs 4 oz and 25 inches.
During Caleb's 5th month he was still in 3-6 month clothing, size 2 diapers and weighed around 14 lbs. He slept 5-8 hours at night in bed with us (few hours in crib), taking 3-4 mini naps a day. Caleb was rolling over like crazy, giggling, taking his nuk in and out of his mouth, and found his feet, practicing sitting up in his bumbo. He also fell asleep on his own for the first time in his crib for naps (without being rocked or bounced), but would still sleep longer at nights with us and would need to be bounced on the exercise still often to fall asleep. His smiles and independent play came more frequently. 
Caleb turned 6 months at the end of June and at his doc appt he weighed 14 lbs, 2 oz and was 26 inches long. We started more stroller/jogging stroller rides outside. He loved fireworks and being outside. Caleb attended a few Twins games and even made it on the jumbotron! This month he also discovered how to make new faces, and a silly cute scrunchy smile. He also discovered his love for watching CARS drive by, he'd lean over the couch and watch them during the day, or with his aunt Rara downtown! Still struggled with colic, feeding 6-7 x a day. He slept around 9:30pm-8am with 2-4 wake ups/1-2 feedings. Caleb began moving and scooting on the floor and was learning to sit well independently. :)

Month 7, Caleb slept through the night for the first time in his crib! He slowly began learning to self soothe with taggies, blankies, nuks. He also began eating baby foods (brown rice cereal, pears, avacado, oatmeal) and liked it all. Still struggled with tummy/colick issues and constipation. He wore size 3-6 month clothes and size 2 diapers. We took many trips this month! He did pretty well on his first road trip to ILL to visit great grandparents, grandma linda bob, cousins and the Wallschlaeger family. We also went on his first annual camping trip to the Dells...he tent camped for a whole week! Caleb loved to make loud noises, play with his dog Milly, sing "row row row your boat" and read books. He was pushing himself up all the way up, and creeping around. Caleb also got his first tooth this month!

At month 8 Caleb was eating solids 3x a day by now (added sweet potatoes, peaches, peas, plums, squash, green beans, zucchini, prunes and mum mums) on top of breast feeding. Caleb started cooing and saying "mama, dada, nana", loved knocking toys together, slapping anything to make noise, and sticking everything in his mouth. His favorite toys were stacking blocks, and playing in the exersaucer/jumperoo. This month Caleb was babysat by his Grandma Abbie for 3 days while Mom and Dad got to take a sibling trip to Vegas! He was sick with his first ear infection but did well for grandma! She claims he slept 11 hours... jealous, because this month he was getting up 10-15x a night for us and struggling. He weighed around 15 lbs. He got his first tooth this month as well and began inch worm crawling!
Month 9 was a rough month for Caleb. He was waking a lot at night, and had to start introducing formula because he wasn't getting enough from me. He was in the doc several times for a never ending cough/cold (beginning of asthma type issues). On the bright side he was clapping all the time, pulling himself up in the crib, crawling, he saw his Papa O race in an ironman and mommy run a marathon.  He talked all the time, with his new favorite phrase "dis" and "dat". He loved playing with his "clicker" blocks, cars, balls and in the jumperoo. He began eating finger foods and drinking from a sippy cup. He wore size 3 diapers and 6-9 month clothes. At his 9 month appt he weighed 17 lbs 3 oz. 28 inches.
At month 10 Caleb celebrated his first halloween as a little monkey :) We tried a few new pediatricians this month due to his chronic cold, and found Dr. Meier at partners n peds, who tested him for whooping cough and diagnosed him with pnemonia. He had his first rd of oral steriods and began his journey with the nebulizer (pulmicourt and albuterol). :( Once he was feeling better he was working on standing up, waving bye bye, giving kisses, and started sleep training. now went to bed around 8-8:30 until 6:30-7 with a few wake ups, 2-3 naps a day (20-90 mins). He ate 3 meals a day, and bottle with breast milk/formula 3x a day. Caleb wore size 3 diapers 6-9 month clothing and got his first top tooth in!
Caleb's colic behavior was slowly subsiding and at month 11 we were having more and more fun together. He was playing independently with balls, cars, blocks, books and magnets on the fridge. He began signing "All done" "milk" and "bye/hi". He could walk with his walking toys and crawl FAST! He loved to push cars down the hall way. Caleb got his first stomach flu this month which was so sad, but was on the mend and eating more and more solids/finger foods (strawberries/blueberries were his favorite). He learned to stand on his own at the end of the month and took his first plane ride to Milwaukee for Wallschlaeger Christmas! He was a champ! He weighed around 18.5 lbs. 

YAY! we made it to 1 year Caleb! By this time we finally decided to try a holistic doc due to his chronic coughs/constipation and tummy issues that were simply not improving. Here we discovered Caleb's sensitivity to SOY which is in everything (even in almost every marketed formula). Once we removed this from his diet, added many whole food supplements, he quickly began sleeping much better (9-11 hours at night with 2 naps a day with a few wake ups). He also seemed in pain much less and was a much happier boy. At 1 yr Caleb weighed 19 lbs 2 oz, 28.75 inch.

We celebrated Caleb's 1st birthday with close friends and family with a Cars Themed party :) Caleb always enjoys having people around, the center of attention, smiling, flirting and giggling constantly. Just a few weeks after his first birthday he took his first steps and was walking right after!

Caleb is always on the go, busy "working"/aka playing with blocks on the windowsill, "vrooming" cars along couches and the floor, and babbling the day away. He is simply the cutest, sweetest blessing and despite the many challenges we faced during the first year, we wouldn't have changed a thing. God has taught us a lot through each stressful, sleepless day... and made our relationship as a family simply that much better! God is GOOD, and we are thankful everyday for this miniature HUGE blessing we call our son. With Caleb's health finally turning around, we feel we have a very FUN future in store for us as a family. 

So, we look forward to the years ahead :)