Home Cooking Meal Momma

Last Friday night, was monthly mom’s night out. We all host a month throughout the year, where we can choose to host at our home or pick the restaurant. This month, my dear friend Suzanne hosted us at her beautiful home. She made us all a delicious home cooked meal, served us tantalizing basil infused lemon vodka drinks. Mmm… they were refreshing. I say, “they” because I had a few too many, stayed until 2 in the morning and am just now feeling back to ‘normal’ and it is Monday.

Needless to say, the drinks and the company were amazing.

Suzanne, Nicole and me
Suzanne, Nicole and me (looking not so cute)

So was the view from her backyard.

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We were all to bring either an appetizer or dessert of our liking.  I choose, dessert.
Lately, well since I was pregnant with ‘the girl’ (5 years ago) I could eat a cupcake everyday. Mind you, I do not. But I very well could. Since all of us mommies have some dietary restriction (I know, lame), I went to a local cupcake shop and got an array of goodies, gluten sugar-free, vegan and full of everything, things.

Truth be told, I think I ate almost all them self around midnight.

My friend Nicole, and fellow blogger, brought a simple, and super delicious appetizer. A gluten-free baguette, sliced into rounds mildly toasted with a hint of olive oil. For the dipping sauce, basil pesto in a jar from Costco.

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this one!

Easy peasy, and delicious.

Seriously. It was (is) AMAZING. So much so, that I went to Costco at the first chance I had (today) to buy it.

Really. It’s that good.

Since Nicole reminded me about boiling chicken (since I cannot touch or handle it do to an unrealistic odd phobia I developed in my teens) the other day during our Ikea playdate with our kiddos, I have been a Home Cooking Meal Momma (self-proclaimed)!

Hubby even said, “Wow, two homemade meals in a row!? Is this because you hung out with Nicole?”

Me: “Well, I guess so.”

Tonight it makes 3. Thanks to Nicole.

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I boiled some boneless skinless frozen chicken breast (somehow this is less repulsive) for 30 minutes. Give or take a few.

Afterward, I chopped it length wise then in half.

I boiled some Trader Joe’s gluten-free corn penne pasta (my favorite gluten-free brand).

Added some (half the bag) Trader Joe’s sun-dried tomatoes (Julienne cut)

Poured half of the jar (could have used the whole jar, but I am savoring it) of pesto over it all and mixed it together. You aren’t even supposed to heat the pesto. You simply bring it to room temperature for 10-15 minutes before you use it.

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It is the perfect hearty summertime pasta.

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Not too hot, and it will be fabulous cold tomorrow for lunch.

I feel obliged to say it was not kid approved in our house. In the pasta’s defense, I have an incredibly picky 5-year-old and a 2 year-old with FPIES, who can only eat 13 food/ingredients.

Instead they gorged themselves on spinach chips I made. I great tip I got from a fellow FPIES mom.

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Simply lay gobs (handfuls) of spinach on a baking sheet ( I use a drying rack for a crispier texture).

Brush with an oil of your choice or what is safe in our case, which is grape seed oil.

Sprinkle with sea salt

bake @ 350 for 10-12 minutes.

ta-da!
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Seriously, easy and so delicious!

I love them too.

I even got a big thumbs up from ‘the boy’

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They could not get enough!

Elle: “Mom, you make the best lettuce!”
Me: giggling, ” Thanks sweetie.”

It was messy, but fun to watch my whole family devour something together. Even it we all weren’t feasting on the same thing.

Enjoy.

Xoxo,
Magazine Mom

Day 26: behind the black door ~ Pinterested in this?

To be completely honest, as I usually am, I am having a horrible day. Not like my terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day I had a while back, but a bitter one. Simply stated, expectations got the best of me today. Thinking things were going to go one way (in my mind), and them actually happening, very differently. I am not feeling like boring you all with my “bitter woman” song and dance, so instead I thought I would share with you the most useful pin I have pinned on Pinterest in quite some time (well other than my own of course).

By the way, hubby has actually created a song about a “bitter woman” which he sings to me, about me, when he sees my bitter scowl I wear so well. You know the one when you have had your kids all day, nothing went right, and you are trying to make dinner, and your hubby is late? Yep, that scowl.

The witty song goes something like this…

Bitter woman,
walking down the street,
bratty kids, clingy at her feet,
bitter woman,
sneering at everyone she meets
////

Anywho, he is not quite the lyrical genius, but the song does make me smile every time he sings it. I guess that is his way of ‘playing.’

If you are anything like me, meal planning simply doesn’t happen as often as it should, or at all.

I had pretty much lost all hope, until I repined a pin, from {multiple} friends. With a title like “Easy Peasy Meal Planning,” I knew I would love whatever they would have to say. Its like they stole the verbiage right out of my mouth.

Sure enough, it is pure genius.

You simply have to check it out for yourself.

The gist is, she suggests you create a theme for each night of the week, and pull from a list (she even provides, or you can create one on your own) making it easy to plan ahead, and get yourself out of the bad dinner rut you are living in. Ahem.

I know something about this.

Sunday is the day I would ‘like’ to meal plan, so this comes at a perfect time, and hopefully for any other weekend warriors out there.

Piggy backing off Peanut Blossoms plan, this weeks themes (in my house) are going to be:
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As you can see, it can be fun, and as creative as you want it to be.

I know, and now most of you do as well, that Friday’s are my busiest day, so it makes the most sense to have that be a take-out or Dine-out night.

I have always wanted to incorporate a movie and/or game night so I think Saturday is the perfect day for that.

Obviously these are not set in stone, but you can adjust and change them as need be.

Again, Tiffany from Peanut Blossom, provides some really good examples and recipes to fit within your weekday themes, so I don’t have to.

See, I am already making things simpler.

No more excuses.

I can’t wait to hear about any themes your creative minds come up with.

Xoxo,
Bitter Woman (Magazine Mom)

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To read more about this bitter woman, and my 31 day blog challenge. Click here.

Day 7: behind the black door ~ homemade popsicles

The other day I was telling someone about the homemade popsicles I make, and she said, “you should blog about that!” So, here I am.

It started with the boy, and him not being able to eat any store-bought popsicles. I figured why not just freeze his baby food puree. Duh?

Everyday I let him have one, because why the heck not. It is just pureed fruit and vegetables. Some I do just pear, and some I do mango, pear and spinach.

My daughter would get a store-bought one instead for the longest time, until it dawned on me… I could make her own too.

Duh!

So, I went back to IKEA to buy a pink version of the blue popsicle makers I already had (cross contamination is a problem in this house). Now, the girl and the boy have their own. Perfect.
$T2eC16VHJI!E9qSO8wtlBQGEYUw7zQ~~60_1Oh, and at $1.99, they are a steal!

So, I experimented with a few different varieties and came up with this…

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I seriously just buy frozen berries, use an immersion blender to grind it up, add whatever yogurt I have in the fridge, mix it together, and voila!

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Sometimes I even just mush up an almost rotten banana, and put it into the mold. It freezes perfectly, and she thinks it is just as good. The possibilities are endless, people.

In fact, she would rather eat one of my popsicles than store bought ones now.

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And, I have ZERO guilt letting her! It is simply fruit and yogurt that I would have offered her for snack anyway.

Genius. I know.

You’re welcome.

xoxo,
the never pretentious, Magazine Mom

circle1This post is part of a 31 day series. To read more and follow along, click here.

Day 2: Behind the black door ~ lurks FPIES

circle1It may come as no surprise, that things aren’t always what they seem. Much like my seemingly picture perfect door that I used for my 31 day button. I had to Photoshop {well picmonkey} the heck out of the smudge marks, and the flaws on the exterior walls of my entryway.

Like the doors and the walls leading into our house, the people living inside are not always as they appear either. No, I am not talking about me. Of course not. I am always as I appear. Disheveled and bitter during the day, completely relaxed and well put together at night.

You know what I am talking about moms.

I am referring to my son. Not a single person would ever look at him, and think that he has severe food allergies. But, he does.

He has, what is called, Food Protein-Induced Enterocolitis Syndrome (FPIES), which is an allergic reaction in the gastrointestinal system.

The most common triggers are milk and soy, but any food (even those thought to be hypoallergenic e.g. rice, oat) can cause an FPIES reaction. Unlike most food allergies, the FPIES reactions are delayed and usually begin about 2 hours after ingestion of the causative food. FPIES reactions are characterized by profuse vomiting and diarrhea. In about 20% of cases the child will have such an extreme reaction to a food that they will go into shock and need to be taken quickly to the Emergency Room for immediate treatment. About 75% will have acute episodes on diagnosis. The other 25% children will have more chronic symptoms, which resolve within 1 week after avoiding the food (The International Association for Food Protein Enterocolitis (IAFFPE).

My son, Harlan, experiences more of the chronic symptoms such as, mucousy and/or bloody diarrhea, horrid diaper rash (like a chemical burn), colicky behavior, and interrupted sleep.

Throughout our FPIES journey, he has trialed 40+ different foods and has failed all but 12.

Currently, his only safe foods (ingredients really) are…

safe foods

Clearly, trying to find things for him to eat proves difficult. I don’t know what we would do if he couldn’t have his special hydrolyzed protein formula (Nutramigen). That is where he gets the bulk of his protein and fats from.

He sadly basically eats the exact same foods everyday, for every meal…
~homemade muffins that I make from a recipe I found and adapted.
~he eats a variety of, pear puree, spinach, broccoli, and mango, and sometimes with his favorite millet puffs. Millet puffs are so messy, that I limit his consumption due to unsightly mess he makes and rigorous clean-up.
~Cheecha Puffs have changed my life, as well as, Jenny-O turkey hotdogs, and
~In-N-out Burger’s French fries.
~he also eats a “millet mush” I concoct with hulled millet, pear puree, spinach, broccoli and mango (and sometimes Turkey hotdogs when I am feeling really crazy)
~homemade pancakes (a recipe I got from a fellow FPIES mom…thanks, Amity)
~and pear, watermelon or mango (or all three)

until (dun, dun, dun)…

last night, when the dollar store was out of Jenny-O hotdogs (seriously, I can’t believe I buy meat products at the dollar store).  I was forced to get creative (they are the only store I can find them at).

Harlan, has never liked ground turkey in any form (texture thing, I am guessing), and I have been wanting to try to find a meatloaf recipe using his limited ingredients.

After a cursory “Google” search, I came across this one that I could totally make work.

here is the final result

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{print  it  ~ millet meatloaf}

 Good news, he LOVED it. He actually ate every last bite on his plate.
yum
Though I wish I could add a lucky “13” to the safe food list, this new recipe feels like a little victory!

I look forward to many more small victory’s with him.

He is a challenging boy, and he is lucky he is so stinkin’ adorable, or else he may have ended up on the front steps of our local fire station.

Kidding.

I think.

FPIES is just one of the many things we have ‘going on’ behind the black door.

Hope you follow along to find out more.

xoxo,
Magazine Mom

Lazy Sunday Casserole?

I realize it is not Sunday, but it will be tomorrow, so I thought you all might want to go out and buy the ingredients so you, yourself, can indulge in this delectable stew-like casserole I came across on Pinterest. Kay, from Kayotic Kitchen came up with this recipe she calls “Lazy Sunday Casserole.” I simply tried it, LOVED it, so I am sharing it with all of you.

What you need:

4 sausages (beef, pork) – you could always use chicken or perhaps tofu for you vegans
1 pound potatoes
1/2 pound carrots ( 1/2 bag of baby carrots)
1/2 bell pepper (I use a whole one)
1 large onion
1 fennel bulb
2 garlic cloves (I use more like 4 or 5)
2 tbsp oil
freshly cracked black pepper
1 1/2 tsp Italian herbs
1/2 cup chicken broth (I used beef broth because it is what I had, but I am sure veggie would work too) 
4 tbsp balsamic vinegar

IMAG1226
>Start by peeling and cutting the potatoes ( I used Yukon gold) into 4’s.

>Cut the onion, fennel bulb, and bell pepper into long thin strips.

Now if you are anything like me (a cook from a box who adds things to it, kind-of-gal), then a fennel bulb sounds more like something you use to illuminate your home then it does something you eat. Let me assure you, it is found in your local grocer’s,
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I got mine in a two-pack at Trader Joe’s for $1.99, and to my surprise, it is quite tasty!

>You just cut off the top, celery-stick-looky-thing, and bottom of the bulb, and continue to cut it like you would an onion.

> place all the veggies, including the carrots, in a roasting pan (or Pyrex)

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>preheat your oven to 450*

>mix the oil, broth, garlic (chopped or grated), and italian seasoning in a bowl.

*I would like to note that I had never “grated” garlic before this. I don’t think I will ever not, now. It is so easy, less sticky, and less hand smelly than chopping it (my garlic press crapped out on me months ago and I am too cheap to replace it). Thank you, Kayotic Kitchen for this tip! Laugh now, all your foodies who can’t believe how inept I am in the kitchen!

>pour the mixture, “witches brew,” onto the veggies and toss

>add kosher salt, and cracked pepper

>place in the pre-heated oven for 45 minutes

While your potato veggie medley is in the oven, this is the time when you brown your sausage.

> you do not cook it all the way through, just enough to brown it

>and then slice it into quarter-inch thick pieces and wait for your timer

Once the timer goes off,

>add the sausage and balsamic vinegar and cook another 20 minutes (or until the sausage and potatoes are brown)

and, voila…

Sunday Lazy Casserole
Sunday Lazy Casserole

 you have, Sunday Lazy Casserole!

Now, I will admit, for me, this is not lazy… this is ambitious, but delicious!

I made it last Sunday, and I just made it for tonight. That way, we can be lazy Sunday, and have left-overs!

Enjoy!

Who doesn’t love them a good meat and potato dish? Comfort food at its finest!