Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Taco Rice Bake

No baby boy yet in case you were wondering!  I am convinced that he wants to show up his brother..... Today is my last day at work till after my maternity leave and that is bittersweet! I love my job, but it has gotten a bit difficult for me over the past few weeks with the sitting/standing. I am certainly feeling ready for this little man to come! I have a BPP scheduled as part of my 41 weeks appointment next week, but we will see if we make it till then!

These days easy meals are my best friend and this recipe from Plain Chicken caught my eye because I knew Ron and Kellen would both love it. Taco night is a big hit at our house and it is nice to switch things up a bit with one of our favorite flavors. This recipe called for ranch style beans and I had never heard of the before and was worried that I would not find them. However, they were right by the baked beans in a can with a black label at my grocery store. This recipe comes together nice and fast is delicious! We added out favorite taco topping to our plates and it was perfect for our taco loving family. 

This week my cousin and her daughter were in town and Kellen has been enjoying spending extra time at Grandma's to play with his cousins. The rest of the week is still up in the air.... I feel like I keep saying that, but it really depends when our little guy makes his appearance. This weekend we are set to have a late Easter celebration with Ron's family because his sister was out of town on Sunday- it is fun to get a chance to do it twice! I know Kellen will be excited to play with him cousins. 

Have you been watching Walking Dead?!  I will not spoil it, but don't believe them after the Glen trickery..... this last cliffhanger will need proof! Ron and I have also been enjoying Survivor. I have always loved the show and Ron had been getting into the last two seasons. Strangely enough, I haven't picked a favorite yet, but I and thinking that once they merge people tend to stand out a little more. 

Have a great week everyone!


Ingredients

1 1/2 cups uncooked white or brown rice 
1 -1 1/4 lb lean ground beef or turkey
1 medium onion, diced
1 can ranch style beans
1 can Ro-tel tomatoes
1 can Cream of Chicken soup
1 package taco seasoning
1/2 cup water
2 cups grated sharp cheddar, divided
Salt and pepper, to taste
Tomatoes, olives, sour cream and chopped cilantro, for garnish


Instructions

Follow cooking instructions for rice on package. While rice is cooking, preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9x13 baking dish with cooking spray and set aside.

Brown beef and onions in a large skillet and drain grease when meat is cooked. Add beans, tomatoes, soup, taco seasoning and water. Stir and simmer for 2-3 minutes.

Add cooked rice and 1 cup cheddar cheese to the beef mixture. Pour beef and rice into the baking dish. Top with remaining cheddar cheese. 

Bake 25-30 minutes. Remove from oven, plate and top with desired taco toppings. 

Monday, March 28, 2016

Weekly Meal Plan 3/28 - 4/3

Happy Monday!

Baby boy has not decided to join us yet, but I am still plugging away and waiting for his arrival. Tomorrow is my official due date so he is not even "late" yet!  I think I have heard that second babies come sooner about 100 times and since Kellen was born at almost 43 weeks this little boy still has some time to spare by that calculation! However, his mother would love sooner than later!

This weekend was so much fun! On Friday, we opted to get take-out and relaxed at home. On Saturday, Kellen and I headed to my parents house to color Easter eggs before turning them into deviled eggs on Sunday. 



The eggs were lovely and we grabbed lunch after before heading home so Kellen could get a little shut eye.  Later in the evening, we grabbed subs and relaxed at home (life is pretty exciting these days!). 

On Sunday, we were up early to see if the bunny came for a visit and enjoys a few sweets for breakfast!


Later, I headed to my parents to start a few things for dinner. Kellen came with so he could nap there as everything was prepared. We had a quick lunch of homemade egg rolls from a friend and I got working on the ham and potatoes. Our menu included: smoked ham in the slow cooker, scalloped potatoes, grilled asparagus, deviled eggs, green salad and homemade bread. We also had a delicious carrot cake for dessert! My in-laws joined us for dinner and everyone has a wonderful time with good food and conversation!

This little guy was proud of his Easter shirt:


We watched some basketball after dinner and headed home shortly after- such a fun day. I was exhausted after cooking, but was able to sit a relax once we got home! 

This week is completely up in the air depending on baby boy. My cousin and her daughter are coming for a visit from Chicago this afternoon and will stay till Wednesday. We have swim tonight and are stopping at my parents for dinner afterwards. My weekly menu looks are bit out of the ordinary, but I don't want to buy a bunch of food to have it sit in the fridge.... many nights might be flying by the seat of our pants! I tried to plan easy menus that could go in the freezer if need be like burgers & brats and a casserole because I can put the ingredients in the freezer easily for when we get home. 

Wish us luck this week! Here is what is on tap: 

Monday: Spaghetti and Meatballs, Salad and Bread
Tuesday: Due Date! Out for Pizza!
Wednesday: Tater Tot Casserole and Green Beans
Thursday: Grilled Burgers and Brats, Beans and Cottage Cheese
Friday: Out for Fish
Saturday: Easter with Leckers
Sunday: Grilled BBQ Chicken, Mac and Cheese and Peas

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Crock Pot Swedish Meatballs

This recipe from Real Mom Kitchen for  Crock Pot Swedish Meatballs  jumped out at me.  First, it was an easy recipe and second it was for one of my favorite comfort foods: Swedish meatballs. I have made a few different recipes for Swedish meatballs on this blog and each one had a different preparation method. You see, my grandmother was Swedish and hr mother came to the United States as a teenager. Swedish meals were very traditional and common during holidays growing up, and my family always adores our family recipe for Swedish meatballs. I haven't posted it on here because I never really feel like it is mine to giveaway. However, I can tell you it is different than most of the recipes I see circulating and allows the meatballs to rest in the gravy overnight before baking in the oven before serving....so yummy. On a side note, I recently saw Lutesfisk in the frozen section of my grocery store.... That was one of my least favorite things as a kid and am not sure I even want to know how the frozen variety is. 

This recipe is not very traditional, but it is delicious, easy and kid approved. In my house those are all important factors! I used a frozen meatball in my recipe, but you certainly could use a homemade frozen meatball and have delicious results. I opted to serve our meatballs over egg noodles and topped with a bit of freshly chopped parsley and everyone gobbled their portions down. 

Today we are in for a big snow storm- possible 12 inches! It is the end of March! Even living in Wisconsin a large snowfall like this one is not the norm....not the norm at all.... It is also a full moon and maybe that, paired with the storm, will kick me into labor and we will be having a baby tomorrow night! I can always hope right?  I was planning to watch SVU with my friend Emily, but I think we will have to put that on hold and hunker down at home! 

All is going well on the baby front. Nothing new to report now besides some Braxton-Hicks (this has been going on since 32 weeks so nothing new), but as many of you know that can change quickly especially since it is our second one! I have been sleeping pretty well and that makes me very thankful, but I keep getting leg cramps! Ugh! I am taking a little extra magnesium and getting a bit more calcium and potassium to help. They have improved, but are a not so fun pregnancy side effect! 

Hope everyone is having a great week- if you are in the snow belt good luck today!


Ingredients

1 (10¾ oz) can cream of mushroom soup
1¾ cups beef broth
1 envelope dry onion soup mix
2 Tbsp A-1 steak sauce
1 (2 lb) bag frozen meatballs
1 cup light sour cream
1 (16 oz) package egg noodles
2 Tbl butter, optional
Chopped fresh parsley


Instructions

In a crock pot, combine the soup, beef broth, onion soup, and steak sauce. Next, mix in the frozen meatballs and coat well.

Cook on low for 6 to 8 hours or on high for 3 to 5 hours.

Just before meatballs are done, cook noodles according to package directions. Drain and toss with butter, if desired. 

Before serving, add the sour cream to the mixture and stir until combined. Serve meatballs over the cooked egg noodles and sprinkle shopped parsley over the top.

Monday, March 21, 2016

Weekly Meal Plan 3/21 - 3/27

Happy Monday!

We had a seriously fun weekend and I am bummed it is Monday again! 

On Friday, we relaxed, had a late dinner after Kellen went to bed, and watched basketball. It was so nice to do noooooottthhhhiiinnnggg.....

On Saturday, Kellen, my sister, my nephew, and I went to the Festival Foods Bunny Hop for treats and to meet the Easter bunny. The kids had a blast and my sister and I loved that they gave out healthy snacks like carrots over tons of candy! There was cookie decorating too and that was a nice treat for the boys. 




After Festival, we headed out for pizza with my parents at one of our favorite places. Afterwards, we went to the Railroad Museum for the Bunny Train. We had not been planning to go, but decided last minute and had a really great time. We went at 1 and it seemed to be an off time and it was a lot of fun to do the egg hunt without it being super busy! We also got to see our friend the Easter Bunny again! 


Ron was at a cribbage tournament during the day and missed the fun, but he was home later and we grilled brats for dinner. 

On Sunday, we were up early to do a few things around the house and head to Appleton for a baptism lunch for Ron's goddaughter's little boy. It was so fun to see everyone especially since it is so close to our due date. We were given offers to bring Easter up to our hospital room if we are there over Easter, but assured that was not needed. It will be more important to make sure Kellen is feeling special and loved, especially if his parents aren't there.  After lunch, we headed home for a quick nap before heading to my friend Kayla's house for her little girl's 1st birthday celebration! It was so fun and the kids had a blast playing and having cake. They have an awesome little toy from The Good Dinosaur and Kellen had a little trouble sharing what was not his! He is really into that movie right now and I feel like we talk about Arlo and Spot often! After the party Kellen and I did a little shopping before heading home to relax.  After Kellen went to bed we watched the Badger game- the buzzer shot at the end was awesome! Go Badgers! 

This week swim is having their spring break and we are just working around the house and waiting for Baby. I don't have too much planned for us in the next week or so just because we don't know what our days will look like! We are ready and excited for our new little family member anytime! I am still feeling good, but the end always gets a little more uncomfortable- especially sitting at work! 

Here is what is on tap:

Monday: Spicy Pork with Asparagus and Chili and Rice Noodles w/ Eggs Rolls
Tuesday: Taco Rice Bake and Salad
Wednesday: Out
Thursday: Slowcooker Shredded Turkey Sandwiches and Fruit
Friday: Grilled Rosemary Ranch Pork Chops, Grilled Potatoes and Grilled Asparagus
Saturday: Out for Pizza
Sunday: Easter

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Creamy Tomato Basil Risotto

Welcome to the March Crazy Ingredients Challenge!


This month's challenge is not too crazy, but involved two very delicious ingredients: Tomatoes and Cream. I have sat out the last few challenges just because like got busy. When you are pregnant many crazy combos sound good, but sometimes it sounded a little too much for me! However, I love the combination of tomatoes and cream and decided that a creamy rich tomato basil risotto was where it was at for me! I love risottos and have many different variations on my blog, but this recipe really takes the cake for me. I normally do not add cream to my risotto, but it added a delicious and rich component to my risotto. Add in the tomatoes and fresh basil and it was a winner. 

I served this risotto with these delicious Roasted Parmesan Shrimp and a big salad. The combination was delicious and I can't wait to make it again! 

I am closing the weekend still in the end stretch of pregnancy and still feeling good. I am slowing down a lot, but am enjoying the our last moments as a family of three! 

Enjoy the risotto and check out the blog hop below! Don't forget to check out next month's crazy ingredients!


Ingredients

1 Tbl butter
1 Tbl olive oil
2 shallots, minced
1 1/4 cup rice 
1/2 cup dry white wine 
4 cup chicken stock
1/4 cup heavy cream 
1/2 petite diced tomatoes
2 Tbl tomato sauce
1 Tbl fresh chopped basil
2 Tbl grated Parmesan cheese
Salt, optional 


Instructions

Place stock in a medium saucepan. Bring  to a simmer (do not boil). Keep warm over low-medium heat.

In a large rimmed skillet heat oil and butter over medium heat. Add shallots and cook for 1 minute.

 Stir in rice, and cook for 1-2 minutes, stirring constantly. Add wine and cook about 2 minutes or until liquid is nearly absorbed, stirring constantly.  Continue by adding stock, 1/2 cup at a time, stirring constantly until each portion of stock is absorbed before adding the next. With the last portion of stock, stir in the heavy cream, tomatoes, tomato sauce and basil. Cook till absorbed and slightly thickened. 

Remove from heat and stir in the cheese. Season with salt if desired. 

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Skillet Rice and Beans with Kielbasa

You all are aware of how much my family loves one-pot meals. A few of our favorites are One-Pot Chicken Feta AlfredoOne-Pot Chili MacCreamy One-Pot Stove Top Mac and CheeseCreamy Chicken Bacon Pesto Gnocchi SkilletOne-Pot BLT Tortellini Skillet and Greek Lasagna Skillet. Any of these recipes are winners for us on a busy weeknight! 

When Sarah of A Taste of Home Cooking posted Skillet Rice and Beans with Kielbasa I knew my family would absolutely love it. Kellen loves rice and beans and I knew the addition of the Kielbasa would be a hit (I was right because he ate all the sausage first!). This recipe is very simple, involves minimal chopping and is on the table in 30 minutes or less. As predicted, my family loved this dish and I loved the minimal clean-up so there was more time to enjoy my evening with my family. Another perk is that this makes enough to us to have leftovers the following day for work lunches. I served this with steamed green beans and can't wait to make it again! 

Last night my doulas stopped over for a short meeting and I am getting so excited for this little boy's arrival! I am over 38 weeks so he could pick his birthday at any time! I am still feeling great but my energy is slowing down a bit and my body feels a little more sore, but in the scheme of things those are really minor things and I am so happy that we have had a healthy pregnancy! On Monday night, I finished packing my hospital bag and just need to thrown in a few last minute things before we leave. I am stocked with comfy pants, nursing bras, tanks and shirts. I also pack travel size toiletries, my own towels and pillows (I was so happy to have my own after Kellen). I also threw in a robe, some socks and a few snacks if I need them for energy. We are almost there!


Ingredients 

1 Tbl extra virgin olive oil
1 Tbl butter
1 package (14 ounce) smoked sausage or kielbasa, diced
1/2 medium white onion, diced
1 cup white rice
2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1 can (14 oz) pinto beans, rinsed and drained
1/2 tsp dried Italian seasoning
1/2 tsp garlic powder 
1 Tbl dried parsley
salt and pepper, to taste


Instructions

Heat the oil and butter over medium-high in a large rimmed skillet (make sure your skillet has a lid!). Add the sausage and onion, and sauté until onions become soft and translucent.

Stir in the rice and cook for an additional minutes while frequently stirring. Add the chicken broth, beans, Italian seasoning, garlic powder and parsley. Bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer for 20 minutes or until rice is tender. Make sure to stir the mixture to o prevent sticking or burning.

Remove from the heat and season with salt and pepper if desired. Serve immediately.

Monday, March 14, 2016

Weekly Meal Plan 3/14 - 3/20

Oh daylight savings....aren't you just a peach....especially with a toddler! Needless to say, naps and sleep were a bit askew this weekend. I was working around the house last night and suddenly realized it was 8:30 and I hadn't even started to get Kellen to bed! This morning has been a little rough, but thankfully Kellen is still sleeping soundly. 

This weekend was a lot of fun! On Friday we stayed in and had a quick skillet dinner. The weather was beautiful and it made me wish we had decided to grill! 

On Saturday, I headed over to the Belly to Baby Expo to help my friend/doula Emily. I help with the raffle prizes and goodie bags. This year we had a really lovely selection from the donors! My mom and friend Kayla were also there to lend a hand. The crowd was big and the event was a success. I even had a chance to sneak away to get a henna.  After the expo, I grabbed some brats for dinner and headed home. We grilled quickly because Ron has to go into work for a few hours. Kellen must have had an extra stomach that evening because he ate 2 helpings of cottage cheese, beans and two whole brats. He certainly is my growing boy and I wonder what my food bill will be once he is a teenager! 

On Sunday, I did a little grocery shopping and met my Mom for brunch with Kellen. Ron stayed home to rest and work on a little laundry. After brunch, my mom and I went for a pedicure and it was so relaxing and wonderful. In the afternoon, my friend Emily stopped over during naps to watch a little SVU and relax- um what about that cliff hanger at the end!?!? In the evening we had dinner and did a little more work around the house and got a little delayed for bed! However, once my head hit the pillow I was out like a light. 

This week we have swim class, my doulas are coming on Tuesday (yay!) and are going out with my parents for St. Patrick's Day. I wish I could have a frosty pint of beer, but my time will come soon! The next few weeks we do not have a lot planned in case our little guy decides to make an join us.  I still can't believe that it is almost time because this has flown by! 

Have a great week!

Monday: Subs After Swim
Tuesday: Beef Tacos, Rice and Beans
Wednesday: Creamy One-Pot Lemon Pasta and Grilled Pesto Chicken
Thursday: Out for St. Patrick's Day
Friday: Grilled Burgers, Oven Fries and Fruit
Saturday: Out for Pizza
Sunday:  Junk Yard Special

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Slow Cooker Creamy Parmesan Tomato Basil Soup #SecretRecipeClub

Welcome to Secret Recipe Club March reveal! 


This month I was assigned Sarah's blog, Well Dined. Sarah is a wife and mother (and former Willaims and Sonoma Demonstrator), and loves cooking for her family. Many of her recipes are seasonal and she has a lovely variety of delicious recipes- I hardly knew where to start!  I was initially eyeing up her recipe for Balsamic Honey Mustard Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Bacon and Vegetable Alfredo Pasta and was pretty settled on the pasta, but she recently posted a recipe for Slow Cooker Parmesan Tomato Soup. I was sold because I knew my family would love it with a big gooey grilled cheese sandwich! I also knew this would be a great way to have the chance to freeze a few quarts for when Baby Boy arrives! 

My family loved this soup. I opted to blend my soup with my immersion blender, but the original recipe does not call for this step. I like my tomato soup on the smooth side, but I am sure both ways are delicious. I loved the ease of dumping everything into the slowcooker and letting it do all the work for me. I had not tried many slowcooker soups and this one was a winner! Since  I blended it I didn't worry too much about the size of my veggie cuts either, but if you are not blending it would be important to take the time to make sure they are nice and small. The combination of the tomato and basil is fantastic, and the added cheese- yum! This recipe is certainly a keeper in our house!

Thank you Sarah for a fantastic new recipe! Check out the round-up below for more fantastic recipes! 


Ingredients

2 (14 oz) cans diced tomatoes, with liquid
1 cup diced celery
1 cup diced carrots
1 cup diced onions
4 cups chicken broth 
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tbsp dried basil
1 bay leaf
1/2 cup flour 
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 cups whole milk
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper


Instructions

Add tomatoes, celery, carrots, onions, chicken broth, oregano, basil, and bay leaf to a large slow cooker.  Cover and cook on low for 5-7 hours, until flavors are blended and vegetables are soft. Using an immersion blender blend the soup till smooth. This is not required, but will give the soup a smooth texture which I prefer, but keep as is if you prefer a chunky texture. 

About 30 minutes before serving, melt butter over low heat in a saucepan and whisk in the flour and cook for a minute or two.  Slowly whisk in the milk, a little at a time, until the mixture is smooth.

Add to the vegetables along with the Parmesan cheese, salt, and pepper.  

Cover and cook on low for another 30 minutes or so until ready to serve. 



Thursday, March 10, 2016

Loaded Cauliflower Casserole

I always find myself last minute and unplanned side dishes for a meal. Occasionally, I will plan the protein around a particular side dish, but more often I am making rice, a simple potato or a steamed veggies. While these are all delicious and my family loves them I like when we can find a more creative side that is both quick and delicious! My friend Kayla likes to cook and we will often pass recipes to each other when we find a keeper that was popular with the kids. Kids are always the kicker because sometimes I am so sure Kellen will like something and NOPE, and other times he takes me by complete surprise! 

Recently, Kayla passed this recipe for Loaded Cauliflower Casserole to my friend Emily and I. I loved the loaded potato idea, but making it a little less starchy by using cauliflower. Cauliflower is also one of our favorite veggies and I was excited to give it a try. This recipe was a breeze to put together and I do use a few short cuts when it comes to veggie prep. My store sells the fresh cauliflower heads pre-chopped and this always saves me a bunch of time! I did not try this recipe with frozen, but I think it would work fine as long as you cook it prior and pat dry. Ron, Kellen and I all loved this side dish and it has become a bit of a go-to for us (especially when we are grilling steaks!). I also love to have the leftovers for breakfast with a runny egg on the side because, really, doesn’t an egg on top always make it even better. 

Tonight we are, hopefully, picking up a new car! We bought our SUV last year and have two older cars that both need a lot of work and we are opting to trade in for a newer car.  The car is primarily before Ron to go back and forth to work and we will use the SUV for our primary car. Car shopping always seems so stressful before I get started, but then usually turns out to be a very easy process.  We are also getting a few thing done around baby boy’s room because the rest of his furniture was delivered yesterday! I am excited to get it all together and I can show you all a few photos!  This weekend is the Belly to Baby Expo and I am really hoping I can sneak in a pedicure on Sunday for a little mama-to-be pampering! 

Have a great weekend! 


Ingredients

1 head cauliflower, cut into medium pieces (4 to 5 cups chopped) 
1 cup sour cream
1 1/2 cup shredded Cheddar cheese, divided
3 scallions, thinly sliced
5 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper


Instructions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a large pot of boiling water, place cauliflower in a steamer basket and cook 7 to 9 minutes, or until just tender. Drain well. You can also do this in the microwave with a little water if you do not have a steamer basket.

In a large bowl, gently mix cauliflower, sour cream, 1 cup cheese, half the scallions, half the bacon, salt, and pepper.  Spoon mixture into an 8x8 baking dish and sprinkle with remaining cheese.

Bake 18 to 20 minutes, or until heated through. Sprinkle with remaining bacon and remaining scallions and serve.

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Parmesan Garlic Roasted Shrimp

Happy Hump Day! 

I don't know about you, but I am ready for the weekend and there are a few days to go! This week has felt really long probably because I was off a few days last week- isn't that always the case!

Last night, I got together with my friends Emily and Kayla to finish stuffing bags and getting raffle prizes together for the Belly to Baby Expo on Saturday. If you are in the Northeastern Wisconsin area please come and check it out! I will be there handing out bag to the first 100 in the door! 

This pregnancy I haven't made shrimp often besides getting the occasional craving and always tell myself I need to make it more often. I decided I was going to try roasting the shrimp and use traditional lemon, garlic and Parmesan flavors. I had not roasted shrimp before and kept a careful eye to make sure that it was not going to be overcooked. I used a larger shrimp, but you will want to adjust your time depending on the size of the shrimp as I noted in the recipe. My shrimp were perfectly cooked just over 8 minutes and I served ours with a tomato basil risotto (recipe coming next week). 

Tonight, I am visiting a friend who just had her sweet baby boy last week! We were due exactly a month apart and now that he is here it makes my due date feel so much closer! It is funny because there use to be so many expecting moms around me and now I am alone and next! It reminds me of the song when the cheese stands alone.  I am also trying a new recipe for rice and beans tonight, and know it will be a big hit with Kellen. He adores rice, beans and sausage, and it is nice when I have a meal my toddler actually gets excited about! 

Have a great day everyone! 


Ingredients

11/2 - 2 lb shrimp, peeled and cleaned
2 Tbl olive oil
1 Tbl lemon juice
1 tsp lemon zest
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 tsp salt
1 1/2 - 2 Tbl grated Parmesan cheese
Chopped Parsley, for garnish


Instructions

Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil and set aside. 

In a bowl, gently mix shrimp with oil, lemon juice, zest, and garlic. Pour onto prepares baking sheet and make sure shrimp is evenly spaced.  Sprinkle with salt followed by cheese.

Bake 7-9 minutes or until shrimp is cooked through. This will depend on the size of the shrimp you use. Remove from oven, garnish with parsley and serve immediately. 

Monday, March 7, 2016

Lunch Lady Brownies

I had all intentions to post these on Ron's birthday since it is a treat that he loves, but I forgot to schedule it and here we are! I love frosted brownies and these brownies from Life in the Loft House caught my eye for two reasons: 1) frosting and 2) the name. I love the name because I can totally see these front and center as a after lunch treat! 

I actually made these brownies for a Ron's cribbage tournament after debating between a few recipes and getting my sister-in-law opinion on the brownie options these were the winner! They went over great at the party and were a breeze to make. However, I almost made the brownies ahead of time and was going to frost later. A good reminder to always read the recipe because these brownies needs to be warm when frosted! The warm brownies allow the frosting to soften and then set creating a topping that isn't too sticky, but is totally chocolaty and creamy. Now to think of another treat to send when he has the next tournament in a few weeks.....

Tonight, we have swim class and after a great class last week I hope this one goes as well. Kellen was the only kid in class last week and it feel like a special treat to get the one-on-one time with the teacher!  Tonight, I have a roast going in the crockpot and my mashed potatoes all prepped for an easy dinner after swim class. I usually come home with a starving boy and to a starving man so the quicker the meal the better on a Monday.  Most Mondays, I plan for subs or a slowcooker meal to keep things easy and quick. This week we are also going to get a few days in the 50's (heatwave!) and are planning to make the most of it with our grill.

Have a great week everyone!


Ingredients

for brownies:
1 cup butter, melted
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups granulated sugar
4 large eggs
4 tsp vanilla extract

for chocolate frosting:
1/4 cup butter, softened
1/4 cup milk ( I use whole)
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
3 cups powdered sugar


Instructions

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Line a 9x13 baking dish with foil. Spray with cooking spray and set aside. 

In the bowl of an electric stand mixer, mix the melted butter and cocoa powder till smooth. Add the flour and sugar. Beat together then add eggs, one at a time, and vanilla. Mix just until combined and do not over mix.

Pour batter into prepared baking dish and spread out evenly. Bake 30 to 35 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Remove brownies from oven and let stand 15 minutes before frosting. The brownies should be warm when you frost them!

For the Chocolate Frosting: Beat together all the frosting ingredients until smooth. Pour and spread over warm brownies. Let cool completely before cutting and serving.

Makes 24 brownies. 

Sunday, March 6, 2016

Weekly Meal Plan 3/7 - 3/13

Oh my goodness..... 3 weeks till D-Day.  Well technically it could be shorter or longer.... you never know with babies. I carried Kellen to almost 43 weeks and I am hoping that this little guy does not like to be as long of a cooker as his big brother! 

This weekend we celebrated Ron's 40th birthday! On Friday, we met our families for dinner at one of our favorite places. Perch fry and birthday cake was on the menu, and it was delicious! We headed home after to relax before crashing for the night..... lots of excitement in our house these days. I had asked Ron if he wanted a party, but he ultimately decided that a evening with family, drinks and cake was perfect for him him to usher in a new decade. I also dropped off a few dozen doughnuts for to him at work for a special treat during the day. 

On Saturday, Kellen and I went out to run errands so Ron could sleep in since he worked on his actual birthday. Saturday was spent working around the house. We had a few new pieces of furniture on our want list before baby boy gets here and those were ordered and picked up. We both seem to be in nesting mode and have been cleaning and preparing the house for our new family member. After Kellen's nap, we dropped him off at my parents and we had an adults only dinner at one of our other favorite restaurants. We had intentions to go see and movie and meet up with friends, but dinner ran a bit late and we were both exhausted! Maybe those plans will happen after baby is here! 

On Sunday, we worked a little more around the house before I went to pick up Kellen. I grabbed pizza with my Mom and Dad before heading home for naps. Our neighbor also stopped over with our Scout Cookies and I think we have almost eaten them all already....oops... In the evening we grilled steak for enchiladas and did more work around the house. The baby's new chair will be here on Wednesday and once it it all together I will share a few snaps with you! I was trying to find a few old ones from Kellen's room, but I must not have posted them! Kellen's room pretty much looked exactly the same and I liked the bright colors so much we just updated it for the baby and added a new chair since Kellen wanted to bring his to his new room. 

This week we have swim and I am getting raffle and bag suffers together for the Belly to Baby Expo. Many of you probably remember me talking about the expo in September. My friend/doula Emily puts on the expo and I lend a hand with the giveaway bags and raffle prizes. The expo is on Saturday and I am really hoping to sneak in a pedicure on Sunday for a little relaxation! I am also going to the salon on Wednesday for a hair cut before baby boy gets here- in the first couple weeks of new baby-hood it is nice to feel good about yourself in what ever way you can because it is such a whirlwind! 

Here is what is on tap:

Monday: Darn Good Roast, Mashed Potatoes and Corn
Tuesday: Grilled Steak, Grilled Asparagus and Loaded Cauliflower Casserole
Wednesday: Skillet Rice and Beans with Kielbasa and Peas
Thursday: Lemon Butter Chicken, Mashed Potatoes and Green Beans
Friday: Grilled Brats, Baked Beans and Pasta Salad
Saturday: Out for Dinner
Sunday:  Crockpot Swedish Meatballs, Egg Noodles and Peas

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Round-Up: The Killer Angels Inspired Recipes #BookClubCookBookCC Round Up

For the February #BookClubCookBookCC I invited everyone to read and cook dishes drawing inspiration from The Killer Angels by Michael Shaara and the recipe Civil War Cherry Apple Cobbler with Sweet Vanilla Custard. Here is my invitation post to the participating bloggers!



A little background if you don't remember my original kick off post in July, a group bloggers organized by Camilla of Culinary Adventures with Camilla (click the link if you want to join the fun!) draw inspiration from a book and recipes published in The Book Club Cookbook which was provided to bloggers by Judy, Vicki,and their publisher, Tarcher-Penguin. Each month, a blogger selected a book and The Book Club Cookbook offers several suggested recipes or the blogger can create a recipe inspired by the story.  At the end of the month the host or hostess posts a round-up and gives away a copy of the book. 

Here are a list of my fellow participating bloggers/hosts:

Cheese Curd In Paradise               
Life on Food       
The Pajama Chef              
The Spiffy Cookie             
Things I Make (for Dinner)           
Tortillas and Honey         

Let's kick off the recipe round-up and start with Wendy of A Day in the Life on the Farm. Wendy submitted Johnny Cakes and drew inspiration from The Killer Angels and The Little House Cookbook. 



 Camilla of Culinary Adventures with Camilla submitted a savory option called Pickle-Lily. I had not heard of this before and it a way to pickle seasonal vegetables!


The next submission comes from Erin of The Spiffy Cookie. Erin shared a recipe for Cherry Apple Cobbler. Erin opted to top hers with a delicious scoop of vanilla ice cream!



Emily of Life on Food submitted this amazing looking Skillet Apple Cobbler. Emily describes imagining it cooking over an open fire and that sounds fantastic!



Andrea of Adventures of All Things Food shared Civil War Cherry-Apple Cobbler with Sweet Vanilla Custard.  Andrea enjoyed the book and the recipe was a big hit!



Sarah of The Pajama Chef shared a recipe for Homemade Jerky. Dried beef was a common food eaten by troops during the Civil War and she even goes into the process her family uses to make a delicious jerky. 



The finish out the round-up, I shared a recipe called Hospital Ginger Bread. Ginger Bread was commonly given to troops as a comfort food. This recipe also won a blue ribbon at the Wisconsin State Fair in 1860.


Thank you for following along with the #bokclubcookbookcc! See you next month!