April 25, 2013

Recipes this week!

Feeling a bit in a rut lately with recipes, so I had to rifle through my big 3-ring binder for a couple of old favorites to liven things up!

As always, one meatless meal and one fish meal!

Cozy at Home (Cauliflower) Mac and Cheese - Ok, this one isn't new... but its one of my favorite meatless options! You can use any veggie in place of the cauliflower, and sometimes we add peas, too. I like that the cauliflower blends in... though I feel a little guilty sneaking them in on my toddler...

Raspberry Chicken Salad (first recipe here on Cooking Light's recommended uses for apricot preserves). I swap in canned, no-salt green beans for the salad greens for my toddler. I also lay out each ingredient separately on his plate, like an artists palate. This is one of his favorite meals :) If you miss the carbs, you can serve with some crusty bread or whole wheat toast.

Chicken Tortilla Soup - Easy and filling! I put this in a pre-warmed thermos for my toddler's lunch.

Gulf Fish en Papillote + Kale Pesto Pasta - Dusted this off from the back of the 3 ring binder! The gulf fish is so simple, fast and healthy, but has the best presentation!! Serve this one to guests! This was my first time making the Kale Pesto (recipe from weelicious.com). It was tasty, but we had tons of leftovers!! I think I still prefer the basil variety, though...

Easy Chicken Curry - truth is we didn't get to this one this week... it will be the first one we make next week, though!

April 14, 2013

Recipes this Week

Just returned from a week vacation visiting our parents over Easter break, but we are hitting the ground running to make our weekly meal plans, and keep my sanity. Sunday morning after we flew in, hubby and M ran to the store for breakfast supplies (eggs, sausage, fruit, bread and milk). Then later he went back during naptime for the veggies for the sausage and rice! My motivation for cooking most weeknights is to have leftovers - so I have something to pack for M's lunch as well as our own. It helps us all make better food choices when we are crunched for time, and let's us spend our $ on meals out over the weekend when we can really enjoy it.

As usual the lineup includes one meatless dinner and one fish dinner.

Sausage and Rice - Our dinner-in-a-pinch, this week with brown rice! I still haven't perfected this, but I try to sub whole grains for processed ones in as many places as I can. I started 1 cup of brown rice with 3 cups of water. Brought to a boil and then simmered for 10 minutes before adding the kielbasa rounds. Cooked with sausage for 10 more minutes, then added the chopped broccoli and red pepper. Cooked for a final 10 minutes. The result was still a little soupy, and a bit creamier than the white rice version, but I let it rest, uncovered for a bit, served with a slotted spoon. By the end of dinner the extra water had been absorbed/evaporated.

Chicken and Bean Nachos - adapted from this recipe, We make the avocado salsa (usually omitting the jicama if we can't find it). Otherwise we layer tortilla chips, then shredded rotisserie chicken (we use about half of one, and save the rest for something else), rinsed canned pinto or black beans, and a thin layer of shredded Mexican or cheddar cheese on a cookie sheet. Broil for 10 minutes or until cheese is melted, and top with the salsa. We usually make one cookie sheet-ful for our family of 2.5, and the rest makes all our lunches for the next day.
To make the next day lunches, I put all the topings together in a tupperware, one in each corner, and pack chips seperately. Hubby and I assemble all but the salsa, microwave to melt cheese, then top with Salsa. M eats all his seperately.

Not your mama's tuna salad - courtesy of Rachel Ray. This is another easy favorite of mine :)

Tacos & re-fried beans - The tacos are your average recipe (store-bought shells; meat seasoned with a store-bought packet of seasoning... we used half a pound of leftover bison, and some of our leftover rotisserie chicken from the nachos above; diced tomatoes, shredded cheese, avocado chunks, plain greek yogurt instead of sour cream) and we used Ellie Kreiger's recipe for the beans (delicious! even my husband was pleasantly surprised!)

Quinoa salad - adapted from this recipe, I swapped quinoa for the wheat berries, but everything else is the same - YUM!

This week we also took a family urban hike to our closest grocery store on a chilly, overcast day and picked up frozen pizzas (hubby and I always get our own since we like different things, which means plenty for M and lunch leftovers) + frozen veggies for a Saturday-night-in dinner. We also picked up ingredients to make our favorite breakfast casserole Sunday morning:

2 cans reduced fat crescent rolls
1 roll reduced fat breakfast sausage, cooked and crumbled
8 eggs (1 yolk reserved)
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 350
1. Unroll one can of crescent rolls on the bottom of a greased 9x13 pan.
2. Top with sausage and cheeses (beware: too much cheese will make the casserole too greasy).
3. Scramble the 7 eggs and 1 egg white (reserving the 8th yolk), and pour over the sausage and cheese.
4. Unroll and top with the second can of crescent rolls.
5. Brush top layer with reserved yolk.
Bake for 25-30 minutes, until center of casserole is set.
Cut and serve!!


April 9, 2013

One Hot Mama challenge!

And so it begins!!

I headed to my OB/GYN today for my 6-week follow up visit. I got my green light to get back into shape!!

I have been reading Erin Cox's book, One Hot Mama, which was a Christmas gift to me from a family friend. I have read half of it already, but I am going to be re-reading it week by week, as she's intended for it to be read, and trying to incorporate her tips bit by bit as I readjust to being a mommy of TWO kiddos.

During my first six weeks postpartum, I have walked practically every day, at least some. I even went ahead and found a great jogging stroller (one of Erin's tips) on Craigslist and have been using it. I have been retraining my core muscles using Erin O'Brien's Postnatal Rescue video, and just started the 3rd phase (I love that this video gives you some stretches you can do starting day one home with baby - and I love her prenatal video, too!). Core includes the pelvic floor, ladies...

My starting point: 15 lbs of pregnancy weight left to lose! You gals keep me honest!! I'll be tracking food and fitness along using the MyFitnessPal app (my name is Jillfrog if you want to link up there!)

Also tomorrow I am starting a Fit4Mom Stroller Strides class. I scored 10 classes in a Plum District deal towards the end of my pregnancy. I plan to use it for some AM classes at a local park. I am not sure I'll be able to continue them (if I like them) when I return to work, but we'll see.

And the Challenge isn't just focused on getting back in shape - it's about taking care of myself in other ways, too - so I don't forget who I was before I was a mom of two, and also so I can stay sane and happy.

I'll try to post each week about my progress, so stay tuned - and advice/discussion is welcome! I also intend to be realistic. I am still going to be a working mom of two, so I will be truthful in what works for me (so, yeah, that was me with a scoop of Ben and Jerry's on Free Cone Day yesterday...).

Also, Erin Cox has agreed to give away a signed copy of her book each month.
Answer the question for each week to gain an entries!

Month 1 *now open*
Week 1 - putting yourself first
Week 2 - money talks
Week 3 - no comparison
Week 4 - new normalcy

Month 2
Month 3

Tell me about your own 'Hot Mama' journey!

April 8, 2013

Elabloom Nourishing Facial Oil - Review and Giveaway!

Since I just used my last drop of my vial of Elabloom Facial Oil (time to re-order!!), it's about time I got this post out to you!

If you've been living under a rock, like I have, you may not know that the new "it" things in skin care are "nourishing beauty oils" (been by a Sephora lately?)

Guess who's already mastered this art? Elabloom!

Looking for something to finish your skincare routine? I've found it! I received a great gift from a family friend for Christmas - a bottle of Elabloom Nourishing Facial Oil!

I have tried an oil facial routine before, and have heard a lot about actually cleansing your skin with oil, but this is different. To be honest I was a little afraid of applying oil to my face and leaving it there. But this really absorbs quickly and my makeup goes on great - right on top (I use Bare Minerals). I'll be honest, I totally used this product BEFORE doing my research. But now that I am looking at all the great stuff. I have been using it for a month now, and can attest that it is great for winter weather and plane rides, as well as the low humidity of the West Coast! My face has stayed hydrated and looks refreshed!

AND I thought my bottle was empty, so I didn't pack it for our recent weeklong trip East. Boy, did I see a re-emergence of fine lines! I am grateful for the last dropperful, and hoping I can stretch it until I can reorder. Also, Elabloom makes a BODY oil... I am thinking some postpartum areas would really like to drink that up... :)

Elabloom is 12 essential oils - and that's it. Jojoba and Argan are becoming pretty mainstream so you may already know their benefits, but other more exotic oils in their blend include Avocado (I dig the fruit, but didn't realize it had beauty properties, too), Camellia seed oil (aka. Tea Tree oil, used by geishas - improves complexion!), Boabab (moisturizes and promotes skin elasticity), Sea buckthorn oil (which heals scarring and cares for prematurely aging skin), among many others!!

I also love the concept of the 'bloom date' on each bottle. They make batches fresh to order, which are best used within one year.

What do I do about SPF? I asked the gals at Elabloom what they recommended. They suggesting using your favorite sunscreen right on top, but the Nourishing Facial oil closest to your skin. I admit, I have been skipping this step during these winter months, but the sun came out last week, so I put my 'old' spf 30 moisturizer right on top (after I applied the oil, and brushed my teeth while it soaked in before applying the SPF). Then makeup as usual. The combo didn't feel too heavy or greasy at all.

How long will my bottle last using 2x's a day? The 0.5 oz bottle I have should last 6-8 weeks, given my 2x/day (the recommended) application schedule. The 1 oz bottle usually lasts 8-12 weeks (confused by the math? They say the find that women who have the bigger bottle tend to use more!).

You can bet I will be throwing my bottle in my hospital bag, too!


The fabulous ladies at Elabloom are going to give one of YOU a bottle of your very own!

For an entry into the giveaway, leave a comment here telling us what intrigues you most about Elabloom. Or, if you've already tried it, tell us what you LOVE about it!!
Follow along on our Facebook page for more ways to enter this week!!