LWPH’s fav recipe links

Something I feel very passionate about is having dinner with my family. We try to have dinner every single night — now dinner one night may mean roast and another night cereal. We just do what works and something that really helps me get a home cooked meal on the table are easy recipes and FREEZER meals! I’m a hugeeeee fan of freezer meals, as I’m sure I’ve said many times before. I’m going to put a list below with links. I hope this helps you feel more confident in the kitchen in being able to have a few tried and true recipes in your back pocket!

  • I tried this one pan taco casserole last night with a few friends over and it was a hit! Super easy, tasty, and clean up was minimal since it’s a one pan dish.
  • This recipe for chicken rolls is one of my all time favorite recipes. My mom made them a ton growing up and my kids love them. Might not be the healthiest recipe ever but you win some, you lose some! Add a few green sides and you’re good. A huge bonus is these freeze amazingly well! I just put them on the counter for a few hours to defrost then cook them up.
  • Sunday Stew from The Pioneer Woman is amazing and another recipe that freezes well! Perfect for a cold, rainy day.
  • Salsa Chicken Tacos are another easy favorite of mine — put a couple of frozen chicken breasts in the crock pot and cover with your favorite salsa. Cook on low for about 5 hours. Before I shred and mix it all up, I’ll drain some of the water off so it’s not so soupy. Cook up some rice, put it in a tortilla and top with your favorite toppings!
  • This recipe for sloppy joes is my absolute favorite. I actually don’t love sloppy joes very much but this recipe is so good! You can freeze the leftovers too for an easy dinner. Just thaw and re-heat on the stove!

In the next couple of weeks I want to share our Santa Fe Soup recipe I got from my mother-in-law. It’s basically a chili but it’s to die for. Our friends are always asking for the recipe when they come over and a batch of mine won 2nd place in a chili contest so if you don’t trust me, trust the judges from the chili cook off!

-LWPH

>lunch at the office

>

I found a blog (A Packable Feast) where all she does is blogs about her packed lunches each day. Sounds boring but I have gotten some great ideas from it! She’s on a diet though so most of the food is just too healthy for me & Allan 😉 She uses this bento box every day and I LOVE IT. It feeds my need for organization and separation! It’s perfect. Separate boxes with secure lids, a separate dipping sauce container, silverware, all in a neat box that snaps shut. OCD much? I know. I’ve accepted it. Allan had kind of a crazy month in November for eating out [waaaay over budget – good thing I love him so much] so I figured we had to do something. We decided he would eat at the office 4 days a week and eat out 1 day. Fair, right? I think so. Since I’ll probably do most of the packing [let’s be real] I’m so glad I found this gem of a lunch box. Another good idea is that when you put your leftovers in tupperware for the next day, put them in the freezer instead. They will thaw throughout the day [no refrigeration needed!], be perfect when lunchtime comes around to heat up, and will keep any other items [fruit, carrots, etc] cold. Smart, right? I will have more of a reason to cook frequently [it’s hard to cook for two…try cooking for ONE most nights. Allan’s schedule is ridiculous.] Some of my ideas for lunches are:

-the ole standby: turkey sandwich
-leftover beef stroganoff [actually is very tasty reheated]
-leftover lasagna
-tacos
-enchiladas [very easy. frozen burrito covered in enchilada sauce and cheese!]
-basically…leftover anything 🙂
-pitas…this would be a new frontier for me
-black bean chili

Lunches are tough because they can get old fast. Any tips from people who take lunch to the office frequently? Recipes? [I’ve said it before…I love trying new recipes!] Lunch ideas? [I can find the recipe!] Any help would be greatly appreciated – especially by Allan!

-Little Wife Power House

PS Who else is so excited it’s DECEMBER?! LOVE THIS MONTH!

>date weekend!!

>So this weekend was nearly perfect. It was date weekend 2010! My amazing mom agreed to watch H Friday evening and Saturday afternoon so Allan & I could spend some time alone together. We haven’t been on a date since H was born and I have a feeling that it will only happen a few times a year. Sad but true. We hadn’t been to the temple since before H was born. We used to be great about it. We first started going every week [and that actually lasted longer than I thought it would], then it went to every month, then once H was born temple visits were non-existant. That was priority numero uno this weekend!

[the husband & I before going in]

I took a picture of the temple but none of them did it justice. The temple is just so beautiful! At about 9:30 I made the mistake of thinking about food and couldn’t stop after that [breastfeeding moms – you know what I’m talking about]. The second we left, we stopped at the first Whataburger we could find and at the time I thought it was the best thing I had ever eaten. Allan says hunger is the best spice! The next morning, I woke up and made pumpkin pancakes for us

. Perfect fall breakfast! I’m definitely making them again. We sat by the fireplace on a blanket and ate picnic style. 


We lounged all morning and it was perfect. We haven’t had such a relaxing weekend in a long time and we needed it. My mom came over and took the boy so we got to go see HARRY POTTER 7! I’m not going to ruin it for anyone, don’t worry. Buuuut it was GREAT. Action packed, sad, and definitely darker than I was expecting. I only fell asleep for 15 minutes or so 😉 We got pumpkin cheesecake [it’s that time of year to take advantage!] from The Cheesecake Factory [SO YUMMY!] and headed home to relieve Mom so she could go out to Dallas. We ended the evening with putting up our Christmas tree and decorations. We had to take advantage of the free time because who knows when we will have another chance!


[we love christmas!]

[husband hard at work]

[Yes, that is Santa Mr. Potato head as our tree topper :P]
One last picture. We were given this adorable robe and I kept forgetting we had it and he’s almost too big for it now [babies grow out of clothes too quickly] so I had to take a picture. Enjoy!


 -Little Wife Power House


>homemade rice cereal

>Lori & I were talking about rice cereal yesterday since H was at the age where I can introduce him to it (even though my pediatrician says 7-8 months…crazy!) We found a recipe on the internet for homemade rice cereal. Since I’ve been dying to make him some baby food it was the perfect opportunity! It was so easy. Ridiculously easy [THANK GOODNESS]. Here it is along with some pictures:


Ingredients: 
Short grain brown rice
Water
I used breast milk as well





Directions:
Blend rice into a powder [I finally got to use my Magic Bullet!]
Sift rice powder
Bring 3/4 c water to a boil
Add 1/4 c powdered rice
Whisk continually (while it simmers) for 10 minutes





Easy, right?! It’s good in the fridge for up to three days and 3-4 months in the freezer. 





I found that it was VERY thick…especially since this was going to be his first go with rice cereal. After I put his portion in a separate bowl, I added breast milk to thin it out. He did pretty well! He wasn’t too sure about the actual rice cereal but boy – exploring that spoon thing sure was fun! I had to use the bigger size spoon because I couldn’t find the small ones but he loved chewing on it so it worked out anyways. Here are some pictures:

Next I will be using the ole MB to puree some fruits and veggies. Should be fun! I never would have pinned myself for a baby food making, cloth diaper using mom…just goes to show you can never predict what kind of a mom you’ll be!


-Little Wife Power House 

>The Gratitude Challenge: Day Twenty-Four

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Day twenty-four:
I’m grateful for Pizza Friday.


[H can’t wait till he can be included in the pizza portion of the evening. already trying to steal ours!]

Lately it’s been Pizza whatever-day-we-can-fit-in-family-time. It doesn’t really matter what day as long as we get yummy pizza, a movie, and hanging out. This past week it was Pizza Wednesday. I decided last minute to do it so I didn’t have time to defrost the hamburger so we just did cheese pizza and watched Scott Pilgrim vs. The World. It was really good, actually. I’m looking forward to keeping this tradition going for a long time 🙂
-Little Wife Power House
PS Our measuring cup dove off of the counter on Pizza Wednesday and crashed into a million pieces:

>The Gratitude Challenge: Day Twenty-Two

>

Day twenty-two:
I’m grateful for my love for cooking. 

I fell in love with cooking in college. To be more accurate, I fell in love with the Food Network in college and that led to cooking. I started with Rachel Ray and her 30-minute meals [very few actually were worth cooking]…upgraded to Giada De Laurentiis [love her recipes!]…and now am picking up recipes from blogs, friends, and family …basically anywhere I can find a good one! I’m open to try almost anything. Some of my recent adventures include beef stroganoff, sour cream cupcakes, pumpkin cheesecake muffins, and apple cake. I’ve found a killer banana bread recipe [from my sister’s friend, Katie] and also the best lasagna I’ve had to date. I’m dying to find the perfect recipe card holder thing-a-ma-jig. I found really cute recipe cards at Anthropologie…but they are $14 for 12! That’s just crazy to me. I have WAY more than 12 recipes! I’ll even take a really cute recipe book where I can jot mine down [must be sturdy, though]. PLEASE tell me if any of you guys have found either one of those that I might like! 


Food Blogs I Love:
Cooking With My Kid
Bakerella
Rookie Cookie [even though she no longer posts]
Any other ones I need to check out?

-Little Wife Power House

>what holden’s been up to lately…

>

[as you can tell, I love tummy time pictures]

[chewing…]

[still chewing…]

[oh hey mom! cool camera!]

Just a few pictures of what Allan & I have been up to…my camera was missing for a few days so I don’t have very many. It has been found though! 

[Hawaiian pizza for Pizza Friday..mmm]

[it’s hot chocolate season! HUZZAH!]

Please share any good, warm, holiday-ish recipes you all have! I’ve been baking/cooking up a storm lately and I’m always dying to try new recipes. 

-Little Wife Power House


PS I haven’t been updating my Gratitude Challenge so here it is for the last few days…short and sweet.


Day sixteen: I’m grateful for my Prius. I love it sooo much.
Day seventeen: I’m grateful for this blog. I love blogging a lot, actually. I love that it holds me accountable to writing down memories and that I can put pictures with those memories. I’m also grateful for other people’s hard work on their blogs. I find so many great ideas/recipes on them!
Day eighteen: I’m grateful for food. Me and food have had a long affair and are quite fond of each other. I especially love pizza which is why I think Pizza Fridays are the BEST!!

>Happy 4 Monthday, Holden!

>Nicknames: Bubbles, Bubba, Holdenbear 
Temperament: You are really interactive now. You laugh and smile a lot when I kiss you and make fart noises [very mature of me] on your tummy. You laughed for the first time this month! You’re still a little particular but I think you’re getting better. You put a smile on everyone’s faces when they see you. 
Things I Could Do Without: Lately you’ve been getting up 3+ times in the middle of the night (I think you’re hitting a growth spurt). You started to clamp down during nursing! OUCHHHHH! I tell you “NO!” and you just smile at me. Urg. You started peeing in between diaper changes again…twice today. Your skin is still having issues and I worry every day about it. 
Item/Toy We Love The Most: Your alligator. I love to see you take it apart. You figured it out right away [ahem, baby genius]. 
Item/Toy You Love The MostThe newly discovered Pooh Bear book. It crinkles…it has teether parts…it has a handle…what’s not to love? Oh, and your hands still. You actually prefer your hands over nursing now-a-days! 
Things I’m Loving Most Right Now: You hug me now when I’m holding you. You smile when I say “momma.” Your laugh. Doing mini-Superman with you, tummy time [still], cuddles. I love how you follow me with your eyes when I walk out of a room. 
Things You’re Loving Most Right Now: Standing. Sitting up. “Rockabye Baby.” Rolling from your stomach to your back [multiple times a night]. Kicking in the bath. Talking [Dad had to leave a meeting we were having with the other Primary teachers because you just had so many opinions you wanted to share!] 


We started Holden’s 4 Monthday Celebrato with a cranky H. I passed him off to Uncle Robert [who apparently moonlights as a baby whisperer] and his usual birthday pattern followed…


falling asleep before the party begins!

Allan took a break from his 5 day homework binge for a little family time:


H loves Daddy time!

We had burgers, fries, and pumpkin cheesecake muffins [click on that link for the recipe…it is soooo tasty! PeRfeCt for the holiday season.] 


[Happy Birthday to Holden…]

Look how good he has gotten at sitting up! I’m so proud of him! We ended the night with some Mario Cart and H played with the Tesla app on my iPad…addicted already! 🙂


We always love having the Guerrero’s over to our house. We’re lucky to have such great family! I got to see my good friend, Sallie, today. I love her. She’s so much fun, so sweet, and one of my good friend’s future wife. He is lucky to have found a girl like her…and that he somehow got her 😉 JK GARRETT! We also took some family pictures this morning with Allan’s side. 18 people total! It went a lot smoother than I imagined. Everyone did exactly what the photographer asked of them so it was over very quickly! I’m excited to see them. Our little family took some pictures alone with some goofy props…hello Christmas card picture! 


[sweet picture of H and grandpa]

All in all it was another successful birthday celebration. I know some of you might think it silly to celebrate monthly but I love it. It’s an excuse to get together with family, cook a yummy meal, and play games. What’s better than that?! 

-Little Wife Power House

>The Gratitude Challenge: Day Eleven

>

Day eleven:
I’m grateful for my new rolling pin.



You read it right. My new rolling pin. When you’ve lived for years without a rolling pin and instead used a big, plastic water bottle to roll out anything from cinnamon rolls to pizza dough, you are grateful for a real one. I didn’t know what I had been missing!! I ordered one from Anthropologie. I had never wanted to drop the cash for one since I felt the water bottle technique was working just fine. When I saw this one though, I couldn’t resist. Also, since we’re doing Pizza Friday every week, I am rolling quite a bit more. I think I’ve talked about my weakness to anything Anthropologie before…I also got new oven mits, a platter, and a cookie jar. I have to wait until Christmas to get those from my Dad though. Can’t wait! Next? These bowls. Anyways, back to the rolling pin. This one is AWESOME. I couldn’t believe how easy it was! This baby’s got some heft to it. It’s bone china so I better never drop it…I’ll never go back to the water bottle. I can promise you that! 


-Little Wife Power House

>Pizza Saturday

>We had to switch this week to Pizza Saturday instead of Friday because of Trunk or Treating. I think it worked out better, actually. We had a lot more time to hang out and watch almost the entire movie (and it was a long movie) before Asher wasn’t having it anymore. We would have had to start the festivities at 7pm if we had done it on Friday and that just wouldn’t have been as much fun. We started off the night making Jack-O-Lantern pizzas:


Asher played with some extra dough at the table while we made the “big pizza” as JR would say:

After the pizza was done, we sliced it up and ate it picnic style upstairs on a Halloween tablecloth. We made a little bed on the floor with a comforter and lots of pillows (the boys LOVED it) and watched “Bedknobs and Broomsticks.” 

{LEFT: The Guerrero’s snuggling on our ‘bed.’ RIGHT: The whole setup. Please notice Asher on the floor!}

We ended the night with snickerdoodle cupcakes (the icing turned out much better this time!) and the boys ate popcorn. I have to add some photos of H in his Halloween costume!

I’d say from these pictures that Holden had a good time. I know I did! It’s always a good time when the Guerrero’s come over! Can’t wait until next time.

-Little Wife Power House

>cinnamon rolls

>These are some seriously yummy cinnamon rolls. They take forever to make though, so set aside a few hours {They are sooo worth the time!} This time, I made them as far as cutting the rolls then put them in the fridge overnight. Nothing beats a hot cinnamon roll in the morning with lots of icing! Just set them out for an hour or so before you stick them in the oven if you decide to go the overnight route. 


BEFORE:



AFTER:



RECIPE:


Sweet Rolls:
Heat the following over medium: 
     2 3/4 cups milk
     1/2 cup sugar
     1 cup butter (2 sticks)
     2 tsp salt
When butter has melted, take off of heat and add 2 eggs that are lightly beaten. I temper the eggs (add a little of the hot butter mixture to the eggs before mixing them all in so they don’t cook). 
Let mixture cool to 110 degrees (use a candy thermometer). 
Add 2 TBSP yeast, let the yeast mixture sit for 10-15 minutes. Yeast will bubble. 
Put yeast mixture in mixing bowl and add 4 cups of flour (use kneading attachment on mixer). 
Then add another 4-4 1/2 cups of flour. Knead for 8 minutes until dough is stainy sheen.
Allow dough to rise for two hours or until doubled.

Roll out dough to desired thickness (I did about 1/4 inch), brush with melted butter, sprinkle cinnamon/sugar mix. Roll dough up and cut into rolls with floss or thread. Let rolls rise an additional one hour. 
Bake at 400 for 15 minutes (my oven takes about 17-18 minutes to get the middle cooked through).

Frosting for Cinnamon Rolls:
1 cup powdered sugar
1/4 tsp. vanilla
4-5 tsp. milk

     *I doubled the frosting because I like a lot!*


ENJOY! 


The Bigley’s came to visit us (and to take a few cinnamon rolls off our hands) today. Sterling was so sweet with Holden. I can tell he’s going to be a great cousin! Holden LOVED being held by Sterling! 





-Little Wife Power House

>bi-weekly family dinner

>

I’m officially an adult! Tonight we had the *big* bi-weekly dinner at our house! OK, so really we just added my mom since Julie couldn’t make it and the Guerreros come over all of the time for dinner buuuut…who’s keeping track?! I have to say that it was definitely a success. Had dinner ready on time and enough chairs around the table. The crock pot did a fabulous job preparing dinner. Thanks crock pot! The real treat was the dessert. MMMMMM. Easy Apple Cake. 


The name doesn’t lie. It is easy. I think the hardest part is probably peeling the apples (thanks Lori! She helped because it was getting late. What a great family I have). Bakerella is right, the batter is very thick and that’s how it’s supposed to be so don’t add more liquid! Here it is in all its baked glory. It took my oven 43 minutes to bake it all the way through.


What’s better than topping it off with brown sugar and butter? It was pretty healthy up until this point but I couldn’t resist the sugary goodness. Bakerella says she wants to try it without the topping but not this girl. Bring on the topping, I say! Give me extra! We even made it more decadent by adding ice cream.


It was a hit. Asher was a huge fan. He was even coming after mine after his cake was gone. This dessert will be perfect for breakfast tomorrow. {I think I’ll leave out the ice cream this time. 😛 It is breakfast, after all.}


Thanks for coming over, family. We love you guys. Julie and those in Utah/Australia (so jealous, John!) – we missed you guys! 

-Little Wife Power House

>conference weekend…sort of

>

This weekend has been amazing so far. I’ve enjoyed {almost} every second of it. Last night Allan and I scheduled in some chillin’ time. No joke. We put ‘chillin’ on both of our iCalendars for last night. When did life get so busy that we have to schedule relaxing?! Ah, oh well. Better to be busy than not. Anyways, we played Mario, ate cake, and just spent time together. It was such a nice evening. I had to work some but I did it while nursing Holden so it didn’t cut into our chillin’ time. Moms can multi-task like no other. I was good at multi-tasking before but I have taken it to a whole other level. This morning we woke up and had a breakfast of champions. CAKE. What has my husband turned me into?! iPads AND cake for breakfast? I’m a monster! 

Luckily the weather was on our side so we took Holden for a walk around 10:00. It was perfect jeans/t-shirt weather. Holden got to wear his super cute bear hat. {Allan was SO happy! He loves babies in hats.} 


Holden now sits up {assisted}. His “reward” for pulling up is to chew on my finger. My mom says that’s not a great reward. Holden begs to differ, GiGi!


What a big boy! “Look, ma, one hand!”

We got back to the house and we were all excited to watch conference. We stream it from the internet every year and it works nearly glitch free every time. This year everyone was having problems. Our screen was just black. Others said they could hear the audio but no visual. We didn’t get either and we couldn’t go up to the Stake Center because Holden took a super long nap. So we missed out on both sessions after we skipped a fun activity to watch it. Urgh. It’s okay though because Allan and I decided we will listen to a few talks every Monday for FHE for the next few weeks. I love conference weekend. I really do. The speakers are truly inspired and I learn so much from them. 

Casey and Joe came over for lunch. I made chicken parmigiana with spaghetti. It was YUM. 

After our conference shenanigans I decided to go pick up a few things from the grocery store since we’re having the BIG bi-weekly family dinner at our house this week. We are having roast, potatoes, carrots, corn, biscuits, and Easy Apple Cake. I’m excited to try the dessert. I’ll let you know how it turns out! I get to the Prius to go shopping annnnd…my battery is dead. Apparently in my haste to get the groceries and baby out of the car yesterday (YES – I went yesterday, too) I forgot to close the trunk all the way. It all worked out though. I just took The Golden Bu and picked up some jumper cables while I was at Target. I know it sounds like kind of a crazy weekend but I have really enjoyed it. 

Now Allan just needs to get back from Priesthood Session because Holden has been asleep since 7:45 and I’m kind of bored! Hope everyone had a great weekend!

-Little Wife Power House


By the way, I wanted to say HAPPY BIRTHDAY to my beautiful sister, Julie who turned 25 today! A quarter of a century old, not century!! 🙂