Wednesday, July 24, 2013

csa night

we had a little hiatus from an official CSA night earlier this month with various travel plans and vacations, and last week's dinner turned into quite the adventure due to unexpected power outages. thankfully, Amy saved the day with her working electricity and we concocted a delicious Mexican meal! not the most appetizing food photo i've ever taken in my life, but trust me, it was yummy.

beef & bean burrito skillet dinner
adapted from deep south dish

  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 1/2 of a large onion, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons of chopped jalapeno
  • 1 pound of ground beef
  • 1 teaspoon of kosher salt
  • 8 turns of the pepper grinder
  • 1 tablespoon of chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon of cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon of garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon of Cajun seasoning
  • 1/2 teaspoon oregano
  • 1 packet of Sazon seasoning
  • 1 cup of beef stock
  • 1 cup of salsa (we used pineapple)
  • 1 (4 ounce) can of green chiliesundrained
  • 1 can pinto beans
  • 4 small flour tortillas, cut into small squares
  • 1 cup of shredded cheddar or Mexican style cheese
  • Sour cream
  • 1 green onion, sliced
  • Chopped Romaine lettuce for serving
  • Chopped tomatoeschopped avocados for garnish

Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a medium skillet; add the onion and jalapeno; cook until onion is soft but not browned. Add the ground beef and cook, breaking up with a potato masher, until browned. Drain if needed.

Add the salt, pepper, chili powder, cumin, garlic powder, Cajun seasoning, oregano, and Sazon. Stir together and continue cooking for about 1 minute. Add the beef stock and stir. Add the salsa, green chilies and pinto beans; stir and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and let simmer until thickened and reduced, about 15 minutes.

Stir in the pieces of tortillas and sprinkle cheese on top. Cover and let stand for 5 minutes, or until cheese is melted. Sprinkle top with sliced green onion. Serve over a bed of Romaine lettuce and garnish individual servings with chopped tomato, avocado, and sour cream as desired.

hot lime corn

1/2 cup butter, melted
1 TBSP sugar
1 tsp salt
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp pepper
juice from 1/2 a lime
2 TBSP hot sauce
1 dozen ears corn, husked

Combine all ingredients except corn over low heat. Grill corn for 10-15 minutes, basting corn with the mixture and turning several times. 

Friday, July 19, 2013

friday faves, vol. 4

TGIF!!! it's been quite the week, spending time with friends who are back in Pittsburgh for a much-anticipated visit, attending a phenomenal organ recital, getting our hummus on at Aladdin's, trying to tame the wild beast that is our yard in summertime, and a little more time spent in the kitchen since our dishwasher is on the fritz. i think washing dishes may actually be one of my favourite household tasks. something about the warm water and physically scrubbing away the ick. back in the day, i'd crack open one of mom's red hymnals, slide it into her clear plastic cookbook holder behind the sink so it would be safe from any splashes, and sing and sing and sing. sadly, i have neither the red hymnal nor the cookbook holder, so Kaiser and the cats will be spared my lusty rendition of "And Can It Be." (my chains fell off, myyyy heart was free-ee-ee, I ro-o-ose, went fo-o-orth, and fo-o-ol-lowed Thee!)


-- my all-time favourite thing about this week was that Blair's mom mailed me my very own Strawberry Stem Gem! i'm kind of a sucker for kitchen gadgets, but i get leery of any one item with a large kitchen footprint. and this? this actually works, plus it's the size of a (very hefty) pair of tweezers, plus it makes hulling strawberries kind of addicting. and it makes eating said strawberries even more fun. 


-- we had crazy storms at the beginning of last week, and now there have been brown-outs around the city since people are using their air conditioners so much. (guilty as charged.) after a semi-scary afternoon where the winds kicked up and there was a bona fide tornado warning for an area about 15 miles south of our house, we had the rare pleasure of seeing a DOUBLE RAINBOW, FULL RAINBOW ALL THE WAY. 

the photo just barely picked up the double rainbow (outside the clearly visible one), 

-- this blueberry sauce from the amazing Annie that can be served over ice cream, waffles, in a pie, or, you know, right out of a jar. or the pot that you make it in. if i made this stuff, i don't think any of it would end up being preserved. 

photo from taste of home

-- after living in our house for two years, Nick and I finally tried out the tiny Mexican restaurant a mile down the road, Mendoza's, and it did not disappoint! we were the only patrons there for lunch on Saturday, so i hope their business is doing okay. we'll certainly be doing our part to keep them afloat, i think. here is my ginormous taco salad in a fiery red taco bowl! 

Thursday, July 18, 2013

tasty thursdays - chicken & sausage jambalaya

with the scorching temps Pittsburgh has been rocking this week, it just seems appropriate to kick up the heat on our palates as well. this recipe is a great clean-out-the-fridge supper, since you can toss all manner of veggies into it and they all absorb the sassy Cajun spice. the original recipe came from Cooking Light, and while i do recommend andouille sausage for an authentic bayou flavor, i happened to have a pound of ground beef leftover from a previous recipe and substituted it with very satisfactory results. the original recipe calls for rotisserie chicken, but i much prefer to slice 3 chicken breasts in half and cook in about 1 cup of chicken broth over medium heat for about 15 minutes, then dice. 

adapted from cooking light

Chicken and Sausage Jambalaya Recipe

Yield: 8 servings (about 1 1/4 c. per serving)
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 35 minutes


1 TBSP canola oil
12 oz smoked sausage, halved lengthwise and sliced (can substitute 1 lb ground beef)
1 sweet onion, chopped
4 celery stalks, diced
1 green bell pepper, chopped
2 TBSP minced garlic
2 cups uncooked long-grain white rice
2 cups water
1 TBSP Cajun seasoning
1 tsp dried thyme
2 (14.5 oz) cans low sodium chicken broth
2 (14.5 oz) cans diced tomatoes, undrained
2 cups cooked chicken, diced

1.  Heat a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add oil to pan; swirl to coat. Add sausage; sauté 1 minute or until browned. Add onion, celery, bell pepper, and garlic; sauté 6 minutes or until tender. 
2. Add rice and next 5 ingredients (through broth); bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 20 minutes or until rice is done. Remove thyme sprigs; discard. Stir in tomatoes and chicken. Cook 3 minutes or until thoroughly heated.

Serve with garlic bread sticks and a tall glass of iced tea! 

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

22 weeks!


bump watch: i officially can't see my toes anymore (unless i crane my head waaay forward). there have also been a few days when the bump is lopsided -- Sweetpea still loves that right side!  i can still squeeze into most of my workout clothes, as demonstrated above, but otherwise, all my pants and about half of my shirts/dresses are maternity. 
sweet pea: is supposedly the size of a papaya, which seems so bizarre to me. i always imagined papayas to be equivalent to the size of a mango? another website compared the size to a Barbie doll, at 8 1/2 inches long and 1 lb 2 ounces. the biggest developmental phenomenon for this upcoming month is that baby will double his or her weight over the next four weeks. time to chub up, little one! 
Fetal Development Week 23

best moment: hearing Sweetpea's heartbeat for the third time at my last midwife appointment. it just doesn't get old! 

symptoms: the heartburn is baaaa-aaack! not helped by eating tomatoes and marinara sauce for a few days in a row. at least Tums helps quench the fire a little bit, but especially if i bend over while doing things around the house, i want to tear my esophagus out. on the bright side, Sweetpea is kicking and flipping like a banshee! 

cravings: still with the fruit this week. i almost ate an entire pint of strawberries before supper tonight. also, lemon-flavored Brisk. gross, i know...

what i miss: being able to predict what goes on with my skin. it will still break out like crazy sometimes even though i use the same face wash and cleansing regimen every day. i-wish-i-wish-i-wish-i-wish that doxycycline was safe in pregnancy! 
looking forward to: mom, dad and kira visiting next month! it will be their first time here since we moved back to Pittsburgh. i'm looking forward to taking them to new parts of the city, eating at some of our favourite restaurants, and just spending time with them. 

Friday, July 12, 2013

friday faves, vol. 3

TGIF! it's been a whirlwind week getting back into the daily routine after our trip to Seattle, coupled with crazy storms on Tuesday that flooded several roads. here's some things that kept me smiling:

-- AMC's show Breaking Bad, which is now in its fifth season and for good reason. Nick started watching it last week, and then, like the awesome hubby he is, watched the first few three four episodes again with me last night so i could catch up. the plot seems ridiculously farfetched (a nerdy chemistry professor turned crystal meth dealer?!), but the character development makes it more believable ... and impossible to stop watching. ahem.

-- this fantastic guide to grilling a steak in a cast iron skillet, from Megan at Country Cleaver. i don't use my cast iron skillet as often as i should, but whenever i do, i feel like the Best. Wife. Ever. add steak to the equation and i'm pretty sure that title is a given! 

How to Grill a Steak in a Cast Iron Pan -

-- this totally accurate description of life in your late twenties. see #5 below. yes, yes, yes. 

5. You start a story with “when I was in college” and realize that was 10 years ago.

30 Signs You're Almost 30

-- this no-nonsense (but not legalistic) parenting philosophy that sets clear expectations and cuts down on the power struggles i foresee in our future if any of my offspring try to pull Katie Geiger shenanigans. (that would be me as a child, for the uninformed.) high fives to the dad below as well.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

tasty thursdays - creamy chicken enchiladas

now that we've covered some of our family's favourite recipes in one fell swoop, i'd like to focus on one stellar recipe from the menu plan each week. i suspect most of the featured recipes will be tried-and-true dishes that deserve their spots in the regular dinner rotation, but if i come across any fantastic new recipes i'll be sure to share! 

last night's supper was one of our faves. it requires very little active prep work, and the flavors are unbeatable. it's definitely going on my list of freezer meals to make before our little one arrives! 

recipe adapted from Lori at RecipeGirl

photo credit from Lori at RecipeGirl

Yield: 6 servings  Prep Time: 20 min Cook Time: 40 min

1 (10 3/4-ounce) can Healthy Request Cream of Chicken soup
8 ounces light sour cream
1 cup Pace picante sauce
2 teaspoons chili powder
3 cups chopped cooked chicken
2 cups shredded Monterey Jack cheese
10 (6-inch) flour tortillas
1 large tomato, chopped
3 green onions, sliced
2 avocados, mashed & mixed with 1/2 cup sour cream, 1/4 cup picante sauce, 1 TBSP lime juice, and 1 tsp salt (quick guacamole)


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray 9x13 pan with cooking spray.
2. Stir together soup, sour cream, picante sauce and chili powder in a medium bowl.
3. In a large bowl, stir 1 cup of the sauce mixture with the chicken & 1 cup of the cheese.
4. Spread about 1/4 cup of the chicken mixture down the center of each tortilla. Roll up and place seam-side-down in prepared dish. Scoop remaining sauce over the filled tortillas. Sprinkle with remaining cheese. Spray a piece of foil with cooking spray. Place sprayed-side-down on enchiladas and cover tightly.
5. Bake for 40 minutes or until enchiladas are hot and bubbling. Top individual servings with tomato and onion. Add a dollop of guacamole, if desired.

Monday, July 8, 2013

21 weeks!


bump watch: at almost five months pregnant (22 weeks = five months in pregnancy math), the bump is here to stay! i've also noticed that my bellybutton, which is usually an innie-slit, has started to look more open. it would be so weird to end up with an outie! 
sweet pea: is the size of a spaghetti squash! that equates to eight inches long, and a full pound. baby's eyelashes and eyebrows are fully formed, although they don't have pigment yet. and even though the eyelids are still closed, Sweetpea can distinguish between light and dark.

Fetal Development Week 22

best moment: on our flight home from Seattle yesterday, i was feeling some major kicks, so i reached over and put Nick's hand on my belly. his entire face lit up when he felt Sweetpea kicking for the first time! there is truly nothing like it! 

symptoms: i think bawling through Kelli's entire wedding qualifies! she was such a stunning bride. i usually cry a little at weddings, gravid or not, but every time i looked at her i wanted to burst into happy tears. at least i wasn't the only one who cried during the toast. Kelli and her new husband, Colin, have such a wonderful relationship and are two of the most caring, motivated people i know. their day was a beautiful tribute to their love. i was too busy dabbing away tears to take any pictures myself on the big day (i know!!), but here are a few shamelessly stolen from facebook. credit for the first one goes to their amazing wedding photographer, Taylor from One Button Photography

see? both crying. 

cravings: fruit, fruit, and more fruit! especially grapes, blueberries, and pineapple.

what i miss: several people at the rehearsal dinner ordered my favourite Long Island iced tea, and it was hard to resist! thank goodness for Uncle Scott, who recommended a refreshing nonalcoholic beverage that they discovered in South Africa this year. i bring you the... Rock Shandy! half lemonade, half soda, with a splash of bitters. it looks pretty and tastes fantastic. 

looking forward to: yet another chance to take a peek at Sweetpea. although they didn't find any abnormalities on our anatomy scan, the tech was unable to fully visualize all four chambers of baby's heart since Sweetpea wouldn't move out of that cozy upper right-hand corner! so sometime in the next few weeks, we'll schedule another look just to make sure all is well. 

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

20 weeks!

{20 week picture to come!}

bump watch: ooooo-ooooh, we're halfway there, oooo-ooooh, livin' on a prayer...! i cannot believe that we are already to the 20-week point. it's definitely fun to finally look pregnant, although there's still quite a variation from day to day and it depends a lot on the clothes i wear!
sweet pea: measures seven inches long and weighs approximately eleven ounces. the major development this week is baby's taste buds! i always thought the anecdotes about children growing up to like whatever food their mother craved when pregnant were just coincidence, but apparently the amniotic fluid is actually affected by what i eat. sweet pea is destined for a lifetime of loving meat and salty snacks! i've been eating a lot more fruits and veggies in the past few weeks too, so hopefully we don't have too many fights over broccoli in our future. 

Fetal Development Week 21

best moment: getting to see sweetpea again at our anatomy scan on Saturday! for all the movement i had felt last week, i was super excited to see the kicks and flips in action. of course, the little stinker was sleeping for most of the scan and wouldn't budge even after i walked around, pushed on my belly and basically made a fool of myself marching and dancing around. baby is breech and mostly hanging out on my right side. it was soooo hard to resist finding out whether sweet pea is a he or a she ... and Nick thinks that the tech mentioned something about "her" at one point during the scan, but i didn't catch that, and didn't see anything obvious one way or the other. we shall see! 

symptoms: a little more swelling now that it's been more hot and humid. i've had a few minor headaches that turn out to be nothing, but always make me nervous because i hate the thought of getting a migraine without being able to take my prescription medication. so far, so good -- i think they're either related to tension or simply the vascular congestion that accompanies pregnancy in general. 

cravings: ummmmm so i may have bought another bag of those cheddar & horseradish chips. they are unreal. also, after our anatomy scan, we were discussing places to go to lunch when i spied a Red Robin across the road and Nick couldn't stop laughing at my delighted freak-out. never did a guacamole bacon burger taste so good...

what i miss: this is a little TMI, but ... a properly fitting bra! i ordered some from Her Room online that were the right size, but didn't like the style, so i shipped them back to exchange for a different brand. here's hoping they do the trick because things are getting a little ridiculous.
looking forward to: my sweet Kelli's wedding this weekend! i'm flying to Seattle tomorrow for the pre-wedding festivities, then Nick will join us on Friday and the wedding is on Saturday. can't wait to see family and friends and watch one of my favourite people walk down the aisle!