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First Crack at Pre-Planning Dinner for the Week

Typically, J is the chef of the household but with work and school he's just not home lately to do it. So, I've decided that in order for me to do it and do it well, I'm going to have to plan. Otherwise, 5 p.m. rolls around and I'm asking myself, "What's for dinner?!" And then slap something quick and easy together. Like quesadillas and black beans. And salad. Or turkey meatballs with sweet potato oven fries. And salad. But it's getting routine and I really want to have a plan in place. So, this weekend I came up with this!

October 2-9, 2011Sun - Turkey and Three Bean Chili with Corn Bread and Mixed Green Salad
Mon - Penne Pasta with Gorgonzola, Spinach, Kielbasa and Apples
Tues - Hawaiian Chicken Thighs with Rice and Steamed Broccoli and Edamame
Wed - Chicken Parmesan with Pasta Florentine Thurs - Sour Cream and Chicken Enchiladas (see recipe below) with black beans and corn
Fri - DIY Pizza
Sat - Grilled Pork Chops with Mashed Potatoes and Garlic Spinach

I've created a Word Doc that has a table with columns for each night of the week (Sun-Sat) in the rows goes the main dish, carb side and veggie side. Then I have a grocery list below it. I hope to just update it each weekend, do our shopping and be ready to go for the week!

Most of my recipes are inspired by magazines, some are DIY and others I've just recently found on Pinterest. 

For the pork chops my J just seasons and grills, he does mashed potatoes with the skins on and a little half/half and minced garlic and the spinach he sautees with more garlic and some olive oil...easy peasy!

The pizza will be interesting...never DIYd my own dough, so I am considering...or I'll just get a premade crust or dough at the store and add our toppings...lots of veggies! And maybe a Hawaiian one with pinneapple and canadian bacon or turkey ham.

The recipe for the Sour Cream Chicken Enchiladas is from a coworker. She makes them for staff potlucks and they are delicious!

Sour Cream Chicken Enchiladas

This recipe makes 10 to 12 enchiladas. Amounts are estimated as I do not measure.

3 or 4 skinless and boneless chicken breasts
10 or 12 flour tortillas (the thinner the better) I used low fat, "carb smart" tortillas
1 small can of green chiles
2 or 3 small cans of green chile enchilada sauce
Minced onion (optional) I skipped this
2 ½ cups of colby and monterey jack cheese ( or can use packaged mixture of Mexican cheese) I used a "pizza mix" since that's what we had in the fridge
1 small can of sliced black olives (optional)
3/4/ to 1 cup of sour cream (per personal preference) I used Light Sour Cream
1 or 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil I used olive oil
garlic powder (or fresh minced if preferred)

Sprinkle garlic powder, salt, and pepper (to taste) on chicken. Cook covered chicken breasts until tender. I prefer slow roasting in oven (325 degrees) for an hour or so but the breasts can be cooked on stove top in enough water to cover breasts for ½ hour or so. Chicken should be so tender it is shredding apart. Cool chicken for about 15 minutes.

Warm vegetable oil with a small amount of green chile sauce in large skillet. Warm each tortilla in mixture. Put in skillet, count to 10 and remove to a plate. This helps to keep the tortillas from getting soggy when baking.

Shred cooked chicken in a bowl, add 2 or 3 tablespoons of onion (optional), ½ of the cheese, ½ the sour cream and can of green chiles. You can a small amount of the chicken drippings if desired. Mix well.

Put about two tablespoons of chicken mixture in center of a tortilla. (More or less as needed depending on diameter of tortillas). Roll up and place in Pam sprayed pan with seam down. Continue until all tortillas or chicken are used.

Mix remainder of sour cream with remainder of green chile sauce. Pour over tortillas. Place sliced olives on top of rolled tortillas, sprinkle remainder of cheese. You may want more or less cheese. Bake at 350 degrees for about 20 minutes.

Enchiladas may be prepared ahead of time and refrigerated but do not add sauce until ready to bake. Increase baking time by about 10 minutes if enchiladas have been refrigerated.

Speaking of cooking, Libby cooked with me for the first time this weekend. We made peanut butter cookies. The recipe is very simple and from Parent's Magazine.

1 c. peanut butter (creamy or crunchy)
1 c. sugar (and a little more for dusting)
1 egg

Mix all ingredients in a bowl until a dough forms. Make one inch balls and roll in a plate of sugar. Place balls onto an ungreased cookie sheet and use a fork to press down flat. Bake at 375 degrees for about 10 minutes or until just brown on the edges. Makes 24 cookies.

Libby had a blast as she poured the sugar into the bowl and mixed it with the peanut butter and egg. She had fun rolling the dough into little balls and placing it on the cookie sheets. We recited the Pat-A-Cake verse, "roll it...and  throw it in the pan! Pat it and prick it (as I used the fork to press them down)..." Which made her all the more excited about the entire thing! Too cute. Some cookies browned faster than others (I suspect they had more sugar ON them) and for my taste, I am not a fan of the cookies (a bit too sweet and flaky for me) but Libby had so much fun and that was the whole point. She talked about it for the rest of the night and this morning too, "Peanut butter! Sugar! Egg! Cooking cookies! Yum!" Adorable. I did manage to snap some pics but they're still in the camera. I'll add them to this post as soon as I can!

Five Months Later - I'm Back!

Whew, what a crazy 5 months it's been...insane!

1) This summer was out of control with days upon days of 100+ degree weather! We had a small reprise with a 5-day vacay in Southern California visiting our good friends.

Libby's First Trip to the Beach! She loved it! San Clemente - August 6, 2011

2) I am pregnant! We're expecting a son on January 17, 2012...just six days before Libby's second birthday. I found out just after I posted my last post on Mother's Day. Apparently we got pregnant on Easter. Guess an EXTRA special egg was delivered!

Our Baby Boy on the Way! EDD 01.17.12

3) We bought a house! We made the offer on July 1 and moved in over Labor Day Weekend. It's 2,000 sq. feet (so nearly double the size of the rental we've been in for the past three years), 2-story and has 4 bedrooms and 2 baths with a two car garage.

View of our new home's interior from the entry way

So yeah, that's why I've been away. Plus work was wacky all summer too with two positions downsized (I am now a department of 1.5...don't ask!), travel for a seminar we hosted, many meetings and special projects.

Fall is finally here and at 25 weeks pregnant I am looking to slow down a bit now that we're all moved into our new place.

More to come!

Mother's Day 2011

Two years ago today Libby was just a little ball of cells making its way into my womb. I still marvel at this fact. The miracle life is simply amazing. I adore seeing my Little Being grow and develop with each passing day. She's her own little person, already, and I am so lucky to be her mother.

This Mother's Day weekend we spent time in the great outdoors. Friday began with an afternoon visit to Hunter's Park in South Tulsa. We've never been before and I was so happy to have received a late invitation from a friend with two daughters, one is four and other is almost 7 months. After some time at the park it was time to go. There was an ice cream truck that Libby called "ice cream bus" and I stopped and got us a push-up pop to share. She's never had one and it's been at least 30 years since I've eaten one! It was so good! On the way home I picked up a Radio Flyer Trike I had bought over the phone earlier in the day from a local consignment shop. When we got home, we took it for a spin in the driveway! She also enjoyed her first time using sidewalk chalk and our driveway now is decorated with pastel loveliness.

Saturday we headed to our familiar stomping grounds at La Fortune Park. Libby has no fear when it comes to climbing on the play equipment and I love that, for the most part, she can run around freely.

Sunday, J made us bacon and pancakes with sliced strawberries. Yum, yum! I also got lovely cards and gifts from both him and my mom and not one, but two cards from Libby (apparently my mom and J had her bases covered). J had to work so Libby and I spent the afternoon playing in the front yard. Mom had some gardening to do so Libby got in on the action, which was adorable!

This was my second, official Mother's Day and it was awesome! I am so happy to have Libby call me mommy!

They're here! Libby's Pro Pics from her One Year Photoshoot!

Okay, we took these over two months ago, but I've finally got them! I love how these portraits came out...Malisa has been a wonderful photographer to work with since we got our maternity shots taken with her in November 2009. This session marked the end of our "baby bundle" session and we are thrilled with all of the fantastic photos we have of Libby from her first year! We will treasure them always. Now...I've got to decide which I will have enlarged and framed!

These were taken at a warehouse near 4th and Elgin in Downtown Tulsa:

These were taken at Morgan Street Studios in Broken Arrow:

I asked Malisa to take some portraits of us nursing and we gone ONE and only one because Libby was so distracted by the camera clicking away. That said, I love the ONE we got...and will treasure it always as a memento of this special time in our lives as mother and daughter.

A couple of Valentine's Day shots...inspired by her cute bloomers and headband from RuffleButts.

 And then her cake smash pics!

Celebrating Easter 2011

The Sunday before Easter we decided to have our morning bagels at Woodward Park. Libby loved exploring the flowers, grass and trees...

It amazes me how much she's changed in just 12 months! Here's us this time last year, when she was just 12 weeks old:

A few days later, Libby met the Easter Bunny for the first time. She loved him! The boy in line before her screamed and cried, but it didn't phase Libby one bit! When it was her turn, she ran right up to him and said, "Up!" and then proceeded to touch his ears and glasses. She was only mildly annoyed that she had to turn away and look at the camera!

Sadly, the rain started on Good Friday and continued all weekend long. So Easter Sunday was rained out. We decided not to go to church due to the weather. Nevertheless, we had fun at home. Libby enjoyed getting her first Easter basket. 

We had a lazy day and just stayed close and snuggled. J made a delcicious dinner with lamp chops, mashed potatoes and asparagus. Hopefully next Easter Libby will get to hunt for eggs! For now, she's thrilled to crack open the plastic ones we filled with Annie's Bunnies Graham Crackers and put in her basket.