Friday, September 13, 2013

Homemade Fruit Strips- Attempt #2

My previous fruit snack endeavor didn't go as well as I had hoped. Melody didn't like them. I did find, however, that after about a week in the fridge, they weren't as sour so Melody did eat some after that time.

I decided to try again! This time I wanted to try fruit strips instead of the gummies. I had purchased a bunch of fruit from Sams Club last weekend and never got to making these so my strawberries went bad. UGH! Such a waste! I had a few different types of fruit so I just used what I had on hand.

Basically what you will need is:

About 3 cups of fruit-diced
Sweetener (I used 3 Tbs honey)
2 tsp lemon juice
Extracts or spices (optional)

In this batch I used 1 peach, 1 banana, 1 cup strawberries, and about 1/2 cup of mango. The banana, strawberries, and mango were frozen, but I thawed them before blending.

No, you could cook the fruit down on the stove, but why do more work than you really need to, right? So I just threw all the fruit in my blender, then added 3 Tbs honey and 2 tsp lemon juice. Blend it really well until there are no big chunks.

You will need either a large baking sheet or a couple small ones. I had two small ones that fit perfectly next to each other in the oven. You could use a silicone baking mat if you have one or just use plastic wrap. Just make sure the plastic wrap has a little overhang because it shrinks up a little in the oven.

Pour your fruit mixture onto the pans and spread it out evenly. Make sure you don't get too close to the edge of the pan and try to keep the layer as even as possible, about 1/8" thick.

Put the pans in a 170 degree oven or as low as your oven will go. They will need to be in the oven for at least 6-8 hours. It has been humid here so I left mine for 8 hours during the day, then turned off the oven and left them in there overnight.

This is what they looked like in the morning! I peeled them off the plastic wrap and placed them on a sheet of parchment paper.

I trimmed the edges and rolled them up. Then I just cut inch sections with my kitchen shears. If you don't have any sharp scissors you could cut them before rolling them up.

Done! I put mine in a ziploc baggie and store in the cupboard. They should last a couple weeks, or you could store in the fridge for longer.

The best thing about these strips... Melody likes them! Score for mommy! I still have a bunch of blueberries and blackberries in the fridge that I will try with this recipe hopefully this weekend.

Not sure if there will be enough time, though, since operation "Melody's big girl room" is officially underway. I spent my whole day yesterday moving all of my arts and crafts out of her room into the garage cabinets. I'm very proud of myself but extremely sore!

Now DH just needs to move all the big heavy stuff out! I really need to pick out a paint color!

Any ideas on a paint color that will go well with brown and pink?

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

WIA- on Our Second Anniversary!

Yes, two years ago, I married my best friend! It was a beautiful wedding, but what made it one of the best days was that I was with the love of my life! I honestly couldn't imagine my life without him. So much has happened in the last two years. (Mostly babies!) We have been able to climb over all of life's hurdles together. I know that two years isn't very long but I am still looking forward to the rest of my life with my amazing husband!

Yesterday, although our anniversary, was fairly normal as far as our meals went.

Breakfast- 2 eggs scrambled with red onion, spinach and cheddar cheese with toast.
I had to take my sister grocery shopping a little later. Of course there was a Starbucks inside....

Pimpkin spice frap anyone? Yes, please!!

Melody had to have some apple juice!

It was a pretty rainy day, and has been for a week or so now. I don't really mind but I just can't stand the humidity! Las Vegas is supposed to be a dry heat! This is not conducive to a comfortable pregnancy! Mother Nature should know this!

-Please disregard the weeds, I have been slacking in that department!

Lunch- left over pork carnita pizza

Snack- one whole grapefruit. I have been on a real grapefruit kick lately for some reason!

When DH got home from work, we thought about where we wanted to go out to dinner. He suggested Olive Garden. What?! Seriously, he never wants to go there! I am always in the mood for bread sticks and alfredo sauce! So we dropped the baby off at my dad's house and went out to dinner. (Thanks Papa and Grandma Sandy!)

My husband is a habitual appetizer orderer! Knowing full well neither of us will eat all the food, he still thinks we should order and appetizer! - fried zucchini, fried calamari, and chicken fingers

Then, of course, we had salad and bread sticks with a side of alfredo dipping sauce. - no picture because, well frankly if you don't know what those look like then I feel very sorry for you! Go to Olive Garden right away!

By this time I was completely full. Then my meal came... I had literally one bite! - Lasagna Primavera with Grilled Chicken

It was all so good! I was so full! We had enough left overs for a full meal for two! I really hate wasting food so this will definitely be eaten tonight for dinner!

We had a great anniversary dinner. It didn't have to be fancy. It didn't have to last all night. Just being able to be together, just the two of us, was enough for me.

How do you like to celebrate special occasions?

Don't forget to link up kids!

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Grocery Trip to Sprouts Farmers Market

Last week I had mentioned that I had heard of a new organic and natural food grocery store here in Las Vegas. I decided to take a trip out there and see if it was worth the drive.

Weekly Menu:

Monday- Pork Carnita Pizza w/ red onion, spinach, and bbq sauce (OMG! This was so good! Recipe coming soon!)

Tuesday- chicken enchiladas w/ spanish rice

Wednesday- left over enchiladas

Thursday- sweet potato nachos

Friday-chicken alfredo with veggies

Saturday- spaghetti

Sunday- left overs

It took about 20 minutes to get to Sprouts from my house. It wasn't that bad since I went in the middle of the day and there wasn't a lot of traffic. I noticed it's about the same size as Whole Foods by my house, but they have a nice selection of both organics and regular foods. They have a bakery, deli, and meat department as well. They actually have a much larger selection of bulk foods than Whole Foods, but not all of them are organic/ natural. They have a huge coffee bar where you can make your own blends. I liked the fact that they have a larger selection of breads than Whole Foods. They also have a whole wall of different types of specialty beers.

Melody was having a blast until about halfway through. Then she started getting cranky because it was nap time. We had to clean up a whole package of linguine that she decided to drop all over the floor. At least it was dry pasta!

We didn't need very many cold items this week because I still had eggs, yogurt, and some of our usual weekly cold items. Plus, this week is Azure Standard ordering so we will be getting those items next Monday.

2 organic whole milk- $11.98, orange juice- $3.99, organic cream cheese- $3.69, sprouts shredded mozzarella- $2.70, sprouts natural string cheese- $4.99, French Roast coffee- $5.99, Vans GF waffles- $3.49(they were buy one get one), Annies cheddar bunnies- $3.99

organic bananas- $2.53, organic baby spinach- $3.49, organic apples- $2.27, organic yellow onion- $1.02, red grapes- $4.08, red yam- $1.64, zucchini- $1.05, organic grapefruit- $2.50, garlic- $.67

organic honey wheat bread- $3.50, corn tortillas(not pictured oops)- $2.99, Annies BBQ sauce- $3.00, organic ketchup- $2.49, 2 Spanish rice- $2.49 (also buy one get one), pastas- $3.00, Fiber caps- $9.59, diced chilies- $1.59

My total after tax and bag credits was $90.35. It wasn't as expensive this week since I didn't need any meat. I wouldn't mind going here more often. I would like to try their meat. I didn't get to look at it very closely so I'm not sure what kind of meats they have. If they have fresh farm raised meats with no antibiotics or gmo's I would definitely choose this store over Smith's.

I had to talk about this amazing pizza I made last night for dinner! I'm looking forward to left overs for lunch! It was huge! I will definitely have to write a recipe for this pizza soon!

I also wanted to show off this super cute shadow box I made for Melody! I have had these things sitting around waiting to be put together for a year now. I figured since I was cleaning out the art room I should put it all together so none of it got lost. I think it turned out cute! I can't wait to hang it in her new room!

Monday, September 9, 2013

Cake Mishap and Some More Organizing

This weekend I really did try to relax... but it didn't work out too well. I had a pretty crummy day on Thursday. I think my hormones got the best of me. Thankfully I have a wonderful friend who let me cry her ear off over the phone! Never underestimate the power of a small conversation with a good friend! Friday I was feeling better, and trying to just relax and not worry about chores and then....

PSHHHHHHHHHHH!!! AHHHHHHH! ... Shoot. Screaming baby comes running into the living room covered in Coke, slips and falls because she is wet, Coke is spraying all over my kitchen... So much for relaxing. Give the baby a (second) bath, try to wipe up the soda in the living room and kitchen, mop the living room and kitchen (twice), then mop the hallway after realizing the soda is there too. Super fun night. This picture really doesn't show how much soda there actually was everywhere. I don't think Melody will be playing with soda cans anymore, she scared the heck out of herself!

After this I think I gave up on relaxing over the weekend. Saturday I wanted to try out a cake recipe that I was thinking about using for my baby shower cake. I got the recipe from Sally's Baking Addiction. I ended up doubling the batter recipe and making a bundt cake. It made one bundt and 8 cupcakes.

The batter was TO DIE for!

They came out looking like this.... nice right?.... I let them cool and tried to take the cake out....

AHHHH! Epic fail!! This is after I put the two halves back together. Apparently I didn't grease my pan enough. I probably should have flowered it too. Darn! I was so pissed! But it was just a test cake so I wasn't that upset. The recipe was pretty easy, too. So I made the frosting (just the single batch) and then frosted the cakes.

Melody couldn't wait for frosting, she had to have the cake! Because the cake was a little busted, I didn't frost it the way I really wanted to, I just spread the frosting all over the cake. I wanted to pipe it on but I had to cover the "crumby" looking thing!

It didn't look too bad once it was frosted!....How did it taste?....

Well lets just say this was a picture of the piece I ate the next day because I forgot to take a picture of my first piece! Honestly it was a good cake. I don't know if I will still use it for my baby shower. I might make the cupcakes but make a different bundt. Maybe chocolate. Mmmmm. Chocolate. Yes, that sounds good. HAHA!

There are only two weekends before the weekend of my baby shower. I really wanted to have Melody's new room ready for her before then, so I can get these toys out of my living room! Plus I didn't want a huge "work in progress" at the baby shower. So I got down to it and started organizing all of my arts and craft stuff that is currently in that room.

I had a lot more canvases than I had thought! Holy cow! I mean how many does one person need? I condensed it down to two boxes. (Still A LOT) Then I went through all of my plastic drawers and organized them. Of course then I labeled them. I think they came out pretty nice! And I feel a little lighter after weeding out the junk I don't use.

Now if I can only get my husband caught up on all of his projects! If only it were that easy! I still have all of my Party Light candles and things I have to find room for in my closet. (Meaning I need to get rid of some shoes...) Really? Getting rid of shoes for Party Light? Yes, Yes I would!

Is there anything you would actually give up shoes for?

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Munchkin Meals- the first

Another fun link up here! This one is usually hosted by Brittany at A Healthy Slice Of Life. It's once a month so I really should have been more prepared. But I wasn't. I'm sensing a theme here lately. I am blaming it on the third trimester of this pregnancy. I am just exhausted! So this post will show what Melody has been eating lately since I have been too tired to really get extravagant. Plus, I think she has had some molars breaking through so it's been a bit tough to know what she will and wont eat that day (or hour!).

Her breakfasts usually consist of a 1/2 to one whole banana while I cook up her scrambled eggs with onions and spinach and a piece of wheat toast. Last weekend, though, she had a little treat! Her first french toast!

 I think she enjoyed it! I honestly am a sweets person myself. I like to bake and I like to eat what I bake! So yes she does have sugar every once in a while. We just stay away from candy and prepackaged sweets.

For lunches you can plan on her always having one of two things on her plate, frozen peas or tomatoes! Those are things I know she will always eat. Unless she is teething apparently, then the tomatoes usually will still be on the plate when she is done.

 I love these Earth's Best baked mini beef meatballs. It's quick for me if I'm in a pinch or if I didn't do any food prep that week. Honestly sometimes she eats them and sometimes she doesn't. She may or may not eat meat for a couple days at a time. I'm not worried, though, she gets enough protein through other foods.

Since her teeth have been bothering her, yogurt has been on the menu at least twice a day! I feel so bad when every time she takes a bite of food she cries. So the frozen peas and yogurt have been at the top of the list for the last couple days.

Another thing we have for lunch around here is left overs. The other day, my husband brought home a couple slices of pizza from our favorite pizza place, Bambini's.

As far as snacks go, we usually always have cheese sticks and Annie's Cheddar Bunnies in the house. Fresh fruit, or dried cranberries are also some favorites. Lately she has been wanting carrot sticks a lot. I think it must feel good on her gums.

For dinner she usually eats what we eat. Except last night, her teeth were really bothering her. So I found a jar of baby puree in the cupboard and warmed it up for her. She also wanted a tortilla because she saw me heating one up. She ended up dipping her tortilla in her "soup".

As you can see in a few of these pictures she is drinking milk. She gets milk with her meals once or twice a day. The rest of the time it's just water, and occasional orange juice (watered down).

I guess compared to some other kids, she is a pretty good eater. There are just some things I wish she would eat. One being avocado. She will eat the Wholy Gaucamole packets but not a plain avocado. Also, the only green vegetable she will eat is peas. I have to hide her greens in with meals, like her eggs or in soups or chilies.

Are there any foods your child just refuses to eat?

-Don't forget to link up your Munchkin Meals!

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

WIAW and Labor Day Weekend

I didn't get a chance on Monday to fill you in on all of our fun over the holiday weekend. The hubby and I actually had TWO nights out by ourselves! Saturday night my in laws watched Melody while we went out to dinner (Sushi!) and a movie. We saw Elysium which was pretty good. I was more excited about the sushi! Then on Sunday night my mom watched Melody while DH and I went to a concert.

Black Sabbath concert 2013
It was hard getting a good picture with my phone. We were pretty far back. I felt pretty "hard core" going to a rock concert at 7 months pregnant! It was a good time but I was definitely tired by the time we got home. It was way past my bedtime! I feel almost spoiled now, getting two nights as adults with no kids! We had a nice time.

So this third trimester of pregnancy is beginning to feel like the first trimester all over again. I woke up yesterday and drank some water. I was in the kitchen when all of the sudden.... the water came back out! Seriously? I thought the morning sickness had subsided but it seems to be coming back when I least expect it.

I ended up having toast and Sprite for breakfast. I forgot to take a picture because I was concentrating on keeping it down.

Later I did have a small snack.

colby-jack cheese stick

I tried to catch up on laundry while Melody destroyed had fun in the living room.I made her lunch, did the dishes, and put dinner in the crock pot before I finally sat down to eat lunch.

Wrap with romaine, tomatoes, nitrate free turkey breast, and mozzarella cheese. Diced sweet potato with cinnamon. Raspberry Leaf tea.

Melody went down for her nap and I swept and mopped the floors. (Writing down what I did yesterday makes me feel like I was actually productive!) When DH got home from work we ended up sitting down and watching 4 or 5 episodes of Heroes on Hulu. We seriously can't get enough of that show!

snack- a small handful of white cheddar bunnies

This is how Melody decided to eat her bunnies!

Dinner- slow cooker Cafe Rio pork tacos with creamy cilantro dressing

I tried a new recipe for dinner. I love me some Cafe Rio pork! This recipe was good but I think maybe a little too sweet. I think I will cut back some of the brown sugar next time. I also think the cilantro dressing needed to be a little more spicy. Those are both easy fixes, though. Overall I did like the recipe!

What are some things you ate for this WIAW?