Friday, September 23, 2011

Noah's Two-Month Check-Up

I took Noah for his two-month check-up this afternoon, a week after he hit the two-month mark. This was our last visit to this office before our move next month. It figures that just as we found a great new pediatrician in town, it would be time to move again! After a 2+ hour visit though today, I am hoping we find an office with shorter wait times in Tennessee!!

Again, his doctor thought he was doing great. Since his last check at one month, he gained 2 lbs, 11 oz, to weigh in at an impressive 13 lbs, 4 oz, which is in the 75th-90th percentile. He measured up at 23.5 inches (75th percentile) and his head is now 40.5 cm (75th percentile). Today he had to get his first round of shots. Poor guy. He actually did really well with them though. He cried for just a minute, then was content in my arms. By the time we made it out the door and to the van he was all smiles again! Sadly though, he seemed to be affected tonight. He lost his appetite and was running a low-grade fever. I am hoping he is feeling better in the morning.

Below is a pic of Noah at two months, wearing a 12-month onesie. It's amazing how much they change in the first first few months! He is starting to smile and coo much more now, which makes it so much fun interacting with him. He is also a great sleeper like his big brother. He sleeps all night for 12+ hours, waking just a couple times to eat normally. Just this week he has given me two 8-hour stretches though (his previous record was just under 6 hrs)! :) Now I just need to make myself go to bed earlier... ;) Noah has been a bit more high-maintenance than his big brother though. If he is awake, he wants to be held. I do get brief breaks from the vibrating bouncer that he enjoys, but most of the day you'll find me holding him while trying to read/play with Ethan with my free hand!

Just for fun, I decided to compare Ethan and Noah's pics to see how the two differ. Surprisingly, they actually look much more similar than I thought! I guess there is no denying they are brothers! They were similar in size as well. Ethan at 12 lbs, 11 oz and 22 inches to Noah's 13 lbs, 4 oz and 23.5 inches.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Red, Red Wine... make me feel so fine! ;) I like wine. I love sangria. I am a big fan of the red sangrias at Carrabba's and Olive Garden. I love the pairing of fresh fruit with a nice full-bodied red wine. So when I saw a recipe for a sangria on 'Ten Dollar Dinners' I had to try it. I have loved all of Melissa D'Arabian's recipes that I have tried so far, so I was hoping this one would not disappoint me either. The recipe was actually for a non-alcoholic sangria, but since I'm not pregnant anymore and the tiny man gives me 4 to 5 hour stretches of sleep at night, I decided a little wine wouldn't hurt. ;)

I started the sangria (click here for the full recipe) early in the day by getting all the fruit and juice prepared so that all of the flavors could meld together.  Below is a pic of all of the ingredients I used.

I peeled, cored and thinly sliced an apple. I used a Golden Delicious because that is what I had in the fridge.

Then I juiced one lemon and poured this over the apple slices. Next I peeled a tangelo (I used this instead of an orange because I love their flavor) and added these slices to the mix. Then I juiced an additional tangelo and added that in too. After that it was time to add the fruit juice concentrate. The recipe calls for 3/4 cup of cranberry-grape juice frozen concentrate, but I couldn't find this at the store, so I used 1/2 cup of grape juice frozen concentrate and 1/2 cup of raspberry-pomegranate frozen concentrate. The last thing to add at this point was a dash of ground cinnamon. Once I mixed everything up in the pitcher, I put it in the fridge to chill all day.

Later in the day I added in the wine that I wanted to use. I chose a cabernet sauvignon (instead of a white wine like the recipe calls for) because I thought it would balance the sweetness of all the fruit and juice and I prefer a red sangria to a white one. I added in 1 1/2 cups of this and allowed it to continue to sit in the fridge. Once I was ready to serve it, I added in 1 1/2 cups of seltzer water and mixed everything together well. A few ice cubes in the glasses and it was ready to go!

I must say that it was one of the best sangrias I have had and at a price tag much nicer than you will find at any restaurant too! :) This will definitely be one I make again. Let me know if you try it and any variations you use!!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Some Like it Hot!

Hot, hot, hot!! That is how I would describe the poblano pesto that I made for dinner tonight. After watching an episode of 'Ten Dollar Dinners' this weekend with another one of my favorite Food Network Stars, Melissa D'Arabian, I decided to give the meal a try. On the menu: sliced sirloin steak topped with the poblano pesto and a sweet potato-beet hash on the side.

I started with the sweet potato-beet hash (click here for the full recipe) by peeling and dicing the veggies (I had 3 small ones of each). I coated them in some olive oil and seasoned with salt and pepper. I roasted them for 40 minutes (they took longer, I think, because they were diced a bit bigger than they should have been) in a 400-degree oven.

While the veggies were roasting, I fried up 5 slices of bacon (cut into 1-inch pieces) in a skillet (instead of the one slice the recipe calls for), then diced up a small onion and continued cooking everything until it was browned.

After the veggies were done, I tossed them into the pan with the bacon and onion and mixed it all up to coat everything. Unfortunately, as I was working on another part of the meal, the onions and bacon browned a bit more than they should have, but fortunately they were still salvageable. The hash was really good. What isn't good with bacon and onions?? I have never had beets and I didn't anticipate that I would like them, but roasted, they were actually pretty good. Not as good as the sweet potatoes, but not bad. :) They made for a pretty dish, but when I make this again, I may leave the beets out.

For the poblano pesto (click here for the full recipe), Josh charred the poblanos (I used 3 small ones) on the grill until blackened on all sides. Once they were done, I placed them in a bowl and covered it to allow them to steam, as instructed. Once they had set for about 5 minutes, I peeled off the blackened parts, removed the seeds and core, and chopped them roughly. Unfortunately, these particular poblanos were pretty hot ones because my poor fingers are still burning from touching them!! :( I put the poblanos in my food processor and added in the other ingredients: 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese, 1/4 cup fresh cilantro (chopped roughly), 2 cloves garlic (chopped coarsely), 1 tsp chili powder (I used this instead of the 1 Tbsp the recipe called for after reading the reviews), 1/2 cup olive oil (I prefer olive oil to the vegetable oil the recipe called for), and a dash of salt.

I blended it all together and the finished product was INCREDIBLE! It definitely had a kick to it and I am glad I opted for just 1 tsp of the chili powder. It was so good that Josh and I have already been brainstorming other items we could top with it! :)

As I was finishing up the pesto, Josh grilled the sirloin steaks to perfection. After letting them rest for 5 minutes, he sliced them up and then we topped the slices with the pesto and enjoyed our dinner! Stay tuned, I am hoping to try out her other recipe from that episode for a fruity sangria tomorrow night! ;)

Saturday, September 17, 2011

A Good German Meal

One of my favorite shows to watch in the summer is The Next Food Network Star. This year, Jeff Mauro, self-proclaimed 'Sandwich King,' was crowned the winner. He was fun to watch on the show so I decided to start DVRing his show, Sandwich King, on Sunday mornings. On one of his recent shows, he cooked up a tasty looking German meal. With our German roots and Josh's love of German food, I decided to give it a go this week. The menu included schnitzel biscuits topped with braised cabbage and raspberry mayo with warm potato salad on the side. While Ethan looks eager to eat in this picture, he sadly wouldn't try any of it. :(

For the schnitzel (see full recipe here), I bought a pound of regular pork chops (didn't figure I needed an entire pork loin for our small family), soaked them in the brining liquid (3 Tbsp salt, 1 Tbsp sugar and 6 cups water), then cut each one in half and pounded them to the desired thickness. I followed the rest of the directions, dipping them in flour, then egg, then panko breadcrumbs. I let them fry for 3 minutes on each side in a little bit of vegetable oil. They browned a bit more than I would have preferred, but they worked.

I cheated with the buttermilk biscuits. I bought a package from Publix because 1) I love their baked goods and 2) I knew it would save me quite a bit of time. Even with Josh off work this week, I have limited time between feedings of Noah in which to accomplish things, so I try to keep dinnertime as quick and simple as I can so I can eat in peace. :)

The raspberry mayo was easy and a great addition. I used Miracle Whip (about 1/2 cup instead of 1 cup), raspberry preserves (probably 2 Tbsp instead of 1 Tbsp), 1 Tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice and 1/2 tsp lemon zest. Looking at the recipe now, I realize I forgot to add 1/8 tsp freshly ground pepper. It was good without it though - and I am not a fan of mayo! :)

The braised cabbage was to be added to the sandwich and served on the side as well. I bought a head of red cabbage and sliced it thinly. I melted the 2 Tbsp butter and added in the 1 tsp caraway seeds. Next, I added the cabbage to the butter and cooked until wilted (5 min) as instructed. The next step was to add 3/4 cup apple cider and 1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar and let it simmer for 15 minutes until soft and supple. I didn't have any cider, so I used apple juice instead. Not sure how this affected the flavor, but Josh wasn't super excited about how the cabbage tasted, so it's probably not something I would make again. I tried one tiny bite and just like any other cabbage I have ever tried, I didn't like it, so I passed on adding it to my sandwich.

The last element was the warm potato salad (see full recipe here). I used about a pound of red potatoes (instead of 2 lbs), scrubbed and quartered. I let these simmer for 15 minutes until tender. While those were cooking, I fried up 8 ounces of thick-cut bacon, cut into 1/2-inch strips. Once it was done, I sauteed the onion (1 small yellow onion, diced) in the bacon fat, until golden. Then I added in the 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar and 1/3 cup of the cooking water (from the potatoes). I let all this simmer until it thickened slightly (about 10 minutes). After that, I added in the 1 Tbsp of whole grain German mustard, some salt and pepper. I tossed all of that with the potatoes and bacon and it was ready. I left out the 1-1/2 Tbsp of fresh tarragon, because he described it as tasting like black licorice, which I am not a fan of at all. The potato salad was a hit and definitely something I would make again, even if not with this meal.

Here is a pic of the completed plate...

And a close-up of the tasty sandwich...

I loved the combination of the soft biscuit, crunchy schnitzel and creamy mayo. Delicious! If you like German food, you should definitely try these recipes. Let me know what you think. :) Even with the two of us eating, there were enough leftovers for two days for both of us! Definitely a meal I would consider making for company.

Welcome, Noah!

We finally got around to having newborn/family pictures made when Noah was five weeks old. I found a great photographer, Amy, of Dewdrops by Amy, in Auburn, and we got some great shots. Fortunately Amy was patient with us, as Noah did not want to go to sleep for his pics! I guess it's like when the day comes to go to the doctor, you finally feel better. Well, Noah normally loved to sleep all day, but not this day! :( As you can see though, once we finally got him to sleep, we were able to take some great pictures. Here are a few more of my favorites from the day...

Sweet baby Noah is getting big so quickly!!