Thursday, April 19, 2012

Noah's Nine Month Check-Up

Noah recently turned nine months old, which meant another trip to the doctor to see how he is doing. First up, his stats. He weighed in this month at 18 lbs, 8 oz (still in the 10th to 25th percentile), up 9 ounces from last month! He is measuring up at 28 inches (still in the 25th to 50th percentile), but up one inch from last month! His head is still nice and big, as its measured circumference was 46.4 cm (still in the 75th to 90th percentile). His doctor was a bit concerned about his weight dropping in percentile since his six-month check, so he wants us to come back in six weeks for a weight check. I'm not too worried, because it looks like he is just thinning out to what Ethan was at the same age. We shall see. This appointment was nice, as he was up to date on his immunizations for the time being, so no shots. Yay!

Below is the pic of Noah at nine months, wearing the 12-month onesie. What a lady killer! ;) Those eyes just bore right through you, don't they?? Such a serious little guy! I think he is looking as adorable as ever, but then I am a bit biased I suppose. ;)

So after another long month of Noah waking up every few hours all night, I think we finally have him trained to sleep through the night again. Woo hoo...and knock on wood!! It was a rough month for him as he cut tooth number two shortly after the first one came in. He has also continued with the same two-nap routine this past month.

New foods tried this month:
  • Pancakes
  • Egg yolks
  • Pasta
  • Corn
  • Cheerios
  • Rolls/bread (an easy way to keep him happy at restaurants! haha)
  • Tiny, bite-sized pieces of other various things we eat
We've started letting Noah try lots of different foods now since he doesn't appear to be having any problems with any as of yet. Those two little, sharp teeth are quite efficient at tearing into food and he doesn't appear to have any problems handling anything we have given him. He even enjoyed some hard-boiled egg yolks for Easter! The boy can gobble down pancakes with as much zeal as his big brother. Surprise, surprise! He likes plain whole wheat pasta too as an option for lunch or dinner. He is shying away from the fruit and veggie purees now and prefers to eat actual pieces of food instead, like steamed peas or cut green beans, or chunks of banana. He has finally backed down on the nursing to every 3-4 hours throughout the day, which has been a nice break for me! I think he is making up for it by the amount of solid foods he is eating. That boy can pack it away!

His normal schedule:

8 or 8:30 am - Wake up, nurse, play
9 or 9:30 am - Eat breakfast (banana, peaches or pears and Multigrain Cheerios), then play with Ethan (he wakes up between 9 and 10) or take a bath (every other day), get dressed
10:30 or 11:00 am - Nurse, then nap
12:30 or 1:00 pm - Wake up, play for a bit with Ethan
1:00 pm - Eat lunch (pasta, peas and corn, yogurt)
1:30 pm - Take a walk with Daisy, Mommy and Ethan
2:15 pm - Play with Ethan
3:00 pm - Nurse, then nap (Ethan naps at this time too for 2-3 hrs, yay!!)
4 or 4:30 pm - Wake up and play with Mommy
6:00 pm - Nurse and play with Daddy and Ethan, sometimes another walk
7:30 pm - Eat dinner (veggies, some of what we are eating, snack food if still hungry), then play with Daddy and Ethan
8:30 pm - Get jammies on, nurse, then to sleep

New accomplishments this month:
  • His second tooth! It broke through, unexpectedly, on March 27th.
  • Starting to stand on his own without holding onto anything
  • Music appreciation
  • Developing mild eczema :(
After his first tooth was finally through the surface, we thought we were going to get a break and that things would return to normal. Noah had other plans. His second tooth made it's appearance shortly after the first, and they are both growing in together at about the same rate now! As I mentioned earlier, it resulted in an entire month of interrupted sleep for both of us. Fun, fun! I'm hoping that the teeth yet to come don't give him so much trouble, but I am sure that is just wishful thinking!

Though we haven't had any unassisted steps yet, he has started to randomly stand on his own, balancing all by himself for up to 10-15 seconds before he grabs back on to move again. Sometimes he'll just drop to his butt from the stand, then start crawling like a mad man across the room. He is a little speedster!

He has started to really appreciate music. If music comes on the tv, he will often stand there and dance/bounce to the beat. Too cute! He also loves listening to Adele in the van. We have found that if he gets fussy, we can just turn her on and he will calm right down and be happy for the rest of the trip! Awesome. Let's hope this trick works on our long drive to the beach!

So we think Noah may have developed some mild eczema. Whenever I put him in the bathtub, his entire back gets red and his legs and arms have splotches on them as well. I started giving him cooler baths and limiting the time that he is in there. I switched to Baby Eucerin cream to bathe him and I use an Aveeno cream to moisturize him afterwards. This seems to be helping quite a bit. On non-bath days, his skin seems to be fine. It's weird that it only comes with the baths. :( The doctor agrees that it is probably just sensitive skin with mild eczema, and hopefully not a reaction to anything he is eating. Poor Noah is probably going to be the unlucky child that inherits all the "wonderful" problems I have since Ethan appears to be normal so far. :(

Here is the pic of both Ethan and Noah at 9 months. Once again, ornery Ethan and serious Noah. When it comes to personalities, Ethan is definitely following in the footsteps of his father, and Noah after me. We'll see if that continues! Being a cancer like myself, I have a feeling it will. He is way more sensitive and moody than Ethan was as a baby, but generally still a happy little guy most of he time. :)

Wednesday, April 11, 2012 favorite!

I am getting behind on recipe posts as I have continued to try tons of yummy recipes I have found on Pinterest the past few weeks. I have some very tasty dishes to share with you today! I have always loved pasta. Ever since I was a little girl, if I didn't like what my mom had prepared for dinner (sorry, mom, I was so picky!) I would have a bowl of plain pasta topped with a little melted butter instead. It definitely got me through many meals in college on my own as well. ;) So you can see how pasta is still essential in my diet now. I tried the Atkins diet once in college for a week and I think I nearly died. For real. My body can't function without carbs and pasta is an essential source in my book. Since my younger years, I have converted to an almost exclusive whole wheat pasta diet. The exception to that rule being when I order pasta at a restaurant, or can't find the pasta shape I want in a whole wheat version. I splurge and go for the white stuff. Shame on me, but it's so good! So, if you have ever wondered why I post so many pasta dishes on here, now you know! They are my weakness. :)

The first recipe I tried was Creamy Bacon Carbonara. You can find my pin here, but the recipe originated from Get Off Your Butt and Bake's blog, and I made a few slight modifications. The mere thought of creamy pasta paired with crisp bacon had my mouth watering before I even got to all of the pictures. Wow!

  • 4 eggs
  • 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 2/3 cup Parmesan cheese, grated (I use Reduced Fat)
  • Dried parsley flakes
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 pound bacon (I had a little more than that)
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1 pkg portabella mushrooms, sliced
  • 1/2 pound pasta (I used Barilla's whole grain thin spaghetti)

Prepare the pasta as directed on the package. I always prepare mine al dente. Beat the eggs, cream, Parmesan, parsley, salt and red pepper together in a bowl with a fork. Meanwhile, in a large skillet, fry the bacon until crisp, then crumble and set aside on a paper towel to absorb the extra grease.

Draining all but 1-2 Tbsp of the bacon grease from the skillet, saute the onion and mushrooms until the onions are translucent and golden.

Drain the pasta, reserving a cup of the pasta water, and while still warm, add to the onions and mushrooms. Pour the cream mixture into the pasta, and stir over low heat for one to two minutes. Don't do this on high heat, or you'll make scrambled eggs! 

Add some reserved pasta water, if needed, to thin the sauce. Stir in the cooked bacon and serve while hot. Top with a little Parmesan cheese if desired.

I also baked a loaf of French bread to accompany this dish. I am so glad that I decided to, because it was perfect for soaking up every bit of the tasty sauce! :) This dish was a hit and definitely one that I will be making again and again.

The next recipe I tried was for Chicken Alfredo Roll-Ups. Here is my pin, but this recipe originated from's blog. This is a fun twist on both lasagna and chicken alfredo. Beware though, this is a pretty time-intensive dish, not something you want to try to throw together last minute, unless you plan to use store-bought sauce and pre-cooked, shredded chicken.

  • 9 lasagna noodles (I used whole grain pasta)
  • 2 1/2 cups alfredo sauce (homemade recipe directly below)
    • 1/2 cup butter
    • 2 ounces cream cheese (I used Philadelphia's 1/3 less fat)
    • 2 cups heavy cream
    • 2 tsp garlic powder
    • 1/2 tsp freshly minced garlic (I used 3 small cloves)
    • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
    • 1/2 tsp dried oregano
    • 2/3 cup Parmesan cheese (I used Reduced Fat)
  • 2 cups cooked, shredded chicken (I baked 2 chicken breasts, then shred them with a fork)
  • Oregano
  • Garlic salt
  • 3 cups shredded Mozzarella cheese (I used Kraft, with a touch of Philadelphia cream cheese)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and prepare the alfredo sauce. In a medium saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute, or until fragrant. Add the cream cheese and whisk until smooth and melted. Whisk in the heavy cream. Season with the garlic powder, salt and pepper. Bring to a simmer and whisk frequently until the sauce thickens, around 15 minutes. Stir in the cheese and when melted, it's ready to use.

Meanwhile, boil 8-10 cups of water in a large pot and cook the lasagna noodles until al dente. It's helpful to make extra in case they fall apart while cooking. Once the pasta is done cooking, drain and rinse the noodles with cold water to prevent them from sticking to each other. Then, lay out each noodle individually and blot dry with a paper towel.

Spray an 8" x 8" pan with non-stick cooking spray and pour 1/2 cup alfredo sauce, or just enough to cover the bottom on the pan. Spread about 2 Tbsp of alfredo sauce over each noodle.

Sprinkle oregano and garlic salt on top of the sauce. Take 1/9 of the shredded chicken and spread it out evenly over each noodle.

Add approximately 3 Tbsp of cheese on top of that.

To roll up, start at one end and roll the noodle over the toppings. You will need to lift the noodle a little to prevent squishing out the inside ingredients while rolling. Place the roll-ups in the pan, one by one, seam-side down so that they don't come undone.

Once they are all in the pan, pour the remaining alfredo sauce over the top. Top with the remaining mozzarella cheese. Bake at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes, or until the cheese is completely melted on top.

This was also a super tasty dish. I am now spoiled with this alfredo sauce though. I don't think I'll ever be able to eat store-bought sauce again! So, even if you don't want to try this entire dish, I would still recommend using this alfredo recipe the next time you need alfredo sauce. You will not be disappointed! I hope you enjoy these pasta dishes as much as we did. :)

Monday, April 2, 2012

Some Savory Sides

I tried a couple new recipes again last week. These were for new sides to accompany main dishes that I already make. The first is for Baked Brown Rice Balls. This recipe originated from Cooking During Stolen Moment's blog. I made these to accompany breaded pork chops and pan-fried green beans.

  • 4 cups fully cooked brown rice, cooled (I used 2 1/2 cups dry rice + 5 cups water)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper (I used a heaping 1/2 tsp)
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder (I used a heaping 1/2 tsp)
  • 1/2 tsp Italian seasoning (I used a heaping 1/2 tsp)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 cup bread crumbs
  • Olive oil for drizzling
In a large bowl, combine all of the ingredients, except the olive oil. Mix well to combine.

Using about 2 tablespoons of rice mixture at a time, roll into balls and line up on a baking sheet. I lined my baking sheet with parchment paper first to save myself from needing to wash it. :) To make it easier to roll out the balls, rinse your hands with cold water every so often to keep them a little damp. If your hands are too dry, the rice will stick to them.

Drizzle some olive oil over all of the rice balls. Bake at 325 degrees for 20-25 minutes, until slightly browned and a little crispy. I baked them for closer to 30 minutes.

Serve as a side dish with any meal. These are especially good with a saucy main dish where you can dip them in the sauce too. Or, cover with marinara for a fun twist. If you are doing that and want to up the Italian flavor, add 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese to the rice mixture.

I loved these! Hubby and I quickly gobbled them up. :) The great thing about this recipe is that it makes a ton of them, so you can freeze them and thaw however many you need on nights when you are rushed to get dinner ready quickly. This initial batch was a lengthy process when you include the time it takes to cook the rice (the kind I bought required 50 minutes of cooking time + 10 minutes standing), then it also needed to sit and cool too. I helped this along by putting my bowl in the refrigerator after it had cooled on the counter for a bit. So, total time from start to finish was at least 2 hours for this side dish. Keep this in mind so you don't start dinner at 7 pm, thinking it will be ready in time! This might be a good dish to make ahead of time on the weekend, then just thaw it when you need it.

The next recipe is for Cilantro Lime Quinoa. This recipe came from Sarcastic Cooking's blog. The recipe includes a blackened chicken component to serve atop the quinoa. I also made this to accompany the quinoa dish, but simply used a blackened cajun seasoning I found at the Fresh Market instead of making my own seasoning. As I have posted before, I love this seasoning, so I didn't figure I needed to mess with a good thing! ;)

  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 2 limes, juice and zest
  • Salt and pepper, dash of each
  • 2 Tbsp cilantro, chopped

Add the chicken stock and quinoa to a medium saucepan.

Bring to a simmer over medium/low heat. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for ten to fifteen minutes with the lid on, until all the stock has been absorbed. Add the warm quinoa to a large bowl. Toss in the lime zest, lime juice, salt and pepper, and chopped cilantro.

Mix to combine. Serve with blackened chicken.

Instead of topping with the avocado cream sauce, as suggested, I drizzled the chicken with honey. I love combining the hot, spicy flavor of the Cajun seasoning with something sweet, like honey. The chicken was delicious, but I have to say that the quinoa is not something I would make again. Hubby informed me, after I had already made dinner of course, that he isn't a big fan of lime anything. Fail. I guess I had never discovered that before since I have never cooked with lime until now! So, he was really not a fan of this dish. One bite and he was done with it! :( I, on the other hand, did finish mine, but I added more honey to get through it. The flavor of the lime and cilantro was a bit too overwhelming and not very pleasant to me. Perhaps in a smaller amount it would be ok? It may be worth trying that way. If you do, let me know!