Friday, February 27, 2015

foodie friday : pancakes for Myles

I have tried to have a tradition of Saturday Pancakes whenever Kyle has a weekend off, but then we found out that Myles is allergic to eggs, and it got a little more complicated.  Once Myles was old enough to eat them, I started trying to find some toddler friendly pancakes ideas.  Since bananas are often an egg substitute in some recipes, I googled some eggless banana pancake ideas, and then put my own spin on them.

I didn't want them to be void of flavor since toddler + syrup seemed like a bad idea... and plain old banana seemed just a little dull.  So I made the batter, and then heated up and stirred in... some creamy peanut butter.  Cook them up silver-dollar sized and you have a wonderfully flavorful, minimal-mess, toddler friendly pancake.  No syrup needed.

eggless peanut butter and banana pancakes
inspired by this recipe

1 C All Purpose flour
1 tsp brown sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
dash of cinnamon
3/4 up to 1 C of milk depending how dense you like your pancakes.
1/2 of a very ripe banana mashed well
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp vinegar
~2 Tbsp creamy peanut butter warmed in the microwave (optional)

Mix together the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon.  Mash up your banana in a separate bowl; add the vanilla and vinegar.  Toss in your dry ingredients.  Add the milk slowly;  the original recipe called for 2/3C of milk but the pancakes were just ridiculously dense (as in the batter didn't smooth out into nice flat circles when I put it in the just glopped down and I had to kinda smash it flat); not the nice fluffy ones I like.  I would start out with 3/4 of a cup and see how that seems compared to normal batter you use, then thin it down if necessary.  I then warm the peanut butter in the microwave for about 20 seconds so it is easier to stir in to your batter.

Go ahead and fix a bunch of little pancakes.  You can let them cool off and throw the extras in a freezer bag.  I like to warm 2 or 3 up in the microwave for Myles straight from the freezer for a quick breakfast with some fresh fruit.  Breakfast is just so difficult with an egg allergy, Myles is refusing anymore oatmeal for a while and I don't feel guilty letting him have these... like the sugary cereal bars he may have been known to break fast with.  They aren't messy at all since I don't give him syrup and he LOVES them.

They really are pretty tasty with syrup too :).  Not just for toddlers.

Monday, February 23, 2015

winter staycation 2015

Back in November when I went back to Kentucky for Thanksgiving, everyone kept asking me when we would be coming back.  I wasn't sure how to answer because I knew we weren't planning any big vacations this year but we hadn't really talked about when we would make the drive.  My mom recommended us staying down here for this vacation since we would need to drive through the mountains to get to Kentucky and its just too iffy this time of year due to the weather; April is much less likely to have a freak snowstorm keep us from getting back.  I was starting to second guess our staying down here since it was in the 60s for most of last month.

And then we had an ice storm last week here in the Upstate, and our families have had a non-melting foot of snow.  And then Kyle got a stomach virus.  Smart thinking mom.

My mentors down here have continuously encouraged me to make a list of what I want to accomplish during this week of bliss.  So far it has only been a mental list... and I can already see that I really do need to write it down. Marked out items have been completed!!!

paint the kitchen.  explore the area.  go to IKEA.  switch television providers.  organize/rearrange kitchen cabinets.  go to the zoo as a family.  get time alone.  bake some cookies.  eat Henry's BBQ.  eat somewhere new.  get Kyle's car serviced.  get my car serviced.  go to the dentist.  get haircuts.  hang the newly framed painting.  repaint the chalkboard coffee table.  soak up family time.  

Friday, February 20, 2015

foodie friday : chicken and rice

I used to try to make up my own recipe of chicken and rice.  It was a bit dangerous.  Once it was pretty great. Another time the rice was underdone.  Another time I had too much seasoning.  Kyle was never much of a fan but I kept trying...because I was.

So when BHG popped up another recipe on my Facebook feed a couple of weeks ago, I jumped.  It sounded good, and I've never cooked with wine before.  Scandalous I know.  You can see the recipe here.

I had some trouble, because it called for "long grain and wild rice blend", but I couldn't find that anywhere that didn't have seasoning already mixed in.  Until I remembered that Uncle Ben's has a seasoning packet separately.  And it was the same measurement as in the recipe, so I decided that was what they meant without naming names... minus the packet.  Save yourself some grief and just use whatever long grain rice you already have in hand.  I was worried I would be missing out on some texture if I didn't have the wild rice..but I never even noticed it, so... use whatever you have in your pantry...except maybe minute rice... I think that might be mushy.  

The verdict... I liked it, but would DEFINITELY use cream of mushroom soup instead of the chicken and rice soup.  It needed the extra creaminess.  Kyle had they typical shoulder shrug response to stuff he is eating because thats what I cooked.

And Myles, well Myles took about two bites and refused it every time I tried to give it to him after.  He loves chicken.  He loves rice.  I don't have a clue about this issue except that this week he also has decided he hates sandwiches.  Toddler life.

I will definitely try this again, because I really did like it and it was pretty easy.  I do recommend it, with the change I mentioned above.  I really think that would give it exactly what I was hoping for in the beginning.  Please let me know if you try any of the recipes I share!  I want to hear from you!

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

toddler on ice

My parents had almost a foot of snow up in Kentucky by the time our sleet started down here in the Upstate.  It stuck to our deck first, and I was starting to get hopeful that it wasn't going to be cold enough to freeze on the roads, until Kyle came home Monday night.  Shortly after, our driveway turned white.

Thankfully, although everything was covered in a thick layer of sleet and topped off with a layer of frozen rain, Kyle made it quite safely to the hospital around 5:00am yesterday.  I majorly stressed for nothing.  Oh well.

I have to admit, this was as close to all of it I was planning on letting Myles get.  I had ventured out before he woke up and found it to be pretty solid ice, and I didn't really know if I wanted to deal with it alone.  But then everyone and their mother was posting photos on Facebook of their kiddos in the snow or ice, so I hated to be such a fun-sucker.  And Myles has only ever worn his winter coat once.

It had started thawing quite a bit by the time we got out there so it was at least crunching under our feet.  Myles did fall a couple of times but he seemed to enjoy it.

He took it nice and slow, but once you got near the trees, you started getting ice/rained on from above so he kept turning to head to the stoop in front of the front door.

So we went to the back yard.  Where he first headed toward the creek, and then once steered, decided he needed to go dig in the mud in my gardens.

So we went back inside.

Friday, February 13, 2015

foodie friday : copycat sausage and lentil soup

I have had a bunch of carrots and zucchini and lentils that needed to be used up so I found copycat recipes for Carrabba's sausage and lentil soup.  Soup is about the only way we enjoy italian sausage, and this soup was the one way I had heard Kyle say he liked lentils once upon a time.  

This was extremely easy to throw together (once Myles went down for his 4pm nap).  I remembered a recipe for a good crusty rustic bread that some friends shared with  me up in Louisville years ago.  I have never made it correctly, but I now have some bread making skills under my belt so I whipped the dough together during morning nap and baked it while I got the soup thrown together.  

I mostly followed this recipe, but used this for my spice measurements.  So my mash up of the two/adjustments for what I had is this:

Copycat Carrabba's Sausage and Lentil Soup

1.25 lb italian sausage (mild)
1 med onion chopped
2 carrots chopped
1 stalk celery chopped
1 med zucchini chopped
48 oz chicken broth
1 lg can (28oz) diced tomatoes
3 cloves of garlic minced
1 tsp salt
1 1/4 - 2 C dried lentils
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp dried basil
1/2 tsp dried parsley
1/2 tsp dried thyme
shredded parmesan to serve

Saute the sausage in your large pot until nice and brown, drain the fat and then throw everything in!  I did not add any extra water because I liked the consistency to be more like a stew at the end, but you can totally add water if you want to thin it down into a good soup, that is how all of the other recipes did it.  Let it reach boiling on high heat and then drop it down to med/low heat and cover.  Let simmer for at least an hour.

This had great flavor, I made it to get rid of my leftover lentils but I may actually start buying lentils more regularly to make this more.  Myles of course gobbled it up, and Kyle finally gave me a "that was good!" review.  So you know you have to make it now.  This makes about 4 qts of soup without being thinned down so definitely have friends over to share!

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

what we're wearing wednesday

I have heard so many times people be "sad" that their friend/kids/siblings are going to be having boys because girls are just so much fun to dress up.  I call bull.  Obviously they aren't looking at the boy section because come on!  

This is a favorite graphic long sleeve right now.  Shirt is Old Navy 18-24mo.  Unfortunately it is no longer available.  I bought it on sale back in December when I purchased the dress I shared last month.  The  corduroys are OshKosh 18-24mo that I found in perfect condition for $1 at SOS Thrift last week.  Doesn't get any better than that!  Vest was part of an outfit my grandmother got him last year (12mo... vests run huge!), and the shoes are Saucony, a Christmas present from Kyle's mom from the mini-man wishlist

Monday, February 9, 2015

weekend replay : surprise date

I mentioned last week that I had a little something up my sleeve for our Parent's Night Out the church was providing.  Generally, we take those opportunities to see a movie, but this time there wasn't anything we just had to see in the theater.  So since it is my goal to do some exploring outside of our normal spots in this still kinda-new-to-us city, I got to planning.  

Thanks to Lyndsey for the inspiration.  I don't think I have ever mentioned to her that we used to enjoy playing disc golf together when we first got married, but for whatever reason, she said, "you guys could go disc golfing since we have so many courses around here..."  Um. What?  

When we lived in Owensboro for undergrad, Kyle took up disc golf, and it was my kind of pace so I got into it as well.  They had 2 really great courses within 5 miles of our school/apartment so it was a great thing to do on our time off.  Then we moved to Louisville.  And the courses were about 30 min- an hour away.  I think Kyle played twice during his first year of Med-School and his discs have sat in the car ever since.  So I never even thought about it when we moved down here.  We have 3 courses within 15 minutes of our house.  Two of them are tucked back off of roads we frequent weekly.  (jaw drop.)

Kyle was on call Friday night so he slept until almost 3pm on Saturday.  I already had hidden his bag of discs in the back of my car and we loaded up as soon as he got ready.  We dropped Myles off at 4:00 and then I drove from the church to the 9 hole disc golf course nearby.  He was surprised!  We were both terrible at it, but it felt good to be outside together again!  With courses so nearby I think we might have our new family activity for Kyle's weekends off this spring.  I think Myles would enjoy "hiking" the courses with us if we don't try to get out there and think we could do a whole round.

Next it was time for dinner.  I have been wanting to go up to Traveler's Rest, a small community slightly north of us, for a while, and really really wanting to visit the Tandem Creperie & Coffeehouse.  This place was only another 15 minutes from where we were and worth the drive.

I didn't know to expect just a walk in and order type of place.  I sort of thought it was more of a sit-down restaurant.  It caught me off guard, but wasn't unwelcome.  It was just more of the coffeeshop feel.  

We each ordered a savory crepe.  Kyle got the Lumberjack which was the breakfast one with egg bacon and cheese topped with a little maple syrup.  I ordered the chicken and mushroom special.  They were both really good.

The real star though was the sweet crepe that we ordered next for dessert, and my Counter Culture cappuccino.  We both agreed to get the Tiramisu crepe and it did not disappoint.  

We aren't sure if we would ever drive up there for dinner at Tandem again.  Everything has eggs in it so its not Myles friendly.  However, we agreed that we would love to go back for dessert, especially to share the experience with family.  I have my eye on the blueberry cream crepe or banana nut for next time.  Kyle would love to try the key lime.  I think Kyle's only complaint was the drink selection.  They only serve coffee, hot tea, or water to drink or a handcrafted soda.  Kyle only drinks soda or sweet tea with his meals so he wasn't super happy with his options since he doesn't drink coffee.  He got the handcrafted pomegranate soda but it just wasn't his thing.

It was a fantastic date which only took 2.5 hours to complete.  So I drug him to Old Navy to have some toddler-less browsing time and scored a pretty cute dress with his help.  It was exactly what we needed.  We really had some great conversations and got to enjoy each other, something sitting in a movie theater just doesn't allow.  

Friday, February 6, 2015

foodie friday : southwest turkey chili

I have made this recipe several times.  I first encountered it at a chili supper for the science department back in undergrad.  The Biology Chair's wife fixed this Southwest Turkey Chili and was thrilled to share the recipe with me.  I have done this with both ground turkey and shredded turkey, with and without "Rotel".  It is pretty good no matter which way you fix it.  It makes a really big batch though so I saved this for when I knew I was sharing food with the newest parents in our Surgery family.  Also, make it in a large crock pot.  You really want these flavors to have all day to build.

Southwest Turkey Chili

2 Tbs vegetable oil
1/2 C diced onions
1 1/3 C diced green bell pepper (or more if you really like it)
3 Tbs minced garlic

into the pot
4 1/2 C chicken broth
4 1/2 C (probably less...) water
2 Tbs sugar
3 Tbs ground cumin
2 1/2 Tbs chili powder
4 tsp paprika
4 tsp dried basil
1/2 tsp oregano
2 Tbs+ cilantro
3 cans (drained + rinsed) beans 
1-2 lbs cooked turkey (you could also do chicken!)

Cook in your slow cooker all day on low.  I usually add 6 Tbs of cornstarch mixed in cold water until dissolved then poured into the pot.  Your soup has to be simmering for the cornstarch to thicken it.  You may even want more if you did the full amount of water.  If not, then probably start out with 3 Tbs of cornstarch first.  This is just a personal preference for how thick to get it.

I believe I will probably cut back on the water next time, I have a really hard time getting it as thick as I would prefer no matter  how much cornstarch I add.  

You can choose whatever beans you want, I just like the look of adding 3 colors, which also brings in different nutrients to the pot.  Just make sure to rinse them before you add them to your crock pot to cut back on some of the salt.  

There are a lot of spices listed, but there is really no spiciness to this soup.  You could add some fresh diced jalapeƱo or maybe buy the hot "Rotel" if you wanted it.  This may have been a good time to have used some more of those canned chipotle peppers I have left from the Cowboy Beef.

My favorite way to eat this is with a dollop of sour cream and some cheese.  And a few Mexican cornbread muffins.  Myles favorite way to eat this is any way that it gets into his face the fastest.  

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

currently : Feb2015

hearting : Always this man.  He does his best to be good at his job, be a good husband, be a good father, and he is blowing me away at his pursuit of the Lord throughout the week.  I may get frustrated with him quite often but he is a constant source of encouragement and I am so happy when he comes home to us.  And as of yesterday, we have officially been a couple for 9 years.  

reading : for a while now, I have been wanting to find an older woman down here to become my mentor to help guide me through being a mom and a wife and a homemaker, and to point me toward the Lord; well I found two. The sisters in our small group are now meeting with me weekly and we are working through Feminine Appeal by Carolyn Mahaney together.  It is based on the teachings found in Titus 2.  I appreciate that Carolyn so far is using real, honest examples of her life to get the point across, and that there are good questions in the back for each chapter, to guide our conversations.  And some of those questions are homework to talk to our husbands about.  

googling (I don't pin) : with a toddler, working in the kitchen is really frustrating.  While big scary areas are locked down, others are not, and a lot of the frustration is exacerbated by the fact that my kitchen just really needs to be rearranged.  Lately Myles' focal point is the drawer with the baggies and wraps in it... So I am googling all sorts of ways to make that sort of stuff easily accessible in the higher cabinets instead of in the low drawers.  I just need to move everything in the kitchen around one day.

eating : I noticed this big candy bar in Aldis the other day... so I bought it.  I was pleasantly surprised that inside the giant bar is 4 individually wrapped smaller bars.  And it is slightly spicy deliciousness.  Myles is rather in love with it too.  Yeah I'm a rockstar mom... (major eye roll emoji here).

anticipating : Kyle is working on Valentines day.  All day.  Not that we would really do anything anyway... But wouldn't you know, I received an email from the church last week letting us know that they are giving parents a night out this Saturday the 7th!  We don't have our plans nailed down yet, we usually go to a movie, but I might just have something up my sleeve this time!

I'm linking up with Anne and Jenna today!

Monday, February 2, 2015

medical monday : importance of the rank list

There may not be an official link-up anymore for the Medical Community to meet up, but that doesn't mean there isn't information and stories to be shared!  I'm not necessarily going to make this a typical thing but I did have stuff I wanted to share during this busy time for medical students finishing their interviews and making their NRMP Match lists.

Over the past 2 years I have posted a lot of things pertaining to our personal journey getting to where we are currently (into our 2nd year of Kyle's Gen Surg residency program in a completely new state with our first house and first kid).  You can read more in the links at the end of this post.

This post is about the importance of your rank list.  Real life style.  We were lucky when making our list that our #1 choice was also the city that we liked the best with the program with the best perks, but after filling that #1 spot in our list making, it got a lot more murky.  Thankfully, we got our #1 spot on Match Day.  And we don't regret it one bit.

Not only is Kyle extremely happy here, but I am as well.  Sure we could have made members of our families much happier by staying put in Louisville, and I would have probably been fine with staying where we already had a Community of support with nearby babysitters, but Kyle most likely would not have been nearly as happy in his program as he is here, and that would have seeped into our daily lives.  Kyle is legitimately friends with his coworkers, I am legitimately friends with their wives.  We have never been made to feel "bad" for having a baby during first year; in its own way, this program has been very "family friendly" for a Surgery program.  We never felt weird bringing Myles along to the interview dinners, and several of the other residents would immediately take him from us so we could be sure to eat.  

But it isn't just that, in the past week alone, I met a few of the girls for our monthly get-together, this month, our hostess of the month, Julia, picked a painting class for us and brought a ton of snacks while Beth brought the wine.  I was pretty exhausted from my day with Myles but it was exactly what I needed.  Such a great time with those girls every time we are able to hang out and just have others who understand this life.

Later in the week, I got to be a part of a meal train that was organized for one of our new moms in the program. Her husband was on nights so she needed someone to just hang out in the evenings so she could talk to someone that could actually talk back to her for a little bit.  Getting to meet baby Jack was a big bonus to my week! Thankfully Kyle was able to be with Myles during both of these events so I could participate and see my friends.  

Then, this Saturday was the big yearly exam for our residents, the ABSITE (American Board of Surgery In-Training Exam).  Its kinda a big deal.  So every year (weather permitting), their Program Director (who takes the test with them), invites everyone who isn't working afterward, out to his farm to eat some chili and do some skeet shooting with shotguns!  It was a great way for everyone to just chill out after months of studying, even if the main topic of conversation was the test.

I cannot tell you how important it is to consider your happiness when making your list.  Don't just pick a program because it is "the best in the country".  Pick it because the residents you meet seem to really like each other and you can see yourself fitting in with them.  Pick it because it is what is best for you and your spouse.  Pick it because the location has things you will love to get out and do.  Of course there isn't much time outside of some residencies, but there is time, and if you have people around you and stuff to do that you love, it makes the bad days a mere blip on your way to your much coveted days off. 

Past posts of information