Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Meal Database 2.0

Several years ago I created a meal database of our favorite meals. I refer to it often when I'm trying to figure out what to cook for dinner, but the list of meals I cook for dinner has grown over the years and the database was in bad need of an update.

  • Brisket
  • Taco salad {ground beef}*
  • Beef enchilada casserole {ground beef}*
  • Hamburgers (we usually go bunless and add awesome toppings like caramelized onions, bacon, and a fried egg) {ground beef}*
  • Warm, toasted roast beef sandwiches
  • Roast
  • Beef fajitas
  • Beef fajita quesadillas
  • Pasta with meat sauce {ground beef}*
  • Hobo dinners {ground beef}
  • Grilled steak
  • Stuffed bell peppers {ground beef}*
  • Beef and broccoli 
*For recipes that use ground beef, sometimes I substitute part or all of the ground beef with ground turkey.

  • Chicken enchilada casserole
  • Chicken spaghetti
  • Chicken with a balsamic glaze
  • Baked chicken breast
  • Crispy yogurt chicken
  • French fried onion chicken
  • Chicken fried rice
  • Chicken pot stickers
  • Chicken pot pie (drop biscuit or regular pie crust)
  • Chicken fajitas
  • Chicken fajita quesadillas
  • Chicken and sausage jambalaya
  • Chicken, sausage, squash, and onion bake 
  • BBQ chicken quarters

  • Pulled pork
    • We eat pulled pork a variety of ways, including on buns, in tortillas, or in bowls with jalopeno coleslaw!
  • Grilled pork chops
  • Pork tenderloin

Seafood (I've been trying more seafood, but haven't found a bunch of recipes that make the "regular" rotation yet)

  • Traditional breakfast for dinner (usually includes bacon and eggs plus one of the following)
    • Pancakes
    • Biscuits
    • French Toast
    • Apple Fritters (Often without the apples, lol)
  • Breakfast tacos (may be "regular" breakfast tacos or could include something like leftover brisket (brisket + eggs = great Texas breakfast taco!))
  • Pizza
  • Stuffed bell peppers {could be stuffed with ground beef and cheese OR breakfast sausage, cream cheese, and shredded cheese}
  • Lasanga
  • Chicken spaghetti
  • Pasta with meat sauce
  • Creamy pasta with chicken and bacon

Soups and such
  • Taco soup (ground beef)
  • Chicken enchilada soup
  • Chicken and dumplings
  • Creamy chicken, bacon, and rice (sounds weird, but it is yummy!!)
  • Potato soup

Favorite sides
  • Grilled corn
  • Corn hash (corn roasted with bacon, bell peppers, and onions)
  • Grilled asparagus
  • Grilled squash
  • Roasted broccoli or roasted broccoli and carrots
  • Roasted asparagus
  • Sautéed green beans
  • Sautéed broccoli or sautéed broccoli and carrots
  • Sautéed squash
  • Sautéed cabbage
  • Black-eyed peas
  • Mashed potatoes
  • German potatoes (still trying to master these!)
  • Crash hot potatoes
  • Oven roasted potatoes
  • Coleslaw
  • Jalapeno coleslaw
  • Asian coleslaw salad
  • Rice
  • Couscous
  • Cornbread stuffing (if I’m feeling ambitious)
  • Fried squash


Make Ahead Meals (or meals that require little prep AT dinner time)
  • Chicken enchilada casserole
  • Beef enchilada casserole
  • Roast
  • Country style steak
  • Chicken spaghetti
  • Lasagna
  • BBQ chicken quarters
  • Pulled pork
  • Beef and broccoli (if cooked in crockpot - I like it better NOT in the crock pot)

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

The First Day of School


Ella's first day of school interview:
  1. What do you want to be when you grow up? Any kind of doctor
  2. What was your favorite thing you did during the summer? Play in the pool with the cousins
  3. What is your favorite thing to learn about in school? Math
  4. What is your favorite color? Purple
  5. What is your favorite thing to play? Little legos
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Troy's first day of school interview:
  1. What do you want to be when you grow up? I'm thinking something with a ninja
  2. What was your favorite thing you did during the summer? Go to Disney World
  3. What is your favorite thing to learn about in school? Reading
  4. What is your favorite color? Red
  5. What is your favorite thing to play? Little legos
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I don't know how many posts I write where I feel like starting it out, "I can't believe it is already time for . . ." This summer flew by, and it is hard for me to believe that it is already time for the kids to go back to school. Ella and Troy have both been anxiously waiting for the first day of school, and I love their enthusiasm.

Troy, who has been an early-riser for some time now, asked Trent if he could "sleep a little longer" when Trent went to get him up, which we thought was hilarious and ironic. I think he had a great first day, although in some ways I think he was disappointed because it wasn't exactly what he thought it would be. The first thing he said to us was "I didn't get to use any of my school supplies!" He was pretty excited about getting to go to the library and touring the school.

I think Ella was a bit nervous about being in a new classroom with a new teacher because she had formed such a great bond with her first grade teacher. However, when we dropped her off, she seemed like an old pro who knew exactly what do. And, when she came home she was excited about her day especially that she got to make "Jitter juice" (I think something like punch), and that she already had homework. Last night Ella's teacher even called to tell us how she enjoyed having Ella in class, and wanted us to tell Ella that she was looking forward to seeing her again tomorrow. I appreciate that her teacher took the time to call us (as I'm sure she did with all the students).

We are looking forward to a great year, and cannot wait to see and hear about what they learn and experience!

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Happy 8 Months Annie!

I feel like so many things have changed this month! With every passing month you grow and change, but some months record more changes than others and this was definitely one of those months.

At the beginning of the month the entire family went to the Peach Valley AIM camp. The camp was a great experience, and you did SO well while we were at camp (with the exception of sleeping well at night, but that was nothing new!). You were good-natured and happy, and did much better than we could have asked! You loved being held by different members of the staff, and often fell asleep in their arms. One of the most exciting things about camp was the fact that it provided another opportunity for us to try the bottle, and you finally (kinda!) actually ate from it without acting like it was the worst thing we could stick in your mouth.
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And, after camp, we continued to try the bottle, and I can happily say that you now easily take the bottle! You can even hold it if you want to, although you generally prefer for someone to hold it for you. You continue to be a great eater, and are doing a great job letting us know when you want more food (you've figured out how to yell at us to tell us you want more). You can be quite vocal when you want more food! You are also very coordinated; more coordinated than I remember your siblings being at this age, but then again it all blends together. You do really well grabbing your bites of food and putting them in your mouth. There are usually very few puffs on the floor or in your highchair when you finish eating. You have two little teeth trying SO hard to poke through, but they haven't quite come through yet!

For a couple of months now you have been fairly stable when you sit, but this month you officially graduated to full-on unsupported sitting. It provides you great freedom, and I think you really enjoy being able to sit up on your own. You still are not crawling, and generally hate being put on your tummy (which is ironic since you sleep on your belly!).

20160803-VW4A3799.jpg Your personality continues to blossom, and while you have been charming us with your smile and laugh for a few months now, you really began interacting and reacting to us in a whole new way this month. Your facial expressions have multiplied, and our favorite is when you scrunch your nose in happiness (just like your brothers and sisters).

20160813-VW4A4187.jpg Over the past couple of weeks you've been generally sleeping better: longer stretches and more consistently. You still have the occasional night where you are up frequently, but those nights are becoming fewer and fewer (thankfully!).

Annie @ 7 months
Luke @ 8 months
Troy @ 8 months
(I didn’t start writing these monthly posts for Ella until she was 17 months old)