Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Pizza pizza!

I normally feed Connor really well rounded meals: meat, veggies, fruit.  Unless he’s eating pasta (with meat sauce) or the occasional sandwich, I don’t usually do any carbs with his meals as he tends to get those with snacks.

If only I ate as healthfully as Connor…

But I’m not a complete mom-ster.  Connor gets occasional treats and last night, he had some of my leftover pizza (from Monday night’s girls’ dinner) for dinner.  Thin crust with mushrooms and pancetta.  I didn’t even heat it up since I like my leftover pizza cold.

Guess who else likes his pizza cold?


I cut up most of the pizza but gave him a little slice to gnaw on and he did pretty good using his few front teeth to tear off a few bites.





(For the record, we rounded out his dinner with sweet potatoes, a little pork tenderloin, and some blueberries.)

I love that Connor’s still so open to the majority of the food we give him.  He can be iffy on meat (no plain grilled chicken for his kid), but he’s really good about eating everything else including veggies like cauliflower and green beans, and fish is one of his favorite foods.  Fingers crossed that these good eating habits stick around and continue to get better.


Happy Hump Day!

Monday, April 27, 2015

{Recipe Recap} Malted Chocolate Cake

We had a “gathering” on Saturday: just our nearest and dearest hanging out, no big deal.


I differentiate between a party and a gathering by how hard I have to work to get ready for the event.  In this case, I only made four things (and three of them were treats!), I didn’t do any extra cleaning other than the usual weekend stuff, and people brought food to share.

Karis came with Shawn and Vanessa, and Connor, ever the gentleman, let her ride in his walker.  He showed her how all the fun buttons worked and even tried to push her a little.



(Vanessa and I can’t wait to display all these pictures of them at their rehearsal dinner.)

But back to the food.  I rarely make cakes and when I do, they are typically the 9 x 13 type.  But I decide to do a layer cake this time, just something a little more special.


Chelle isn’t a fan of malt, but the flavor isn’t prominent in the cake (disappointing to some of us) and she said it was a delicious cake.  I can’t argue with her, it was quite tasty.


I loved the frosting.  It was silky and unlike how I like and need it for cupcakes, it was very smooth and creamy.


I appreciated that this recipe just doctored up a cake mix.  Easy is always good.


Once we had our fill of munchies, sweets, and pineapple margaritas, we ended up having a dance party in the den.  Jeremy came prepared with his music and even a fancy party light.  Who needs the clubs when you can push the coffee table out of the way and get your groove on without paying a cover?  Another perk?  No long lines in the bathroom!


I think Heather and Jennifer headed out just before we snapped this selfie, but I need to include them when I say that I am incredibly lucky to have these amazing ladies in my life.  Love you girls!


Friday, April 24, 2015

All about me!

Well, me and my little family, that is.  But today IS my birthday so when better to bombard you with pictures of the McHusband, Connor, and me?  At least they are really good pictures and not from my cell phone or my version of good picture taken with our nice camera.














Kelsey Jones of Kj Photography was our photographer and she was wonderful to work with.  I had to reschedule because the weather turned frigid the morning we were supposed to get together and she was so accommodating.  I got way more pictures than I expected, and she told me that if she had edited any and I wanted something different, just let her know.

She is very affordable, and I loved that I was able to download all the pictures so that I can do what I want with them.  If you are looking for a photographer in the Raleigh area, please consider Kelsey.  Check out some of her work on Facebook.

So back to that milestone I mentioned way up at the top.  Yep, today’s my birthday.  The big 3-6.  That seems so much older than I feel or imagine myself.  In my head, I’m stuck closer to 30 or so.

I’m celebrating by taking the day off work, dividing my time at home as evenly as possible between productively and couch potato-ness, getting a haircut, picking Connor up early, and enjoying one of the best white pizzas I’ve ever had (from Garibaldi Trattoria) for dinner.

Oh!  Did you guys see the new blog header?  It was so far overdue for an update.  Neither dog is still with us, Connor is over a year old, and the McHusband hasn’t had a bare chin since maybe the Christmas after that picture was taken.

The end(s)!


Wednesday, April 22, 2015

JT’s special guest

So maybe this made the rounds through Facebook soon after the concert last December, but since I’m not privy to that stuff, I am sometimes a little behind.  If you’re back here with me, then enjoy it for the first time!  And if you’ve already seen it, well, watch it again.

I tried to embed the video here, but I got errors and I was too annoyed to keep trying to find a way around them.  Let me tempt you to YouTube with these crumbs.

Justin Timberlake.

Garth Brooks.





Check ‘em out here.

Happy Hump Day!  I’m looking forward to a free lunch al fresco today.  Which Wich sent me a coupon for my birthday, which is Friday, and I’m not letting it go to waste.

Monday, April 20, 2015

{Recipe Recap} Egg, Sausage & Spinach Casserole

No, it’s not something sweet for your Monday, but I promise it’s worth reading about.  I’ve been making this breakfast casserole for a while now and I never get tired of it. I don’t mind making it because it’s so simple, and it’s so good that I can eat it four to five days a week and my taste buds have yet to go on strike against it.


I use the Jimmy Dean precooked turkey sausage crumbles.  They have great flavor and only less slightly importantly, all I have to do it open the package and dump the sausage into the beaten eggs.


If I have pre-shredded cheese in the fridge, I’ll usually throw some in – maybe 3/4 of a cup or so.  But it isn’t a necessary ingredient.  I also like to make this with a can of diced green chiles.  Actually, I’d prefer to use jalapenos, but Connor eats this and I don’t want it too spicy for him.


The most important thing when making this casserole?  Really drying out the thawed spinach.  If you don’t, the casserole can be kinda gooey in the middle and it’s just not appetizing.


Connor was due for a snack yesterday and this was on the counter cooling.  So I cut out a little bit for him and he gobbled it down.  Then I cut him some more and he scarfed that down as well.  I couldn’t have him eating any more of my breakfast for the week so I distracted him with some mandarin oranges.  Crisis averted!


Guess what?  This recipe is a Stephanie original so no link today, just the actual recipe.  Hope you guys try it and like it.

Egg, Sausage & Spinach Casserole


  • 12 to 16 eggs
  • 10-oz package frozen chopped spinach
  • 1 bag Bob Evans turkey sausage crumbles
  • 1 can chopped green chiles
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried mustard
  • Optional ingredients: shredded cheese, sauteed veggies (I’ve done mushrooms and bell peppers), cayenne pepper, jalapenos


  1. Thaw spinach and drain well.  Really dry it out.
  2. Beat 12 to 16 eggs in a large bowl.*
  3. Add spices, mix into eggs thoroughly.
  4. Add turkey crumbles, spinach, and any optional ingredients.
  5. Pour into a greased 9 x 13 pan.  Bake for 30 minutes or until set and a sharp knife inserted into the center comes out clean.

*I used 16 eggs yesterday and had to bake mine for 37 minutes.

PS  Happy Birthday, Jenny!

Friday, April 17, 2015

SC + Henley’s first birthday

The McHusband and I each worked about half a day last Friday before packing up and hitting the road just before 2:00. Our destination?  Clover, SC, where the McInlaws live now.  We spent the evening visiting with them and the next morning around 9:30, we headed further into SC to Anderson for cousin Henley’s first birthday party.

Our party animal kicked the trip off with an hourlong nap, which was exactly what I wanted.  For him.  I mean, sure, I would’ve liked to have napped as well, but…


Kevin and Jenny grilled burgers, brats, and hot dogs, served chips, pasta salad, and fruit, and also had mac and cheese, which is one of Henley’s favorite foods.  I gave some to Connor and he promptly spit it out.  I don’t know if it was the texture or the taste, but he was not a fan of the birthday girl’s beloved noodles.  I haven’t ever given it to him so maybe it’s just that he’s not familiar with the flavor.  But still – noodles and cheese?  What’s not the love?!

Henley had her cake outside. 


Or, I should say, we all watched Henley NOT have her cake outside.  She wasn’t really into it, but later when she was given a couple of cake pops?  Those she devoured!

It was such a beautiful day that we spent the majority of the afternoon either all the way outside or on the screen porch.  Connor checked out the decorations on Henley’s high chair,


Waved to everyone from the middle of the room,


Talked on the “phone,”


And practiced his climbing skills, ones he has worked very hard to perfect this week.


Connor then took a good afternoon nap while we visited a while longer and we rolled out at 6:30, getting back to Clover at 8:15.  What a wonderful day of celebrating sweet Henley’s first birthday!

(I apologize that this post doesn’t have more pictures or better pictures, but I forgot to pack the real camera.  Doh!)

Friday Friday Friday!  No big plans for us this weekend.  I finally made it to the Y last night for my first exercise besides walking in a week, and I hope to keep the momentum going with my PHX class on Saturday and then being back on track next week.

PS  Happy day-after-your birthday, Shannon!

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Blogging blahs

I haven’t been a very good blogger lately, have I?  The problem is twofold: I’m just not that motivated to type-type-type away once I sit down at night.  And even when I am, I don’t have much to write about these days.

Up at 5:25, get ready, be with Connor, leave by 7:15 for work.  Leave work at 4:45, commute for at least 35 minutes (last night was an hour), pick up Connor and tend to him.  I might work out, depending on the night and my mood.  Then I shower, get things ready for the next day, and I’m lucky if I have a whole hour to myself to catch up on some TV and play on the internet before hopefully getting into bed by 10:00.

I know, pretty exciting, huh?

We did travel to SC this past weekend to celebrate Henley’s first birthday so maybe I will get around to a quick post with a few photos by Friday.  In the meantime, The Walking Dead finale is on and I think I’m going to give it my relatively undivided attention.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

“Sugar is good!”

We went out to dinner for Jennifer’s birthday this past Saturday.  The restaurant brought her some sopapillas with three sauces: chocolate, whipped cream, and warm honey.  Connor had already eaten a small dinner at home and then he ate some quesadilla and refried beans and fajita chicken so he deserved a little dessert.  As you can see from the video, he was a big fan of the chocolate sauce.

(See the video bigger here)

He had done the “Yeah!” plus the hands and throwing himself back three or four time without any prompting when I finally decided to record him.  And then, of course, he needed a little encouragement to keep the act up, but once he was in his groove, he was feeling good.

I sure love this kid!

Monday, April 6, 2015

{Recipe Recap} Brownies with Malted Milk Ball Frosting + Easter weekend

I hope everyone had a good Easter, or at least enjoyed an Easter weekend that was a day longer than the normal weekend.  Like I told you guys last week, we had our family pictures in a park Friday morning, and I hope the photographer got some decent group shots of us.  We’ll find out in a couple weeks…

Saturday night, the McHusband, Connor, and I joined Terry, Vickie, Zachary, and Jennifer at On the Border for Jennifer’s belated birthday dinner.  Well, you know I can’t show up to someone’s birthday dinner without a treat!  Luckily, Jennifer was on board with malted milk so I whipped up a batch of brownies real quick that afternoon.  You may’ve seen my sous chef over there on the right helping me with clean-up duty.

I cheated and used a Duncan Hines boxed mix for my brownies.  They weren’t the star of the show so there was no reason to go all out making them amazing.


The main attraction was definitely the frosting.  I’m not even sure I’d say that the malt flavor came through super strong; it just worked extremely well with the rest of the flavors and made for a delicious frosting.


We liked these cold straight from the fridge.  Chilling the brownies let them be fudgy but a little firmer and the frosting was thicker and less gooey.  However, I had several of these at room temp, too, and I wouldn’t turn them down either way!


In case you’re wondering why my frosting is so colorful, it’s because I used those Robin’s Eggs as my malted milk balls instead of regular Whoppers.


I am already looking forward to using this frosting again, and I hope it won’t be NEXT Easter before I do.


Speaking of the holiday, let me show you a little bit of ours.  It was a fairly normal Sunday around here with house stuff, a long walk, and food prep.  And we might’ve had a visit from a certain oversized bunny.  He left behind some useful things like two hats and a swim shirt and didn’t forget Connor’s sweet tooth, leaving him some marshmallows.  A kids’ CD rounded things out.


The weather was gorgeous so we took advantage as much as we could.  The McHusband aerated and seeded the backyard and even put down some sod in one area.  I was pushing Connor in his swing and he was mesmerized by the mower.


You can see on the Instagram video that Connor’s turning into a little pro with his walker.


And he may be saying his first official word: bah! for ball.  He has some words that have meaning to him, and while he says “mum-mum-mum” and “dah,” I can’t say for sure that he means mom and dad when saying those things.  So yeah, “ball” may be his first word.  I just hope “mom” comes before “Monte!”

Hope the oversized hare was good to everyone!

{Frosting recipe}

Friday, April 3, 2015

{Recipe Recap} Frosted Lemon Sugar Cookie Bars

TGIF and hallelujah!  Bring on the long weekend!  We are kicking things off with family photos in a local park this morning then Connor will go to daycare, and the McHusband and I get to go home.  He will be productive, I’m sure, and I plan to mostly veg (and look good doing it!) til I pick Connor up between 3:30 and 4:00.

I know some people do a big Easter dinner and any fancy dinner needs a dessert or three, right?  If you’re looking for something light tasting and spring-y, then these cookie bars are for you.


I made them last weekend when some friends came over to hang out.  I must’ve been on a citrus kick because the other thing I made was a pitcher of pineapple margaritas.  Chelle and Vanessa, wait until you guys try them!


But back to the treats.  I didn’t think the frosting tasted lemony enough with just the juice so I added maybe a teaspoon (but start with half and taste first) of lemon extract, too.


These were very easy to throw together.  Minimal ingredients, no fancy techniques…  This was my kind of recipe.


Now I just need one of my blogging buddies to come up with a chocolate version…


{Recipe very slightly adapted from here}