Dinner and the nursery

Hello everyone, I am back!!!

Well at least for the time being, I will probably be posting pretty sporadically since my time is very limited. I have been busy growing the baby belly and preparing for the new arrival. I also continue to work at the hospital part-time and work a contingent position at a smaller hospital in WI remotely from home. So to say the least it has been pretty hard keeping up with the blog with so much going on, but I promise to do my best!

Baby update: little Alanna’s (yes we decided on a name) last ultrasound was in June and measured slightly above average (in the 60th percentile). Everyone tells me that I have a tiny stomach, but I hide it very well since I am tall. My husband is afraid we are having big foot, but i assured him that the baby was not going to be that big. The doctor is predicting that she will be about 8#, but I am thinking that she will be tall like her mommy and daddy (YAY).

I will be 39 weeks on Monday, so only a week or so away from my due date which is August 6th.

On to the nursery:

I have been a busy bee preparing the nursery for Alanna over the past 4-6 months. It was nice to obtain what was needed over a period of time which allowed me to get good deals and also search for used items.

First on the list was a crib, the baby needs a place to sleep right? I decided to take a look at the options on Craigslist since this was a pricier item. However you have to be careful that the cribs listed have not been recalled and that they meet the current recommendations for safety. The one I found was fairly new and it met all of the safety requirements, yay. I love love love this crib, it fit my modern-simple style and it was about half the price of a new. The owner also sold me the barley used organic mattress and some very nice sheets.

Next I found the dresser at Ikea, which will also serve the purpose of a changing table. I liked that this dresser has a lot of storage and is long enough to put the changing pad along with other baby supplies. It is a great dresser for the price and Ikea is right down the road from us. I also wanted something that we could continue to use in her room as she grows.

I decided to go the cloth diaper route. Yes it sounds old-fashioned, but it is actually quit popular these days and can save you bundles of $$ and is better for the environment. No these are not your standard white cloth and pin diapers that your mom used when you were a little tike, these are the new and improved Cadillac version of cloth diapers. I decided to go with the BumGenius brand of cloth diapers since they have good reviews, are easy to use, and I can also purchase locally.

I found the glider and ottoman on Craigslist, this is another item that tends to be expensive so I looked at used first instead. The  glider is in great condition, and I had the cushions cleaned by a professional carpet and upholstery  company. We were then instructed by the cleaning company to spray the chair with Scotch-Guard  fabric and upholstery protector to prevent staining.

Then I decided that Alanna needed a book self to put all of her new baby books and decorations on. Lets just say Roy was assembling baby items for about 2 weeks, but I don’t think he minds since it means using his power tools. The Sloane White Leaning Bookcase came from Crate and Barrel. I picked this self since it was simple and modern just like the crib. It has the ladder effect so the bottom has room for a basket of toys, and tapers to smaller selves for the books and decorations. It fits perfectly in the nursery and is very sturdy and solid, however we did attach it to the wall for safety reasons.

I love vintage items and decorations, so the bookcase has a mix of old with the new. I put some of my old baby books, antiques, and keepsakes from family members onto the self which made it warm and personal. I love that we were able to incorporate meaningful items into Alanna’s nursery, like the small wood rocking chair that was made for Roy by his grandfather, and the wood elephant toy that was given to me by my grandmother.

Time for Dinner

This dish was a winner, easy and delicious.

Chicken Tamale Pie

  • 1/3 cup fat free milk
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon taco seasoning, divided
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground red pepper
  • 1 (14 3/4 ounce) can cream-style corn
  • 1 (8.5 ounce) box corn muffin mix (such as Jiffy)
  • 1 (4 ounce) can chopped green chiles, drained
  • 1 (10 ounce) can red enchilada sauce
  • 2 cups shredded cooked chicken breast
  • 3/4 cup shredded white cheese
  1. Preheat oven to 400°.
  2. Combine the first 7 ingredients (milk through green chiles), using just 1/2 tablespoon of the taco seasoning, in a large bowl, stirring just until moist. Pour mixture into a round pie plate (mine was glass) coated with cooking spray.
  3. Bake at 400° for 20-30 minutes. While corn is baking, toss the chicken in the remaining 1 tablespoon taco seasoning. When corn is done – it will be just barely set and golden brown – pierce entire surface liberally with a fork (it might stick a little bit to the fork). Pour enchilada sauce over top. Top with chicken; sprinkle with cheese. Bake at 400° for 15 minutes or until cheese melts. Remove from oven; let stand 5 minutes. Cut into 8 pieces.

Adapted from Pinch of Yum


July 25, 2012 at 3:30 pm 1 comment

Skillet Lasagna + Baby P

I recently had my second trimester ultrasound and everything is going well (currently at 19 weeks), we also found out that we are having a GIRL!!!!! We are so excited and could not keep this news a secret. Next project is picking out a name, this is going to be tough.

Just what this mamma to be needs, a meal that is easy to make and does not take hours to cook.

Skillet Lasagna

serves 5-6

1 Tb. olive oil
1 medium onion, diced fine
3 garlic cloves, pressed or minced
1 lb. total of ground beef or turkey (I used turkey to make it lean)
8-10 lasagna noodles, broken into 2″ length
24 oz.  favorite pasta sauce
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded
1 Tb. dried oregano
1/2 Tb. dried basil (optional)
1 cup ricotta cheese

You will need a large 12″ non-stick skillet with a lid.  Heat skillet to medium and add olive oil, saute onions until golden brown (5 minutes). Add garlic, stir about 30 seconds.

Add meat and cook until brown/done. Mix in pasta sauce and sprinkle the lasagna noodles (already broken) on top.  Make sure the noodles are in contact with the liquid, add water as needed to keep moist.  Cover and simmer 20 minutes.  Stir once in a while.  The pasta should be tender at the end.

Season with oregano, salt, and pepper to taste. Mix in ricotta cheese,  sprinkle with parmesan and mozzarella cheese.

Adapted from Whisk Together

March 13, 2012 at 11:29 pm 2 comments

Weekly Menu + baby Pierce update

I had my second prenatal appointment yesterday and baby Pierce is doing very well (healthy and growing). Today I am 14 weeks and 3 days. In about 4 weeks we will find out if it is a boy or a girl (Roy votes boy, I vote girl), we will be blessed either way.

Weekly menu:

Monday (meatless): Cheesy quinoa cakes

Tuesday: Crescent turkey dogs

Wednesday: Baked chimichanga

Thursday: Penne with Italian Chicken Sausage, Escarole and Beans

Friday: Leftovers

Monday night was of course meatless, I hope you enjoy.

Cheesy Quinoa Cakes

(servings 8 patties)

2 cups cooked, cooled quinoa (per package directions)
2/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons all purpose flour
2 green onions, thinly sliced
1-2 cloves garlic, minced
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/4 cup Panko bread crumbs
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Dash of cayenne pepper
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

Place all ingredients, except for the oil, into a mixing bowl and stir together until well combined. Allow the mixture to sit for 5 minutes.  Heat oil into a large sauté pan over medium heat.  Form ¼ cup patties with the quinoa mixture and place in the heated sauté pan, 3 or 4 at a time. Cook quinoa cakes for 3-5 minutes on each side, until golden brown.  Repeat with the remaining patties until all of the cakes have been cooked.

I topped the patties with leftover tomato sauce that I needed to use, and sprinkled with parmesan cheese. See recipe link if you prefer Roasted Garlic and Lemon Aioli.

(Recipe adapted from spoon fork bacon)

I make all of these meals that take some time and thought, and of course the one that is most convenient, least complicated, and slightly less healthy Roy goes crazy over. I will just never understand. Tuesday nights dinner was demolished by my husband, and stated that I should make this once a month. I have to admit, it was nice to make a meal that took about 15 min related to my decreased energy lately.

Crescent Turkey Dogs


Turkey hot dogs (Thomasville Turkey and Cheddar, 6 count)

I package crescent rolls (Pillsbury low-fat)


Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Unwrap crescent rolls and place on baking sheet. Wrap crescent rolls around turkey dogs. Bake for 11-13 minutes until golden brown.

February 8, 2012 at 10:42 pm Leave a comment

Woodard Hamburger Soup

I was recently talking with my mom when she brought up making hamburger soup for dinner, I thought to myself I need to make it. This dish is a staple in the Woodard household and ate it quit frequently  growing up. It is a recipe that can be easily thrown together with ingredients that you normally have on hand. When making this I was transported back to moms kitchen, the aroma triggered a feeling of comfort, and good memories.

Hamburger Soup

(Servings 6)


  • 1 Ib hamburger
  • 1 (15 oz) can tomatoes, diced
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 5 medium red skinned potatoes, cut into 1 inch pieces
  • 1 bag mixed vegetables, frozen
  • 1 cup water.
  • 2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp pepper


Heat large stock or chili pot to medium heat. Add onions and hamburger, season with garlic and pepper, cook until hamburger is well done. Add diced tomatoes, water and potatoes, simmer for 5-6 minutes. Add frozen vegetables and simmer for additional 5-6 minutes. Add additional water if needed to preferred consistency.

I personally like to top mine with ketchup once served.

February 3, 2012 at 2:39 am Leave a comment

Easy Peasy Sweet and Sour Chicken

Well I think that it is time to break the news, I am 13 weeks and 3 days prego. Yes you heard right, I am entering my second trimester. So forgive me if my post are not consistent, or I get pregnancy brain once in a while (or all the time, which appears to be the case). I am trying to make dinners that are not too labor intensive as I tend to tire easily, but I am trying to keep my life as normal as possible. My husband and I are really excited, and everything is going smoothly thus far!

I will keep everyone updated on my progress and food carvings (I can’t eat enough fruit).


Sweet and Sour Chicken

(Servings 4-6 )

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
Salt and pepper, to taste
1 cup cornstarch
2 eggs, beaten
1/4 cup canola oil
¾ cup sugar
4 tablespoons ketchup
½ cup vinegar
1 tablespoon soy sauce
2 cloves garlic, minced
Cooked rice

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.  Cut boneless chicken breasts into chunks. Season with salt and pepper. Dip chicken in beaten egg, then in cornstarch. Fry in a little oil until brown but not cooked through. Place in a single layer in a baking dish.  In a medium bowl, combine sugar, ketchup, vinegar, soy sauce and garlic.  Mix well and pour over chicken.  Bake for one hour, turning chicken halfway through cooking so it is evenly coated with the sauce. Serve over rice.

Adapted from Let’s Dish

February 2, 2012 at 2:56 am 1 comment

Weekly Menu + Meatless Monday

I thought I would take a slightly different approach and post my planned weekly menu. I am a creature of routine, so this plan works for me: 1) I find three recipes/meals that I would like to make each week and bookmark them to my favorites if online. 2) I make a grocery list based on these recipes, and any other items needed for the week. 3) Clean refrigerator, mark items off that I have, and throw out old food. 4) Grocery’s and organize.

Weekly Menu for 12/30

Monday (meatless): Black bean patties

Tuesday: Leftovers

Wednesday: Sweet and sour chicken

Thursday: Hamburger soup (family recipe)

Friday: Leftovers

Monday’s dinner was healthy, spicy and meatless:

 Black bean patties

(Servings: 8 patties)


  • 1 (15 oz) can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 red bell pepper
  • 1 large egg
  • ½ tsp oregano
  • ½ tsp cumin
  • 1 chipotle chile in adobo
  • 1 (6 oz) can kernel corn, drained and rinsed
  • ½-3/4 cup cornmeal or breadcrumbs (plus more if needed.
  • Olive oil


For patties, place half of the beans in the bowel of a food processor with half coarsely chopped bell pepper, egg, oregano, cumin, and chipotle. Process until smooth. In a large bowel, add remaining beans, chopped bell pepper, and smooth bean mixture from food processor.

Stir in the cornmeal or breadcrumbs gradually, mixing lightly until the mixture firms up. If needed add more cornmeal until it can be easily molded into a ball.

Form the bean mixture into patties approximately 3 ½ inches in diameter. Heat about 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large skillet of medium heal. Add the patties in batches, cooking until lightly browned and form, about 3-4 minutes per side. Serve patties with your choice of toppings (salsa, sour cream, avocado). See original recipe if you would like corn relish or avocado cream sauce (I personally did not have time to make this).

(Recipe adapted from Annie’s Eats)

February 1, 2012 at 1:50 am 1 comment

Yummy Dinner

I was craving pasta and cheese, one of the perfect but not so healthy combinations. As I was looking for healthier alternatives I found this recipe online and decided to give it a try. This fettuccine alfredo is a lighter version of the classic recipe; it uses light cream cheese, low-fat milk and a small amount of butter. A typical fettuccine dish can provide as much as 600-1200 calories per serving, so when I saw that this only provided 400-500 calories per serving I was thrilled.

Chicken Fettuccine Alfredo

(Servings 4 – serving size 1 cup)


1 Ib. boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into ¾ inch cubes

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 tablespoon butter

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 tablespoon all-purpose flour

1 1/3 cups 1% low-fat milk

1 1/4 cups (5 ounces) grated fresh Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, divided

2 tablespoons 1/3-less-fat cream cheese

4 cups hot cooked fettuccine (8 ounces uncooked pasta)

2 teaspoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

Cracked black pepper


Heat olive oil in large heavy skillet over medium heat. Add chicken and garlic, sauté until chicken is lightly browned.

Melt butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Stir in flour. Gradually add milk, stirring with a whisk. Cook 6 minutes or until mixture thickens, stirring constantly. Add 1 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano, cream cheese, stirring with a whisk until cheeses melt. Toss sauce with hot pasta and chicken. Sprinkle with remaining 1/4 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese and chopped parsley. Garnish with black pepper, if desired. Serve immediately.

(Adapted from MyRecipes, originally from Cooking Light 2007)

Nutritional Information (without chicken added)

Amount per serving

Calories: 399

Calories from fat: 30%

Fat: 13.5g

Saturated fat: 8g

Monounsaturated fat: 3.4g

Polyunsaturated fat: 1.1g

Protein: 21.3g

Carbohydrate: 48.9g

Fiber: 2g

Cholesterol: 34mg

Iron: 2.1mg

Sodium: 822mg

Calcium: 451mg

Nutrition Guidelines for Healthy Living

Cooking Light JANUARY 2007

January 27, 2012 at 1:38 am Leave a comment

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