Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Letting Go

Today I moved Charlotte to her own room.

It was time.

But it is so hard to let go.

She is my last baby to sleep in the cradle. The last baby I will roll over and watch sleep next to me.  The last one to wake me with her grunts and wiggles.

We also started putting her in the nursery during church.

I am a firm believer of these small steps of letting go. It makes it easier in the long run. For them. And for us.

While there are days that I am not ready, I know that it is what must be done sooner or later.

And every day she is cooing and smiling more. And feeling more and more like a baby and less like a newborn. Giving me more things to let go of.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Blueberry Corn Muffins

In my last blog I mentioned that I started working for Husk. "Husk is a local food system in Indiana—farms, processing, distribution, and retail grocery—which provides year-round access to local Indiana foods." It is a company that helps local farmers get their crop in stores for people like me to purchase. Eager to try their sweet corn in different recipes, I found one for muffins that sounded good.

This recipe was originally from Martha Stewart, but I found it via Pinterest here. I did a few things differently. First, I made 24 normal sized muffins versus the 6 jumbo ones that she does. I also added 8 ounces of Husk sweet corn to the mix. When it came to the amount of sugar for the tops, I just sprinkled some over the tops. I did not use a whole teaspoon since I made the normal size muffins

Blueberry-Corn Muffins

1 cup (2 sticks) + 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
3/4 cup sugar, plus 2 tablespoons for sprinkling
3 tablespoons honey
2 large eggs
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup yellow cornmeal
3-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 cup milk
1 cup blueberries

1) Heat oven to 375 degrees. Spray one jumbo muffin pan with nonstick spray. Set aside.
2) Place softened butter, 3/4 cup sugar, and honey in bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Beat on medium speed until fluffy, about 1 minute. Add eggs; beat 1 minute more.
3) Whisk flour, cornmeal, and baking powder together in a medium bowl; add to butter mixture in mixer bowl. Beat until combined. Slowly pour in milk, beating on low, until just combined. Fold in blueberries. Divide dough among muffin cups. Brush tops with cold water; sprinkle 1 teaspoon of reserved sugar over each.
4) Bake until tops are browned, centers are set, and a cake tester inserted in center of muffin comes out clean, about 30 minutes. Let cool in pans 5 minutes. Serve at once. Yield: 6 jumbo muffins.

Honestly, I was not a fan of the batter. It was not easy to get into the muffin pan. Maybe that was why she made the larger ones.  The recipe was easy to follow, but it took a little while to make them since the batter was so thick.

The Family Test:
They taste delicious. I was a little skeptical of the corn and blueberry flavors together, but it really is a pleasantly sweet taste. Ella does not like corn (so weird), but she gobbled her muffin up. She did notice toward the end of the muffin that there was corn in it and picked out a few kernels, but she kept saying the muffin was "so delicious" so I think it is safe to say that she likes them. Kaylee liked them as well.  Adam hated the corn and blueberry together. He thinks they should be separate flavors.

Will I make them again?
Maybe. They taste really good. But ease plays into my desire to make them again and since the batter was such a pain, it may be a while before I make these again. They also are not quick to grab in my opinion because they really are better if they are warm. Since I like the flavor, I am thinking I will try to find a healthier blueberry muffin recipe that I can toss some sweet corn in to get the same flavor without the sticky cornmeal batter mess.

They turned out pretty though.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Crock Pot Cream Cheese Chicken Chili

Jumping back into cooking after having a baby can be difficult. That is why I have been trying new recipes that look super easy and quick to make. I found this recipe a while back and have had it on my menu or a while. Honestly, I was waiting because I wanted to try it with Husk sweet corn since I am now working for them and still needed to buy some.

But once I had my supply of Husk, I was ready to try this recipe out.

Now for the Recipe:

Crock Pot Cream Cheese Chicken Chili
(that's a mouthful!)
2 chicken breasts, still frozen

1 can Rotel tomatoes

1 can corn kernels, do not drain (I used 8 oz of my Husk corn)
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 pkg. Ranch dressing mix
1 T cumin
1 t chili powder
1 t onion powder
1 8-oz pkg. cream cheese
Put the chicken in the crock pot.
Top with the tomatoes, corn,
the drained and rinsed beans,
ranch dressing, cumin, onion and chili powders,
stir to combine then top with the cream cheese.

This is what mine looked like. :)
Cook on low for 6-8 hours, stirring one or twice
 to blend in the cheese. 
Shred the chicken into large pieces
and serve over rice. (I cooked mine on high for 4 hours and my chicken fell apart on it's own.)
Can also serve in tortillas or taco shells.
Serves 4

My final product.

This recipe was super easy to make. You simply cannot beat recipes that you just dump everything in. And you don't even have to thaw the chicken or anything so this recipe could not get much easier. Seriously, the "hardest" part was whipping up some rice when it was time to eat. Not hard at all!

The Family Test:
Adam and I really liked it. One of my concerns was that it was going to be too spicy for my family because of the comments on this recipe and another similar recipe. It was not spicy at all! Adam's spicy gauge is usually in line with what the girls can handle and he thought it was fine. Kaylee ate all of hers without much hesitation so I would say she liked it as well. Ella did not like it all, but since she is 2 there really are not many things that I would say she does like so her opinion will not play into whether or not I make this again. Which is next.

Will I make this again?
Of course! It was so easy and tasty that I will definitely add this into my menu rotation. I served this with rice as the author recommended and will do so again, but I had my leftovers with chips and enjoyed that as well.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Spinach Muffins

In light of the new year and not being pregnant anymore, I am determined to get back into better eating habits as well as exercising.

So began my hunt on Pinterest to find things to eat that may actually taste good even though they have things in them that I normally would not touch.

Enter this recipe for spinach muffins from http://thegreenforks.com/.

Spinach Muffins
Serves: 16 muffins
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup whole-wheat flour
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • 1½ tsp ground cinnamon
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ¼ cup canola oil
  • ¾ cup milk
  • 1 (6 ounce) bag fresh baby spinach
  • ½ cup mashed banana (from about 2 bananas)
  • 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F and line two 12-cup muffin pans with paper liners.
  2. Whisk together dry ingredients in a large bowl: flours, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt. Set aside.
  3. In a blender, place oil, milk, and spinach. Blend on high for about 30 seconds or until completely puréed. Add banana and vanilla; blend on low just to mix.
  4. Pour puréed mixture into dry mixture and fold together with a rubber spatula until completely combined.
  5. Fill muffin cups about ⅔ full and bake 18-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
You can use 2 cups whole-wheat pastry flour for an all whole-wheat option. You can possibly use spelt flour too.

After buying all of the ingredients, I was certain that I probably was going to hate the muffins. But as Daniel Tiger says, "You have to try new foods because they might taste good!"

The batter looked disgusting.

The smell was a little offensive at first, but after adding the banana, was much more pleasant. They turned out to be surprisingly good!

The green color makes them fun!

These muffins were super easy to make. They did not have a ton of ingredients so they were quick to make as well.

The family test:
Everyone really enjoyed the muffins. Adam was definitely skeptical about trying them because of their color and because I told him what was in them, but he was surprised that he liked the flavor. The girls loved them and wanted to eat them all. I enjoyed having these for a quick to grab breakfast.

Will I make them again?
Yes! Definitely! Soon! I am planning on taking out the oil and putting in applesauce and switching out some of the sugar for brown sugar as well to see if they still taste just as good. 
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