Tuesday, May 3, 2016

May 1-9 Family Meal Plan & Grocery Haul VIDEO

My grocery shopping this month will be very different. We begin our move this month so I'm trying really hard to only buy what we absolutely need. With that said, I feel like I spent more money during this haul than what I normally do.

Between trying some new items, restocking spices and grabbing some things for the kitchen I wasn't able to stick to my goal budget. Not worried about it though. Everything will balance out towards the end of the month.

So here we are. I never made the white chicken chili from the last menu so that carried over to May. I love it when that happens. Less to buy, less to plan. Because we are moving my goal is to make sure we are completely emptying the fridge and freezer. 

What did you think of the haul? I can't believe we are in the final days of our time in Texas!

Monday, May 2, 2016

Oven Beef Brisket

Our grill is out of gas. Even if we had gas my grill master was playing in a basketball tournament this weekend so grilling anything was out of the question. I still wanted to try my hand at making brisket so I did a little studying online and found this recipe that seemed promising.

I wanted the smoky taste of the grill. My tastebuds craved that sticky smoky saucy flavor that Texas brisket is known for. The images on Pinterest convinced me to give brisket in the oven a try.

The only thing I did different was substitute the salt and garlic powder with a teaspoon and a half of garlic salt. 

I didn't get a picture of it but I also followed the steps of adding the bacon. I didn't use a whole pound like she suggested. Instead I did five strips across the top. That seemed like plenty.

I cooked the brisket on 225 for eight hours before following her instructions for the sauce and broiler. The sauce in this recipe is delicious. Do not be tempted to buy sauce instead of making it. You may regret it.

That crust from the broiler was perfect. I also want to share that I did not strain the bacon and onion out of our sauce like she recommends. I wanted to try a chunky BBQ sauce. Those little bacon bits in the sauce were like little morsels of heaven.

This hunk of love was served with mac-n-cheese and skillet fried cabbage. So southern, Texas and tasty. My husband took brisket sandwiches for lunch today. I picked up some hoagie rolls and he'll use that for his bun.

Have you ever tried making brisket in the oven? If not, give this recipe a try. 

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Lactation Cookie Recipe

lactation cookies recipe

When my milk first came in I was pumping anywhere from 8-10 ounces each time I pumped. Do the math on that. If you're pumping eight times a day, that's a lot of milk. 

When everyone returned to work (and left me all alone with these children), I wasn't able to pump eight times a day any more. Can I just tell you how hard it was for me to keep up with that schedule without help?

Between school drop-off, pick-up, soccer practice, soccer games and doctor appointments I was never home. I was given a hospital pump when I was discharged from the hospital. That thing is huge and it's not made for pumping on the go.

Needless to say my milk production began to suffer. My supply dropped to half of what I was pumping before during a good pump session. In an attempt to increase my supply I tried making lactation cookies.

lactation cookies recipe

My first batch was disgusting. (even though the pinner assured me they were the "best tasting" cookies EVER) I played around with the ingredients and the recipe below resulted in tasty oatmeal chocolate chip lactation cookies.

I am now regularly pumping five or more ounces when I pump. Not quite where I was before but not as bad as some of my worst pumps. The recipe yields about 3 dozen cookies.

lactation cookies recipe


* 1 cup butter (2 sticks, I know - I know)
* 1 1/2 cups sugar
* 2 cups firmly packed brown sugar
* 4 tablespoons water
* 2 tablespoons flax seed meal
* 2 eggs
* 1 teaspoon vanilla
* 2 cups flour
* 1 teaspoon baking soda
* 1 teaspoon salt
* 3 cups oats
* LOTS of chocolate chips (Just empty the bag in there)
* 2 tablespoons brewer's yeast 

* 1 tablespoon fenugreek

Preheat oven to 350. Mix the water and flaxseed in a small bowl. Let it sit for 5 minutes. Cream together the butter, brown sugar and sugar. Add the eggs. Add flaxseed mix and vanilla. Sift together the flour, brewer's yeast, baking soda, salt and fenugreek. Add dry ingredients to butter mixture. Stir in oats and chocolate chips. Bake on parchment paper lined cookie sheet for 12 minutes.

Note- I also made a batch using 1 stick of butter and half a cup of butter Crisco. Those cookies were amazing.

lactation cookies recipe

My cookies never come out in perfect little circles. I use a cookie scoop so I'm not sure why that happens. Maybe they're too close on the cookie sheet? Anyway - odd shaped cookies aside - these are really good and they have increased my supply.

Try them and let me know what you think! 

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Operation Snap Back: April Update

I have seen such a huge difference in my body since I started cutting out bad sugars. Drinking more water has helped too.

I have been sharing on Facebook some of the meals we've had. I'm still eating a lot of what I want but I'm switching out some of the bad carbs with healthier alternatives.

These bathrooms have the worst light. I can see the beginnings of what might be abs starting to push through. Honestly, if I never get my before Moses abs back I'd be okay with that. 

I have the Hollywood Trainer abs workout. I plan to start it again May 1. It's a good workout that I see results from almost instantly when I do it regularly. A friend of mine put me on to Lindsay Brin, google her. Her tips for postpartum tummy exercises have been extremely helpful too.

My friend uses a lot of her workouts. She's a Mom of four and she looks ah-may-zing. 

I'll be running (and possibly walking some) a 5k on May 14. I plan to continue training for that by doing my walk/runs with the boys in the afternoons. I also would love to get back into the gym for weights next month. I think I could benefit from some upper body training. I'd love to see my arms and back get right.

Now head over to Fatima's blog to see her April update for Operation Snap Back. Join the support group on Facebook and use the hashtag #OperationSnapBack to share your fitness journey. 

Monday, April 25, 2016

Braised Short Ribs...

calphalon dutch oven

Sundays are for supper. Sunday dinner was always such a big part of my life growing up. I remember my Mom or Grandma making the most delicious meals on Sundays. We'd come home from church and come right in to a hot dinner.

How did they do it?

My guess is that someone was up super early cooking while I slept. I can manage to do that sometimes but not as often as I'd like.

I love a good comforting Sunday dinner and I look forward to that time in the kitchen. I might dread cooking every other day of the week but not Sunday.

Sundays are when I try new things. I give myself time to cook without the pressure of getting food on the table by a certain time. This Sunday I tried braised short ribs in my dutch oven pot. I normally make them in the crock pot but not this Sunday. This Sunday I tried something new and it was delicious.

I started patting the short ribs dry before sprinkling them with kosher salt and black pepper. In the dutch oven I cooked some pancetta until is was nice and crispy. It didn't render enough fat (for me) so I cooked a piece a bacon and all was right with the world (and in my kitchen).

I dredged the ribs in flour before searing them. I was not patient and rushed through the searing. As a result my ribs were not as brown as I'd liked. Won't make that mistake again... Patience is a virtue.

I added all of the ribs back to the dutch oven. Sprinkled them with some dried rosemary. Poured two cups of chicken broth (cause I didn't have beef) into the pot. A dash of red wine vinegar. Added the bacon and pancetta. Cooked them in the oven for two hours on 325.

braised short ribs

They were fall off the bone good. Everything about them was good. They smelled good and they tasted like somebody's Grandma made them. 

braised short ribs

I served them with brussel sprouts and sweet potatoes. Is it Fall yet?

Friday, April 22, 2016

The Thing I LOVE Most About Texas...

In a previous post I mentioned how grateful I would always be to Texas because this is where we became a family. I would also have to say that another thing that I am very thankful for is the beautiful weather here. There are times during the year when the weather is just right and you can spend the entire day outside.

Those are the days that I will remember Texas for. As a kid my brothers, cousins and I played outside for what seemed like hours. The fun was endless. It is one of my goals as a Mom to give my kids that same love of playing outside.

We love going to the playground and going for walks. The new additions at the San Antonio Zoo have been fun to check out too. The kids love seeing all the animals. It has become their favorite activity. We went during Easter weekend and the weather was perfect for a day of walking and gazing.

No matter where we go when we're outside enjoying the Texas sunshine I always make sure that I pack plenty of water, snacks and food for the kids. Remember when I talked about packing a cooler? I do it when we plan to be outside for the day too. I like doing this because it keeps us from running in and out of the house. We also get to spend the majority of our day outside (the way kids would have it) when we don't have to leave the park or splash pad for a snack.

Ozarka® Brand Natural Spring Water is one of our cooler staples. All of the brand’s spring sites can be found within 100 miles of each other in East Texas. A big part of what Ozarka® does is help preserve the natural beauty of Texas by sustainably managing their spring sites in the Lone Star State.

It's a good feeling when you know you're giving your kids a local good for you product. Our hot Spring and Summer days are made a lot easier when I've frozen some bottled water to take with us. Visit the Ozarka® Facebook Instagram  and Twitter pages to learn more about #Ozarka Country. Use that hashtag to share what you love most about Texas!

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Ozarka® Brand 100% Natural Spring Water. The opinions and text are all mine.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Baby's Journey Smart Sync Baby Monitor Review

This post was sponsored by Baby’s Journey as part of an Influencer Activation for Influence Central. I received complimentary merchandise to facilitate my review.

A Mommy confession of mine is that I have never used a monitoring system. Like never. I was given one as a gift when Savannah was born but I never really saw a need for it. She was always so good so I never worried about her climbing out of her crib or doing anything else you hear about babies doing.

Then came Mikey. Mikey does everything that he shouldn't. I've been able to keep up with him but my days are filled with running up and down the stairs for one thing or another. 

Add Moses to the mix and I'm busy. I can't be in two places at once so when I was offered the opportunity to review the Baby's Journey Smart Sync baby monitor I happily accepted. 

Baby's Journey and AT&T are working together to launch a new baby monitor line that provides information about baby's health and wellness. This new baby monitor easily connects to wi-fi. It also has a built-in rechargeable battery.

I use the monitor in the boy's room. When I put the kids to sleep they are still wide awake. This never really was a concern of mine until Mikey and Moses started sharing a room. I like being able to see what they're doing before they fall asleep. The easy night viewing infrared LED gives a crystal clear picture at night.

I also love checking in on them in the morning. When I see that they're okay playing in their cribs it gives me the peace of mind I need before I take a few minutes for myself in the morning.

This system does so much more than baby sneak peeks. You can also log and track feedings, medications, diaper changes, weight, height and sleep. We use the AT&T Smart Sync mobile app to monitor the kids and log info too. It makes it so easy and convenient. My husband can use the app to see the kids while he's at work and I love that feature.

You can share photos to social media directly from the monitor by connecting to your Facebook and Twitter accounts. 

The monitors are now available online and in-store at Babies “R” Us locations. Get more information about them, the Baby's Journey Smart Sync baby monitor would make a great gift!