{Recipe} Szechuan Green Beans with Ground Turkey

Growing up green beans were always called string beans in my house.  Or at least that’s what I think they were called as each time I go to say green beans my brain desperately wants to say string bean.  STRING BEANS, STRING BEANS, STRING BEANS!  Okay I think I got it out of my system. =)

Oddly enough I have a few fond memories of cooking with string green beans.  I’m standing in the kitchen next to my grandmother (or mother) snapping off the ends of the green beans and eating a few along the way!  Green beans are one of those things I can eat cooked or raw.

But back to the recipe …

Do you ever have one of those days where you defrost meat and then none of your go-to recipes sound appealing? I’ve been having that happen to me frequently as of late.  The other week I decided to defrost some ground turkey for dinner.  Shepard’s pie, taco salad, turkey meatballs and a few of my other easy recipes felt just well ‘over-done’ … get it?! I’m so funny – well probably not, but I couldn’t help myself.

So yeah, anyways, it was time for something new, easy and healthy!  I was browsing Pinterest while contemplating dinner.  After doing a quick search-a-roo on ground turkey I had a few contenders.  The husband and I really enjoyed this new meal.  One of the best parts … it’s a ONE pot meal so relatively easy cleanup.

Recipe_SzechuanGreenBeansGroundTurkey

Recipe inspired by The Lemon Bowl

Ingredients
1 lb ground turkey
4 garlic cloves – grated
2 tsp ground ginger (or 1 tbs fresh grated ginger)
1 lb green beans – trimmed
½ cup chicken broth
1 tbs corn starch
3 tbs soy sauce – low sodium
2 tbs rice vinegar
1 tbs chili sauce (more or less to taste)
½ tbs sesame oil

Instructions
Serving Size – 4

Pre-heat a large wok or frying pan over high heat and spray with non-stick spray.  Add the ground turkey, garlic and ginger.  Break up the turkey and cook until browned.

In a small bowl, whisk together chicken broth, corn starch, soy, rice vinegar and chili garlic paste.

Once the turkey is browned, add in green beans and broth/soy mixture.  Cover and let simmer on low for 5-10 minutes.  Stir occasionally so the sauce doesn’t burn.  Add in the sesame oil.  Cook an additional minute or two then serve.

Serve with Israeli couscous or rice.

SzechuanGreenBeansGroundTurkey

This recipe has definitely grabbed a spot in our dinner rotation!  What’s an easy recipe you are digging lately?

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Postpartum Essentials for Mama

Don’t know about you, but I spent a tremendous amount of time planning for the baby.  In fact, I received the best compliment from my husband a couple weeks after Jellybean was born.  He said, “Great job planning, Babe.  We haven’t had to go to the store once.  You made sure we have everything we need for the baby.”  While we have clearly had to buy more stuff for our little girl since then, we did make it a good amount of time without purchasing anything.  But I digress.

I spent SO much time planning for baby I completely neglected myself!  Baby might come first, however I should have made postpartum planning for myself a higher priority.  Very little {okay, really zero} time and research went into what I might need.  I didn’t even bother surveying my friends to determine what the essentials were.

Please, PLEASE don’t be like me.  Do your research and ensure you have purchased stuff for YOU and of course for baby too! =)  As a new mama my mind was strictly on my newborn and if I had planned ahead for myself it would have made the first day or two at home a little easier.  Not to mention it would have saved my parents from running back and forth from Target to buy me stuff.  Hehehehe.

My postpartum must haves and survival items for post delivery include the following …

PostpartumEssentialsMama

GENERAL

Always Pads With Wings - Pretty standard item most women purchase pre-delivery.  The only addition I have to this is get multiple sizes and bring a few of your own pads to the hospital in case, like me, you don’t really like the ones the hospital provides.

Canon PowerShot –  I am all about my DSLR, however the ability to quickly capture moments remains key.  It’s lightweight and doesn’t take the ‘effort’ of shooting in manual with my Nikon D90.  Also easier to use for the non-shutterbugs, as well as increasing the odds you are present in future family photos.  Added bonus for this camera is it shoots well in low light … super helpful when trying to limit or completely eliminate using a flash on a newborn.

Belly Bandit – Although I didn’t purchase this or use it, because I didn’t learn about it until it was too late (boo hoo!) I would totally would have purchased it.  I heard good things from a coworker who had her baby shortly after me.  Just wanted to make sure it was on your radar.  :)

Netflix - Hello to the never-ending TV series!  Just hearing the theme song to Mad Men immediately takes me and the hubby back to the first few days and weeks home with Jellybean.  Having something to watch while nursing or while baby girl slept on me was so nice.  No commercials and I could start watching in the living room, pause it, and finish watching an episode on the iPad in the nursery.

NURSING

Soothie Gel Pads - These literally saved me from giving up on nursing.  The whole nipple cream as a necessity was 100% lost on me.  These soothie gels on the other hand … go buy them (or order them online) NOW!  Not trying to tell you what to do or how, but, yeah, buy them …  =)

Nursing Bras – I had purchased some nighttime nursing bras and they were a complete fail.  They provided no support and just didn’t cut it for me.   My mother was kind enough to buy like 10 different kids for me to try on and these were absolutely, hands down, my favorite.  Comfortable, supportive, reasonably priced and easy to unhook even when it was 2am and I was exhausted!

Nursing Tops -  Love these tank tops.  They were amazing for sleeping in and looked fine under just about anything I wore in the early days.  I love sweatshirts and since I had a winter baby knowing about this sweatshirt would have come in SUPER handy.

Water Bottle – There was something about nursing that immediately made me THIRSTY!  Baby would latch and I would be all “Hun where is my water?”.  My poor husband was constantly fetching water. :)  Not to mention nursing mom’s are suppose to drink plenty of water to keep their supply up.

CESAREAN 

High Wasted Underwear – We are talking granny panties to the extreme!  Just telling it to you straight.  I am doing you a favor saying this out loud … I promise … no one told me.  Regular underwear and my cesarean incision were NOT … let me repeat … NOT going to happen.  The incision was just way too tender.

Gas-X & Stool Softener – It’s somewhat embarrassing to say, but both these items are a must.  Sorry ladies … just keepin’ it real.  My doctor suggested the gas-x, which was honestly a life saver.  So yeah.  ENOUGH.  Said.  On to the next item…

Ibuprofen - 100% helps take the edge off the pain.  My doctor prescribed me with some high dose ibuprofen, but while we waited to have the prescription filled it was nice to have some in the house as back up.

Leggings and/or sweatpants – I seriously lived in sweatpants and leggings for the first few weeks (okay months) of Jellybean’s life.  For the first few weeks it was SO important to wear comfortable pants that were NOT low rise.  The incision was tender and limiting clothing rubbing on it, I think, really helped it feel better faster.

So moms, what postpartum must have items for Mama am I missing?

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{Recipe} Egg Soufflé

More accurately this is probably called an egg casserole, however my family calls it an egg soufflé.  Soufflé just sounds fancier and frankly a little more delicious.

I was first introduced to this recipe by my mother.  Her friend, Kathy, had given it to her (which I have since slightly modified).  We were hosting a Thanksgiving weekend brunch and needed something that was relatively easy to make.  The egg soufflé was a HUGE hit with my family as well as our guests.

As someone who loves and I mean LOVES brunch, the egg soufflé dish quickly became a staple item at almost all of the brunches I’ve hosted.  At birthday parties, holiday gatherings, baby showers and bridal showers alike this recipe has never failed to impress the guests!!

eggsouffle_recipe

Ingredients 

2.5 cups 2% Milk
8 oz shredded sharp cheddar cheese
5 Eggs (lightly beaten)
1 tsp salt
1 loaf French bread, crust removed and sliced
1/2 stick Butter

Instructions
Makes 6-8 Servings

Butter bread then cut into 1 inch cubes.  Combine milk, cheese, eggs and salt in a bowl.

Spray pan with nonstick spray.  Place buttered bread in pan.  Pour milk, cheese, salt and egg mixture over bread.  Place in the refrigerator over night.

Bake at 300* for 1 hour or until the souffle isn’t runny.  Note:  I’ve found sometimes it takes 1.5 hours.

Cut into 8 slices and serve immediately!

eggsouffle

I also recommend serving your egg souffle with a delicious Bloody Mary … or two :)

eggsouffle_bloodymary

Black Striped Paper Straws
What’s your go to brunch recipe?

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Pregnancy Amnesia

… well ladies and gentlemen it’s a real thing. I know. I know. Say it aint so! But, well, it just is.  I’m talking about the phenomena of somehow having amnesia about pregnancy after child birth.

pregnancyamnesia

If you are pregnant for the first time or maybe even the second or third (you go girl!) you are quite possibly thinking I am cray cray (yup cray cray I said it, what what!).  How could one EVER forget what pregnancy is like?

**I think lack of sleep and a lot of caffeine is giving me a little extra spunk today LOL.**

Calling – crazy party of one … slash thousands of other women all around the world who have come down with the same post pregnancy amnesia!

I read about this ‘amnesia’ thing-a-ma-bobby during my pregnancy and thought there is simply NO WAY. No way one could forget how this feels. I mean …

  • I am hot and “glowing”, like ALL the time
  • my fingers and feet are incredibly swollen
  • that belly of mine is HUGE. No I take that back belly is gi-freaking-normus and …
  • what about all the inappropriate things people say to pregnant ladies … thank you to the woman at work who asked me if I was ‘sure I wasn’t having twins’.
  • do I still have feet, because I. CANNOT. SEE. THEM!!!

And as someone who is almost 7 months post postpartum those were just a few of my not so amazing memories of being pregnant (after putting some thought into it).

Up until a few weeks ago I would have been right there with you. Pregnancy amnesia is a lie, a myth, just plain silly. Period.

And then … I off handily said to my husband “I miss being pregnant.”

He just looked at me. Smiled that gentle smiled of his (maybe it’s his you are a crazy woman smile, but whatevs) and replied “Babe, are you sure?”.

My response “Yes.” And I said it with some serious confidence.  To make good on my comment I followed it up with “I mean I miss having her with me all day long and the little kicks/movements she made.  And then of course there was the excitement and anticipation of her arrival.  Oh and having the baby bump was so fun.”

FULL STOP!

What?! Baby bump was fun … yup I’ve gone completely loco or pregnancy amnesia just has to be a real thing.

I even read my ‘Eviction Notice‘ post and the reality of being SO DONE with being pregnant flooded back to me … any yet … I still miss being pregnant.  Just a little bit.

The ‘not so fun’ aspects of pregnancy seem to easily fade into the abyss while the fun and happy preggo memories stand center stage.  Hindsight is 50/50 and all that. I guess.

So does this mean I’m ready for baby #2? Nope. Does this mean I have baby delivery (aka cesarean) amnesia? That would be a double NOPE!

I am not one of those women who just loved being pregnant (I know there are ladies out there who do), but it seems I might have enjoyed it more than I thought I did at the time. =)

Have you ever had a bout of the {not so} mythical pregnancy amnesia? Please tell me you have!

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Introducing Solids or Should I Say Purees

Being part of a ‘New Mamas’ group on Facebook has been such a blessing.  It has allowed me to get answers to questions I didn’t even know I had, share some of my own experiences as well as hear a variety of opinions on caring for a baby.  I only actually know (like talk to in person or hang out with) a couple of the women and yet I value everyone’s take on being a mom.

One of the topics discussed when I was anxiously awaiting JB’s arrival was when to introduce solids. I followed along with the conversation.  Some were introducing food at 4 months while others waited until 6 months.  At the time I made a mental note and thought to myself we would wait until 6 months.

Ha. So AMATEUR of me to make ‘decisions’ such as these when I had NO idea what caring for a baby would be like. At Jellybean’s 4 month checkup we got the go ahead from our pediatrician to being solids. She recommended starting with oatmeal cereal (skipping rice cereal).

Jellybean has always been a good eater and it seemed as though she was always hungry!  I often said to my husband “Should couldn’t possibly be hungry again” and then baby girl would demolish her bottle in record time.  We really couldn’t make it very long during the day between feedings.  As a result the husband and I decided we would go ahead and start solids at 4 months old since the doctor gave the A-OK.

I was so excited as we strapped JB into the highchair and mixed some formula with the oatmeal cereal.  She looked kind of confused as we moved the spoon to her mouth.  The oatmeal dribbled out of her mouth and down her chin.  Throughout the entire first solid food feeding Jellybean was breaking out some seriously hilarious facial expressions.  They were absolutely priceless!

Fortunately the husband and I were pretty well prepared and broke out the camera prior to giving her the food.  She went from looking pissed off to completely clam {see pictures below} in the amount of time it took to snap two photos!

JBFirstFood_FunnyFace

JBFirstFood

Guess she was adjusting to the spoon, new tastes, and the expressions on her parent’s faces.  See Sophi in the lower left hand corner of the picture?  She wasn’t going to miss out on all the attention Jellybean was getting.  :)

It took about two weeks for Jellybean to get the whole eating thing down. I was a little concerned after a week that we introduced solids for the first time too early.  So we took a little break.  When we re-introduced the oatmeal with applesauce, per a friend’s recommendation, a few days later we were in business!

We made such a big deal of saying “yum yum” and praising her that she developed an amusing association to being placed in the high chair.  As soon as we put her in the high chair the legs start going a million miles an hour, a huge smile emerges on her face, which is followed by shrieks and babbling.  I get the biggest kick of out it!

For the most part I am homemaking the food – I mean – purees.  Jellybean is a fan of apples, pears, sweet potatoes and prunes.  I decided to purchase pre-made prunes, because I just wasn’t interested in figuring out how to make them into baby food.  :)

We attempted to introduce peas - it was a total fail.  Jellybean gagged in disgust and then acted like she was chocking … which she wasn’t (thank goodness!), but it got my adrenaline going nonetheless.  We thought it was a texture issue so we offered her the pre-made kind and she still refused to swallow it.  Kid already has sweet tooth … not shocking considering how many sweets I ate during my pregnancy.

Next up on the list is cauliflower, butternut squash and maybe carrots. Though, I’m kind of afraid of carrots. Our friends told us the WORST diaper they ever changed was after introducing carrots. Oh my, the joys of parenthood. =)

Once baby girl is a little bit older I plan to have her try broccoli, zucchini and mango.  I’m really excited for her to acquire a taste for a variety of foods!!  How to keep up with the cooking and storage of all this baby puree is a little bit daunting.  Recommendations??

My favorite and must have items for baby girl eating ‘solids’ … I really think we should call it introducing purees.  The kiddo won’t be having a ‘real’ solids for a few more months, but I digress.  Favorite items for eating solids (so far) includes …

IntroducingSolids_MustHaves

OXO Tot Feeding Spoon  /  OXO Tot Roll Up Bib  /  Fisher-Price Space Saver High Chair / OXO Tot Baby Blocks Freezer Storage Containers / Baby Bullet Complete Baby Care System / Earth’s Best Oatmeal Cereal

And all of these, with the exception of the oatmeal, would be perfect items to put on the baby registry!

What was giving your baby solids for the first time like? Any suggestions for keeping up with homemade baby food?

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