Monday, October 31, 2011

Shepherd's Pie

This is a food I never thought I would have liked, but I tried it last week and was not disappointed!  The undergraduate nutrition program at U of H has a commercial food lab that they turn into a restaurant once a week.  They feature a different dish each time.  I went there for lunch last week with some of the nutrition professors and shepherd's pie was on the menu.

I decided that it couldn't be that hard to make, and I could even make it healthier.  I looked at a few recipes and made a few changes and came up with dinner for tonight!

1 box instant mashed potatoes (you need about 4 cups)
1 pound lean ground beef
2 tablespoons corn starch
3/4 cup fat free, low sodium beef broth
2 tablespoons ketchup
12-16 oz bag of frozen mixed vegetables
paprika (optional)

Prepare mashed potatoes according to directions on box.  I used light butter and skim milk to lessen the fat content.  You could use real or left over mashed potatoes - but, I'm lazy and there are never left over mashed potatoes in my house.

Meanwhile, brown ground beef until no longer pink.  I would have like to have added some onion here, but I didn't have any - just for some extra veggies.

Drain off any fat.  Add corn starch and cook for about 1 minute longer.  Add beef broth, ketchup and mixed vegetables.

Cook for about 5 or so minutes - until veggies begin to soften.  I put them in straight out of the freezer, but thawed would work too.  Pour meat mixture into a 9x13 casserole dish.

Spread mashed potatoes on top.  Ideally they would cover the meat mixture, but I waited too long to spread the potatoes and they had slightly cooled so they didn't spread as well and it didn't look as pretty!  Add a few dashes of paprika to the top for some extra color.

I made this last night and put it in the fridge over night so it needed to cook a little bit longer to warm - about 30 minutes at 350.  If you are putting it straight in the over, 20 minutes should be good.

Looks just like it did before it went in...should be good for lunch tomorrow too!  

And...I'll leave you with some cute Halloween pictures of our niece and nephews in their Halloween costumes!  Can't wait to dress Sawyer up next year =)

Brody & Blake as little Reveilles

Cora the owl - clearly related to me going after that second box of Nerds!!

Sunday, October 30, 2011

34 Weeks

I didn't really know what to call this post because so much went on this weekend!  Finally a weekend that didn't fly by way too was so nice!

I went to Dripping Springs on Friday afternoon to go watch Brie's pep rally and be there for Senior Night at the football game.

I will miss watching her cheer, but I will not miss watching her be a makes me soooo nervous!!

Since they made the playoffs they still have more to play, but after next weekend we won't be traveling this was my last chance!!  Becky took my pictures for me right before we left to go the game...

Sawyer is now apparently the size of a 19 inch cantaloupe - last week she was a pineapple (which actually made sense) - but now we are back the weird produce again!  In other pregnancy news, now that it has cooled off I have worn my boots a couple of times and I cannot take them off by myself anymore!  However, if I can't take my own boots off, I certainly can't paint my own toe nails so I HAVE to get pedicures...often...major perk!!  I also can't seem to wear my contacts either - they say your eyes change when you are pregnant and it has finally happened to me...hopefully they will change back soon and I won't have to spend the next 4-5 weeks wearing my glasses because I am totally over it!

I seriously can't believe Brie is a senior...makes me feel REALLY old!!

All the Seniors

I came back home on Saturday.  Barry spent the day fixing the fence and Lori's house and I worked around the house.  We went out for dinner at a new restaurant by our house with intentions of going to a movie after, but went and walked around the mall and ordered a movie at home instead.

Today was Barry's birthday!!  We celebrated with chocolate cake for breakfast, church, Mexican food for lunch, left overs for dinner and a whole lot of this in between...

We did manage to barely get in the Halloween spirit and carve a pumpkin!

We were going to carve Sawyer's initials into it, but decided that a "B" was a little bit too ambitious for our pumpkin carving we went with the lopsided "S" instead!  I roasted the seeds for delicious snack!  Pumpkin seeds, spray butter, salt, garlic salt - roasted for 25 minutes at 350 degrees...YUM!

Happy Halloween and Happy Birthday to my super fabulous husband!!

Friday, October 28, 2011

Doctor's Appointment #11

Who knew I could ever be so excited about going to the doctor??  We had another appointment yesterday, nothing new to report though.  Just a normal check of weight, blood pressure and Sawyer's heart beat - 150 this time.  I am up about 17-18 pounds...depending on which scale I use...and blood pressure is still in check, so all is well.  We go back in two weeks, then every week after that.

Our doctor said that although they would like her to wait a few more weeks, we shouldn't be concerned if she were to come now - there wouldn't be any major risk at this point.  How crazy that we could have a baby any time now?!?  Let's hope she waits a little longer just to be sure...and so I can finish her room! =)

We have 2 more weekends of traveling, then I will get all the finishing touches done...and get our bags packed and ready to go!

I am headed to Austin for the night to be there for Brie's Senior Night at the high school football game...I remember everything about the day she was born and can't believe she is graduating this year!  Hopefully the day Sawyer is born won't be quite as eventful as Brie's birthday...which happened on the day of a huge earthquake in California - where we lived at the time.  Then I'm coming back home Saturday to celebrate Barry's birthday with him...he will probably be mad that I am putting that on here...but I think it's important!

Have a good weekend!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

33 Weeks & Shower #3

We are getting closer & closer...and I am getting bigger and bigger!  Thankfully I am still feeling really good, just get pretty tired at night after carrying around this little girl all day, but I still feel really blessed to have had a fairly easy pregnancy thus far.

Barry was out of town Friday so we had to take my pictures Saturday when I got home from my friend Kristina's baby shower.  33 Weeks & 2 days:

It's been a while since Lori made an appearance, but she wasn't about to miss out on anything this week!

After the shower Saturday afternoon, Barry and I headed downtown to go the the U of H football game...7-0!!  It's been pretty exciting around work lately.  We only stayed for half the game though because we had dinner plans with this little one...

Cora very much enjoyed her sweet potatoes & pureed chicken...the rest of us ate some steaks Barry cooked on the grill.  The Paweleks came down Saturday night so Becky and Cora could attend the baby shower that some of my Houston friends were hosting for us on Sunday.

When I first moved to Houston, I wasn't sure that I was ever going to make friends (ok, so maybe it was a dramatic thought, but its hard in a new city!).  But, we have made some great friends over the past year and a half that I am very thankful for!

Sawyer (and Barry & I, for that matter) has been so spoiled by everyone's generosity.  She is going to be one stylish little girl!

The shower today was hosted by my friends Laura Lynn and Emily and everything was so wonderful!!

Thank you friends!!

We are headed back to the doctor on Thursday so I will update then...hopefully with a final nursery update too, still have a few things to hang...I can't seem to make a decision about where to put things so I am procrastinating!

Off to wash all of Sawyers new things and watch the Rangers win (hopefully!).

Sunday, October 16, 2011

32 Weeks

10...9...8...she's coming quickly!  I still can't believe how fast this is going by...when I look back, it feels like I have been pregnant forever, but then I remember I have less than 8 weeks left and I can't figure out where the time has gone!

And, I especially can't figure out where the heck you would find a 19 inch honeydew melon - that's how big my daughter (ha! I'm trying to get used to saying that...not there yet!) is this week.  Here are my pics from Friday...32 weeks & 1 day:

Getting pretty big!!  Friday night, after dinner with Barry's parents and a service at church we headed up to College Station to see Cora...and for the game.

Don't let the confused look on her face deceive you...she really does love me!  We spent all day Saturday tailgating/eating and hanging out with my family.  I didn't go to the game, I was pretty sure I wouldn't be able to comfortably sit there, so Barry and my cousin Adam went with my parents.  I was perfectly happy sitting at the tailgate hanging out!

My dad had this sign made a few years ago, he has to get a new one every year because the list of all the graduates in the family keeps growing!  Awesome photography...I know.

cutest little Aggie be added to the sign someday!

Aaron came by for a while and our friends Blake and Lindsey came by to say hi too!  It was so good to see had been FOREVER!
I love their matching outfits!

We came home Saturday night because I needed to get ready for the baby shower I was hosting with some other friends at my house today.  My friends, Emily & Lindsey, and I threw a shower for our friend Laura Lynn who is pregnant with twins!  Yup...same dress, different day...when I find something that fits, I stick with it!

Emily, me, Laura Lynn, Lindsey
We are all in the same home team for church and I have really enjoyed getting to know these girls!  Kristina, who is also in our group is pregnant's baby central!!

Laura Lynn is 27 weeks pregnant with "the boys," Lleyton & Beckham, and Kristina is 25 weeks pregnant with little Caroline!  I can't wait to watch all of our kids grow up together!
It's been a fun weekend, but I am ready for some quality time with my couch!  We didn't get around to making the headboard this weekend, so I didn't take any pictures of Sawyer's room yet...we'll get it done eventually!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Doctor's Appointment #10

It was a quick one today!  But, everything went well.  Gained 2 more pounds, good blood pressure and Sawyer's heart beat was 147.  I was still measuring on the small side, but my doctor said that is probably just the way it's going to be since she looked good on the ultrasound last time.  He said I probably have about 6 weeks left...what?!?!  That's so soon.  Barry had a meeting down town today so wasn't able to go with me, but, when I told him that, he said we should pack our bags tonight!  Other than that, nothing else to report.  Back in 2 weeks.

Still planning to post an update on the nursery, but I haven't taken any pictures yet.  We are making a headboard in the next couple of days so I am waiting on that.  Buuuut...we did get our glider in!

He needed a break after moving it in by himself...its heavier than it looks!!
Looking forward to the weekend...we get to hang out with this little munchkin on Saturday...

And I am having a baby shower at my house for a friend on Sunday...should be a fun one!!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Skillet Lasagna

I made this for dinner sometime last week, clearly into skillet meals lately (I hate doing the dishes), and was pretty surprised that it actually tasted like lasagna!  I was a little leery because it called for cottage cheese instead of ricotta...and I am not a fan of cottage cheese - AT ALL!  Although I wish I was, its super high in protein and low in carbs, but I just can't make myself do it.

1 cup Regular (whole milk) Ricotta Cheese - what you normally use to make lasagna:
428 calories, 32 grams of fat, 7 grams carbohydrate, 28 grams protein
1 cup Low Fat (2%) Cottage Cheese
180 calories, 5 grams fat, 8 grams carbohydrate, 28 grams protein

Just a warning, I made this in my big pot instead of a skillet like the recipe never would have fit in a skillet, so don't try it!  Other things I changed: extra lean ground beef instead of lean, low sodium canned ingredients, extra veggies.

1 pound extra lean ground beef
1/2 large onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 can low sodium diced tomatoes, undrained
1 1/4 cup water
8 oz low sodium tomato sauce
1 tbsp parsley
1 tsp basil
1 tsp salt
2 1/2 cups whole wheat noodles broken into pieces (recipe called for whole wheat lasagna noodles, but I couldn't find them - I used a mixture of what I had in the pantry)
1 cup low fat cottage cheese
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
1 egg
Low fat mozzarella cheese for topping

Brown ground beef in large pot with onion and garlic until no longer pink.  Drain.

Add tomatoes, water, tomato sauce, parsley, basil & salt.

Stir in uncooked pasta.  Bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and simmer until pasta is cooked - about 20 minutes.  You may need to add in some extra water at this point to make sure the noodles are actually boiling in liquid.  I think I added an extra cup or so.  I also added 1-2 cups of steamed zucchini and squash that I had left over from the night before when the pasta was done cooking - totally optional!

Meanwhile, combine cottage cheese, Parmesan cheese, egg and pepper to taste in small mixing bowl.

The recipe then said to drop the cheese mixture by spoonfuls on top of the pasta, cover and cook for 5 more minutes, sprinkle mozzarella on top, then serve.  But this is how that looked after 5 minutes of cooking...

Gross.  And, with mozzarella sprinkled on top...

Still gross.  So, I stirred it all together and it made a creamy tomato sauce.

Much better!  This recipe made a ton...after feeding both of us for dinner and putting away some for lunches the next day I still had enough to freeze...which we will be having for dinner again next week!


Sunday, October 9, 2011

31 Weeks & Baby Shower #2

The countdown is now in single digits!! As of last Thursday...we have 9 weeks left to go!  Barry and I spent the weekend in Yoakum this weekend.  We had originally planned to just go in for Sunday for a baby shower that was being thrown for us, but when we looked at our calendars, we are running out of weekends to go visit his family.  So, we decided to spend the whole weekend there - and it was great!  I'm pretty sure I gained about 10 pounds from eating so much and doing so little!  Here I am at 31 weeks 1 day.

Sawyer is the size of an 18 inch head of lettuce (does that even exist?!?) for the second week in a row.  It feels like she is running out of room in my belly - I don't feel her kicking as much, more so just moving - if that makes any sense.  I don't think she has room for much kicking anymore.  I am starting to get pretty uncomfortable, especially sleeping - but that's pretty much my only complaint so I consider myself blessed! Well, that and I get out of breath doing anything - stairs, talking, walking...everything.

After a very lazy Saturday watching football ALL day, we had a very exciting Sunday!  Barry's two sisters, Tammy & Cara, and two of our good friends, Kristi & Kirstyn, hosted a shower for us at Barry's parents house.

I cannot get over the generosity of everyone.  So many people came and we got so many wonderful and thoughtful gifts.  I wish I could take picture of every single thing - a necklace with Sawyer's birth stone, super cute clothes, a carseat, jogging stroller, nursery decor, bath stuff, a monitor, just to name a few.  After showing everything to Barry tonight, he thinks we need a new house!

A few more pics from the shower...

Barry's mom made this SUPER cute & delicious cake
Wita, Mom, Cindy & Me
Barry's cousin Liz won the "guess my belly size" game - she is due the day after me with a little boy!
Born To Be An Aggie Christmas ornament
With Sawyer's Grandmas
2 of her Great Grandmas
Sawyer's Aunt Cara & Aunt Tammy
All the Yoakum girls
Super cute diaper wreath Kirstyn and Kristi made!
Such a fun afternoon!  Barry spent the afternoon hanging out with these two monkeys...

Unfortunately, this was the only picture I got of them...they move too much!  

We go back to the doctor on Thursday this week.  And, I have actually made some progress in the nursery this week so I will post an update later this week.  With a recipe thrown in sometime too...hopefully!