Friday, August 31, 2012

Avery's 3rd month

3 Month Milestones:

Rolling over (front to back)
Jet lag has ruined my good sleeping habits and I'm back to 8:30 - 4:30 - boo!

I am 3 months old today!

Wow, it took a lot of work to get everyone looking in the general direction of the camera for this family photo!

With my pool buddy, Gigi (great grandma)

I am very talkative these days...

I get it from my Daddy!

First Father's Day (with Poppa, Sadie and Seth)

We love Aunt Kait!

Now that I'm back in Edinburgh, I need my long sleeves  and "Baby Legs" - thanks Jenni!

Thanks for my cute bow Aunt Kait

My first visit to New College

3 Month Photo Shoot by Poppa

Monday, August 27, 2012

{Monday Meal Planning} Edition there is a Meal Plan this week

We're back on for {Monday Meal Planning} and I'm liking it better already! I can't tell you how often my meal plan changed throughout the week (you can probably see the eraser marks!).  You may be asking yourself does this then render meal planning useless, and the answer is no.  I still stuck to the actual recipes, and it reduced my unplanned grocery store trips; I just tweaked it as the week went on and plans changed (read: I didn't feel like cooking).  It turned out that I had more leftovers than planned at the beginning of the week which made it unnecessary to make all of my meals - woot.  We may or may not have had chicken nuggets Sunday night to stretch out the last of the leftovers...

Here it is:

Monday - can we say comfort food? I was looking for a one dish meal that was portable since we offered to bring dinner over to our friend's house.  Our friends are British and have 2 young boys, so a family friendly meal that everyone would enjoy that required a casserole dish was in order. I had pulled this recipe from PW awhile back and when I came across it while meal planning, it met all of my criteria.  And it was a hit!  The best part of the meal was when I overheard their 7 year old saying to his mum, "this meal was lovely." Taylor absolutely loved it too and Seth ate it without much coercing though I'm pretty sure there was a promise of getting to play with the aforementioned 7 year old's matchbox cars if he ate all of his dinner.

Tuesday - this was a last minute meal because we didn't end up having enough leftovers from the night before and more importantly I had ground beef in the fridge that had to be used immediately.  Taco Salad is one of my go to easy meals because I usually have all of the ingredients on hand - spinach, tomatoes, onions, salsa, taco seasoning, tortilla chips, cheese, avocados for guac, pickled jalapenos and sour cream - and it takes no time to throw it together. My Mexican rice recipe is adapted from my sister, Leti.  She makes the BEST rice ever.  She taught me how to make it back when I was in high school, but she doesn't use measurements, and that was before I was really interested in cooking, and let's be honest, at 15, I probably wasn't paying very close attention.  I've adapted her recipe because I can't quite get it right, and let's again be honest, if you've never had her amazing rice, this will still seem really good to you.

Easy Mexican Rice 
Bring 3 cups of water to boil. Throw in 1 and 1/2 c of white rice (maybe brown could be subbed, but the water to rice ratio will be probably be different).  Add in some garlic salt, cumin, and lots of the key ingredient: Knorr's Caldo de Tomate (aka Tomato Bouillon). Sorry for my lack of measurements - my only advice is err on less is more with the garlic and more is more on the Caldo de Tomate; the cumin falls in the middle.  It may take a few times to get it just right and then muscle memory takes over and it will be great every time!

Wednesday - I posted this a few weeks ago, but didn't end up making it because of our impromptu BBQ.  It was delicious, but when I had it on leftovers night, I added more balsamic vinegar to it, and it was even better!

Saturday - saw this on Elizabeth's website and knew I had to try it.  I'm always looking for seafood recipes.  It was fresh and easy to make - a perfect summer dish.  Taylor raved about this one too; Seth however was not a fan.  I think this was his first introduction to shrimp and he kept spitting it out.  He loved the "pastoff" (Sethish for pasta) and tomatoes though.

We resume our monthly Soup Night next week, so if you have any dynamite soup recipes that are easy to make for 30 people, leave a comment please!

What Seth does while I make dinner

Monday, August 20, 2012

{Monday Meal Planning} Edition not sure this one counts

As I cooked through my meal plan last week, I realized I neglected to take the season into account.  It's typically cold and rainy for most of the year in Edinburgh, so soup, pot roast, anything baked in the oven works year round.  Well summer decided to (finally!) show up so, and I laughed as we sweated through eating pot roast and the madras chicken especially since the oven made our house feel like we were eating outside in Houston in August.

Oh wait.  I have no idea what that feels like because that would be crazy.

I thought of those of you in 100 degree heat and was jealous because it is much cooler in your house than mine because even though it was only in the upper 60s here, we don't have the modern miracle known as AC.

In addition to all of this, I scrapped my Thursday meal (pray for my baby portobello's!) because friends invited us to BBQ grill (I will hold onto my Texas lingo) last minute, so chicken fajita marinade was quickly made, chicken was marinated for a quarter of the time it was supposed to be and mushrooms, bell pepper and cherry tomatoes were skewered as fast as humanly possible so I could get out of my stifling flat and into the cool summer evening.

So Monday Meal Planning is still in it's trial and error phase which may or may not last it's whole lifetime.  Here are the tweaks for next week...

I will post my meal plan the week after I actually use it which does indeed mean that there will be no meal plan this week.  Sorry for those of you who were counting on not having to meal plan this week, but then again last week was my first edition, so unless you're brand new to the blog, you probably didn't hold your breath for this becoming a regular thing.  Next week I will post my plan from this week.  This way I can let you know what worked, what didn't, any adjustments I made to recipes, any last minute drop everything and BBQ because if there is blue sky in Edinburgh that's just what you do, and most importantly so you don't know who's coming to my flat for dinner each week and when we're not here for dinner because that's kinda creepy.  This even gives me the chance to post pictures with recipes...

if my camera is charged...

and if I remember.

Oh and I'm considering adding a grocery list after all.  We'll see.

Since I'm leaving your meal plan empty, here are a few of my secrets:

-- interesting side if you're cooking Mexican food (I am a big fan of rice which you will soon find out if I keep this weekly meal plan post going - seriously, if I had to eat one thing for the rest of my life, it would be rice)
-- love my friend, Elizabeth's website.  I'm using one of her recipes this week!
-- I've probably posted this before but I am OBSESSED with these cupcakes.
-- and you can't go wrong with Pioneer Woman.  Anyone who can make me excited about making zucchini is a cooking genius.
-- my chicken fajita marinade recipe:

Chicken Fajita Marinade ( can't remember where I got it - maybe??)
4 servings

1/4 c beer
1/3 c lime juice
3 garlic cloves, crushed and minced
1 T brown sugar
1 T Worchestershire
1 T cilantro, minced (I left this out cause we didn't have any in the fridge.  Shocking, I know - I couldn't believe it either)
1/2 cumin

Throw it all in a ziplock with 4 chicken breasts and marinate in fridge for 2 hours

Have a great week y'all!

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Avery's 2nd month

I know...I'm on a blog roll!  Gotta get caught up with the month to month photos now that our girl is 5 months old today! Love you, sweet Avery Girl!

Avery's 2 month milestones:

first passport
first time flying
first time visiting another country (the USA - this is weird to me)
first time meeting her grandpas and the rest of her aunts and uncles
first smile
first laugh
first coo
sleeping from 8:30 pm to 7 am - PTL!

Daddy's birthday lunch - today I begin my second month of life
tummy time

love my bunny towel Aunt Susu!

the day my passport came confirming our trip to the States -
this ridiculously small onesie is how we broke the news to the grandparents

little nugget!

practicing my karate moves

I can sleep anywhere!

British baby
Seth isn't so cooperative during photos anymore...

Happy Girl

Thank you for my cute onesie Aunt Erin!

My biggest baby gift

my pensive look

Love the smirk

See?  Anywhere!

2 month photo shoot by Sarah

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Avery's 1st month

So I'm a little behind on this considering Avery turns 5 months old in two days, but better late than never.  I am determined to document my kids' first year month to month photos better.  (Sorry Seth)

Avery's 1st month milestones:

meeting my grandmas: Tutu and Mia
meeting Uncle Mark and Aunt Saray
first Easter
first trip to church
sleeping from 8:30 pm to 4:30 am (started this right at 4 weeks old)

At the Hospital:

Very first photo minutes after being born

First photo with mom

First St. Patrick's Day
First car ride

Newborn Photo Shoot:

Tutu's Visit:
With Tutu and big brother Seth

Meeting Uncle Mark and Aunt Saray for the first time

Daddy already a pro at juggling two

3 generations

Mia's Visit:

With Mia and Seth

My first bath

Swaddle?  Who needs a swaddle?

Snuggling with Daddy

First Easter

One Month Photo Shoot: