Meal Pinning Monday

It's back to the grind of work this week, but only 3 more weeks until Christmas.

I'm mainly ready for things in this house to be done, it's hard to be too motivated to do much else with unpacking looming over my head. At this point I've managed to unpack the stuff we use, it's down to the odds and ends that were packed up 3 houses ago that I don't know where to put in here.

So instead of thinking about that gallery wall I have yet to totally locate and put up, I'll just cook and hope the heartburn isn't that bad.



[What is Meal Pinning Monday?]
MPM is how I meal plan for our little family. I once spent a lot of time searching the web and my recipe books hunting for new recipes and ideas for what to cook every week. Then, Pinterest came along and made meal planning much easier for me. Every weekend I look over what I have pinned the prior week and decide what I would like to cook and make my grocery list from these recipes. MPM came about as a way to share what I am cooking, and to also see what others are cooking every week to hopefully get even more dinner ideas from other bloggers. If you don't pin your recipes feel free to just share what you are cooking.

Sunday - One-Pot Paprika Chicken Thighs

Monday - Leftovers

Tuesday - Buffalo Chicken Tacos with Blue Cheese Slaw

Wednesday - Leftovers

Thursday - Tomato and Sausage Risotto

Friday - Date Night

Saturday - Leftovers

Breakfast - Yogurt Parfait

Lunch - BBQ Chicken Stuffed Sweet Potatoes

24 Weeks

We finally made it to Thanksgiving break, now it's high time to unpack a few more boxes so this child's chore list doesn't include unpacking said boxes several years from now! 

Nothing big has happened this week, just the realization that more places should carry maternity clothing and it shouldn't cost so much. I only need a super size moo moo for a short period of time, I don't see the need in spending $$$ on it to last 4ish more months.


Pregnancy Highlights:
How Far Along: 24 weeks
Size of baby: Baby H is the size of an eggplant
Maternity Clothes: All maternity pants and bras, and Piko tops. Plus whatever of Jeremy's that fits.
Gender: Boy
Movement: He gets especially active when I'm sitting still, or when I'm teaching and not walking around much. I'm about positive he knows Jeremy is around and quits moving as soon as I get him to try and feel the baby kick. He started kicking so hard this week that I can see it through my clothing, Jeremy hasn't witnessed this. As soon as I talk or move to get his attention the baby quits. 
Sleep: Propped up to avoid heartburn, and going to the bathroom constantly... but sleep happens. 
What I miss: Life before heartburn. I never had it before pregnancy, this mess is no joke!
Cravings: Anything cold, water, fruit. I would really like to want coffee, but it isn't happening.
Highlight this week: Jeremy's painted the nursery this weekend and a friend let me borrow her fetal doppler.

I've been trying to decide when I want to put the baby name out there, I'm thinking once we've decided on a middle name I'll possibly post it here. The first name will a least be on our Christmas cards this year. 

Cranberry Orange Bran Muffins

Let's change this up a bit this week, the only cooking I'm doing is to help Mom with Thanksgiving.

Instead of the usual Meal Pinning Monday, I'm starting with a recipe. Especially since I'm not even touching the blog on Thursday. 


Call me an odd child, but bran muffins were my favorite growing up. I still prefer them to other muffins. 

Yesterday morning I decided I wanted muffins, and in the midst of it remembered my favorite cake I made several holidays ago. 

There is just something about the taste of orange and cranberry together. 

Maybe I'm just partial to dried cranberries, they are amazing on a salad with pecans, feta, and Pearl St. Dressing. 

Back to the muffins, they taste like the holiday season without the pumpkin craze. Don't get me wrong, I love pumpkin, but pumpkins and mason jars have taken over the world the past few years. 


Cranberry Orange Bran Muffins

adapted from Smitten Kitchen
serves 6
Ingredients::
1/4 cup canola oil
2 tbsp packed light brown sugar
1 large egg
1/2 cup fat free sour cream or plain greek yogurt
2 tbsp molasses
1/4 cup dried cranberries
zest of an orange
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/8 tsp salt
1/2 cup oat bran
1/8 tsp cinnamon

Directions::
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a large bowl cream oil and brown sugar. Beat in the egg, sour cream, and molasses. In a separate bowl mix together the whole wheat flour, baking soda, salt, oat bran, and cinnamon. Add the cranberries and orange zest into the flour mixture. Add the dry ingredients to the wet and stir to combine. Pour the batter into 6 greased muffin tins and bake for 15 to 20 minutes. 

*By adding the cranberries and orange zest to the dry ingredients first it gives them a nice flour coating and prevents the cranberries from sinking to the bottom of each muffin tin. Also, be sure to check your muffins at 15 minutes, my gas oven runs hot and they were completely done at that time. It likely would have taken longer in my old electric stove. 


What are your favorite holiday flavors? 

Spicy Ranch Crackers

My step mother-in-law is an amazing cook. 

She's the kind of cook that causes you to gain weight no matter what when you visit her, I haven't found too many things I'll turn down. That's coming from a girl who highly dislikes country food. 

I didn't grow up on Chicken Fried anything and I'm not partial to eating it. 

I also hate cornbread dressing with a passion, but hers is divine. I really can't explain it. 


About 3 years ago we were visiting them in Mt. Pleasant, Tennessee over 4th of July when my car was completely totalled and we couldn't get a rental. Sandy offered to drive us the 9+ hours home, and on that ride she had these crackers stashed in a bag in her purse. 

After my first taste there was no hiding the crackers from me and I probably consumed her entire bag. 

I managed to get the recipe the next visit, and I've been making them several times a year ever since. 

They are seriously the best Spicy Ranch Crackers I've tried, and we've made a few recipes over the years. Sandy got them from a lady in their town, God bless that woman and her cracker recipe. 

I will warn you, this last time I used olive oil because I was out of canola oil... don't do that. The olive oil is too strong for the recipe, it needs something without any real taste. 


Spicy Ranch Crackers


Ingredients:
3/4 cup Canola Oil
1 pkg Ranch Dressing Mix (or 3 tbsp of homemade)
3 tbsp crushed red pepper  or 3 red Cayenne torn
1 bag of oyster crackers

Directions:
Pour oil and red pepper into a jar and let sit for 3 days. The oil should change color slightly, that's how you'll know it's ready.

To make the crackers - combine crackers with oil (strained to remove large pieces of pepper) in a large mixing bowl. Mix thoroughly. Add in ranch and stir until the crackers are evenly covered and oil has soaked into the crackers. Allow crackers to sit and stir them occasionally until oil has soaked in. Serve.

***Sandy let's her crackers sit in the bowl for several hours, randomly stirring them until the oil mixture has completely soaked in. It really works best this way, letting them sit in the open air, they tend to be less greasy. She also uses 1 1/3 cup of oil, but I've cut it back because it can be overly oily. At least when I've made them.


This makes a really great holiday appetizer, or as just a snack.

I like to keep a stash hidden in the cabinet for personal consumption if we are being totally honest. 

I Heart Pinterest Wednesday!

Here's a little of my pin-spiration for the week. 

Now if only once of these pinterest staged bloggers would show up and unpack the rest of my house. 
I'm pretty convinced the baby's room will be the only complete room for a few years to come. 


I nearly died when I saw this today. I know I say I nearly die at least once a week, but coming from someone who got teary eyed placing a Scholastic order for my child, and not just the kids in the room I refer to as "my children" whom I often buy books for... everything is a cause for me "nearly dying" here lately. 


I may have posted this one last week, blame the hormones, but I love this idea way more than purchasing an ornament. 


Mental note for ole Emily - then again I really need a "things you shouldn't eat if you want to not torment your baby while breastfeeding."


Is this not the best idea for a chore chart? 


Husband, I would like you to make this for me. Like back in the day when you made all my coffee. I highly regret you ever telling me what you put in my coffee so I could manage it myself. Sincerely, Me. 


Let's get really honest, I think I'm going to be a toy Nazi. I'd rather education things, or outside toys, or books. These are in my line of cute things I wouldn't cringe over. 


I want to do this with my students as Christmas presents for their mothers, and I secretly would like to do it because I think it looks like fun. (for me too kinda fun)


Y'all know how much I love a good natural cleaner. I honestly feel like I have a head cold if I clean with anything other than natural/green cleaners. 


Don't forget to follow Louisiana Bride on Pinterest for more pin obsessing throughou the week!


23 Weeks

This babe is growing, and I've finally hit that size where random people want to make comments. 

Needless to say I'm short, hubby is tall, and he is praying for a linebacker. 


Pregnancy Highlights:
How Far Along: 23 weeks
Size of baby: Baby H is the size of a grapefruit or bunch of grapes
Maternity Clothes: All maternity pants and bras, and Piko tops. Plus whatever of Jeremy's that fits.
Gender: Boy
Movement: All day everyday. I can't get up during the night or I wake him up and he gets going again. It literally feels like he is in a swimming pool doing flips. Let my bladder get full though and he goes to town with the hard jabs. 
Sleep: Decent, I've got to be more careful about what I eat. It seems to bother my heartburn... which bothers the sleep. 
What I miss: Easily putting on shoes.
Cravings: Oranges, easy to peel seedless Satsumas to be specific.
Highlight this week: Jeremy's baby shower. The funniest event was that before Jeremy would take me on our date Friday he stopped at Walgreens and forced me to get a flu shot. Needless to say my joking about how mean he was to the older woman giving me the shot didn't work, she thought he was adorable for caring so much ha!


Ellie was a little freaked out by the thunder Sunday and was willing to fight the baby off for lap room.

Jeremy happened to have a baby shower thrown for him at work Monday. It was super sweet and we couldn't appreciate them more. Considering men rarely get their own shower I think he was a little smitten with himself getting all that attention. The email invite was so funny that it's being printed out just to store in a baby book.

Seriously though, they gave us a gift card with more than I could have imagined. It's putting a huge dent in our nursery furniture. We also got a sweet book and some diapers, with little notes written all on the behinds.

It's still a little surreal to be pregnant and just be in this phase of life altogether. In my mind we are still college kids who go to concerts and are miles away from such things. Not a 30 year old with a house, two people's student loans, and a baby on the way. Then again, Ellie's age should be the indicator that we aren't getting younger and life is rolling on.

The only person I feel like I'm missing in all of this is Nanny. I was just telling Jeremy I wish I could have her around for all of this, conversations, ultrasounds, and actually birthing a baby. She was much more comforting than Jeremy is, and I remind him of that every time a needle gets passed my way. I would just love to hear her reaction to all of this. She'd have something crazy to say to me, and would probably keep me constantly laughing during labor. 

Meal Pinning Monday

It's finally the week before Thanksgiving, the temps are dropping once again, the weather looks terrible, but there is turkey and sweet potato souffle in my future!



[What is Meal Pinning Monday?]
MPM is how I meal plan for our little family. I once spent a lot of time searching the web and my recipe books hunting for new recipes and ideas for what to cook every week. Then, Pinterest came along and made meal planning much easier for me. Every weekend I look over what I have pinned the prior week and decide what I would like to cook and make my grocery list from these recipes. MPM came about as a way to share what I am cooking, and to also see what others are cooking every week to hopefully get even more dinner ideas from other bloggers. If you don't pin your recipes feel free to just share what you are cooking.

Monday - Mom's Chili

Tuesday - Leftovers

Wednesday - Beef Wellington (this recipe is from early in the blog days, it needs a new picture for sure. But I promise it tastes really good)

Thursday - Leftovers

Friday - Date night

Saturday - We're tree decorating and eating who knows what, but Jeremy doesn't konw that yet:)

Sunday - Stuffed Pistollete Rolls (now that I've located Nanny's recipes I can start making them again...thanks moving!)

What's everyone else cooking this week? 

PR 3: Salinas

I took a little break from posting about our trip to Puerto Rico around the time Dad got sick, but I think it's high time to catch up. 

Especially since my grandmother Aida Luz Diaz Capo's oldest sister Sylvia recently died. 
She made it to 95, and the pictures her granddaughter posted of her on Facebook were georgous. 

The Diaz women were lookers in their younger years. 

I know y'all could care less about this particular adventure, but I'm writing it down mainly for myself. 


We new my grandmothew grew up in Salinas, however she was born in Ponce. 

She wasn't one to really share stories, she was a very guarded person in that way. We did manage to get a little out of her over the years. 

Like how she disliked the woman her father married after her mother died in childbirth. Just to be a brat she would throw her shoes in a ditch every day after school so her step-mother had to buy new ones. 

We also heard stories about how her father was wealthy, but after the Great Depression he was leary of banks and kept all his money in the house. We thought he was murdered for his money in the 1960's, but it turns out it was actually 1970. 

Her father (Juan Diaz) also kept a crab pond so he could have fresh crabs at dinner. 


We went to Salinas on our way from Ponce to San Juan with no real idea of where we were going once we got into town. We just happened to get really lucky and come upon a cemetary as soon as we got there, which happened to be the only one in Salinas. 

The man who ran the cemetary looked at us a little strange when I came in and said what plot I was looking for, it was a hoard of mostly white people with one actual Puerto Rican in the group. I myself being the only one who could even speak broken Spanish enough to get my point across. 

When I gave him the date of death he dug deep and pulled out an ancient looking records book, luckily after telling him about when we though Juan Diaz died and how he died he remember who it was and managed to find him. 

Funny thing though, he was listed as Juanquin Diaz. 

The two markers above are my great-grandfather Juan Diaz and my great uncle Nestor. Dad seems to think Nestor was living with his father when he was killed, I know for a fact that it was Granny's disabled brother was living with him though. So maybe it's the same person. 


I had to really edit the mess out of a few of the pictures just so I could read the grave markers better. 

Below is Manuela, my great grandmother. I love that there wasn't a birth date, just a birth year. 

She was from the Capo family, and it just so happens that my father's oncologist is from Ponce, Puerto Rico. Or at least went to college there, he did grow up in PR though. 

Once he found out Dad was Puerto Rican and we were all going just to see where our family was from he started telling us everything he knew. Diaz is a very common name, so we didn't learn anything about them. However, Dr. Rodriguez said that the Capo family was involved in politics in Ponce. 

When we were at the fire house in Ponce we found a photo of a Capo who was a fire chief, captian, who knows really my Spanish isn't that amazing. 


In case for some reason in a million years from now I can't read that photo, Manuela died on June 23, 1928.

If I recall correctly she died in childbirth with their sister Anna, but if a relitive knows better please correct me. I'm going off of bits and pieces I recall Granny saying.


I thought it was the neatest thing on Earth to see Family Diaz Capo on a something. It solidifed our little not so hispanic family, it wasn't just the one picture each of my father's grandparents I've seen, or the one picture of all the siblings together.

We actually got to be in the town our stubborn woman of a grandmother was from. She had a very interesting life for sure, she married my grandfather James Cater in the 1940's (I'm assuming based on the children's birthdays) and moved to Louisiana while pregnant with my Aunt Betty.


From what we were always told, her father didn't want her to marry a white man because she would lose her heritage. I'm assuming there must have been some turmoil when they lived in Puerto Rico, but her father cut her off when she came to Louisiana.

Which turned out to be very true.

My father was born two years after they moved to the States and when he was 6 months old his father James was killed in a car crash. At that time (as I've been told) the children didn't speak English at all, and I don't think she did that well either. At that time her now dead husband's family offered to send her back to Puerto Rico, but she would have to leave her four children behind.

She wouldn't do it.

I can't imagine being a widow in 1949 with 4 children in a racially charged area who treated hispanics not all that nicely.


I'd love to know what the transition was from them only speaking Spanish to the kids growing up and not knowing anything except English.

I will say this about her, I only heard her speak Spanish when she was on the phone with her sister Sylvia. Mom wanted her to teach me Spanish and she wouldn't.

Then again, other than on the phone with Aunt Sylvia, Granny only spoke Spanish if she wanted to say something bad and thought no one would understand her. I have a nice little story relating to that ha!


When Dad was around the age of five, Granny remarried. The man was apparently abusive and she came home to find him doing something she didn't approve of so she scooped up her now 6 children and went to Chatanooga, TN. She was also the Justice of the Peace in Vidalia at the time and something went down with the then corrupt sherrif involving gambling at Deer Park. She tried to stop it from what I understand and that was another needle in camels back to leave town. 

Dad says that she had a boyfriend in Tennessee that looked like a celebrity, but I can't remember who. 

My father ended up coming back to Vidalia his senior year of high school, but I'm not sure when Granny returned. I don't recall there being just anything too crazy after that, but I promise you when Granny Aida died she didn't leave behind an un-lived life. 


Before I completely leave this post, I have to add in that I always wondered just how Granny Aida met James Cater. He was in the U.S. Army and stationed in Puerto Rico when they met, but no one ever said where he was stationed.

I just assumed San Juan.

When we were headed out of Salinas we decided to appease the child and eat McDonald's. About time we were leaving a bunch of men in Army uniforms came in and sat down in booths to eat lunch.

I couldn't leave without asking them where the base was, and it turns out it is in Salinas.

So that's how they met, he was stationed in her hometown.

Oh and one thing I almost forgot, the man who runs the cemetery said he remembered my grandmother and her sister Sylvia. Something crazy about one of them being there when he had opened the mausoleum and taking out a rib and finger bone.

Who knows, but I really don't put anything past Granny.


I think I just entirely explained why we chose to go to Puerto Rico. I'm a family heritage junky, and this is the one side of the family tree that we don't know all that much about.

At least we got to experience it first hand, even if we are lacking a proper genealogy.

I Heart Pinterest Wednesday!

Normally at this point in the year I would have started Christmas decorating. 
Maybe it's the not totally unpacked house holding me off. 

Either way I'm obsessed with Thanksgiving right now. 
Not decorating so much, just food. I'm so ready to start cooking for this year!


I'm loving this front door sign, I just may have to make it for next year!


When I saw the handprint turkey table runner I immediately decided we are doing it with our kids. 


As soon as I can get my hands on some cinnamon sticks (the big bags sold around Christmas) I'm making these, it's a great transitional decoration into Christmas. 


I'm not afraid to admit I have a thing for simmering potpourri, hello new holiday smell since Jeremy told me he is sick of the rosemary. 


On Christmas Eve we always have a little mini family party with finger foods before getting into the car to look at lights. This year I'm adding a Pineapple Wassail. 


The next few aren't holiday related, but I can't stop laughing at them. 



I want to make this Orange Spice Coconut Pumpkin Pie so bad, but I'm the only family member who loves pumpkin this much. I may make it any way. The baby doesn't have an opinion yet. 


What are some of your favorite ways to celebrate Thanksgiving? 


Don't forget to follow LABride on Pinterest for more of my obsessive pinning:)

22 Weeks

We've hit 22 weeks, and I feel like I couldn't stand to get any bigger.

Putting on shoes gives me heartburn.
Breathing gives me heartburn.
I basically have to roll out of bed like a big ole whale with a bunch of nice beach goers rolling it back in.

I can't imagine how much bigger I'm going to get.

Ignore Jeremy's laundry, he came in late from the LSU game and I was in no mood to bend over.

Pregnancy Highlights:
How Far Along: 22 weeks
Size of baby: Baby H is the size of a ear of corn
Maternity Clothes: All maternity pants and bras, and Piko tops. Plus whatever of Jeremy's that fits.
Gender: Boy
Movement: Oh my word! Child needs to take a chill pill. I'm not one to enjoy a roller coaster or even driving over train tracks... my stomach has been in knots from the kicking that I had to pull the car over to puke. He has started jabbing hard enough that it made me jump about 3 times in church Sunday.
Sleep: Depends on how much my hips hurt.
What I miss: My waist line and bending over.
Cravings: really cold fruit and veggies. Pickles, but that's been a craving since I came out of the womb.
Symptoms: Heartburn, and now nausea due to being kicked half to death.


The Piko tops hide the belly well, I thought this was a good depiction of it the other night. 
That use to be insanely lose on me... not anymore.


Everyone just hanging out listening to Jeremy play music. Gotta get this kid use to the sound early, he might as well pick an instrument now, guitar being mandatory. Drums are a lot more fun than a wood wind though for marching band, can you tell I had drum line envy... I was a clarinet playing majorette. 

Meal Pinning Monday

After a wonderful weekend with Mom and Dad in town, it feels like I'm now on a countdown to Thanksgiving break.

Thanksgiving break means two things to me every year - 1. cooking like crazy with Mom and eating the most amazing turkey on the planet, and 2. taking Christmas card pics.



[What is Meal Pinning Monday?]
MPM is how I meal plan for our little family. I once spent a lot of time searching the web and my recipe books hunting for new recipes and ideas for what to cook every week. Then, Pinterest came along and made meal planning much easier for me. Every weekend I look over what I have pinned the prior week and decide what I would like to cook and make my grocery list from these recipes. MPM came about as a way to share what I am cooking, and to also see what others are cooking every week to hopefully get even more dinner ideas from other bloggers. If you don't pin your recipes feel free to just share what you are cooking.

Monday - Taco Soup

Tuesday - Leftovers

Wednesday - Leftovers

Thursday - Korean Chicken and Rice Bowls

Friday - Leftovers

Saturday - Date night

Sunday - Who knows?

I'm going really easy on lunch this week and doing sandwiches, I've about burned myself out on my favorite breakfast sandwich though so I'm making some parmesan pan fried kale with hard boiled eggs. 

Super easy. 

I Heart Pinterest Wednesday!

I had yesterday off of work for the Election, I seriously thought I'd be so productive unpacking the house. 

Major fail, I played on Pinterest and caught up on the DVR. 

At least I made it out of the house to vote and workout ha!


When I saw this I literally cried laughing, and then text it to about 5 people!


My goal for this Christmas as far as decorating goes is rustic country, all homemade ornaments. These mixed in with my cinnamon ornaments will look cute. 


Burlap garland, because I need another excuse to put burlap on something in this house. 


Here's my easy Orange Julius recipe I shared last week, I'm drinking one now becaue I simply love them so much. This would even been really good made in a larger batch and slightly slushy for brunch. 


Pinterest is making me want to throw a Christmas party this year so badly, these Pecan Pie Marshmallows sound so easy to make. 


I love brie, I don't know what to say about why I pinned this other than that I love brie. 


You can bet your sweet heart this recipe is getting made this holiday season. We are some serious eggnog lovers in this house. I currently have some pumpkin eggnog that I was skeptical about, but it's heavenly. 


Be sure to follow our boards on Pinterest for more of my obsessive pinning!


21 Weeks

We had our big anatomy scan today and so I wanted to put off this week's post until after that. 

Next appointment is the dreaded glucose test. 


Pregnancy Highlights:
How Far Along: 21 weeks
Size of baby: Baby H is the size of a baby bok choy or banana depending on the app.
Maternity Clothes: All maternity pants and bras, and Piko tops. I needed some long sleeve casual shirts and had to dig into Jeremy's clothing!
Gender: Boy
Movement: This past week it became obvious what was baby. The past two days he starts moving around at 5 am and wakes me up.
Sleep: Depends on how much my hips hurt.
What I miss: Nothing this week.
Cravings: Nothing really. 
Symptoms: Heartburn 


According to the ultrasound today he is measuring at 22 weeks instead of the 21 and 1 day. I know for a fact when I was ovulating in June so this little boy is just big. I was a good 8lb baby though and Jeremy isn't exactly the tiniest guy I've ever met. 

As I suspected he is all over my bladder, his big head is smack on it and he was constantly head butting during the ultrasound. Plus every time he kicked he would push himself down there more. 

This kid is trying to make me wet my pants. 

Baby also kept his hands by his stomach most of the time, which the ultrasound tech said she doesn't normally see. 

Apparently he is just oddly relaxed in there. 

So operation survive birthing large child has commenced, essential oils are in my future. Mainly thanks to a dear friend who told me about her good friends experience with them. I'd like to have a natural birth and not be ripped from top to bottom doing so. 

It's just slightly gratifying to know when I get comments about being bigger for how far along I am that there is in fact a big baby in there. I'm not just crazy! 


Meal Pinning Monday

Here's another week of meal planning, and a happy week it is due to the lower fall temps!



[What is Meal Pinning Monday?]
MPM is how I meal plan for our little family. I once spent a lot of time searching the web and my recipe books hunting for new recipes and ideas for what to cook every week. Then, Pinterest came along and made meal planning much easier for me. Every weekend I look over what I have pinned the prior week and decide what I would like to cook and make my grocery list from these recipes. MPM came about as a way to share what I am cooking, and to also see what others are cooking every week to hopefully get even more dinner ideas from other bloggers. If you don't pin your recipes feel free to just share what you are cooking.

Monday - Lazy Day Casserole

Tuesday - leftovers

Wednesday - Cowboy Breakfast Skillet

Thursday - Roasted Red Pepper & Goat Cheese Alfredo with Rotisserie Chicken


Friday - leftovers

Saturday - Cinnamon Rolls for Breakfast & Ham & Cheese Sliders for Lunch


Sunday - Eating out