Chorizo and Mahon Menorca Cheese Risotto

December 28, 2018

This risotto has been a long time favorite at our house, so when I got my hands on a hard cheese that was similar to Parmesan I had to test this out.

Since Mahon cheese is a Spanish cheese I used chorizo in place of my usual Italian flavors. It came out great, and my taste testers were happy to eat this for lunch Sunday.

Chorizo and Mahon Menorca Cheese Risotto

serves 4
28 oz can diced tomatoes in juice
3 cup of water
1 tbsp olive oil
9 oz beef chorizo sausage
1 small onion, chopped
1 cup Arborio rice
1/2 cup dry white wine
10 oz package of baby spinach
1/2 cup grated Mahon Menorca Hard Cheese
2 tbsp butter

In a small sauce pan combine the tomatoes with their juice and 3 cups of water. Bring to a simmer and keep warm on the stove. In a larger pot heat olive oil over medium heat. Add chorizo and onion, cook, breaking up the chorizo until the chorizo is cooked and onion is softened about 5 minutes. Add rice and cook for 2 minutes, stirring. Add wine and cook for about 1 minute until it is absorbed. Add two cups of hot tomato mixture to the rice, simmer over medium low heat, stirring occasionally until the liquid is absorbed, about 5 minutes. Continue adding tomato mixture one cup at a time, waiting for each cup to be absorbed before adding the next, until rice is creamy and tender for about 25 minutes. You may not use all of the liquid. Remove rice from the heat and add in butter, spinach, and grated cheese. Serve immediately and top with extra cheese.

Mahón-Menorca Cheese can be purchased nationwide at Whole Foods, and
at other fine retailers such as Fairway Markets, Harris Teeter, Saveway, Kroger, Murray’s, Central
Markets, Costco, Gourmet Garage, West Side Markets, Zabar’s, Central and Town & Country Markets in Seattle and at the best specialty stores all over the country.

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3 Ways to Pay for Your Wedding

December 20, 2018

Today's guest post is all about paying for your wedding. In the comments shout out how you paid for yours!

You’ve decided to get married, and that’s fantastic news! It’s an exciting time, and wedding preparation is a serious business. It can take many months, or even years, to plan the perfect wedding, and there is a certain joy in visiting venues, selecting color schemes, finding the most beautiful dress, and designing invitations.

However, weddings can also be costly, and this is where that joy can turn to sorrow. If you don’t know how you are going to pay for your wedding and what the budget might be, then it will be impossible to book anything or anyone for sure, and this can be stressful. With that in mind, below we’ve compiled some of the best ways to pay for your wedding, giving you the chance to enjoy the planning stage before you say “I do.”

Your Savings
Your savings are perhaps the first place to turn after getting engaged and when you start to get down to planning your dream wedding. There are two ways to work with your savings:

  • The first is to see what you already have (and how much you know you can add to the total before everything needs to be paid for), and use that as your budget.
  • The second way is to plan what you want and have a total in mind that you need to reach and then save for it.

Both options will work, and it will depend on how quickly you want to get married as to which one you pick. The first means that you already have the funds and therefore the wedding can take place sooner. The second means you have yet to save, so it will be delayed. Whatever you choose, make sure you have the right savings account, as the more interest you can receive, the better. Check out Crediful for details on which account is best for you.

A Credit Card
Another option to pay for your wedding is a credit card. Ideally, you should apply for a brand new card that is solely to be used for your wedding. This way you can more easily keep track of what you are spending, and how much you need to pay off. You can also find better deals this way including interest-free purchase deals which will save you a lot of money, particularly if you can then pay off the entire card before the interest starts being due.

Credit cards are not a good idea if you already have a high level of debt, and if that is the case, then you should use one of the other options on the list that doesn’t involve applying for more credit. However, if you know that you can make the repayments happily and you have a plan about paying off more (a lot more if possible) than the minimum due each month, ensuring that the card balance is brought down to zero quickly, then it can be a great way to enable you to have the wedding you want without compromise.

If you need or want to borrow to pay for your wedding, then a loan can sometimes be a better option than a credit card, although it will depend on your circumstances. Again, you can get all the prices you need and add everything up so that you know what you need to borrow. That way you won’t either borrow more than you need (which means you will be paying back more than you would really have to), or less than you need (which means that you’ll have to compromise on what you buy or go elsewhere for an additional loan).

Friends And Family
Not everyone is able to apply for credit or use their savings, and not everyone wants to even if they can. Getting into debt is just not something that some people want to entertain. In this case, you might decide to ask family and friends to help. You don’t even have to ask for a loan (which, of course, is more debt!) if you word the request correctly.

Those who are invited to your wedding will want to bring a gift of some sort. Not only is it a tradition, but it is a generous, fun thing to do. Originally these gifts were given to the happy couple to set them up in their new home together, but since many people have lived together for at least a little while before getting married, and they will already have everything they need, an alternative could be to ask for a cash donation. These gifts of cash can be used to pay for the wedding, so everyone is able to enjoy the money, and it means your guests won’t be paying extra, and you won’t receive gifts you don’t want or need.

They key thing here is to word the request correctly. Make it fun and light-hearted, and ensure that everyone knows the money is going to create a great day for everyone. Don’t request specific amounts as this can seem greedy.

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Pecan, Cranberry, & Mahon-Menorca Semi-Cured Cheese Phyllo Shells

December 18, 2018

I put this appetizer together the other night while we were grilling steaks with friends, it was a big hit and at the end of the night there were 2 left.

There were only 4 of us and 28 of these by the way.

The sweetness from the honey and cranberries pairs well with the sharp taste of Mahon Menorca cheese.

Even better than the taste though, it took 8 minutes from start to finish to put this together.

Pecan, Cranberry, Mahon-Menorca Semi-Cured Cheese Phyllo Shells

2 pkgs of 14 count mini phyllo dough shells
Mahon-Menorca Semi-Cured Cheese - cut into 28 small cubes
1/2 cup pecans, toasted and chopped
1/2 cup dried cranberries, chopped
honey, for drizzling

Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil, place phyllo mini shells onto the pan. Place one cube of Mahon-Menorca Semi-Cured cheese in each shell. Sprinkle in chopped pecans and cranberries. Bake for 5 -7 minutes, until cheese is melted. Drizzle with honey and serve.

*if you can't find the shells you can easily make them in a mini muffin tin with sheets of phyllo dough.

Mahón-Menorca Cheese can be purchased nationwide at Whole Foods, and
at other fine retailers such as Fairway Markets, Harris Teeter, Saveway, Kroger, Murray’s, Central
Markets, Costco, Gourmet Garage, West Side Markets, Zabar’s, Central and Town & Country Markets in Seattle and at the best specialty stores all over the country.

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My Go-To Lactation Smoothie

December 14, 2018

If you recall the Green Monster of something like 2011, this is it's cousin.

I've been drinking this smoothie for 6 weeks and I swear to you it's a great way to get in all my galactagogues without having to think about it too much.

I also use this as my chance to up my water intake. I shoot for 100 oz a day but sometimes it's a bit struggle... so every cube counts. Ideally I like to add in about a cup of water worth of ice cubes so that puts the smoothie at 16 oz of liquid towards my total for the day.

Now as far as protein powders go, I've been using two. One fits more in line with Paleo and the other just has more in it I like. But I'll break down both.

Julian Bakery Paleo Thin Double Chocolate - This one has a super strong chocolate flavor but it's also really sweet from the stevia. I've been using this one for about 3 years. Outside of breastfeeding I like to do this powder with cashew milk, almond butter, 1/2 banana, and tons of ice. It's pricey though and runs about $49 online. I've tried the Paleo Beef Protein as well as the Primal Whey one and I definitely prefer the Beef. It doesn't taste like meat at all by the way. It's just high protein and low carb. I'd rather control my carbs with what goes into the smoothie.

Garden of Life Sport Organic Plant Based Protein Chocolate - Really this is going to be my go-to for every now! I tried it a few times at Whole Foods and fell in love. It contains BCAAs for post workout recovery, is high in antioxidants, and has a 2 billion CFU probiotic blend. Plus it's only $30 for a 30 day supply. I only use one scoop by the way, the serving size is either one or two. That puts this at 85 calories and 4 carbs per scoop. The one scoop per shake allows for 38 scoops per container.

I won't bother breaking down how spinach, oatmeal, flax, and almond butter are great for your supply. If you've been looking things up you already know that. Now this doesn't contain fenugreek or brewer's yeast. I personally would prefer to take fenugreek in pill form when needed and only use brewer's yeast to cook. It's extremely bitter.

That's as far as my postpartum nursing brain can think at the moment about this shake, but if you have questions drop them in the comments and I'll answer them! If a milk supply post sound like something y'all would like to read let me know and I'll get one together. I've spent many a night searching articles and then tweaking what I do to get the supply I need.
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Meal Planning Monday

December 10, 2018

I'm starting to think sugar cane harvest this year is going to kill us. Everyone is snotty and Harrison is coughing. He's currently home from the sitter today and soaking in a hot bath with the humidifier running in there. Next is kids Xyzal. Too bad it doesn't come in shot form, I HATE giving kids medicine. At least I hate giving my child clone medicine. 

If you have any tried and true survival techniques for South Louisiana at this time of year send them my way, we are dying. 

Monday - Shrimp & Sausage Skillet

Tuesday - leftovers... mama has the blog team dinner!

Wednesday - Mississippi Roast with Rice & Roasted Brussel Sprouts

Thursday - leftovers

Friday - I didn't plan lol! It'll sort itself out.

Saturday - planned to eat out

Sunday - Working on a Risotto recipe for the blog.

Breakfast - THE lactation smoothie that has my supply way way up! I need to post this recipe.

Lunch - Grilled Chicken Tenders with Avocado, Cilantro Lime Rice, Peach Pineapple Salsa (Walmart brand), and Steamed Snow Peas
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Elliot - Month One

December 7, 2018

Elliot's Current Stats:
❊ Age – 1 month old
❊ Weight & Height – 10 lbs 4 ounces, 21 inches long. He hasn't grown in length since birth but the kiddo has width down. 
Up from 8 lbs 4 oz at birth, and then 7 lbs 4 oz at the doctor. That first week was a mess with weight. I honestly think the scale was off because the next day he was 8 lbs 1 oz when we had him circumcised. Either way mama is happy about a 2 lb gain from birth! The doctor commented about him being short since he hasn't lengthened, I had a good laugh with her about how short my people are. I bet Jeremy adds maybe an inch to our short genes. I say this because both of my grandmothers were super short and my grandfather is 6 feet... no one else is 6 feet! 

❊ Eat – Nursing his his hobby. Right now he wants to eat about every 3 hours, and sometimes he wants to cluster feed in the evenings. 
He came out of the gate nursing better than Harrison. With H we had to fuss with getting him to latch and then to latch well. Elliot actually did the booby crawl 30 minutes after being born and nursed his little heart out. I was actually shocked he did it since he brother did skin to skin for an hour and never attempted to do the crawl. The nurses even commented on how quick Elliot started nursing, usually it's an hour to 90 minutes before a baby will do the crawl and want to eat. Proof that every baby is different. 

❊ Sleep – Great for a 4 week old. I tend to get one or two good crib naps out of him and he sleeps well at night, wanting to nurse 2 or 3 times. I think the main difference is that this is my second round and I know to just set the baby down awake from day 1 so they learn to go to sleep on their own. Unless he's hungry or dirty he really doesn't fuss and will go to sleep on his own. Hopefully when the 3-4 month regression comes he doesn't stop this. 

❊ Recent Milestones – Elliot has started smiling at us. Mama more, but mama is currently home. 
❊ Special Moments – His first squinty eyed open mouth smile was pretty sweet. I told him he was wearing bears and growled at him... he apparently like it lol. 

❊ Mama’s Experience – I'm much more relaxed this time. With one week left of maternity leave, I have to say that having minimal visitors has been nice. With Harrison people were constantly at the house visiting or bringing food and it was too much for me. I've really enjoyed just nursing and holding the baby in the recliner most of the day without having to pass him off. I seriously feel like I missed Harrison's first week of life because other people were holding him. It was nice to reclaim that and next baby... doing the same.

❊ Comparison – I didn't think the differences were that big until I saw these pics side by side. For one Harry is much darker and had much more hair. There also isn't a single photo of him from the one month photo folder where he isn't screaming. Elliot is proving to actually be much more calm it seems, I'm not making it up. E is also much lighter in his skin tone. 

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Top 7 Reasons Why Destination Weddings are so Popular

December 5, 2018

Today's guest post is all about the popularity of destination weddings. Let me know in the comments if you had one or are planning one. What did you love about it? 

When it comes to tying the knot, there are several alternatives to choose from to create your perfect day. You can opt for a civil or church ceremony in your local town, or you say your “I do”’s in an exclusive wedding venue. Another option that is becoming increasingly popular is the destination wedding. This is when the bride, groom, and wedding guests jet off to some distant location.
If you’re not sure whether a destination wedding is for you, here are seven good reasons to include it in your wedding plans.

1. Price

Weddings can be a significant expense for couples. The average US wedding, for example, costs upward of $30,000. A typical destination wedding, on the other hand, is far less expensive. The reason for this is that guests usually have to pay their own way to the location and for the cost of the accommodation. You would pay for your resort stay and chosen wedding package. The average number of guests at a traditional wedding is 140. For a destination wedding, the average number is less than half, which, of course, means there’s going to be a considerable saving. There may also be discounts and deals you can take advantage of if you want to extend your stay or make arrangements for your honeymoon at the same venue.

2. Simplicity

Most destination weddings are relatively simple to plan. For example, wedding arrangements to Mexico region are straightforward to arrange because many of the locations have packages created by professional wedding planners. Everything required to make a wedding memorable is included in the price. You only need to make a few decisions, and the rest is taken care of. What’s more, if you want to make your own arrangements, it’s likely there will be a wedding planner who can help.

3. Relaxing

Anyone who has ever helped to organize a wedding will testify to how stressful it can be. It’s not just the arrangements that are stressful. Trying to take into account the wants and needs of family and friends only make it more confusing. A destination wedding removes all the stress because the wedding takes place far away and only a limited number of guests will be able to attend.

4. Honeymoon Starts Immediately

As soon as you’ve said “I do,” you’re free to start enjoying your honeymoon together. If you get married a little closer to home, you tend to spend your first night together not far from the wedding reception. With a destination wedding, you’re already at the location and able to start making honeymoon memories immediately.  

5. Complete Wedding Package

The trend for destination weddings has led to many resorts and tourist organizations offering package deals to make weddings more straightforward and stress-free. There is often an on-site wedding planner or consultant who can help to coordinate things such as the wedding cake, licenses, sightseeing tours, and other activities for guests.

6. Neutral Territory

People move around so much nowadays that it’s rare to find a couple that is still living in the town where they were born and raised. Family and friends may also be spread across the country or around the world. To avoid any conflicts about the location of your wedding, a destination wedding allows you to choose a completely neutral location. It provides you with an opportunity to bring everyone together to celebrate your big day.

7. Fully Customizable

For many years, it was the prepackaged wedding bundles that were the most popular. However, today's brides and grooms strive to do something different for their weddings. A destination wedding can be customized according to your desires. There are still packages available, but more and more couples are choosing to tailor their wedding celebrations. It means you can have fireworks, traditional dancers, exotic wedding meals, brass bands, or anything else your heart desires. You might also find the resort where you’re planning to hold the ceremony offers a test-drive pre-wedding visit. You’ll get to look around the resort, see what’s available, discuss options with the wedding planner and photographer, and pick out the reception menu.  

You may have been wondering whether a destination wedding was right for you. Now you know the benefits you can enjoy; you’ll be able to weigh up your options. Don’t limit yourself to getting married in your local town. Take advantage of what the world has to offer. You get the opportunity to have the world as your backdrop for your ceremony, and you’ll be able to make each other’s dream wedding come true.   

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Meal Planning Monday

December 3, 2018

Another Monday. Another weekly meal plan. 

Monday - Cube Steak with Sautéed Cabbage

Tuesday - Sheet Pan Dinner - Sausage, Peppers, Onions, & Potatoes (Sam's Club has some great natural sausages right now)

Wednesday - Rotisserie Chicken with leftover Thanksgiving Sides my mom froze for us. 

Thursday - leftovers

Friday - Grilled Chicken, Suddenly Pasta Salad (I've got a box in the cabinet), and Roasted Cauliflower

Saturday - Eat Out

Sunday - Chili with Jiffy Corn Muffins
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