Saturday, December 27, 2014

Ground Beef Casserole

I was first driven to this recipe because the ingredients are all staples at my house.  This is a great dish to keep the ingredients in the freezer and pantry. But, it turned out to be a great recipe for us. It originally called for salsa, but all the salsa was gone. I used seasoned tomatoes and it was a hit.

Adapted from

Ground Beef Casserole
  • 1 pound lean ground beef or turkey                                                 
  • 1 can (15 ounces) pinto beans, drained                                               
  • 1 can (15 ounces) black beans, drained                                         
  • 1 can of tomatoes with seasoning                                                      
  • 1 cup cheese, shredded                                                                           
  1. Heat the oven to 375.
  2. Cook the beef or turkey in a skillet over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until it's fully cooked through (about 10 minutes.) Drain any remaining fat.
  3. In a 8x8 baking dish, mix the meat, beans, and tomatoes together.
  4. Cover with foil and bake 40 minutes. Remove from oven and remove foil. Stir, and then top with the cheese. Bake uncovered for another 5 minutes to melt the cheese.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

How to Keep Up Your Milk Supply

Nursing my daughter had been one of the most rewarding things I have ever done. But, it is also one of the most difficult as well. I work 3-4 days per week and need to pump enough for her to have on those days. We need about 20 ounces per day, but I don't usually make 20 ounces every day. That means I have to pump on my days off too, which sucks, literally. I have found some tricks to make more milk and help in general.

1. Snuggle, skin to skin contact can help produce more.  The first few weeks all I did was sit on the couch and snuggle!!!

2. Nurse or pump more.

3. Set a pumping schedule for work and stick with it!!!

4. Eat foods to increase milk supply. See below.

5. Stay hydrated. You need fluid going in to keep fluid coming out.

6. Eat a healthy balanced diet. The biggest dip in supply I have had was when I was eating bad.

7. Use a hospital grade pump. I have access to one at work and it makes a huge difference.

8. Manage stress. Easier said then done, but very important.

9. Dr. Browns preemie bottles. Princess would guzzle milk, then throw up half of it. Then she was hungry again.  Dr. Brown bottles made her slow down and keep it down. Dr. Browns bottles are also compatible with medulla pumps. But after a few washes, they leak if knocked over. Medelas bottles won't.

10. Paced feeding. Start with 2 ounces of milk, then put her down. Only feed more if she is truly hungry.  Even when older breast fed babies usually only eat 4 ounces.

11. An experienced babysitter. Experienced with breast milk.

12. Fresh milk is better. I only freeze milk if I am not working for 4 or more days.
13. Take a prenatal vitamin.

Foods to increase supply

1. Oatmeal (not the packet kind)
2. Almonds
3. Oatmeal cookies or lactation cookies (mix works)
4. Mothers Milk tea
5. Flaxseed
6. Luna bars (probably because they have oats)
7. Milky

You also might like this post, Simple Homemade Baby Food

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

The Best Stuffing Ever

I discovered this recipe by accident one year when I stuffed it in the turkey and surrounding pan. When I basted the turkey with maple syrup it absorbed into the top layer of stuffing. The result was amazing and we have added maple syrup every year since.

Maple Syrup Dressing

1/2 cup unsalted butter at room temp
1 tablespoon chopped fresh sage
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon butter
1 medium size yellow onion
12 corn bread muffins
2 large eggs
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup maple syrup
1 can (14.5 oz.) Chicken broth

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2. Mash together butter and sage.

3. In a skillet, heat sage butter. Add onion and cook until soft, about 10 minutes.

4. Transfer to large bowl. Add corn bread muffins. They are better a couple of days old, stale and dry. Add salt and pepper. Toss to combine.

5. In a medium bowl, whisk together eggs, cream, syrup and broth. Add to corn bread mixture, until well combined.

6. Bake in a baking dish for 40 minutes. 

Sunday, December 14, 2014

A Christmas Gift for My Coworkers

We had our annual Christmas Party last week and many of my coworkers give holiday gifts to everyone. I thought about making baked goods, but I don't have time. Instead I made a beautiful basket full of K-cups for the Kuerig.

I filled a basket with 6 boxes of kcups, wrapped it in a bag I purchased at Michaels and put a bow on top.

$3 Party Tray

I was home with one of my little men and he was sick. He is not a big eater, so I went to the grocery store to find something he would eat. Our grocery store sells the ends of deli meat at a discounted price. I got the ends of sweet bologna for $1. If your grocery store does not sell like this, just ask for two thick slices of meat (1 in or 3/4 in slices). I also had block cheese I bought on sale for $2, it was muenster. You can use any cheese. Two varieties of cheese makes it a $5 tray. The crackers are left over, but they are not required.

$3 Party Tray

2 ends of deli meat, cubed $1
1 block cheese, cubed $2

Total Price $3

Assemble on a tray.

You might also like these party trays.

Saturday, December 6, 2014

3 Christmas Tree Party Trays

Veggie Tray

On this tray, broccoli makes the body of the tree.  We were in a Community Supported Agriculture program and that is the lighter color green veggie. It is a cross between cauliflower and broccoli. It was really the hit of the party.  There is also cauliflower and grape tomatoes.

Fruit Tray
I love a fruit tray at  holiday party.  We eat so much junk at the holidays, but fruit makes it a little better. Make sure the berries are purchased just before your party so it remains fresh. I used the apple slices to keep all the fruit from rolling away, then filled in with grapes and berries. Of course, it is topped with star fruit.

Cream Cheese Tree
This tray is probably my husbands favorite. Take a block of cream cheese cut in to two diagonal squares and arrange in tree shape. Pour red pepper jelly on top. I like to serve this one with wheat thins.

If you are a lover of party trays like I am, try this one too.