Sunday, September 6, 2015

Crockpot Spinach Artichoke Dip

We have been celebrating birthdays at work recently with a birthday lunch. Everyone brings some yummy food to share and we feast! I came across this recipe for Spinach dip in the crockpot and wanted to take it. There were only a small problem. I did not read the recipe before making it and only bought 1 can of artichokes. I threw everything in the crockpot (even with frozen spinach), plugged in the crockpot at work and stirred. I was so worried it would not work out, but it was gone before lunch.

Adapted from

Slow-cooker Spinach Artichoke Dip

1(14-ounce) cans artichoke hearts, drained and chopped

1 (10-ounce) package frozen spinach

8 ounces sour cream

1 small onion, diced

2 cloves garlic, crushed

3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

3/4 cup milk

1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese

1/3 cup mayonnaise

1 tablespoon red wine vinegar

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

8 ounces cream cheese, cubed


Put everything in the crockpot

Cover and cook on low heat for 2 hours. Stir every 30 minutes.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Saturday, August 1, 2015

Weeknight dinner: Parmesan Fish

Parmesan Tilapia

1 lb tilapia filets
1/4 cup mayonnaise 
1/4 cup  Parmesan cheese

Place tilapia filets in baking dishes. I needed two. Spread mayo on filets as seen below.

Sprinkle Parmesan cheese next. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes until fish is flaky. 

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Warm Bacon Dip

I loved this recipe so much I did not change anything!!  Well actually, I did not use light sour cream!
Warm Bacon Dip
  • 8 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 2 cups sour cream
  • 1½ cups shredded cheddar cheese
  • 6 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled
  • ½ cup sliced green onion
  1. Preheat oven to 400 F.
  2. Combine softened cream cheese, sour cream, cheddar cheese, bacon and green onion. Spoon mixture into a 1-quart baking dish and bake for 25-30 minutes, or until cheese is bubbling and hot.
  3. Serve with bread slices, crackers, or veggies.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Pancake Bites

School will be starting back soon and we are always looking for ideas for quick breakfasts. This recipe is very easy. The kids can make it and it is as healthy as you want it to be! 

Pancake Bites

1 batch of pancake batter (Can be from a mix or homemade) 
1/2 pound of filler.         
We used sausage in the picture and it was great. Another time we used blueberries. They were great too. 
6 tsps of syrup 

Fill the cups of a cupcake pan half full of pancake mix. Add a 1/2 tsp of syrup in each cup. Then Evenly distribute the filler between the 12 cups.  

Bake at 350 for 10 minutes. Let cool and eat. 

To use later: Store in a sealed bag so they last longer. Heat in microwave for 15 secs before you enjoy!  

Sunday, May 24, 2015

6 Post Partum/ Grad School Freezer Meals

I go back to grad school soon and am trying to fill my freezer with meals. I buy inexpensive baking dishes at garage sales. I can use them in the freezer or to give to friends when they need dinner. Here is the list of things I am preparing.


Cabbage Soup


Prepare the chicken but don't bake. Freeze in bag or baking dish.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Tips for When Daddy Travels

My husband has been traveling recently and being left at home with four kids is not always a cake walk. Each trip has been a week long and he goes every month. I have discovered some tips to make life so much easier.

1. Grocery shop before he leaves.

2. Fill the car with gas. and maybe clean it out!

3. Plan meals and make sure you have all ingredients. Keep it simple. Now is not the time to try new things.

4. Get all laundry done ahead of time. And put away, this never happens at my house, but it is a great dream.

5. Set up a time for Face time. If the kids know that they will talk to daddy everyday they will fair better.

6. Stay with normal routines. Just as much for mommy as it is for the kids.

7. Have fun with the kids! It reduces everyone's stress. Take a walk or do something special.

Good Luck!!

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Creamy Tomato Pesto Pasta

Creamy Tomato Pesto Pasta

Funny story I signed up to bring something for teacher appreciation week and then forgot.  I got a reminder this week and panicked. I found the recipe below and was able to adapt it to a cold dish. It only took 15 trips around the grocery store and one call to mom.

  • 12 oz. bowtie pasta
  • 1 bunch asparagus, chopped in to bite size pieces

  • 1 tbsp. pesto

  • 1 Tbsp. butter

  • 1 c. whipping cream

  • ⅓ c. shredded mozzarella

  • 1 tomato, diced

  • 1/3 c parmesan cheese


  • Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain and set aside

  • In the same pan you cooked the pasta, melt butter over medium heat. sauté the asparagus for about 5 minutes. Add in the whipping cream and let it get thick, about 5 minutes.

  • Stir in the pesto and let the sauce thicken more, about 7 more minutes.

  • Add ⅓ c. mozzarella cheese and stir until melted. Add tomatoes.

  • Toss in the pasta. Top with parmesan cheese

  • Serve! (I served this cold to teachers the next day.)

  • Sunday, May 10, 2015

    Weeknight dinner: Fish Tacos

    I love fish tacos at restaurants and had to learn an easy way to make them at home. I simplified all three components.


    Simple Fish Tacos

    1 lb tilapia
    2 lime juiced and zested
    2 tbsps. honey
    sprinkle of cayenne pepper
    1/2 tsp sour cream
    2 cups purple cabbage, shredded
    soft or hard tacos
    diced tomato (optional)

    1. Begin by mixing the marinade for the fish, use zest and juice from one lime, honey and cayenne pepper. Place in a bag with tilapia for 30 minutes.
    2. Shred cabbage and mix with juice from the other lime. Set aside.
    3. Mix sour cream with taco seasoning to make creamy dressing.

    4. Sauté fish until it flakes with a fork.
    5. Assemble taco on soft taco, layering fish, dressed cabbage, tomatoes, and creamy dressing.

    Sunday, May 3, 2015

    How to make a white sauce

    How to make a white sauce!
    What you need:
    a good skillet
    a whisk
    3 tbsp butter
    3 tbsp flour
    4 cups milk
    4 oz cream cheese, cut in to chunks
    1. Start by melting butter in the skillet.
    2. When all the butter is melted (like below), add the flour

    3. Mix the flour with the melted butter. Let it cook until a golden brown. A little darker than the picture below.
    4. Add the milk to the skillet. Whisk like mad until all the lumps are worked out.

    5. Add the cream cheese, Whisk until smooth. Add milk to thin sauce if needed. Sere immediately.

    Sunday, April 26, 2015

    Weeknight dinner: Tomato Pesto Chicken

    This is a quick easy dinner, that my kids woof down. The pesto give the chicken flavor and the tomato keeps it moist. Who would have thought my kids would like pesto?

    Tomato Pesto Chicken
    1 and 1/2 pounds of chicken tenders
    3 tbsp. traditional basil pesto, I used Classico brand
    one large tomato, sliced
    Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place chicken tenders in a baking dish. Spread pesto over chicken. Place tomato sliced on top of chicken and pesto. Bake at 350 for 30 minutes.

    Sunday, April 19, 2015

    Weeknight dinner: Chicken Mushroom Quesadillas

    My kids love Quesadillas for dinner, but there are not great options for Mexican food her in Pennsylvania. Making them at home becomes essential.

    Chicken Mushroom Quesadillas

    4 tortillas
    1 cup cooked chicken
    1 cup cheese, mozzarella
    1/4 cup onions
    1/4 cup mushrooms

    First I sautéed the mushrooms and onions. Then remove from skillet.

    Then I put a tortilla in the skillet. Fill one side with 1/4 of the toppings. Start with chicken, the add veggies and top with cheese.

    When the cheese has begun to melt use your biggest spatula and flip. Make it one quick easy motion. Some cheese will end up on the skillet and may burn, but that is ok. Allow the cheese to melt completely, then remove from the skillet. I cut them in 4 pieces and serve. Make 4 servings.

    Sunday, April 12, 2015

    How to keep a pot from boiling over!!!!!

    How To Keep A Pot From Boiling Over!!

    Having dinner boil over is never a great way to end the day. Especially, since we have a flat top that requires scrubbing. We are thankful for Magic Erasers. Placing a wooden spoon over the pot will keep it from boiling over and making a mess.
    This pot had already dripped some and the wooden spoon stopped it.

    Sunday, April 5, 2015

    Paging Dr. Facebook

    I have a ton of hair, it is thick and coarse. When it looks nice I get tons of comments about my hair. The irony is that I know very little about hair. I search out stylists that know how to handle my thick hair. I need specific directions from a professional. I don't select a hair style or color before requesting assistance. I need help from and trust them to help me make a decision.

    I have been disturbed recently to see the medical information exchanged on Facebook. Everything from open heart surgery to the use of vaccines. The original post can be very innocent or even a flat out request for information. Recently, a friend of mine on Facebook mentioned her one month old son had projective vomited the night before. She was sleep deprived and concerned about her son. In no time flat, her post was hijacked and he was diagnosed with pyloric stenosis. One well meaning person, insisted that she go into the doctors office and demand that her son have surgery. Babies throw up!!! They throw up for so many reasons. Because they eat too fast, because the formula does not agree with their tummies and to many other reasons to list. If you  are a Facebook friend, offer suggestions and support; not medical advice.

    If you don't trust your doctor find a new one. Like my hair dresser, you might not see eye to eye with the first one you see. Ask them about their strategies for caring for patients. For some, the patriarchal old fashion doctor is just what the doctor ordered. Others like a more hands on, give and take kind of doctor. Neither is wrong, just find the right fit for you.

    Wednesday, April 1, 2015

    Easter Basket Ideas for Boys

    Here at our house we think candy is a treat. I usually put 2-3 pieces of candy in the kids Easter baskets. The Target $1 bin is great for girls stuff. If you have a boy you know it is difficult to fill their Easter baskets without candy. Here is a list of inexpensive stuff to fill an Easter basket.

    1. Tools. My boys love to build things and have their own set of tools, but they loose them!

    2. Craft supplies. Not crayons, but fun stuff for older kids.

    3. Fishing supplies!! Also, a great way to get dad involved.

    4. Baseballs. It is almost baseball season.

    5. A deck of cards. You can use any kind of cards. My kids are into yu-gi-oh.

    6. Lego packs. The little ones at the check out stand.

    7. Books. My boys have to read every night for school, so they read a lot of books!!

    8. Baseball hats. They are a favorite at our house and see above about baseball season.

    9. Socks. My boys like special socks.

    Sunday, March 29, 2015

    3 Make Ahead Breakfasts for Kids of All Ages

    We are busy most every week, but I like to make breakfasts ahead of time to keep my family eating healthy. On Mondays, we usually have muffins, Muffin Mondays. Here is a great recipe for Orange Poppy Seed Muffins. I use some whole wheat flour, but you would never know. My husband was telling me that he does not eat whole wheat, while eating one of these muffins.  My boys really like breakfast wraps, so they are included. The key are the fiber one tortillas, They only have 80 calories and are loaded with fiber. Finally, Cinnamon French Toast Sticks finish off our week. Using the cinnamon and vanilla makes them sweet without syrup. Cut them into strips and they are ready to eat in the car.

    French Toast Sticks

    4 eggs
    1/8 cup milk
    1/2 tsp cinnamon
    1/8 tsp vanilla
    8 slices bread

    Use a fork to combine eggs, milk, cinnamon and vanilla in a baking dish. Dip bread in egg mixture coating well. Place in warm greased skillet. Cook on both sides for 3-4 minutes.

    Enjoy with syrup immediately or cut into strips to be reheated and eaten on the run.

    Orange Poppy Seed Muffins

    1 3/4 cup flour (I used 1 cup multipurpose and 3/4 cup white wheat)
    1/2 cup sugar
    2 tsp baking powder
    1/2 salt
    1 beaten egg
    1/4 cup veggie oil
    1 orange, juiced and zested
    1 tbsp. poppy seeds

    Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in medium size bowl. Make well in dry mixture. In another bowl, combine egg, milk, orange zest, orange juice, poppy seeds, and veggie oil. Add liquid mixture to dry mixture. Stir until moist. Place mixture in 12 greased muffin wells. Bake for 20 minutes at 400 degrees.

    Egg and Sausage Wraps

    4 eggs
    2 pieces of cooked turkey sausage (I buy them already cooked and in the freezer section)
    1/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese
    2 Fiber One tortillas

    Scramble the eggs with a fork. Cook eggs in a skillet. When eggs are starting to get firm add sausage cut into pieces. Cook until eggs are firm. Place eggs in the center of tortillas, sprinkle with cheese and wrap.

    Sunday, March 22, 2015

    Weeknight Dinner: Simple Chili

    Weeknight Dinner: Simple Chili

    2 lbs ground beef or turkey
    3 cans petite diced tomatoes
    1 14 oz can tomato sauce
    2 cans beans, drained, I used black beans and white beans
    1 onion, diced
    3 tablespoons homemade taco seasoning (store bought is ok too)

    Sauté onion in a Dutch oven or large pot.  When onions are translucent add the meat. Break it up as it cooks. When you see only a little pink left, add tomatoes, tomato sauce, beans and seasoning. Let simmer on medium/low heat for 45 minutes.

    Wednesday, March 18, 2015

    Cleaning out your garbage disposal

    When you use your garbage disposal on a regular basis, it can get yucky. You need something to get in there and clean, deodorize and kill the odor. Lemons or oranges will do the trick.

    I use this for the juice and them put them down the disposal. The helps clean out all the food debris. The oil for the rind will deodorize and manage the odor.

    Sunday, March 15, 2015

    Weeknight Dinner: Simple Salmon

    Simple Salmon Weeknight Dinner

    1lb salmon
    2 tbsp. honey
    1 tbsp. dill
    juice from 1/2 lemon

    Place salmon in a baking dish skin side down. Top with honey, dill and lemon.

    Bake at 350 until fish flakes, about 30-45 minutes.

    Sunday, March 8, 2015

    Babies 101

    Being a new mommy can be so stressful. Babies don't come with directions. You want to make sure you do everything right. I put together a list of all of my baby posts to help. These posts are to help you prepare for your new addition.

    A Custom Made Nursery

    What you actually need for a baby and what you don't

    The Cure for Diaper Rash

    This one is the story of how our princess came into the world.

    My Birth story

    And, I seem to have the most advise about feeding babies.

    Review of Milky Lactation Supplement

    Simple Homemade Baby Food

    How to Keep up your milk supply

    Review of Milkin Cookies

    Monday, March 2, 2015

    Ebola is the last straw

    I have been a nurse for more than 13 years. There are physical ailments that are common to nursing due the toll of caring for those in our care. The most commonly we talk about nurses bladder.

    Nurses work for long hours without breaks, even to empty our bladders. We ignore the urge to void and over time the abuse damages the bladder. When a person ignores a bodily function it quits working. Without the knowledge that your bladder is full, your full bladder just empty. This phenomenon happens so often in nurses, they call it nurses bladder.
    Another issue nurses experience every day is aching feet. Ask any working nurse and she will tell you good shoes are a must. But is can get more serious than achy feet. Nurses get hit and kicked while working. Nurses are injured on the job more often than police officers!
    Nina Pham has had enough. She is suing Texas Health Resources which owns Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital. She claims that the equipment she was provided what not adequate. She is absolutely correct, you can read my feeling about that here. But, risks to the health of nurses is not limited to exposure to diseases from West Africa. Everyday nurses are working without the tools they need to protect themselves.  Pham claims to have hair loss, nightmares and body aches.

    Image result for nurse

    Pham will probably settle her lawsuit out of court to prevent embarrassment for Texas Health. She will probably receive enough money that she will not work as a nurse again.  While I have no doubt that Pham will have physical ailments the rest of her life, who advocates for the nurse with everyday ailments?

    - Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

    Sunday, March 1, 2015

    Mexican Caprese Salad

    The traditional caprese salad consists of mozzarella, tomatoes and basil. But, I could not resist changing the basil to cilantro. I hope you enjoy!!!

    Mexican Caprese Salad

    1 ball of fresh mozzarella, cubed
    1-2 large tomatoes, cubed (I had extra heirloom tomatoes from the garden and I added them.)
    1 Avocado, cubed
    2 tbsps. chopped cilantro
    1 tbsp Italian seasoning
    2 tbsp olive oil (for a lite choice, lemon juice)
    salt and pepper to taste

    Combine in a bowl and enjoy.

    For a tutorial on how to cut avocado, see his blog.

    Sunday, February 22, 2015

    What you ACTUALLY need for a baby and what you don't

    There is so much marketing aimed at new mothers these days. Makes you think how new parents (and babies) survived all those years with out the latest swing or gadget. Eight years ago I had twins and thought I needed every baby gadget on the market. Since then my husband and I have had 12 foster children, most of which were babies. When our princess made her appearance, I bought very little. You start to realize that all that stuff just clutters your house.

    What you really do NEED

    1. A crib. One of two things I would buy new.

    2. A car seat. The other thing to buy new. Research which has the best safety rating, I was surprised. Also, buy neutral.

    3. Baby clothing. Many people will buy you the tiny stuff, so buy a little bigger.

    4. Diapers. When I was home on maternity leave, I used cloth diapers. I still have a huge stash for when life is not so busy. It is remarkably easy to cloth diaper a breast fed baby. Find some one who can teach you!!! I found Mulberry Street Diaper Company in Lancaster. They are wonderful and offer a cloth diapering class.

    What you really DON'T NEED

    1. Baby towels. Regular towels work just fine and last longer. Although regular towels won't make a cape for your 2 year old!

    2. Baby bath tub. This is nice, but not at all needed. After your baby outgrows it, the bathtub takes up tons of space.

    3. A bedding set. These are so expensive and the bumper is not recommended anymore. I bought the sheets and made the blanket and dust ruffle. But, you really don't need a dust ruffle.

    4. Baby blankets. Ok you need these, but you will receive so many as gifts.

    5. Brand new things. The crib and the car seat should probably be new, but for everything else buy used. Try hand me downs, garage sales, craigslist and consignment sales like Just Between Friends.

    Things that are nice to have

    1. Swing. All my babies like the swing.

    2. Car seat and stroller combo. It is nice to not have to wake a sleeping baby to get them out of the car seat.

    3. Changing table. When the boys where born, my dad made a changing table. With the princess, I just use a dresser.

    4. Bouncer/Walker. They keep a baby entertained and out of trouble, but they are not required.

    5. A rocking chair.  This is especially nice when having contractions.

    Tuesday, February 17, 2015

    Review of Milkin Cookies


    Review of Milkin Cookies

    At about 8 months my princess was way into baby food and nursed less. When I was away from her I pumped less, but when she was away from me she did not eat less. This created a problem.

    At this point I am sick and tired of oatmeal and decided to try Milkin Cookies. I was hoping they would work as well as Milky worked, but at a lower cost.

    I ordered the chocolate chip.At $22, they were less expensive. The cookies arrived quickly. I was surprised to realize that they were 210 calories. Compared to Milky which was 5 calories, this was tons more. Milkin cookies are made from real food ingredients, so the calories were somewhat expected.

    The cookies are not overly sweet and tasted really good. They were packaged individually to keep them fresh. It was super easy to pack in my lunch for work.

    They say most moms have results when eating one cookie a day. Unfortunately, I did not notice a boost in supply. I considered eating two cookies a day to see if that helped, but decided against the calories. I look forward to trying the other flavor, cranberry almond. Maybe I will have better results with those.

    - Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

    Sunday, February 15, 2015

    My Birth Story

    February on this blog is all about babies. I have two jobs and I don't drink the water at one. The reason is because they are all pregnant.  The girls said that they want to know lots of birth stories. I only have two, here is the most recent.

    As many of you know, I had twins eight years ago. I had a difficult pregnancy and was on house arrest (also know as bed rest) from 16 weeks. They ended up being delivered at 36 weeks via c section and only one baby needed oxygen for a short time. I only made enough milk for one baby, so I had to supplement early. After getting a bottle at 3 days old, they only wanted a bottle.  That started a cycle of pumping and feeding. It took all of my time and I only lasted a month.  I had set a goal to breastfeed for 6 months, so I was disappointed in my self.

    After the shock of being pregnant again wore off, I started to plan. I wanted to VBAC, go into labor naturally, and breastfeed like a champ. Pretty most nothing happened as I planned, it never does.  I took the time very early in my pregnancy I did tons of research to find a doctor/midwife group. I wanted a practice that would not immediately label me high risk.  I wanted a group that would let my body do what it is supposed to do as long as possible.  I wanted to VBAC and although Pitocin scared me I was willing to try it before a c section. The plan was to deliver without pain medication.

    I had Braxton hick contractions all through my pregnancy and quit working about 37 weeks thinking I would deliver early again.  I lasted until 41 weeks. Then I called and begged to be induced. I had been scheduled the day before was 42 weeks, but they let me come in a little early.  We went to the hospital and checked in at 5pm. My Pitocin was started by 7pm. Then nothing happened. I walked and walked and walked. 

    At Midnight, they gave me Benadryl to help me sleep.  A few hours later real labor started. The midwife was right when she said, "you will know the difference."  The pain was totally manageable with the birthing ball. But, try balancing on a ball after taking Benadryl. Princess started to have problems with her heart rate so we had to back off the Pitocin. At a six centimeters, I was exhausted, back in bed and requested an epidural.

    Then I finally napped. My husband had given up hours before and had napped off and on. We decided we needed to watch princess closer and decided to place a scalp electrode.  The process broke my water. Then I went back to sleep. At about 6pm, they woke us up.  Princess had an irregular heartbeat (again) and we decided to go to the OR. She was 9 pounds 4 ounces and we knew why she did not come naturally.

    In the end, labor did not happen exactly as I had hoped. But I had caregivers I trusted and together we had a great outcome.