Thursday, May 5, 2011

Best Pulled Pork Recipe I Have Ever Had

I was on the quest for a great pulled pork recipe. I decided to test two separate recipes for a birthday/baptismal party this weekend. The first recipe I found was highly rated on allrecipes (it was just root beer in a crock pot). It came out moist but had very little flavor and most definitely needed BBQ sauce. The second recipe on the other hand was the best pulled pork recipe I have ever had. My family ate the whole amount without ever putting any BBQ sauce on it because it was that good! I found the recipe on Keven and Amanda here:

I did not have the time to slow cook it because I wanted it for dinner that night. I put the meat in the brine for about six hours and then put it in the pressure cooker with the brine and cooked it for about an hour and a half. It was so yummy and made it into my recipe box for life. I am going to try it again the way as written for this weekend. This recipe is well worth the effort.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Healthy Foods - What is in a Name?

I was having a conversation with a friend about the way kids perceive things. I commented that a kids reaction to something is often related to how we name something. For instance, I give my kids Fiber One bars for snacks and for breakfast on occasion. I buy the chocolate oat ones. They have mini chocolate chips in them and are drizzled with chocolate. I call them "cookie bars" because they have the chocolate chips like a chocolate chip cookie. My kids love them and think they are a special treat; if you could only see how excited they are to be able to have a cookie bar for breakfast. Another example would be zucchini bread. My middle child loves all things chocolate and does not particularly care for most fruits or vegetables (I struggle to get him to eat these). I have a chocolate zucchini bread recipe from Cooking Light; in my house this recipe is called chocolate bread. He can't get enough of this when I make it!

I will also make homemade fruit bars from frozen fruit and orange juice. I toss all kinds of fruit in there...bananas, cherries, blackberries, blueberries, raspberries, pineapple, mango, peaches (you get the idea) and I call these "popsicles" and my kids beg me for them. My kids believe that smoothies are a form of ice cream. I have given my kids breaded eggplant and called it "fried crunchies."

I never realized how much of parenting is truly a "creative art." I would love to hear from other parents on creative tactics they have used to get their kids to eat healthy foods.

Friday, March 25, 2011

How to Swaddle - Proper Swaddle Blanket is the key to Swaddling

As I said before there are many ways to swaddle but one of the most important things is to make sure you have a swaddle blanket that is large enough and grows with your child. This prevents them from being able to kick out of the swaddle. Once you have an adequate swaddle blanket the next step is making sure you know HOW to swaddle. The first way I am going to show you is the way the hospitals swaddle your baby. Here I used one of my oversized receiving blankets (which I brought to the hospital with me - the nurses gave me many compliments on the blankets). You can find them here
The first thing I did was lay the blanket down on the ground like so:
Then fold it diagonally like this:
Place your baby in the middle of the blanket (feet down toward the point) with the shoulders just below or at the line of the blanket like so:
Take the left corner and tightly place it over your the right arm of your baby
Take the excess blanket and tuck it snugly under the back/butt so it looks like this

Now take the bottom point and fold it up over the legs and place it along the tucked in side
I like to then tuck some of that excess behind the back/butt so she does not kick it off. This makes it snug.
Place the left arm down to the side of your baby and cross the right side of the blanket across the baby like this
Finally continue to tuck the excess blanket around the back of the baby to create a snug fit leaving a swaddled baby looking like this
Now comes some sleep!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Recipe Saver #1 - Turkey Dip with Tortillas

As all busy moms know coming up with a quick and healthy meal is not always easy. I am going to begin posting healthy meal ideas that I keep in my back pocket as recipe savers. The first is a turkey meat dip. I know...I know...before you knock the turkey idea I beg you to just try this one before discarding it. I love all kinds of meat, but this one is pretty good and you would never know it is turkey. I use this when I am very short on time or debating doing some sort of take out. My kids don't normally get chips so this one is a treat for them.

The Ingredients:

1 lb 93/7 Jennie-O Ground Turkey (This is the healthiest ground turkey I have been able to find)
2 tsp Mrs. Dash Southwest Chipolte Seasoning or more to taste (I have also used Mrs. Dash Extra Spicy Seasoning)
1 to 1 1/2 cup of your favorite salsa
Salt to Taste
Pepper to taste
Bag of your favorite tostado/tortilla chips

1. Brown Turkey over a medium heat in a skillet
2. Drain Turkey if desired (or if you are using a fattier turkey)
3. Place turkey back in the skillet and add the seasoning, salt, pepper, and salsa.
4. Heat on a low to medium heat until it is hot.
5. Taste and add additional seasoning if desired.
6. Place in a bowl and serve with chips.

To make sure I get a fruit or vegetable in the meal for the kids, for dessert I either 1) cut up apple slices and serve with either a little peanut butter or carmel dip or 2) cut up celery sticks and put on peanut butter and raisins.  Dinner in a matter of minutes and a lot healthier than take out!

Made With Love Event

I am extremely excited for the "Made With Love Event" hosted by Ashley at The Reynolds Mom. The event, which lists 17 giveaways runs from 3/25/11 - 4/3/11. Starting tomorrow you can check out the various giveaways, which all feature items made by hand at her blog: The Reynolds Mom

I have agreed to giveaway a receiving blanket and burp cloth set or a credit in my store for $24 to be applied to any item in my Etsy shop. You can view my shop at  I also encourage you to look at the other Etsy shops and giveaways as nothing beats homemade!

In the two weeks since the birth of my third child I have been using my receiving blankets and burp cloths like crazy. I have found the large size of the receiving blanket works for so many things. I can go from wrapping her to tummy time to covering her in the car seat or swing. One blanket does it all, which in my hectic world is a definite bonus! The burp cloth works great to catch her spit ups (no spit up has made it onto me which is another bonus) and it is large enough that when I lay her down for play or changing I lay her on the burp cloth (just her upper body when I am changing her) so if she does spit up it all lands on the burp cloth. I also place the burp cloth under her at bed/nap time so if she spits up I only have to replace the burp cloth and not the whole sheet. This is so much easier at 2 a.m. than trying to change a sheet. It also prevents that urge to just lay her somewhere else in the crib and leave changing the sheets until the morning. Here she is laying on the burp cloth wrapped loosely during a recent play time:
and here she is swaddled snugly with her hands free laying on the burp cloth:

Here is a picture of how I lay the burp cloth on myself to prevent being spit up on (as you can see it is a great size to prevent being spit up on)
Here is when we brought her home. We folded the receiving blanket in half and then covered her with it and tucking in the sides before we put the carrying cover on the car seat
Oh how versatile the blanket and burp cloths are!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Why Swaddle?

With the arrival of our third child I am back into the world of swaddling. Swaddling is really just wrapping your baby tight in a blanket to provide comfort and a feeling closer to the womb. Why swaddle you ask? It often helps to calm and comfort a baby; which for us sleep deprived parents equates to better and longer sleep. There are different ways to swaddle a baby. I can't say that one way is better than another. The real trick is to try the different types of swaddling and see which your baby finds to be the most comforting. I will be posting different ways to swaddle your baby with pictures to show a couple different ways I have swaddled my children.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Arrival of Baby Ellen

I am now a mother of our third child. She came earlier than I expected. I went in last Thursday for my 39 week check up and they found that there was very low fluid and that she had an elevated heart rate. The doctor decided induction was the best way to go. So that evening my husband and I went to the hospital and started the induction process at about 9 p.m. Needless to say it was a very long night because although the doctor wanted me to be induced right away she did not want me to deliver in the middle of the night. As it turned out baby Ellen was born Friday morning at 8:44 a.m. Everything went well and baby Ellen was born healthy and just fine. Pictures will follow soon.