Saturday, December 19, 2009

Holiday Break

Teething is back and Christmas is here to wear me out physically, as if Rachel doesn't do a good enough job as is, so I will leave you with a few pictures from this weekend's snowfall and then I am heading home tomorrow for the holidays and plan to take a blogging break until the beginning of the year. So Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you all!





Monday, December 14, 2009

Project Completed

I have been working forever on finishing a project at home. This one was a new one for me. The stockings that me and E currently had were just some cheapo's we bought last minute at CVS a few years back and I really wanted something classier. I look at Ballard Designs and Pottery Barn and Pier One and I drool over their cute stockings and really wanted some. But it's just not in the cards for me this year. Maybe one day...So I went through my scraps of fabric and found an old curtain and decided to make our stockings this year...for FREE!!! It literally cost me nothing and I am super happy. It was so easy. If you have a sewing machine and a little bit of time, you can do this. So here are our stockings. Mine and E's match, Rach's is pink, and Maggie's is the brown furry one. I can't wait for Christmas now.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Our Last of a Snow Day

We got snow...just lots of rain to go with it. Regardless, I was taking my baby outside to play. So we geared up and just went out for a few minutes but it was fun nonetheless.

She watched the snow fall outside the window for the longest time that day.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

What's Cooking Wednesday -Belated - Energy Rice

I can't remember where I saw this dish for the first time, but nonetheless, it's awesome, super quick and leaves me enough leftovers for lunch the next day. Long grain wild rice (energy), black beans (energy), pork (energy), and lastly green salsa (just for flavor and for fun). Seriously! It's that easy and you feel great after eating it. Going to the gym after work? Have a family at home that needs you to be motivated when you get home? EAT THIS! Protein Protein Protein!!

One extra perk, E loves this dish and gets excited when I make it because the pork is SO good and the flavors together are amazing. And I can't stress enough how quick this meal is. It literally takes less than 10 minutes to throw together.
1 can of black beans, drained
1/2 cup salsa verde
1 package Hormel Pork Au Jus
1 package Uncle Ben's 90 second rice (Long Grain Wild Rice works great!)

Cook the pork according to the package directions. Shred the meat and pour meat and juice into a mixing bowl. Add the salsa.

Cook the rice according to the package directions. Add rice to the meat and salsa mixture. Microwave the black beans for about a minute or until they are warm, then add to the rice and meat mixture. Stir all ingredients together. Serve.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Mt Vernon By Candlelight

I am honestly TOO tired to do the research for the Tuesday gift ideas and I am too disorganized while getting ready for dinner guests tonight to do a What's Cooking Wednesday, so I am posting pictures instead. So sorry!

During the Thanksgiving weekend, my parent's got us all tickets to Mt Vernon by Candlelight. Mt Vernon is George Washington's home in Virginia and it was amazing. Our tour commenced right at dusk and it was beautiful. I highly recommend this tour if you live in the area or plan on visiting.


Rachel's first time to see a camel. This is Aladdin, the Christmas Camel. He was so tiny and was 2 years old. They told us that back in the Christmas of 1790, George Washington paid to have an 18th century oddity come to Mt Vernon. And that oddity was a camel, now called the "Christmas Camel."
Rach's camera face (or the excitement of seeing a camel for the first time).

While we waited for our turn to tour the property, carollers wearing period apparel, entertained the crowd by singing christmas carols while we all enjoyed cider and cookies.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Too Little Not To Late

So I know it's been a few days and Thanksgiving has passed us all by and we are all looking into the future now towards Christmas (I know, I said it, Christmas...not "Winter Holiday") but I am still posting my Thanksgiving pictures today (Finally!).

Rach decided she wanted to chew on my sister's new wellies while she took a nap.
All of us at the Thanksgiving dinner table.

E carving my Thanksgiving masterpiece.
Rach was occupied for at least an hour chewing on my mom's beads.
She was also completely mesmerized by my dad's mustache.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Lets Talk Chicken

While the Bailey house is recovering from a stomach bug (ugh! It's way more fun when you still have to be "Momma" but you physically can't get off the couch), I am going to leave you with some chicken tips until I can pull my life and my household back together.


How easy is it to buy a rotisserie chicken at the grocery store? SUPER EASY!!! BEYOND EASY!!!

So why not use the convenience to set your kitchen up for success? Do rotisserie the Everyday Bailey way!!

Step 1: Buy the chicken!

Step 2: Leave it on the counter to cool after you get home from the grocery store (only if you plan on pulling it apart immediately, otherwise, put it in the fridge until you are ready).

Step 3: Once the chicken is cool enough to pull apart with your fingers, pull the legs/thighs apart in once piece. Put in individual sandwich bags and seal. Put the individual bags inside a larger freezer bag and seal. Throw in the freezer.

Step 4: Pull the rest of the meat off of the bone, quickly shred with your hands, divide and put into 2 separate storage containers. Throw in the freezer.

**Steps 3 and 4 take 10 minutes. Trust me! You have time for this!

So let's review what you have done...
1. You have individual bags of chicken legs/thighs in the freezer. And if you don't eat them by the time you go the grocery store again, add to the freezer bags with more legs/thighs. Now you can pull out the exact number of legs/thighs that you need, thaw them over night in the fridge, and when you are ready for dinner, throw them in your toaster oven or regular oven for about 12 minutes at 400 degrees. Add a side dish, and you have dinner!!
2. You also have shredded chicken for casseroles, soups, stews, a green salad, pizza, pasta, chicken salad, the possibilities are ENDLESS!!! With this step, you have saved yourself SO MUCH time making dinner because now don't have to cook, cool and then shred the chicken before assembling your dinner. To quickly thaw, throw in the microwave for a minute to a minute and a half. Use, Eat, Enjoy!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Everyday Bailey Turkey Day

My family is flying in on Thanksgiving so we are all celebrating a day late. The menu? I am so glad you asked! If you are still mulling over what to make or take to your own Thanksgiving celebrations, maybe some of these will help give you some ideas.

Gravy
Cranberry Sauce

What's Cooking Wednesday - Mexican Lasagna Showdown

E and I have very different taste palates. He is "less flavor, more meat, more beans, more cheese, more fried foods" kind of guy. I am "more flavor, take or leave the meat, more greens, less beans, less fried, sauce on everything."

So I tried 2 different mexican lasagnas and, of course, we both liked different ones. So I have decided to merge my recipes and take the great things from both and make one awesome dish that we both like. But for you...I will let you choose. Here is the pictures and recipes for both lasagnas.

Both easy, both cheap, both awesome! So now the only question is...Which one will you make?

HERS:


1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

4 chicken cutlets (about 1 pound)

Salt and pepper

1 1/2 cups store-bought salsa verde

3/4 cup ricotta cheese

4 large flour tortillas, cut into

1/2 red onion, thinly sliced

3 cups baby spinach (about 1/4 pound)

2 cups shredded pepper jack cheese


Preheat the oven to 450°. In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Season the chicken with salt and pepper, add to the pan and cook, turning once, until cooked through, about 5 minutes. Let cool, then shred the meat.


Whisk together the salsa verde and ricotta; season with salt and pepper. In a greased 9-inch square baking dish, layer one-third of the salsa mixture, tortillas, chicken, onion, spinach and pepper jack; repeat twice. Bake until golden-brown, 15 to 20 minutes. Let stand for 10 minutes before serving.



HIS:

3 tablespoons vegetable oil

3/4 cup chopped onion

One 29-ounce can black beans, drained, 1/2 cup liquid reserved

1 1/2 cups frozen corn kernels, thawed

1/2 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley

Five 10-inch flour tortillas

8 ounces monterey jack cheese, shredded

1 cup store-bought green enchilada sauce


Preheat the oven to 400°. In a skillet, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onion and cook for 5 minutes. Add 1 1/2 cups black beans and mash into a chunky paste. Stir in the reserved liquid.

Grease a heavy, ovenproof skillet. In a bowl, combine the corn, parsley and remaining black beans. Place a tortilla in the skillet and spread with 1/3 cup mashed black bean mixture. Top with 2/3 cup corn-bean mixture and 1/2 cup cheese. Press to compress the layers. Repeat with the remaining tortillas, mashed black beans, corn-bean mixture and cheese. Bake until the cheese is melted and the casserole is heated through, about 30 minutes. Transfer to the broiler and cook for 1 minute. Serve with the enchilada sauce.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Gift Ideas - Part II

Do you know how versatile a muffin tin is? Do you? Yes, you can make muffins all day long but there are so many other things you can do with it...cupcakes, mini quiche, individual meat loaf, mac and cheese, cheesecake, and for thanksgiving, you can make individual servings of stuffing, potatoes au gratin...the possibilities are endless. The muffin tin is a staple in most houses but I ABSOLUTELY HATE cleaning and scrubbing all of the burnt little bits off the sides so that the nonstick status of my tin will continue to stay "nonstick."


This relatively new product is a cooks best friend. No more soaking overnight and scrubbing the sides for hours at a time. Just pop the muffins right out! Make sure you get a rack (sled) to go underneath it though...I ended up getting one without a rack to hold the pan straight and the pan flops over so I have to use 2 hands to pull it out of the oven everytime.

At Bed, Bath and Beyond they are $10-$13 depending on what size you get. And since those are so cheap, don't stop there, loaf pans, cake pans, baking sheets, utensils (Amazing!), bundt pans. There are so many silicone products out there. And don't forget to use that $5 off coupon that you always get in the mail but forget to use. Target also has several different sets in several different colors as well.

Also, check Amazon. They have lots of interesting products I haven't seen anywhere else.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Playing Catchup

It's official! I now have a crawler. She's been scooting backwards for the longest time but last week she got excited about Maggie's tail and was determined to touch it. And forward motion began...

While the babygates are up and she is thrilled she can move about now, there is still lots of whining because she's stuck under the coffee table, lots of whining because wants to play in Maggie's food and water bowl, lots of whining because she can't reach the Christmas tree...Oh my! But it sure is fun to watch!
We are now eating solid foods. Mom is breathing a sigh of relief. It's SO NICE not to have to sit there with her and feed her every bite of food that goes in her mouth. So far she hasn't found anything she WOULDN'T put in her mouth.

Last update...we finally have enough hair for a tiny hair bow. While it doesn't stay in very long, I am still thankful for hair on this Thanksgiving week.

Friday, November 20, 2009

More to Come

Sorry for the lack of posting this week. We have have four sets of dinner guests, 2 work functions, and symptoms of a new tooth (meaning a massive lack of sleep). But come back next week and I will make up for it with two new awesome recipes, more gift ideas for the aspiring cook, pics of Rach, and some other tips and projects. Have a great weekend.

Monday, November 16, 2009

More Baby Winter Shoes

We talked about winter shoes/socks in one for babies for this winter. While I had a hard time at first, I got lots of comments regarding Etsy's choices. I don't know why I didn't think of that. am a huge etsy fan and have bought LOTS of stuff there. So here are a few favorites along with some others I found for cheap this week!

Baby MukLuk - on sale for $9.99 right now...I want to talk about these. So cheap and my baby loves these. We received some of these in a lot of hand-me-downs, but these are AWESOME and super cheap right now. They are basically socks with a leather sole and leather sides. So cute and so comfortable.

I featured Bebabean's sweater socx a few weeks ago, but I thought I would mention that they have free shipping all month long and they seem to be all restocked now. If you have a chunky monkey baby, order a larger size. My daughter has some serious calves and I can barely get them around her chunky legs.

The Upcoming Projects

I saw this on Homemade by Jill and Martha Stewart and completely melted. My sweet baby needs one of these. She has a little baby she plays with that E calls "her Mama Doll" because he thinks the doll looks like me. But I don't care, she loves that doll and she loves her mama.
Looks at these? Aren't they precious?? I have lots of clothes in my yard sale pile to make lots of little accessories for the doll I make for her. Oh...how cute these are. I am so excited?

Friday, November 13, 2009

The Friday Wrap-Up

-We had an awesome week. E was off of work and we played and walked and cooked and enjoyed having him home for a few days before the nightmare at work starts again next week.

-The Christmas Tree is officially up but I refuse to decorate it until December. However, lights don't count as decoration. Decorations are meant to go on the tree with ambiance...Some eggnog or apple cider, and a christmas movie playing in the background with the whole family helping.**Rach was able to reach the tree topper and pulled it into her playpen...She was so excited that she had her very own Christmas tree inside her crib.

-Rach is standing and pulling up on anything and everything. This makes nap time a pain since she pulls up in the crib and tries to suck on the babycam. Or she drops her paci over the side and can't reach it to put it back in her mouth so she cries FOREVER. This is the blurry picture we got this afternoon and it's something we are starting to see alot more of...

-I heard "MaMa" come out of Rachel's mouth this week. However, I say "MaMa" and she looks me in the eye and says "BaBa." She makes the M sound all of the time but just won't say it 2 times in a row. It's still beyond cute! We also started solid foods almost exclusively. Here is Rach eating some black beans and Maggie, assuming her usual position, standing by waiting for some chicken to fall her way.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

What's Cooking Wednesday - Taco Melts

Whoops! I forgot about posting What's Cooking Wednesday ...on Wednesday. Better late than never. But I had another project I was working on that I can't wait to tell you about in due time. But first, a little Tex Mex meal you can make ahead the night before and throw in the oven when you get home from work the next day. **As a side note, ... this is not one of my healthier meals, however, it is one of my tastier meals. Biscuit dough is a rarity at the Bailey house.

Tonight we are having Taco Melts for dinner. I am "not so much" about the ground beef, so whenever I can, I always substitute ground chicken/turkey or shredded rotisserie chicken for a leaner option. So take artistic/nutritional liberties with this recipe and make it your own. I also like to throw a mixture of corn, black beans and rotel tomatoes into the mix. What do you like? How about a little more heat? Pepper Jack cheese? Some veggies?

Taco Melts


1 pk. Taco seasoning mix

2/3 cup water

1 1/2 cup salsa

1 lb. Ground beef, cooked, drained (or shredded chicken)

1 can Grands biscuits

1 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese

1 cup sour cream


Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a medium saucepan, cook the ground beef on medium heat until browned. Then, add taco seasoning mix, water, 1/2 cup of the salsa to the beef until mixture begins to thicken. Remove from heat.


Mix the remaining salsa and sour cream together in a separate bowl.


Press each biscuit into 6-inch round. On half of the biscuit, leaving 1/4 inch room on the edges to seal, top with 2-3 T. taco beef mixture, then 1 T. cheese, then 1 T. of sour cream-salsa mixture. Fold dough over filling and press to seal. Place on greased cookie sheet.


Bake 9 to 14 minutes or until golden brown. Serve with remaining salsa and sour cream mixed together.


To make ahead: Put taco melts on a greased cookie sheet and refrigerate. When you are ready to cook, make sure you let them thaw on the counter for about 20 minutes before cooking according to the directions.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Gift Ideas

Have you drawn a blank trying to figure out what you want for Christmas? Starting in October and November, me and sisters start the phone calls and emails back and forth regarding what we are getting everyone and what we want and what our husbands need. I hate telling people exactly what I want, but none of my family is around me these days to know my taste and needs. So I am here to help you with those awkward conversations and give you a few ideas regarding gifts for the cook (or aspiring cook).
Every Tuesday until Christmas, I will bring you some gift ideas that are cost conscious. I would love to have some wonderful cast iron enameled cookware or Dutch oven, like Le Crueset, but for me, it's just seems impractical to spend $300-400 on ONE pot. Last year, E got me an off-brand one from Sam's. It's the best thing I have ever cooked with. LOVE IT and it was only $30-40. Kohl's has a line of Food Network and Rachael Ray Cookware with good prices and you can always get a good sale at Kohl's. If you haven't signed up for their email service, they will send you a $5 off coupon.

Check Amazon. They had some good prices on cast iron cookware as well. Also, Mario Batali and Paula Deen have their own "celebrity" cookware that is fairly reasonably priced.

Why do you want a cast iron pot? What can you do with it? The question is, what can't you do with it. Soups, Stews, Roasts, Chili, ... You can do anything with it! You can cook with it on a stove, in an oven, over a fire, it's just so versatile and cleans well too. I find myself using this pot at least once a week in the summer and twice a week in the winter time.

Monday, November 9, 2009

In the Spirit

I love Christmas and I am SO ready to let the festivities begin! We have already started the Christmas music, today I rearranged the living room so the Christmas tree would fit, the baking has started, I am preparing my grocery list for my Thanksgiving meal, SO many things to get excited about. And none are more exciting to me than my trip home for Christmas. I am pumped!! I can't wait to see all of our family, for Rach to play with her cousin, to do a a little Christmas shopping. Ahhh...I love the holiday season! Have I mentioned that I am putting up my tree tomorrow? Don't make fun! You could do it too if you wanted! I took Rachel to Target yesterday and we hung out in the decoration department for the longest time because she was squealing at the all of the tree and yard ornaments that were all lit up. I can't wait to celebrate with her.
Here is my baby (who said MaMa to me this morning) practicing opening presents already by unloading the diaper basket 12 times daily. While I like that she moves around the floor these days, I miss the days when I could sit her down, and she would still be in the exact same spot when I checked on her a few minutes later.