Chicken & Corn Quesadillas

With a sick little two year old (almost) and a six week old babe, quick meals are even more of a priority around here.  I hadn’t planned the last couple of meals for the week since plans had been a bit up in the air and I really didn’t want to default to plain spaghetti noodles.  Boring. Upon inventory of our pathetically miniscule apartment freezer, I saw we had some chicken.  There had to be something I could make with that….

Luckily, I took inventory a few hours before supper.  I could have worked things out by thawing the chicken in the microwave of course, but this way I was able to cook it up my favorite way.  You know… the way where I don’t have to touch nasty, raw chicken or stand stirring it over a frying pan after which I have to obsessively scrub all the salmonella out of my entire kitchen.  I give you some tasty & super easy quesadillas!

Chicken & Corn Quesadillas

  • 4-6 frozen boneless skinless chicken thighs
  • poultry seasoningChicken & Corn Quesadilla1
  • salt
  • pepper
  • 8 whole-wheat tortillas
  • olive oil
  • 3/4 cup frozen corn
  • 1/4 diced onion
  • 1 diced red bell pepper
  • 1/2-1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • optional salsa for dipping

Throw frozen chicken into crock-pot.  (Yes, you read that correctly… nice, neat, frozen chicken straight into the crock-pot!  If you pour it straight out of the bag without touching it, you don’t even have to wash afterwards – win!!)  Season with poultry seasoning, salt and pepper.  Cook on low 5-6 hours or cooked through.  You shouldn’t need to add any liquid as the frozen chicken generates enough of its own.  However, if you’re worried about it, you can always throw in a small amount of chicken broth.  If you want supper to be ridiculously fast later, you can dice the onion and pepper now & throw them in the fridge until you’re ready to assemble your quesadillas.

Once chicken is cooked, preheat your oven to 425.  Brush one side of tortillas with olive oil.  Place oil side down on baking sheet.  You’ll be folding these in half afterwards, so place the following ingredients on half of each tortilla: shredded chicken, corn, onion, bell pepper, and cheese.Chicken & Corn Quesadilla

Fold them over and pop in the oven for 10-12 minutes or edges are just starting to lightly brown.  They will feel a bit soft but after sitting a minute will harden up more than you think.  You can cook them longer if you like them really crispy.  I fit four of these per baking sheet and they made two meals for us.  If you don’t want to eat them all at once you can prepare what you don’t want and stick it in the fridge to bake the following day.  That way they’ll taste nice and fresh for you.  Cut each quesadilla in half and eat as is or dip in salsa!

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Q-tip Fall Tree Painting

Abby developed a cold last night (ugh! There goes our 4 month stretch of having a healthy family!)  If you haven’t experienced it for yourself, toddlers can be a bit needy when they aren’t feeling well.  When Abby was begging to do “more school!!” this morning, I figured it would be a much better outlet than ripping her kleen-ex into obnoxiously small pieces so she could throw it away and get a new one. *sigh*

I have had a million and one super fun, fall themed crafts floating around in my head and I figured it was about time to get one of them done.  It hasn’t already snowed like five times or anything….  Next year will likely be much more do-able for fall crafts since I won’t be constantly nursing. 🙂  Anyhow, we have accomplished at least one now!

This was Abby’s first time q-tip painting and she really loved it!  I think she mostly loved that it wasn’t as messy as finger painting (We tried that over the weekend and with her it was literally one finger doing all the painting.  Not sure how much she actually enjoyed it since she was mostly just worrying over her “messy” finger. haha  What a girl!).

This craft was incredibly easy to throw together.  Just grab a piece of paper, some paints, q-tips and optional: scissors, glue and brown construction paper.  I cut out the tree trunk and branches as Abby is a little young to successfully handle scissors, but she helped glue the pieces down on her paper.  (If you don’t have construction paper handy, just draw or paint the tree trunk!)  After the trunk is complete, show your child how to dip one q-tip in one color of paint and then put dot leaves on their tree!  I also drew a pencil circle around the area I wanted Abby to dot in, so she could work on the concept of staying in the lines a bit.  She did decently well for the most part.

Since Abby is still pretty young, we just had one color of paint available at a time.  I could have let her make a giant mess, but I knew Evie was going to want to eat again soon and this time it was just easier this way. 🙂  Abby enjoyed picking which color she wanted next and did really well with the dotting at first.  By the time we got to the color orange, you can see we got a little more globby and a little less nice and dotty. haha

This was a fun art project, holding the little q-tips helped with our fine motor building, and I think it will be a great one to repeat next year.  Maybe we’ll get wild and even try some monitored scissor action at that point!  There may not be any more leaves on the trees outside our window, but the one on our fridge is sure full of them. 🙂Q-tip Fall Tree Leaf Painting

Breaded Pork Chops

These were a tasty meat dish I put together last night.  I was in the mood for some pan fried pork chops and decided to create my own as I had a few ingredients that needed to be used up. 🙂  You could probably bake these for a healthier meal, but I just really wanted that crunchier taste this time!  I was definitely in love with the outcome of this and had to exercise some major self-control not to eat more than 1 1/2 (hey, someone had to finish off the other 1/2 of my daughter’s portion, right?!).  Some baked broccoli and hashbrowns paired up nicely as side dishes.

Breaded Pork ChopsBreaded Pork Chops2

  • 1 egg lightly beaten
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 cup crushed multi-grain crackers*
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 3/4 cup crushed french-fried onions
  • 1/2 teaspoon thyme
  • salt
  • pepper
  • 8 thin-cut boneless pork chops thawed
  • 1/4 cup olive oil or vegetable oil

*These are similar to something like saltine crackers or butter flavored crackers.

In a shallow bowl whisk together egg and milk.  In another bowl combine crackers, cheese & french-fried onions.  Season both sides of chops with thyme, salt & pepper.  Dip in egg wash, then press to completely coat in crumb mixture.

Heat oil in frying pan over medium heat.  Place chops in pan and cook for 5-8 minutes.  Flip them over and cook another 5-8 minutes or done.  It helps the breading to stay on when you don’t flip them right away.  I tend to cook meat more on the long side of things since I’m always paranoid it isn’t cooked through. haha  Try to save some for tomorrow!Breaded Pork Chops

Alphabet Tube

Alphabet Sticker TubeHere is a quick activity to put together that I found on Testy yet trying.  You simply grab an empty paper towel tube (or something similar… mine is from some plastic cling wrap) and use a black marker to write each letter on it.  Then write each letter on blank stickers and let your child peel them off and stick on the matching tube letter.

Since Abby has known all of her letters for quite a while now, I wrote upper case letters on the tube and lower case letters on the stickers to make it a little more exciting,  She had no problem marching them up, but did need a little help getting the stickers on at first.

This was a fun little activity, although not something you can really reuse (well… you can until the stickers quit sticking 😉  Abby was quick to discover that…).  It was super cheap to do though and we had fun with it! 🙂  Alphabet Sticker Tube1

Chicken Lo Mein

Since baby #2 arrived, I am all about quick and easy meals.  Heck, I was all about them before baby #2!  I switched up this recipe I found on BlogHer a bit, because we just love good flavor at our house and it looked a tad bland.  It was definitely a speedy dish and tasted delicious in spite of its appearance!  (Let’s be honest…. the pictures look like it’s a ho-hum kind of meal….. this is probably why it took me so long to get around to actually trying it!)One Pot Wonder Chicken Lo Mein

Chicken Lo Mein

  • 4-5 boneless skinless chicken thighs thawed
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon poultry seasoning
  • dash of salt
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil if necessary
  • 1 bag baby carrots halved the long way
  • 1 red bell pepper cut into thin slices
  • 1 medium onion diced
  • 5 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 5 cups chicken broth
  • 12 ounces whole-wheat noodles
  • 1/3 cup grated parmesan

Place chicken in skillet (it should create enough liquid of its own, but you can add some olive oil if necessary), sprinkle with pepper, poultry seasoning & salt.  Cook over medium heat until done.  While it’s cooking, use your spatula to cut it up into small chunks.  (You could cut it up before cooking, but we think this is an easier/time saving method)

While your chicken is cooking, place carrots, bell pepper, onion, garlic, soy sauce, garlic powder, cornstarch, red pepper flakes and chicken broth into a large pot and bring to a boil.

Once your liquid is boiling, add in the noodles, cover and simmer 15 minutes.  When your chicken is done cooking, go ahead and add that to the pot as well.  Once your 15 minutes are up and most of the liquid is gone, stir in the parmesan cheese and serve!  It’s got a little Asian flare to it and trust me when I say it really is better than it looks. 🙂  One Pot Wonder Chicken Lo Mein1

Hearty Oatmeal Pancakes

Everyone has their favorite pancake recipe and this is mine. 🙂  I’ve tried a variety of recipes over the years and this is the version I came up with to fit our style.  I absolutely love using applesauce in place of oil/butter, the cinnamon & vanilla add great flavor, and the oatmeal and whole- wheat flour make them nice and filling.  These are to die for with berries/fruit mixed in, but also pretty delicious on their own with a little syrup!  I know there are healthier recipes out there, but I find this to be the perfect combination of healthy yet not too heavy.  I think it’s easy to make bready foods taste almost too thick and these maintain that nice “light and fluffy” taste.

Hearty Oatmeal PancakesHearty Oatmeal Pancakes

  • 1 1/4 cups oats
  • 3/4 cup flour
  • 3/4 cup whole-wheat flour
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 3/4 cup milk
  • 1 container natural applesauce (slightly more than  1/4 cup)*
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract (I always use imitation since it’s way cheaper)

*I love using the granny smith flavor, but plain works great too

Mix together oats, flours, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon & salt.

Whisk together with a fork, eggs, milk, applesauce & vanilla.  Stir into dry ingredients until just combined.

Fold in any desired fruit.  My all-time favorite add ins are blueberries, but anything is delicious!  They are also great plain or topped with sliced bananas. 🙂

Cook 1/4 cupfuls on a lightly greased skillet/griddle until done.  Normal people just flip them once, but I get impatient and flip them a million times. ha

One Month Old!

*sniff!*  Our baby girl turned one month old yesterday!  I can hardly handle it.  Caleb and I sometimes (okay, like every other night) enjoy being sentimental and look back through Abby’s baby pictures.  It feels weird saying her “baby pictures” because I don’t even know how she is not a baby anymore!  She’s not quite two, but I feel like her maturity level makes her seem so stinkin’ old!!  Anyhow…  looking back, Abby really looks nothing like Evie, but we’ll see if they have more similarities as time passes along.

It’s crazy how fast even a week changes little tots so much!  Evelyn was a screamer the first couple weeks of life.  However, right around the end of week 2, she suddenly stopped all the screaming and only has a couple, more normal sized, fits each day (and night).  She got that same annoying milk engorgement thing in her nipples that Abby had when she was a baby, but thankfully it was never quite as bad for her.  With Abby, there was redness, intense swelling and obvious discomfort (in spite of the doctors telling us that it never bothered babies…. oh really).  However, Evelyn had some swelling but never seemed too bothered by it.  It went away when she was somewhere around 2 1/2 weeks old.  I’m glad I knew what it was this time around, since it officially freaked us out last time!  (not to mention the mini period that comes with it where they have a small amount of blow flow….. apparently the mom’s hormones can sometimes affect the babies, girls or boys even!  So weird…)

Happy BabyEvie surprised me by actually starting to smile already.  She has to really work at it, but it’s so adorable. haha  I saw some features from Caleb’s side in Abby (mostly her eyes really), but the bottom part of her face totally looks like my chubby cheeks as a little kid.  Evelyn, on the other hand, is a current clone of Caleb as a baby!  It’s ridiculous how much they look alike!!  Seriously!  It’s definitely his dad’s side of the family too.  She has that “Miller” look to her.  I guess we’ll get to see what Caleb would have looked like as a girl now. 😉  Sweet Baby

Sooo, let’s see… Evie currently hates tummy time (at least for the most part), is starting to enjoy playing on her back a little more often, is beginning to enjoy watching big sis with her crazy antics, and is becoming slightly more predictable with her napping.  She is doing better over all with sleeping at night.  Some nights she goes right to bed super peacefully after her last feeding.  Other nights she has a little fitty time first.  Either way, she normally does a 3 1/2 – 5 hour stretch to start the night off, followed by a 3 – 4 hour stretch, followed by a 2 – 3 hour stretch.  You never really know what you’re going to get and she doesn’t always go right back to sleep after night feedings, but we’re having slow improvements.

I had a rough time with this tot over the past month, as far as nursing was concerned.  The first two weeks were just zero fun with me bleeding – a lot – during and after feedings, to the point that she was spitting up my blood.  It was lovely.  I then felt like I had one day where there was mild improvement.  I started feeling a little hopeful that I was callousing up and things were going to get better.  That hope was quickly crushed when the following week was worse and worse each day.  I was incredibly red and sore and it burned when she ate and afterwards for 20-30 minutes.  I wasn’t bleeding on the right side, although the left was still bleeding and had a large deep wound on the nipple – ya, ouch!  The doctor told me I had a yeast infection and I should use anti-fungal cream on myself (he never actually looked at me, just said this based on my description of what was going on).  We tried that with no success.  I wanted to breastfeed for a year, like I did with my older daughter, but I was starting to think I would have to switch to formula because it was just so painful.  My husband was begging me to switch because he hated me crying during each feeding.  I really wanted to stick it out, but only if I knew things would eventually ease up a little!

My aunt recommended I call the La Leche League in my area, which is essentially a breastfeeding support group.  They had really helped me with my first daughter, so I decided to give it a try. The lady I called was really nice but couldn’t actually meet with me due to insurance or something, so it was only so helpful.  She told me to try some other thing for yeast infection and mentioned a lactation consultant place, Cygnus Lactation Services, I could go to if I wanted to get looked at/more help.  The next day I decided to give that place a try.  SO grateful that I did.  It was absolutely amazing!  The lady who met with me was incredibly helpful and definitely gave me renewed hope for the rest of my breastfeeding journey.  She gave Evelyn and myself an examination and to my relief said I did not have a yeast infection and Evelyn wasn’t tongue-tied ( a nightmare for breastfeeding moms… haha).  However, she did say Evelyn had a very short tongue and was compensating for that by basically ripping me apart.  She showed me a new way to very firmly hold her and it instantly provided some help.  I have since been training Evelyn how to nurse this way and it has slowly been improving each day.  I have been using a nipple shield on my left side, due to the deep sore.  It’s just a mite too “biting” (haha) not to use it right now.  This makes it a little tricky since she has to nurse differently on the side with the shield than she does on the right side and that irritates her.  She actually really prefers the shield right now.  She’s getting better though and I’m getting better at setting up the hold and the pain (thank goodness!!) is also getting better.  I’m using some polysporin on the wound and hopefully that will really start healing up here soon so I can lose the shield.  Nursing is always an exciting journey. 🙂

To sum up, we love this baby girl and are so glad we’ve had a month to spend getting to know her.  I’m really looking forward to seeing her personality develop.  Also expecting some sweet moments as the interaction between her and Abby increases.  Oh, and I wouldn’t say I’m counting down to the “sleeping through the night” phase, but I’m also certainly not dreading it.  Sisters