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Thursday, May 1, 2008

Viruses, Hybrids & Recipes!

That's quite the blog post title, isn't it? The virus is what Aiden has. I had no idea he was so sick. He has a bacterial chest infection, a viral throat infection and congestion in his ears messing up his equilibrium, which is why he keeps falling down. Poor baby! I'm sorry if he's passed it on to anyone else. Runny nose, high fever (102°) and vomiting were his first symptoms.

Recipes! I never post recipes but Danielle's blog posts got me inspired! I enjoy cooking and I like good food but I don't like to be in the kitchen for more than an hour. I also am a big fan of Sandra Lee - I love how she can take a packaged food, add something easy to it and have a delicious meal! These are recipes I love because of how ridiculously easy they are and because Aiden can eat them, too. I am posting them because they use ingredients that you can buy boxed, canned or frozen and are perfect for hurricane season, trucker strikes, etc. (Small cans of evaporated milk work well for all of these!)

Bell Peper Alfredo: (this recipe will serve 2 adults and 1 child. Double if needed.)

1/2 red bell pepper sliced
1/2 onion chopped
6 chicken tenders (fresh or frozen)
2.5 tablespoons butter/low fat spead
1 bag Knorr Pasta Sides Broccoli Alfredo
milk & water as called for on the pasta box

I put one large and one small pan on the stovetop. In the small pan put 1/2 tablespoon butter, the bell pepper and the onion on low to warm until the veggies are soft. In the big pan add 2 tablespoons of butter and your 6 chicken tenders. (I almost always use frozen.) Cook the tenders until the center is white and then remove them from the pan and cut them into strips or chunks. Using the same large pan, with melted butter still in it, follow the directions for cooking the pasta. By now your bell pepper and onion should be nice and tender. Once the pasta noodles are beginning to go soft, add in the veggies and chicken and continue cooking until the pasta is done. Serve with hot french bread.

This is my favorite meal to make when taking dinners to people so you might have already had it! This recipe is half-Sandra Lee's and is similar to Hasta la Pasta's signature dish. If you want to get fancy, add yellow bell pepper slices to give the meal more color.

Ridiculously Easy BBQ Chicken: (recipe serves 2 adults and 1 child.)

1/2 bottle of any BBQ sauce (the cheaper the better! I use Hunt's 99¢ brown sugar BBQ sauce)
6-8 chicken tenders

I kid you not, put the frozen chicken in a glass pyrex, pour half the bottle of BBQ sauce over it and bake at 375° for 45 minutes or until the chicken is done. Pair with Rice-A-Roni rice pilaf (follow box directions) and a can of baked beans for an awesome summer meal all guys love. Use an entire bottle of BBQ sauce and double the chicken tenders if needed. NOTE: Do NOT use with extra-large cuts of chicken. Large chicken breasts will need 1.5 hours or more baking time. Trust me, chicken tenders are the way to go on this recipe!

Tay's Totally-Cheating Beef Stroganoff: (serves 2 adults and 1 child)

1 thin steak (usually marked for Milanesa and sold in packs of 2)
Worcestershire sauce for marinading
1 bag Knorr Pasta Sides Beef Stroganoff
milk, butter & water as called for on the pasta box

Throw steak in a quart-sized ziplock bag, slosh some Worcestershire sauce over it and place in the fridge to marinade. At dinner time, pull the steak out and either grill or cook in a pan on the stove until done. (This will go fast because the steak is so thin.) Slice the steak into small strips while you cook the pasta according to package directions. When the pasta is nearly done, add the steak and finish cooking. If the pasta tastes bland, which it sometimes can, add 1/2 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce and any seasoned salt to taste. I find using a small can of evaporated milk makes the dish creamier and gives it a better flavor.

The best dinner rolls: I'm sure I could mix up a batch of dough for homemade rolls but when Rhode's sells a bag of 36 frozen dough balls, I just can't pass that up. They're in the freeszer section, cost around $2.50 and a bag lasts us a month. Sometime after lunch I'll spray a round cake pan with Pam, throw the frozen dough balls in and cover with plastic wrap to let them rise. By the time dinner is cooking, they're big, fat and ready to bake. (They have a 3-5 hour rise time with a 1.5 hour fast rise if you need it.) I promise that no matter how the house looks, the smell of fresh-baked rolls will put your hubby in a good mood!

If you really are in the mood for something more elaborate, that destroys your kitchen and takes two days to make but tastes like heaven, I can post my strudel recipe next. ;)

Okay, here is the one little hybrid I made this week:

This is a little tag for our snack basket so guests can find it and help themselves easier. I also want to teach Aiden good eating habits, which includes limiting the number of sweet snacks you eat. I had planned on letting him choose between fruits, veggies and string cheese for some snacks and then allowing one snack from the snack basket, which is usually stocked with fruit snacks and chewy granola bars. (The Hershey bar ended up in S'mores last night! YUM!) We'll see how that works out. But for now, it sure does look cute with that little hybrid label tied to it!

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

A Mother's Work

How does a gal stay ahead? I seriously think that for every day Brian comes home and the house looks the same as when he left it, I should get some sort of bonus pay. Here is how my morning went:

Aiden has been getting in his molars and has been pure misery since last week. He has woken up frequently at night since Saturday and last night was no different, except that we let him fuss and drift back to sleep on his own when neither of us could pull ourselves out of bed at 3 am to read the star book for the twentieth time. He slept in until 9:30, which gave me some time to get ready this morning. I got him fed, dressed and we headed up to the library for the 11 am children's song time. Aiden was having a fit when we pulled in the parking lot, thinking we were running errands. Once he saw the other babies, he cheered up and did okay for singing time. I let him play with our friend's babies and the other children and then took him to go check out some new board books. (Brian and I have all thirty-something of Aiden's board books memorized. We just can't handle reading them yet again!) He found a sister book to one he already has and clutched it to his chest the entire time while I VERY quickly grabbed some other board books from the bin. Prying this new beloved board book from his grasp long enough for the librarian to scan it was the end of the world. I took my red-faced, sobbing little blondie to the car and strapped him in, working delicately around the book he was pressing even more firmly into his chest. Once home I got Aiden some milk and laid him down for a late but much-needed nap. I listened to him say "no-no-no" and fuss for about 20 minutes before going back in to check on him. The smell of poop nearly knocked me over when I walked in his room. I felt so bad but was grateful the diaper had contained everything. I scooped him up to go get him some lunch, since he was refusing to sleep.

I got him situated in his high chair, warmed up some soup and prepared a drink, all to the chorous of his crying. I got one spoonful of chicken & stars in his mouth when the food triggered his nausea. WAVES of curdled milk vomit game gushing from his little body. It landed in his lap, sloshed down the booster chair and pooled on the floor. The smell was horrid and I fought back my own heaves while trying to quickly wipe off the vomit from his hands and legs, that he was now flinging all over the kitchen. I stared from the top and went down, cleaning off Aiden, stripping his puke-covered clothes, wiping down the high chair and mopping up the floor. I rinsed the clothes in the kitchen sink and tossed them in the washer, then ran to gather up the rest of the darks to run a full load. NOTE: I should mention that every single time I spend the 45 seconds to get the laundry out of our master closet hamper and Aiden's hamper, he gets into some sort of trouble.

Aiden's room STILL reeks so I pause for another 5 seconds to spray some of the air freshener that I keep on his bookshelf. I am walking back with my arms full of clothes when I hear the trashcan fall over and Aiden's irritated but frightened cry. I kick enough trash out of the way to toss the clothes in the wash so I can have my hands free to pick up this new mess. I am putting vomit-soaked paper towels back in the trash and I realize this half of the house reeks, too! I add soap to the washer, close the lid, grab the candle I have on the counter, pull out the lighter, light it, set it on the kitchen table and turn back to the pantry. And there is Aiden, standing over the big blue bin, holding open the lid and shoving fistfulls of dogfood into his mouth! YUCK!! I rush over and am having to fish out all these little round choking hazards, all while Aiden is fighting me and coughing throw-up-and-dog-food scented air in my face. I'm about ready to hurl and can't do much more than hold Aiden over the trash can when the dog food triggers a second wave of nausea. (At least THAT got it out of his mouth!)

I decide I've had enough, Aiden is melting down and since all food is making him sick, I decide a nap needs to be the new priority. I offer some watered down juice to rinse his mouth and lay him down still crying. He's silent - and practically asleep - before I can close his bedroom door. Thank goodness, because I need a break! Maybe next week Aiden will love the library hour, reading board books in the children's corner, checking out a few to read at home and enjoying a nice, warm lunch with his mom. I certainly will feel better when one side of the house no longer smells like poop and the other side is clear of all puke! LOL!