skirt steak with long beans

It is amazing what you can do when sleep deprived. The last two nights Mr. Henry has decided to host an all-night dance party. The problem is mom and dad were not really feeling it. Unfortunately for all of us, Henry gets to dictate the evening schedule right now and so we were up, up, UP all night with the little fellow. Yes, he did sleep a little but it wasn’t for long and by the time we fell back to sleep ourselves, he was rising out of his shallow slumber. Despite the last 48 hours of no sleep, we have still been able to shower, cook, and function more or less. Last night we cooked up this skirt steak with green beans and potatoes. It was super simple but if I had to do it again, I might not use skirt steak. I think a sirloin would have really heightened the meal. Fingers crossed that we are able to cook tonight before collapsing into a pile of sleepless jelly!

Ingredients:

1lb Skirt Steak

6 Ounces Long Beans

4 Cloves Garlic

1 Bunch Thyme

1 Pound Russet Potatoes

1 Tomato

Preheat the oven to 500°F. Place the potatoes on a sheet pan. Drizzle with olive oil, season with salt and pepper and toss to thoroughly coat. Arrange the seasoned potatoes in a single layer and roast in the oven for 20 to 22. season the steaks with salt and pepper on both sides. In a large pan, heat 2 teaspoons of olive oil on medium until hot. Add the seasoned steaks and cook, loosely covering the pan with aluminum foil, 4 to 6 minutes per side. Remove the steaks from the pan and set aside. Add 2 teaspoons of olive oil to the pan and heat , dd the diced garlic cloves and cook. Add the long beans, tomato, half the thyme. Season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 4-5 minutes. Plate the dish by placing the potatoes first, top with greens, and lastly add the steak. Enjoy!

shrimp summer rolls

Our last Blue Apron recipe for the week was for Shrimp Summer Rolls. This was the one recipe that David was not too excited about. As a result, it has us questioning whether or not joining Blue Apron is right for us. While you can indicate generally what you want to eat via categories such as poultry, beef, and vegetarian, you don’t really get to specify what you want to eat in detail. So if you have selected to receive seafood, you are open to receiving then any type of seafood dish. Some you might really like and others you might be lukewarm about it. Even though David was not a fan of the summer rolls as an idea, once it was cooked up it was quite good. When we go to the Cheesecake Factory, I always like to have the summer roll for an appetizer so now being able to make these myself will satisfy my craving for this light and refreshing dish.

photo-36

Ingredients:

1 Bunch Cilantro

1 Bunch Mint

1 Carrot

1 Head Red Leaf Lettuce

1 Kirby Cucumber

10 Ounces Peeled, Deveined Shrimp

2 Ounces Cellophane Noodles

1/4 Cup Peanut Butter

1 Tablespoon Mirin

1 Tablespoon Soy Sauce

1 Tablespoon Sriracha

10 Rice Paper Wrappers

 

Bring a small pot of water to boil. Turn the heat off and add the cellophane noodles. Allow the noodles to sit in the hot water to cook for 2-3 minutes. Drain, run under cold water for 30 seconds and set aside. In a pan, heat a tablespoon of olive oil, add the shrimp, season with salt and pepper, and saute until shrimp are cooked through approximately 4 minutes. Take the shrimp off the heat and place them on a plate in the refrigerator to cool down. Now it is time to assemble the roll. Cut the cucumber and carrot into thin strips, pull the mint and cilantro leaves from the stem, and wash the lettuce. In a swallow bowl of warm water dip the rice wrapper for 20-30 seconds. Lay the softened rice wrapper on a clean surface, place lettuce, carrot and cucumber strips, 3-4 shrimp, 1-2 mint leaves, 1-2 cilantro leaves, and cellophane noodles. Roll the wrapper like a burrito and place on a plate. Repeat the assembly line until you have used all of the ingredients.

Sauce: In a small bowl add the peanut butter, mirin, soy sauce, and sirarcha (to taste)

 

oven fried chicken with sauteed green beans and corn

Our second Blue Apron meal was delicious this week. Oven Friend Chicken with Sauteed Green Beans and Corn really hit the spot and even David agreed that it was quite good!  With two of our three meals digested, we are really really thinking about joining Blue Apron during this first year of new parenthood. Because, even though I can get the recipes from the service online, can I get all the ingredients for the price Blue Apron is offering, that is the question! David and I will try this week to buy three meals worth of ingredients for these Blue Apron recipes and see what it costs us from a regular grocery store. Anyway, back to cooking this meal. While Henry napped in his mamaroo, I cooked up this meal in 20 minutes. I seriously cannot believe how easy this company has made dinner time.  Yes, I cooked it at 3PM and then let it sit on the oven until David got home and we reheated it for dinner, but it is the small victories in life as a new mom that matter! This meal will definitely join our meal rotation since it was super flavorful, easy, and the quick quick quick.

Ingredients:

5 Ounces Green Beans

2 Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts

2 Ears Corn

1 Bunch Basil

1 Clove Garlic

1 Lemon

1 1/2 Cups Panko Breadcrumbs

1 Cup Buttermilk

2 Teaspoon Fried Chicken Spice Blend (Smoked Paprika & Garlic Powder)

1 Tablespoon Butter

1 Mini Bottle Tabasco Hot Sauce

 

Preheat the oven at 450. Cut the chicken breast into three equal pieces. Dip the chicken in the buttermilk and then roll in the panko breadcrumbs and spices (which you should blend together in a little bowl). Place the breaded chicken on a lined baking sheet. Bake for about 15-20 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through and the breadcrumbs have browned.  Meanwhile, in a pan on the stove, melt the butter and  add a tablespoon of olive oil and saute the green beans (which you should cut into 2 inch pieces). Once the beans are a bright green, about 2-3 minutes, add the corn kernels that you removed from the cob, juice of half the lemon, salt, pepper,  and basil. Saute all together for another 2 minutes. Add a 1/4 cup of water to thicken the mixture.  Then plate the sauteed vegggies and top with the delicious chicken.  They recommend adding Tabasco sauce to taste on the chicken but I skipped this part and it tasted fine.

lamb, mint, and pea orecchiette

We have been so lucky.  Since Henry was born we have been able to avoid cooking in the kitchen for almost 3 weeks. Our nearest and dearest friends have taken amazing care of us and have brought over nutritious and delicious meals. From chicken pot pie, to kale salad, to fajitas, to lemon pepper chicken, to homemade pizzas, to stir fries, and so many more, we have truly been overwhelmed by the love and care of our friends. It cannot be stressed how amazing it was to not have to think about, worry about, or shop for dinner.  We were really able to focus on Henry and figuring out his needs and were able to avoid the frenzy of cooking and juggling the baby. Unfortunately, preparing dinner has now become a daunting task and I feel quite shy about being in the kitchen and trying to make sure Henry isn’t having a meltdown. But timing dinner and naps is unreliable at this early stage. Thankfully, our friends, Lauren and Mark, have helped us with this big transition. They currently use Blue Apron as a weekly meal delivery service and generously gave us a free week trial of meals. We received our package yesterday and everything was fresh and perfectly portioned. All I needed to do was mix it up on the stove top and enjoy. With Henry as my sous chef, we prepped and cooked our first Blue Apron recipe and we loved it!  It was so simple and the recipe was complete in 20 minutes.  This service is perfect for new families and David and I are thinking about extending our membership now.

The service provides you with recipe cards for each meal that you can then use again in the future if you decide not to use the delivery service again. So it is a win-win situation!

 

Henry was an excellent sous chef in his rocking chair on the floor. I kept holding my breathe and hoping he would stay content while I told him what I was doing on the counter and stove top. Hopefully in the future he can help his momma out with a little more of a hands on approach.

Ingredients:

Orecchiette Pasta

English peas

3 cloves of garlic

1 bunch of mint

1 lemon (for zest and juice)

1 purple spring onion

8oz ground lamb

2 tablespoons butter

1/4 cup Parmesan cheese

 

Cook the pasta and reserve 1 cup of water. In a pan, heat up 1 tablespoon of olive oil and saute diced onion and diced garlic cloves for 2-3 minutes or until fragrant. Add the ground lamb and cook through. Season with salt and pepper. Add peas, 2 teaspoons of lemon zest, squeezed lemon juice, butter, Parmesan cheese, and cooked pasta. Add the reserved water slowly to create a light sauce. Cook together for 2-3 minutes, serve and enjoy!

a few of our favorite things

You don’t realize when you are registering for baby items which ones will become your absolute favorites. Every baby is different and it is amazing that the littlest baby already forms preferences right from the start! Henry has overall been an incredibly easy baby. Everyday I pray that it doesn’t change and so far he continues to surprise us with his calm disposition and charm. He fusses of course but usually the culprit is hunger and his naps are slowly becoming more “routine.”  And, these items that we have come to rely on have truly helped make life with the little man smoother.

The UppaBaby Cruz stroller with bassinet was an excellent investment. It is so incredibly versatile. Our car seat clicks in easily and the bassinet is a great carrier for long walks in the park. Henry loves napping in his bassinet and the UV sun shield is incredibly long and truly blocks out the hot summer sun. The stroller is lightweight and maneuvers beautiful.

Since the day he was born, Henry has loved a tight swaddle. It probably has to do with the fact that he was such a BIG baby in such a tiny space. These swaddles by summer are soft and lightweight. Henry doesn’t sweat despite the snug fit and the Velcro really keeps him “locked” in during his naps and nighttime snooze. And he looks so cute all bound up like a little glow worm.

At night, Henry sleeps in the stokke bassinet. My brother and sister-in-law very generously gifted this to us after their little one used it. It is compact and fits in our room beautifully and Henry is great at sleeping in this.  It rocks gently and has a mesh inside which allows for great air flow.

While it makes Henry smell a little like an old man, Burt’s Bees Diaper Cream is currently our go to. We have a bottle upstairs, downstairs, and in our diaper bag just in case of a major blow out!

This week Henry started to “play” on his infantino play mat. It is so cute watching him be mesmerized by the dangling animals and the kaleidoscope of colors. He is never on the mat for more than 5-10 minutes right now but it is starting to look like he is enjoying his play time more and more each day.

Where would a new mom be without a nursing cover! Now that we are more mobile and head out every day for random errands, playgroups, and mommy classes the bebe au lait is perfect for covering up the tatas while Henry snacks. The only downside is that it gets a little hot under the cover but the privacy is a worthy trade off.

This Ergobaby Carrier has helped keep me sane.  I love a clean house and often feel very anxious and overwhelmed when the house is a cluttered mess or covered in dog hair. But, with a new baby cleaning is on the bottom of the list of priorities. The infant carrier allows me to tuck my sleeping (or almost sleeping) little man close to me and pull out my vaccuum, mop, and/or get some cooking done. Of course this is a temporary state. When Henry is older, I doubt he will let me strap him to me in order to clean and tidy up but for now I love how the Ergobaby allows me to be both mommy and regular Melissa who loves to clean!  I am sure the Ergobaby is great outside of the house as well I just haven’t tried it out in the wild yet!

I wish I had two of these!  I would love to have a boppy upstairs and downstairs because I feel like I am carrying it around with me all the time. It helps so much with feeding the little man. Having a 10 pound baby means my wrists and arms tire after a long day of carrying him about and the boppy is perfect for both of us. Henry can recline on the soft pillow while nursing and I can give my arms a break while still having him close to me. I highly recommend to any mom-to-be purchasing multiple covers for the boppy. You never know when spit up will “decommission” your current cover and the boppy is too much of an essential to lose for even an hour of laundry.

My brother and sister-in-law bought us this Chicco pack n play and we have it downstairs.  It is AMAZING! We are able to change Henry there and the side caddy attachment is perfect for holding wipes, diapers, and burp cloths. We don’t have to run upstairs now every time he needs to be changed which is awesome. He naps in there during the day and it is high enough off the ground to ensure that he is away from the curious pups. The owls are incredibly intriguing to him and if we need to do something he is often perfectly content to sit with his owls for a little while.

The Chicco Keyfit car seat is a perfect pair with the Uppababy stroller. It is lightweight, easy to clean (since Henry spits up a bit still), and it is so easy to click it in and out of the car. Clearly we use this everyday which makes it an essential part of our life right now.

My parents purchased us the mama roo by 4moms for Christmas and we weren’t sure if the little man would like it. Well….he does! His favorite setting is “Kangaroo” and he sits in there at least once everyday. Right now as I blog this he is swaddled and napping in his roo. The pups can casually walk pass him and sniff him which they love and Henry seems quite content.

Last but not least is his ugly, big pacifier from the hospital. It is called a soothie and it is what we were sent home with. He LOVES it. We went out and bought a bunch more and have them all around the house and in his diaper bag.  Sometimes he just wants the comfort of suckling and the shape and stickiness of this pacifier allows him to hold it in his mouth longer than he is able to do with other brands right now.

So that is it!  These are currently Henry’s favorite items.

5 things that reveal you are a new parent!

Life with Henry is somehow becoming “normal.” Everyone always says that once the baby arrives, it feels as though they have always been a part of your life. Yes, in the midst of a frantic cry-fest, I can vividly remember my life as a DINK (double income no kids). Yet, at the same time, while there is some razbliuto for our former existence, I do truly love our new little family member who is all things sweet, warm, and cuddly. To say it is all easy and moving along smoothly would be inaccurate but we definitely have a “schedule” forming which helps us better comfort, respond to, and understand our little man. Each day feels better than the previous even if it is a miniscule difference. Nevertheless, David and I are clearly new to parenting and some of the tell-tale signs of our newness have left us doubled over laughing.

1. When food shopping with Henry, David forgets that he is pushing the stroller and not the grocery cart. Henry therefore can be found with random food items tucked alongside him while David says, “Oh oops that’s right he is not the cart!”

2. When changing Henry we have a 50/50 chance of having him pee all over himself. No matter how fast we aim to change him and how prepared we are to face the diaper change it inevitably ends with a costume change for the little guy.

3. When taking Henry’s car seat out of the car, I am never quite sure how to raise the handle and have knocked myself in the face and chin. So when you see my bruised face know it is a parenting battle scar.

4. When we successfully head out of the house for an errand and time it just right to coincide with his nap, we feel like we have accomplished mission impossible upon our return and can’t help but high five, chest bump, and do a victory dance.

5. When Henry fusses, we sing the craziest songs. Songs we make up and songs from deep deep into our childhood emerge and freak us out. Like, who remembers the lyrics from Sleeping Beauty? Apparently I do!

Henry Adam: Two Weeks

Oh my! How has is already been two weeks since Henry was born? Seriously, these last two weeks have flown by in a whirlwind of diaper changes, feedings,  and cuddles. David goes back to work on Thursday for a two week project and then will be home again with us for another three weeks. While I am excited to see how Henry and I will do on our own, I am also a little nervous to be just the two of us. David has been such an AMAZING dad. He is quite the baby whisperer and without him I am not sure if Henry and I would have gotten into our breastfeeding, soothing, sleeping routine as quickly as we did. Most of our days are spent in the living room. In our comfy clothes, we spend the morning sipping our coffee and snuggling up to Henry between feedings while watching Live with Kelly and Michael in the background. We try to head out each day for at least one errand/trip. In the first days this would take us a few hours to time the feeding just so with our departure from the house. But yesterday we made it out to the Town Clerk’s Office to collect Henry’s birth certificate and then walked around the mall.  It was a triumphant trip which included a public breastfeeding and restroom changing. These silly milestones  provided us with some confidence to be “normal” outside of the house. It is amazing how something as simple as using the public restroom changing station can help you feel like, “Yes, I got this!”

We keep wondering what his personality will be like. It is a bit too early to know now but it is clear that he has a calm disposition which keeps evolving each day and he loves loves loves his daddy. Eskimo kisses help lull him to sleep and in the morning he loves cuddling in bed before heading downstairs to face the day. He eats like clockwork right now. Feedings are every 2 hours during the daytime and every 3-4 hours at night. I think he sleeps longer at night because he LOVES to be swaddled. We strap him into his little swaddle straight jacket and he is off to slumber-land.  We feel incredibly lucky to have this early baby-generated schedule (though each day I worry that it is going to change!).  As we become more adventurous with Henry, I feel as though our lives are settling back into place. I am surprised by how quickly this new little guy has become a seamless part of our existence and rounded out our family. While I am still a bit hesitant to dine out (nights tend to have a little cluster feeding), I am sure we will head out there soon!

As for me, I am feeling great! I was SO afraid it would take me the full 6 weeks postpartum to feel good. By taking it easy, my body has healed and I truly feel like my own self again (though a touch more tired). I have 13 pounds to go before I am back to my pre-pregnancy weight but I am not in a rush to lose it and I just feel completely amazed by my body: What it did during the 9 months of pregnancy, what it did during labor, and how it is recovering at its own pace. Yes, I had a weepy afternoon when I was overly tired last week, but David helped comfort me and usher me to take a much needed nap. His support has really helped make this family transition ideal. In these circumstances, no wonder people get addicted to making babies =)