When life hands you pumpkins

I don’t know about you but there’s something about Fall that always seems to bring me back to life. To say it’s my favorite time of year would be an understatement; Halloween is my favorite holiday (yes even more than Christmas,) I got married in the Fall and last October our little dude entered the world. This year more than ever I feel like I am so caught up in the hecticness of daily life, from trying to manage an-almost toddler to still being a present wife, daughter and friend. It can be so overwhelming and one thing I’ve noticed amongst parents is this sense of competition;  “my kid walked by this age, my kid already eats those things, my kid doesn’t sleep like that” etc etc etc. Now don’t get me wrong I’ve been finding a great support system in the parenting community but this sense of competition amongst friends, strangers, social media and so on is crazy to me. Growing up I can remember my dad always telling me to not compare my grades to the other kids and to try to do well for myself, not to be like others who maybe did better than me. All I know after this year is that parenting is hard, and every child, every teenager, every adult is different. We all do things our own way and we should embrace the differences in our kids rather than criticize them. It’s so awesome to see parents come together and support one another by offering advice or to be a sounding board, which as we know is more than necessary to keep our sanity. As my little dudes 1st birthday approaches I hope to gain more confidence as a parent and realize we’re all doing good as long as our kids are happy. That being said, excuse me while I go get a hot coffee, throw on a sweater and geek out over finally having some cold weather.  

 

Hellooooo October!!

Well it’s officially my favorite time of year. Things have been so hectic lately between planning Sean’s first birthday party, starting Play School and trying to maintain somewhat of a social life, but I’m trying to stop and smell the roses so to say. Sean loves going to school and I am enjoying it a lot more than I thought. Once a week I get to go somewhere with him where he can play with other babies and I also get to spend time with other parents. It’s a welcoming environment that allows us to vent, exchange joys and concerns, offer advice and just relax. It has made me realize that as parents we all have issues; no baby is the same, we need to be easier on ourselves and learn to support one another. Finding a community amongst parents is more important than I realized, and being one of the only one of my friends with a child I am so glad I found a school that encourages parental support and forming friendships. 

Now if this weather would chill out I’m getting anxious to get my pumpkin patch on. Halloween is my favorite day of the year and my son decided to be born on October 29 last year so needless to say this month is going to be ridiculously fun..busy, but fun. Im looking to try some new pumpkin and apple recipes over the next few weeks if anyone has any they love I’d love to hear some ideas or recipes. Aside from pumpkin patches what else are some fun Fall activities for families or couples?  

  

All about that turkey burger life

You know you need a hobby when getting a barbecue has been one of the highlights of your summer, but seriously..I’m stoked. I have been on a barbecuing spree lately and I love it, mainly because of how time saving it is but also because everything tastes better than on my stovetop (no offense stovetop.) Ever since my gallbladder incident and learning that my kidney is fatty, I’ve had to cut back on high fat foods, which had led to turkey becoming my main source of animal protein. Don’t get me wrong, ground turkey is good and all but sometimes the taste can be a little bland to me so I like to add a few spices every now and then. These turkey burgers are so easy it’s kind of silly that I’m even posting a recipe for them but clearly it’s not stopping me. Let me know how you guys jazz up your low-fat meals, I could definitely use some new recipes to try. 

Protein Style Turkey Burgers

Ingredients

  • Ground turkey
  • Lite Cheddar Cheese (mine is from trader joes)
  • Garlic powder
  • Black truffle salt (not necessary but oh so delicious)
  • Lettuce
  • Condiments

After ground turkey is taken out of the packaging, add a pinch of black truffle salt directly to the meat followed by a few shakes of the garlic powder (the amount depends on how strong you like garlic taste.) Form meat into patties and either cook on barbecue or with a little olive oil on your stovetop. Top with the Lite Cheddar and place on a bed of lettuce with condiments of your choice. I sided with sweet potato chips this time and it went really well with the burgers. Overall this is such a quick and delicious dinner, perfect for busy week nights.

  

Low fat dinner, happy tastebuds

Happy Monday everyone, I hope it’s not toooo bad! Over the weekend I surprised myself by making some things that were very low in fat and my husband actually liked..I know, hold for applause. I made a reduced guilt taco salad (minus the taco) and frozen yogurt dabs. I shop at Trader Joes but you can modify the ingredients for where you shop. I will start with the yogurt dabs because they are embarrassingly easy and should be done first to be put in the freezer for a few hours. I hope you give these a try and let me know if you make changes that I can try out the next time I make this! 

Yogurt Dabs

Ingredients 

  • Trader joes non fat pomegranate Greek yogurt 
  • Trader joes non fat black raspberry Greek yogurt
  • Parchment paper

Take a tablespoon and scoop enough yogurt to cover the spoon, then use your finger to slide yogurt onto parchment paper. Carefully life the paper (might want to use two people for this) and place on freezer for a few hours, they freeze pretty quickly. Take off of parchment paper and enjoy! ..told you it was easy. 

Reduced guilt taco salad

Ingredients

  • Lean ground beef or ground turkey
  • Trader joes reduced guilt guacamole made with Greek yogurt
  • Light sour cream
  • Trader joes taco seasoning 
  • Romaine lettuce
  • Mexican blend cheese 
  • Salsa or tomatoes 

Place meat on the stove, once it starts to brown add 1/4 package of taco seasoning (if you like it very strong add more) Wash romaine and place in bowls while meat cooks. When meat is ready spoon over the lettuce, top with the sour cream, guacamole and cheese. I did not add the salsa on mine because with no gall bladder it’s hard for me to eat spicy foods right now but normally I would add chunky salsa as well. This is so easy and quick to make but satisfying, perfect for busy parents and students. Now eat up!  

 

Balancing life at the moment

Is something I’m having a hard time doing. Between the baby teething, having a working husband, trying to stay on a healthy diet and just being a 26 year old woman trying to maintain balance in her love life, her mom life, family life and friend life, can be more difficult at times than others. I’ve been realizing as each month goes by how important it is to let people help more than I have been: in my head I take care of my little human better than anyone else. When my husband gets a day off here and there I always take advantage of it and go shopping, do lunch or even go out for happy hour with friends..but those days are so far and few between that I’m starting to realize we as parents not only deserve some more quality time to ourselves, but we NEED it. Summer means more family events and they have already started, which is great but can be so hectic with a baby and so many family members it’s hard to please everyone. I’m learning to say no to people when I need to as hard as it is for me, because a stressed environment or a stressed parent solves nothing. This isn’t an easy job but there are some awesome kids out in the world so we must be doing alright. How do you guys maintain balance in so many aspects of your life?    

    

Can’t Fail Crockpot Chicken Parm

Now I come from an Italian family so we take our chicken and eggplant Parmeseans very seriously, however lets be real, sometimes they can be a pain in the ass to make. I’ve been using this crockpot recipe for a while now and it’s so dang easy but most importantly, delicious. I shop at Trader Joes so my ingredients are catered to that store but of course you can modify very easily to the ingredients your frequent at your own grocery store. I hope you enjoy and please let me know if you try it or make any interesting modifications!

Ingredients

  1. Organic chicken breast tenders (the amount is up to you depending on family size)
  2. Three cheese marinara sauce 
  3. Quattro formaggio shredded cheese blend (or shredder Parmesean and provolone)
  4. Organic bread crumbs

Directions

  1. Place a layer of sauce on the bottom of crockpot
  2. Combine 1/4 C cheese with approximately 1.5 C breadcrumbs
  3. Dip each chicken tender in mixture and ensure it is thoroughly coated 
  4. Place several strips in crockpot then add another sauce layer to cover, followed by a final layer of chicken 
  5. Finish off with a generous final layer of sauce
  6. Set crockpot on LOW for 5-6 hours
  7. When 1 hour is left, open crockpot lid and add a few handfuls of cheese, allow to mix in with the sauce. Replace lid.
  8. Serve over pasta or with a side such as rice, Caesar or my favorite roasted peppers   

Weekend update with Chrissy McD

Holy cow guys, did we have a long, fun and crazy weekend. We took the lil human on his first road trip, which needless to say had its ups and downs. About 25 minutes outside of our destination, we took a wrong turn and all I have to say is thank the lord for Google maps, am I right?!  Without it we would probably still be trying to find our way. The lil guy was so upset because he was hungry so in the dark we pulled over on the random road and I went in the back to feed him while my husband tried to multitask driving and direction duty. We finally made it to Carmel where my family has a vacation home. I think one of my favorite parts of having a baby is seeing how much joy he brings my parents, they were like pigs in shit (excuse my language) to be with him all weekend. We did some exploring Saturday and had a delicious dinner with wine flowing and a gorgeous sunset to end the day. The hubs and I had our first Sunday wedding and drove back home Monday morning only to discover that our dog got fleas from another dog…Welcome Home!!! Ug, needless to say coming home immediately jerked us out of vacation mode but I just keep thinking about next weekend and what it will be like to experience my first Mother’s Day as not only a daughter, but now a mom too. Does anyone have exciting Mother’s Day plans? I’d love to hear about them!