Messy, Messy (A Ziti Post)

Every week, I try to make one dish that will last for many lunches and those lonely dinners when Mr. C is in class.  This particular ziti dish  from Better Homes and Gardens has been a big hit in our house with both of my favorite guys.  In fact, Baby C was under the weather this weekend, and  is also getting those terrible, horrible, no good molars that I have been dreading.  Let’s just say, his appetite was non-existent and this meal changed it all.  If you know how sad I get about the tiny state of my under-10th-percentile child, you know that this was a huge win on my part!

This meal is also going to be a lifesaver for the ever-approaching hectic days where both Mr. Cupcake and I are working full-time.  I’m also thinking it could be a good staple for some families I know with babies due any day now!  Who doesn’t like food dumped on their doorstep?

In somewhat related news, Baby Cakes has been starting to mimic.  It’s actually a hilarious stage, but we have to REALLY start….seriously, I mean it this time, watching what we say.  Apparently I complain a lot about things being messy.  I didn’t know I used that word so much, until one day he approached me with a towel and said, “Messy, messy.  Face? Hands?” and proceeded to wipe me in the proper places.  Enjoy this little clip of Baby C eating his ziti.

and no, the nose picking is not something that he is mimicking, at least not from me!

post-beach blues

 

The beach is one of the most majestic places on this earth.  I will never get over its beauty, and I will always come home with a post-beach depression.  It seems that for the past few years, our vacation has coincided with the end of summer.  I look forward so much to the trip and then, once we’re home, that anxious, sinking, pit-of-the-stomach feeling hits.  Time is running out!  Luckily, we have access to the beach during the off-season too.  It just isn’t the same though…

After a week of not worrying about anything except the safety of Baby Cakes as he bravely dashed into the ocean (more on this later!), I am back to meal planning, grocery shopping, and trying to figure out how to get us back on the healthy train after a week of bingeing.  I’m not sure those bike rides and runs helped, seeing as though they usually resulted in a trip to the market to get beer or donuts!

Healthy suggestions are welcome and very much appreciated as I spend the rest of the morning browsing my pinterest board…which is essentially full of delectable treats and not-so-much the healthy stuff.

 

Toddler Tasties

 

I have been attempting to meal plan each week and in this plan, I try to include something that I can make in bulk that not only we can eat for dinner, but that I can have on hand for Baby Cakes to eat whether he’s with me or off to his nanny.   The old Mrs. C would have baked up some bland chicken breasts or broken into the frozen stash of emergency (why-did-I-even-buy-these) chicken nuggets.

Two recent hits were these turkey pesto meatballs (recipe calls for chicken, but I had ground turkey and it was delish!) and homemade chicken nuggets from Skinny taste.  Like most toddlers, Baby Cakes is Mr. Independent and wants to hold and bite his own food, so both of these options are perfect for his little hands!

Skinny Taste nuggets, perfect for toddler hands

Enjoying the pesto meatballs

“Oooohhhhhh” “mmmmmmm!”

Baby Cakes is a very expressive eater (like his daddy) so we always know when he is enjoying something.  These recipes will definitely be repeats!  If you have any other faves that you make for your toddler, send them my way, thanks!

 

Fridays

Here in the Cupcake household, Friday nights are typically family nights, as the rest of the nights are filled with the Mr. either in class or with his headphones on, ignoring us as he tries to study. Oh yeah, we sometimes have a social life on the weekends too, as we try to keep up with our various groups of friends and our local family. Exhausting, right? So, early on in Mr. C’s grad school journey, as I was having one of my new-parent meltdowns, we made a pact that Friday night is just for us. It has really become something that we both look forward to each week.

The typical Friday night in the past has been take-out Chinese, Chipotle, or frozen pizza with some adult beverages after Baby Cakes hits the hay. Since I decided that we were turning a new leaf with our dinners, I switched it up and planned this festive meal.

The Salsa Chicken is a simple recipe that I adapted to fit our needs.  Since I try not to cook separate meals for Baby Cakes, I used mild seasoning and salsa.  He loved it!  The best part of the meal was definitely the Corn, Tomato, and Avocado salad.  Found on The Teacher Cooks’ blog.  The only thing I changed was eliminating red onions, since I’m not a huge fan.  It was a very simple meal that pleased everyone’s taste buds.  Oh, and our adult beverages for the evening?  Coronas of course.  They complemented this meal very nicely 🙂

Summer Spaghetti and Smoke Alarms

I’m a teacher.  This means that I love things in order.  I love following rules and people who can follow the rules.  I think anything can be accomplished as long as you can read and understand simple directions.  I think I am learning that some things may take a little more skill than that…

After the rush of the holiday on Wednesday, I realized we had no food in our house for the rest of the week or weekend.  I took this as the perfect opportunity to peruse my pinterest board of things-I-probably-would-never-make, and decided that today is the day I would start.  Let the meal planning begin!

Thursday night’s choice: Summer Spaghetti from The Goddess of Scrumptiouness. This looked easy enough to me, a simple pasta dish, right?  I started off by marinating the chicken during Baby Cake’s nap time.  When it came time to actually make dinner, I thought I was an amazing wife and Mr. Cupcake would surely be impressed.  Wrong.  In case you didn’t know, Mr. C is a little nosey when it comes to my cooking.  We actually had to have a serious talk early on in our marriage, about him not coming in and making me nervous.  In this case, his nosiness was appreciated.

When a recipe says “cook on medium” and you have a gas stove…cook super low.  I bet you knew that already.  I, however, did not and was not fast enough with adding ingredients to the sauce, thus, there was smoke…a lot of it.  Mr. C sprang into action, fanning away and opening the kitchen door, which stopped our normal smoke alarm’s screaming.  Not a big deal, right? Wrong.  We actually have two smoke alarms.  The regular one and another that was installed by our security company.  We were told that this one was only supposed to detect heavy smoke.  Wrong again.  Not 2 minutes after I punched in our code, did the alarm company call to get my name and our “code word” (you know, to make sure that a bad guy wasn’t posing as me and starting fires in our kitchen).  Embarrassing!

Back at the summer spaghetti prep, things were looking better.  I remade the sauce and everything else turned out wonderfully.  At the last second, I decided to add in fresh spinach, since one thing I have taught the hubs is that every meal needs a vegetable (and that corn and potatoes do not count).  He wasn’t thrilled, but I think it added a little extra color.  Next time, I would add more chicken and spinach, but skip the parsley, as I feel that it’s purpose was to add color, and the spinach took care of that.  So, there you have it, my first summer-as-a-stay-at-home meal. Don’t worry, it was enjoyed with a nice glass of wine after that ordeal.  Let’s hope that none of our other meals involve our alarm company, or I’m going to need to stock up on some more bottles.

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After a smoke alarm snafu, it actually turned out quite tasty!