My Personal Barista

Working from home, with the entire family home too, definitely calls for caffeine in the morning. I didn’t want to get drive-thru coffee for a fancy espresso drink so frequently, so I began researching for my perfect at-home brew.

The Nespresso Vertuo is my new go-to every morning. I have a blast trying new pods, frothing milk, and adding flavor to each drink. Honestly, I started preferring my nespresso than local coffee shops – which my wallet thanks me for that.

If you are interested in trying this machine yourself, I have the Vertuo Titan Bundle (which includes the machine and frother). The Nespresso machines frequently go on sale, so I recommend waiting if possible for the machine until there is a discount code – I will keep an eye out for you too! But if you are interested in the machine now, here are all the details on my morning coffee routine.

Also, if the 24oz mug is too big for you, I included the smaller Yeti mug (14oz) as well. I highly recommend a Yeti mug for those times you can’t sit and enjoy your coffee in one setting. My coffee stays warm for a solid three hours. I can’t say if it keeps warmer longer, as that is my max I have had coffee in my mug so far.

Nespresso Machine and Frother Bundle |14oz Yeti Mug | 24oz Yeti Mug |    | Sugar-Free Vanilla Syrup

My favorite current pods: Caramel Cookie | Melozio | Arrondio | Bianco Leggero    

Cheers to a more enjoyable start to your day!

My Baby Food Maker

If you are planning to make your own baby food, or in the midst of doing so, I found a great tool to make this process easier. It also creates VERY happy babies.

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It is called the Babycook by Beaba, and I am in love with it. There are not many steps in making baby food, nor does it take time away from playing with your little one(s).

  • Dice vegetables/fruit
  • Add correct amount of water to the mixing area, according to the booklet (included)
  • Add the diced food to the steaming basket, top with mixing lid, and seal shut
  • Add water to the reservoir
  • Turn the knob to the “steam” icon.
  • Once steaming is complete, remove water (but save some to add when pureeing the food), and take food out of the steaming basket
  • Add steamed food direct to the mixing area, add some of the steamed water back into the mixing area. Adding water will be up to your discretion and how thick you want your food.
  • Puree

Then volia! Your baby’s meal is complete! In three hours, I completed four different vegetables, and several jars of food. Granted, I didn’t stay in the kitchen the entire time. I would get the food started, let it steam, then go spend time with my family until I went in the kitchen to check on things.

I love that your time isn’t spent in the kitchen making food, and Baby P gets fresh veggies and fruit from our local farmers market.

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I highly recommend adding this sweet cooking machine to your next baby registry, buying it for your friends, or getting one for those sweet babies of your own.

I have the older edition, the Babycook Original, but you can see all the editions, and links to purchase them, here:

Babycook Original

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FYI- this is not a paid ad. This was recommended to me by my cousin who made baby food, with ease, for all three of her children. She is the original Beaba user.

Happy {baby food} eating!

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Hello Baby, Goodbye Dairy!

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Hello Readers!

I hope you are all doing well! I apologize for my absence in posting. Going back to work while being a new mom is tough work! But now we have a routine in place, and life is slowly going back to (our new and improved) normal. This includes being able to blog again with you!

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Since I last posted, there have been a few changes in our home. One of them being a new dairy-free diet! About two weeks after coming home from the hospital, we noticed our son spitting up all the time and having tremendous stomach pain. After trying multiple things, our pediatrician finally recommended going on a dairy-free/soy-free diet. It was crazy how this nutritional adjustment affected my son! He instantly improved, with less spit up and very little stomach issues. Unfortunately, that meant queso, Blue Bell, and I had to take some time away from each other.

I am now on my fifth month of this diet, and my whole family is adjusting. I am making meals with healthier substitutions, and getting adapted to allergen charts at restaurants. It is much more challenging than you think when it comes to finding food that is dairy and soy free. However, I am thankful for the world we live in today because there are many more options available than there were when I was a baby.

For any moms out there facing this same diet, know that you are not alone! There are Facebook groups for dairy-free breastfeeding moms, and several recipes online. Here are two of favorites for my sweet tooth, or when I’m craving fried food:

Cinnamon Oat Bars (great for boosting milk production too!)

Baked Chicken Strips

I would love to hear from you on your favorite dairy-free/soy-free recipes or food! I am always up for new ideas!

 

Christmas Cookie Tradition

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Something fun my little family does each year is bake and decorate sugar cookies. We listen to Christmas music, eat too much dough, and we have a blast. We are definitely not artists, but it’s a fun and yummy tradition!

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Sugar Cookies

  • 1 ½ cup of powdered sugar
  • 1 egg
  • ½ teaspoon of almond extract
  • 1 teaspoon of cream of tartar
  • 1 cup of margarine
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla
  • 2 ½ cup of flour

Cream sugar and margarine; mix in eggs and flavorings. Stir in dry ingredients. Refrigerate 2-3 hours. Divide and roll out on a lightly floured surface. Cut and bake at 375 degrees for 7-8 minutes.

Frost with icing: one part powdered sugar and one part milk. Mix in food coloring. Stir.

Wishing y’all a Merry Christmas!

Crazy Cravings

With Baby P’s arrival coming closer, my cravings are through the roof. Throughout my pregnancy, sour candy and banana pudding are my favorites. But lately, sprinkled donuts are definitely on top of the craving list.

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I would love to hear what your pregnancy cravings are/were, and how you got rid of them without caving in every time. Happy eating to all my moms-to-be out there!

Simple Homemade Brownies

When my chocolate pregnancy craving checks in, I love to make my grandmother’s homemade brownies. They are simple to make and easier to devour. Memom’s famous recipe is below. It is a great treat to make with little ones too!

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Brownies

  • 2 sticks of margarine
  • 1/3 c of cocoa
  • 2 c of sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 ½ c flour
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1 ½ c broken pecans (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Melt margarine and add cocoa. In a separate bowl, cream sugar and eggs together. Then add flour and salt. Lastly, add cocoa mixture and nuts. Pour mixture into a 9×13 pan and bake for 30 minutes.

Freezer-Friendly Meal: Chicken Spaghetti

In preparation for Baby P, I started making meals that I can freeze now so we have meals to eat when he arrives. The last thing I want to do when we come home from the hospital is cook meals. Freezing meals ahead of time is the perfect fit for us.

To begin, I highly suggest purchasing foil pans that you can put your frozen meals in if they need to be cooked in the oven. With foil plans, you don’t have to transfer the food to a cooking dish, and you can throw away of the pans once you are done. Simple prep and clean up!

One of the first meals I made is an all around favorite – chicken spaghetti. Below is my great-grandmother’s recipe that I use. Please note, I do not add mushrooms or olives in my spaghetti.

When I made this meal, I froze half in a tin pan and cooked the other for supper that night.

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Chicken Spaghetti

  • 4-5 chicken breasts, boiled & diced
  • 1 can chopped mushrooms
  • 1 small can chopped ripe olives
  • 2 lbs. Velveeta Cheese, cubed
  • 3 small onions, chopped
  • 4 stalks celery, chopped
  • 1 lb. package of spaghetti
  • 1 can French fried onions

Boil and dice chicken breasts. Cook spaghetti and drain. Cook onion, celery, and salt in chicken broth until tender. Then add spaghetti, mushrooms, olives, chicken, and cheese to the mixture. Allow cheese to melt. Pour into a casserole dish and top with French fried onions. Bake at 350 degrees F for 20 minutes.

I would love to hear from you on any great freezer-friendly meals you make! Please comment below to share your wonderful recipes.

Meaty Supper

One of my favorite meals my Memom made growing up was a meat casserole that had layers of corn tortillas, cheese, and a meat mixture. I realized that I would pick out the meat mixture every time because it was so good.

Nowadays, I love making the meat mixture alone as a meal for my husband and me. We typically make nachos with it, eat it with tamales, or treat it like a dip. It is such an easy and versatile meal. You can always count on the leftovers being eaten too!

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I promise it tastes much better than it looks!

Meaty Dip

  • 1 lb. ground meat
  • 1 T dried onion flakes
  • 1 clove garlic
  • ¼ tsp cumin
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 can cream of mushroom
  • 1 can of Rotel tomatoes
  • ½ can of water

Brown meat with garlic; drain. Add remaining ingredients. Let simmer for about 10-15 minutes until mixture thickens.

If you want to make the full casserole, fry corn tortillas. Layer half of the tortialls in a 9×13″ dish. Top with part of the meat mixture, cheese, and then add another layer. Top with cheese. Cover with foil. Bake at 350 degrees F for 30 minutes.

I hope you enjoy this meal as much as we do!

Doggie Treats to Beat the Heat

With the Texas heat upon us, I know that pups are suffering too. Besides a water sprinkler and shearing all their fur off, I have a great way too help cool our four-legged friends. Frozen doggie treats! A simple three-ingredient treat that is great for your pets. If your dog is a fan of peanut butter, than you are definitely going to get two paws up for this tasty snack!

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I love to give our dog this treat when we are grilling outside, or if we are cooling off with some ice cream or popsicles too. You can use an ice-tray (silicon trays work best), or even make a larger portion by freezing the treat in a disposable cup.

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Finger-licking good!

Frozen Doggie Treats

  • 32oz of Greek yogurt
  • 2 ripe bananas
  • 1 cup of peanut butter

Place all ingredients in a blender. Blend until smooth. Pour mixture into ice trays or disposable cups, then put the filled trays/cups into the freezer. Once frozen, they are ready for your pets to enjoy!

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Crockpot Crazy

Whether you are on a budget, or don’t want to prepare supper when you come home from work, crockpot meals are the answer for you. I have some of the best crockpot books I want to share with you today: The Crockin Girls Slow Cookin’ Companion and The Crockin Girls It’s Our Crockin’ Life.

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I apologize for all the sticky notes! It’s an easy way for me to find the meals I want to cook.

These cookbooks are categorized by type of meat and type of meal. I love coming to these books when we are short on groceries because I can use what I have in the pantry and make a great meal.

When I am away from the house all day, it is also easy to find a meal that cooks for eight or more hours on low. Then when we come home from a long day of work, our meal is ready to serve! It’s easy and delicious.

If you don’t have a crockpot, I highly recommend purchasing one to start making these easy meals that will make the whole family happy. Here are some links to my favorite crockpots: Crock Pot 6-Quart Smart Pot and Hamilton Beach 3-Quart Stoneware Slow Cooker

Once you have a crockpot in your kitchen, I recommend purchasing these books! Here are the links to purchase the books: The Crockin Grils Slow Cookin’ Companion and The Crockin Girls It’s Our Crockin’ Life

Lastly, I HIGHLY recommend purchasing Reynolds Slow Cooker Liners. They are a lifesaver when it comes to clean up, and I never slow cook without them!

If you want to check out these creative chefs/authors more, you are welcome to check out their site at crockingirls.com.

I would love to hear your favorite crockpot recipes too! Feel free to comment below. I always love to recipes to try!