Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Cheesy Potato Soup - 5 Ingredient Crockpot Soup Recipe

We are stuck in a never ending winter here in New England! Record snow and record cold temperatures have me constantly craving warm, hearty meals. And what's heartier than a good potato and cheese soup?! And since it's always fun to have a reason to use the crockpot, I whipped up this easy, five ingredient recipe using mine!

Cheesy Potato Crockpot Soup

What You'll Need:
1 carton (32 oz) chicken broth (4 cups)
1 1/2 cups chopped onions (about 1 large onion)
5 cups diced peeled potatoes (I used about 6 russet potatoes)
12 slices of yellow American cheese (8 oz)
3 tablespoons cornstarch

optional toppings: scallions and crumbled bacon bits 

How You'll Do It:

1. Place 1/4 cup broth in separate container and refrigerate. In crockpot, mix chopped onions, diced potatoes and remaining broth.

2. Cover and cook on low for 8 hours.*

3. Increase heat to high. In small bowl, mix cornstarch and reserved broth until smooth. Add to cooker, stir. Cover, heat to simmering and cook 10 to 15 minutes longer or until thickened.

4. Break sliced cheese into pieces and stir in  crockpot until well melted.

5. If desired, top with bacon bits and/or scallions - Enjoy!


*if you are looking for faster results, I'm sure this recipe would be just fine cooking at a higher temperature for a shorter amount of time. But since I only made it the painfully slow way, you'll have to play around with the timing yourself! But if you do, I'd love to hear how it goes!

Monday, February 9, 2015

Spinach, Mushroom and Feta Crustless Quiche

I have been wanting to try a new breakfast dish that I can make ahead of time and heat up for a few easy weekday mornings or even for a crowd for our ski weekends in VT!

So I have been searching Pinterest for just the thing! And I think this Spinach, Mushroom and Feta Cruststless Quiche I found pinned by Budget Bytes is perfect! Great for me to quickly heat up and enjoy by the slice during the week and great for an easy ski weekend breakfast for everyone! And, turns out it's easy and cheap to make and delicious too!

I had A LOT of fun making this with my son! It was our first time cooking in the kitchen together (while he was awake and alert). It made me even more excited for all of the fun we are going to have in the kitchen together in the years to come, just listening to music and experimenting with food.. and eating it! 

Spinach, Mushroom and Feta Crustless Quiche

What You'll Need
4 large eggs
8 oz mushrooms - thinly sliced
1 box frozen spinach (10 oz) - thawed
1 cup milk
2 oz feta cheese
1/4 cup grated parmesan
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella
1 garlic clove - minced
salt and pepper to taste

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
1. Cook mushrooms and minced garlic in skillet coated with non-stick spray on medium-high heat. Saute mushrooms for about 5 - 7 minutes. Season with salt and pepper as desired.

Next, drain excess water from thawed spinach and combine with cooked mushrooms and garlic. Add feta cheese. Spread onto the bottom of greased pie dish.

2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, parmesan. Sprinkle with pepper. Pour this mixture into the pie dish over the spinach, mushrooms and feta.

3. Sprinkle the shredded mozzarella cheese over the top. Bake for 45 minutes or until golden brown on top and the center is solid.

Enjoy! OR Cover and refrigerate to be heated up and enjoyed at a later time :)

Monday, February 2, 2015

Greek Yogurt Pancake Recipe

About 1 week before I had my son, Chobani reached out to me about participating in their #MadeWithChobani project. The challenge was to create a unique, healthy recipe using Chobani yogurt as a key ingredient. That was over a month ago.

Well today, as my son turns 1 month old, the stars finally aligned and I was able to create the recipe I had been planning.

As I watched my little man drift slowly into a deep mid morning nap, I was torn between joining him in getting some precious Z's or making coffee and having breakfast. My rumbling tummy won as usual and as I went into the kitchen I realized I finally had all the ingredients to make the delicious greek yogurt pancake that I have been dreaming up for a month now. And well, it was worth the wait. And guess what? Super easy!

So without further ado, my Chobani Recipe Challenge creation:

Greek Yogurt Pancakes



What You'll Need:
1/2 cup flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tbsp sugar
1 egg
1 personal size container of greek yogurt - any flavor you want! 
    **I used indulgent raspberry and dark chocolate Chobani greek yogurt and it was delicious!
1 tbsp canola oil/butter (for frying pan)

Directions:
1. Start heating canola oil in frying pan/griddle over medium heat.
2. Mix the rest of the ingredients together until well blended.
3. Pour mixture into pan/griddle. As soon as you start to see the side facing upwards begin to bubble, flip over. As soon as that is cooked, just move to a plate, Add some butter, syrup and your favorite pancake toppings! Although not pictured here, I highly recommend some whipped cream!



Why I love this greek yogurt pancake recipe and why I think you'll love it:
This recipe is very easy to make, it's fast AND you only need a few ingredients that you probably already have. While I do love to use Aunt Jemima's whole wheat pancake mix from time to time, I love that making pancakes from scratch is really just as easy - and delicous! 
I also really love how cutomizable it is :)  With so many greek yogurt flavors to choose from,you can have strawberry greek yogurt pancakes, blueberry, coconut, double chocolate chunk, etc...so many greek yogurt pancake flavors to try!

Friday, January 30, 2015

My First Month as a Mom + Easy Snacks

I put my little 3 week 6 day old infant down in his bassinet after a 10:30 pm feeding. He slept an entire 4 hours and I swear woke up as a little boy. He felt heavier, fuller, with a thicker body, longer torso and limbs, bigger hands...even his hair seemed a little longer. Had his fleece onesie (already a 3 month size) even become a little snug? I think so!

I changed his diaper, nursed him then burped him and held him close for way longer than necessary before laying my sweet little slumbering baby back down in his bassinet. Who am I kidding? I was clinging to him for dear life, afraid that the next time he woke, he'd stand up and walk away from me a grown man!


Even after i finally managed to put him back down I sat there for way too long just watching him breathing and growing before my very eyes. I didn't want to sleep, even knowing he would be awake for his next feeding in 3, 2 maybe even 1 hour. I might have even been wishing a tiny bit that he would wake right back up so I could scoop him back into my arms and he could rest his cherub cheek on my shoulder and wrap his tiny arm around mine. What is sleep when you are so completely, helplessly in love anyways? I don't want to miss one precious moment with this perfect little man. The next day, at 2:53 pm, he would already be 4 weeks old.

Things I've Learned my first month as a mom

How to Live on Love. I quickly learned what living on love really means. Because there's no other way to explain how a human being can function on such little sleep for so many days! I have to giggle at posts I see on facebook of people complaining about only getting 4 or 5 hours of sleep...what's that even like?! That much sleep could keep me going for a week at this point!


Midnight snacks rule. Midnight snacks make nighttime feeds more bearable. Give yourself something to look forward to. Before bed, prepare a fully stocked nursing station wherever you plan on nursing the baby,. water, snacks, blanket, phone, charger, etc. That way, when the baby is ready and you rush to your rocking chair, you aren't left sitting there for 30+ minutes thinking of the water that's in the other room and how hungry you are! And, if you ask me, just go ahead and indulge. My snack of choice is M&Ms with Chex mix. Perfect mix of salty and sweet to occupy those long, dark hours. I would not have survived the first two weeks without a mug of this mix by the rocking chair. Snacking really helped to keep me awake.

Daytime snacks rule. I think you are probably catch onto a theme here. And it shouldn't come as a surprise that I clearly haven't stopped thinking about food!

The challenge with both nighttime and daytime snacks is it has to be something you don't have to refrigerate (unless your nursing area is complete with a fridge...which would be pretty sweet). I have spent some time finding great snack options to keep on hand for anytime feedings! Take a look at all of the yummy options on my Snacks Pinterest Board!
Make Lists. Between feedings, burping, spit ups, diaper changes, outfit changes, baths, laundry, snuggling, etc., you might get 5 minutes every other day to do one of the million other things you have on your mind. But add in sleep deprivation and chances are when you do have a second, your going to be brain dead and not able to remember anything you wanted to do. I started keeping a list on my phone and it really helps. I have made far better use of free time since doing that. As soon as I think of something I can't get to, I put it on the list and that way don't have to use brain power to try to remember what it was later on! Plus, it feels so good to check things off! Don't forget to put sleep, shower and eat on there for yourself.

Also, grocery lists. Since you won't be able to get out to the store yourself for a little while, you really need to be prepared to let someone else know exactly what you need - a list guarantees nothing is forgotten. Don't forget those snacks!

Cherish Every Single Second. No explanation needed. Being a mom is the best thing ever and babies grow way to fast (see above).

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Introducing the Newest Member of the Search for YUM!

I am beyond happy to announce Colin Robert Donovan officially joined me on my Search for Yum on January 2, 2015 at 2:53 p.m. Weighing in at 8 lbs 4 o.z. and 20 inches, he already has a huge appetite!




Although he's limited right now in his selection of cuisine...he loves spending time in the kitchen and is as enthusiastic as I am to get cooking and baking together! ...And so is our trusty sidekick, Roxy!



I am also happy to say that my gestational diabetes is gone and I have been making up for the last few months and indulging my palette with plenty of carbs and sweets!

It seems like just yesterday that I was announcing my big news with my new found love and appreciation of mocktails! As I now have a wonderful little assistant, you can expect to see some big and yummy things on the Search for Yum coming in 2015! We have some big plans! It's going to be a great year! Lots of deliciousness to come!

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Bourbon Bacon Stuffing Recipe - Your New Favorite Thanksgiving Side Dish!


Bourbon & Bacon Stuffing is about to be your new favorite Thanksgiving / Friendsgiving side dish! I was trying to think of something new and creative to bring to Friendsgiving last year when it hit me...bourbon + bacon + stuffing! Recipe is below...prepare to have this stuffing devoured very, very quickly! Only downside, you won't have any leftovers!


Bourbon Bacon Stuffing Recipe

What You'll Need:
2 loaves of bread (bakery Italian or french bread that has gotten a little crusty works best)
5 eggs
1 package of bacon
2 cups chicken (or veg) broth
3 tablespoons bourbon (I used Woodford Reserve but any bourbon will do)
2 apples, diced
1 large yellow or sweet onion, diced
4-5 large celery stocks, diced
4 cloves garlic, chopped
1 tablespoon thyme
1 tablespoon parsley
Garlic Powder to taste
salt and pepper to taste

Directions:
1. Start by sizzling up the bacon (Make sure to save the grease when it's done!).
2. While the bacon is sizzling, combine the cubed loaves of bread, apples, onion, celery, and garlic.
3. Once the bacon is done to a crisp perfection, break into small pieces.
4. Now put everything into the pan with the bacon grease and add the bourbon, chicken (or veg) stock, eggs, thyme, parsley, garlic powder and salt and pepper.
5. Simmer for about 5-10 minutes - until everything is softened and mixed together.
6. Remove everything from the pan and put into a large baking dish. Bake at 375°F for 30 minutes.
7. Enjoy!




Bourbon, Bacon Stuffing in Action (second dish in)
And it didn't last long!

Monday, November 17, 2014

Gestational Diabetes: Lament of a Food Blogger with GD

During pregnancy, it is a given that you will make a few sacrifices over the next 9 1/2 months...and a lot of them related to food/beverages. You should avoid alcohol, deli meat, certain cheeses, unpasteurized anything, raw seafood (goodbye oysters and sushi!), certain fish and other random things. There's plenty of lists out there telling you what food to avoid while pregnant. And besides the occasional long glance at a martini and oysters, there's really not much to it. Besides, you can make up for those few things with other great things - like double fudge brownies and hot fudge sundaes! Because those are ok to eat.....until you get diagnosed with gestational diabetes. Wah-Wahh!

Gestational diabetes is the icing on the cake...and trust me, you can't have your cake and eat it too with GD.


As a pregnant woman, this diagnosis was very hard. First I failed the 1-hour glucose test. People kept assuring me that this happened regularly and that my 3-hour glucose test results would most likely be fine. I failed. One quick phone call later, I was labeled as a gestational diabetic and referred to a nutritionist who couldn't see me for 1 week. Panic set in, naturally. And so did the guilt. What did I do wrong? What do I do now?!

Concerned that I was going to do more damage to my unborn child between my diagnosis and my nutritionist appointment, I did everything I could to educate myself on what someone with gestational diabetes should do. And I was lucky to have a husband doing everything he could to help as well. But the resources just weren't out there. We did what we could with the limited information we could find. But in the end, the only thing I achieved was losing about 5 lbs in one week - and in my third trimester! I was so scared of eating the wrong things, I was barely eating anything, which I'm sure was just as bad!

Not to mention as a food blogger, this diagnosis really got me down! I have felt as if my "Search for Yum" has been so limited that I just can't write at this point. But after almost a month of living with nutrition controlled gestational diabetes - and more food sacrifices than I'd like to even say - I realize that it's just important to write about what you can't eat sometimes as a food blogger as it is to write about what you can eat. Especially when there is little written about gestational diabetes in the first place. I am still trying to figure it all out, but want to make more of an effort to share what I'm learning here on the Search for Yum. It's hard, but you can still enjoy eating during pregnancy with GD. I've even gotten to have a little cake in the process too (in pieces of about 2in x 2in., but I'll take it!)  ;)

If you are looking for more information on gestational diabetes, the only reference the nurses at my doctors recommend at this point is the American Diabetes Association.

Do you have gestational diabetes? If so, I would love to hear some of your challenges and concerns. Or some things you have already learned! I know from pregnancy forums that there are countless people in the same situation I found myself in, and just as lost. Everyone's story is so different and I am interested in learning as much as I can about GD!