All-in-One Guide to Cake Decorating

This book was released on October 3, 2017. I received a copy through NetGalley.

If you’re at all interested in getting into cake decorating, this is a great resource. As cakes are something I dabble in a bit, I was interested in seeing what kind of advice this book had. It is very advanced in that there is a lot of information, but all of the step by step instructions are simple.

In this book you can learn tricks on making cakes, cutting them into shapes, icing, using fondant, even making decorations like the pretty flower on the cover. If there’s something related to cakes you want to learn, it’s in this book.

This is a great primer for anyone who wants to learn cakes because you can look up any part of the process you need help with to get steps and advice. Or you can follow along and try everything, starting with a simple round cake with buttercream, going up to a checkered cake covered in homemade fondant with hand-crafted decorations. Instantly elevate your cake making by learning something new.

Sheet Pan Suppers Meatless by Raquel Pelzel

This book will be released on October 3, 2017. I received a copy through NetGalley.

Just a note, the edition I have is labeled ‘Vegetarian’ instead of Meatless, not sure what the final title is. The ISBN leads to the meatless version on all sites except for NetGalley.

This is a collection of recipes all made on a sheet pan, from soups and salads and pastas, to breakfast recipes and desserts. There’s something for everyone in this book, with recipes labeled vegan and gluten-free as needed.

If you’re wondering how you can make soup on a sheet pan, so was I. You simply roast the ingredients on the sheet pan and then blend it up with the more liquidy stuff in a food processor. Some soups included in this book are Gazpacho, Avocado and Roasted Garlic Soup, and a chickpea stew with tofu.

As it’s meatless or vegetarian, this cookbook is deliciously vegetable-heavy along with grains and beans. If you’re looking for a new way to cook old favorites or try a new ingredient, there is something in here for you, such as Eggplant and White Bean Meatballs. The desserts sound delectable as well, from cakes to cookies and everything in between, especially the Chocolate Chip Cookie Cake.

If you want to try something new, this is the cookbook to get. Every recipe is very unique and the pictures showcase the recipes beautifully. It would make a great cookbook to explore in the coming colder months when you want to use your oven more.

Creamy Pea Casserole

I’m revisiting some of my older food posts, updating them with new titles, new pictures, a nice pinnable image, and a recipe. This week is Creamy Pea Casserole, an updated and personalized version of the Creamy Ground Chicken Casserole I posted back in 2015.

It was a new recipe for me, but since then has become a part of my short list of good recipes I keep going back to.

creamy pea casserole

Look at all that creamy goodness. But it’s actually pretty good for you too! Check out my secret ingredient in the recipe.

Don’t feel you are limited in this recipe at all. You can use whatever ground meat you prefer, as well as any vegetable. I’ve tried this with green bell peppers, you could also try small bits of carrot, frozen okra, or maybe even edamame? The casserole has a very mild flavor that would complement nearly anything.

Creamy Pea Casserole

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Ingredients

  • 1 cup uncooked rice
  • Olive oil
  • 1 diced onion (or as much as you like)
  • 1 pound ground meat (beef, chicken, pork, turkey)
  • Garlic powder, oregano, salt and pepper (to your taste)
  • 1 [8 oz] can tomato sauce
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • 1-2 cups shredded cheese
  • 1 cup plain Greek yogurt


Directions

  1. Start cooking rice according to directions.
  2. Preheat oven to 350.
  3. Heat olive oil in a large oven-safe skillet.
  4. Cook the onion for a minute until soft, add ground meat, and season with garlic powder, oregano, salt and pepper.
  5. Cook ground meat until mostly browned.
  6. Stir in tomato sauce, chicken stock, peas and rice. Sprinkle with half the cheese and stir in. Let simmer for a few minutes to combine.
  7. Bake in oven for 15 minutes.
  8. After 15 minutes, spread remaining cheese and Greek yogurt on top of casserole. You can mix them together or just spread the yogurt on top of sprinkled cheese.
  9. Bake for an additional 15 minutes.


creamy pea casserole 2

Voila! It’s not the prettiest dish, but definitely delicious. Let me know in the comments if you tried it.

 

Creamy Pea Casserole Banner

Fitness Friday: Goals for Life With Baby

I haven’t done a Fitness Friday post in a long time, but that’s not exactly what this is either. I’d just like to share some goals I have once the baby comes with all of you.

I really let myself go with this pregnancy. I was actually doing really well with exercising at the beginning of the year. I was doing a squat challenge and actually made it to 100 squats or so, even though it hurt pretty bad by the end. I found out I was pregnant in early February, and then the nausea and fatigue hit.

I actually never had morning sickness, not once. Eating regularly helped keep the nausea down and eventually it went away. The fatigue never did though. That combined with regular eating made me gain way more weight than I wanted. Luckily it’s mostly baby, but I still don’t like my slight double chin or the way I look. So I have some goals including food, fitness and just life in general that I’d like to work on in the coming year, at least once I’m moving around again and have recovered from abdominal surgery.

Goal #1 Cut Down on Sugar: I had a major sweet tooth this pregnancy, especially for ice cream, melons and dried mango. This is my first goal that I promised my husband would happen as soon as the baby is out. I may or may not still have some ice cream in the freezer at that point, but once that’s gone, no more. Anything sweet I eat will be either fruit or something I make myself from scratch.

Goal #2 Walk: At least before it gets cold, I want to take the baby out either in the stroller or the sling every day. This is once I recover a little of course. The walking will be good for me, and I know we’re going to stay cooped up trying to figure out how to take care of a baby for the first month while my husband is off work. I don’t know what I’ll do once it gets cold, I’ll have to figure that out.

Goal #3 Healthy Eating Habits: I’m planning on baby led weaning once he hits about 6 months, so I want to start our eating habits early, before that point. We eat vegetables but I want to make more of an effort to eat them at every meal, as well as more fruit. I might start buying salad fixings again more often so we have that at the very least. This kid is going to eat vegetables and like them, so we need to set a good example.

Goal #4 Productivity and Self Care: Again, once I’ve recovered and we’ve figured out this baby thing a bit better. I want to get into a better routine, like bathing and getting dressed every day and cut out some habits that eat my productivity. A lot of them will be cut automatically since I just won’t have three hours to spend playing games on my iPad in the morning anymore. A routine and dedicated work time (with baby care breaks) is my goal.

We’ll see how well these all work out. I think I left them broad enough that they’re doable but with specific actions I want to take on all of them. Can any moms or anyone else give me some tips?

Weekly Meal Plan: September 17 – September 23

This will be the last meal plan post for a while as I have my c-section scheduled for next week! I’ll be working this week on scheduling a bunch of posts to go up but I can’t imagine much meal planning will be going on (especially if husband is in charge of feeding us!).

Next week we get to meet our sweet baby, hopefully. They’ll send me home if he ends up flipping over at the last second so I can go into spontaneous labor. At this point I just want him out, I’m ready to start being a parent and so ready to be done with these pregnancy symptoms. Today my ankles swelled up pretty much twice their normal size. Ugh.

What we’re eating this week:

One Pot Creamy Sausage Pasta (pictured) — Going back to the classics this week, such a delicious easy dish, and it makes tons of leftovers!

Green Pepper Casserole — Another favorite, and super easy. I was in the mood for some gooey rice.

Honey and Soy Chicken — No idea what I’m serving with this, but I have so much chicken right now. And I might have bought a giant pack of chicken thighs again this week because it was super cheap. Oh well, husband will have to figure out what to do with them.

Chickpea Spinach Curry — Two of my favorite foods of all time? Yes please.

I planned to make spaghetti one night as well, but my mom actually invited us over to have spaghetti on Sunday night. I’m always a fan of one less day having to cook, especially right now.

Weekly Meal Plan: September 10 – September 16

Baby is still breech, we’ll be scheduling a c-section on Wednesday for sometime in the next couple of weeks. If he flips before then and they see that on ultrasound, we won’t do it, but the chances aren’t very good that he’ll flip. I wanted to go all natural, but I’m coming to terms with having a c-section. There are benefits I suppose, such as knowing exactly when he’ll be born, not worrying about my water breaking randomly, that kind of thing.

Other than that, it’s all about the waiting. Pretty sure all I have left to do is finish up the thank you cards and pack the hospital bags. We had a small maternity shoot yesterday with my photographer best friend. I just wanted a couple of portrait shots with me, my husband and the bump as so far he’s only taken weekly bump shots and hasn’t been in any of them. I hope they turn out nice.

What we’re eating this week:

Skillet Sausage and Rice (pictured) — This is a recipe I make a lot, but I decided to mix it up a bit this week. I used a frozen bag of sliced peppers and onions, added chickpeas, and half a cup more chicken stock for less al dente and more fluffy rice.

Pesto Shrimp Fettuccine — I was in the mood for pasta and shrimp this week, and this sounded delicious to try.

Brown Sugar Spiced Baked Chicken — I’ve had this recipe for a long time and there’s no link, no idea where I got it. It’s a lot like my Simply Great Chicken as it’s baked chicken with brown sugar and spices. I’ll be serving it with quinoa or couscous.

Skillet Lasagna — Last week I got some ravioli for really cheap at the store so I decided to use it this week in one of my favorite dishes.

Chicken and Spinach Dinner — Something simple and healthy to round out my meal plan.

Weekly Meal Plan: September 3 – September 9

Happy Labor Day! No labor yet for me, though I still have time. Baby is still breech as far as we know though we’ve been trying to flip him all week. The ultrasound went great, he’s already about 6 pounds, and we even got to see his face and profile, though not in 3d.

The baby shower went smoothly and it was nice. I spent all weekend sorting baby clothes, removing tags, doing laundry and putting everything away. We also went to the store to buy things that no one else did, like the stroller, crib sheets, bottles, that kind of thing. I also picked out a couple of items of clothing myself for his coming home outfit. Now I get to send out all of the thank you cards.

We installed the car seat today and the meeting with the pediatrician is this week. Only a few more things left on my to do list!

What we’re eating this week:

At the end of last week, I made a whole chicken in the crock pot, had some meat left over, and made some chicken stock. I decided to combine those things and make some soup. I used this recipe but added chicken instead of beans. I was going to add chickpeas but I was out! Picture above, it turned out okay but not great.

Smoked Sausage and Rice — Made this one tonight because I wanted something quick and easy. It was pretty good but I have other similar recipes which are better.

Crock Pot Maple Dijon Chicken Thighs — This sounded like a nice and easy delicious meal, I’ll be serving it with corn or mashed potatoes.

Greek Marinated Chicken — I’ve made this one before and it was pretty good. I’ll be serving it with either the corn or potatoes that didn’t go with the other chicken dish.

Bubble Up Enchiladas — I’ve made a couple of dishes in the past involving canned biscuits but I try to avoid them because of the processed biscuits. I thought this one would be fun and tasty though.

Creamy Garlic Herb Mushroom Spaghetti — I might not need this recipe depending on our schedule for the week, but it seemed easy enough to throw in just in case.