Saturday, March 30, 2013

Roasted Green Beans

This recipe originally called for cauliflower but we made it with green beans instead and it was soooo good! Seriously, frozen green beans have never tasted so good! We will definitely be making these again.

6 cups frozen green beans, thawed
3 cloves chopped garlic
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
juice of 1/4 lemon
Parmesan cheese, grated 
Thaw green beans in refrigerator the night before you plan to use. Preheat oven to 450°F. Combine garlic, olive oil, kosher salt, pepper, and lemon juice and toss so all green beans are well coated. Place in a
large shallow roasting pan and place in the center of the oven. Roast for about 30-35 minutes, turning green beans occasionally so they are evenly cooked. Remove from oven and top with Parmesan and additional salt and pepper if needed. Makes 6 servings @ 3 Points+ per serving.

Southwestern Slow Cooker Chicken

This recipe has not necessarily been one of our favorites, but it is very good and I think we will probably make it again. 

*Points+ Value: 5
servings: 8

24 oz (1 1/2) lbs boneless skinless chicken breast
14.4 oz can diced tomatoes with mild green chilies
15 oz can black beans
8 oz frozen corn
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro (or parsley)
14.4 oz can fat free chicken broth
3 green onions, chopped
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp cayenne pepper (to taste)
6 Tablespoons reduced fat sour cream
salt to taste

In the slow cooker, combine chicken broth, beans, corn, tomatoes, cilantro (or parsley), green onions, garlic
powder, onion powder, cumin, cayenne pepper and salt in the crock pot. Season chicken breast with salt and lay the 1 1/2 pounds of chicken breast on top.
Cook on low for 8 hours or on high for 4-5 hours. 30 minutes before serving, remove chicken and shred chicken. Return shredded chicken to slow cooker and stir in. Adjust salt and seasoning to taste. Serve over rice. Top each serving with 1 Tablespoon reduced fat sour cream.

Recipe from

Garlic Chicken Recipe

This has been one of our favorite recipes so far! This chicken is sooo good and its very easy/quick to make! We will definitely be making this chicken again.

*Points+ Value: 6
Servings: 4

1.25 pounds boneless skinless chicken breast
4 garlic cloves, minced
4 tablespoons brown sugar
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon Mrs. Dash Garlic and Herb seasoning.

Preheat oven to 500. Cut chicken breasts into 5 ounce portions.
For Garlic Chicken: Take a large square of heavy duty foil and place in a 9 x 13 baking dish. Spray with non-stick cooking spray. In small sauté pan, sauté garlic with the oil until tender. Remove from heat and stir in brown sugar.
Place 4 of the chicken breasts on the foil square and cover with the garlic and brown sugar mixture. Fold up edges of foil to capture all the juices.

Bake uncovered for 20 minutes. Turn off oven and let rest in oven for 10 minutes

Recipe from

Fruit Salad Recipe

This fruit salad recipe is inexpensive, quick and easy to make! Its perfect for a dessert that will be light, but still satisfying and sweet!

1/4 Cup plain fat-free greek yogurt
2 Tbs. sugar-free raspberry preserves
4 cups sliced canned peaches, drained
3 cups no-sugar-added frozen blueberries, thawed
1/2 grapes (about 14)

Combine greek yogurt and raspberry preserves in a small bowl. Combine peaches, blueberries, and grapes. Add yogurt mixture to bowl, and toss gently to coat.

Makes 4 servings @ 4 Points+ per serving

I chose to use fat-free Vanilla greek yogurt in place of plain yogurt simply because that was what I had on hand. I also used strawberry jam in place of the raspberry preserves for that same reason. This was very good and I'm sure we'll try it again. This would be good with other fruits too!

Recipe from

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Spinach Feta Quiche

And now for another recipe post...
We tried this Spinach Feta Quiche recipe (from for dinner a few nights ago and it was great! I think it will definitely become one of our go-to meals. It is very inexpensive and easy to make (although its not necessarily a quick dinner because it has to bake for 45 minutes). We will be making this quiche again for sure!

*Points+ Value: 5
Servings: 6

8 oz Mushrooms, sliced
1 1/2 tsp Garlic
10 oz Leaf Spinach (frozen)
4 Eggs
1 cup 1% Milk
2 oz Feta Cheese
1/4 cup Parmesan
1/2 cup Mozzarella

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. If your frozen spinach is not already thawed, thaw it in the microwave. Empty the box into a colander and let it drain while you begin to prepare the rest.
Place the sliced mushrooms in a skillet coated with non-stick spray, add the minced garlic, and sprinkle a little salt and pepper. Turn the heat on to medium-high and saute the mushrooms until they release all of their moisture and no more water remains on the bottom of the skillet (5-7 minutes).
Spray a pie dish with non-stick spray. Squeeze the rest of the water out of the spinach (very well) and spread it out on the bottom of the pie dish. Next add the cooked mushrooms and crumbled feta.
In a medium bowl whisk together the eggs until fairly smooth. Add the milk, parmesan, and another small sprinkle of pepper. Whisk to combine. (This step can be completed while the mushrooms are cooking) Pour this mixture into the pie dish over the spinach, mushrooms, and feta. Sprinkle the shredded mozzarella cheese over top. Place the pie dish on a baking sheet for easy transfer into the oven. Place the quiche into the preheated oven and bake for 45 minutes to an hour or until it is golden brown on top and the center is solid.

We paired this quiche with a quick and easy fruit salad and it was a perfectly filling, but light, dinner! I'll share the fruit salad recipe in the next post!

Chili Mac

Nate and I have recently decided to start following the Weight Watchers program at home in attempt to lose weight. We subscribed to weekly meal plans at so that it would be easier to find recipes that are healthy and WW-friendly. I'm going to be posting some of our favorite new recipes here mainly so that I can find them all in one place when we want to make them again.
Tonight we tried Lightened-Up Chili Mac from and it was VERY good! It is one of the dishes that is higher in points but let me tell you, it is worth every single one of those points! I really like that it doesn't require any expensive or hard-to-find ingredients and its also very easy to make. Its ready in less than 30 minutes! Without further ado, here's the recipe:

*Points+ Value: 9
servings: 6 (1 cup)

1 teaspoon canola oil
3/4 pound ground sirloin
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1.5 teaspoons ground cumin
2.5 teaspoons chili powder
2 cups fat-free, lower-sodium beef broth
1/2 cup water
1 (10-ounce) can mild diced tomatoes and green chiles, undrained
(8 ounces) uncooked elbow macaroni
1/2 cup skim milk
(4 ounces) 1/3-less-fat cream cheese
(4 1/2 ounces) finely shredded 2% reduced-fat sharp cheddar cheese (Recommended Cracker Barrel)

In a Dutch oven or very large large heavy bottomed skillet, add oil and heat over medium high heat. Add beef, garlic powder, cumin, and chili powder; cook 3 minutes. Add broth, water, and tomatoes; bring to a boil. Stir in macaroni; cover and cook 10 minutes or until macaroni is done.
2. Heat milk and cream cheese in a saucepan over medium heat. Cook 4 minutes or until cheese melts,
stirring very frequently. Remove from heat. Stir in cheddar. Add cheese sauce to macaroni mixture; toss well
to coat.

Well, that's all there is to it! I hope everyone enjoys this dish as much as we did!

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Layla's Three Month Post!

Well, since our little Layla is going to be four months old in two days, I guess its about time I write her 3 month post! Layla has changed more in the past month than she has in any other month so far. We are really starting to see more of her personality and I LOVE it! Layla is so hilarious and so much fun! Of course, she is also exhausting and can be very frustrating at times, but I wouldn't trade life with Layla for anything! Our Layla Grace is so sweet and is just the squishiest, most lovable little girl I've ever known. (Sidenote: I'm going to be an Auntie!!! My sister is pregnant and I can't wait for her to get to hold and love her own squishy little baby! And of course, I can't wait to hold her little one, either!)

Like I said, Layla has grown SO MUCH! She weighed 14 lbs. at her last appointment and was 24 1/4 in. long! She is almost double her birth weight now! I can barely carry her when she's in her car seat now. Seriously, she gets squishier by the day! ;)

Our little girl has also been learning all sorts of new things! One of her most exciting new habits is laughing out loud! Her little laugh is most definitely the best sound in the world! She is super smiley and its pretty easy to get a big grin out of her, but we still have to work pretty hard for an actual laugh. At this point, her laughs are mostly unpredictable so I spend most of my day making ridiculous faces and obnoxious noises in an attempt to get a giggle! For some reason, she thinks its hilarious when I fake-cry. So if she's wiggling around and she kicks me, I let out a loud wail and then smile at her and she grins back every time. She's such a little weirdo! I guess she's learning from the best! :)

Layla has also started doing "nosey kisses" with Mama. She closes her eyes and smiles as I rub my nose on hers and then afterwards, she looks at me and smiles the sweetest smile I've ever seen. Its so adorable!

One of the best parts of Layla getting older is that she is getting better at sitting up on her own. This makes life soooo much easier for us! I can now sit her in her Bumbo seat and she's usually content for 10-15 minutes there, which means I actually get to make/eat breakfast some mornings!

Another one of Layla's favorite pastimes is being naked! Haha! Seriously, the girl gets so excited when I take her clothes off! She absolutely loves to just hang out in her diaper! Unfortunately this also means that she isn't particularly fond of getting dressed anymore. She has recently started throwing little fits when I try to get her dressed which is not so fun.

Speaking of "not so fun", Layla is teething and it can be miserable at times. I hate seeing her in pain. Its a good thing that she's gotten better at grasping things and picking them up, though, because she seems to think that she has to put everything in her mouth. I'm sure this is just a result of the teething and it can be pretty funny at times. She can get pretty vicious when she's trying to get something in her mouth! Currently, her favorite chew-toy is Nate's thumb! Haha! She's got a couple of toys that she'll chew on, too, but nothing seems to be as good as Nate's thumbs.

Layla is still a morning person, for sure! She still loves the bedroom and is always in such a good mood when she wakes up. Every day after she wakes up, we'll play in the bedroom for a bit and then I take her to see "the baby in the mirror". :) Sometimes Layla really likes her reflection and other times, she doesn't care at all. Its fun to see her reaction, though.

One of the funniest things that Layla has started doing is "talking". She is constantly making noise these days! She has recently figured out screaming/squealing so she gets really loud whenever she's excited. This means that bath time is usually a pretty noisy event! She absolutely loves her nightly baths and she just screams and splashes the whole time.

Well, this post is getting pretty long and its late, so I'm going to wrap it up for now. Writing these posts is a bittersweet thing for me. Every month, its fun to look back and think about how much Layla has grown and changed, but it makes me kinda sad to think about how fast time is flying by. I am constantly reminded to treasure my time with my family and to not take anything for granted. Layla gets more and more fun every day and I love the age that she is at. Sometimes I miss how little and snuggly Layla was as a newborn, but I really love how well we know each other now and how much fun she is. I'm so thankful for my baby and for the honor of being her Mama. I know that I am truly blessed!

Saturday, January 19, 2013

She's Two Months Old!

     Another month has come and gone and our little lady has grown so much! Layla was just one day short of 10 weeks old at her last doctor's appointment and she weighed 12 lbs., 2 oz.! I can't believe how much she is growing. We are getting to know Layla better every day and I love what I'm learning! She has such a hilarious personality (like her Daddy) and quite the stubborn streak (which I'll admit is just like her Mama's).
     Layla has gotten so much more vocal in the past month! She is constantly "talking" nowadays and its so fun to play with her. For the past week or so, she's been playing this little game where she will start humming while she's nursing and then she'll stop and look at me and wait for me to hum back. Usually after I hum in return, she'll smile and then go back to eating. We usually do this three or four times and then she gets a very serious look and returns to nursing as though she's thinking, "Enough play time, Mom. Let's get back to work!" This girl definitely takes her eating seriously! Haha!
     Layla has become sooo smiley in the past month and she has the best smile I've ever seen! Lately, it's been pretty easy to get her to smile. Layla thinks I'm quite hilarious, actually! She likes it when I do lip trills and when I make loud, obnoxious kissy noises. She still likes having her feet played with, too. It's become part of our morning routine for me to pull her socks off and blow raspberries on the bottom of her feet. Really, she's extremely happy in the morning no matter what I do. It's definitely her favorite time of day. She loves watching the ceiling fan in our bedroom so we spend a good 15-20 minutes just hanging out in bed after we wake up each morning.
We love cuddling as a family on weekend mornings!

She knows she's cute!
 So far, though, we have not been able to get the little lady to laugh out loud for us. She has laughed out loud once in her sleep, but I'm excited for when she starts to laugh in response to her surroundings. Nate and I each want to be the first person to make her laugh but I guess only time will tell who will win this little competition. ;)
     There are lots of little things that Layla does that just melt my heart completely. I've even got a picture to share for one of them!
Itsy Bitsy Finger!
So here's the explanation: We put Layla in nightgowns with built-in mittens at night because otherwise she scratches her face as she's squirming around in her sleep. Every now and then when I get her out of bed in the morning, I'll find her little index finger poking out of her mitten. For some reason, it just cracks me up! Her little finger just looks so darn cute sticking out of her mitten. I love it!
     For the past few weeks, Layla has decided that she doesn't want to nap during the day. She sleeps for a total of 10-12 hours at night which is awesome, but she doesn't like to nap which makes for a pretty cranky baby by the end of the day. During the day, she'll only sleep while she's being held. The second I try to move her, she wakes up and won't go back to sleep. Therefore, this has become a pretty common occurrence around our house:
I've got to tell ya, Mama doesn't mind the excuse for a nap, either! :) Seriously, my heart gets mushier and mushier with every single nap. I can't even begin to describe how much I love snuggling my baby and watching her sleep. She is the sweetest baby I've ever known and I really do adore her.
     During the day while Nate is at work, I don't usually get much work done around the house, but Layla and I have plenty of playtime. She's usually pretty content to lay on the couch and entertain herself while I get ready and make/eat breakfast and then she's ready to play. For the past week, I've been getting some of her books out and we'll lay on the couch and have "storytime". She seems to really like it so far! She looks at the pages and smiles as I read the book to her. It's so much fun! I'm definitely hoping that she will develop a love for reading and that storytime will become a regular part of her childhood.
     So far, Layla loves her doctor. He's really great with her and we are so thankful for that. I hope she continues to like the doctor and that she won't end up being terrified later on. Here she is after her check-up (but before shots):
Layla was such a trooper for her shots! She cried for less than a minute after the shots, nursed for 10-15 minutes, and then was happy and smiley! We ended up taking pictures of her afterwards because she was being so cute!

     Another thing I've started to notice is that Layla is starting to recognize other people. She's been able to recognize her Daddy and Mama since she was really little, but I'm also pretty sure that she knows her Grandma and her Aunt Kristy now, too. I'm thinking this because whenever she's being held by someone that she doesn't really know, she won't take her eyes off of me. She will twist and turn in order to keep me in view if I move around while someone that she is unfamiliar with is holding her. But when my mom or sister hold her, she's more comfortable and I can move around without her trying to follow me. I absolutely love that she is starting to recognize other family members!
     Speaking of Grandma....Nathan and I left Layla with my mom last week and went on our very first baby-free date night since Layla was born! It was hard to leave her (harder than I expected it to be), but it was so nice to spend a couple of hours focused only on each other without having to look after someone else's needs. Layla also drank successfully from a bottle for the first time that night, too. We had tried to give her pumped milk a few weeks earlier, but she hated the bottle and refused to take it. Without me in the house, though, my mom was able to get her to take the bottle and once she latched on, the milk was gone in no time. Now, of course, I actually have to start pumping again (which is such a pain!), but it will be awesome to be able to go on monthly date nights with my man!
     Our lives have changed so much in the past two months and the changes are definitely for the better! We've traded sleep for snuggles, a purse for a diaper bag, free time for toothless grins, and it has all been worth it! Being a mom is AMAZING and so is my Layla Grace!