Pineapple Pancetta Flatbread

Time.  I have always been aware that it passes quickly.  I remember when we would be going on a family vacation, I would think about how before I knew it, we would be on our way home and the trip would be over.  Sort of a sad thought when you are headed out on a fun family trip, but for some reason I always thought it.  However, my awareness of how fast time passes has escalated tremendously since having a baby.  I admit, when I began taking those monthly pictures of Maverick with the stickers,  I was happy and even excited to take them those first few months.  I loved to see how much he had grown, especially since he started out so small.  Each pound he gained and inch he grew made the month feel like an accomplishment.  But now that he is caught up on weight and length, I’m not so excited about taking his 7 month picture next week.  Don’t get me wrong, I love this stage, and seeing him explore and constantly learning and trying new things.  It is truly amazing to watch, but the reality that we are over halfway to having a one year old is setting in.

View More: http://montgomeryleephotography.pass.us/maverick-6-month

Sweet 6 month picture of my boy (Photo by Montgomery Lee Photography)

The good news is, I do feel like I have gotten in my groove (most days) with being a mom while carrying on with my career.  He has a couple of babysitters that we trust now, and I can even leave him without worrying too much.  I can actually take him places now without being paranoid that everyone is watching, knowing that I’m a new mom, and I don’t really know what I’m doing.  Insert story about how when Maverick was about a month old, I spent 30 minutes in the parking lot of Publix wondering how I was going to grocery shop with him and wondering if I should ask a random person to help me strap him in the ergo…

Well, we’ve got that figured out now, and the confidence I have in being a mom now compared to the beginning feels really good.  But man, these months, they pass so quickly.  He won’t be a baby too much longer and that’s hard to swallow.  I always thought babies stayed babies for a long time, but they just don’t.  While I was pregnant, another mom of 3 young kiddos told me to enjoy every stage, she said she spent most of her first born’s first year mourning the fact that he was growing up and feeling sad that it was all going by so fast.  At the time, I didn’t think much of it, of course they grow, and you finally get to sleep, isn’t that the good news?!  Now, I know what she meant.  I find myself rocking my baby boy a little more lately, hoping he might doze off while I nurse him at night.  Just so I can hold him while he is actually still and cozy in my arms.  As much as I love that he can fall asleep on his own in his crib now and he has a routine, there’s a little piece of me that knows I’m going to miss his dependence on me to sleep.  I don’t really miss that yet, because I am really enjoying sleeping at night and these longer naps, but I know I will.  I still want to keep him on a schedule and do all of the things that allow me to get things done.  But I’m just holding and rocking him a little longer than necessary these past few weeks, and I think I’ll keep that up as long as he lets me.

So how does this tie into a flatbread recipe?!  Well, since time goes by so fast, and I don’t want to miss anything if I can help it, I’m really not cooking things that take up too much of my time these days.  I do still love to cook and create in the kitchen though, so right now I’m all about making pretty food that can be ready in about 15-20 minutes for dinner.  I have a delicious flatbread recipe in my new cookbook, and I have created a few more flatbread recipes since then that I absolutely love.  All you have to do is buy some Naan, you can get it at any grocery store, usually near the other breads or in the ethnic section.  Once you buy the Naan, have fun with whatever ingredients you like or have on hand.  Since I’m a sweet and savory kind of girl, I’m using a little fruit on this one.  I like to serve this with a simple salad for a light, fast, and beautiful spring dinner!

Pineapple Pancetta Flatbread

 

Date posted: April 14, 2015 | Author: | No Comments »

Categories: Appetizer Main Dish Mommyhood Pork

 

IMG_8356

Okay, I admit it.  Even though I am a food writer/blogger and have a cookbook coming out soon, I don’t make all of Maverick’s baby food.  I really feel like I should because buying the organic jars/pouches is pretty expensive, especially since I have a big eater on my hands.  The bottom line is being home 3 days a week with him and trying to work in between naps, on top of making sure the house doesn’t look like a bomb went off is about all I can handle most days.  However, I had some time this week, and I decided to dedicate a couple of hours to making some baby food for him, using some fun and unique flavors.  So, if you’re a stay at home mom and don’t make your baby’s food, don’t feel bad, my job revolves around cooking and creating recipes, and I don’t even do it all of the time!  I’m working on not feeling guilty about this…

Anyway, if you can carve out a couple of hours one day, I do think it is worth the time if you are trying to feed your baby organic, pure food.  It’s much more affordable to make your own, plus it’s kind of fun and rewarding to create something for your baby and watch them explore new flavors.  Which brings me to the three new recipes I made for my little man this week.  I decided to add in a few spices and even herbs to these purees, but they are totally optional.   Since I cook so many different things, I am eager to expose him to new flavors now, so (hopefully) he’ll be open to trying more foods as he grows.  For now, Maverick is just really into all baby food, and so far we have not found anything he doesn’t like or has had a bad reaction to.  Which is really not surprising at all, since his dad is the least picky eater on the planet.  Yay for me!

Here is a little video of Maverick trying the “Bunny Bait,” a little unsure at first, but he ended up loving it!

Even though it may take a little extra time, baby food really is easy to make, and you certainly don’t have to be a great cook to pull this off.

Here are the items you will need to make your own baby food…

Steamer Basket – I actually just bought one at Kroger when I was grocery shopping for about 8 bucks.

Food Processor – Grab one at your next Target outing, a must in the kitchen in my opinion!

Ice Cube Trays (about 4) – This is an easy way to store the food in the freezer.

Disclaimer: I am not a doctor or expert in what to feed your baby, so be sure to consult your pediatrician before trying any of these recipes and feeding them to your child.

 

3 baby food recipes

Date posted: April 8, 2015 | Author: | No Comments »

Categories: baby food Health and Diet Mommyhood

OutdoorTable alternate cover

I am still in awe that my cookbook, which has been almost two years in the making, is actually coming out later this Spring!  I haven’t revealed a whole lot about the book yet, but now that we are so close to the release date, which is June 2nd, I can share more!  One thing you should know, is that I created and tested over 200 recipes EXCLUSIVELY for this cookbook, meaning you won’t find them on this blog ;)

As you have probably guessed by the title, all of these recipes were created for outdoor entertaining.  Whether you are having a cookout, barbecue, picnic, or tailgate, you will find plenty of fresh and delicious recipes to choose from in this book.  Not only is it full of gorgeous pictures and outdoor dining ideas, it also features 30 outdoor venues, many of them in the South, that I thought were the perfect places to take some of these dishes to.   The venues range from outdoor concerts and amphitheaters to botanical gardens and tailgates.  This book was truly a labor of love and I hope you all enjoy it as much I enjoyed writing it!

Now for the really exciting news….

You can Pre-Order your copy now for a discount!

So go ahead and reserve your copy now by clicking on the retailer links below…

Amazon.com/TheOutdoorTable

BarnesandNoble.com/TheOutdoorTable

BooksAMillion/TheOutdoorTable

ITunes.apple.com/TheOutdoorTable

Now, if you tuned into Talk of the Town in Nashville today, you may have seen me make my “Sunshine Citrus Chicken.”   This is a sneak peek recipe from the cookbook, that I am sharing to give you a “taste” of the deliciousness that is in this book!  Enjoy ;)

sunshine chicken

 

Date posted: April 2, 2015 | Author: | No Comments »

Categories: cookbook Main Dish Poultry

deviled eggs

Y’all,  I seriously love spring.  Having a baby through the winter, has made me appreciate the outdoors more than ever.   Getting this baby boy out in the warmer weather and sunshine just makes my heart so happy.  As soon as I saw the Robin Eggs at the grocery, I bought a bag of course, and I just got all excited about the promise of spring.

So here we are, Easter is almost here, and it looks a lot different for me this year.  Easter, well really all holidays, get kind of complicated with a little one.  It’s tough on baby (and parents) to balance getting ready for church, feedings, naps, long drives, lots of people, and different places all in one day.  However, I really don’t want to stress out over the business of the day and schedules being thrown off.  I have realized in this mothering journey so far, that sometimes I just have to let it go for a day or two.  Or else worrying about Maverick’s day being “off” will rob me of enjoying and celebrating such a sacred day.  So, I’m going to pray about it the next few days, which might seem a little silly, but I’m going to pray that Maverick will get the rest he needs, and that I’ll have a special peace over me this Easter.  I want to do my best to soak it in and truly celebrate the resurrection of Jesus and freedom He gave us through the cross.   So, I’m praying and believing for a wonderful Easter in the midst of all that the day will surely bring.

Sidenote: If you have young families in your extended family, cut them some slack on Easter.  They might be late, their kids might be fussy, but us newbies to parenting are just doing the best we can.  We’ve never had a baby on Easter before, it’s tougher than it looks!

Now, onto some Easter recipes, I am sharing 2 ways to put a spin on an Easter menu staple: the deviled egg.  I’m quite fond of a boiled egg on it’s own (see more egg recipes here) but add some mayo and seasonings to those yolks and you have one delicious little treat!  Last year I made these Hummus Deviled Eggs, so this year I am giving you two new ideas that are an easy and fun way to spice up this classic.  Zach said the pesto ones are the best deviled eggs he has ever had, but my dad preferred the Cream Cheesy ones.  Let me know which ones you like best!

Enjoy and have a Happy Easter!

deviled eggs 2

Date posted: April 1, 2015 | Author: | No Comments »

Categories: Appetizer Holidays Sides

easter recipe collage

Easter is a week away, and I’m thinking spring is here to stay, thank the good Lord!   Speaking of, do you know what you are making for Easter dinner?!  If you haven’t gotten there yet, I’m sharing some of my favorite recipes to help get you started.  In addition to these, I have a couple of new recipes for your menu coming this week, so stay tuned for those as well.

Also be sure to tune in THIS FRIDAY to Talk of the Town on Channel 5 at 11am for one of my exclusive cookbook recipes that is one of my go-to main dishes for grilling season!

Below you’ll find the links and pictures to some of my fave Spring/Easter dishes…Happy Menu Planning!

Farm Fresh Corn Pudding

corn pudding

 

Fruity Feta Salad

fruity feta

Corny Bacon and Tomato Quinoa Salad

Quinoa Salad

Cheesy Asparagus Risotto

asparagus risotta

Prosciutto Wrapped Asparagus

Asparagus

Roasted Garlic Mashed Potato Casserole

mashed potato cass

Strawberry Almond Crisp

Strawberry Crisp

Luscious Lemon Icebox Pie

Lemon Icebox Pie

Date posted: March 30, 2015 | Author: | No Comments »

Categories: Dessert Holidays Sides