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.
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 and Pancetta Flatbread
makes about 12 pieces
1/3 cup diced pancetta (my substitute 4 slices cooked and chopped bacon)
1/4 cup red onion, finely chopped
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
2 (3-ounce) pieces Naan- whole wheat if available
3 ounces Fontina cheese
1/2 cup pineapple, chopped
Fresh parsley, chopped
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
In a medium skillet, cook the pancetta until it is crisp. If you prefer cooked onion, you may cook the onion for several minutes in the pancetta drippings.
Bursh the pieces of naan with the olive oil and place them on a baking sheet. Thinly slice the fontina and place it evenly on the naan. Top with the cooked pancetta, onion, and pineapple.
Bake the flatbreads for 10 minutes, and then sprinkle them with the parsley. Use a pizza cutter to slice each one into about 6 pieces.
Well, here I am with the rest of Middle Tennessee, sitting at home without much to do, other than eat and do laundry, ha! We are all stuck at home, and I have seen several people posting about trying out some new recipes. I did the same, of course, and I think I got a winner with this soup. It’s hearty, healthy and satisfying which is just what we need in this icy predicament we find ourselves in.
This is sure to get your nose a runnin’ and warm you up from the inside out. Just what I needed after a yucky cold all weekend. Enjoy!
Spicy Sausage and Kale Soup
makes 6 servings
1 pound Hot Italian Sausage (I like this soup spicy, but you can use mild if you prefer)
2 carrots, peeled and chopped
2 celery stalks, chopped
1 white onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon italian seasoning
3 sprigs fresh Thyme, or 1/2 teaspoon dried
1/2 teaspoon each salt and pepper
8 cups low sodium chicken stock
1 can white (Cannelloni beans), drained
4 cups loosely packed kale, roughly chopped
1 cup short pasta, whatever kind you like or have on hand
Optional – freshly grated Parmesan cheese to garnish
Brown the sausage in a large soup pot, once it has cooked drain it onto a paper towel lined plate. Add the chopped veggies to the drippings, and add a little extra virgin olive oil if needed. Cook the veggies for about 8-10 minutes until they are softened.
Add the Italian seasoning, thyme, salt, pepper, chicken stock or broth, beans, and cooked sausage into the pot.
Allow this to come to a simmer, and then add the kale and the pasta.
Cover the soup, and cook over medium heat for about 15-20 minutes. The pasta should be cooked and the kale should be wilted at this point.
This is a BBQ dish that you will be making all summer long! If you don’t want to use mango, you can always substitute fresh peaches, which would be equally delicious. I use this BBQ sauce on chicken and shrimp as well, we can’t get enough! Happy Grilling!
4 Thick Cut Pork Chops
1 tsp Salt
3/4 tsp Pepper
2 tsp Lemon Zest
For the Mango BBQ Sauce
1 Tbls Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1/2 cup Onion, chopped
2 Garlic Cloves, minced
1/2 cup Apricot Jam (may substitute peach or orange marmalade)
1 tsp Ginger, minced
1 Mango, peeled and sliced
2 Tbls Lemon Juice
Salt and Pepper to taste
Heat a saucepan over medium heat, add oil and onions and soften for 5 minutes
Next add garlic, jam, ginger, mango, and ketchup then cook over medium low heat for the 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Once sauce has finished cooking, add lemon juice and salt and pepper to taste.
Preheat Grill to medium hight heat, sprinkle pork chops evenly on each side with salt, pepper, and lemon zest.
Grill pork chops for 3-4 minutes on each side, then brush each side with BBQ sauce and cook another minute on each side.
Serve remaining Mango BBQ Sauce with grilled chops.
Want to get a Citrus Juicer or Indoor Grill like mine in the video? You can order them at the links below…
I am so excited about this yummy recipe, because I got to use The Nashville Jam Company’s delicious Blackberry Jam in it! This jam is made by a couple that live in Nashville of course, and let me tell you it is really fantastic! The rich Blackberry flavor really compliments the savory pork in this dish. It is definitely a grilled main dish that will be perfect for entertaining this summer.
Well folks, Christmas is almost here and if you are still planning your holiday dinner menus, I have a simple but impressive Stuffed Pork Chop recipe that you will love! It makes for a beautiful presentation, and it can be prepped ahead of time. This would make a fantastic New Year’s Eve dinner as well.
Above all, I hope you have a wonderful time around the table with loved ones, and I wish you all a very Merry Christmas!
4 bone in, 1 inch thick pork chops
1 cup onion, finely chopped
1/2 cup celery, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp dried rosemary, or 2 tbls fresh
1 cup apple, finely chopped
1 1/2 cup breadcrumbs
1/4 cup chicken broth
2 tbls maple syrup
2 tbls dijon
1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary, or 1 tsp fresh
1 1/4 tsp salt, divided
1 tsp pepper
1 tbls butter
2 tbls olive or canola oil, divided
Using a sharp. pairing knife cut a slit in each chop through to the bone to create a pouch for the stuffing. Set aside.
Heat a skillet over medium heat and add the oil and butter. Add the onion and celery to the skillet and cook until softened. Next add the garlic, rosemary, apples, breadcrumbs, chicken broth, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper as well. Stir everything together and then remove from the heat and set aside to cool. Once the stuffing has cooled, stuff it into each chop.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
MIx together the mustard, maple syrup, remaining 1/2 tsp rosemary, 3/4 tsp salt and 3/4 teaspoon pepper. Rub the mixture on the outsides of the stuffed chops.
Heat the skillet to medium high heat and add the remaining oil. Once the oil is hot add the pork chops, brown for 3-4 minutes, carefully flip and brown for another 3 minutes. Do this step in 2 batches if you do not have a large enough skillet. Transfer the chops to a large baking dish and bake for 15-20 minutes until the pork is fully cooked. Enjoy!
I am thrilled to announce that my first cookbook, "The Outdoor Table," published by Thomas Nelson Published is available to purchase wherever books are sold! This beautiful book includes 175 EXCLUSIVE recipes, not found on this site, perfect for all of your outdoor entertaining! Find out more and order your copy here...
Hey Y'all! Well I'm a southern gal, raised in Tennessee, where I still live with my husband and baby boy! Creating fresh and simple recipes with a southern flare, while sharing bits of my life with y'all on camera is what this site is all about. Also, my very first cookbook with Thomas Nelson Publishers will be out Spring of 2015, and I just can't wait to share it with you all! Read more about April...