Monday, October 22, 2012

MmmMonday: Recent Pinterest Recipes

Lately I've been making it a goal to *actually* make some of the probably hundreds of recipes I've pinned/liked on Pinterest. This week I made about 6 of them? Maybe? I lost count. Just see below!

I have the name of the recipe, a picture of how mine turned out  (all from iPhone, didn't make it fancy, sorry ;), and the link where I got the recipe from Pinterest. Also maybe a few notes about if I changed the recipe at all and how I liked it.

Penne Rosa

This turned out very well! I think the Southerner in me likes more spice to my pasta sauces, so next time I make it I might experiment with more spices.
 Saucy Vegetarian Succotash
with Pesto and Mozzarella Grilled Cheese
The succotash recipe is meant for crock pot, but I don't have one (yet) so I just heated the ingredients on the stove. Turned out great! I knew it would because my cousin Jaret recently made it for us before I attempted to make it myself. As for the grilled cheese, I didn't follow the link I gave above; just put sliced mozzarella and a spoonful of pesto on bread and made it like regular grilled cheese. Too easy, very tasty.
Greek Salad Sandwich

This one was a little more complicated than I like sandwich making to be, but it turned out very nice! I think I'll make this one for dinner in the future because I don't like lunches to be this complicated, with a food processor and all, especially with two toddlers at my feet. Also I didn't have "rustic bread" so I put the ingredients in a pita pocket. I think I like it better that way!

Fall Snack Mix

I love an easy festive recipe, and this one really screams fall! You can add and leave out ingredients easily. I left out chocolate puff cereal and honey nut cheerios, and next time I might add raisins! Also wanted to add that I don't like chocolate all that much and it seems like trail mix type snacks are always half M&M's or chocolate chips, so this was perfect for non-chocolate lovers! Great fall snack treat, especially for a crowd. Don't worry, you can add chocolate if that's your thing.
Mediterranean Dip (for pita bread)
and Baked Tomatoes with Feta

The sundried tomato, feta, and artichoke dip was definitely a win- great combination of flavors. The baked tomatoes were more of an experiment because I had planned to do baked eggplant but it went bad :( So I put tomatoes on a baking sheet with olive oil, basil, lemon juice, and feta and baked it. Turned out nice! Dan really liked it, and he doesn't even like tomatoes!
 For more foodie posts, check out the creator of MmmMondays: Emily at Joyful Abode Blog !

Sunday, October 21, 2012

New Pajamas

Last night my sister, Mary, and I decided to make a Wal-Mart run for a crock pot, because somehow I've made it 24 years of life without one (and her 22 years). I have a feeling once I figure out how easy it is to cook using one, I'm going to be quite upset I didn't have one the first year of the twins' lives, when cooking was sooo hard. It's still hard at 16 months old, so maybe we'll get take out a little less now that we're proud new crock pot owners.

But of course you can never just run into Wal-Mart and leave with only what you went in for. So I left with a few new pairs of PJ's for the babies. They were very needed though: it's been months since the babies had true pajamas that fit them! Oops!

So I tried the PJ's on them this morning, and of course they looked SO big in their new big boy PJ's that I had to snap a few pics right away before they grew up any more right before my eyes!

I know, I know: they need a haircut. Maybe soon I'll trim their bangs a tad.

Tired Asher man

Are they getting too big to take pics of their baby feet?

A boy and his cat

Eli making his "woof woof" give Asher a kiss! Hehe!

Must escape from mom's camera

TOO big, right?!


Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Pumpkin Patch 2012

The Hembree twins had their first visit to a pumpkin patch yesterday! It was a far drive to Hammond, La to Miss Heather's Pumpkin Patch by myself, but I got some priceless photos that made the trip well worth it. Even the double poop diaper changes in a Wal-Mart 1.5 hours away from my house. But I digress.

I just wanted to share some of my fave photos from yesterday in my corner of blog land! I'm extremely new to using a DSLR, but I'm proud that I was brave and took ALL of these in manual mode! Practice makes perfect right?

If you're my Facebook friend I have about 40 more photos from yesterday's trip posted there.

If you're like me and have a DSLR but have only used Auto Mode because you have no idea how to really use your camera, and are in the Baton Rouge area, I highly recommend Tara Marie Photography's Beginner's Workshop! I took it back in July and I'm already looking forward to sitting in on her next one this coming February. I have a ton more to learn, but I can't imagine starting anywhere but that workshop, it was perfect for true beginners! Read more here:

Thanks for stopping by!

P.S. I want a new lens for Christmas, wink wink ;)

Monday, September 24, 2012

Spice Cupcakes with Salted Caramel Buttercream Recipe

It's fall, y'all! And living in Louisiana with my thermometer reading 91 degrees as I type this, it doesn't exactly feel like fall to me. So as I made my usual Monday grocery trip, I decided I'd get the ingredients for a new fall treat. My husband's favorite cake flavor is "spice" (what even is that? I guess it means like a pumpkin spice flavor?), but it is actually a really nice fall flavor, so I decided to make that. I've also been spying several salted caramel buttercream recipes on Pinterest, but they all have like 10 ingredients and involve making your own caramel, which I've never tried to make myself before and was scared to burn it. So I made a little cheat recipe, and combined with spice cupcakes, it is SO delicious and tastes like fall in a cupcake! And super easy, too!!

Spice Cupcakes:
1 box of Duncan Hines spice cake mix
1 1/3 cup whole milk
1/2 cup vegetable oil
4 large eggs

-Mix and bake like you would normal box mix cupcakes. 15 mins at 350 degrees.

Salted Caramel Buttercream
2 sticks salted butter, softened
2 cups powdered sugar
1/2 cup caramel topping (I used Hershey's, I found it by the chocolate syrup)

-Beat the sticks of softened butter on medium, turn mixer to low and slowly add in the sugar. Scrape sides of bowl and mix on medium until combined. Stir in the caramel topping and beat for 2 mins until fluffy.


Go check out Joyful Abode's MmmMonday link up for more great recipes!


Tuesday, August 21, 2012

20 Chore Tuesday!

(picture by Emily at Joyful Abode blog)

For almost a year now, I've been using my Instagram account to post pictures of my cleaning progress around my then apartment, and now house. I'd do like side by side before and after pictures when I tidied up, or post a picture of my to-do list for the day and whatnot. As I got into a better routine of cleaning up with 2 babies in the house, I realized I really prefered using one day a week to knock out a bunch of chores! It feels so good to have that huge cleaning day, and I wasn't getting that by doing just a handful of chores everyday. I started using the hashtag #20choreTuesday, almost as a joke at first, but it has REALLY taken off! It has more than 300 photos, and many of the people posting their own 20 chore Tuesday progress I don't even follow; so that shows that it's grown beyond just my humble IG page.

(example of some IG before and after photos of mine)

("#20choretuesday" hashtag!)

One of my favorite IG-ers, Emily at Joyful Abode , has been one of the more faithful 20 chore Tues participants, and asked if she could bring it over to blog world. Of course I said yes, because her blog is awesome and I knew she'd do a great job keeping up with it. Well now she hosts 20 chore Tues on her blog every week! And you can go "link up" your blog/list to it, even though I don't really know what that means yet. Sounds awesome!

Here's my list for today:

Get Cleaning!! ;)


Monday, August 6, 2012


This is hands down my family's favorite dinner! I got the idea when I saw a recipe for a taco casserole. Being a pescetarian (vegetarian who eats seafood), I needed to take out the beef. I added chili beans and moved around the other ingredients until I got it just right! It is seriosuly SO yum and the easiest ever. Even if you're not vegetarian, you'll love it!

1. Here's what you'll need: taco shells (I used 10 "super stuffer" kind), 8oz salsa, a few stalks of green onion, 2 cans of chili beans (I used Bush's medium), 8 oz sour cream, 1/2 packet taco seasoning, and 1-2 cups of shredded cheese. You're thinking "I have most of these ingredients in my fridge right now!" right?!

2. First, heat both cans of beans and the salsa on the stove til it boils. Pour into a glass casserole dish.

3. Top with a handful or two of chopped green onions, and the shredded cheese on top of that. Just eye ball these two things, adding more or less to your preference. I like a lot of both! Pop in the over at 350.

 4. In the meantime, mix your 8oz sour cream with 1/2 packet taco seasoning.

5. After about 20 mins in the oven, your casserole will come out like this! When the cheese is bubbly, it's ready.

 6. Serve in taco shells (I usually heat those in the oven alongside the casserole dish when there's 5-6 mins left). Top with the sour cream mixture. ENJOY!

 Dada came home as I was making this dish; the boys were so excited!!

 They sure do love Dada :)

Make this for  dinner TONIGHT! I know I am!

Monday, July 16, 2012

Feeding Babies "Human Food".

As many of you know, my babies had really bad reflux as infants. When you're a mom to a true reflux baby, (not just a "happy spitter" who pukes on your clothes sometimes,) you know how helpless you feel and how you'd do anything to stop their constant screaming. You also are terrified to make a move that will make their problem worse.

So when their pediatrician recommended starting solids very early (I'm talking 2-3 months old here), I saw it as a way to help end their reflux early (by thinking the solids would help what's in their stomachs, stay in their stomachs!) From the moment I began mixing "rice cereal" (y'all, what even is that junk?!) for them while they couldn't even hold their little heads up in their infant seats, I felt uncomfortable. For several reasons:

-What IS this stuff I'm about to feed my babies?!
-What is the effect of this food on their tiny tummies?
-Will this help their reflux? Make it worse?
In a nutshell, it just didn't feel right to me as a mom! But I attempted anyway. And guess what?


Food was just running down their faces. The little bit that did go down seemed to make them uncomfortable. The longer the meal went on, the more they'd arch their backs. I've heard time and time again about pediatricians recommending rice cereal for reflux. For my 3 month old babies, it was making the problem worse.

It didn't take long for us to swear off "baby food" until they were proper age, more like 6 months. (By the way, our pedi seemed to recommend solids for ALL babies around 3 months, not just ours. However, the APA recommends 6 months and personally I found out I wasn't comfortable with it until then anyway. While it's fun to let your baby try new foods, chances are they just aren't ready and don't need it before 6 months).

While we waited until their 6 month birthday to arrive, I was feeling more and more anxious. I didn't want to feed my babies a mixture of rice flakes. I didn't want to go through trying to spoon feed two squirmy babies at once. As a twin mom, I was already so home bound. I selfishly worried how I'd get to leave the house with jars of food, spoons that needed cleaning, and needing chairs to help them sit while I spoon fed them.

One fateful day, nearing the 6 month mark, I heard the term "BLW": baby led weaning. Aka, skipping pureed "baby food." Letting your baby explore "human food," as I like to call it, and feed themselves. I didn't know much about BLW, but I immediately saw a way out of the drudgery of spoon feeding flakes and mush to my babies! I knew right away, this was for us!

(One of Eli's first BLW experiences: bananas! 6.5 months old)

I purchased the book called Baby Led Weaning by Gill Rapley and Tracey Murkett, and inside is chapters and chapters of the who, what, when, where, and whys of BLW. While I recommend getting the book yourself as a handbook if BLW is something you're interested in, I want to share a few of my favorite things I personally took away from this book and the concept of BLW:

(Eli and Asher have the chance to explore "human food" with the help of BLW, 8 months)

1) It's been around forever
-I feel like BLW is something our ancestors did before the term BLW was coined. For example, my grandmother was one of 10 girls. I'm quite sure my great grandmother was not pureeing bananas with a Baby Bullet and buying mush turkey in a Gerber jar! I imagine she stuck some food in front of her babies and let them learn to feed themselves, and that's what I wanted to do as well.

(Self feeding, baby-food-less 9.5 month olds)

2) It's healthy
-While I'm not saying all baby food is UN-healthy, or that all BLW is healthy, I personally was more comfortable with handing my babies a fresh banana from the store (or farmer's market if that's your style) than banana mush in a jar that spent time on a factory conveyor belt with added acid as a preservative. I've been "guilty" of giving the occassional unhealthy food too, but BLW presents more opportunity for fresh, real food!

(Family dinners and trips to restaurants are easy: no packing extra baby food! Here, 10.5 month old Eli and Asher are enjoying the same Easter family meal as everyone else, including: BBQ chicken, salmon, crawfish fettuccine, green bean casserole, cucumbers, deviled eggs, baked beans, and more!)

3) It's easy
-This is one of the best things about BLW. There's no struggle! I'm not forcing a spoon into both of my babies' faces until they complete one jar of baby food, because the size of the jar determines their serving size. No. I set food on their plate. If they eat it, hurray! If they don't, maybe they weren't hungry or ready. But they got familiar with the food on THEIR terms. No fight. So awesome.

(Happily enjoying the meal at Aunt Cathy and Uncle Gavin's wedding shower, 10 months old)

4) It's family oriented
-Getting to let my babies eat what was already in our house from a young age was a great experience. As their pediatric GI put it, this lets them get familiar with the "family's palette." There's not a transition to baby food, then a separate transition to solids, then a separate transition to family meals. They become aquainted with family meals from the beginning. I make spaghetti for dinner, the twins are eating my spaghetti at the family dinner table right along with us. Dan and I can enjoy our meal with them rather than spoon feeding and eating something different later on in the evening.

(BLW creates great eaters! Making a healthy breakfast for the boys is a joy.)

(BLW creates social eaters! Feeding baby isn't another task a mom has to do, but babies are incorporated into the social experience of eating. Here, Eli eats at Jason's deli with his BLW friend, James! James's mom, Mary, and I ate our meal alongside them.)

Those are just a few reasons I love BLW, but I really could go on and on. Please ask me more if you'd like to know! You can email me at!

Some concerns people may have with BLW might be:

1) Allergies
-If allergies run in your family, then yes, it makes sense to use caution! No serious food allergies run in our family that we know of, so we were very comfortable feeding scrambled eggs at 7-8 months, and they loved it. We still tried to keep nuts away until 1 year, etc, but overall we had no problems. Your baby could end up being allergic to banana baby food, you never know. Use caution with any food the first time it's fed to them.

2) Choking
-I can see where people are concerned with this, but I really don't think they need to be. BLW suggests cutting food into sticks for babies, for example give them a stick-shaped slice of cucumber so a 6 month old can easily hold the stick and "gum" it with their gums/teeth. A big stick they can grasp isn't going to choke them. In fact, they'll learn to take bite size pieces on their own this way that they can handle. Another thing: GAGGING is not CHOKING. I'm pretty sure all babies gag on their food a bit as they learn about needing to chew and swallow their food. Gagging isn't something to be concerned about.

(Asher (10 mo) explores a whole strawberry, learning how to take bites from a larger piece of food, and this momma isn't fearful of him choking.)

3) Messiness
-Ok, you win on this one. BLW IS messy. But all babies are! My babies get bath after dinner each night anyway, so letting them get messy for dinner is fun and doesn't add to my work. And if you spoon feed them for a while to avoid mess, they're still going to have to learn to eat "real food" one day and that'll be messy then. Just embrace it :)

(7 month olds E & A getting messy with whole avocado!)

...I've told you a bit here about what I've learned through BLW, but please get the book if you want more info and even more pros and explanations than I've listed here! There's so many more reasons to love BLW! You won't regret it!


P.S. I'm not a doctor, nutritionist, or health care professional of any kind. This is simply my story of a successful BLW experience with my own kids.