Posts Tagged ‘christian mom’

Sunny’s Maniladas

You read that correctly. Maniladas. A mash-up of enchilada and manicotti. Sounds like a little slice of heaven to me! Unfortunately me and my pregnant brain fouled it up pretty badly. Not to mention the Fourth of July Memorial Day cake I made my with my daughter. It had red stars (strawberries) and blue stripes (blueberries). And yes, I really did begin typing the Fourth of July. At one point before cutting the cake I even thought to myself, “Hey, it would help A understand the holiday if we sang Happy Birthday to our country.” Yep. Apparently I’m really excited for the Fourth. And in other dumb/dangerous pregnant brain moves, my driving. Husband put in a new headlight for me and as I was driving to work at 11:30pm the other night, I couldn’t put my brights on. I was pushing forward and nothing was happening. Husband said he didn’t know and would check it out the next day. He did. They worked. Apparently I didn’t have my lights on my entire drive to work. No headlights, no bright lights. Go me.

Maniladas anyone?


  • (8-ounce) package manicotti shells
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 Vidalia onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 rotisserie chicken, shredded Note: I used 1lb chicken breasts boiled/sauteed and then shredded
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 Roma tomatoes, seeded and diced Note: I used canned diced tomatoes with green chiles
  • 3 tablespoons chopped cilantro leaves
  • 1/2 cup sour cream

For the Tomatillo sauce:

  • 1 pound tomatillos, quartered Note: I didn’t buy a 1lb
  • 1 small red onion, quartered Note: Omitted
  • 1 jalapeno, halved Note: Omitted
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the cheese sauce:

  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups heavy cream, room temperature
  • 2 cups grated fontina cheese Note: Monterey Jack
  • 1/4 teaspoon grated nutmeg
  • Salt

The list is pretty mammoth. I know. But I so love manicotti and I love Mexican food so I was willing to give it a try. I’ve never used/eaten/bought tomatillos before and they’re kind of strange. They’re little green tomato-looking guys covered in this parchment, papery kind of skin. When you take the parchment off, the skin of the tomatillo is sticky. Weird. Maybe it was just mine, but I rinsed it off as best I could. Little did I know (because I didn’t read the recipe beforehand!) that this was a topper sauce, completely omittable, and definitely not the first thing I needed to be doing (besides it calling for them to be roasted for um, hello, like 45 minutes!? Dinner needs to be done and half eaten by then!). But I roasted. I blended. And I got sick looking at it. I didn’t even pour it out of the blender. My husband tried less than half a teaspoon and well, that was the end of the tomatillo sauce.

Of course, I didn’t read the recipe before actually deciding to make it (did I mention that?), or I would’ve put my chicken breasts in the crock pot with some chicken stock and cumin for a few hours to make it nice and shreddy. But I made due and got that carpal tunnel feeling in my forearm from shredding my boiled chicken.

Here comes the best part of the whole meal. The cheese sauce. Please make it. It was so delicious. I probably could’ve eaten just a bowl of that. Or maybe dipped some chips into it. So everything is ready and I’m preparing to fill the manicotti shells. I put the cheese sauce into a ziplock bag so that I can squeeze it nicely into the shells. Husband said, “Does the chicken not go in there?” I replied, “No, the cheese sauce does and then the chicken goes around it.” THAT WAS COMPLETELY BACKWARD. So here I am squirting, squeezing, and dripping cheese sauce everywhere when it’s not even remotely what I was supposed to be doing. It was supposed to go on top of the manicotti shells filled with the chicken mixture. About five shells in I got to thinking, “This is entirely too hard and too messy. Something is wrong.” Well duh, it was. But I was too far gone to fix it. So I just cut the manicotti shells open, filled them with cheese, and rolled them back up. I then topped them with the chicken mixture.

So not what I hoped for :(

As far as flavor goes, it wasn’t nearly as Mexican as I was hoping. Husband said it tasted like chicken alfredo with a hint of Mexican. Bummer. In the Manilada’s defense though, maybe if they were actually prepared properly, it would’ve been better. I mean they were tasty for sure, but not appealing to look at, and not Mexican if that’s what you’re hoping for. But the tomatillo sauce? No thanks.

I don’t have any pictures. I remember cooking before I was pregnant having my camera at the ready during dinner time for my blog pictures. I’m not there yet. I’m sure I will be soon :)

Meatballs: The Saga Continues

OK, as promised, this will be second installment of meatball meals. These were my favorite by the way :) This time I even let A (my 3 year old for those of you who are new to D&D) help me make the meatballs. She loves getting dirty which is one of those blursings (blessing+curse) in life. After I explained to her that the meat mixture wasn’t supposed to be squeezed between her fingers like mud but rather formed gently into a ball, we were all set. These meatballs also held together beautifully and gave me no problems! Probably because they were squished into submission by teeny, tiny, adorable, munchable little hands. Original recipe.


  • 1/4 cup panko crumbs
  • 1-1/4 lbs 93% lean ground turkey Note: Used 1lb
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tbsp ginger, minced Note: Used…powdered (?), dry ginger
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro Note: Pffft. Fresh, what’s that?!
  • 3 scallions, chopped Note: Couldn’t find them at the store. Sad, I know.
  • 1 tbsp low sodium soy sauce
  • 2 tsp sesame oil Note: Didn’t have; didnt’ use.

Wow, writing down all the omissions and changes, it’s a wonder they survived, but boy did they. These definitely had that ‘oh my gosh I need to make these twice a week’ factor. The sauce though, that’s where it all falls apart. But who needs sauce when there’s ketchup and homemade honey mustard?!


  • 4 tbsp low sodium soy sauce
  • 2 tsp sesame oil Note: Omitted
  • 2 tbsp fresh lime juice Note: Juiced one lime
  • 2 tbsp water
  • 1 chopped fresh scallion Note: Omitted

Ok, I will totally take the blame for the sauce not being all that great. I’m not even gonna lie; I also juiced a lemon in there. Why? Well, it was laying around, having previously been zested and it just needed purpose in it’s little citrus life again. I LOVE citrus, and don’t lemon and lime go together like peanut butter and jelly? Apparently not, no, I don’t think so. The sauce was suuuper liquid-y (but that could’ve been how it was supposed to be) and a lot something else too. It had some bite to it, which I didn’t mind so much, just in small quantities. Baby Munchka however, was letting her meatballs drown in the stuff before I explained that sauces are for dipping, not swimming. But sauce or no sauce, the meatballs were fantastic. I did mix up some honey and mustard in an attempt to make O’Charley’s quality honey mustard. It didn’t work, but you could kinda sorta almost tell it was supposed to be honey mustard. It was different with the soy sauce meatballs, but in a good way. I served them with sweet potato french fries, which are my new favorite easy side by the way. Frozen. Delicious. Maybe healthy? Not as UNhealthy as regular fries?

asian turkey meatballs

Bugga Baby's plate

Would I make these for someone else? I think so. I probably would serve it over brown rice and actually make the sauce according to the recipe. Or maybe I would find a good honey mustard recipe and go that route, but sure, I’d feed this to someone who isn’t related to me.

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A Tale of Two Meatballs

I’ve gone meatball crazy. I’m not sure why. In fact, there’s just general ball-shaped hysteria in my household. It all started with the meatballs and ended up with me taking a melon baller to a plum this morning. It seems now that the only way A will eat fruit is if it comes in fun shapes like the one produced by a melon baller (side note-is that even the correct term?) and she can ‘stab’ it with toothpicks to pick it up and eat it. Who knew fruit could be so much fun?! Plums were not meant to be ‘melon balled’ I don’t believe, but we did it anyway, and will continue to do so long as it works I guess. I never imagined myself as the kind of mom who would cut crusts off of sandwiches (isn’t that where the nutrition is?!), but I guess taking a melon baller to everything doesn’t really count? Not that taking the crusts off is bad or anything, I’m just kind of mean that way :p

Enough with the melon/plum balls. Let’s move on to meatballs! I made my first ever meatball about two weeks ago and then made more a few days ago. I’m in love! They’re so easy and fun and healthy (depending on what meat you use) and most kids like to eat things in fun shapes! As previously noted. My first meatballs were a recipe of Giada’s (duh) and the second came from a blog and I’m not sure how I landed there, but here’s Giada’s meatballs first.


From here you can choose to use store bought sauce or make Giada’s. Guess what I did? :)

Simple Tomato Sauce:

  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 stalk celery, chopped
  • 1 carrot, chopped
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 (32-ounce) cans crushed tomatoes
  • 2 dried bay leaves
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, optional

I did it the first time, but I probably won’t do it again =/ Anyway, the meatballs were really easy to make. Don’t over mix the meat; a few folds with a wooden spoon should do the trick. I didn’t have any problem with them falling apart or anything, even in the pan, with which I was happily surprised! They browned beautifully and stayed together; it was everything I had hoped a meatball would be!

giada's turkey meatballs

after one flip, browning nicely

The meatballs were great, but the overall dish was a little disappointing to me. I thought it was kind of pasty, not saucy enough. Going forward, I would probably just buy some store bought vegetable sauce and try that. Maybe make a little more of Giada’s sauce. It tasted good, was filling, and healthy enough, but it just lacked the ‘oh my gosh I need to make this twice a week’ factor.

Husband Rating: 6.5

Mom’s ‘Special Guest’ Rating: 9.5

Would I make for someone else? Errr. Maybe. I’d want to get the sauce thing fixed. Maybe shuzz up the flavor a bit too.

Ratings were all over the place though, so go for it! :) Meatballs were definitely good, so at least give them a try! As far as the second round of meatballs, I’m gonna save that for another post, because this one has gone on long enough! :)

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Homemade Rainbow Cookies

First of all, the title of this post is not going to do these cookies justice. I mean, anybody can make a cookie and pipe on some icing to look like a rainbow, but THESE cookies have the rainbow INSIDE the cookie! :) I got the idea (and became mildly obsessed with the idea) for these from Brooke McLay over at the Cheeky Kitchen (beautiful website, go look!). Scroll down past the green milk and the first picture of cookies until you see them. Truly works of homemade art, no? I’m pretty sure I started making these about 5 minutes after seeing them, just enough time to make sure I had all the ingredients!


  • ½ c. butter
  • ½ c. sugar
  • ½ c. light brown sugar
  • 2 c. flour
  • Pinch of baking soda
  • ¼- ½ c. water
  • Wilton gel colors


  • ½ c. butter, melted
  • 4 c. powdered sugar
  • 1 T. clear vanilla flavoring Note: I didn’t have clear, but it didn’t affect the color enough to bother me or to go out and buy clear vanilla.
  • 1 ½ T. milk

Reading the directions, it sounded easy enough. Mix it with your hands, which is good, because if you’ve been reading my blog for very long, you’re well aware of my lack of fancy shmancy cooking tools.

Great task for little hands

But. There’s always a but. My dough was pretty sticky. I haven’t paid enough attention to my recent dough making to catch whether or not its too much liquid or the lack thereof that makes it sticky, but I added more flour. I added a little more to the dough, to the surface, and to the rolling pin. Several times. I also halved the dough and stuck one half in the freezer while flouring the other. The freezer definitely helped me. After I got my dough issues (mostly) solved, I added color. By the way–who knew the color red was SO important in making other colors? I should probably buy some more :o)

I separated the dough into the amount of colors I was going to use, plus two more for the outside colors (see picture). Then I started coloring! This was also another great task for A; I got the color worked in a little and then handed it off to her to get fully incorporated, allowing me to move on to the next color.

After getting my dough balls in order, things got dicey. I made these before Brooke actually put up her tutorial post. I thought I could figure it out. Not so much, but I tried :) I rolled out the colored balls of dough (individually) and then layered them on top of each other. I placed an inch (?) wide rope of plain dough down the middle of my layered, colored dough and then wrapped the colored dough around the plain rope. Confusing, eh? Good thing I took pictures :)


Dough rope

Rolled Up

You’ll notice the plain rolled out dough underneath that hot mess? That’s to roll around the whole cookie log. After that, I wrapped the plain dough with some more green dough, hoping to create a border kind of like Brooke did.

Ready to Chill

After about 20 mins (or a bit longer if you like) in the freezer, these wonderful cookies are ready to be sliced. Use a sharp knife and make sure the dough is really chilled, or else you’ll be smushing your beautiful design, much like I did :) A sharp knife is one of those fancy shmancy tools I don’t own :)

Inside of my Cookie Log

Um. Not *quite* what I was expecting :)

As you can see, they look nothing like Brooke’s cookies, and only mildly resemble rainbows. And only then if you’re drunk and taking LSD (all joking aside, I hate drugs). If you’ll notice the top left cookie, I did that by using some scraps of dough, laying them beside each other, and flattening all of them with a roller. I baked them about 8 minutes longer than the recipe called before because I like a crunchy cookie and was waiting for the edges to brown, but they never, ever did. My first thought upon first tasting the cookies were that they were kind of bland, like no taste at all BUT (there it is again!) then I remembered you were supposed to ice them and make little cookie sandwiches. Duh. The icing was very simple to make and I just plopped it in a freezer ziploc bag with a corner snipped off to ice. Then, they were delicious :) And even though I baked them into kingdom come, they were still very soft and chewy.

Final Product

A's Special Cookie :)

Husband rating: 8. The office fellas gave them a 9 and apparently only because they saw Brooke’s cookies and deducted for looks :)

My next big goal is making one with an Easter egg inside. Surprisingly, Google hasn’t been much help. I’ve only been able to find polymer clay canes and lack the brains to transfer the concept to cookie making. Ideas? Welcomed!

My vision

Don’t be fooled. It’s clay! It came from here and I’ve emailed the lady for tips :) She’s emailed back, and well, I’ll keep you posted! My momma is coming this weekend and this is another fun thing I want us to do! :)

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Crockpot Chicken and Dumplings

This recipe is ridiculously easy and pretty tasty :) I love crockpot recipes, especially on Bible study and choir nights. C (my husband!) gets home between 5-5:30 and I have to bounce at 6pm; doesn’t leave a whole lot of catch-up time, so I certainly don’t want to spend those precious moments slaving over dinner! This is a pretty fool-proof (tried and tested by yours truly, #1 cooking fool. at times.) recipe with only a handful of ingredients. Recipe.


  • 4 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 (10.75 ounce) cans condensed cream of chicken soup Note: I use one cream of chicken and one cream of mushroom.
  • 1 onion, finely diced
  • 2 (10 ounce) packages refrigerated biscuit dough, torn into pieces Note: I buy the frozen bags and use about 4 frozen biscuits.
  • Optional: One lg can of peas and carrots.
  • Optional: One can of water.
  • Optional: Salt, pepper, garlic powder.

I’m not even sure what the recipe says anymore I’ve made this on my own so many different ways now. I put frozen chicken breasts rubbed with salt, pepper, and garlic powder, 2 cans of soup, 1 can of water, chopped onion and peas & carrots into the crockpot on high around 9am. Around 1pm, I turn it down to low, and about 2 hours before serving, I put the frozen biscuits into the pot. I’ve been making this for about a year now and just recently (like yesterday) noticed that the recipe called for refrigerated biscuits, but no matter :) Once the biscuits get soft enough to tear apart (30ish minutes), tear them apart. They will absorb a lot of water, drying out the meal, so that’s why I added the can of water to my recipe with FROZEN biscuits. Just make sure to break them up into bite sizes because even though I’m a dumpling girl, those puppies get huge. Once the biscuits are cooked through and the chicken shred-able, you’re all set! :) A little cheese sprinkled on top is also a nice edition.

Seems like I put cheese on everything. Perhaps that has something to do with the toddler in my midst?

Would I make this for someone else? Yes! I absolutely would make this for someone else, especially to take to a brand new-home-from-the-hospital momma :) It’s easy and cheap and perfect for something like that!

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Breast Feeding and French Braids

Almost from the moment I found out I was pregnant I devoured any and all knowledge pertaining to pregnancy. It’s that Type A, slightly perfectionistic, over-achiever in me. I wanted to know and learn everything there was to know about pregnancy, delivery, and breast feeding. I bought books, spent hours online reading articles, searched forums, and signed up for weekly newsletters about everything that was happening to my body and to my baby. I went to a breast feeding class. The La Leche League is a group entirely devoted to breast feeding. A lactation consultant will even come to your house to help if you and your newborn are having trouble getting the hang of the things.

After the birth of my daughter, a nurse came in and told us what to do and what to expect over the next couple days. From bathing, to baby poop, to feedings, to spit-up, we knew a lot. Great. We needed it.That’s all very helpful information for first time parents. In the hospital, A was a piece of cake. It was everything I imagined it would be; positively dreamy. The most annoying part was being woken up every few hours by a nurse who wanted to ‘check my bottom,’ not my beautiful (so I thought at the time) newborn. We left confident, baby in tow, ready to conquer the world and keep a completely helpless human being alive, on our own.

Fast forward three years. You know what I wish they would’ve taught me in the hospital or during pregnancy? How to French braid my daughter’s hair. I know, it seems so trivial, but honestly, a little hair-doing class during pregnancy wouldn’t have killed me. I’ve tried watching videos on YouTube and watched my MIL do it once, but I learn by doing and unfortunately, A isn’t always a willing participant. I can only force her to play ‘Mommy’s Beauty Salon’ so many times in a row. A nice class ahead of time where you could practice on the adults taking the class with you would’ve been really beneficial.

Why French braid? I’m not sure. I think maybe because I’ve always got my super long (to me anyway) hair up in a sloppy bun and I just want something a little better for my daughter because she’s so amazing. And I like learning new things and I’m sure she’ll request it one day. I’d like to be able to oblige. I tried to do the cool French braid-across-the-forehead look (a la Lauren Conrad) for story time one day. It didn’t exactly come out how I pictured.

Oh well. The baby girl didn’t mind and her bangs were out of her face (we’re growing them out), so off we went. No more ‘salon’ allowed. It didn’t exactly help my mom self-esteem any seeing a little girl at story time with a beautiful rendition of the look I was going for with A’s hair. I even commented and asked the mother how she did it, trying not to come across too creepy. What I really wanted to do was ask if she had a moment to sit down and show me how, but A is the outgoing one, not me.

A hair braiding specialist would be nice, especially since I’m not exactly a girly mom. I wear sweat pants about five days a week and my aforementioned hair does two things–in a bun or straight (like ice pick straight) down. Actually it does four things: a regular pony tail, crazy bun, straight down, and I’m in the beginning stages of starting to wear a long regular braid to the side.

A hair-doing (what is a better word for this?!) club would be cool. I would definitely go. Like a group of moms getting together to swap recipes but swapping hairdos for ourselves and kiddos instead.

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