Thursday, April 3, 2014

April Showers

Umbrella, Leather Tote, Hunter wellies, Gingham Shirt, Pants

I don't know about you, but this week seemed to drag on forever. Add some rain and cloudy skies and I've practically self-diagnosed myself with seasonal affective disorder. One thing that helps me get through the week is having something fun to look forward to on the weekend. Sometimes it's just going for a walk as a family. Other times it's trying a new-to-us restaurant or cooking a new recipe. Once the weather gets consistently warmer, I'm sure we'll go out for ice cream or Italian ice.

This weekend, we don't have anything planned yet. Do you a fun weekend idea to share?

see {long distance loving} for other Friday's Fancies

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Monday, March 31, 2014

Baby Broccoli and Cheese Egg Souffles

Heeeey! You know it's time to get back into blogging when the baby is back asleep at 2am and you can't fall back asleep because you're thinking about blogging.

What's new with all of you? It's been a busy few months at work for me, but I'm slowly starting to get my groove back. John's sister convinced me to run a half marathon with her this summer, so I've been hitting the trails and treadmill. I've also started to get back into the kitchen (thank goodness for a husband that cooks!). One of my recent forays included these mini egg soufflés.

My Mom had visited for the weekend and left a bag of broccoli florets with us. I figured they would be a good addition to Monica's lunches, but wasn't exactly sure how until I saw this recipe for broccoli, cheddar and wild rice casserole on Smitten Kitchen. That reminded me of the baby soufflé of spinach I saw on Wholesome Baby Food. After a little more research, I found a third recipe for broccoli and cheese mini egg omelets on Skinny Taste.

I realize that introducing eggs to babies can be a little controversial, so talk with your pediatrician before introducing any foods that may pose allergy risks for your baby. Additionally, it's important to wait three or four days before introducing a new food. Monica was nine months old when I made these mini soufflés and she had already eaten scrambled eggs (and all of the other ingredients) without any reactions.

But these baby soufflés aren't just for babies! I enjoyed them more than Monica because she was teething and didn't want much to do with solids at the time. You could easily make these for brunch or on a Sunday night to eat for breakfast during the work week. The recipe is also extremely versatile, so feel free to use up whatever odds and ends are in your fridge. 

Baby Broccoli and Cheese Egg Soufflés
Yield: About 15 or 16

1 tablespoon olive oil
1/8 cup chopped onion
2 cloves of garlic, minced
4 eggs
2 cups broccoli florets, steamed and crumbled into smaller pieces
Cooked rice, maybe a few tablespoons
Salt (omit if cooking just for baby)
Shredded cheese, such as Parmesan, Romano, or cheddar

Preheat oven to 350*. Grease a mini muffin tin and set aside.

Sauté the onion and garlic over medium heat until softened.

In a medium bowl, beat eggs. Add in onion, garlic, crumbled broccoli, cooked rice, and shredded cheese. (I just eyeballed the amount of rice and cheese.) Season with salt (if using) and pepper. Mix well.

Spoon egg mixture into mini muffin tins until a little more than 3/4 full. Top with additional grated cheese.

Bake in the oven until cooked, about 15 minutes.
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Thursday, January 30, 2014

2014 Super Bowl desserts

It's that time of year again! Time for entertaining commercials, tasty snacks, and a pretty big football game. Once again, I'm taking inspiration from the competing teams to bake a dessert for our Super Bowl party.

Going into the NFC/AFC championship games, I hoped that Denver and Seattle would make it to the Super Bowl. Denver (and all of Colorado) is all about craft beer and Seattle is home to Starbucks. That means a boozy and caffeinated dessert is on the menu!

I already have a few such cupcakes in my recipe box:

Dark Chocolate Smoked Porter Cupcakes with Salted Caramel Cream Cheese Frosting - The bottom half deemed the best cake I've ever baked by John.  

Dark Chocolate Smoked Porter Cupcakes with Chai Buttercream - Because I also enjoy an occassional Chai Latte from Starbucks.

Mile High Chocolate Stout Pie4
Mile High Chocolate Stout Pie from The Beeroness

The Beeroness also has a bevy of beer-infused dessert recipes. Her Mile High Chocolate Stout Pie sounds divine and somewhat fits with my Denver/Seattle theme. Denver is the Mile High City and the recipe uses Rogue Chocolate Stout, which is from Portland (not exactly Seattle, but still in the Pacific Northwest).

If you really want to stick with Colorado microbrews, I'd go with Great Divide Brewing Co.'s Espresso Oak Aged Yeti Imperial Stout, Breckenridge Brewery's Vanilla Porter or Oatmeal Stout, or Left Hand Brewing Company's Milk Stout.

What are you bringing to your Super Bowl party this year?
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Friday, January 17, 2014

Where My Brain is these Days

Hi friends! How are things shaking? I feel like it's been forever since we last chatted. My last blog post was about a month ago, which feels like an eternity.

During this break, life has been taking center stage between my cousin's wedding, Christmas, and spending all sorts of time with Monica. John also turned 30, which means I'm next! And let's not forget the polar vortex/Chiberia.

Plus, things are busier at work between being promoted and it being year end. And when I get home from work, it's dinner, a quick few hours with Monica before putting her to bed and then getting everything ready for the next day. By the time that's done, I'd rather crash on the couch with John and watch some reruns of Modern Family instead of blogging. Especially since boss lady is still waking up in the middle of the night. Please send coffee.

And honestly, I didn't feel like I had much to share. I deal with accounting and numbers all day at work, so I didn't want to think about personal finance related posts. And I didn't want to overshare on the baby posts. Though can I brag for a second that she's almost crawling on her knees?!! Fiscally Chic isn't going to become a mommy blog, but Monica obviously occupies a majority of my brainspace these days.

I have a few posts in the hopper, but I'm curious about what you want to read. Are you cool with baby posts? More DIY? Recipes? Back to personal finance? If nothing else, I'll be sure it's a quality post before I launch it into the Internets.
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Friday, December 20, 2013

Traveling by Car with a Baby

Shirt, Leggings, Sweatshirt, Hair Ties, Gray Slippers, PJ's, Baby Boots

Christmas is next week!!! I don't know about you, but I'm not ready. Before cozying up with family, I still need to purchase a few more gifts, wrap presents, and bake Christmas cookies. And some years include a drive to Ohio to be with my family. Since we've already taken a few road trips with Monica, including going to her first wedding, I thought I would share a few tips for those taking their first long drive with a baby.

Allow extra time to make extra stops
Traffic and wintery weather already contribute to longer than usual travel times. Add a baby to the mix and drive times can increase by a few hours. You never know when an atomic diaper will strike, how long naps will be, or if someone will want to eat again. In conjunction with the inevitable diaper changes, we've learned to make time for extra "wiggle" stops. Babies are just like adults in that they want to stretch out and move around after being seated in the car for a while.

Have one person sit in the backseat
One of us I have been sitting in the backseat with Monica almost exclusively since bringing her home from the hospital. 95% of the time, she's a chill baby and fine sitting by herself. But that 5% when she is fussy can be excruciating. To help prevent and combat the fussies, we bring an assortment of toys, books, and a pacifier. Some of the toys are her favorites and others are new things she hasn't played with yet. 

Though sometimes you just have to stop the car. While driving home from a recent trip to St. Louis, Monica took a 1.5 hour nap, which is pretty amazing for her. Not so amazing was when she woke up hangry and wailing. I was driving and we were stuck in traffic on the highway. John was sitting with her in the backseat, trying to soothe and distract her until we could exit the highway. Her bottles were in a cooler and the milk was way too cold to drink. Needless to say, we had to pull over to the side of the road where I could nurse Monica back to happy.

Carry a well stocked diaper bag
In addition to the usual suspects, it's helpful to have extra extra diapers, wipes, diaper cream, outfits, swaddle blankets, and trash bags in your diaper bag. This includes extra outfits for mom and dad because super spit up and explosive diapers seem to happen on the go. And since rest stop bathrooms can be questionable, be sure to bring a travel-friendly changing pad.

Pump on the go
While Monica tends to prefer her milk straight from the source, sometimes it's easier for us to give her a bottle on the road, especially when she gets hungry in between rest stops. Plus, I still feel a little self-conscious about nursing in public. Enter the manual pump or electric pump with a battery pack or car lighter adapter. Then I use the pump and accessory wipes for quick clean up. Freshly pumped milk will then keep about 5 hours at room temperature or 24 hours in an insulated cooler with ice packs.

Try not to pack the kitchen sink
This one is easier said than done, but babies really only need clothes, diapers, and food. If you forget something critical, you can probably buy it on the road or at your destination.

Any other tips you want to share for traveling with a baby?

see more cozy inspiration at {long distance loving}

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Saturday, December 7, 2013

A Wedding Guest Dress (with a Baby!)

Alexis Bittar earrings and Diane von Furstenberg dress via Rent the Runway
Kate Spade clutch and Banana Republic pumps
Hi, friends! It's been a while since I've joined the Friday's Saturday's Fancies fun and this week's "holiday party" theme couldn't come sooner. My cousin is getting married this month, so I've been brainstorming what to wear.

Most of my dresses are summery or not quite baby/nursing friendly. Thank goodness for Rent the Runway! I have the above dress scheduled for delivery that meets all of my needs:
  • Looks good on a still slightly funky postpartum body: A wrap dress (by the queen of wrap dresses!) is pretty forgiving and they're sending my dress in two sizes.
  • Made of soft material: Sequins need not apply since they'll scratch Monica.
  • Easy access to the boobies: A V-neck or crisscrossed neckline is preferable.
  • I can wear a regular (nursing) bra.

Last time I rented a dress, I was trying to hide a mini baby bump. Now that Monica is here, renting a dress is a fabulous idea because I don't have to worry about being spit up on! RTR includes a small insurance policy with each rental and dry cleaning is also included.

And since the wedding is out of town, I'm having the dress delivered directly to Ohio. Having one less thing to worry about packing is another perk of renting. And then I just pop the dress back in the mail after the wedding.

If you're looking to sparkle this holiday season for a fraction of the price, I highly recommend Rent the Runway. And no, this isn't a sponsored post, I just really like RTR. And if you sign up through my Rent the Runway referral link, we'll both get $20 off our next orders.

Have a fabulous weekend!

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Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Thanksgiving Turkey Burger with Cranberry Aioli

Hi, friends! I've been waiting to share this recipe with you since the summer. John enjoyed the "Thankful" burger at Grange Hall Burger Bar in July and we recreated it a weekend or so later. While the burger was tasty enough to share then, the flavors are a little more appropriate for this week of Thanksgiving.
Speaking of Thanksgiving, I'm extremely thankful for my family this year. Yes, being a parent is hard work, but Monica's smiles, giggles, and overall happiness makes it worth it. I'm also thankful for John and his cooking skills. I often joke that he feeds me (and himself) and I feed Monica, so things are even in the kitchen.
Back to the kitchen...if you'd rather use this burger as a way to give leftovers a new life, have at it! You could easily use a few slices of roasted turkey in place of ground turkey. If you go that route, I would suggest adding some fresh sage leaves to your sandwich.

As for the cranberry aioli, it was super easy to make using the food processor. And I felt very Julia Child in the process.

If you're not feeling that brave (yes, there is a raw egg yolk in there), you can take some leftover cranberry sauce and mix it with mayonnaise and a little minced garlic.

Top your burger (or leftover turkey sandwich) with some muenster cheese, arugula, a healthy slathering of cranberry aoili, and serve it on a pretzel bun. If you are going the leftover turkey sandwich route, I highly recommend melting the cheese under the broiler. 

Thanksgiving Turkey Burger with Cranberry Aioli
Inspired by Grange Hall Burger Bar
Yields 6 burgers


For the burgers:
2 pounds ground turkey
1/2 medium sweet onion, minced
~12 sage leaves, rough chopped
Salt and pepper

For the cranberry aioli:
2 cloves garlic
1/2 tsp salt
1 egg yolk
1 cup olive oil
1 cup fresh cranberries*, roughly chopped
1 T sugar

6 slices muenster cheese
6 pretzel buns

In a large mixing bowl, stir together the ground turkey, onion, sage, salt, and pepper. Divide the ground turkey mixture into six patties.

Pulse the garlic, salt, and egg yolk in the food processor or blender.

Slowly pour the olive oil into the food processor or blender on "stir." As the aioli thickens, keep pouring in the olive oil until it's all incorporated. Taste and add more garlic or salt, as necessary.

Add the cranberries and sugar to the aioli and pulse a few times in the food processor or blender. Taste again.

Grill your burgers to desired doneness, adding the cheese at the very end to melt.

Serve on pretzel buns with arugula and cranberry aioli.

*I used fresh cranberries that were previously frozen. Roughly chop, add sugar, and microwave in a bowl for about 15 seconds to thaw.
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