Meet the Sullivans: January 2012

January 30, 2012

Owen, the first week

We've been home for over a week now and time is just flying by. Between sleeping when the baby sleeps, eating when we can (which we never do together anymore), breastfeeding the little man and changing him (which he hates) and cuddling him there isn't a ton of time for extra time, so please excuse my lack of blogging in recent days!

I can't even begin to tell you how much we love this guy. He is so sweet, sweet beyond description.

He makes the most adorable facial expressions. In his sleep he'll stick out his bottom lip, which will then morph into a frown and then into a full on smile. I wonder what he's dreaming about.

He turns bright red like a lobster when we change him, and our best defense against this happening is for Keith and I to turn diaper changing into a dance party singing and clapping to distract him. Keith has "Owen's Calm" and "Owen's Upbeat" playlists for these purposes.

He loves to eat, so we call him the chow hound. If it were up to Owen he would be eating every two hours, which means that after feeding, changing and soothing I get a 30minute break in between each feeding..not going to work.

He loves his bouncy chair, but hasn't taken to the swing we impulsively ordered the while in the hospital.

He likes to be rocked in his gliding chair, but the best way for us to soothe him (besides nursing) is to hold him while bouncing on the physio ball.

Here are a few pictures of our little man (and some friends & family) in his first week or so of life:

 My mom meeting Owen for the first time.


 Owen and his Aunt Kelly.

My friend Allison with Owen at the hospital.

Allison's husband, Jordan and their son Noah.

My friend Hilary with the little man.

Anne holding Owen in the noisy rocking chair that was in our hospital room.


Our friend Jen came to visit too.

Keith's friend Matt.

My mom can't get enough of her grandson.


Aunt KC is a natural with the little guy.

Our first family photo (besides the one taken in the operating room, which I'm not willing to share)!

Keith's big brother Kevin meeting Owen.

I swore I would wait to introduce the pacifier, but all those I will's and I won't's didn't last long.

With Daddy at home.

Watching a little television and hanging out.


Owen's cousin Megan (of all his 9 cousins they are the closest in age).

Brandon was so good with Owen.

Cousin Nick with Owen.

 Milk drunk on his mama.

Happy, sleepy dude.

Sleepy.

The Rock has been so good with Owen. He likes to sniff wherever Owen has been.

In his football outfit. He wore this outfit yesterday and managed to keep it clean! Woohoo!

 Keith's friends Chris and Mike came by to meet Owen, who was asleep of course. :)

 My friend Jackie who is about to give birth to her own son in a week! We're so excited for them!

Yesterday when our friends came we decided to try to keep Owen up for a bit so they could meet him, but we learned the hard way that this is not the thing to do. Owen was fussy for the rest of the rest of the afternoon. Next time we'll just let him sleep, poor baby!

January 22, 2012

Hello, World!

Hello, World!!!
My name is Owen Edward Sullivan. 

We're heading home from the hospital today. It has been a busy week! 

January 13, 2012

Slow Cooker Chicken Tortilla Soup

Originally I had planned to make this Slow Cooker Chicken Tortilla Soup, which we've had before and enjoyed. But then I decided to check out a few other tortilla soup recipes, which I ended up combining and pulling from to come up with what you see below. 
Slow Cooker Chicken Tortilla Soup 
For a printer-friendly version click here. 

Ingredients 
1 1/2 lbs boneless chicken chicken breasts, poached
1 can (14 ounce) diced mexican seasoned tomatoes

10 oz enchilada sauce
1 onion, diced
1 can (4 ounce) green chiles
1 1/2 cups frozen corn
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups water

2 cans (14 ounce) low-sodium chicken broth
2 1/2 tbsp fajita seasoning
1/2 cup half and half
cilantro
toppings: shredded cheese, avocado, sour cream, tortilla strips
6 corn tortillas

Directions
Place chicken, tomatoes, enchilada sauce, onion, green chiles, corn and garlic into a 5 qt. slow cooker. Pour in water, chicken broth, and fajita seasoning. Stir to combine. Cover, and cook on Low setting for 6 to 8 hours or on High setting for 3 to 4 hours.

After that time shred chicken, and return to slow cooker. Add half and half and cilantro. Cook an additional half hour. Spoon into bowls and garnish as desired.

To make tortilla strips:
Cut corn tortillas into strips. Spread tortilla strips out on a cookie sheet sprayed with cooking spray. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and bake until crispy at 400 degrees, for about 10 minutes.

We really liked this and I think it will become our go-to tortilla soup recipe from now on. The spiciness was just right, and it was so easy to put together, but most importantly, it tasted great! 

January 11, 2012

Caramel-Nut Pull-Apart Bread

YUM! I've made this before and forgot to blog about it, and so when I decided to make it again I knew I wanted to share it because its so simple and so good. This tastes like a giant bear claw donut. It is definitely not low-fat or low-cal, but you can pull a little piece off, enjoy and call it a day. Mmmm...

Caramel-Nut Pull-Apart Bread
For a printer-friendly version click here. 

Ingredients
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar + 3tsp cinnamon, mixed together
1 cup chopped walnuts
3/4 cup butter, melted
3 (10-ounce) cans refrigerated biscuits (use the Flaky kind)


Directions

Combine brown sugar and walnuts in a small bowl. Stir in butter. Spoon half of sugar mixture in bottom of a greased Bundt pan.


Cut each biscuit in half (use kitchen scissors for quick cutting) and toss with the white sugar/cinnamon mixture. Place half of biscuit halves alternately over sugar mixture. *Make sure you use the flaky Pillsbury biscuits and not the grands. I used the grands and they came out a little doughy after the suggested time so I had to put them back in the oven for a bit. The flaky kind turn out much better! 

Spoon remaining sugar mixture over biscuits in pan; top with remaining biscuits.

Bake at 350° for 30 to 35 minutes or until browned--it smells so incredible while it cooks! Turn out onto a serving platter immediately, spooning any sauce left in pan over bread.

Beautiful! 

January 10, 2012

My Belated 2012 Resolution

I usually have no problem picking out a book to read. I always judge a book by its cover and often pick one up in the book store just because it has an attractive look.

I bought a Kindle Touch after Christmas. Once the baby comes I will pretty much be home all the time, and during naps or feedings I might get a chance to do a little reading. I held back from getting a Kindle for so long. T
here is something about a real book with pages and making trips to the bookstore to pick out something new that I love...  but Keith has a Kindle and he's hooked on it! So I final  broke down and bought one for myself and I love it!! 

As a belated New Year's Resolution I am going to challenge myself to read at least 12 books this year. Doesn't sound like much does it? I have a feeling it might turn out to be a bit trickier than I'm expecting.


In 2011 I read...

I'm pretty surprised that I read 8 books last year. Eight is by no means a lot, but I had really started this resolution having thought that I'd read very little last year. Still, I would like to read more than 12 if possible, but 12 will be my minimum. I just know that my Kindle is going to be my greatest motivator in reading lots and lots of books. I like so many things about the Kindle;
  • I have a whole bookstore at my finger tips without having to leave the house, 
  • the books are always cheaper than they are in the store (Hello, 99 cent Daily Deals!), 
  • I can keep all of my books in one place and carry them with me wherever I go, 
  • I can buy as many as I want without overloading my nightstand or book case, 
  • its super light, which allows me to read and turn pages with only one hand, 
  • I can read a sample and then decide if I want to purchase the book. 
  • need I say more?
Having an endless amount of books at your finger tips is great and even a little dangerous. Since bringing my Kindle home I've downloaded a few books that were either on the bestseller's list, a 99 cent Daily Deal or caught my attention. So far I've added these to my reading list: 
clockwise from top left


Pictures of You by Caroline Leavitt - I'm reading this one right now, and its good enough, but not a page turner. I'm just trying to finish it since I'm already 60% of the way through. 

"Two women running away from their marriages collide on a foggy highway, killing one of them. The survivor, Isabelle, is left to pick up the pieces, not only of her own life, but of the lives of the devastated husband and fragile son that the other woman, April, has left behind. Together, they try to solve the mystery of where April was running to, and why. As these three lives intersect, the book asks, How well do we really know those we love—and how do we forgive the unforgivable?"

Chasing Rainbows by Kathleen Long - This book was on the top seller's list on Amazon.com, possibly because it was only 99 cents, but I downloaded it anyway after reading the description. It reminds me of several Jennifer Weiner books I've read in the past. 

"Bernadette Murphy likes her life. Really, she does. What's wrong with carrying around an extra ten pounds from fertility treatments? Or having your dog kicked out of obedience school? Again? What's that saying about the devil you know? For Bernie, it's the devil she never expected that changes everything.Her father's sudden death leaves a gaping void in her life and is one in a series of events that rock her world. Her husband leaves for another woman, and her best friend announces an unplanned pregnancy at the age of forty-one. Bernie's behavior goes from acting out to out-of-hand, and she finds herself in trouble at home, out of work and banned from the mall after a confrontation at the cosmetic counter.When her mother discovers her father's book of cryptograms, Bernie realizes his encoded lessons in living might be exactly what she needs to survive. From dealing with her family's grief and bonding with her best friend's thirteen-year-old daughter, to dieting, dating and mindless almost-sex with the landscaper, Bernie discovers what her father always knew. In life, you either choose to sing a rainbow, or you don't. For Bernie, the singing is about to begin."

Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins - I read the first book in series rather quickly this summer. I really enjoyed it and couldn't put it down, but once I was done I was ready for something lighter (which is when I started to read Bossypants) so I put off reading the 2nd and 3rd books. I know I'll love this one! Its what's up next! 

"Against all odds, Katniss Everdeen has won the annual Hunger Games with fellow district tribute Peeta Mellark. But it was a victory won by defiance of the Capitol and their harsh rules. Katniss and Peeta should be happy. After all, they have just won for themselves and their families a life of safety and plenty. But there are rumors of rebellion among the subjects, and Katniss and Peeta, to their horror, are the faces of that rebellion. The Capitol is angry. The Capitol wants revenge."

The Wedding Gift by Marlena Suyapa Bodden - In my undergrad I minored in Literature and did a lot of reading for my classes. For one class we read a book written in diary form from the perspective of a young girl who was a slave. I was completely engrossed from start to finish. I picked The Wedding Gift because it reminds me of that book. 

"When wealthy plantation owner Cornelius Allen marries off his daughter Clarissa, he presents her with a wedding gift: a young slave woman called Sarah. It just so happens that Sarah is Allen's daughter as well, the product of a long-term sexual relationship with his slave Emmeline. When Clarissa's husband rejects her newborn son as illegitimate and sends Clarissa and Sarah back to the Allens, their return sets in motion a series of events that will destroy the once-powerful family. Told through the alternating view points of Sarah and Theodora Allen, Cornelius's wife, The Wedding Gift shines a glaring light on the brutal world of slavery in the antebellum American South. Marlen Suyapa Bodden's compelling historical novel explores how planters controlled slaves and free women alike, propelling them along a taut social tightrope as they struggled for freedom and autonomy in an oppressive and patriarchal world. The controversial and shocking ending is sure to leave readers aghast."

I feel like I have a pretty good list to take on, but if you have any recommendations for me I would love to hear them! I'm always looking for a great book!

January 9, 2012

Menu Monday 1/9

Well, in case you're wondering Tiny Baby has not made his / her appearance, but all is well, we're just dying to meet our baby.

I have a lot planned this week in the kitchen, but I will be doing the shopping one day at a time. I would hate to buy all the produce for this week's menu to have it go to waste if I go into labor.

Anyway, here is what I have planned:
clockwise from top left 

Caramel-Nut Pull-Apart Bread (Southern Living) - I've made this before, but never got around to featuring it on the blog. I made it last night and it is still so delicious (and so easy)! The smell of it baking in the oven was tempting.

Pioneer Woman's Cauliflower Soup (The Pioneer Woman) - I've made this before too and we love it! I can't wait to make it again this week. I'll be making the Bloomin' Onion Bread to go along with this.

Grilled Ham, Muenster, and Spinach Sandwiches (Cooking Light Fresh Food Fast) - I thought this looked pretty good, but I'll let you know how it turns out later this week.

Bloomin' Onion Bread (The Girl Who Ate Everything) - Doesn't this look great? We usually make garlic bread to go with salads and soups, but this seems like a fun and simple alternative. I think Keith is going to love it so so much.

Slow-Cooker Chicken Tortilla Soup (All Recipes) - I guess I've been working through all of my past recipes this week, because this is also another recipe I've made before, which we liked very much. I also did not feature this one on the blog, so I will this time. A friend of mine asked about Tortilla Soup recipes a few weeks ago and I knew I'd made one but couldn't find it--problem solved!

Southwestern-Style Shrimp Taco Salad (Cooking Light) - This is a favorite of ours and I can't wait to make it again this week. Its fresh and pretty simple!

I hope everyone has a great Monday!

January 6, 2012

39 weeks 5 days!

39 weeks and 5 days, only two more days until TB is due!
Here is a collage showing how TB has grown. The first picture I took is 3 in from the top left and the
most recent is in the center on the bottom. I wish I had remembered to take weekly or even monthly pictures, but I'm glad I have these.

Pregnancy Highlights:

How Far Along: 39 Weeks and 5 days, but who's counting?!

Size of baby: We had an ultrasound earlier this week that estimated that TB is about 7lbs 8 oz. 

Total Weight Gain/Loss: I've lost a pound or two actually. 

Maternity Clothes: Still living in yoga pants, although I feel best when I get dressed in normal looking clothes.

Gender: Its going to be a surprise! We can't wait to meet him or her! 

Names: We have names for a boy and girl ready to go! Emily Elizabeth or Owen Edward. 

Movement: TB likes to move! At the ultrasound we got to find out where all the little baby body parts are. The head is down, the spine and back come up along my left side and the little baby butt is at the top. TB's legs and arms are curled up along my right side, which confirms all my guesses about feeling little feet over there. 

Sleep: Sleeping at night has become my least favorite thing. I wake every few hours having to go to the bathroom or sometimes I just wake up completely awake for no reason. I've been told this is my body's way of preparing me for having a baby at home who will need me to feed them every few hours in the night, which will be better because at least there will be a purpose for waking up all the time! 

What I miss: I miss all the things I haven't been able to enjoy or participate in for the past 9 months, but mostly I miss being able to work out and eat without being worried about harming my little one. 

Cravings: Yesterday I was doing our grocery shopping (loving being able to do it in the morning during the week when it is so quiet, btw) and I had a sudden craving for Ambrosia salad, which I don't even like much. So I looked up this Southern Living recipe, bought the ingredients and whipped some up when I got home--it was delicious! Diet 7up with lots of ice or vanilla milkshakes are still common cravings. 

Symptoms: I've told you previously that my wedding and engagement rings are stuck on my finger, right? The doctor told me they should be okay, but I decided to go ahead and have them removed. I went to our jeweler this yesterday and he cut them off. We'll have them fixed after TB is born. I hate going around without them on, but I'm happy to not worry about it. 

Best Moment this week: Seeing him / her on the ultrasound again! We got to see the spine, profile and heart and it was just amazing!

I finally got at least two dishes cooked and in the freezer. I made the Pioneer Woman's Beef Stew with Mushrooms, which I altered a bit by adding a few potatoes and carrots. I also made my favorite Chicken Enchiladas with Salsa Verde, which I froze in two disposable square casserole dishes.

I'd like to make something else, but I'm running out of space in the freezer and time to get it all done. Who knows, today could be The Day!

We also finally committed to a glider. We've been talking about, researching and hunting down the right one for over a month and last night we finally just picked one. I really wanted something that would match the rest of the room and I think this will work pretty well! It should be here early next week!
Now I'm off to get a pedicure! Can't wait! 

January 5, 2012

The EatingWell Cobb Salad

There is nothing fancy or new about a Cobb Salad. You find it on most restaurant menus, and pretty much anyone could name off what goes in to making one. I'm posting this "recipe" because I love Cobb Salad, and this one which I made recently, goes incredibly well with this salad dressing aka The Best Salad Dressing Ever (I named it that). This is adapted from an EatingWell recipe. 
The EatingWell Cobb Salad
For a printer-friendly version click here.


Ingredients 

for the dressing: 
3 tablespoons white-wine vinegar
2 tablespoons finely minced shallot
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil


for the salad: 
10 cups mixed salad greens
8 ounces shredded cooked chicken breast, (about 1 large breast)
2 large eggs, hard-boiled, peeled and chopped
2 medium tomatoes, diced
1 large cucumber, seeded and sliced
1 avocado, diced
2 slices cooked bacon, crumbled
1/2 cup crumbled blue cheese, (optional)


Directions
  1. Whisk (I like to use my immersion blender to really mix it all together) vinegar, shallot, mustard, pepper and salt in a small bowl to combine. Whisk in oil until combined. Place salad greens in a large bowl. Add half of the dressing and toss to coat. 
  2. Divide the greens among 4 plates. Arrange equal portions of chicken, egg, tomatoes, cucumber, avocado, bacon and blue cheese (if using) on top of the lettuce. Drizzle the salads with the remaining dressing.
You'll notice we did things a little differently. I cut out the blue cheese (for Tiny Baby's sake), although Keith had some on his salad. I used more than the recommended 2 slices of bacon. We added shredded cheddar to the mix and used only the egg whites. 


Keith loves this dressing, by the way, and he hates mustard, so that just tells you how good it really is! 

The wonderful thing about salads is you can add or subtract whatever you'd like and you'll still end up with something awesome and tasty! 

January 3, 2012

Mini Deep Dish Pizzas

I found this recipe on Tablespoon while I was searching for something to make for Christmas morning. They looked different, fun and super simple. They were great for dinner for the two of us, but they would also be an excellent appetizer to serve at a Super Bowl party! 
Mini Deep Dish Pizzas
For a printer-friendly version click here.


Makes 8


Ingredients:
1 tube Pillsbury french bread
1 1/4 cup crushed tomatoes
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon onion salt
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
1 cup cooked sausage crumbles (I cooked turkey breakfast sausage and chopped it up)
2 tablespoons bacon bits (I skipped these)
1 1/2 cups Italian cheese, grated (I used mozzarella)
8 slices pepperoni


Directions:
  1. Open the Pillsbury Simply French Bread and gently unroll it until flat. Cut into 8 even squares.
  2. Press the squares of bread dough into each of 8 muffin tins, which have been lightly sprayed with nonstick cooking spray.
  3. In a small bowl, stir together the Muir Glen crushed tomatoes, garlic powder, onion salt, chili powder, and Italian Seasoning. Spoon evenly into each of the dough cups.
  4. Sprinkle the sausage crumbles and bacon bits over the sauce in each cup. Top with cheese. Add a single pepperoni slice on top.
  5. Bake in an oven preheated to 400 degrees for 15-18 minutes, or until the edges of the bread cups are golden brown and the cheese is bubbly.
























I'm linking this recipe up with 33 Shades of Green today for Tasty Tuesdays!