Sunday, February 23, 2014

Little Will: 8 Months!

Another month has come and gone and I cannot believe this little peanut is 3/4 through his first year! It's just plain crazy how fast the months fly by. Will's 8th month has been such a joy! He changes daily and always has new tricks to surprise us with. He seriously is the happiest little guy.

Right after he turned 7 months, his two bottom teeth started to pop through. My mom was the first one to feel them and we were all surprised because he definitely didn't show any distress or typical "teething" signs. Such a little trooper he is. They are still slowly growing in and there are no signs of anymore popping through as of now. I stepped on the scale with him and I'm pretty sure he is almost 18 pounds! I'm anxious to see how much he has grown when we go in for his nine month checkup next month. He is mostly in 6-9/6-12 month clothes right now but is still getting good wear out of some 3-6 month things. I never get tired of picking out his little outfits every day.

No crawling yet, but he definitely is trying to figure out how to move. He's such a little monkey and squirms all over the place. Speaking of monkeys, he cannot get enough of Curious George. He loves that monkey so much! 

Will is still LOVING food. He gets so excited when he sees his baby spoons and the sight of my little Beaba Babycook sends him over the edge. We have a little foodie on our hands and it's been so much fun to introduce him to new flavors. 

After the excitement of Thanksgiving and Christmas, it was nice to spend a lot of time at home in January and the beginning of February. We have had a chilly Winter here in Charlotte and it was nice to spend cozy days inside.

The football spirit continued well after the Christmas decorations were put away. We cheered on the Panthers in the playoffs.

And we wore our orange for the Super Bowl and were Broncos fans for the day. 

We still have a cuddle bug on our hands- he just loves to snuggle. When this little boy is tired, he curls up his body, buries his head and just falls asleep on whoever is holding him. I hope he does this forever.

Towards the end of January, Will got to experience his first snow! I bundled him up for a first snow photo and he just was not impressed. Look at that little eskimo.

The highlight of month 8 was definitely a visit from one of my very best friends! Danica was here for almost a week at the beginning of February and we had the best time. 

It was love at first sight for these two and I hope that William always remembers the moment when she introduced him to Simba. 

A weekend trip to Boone was a perfect little getaway. We got to see my sister, and show Danica around our favorite North Carolina mountain town. I told Mark that Will was going on his first college visit, and that he would know in his heart that becoming a Mountaineer is his true calling! AppState forever!

It's been the most wonderful month and I still am in awe that it just keeps getting better.
We are beyond blessed to call this little lovie ours. He definitely makes our hearts SO FULL. 

Happy 8 months, little one!

Friday, February 21, 2014

Roasted Beet Hummus

I'm like a little kid. Snacks get me through the day, especially the stretch between lunch and dinner. With my little buddy in tow at all times, it's nice to have healthy things on hand that I can grab quickly. That 3pm snack attack always hits me, and it hits me hard. I almost always crave something sweet, but every few days, I get a savory craving and nothing else will do. 

I love roasted beets, and hummus is basically a food group in my life so this tasty bite is like snack time heaven for me. Sweet roasted beets and white beans make for a velvety smooth dip perfect for crusty baguette or crisp vegetable dippers. The flavor is tangy, rich and just plain delicious. It's a healthy snack to grab when the 3pm munchies hit but also makes a statement on a menu of party food. 

As an added bonus, the color is vibrant and beautiful. And who doesn't like beautiful food!?

Roasted Beet Hummus

2 beets
1 can cannelini beans, drained and rinsed
1 clove garlic, chopped
3 Tbsp. good olive oil
2 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
salt and pepper, to season

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. 

Thoroughly wash beets and trim greens off. Loosely wrap them in foil. Roast for 50-60 minutes. Once they are done, let them cool. The skins will peel off very easily with a small pairing knife. Cut into large chunks.

In the body of a food processor, combine chopped beets, beans, olive oil and lemon juice. Pulse until smooth. Season with salt and pepper. Before serving the hummus, finish with a drizzle of good olive oil on top. Serve with crostini, endive or any other fresh vegetable dippers.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Basil Chicken Meatballs

Meatballs make for a fun and easy "small bite" meal. You can add the flavors you love best and it almost always works. To follow up Monday's post, here is the recipe for my super simple Basil Chicken Meatballs.  I threw them together at the last minute and they were just so very tasty. Full of the best flavors and fresh ingredients, these are a new weeknight favorite in the Moore house! Dress them up with a simple tzatziki for dipping, and they would make a wonderful addition to any appetizer menu.

Basil Chicken Meatballs

1 lb. ground organic chicken 
8 fresh basil leaves, chopped
1/2 cup yellow onion, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 egg, lightly beaten
salt + pepper, to season 

Preheat oven to 400 Degrees. 

In a large bowl, combine chicken, basil, onion, garlic, egg and season with salt and pepper. Form mixture into balls roughly the size of your palm. You should end up with 10-12 medium sized meatballs. Bake for 15-20 minutes. 

Monday, February 17, 2014

Toasted Almond Pesto

Pesto is one of my favorite condiments and I love experimenting with different ingredients and flavors. The possibilities are truly endless! My friend Ashley recommended this recipe to me a few weeks ago and I immediately added it to my "que". It's from Smitten Kitchen's (one of the first food blogs I fell in love with years ago) new cookbook and it's a new favorite for sure. We enjoyed this on top of zucchini noodles, but I'm certain I will find many more creative uses for this nutty, citrus kissed pesto. The original recipe called for 1/4 cup of grated parmesan but I cut back just a little and it was still delicious. Served alongside basil chicken meatballs, this made a clean and complete meal!

Almond Pesto
recipe from Smitten Kitchen

1/2 cup raw almonds, toasted and cooled
1/8 grated parmesan 
1 small garlic clove, peeled and crushed
pinch of red pepper flakes
2 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
1/4 tsp. salt
1/3 cup good olive oil

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spread almonds out on a baking sheet. Bake for 8-10 minutes, until toasted and slightly browned. Let cool.

In the bowl of a food processor, pulse almonds, parmesan, garlic and red pepper flakes until finely chopped. Add lemon juice, salt and olive oil and pulse until everything is incorporated. 

I used my mandoline to thinly slice my zucchini and cut it into "noodles". 

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Lemon Ricotta Pancakes

We are in the middle of #snOMG, day 3, here in Charlotte and there are big, fat, beautiful flakes falling from the sky. I am a lover of the snow and have enjoyed a couple of days being snowed in with my little family. Wrigley romps around the backyard like a circus animal and Will just doesn't know what to think of it. I'm pretty sure he prefers to watch the flakes fall from his window.

Every snow day should include comfy clothes, Christmas movies and a delicious breakfast for fuel to play in the snow! My mom used to make us Ebelskivers every snow day and it was a treat we all looked forward to! I have yet to master these tiny filled pancakes and I need to try soon. And I'm fairly certain they would never be as good as my mom's. But since I'm not brave enough to attempt these yet, I have another snow day breakfast for you. 

These Lemon Ricotta Pancakes are the fluffiest pancakes in all the land. This recipe is straight from Williams-Sonoma and has become my go-to recipe for pancakes. Lemon zest and ricotta make for a rare pancake bite! They are extra tasty topped with fresh blueberries! 

Lemon-Ricotta Pancakes
recipe from Williams-Sonoma

1 cup ricotta cheese
1 cup milk
3 eggs, separated
1/4 cup sugar
Zest and juice of 1 lemon
1.5 cups cake flour
1 Tbsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt

In a large bowl, whisk together ricotta, milk, egg yolks, sugar, lemon zest and lemon juice until smooth. In another bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder and 1/8 tsp. of salt. Combine the flour mixture with the ricotta mixture and stir with a wooden spoon until just combined.

In the bowl of an electric mixer, whisk the egg whites and add the remaining 1/8 tsp. salt. Continue to whisk until soft peaks form. Using a spatula, fold in 1/3 of the egg whites into the pancake batter, then gently fold in the remaining whites. 

Preheat a griddle over medium heat. Using a 1/3 cup measuring cup for each pancake, pour the batter onto the griddle. Cook until bubbles form on the top and the bottom starts to become golden, about 2-3 minutes. Flip and cook on the other side for another minute. Serve with real maple syrup and fresh berries. 

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Spaghetti Squash Bolognese

As soon as our salad challenge was over, I was ready for a giant bowl of pasta, but I still wanted to keep it healthy. Most of the time, it's the actual sauce that I'm really craving! Giada's simple bolognese is warm, comforting and just plain delicious. It's easy enough for a weeknight dinner, yet impresses dinner guests. It doesn't need to simmer on the stove all day and is full of wonderful flavor. 

Spaghetti squash isn't quite as good as real pasta, but covered in bolognese, it certainly does the trick if you're craving a bowl of saucy goodness. 

Spaghetti Squash Bolognese

1 spaghetti Squash, cooked (good tutorial found HERE)
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, coarsely chopped
2 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
1 celery stalk, coarsely chopped
1 carrot, coarsely chopped
1 pound lean ground beef
1 (28 oz.) can crushed tomatoes
1/4 cup flat leafed parsley, chopped
8 fresh basil leaves, chopped
Salt + pepper, to season

In a large skillet, heat the olive oil. When almost smoking, add the onion and garlic and saute over medium heat until the onions become soft. Add the celery and carrot and saute for another 5 minutes. raise heat to high and add the ground beef. Saute and stir frequently breaking up any large lumps and cook until meat is no longer pink, about 10 minutes. Add the tomatoes, parsley and basil and cook over medium low heat until the sauce thickens, Season with salt and pepper. Finish by tossing the sauce over cooked spaghetti squash and serve with pecorino romano and red pepper flakes.

Monday, February 3, 2014

Oatmeal Cinnamon Chip Breakfast Bars

These breakfast bars really are really more of a dessert, but since they have oatmeal in them, we can go ahead and say they are acceptable for breakfast. I made these last week for play group and they were a giant hit- both mom and baby approved! I started with a base recipe from Martha Stewart and added a couple of extras. Golden raisins, dried cranberries and cinnamon chips make for quite the bite! I'm working on finding a way to clean up this recipe, cutting out the processed sugar and omitting the flour, but for now, enjoy this yummy and decadent breakfast treat!

Oatmeal Cinnamon Chip Breakfast Bars
recipe adapted from Martha Stewart

3/4 cup unsalted butter (1.5 sticks)
3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 cup whole wheat, all-purpose flour
2 cups old fashioned oats
1/3 cup golden raisins
1/3 dup dried cranberries
1/3 cup cinnamon chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly butter an 8 inch square baking pan and line with parchment paper, leaving an overhang on two sides. Lightly butter the parchment paper as well.

In a large bowl, whisk together butter, sugars, egg, salt and cinnamon until smooth. Combine flour, oats, raisins, cranberries and cinnamon chips; fold until just combined.

Spread batter in prepared pan, and bake 25-30 minutes (test with a toothpick, it should come out with moist crumbs attatched) Cool completely in pan. Using paper overhang, lift cake onto a cutting board and cut into 16 squares.