How have you been? What have you been cooking? How is your summer going?
We are seven weeks into this parenting adventure and it's been as rewarding and exhausting as I had been told. I have loved getting to know these little people, and they couldn't be more interesting, different and sweet.
[James at one week]
But all the newness and adrenaline that kept us going at the start has worn off. The wall you hit around 5 weeks is real my friends. That is why most people remember the first three months as a blur.
Then, right when you think you can't take another minute and that you really should have thought more about parenthood before you jumped into it, your baby gives you a gift. A smile. An honest to goodness, "I see you and it makes me happy!" kind of smile.
At least that is what I've been told. The Mini McCs aren't yet ready for social smiling, but this mama is on the lookout! I can't wait. Any time now ... :)
Cooking with infants
Some of you have asked what I've been cooking in the past two months. In complete honesty, not much. Our meal train friends and visiting family kept us fed for the first six weeks.
But to satisfy curiosity, here is the complete list. I'm taking a little license with the term "cooking" as well.
- Chicken & Black Bean Enchiladas (McCormick sauce packet plus some fresh tomatoes diced and added in)
- Tarragon & Lemon Chicken Salad
- Ghirrardeli Triple Chocolate Brownies (straight from the box and amazing as always)
- Greek Yogurt & Berry Smoothies (plus some protein powder - I've been making a lot of these)
- Steak fajitas
- Vegetable omelet
Yep, that is it. Throw in a lot of sandwiches, fruit, cheese & crackers, hummus, yogurt with granola, apples with peanut butter and you have my daily meal plan. It's working for us so far, though.
Wildtree Freezer Meal Party
My lovely neighbor invited me to a freezer meal party this week. The timing obviously couldn't have been better and the party was along the lines of a Mary Kay or Pampered Chef get together. For this gathering the sponsoring company was Wildtree.
Have you heard of them? I hadn't. They are a natural, organic, preservative and dye free culinary company. They have lots of spice blends, infused grape seed oils, sauces and other products.
The promise for the evening was that we would each walk away with 10 delicious freezer meals. Here's how it worked:
$80 covered the cost of the Wildtree products I'd be using in the meals. I got to take home what was left, which was actually a lot.
I picked a menu and then our host, Jenny, sent a long shopping list of things we needed to bring. Mine included two pounds each of: pork chops, chicken tenders, ground chicken, steak cubes, steak strips, chicken breasts, ground beef, tilapia, and shrimp. Plus a few chopped veggies.
We were told to put each ingredient in a bag labeled #1-#10 and bring them in a cooler with plenty of ice. Each person brought measuring spoons, their cooler and an apron.
After lugging in our coolers, we set up at stations where we followed directions adding our Wildtree spices and oils to each bag. Then we sealed them and then put on recipe instruction labels to remind us what was in there and how to pull it all together after defrosting.
It was fun! We all chatted, drank wine, and prepared our meal bags. It took a couple of hours.
After adding Wildtree oils and spices to my meats, veggies and various bags I walked away with the following meals:
- Baked Chicken Scampi
- Garlic and Herb Roasted Pork Chops
- Italian Chicken Tenders
- Herb Crusted Tilapia (just have to dredge in spiced panic before cooking)
- Lemon Rosemary Pork Tenderloin
- Opa! Greek Kabobs (option to add veggies later)
- Greek Chicken Burgers
- Shrimp Scampi (just have to add pasta and veggies)
- Zesty Lime Fajitas
- Easy Tacos
Not bad! I'm so happy to have these on hand and will keep using the Wildtree products I purchased. I especially liked the grape seed oil (great for high temp cooking ) and Taco seasoning. The latter has almost no sodium - a far cry from the grocery store mixes you usually find.
But here's the best part. Several of the women did the party specifically to take their meals to a dear friend who has been diagnosed with breast cancer. I think that is amazing.
So consider hosting one of these for you and your friends, it was fun, easy and beneficial to the whole family. But also think about others in your life who might benefit from a few of those meals as well.
Sending happy cooking thoughts your way!