Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Pumpkin Lasagna

By Natalie

I found this recipe on Food Lush, and Caitlin found it in Real Simple magazine. It's really delicious. As with all recipes I changed it up just a bit. I took this dish to work, and the ladies really enjoyed it. It's really creamy, and the pumpkin is not overpowering at all. 

Pumpkin Lasagna
  • 1 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus more for the dish
  • onion powder
  • 1 bag of frozen spinach*
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 15-ounce can pure pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling)
  • 1 cups of heavy cream
  • 1 cups (6 ounces) grated Parmesan
  • 1 1/2 18- to 24-ounce packages refrigerated cheese ravioli
  1. Heat oven to 400° F.
  2. In a large skillet, over medium-low heat, melt 1 tablespoon of the butter. Add the spinach and increase heat to medium-high. Cook, stirring frequently, for 5 to 7 minutes. Season with 1 teaspoon of the salt, 1/2 teaspoon of the pepper, and the nutmeg.
  3. In a large bowl, combine the pumpkin, cream, 1/2 cup of the Parmesan, and the remaining salt and pepper.
  4. Place a layer of ravioli in greased 8x8 baking dish. Top with half of the spinach mixture and almost half the pumpkin mixture. Top with another layer of ravioli. Repeat with the remaining spinach mixture and all but 1 cup of the pumpkin mixture. Top with the remaining ravioli, pumpkin mixture, and Parmesan. Cover and bake for 20 minutes. Uncover and bake for 15 minutes more.
*I originally used fresh spinach and then it didn't look like enough, so I added some frozen spinach to the mix. You can use fresh spinach, you just might want to use 2 bunches.

Monday, November 21, 2011

18 Weeks- Boy or Girl

 Baby is the size of a large tomato this week. Baby turned 18 weeks on Wednesday, November 16th.
Pumpkins in the fire place is an idea I stole from Pinterest.

I looked up some old wives' tales to see if it is a boy or girl.
  1.  Heart rate- heart rate was over 140 BPM, so it's a girl.
  2.  Key test- If you pick up a key at the largest part, it's a boy. Who picks up a key at the narrow part anyways? 
  3. Mayan Tale- Mother's age + year of conception= 29 + 2011= 2040, even number means it's going to be a girl.
  4. Acne- If you have acne during pregnancy it's a girl. Unfortunately I have acne.
  5. Cravings- I want salt. Therefore I'm having a boy.
  6. History of parents' kids- I'm a first born, I'll have what my mom had starting off with her second child, which is a boy. I'm having a boy.
  7. Legs- I have tree trunks for legs, therefore I'm having a boy.
  8. Chinese Calendar- Says its a boy
  9. Dreams- Dreams show the opposite of what you are having. Therefore I'm having a boy.
  10. Side you rest on- I prefer to rest on my left side, which equals a boy.
  11. Hands- I show my hands with my palms up, so I'm having a girl.
  12. Dad's weight gain- He hasn't gained any weight. We are having a boy.
  13. Morning sickness- No morning sickness means it's a boy!
  14. Breast test- Left is bigger, therefore a girl it will be.
  15. Hands are dry- Mine are cracking. So it's going to be a boy.
  16. Nose- My nose is staying the same, therefore I'm having a girl.
  17. Baby Name- I can think of a girl name, but not a boy. So I'm going to have a girl.
It's a boy: 10
It's a girl: 7

We shall see on December 2nd! I CAN'T WAIT!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Crockpot Tuesdays

By Natalie

My sad little crock pot has been pretty busy. I use the crock pot at least once a week. Here's what I've been cooking lately.....

I posted on Food Lush about Chunky Chicken Noodle Soup

Low Fat cheesy chicken from Crockpot Moms on Facebook
I tweaked this recipe because I couldn't find all the ingredients. Pour a can of broccoli and cheese soup, 2 chicken breasts (I used frozen ones), and 1 can of cream of chicken soup. Cook on low for 4-6 hours. When I got home I boiled up some noodles, and then poured the cheesy chicken mixture on top.

BBQ porkloin is another one of my favorites to cook up. It's so easy. It's my go-to when I'm feeding a large crowd.

I also made Taco Soup which is one of my cold weather favorites. We've made this in my family for years, but not necessarily in the crock pot.  This is really a recipe that you don't need to cook all day. It usually takes me about 20 minutes to make anyways when I'm not using the crock pot.

When I cooked it in the crock pot, my only problem was that it was a little bit greasy. You can solve this problem by browning the meat before hand or skimming off the grease before serving it.

Taco Soup
  • 1/2 pound of hamburger meat
  • 1 can of diced tomatoes
  • 1 can of kidney beans (drained and rinsed)
  • 1 can of corn (drained and rinsed)
  • 1 can of green chiles
  • 1/2 a packet of Hidden Valley Ranch Dressing
  • 1/2 a packet of Taco Seasoning
  • Optional: shredded cheddar cheese, sour cream, tortilla chips
  1. Brown the meat. Drain fat.
  2. Add the rest of the ingredients to the pot. Add a little bit of water if looks to thick. Bring to a boil, and then let simmer 10-15 minutes.
  3. Garnish with sour cream, shredded cheese, and tortilla chips.

Monday, November 14, 2011


By Natalie

Micah had a bachelor party to attend in Houston, and I tagged along for the ride. This worked in my favor because I got to hang out with Shannon. When I arrived on Friday evening, I was a little worried she would want to go out. I had originally told her that I was going to arrive at 10-11, and when I showed up at her door at 9:30......Instead she needed help making Martha Stewart's no sew ghost costume. Except we totally had to sew, and there was lots of math involved. Don't you think it turned out cute?!  I'm a toga goddess. This was a spare costume I had in my closet. It has never been worn, and it fit. Golden!

I went down to College Station on Saturday, but that's all that I'll mention. I had a glorious time with Brandi and Shannon. It felt a little bit like a fish camp reunion because we were at Nick's tailgate most of the time. And we went saw Laura on the ramps at Kyle, and she shared some good news with us.
When Micah picked me up on Sunday he brought this luxurious "cupcake" with him. It was very tasty, and might as well've been called a mini-cake. Because it was HUGE.

On actual Halloween, we handed out candy for the first time since we've lived here. Usually we go over to the Gilmores, but Bryan was out of town.  Barley spent the entire night thinking he was getting visitors. Poor puppy.

How did you spend Halloween?

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

The Blathering Recap

By Natalie
Jennie wanted me to go to the Blathering. It was only $35 and in Austin so bit the bullet and signed up. I wasn't sure what to expect. I felt pretty good knowing that I would know several people through book club, and if all else failed I could just hang on to Jennie's arm.

On Friday, I took a half day and rode down with Julie. She is my kind of driver, she never stops. That's my rule in my car, except usually Micah needs to make a stop.

We walked in to a beautifully decorated room, and we got these adorable name tags. I felt a little overwhelmed by all the eyes on me when I walked in. It was great to meet so many people....finally!

The above 2 photos were taken by Kristie 
After Jonna and I were worn out, we headed over to Natalie's house, our gracious host. Natalie's house is really awesome, and her backyard is an oasis. But, before we made it to Natalie's we had to make a pit stop at Whataburger. Jonna had never been there before!

Saturday morning, some crazy pants people went on a 6 mile run. I attempted to sleep in with little success.
Jonna and I got moving and met up with the ladies at the Gypsy Picnic. The picnic was really fun! I tried Torchy's Tacos  and a HUGE do-nut. I couldn't even finish the do-nut. I tried some waffle fries and they were sub par. They were $4 and after my astute calculations I found each fry to cost about 50 cents. NOT WORTH IT.

Jonna & Jennie
Christina chowing down!
After the picnic, we walked all the way to the capitol building for the book fair. I will take full responsibility, it was my idea to walk there. This was such a bad idea. My foot swelled up to one fat sausage. I thought I was going to have to perform surgery to get my sandal off.  The book fair was a total bust. I thought it would be this giant room of tables with books and some authors. It wasn't like that at all. In fact the most interesting that happened was we saw this total hoochie pulling a Britney Spears. Not cool. We took a cab back to Jonna's car.
Being pregnant, I was hungry. We made our way over to Home Slice. We ran into some of the Blathering gang, but they were on their way out. Linnea was just arriving so she had a slice with us at the bar. She's preggo too, and very close to my due date. That brings the total to 4 pregnant people in our book club!!! After sufficiently being stuffed we went back to Natalie's for a little lie down. I contemplated not showering, but my feet were just too black.

For dinner, the organizers planned a fabulous dinner at Z Tejas. When I pulled up, I realized that I had already been there before. I went for my friend, Brandi's bachlorette party. She's also pregnant (2 weeks behind me!).
Taken by Jess (Me, Jennie, Jess, and Kristie)
Jennie and Kate
The dinner was really delicious, although I wasn't that hungry. I enjoyed the chocolate pie best.
I looked lovingly at the margaritas too. There was queso too! At dinner I sat with Elsha, Jen, Jonna, Kate, Jennie, Kristie, and Carissa. I mingled with Sarah, Jess, Elizabeth, Christina, and Erica. I wish I had mingled a little more. I feel like there were a few people that I didn't get to talk to at all. Jonna and I were pretty tired after dinner (it ended at 11!), and went back to Natalie's to catch some z's. Jonna also had a butt crack of dawn flight.

On Sunday, we met up at the Blathering living room for the last time for breakfast. I tried to chat with a few people that I hadn't met yet. I was so happy to see that Julie was there. I forgot to arrange a meet up with her to take me back to Dallas. Oops!

This was a great girl's weekend with some very lovely people! Check out the Blathering website for much more eloquent recaps, and the Flickr group for pictures. I didn't take too many pictures!

Monday, November 7, 2011

Berry Trifle

By Natalie

During an especially busy week, I needed to make a dessert that would be ready in 10 minutes. My co-worker had just the recipe. This is so easy, and a crowd pleaser. I made the trifle and took it over to Jennie's and my co-worker made it the next day and brought it to work for a birthday celebration. Micah pretty much demolished what was left over.

Berry Trifle
  • 1 package of frozen angel food cake (Sarah Lee is preferred)
  • 1 family size box of instant vanilla pudding
  • 1 can of sweet and condensed milk
  • 1 package of frozen berries
  • cool whip
  • Nuts for garnish (I used walnuts)

  1. Cut angel food cake into 1 inch cubes. Layer half of the angel food cake on the bottom of the trifle bowl.
  2. Place half of the frozen berries on top of the angel food cake.
  3. Mix the vanilla pudding with 2 cups of milk and 1 can of sweet and condensed milk. Pour half of the pudding mixture into trifle bowl.
  4. Layer again-angel food cake, berries, then pudding.
  5. Top with as much cool whip as you desire and sprinkle nuts on top
Natalie's tips: I couldn't find Sarah Lee frozen angel food cake so I used one already made in the bakery section of the grocery store. If the berries have lots of ice deposits on them, place in a strainer and run them under hot water. Blot dry with a paper towel. If you can't find family size pudding, use 1 cup of milk and 1 can of sweet and condensed milk.