Nursery Update

Getting ready for baby.  I’ve realized this means getting as much as possible ahead of time, so you can avoid any “freak out” moments and having to rush to the store.  So by having this in the back of my mind as we’ve prepared, I think we’ve done a good job.  Putting together the nursery has been so fun.  Not knowing the gender hasn’t been difficult at all, and honestly I like that the nursery is done for the next baby, too.  The only thing we are waiting on is the glider and ottoman.  Oh, and maybe a few more pictures to be hung around the walls.  But here’s the nursery, almost finished!

Owl Nursery - The Not So Desperate Chef Wife
Ribbon Mobile - The Not So Desperate Chef Wife
Used a metal wire wreath and tied lots of ribbon.  The stars at the bottom are felt stickers.

Owl Nursery - The Not So Desperate Chef Wife

This shelf was $19 from Target. Spent $2 on the orange fabric and hot glued it to the back before nailing it on.

Owl Nursery - The Not So Desperate Chef Wife

Owl Nursery - The Not So Desperate Chef Wife

Owl Nursery - The Not So Desperate Chef Wife

Diaper Drawer Organization - The Not So Desperate Chef Wife
These drawer dividers were $15 all together from Walmart! 

$25 Visa Gift Card and 10 Free Product Organic Valley Coupons Giveaway


***Congrats to the WINNER: Sonya Morris!  Her favorite holiday dish is her mother’s potato salad.  Yum!***   

What a fun blog year it has been!  When I started this blog, I had no idea how much fun it would actually be and what it would evolve into.  Getting know different people around the country…and world has been awesome, and I’ve learned so much.  And I truly love reading each and every one of your comments and emails.  With that being said and this being the season of giving, here’s a giveaway!

Organic Valley approached me to try their products and host a giveaway on my blog.  How generous are they? I’ve been having fun tasting and cooking with their products, and I’ve honestly been converted into an organic cheese eating, milk drinking, butter slabbing, eggnog chugging, and cream cheese schmearing fanatic! Their organic products have a wonderful fresh flavor that you just can’t find in non-organic brands.  I swear, the only thing better would be to buy these items directly from the farmer.  The good news with Organic Valley is that you are pretty much buying these products from a farmer, since it is a farmer-owned cooperative.

-10 Free Product Coupons from Organic Valley
-1 $25 Visa Gift Card from me 🙂

How to enter

Leave a comment (including your email address if you don’t mind!) and tell me what your favorite holiday dish is. For example, mine is new york strip and cherry cream cheese with graham cracker crust!

Additional entries

Please leave a separate comment for each additional entry (if you entered each way, I should have 8 comments from you) including your email address, saying you:

1.  Followed me on Google Friend Connect
2.  Followed me on Google Plus
3.  Liked “The Not So Desperate Chef Wife” on Facebook
4.  Followed
“The Not So Desperate Chef Wife” on Twitter
5.  Followed
“The Not So Desperate Chef Wife” on Pinterest
6.  Shared this giveaway on your Facebook wall
7.  Tweet: “
I just entered to win @KMo679’s $25 Visa Giftcard & 10 Organic Valley Free Product Coupons Giveaway!”
8. Followed Organic Valley on Facebook
9. Followed Organic Valley on Twitter

(If you already follow me on GFC, Facebook, and/or Twitter it is okay to enter, just say you already follow me in your comments!)

So there are ten chances for you to enter and win the gift card and coupons.  The winner will be announced Friday, December 28th using  Thanks again for reading, following, commenting, and cooking these recipes!

Cherry Cream Cheese Pie with Homemade Graham Cracker Crust

Adapted from: AllRecipes
This pie is so easy, delicious, and looks amazing!  Besides baking the crust, this is almost a no-bake pie…how great is that?  The red cherries really pop on only dinner spread, and this cool pie would be refreshing on a hot summer day.  To make this recipe even easier, you could use a store bought graham cracker crust, but it is so worth it to make your own.  And making your own graham cracker crust is extremely easy, so why not?  And what a great way to get out some frustrations than to beat up some graham crackers? I also used Organic Valley’s Cream Cheese and Cultured Unsalted Butter.  These products combined with the lemon just gives this pie such an enjoyable fresh taste even though you are using a canned pie filling.  Hope you enjoy!
Cherry Cream Cheese Pie with Homemade Graham Cracker Crust - The Not So Desperate Chef Wife

Cherry Cream Cheese Pie with Homemade Graham Cracker Crust - The Not So Desperate Chef Wife

Cherry Cream Cheese Pie with Homemade Graham Cracker Crust - The Not So Desperate Chef Wife

6 tablespoons butter, melted
1 1/2 cups finely ground graham cracker crumbs
1/3 cup white sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon (optional)
1 21 oz can light cherry pie filling
1 8 oz package cream cheese, softened
1 14 oz can sweetened condensed milk
Lemon zest from 1 lemon
1/3 cup lemon juice
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 375 degrees
Mix together graham cracker crumbs, sugar, melted butter, and cinnamon.
Press mixture into a 9 inch pie dish.
Bake for 7 minutes and remove from oven to let cool.
Beat cream cheese until light and fluffy. Gradually add sweetened condensed milk, and continue beating until smooth and combined.
Add lemon zest, lemon juice and vanilla; mix well.
Fill graham cracker crust evenly.
Refrigerate until ready to serve (atleast 3 hours).
Before serving, spread the cherry pie filling over the top.

King’s Hawaiian Ham and Swiss Sliders

Adapted from:  King’s Hawaiian Rolls

King's Hawaiian Ham and Swiss Sliders - The Not So Desperate Chef Wife

King's Hawaiian Ham and Swiss Sliders - The Not So Desperate Chef Wife

King's Hawaiian Ham and Swiss Sliders - The Not So Desperate Chef Wife

King's Hawaiian Ham and Swiss Sliders - The Not So Desperate Chef Wife

At my work baby shower, I had one of the most delicious ham and cheese sliders I have ever had!  My co-worker told me the secret was King’s Hawaiian Original Sweet Rolls.  So once I got home, I got googling and found a recipe on their website that matched what I had just eaten that day.  These are nothing short of amazing and are so addicting…I challenge you to eat just one (it’s impossible).  The response I got from Nate when he tried these was a mouthful-mumble of  “These are good!”  They even reheat well in the toaster oven or wrapped in foil and placed in the oven.

And extra touch was using Organic Valley’s Baby Swiss Cheese and  Cultured Unsalted Butter.  While I’ve cooked with plenty of organic fruits and vegetables, I’ve never used organic cheese and butter before.  Honestly, the flavor of the cheese and butter alone, is stronger and fresher tasting.  And you could immediately taste the lack of chemicals being used in these organic products, which is a very good thing!  The only way to get better quality cheese and butter is to get it from the farmer themselves!  Stay-tuned, there will be an Organic Vally giveaway starting on Friday!

1 pack of King’s Hawaiian Original Sweet Dinner Rolls (12 pack)
1 lb deli ham, shaved/sliced (I just went to the lunch meat section!)
8 oz. block of swiss cheese, shredded
1 1/2 sticks butter
3 tablespoons dijon honey mustard
1 1/2 teaspoons worcestershire sauce
1 onion, thinly sliced
2 teaspoons poppy seeds (optional)

-Preheat oven to 350 degrees
-Melt butter over medium heat and saute the onions in the butter for 1-2 minutes.
-Then add the mustard, worcestershire, and poppy seeds. Simmer for for about 5 minutes, until the onions are soft.
-Cut the entire pack of rolls in half, horizontally…keeping all the top and bottom halves separately in tact.
-Spray a 9×13 casserole dish with non-stick spray, place bottom half of rolls, and spoon 1/2 of the onion mixture over the rolls.
-Add a slice of ham and sprinkle swiss cheese over each roll. 
-Cover with the top half of rolls.
-Spread the remaining onion mixture and any extra cheese over the top.
-Bake covered for 15-20 minutes, and once finished, separate for serving.

Panera Bread Soup

Let me start off by saying, how much of a bagel nut I am.  I love bagels and I just can’t get enough.  I’d much rather dip a hunk of my bagel into my soup vs. a thin piece of bread.  The bagel serves as the perfect sponge for any soup and is dense enough, it can handle it!  Some bagel shops don’t even serve soup, which is just bonkers.

One of my favorite bagel spots is actually a chain, Panera Bread.  One of the main reasons is because their soups are SO delicious.  Some of my favorite bagel/soup combinations are:

Asiago Cheese Bagel with Vegetarian Creamy Tomato
Everything Bagel with Vegetarian Creamy Tomato
Seasame Bagel with Broccoli and Cheese

And are just my favorite combo’s on Fridays! The soup options change daily, but you can check on the daily soup specials on their website.  Which is a huge help for my forgetful preggo brain 🙂

I went to Panera Bread for lunch last weekend.  I ordered a chicken cuban panini and a cup of their delicious broccoli and cheese soup.  While the service I experienced that day was below par, the food itself was delicious as always.  Being a texture person, I like my soups to not be too chunky or be too smooth…I like to know that there are actually vegetables in the soup.  The broccoli and cheese soup has the right amount of chunk :).  Dipping the chicken cuban panini into the soup was a good decision on my part and I highly recommend it.  I think the panini would also taste great dipped in the creamy tomato soup…I’m a dipper if you haven’t caught on by now!  I only wish I had a yummy picture to share, but the only picture I was able to snap was the soup in a to-go cup on the dash of my car.

As a part of the DailyBuzz Food Tastemaker program, I received a gift card and stipend to try Panera Bread Soups. Thoughts and opinions are my own.

Week 33

How big is baby? The size of a durian! 

Baby Development FYI: He weighs about 4.2 to 5.8 pounds and measures about 17.2 to 18.7 inches. And he may grow up to a full inch this week — amazing. He’s keeping his eyes open while awake. He’s also starting to coordinate breathing with sucking and swallowing. His bones are hardening. And he going through (more) major brain development — that’s one smart baby!

My body has been invaded, how’s that going?  Just trying to relax and get some rest while I can.  This is proving to be a chore though.  Between putting things away, cleaning the house, my back/hips hurting, hot flashes, and awful heartburn…rest is easier said than done.

I was told that I was “glowing”…still don’t know what this refers too, but I’m thinking it comes from all the heat bouncing off of me.

What’s been on my mind?  Getting things ready with time to spare.  My goal with everything, is to get it done ahead of time so I can just chill at the end.  This is again my goal with getting ready for baby.  I am taking a week off from work during Christmas to do just that!  I would love it if Nate and I could just hang out and only maintain the cleaning in the house for the last month.  We shall see if this happens!

Crazy Cravings:  Just feed me.  It’s that simple!

Highlights: My work had a baby shower/potluck for me, which was awesome!  We still can’t believe how generous everyone has been, and it truly takes a huge weight off our shoulders.  A funny moment from the shower…a male co-worker asked a female co-worker what he should get for a baby shower gift.  She told him “Hey, don’t worry about it, I’ll go shopping for you!”  Having just had a baby herself a few months ago and currently breastfeeding/pumping, it dawned on her (while pumping!) what a great gift would be.  So she bought the gift and wrapped it without telling the male co-worker about his gift to me.  He was just as surprised as I was when I unwrapped a box of nipple cream and a large box of disposable breast pads.  He turned tomato red and started crying he was laughing so hard…everyone as laughing really hard including myself.  He has to excuse himself from the table!  I always wondered why no one gets you the breastfeeding items from the registry, because it is so embarrassing to open in front of a mixed gender group of people! haha  I think he will do his own shopping from now on, but in his defense I did NEED both of them!

Rolo Turtles

A good family friend exposed us to these little gems last Thanksgiving.  If you are looking for a fun recipe to make with your children, these Rolo Turtles would be an excellent choice!  And they are the perfect holiday treat to bring for coworkers, send as teacher gifts, or just a holiday goodie to keep around the house for visitors who drop by!  And let’s be honest, you can never have too many pieces of candy around the house during the holidays for yourself 🙂  Nate and I have been gobbling these up the past few days, and they are so addicting.  We need to get rid of them before both of our bellies can complete with Santa’s (mine already beats Santa!).

Rolo Turtles - The Not So Desperate Chef Wife

Rolo Turtles - The Not So Desperate Chef Wife

Rolo Turtles - The Not So Desperate Chef Wife

40 Butter Snap Pretzels (1 large bag)
40 Rolos, wrapped (2 classic bags)
40 pecan halves

-Preheat oven to 300 degrees
-Lightly spray baking sheet with non-stick spray
-Arrange pretzels in a flat, single layer on baking sheet
-Place 1 rolo candy on top of each pretzel
-Bake, uncovered, in the oven for 4 minutes.
-Remove and gently press a pecan half onto each rolo. (Don’t press down too hard.  The candy is very soft and the pecan half will continue to sink as the candy cools)

-Let the turtles cool and harden completely before storing in an air-tight container.  But feel free to start eating them while they are still warm!

Week 32

Week 32 Belly - The Not So Desperate Chef Wife

How big is baby? The size of a squash! 

Baby Development FYI:  Still growing, your baby weighs in at about 2.5 to 3.8 pounds and measures about 15.2 to 16.7 inches. She’s getting ready for her descent — she’s likely in the head-down position now. And she’s probably feeling a even more cramped.

My body has been invaded, how’s that going?  
The OB has confirmed that the babe is head down, so that explains my new found and loved rib kicking! 
My lovely cankles are my new favorite accessory.  The OB laughed because it seems like I’ve been sailing through this pregnancy, and even my swollen ankles are mild at this point.  I told her to hush it, or she’d jinx me…I may have just jinxed myself.  Shoot.

Is it just me, or is it hotter than hell these days?  Oh wait, it is just me.  I swear, you can see the heat radiating off of me.  I’ve even moved fans into my office at work to help me cool down during a hot flash.  Snow would be a blessing at this point.  I’d be tempted to do a naked snow angel if it meant relief from this heat! haha.  How you preggos do this during the summer is beyond me, if I can help it, I’ll never be 8 months pregnant in the summer time.

It’s entertaining to watch me get up, bend over, get out of bed, etc.  And Nate has to give me an extra push when going up the stairs.  If I talk to fast, I have to catch my breath.  And I think my bladder shrank again.  Oh the joys!! 🙂

Tired. Tired. Tired. So tired.  It feels like the early weeks when I had no energy, only more intense.  I still get spurts of energy and I try to take advantage of them, but shew, I get tired fast.

What’s been on my mind?  Diapers.  I literally dreamed about diapers all last night.  Not sure why.  But now I have the urge to stock up (aka hoard) before the baby gets here.  Still in count down mode with less than 8 weeks to go.  And putting away all of the baby gear we received last weekend has been so much fun!  I wish cleaning our own room was this fun.

Since probably…week 26, I’ve been thinking about how lucky we are.  Each week that goes by, if the baby were to come now (God forbid), the chances of it surviving are even greater. I don’t want to take this “normal” pregnancy for granted, so I’ve been very aware of what each week going by means, and thankful for every new week we make it too!  But please don’t let this thing be 2 weeks late haha!

Crazy Cravings:  No weird cravings, but my appetite has increased.  Sometimes I surprise myself how much I can eat at one sitting, and sometimes I run out of room before I even get started.  But it seems like I’m more hungry throughout the day and during the night.  I’ve thought about keeping a snack in my nightstand like I did during the first trimester to take the edge off in the middle of the night.  Wow…first trimester, seems so far away now!

Highlights: The OB appointment.  Getting to hear the heartbeat and know that everything is normal and on track!  The OB said the heartbeat was in the 130’s.  I’ve gained 20 lbs now, which is fine with me!

Finally getting the guts to be blunt to the jerks who keep calling me fat.  They are coworkers so I felt the need to be professional and polite, but after 8 months, I just couldn’t take it anymore.  So yea, I kinda told one off.  But, I’m not being called fat or told that I’m really packing it on now.  And I realized, he really didn’t know how to talk to a pregnant woman.  I told him just to say “Krista, you look great!” So the next day he said “Krista, you look great for being pregnant!” and I replied “NO…Just say I look great, and stop there!  Don’t even mention being pregnant.  This goes for every pregnant woman you will ever encounter.”  Finally…SUCCESS!!

Baby Tips

My sister-in-law sent me a list of helpful baby tips, that I thought would be helpful for other first time momma’s out there.  I’ve added a few of my own to the list, and hope to keep adding useful tips that we come across as we go along.  Please feel free to comment and add other tips!
Baby Tips 

*NEWLY ADDED* When you are newly pregnant, go ahead and get some yoga pants (maternity or regular).  They are much more comfortable than maternity jeans / maternity dress pants.  What’s also great is you can wear them AFTER you give birth, and while you are tired and adjusting to your new life, you’ll want to be as comfortable as possible! I got 2 pairs, 1 black and 1 grey.  I’ve worn them both as dress pants, and no one ever knew.  Try Target or Old Navy!

Double sheet the crib, with a waterproof pad in between the 2 sheets.  If the baby makes a mess in the middle of the night, you can just remove the top sheet and waterproof pad off without having to remake the bed.
Remove tags and wash all the baby clothes before baby comes.  You won’t have time once the baby is here!  This also applies to burp cloths, blankets, stuffed animals, etc.  Our dryer has a steam sanitize setting that I’ve been using for the stuffed animals.
Get your breast pump, put it together and learn how it works…before the baby comes.  You’ll want to be ready the first time you need it.  **Make sure you have the right size breast shields or pumping will hurt and be leaky. If you have the right size, your nipple should fill up most of the tube opening of the breast shield.
Put everything together – bouncer, swing, pack and play, stroller, highchair, etc.  Even if you fold it back up to put away.  The last thing you want to be doing when baby gets here is assemble things and figure out how to use them!
If you have a smart phone, get a breastfeeding app!  iBaby Feed ($1.99) on the iPhone is awesome!  But there are freebies out there.  The apps can track how often you’re feeding, how long between feeds, which side you need to start on, gives you logs to show the pediatrician.
Get lanolin and at least 2 pairs of Soothies nipple pads.  You can find Soothies in the store, but they are sold out a lot of the time and when in stock, there is only one!  When you need them, you won’t want to go to a store, and talk about a major bummer if they are sold out.  You will NEED them.
Fill out all of the pediatrician forms, as much as you can, before the baby comes.  That way, the first visit, you just fill in the birth date and name instead of filling out pages of forms.
If you have any pets, take them to the vet before you have the baby.  Explain to your vet that you are having a baby and you’d like to take care of everything needed for the next 6 months or so.  Just one less thing to worry about!
Sleeping topless at night, applying lanolin before going to bed and after night feedings, can help your nipples heal.
When choosing a car seat, choose one that you can purchase an extra base.  So both you and dad can have a base already installed in each of your cars.  Much easier than moving the base every time you take a different vehicle.

I ordered “pee pads” to put on top of the changing pad cover.  My thinking is that I won’t have to change the cover as much if the baby makes a mess on a disposable pad, which means, less laundry!  And also, clean up time becomes only seconds.  I found a pack of 100 on Amazon for $13. 

Items to Get Before Baby Arrives
Tuck or Witch Hazel Pads – for “down there”
Heating pad – to sit on the first few weeks.
Stool Softener Tablets (for you)
Baby Tylenol – if your boy is getting circumcised, you’ll need this.  Ask the pediatrician what dose to give.
Infant Gas Drops
Diaper Rash Cream 

Baby powder 

Toiletries for baby
Baby nail clippers – they won’t clip the baby’s nails in the hospital.  **Try clipping the nails while nursing.  The baby is distracted and less squirmy.
Baby mittens – some babies will accidentally scratch their face, and these help protect their cute cheeks!

Week 31

How big is baby? The size of a pineapple! 

Baby Development FYI:  He’s about 15.2 to 16.7 inches long and weighs about 2.5 to 3.8 pounds this month. He’s getting so big, he’s probably crowding your lungs. He’s going through major brain and nerve development. Eye development, too. His irises now react to light!  All five of his senses are in working order.

My body has been invaded, how’s that going?  The monkey has found my ribs.  I remember earlier in pregnancy when the flutters started saying I wanted to enjoy the flutters and kicks while they were still cute.  I’m glad I did, because rib kicks aren’t so cute.  But I know every movement and kick means the baby is happy and healthy, so I can deal 🙂

Other than that, nothing new has developed this week.  Which is great.  I don’t want to jinx anything, but it would be nice if I could coast to the end by just dealing with the symptoms I’ve already had as they come.  No more surprises.  But hey, I’m definitely not willing to bet on that!

What’s been on my mind?  Making sure we have everything we may need for when the baby comes.  We aren’t ones to freak out, but I don’t want to freak out because we need something all of the sudden and it is no where to be found in a store.  We have a place for it to sleep, we have something for it to eat, clothes, some diapers, and toys…so we have the basics. 

Crazy Cravings:  Anything sweet.  Thanks goodness for Christmas time and baby showers, because my sweet tooth is kickin!  I could eat cinnamon rolls all day.  More spicy foods of course.  And I don’t think is was a coincidence when I ordered spaghetti carbonara, that I covered it in crushed red pepper before eating it…3 times. 

Highlights: Both of our baby showers this weekend.  They were so awesome and we are overwelmed by all the gifts we were showered with!  Nate and I are feeling very blessed and thankful that Baby Morgan is loved by so many people already.  What made the showers more special to us was that both Nate and I could be there together.  When you never have days off together, it makes the ones you are able to have that much more special! And I have to admit, it was fun to watch Nate mingle with all the ladies…he was a good sport!