Sweet and Sour Pork

Source: Coleen’s Recipes

I asked Nate what he thought about this dish and his exact comment was “It tastes like Chinese takeout…only better?” and then he told me to be sure to make it again.  And he was right, it did taste like Chinese take out only better.  Most of us who love Chinese takeout, love to not think about how it was prepared.  But, lets be honest people, Chinese takeout is NOT good for you.  You could argue that it is good for the soul and good for comfort, but eventually suffering a heart attack doesn’t comfort me at all!  Well, here is a great alternative!  Serve it on top of brown rice and again, you’re skipping the fried rice you may have opted for at the takeout counter.  I’m also thinking, this sauce would be great with chicken and/or shrimp.  Enjoy!

Sweet and Sour Pork - The Not So Desperate Chef Wife

Ingredients
2-3 pound lean pork roast
1 cup granulated sugar
½ cup white vinegar
4 tablespoons soy sauce
4 tablespoons ketchup
20 ounce can crushed pineapple, drained


Directions

-Brown the pork roast on all sides and place in crock pot

-Mix the rest of the ingredients in a small sauce pot and bring to a boil.  Then pour into the same crock pot.

-Cook on low for at least 4 hours or until tender (I went for 5!).  Spoon the sauce over the meat every so often, but not needed.

-At the last 30 minutes, add some corn starch to thicken the sauce (I added 3 tablespoons of corn starch mixed with 3 tablespoons of cold water)

-Brown the pork roast on all sides and put it in your slow cooker. Mix everything else and bring it to a boil, then pour it over the meat.
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-Cook on low for 4 hours or until very tender (spoon the sauce over the meat every once in a while).
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-Serve over rice.

4 Months

Is it just me or is every month going by faster and faster?  It seems like before I know it, this boy is going to be a year old!  Things have gotten SO much better.  In the early weeks when people told me it would get better, I had such a hard time believing them.  But, they were right!  Things are awesome now.  I think the missing link was me going back to work.  

Being back at work has made me so happy!  I love waking up in the morning to an adorable and giggly baby, getting ready, dropping D off at daycare, going to work, interacting with adults, eating lunch without the fear of a baby going nuts-o, picking up my adorable giggly baby at the end of the day, and just hanging out the rest of the night until bedtime.  It’s exhausting, but I love it!  I always knew I was a people person, but if these 4 months have taught me anything it‘s that I NEED to be around people.  I get my energy from other people and being alone all day is just really hard for me to do.  I wouldn’t trade the first 4 months though, I’ve learned so much about myself, my husband, my baby, my family, and my friends…what an awesome and rewarding experience! 

The only downside to being back at work is me having to pump more.  If you would’ve told me before I was pregnant that I would LOVE breastfeeding, I would‘ve called you crazy.  But seriously, I love it.  Even though breastfeeding is a full-time job in itself, it is something between me and my baby.  That only we share.  It is our time and I love when he looks up at me.  He is just so darn cute!!  Pumping on the other hand is just so…not personal or intimate.  It’s more like work.  But it has made me appreciate the times that I can feed Dillon even more than I did before.

Pumping is going well though, so I can’t complain.  It’s nice to be able to pump what I need to send to daycare plus an extra bag of milk to freeze.  I’ve got a nice stock pile going and it makes me feel good to add to it!  I’ve been getting a few blocked milk ducts lately and I think it has something to do with how much I’ve been pumping all of the sudden.  I‘ve been making sure to “empty” the boob and apply heat when needed.  But the other day I could not get any relief and it freakin HURT!  So I went to my favorite baby momma advice site (http://www.babycenter.com) and did some reading on the message boards.  And came across the “white dot” method…holy crap did it work!!!  I’m talking INSTANT relief.

Then there’s my galactocele.  This lovely, 4 cm, cystic milk bag, lump, thing in my left boob.  When Nate and I first found this lump we freaked out.  I immediately made an appointment with the OB, which lead to an ultrasound at a radiologists, and then another radiologist appointment to get it drained and biopsied.  But then they recommended to wait until I was done breastfeeding because the risk of infection is much higher and they didn’t want me to develop a milk fistula (sp?)…so they did a mammogram (ouch, but if I can handle popping out a baby this wasn’t bad at all) to verify it was a galactocele.  And they pretty much did.  So now we just leave it be, hope it doesn’t grow bigger or get infected, and it may go away on it’s own once I’m done with the boob juice.

Speaking of being able to pop out a baby…does anyone else compare everything that MAY hurt to labor?  I’ve found myself thinking “this can’t be any worse than labor” or “there is no way this could hurt more than pushing a baby” and I can instantly relax.  Like when getting blood drawn or a mammogram.  It’s like nothing is that big of a deal now that I‘ve experienced labor…and even that wasn’t so bad!

Dillon has to be the cutest baby in the entire world!  Or is it just me? 🙂

I can’t believe how much he has changed since we came home from the hospital.  Looking back over the pictures, I can hardly recognize him in them!  He is so darn cute, I can’t stand it.  He has finally started to laugh.  And they are the big cackling laughs, they are the best.  He is very stingy with them though, it’s hard to squeeze one out of him.  But once he does, man, it’s so great!  He is super smiley and loves everyone.  He has gotten so curious about everything and puts everything in his mouth.  He even tried to eat my cheek the other day…weirdo.  He also has this cute AMAZEMENT look that he does.  When Nate or I click our tongue, Dillon looks at us like “OMG that was so cool!!”  or “WOW!   I can’t believe you can do that, how do you do that?”  He has figured out how to kick and splash at bath time, so we will be moving the little tub into the big tub.  He loves for us to squirt him with water.  He is almost ready for the stroller without his car seat and he’s been loving the lightweight stroller, woohoo! 

We love putting Dillon in his highchair and eating dinner as a family.  I can not wait to start him on solids, which will probably be at 4 months.  We’ve noticed he’s been really interested in what we are eating, has been salivating like it’s his job, and I’ve noticed he’s gotten more control over his tongue lately.  So I think he is almost ready, but I don’t want to start him too early.  The pediatrician gave us the OK at his last appointment to start at 4 months with rice cereal. EEEeeeeeee!  He’s growing so fast.

(16 weeks, he had his first bowl of rice cereal and loved it!! And he also got his first ear infection, but has handled it like a boss!)

I find myself imagining Dillon learning all these new things and accomplishing milestones.  I don’t want to hurry him in growing.  But I am SO excited to start feeding him foods and trying new foods out.  I’m looking forward to him rolling over for the first time, HE IS SO CLOSE.  And wow, when he can sit up or crawl.  Gosh, just dreaming over him learning these new things is so fun and amazing.  I was so proud and happy when he could grab his own hands, who knows what rolling over will feel like.  It has to be good 🙂

Having a baby really teaches you to enjoy and appreciate the simple things.  Like grins or your baby whacking a toy for the first time.  Who know something so simple could make you so happy and delighted?  I‘ve got to cut myself off, I could type forever about this kid!  Enjoy the pictures:

  

Easy Meat, Veggies, and Potatoes

Adapted from: Saving Makes Cents

This is a recipe that has been floating around Pinterest and I’ve been meaning to try for almost a year.  I thought it looked too simple to be true, but it’s not…it is as simple as it sounds!  And my goodness, flavorful.  I added a few ingredients of my own to give it a little something special so feel free to play around with this dish!  What’s also great about this recipe is you can change up the veggies depending on what’s in season or whatever you have a taste for.  And don’t tell Nate, but I definitely tasted a whole spoonful of the sauce…three times.  I know…so bad.



Easy Meat, Veggies, and Potatoes - The Not So Desperate Chef Wife



Ingredients
4-6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, raw
Green beans (any veggie like broccoli, asparagus, or brussel sprouts)
New, Red, or Baby Potatoes, cubed
1 packet of italian dressing mix
1 stick of butter, melted
salt
pepper

Add ons
capers
fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon brown sugar

Directions
-Preheat over to 350 degrees F
-Season both sides of chicken with salt and pepper
-Arrange the meat, potatoes, and vegetables in a 9×13 casserole dish
-Sprinkle the packet of italian dressing mix over the whole dish
-Spoon butter over the chicken, potatoes, and vegetables
-Add Ons – I added capers and lemon juice to the green beans, and sprinkled some brown sugar over the chicken.
-Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour (recipe says to cover with foil, but I skipped that and the dish turned out fine!)

Crock Pot Corn on the Cob

Source: Practical Stewardship

Crock pot corn?  Yea you heard me.  This is my new favorite way to prepare corn on the cob.  I can’t wait to experiment with the seasonings to go with it!  The corn turned out tender and juicy, and was a sinch to make.  And unwrapping the corn from the foil was like opening up a present! Ahh, this is making me crave more corn.
Crock Pot Corn on the Cob - The Not So Desperate Chef Wife

Ingredients
-6 corn on the cob, shucked
-4 tablespoons butter, melted
-1 tablespoon garlic, minced
-1 teaspoon italian seasoning
-6 sheets of foil

Directions
-Shuck the corn.

-Mix butter, garlic, italian seasoning, salt and pepper in a small bowl.

-Place each ear of corn on a sheet of foil and fold the sides up so when to pour the butter mixture over, it doesn’t spill out.

-Drizzle a spoonful of the butter mixture over each ear of corn.

-Wrap the foil around the corn so that the juices won’t run out and place each in the crock pot.

-Cook on low for 4 hours or high for 2 hours.

Zesty Italian Potatoes

Another Pinterest find.  But I can not find the original source, so if someone knows it, please email it to me so I can give credit where credit is due!  Ever since having a baby, cooking has been a challenge.  Just getting to the grocery store takes some serious determination, and this has only happened once with baby in tow.  So I have been forced to get back to basics and find even simpler recipes to get us back in the groove with our new way of life with a  baby.  Oh, and living on one paycheck for 3 months has also made CHEAP a new MUST when trying a new recipe.

These potatoes flip the bill…cheap and easy.  And yes, of course, yummy…but that should be a given right?  I’ve found myself using zesty italian and regular italian dressing mixes on so many meals now.  Whenever I see it on sale I buy a ton of them to keep on hand!  It goes great with most veggies and meats…with the help of some melted butter.

Zesty Italian Potatoes - The Not So Desperate Chef Wife

   

Zesty Italian Potatoes - The Not So Desperate Chef Wife



Ingredients
-1 bag baby potatoes (or cube up some red potatoes)
-1 package zesty Italian dressing mix
-extra virgin olive oil
-minced onion
-salt
-pepper
-grated Parmesan cheese

Directions
-Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
-Place potatoes in large bowl
-Drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle entire package of zesty Italian dressing mix, a pinch of salt, a pinch of pepper, and 2 pinches of minced onion.
-Stir to coat evenly
-Spread potatoes on baking sheet
-Bake in oven for 45 minutes or until fork tender.
-Top with grated Parmesan cheese.
Enjoy!


Spicy Pork Tenderloin

Source:  Add a Pinch

Pork is not a staple in our house.  Reason?  Because Nate’s job revolves around pork.  If you saw, touched, smelled, and tasted pork all day, would you ever crave it for a meal?  Don’t think so.  In fact, we often shudder at the thought of eating pork…especially barbecue or ribs.  Every now and then, we think we would enjoy a barbecue sandwich, only to order one, take a bite, and immediately regret our decision.  It’s actually funny when this happens, because we do it to ourselves.  People often ask us what our favorite foods are and our answer is usually “Well, a shorter list would be what we don’t eat, and that’s pork!”  Except bacon, love us some bacon!

While in the grocery store and noticed how inexpensive pork tenderloins are and couldn’t remember a pork tenderloin that I had eaten ever being bad.  So I decided to take a whack at it.  This recipe was so delicious, easy, and saucy.  If you do not like your food spicy, you can easily control the heat level with the amount of sriracha sauce you add to the mix.  We will definitely make this over and over.  I’m excited to try it on the grill once the weather warms up.  Nate even commented that the meat was cooked perfectly…thank you very much 🙂  

Spicy Pork Tenderloin - The Not So Desperate Chef Wife


Spicy Pork Tenderloin - The Not So Desperate Chef Wife


Ingredients
-1 3-4 pound pork tenderloin
-½ cup barbecue sauce
-¼ cup grape jelly
-2 tablespoons Sriracha Sauce
-2 tablespoons Worcestershire Sauce
-1 clove garlic, minced
-1 teaspoon ground black pepper


Directions
Place pork tenderloin into a large ziploc bag.

Whisk together barbecue sauce, grape jelly, sriracha sauce, worcestershire, garlic and pepper. Pour half of barbecue sauce into the ziploc bag with pork tenderloin. 

Remove excess air from zip top bag and seal. Place in the fridge for at least an hour…overnight is best.  Cover and save the extra barbecue sauce in the fridge as well.

Bake or grill pork tenderloins until they reach an internal temperature of 160 degrees F. (I baked mine for 25 minutes at 400 degrees and then turned the heat down to 350 degrees for another 15-20 minutes)

Remove from oven or grill and wrap with aluminum foil (to keep warm) for five to ten minutes.

Brush with some of the extra sauce and serve with extra sauce on the side.

3 Months

I remember in the beginning thinking it would take FOREVER to make it to 3 months, and here we are!  What a journey it has been.  Things have definitely gotten better.  I still struggle with anxiety sometimes, but I’m hoping that will ease up as time goes on and we get onto a routine.  Another huge part of my anxiety and feeling overwhelmed is being alone so much and on the weekends.  It would be SO nice if Nate and I could have the same days off for once in our lives…one day.  And I’ve learned that I get my energy comes from being around other people, so when I’m alone and isolated, it really drags me down.  But what seems so crazy to me is feeling alone even though you have a baby…a person with you at all times, but can still feel so lonely.  Anyhoo, enough with that!

Dillon is still growing like a weed, happy and healthy!  He weighed in at 16 lb 5 oz at his last check up! haha  And we’ve gotten the OK from the doctor to start him on solids at 4 months…rice cereal.  We’ve been putting him in his high chair already which has been awesome.  We are able to all eat at the table together again and as long as we are talking (or entertaining) Dillon has a great time!  He is obsessed with this caterpillar toy…I’ve already gotten 2 replacements.  His hair is still coming in but we have no idea which color it is going to be.  His head is tie-dye at the moment.  His giggles are starting to happen more often and longer, we are still waiting on him to burst out laughing, he is so close!  He grins all the time and they are my favorite.  I don’t know how anyone would make it as a parent without those smiles and giggles!

We’ve been putting him in the jumperoo and he absolutely loves it.  He has been waiting for the freedom to jump around, so we decided to give it a try.  I’ve only let him stay in for 15 minutes because I don’t want him to get overtired.  We roll up a blanket behind him for extra support.  He is pushing up with his arms during tummy time and is starting to like tummy time (YEY!).  He bats and grabs on to toys, play time is becoming more and more fun each day.

He has started daycare and has done marvelously!  The teachers have all commented on how happy he is and how well he has done…like he’s done it before!  So that takes away some of the mommy guilt.  I start work on Thursday and of course I have my reservations on that, but I’m hoping it will be a great thing.  Dillon also has his first cold and probably corresponds with starting daycare.  Holy snot.  Somehow, D makes sniffles and sneezes so darn cute though.  And he has always laughed when he sneezes, so it is funny that he is giggling his way through a cold…except when I suction his nose.  He gets PISSED…then sneezes.  It’s pitiful!  He loves listening to stories and loves looking at the pictures.  It has amazed me how alert he has been his whole life.  He is mellow about it though thank goodness.

There is so much advice out there and I’ve realized that is a part of what intimidates me.  So I’ve decided to cut back on the baby books and Googling.  I’ve gotten this far by going off of Dillon’s cues and my instincts, and he is happy and alive!  So my goal now is just to have a happy and healthy baby…and do things at a pace that doesn’t stress me or him out.  So much of parenting is trial and error. If and when he is ever NOT happy, then I’ll figure out how to get him back on track.  So until then poof be gone intimidating, anxiety-causing books!

First time in the highchair

Murica

Jumperoo

Visiting Daddy at work! Aka sleeping.

Meeting Roy!

When he discovered his nose…!

2 Months

Wow, time flies.  I can’t believe little Dillon is 2 months old!  His check up isn’t for another week, so I’ll have to update his stats then!  But this little HUGE booger is growing stronger every day.  He loves standing on our legs and trying to push off.  His grins are the best and he wants to giggle so badly.  I think he will do it in the next week or 2.  It’s amazing how much more into things he is…you can tell when he is studying something.  It’s also cool how the simplest thing to us is so new and interesting to him, you really have to appreciate the simple things with babies.  He is a great sleeper, but the stretches aren’t consistent yet.  The first one is always the longest but it is anywhere from 5-8 hours.  Then the next stretch goes down from there.  But getting up for only 1 feeding has been awesome!  We are looking forward to seeing his personality develop, we think he is going to be a ham 🙂

This past month was probably the hardest month of my life.  No one warns you about the first 6-8 weeks of having a newborn and how you are going to feel as a new mom.  I’m so happy to say that we’ve turned the corner and things are going great now!  So to other new moms out there, hang in there, it may not seem like it, but things will get better, the first few weeks are temporary…I didn’t believe it at the time, but it’s true.

Now…I have to be honest…I am now taking Zoloft.  I was embarrassed when I first took it, but quickly realized, it was the right thing to do.  The way I had been feeling for 6 weeks…well…I didn’t like it, and guess what, I don’t have to feel like that!  I would encourage any mother to be honest with her doctor about how she’s feeling because even if you don’t feel depressed, you could have a form of post-partum depression.  That’s what confused me, I didn’t feel depressed, but I was feeling very overwhelmed, had anxiety about the long hours alone, and couldn’t sleep.  It is not in my personality to worry about things and not be able to control how I’m feeling, so I knew something was out of whack.  After talking with the OB, I felt so much better and relieved.  She made me feel even better when she told me she had experienced PPD with her 3rd child, so she knew exactly how I felt and assured me it was beyond my control and not to be embarrassed.  After 2 weeks of taking medicine, I feel great, confident, and am having a blast with my baby!  

Month 1

I can’t believe Dillon is a whole month old.  It feels like just yesterday we brought him home from the hospital.  So much is happened in one month, I’ve almost forgotten what it was like pre-baby…almost!

Labor and delivery couldn’t have gone better.  I was induced at 41 weeks, labored for 9 hours and pushed for 30 minutes, so I really have nothing to complain about.  All of the OB’s at our doctor office were impressed by my experience, which makes me feel like a bamf.  The only part of labor I was not prepared for was the BUTT PRESSURE.  My tailbone 4+ weeks later still hurts.  And our nurse (loved her!) was surprised by my ability to pee every 10 minutes.  She had never had a laborer request a catheter.  During her shift change, she warned the next nurse that anytime I said I had to pee, I really had to go haha!  But I can honestly say, labor and delivery is the easy part compared to raising a baby.

**The bags I packed for the hospital…I didn’t use a single thing I’d packed for myself…except my tooth brush.  I wore the hospital gowns and disposable underwear the whole time.  I did forget to pack boxers for Nate…whoops!  So next time, I’ll pack a bag for Nate and that’s it!

The one thing I was nervous about before having our baby was breastfeeding.  I’d been told about so many horror stories, I was so freaked out by it.  But Dillon latched on within 6 minutes of being in the world and my milk came in that same night!  Dillon has been the best eater ever since and with the help of a nipple shield the first 2 weeks, breastfeeding has been a piece of cake.  Now we are working on getting on a schedule, longer feedings, and longer times between feedings.  Wish us luck.

Sleep.  That is what we are missing.  I’m sure things could be worse, but I know they could also be better.  Right now he sleeps 4 hours, then 3 hours, then maybe 2 hours before he is up in the morning.  Sometimes I can rock with him in the glider for another hour or so in the morning.  Which is fine with me because I can doze in and out of sleep for a bit.  But the 4, 3, 2 for momma is more like… 3, 1, 1…at best. Now that we are past 4 weeks, we’re hoping to see an improvement in the sleep department.  We’ve had 2 random nights with a 6 hour stretch…need more of those!

We did manage to move Dillon into his crib at 3 weeks.  And he took to it the first night thank goodness.  We did this earlier than I thought, but it was a good decision.  Incase you didn’t know, babies make a ton of noise when they sleep.  Squeaks, coos, and grunts.  And it is so hard to get any decent sleep when every noise sends off an awake signal to your brain.  So at least the little sleep we do get, is better sleep now.

Dillon loves bath time.  I thought he would scream and cry during bath time for a while, but nope, he loves it!  Loves naked time and the warm water :).  He has great head and neck control already.  We can’t believe how strong his neck is this early.  He is getting better at tummy time everyday.  From week 1 he has loved looking at anything colorful.  It is so neat to see his sight gradually improve.  Even though he seems to be looking at the same things everyday, we can tell he is able to focus more and more.  He has been in size 1 diapers since week 2 and has outgrown newborn clothes and fits in 0-3 and some small 3-6!!

One snag we’ve run into…we noticed his manlyhood still had a…hood.  Which is not normal if it has been snipped.  Decided to take him in to have it checked, and what do you know, he has to have the circumcision redone.  Either soon with a local anesthetic or when he is a year old and will have to be put to sleep.  There is a weight limit to doing it now which is 12 lbs.  And meatball is a whopping 12 lb 9 oz as of today.  So we are crossing our fingers they will make an exception because of how young he is.  Either way, I hate to hurt my baby 😦 but we can’t leave his peepee like it is.  The bright side is, at least this is a cosmetic issue and not a serious medical problem, so we are thankful for that.

Still haven’t made it back in the kitchen…one day grasshoppers.

Up and at’m.  Leaving for the hospital!
Dillon – 8 lb 7 oz, 21 inches, 4:34pm!
*Insert your own creative and funny caption here*

First walk.

The only picture taken at his newborn photo session…

9 lb 5 oz of cute!

First bath!

First night in the crib.  This is what we woke up too!

12 lb 9 oz of cute!

Waiting on Monkey, Monkey Bread

What’s there to do while waiting for our monkey to arrive?  Make monkey bread of course!  Every time I see a picture of monkey bread I start drooling, so I decided to take a whack at it.  If I’d known how easy monkey bread was to make, I would’ve been making them for years.  This monkey bread may become the birthday morning breakfast tradition for the baby.  Sounds like a good idea to me!

Monkey Bread - The Not So Desperate Chef Wife



Ingredients
2 tubes of 8 Grand Buttermilk Biscuits
1 cup brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup white sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 stick of butter
1/4-1/2 cup of honey
1/2 cup of chopped pecans (optional)

Directions
-Preheat oven to 350 degrees
-Lightly spray a pound cake pan with baking spray
-Add the brown sugar, white sugar, cinnamon, and pecans to a large ziplock bag (the freezer bag size).  Seal the bag and shake to combine.
-Separate all of the biscuits and slice each biscuit into 6 pieces (like you’re slicing a pizza), and add to the ziplock bag.
-Seal the bag and shake to coat each of the biscuit triangles with the sugar mixture.
-Pour the dough mixture into an even layer in the pound cake pan.
-Melt the butter and honey in a small microwave-safe bowl and spoon evenly over the top of the dough.
-Bake for 35-40 minutes until golden brown.
-Remove from oven and let sit for 5 minutes
-Give the pan a little shake and flip onto serving plate.  Let sit for another 5-10 minutes before devouring…just as a cruel joke 🙂