Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Bun In The Oven

I officially win "worst food blogger of the year" award. I can't believe I haven't been on here since July! Although the reason for my disappearance isn't out of laziness, it's because I have been a very busy lady. Besides working an insane amount at the hospital, I've spent the past 9 months baking this little bun in my oven....

 Mr. Nolan Heath
Due March 11th, 2015
Dusty and I found out June 30th that I was pregnant! We had just spent the past week in Kalispell where I was doing my OB/delivery training (coincidence?) and didn't feel well the entire time. I was light-headed, extra car sick and really tired. Something definitely didn't feel right. After taking multiple pregnancy tests and getting negative results, I had no idea what was going on with my body. I just figured I wasn't handling the prenatal vitamins very well, since those things are awful and the size of bullets. Then, I gave the test one more go on the 30th and got the faintest of lines indicating that we were going to be expecting a baby!

One of the worst things to happen to a food blogger is morning sickness. Oh, how I hated morning sickness. The thought and smell of food made me so nauseated, I lost about 8 pounds the first 3 months of pregnancy. All I could stomach was yogurt and drinking milk. That was the major reason I stepped away from the blog for a while. The thought of food made me sick to my stomach. It was a very long and depressing 3 months of not being able to eat the foods I love. Thankfully that stage is over with!

Since I couldn't think about food, I had to hone my creativity in a different direction. Instead of recipe development, I began cross-stitching. I made 2 of these bibs for our baby (one pig and one cow themed) and I'm currently in the middle of working on a blanket as well.

One of the worst things about living in a small town is the lack of fast food when you are pregnant. I can not tell you how many times I have cried to Dusty that I need and must have a cheeseburger or I can't live without a Taco Bell Quesadilla! We are 25 miles to the closest McD's and 80 miles the nearest quesadilla. Talk about torture! There was one night I wanted a burger so bad that I started sobbing hysterically in the kitchen....we call that "The burger incident." It was the only time I became a stereotypically crazy pregnant lady. Lucky for Dusty, it hasn't happened more than that one time. Also, thank goodness for "copy-cat recipes" online, those have been a lifesaver for both Dusty and I!

Funny thing is, now I can't stomach the idea of fast food. All my body wants is healthy, nutritious foods and more specifically....milk! I have been going through a gallon of milk a week by myself. It's insane! Our little guy, Nolan, is going to have some strong bones due to all the milk I've been consuming lately. Since I've been working 40-50 hours a week at the hospital these past few months, I haven't had the energy to develop new recipes for the blog, but my go-to gal for all things delicious and healthy is Gina from SkinnyTaste.com. I'm in love with her cookbook and blog. All the healthy meals have been keeping me healthy throughout my pregnancy, despite flu season, and keeping me energized to make it through the last stretch of night shifts before maternity leave (only 10 more 12 hour shifts left!).

Just in case you were wondering, Duke is very excited about baby Nolan too! The entire time I've been pregnant he has been attached to my hip and super affectionate. He is constantly following me around and laying next to me (or on me!). I can't even go to the bathroom alone without him peaking his head in the door to make sure I'm alright. I catch him in the nursery all the time just sniffing things out, it's absolutely adorable. He is going to be the best big puppy brother for Nolan and I can't wait for the big day to arrive!

Only 3 weeks away until Mr. Nolan Heath joins our family and we can't wait!

Friday, July 11, 2014

Chimichurri Shrimp Salad

This past weekend was a fun one. Friday kicked off with the 4th of July which was laid back with just Dusty and myself. We grilled steaks, corn and had baked potatos accompanied by some of Julie's Famous Daiquiris. Yum! Dusty and I then watched the town's firework show from our backyard while sitting by the fire we built in our backyard. It was super romantic ;)
Duke on the otherhand, didn't find it so enjoyable and spent the evening of the 4th inside the house panicking with each "BOOM" of the fireworks. Poor dogs of America, tortured and terrified for one night a year. It's a ruff life!
For the rest of the weekend my family came to visit for my birthday, which was Sunday the 6th and it was so much fun! Since Shelby was cleared out for the holiday weekend, I went all out and cooked 3 delicious meals a day from my Pioneer Woman Holiday Cookbook.

For my birthday I made the Pioneer Woman's Cinco de Mayo platter which included Watermelon Pico de Gallo (yum!), Fiesta Black Beans (double yum!), steak fajitas with all the fixin's (super yum!), chimichurri shrimp (oh yes!) and Tres Leches Cake for my birthday cake (goodness gracious!). It was a Mexican smorgasbord of delicousness to say at least.

Surprisingly, I had leftovers! But that was probably because I made sooooo much food for 10 people! One of the things that was leftover was the chimichurri shrimp (shocking!), which I was excited about because I love shrimp. The day after my birthday I decided to use the leftover marinade and shrimp to make this out-of-this world salad. I love taco salads and this one was spectacular.

Chimichurri Shrimp Salad
{Serves 4}

For the Chimichurri Shrimp:
-1/2 bunch Cilantro, stems removed
-1/4 cup Parsley, stems removed
-1-1/2 tsp minced Garlic cloves
-Juice of 2 Limes
-1/2 teaspoon Ground Cumin
-1/8 tsp Cayenne Pepper
-1/2 tsp Salt
-1/4 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
-1 pound 16/20 count Shrimp, peeled and deveined, tails off
-1 tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil

In a blender combine the cilantro, parsley, garlic, limes, ground cumin, cayenne pepper, and salt. Briefly pulse the blender to combine the ingredients. With the blender on low speed, remove the middle cap of the blender and slowly drizzle the 1/4 cup olive oil. Blend until smooth.

Place the peeled and deveined shrimp in a large gallon bag and pour half of the marinade into the bag and reserve the other half of the marinade for the salad dressing. Marinate the shrimp for at least 30 minutes. Once ready to cook, heat a large pan over medium heat with 1 tbsp olive oil. Cook the shrimp until pink for 1-2 minutes per side. Set shrimp aside for salad.

For the Salad:
-1 recipe of Chimichurri Shrimp + Reserved Marinade
-1 head of Green Leaf Lettuce, rinsed, dried
-12 Cherry Tomatoes, quartered
-1 (15 ounce) can Black Beans, drained and rinsed
-2 Green Onions, finely chopped
-1/2 cup shredded Cheddar Cheese
-1/4 cup Plain Greek Yogurt
-1/4 cup Mayonnaise

In a small bowl, combine the greek yogurt, mayonnaise and reserved marinade. Stir to combine to create the salad dressing.

To assemble the salad start with the lettuce; then top the lettuce with the cherry tomatoes, black bean, green onions, shredded cheddar cheese and finally the chimichurri shrimp. Drizzle on the salad dressing and enjoy!

Recipe Inspired and Adapted By: The Pioneer Woman

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Huckleberry Smoothie

Last week Dusty and I headed over to the land of huckleberries, aka Kalispell, for Labor & Delivery training at the hospital. Dusty got to spend 5 days golfing, shopping, relaxing and driving me around. Me on the other hand, I got to deliver 5 babies over 3 days and then relax for 2 days.....so much fun!

There is nothing more wonderful than delivering a baby. Getting the privilege to be apart of such a beautiful moment is truly special and being able to swaddle a freshly born baby and hand the mom her baby for the first time....priceless.

While we were over in the Flathead Lake area, it seemed like everywhere there was huckleberry stands with fresh huckleberries for sale. Each time we would pass one I would say, "Ooooh, ooooh! HUCKLEBERRIES!" And Dusty would reply, "Don't you have a bag full of huckleberries from last fall you still need to use?" Maybe?

I have a confession...I'm a huckleberry hoarder. See this bag in the picture up above? I've had it since September. I use like 1/4 cup a month and it has to be for a very very special recipe. Now that it's huckleberry season, I'm becoming less hoardy and using my berries more. Like for instance, I made this huckleberry smoothie and I plan on making many more in the near future. 
Like most recipes I make, this one is super easy! Just add 1/2 large banana, milk, vanilla greek yogurt, frozen huckleberries, and ice to a blender....

And then just blend until smooth...hence, smoothie!
 Healthy, filling, gorgeous and fantastically delicious!
Huckleberry Smoothie
{1-24 ounce serving}
-2/3 cup Vanilla Greek Yogurt
-3/4 cup Milk
-1/2 large Banana
-3/4 cup frozen Huckleberries
-1/2 cup Ice Cubes
Combine all ingredients in blender. Blend until smooth. Pour into large glass and enjoy!

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Crab Mac Salad

On the very first night of starting night shift about a month ago, I was welcomed to the night crew with a potluck consisting of buffalo chicken dip, treats and this glorious pasta salad.....

One of my co-workers, Sonya, made this crab salad and we spent all night gobbling it up in between providing patient care, passing medications and operating the ER. After spending an evening snacking on all these tasty potluck foods and spending some quality time with my new night crew, I knew I absolutely loved my job.

Monday night I was working with Sonya when I looked at her and said, "You know what sounds good? Crab salad. Every time I look at you, all I can think about is the crab salad you made that one night." She just looked at me like I was crazy and said, "Do you just want the recipe?"

Oh heck yes!
And the recipe couldn't be easier. In the recipe, it calls for imitation crab, and that was all I could find in my tiny grocery store that never has anything I need. But if you have access to real crab (lucky you!) go for it and use that instead!
First you take a packet of Hidden Valley Ranch Mix and stir it to combine with 1 cup Milk and 1 cup Mayonnaise.
Then thaw out a 1 pound bag of peas and carrots.
"Jenny and me was like peas and carrots" (Name that movie!)
 Sorry I couldn't help myself. It's what I think of every time I see peas and carrots. Lol.

Then boil 1 pound of elbow macaroni and cook until al dente.
In a very large bowl, add in the dressing, cooked elbow macaroni, thawed peas and carrots and roughly chopped crab meat.
Fold to combine....
And cover with plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour.
You can serve this salad with practically anything and it's perfect for picnics, potlucks, etc. I made some slow-cooker ribs from picky-palate that were to die for and just as simple as this pasta salad.
Thanks for the recipe Sonya!
This is going to be a staple at my picnics and family gatherings!
Crab Mac Salad
{Serves 8}
-1 pound Elbow Macaroni
-1 pound frozen Peas & Carrots, thawed
-1 packet Hidden Valley Ranch Seasoning Mix
-1 cup Milk
-1 cup Mayonnaise
-8 ounces Imitation (or real) Crab Meat-roughly chopped
Boil and cook the elbow macaroni according to packaged directions until al dente. Drain and set aside. In a large bowl, stir until smooth the ranch seasoning mix, milk and mayonnaise. To the bowl with dressing, add the cooked elbow macaroni, thawed peas and carrots, and crab meat. Fold to combine. Cover with plastic wrap and chill for at least 1 hour. 

Recipe By: Sonya M.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Whiffle & Hamlet

If you haven't seen on Facebook or Instagram lately.....Dusty and I got pigs!
Two big fat, adorable pigs.

Growing up, Dusty use to show pigs for 4-H and absolutely loved it. All the stories and pictures of Dusty's pig showin' days makes my heart melt. How cute is this little guy with his pigs????

So now that Dusty is farming and we are loving our life on the farm, we thought it would be fun to have some pigs back on the farm again. According to Dusty, he hasn't raised pigs since he was 9 or 10 from in the late 90's, and boy is he happy to have them again.

I know it's not smart to name your future bacon and pork butt, but how can you not!?!?!? The pink pig is named Whiffle due to the holes in his ears, like a whiffle ball from elementary school PE. On the hutterite colony were we got the pigs, that was how they tagged them, so we thought the name would fit. The brown pig (my favorite, and the most friendly), is named Hamlet! Get it, Ham-let. Hehehe!

One of Hamlet's favorite things in the entire world is to get his belly scratched. You start scratching him and he will roll over and let you scratch him anywhere and everywhere. He is super friendly and Dusty says he has never met a friendlier piggy. I love that pig. Maybe I can convince Dusty to keep him :)

Now that we have pigs, I'm trying to convince Dusty we need some cows, goats, chickens, etc.
The more farm animals, the merrier!
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