September 30, 2013

Easy Homemade Granola

 In between meals, I love to snack.

I try to keep my snacks on the healthy side. Occasionally I'll have something like Nutella with graham crackers, but usually, I'll have fruit, string cheese, cheese and crackers, or yogurt. Yogurt is by far my favorite snack. It's so versatile and I change it up based on what I'm in the mood for. I don't like to eat it plain, so I might chop up strawberries or bananas, add a drizzle of honey, or pour in granola. I LOVE granola. My favorite mixes to buy are Nature's Best pumpkin granola or Love Crunch. I love the dark chocolate chunks and dried raspberries.

Recently I wanted to try making my own granola. I have in the past, but I didn't like it as much as my store bought brands. However, this granola does the trick. Cinnamon, brown sugar, and vanilla extract is in this recipe and I love the hint of cinnamon in the background. As it roasts in the oven, your kitchen will smell heavenly. The nuts are added at the very end just to toast them and enhance their flavor. Have you tried toasted hazelnuts or almonds before? They are SO good.    

I added dried cranberries to mine, but you can add whatever you like. Raisins, cherries, dried blueberries or bananas. Whatever you have on hand!

Source: slightly adapted from Baked: New Frontiers in Baking
Servings: 1 pound

2 cups rolled oats
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon vegetable oil
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/3 cup almonds
1/3 cup whole hazelnuts
1/3 cup dried cranberries

Preheat the oven to 350. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, toss the oats with the cinnamon and salt.

In a medium bowl, stir together the oil, honey, brown sugar, and vanilla. Whisk until completely combined. Pour the honey mixture over the oats and use to hands to combine.

Using your hands, grab fistfuls of the mixture, so you'll have a couple of clumps for texture. Pour the mixture onto the baking sheet and spread it out, leaving a few clumps here and there.

Bake for 10 minutes, then remove from the oven to flip the granola with a spatula. Sprinkle the almonds over the granola and return to the oven. Bake for 5 minutes, then remove from the oven again and flip. Sprinkle the hazelnuts over the granola. Return the baking sheet to the oven and bake for 10 more minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool completely. Sprinkle the cranberries over the granola and use your hands to transfer it to an airtight container. Granola will keep for 1 week.

September 29, 2013

Life as a SAHM

I always knew I wanted to be a SAHM. I knew I wanted to be there every minute of the day, never miss a single moment. But this is more than I ever thought it was going to be. I have to say, being a mom to a toddler is SO exciting compared to being a mom to a baby. Wait, what am I saying, she still is my baby, but you know what I mean. She can walk, talk, play, dance, feed herself, indicate when she wants something, get upset when she doesn't want something, give hugs, kisses, and so much more.

Let's start at the beginning of the week. We had time with "Dada" in the morning before he went to work in the late afternoon. Fall TV has started and we're already trying to catch up with everything we want to watch. Miss A joined us for a little TV time. This lasted about, oh, a minute. Her monster chair was a birthday gift from my sister-in-law. Isn't it the cutest thing?

The bathroom cabinet is still a source of great entertainment. See how she's grouping like objects together? She's a genius I tell you. I can't wait for the day we can do each other's nails. 

We went grocery shopping with our menu plan and grocery list in hand. When she saw all the pumpkins, she said, "BALL!" Yes. Everything globe-like is a ball. I resisted buying one as we'll be going to a pumpkin patch very soon.

Here we are at story time. At the end, there is always bubble time. What is it about bubbles that gets kids so excited? She LOVES bubbles. Now that she can walk, she immersed herself into a cloud of bubbles and stared up at them floating around. It's too cute for words!

This week we also had a play date with our friends. It was a cloudy day but luckily we were able to make the most of it at the park. The girls "played" for all about two minutes until one was off walking and the other was crawling into the mulch. Miss A was filthily by the end, her hands covered in dirt and mulch somehow found it's way into her diaper. I guess that means we had a good day at the park!

Suddenly my picky eater is branching out and trying new things. She LOVES oatmeal, not baby oatmeal, but rolled oats. The real stuff. I add a scoop of pumpkin and a little brown sugar and she devours it. She also decided broccoli isn't that bad and roasted carrots are pretty good. Yay! This makes me so happy.

Miss A had a blast walking in our backyard almost every day this week. We looked at the trees, sat in the grass, and watched our dog explore her surroundings. When it's time to go inside, she gets SO upset.

I'm including a not-so-pinworthy picture of one of dinner's because it was so good. The roasted carrots and butternut squash, that I bathed in a cinnamon butter mixture, were a huge hit, with the both of us. She was reaching for more off my plate! She also loved the pork schnitzels, but wasn't a fan of the apple chutney. Oh well. You win some, you lose some, right? 

Here's something new: walking around the house with kitchen towels. I had no idea kitchen towels were so appealing. ;)

Every night this week I sat down at my desk after Miss A went to sleep. Planning for the blog, reading blogs, making to-do lists, reading about ways to stretch our dollar, and searching for coupons. And that in a nutshell, is life as a SAHM. 

Have a lovely Sunday!

September 27, 2013

Five on Friday

It's time for Five on Friday! I'm linking up with Christina and the girls. This week completely went away from me. I can't believe we're already almost at the end of September!
1. Cute Journals

Yesterday I went to Barnes and Noble and fell in love with all their beautiful journals. I've kept a journal since I was in the sixth grade. Journaling has always been very therapeutic for me, although when I started keeping a journal it was to write about the cute boys I liked in class. ;) As I've gotten older I've written less and less in my journal. That's something I'm working on because I really do like to look back and see what was going on in my life and to reflect. Do you keep a journal?

2. Fall Porches

Have you decorated your porch for Fall yet? I haven't! I recently finished the inside of our home and now I'll get to working on the outside. I love decorating with pumpkins and mum's. I'm thinking of getting yellow mum's this year, I usually get purple or another deep color. I really like the bright colors this year.

3. Favorite Food Pins

There's always so much to choose from every week, here are a few of my favorite food pins!

Slow-cooker Pulled Pork with Apples and Onions

4. $300 Jewelry Giveaway

Are you more of an earrings, bracelet, rings, or necklace kind of girl? I like bracelets and earrings more myself. Have you had a chance to enter my giveaway yet? You have until October 6th to do so! There are so many beautiful items to choose from, take a look at the Mialisia website. This necklace is my absolute favorite! 
5. Family

I'm so excited to have some of our family here in the coming weeks. With our families living a 12 hour drive away, we don't get to see each other very often. You'd think after five years of living so far away, you'd get used to it, but I never do. My dad will be coming for a visit and so will my in-laws. I can't wait!

Have a great weekend!

September 26, 2013

Mialisia Jewelry Giveaway

Do you like jewelry? I mean, what kind of question is that...I LOVE jewelry. I'm more an earrings and bracelets kind of girl myself, but I'm loving all the new statement necklaces out there. I'm teaming up with Mialisia, a direct sales jewelry company, to offer you a chance to win $300 to spend on their jewelry!

Here are a few of my favorite pieces:

Welcome to the Shop Mialisia VersaStyle™ Jewelry $300 Giveaway hosted by Stay a Stay at Home Mom and sponsored by Stacia Jacobson with Mialisia Jewelry.  Here's your chance to beautify your world with a fantastic array of jewelry designed to compliment any occasion! Watch this video below to learn about this unique jewelry company:

Create a look that is unique to you and build a rewarding business. Mialisia empowers everyone to do both. Mialisia, a direct sales company specializing in unique jewelry, is inventor of the VersaStyle™ concept that allows two pieces of jewelry to be worn an infinite number of ways. Mialisia offers this patent-pending jewelry to consumers through in-home demonstrations provided at no cost by Mialisia Designers.

The winner will receive:

  • $300 Mialisia Shopping Spree

  • If winner has purchased Mialisia during this giveaway event, she will be reimbursed for her purchase up to $300, so shop now!

  • Giveaway Details

  • Giveaway runs September 26 - October 6

  • Open to those 18 and older in the United States

  • Fill out the Rafflecopter below to enter to win
    Winner will be chosen randomly via Rafflecopter; entry methods are verified, only those who complete entry methods claimed are eligible to win. This blog was not compensated for this post and is not responsible for prize shipment
    Questions? Want to sponsor a Giveaway? Contact Stay a Stay at Home Mom

    September 25, 2013

    What We Ate Wednesday

    I missed linking up for What I Ate Wednesday last week. I'm excited to share what Miss A and I ate recently. Some good stuff, and some not so good.

    Breakfast: 8:30 am 

    I ate: Pumpkin chocolate chip pancakes

    Miss A: pumpkin pancakes, without chocolate chips. She LOVES pancakes. 

    Lunch: 12:30pm

    I ate: a grilled ham and cheese sandwich on whole grain bread with slices of kiwi

    Miss A: a toasted english muffin topped with a slice of ham, cheese, and spinach, cut into bite size pieces

    You know I tried to get her to eat some kiwi. Oh, and she's holding a food pouch because that's usually the only way I can get fruit into her, but she only took a few slurps 

    After lunch I folded laundry and Miss A sat in her monster chair watching Mickey Mouse Clubhouse. This was too cute for me not to share!

    Snack: 3:00pm

    I ate:  some really unhealthy treats...graham crackers with Nutella and a handful of candy corn M&M's. I'm officially addicted to them! 

    Miss A: yogurt, two animal crackers, a couple of Cheerios (because she saw the box), and a few graham crackers, without Nutella ;)

    Dinner: 6:30 pm

    I ate: holy yum chicken (which was delicious), mashed potatoes, and roasted broccoli

    Miss A: the same, including the broccoli!! Win win.

    September 24, 2013

    Shrimp Carbonara

    I've never had carbonara before. I'm not sure why, as it's pasta and I love pasta and I love bacon. I've probably eyed it on a restaurant menu before and ordered something else. Now I can't wait to try this on a night out. 

    I have so many recipes that I rip out of magazines, pined on Pinterest, and dog-ear in books that this one fell through the way side many moons ago. I'm so happy I was finally able to try it a few weeks back, after searching through my cookbooks for menu planning ideas.

    This was so good. And so easy! I was under the impression that carba was heavy and that it would be difficult to make at home. This wasn't at all what I expected. The entire plate came together in twenty minutes. I'm serious! It might be a tad heavy for some people, but I imagined this to have a goopy, slippery sauce. This wasn't like that at all. 

    There's a bit of a kick from the red pepper flakes, a salty bite from the cheese and bacon, and there's something about it that makes it feel like a restaurant dish. It's so decadent! Make it for a date night at home and pour yourselves a glass of wine, toast some bread and light some candles. A fancy night in! 

    In case you're wondering, Miss A did not have any of this. I'm still weary about giving her fish and seeing as there's raw egg yolks in the sauce I didn't want to give that to her either. She gobbled up her own pasta and shredded chicken happily. Next time we might try to wait until she's in bed to experience a true date night at home!

    Servings: 4
    adapted from Rachael Ray's 30 Minute Meals

    1 lb angel hair pasta
    1/2 lb cup raw shrimp, peeled and devined
    1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
    6 slices of bacon, chopped
    1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
    4 garlic cloves, chopped
    1/2 cup dry white wine
    2 large egg yolks
    1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
    Salt and pepper
    Parsley, to garnish

    Fill a large pot with water and set to boil. When water comes to boil, add a generous amount of salt and the angel hair. Stir and cook until al dente, about 9-10 minutes. Stir occasionally.

    Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add the bacon and brown for 3-4 minutes. Add the red pepper flakes and garlic. Cook for 2-3 minutes more until fragrant, stirring so the garlic doesn't burn. Pour the white wine into the pan and scrap up all the pan drippings.

    Beat the egg yolks and add one large ladleful of the pasta water. This tempers the eggs and prevents them from cooking when you add it to the pasta.

    Remove the bacon mixture from the skillet and place in a small bowl. Add the shrimp to the pan, and season with salt and pepper. Add more olive oil if needed. Cook until shrimp is pink, turning once, about 2-3 minutes. Drain the pasta well and add it back to the pot. Pour the egg yolks and bacon mixture into the pot and toss rapidly to coat the pasta. Add the cheese, lots of pepper, and a little bit of salt. Continue to toss until the sauce has thickened, about 1-2 minutes. Garnish with parsley and extra cheese if desired.

    September 22, 2013

    Life as a SAHM

    This week Miss A and I had company- Daddy!

    My husband gets three weeks off throughout his first year of residency. Not consecutively; they are spread out every couple of months. Thankfully the next vacation will be over Christmas. 

    We were so happy to have him home. Miss A is definitely a daddy's girl. Their relationship is so beautiful. I can't even describe how my heart swells every time she runs up to him or gives him a kiss. I baked cookies early in the week when they were both feeling under the weather. 

    Thankfully everyone was feeling better by the middle of the week and we were able to go on our beach trip. At first I was positive we were going to have to cancel and lose our Groupon reservation. No refunds. I was really disappointed and tried not to let it bring me down. But the hubby wasn't about to let a silly cold get in the way. He dosed up on cold meds and felt rejuvenated once we hit the sun and sand. Miss A's stuffy nose didn't seem to bother her at all and luckily she had no other symptoms. We had a blast!

    We spent the next two days after our trip indoors because of the weather. It rained nonstop. That was okay with us, we were tried and wanted to do get some work done around the house. We spent most of our time playing with Miss A. She is a ball of energy these days, walking laps around the house and chasing after our dog. I was able to do some "crafting" and made a garland for our Fall mantle. 

    I also finished decorating the rest of the house with Miss A's help. She is obsessed with her trick-or-treating pumpkin and carries it with her everywhere.

    I can't get enough of these snuggles. She is quite the cuddle bug lately. It melts my heart every time she hugs me or lays her head on my shoulder. It's adorable and I don't want this time to ever end!

    To bring in the new season, I made pumpkin sugar cookies. This is not the prettiest picture, but usually my Life as a SAHM pictures are from my iPhone and I don't tweak anything about them. These were great, a little on the dry side, but the glaze makes up for that. 

    To end the week, we went to an arts festival that comes into town every year. Miss A was showered with lots of love and attention from these men, a few of the hubby's fellow EM residents. She is SO shy around men! She cries or clings to one of us whenever a guy tries to say hello. Every single time! I find it so interesting because is very trustworthy of women. 

    It's not going to be the same around here after so much family time. I'm pretty sure Miss A is going to search all around the house for "Dada."