He's here!

Introducing Nash Charles, born October 8, 2014. Nash weighed 7 pounds 12 ounces and was 20.5 inches long at birth. He's a dream of a baby, always happy, hungry and sleepy. We're all madly in love with the little guy, perhaps no one more than his big sister.

Back with more on the new love in my life when I get more than two hours of sleep in a row.

menu monday

This morning, Katie posted her dinner menu from last week and I was inspired to do the same. Well, my menu is for the upcoming week but same idea. I can't lie - I'm pretty proud I managed to plan a menu, shop for it, and blog about it, all in the same week.  I'm high-fiving myself right now. I should probably stop that {and not just because it's pathetic} because there's almost no chance we'll eat all of these meals on the day I've actually planned to serve them.  And at least one meal is likely to get postponed due to laziness and a last minute call for takeout.  Such is life. Here's the menu:

Roasted Potatoes, Chicken Sausage and Veggies with Salad  - Haven't tried this one before but it looks easy and tasty.  Publix has a really good sun dried tomato chicken sausage in the Greenwise section I plan to use. I don't have high hopes Blaire will eat this one though. Might be an Annie's Mac & Cheese night for the picky toddler. Sigh...
Buffalo Turkey Burgers with Sweet Potato Fries - I use 99% lean ground turkey and add in some Frank's Red Hot Buffalo Sauce and a combo of blue cheese crumbles and shredded cheddar. I usually top mine with more cheese, lettuce and a smear of ranch dressing on the bun.  Alexia spicy sweet potato fries are our favorite. We do turkey burgers pretty often because it's something Blaire will eat too, though I'll leave the buffalo sauce out of hers.
Sausage & Veggie Pizza with Salad - I picked up a premade whole wheat crust at Trader Joe's and plan to top it with mozzarella cheese, and leftover sausage and veggies from Monday's dinner.

Goat Cheese, Chicken, Mushroom & Asparagus Pasta - The name's a mouthful, the pasta is delicious. This is one of my favorites and reappears on our menu often. I wish my kid ate vegetables but right now, it's a struggle. We usually have to go the "you have to try one bite" route. She'll eat this with the veggies picked out.
Summer Vegetable and Chicken Tostadas with Guacamole - Another repeat favorite. And while it's no longer summer, our stores are still full of zucchini.  I'll sub the fresh corn for some frozen roasted corn I picked up at Trader Joe's.  I sometimes add refried beans to these too. Yum. Another family friendly meal.
What are you cooking this week?

life lately

Life's busy, things are crazy, no time to update... yada, yada, yada. 
Now that that's out of the way, here's every random little thing I intended to mention in the past few weeks but just haven't had the chance.
First, still pregnant. I'm creeping up on 39 weeks and feeling pretty good.
Things are so different than last time. My feet have not inflated like a Macy's Thanksgiving Parade balloon - hallelujah! - and I can still wear my wedding rings. Yet somehow I'm more uncomfortable this time than I remember being with Blaire. Little man seems to be in my ribs and my hips at the same time, which leads me to believe he'll be starting for an NBA team shortly after birth.  Or maybe he's just a wild one. Either way, OUCH.
Sleep is good, even if it is usually interrupted by a few hours awake in the middle of the night. Cumulatively, it's enough so I can't complain. Particularly when I know I'll soon be getting much less of it. I'm about 15 pounds under the amount of weight I gained with Blaire, which is both great and baffling, as I'm eating everything in sight lately. 
Speaking of eating...
Pumpkin. I know. Not yet October but enough already, right?!  I'm not going to wax poetic about fall or scarves or pumpkin spice lattes (gag) any of that. It's 90 degrees here. But these pumpkin muffins are good. And delicious no matter the weather. All hail Deb of Smitten Kitchen.  Make them. (And add pepitas to the top. The salty crunch with the cinnamon sugar topping is heaven.)  

They're Blaire approved.
Speaking of my little monkey, it was color week at school. I tried, and failed, to snap a picture of her dressed in each day's color. But I got a few. As my friend Alyssa says, World's Okay-est Mom.

Today was "green day."  I was so tempted to send her dressed in punk with black eyeliner and a tshirt with "Down with the moral majority" scrawled on it in black marker. I resisted the urge, mostly at Brian's insistence. He also offered to do both drop off and pick up today. I think he was afraid I'd make a Dookie joke and get us kicked out. Square.
In other Blaire news, she's a big fan of Taylor Swift's new song and requests to "Shake It Off" on the regular.  I'm always happy to indulge because who doesn't love an impromptu dance party? I'm also hoping I can shake out the baby. So far, no luck. 
Girl's got moves. But no pants.
Switching gears... We've had some failures on the home front lately. A few projects that have gone wrong, another tree limb through our pool screen, and this:

A roof leak. I came home to find a puddle and a constant "drip, drip, drip" on the dresser in our master bedroom on Wednesday. When I was 40 weeks pregnant with Blaire, the compressor on our AC went out. I told Brian we can't have any more kids. Our house budget can't take the hit. 
Brian must have sensed the house craziness, busy work schedule, and being gigantically pregnant was taking a toll on me because he came home with this, out of the blue, which he picked out himself:
I think I'll keep him.
I've been reading some while up in the middle of the night and really enjoyed both of these books.

I'm always looking for something new to read so if you have recommendations, please share. If you're looking for something new to read or want to see what I'm reading now, you can find me on Goodreads, here.
I picked up some frozen tamales on my last trip to Trader Joe's and they were really good. I topped them with some enchilada sauce and cheese, threw together a black bean salad and called it dinner. It look all of 15 minutes.  Not to get all Sandra Lee on you but this was a darn tasty semi-homemade dinner.
I'm sure there's more to say but my pregnant brain can only retain so much. And I'm sure I've rambled quite enough anyway. Until next time... 

recipe week continues

Another easy weeknight supper recipe for you today. This one comes from Cooking Light. However, as originally written, it was anything but light. The original recipe called for 3/4 cup of half and half! They tried to lower the calorie count per serving by claiming the recipe makes 10 servings but those would be some seriously stingy servings. I made some changes to lighten this up but let's be serious, it's still pasta with a  creamy cheese sauce. It's a bit of splurge. But well worth it, in my opinion! What is life without carbs and cheese?

Creamy Pesto Chicken Pasta
adapted from Cooking Light
2 cups chopped rotisserie chicken
12 oz. uncooked pasta (I used rotini but any short pasta will do)
2 tablespoons butter
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 cups low-fat milk, divided (I would sub skim)
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/2 cup pesto
1/2 cup fat free half-and-half
1-2 cups shredded fresh Parmesan cheese, divided
1 pint halved grape tomatoes
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
salt and pepper, to taste

Cook pasta according to package directions. Reserve 1/4 cup of pasta cooking liquid, then drain. Set pasta aside.
Heat butter in a  saucepan over medium heat. Add garlic to pan; cook 1 minute, stirring occasionally. Combine 1/2 cup milk and flour in a small bowl, stirring with a whisk. Add milk mixture to pan, stirring constantly with a whisk. Stir in pesto. Gradually add remaining 1.5 cups milk and half-and-half, stirring constantly with a whisk. Cook until sauce thickens, stirring frequently. Add the reserved cooking liquid, if needed, and approximately 1 cup cheese (more or less - your preference). Stir until cheese melts; season sauce with salt and fresh cracked black pepper, to taste.
Add sauce, chicken, tomatoes, and basil to pasta, tossing well to coat. (Or dump everything in the saucepan you used to make the sauce, if it's big enough. Why wash another bowl?) Sprinkle with parmesan cheese to serve.