Saturday, June 18, 2016

Friday PIE Day: South of the Border

It's been a long time since I've done a Friday Pie Day post, but this recipe I made last night was too good not to share!

When the Mister's grandparents downsized to an apartment last year, they were kind enough to let us come by their house and grab some goodies before they sold/gave away what they weren't taking with them.  One of the items I claimed was a cookbook published by the Greenville, South Carolina, Junior League in 1988 that looked promising.  I adapted this pie from a recipe I found in that book.

- 1 pound ground beef (I usually cook with ground chicken or turkey, but I went with 93% lean beef this time, and it was yummy!)
- 4 7-inch flour tortillas
- Olive oil
- 1 15-ounce can tomato sauce
- 1 1/2 teaspoons cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
- 1 clove garlic, crushed
- 1 small red onion, chopped
- 1 6-ounce can green chilies, chopped
- 6 ounces prepared guacamole
- Monterrey Jack cheese, sour cream, and guacamole for topping

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Brown meat in skillet and drain.  Place the meat to the side, rinse the skillet, then soften the tortillas by frying them for 5 seconds on each side in 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Place the tortillas to the side, rinse the skillet again, then combine tomato sauce, onion, garlic, cumin, and chili powder in the skillet.  Bring the sauce to a boil, then reduce heat and allow it to simmer for 10 minutes, uncovered.  Remove 1/4 cup of sauce from the skillet and place to the side as well.  Add half of the chilies and all of the ground beef into the larger portion of sauce and stir.  Grease a 9-inch pie pan, then begin building your pie in this order -

- one tortilla on bottom
- 1/2 of meat mixture
- another tortilla
- guacamole and remaining green chilies
- another tortilla
- remaining meat mixture
- last tortilla
- 1/4 cup of reserved sauce

Bake uncovered for 45 minutes, slice like a pie, and serve immediately with desired toppings.  Enjoy!  I served ours with refried black beans and Mexican fiesta corn.

The original recipe calls for cheese to be baked into the pie in the guacamole layer and added to the top during the last five minutes of baking, kind of like a Southwestern lasagna, but I'm avoiding dairy right now as we think Liesl may have a slight intolerance.  The Mister didn't mind just having cheese as a topping, though!

Recipe adapted from Uptown Down South by Greenville Junior League Publications

Monday, June 13, 2016

Watch Liesl Grow! - FOUR MONTHS

(I have been told it looks like she has a bug on her head in this photo.  Don't be alarmed - it's a bow, not a large insect.)

New milestones:

  • Holding her head up constantly and steadily
  • Laughing a little! - it's more like a deep chuckle, and it's still pretty rare.
  • Doing mini push-ups during tummy time
  • Bearing her weight on her legs when we help her balance (standing up in our laps is her preferred way of being held currently.)
  • Grasping all of her toys and bringing them to her mouth
  • Reaching out for her toys and things we are holding
  • ALWAYS playing with her feet
  • Rolling in all directions and traveling this way to toys she wants on the floor
  • Recognizing her name some of the time
  • Trying to reach out for objects in front of her while on her tummy, but this mostly just frustrates her
  • Reaching occasionally for the dogs but not reaching for us quite yet

Liesl loves:

  • Chit-chatting and making noises back and forth with us
  • Her swing, her vibrating bouncy chair, and her play mat
  • Her bouncer/baby gym for short periods of time (she's not sure about the doorway bouncer just yet.)
  • Looking out the window
  • Looking at herself in the mirror or on the phone camera
  • Her early stage Sophie the Giraffe, and her duckie and piggie "lovies"
  • Being held
  • Being sung to
  • Rocking!
  • Water bottles and cups and watching us drink out of them
  • Bath time (I'm hoping to take her to the pool soon!)

Liesl does not like:

  • Being put down after being held
  • Loud, startling noises
  • Reading books when she's sleepy
  • Feeling like she's alone (e.g. when we walk into another room when she's in her bouncy chair)
  • Napping anywhere other than her swing or in a moving car

How is Liesl already four and a half months old??  This past month is when I've really started to see her grow and change.  She has so much personality!  She makes it clear when she's happy or sleepy or content or frustrated or hungry.  Her sleeping has changed quite a bit - she's back to waking up once during the night, usually around 4-5 am.  We've moved her bedtime up to between 9-10 pm, as we feel like she's much more tired than she used to be.  My plan is to continue to make it earlier and earlier until I feel like she seems well-rested. She naps for about 45 minutes every two to three hours, but she has to be moving (rocking, in her swing, or in the car) to stay asleep during the day.  The only time she sleeps while not in motion is at night.  All those naps are necessary right now because we can tell her brain and body are growing like crazy!  Every day I notice a new skill or see that she understands something that she used to not.  She doesn't seem like an infant anymore but like a little person who is coming to terms with the world around her and who loves us and wants to be with us all the time.  I'm so enjoying watching her.  I know we're in a sweet spot right now where she's learning so much but can't get herself into too much trouble.  : ) The worst thing she can do is spill my drink on my lap.  Once she starts crawling, exploring, and pulling on dogs' ears, our world is going to become much more interesting!

Her hair and eyes are definitely strawberry blonde and blue at the moment.  I've read that red hair and blue eyes are the rarest combination.  Who knows if they'll stay that way, though!  I see lots of sunscreen in our future!

Saturday, June 11, 2016

Making a (Temporary) Rental House a Home: PART ONE

Sorry for the brief hiatus!  We've been busy, busy bees cleaning, organizing, decorating, and taking care of little Liesl.  My parents drove out from NC to bring us the doggies and my car the weekend before last, so the whole gang's here now.  Hank and Luellen's presence definitely makes this house feel more like home!  During the weekend my parents were here, we were able to get a ton done as far as hanging things on the walls (including some pretty open shelves and a super cool cedar wood photo display the Mister made!) and pulling this place together.  And since then, Chris has been on quite the DIY kick - building Lulu a custom dog bed, re-purposing a few pieces of our old furniture, and covering some stencil art I hated in the kitchen.  Last Thursday, we drove to Oklahoma City and purchased a beautiful leather sectional with which we are both very much in love.  It's our first piece of "grown-up" furniture that wasn't purchased second-hand or at Target/Ikea.  Our rental house is really starting to come together and we don't have anything to complain about here other than some large spiders (an exterminator is coming Monday!) and that the backyard gets REALLY muddy when it rains (and, consequently, so do the dogs).

My plan was to take these photos in some lovely natural light, but an Oklahoma thunderstorm rolled in as soon as I got Liesl down for a nap.  So they're a little dark!

I could have moved Liesl's toys and things for these photos, but that seemed inauthentic. As you can probably tell, we've invested most of our time and effort so far in the living room.  The only item left is a rocking chair that's on its way from Ikea.  The rocker we're using right now is an older one from my great grandfather's house that we're worried we're putting too much wear and tear on - Liesl prefers to be rocked with a lot of force! : ) We'll be moving that one into the guest room for lighter use.

I had hoped to include some photos of the unfinished rooms as well (the guest room and our bedroom), but Liesl woke up before I could finish because the storm turned off her swing, so I'll have to show those to you some other time!  Chris put together the crib this evening and started our new platform bed, and those rooms should be finished soon.  I'm super excited about our new master bedroom (that I'm working a nursery area into as well)!

Thanks for checking in!  Hope you're having a great weekend!