This post was sponsored by NUK as part of an Influencer Activation for Influence Central, however all opinions expressed are my own.
Since I work from home, I am blessed that I can spend each day with my infant son and I am doubly blessed that I have been able to breast feed him. But there are those times when we need to bottle feed...appointments, date nights, that time I was really sick. Actually, he is getting really used to being bottle fed this weekend because I had to have an injection yesterday and I have to wait 48 hours to nurse him. I actually cried at the thought of not being able to nurse him for 48 hours, but it has been fine. Plus my husband has been helping with feedings which has been good bonding for both of them and has given me a break.
We have been using our new NUK Simply Natural Bottles and the transition to bottle feeding has been pretty smooth. The bottle design is closer to a natural breast shape than other bottles we have used in the past giving it a close-to-mom feel which is so important in fostering the feeding bonding which helps shape baby's well-being. I am not completely transitioning to bottle feeding, just when I need to, so I am glad to have bottles that promote a natural transition between breast and bottle.
I love this picture! He's so relaxed. Just chillin and enjoying his bottle. He really does seem to like his new Simply Natural bottles with a nipple design that is modeled after the shape of a real breast. It also moves flexibly to ensure a continuous latch and is made with extra soft silicone so that it feels more realistic.
NUK Simply Natural Bottles have up to nine nipple holes, just like mom’s breast providing a more natural feeding experience. Plus, there are three different flow rates, so the bottle grows with my baby. We found the nipples with six holes are best suited for our five month old and as he grows, he will transition to the nipples with nine holes.
Even the nipple shape is a more natural shape.
My five year old loved helping feed the baby with our new bottles.
He was so excited when the baby grabbed the bottle and fed himself.
We really like our new NUK Simply Natural bottles. I love that they are easy to clean and have a simple air vent instead of lots of tubes and extra pieces to wash. My husband wished that they wear curved so he did not have to recline the baby when feeding him. When I nurse the baby, he is lying next to me so this didn't bother me. I hold the baby in a reclining position when bottle feeding just like I would when nursing. I love the natural feel of these bottles and think they are a great choice for transitioning from breast to bottle feeding or for occasional bottle feeding.
For more information visit NUK Simply Natural.
This is one of our favorite desserts ever and since I made an apple crisp last week, I thought it was time to update the photos for this old favorite recipe.
This apple crisp is truly amazing. You can taste a hint of citrus which complements the apples and sweetness perfectly. Honestly, I think it's a little too sweet, but my husband likes the sugary crunchy coating just the way it is. If you are sugar conscience (we really need to work on using less sugar too) you can easily reduce the sugar and try using some coconut sugar as a substitute for some or all of the granulated sugar.
My husband likes his apple crisp unadulterated. I like it served warm with vanilla ice cream. However you like it, this is seriously good stuff. Good enough for company, good enough for potlucks and it serves a crowd. But don't worry if you don't have a crowd to feed, you can easily halve the recipe and bake in a 9 X 9 square pan. This apple crisp will keep nicely in the fridge for several days. You can also prepare ahead and refrigerate to bake later in the day or the next day. I do give myself about an hour to prepare. Prepping the apples and blending the topping takes a little time and effort, but the results are completely worth it.
I think my old photo circa 2013 still deserves a place here on the blog.
4 pounds baking apples
1 tsp. dried orange peel (sold in spices)
1 tsp. dried lemon peel (sold in spices)
2 tablespoons orange juice or apple juice
2 tablespoons lemon juice (in a pinch, you can use lime juice)
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg or just grate some whole nutmeg
For the topping:
1 1/2 cups flour
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1 cup oatmeal
1/2 pound cold butter, cubed (2 sticks)
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter a 9 X 14 by 2-inch oval baking dish. (A 9 X 13 rectangular baking dish will work just fine too.)
2. Peel, core, and slice the apples. Combine the apples with the zests, juices, sugar, and spices. Pour into your buttered baking dish.
3. To make the topping, combine the flour, sugars, salt, oatmeal, and cold butter in a large bowl. Use a pastry blender or two butter knives to cut the butter into the dry ingredients until the mixture is crumbly and the butter is the size of peas. Sprinkle evenly over the apples.
4. Bake for about an hour or until the apple filling bubbles and the crisp topping is golden brown.
Adapted from a Barefoot Contessa recipe.
I received this product for free from Moms Meet (momsmeet.com), May Media Group LLC, who received it directly from the manufacturer. As a Moms Meet blogger, I agree to use this product and post my honest opinion on my blog. The opinions posted are my own.
Have you heard of Green Chef? It's an organic meal kit delivery service with pre-measured and mostly prepped ingredients. You select your dietary and delivery preferences.
You can choose from:
2-Person Plan (3 dinners a week for 2 people)
• Omnivore: Crave variety? This diverse, flexible menu has meat,
seafood, and vegetarian dinners.
• Carnivore: Meat and seafood lovers, dig in. Every dinner includes a land or sea protein plus veggies.
• Gluten-Free: Always gluten-free and flavor-full, with meat, seafood, and vegetarian dinners.
• Vegetarian: More than just salads, every dinner makes veggies the star in unique, delicious ways.
• Paleo: Eat like an epicurean caveman. This paleo menu is rich in fresh produce and proteins.
• Vegan: Plant-based just got better. An innovative menu with natural, specialty ingredients.
• Family Plan (2 dinners a week for a family of 4)
• Omnivore or Carnivore
We chose the carnivore family plan (2 dinners a week for a family of 4). Watch our unboxing video to see what it is like to get Green Chef delivered to your door.
We were sent all of the ingredients with the recipe cards to make lemon-chive salmon with dill-roasted red potatoes and mixed green salad and Italian meatballs and orzo. The ingredients are color coded to match the recipe card they coordinate with. (I didn't realize this until writing this post, but it sure does make it easy.)
Both meals were fantastic and we were able to make them in under 40 minutes. Our absolute favorite meal was the lemon-chive salmon (pictured above) It was incredible! The potatoes were perfectly cooked and seasoned, the salad was delicious plus it was fun using ingredients we don't normally use, and the salmon was so tender and flavorful. Luckily our kids ate dinner at church the night we made this because we finished it all ourselves. This meal is amazing and I would order it again, but not to feed a family of four. I think it is best proportioned to feed two to three people.
The second meal we tried was the Italian meatballs and orzo made with cremini mushrooms, lacinato kale, tomato sauce, and fresh herbs. This meal was really good too and expanded our horizons a bit. I have never cooked with kale and was hesitant to do so, but did so that I could follow the recipe exactly and share this experience with you honestly. To our surprise we didn't notice any strong flavors from the kale. It blended in nicely with the recipe which was quite tasty. I thought this recipe was a little more involved than the salmon, but was still fairly quick to prepare. It took right around 40 minutes. The meatballs were even better the next day as leftovers and did make enough to feed a family of four.
Green Chef meal kit delivery service is an easy way to simplify making healthy meals at home. Recipes and all of the ingredients are sent directly to your door. I love trying new things so making recipes I have never made before was a lot of fun. My husband helped make the meatballs and we enjoyed our time cooking together. One of my favorite things about the meal kits is all of the fresh produce and herbs. I don't usually cook with fresh herbs, but feel inspired to use them more often. I just planted some basil and it is already about two inches high. If you want an easy way to eat healthier and expand your culinary horizons, give Green Chef a try.
New customers save $50 off your first box through my link at Green Chef.
This post was sponsored by Align as part of an Influencer Activation for Influence Central and all opinions expressed in my post are my own. #AlignJr, #IC, #ad
With the start of the new year, we think about helping our families get healthy. One often overlooked aspect of this is digestive health. Busy mornings, hectic schedules, diet and changes in routine can disrupt a child's natural balance. Like most families, our schedule is busy too, with church and school activities. We sometimes have to grab a quick fast food meal or eat sandwiches on the go which doesn't help with maintaining digestive health. Things are about to get even more hectic with Spring sports starting. Two of the boys are signed up for t-ball already and if we do soccer and wrestling again this year we will be busy almost every night. I prepare most of our meals which we eat together as a family so sports season really messes up our routine. Thankfully, there are probiotics like new Align Jr. which is formulated specifically for children ages six and up to help them achieve digestive harmony*.
Recently, my kids tried the new Align Jr. probiotic supplement chewables from the makers of Align. We have been using probiotics for a long time, but it hasn't always been easy to find products made specifically for kids. My children still have trouble swallowing pills so it is hard to get them to take some medicines or supplements. Plus I want the products they use to be formulated for their younger and smaller systems. I love that Align Jr. probiotics for children have no artificial sweeteners and no artificial colors. Align Jr. probiotic supplements are easy to chew and ours came in a cherry smoothie flavor. I tried them too and they do taste pretty good. My seven year old even said, "they taste kind of like cotton candy".
Save $5 on Align and Align Jr. here.
My kids eat a large variety of foods since they eat everything we eat, but they also indulge in snacks and sweets which are not always healthy. One way to help keep a balance of good bacteria is to use probiotics. Probiotics are good bacteria that are essential for healthy digestion. Align, the #1 Doctor and Gastroenterologist-recommended probiotic brand‡ is made specifically for kids age 6-12 years old, making it easier to provide probiotics for your kids.
For more information visit Align Jr..
ǂ Among gastroenterologists and doctors who recommended a brand of probiotic in an AlphaImpactRx 2016 Survey.
Align partnered with bloggers, such as me, to get the word out about its great product benefits. As part of this program, I received compensation for my time. Align believes that consumers and bloggers are free to form their own opinions and share them in their own words. Align’s policies align with WOMMA Ethics Code, Federal Trade Commission (FTC) guidelines and social media engagement recommendations.
Last year the boys had a Dr. Seuss dress up day at school to celebrate Dr. Seuss's birthday. Since it is time to celebrate again I thought I would share their costumes.
Our oldest decided to dig this homemade GACK costume out of the costume dress-up box.
He wore this years ago when he was in preschool and was still able to fit into it.
We made a new Green Eggs and Ham costume for our second son. Mostly my husband who is quite artistic made this costume. He painted cardboard to look like a skillet, then we made a form for the green ham. I think we made it out of newspaper covered with green tissue paper. The eggs are made of white paper with green tissue paper yolks. The eggs and ham were taped to the board with packing tape and stayed on really well. They survived a whole school day and I think we still have this costume somewhere.
The yarn holding the costume up was taped to the back of the board and broke during the school day so he didn't wear it the whole day, but I think he made it through the hallway parade. He loved this costume and it was a fun project.
The boys had such fun being a part of the Dr. Seuss birthday celebration. Get ready to celebrate with your favorite Dr. Seuss stories on March 2nd!
I don't know what it is about instagram, but I love it. I have only been (really) using it for a few months and know lots of people are not on instagram so I thought I would share some of my favorite pics. I post lots of pictures of the kids and our lives outside of Home Ec @ Home, so Mom you should love this!
Pretty excited about this, I just figured out how to add a caption that shows up when you hover the mouse over each picture. So hover to see what I have to say:) If you want to follow me on instagram, you can here.
Let me know if you are on instagram. I would love to see your posts!
My kids will eat anything. It amazes me sometimes. You should see them at a Chinese buffet, plates piled high with crayfish, mussels, crab legs, prawns, and sometimes even frog legs. They will just about try anything. It is probably because we have always given them the same foods we eat and we eat a large variety of foods.
You would think mealtime is always a breeze with kids who eat anything, but it's not. Crunchy tacos meant food crumbling beneath their little hands, meat and toppings falling all over the place and of course meltdowns and the inevitable waterworks. Being a lover of crunchy tacos and easy dinners I figured out a way to enjoy tacos without the all the drama.
By stuffing and baking the tacos before serving, everything stays neat and tidy inside the taco shells. The cheese melts and helps hold the meat/onion/tomato mixture in the shells.
You end up with a pan of ready-to-go kid friendly crunchy tacos. These would also be great for a buffet with a topping bar. This has become one of our favorite busy night meals. So easy and kid friendly!
I have used stand and stuff and regular taco shells for these baked tacos and the stand and stuff are the easiest to use. Serve with your favorite toppings. Pictured lettuce, sour cream, kumato tomatoes (so yummy!), and homemade guacamole. I should note that I don't like heavily taco seasoned meat so I serve mine flavored simply with onion, cumin, salt and pepper. If you like taco seasoning in your meat, feel free to add.
Easy Baked Beef Tacos
1 box (10) self-standing taco shells
1 lb. lean ground beef
1 onion, diced
½ tsp. ground cumin
Fresh ground salt & pepper
1 tomato, diced
Shredded colby/jack cheese
1. Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees F.
2. If you like, grease a 9 X 13 baking pan with cooking spray to prevent any runaway ingredients from sticking to the pan. You can also skip this step. Taco shells will not stick to the pan.
3. Place taco shells in baking pan.
4. Brown beef and onion in skillet. Add cumin, salt, and pepper.
5. Add tomatoes and cook 2-3 minutes.
6. Fill taco shells generously with meat mixture.
7. Top with shredded cheese then bake for about 10 minutes until cheese is melted and tacos are hot.
Serve with your favorite taco toppings like guacamole, salsa, lettuce, diced tomatoes, cilantro, and sour cream.
Makes 10 large tacos
This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #WonderfulYourWay #CollectiveBias #ad The following content is intended for readers who are 21 or older.
Ever have a simple recipe that was so good you could serve it for special occasions? This is one of those recipes. I love the flavor of this traditional penne casserole with the added twist of fresh spinach baked right in. The spinach adds a dimension and freshness that compliments the pasta, cheese and sauce and is truly delicious.
To make my favorite Spinach and Cheese Penne Casserole I headed to Kroger to get the ingredients. I selected Barilla® Classic Blue Box Penne because it is an authentic Italian brand that I trust as a quality ingredient to make our special "Wonderful Your Way" "date night in" meal spectacular.
This may make me sound like some kind of crazy grocery store groupee, but I really, really love my local Kroger store. Even though it is a chain, it feels like a small town store. Everyone (and I mean this literally) is so friendly. We have lived in our small town for about a year and I feel like I know most of the employees at Kroger. My favorite cashier is the sweetest lady, Barbara, who dotes on my children every time we see her. The other day my five year old told me he wants to work at Kroger when he is older so he can see me all the time. Guess that means I spend a little too much time at the store. (LOL)
Making time for date nights is important in a relationship, but let's face it, sometimes it is easier said than done. With so much going on in our busy lives (like caring for four children including a newborn), making plans and hiring a sitter can sometimes seem a bit overwhelming.
With a few simple tips, you can still have a date night "in", saving yourself a lot of stress and money in the process.
A simple, romantic date night table setting using things I already had. I coordinated some red patterned paper place mats with a black tablecloth for a festive Valentine's Day look. I served Spinach and Cheese Penne Casserole with a basic lettuce, tomato, and basil salad. You can pair with a favorite wine or sparkling juice (pictured: sparkling cherry juice) and an easy homemade or store bought dessert.
For dessert, I made this easy slow cooker chocolate cake a few days before and froze a few slices to keep them fresh. I then cubed the cake and layered it with homemade whipped cream and fresh berries in some fancy dessert glasses. So simple and yet sophisticated.
6 Easy Tips for a Fabulous Date Night In:
As you can see this recipe makes a lot of food. Awesome if you have a big family like we do. If you don't you can halve it. (Instructions at the bottom of the recipe.) Leftovers are great too! One of my favorite things about this recipe is that you can make it earlier in the day or even the day before and refrigerate to bake later. If you want to get a little fancy, garnish with some fresh basil leaves after baking.
Spinach and Cheese Penne Casserole
16 oz. Barilla Classic Blue Box Penne
2 (15 oz.) containers ricotta cheese
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese, divided
2 (24 oz) jars Barilla pasta sauce
5 oz. package fresh Spinach
4 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
1. Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain pasta and set aside.
2. Combine the egg, ricotta cheese, and 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese.
3. Spread about 1 1/2 cups pasta sauce in a greased 9 X 13 X 3 pan or a really big casserole dish. (A 9 X 13 X 2 will work, but it will be up to the top of the pan.)
4. Top with a third of the cooked pasta, half of the ricotta mixture, half of the spinach, 1 1/3 cup mozzarella cheese, 1 T. Parmesan cheese, and 1 1/2 cups pasta sauce.
5. Repeat layers of pasta, ricotta mixture, spinach and mozzarella cheese.
6. Sprinkle with 2 T. Parmesan cheese.
7. Then top with remaining pasta, sauce, mozzarella cheese and Parmesan cheese.
8. Cover with foil and bake at 375 degrees F. for 45-50 minutes or until heated through. (Serves 12)
You can easily halve this recipe and bake it in a 9 X 9 baking pan. If you cut the recipe in half, still use one egg as a binding agent in the ricotta mixture, but halve all other ingredients.
Need some more recipe inspiration? Head to Barilla for more "Wonderful Your Way" recipe ideas. .
This is kind of a flashback post...redoing the photos, so you may have seen these brownies on the blog before. This is the first recipe I ever made with coconut oil back when using coconut oil was new to me and I wasn't quite sure when to use it. I now use coconut oil in place of vegetable oil in most recipes and find that it substitutes easily without compromising flavor or texture.
These brownies are my favorite. I love the hint of coconut flavor. It is subtle, yet noticeable. They are so easy to prepare and way better than a brownie mix. Delicious on their own or with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. These would make a lovely treat for Valentine's Day!
1/2 cup coconut oil, melted
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa
1 cup sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
1/2 cup flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 to 3/4 cup chocolate or peanut butter chips
1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
2. Grease an 8 inch square pan.
3. In a medium bowl combine melted coconut oil and cocoa and stir until cocoa is dissolved. (I melt the coconut oil in the microwave for about 25 seconds.)
4. Add sugar and mix well.
5. Add eggs and stir until well combined.
6. Stir in vanilla, flour and salt until you no longer see any flour (do not overmix).
7. Fold in chips.
8. Spread in pan and bake for approximately 25 minutes.
9. DO NOT OVER-BAKE — You do not want your brownies to come out dry. Adjust time/temp accordingly for your oven. If you do the knife/toothpick test, it should come out with moist crumbs, not clean.
10. Cool completely before cutting into squares.
This recipe is slightly adapted from coconutoilcooking.com.
I often double this recipe and bake it in a 9 X 13 pan. I haven't tried it yet, but you could try using coconut sugar in place of the granulated sugar.
Hi there. It has been a while, hasn't it. We made it through not one, but two surgeries for my husband over the past couple of weeks. I know it is a tough recovery. I had sinus surgery in 2003 and I missed two weeks of work, but he really had a tough recovery. After a week and a half of misery, he had to have a second procedure and is now on the mend and feeling better.
So what does this have to do with soup, you ask? A lot actually. All he wanted to eat after the surgeries was soft foods like mashed potatoes and soup. After you have nasal surgery, you can only breathe through your mouth until the bandages are removed. Which means that breathing when you eat is a challenge, hence the desire for soup.
So we had a lot of soup. Good thing it's winter and we like soup so much. This creamy cauliflower soup is one I'm glad to add to my repertoire. It's creamy, hearty, delicious and I love serving my family a meal that's chock full of vegetables and wonderful flavor.
So confession time...See those little black flecks in the cauliflower soup, those are burnt onions. I decided to go ahead and photograph anyway because a.) the soup is fantastic even with burnt onions and b.) we do "real" here. I make food for my family and do photo shoots in our home (no studio here and I shoot for less than 10 minutes, maybe a dozen shots if I'm lucky) and if our soup has burnt onions we eat it anyway. Our house is busy with four kids so sometimes I burn things. It's all part of the beautiful, messy life we lead and I wouldn't trade it for anything.
So if you try your hand at making some creamy cauliflower soup, I'm sure you won't burn the onions like I did. But if you do enjoy it, burnt onions and all.
Creamy Cauliflower Soup
1 sweet onion, diced
2 carrots, grated
2 ribs celery, sliced
2 cloves garlic minced
10 T. butter, divided
Splash cooking Sherry, (optional)
1 medium head cauliflower, chopped or 24 oz. bag cauliflower florets
5 Cups chicken broth or stock
1 T. dried parsley
1 tsp. fresh ground pepper
½ tsp. dried basil
¼ tsp. Creole seasoning, (optional)
6 T. flour
1 Cup milk
½ Cup whipping cream
1. Melt 4 T. butter in a Dutch oven or large pot over medium heat. Saute onion, carrots, celery and garlic until tender.
2. If you like, add a splash of cooking Sherry to deglaze the pan. Add cauliflower, chicken broth, parsley, salt, pepper, basil, and Creole seasoning. Simmer covered for about 30 minutes.
3. While soup is simmering, melt 6 T. butter in a 2 qt. saucepan. Stir in 6 T. flour, then milk and whipping cream and cook and stir to make a thick white sauce.
4. Use a potato masher to mash up the soup, breaking the cauliflower into smaller pieces. Then stir in the white sauce and continue to cook and stir until thickened.
Welcome to Home Ec @ Home
Hi, I'm Faith, a former Family and Consumer Science (Home Economics) Teacher turned work at home Mom, bringing you family friendly, homemade recipes and homemaking tips to simplify your life. Join me on my homemaking and mothering journey.
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