The Best Broccoli Salad

I love my vegetables but sadly, broccoli is not high up on my list of veggie favorites.

I don’t like the way it smells when you cook it and I don’t like the soggy texture when it’s cooked.

I LOVE raw broccoli. I love it even more in this tasty broccoli salad.

It’s a super easy way to get in some extra veggies.

Dressing:

  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons white wine vinegar

Salad:

  • 2 heads of broccoli (or two bags of frozen broccoli)
  • 3/4 cup raisins
  • 1/2 cup sunflower seeds
  • 1 small red onion
  • 12 slices of bacon (you can skip the meat if you don’t want to include it)

Note: You can add in nuts (peanuts or almonds) but I have a nut allergy so I skip this step.

How to Make It:

  1. Mix mayo, sugar and vinegar. Set aside.
  2. Cook bacon so it’s good and crispy and chop into bits.
  3. Cut broccoli, chop onion, and dressing.
  4. Boil 2 cups of water and quickly “dunk” the broccoli into the water (I do it in the strainer for no more than 30 seconds)… this makes the broccoli a little softer.
  5. Mix all ingredients in a large bowl.
  6. Let sit in fridge overnight so all the goodness mixes and soaks into the broccoli.

My Four Favorite One-Dish Chicken Dinners

Summer is almost over and our weekday routines are back in full force.

Here are five of my favorite one-dish dinners so you can avoid turning on the hot stove, get out of the kitchen and spend the spare time that you do have with your loved ones.

ONE: Crock Pot Rotisserie Chicken Noodle Soup 

This is one of my favorite things to make because it’s so easy and it makes SO much!

I get a rotisserie chicken for dinner. After we are done eating the bulk of the chicken, I take the leftover chicken and bones and toss them into a crock pot and cover it with water. I let this cook down for a few hours so the chicken falls off and it makes a nice broth.

After 3-4 hours I pull out the bones and toss in frozen vegetables, grains and noodles.

Let that cook until the noodles are tender an you’re done!

I really like a lot of seasoning in my soup so I add salt and pepper at the end.

For the picture below I did save some of the chicken breast and cut it up into cubes to dress it up a little.

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TWO: Crock Pot Chicken Tacos

This is SO easy. I like to purchase the Taco “Kit” that comes with the shells and seasoning. I use the amount of chicken listed on the seasoning packet and just put the chicken, seasoning and double the amount of water into the crockpot and let it cook for 8 hours (or a full work day) on low. Then when I get home it’s usually so tender that I can just stir the meat and it pulls apart.

If there is still some extra water in the crock pot I turn it up to high and let it sit for an hour and it usually evaporates.

THREE: Grilled Chicken 

My favorite way to make grilled chicken is to soak it for a few hours in Olive Garden Italian Dressing!

Then just place it on the grill and cook! I like to cook mine until it has some burnt spots (I think they make it taste the best!

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FOUR: Mom’s Chicken Pot Pie 

This recipe is something my mom has made for years! You can use anything you want for the crust – Phyllo Dough, Pie Crust, Crescent Rolls or Crushed up Crackers!

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Breastfeeding 101

I grew up in a family where breastfeeding wasn’t the norm and was maybe even a little frowned upon.

When I had my first baby I knew it was something I wanted to try and if it didn’t work out… formula it was.

Let me tell you… it’s NOT easy. You have to be prepared to give all of yourself to your little one on demand.

Here are some tips and tricks I learned along the way:

The First Few Weeks:

  • It won’t be easy. Try to wait it out until you have completed the first month and a half (that’s when it got a lot easier for me)
  • Wait until your little one is four weeks old to start pumping. No one told me this so I pumped from day one and my body didn’t regulate to my babies needs and I ended up with an oversupply
  • Never skip a feeding/pumping session unless you are trying to decrease your supply

Enjoy the Ride:

  • Have a support system. I joined the Milky Mama Facebook group and it made all the difference!
  • Set a goal
  • Don’t quit on the bad days
  • Meet with a Lactation Consultant
  • Get a handheld pump you can take with you so you aren’t chained to an outlet

Equipment:

  • Make sure your pump and all your pump parts are clean and dry
  • Ensure you have the correct flange size for your nipple
  • Use this for sore nipples

Foods that help increase milk supply:

To increase output when pumping:

  • Massage your breasts or use one of these nifty massagers

Stay Hydrated:

Freezing Your Stash:

  • Lay the bags flat when you freeze them and try to keep out any extra air – when you have a lot of milk stored up
  • If your milk tastes or smells like soap when you thaw it you might have high liapse (my son wouldn’t take any of the milk I made – you can prevent this by scalding your milk)

If you get Clogged Ducts:

  • Take Sunflower Lecithin
  • Use a heating pad (warm and moist is best) – try filling up a diaper with warm water and placing it on your breast or take a warm bath
  • Nurse as much as you can
  • Dangle Feed (get down on all fours and let your little one
  • I have heard stories about some moms having their significant other suck out the clog but I am yet to try this one…

Other Products to Try:

  • Use a Haakaa to catch milk from the other breast

Some Cool Things I Learned:

  • Your milk adjusts to your babies needs. The amount of fat, hormones and more change to align with babies needs in that moment.
  • Why do momma’s love to give kisses to their baby? When you kiss your little one you “sample” the bacteria on their skin and your body adjusts to meet babies needs!

Supplementing:

You might have to supplement at some point in time – make sure you are educated on your options. There are options. You can use formula or donor milk. Two resources for Donor Milk include:

  • Human Milk 4 Babies

When I Look in the Mirror I Don’t See Me

When I look in the mirror I don’t see me… I see a worn out momma.

I’ve been struggling as I adjust to my new role of mom. Constantly feeling like I’m having some kind of identity crisis.

Before the baby I was slim, on time, fully dressed/coordinated and even wore makeup. Looking back… I felt GOOD!!!

It’s hard to walk past a mirror and not recognize myself.

I’m learning to dress my new body. I’m trying to come to terms with the fact that my old favorite pair of jeans may never fit again. I’ve perfected the messy bun and I have one whole drawer dedicated to yoga pants.

My hair is the longest it’s ever been (thank you prenatal vitamins) but it’s falling out like crazy.

My body is sore from growing and birthing a human, my joints ache from rocking him and carrying him all the time and from crawling around on the ground playing.

My eyes have dark circles from the late nights. My face is fuller and the double chin hasn’t gone away yet.

My boobs are saggy and have stretch marks.

My stomach has a kangaroo pouch of skin that may never go away and my thighs have spider veins that look like a treasure map.

They say being a mom is hard but you never really know what that means until you live it. It’s so much more than “hard”.

I LOVE being a mom. I want to love my body. I want my son to see me at my best.

Stay tuned as I share all the tips and tricks I learn as I try to get back on track!

 

 

My Co-Sleeping Conundrum

It’s almost 10 p.m. and I’m still up (Baja Blast at 9:00 p.m. was not a good idea).

Tonight, I have co-sleeping on my mind.

When I had my son my anxiety was overwhelming (it still is but I’ve learned how to cope a little). That’s one thing no one tells you before you become a parent – how much you worry.

My son had a tiny choking incident in the hospital, which I am pretty sure is pretty common by the way the nursing staff reacted but it made my anxiety go through the roof. His first few months at home he had terrible reflux and would spit up like the exorcist randomly.

At first I made my decision because I was literally at my breaking point I was so exhausted and I didn’t have much help during the nights. I was secretly crying alone in the bathroom whenever I got a break and got a second alone. This momma needed sleep. I had been sleeping in the recliner with him on my chest for the first two months barricaded in by pillows. When he hit 12 pounds I decided I had to find a way to get him to sleep on his own without the fear of choking in the middle of the night. We tried to do three hour shifts which was miserable and my husband doesn’t do well without a solid 8 hours of sleep. We were exhausted and we were fighting all the time.

After a lot of research, I decided that it was time to move him into our bed. I could hear him and feel him breathing so I could react quickly if anything happened. My husband had lost his job two months before the baby was born and my maternity leave wasn’t paid so purchasing a $300 breathing monitor wasn’t an option.

I research and researched and research. I was certain I was going to make the wrong decision and everyone’s opinions didn’t help.

  • It’s a fairly common practice around the world
  • To me it seems pretty natural to comfort my tiny human who can’t walk, talk or react on his own in the middle of the night – developmentally, I don’t feel like he is ready to be all alone in a separate room
  • The naysayers’ only reasons for not having him in our room have to do with their personal opinions and sleep patterns (you won’t get any sleep, you don’t want him in your bed, etc.)
  • Practicing safe co-sleeping can actually reduce the chance of SIDS

As I lay here, next to Bradley in his cookie monster jammies I don’t regret my decision to bring him into our bed. Not for one second. I’ve gotten a lot of flack for it from friends and family (it will be harder to break the habit down the road, your doing him a disservice, etc).

The first night he slept in our bed – I slept too. I was a new person. I woke up in the morning ready to be the mom I wanted to be (not a zombie with a grudge).

I plan to transition him when he can call for me from the other room (if he’s ready).

He will only be little once and I’m not upset about the mid-night snuggles, tiny hand holding mine or the smell of baby on my sheets.

Let me know if anyone needs a brand new crib or baby monitor– because we aren’t using ours anytime soon…

If you are interested in co-sleeping/bed sharing here are a few resources:

  • Bedtiming
  • Sweet Sleep
  • Happiest Baby on the Block