Lenten Meal Plan Monday #3: A Linkup!

Have you seen all of the wonderful recipes linked up below? 
They are incredible. 
I am enjoying my meatless cooking much more. 
Thanks to all of these wonderful recipes, I've even had the desire to go "meatless" more than one day per week! 

My youngest brother came home from college and shared his risotto recipe with us. No, he isn't in culinary school. He's dating a girl who only eats chicken. So, he learned to make something yummy, besides chicken. 

Now, y'all can benefit from it!

Little Brother's Mushroom Risotto

2 tbsp butter
2 cups of sliced mushrooms
6 cups vegetable stock
1/3 cup white onion diced
1 3/4 arborio rice
1/3 cup grated parmesan cheese

Bring stock to a simmer in a saucepan. 
Melt the butter in a medium sized sauce pan. 
Add mushrooms and cook for about five minutes
Add rice and stir to combine.
Add simmering stock, 1/2 cup at a time. 
Stir to keep the rice from sticking. 
Don't stop stirring. 
When the stock is almost completely gone, add another 1/2 cup. 
Repeat until you're out of stock. 
At the end, stir in the parmesan cheese. 
Serve immediately.

Well, I'd love to see what you've been cooking this Lenten season so feel free to LINK UP!

And now for the linkup!

1- Link-Up any old or new meatless meals you have posted about.
2- The hosts have the right to delete any links that are not appropriate for the linkup.
3- Feel free to embed Pinterest Recipes or Link to Recipes you have found online.
4- Feel free to just blog about what you ate or what you are planning on eating.
Have fun and have a blessed Lent!

Because everyone needs more cuteness

My computer isn't being too kind these days so I haven't been able to get my photos up...

we celebrated Valentine's Day ...

we went to the Cradle of Aviation ....
and the Carousel ...

but my computer ate the photos....

so we went to the Aquarium ...

7 Quick Takes

Charlie is 9 months old today! 
I can't believe how quickly he is growing up! 
We have his 9 month visit on Monday. I can't wait to see how big he's gotten. 

It's Lent. 
It's Friday. 
I want a Bacon Cheese Burger. 
Yes, I had one yesterday but, for some reason on Fridays in Lent I crave Bacon Cheese Burgers.
If you are looking for a meatless meal idea, check out our link up!

Panera really impressed me today. 
I had a gift card from my MIL (thanks!) so, I decided to grab lunch out. 
I chose a tomato and mozzarella panini and broccoli and cheddar soup. Based on my first choice, the clerk behind the counter asked if I was choosing vegetarian options. I said yes and explained about how it is Lent and as a Catholic I abstain from meat. Interestingly, the broccoli and cheddar soup at Panera has chicken broth in it. He was concerned that I might be "sabotaging my Lent thing." 

 I've been growing garlic in my kitchen from a clove that sprouted some green. It is kind of neat to watch. It would be much more fun if Charlie were older to join in the fun. Anyway, I'm really enjoying it for the time being. I need to get some dirt soon since they have roots. 

Interested in what else you can grow from your refrigerator? Check this site out for 15 foods you can grow from scraps! 

Looking ahead to Easter, here are some natural ways to dye your eggs! 

I took Charlie to the Aquarium yesterday. He seemed to really enjoy watching the fish. I think he might have thought that the tanks were really big televisions. But, it was nice to be out of the house a bit. The Long Island Aquarium is super tiny in comparison to the Long Beach Aquarium or the Baltimore Aquarium. 

What are your thoughts on taking little ones to art museums? 
We have several nearby and the library has passes. I just don't want to offend anyone by taking Charlie. 

Linking up to Conversion Diary

Baby, it's cold outside!

This is one of those mornings where you just don't feel like crawling out from under the covers. Nevertheless, the hubby had to get off to work and Charlie was wide awake and bouncing around bright and early.

We've been on such a weird schedule the last two weeks because the hubby has gotten some vacation days. Last week, he only worked three days and this week he is working two/three days depending on some class he has to take in the city.

What am I up to? Well, I'm snuggled up with my little man who despite waking up with the sun is down for a morning nap at 9 am. Unfortunately, I left my amazing cup of coffee downstairs and I just not willing to climb out from under my blanket.

Despite the freezing cold weather and the snow still on the ground from two weekends ago, I know that these cold days are on they're way out.

Spring will be coming soon and Charlie will be getting bigger so, these delightful, long naps will also be disappearing. It is nice to take some time to enjoy him as a baby.

Last week, I received an e-mail from a formula company telling me that (if I were using formula) it would be time to switch him to TODDLER formula because he will be 9 months old on Friday. You have got to be kidding me?! My sweet, little, baby, boy a toddler?!?! No. Not yet.

We are not rushing things.

For now, he is still my baby who needs to be swaddled and nursed to sleep, who doesn't want to sleep anywhere but in momma's bed, and who loves snuggling with momma.

I know he has two teeth now, crawls, and cruises along furniture *sob*.

But, he is still so much a baby.

linked to Titus 2 Tuesdays

Lenten Meal Plan Monday #2: A Linkup!

Woohoo! We made it through our first week of Lent. It wasn't so bad... right? How's everyone doing? What did you cook last week?

Last week was filled with lots of FISH! On Wednesday, we had fried cod as our main meal. On Friday, we had salmon and pasta with veggies. I happen to really enjoy fish so it was a nice change from the normal meat filled meals. However, I must say that Thursday became "Eatallthemeat-day". I was dying for a Bacon Cheeseburger on Friday!!

In our effort to eat more whole/paleo foods, we've been experimenting with using shredded coconut in lieu of bread crumbs. It makes things so yummy. Twice we've used it with shrimp and it was absolutely WONDERFUL. Apparently you can even use it to bread Talapia! (I definitely will be trying this on Friday.)

Well, I'd love to see what you've been cooking this Lenten season so feel free to LINK UP!

And now for the linkup!

1- Link-Up any old or new meatless meals you have posted about.
2- The hosts have the right to delete any links that are not appropriate for the linkup.
3- Feel free to embed Pinterest Recipes or Link to Recipes you have found online.
4- Feel free to just blog about what you ate or what you are planning on eating.
Have fun and have a blessed Lent!

Valentine's Day Books and Crafts for Your Little One

A few weeks ago, I started blogging for Syosset Patch. Here is my Valentine's Day post:

One of his favorite things is to rip up tissue paper. This is perfect for these adorable little heart suncatchers I found the other day. One of the reasons I like this activity is that he can do it with minimal help and once you have the supplies you can adapt it for just about any holiday. 

Handprints/footprints are one of my favorite ways to remember holidays. They are also a super cute way to make a card for a friend or loved one. (Just remember to paint only one hand at a time.) 

During my student teaching we used this poem on the inside (I don't remember where it came from.): 
This isn't just a Valentine
As you can plainly see.
It is of course my handprint
Which is a part of me.
It's bigger than the last one
And smaller than the next will be.
It's given to you with lots of love
From sweet and precious me!  

If your little one will only sit still for one handprint, you can still make it special by putting a heart shaped sticker in the middle of his/her hand. It will act as a stencil. The link above has an adorable poem to go with it. 

If you are REALLY brave and/or have an older child, you can make this sweet Valentine's Day tree! You paint your child's forearm and hand brown to make the tree trunk and branches. Then you let paint their fingers red/pink. The fingerprints can made to form heartshaped leaves. 

After you've painted and made a mess, it will certainly be time for some Valentine's Day stories! Here are some of our favorites: 
Where is Baby's Valentine? By Karen Katz
Happy Valentine's Day Mouse By Laura Numeroff and Felicia Bond
Snuggle Puppy by Sandra Boynton
The Story of Valentine's Day by Nancy Skarmeas and Stacy Pickett-Venturi 
A Book of Hugs by Dave Ross and Laura Rader
Hope you have a Happy Valentine's Day! 

Ash Wednesday: Lent Begins

As a child, I attended Catholic school and lived in a relatively Catholic community therefore, Ash Wednesday wasn't really a big deal. Everyone went to Mass during school and ate pizza for dinner.  I was never asked why I had ashes on my forehead. 

Yesterday, I heard that a local public school teacher brings the Catholic children to Mass during their lunch period to receive Ashes. I can image these children returning to school and being asked about them. Here is a great sample dialogue to help them respond in an appropriate manner.

I plan to take Charlie to Mass to receive ashes. Receiving ashes is not like receiving communion. Ashes are considered a sacramental (a symbol) therefore Charlie can have them placed on his forehead like holy water.

I found it interesting that the pastor of our church indicated that people call to find out exactly what time the ashes are being distributed. People have no interest in going to Mass but, want the ashes placed on their forehead. There will even be a hash tag on twitter (#ashtag). It would be great if all of the people who had ashes placed on their heads on Ash Wednesday attended Mass every Sunday. The churches would be busting at the seams! 

While my little guy is too young to do much to celebrate the beginning of Lent, here is a coloring page to help your little ones get involved in this special day. There is so much on the web that you can do with your little ones. Older children can even complete these word activities.

We will be setting up a Lenten prayer corner in our room. It will be a bare grape vine wreath with a cross with a purple ribbon draped over it. Our Magnificat Lenten companion and Bible will be there also. I'm sure our corner will grow as our journey continues but, we'll be taking it one step at a time. I plan to change the wreath to have flowers on it and a while ribbon on the cross with a while candle when Easter comes. 


Abstinence from Meat:
All Catholics who have reached their 14th birthday are bound to abstain entirely from meat on Ash Wednesday and all the Fridays of Lent including Good Friday.There is no upper age limit for the requirement of abstinence.

FastingAll Catholics between the ages of 18 and 59 are bound to observe the law of fast on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday. This means limiting oneself to a single full mean and two smaller meals and avoiding food between meals. We are encouraged also to voluntarily fast other days during Lent. Sundays and Feast Days are not days of fast and abstinence. (Feast days include St. Joseph, March 19th.) Dispensations from Abstinence and Fasting: We are not to consider ourselves lightly excused from the laws of Fast and Abstinence. However, with a good reason, one may excuse oneself but substitute another penitential practice to compensate.

Easter DutyAll Catholics who have received First Communion are required to receive Communion at least once during the Easter Season which includes the time between Ash Wednesday and Trinity Sunday. Catholics are also to receive the Sacrament of Penance once a year. If Confession is required before receiving Communion then that would be required during the Easter Season. One must be absolved from all mortal sins before receiving Communion.

Charlie's First Mardi Gras

The hubby has been off for the last two days so, we've been having a bit of a staycation. I love the fact that his job gives him vacation days! (None of his others ever did.)

This morning the hubby made some pancakes to kick start the morning. We picked up a museum pass from the library yesterday and headed to the Cradle of Aviation and the Carousel. (There will be many fun pictures in a separate post.) Afterwards we made a pilgrimage to Babies R Us. I hate going to that store alone so I keep a running list for when someone is home to go with me. Then of course we were starving and headed to Fairway.

Fairway Market is the most incredible supermarket. It made it real easy to have  "Fat" Tuesday. This market is a Wegmans + Whole Foods + Natural Market all in one convenient place. They have the most incredible coffee beans, cafe, and cheese shops inside. We picked up things for dinner - manicotti, meatballs, and grilled brussels sprouts!

I had this grand plan I would bake a King Cake but, since it never happened. My mom gracious ran to a local bakery and got one for dessert. I cannot tell you how yummy it was. (We still have a ton leftover.) Maybe next year, I'll get around to baking one.

Tomorrow is going to be filled with lots of temptation because we have so many yummy goodies left from the festivities today. At the moment, I don't really have a plan for when we'll be going to get Ashes but, surely we'll head to our church during on of the FIVE Masses they're having tomorrow.

Earlier in the day #CathSorority was discussing whether or not little ones will have ashes placed on their foreheads. Apparently, the little ones (even before the age of reason) can get ashes, at the discretion of the person distributing them. I'm super psyched for tomorrow! Let the fasting begin!

This Lent is going to be incredible!

Lenten Meal Plan Monday: A Linkup!

On Wednesday, the Roman Catholic Church celebrates Ash Wednesday and the beginning of Lent. During this liturgical season Roman Catholics are asked to abstain from meat on Fridays and on Ash Wednesday. Beth Anne at Beth Anne's Best and I will be hosting a link up each week to serve as a resource for Lenten Meal Ideas.

Recently, I've been using the Fast Paleo website to find new, healthy, and quick meal ideas! My favorite so far has been Honey Glazed Walnut and Coconut Shrimp. (The actual recipe from the website calls for a Garlic/Bacon Broccoli but, you can substitute another vegetable as the side.)

Honey Glazed Walnut and Coconut Shrimp


  • 1 lb cooked shrimp
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 1/2 cup walnuts (small to medium pieces)
  • 2 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1/8 cup shredded coconut (unsweetened)

Cooking Steps

Heat coconut oil in pan. Add walnuts and shredded coconut. Cook for about one minute. Add honey. Coat everything in honey. Add shrimp. Cook on medium heat for about 10 minutes. Stir occasionally.

And now for the linkup!

1- Link-Up any old or new meatless meals you have posted about.
2- The hosts have the right to delete any links that are not appropriate for the linkup.
3- Feel free to embed Pinterest Recipes or Link to Recipes you have found online.
4- Feel free to just blog about what you ate or what you are planning on eating.
Have fun and have a blessed Lent!

Snow Storm

We have power! YAY!
The snow is up to the back door so, we can't open it.
A tree is on a wire in the yard but, we still have power.
I shoveled three times yesterday but, it looks like I'd never been outside.

Better keep a rope or something on Charlie today so, we don't lose him. lol

7 Quick Takes: The Snow Edition

Aren't all those colors pretty?? 
Yeah, let's just hope the power stays on. 
I'm O.K. with all the snow once my family is home, safe, and sound. 

The little man has a brand spankin' new snowsuit and a sled so, we'll surely be out playing tomorrow. 

In other news, Charlie has learned to pull himself up in his Pack n Play. It is quite cute because he is just tall enough that his eyes peer over the top. I can't believe how strong and mobile he is. This momma better start workin' out! 

I'm looking forward to Spring. We are going to plan Charlie a little garden in the backyard. Any suggestions on plants? So far, we're doing cucumbers, tomatoes, lettuce, carrots, and string beans. I'd love to do some herbs in pots closer to the house. 

I can't believe Charlie will be nine months old at the end of this month. 
Do you know what that means? I need to get him clothes that fit.

It seems that everyone enjoys buying clothes that are super small (which was great because he was a teeny weeny baby) or super big (like will fit him when he is two). 
So, those of you that scope out sales - send 'em my way.

Speaking of sales, Dwija @ House Unseen pointed me in the direction of Overstocks.com and Ebates.com the other night when I was looking for shoes for the little man. A whole new shopping world has been opened up! Shopping while saving money and getting cash back!? Why not?!

I've been doing some reading lately. So far, I've enjoyed Feeding Baby Green by Dr. Greene. I just borrowed Raising Baby Green from the library so, I'll be happy to chat about that at a later date. 

For more Quick Takes, visit Jen at Conversion Diary!

Proverbs 31:13

*Scrapes snow off of computer screen*

New York has finally decided it is winter! It's been randomly snowing since Sunday but, this is my favorite kind of snow because it is pretty to look at but doesn't impede getting around.

Anywho, I have a guest post up on Jen's blog today.

Here's a snippet:

“She selects wool and flax and works with eager hands.” — Proverbs 31:13
As women of God, we are called to serve God and others. The “others” vary by our situation. They can be: husbands, children, parents, siblings, relatives, friends, etc. No matter whom it is we are serving we are asked to accept the work God has assigned us...

linked to: Heart & Home Live

7 Quick Takes

"In 2003, the American Heart Association faced a challenge;Cardiovascular disease claimed the lives of nearly 500,000 American women each year, yet women were not paying attention. In fact, many even dismissed it as an “older man's disease.” To dispel these myths of heart disease as the No. 1 killer of women, the American Heart Association, along with the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute created National Wear Red Day® to raise awareness of this critical issue. Each year, on the first Friday in February, millions of women and men come together to wear red, take action and commit to fighting this deadly disease."

Happy February! 
Lots of fun things this month!
Feb. 2 - Groundhog Day
Feb. 3 - Superbowl Sunday (GO RAVENS!)
Feb. 13 - Ash Wednesday 
Feb. 14 - Valentines' Day

Charlie's got two teeth!

I think we have turned a corner in terms of sleeping for stretches longer than 25 min. at a time. Here's hoping he doesn't get another tooth for awhile! 

Unfortunately, now he has started screaming bloody murder in his car seat. I'm trying to decide whether to try using his convertible car seat...

The weather here definitely has some issues...it was 55 degrees yesterday and 29 today...Trying to combat the midwinter blues is definitely a struggle. I have officially become "that crazy lady with the baby carriage". If there is even a wee bit of nice weather, I bundle up Charlie and walk through the neighborhood. 

Have you noticed the new button on the top left? Go check out Forty to Forever's Lenten Campaign.