Pasta with Crispy Artichoke Hearts & ChickenPrint Recipe Print Recipe

 

I love the holidays.

I’m that person who starts watching Christmas movies the day after Thanksgiving  - and don’t stop until Christmas, maybe even a few days after, filling the house with decorations and searching for the perfect gifts – which didn’t happen this year… My dad and sister definitely won Santa.

My entire life, mom was what really made this holiday shine. The planning, the details, the thoughtfulness in everything she did. So as expected, this year was a little more tender.

 

 

Yes, we all know that we will never be able to duplicate the experiences and traditions that we had with mom, and that’s okay. Now, it’s about making new memories and celebrating the old. And that’s exactly what we did.

We had one Christmas adventure after the next, but what I loved the most was we ALL (my dad, sister & our little family) did it together. I’m always happy to feed my family, but being able to host and cook Christmas Eve dinner and Christmas breakfast, my heart was incredibly full. We stayed up late, we watched Christmas movies, drank more than we should have, and then I passed out blankets and pillows and had one big sleepover. So much love under one roof, it was pretty much perfect.

 

 

Now, the holiday hangover…

I packed up the last of the Christmas decorations, the lights have come down and all the presents are put away.

Coming off the holiday high, I totally crashed, emotionally. So, I put myself in the kitchen and had a little therapy session over chopping artichokes and the smell of fresh thyme.

I find after busy weekends (…or the holidays), pasta is my it’s-going-to-be-okay meal.

The inspiration of course, comes from mom. She use to make a similar pasta dish. She’d make it after holiday weekends and after all the “traditional” holiday meals were eaten. She’d crisp up the artichoke hearts and then add to a red sauce before topping with grilled swordfish. If I close my eyes, I can remember the evening perfectly.

Since I know her go-to flavors, I decided to make a version of her dish. I add a few of my own touches, but I very much feel my mom in this meal.

Ben and I sat at the empty table, a glass of red wine and a big bowl of this pasta. We talked about how special this past week had been, how we want to make the best of this next year, and then we thanked mom for everything that she has given us.

 

 

This recipe is sponsored by one my favorite company’s, DeLallo. They provided me with their gluten-free products (& compensation). They were also incredibly gracious to our family during our journey with mom. Again, I only work with company’s that I believe in and actually use – they’re absolutely one of them. Everything from the gluten-free pasta options, to the sauces, antipasti, etc. They are top notch.

 

Pasta with Artichoke Hearts & Chicken

serves 3 big or 4 smaller servings

Ingredients

  • 6-8 ounces Gluten-free Penne Rigate Pasta – I like DeLallo
  • 2 tablespoon canola oil
  • 1 chicken breasts, cut into bite-size cubes
  • 1 teaspoon salt, divided
  • 1 cup artichoke hearts, drained & quartered – I used these
  • 2 teaspoons fresh thyme, chopped
  • 1 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 cup of your favorite tomato sauce
  • ground pepper, to taste
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted
  • Shaved Parmesan cheese to topping

Directions

Cook pasta according to the package. Best to cook al dente.

To cook the chicken – Over medium-high heat, add 1 tablespoon canola oil to a non-stick skillet. Add chicken pieces, 1/2 teaspoon salt and let brown before moving around with a spatula or wooden spoon. Cook for 6-8 minutes or until chicken is completely cooked through.

Move the chicken to a plate and set aside.

Clean off skillet and then place back on the burner. On high heat, add 1 tablespoon canola oil. Add artichoke hearts and leave to “crisp up” for about 2 minutes. Using a spatula, move artichoke hearts around, let sit for another 2 minutes and continue until lightly browned and somewhat crispy. Reduce heat. Mix in the fresh thyme and garlic. Let the flavors cook for about 1 minute and add tomato sauce. Mix everything together.

Mix in the pasta and chicken back into skillet with the sauce and let everything heat through. Remove from heat and serve.

Top with ground pepper, toasted pine nuts and parmesan cheese.

Enjoy!

 

*gluten-free

 

 

 

 

A Christmas tree huntPrint Recipe Print Recipe

Oh this smell. I want to bottle it up.

That and the newborn smell.

Which, funny enough, I had both right under my nose.

This past weekend, we met our friends, Ashley and her husband at the tree farm and she kindly took these photos of our little hunt. I’m usually the one behind the camera so it was nice to have these sweet captures! I love them so much, I just had to share.

 

This one feels like a winner, dad.

 

We’re very curious about this whole tree cutting down thing.

 

As Ben cut down our tree, Mason yells “OWIE!”.  Our future environmentalist. Nice.

No. Of course I would never laugh at my child…

 

Little heavy there, Mace?

 

He’s the best helper.

 

Our little family, and our little tree.

 

Let’s just pretend I did cut down our tree, k?

And while wearing child. Obviously.

 

 

Green Chili, Turkey & White Bean EnchiladasPrint Recipe Print Recipe

 

I can’t believe my maternity leave is coming to an end. My four months is FLYING by! Not okay.

I mean, I have until the first of January, but that’s basically tomorrow.

Not that I wouldn’t go back. I need to go back. I know myself, I’m just a better mama (AND wife!) when I have a job to go to.

But when I think about our new routine, how am I PHYSICALLY suppose to get a baby, a toddler and myself ready and out the door before 8am?

Then be awake enough to have adult conversations ALL DAY LONG…

THEN somehow get everyone back home and have dinner on the table before bedtime?! Then bedtime… Then do it all over again??

I just don’t see how this isn’t going to be complete chaos. Or how many times I’m going to show up to work without mascara, my shirt on backwards or my hair dripping wet and on top of my head. It is going to be complete chaos, isn’t it? Awesome. Someone please hook me up to a coffee drip, STAT.

 

 

Because I’m a crazy person, I’ve already started making freezer meals.

And of course these are the first on my list!

We’ve being eating these enchiladas ever since I got my hands on this cookbook. WE CANNOT STOP.

Just last week I doubled the batch so I could put a hefty tray of these right into the freezer. I’m now thinking I should have done two…

This would also be a great dish to give to someone who might need a little extra support – new baby, care-taking, etc.

 

 

I love mexican food, period. I can eat it all day long and I SWEAR I’m not pregnant. Oh my god, could you even imagine?? Forget it, don’t imagine. Moving on.

These are a nice change from the traditional enchiladas. White beans and ground turkey, plus some vegetables, oh yeah sign me up!

 

 

This cookbook is awesome.

I’ve probably made at least a dozen recipes from it already. Some of my favorites so far – Roasted Cherry, Coconut & Quinoa Breakfast bowls. Breakfast cookies. Chewy Granola Bars. Sour Cream and Onion Popcorn. And an awesome Wedge Salad! There’s still so many bookmarks left on the recipes I’m waiting to try.

I’m so freaking proud of you, Jess! Such a kick ass cookbook. <insert high-five emoji>

 

Green Chili Turkey & White Bean Enchiladas

Recipe adapted (to be gluten-free) from Seriously Delish Cookbook

Serves 4

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 sweet yellow onion, diced
  • 1/2 red bell pepper, diced
  • 1/2 green bell pepper, diced
  • 1/2 teaspoon plus a pinch of salt
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 (4-ounce) can diced green chilies
  • 1 pound lean ground turkey
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup low-sodium chicken stock
  • 1 cup canned white beans, rinsed and drained
  • 2 1/2 cups enchilada sauce
  • 6 ounces Monterey Jack cheese, freshly grated
  • 8-10 corn tortillas (she used whole wheat)
  • 2 tablespoon chopped chives (optional)

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Heat a large skillet over medium heat and add olive oil. Add the onions and peppers with a pinch of salt and toss to coat. Cook, stirring for about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and green chilies. Stir and cook for 30 seconds.

Push the vegetables to the side of the skillet and add the ground turkey. Break it apart with a wooden spoon and cook it until the turkey is browned, 6-8 minutes. Add the cumin, paprika, chili powder, garlic powder, remaining  1/2 teaspoon salt, pepper, and chicken stock to the skillet. Stir well to mix the turkey and vegetables together and reduce the heat to low. Add in the white beans. Cook for another 1-2 minutes. Add 1/2 cup of the enchilada sauce to the skillet along with 2 ounces of the cheese and stir it together. Turn off the heat.

Pour 1/2 cup of the enchilada sauce into the bottom of a 9×13-inch baking dish and use a spoon to spread it evenly over the surface.

*If using corn tortillas – place in a small pan over medium heat. They need to be warmed slightly so they’ll “fold” without tearing. 

Spoon about one-quarter of the turkey filling into each tortilla and roll them up tightly. Place them in the baking dish, seam side down. Once all of the tortillas have been filled and rolled, pour the remaining enchilada sauce over the top and brush it to cover every portion of the tortillas. Sprinkle the remaining cheese on top.

Bake the enchiladas until the cheese is golden and the sauce is bubbling, 30-35 minutes.

Optional – top with freshly chopped chives.

Serve and enjoy!

 

*gluten-free

 

 

My family & a peek into our livesPrint Recipe Print Recipe

 

My family, the people that make my world go around.

I’m so grateful for Catherine Abegg who documented our family so beautifully.

I love how she captured our family in our environment. Aside from my hair not being tossed on top of my head and my husband wearing a sweater, this is a peek into our daily life. Our counters have dishes on them. Mason’s toys aren’t organized. I’m still in the early stages of designing/decorating our home. But, it’s cozy. There’s an incredible amount of love under that roof. And at the end of the day, that’s all that matters.

Now excuse me while I kindly tell my perfectionist self to be quiet… Here you go. Here’s a peek into our lives.

 

 

Mason is our love bug. Watching him grow into this kind and gentle little being, makes me so proud. He’s sensitive. He listens and watches what we do. He’s an observer. And he’s such an incredible and helpful big brother.

Every morning between 7 and 8am, he’ll stand up in his crib and yell “mama! dada!” The longer we wait, the more impatient his cries for us become. One of us, usually Ben will get him changed and dressed. Pre-maternity leave, I would pull out one of his toy boxes and he’d play while I’d put on my makeup. Sadly, we’ll get back into that routine in just a few short weeks.

I can’t help it. I constantly smother him with kisses and give him the longest hugs until he starts to pull away. I’m not ready for him to grow up and not let me love on him. He’ll always be my sweet baby.

 

 

Gray is the happiest when he’s being held. He’s much more wiggly and requires a little more attention than Mason did at this age, so I’m constantly doing the “mom bounce”. At least he loves to be worn. Sometimes it’s the only way I can get anything done. He’s also an excellent sleeper, thank goodness!

He just turned 3 months and has the biggest smiles and is also very vocal, which has been a lot of fun. Of course that’s not going to make going back to work any easier.

I have loved spending the past several months with him. I’m not totally ready to let him go, but I know he’ll be in great hands. Postpartum was much rougher than the first. So many ups and downs around my mom. On hard days, I’d just hold onto him and cry. Although I don’t see my mom in him, I feel her when I hold him or when I look into his eyes.

I knew he’d be a gift to our family.

 

I can’t imagine loving anyone as much as I do these two boys.

In the mornings when we come downstairs, Mason helps me get out the changing pad and a diaper for Gray. He’ll cuddle up next to his brother while I change him (as seen as above). When I’m done, Mason grabs the diaper and takes it to the garbage to throw away.

Mason is someone who likes to have a “job” and is very proud of himself when he completes a task. Ben and I are constantly amazed by him!

 

 

My sister is a huge part of this family.

After we all lived together for 7+ months while we cared for mom, we’re pretty much become inseparable. She’s a huge help with the boys or even nights when I just need a few more hands, she’ll come help with dinner while I wrangle the boys (or vice versa).

I’ve also loved watching the relationship between her and my husband. They’re more like brother and sister, but really good at calling each other out on their shit. Watching the two of them and their love for scary movies and sour candy makes me so so happy.

I know mom would be proud to see us all so close – and that includes our dad!

 

 

Oh that smile.

He’s truly a happy kid.

We have a great window bench that Mason loves to run over to or climb up on and wave to everyone who walks by or any garbage truck – (pronounced “cock”) that drives by.

He also thinks he’s very funny.

 

 

A full belly, a soother and a tight swaddle holding down his arms, Gray’s a happy camper.

He also isn’t phased by anything Mace does. Clearly.

We tried to get Mace to lay next to Gray and he fought us and continued to run away. At one point Mason thought it was a game to try and “jump” over his brother.

 

 

I love this photo so much.

Having two kids, especially at this age, everything is a juggling act. So many times I’m breastfeeding Gray while entertaining Mason, even if that means making silly faces at each other – as you can see here. This is a very common scene at our home.

 

 

Weekend mornings start out slow around here.

My husband makes coffee in our french press. Mason gets excited for his greek yogurt and granola. We’ll watch an episode of Full House (he loves it, no joke!) or something on the Disney Channel. If it’s Sunday, we watch Football.

I wouldn’t change any of it for a second.

 

Oh and those curls… I know.

 

 

The love and laughter captured right here is beyond.

I love watching these two.

I don’t often acknowledge my husband as much as he deserves. He loves this family and is always putting us first. He’s a hands on dad and doesn’t hesitate to step in when things get crazy. And they can get crazy, especially with two! He’s the one who brings it back to him and I. He isn’t afraid to have the hard conversations in order to keep us grounded and connected. We make a good team.

These boys don’t even know how lucky they are. And truthfully, I probably don’t either.

 

 

These images aren’t even half of them! Thank you, Catherine for capturing these sweet moments with my family. I hold them so close to my heart.

And thank you for getting me addicted to family photos, I now want to do this every 6 months!