Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Things to make before Baby #2 arrives.

carorganizers1.JPGCar Seat Organizer
This is a much needed addition to my car.  Before my daughter was born and I was the only one in it, I had my work life occupy most of the space (think mass amounts of teacher stuff).  After she was born, it became a place that needed toys, snacks, tissue, wet wipes, water bottles etc. on hand all the time.  It is basically a large moving diaper bag.  So I'm guessing that with a toddler and a newborn it can only get worse.  I need to intervene before my Corolla gets out of hand.

*UPDATE: I did not end up making these.  I still am considering making one but with a rear facing seat on one side and my Forward Facing seat for my toddler on the other there is even more limited space.

I received numerous "cute" baby towels at my baby shower and all of them except one were thin and small and would barely wrap around my newborn let alone absorb water.  The one that did work was more expensive but still not that good at coverage.  I want to make this for my daughter and the one on the way because it will be so much easier to wrap them.  Also, I can make a few so I am not waiting for laundry to dry to have a towel ready.

*Note: if you are getting a baby shower gift skip the hooded towels and make a few of these.  Also, I would wash the towel at least twice in a "free and clear" type of detergent.  There are threads and snags that will show up, especially on the hood and areas that were cut, and it would be good to cut them after each dry cycle before giving to the mom to be or kid.

Place mat Diaper Case

I want to make 2-4 of these (yes all for myself.) There is a likelihood that my daughter, who will be 2 at the time of baby #2's arrival, will be potty trained.  But on the chance she isn't I will have to deal with 2 separate diaper sizes everywhere I go.  I figure I can find place mats pretty cheap, and if the potty training sticks I can give some away or use them as back ups in the car or at the grandparents houses.

Freezable "Get Ready for Baby" Recipes.

With Baby #2 on the way and a toddler at my heels, I realize that the second time around will be more hectic and offer much less rest than I had having my daughter. Though I know my husband will be there, my mother and mother in law will be around to help, and I have a better perspective on what having a baby will entail, I still want to be as prepared as possible.

Now, organization is not my strong suit. so don't go expecting some marvelous house re-do before the baby arrives. Instead I plan on gathering and making ahead several freezable meals that we will all like and not have to think about when we have no time to even boil water.

Recipe #1 A tried and true stand by.

"Pizza Pasta"

(actually called Italian Penne Bake from Better Homes and Gardens Hometown Potluck Favorites p. 109)

Prep: 25 minutes
Bake: 30 minutes at 350 degrees


Nonstick cooking spray
1lb dried penne pasta
1 package sliced white or brown mushrooms
1 C. thinly sliced onion
2 medium bell peppers (I like one green one and one red)
6 oz. sliced pepperoni or Canadian bacon
1 tbsp minced garlic
1 tbsp olive oil
1 jar pasta sauce
1-2 cups Italian blend cheese (mozzarella works fine too)

1) Boil water for pasta (cook pasta a little extra al dente)
2) In a large skillet saute mushrooms, onion, sweet peppers, meat, and garlic until veggies are tender.
3) add Pasta, sauce, veggie mix together and toss. Put in a 3 qt. baking that has been sprayed with cooking spray. (or if you want to freeze this put it in a freezable container let it cool, cover and freeze)
4) Bake covered in oven fro 25 min. uncover sprinkle with cheese bake until melted, about 5 minutes.

Recipe #2: I've never tried and might have to tweak a little but I saw it on the Rachel Ray Show and they mentioned it freezes well. Anything highlighted I might leave out for time/ingredient availability sake. UPDATE: I never actually made this so I don't know how it would turn out.

Chicken Divan and Egg Noodle Bake


  • For the cream of mushroom sauce:
  • 1 tablespoon EVOO – Extra Virgin Olive Oil, 1 turn of the pan
  • 2 tablespoons butter, plus additional to coat dish
  • 12 button mushrooms, brushed off with a damp towel and chopped
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 1 cup whole milk or cream
  • 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg, freshly grated or ground
  • Salt and pepper
  • Casserole
  • 1 pound broccoli florets
  • 1 pound extra wide egg noodles
  • 2 tablespoons EVOO – Extra Virgin Olive Oil, 2 turns of the pan
  • 1 shallot, thinly sliced
  • 1 pound chicken tenders/breast, diced
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme, about 4 sprigs, finely chopped (use dried)
  • 1/3 cup dry white wine, eyeball it or chicken stock
  • 3/4 pound Gruyere or Swiss Emmentaler cheese, shredded (whatever cheese I have)
  • 3 tablespoons chives, 12 to 15 blades, chopped (Probably will forget to buy these)


Bring a large pot of water to a boil for the broccoli and egg noodles. Preheat a broiler.

To make the mushroom sauce, heat a medium-size sauce pot over medium heat. Add EVOO and the butter. When butter melts, add in chopped button mushrooms and cook 5 minutes, until just tender. Sprinkle in the flour and cook for 1 minute. Whisk in the chicken stock and bring up to a bubble, then stir in the whole milk or cream. Reduce the heat to low and gently simmer. Season sauce with nutmeg, salt and pepper.

Cook broccoli florets in salted boiling water for 5 minutes, then sift out and reserve (don’t drain the water). Drop the egg noodles into the same boiling water and cook to al dente according to package directions. Drain the noodles and return them to the hot pot. Add the creamy sauce to the pot and toss the noodles to coat in the sauce.

To prepare the casserole, heat a nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the 2 tablespoons of EVOO, then the shallots. Cook for 1 minute and add the chicken to the skillet. Cook until lightly browned all over and firm, 6-7 minutes. Season with the thyme, salt and pepper. Deglaze the pan with the wine or stock, reduce the heat to medium-low and let the liquid cook off.

To assemble, lightly coat a casserole dish with butter then transfer the cream-of-mushroom noodles to the dish and top with the chicken, then the cooked broccoli and finally the shredded cheese. Place under the broiler until cheese is melted and bubbly, and golden brown at the edges. Garnish with chives and serve.

Recipe #3 Chicken Gumbo 
From Favorite Brand Name 4 Ingredient Cookbook

3 tbsp veg. oil
1 lb chicken breast
1 lb smoked sausage
1 bag frozen veggies with brocoli, corn and red peppers in it (several brands have this mix)
1 can stewed tomatoes
2-3 cups water

*Options: add less sausage if you want the recipe calls for 1/2 I use the whole thing.  Add double the veggies and more tomatoes to make it stretch.

1.) cook sausage in a stock pot remove when browned.  Cook chicken (cut into chunks) in same pot until cooked thoroughly.
2.) Dump everything in the pot and let it boil.  Turn down to a simmer until you are ready to eat or freeze in storage bags. (1 gallon size bag filled with enough for 4-5 full bowls will feed me and my husband and toddler. I can get 2 meals out of this usually)

I may have more or better ideas to freeze coming up.  These few things along with basic "easy" stuff that my husband can make (or go pick up) should get us through the recovery phase.


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