Pepper Jack and Bacon Grill Cheese!

COOKING TIME

45 minutes

Step 1: Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Place 2 TBSP butter in a small bowl; set aside to soften. Wash and dry all produce. Trim, peel, and cut carrots into long, thin sticks (like fries). (Ours were 4 inches long and ⅓ inch wide.) Place bacon on a baking sheet in a single layer.

Step 2: Toss carrots on a second baking sheet with a drizzle of oil, salt, and pepper. Roast carrots on top rack and bacon on middle rack until carrots are browned and softened and bacon is crispy, 18-22 minutes for carrots and 15-20 minutes for bacon. (Check often for any burning!)

Step 3: Meanwhile, halve, peel, and thinly slice onion. Heat a drizzle of oil in a large pan over medium-high heat. Add onion and season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring, until softened and lightly browned, 5-6 minutes. Add 2 tsp sugar and ⅓ cup water (4 tsp sugar and ½ cup water for 4 servings); cook, stirring, until onion is caramelized and jammy, 3-4 minutes. Taste and season with salt. Turn off heat; transfer to a second small bowl. Wash out pan.

Step 4: While onion cooks, spread one side of each slice of bread with softened butter (if butter is not yet softened, microwave for 5-10 seconds). Place buttered sides down on your cutting board; evenly top half the bread slices with mozzarella and Pepper Jack.

Step 5: Roughly chop bacon. Sprinkle evenly on top of cheese, then top with caramelized onion. Top with remaining bread, buttered sides up, to form two sandwiches (four sandwiches for 4 servings).

Step 6: Heat pan used for onion over medium heat. Once hot, add sandwiches and cook until bread is golden brown and cheese is melted, about 5 minutes per side. (For 4 servings, you may need to work in batches.) Cut sandwiches in half on a diagonal and divide between plates. Serve with carrot fries on the side.

Onion Burgers

Ingredients for 2 servings:

Prep Time: 5 Mins

Ready In: 30 Mins

Step1: Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Wash and dry all produce. Cut potatoes into ½-inchthick wedges. Trim and peel onion; slice into four ¼-inch-thick rounds (eight rounds for 4 servings). Finely chop remaining onion until you have about ¼ cup (½ cup for 4). Peel and finely chop garlic. Halve buns.

Step 2:Toss potatoes on a baking sheet with a drizzle of oil, salt, and pepper. Roast until golden brown and tender, 20-25 minutes. Remove from sheet.

Step 3: Meanwhile, in a small bowl, combine mayonnaise, mustard, and a pinch of garlic to taste. Season with salt and pepper. Form beef into two patties (four patties for 4 servings), each a bit wider than a burger bun. Season all over with salt and pepper; set aside.

Step 4:Heat a drizzle of oil in a large pan over medium-high heat. Add chopped onion and season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring, until lightly browned, 4-5 minutes. Turn off heat; stir cooked onion into mayonnaise mixture. Heat another drizzle of oil in same pan over medium-high heat. Add onion rounds and cook until deeply browned and tender, 2-3 minutes per side. Transfer to a plate.

Step 5:Heat a drizzle of oil in same pan over medium-high heat. Add patties and cook until browned and cooked to desired doneness, 3-5 minutes per side.

Step6: While patties cook, place remaining garlic and 1 TBSP butter (2 TBSP for 4 servings) in a small microwave-safe bowl; microwave until melted, 30 seconds. Brush onto cut sides of buns and place cut sides up on baking sheet used for potatoes. Toast in oven until golden, 3-5 minutes. Fill toasted buns with patties, aioli, and griddled onion rounds. Serve with potatoes and, if you’ve got some on hand, ketchup on the side for dipping

NUTRITION PER SERVING

Calories 910kcal, Fat 52g, Saturated Fat 17g, Carbohydrate 67g, Sugar 10g, Dietary Fiber 6g, Protein 35g, Cholesterol 120mg, Sodium 670mg

Meatballs with Potatoes and Gravy

Ingredients for 2 servings:

Prep Time: 10 Mins

Ready In: 45 Mins

NUTRITION PER SERVING

Calories 740kcal, Fat 42g, Carbohydrate 59g, Protein 32g, Sodium 650mg

Step 1: Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Wash and dry all produce. Dice potatoes into ½-inch cubes. Peel and finely chop onion. Peel and finely chop 1 clove garlic. Peel and wrap 2 cloves garlic in a small piece of foil. Cut broccoli florets off stalk; discard stalk. Cut florets into bite-sized pieces.

Step2: In a medium bowl, gently combine beef, half the panko, chopped garlic, 3 TBSP onion, ½ tsp salt, and plenty of black pepper. Form into 1-inch balls. Place meatballs and foil packet on one side of a baking sheet. Place broccoli on opposite side and toss with a large drizzle of oil and a pinch of salt and pepper. Bake until meatballs are cooked through, broccoli is browned and tender, and garlic is very soft, 15-20 minutes.

Step 3:Place potatoes in a medium pot with a large pinch of salt and enough water to cover by 2 inches. Bring to a boil and cook until tender, about 10 minutes. Drain thoroughly and return to pot. Cover until ready to mash.

Step 4: Meanwhile, heat 1 TBSP butter in large pan over medium heat until melted. Add remaining onion and a pinch of salt and pepper. Cook, stirring, until browned and softened, 8-10 minutes. Add flour. Cook, stirring, until lightly browned, about 1 minute. Gradually stir in 3/4 cup water until fully incorporated. Stir in stock concentrate and simmer until thickened, about 1 minute. Season with salt and plenty of black pepper. Reduce heat to low.

Step 5: Carefully remove roasted garlic from foil and place on a cutting board. Mash with a fork. Add mashed garlic, sour cream, and 2 TBSP butter to pot with drained potatoes. Mash, adding a splash of water (or cream) to reach desired consistency. Season generously with salt and pepper.

Step 6: Add meatballs to pan with gravy. Stir to coat. (If gravy has thickened too much, stir in a splash of warm water.) Divide mashed potatoes and roasted broccoli between plates. Top with meatballs and gravy.

How I breastfed for 7 months with a full time job

Breast is best. Have you heard that saying before? If you are pregnant or have had a child then I’m going to assume you have. First i want to say that if you do not want to breastfeed your baby… THAT’S OK! Formula is great too! I tried breastfeeding with my first born and i just couldn’t produce enough. I struggled for 4 months and put a ton of pressure on myself for maybe one bottle of breast milk a day. I got to the point where it wasn’t worth it to me to struggle and be stressed out about it so i quit. And you know what??? My baby lived and is healthy and beautiful. The purpose of this rabbit hole is to just inform you that if is OK with WHATEVER you choose to do. Breastfeed or not.

Now that I got that out of the way. Let me first tell you that this post is about my breastfeeding journey with my second born. Which was much different then with my first born. I was more determined to make breastfeeding work the second time around. I also had a little more time to focus on it because my job allowed me to take a 10 week maternity leave vs the 6 week I had with my first. I think if you can afford it and if your job allows you to- you should take as much time with your baby you feel you need to in order to make this journey work for you.

The journey- When she was first born she literally stayed on my boob probably the entire 2 days we were in the hospital. Then when we got home and my nipples started to crack and scab I started to feel like a failure again because all I read was it shouldn’t do this. You shouldn’t feel pain and you shouldn’t scab. I was determined and I wasn’t giving up. I pulled off the scabs and feed her anyway. Then about 2 weeks went by and it started to get easier. My nipples started healing and she was latching well. Not only to me but also a bottle! More about this in a different blog post. I was producing what i needed in order to not have to supplement with formula.

So, since for the first ten weeks of her life I was home with her and it was easy to plan my day around the pump and feedings. It was especially easy because I purchased a breast pump that didn’t require you to be plugged into a wall… That’s right it fit right into your bra and was cordless! I first found out about this pump when i google searched breast pumps while i was pregnant. It was amazing! I could do the dishes, laundry, even go to the store if I needed all WHILE PUMPING. I purchased the breast pump called the elvie. It was only sold in he UK AT the time so i put myself on a waiting list for when it hit the US. Turns out that was only a month later. Now if you want one a few stores sell them. Bye bye baby and amazon are the two places i know of other then elive themselves. If you are interested here is the amazon link which is the same cost as in stores and through elvie:

Some links on this page are affiliate links and i may earn a commission if you use them.

Click here for the Elvie Pump

Replacement parts: Breast shield

Replacement parts: Storage bottle

Replacement parts: Spout Kit

Replacement parts: Valve Kit

Once I started back at work it was still so easy with the pump because I could pump while sitting at my desk, while in meetings, and really anytime I felt the need to pump. Elvie is known for being quite. So literally no one knew when I was pumping! Producing and pumping wasn’t hard. It was quite easy actually.

I would wake up and put in my pumps while I was putting on my make up and doing my hair. If for some reason I was running behind I would put them in my bra once I got in my car (I have an hour drive to work) so I would make sure to turn them on the last 20 mins of the car ride. I would bring 1 set of spare parts, 4 extra containers to store the milk once I expressed it. I used the Medela ones which you can find them here. I had a ice pack which you can find here. I had the perfect size lunch kit, it wasn’t too big or too small and you can find it here. You will also need a towel. Assuming you have a refrigerator at your place of employment like I do, I would store my milk in the fridge throughout the day.

I pumped a total of three times while at work. I didn’t worry about cleaning the parts because I would detach them and put them in the refrigerator in my lunch kit with the stored milk. I did this so i wouldn’t have to worry about washing them. Being able to work and stress about how or when I was going to pump was a game changer and I would recommend these products for anyone wanting to produce breastmilk while having a job!

Why I stopped Breastfeeding.

I know that there will probably be some people out there that think i should never tell another mother that its OK to stop breastfeeding. Too bad, ITS OK TO STOP BREASTFEEDING! Anyone who has ever experienced the breastfeeding journey knows what you have to put into it and it isn’t for every mother out there. It is hard work- like a LOT of hard work. Why do we put so much pressure on ourselves and other mamma’s about breastfeeding?? Yes, i understand that its the best for your baby but you know what…. so is your sanity. If at some point in this journey you feel as though your entire life revolves around breastfeeding, that you hate it, or it is not only physically but mentally exhausting? Please know that it is ok to stop.

We live in a world that it is not REQUIRED of us to produce. Yes, it is better for your baby and their immune system. Yes, you do bond with your baby more than you would without breastfeeding. But at what cost? If you are mentally drained, physically drained, and even worse start to dislike motherhood? It’s time to think about other options and way them out for your sake and your babies.

I couldn’t produce enough with my first born to breastfeed her but i tried like hell! I felt as though I failed as a mother. I tried to breast for for 4 months with no luck and finally gave it up. By the time I was at the 4 month mark- I was working full time and only pumping 1 full 8oz bottle of breast milk A DAY. That’s right, she was drinking 1 bottle breast milk and about 7 bottles formula. I had a talk with my husband and he made it all clear. He told me, “Why put so much pressure on yourself about this when she pretty much just drinks all formula anyway”. I was taking a back and thought oh my gosh, he is right! So i stopped. When i did, it was like the weight of the world was lifted off my shoulders.

Now with my second born, I tried harder because I wanted it to work. I also had more time on maternity leave to make it work. Well…. it did! I was producing MORE than i needed to. I had breast milk stored up in the freezer to feed her for a solid week! A lot of mu success this go around was due to the pump i was using. It was one that fits in your bra and was cordless. (If interested in which one it is HERE IS A LINK FOR IT. (If you want a detailed description for how i breastfed for 7 months with a full time job, as well as the products i used- Click here to see other blog post).

I’m sure you all are also thinking, “If she had so much success with breastfeeding the second time around then why would you stop?” I will tell you why, I am one of those mom’s who love her kids dearly. I know that if you are reading this post you probably are too and you are searching for a reason for it to be ok to stop breastfeeding. Well here it is. If what you are doing for you and your baby is too hard and most days you feel as though all you are is a walking refrigerator… well that’s because you are!

Here are just a few of the reasons that choose to stop breastfeeding at 7 months:

  • I HATED pumping. While i did have the latest and greatest pump around (the Elvie) i still hated it. I hated having to stop doing WHATEVER it was that i was doing to “empty”. Not only that i hated the way it felt. Like with a passion!
  • I hated the fact that everywhere i went i always needed to make sure i had a cooler and my pump fully charged and clean with extra spare parts in case i needed to pump more than once to even just go to the store!
  • I hated that i had to step away from functions or meetings to go put my pumps in my bra because if i didn’t…. i would start leaking.
  • I hated the fact that my husband couldn’t help me feed our daughter at night because it would be pointless for him to wake up with her when i needed to pump anyways. So that forced me to do it ALL, every wake up because she ate every time.
  • I hated the fact that i would be feeding my baby girl one side of my very engorged boob and the other would leak so bad before i even noticed it and i would have to end up changing my shirt and bra in the middle of the night. Oh the leaking…
  • This is probably my biggest reason and for me one of the most important one. I finally had my body back. After being a vessel for 9 months to my baby girl, i was ready to be able to be myself. Never mind the fact that when i was breastfeeding my appetite was through the roof which caused me to eat everything in sight and therefore i didn’t lose the baby weight. For the longest i just wanted my old self back and while i had my tummy back to myself i was still being controlled by feedings not only for her but also for myself!

Look mamma’s i know that being able to provide something that NO ONE ELSE CAN is magical and amazing… because it is! I was blessed to have been able to do it for as long as i did but just because your best friends sister in law did it until the kid was 2 years old doesn’t mean you have to. Hell if you choose not to breastfeed AT ALL- that is YOUR CHOICE. Stop letting people influence a decision on you that is not already your own. This will just make you resent them and breastfeeding all together.

If you breastfeed your baby until their 2 years old- GOOD FOR YOU!!! That is truly amazing. But on the other hand if you feel like you are losing your mind with it…. why continue to put you and your baby through that. After all, they are only so little for so long. Then they grow up and all of this will be a distant memory anyway. Spend your memories enjoying your baby whether that is breastfeeding or not.

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