Ingredients: Roast (size of roast will vary depending on the number of people you’re feeding and the amount of fat in the cut. Type of roast can vary as well. Different roasts will yield a different texture meat). I have … Continue reading
I’m continuing my results with the recipes for this weeks menu that I listed in this previous post. Last night’s supper was the Drip Beef Sandwich recipe listed above, along with these homemade deli rolls.
I mentioned in my menu plan that I was on the lookout for new crock pot recipes, so I decided to adapt this one for my crock pot — also, I don’t own a dutch oven as the recipe lists.
Adjustments I made:
- Used crock pot instead of Dutch oven.
- Only used 2 lb meat (I’m only cooking for 2).
- Cut some of the measurements to “scant” portions since I was using less meat. The soy sauce (I used the second recipe) was very scant, I didn’t even have half a cup, so I added a little more Italian seasoning to help with the flavor.
- I substituted sherry for Brandy, because Brandy was what I already had on hand.
- Improvised on the directions to work with a crock pot: I sautéed the onions and garlic in the butter, when the onions were browned (per the directions) I added the Brandy. I heated that thoroughly and transferred to the crockpot. I stabbed the meat all over with a knife, then placed in the crockpot with everything from the skillet. Then I added the spices and water. Before serving, I removed the meat from the pot and placed the juices in bowls for dipping the sandwiches into.
Verdict: This was great! I added a little extra salt at the end and I think if I had used more soy sauce (as the recipe calls for) it might’ve been a little more flavorful, but it was still pretty awesome.
Here’s the original recipe and directions, for your convenience:
After writing this post about my experience with a sleep consultant and offering to help other families get their babies to sleep well for free, I quickly received two requests. Honestly, I was a little amazed that it happened so quickly, but mostly excited to help these two families. I hope they are finding the information I’m offering them helpful. It also became immediately apparent that there is a lot I would like to write about to help families who may really be able to quickly find answers without even needing me directly!
I began to write this post and it became so extensive (because there is so much that changes with age), that I decided to break it down into multiple posts by age. 0-3 months (newborns), 3-6 months, 6-9 months, and 9-12 months.
To get started, here are some things you should know about sleep for babies 3 months and older:
- Good naps equal good night time sleep and vice versa (it’s a circle)
- Overtired babies sleep worse (both at naps and nighttime)
- Keeping your baby awake for longer periods of time will not result in a longer/better nap, it will actually worsen it
- Your baby’s sleep environment can play a major factor on quality of sleep. Here are some ideas/tips for creating a sleep-inducing environment:
- Block out the sun by covering windows with black-out curtains or black trash bags. I have personally used industrial strength clean-up bags (trash bags) and they work great. This is an especially helpful tip during the summer when the sun is up when your baby is being put down to bed or when the sun is coming up before your baby should be awake.
- Use white noise. This helps recreate the sounds of the womb and is also very great at drowning out the rest of the house. Sound machines (available for purchase at many baby stores and online) and CDs with ocean noises and the like are popular white noise sources. *When purchasing a sound machine look for one that will not turn off after a set amount of time, lights are optional or nonexistent, and can be battery operated or plugged in.
- Most babies sleep well with the room temperature between 68-72 ºF. Keeping the room too warm is a SIDS contributor. Dr. Sears recommends 70º F (see link below).
- Use cozy sheets, such as flannel. Plain cotton sheets are not very cozy and are cool to the touch, which can contribute to baby awakening when you lay him/her down.
- Nap time and bed time routines are very helpful. Elizabeth Pantley suggests beginning your baby’s wind down period an hour before you would like him/her to be asleep. That’s not to say that bedtime routine has to begin an hour before, but you can begin to set the stage for sleep an hour before. Around 30 minutes before bed, try a warm bath, followed by fresh diaper, lotion, pi’s and nursing/bottle (unless you’re trying to break a nursing/ bottle to sleep association). Complete the after bath routine in the room baby will be sleeping in with low lights, fading to dark during the last step. Nap time routines can be as short as 5 -10 minutes – simply turning on white noise, shutting blinds, etc. is enough of a nap routine.
- When beginning to correct any sleep issues, charting your baby’s tired times (before bed and naps) may be helpful. Elizabeth Pantley’s printable nap time and bed time routine logs may be of interest to you. *When I was searching for sleep issue help, I took some of her ideas and made my own spreadsheet that made a little better since to me and had some different info on it. For example, these two logs don’t have a place for you to write when you noticed baby’s tired signs and I really wanted that on my chart).
- Speaking of baby’s tired signs. Learn them!!
- When baby shows signs of tiredness, try to get him/her to bed within 10 minutes. You should already have completed your bedtime/nap time routine before his/ her tired signs. *This is where charting comes in handy. When you learn baby’s tired time, you can plan on completing sleep routine right before.
Other resources for best sleep:
- Dr. Sears: 31 Ways to Get Your Baby to Sleep and Stay Asleep
- Bedtimes by age
- Elizabeth Pantley: No-Cry Nap Questions, No-Cry Sleep Questions, list of Downloadable/Printable PDF Sleep Logs.
- The Baby Sleep Sight: Wake-Times broken down by months.
The more I read forums and talk to other parents, it’s apparent to me that there are a lot of misconceptions about baby sleep and honestly a lot of fairly simple solutions. Not that all are simple and maybe even less simply applied! Feel free to contact me, I will get back to you as soon as I can. I love helping families get better rest and am loving learning more and more every day about baby sleep.
This is a chart that I thought might be helpful for anyone looking for appropriate bedtimes for babies and toddlers.
Introduction/Issues We Were Struggling With: I’ve written a little about my experience with hiring a certified sleep consultant to help my 6 month old (now 9 month old) to sleep better. To recap and fill in some background, I was basically having trouble with a nursing to sleep association, naps were all over the place – both length and timing, she wouldn’t sleep without being held – day or night. Now let me clarify, I was not expecting to dump my baby into her crib when I thought it was time for her to sleep and her sleep 12 hours straight without needing something to eat or drink. That seem(ed)/(s) to be unrealistic to me. What I desired was to parent my child to sleep, that is to say help her wind down and get sleepy, so that she could fall asleep easily on her own when laid down after her bedtime routine and feel secure enough in her own bed to get comfortable and resettle when she woke in the night. At 6 months of age, I expected to still need to feed her 1-2 times a night – around midnight and 5 am, I still believe those are realistic expectations of a 6 month old. After reading countless articles and methods online, two different No-Cry type of sleep training books and 2 months of no results, I desperately and reluctantly hired a sleep consultant that had been recommended to me by a friend. Let me say on the front end that I’m extremely thankful for the help this lady gave me. She was a great lady and there’s no telling where we’d be with sleep if we hadn’t sought some outside help. But here’s my “issue” with hiring a sleep consultant: I don’t feel that I was truthfully offered much more information than what I had already read. What I really received was someone to reassure me that the method I had chosen would indeed work and that I wasn’t waisting 2 weeks of my life trying to get sleep that would never come if I was implementing a sleep training method improperly. And I tried exactly what my consultant had me do before I contactted her, BUT I only tried it one night. And the first night is by far the hardest, but even though I knew it would take 7-10 days for significant improvement I was so tired that I gave up on it right away. I didn’t KNOW I was implementing the method properly and felt that I didn’t have even one night to waste. It angers me that I was forced to pay so much, when all I needed was someone I could ask questions to clarify what I had already learned. I could’ve achieved my goal with a lot less interaction, honestly. It’s like I had the pieces of the puzzle, but needed a little help putting them together. In hindsight, perhaps I should’ve contacted the authors of the books I had read to see if they would’ve offered me any free advice – I had, after all, purchased their book.
Sleep Consulting Details: I paid $350 for a 45 minute initial phone call, one 15 minute phone call every week for 3 weeks after the initial call, and moderate email support (she was readjusting policies when I was doing my consultation with her) for 4 weeks. $350. That’s a lot of money to me. I dare say that’s a lot of money to most people, especially new parents who’ve spent God knows how much money on their baby recently. What I couldn’t find the answers to that prompted me to hire someone were these: “How long should my baby be napping?” “How long should she be going between naps?” “What do I do if she wakes from a nap early?” “How long do I try to get her to go to sleep and what do I do when that time is up?” “What sleep training method is best?” I could find some answers to these questions, but they always seemed directed to younger babies and I wasn’t confident that it would suit my baby because she was a little older (it seems “the rules” change every 3 months with a baby, until they’re one). I already knew that babies like routine, that nap and bedtime routines were (are) important. I knew that I could create new sleep associations that I may not intend to and was very aware of the steps I was taking. I already knew a lot of things. In the end, I still did things a little differently than advised and imagine this – my baby is sleeping quite well these days. What is the point of this post? I’m going to be reading and reviewing some more sleep books and methods and I would like to offer some free help to as many people as I can with the knowledge I gain from my research and firsthand experience. You could read these books yourself, yes. But if you’re a tired parent, it would nice to have one place to go that would consolidate all of the different methods and the like to help you get your sweet pea to sleep better! That’s what I’m setting out to do. It’ll require some lengthy posts no doubt and research, that’s ok though, because I like to write and I like doing research.
What I Need From You: I need any tired, frustrated parents of babies 3-12months to contact me. If you have a younger baby and would like to know some things you can do to create healthy sleep habits from birth I would be happy to hear from you as well. I do not really advocate sleep training before 3 months old. However, I do feel that you can begin to create healthy sleep habits early on. I want you to contact me like you would a sleep consultant. There is a contact form with this post. I’ll try to give you an outside look at what’s going on and help you “piece the puzzle together.” Why should you trust me? I’m not making this stuff up myself. I will always be referencing other sources with any advice I give and will do my best to provide those references in my posts or with any correspondence with you. If I had not been so tired myself, I probably would’ve been able to do the research to figure out my own baby’s sleep problems as my unanswered questions weren’t really all that difficult, but the answers were important details. And frankly, sometimes you just need some support.
If you would like some help, fill out the contact form below and I will send you a detailed questionnaire. Before contacting me, I would suggest you read this post. It explains that good naps = good night sleep and has some links that you may find helpful. I find that there are a lot of babies not getting adequate naps, which is resulting in horrendous nighttime sleep! Of course, there may always be multiple issues you are dealing with, but I felt the need to have a post about the importance of how sleep begets sleep. I’m continuously working on the baby sleep inspired posts for this site, so follow me and let me help you out!
What better way to put fresh strawberries to use during the hot southern summer? Ok, it’s not THAT hot here today, but I had bought a lot of strawberries from a local farmer and was dying to make some of … Continue reading
I love finding recipes for things that can be bought in the store! So far, I seem to find that things that are mixed yourself are so much better than the store-bought mixes. Honestly, I like sloppy joes, but I haven’t loved them in the past. Then I found this recipe when looking for something different to cook. And oh my goodness – they’re great! I’m convinced that sloppy joes are one of those things that one must taylor to their own tastes, but I love this recipe just the way it is.
Homemade Sloppy Joes
- 2 Tbs Butter
- 2 1/2 lbs ground beef (or ground turkey)
- Half of a large onion, diced (or a diced whole small onion, just dice some onion, ok?)
- 1 large green bell pepper, diced
- 5 cloves of garlic minced (or canned minced garlic, see jar for substitution directions)
- 1 1/2 cups ketchup
- 1 cup water
- 2 Tbs brown sugar
- 2 tsp chili powder (or to taste)
- 1 tsp dry mustard
- 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes (or to taste)
- Worcestershire Sauce (to taste)
- 2 Tbs tomato paste
- Tabasco sauce (optional; to taste)
- Salt to taste
- Ground black pepper to taste
- Kaiser Rolls or Hamburger Buns
Directions: Add butter to large skillet or dutch oven over medium heat. Add ground beef and cook until brown. Drain and discard fat. Return meat to skillet/ dutch oven. Add onions, green pepper, and garlic. Cook for a few minutes or until vegetables begin to get soft. Add ketchup, brown sugar, chili dry mustard, and water. Stir to combine and simmer for 15 minutes, adding salt and pepper to taste. Also add tomato paste, Worcestershire, and Tabasco if desired. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed. Spread rolls with butter and brown on griddle or skillet. Spoonmeat mixture over the rolls or buns. Enjoy!
When I started this blog, I hadn’t originally intended it to be solely food centered and I still don’t, but I do want recipes, cooking, and the like to be a great part of it. Since this blog is new and really just developing, I’m going to go with it! Can you believe I used to hate to cook? Something changed in me when I got married though. There was something about having my own kitchen, that I could do whatever I wanted to in, that made me want to be a great cook. I spent a lot of time on the phone with my Granny asking her questions!
If you are a new cook – perhaps you’ve just moved out on your own and realize you have no idea what you’re doing or maybe you’re a newlywed struggling to boil water – I invite you to follow my blog as I help you learn your way around your kitchen. I’m a self-taught cook who loves to try new recipes and challenge myself, but I remember my newlywed days when I could barely make spaghetti! I would read recipes that honestly just didn’t make sense or I didn’t have all of the ingredients and was so tight on money that I refused to buy them all. I found myself needing simple recipes with few ingredients. On top of that, I would constantly guess if the pot or pan I was using would be big enough for the dish. For example, a recipe might have read, “Fill large pot with water and bring to a boil.” I would wonder, “Is this a ‘large’ pot? How much water?”
It was ridiculous! And really funny now that I look back on it 😉
Here’s what you can expect from my “New Cooks” posts:
- Posts may be somewhat lengthy, depending on topic or recipe, etc.
- Pictures to explain things that may otherwise be considered simple to experienced cooks
- Recipes with limited ingredients at first, then we will build to recipes with more ingredients in order to help you build up your spice (etc.) pantry
- Step-by-step directions
- I’m hoping to incorporate videos, but I’m not crazy about myself on camera (who is, right?)
- Cooking tips, tricks, and more
I hope you will follow my blog to see my posts for new cooks!
Cut Down Grocery Waste by buying frozen vegetables or freeze fresh produce.
This can be a give and take situation. Pre-frozen, bagged produce tends to cost more. However, you can reduce wasting food by only taking out what you need and using the rest later so that nothing “goes bad” before you can use it. Frozen produce is also usually picked at peak freshness and frozen right away so you may end up with a better product.
One could argue that you can buy fresh produce only as needed, but that may result in multiptile trips to the grocery store, before you would otherwise really need to go again (which also usually results in you buying things you don’t need). You could also buy more produce than needed and freeze it yourself. The answer to this is really about finding what works best for your grocery budget, what produce is in season, and your local grocery prices.
Follow my blog for more tips on making the most of your grocery budget!
This is my second tip about how to save money by cutting down grocery waste:
Cut down grocery waste by eating leftovers.
A lot of people like leftovers, if this is your case, then continue making large meals and commit to having them for lunch or something the next day. Leftovers are a cost effective way to eat lunch at work. Since there’s not really any extra preparation other than putting it in a take-along container, it saves you time and effort too!
One of my favorite recipes for leftovers is Pizza Casserole.
To view my first tip about how to cut down grocery waste, read my post Budget Meal Tip: Cut Down Grocery Waste, Part I.