Archives for November 2014

Crowd Pleasing Thanksgiving Recipes

Thanksgiving. My absolute favorite holiday. When else during the year can you eat and drink like a pig and it’s totally acceptable to overindulge? We have some Thanksgiving recipes that always appear on our Thanksgiving table. These are recipes that someone brought to the party one year and they became instant family favorites. These are the recipes that people ask for over and over. Every family has those recipes, right?

These Thanksgiving recipes are not new to Mommy of a Monster; I’ve shared them all before. But if you are a procrastinator and have no idea what to serve on the big day, this recipe roundup will help!

Crowd Pleasing Thanksgiving Recipes

This roundup of Thanksgiving recipes includes recipes for appetizers, side dishes, desserts, and a Day After Thanksgiving casserole made with leftovers!

Jalapeno Creamed Corn

This Jalapeno Creamed Corn recipe is A-MAZ-ING and we eat it at almost every big family gathering we have. Don’t be frightened away by the jalapenos; you can de-seed them all first so they just add a bit of zip, not heat. This recipe was even featured on BlogHer!

This roundup of Thanksgiving recipes includes recipes for appetizers, side dishes, desserts, and a Day After Thanksgiving casserole made with leftovers!

The Best Broccoli EVER

This broccoli recipe is eaten at our house at least once a week, and Ethan will even eat it as a snack. It’s one of my most highly-pinned recipes, and is my 2nd most popular post. Yep, it’s that good!

This roundup of Thanksgiving recipes includes recipes for appetizers, side dishes, desserts, and a Day After Thanksgiving casserole made with leftovers!

Brussels Sprouts with Bacon, Leeks, and Pine Nuts

Brussels sprouts aren’t for everybody, but if you love ’em or if you need a healthy side dish Thanksgiving recipe, this one is perfect. It’s tasty and rich and, well, yummy!

This roundup of Thanksgiving recipes includes recipes for appetizers, side dishes, desserts, and a Day After Thanksgiving casserole made with leftovers!

Upside Down Pumpkin Cake

No Thanksgiving is complete without pumpkin pie…or is it? This Upside Down Pumpkin Cake recipe is my claim to fame and a recipe I don’t give out very often. Make this cake and people will be begging for the recipe, they’ll ask you to bring it again next year, and they’ll think you spent all day baking when really you just dump a bunch of stuff in a pan! And this recipe is featured in Scary Mommy’s (YES! That Scary Mommy!) new book Guide To Surviving the Holidays. For more pumpkin recipes, check out my pumpkin recipe roundup from last year.

This roundup of Thanksgiving recipes includes recipes for appetizers, side dishes, desserts, and a Day After Thanksgiving casserole made with leftovers!

Or if you are looking for something other than pumpkin pie to serve, check out my Holy Cow Cake…it’s my #1 most popular post and recipe!

This roundup of Thanksgiving recipes includes recipes for appetizers, side dishes, desserts, and a Day After Thanksgiving casserole made with leftovers!

Not a big dessert fan? After dinner coffee takes on a whole new meaning with my Adults Only Coffee with Kahlua, Amaretto, and chocolate.
This roundup of Thanksgiving recipes includes recipes for appetizers, side dishes, desserts, and a Day After Thanksgiving casserole made with leftovers!

Tastes Like Thanksgiving Casserole

What to do with all of those leftovers? I’ve gotcha covered! I love making this Tastes Like Thanksgiving Casserole after the holiday, but also throughout the winter because it’s the ultimate comfort food!

I’ve also got a whole slew of crowd pleasing appetizer and dessert recipes. You can also check out my Thanksgiving recipes board on Pinterest!

What are some of your favorite Thanksgiving recipes? I’d love to check them out!

Kenwood Vineyards Wines: The Perfect Addition To Your Holiday Table! #ShareYourTable

Disclaimer: I participated in an Influencer Activation on behalf of Influence Central for Kenwood Vineyards wines. I received product samples and a promotional item to thank me for my participation.

Kenwood Vineyards wines are perfect for a holiday meal or a casual night in. They will be donating $25,000 to WhyHunger to give back this holiday season. Learn how you can help. #ShareYourTable #MC

It’s no secret that I am a huge fan of wine. I write about wine on my blog and have a Pinterest wine board, too. So to have a meal with family and friends…especially the one that I look forward to all year long (Thanksgiving!)…without wine is unthinkable. When I was sent three bottles of Kenwood Vineyards wines to try at my sister’s (it’s my sister Angie who is sharing her best recipes here now) Friends Thanksgiving get together (10th? 11th? 12th? year..we’ve lost count), I couldn’t wait to get everybody’s opinions!

Kenwood Vineyards wines are perfect for a holiday meal or a casual night in. They will be donating $25,000 to WhyHunger to give back this holiday season. Learn how you can help. #ShareYourTable #MC

About Kenwood Vineyards wines…

A little about Kenwood Vineyards wines…you’ll find the vineyard in the heart of Sonoma Valley, California. Kenwood Vineyards sources grapes from dozens of vineyards- many farmed sustainably. They also use natural soil amendments and pest controls whenever possible rather then chemicals, which automatically makes them a winery I want to support. And while Kenwood Vineyards wines is sourced from various vineyards, each lot from each vineyard is kept separate throughout the winemaking process, enabling the winemaker to bring it to its fullest potential. These “small lots” or “cuvee” style of winemaking (See? You’re learning something here!) also enables the winemaker to create wines that showcase classic character, subtle complexity and balance. And you’ll taste it the first tip you take.

Kenwood Vineyards wines are perfect for a holiday meal or a casual night in. They will be donating $25,000 to WhyHunger to give back this holiday season. Learn how you can help. #ShareYourTable #MC

My favorite by far was the Zinfandel. It was big, bold, and with a smooth finish – exactly how I like my wine. And other red wine fans loved it too. This is one of the Kenwood Vineyards wines that will be a staple on my “to drink” list! I also really liked the Pinot Noir. It was perfect with turkey and all the fixin’s! And while I’m not a huge fan of white wines, the Chardonnay is one I would definitely buy again…especially in the spring and summer!

At my sister’s Friends Thanksgiving get together, she decided to create a new tradition. We all wrote down what we were grateful for…big and small…and she’s going to keep them for next year so we can see them again. I love this idea, and hope that others will include this simple tradition with their families.

Another think important in our family is giving to those less fortunate. Whether it’s giving a homeless person a few dollars on the side of the freeway or donating food to families in need, we are very supportive of efforts to “pay it forward. And so is Kenwood Vineyards. This Thanksgiving, Kenwood Vineyards will be donating $25,000 to WhyHunger in
support of ending hunger and giving back during the holiday season. WhyHunger is a leader in building the movement to end hunger and poverty by connecting people to nutritious, affordable food and by supporting grassroots solutions that inspire self-reliance and community empowerment.

WhyHunger an amazing cause, and along with Kenwood Vineyard wines, they are doing amazing good for those who need it, and I fully support it and have donated to the cause! I urge you to do the same, if you are able. Visit the Kenwood Vineyards WhyHunger donation page where you can donate a small or large portion of your own Thanksgiving meal along with Kenwood Vineyards.

Even if you are unable to support Kenwood Vineyards and WhyHunger financially, you can help spread the word! Share a Facebook post or a tweet and make sure to let them know you are helping! I’ve included some that you can copy and paste. So easy!

Facebook:
Please help @KenwoodVineyards and @WhyHunger support ending hunger and giving back during the holiday season! http://bit.ly/11yaZFn
If you can’t donate financially, please share to help spread the word! #ShareYourTable #MC #sponsored

Twitter: 
Please RT -Show your support for @KenwoodVineyard ending hunger this holiday season! http://bit.ly/11yaZFn #MC #ShareYourTable #sponsored

And while you’re at it, make sure to follow Kenwood Vineyards on Facebook and also follow Kenwood Vineyard on Twitter.

We will be having Kenwood Vineyards wines (those reds are superb!) on our Thanksgiving table this year. What wines will be on your table?

Homemade Baby Food

Today I have another friend sharing a recipe that I think is fantastic! It’s for the littles in your life…homemade baby food.

Amanda from Much Ado About Mommy has an easy recipe for homemade baby food that is healthier (and cheaper) than the stuff you can buy at the store. It’s an easy recipe…right up my alley! Amanda is a writer, blogger, Fantasy Football enthusiast, coupon lover, a total book nerd and movie fanatic. She’s also a self proclaimed Shakespeare geek. She also dreams of becoming a fiction writer (me too!)

So I’ll hand it over to Amanda now.

Homemade Baby Food

Baby food can get pretty expensive after a while, and homemade baby food is inexpensive and easy to make. This recipe makes lots of it - freeze for later!

Hello! I’m Amanda and I’m very excited to have my family’s recipe for homemade baby food featured on Mommy of a Monster and Twins! A little bit about me, I’m originally from Miami and have lived in big cities my whole life up until this past June. Now I am the proud resident of a small town in the Midwest and a stay-at-home mom to an adorable little boy. One of my favorite things to do lately is to find new and exciting recipes for me and my family and I’m happy to be sharing this recipe– taught to me by my mother– which may help other moms save a little money and give their baby a great start on solid foods.

Baby food can get pretty expensive after a while, and while the prepackaged foods are a great way to start off your baby on solids, natural is always better. Always consult with your pediatrician before you give your baby homemade food. Chances are they’ll say it’s okay, but it’s always good to check first.

Making your own baby food will not only be better for your child, but it’ll also save you some money! And it’s easy as pie! Here are the veggies I use in my family’s recipe for homemade baby food.

1 Baked Potato
1 Sweet Potato
1 Squash
1 Bag of Baby Carrots
1 Bag of Green Beans

The first thing you want to do is peel and cut both potatoes. I usually cut slices and then cut the slices in half. You’ll need a big pot to put them in. Then slice up the squash. The slices don’t have to be any particular size, but you don’t want them to be too big because you’re going to blend everything after it’s done cooking.

The baby carrots can go in as is and for the green beans, you’ll want to cut the ends off and break them in half. Put everything into the pot and fill it with water until the veggies are submerged. You don’t have to use a whole lot of water for this, just enough to cover the vegetables.

Boil on Medium high, stirring occasionally until the veggies are tender. You should be able to cut them without much effort with your stirring spoon. Once they’re done, let them cool for a little while. The whole process should take about an hour or so, depending on how big the potato pieces are.

After the pot is cool, get out your blender and pour a little bit of the water in and then add veggies. You want the consistency to be a little thick, so make sure to use more vegetables than water. I usually do two scoops of water and two big scoops of veggies. Pour it into a Tupperware for storage or you can even use an ice tray to make portions easier! Continue until all the veggies are blended. You may have more water than veggies left in the pot. That’s okay. Just drain the water and use the last of the veggies. Also, make sure that all the veggies have been blended completely; be sure that there are no chunks of anything.

From start to finish, this takes approximately 1 hour and 20 minutes and it makes a ton! I made some for my son just last night and we filled up four containers! Three of those went into the freezer for later use and the other is in the refrigerator for the next couple of weeks. Another great way to store the food and keep it in portions is to use ice trays! After the food freezes, you can take the cubes out of the trays and put them into a freezer bag. This allows you to use as much as you need at a time, while having to worry about needing to use it before it goes bad.

If you’re just using tupperware to store it, that’s fine. It’s what I use, just make sure to keep an eye on it! Typically, the food in tupperware will stay fresh in the fridge for about a week or two.

Paying a couple of bucks for these vegetables is so much cheaper than buying the pre packaged baby food and it’s better for your sweet baby because it’s natural. If you bought as many packaged foods as this recipe makes, you would likely spend over thirty dollars, maybe more!

All moms like to save money! Thanks for sharing this homemade baby food recipe with us, Amanda!

Head over and visit Amanda at Much Ado About Mommy and make sure to like her Facebook page, too!

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Would you like to get a recipe featured at Mommy of a Monster? Find how how to do it here.

Safe and Proper Dosing Of Over the Counter Medications: 10 Tips

Cough and cold and flu season is upon us in full force. Mia’s already had bronchitis, and what was recently diagnosed as allergy-related chronic coughing. Ethan and Lila both have coughs and booger nose. Life at our house is all germy. I’ve mentioned before how important safe medicine storage is,  and now it’s time to address how critically important safe and proper dosing of over the counter (OTC) medications to children is.

Bear with me here. It may feel like common sense to just read the back of the medicine bottle and give your kid the suggested dose. But how many times have you woken up at 2am when your child wakes up crying/throwing up/grabbing an ear, throat, or head? It’s dark, you’re half asleep and freaking out that your kid is in pain. You grab the medicine, and you’re pretty sure you’ve just given the correct dose. And you start second guessing yourself.

Safe and proper dosing of over the counter medications can save your child’s life. In October, the journal Pediatrics revealed the results of a study indicating that every eight minutes, a child under the age of 6 experiences a medication error outside of the doctor’s office or hospital.

Prevent an accidental overdose of medicine this cold and flu season at home by following safe and proper dosing of over the counter medications. #OTCSafety
How do these accidents happen? Most of the errors come from giving kids liquid medicine, giving them the wrong dosage amount, or giving them medicines twice (because you are tired and not paying attention?) While these are unintended errors, education and awareness needs to be shared.

Safe and Proper Dosing Of Over the Counter Medications: 10 Tips

from the OTCsafety.org site

Prevent an accidental overdose of medicine this cold and flu season at home by following safe and proper dosing of over the counter medications. #OTCSafety

  • Always read and follow the label don’t guess. If you aren’t sure, call your doctor or pharmacist.
  • Always give the recommended dose and use the correct measuring device. Never use longer than the label instructs or at higher doses, unless your doctor specifically tells you to do so.
  • Only use the medicine that treats your child’s specific symptoms.
  • Never give two medicines with any of the same active ingredients. Read the labels, moms!
  • Never use cough, cold, or allergy medicines to sedate your child. I know, I know…we all joke about giving the kids Benadryl to make them sleep, but it’s not okay and should NEVER be done!
  • Never give aspirin-containing products to children and adolescents for cold or flu symptoms unless told to do so by a doctor. And never use oral cough and cold medicines in children under four.
  • Do not give a medicine only intended for adults to a child. Not even if you half the dose (as I’m sure many of us can would never admit to doing.)
  • Stop use and contact your doctor immediately if your child develops any side effects or reactions that concern you.
  • Keep all medicines — yes, vitamins too — up and away and out of your child’s reach and sight. I have some tips here.
  • Teach your child about using medicines safely. Tell your children what medicine is and why you must be the one to give it to them. Never tell children medicine is candy to get them to take it, even if your child does not like to take his or her medicine.  You’d be shocked by how many different OTCs can be mistaken for candy.

Prevent an accidental overdose of medicine this cold and flu season at home by following safe and proper dosing of over the counter medications. #OTCSafety

For more information about over-the-counter medicine safety, you can check out my posts I’ve written as an OTCsafety Ambassador and followCHPA on Pinterest for even more.

How do you make sure that you are using safe and proper dosing of over the counter medications in your home?

Disclaimer: I’m being compensated as an OTCSafety Blogger, though all thoughts, opinions, and suggestions expressed here are my own. Keep up-to-date on OTCSafety information by visiting the OTCSafety website  and by following them on Pinterest.

Sneeze photo credit: foshydog via photopin cc

 

Have You Bought Scary Mommy’s Guide To Surviving The Holidays Yet? (I’m In It!) #SurvivingTheHolidays

Remember a few weeks back that I told you I was helping out the 2014 Scary Mommy Thanksgiving Project? Yep, I am actually part of her e-book titled “Scary Mommy’s Guide to Surviving the Holidays.” It’s a hysterical collection of relatable, hilarious essays on everything from the Santa myth to being seated at the dreaded kids’ table, to easy-to-follow recipes that might include just a little something special to take the edge off (can anyone say Kahlua?), to fun and accessible gift ideas. Yep. All in one book. For just $2.99.

Think you're ready for the holidays? Scary Mommy's Guide To Surviving The Holidays will have you laughing all the way through them!  And one of my own recipes is included...you'll never make pumpkin pie again! #SurvivingTheHolidays

Scary Mommy’s Guide to Surviving The Holidays is the perfect book to sit down with and read with a glass of wine after the kids go to bed. And each and every one of us (including Jill) is taking all proceeds from the book sales and donating it all right back to Scary Mommy Nation (a registered 501(c)3 non-profit that helps members of the Scary Mommy Community who are not able to feed their families.)

So what are you waiting for? Go order Scary Mommy’s Guide to Surviving the Holidays on AmazonBarnes & Noble or iBooks and get ready to laugh.

Think you're ready for the holidays? Scary Mommy's Guide To Surviving The Holidays will have you laughing all the way through them!  And one of my own recipes is included...you'll never make pumpkin pie again! #SurvivingTheHolidays

And if you’d like to help spread the word, make sure to tag Scary Mommy and I and include the hashtag #SurvivingTheHolidays. I’ll send you virtual pumpkin cake (my featured recipe in the book!) and hugs.

You’re still here. Go get Scary Mommy’s Guide To Surviving the Holidays now!