Friday, February 27, 2015

February Favorite Finds

Elizabeth and I are back for another round of Favorite Finds! You can check out her post here. And we'd love to hear what you're loving right now at the bottom of our posts!

Ryan's Car

I mentioned this car in yesterday's post. I got it as a shower gift from one of my students before Ryan was born, and we decided to get it out this week for him to try. He LOVES it! Yes, it is a big piece of plastic that I said I would never have in my house, but seeing his face light up when he makes the car make a noise is worth every inch that that plastic is currently taking up in our living room. :)
It's called the Fisher Price Laugh & Learn Car and it's pretty much the bomb. You can check it out here!

Solly "Dolly" Wrap
So if you follow me on IG or have read this blog since Ryan's been born, you know I'm obsessed with my Solly Baby Wrap. Well look at what they are launching next month:

I mean. How stinking cute is THAT?! 

And now I want a girl. And then I want this wrap.

And while I'm on the topic, Elle is one of my favorite people to follow on IG. Her business has grown a TON in the last year, but she is still just as down-to-earth as ever. And her husband (who side note looks like Joel from Parenthood I think) has the coolest IG account of anyone I follow. Like I felt inspired to talk more quality pictures after looking at his page. So now you probably think I'm slightly obsessed and stalkerish, but I bet you secretly wanna check out their pages too, so here they are: Elle's and Jared's. I won't tell. ;)

Quinoa Chips
I bought these on an impulse in the TJ Maxx checkout line the other day (because I'm a marketer's dream and the guy in front of me bought like 7 bags and wouldn't stop talking about how good they are), and I have to say, they are GOOD! And I feel really trendy eating them, haha. They're like the potato chip version of VOSS water.

New way to make steaks
Okay, shameless plug for one of my newly posted recipes, but this really is my new favorite way to make steaks, so it's making my list for this month. You can check out the recipe here. {...and there's the plug}

State Farm Commercial
I don't usually watch commercials anymore since we rarely watch live TV, but I saw this one come on the other day and "had a moment" watching it. I just love it. Go State Farm.

She Reads Truth
A reader named Stephanie told me about the She Reads Truth app after I shared about looking for a good devotional in my February Goals post. I started using the app this month and love it! (Thanks, Stephanie!) I also fell in love with the She Reads Truth shop that is filled with TONS of great buys from prints, to scripture cards, to study resources. It is great!

And you know what else is great?!

For the next three days, they are offering 15% off to all Notes from the Nelsens and Sam & Scout Readers!

Just enter the code "NELSEN" at checkout and your discount will be applied!

The discount will expire Sunday at midnight.

That's it for this month! What are your favorite finds for this month?!


Thursday, February 26, 2015

#nelsendays2015 Week 8- Neighbor night, date night, big boy moments, and Ryan's first car ;)

Despite the cold temperatures, this week has been pretty great. In fact, the cold weather has actually made it extra great because Matt's worked shorter days and is even working at home as I write this to avoid the icy roads. So this mama is loving the cold weather- from inside. :)

Day 50:
One of Ryan's favorite pre-nap books right now is Peek-a-Boo, I Love You! The last page is his favorite, and he usually gets the biggest grin behind his paci, but he was about to fall asleep in my arms when I took this pic!

Day 51: 
We were making music and messes while we waited for Matt to get home from work. :)

Day 52:
This was Saturday morning and Matt and Tally weren't quite ready to start the day. And THAT is how Ryan felt about it. ;)

That night, my sweet friend Lynn (who I used to teach with) and her two daughters ASKED us if they could watch Ryan for us so that we could go on a date. How sweet is that?! We had the best time catching up with them before we headed out to dinner. When I miss my teaching days, she's a big reason why!

Day 53:
On Sunday, we celebrated Karen and Jay's birthdays at Matt's parents' house and managed to get a picture of all of the grandkids on Mimi and Papa's lap. :)

The birthday kids getting help from an expert present opener. ;)

During our brunch, Ryan sat at the table with us and ate everything we were eating! He LOVED Mimi's egg casserole that had Canadian bacon on the bottom, topped with egg, swiss cheese, milk, parsley, and parmesan. In these shots he's trying some bacon, the egg yolk (baked), canadian bacon, and then I spoon fed him some of the "essence" as we call it from the dish that had the milk, cheese, parmesan and parsley. He loved it all!! And then we let him try some of the blueberry pancakes and he loved that too! That was his first try of anything bread-like. I've been saving (or sheltering?! ha) him from carbs since I'm such a carb-a-holic, but I loved letting him try some of Muggie's (that's Matt's grandma) delicious pancake recipe.

It was just so fun having him eat at the table with us like such a big boy. He was content and happy to listen to conversation while he munched away for the entire time we ate. It was like he grew up so much in a 30 minute time span. I've had so many "favorite days" with him since he was born, but Sunday was definitely one of them!

After brunch, we brought up a car that I got at one of my showers before Ryan was born. Matt's parents had been keeping it for us in their basement, and since Ryan had gotten pretty good at sitting up steadily in the last week, I thought it would be fun to bring it up and let him try it. He LOVED it!

I'll be sharing more about this car in tomorrow's Favorite Finds post.

Day 54:
On Monday, we took a trip to the grocery store and Ryan sat like a big boy in the cart. I obviously failed at putting the little cover on correctly, haha, but I more wanted it as some extra cushion, not necessarily to keep him from touching the cart, so I guess it served its purpose. The funny thing about this was that he was so tired as we were leaving and started leaning his head down on my hand to rest (so I thought), but when I bent down to sneak a peek at his eyes to see if they were open, I realized what he was actually doing was sucking on the cart handle. Oops. And gross. I'm all for building up immunities, but that wasn't exactly what I had in mind when I didn't fuss with the cover going on all the way!

That same day, while I was taking Tally to his training class, Matt's mom sent me these pictures of Ryan- sweet boo. :)

This was Tal after his class. :)

Day 55:
Tuesday night, we had pizza night over at our neighbors' house across the street from us. There were five couples who were able to make it. Of those five, two of us have a baby under one, two are pregnant, and the other couple isn't far behind! We love our street so much because of these sweet people. 

The morning after our pizza night, Lizzie's school was closed because of weather, so she came over in her pajamas and robe and brought Hagen to play with Tally while we drank coffee and played with Ryan. And I was sitting there in my pajamas as well thinking how much I love having a neighbor like her! Can't wait for her to become a mama so we can have more mornings like that!

And side note, Ryan was a champ at pizza night. He stayed up over an hour past his bedtime (notice that big yawn!) and loved sitting up at the table with everyone. He's at such a fun stage right now. :)

Keep up with us everyday on Instagram @hmnelsen

And come back tomorrow to check out what Elizabeth and I are sharing for our February Favorite Finds! There's an exclusive coupon code to a really awesome shop that you won't want to miss!


Wednesday, February 25, 2015

BAKED Feta Steaks- My new favorite way to make steaks!

I recently stumbled across this recipe for baked steaks, and as skeptical as I was that they would really turn out tasting good (baking a steak?!), I decided to give them a try. And WHOA were they good!

The original recipe calls for bleu cheese, which is definitely the more common cheese to use on meats, but bleu cheese grosses me out. So I swapped it out for feta and LOVED the salty, creamy flavor.

This has become my new favorite way to make steaks. They are so tasty and surprisingly cook great in the oven. I really don't think you'll notice that a grill was never used. Give them a try and let me know what you think!

2- 6oz Filets
Cavender's Greek Seasoning (looks like this and located with the other spices)
2T butter (one per steak)
2T crumbled feta cheese (one per steak) 
2T olive oil

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Heat olive oil on a skillet until the pan and oil are extra hot. Generously sprinkle Cavender's on both sides of each steak, pressing the seasoning into the steaks. Place both steaks on the skillet and sear each side for two minutes. Transfer the steaks to a greased baking dish and place in the oven for 18 minutes.

While the steaks are baking, mix together butter and feta cheese. (Don't melt the butter! I just mashed the two together with a fork- you want it to be clumpy.)

Remove the steaks from the oven, add the butter/cheese mixture on top of each steak, and return to the oven for 2 minutes.

Allow the steaks to rest outside of the oven for 3-5 minutes before serving.

This baking time will produce a medium steak if you purchase thick-cut filets like we do. Adjust the time accordingly if you like your steaks more rare or well-done.

I served our steaks with homemade mac & cheese and Publix SteamInBag broccoli. It would also be great with steakhouse creamed spinach, garlic parmesan mashed potatoes, or twice-baked potatoes!


Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Last Week's Meals (7 Recipes Included)

If I were still teaching, I would be giddy today. There's snow on the ground and schools are closed! But even not teaching, I love a good excuse to cozy up and stay inside for a whole day. :)

Here's a look what we ate last week- hopefully you'll find a recipe or two that's worth making for your own family this week!

Publix Steak Kabobs
Have you ever shopped the pre-made and ready-to-cook section at Publix? They have great meals that are prepped and ready for cooking (haha, hence the name), so the hard part is done for you, but the food still tastes fresh because you're cooking it at home. You can follow this link, enter your zip code, and see what's available at the store nearest you.

Last week, I got two of their steak kabobs marinated in a merlot wine. I cooked them on broil in the oven, about 7 minutes on each side. They are SO good and so easy!

I served them with my new favorite homemade mac & cheese and new favorite veggie- creamed spinach.

We also love their stuffed peppers- if fact, I might need to make these again soon. :)

If it seems like I make this recipe a lot, it's because- I make this recipe a lot. I buy my pork tenderloin at Costco where 4 tenderloins come in a package. Out of the those four tenderloins, I would say at least half of them end up being used for this recipe. I love a meal that can be prepared in less than 5 minutes and look and taste like it took way longer.

Because after two nights of meat for Matt, it's only fair that I make a homemade sauce and pasta for me. ;) Matt does love this sauce too though- I usually serve his with a piece of marinated chicken, or, even easier, fresh shrimp from Publix. I though just eat a plate full of the pasta with lots and lots of locatelli parmesan. :)

This recipe is one of our go-to comfort foods. Sometimes I serve it over bread, other times we just eat it by itself. I promise, this recipe tastes nothing like your elementary school cafeteria's version. And there are THREE ingredients (four if you want the onions). I included measurements in the recipe link, but I never measure this- just toss in ketchup and brown sugar until it tastes good to you. So quick, so easy, and so YUM.

Last week was pretty much a repeat of all of our current favorite meals- so our course this one was a part of the mix!

Another comfort food that's easy to make. And now I serve it over Trader Joe's 3-Minute Jasmine Rice or Brown Rice so it's even easier!

Baked Feta Steaks
I'm sharing this recipe tomorrow- it's my new favorite way to make steaks!

See you then!