Five on Friday…

I learned about “5 on Friday” from a great blog I recently started following called, The Good Life. Basically, every Friday you post about any 5 things that you’re loving or that are inspiring you for that particular week. Sounds easy enough, so here goes nothing – 5 things that I’m loving right now:

<<ONE>>

The rain! Such a nice change and perfect for my relaxing maternity leave/countdown until baby girl arrives. Finally, it feels like fall in San Diego.

Mommy Project San Diego

<<TWO>>

This Rhinestone Velour Hoodie and Pants from Victoria’s Secret that I may or may not have purchased for my “going home outfit” from the hospital (of course there is some bling!) and this Plush Fleece Robe that feels like you’re wearing a cloud (also from Victoria’s Secret). So comfy!

Velour pantsuit   Victoria's Secret

<<THREE>>

Peppermint Brownie Cake Pop from Starbucks: Peppermint chocolate cake mixed with buttercream and candy cane pieces, dipped in white chocolate and sprinkled with candy cane bits. Oh, happy day!

Starbucks

<<FOUR>>

My art projects for baby girl’s nursery. I’ve never claimed to be an artiste extraordinaire, but I had a blast painting while listening to music – so relaxing. Picasso better watch it. (Photo of the final artwork coming soon)!

Mommy Project San Diego

<<FIVE>>

Tucker’s Bark Box arrived earlier this week and, in my humble opinion, was the best one yet! Big bags of treats, including the gourmet Truffle Mac & Cheese from Bocce’s Bakery in New York and a new favorite toy (Tuck’s words, not mine) with no stuffing inside so mom doesn’t have to clean it all up later!

Golden Retriever Dog

Happy Friday everyone!

An Ode to Tuck

Now that I’m officially on maternity leave from work, I’ve been able to spend a lot of quality time with my first (4-legged) baby – Tucker.

cute dog

He is my heart and soul and has taught me so much about life, love and responsibility in his short 2 1/2 years with our family.

When Tucker was only 6 months old he was diagnosed with a very serious disease, polyarthritis. My poor baby was on heavy medications for almost one year straight – meds that made him have to urinate every 2 hours, made him groggy, dehydrated and essentially killed his little spirit. I was heartbroken. My husband and I would have to wake up with him every 2 hours during the night and let him out to go to the bathroom and make sure he had enough water. We’d also have to cook special meals of chicken and rice for him because his stomach couldn’t digest dog food with all of the harsh medications in his system. During this time I remember thinking, this is what it must be like to have a newborn baby! With a  lot of love and patience, Mike and I successfully nursed Tuck back to health and he hasn’t had a flare-up of this awful disease in 2 years! He is now happy, energetic, thriving and he melts my heart everyday!

Since I’ve been pregnant, Tucker has taken on a new responsibility as my little nurse. I call him my little furry E.T. because I think he seriously feels everything that I’m feeling – he’s so in tune with my emotions. He’s also my little shadow – waiting for me when I get out of the shower, one step behind me as I walk up and down the stairs, curiously watching what I’m doing in the baby’s nursery and curled up next to me on the couch with his head resting on the baby bump. It recently dawned on me that he’s taking care of me just like I took care of him when he was sick.

caring dog

His love for me and the baby on the way is unconditional. I couldn’t have imagined a better dog to prepare me for motherhood and show me how to be selfless when caring for another being. Our baby girl is so lucky to have the best big brother, Tuck.

They say dogs are a man’s best friend, but I can truly say Tucker is more than that – he’s family.

cute dog

The Dish: Chicken, Mozzarella, Tomato & Basil

Now that I’m officially on maternity leave and have some extra time, I’ve decided to start cooking new, healthy meals every night. I’m a huge fan of mozzarella cheese, tomato and basil anything, so this chicken dish was very appealing – not to mention easy for this rookie chef!

Ingredients:
– 2 Organic Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts
– Mozzarella Cheese – enough slices to cover the chicken breasts
– Handful of Cherry Tomatoes, halved
– 1/2 Red Onion, chopped
– 3 Garlic Cloves, minced
– 1 Bunch of Basil, chopped
– 1 Tbl Olive Oil
– 2 tsp Balsamic Vinegar

Directions:

  • Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees.
  • Chop tomatoes, onions and basil and add to a mixing bowl:

photo (2) copy

  • Mix vegetables with olive oil, balsamic and minced garlic (I buy the pre-minced garlic from Sprouts):

Combine vegetables and mix

  • Brown chicken breasts in skillet on the stove top, adding salt and pepper to each side
  • Place browned chicken breasts in Pyrex dish and place mozzarella cheese on top:

chicken dish

  • Add tomatoes, basil, onions, garlic and oils mixture on top, place in oven and bake for about 30 minutes or until chicken is cooked:

chicken mozzarella recipe

  • Dinner is ready! Bon Appetite!

Image-1 copy

The Dish: Spaghetti Squash

With a baby on the way, I’m trying to up my cooking game by experimenting with new recipes. I’ve never been a “natural” in the kitchen, so when I actually make anything that seems half-way edible, it’s a huge accomplishment for me! This one was actually good (and healthy)!

Ingredients:

– 1 Spaghetti Squash, halved and seeded
– 2 Tbl Olive Oil
– 2 Cloves Garlic, Minced
– 1 White Onion, Chopped
– 3 Tbl Fresh Basil, Chopped
– Handful of Cherry Tomatoes, halved
– Freshly Grated Parmesan Cheese
– 1/2 Block of Firm Tofu, Cubed (optional or feel free to add any other protein)

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and cut spaghetti squash in half, lengthwise. (This was the most difficult part of the whole recipe for me because the spaghetti squash is so hard to cut! I ended up getting my knife wedged into the vegetable and slamming it down on the counter – voila – it worked and I felt like a samurai gangster!) Scoop out the seeds (an ice cream scooper works like a charm).

Spaghetti Squash

2. Place halved spaghetti squash face down on baking sheet and put in the oven for 30 minutes.

spaghetti squash

3. Chop onions and mince garlic (or if you’re like me, buy it already minced) and sauté over medium-low heat with olive oil.

spaghetti squash recipe

4. This is the optional step: I always want to add some sort of protein to my meals, so I opted for tofu but feel free to add any type of protein your heart desires. Sauté tofu and olive oil, salt and pepper in a skillet.

5. Chop tomatoes and basil and shred fresh parmesan cheese.

spaghetti squash recipe

6. When Spaghetti Squash is ready, remove from oven and let cool for a few minutes before grabbing a fork and beginning to scrape out the pulp.

7. Combine stringy spaghetti squash, tofu, sautéed onions, garlic, and chopped tomatoes and basil in one big bowl.

spaghetti squash recipe

8. Dish out on a plate and top with the freshly grated parmesan cheese.

spaghetti squash recipe

Bon appetite!

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