Comfort Food // Crock Pot Beef Stew Recipe

I remember a time when the only thing I knew how to make was Ramen noodles! Well, that time is long & gone, I’ve learned to master quite a few tricks in the Kitchen.  Lately it’s been harder and harder to make those complicated recipes I used to make, I have a huge folder with recipes upon recipes.  Being a first time mom has led me to become more resourceful in the kitchen and bringing out the crock pot. I can prepare it ahead of time while the baby naps during the day and it will be ready by the time the husband gets home.

So let’s get to it.
Crock pot Beef Stew Recipe
Ingredients:

2 tbsp. olive oil
3/4 cup Flour
1 teaspoon Paprika
1 teaspoon Garlic powder
2 lbs. of stew meat of choice
1/2 onion, chopped
1/2 green pepper, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
2 cups beef broth or bouillon
1 tsp. salt or to taste
1 tsp. sugar
1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
1/2 tsp. pepper
1/2 tsp. paprika
2 bay leaves
Handful of baby carrots, cut in pieces or 2 carrots
6 medium potatoes, cut in pieces
1/3 cup cold water blended with 3 tablespoons flour

    Directions:
    Combine flour, paprika and garlic powder in a food storage bag; add stew beef and toss to coat. 

    Brown coated beef in hot oil in a large skillet; transfer to the Crock pot. 

    Add the remaining ingredients except for water and flour mixture. Cook on low for 8-10 hours or high for 4-6 hours, until vegetables are tender.

    About 30 minutes before serving, add flour mixture to the pot. Turn to high and cook until thickened.
    Serves 6 to 8 people.  I served it with rice and a green salad the first time around, since the recipe yields quite a lot for my family of 2.5 I also made some pasta for it.

    I wasn’t planning on actually documenting this meal, it was a bit impromptu, no fancy photos here and the finished product, well? I ate it. No pictures to show. But I can assure you it was delicious. 

    I’m always on the lookout for crock pot recipes so If you have something yummy you make for your family, post some links in the comment section. I will love to give them a try.

    Thank you for stopping in!


    Babywearing 101 – How to Safely Use Baby Carriers

    Women have been wearing their children for a very long time, in fact centuries. Being a mother means being able to do things simultaneously and baby wearing has come to the rescue. While I was pregnant I searched for items that would be most used by me and the baby.  I didn’t want to be stuck with a bunch of things I wouldn’t put to use.  So what exactly is baby wearing? To put is simply, exactly what is says.

    There are so many infant carriers and slings out there. I’ve only tried two so I’m partial to them but you can always try different ones with your little one and see which is most comfortable to you and to your baby.

    My first experience with baby wearing was with a Moby wrap.  Nico really enjoyed being in it when he was a newborn. But I could say honestly that I’ve never tried with him bigger. There’s not doubt the comfort level of the Moby wrap is unbeatable. But for me, having all that fabric to wrap around me was a bit of a turn off. I didn’t get to fully experience it’s benefits.

    I don’t know if I’ll give it another try now, but since then I’ve been really using the Ergo Baby. It’s easy to put on and take off.  And I couldn’t be happier with it.  The only thing I dislike about it is the fact that my son will always bite and drool on the shoulder straps.  But I solve that by sticking a pacifier in his mouth.

    Script below care of Baby Wearing International 

    It is very important to understand basic babywearing safety before ever putting on a carrier. As with any baby product, baby carriers can pose potential safety hazards if they are not used carefully and correctly.

    Make sure your child’s airway remains open at all times while babywearing. The best way to do this is to keep him or her in an upright position, high enough on your body to monitor breathing and ensure that her chin is off her chest. Babywearing International recommends that infants only be held in a horizontal or cradle position while actively nursing (if desired) and return to an upright or vertical position as soon as they have finished.

    It is also important that your carrier provide adequate support for your infant’s developing neck and back. Ideally baby should be held with his knees higher than his bottom with legs in a spread squat position and support from knee to knee although with older babies and toddlers full knee to knee support is not always possible or necessary. An ergonomic carrier (whether a soft structured carrier, Asian-style carrier, sling, or wrap) will provide better support for baby and will be more comfortable for the caregiver as well.

    Always inspect your carrier for wear or damage before use examining it for weak spots, loose stitching, worn fabrics, etc. BWI recommends purchasing a carrier from a reputable manufacturer to ensure that it meets all current US safety, testing, and labeling standards.

    Practice all carries—especially back carries–with a spotter, over a bed or couch, or low to the ground until you are completely confident. A BWI meeting is the perfect place to learn new skills with the assistance of a Volunteer Babywearing Educator. In most cases it is best to be comfortable with front carries before attempting back carries.

    Always exercise common sense while babywearing. Baby carriers are not an approved child restraint or floatation device and should not be used in moving vehicles or boats. Avoid babywearing in situations where it would not be safe to carry an infant in-arms.

    Here’s an illustration on how to safely wear your baby in an infant carrier.

    Here’s an illustration on how to safely wear your baby in a sling.

    Whichever way you choose to wear your baby, be sure to wear them safely. I hope this has been a helpful post and that you’ll wear those babies proudly. Want to know more about baby wearing? Click here to learn more about it’s benefits.

    So, what about you? Do you wear your baby? Which carrier is your favorite?

    Thank you for stopping in.

     

    It’s Not Easy Being Green // 5 Easy Ways of Going Green

    frugal living
    Credit: ivillage.com

    Hi everyone!

    I’m sure you’ve come across a few blog posts with this title. How could I not use this phrase? But it’s so true in today’s world.
    Aside from my husband fighting me on any and everything green. I have to fight my own little monsters.

    After I gave birth to my son I began researching obsessing over “green” things. What cleaning products to use, vaccinations, diapers, foods, any and everything organic, recycling, homeopathic treatments, I mean. It’s a lot. And can be very overwhelming but I’ve gathered a few tips together on how to start at least. Being more conscious about what we use and put in/on our bodies it a great start!

    I’m nowhere near being “green” but I’ve slowly been changing my mindset and making a few changes here and there. So here’s a little list of where to begin.

    1. Recycle! This one is one of the easiest ones I think. Although I don’t separate bins in my kitchen for recyclable items, I do use a grocery bag to place bottles/cans and other plastic items.  The plan is to stop using plastic altogether. But that would mean getting the hubby on board. And that ain’t happening anytime soon.

    2. Change out cleaning products. We all know cleaning products have a bunch of chemicals in them. And if your little one were to get into your cleaning cabinet there would be trouble, but just the fumes of some of these products alone can be harmful. So I’ve began to use safer products.  I’ll sometimes just use water, vinegar and essential oils, add it to a spray bottle and make my own cleaning agent.

    3. Food items.  This one is tricky, organic food is pricey!  But organic doesn’t mean free of anything bad, gotta always read the labels. But there are things you don’t necessarily have to buy organic, see chart below.  I’ve been switching up a couple of staple items.  I.E. Eggs, butter, cream cheese, some fruits & veggies. I have yet to fully convert to organic meats.

    4. Reduce! This includes, using less water, less electricity, less disposable items. Well, just less. This one I’m working harder on. Turning off lights when leaving a room, use less water (turn off faucet when brushing teeth, doing the dishes). Energy-star rated appliances are always great to have, although I think with T.V.’s you have to switch that mode on. Switch all or a few of your light-bulbs to CFL’s.

    5. Sign up for e-bills. This one is SIMPLE!! Who wants all that paper anyways? You’ll save some trees and no need for stamps! win-win.  Also, get rid of those pesky credit card pre-approvals. Did you know you can opt out of those? Click here to do that.

    BONUS: Got a green thumb? Herb garden. This is next on my list. I know they are pretty simple to maintain. I love fresh herbs when cooking.

    Ta-da! Wasn’t that easy? Hope you’ll get some of these started right away! Let me know in the comments below what other easy tips you might have on going green the easy way.

    Thanks for stopping in. Happy Friday!

    Baby Update // Nico is 9 Months Old

    The day is here. Nine months in and nine months out with the little guy. I can’t begin to describe how awesome it is to have him around, despite all the work. (and it’s work, lots of it)

    I decided to take Nico to the beach to take his 9 months photos.  I’m no photographer but having the beach as a backdrop surely helps. All of my photos have been taken with my iPhone. (I really need to invest on a camera! Got any suggestions as to which?Maybe a photography class should be on a to-do list soon.) But I did take his “official” white onesie with corresponding age sticker.  These are getting harder and harder to take. He is all over the place. Keeping him sitting down for a photo is next to impossible. I get a lot of blurred movement shots.

    Baby Stats:

    Height: 29.25 inches
    Weight: 21.4 pounds
    Teeth: 6 but working on a new bottom one (2 on the bottom and 4 on top)
    Mobility: Climbs on top of everything, will stand up for a few seconds but he isn’t walking yet. I can’t imagine the damage he’ll do when he is able to.
    Will now go to my family’s arms even if I’m the one holding him
    Naps: 2-3 (40 mins to 2 hrs)
    Bedtime: 6:30-7:30 pm (Will sometimes wake up in the middle of the night around 3-4 or will wake up around 5:30-6:30 am and eat and go back to sleep till 8 am)
    Words: Mama (Which he calls out anytime he wants to be picked up) and words that make no sense, I should really post a video of him blabbing. It’s hilarious.
    Foods: He really is into anything I’m eating. He ate a lot of different things on our little trip. I’m really enjoying seeing him eat it all up.

    Here are a couple of shots of our trip!

    Thanks for stopping in.


    And We’re Back!

    Baby at the beach, motherhood , mommy blogger

    Hello Everyone! Happy Monday?

    After being almost a month away in Jacksonville visiting my parents we have returned.  It’s so good to be home! Hopefully we’ll get to spend some longer visits with my parents. It was so much fun, Nicolas loved having everyone around all the time and I loved that I got to get some pampering done and some going out at night.

    Although I didn’t set out to stay that long there it just happened that way, but my mother’s birthday was coming up in a couple of weeks and I had promised I would go there for her birthday. So I figured I’d just stay.. I mean I work remotely! LOL #Nicoonthego #hashtagsdontworkhere #ohwell.

    I went to the movies, something I hadn’t done since I was pregnant! I love going to the movies.  We went bowling! I got my nails done TWICE!!!  I even got a full body massage. GO ME!  All in all, a fantastic time was had and I’m gonna miss everything about it. Nico had fun too! My parents have two small LOUD dogs around. Nico didn’t really play with them but he didn’t cry around them. He really just enjoyed watching them.  He met all different kinds of folks. Went to the St. Augustine, but mostly he spent time with my family. He’s such a happy kid. They loved hanging out with him!

    But now that we are home, it’s time to catch up on all the house chores (and let me tell you, hubby left it the way it was) He pretty much just ate out or delivery. So I came home to a home needing to cleaning and groceries needing to be restocked.  But I am glad to do it. I missed my daily chores. I’m not a big fan of change and my schedule completely went haywire by being away. Now I have to find my groove again

    One little BIG change that was made was our sleeping arrangement.  Nicolas co-sleeps but when I arrived I moved our mattress to the floor in between his glorified play pen (crib) and our bed. So it’s a big fort. He’s surrounded on all sides except for one.  Since he is so active, I had to resort to this. It doesn’t look pretty but he’ll be safe and that’s all I care about at this point.

    Now I’m on to the HUGE do-list I’ve made for myself.  I usually do daily lists but I couldn’t get myself to narrow down the most important things to do. So I’ve created a week-long to do list. There are auto insurance quotes to look for, appointments to schedule, play dates, cleaning, organizing, buying a few gifts I’ve yet to buy for some friends! It’s coming, I promise!!!!  I’ve also scheduled some Bible reading and exercise in the midst of it all.

    I haven’t been SUPER strict about me losing weight but so far I’m down 2 pounds!  Hey! I’m not complaining. But I am looking to buy a juicer so I can TRY doing a juice fast for a few days.  Get my body right on the inside and get things moving.  Any juicers out there? Need your input on which to buy.

    This is what’s been up in the Oliveira household.  Looking forward to getting lots of things done now that I’ve had a much needed rest!

    Have a great week everyone and I’ll update you on my healthy progress again soon, I hope you are taking part in my Healthy Challenge.  Let me know if you are in the comments below. Need lots of encouragement.


    Must Have Items for Baby & Mama // First Months

    baby's First months


    It’s MONDAY! Okay, for a stay at home mom it’s just like any other day. So no more hatred for Mondays here. That’s a reason to celebrate. I hope everyone had a great weekend and enjoyed some quality time with their family.  We did! Yesterday was “Children’s Day” in Brazil and Nico got some cool gifts. (Why on earth don’t we have this holiday here?) Anyways, I wrote a little list of most used items for the first months of a baby’s life. Here we go.

    Being pregnant is such an exciting moment in a woman’s life.  It really is. It’s amazing to feel your little one move inside of you. There are really no words but it is also a very uncertain time. With the countless amounts of products out there it really does a number on you.  I tried reading up on most things I purchased for Nico but it is hard work and exhausting. Some products I just gave up and just picked one, got tired of trying to decide which is best. But I got through it. And there are things I’m still working on. It’s a learning process. You never really know what else your child will need, so I add new things as needed.

    But there are some MUST BUY items every mama should have.

    Must: 

    Feeding:

    Breast pads, Nipple cream, Breast pump, Storage bags, bottles (I use Avent Bottles), bottle cleaning brushes, bottle rack dryer, burp cloths, and a nursing pillow. If formula feeding you’ll also need a powdered formula dispenser. I did not however purchase a bottle warmer, but you are welcome to. Click here to learn about breast milk storage.

    Bathing:

    Bathtub (I wrote a blog post about this one, you can read it here), Baby towels (I have 4), Mild Baby Shampoo and body wash. (I use this)

    Sleeping:

    Bassinet – A must for those night time feedings and want baby nearby to make it easier on mama & baby. You do not need a crib yet unless you want one. I really just got one to finish the babies room (which he’s never spent a night in)
    Swaddle Blankets (At first I used the regular brands they sell any baby store then switched over to the muslin blankets from Aden + Anais– best choice ever, they are gauze like, breathable, less worrying about baby suffocating and what not.)

    Travel:

    Stroller & Car Seat: (I purchased a travel system – honestly it was one of the most difficult things to buy.  There are too many options. This is what we have in the Sandstone color.
    Infant Carrier: I must say this is something I use often. Baby wearing is something I do a lot and will write more about it in another post. I own 2. This one and this one. The Moby feels nice but it’s just too complicated to be taken out regularly, living in Florida and having all that cloth around you is just too much. I may be used it 4 times total, all at home when Nico was very little. Now the Ergo Baby, I use all the time.  

    Diapering: 

    Diaper bag: (Now this one, also there are so many to choose from, This is what I have in Royal Envy. I love it but am thinking of getting a second one from Lily Jade, they have some really nice bags and they look like regular hand bags.)
    Diapers: Disposable or Cloth (Working a blog post about this)
    Wipes (We use 7th generation, and I have never used my wipes holder, it’s sitting in Nico’s closet untouched)
    I did not purchase a diaper pail and I still haven’t seen a need for it till today.

    Baby: 

    Pacifiers (Nico has always used these, although I bought others and even that hideous hospital one, I don’t know what kind of voodoo the hospital has with the company that makes them, but they need to stop. I’m glad he chose this one.)
    Baby Clothes (You probably won’t have to purchase much of these early on, but Nico didn’t wear newborn for too long. So If you’re going to buy clothes yourself, I suggest a few smaller pieces but the bulk should be bigger sizes, keeping in my mind of the weather when your child will be wearing it. I used hats on Nico maybe up until 2 months, he never wore gloves – choking hazard, but he definitely wore socks.

    Health & Safety: 

    I bought those First Aid Kits & Grooming Kits.  The bulb syringe in those are crap, the hospital ones are good, ask the nurses for a second one.  Most of the items in those kits I have not used, aside from nail clippers. I also bought those forehead thermometers, which I still have no idea how it works.  My plan is to buy the ear thermometers, they seem like a no-brainer, but I hope not to use it any time soon.

    There are things that you might need or want to use sometimes. Like a pack n’ play or a swing but those are not necessary.  Nico has a swing that we may be used 10 times at most. It’s just gathering dust. He just wasn’t satisfied sitting in there doing nothing.  Some babies are more mellow. 

    Hope you enjoyed this list. How about you? What are some of your most used items? Did they make it on my list? Am I missing something? Let me me know in the comments section below.

    Thank you for stopping in.

     

     

    My Shot at Being Healthy

    Hi everyone!

    I’ve been dealing with my procrastination for way too long. Nicolas is about to turn 9 months and I still haven’t gotten off my butt. Yes, I could work out with him, while he naps, at night if I really wanted to after he’s off to bed. But I don’t want to and that’s the truth. There are other things I deem more important like mindlessly scrolling through blog posts, Instagram & Facebook (By the way, go and like my both of those pages for me, will ya?)
    Being a mom is a daily struggle of what gets done first in the never ending to-do list. It’s about time my well-being was on that list.
    So here I am, publicly stating that I vow to work out at least 3 times a week. I will also eat healthier! Not just pick up whatever I can get my hands on as quickly as possible. 
    What say you, wanna join me? 
    My weight is fluctuating between 131-133 depending on what delicious food I ate.  But that needs to stop.
    If you follow along you’ve read that I went for my first run sans child a couple of days ago. And I didn’t run again. Why? I’m in pain. Even my obliques are hurting from running. My core must  be really loose from pregnancy. 
    But it made me happy. So ladies, who would like to join me in this battle down hill? I’m close to my pre-pregnancy weight but I don’t look or feel anything like I did before. Things have definitely shifted. So I’ll need to lose more weight in order to go back to my original size. But it doesn’t end there. I wasn’t happy with my weight then (I would give an eye for that body now).
    I won’t be the same that I know. I’ll be better! I want to be healthier. Not only physically but I need to reconnect with God and myself as a woman. This will be an overhaul of me completely.
    If you’re joining me let me know in the comments below, post your goal weight along with what you’ll be doing to improve your body, mind and soul. My goal weight is around 115. I plan on running/walking, eating more salads, fruits & veggies, more water and having a daily devotional with God!
     I hope to update you all on my progress soon with great news. 
    Once again thanks for stopping by and reading my ramblings.

    Here’s to us ladies. Cheers!


    Easy Homemade Baby Food- Bluenana // Blueberry + Banana

     

    www.younglovemommy.com

    I’ve been meaning to post some of the food recipes I feed Nico for a while now but I never got around to it till now.  He has enjoyed this quite a lot, you can’t go wrong with anything banana.  It’s a great first food to give your little one at the recommended age of 6 months.

    Blueberries are rich in antioxidants, fiber, vitamin C & manganese and are fantastic for brain development – baby brain food. Bananas contain potassium, fiber, calcium, magnesium phosphorus and iron. They are also a good source of Vitamins A and C as well as niacin, thiamine, and riboflavin.
    Recipe:
    Half a banana
    Handful of blueberries
    2 tablespoons of Kefir (Kefir is a pro-biotic, you can find more information on Kefir here, may also substitute for BM or formula)
    I personally remove the skins off the blueberry, it makes the puree a bit sour. Babies prefer sweeter things like your breast milk.  I was peeling them off at first but that was a mess! You can mash it along with the banana and just remove the skins after, much easier and no mess.
    Depending on how old your little one is and their gag reflex, you can mash finely or leave it chunkier for older babies!
    Hope you and your kiddos enjoy!

    Would you like to see more recipes like these? Let me know in the comments below.
    P.S. For those who enjoy yogurt, this doesn’t have to be only baby food, it’s nothing I wouldn’t eat myself and that is the point.