Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Regular songs that make good lullabyes

Josie loves to sing and loves to be sung to.  A few weeks ago, she tired of our usual "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" and "Rainbow Connection" and said, "Sing me one of your different songs."  I realized then that it's really, really hard to come up with an appropriate song off the top of your head while you're sitting in the dark in  your kid's room at 11pm trying to get them to go back to sleep.

Research ensued, and I found some good suggestions, but since have thought up so many more!

  1. Lean on Me - Bill Withers. This led to a discussion of what "lean on" means, and Josie told me I could lean on her if I'm sad. 💓
  2. (Sittin' On) The Dock of the Bay - Otis Redding
  3. If You Want to Sing Out, Sing Out - Cat Stevens
  4. Lullabye (Goodnight, My Angel) - Bill Joel
  5. Stand By Me - Ben E. King
  6. The Way I Am - Ingrid Michaelson
  7. Blackbird - The Beatles
  8. You've Got a Friend - James Taylor
  9. Songbird - Eva Cassidy (originally Fleetwood Mac)
Our old standbys:
  1. Part of That World from The Little Mermaid
  2. You Are My Sunshine
  3. Somewhere Over the Rainbow - Judy Garland
  4. When You Wish Upon a Star - I sing the Linda Ronstadt version
  5. Rainbow Connection - Kermit the Frog
  6. Hush Little Baby - I never knew there were different versions of this.  Which way do you sing it?  We do mockingbird, diamond ring, looking glass, billy goat, Shetland pony.
What songs to find yourself singing over and over again to your kids?

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Chicken & Brown Rice Casserole

Made this the other night - pretty easy (especially if you use a pre-cooked chicken and boil-in-bag rice) and definitely tasty. You could use baby carrots to cut out even more prep work, and you could add more veggies as well!


  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1.5 cups carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 1 large leek, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced (white part only)
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3/4 cup milk (I used 1%)
  • 2 Tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 14oz. reduced-sodium chicken broth
  • 8-oz. reduced-fat cream cheese (aka Neufchatel)
  • 1 Tbsp lemon juice
  • Zest of one lemon
  • 12oz brown rice, cooked and drained
  • 2lbs roasted chicken, skin removed and pulled into medium-sized pieces (I roasted my own, original recipe called for a cooked rotisserie chicken from the grocery store)
  • 2 Tbsp butter
  • 1/2 cup panko bread crumbs
  • Pinch of red pepper flakes
  • 2 Tbsp salt
  • 1 tsp pepper


  1. Preheat ovento 375°F.
  2. Heat olive oil in a skillet over medium heat.
  3. Add carrots and leeks; cook 6 minutes or until tender.
  4. Add garlic and cook about 1 minute or until fragrant.
  5. Add flour to the pan and stir to coat.
  6. Add milk to the pan and stir to combine.
  7. Add chicken broth to skillet and cook until bubbling, adjusting the heat as necessary.
  8. Add the cream cheese and stir until melted.
  9. Continue cooking until the sauce is slightly thickened.
  10. Stir in lemon juice, zest, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper.  Add more of each to taste.
  11. Spread cooked rice in a 9x11 baking dish, add the chicken, distributing evenly, then pour mixture from skillet on top.
  12. Melt butter in a small bowl in the microwave (about 30 seconds), then mix in panko.
  13. Sprinkle mixture on top of casserole.
  14. Bake 20-25 minutes or until golden brown. (You can give it a couple of minutes under the broiler if you want the panko really crispy!)
Adapted from Better Homes & Gardens.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Chicken & Broccoli Alfredo, lightened up

Photo courtesy of celebrations.com

Easy weeknight meal!  Also, my first-ever attempt at alfredo.


  • 2 cups of boneless, skinless chicken breast
  • 2 cups broccoli florets
  • 8 oz pasta (we used farfalle (aka bowties))
  • Olive oil
  • 2 tsp minced garlic (about 4 cloves)
  • 4 tbs flour
  • 1 cup fat-free, lower sodium chicken broth (we used homemade)
  •  3/4 cup fat-free, plain Greek yogurt
  • 1/4 cup skim or 1% milk
  • 1/2 tsp fresh ground nutmeg
  • 3/4 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  1. Prepare pasta according to package directions and set aside.
  2. Salt and pepper the chicken breasts, then grill or pan fry.  Cut into chunks.
  3. Spread broccoli florets onto a baking sheet.  Drizzle with olive oil and salt and pepper, then bake for 20-30 minutes at 375 degrees.
  4. In a skillet or saucier, heat 2 olive oil over medium heat. Add garlic and cook, stirring frequently, 1 to 2 minutes.
  5. Whisk in the flour until smooth.
  6. Gradually whisk in the chicken broth, yogurt, milk, and nutmeg.
  7. Bring to a low boil, stirring constantly. Lower the heat and simmer, stirring gently, until the mixture thickens, about 3 minutes.
  8. Stir in 3/4 cup Parmesan and mix until well combined.
  9. Taste sauce and add salt/pepper/nutmeg to your taste.
  10. Add cooked chicken, pasta, and broccoli to sauce mixture. Toss to combine.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Healthier Carrot Cake (but still delicious!)

I took my first shot at homemade carrot cake yesterday, and it was a big hit at home and at bookclub.  I found this recipe on AllRecipes.com as a "healthier" alternative to regular carrot cake, which has tons of sugar and butter in it.  I made only minor alterations to the recipe, opting for regular AP flour instead of whole wheat, and sprinkling the pecans on the frosting instead of mixing them in.

PS, I highly recommend using a stand mixer to make both the batter and the frosting if you have one available!

Cake Ingredients

  • 4 eggs
  • 3/4 cup vegetable oil (I used canola)
  • 1 1/2 cups white granulated sugar
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 cups flour (I used regular, recipe called for whole wheat)
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 3 cups grated carrots (use the food processor, and don't bother peeling them!)
  • 1 cup chopped pecans

Frosting Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup butter, softened
  • 8oz Nuefchatel (aka 1/3 less fat cream cheese), softened
  • 2 cups confectioners' or powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup chopped pecans


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Grease (and flour, if you wish) a 9x13-inch baking dish.
  3. Mix together eggs, sugar, oil, and vanilla.
  4. Mix in flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt and cinnamon.
  5. Stir in carrots.
  6. Fold in pecans.
  7. Pour into prepared pan, and bake for 40-50 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean.
  8. Let cool completely.  (Very important for ease applying frosting.)
  9. For frosting:  combine butter, Neufchatel, confectioners' sugar, and vanilla and beat until smooth and creamy.  Spread frosting over cake then sprinkle with pecans - original recipe called for mixing them in, but I chose the sprinkle option.