My Life of Travels and Adventures: August 2013

Recipe: Turkey Meatballs (with Spinach)

29 August 2013

This recipe comes straight from my sister.   She has been making these meatballs for a while now.  I have been buying precooked turkey meatballs for Reid's lunch and finally asked her for the recipe and gave it a whirl.

Color aside... They were pretty good.

Ingredients:

3/4 C Parmesan Cheese
10oz Spinach
2 lb Ground Turkey
1 C Breadcrumbs
1/2 C Italian Seasoning
1/4 C Minced Garlic

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 425.
2. Mince spinach.  (I used a blender and pretty much pureed it).


3. Mix everything together.
4. Line baking sheets with tinfoil.
5. Shape into meatballs.
6. Bake for 45min - 1hr.  Turn halfway through.

7. Let cool completely.  Freeze.

Enjoy!

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The Perfect End Table

28 August 2013


The living room in our rental house is nice.  It is big.  It has a lot of natural light.  It's just with the doors, windows and heating unit… we are limited with seating arrangements.  

Limited… as in… the couch will only fit in one place.  Butted against the wall. Just a sliver of room next to it. 

Sliver. 

I resigned that our glasses would just sit in the kitchen or on the window sill.  (Reid uses the ottoman for playing).  

Until… 

From across the top of my Grandpa’s garage I spotted him.  Perfect in every a few ways.
Not in the best shape but workable. 

My Grandma used to restore and paint old furniture she found on the cheap… so I figured this little guy was one of her unfinished projects.  But he was actually built by my Grandpa when he was in his teens.  

So, this little guys is actually a little old guy.  We are talking around 50 years old.  
Imperfections forgiven. 

One afternoon, me and my old yellow man spent some quality time together in the garage. 
He got a nice allover sanding.  I quickly uncovered his unpleasant surprise.   Wallpaper under his top coat. 

Thank goodness, it was only the very top that was covered in wallpaper. 
Between peeling and sanding I was able to remove most of the wallpaper.  What was left was on tight and smooth. 

Oh yeah, old bald yellow man needed another leg.  Literally.  What was weird is that the rounded end never had a leg on it… So when anything was set past the second leg, he tipped.  

Neil cut and attached a small scrap of wood for the third and stabilizing leg.
I found a small can of semi-glass black paint among the random boxes from out garage. 
Old wobbly took two coats to paint.   
He went from teal and yellow to sleek and black.  

I found this knob on the clearance rack at wal-mart.  Score.  

He fits perfectly next to our couch and we finally have a place to set our drinks.  Woot!
PS: Let's be realistic... I have a toddler.  He knocked everything off the end table as soon as I let go of him.  So now it holds, toys, books and binkies until he goes to bed.

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Recipe: One Pan Goulash

22 August 2013


I like simple recipes.  They make for quick and easy dinners.  When everything can be made in one pan they also make for quick and easy clean up.

Another plus for this recipe.... The leftovers.  They are perfect for lunch the following few days.

Ingredients:

2lb ground beef.
2 tsp garlic salt
4 tbsp oregano
4 tbsp italian seasoning
4 (15oz) cans of tomato sauce
3 cups of water
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 onion chopped, optional
1 box elbow macaroni


Directions:

1. Brown the ground beef (and onion) in a large pot or deep pan.
2. Add the garlic cloves to the browning beef.
3. Once the beef is fully cooked, add all the other ingredients to the pot.
4.  Stir well and cook over medium heat until boiling.
5. Reduce to a simmer and let cook for 1 hour.
6. Enjoy.




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Monogram Wreath

15 August 2013

One afternoon while Reid napped, I whipped up this Super Simple Monogram Wreath.  

Supplies:
  • Wire wreath
  • Burlap ribbon
  • Wooden Letter
  • Paint
  • Sticky dots
I painted the letter with blue paint we had left over from some of the nursery crafts.  It took two coats on the front and one on the sides and back.  
While the paint was drying I wrapped a wire wreath in burlap ribbon.  I opted to use the kind without the wired edges.  
Then I stuck the M onto the wreath using this sticky dots (again left over from the nursery). 
Since we have a command hook on the front door.  It was a simple hang. 
I purposely painted both sides of the M so from the inside you see this. 
Even with both doors shut, it still looks nice from the inside. 
So simple to make... The longest part was waiting for the paint to dry. 

What is hanging on your front door?


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Recipe: Oven Baked French Fries

08 August 2013

This is a tried and true recipe in the McGarvey household. 

We love french fries and these guys are no exception.

Ingredients:
Potatoes
1-2 Tbsp Olive Oil
1-2 Tbsp Paprika
Garlic Salt

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 425F.
2.  Peel & cut potatoes. (We have this potato cutter.  It works great and can cut two different thickness french fries). 

3.  Add oil and paprika.  Stir to mix.   Also add garlic salt to taste.  ( I usually add 1-2 Tbsp also).
  
4.  Spread a single layer on a cookie sheet. 

5.  Bake for 40-60 minutes... longer for crispier fries.  Stir once midway.  

Enjoy!


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Car Travel - Tips for Toddlers: One Year Old to 18 Months Old

07 August 2013

I feel as though we are experts on this now.  In the first 5 months of this year, we  traveled with Reid (and 2 dogs) by car to WNY and back to Philly 16 times.  16 times in 21 weekends.  700 miles each weekend.  12 hours each weekend.   192 Hours in 5 Months.  11,200 miles in 5 months.  Yeah, experts.   

Considering we did this last year with a newborn and all throughout the year a couple times a month… One may consider us crazy.  (I thought about writing a post about traveling with a newborn last year… But it would have consisted of… Feed baby, Change Diaper, Place in Carseat, Drive… Stop, Rinse, Repeat…. Boring).  

Now that we are traveling with a toddler… This is a whole different story.  

Here is what we do:

1.  Stuff ‘em full - Well not really.  We normally feed Reid a yogurt after work and before dinner each night to hold him over.  On travel nights, we offer yogurt at home and a snack in the car.  Usually, waffles or muffins.  These Snack Cups work great for the car

2. Dress Appropriately - I know sitting in the car for 6 hours can get uncomfortable really fast for me.  I always try to wear something comfortable to make it a little easier.  Well, I do the same for Reid.  He travels in style, sockless in pajama’s.  What can I say, the kid hates having socks on… so why torture him?  And pajama’s… who doesn’t want to curl up in their pj’s immediately after a long day.

3. Offer Distractions - There are toys that have become our “car toys” over the past few months.  A light up Musical Piano,  a Fun Pad, a couple books, etc… New toys that he does not play with all the time.  Special toys that hold his attention with music or lights.

4. Bring Lovies - Reid sleeps with a Taggies Blanket (or 3).  He is not attached to one particular blanket, but it must be soft.  We have a blanket that stays in the car all the time, but we bring one (or 3) of his other blankets for the ride.  
5. Leave Later - We wait an hour or so before leaving... Enough time for most people to make it home on a Friday evening… meaning no traffic for us.  It works out that we leave about 1.5-2 hours before Reid’s bedtime.  He usually is awake for the first hour of the trip then conks out. 

6.  Schedule Stops - We lucked out so far on this one.  We usually stop once per trip.  A little under half way.  As soon as we stop, Reid comes out of his car seat.  We talk, eat dinner, fill up with gas, take a potty break, whatever is needed (usually all of the above). 

7.  Easy Dinner - I love, love, love these Food Pouches (and so does Reid).  I stocked up when I bought a groupon for BRU and bring them everywhere with me (just in case).  
For the most part, Reid will suck down a food pouch and some of my dinner when we are stopped.  I also bring a cooler with a milk bottle and a Little Green Pouch of yogurt for Reid… just in case. 
8.  Pack Smart - Each week, I pack the same items in the same spot in our bags.  Reid get his own duffle bag for clothing and the diaper bag carries diaper/wipes and his snacks/dinner.  We have a small cooler with yogurt and milk for him.  Each week, Reid packs the car in (mostly) the same manner.  The diaper back is always within reach and the cooler is even closer. 
9.  Bring Extras - I swear binkies in my car are like socks in the washer.  Yes, we keep on attached to his carseat, but now he can detach the whole string or just the binkie from the string, so that is no guarantee.  So, the last thing I grab before leaving the house is a handful of binkies (and Reid).  You know, just in case.  (I always use at least one)

10.  Be Prepared:  I use a nighttime diaper and diaper cream for the trip.  I stock the diaper bag with tylenol, motrin (for baby and Momma), a thermometer and snacks.  Lots of different snacks. We have extra diapers, wipes and toys in the car. 
11.  Be Flexible - This is the most important.  Yes, we want to get there as soon as possible but I don’t want to hear a screaming kid for hours.  If he needs to get out of the car seat again, then we stop as soon as we safely can.  
We really lucked out with a kid who travels well (Guess that evens out his night time sleeping!)

Did I miss anything? How do you prepare and what do you always bring when you travel?


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