In The Kitchen: Fall Favorites

Lisa’s Pumpkin Bread

3 C. Suger

3 1/2 C. Flour

1 29 oz. Can Pumpkin Puree

1 C. Vegetable Oil

2/3 C. Water

4 Eggs

3 t. Baking soda

2 T. Cinnamon

1 t. Nutmeg

1 1/2 t. salt

Mix dry ingredients in bowl. In a separate bowl, Combine pumpkin, oil, eggs and water. Slowly add dry mix until combined. Pour into desired baking dishes, coated with nonstick cooking spray or lined muffin tin.

This recipe makes 4 loaves (Bake at 325 degrees for 90 minutes), 6 mini loaves (Bake at 325 degrees for 75 minutes), or 24 muffins (Bake at 325 for 60 minutes. Your house will smell so heavenly that you’ll probably eat a few several and be glad you made such a large batch.

I borrowed this recipe from the Kilpatrick Family while I was nannying in college. Lisa is a total whiz at getting her kiddos to eat veggies – I distinctly remember feeling guilty that her zucchini muffins had easily 4x the amount of zucchini as mine did. Admittedly THIS is not the healthiest pumpkin recipe out there… but it is delicious. And Lisa’s kids love it as much as I do. Sure you could substitute applesauce for the oil or double up on the pumpkin. I also cut down the sugar a tad. But it’s 100% yummy just the way it is. This is also a rather large batch – but as with most muffins… they freeze/reheat well.

Hot Spiced Tea

1 1/2 C Tang

1 1/2 C. Country Time Powdered Lemonade

1/2 C. Sugar

1 1/2 C. Instant Unsweetened Lipton Tea (Optional: Decaf)

2 T. Cinnamon

1 t. Ground Cloves

Pinch Nutmeg (to taste)

Pinch Allspice (to taste)

Mix ingredients together in a large bowl. Transfer to air-tight container.

When ready to drink – Stir 3-4 T with hot water, stir, and Enjoy!

I’ll be the first to admit that I’ve thrown the measurements out on more than one occasion. As long as you use equal parts lemonade, tang, and tea, you’ll be good. Sometimes I even skip the suger…. Sometimes. I’ve had a hard time finding the tang at regular grocery stores – but Target usually has it, and WalMart is an even safer bet. This mix makes a great homemade hostess gift or just a nice alternative to apple cider.


Pumpkin Spice Cake 

1 box Spice Cake Mix

1 can pumpkin (not pie filling, just pumpkin)

2 cup Cinnamon Chips

Mix pumpkin and cake mix on low speed with hand mixer, or mash with a fork until combined. Fold in cinnamon chips. Do not over mix.

Bake at 350 for 18-20 min.

Serve warm, a la mode.

OR if you’re like me… make a batch on Sunday night – enjoy as dessert… then as breakfast for the rest of the week 🙂 This recipe, and similar are all over Pinterest, but it came to me by way of my mom’s Texas Treasure, Mrs. Mindy Campbell.


In the Kitchen – Kale Salad

The other day… I found the Gelson’s Kale Salad recipe on Pinterest and was inspired to make something similar for lunch… I’m not always a huge fan of raw kale – without a tangy enough dressing… it can taste like green dirt. So the version I concocted below is heavier lemon + vinegar than usual.

Kale Salad

1 bunch Kale

1-2 Carrots – julienned

1/4 Cup Sunflower Seeds

2 oz. Goat Cheese (optional)

Lemon Mustard Vinaigrette 

  • 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons Coarse Dijon mustard
  • 2 tablespoon white wine vinegar
  • 1 medium garlic clove, minced
  • Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper & salt to taste
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil

In a small bowl whisk together garlic, lemon juice, mustard, and vinegar; season with salt and pepper. Slowly whisk in oil until emulsified.


Anyone tried making Kale Chips? We’re sort of on a Kale Kick over here…



Mom Life: Starting Solids

Olivia is just a week shy of 7 months old – and should be well on her way to enjoying solid foods. I say should lightly because I don’t REALLY agree that babies should master certain milestones by certain ages. That being said, most parents begin to feed their babies solids around 4-6 months. Since we were in California when the clock struck 6-months… we delayed just a bit past the target window. Almost 2 weeks ago, at 29 weeks, we finally decided to take the plunge…

Many month ago, I picked up a copy of Tyler Florence’s “Start Fresh” and started planning. All along, I’ve known that I wanted to make Olivia’s food. Mostly, I’m concerned with the amount of preservatives and additives in even the organic varieties available on the shelves. Obviously, we also considered the cost-factor as well – knowing that it would be significantly cheaper to DIY. I love Tyler’s one-family, one-meal mentality… Kids should eat the same meal that the family eats for dinner. Mom WILL NOT make multiple meals to please multiple family members’ tastes. Very much aligned with the “You don’t have to like it, but you have to try it”  rule. His book includes recipes slightly altering “the family meal” for babies, toddlers and younger kiddos.

Buy Here

Totally in-line with our pediatrician, Tyler suggests starting with cereal (rice or oat) for the first few weeks then moving to veggies for the first month or so before introducing sweeter (more desirable) fruits. He suggests creating combos (adhering to the 3-day rule) after baby has mastered several foods, at around 9 months. His cookbook includes wonderful combos and stage II/III meals for older baby/toddler.

My daughter, who puts EVERYTHING in her mouth, and I do mean EVERYTHING, doesn’t want ANYTHING to do with food. Two weeks of our most desperate attempts to get Olivia to swallow even ONE bite… and she’s STILL completely uninterested.

We started with 3 days of Rice Cereal, then 3 days of Oat Cereal, followed by 3 days of sweet potatoes, 3 days of avocado and now we’re making our way through 3 days of carrots. I’m out of ideas…. Ready to call the pediatrician on Monday if things don’t turn around. OR give it a break and wait a few more weeks. I mean… what’s the harm? She doesn’t seem hungry, or cranky… and there’s lots of earthy-crunchy material suggesting that it’s perfectly healthy for babies to exclusively breast feed until 9-12 months.

Oat Cereal

Sweet Potato


Believe it or not – we did start with a plastic bib… when she seemed more interested in eating it… it came off and I decided that Rice Cereal wouldn’t stain and I could easily just toss her outfit in the laundry… then came sweet potatoes… knowing that those might stain, we tried a cloth bib… after a week+ we’ve resolved to eating in the nude. Still followed by a hose-down in the sink…

Note: Ignore the fact that I still need to DIY a high chair cover… notice that even it got caught in the crossfire and ended up in the laundry before Avocado day.

COOKING GEAR: We decided against the uber fancy BEABA or Baby Brezza mainly because of the cost. When we put in perspective the span of time that we would be making pureed foods – it just seemed silly to invest. We even decided to forgo the BabyBullet  in favor of using the high end blender/food processor we own. With limited freezer space (we’re storing close to 500 ounces of frozen breast milk) I’m still unsure of the most compact way to store prepared food. We have some of the Oxo Tot 2oz and 4oz containers that I like (and will probably buy more of as I have 20% off coupons to BBB/BBB).

Interested in trying these Tovolo Silicone Ice Cube Trays too.

Recently I’ve done some more searching online and found some other great resources that are worth sharing…

Momtastic’s Wholesome Baby Food – A friend referred me to this site – Awesome nutritional information, suggestions on what foods to start with, recipes, etc.

Tyler Florence’s Sprout Organic Baby Food – Tyler Florence’s line of organic baby food + more recipes.

Mash Your Heart Out Baby Food – great recipe and combination ideas

 Featured Image Here


Momma Meg Loves: Pinterest

For my mom… who doesn’t “DO” Pinterest

I mean… who isn’t having a LOVE affair with Pinterest?  Only mildly distracting, my pinning obsession has actually made life a little bit easier. Pinterest is the only place I turn for new recipes – if I’m stuck on what to cook for dinner – I just refer to the many things I pinned at 11pm the night before… “That looks tasty”… What to wear? No problem – just ask Pinterest. The sole source of Olivia’s nursery inspiration… Pinterest. You get the idea…

5 recent pins…

Pinned Here

Coconut + Ginger Chicken with Jasmine Rice – I made this for dinner a few nights ago and would consider it a huge success. Kind of a nod to Thai Curry Chicken… but without the curry. The recipe is a stove-top/slow-cooker hybrid… but because I was determined to make it as EASY as possible – I slightly altered my method and went crock-pot all the way. Also – I added potatoes to beef it up just a bit. Although Dan was not as enthusiastic; “it was too exotic for him” – I thought it was deliciously out of the ordinary. Most ingredients were already stocked in my pantry… definitely give it a whirl, or repin for a night that you’re feeling uninspired.

Pinned Here

Vegass Leopard Print Flats by Steve Madden  – Pinned these Steve Madden Leopard VEGASS flats onto my Fall Wishlist. I just know I would get TONS of wear out of them. I’m always a sucker for leopard… and flats and tennies pretty much rule my footwear selection in this current phase of life. The price tag isn’t that bad – maybe I’ll wait until they’re slightly discounted. Kind of loving the pointed.. but slightly rounded point… toe. Nice alternative to these Sam Edleman Leopard Smoking Slippers I’ve also been eyeing. RWAR.

Pinned Here

Chambray Inspiration – And there it was… hiding on Pinterest. The PERFECT chambray shirt. I searched and searched earlier in the season and settled on this popover variety from Anthropologie… but I’m finding myself wanting a slightly heavier… more industrial? version. TinEye couldn’t find the origin of this beauty… so I’ll hold out for yet another substitute. Loving it layered with a chunky sweater and leggings.#READYFORFALL

Pinned Here

Photo Wall – I love this DIY photo wall – would definitely be super cute with Polaroid pictures – but because I’m not about to run out and spend $$$ on film for our camera – maybe ordering Instagram pics would work? I mean – Instagram is the new Polaroid, right? Would be fun in an entry, office or “mud room” – maybe even floor-to-ceiling bulletin board behind to make swapping for fresh photos a snap.

Pinned Here

DIY Cloth Diaper Detergent – Just in case you missed it… We are officially a cloth-diapering family. It might make us a little bit more earthy-crunchy… but hey, we’re comfortable with that. I did initially buy the Rockin’ Green Cloth Diaper detergent – a little pricey, but worth it to start. When we run out, I think i’ll give this DIY concoction a go.

Do you Pinterest? Folow Me Here

Are you P(interested)?

In the Kitchen: Shannon’s Grilled Chicken

Guys… I’d give Shannon credit if I actually knew her. This recipe was published in the Church of the Incarnation Parish Cookbook as “Shannon’s Almost Famous Grilled Chicken” …Famous… maybe not. Delicious. Absolutely. Marinade works wonderfully for bone-in-skin-on breasts (legs, thighs, etc. if you’re into that sort of thing), tenders or boneless skinless breasts.

Shannon’s “Almost Famous” Grilled Chicken

Marinade for 12 tenders or 4 breasts

  • 3 Cloves of Garlic, peeled & crushed
  • 1 1/2 tsp. Salt
  • 1/3 c. Brown Sugar
  • 3 T. Stone Ground or Coarse Mustard
  • 1/4 c. Apple Cider Vinegar
  • Juice from 1 Lime (or 1 tsp. bottled)
  • Juice from 1/2 Lemon (1/2 tsp bottled)
  • 6 T. Olive Oil
  • Cracked Black Pepper to taste

Marinate in airtight container or Ziploc bag 8 hours or overnight.

Grill breasts 4 min on each side on medium setting depending on thickness of breasts.

Best grilled but in a pinch can be baked on a raised rack for 20 min at 350 degrees.

Thank You Shannon Bradford, whoever you are. A stranger enjoying your chicken so much that they blog about it… makes it famous in my book!

In the Kitchen: Homemade Granola

Following my momma’s lead – I’ve gifted homemade granola on many occasions. Like her, I believe that handmade gifts are the best variety – especially edibles. Homemade granola wrapped in a mason jar + tea towel makes the perfect hostess gift (A la Pinterest)

Meg’s Homemade Granola

(Respectfully adapted from Mrs. Renee Sensabaugh’s Recipe)

  • 12 Cups Old-Fashioned Quaker Oats Oatmeal (NOT Quick Oats)
  • 2 1/2 Cups Shredded Coconut
  • 2 1/2 Cups Chopped nuts (Suggested equal parts chopped pecans and chopped walnuts)
  • 1 T Salt
  • 1 1/2 Cups Light Brown Sugar
  • 1 Cup Warm Water
  • 1 Cup Vegetable Oil (* See Variation Below)
  • 2 T Honey
  • 2 T Vanilla

* Because I’m sort of a coconut-nut (Evidence Here)… I like to sub Earth Balance Organic Coconut spread

Mix all dry ingredients well in a (REALLY) large bowl. Mix all wet ingredients in separate container.

Drizzle liquid over dry mixture – combine with clean hands!

Spread even layer covering 3 baking sheets – Bake at 200 degrees (lower if your oven allows – I set mine at 170) at least 4-5 hours until dry, crispy and toasted.


Stir every half hour or so. Great dry or with milk. Makes a delicious parfait topping or my husband’s fav Acai Bowls!  Keeps well in air-tight container for a couple of weeks. Enjoy!

Homemade Blueberry Acai Bowl

Yogurt Parfait

Because Poppa G says, “EVERYBODY Love Parfait”

{Guest Post} In the Kitchen: Chicken Spring Rolls

The Original Momma Meg Does it again…

Chicken Spring Rolls

Makes 6 Rolls

  • 1 1/2 Cups Roasted Chicken, Sliced
  •  4 Green Onions
  • 1 cucumber
  • 1 stalk celery
  • 1/4 Cup Peanuts
  • 1/4 Cup Cilantro
  • 1/4 Cup Mint
  • 6 Spring Roll Wrappers
  • Hoisin Sauce
  • Soy Sauce
  • Red Chili Paste

– Prepare fresh ingredients: Julienne green onions, cucumber, and celery. Rough chop cilantro and mint.

– Cover a shallow dinner plate with water then moisten spring roll wrappers one at a time according to package instructions (submerge for around 3-5 seconds)

– Begin by adding Hoisin and Red Chili Paste according to taste preference,then add chicken, veggies + herbs.

– Fold ends first, then roll (like a burrito!)

Note: This makes a really fun “build your own” meal… but also fun to serve ready to eat, especially if you’re entertaining.

{Guest Post} In the Kitchen: White Grape Popsicles

The Original “Momma Meg,” my mother, agreed to do a couple of guest posts for me this week while Olivia, Dan and I are visiting/vacationing in sunny Southern California! Look for a few posts later this week, wonderful tips and tricks from the mom that taught me everything I know.

The Original “Momma Meg” and her Terra Bella

Well, they say that imitation is the purest form of flattery so I suppose I am hugely flattered and proud as I can be that my little girl (aka Momma Meg) is just a chip off the old block. So, as the original (aka “old”) Momma Meg, I am happy to be pinch hitting for my eldest-daughter-turned-blogger on today’s edition of Meg’s Milieu! Here’s my two cents…

Homemade popsicles were a summer staple in our house when the kids were young but you certainly don’t have to be a kid to enjoy them! Megan arrived with baby Olivia and in getting together all the necessary equipment, accoutrements, and accessories essential to having a baby in the house, I ran across the old set of Tupperware popscicle pieces.

Tupperware Brand Mickey Mouse Popsicle Molds Here $30

Martha Stewart Star Popsicle Molds Similar Here $13

In a cupboard for probably 10 years, the Ice Tups reminded me of long hot summer afternoons and what an easy, economical treat this was. White grape juice and pineapple/coconut were my kids favorites and to update it a bit, I made a batch this afternoon with fresh green grapes cut up inside. (Even without the popscicle piece of it, frozen green grapes are a delightful summer treat and I’m not a huge fan of grapes otherwise! But they melt REALLY fast and defrosted frozen grapes are not a pretty picture, so take out only what you intend to eat in one sitting!) Anyway, not necessarily a “recipe” but here’s the “how to”~

White Grape Popsicles

Prepare Welch’s White Grape Juice (If using frozen, dilute 2 parts juice concentrate to 1 part water for a little sweeter treat) in a pourable container like a 2-cup measuring cup with a pour spout. (I think frozen concentrate is preferable, but I did have a hard time finding it in my store recently. If not, the plastic bottle variety will work fine but pour it into the measuring cup for easy filling.) Cut up 5-6 grapes in quarters and put in the ice tup. Carefully fill with juice, add the stick top and freeze in the tray.

For variety, cut up tiny pieces of watermelon in watermelon juice or a little flaked coconut in pineapple/coconut for a Pina Colada tropical treat. Happy summer. Happy cold treats. Happy to have Megan and Olivia here…Gramma G

Featured Image Here

In the Kitchen: Chicken Florentine Salad with Orzo

This salad serves well on any occasion. Substantial enough to be a main course, Chicken Florentine Salad with Orzo makes a perfect luncheon or shower salad.

Chicken Florentine Salad with Orzo

Serves 4-6

4 Cups Spinach leaves thinly chopped

3 Cups Cooked Orzo, chilled

2 Cups Roasted Chicken Breast,  cubed

1/4 Cup Chopped Sun Dried Tomatoes

1/4 Cup Pine Nuts

1/4 Cup Sliced Black Olives

2-4 Tbsp Brianne’s Blush Wine Vinaigrette

Cracked Black Pepper, to taste


Cook Orzo in salted water 8-10 minutes (or per instructions). Refrigerate to cool.

Chiffonade spinach leaves. Mix spinach, chicken, and chilled orzo with olives + sundried tomatoes.

Toss in Pine nuts.

Dress + Serve


Note: Cut back on the dressing for a healthier alternative – it’s just as tasty! This salad, unlike many others, keeps well dressed for a few days.

Brianna’s Home Style Blush Wine Vinaigrette

Image From Here


Just in case you were considering using another dressing and were needing some more justification. (I know how it is… not wanting to add another bottle to your precious refrigerator space.) It’s also delicious in a simple cucumber + red onion salad.


In the Kitchen: Zucchini Nut Muffins


Gramma G’s Zucchini Nut Muffins

2-3 C Shredded, un-peeled zucchini (1-3 zucchinis)

3 Eggs

3/4 C Coconut Oil

1 T Vanilla

1 C chopped nuts (walnuts or pecans work well)

1 t Salt

1 T Cinnamon

2 C Flour

2 C Sugar or Substitute Coconut Sugar

1 1/2 t Baking Soda

1/4 t Baking Powder

In a large bowl, combine zucchini, eggs, oil and vanilla. In a separate bowl, mix dry ingredients (Flour, Sugar, Salt, Cinnamon, Baking Powder, + Baking Soda). Mix Dry ingredients in with zucchini mixture then fold in nuts if desired. Fill baking cups 2/3 full then bake for 15-18 minutes at 400 degrees. (12 min for mini muffins)

Note: These do freeze well. To defrost, just pop in the toaster oven for 10 min (better) or microwave for 1-3 min. (Still good)