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Life Update: Welcoming Baby Cora Virginia

So we had a baby…

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Cora Virginia was born on Sept. 14, two weeks after her due date but just when she wanted to arrive! She’s the most precious little thing who, like her Momma, likes to eat, sleep and play dress up (well, she doesn’t complain too strongly about all the bows). We are absolutely smitten!

IMG_8017Cora is now just over two weeks old, so, needless to say, we are just coming up for air. We were blessed to have three sets of grandparents visit in her first two weeks (OK my mom was here for most of the two-week baby wait as well). More baby pictures, because she’s just so cute…

That wait was the hardest part so far! I had already nested more than any sane person should. Over Labor Day weekend (which was when we were hoping she’d arrive), I put up a week’s worth of dinners in the freezer. Meatloaf. Enchiladas. Beef stew. Dozens of muffins. I’ve been obsessed with the muffins I talked about here and decided to freeze gobs of them. I made a dozen for the hospital staff, too, but we waited long enough for baby that they grew mold. So I made another dozen.

We’ve loved eating out of the freezer so much, it might become a regular ritual! Last night, I just tossed a frozen 1.5-pound meatloaf (recipe below) into the oven for an hour while holding the baby and — voila! One night last week, one of our first without G-parents around, I even made our abundance of heirloom tomatoes from our CSA into a pretty decent chili… while carrying the baby in the Moby (which is now splattered with tomato drippings).

Since Cora’s arrival, we’ve also been blessed by friends from church who have brought us several meals, not to mention G-parents who prepped and cleaned and organized my kitchen. One of my best friends from high school who lives in Norfolk drove in the day after she was born and asked my mom how they could help around the house. They ended up cleaning my bathtub, changing out dud light bulbs and baking us brownies — what a gift to come home to!

If you want to see copious amounts of baby pictures, feel free to follow me on Instagram! My baby is so advanced that she’s already smiling, showing a little attitude and cheering on the Oklahoma Sooners…

And if you’re planning to have a baby in the near future, or to otherwise suddenly become a lazy cook, make this meatloaf NOW and put it in your freezer! (I don’t have pictures because I apparently only save phone memory for baby face these days. But meatloaf never looks as good as it tastes anyway.) This recipe makes two 1.5-pound loaves that you can individually wrap and freeze.

FREEZER-WORTHY MEATLOAF

{To rewarm the meatloaf and get a nice crust on it: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Place one of the two loaves on a cookie sheet and tin foil in the oven. Bake for 90 minutes or until meat thermometer reads 160 degrees.}

Recipe originally from Food & Wine Magazine
Makes 12 servings

PREP 45 minutes
COOK 45 minutes
TOTAL 1 hour, 30 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 2 large carrots, finely chopped
  • 1 celery rib, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 1/2 cups panko bread crumbs
  • 4 large eggs
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 2 tablespoons ketchup
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon Tabasco
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 pounds ground beef chuck
  • 1 pound ground pork (or turkey works just as well, especially to cut the total fat factor)
  • 1/2 pound Monterey Jack cheese, cut into 1/2-inch cubes (this is key!)

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 400°. In a medium skillet, heat the oil. Add the onion, carrots, celery and garlic and cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 8 minutes. Scrape the mixture into a very large bowl and let cool. Add the panko, eggs, mustard, ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, Tabasco, 1 1/2 tablespoons of salt and 1 teaspoon of pepper and stir to form a paste. Using your hands, work in the ground meats and cheese until combined.
  2. Line a large roasting pan with parchment paper (I skip the lining step and it usually comes out just fine). Firmly pat the meat mixture into 2 loaves, about 10 inches long. Arrange the loaves 3 inches apart on the parchment and roast in the lower third of the oven for about 1 hour, until lightly browned and an instant-read thermometer inserted in the center of the loaves registers 150°. Let the meat loaves rest for 15 minutes, then cut into thick slices.
  3. Serve with ketchup mixed with tabasco or barbecue sauce. You can also leave out the cheese in the mixture and melt it on top of your slices when you rewarm. Goat cheese slices work nicely for serving.

Thanks for all the baby love and support! 
– W

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