Thursday, September 18, 2014

WE EAT | {Leftovers} BBQ Sirloin Meatloaf Sliders

love making meatloaf, AND enjoying the leftovers- probably even better the next day.  If you are like me- you grew up on a classic style meatloaf.  The tomato based sauce (Ahem..ketchup) always brings me back to the days of my childhood cooking. 
I have adored the comfort of meatloaf and all things that go with it (mashed potatoesmacaroni, broccoli, green beans...) 
On this night we had BBQ Meatloaf, Homemade Mac & Cheese, and Steamed Broccoli
As an American staple, meatloaf is one of the most versatile dishes you can make, in my opinion. Ground beef is the typical go-to, but there is also turkey, veal, deer, chicken..really any ground meat will do. You can go for the classic ‘beef and a bottle of Heinz’ as I mentioned before of my younger days, or add tons of veggies with marinara, OR how about a cheesy meatloaf? Really, how can you go wrong? 
My personal favorite..Texas Style

BBQ Sirloin Meatloaf 
1 pound lean (96%) ground sirloin (beef)
one medium chopped onion
2 eggs
1 (8oz) can low sodium tomato sauce
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 1/2 sleeves crushed saltine crackers**
BBQ Sauce:
1 cup ketchup
3/4 cup dark brown sugar
2 teaspoons yellow mustard
3 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray an 11X7 glass dish with cooking spray. In a medium bowl mix together all ingredients, one at a time, until incorporated. Pour mixture into the prepared glass dish and form into a loaf. Place in the oven and bake for 45 minutes. Pull meatloaf out and pour BBQ sauce over top. Return loaf to the oven and heat through until sauce is bubbly, about 15 minutes. Remove from oven and allow meatloaf to rest for 5 minutes before cutting to serve.
To make BBQ sauce: In a small bowl combine all ingredients, stirring quickly until brown sugar is dissolved.

**Regular bread crumbs can be used, and I have also used high fiber cereal (that I ground in my food processor) instead of saltines crackers.

When I"ve made this in the past, the Fireman and I fight over the left overs.. which in turn means that I often double the recipe (which makes a HUGE pan), and we eat on it all week.  With the little birds in the mix for meal times these days, food doesn't stretch as far, but we still often have leftovers of most meals.
My favorite way to use up left over meatloaf?  Two words.. Patty Melt.
In this case, I snagged a package of Hawaiian Rolls earlier in the week for football watching Sunday, so we made mini slider melts.  

BBQ Meatloaf Sliders, sliced cucumbers (with light ranch dressing), and brown rice 

 Potty break.
Parker will now drop her panties and take off to the potty when she needs to go.. and will do all this solo.  Which is incredibly convenient when it is in the middle of dinner. 
 Jo wasn't super sure about this slider business.
 It was more appealing disassembled over actually eating it like a sandwich.. so I got her a fork.

 Parker didn't mind it.  Until half of the sliced loaf fell into her lap.. 
 Its all good.  Tastes just as well. 

Whats your favorite way to make meatloaf???


Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Something New

I'm often impressed by how well my girls do with change.  We can throw them into an unfamiliar situation, with unfamiliar faces, napless, without diapers (in panties, mind you), and expect them to follow through like normal. 
And they do.

We can take away their Puppy and Wubby during the day, after carrying them around for over 18 months straight, and expect them to be 'okay' with only getting to 'see' them at nap and bedtime.  
And they don't mind one bit (on most days..)

We can leave them, with perfect strangers, for almost 2 hours, name tags on their backs among 12-14 other kids around their age - and they are fine. (speaking of the church nursery, of course)

New foods?  Nailed it - for the most part.
New activities? ALWAYS the most fun - its like Christmas morning when my kids get to open a new $1 box of crayons.
bow / eastbrik // top / old navy //  yoga pants / kennedy's collections

New babies? ...and another one.  They love him. 
(this is not a pregnancy announcement)
 Last night we finally got to meet Mr. Truett Roy, Jordan's sister's second. < thats a mouthful..

We all know (and love) Miss Kendall (17 months), my niece and Parker and Jolie's cousin.
About 2 weeks ago (yesterday) this sweet one entered our family - and he couldn't be more handsome.  Poor guy doesn't actually know why he's in for.. a sister and two female cousins.. and an aunt that knows a thing or two about hair bows.

But I think he'll hold his own.  Between his daddy, Pappa, Dude, and Uncle Jordan, he's in for some model behavior.
I love him!  How quickly we forget how little and fragile they were.  Jolie was HALF his size, and I can hardly remember it.
 wubby / levi lion
At first, Parker and Jolie didn't pay much mind to his presence in the room.  They had a bag full of toys they needed to get through at BB's house, and Kendall was there to play, too.. so..who is this kid, anyway?
..and then it came.  All the sweetness.  

Jolie was first to really take interest.  Which doesn't surprise me at all whatsoever.  I talked about Jolie's maternal love in their 21 month update (HERE), and how while at a friends house she'd found a baby bottle and started feeding her Puppy and every doll in the room.  We had never ever showed her how to do that.. and I was impressed while my heart was exploding all at once.
See that - twin mom multi-tasking.
 VERY interested in his 'eeeyys' and 'ooosgh' (nose), 'browwww' (eyebrow)

 Where was Parker, you ask?  
Oh, just telling the whole world about her new cousin.
 ..and why it was time to go inside (there were warm cookies and milk waiting, people)..
 ..and about the dog.  ALLL about the dog running around the front yard.  The child has more things to say, with hardly any words.  Lord help us when she figures out how to put together a sentence.
FINALLY we were able to settle them down for a hot minute to love on Baby Truett before we left.
Saying our goodbyes- complete with sugars galore.
Parker, sweet girl, grabbed his little hand and laid it across her face.  I can only take this as her version of a hug.  The best hug she could get with that squirmy little guy at the moment.
 ..and then lean in for a kiss.

SO thankful for dinner with Jordan's family last night.  We don't live very close, so it takes a real effort to get together between all of our crazy schedules.

Once again, we threw Parker and Jolie into unfamiliar territory, and they did fabulous.  Minimal crying while momma was holding Truett (Parker yes, Jolie none), and then the sweetest touch and love for the little guy. They seemed to understand how to be as gentle as possible with 'the baby', and 'love on the baby', give sugars to 'the baby'.

I know it seems like a small fete to accomplish, but when you are 21 months old, small tweaks and changes to your routine/schedule and throw some babies for a loop and into the fiery pits of meltdown 4.0.

Adding a baby into the mix is a huge change - and a 3 hour trial run went perfectly.
not pregnant.

Welcome to Texas, sweet Truett!  WE love, love, LOVE you, buddy!


Monday, September 15, 2014

Can We Start the Weekend Over? I Wasn't Ready Yet..

It is a weekend like this thats you just want to go back to Friday and do it all over again. It was good. and I want to do it again.. so how about a play-by-play of the weekend's events?

Friday was good. 

I celebrated the weekend and the arrival of cooler weather with my very first Pumpkin Spice Latte of the season.  If you know me (and the hubby) well at all, you very well know how much we love us some coffee.  We are coffee people - and while coffee is always enjoyable in the summer, it is WAY better in the fall/winter.  I had some monies on a gift card I randomly found in one of my bags.. actually, PARKER found in one of my handbags (love that, right?) and paid a mere $0.17 for this grande.

Dont mind if I do!
headband / sweet t boutique // earrings / exquisite artistry  // initial necklace / bijoux by meg // cardigan / nordstrom (similar)
The little birds woke in some great little moods, and we opted to dress to impress in our sweats and tank tops.  Only in Texas.

Gloomy days are the perfect day to cuddle up -  played hard for the morning, lots of playing with they baby dolls, puzzles, read a couple books, and then it was time for nap.  Momma got organized for the weekend - meal planned and made a grocery list, folded laundry, and ate lunch myself, and finished just in time for Parker and Jolie to start stirring a bit.
It had been years months since it felt this amazing outside, so I loaded the girls up and went for a walk.  The neighborhood park is just around the block from us, so we decided to stop for a few to let off some steam before spending the rest of the afternoon indoors.
headwraps / sweet t designs // jacket / target // sweats / babyGap (similar) // moccs / freshly picked
I coached them back to the stroller with promises to see baby ducks on our way home from the park.  But as we passed the ponds, the disappointed looks I received when I told them that their were no ducks to see just about broke my heart.  Too chilly?  There are always ducks, so I was disappointed, too!
We spent the rest of the afternoon sipping hot coffee (me), burning Pumpkin Cupcake Candles, and watching The Little Mermaid (twice).

Saturday was great.

I was up early to get a move on so that when Jordan walked in the door from his shift at the fire station, I was able to walk out early enough to beat the crowds at the grocery store.

Opted to take a sultry(?) / non-makeup selfie to document my solo outing of the weekend.
The weather that came in on Friday was still amazing - which meant that it was the official start to the Fall season.  All the more reason to stock up on all our favorites.
After naps we all got dressed to run a few errands before heading to church.
Costco & Sam's trips are routine, and since we had been to Sam's earlier this week, Costco was due for a visit.
leggings / target // boots / old navy
This was the first time we've taken the girls to children's church  since we started potty training - I brought about 18 pairs of extra panties/pants in case we had an accident, but I was SO elated and proud of my girls for making it through the service in the same outfit I dropped them off in.
headwrap / sweet t designs // sweatshirt / kid & kind 
Sunday was amazing.
Going to church on Saturday nights makes for super duper lazy Sunday mornings. We came home on Saturday night to a porch full of happy mail-day items.. including this Twin Mom mug.

A couple weeks ago I chatted back and forth with Alexis of Twinkle Twinkle Lil' Jar to design the most perfect mug for my coffee obsession.  The font, the glitter, the size and shape - she nailed it.
Pumpkin Spice Coffee | Pumpkin Spice Candles ...
..and Pumpkin Walnut Pancakes.  These have zero recipe to share, as they are directly out of a box we picked up from Costco on a whim (and will be going back to purchase several more before it is gone).  It is actually Pumpkin Bread, but pancakes are so much more fun, don't you think?

I did take 547 pictures, tho.  So, I'll probably share at some point soon as a WE EAT post or something.
..more coffee.
Shortly after the littles went down for nap, it was time for football.  Football Sunday is where it's out, folks.  Jordan and I are in a 'pick 'em' league, which makes watching that much more fun.
The girls napped nearly through the entire game, but it still didn't mean we couldn't get them dressed to support our 'Boys.
wraps / ruby blue 
Mid-day I switched to Pumpkin Ale.. as I'm not totally sure coffee would be the best selection of pairing with my chips and queso lunch (Football Sunday, ya'll)
Dinner was ready in a zip, thanks to the easiest recipe on the planet:  Pulled Buffalo Chicken Sliders. My little helpers did plenty of tasting while I attempted to pull the chicken around baby fingers.

Crock Pots do their best work on the Day of Rest.
Bath, and new jams (part of the amazing mail-day we had this weekend) rounded out the evening.  With a little snuggle sesh while watching the end of The Lorax before bed.
jammies / baby Gap

Can we start over?  Just take me back.  I love these kind of weekends.

How was yours?


Friday, September 12, 2014

WE EAT | Weekly Toddler Menu

Look for some of this week's menu to be in a next week's WE EAT post! 
HINT ** We are meatloaf lovers over here...

Recipe Link List
Pulled Buffalo Chicken Sliders
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, about 1 1/2 pounds
1/4 cup wing sauce (such as Franks), plus more for serving
16 Hawaiian rolls
1 cup reduced-fat blue cheese dressing
Coat slow cooker bowl with nonstick cooking spray. Place chicken breasts in a single layer in bottom; combine sauce with 2/3 cup water; pour over chicken.
Cover and cook on LOW for 6-8 hours. Remove chicken to a mixing bowl and shred with two forks. Return to slow cooker and stir to coat with sauce.
To serve, place shredded chicken on bottom halves of rolls and top each with 1 tablespoon of dressing.
Mexican Egg & Refried Bean Tostadas
Scramble 3 whole eggs, splash of whole milk, diced tomatoes, onions, sweet peppers- spread fat free organic refried beans on a corn tostada, top with egg mixture and serve with cheese and plain Greek yogurt (in place of sour cream)
BBQ Meatloaf (& Leftover Meatloaf Sliders)
1 pound lean (96%) ground beef
one medium chopped onion
2 eggs
1 (8oz) can tomato sauce
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 1/2 sleeves crushed saltine crackers**
BBQ Sauce:
1 cup ketchup
3/4 cup brown sugar
2 teaspoons yellow mustard
3 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray an 11X7 glass dish with cooking spray. In a medium bowl mix together all ingredients, one at a time, until incorporated. Pour mixture into the prepared glass dish and form into a loaf. Place in the oven and bake for 45 minutes. Pull meatloaf out and pour BBQ sauce over top. Return loaf to the oven and heat through until sauce is bubbly, about 15 minutes. Remove from oven and allow meatloaf to rest for 5 minutes before cutting to serve.
To make BBQ sauce: In a small bowl combine all ingredients, stirring quickly until brown sugar is dissolved.
**Regular bread crumbs can be used, and I have also used high fiber cereal (that I ground in my food processor) instead of saltines crackers.
Homemade Mac and Cheese
adapted from Picky Palate
8 ounces dry elbow pasta
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup all purpose flour
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
2 cups milk (skim)
2 cups finely shredded sharp cheddar cheese

Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain.
To prepare roux, melt butter into a medium saucepan over medium heat. Once melted whisk in flour, salt and pepper. Stir and cook for 3-4 minutes until color of roux is golden. Slowly whisk in milk, stirring until thick. Reduce heat to a simmer and stir in shredded cheese until melted.
Transfer cooked pasta to large pot over low heat. Pour cheese sauce over top, stirring to combine. To thin the sauce, add a few tablespoons of milk at a time until at desired consistency.

Peas & Zucchini Pasta
4 ounces curly whole wheat noodles with 1/4 cup steamed green peas & 1/2 cup steamed zucchini slices in marinara sauce sprinkled with mozzarella cheese
Berry Green Smoothie (serves 2)
Blend 1 c loosely packed organic baby spinach, 1 c frozen mixed berries, 1/2 c vanilla Greek yogurt, 1/2 c whole milk
Broccoli Chicken & Rice Bowl
Combine 1/4 cup brown rice, 1/4 cup chopped steamed broccoli, 2 ounces rotisserie chicken, 2 tablespoons parmesan cheese
Fruity Cream Cheese Pinwheels
Spread low-fat cream cheese on a small whole-grain tortilla. Top with sliced strawberries and bananas. Roll up the tortilla, and then slice into “pinwheels.”

Chicken Couscous with Yogurt Hummus (serves 4)
 1 cup whole wheat couscous
1/4 cup dried apricots (or golden raisins)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt (2%)
1 tablespoon hummus - flavor of choice)
2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 pound shredded rotisserie chicken
1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
Juice of 1/2 lemon

Preheat the broiler to high. Combine the couscous, apricots and 1 tablespoon of the olive oil in a bowl. Add 1 1/4 cups very hot water, cover with plastic wrap and let sit until all of the water is absorbed and the couscous is tender, about 5 minutes.
Stir together the yogurt, hummus, dill and 1 to 2 tablespoons water in another bowl. Season with salt and set aside.
Toss tomatoes, the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil and paprika together. Spread out on a baking sheet and broil until tomatoes are sizzling and have slightly wilted, about 4 minutes. Drizzle with the lemon juice.
Fluff the couscous with a fork. Divide the chicken and couscous among 4 plates. Scrape any of the drippings from the baking sheet into the yogurt-hummus sauce. Serve the chicken and couscous with the sauce.


Thursday, September 11, 2014

n i n e - e l e v e n

September 11, 2001  - probably the most emotional day in history and to remember for any American. Although this day marks much animosity, hurt, distrust, confusion, anger, and I'll even say hate - it is also a day to remember our heroes.  The fallen heroes of that day in history. 
September 11, 2001, was the deadliest day in history for New York City firefighters: 343 were killed.  
I often forget the gravity of my husbands job.  What is expected of him.  What he is held accountable for.  Responsibilities, ideas, and respect for his line of work.  He's run into burning buildings more times than he can count.  Been on the front end of the nozzle fighting the heat away from his melting face-mask, been on the back of the truck controlling the water feed to the guys fighting inside, drives the ambulance (he's also a medic), commands fire scenes, runs accident triage..and yes, has rescued a cat or two from a tree (<-- not kidding).
This job isn't a 9-5, thats for sure.

I'll never forget that morning of 9/11/01.  I was getting ready for school, doing my hair actually, listening to Kidd Kraddick on the radio.  They were in the middle of the humorous bit, when silence came over the radio and the words: 'the towers have been hit by a plane.'  I thought it was a joke, but they kept saying it over and over again.  I walked into the living room to see my mom and brother glued to the television.
My dad was there.  In New York.  He had left the day before on business, hosting meetings just a few blocks from the Twin Towers.  He said later that when the towers were hit that it brought everyone standing to their knees.  

This has always been an emotional day for me.  It brings me to tears just thinking about the events, the city, the victims, and the people that served.  When Jordan came to me to tell me he was able to snag a spot in the Dallas 9/11 Memorial Stair Climb, I was elated.  This was a huge deal.

It is not a race, but rather a tribute honoring the sacrifices of fallen heroes -  fulfilling a promise to "NEVER FORGET" their brothers and sisters who have died in the line of duty that day.  Slots for the event are open to 343 firefighters, 70 law enforcement officers and 9 EMTs (the number of firefighters/law enforcement/EMTs that were killed at Ground Zero with the collapse of the Twin Towers) and those 400+ service men and women climb 110 floors (the height of the former World Trade Center Twin Towers).
   Last weekend we loaded the truck up bright and early with our sleepy bears, and headed out to Dallas (about a 45 minutes trip).  When we arrived, the scene of participants was already overwhelming me with emotions.  I never thought myself to be so super emotional about this date in history and what it means - I can't even say that I cried in 2001, although I'm sure there were tears.  
But today, I am.  
headwraps / ruby blue inc.

 Seeing Jordan 'bunk out' in his gear nearly put me over the edge, and the climb was still a couple hours away from starting.  
Look at him.  How can you not be proud?  He's my husband, father to my girls, and serviceman to thousands. Look what he does.
His accomplishments are a mile long.
Halfway through these pictures I realized that Parker and Jolie has never actually seen their daddy in his uniform. Sure, they've seen the official blue work pants, black boots, and navy polo - but never full fire gear.  They couldn't take his eyes off him.  The curiosity of a 21 month old is off the charts when they see their daddy with the most amazing hat on his head. 

 Being on the fire department is a family affair for these Massey men.  Jordan's dad is also a fireman - has over 35 years of service with the Irving Fire Department.  He's now is in the Alarm Office, which is run by the department in Irving, so if you happen to call 911, Jordan's dad just might be the one to answer.  
He climbed on this morning, too.
 ...and Josh.  Jordan's cousin.  Also a firefighter in Irving. 
 Probably the best family photo to date.  I absolutely love everything about this picture.  
Our heroes.
 The Renaissance Tower in downtown Dallas.  This building is only 55 stories (only).  The Twin Towers were double at 110 - if that gives you any perspective on the trials of the climb that day in 2001.  The climbers climb the 55 stories, take the elevator down to the bottom, and do it again. 
 Leading up to the actual climb was about an hour's worth of commencement ceremonies, moments of silence, and chilling speeches and music in remembrance of what this climb symbolizes. 
 I'll say it again - more than proud of this guy.  I bawled all day long.  I couldn't help myself.  
It's about that time..Leaving us for just a couple hours, but only with a promised return at the end.  I was choked up just thinking about those individuals that made panic phone calls that morning to their loved ones to tell them goodbye. 
All climbers wear the name and picture of the hero they are climbing for. 
Jordan climbed for Captain Walter Hynes of Ladder Co. 13. 
 The firefighters participating in this event reenacted those men and women that climbed the stairs of the 110 story buildings in their forty to sixty pounds of personal protective gear (bunker gear) PLUS twenty to thirty pounds of additional firefighting equipment.  

 Keeping it in the family.
Right to Left: Roy (Jordan's dad), Brian (cousin), Jordan, and Josh (cousin)
Such a power house of a picture.  These guys.  My heart swells to know them.
 Prior to walking into the tower to ascend the climb, each of the climbers shook the hands of actually servicemen and women that were there that day.  
 There was also a piece of steel (rubble) from Ground Zero.  Walking past this memorial gave me chills as if to have seen a ghost.
josh | roy | brian

 Lined up and ready.  Let me just tell you - it was sweltering hot and humid.  I can't imagine what it was like for those guys carrying and wearing their gear.
 In between all this, there were potty breaks.  About 847 of them and zero accidents.  Parker will actually go in the big potty..Jolie will not.  So, we brought the little potty for her.  I'll spare you a picture of that:)  
 During the climb we were able to watch video of the participants in real time as they made their way up to the 54th floor (they started in the basement).  There is a glare on the photo, but that is Jordan leaning over the stairs on the top right of the screen.
 He was taking this picture of his Dad and his cousin right behind him.  These guys climbed the entire way together.  When one stopped, the other three stopped as well.  When one couldn't carry their air packs, they carried it for him. 
Brotherhood defined.
Jordan sent me a few pictures here and there to keep me posted on what flight they were on, and especially to let me know he and his dad were still okay up there.  Roy fell off a latter a couple months ago - breaking his back and first rib, and well as tearing his rotator cuff.  He is still recovering from the injuries and has yet to have surgery on his shoulder.  
Meanwhile - the carnival of activities across the street were much appreciate by Parker and Jolie.  The balloons and pink plastic fire hats were a favorite.
 shorts / curly q's counter // moccasins / freshly picked
 It was a long morning.  It felt like 3pm when really it was just after 10:30am.. the emotions and events and the very early morning made the day seem much longer than it actually was.  The girls were real troopers through the entire thing.  Never once complained, fussed, or whined.  But they were exhausted and napped for the last hour or so.
 Thankful for Aunt Sherrye (Roy's sister) to help with the baby load.
 Finally I got word these guys were coming out.  It was 11:36am
 2.5 hours into the climb
 2 generations of heroes right there.

 Every firefighter that walked out before them, Parker and Jolie shook their feet in excitement, only to realize it wasn't daddy and Poppa.
This time, it was.
 Of course there were the after climb photo-ops.  DRENCHED in sweat (and a few tears) - these guys finished with smiles.
 Whew.  Ya'll.  MY man.

After the climb was the annual Brotherhood Bash- and of course we were ALL starving.  I got minimal pictures of the event.. I was emotionally spent and exhausted (and I can't imagine how Jordan and his dad felt), and ready to focus on my food.
BUT this sweet one was putting her face on for all to swoon.
There was a photo booth, and we almost didnt take part.  BUT - hello.  I am so glad we did.
 Raising our glass to not only the 343 fallen firefighters, but also the 70 law enforcement officers and 9 medical technicians that served our country that morning. 

What an emotional day.  I am still reveling in everything that the day represented and stood for.
In appreciation of the climb, we opened a donation page in honor - and all proceeds go to the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation.
Donate HERE

KLTY is a local Christian radio station here in the Dallas metroplex - located in Irving - and they interviewed Jordan among other climbers on that morning of the climb.  After speaking to Jordan, they secretly decided to show appreciation to Jordan and his guys at the fire station earlier this week, and it was captured all on video.
THANK you Frank for making this guy so excited.  We love ya'll!

I also want to thank you.  Thank you for the love and support you showed my family on Saturday.  It is a strange thing, that social media, but I am so thankful.

Always remember 9.11.01  



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