An Uncomplicated Life Blog

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Turkey Quinoa Meatloaf

This healthier take on an old classic is also gluten free

My sister and her husband flew into town for Otto's birthday back in December. They're also his godparents and considering his birthday's proximity to Christmas, those two birds met their one stone when they came out for a visit. My sister is gluten free though, so I had to get creative for my meal planning. I remembered my stepdad making me a recipe similar to this a year earlier, when my parents were staying with us just after Otto's birth. I've put my own spin on it (because I can't follow a recipe to save my life) and ended up creating a great tasting and much healthier take on the old classic meatloaf! It's got far less fat, higher protein and hey, it's gluten free to boot.

One thing I'm not a fan of are "skinny" recipes, or recipes that are indeed healthier but lose all their flavor in the process. I'd personally rather eat the full fat, full calorie version then a "healthy" or "skinny" recipe that tastes like the cardboard version of a classic. This is NOT one of those recipes! The quinoa adds a chewy texture to the poultry, the onion and garlic deepen the flavor and the sauce is the kicker.

Turkey Quinoa Meatloaf 
- 1lbs ground turkey (or chicken)
- 3/4 C uncooked quinoa
- 1 small white onion
- 2 T chopped garlic
- 1 egg
- 1 or 2 T olive oil
- 4 T Worcestershire Sauce, divided
- 4 T tomato paste, divided
- 2 T honey
- 1 t salt
- 1/2 t onion flakes
- 1 C water

In a small sauce pan, bring the cup of water plus the onion flakes and a sprinkle of salt to boil. Cook the quinoa covered on low until the water is gone, then leave it sitting on the stove covered for about a half hour. I've learned that if you cook quinoa according to the directions, it comes out soggy and this method leaves it perfectly cooked. The onion flakes make it taste great, too - I prepare all my quinoa this way! It tastes far better than when it's cooked in broth.

Chop the onion into small pieces and saute in a pan. Once translucent, add the garlic. Simmer for another minute and turn off the heat. In a large bowl, combine the ground poultry, egg, salt, 2 tablespoons of tomato paste, 2 tablespoons of Worcestershire sauce, cooked onion and garlic and about half of the quinoa. The mixture should be very wet, but stick together. Add more quinoa if necessary, or if you like a chewier meatloaf (it really does add great texture!)

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Form the meat mixture into a loaf on the lined pan. In a small bowl, mix together the remaining tomato paste, honey, Worcestershire Sauce and about 2 tablespoons of water. Cover the meatloaf with the sauce, and reserve the remaining sauce to serve after  cooking. Just make sure you don't "double dip" the spoon you use to apply the sauce to the raw meatloaf! You don't want to contaminate your sauce with raw poultry.

Bake at 350 for about an hour. After baking, let the meatloaf rest for about 10 minutes to cool and to seal in the juices. Slice and serve with the remaining sauce. Enjoy this healthier and gluten free take on an old classic - turkey quinoa meatloaf.

Monday, January 16, 2017

Favorite Moments In Motherhood

Motherhood has it's challenging moments, but it's also full of joyful times

There are TONS of articles and blog posts on how "hard" motherhood is. And they're warranted; motherhood is the toughest job I've ever done. It's relentless. But if you read this post, you know that my "word" for 2017 is joy. As such, I thought it'd be fun to talk about some of my favorite, joyful moments in motherhood. You know, put the challenges and excessive poopy diapers on the back burner for a moment, and focus on the fun stuff!

Throwing acorns with a frontal diaper wedgie

Henry and Otto have two very different personalities. Henry is a goof; he's always making faces and marching around the house in a weird way, dancing, and talking to himself and/or Otto nonstop. Otto is my "all in" child. He's either laughing with gusto, screaming like his life is ending, or intensely watching what his brother is doing. Let that set the stage for some of my favorite moments in being each boy's mommy.

When Henry was about 15 months old, he started walking. With walking came his ability to dance. Now, I always have music on in the car when we drive places, and I refuse to listen to anything specifically for kids. Usually, it's hip hop on up in my ride. So Henry REALLY got into The Weekend. One of my favorite things to do is turn on music around 4-5pm (right as our witching hour hits) and have a dance party. Wouldn't you know, I was pregnant with Otto when I turned on The Weekend for Henry to dance some of his sillies out and the boy starts to twerk. I'm talking hands on the floor, butt up in the air with a rump shake that would make any club goer proud. I promise I didn't teach him this (I was too pregnant!) but my jaw dropped and I started laughing hysterically at his dance moves.

Which, of course, made him shake it more.

He was singing a song with vigor to his two bubble sticks

For Henry's second birthday, I got him a mini basketball and hoop to shoot. He had been dribbling a ball since he could walk and was better at it than I am. I no sooner set the hoop up before he was shooting the ball and was making every single shot. It was amazing! He could dunk it, he could do a layup, he could shoot it. And he was only two! It's still one of my favorite things to do with him because he's so proud when he gets the ball in the hoop and his gleeful, "I got it!" never gets old to my ears.

He's always having a good time, this kid

Otto was breastfed for seven months. As I mentioned, he's my "all in" kid. He'd absolutely scream when he was hungry, but as soon as I'd sit down and pull a boob out, he'd get this wide-eyed grin and he'd frantically move his head around, trying to latch on to anything that came near his mouth. If a knuckle of mine came near his mouth as I fumbled with nursing top clips and straps, he'd latch on to my knuckle and suck frantically. It was so funny! The kid still loves a good boob grab and always has his hand on one of mine, or the nanny's or the girls who run the daycare at the gym. No seriously, this kid is grabby. But if one of his hand's is on a boob, he's calm and happy. At some point I'm going to have to break him of this grabby habit before it becomes creepy...

Protesting our Instagram photo shoot

Otto started crawling at eight months, but he'd still get so frustrated that he couldn't go as fast as big brother Henry. So we got him a walker with wheels on it that he can sit in and chase his brother around. We have a single story house so there's lots of room to run and gain speed! Otto's favorite thing to do, even to this day, is to get his little legs moving, pick up speed (this kid is fast!) and once he's hit his max, he lets his legs go limp, he throws his head back and laughs as he coasts along our hardwoods. He's so happy when he's cruising in that thing! And when Henry chases him he squeals and screams in delight. It's so fun to watch those two play together.

Happy boy learning to cruise along things

Yeah yeah yeah, motherhood is tough. But it's also full of some of the very best moments. Having two kids very close in age has been a blast. These two boys are best friends and I'm so excited to watch them grow up together, and develop more favorite moments in motherhood.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

DIY Valentine's Day Gift

Make your own massage oil blend for your Valentine!

From the earliest days of my husband and I dating, I've been big into making him gifts for "holidays" like Valentine's Day, Father's Day and any other day that might remotely be sentimental. For a while, I wasn't even sure if he liked such gifts! I just had fun making them. Then we moved into our current house, and he's decorated his office with every single gift I've ever made - so, win win for us! I can get crafty and he can decorate his office. One thing that won't be decking the halls, so to speak, is this DIY Valentine's Day gift. Nope. We'll be keeping this massage oil back in the bedroom.

A fun DIY to make your sweetheart a fun gift for Valentine's day

Now I realize Valentine's Day is a month away (from the date of publishing this) so hey honey, if you're reading this... This is what you're getting this year! Happy Valentine's Day a tad early :)

Ok, back to the massage oil DIY. Here's what you'll need:

- Bottle of carrier oil, such as grape seed oil or almond oil
- 5 drops Sensations essential oil
- 5 drops Northern Lights Black Spruce essential oil (or anything in the pine family)
- Mod Podge glue and a small paintbrush
- Scissors
- Pen
- Decorative paper; at least two sheets with one flexible and one thicker card stock

First, cut the flexible decorative paper in a strip long enough to just go around your bottle once. Use the paintbrush to coat the bottle in glue. Wrap the strip of decorative paper around the glued bottle and run your fingers over the paper to squeeze out any air bubbles. On the seam of the paper, paint another layer of Mod Podge over the decorative paper.

Next, use a piece of printer paper or junk mail to cut out heart templates for your card stock. On the back of the thicker decorative paper, trace the hearts. Use the scissors to cut them out. Once the glue on the bottle is dry, add hearts to further decorate your bottle of massage oil.

Let the bottle dry over night so that the glue is good and dry before you handle the bottle. Once it's set, pour your carrier oil of choice into your decorated bottle. Add the drops of essential oil. I chose Sensations because it's a Young Living blend formulated to stimulate women's senses and, ahem! Their sexuality. The Black Spruce is a masculine scent and balances the feminine scent of Sensations. It's a combo I would have never thought would go together, but I learned about it at an oil class and it's probably my favorite smell to date.

And there you have it! A fun, fairly easy DIY Valentine's Day gift that brings you and your partner together through massage. Happy Valentine's Day!