Homemade Baby Food: Butternut Squash

Baby K has had teeth since he was about three months old! Ever since he started showing signs of teething and showing an interest in food, I’ve been doing all the trial and error runs I can with making his food.

I love the convince of store bought baby food, but at the end of the day, it’s super easy to make and takes me less time than it would to get it from the store!

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What You’ll Need

  • 1 Medium sized Butternut Squash

First things first, wash and peel your butternut squash. Then you’ll dice it into cubes. Don’t worry about how big or small they are, everything is going to be puréed.

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Next, throw all of the cubed squash into a pot and cover with water. For me this came out to be about 3 cups. Bring water to a rolling boil and leave until squash is tender (about 20 minutes).

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Reserving the cooking liquid, strain the squash and put into a food processor or blender. Pulse on high or blend until the squash has a smooth consistency.

Incorporate the reserved liquid into the purée until it reaches your desired thickness.

Depending on the size of your squash and how much of the cooking liquid you add back into your purée will determine how much it makes. For me, I used 3/4 of the cooking liquid and got about 32 oz. of food.

The purée can be kept in the fridge for about 3 days or frozen for up to three months! Use any freezer safe container you’d like. I have these ice pop bags from Amazon and freeze in two oz portions!

And voila! Homemade butternut squash baby food.

XOXO,
Leah

Parmesan and Cheddar Crisps

Happy Monday, y’all!

After several weeks of computer issues, I think I’ve finally gotten it back up and running (fingers crossed)!

Especially in the summer, I love a good crunchy and salty snack to go with a nice cold drink! Popcorn, chips, pretzels, you name it!

With my love of cheese, my latest addiction has been really any kind of cheese crisp, but buying them can get a little on the pricey side. Enter this recipe I whipped up one night, and boom! An easy and way cheaper version of my most craved snack!

What You’ll Need

• 2 Cups Shredded Parmesan Cheese
• ½ Cup Shredded Mild Cheddar Cheese
• Salt and Pepper to Taste
• Parchment Paper

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You’ll want to preheat your oven to 350°.

Next you’re going to line your baking sheet with parchment paper. This will help your crisps not stick and make clean up that much easier!

In a bowl, mix the two shredded cheese s together until well combined.

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Now you’ll drop heaping tablespoons of the mixture onto the parchment paper lined baking sheet. They don’t spread out too much when in the oven, so I put four mounds in each row.

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Bake in the oven for about 15 minutes until golden brown. Season with salt and pepper right after you take them out of the oven so the seasoning sticks best!

Let sit until cool to the touch and then you’re all set to enjoy your homemade Parmesan and cheddar crisps!

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While yummy on their own, there are also tons of ways to jazz them up; turkey and avocado, in place of tortilla chips for nachos, with eggs and bacon…

What’s your go to snack right now?

XOXO,
Leah

Lemon Crinkle Cookies

I have such a big sweet tooth; candy, cake, ice cream, you name it! My husband on the other hand is a little pickier when it comes to the ones he likes. While I will eat pretty much any kind of sweet, he would much rather have something that’s light and not quite so sugary sweet tasting.

Enter these cookies that he had months ago, and I knew I had to figure out how to make them for myself! After much trial and error to get the texture just right, I have a new go to cookie recipe that we both can enjoy!

What You’ll Need

• 1 Box of Lemon Cake Mix
• 1 Egg
• 1 8 oz tub of Cool Whip
• About 1/2 Cup of Powdered Sugar

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Like always, you’ll want to start by preheating your oven to 350°F and having your baking tray ready to go. I lined mine with a silicone baking mat to help prevent sticking, but parchment paper would work too!

Next you’ll combine your cake mix, egg, and Cool Whip in a bowl. Mix all of this together until it’s well combined. The mixture may seem lighter and a little fluffier than normal cookie doughs, but that’s how it’s supposed to be!

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Next you’ll take two spoons and a portion at a time, coat the dough in the powder sugar before placing on your baking tray. Once your tray is full, you’ll put them in the oven to bake for about 10 minutes! Repeat this step until all of your cookie dough has been baked.

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Allow cookies to cool on the tray for a minute or two before moving them to a wire rack to fully cool. Once all of your cookies have been baked, enjoy!

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XOXO,
Leah

Warning: In my experience, it is impossible to eat just one!

6 Dates to Treat Yourself This Valentine’s Day

With my husband being in the Army, spending holidays together can be hit or miss. The last two years we’ve missed out on our fair share! Just because he’s not home to celebrate doesn’t mean I skip the celebration all together though!

With Valentine’s Day coming up and the possibility that my husband may be gone again, I’ve rounded up a few of my favorite ways to treat myself!

1. Dinner for One. I’ve always been a big believer in having no shame with taking myself out to dinner at any one of my favorite restaurants! It’s a nice little twist on a traditional date night, and it gets me out of the house when my husband is away! I’m not going to lie though, the first time I went out by myself, I definitely felt a bit out of place.  At the end of the meal I was so glad I did! Now, I’m a pro at the game!

2. Go Exploring. If you’re someone that loves a good adventure, this will be right up your alley! I love getting to discover new things and places for myself. These trips make up some of my best memories! There is something so freeing about not having a set plan and just going with the flow. It could be a hike in a new place, going to a new city, or even just immersing yourself in something new! The possibilities are endless!

3. Buy the Outfit. Is there an outfit you’ve been eyeing from afar? This is your chance to buy it! Go all out; top, bottom, shoes, accessories, even new makeup to complete the look! Did you know that even just making an online wishlist of things you like can help reduce stress? I do this on a regular basis and definitely notice a difference from start to finish. Imagine what buying yourself a whole new outfit can do!

4. Visit Your Favorite Coffee Shop. If you follow me over on Instagram (@alongftride), you’ll know that I love having a good hot drink; coffee, tea, hot chocolate… My guilty pleasure is a hot vanilla latte! Have you ever gone to your favorite coffee shop with a good book and just enjoyed your drink and book? In our technology driven world, this idea may seem a little crazy, but I promise that unplugging for even just a half hour feels so good!

5. DIY Spa Day. I’m a big believe that treating myself can also involve things that are good for my mental health! I’m a whole package deal, so taking care of myself in this way is definitely high on my priorities. One of my favorite ways to do this is having an at home spa day. For me, this always includes a good bubble bath with Epsom salt, a hydrating lotion, fuzzy socks, a face mask, and a hot cup of tea! I love this because it can be whatever I need that day!

6. Netflix and Chill. Who says you need someone else for this? Personally, I think there’s nothing better than wearing my comfiest clothes and burrowing in a pile of blankets! Since my husband and I have very different tastes in what kinds of shows and movies we like to watch, when he’s gone is always a perfect opportunity to binge on the shows I normally wouldn’t or find a new series to watch! Add in your favorite snacks and drinks, and you’re all good to go!

What’s your favorite way to treat yourself when you’re flying solo for the day of love? Let me know down below!

XOXO,
Leah