Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Recipes: Turkey Meatballs

My husband -- a true meat eater -- loves them. I love them. My twins love them, and I just cut them up (with or without sauce) and serve with broccoli, or tiny pasta, or whatever I have on hand. The only one who doesn't love them is my older daughter, but she is not a big meat eater anyway.

My family devours these so often that I double the recipe and freeze extras in Ziploc bags. Today I used two packages of ground turkey and ended up with about 56 meatballs. You can use them with pasta and sauce, or just with sauce to make meaball grinders like the original recipe. Having extra meatballs in the freezer is a great way to throw together a meal, or have something on hand for the babies to eat that I know they will love and is healthy for them.

The recipe is basically one from a Rachael Ray "30 Minute Meals" episode, called "Chicken Parm Meatball Subs." It calls for ground chicken, but I use whatever I ground poultry I can get, whether turkey or chicken. I don't follow it exactly anymore -- I just eyeball amounts of stuff. Here is the one ingredient that makes these meatballs so tasty:

Montreal Steak Seasoning.

Sure, it says "steak" on it, but it doesn't matter -- it's what makes these meatballs so very good.

Here's Rachael Ray's original recipe:

1 1/2 pounds ground chicken (or turkey)
1 tablespoon grill seasoning blend (Recommended: Montreal Steak Seasoning by McCormick)
1 large egg
1/2 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano (I use whatever grated cheese I have on hand)
1/2 cup Italian bread crumbs
Handful of chopped parsley leaves (I've used dried too)
Extra-virgin olive oil, for liberal drizzling

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
Place meat in a bowl and season with grill seasoning. Add egg, cheese, bread crumbs, parsley and a serious drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil to the bowl. Mix the meat and form meatballs. Bake meatballs 15 minutes until firm (I bake mine about 20 minutes).

(Weight Watchers Note: Lately I have been using 2 lbs. of meat, and cutting down the Parmesan cheese to 1/4 cup and keep the oil to 1 tsp. With 24 meatballs per batch, it breaks down to 2 Points+ per meatball.)

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

This MoM Can't Live Without: Sassy Formula Dispenser

In yesterday's post, I talk about my "feeding station." Let's just say that I could not live without one item in that station: The formula dispenser. Moms of Twins should give a big "thank you!" to Sassy for creating the formula dispenser on the left.

You see, not all formula dispensers are the same. The one on the right has three spaces for premeasured formula amounts. Sorry, Avent, but that's not enough!

When you have twins, and you need to pack to go out, and sometimes one bottle per baby is not enough -- you need to plan to have two bottles worth of food each. So 2 + 2 = 4, which means I need four spots for premeasured formula.

And Sassy offered me that! Thank you Sassy company! You made life as a Twin Mom easier!

UPCYCLE TIP: After the babies aren't drinking formula, use your formula dispensers for Cheerios or other little treats. Or store hair elastics, pocket change (a spot for pennies, nickels, dimes and quarters in the Sassy one), tiny craft supplies, Band Aids, Barbie doll shoes... If it's small, you can store it in it.

To find other products which have saved my sanity
as a MoM (mom of multiples),

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Twins Tip: The "Feeding Station"

I can't stand disorder. That's not to say my house doesn't have disorder, because -- believe me! -- it does. But that does not mean I like it! So when two little babies arrived at my house about two years ago and I was inundated with around-the-clock feedings and bottles and dirty bottles and formula and parts of bottles to dry out, I knew I needed a system to survive not only those hazy first weeks, but the first year of bottle feeding. Instead of letting the feeding clutter overtake me, I created what I call the "feeding station."

First, the feeding system. With my first daughter, and initially with the twins, I prepared all my formula ahead of time, bottled it, and put it in the fridge. I had a bottle warmer which I shuttled back and forth from the kitchen for the daytime to the nursery for nighttime, and I warmed bottles up and fed them. But with the twins, it seemed like I was always trying to warm up those cold bottles, and if both wanted to be fed it took forever to get both bottles ready. My warmer was old, and I didn't want to waste the money on a second one, so I had to come up with a new plan.

I decided I would just mix up those bottles on the spot. You might say it's risky, but it's actually faster than trying to warm up a cold bottle. Here's what I do. I boil water on the stove top. When it's cool, I fill my clean bottles, put on the rings, nipples and caps, and leave them in a basket on the counter. See, it's pretty and neat, right?

I had those little formula dispensers that you use for "on-the-go," except I used them at home too. I pre-fill them with the correct amount of formula (I have two 3-serving ones and one 4-serving one).

When it was time for the babies to eat, I would twist off the bottle top, dump in the pre-measured amount, shake up the bottle and the babies would be eating within a minute. It's quick and easy. It's also fantastic to be able to grab what I need for the diaper bag at a moment's notice, and I don't have to fuss with keeping formula cold. I just put the bottles in one freezer Ziploc bag (so they don't leak) and grab a formula dispenser and pack up the bag.

When Bunny (that's what I'll call my girl twin) and Buddy (that will be the boy twin) were eating different amounts, I divided the basket in half to keep track of which bottles had 6 oz and which had 8 oz., and I color coded the formula dispensers -- blue for him and pink for her. The bottles of water were separated on each side of the basket so there was no confusion.

The "feeding station" cuts down on that stress when babies are hungry and want to be fed NOW. Keep everything "stocked" correctly and everything will be at your fingertips!

As for keeping charts, I didn't have the formal clipboard or binder that some MoMs seem to do. I just had a pad of paper on the counter where I jotted down who ate how much and at what time. Easy-peasy.

Monday, February 6, 2012

This MoM Can't Live Without: Skip Hop Duo Double

Before the twins were born, my mother bought me a lovely Vera Bradley microfiber baby bag which she found on clearance. (Can you tell we are bargan hunters in my family?) I loved it, and still do, but it wasn't practical for a MoM who loves to overpack for every possible situation and scenario possible. Let's face it: Packing necessities for twins requires space. For an afternoon trip, you don't just have two bottles; you have four. You don't have one extra outfit, but two; not one blanket, but two; not a few diapers, but many. And so on and so on. I struggled with that VB diaper bag for nearly six months, trying to stuff everything I needed in it, when I finally caved and bought my dream bag: the Skip Hop Duo Double.

Again, I researched diaper bags to death. Sure, I love all the pretty ones out there, but I truly needed function. I needed space. Many MoMs recommended the Duo Double, so I had my eye on that. After much deliberation, and one outing that drove me batty because I couldn't fit the VB bag under the double jogger, I decided I would treat myself. (Re: not fitting a diaper bag under the stroller: The Skip Hop has stroller clips -- more on those later). The Skip Hop Duo Double retails for about $80; I found in on for $60 with free shipping. (Moms, always shop around, add in shipping costs, and do a search for online coupon codes before buying anything.)

When the bag arrived, I was thrilled. Yes, it was big, but it needs to be. It has many, many pockets, both inside and out, and I was able to fit a dozen diapers inside very easily, as well as extra outfits, various hygiene products, a whole large pack of wipes, bottles, etc. etc. AND I could easily zip it shut.

Perhaps the best part of the bag, beyond it's size and organizational qualities, is the straps. It has a shoulder strap that I can lengthen to carry cross body, or I can use the tote handles. And it has the patented "Shuttle Clips" which allow you to fasten it to the stroller handles. It says it will only work on a side-by-side, but you can fit it on my Graco tandem stroller as well.

As for style? I got the black one shown above, so it's plain and goes with anything. It doesn't show dirt, and it may not be a designer bag like a Coach or even my VB, but it's functional and very "neat" (as in orderly) looking. I've had the bag for more than a year now, and I'm more than pleased with it. It has gone to the mall and on vacation, to the beach and to the park. Now that the babies have progressed from bottles to sippy cups, it's still a good diaper bag, and I manage to keep everything contained in it.

They only change I might suggest is a brighter lining so you can spot everything better inside. But other than that, I am pretty happy. I'm so tempted to try another Skip Hop bag, especially now that I don't travel with as much baby stuff, or one I can use for short trips to the grocery store, but alas, it doesn't fit into the budget right now.

I'm sure I will use this bag for a very long time as the little ones grow and their needs change.

To find other products which have saved my sanity
as a MoM (mom of multiples),

Sunday, February 5, 2012

New Life, New Blog

I've blogged in the past about so many different things. But this blog will be different. In 2009, I had twins after having an only daughter for seven years. Life is different now, and I'm muddling through juggling two babies with an older child. I'm always on the lookout for tips, tricks and specific products to help me through my days, so this blog will share some of them with you as I learn.

I hope my experience makes you laugh, makes you think, and makes you feel less alone in the world. For many years, blogs gave me advice, tips and companionship, so I hope you feel the same way about the words I share with you. And maybe I can learn something new in the process. Thanks for visiting, and I can't wait to see where this ride takes me.