Beef Fried Rice with Stir Fried Veggies

Word is that the babies can now taste some of what I am eating, so I am supposed to be eating (and therefore introducing them to) varied foods. There is mixed research on this, but I definitely don’t want our girls to be as picky as I am! Derek has been encouraging me to eat spicy foods, and although I don’t like veggies, I have been trying to eat more of them. I have been fighting heartburn (my fave pregnancy food, pizza, is now a no go), but I figured I would try my hand at a stir fry. I didn’t get heartburn, and I ate veggies with a little bit of a spicy kick!

Prep Time: ~20 minutes (not including marinade time and rice cooking time)

Feeds: 6-8 people. Yields 10 cups.




Marinade Ingredients:

  • 1-1.5 pounds sirloin steak (or chicken), sliced into thin strips
  • 4 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper

Marinade the meat in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours, preferably overnight.






Stir Fry Ingredients:

  • 1.5 cups cooked chilled rice, preferably leftover rice so it is a little dried out
  • Sesame oil
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • previously marinated beef
  • 1/2 white onion, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 2 green onions, chopped
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1-2 cups of your favorite veggies (my mix is frozen broccoli, green beans, carrots, and sugar snap peas plus canned water chestnuts, drained)
  • 2 packets of Kikoman stir fry seasoning mix, prepared with the 2 tablespoons waterEggs and Steak

Heat a few drops of sesame oil in a large nonstick frying pan over moderate heat. Add the 2 beaten eggs to the pan and cook until just done. Remove from the pan and cut into thin

Heat 2 tablespoons of marinade at moderately high. Put the beef in the pan (without the remaining marinade) and cook, stirring occasionally, until browned and just cooked, about 2 minutes. Remove.

Heat 3 tablespoons of vegetable oil; it should be shimmering. Rice and veggies.JPGAdd the chopped onion, minced garlic, crushed red pepper, and sliced green onions. Sauté for a minute or so, then add 1-2 cups of your fave veggies. Cook about 3 minutes.

Add the chilled, cooked rice to the and stir fry until heated thoroughly.

Add the reserved steak and egg. Mix in prepared stir fry seasoning. Again, stir fry until heated thoroughly.

Stir Fry

Banana Cake

I get excited when I buy too many bananas, and we can’t eat them before they become overripe. That’s because it means I get to make banana bread or banana cake. If you don’t have the time to use your overripe bananas now, just freeze them and soften them up in the microwave when you are ready!

Prep Time: 15-20 minutes

Feeds: 12-15 people (depends on how much they like banana cake and therefore how big they cut their pieces!). Yields 1 sheet cake.


Cake Ingredients:Except sour cream.jpg

  • 1/2 cup softened butter
  • 1.5 cups sugar
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup mashed overripe bananas (2-3)

Preheat oven to 350°.

Cream the butter and sugar. Mix in the sour cream and vanilla. Gradually add the flour, baking soda, and salt. Stir in the bananas.

Cook 20-25 minutes at 350° in a greased 10×15 baking pan. Toothpick should come out nearly clean (remember it will continue baking in the pan even after it has been removed from the oven).

Banana Cake

Cream Cheese Icing Ingredients:

  • 8 ounces softened cream cheese
  • 1/2 cup softened butter
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 3-4 cups powdered sugar

Cut butter and cream cheese into 1 inch cubes to make it easier to integrate them. Then mix all of the ingredients. Use 3-4 cups of powdered sugar based on the desired thickness. Generally, if your house is hot, you may find your icing too thin, so you may need to use closer to 4 cups of powdered sugar. Ice the cake once it has cooled.

Banana Cake with Cream Cheese Icing

New Mexican Enchilada Casserole

In my search to make my hubby some food that reminded him of New Mexican cooking, I came upon a recipe on the Cooking Light website. I combined that recipe with a Green Chile Enchilada Casserole from my Comida Sabrosa cookbook. Derek said that this is his favorite non-crockpot meal that I make. There are a few variations you can try based on the ingredients in your pantry.

Prep Time: ~45 minutes

Feeds: 6-8 people. Yields 8 cups.


To cook meat:Cooking chicken.JPG

  • 1.5 pounds of ground beef or chicken
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 2 cloves minced garlic

Brown ground beef or chicken (if using chicken,sauté in 2 tablespoons olive oil and season with salt and pepper or simmer in chicken broth). Drain the fat, oil, or broth from meat. Shred the chicken. Sauté the onion and garlic and cook for 5 minutes.


To create enchilada mixture:

  • 2 (10-ounce) cans of cream of chicken/mushroom or enchilada sauceChicken mixture
  • 2 cups (8 ounces) shredded Monterey Jack
  • 2 (4.5-ounce) cans chopped green chiles

Preheat oven to 350°.

Add the 3 ingredients to your meat, onions, and garlic mixture; stir well. Cook 2 minutes or until incorporated. Remove from heat.

To create casserole:

  • 12 (6-inch) corn tortillas
  • 1/2 cup (2 ounces) shredded reduced-fat extra-sharp cheddar cheesePre-bake.jpg
  • 1 ounce tortilla chips, crushed (about 6 chips)

Optional: Fry tortillas in oil. Drain on a paper towel. Set aside.

Place 4 tortillas in the bottom of a 2-quart casserole coated with cooking spray. Spoon 1/3 of the enchilada mixture (about 2 cups) over tortilla. Repeat layers twice, ending with enchilada mixture. Sprinkle with cheddar cheese. Cover with foil and bake at 350° for 35-45 minutes or until thoroughly heated. Let stand 10 minutes and then sprinkle on crushed chips.

24 Week Baby Bump & Appointment

24 week baby bump

Overall, we had a positive 24 week ultrasound and doctor appointment. The doctor was glad to hear that we have been feeling kicks for the past 3 weeks. I don’t think I have had any Braxton Hicks contractions yet. Someone described it as your belly becoming so tight that it seems like you could bounce a quarter off of it. While my belly does feel hard, I think it is just because there are two babies in there! Sometimes my lower belly or under my ribs will feel uncomfortable because of the babies’ positions.

As there are not scales in my womb to measure the babies, the doctor uses a formula, combining the femur length, head circumference, and abdomen circumference to figure out weight. Twin A is 1 pound 8 ounces. Twin B is 1 pound 7 ounces. There is only a 4% difference between the babies, which is positive news. This weight keeps them in the 40th percentile (which includes singleton pregnancies), which is the same as at 20 weeks. Based on these measurements, my OB wasn’t worried about the 2 things that came up at the 20 week anatomy ultrasound: my weight gain (I gained 5 pounds in the past 4 weeks) or the marginal cord insertion. My cervix length was shorter today, which can be an indicator for pre-term labor. The doctor said CL shortening tends to happen with twins, so we are just going to stop measuring it and not worry about it. Nothing we can do about it anyway! Both babies were breach today, which made the ultrasound pictures a little less fun. Instead of cute profile pics, we saw skeleton looking pics. The doctor said that the babies still have time to move around, so no guaranteed c-section yet. If at 32 weeks they are still breech, they will probably stay that way, though.

Crazy to think that we are about two thirds of the way through this pregnancy. Depending on the source, the third trimester begins between 24 and 27 weeks, so I suppose we are in the home stretch! On Sunday, we did the Chirico Trail to Poo Poo Point. The point has a gorgeous view of Lake Sammamish and is a take off point for paraglider and hang gliders. The trail was an 8 mile hike with 1800 ft elevation gain. Based on how my pelvic floor felt during the descent and my gastrointestinal troubles following the hike, I think I probably didn’t drink enough and this was a little too strenuous for 24 weeks pregnant. We asked the doctor about the feasibility of going on a 2 day/1 night backpacking trip. She said while she wouldn’t ban it, she also wouldn’t recommend it. Her biggest concern was that twins tend to come early, and if something happened, how hard would it be to get to a hospital quickly. I guess the Drayers need to start taking it a little easier!

Panera’s Strawberry Poppyseed Salad

Growing up, I would love when my mom would make summer salads – lettuce with whatever fruits were in a season. Therefore, I am obsessed with Panera’s Strawberry Poppyseed Salad, and I get excited every summer when their menu features it. I decided to try to replicate it at home, and I thought it was pretty tasty!

Prep Time: 10-20 minutes

Feeds: 4 people. Yields about 11 cups.

Ingredients:Fruit in salad

  • 6 cups romaine lettuce, chopped
  • 1 cup strawberries, sliced
  • 1 cup blueberries
  • 1 cup mandarin oranges
  • 1 cup pineapple, chopped
  • 1⁄2 cup pecans, coarsely chopped
  • 1 cup grilled chicken breast, chopped
  • Poppy seed dressing

Prepare your chicken. You can grill it, pan sear it on the stove, or buy pre-grilled chicken (such as Foster Farms Grilled Chicken Breast Strips).Prepping Salad.JPG

Add chopped head of romaine heart or romaine lettuce (about a 6 oz head) to a bowl. Toss
in prepared strawberries, blueberries, mandarin oranges, pineapple, and pecans. Feel free to toast your pecans! (See the Don’t Head the House (Healthier) Chicken Salad recipe for nut toasting instructions.) Next add your chicken. Gently mix your salad.

You can make your own poppyseed dressing from a myriad of internet recipes, or just buy one at the store. I am partial to Newman’s Own, which is creamy but doesn’t have mayonnaise. I would recommend that you let everyone add their dressing individually, as Grandma may like to drench hers in dressing. This also allows you to keep leftover salad from wilting as quickly!