Roasted Butternut Squash Lasagna Rolls

Confession. I’ve made lasagna rolls before and they were an epic FAIL! They wouldn’t stay rolled up. I must of overstuffed them with meat or something, I don’t know.😂

But THESE! These were very cooperative rolls that came out beautiful! I’m always looking for options for meatless meals to incorporate into my weekly meals. This recipe can also be altered from vegetarian to vegan by simply switching up the brands.

I enjoy sharing meals that have few ingredients because it makes them so much more approachable.

If you’re like me and enjoy a little spice in your life, feel free to add a few dried pepper flakes to spice it up.

If you try this recipe, feel free to tag us on Instagram @thenewnesslifestyle or hashtag #thenewnesslifestyle to share your experience.

Roasted Butternut Squash Lasagna Rolls

Easy, delicious vegetarian lasagna rolls the whole family can enjoy. Roasted butternut squash is naturally sweet and savory, giving a new experience to a classic. These rolls help with portion control and takes up half the time of cooking a full lasagna,
Prep Time 25 mins
Cook Time 25 mins
Course Main Course
Cuisine Italian

Equipment

  • roasting pan
  • oven dish

Ingredients
  

  • 3 cups Butternut squash cubed
  • 6-8 Lasagna noodles
  • 1 jar Alfredo sauce
  • 2 cups Mozzarella cheese
  • 2 cups Baby spinach
  • ¼ Onion
  • 4-5 cloves Garlic
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 1 tsp Italian Seasoning
  • ½ tsp Cinnamon
  • 2 tbsp Oil

Instructions
 

  • Preheat oven to 375F
  • In roasting pan, arrange butternut squash, diced onion and whole garlic cloves. Sprinkle salt, Italian seasoning, cinnamon and oil over vegetables. Toss to coat.
  • Bake for 25 minutes.
  • In the meantime, cook lasagna noodles in boiling water and salt until al dente. Leave aside to cool.
  • Once the vegetables are roasted and soft, add to mixing bowl and mash together.
  • Add spinach to hot mixture and combine.
  • Taste, add additional salt if needed. (pepper flakes are optional here)

Assembling Lasagna Rolls

  • Taking one noodle at time and lay flat on board. Spoon 1 tbsp of alfredo sauce across noodle. Add 1 tbsp of cheese the length of noodle. Add ¼ cup of vegetable mixture to one end of noodle. Roll noodle and place in baking dish.
  • Repeat process for the remainder of noodles.
  • Pour remainder of Alfredo on top of noodles. Add remainder of cheese.
  • Bake uncovered for 25 minutes of until the cheese begins to brown.
  • Enjoy!
Keyword butternut squash, butternut squash lasagna, dinner, easy dinner, family dinner, Lasagna, vegan, vegetarian

Easy Pineapple Chicken (Sweet and Sour) – Better than takeout!

I used to love ordering sweet and sour or pineapple chicken from Asian restaurants. But then I would feel disappointed about the ratio of chicken to coating. 🤨 Am I the only one who would bite into a seemingly large piece of chicken, and find there was actually NO chicken, only fried breading and sauce?? 🤣🤣

Anyhow, this simple recipe is great because you can modify the ingredients to your liking. It’s also a healthier version. Pan frying does not use as much oil as deep frying. Also, the coating is a lot lighter than the heavy breading used in some restaurants.

It’s definitely a family favourite it my home. The additional fresh vegetables are even eaten up by my littles! Its too good to pass up. Give it a try!

Pineapple Chicken (Sweet and sour chicken)

A tasty alternative to take-out from your favourite Asian restaurant. Sweet and sour chicken flavour with bursts of pineapple chunks with a hint of spice. This recipe will definitely become a family favourite in your home.
Prep Time 30 mins
Cook Time 20 mins
Course Main Course

Equipment

  • wok
  • large stove top pan

Ingredients
  

Chicken Prep

  • 2 large Boneless chicken breasts
  • 1 tsp All purpose seasoning Or any other seasoning salt you enjoy.
  • ¼ cup Milk
  • ½ cup All purpose flour
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • ½ tsp Black pepper
  • 1/4 Cooking oil May vary with size of pan

Sauce

  • 1 can Pineapple chucks (in juice)
  • cup Ketchup
  • ¼ cup Sweet Chili Thai Sauce
  • 1 Red Bell Pepper
  • 1 large Carrot
  • ¼ Cooking onion
  • 2 cups Broccoli florets

Instructions
 

Chicken marinade

  • Wash chicken breast with water and vinegar. Pat dry and cut into 1-2 inch cubes.
  • Season chicken with all purpose and mix to coat evenly. (Or your favourite seasoning salt)
  • Add milk to seasoned chicken and stir. Let marinate for 30 min if possible, (At least 20 minutes)

Prepare Vegetables

  • Chop Bell pepper, Onion and Carrot into 1 inch pieces. Set aside.
  • Combine pineapple chunks with juice, ketchup and sweet chili thai sauce in a bowl. Set aside,

Begin cooking

  • Drain excess liquid from chicken.
  • Mix flour, salt and pepper in a bowl. Add to chicken and stir to evenly coat all pieces.
  • Heat oil in pan to medium high. Pan fry each piece until golden on both sides and cooked thoroughly. Set aside each piece to drain on paper towel once removed from pan.
  • Clean pan or use another pan. Add 1 tsp of oil and sautee onion, peppers and carrot until onions are soft. (peppers and carrots should still have crunch)
  • Add pineapple, ketchup and sweet chili thai sauce. Stir and simmer for 5 minutes.
  • Add chicken back to pan and gently stir, being careful not to remove the breading coating.
  • Add Broccoli, simmer on low for 5 minutes covered. Enjoy!
Keyword better than takeout, chicken, easy dinner, family dinner, pineapple chicken, sweet and sour, Sweet thai chili, Swet and Spicy chicken

4 Ways to Reduce “Mom Guilt”.

At the beginning of this pandemic I had a hard time. In March 2020, I was super excited to head back to work from 1 year maternity leave. I was at work for a total of 7 days when everything shut down due to the Corona Virus COVID-19. I was disappointed, frustrated and anxious. To top it off, I was riddled with “Mom Guilt”.

Toys galore! Gotta love LEGO.

I love my babies and should have been excited to spend extra time with them and I was. But I was also longing to have a life again. So here was my dilemma. I was feeling guilty for being ‘selfish’ and while I was sitting in that, my mood was not the best. To overcompensate I found myself buying extra toys, running myself ragged trying to entertain kids and at times just letting them run over me and do whatever they wanted.

I had to find ways to combat the mom guilt and restore balance.

4. Reconnect with Yourself

When you become a mom, it seems at times that you no longer have a name. Mom, Mommy, Mama…is always being called, but your name is few and far between. Your priorities are focused externally instead of internally. We often forget the things we loved to do when we actually had time for ourselves.

Take a minute and describe yourself without referring to being a “mom”. I’ll wait.

Fun fact: This clock has no batteries 😁

Reconnecting with yourself, for me, is the starting block for everything selfcare. Remembering what your hobbies are, what activities bring you joy and peace and make you feel unique and valued.

I always loved to cook. However, this year ‘ve found it to be more of a chore than a joy. I was getting stuck and struggled with lack of creativity. I was unmotivated and our meals became redundant. I had to find my spark again and get back into my creative space.

Funny enough, I got the epiphany while helping create floral arrangements for a family wedding. I reconnected with my creative side. This helped me to be a better mom! Our meals are better, my kids have more fun with the activities I’ve created for them and I feel more fulfilled. Don’t get me wrong, my kids are very fulfilling, but I needed to be rekindle my happy outside of being a mom and wife. Hence this blog 🥰

3. Be Present

Listen, there will ALWAYS be things to do. I’ve had to catch myself multiple times while telling my son, “I’m busy”, or “I can’t right now”, and “Ill help you later”.

Austin has a way of melting my heart by saying “Mommy you say no ALLLL DAYYYY”. I really don’t. But to a 4 year old who just wants to play dinosaurs while I’m trying to fold laundry or washing dishes, I am. Even with work from home culture, having to walk away from answering emails all day can be a struggle. Guilt. Double guilt.

Being able to enjoy the little moments is part of balance and self care. Instead of telling your children that you are busy, try having a go with the flow attitude. Choosing to remain present in your situation can help you stay out of your head where the guilt festers.

2. Take a Break

Taking a break makes you a better mom!! Read that again!

We are no good to our kids (and spouse) if we are burnt out, run down, and stressed. Taking a break can help you regroup, reset and relax.

I remember when I was young, my mother would tell us that she’s changed her name. My sisters and I would spend all day guess what her new name was.😂 Now that I look back, I can recognize that this was part of her “break”. It seems simple but it was selfcare for her and fun for us kids.

Taking a break doesn’t have to mean a hotel stay, it could just be a solo walk, quiet time in a corner or the shower. I sometimes sit upstairs in my room while my kids play downstairs. A little distance is good for you. It makes you appreciate your littles even more.

During this pandemic, you have to be creative in taking breaks because we are limited to whom we can have in our homes and ‘outside’ is ‘closed’. So get creative!

1. Remember, No One is Perfect

Social Media is not real life. Social Media is not real life. Yes, I said it twice on purpose.

Now that the whole world is on lockdown, many have put their lives on display via various social media platforms. I’m super guilty of indulging on strangers lives on YouTube and wondering why my kids aren’t always perfectly dressed, well behaved and my house isn’t always in order. The reason why is they are putting their best forward for the cameras. ANNNNND, their life is not MY life.

Everyone is unique in how they live their lives. Are my kids happy? Yes. Is their wellbeing in danger? No. Does that mean I’m being a good mom? No. I’m a GREAT mom!

Do yourself a favour and give your self a pat on the back and cut yourself some slack! You’re an awesome mom!

Breast is BEST, until it’s NOT…

I wish someone told me how DIFFICULT breast feeding would be. *sigh*

I always knew I would breastfeed my babies. Fun fact: My mother breastfed me until I was 3 years old. YES! My mother is the real MVP! 😂😂 For some reason, because of my mother, I figured I would follow suit and be a breastfeeding boss. I was in for a real shock.

Both my children were born with tongue ties. What is a tongue tie you ask? A Tongue-tie (ankyloglossia) is a problem with the tongue that is present from birth. It keeps the tongue from moving as freely as it normally would. It occurs when the frenulum on the bottom of the tongue is too short and tight.

My daughter at 3 days old with toungue-tie

We noticed that when my son cried, his tongue didn’t move very much. Our first lactation nurse didn’t think much of it. My son was latching well, but the pain while he was trying to pull milk was intense. I thought it was just because we were both new to breastfeeding. Little did I know that we would end up in the lactation clinic 3 days later finding out that he indeed had a tongue tie that needed to get clipped. He was losing weight from not being able to use his tongue to pull milk.

Also, I was so engorged that my milk ducts were getting blocked, yet, when I pumped I was barely collecting 2 ounces at a time. I was devastated to know that I was not able to feed my son effectively, nor was I able to pump enough to feed him.

person people woman hand
Photo by Public Domain Pictures on Pexels.com

I struggled with the thought of giving up and just switching to formula. We had 1 can in the house “just in case” but I was determined to not access it unless it was an emergency.

Well, at 10 days old, off we went to the Dental Surgeon to get the tongue tie clipped. There was an IMMEDIATE change in latch and feeding satisfaction for my son. It wasn’t easy, but he nursed for 10 months and I was a proud momma! We introduced formula for convenience at 6 months, because pumping was not going well for me and my husband wanted to join in on the feeding 😁.

My daughter was also born with a tongue tie AND a lip tie. She was introduced to formula at 2 weeks because of the damage done to my nipples. She also had her ties snipped, but breastfeeding was not going as well afterwards. So, I made the decision to alternate between bottle and breast. My ultimate goal was to FEED MY BABY!

There can be a lot of pressure to exclusively breast feed, and formula is frowned upon. While there are definitely pros and cons to both that can be debated, I think we can agree that FED is best, no matter the route taken.

I want to introduce you to my friend and colleague Dayana Wolski! She’s an awesome Certified Breastfeeding Support Nurse and is super passionate about supporting women to have success with breastfeeding. Follow her on instagram @Lactation_nurse.

Dayana Wolski, RN and family

Dayana Wolski is a Registered nurse and Certified Breastfeeding Support Nurse with her own experiences that have made her passionate about supporting women with breastfeeding. Here is her story:

“When I started breastfeeding my first child, I experienced a sudden drop in mood during the milk ejection reflex called “the let down”. It would happen often during the first 2 weeks of feeding him and I would feel so sad as soon as the milk started to come out.

I started researching more about it and decided to take a course to further my knowledge. What I was experiencing was called ‘dysphoric milk ejection reflex’. Many moms experiencing this might quit breastfeeding because it can become really frustrating. It’s very important to have positive supports from family and knowledgeable professionals”. – Dayana W

Here are some of her top tips for moms….

  • Drink plenty of water: You may also choose low sugar drinks as well as decaffeinated drinks.
  • Eat a well-balanced diet: Choosing a variety of vegetables and fruits, lean proteins, whole-grains and unsaturated fats. If you are breastfeeding, your healthcare provider may suggest that you eat more calories each day than otherwise recommended for a person of your height and weight. Be sure to ask your healthcare provider about how much and what to eat.
  • Get sleep: Try to sleep when your baby sleeps. Take every opportunity to get some rest.
  • Get physical activity: Choose an activity that you enjoy and that you can practice every day. For example, it can be an outdoor walk or a virtual yoga session at home.
  • Be kind to yourself: Practice saying this out loud. You can even sing it out loud!

“I’m a good mother.”

“I’m doing my best.”

“I’m caring for my baby and for myself.”

Breastfeeding tips:

  • START EARLY-Put baby to the breast to nurse as soon as possible after birth.
  • NURSE OFTEN-Nurse baby 8-12 times in 24 hours. The more you nurse the more milk you will have. Night feeds are important as they boost your milk production.
  • AIM FOR DEEP LATCH– relax and sit comfortably, hold the baby skin to skin and close to you with baby’s face and body turned towards you, baby’s chin leads the latch and nose is tilted back in a sniffing position, baby’s bottom lip touches breast and top lip brushes nipple as baby opens mouth wide, baby’s mouth should cover a large part of the areola especially with the lower lip.
  • GET SUPPORT-Have a list of lactation professionals contact information so that they can answer your questions and help you problem solve.

Learning to breastfeed your baby requires patience and practice so getting prompt support from lactation professionals is very important.

And remember…FEEDING your baby is the priority, no matter if you choose to give your baby breastmilk or formula.

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

Thanks for sharing with us Dayana!! Please follow her on Instagram @lactation_nurse.

Leave a comment or ask a question right here on the blog too is you like! Happy Feeding!

Honey Jerk Turkey Wings

Turkey wings!! Either you love them or you…don’t know what you are missing 😂

Turkey seems to be reserved for holidays only and I have no idea why. I mean, the excitement people have for eating mounds of left over turkey days after the holidays tells me that how enjoyable it is. However, I can’t always find turkey wings, ground turkey or turkey breast in the meat section of my local grocery store.

I went on a hunt to satisfy my craving for turkey wings. Two stores later…SUCCESS. I found my wings in all their gloriousness. Other than being super delicious, turkey wings are rather inexpensive. Another great reason to include them on the grocery list.

I am a fan of sweet and spicy, so naturally I went that route for my wings. The skin of the turkey wings are super thick so it’s important to render the skin as much as possible. The meat is also much tougher and needs a good amount of cook time.

An easy way to ensure the skin gets rendered and crispy is to add a little baking powder before baking. It seems like an odd combination but makes a huge difference. So don’t skip that step in the recipe.

Try it out and let me know!!

Honey Jerk Turkey Wings

Delicious crispy, sweet and spicy turkey wings made easy. These wings are simple but full of flavour that will keep you coming back for more.
Prep Time 20 mins
Cook Time 45 mins
Course Appetizer
Cuisine Jamaican

Equipment

  • Oven
  • food processor

Ingredients
  

Green seasoning

  • 1 inch ginger
  • ½ onion
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 4 pimento seeds
  • 1 sprig green onion
  • 1 sprig thyme
  • 2 tbsp olive oil

Honey Jerk Wings

  • 4 Turkey wings
  • 2 tbsp Grace Jerk Seasoning
  • ½ tbsp Baking powder
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 1 tbsp Olive oil

Honey glaze

  • 1 tbsp Butter
  • 1 tbsp Honey

Instructions
 

  • Add all ingredients for the green seasoning into a food processor, or blender and blend until it turns into a paste. Set aside.
  • Wash Turkey wings in water and vinegar and remove any debris. Pat dry and set in bowl.
  • Add tbsp of oil and 1 tsp of baking powder to the wings and massage until evenly coated.
  • Add ¼ cup of green seasoning to the wings. Store the remainder in to fridge in an air tight container (jar is best) up until 1 week.
  • Add Jerk seasoning and salt. Massage wings until completely coated.
  • Cover and cook in 400F oven for 40 min, turning wings half way through. Remove cover and bake for another 10.
  • Mix honey and butter in a small dish and heat until melted in microwave or small pot.
  • Pour honey mixture over wings and ENJOY!!!
Keyword dinner, honey jerk, inexpensive dinner, jamaican, jerk wings, quick dinner

Sweet, Tender, Coca-Cola Ribs

I don’t remember who taught me about Coca-cola ribs, but for as long as I can remember, this has been the easiest way to get sweet, tender, fall off the bone pork ribs.

I’m not a huge fan of pork, and neither is my husband. My son is super picky, and my daughter loves any protein we’ve given her so far. These ribs were for our lovely extended family members to enjoy!

Friday nights are usually no cook nights, but this recipe is basically put it in the oven and forget about it. The most important part is the prep for the marinade.

The absolute BEST ribs I EVER had were definitely from the deep deep south. Dallas, Texas Stockyards won my heart with their BBQ and meat. I’m already salivating just thinkin about it.

I’m definitely a sucker for anything BBQ. Where I live in Canada, BBQ season is very short. However, growing up at my parents house (and whenever we go back to visit), lighting up the “barbie” is ALWAYS a good idea.

Anyhow, while I go ahead and reminisce, enjoy this tasty, easy, fool proof recipe for fall off the bone coca-cola ribs.

Tender Coca-Cola Pork Ribs

Dana Dwyer
Fool proof tender ribs marinated in coca-cola to give just the right amount of carmalization.
Prep Time 1 d
Cook Time 1 hr 30 mins
Course Main Course

Equipment

  • Oven
  • baking pan
  • roaster pan

Ingredients
  

  • 1 Rack of ribs
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 1 tsp Black Pepper
  • 3 cloves Garlic smashed
  • 500 ml Coca-cola
  • ½ sprig Rosemary
  • BBQ sauce of your choice

Instructions
 

  • Remove thin membrane from the back of ribs then rinse ribs thoroughly with water and vinegar. Pat dry and place in a bowl.
  • Add salt, pepper, rosemary and smashed cloves. Massage into meat.
  • Pour Coca-cola over ribs. Cover or transfer to a ziplock bag and refrigerate over night or for 24hrs.
  • Place ribs in deep oven pan or roaster. Sprinkle your favorite dry rub or BBQ seasoning on both sides.
  • Pour ½ of the liquid marinade into the bottom of the pan. Cover with foil tightly.
  • Bake at 375 for 40 min. Then turn ribs over and bake for another 30 min covered.
  • Turn up the oven to 400F. Add your favourite BBQ sauce and bake uncovered for 20 minutes.
  • Enjoy!!

Notes

Always keep an eye on your ribs. All ovens cook at different rates. Ensure to always check meat’s doneness to avoid under/overcooking.

Pesto Shrimp Pizza

The year is 2020, October, and we are back in quarantine. This means restaurants have once again closed down. Instead of ordering in, why not create Friday night date night at home!

Pesto and Shrimp are two items I always have in the fridge/freezer. Why you ask? The combinations are endless!!! Pesto adds flavour to EVERYTHING and shrimp is super VERSITILE! Now if you are NOT a fan of basil and/or seafood, this may not be the recipe for you. However, you can always sub with BBQ sauce and shredded chicken, or whatever you have left over in the fridge.

If you are having a larger gathering, or have a big family, you can use a large rectangular flat bread. However, using the personal sized round naan breads are great to individuals your toppings and of course…portion control. 😃 They also hold up well in the freezer if you want to buy in bulk and save for a “rainy day”.

All the ingredients are easy to find in your fridge, or in the fresh aisles of the grocery store. A quick run in before picking up the kids (I’m guilty of this) when you don’t have any leftovers or time to prep a full dinner.

This pizza is easy, tasty and restaurant quality! Pour a glass of wine, or peardrax 😁 and enjoy!!

Pesto Shrimp Pizza

Restaurant quality at home. This delicious pizza will quickly become a family favourite.
Prep Time 20 mins
Course Main Course
Cuisine Italian
Servings 2

Equipment

  • Oven
  • sheet pan

Ingredients
  

  • 1 pkg Naan Bread
  • 2 cups Mozzarella Cheese
  • 1 jar Classico Pesto Sauce
  • 1 pkg Frozen Raw Shrimp
  • 1 cup Sliced Bell Peppers
  • ¼ Sweet or Red onion
  • cup chopped spinach
  • 1 Thinly sliced Tomato
  • 1 tsp cooking oil
  • pinch salt optional/to taste

Instructions
 

  • Thaw, wash, shell and devein shrimp. Add 2 tbsp of pesto sauce and a pinch of salt. Mix well and set aside to marinate.
  • In a medium sauce pan, add oil, and heat to high. Add shrimp and cook 2 minutes either side or until pink and shaped like a "c". Remove from pan and set aside.
  • Turn heat down to medium-high. Add onions and peppers to same pan. Sautee until slightly soft 3-4 minutes. Remove from pan and set aside.
  • Heat oven to 400F
  • To begin assembling pizzas, lay Naan bread on oven sheet pan. Spread 1-2 tbsp of pesto sauce evenly all the way to the edges.
  • Sprinkle approx 1 tbsp of cheese evenly and sparingly.
  • Layers ingredients. Tomatoes, onions & peppers, shrimp, spinach. Add more cheese on top to your liking.
  • Bake in oven for 10-15 minutes or until edges are browned and cheese is melted.
  • Enjoy!
Keyword clean, dinner, easy meals, friday night meal, healthy meal, kid friendly, pesto, pizza, seafood pizza, shrimp, veggie

Peanut Butter Banana Drink (Papa Milkshake)

My son loooves a cultural drink called Peanut Punch (Grace Foods).  However, since introduced to it at almost 2 yrs old, he only refers to it as “Papa Juice”. Why you ask? Because his “Papa” (my father and his HERO) is the one who introduced it to him – so what else would it be called right?

Austin just turned 4 and every morning he asks for “Papa Juice” to start his day. While I love the drink myself, I needed to introduce an alternative to him, because when we ran out, it was like the sky was falling. Hence the introduction of “Papa Milkshake”. Do you see a trend here?

I blame myself. When I was pregnant with him, Peanut Punch was my go-to snack, meal replacement, pick me up…you name it!

This recipe has also been a great was to get my son involved in the preparation. He loves to lick the peanut butter off the spoon and control the blender speed. This recipe can be varied to suit a child’s palate as well as an adult’s. Add some strawberries and spinach for extra nutritional benefit, or a little liquor for a night cap.

Peanut Butter Banana Drink (Papa Milkshake)

Prep Time 5 mins
Total Time 5 mins
Course Drinks, Snack

Equipment

  • blender

Ingredients
  

  • cup Milk
  • 1 Peeled Banana
  • ¼ cup Rolled Oats
  • cup Peanut Butter
  • ½ tsp Vanilla

Instructions
 

  • Add all ingredients to blender
  • Blend until smooth

Notes

Add ice for a cooler drink

He made me a mother, but I felt like a failure.

Today is my son’s 4th birthday! He made me a mother – but I felt like a failure.

Austin is the coolest 4 year old I know. No, I’m not biased at all 😁. I remember when I found out I was pregnant. I put the pregnancy test in a gift bag and gave it to my husband. We had just started trying and thankfully we got pregnant right away.

Our excitement became emotional as I fell into his arms in tears. It was happiness, fear, anxiety, stress, gratitude & excitement all bottled up in one moment. We prayed together and sat in the moment. We were going to be PARENTS!!

Fast forward through my uneventful, healthy pregnancy where I travelled to Hawaii at 6 months gestation, climbed volcanos and swam in the ocean!! I started feeling contractions at 4:30pm Oct 25th. Being a new mom, I wasn’t sure it was the real thing, so I called my mother, who I swear appeared at my door in 5 minutes. I think she ran red lights or something 😂.

Anywho, I called my husband and let him know things were happening. He came home from work excited! But my labour was slow progressing. We went to the hospital at 11pm that night, my mom and dad met us there. I was smiling after every ‘contraction’. My father said I was the cutest woman in labour he’d seen because I was smiling so much. LITTLE did I know that what I was experiencing was barely 1cm of dilation. They sent me home and I was DEVASTATED!!

On the way home, the labour pains began to intensify. We went back at 4am when I could no longer bare the pain. This time I wasn’t “cute”. I was crying and miserable. 3cm!! YAY. I was admitted and ready to push this baby out with EASE!! Or so I thought.

I made it to 5cm at 9am, got my epidural and waited, waited…and waited. By 4pm, I was still at 5cm. The Doctor was concerned about the baby’s heart decelerating during contractions and that he wasn’t moving down. My water was broken manually and there was meconium in it. So…at 5:30pm the decision was made the have an emergency C section.

I LOST MY…..you know what. I cried SO HARD. I felt like a total failure. I wasn’t able to dilate, I wouldn’t get to push my first born out and hold him in my arms. As a Registered Nurse I knew it was the right thing to do and its not a failure. But as a first time Mom I did not feel good about the decision.

Welp! I signed the papers, got wheeled down the hall, strapped to the table. And then I FELT TO SCALPEL. I had sensation – meaning, the epidural was not working. So, they gave me a general anesthetic. Another FAIL! My husband was not allowed in the ER and I was unconscious. So, no one saw my son being born. LOL. It’s a good thing he looks like us or else we’d have to wonder.

Breastfeeding was another FAIL…but I’ll leave that for another post.😁🤐

I felt like a failure, BUT I wasn’t. Having a C-section is NOT a failure. I will never forget my nurse who kept saying, “Dana, the goal is a healthy baby no matter how he comes out”. She was right. I did not see it that way then because I was so caught up in the ideal birth plan. I was focused on the wrong aspect of delivery. I was stuck on the process instead of the outcome.

I look at my 4 year old man-child and I am filled with joy and gratitude that God blessed us with such a wonderful human being! I remember the process but I don’t feel like a failure anymore. I feel like it’s just another unique part of his story and I’m just grateful for my healthy baby boy 💙❤💙❤

Stuffed Peppers…made EASY

I never really enjoyed eating bell peppers. When ever the vegetable trays came out at parties with the dip, I always skipped the peppers. I remember as a child I would CRINGE when my classmates would have peppers for sanck and eat them plain… not even with a little dip?? It wasn’t until I started cooking for my husband that I started appreciating bell peppers.

To be fair, we mostly had green peppers growing up and those gave met the WORST heartburn. For some reason, I can enjoyed red, yellow and orange peppers with ease.

🧠Fun fact! Green peppers are unripened, and the colours of the bell peppers tell you at which stage of ripeness they are.

Photo by Rahul Pandit on Pexels.com

Ok, back to these stuffed peppers. Stuffed pepper recipes never turned out tasting as good as they looked for me. The prep process was too much and I found it needed a LOT of cheese to taste good. I’m trying to cut back on dairy so that’s not appealing for me.

Finding quick easy meals are IDEAL for me as a full-time RN and mom with a 3 year old and a 1 year old. I had an epiphany one day while walking through the famers market! I found the cutest peppers. Pimento pepper is what they are called and they were super inexpensive.

For $3.50 I was able to purchase a small basket of sweet pimento peppers with approximately 8 peppers. What I love about them is they are the PERFECT size to stuff.

Next, I purchased fresh turkey burgers from the grocery store. I opted for the ones flavoured with spinach and cranberries. Some spinach, marinara sauce and cheese completed the list and I was good to go.

This is the EASIEST wasy to make stuffed peppers that the whole family will enjoy prepping AND eating. PROMISE! 🥰

EASY Stuffed Peppers

Super easy way to make stuffed peppers with only 5 ingredients. No extra seasoning necessary or need to pre-cook anything. All the family can get involved in getting this one done.
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 45 mins
Course Main Course

Equipment

  • Oven
  • Baking dish

Ingredients
  

  • Marinara Sauce Classico Sweet Basil
  • Fresh Turkey burger From grocery store fresh packaged meat
  • Spinach
  • Shredded Mozzarella cheese
  • Sweet peppers Prefer small peppers like pimento peppers

Instructions
 

  • Preheat oven to 400F
  • Wash 4-6 medium/small sweet peppers. Cut out stem and remove seeds. Wash inside of peppers thoroughly.
  • Add one tablespoon of sauce to the bottom of each pepper. Stuff the pepper with the turkey meat to 0.5 inch from the top. Add spinach, another tablespoon of cause and top with cheese.
  • Pour the remainder of the sauce around the peppers. Cover dish.
  • Bake in 400F oven covered for 30 mins. Remove cover and bake for an additional 15mins until cheese is browned.
  • Let sit for 15 mins. Enjoy!
Keyword clean, dinner, easy meals, fresh, healthy meal, kid friendly, sweet pepper, veggie