I'm an engineer, I'm a mom. I'm an engineered mama.
Author: Engineered Mama
I'm an engineer. I'm a mom. I find myself discussing everything from motherhood and housework to image registration MATLAB algorithms at work... yeah... all of that in one day makes for an interesting (to me anyways) life. I finally decided to write it all down and share my biased insight on all things mom, all things wife, and all things engineer. So, you could say I'm an engineered mom.
"Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting;
but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised."
I would love to hear from you!
The other day a friend saw my less than impressive over-ripe bananas and said, “Perfect banana bread bananas!”. I told her I was planning on either making banana bread or banana chocolate chip muffins, which are always a big hit. She told me to try the Magnolia Table recipe for banana bread and I came across another very basic Joanna Gaines recipe that I attempted instead. It bakes in a 9”x13” baking pan instead of a loaf pan and uses 4 bananas. I love that it’s fairly basic, so mix-ins can easily be added. Here’s my take with what our family loves to mix in to customize it!
4 very ripe bananas
1 cup of sugar
2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 tap vanilla
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 stick softened butter
Optional: chocolate chips, blueberries, nuts, cinnamon, or other desired extra ingredients
Preheat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit.
Cream together the sugar, softened butter, and vanilla using a stand or hand mixer.
Mash bananas well with a fork and add to sugar, butter, and vanilla mixture. Add eggs and mix well.
Add remaining dry ingredients and mix until fully mixed.
Add any additional desired ingredients such as chocolate chips, nuts, or blueberries and add to a greased 9”x13” baking pan. Bake at 325 Fahrenheit for 30-40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
Tent pan with aluminum foil and serve when cooked.
I’m not a griller. I’m just not. It has fire… and gas. Fire and gas make explosions and I’m intimidated. So, when I want steak and the designated griller isn’t around or the weather is just too crummy, it’s the broiler to the rescue! This recipe has a very flavorful sautéed onion and mushroom topping that is almost better than the steak! Fair warning: the cast iron skillet produces A LOT of smoke when searing the steaks prior to oven cooking, so make sure you have an assistant to silence your smoke detectors!
3 steaks, room temperature (approx. 1 – 1 1/2 inch thick cuts, cuts such as filet mignon, rib eye, T-bone, strip steak, sirloin, or flank steak are great for this recipe)
2 Tbsp high heat oil (I prefer avocado oil, but any high heat oil will do just fine)
1 tsp sea salt (or seasoned salt of choice)
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp garlic powder
Sautéed Mushrooms and Onion
3 Tbsp butter
2 Tbsp Worcestershire Sauce
1 lb Baby Bella mushrooms, halved or quartered
1 Vidalia onion, sliced thin
3 cloves garlic, minced
salt and pepper, to taste
Preheat broiler on oven (I set mine to the default-500 degrees). Let the steaks rest on a plate until they reach room temperature.
In a small bowl, prepare the seasoning by mixing the salt, pepper, and garlic powder until mixed well. Set aside.
While the broiler is heating and the steaks are resting, chop the onion and Baby Bella mushrooms. Melt the butter over medium-high heat in a large skillet. Stir in the Worcestershire sauce. Add the mushrooms and cook until they begin to turn a light brown color (approx. 5 minutes). Stir the mushrooms about every minute or minute and a half to prevent burning. Add the onion and cook until the edges brown and become translucent (approx. another 5 minutes). Continue stirring every minute or minute and a half to prevent burning or sticking.
Reduce heat to low the final minute and add the minced garlic, stirring continually. Add salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.
Blot the steaks dry with paper towels and brush the oil onto all sides of the steaks. Sprinkle the seasoning mixture onto the steaks, covering all surfaces front and back.
Heat a cast iron skillet on the stove on high for 6-8 minutes. Once the skillet is extremely hot, add the steaks and press the steaks onto the skillet to ensure the back of the steaks are seared. Cook the steaks in the pan for 30 seconds.
Carefully flip the steaks and transfer the skillet to the oven. Broil the steaks for 3 minutes, then flip the steaks using tongs and continue baking for an additional 2-3 minutes.
Continue this method of flipping the steaks every 2-3 minutes until the internal temperature reaches 5 degrees below the desired internal temperature, as the steaks will continue cooking after being removed from the oven.
Once the steaks are cooked to 5 degrees below the desired internal temperature, immediately remove the pan from the oven and transfer the steaks to a clean plate. Brush any pan juices on to the steaks. Loosely tent the plate with aluminum foil and let the steaks rest for 3 minutes.
I frequently make copycat Egg McMuffin sandwiches in large batches, so I thought, why not Starbucks Bacon, Egg, and Gouda sandwiches? They are hands down my favorite breakfast sandwich and really, it wouldn’t be all that different than the Egg McMuffin sandwiches to make in a large batch. This recipe includes a batch recipe for scrambled eggs, which can be used to feed several people breakfast as well, so it’s a win-win!
8 Ciabatta rolls (I found them in packs of 4, so I used 2 packs-some are smaller than others, but these happened to be fairly large, so adjust your recipe accordingly)
8 slices of aged Gouda cheese (double the amount of cheese if you are a cheese lover!)
1/4 cup butter, melted
1 tsp salt
1 1/4 cups milk
1 lb bacon, cooked (I cook mine on a microwave bacon pan, but use any method you prefer)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Cook bacon using any preferred method. Set aside.
Add melted butter to the bottom of a 9″ x 13″ glass baking dish and coat evenly.
Crack all eggs into a large mixing bowl. Add salt and slowly whisk milk into eggs.
Pour egg mixture into the glass baking dish and bake uncovered for 10 minutes.
Remove the egg mixture from the oven and stir well. Bake uncovered again for an additional 10-15 minutes until eggs are cooked to desired doneness.
After eggs have fully cooled, cut into 8 equal rectangles.
Lay the bottom part of ciabatta rolls on a large sheet pan and assemble sandwiches with egg, gouda, and bacon and replace the top half of the ciabatta rolls.
To Freeze: Wrap each sandwich in foil and place in a Ziploc freezer bag. Place in freezer.
Remove sandwich from aluminum foil and wrap in a damp paper towel.
Microwave 1 minute at 50% power. Flip sandwich over and microwave 30 seconds – 1 minute on high power until warmed through.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
Bake frozen sandwich in oven for 25 minutes or until warmed through.
Although I love how white Chucks look with a multitude of clothing options, white is not kid friendly. Or accident prone friendly. So, off I searched for a great way to clean these babies. Well, it turns out there isn’t really one great way, so I combined a few that seemed to work well for me, so I hope this method works well for you, too!
Rubbing alcohol (or nail polish remover-just be careful of the red and blue writing… nail polish remover can remove it!)
2 Tbsp baking soda
1 Tbsp hydrogen peroxide
1 Tbsp warm water
Oxy Clean White powder laundry detergent
Lingerie laundry bag or pillow case
Remove shoestrings from both Converse.
Soak a cotton ball with rubbing alcohol and rub scuffs or marks on the rubber toe or around the sole to remove any stains or marks.
Rinse shoes well with cold water.
Prepare the cleaning solution/paste by mixing the baking soda, hydrogen peroxide, and warm water in a bow. Mix this solution well and add water slowly until it forms a paste. The full amount of water may not be needed or you may need more to create the paste. Apply the paste to each shoe and shoelaces, covering the entire surface of the shoes. Let the shoes and laces sit for 30 minutes with the paste applied.
Rinse the cleaning paste off of both shoes and shoelaces with cold water.
Place shoes and shoe laces into a lingerie bag or pillow case and place into the washing machine. Add Oxy Clean White and wash per package instructions in a cold, delicate cycle.
Promptly remove shoes from the washing machine. Hang the shoelaces to dry.
Stuff paper towels into each shoe to keep the shape while drying. Wrap a thin layer of toilet paper around each shoe. The thin layer absorbs water, allowing the shoes to dry more quickly, which prevents yellowing of the shoes. Replace the paper towels and toilet paper after a few hours and repeat this process 1-2 more times throughout drying.
After shoes have dried at least 12 hours, remove the toilet paper and paper towels and allow to fully air dry. Replace laces and wear those beautifully white shoes!
Sheet pan. Italian Sausage. Enough said. This recipe is easy, full of flavor, and a crowd pleaser. We LOVE leftovers in this house, so I doubled the amount of Italian sausage in the original recipe from Mad about Food for great leftover lunches for work the next day (or two… it went a long way!).
2 lb (or 2 packages) Italian sausages (sweet or hot), use one package if you’re feeding a smaller amount of people or don’t want a large amount of leftovers
2 bell peppers, sliced thin
1 yellow onion, cut into thin moon-shaped slices
2 Tbsp tomato paste
1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
2 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp garlic powder
Bun/roll (optional for serving)
provolone cheese, sliced (optional for serving Philly style on bun)
Preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Whisk together tomato paste, balsamic vinegar, and olive oil in a small bowl.
Heat a frying pan over medium heat, grease the pan lightly, and sear sausage links for 3 minutes on each side.
Place warm, seared sausage in a mixing bowl with the bell pepper and onions. Pour salt, pepper, oregano, and garlic powder into the bowl and toss to mix evenly. Pour the balsamic vinegar, tomato paste, and oil mixture over the sausage and peppers and toss again.
Pour ingredients onto the baking sheet and arrange so that the sausages lay flat on the baking sheet. Bake in the preheated oven at 425 degrees Fahrenheit for 30 minutes or until sausage is fully cooked through.
Remove from the oven and allow to cool slightly. Serve over pasta, with veggies, or on a roll/bun.
I needed a quick dinner one evening before a soccer game (or baseball practice… or somewhere the kids needed to be, so insert sport of choice here…) and I had ground turkey and quinoa. I was at a loss, so Google rescued me. I found this recipe from Spoonful of Flavor and it was a crowd pleaser! The youngest at it burrito style in a tortilla, the oldest preferred his in a hard corn shell taco style, and my husband and I ate the contents as loaded nachos with sour cream, cilantro, and black olive slices. So many options and so quick and easy on a busy night!
1/2 pound lean ground turkey
1/2 yellow onion, diced (or frozen diced onion if you don’t have a whole onion on hand!)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 4 oz can diced green chilis
2 tsp chili powder
1 tsp cumin
3/4 tsp kosher salt
black pepper, to taste
1 15 oz can of black beans, rinsed and drained
1 14.5 oz can of diced fire roasted tomatoes
1/2 cup frozen corn
1/4 cup jarred salsa
1/2 cup rinsed quinoa (I used rainbow, but any variety will do)
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
cilantro, for garnish
Spray a large skillet generously with cooking spray and heat over medium-high heat. When the skillet is hot add in the diced onion and cook for about 2 minutes until it starts to soften. Add in the ground turkey and minced garlic and cook until the meat is almost cooked through, breaking it up with a spoon as it cooks. Stir in all the spices and the diced green chiles, cooking for another minute. Add in the black beans, corn, fire roasted tomatoes, salsa and quinoa, stirring until everything is combined.
When the mixture starts to bubble, add in the water, cover the skillet with a lid, and lower the heat to medium-low. Simmer for about 20-25 minutes or until the quinoa is cooked. It should still have a slight bite to it, but not be hard and crunchy.
Sprinkle the shredded cheese on top and cover with the lid, cooking until the cheese is melted. Serve as is, in tortillas for tacos, or on top of your favorite greens.
Everyone loves chocolate Kiss cookies at Christmas time, so this is a great twist on a classic, but for Easter! Mini Cadbury eggs are my weakness at Easter time (ok… they’re not my ONLY weakness, but a weakness…) and I think they’re always a favorite. These peanut butter cookies are delicious and the mini Cadbury eggs are the perfect addition to a classic for Easter. This recipe comes from Together as Family-check out other great Easter recipes on their site!
½ cup (1 stick) butter, softened
½ cup granulated sugar
½ cup light brown sugar
½ cup creamy peanut butter
1 large egg
½ tsp vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
½ tsp baking soda
¼ tsp salt
¼ cup granulated sugar (for rolling the cookie dough in)
30 Cadbury Mini Eggs
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a cookie sheet with silpat liner, parchment paper, or spray with cooking spray.
In a large bowl, or bowl of a stand mixer, beat together the butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar and peanut butter until light in color and fluffy looking. About 1-2 minutes.
Add in the egg and vanilla extract. Blend together.
In a separate smaller bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, and salt. Stir with a whisk to break up any clumps. Add half of this mixture to the butter/sugar mix and blend on low speed just until incorporated. Add the other half and blend just until mixed together.
Measure the ¼ cup granulated sugar and place it in a bowl. Take a pinch of dough (about a tablespoon) and roll into a ball. Roll the cookie dough ball into the sugar and place on prepared cookie sheet.
You will be able to put all 30 on one cookie sheet. 6 rows of 5 cookies each.
Bake for 7 minutes. The cookies will look the same (they will be slightly paler in color and look “puffy”), but they will be finished baking, so pull them out of the oven!
Immediately, gently press a Cadbury Mini Egg into each cookie. The edges will crack and that’s what you want! Let the cookie sit on the cookie sheet for about 15 minutes. Enjoy them warm or room temperature! Store them in an airtight container once cooled. Happy Easter!
I love shrimp, but am always intimidated by cooking it. It’s SO easy to overcook shrimp and I would argue that undercooking it could have worse consequences, so I just… don’t usually cook it. This recipe is easy and it cooks the shrimp perfectly with the vegetables all in one pan. You can even line the sheet pan with foil for easy clean up afterward. This recipe can contain any fresh vegetables you have on hand, so get creative!
20 oz large, frozen shrimp (deveined and tails removed), thawed
1 tsp olive oil
1 tsp salt
1 tsp seafood seasoning
any other vegetables desired
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 tsp salt
1/4-1/2 tsp black pepper, to taste
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp Italian seasoning
1 Tbsp butter, melted
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 lemon, juiced
grated parmesan cheese, to taste
fresh chopped parsley
Heat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
Line large sheet pan with parchment paper. Chop all vegetables and distribute evenly on the sheet pan. Cover mix vegetables with olive oil and seasonings coating well. Bake in preheated oven for 15 minutes.
While the vegetables are roasting, prepare the shrimp by coating evenly with olive oil and seasoning.
Prepare the scampi sauce by mixing all ingredients well and setting aside.
After the vegetables have roasted for 15 minutes, slide the vegetables to the side and add the shrimp to the pan in an even layer. Place the pan back into the oven for 12 more minutes or until the shrimp is thoroughly cooked to an internal temperature of 120 degrees Fahrenheit.
Drizzle the scampi sauce over the shrimp to complete the meal. Enjoy over rice or as a meal on its own.
I’ve had a recipe for spinach artichoke dip in the slow cooker that I THOUGHT I loved, but after integrating some ingredients and methods from other recipes, I think I’ve finally found the spinach artichoke dip sweet spot! Its ingredients are a bit healthier than some due to lower fat ingredients and no butter or oils. This recipe is also great because it can be made in the slow cooker (make sure to use more ingredients if you plan on using a larger crock pot), baked, or even microwaved if you’re in a hurry!
1 block (8 oz) chive and onion cream cheese (regular or reduced fat cream cheese works great in this recipe, too!)
2/3 cup sour cream
2 cups reduced fat shredded mozzarella cheese
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
12 oz frozen, chopped spinach
1 14 oz can artichoke hearts, chopped
1/4 onion, diced
1-2 cloves garlic, minced (more or less according to taste)
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp ground red pepper
salt and black pepper, to taste
Tortilla chips, pita chips, carrots, or celery for serving
Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
Add all ingredients to a large baking dish and mix until well blended.
Place in oven and bake 30 minutes or until cheese is melted and the top of the dip is slightly browned.
Serve with chips or vegetables.
Add all ingredients to a microwave safe dish and mix until well blended.
Heat in microwave in 2 minute increments. Stir well after each 2 minute increment until cheese is melted and dip is warm.
Serve immediately with dip or vegetables.
Add all ingredients to slow cooker and mix until well blended.
Heat in slow cooker for 2 hours on high or until cheese is melted and dip is hot. Reduce heat to prevent browning on the sides of the slow cooker.