Easy Weeknight Fajitas

It’s almost FRIDAY! Meaning we’ve almost survived the first week of school. Also meaning I don’t have to set my alarm for 5:45. I’ve been *trying* to get up a half hour before the kids but so far that’s not really happening. We have been getting them up about 30 minutes earlier than last year and it’s made for a MUCH better morning, so hopefully we can keep that up.

I headed to the gym this morning, then to grab a few groceries, and finally home for a little dinner prep. We also met friends for ice cream after school. Next week homework starts (NOOOOOO), plus ballet and then soccer, so we’re taking advantage of our free afternoons while they last.

For dinner I made two favorite recipes: sheet pan chicken fajitas and cheesy refried beans. The fajitas are really simple. You just toss sliced chicken breasts in a mixture of Greek yogurt and fajita seasoning (I let it marinate in the fridge for about 4 hours):

Then you bake them on a sheet pan, along with sliced onions and peppers. I coated the veggies in a mixture of olive oil, lime juice, chili powder, cumin and salt.

Served on these really awesome tortillas that are made in-house at our Kroger. Topped with greek yogurt, salsa and guacamole.

Also THOSE BEANS!!!!! I’ve raved about them before but they are just so good. I made Jack bean and cheese burritos for dinner and he gobbled them up.

Hope everyone has a great weekend!

Posted in August 2017 | 1 Comment

Chickpea Pasta

As sad as I am to see the summer end… I forgot how much more PRODUCTIVE I can be when the kids are in school all day. It’s kind of amazing. This summer we maybe got 1 errand done per day? And even that was tough. Yesterday I went to the gym, ran to Target/Party City/Ulta/Costco, cleaned the house and ran a load of laundry before it was time for carpool. It was really nice to have a lazy summer but I’m also kind of excited to get back into a routine.

(Less excited about waking up at 6am)

Yesterday at Target I picked up a box of this Banza pasta. It’s made from chickpeas and literally just 3 other ingredients (tapioca, pea protein, xanthan gum) and has LOTS of protein and fiber.

It tastes pretty great, actually. Almost exactly like regular pasta- maybe a little more dense and hearty? It’s also super filling. I think it’s 2 for $5 at Target right now so I will be stocking up! I saw it at Costco a while back too.

For the sauce I threw together a bunch of what we had on hand:

Onions, garlic, carrots (I chopped them pretty finely in the food processor), basil, mushrooms, marinara. Also this turkey Italian sausage:

I sauteed the onions and sausage, then removed from the pan and drained the grease. Added the carrots to the pan with a little olive oil and sauteed for a minute, then stirred in the garlic. Once those had cooked for a few minutes, I deglazed the pan with some red wine, then added the rest of the ingredients (marinara, mushrooms, basil, sausage and onions). Simmered for about 30 minutes.

Another bummer about fall? MAKING LUNCHES. Two days in and I’m over it!

Posted in August 2017 | Leave a comment

One Day Down!

One day of school down!

The kids said that they had a great first day. They like their teachers and seem excited about their classes. It’s a particularly big year for Isla because she gets to eat in the cafeteria, go to PE in the gym, take music and Spanish, go to the computer lab, and attend mass with the big kids. It’s a pretty big year for Jack too because he has reconciliation and first communion. Lots of firsts!

We got the kids to school around 7:40, walked them to their classrooms, hit up the parent welcome breakfast, and then Brian headed to work while I had a room mom meeting from 8:30-9:30. Rushed to the gym after that for the 10:00 class, then it was back to school at 11:30 for pick-up (they had a half day today).

We had a playdate this afternoon and got home around 5:30, so I threw some ingredients in the Instant Pot and crossed my fingers:

  • Aidell’s teriyaki pineapple meatballs- they’ve been in our freezer for forever!
  • Trader Joe’s Island Soyaki
  • Pineapple chunks

I dumped the (frozen!) meatballs in the Instant Pot, then topped with about 3/4 of a can of pineapple chunks. Poured 1 cup of the Soyaki on top, closed the lid and set to manual for 5 minutes. Once the timer went off I did a quick pressure release. That’s it!

I was worried that the sauce would scorch in the pot, but it turned out fine! The pineapple chunks were super salty but the meatballs were perfect.

Served over jasmine rice, alongside roasted broccoli.

I was up at 5:45 to start getting everything ready for school, so it’s been a LONG day!! Catch y’all tomorrow!

Posted in August 2017 | Leave a comment

First Day Jitters

Ahhh- first day of school tomorrow!! The backpacks are packed, school clothes laid out, pencils labeled…

Seriously. 24 pencils, 48 crayons, 12 colored pencils and 8 markers. ALL WITH HIS NAME. Whyyyyyyyy?

We had meet the teacher on Friday and both kids seem pretty pumped. They remodeled the pre-k/kinder part of the school over the summer so Isla was particularly excited to check out her new classroom. Not sure what this face was all about:

Jack isn’t in class with his bestie, though I don’t think he was surprised. Pretty sure they got in trouble for talking a LOT last year. All of the girls from Isla’s class last year (all three of them, ha) ended up in the same class this year, so she’s thrilled about that.

We had a fun weekend! Met up with some of Jack’s classmates for dinner on Friday, took the kids swimming on Saturday, met my parents for dinner on Saturday night, took Jack to a cub scouts water fight today, then headed to Kaze (a hibachi restaurant near our house) for our annual back to school dinner.

(Choosing my battles with that t-shirt…)

Wish us luck tomorrow!

Posted in August 2017 | Leave a comment

Phoning It In

Remember when I talked about phoning in dinner at the end of the week? Well try Tuesday. This week is just crazy. Tonight we had a play date at Monster Yogurt with a new 2nd grader, tomorrow night I have book club, Thursday night we have kindergarten orientation and Friday evening is meet the teacher. No easing into the school year here, they just throw you right in.

I managed to feed the kids before the play date so that fro-yo wasn’t their ENTIRE dinner. We didn’t get home until after 7, and then Brian didn’t get home from work until 7:30. Sooooo, Trader Joe’s cauliflower cheese pizza to the rescue:

I’m pretty sure I’ve posted about this one before. It’s definitely not like eating “normal” cheese pizza, but it’s not bad in a pinch. I’ve heard of people having a hard time with the TJ’s plain cauliflower crust and I’m not sure if this version uses the same recipe, but in my experience the bottom crisps up pretty well.  Also you could always add toppings/more cheese (the cheese is a little skimpy).

We also threw together one of the Costco Asian sesame salads. These are so good- I always grab one to keep on hand for nights like this.

So there you have it… just keeping it real, folks!

Posted in August 2017 | Leave a comment

Kale & Coconut

Anyone start off the week with really stellar dinners, but by Thursday you’re microwaving hot dogs and throwing some Pirate’s Booty on a paper plate? No? That’s cool, just asking for a friend…

So, I am conflicted. I really am sad about school starting next week, but if I hear, “What FUN THING are we doing today??” one more time, I’m going to lose my ever loving mind. I mean, I take them to the gym- what more do they want? And then I sometimes even buy them lemon bread at Starbucks afterwards. It’s like a freaking carnival around here.

Isla actually told me in the car today, “When I’m a mom, I’m going to give my children all the sugar and take them to Chuck E Cheese every single day.” I honestly don’t doubt it.

ANYWAY. Dinner tonight was kind of a win! We picked up more of those bourbon glazed pork medallions at Costco, AGAIN. They’re just so good and easy. Just like before, I seared them in a skillet for 1 min/side, then threw them in the oven at 350 for about 10-15 minutes.

On the side I made coconut-lime cauliflower rice… also again. Heated up a Tbs of coconut oil in a skillet, threw in a bag of cauliflower crumbles, then sauteed until they started to brown. Added about 1/3 cup full fat coconut milk and the juice of 1/2 a lime, along with seasoned salt. It’s good with cilantro too, but we were out.

I screenshot recipes all. the. time. and then save them in an album on my phone. I found one from a while back for roasted kale with coconut. I honestly don’t even know where it came from… somewhere on Instagram??

Here are the ingredients:

The recipe called for “large flake coconut”- which I’m assuming is not what you see above, since those coconut chips are already roasted and sweetened. But Aldi had those and I thought that the sweetness and crunch might actually be good with the salty roasted kale.

You just whisk together 1/4 cup olive oil, 2 Tbs soy sauce and 1 tsp toasted sesame oil. Pour over a large bag’s worth of kale and massage in the dressing. Spread on a large baking sheet and roast at 350 for 10 minutes. Then I sprinkled on about half the bag of those coconut chips, stirred everything together and returned to the oven for 10 more minutes.

Not bad! Next time I might cut back on the soy sauce a little. Also the coconut chips lost their crunch, so I might just leave those sprinkled on top- rather than stirring them in  before returning the kale to the oven (I did like how they toasted a little, though).

Catch y’all tomorrow!

Posted in August 2017 | 1 Comment

Weekend Recap

We just got home from the pool and Operation Put The Kids To Bed At A Decent Hour is in full effect, since we have exactly one week until school starts. Have I mentioned how much I’m going to miss the lazy summer schedule?? Literally having major anxiety about getting them up and out the door on time.

Not a whole lot to report from this weekend. On Friday night we tried a new Tex-Mex spot, Frankie’s. Mama needs her Friday chips and margarita.  Anyway, the food was great so we will definitely be back!

Brian and I started watching Ozark on Netflix. SO GOOD. It’s been a while since we’ve found a show that we both liked. We just finished episode 4 and Brian is trying to ration the remaining episodes (there are only 10 total for this season). We are both hooked- it reminds me a lot of Breaking Bad, and I always love Jason Bateman. Highly recommend.

I also finished Bear Town this weekend, which is our August book club pick. I was really excited to read this one because of how much I liked A Man Called Ove, but this one is sooooo different. It was a little slow to pick up, but then halfway through I couldn’t put it down. I was up until 1am finishing it on Saturday. It’s not at all a light read, but it is so well written.

I just started The Good Girl yesterday. It’s been on my list for forever, and only a couple of chapters in, but so far so good. My goal is 25 books by the end of the year and this is #13, so I better get on it…

Sorry I don’t have any pics from the weekend! Unless you want to see photos of Home Depot rugs or some cheese I found at Central Market??

Catch y’all tomorrow!

Posted in August 2017 | Leave a comment

Southern Dinner

This past weekend we made another trip to the lake, and with that came the required East TX farm stand stop. This time we loaded up with fresh peaches, tomatoes, cucumbers, onions, okra and lady cream peas (I was looking for black eyed peas but these were all they had). I already used most of the cucumbers, tomatoes and onions to make a big batch of marinated vegetables. They are GOOD, though I use so much vinegar that no one else in my family will touch them.

Tonight for dinner I made a good old fashioned turkey meatloaf, using this recipe. It’s really simple: turkey, eggs, bread crumbs, ketchup and a few spices. I usually make mine with shredded carrots and spinach, but I wanted something classic and more kid-friendly tonight. It turned out great! Jack cleaned his plate.

On the side we had green beans and Trader Joe’s cornbread, which is surprisingly good! I’m not a huge cornbread fan but this one has full kernels of corn in the mix and perfect, crispy edges. Definitely buying again once fall/chili season rolls around.

I also made the farm stand peas today. I kind of winged it and dumped the big bag of fresh peas in the slow cooker, along with some ham, fresh garlic and seasoned salt. Covered it with chicken broth and cooked on high for about 4 hours. They were perfect!

So there’s our super Southern dinner! And if you have a ridiculously picky eater like we do, these are pretty fab. I found them at Walmart this weekend (Chloe directly under my feet, as usual):

Two serving packets of fully cooked pasta that you just zap in the microwave!!! Genius! Isla never turns down pasta but I hate waiting for the water to boil, standing over a hot stove, and using an entire box of pasta (or having half-empty boxes all over the pantry) for her to only eat a few bites. These are a huge time saver. I just popped it in the microwave for one minute and then topped with butter. So easy.

Ohhh that child. She came up to me tonight and goes, “What smells SO GOOD in the kitchen??” Um, dinner. And yet she still refused to try any of it. Good times.

Posted in July 2017 | Leave a comment

Buckit List

Well we’re officially on our second to last week of summer- how is this possible?! On one hand, summer is way too short. Our last day was June 2nd and our first day is August 14th. That is NOT three months. That isn’t even 2.5 months.

On the other hand, I’m pretty ready to not have to cook and clean up three meals and 2 billion snacks per day. And I’m excited to be able to clean one room of the house without three other rooms being destroyed at the exact same time.

Also, we finished Jack’s Summer Bucket (Buckit) List:

(FYI, that last one is “go to island”- as in Mackinac- in case you’re not versed in first grade phonetic spelling.)

Anyway, summer went too fast this year.

On to food. I picked up one of these Quaker Overnight Oats cups at Target the other day. I love overnight oats and the coconut flavor sold me immediately.

You just add milk to the fill line at night, stir, then stick it in the fridge until morning.

Verdict? Not bad, though I expected more food for that number of calories. Also it was really sweet. As in, the 2nd ingredient after oats was sugar. I wish they’d left out all the sugar and let you just drizzle honey on top. The flavor was good, though, and I liked the texture. Not bad to keep on hand for an easy breakfast.

Tonight I had dinner at HG Sply to celebrate 2 friends’ birthdays. Our group seems to always end up either at HG or True Food Kitchen, which is fine with me because I’ve never had a bad meal at either. Love them. Tonight I had the burger stack bowl- sweet potato hash topped with lettuce, tomato, avocado, burger patty and a fried egg.

Good stuff.

Catch y’all tomorrow!

Posted in July 2017 | Leave a comment

Costco Chicken FTW

Tonight was a total “clean out the fridge of all the things” night, which I usually hate- but at least I didn’t have to turn on the stove. Since leftovers aren’t the most exciting thing ever, I thought I’d share a couple of my lunches from this week.

I like to have one lunch option on hand for the entire week. Some weeks I make a big batch of chicken salad, other weeks it’ll be soup, etc. Basically if I have something ready to go I’m way less likely to go through the Chick Fil A drive-thru.

This week I grabbed a rotisserie chicken from Costco with the intention of making chicken salad, but I never got past cutting up it up. It actually worked out great because I was able to use the chopped breast meat ALL week for different lunches. Not bad for $5!!

On Monday I used the chicken and some carrot noodles from Trader Joe’s to make these carrot chicken ramen noodles from Carrots N Cake. Unfortunately I forgot to snap a pic. They were good but next time I’ll cut way down on the bouillon, garlic powder and onion powder. Too salty for me!

On Tuesday I mashed up half of an avocado, mixed it with some of the chicken, stirred in a bunch of lime juice, salt and onion powder to make avocado chicken salad. I had that on brown rice cakes (latest fave) sprinkled with TJ’s Everything But The Bagel seasoning (obsessed!). Again, no photo- sorry. Womp womp.

I do have a photo for Wednesday!! I ended up spreading hummus on an Ezekiel sprouted grain tortilla, then topped that with baby spinach, a few sliced roasted red peppers, banana peppers, chicken and feta, then drizzled the whole thing with balsamic vinegar. Rolled into a wrap:

SO GOOD.

Then today I pulled out another Ezekiel tortilla, but this time I spread half with spicy chipotle black bean dip from Trader Joe’s. Topped that with chopped chicken, sweet & spicy jalapenos (TJ’s again) and shredded cheese. Folded in half and grilled in a skillet for a few minutes per side. Served with salsa and plain yogurt.

As a side note, did you know that the Siggi’s 0% plain yogurt has 28g of protein per cup!?? That stuff is FILLING.

So that lunch was pretty awesome AND we still have chicken left!

(Also, do you like how all of my lunches are on paper plates? #summer #overit)

Hope everyone has a fun weekend! My parents are taking the kids to the lake tomorrow so we can have a date night- I don’t know who is more excited about it, Jack & Isla or ME.

Posted in July 2017 | Leave a comment