Crazy Thursdays

Y’all, Thursdays be CRAZY. Went to the gym this morning, attempted to clean the house, met Brian for lunch, picked up Isla (my mom picks Jack up most Thursdays) and rushed home to get her dressed for ballet, took her to ballet, dropped off dinner with a friend who just had a sweet baby boy, came home and heated up the kids’ dinner, then as soon as Brian pulled up I rushed out the door to a 100 Women meeting. It’s been pretty much nonstop and I’m dyyyyyying because we haven’t watched This Is Us yet and I’m trying to avoid spoilers.

OH! So my newest obsession? Podcasts! As usual, I’m so late to the game on this. I spend a fair amount of time either in the car by myself or in the kitchen cooking. I can’t see our TV from the kitchen so I used to listen to Pandora, but just recently I’ve gotten hooked on 2 podcasts (I listen through our Amazon Echo). First- Missing Richard Simmons. Y’ALL. I swear this the new Serial. It’s fascinating!! There have only been two episodes so far and they’re fairly short, so it’s easy to catch up. I keep trying to talk to Brian about it and he looks at me like I have three heads. Just trust me, it’s good.

Also- My Favorite Murder. It’s so creepy and weird, but again, fascinating. Probably not for everyone but I love the whole psychology/true crime aspect.

What else should I be listening to? I listened to a Stuff You Should Know episode about artificial sweeteners today and then felt really guilty filling up my Diet Coke at lunch. And yet I still drank it.

For dinner tonight I made the sloppy joe meatballs from my Primal Cravings cookbook. I always go back to that recipe- it’s so good and Jack likes the meatballs. It’s technically a paleo recipe but I serve them on Hawaiian buns to make little meatball sliders. I don’t have a good pic but I’ve made them a million times so if you want to see just type “sloppy joe meatballs” in my search bar.

Yay for Friday! Have a great weekend!

Posted in February 2017 | 4 Comments

Instant Pot Chili

This week is causing me major anxiety- just a lot of meetings, school obligations, kids’ activities, etc. Part of me is really ready for summer and not having a schedule (remind me of this in July when I’m going nuts trying to entertain these two, ha).

Today I had cafeteria duty at school, which is always fun. The kids are hilarious. One of the kindergartners talked to me for a good 5 minutes about how he prefers his Go-Gurts frozen and not just chilled. Don’t we all?? And I love getting the chance to eat lunch with Jack. I’m sure his excitement at having mom at school is short lived so gotta take advantage while it lasts…

A few weeks ago I made a recipe for black bean chili that came from Target (see that post here). It was delicious but I hated having to brown the turkey, remove it from the pan, then cook the sweet potatoes. Too many steps. So tonight I tried it in the Instant Pot and it was SO MUCH BETTER.

(The original recipe doesn’t call for meat but I added it to up the protein.)

Ingredients:

I heated a little olive oil in the IP on saute mode, added the ground turkey and cooked through. Then I just dumped in the bag of raw sweet potatoes, black beans (drained/rinsed), corn (drained), Frontera skillet sauce, diced tomatoes and 2 cups of chicken broth. Set the IP to manual for 20 minutes and walked away. That’s IT.

The sweet potatoes were perfectly cooked and I didn’t have to sit there and babysit them on the stove while they browned. Plus it all cooks in one pot and you can skip the “brown and remove the meat” part. We topped ours with shredded cheese, diced avocado and Greek yogurt.

I can’t believe tomorrow is already Wednesday- I guess that’s the advantage to having a busy week!! Friday comes faster!

Posted in February 2017 | Leave a comment

Recovering

Oh man, Y’ALL… last night?? I was hit with a major case of food poisoning around 1am. It was AWFUL. I was lying in bed and all of a sudden felt really dizzy. I sat up and immediately threw up everywhere. It was insane. I’ve never had food poisoning before and I cannot believe how fast it hit. The whole episode lasted about an hour- just lots of vertigo, cold sweats and throwing up- but I seriously have never felt that bad before. I think I’ve scarred poor Brian for life (and Isla too, who just happened to be in our bed when it hit). And of course the kids were out of school today, which is just perfect timing for a sick mama. Luckily I felt much better this morning and Jack & Isla were fine with having a pretty low-key day.

Now that THAT loveliness is out of the way…

I finally tried risotto in the Instant Pot! My absolute favorite risotto recipe is this lemon-mascarpone version from Giada, but you have to stir constantly for half an hour and who has time for that? I also do not serve mine in a cup carved from a lemon. OMGiada. Anyway, I ran across this recipe for lemon-pepper risotto made in the instant pot and decided to give it a shot. It’s really simple- you saute a diced onion in olive oil, add the arborio rice and toast for a minute, deglaze with lemon juice, pour in chicken stock & lemon zest and set on manual for 6 minutes. Once the timer goes off, you actually remove the inner pot (to halt the cooking), stir for a minute and then add cheese and butter. I added fresh parsley as well. We had it with stuffed salmon and roasted asparagus:

Pretty good! I want to try the mushroom version next.

Posted in February 2017 | Leave a comment

Cheater Chicken

Happy belated Valentine’s Day! Hope all of you had a fabulous v-day. We have a date night on Friday to celebrate, so last night was pretty low key. We grabbed Tex-Mex at Desperado’s (because tacos = love) and then watched This Is Us on the couch after the kids went to bed. SO exciting.

Today I chaperoned a field trip for Jack’s class. We saw Junie B. Jones at the Dallas Children’s Theater and it was really cute- I kind of want to go back again and take Isla. We really need to just bite the bullet and buy season tickets. Jack & the Beanstalk is coming in March and Jack is already begging to go. Anyway field trips are awesome but those bus rides were WAY more fun 20+ (ugh, more like 25??) years ago. My ears are still ringing.

On Monday I picked up a lemon-rosemary rotisserie chicken at Central Market, and that poor guy was still sitting in the fridge tonight. I ended up ransacking the fridge for veggies I could roast and came up with half an onion, a bag of baby carrots, 2 sweet potatoes and a sad bag of brussels sprouts. I chopped all of those, drizzled with olive oil, seasoned with salt/pepper/garlic powder/onion powder/rosemary and threw them in the oven at 450. OH I also threw in some unpeeled garlic cloves! Roasted garlic is always a good thing, especially if you have good bread to smear it on (which I didn’t, so I just ate them straight like a boss).

After about 10-15 minutes, I took the veggies out and nestled the chicken in the middle. Put back in the oven for about 15 more minutes. I wish I’d taken a pic because it was really pretty and smelled AMAZING. So basically it was like I’d spent hours on this beautiful roasted chicken, with barely any of the work.

My not-so-pretty plate. But it tasted good! The chicken juices (gross, sorry) helped season the veggies even more.

Catch y’all tomorrow!

Posted in February 2017 | Leave a comment

Mondays Be Crazy

I’ve been running around like a maniac today- gym this morning, Valentine errands, grocery shopping, parent-teacher conference for Isla, soccer practice for Jack, dinner, homework… Mondays be crazy.

First things first. On Friday Jack competed in an academic fair with all of the local Catholic schools. He competed in the first grade math division and won third place!! He’s been preparing for months (worksheets… SO MANY WORKSHEETS) so it was awesome to see all of his hard work pay off.

As I mentioned, today was nuts. I grabbed a rotisserie chicken at Central Market and planned to have that for dinner with a bagged salad (exciting, I know)- but when I pulled out the salad at 7pm I realized that it had gone south a few days ago. Womp womp. SO we decided to save the chicken for later and ordered Halal Guys from Caviar. Have I mentioned how much I LOVE meal delivery apps??

Halal Guys has been on my list for a while, but the first Dallas location was pretty inconvenient. The 2nd is much closer to our house but every time I drive by there’s a huge line. I ordered the small chicken plate, which comes with chicken, rice, lettuce, tomatoes and pita bread:

Brian had tried it already and raved about the white sauce. Apparently in the restaurant they just walk around and with the sauce and offer to add it to your food, but when you have it delivered, they send these big packets. Um, HOLY CALORIES?! That’s basically an entire meal.

I ended up topping mine with red wine vinegar and just a teeeeeeeeny bit of the white sauce. Lordy.

Verdict? Pretty dang good! The meat reminded me more of pulled pork than chicken, which is weird but I’ll take it. Loved the rice and the bread (obviously, carbs). The small size was perfect. Brian ordered a gyro plate in the regular size- here’s how they compare:

Off to assemble Valentines!

Posted in February 2017 | Leave a comment

Instant Pot Beef Stew

The kids had a half day today, because they basically never go to school. They’re out Friday, too, though Jack has to go because the school is closed for an academic fair and he’s competing (mathlete!). This morning I had my butt kicked at the gym, picked the kids up at 11:30, then met my mom for lunch at Hopdoddy. I had the baby kale salad with a turkey patty:

Jack had a haircut appointment at 2, but we had time to kill after lunch so I took the kids to SusieCakes for a cupcake. Jack picked chocolate with chocolate frosting, Isla chose chocolate with mint frosting, and I had one of their gluten-free mini chocolate cupcakes with vanilla frosting. Holy smokes it was SO GOOD. I didn’t expect much since it was gluten-free, but the cake was so rich and fudge-y. I tried Jack’s cupcake and actually liked the GF version much better. The bakery was adorable, too.

One of my friends passed along this Instant Pot beef stew recipe and I gave it a shot tonight.

A few notes:

- I drained the beef after browning

- Added a can of mushrooms along with the rest of the vegetables

- I also added 4 stalks of diced celery, because we had some rotting away in our fridge and it needed to be used ASAP. This is a good recipe for using up whatever is in your crisper.

- At the end I seasoned liberally with: Worcestershire sauce, garlic powder, seasoned salt and a few splashes of red wine vinegar. It was pretty bland on its own so be sure to taste and season it up!!

Ingredients (minus the mushrooms):

It’s kind of a pain in the butt- at least compared to most IP recipes- because you have to bring the pot to pressure, cook the meat for 30 minutes, release the pressure, add the veggies, bring the pot BACK up to pressure, then cook for another few minutes. So it definitely takes a little while to make. Though still comparatively short, versus simmering it on the stove all day. BUT it’s really good! I will definitely make this again. The stew is delicious, the meat is really tender and I bet this will be even better tomorrow (lots leftover). It’s not spicy at all, so kid-friendly.

Thursday is our crazy day- Isla has ballet and Jack has a math meeting after school. So I’m guessing we may be eating this tomorrow night too.

Catch y’all later!

Posted in February 2017 | Leave a comment

Instant Pot Coconut Chicken

I pulled out the ol’ Instant Pot for dinner tonight. A while back I found this recipe for Thai coconut chicken and finally gave it a shot. It cooks really fast (12 minutes!) BUT you have to make the sauce ahead of time and then give the chicken at least 3 hours to marinate. So keep that in mind. Also I had to go to two stores to find the Stubb’s pork marinade called for in the recipe- Whole Foods had it, Super Target didn’t.

I used boneless, skinless chicken thighs. The recipe said to broil the chicken for a few minutes IF you use skin-on thighs. I skipped that since mine were skinless, but the chicken in the recipe looked so much better than mine… so if I make this again I’m going that route.

Served with cilantro-lime cauliflower rice and pickled vegetable salad.

It was pretty good but didn’t knock my socks off. The marinade is great though! I bet it would be perfect for grilled chicken- it just got kind of watery in the pressure cooker. Oh well.

Short post tonight because I’m BEAT. Catch y’all tonight!

Posted in February 2017 | Leave a comment

Weekend Recap

Hey! I feel like I need to bathe my house in Lysol right now. Brian and I are both fighting colds, Jack was up late last night with a weird stomachache (so severe that at one point we were headed out the door to the ER), and Isla has a never-ending runny nose. It’s not pretty. I’m blaming this stupid Texas weather where it’s 40 degrees one day and 80 the next.

Anyway, despite all that we had a fun weekend! Jack had his 7 year checkup on Friday afternoon, which unfortunately ended with flu shots (I’m so late- I know, I know). The kids fought over who would go first, Jack crouched down behind a chair in the corner and I had to drag him out for the shot, and the nurse and I had to literally hold Isla down on the table to give her hers. Needless to say mama needed a cocktail after that one. We headed to my one of my faves, La Calle Doce for dinner. Ceviche, corn tortillas and a margarita made it all better.

On Saturday night I had a moms’ night out with some friends. We had dinner at Rapscallion, spent the night at Hotel ZaZa and then headed to brunch at Mudhen the next morning.

My cornmeal crusted catfish at Rapscallion. SO good, but the real highlight was the homemade biscuits. They were so fluffy and the accompanying jam was amazing.

My friend Leigh Ann had been wanting to get her nose pierced for a while, so five moms showed up at the tattoo/piercing parlor after dinner. I’m guessing we’re not their usual crowd? I was the designated hand-holder and watched the whole thing. Um, OUCH. That’s a big ol’ needle. But Leigh Ann was a champ and didn’t even flinch.

Crack coffee at Mudhen the next AM. The cure for what ails you.

Got back home early Sunday afternoon, ran a few errands, then headed to a friend’s for a Superbowl Party. A pretty fun weekend! Now if we can all just get healthy again…

Posted in February 2017 | Leave a comment

Eggless Breakfast

I’m always looking for high protein breakfast ideas that: 1. can be made ahead, and 2. don’t involve eggs. Just not a huge egg fan. They’re fine every once in a while, especially a runny over-easy egg on top of something else, but I’m just never going to get excited about a big plate of scrambled eggs.

When I came across this recipe for one-pan healthy sweet potato hash on Carrots N Cake, it sounded like the perfect make-ahead breakfast. I made a big batch on Monday and then divided it into 4 containers = breakfast all week! It’s REALLY easy if you buy the bag of pre-diced sweet potatoes. I did, but then felt like it needed more potato so I added one more peeled, diced sweet potato to the batch.

Ingredients:

I followed the recipe exactly and then seasoned to taste at the end.

My OCD brain loves seeing these containers stacked up in the fridge.

So good! One morning I even got crazy and topped mine with an over-easy egg. I don’t think this is technically a breakfast recipe so this could be an easy lunch or dinner too. Healthy and filling!

We met my dad for dinner at Grub Burger Bar tonight. They’ve changed the menu since the last time I visited. Jack and I shared the roasted brussels sprouts and they were AMAZING. I had the California chicken bowl for my entree and it was pretty fab too- lots of avocado and a really good citrus dressing. Honestly everything I’ve ordered there is great. Their veggie burger is one of my all time faves.

I’ve gone to my new gym three times this week and can barely walk. It takes me like 10 minutes to get down our stairs right now because my quads hurt so freaking bad. And then I see 70 year olds in my class cranking out push ups like they’re nothing. WHY AM I SO WEAK?!

Woohoo tomorrow’s Friday! Have a fun weekend!

Posted in February 2017 | Leave a comment

Crack Slaw

Isla woke up with a fever this morning, so no school for sister. She has a runny nose and a little cough but otherwise seems okay… though she did request a BELL so she could page me for snacks. Every time her fever spikes she gets this weird red mark on one cheek. Naturally I Googled and convinced myself that she had fifth disease, so we took her in to the pediatrician tonight to double check. No fifth disease, no strep, no ear infection. Probably just a cold, though the doctor didn’t have a great explanation for the red mark. She had plenty of energy today so I’m hoping she’ll be on the mend tomorrow.

I kept seeing this recipe pop up for something called “crack slaw.” It’s basically ground meat combined with sauteed cabbage (coleslaw mix!) and topped with a mixture of soy sauce, sesame oil, sriracha, ginger and vinegar. I’ve also seen this called inside-out eggroll, especially when using pork. I’m trying to cut back on carbs at night so this seemed like a good option.

Ingredients:

I followed this recipe loosely, but substituted lean ground turkey for the beef. I also doubled the sauce ingredients. I think it would have been pretty bland if you stuck with the original amounts. Oh and I added mushrooms.

Topped with sriracha:

Not the prettiest, but it tastes great! I get the whole “eggroll” thing- it really does taste like eggroll filling. Anyway, it’s a great meal that takes no time and makes a HUGE batch.

I’m so tired and the house is an absolute nightmare thanks to Isla. I swear that child drags out every. single. toy. And then rearranges all of the furniture. The stool for her vanity is in front of my toilet (why??) and last night I had to move no fewer than six “sleeping” baby dolls AND BLANKETS before I could sit on the couch.

Posted in January 2017 | Leave a comment