Sheet Pan Dinner

I’m rediscovering the greatness of the sheet pan dinner. You can’t beat it for a lazy meal- not to mention that it’s healthy, easy to prep/clean up, and versatile. The other night I made this roasted sweet potato, sausage and broccoli sheet pan meal for dinner. I followed the recipe but added an extra tbs of balsamic vinegar, and for the sausage I used turkey kielbasa. It’s very simple, but you do have to do a little babysitting since the components cook at different rates. My only complaint was that the sweet potatoes stuck to the baking sheet, so next time I might try it with red potatoes. But other than that it was great! We had it with sliced sourdough (from Aldi- it’s pretty decent sourdough and the kids LOVE it).

On Friday we got an email from the school principal telling us that Isla would be receiving the Christian Witness Award at mass on Tuesday. Every month they choose a different virtue and present the award to one child in each grade, and this month’s virtue was generosity. The kids have no idea that they’re getting the award, so Brian, my parents and I basically had to hide in the back row of the church to keep her from spotting us. She was SO excited and basically bounced up to the front when her name was called.

Super proud of her. School is not always easy for Isla, and I love that the teachers and staff build her up and recognize her strengths. It makes my mama heart happy.

Posted in January 2020 | Leave a comment

Back At It

Hellooooo! Long time no talk. The remainder of Christmas break was a little crazy. I ended up getting flu A and was stuck in bed for 3 days, which honestly really sucked, ha. I was hoping to do some fun stuff with the kids before they went back to school, but that went out the window. Luckily my parents picked them up last Monday (their last day of vacation) and took them to Dave & Busters- which they LOVED. I also had to miss our niece’s baptism last Sunday. I did get Tamiflu, which is supposed to knock a day off of recovery time. I had fever from Thursday night through Sunday night, plus chills/aches and lots of chest congestion. It was bad; 100% do not recommend.

Anyway, I’m pretty much back to normal- though still coughing a lot. Also really happy to be getting back into a routine! And actually cooking! We had a wild day on Friday. There were some strong storms predicted for late Friday afternoon so our school opted to close early. I think everyone is still so freaked out after those October tornadoes. I grabbed the kids at 1:00 and then we just camped out at home for the rest of the day. On a whim I ended up making a version of these flourless oatmeal chocolate chip cookies from the BakerMama. I altered it a little by using chunky peanut butter and throwing in some dried cherries, but left out the walnuts.

They were SO good! And gluten-free, if that’s an issue for you. I definitely did not miss the flour at all. And in case you’re wondering the storms turned out to be no big deal.

My friends and I were texting last week about dinner ideas, and someone suggested this one-pot BBQ chicken pasta from Damn Delicious. I made it for dinner tonight and it was a hit! I used Stubb’s BBQ sauce (of course) and more than was called for in the recipe. Also topped it with sliced green onions.

Jack liked it, and we have at least 2 servings leftover for lunches!

Hope everyone is having a healthy and happy 2020 so far!

Posted in January 2020 | Leave a comment

Christmas 2019 Wrap-Up

Merry Christmas, 2 days late! December just flew by: Jack’s birthday, Nutcracker, basketball, holiday programs at school, and now here we are on December 27th. Geez. I didn’t get a chance to post any Nutcracker pics! Here’s my little gingerbread at dress rehearsal.

And doing her bow/gingerbread salute.

That girl loves a stage!

Jack actually stayed home sick for the last couple of days of school. Just a cough and sore throat (no strep or flu, thank god), and I enjoyed having my little buddy around. He’s all better and back to normal now! We even managed to get our gingerbread house decorated. Usually I just buy the kit and throw it away after Christmas because we never got around to doing it.

This week was spent running a few last minute errands, grabbing some groceries, and baking. This year I tried out the smoky savory fire crackers from How Sweet Eats. My mom used to make ranch-seasoned oyster crackers every year, which I LOVED. These are a little different: saltines baked with a sweet and spicy glaze. Planning to pack them up and deliver to neighbors.

I also made 2 batches of my friend Kira’s cranberry bars. I’ve been making them every year for the past 9 years and they are SO GOOD. Perfect with coffee in the afternoon (or even for breakfast, no judgment here). Isla goes nuts over them- which says a lot.

We made it just under the wire with our annual downtown Neiman’s Santa visit. Though it seems the best-kept secret is out (we got there 15 minutes after opening and waited an hour), I still maintain he’s the real deal. The photographer there is also the best at coaxing genuine smiles from my kids. I forgot to snap a photo while they were up there, but we did get one after at the giant eyeball. Equally festive?

I had a root canal yesterday (MERRY CHRISTMAS!) so the past couple of days have been pretty low key. I’m currently trying to decide if I want to take all the decorations down this weekend or wait until New Year’s Day. My money is on Wednesday…

Hope everyone had a great Christmas!

Posted in December 2019, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Playing Catch Up

Well… LONG TIME NO POST! The Sunday before Thanksgiving, we loaded up and drove from Texas to South Carolina to spent the holiday with Brian’s family. It was a great trip and the kids had so much fun hanging out with their cousins! We got back to Dallas on Saturday the 30th, and the next day Jack turned TEN. How is that even possible?? Remember this post? It feels like a week ago. And now this:

He is still the kindest, most easy-going, happy kid. Not sure how we got so lucky but he is just the best.

We also celebrated my sweet mom’s birthday the day after Jack’s, the kids started their basketball season, and Isla is getting ready for Nutcracker this weekend! Good stuff.

Here’s Texas for you: I left the house in flip flops around noon because it was 75 degrees out. By the time the kids and I got home from school, it was 50 degrees and now they’re saying we might have flurries tonight. In honor of it actually feeling like December, I made a big pot of this beef stroganoff from Damn Delicious.

Ingredients:

(Ignore the sherry- I thought I needed it for the recipe but it just called for white wine)

It was so good! More stew-like than stroganoff recipes I’ve tried in the past. I also added a little extra sour cream to make it creamier.

On the side we had asparagus that I tossed in olive oil, salt and pepper and air-fried at 400 degrees for 7 minutes. Still loving the air fryer, btw. I even used it to cook Brazi Bites for Isla tonight.

Ok, that’s all I’ve got! Later kids.

Posted in December 2019 | Leave a comment

Beginning To Look A Lot Like…

I cannot believe that Thanksgiving is NEXT WEEK. Isla’s class has their Thanksgiving play tomorrow and she is very excited about performing the “mashed potatoes song” (which has been in my head all week… maaaaaashed potatoes, mash mash potato-tato).

Isla has her last official Nutcracker rehearsal on Saturday AM, followed by bow rehearsal Saturday evening. Then we leave early Sunday morning to drive to South Carolina for Thanksgiving. Once we get back it’s pretty much nonstop activity- Jack’s birthday (10!!!!!), Nutcracker, etc.- so I really wanted to get the house decorated for Christmas before we left. It’s just nice to have that done and to be able to relax and enjoy it once we get home.

I spent all Sunday afternoon taking down Halloween decorations and stayed up late Sunday night putting up Christmas. Pretty much everything inside is done, other than getting the ornaments on the tree (Isla is chomping at the bit to get into them, so that’s probably our Friday night activity), and getting the kids’ trees set up in their rooms. I’m pushing for a tree in our bedroom this year but Brian’s not on board (YET).

Here’s the living room:

That little turd in front of the Christmas tree might be a problem. He’s been climbing the tree (see how it’s leaning slightly?) and chewing on the branches, so I’m a little nervous for our ornaments. I also swapped out our skirt for that hammered copper tree collar and he’s REALLY enjoyed climbing inside… and getting stuck.

Kitchen buffet- these are all our Santa pics through the years. I love the Pottery Barn holiday frames with the year stamped on them, though the one this year is kind of meh. I also snagged that cute Opalhouse foil tree last weekend when Target had all of their decor at 25% off (ha, just noticed the tag is still on it!). That little antique Christmas tree plate belonged to our sweet childhood neighbor who was like another grandmother to us.

I’ll try to get more pics soon once we get everything up!

Posted in November 2019 | 1 Comment

Dallas Arboretum Tree Lighting

This is such a weird week: half day Wednesday, no school Thursday, regular school day Friday. We did enjoy our random little day off today! The kids slept in, then we pretty much just hung out at home. Jack had a scout meeting tonight, so Brian took him while Isla and I stayed home and watched The Descendants for the 400th time.

On Tuesday night we headed to the Arboretum for their annual tree lighting. We went last year, too, and it’s so much fun! You can walk around and check out the 12 Days of Christmas display, which is lit up at night and so pretty. My favorite, the swans a’ swimming.

(My pics are TERRIBLE. Someday I will upgrade from my iPhone 6. Someday…)

The kids took full advantage of the hot chocolate offerings (Brian and I opted for the mulled wine). It was in the 30′s Tuesday night, which made it feel even more Christmas-y. Obviously we had to stop and see Santa.

Jack said he wants a pair of Heely’s, and Isla said she wanted… a notebook??

He didn’t ask me what I wanted. (Hint: A NEW PHONE)

The tree was beautiful! The kids loved watching them throw the giant switch to light it up.

Highly recommend checking out all of the Dallas Arboretum holiday offerings if you get a chance! They have a new Christmas village opening soon (in the same area where they have the pumpkin houses in the fall) and the kids are begging to go.

Hope everyone has a great weekend! My goal is to take down all of our fall decor and get Christmas out. We’ll see…

Posted in November 2019 | Leave a comment

Chili Weather

Y’all, it is COLD here in Dallas! It was in the 20′s when I drove the kids to school this morning and barely got to 40 this afternoon. I love it. Isla’s on the fence?

Obviously it’s soup weather (because when is it not?) so last night I pulled out the Instant Pot and made a batch of this white chicken chili.

It’s the first time I’ve made this exact recipe, but I’ve definitely made similar soups before: chicken, beans, corn, Ro-tel, onions, cream cheese. This one was a winner though because it’s very much dump-and-go. No sauteing, no pre-cooking the chicken.

You chop the onion, drain and rinse the beans, but then everything (including the cream cheese) goes into the Instant Pot at the same time. Then after 20 minutes- plus 10 minutes of pressure release- you just remove the chicken, shred it, then add it back to the pot. I also added a bunch of lime juice.

Served with cilantro, avocado and tortilla chips:

It was really good! Even Jack liked it, and he’s not typically a soup/stew fan.

The kids have one of their weird weeks where they have a half day tomorrow and no school Thursday for parent-teacher conferences. We have three conferences tomorrow evening, but no plans for Thursday. Excited to have a mid-week break!

Posted in November 2019 | Leave a comment

Under the Weather

I’ve been feeling pretty under the weather this week. On Monday I spiked a fever that got up over 102 during the night- here’s what my sleep app recorded:

Red = sleep, black = awake. Ugh. And that’s including a nap Tuesday afternoon; only 3hrs 47 min of sleep Monday night

It was brutal! I woke up every 15 minutes either sweating or with chills. I went to the doctor on Tuesday and tested negative for the flu, so the doctor seemed to think it was just a bad sinus infection. So started a round of antibiotics and am finally starting to feel normal. The last couple of days have involved a lot of this:

Watching TV in bed with these guys. We finished the third season of Workin’ Moms today! Also Chloe doesn’t believe in personal space.

Not been doing a ton of cooking, though last night I did make this Asian ground turkey and green bean stir fry. It’s a really quick, easy, kid-friendly (well, Jack-friendly… Isla ate buttered noodles) meal. I added a bag of cremini mushrooms once the turkey was browned, then cooked them for a few minutes before adding the rest of the ingredients.

The flavor is great and not at all spicy. I added sriracha to mine. Also, I only had to buy the veggies and turkey because we had everything else on hand already- that NEVER happens!

Ok heading to bed- between this sinus stuff and the fact that it’s dark at 5pm, I’m basically on a toddler’s schedule.

Posted in November 2019 | Leave a comment

King Ranch Chicken

Happy (almost) Halloween! Bob Ross and Eloise are pretty pumped about tomorrow. All of a sudden it’s gotten really cold in Dallas, which seems just right for Halloween week.

Given the cold and rain, Isla’s last soccer practice was canceled last night. Usually we’re throwing together the easiest dinner possible on Tuesdays (or going out), so I took advantage of the extra time and actually made a REAL meal. Pulled out the ol’ Magnolia Table cookbook again- hasn’t failed me yet- and decided to try the King Ranch Chicken Casserole. The ingredient list is a little lengthy but it really didn’t take much time to put together. One helpful tip?

This shredded rotisserie chicken from Target. AWESOME. I hate pulling apart chickens. This cost about the same as a whole rotisserie chicken at Target, but I usually end up tossing the wings and legs anyway so I see it as a wash.

ALSO. The recipe *says* that it makes one 9×13 dish… but it actually makes wayyyy more than that. I was able to fill two 9×13′s (one went into the freezer).

It’s pure comfort food. I tried to lighten it up with light sour cream, reduced fat cheese and Healthy Request soup- but there’s still a LOT of cheese in there. We topped ours with diced tomatoes and cilantro.

I’m not posting the recipe since it’s from a cookbook, but FYI if you google it you’ll find pics of the recipe. You should just go ahead and buy the cookbook though; it’s definitely worth the investment.

Have a great Halloween!!

Posted in October 2019 | Leave a comment

Field Trips and Fire Children

Today I chaperoned Isla’s field trip to the Cathedral Guadalupe downtown. Her class is so cute and they were really good for the cathedral tour… but also REALLY anxious to get to part 2, playtime/picnic at Klyde Warren Park.

She cute. Even if she won’t look at the camera.

This week has felt really hectic. No school Monday, then yesterday we had ballet, soccer game and open house/science night at school. Today was the field trip followed by a dentist appointment to re-do one of Isla’s fillings. It was storming like crazy this evening, so after the dentist appointment I just grabbed Chick Fil A for the kids, plopped them in front of a movie and called it a night. We’re all pretty beat.

The other day at Target I grabbed this Cooking Light Soups and Stews magazine.

Literally everything in it sounds amazing. It’s finally cold(ish) and I am here for it. The first recipe I made is the Immunity Soup. I was feeling kind of run down last week and this sounded like a good, super healthy soup to have on hand. It contains tons of garlic, lots of fresh vegetables and bone-in chicken breasts. You just shred the chicken and add it, along with a bunch of kale, back to the pot at the end.

Ingredients:

I also added the juice of 2 lemons. Also instead of chickpeas, I used these little mixed-bean pouches from Costco.

Super good, filling and makes a TON.

Ok so a couple of new snack-y finds. I’m obsessed with these frozen dark and white chocolate-covered raspberries. I found them at Target and they are the perfect late night dessert. They take a little while to eat because they’re frozen… the kids love them too.

Also these peppermint white chocolate pretzel thins from Costco. OMG. I kept seeing people post about them and snagged a bag last weekend. They are dangerous.

Finally- I flew through my October Book of the Month pick, Nothing to See Here. It won’t be released on Amazon until the 29th (Book of the Month sometimes offers pre-release options). It’s the weirdest, quirkiest story, but I kind of loved it. Basically it’s about 2 former boarding school roommates. One is married to a wealthy senator, and the other is barely scraping by, sacking groceries in the small town where she grew up. The wealthy friend hires the other to serve as a “governess” for her two stepchildren… who happen to burst into flame whenever they get angry. I know- WEIRD. But somehow really sweet, funny, and so well written. It’s a quick read, too. I just started Verity by Colleen Hoover, and I really need to get into our November book club pick, The Road Back to You. Too many good books!

Posted in October 2019 | Leave a comment