Little Pumpkins

Is it just me, or is this week flying? And the kids’ Fair Day is on Friday, so it’s a short week anyway. I’m planning to take them to the Arboretum to check out the pumpkin village and pretend that they still look like this:

Waaaahhh. I miss those squishy babies.

Tuesdays and Thursdays are our crazy days thanks to soccer practice and dance. Usually we just grab dinner out on Tuesday since soccer doesn’t let out until 6:30, but I had some spare time yesterday so I whipped up a batch of my favorite sloppy joe meatballs from the Primal Cravings cookbook. It’s not a slow cooker recipe, but after I baked the meatballs and simmered the sauce for a few minutes, I arranged the meatballs at the bottom of the crockpot, poured the sauce over the top, set it on low and let it gooooo. It actually worked out pretty well, though next time I’ll underbake the meatballs a little so they don’t get overcooked in the crock pot.

The meatballs were all ready to go when we walked in the door after soccer. I had mine with a baked sweet potato and roasted broccoli:

I can’t remember what I gave the kids with theirs, because it’s been a whole 24 hours and that’s just way too much for my brain right now.

(And Isla ate mini corndogs anyway, because God forbid I only make one dinner for the family.)

The fall decor is coming out! Brian dragged the boxes down from the attic today so I’m in full Halloween mode. So far I’ve managed to resist buying any candy corn (& peanuts- best combo ever!) but we’ll see how long that lasts.

Posted in September 2016 | Leave a comment

Soup’s On

Guess what?? It’s finally cool here! And by “cool” I mean low 70′s, but I’LL TAKE IT. I went for a run this morning and didn’t feel like I was going to die five minutes in. It’s amazing the different between working out when it’s 90 degrees versus 70.

Anyway, you know I took advantage of the cold, drizzly weather and lit some pumpkin candles, dug my rainboots out of the closet, and whipped up a batch of soup in the slow cooker. I was *thisclose* to lighting a fire in the fireplace but figured that would be overkill. For dinner I made this green chile chicken enchilada soup. If you’ve ever made that cream cheese chicken chili (the one that’s all over Pinterest) before, it’s really similar. This one just leaves out the corn and adds green enchilada sauce and green chiles.

Lots of cans, no chopping. Not pictured: chicken broth, chicken breasts (I used frozen) and cream cheese.

I cooked mine on high for 4 hours, then removed the chicken breasts and used the Kitchenaid to shred them before adding back to the slow cooker. Garnished with cilantro, soup cream, avocado and limes:

Not bad! But anything with cream cheese has to be pretty good, right? I didn’t serve it to the kids, but it honestly wasn’t very spicy… so if your kids are good eaters (LUCKY) then it should be no problem.

Off to watch the debate… with a big ol’ glass of wine.

Posted in September 2016 | Leave a comment

Puss In Boots & Stuffed Sweet Potatoes

It’s been a busy week! Jack turned in his first book report yesterday, which involved choosing a fairy tale, writing a report, illustrating the story, dressing up in costume and delivering an oral report. Whew.

Check out my little Puss in Boots:

In case you can’t tell, costumes are NOT my thing. Jack was unimpressed. I honestly think he expected me to turn him into a real cat. On a similar note, Isla has requested a “broom that really flies” to accessorize her Halloween costume… so I’ll get right on that.

Another recipe revisit this week! A month or so ago I made the easiest meal ever: browned a pound of ground turkey and stirred in a jar of Trader Joe’s Cowboy Salsa. I made that again this week, but this time I added a can of (drained) diced fire-roasted tomatoes. We had it over roasted sweet potatoes and topped with sour cream, cheese and these new sweet & spicy jalapeno slices (from TJ’s- I’m addicted).

Such an easy meal but really filling and delicious. The salsa definitely has a kick to it so this probably would have been too spicy for the kids. It would be great over rice/cauli rice as well.

(You can spot another batch of my Instant Pot mac and cheese lurking back there. We’re all addicted.)

Yay yay, tomorrow’s Friday!

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Recipe Revisit

Hey hey. Still here, still sweating to death in TX.

I’m sure I’ve talked about this before, but I tend to make a recipe once, forget about it, and never make it again. So lately I’ve been looking back through old blog posts for dinner inspiration… like this recipe for Korean Beef Bowls. It’s one that I had to buy a somewhat obscure ingredient for (gochujang sauce), and the bottle had just been hanging out in the back of the fridge. So, guess what we had for dinner last night:

Sorry for the horrible fluorescent lighting. Last time I made this, I used turkey instead of beef. This time I used extra lean ground beef and I think the flavor was better. I reduced the crushed red pepper by half so that it wouldn’t be too spicy for Jack, and we had ours over steamed jasmine rice (addicted to those frozen bags of rice from TJ’s). I also made quick pickled cucumbers using this recipe to serve on top, and garnished with sesame seeds and green onions per the recipe.

OH also has anyone else tried this salad from Costco?

We had it on the side and it was awesome. It would be perfect topped with shredded chicken, too.

Catch y’all tomorrow!

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Weekend Recap

I read today that this was the last weekend of summer. God I hope so because my car said it was 95 degrees out this afternoon. Ugh. Despite the heat we spent a lot of time outdoors this weekend. Jack’s soccer game was at 8am Saturday, which sounded like a beating (SO EARLY) but ended up being a good thing- we had friends with 2pm games and they were dying out there in the heat. After soccer, Brian took Jack to a shoe tying class at Nordstrom while I took Isla to a birthday party for one of her classmates. The party was adorable! It had a Barbie/spa theme and all of the little girls had pedicures and made necklaces. Isla was in heaven.

Cute little piggies. They sent nail decals home with each girl and Isla gave Brian a little mani this afternoon while he watched football, haha.

Saturday afternoon we met my parents and Owen at Addison Oktoberfest. Again, SO HOT. We did a few rides and games, but I think the kids’ favorite part was just running around and dancing to the live music.

Jack and Owen observing the barrel rolling contest:

My parents kept the kids last night so that Brian and I could attend the 1st grade parents party. It was at Jack’s classmate’s house and they brought in a taco truck. I’m on board with anything that involves tacos. We had so much fun and as usual ended the night at our local dive bar. It was a LATE night for us old folks- Brian and I were both dragging today.

That’s pretty much it for our weekend! We had a low-key day today. Jack has a book report due on Wednesday and it involves dressing up in costume and giving an oral report. We spent a good portion of the afternoon searching for a Puss in Boots costume. It’s harder than you’d think.

Hope everyone had a great weekend!

Posted in September 2016 | Leave a comment

“Best Meal Ever”

I’m sure y’all are so sick of me raving about the Instant Pot, BUT tonight Jack declared dinner the best meal I’ve ever made. Both kids ate it and loved it, and it took literally 5 minutes of prep and 4 minutes of cook time (aside from the time it took the pot to come to pressure).

Instant Pot Macaroni and Cheese. Total game changer.

Into the pot went a box of macaroni (I used Barilla Plus to bump up the protein), 4 cups of water, 2 tsp of salt and 3 Tbs butter.

Set the pot for 4 minutes (manual) high pressure.

Once the timer went off, I did a quick pressure release (throwing a dish towel on top so liquid didn’t spray everywhere). Took the lid off and stirred in 1 cup of evaporated milk. The recipe calls for heavy cream but I wanted to make it a *little* healthier. Finally I gradually stirred in a bag- so about 2 cups worth- of reduced fat shredded sharp cheddar.

Voila.

OH MAN. This was soooo good. And literally less work than whipping up a box of Annie’s mac & cheese, which I buy in bulk at Costco. No more! This was way easier and I love that you can make it a little healthier by changing the type of pasta and cheese. Now I want to try to make a green chile version… or a buffalo chicken mac and cheese?? Anyway, in my opinion the cost of the Instant Pot is worth it for this recipe alone. Mac & cheese is one of the 5 things that Isla will consistently eat, so I’ll call this a win.

We have 2 episodes left of The Night Of! We’re trying to pace ourselves and only watch one per night, but it’s SO HARD. What do we watch next?

Happy Friday!

Posted in September 2016 | Leave a comment

Meatball Stir Fry

Apparently it was Dentist Day in our house. I somehow managed to chip one of my bottom front teeth on Thursday and it drove me crazy all weekend (of course the dentist is closed on Fridays). Luckily they were able to squeeze me in at 9 this AM to smooth that bad boy down. Ugh, my teeth are the worst.

Then Isla had an appointment to have a cavity filled this afternoon. Apparently the kids have inherited my terrible teeth because they brush, floss AND rinse twice a day (this is totally their idea- to Brian’s chagrin as he waits on their 10 minute oral hygiene routine before he can drive them to school every morning). Anyway, she did great and actually fell asleep in the chair while they worked on her mouth. She woke up as I was putting her in the car and FREAKED OUT over her mouth being numb. Not that I blame her- talk about a rude awakening.

I had a bag of Aidell’s pineapple teriyaki chicken meatballs in the fridge that needed to be consumed ASAP. We often just heat them up and eat them plain, but since we had a bunch of veggies in the fridge I decided to make a quick stir fry.

Into the wok went: diced onion, garlic, broccoli, shredded carrots, mushrooms and meatballs. Once the veggies were tender, I poured in some Trader Joe’s Island Soyaki and let that all heat through.

Served over jasmine rice:

Not a bad dinner, and since the vegetables were already cut (I had half a diced onion leftover from that chili last night), it took no time at all.

We went to bed way too late last night after watching 2 episodes of The Night Of, and I’m paying the price today. SO TIRED. Catch y’all tomorrow!

Posted in September 2016 | Leave a comment

Meal Prep Sunday

What happens when your TV is dominated by football ALL DAY LONG? You either die of boredom or flee to the kitchen. I know I’m alone in this, but watching sports on TV ranks only slightly above passing a gallstone and slightly below having a root canal. And I’ve done both of those! Go me!

So this happened.

Shredded BBQ chicken (thanks, Instant Pot!), lentil salad with cucumbers and olives, flourless banana blender muffins, and hard boiled eggs (Instant Pot again!). We should be set on lunches and snacks for the week!

Even though I could care less about football, it does mean that fall is approaching… so it’s totally fine to make a big pot of chili! Along with the above, I also made a batch of my favorite pumpkin-turkey chili from Love & Olive Oil. I’ve been making this for years and it’s the best. Instead of chicken broth, I dump in a bottle of whatever beer we have on hand. It’s not too spicy (Jack liked it) and contains a bunch of veggies- onions, peppers, sweet potato, tomatoes and pumpkin. And like all soups/stews/chilies, it tastes even better the 2nd day.

Served with sour cream, cheese and tortilla chips:

So this weekend I finished Love Warrior by Glennon Melton. I bought the book the day it was released (last Tuesday) and basically tore through it. I’ve read Momastery for a few years and really liked her last book, Carry On, Warrior. This was a heavy read but so good, and I’d definitely recommend it. Now any recs on what to read next?? ALSO we started The Night Of on HBO last night. We’ve been looking for a new show since finishing Stranger Things, and after one episode we’re hooked.

Hope everyone had a fun weekend!

Posted in September 2016 | Leave a comment

Five Minute Shrimp

I’m all turned around on my days! It’s Tuesday, which feels like Monday, except that we usually have soccer practice on Tuesdays, which was cancelled because we have a game tomorrow, which usually only happens on Saturday.

I need a nap.

Anyway, I wasn’t too sad about soccer being cancelled, because: 1. It’s still really freaking hot out, and 2. Soccer goes until 6:30 which puts a huge cramp in our evening schedule. Also Brian had a W&L alumni happy hour tonight so it was just me and the kids for dinner. They had a gourmet meal of mac & cheese and fish sticks, and their dinner took about 6 times as long to prepare as mine. I bookmarked this recipe for honey butter shrimp from Dinner A Love Story and it literally took 5 minutes. FIVE.

First you make a sauce by mixing honey and sriracha:

Then you heat up butter and olive oil in a skillet. Throw in some raw (peeled, deveined) shrimp and cook for about 2 minutes per side. Pour on the honey-sriracha sauce and cook for a minute or two, until the it all thickens up a little.

Ta-daaaaaaa.

We’re not going to talk about that butternut squash mess on the side. The recipe suggested bread for dipping, and that would have been fab if we’d had any. Or even over rice or couscous.

Catch y’all tomorrow! Whatever day it is!

Posted in September 2016 | Leave a comment

Labor Day 2016

Hey! Long time no blog. Sorry, Brian used my computer for a fantasy football draft last Thursday and I was too tired to post by the time he was finished. Did everyone have a good Labor Day weekend?? We did! On Friday Brian, Jack, my dad and Owen headed to the Ranger game, so Isla and I had dinner at Mi Cocina with the girls (my mom, Laura and Stevie). Love one on one time with this sweet girl!

Then on Saturday the three of us headed to the lake for the long weekend.

It was a pretty perfect lazy weekend. Took the kids swimming, fishing and for golf cart rides. Jack caught a winner:

We also headed to Canton to buy a bookshelf for Jack. Of course Canton = lunch at Dairy Palace.

I finally managed to finish a book- The Girls by Emma Cline. Not going to lie, it’s a weird story but I liked it. It’s about a teenage girl who joins a Manson family-ish cult in the ’60′s. Once I got into the story I couldn’t put it down, which means that I definitely haven’t read this month’s book club pick… and we’re meeting on Wednesday. Whoops. Too many good books, too little time.

We got home from the lake today and then headed straight to our friends’ house for a BBQ. The kids basically went up and down this water slide for 3 hours, meaning that they’re both exhausted.

I’m a little sad to say goodbye to summer and all that goes along with it- long days, swimming, grapefruit shandy- but y’all know I’m SO ready for fall. Bring on the pumpkins!

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Posted in September 2016 | Leave a comment