Fair Day 2019

The kids have had standardized testing at school this week and it has been SO NICE not having any homework. The idea was that it would allow us to get them to bed earlier… orrrr take them to the State Fair?

My parents and I took them to the fair right after school on Tuesday, then Brian met us there once he got off work. We did all the things- petting zoo, rides, midway, wild bird show (very cool), games, and obviously lots of food. Isla was too short to ride the Crazy Mouse roller coaster on her own, so all 4 of us rode together. It looks like just a little kiddie ride, but then I realized (too late) that it spins you around the entire time. I literally almost barfed, which the kids thought was HILARIOUS. Ugh.

It’s actually a little chilly here now!! Finally. I’m craving all the soup-y things. Yesterday I made this easy bean soup in the crock pot. The recipe is actually from the bag of beans I grabbed at Target, though I improvised a little.

Ingredients:

Also, one ham steak that I diced into small pieces.

Into the crock pot went:

  • 3 sliced carrots
  • 3 celery stalks, sliced
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 3 Tbs tomato paste
  • 1 ham steak (I think 12 oz), diced
  • bag of beans, rinsed
  • 1 can diced tomatoes
  • 8 cups chicken broth
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp Italian seasoning
  • 2 bay leaves

Cooked on low for 8 hours, then seasoned with a little Worcestershire and Liquid Smoke.

Served with sourdough and salad:

Very healthy and filling! I had leftovers for lunch today. Soup is really the only leftover I look forward to.

Hope everyone has a great weekend! We have Trunk or Treat tomorrow, Nutcracker rehearsal on Saturday and a b-day party on Sunday. We tried on their costumes tonight, and I have to say, they are pretty awesome this year…

Posted in October 2019 | Leave a comment

October Book Club

Last week I hosted October book club. Not to be cheesy, but it’s my favorite month and my favorite people! For dinner I made Skinnytaste’s turkey chili taco soup, Jo’s quick table salad from the Magnolia Table cookbook, and mini cornbread loaves (not homemade- from Target bakery). Also made these little pumpkin cupcakes- from a mix and with canned cream cheese frosting, but I found the cute wrappers at Home Goods and the sugar weapons at Target:

A few more pics before everyone arrived:

We had a busy weekend! The kids had a half day on Thursday and no school on Friday. Isla had her first 2nd grade girls’ book club meeting on Thursday (they read Pippy Longstocking), then dentist appointments for the kiddos followed by a Thursday night soccer game for Isla. On Friday we met our friends Jill and Jane for lunch, then Jack had a birthday party that afternoon and I took Isla to get our nails done. Friday was CHILLY! I loved it. We had a lazy morning and I turned on the fireplace for the first time this season. Someone was VERY curious:

Speaking of sweet Tucker, we took him in to be neutered, microchipped and vaccinated this morning. The surgery went well but the poor guy is NOT happy. He has to stay in his cage until tomorrow AM and he’s just sitting in the living room meowing right now.

This is how we found him Saturday… just spooning Isla’s AG doll.

On the book front, I finished This Tender Land on Friday and am so sad that it’s over. Highly recommend! I chose Ruth Ware’s The Turn of the Key as a my Book of the Month a while back but hadn’t gotten around to reading it. I just started it this weekend and so far so good! It’s a nice, creepy October read.

Posted in October 2019 | Leave a comment

Menu Lately

It finally feels like fall in Dallas! Hallelujah. I mean, it’s supposed to be back up to 90 tomorrow… but the past 2 mornings of sweatshirt weather have been fabulous. Also the high on Friday is 60 and I WILL TAKE IT.

I’m hosting book club tomorrow so the house is all decorated for Halloween, inside and out. Poor Brian had to hang this guy on Sunday:

I’ve tried a couple of new recipes lately, both from Skinnytaste. The first was this slow cooker chicken and sausage creole. I made it last Tuesday to eat after soccer practice.

Ingredients:

Served with white rice:

It was pretty good. Not spicy at all- the kids ate something else before practice, but this would have been fine for them (well for Jack… Isla wouldn’t touch it with a 10 foot pole).

The other recent try was this air fryer salmon with maple soy glaze. It was really easy to throw together, and we had all of the marinade ingredients on hand. My only issue with this one was that the salmon was overcooked- I’ll try it again but next time check it after 5 minutes instead of 7.

Served with couscous and roasted broccoli:

I’m almost done with my September Book of the Month pick, This Tender Land. It is SO GOOD. If you liked Cold Mountain or Before We Were Yours, you’ll love this one.

Night!

Posted in October 2019 | Leave a comment

Weekend Recap

The kids had a half day on Friday (Fair Day), so we headed to the Arboretum to check out the pumpkins. When the kids were little we would head to the Arboretum with friends almost weekly- like here, here, here… ugh those sweet baby pics kill me. But now that they’re older that whole school thing gets in the way of our fun outings.

Anyway, it was fun to explore. They have a Charlie Brown Great Pumpkin theme this year. Isla loved it, Jack was too cool for everything except stomping around in the water features.

We had a busy/fun weekend. Two soccer games on Saturday, then we headed to our neighborhood Oktoberfest late that afternoon. We were pretty lazy during the day on Sunday, then Sunday night my parents hosted a birthday dinner for my SIL. Fun weekend that went too fast!

This morning Isla found out that she made the Nutcracker cast again. This year she’s going to be a gingerbread and she is SO excited (the gingerbread are delivered onstage via a giant slide, so I think that’s like 99% of her excitement). Rehearsals start this weekend- heeeere we go!

Posted in September 2019 | Leave a comment

Projects

This fall we have evening activities every Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and occasionally Thursdays. I’ve been feeding the kids around 5 so they’re not starving at soccer practice, and then once we’re home for the night I usually throw together something fast for Brian and me. That means we’ve been relying HEAVILY on Trader Joe’s lately (I mean, always- but even more so). Tonight I heated up their turkey stuffed peppers, which come 2 to a package in the refrigerated section. But my favorite new discovery is this:

Brian’s trying to avoid meat (fish is okay) so I’ve had to get creative. These frozen saucy scallops with mushrooms are GOOD. The bag contains tiny scallops with mushrooms and peas in a creamy cheese sauce. I’ve made it both in a skillet on the stove, which takes around 10 minutes, and in a baking dish in the oven. Both ways worked great. While the scallops are cooking, I air fry a bag of frozen cauliflower gnocchi (400 degrees for 10 minutes, shaking halfway), then mix the gnocchi into the sauce.

Super easy, filling, and takes less than 15 minutes to get on the table.

So remember our pipe leak FOREVER ago? When they had to rip up half of the hardwood floors in our back hall and guest room? Well that was a huge ordeal. After searching and searching we realized that the floors in our house aren’t manufactured any longer. So then we were faced with either pulling up the flooring in the entire first level of our house and replacing it with something else, OR deciding to stop the wood floors at entrance to the laundry room/back hall and figure out another option for that area. We waffled back and forth on what to do and eventually decided to tile the laundry room and back hall and re-tile the hall bath to match. We’re also planning to carpet the guest room but haven’t gotten to that yet.

Anyway, they finally finished the tile this week! I was initially pretty bummed that we couldn’t match the floors, but now I love how the lighter tile brightened up the space. This was what it looked like post-leak:

Pretty, right?? Ugh.

This was mid-reno, standing in kitchen. Those doors on the right are for the washer/dryer, and on the left are the pantry and garage doors.

We never loved the tile in that hall bath, so we just got rid of it to maintain consistency between the hall tile and the bathroom. It was a loud process.

And now:

Standing at the garage door and facing down the hall (look at those sweet babies):

Next project? Replacing the brown counter in the hall bath. Seriously, it’s like if you give a mouse a cookie…

So that’s what’s been keeping us busy here! Have a great weekend!

Posted in September 2019 | Leave a comment

Park City Girls Trip

Well hello there! Sorry for the brief hiatus. I got back from Park City last Monday, but then our contractor was able to start work on some repairs earlier than anticipated- so life has been a little crazy for the past week! Luckily they are just about finished!

Park City was AMAZING. Utah was a bucket list state for me and it did not disappoint. Eight of us flew up Friday afternoon and two more joined on Saturday. We rented a VRBO on Main St, which ended up being perfect. We could walk to most shops and restaurants, and everything else was just a short Uber ride away.

The best friends, travel buddies and book clubbers you could hope for:

Our VRBO. It was located over a dress shop on Main St. and actually slept 14. I didn’t get any pics of the upstairs/bedrooms, but the whole thing was decorated so boho and cute. It had a great layout for hanging out, playing games, etc. And an awesome kitchen if you wanted to cook (we didn’t).

On Saturday AM we were up early to check out the balloon festival:

So much good food… we had drinks and apps at High West Distillery, picked up pizza from Vinto (the patate pizza was amazing!), had lunch at Harvest, dinners at Shabu and Handle, and breakfast at Five Seeds.

On Sunday we rode the chair lift halfway up the mountain at Deer Valley, then hiked the rest of the way up the mountain. It was about a 2.5 mile hike, gorgeous but definitely a challenge!! That altitude is no joke!

I couldn’t stop taking pics on the hike… the views just got better and better. We’re not in TX anymore:

Then we took the lift back to the midpoint for a celebratory beer/snacks at the Stein Erikson Lodge, which was pretty fabulous- both the drink and the hotel. We made it back downtown in time to check out the Park Silly Sunday Market (basically a huge open air market/festival), had dinner, then were up bright and early to head to the airport.

My sweet dad picked me up from the airport, and I got home with 20 minutes to spare before Monday afternoon carpool. Definitely a whirlwind trip but so much fun! Great friends, good food, lots of time spent outdoors in gorgeous weather- you can’t really ask for more.

Posted in September 2019 | Leave a comment

Easy Shrimp Alfredo

I made a Trader Joe’s trip today for like 5 dinner ingredients… and walked out with ALL THE FALL THINGS: ghost and bat chips, autumn harvest soup, apple cider cookies, pumpkin candle, pumpkin pasta sauce, apple scent diffuser. And then this lady next to me in line filled me in on a bunch of other stuff I need to try (pumpkin pecan oatmeal and pumpkin chocolate chip oatmeal cookies), so I may need to go back tomorrow…

Seriously. Most wonderful time of the year! We’ll just ignore the fact that it’s still 97 degrees here.

I’m actually heading to Park City, UT on Friday for a girls’ trip. The highs are in the 70′s and the lows are in the 40′s and I am SO EXCITED. Though I have no clue how to pack for that?

For dinner tonight I made a recipe I saw on Instagram (@traderjoes_smartypoints). It’s kind of an improvised shrimp alfredo:

You saute a bag of shrimp (Trader Joe’s Argentinian red shrimp is the best, always) in olive oil with 3 cloves of minced garlic. Remove shrimp from pan and set aside. The recipe didn’t call for this, but after removing the shrimp, I deglazed the pan with white wine then let it reduce by about half. Pour in 1 1/3 cups half and half. Heat through, then add 1/3 cup shaved parmesan. Once the parmesan has melted, taste the sauce and liberally season with salt and pepper. Add 1 cup frozen peas and heat through. Then add shrimp back to pan, along with 1 lb cooked pappardelle pasta. Serves 4.

It was really good! I’m usually more of a red sauce gal but this was a nice change. Brian loved it, too.

I have a ballet meeting tomorrow night so probably won’t be able to post again until next week… undoubtedly with lots of Utah pics! Have a great weekend!

Posted in September 2019, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Monday Catch Up

We had a pretty busy weekend- meaning the house was a DISASTER this morning. So I spent the day catching up on stuff around here: laundry, dishes, etc. Exciting! I did spend a lot of time in the kitchen this morning. We had brown bananas, so I baked yet another pan of the after school banana bread from the Magnolia Table cookbook. Isla goes crazy over it, and honestly anything I can get her to eat is a win.

I also had some ground turkey and a bunch of veggies that needed to be used, so I dragged out the Instant Pot and made a big batch of turkey vegetable soup. I love having this on hand for lunches during the week. I need something SUPER low maintenance to heat up, or I’m likely to grab takeout…

Browned the ground turkey in the IP, then added a diced onion, 3 celery stalks, 2 carrots and 3 cloves of garlic. Sauteed those for a few minutes, then added: 1 can diced tomatoes, 1 large can tomato sauce, 1 can garbanzo beans (drained and rinsed), a bag of frozen mixed veggies, a can of mushrooms, 2 Tbs Italian seasoning, and 32 oz chicken broth. Set to “soup” for 30 minutes, then allowed the pressure to naturally release. Seasoned with Worcestershire sauce, seasoned salt and pepper.

It’s super filling, and a good way to get in a bunch of vegetables and protein.

These are my latest Trader Joe’s addiction and they were perfect with the soup:

They are SO GOOD… if you like blue cheese.

Got my Book of the Month delivery today! This month I chose This Tender Land and then snagged Well Met as a “bonus” book.  Well Met sounds super cheesy (rom-com set at a Renaissance festival, ha), but after Three Women and The Whisper Network, I’m ready for something light and easy. Plus I was listening to one of my favorite podcasts, Forever 35, and they recommended as a fun read.

Off to put sheets on our bed. Worst chore ever… and I always, always forget until like 10:30pm. However, I did get this a-ma-zing linen wash for my birthday (ignore the ridiculous name- DIVA!) and it has made the job a lot more tolerable. It’s pricey so I only use it on our sheets, but it makes the entire room smell great. Random but thought I would share!

Posted in September 2019 | Leave a comment

Easy App

Happy Almost Friday! We’re looking at a busy Saturday (2 soccer games, Nutcracker prep class, birthday party…) but I’m hoping to get the kids caught up on sleep this weekend. The morning tantrums are killllllling me. Isla earned a spirit wear day, and this morning’s battle was why she could not tie up her shirt or tuck it into her leggings.

Last night was September book club at my friend Kate’s. This month we read The Whisper Network, which was kind of interesting because it was set in Dallas… but otherwise I thought it was just okay. Kate put together the most gorgeous cheese and dessert board for dinner, and I’m kicking myself for not snapping a pic.

I made a quick appetizer that I found on one of my favorite Instagram accounts, @cattlebaronincashmere. She posts the best gifts, recipes and memes. Love me a good meme.

This app was really easy. You spread apricot preserves on the bottom of a tray/plate, then place a log of goat cheese on top. Sprinkle with chopped pistachios, drizzle with honey, then top the whole thing with chopped basil. EASY! I got all the ingredients at Trader Joe’s.

It was really pretty and delicious. She recommends serving it with a sliced baguette or water crackers.

I didn’t go to bed until 1am, and then Isla woke me up at 3:30 to fix her sound machine. All that to say- my bed is sounding pretty good right now! Have a great weekend!

Posted in September 2019 | Leave a comment

Labor Day Weekend 2019

Happy Tuesday That Felt Like A Monday! Oof. We had a really fun weekend and it was tough getting back into the routine this AM. On Saturday morning we loaded up and headed down to Austin for the weekend. We stayed at the Omni Barton Creek, which is in the middle of the Hill Country and gorgeous!

Those elephants were part of an Indian wedding that went on all weekend- it was pretty fun to watch!

We didn’t get down there until around 4 on Saturday, so we explored the resort a little bit, grabbed dinner at County Line BBQ, then headed downtown to check out the bats. Every night at dusk (from April to October) 1.5 MILLION bats exit from under the bridge on Congress. I’d never seen them before, and I have to admit it was pretty amazing.

Waiting for the bats to emerge:

I tried to take a video but it was pretty dim… you can see some of them flying away here.

On Sunday we made a day trip to San Antonio. We checked out the Riverwalk, ate lunch at Mi Tierra (the wait almost killed us… we had two very hangry kids on our hands), then stopped by The Pearl District. Such a fun area! We didn’t have a ton of time (we promised the kids that they could swim when we got back to the hotel) but the kids loved The Twig bookstore and the food hall. And I loved that I could walk around with wine!

Once we made it back to Austin, the kids swam for a while and then we just grabbed dinner at the hotel.

We also snagged a s’mores kit for the kids:

On Monday we headed back to Dallas, with a quick stop on the way out of town to have lunch with the Mays! So much fun catching up, and the kids had a blast- as you can see from Isla’s cheeseball grin.

We left Austin around 2pm and didn’t get home until 6:45!!! On a good day it takes 3 hours, so that was a beating. Though obviously we did make a Buc-ee’s pit stop.

So there’s our LBD weekend recap!

Posted in September 2019 | 2 Comments