Impulse Buy

Today I was wandering around Bed Bath & Beyond while the kids were at school (my life is so glam) when I stumbled across this vegetable spiralizer… and immediately knew that it HAD TO BE MINE.

The whole veggie-as-noodle concept has intrigued me for a while, but then I saw a thread on Facebook yesterday with a bunch of recipes for spiralized vegetables. Is that even a word? I say yes.

I tried it out tonight with zucchini and squash:

So yeah… this thing is awesome. That whole bowl took about 2 minutes to shred.

The recipe I tried tonight was an Asian Zucchini and Yellow Squash Salad. You just shred 2 zucchini and 2 squash, then in a separate bowl, whisk together:

  • 3 Tbs soy sauce (I added a little more)
  • 2 Tbs seasoned rice wine vinegar (I did more like 4 Tbs)
  • 1 Tbs toasted sesame oil
  • 1/2 tsp sugar
  • 1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes

I kind of tasted and played around with the dressing, adding more vinegar and sugar. Once it’s to your liking, just toss the dressing with the “noodles” and then allow to marinate for a few minutes. The original recipe also called for toasted sesame seeds, buuuuut I’m lazy and couldn’t find them in our disaster of a spice rack.

SO GOOD. It tastes a lot like regular sesame noodles and would be great with green onions, toasted almonds and chicken thrown in.

Hope everyone has a wonderful Easter weekend! We have egg hunts #3-5 between now and Sunday. It’ll be a miracle if my children still have teeth after this weekend.

Posted in April 2014 | Leave a comment

Hoppy Easter

Hey! No food pics today- we were on the go most of the day and tonight we had dinner out with the in-laws. BUT we did take the kids today to get portraits taken with bunnies at Northpark. We did it with Jack when he was a baby (like 4 months old):

And now with Isla… we missed a few years in there but hopefully I can continue the tradition from now on. The kids loooooooooved the bunnies. At first Isla was like, “Don’t even think about putting that thing in my lap!”- but then Jack got his bunny and she wanted one, too.

How precious are they?? I’m not biased at all.

Both kids have Easter egg hunts at school tomorrow so I’m off to stuff eggs with “age-appropriate” fillings. Not the easiest task for the under-2 crowd.

Posted in April 2014 | 2 Comments

TV Time

I have been so down on TV lately. Every night I get all excited to throw on my stretchy pants (let’s be honest… I wear those all day) and cuddle up on the couch, but then everything on TV suuuuuuuucks so I just watch a Friends rerun and go to bed. I was borderline obsessed with My 600-lb Life, however now they’re just showing “supersized” (really?) versions of the original episodes. Womp. But then LAST night I noticed that 16 & Pregnant is back on!!! What! This makes me so happy.

And yes. I realize how sad that was.

I had big plans to go to Costco today, but then my car tune-up ended up taking foreverrrrr and I ran out of time, which left me scrambling for something to make for dinner. My mother-in-law was still staying with us, so like last night it need to be low-carb. I ran into Target to look for something and then remembered my old fave slow cooker pork tenderloin. I always alter the recipe a little to make it more of a “meal”… here’s the rundown:

In the crockpot, layer:

  • 1 yellow onion, sliced
  • 1 bag baby carrots
  • 2 small pork tenderloins
  • 2 packages mushrooms

Then smear some minced garlic over the tenderloins. After that, sprinkle on a packet of dry onion soup mix, then pour in a cup of red wine, 3 Tbs soy sauce and 1 cup chicken broth. Cook on high for 4 hours, then remove the pork and slice. Serve over veggies with the “gravy” from the slow cooker. This is awesome over mashed potatoes, but we had ours with mashed cauliflower:

Not the most colorful meal ever, but there are a lot of veggies in there… and it’s good, I swear!

Off to pour myself a big glass of wine and claim my spot on the couch, although right now Brian and Chloe are stretched out across the whole thing and snoring away. Not cool, guys. Not cool.

Posted in April 2014 | 3 Comments

A Day In The Life

Today felt like Sunday because Brian actually took the day off of work. His mom is in town so she and Brian took the kids to the Walnut Hill rec center for open gym playtime while I hit up my boot camp class at the Y. After that we all grabbed lunch and then ran to Central Market for a few things. As we were walking back to the car, Brian mentioned how fun it was to get a glimpse at what our weekly routine is like. Um, NO. There are usually not THREE people manning the kids at the grocery store, and even today he was at the meat counter and didn’t witness me having to physically remove Isla from the cart for repeatedly slapping Jack in the face.

Anyhoo, it actually was a fun day, besides the whole toddler assault thing. Brian’s mom is eating low-carb right now so Brian ended up grilling some chipotle-lime chicken kabobs (from Central Market), chicken sausage and turkey dogs.

For the sides I made a batch of BBQ beans & kale and some roasted broccoli.

I also grabbed a container of the kale-cranberry-pepita salad from the CM deli case. Have I mentioned how obsessed I am with this salad? It’s ridiculous.

So yeah, a very green meal. Also a very summery meal, despite the fact that it was in the low 50′s here today. Boooooo.

Posted in April 2014 | 1 Comment

Mommy’s Little Helper

I feel like I always start Sunday night posts with, “We had such a busy weekend!”

But honestly, they’re ALL busy. Especially now that the weather is warming up. We have soccer every Saturday, plus birthday parties and (this weekend) Easter activities. On Friday we had MOPS and our speaker talked about getting organized. My closet has been such a crap hole for months- like to the point that I couldn’t even really walk inside. Embarrassing. So Friday afternoon I was all motivated to just jump in and tackle it… but then of course as soon as I drag everything out and get started, guess who wakes up from her nap??

Oh so helpful. Or not. But the good news is that the closet is like 90% clean! I just need to go through some shoes and then figure out a storage system for some annoyingly-sized built in shelves. I took a giant box to Goodwill… ahhhh, such a good feeling!

On Saturday we took the kids to a friend’s church for an Easter egg hunt after Jack’s soccer game. Obviously they both loved hunting for eggs, but Isla got really into the crafts, too. The girl is sticker obsessed!!

Jack boycotted all activities. No face painting, no crafting, no pictures. It’s a fun phase we’re in.

On Saturday night my parents babysat so that Brian and I could head to our area Exchange Club auction with friends. Two weekends of date nights- what! Despite Uber-ing to the wrong hotel at first (oops), we had a blast!! Possibly too much fun, as you can probably tell from the pic.

Yikes. More wine = more selfies… with props.

Hope everyone had a fun weekend!

Posted in April 2014 | Leave a comment

Sneaky Pasta

Our neighborhood elementary school hosts 3 “classes” per year so that pre-K students canĀ  get a feel for the BIG school before they start kindergarten. It’s very sweet, and though we’re still not sure where we plan to send the kids to school, it’s really helpful to get to get that small glimpse at the classrooms, teachers, students, etc. The subjects today were science and PE. The science teacher did a little experiment with them about spiders, and after that they got to go into the gym and try out different “stations”… can you guess Jack’s favorite?

They also played games with the parachute. Who doesn’t love the parachute??? Not going to lie, I kind of wanted to crawl under it.

Dinner tonight was one of those “clean out the fridge/pantry” meals:

I sauteed a bag of broccoli slaw in a Tbs of olive oil until soft:

Next I then threw in some chopped basil, 2 garlic cloves, 2 jars of marinara, approximately 1/4 cup red wine and some mushrooms and let the sauce simmer for about 30 minutes. Served over whole wheat pasta and topped with TJ’s pesto chicken sausage:

That Trader Joe’s tomato-basil marinara is SO good! A new fave for sure. The Giada stuff (from Target) is pretty good, too, but noticeably sweeter.

So- hallelujah!- Isla actually scarfed down the pasta WITH sauce. I gave her some noodles with just butter and some with the sauce and she definitely preferred the sauce. Sooooo I managed to sneak a few veggies in her tonight. Progress!

Hope everyone has a great weekend!

Posted in April 2014 | Leave a comment

Gooey Cookie Bars

It’s so late and I just got back from book club (we picked The Fault in Our Stars this month, which I read a year or so ago and loved). Before I headed to bed I wanted to share this crazy easy dessert with you. I found it on Pinterest, of course: Picky Palate’s Gooey Cookies and Cream Double Chocolate Cake Bars.

Ingredients: Devil’s food cake mix, stick of butter, egg, Oreos, can of sweetened condensed milk and 1 1/2 cups chocolate chips.

First you combine the cake mix, egg and butter. The recipe said to use your hands, but I just threw it all in the stand mixer and let it run until the mix formed a dough that was clunking around. That sounds weird but you’ll see what I mean.

Then you press the dough into the bottom of a 9×13 pan:

Next you top with crushed Oreos, then pour the sweetened condensed milk over that. Finally top with the chocolate chips.

Then throw it all in the oven for about 25 minutes. Allow to cool then cut into bars.

GOOOOOOOD. So, so very rich. These were ridiculously easy to make, which is always a nice bonus.

It’s after 11 so I’m off to bed! But first look at my sweet Squish hanging out in the backyard this afternoon:

She’s hilarious. Shoes off, just sipping on her Sonic drink.

Posted in April 2014 | Leave a comment

I Heart Pho

I got my butt kicked at the gym late this afternoon and Brian was scheduled to play soccer tonight, so we made dinner easier on ourselves and headed to I Love Pho (or I Heart Pho?) instead of cooking. I DO heart pho:

That place is so quiet that I almost hate taking the kids, but they actually eat there. Isla basically slathered her face in peanut sauce… and if they get rowdy there are always chopsticks to play with and lollipops to eat.

I’ve got a little baking project going on tonight, so if it doesn’t totally suck then I’ll post about it tomorrow. Night!

Posted in April 2014 | Leave a comment

Quick Healthy Dinner

Tonight’s meal was one of those that would have taken me basically 10 minutes of prep, were it not for the fact that I have to make 2 dinners. Geez these KIDS. I’m at the point now where I just make them one of the 5 things they’ll actually eat, which sucks but at least then we’re not spending the entire meal butting heads. I just keep telling myself that it’s a temporary solution and at some point they’ll grown out of the picky toddler phase. Yes?

Anyway. Whilst perusing Costco last week I stumbled across this bag of frozen quinoa & kale. Inside the “big” bag are smaller microwave steam bags that each serve 2.

Tonight Brian and I split a bag, along with roasted broccoli and tortilla-crusted tilapia (also Costco):

Basically the meal prep involved baking the fish, zapping the quinoa and then tossing the broccoli with coconut oil & salt and roasting it in the oven (then topping with lemon juice and parm). Easy. The quinoa was really good, too! I think it would be great mixed with diced chicken and feta. It’s already seasoned though I did add a little more S&P. Not too shabby.

Yea for easy Monday dinners!

Posted in April 2014 | Leave a comment

Party Time

BUSY weekend! On Friday morning our early childhood PTA had their annual home tour, so my mom and I dropped the kids off at the nursery and headed to check out the houses. Good lord, I should just never go on home tours because they just make me want to go home and basically throw out all of our furniture. Seriously. One of the homes had a playhouse in the backyard that was decorated better than my house. Oh well, it’s fun to gather ideas…

On Friday night the kids had a sitter, which I was nervous about because we’ve never really needed to hire a babysitter (thanks to Gia & Baba). Well, it went fabulously and Jack has already requested that she come back and play! Brian and I headed to Bryan Street Tavern for my brother Zach’s 30th birthday party:

Mi familia. Whatcha looking at, mom?

Lots of fun. Apparently too much fun for the men in my family because they were all dragging the next day. Jack had soccer at 9:15 and it was definitely an EARLY morning.

He’s doing great with soccer this year! Like head and shoulders above last fall, when all he wanted to do was climb on the bleachers. He’s also thrilled that sweet Luna is on his team this season. Those two are adorable. Jack’s already announced that he’s planning to marry her (we explained that he has to ask her dad first).

I mean? Precious.

On Saturday night we headed to Park Tavern for our PTA auction. Sadly we were outbid on everything, but it was still fun to have a night out with our playgroup friends WITHOUT the kids.

And then finally tonight we had Zach’s family birthday dinner at Dodie’s. Pretty crazy weekend, eh? I’m wiped. This old lady can’t hang with the cool kids anymore.

Hope everyone had a fun weekend!

Posted in April 2014 | 1 Comment