Bacon Meatballs

Yesterday we had zero after school activities so I actually had time to cook dinner! I bookmarked this recipe for spaghetti with bacon meatballs after someone on Instagram raved about how good it was, and I finally got around to trying it yesterday. Bacon in meatballs is genius, btw. You don’t even have to cook it ahead of time!  It only calls for 3 slices of bacon but it’s crazy how much flavor it adds.

Ingredients:

You pulse the onions, parsley, bacon and garlic in the food processor a few times, then combine the mixture with ground beef, bread crumbs, parmesan, egg and spices. Another plus to this recipe is that you don’t have to brown the meatballs! You just stick them under the broiler for 10 minutes or so.

Once the meatballs were cooked (I left them in a few extra minutes to brown the outside), I put them in a Dutch oven with 2 jars of my favorite marinara sauces and let it all simmer on low while I finished prepping dinner.

Served over Banza chickpea pasta. I usually LOVE this pasta, but I think this is the first time I’ve tried the spaghetti shape. It was a little too mushy, so from now on I’ll stick to the penne and rotini.

Super good, easy weeknight recipe! This would also be a good one to prep on Sunday. We have a lot leftover so I’m planning to freeze the extras to have on hand for one of our crazier nights.

Have a great weekend! I’m chaperoning the 2nd grade field trip to the Discovery Gardens/Butterfly House tomorrow- wish me luck!!

Posted in April 2018 | Leave a comment

Hot Tamale

Hey hey! So can you say you “cooked dinner” when all you did was boil water on the stove and assemble a bagged salad mix? Let’s say yes.

Our crazy Tuesday was even crazier today. Isla had observation day at ballet where they get their recital costumes and perform for the moms. Her teacher had a lot of info to fill us in on about the recital, so class ran late… so we were late to soccer practice right after. And then on top of that Jack had a boy scout meeting tonight. I handed Jack off to Brian at soccer and then Isla and I headed home for dinner.

Spotted these tamales in the freezer section of Trader Joe’s the other day:

(Hi, Chloe.)

I ended up steaming a few for dinner tonight. I just put about an inch of water in a pan, placed a steamer basket on top, loaded it up with about 6 (frozen) tamales, then closed the lid and brought the water to a boil. Boiled for about 15 minutes and they were good to go!

Also threw this new-to-me salad together:

The salad was just ok. The dressing has a pretty strong orange flavor that I didn’t love. I definitely prefer the other TJ’s broccoli and kale slaw salad (the one with the dried cherries and sliced almonds).

Dinner!

So not exactly the fanciest, home-cooked meal, but we didn’t go out to dinner so I’m going to call it a win! Oh and the tamales are pretty good! They’re a little small but the flavor was great.

Posted in April 2018 | Leave a comment

Dip x 2

I had such a fun weekend weekend hanging out with Jack! We went out for Tex-Mex on Friday, spent his birthday Toys R Us gift card on Saturday, caught a showing of Back to the Future at Alamo Drafthouse (he loved it) on Saturday night, and otherwise had a pretty chill weekend. He really is the most easygoing, happy kid ever. And in a couple of weeks Brian’s taking HIM on a camp out, so I’ll have a one-on-one weekend with Isla.

My cousin and her family were in from Colorado this weekend, so my aunt hosted a party for the extended family at her house. I ended up making 2 dips because I couldn’t decide which one sounded better.

First, lentil-bruschetta dip- aka, the easiest dip ever.

You just mix a package of cooked lentils, a tub of bruschetta mix and a container of feta (all from Trader Joe’s), then serve with pita chips.

Ok not the prettiest dip but it is SO GOOD.

Next up was a corn dip that I fondly remember from MOPS meetings. It’s a mixture of Mexican-style corn, green chiles, jalapenos, onions (I used green onions), mayo, sour cream and shredded cheddar.

I forgot to take a pic of the final product!! It’s really good served with Frito’s Scoops.

Posted in April 2018 | Leave a comment

Nutella Cookies

Last night was April book club and it was a LATE NIGHT. I didn’t get home until almost 1am... which is unheard of for me. Lately I’ve been in bed, asleep, by 11. It was so much fun though. We finally discussed The Great Alone. It feels like I read that book so long ago because I tore through it so quickly. It’s an amazing read and you should definitely check it out.

My stupid, ancient iPhone has been randomly deleting pics lately. Like I will take a photo (or a series of photos), then when I come back later to post it to the blog, it’s completely gone. Yesterday afternoon I made a batch of The BakerMama’s 4-ingredient flourless Nutella cookies and took a photo of the ingredients. GONE. But literally all it includes is: 1 cup of Nutella, 1 cup of quick oats, 1 egg, 1/2 cup chocolate chips. That’s it. We eat a lot of Nutella in this house so we actually had all of the ingredients on hand.

You process the oats, Nutella and egg in the blender for a few minutes, until it forms a thick batter (really thick- I was worried that they wouldn’t turn out). Then you stir in the chocolate chips, scoop onto a cookie sheet, and bake.

They turned out great! I would definitely say that they are best eaten sooner than later- they got a tiny bit dry and crumbly the longer they were out. But still really good! The kids went crazy over them (so much so that I had to make a batch of brownies to supplement my book club dessert plate!).

Brian and Isla have an Adventure Princess camp out this weekend, so it’s me and Jack here at home. We have a surprisingly open schedule- no games or birthday parties!- so I’m looking forward to some one on one time with my sweet boy.

Have a fun weekend!

Posted in April 2018 | Leave a comment

Slow Cooker Peanut Chicken

This afternoon we had ballet followed by soccer practice, so we didn’t get home until almost 7. We usually just phone it in and go out to eat after practice, but we’ve been eating out SO MUCH lately. It’s ridiculous. I’m attempting to assemble a few good slow cooker recipes to toss in the crock pot on Tuesday mornings so that dinner is basically done by the time we get home from practice. Last night while browsing Pinterest I stumbled across this recipe for slow cooker Thai peanut chicken. Peanut sauce is my favorite thing ever and this recipe looked crazy simple. Another bonus- we had almost all of the ingredients on hand! I just had to grab chicken today and we were good to go.

Ingredients (except peanut butter- how did I forget to include the most important part??):

I made a few alterations:

- Used chicken thighs instead of breasts, since I needed to cook it longer than the 4-5 hours indicated in the recipe.

- Added a splash of both fish sauce and sriracha to the sauce. If I wasn’t serving this to kids I would go even heavier on the sriracha.

Once we got home from soccer, I stirred in the cornstarch/water mixture and lime juice and let it thicken a little while I microwaved a bag of Trader Joe’s frozen jasmine rice (the best!). I also steamed some broccoli to serve alongside:

SO GOOD. I mean, it’s not the prettiest dish but the flavor is spot-on. I love how I can just keep all of the ingredients on hand, too. Definitely a keeper!

Posted in April 2018 | Leave a comment

Weekend Recap/B-day Dinner

Happy Monday! We had a full weekend. I had a moms’ margarita party (a sign & go party from our school auction) on Friday night, then we were up and at ‘em early Saturday morning for soccer. Jack’s game was at 9 and it went from 80 degrees on Friday to 37 degrees Saturday morning. It was miserable- freezing, windy, drizzling. BUT Jack scored a goal! So it was all worth it.

Jack had an ice skating party (his first time) on Saturday and then Isla had a Nerf battle party on Sunday. In case you haven’t noticed, we’re officially at the point in parenthood where our main job is chauffeuring our kids to their social engagements.

Tonight we met my family for dinner at Kenny’s Italian Grill to celebrate my brother’s birthday. I SWEAR I took a at least 2 pics of my dinner, but somehow they’re not on my phone…?? My mom did send me this photo of the whole family:

So fun! The kids just love getting to hang out with their cousins.

Ok that’s all I’ve got for tonight! Tomorrow is our crazy day so I’m trying to find a good slow cooker recipe to throw together in the morning. Any suggestions appreciated!

Posted in April 2018 | Leave a comment

Banana Baking

This afternoon Jack had a friend come over after school, which meant that I had to get creative in figuring how to keep little sister entertained. Jack is so good about playing with her- and vice versa, honestly- that she just assumes when he has a play date, she’s included too. Today, though, Jack and his buddy were hard at work on one of their comic books (they’ve written several) so I wanted to give them a little space.

SO. We painted, watched TV, then pulled out this Trader Joe’s banana bread mix that I grabbed on a whim yesterday:

The mix just calls for eggs, oil, and water… but the instructions say to feel free to add in any extras. So we added one mashed banana to the wet ingredients, then stirred in about 1/2 cup chopped pecans and 1/2 cup chocolate chips to the batter at the end.

It turned out great! I usually make banana bread from scratch (because it’s honestly just really easy) but this is great to have around in a pinch.

Afternoon coffee…

… with the chef:

Hope everyone has a fun weekend! We have a couple of sign and go parties from our auction (moms’ margarita party on Friday night and crawfish boil on Saturday), soccer game on Saturday, then birthday parties Saturday and Sunday. Busy busy!

Posted in April 2018 | Leave a comment

Hibernating

This week has me so turned around. First the kids were off of school basically Thurs- Monday. Then yesterday I had the most hellacious migraine ever and basically hibernated for the entire afternoon.

I worked out yesterday morning, then ran to Costco for a few things. While walking around Costco I started feeling really nauseous, so I paid for my stuff, hightailed it out of there, then threw up as soon as I walked in the door at home. I felt better for about 30 minutes, but then noticed an aura/blind spots developing in my field of vision- which always happens right before I get a bad migraine. Sure enough! I literally crawled into bed around 1:30 and didn’t get up until 7pm! I slept off and on but every time I woke up it felt like I had a nonstop brain freeze. Thank god Brian was able to pick up the kids from school, then take Isla to both ballet and soccer (Tuesday is a bad day for a migraine), AND feed them dinner. It’s scary because I really can’t drive once the visual stuff starts. There’s just a big hole in the center of my vision.

Luckily I get these pretty rarely, maybe once every year or two? Today I felt like I had a hangover- the headache was pretty much gone unless I sneezed/leaned over to pick something up, but I just felt really low energy and out of it. Ugh. Migraines are the worst and I feel terrible for anyone who has to deal with these on a more regular basis.

(Sorry, I’m really not trying to throw myself a pity party here! I actually think migraines are pretty fascinating. There’s not a lot of knowledge on exactly how/why they happen, but I think it’s crazy how they seem to follow the same trajectory with so many of the same symptoms, and how they can affect everything from vision to food cravings DAYS beforehand. Interesting stuff!)

Anyway, I actually managed to make dinner for the first time in forever! Unfortunately it wasn’t very good, womp womp. Meatloaf has sounded great lately, so today I found a recipe on Pinterest and gave it a shot. I won’t share the recipe because it was NOT good: too many raw onions, not enough seasoning. However, I saw someone (I think it was Hi, Sugarplum??) post on Instastories the other day about a meatloaf glaze and I gave it a shot tonight! All that it contained- or that I could recall at least- was equal parts ketchup, mustard and brown sugar.

Ignore the meatloaf part. The glaze was perfect! I loved the tang of the mustard and the little caramelized crunchiness from the brown sugar. I told Jack to just eat the top off his slice, ha. Oh well, the rest will work in sandwiches.

That’s all I’ve got! Yesterday was basically a black hole. Today I cleaned up the house, met Brian for a Wabi House lunch date (ramen!), made a gross dinner, then took the kids up to school for a STEM family night put on by the Perot. It was great- the teachers were manning experiments all over the auditorium, so the kids just went from table to table learning about renewable energy. Very cool.

Catch y’all tomorrow!

Posted in April 2018 | Leave a comment

Easter 2018

Happy Belated Easter! The kids were out of school today (extra inclement weather day), so it still felt like a holiday.

We had a great weekend! On Thursday Isla’s class had their Easter egg hunt and party, then both kids got out of school around noon. The *last* school egg hunt had me a little sad… once first grade hits, the parties are few and far between.

On Friday we went to the gym, made resurrection rolls, then grabbed dinner at Breadwinners at Northpark. We were at the mall stocking up on summer shoes for the kids, and it was so nice out that we just decided to stay and have dinner on the patio while the kids ran around in the courtyard. Gotta take advantage of our one month of outdoor dining weather.

Saturday = soccer, soccer, soccer. Isla was actually supposed to have 2 games but her afternoon game was cancelled. So she had one at 10 (and scored her first goal of the season!) and Jack had one at 2. They both won their games, and both teams are 2-0 right now. I snapped this at lunch between games- the lighting is not the greatest but I just love how they look at each other.

We also did a bunch of landscaping work on Saturday/Sunday because our yard was looking rough. And by “we” I mean Brian. I did plant some rosemary and basil, so we’ll see if I can actually keep those alive…

On Sunday we had our Easter bunny visit:

And after a quick breakfast of cinnamon rolls (Ro-Ro’s! The best!), bacon and fruit, we met my parents for 10am mass:

Then headed over to Zach and Laura’s house for lunch. The kids had a blast hunting eggs and playing with their cousins.

I think the boys were moving too fast for me, but you can see them hunting in the background…

Last night we just ordered pizza and finally got around to dyeing eggs. All in all a pretty great Easter! And now it’s back to the real world tomorrow. I’ll miss my little buddies!

Posted in April 2018 | Leave a comment

Wednesday Roast

It feels like Friday! Anyone else? The kids have a *few* hours of school tomorrow (really, what’s the point??) and then they’re off until Tuesday.

I told myself that once I got home from the gym today, I was going to spend all day cleaning the house… because it has gotten BAD since spring break. I didn’t even make it upstairs. Sigh. I did manage to get dinner in the crock pot though! So there’s that!

Another Mississippi Pot Roast:

I’m sure everyone has made this already. It’s all over Pinterest. But it’s just so easy and delicious- Jack, Brian and I love it. You brown the roast in a skillet, transfer the meat to the slow cooker, then sprinkle with ranch dressing mix and onion soup mix. Top with a stick of butter (I used unsalted, not the one in the pic) and about 10 peperoncini peppers. I also pour a little of the pepper brine into the crock pot. The recipe says to cook on low, but I was short on time so did 6 hours on high instead. Shred the meat, let it hang out in the gravy for few minutes, then serve!

If you’re not avoiding carbs, this would be GREAT over mashed potatoes or on slider buns. We had ours with a side of cauliflower puree and roasted asparagus:

Ok that’s all I’ve got. Oh, I need a new book! I finished The Great Alone last week and it was amazing. The best book I’ve read in a long, long time… so good that I feel like whatever I read next is going to be a big bummer because there’s no way it can measure up. I almost bought Educated at Costco yesterday but it actually sounded like a nonfiction version of what I just finished. Any recommendations??

Posted in March 2018 | 1 Comment