Smoky Chicken Salad

Just a quick, quick little post for you. I’ve been trying to get back in the morning run habit, but I think the hardest part is forcing myself to go to bed earlier. There are just too many things I would rather be doing- catching up on OITNB, reading, showering, actually having an adult conversation- y’know, the stuff that’s impossible to do during the day.

This morning Jack complained that his tummy felt “weird.” And then he didn’t really eat much lunch, but my mom came over and we decided to take the kids to Monster Yogurt. Well, he eats a few bites of yogurt, plays on the playground for a while, then walks out and throws up EVERYWHERE. On the floor, on his feet, on my pants, on the chair… it was awful. I ran him into the bathroom while my mom flagged down an employee about the mess (sorry, Monster Yogurt guy). Thankfully he seemed to feel better after that and hasn’t had any episodes since. Knock on wood.

Moving right along…

On Sunday I cooked and shredded a bunch of chicken breasts in the crock pot. I was flipping through my Seriously Delish cookbook on Monday and found a recipe for smoky chicken salad with pineapple, AND I had all of the ingredients on hand: shredded chicken, Greek yogurt, smoked paprika, cumin, pineapple, green onions and sliced almonds. So I whipped up a batch and had that for lunch, along with plantain chips:

I love chicken salad, and this one is particularly great because it uses Greek yogurt instead of mayo- so lower fat + more protein. And I promise that you won’t miss the mayo at all. I can’t find the recipe online, but you really should just go buy the cookbook. It’s one of my favorites.

Ok 10:30… can I squeeze in an episode of Orange??

Posted in July 2015 | Leave a comment

Summer Salad #2

I have to admit, I’m really digging this salads-for-dinner thing. First of all, it’s 100 degrees out and standing in front of the stove sounds like torture; and second, I can start dinner at 6:15 and have it on the table by 6:30. Can’t beat that.

Tonight I made a chopped salad of butter lettuce, blueberries, blue cheese, red onion, bacon and toasted pecans (inspired by this recipe):

It was SO GOOD. I guess I did have to use the stove to toast the pecans, but that’s no sweat and makes such a huge difference in the taste. Don’t skip that part. I topped mine with a combination of white balsamic vinegar and poppy seed dressing. Oh and the bacon was just that pre-cooked stuff from Trader Joe’s that you heat up in the microwave. I don’t know that I would want to eat it on its own, but that bacon is perfect for salads and sandwiches.

For protein I threw a couple of those tortilla-crusted tilapia filets from Costco into the oven and called it good.

So there’s our lazy dinner. Any other good summer salad recipes?? I’m on a roll here.

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Souvenirs

In case there was any doubt in your mind about how cool I am, check out what I hauled across 4 states this weekend:

I first spotted this Aidell’s bacon and pineapple chicken sausage on Instagram probably a year ago and have been trying to find it ever since. No luck at Costco, Central Market, WF, Target, anywhere. And then last week we were in some random little grocery store in Gulf Shores and they HAD IT. So obviously I had to buy it immediately, pack it in ice and drive it cross country. As one does.

Anyway, we had it for dinner tonight and it was totally worth the trouble. Now I’m just sad that I only bought one package.

Along with the blessed chicken sausage, I made this giant avocado strawberry spinach salad for dinner. Instead of blue cheese I used goat cheese crumbles, and instead of making my own poppy seed dressing, I bought the Panera brand in the refrigerated case at Super Target.

It was FAB. You know what would make it even more fabulous? Bacon. Or PORK BELLY. Geez. I can’t get pork belly out of my head since that amazing dinner at Lark on the Park last month. Anyway, the salad was delicious and I will definitely be making it again soon! I’m trying to get back on the wagon after all those vacation eats, so there will be lots of salads in our future… but at least summer is a good time for that.

Posted in July 2015 | 1 Comment

And We’re Back…

Well, we’re back. SAD. Vacation was so much fun and I’m just not quite ready to get back to reality (and all of that LAUNDRY). We drove back home on Saturday. The drive back is never as much fun as the drive to the beach, but we survived and made it home a little before 7:00 Saturday night.

A few last vacation pics:

We were really lazy this morning and spent the afternoon scrambling to get stuff done around the house. For dinner we tried out the Sunday all-day happy hour at Blue Sushi. It was so busy that we ended up sitting on couches at a tiny, low table in the bar area, but that actually worked out great for the kids. It was almost like a little picnic. The happy hour features $5 rolls and discounted apps & drinks. The kids split an order of edamame and calamari, and Brian and I shared shishito peppers (SO good) and sushi:

So yeah, back to reality. We came home to a stack of packages full of Jack’s school uniforms, school shoes, etc… and now I’m online ordering a backpack. How is it possible that school starts in less than a month??

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Vacation, Con’t.

Hey heyyy. So I’m definitely sunburned. Somehow I missed the tops of my legs with the sunscreen (SPF 50!!!) and now they’re all hot and itchy. Luckily the gift shop carries SunBum- my FAVE- so I’m slathering myself in aloe gel. Ouch.

We’ve been having fun! Our friends The Mays are here visiting from Austin and came to swim with us yesterday. It was so good to see them, even though Isla pooped in her swimsuit (not in the pool, thank GOD) and more than one kid dropped their popsicle into the pool:

For dinner last night we headed to Lulu’s. I know this is a Gulf Shores classic but it was our first visit. There was a craaaazy long wait- 2.5 hours- for the main restaurant, so we ended up grabbing dinner at the smaller grill inside. Only a 1 hour wait. Despite all the waiting, the kids had so much fun playing in the sand piles and the arcade.

Other than that we’ve just been hanging out at the beach, eating ice cream, swimming and relaxing.

Tonight was our night to make dinner, so I made Greek salad from How Sweet It Is, garlic bread, spaghetti and turkey meat sauce.

I can’t believe we only have 2 more full days!! Vacation is flying by…

Posted in July 2015, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Beach Trip 2015

So we made it to Gulf Shores! And all in one piece, too. As usual it was not the greatest drive (ughhhh Alabama traffic). We left at 3:45am Saturday and rolled into town close to 6 that night. The kids did pretty well, though, and we found a really cute restaurant along the way- Cotton Blues in Hattiesburg, MS. LOVED the modern farmhouse decor… and the lemon icebox pie.

The kids are having a blast. We’re staying in a big 4-bedroom condo with my parents, brother, sister-in-law and nephew. We’ve spent the past couple days hanging out on the beach, swimming, and getting lots of downtime while the kids nap (awesome). We also have 2 sets of Dallas friends staying in a beach house just down the road, so we headed over there for dinner last night. SO much fun- can I tell how much I love that we’re at the age where the kids can all go play while the adults get to visit?? It’s the best, even when it sounds like Wrestlemania upstairs.

So here are some beach pics from the past couple of days:

Apparently we’re having a game night tonight… and someone brought up Cards Against Humanity. Eeek, I may have stories for y’all tomorrow.

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True Food

The past couple days have just been a major push to get “stuff” done before our trip. Our house is basically just piles of clothes and gear that need to be packed up. It’s amazing- I feel like I started preparing so early this year, and yet it still feels like I have a LOT to do. It’s also amazing the amount of crap that comes with a week’s vacation for 4 people.

Today I took Jack for a haircut (no worries, just a trim) and then ran a few more errands. The kids have been going to bed wayyyy too late recently, and that was REALLY apparent in their behavior today. I mean, literally running circles around the kids shoe dept at Nordstrom? And I’m oscillating between, “You’re making bad choices, kids! Does someone need a consequence?” and complete crazy-mom, hissing, “STOPITRIGHTNOW, OR SO HELP ME GOD…” I’m not sure which is worse, looking like a total pushover or a psychopath, but it’s really hard to find a happy medium and apparently neither strategy is working too well anyway. Parenting is hard, dammit.

Luckily we made it home in time for a nice, long nap… and even better, I met sweet, hilarious friends for dinner tonight at True Food Kitchen. How have I never eaten here before?? It was delicious and I wanted to try pretty much everything on the menu. I started with some kind of blueberry-St. Germaine drink, which was fab. SO fab, in fact, that I forgot to snap a pic until that puppy was halfway drained:

I had the panang curry with chicken for my entree. It was spicy but loved the coconut-shellfish broth.

We also tried the kale dip and strawberry rhubarb crisp for dessert. All wonderful! I can’t wait to go back!

Tomorrow I have to go finish my root canal (don’t be jealous) and then get to really packing. I’m going to try to keep up a normal blog schedule while we’re gone but I’m not sure what the internet situation is in the condo, so bear with me!!

Posted in July 2015 | Leave a comment

Greek Salad, Round 2

Today my mom watched the kids while I had a hair appointment and got a few errands done. It was GREAT. Although one errand was swimsuit shopping, which was decidedly not great. Ugh. It was so nice to have a few solo hours nonetheless!

I’m on some weird Greek salad kick. Tonight I made this one from one of my favorite blogs, How Sweet It Is. It’s more of a marinated Greek salad, which is awesome. You chop up some grape tomatoes, cucumber, shallots, olives and feta and let those soak in this amazing homemade dressing. I only had time to let mine marinate for about 30 minutes, but we have tons leftover in the fridge and I’m excited to have it for lunch tomorrow once the veggies have soaked overnight. Yum.

We had ours over a bed of butter lettuce. On the side is some chicken picatta from Trader Joe’s refrigerated case- not too shabby.

How is it almost Wednesday already?? This week is flying!

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Monday the 13th?

So I’m beginning to think that Friday the 13th and Monday the 13th are interchangeable. Because tonight when I was seasoning my salad, the pepper grinder busted and pepper dumped all over my plate, the counter, the floor…

And THEN we were unloading groceries out of the car and somehow a LaCroix fell out, busted on the street directly behind me, and completely soaked the back of my pants and shirt. Awesome. Brian thought it was hilarious.

I’m definitely accident-prone, but this is a little crazy.

Anyway, we had a pretty productive day. My mom and I ran to Costco and she got to see what it’s like navigating that store with both kids. Holy geez. Isla literally dropped THREE samples of chicken. My mom kept going back to get her another one, then she’d immediately drop it again and freak out. It was fun. But they do have some awesome deals on fruit right now (cherries!!) and we made a pretty big dent in the vacation supply list.

Last week Brian picked up some fresh okra at a farmstand, and I kind of forgot about it until I opened the fridge tonight. We’re trying to use up everything in there before the trip, so I ended up slicing the okra into 1/3 inch pieces, tossing with olive oil & seasoned salt, and roasting in the oven at 425 for about 20 minutes.

They were so good! Even Jack liked them, and prior to tonight he’d only tried fried okra. They’re not too slimy either. Okra probs.

We also had tortilla-crusted tilapia (Costco standby that I always have in the freezer!) and a Greek-ish salad- butter lettuce, grape tomatoes, cucumber, feta and kalamatas.

Here’s the dressing I used on my salad. Brian won’t touch it with a 10 foot pole, thanks to the olives, but I LOVED it.

After dinner we took the kids for ice cream at Braum’s. Jack was telling me this hilarious (5 year old humor) joke about eating lunch on the beach (“It was a SANDY SANDWICH!!! Get it???“) and I had to snap a pic of that sweet smile. I just love him.

Posted in July 2015 | Leave a comment

To-Do’s

Hey heyyy. Well the official vacation countdown has begun! We leave for the beach on Saturday… and all I can think about are the million things I need to do beforehand. Laundry, packing, new tires (ugh), gathering activities for the car (suggestions?), arrangements for Chloe, clean out the car, etc. etc. etc. I’m a little overwhelmed, but still excited! Aaaaand ready to make a few thousand to-do lists.

This weekend was fun! We were surprisingly productive on Saturday- ordered kitchen chairs (we’ve been supplementing with 2 outdoor chairs… it’s classy) and a new couch. Also made a leeeetle bit of headway on the garage. Still can’t park in it but we’re getting there.

OH- Isla had her dance camp recital on Friday! Fair warning, this is going to be a very Isla-heavy post. Anyway, it was adorable and she did an amazing job. They got to wear their favorite princess dresses for the performance, which she loved, obviously.

With her biggest fan:

This afternoon Brian took Jack to a birthday party. I REALLY needed to get a pedicure before this trip, and a friend posted that a nearby nail salon had kids chairs. Sold! So while Jack was at the party, Isla and I headed to get our nails done. She loved it:

And apparently very relaxed…

She picked out her own polish (pink, purple & glitter, naturally) and was so proud to show it off.

So all in all a great weekend! And now to get on that to-do list…

Posted in July 2015 | 4 Comments