Dinner Break

I’ve talked about the retail popping up around our neighborhood and how thrilled I am to finally have some good stores and restaurants nearby. We’ve lived in Lake Highlands for ten years, and for the majority of that time we had NOTHING. Wal-Mart Grocery couldn’t even hang. Now in 5 minutes I can be at Sprouts, Trader Joe’s, Alamo Drafthouse, Tacodeli, Resident Taqueria, and soon my all-time fave, Taco Joint! I see a taco theme there…

The most recent addition is Unleavened, which has been a go-to for a while thanks to their free kids meals EVERY NIGHT. In case you don’t have kids: feeding them is stupid expensive. And particularly painful when you pay for the meal, only to have the kid refuse to eat anything but french fries 99.9% of the time. Not that I would know.

Anyway, we love Unleavened, but until recently the closest location was about 20 minutes away- not ideal for a quick weeknight dinner. But NOW there’s one less than 5 minutes from our house! We’ve been there twice since they opened a couple of weeks ago. Their kids’ meals are legit. Isla gets the peanut butter and fresh strawberry wrap (and actually eats it, which is the true miracle here). Jack likes the grilled cheese wrap, and they are both obsessed with the Zapp’s chips that come on the side. I’ve tried to push the fruit option but so far no one is biting.

I get my order on greens instead of a wrap. In the past I’ve always ordered the Deep South (bourbon glazed pork, kale, pickled onions, horseradish pickles) but last week I got the Havana- which is similar but contains ham and cheese along with the pork:

I took the kids there tonight and tried the Clubhouse, which is officially my new fave. The turkey is really good (in-house roasted, not cold chunks of deli turkey). I added pickled onions, too.

Anyway, go give it a try if you’re in the area! This isn’t sponsored or anything- I just love the restaurant and want it to do well… and maybe some of you get equally as excited about free kids meals?

This week is both dragging and flying by. The kids have a half day on Thursday and are off Friday and Monday, too- so trying to be productive before they’re home for four+ days.

Posted in March 2018 | Leave a comment

Date Night

Sorry it’s been a few days! Last night Brian and I had an impromptu date night to the new Alamo Drafthouse that is literally 2 minutes from our house. SO EXCITING. It was a soft opening with discounted tickets and food, so we saw Game Night and had dinner/drinks. We are thrilled to have this so close!

Attempted a selfie in front of the Alamo sign. Fail.

I am DYING from a leg workout at the gym on Tuesday. The cardio consisted of 22 minutes of jumping. Jump squats, jumping lunges, plyo, plyo, plyo… and then Wednesday we had another 22 minutes of squats on the TRX. No. Bueno. Since I can barely make it up and down our stairs without crying, I took the day off. Did a little shopping, met friends for lunch, then headed to the school. Every year our school does a big basketball tournament fundraiser, and they have a pep rally on Thursday afternoon to kick it off. Brian signed up for the dads’ 3-point shootout so I went up there to cheer him on.

Jack had a scouts meeting tonight, so I fed the kids a quick dinner and then threw some of these in the oven for us (because my kids are crazy and would never touch shrimp):

Costco find! I wish they were cheaper, but the shrimp are actually pretty big so I guess it’s a decent deal (I think the box was $26) for an occasional splurge. They’re stuffed with cream cheese and jalapenos and wrapped in bacon. Great for keto/low carb! I just baked them in the oven for about 22 minutes and they were perfect. Served with roasted asparagus (drizzled with olive oil and sprinkled with seasoned salt and parmesan):

I just started reading The Great Alone and literally cannot put it down. I’m only about halfway through it but now I really want to go to Alaska.

Have a great weekend!

Posted in March 2018 | Leave a comment

Spring Break Grand Finale

Well spring break is officially over. The kids went back to school today, which is probably a good thing since I hadn’t been to the grocery store in a week and our front hall was (is) covered in overnight bags full of dirty laundry. We headed back to the lake on Thursday, and it was pretty hard to head back on Sunday evening after a weekend full of sleeping in, playing outside and no schedule.

Jack spent a lot of time on his bike while we were at the lake and he’s getting really good! The next door neighbors have an awesome driveway so Jack and their grandson had a blast cruising around- Jack’s on the orange bike:

Isla and Chloe collaborated on some artwork on the deck:

On Saturday we took the kids to Yesterland Farm in Canton. They’re usually only open in the fall, but this year they are having a little Easter festival too. I’ve written about this place several times but it’s just SO CUTE. It’s like an old fashioned fair- kiddie rides, petting zoo, Easter egg hunt, and fun foods like fresh-squeezed lemonade and kettle corn. I know that Jack will outgrow it soon, but for now they love going.

I really wanted to take this cow home with us…

(Don’t worry, they weren’t giving it ice cream- the cones were full of animal feed.)

We were all pretty spent on Saturday night, so we had a low-key pizza & movie night… and a cheeseboard for us grownups (though little hands kept snagging our pickles and cheddar):

After eating anything and everything for a week, I’m back on the keto wagon. All good things must come to an end… sigh.

Posted in March 2018 | Leave a comment

Slime and Dough

I had this whole fun day planned with the kids. We were going to head to the store to pick up some crafting supplies, grab lunch at Pie Five (their favorite) for $3.14 “Pi Day,” then head home to make slime and homemade play-doh.

Well. Pie Five’s ovens were broken so the restaurant was CLOSED and apparently Target doesn’t even carry packets of Kool-Aid (star ingredient for the play-doh). Womp womp.

We improvised on lunch and made a Walmart run for Kool-Aid, so other than getting a much later start it all worked out in the end…

Glitter Slime! I found the recipe here. All you need is glitter glue, Borax and water:

I realize that we’re super late to the slime-making party, but it was so fun! Jack picked out silver and Isla chose pink. They squirted the glue and stirred, while I poured the water-Borax mixture.

Next up: Kool-Aid Play-Doh! This is really fun because you can change the color/scent based on what flavor kool-aid you use. Today we used Watermelon and Mixed Berry to make blue and pink.

I found the recipe on Instagram (@triedandtruemoms). In a saucepan you stir together: 1 cup water, 1 cup flour, 2 Tbs cream of tartar, 1 pack unsweetened kool-aid, 1/4 cup salt, 2 Tbs vegetable oil. Then you heat it over medium heat, stirring constantly. Once the dough forms a ball (3-5 minutes), remove from heat and dump the dough on a cutting board or baking sheet. When the dough is cool enough to handle, knead until well blended.

I actually think I was the most excited about the dough. Oh well. One of the recipes I saw on Pinterest said to add 2 packets of kool-aid to each batch, so next time I may try that to make it extra bright and smelly, ha.

So there’s our day! We made a huge mess. I ended up just tossing one of my wooden spoons because that glitter slime was NOT coming off.

Tomorrow we’re planning to head back to the lake to enjoy the end of spring break. Definitely getting used to this no-schedule thing!

Posted in March 2018 | Leave a comment

Spring Break 2018

Hey y’all! Happy spring break! We’ve definitely been enjoying the week so far. On Saturday we headed to the lake to meet up with my parents. Brian stayed until Sunday evening before heading back to Dallas for work, and the kids and I headed home late this afternoon. The weather ended up being gorgeous so we were able to spend lots of time outside. Love that so much- between all of the rain we’ve had lately and school stuff, the kids were so happy to be able to get out and run.

On Saturday night we had dinner at The Boathouse. It’s a cute restaurant on Lake Athens. The food was great AND they have a whole play area in the back with yard games.

Jumping rope with Gia…

On Sunday we took the kids to the Caldwell Zoo in Tyler. It’s the best little zoo! We actually went for the first time last spring break, and the kids loved it so much that we decided to go back again this year. We only had about 2 hours between the time we arrived and when the zoo closed- but that was honestly the perfect amount of time to see everything.

Favorite part, always, is the parakeet room. I’m not a bird fan AT ALL but these were¬† pretty cute. The kids got the birds to hop up on their little feeding sticks:

The kids, Brian and my dad did a little evening fishing on Sunday while we cooked dinner. The sunset was so pretty!

My parents just got a new golf cart and the kids were stoked. I’m stoked because it has seats in the back, so I’m not having to haul a 40 lb kid on my lap the entire time. Jack got to drive it a little so he was feeling like big stuff.

The most exciting part of our stay was getting Jack riding a 2-wheeler! He honestly just hasn’t been that interested in riding a bike, but my dad worked with him (and Isla, who’s actually pretty close herself) yesterday and today and he’s getting pretty good! Brian is taking Friday off, so we’re planning to head back down there Thursday-Sunday. Hoping to get more practice in and have him riding on his own by the end of the weekend.

So that’s how our spring break is going so far!

Posted in March 2018 | Leave a comment

It’s Cookie Time…

Hey! Sorry it’s been quiet over here this week! Between soccer practice starting again, a school spirit night at Chipotle, and my favorite night of the month- book club!- we actually haven’t been home much. Bring on spring break…

Last night was book club, and this month’s pick was The Last Mrs. Parrish. I read this one SO FAST. It reminded me a lot of Gone Girl. It’s not award-winning writing or anything, but it’s definitely entertaining. Great spring break/beach read!

I actually had the time to bake something to bring to book club yesterday so I finally tried out Alison Roman’s salted butter and chocolate chunk shortbread cookies. They were fantastic!

So. Much. Butter… 2 1/4 sticks:

You make the dough, then roll into 2 logs and refrigerate for a couple of hours. Once the dough is chilled, you brush it with an egg wash and then roll in this coarse sugar:

I found the sugar at Wal-Mart and they only had that huge-ass container. Guess I’ll be making these cookies a few more times.

Then you slice into rounds, sprinkle with sea salt and bake.

SO GOOD. The dough is not overly sweet, but I love the sugar crunch on the outside. I may have had one for breakfast this morning.

Happy almost spring break! We’re planning to take the kids to the lake for part of the week. I think I may be more excited than they are… no homework! No washing uniforms! No alarms! Heaven! You know you’ve reached a new phase of parenthood when it’s actually easier to have your kids at home than to do the whole school/activity routine.

Have a great weekend!

Posted in March 2017 | Leave a comment

Keto Granola

One week ’til Spring Break!! I am pumped. The weather has been gorgeous here the past couple of days (so nice that I’ve skipped the gym in favor of running outside, which is SO MUCH BETTER… though right now I can barely walk and feel like I’m 80). I’m ready for a week of no homework, no practices, no early bedtimes. So close.

I’ve been doing the bulletproof coffee routine for breakfast during the week, which is fine because it’s easy and I’m not a huge breakfast fan. But this morning I was HUNGRY and wanted to eat something before heading out for a run. Conveniently, last night I made a batch of keto granola that I found on Bon Appeketo’s (@bon.appeketo) Instagram page. I wish I could link you to a website, but I just took screenshots- so if you’re interested in the exact recipe, it’s on her IG page.

The granola is a mixture of sliced almonds, chopped pecans, sunflower kernels, whole flax seeds, shredded coconut (the recipe said sweetened but I only had unsweetened on hand and it was fine), Swerve (keto-friendly sweetener), butter, egg whites and vanilla. You mix it all together and bake for about 15 minutes. It smells SO GOOD while it’s in the oven.

I had it for breakfast this morning with some raspberries and unsweetened vanilla almond milk:

Perfect! And I kept grabbing handfuls of that granola all day. It’s really good- even Isla liked it, which is saying a LOT.

Ok, dragging my sad old bones to bed. Did I mention it’s 9pm?? So lame.

Posted in March 2018 | Leave a comment

Snack Plate and Meatball Bake

I’m sort of experimenting with intermittent fasting right now where I fast for 16 hours and eat for 8. It’s really not that crazy- I (try to) stop eating after dinner, so around 7 or 8, and then I don’t have another meal until 12 or 1 the next day. So basically just skipping breakfast, though I do drink a bulletproof coffee in the morning (it doesn’t affect insulin levels so doesn’t technically break the fast).¬† My bulletproof version contains coffee, MCT oil, Kerrygold butter, Vital Proteins Collagen Peptides and a few tablespoons of Nutpods- I just whir it all in the blender for a few seconds and it is DELICIOUS. There are tons of articles about the benefits of intermittent fasting. I recommend googling it if you’re curious because it’s pretty fascinating.

ANYWAY. I could talk all day about that but really I just wanted to show you my new favorite afternoon mini meal/snack, because I’m usually ready for one when we get home from school pickup. On one of the kids’ tiny plates, because I’m fancy.

Trader Joe’s FTW, as usual. A few truffle marcona almonds, which are ridiculously good but have a STRONG truffle flavor. Then a little Unexpected Cheddar, which Jack and I fight over. If you’ve never tried it, it tastes like cross between cheddar cheese and parmesan. Also cornichons (LOVE) and today I had a few slices of sausage to round it out. Snack plates 4 life.

I picked up a package of organic basil and garlic chicken meatballs at Costco the other day. Isla requested pasta for dinner tonight, so I came up with a little low-carb meatball bake to go with it.


I only used one package of the meatballs (they come with two 1-lb packages). Here’s the nutrition info, if you’re interested. Pretty clean ingredients!

I just sprayed a baking dish with cooking spray, then mixed the drained mushrooms and Rao’s marinara sauce in a big bowl. Spread a layer of sauce in the baking dish, added the meatballs, topped with more sauce, covered with mozzarella and a sprinkle of parmesan (and a little Italian seasoning), then baked at 350 for about 20-25 minutes.

Brian and I had ours over low carb noodles (Healthy Noodle brand, also from Costco). The meatballs were actually pretty good! And you can’t go wrong with Rao’s. Lots of leftovers for lunch tomorrow, too.

Brian’s bowling with friends tonight so I need to go catch up on trash TV before he gets home. Have a great weekend!

Posted in March 2018 | Leave a comment

Field Trips and Fail Safe Chicken

Today I went to the gym for the first time in over a week (thanks to Isla’s bout with the flu), and the cardio just happened to be 22 minutes of burpees. TWENTY TWO MINUTES. Honestly, can you think of anything worse? There is literally no way to make that fun. Sometimes I love my gym, and then sometimes I’m like, “Exactly why am I paying for this BS?”

Anyway. The rest of the day was much better- it could really only go up from there. I met my parents and Aunt for lunch at Kenny’s Woodfire Grill, which was delicious. I had grilled chicken with mushrooms, sun-dried tomatoes, artichoke hearts, walnuts, goat cheese and this amazing white wine cream sauce. SO GOOD. Also a popover the size of my face. Then picked the kids up from school, took Isla to ballet, and finally home for an early dinner/homework.

I threw together dinner in the slow cooker after the gym this morning: pesto-ranch chicken thighs. I’ve made this so many times before and it literally takes 2 minutes to prep. Put the thighs in the bottom of the slow cooker, spread pesto over the top, sprinkle with ranch seasoning, pour on chicken broth, cook on low 6 hours. That’s it.

We had it with mashed cauliflower (mashed potatoes would be better, obviously), and garlic-artichoke stuffed mushrooms that I picked up at Sprouts this morning.

Ok not the prettiest meal (especially with my terrible kitchen lighting) but tastes great AND you really can’t get any easier.

Tomorrow I may or may not be chaperoning the kindergarten field trip. I had to break the news to Isla this afternoon, because last week she was literally thrilled to find out that I was not signed up for this one. When I told her today that I might have to go (depending on if another parent completes the required safe environment training tonight), she goes, “Ok fine, but you are NOT sitting with me.”

OMG. Five going on 15??

Posted in February 2018 | Leave a comment

Spring Soccer

Heyyyy! Soccer practice officially started back today. It’s been pouring here lately so after 2 cancelled practices in a row, Jack’s coaches moved his to an indoor soccer facility today. I love soccer season, but with both kids playing (plus ballet, scouts, etc.) it makes for a crazy week! Luckily we finished homework right after school- buuuuut we didn’t sit down to dinner until almost 8.

I had to run to Costco today and ended up grabbing an easy dinner: Caesar salad and rotisserie chicken. My mom gave us a quiche this weekend, so I ended up eating that too (just avoided the crust). Jack had pesto pasta with chicken and Isla had mac & cheese- because God forbid she actually eat what the rest of us are having. Who doesn’t like rotisserie chicken??

Sorry, most boring dinner ever but we’re just in that season!

This weekend was fun! We took the kids out for sushi on Friday night, then Saturday night my parents watched the kids while we went to our school auction. Brian and I were both a little worse for wear on Sunday- can’t hang like we used to.

Hoping to head to bed early tonight like the mid-30′s mom that I am. Catch y’all tomorrow!

Posted in February 2018 | Leave a comment