ALL THE COSTUMES

Happy (late) Halloween! It was pretty iffy around here until about 7 last night- as in POURING rain. I honestly wasn’t sure if we would be able to make it out to trick or treat. But then the storms finally moved on and we had such a fun Halloween! My parents came over to hand out candy, and we took the kids to trick or treat around the neighborhood. Then we switched places after a few blocks and let them take the kids out while we handed out candy.

Wonder Woman and hot dog… and our skeleton friend that I really don’t want to pack away!

Soooo our school does a big All Saints Day parade for 1st, 2nd and 3rd graders on November 1st. It’s cute but (let’s be honest) also kind of a beating the day after Halloween. This is the one and only year I’ll have both kids in saint costumes! Isla was Saint Joan of Arc and Jack was Saint Francis of Assisi (again).

I was a little concerned that Isla would stab someone with that flag, but no casualties from St. Joan! She was really annoyed that I wouldn’t let her bring a sword.

Brian’s just getting over some kind of cold virus and now I feel like I might be getting it. Heading to bed early tonight… have a great weekend!

Posted in November 2018 | Leave a comment

A Little of This, A Little of That

Halloween is almost heeeere! Today I grabbed a couple of things at Trader Joe’s (actually 6 huge packages of organic celery like a psychopath because I’m still on the juice train), and the credit card machine played creepy Halloween organ music when it was time to take out your card! I almost lost it. Well played, TJ’s.

I cleaned out the fridge today and found this shoved in the back: brussels sprout and caramelized onion ravioli. It needed to be used ASAP (as in 3 days ago, whoops), so for lunch I cooked that and topped it with a little Rao’s Arrabiata sauce- aka, the best pasta sauce ever.

Not bad! The raviolis are a little delicate, so be careful when draining them. A few of mine exploded in the colander. You can definitely taste the brussels sprouts! This would have been great with browned butter or alfredo sauce as well.

ALSO. My newest snack obsession.

Have you tried this hummus?? It was on sale at Sprouts last week so I grabbed a pack. I love that it’s only 100 calories, and the individual servings are nice (because I tend to go crazy on a tub of hummus). It’s sweet, spicy, and goes great with red pepper strips! I’ve seen it at Super Target, too.

Speaking of SWEET, check out this guy…

Catch y’all tomorrow!

Posted in October 2018 | 2 Comments

Taco Tuesday

So it’s raining again today, BUT the rest of the week has been gorgeous and Isla actually had soccer practice yesterday! It’s unclear as to whether or not she’ll have any more games (after playing not-a-one all season), but I’m still glad she was able to get out and kick the ball around a little.

I threw together an easy crock pot meal so that dinner would be ready when we got home from practice. It’s actually an Instant Pot recipe that I found on the Glutensnob Instagram account, but I adapted it for the slow cooker and it worked great. Also, it’s entirely possible that I’ve posted this before, but my brain is pretty fried right now!!

Ingredients:

  • 4 chicken breasts (I used 3 large breasts and it was the perfect amount)
  • 1 can diced tomatoes
  • 1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 can fire roasted corn, drained
  • 1 can diced green chiles
  • 3 Tbs taco seasoning
  • 1 block cream cheese (I used reduced fat)
  • juice of 2 limes

Place the chicken breasts at the bottom of the crock pot, then add tomatoes, beans, corn, green chiles and taco seasoning. Cut the cream cheese into cubes and place on top. Cover and cook on high for 4 hours. Remove chicken from the crock pot and shred with 2 forks. Stir the cream cheese into the liquid until smooth, then return chicken to crock pot and stir to combine. Squeeze lime juice over the top, stir and serve.

We had ours on tostadas with cheese and avocado, but you could make tacos with this too.

I mean, not the most gourmet meal but it does the trick on busy soccer nights!

Posted in October 2018, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Weekend Recap

Hey hey! Well the rain has officially stopped (until Wednesday lol) and we finally had a soccer practice tonight! The sky was showing off, too:

Fall weekends are so fun. On Friday night we took the kids to a birthday party where everyone wore their Halloween costumes. This year we’re Wonder Woman… and a hot dog.

Jack lasted all of 5 minutes in that thing before he declared it too hot/uncomfortable and ditched it for the rest of the evening. Hopefully it’ll be cooler on Halloween!

Both kids had birthday parties on Saturday, and Isla passed out on the way home and slept for THREE hours. The rest of the weekend was pretty low-key. We met my parents for brunch on Sunday, then my mom and I shopped at a local fall market/craft fair Sunday afternoon. Jack had been begging to see the 2nd Harry Potter movie, so we ordered pizza Sunday evening, popped popcorn and had a movie night. It’s so fun that they’re getting to the ages where they actually enjoy some of our favorite movies.

That’s all I’ve got! We had a school spirit night at our local burger joint, so no cooking tonight!

Posted in October 2018 | Leave a comment

Friday Eve

Y’ALL. I am ready for the weekend! This week was super heavy in the homework & tests department and Mama is tired. On an even sadder note, it’s FIRST grade that’s killing me. Between Wednesday and Friday, Isla had a timed math test, a test on writing out her address and phone number (which she previously didn’t even know, oops), a spelling test and a reading test. It was a lot.

Anyway. New Trader Joe’s find! These brussels sprouts saute kits:

The had a few kits at TJ’s (green bean and maybe one other…?) but the lemon vinaigrette and toasted hazelnuts sold me on this one. You should toast the hazelnuts in a skillet, set them aside, saut√© the shredded brussels in olive oil, then stir in the vinaigrette and top with shaved parm and the toasted hazelnuts

We had it with rotisserie chicken (Costco, obviously) and roasted rainbow potatoes.

Not the most vibrant meal, but it was good! I liked the brussels sprouts. Not LOVED, but they were a nice little change from our usual roasted sprouts. Trying to get in those veggies. The potatoes were awesome. I just bought a bag of rainbow baby potatoes from Sprouts, quartered them, tossed in olive oil and seasoned liberally (sea salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder), then roasted for 30 minutes or so.

Have a great weekend! We have three birthday parties, but no soccer thanks to allllllll the rain. Did I mention our new toy? We randomly bought an air popper last weekend and the kids are obsessed.

So much tastier/healthier than microwave popcorn! Especially when we toss it in a crap ton of melted butter and salt! Ha, we choose our battles.

Posted in October 2018 | Leave a comment

Celery Juice and Chili

Well it’s officially COLD here in Dallas! I love it. You know I have all the fall candles burning, fire going in the fireplace, Ugg slippers on… and chili on the stove, obviously. Judging from Facebook I think everyone in Dallas made chili last night. Unfortunately along with the

I fell back on my favorite pumpkin turkey chili recipe from Love and Olive Oil. Sometimes I add a bottle of beer instead of chicken broth, but this time I pretty much stuck to the recipe. I did end up using 2 cups of the broth instead of one (it was super thick with just one cup). I also seasoned with a little Worcestershire and Liquid Smoke at the end.

So many veggies!! Onion, red pepper, sweet potato, cherry tomatoes, diced tomatoes and pumpkin puree:

Served with Siete lime tortilla chips:

Anyone else on the celery juice train? I’m reading Thyroid Healing and celery juice is one of the main foods he recommends adding to your diet (16oz first thing in the AM). This morning was my first go at it…

Actually better than I thought it would be! I’m not sure if this will actually “do” anything, but it never hurts to add more veggies, right? I’ll keep you posted (and let me know if you’ve tried it!).

Posted in October 2018 | Leave a comment

State Fair 2018

It’s been a busy couple of days around here! Last night I hosted book club and didn’t take one single photo. BUT we had so much fun! Too much? I didn’t get to bed until after 1am and was definitely on the struggle bus today.

For dinner last night I made this old favorite baked ziti recipe. I modify a little by using ground turkey instead of beef, and also by seasoning the meat with lots of garlic and Italian seasoning. Also, I took the advice of a bunch of the reviewers and layered the sauce on top of the pasta, then added the cheese and sour cream (rather than pasta, then cheese, then sauce). I also made the Salty Lashes brussels sprouts salad again. Love it because it’s easy, different, and you can make it ahead of time. I follow the recipe but leave out the jalapenos and add lots of lemon juice.

We took the kids to the State Fair late this afternoon. They had a half day today and no school tomorrow, so we took advantage and basically stayed until closing. The weather was perfect! We did our usual petting zoo, kids on the farm, dog stunt show circuit. Also there’s a new baby animal exhibit that is PRECIOUS. The kids got to see baby chicks literally hatching, a goat that was born this morning and newborn calves. So, so sweet.¬† I have a very specific Fair food routine that I don’t deviate from: root beer, Fletcher’s corn dog, Jack’s fries (with lots of vinegar) aaaaand a Dole pineapple whip for dessert. It’s perfection.

So. Much. Sugar.

The kids had a blast. They did a few rides and of course found the one funhouse that blasts you with foam:

OMG I want a baby donkey. Actually all of the baby animals. Gimme.

Fingers crossed that the kids sleep in tomorrow!!!

Posted in October 2018 | 1 Comment

Monday Spaghetti Dinner

Happy Monday! Jack’s soccer practice was cancelled today (more rain) and I have to admit, I wasn’t too sad about it. A slower start to the week is a welcome change from our usual Monday-Wednesday craziness. The kids have a half day Thursday and are out of school on Friday, so yay for a short week!

This weekend was fairly low key. I was literally in bed by 10:30 both Friday and Saturday. Brian bought a seat at a Whiskey and Steak Dinner from an auction earlier this year. They ended up having the dinner on Friday, so the kids and I grabbed dinner with my parents while he was gone. On Saturday morning Brian and Isla headed out for the first Adventure Princess Campout of the year. Jack had a soccer game (finally!) on Saturday, then I took him and one of his friends to see Smallfoot Saturday night. Brian and Isla got home around lunchtime on Sunday, so we grabbed lunch together at East Hampton Sandwich Co., then my mom and I went to see A Star Is Born that afternoon. Holy moly. That movie was amazing but SO SAD. I already want to go see it again.

So there’s our weekend in a nutshell!

Our fridge and freezer are overflowing right now, and I’m trying to plan clean-out dinners to make some room. My mom gave us a bag of giant meatballs a while back, so tonight I made the easiest spaghetti and meatballs dinner ever. That is one meal that the kids will ALWAYS eat (Isla just eats plain pasta with butter, but it’s still one of her favorites).

Here’s what I used:

Frozen meatballs, Victoria marinara sauce (my fave- I stock up on the big jars when they go on sale at Costco), mushrooms, and some sad random veggies from the bottom of our produce drawer- celery and rainbow carrots.

I used the Instant Pot for the sauce. Sauteed the veggies in olive oil, then added a couple cloves of minced garlic. Placed the frozen meatballs on top of the veggies, added the mushrooms, then poured in the entire jar of marinara sauce. Cooked on manual for 6 minutes, then quick released the pressure.

Per usual, I served this on top of the Barilla Protein Plus pasta. Isla gets so little protein that I’ll sneak it in wherever I can!!

On the side: roasted brussels sprouts topped with Everything But The Bagel seasoning. It’s ridiculous how fast I tear through a jar of that stuff.

Posted in October 2018 | Leave a comment

Simple Sprout Salad

Hey heyyy. Still enjoying our week of no homework over here! It’s been great because Brian’s worked late the past few nights and I haven’t had to fight the usual evening homework battle. Nights have been a WHOLE lot less stressful!

On Friday we had dinner at Maggiano’s for my SIL’s birthday, and thanks to that “buy one, take one” deal they run, we ended up bringing home 2 huge orders of baked ziti and one lasagna (not to mention all of our leftovers). After soccer last night I ended up just heating one of the baked ziti’s and then throwing together a quick salad. I saw this brussels sprouts salad on Salty Lashes a few days ago and couldn’t stop thinking about it. The ingredients are crazy simple: shredded brussels sprouts, tomatoes, bacon, shaved parmesan, lemon juice and Caesar dressing. I left out the fresh jalapenos because I tend to only like them when they’re pickled.

For the bacon I used the microwaveable kind you get in a big bag at Costco. That stuff is a lifesaver! I bought it for the kids’ breakfasts but ended up using most of it for salad toppings and recipes. We usually only need a few strips and I hate cooking up a whole package (plus then the house smells like bacon for days).

ANYWAY. You just mix it all together. I went heavy on the lemon juice and light on the Caesar dressing. Also added lots of salt and fresh ground pepper.

So simple, but so good! Shredded brussels sprouts are a highly underrated salad green. They hold up to dressing and don’t get all soggy and sad. Big fan.

On an unrelated note- anyone listening to the Dr. Death podcast?? Holy moly. I started listening on my run yesterday and now I’m 4 episodes in. I followed that case a little when it went to trial, but this podcast is fascinating and terrifying. If you’re squeamish, maybe pass on this one- but it’s pretty crazy.

Posted in October 2018 | Leave a comment

Easy Taco Bake

The kids have testing this week, which means NO HOMEWORK! Praise the lord. I mean, they’re super annoyed about the testing… buuuuuut mama’s really happy! No spelling words! And the Freeform 31 Nights of Halloween started today, which is the best coincidence ever. Brian had a work meeting tonight and didn’t get home until 9, so the three of us piled on the couch and watched Hocus Pocus after dinner.

Less awesome? This giant hole in our kitchen ceiling.

We’ve had a couple of leaks recently, and after multiple plumber visits (ugh), they determined that we had a clog in one of the upstairs AC pipes- which was incorrectly installed and therefore leaking into the ceiling rather than the drip pan. There was also an issue with the wax seal under the kids’ bathroom toilet. The plumbers were literally here from 8:45am-2:30pm. YAY$$$$$$$$.

Jack had soccer tonight, and I debated just taking the kids to dinner after to make life easier. We ate out a bunch this weekend and I really just wanted a home cooked meal, though… so I ended up trying this recipe that a friend posted on Facebook: Cornbread Taco Bake.

Ingredients:

I used ground turkey instead of beef, because I already had some on hand. I also used light sour cream and reduced-fat cheese, but other than that stuck to the recipe!

You bake the cornbread in a casserole dish, then top with a mixture of meat, taco seasoning, Rotel and Mexi-corn. Then you spread sour cream, cheese and green onions over the top, and sprinkle with more cheese. Here’s my little assembly line:

Bake for about 30 minutes! Topped mine with sour cream, salsa and jalapenos.

REALLY good. It kind of reminds me of a tamale. Also it looks like a lot of steps, but it really didn’t take long at all! I browned the turkey and prepped the toppings while the cornbread base was in the oven. Then once we got home from soccer, I just threw it in the oven. It wasn’t spicy at all, either (I used mild taco seasoning and Ro-tel)- so pretty kid-friendly. And of course, we have a ton left over… so I know what I’m having for lunch all week!

Posted in October 2018 | Leave a comment