Projects

This fall we have evening activities every Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and occasionally Thursdays. I’ve been feeding the kids around 5 so they’re not starving at soccer practice, and then once we’re home for the night I usually throw together something fast for Brian and me. That means we’ve been relying HEAVILY on Trader Joe’s lately (I mean, always- but even more so). Tonight I heated up their turkey stuffed peppers, which come 2 to a package in the refrigerated section. But my favorite new discovery is this:

Brian’s trying to avoid meat (fish is okay) so I’ve had to get creative. These frozen saucy scallops with mushrooms are GOOD. The bag contains tiny scallops with mushrooms and peas in a creamy cheese sauce. I’ve made it both in a skillet on the stove, which takes around 10 minutes, and in a baking dish in the oven. Both ways worked great. While the scallops are cooking, I air fry a bag of frozen cauliflower gnocchi (400 degrees for 10 minutes, shaking halfway), then mix the gnocchi into the sauce.

Super easy, filling, and takes less than 15 minutes to get on the table.

So remember our pipe leak FOREVER ago? When they had to rip up half of the hardwood floors in our back hall and guest room? Well that was a huge ordeal. After searching and searching we realized that the floors in our house aren’t manufactured any longer. So then we were faced with either pulling up the flooring in the entire first level of our house and replacing it with something else, OR deciding to stop the wood floors at entrance to the laundry room/back hall and figure out another option for that area. We waffled back and forth on what to do and eventually decided to tile the laundry room and back hall and re-tile the hall bath to match. We’re also planning to carpet the guest room but haven’t gotten to that yet.

Anyway, they finally finished the tile this week! I was initially pretty bummed that we couldn’t match the floors, but now I love how the lighter tile brightened up the space. This was what it looked like post-leak:

Pretty, right?? Ugh.

This was mid-reno, standing in kitchen. Those doors on the right are for the washer/dryer, and on the left are the pantry and garage doors.

We never loved the tile in that hall bath, so we just got rid of it to maintain consistency between the hall tile and the bathroom. It was a loud process.

And now:

Standing at the garage door and facing down the hall (look at those sweet babies):

Next project? Replacing the brown counter in the hall bath. Seriously, it’s like if you give a mouse a cookie…

So that’s what’s been keeping us busy here! Have a great weekend!

Posted in September 2019 | Leave a comment

Park City Girls Trip

Well hello there! Sorry for the brief hiatus. I got back from Park City last Monday, but then our contractor was able to start work on some repairs earlier than anticipated- so life has been a little crazy for the past week! Luckily they are just about finished!

Park City was AMAZING. Utah was a bucket list state for me and it did not disappoint. Eight of us flew up Friday afternoon and two more joined on Saturday. We rented a VRBO on Main St, which ended up being perfect. We could walk to most shops and restaurants, and everything else was just a short Uber ride away.

The best friends, travel buddies and book clubbers you could hope for:

Our VRBO. It was located over a dress shop on Main St. and actually slept 14. I didn’t get any pics of the upstairs/bedrooms, but the whole thing was decorated so boho and cute. It had a great layout for hanging out, playing games, etc. And an awesome kitchen if you wanted to cook (we didn’t).

On Saturday AM we were up early to check out the balloon festival:

So much good food… we had drinks and apps at High West Distillery, picked up pizza from Vinto (the patate pizza was amazing!), had lunch at Harvest, dinners at Shabu and Handle, and breakfast at Five Seeds.

On Sunday we rode the chair lift halfway up the mountain at Deer Valley, then hiked the rest of the way up the mountain. It was about a 2.5 mile hike, gorgeous but definitely a challenge!! That altitude is no joke!

I couldn’t stop taking pics on the hike… the views just got better and better. We’re not in TX anymore:

Then we took the lift back to the midpoint for a celebratory beer/snacks at the Stein Erikson Lodge, which was pretty fabulous- both the drink and the hotel. We made it back downtown in time to check out the Park Silly Sunday Market (basically a huge open air market/festival), had dinner, then were up bright and early to head to the airport.

My sweet dad picked me up from the airport, and I got home with 20 minutes to spare before Monday afternoon carpool. Definitely a whirlwind trip but so much fun! Great friends, good food, lots of time spent outdoors in gorgeous weather- you can’t really ask for more.

Posted in September 2019 | Leave a comment

Easy Shrimp Alfredo

I made a Trader Joe’s trip today for like 5 dinner ingredients… and walked out with ALL THE FALL THINGS: ghost and bat chips, autumn harvest soup, apple cider cookies, pumpkin candle, pumpkin pasta sauce, apple scent diffuser. And then this lady next to me in line filled me in on a bunch of other stuff I need to try (pumpkin pecan oatmeal and pumpkin chocolate chip oatmeal cookies), so I may need to go back tomorrow…

Seriously. Most wonderful time of the year! We’ll just ignore the fact that it’s still 97 degrees here.

I’m actually heading to Park City, UT on Friday for a girls’ trip. The highs are in the 70′s and the lows are in the 40′s and I am SO EXCITED. Though I have no clue how to pack for that?

For dinner tonight I made a recipe I saw on Instagram (@traderjoes_smartypoints). It’s kind of an improvised shrimp alfredo:

You saute a bag of shrimp (Trader Joe’s Argentinian red shrimp is the best, always) in olive oil with 3 cloves of minced garlic. Remove shrimp from pan and set aside. The recipe didn’t call for this, but after removing the shrimp, I deglazed the pan with white wine then let it reduce by about half. Pour in 1 1/3 cups half and half. Heat through, then add 1/3 cup shaved parmesan. Once the parmesan has melted, taste the sauce and liberally season with salt and pepper. Add 1 cup frozen peas and heat through. Then add shrimp back to pan, along with 1 lb cooked pappardelle pasta. Serves 4.

It was really good! I’m usually more of a red sauce gal but this was a nice change. Brian loved it, too.

I have a ballet meeting tomorrow night so probably won’t be able to post again until next week… undoubtedly with lots of Utah pics! Have a great weekend!

Posted in September 2019, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Monday Catch Up

We had a pretty busy weekend- meaning the house was a DISASTER this morning. So I spent the day catching up on stuff around here: laundry, dishes, etc. Exciting! I did spend a lot of time in the kitchen this morning. We had brown bananas, so I baked yet another pan of the after school banana bread from the Magnolia Table cookbook. Isla goes crazy over it, and honestly anything I can get her to eat is a win.

I also had some ground turkey and a bunch of veggies that needed to be used, so I dragged out the Instant Pot and made a big batch of turkey vegetable soup. I love having this on hand for lunches during the week. I need something SUPER low maintenance to heat up, or I’m likely to grab takeout…

Browned the ground turkey in the IP, then added a diced onion, 3 celery stalks, 2 carrots and 3 cloves of garlic. Sauteed those for a few minutes, then added: 1 can diced tomatoes, 1 large can tomato sauce, 1 can garbanzo beans (drained and rinsed), a bag of frozen mixed veggies, a can of mushrooms, 2 Tbs Italian seasoning, and 32 oz chicken broth. Set to “soup” for 30 minutes, then allowed the pressure to naturally release. Seasoned with Worcestershire sauce, seasoned salt and pepper.

It’s super filling, and a good way to get in a bunch of vegetables and protein.

These are my latest Trader Joe’s addiction and they were perfect with the soup:

They are SO GOOD… if you like blue cheese.

Got my Book of the Month delivery today! This month I chose This Tender Land and then snagged Well Met as a “bonus” book.  Well Met sounds super cheesy (rom-com set at a Renaissance festival, ha), but after Three Women and The Whisper Network, I’m ready for something light and easy. Plus I was listening to one of my favorite podcasts, Forever 35, and they recommended as a fun read.

Off to put sheets on our bed. Worst chore ever… and I always, always forget until like 10:30pm. However, I did get this a-ma-zing linen wash for my birthday (ignore the ridiculous name- DIVA!) and it has made the job a lot more tolerable. It’s pricey so I only use it on our sheets, but it makes the entire room smell great. Random but thought I would share!

Posted in September 2019 | Leave a comment

Easy App

Happy Almost Friday! We’re looking at a busy Saturday (2 soccer games, Nutcracker prep class, birthday party…) but I’m hoping to get the kids caught up on sleep this weekend. The morning tantrums are killllllling me. Isla earned a spirit wear day, and this morning’s battle was why she could not tie up her shirt or tuck it into her leggings.

Last night was September book club at my friend Kate’s. This month we read The Whisper Network, which was kind of interesting because it was set in Dallas… but otherwise I thought it was just okay. Kate put together the most gorgeous cheese and dessert board for dinner, and I’m kicking myself for not snapping a pic.

I made a quick appetizer that I found on one of my favorite Instagram accounts, @cattlebaronincashmere. She posts the best gifts, recipes and memes. Love me a good meme.

This app was really easy. You spread apricot preserves on the bottom of a tray/plate, then place a log of goat cheese on top. Sprinkle with chopped pistachios, drizzle with honey, then top the whole thing with chopped basil. EASY! I got all the ingredients at Trader Joe’s.

It was really pretty and delicious. She recommends serving it with a sliced baguette or water crackers.

I didn’t go to bed until 1am, and then Isla woke me up at 3:30 to fix her sound machine. All that to say- my bed is sounding pretty good right now! Have a great weekend!

Posted in September 2019 | Leave a comment

Labor Day Weekend 2019

Happy Tuesday That Felt Like A Monday! Oof. We had a really fun weekend and it was tough getting back into the routine this AM. On Saturday morning we loaded up and headed down to Austin for the weekend. We stayed at the Omni Barton Creek, which is in the middle of the Hill Country and gorgeous!

Those elephants were part of an Indian wedding that went on all weekend- it was pretty fun to watch!

We didn’t get down there until around 4 on Saturday, so we explored the resort a little bit, grabbed dinner at County Line BBQ, then headed downtown to check out the bats. Every night at dusk (from April to October) 1.5 MILLION bats exit from under the bridge on Congress. I’d never seen them before, and I have to admit it was pretty amazing.

Waiting for the bats to emerge:

I tried to take a video but it was pretty dim… you can see some of them flying away here.

On Sunday we made a day trip to San Antonio. We checked out the Riverwalk, ate lunch at Mi Tierra (the wait almost killed us… we had two very hangry kids on our hands), then stopped by The Pearl District. Such a fun area! We didn’t have a ton of time (we promised the kids that they could swim when we got back to the hotel) but the kids loved The Twig bookstore and the food hall. And I loved that I could walk around with wine!

Once we made it back to Austin, the kids swam for a while and then we just grabbed dinner at the hotel.

We also snagged a s’mores kit for the kids:

On Monday we headed back to Dallas, with a quick stop on the way out of town to have lunch with the Mays! So much fun catching up, and the kids had a blast- as you can see from Isla’s cheeseball grin.

We left Austin around 2pm and didn’t get home until 6:45!!! On a good day it takes 3 hours, so that was a beating. Though obviously we did make a Buc-ee’s pit stop.

So there’s our LBD weekend recap!

Posted in September 2019 | 2 Comments

COTF

Tonight was a COTF (clean out the fridge) dinner. I planned on making turkey vegetable soup earlier this week and never got around to it, so we had ground turkey and a bunch of random veggies that needed to be used ASAP. Love that rare occasion when I can make an entire meal without running to the store!

I diced half an onion, 3 celery stalks and 2 carrots, then sauteed them for a few minutes in olive oil in my Dutch oven. Once the onions were translucent, I added 3 minced garlic cloves, a can of mushrooms (drained), a can of tomato sauce and a large jar of Rao’s marinara. I also seasoned with maybe 1-2 Tbs Italian seasoning. Let the sauce simmer for about 30 minutes.

The kids had theirs over pasta and we had ours over cauliflower gnocchi:

The salad = more leftover veggies. Arugula, avocado, grape tomatoes, feta and blush vinaigrette.

SUPER excited about the 3 day weekend! We’re heading to Austin Saturday-Monday, with a quick day trip to San Antonio on Sunday. The kids have never been to Austin and Brian’s never visited SA, so should be fun! I’m just excited to relax and not cook, clean or get anyone up for school :)

Have a great weekend!

Posted in August 2019 | Leave a comment

Binge Watching

We’re fully back into the school/activity routine. Ballet resumed last week, and this week it’s soccer time! Jack had practice this evening and Brian is the assistant coach, so they aren’t usually home until 7:30ish on Mondays. Jack was starving before practice so I ended up feeding the kids around 5. Isla FINALLY agreed to try Trader Joe’s orange chicken (Jack’s fave) and actually gave it a thumbs up… could we possibly be moving past the insanely picky phase??? Dear God I hope so.

We bought a package of frozen barramundi at Costco, and I ended up using it to make a version of Skinnytaste’s basil-parmesan salmon. I know I’ve posted about it before, but this is just a really perfect weeknight recipe. Earlier this afternoon I thawed the fish filets, then patted dry and seasoned with lemon juice, salt and pepper. Then you stir together mayo, parmesan and fresh basil to make a thick sauce. I went ahead and spread that on the fish and then stashed the filets in the fridge until Brian got home. Seven minutes in the air fryer (at 390) and voila!!

This fish is SO GOOD. I actually think I like the recipe better with the barramundi than the salmon. The sauce is a little rich and it just seems to work better with the lighter fish. Love the cheesy crust on top.

On the side is just some Bird’s Eye vegetable pasta marinara (the cheesy penne is better), and the salad I cannot get enough of: Jo’s Quick Table Salad from the Magnolia Table cookbook. Field greens, mandarin oranges, dried cherries, pecans, feta and Brianna’s blush vinaigrette. We brought home a ton of dried cherries from Michigan!

In entertainment news, I finished Orange Is the New Black last night and I’m pretty conflicted on the ending. Anyone else? I’ve been staying up way too late watching the final season. Also currently reading The Whisper Network for book club and had NO IDEA it was set in Dallas. That was a fun little surprise! So far I really like it.

Posted in August 2019 | Leave a comment

Friday Eve

Happy Friday Eve! The kids’ second week of school went well! They both seem really happy with their teachers and classes.

I don’t think I’ve mentioned this before, but Isla was diagnosed with dyslexia in February of this year. We’re really fortunate because our school follows the Take Flight curriculum for dyslexia intervention, which was actually created by Scottish Rite Hospital here in Dallas (where Isla was diagnosed). She worked with the academic language therapist at school a couple of times a week last year for “pre-flight” (and actually some in kindergarten too- her amazing teachers identified a possible issue early on), but this year is when Take Flight really begins. They meet 4 times per week and so far Isla loves it. She really struggled in kinder and 1st grade, so we’re hoping this boosts her confidence and helps her get excited about reading.

So… that’s what’s going on around here!

Tonight’s dinner idea came from an Instagram account I follow, @traderjoes_smartypoints (are you at all surprised that I follow probably a dozen TJ’s accounts??). It’s not even a recipe. I just bought a bag of the frozen mushroom risotto and cooked it per the package instructions. When it was almost done, I tossed in a couple big handfuls of baby spinach and stirred until it wilted. Then I added some fresh parmesan and a drizzle of olive oil (use truffle oil if you have it).

For the entree, I thawed some frozen scallops. Patted them dry, seasoned with salt and pepper, then seared them for about 2 min/side in a HOT skillet (with a little butter and olive oil).

Also threw together a quick arugula salad with tomatoes, lemon juice, olive oil and parm.

NOT BAD. I love scallops so much. Unfortunately they cost a million dollars so this will not be a super frequent meal… though I do need to price them at good ol’ Costco.

Have a great weekend!

Posted in August 2019 | Leave a comment

Sunday Supper

Well we’re settling into the school routine, which I’m not sad about. It’s so nice to feel (slightly) productive again! I picked up a fall candle at Target today (Harvest Chai by Opalhouse- really good, btw) and am already burning it, despite the fact that it’s over 100 degrees outside and fall is nowhere to be seen. It’s so hot here our school is not even letting the kids go outside for recess- which, judging by how wild a$$ my kids are once they get home, is probably REALLY fun for the teachers. Let’s just go back to the good ol’ days and start school after Labor Day??

We had a pretty busy Saturday followed by a really lazy Sunday. I actually spent most of the day in the kitchen. I made a batch of banana bread from the Magnolia Table cookbook. My family goes crazy for that stuff. The bread hadn’t even cooled and Isla had already eaten a third of the pan!

I also made the Sunday Supper Beef Tips from the same cookbook, which is really simple crockpot recipe. Just stew meat, baby bella mushrooms, cream of mushroom soup, french onion soup mix, and cooking sherry. She suggests serving it over rice, but we had ours over egg noodles:

ALSO from the Magnolia cookbook? Jo’s Quick Table Salad. It’s not revolutionary: spring mix, mandarin oranges, dried cherries, pecans and feta, topped with Brianna’s blush vinaigrette. But it’s an easy to throw together salad with a really good balance of flavors.

Finally I made this Tennessee Peach Pudding that my friend Beth recommended. I was nervous because it seemed really liquid-y when I put it in the oven… but it turned out great! Basically a really easy peach cobbler (and obviously we topped it with Blue Bell vanilla).

I haven’t updated y’all on Tucker in a while! He’s doing great. He likes plants.

And tolerates Isla treating him like a baby doll.

So yeah, he’s fitting in well!

Posted in August 2019 | Leave a comment