Sumo Shack

A couple of weeks ago I asked Brian if he remembered our last date night.

“Well, we did go to the book fair…”

OMG. Our school had a story time earlier this month where the kids were read a “bedtime story” by the librarian while the parents perused the book fair upstairs. HA. But it does seem like a lot of our “dates” revolve around school functions. Last week my parents watched the kids so we could go to a meeting for upcoming kindergarten parents. The meeting was over around 7:30 so we grabbed dinner after at a new fast-casual Japanese restaurant off of Greenville (SMU Boulevard), Sumo Shack. It’s from the same owners as our favorite ramen lunch spot, Wabi House. Everything on the menu is under $10 and the main options are ramen, hot dogs and baos- kind of a cross between a sandwich and a taco. The baos are soft, steamed buns with various fillings.

I tried the shoyu ramen and the pork belly bao:

So good!! The ramen was less creamy than what I usually get at Wabi House, but the flavor was great. The cashier recommended the pork belly bao for the kewpie mayo alone and it was pretty fab. That’s my pork bao on the left and Brian’s softshell crab bao on the right. I think he also had a hot dog (SMU dog maybe??).

They have some interesting drinks as well. We tried the frozen sakerita and the green tea margarita. They were both good but my fave was definitely the margarita. It was a little less sweet than the sake version. So all in all a fun little restaurant! And it’s right next to one of my other faves, Spin Pizza.

Ok that’s all I’ve got! It’s rush week at my gym which means 90 minute workouts instead of the usual 50. I only stayed for an hour today but it still kicked my butt: 9 minutes running, 9 minutes rowing, 9 minutes of burpee/plyo pushup/iron cross/TRX torture, REPEAT for an hour- keeping your heart rate at 80-90%. Thought I was going to die.

That’s the read-out from my heart rate monitor. Yellow is 80-90% of your max heart rate, red is 90-100%. Usually my chart has wayyyyy more blues and greens than that… and apparently I was struggling around 10:20, ha. Anyway, all that is to say that I’m dead on my feet and heading to bed EARLY. Catch y’all tomorrow.

Posted in May 2017 | 2 Comments

Cauli Crust

I can’t believe tomorrow’s Friday! Not that I’m sad about it. I’m at the point right now where I’m so done with the school routine, yet also slightly terrified at the thought of entertaining these two precious gifts from God 24/7 for three months. Anyone else?

Speaking of gifts from God, I spotted the newest Trader Joe’s offering on Instagram last night: cauliflower pizza crust!! Apparently it’s selling out everywhere, but when I stopped by our TJ’s they were fully stocked. I bought 2 crusts and a couple of bags of the (also new) cauliflower mash.

I attempted a pizza tonight. The crust comes frozen, and the instructions say to add toppings and bake directly on the oven rack for 8-10 min.  However the cashier at TJ’s recommended baking the crust first and THEN adding toppings… so I placed the bare crust on a pizza pan and baked for about 7 minutes. Removed from oven and topped with marinara, mozzarella, mushrooms, diced chicken and goat cheese. Placed back in oven for 5 minutes, then allowed to rest (per the instructions) for 3 minutes out of the oven.

Verdict? I really liked it!! It wasn’t crispy at all, but the slices held together enough to where eating it didn’t require a knife and fork. It has a mild, almost polenta-like flavor, probably due to the corn flour. Each serving is 80 calories, 0 g fat, 17g carb and 1 g protein… so not super low carb but way better than regular pizza. We ended up each eating half of the pizza (it’s not huge) and I was pretty stuffed after.

Served with a pretty awesome salad of baby kale/butter lettuce, red onion, strawberries, avocado, blue cheese and poppy seed dressing.

Two thumbs up here. I’m going to head back to TJ’s tomorrow and pick up a couple more because I know they’ll sell out fast… remember when the frozen cauli rice showed up and immediately disappeared??

Have a great weekend!

Posted in May 2017 | Leave a comment

It’s The Little Things…

Well my life is officially complete because there is now a Costco less than 5 miles from our house. We used to have to drive to Plano (usually around 30 minutes to get there) for our Costco fix, and it was SUPER crowded and difficult to park. I visited the new location on Monday and it was a dream- easy parking, no lines to pay, way less crazy inside. Hallelujah! Needless to say, I’m pretty excited.

We buy a lot of the kids’ staples there and I hadn’t been in a few months, so I stocked up on chocolate milk boxes, applesauce pouches, Annie’s mac & cheese, gummy vitamins, mango, cherries and pistachios. I also grabbed a case of Premier Protein shakes for me (I mix them with Starbucks cold brew on the way home from the gym every day- SO GOOD) and also some Peter Thomas Roth complexion pads- they were only $20 = HALF of what they cost at Sephora. They even had Beauty Blenders and a bunch of MAC makeup, but I tried to exert a little willpower.

Another new find were these little Tuscan seasoned pork tenderloin medallions in the fresh meat case. I think I paid less than $9 for 16 medallions. We had them for dinner on Monday and they were AMAZING. So tender and flavorful. All I did was sear them in a skillet on the stove for about 1 minute per side. Once they were all seared, I placed them on a big baking sheet and stuck them in the oven at 350 for 10 minutes. That’s it- so so easy.

We had them with Asian cashew salad (another Costco fave) and stuffed mushrooms from Sprouts. Basically the easiest meal ever.

This week is flying! Speaking of time flying, we had Isla’s incoming kindergarten meeting tonight. How is this even possible??

Posted in May 2017 | Leave a comment

Virginia Weekend Recap!

Hey hey! We’re back from our super fast weekend trip to Virginia. As I’ve mentioned before, Brian is on his fraternity’s housing corps and twice a year they hold Greek Council meetings at our alma mater, Washington & Lee. I try to come along as often as possible because I LOVE Lexington and could spend days just wandering around the campus and downtown. It’s the cutest little town nestled in the Blue Ridge Mountains.

It was alumni weekend (though not a reunion weekend for either of us- Brian’s 15 year is next year), so we signed up for all of the alumni events: band and cocktail party on Friday night, and picnic/bluegrass band on Saturday. We flew into Dulles on Thursday evening, but our flight ended up being re-routed up to Chicago and then back down to DC, so we arrived about an hour and a half later than expected. THEN we had to rent a car and drive the three hours to Lex, meaning we didn’t get to our hotel until 4am. Then we were out late Friday hanging out with friends and up at 6:30 Sunday morning to get home to the kids. So an exhausting trip but still so fun!

Onto the pics…

The Colonnade! With my giant coffee as I attempted to rally.

I mean, how pretty is this?? This is the view from my old dorm, though back then there was another dorm where that garden is now.

The Abigail Inn, the bed & breakfast where we stayed all weekend. It’s right on Main Street so super convenient for walking into town.

On Friday night I got to hang out with my old friend and roommate, Molly. She works for the university now and it was SO fun to catch up! Last time I saw her I was barely pregnant with Isla, so almost 6 years ago??

When Brian’s in meetings I tend to just wander around the town. Seriously EVERY. SINGLE. HOUSE there is so charming and old. Like REALLY old- W&L was founded in 1749! I wanted to take pics of all of the houses but was afraid that I’d look like a creepy stalker. I did snap this one because the house (colonial style, brick color, shutters and trim) reminds me a lot of our house, and now I want to paint our front door this color. I just need to get Brian on board…

PEONIES GROWING OUTSIDE. You would never in a million years see this in Texas.

Saturday night picnic…

I took a million pics of the dessert table to show Isla, because that is right up her sugar-loving alley (where does she get that?? Ha!).

Ok that’s all I’ve got! We had a fun Mother’s Day and now settling into the last couple weeks of school. Sooooo ready for summer.

Posted in May 2017 | 2 Comments

Last Minute Lettuce Wraps

Super quick post! We’re leaving for Virginia tomorrow and of course I’m not finished packing. It’s supposed to rain pretty much the entire time we’re there, and naturally most of the activities are outdoors/in a tent… so shoes are an issue right now.

Dinner! I was soooo tempted to make things easy and take the kids out for a quick dinner, but instead I was a good girl and pulled out the ground chicken to make these super easy chicken lettuce wraps. They are crazy simple and it’s easy to keep most of the pantry ingredients on hand (hoisin, soy sauce, rice vinegar, sriracha). I also use that ginger-in-a-tube from Trader Joe’s AND their frozen garlic cubes. Shortcuts 4 life.

Wrapped in butter lettuce:

OK. Off to pack!

Posted in May 2017 | Leave a comment

Season Ender

Life is BUSY this week! Last night I had a meeting/dinner with some of the moms from Isla’s class to plan the end-of-year picnic (how is this happening already??), then tonight we had Jack’s last soccer game of the season. Poor guy took a ball to the head during the 4th quarter but finished out the game like a champ. I’ve decided that first grade is the year that sports become really fun to watch. Something clicked this year with Jack and he was WAY more into soccer than in prior seasons. I’m a little sad the season is over!!

I went to the gym this morning and the rest of the day was spent mainly getting ready for our trip. Not only do I have to get my stuff together, but the kids have a jam-packed weekend of activities and I need to get all of their gear sorted for my parents. I did get to hang out with this bundle of sunshine for a while this morning:

Isn’t she the sweetest?? #proudaunt

We didn’t get home from the game until 8:30 so I ended up ordering Verts takeout again. Someday I’ll cook again… ha.

Catch y’all tomorrow!

Posted in May 2017 | Leave a comment

Weekend Recap/Meal Prep

Holla! Sunday night again? I think it’s safe to say that after one soccer practice and three afternoon games, we’re all a little more tan (er, freckled- except for Isla, who turns brown in May and just gets progressively darker all summer…. where did she come from??). We had a LOT of outside time this weekend. Taking advantage before it’s 105 out in a few short weeks.

On Friday we stopped by my brother and sister-in-law’s new house so the kids could play for a minute. Jack loves him some sweet Stevie:

We attempted to clean out a bunch of toys this weekend. I gave the kids 2 big boxes and told them that if they filled them with old toys, they could each have $10 to buy ONE new toy at Target. It kind of worked. We got rid of a bunch of outgrown dress-up dresses and like one tiny stuffed animal (out of hundreds). Also this weird handmade Winnie the Pooh banjo that Brian came home with after a work white elephant gift exchange. It’s huge and has basically been the bane of my existence since it came into our house. Anyway it’s apparent that I’m raising two tiny hoarders and this job needs to be done when they’re OUT of the house.

Meal prep! I actually managed to get breakfasts and lunches prepped for the week. Dinner, not so much. Brian and I are headed to Virginia on Thursday so I didn’t need quite as many meals as usual.

I marinated a couple of chicken breasts in Greek dressing, baked and diced them. Those went in containers with that roasted artichoke-red pepper quinoa from Costco, and for lunch I’ll heat them up and serve over arugula with feta, diced tomatoes and balsamic (like last week). Also prepped four jars of overnight oats and cut up some fruit (strawberries, oranges, lemons, limes) and cucumbers to add to my water. Trying to up my intake and I’ll drink way more water if it’s jazzed up a little. My favorite combos from last week were watermelon-cucumber-mint, strawberry-lime and lemon-lime-cucumber-mint. I just throw some fruit in my water bottle in the AM and keep refilling with water all day.

OK that’s all the randomness I have for you tonight! Hope everyone had a fun weekend!

Posted in May 2017 | Leave a comment

Veggie Noodle Find

Woohoo it’s almost Friday!! Somehow Thursdays always end up being our craziest days. It’s a constant race to make it to ballet on time after school, and then Jack had another makeup soccer game at 7. Jack was SO CLOSE to scoring an awesome goal but the goalie baaaaarely batted it out at the last second. Heartbreaker. We grabbed dinner after the game and ended up getting home after 9, so I’m sure we’ll have some exhausted kiddos in the morning.

Speaking of dinner, I’m really digging Verts lately. My favorite is the bowl with baby kale, turkey-mushroom meatballs, pickled onions, veggies, chickpeas, feta, hummus and tzatziki. I tried the eggplant dip tonight and it was pretty fab too, so I’ll be adding that one to the mix. And if you download their app your first meal is free!!

We eat a lot of veggie noodles around here, but I feel like they’re always kind of womp-womp. Zucchini noodles are a pain to make and get soggy fast, spaghetti squash tends to be watery, etc. But this week we tried these new carrot noodles from Trader Joe’s and I am a FAN.

They’re $2.99 (I think) and can be found in the freezer case. You just throw them in a skillet with some olive oil for a few minutes and they’re good to go. They stay firm, giving them more of a pasta-like texture, don’t release a ton of water and have a mild but slightly sweet flavor. I had some turkey meat sauce in the fridge so we had that over the carrot noodles for a super quick, post-soccer practice dinner on Monday.

Brian and I both loved the noodles. I want to try them with some type of a creamy sauce next time- I think I have a cauliflower alfredo bookmarked somewhere that would be perfect.

Another busy day tomorrow! It’s May Crowning at school and then soccer practice for Isla. We also have three games this weekend!! Good thing it’s supposed to be gorgeous out.

Hope everyone has a fun weekend!

Posted in May 2017 | Leave a comment

Easy Make Ahead Lunch

For the past few weeks I’ve really tried to prep the week’s breakfasts and lunches either on Sunday or Monday AM. I’ve realized that if I have something ready to go in the fridge, I’ll eat that… and if not I’m way more likely to grab something less healthy (and more $$) while I’m out and about.

The go-to breakfast has been overnight oats, and after 3 weeks I’m still not sick of it. For the past 2 weeks I’ve made a big batch of Greek yogurt chicken salad and eaten that with rice crackers for lunch, but this week I decided to try something different. I don’t even know what to call it… Mediterranean grain bowl??

Main ingredients- quinoa, grilled chicken and feta. Not pictured: arugula, tomatoes and balsamic vinegar.

A while back we picked up a big box of ready to eat artichoke-roasted red pepper quinoa at Costco. It’s great because you just open the cup of quinoa, stir in the artichoke topping and then either heat it up or eat it cold. And it’s delicious! Each little cup is 2 servings, so for my lunch prep I divide it into 2 containers, along with a serving of diced chicken (my fave is the lemon pepper grilled chicken in the refrigerated case at Trader Joe’s, but you could just bake a few chicken breasts or even use rotisserie chicken). Then I stack the containers in the fridge:

At lunch I toss the quinoa/chicken in the microwave for a minute to heat it through. Then I put a big handful of arugula in a bowl (you could use spinach but I think the peppery flavor or arugula works really well here), top with the warm quinoa and chicken, then sprinkle with a couple Tbs of feta and halved grape tomatoes. Drizzle with balsamic and you have lunch ready to go in about 2 minutes.

It’s so good!!

Posted in May 2017 | 1 Comment

Ballet All Day

It has been a CRAZY weekend! Watch out, this is probably going to be a long one…

Brian and Jack were on a campout Friday-Sunday, so it was just the girls for most of the weekend. I woke up Friday morning, climbed into Isla’s bed to snuggle/wake her up and immediately felt super dizzy. This is the third time this has happened in the past couple of months. The first time I thought I had food poisoning, the 2nd time I attributed it to a migraine, but when it happened again I knew something weird was up. It’s the same story every time- I get crazy vertigo when lying down, sit up and get even dizzier (like can’t even walk in a straight line), then within a minute or two begin throwing up uncontrollably. It’s horrible. Luckily Brian was home and got the kids ready for school, I threw up, went back to sleep, woke up and still had vertigo. My mom came over around noon, talked me into making a doctor’s appt, I attempted to shower (throwing up before AND after the shower), and she drove me to the doctor because there was no way I could drive myself. The doctor explained that the dizziness was caused by a migration of calcium crystals into the canals of the inner ear, which throws off your balance. It’s called benign paroxysmal positional vertigo, in case you’re curious. She said that it was probably exacerbated by dehydration (we were literally running to activities until 7pm Thursday night so I had a LOT of caffeine the day before, plus working out and probably not hydrating properly) and did these weird head and neck manipulations to reposition the crystals. She started on the right side and I sat up and immediately threw up basically on the doctor. Then she worked on the left side and I felt 90% better when she finished. No dizziness, just weak from not eating or drinking all day. SO WEIRD. She also did blood work to make sure that my thyroid medication doesn’t need to be recalibrated (I was diagnosed as hypothyroid last summer), but so far- fingers crossed- I’ve felt great all weekend. I’ve been chugging water because that was the freaking worst feeling ever.

The rest of the weekend was MUCH better, thank goodness. Isla and I took it easy on Friday night and ordered Fireside Pies from Favor. Then on Saturday she had her ballet recital pics, I took her to get a pedicure, we met my parents for lunch, then spent the afternoon/evening at a friend’s house with other moms and kids whose dads/older sibs were on the camp out.

Today was allllllll about ballet! Isla had rehearsal this morning, then we came home for lunch and to meet up with Brian and Jack, then back to SMU late this afternoon for her recital.

OMG. Isla. I was DYING during her performance. She sort of half did the dance/half did her own thing. Like throwing in some spin moves, standing wherever the heck she wanted to and doing the most dramatic exit ever (she was the last to leave the stage). It was hysterical and I am so mad that they didn’t let us shoot video (though we did order one, so at least I’ll have that to show at her wedding someday).

I had so much fun with her this weekend. She drives me crazy sometimes (STUBBORN) but she is really just so funny, sweet and helpful. And she’s come out of her shell lately in that she wants to talk to anyone and everyone about everything. The poor ladies at the nail salon got a major earful on Saturday.

OK I’ve been typing forever and I’m pretty sure Brian has already passed out on the couch. Catch y’all tomorrow!

Posted in April 2017 | Leave a comment