Bring It, Fall!

Today. Was. GORGEOUS. I went for a run late this morning and temps were in the 60′s- hallelujah! I looked down at my watch a few times to see a sub-8:00 mile pace, which hasn’t happened in a loooooong time (and I definitely didn’t maintain that pace, but progress nonetheless). We also had a park date with my dad and the cousins after school, then the kids and I had dinner on the patio at Shady’s. Gotta take advantage before it’s in the 90′s again!

I mentioned that I’d stocked up on all the fall things at Trader Joe’s, and one brand new item for this year is the Autumnal Harvest Soup. I’m a huge fan of the Autumnal Harvest pasta sauce, which IMO tastes exactly like tomato basil soup. Weirdly the soup doesn’t taste like it at all…? It’s way more pumpkin-y. A sign at TJ’s recommended adding sausage to the soup, so I browned a package of chicken Italian sausage:

Then added about half of the sausage to the entire jar of soup and heated through.

It was… just ok. Not a huge fan of the soup (though still love the pasta sauce!). Brian said he felt like he was eating marinara with a spoon. Oh well!

Isla has her first Nutcracker rehearsal on Saturday. She auditioned a few weeks ago and found out Monday night that she was given the part of Clara’s attendant. The part doesn’t require any real “dancing” per se, but it’s a fun role because she’s on stage by herself with Clara, the Nutcracker lifts her up, and she gets to ride around the stage in a sleigh. So she’s pumped! She’s being talking about wanting to be in the Nutcracker since we went to the performance last year (her bestie Molly is in it this year, too). She’s also super excited about getting to rehearse with all of the “big girls.”

We also have a birthday dinner for my SIL on Friday and our neighborhood Oktoberfest on Saturday. Love these fall weekends! Unfortunately we got word today that the soccer fields are closed AGAIN this weekend (why???). These poor kids are never going to get to play a game!

Hope everyone has a great weekend!

Posted in September 2018 | Leave a comment

Bulgogi Bowls

Hey hey! Last night we had a work dinner for Brian, which was delicious (Ocean Prime) but we didn’t get home until almost 11. ON A MONDAY- who do we think we are??

Tonight we had soccer practice until 7, but I did manage to make dinner once we got home. My friend Beth recently recommended the beef bulgogi from Costco so I grabbed a package yesterday. It’s sold in the prepared foods section- raw meat and onions coated in a marinade, so you just toss it all in a skillet and cook until the meat is done. As per all things Costco, the package is huge. I think the one I bought was over 3 lbs and cost just under $20. I ended up dividing it in half and throwing one half in the freezer for another dinner.

Again, just heated a little oil in a skillet over medium-high, then dumped in the meat and onions. I probably cooked it for 15 minutes or so, stirring/flipping the beef a few times. for the sides I just microwaved a bag of jasmine rice and some broccoli florets, then made a little Korean bowl with the meat on top (sprinkled with green onions):

SO GOOD. That beef is amazing. Super tender and great flavor… and I’m pretty sure the leftovers would be fantastic, if we had any!

I’m sure this comes as a shock, but I’ve already stocked up on ALL the fall items at Trader Joe’s. They are killing it this year (honeycrisp apple candles??). Planning on trying a new offering for dinner tomorrow night, so I’ll report back and let you know how it is!

Posted in September 2018 | Leave a comment

Dinner Salad

Y’all, mama is TIRED. We had a conference with Isla’s teachers scheduled for 7:15 this morning, which meant that we all had to be up super early. We’re usually barely starting breakfast at 7:15 (and I’m never dressed/makeup-ed that early). Also Walgreens is out of my thyroid medication, so I haven’t been able to take it for the past 2 days and I. Am. Dragging. That 4:30pm coffee did nada. It’s supposed to be back in stock tomorrow, fingers crossed! Also, I’m old.

Luckily Thursday is our one activity-free day, so we had a pretty great, lazy afternoon. The kids watched a movie together on the iPad, and I read on the couch with the pug (currently reading The Wife, our October book club pick).

I bookmarked this Newporter Salad recipe a couple of weeks ago. Apparently it’s a copy of a salad from a local restaurant, R+D Kitchen. I’ve actually never eaten there, but the salad contained a whole bunch of my favorite things: dried cherries, sharp cheddar, glazed pecans, honeycrisp apples, bacon, rotisserie chicken, kale. The ingredient list is pretty darn long but it would be easy to prep all of the ingredients and dressing ahead of time.

This makes a LOT of salad. It says 2 entrée-sized salads, but we could have easily served 3 or 4.

Sorry, terrible lighting! It was storming out so the kitchen was really dark.

So, so good! I love how everything is chopped, so you get all the flavors in each bite. The dressing is great, too. I couldn’t find champagne vinegar so I substituted red wine vinegar instead. Brian doesn’t usually love vinaigrette dressings (CRAZY- give me all the vinegar!) but thanks to the honey, this one was mild enough for him. This is a substantial salad- lots of protein from the chicken, bacon, eggs and cheese. I could barely finish mine… and does that ever happen with salad??

Anyway, super good so give it a try!

We have a busy weekend of our (rescheduled) back to school pool party and soccer games, though it looks like we may be rained out of all of those. Happy almost Friday!

Posted in September 2018 | Leave a comment

Fairy Tale Day

This week is flying! Today the first grade had their annual Fairy Tale Day. Each kid picks their favorite story and dresses like one of the characters, then turns in a “book report”  and gives an oral report to the class. Isla picked Hansel & Gretel for her story and came to school dressed as Gretel:

The kids were SO cute. Lots of little red riding hoods, gingerbread men and big bad wolves. First grade really is just the best year.

We had our usual Tuesday soccer practice yesterday (it feels like all we do is practice, since essentially all of our games have been rained out) until 7. Before practice I quickly threw together what is probably my most used recipe ever: Skinnytaste turkey chili taco soup. I’ve gushed about it before. It is so delicious and filling. I’ve made it on the stove, in the crock pot and in the Instant Pot and it always turns out perfect. Plus the leftovers are amazing!

Before practice I browned the ground turkey in the Instant Pot, added the onions and peppers, and let that all cook for a few minutes. Then I added the rest of the ingredients, set it to “soup” mode for 15 minutes, and then let it do it’s thang.

It was hot and ready to go once we got home!

Sometimes I switch out the taco seasoning for a tablespoon or two of Ranch dressing mix, just to give it a different flavor. Either way it’s really not spicy- I usually add hot sauce and maybe a few pickled jalapenos to mine.

We’re slowwwwly making our way through season 2 of Ozark. By the time we get the kids down, lunches made, kitchen cleaned, etc., we’re both exhausted. Hoping to catch one episode tonight!

Posted in September 2018 | Leave a comment

Skillet Stroganoff

Happy Monday! Brian was in Virginia from Thursday AM-Sunday night, so it was just the three of us all weekend. The kids were great! I took them for pizza on Friday, then on Saturday all of our soccer games were rained out so we went to see Christopher Robin with my parents (super sweet movie, btw… but a little slow/heavy in parts, so I would say 6 is probably the minimum age). We ended up spending the night at my parents’ house, and on Sunday the kids swam, Isla and I shopped a little with my mom, then came home to work on homework and projects.

My friend Megan mentioned beef stroganoff last week, and I couldn’t stop thinking about it. So she sweetly sent me her family recipe this weekend and I gave it a try for dinner on Sunday night. It’s such an easy one-skillet meal and is SO DELICIOUS.

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb ground beef (I used 93% lean)
  • 1 pkg Lipton French onion soup mix
  • 2 c water
  • 2 c medium width egg noodles
  • 8 oz sour cream
  • garlic salt
  • black pepper

Note: This wasn’t in the original recipe, but I also included an 8oz container of mushrooms and a few shakes of dried dill. Also we didn’t have quite enough sour cream on hand, so I used about 3/4 cup sour cream and 1/4 cup Greek yogurt.

Directions:

1. If you’re using fresh mushrooms, heat olive oil in a skillet, then add mushrooms and saute until they release their liquid/start to brown. Remove from skillet.

2. If you’re not using mushrooms, start here. Brown ground beef in a skillet. Drain the grease and return meat to pan.

3. Add soup mix, egg noodles and water. Mix thoroughly and cover.

4. Simmer for about 15 minutes. Remove from heat, stir in sour cream, and season to taste. This is when I sprinkled in a few shakes of dried dill.

Soooooo goooooood. It’s the easiest meal ever AND we have leftovers. This is total comfort food, and it took less than 30 minutes from start to finish.

Posted in September 2018 | 1 Comment

Fall is Coming

We met friends at an amazing, newly designed all-abilities playground in our neighborhood after school today… and it was actually comfortable outside! I can’t tell you how excited this makes me. Fall is coming!! Now if we could just get rid of the mosquitos.

Speaking of all things fall, I made a pretty cozy dinner the other night. Isla has soccer until 7 on Tuesdays, so I’m leaning heavily on the crock pot. I threw together this slow cooker corn and chicken chowder on Tuesday AM and let it cook all day. I didn’t think it was quite thick enough so I ended up adding another half cup of half and half and 2 more Tbs of corn starch at the end. Also, I bought this big package of pre-cooked bacon at Costco, thinking it would be perfect for the kids’ breakfasts. They’re not crazy about it (naturally), but it’s so great for recipes like this where you only need a few slices and don’t want to deal with frying it on the stove. Also nice to have on hand for sandwiches and salads!

It rained for the last 15 minutes or so of soccer practice, so we were all soaked. This was the perfect meal to come home to, along with some warm rosemary bread. We bought the bread in Canton over Labor Day weekend and just threw it in the freezer. I pulled it out Tuesday AM and then warmed it in the oven for a few minutes right before dinner.

I’ve been eating the soup literally every day this week for lunch, and it keeps getting better!

Happy almost Friday! The kids have Grandparents’ Day at school tomorrow, then a full schedule of soccer games on Saturday (if they don’t get rained out).

Posted in September 2018 | Leave a comment

Low Carb Burrito Bowls

It’s like 70 degrees here and I’m not mad about it! I’ve been trying to get back into running (slowwwwwly, so very slowly), and this morning was glorious. Last week it was close to 90 degrees and 90% humidity- I was dying. Today it felt like nothing and I managed to shave a full minute off my mile pace. I’m definitely easing into it with MANY walk breaks. Also majorly feeling my age (ouch) but it’s doing wonders for both my energy and mental health. There’s just something about getting outside for a workout- so cheesy and cliché, but true!

Yesterday I stumbled across a folder with a bunch of old recipes, including this one from way back when I did my first whole 30: Whole 30 burrito bowls. I ended up making it tonight, though I used ground turkey instead of beef, and I made the recipe very un-whole 30 by topping it with cheese and sour cream.

The base is sautéed veggies- broccoli slaw, onion, red pepper, celery and garlic. I also added a bunch of seasoned salt:

Then you top it with a mixture of meat, diced tomatoes, green chiles and spices. And if you’re me, also guacamole, sour cream, salsa, cheese and jalapenos.

It’s just a really easy weeknight dinner. You can make it all in one skillet, too. It’s pretty filling, though I did have a few of these Siete lime chips with it for crunch:

Hobbling off to bed now!

Posted in September 2018 | Leave a comment

Creamy Tomato Basil Gnocchi

This seems like the longest short week ever! I’m getting ready to go to a ballet meeting for Isla, but wanted to hop on here real quick to share my awesome dinner from last night. Isla has ballet until 5 on Wednesdays, so that’s become Chick Fil A night for the kids. There’s one right by her studio, and it just expedites the dinner/homework situation when we get home- i.e., survival mode. So they ate around 5:30, and then Brian ended up having to work late… so I was really just cooking for me.

This was a total thrown-together meal that just happened to be delicious! Here are the ingredients- I also had a bag of frozen, raw shrimp thawing in the sink, and I didn’t end up using the frozen spinach.

Here’s what I did (sorry that I don’t have more specific directions!): Seasoned the thawed shrimp with seasoned salt and pepper. Heated olive oil in a pan and tossed in the shrimp, stirring until they were cooked through. Removed shrimp from pan. Added in about 2 Tbs butter. Once the butter melted, I dumped in the bag of Trader Joe’s cauliflower gnocchi. Let those cook for a while, until they were browned and crispy. I also added about 1/4 cup water when the pan looked dry (the gnocchi really soaks up any butter/oil). Once the gnocchi was cooked through (taste test), I added in a can of mushrooms, 2 cloves of garlic, a Tbs or so of capers, and about 1/3 of the jar of marinara. THEN I poured in maybe 1/4 cup of half and half, just to make it a little creamy. Let that heat for a few minutes, then added the shrimp back to the pan.

Topped with fresh basil, because my basil plant is FINALLY perking up!

So, so good. If I had been 100% sure that Brian wouldn’t be eating it, I would have added some diced Kalamata olives, too.

If you haven’t tried it yet, that cauliflower gnocchi is legit. I’ve cooked it both per the package directions and per the internet’s recommendations (no water, just oil), and both have turned out great. Either way, just make sure you let the “pasta” get brown and crispy on both sides.

Hope everyone has a GREAT weekend! I’m pretty pumped that tomorrow is Friday!

Posted in September 2018 | Leave a comment

Random Costco Finds

Hey! Hope everyone had a fun Labor Day weekend! We headed down to the lake with my parents. Despite a few downpours on Monday, we had a great time. The kids squeezed in some end-of-summer pool time, we made a quick trip to Canton (sadly coming home with a big bag of caramel corn and some homemade bread- no stellar finds this time), and Brian and my dad played a little golf. Also Zach, Laura, Stevie and Owen came down on Monday, so the kids rounded out the holiday with fun cousin time.

Okay, so I thought I would share a couple of recent Costco finds. First up- this roasted veggie cauliflower crust pizza that I’ve seen all over Instagram.

I should say that I’m not a huge veggie pizza fan, other than mushrooms and green olives. I have seen a margarita version of this online but our Costco only carries the roasted veggie.

This was SO GOOD. I like the Trader Joe’s cauliflower crust pizza, but this is a million times better. The crust gets really crispy and has a ton of flavor. Also a big fan of the sauce! The veggies were fine- again, not my fave pizza topping, and I felt like they needed a little salt. But still really, really good! It’s 230 calories for 1/4 of the pizza (shhhh, I had 2 servings).

This was a random purchase because it was on super sale for like $6.

I thought it would be a good, easy option for after soccer practice- since we don’t get home until close to 7:30. Not something I would normally buy, but better than picking up fast food on the way home…?

So this is what it looks like when you open the package- pasta, sauce, and chicken. You pour it all in the included bowl and microwave for 8 minutes.

Post-cooking:

Ok so I thought the pasta and sauce were both really good. You can tell that the tagliatelle is fresh, and I loved the big chunks of mushrooms in the sauce. However, not crazy about the chicken. I’m weird about pre-cooked chicken. This one was super salty and I didn’t love the texture. Brian said he really liked the meal, so I’d probably buy it again and then maybe leave out the chicken on my portion or swap it for chopped rotisserie chicken?

Hope that was even a little helpful! I love seeing what other people buy at Costco (addicted to the @costcodoesitagain account) and getting easy dinner ideas. Any other new finds I should look for??

Posted in September 2018 | Leave a comment

Spicy Brussels

Y’all, is it a full moon??? My kids are CRAZY today. Getting in trouble at school, refusing to do homework, talking back. I’m don’t know if I’m dreading or looking forward to the long weekend…

We had the most random dinner tonight: leftover Instant Pot pot roast, chicken gyoza (Trader Joe’s), grapes… it was definitely a “clean out the fridge” meal. We also had a big bag of fresh brussels sprouts from Costco that needed to be used. I was initially planning to make these everything bagel seasoned brussels sprouts, but then I remembered bookmarking a recipe for crispy Asian brussels sprouts- a copy of the delicious sprouts they make at Uchi (a great sushi spot here in Dallas). Aaaaand we had all of the ingredients on hand! Win!

I ended up roasting the sprouts for 40 minutes, stirring and turning the pan at the halfway point. The sauce is made up of soy sauce (or fish sauce), maple syrup, lemon juice, Sriracha and garlic. I used 2 Tbs soy sauce and 1 Tbs fish sauce.

Once the sprouts are crispy, you just toss them with the reduced sauce:

Ok, so not pretty- but you know that the REALLY brown and crispy roasted veggies are the best.

I really liked them, but next time I’ll probably cut it down to 1 Tbs soy sauce and 1 Tbs fish sauce (it was really salty) and maybe add another Tbs of maple syrup? Just personal preference though! I didn’t serve these to the kids, but if you cut back on the Sriracha (or if your kids like spicy food) then I think it would be pretty kid-friendly. So much flavor! This sauce would be amazing as a salmon glaze, too.

Ok time to get these kids to bed. Hope everyone has a fun 3-day weekend!

Posted in August 2018 | Leave a comment