Weekend Recap

So I literally watched zero of the Superbowl, other than a few commercials and the halftime show (snooze). Obviously that didn’t stop me from making SNACKS. First up was Skinnytaste’s version of buffalo chicken dip. I couldn’t find any fat free sour cream, so I used Greek yogurt instead. I also baked it in the oven rather than using my slow cooker.

Super good! I love anything buffalo chicken and didn’t miss the extra cheese/sour cream at all. We used celery and carrots for dipping.

Next up was a chile con queso recipe that I found on Lisa Allen’s (@saltylashes) Instastories the other day. It’s ridiculously easy, and vegetarian! You just combine these 2 Trader Joe’s finds:

And then heat in the microwave for a few minutes. It was good! That Trader Joe’s queso is only like 15 calories per serving, which is crazy. Now I’m thinking of ways to use this to make some kind of Bob Armstrong-type dip (you TX people know what I’m talking about) with sour cream and guacamole.

We also had boiled shrimp, tortilla chips, corn dog nuggets (for the kids) and fruit.

It was an exciting weekend! On Friday morning Isla received the Christian Witness Award for Kindness during school mass. Every month they choose a different virtue (joy, peace, love, etc.) and the teachers pick one student per grade to receive the award. The principal emailed me on Wednesday to say that she’d won and it was SO HARD to keep it a secret. Luckily her class was singing at mass anyway so she didn’t think it was weird that Brian and I (and my parents) were there.

(It happened to be college shirt day, ha)

She was so excited! It hasn’t been the easiest year for her at school, so seeing her receive an award like this makes my mama heart really happy.

Isla had a basketball game on Saturday afternoon, then I took her shopping for a dress for the daddy-daughter dance while Brian and Jack did guy stuff (car shopping). I had a nice little peek into her teenage years. She kept telling me that dresses I picked out were “not to her liking.” What the what??? Luckily we compromised on one after hitting up at least 10 stores. Lord help me. Today was pretty lazy- lunch, ran to TJ’s, Jack’s basketball game, then home to “watch” the Superbowl.

Off to bed- I’ve been fighting off some cold-type thing for a week and keep losing my voice. Probably doesn’t help that we binged watched Friends From College last night and didn’t go to bed until after 1am. Oops.

Posted in February 2019 | Leave a comment

Cake Hack & Taco Tuesday

Hey hey! Brian was in New Haven Sunday and Monday, and by the time I got the kids down I was dead tired. Last night I’m pretty sure I was in bed by 9:30 (which never, ever happens), and dinners were pretty lame (Chipotle, anyone?), so please excuse my radio silence the last couple of days.

ANYWAY. I do have have a great dessert hack for you!! I found it on one of my new favorite Instagram accounts, @cattlebaronincashmere. Basically I want to try every recipe on her page (aaaaand buy every featured product). This one is so, so easy.

Ingredients:

Here’s what you do: Preheat oven to 350. In a stand mixer with a paddle attachment, combine angel food cake mix and can of crushed pineapple (with juice). Beat for a few minutes until FLUFFY. Pour into greased 9×13 pan and bake for 30 minutes.

That’s it! I already love angel food cake, and the pineapple gives it a great, tangy flavor. She suggests serving it with lemon sorbet and strawberries (which sounds fantastic) but I just used some whipped cream and berries we had on hand.

Side note: almond milk Reddi-Wip is pretty darn good, if you’re trying to avoid dairy. I’m not- but Target was out of regular whipped cream so I grabbed that instead. I may even prefer it to the dairy version.

Costco saved the day with tonight’s dinner. Have you seen these street taco kits??

This one was $15, but it comes with enough meat, tortillas and toppings for 12 tacos. I ate 2 and Brian had 3, and we have a ton left over for salads or whatever. It was a perfect post-basketball practice dinner (especially since we had a LOT of homework tonight).

Posted in January 2019 | Leave a comment

Sweetest Little Chef

Guess who made dinner tonight??

Other than the chopping, she really did everything for the sauce. Of course she ate NONE of it. Whoever said that helping prepare the food would make a child more likely to eat it has obviously never met Isla. BUT- she loves to help!

Jack and Isla both said that they wanted pasta for dinner, and thankfully earlier in the week I had grabbed a bag of frozen turkey meatballs from Target. Along with a bunch of random veggies hanging out in the fridge, we actually had everything on hand for dinner! That NEVER happens!

I chopped half a leftover onion, 2 big carrots and maybe 4 stalks of celery. Heated up some oil in the Instant Pot and tossed in the veggies. Isla sauteed them for a few minutes, until the carrots softened a little. Then we added in 3 cloves of minced garlic and 2 cans of mushrooms (drained) and stirred for a few more minutes. Dumped in the bag of frozen meatballs and a big jar of Victoria marinara (my favorite, from Costco). Set the Instant Pot to manual pressure for 5 minutes.

While the meatballs cooked, we cooked a package of angel hair (for the kids) and a bag of cauliflower gnocchi (for the grown ups). Once the meatballs were done, I did a quick release of the pressure and dinner was ready!

I have to say, for a crazy simple weeknight meal, this turned out SO well! I’m picky about frozen meatballs (not a fan of TJ’s) but these were really good. I’m definitely picking up a couple more bags to have on hand.

Definitely ready for the weekend! We have a birthday party, basketball games and *hopefully* some sleeping in on the agenda. Happy Friday!

Posted in January 2019 | Leave a comment

Skillet Enchiladas

We had such a fun, COLD, long weekend! We had a rare sports-free Saturday, so the kids and I headed down to the lake right after school on Friday (Brian drove down after work that night). Saturday was freezing and windy, but Isla decided that she needed to learn how to ride a 2-wheeler ASAP. My sweet dad took her out and worked with her, and she was zooming around the driveway in no time. I swear, that girl has zero fear.

We ended up heading back early Sunday for Isla’s basketball game (Jack had a bye week). Since the kids were off Monday, we met Brian for lunch and then headed to Alamo Drafthouse to watch Wreck It Ralph 2. I really do love it when they’re out of school. I mean, the house is a total disaster- but it’s so nice not having a schedule… and no homework.

For dinner tonight I tried this Skinnytaste recipe for cheesy rotisserie chicken enchilada skillet. It’s a good, quick weeknight meal, though I could have made it even faster by cutting up the rotisserie chicken (and dicing the onion) ahead of time.

Ingredients:

I actually ended up swapping the green enchilada sauce for red. I normally love verde sauce but that one just tasted like water. Yuck.

Of course I messed up and sprinkled the cheese on top before heating the chicken-tortilla mixture through… so I ended up just baking it in the oven on 350 for about 20-30 minutes and broiling the top for a few minutes at the end. It turned out great!

Served with Greek yogurt and jalapenos:

Also, this recipe serves 4- so the servings are HUGE. We have lots of leftovers!!

Posted in January 2019 | Leave a comment

When Dad’s Away

Ok so y’all are going to either think that I’m a genius for this or that I’ve lost my damn mind.

Last night Brian had a meeting, and since Jack’s basketball practice runs until 7:30, I usually feed the kids beforehand (crazy early). I had been thinking about this recipe- well, combination really- since I saw it a while back on the @traderjoeslist Instagram page. I knew Brian would want NO part in it, so last night was my opportunity!

Two words:

Pickle

Pizza

YES. I thought we had a Trader Joe’s cauliflower crust cheese pizza in our freezer, but apparently I was mistaken. So I grabbed this Caulipower pizza at Sprouts instead. These pickles might be my new obsession. They’re really not that spicy but the flavor is great- like the TJ’s spears (my fave) with a teeny kick.

This isn’t even a recipe. You literally just put the pickles on the pizza and bake it. The end.

Okay so no shocker here but I LOVED IT. Next time I’ll use the TJ’s pizza because the Caulipower sauce is super savory. I think a tiny bit of sweetness in the tomato sauce would have balanced out the salty pickles a little better. That’s my super scientific 2 cents. I did really like the Caulipower crust, though!!

Anyway, you should give it a try if you are a pickle freak like me… and then let me know what you think.

Back to a boring, non-pickled dinner tonight. Happy Wednesday!!

Posted in January 2019 | 1 Comment

Salisbury Steak Meatballs

Anyone else hooked on Dirty John on Bravo? I listened to the podcast a long time ago but only recently started watching the show. It’s so good and I love how true it is to the original story… though it’s making me stay up way too late.

Speaking of staying up way too late: BIRDBOX. Good lord. We watched it on Friday night, and were then up until 2am watching a John Mulaney comedy special so we could actually go to sleep. I don’t hate scary movies, but I like them more creepy than gory… and this was a little too much of the latter. It was well done but I don’t think either of us loved it.

(Apparently we’re watching a lot of TV lately.)

I was listening to an episode of the Forever35 podcast today while cleaning out the pantry (LIVING THE DREAM, PEOPLE) and they raved about this Skinnytaste recipe for Instant Pot Salisbury Steak Meatballs. It sounded like something that 3/4 of us would eat so I gave it a shot tonight:

Ingredients. I forgot to include an egg in the photo:

It’s a little more labor intensive than my ideal weeknight meal. Also, I don’t know what the deal was but I burned the hell out of the first batch of meatballs. Next time I’ll probably just broil them in the oven instead of browning them in the IP. It’s just easier and you can get them all done at once.

I had mine with mashed cauliflower. Brian and the kids (well, Jack) had theirs over pasta:

Not bad but not great either. Brian said he liked it but that it needed salt. Jack liked it. I was just meh. If you love Salisbury steak it might be worth a try!

Posted in January 2019 | Leave a comment

I’ll Stir Fry You In My Wok

Oh man. I spent most of today cleaning out our playroom and ended up with three giant bags of TRASH and an entire trunk full of toys to donate. And I’m not even finished! I still have to tackle the toy box and a random basket of toys/junk under the coffee table. So. Much. Stuff. It’s so gratifying and now I want to do the whole house… which should only take until October or so.

Guess what? We didn’t go out to eat once this week! Given our track record lately, that’s pretty noteworthy. Tonight I made my favorite Skinnytaste turkey taco soup. It was pretty chilly and gross out so soup was a good call. This time I used the Ro-tel that has cilantro and lime, and I also squeezed the juice of one lime into the soup. It was goooood. We had it topped with green onions and Greek yogurt (instead of sour cream), but my phone was upstairs charging so I didn’t get a pic.

Last night was book club, and then on Tuesday I just winged a quick chicken stir fry using all of this:

I marinated diced chicken breasts in Trader Joe’s Island Soyaki for about an hour or so, then threw it in the wok. Once the chicken was cooked through, I removed it from the pan and added a tub of TJ’s stir-fry veggies and a bag of fresh mushrooms. Cooked those for a few minutes, then threw in a can of sliced water chestnuts, a can of bamboo shoots, some garlic and ginger, about 1/4 cup of TJ’s stir fry sauce, a little soyaki and some soy sauce.

Served over cauliflower fried rice and topped with Sriracha. Oh! And also the new TJ’s umami mushroom seasoning… I’m a fan:

Not fancy but really good! And it made a ton, so that’s been my lunch this week too.

Hope everyone has a fun weekend! We’re planning to celebrate Brian’s birthday tomorrow night, since he spent his actual b-day driving 16 hours from SC to TX. Then it’s basketball games and hopefully finally taking down Christmas!

Posted in January 2019 | Leave a comment

Instant Loss

We were slow-going at first this morning, but somehow everyone managed to rally and the kids were dressed, fed and ready for school by 7:25. Holla!

Not going to lie, the day flew by. I ended up going to 3 different grocery stores for various “necessities”- which is insanity, yet still felt like a vacation after almost 3 weeks of ZERO alone time. The kids had a good day at school. Isla is super pumped to have a new girl in her class. Her grade only has 30 kids (Jack’s has 50!), so new faces are very exciting. Basketball practice started back up for Jack today so we are just jumping right back into the routine!

I’ve followed Brittany Williams’ Instagram account, @instantloss, since right after I bought my Instant Pot. She has great, healthy recipes and actually lost 125 lbs using her Instant Pot to prepare meals. I bought her cookbook right after it was released but hadn’t had a chance to try any of the recipes. Last night I was at a loss as to what to make for dinner, so I flipped through the cookbook and came across one for creamy Tuscan chicken with sun-dried tomatoes. The recipe isn’t online but the gist is it’s chicken breast in a creamy (from coconut milk and parmesan) sauce with sun-dried tomatoes, onion and spinach. I added mushrooms as well.

You saute the chicken and onions for a few minutes, but the dish only cooks under pressure for 2 minutes.

Served over angel hair pasta:

(It tasted better than it looks, I promise.)

I thought it was really good! Definitely an easy weeknight dinner. It would be great over spaghetti squash if you’re going low-carb.

Ohhhhh I have so much laundry to catch up on. Probably should have done that today instead of driving to three grocery stores, eh?

Posted in January 2019 | Leave a comment

Christmas 2018

Well the kids head back to school tomorrow. This break FLEW by!! I’m sad to send them off in the morning (and back to homework, ew), but also really excited to get back into a routine AND get my house in some kind of order. We left on the 29th to drive to South Carolina and didn’t get home until late on the 5th, so allllll the Christmas stuff is still piled everywhere. It’s giving me major anxiety… plus I’ve been watching that Marie Kondo show on Netflix and want to throw away everything we own.

Christmas was fun! Brian had to work most of the day on Christmas Eve, but we headed to my parents’ house that evening for their annual family party. The kids had fun with all of their cousins (missing a few here!):

Christmas Day Santa haul:

See this giant LOL Surprise?

Here’s what it looked like 5 minutes later. OMG. And I’m pretty sure she still hasn’t finished opening it…

We headed to South Carolina a few days after Christmas to visit Brian’s family. It’s such a long drive (16 hours!!) but the kids- and Chloe- were total champs. They had fun hanging out with everyone, ringing in the New Year, visiting downtown Greenville, and playing with their cousin Samantha.

It was super rainy while we were there so they played a LOT of games (both board and video games). There were many Just Dance tournaments happening:

Panning for gold at Jack’s favorite store (rocks!) in Greenville:

Downtown just before it started pouring:

Matching PJs!

We took the kids to a jumping/climbing place on Friday. Jack and Samantha freaking me out:

So back to reality tomorrow! I actually cooked tonight for the first time in forever- I missed it! We’ll see how long that lasts, ha.

Hope everyone had a great Christmas break!

Posted in January 2019 | Leave a comment

ALL The Christmas Things

One week until Christmas!! The kids have no spelling tests this week (YASSSSS), practices are cancelled, and it’s looking like we’ll have minimal-to-no homework. Not too shabby! To celebrate we’re having a family movie night and watching The Christmas Chronicles on Netflix.

We had such a fun weekend! The four of us headed to our friends’ annual Christmas party on Friday night. Saturday was pretty low key, though we did grab Tex-Mex and drove around looking at lights. On Sunday we took the kids to Neiman’s downtown to see Santa:

Then on Sunday afternoon my parents took us to The Gift of Christmas at Prestonwood Baptist Church. It’s this amazing Christmas program with singing, dancing, and a live nativity at the end. There are literally 1000 people in the cast, and they bring zebras, camels, peacocks (!!), donkeys, sheep, etc., onstage. Such a fun tradition and the kids LOVED it!

(Why are my children incapable of normal smiles in photos??)

There were a lot of people flying around in the air lol.

It was a good soup day today (but really, when is it not?) so I made a big pot of my standby favorite turkey taco soup. I know y’all are probably so sick of me posting about this one! Sorry not sorry… it’s that good.

Ingredients:

I ended up using 1 Tbs of taco seasoning and 1 Tbs powdered ranch dressing mix instead of the full packet of taco seasoning.

Topped with sour cream and cheese, and also a squeeze of lime:

I know what I’ll be eating for lunch all week! And not mad about it at all.

Posted in December 2018 | Leave a comment