Sunday, March 13, 2016

Meal Plan week of 3/14/16

Hi friends!
We are back from a fun weekend at my brother-in-law's family's ranch in central Texas.  It was a great trip - lots of relaxing and non-electronic entertainment.  Ruby and Holden loved the extra attention and seeing all the animals. :)  We are tired but refreshed!

Here's what's on the menu this week - it's another short week for us because we are headed to Beaver's Bend, Oklahoma with our small group from church!  We are "camping" and so excited!

Monday: Broccoli Chicken Casserole
My favorite from growing up - I always asked for this for my birthday dinner!  It's basically Poppyseed Chicken with a layer of broccoli on the bottom. Every time I make it, I have to text my mom for the recipe.  I should really write it down...

Tuesday: Slow Cooker Chicken Tikka Masala
We have a playdate scheduled for this day, and that usually takes the wind right out of my sails (in a good way!) so I'm planning a crock pot meal!  I'll love coming home and having naptime to regroup so I'm a nice mommy instead of a grouch scrambling to get dinner ready.

Wednesday: leftovers (or pizza!)
We're going camping on Thursday and my packing list is a mile long.  I'll take the night off from cooking and we can eat what we have or order pizza if there isn't enough.  That way I'll be able to get a head start on loading up the car with all the odds and ends that traveling with a 2 year old and an infant require!

Thursday: Planning on Pioneer Woman's 7 can soup when we get to our "campgrounds"

I'm also making this Lucky Shamrock mix in honor of St. Patrick's Day on Thursday!  We'll be driving, but it looks like a fun roadtrip snack.

Hoping to make my favorite orange chocolate chip muffins and cookies to take with us, time permitting!  Have a great week - what's for dinner at your house?

Saturday, March 5, 2016

Meal Plan week of 3/7/16

Have you ever seen the show Cutthroat Kitchen on Food Network?  Basically the chefs have to complete their meal while being sabotaged by some other chef in the kitchen.  Some days, that's what I feel like while I'm trying to make dinner - Ruby is taking everything out of every cabinet, I'm tripping over it all, Charlie is licking the floor (he loves nonstick spray?? Whenever I spray it he completely licks the whole floor hoping for a taste- weird), and poor Holden is crying because he hates to be put down.  Whew.  It can get overwhelming quickly!

Having our dinner planned in advance and (hopefully) prepped during naptime takes a little of the stress off of me.  I'm still SO RELIEVED when Lane walks through the door and there is another set of hands there to help! Woohoo for Daddy!

This is a short week this week, because we are headed to my brother-in-law's family's ranch for a long weekend with them and my parents!  I'm going to try to make some special things to take with us, but I won't have regular dinners planned for Thursday - Sunday.

Monday: Santa Fe Chicken and Rice
This is a staple recipe for me.  I can have all the ingredients in the pantry/freezer, and don't have to make a special trip for any special ingredients! I like to always have something on hand so I'm not playing Chopped in my kitchen when it's dinner time.  Although that could be a fun challenge, if 5pm wasn't the worst time of day for a toddler and infant.

Tuesday: Bang Bang Chicken
This is one of our favorites!  It is pretty quick if you do the prep work and make the rice during naptime (I do).

Wednesday: Grilled cheese sandwiches and tomato soup
Nothing fancy! We will be packing up and cleaning up to get ready to be out of town, so I'll be putting my energy into that instead of dinner.

Here's what I'm hoping to make in advance to take with us:
Pioneer Woman's Cinnamon Rolls
Mint Chocolate cookies (my sister is pregnant and I think she'll love these!)
Caramel Praline Sheet Cake because I want to try it but will need to share it!

That's it for this week! I'm finalizing my cart online and picking up the groceries tomorrow.  Hooray for vacation and a short week.

Monday, February 29, 2016

Meal Plan week of 2/29/16

Howdy friends!
I'm back with another meal planning post.  We had a busy weekend of house projects (with a toddler and a baby around) so I didn't get around to planning until now! So we are scrounging for leftovers tonight and I have my groceries ordered and set to be picked up tomorrow morning.  I had to got to take both of my kiddos to the doctor this morning, and they both fell asleep on the way home - there was no way I was waking them up to get the shopping done!

So here's what's sounding good (and easy) for this week-

Monday: leftovers (from freezer)
I have stew and tortilla soup in the freezer and I am currently defrosting both for dinner tonight! Ruby loves the soup, so that's an easy one, and Lane is not picky, so he'll be happy with whatever.  I actually have a mom's night out tonight with my friends from Stroller Strides, so I'm glad to have something easy for my people to eat so I can get myself ready to go out!

Tuesday: Crock-Pot fiesta ranch chicken tacos
This chicken is so easy and quick for the morning prep, and then we just have it as tacos (with lettuce, tomato, and cheese) with rice and beans as sides. Easy!  It makes a bunch so we may end up freezing some.

Wednesday: Turkey Meatballs
This is Lane's favorite and I'm feeling nice. Ha!  In reality, it's easy to prep during naptime, and I can try out my spiralizer and have zoodles with them.  I'll make regular spaghetti for everyone else.

Thursday: Pot Roast
I do an easy slow cooker pot roast with a chuck roast, a package of onion soup mix, and a splash of beef broth. So easy and it comes out perfectly every time.  We'll have this with some green beans (from a can- have you tried this brand? we love them.) and some yeast rolls.

Friday: date night!
We are having our first non-grandparent babysitter come to our house to watch our kids!  I have left Ruby before, but she was little (and asleep).  I'm excited to get out of the house and hoping our kids really like the babysitter so she can come back!  I'll make Ruby some macaroni and cheese - from a box, nothing fancy.

Saturday: another Stir Fry!
Still working through that ginger... We don't have plans for the weekend, so we may end up going out, but I like to have something available to make just in case.  You never can tell how our little ones are going to feel about heading out to a restaurant.

Sunday: breakfast for dinner
After we get home from small group at church, it's usually almost 7:00 - so we have an easy scrambled eggs, pancakes from a mix dinner and head to bed.

That should do it for this week!  We don't have much on our calendar except Ladies' Bible Study on Wednesday and maybe a couple workouts with Stroller Strides.  I'm hoping to get some housework done, but you never know how plausible that is (or how motivated I'll actually be when I have a free moment - I'm currently back in bed with a cup of coffee - worn out after our trip to the doctor this morning!)

Have a good week everyone!

Saturday, February 20, 2016

Meal Plan Week of 2/22/16

Well, here goes nothing! It's been so long since I've written anything - in fact, we added another member to our family since my last post!  Holden is almost 4 months old and the sweetest, most snuggly little guy.

I have made meal planning a pretty regular habit over the past couple years, so I thought I'd document what we're having in case it gives anyone else any ideas!  Some of the ideas may be new things we're trying, but most will be tried-and-true, toddler approved, easy to prep during naptime, or under 30-min meals.  We're in survival mode most days around dinner time here, but I've found that planning what's for dinner in advance helps me immensely!

Here's what sounds good this week.

Monday: Stir Fry
I used Walmart's online grocery ordering for the first time last week and loved it! When I ordered, though, I didn't pay attention to how much ginger I was buying, and I ended up getting a whole pound!  We'll be trying to use that up for a while. ;)

Tuesday: Southwest Wraps
These are good with rotisserie chicken, taco ground beef/turkey, or this crock pot chicken recipe!  I usually keep the components all separate for Ruby's dinner and serve with fruit.

Wednesday: leftovers!
I pack leftovers for Lane's lunch every day, but we usually need a leftover night anyway to make sure we aren't throwing away a bunch. And I enjoy a night off! (kinda-- does it count if you still have to wipe up the floor and do dishes?)

Thursday: Tex Mex Macaroni
Ruby turns two, so I'm making her favorite!  I'm also making a Pink Lady Cake for dessert.  We'll see if naptime really allows for all that. I have a box mix on standby!

Friday: Crock-Pot Chicken Tortilla Soup
My favorite crock pot recipe!  We love all the veggies in this and the seasoning tastes amazing.  I use Swanson's Mexican flavored broth to amp up the flavor.  I usually can find it at Target, but don't make a special trip.  It's really good as is!

Saturday is our anniversary so we'll be going out, and Sundays we have our small group at church until about 6:30pm, so dinner is definitely something easy like scrambled eggs and Kodiak Cakes.

That'll do it for this week!  I'm hoping to keep posting regularly - but we shall see what these two allow. :)

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Summer Berry Trifle

When you're in between having a baby and your sister's wedding, there's not a lot of room for dessert, sadly.  Enter - this trifle.  It's not from scratch or made with whole grains, and doesn't use coconut oil, but you can throw it together in about 15 minutes and not feel too guilty about splurging on it for breakfast the next morning (oops). 

I started making this and had to go look for my trifle dish.  I knew I had one somewhere.... apparently on the mantel and filled with pinecones?!  Not sure when/how that happened - can I blame pregnancy brain?  Let's just say trifles will be happening more often around here.  Especially when they're as refreshing and delicious as this one.

Summer Berry Trifle
2/3 store bought angel food cake
2 pints strawberries, sliced
2 pints blueberries
6 tbsp fat-free sweetened condensed milk
1 1/2 cups cold water
1 package sugar-free cheesecake instant pudding mix
8 oz fat-free frozen whipped topping

Thaw the fat-free frozen whipped topping in the refrigerator for 4 hours. 

Whisk the condensed milk and water in a bowl. Whisk in the pudding mix for 2 minutes. Let stand for 2 minutes or until soft-set; fold in the whipped topping.

Arrange half of the cake in the bottom of a 14-cup trifle dish. Sprinkle evenly with 1/3 of the blueberries. Spread half of the cream mixture over the blueberries and gently spread. Top with 1/3 of the strawberries. Layer the remaining cake cubes on top of the strawberries, then add half of the remaining blueberries and top with the remaining cream mixture. Finish with the remaining strawberries and blueberries, arranging them in a pretty pattern - or just dump them on, depending on your timeframe. ;) Cover and refrigerate at least one 1 hour. 

Source: skinnytaste

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

green smoothie

I know what you're thinking: I went from s'mores cupcakes to a green smoothie.  Yep, I did, because this baby weight isn't going to lose itself.  I promise, though, this is a healthy option that still tastes like a frozen treat (especially if you haven't had the real thing in a while).

Since we spent our fourth anniversary in the hospital with Ruby, we were a little delayed on the whole gift/celebrating thing. (We did order Thai food in the hospital instead of eating the cafeteria food, woohoo!)  We decided to get ourselves a Vitamix blender since it is the "fruit and flowers" anniversary, and this sounded like a fun option.

This blender is no joke - it doesn't fit on our countertop and sounds like a lawnmower while it's running.  But it does produce some restaurant quality frozen drinks!  The high-powered equipment isn't a requirement for this smoothie though... I drank these pretty regularly from our normal $20 blender that came with Lane into our marriage.

To make life easy (and to give myself the ability to make a smoothie with one hand while holding a baby with the other), I packaged up the ingredients for one smoothie in ziplocs and put them in the freezer.  Now my fruit/spinach won't go bad before I get a chance to use it!

Green Smoothies 
½ banana (frozen or not), cut into chunks
½ cup chopped frozen pineapple
½ pear (or apple), coarsely chopped
1 cup orange juice
1 cup baby spinach leaves, rinsed and dried
Combine all ingredients in a blender or food processor and puree until completely smooth.  Serve immediately.

Source: Annie's Eats

Thursday, March 27, 2014

i'm baaaack: s'mores cupcakes

Well, it's almost been a year since my last post, which is a little embarrassing.  I got pregnant shortly after my last post, and wasn't really interested in eating, so not much cooking happened.  Then we moved, I got a job, and in the whirlwind of getting ready for baby and seeing more family since we're back in Texas, this poor bloggity got neglected.  But I'm back and ready to document more delicious adventures in the kitchen!

To celebrate being back in the ole' blogisphere, I bring you:

S'mores Cupcakes
For the graham cracker crust:
  • 1½ cups graham cracker crumbs
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 5 1/3 tbsp. unsalted butter, melted
For the cake:
  • ½ cup plus 1 tablespoon Dutch-process cocoa powder
  • ½ cup plus 1 tablespoon hot water
  • 2¼ cups all-purpose flour
  • ¾ tsp. baking soda
  • ¾ tsp. baking powder
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • 2 sticks plus 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 2/3 cups sugar
  • 3 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 tbsp. vanilla extract
  • ¾ cup sour cream
For the frosting:
  • 4 large egg whites, at room temperature
  • 1 cup sugar
  • ¼ tsp. cream of tartar
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • Preheat the oven to 350° F. Line two cupcake pans with paper liners. In a small mixing bowl, combine the graham cracker crumbs, sugar and melted butter; mix well with a fork. Drop about 1 tablespoon of the graham cracker mixture in the bottom of each cupcake liner and press down to line the bottom. Bake for 5 minutes. Remove from the oven.
  • In a small bowl, combine the cocoa powder and hot water and whisk until smooth.  In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt, and whisk to blend.  Combine the butter and sugar in a medium saucepan set over medium heat.  Cook, stirring occasionally, until the mixture is smooth and the butter is completely melted.  Transfer the mixture to the bowl of an electric mixer, and beat on medium-low speed until the mixture is cool, about 4-5 minutes.  Add the eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition and scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.  Blend in the vanilla and then the cocoa mixture until smooth.  With the mixer on low speed, add the flour mixture in three additions alternating with the sour cream, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients and mixing each addition just until incorporated.
  • Divide the batter evenly between the prepared liners, filling each about ¾-full.  Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 18 minutes, rotating the pans halfway through baking.  Let cool in the pan about 5-10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
  • To make the frosting, combine the egg whites, sugar and cream of tartar in a bowl set over a pan of a few inches of simmering water. Heat the mixture, whisking frequently, until it reaches 160° F with an instant-read thermometer. Transfer the mixture to the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Whisk starting at low speed and gradually increasing to medium-high speed until stiff, glossy peaks form. Mix in the vanilla until combined.  Transfer the frosting to a pastry bag fitted with a decorative tip. Brown with a kitchen torch (or I used the oven broiler on low and watched carefully so they didn't burn!)

Source: Annie's Eats

And... since you're still reading after my 10 month hiatus, I give you:
Baby Ruby :)