I’ve just signed up for Plan to Eat, which is one of the best meal planning programs I have found. I love that I can just copy and paste my favorite recipe URL’s in my site and Plan to Eat will create a grocery list for me. I can also see original recipe photos. I’m in the middle of planning my first week of recipes, but wanted to share before the sale is over.
If you decide to join, email me an invite and we can share recipes!
If you’ve had any interest in trying out a DAMY Health program, do it now! There are only a few times a year you can grab a great deal on one of the plans, but they are few and far between. The reason I totally love her plans is because they are based on eating 100% real food. No supplements, no powders, no 100 calorie packs. Real food and serious workouts. I’ve done the Method plan, which taught me to love High Intensity Interval Training and even more so, strength exercises.
Don’t wait until New Year’s Day, start living to your fullest potential now and enjoy the holidays, feeling healthy and bright!
I have so much to be thankful for today, for starters, a healthy family, two amazing little boys and a wonderful husband. Then there are the joys of this morning alone, Peet’s coffee, watching the Macy’s parade with my kids, a hubby having fun at the track, a bonus holiday delivery of the San Francisco Chronicle, you know, the little stuff.
I often wonder why we don’t spend Thanksgiving thanking the Wampanoag tribe for helping the English settlers survive. Shouldn’t we be donating money to Native American tribes or something? It’s great that we are all thankful for Black Friday and all, but what about the original meaning of this holiday? Turns out, Thanksgiving is more symbolic than a ritual reenactment.
For those of you reading on the bus or waiting in line (and have nuttin’ by time), you can read more about the actual history of this North American holiday at Plimoth Foundation’s website.
Enjoy this day with your family, friends and loved ones. If you can’t do that, have a nice spiked egg nog in hand at all time. If you can’t or don’t do that, have a really sweaty workout this morning to spike your endorphin levels. If you won’t do that, go to the movies or something, you’re bringing the rest of us down!
Prepare yourself, sticking an advertisement mid-blog:
I’m only posting this here because Amazon has the same Ronco Showtime Rotisserie that I have, at a great price. It’s usually $129-$149. It’s my 2nd favorite kitchen appliance (behind my Vitamix) and it’s how I busted out a Thanksgiving turkey in 2.5 hours yesterday. Check out this turkey! No knife was needed for carving, I pulled that sucker apart with my hands.
For another easy holiday dish, try the pumpkin-gingbread cheater dish!
- 1 can pumpkin pie mix
- 3/4 box gingerbread mix (I used Fresh & Easy's)
- 1/2 stick butter, in small cubes
- Preheat oven to 350°F
- Spray a deep dish pie pan or 9x13 cake pan and pour in pumpkin pie mix
- Sprinkle gingerbread mix (dry) over the top of dessert, completely covering pumpkin
- Cover entire pan with butter cubes
- Bake for 60 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean
Time for me to go play with my kids and get in a workout before pretending like I haven’t eaten in a decade. Happy Thanksgiving and Happy Hannukah friends!
I used the Pick Giveaway Winner WordPress plugin to choose the winner of the $50 Fresh & Easy gift card, so no foul play over here. Congratulations Ariana, F&E will be sending you your prize in the mail shortly!
New favorite find! I have no idea whether this product is called “Low-In-Carb” or “Let’s Skip the Sandwhich,” I’m assuming the latter. Either way, they are the first wraps I have found in a long time that are comprised of recognizable ingredients. I use them as tortillas too, as most store bought tortillas are full of trans-fats and chemicals. Bonus points for 60 calories and 7 grams of fiber.
If you are in the mood to make your own tortillas, I’ve got you covered too. Bring out your inner Mexican, girl! Or uh, boy!
Let’s talk dinner time, the best and worst time of the day.
Rarely do my family meals venture off the path of least resistance, (from the kids, that is). I tend to make meals that I know everyone will eat. Sometimes though, I get tired of it and willingly make two dinners, one for the kids and one for Jy and myself. If you are tired of eating all foods covered in cheese or with pasta, this recipe is meant for you.
I’m always willing to drop $8 on some type of rice bowl when I’m out. Why don’t I ever make my own at home? You just KNOW it’s going to be cheaper, often times you are missing that extra oomph of flavor though.
Enter in, Thai Shrimp Bowl, a dish for suburban folks with limited access to food which is not authentically Americanized. Mouthful? Yes, yes it is. Best part is that most of the ingredients can be used along with a couple eggs and some soy sauce to fry the kids (or picky spouse) up some fried rice.
This photo here is before Sriracha drizzle, which is totally essential by the way.
*DAMY friends, if you swap out the rice and peas for cauliflower and you’ve got yourself a DAMY approved recipe for meal 4!
Big props to Gina’s Skinny Taste for the original Thai Coconut Curry Shrimp recipe!
Thai Shrimp Bowl
- 2 cups Basmati or Jasmine rice, cooked
- 3 carrots, shredded
- 1 C. cooked peas
- 1 T. olive oil
- 4 scallions, white and greens separated and chopped
- 1 T. Thai red curry paste
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 lb. shrimp (get a decent size, which has been peeled and deveined)
- 6 oz. light coconut milk
- 2 t. fish sauce
- 1/4 c. fresh cilantro
- salt to taste
- Cook rice and peas. set aside.
- In large pan, heat olive oil over medium-high.
- Add scallion whites and red curry paste, saute' for one minute.
- Add shrimp and garlic, season with salt and cook for 3 minutes.
- Add milk and fish sauce, simmer 3 minutes, until shrimp is done.
- In a large serving bowl or platter, layer rice, peas and carrots,then shrimp mixture, mixing in cilantro and scallion greens along the way.
Take a peek at my photos from a fun little cooking night I went to, hosted by Shannon Moe Cooks. Our menu for the night:
Simple green salad with fresh squeezed citrus vinaigrette
Flank steak with annatto and honey sauce
Roasted chayote squash with avocado
Vegetarian (eggplant) meatballs with a romesco sauce
Sautéed rainbow chard with garlic and raisins
See that red on the steak? It’s from annatto, which I totally can’t wait to get my hands on and blog about. You may recognize the chayote from my Thanksgiving practice table too, new and fun! I’ve given my taste buds a venture out of my suburban lifestyle lately, and it has been tasty!
Ok, so the real reason you read this post. I want to give someone $50, scratch that, Fresh & Easy wants to give someone a $50 gift card to buy some groceries.
All you have to do is tell me who you are thankful for this year. That’s it! Leave me a comment below and you are entered into the giveaway! You have until this Tuesday at midnight to enter. Let’s get to thankin’ friends, hurry up, or I will cut you. I. will. cut. you.
Check out our Saturday night dinner! Those are totally husband sized portions you are looking at below, so don’t email Amy Layne (DAMY) and tell on me! I’ve been doing good!
Fresh & Easy brought Thanksgiving early this year! My husband helped put together our F&E Holiday Meal Box, he chose the rib roast over turkey or ham, we compromised on three different sides, picked up our box and had a full-blown holiday dinner in less than two hours, most of which was hands-off time. Run-on sentence not included.
Rib Roast needed to cook for about an hour and fifteen, while our sweet potato mash and sausage cornbread stuffing only needed 25 minutes in the oven. At the tail end of those 25 minutes, I pan fried our Brussels with bacon, microwaved the gravy and made the kids set the table. Easy peasy, lemon squeezy.
If you take a look at the top center of the photo, you’ll see a blue dish of what looks like sliced pears or pickles. They are chayote squash! I just learned how to cut and roast the sweet little guys on Friday. I may have gone a little over board, as every meal now includes our left-over chayote.
So, I have had plenty-a boxed Thanksgiving dinners. My family has tried Safeway’s box, Whole Foods’ meal, and we aren’t too embarrassed to note we’ve picked up a dozen or two biscuits from KFC on turkey day.
This meal was totally different, it had, ok…brace yourself…flavor!!! Most heat and serve meals are seriously bland, but F&E did an awesome job with the layers of flavor in each dish.
Dallas liked the stuffing best, Max was all about the sweet potatoes, Jy loved the meat and gravy. Me? Pumpkin pie. Forgot to buy whipped cream though, dang Tina!
I want to mention that Fresh & Easy bought this meal for me, but I wouldn’t hesitate to give it a bad review if I wasn’t impressed.
Ooh, I should also add that we chose the priciest dinner, which was still only about $65 and meant to serve 6-8. I would lean towards a plan of six hefty plates, unless you eat your holiday meals with supermodels, then the box would feed around 18.
You can expect to hear a bit more about Fresh & Easy soon, as I’ll be testing three of their wines this Thursday night! Woohoo!
Dallas really wanted to contribute to the blog, so he made a batch of Snickerdoodles to show off. They turned out well and I couldn’t be happier! I have a secret dream for Dallas. I might have shared it before, so it might not be that much of a secret.
I would of course love him to do whatever makes him happy, but if it just so happens that my plan makes him happy, well then, whatcha gonna do?
Dallas could go to college at UC Davis, which is about 45 minutes away from home. He could get a Master’s degree in their Agriculture department and then move on to develop some wildly popular, healthy and sustainable type of wine or dessert company. All of his attention will land him a spot on The Cooking Channel, which by then will have far surpassed The Food Network in coolness and popularity. He will get to travel the world, sometimes bringing along his mom. Dallas will have his own Christmas special and dedicate at least two of his cookbooks to his mother.
But you know, whatever. I’m breezy.
Whaaaaaat? What that there bread gone done and got in her salad, you ask? Was that hard to read? It sounds fun when I say it.
Pretend it doesn’t look like a pile of scraps for a second, mkay?
In a lazy attempt to make my own croutons, I hit the jackpot in salad toppings. You can choose to cube up a loaf of quality french bread, or rip if you prefer to get ‘er done quick. Load your chunks on a pan, drizzle with olive oil and season liberally with salt, garlic powder and oregano (or other seasoning of choice, hot pepper flakes would be yummy). Bake for 30 minutes on 350 and try to control your carb-lovin’ hands.
Head over to the blog, Changing A Life for a super easy cinnamon roll recipe. You make the dough in the bread maker. Uh, yeah, I’m serious. The rolls puff up well and are obviously yummy, but the frosting needs a bit of work.
Now, for a quick and easy recipe, all that reading to get here. Speaking of reading, read any good books lately? I’ve started about ninety. If you have a great non-fiction pick or a super-great fiction pick, send it my way. I don’t read anything like Sarah’s Key, Room or any other heart-wrenching books where I have to read about kids suffering, so I’ll pass on those. But, I love geeky stuff. Not like computer/technology geeky though, more history, philosophy or sociologically geeky. Oh, and I’ll read almost anything about food!
My secret nerd side is only embraced by my husband, really. I love NPR, crossword puzzles, historical documentaries and plenty of non-fiction. None of these things work well with my personality, which is prone to join Zumba classes and watch the latest Romantic Comedy starring Rachel McAdams.
Enough about me, let’s talk soup! Someone call Maury, because this is such a cheater soup.
I used Trader Joe’s Mirepoix (the tub of pre-cut onions, carrots and celery) and Trader Joe’s frozen turkey meatballs. Give it a try, it’s not too heavy, but plenty filling!
Turkey Meatball and Vegetable Soup
- 1 bag Trader Joe's Turkey Meatballs
- 2 T. olive oil
- Trader Joe's Mirepoix
- 1 clove garlic, crushed
- 1 package frozen kale (again, Trader Joe's)
- 1 package frozen corn
- 2 sprigs fresh sage
- 4 c. turkey broth (I used Trader Joe's boxed)
- sriracha if you are awesome
- Cook frozen meatballs in microwave or oven
- Heat olive oil in a medium pot, over medium-high heat
- Add mirepoix and garlic and let cook down for 3-4 minutes, stirring occasionally
- Add frozen corn, kale and broth and turn heat to high
- Tear or cut sage into small bits and add to soup
- Cover pot with lid and let cook for 15 minutes
- Quarter meatballs, unless you bought the party sized version and add to soup.
- Turn heat to low, and let simmer for 20 minutes or more.
Just finished up our family lunch of Beef & Bean Burritos (Pioneer Woman style) and Jumbo Pico (PW style as well). Jumbo Pico is just a pico de gallo salad cut into jumbo chunks. Tomato, avocado, cilantro, red onion, lime juice and salt (garlic if you’d like). This photo is much less tasty than the actual meal.
Saturday afternoons are quite sleepy around here. Not that anyone actually gets to sleep, there just seems to be a little extra time to do what we like. Hence, blogging time! A couple of Saturdays ago, I snapped this afternoon sweet photo of Dallas and Jy napping.
I had to grab it, because it reminded me a lot of this photo from 2007…
I’m still working on having extra time to do the things I love as well as the things I need to do (read: exercise). I have however, found time to catch up on The Mindy Project. Still need to do some serious Once Upon A Time catch up though.
One show I refuse to miss is My Grandmother’s Ravioli. It’s so awesome. It’s everything I want this blog to end up being someday. It makes for a great companion while ironing all of our clothes. Which yes, 13 year old me, I now do. Ugh, I know.
The Cooking Channel’s website says, “Join the very funny Mo Rocca as he learns to cook and discover treasured family recipes and stories from grandparents in their kitchens across the country.”
How cool is that? He gets to learn the best recipes in the country, which are rarely from professional chefs and mostly from grandmas. I’d dare anyone to find more than a handful of chefs who don’t blame their love of cooking on their grandmothers.
Plus, old school grandmas are funny. They don’t care about being politically correct or even correct for that matter! If grandma says you don’t measure the flour, you don’t measure the flour.
I’ll be taking out a couple of family recipes soon, I’d love to make some of Grandma Ann’s goodies soon.
If you are grossed out by potty words, skip this section and move right to the recipe.
My boys, namely Max have become totally into gross stuff. Dallas will laugh along side while he cringes, but Max is full-out gross. His latest obsession is with singing the “Diarrhea Song”. For the musical number, Max needs my rock-hard abs to play. I have been kind enough to bury my hard abs under a layer or two of
He slams his face into my stomach and blows a big raspberry on that extra layer of belly before lifting his head to chant, “I have a diarrhea song for you. I have a diarrhea song for you.”
See, it’s not that hard to learn, you could probably do it to. It’s bound to make someone smile, I think??
***********POTTY TALK OVER***********
I’ve also managed to squeeze Pinterest in to much of my day, which has been my go-to recipe source lately. Budget Bytes is a fun site, with plenty of low-cost recipes. I tried out the Spinach, Mushroom & Feta Crustless Quiche, with a few alterations. The kids picked out the spinach and mushroom, but I would consider this a dish worth making again. With a few sprinkles of herbs on top, I’d even tote one of these along to a potluck.
Sausage, Spinach and Mushroom Crustless Quiche
- 8 oz. fresh mushrooms
- ½ tsp minced garlic
- as needed non-stick spray
- 1 (10 oz.) box frozen spinach
- 4 large eggs
- 1 cup milk
- 2 oz. feta cheese
- ¼ cup grated parmesan
- ½ cup shredded mozzarella
- salt & pepper
- 1 package mild frozen breakfast sausage links
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Drain frozen spinach.
- Thinly slice mushrooms and cook in a medium pan.
- Add the minced garlic, and sprinkle a little salt and pepper.
- Turn the heat on to medium-high and saute the mushrooms for 5-7 minutes.
- Spray a pie dish with non-stick spray.
- Squeeze the rest of the water out of the spinach and spread it out on the bottom of the pie dish. Add the cooked mushrooms and crumbled feta. (I used mozzarella here).
- In a medium bowl whisk together the eggsand add milk, parmesan, and another small sprinkle of pepper. Whisk to combine.
- Pour this mixture into the pie dish over the spinach, mushrooms, and feta.
- Add sausage
- Sprinkle the shredded mozzarella cheese over top. Place the pie dish on a baking sheet for easy transfer into the oven.
- Place the quiche into the preheated oven and bake until it is golden brown on top and the center is solid. 45-60 minutes
Here’s how I feel now that I’m teaching preschool.
Max is with me at school, in my class, Monday through sweet, holy Friday. He made it almost past the welcome mat this afternoon and passed out.
I love Thursdays and Fridays at school because we have cooking time! Two weeks ago the kids went bananas over apple pie smoothies, topped with whipped cream and graham cracker crumbs. I could probably top ground beef with whipped cream and the kids would be happy. So, go figure, my family wanted to eat dinner this week. Again!!! I’ve been determined to cook too. Apparently, I’ve needed some comfort food this week though, as three dinners involved melted cheese. Four if you count the Kraft Macaroni and Cheese I served the kids one night, while Jy and I ate salad. They were all recipes that are good enough to share! Isn’t almost anything with melted cheese on top? It’s kind of like whipped cream for adults, right? Dinner number one, Beef Stroganoff French Bread. My husband introduced me to one of his favorite meals from childhood and I took the liberty of pimping it out a bit.
Melted Cheesy Family Dinners`
- 1 lb. grass fed, organic ground beef
- 1 cup mushrooms, sliced
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- 1/2 tsp pepper
- 1 1/2 cup sour cream
- sliced green bell peppers, or other pizza type veggies of choice
- 1 loaf french or other bakery bread
- In a large skillet, cook the beef, mushrooms and onion.
- Stir in the salt, garlic powder and pepper.
- Remove from the heat; stir in sour cream
- Cut French bread in half lengthwise.
- Place on an ungreased baking sheet. Spread butter over cut halves; top with meat mixture and half of the cheese.
- Arrange veggies on top.
- Sprinkle with remaining cheese.
- Bake at 375° for 15 minutes or until cheese is melted.
Dinner number two, Spaghetti Squash Alfredo, a winning Pinterest find! I followed the instructions exactly as given by the blog, The Comfort of Cooking, so I have to send you over that way if you’d like to try it too. I have to say it was awesome. Worked well to top with chicken for lunch the next day!
Dinner number three was so, so, so good. Sausage and tortellini soup. I swapped bouillon cubes for stock and evaporated milk for regular milk, otherwise the rest stayed the same. I came across the recipe from Party In My Kitchen on Pinterest and it was another serious winner! The biggest problem with this dinner was the price. Three packages of tortellini and two pounds of sausage was close to $18 on its own, before the other staple type ingredients.
So those were the hits of the week! They are so worth trying! If you can (which, you probably can), always opt for organic dairy products from grass-fed cows. There is a difference in taste, I seriously believe it!
AAAAAND. Just in case I ever need to tease Dallas during his teenage rebellious years, I thought I’d put this in writing. He woke me up asking, “Where is that sweet lady of my dreams?” The same morning he told me to, “Tell him something romantic.” How funny is that!?
Then, there is Max, who is a whole different issue. I had to have a little chat with him after he announced, “Mom, I just love boobies soooo much.”
Happy Weekend, Kim
What is better than a brownie? A dark chocolate brownie!
Dallas has been playing a game called Bakery Story on my Kindle and has been all over me about setting up a home bakery. He gets in these moods where he creates menus and wants to sell food to all our neighbors. Food which I am supposed to buy and cook. Needless to say, these games don’t make it much further than the menu writing phase.
This past week, Dallas has had a baking bee in his bonnet, asking me every day to make him banana bread. Being Sunday, I thought I’d pop a loaf into the oven before church and do something nice for my family. After an hour of baking, my sweet loaf tasted great, but a little plain. Oops, I kind of forgot to put the bananas in. I basically made sugary bread.
To make it up to him, I made an oeey-gooey batch of dark chocolate brownies, which happen to by Jy’s favorite as well. I did though, have an alterior motive, I wanted to bake something I could blog about. A win-win-win.
You can find dark chocolate cocoa powder at most grocery stores, but this recipe will work with any type of cocoa.
Dark Chocolate Brownies
- 2 sticks of butter
- 2 1/4 Cup Sugar
- 4 Large Eggs
- 1 tsp. Vanilla Extract
- 1 1/4 Cups Cocoa Powder
- 1 tsp. Ground Sea Salt
- 1 tsp. Baking Powder
- 1 1/2 All-Purpose Flour.
- 2 C. Chocolate Chips
- Preheat oven to 350°
- In a large saucepan, melt butter together with sugar over low heat.
- Stir occasionally to help sugar dissolve.
- When melted, remove pan from heat.
- Add eggs and vanilla and whisk until smooth.
- Gently stir in remaining ingredients, adding chocolate chips last.
- Bake for 30-40 minutes and enjoy!
It’s that time again…
Can you guess what’s in the glass? Surprise! It’s not coffee. It’s a fall mix of flavors with pumpkin, greek yogurt, banana, powdered peanut butter, a smidge of maple syrup and a dash of cinnamon. It’s a quick way to stock up on calories in the morning if you are in a rush. My kids weren’t bananas about it, but I was! Sometimes you just need something to carry you for a couple hours.
It’s after 7 p.m. on a Sunday night, which means it’s lunch packing time. So glad to be able to blog tonight and am looking forward to figuring out how to work blogging back into my schedule, with the goal of writing on a daily basis. It will take me a while, but I’ll get there!
Happy Fall Friends!