Back On Track Once Again/ Breaking Records/A Healthier “Us” Anniversary

After two weeks of meal time chaos, I feel like I am finally back on track. Everyone was home and accounted for so I knew exactly how much I needed to prepare each night for dinner this week. This makes this wife/mom happy.

Things that did not make all that happy this week was the fact that we broke records here in Green Bay with our newest snowstorm. It was the biggest snowstorm in over 100 years coming in at a whopping 24.5 inches in 48 hours….I guess winter is not quite done with us yet.

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Anyhow, back to better topic, this week we tried two new recipes and one new product I have been dying to try out on the family. Here, take a look….

Saturday: grilled chicken brats, grilled zucchini, and perogies

Sunday: Lentil veggie soup and chicken pita sandwiches

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Monday: slow cooker burrito bowls(new recipe that is a keeper for sure)

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Tuesday: dynamite stovetop casserole

***This recipe was very tasty and basic. As my boys both commented during dinner, mom why did you think this would be a keeper, you can do so much better than this on your own? Well, now, didn’t that make me feel good…although, I thought the recipe itself was quite good. Yes, basic but still good. And how often do you make a recipe that actually turns out to look just like the picture in the book?

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Wednesday: chili stuffed sweet potatoes

***I loved this so much that I needed to make it again so soon after the first time so my husband could enjoy it this time also. Last time I made it he was traveling for work and missed out.

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Thursday: out….tonight plans got scrapped for some unexpected events that happened which left no time for dinner preparations

Friday: red lentil pasta with ham, zucchini, spinach,and parmesan cheese sauce

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Have you tried red lentil pasta yet? This was our first time and I must say, it won’t be our last for sure. It tastes no different and the texture is very close to regular pasta that it was very acceptable. All of us said this is a good healthier option in pasta dishes….yeah, another win for mom!!!!

Swapping something unhealthy in your diet that you have eaten and enjoyed for years is often hard and will, without a doubt, be different BUT change is hard and sometimes has to happen. Whether for health reasons, allergies, or you are just getting on the healthier eating train, I believe you mentally have to prepare yourself for the reality of what I eat now is slowly killing me and I HAVE to change to better myself. If this mental transformation don’t happen then you will never find something you can live with in place of another product you have eaten for years and is bad for you in some way. I touch on this subject because coming up here in a few days we will hit the 1 year anniversary of eating completely artificial sweetener free in our home. Yes, at the time it was for major medical issues my husband was having. However, now those issues have all cleared up and he is feeling fabulous. We now all find ourselves reading the label and often times putting a product back on the shelf to find a healthier alternative. I guess maybe one has to be miserable enough to want to make a healthier change before it can happen long term…but for us here, only one of us was suffering with issues and instead of signaling him out we all made the change as a family unit and we all could not be happier.

 

 

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A Good Mixture Of Meals

When I meal plan I try hard to mix things up and have a bit of everything during the week. If it were up to me I would probably stick to all mexican meals but it’s not just me after all. So this week I really outdid myself with bit of everything. Plus, to top this off, three were new recipes and all successful at that.

Saturday: Mexican lentil soup….a new recipe and a wonderful one at that. I think I have my husband hooked on lentils…..this I assure you is an accomplishment!!!! (meatless)

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Sunday: Unwrapped egg roll bowls with lime….another new recipe and another BIG winner. Truthfully, I read a few different recipes and then made my own up according to what my family likes. So I better write this one down before I forget what I did since it ended up being delicious. IMG_0723

Monday: chipotle chili with corn bread IMG_0725

Tuesday: Crock pot braised beef over fettuccine with parmesan cheese…another new recipe….it’s rare that I prepare beef…but it was amazing and a pleasant surprise.

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Wednesday: lentil and ground turkey nachos (This only happened thanks to my husband and son since I was feeling really rough by this time in the week. They prepared and cleaned up….I fell asleep on the couch when my kids left for the day. Apparently, what ever I woke up with Sunday morning has gotten worse.)

Thursday: bean burger wraps with fresh fruit(meatless)(I was still feeling rough, so quick and easy was the name of the game for tonights dinner)

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Friday: leftovers since illness was still lingering

Even though I probably did not get the full experience of tasting all my new recipes this week due to illness, I can say they were still all winners. However, if not for my boys and my trusty old crock pot I would have struggled to get dinner on the table most nights this week with the illness that had me down and out by the end of each day. So thankfully, when in need, I can turn to them to help….both to cook and to clean up.

New Cookbooks Are Being Delivered Which Meals New Meals Are Being Enjoyed

I’ve added yet another new cookbook to my collection. Right after Christmas I cleaned out my cookbook cabinet and found that there were not many I used anymore since going artificial sweetener free in my meal planning for my husbands health reasons. Even now, with the three new books that I recently bought, I typically get ideas from them and add my own twist to the meal I prepare. I know what will pass the test of my family and what won’t…and sometimes I wing it and hope for the best. I will say, and give a lot of credit to both my husband and my son, they have been really adjusting much better than I thought they would to a more plant based diet. Why plant based you may ask? To simply put it, fruits and veggies don’t have labels that I have to scan for things that are not good for us to consume. They are straight forward and don’t need any help being tasty.

In other news, has anyone else noticed more daylight hours? I sure have. I have also noticed that our snow here is melting and temps are slowing becoming tolerable. Mud season(Spring) is right around the corner and I for one am so ready to dive right in. My upcoming meal plans have grilled food on them, I have charcoal on the grocery list, and all this means life for me is finally turning a corner. We even went for a walk on the neighborhood streets the other night….I have not done this in months. WhooHoo!!!

So, moving on with some meal inspiration for everyone….here is what dinner time looked like at our house this past week. I accomplished five new recipes this week…wow this was amazing.

Saturday: Moroccan stew and homemade spring rolls with dipping sauce (meatless) (both new recipes and both so yummy)

***This was a mother/son meal combo. I made the stew and he made the spring rolls with dipping sauce. As for dad….he simply enjoyed the meal;-)

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Sunday: ham, peas, and pasta with garlic cream sauce and crusty bread

Monday: slow cooker beef lo mein (new recipe and oh so tasty)

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Tuesday: cheese stuffed manicotti with veggie marinara and cheese topping (meatless)

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Wednesday: Mediterranean pasta skillet casserole (new recipe that came from my own thoughts….maybe I aught to write a cookbook since this also turned out spectacular)

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Thursday: honey mustard crunch salads (honey mustard was another new recipe-fabulous!!!)

Friday: out

I am a bit afraid of what will come once the weather is really nice and I have so much less time to spend in the kitchen to prepare quality meals. Although, I know here in the midwest  summer is so short that I can surely come up with some fast, tasty meals that can be thrown together super quick after a long hot day of playing outside. The plan is to cross that bridge when I get there.

As for food prep for the upcoming week….none at all happened. I know I am going to pay the price for not doing any on Sunday but after waking up and making a trip to urgent care for an unforseen issue, I did not have the energy to do anything but sleep.

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2 Newborns, One Almost 2 Year Old, Dinner 4 Nights This Week, 5 Early Morning Workouts=Exhausted But Accomplished!!

Alright, I am not going to lie and say life has not been difficult these past two weeks because they really have been challenging. Although, I will be the first to admit that it sure feels good to be back to my happy stress level of children (which in my case is work), daily workouts and happily dozing off on the couch while my husband rubs my shoulders before bed. Yes, life is good…..exhausting but really, really good!!!

Add all this plus a few things behind the scenes and I still managed to get dinner on the table four nights this week which is a success in my eyes. Here take a look.

Saturday: make your own personal pizzas IMG_8224

Sunday: pasta and veggie marinara sauce with crusty bread IMG_6954

Monday: honey bourbon chicken thighs, roasted broccoli and carrots over bulgar

Tuesday: one pot shrimp and garlic cream sauce

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Wednesday: pork tenderloin with apples and cabbage (another new recipe which turned out pretty good) IMG_0255

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Thursday: stuffed zucchini boats with crusty bread on the side IMG_8311

Friday: out

Do you start the week with a goal? Mine is always to get through dinner. I can do my job pretty well with little to no stress since I have been doing it for so long now. Yes, at times we have moments of stress but they pass fairly quickly. For me, getting dinner on the table is usually the end point of my night. I care for myself early at the gym, my daycare children all day, and last but not least my family in the evening(and sometimes during the day in between children), and then this mom/wife/caregiver signs off for the night.

Meal prep for the upcoming week included:

Clean eating brownies and honey scones…one turned out fantastic(brownies) and the other was horrible(scones).Whomp whomp!

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I also made veggie burgers from my new plant based cookbook which turned out amazing!!!!

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The rest of my meal prep included chopping veggies, cooking chicken to make wraps with for lunches, and preparing a batch of quinoa sweet potato chili for my lunches this week. IMG_0297

There you have it, another week on the books and another week closer to retirement…..yes, I am dreaming big today.

 

Meal Recap-New Recipes Are So Much Fun

Goodness, I had a long week. Good but long….yoga Saturday is going to feel so wonderful! On that note, I am keeping it short and sweet today. Here is what we enjoyed for dinner all week…see something yummy you want to try, let me know and I will get you the recipe.

Saturday: veggie enchiladas (new recipe and surprisingly it was a hit)

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Sunday: chicken fajita seasoned brats with veggies over farrow

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Monday: Spanish chicken and cauliflower skillet with crusty bread(another new recipe and another hit…yeh)

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Tuesday: BBQ chicken from my new clean eating cookbook, pita bread, roasted carrots, and kale side salads (one more new recipe….that make 3 for three this week and all a hit)

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Wednesday: general tso’s chicken and broccoli IMG_9967

Thursday: homemade egg biscuit sandwiches with homemade chicken breakfast sausage IMG_0094

Friday: out

Meal Prep:

This week I needed to whip up another batch of homemade fajita seasoning since we can’t find any without artificial sweetener in it in our area.

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Since I knew this week would be a doozie….I made a big batch of homemade pea soup so I get to eat also. There are many times I often find myself so busy caring for the children during the day and taking care of everything else I take care of, that eating is often forgotten. That is until I have the shakes and a headache from not eating and then it dawns on me….did I eat lunch today? And sure enough, this is the perfect time for a big ole cup of hearty pea soup. IMG_0240

I also washed and pre cut any veggies that could be pre cut for the upcoming week of recipes. Then we saw that a snow storm was going to be what we woke up to Monday and Tuesday morning which meant our alarm would go off at 3a.m instead of 4a.m. so a fast breakfast was needed. Carrot muffins are healthy and a good “on the road” breakfast for these types of mornings being both my husband and son travel a good distance to get to work. And of course I made my staple, hard boiled eggs for breakfast.

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There you have it, another week of great meals and a week of meal prep ready to go.

Are you a meal planner or do you wing it and see what happens?

What’s your favorite go to breakfast?

 

 

Weekly Meal Recap/Upcoming Week Meal Prep

Cooking comes so easily in the winter months compared to that of the summer months. Cooking warms my heart, my insides, and just takes up time that I have plenty of when I can’t go outside. This week I made two new recipes and both were big hits. Take a look at our nightly meal selection and maybe you will be inspired to spend some time in your kitchen

Sunday: grilled lobster and shrimp over pasta with dill lemon butter sauce

Monday: chili

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Tuesday: crockpot chicken and cabbage over bulgar

*** This was a new recipe I tried from my new clean eating cookbook. I did have to change a few ingredients up to make it work for my family but we did really enjoy the finished product.

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Wednesday: out with my brother for our monthly chat/dinner

Thursday: hoisin ground turkey, sweet potatoes, spinach, and cabbage over farrow

Friday: salmon patties with dill yogurt sauce, seasoned rice, and cabbage

***I have been wanting to try making my own for quite some time. Since we went out once already this week and numerous times during the holiday I actually felt Friday would be perfect instead of our typical night out before weekly grocery shopping. They were fabulous…I was quite surprised since I had tried another brand of canned salmon years ago and it was horrible.

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Meal prep: With a big menu next week including three new recipes we are going to try, food prep had to be spot on. I am once again bombarded with burp cloths and baby bottles so there really is not much time to do all this during the week. Here is what I all managed to get done in an hour and a half.

A few granola, fruit, and yogurt cups were made for my husband for breakfast.

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I whipped up a quick salad dressing to use this week. IMG_0027

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Of course I did lots of veggie prep since this is a huge time saver, hard boiled some eggs, made hummus, chicken salad, and dinner for the evening which was veggie enchiladas. IMG_0219

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Which means I am officially ready for the week….let the fun begin.

 

 

 

 

Family Dinners Documented-How I Find Time To Cook

I enjoy meal planning almost as much as I enjoy planning an active vacation for my family. Ultimately, they are pretty similar if you really think about it. Make sure everyone has a bit of input, know who is all going to be present at mealtime, and make sure the meal includes at least one thing everyone will enjoy. For me this is pretty basic….I love veggies, hubby and son will give me an eye roll if there is no meat, and everyone loves comfort food. Combine all this and sometimes I hit all the wishes and sometimes I learn to ignore the eye roll and the “where’s the meat” comment and they either eat what is prepared or go hungry.

So as usual here is the past week in meals at our house.

Saturday: squash ring baskets filled with bacon and eggs….OMG was this wonderful

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Sunday: greek chicken salads and toasted focaccia bread

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Monday: creamy pesto cheese tortellini with shrimp, mushrooms, and spinach, bread sticks on the side

Tuesday: crock pot creamy mushroom pork chops over garlic mashed potatoes with roasted carrots

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Wednesday: homemade baked mac and cheese and chicken bites

Thursday: bubble veggie pizza (meatless)

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Friday: out

Some of you have asked how I can find time to prepare so many meals weekly and what my weekly grocery bill ends up being. Truthfully, I can’t tell you what my weekly bill comes out to be since they differ so much from week to week. You have to remember, I also grocery shop for the daycare children I care for every day. So, if I had to estimate our portion of the weekly bill, I would say its about $100-$120 a week. This typically makes 6 nights of meals, with at least four servings per night since my husband always takes one serving of leftovers in his lunch the next day. Add in breakfast food and odds and ends for the week and this is typically what I would estimate I spend without any daycare food.

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As for how I find time….I plan my meals weekly. I only buy what I need for these meals, and follow the plan closely. I typically know what our week ahead has on the calendar for appointments, meeting, and activities. So I make sure to plan easy meals on busy nights, crock pot meals on busy days, and more elaborate meals on nights where I know I will have more time to spend in the kitchen. If something goes haywire mid week and our nightly plans change then….well…..it’s anyones guess what could happen.

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You have to remember, now with following this no artificial sweeteners diet for my husband, eating out is risky at best. So I find it just easier to cook at home and this way he is not miserable if we eat something unknown to us that could make him ill. Plus, thankfully, I do enjoy cooking most of the time and I love knowing that what my family is eating is healthy.