Not What A Typical Week Normally Looks Like For Us

This week was full of meals I did not have to prepare. This is great for me but tricky at best for my husband since he has a severe sensitivity to artificial sweeteners. Although, we made it work and he did pretty good. Typically, we would have had to go out for one more restaurant meal this week if we would have stuck with tradition. We normally celebrate birthdays by letting the birthday person pick their restaurant of choice…..and Tuesday was my birthday. However, Tuesday we also had a snow storm and I did not mind cooking…but my boys were in charge of clean up. Plus, I knew we still had two more evenings out coming up so it was what it was.Having someone clean up for me was gift enough.

Looking back here is what the week was like…..only one new recipe and a whole lot of meals out which is not typical for us.

Saturday: out with my hubby on our 24 hour getaway (if you missed it read about it here and here)

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Sunday: penne pasta casserole and crusty bread

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Monday: take out made at home: general tso’s chicken and broccoli

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Tuesday: pasta, peas, bacon, and mushrooms with garlic cream sauce ***New recipe and a keeper at that. However, I may change the bacon to ham or go meatless next time since the bacon just did not do it for me in this dish.

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Wednesday: Out with my brother for our monthly dinner together…this month was his choice restaurant and Indian it was. Him and I loved everything, my poor nephew left hungry I am sure, and my husband was very happy with his meal choice but not so much with the appetizer when he found chick peas in it. I found out I love butter chicken and plan to give this a try at home here soon.

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Thursday: grilled homemade burgers, side salads and chips

Friday: out

Next week looks much more normal. I even have 3 new recipes at the moment planned and I am excited for them all. I am also getting back to my meatless journey and throwing in two meatless meals to try and get past my boys with little to no complaints…..here goes nothing. Wish me luck!

Sunday meal prep for the week ahead looked a bit like this. First of all, it ended up being Saturday that I meal prepped since Sunday I had plans. However, come Sunday, I woke up feeling quite crummy so I was grateful I meal prepped Saturday but not so grateful to have to cancel plans because I felt this way.

Ok, so first I had to find something to do with really ripe bananas so I prepared two loaves of banana bread and froze them for an upcoming camping trip.

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Next, I made up three lunch meals for me consisting of chicken, olives, and artichokes sauteed in olive oil with sundried tomatoes. Then I laid this over a bed of whole wheat couscous.

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While I was at it, I also found two 1/4 boxes of different pastas in the pantry….and this drives me a bit crazy to have a bit of every shape and sized noodle left. So I quickly threw together a chipotle chili mac casserole for my husbands lunches and froze them. He takes these on nights when I don’t cook dinner and there are no leftovers for his lunch the next day.

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Also not pictured is pre chopped veggies for the weeks menu and a dozen hard boiled eggs.

 

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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.

 

 

 

 

Quinoa Sweet Potato Chili

I have been trying to find time to make my own meatless chili for some time now but knowing that neither my son or husband would eat this for a meal was always a deal breaker. However, it’s not necessarily the fact that it has no meat in it that makes it a deal breaker. Neither of them really like chili…my son is not a bean fan and my husband just plainly don’t like chili. So one afternoon I finally decided to just make a small batch and eat it one evening for dinner myself and for lunches the rest of the week. This actually turned out wonderfully and I really enjoyed this meal.

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Here is what I did. (Keep in mind I needed to keep it quite mild to be able to share it with the daycare children also.So feel free to add more spice if you wish)

Quinoa Sweet Potato Chili

2 TBSP olive oil

1 15 oz can black bean-drained

1 can of Campbell’s tomato soup

1/2 cup quinoa

2 small sweet potato-peeled and diced

2 celery stalks-diced

1/4 medium onion-diced

1 15 oz can of diced tomatoes

2 tsp chicken/veg bouillon

2 garlic cloves-finely chopped

2 15 oz cans of water(use your bean can for measurement)

2 TBSP chili powder

1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes

1 tsp cumin

salt to taste

 

Begin by adding your olive oil to the pot and saute your onion, celery, and potatoes for about 10 minutes.

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Next, add your tomato soup, diced tomatoes, garlic, spices, bouillon, and water. Mix this together, bring it to a boil, and then simmer this for another 10 minutes.

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Next, add your quinoa. Mix it together, cover, and simmer for 15 minutes approx or until your quinoa is tender.

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At this point, add your drained and rinsed black beans. Take it off the heat and leave it sit for 5-10 minutes before serving. The chili will thicken up and make a tasty hearty meal. I served mine with tortilla scoops. Other tasty additions would be shredded cheese, sour cream, plain greek yogurt or avocado.

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Enjoy.

 

Wonton Pizza Cups

A great alternative to making an entire pizza is to make mini pizzas in wonton wrappers. These also make a great fast and easy appetizer for birthdays, holidays or just for snacking on during a sports game or movies at home. For us, I happened to have some leftover wrappers from another recipe I had made and thought why not fill them with pizza toppings and have a fast and easy dinner with a side salad. I quickly threw them together and a few minutes later everyone agreed…..I must make these again. So easy yet so good.

Here is what I did:

Wonton Pizza Cups

non stick cooking spray

wonton wrappers

cooked chicken, diced pepperonis, or cooked italian sausage…although, you could also go meatless if you wish

diced peppers

canned mushrooms, drained and chopped fine (squeeze as much liquid as possible from them)

diced black olives

pizza sauce with extra saved for dipping

mozzarella cheese

NOTE: depending on how many cups you plan to make, ingredient amounts could differ which is why I did not put specific amounts of anything.

Take your nonstick muffin pan and spray each cup with non stick cooking spray. Each cup will need two wonton wrappers. First, place the first wrapper in the cup and just put a few shreds of cheese to “glue” the top wonton wrapper to the bottom. Then lay the next wrapper opposite corners on top the first. Press them down so you have a nice area to fill with your preferred pizza toppings. Above is what we used but feel free to use what you like on pizza. Each wonton wrapper gets toppings, then about 1 tablespoon of pizza sauce and cheese on top.

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Bake these in a 375 degree oven for about 12-15 minutes.

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Remove them from the pan immediately and serve them with additional dipping pizza sauce if you wish.

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Fitness and Food In Week #1 of 2017

The first week in 2017 proved to be a challenge but ultimately was successful. Having Monday off was wonderful which meant we could go to the gym anytime of day to try and avoid the crowd which we did with success. Tuesday-Friday the gym was plain old crazy busy so I avoided it like the plague. (We have inside information since our son works at our gym)

All my daycare children returned to normal schedule…..but routine took awhile to find once again. Plus, they all brought back a cold virus of some sort so we shared in all these germs as well. Don’t we all love the holidays?

Being it’s the first week of the new year and I had my hands full during the week with numerous things among a house full of children…..I am pretty happy with my workouts this week.

Sunday: almost a 3 mile hike New Years Day

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plus a home total body weight circuit

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Monday: gym: 45 minutes elliptical, rowing, stretching

Tuesday: home: total body weight circuit, 3 mile evening walk outside

Wednesday: rest

Thursday: home: total body weight circuit, 3 mile lap walk at the mall

Friday: rest

Saturday: gym:45 minute elliptical, rowing and stretching

Meals this week were all eaten at our dining room table as a family except for one evening our son was gone. His work schedule changed with the new year and this makes dinner planning much easier. Plus, we all get to eat together, something we have not been able to do for quite sometime. On the menu this week we enjoyed sloppy joe salad with burger fixings. I simply take ground turkey and my homemade sloppy joe sauce and prepare the burger. Then I take salad fixings that would normally be on a cheese burger and plate them up with a serving of sloppy joe meat on top and drizzle it with dijon mustard. Yum!

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Another dinner was Swedish meatballs over pasta. Super easy and a great comfort food in the winter months.

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One night was tortilla soup….a family favorite.

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And Friday we had breakfast for dinner…..which was homemade waffles with my homemade chicken breakfast sausage.

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The next two weeks will prove to be an exciting time if we can pull off everything we have planned. However,  there are some big factors involved that could really hamper our plans. My goals are to stay positive that it will all work out, we will see everything we are hoping to see, and I will finally have part of my “life plan” in place by the time we are done. Now, let’s just hope the stars line up and it all plays out perfectly.

 

Slow Cooker Beef Stroganoff

Beef stroganoff is one of the best smelling meals to come home to at the end of a long day. Not to mention one of the easiest to prepare in a slow cooker. And with the cooler weather, it’s one of my families favorites. So I thought I would share my recipe with all of you.

Slow Cooker Beef Stroganoff

1.5-2 lbs beef stew meat

2 cans cream of mushroom soup

2 Tbsp. worcestershire sauce

1/2 package dry onion soup mix

1 tsp. minced garlic

1/4 cup sour cream

Potatoes or pasta

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Set your slow cooker to low and spray it with non stick cooking spray. Add your beef.

In a separate bowl mix the remaining ingredients together but RESERVE the sour cream.

Pour this mixture over the beef, cover and cook for 6-8 hrs.

After 6-8 hours the beef should shred apart very easily and this is when you would add the sour cream to make a nice creamy gravy.

Serve this over mashed potatoes or pasta with a side salad to make a comforting meal after a long day.

Enjoy!

Slow Cooker Sweet And Sour Beef With Veggies

I have tried many, many different recipes for sweet and sour beef. After much trial and error, I combined many different recipes to finally settle on our favorite. It’s easy, ingredients are simple, and as a bonus, it is prepared in a slow cooker.

Now of course you can change up the vegetables to your families liking and you could even change up the beef for chicken or pork I would imagine. So give it a try and see what you think.

Slow Cooker Sweet And Sour Beef With Veggies

1.5- 2 lbs. beef stew meat

1/2 large onion-chunked

3 large carrots-sliced

1 large green pepper-chunked

broccoli- 1 small head

2 celery stalks-chunked

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Sweet and Sour Sauce

1 tsp. salt

6 Tbsp. vinegar

4 Tbsp. sugar

2 tsp. chili powder

1/2 c. molasses

1-15 oz can tomato sauce

Rice

Take your slow cooker and set it to the low setting. Spray it with non stick cooking spray.

Lay your root vegetables first….carrots and onions. Top these with the beef. Lay the remaining vegetables on top of the beef.

Mix the sweet and sour ingredients together in a separate bowl and pour this over the beef and veggies.

Cover and cook for 7-8 hrs.

Serve over rice for a delicious, at home, sweet and sour meal.

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No take out required!

Enjoy