I Am So Tired Of Doing What I Have To Do And Not What I Want To Do….Plus Some Recent Meals

Do you ever find yourself tired of simply doing??? You know, doing all that normal daily stuff…..laundry, meals, yard work, bills, grocery shopping, organizing events, child care, exercise, etc. By golly, there are days I am almost too tired to shower. However, I find myself every day getting up to do the same thing over again way to often lately with no fun thrown in the mix to make all this monotonous stuff not seem so bad. Maybe it’s where we are in life right now, I am not quite sure. Although, I sure hope things slow down and we find some free time to add back a bit of fun here and there.

So let’s see, a lot has happened recently and I am trying to not let all the stress effect my daily life. This is not as easy to do than I wish it was but life goes on. OK, so we have made a huge decision after a major rain event in our area a few weeks ago. We got a ton of estimates and have finally chosen a company to remove our big cottonwood tree from our yard.

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I have mixed emotions about all this. Yes, it’s a messy tree, with sticky horrible pods in the spring time, then the cotton is a mess flying around the entire neighborhood for weeks mid summer, and it continually clogs our downspouts making rain storms a major event almost always…..but after all that, it’s a beautiful shade tree that we(my daycare kids and I) play under every single day. And then of course all those leaves fall……and it is a horrendous job to clean up!!!! So after this last rain storm where I, of course, was home alone with my husband away for work, decided this is it. We are not doing this anymore. It’s too much work, too much hassle, and just too much!!!! It’s coming down and hopefully before all those leaves start to fall from it. The date is set, we are praying for good weather, and I will share some pictures when it’s all said and done…soon.

Speaking of falling leaves, wow has the weather changed here and so fast at that. We went from hot, humid, and miserable to sweatshirt weather over night. Which has me thinking soup, chili, and more comfort foods being added to the menu. We are still doing the 80/20 meal plan only eating meat about twice a week at best and its working out great. Some meals lately have been:

Tuna melts

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Falafel salads with pickled onions…..both I made myself for the first time ever and they turned out spectacular. IMG_1645

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Quinoa sweet potato chili

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Hearty lentil veggie soup

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Many meals lately have been for just one person….me…and not really worth sharing since they sometimes end up being a bowl of cereal! Yes, I do eat cereal and quite often at that when I am solo. By the time my day ends with work and all is said and done, cereal is easy, fast ,and only uses one dish which is a bonus for me. On a good night I may even add some almond milk….haha!

That should do it for now. Enjoy what is left of summer where ever you are, I know that is our plan here.

 

Balance….I Am Trying So Hard To Find It

Where to begin is often that hardest part of writing here. I feel like I have not shared much of what this blog was intended for lately since, to be brutally honest, I have not been out much enjoying the outdoors that I love so much. Believe me, I want to but time and weather and life have just not been cooperating to allow for this type of activity.

So, what have I been up to? A few things actually. Let’s see, I recently fell in love with riced cauliflower and although I think it is ungodly expensive to purchase, I have found it is super easy to prepare yourself if you have the right kitchen tools. So after purchasing one bag of frozen riced cauliflower to try, I now make my own with a head of clean cauliflower and my food processor. In a matter of minutes I have three times more for half the price.

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You may be wondering why life has not allowed me out much. Ultimately, it boils down to priorities. We own a house, three vehicles, I run a daycare out of my home for my job, and I also handle all the normal wifely matters from cleaning to cooking to budgeting….you name it and I do it. For the past few years my husband has really been pitching in and helping with the yard, bushes, cleaning, and so on but a few months ago his job took a turn and now he is traveling at least half, if not more, of the time. The change has been good in some instances and not so good in others.

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Yes, his employer typically flies him home on Friday evenings and then back out again Monday mornings. Although, this leaves us very little time to get everything done and still find time to enjoy life. So priorities have taken up much of my life. If I don’t do all what needs to be done during the week then that leaves us even less time to find fun time in the 48 hours he is home every week. We have ventured out on close by trails but nothing to far and no serious mileage has been accomplished yet this summer. Balance…we are still working on trying to find a balance.

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Speaking of balance, due to some last minute changes at work my husbands flight plans got changed for the Father’s Day weekend and this left him and our son the time to finally take out the boat and get in a few hours of fishing time. It was a very successful fishing trip and they both seemed to really have a great time.

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Father’s Day dinner was also a success since we once again had a nice family dinner together. Meal times have really changed since our son moved into his own apartment so this was quite the treat to share a meal together like old times. On the menu was baby red garlic mashed potatoes, BBQ ribs with homemade rib rub, and corn on the cob.

Those ribs look good but don’t let them fool you all. I am still sticking to my 50% meatless meals around here. By no means are we going vegetarian but eliminating meat and sticking to fish and veggie based meals has been a game changer for our health and how we feel.

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In the upcoming weeks I am really hoping to get in a river float or two, make a trip two hours south to our nearest Trader Joe’s, dust of my standup paddle board in the Bay of Green Bay, make a trip to a friends cabin for the day, and maybe even fit in a camping trip or two. Maybe these will all be solo trips or maybe they will be a couples outing….I do not know quite yet. For now I will leave you all guessing since that is also what I am doing.

 

 

It’s As If We’ve Been Robbed

It’s funny how life can change in a few days. A little over a week ago our son moved out of our family home after 23 years and dad and I returned home to a very empty house. Where does time go? I can’t believe my baby is 23 years old already. My husband said to me, ” It looks like we’ve been robbed…. there is so much empty space.” I couldn’t help but laugh at this statement.

Which brings us to today. It’s different to put things mildly. I have way less dishes to wash, way less groceries to purchase, way less food to prepare, I have no vehicles parking me in when I want to up and leave home, and we have way less chatter at the dinner table. However, we are happy, our son is happy, and life is good. Who could ask for more? IMG_0135

As life continues onward I am adjusting our meals the best I know how. I am trying to incorporate more veggies and less animal protein. I recently had time to experiment in my kitchen and came up with three winners for meal times. First, I threw together an asian type quinoa skillet meal that I served over baby kale that I tossed with a bit of fresh lemon juice and olive oil. It was absolutely delicious.

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Then I replicated a corn on the cob recipe from a local restaurant that I am a bit ashamed to say I LOVE!!! Never in my right mind would I have thought smearing mayo on corn on the cob would have been so good but I tell you all….it is!!!! Sprinkled with a bit of chili lime seasoning and it is like a party in your mouth. You must give it a try.

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I also tried my hand at roasted parmesan cauliflower steaks one evening. It turned out fabulous but one head of cauliflower only yields two “steaks” and a bunch of chunks since the core is the part that holds the “steaks” together. I would make this again for sure but maybe just do it all in chunks and have marinara dipping sauce on the side. This would be more realistic for a family like meal.

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I still have a big bunch of recipes I have been researching and I can’t wait to try them and share them all with you. However, in all honesty, I am concentrating more on sunscreen, hiking boots, and bug spray at the moment and not so much of what is (or is not) happening in my kitchen. I live in WI and summers are so short that I need to take in every moment of sunshine and warmth that I can. I will be back here and there with things to share but until then….get outside and enjoy life.

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6 Weeks Ago We Had A Major Snowstorm…..Today We Broke Heat Records

I heard on the news this morning that 6 weeks ago we were digging out from our major record breaking snowstorm of 20+ inches of snow. Here was my husband shoveling off our roof to hopefully prevent it from collapsing.

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Fast forward to this weekend and we once again broke records but not with snow depth….this time with heat! Whew, it was hot….and for me to admit it was hot, you know it was HOT!!!! However, unlike that snowstorm where it kept me inside without any thoughts of venturing out, the heat wave we had this weekend did just the opposite. I pressed pause on the life calendar and enjoyed each day out and about doing what we love to do in the great outdoors.

First, we played a round of disc golf at one of WI most challenging disc golf courses. It is located in Manitowoc, WI right on the lakeshore so visiting the beach while we played was quite convenient.

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The next day we hiked one of my favorite trails located near Oshkosh, WI called Terrell’s Island. (more info on this trail is located on the hiking trails page)

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I love this trail since wildlife can always be seen at any time of year.

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Not once have I visited without seeing at least one snake…..today I got a bonus with the one snake seen whom was already dead and half eaten by something. This is just the way I prefer to see these creatures.

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This trail literally weaves through the water the entire 3.8 miles and offers much to see. I would highly recommend it for anyone looking to escape the heat. There is no sun protection so remember sunscreen!!

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The remainder of the weekend we spent together doing odds and ends, like shopping, cutting the lawn, laundry, etc.. I needed to throw together more bean burgers since we had eaten the last batch.

recipes here and here (minus the spinach since I forgot to buy some)

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I also worked on organizing the weeks events coming up since its a shortened week with the holiday Monday and I also have a day off to prepare for our sons moving date. It’s almost here and I do believe we are as ready as we can be at this point. It’s been a long haul for sure since finding a reasonable apartment that was not in a terrible neighborhood was the hardest part. Although, we did it and it’s happening soon.

So you may wonder what is next for my husband and I. Well, I hope to change a few things. I want to go more veggie based in our meals by deleting meat at least half the time instead of only twice a week like now. We will never remove meat completely but I know we could easily do half and half. I also am working on turning our sons room into our office area. This could take some time but eventually I hope to be done by July. Right now, those are the only “for sure” items on the list. I am tossing around a few more ideas in my head, but if your husband is anything like mine, you have to bring these up slowly and not overwhelm them to quickly.HAHA! So, for the time being, I am just going to try and make it through the next week or two. I hope to begin blogging regularly again in regards to our meal plans which I know you all ask for me to continue. And I will for sure share our summer adventures here as we do them. I just need life to slow back down and offer me time to breathe.

 

 

Mexican Quinoa Stuffed Peppers

Another meatless option I recently tried preparing with great success is mexican quinoa stuffed peppers. Again, like most my recipes, the ingredients are easy to find or are readily available in your pantry already.

This recipe makes 8 halves…..one per person. And since everything is precooked they are great for on the go lunches since you can either bake them until warmed through or store them in a microwave safe dish to grab and heat when your ready at work, school, etc.

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Mexican Quinoa Stuffed Peppers

1 cup quinoa

4 large sweet peppers-any color you desire

2 cups vegetable stock (you could use water if its all you have)

1-15oz.can whole kernel corn-drained

1 can black beans-drained and rinsed

1-15 oz can fire roasted tomatoes

1-4oz. can green chilies-drained

1 clove of garlic-finely chopped

pinch of red pepper flakes

2 tsp. chili powder

1 tsp. paprika

First, you must cook your quinoa in the vegetable stock according to the directions. About half way through the cooking time add your chopped garlic clove to the pot to cook the remaining time.

While this is cooking, put a pot of water on to boil. Then clean and remove the seeds and ribs from your peppers.

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Once your pot with just water comes to a boil, toss your peppers into this for 4 minutes to blanch. You only want your peppers to soften, not cook all the way through. This is what makes microwaving them faster and easier to prepare on the go when its time to eat them.

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Once the four minutes is up, run them under cold water to stop the cooking process and lay them out on paper towels to dry. Meanwhile, add the rest of the ingredients to a large bowl.

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When your quinoa is done, add this to the large bowl and mix all the ingredients together. Take this mixture and stuff your peppers with it. Place them either in one big casserole dish to heat in the oven when your ready to prepare them or place them in single portion dishes to eat when your ready.

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To prepare you could bake them until heated through at 350 for approx 20-30 minutes. Or you could microwave them until heated through at various time settings according to the size of your microwave.

Enjoy!

 

 

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.

When That Solid Plan Falls Apart

Going into this week I had a pretty solid plan. However, by mid morning Monday that plan had drastically changed in more ways than one. Which ultimately meant it was going to be a wild ride….especially since I was solo this week with the hubby traveling for work. Although, looking back at the week, I still did pretty good in the meal area so it was not a total failure.

Here is what we (my son and I) enjoyed this week:

Saturday: BBQ pulled pork, homemade coleslaw, and parmesan potatoes

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Sunday: Vietnamese vermicelli bowls

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Monday: chicken breakfast sausage(recipe here), eggs, and cheese on biscuits

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Tuesday: lentil veggie chowder (recipe here)

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Wednesday: I went out with my brother for our monthly dinner together

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Thursday: one pot ham and parmesan pasta casserole with broccoli and spinach

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Friday: My son offered to prepare dinner tonight since it would just be us and I had had a long, hard day of emotional family stuff. He made an egg skillet with peppers, onions, and andouille sausage and served it with jalepeno cheese bread. YUM!!!

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Not terrible right? Could have been better but really could have been worse also. From freezing cold mornings once again which made my morning gym sessions too cold, to a death in the family which then resulted in an unexpected day off of work, to a fall on the ice…ouch, and a disaster in airports due to a major snowstorm which brought my husband home at 2 a.m. instead of the original 4 p.m.. I, for one, am so darn happy to bid this week goodbye!

As for the next week, it was a tough call. I hate throwing out food but not knowing if my husband would be traveling once again for work or not left me two menu plans. One for two people and one for four people(one serving being a lunch box serving of leftovers) which in turn made grocery shopping a free for all. So I was sort of flying by the seat of my pants not knowing exactly how much to buy or not buy. I was trying to plan for not to much veggie waste if he would be gone but also to have enough if it was cancelled and he would be staying home. What’s worse than having to grocery shop twice in one week when you don’t have enough or forgot something right? So here is what I came up with for food prep for the week.

I cooked up some cinnamon apples for my daycare child and my husband(if home) to enjoy. IMG_0378

I made some carrot coconut muffins for breakfast for everyone to enjoy. I also pre cut all veggies for the week and also threw together a quick batch of mexican quinoa for myself to have for lunch all week.

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