Blog Love & This Week’s Eats No. 2

Meal planning is awesome! We have new and delicious, nutritious home-cooked meals almost every night with lots of variation and LEFTOVERS!

Thanks to the internet there is always a plethora of new recipes to choose from. This week was no different. One recipe I found deserves a ton of love because IT IS AWESOME and needs to be shared!

I found this recipe on This IS how I cook. Chicken Vesuvio is apparently a popular dish in Chicago. The picture this blogger took of this amazing dish was what first attracted my attention. It looks soooo good! See for yourself….

Once I read the ingredients, I was sold. And boy or boy, what a winner!! Thanks to Abbe at This IS how I cook. for sharing such a delicious and home-good recipe. I will definitely be making it again!!

Here are a couple of other recipes from around the web that I thought I’d share!

A delicious vegetarian dish from Closet Cooking brought to us by Zesty Cook.

Nothing but slowed cooked goodness in this tasty Lime Chicken Taco recipe from Taste of Home.

This Chicken Paprikash was a hit both with the All-Star and our unexpected dinner guest. Praprikash always makes me think of when Harry Met Sally. “Waiter, there is too much pepper in my paprikash.” lol. This recipe from Lauren at Lauren’s Latest was just right!!

 

Where do you find your favorite recipes??

 

 

Laura

A Walk – No. 1

Two days ago I got a hair cut. I really like it. Gal pal Kristine is a rock star! But that’s not what I’m writing about. I took a picture of my hair to share with my far-away sister (cause we like to do that sort of thing) and I noticed an un-ignorable pudge above my waist band. I was embarrassed to send the picture, but did anyway because, hey, it’s my sister, but went to bed feeling sad about my wintery weight that is always inevitable but never quite welcome.

This morning I woke to the sounds of birds chirping (actually it was my BBT thermometer) and sunshine pouring through my window. After briefly thinking that perhaps today would be the day I get back into my workout routine, I swiped alive my phone and loaded up Facebook instead. To my glee horror, there on my Facebook wall sat the loaded coincidence that I needed to get my lazy butt going.

john muir

Seeing as I live a mere block from the beautiful Iron Horse trail, I felt that I had no excuse to sit at home on another gorgeous morning, so away I went on a quick four mile power walk stroll.

I took some pictures which I thought I’d share. It appears that spring is on its way!

Iron Horse Trailwild flowersflowering treeflowering treewild flowersiron horse trail

When I got home, I decided to write this post and upon downloading the Facebook photo I noticed the quote was by John Muir. Seeing as I just moments ago walked past a hospital named after the Scottish born author, I’m thinking I did exactly what the universe was suggesting I do.

I guess good ‘ol John Muir was right! We often do find more than we seek, or perhaps, in my case, exactly what we’re looking for!

Laura

“Yay, it’s the first day of Lent,” said no one ever…

Yup, it’s that time again. Time to string up the lights, and sing Lenten carols. Oh wait. No. It’s a time of giving up the things we love and experiencing guilt. Ho hum.

Growing up Catholic, my siblings and I dreaded this time of year. Lenten sacrifice and no meat on Fridays, although mom often bought us pizza or made fish sticks so I guess it wasn’t all bad. And since we usually gave up chocolate or candy, that led to stuffing our faces with sweets and honey baked ham on Easter Sunday until we put ourselves into a Paschal coma. Alleluia!

Though some of my past Christian traditions have fallen to the wayside, sorry mom, sacrifice during Lent is one of the things I still strive to do/think about/attempt/fail miserably at for 40 days (not counting Sundays) before the first full moon after the Spring Equinox. (Yup, that’s how Ash Wednesday is determined). I like to think of it as a way to better myself…and this year will be no different.

It wasn’t difficult to decide what to give up this year. I’m ashamed to admit but I’ve developed somewhat of a dirty little shopping habit. It became even more clear to me yesterday when I set out to buy a heart shaped cookie cutter and came home with $123.38 worth of merchandise, including 12 assorted cookie cutters and a cookie jar. In my defense I visited 9 stores before finding said cookie cutter and when I finally found a store that had one, it was part of a 12 piece set and I figured, why go through this again, and bought the whole darn thing. $21.65 WITH a cookie jar. I’ll call that a score! So as you can see I definitely have a little bit of a problem tendency and I’m giving up shopping for Lent.

There, I said it. Now it is so. (sign)

The “rules” of the sacrifice? Obviously food and household items are excluded. And there are a few birthdays coming up which I’ve already received gift requests for, one being the All-Star’s. And I surely can’t disappoint my Pisces compadres (they’re so sensitive – shhh).

So that’s about it. It’s in writing so there’s no turning back. We’ll see how long I last. I’m thinking I can do it. We’ll just have to live without new throw pillows and fragrant candles for the next six weeks. Fortunately, I recently purchased both so I think we’ll be ok.

What would be/is your Lenten sacrifice??

Laura

This Week’s Eats – No. 1

In the essence of meal planning I thought I’d share with you some of the delicious recipes I’ll be preparing this week. They were found across the web and some of these pictures are just too beautiful not to share. I big shout out to the talented chefs who first up conjured up these culinary delights! I can’t wait to enjoy them myself!!

Let’s start with tonight’s dinner which will be hitting the slow-cooker in a few moments…

I’m super excited to eat this! Heck, I’m super excited to eat all of these!

Jumping back to breakfast…. We’re heading to Arnold for the weekend with friends so I’ll be whipping up a batch of these muffins to share! (Any excuse to use my new mixer!)

On Valentine’s day the All-Star and I are cooking a delicious meal together at home – cause that’s how we roll! For dessert we’ll be enjoying this yummy goodness courtesy of a new blogger I’ve been following. She’s super cute. Check her out!

Here’s another sweet treat for the weekend…

That’s a lot of sweet this week!!

How about some more slow-cooked comfort food to even things out…

I’ll be tweaking a few of these recipes, as I always do, but in the spirit of Valentine’s day it’s nice to give a little love and of course a special “thanks” to the source of the good foods that will be filling our tummies this week! 🙂

Laura

Diet Blues and Meal Planning

And by diet, I mean what I eat. I don’t do actual “diets.” Only before our wedding did I actually restrict certain kinds of foods. And I was quite successful in dropping a few pounds so that I could feel light and confident in my beautiful James Clifford wedding gown. (SEE!)

How’s that for a cheese?! That’s what you get when you don’t eat any for a month! Or junk food, or sugar.

Anyway, since we had a pretty big and quite successful Superbowl party here on Sunday, I didn’t have the time nor the energy to food shop or even cook actual meals this week. With all the leftovers in the fridge we’ve certainly had enough to eat, it’s just been potato salad for dinner and 7-layer dip for lunch. Uh. My intestines are frowning just thinking about it.

SO, now that this week is finally over, it’s back to my meal planning and back to eating healthy.

Last month, I mentioned that I was starting to meal plan and the first four weeks went smashingly! Never did I have to wonder what we were going to have for dinner come meal time, and we hardly ate out unless it was scheduled which means more money in our pockets and less calories in our bellies! Two weeks ago I even managed to only spend $75 for the week of groceries. That included clothes detergent and a few other cooking staples we were out of. I’d call that a success!

I thought I’d give you the run down of how I do my meal planning and show you an example.

First I open my spreadsheet where I keep everything neat and tidy.

meal plan

On the left I have each day of the week and what we’re having. On the right I list what we have in the pantry and what we need. (As I mentioned in my previous post, I copied another blogger’s template but I have no idea who that was anymore. I’m so so sorry to whoever you are but if you ever do venture upon my blog, thank you and welcome!)

Under each recipe title I link to where that recipe is located so I can easily jump to it when I’m ready to cook. These fish taco and pot pie recipes both came from Allrecipes.com.

Meal_plan_link

I save every week on a separate sheet and title it with the date of the Monday of that week. This is so helpful when deciding what to cook. I can easily go back and see what we’ve already had and the link to the recipe is already there! I also keep an empty copy of the template down there.

Meal_plan_2

I think I’m going to start adding notes under each recipe as well so we can remember if something was good or not. A simple “Woohoo!” or “never again” should do it.

Finally I write the week’s meals on a white board I have on our fridge. The All-Star says he likes this because he can glance at it while he makes his coffee and get excited about what he’s going to eat later on. He’s such a cutey! ♥

meal plan white board

Next weekend we’re going to Arnold so there won’t be any cooking on Friday, Saturday or Sunday. At least not in this house. That does remind me though, I should probably get the following week started. And I want to call my Aunt Linda. 🙂

So there you have it. It’s not rocket science. I actually really enjoy doing it. I find most of my recipes on Pinterest or AllRecipes. I also have several cookbooks. This system allows for us more time to relax as well as have a little more variety in our diet. It also makes food shopping a breeze. I downloaded an app called Out of Milk which I’m so far finding pretty helpful but I’m not quite sure it’s for me yet so I’ll save that for another post.

What’s your strategy for meal time? Do you meal plan like me or just wing it??

Laura