Yes, I’m still alive

My app tells me it’s been about four years since I’ve been active. It’s been a crazy four years. Baby, illness, change from school admin to SAHM, a couple extra moves, a Hashimoto’s diagnosis, a life altering car crash, and a lot of healing since my last post.

The good news is, I’m still cooking! My poor family has been exposed to all my different elimination diets, but we have found some gems. I was just planning on reintroducing myself, but while I was typing, Pupee requested shepherds pie for dinner (we like to watch cooking shows together and they were making pot pie). We are at the end of the month, so I’m not going grocery shopping, so I’m using what I have on hand, what I can eat, and what I know my kids will eat!

So, I whipped out some chicken breasts from the freezer as well as some frozen mixed vegetables and frozen spinach. I grabbed an onion, corn starch, gluten free breadcrumbs, some russet potatoes and sweet potatoes from the pantry. Then I raided the fridge for some shredded cheese and chicken broth. We are going to make a chicken pot shepherds pie. 😂

One half (probably 1/3) will have a mashed sweet potato topping with no cheese, the rest will have white potatoes with a little overlap of sweet potato for DH both kids hate sweet potatoes – weirdos! It will be topped with a little sprinkle of shredded cheese on their side!

I can’t wait for this new experiment. I hope you can all welcome me back and follow our latest food (and life) adventures!

Friday grocery shopping with children….what?

I usually do my grocery shopping on Saturday morning so my kids can stay home with my husband. Then I can come home and put stuff away and do some food prep for the week. As a Target employee informed me one weekend, it is so nice that my husband gives me that “me time”. 

No, I did not punch her in the throat.

In no way is that time dedicated to me and my relaxation. But, it does make the process much less painful to not drag two kids along. 

However, bar study is taking most waking minutes of Papi’s time and I’m missing having some “us” time. So, today I decided to do the grocery shopping with the kids and start some food prep so that if there are any spare minutes this weekend, I can soak them up!

Luckily, I didn’t have a huge list this week since I’m using some freezer items up that I purchased during some good sales. Also, I forgot to mention that my huge freezer is on the fritz and is basically a glorified refrigerator right now. This is totally throwing a wrench into my July-August food prep plan. But, I digress…

I’ve found the key to shopping with my loves is to bring lots of snacks and get the race car cart. With these two things, a small shopping trip can be completed with some semblance of sanity remaining.

On this week’s menu, I’ve planned for:

Breakfast: pancakes for the kids (car friendly in order to take Papi to the train each morning), oats and orange juice (this is all Papi and I’m a little grossed out by it), and hb eggs and cucumbers for me. I’m smoothies out for now. 

Lunches: leftovers when possible, tuna salad, green salad, quesadillas on corn tortillas for the kids (I can sneak just about any veggies I want in there!), and veggie and hummus pita sandwiches.


Friday: We have ripe mangos on the tree, so I’m definitely doing the black bean, quinoa, chicken bowls this week. Plus, I had to make some quinoa because as I was cleaning out the pantry, I combined bags of quinoa and had 1 cup too much!

Saturday: I found a little Middle Easten market, so I plan to a do mezza of falafel, hummus, baba ganoush, olives, nuts, and I’m going to skewer some shrimp kabobs for the grill.

Sunday: grilling again! This time, chicken thighs on the grill. Papi marinates them with some lemon, salt and pepper. I made a veggie packet to go with it. In some foil, I chopped 1 red potato, 1 zucchini, 1 yellow squash, 1 orange bell pepper, 1 yellow onion, and drizzled it with a little olive oil and s&p.

Monday: Quinoa stuffed peppers – I had leftover pepper stuffing in the freezer, so I bought a few fresh bell peppers that I can blanch, stuff, and bake! My peppers always vary based on what veggies I have on hand, but if your looking for a recipe, I have tried this one and it’s a nice twist

Tuesday: One pot burrito bowl. This is a new recipe I want to try…sounds good – we will see!

Wednesday: leftovers!

Thursday: chicken with cauliflower mash and wilted spinach

Friday: ????? We will probably grill again – yay, summer 😄

I made kale chips today. Yum!  These are so easy, but really good!

Coat 1/2 bag of kale in about 2tbs of olive oil with some salt. Layer on a baking sheet. Don’t let them overlap! Then bake. 

I tried one that said 350 for 10 minutes today. I find the lower heart and longer time above made for crispier chips.


Anyway, that’s the plan for the week. I know there will be variations, but it’s much less stressful at least having something in the works, even if the days shift!

Yep, I haven’t blogged in a bit!

I haven’t blogged in awhile. No, I haven’t strayed from my goals, but life has seriously gotten in the way. I realized in the past few days that the ONLY thing I miss from our days in El Dorado are our Mother’s Day Out days! These were a few hours each week I could schedule in to my calendar to allow me to get shit done. Now, I don’t have that. I adore that my MIL can hang out with my kids occasionally, but she has a life of her own. DH has started his Bar classes, which require full time (plus, plus, plus) so my role has changed completely.

It’s past 11 pm and this is the only time I have to myself. I came up to the office to print house closing items and swim lesson registrations. Tomorrow, my husband will go to Bar classes. I will take the kids to the Y so  they can play and I can try to work toward reaching a body that I can love.

Our daily routine over the past few weeks has helped me tremendously! Once I figure out who I am, then I can keep posting our super duper  clean recipes.

Back at it!

It’s been too long since I’ve blogged! Since my last visit, we’ve moved from Podunk S. AR to Miami, FL. Woohoo! I am so excited to be able to participate in activities with my kiddos. We’ve been here for a month and we’ve already been to the railroad museum, the children’s museum, History Miami, Jumparoos, and a few other events. I didn’t realize how sensory deprived I’d been for the past two years. 

We’ve been somewhat clean since we’ve been here, but there has been too much going out and the past few days have been loaded with birthday party leftovers! 


 My new challenge has been feeding 5 adults and 2 children and meeting various diets, allergies, and food sensitivities. I haven’t done perfectly, but it’s a learning process! It is definitely expanding my horizons and encouraging me to try even more new recipes.

Here are some things I’ve made that have gone over well with everyone.

Chicken veggie stir fry served over arugula with balsamic baked brussel sprouts.
Veggies, hummus, and black bean, corn, avacado, tomatoes salsa (my lunch of leftovers). The salsa was originally served with baked tilapia. There were about 2 tbs of the salsa left at the end of the meal!


 Whole wheat pita sandwiches including sprouts, tuna salad (mustard, onions, and a dab of Greek yogurt – no mayo), cucumber sauce (cucumber, dill, Greek yogurt, s/p), tomato slices, cucumber slices, optional cheese, and mushroom slices.  

Shrimp fajitas  – I usually use regular sour cream. This was a new salsa bought. It was ok, but it could have used a little more seasoning or something. And cilantro makes everything better!   

So, this week’s menu: 

Breakfasts: Smoothies – I add the spinach and almonds right into my packets. I vary the fruit as well (I don’t like raspberries in my smoothies.)

 Banana oat pancakes – I make a bunch and freeze them – mostly for Puppe. Macho and I don’t care for pancakes of any type.

Lunches: tuna salad, veggie pita sandwiches, veggies and hummus, homemade chicken nuggets, and fruit, fruit, and more fruit for my little bottomless pits!


T- Fish tacos with red cabbage slaw – trying a new recipe with the slaw

W- baked ck thighs, roasted butternut squash, green salad 

Th- Lemon garlic shrimp w/ wilted spinach and cauliflower mash (I made this a couple of weeks ago and it has been requested twice.)

F- Aspargus, heart of palm salad (I stumbled on this searching for an artichoke salad. The recipe didn’t actually include them, but it was really good. This time I will leave them out and see how it is.) 

Sa- Quinoa/sprouted rice stuffed peppers and salad (I made and froze these last week – I love stuffed peppers as a freezer meal.) I don’t really follow a recipe anymore. I chop up whatever veggies I have, mix them with some cooked quinoa and tomato sauce and stuff them in a blanched bell pepper. Bake at 350 for about 30-45 minutes.

Su- Mango, black bean chicken quinoa bowls – I plan to just use a bowl or lettuce wrap instead of the tortilla in the recipe

M – caprese pasta salad (gf pasta).

I’m working on creating schedules, routines, menus, etc… But, it’s an adjustment for everyone. We all have different food needs, different schedules, and different budgets. 

Here is to expanding my clean eating menu and improving as I go along.

Dear week…Are you kidding me?

What are some of your most stressful times in life? Selling a home, raising small children, packing to move across the country, or maybe interviewing for a job. Yeah, how about all of those at the same time?

In the past week, we have had a baby sick with allergies. Her rash is going down with the allergy meds, but we still haven’t had a full night of sleep in a few days. During this, we have been packing for our scheduled move on Monday. Today, we got the message that the movers want to start packing Sunday…uh…crap! And, our pack time had been cut short because we’ve had four house showings this week. That’s more than the entire first 4 1/2 months the house was listed! And on top of that, Papi has had something like 5 interviews in the past 3 days with more scheduled for the rest of the week. 

Individually, these would all be a bit stressful, but together….ahhhhhhh. I’ve tried to clean out the freezer, pantry, and refrigerator, but there will still be some to donate. Plus, I am so stressed out that taking precious time from packing gives me palpitations. So, clean eating has been really hit or miss. Plus, Papi bought Cheetos today to help – haha. 

Taking a deep breath and letting it all sink in. This is just a sign that things are coming together again. All the pieces will eventually fall into place, but it just happens to be one of those PITA puzzles that are all the same color!

No new recipes this week. 😉 Wish us luck!

When plans change

I’m a planner. I love schedules, and lists, and appointments. But, one thing I have learned is that the more you plan, the more life likes to step in and push all your little anal retentive buttons. I first started to let go when I had roommates, then a little more with live-together relationship/marriage, and then with kids I pretty much threw in the towel. 

Well, old habits and personality traits don’t just go away, but I try to use my quirks for good instead of evil. No, my husband doesn’t alway agree with that statement. But, one good has been meal planning. I had a really great “operation pantry clean out – part deaux” planned this week.

And it seriously got blown to hell the first day! I had my plan for Sunday, but we had so many leftovers that I shifted that to Monday. I was good with that! Then, on Monday, I got a call from the realtor at 10 saying they wanted to show the house at 1:30.  Yeah…the cleaning lady comes Tuesday morning so Monday afternoon is when our house is smudged, dusty, and fingerprinted in all the places I don’t clean daily by then. And Sunday is food prep day, so the kitchen has bits of stuff everywhere. So, we ran around like crazy people getting everything in order for the showing. (And my cleaning lady didn’t even thank me Tuesday!)

Also, since it was pouring  rain, we yet again had nothing we could do with the kids (at nap time no less) other than eat. I know we could have made a better choice, but we went for Chinese because the kids can be noisy and messy and we can hang out there for a while without taking up space. Plus, who doesn’t love Chinese? (My belly after the fact!) I did make stuffed pepper soup that night, so we ended the day ok. I used my frozen leftover filling from the stuffed peppers I made last week, cut up some fresh peppers, and added some tomatoes and broth. It was great on a drizzly, chilly, grey day.

Tuesday should have brought us back on track, but I woke up feeling cruddy and I had to get a lot of work in while the kids were at MDO since we had a snow day last week. Then, we got another call for a showing in the morning, so I really didn’t want to mess up the kitchen because I didn’t feel like cooking, then cleaning, and then working on packing. Hubby grabbed a frozen pizza while he was picking up more mopping solution and tampons. Yep, he does love me. Oh, and wine. For our dinner guests on Friday…yeah, for that. Day 3 of the week shot. 

Wednesday, we took the kids out for brunch since the showing was at 10:15. I really should just make a salad after all this restaurant food. Let’s just hope we get an offer from this viewing so we can wrap this up in a sweet little package over the next two weeks. 

For Wednesday’s dinner, I needed easy comfort food. I’m achy, crampy, stressed, and I even have a flipping cold sore now! Remember all that leftover butternut squash? Well, I’m making Mac n Cheese! Oh, and chicken nuggets. But, there will be no boxes with weird orange powder or pink chicken paste, so it’s not as bad as it could be.

Butternut Mac n Cheese (using what cheese I have, not what the recipe uses) and olive oil for sautéing instead of butter (with a splash of truffle infused olive oil for a little oomph).

For the chicken nuggets, I just cube up some chicken breast (back from the packs of boneless, skinless breasts I bought a few weeks ago) throw them in a gallon bag with an egg, toss it around and then throw in some corn meal, salt, and a little pepper, and toss them until they are coated. I bake them for 10 mins, flip them, and bake for 10 more. We all dig them!

Thursday, we had date night planned, with a babysitter and everything! But, we also ended up having another house showing Thursday morning. Luckily, this time the kids were at MDO so we enjoyed a relaxing brunch. But, that was two meals out in one day. This house needs to sell!

Friday was much cleaner eating overall! I had cucumber, tomato, and a hb egg for breakfast. We ate tuna mixed with mustard and pickles for lunch and we had mushroom butternut squash enchiladas for dinner with homemade Mexican style rice and beans. I put the work into these since we were having dinner guests. But, I did not make tortillas this time – I just didn’t have it in me! Store bought corn tortillas had to do.

I took pictures during prep – but we dug right in and I didn’t take any of the rice or finished product! But, wow, was it good!


Butternut squash mushroom enchiladas

Mexican style rice – I didn’t have enough rice, so I made this with 3/4 c brown rice and 1/4 c red quinoa. Uhh…Yum!

Crockpot pinto beans  – I can’t find the exact recipe I used. Plus, I had some pinto beans already precooked so I used the spices (minus jalepeno) and just cooked them on the stove top.

All in all, this week has been a hot mess. Especially, from a clean eating perspective. This coming week will be interesting as we clean, pack, and prep for our road trip. I’m looking forward to getting settled again….

Cleaning out the pantry!

We set a move date. We haven’t sold the house, and Papi hasn’t gotten a job offer that makes any sense to take. The job market where we are is pretty small for such a specific area of law and we have just decided that we need to leave a situation that has become toxic to our family. While most of my food “plan” leans toward clean eating, we are eating too much, drinking too much, and moving too little. It’s time to be with family in a place where we can move forward with our life goals.

With that being said, my grocery list last week was built around what was in the pantry and freezer. My grocery bill was actually under $100! As with all weeks, it’s altered slightly as we go. 

Here was the plan:

Our schedule was immediately thrown off on Sunday. After I got home from the grocery store, we got a call asking if the house could be shown at 4:30. My food prep and crockpot rotisserie chicken flew out the door and we planned for an early pizza dinner out. There isn’t a whole lot to do on Sunday afternoons in a small town in the Bible Belt.

So, I shifted slightly and did the chicken on Monday.

Made the soup from leftovers on Tuesday:

And then, I decided to jump to the enchiladas on Wednesday. I didn’t follow a particular recipe for this meal. I plopped two frozen chicken breasts in the crockpot and sprinkled them with cumin, chili powder, garlic salt, and oregano. After 2 hours on high, I shredded the chicken, sprinkled it with each of the seasonings again, and let it cool in the crockpot.

This week, I did not make my own tortillas. I really was just at the end of my physical and emotional rope. So, store bought tortillas it was. Sorry clean eating. 

I had both homemade red enchilada sauce and green tomatillo sauce in the freezer, so I decided to make “Christmas” enchiladas. I really tried to choose a favorite, but they are both really good.

I served the extra sauce, sour cream, cilantro, and salsa. None of us used the salsa though!


We ate this for leftovers again the next night.

Friday was meatless for Lenten Friday. 

For lunch, I made tuna salad…with a twist. I mixed it with cilantro, salsa, and a little sour cream. Then I roasted some bored out tomatoes, stuffed them, and then melted some cheese on top. 

Originally, I planned to make shrimp stir fry for dinner. But, then I took another look at the plan and the pantry. I decided to mess around with some ingredients and make the lasaga roll ups planned earlier. Usually, I make the roll ups with whole wheat pasta, but we had a box of regular pasta left from when my mom came and made lasagna. So, I sautéed mushrooms and garlic, added some sundried tomatoes, chopped up the small shrimp and added some white wine and Parmesan and truffle salsa. I mixed the filling with skim ricotta, and a little Mozarella. Then, I topped it with a marinara sauce and some shredded cheese.

Papi was a little unsure….

And then he killed 2 1/2 rolls. I had 1 1/2 and Macho had 1 roll along with a serving of green beans. That means we have leftovers! And, we have another batch of 8 rolls in the freezer for next Friday.

Tomorrow, I need to do some shopping. Both Papi and I mentioned how empty our fridge was today. So, I need to revisit our stock (lentils, ww pasta, pinto beans, a couple chicken breasts). Next week, we count down to two weeks until the move!

Bone soup

My friend Heather stopped by tonight for some hang out and cocktail time. (She and her husband have been her for us from the beginning for social gatherings, watching Macho while I was in the hospital, and some lasagna for post-baby dinner). Nothing better than that, right?  We had just finished up dinner and we all were talking about how awesome our soup was tonight. Ok, so chicken soup isn’t something we usually rave over and I’ve even made my own broth before, but this time….damn! That’s some good soup. 

Backstory: Yesterday, I made “rotisserie” chicken in the crockpot. It was good, but the chicken was a touch dry. This recipe needs a little tweaking for my crockpot. I used white potatoes, carrots, and onions not sweet potatoes like the recipe.

I immediately threw the leftovers back in the crockpot and set it to low for 12 hours  plus another 10 or so from this morning (that’s the max I could do, the recipe calls for 24.) When I told Heather about this, she said - We call that bone soup!

During the process, I woke up in the middle of the night smelling chicken soup! In the morning, I reset the timer and it was smelling great. This evening, I strained everything to clean out the skin and bones. I tasted the stock and wow! It was actually so rich that I added a little more water. I added some veggies (carrots, potatoes, onion, mushrooms, and green beans from last night’s leftovers) and some brown rice and the soup was awesome!!

This chicken was around $4 because I bought it in a double pack. The veggies were left from the dinner last night… 3 potatoes, 4 carrots, 1 onion, 1 can of green beans, and 1 small can of mushrooms. However, the stock from this recipe totally kicked everything up 10 levels.

Overall, for two good meals, we spent less than $10 for everything. And, we still have leftover soup for lunch tomorrow. Yay!

Meat free? Sure, no problem!

Fridays during Lent inspire me to seek out new meat-free recipes. Yes, we could eat fish every Friday, but where is the adventure in that? This week, I thought a recipe for butternut mushroom enchiladas with a tomatillo sauce sounded very interesting. The recipe blogger mentioned that this meal was not a quick one. Good grief, was that an understatement. 

There are options that I took upon myself that made this recipe a mini little jaunt to hell and back.

1. My kids were home, awake, and had no other caregiver around. Try cleaning and roasting tomatillos with a baby pulling down your pants.

2. I don’t buy precut veggies. Let me say, butternut squash is one of the only times I regret this! Have you ever peeled and chopped a butternut squash? I do find popping it in the microwave for a few minutes softens it up enough to make the chopping process a little less painful. Luckily, I now have 7 extra cups cleaned and chopped in the freezer.

3. For some reason, I cannot make a flipping corn tortilla to save my life. If I hand roll them, they are all wonky shaped. So, I bought an electric press that cooks them too. Uh, yeah. I’ve managed to botch that too. That being said, this became an enchilada casserole instead of rolled enchiladas.

Even without my poor choices, there is a lot of cleaning, chopping, roasting, and assembling. This is not a quick week night dinner. 

The tomatillo sauce is really good though and I used one of my exploded tortillas (don’t ask) to dip in the sauce. Yum! Maybe we’ll just use the leftover sauce for that.

I pretty much do not care how tasty this turns out. I never want to make this again! I was going to make Puppe’s banana oat pancakes today, but I am wiped out! It’s 5 o’clock somewhere, right?

Update: Damn it, it’s really good! We all liked this recipe a lot. The good news is, I have butternut squash already cubed in the freezer and the tortillas left in the warmer were actually pliable later. Also, the tomatillo sauce made extra, so I might have enough for another batch. Plus, we still have a lot left over!

Here is the recipe, if yo want to try it out! Butternut mushroom enchiladas

Snow day!

Today, the icy rain coated all surfaces in a shiny glaze and then big fat blobs of snow started to mix in. Eventually, it settled into a steady sticky snow that covered all that glistening ice in a white fluffy layer. Sounds pretty, huh? Well, as much as I hate to admit it, it was. And since I only had one errand that was easily cancelled, we were able to stick safely close to home. 

Macho, who was born just outside of Boston at Thanksgiving time, doesn’t remember snow since we’ve lived in the south since he was 15 months old. So, his little 3-year-old self thought today was quite the adventure! Papi took him out, after a fight over putting on his big coat, and taught him the fine art of catching snow flakes on your tongue, having a snowball fight, building a snowman, and well…the snow angel didn’t turn out so hot. 

All this play made him super ready for a nap, and that is where the day turned weird. Macho was sleeping and Puppe was having a bottle to get ready for her nap. I was feeding her in the living room when I saw a camo clad figure out my front window. I waited for a knock or the doorbell to ring, but it didn’t. So, I got up to look outside only to see about 10 kids with sleds tromping all over my front yard.

Ok…admittedly, when we built our house, one of the first things I mentioned about the front is that it would be an awesome sledding hill. 

See what I mean?

But, I didn’t know any of these kids. So, I figured kids being kids, they didn’t think to ask. Then, I noticed that six parents were standing in the driveway across the street. Apparently, one mom saw me standing in the window and she made her girls come ask if “y’all don’t mind”. 

Here’s the thing. I don’t mind at all. However, would it kill one of those adults to come knock on the door, introduce themselves, and ask before the kids started sledding? Then, one of them pulled their truck in front so the parents could stay warm and all the moms were taking pictures of their kids…in my front yard.

I know I haven’t been the most outgoing neighbor. First, I am painfully shy and an introvert at heart, but we had met a couple of our neighbors here and there. But, other factors contributed to me not making the rounds as well. We moved in when I was pregnant. It was a very difficult pregnancy, I was on restricted activity, went into labor at 30 weeks, and then spent 8 more on bed rest. Nope, didn’t get out to meet my neighbors! Guess how many stopped to say hi or bring a casserole. Yeah, I’ll narrow it down to between -1 and 1. Yet, you expect that you can just spend a couple hours on my yard and not even bother to ask or say hi? 

When the 10 or so kids came back for a second run, Papi took Macho out for his first sledding experience while there was still some snow left. One dad was standing in our driveway and shocker, he was a former coworker of Papi’s. While they chatted, the 5 other parents still stayed across the street. They yelled thank you, but it really had lost any meaning by that time. It would have been so awesome to be the coolest sledding hill in the neighborhood if us parents could have at least shared a coffee, hot chocolate, or a glass of wine. You’re welcome random kids, I’m so glad you had fun on today’s snow day. Hopefully, the next owners of this house will meet your parents’ friend requirements.

Now, for the awesome parts of the day! Snow and ice just lend themselves to crockpot cooking. Today, I made taco chili and it was awesome! I’ve made this before and it is something all of us really like. I keep the chilis mild so the kids can eat it too. I’ve linked to the recipe, because I’m no chef! I follow “as is” the first time and then adjust after that.

Crock pot taco chicken chili

The tomato sauce was made originally for pizza. I package the extra in “can size” (14-15 oz) amounts to freeze for future use. I also cook beans in bulk and do the same thing. It’s cheaper to buy a big bag of dry beans, cook them all at once, and pop them in freezer bags, than to buy by the can. The chicken is from the 2 large packs I bought two weeks ago at $1.99/lb. I put them on a cookie sheet and froze them and then put them in a freezer bag to pull out as needed. Two packs cost about $15 and will make about 4 meals or more for us. 

I added a little red onion, shredded cheese, a dollop of Greek yogurt (or Daisy sour cream) and a little avacado to take this over the top. 

This recipe makes enough for 2 meals for our family. It’s also a great freezer meal option since you can throw all the ingredients into a freezer bag and then just take it out and pop it in the crockpot (defrost first).

With our snack supply running low and inside time at an all-time high the past few days, Macho and I decided to make some graham crackers. Below is the recipe I used, but this time we left out the cinnamon. Also, I used whole wheat and white whole wheat (instead of AP) flour. 

Graham crackers

These are so simple a 3-year-old can make them! Ok…almost. The rolling and the oven are tricky.

You  can use cookie cutters  to make these cute, but we find squarish shapes taste just as good!

All in all, it was a fun day! We had lots of play, our house smelled fantastic all day  long, and our bellies were filled with delicious, healthy food. Happy snow day to you and yours.

Now, get off my lawn!