I’d say we are somewhere between doing-well and surviving. Mostly we’d point towards well, though, honestly there are moments each day that we’re ready to tap-out. I think our rhythms are serving us well and we have enough ideas to keep us all on our toes. On weekdays, I create themes to give us some focus or for the days to feel different. Some good ones this month were: Thomas’ fav things day; cat day; and color days. We’ve been keeping our Friday night take out & DVR tradition after the kiddos go to bed and we often get take out another night. I love breaking up the week to have things to look forward to- and to supporting our local favs.
Cooking wise, we’ve been grilling a lot and I blogged with a focus on sauces since nobody is shopping extra and I’m never sure how accessible everything is.
Sauce 1: Maple Dijon for greens
Crispy Chicken Panini with Maple Dijon Greens
Sauce 2: Bacon Aoli
Bacon Aoli Burger
Sauce 3: Honey Garlic Sauce
Honey Garlic Sauce on Pizza
I loved all of these! This reminded me to add garlic to the grocery list to make some more! I hope a sauce can mix up your next panini, burger, roasted veggies or pizza!
The Pre-K Guy:
He loves the routines more than anyone else here. He loves the sandbox Mr. J made them. He’ll gladly play with tools and scraps while Mr. J builds all the things. The daily themes are of interest, but he’s resistant to some of the worksheets/projects. Once he gets going, he can totally do them all. He’s super into eating a whole raw carrot. Avocado toast with everything bagel seasoning was a hit for lunch a few times. Somehow we got into a routine of having us guess, with our eyes closed, what book it’ll be.
The Toddler Girl:
She’s pretty happy with the current situation. She loooves stroller rides and the Cozy Coupe car- those are her auto-responses when we chat about our favorite parts of the day at dinner. She eats SO much at lunch and breakfast and dinner are so-so. Oatmeal and yogurt are her fav breakfasts. She loves pb&j and turkey & cheese sandwiches. Little girl can put away a whole sandwich plus whatever else! I love seeing her drink out of (and say) water bottle.
This Year’s Goals:
Year of beauty/selfcare – I didn’t grab anything. Do my resistance bands for workouts count?
Prep intentional sides and veggies: Ehh. Nope
Eat more fish: Salmon- again!
Blog some series: Nope.
Focus decluttering/organizing to an area: A pantry shelf got a complete clean-out when we found some ants. Eeek! I also did a major org of kids clothes and passed along a bunch of too-small ones.
Share more books on instagram: I’ve shared the collections I pull for the kids and what I’m into.
Prioritize workouts: I got into a Barre Blend one that has been good, and a serious reminder that I’m not my teenage self in ballet class. We are taking a lot of walks and I’ve gone running about once a week or so.
What I’m reading: I read The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo which might be my fav of the year. I tried The Followers but couldn’t get too far into it. I’m partway into The Most Fun We Ever Had.
What I’m listening to: only the occasional podcast - Be There in 5 did a series on influencers that was so captivating.
What I’m watching: Supermarket Stakeout has been fun.
Back when we could go places, Mr. J and I had a date night to our now-fav local winery, Debevino for a wine tasting and then got dinner at Tavolino. We had a pizza we fell in love with. It had crispy chicken, bacon, smokes gouda, mozzarella and a roasted garlic-honey drizzle. I loooved it and actually asked if they sold the sauce- they don’t.
My pizza was a bit different than the restaurant version, but this sauce- ohh this sauce -is to die for. I plan to whip up some more sauce asap. We would love this sauce spread on a panini, as a bread dip, on a burger, or drizzled on pasta or over roasted veggies. For 2 seconds I felt bad that the sauce will take you 45 minutes. But seriously, when else will you have this much time?? Also, B, you’re just popping the garlic into the oven and setting a timer. I roasted it in the toaster oven for 40 minutes and mixed up the sauce. Then it chilled in the fridge until dinner time!
Honey Garlic Sauce Sauce on Pizza
1 bulb of garlic
3 tablespoons olive oil
3 teaspoons honey
1 teaspoon butter
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
salt & pepper
3/4 cup mozzarella
1/2 cup shredded, roasted chicken
2 cups arugula
drizzle of olive oil, vinegar, or Italian dressing
Slice 1/4 inch off the top off the garlic bulb, drizzle a tablespoon of olive oil and wrap in foil. Roast at 400-degrees for 40 minutes. (It should be super soft, add another 10 minutes if needed). This can be done in advance too.
Poke or scoop each garlic clove out into a small food processor or a bowl to beat with a hand mixer. Add in remaining olive oil, honey, butter, garlic powder, and a sprinkle of salt & pepper.
Blend until smooth. Chill until using.
Preheat a pizza stone, the oven, or grill – however you’re cooking your pizza.
Spread the sauce onto the crust then top with cheese and chicken.
Bake until the crust crisps and the cheese melts.
Top with arugula dressed in olive oil and vinegar or Italian dressing.
We seriously swooned over this one. The chicken was from a rotisserie chicken that I had frozen. Pizzas are a great way to spread a small amount of the protein for topping! The sauce was flavorful, rich, and sweet. I love the raw crunch of the greens on a melty pizza. Some chopped parsley for some freshness and greens would be a great alternative.
This bacon aoli is as amazing as it sounds and makes the burger. I’m glad there’s some leftover aoli for another time! It is packed with so much bacon flavor, a little creaminess and lots of smokey flavor.
Mine was a beyond meat burger which is SO good. It was, hands down, the best burger I’ve had in a long time. I made the bacon aoli in advance which totally sped up getting the burgers on the table. A toddler waits for no blog photos.
Ingredients: (for 1/4 cup, about 4 servings)
2 strips of bacon, reserve the bacon drippings
1/4 cup mayo
1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
1/2 teaspoon liquid smoke
salt & pepper
Pan fry chopped bacon until crisp. Remove from the pan and reserve the drippings.
Add the mayo, garlic, liquid smoke, bacon, bacon drippings when cooled, and salt and pepper to a small bowl.
Spread onto burgers topping them with more bacon, cheddar, arugula, and tomato – like I did. Or spread onto a BLT with more bacon, lettuce, tomato, and avocado. Or spread onto a roll with turkey, provolone, tomato, and arugula.
I loved this. We had these burgers with sweet potato tots and some white wine. It truly made a perfect mother’s day dinner for me!
Get your hands on some liquid smoke. It seems like a specialty ingredient, but it lasts forever and will transform your chili, it is great in any cheeseburger-ish item you’re not actually grilling (like cheeseburger layer dip) or Rootbeer bbq sauce or in any pork dish (like pork and bacon ragu). I use it all the time and just now need another bottle. I’ve seen it for sale in the grocery store too. In a pinch, Worcestershire sauce would be a back-up.
The title doesn’t leave a whole lot to your imagination, but I was going for easy to procure ingredients with lots of wiggle room to customize! This was also an fun way to use a smaller portion of chicken, or I’d totally make it again with meatless chicken, which I love too. I forget about paninis but now that we’re all home for quarantine, they’re a great and easy meal and can easily be a dinner. There are 4 food groups in here!
I hope some of these easy ideas give you something to look forward to. We all need that right now, right? Paninis are also so great to be build your own if you have a crowd too!
Crispy Chicken Panini with Maple Dijon Arugula
Ingredients: (for 1 panini)
2 breaded chicken tenders
2 teaspoons dijon mustard
1 teaspoon maple syrup
1/2 teaspoon mayo
1 slice provolone
1 small roll
Bake the chicken until crispy and fully cooked through. (Mine came frozen or use meatless tenders or make your own). Then slice in half width-wise.
Mix together the dijon, maple syrup, and mayo.
Heat a panini press or grill pan or heavy skillet.
Toss the arugula in some of the maple dijon. Reserve some to spread onto the roll.
Assemble the panini with a little maple dijon on the roll (if desired), arugula then chicken then cheese.
Press or grill or pop into a toaster oven (or skip and enjoy immediately!), as you wish, until warmed through and until the cheese melts.
Slice and enjoy!
Ohh so good, and simple. Making a little maple dijon gives it an easy special touch that I think is totally worth it- esp since I was using otherwise prepared ingredients, but substitute honey mustard dressing and call it a day.
I know not everyone can get every ingredient right now, so here are some substitution ideas:
roll – use bread, or make it a wrap!
provolone – any sliced cheese: swiss/cheddar/gouda/monterey jack
arugula – any greens: spinach/collards/swiss chard/kale
Whatever you do with it, add a panini or melt into your menu for a fun but quick lunch or a dinner.