October seemed to go by so quickly! How have we been home 7 months?! September and October were hefty for virtual work events which makes it feel busy. Work is, well, uneasy right now.
T started going to school for a hybrid schedule! It has been amazing. He did tell me “it is a little not good to not have a nap or rest”. That’s my boy! 😉 He loves it but it definitely tires him out. C doesn’t love when big brother is home doing school the other 3 days- she just wants him to play.
I focused on comfort foods for October.
I made these Cheeseburger Sloppy Joes. I was a fan. The kids were so-so on them. For some reason they don’t always want the bread portion of sandwiches.
These Funfetti Waffles were so fun and definitely a morning comfort. I used some funfetti mix (and have an idea for the remainder) and I’d be interested in playing around to try to make in other ways too.
The Little Girl: She misses her brother when he’s doing school! She is quite into our toy trains and likes tucking in her stuffed toys to sleep and driving vehicles around. She’s zooming around on the scooter and is ready for more on bikes. Her fav food is definitely any kind of cheese, pizza, and oatmeal. Since she’s underweight, we’re trying so hard to keep her eating and getting dense nutrition into her. She’s totally 2 and still easy going but now we also hear “I don’t want that” or “still using that”.
The Big Guy: He looooves school. We’re so proud of his can-do attitude and how hard he’s working. He goes to kindergarten 2 days a week and virtual the other 3. Managing the timing and assignments takes attention from us. It has been fun to see what he’s learning! A new favorite lunch is grilled peanut butter and fluff.
November brings my blogaversary! I’ll need to think carefully about goals. I’m hopeful but scared about what’s ahead. Get out there and vote. For the sake of humanity, please go vote.
This Year’s Goals:
Year of beauty/self-care: I got this skin scrub Prep intentional sides and veggies: nope, not really Eat more fish: Salmon! Blog some series: Oct is comfort foods! Focus decluttering/organizing to an area: I passed along some too-small kid clothes to the next wearer. Share more books on instagram: ehh. A few. Prioritize workouts: I looooved a month mash-up incorporating 4 different programs and now I’m doing a ‘muscle burns fat’ one that’s OK, not my fav. What I’m reading: I read The Other Mrs. Miller – and that’s it. I haven’t read much at all lately. What I’m listening to: a podcast on the occasional stroller ride for the girl. What I’m watching: We found a series called Manhunt about the unabomber and it was captivating! I loved the most recent Brother vs. Brother.
Fall coziness brought to you by way of 4-5 ingredients! I loved that this one not being too heavy since we’ve had some 70-80 degree days lately plus, fall flavors don’t have to mean pumpkin!
This comes together soooo fast – the longest part is waiting for the water to boil!
Ravioli with Brown Butter, Corn & Sage Ingredients: (for 4 servings) 6 tablespoons butter (real butter, not margarine/substitute) 24 oz package cheese ravioli, frozen 1 cup corn 4-5 sage leaves, fresh grated parmesan
Directions: Bring a big pot of salted water to a boil. In a large skillet or pan, melt the butter over medium low heat. Add the ravioli into the water and cook for about 5-minutes, or as the package instructs. When the butter bubbles and foams up, carefully keep stirring. The butter browns quickly and gives off a nutty flavor. (Don’t let it burn! Try a le creuset/pan with white inside or a white/light colored spatula to stir) Add in the sage to the butter and be sure to remove the pan from the heat once it starts to brown. Toss the corn in too to warm. When the ravioli begin to float, they are cooked. Scoop from the water directly into the brown butter sauce, give a sprinkle of salt and pepper and toss well. Sprinkle with some grated parmesan. Enjoy!
I loved this. The brown butter has so much flavor without looking like much. The kids liked it but for whatever reason, the kindergartener wasn’t interested in the corn. We cut from the ear and froze it back in peak farmer’s market corn season. It was about 50% thawed when I threw it in. We all like pasta and I always want the little ones to experience all the shapes pasta can take, all the sauce types, etc.
The sage leaves were whole because a little sage can be a lot to me so they were easy to pick out or whatever. Adding them to the brown butter brings some good flavor without a punch in the face. Our sage plants are flourishing so in it went.
This would be an easy one to make for a big crowd- do people see big crowds these days? It also would be great halved for a meal for 1!
Let’s chat comfort food. I’m glad fall is in the air and I’m ready for some foods to give us a little hug. I took the flavors of a burger into a speedy sloppy joe- the extra mustard and addition of relish and liquid smoke gives it all the burger flavors. I used meatless but any ground meat/meatless works!
Cheeseburger Sloppy Joes Ingredients: (for 4) 3/4 pound ground meat (I used Gardein Meatless Crumbles) 4 burger rolls 1/4 cup brown sugar 1/4 cup ketchup 2 tablespoons yellow mustard 1 teaspoon relish 1/2 teaspoon onion powder 1 tablespoon worcestershire sauce 1 teaspoon liquid smoke (optional) 4 slices of American Cheese
Directions: Add ground meat (cooked through if using beef/chicken/pork), brown sugar, ketchup, mustard, relish, and onion powder to a large skillet over medium-low heat. (I used meatless crumbles which can go into the pan frozen.)
Add in worcestershire sauce, liquid smoke (if using), and a splash of water. Cook for 5 minutes until well incorporated and bubbling. Toast the buns. Spoon the sloppy joe onto each bun and quickly top with cheese to melt it.
Add some pickles and extra ketchup and mustard, if desired. Enjoy!
I loved this! Sloppy Joes cook SO quickly and are easy to stretch meat a bit further than a patty might. These are a great way to use a meatless product too. Mixing some shredded cheddar would be good too- though maybe not so photogenic. Liquid smoke is a fantastic addition to these, in chili, in burgers, and any sauce or spread that has bacon in it! I find it on amazon but may have seen it at the grocery store too.
I don’t even know what end is up. September is just bananas. I cooked some fun things but we are treading water to adjust to our new schedule. Virtual kindergarten is going great but working full time, monitoring remote school, keeping the 2 yr old occupied/away and juggling these short time blocks has our brains spinning. I’ve felt more stress these last few weeks than this whole quarantine time- if I’m on top of work, then I’m lacking for the kids/home/friends and vice versa.
This month Mr. J and I celebrated our 9th wedding anniversary so that was our bright spot! We went to dinner and I had the best meal I’ve had in for-ev-er. We ate outside at Il Massimo and I had scallops over corn risotto with brussels sprouts.
For dishes from my kitchen, I made these pesto risotto stuffed tomatoes and loved them- they’re also great for grocery store tomatoes as we exit the prime garden tomato season!
These Chicken BLT Grain Bowls are so ideal for a quick and balanced lunch or dinner. Plus if the grain is prepped ahead of time it saves so much time. I went with quinoa but normally choose brown rice or farro.
Our littlest one needs a bit more dense nutrition- so I made some pb&j energy bites as a little but powerful snack. They were a great use of some freeze dried raspberries nobody was interested in!
Her newest words are “yup” and “nope” which just sounds funny. She’s so itty bitty so we are focused on upping her calorie intake and retesting some of her lab work next month. She’s doing pretty well with pediasure and needs to bulk up a bit to hit the chart. Her fav foods are cheese of any kind, pb&f, and anything she can dip. She’s playing a ton in the play kitchen and with the trains. She zooms down the driveway on her bike. This gal is fearless. She did fantastic wearing her mask for her whole physical and for labwork.
The Big Guy:
He loves virtual kindergarten! His teacher is fantastic and he impressed us day 1 mastering the computer mouse and the mute/unmute rules. I’m so thankful he’s good at playing for his his breaks and getting right back to it when his next session is starting. The in-person hybrid schedule should start soon so we’re looking forward to him going 2 days a week. He’s still loving pizza and pasta. His favorite lunch is PB&F or “snacky lunch” of salami/string cheese/etc. We transitioned to quiet time with a stack of books on the couch or his bed instead of naps and he looks forward to it!
This Year’s Goals:
Year of beauty/self-care: not really Prep intentional sides and veggies: nope, not really Eat more fish: Lobsters! Blog some series: nope, but Oct is going to be comfort foods! Focus decluttering/organizing to an area: not at the moment. Share more books on instagram: ehh. Prioritize workouts: I loved a lifting workout program and looooved it. Now I’m doing a month mash-up incorporating 4 different programs it is has been great for the ultimate in variety. What I’m reading: I read The Yellow House since it is the summer reading at work for students and the community. It is about New Orleans and the city dynamics pre and post hurricane Katrina. I loved it, though at first I was overwhelmed by the number of people’s names without a family tree chart. Then I blew through Catch and Kill: Lies, Spies, and the Conspiracies to Protect Predators which is a forever reminder how critical the free press is.
What I’m listening to: a podcast on occasion. What I’m watching: America’s Got Talent wrapped up and I’m thrilled the spoken poet won- it literally restored some hope for America voting. We found a series called Manhunt about the unabomber and one season about the Atlanta Olympics bomber. It is very well done!
I crowdsourced what to do with freeze dried raspberries nobody was into. The kiddos like freeze dried strawberries & mango & blueberries but the raspberries were a no-go. I put some into ebelskivers but it didn’t use too many. Now I put them into energy bites, which was a genius idea from Jess www.jessfuel.com!
PB&J Energy Bites
Ingredients: (for about 12 golf ball sized bites)
1/2 cup ground flax
1 cup freeze dried raspberries
1 cup old fashioned oats
1/3 cup peanuts
1/2 cup peanut butter
1 tablespoon raspberry jelly
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
sprinkle of salt
Grind the flax seeds, if whole, and the freeze dried raspberries in a food processor or spice grinder or coffee grinder. Chop the dates and the peanuts.
Add everything to a bowl & marvel at that great red raspberry powder!
Stir well. Add in more jelly if needed to keep it together.
Form into balls.
Refrigerate and enjoy!
These are delightful! I love peanut butter and jelly flavors – hello, the only smoothie I seem to ever make is this healthier peanut butter and jelly smoothie! These have good chew and sweetness from the raspberry powder. The dates make it sticky and sweet without a separate flavor. A wise Registered Dietician told me to always grind the flaxseeds and that our bodies don’t do much with them whole.
Here’s hoping the little gal likes these. We’re trying to get some dense nutritional foods into her. She hasn’t grown a whole lot so I thought these might be good snacks- for any of us!
They last about a week in the refrigerator or can be frozen too. I used some ratios from these energy bites I made forever ago.
It has been awhile since I shared some grain bowls and today I have a healthier twist still with some indulgent flavors. These have chicken, bacon, lettuce, tomato, mushrooms, and quinoa. The little bit of bacon adds great flavor and the small amount of chicken gets bulked up with an equal amount of mushrooms.
Chicken BLT Grain Bowl
Ingredients: (for 4)
3 cups quinoa prepared or other grain
1 teaspoon ranch dressing mix
8 oz portobello mushrooms
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 lg chicken breast or 1 1/2 cups shredded roasted chicken
1 tomato, chopped
2 cups lettuce, or greens, chopped
4 strips bacon, cooked and chopped
1/4 cup ranch dressing
Prepare the quinoa (or grain) and stir in the dry dressing mix.
Saute the mushrooms in butter and olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and cook until golden – about 5 minutes over medium heat. Then remove from the heat.
Spoon the quinoa into 4 bowls then top each with mushrooms, chicken, tomato, lettuce, and bacon.
Drizzle with ranch and enjoy!
I loved this. Quinoa is not my fav grain but I do like variety so I prepped some to have around- and with the flavors of bacon and ranch, it seemed like any grain would be fine! I normally go for brown rice or farro- I like the bite of those.
I love grain bowls to get some fresh and rich bites all together. These are also a great way to stretch a small amount of chicken, or lots of small amount of veggies! I also love grain bowls for personalization. Not into mushrooms? Throw in some zucchini. No greens on hand? Swap for avocado. This is great packed for lunch, if you go somewhere, or lunch/dinner at home.
These burgers combine the cranberry and touch of lime flavor of a cape codder drink – minus the vodka. The burgers are ground pork or ground chicken would work well too with dried cranberries in them with a lime aoli. The more subtle ground meat flavor is perfect to let the cranberries and lime shine!
Cape Codder Burgers
Ingredients: (for 4 burgers)
1/4 cup dried cranberries
1/4 cup mayo
1/2 lime (juice & zest)
1 pound ground pork
salt & pepper
4 burger buns
1 cup lettuce
Drop the dried cranberries into some water – just enough to submerge for 20 minutes, or overnight.
Mix together the mayo, lime juice, zest, salt and pepper. Chill until serving or make ahead of time.
Add the hydrated cranberries to the ground pork with salt and pepper. Mix well.
Preheat the grill and form into patties.
Grill the burgers, flipping once for about 4 minutes on each side, until cooked through. Pork should reach 160-degrees with a meat thermometer- take them off the grill around 150 and let them rest for 3-5 minutes while they finish cooking.
Serve on burger buns with lettuce and the lime aoli.
These were fun! I liked the cranberries in the burger instead of being a sauce. The kids ate them as-is. The little guy has taken to deconstructing burgers eating the patty and the bun separately. I never make turkey burgers – they end up so dry but that’s an option if you really like them. I think chicken and pork are much more juicy!
Why have I never stuffed a tomato before! I do not love stuffed peppers – the idea is great, but I’m never that into them. Risotto stuffed tomatoes are delightful! I also used grocery store tomatoes and saved great garden ones for raw eating!
Pesto Risotto Stuffed Tomatoes
1 shallot or 1/4 of an onion
1/2 cup arborio rice
1 cup broth/wine/water (liquid amount should be what the arborio rice dictates + add some salt if not using broth)
2 teaspoons pesto
4 small tomatoes, insides scooped out
1 cup white cheddar, shredded
1 tablespoon parmesan (optional)
Prepare the risotto with the shallot/onion, rice, and broth/wine/water combo and add in the tomato centers and juice- I used the pressure cooker, or cook it on on the stove top.
When it is cooked through, stir in the cheese and the pesto.
Sprinkle the hollowed tomatoes with salt and pepper then spoon the risotto into them. Top with a sprinkle of parmesan- or more cheddar.
Put the tops back on and bake for 10-15 minutes- until the tomatoes are cooked through and the outside is soft (like soft enough to tip over!)
We had these with grilled Italian sausages and green beans- and we had some additional unstuffed risotto. They were so good and a great change for us! A great big heirloom tomato with lots more risotto would be delicious! Or try it into a half of a zucchini- also with the flesh scooped out and cooked into the risotto.
No pesto? Add in a sprinkle of herbs. Or cook with a few glugs of white wine (1/4 cup). Or a few tablespoons of tomato sauce. Just be sure you add something with flavor. Stuff your fav other favorite grain instead or speed it up with couscous or orzo!
August seems like a blur. Other than the little lady’s birthday, I’m always pretty ready to skip right over it. It is often too hot and I’m ready for fall. This year is a little funky – to say the least. All the days feel pretty similar. I think the last 2 weeks I’ve had a few things to look forward to and that helps a lot. We did a beach day, and my bookclub has been meeting outside the last few months, and I ate outside at a restaurant, and I like the friend zooms we’ve had.
I made fish tacos with mango sauce, which were so good! I love the ease of frozen breaded fish and the speed can’t be beat! They are fun in the rotation for variety and the kids eat them a little deconstructed, but they were a hit.
Cornbread is a bit hit or miss but THIS soft cornbread is a total winner. It is soft (duh) and has pieces of corn. We had it with BBQ pulled pork and the leftovers I griddled (per Mom’s suggestion) and then I drizzled with some hot honey. It was super addicting! I loved hearing a few folks already made it and loved it too!
Hawaiian Hot Dogs were super fun for some variety too. I mean, at this point in the summer we’ve all had all the grilled things. This also turned us onto grilled pineapple too.
The Baby Girl:
She’s 2! Her birthday was fun – we spent the afternoon swimming and making pizzas at her grandparents house. She loves singing “Hap Birt-day” and this girl can put away some pizza! She got a trampoline and she loves it! We gave her some doll house furniture, a book, and some bath bombs. She loves rainbows, reading her own books, and pb&j remains her fav lunch. She loves corn on the cob. She’ll keep a mask on for ~5-10 minutes.
The Pre-K Guy:
He’s starting virtual kindergarten soon! Who knows what that’ll be like! He can occasionally be convinced that we don’t all have to play the same things together 24/7. He is super into spiders at the moment. Legos are his fav. I had to laugh when he decided he wouldn’t be able to keep a secret from C so he couldn’t know what gifts she’d get for her birthday. He has surprised me lately being more into meat- BBQ chicken, and sausage, and burgers. He’s very into corn on the cob. Both kids love tomatoes from the vine and are lucky to snag cherry tomatoes from their grandparents’ garden on the way from the pool.
This Year’s Goals:
Year of beauty/self-care – New facewash may have been the culprit to breakouts so I didn’t introduce anything new this month. Prep intentional sides and veggies: Yes! Some farmer’s market purchases nudged us out the box. Eat more fish: we had fish tacos and are prob due for our fav salmon. I’m awaiting a deal on lobsters. Blog some series: no series but we’ve been a little better with variety Focus decluttering/organizing to an area: I got some baby toys out of here! Share more books on instagram: yup Prioritize workouts: I’m nearing the end of a lifting/high intensity interval training one. I liked it a lot! What I’m reading: I read The Idea of You, which wasn’t good. I actually listened to an interview by the author on a podcast because I wondered what everyone else liked about it! Then I read The Girl with the Louding Voice and let me tell you, it is so wonderful. The writing is magical and there’s great intrigue and heartbreak and encouragement for the characters.
What I’m listening to: a podcast here and there but I’m behind on all that I’d normally catch on my commutes. What I’m watching: 10 years late to the party, we started watching Modern Family and it is so fun! We watched the movie Richard Jewell and it was captivating.