January was a roller-coaster for sure. The highs were T’s 6th birthday and the inauguration which made me hopeful. The attacks on the capitol was such a disappointing low moment for the US.
I don’t feel post-holiday lows I hear some folks have, though I think winter/snowman books and decor helps the fresh-start feelings still being festive. I wish we had more snow. Now I keep us looking towards the snack holiday (aka, the Superbowl) and making Valentines.
In the kitchen, I am so enthusiastic for the cutest Football Cheeseball ever. Make in any amount while you don’t have a crowd this year!
Breakfast is one of my favorites and I’m missing going out for breakfast. I put together some McGriddles that were so good.
Winter doesn’t have me craving smoothies when it is cold, but this Chocolate Almond one was a great way to have some variety.
The Little Girl: She reached a milestone of reaching the growth chart! She’s into the first percentile with our emphasis of nutrient-dence foods and focus to eat as much as possible. Coloring is her favorite activity 24/7 and she is playing a lot more of what big brother wants the “game”/play to be.
The Big Guy: He’s 6! His birthday was fun and he had a countdown until the day. He is lucky to have gracious gifts of legos, puzzles, outside toys, and craft supplies. He chose pasta for dinner and Grandma made a lego cake! He is writing a ton and the note cards he delivers to us are so adorable.
Goals: Year of the fun mail! I didn’t send anything fun in January, but have ideas for February! More breakfasts: yes! McGriddles! Lunches coordinated or prepped in advance – Somehow there were more leftovers around lately for lunches. Taco/burrito/quesadilla/salad make ideal leftovers. I’d like to get the house a bit neater. I was highly motivated to declutter and pass along stuff we weren’t using. Bullet journal – I started with a meals list- that’s pretty much what my blog is but the everyday seemed good to journal. What I’m reading: I read so so so much in Dec and that took a nosedive in Jan. I read Nothing to See Here for bookclub and Watch Me Disappear. Both were OK, not fantastic. What I’m watching: We finished Man Hunt season 2 about the Georgia bombings. I’ve caught up on A Million Little Things. I think I’m off the Bachelorette/Bachelor train. I never finished the Clare/Tayshia season and didn’t start the Matt season either.
The inauguration was so so so important to me and I’m so happy to look forward. Next up: the Superbowl! I’m into the Superbowl for the snacks. And the commercials. And the halftime show. The cheeseball not only resembles a football but it also brings together the two delights of snacking: bacon and cheese.
Football Cheeseball Ingredients: 1 package cream cheese 1 onion 2 tablespoons bbq sauce 1 teaspoon worcestershire sauce 1 teaspoon seasoning blend (Todd’s Dirt or Mrs. Dash or Italian Seasoning or 1/2 tsp Jane’s Krazy Mixed Up Salt) 1/2 pound bacon 1/2 slice of provolone cheese serve with sturdy crackers, like wheat thins or pita chips
Directions: Caramelize the onion- slice and cook over low heat with a tablespoon of olive oil, for ~40 minutes, stirring frequently. Remove from the heat when they are soft and golden brown. Bring the cream cheese to room temperature. Using a mixer, mix up the cream cheese, caramelized onions, bbq sauce, worcestershire sauce, and seasoning blend.
Wrap in plastic wrap into a ball and refrigerate until serving, or at least 2 hours. Chop the bacon and pan fry until crisp. Then drain the drippings. When serving, unwrap the plastic from most of it and holding the plastic on one side, form into a football shape about 3/4 inch thick so you still have plastic to cover your hands while forming it. Flip onto a serving plate removing the plastic. Push the bacon crumbles onto the top and sides until completely covered. Slice the cheese into one long strip with short strips across to be the laces. Serve with crackers and enjoy!
If you’re making this one in advance, mix up the cheeseball and chill until serving with the bacon separate.
We looooved this. The flavors are fantastic and very chill – it would fit in well with other tailgate-ish foods! Hot tip: leftover cheeseball spread onto a turkey sandwich = delicious.
If the start of 2021 has you feeling crummy and seeking positive choices, this smoothie is perfect! It is DELICIOUS but also full of good stuff. I tend not to make many in the winter, so, enjoy this one!
This one is a meal – I’m going for protein & fiber and wanted to hit fruit and dairy here. This can be downgraded to a snack by skipping the yogurt, adding a bit more water, and serving as 4 smaller portions.
Chocolate Almond Smoothie Ingredients: (serves 2-3) 1 frozen banana (or 1 cup frozen cauliflower) 1 cup vanilla yogurt 1 scoop chocolate protein powder (or 1 tablespoon cocoa powder) 2 teaspoons ground flaxseed (optional) 1/4 teaspoon almond extract 1 – 1 1/2 cups almond milk 1/2 cup water a few ice cubes
Directions: Add frozen banana/cauliflower, yogurt, chocolate protein powder/cocoa powder, ground flaxseed, almond extract, milk, water, and ice to a blender.
Blend & enjoy!
I loved this! I was a bit heavy handed with the almond extract the first time – so use with caution and measure. It totally brings a unique flavor – especially if you don’t loooove protein powder. Mint extract would be a good alternative too! My fav protein powder is Amazing Grass brand, especially peanut butter or vanilla. Any chocolate-ish smoothie could definitely include/hide frozen greens. I almost did but I also wanted to keep it simple. Go for it – you won’t taste or see some frozen baby spinach in there!
My all-time fav smoothie is this PB&J Smoothie so if you got a new blender, this one is a winner and often the only one I make!
Breakfast sandwiches are my fav and let’s get into 2021 with my take on a McGriddle. McDs describes these as griddle cakes with flavors of maple syrup. I have no idea what a griddle cake is but seems like maybe I would if I were in the south? Mine is a twist on a pancake and to become a sandwich with a folded egg, a slice of American cheese, and a sausage patty.
There’s more here than what appears…
McGriddles Ingredients: (for 2) 1 cup pancake mix 3 tablespoons cornmeal 1 tablespoon cinnamon chips (or butterscotch chips) 2 teaspoons maple syrup 1/4 cup cold water (or as the mix instructs) 2 sausage patties 2 eggs 2 slices of American Cheese
Directions: Mix together the pancake mix, cornmeal, maple syrup, and add water. Then stir to combine but not over mixing. Cook small pancakes (think of the egg size and the sausage patty size) and add the chips before flipping.
Keep the pancakes warm while cooking the sausage. Drain the sausage on paper towels to remove excess grease. Crack the eggs and whisk to scramble. Cook in a medium pan so the very thin egg can be folded into a square. Melt the cheese on top. Assemble the pancakes as the bread with a light brush of maple syrup, the sausage, the egg & cheese, and the other pancake.
I loved these. Breakfast sandwiches are my love language. I never fold the egg up like this but was going for a very McD’s style. I should have flipped it over to show you a nice smooth side with melted cheese on the flat part, but hey, here we are.
I used a few butterscotch chips I had around but cinnamon would be wayy better. They are also great in pumpkin or banana bread for all the leftovers you’d have!
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