I’m reallllly feeling 2021. The prospect of a new year, fresh slate doesn’t seem inspiring or fitting. I think some melted sidewalks is what I’m looking forward to the most right now. I’m the most home-body of anyone I know and even I want to go places. I had a few fun foods in February, mixed amongst the staples of easy-to-execute/crowd pleasers.
I made a BLT Chicken Salad that has great flexibility for any time of year…including this part of the year with lack-luster tomatoes!
The standout meal of the month for me was Pineapple Coconut Rice bowls. I love a rice bowl and this added some greatly appreciated variety and inspiring a different place.
I’m not sure what’s coming up for March yet. I feel a bit of a slump so maybe some fun foods will revive me – or birthday cake?
The Little Girl: She just always wants to go places- there’s just nowhere for her to go. I love hearing her tell stories from books she knows well as she flips through them. We’re so lucky she’s easy going. I’m amused by her intense instruction when she’s playing pretend- for the play kitchen she’s forever telling me in a deep voice, “no, that’s for lunch and it is hot”. PB & fluff is her fav lunch and she’d eat maple oatmeal daily.
The Big Guy: The start of Feb vacation had him sad not to have school, then sad to go back. The break was good – he got some time home to just play, time with all the grandparents, and he was thrilled to have so much snow. It was also good for us as the time-managers. He loves sledding and is never cold. His current fav food is fig bars – like these and he’s been into helping make dinner. He watched the movie Turbo and loved it. We’re reading Charlotte’s Web.
Goals: Year of the fun mail! We sent a few Valentines around and a little something as encouragement. More breakfasts: nothing new, but I did make a special doughnut run. Lunches coordinated or prepped in advance – Umm. Leftovers became some breakfast burritos which are fun to pull out of the freezer now and then. I’ve been having some veggie burgers too. I’d like to get the house a bit neater: ehh. I didn’t have any particular emphasis on this- but should Bullet journal – I’ve kept a meals list going which I like as reminders of the every-day/not blogged ones. What I’m reading: I read Panther Baby and The Giver of Stars which I loooved and The Henna Artist. What I’m Watching: We caught up on some movies – ‘Knives Out’ which I absolutely loved and ‘A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood’ was was OK to me.
Approaching 1 year of the pandemic and some gloomy weather has me a bit blah. I desperately miss non-icy sidewalks at the moment. Sometimes a more exciting lunch is something to look forward to, right? I’ve been striving for some more varied lunches and this was a good one.
Just a few slices of bacon with chopped greens, tomatoes, chicken salad, and a bit of bright pickle is so satisfying and perfect in a pita, or on some great bread, or scooped with crackers. This also works nicely for reviving leftovers if you’ve eaten chicken lately!
BLT Chicken Salad Ingredients: (for 2-3 servings) 2 cups chicken (cooked and cooled) 1 teaspoon mayo 1 tablespoon Italian dressing 1 teaspoon pickle juice (optional) 2 strips bacon (cooked and cooled) 2 cups baby arugula 1 small tomato
Directions: Chop and shred the chicken and mix the mayo, Italian dressing, pickle juice (optional) and salt & pepper. Chop the bacon, arugula, and tomato and add in the chicken salad.
Stir gently to combine – add in another splash of dressing or pickle juice if needed. Serve as a sandwich, with more greens as a salad, or scoop with crackers! Enjoy!
This is use 103,894,380 for a Costco roasted chicken. Those things are so much better than anywhere else, and cheaper! I buy them even without a plan and take it off the bone to freeze it. For this chicken salad, it was easy to break off some frozen chunks and defrost in the fridge overnight.
I’m partial to Ken’s Italian Dressing that looks like nothing special but is ohh so good. I think that WITH the pickle juice is delightful and just enough mayo to keep it together.
Are chopped salads still a thing? I liked everything getting equally distributed but now I’m wondering if they were just a fad of the 2010s? Either way, it is the perfect way to ensure each bite has some of everything. The concept lives on at our house!
I’m fully embracing Valentine’s Day this year because, well, we definitely need things to look forward to. I had decor up before Feb 1 hit and planned to make muddy buddies. We made some mint ones at Christmas and it was so fun. This muddy buddy batch has half white, half pink raspberry with some M&Ms in there too!
I like that these require so few ingredients. With so many Chex varieties I totally could have done half as raspberry and half vanilla chex, which would lighten up the sugar too.
Raspberry White Chocolate Muddy Buddy Ingredients: ~1 box Rice Chex cereal (I used one box minus 2 kid bfast servings) 3 cups white chocolate 1 teaspoon raspberry jelly (optional) 1 cup freeze dried raspberries, pulverized into powder 1 cup powdered sugar 1 bag Valentine’s M&Ms or small valentine candies or pink sprinkles
Directions: Melt half the white chocolate in a microwave safe bowl, stirring every 30 seconds. Mix half the cereal in, stirring carefully to not break the cereal. Pour into a zip-top bag and pour in half the powdered sugar (don’t push the air out before closing the bag, keep it balloon-like). Shake, shake, shake until well covered. Empty onto a sheet of wax paper to cool/dry. Melt the other half of the white chocolate in a microwave safe bowl, stirring every 30 seconds. Mix the remaining half the cereal in and jelly, stirring carefully to not break the cereal. Pour into the same zip-top bag and pour in remaining half of the powdered sugar and the raspberry powder (don’t push the air out before closing the bag-keep it balloon-like). Shake, shake, shake until well covered. Empty onto a sheet of wax paper to cool/dry. Let it cool/dry for 15 minutes and then pour both batches into a large air-tight container with the M&Ms or sprinkles. Enjoy!
Using the bag was much easier than stirring in a bowl. I’ve now mastered how not to dirty 2 of everything! We had freeze dried raspberries that nobody liked for snacks so I ground them up for PB&J inspired energy bites and the rest for these! The kids like freeze dried mango, strawberries, apples, etc so I’m not sure why they weren’t a hit, but ohh well! They bring great flavor and color.
A lighter option to lessen the sugar would be to half the white chocolate, half the powdered sugar and to make the raspberry batch and mix in a few cups of vanilla chex or honey nut chex.
This is like a vacation! Coconut rice and pineapple are delightful on their own, then adding pork and a honey teriyaki drizzle makes magic. We loved this. The first time I made it with chicken but the pork was even better.
Pineapple Coconut Rice Bowls: Ingredients: (serves 4-5) 1 1/2 cups white rice 1 cup coconut milk 1 1/4 cup water or broth 1 cup pineapple, chopped 1 1/2 cup shredded pork 2 green onions 2 tablespoons honey 2 teaspoons teriyaki sauce 2 tablespoons BBQ sauce
Directions: Cook the rice using the coconut milk and water/broth for the liquid (I used a pressure cooker- about 4 min for white rice!). Warm the pork in a skillet over high heat to crisp up bits and add a tablespoon or so of the honey/teriyaki/bbq sauce for the last few minutes. Add the pineapple to the rice when it has cooked completely and mix.
Assemble the bowls with rice on the bottom, the pork, and chopped green onion on top.
Drizzle bowls with the remaining sauce. Enjoy!
These were so good and a great use for pork. I love rice in the pressure cooker and it is so fast. The coconut and pineapple flavors are bright and easy to have anytime.
The pork shoulder in the crockpot for 8 hours became this, some went on pizza, and lots froze to be separate meals other times. We’ll use some for BBQ pulled pork sandwiches and some smaller portions will go in quesadillas or nachos or something.
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