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.
I loooove fish tacos but they’re a dish best served in the moment- they’re not as great as takeout. Making them at home actually works surprisingly well! These scream SUMMER! A little mango cream drizzle was amazing for these! I used frozen breaded fish or grill or sear or bread your own! I tucked some broccoli slaw underneath for a fresh crunch. They were crave-able. I like fish tacos for variety- since I’d be happy to eat tacos weekly and these are easy to make just what you need – for 1 person or we have 4 of us eating them!
Fish Tacos with Mango Sauce
Ingredients: (for 4)
1 cup mango (I used defrosted frozen mango chunks)
2 tablespoons sour cream
2 tablespoons mayo
1/2 lime juice & zest
8 fish fillets (I used frozen breaded fish)
1 cup slaw
8 pieces of fish
Blend together the mango, sour cream, mayo, zest, lime juice and some pepper in a food processor or blender. Add a splash of water if needed to get it smooth and well mixed.
Chill until serving – can be made ahead of time.
For the tacos, bake or pan fry the fish.
Mix up the slaw and spoon on top of the tortillas. Add the fish on top.
Drizzle with mango sauce and an extra squeeze of lime. Enjoy!
I loved these! The mango sauce was nicely sweet from the mango and enough tartness from the lime to balance it out. Our 5-yr-old ate the slaw separately and dipped into the mango sauce on the side too. The 2-yr-old man-handled her tacos but ate a ton. Fish sticks work well for smaller tacos.
Frozen breaded fish is ideal for me since I hate frying things and it just pops into the toaster oven without much effort! The mango sauce would be great on any fish or on shrimp or on chicken. Avocado would be good on these or they’d be great in a bowl!
Picky eaters? Or is cooking fish daunting? Try these – the crunch makes them approachable and baking them makes it less intimidating. Having them as one filling option on taco night can be fun – or surf and turf with each one getting 1 fish taco and 1 meat taco.
My mom makes several cornbreads and this one is by far my fav- it has real corn and is so soft but not crumbly. The rest of the fam looooves one with dill and sour cream and onions but my heart is with this one. There’s real corn flavor and I can’t get enough of it. Make a half batch to go alongside your BBQ and then griddle some the next morning with a drizzle of hot honey- you can thank me later. Only make a whole batch if you have enough eaters- it lasts about 5 days refrigerated but spoils in 2 days at room temperature. This would be great in times of potlucks whenever that happens again?
Corn Bread with Hot Honey Drizzle
Ingredients: makes 9×9, ~6 servings
1 1/2 Boxes of Jiffy Corn Muffin mix
1 stick softened butter + 2-4 tablespoons to pan sear before serving
8 oz sour cream
8 oz can creamed corn
8 oz canned corn or frozen corn
Preheat the oven to 350-degrees.
Mix together the muffin mix, butter, sour cream, creamed corn, corn, and eggs with a stand or hand mixer until incorporated.
Pour into a 9×9 baking dish sprayed with non-stick spray.
Bake for 35 minutes until set and the edges brown.
While letting it cool, mix together the honey and hot sauce.
In a medium skillet, melt butter and sear each cut side of slices of cornbread.
Drizzle with hot honey and enjoy!
It freezes well or freeze the remainder of the creamed corn and the save the half box of corn muffin mix. Next time you want to whip some together you’ll be well on your way! A whole batch would be 3 boxes of corn muffin mix- everything doubled and that makes a 9×13 so that would take a huge number of cornbread lovers!
Simple science experiments, like how clouds make rain, are great to use in class and a hit with students! Your learners will definitely enjoy this very simple science experiment. The prep is EASY and this how clouds make rain experiment is simple enough for kids to join in. It's the perfect science lesson for toddlers, preschool, pre-k, kindergarten, and grade school classrooms! #weather #science #free #printable #preschool #kindergarten #kids