Friday Favorites #4

Hello and happy Friday to you! What’s everyone got planned for the weekend? I’ve got a brunch with my women’s bible study tomorrow morning, a birthday party, post-church celebration and who knows what else! Hopefully lots of outdoor time with family and friends. I find myself already dreading the winter months even though it feels too early to be worried about that. I just don’t want to be stuck inside! Moving on from that thought, I hope that you’ve all had a good week and if you’re interested in some of the things I’ve been loving this week, keep on scrolling.

5 Minute Lunches

I’ve discovered a secret for super quick (and healthy) lunches. This past week James and I have been filling our mornings with lots of activities. It’s been a lot of fun but we’ve been coming home around lunchtime starving and cranky. Needless to say, there isn’t much time to throw lunch together before we both collapse into a meltdown. I sound dramatic, but you get the idea. Lunches have been so rushed in fact, that I’ve barely taken any photos and I’m usually really good about food photos these days. My lunchtime secret is this, use leftovers to make a salad. That’s what I’ve been doing all week and it has actually worked. Granted, salads tend to only keep me satisfied for an hour or so and I always eat a snack while James is napping in the afternoon, but it’s enough to get me through the lunchtime craziness and fill my body with some decent nutrition. I buy a large box of mixed greens every week which is the base of every salad, and I’ve topped my salads this week with all kinds of random fridge items. Earlier this week I noticed a lot of deli meat and cheese so I made a chef salad of sorts. I’ve also enjoyed salads topped with roasted veggie and pesto couscous and find that I barely need to add dressing to that combo. I made a black bean and corn salad on Tuesday night and Wednesday for lunch I topped my mixed greens with that along with a BBQ ranch dressing, literally just BBQ sauce and ranch mixed together in a small container and poured it on my salad with some crushed up tortilla chips. Kind of like the pancake situation over here, I eat a lot of salad. And I get sick of it. So I find the best way to keep salad interesting is to try new combinations, and leftovers have proven to add pizazz to my salads this week.

Wireless Bras

Yup, they’re going on the list. Ever since giving birth to James I stopped wearing all of my wire-lined bras because of nursing and I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to go back. My favorite nursing bras are this one from Amazon, and this one from Gap (unfortunately sold out right now). Honestly I still wear those bras even though I’m not nursing because they are so comfortable. I’ve also been wearing my favorite wireless bra from Aerie, and so bummed that they are sold out right now because I could use a new one. With all of the wireless bras on the market these days, does anyone still wear one with wire? If so, is it comfortable? I put on an old bra the other day (it’s practically new), but the wire was so uncomfortable and irritating. Thank you for the invention of wireless!

Cardomom & Vevitir Candle

Currently in love with this candle from Target. I ordered it for my sister for her birthday after I fell in love with the scent the other day browsing Target. I haven’t bought one for myself (I feel like I need a reason?), so I can’t remember the smell enough to describe it accurately, but it was addicting. If you’re looking for something special to give yourself or a loved one, I would highly recommend this candle.

Diaper Wipes for Household Cleaning

Yes, I now use diaper wipes for household cleaning. Hello motherhood. In particular dusting, but really any area of the apartment that needs a wipe down. There are so many cleaning products to choose from, but one afternoon I noticed dust sitting on all of our surfaces and I had a pack of diaper wipes close by, so I pulled a few out and started dusting. They worked wonderfully! I have to credit my mom for the idea because she used to wet down a paper towel and use it as a dusting rag. Diaper wipes are way cheaper than paper towels, they are soft, and perfectly moist. Give it a try!

Trader Joe’s Focaccia Bread with Roasted Tomato & Parmesan

This bread. I’m in heaven. It’s SO GOOD you guys! Head on over to Trader Joe’s ASAP and get yourselves a loaf. What an awesome grocery store. Wegmans is my first and forever love, but Trader Joe’s is close behind. I haven’t bought a disappointing product yet!

As usual I’m curious…

What are you loving this week?

I hope that you have a great weekend friends! Thanks for stopping by πŸ™‚

Friday Favorites #3

Hey y’all! How’s everyone doing this week? James and I got out of our usual routine and took a trip to South Carolina earlier this week. I am feeling very grateful for the change of scenery and time with family. Which brings me to my first favorite of the week…

  • Family Time

We got to soak up lots of time with family the past couple of days and it was so much fun! I love a bustling beach house. James did too, as it meant lots of people giving him attention. This is an annual trip for my family and it’s usually the only week during the year that we get to spend together.

  • Sun, Sand, and Surf

The name of the game. I appreciated the fact that the beach and ocean offered instant entertainment for James, no toys necessary. Although he did spot a cute girl named Baker one morning who was pulling a little wagon full of sand toys. James quickly caught on to that fun and started shuffling down the beach in pursuit of Baker and her wagon. Luckily she was willing to share πŸ™‚

  • Having a Twin

I happen to be married to a twin, hi Josiah and John! It’s also been a life goal of mine to be twins with people, so I was more than thrilled when I realized I had bought James and I yellow shirts that *almost matched. Still soaking up our twin moment. These also happened to be our travel outfits on Wednesday, just look for the two in yellow!

  • The Sweetest Husband

Can we just flashback for a second to the most patriotic and beautiful welcome home sign that Josiah greeted us with on Wednesday night. It is still putting smile on my face.

  • Date Nights

Speaking of flashbacks, if you read my post yesterday, I was talking about having a good day but I knew that anything could happen to upset the mood. Well, Josiah and I got totally rained out on our date night last night. Downright drenched. It was discouraging at first but we rallied our spirits and didn’t let our soaking clothes stop us from ending the night with a drive (blasting the heat) for some ice cream. Ain’t nothing gonna stop me from getting ice cream on date night. Ha!

Question of the Day: What’s one thing making you smile this week?

Our First Meal Plan: Review

Hey guys! I wanted to pop on here and write a review of the first meal plan that I posted a little while ago. True confession, I only ended up making 5 of the 6 meals, the chicken florentine got nixed in favor of chicken Spedie sandwiches. I’ll share my thoughts on the other 5 meals below.

Grocery Shopping

Not super thrilled with the cost of this meal plan. It was one of the most expensive shopping trips I’ve had in a while. You can expect future meal plans to take cost into consideration and keep it as low as possible. I don’t know if it was all of the fresh herbs or fancy cheeses, but yikes, I was a little frazzled in the check-out line. The layout of the grocery list worked well for me, but I designed it based on the store I shop in. Feel free to give me any suggestions for future grocery list designs.

The Meals

Let’s talk about the meals! For starters, I titled this meal plan “Simple Summer Meals” and a lot of the meals didn’t feel simple. Summer, yes. Simple, no. I will try to find even easier recipes for the next meal plan because I don’t know about you, but cooking in a hot kitchen is the last thing I want to do in the summer. Maybe we can step up our cooking game when the weather gets cold, but for now we’ll try to keep things as quick and easy as possible.

Spicy Southern Style Shrimp with Lemon Basil Orzo. This is the meal where my mom and I made versions that looked totally different. I’m a little jealous that hers actually included shrimp. I ended up subbing salmon for the shrimp because my husband isn’t a shrimp fan. It wasn’t my favorite meal, but Josiah liked it a lot and so did my parents. I think it was the cajun seasoning for me. I’ll eat Italian flavors all day long, but cajun…ehh. This recipe felt like a lot of work, or maybe I was feeling lazy that night πŸ˜‰ Would I eat it again? Not anytime soon.

Hello totally unphotogenic quesadillas! Chipotle black bean, brown rice, and mango quesadillas, to be exact. My first question for these quesadillas, where was the mango? It got sucked up by all of the other flavors in the quesadilla, and I put A LOT of mango in there. That was a little disappointing. The salsa that was served on the side, blah. If you’re a fan of black beans and rice, these are a winner because that’s about all you could taste. I actually like rice and beans a lot, but speaking on behalf of my husband, these were a no-go for him.

I had to include a photo of James’s tiny portion of this meal…that he didn’t touch. This was the Skillet Cheesy Pepperoni Pizza Chicken and we really liked it, minus James. The prepping and cooking aspects of this meal weren’t that bad either. I overcooked the chicken a bit in the oven so parts of it were a little dry. The recipe says to bake for 10 minutes and I thought for sure that wasn’t long enough. Oh well. Don’t be alarmed if you make this meal and it looks like a hot mess, ours was too. The photo above is a miracle.

Baked Cheddar Pesto Egg Boats, I like you. Simple and satisfying breakfast for dinner type of meal. I appreciated the fact that this was an egg dish that didn’t taste like a full blown breakfast. I don’t know why, but sometimes the whole breakfast for dinner concept just isn’t satisfying enough. This was a good one though. The pesto helped to boost the flavor and there was a lot of bread involved πŸ™‚

Let’s end with a winner! Garlic Herb Corn Carbonara, yes please! Yes to all of the pasta, yes to the fresh summer herbs and corn, and yes to bacon. James was hilarious eating this meal too. I didn’t bother to cut up his spaghetti like I probably should have, so he kept grabbing a huge handful (AKA his whole serving) and of course it would all fall into his bib and I would have to retrieve it and put it back on his plate. Dinner is fun with a toddler. But yes, we all enjoyed this meal. I’m not sure how it will heat up as leftovers, it seems like it might dry out over time. Maybe I’ll just add a little olive oil? We’ll definitely be eating this meal again this summer!

Overall, not my favorite week of meals, but a couple of good ones. There is room for improvement with this whole meal planning idea. I’m excited to give it another try and I hope to put together an even simpler (and cheaper) week of meals next time! Let me know if you tried any of these meals and what you thought of them!

Happy Eating πŸ™‚

Our First Meal Plan!

I’m so excited to share my first meal plan with you guys! When I was brainstorming menu ideas for this meal plan I was all over the place searching meals from favorite food blogs of mine. It started to feel overwhelming and unorganized. In an effort to simplify things for all of us, I decided to feature one food blog this week and settled on Half Baked Harvest, written by Tieghan. I just recently discovered this food blog, and it seems very popular these days. She has such a great assortment of recipes and beautiful photos. You can even make an account on her website and save your favorite recipes for future reference. I can’t wait to try this week’s meals with all of you! Below are the logistics followed by printable copies of the meal plan and grocery list.

Theme: Simple Summer Meals from Half Baked Harvest

The Menu: I chose 6 meals from the website Half Baked Harvest as well as an additional “no recipe necessary” meal. It looks like a lot but almost all of the recipes are 30 minutes or less. We usually have at least one buffer meal a week, where we get takeout, eat at a friends house, leftovers, etc. But I wanted to write a full 7 day meal plan so that you can decide which dinners from the meal plan you want to make, and then just cross off the others. Or if you want to give all of them a try, go for it!

The Grocery List: The grocery list is organized by category. Since this is the first meal plan, there is certainly room for improvement in terms of simplifying the grocery list so that it is super easy for all of us to follow. In an effort to make things as effortless as possible, I put in parenthesis the recipe number next to each grocery item listed. If you decide not to make recipe number 6 for example, all you need to do is cross off or delete all of the items with a number 6 next to them.

Disclosure: I’m calling this week a test run. I have not made any of these meals myself, so I really don’t know if they will end up being favorites or not. I chose meals that seemed doable for busy weeknights and weekends, and looked yummy. I tried to include a variety of seasonal meals throughout the week featuring fresh summer produce. I am going to be following this meal plan right alongside of you so let’s hope for the best!

Let me know if you give it a try and we’ll be in touch about our thoughts on the menu design, grocery list, and execution of this meal plan!

Happy Eating πŸ™‚

**I wanted to save these documents as PDF format, but the translation was a mess. I left them as Word documents for now, but if you are having problems with downloading them let me know.

Friday Favorites #2

Happy Friday everyone! Does anyone have any fun plans for the weekend? We don’t have a whole lot on the agenda, just hoping to enjoy some family time and hangout with friends. It’s my dad’s birthday tomorrow, but he and my mom are going camping for the weekend so his birthday party might get combined with Father’s Day next weekend, we’ll see. Below you’ll find a roundup of things I’ve been loving this week, thanks for reading!

Adirondack Vacation

Yep, I’m putting our trip to the ADK’s first on the list because it was definitely a highlight of the week! Although we were very happy to be reunited with James on Sunday, Josiah and I both had a blast spending time with our friends last weekend. For more details, you can read about our trip here and here.

Walks with James

James and I usually go on a morning walk after breakfast. The fresh air combined with a podcast are the perfect combination to start the day. James seems content (most of the time) to kick back and relax in his stroller while taking in the scenes around him. Lately I have been packing him a snack and his water bottle to keep him entertained and his belly happy. I’ve been listening to sermons from Josh Howerton from Lakepointe Church in Texas, his energy and messages are always so up-lifting.

Simple Summer Dinners

When the temperatures rise, I start to lose motivation to turn on the oven and/or stand over a hot stove for any extended period of time. Our dining room also tends to be the hottest room in the apartment, so eating certain meals sounds unappealing to us in the summer months. I’ve been trying to keep things quick and easy lately and opting for meals that sound refreshing. Here are a few of our dinners from the week.

Monday night was breaded parmesan chicken tenders with side salads, corn and sourdough toast with butter. I made chicken and veggie fried rice on Wednesday and am still amazed by how quickly that meal comes together! Last night we had honey lemon garlic salmon with pesto couscous mixed with roasted vegetables. So simple, but also really delicious.

Justin Bieber’s (relatively) New Album “Justice”

Hello! I know that I might be late to the game here but I’ve actually been listening to this album for quite a few weeks now. The songs are just so catchy. It’s 100% pop, but if you’re a fan of that genre and/or Justin Bieber in general and haven’t listened yet, give it a try!

Nana Visits

James and I went over to visit Nana yesterday afternoon. She lives about 10-15 minutes away so it’s an easy trip for us to make! She loves spending time with James and James loves exploring her apartment. His latest discovery is her radio which he has mastered turning on and off. Yesterday he even changed the station to one that he “liked” and immediately started dancing to the song that was playing. When the song ended and the radio hosts started talking, he turned it off. It was probably all one big coincidence but I like to think it was intentional ;).

Question of the day: What have you been loving this week?

Have a great day my friends!

Friday Favorites #1

Hello and happy Friday to you! I hope that you’ve had a lovely week and are looking forward to the long weekend ahead! Weekends don’t look quite the same being married to a pastor, typically Josiah has Friday-Saturday off. I’ll take an early start to the weekend though! The weather looks a little gloomy with 100% chance of rain today. Some indoor fun seems like it will be on the agenda! I’ll be sure to let you know if we do anything particularly exciting.

After a slightly heavy blog post yesterday I wanted to lighten things up around here and share a roundup of my favorite things from the week. This post is inspired by one of my favorite bloggers, Julie at PBFingers, who always shares what she has been loving at the end of every week. Julie is very good about sharing new products, books, etc., but I am going to write this post at a slightly different angle, keep reading to see some of my weekly favorites below!

Favorite Meal: So technically I am going to cheat a little on this one and throw a prediction out that tonight’s dinner of homemade Stromboli is going to take first place for meals of the week. I started making homemade stromboli a few months ago and I am completely obsessed. It is like a loaf of really good italian bread and a gooey cheesy pizza all wrapped up in one. As a major carb and cheese lover, I just can’t resist. I plan to make a pepperoni and salami stromboli along with a peppers, onions and spinach stromboli tonight. YUM!

Favorite Sweet Treat: I’m torn on this one! We’ve had two desserts that have really hit the spot this week. Earlier in the week I was able to run over to Green Hills Farms which is a local grocery store with an amazing bakery to get some of their freshly made donuts. I swear I walk into the bakery section of that store and am immediately overwhelmed by all of the choices every time. It all looks so good! I managed to settle on 5 donut flavors, and on Monday night I cut them all up so that we could “sample” a little bit of everything. I might have gone to bed with a slight stomachache from eating so many donuts. Worth it.

Favorite Sweet Treat #2: The other sweet treat that deserves a highlight this week are the Trader Joe’s Brownie Crisp Coffee Ice Cream Sandwiches that we throughly enjoyed last night while watching TV. I cannot take credit for discovering these gems on my own, one of my favorite bloggers highlighted them in a list of her favorite Trader Joe’s products and her recommendation didn’t disappoint. I am a wimp when it comes to caffeine, so although I enjoyed my first bite or two of the bar, I ultimately resorted to a bowl of vanilla ice cream drizzled with chocolate sauce as my dessert because these bars taste like they might have a full cup of coffee in them. So good though!

Favorite Mom Moment: James is officially walking! It has been so much fun to watch him walk around and explore the world on his feet this week. It is still a learning curve for him, but he impresses me more and more each day with his newfound mobility.

Favorite TV Show: We essentially binge watched a series this week on Netflix called Million Dollar Beach House. It was a really easy show to fly through, the episodes are less than 30 minutes long. I’m not really sure what our expectations for this show were, the name alone sounded appealing to me. It was an interesting show. I’m highlighting it on Friday Favorites because it was the best show we watched this week, but the level of drama in this show is insane. I guess if you’re a fan of The Bachelor level drama, this is the show for you!

Favorite Fashion Find: Now I’m not out at the mall every week buying cute new clothes, I wish. In fact, with having a baby last year in addition to being in quarantine most of the year it has been a hot minute since I’ve bought any new clothes for myself. After going through most of my clothes this week in an effort to organize my messy closet, I discovered that my summer wardrobe is seriously lacking. Aside from some really old cotton T-shirts that I’ve collected over the years, I don’t own much in terms of casual summer clothing. After our swim session at the YMCA this week James was in a pretty good mood so we decided to swing into LLBean quick and I was able to snag two new T-shirts. I consider LLBean to be quite pricy compared to other stores I like to shop at, but I completely stand behind the quality of clothing you get for the price. I have T-shirts from other stores that will ultimately get holes in them from the material being so thin, the LLBean shirts I own on the other hand look and feel just as good today as they did on day one. I’ll consider it a slow but steady start to sprucing up the summer wardrobe!

Question of the Day: What have you been loving this week?

Have a great day my friends!

10 On-the-Go Toddler Snacks

Hey y’all! Happy Tuesday to YOU! I hope you all enjoyed a wonderfully relaxing weekend. Today I’m sharing with you our top 10 toddler snacks that are easy to pack and make our days on the go doable without *too* many meltdowns, because let’s just say that a hungry toddler is a cranky one!

We have been going all in on the weaning process this past week which means that I no longer pack bottles while we’re out and about during the day. James is now only drinking 8oz of milk/formula before his nap and another 8oz before bed. Other than that it’s real food, whole milk, and water for this little guy. Which means, the snack monster is in full force! Let’s take a look at what we’re loving in the snack department these days.

GOLDFISH

Classic? Yes. Toddler approved? Absolutely! I honestly forgot about this childhood snack until this past summer when it seemed like every kid on the playground was carrying around a container or small bag of goldfish. James included. Is it the healthiest snack option? Not necessarily, but I wouldn’t say it’s the worst choice either. I feel like goldfish are just one of those mess free, kid-friendly snacks you can count on time and time again. While the foodie in me always wants to try every flavor of goldfish on the market (and there’s a lot!), I usually try to stick with the classic cheddar flavor for James because I don’t want his taste buds to explode with all of the new and improved flavors out there. We do occasionally get the vanilla cupcake, or flavor blasted though πŸ™‚

APPLESAUCE POUCH

Kids these days. They are being raised in an era of food pouches. Pouches like this didn’t exist when I was a young child, but I remember my sister and I purchasing them in high school because they caught our eye at the grocery store. As a mom, I was a little skeptical of the pouch at first, but I have quickly realized the simplicity and ease of packing and serving James an applesauce pouch while we’re on the go. The thought of bringing a container of applesauce and a spoon sounds like a lot of work, not to mention a mess. Whereas with a pouch, James can happily sit in his stroller or run around on the playground while enjoying his applesauce. We’ve tried other flavors of pouches as well, there are so many on the market! The target brand has some unique flavor combinations and are some of the most affordable ones I’ve found, but they are hit or miss with James. Applesauce on the other hand is always a win!

CRACKERS AND PEANUT BUTTER

I like to make homemade crackers and peanut butter for a few reasons. First, it only takes less than a minute to smear some peanut butter on a cracker and sandwich it together with another cracker on top. By making the PB crackers homemade I get to control how many I pack rather than the standard 6 sandwiches that come in the packages. I know that James is only going to eat one or two at the most, so it saves me the stress of letting the others go stale. And I get to control how much peanut butter is in the middle, and it tastes so much creamier than the store bought versions. Don’t get me wrong, I still love a good package of pre-made crackers and peanut butter but why spend the money when you’ve got a sleeve of Ritz on hand and a jar of peanut butter in the pantry?

FRUIT STRIPS

A childhood favorite in my family, and now one of James’s as well. Nutritionally speaking, they’ve got a little bit of added sugar but I’m definitely not in the parenting category of limiting all sugar from James’s diet. And if his sugar intake is in the form of fruit strips, it can’t be all that bad…right? His dentist might disagree… But here we are, and they are an easy to pack, mess free snack that is always received with a smile.

BANANA

A whole food makes the list! While this list is primarily packaged snacks, because #convenience, I consider the peel on a banana to be packaging more or less. It’s the easiest whole fruit to pack on the go for a toddler. Sometimes I’ll fill James’s snack container with blueberries or other cut up fruit, but when I’m looking for something to throw in the diaper bag in a flash, a banana it is! We’re almost to the point where he can eat apples, but as of now they get chewed up and spit out. Not exactly a mess I want to clean up all the time.

GRAHAM CRACKERS

Animal crackers could share this spot too because I consider the two to be interchangeable. Simple, not too sweet, and usually not too messy. The crumbs though… that reminds me, I need to bring our vacuum out to the car to suck up the crumb collection James has building up in his car seat. Yikes!

VEGGIE STRAWS

I thought for sure this snack would be too crunchy for a toddler with only 9 teeth in his mouth, but James loves these things! He seems to eat them with little to no difficulty. They must break down easily even without a solid set of teeth.

CHEESE STICK

A snack that won’t last long unless it’s in a cooler but if you know you’re going to be eating it soon, why not throw it in the diaper bag. Cheese sticks take up almost no space, and offer a boost of protein amongst the carb and fruit filled snack options on this list. To my dismay James is not a cheese stick lover, but as I have heard from parents before, don’t give up. Offering the same foods over and over may just be the key to convincing your picky eater to give them a try, and maybe even enjoy it?!

SNACK BARS

Did anyone else grow up in the Nutrigrain bar era? Is that still going because I fell off the train. Either way, these bars are perfectly toddler sized and look like mini Nutrigrain bars. The sugar content makes me cringe slightly, but it’s hard to find kid-approved snacks that don’t have a little bit of added sugar. A spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down, right? Haha.

TEENSY SNACKS

My mom was the one that first introduced James to these teeny tiny, flat fruit snacks designed specifically for babies. We were on vacation in South Carolina this summer and I put “baby snacks” on the grocery list, and one of the items she brought home were these. James immediately approved! Ok, so the real inside scoop on these fruit snacks, use them to your advantage. I quickly realized that these things are basically the equivalent of dog treats. When you want your child to behave, fruit snacks are the secret. When we were on the plane ride home from South Carolina and James was all kinds of fussy, I slowly handed him one flat fruit snack at a time, and he looked at me begging for more. It offered us a brief moment of peace on the plane as he was happily memorized, chewing down these tiny treats.

There’s the complete toddler list, now I just need to put together a list of grown-up snack options. I’ve been in a bit of a snack rut lately and I’d love to get out of it!

Question of the Day: What are you or your kids snacking on lately?

Fall Friday Coffee Date

Happy Fri-YAY everyone, anyone getting fries to celebrate?! Haha, kidding. But I know someone that wouldn’t turn down a french fry at the sound or smell of one…James. But I titled this a coffee date, so I’m thinking I need to switch gears here. Join me with a cup of coffee, tea, or hot chocolate (tis’ the season) and let’s chat! How has the week been for you? A good one I hope!

A picture of the most delicious veggie and cheese omelet I got for breakfast the other day at a diner, because I always drink my hot chocolate too fast to take a picture πŸ˜‰

Josiah was off this past week, and while we didn’t travel anywhere it has been a very pleasant staycation for our family. I can’t downplay it too much because we did splurge at the beginning of the week with a most wonderful spa day(!!). It was a much appreciated and enjoyed day of relaxation and pampering. In addition to our signature massages, we enjoyed our time soaking in the hot tub, napping in the peaceful relaxation room, dipping our feet in the warm foot pool, eating a delicious lunch outside looking out at a fairytale pond and gardens, and concluding with luxurious showers and all of the beautifully scented spa products. Ahhh, to live in that kind of paradise forever…we can only dream.

After our day at the spa on Monday, it was back to reality the rest of the week! Cue all of the toddler entertainment and drama. We’ve been trying to keep things as fun and relaxing as possible though in true vacation spirit. I feel like we’ve been eating out more, mostly takeout, but any break from cooking is a vacation for me! And I’ve been letting my usual chores slide a bit in favor of relaxing during James’s naps. Although I got quite a bit of cleaning and laundry done yesterday and despite dragging my feet with all of it, clean sheets and a (mostly) clean apartment does make it feel worthwhile.

Field trip to the mall!

I’m thinking this weekend we’ve got to dive head first into some kind of fall activity. I can’t take it any longer, I need to fully embrace this season and the idea of going to a pumpkin patch, corn maze, or apple fest, all sound amazing! Especially if there is some kind of treat involved, like a warm apple fritter…mmmm πŸ˜‰ I guess I’m feeling especially excited too because I think James will enjoy any kind of fall venue this year and I love experiencing things that are new to him through his eyes. It’s one of my favorite parts about parenting.

James’s first ride on the carousel

Let’s talk about YOU! Any fun and festive weekend plans on the agenda? Are you team apple or pumpkin this time of year? Tough decisions! Another burning question I’ve got for you is, apple cider donut or apple fritter? I don’t even know if I could decide!

Have a great weekend folks! We’ll talk soon πŸ™‚

A Chili Bar and Other Food Highlights from the Week

Hello! I am back with another roundup of what we’ve been eating in September. I shared a highlight of our eats earlier in the month, and then took a week or two off. Here we are nearing the end of the month already, yikes! Let’s dig into some favorite fall meals.

What better way to kick off this chillier season than with a chili bar?! Featuring maple turkey chili and homemade cornbread, yum all around.

And a look at the bowl of chili after it took a trip through the toppings station. Never. Enough. Toppings. Who’s with me? Also I’ve declared Fritos > tortilla chips when it comes to a bowl of chili.

Oh you know we’re rolling with it now. Hello, chili dogs! Why did I just find out about this amazing way to eat leftover chili only a year ago?! Super delicious way to spice up leftovers and basically create a whole new meal. Also, this maple turkey chili is my favorite for topping chili dogs, it’s got a hint of sweetness from the maple which I find to be the perfect compliment to the salty hot dog underneath.

Ok we’re finally moving on from chili to BREAKFAST. My favorite meal of the day! I just found out that my husband has been holding out on me and happens to be a professional omelet chef. He’s actually good at making eggs of all kinds, but can we just look at that perfectly folded omelet with perfectly thin layers of egg and melty cheese…way beyond my egg making skills.

This is basically the lighting we’re working with at breakfast these days…ugh to dark mornings. I promise these fluffy whole wheat zucchini bread pancakes topped with greek yogurt and banana slices tasted way better than they look. I also made a variation of this breakfast with strawberry slices and declared it to be dessert worthy, somehow the greek yogurt turned into whipped cream, it tasted like it at least!

And we’re back to dinner. Looks healthy doesn’t it? It tasted great at least! Walking tacos inspired by our friends Kevin and Marie when they made us a walking taco bar for lunch while camping. Great camping food, but also a great weeknight meal! Very little mess, barely any dishes. Just your favorite taco toppings piled into a bag of crushed up chips. Sign me up!

This meal looks beautifully basic. And it is. But James and Josiah really like it, it comes together in one pot, and there are some hidden veggies. An all around win in my book. For those interested, it’s this spinach mushroom beef pasta.

It looks like our lighting at night is getting tricky these days too. What’s a blogger to do?! Another easy weeknight meal of buffalo chicken sandwiches and roasted broccoli. I just marinated thinly sliced chicken breasts in a spiedie marinade, baked them in the oven, coated the baked chicken in buffalo wing sauce and served it on top of toasted buns with blue cheese dressing, lettuce, and tomato.

Not the best photo, but an amazing milkshake that I shared with Josiah while we were out celebrating our friend Lauren’s birthday the other night. Josiah declared it to be the best milkshake he’s ever had! I put in a special request for whipped cream and a cherry on top, no regrets.

Last but not least, you’ve seen it but it’s worth another feature. Homemade apple crisp. I totally forgot to link the recipe in Monday’s post, so here it is! I thought it was a very easy recipe to make, and a very delicious apple crisp to be eaten. We served it warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. Only the best πŸ™‚

Alright y’all, that’s all I’ve got to share today. I need to get back in the swing of food photography. I’ve been in a bit of a cooking rut lately, and our meals haven’t been all that impressive. Simple meals might be fun to share too though.

I hope that you have a great Thursday friends. Happy Eating!

End of Summer Food Highlights

Happy Thursday folks! Welcome to another food highlight post. We had a few dinners with friends and family this week that I forgot to capture, and it seems like I’m a little on food photos this week in general. Oh well. I’ll share what I’ve got, and as always feel free to join in in the comments sections with what you’re eating this week!

We were in the mood for pizza again last Thursday since it was so good the week before. This time we got the hot honey pepperoni, and an italian sausage pizza. Wood fired thin crust pizzas are my new favorite! I’ll never be able to replicate these at home, I can’t get the dough super thin without breaking it.

Who doesn’t love a classic breakfast of toaster waffles smothered in butter, maple syrup and fresh berries. This was Josiah’s breakfast the other day, while I ate leftover pancakes (what’s new).

Another way we’re loving fresh berries this week is on top of salads. This salad was a base of local mixed greens, berries, goat cheese, avocado and honey roasted almonds drizzled with balsamic dressing. Yum!

Kind of looks like a hot mess, but I made this jalepeno black pepper basil chicken stir fry the other night and subbed cilantro for the basil. I served it on top of our favorite coconut rice. It was good, but once again a reminder that I’m not the biggest fan of stir-fry’s. Hot sauce to the rescue!

Y’all know I can put down a bowl of pasta any day of the week though. And this burst tomato pasta hit the spot. It was literally bursting with summer flavors. An equally light yet satisfying bowl of pasta. I can’t wait to dig into the leftovers later today!

While we’re on a roll with dinners this week, here’s a look at the buffalo cauliflower tacos we enjoyed on Monday night. Taco Monday anyone? Haha. I usually make buffalo cauliflower lettuce wraps but since we had corn tortillas to use up, we opted for the traditional taco route. Topped with shredded lettuce, diced tomato, blue cheese dressing, shredded cheese, and avocado. We’ll call it meatless Monday, how about that?

You might remember this wrap from yesterday’s post, but I’ll give you the full scoop. I’ve totally copied this combo at home, but needed something convenient yesterday after our busy morning. It’s mixed greens, roasted sweet potato, quinoa, gorgonzola, dried cranberries and toasted almonds all tossed in balsamic dressing and wrapped up. This one might have to go on the lunch menu soon. Once you’ve got your roasted sweet potato cubes and quinoa cooked, this wrap comes together in no time.

I’ve been loving the convenience of baked oatmeal this week. Particularly in the form of this salted brown butter banana zucchini baked oatmeal. I’ve been topping it with either cashew butter or peanut butter and berries because I find that any baked oatmeal recipe is best enjoyed with toppings.

Let’s get to the treats already. If you’re anything like me, this is what you came to see-haha! Like these homemade soft pretzels both salty and sweet, a whole lot of doughy goodness right there.

Last but not least, petit chocolate salted caramel thumbprints that my friend Sam made for our get together the other day. I’m sure I got the name wrong, but these bad boys totally stole the show. SOOO SO good. I’ve mentioned Sam’s amazing cookies before on the blog and she swears by The Cookie Book by Rebecca Firth. It’s going on my Christmas list!

I hope you have a great Thursday, friends! Happy eating πŸ™‚