Life Without An Oven + Food Highlights

Hey guys! How’s it going? We have been dealing with oven issues this week among other things…ugh! It was just the broiler that wasn’t working but when maintenance came last Friday and realized they would have to order a new part, it turned into the whole oven not working, fortunately the stove top was. On Monday maintenance came with the new part, but it wasn’t fixing the problem and we were left with no oven or stove top! And that’s where we’ve been the rest of the week. In the long run, I know a few days without an oven or stove isn’t a big deal, but it’s been a rough week over here aside from that, and it’s just another thing adding to the stress. On a more positive note, we’ve still enjoyed some delicious meals over here despite our kitchen dilemma, and I will never take for granted a working oven in the future!

Do mine and Josiah’s plates even look like the same meal?? I was experimenting with different plating techniques, which one do you like better? I combined three different recipes to create this dish which sounds super complicated but it really wasn’t. Thank you Ambitious Kitchen for providing the recipes to create this super delicious meal. It was coconut rice (oh my gosh amazing), topped with chili maple lime salmon, and mango salsa. The perfect summer meal!

Blueberries fresh from the field! The best kind of blueberries of course ;). I haven’t made anything fancy with these blueberries yet, hence our oven malfunction, but I did make blueberry almond flour pancakes one morning and those are always a hit with me and James.

I made this rotisserie chicken salad on Thursday night and we liked it but didn’t love it. I think this is a really good salad, the truth is I am just in a salad rut lately. No salad sounds good to me. I might have overdone it with salads the past couple of weeks, and now it’s time for a salad break. Does anyone else relate to this? I feel like I become obsessed with certain meals and I eat them over and over but then there comes a day when I’m just over it.

Buffalo chicken wing dip, now that’s a meal I’ll never get sick of! Just kidding, I probably would if I ate too much of it, but an occasional batch is always happily devoured!

Vegan egg roll in a bowl served over ramen. I made our version with chickpeas because I wasn’t sure how our family would do with the tofu version. I’m not a huge fan of Asian cuisine, but I don’t mind eating a meal like this once in a while. Italian food on the other hand, all day every day!

Saturday morning donuts! I want these back in my life ASAP. I can’t handle looking at the picture.

Sunday was rainy and cold which meant a mid-summer grilled cheese and tomato soup kind of night. My go-to comfort meal when the weather is gross.

French toast with strawberries and cinnamon whipped cream because it was our two year wedding anniversary and I love any excuse to celebrate with an extra special breakfast <3.

Can’t resist an ice cream sundae…especially one that is super reasonably priced. Thank you Dad’s Ice Cream for this mouthwatering (and affordable) treat!

And that’s pretty much all I’ve got for this week’s food highlights. Between not having an oven and also forgetting to take food pictures, it feels like I don’t have a whole lot to share. Oh well. We’ll see what next week brings!

I hope that the week is going well for you! We’ll talk soon πŸ™‚

A Fall-Like Summer Weekend

Happy Monday to YOU! How did the weekend treat ya? I hope you were able to enjoy a couple of days of fun and relaxation. It almost felt like *gasp* fall around here this weekend and I’m still not sure how I feel about it . Hopefully it was just a fluke, and our regularly scheduled summer weather will be back in full swing this week. We’re not maxed out on summer fun just yet!

We had an enjoyable weekend in our neck of the woods. Friday is usually the start of the weekend for us since Josiah has to work Sunday’s, and I can’t say I hate the early start to the weekend.

  • FRIDAY

We kicked off our Friday morning with a hike around Green Lakes State Park followed by play time on the beach and playground for James. While he tolerated the loop around the lakes in the hiking backpack, his favorite part of the outing was by far the 4 girls and their dog that found a fondness with James on the playground. They were helping him down the slide, letting him pet their dog, playing with wood chips, etc. Josiah and I weren’t about to complain about a little impromptu babysitting while we got to sit back to enjoy some peaceful lake views.

Once we arrived home, lunch was in order asap thanks to our rumbling tummies. Fortunately I had prepped a dish of buffalo chicken dip that just needed to be heated in the oven, along with some leftover pizza and veggies. A lunch that includes both buffalo dip and pizza is not one to be neglected around here. We dug right in as soon as our food was out of the oven!

James was more than ready for a nap after lunch, and I was quite wiped myself. While James napped we had a few visitors in the form of apartment maintenance who stopped by to take a look at our semi-broken oven. After a lot of screw driver madness, it was determined that they would need to order a new part for our oven. Womp womp. Household repairs are never fun. Once they had cleared out of the kitchen, I tried to make the most of James’s nap and prepped our dinner for the evening which was a vegan egg roll in a bowl that we served over ramen. I made the entire egg roll part of the dish and stored it in containers in the fridge. When it was time to eat, dinner came together in a flash. After cooking a few packages of ramen and reheating the stir-fry, dinner was done and plated in no time! Cleanup was a breeze as well. I often drag my feet to do dinner prep during James’s nap (because I usually want to collapse myself), but the payoff is always worth it.

James woke up from his nap in a not-so-great mood, which meant it was time to hit the road for a little treat. What did we have in mind to cheer James up? Ice cream! It works like a charm to put a smile on my face so why not test it out on our son? Sure enough, James was a happy camper once he had a big cone of ice cream in his hand…and all over his entire body. And while he was riding a sugar high, we decided to burn some energy at Josiah’s elementary school playground. I’m having so much fun exploring new playgrounds this summer, especially as a family.

Josiah was invited to a boys night on Friday, and I took advantage of the quiet evening by catching up on the latest episode of The Bachelorette. It was Men Tell All which was my least favorite episode of the season, but the first 20 minutes really grabbed my attention (and heart) with a very unexpected and heartbreaking departure of one of my favorite contestants on the show this season. So sad. For those watching this season, what did you think of it so far?

  • SATURDAY

I was hoping we would have a nice slow start to our Saturday, but no such luck. I know there are parents waking up even earlier than us, but a 6:30am start to the day was a liiiitle too early for mama. I quickly made a batch of coffee to get the day going on a more energetic note. The fridge was looking a little bare and I was feeling uninspired, so it was a kodiak cake kind of morning for me and James! I absolutely cannot get Josiah on the pancake bandwagon, but two of us were there for it!

When the weather feels like fall how can you resist a morning drive for some donuts. A solo morning drive to boot! Josiah stayed back with James while I made a family donut run. After dropping off a box of donuts to my in-laws, I brought our box inside and we devoured it in 2.5 seconds. I wish! I’m actually kidding. I have this thing with donuts lately where I prefer to eat them for dessert rather than during the day. There’s a part of me that doesn’t like to eat super sweet things during the day and another part of me that likes to have something extra special to look forward to at the end of the day…like donuts. If you’ve never had a donut for dessert, give it a try!

I reached out to a friend about going for a walk Saturday morning and she was free! We enjoyed another walk at Green Lakes along with great conversation, and James getting dried mango slices stuck everywhere…James was highly amused by the bike rack at the park and after lots of time spent in this exact location, we hit the road in need of lunch and a nap.

I spent James’s nap time working on a few blog posts, and before long James was up and ready for action. It was a beautiful afternoon so we decided to walk down the road to Grandma’s house to visit her and Uncle John. James’s afternoon slump was quickly brightened by seeing two of his favorite family members. After a quick walk home we met up with my parents at our apartment before setting them up with James for the evening. He was more than thrilled to see Grammy, Pappy and Charlotte and literally ran as fast as he could to greet Pappy at the door. I just love his love for all of his grandparents <3.

my best attempt at a family selfie…

Our date night took an unexpected turn when our first takeout option had just closed when we pulled into the parking lot. We ended up getting our favorite greek salads and then met up with friends for a round of mini-golf. Our evening concluded with (too many) donuts, and the finale of season one of Manifest. What an ending!

  • SUNDAY

Sunday morning started bright and early as it usually does around here. Josiah went to the church and James and I did our usual morning routine of breakfast, play, chores, and a quick neighborhood walk before we went to church ourselves.

The rest of Sunday was rainy and cold which called for a relaxing afternoon at home, and a warm and comforting bowl of tomato soup with grilled cheese for dinner. Who doesn’t love a lazy Sunday? Although with a 1 year old in the picture, when is life ever relaxing? Haha.

Alrighty folks I’m off to get this Monday started! I hope you all have a great one πŸ™‚

Food Highlights (and Disasters) from the Week

Hello everyone! How’s the week going for you? It’s been a busy one over here, and I’m trying to figure out if I like having a busy schedule or if I prefer things to slow down a bit. I think it’s a matter of embracing summer. The pace will change in the fall and I will be back to craving the nonstop summer activities, might as well enjoy it!

In terms of parenting, James seems to be in a much better mood when our days are filled with lots of running around. I’m guessing he’s an extravert, but it’s probably too early to tell. Either way, I appreciate a happy baby so we’ve been on the move. That means less time for cooking and food photography which is why I titled my post highlights AND disasters. I’m not too impressed with the overall look of this past week’s eats. I’ve also been super lazy about meal planning and grocery shopping, just trying to ease up on myself and let this be a season of less structure and more spontaneity.

Without further ado let’s take a look at our eats from the week!

I didn’t realize that burgers don’t photograph well until looking at this photo. I so wish we had a grill, because nothing beats a grilled burger in the summer, and a burger on the stovetop just isn’t as juicy.

Date night BBQ at Limp Lizard! YUM. Thursday night has become date night and I look forward to it every week! It’s so nice to spend quality time with my husband every week, and it makes the craziness all of the other days more tolerable.

We can’t go a week without some kind of pancake. Especially when there are spotted bananas to use up. I always use overripe bananas to make these blender banana oat pancakes, they are just too easy (and delicious)!

A Caprese panini gone sideways. Hello Trader Joe’s focaccia, thank you for taking this panini to the next level.

Yup. This was breakfast for James one morning. And it was even easier than it looks because the peanut butter graham cracker sandwiches were leftover from Josiah’s lunch the day before.

I can’t with this donut disaster the other night. Glazed and Confused, your donuts tasted as bad as they looked in this photo. I’m sorry, but EVERY other donut I’ve eaten blows these ones out of the park. For being a specialty donut shop, I’m disappointed. Great job on your social media, but the donut recipes need work.

This salad had EVERYTHING in it! In fact, it was impossible to capture a photo with all of the toppings because they just kept getting buried. I love endless toppings on a salad especially when the combination actually tastes good too!

Who doesn’t want to dive in to a big plate of nachos?! Sign me up! I always overeat on meals like this, it’s just too hard not to!

Question of the Day: What are your favorite summer meals and/or snacks?

Have a great Thursday! Talk to you soon πŸ™‚

Food Highlights from the Week: July 2021

Hey hey hey! How’s it going? Coming at you late again this afternoon with some food highlights from the week. I say that blogging is my creative outlet, but I find so much pleasure in creating beautiful meals. I’ll link as many recipes as I can so that you can join in on the cooking fun!

My favorite lunch of all times. Especially when these charcuterie spreads include donuts, I mean…

James couldn’t resist the donuts either.

Gotta love a mix-and-match sandwich combo. I’m all about trying a little bit of everything. If anyone wants to share multiple dishes with me, yes please. For lunch on this particular day we did half tuna salad and half turkey, salami, ham and cheese. You never get bored this way!

Trader Joe’s can you just stop being so good! Seriously, this is the best cereal EVER! Especially if you’re a cereal snacker, I usually just eat this cereal by the handful without milk and it’s perfect. Reasonably healthy too!

Honey-lime chicken enchiladas with black bean and corn salad. These required little effort. I put the chicken breasts in the crockpot, covered them in the marinade, cooked on high for 2 hours, shredded the chicken, mixed in the cheese and filled the tortillas. For the green enchilada sauce on top, I bought a jar from Wegmans because I was feeling lazy. I loosely followed this recipe for the black bean salad, added cilantro and quartered cherry tomatoes, and it came together in a breeze. All about quick and easy this summer!

Finally a breakfast that isn’t a pancake! So refreshing to eat something different. Major love for cinnamon raisin toast over here, so glad to have it on this week’s breakfast rotation.

This meal was perfectly simple yet incredibly satisfying meal. It was a honey lemon garlic salmon, and I mixed some of the extra marinade in to the couscous before serving alongside roasted broccoli and this roasted tomato and parmesan focaccia from Trader Joes’s. You’re killing me TJ’s. When am I going to work there? When will I be sponsored? Ha!

Thanks Ambitious Kitchen for a healthy treat to indulge in this week! These homemade peanut butter twix bars turned out great! I made them last Saturday, and they’re still good thanks to fridge storage. Don’t mind the chocolate on my hands in the picture!

I hope everyone is wrapping up their week on a good note! TGIF tomorrow!

Talk to you soon πŸ™‚

An Embarrassing Frisbee Golf Experience and Other Weekend Happenings

Hey everyone! I hope you all had a wonderful summer weekend! It feels like there is always so much to do in the summer, it makes me wonder what we all do during those cold winter months to stay busy…

Saturday

Our Saturday morning kicked off with a quick breakfast followed by a little road trip. Not much of a road trip really, but it was a solid 30 minute drive which is pretty far for us these days. We wanted to check out a disc golf course that we had never been to and I thought it would be totally doable to have James tag along with us. When we pulled into the parking lot early Saturday morning there were already a number of cars there, and we immediately got the impression that this was not necessarily a family friendly disc golf experience.

Everyone seemed to be dressed professionally while sporting official golf carts loaded with more discs than I could even count and ALL of the disc golf accessories. Meanwhile our crew showed up unpacking the baby stroller, grabbing my bright yellow recreation frisbee, all while trying to get James’s sneakers on as we fed him a bottle. A hot mess of a family about to do a walk of shame across the parking lot, passing by all of these “real deal” players as we tried to locate the first hole.

We gave it our best shot on the course, no pun intended πŸ˜‰ James spent some time in the stroller until he got restless, then he lagged behind us getting distracted by every leaf along the way. The course was long and we felt the pressure to move quickly because the pro’s were on our tail. At one point we saw a playground on the horizon. I didn’t think much of it, but Josiah quickly abandoned his motivation to continue golfing, and James seemed like he could use some toddler fun, so we made our way to the playground. Sure enough, James had a blast!

After completing 3.5 out of 18 holes with a baby, we concluded our experience by saying, “never again will we bring James disc golfing”. At least we got to explore a cool playground instead! Not to mention a stop at a local bakery on the way home. Yes please to a donut and a box full of other delicious treats!

After James took a quick nap on the car ride home, we all ate leftovers for lunch, followed by a walk to the library. James and I still hadn’t been to the library near us, so I was excited to check it out. Unfortunately all of the children’s toys and games were packed up for Covid reasons so the children’s room looked a little bare, but James still enjoyed exploring the new space and quickly found some stairs to climb. We walked out with a library card too!

The rest of our Saturday included a nap for James and play time at home, followed by pepperoni pizza chicken from the meal plan that I posted last week. I will be sure to share a full recap of the meal plan after we’ve tried all of the meals. This one was a bit messy and I’m shocked that I was able to get a decent photo of it. Tasted great though!

Sunday

On Sunday we had plans to do an even longer road trip to meet up with friends at Lake Ontario. Josiah’s mom kindly offered to take James, so he got to spend the afternoon with his grandma and cousin Maya. It was HOT on Sunday, so a lake day sounded perfect! The water was intimidatingly cold at first, but once you were in it was very refreshing. Josiah insisted on dragging a giant tree branch into the water and it quickly became our lake entertainment as we all attempted to stand and sit on the branch all while having lots of fun splashing in the lake.

After a few hours of water excitement, we made our way over to Rudy’s Lakeside Drive-In for some Fish n’ Chips. We lucked out with a table right along the water in the shade and enjoyed our fish sandwiches while chatting away. An ice cream shop was conveniently right next door and our group had no hesitation concluding our time together with some ice cream!

A weekend that includes donuts, ice cream, family time, friends, and swimming is a good one in my books! I hope you all had a fun weekend as well! Talk to you soon!