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™‚

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™‚

Toddler Meals: 14 Months Old

Hey Y’all! I’ve got a whole lot of food photos on my phone, specifically James’s meals so I figured I would share another roundup of what James has been eating as he continues to transition to real food. I shared a recap of his 12 month meals a while back, if you’re interested. Lord help us with this kid, it feels like a VERY slow transition and he is just now learning how to swallow food rather than chewing and spitting it out. Kind of gross, but that is what eating has looked like for him since we first introduced solids at the age of 6 months. There’s still plenty of food that gets thrown out and/or spit out, but we are making progress.

I’ve found myself trying to get more up to date on what’s safe for James to eat, more in terms of how foods are prepared rather than the type of food. When you first introduce foods to babies you start with very large pieces and it gradually gets smaller as they get older. So you give a tiny baby a big piece of food and a big baby a tiny piece of food, now that’s a mind twister. Ha! My go-to website is Solid Starts, and I’ve learned many things that I didn’t know before about teaching babies how to eat. It’s one of those skills that we all learned so long ago we don’t even remember learning it. But wow, it is a LEARNED skill for sure.

Before I ramble too long, here’s a look at what James has been eating…

Breakfast:

Banana oatmeal pancakes with cashew butter, peaches, yogurt, and cheerios.

Greek yogurt pancakes with almond butter, cheerios, and strawberries.

Blueberry bagel, scrambled eggs, and watermelon.

French toast, banana slices, and yogurt.

Almond flour blueberry pancakes, strawberry yogurt, and more blueberries!

Lunch:

Buttermilk waffles with peanut butter, tangerine slices, and roasted broccoli.

Cinnamon raisin bagel, cherries, and a veggie salad.

Tuna salad on crackers, celery, strawberries, and roasted sweet potato.

Peanut butter sandwich, shredded mozzarella, and yellow bell pepper slices.

Pesto couscous with roasted vegetables and salmon, orange slices, and puffs.

Dinner:

Veggie marinara pasta, watermelon, and salad.

Roasted asparagus, strawberries, and cashew butter toast.

Roasted cauliflower with marinara, vegetable baked gnocchi, and cantaloupe.

Peanut butter toast, turkey, corn, and peppers.

Beef spinach pasta, orange slices, and mixed veggies.

There you have it, a glimpse into our little guy’s eats. I try to take photos of most of his meals, and these are truly the highlights. I really need to get some “after” photos too, because these “pretty plates” lasts merely seconds before succumbing to James’s hands and face. It is a test at every meal, challenging my need for cleanliness. Also, praise the parents who’s kids eat exactly what they are eating. I would love for James to get to that point, but I’m not holding my breath. It’s a constant learning curve over here and there are lots of meals that are thrown together. If you’ve got little ones at home, be sure to give yourself grace, parenting ain’t easy.

Have a lovely day everyone πŸ™‚

Food and Fun Highlights from the Week

Let’s take a look at some of the brighter moments from the week. A reminder that no matter what we’re going through, there’s always something to be thankful for. I say that now as I sit in a relatively good head space, but trust me I do not always believe what I preach.

Last weekend kicked off with a trip to a local park. Josiah gets all of the credit for making this adventure even more fun by making our way down to the creek to splash around.

The water was freezing, but it was a HOT day! James loved his first time in the creek and didn’t want to leave when it was time to go home for a nap.

My parents had us over on Saturday night for dinner and an early Father’s Day Celebration. My mom made us a delicious BBQ dinner and sent us home with the BEST strawberry shortcake featuring fresh strawberries from her garden. YUM! My father-in-law requested honey butter rolls for Father’s Day, so I prepped those on Saturday night.

Happy Father’s Day Josiah! James spoiled him this year with the highlight gift being a disc golf bag and towel. Side Note: all of his gift bags say Happy Birthday, Ha!

I woke up early one morning this week and decided to surprise my sleeping boys with some blueberry muffins. Not that either one of them are big muffin fans. My main motivation for making them were the two containers of blueberries I happened to buy on sale the other day and needed to use before they went bad.

Cheesy Mushroom Spinach Beef Pasta from Ambitious Kitchen. James has had this meal before and loved it, but it wasn’t looking promising when I put his plate in front of him the other night. Luckily after a few skeptical bites, he ended up devouring his plate and ate two more servings of it! Josiah and I are also big fans of the meal. A family meal win!

My mom and I made the same meal last night for dinner… as you can tell, they look nothing alike. The only thing I changed about the recipe was subbing salmon for the shrimp, apparently that changed the whole appearance? Also, my mom’s photo on the right, I mean professional photographer?!

Oh hey James!

That’s a wrap on our week so far. Lots of food, as usual. Still working on taking pictures of other life happenings. It is crazy how easy it is to paint a picture of a perfect life through the lens of a camera and a few words written below each photo. Behind the scenes of this post, we are going through a lot right now. Some days it’s easier to see the blessings than others. This week has felt heavy, but amidst all of that I hope that these photos are as much a reminder to you as they are to me of God’s goodness in this life.

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

Food Highlights from the Weekend

Hey everyone! How was your weekend? I’ll share a few highlights from ours below, but as I edit this post I’m realizing that I didn’t take any photos of the activities we did just the food we ate. I am a work in progress here in the blogging field. But if your interested in some food highlights keep on reading! I linked all of the recipes too in case you’d like to give them a try!

Pancakes topped with Greek yogurt and peaches for James and I to kick off the weekend! We live by the rule, a pancake a day keeps the doctor away.

Naan pizzas for lunch! One was a simple cheese and pepperoni while the other was a roasted buffalo cauliflower. I was originally going to make my own flatbread, but store bought naan came to the rescue instead!

Pizza paired with a side salad of course because #balance. If you’re looking for an italian dressing that tastes homemade but comes together in 2 minutes or less, we love the Good Seasons Italian Dressing mix.

Sally’s chocolate chip cookies to bring over to a neighbor, Josiah’s family, and of course ourselves πŸ™‚

James enjoying a banana muffin as an afternoon snack. When he wakes up from a nap cranky, there’s nothing like a muffin to turn his mood around.

Hello Trader Joe’s mini cone, don’t you look familiar! Seriously guys 10/10.

Moroccan-spiced turkey burgers with lettuce, tomato, avocado and creamy feta sauce. I like to get experimental with burgers, usually in the summer. Turkey burgers tend to be tricky because they dry out easily. I liked the flavor of this burger, but the texture was a little off. I might have overcooked it?

The easiest sheet pan gnocchi with italian bread olive oil, balsamic, and herbs. This is my go-to dinner recipe when I want to make something homemade but also don’t want to put any effort into cooking. 5 minutes of prep and into the oven it goes!

Question of the day: What is your favorite meal or sweet treat from the weekend?

I hope everyone has a great start to the week! We’ll talk soon πŸ™‚