Christmas Recap!

Christmas was so good this year!

Christmas eve we always spend at Joe’s Grandma’s house.  We have a nice dinner with aunts, uncles, cousins, etc.  The kids love going there!

 

 

Christmas morning Santa has come and all of the presents are stacked under the tree.

I just love our tree- the colored lights remind me so much of when I was a kid, it’s so fun to see all of my kids artwork too.

After we exchanged just us 4 Christmas morning, my family came over to enjoy some food and gifts.  We had quite the spread!

Smoked bacon wrapped scallops & shrimp—hubby does them so good!

Standard Cranberry muffins from the box, paying tribute to my grams.

My friend Amie recommended this simple (and amazing) appetizer!  It was Tieghan Gerard’s 3 Ingredient Blue Cheese Bites.  Even my sis who hates blue cheese said they were good! *warning, you’ll want to eat the entire thing yourself.

My step mom brought this delightful fruit, cream cheese & croissant bake! It was the perfect mix of sweet and decadent.

These were the biggest hit with –including the kids!! It calls for a bourbon but I just used maple syrup…  Maple Sausage Crescent Rolls

One of the coolest (thoughtful) gifts was from my sister Bri!  She saw me tag Joe on Facebook about this bubbly.  She totally got it for us!  We are hoping to sip it during the Super Bowl Win! #goniners

My sister and I.

I won a pair of these fun jammies from my girl Katie at Thrifty Cactus, aren’t they adorable?!

Last minute decision to spoil the stinky big dog Bailey…

The aftermath…

Little man and mama played some Nintendo in the basement.

It always goes by so quick, but I do enjoy the memories!

Meal Plan MONDAY

Happy Monday!

I am ready to eat super clean and focus these next few weeks on our health, as Christmas is fast approaching! We had our cookie party (blog to come!) and it was a grand success.  That said, I think everyone has a cookie/sugar hangover and this mama needs to up the fuits and veggies, lean proteins and push the water.

I also want to grab some more probiotics for the kiddos and some of this I do try to take a balanced approach, with mostly healthy food choices, but it isn’t easy.  My body does best with per meal- 70% greens/veggies, 20% lean protein & 10% complex carbs.  My *self control* has been a little, ok a lot off and my portions are out of whack. My husband however, can barely handle most fruits and veggies, so he needs a low fiber diet due to his Crohn’s.  My daughter will eat most things, and I have a fairly pick 4 year old who has been known to dramatically gag at the table.

This week I’m trying to use up some freezer items while still keeping it fairly healthy.  For things like the Cod, I plan on eating mine without the delish cracker crumbs and the shrimp scampi I will serve over cauli rice or zoodles!  I plan filling up on lots of veggies this week!

Garam Masala Chicken Curry 

Baked Cod w/ Ritz Cracker Topping

Easy Shrimp Scampi

Whole Chicken in a slow cooker (literally buy a whole organic chicken, sprinkle seasoning on top, add onion or garlic, cook on low for 6-8 hours until it falls apart!)

Drumstick Sheet Pan *Easy*

Pizza Night (Grab ready made crusts, I prefer cauliflower, and everyone makes their own pizza!)

Roasted Garlic Quinoa Mushroom (this will probably be just for me, but looks so yummy!)

Grape Kale Salad

What’s on your menu this week?

A Look Back at August

What a fun month we had!

I read quite a few books, Class Mom, It’s Not Your Money, Evie Drake Starts Over, Watching You, The Unhoneymooners, and Big Little Lies. (You can find all of these books in my Amazon Storefront!)

We were able to hit up the casino through a work incentive, and that was fun night out in a limo.

Our book club got together at Flight West.  We had delicious drinks and apps!

We had a fun double date with some friends.

My sister came over and we enjoyed a Sunday Funday while Joe mowed down the trails at the land.

We spent a lot of time at the land (like every Sunday!) walking the beautiful trails! It’s going to be like having our own park in our very own backyard.  20 acres is amazing!

Bradley enjoyed his weekly sports camp.  He loved Lacrosse!

Brooke earned a free book for Summer reading!

The kids spent a weekend with my sister, which meant a little time alone for me and another date night for hubby and I!

I finally got my hair done after two months–much needed.

I tried a few new recipes and some old ones, all of which I’d recommend!

Tuna Poke Bowl

Asian Chicken Skewers & Thai Noodles With Spicy Peanut Sauce

Egg Roll in a Bowl

And we used the heck out of our smoker/grill!  We are obsessed with bacon wrapped scallops & shrimp.

We also love getting a whole chicken that’s been cut, brining it and then smoking/grilling it.

Bradley had his Pre-K ice cream social.

I also spent some times working on routines.   I’m currently working on a weekly cleaning routine that the kids can help me with too!

We had a nice “back to school” dinner out last night.  These two love their daddy so much, and he loves them even more!

We will enjoy a nice family weekend coming up here for Labor Day and then we are ready to bring September on!

What was your favorite thing about August?

Tastefully Simple 14 Day Reset

My sweet friend Cathy has been a Tastefully Simple consultant for many years! She loves helping women (and men) make dinner an easier and healthier task.  She really is so passionate about what she does and I love how open she is with sharing her meals, recipes and feedback with her community!

When she asked me if I would be one of two 14 Day Reset challengers, I jumped on it! The cost was not bad at all, considering the high quality meal planning/daily menu, and products.  It even comes with a grocery list and prep list! (So helpful for a busy mama!!)

On a side note, I was a clean eating pro.  I was at a steady (happy/healthy) weight since Spring of 2016 until Summer 2018.  Not sure exactly what happened, but between stress, vacations, and lack of planning/caring, I let my eating habits slide a bit.  Sure, I re-joined the gym and was moving, but my eating as all over the place and kind of out of control.  My once in awhile turned into every other night.   A few Dino nuggets here and a couple of mouthfuls of Mac and Cheese there….PLUS my ‘healthy dinner’ whatever I constituted that as.

Fruit and egg bites–oh goodness. So easy to pop in the microwave on those crazy mornings!

Homemade chicken soup– so darn good!

They give you 3 different salad dressings to make.

Deli turkey roll ups.

Can of tuna in a salad!

Tea time with this little pack of goodies!! It curbed my sweet tooth.

Coconut Shrimp with zoodles omg this was my fave!

These helped my ‘salty craving’ and I am a huge chip lover.

Lettuce wraps. (side note, I passed these off as tacos to my family and there was shredded carrot, spinach and mushroom in there!)

The famous breakfast meatballs. I just made another batch yesterday because they are that good!

Sexy Steaks!

I was full after this meal!

I am obsessed with this breakfast!

I really enjoyed the homemade dressings with veggies as a snack.

Curry pork paired with zoodles! YUM!

While I cannot share the recipe, I can refer to my beautiful and amazing friend Cathy!! She is on Instagram, Facebook and isn’t someone who just slings food.  No, she does live videos, shares recipe ideas, and shows you how to use all of the ingredients.  She’s a working mom of 3 and just has such a huge heart to help others make meal time easy!

 

 

I am SO happy that I did this reset.

  • I lost and kept off 6 pounds!
  • My jeans/belt fit me again
  • I gained my healthy cooking confidence back in the kitchen
  • I put mine and my family’s health FIRST
  • I learned some new yummy recipes
  • I gained back self control over my eating
  • I felt great and had so much energy!
  • I learned that I do not need AS MANY carbs as I was eating, but I do need carbs

I firmly believe in 80/20 as I preach here from time to time.  Whether it’s a day or an entire week or month, I try to look at it as such: Did I eat whole, clean, real foods 80% of the time?  Did I allow myself treats/pasta/chips whatever 20% of the time?

I will say that it was a bit challenging to meal prep and keep up with all of the cooking. I gave myself some grace on the weekend and certainly the 2nd week.  It taught me the basics of what I needed and if I had a lot more weight to lose, I would have stuck with it more strictly, but I didn’t want to lose too much weight too fast.

Seriously, if you’re in a meal planning rut or wanting to cut the sugar/carbs, just hit up my friend Cathy!  I am not getting paid or any compensation for writing this, I honestly love looking back at my food photos and love spreading the word about good health.

Meal Planning 101

Oh my gosh, you guys!! I have always been a good cook. Sure, I’ve made some not so great dishes, but overall, I love being in the kitchen, one of my love languages is serving my cooked food, and I think I’m pretty darn good! However, I feel like a total flop in the kitchen lately.  STRUGGLE BUS. Call me silly, but I keep hearing this “still small voice” to get into the kitchen.  Get back in there, cook wholesome foods, involved my kids and be okay with that.  Yes, I sometimes feel like it’s Groundhog’s Day and I’m unloading the dishwasher for the 30th time this week, but I know my work here is important.

Since we’ve been “working ” more, I’ve come to realize how dang hard it is to get a good meal on the table. I am not in the mood to meal plan, because sometimes I feel like it’s a waste of time. Half of what I cook isn’t eaten or I don’t get to cooking it…but this has got to stop!  I figured if I just took the hour or so to research new meals, schedule it out and hold myself somewhat accountable, I may be better off.

I feel the madness in me from not being consistently in the kitchen.  So, today I sat down and made a “March Menu.”  Granted, it’s a little more than a week into it,  but I wrote down 6 meals for each week left in the month.  I thought I’d try it this way, as opposed to giving each meal a day.  I just came up with 6 meals; they can be interchanged with a lunch.  I chose only to do 6 because usually there are leftovers or a lazy day, where we’ll go out or eat sandwiches.

Tips:

1. Set Aside Time

The hardest part for me is time.  I only have so many hours in a day (as do we all) and selfishly, I don’t always love having to choose between meal planning & reading a book, blogging, or whatever…clearly I interwove blogging and planning into this one; winning!  I am hoping an hour of planning saves hours later of me trying to scramble and figure out what to feed my troops and eliminates the stress and worry that comes with it.  I used to do it every Sunday, but I’m going to try this new once a month tactic. I will report back to ya!  Some meal planning essentials: Wine & Green Tea.  I kid…I kid…

2. Print off Recipes

I literally printed off a few new recipes. (You see, that was one of my excuses. I’d “like” a recipe, or write it down but then really never get back to that site…) I love the internet but I’m such an old school, write-it-out kind of girl! I placed my 3 week menu, the printed sheets, and my week one grocery list on a clipboard.  I’m thinking I may just buy a new binder; that’s how I started. I would print off a favorite recipe and place it into a plastic sheet, and sorted them all in a binder.

3. Plan Meals out or cooked by someone other than you.

I know that I get burnt out in the kitchen, so that is another reason I only wrote 6 meals per week.  We love sushi takeout and Joe does love to grill. I just need to prepare and buy the food to be grilled! I’m excited that it’s getting warmer out…life gets easier when we aren’t hibernating. Look at the calendar and see what birthdays or holidays are coming up.  Can you get together with friends and host a potluck? You’ll not only be inspired by new foods, but you may find a recipe you and your family really love.

4. What you focus on increases.

Whenever I feel something is off balance, I will shift my focus on that subject. I am well aware that there is no such thing as “perfect” or even “balanced” but I feel like for the most part, I have a nice ebb and flow on things…and lately, there not enough love flowing in my kitchen! So, I’ve been trying to watch more you tube videos, putting on the Food Network in the background, and spending a few moments consciously pulling up recipes etc.  I strongly believe what we put out there, comes back to us. Plus, I always learn something from my favorites on Food Network!  Go dust off some of those cookbooks and show them some love.  I bet you’ll re-discover a family fave!  Please share with me, I’d love to know!

5.  Keep it Short and Simple (KISS)

Try to do a theme each week.  Maybe it’s Meatless Monday, or Taco Tuesday.  I chose to do “One Pot Pastas”.  I also went through my cupboards to see what spices I had etc. I love Tastefully Simple and I knew if I just took a few minutes to go through what I had, I would throw together a list in no time.  Don’t overcomplicate, don’t feel like you have to whip up lavish dinners, and who cares if it flops?! There’s always pizza, but at least you tried!

Totally pinched for time?  Stop in the store, pick up a whole rotisserie chicken, bagged salad and a fresh loaf of bread.  It’s better than going fast food and you still are making efforts.

I am nowhere near perfect, but I know if I put in a little more effort, it will be better.  I am waving the white flag and saying hey mama, I too serve Dino- nuggets and fish sticks like the best of them.  However, I know that if I can make a little effort, I’m opening my kids’ minds and doing my very best.  You betcha this kid friendly pasta meal is on the menu!

Oh, and have fun!! I know the days are long, but the years really are short!! Take a few minutes and throw together a little something special for your loved ones.  My kiddos go crazy for hot chocolate with marshmallows.  My husband also loves breakfast in bed; giving them yummy foods makes me feel good putting smiles on their faces. (Boxed muffins are a big deal to little and big kids!)