Friday, July 12, 2013

Caprese Quiche

The pic doesn't do this one justice...

I love ALL THINGS I decided to try out this Caprese Quiche recipe that had been formulating for a while for a little brunch to visit one of my best girls new baby!

I am admittedly bad at pie crust.  I have tried many times and failed more often than not. Plus it's super humid.  So I just save myself the hassle and disappointment and buy the good ol' Pillsbury Pie Crusts.

1 Pillsbury Pie Crust
1 cup quartered cherry tomatoes
6 basil leaves...I chiffonade them
1 cup of shredded mozzarella
5 eggs
1 cup of milk
salt and pepper to taste

After lining the pie pan with crust and crimping the edges. Layer cheese, tomatoes and basil on the bottom of the crust.  Beat eggs and milk together and add salt and pepper to taste. Pour egg mixture in the pie crust over the other ingredients. 

Bake at 375 for approximately 35 minutes until set up.



Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Isreali Cous Cous Salad with Lemon and Dill

I've been looking for different healthy lunch options for myself.....I plan on branching out to Quinoa salads soon but I had some Isreali Cous Cous on hand so I decided to give it a try.

This salad was DELISH! 


2 T. butter
1/3 c. finely chopped yellow onion
1 clove of Garlic minced
1 c. Chicken Broth
1/2 c. Israeli Cous Cous
2 Persian Cucumbers, quartered and sliced
1 Roma Tomato, quartered and sliced
1/3 c. cooked Edamame
1/2  c. Marinated Artichoke Hearts, chopped
Juice from half a lemon
1/2-1 T. of dried dill
salt and pepper

Melt butter over medium heat.   Add onions and sauté until translucent.  Add the garlic and the couscous stirring constantly until cous cous starts to brown.  Slowly add Chicken broth 1/3 of a cup at a time letting the cous cous absorb all the broth until fully cooked (approximately 20 min.)  Add a dash of salt and pepper to taste.  Take the cous cous off the heat and set aside to cool.

After prepping all vegetables, mix together with lemon juice and dill. Add cooled cous cous and chill for at least an hour. (if you plan on using the plain artichoke hearts I would add some olive oil at this point)

To mix it up a little I am going to add 1/2 of an avocado and some smoked salmon later in the week.


Monday, April 29, 2013

Meal Plan Monday

Meal Plan Monday 4/29 thru 5/6

Monday: Pulled Pork Sliders, Macaroni Salad
Tuesday: Make Your Own Pizza Night
Wednesday: Shepherd's Pie, Corn Bread
Thursday: Beef Stroganoff over Cous Cous, Salad
Friday: Baked Mac and Cheese, Steamed Broccoli
Saturday: Spaghetti with Bolognese, Salad
Sunday: Leftovers


Monday, April 22, 2013

Going Green in 2013

Going "Trying to Go" Green

Celebrate Earth Day this year by starting some new "Green" traditions in your family!
Over the last year we Libs have been slowly trying to change little habits here and there in an effort to go green...and by we I mean me, and they will hopefully follow along.
I didn't want to be one of those moms that woke up one day and changed everything all in one fell swoop, leaving the unassuming family stunned and longing for their processed, packaged bad for you treats.  So I have opted for a slow process, I try to explain as often as I can why certain things are bad for you without getting into all the gory details.  I feel like getting them involved in the transition all the while remaining positive... will aid in more lasting results.

1)  I stopped buying paper plates

..this was a big one.  With 4 kids compounded by the fact that I work anywhere from 2-5 evenings a week and the fact the my children are completely incapable of opening the dishwasher to see if their dishes can go in there this was one of the toughest.
For a busy mom with 2 come home to a clean sink is just so amazing...but I know it was bad for the environment.  I even tried to get plastic for a bit so the kids would rinse, wash and reuse (or recycle) ....that DID NOT HAPPEN....I would come home to a trash can full of plastic plates.
So finally a few months ago we went cold turkey...REAL DISHES it is!

 2) I bring my reusable grocery bags...Everytime!

This one took a while to become part of my regular grocery routine....but I have pretty much gotten it down! I think it's been about 3 months since I have forgotten them!

3) I stopped buying bottled water

I invested in a bunch of water bottles...We have a Britta on the counter next to the sink so there's no reason not to use the water from home!

4) Eating less processed/prepacked foods

A work in progress but we have definitely cut down, lots more fresh veggies and homemade versions of some of their favorite boxed meals.
Lots of the snacks that the hubby and kiddos can't live without (They are super Cheezit addicts)
pretzels etc...I buy in bulk and then divide up for them. (kind of time consuming but it makes me feel like I'm doing my part)
I have been slowly trying to use up my pantry stock of boxed mixes etc...In favor of making my own as the year progresses.
I have pinned tons of recipes such as homemade Ranch mix, Homemade Bisquick, Homemade instant oats etc...
I have been looking into some new glass jar options to house my new mixes (I think Mason jars and a few cute purchases online are going to do the trick.
I am working towards making my own salad dressings too!
It's a slow process but I feel that by the end of summer we will be much closer to clean eating!

5) Switching to more "green" products for the household or making them myself

I made my own cleaning solution, with vinegar, alcohol, liquid detergent and lavender essential works great on everything!
The next step is to make my own stain remover.
I also signed up for the amazing monthly email service  through The Honest Company by Jessica Alba...for about $40 dollars a month you can choose 5 different household supplies and you can mix and match them each month depending on your needs.  All her products are non toxic, made with plant based materials and amazing for us allergy prone families!  The light scents are amazing.

6) Eating Meatless once or Twice a week

This one is a toughie, I have been trying to introduce new foods to our repertoire over the past year, but after years of catering to my hubby and kids limited likes it is a slow moving process, but we have added several new items to our dinners. My stepdaughter and the youngest the most open to our new food adventures and I feel the others will follow in suit.
For me I try to go fully meatless two whole days a week, breakfast to dinner and snacks!  I also try to eat fish the few nights I am at work.
For them it usually just means spaghetti with homemade meatless sauce or Mac and Cheese but hey...we're trying.

7) Shopping Seasonally and Organic

I found this great list on pinterest of Seasonal Produce.
I try as much as I can to shop organic, while being realistic.  If I had an endless supply of $$ I would absolutely be more strict about my purchases.  But lets's face it we have 4 kids..the grocery bill already gets up I try to do my part.  I still fall prey to sales/coupon combos.
My mom and I will team up and head to Trader Joe's every few weeks (our nearest one is 45 min away)
I have looked into several of the subscribe and save options on Amazon.
I LOVE Spring/Summer/Fall...I have a favorite local farmstand that I frequent once or twice a week and stock up on tons of goodies and I try to visit the local farmers markets whenever I can.

8) Simplifying while Upcycling

I have been in the long slow process of Decluttering and simplifying and let me tell you...with all "the stuff" I have collected over the years it is a work in progress. It is very hard for me to just throw things out.
I have tried to mindfully donate things that will be reused. 
Recycle lots of things that we don't need but might not be used by someone else.
The kids have taken to making their own cards for people with all the Scrapbooking stuff I collected over the years (that was one hobby that did not catch on) We didn't even buy Valentine's this year!!!
I save gift bags and boxes.  This Christmas I bought one roll of wrapping paper and a little tape and used all the things we had saved from last year.


~What "Go Green" strategies have you adapted?


Sunday, April 21, 2013

Healthier Green Goddess Dressing

This is my healthier version of Green Goddess Dressing....this herby flavorful dressing is great on salads and also used as a dip for veggies.

You could make it even healthier by leaving out the mayonnaise altogether.

Green Goddess Dressing

6 scallions (the green parts only) coarsely chopped
10 Basil leaves coarsely chopped
1 sprig of fresh tarragon (strip leaves and chop) *optional
1 clove of Garlic Chopped
The juice of 1 lemon
Salt and Pepper
1/2 an Avocado sliced
1/2 c. Plain Greek Yogurt
1/2 c. Mayonnaise (I use Olive Oil mayo)
1/2 c. Light Sour Cream
1/4-1/2 c. Buttermilk

In a food processor or blender combine first 5 ingredients and blend until smooth.  Add a little dash of buttermilk if you are having trouble getting the herbs to puree.
Add Avocado, Greek Yogurt, Mayo and Sour Cream and blend.
Slowly pour in buttermilk until the dressing reaches your desired consistency approx. 1/4c. to 1/2 c. depending on how thick/thin you like your dressing.

Chill for about an hour to let flavors combine.  Store in airtight glass container for up to a week.

I brought this dressing with a big Chicken Cobb Salad to a lunch with some of my favorite ladies last week and it was a big hit!

Monday, April 1, 2013

Meal Plan Monday

Meal Plan Monday 4/1 through 4/7

Monday: Spaghetti with Sauce and Salad
Tuesday:Tarragon Chicken, Roasted Fingerling Potatoes, Honey Dill Carrots
Wednesday: Garlic Herb Pork Chops, Cous Cous, Broccoli
Thursday: Breakfast for Dinner.....Pancakes, Bacon and fresh fruit
Saturday: Leftovers
Sunday:  Ribs, Mac Salad and Asparagus


Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Beef Stroganoff...for picky eaters!

My family is not a big fan of mushrooms...they do however love the Hamburger Helper version of Beef Stroganoff...this is my "In Between" recipe!
1.5 lbs Beef (I use stew meat) cut into cubes
2 T. Olive Oil
2 Cloves Garlic finely chopped
2 Sprigs Thyme, 1 Sprig Rosemary-Strip leaves and chop finely
1 med sweet yellow onion
1/3 c. Bourbon
2 Cups Beef Stock (Low Sodium)
1 can Cream of Mushroom Soup
2 heaping Tablespoons of Light Sour Cream
1 T. Spicy Brown Mustard (optional)
Salt and Pepper
1 lb.  pasta of your choice cooked and drained.

In a large skillet or dutch oven heat olive oil and add meat, browning on all sides.
Add finely chopped, garlic, rosemary, thyme and onions and saute for a few minutes until onions are translucent.
Add Bourbon and simmer for about 5 minutes to cook off alcohol.
Add Beef stock, bring to a boil and reduce to simmer, partially covered for 45 minutes.
After stock has reduced to a sauce add Cream of Mushroom soup, Mustard and sour cream.  Stir to combine let cook for about 5 min.
Add salt and pepper to taste.

Serve over your choice of pasta!


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Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Finding Balance and a Confession

Life is crazy, busy, exciting, fun...and I am constantly striving for a balance.
I give the illusion of being Super Mom...
I have set up schedules for myself, mentally and on paper. I have countless lists.
I try to eek out time to complete all of my tasks in a timely manner
I have plans...
Meal plans
Housework plans
Date night plans
Blog plans
Plans to go to the gym
 Plans to read smart girl books that make me more worldly
Plans to finish my knitting projects

I try to focus on completing the necessary tasks that make my life run smoothly....
...and then sometimes....
I sit down and read 3 of Janet Evanovich's Stephanie Plum novels, back to back on my 2 days off and get nothing else done in my life...
Then I spend the next few days feeling guilty that I have neglected all of my other obligations  and rush around trying to get everything done.
This failure compounded by a lack of sleep due to a few crazy work nights leads to me in full on cranky pants mode....
wondering why my family did not pick up the slack in my book induced absence
 squeezing into pants that sort of fit for work because all my other pants are dirty
Ignoring the meal plan and ordering Pizza for dinner
You get the drift.
Then I go on a rampage...meticulously getting everything back in order, setting up new plans and goals so I will not get off track...
All the while giving sideways glances to the 4th novel sitting on my bedside table aching for me to pick it up and not put it down until I have devoured it cover to cover.
I try not to beat myself up too badly.....

What are your strategies for keeping balance in your life?



Monday, March 11, 2013

Meal Plan Monday

Meal Plan Monday 3/11 thru 3/17

Lots of nights off this week, which I am super excited about but still a crazy week.
Hubs starts his basketball league this week, one of the daughters has epic play practices, then a play then the postponed Father Daughter dance rescheduled from last Friday's "Saturn" storm..
Also I have a big Trader Joe's trip planned for me and Mom on Saturday so this week is one of those "use up what ya got" weeks!   I will make a small trip to the grocery store but mostly we will be cleaning out the fridge, freezer and pantry....
Monday: Roast Pork Loin, Ready Rice, Salad
Tuesday: Breakfast for Dinner...Pancake Muffins, Sausage, Fruit, Scrambled Eggs
Thursday: Roast Chicken, Lemony Garlic Mashed Potatoes, Honey Dill Carrots
Friday: Leftovers!
Saturday: Pizza
Sunday: Spaghetti with Crock pot Meatballs and Sauce



Friday, March 8, 2013

Lavender Coconut Oil Body Butter



Lavender Coconut Oil Body Butter

Original Pin here
Sort of...
I actually couldn't find the original pin LOL
My gorgeous friend Brandy got me hooked on Coconut Oil over a year ago
I put a tablespoon in my coffee in the morning.
I use it as a hair mask once or twice a week.
I use it on dry patches of skin.
I haven't used it for cooking yet but that's next on my to do list!
After reading the ingredients on a body butter I almost bought in the store I decided to try making my own!
I combined about 4 tablespoons of coconut oil (not melted)
2 Tablespoons of Shea Butter
1 Tablespoon of Jojoba Oil  (I got mine at my local health food store!)
I threw it all in my kitchen aid stand mixer and whipped it up for about 10 minutes, stopping at intervals to scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula.
Then I threw it in a jar and I keep it in the bathroom and slathered my body in it after my smells amazing and absorbs great and my skin was silky smooth.
You can make this with just straight Coconut Oil if you don't have the other ingredients on hand..there are tons of recipes out there!



Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Sinful Buffalo Chicken Snack

On most days I eat healthy and I try to eat clean...but lets face it....Sometimes you  just need to eat something really bad for you...something that tastes soooo goood...Finger lickin' good!

I had a craving for Boneless Buffalo tenders last night....I gave up fried food for I hadn't had these in ages...

I whipped up this indulgent snack last night in less time than it took for the chicken to cook!

This sauce was AMAZING...I'm not a straight up buffalo gal....I can hang with the best of 'em if need be, but if I had the choice I would always sweeten it up a little....

I almost always have a bag of chicken tenders or nuggets on hand for the kiddos and the hubs.

I threw 10 of these Tyson Popcorn Chicken in the oven.

Then I threw about 3 tablespoons of Frank's Red Hot Sauce, a dash of Sriacha, 2 Tablespoons of brown sugar, 1 Tablespoon of butter and approximately 2 Tablespoons of Sweet Thai Chili sauce.

I put it in the microwave for 30 second increments stirring in between for a total of about a minute and a half.

After the chicken was cooked I tossed it in the sauce and served it up with some Buttermilk Ranch dressing.....So bad for me but SOOO delish!!!!

What are some of your favorite sinful snacks?


Monday, March 4, 2013

Healthier Egg Salad


Healthier Egg Salad

This yummy egg salad is made healthy by adding Greek Yogurt, Mustard and Dill for tons of flavor.
I boil up a bunch of eggs as part of my food prep at the beginning of the week to keep on hand for a quick snack or to whip up this delicious egg salad.


6 Hard Boiled Eggs
1/2 t. Baking soda
Greek Yogurt
2 T. Olive Oil Mayonnaise
1 t. Dill (You might want to start with less and add to taste I LOVE DILL!)
1 T. Whole Ground Mustard
Pinch of Salt and Pepper
Place eggs and baking soda in a pot of cold water, make sure eggs are covered with water.
  *The baking soda makes the eggs easy to peel
Bring water to a boil and remove from heat, cover and let sit for approximately 13 minutes.
Immediately remove eggs from hot water and submerge in and ice water bath.
  *The Ice water bath helps to prevent that green layer around the yolk


While the eggs are cooling whisk together mayo, Greek yogurt, mustard, dill, salt and pepper.
After the eggs have cooled, gently remove shells.
Chop Eggs (I use my handy dandy Egg Slicer)
 *To make this Egg Salad even more healthy you could eliminate 3 of the yolks at this stage.
Combine Eggs and yogurt mixture. 
Refrigerate for 1/2 an hour.

I have mine for lunch stuffed in mini whole wheat pita with baby arugala blend!

This egg salad is great served with avocado slices and a tiny bit of shredded cheddar cheese in wraps or sandwich thins...or even stuffed in a lettuce wrap! One of my kiddos is in love with recipe and eats it straight!

What are you favorite egg salad ingredients?



Meal Plan Monday


Meal Plan Monday 3/4 thru 3/10

Another busy week...lots of nights at work, Father Daughter Dance on Friday=Lots of easy recipes!
In other news I am eagerly awaiting the spring thaw so I can break out the grill!
I have some great cedar plank recipes to share once that warm weather comes around!
Monday: Crockpot sauce, ziti, garlic bread
Tuesday:  Honey Bourbon Crockpot Chicken (don't worry no Bourbon in this recipe!) and I'm taking a stab at Risotto! with Honey Dill Carrots.
Wednesday: Parmesan Crusted Haddock, Rice Pilaf, Steamed Broccoli & Asparagus
Thursday: Roasted Pork Loin, Oven Roasted Potatoes, Salad
Friday: Chicken & Shrimp with Tomato, Garlic Cream Sauce (NEW RECIPE!) over Tortellini!
Saturday:  Homemade Hamburger Helper My recipe is loosely based on this one!  I hope to have it up soon!


Thursday, February 28, 2013

SPD Link Up...Starbucks Passion Tea


 For this weeks Saw, Pinned, Did Link Up I decided to try out the CopyCat recipe for Starbucks Passion Tea Lemonade.... 

Original Pin here.
But of course I tweaked it a little...
I actually researched a few different recipes and came up with my own take...
First I brewed 8 bags of the Tazo Passion Tea with 1/2 Gallon of Boiling H20.  I found this tea at my local Health food store and I am addicted! I love anything Passion Fruit!! You can get it online at Amazon.
Then I made a quick Vanilla Simple Syrup by boiling 1 c. Water, 1 c. Sugar and 2 capfuls of Trader Joe's Bourbon Vanilla Extract.  As soon as all the sugar is dissolved remove from heat to cool.
In the summer or right after starting a batch of my Homemade Limoncello I might make lemonade from scratch but this time I was just too busy lazy!
So I mixed up a half gallon (2 qts.) of Good Ole Country Time Pink Lemonade!
Then I added 1/4 c of  the Vanilla Simple Syrup.
 I reserved the remaining Simple Syrup to use for iced coffee!
Once the tea was cooled I added it to the Lemonade mixture and stirred to combine.
Serve over ice!
I was thinking it might not be too bad as a mixer for Passion Fruit Vodka with a splash of seltzer I tested it last night and it was DELISH!

What copycat recipes have you tried at home?



Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Easy Weeknight Pork Chop Dinner


Easy Weeknight Pork Chop Dinner

I wouldn't necessarily call this one a recipe persay... But this is an easy affordable weeknight dinner that you can throw together in NO TIME and it feeds a family of 6!
I try to make my own marinades but in a pinch, pressed for time with nothing to put on the table I find that keeping a few bottled marinades handy is just the fix!


6 Boneless Pork Chops
2 Cups of Cous Cous
1 or 2 Bags of fresh Broccoli

Heat your pan on med heat
Brush Pork Chops with Olive Oil, Sea Salt and Pepper.
Quickly brown both sides of the pork chops.
Add marinade to pan, cover and simmer for 5 min each side.
While pork chops are cooking cook cous cous in microwave following box directions.
Fluff cous cous with a fork and cover.
Microwave Broccoli in Bag
Serve Pork Chops atop cous cous with broccoli on the side!

What is your go to quick weeknight dinner?


Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Don't just repin it DO IT!



My Pinterest Addiction

Are you addicted to Pinterest?  Do you find yourself sitting at the computer or glued to your phone pinning and pinning and pinning?

I am.  I could waste a good 5-7 hours of the day just searching and pinning...and searching and pinning...and getting NOTHING else accomplished.

I remember that fateful day last year when my good friend Amanda came into work and immediately had to share with me this new site she thought I would love...and I did.

To my dismay the app was not available for my android phone at the time, but you can bet your bottom dollar that I stalked the Amazon Appstore and Google Play daily until the darn thing became available.....And then when the Kindle app became available SIGH....

Sometimes while I sit at the computer, drinking coffee, reading blogs etc..I have a hilarious sad internal dialogue with myself as I glance at my Pinterest button on my Favorites bar.

Just click on it
No don't
Just do it...for a few minutes, I'm sure there are a few great new pins you need to see.
Don't do  have laundry, housework and dishes to do..Get off your butt and get to work

Well you get the idea.

In an effort to "Be a more productive me in 2013"  I have decided to try to use Pinterest for what it is intended.
New Years Resolution #7 
 Revisit your pinterest boards, find something you pinned and test it out....Just DO IT  ....

This will be the first post in a series...Don't just repin it, DO IT!

Apple Cider Vinegar (the yummy way)


For months on and off I have swigged my apple cider vinegar from a spoon, and made the know the "Why the heck did I just drink that disgusting stuff?" face. 
Finally I stumbled along this post from Lindsay at Delighted Momma
I adapted it a little bit to reflect the ingredients I had on hand.
FYI, I never measure....
I put all the ingredients in a cold to go cup, fill with ice and filtered water and then I shake it up!
I find if I don't shake it the Cinnamon just sits on top...insert straw and Enjoy!

Are you Addicted to Pinterest or do you use it to be a more productive you?

Monday, February 25, 2013

Meal Plan Monday 2/25 thru 3/4

Meal Plan Monday 2/25 thru 3/4

Another crazy week is ahead.... 5 days on one day off! 
The CrockPot will be going non stop this week!
Have you ever tried these Crock Pot Liners 
They're not very green but on weeks like this were hubby and kiddos are in charge at night ALOT, they are a must.  They are not big Crock Pot cleaners :(
So when I come strolling in at midnight or later from is amazing to just grab up the bag, throw the mess in the trash and give a quick wash!
Not the healthiest of menu's below, it's a very hearty home cooked comfort type menu!
Monday:  Crockpot Meatballs for Meatball subs, Salad  (My son has been begging for these)
Tuesday: Crockpot Pot Roast, Crispy Roasted Fingerling Potatoes, Corn
Wednesday: Baked Mac and Cheese, Asparagus, Salad
Thursday: Roasted Kielbasa, Potatoes & Carrots & Cornbread
Friday: Shepherd's Pie

What are some of your favorite comfort foods?




Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Limoncello...& Lemonade ....Just in time for Easter!

Homemade Limóncello & Homemade Lemonade

 These two recipes go hand in hand.  After using the rinds to start your Limóncello recipe you can whip up a batch of yummy homemade lemonade with the leftover lemons!
  I first tried this recipe two years ago and have tweaked it a bit!
This recipe is easy (as long as you have a little patience)  Now's the perfect time to start it so it will be ready for an after Easter Dinner treat on the rocks...
It can be used as a substitute for simple syrup in drinks like yummy Citrus Margaritas, or in a light Summer Sangria!
 I was inspired after seeing Giada make this Orangecello
I researched a few other recipes before deciding I was going to longer let mine sit for longer.
I had a bottle of Organic Vodka that was not the yummiest thing I had ever tasted so this was the perfect opportunity.



6 Lemons
1L (750ml) Bottle of Vodka
3 Cups of Sugar (I use Organic turbinado)
2 Cups of Water
1 Stem of Lemongrass
First  using a vegetable peeler, carefully peel the thin yellow outer layer of the lemons in strips, trying to get as little pith (the white stuff) as possible.  The pith can add a bitter flavor to your recipe.  Gently scrape off any pith that might remain.
Then  add the lemon rinds to the vodka shake it up.  I store mine in the top shelf of my pantry where it is dark and cool, for about a month.  Once in a while go in and shake it up.
The vodka will slowly take on the yellow hue of the lemon rinds and the rinds will start to turn white as you can see below.

Then in a medium sauce pan add the water and sugar to the pan over medium heat.  Cut the lemongrass stalk into 3 pieces and smash each piece of stem with my knife to release the juice and add the stalk pieces to the syrup. Slowly simmer the water occasionally swirling with a whisk until all the sugar is dissolved.
It is perfectly fine to make just a plain simple syrup by leaving out the lemongrass but I love the floral flavor it adds!
Remove from heat and cool.
Then take 1/3 of the syrup (approx. 1 c.) to use for the lemonade.
The rest I store in a glass container in the fridge with the lemon grass pieces for later.
After about a month the Limóncello will look like the picture above.
Then strain the Limóncello through a fine mesh strainer and add the remaining reserved simple syrup (remove the lemongrass stalks)
This delicious liquer can be served over ice or mixed into other drinks!



Remaining parts of the 6 lemons used above
1 Cup of Lemongrass Simple Syrup from above
4 cups of water
1 Lemon Sliced for Garnish
Juice the 6 Lemons. Add the lemon juice water and simple syrup to a pitcher and stir.
I going to use this batch of Lemonade for Passion Tea Lemonade I saw on Pinterest!
Keep in the fridge until ready to serve!



Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Meal Plan Monday 2/18 thru 2/24

This upcoming week is the antithesis of last week.
The kiddos have the week off which means so much less running around for me (and sleeping in!)
Even though I'm working both jobs this week I still have 3 FULL DAYS OFF=lots of cooking!
My new thirtyone purchases should be in!
The arrival of my new Samsung Galaxy III on Tuesday (refurb that I finagled for $30 woot woot!)
The potential of a new laptop purchase from one of my techie friends that refurbs all kinds of stuff.
  and the anticipation of a trip to Trader Joe's with my mom on Saturday.


Monday: Easy Crock pot Lemon Tarragon Chicken, Rice, Salad.

This is my go to for a quick and easy dinner.  I combine chopped fresh tarragon. chopped fresh citrus thyme, lemon zest, sea salt, pepper and crushed garlic and rub down 6 chicken thighs with olive oil and the herb rub.
Place in the crock pot on a bed of onions and top with slices of lemon.  Cook on low for 6 hours!

Tuesday: Homemade Pizza Night!!
After coating two sheet pans with cornmeal I lay out one White and one Wheat pizza dough and mentally divide each into 3.  Each of the kiddos chooses their own toppings as do the hubby and I.  Then after cooking I cut them in to small triangles and we all share!!  Endless Possibilities....

Wednesday:  Chicken Pot Pie, Made with leftover chicken from Monday.

Thursday: MEATLESS!  Spaghetti with Vegetable Bolognese (in the crock pot) and  Garlic Bread

Friday:  Keilbasa, Brown Sugar Beans, Mashed Potatoes, Corn

Saturday: Hubs is in charge.

Sunday: Thai Peanut Chicken Lettuce Wraps with Thai Noodles
I am going to try to recreate some Lettuce Wraps the hubby and I had a few years ago out to dinner on Valentine's day.  I have researched tons of recipes and finally decided to cheat after I saw this
Trader Joe's Satay Peanut Sauce at my last trip to my favorite store!

What restaurant recipes have you tried to recreate?


Sunday, February 17, 2013

Spicy Shrimp in Thai Chili Cream Sauce

This recipe was inspired by Bangin' Good Shrimp from one of my Favorite blogs Skinnytaste!

Spicy Shrimp in Thai Chili Cream Sauce


1 lb Large Shrimp peeled and deveined (approx. 40 shrimp)
1/2 tsp. Sea Salt
1 tsp. Fresh Ground Pepper
1 Tbl. Sriracha
1/4 stick of Butter
2 Cloves of Garlic
1/4 c. Flour
2 c. 1% Milk
1/2 Cup Thai Sweet Chili Sauce
1 lb of Pasta cooked to box directions

Place Shrimp, salt, pepper, and Sriracha in a plastic baggie and shake until completely coated, let marinate for 20-30 minutes.

Melt your butter in a sauté pan over medium/low heat with two cloves of smashed garlic (still whole just to infuse butter with flavor)

Depending on the size of your pan you might have to cook the shrimp in batches.

Add the shrimp to the garlic infused butter and cook until pink approximately 3 minutes each side.

Remove shrimp to plate, cover with foil to keep warm.

Remove garlic from butter.

Whisk flour into butter until there are no lumps.

Slowly add milk, whisking constantly until the mixture forms a thick cream sauce.

Add Thai Sweet chili sauce and stir to combine.

Transfer cooked shrimp back into cream sauce mix to combine.

Serve over cooked pasta or rice!  Enjoy


Saturday, February 16, 2013

SPD Link Up

What a CRAZY week! So much going on it feels like I haven't had a minute to breathe!
So here's a quick post for the weekend (meant to have it up Thursday) but time was not my friend this week! 

Saw it, Pinned it, Did it!

Breakfast for dinner goodness!   The kids LOVE when we have breakfast for dinner so I thought  I would fancy things up a bit by cutting up the fruit in shapes with my Pampered chef  mini cutters!
Apologies for the pics my picasa is on the fritz and keeps shutting down in the middle of photo editing!
 Yummy Canteloupe cut into hearts!

 I even took the advice from the pinner and bagged up the leftover tidbits for smoothies (or maybe some summer cantaloupe Margaritas!
 Original Pin here.
Then I got out my muffin tins so I could make Pancake more slaving over the griddle whilst keeping the other batches warm in the oven!
In the top tin I tossed cut up apples in a little bit of cinnamon and sugar before tossing spoonful's into the cupcakes.
The bottom tin is 4 blueberry and 2 plain!

Original Pin here.
My only advice would be to leave out the muffin cups (the pinner just greased the tin)  The pancake cupcakes stuck to the cups a bit!
I served these with Vermont Maple Sausage...So yummy!



Monday, February 11, 2013

Meal Plan Monday

Meal Plan Monday 2/11 thru 2/17

Nothing like waking up in a panic because everyone is still sleeping..and we're now all late, frenzied mommy state, shoving the hubs so he practically falls out of the bed, yelling and flipping on lights....Only to have the confused teenagers tell you school has been cancelled again....

Oops...sorry guys...go back to sleep....

....And I'm down about 6 points in the Mommy of the Year run...

Anyway...on to the Meals!

This week is one of those crazy weeks where I'm working both jobs and only have one day off..   The kids have concerts and games up the wazoo etc...
Oh yeah and I joined the gym last week (because my AWESOME BOSS got a corporate membership to the gym down the street and its going to cost us almost NOTHING) lots of meals I can prep the night before or make in the morning and get on the table in no time.

Monday: Spaghetti and Salad  (Mondays are often uninspired :(  I usually work Sunday and Monday nights so it always has to be something easy that hubs and kiddos can handle on their own)

Tuesday: Crock Pot Chicken Stew with Dumplings. Using the leftover Chicken and stock I made from our Cobb Salads on Friday!   Can't wait to post this yummy recipe tomorrow! 

Wednesday:  Easy Shells and Cheese with Steamed Broccoli & Cauliflower

Thursday: Valentine's Day!  Breakfast for dinner-definitely a favorite of the kids .
I'm going to surprise them with some cute ideas from Pinterest, I will feature them for SPD link up on Thursday. Stay Tuned....

Friday:  Shrimp and Sausage  over bowtie pasta with spinach salads.
Recipe based on Skinnytaste Bangin' Grilled Shrimp Skewers (We have a few non shrimp eaters so I have to add in the Sausage!)

Saturday: Crockpot French Dip Sandwiches I can't wait to try this recipe from the Happy Housewife! 

Sunday: Hubs and I both have to work and kiddos are off with the Grandparents for the day!

Time to get geared up for a crazy one! 

What are some of your quick and easy go to recipes?


Shells and Cheese!

Shells and Cheese
My kiddos are big fans of Mac and Cheese.  In the quest to give them less processed foods but still give them their fav dishes, I have become somewhat a master at mac and cheese.  We loved baked mac and cheese with all the crusty goodness on top but this was an easy on the go recipe for one of our crazy nights.
Here's an easy Shells and Cheese recipe that you can pull off in just 15 minutes if you gather your ingredients before hand!!
1 box of Pasta of your choice (I used mini shells)
1/4 c. flour
1/4 c. butter
2 cups of Milk
4 oz. Hunters Sharp Cabot Cheese (grated)
8 oz. bag Shredded Sharp Cheddar (I used Sargento this time)
Salt and Pepper
Pinch of nutmeg
First get your water boiling!  This sauce works up so quickly you really need to get your pasta going first!  Cook pasta according to box directions.
Heat a skillet on med/high heat.

Melt the butter, add the flour to the butter whisking constantly until there are no lumps and turn the heat down to med.
until the sauce has thickened.  Season with salt, pepper and a tiny bit of grated nutmeg.

Add your cheeses and remove from heat, mixing until all the cheese is melted.
At this point you should be ready to drain your pasta. (If not remember to stir the cheese mixture often so it won't form a skin on top)

Add the pasta to the cheese mixture, stir gently until all the pasta is coated with the cheesy goodness!
Serve and enjoy!

What are some processed food you have converted into Homemade Goodness?