Category Archives: What we’re up to

Week in Review: Keepin’ it Simple

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This week we started out with hubby still out of town. Last minute trip to Portugal, cool, huh?!  At least it was cool until I took all three kids to church by myself. Thank goodness we ate dinner before church since Ryan really sucked the life out of me while we were there. From pulling his pants down (including underwear!) to screaming “alleluia” during the homily it was non-stop crisis management with no Olivia Pope in sight. Luckily we kept dinners easy this week to help us recover from the weekend.

Hubby was making silly faces and had our Chloe giggling!  Thank goodness he's back!

Hubby was making silly faces and had our Chloe giggling! Thank goodness he’s back!

Sunday: Meaty Mushroom Ragu and Salad.  I love mushrooms and try to eat them as much as possible when hubby is not home for dinner. Mushrooms and pasta, such a perfect combination, yet this pasta just didn’t deliver. The pasta shape didn’t feel right for the sauce and the flavors in the sauce didn’t feel like they were working together, more like they were competing. We already deleted his recipe from our meal planning app. At least the salad was good!

Monday: Leftovers.  Hubs was still out-of-town for dinner so I kept it easy. Leftovers with another salad. I bought some balsamic “creme” for drizzling and it is tart and slightly sweet and the kids will eat just about anything with this stuff drizzled on top!

Prepping for Valentine's Day with our favorite: Reese's Hearts!

Prepping for Valentine’s Day with our favorite: Reese’s Hearts!

Tuesday: Mexican restaurant with friends.  Friends of ours introduced us to a restaurant that has a kids play room, genius!

Wednesday: Leftovers. We still had some leftovers in the fridge so we stuck to our usual Wednesday leftovers plan.  Ciao, meaty mushroom ragu!

Thursday: Gnocchi with sausage and tomato. I had a meeting over dinner so hubby made some gnocchi with turkey sausage and a can of diced tomatoes and some other spices. Gnocchi and turkey sausage are two of our fave freezer staples these days.

Friday: Frozen pizza and salad. We are in teething crisis mode with Chloe and this week felt SO long so we kept it easy with a frozen pizza and salad. Ryan claimed he didn’t want the pizza since it had pineapple on it so he just ate salad. Gotta love the balsamic drizzle!

Frozen Hawaiian Pizza and Salad made for an easy Friday night meal.

Frozen Hawaiian Pizza and Salad made for an easy Friday night meal.

Saturday: Spicy penne, “lunch for dinner”, hubby had leftover gnocchi.  We putzed around at the grocery store so we ended up arriving at home right around 6pm. Oopsie!  I quickly made the kiddos a sandwich and have them some fruit, pickles and a cheese stick then hubs and I were left to fend for ourselves.  He opted for the leftover gnocchi and I quickly made penne with spicy tomato sauce, similar to the one in the Mediterranean Vegan Kitchen.

What did you eat this week?  What are you planning on having for Mardi Gras and Valentine’s Day?  Thanks for reading!  Have a great week!

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Week In Review: Salad of my dreams

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We try a lot of new recipes around here.  Pretty much every week we are trying something new.  This was a habit I got into when I worked as a clinical dietitian and I had clients that needed recipe recommendations and it has since spiraled into an obsession with trying new recipes.  The crazy thing about it is that usually we are trying new recipes and can say that they taste great…like that other thing we had however long ago.  It is a rare thing when we taste something that really tastes like nothing we have ever had  before.  We had this sort of experience with the kale salad this week.  It was really a Caesar salad with Caesar in quotations.  Caesar salad just doesn’t do this salad justice.  And kale salad, pfff.  You may think kale salad is SO 2015.  It’s not.  This salad is literally the salad of my dreams.  You’re welcome that I linked it below. 🙂

Hello, lovahhhhh!  This kale Caesar has really been starring in my dreams lately.

Hello, lovahhhhh! This kale Caesar has really been starring in my dreams lately.

Sunday: Kale “Caesar” Salad and Pasta with Abruzzi-Style Lamb Sauce. Let me just start by saying that the pasta was good.  The sauce definitely had a slight gamey flavor with the lamb, but if you like lamb {we do} then you will like it.  Now, about the salad.  Oh my goodness!  This may be my new favorite salad of all time.  It was the best Caesar salad I have ever had in my whole life.  It made me fall even more in love with Damaris Phillips than I already am.  We might make the pasta again, but we will definitely make the salad again.  Maybe everyday.  It was that good.

Monday: Korean-Style Chicken WrapsI signed up to bring a meal to a mama with a new baby (cutest baby of all time, next to my kiddos, of course!) who has a deployed hubby.  What a hard gig she has!  I decided to make one of our fave Asian recipes since it has the best homemade Korean barbecue sauce ever.  By some miracle the weather was gorgeous and hubs was able to actually grill the chicken outside. If you are looking for some new, un-run-of-the-mill chicken recipes that are perfect for weeknights check out this cookbook from Food & Wine (just click the image below).  You will be glad you did!

Tuesday: Chicken Cassoulet-Style SoupI couldn’t decide what to have for dinner and wanted something meaty and hearty and bean-y so I looked at my pantry and freezer staples and decided to make this.  It is SO easy to make and we all love it.  We just toss it together then it simmers for a little bit and then dinner is ready.  So quick and so yummy.

This pantry/freezer staple soup is a lifesaver on nights I can't decide what to make for dinner.

This pantry/freezer staple soup is a lifesaver on nights I can’t decide what to make for dinner.

Wednesday: Leftovers.  Easiest day of the week!

Thursday: Citrus and Chile Braised Short Ribs with Cucumber SaladWe really liked this one but it pains me how much inedible portion there is with short ribs.  I’m  not even going to go into how un-dietitian-like short ribs are as a cut of meat.  But how much you pay for the bones that you can’t even eat?! I die.  Sure, bone both is super trendy, but c’mon.  Anyway, we did really like the flavor of this and it was easy to make so we will make this recipe again, but with a different cut.  I was thinking maybe flank steak because it is lean or a pot roast since they are budget friendly and it is easy to pick the healthy meat portion away from the fatty parts.

My sweet Chloe is 11 months already!  Where has the time gone?!

My sweet Chloe is 11 months already! Where has the time gone?!

 

Friday: Thai Chicken Curry with Jasmine Rice.  To be fair, maybe the curry that we used wasn’t quite strong enough.  We bought a wimpy, mild one so that the kids would eat it.  The flavor of the coconut milk came through which was great, but it just tasted like gravy and not curry.  It really didn’t hit the mark for us so we won’t make this one again.

Thank goodness for long roasts and slow cookers during baby teething season!

Thank goodness for long roasts and slow cookers during baby teething season!

Saturday: Steamed Kielbasa, Sauerkraut and PierogiesHubby ended up going on a work trip last minute…to Portugal.  Poor him, right?  At least I had heard about it on Friday so I was able to go to the grocery store and get what I needed to make this slow cooker recipe that is my absolute favorite slow cooker recipe.  This recipe is a great alternative to slow cooker stews and super quick to put together.  If you like any of the ingredients in the recipe name I urge you to give it a try.  If you are interested in more recipes like this check out Family Circle magazine.  We have been subscribing for a few years and it is one of my new faves: a little fashion, a little home, a little kids and hubby, and some recipes! I love it!  Click the image below to find out more info and to subscribe!

Thanks so much for reading!  Did you have anything great to eat this week?  I’d love to know in the comments section below!

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Week in review: Thumbs down, thumbs up

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This past week we had some interesting meals.  Interesting.  Not always a good word, right?  When I dyed my hair back to red some people said it was “interesting”…not good, yet maybe not bad?  That was how our week started out.  It got better quickly, luckily!  I guess this is what happens with my obsession with always trying new recipes.  It is times like this when I am reminded it really is necessary to try recipes before making them for guests.  Here is our week in review:

Sunday: Peruvian-Style Pasta Bolognese and salad. This one sounded so good. The spices, the ginger, the tomatoes! Pasta! What could go wrong?! Well, a lot apparently. To be fair, this recipe was not bad, but it was just not what we expected. Kinda like when you order a mocha at the coffee shop and they make you a latte. The latte isn’t bad, just not what you had wrapped your mind around and prepared your palate for. We won’t be making this one again. On a positive note, making a weirdish pasta was a great way to get the kiddos to eat second helpings of salad!

It smelled amazing and looked great but this Peruvian Bolognese just didn't quite work.

It smelled amazing and looked great but this Peruvian Bolognese just didn’t quite work.

Monday: Red Beans and Rice.  This is an oldie and a goody. We love “RBR”!  I am still trying to find the source for the original recipe so I can share it with you. Yum!

Red Beans and Rice never, ever lets me down.

Red Beans and Rice never, ever lets me down.

Tuesday: Authentic Bangladeshi Beef Curry, Asian Cucumber Salad, Basmati rice.  This meal was the antithesis of the Peruvian bolognese. I wanted something different, something out of our ordinary. This was even better than I hoped. We were supposed to save some for leftovers but we ate every last morsel. We left out the cayenne so it would be a little more kid-friendly. The sauce was still a tad spicy, but we tried to just fish the beef out for the kids and hoarded the sauce for ourselves. If you love beef stew and are looking for a more exotic version this is it. This is a must-try. 

This beef curry was my redemption after the Bolognese. This one is a keeper! I have since had dreams of this curry. It is that good.

This beef curry was my redemption after the Bolognese. This one is a keeper! I have since had dreams of this curry. It is that good.

Wednesday: Turkey Sausage-Gnocchi Soup.  We always have the ingredients on-hand to make this. A few freezer and pantry staples, no chopping, dinner in twenty minutes. Perfect option for the end of a long day. 

Thursday: Leftovers.  Easiest day of the week. I had the rest of the Peruvian pasta. It was still perplexing. Hubby bubby had the RBR. That gives me wife bonus points, right?

Friday:  Latin baked chicken, Rice, Roasted Broccoli.  We love this recipe and hadn’t had it in forever. There are five ingredients. Super easy and really flavorful. We set aside some of the sauce to use on the chicken for the kiddos before adding the chipotles. This chicken would be great sliced and served in tacos, too. 

What was the best thing you ate this week?  I’d love to know in the comment section below.  I hope you like the links to the recipes.  Thanks for reading!  I hope you come back soon!

Saturday we headed to Strasbourg, France for some yummy Alsacian food!

Saturday we headed to Strasbourg, France for some yummy Alsatian food!

 

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Thanksgiving Menu Part 1

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Usually I have our Thanksgiving menu finalized weeks in advance.  Maybe it is the third kid factor, but for some reason I was way behind on finishing it up.  With less than a week to go I have finally finished the menu and I think this will be a yummy Thanksgiving this year.  Over the past 8 years or so we have been tweaking our menu so that we can have a pretty relaxing Thanksgiving even though we have a LOT of food.  Here are the dishes that we have on our menu that we are able to prep a few days and some even a few weeks in advance.

Cranberry Bars: This recipe has been on our menu forever.  It was published in Gourmet magazine before Conde Nast made the awful decision to nix it.  I usually make these a few days before Thanksgiving since they keep well in an airtight container.  That is, if we don’t eat them all before Thanksgiving.  I may have to make a second batch since these are one of our “snacks” for Thanksgiving and knowing that makes it seem totally fine to nibble on them all week.  Kind of like having Halloween candy around before Halloween. 

Sweet and tart cranberries atop a crumbly shortbread make for the perfect all-day snack on Thanksgiving.

Sweet and tart cranberries atop a crumbly shortbread make for the perfect all-day snack on Thanksgiving.

Cranberry Sauce with Port and Tangerine: This is another of our favorite Thanksgiving recipes.  I usually double it since we love it so much and we use it in our breakfast on Thanksgiving.  I love to make this recipe because not only does it taste great, it is really fun to watch the cranberries burst!  I am a food science nerd!

Turkey Leg Confit: This is a new recipe for us this year.  I wasn’t able to find duck fat but I did find some goose fat so we are going to try that instead.  And I am not roasting the breasts as the recipe calls for.  We are making this ahead because we love dark meat and who doesn’t love anything that braises in fat? Since we are making it ahead it will give us extra dark meat and not require the oven on the day of.  Win-win.  (We’re going to make a porchetta-style turkey breast with the breast to have for dinner early in the week…we’ll be gobbling soon!).  We’ll be making this one on the Tuesday before Thanksgiving. 

Turkey Stock: This year I roasted a turkey early so that I could make some homemade stock since I haven’t found a store bought option that I like.  I froze the stock in quart size freezer bags…and had almost a bowlful before I finished putting it away.  This recipe calls for roasting the veggies before adding them to the stock and I think that is what makes this stock AMAZING!

Roasting veggies for our turkey stock in our teeny tiny German oven...with no oven light.  Reminds me to be thankful that we do have an oven and food to put in it.

Roasting veggies for our turkey stock in our teeny tiny German oven…with no oven light. Reminds me to be thankful that we do have an oven and food to put in it.

Cider GravySince we do a non-traditional turkey I realized last year that I need to have “normal” gravy to go with stuffing and mashed potatoes.  I roasted a turkey this week so that I could make the stock AND this yummy gravy.  We used just a smidge of it when we ate the turkey and I froze the rest. 

Pumpkin Five-Spice Ice Cream: If you live in Ohio you can swing by a fancy grocery store to find this fresh from Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams.  I have the Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams at Home cookbook and am obsessed with it.  We had this ice cream last year and it was a big hit so we made it again.  Since ice creams can stay happy in the freezer I usually start making them a few weeks ahead.  This year I was “so behind” since I just made it a few days ago!

Cranberry Royale Sorbet: Since I am cranberry obsessed and love a nice sparkling wine this one just had to be on the menu.  A scoop in a champagne glass topped with Prosecco…I die.  This is just one of the reasons I cleaned out all of the fresh cranberries at the grocery store yesterday. (Sorry to anyone else needing them 🙂 ).

I put most of the turkey stock in the freezer in quart size bags and laid them flat to freeze quickly and use our space well.  I saved this quart of dark golden goodness to use this week to make some soup.  Yum!

I put most of the turkey stock in the freezer in quart size bags and laid them flat to freeze quickly and use our space well. I saved this quart of dark golden goodness to use this week to make some soup. Yum!

Baked Apple Sorbet: This is one we had last year and was super easy and yummy so we are having it again.  If you have never made homemade ice cream (or sorbet) this is a great one to start with.  You just bake some apples with spices, blend it and then whizzzzz it in the ice cream maker.  Could. Not. Be. Easier.

Gucci Muu Muu (Chocolate Ice Cream with Coconut). Hubby bubby requested a chocolaty ice cream for Thanksgiving this year so we are trying this one out.  I haven’t made this before, but since the recipes in the Jeni’s book use a similar process it should turn out well and be kid friendly to boot!

Garlicky Potato Apple Soup: We are trying a new soup this year since we can’t find the recipe for the best ever soup we had a few years ago and didn’t love the one from last year.  We will make the soup the weekend before Thanksgiving and then freeze it in baby food ice cube trays.  We heat it up on the stove on Thanksgiving and then have it in a slow cooker for when guests arrive since I feel like the eating should really be a marathon.  A cranberry bar here, some soup there…perfect way to warm up for the big meal.

This is the best gravy separator of all time.  When you squeeze the handle the good stuff drains from the bottom and you can leave the fat in the separator.  Genius!

This is the best gravy separator of all time. When you squeeze the handle the good stuff drains from the bottom and you can leave the fat in the separator. Genius!

What are your favorite make-ahead Thanksgiving recipes?  What is your best tip for a relaxing Thanksgiving?  I hope you like the links to all of the recipe sources.  Let me know in the comments section below!

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Thanksgiving Dry Run

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I have a confession.  I think about Thanksgiving all year long.  I start planning the menu at the first sign of weather turning chilly.  Usually I start making ice cream several weeks before Thanksgiving.  I had an almost panicked moment, “I’m so far behind!” We have no ice cream in our freezer, gasp!  A few deep breaths later I realized that most normal people are still planning their Thanksgiving meals, too.  Our menu this week is our dry run for roasting a turkey in our brand new oven.  Fingers crossed that it goes well!

Sunday: Fettuccine with Sausage and Kale and salad.  Since this is the week before Thanksgiving (aka crunch time) I decided to add a few things to the menu that we’ve had before. Even though I’ll still have to make them it will be nice to have my cooking brain on auto-pilot for a few meals.  This fettuccine was super easy and we all loved it.  I think I even spotted Ryan eating some of the kale!

We love pasta. I usually save some of the pasta boiling water in case our sauce needs a little more pizza.

We love pasta. I usually save some of the pasta boiling water in case our sauce needs a little more pizza.

Monday: Ribollita. If you have never had ribollita you must try this recipe. It is such a hearty soup that hubby bubby not only doesn’t mind that there is soup on the menu but he LOVES this recipe!  There are so many veggies and beans and just a little smidge of pancetta (we are using bacon this time) so it is not only hearty but healthy to boot. 

Tuesday: Sage Butter-Roasted Turkey with Cider Gravy, Apple and Pistachio Brussels Sprout Salad and some kind of potatoes. This is our Thanksgiving dry run. When we were at the grocery store hubby bubby caught me trying to add three turkeys to our cart.  They are frozen, what is a girl to do?  I need to get them all early enough so that I can thaw them safely.  He reminded me that we don’t have that much fridge space so I reluctantly put one back.  So, I ended up getting a ten pounder for today and a fourteen pounder to test thawing times.  Wish me luck!

Wednesday: Leftover Makeover with Turkey Tortas.  Usually we just have boring leftovers that I don’t try to fancy up at all. I think that might be a New Year’s Resolution in the works…do a better job with leftovers.  Anywho, this week we get one of the best leftover items evahhhhh.  I made this last year the day after Thanksgiving and it was amazing.  It is worth roasting a turkey just to have this torta.  For reals.

I know kale is "so last year" but who couldn't love these beauties?

I know kale is “so last year” but who couldn’t love these beauties?

Thursday: Spicy Pumpkin Chili.  This is one we haven’t tried before but it sounds so amazing and we have a gazillion cans of pumpkin so I just had to put it on the menu.  Hannah has dance in the afternoon so I am planning to get it finished before we leave for dance and then just keep it in our slow cooker on low until we get home.  What is better than chili on a cold Fall day?

Friday: Parents’ Night Out! Woohoo! We will give the kiddos some leftovers before we drop them off and then hubby bubby and I will go out for a hot date.  I’m not sure where we’ll go yet.  Guess I should start figuring that out!

We sure do love these kiddos, but what parents don't need a night out every now and then, right?!

We sure do love these kiddos, but what parents don’t need a night out every now and then, right?!

Saturday: Buffalo Chicken Buffalitos.  The chicken recipe is a slow cooker fave (I leave out the margarine) and I use it to make our version of the Buffalitos they have on the menu at Buffalo Wild Wings. I just shred some lettuce and pick up some pico de gallo and tortillas and they are divine.  Perfect for some college football watching.

This week I added links to all of the recipes we’ll be having. Hopefully you like them!  Let me know in the comments below.  Have a delicious week!

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Leftovers Galore

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This week we had friends over mid-week and I am finally getting into a groove with meal planning since our big move to Germany. I have been thinking about our usual week and trying to plan meals that work with our schedule. We don’t have any kid activities on Tuesday afternoons so those are days that I can make a dinner that may take more time.  This is a big week for Hannah since we just found out that a space opened up for her to go to pre-K instead of the part-day preschool she has been going to. She will have homework and is allowed to bring a backpack. She’s a pretty big deal and could not be more excited!

Good thing Hannah has been working on her reading (note the box of spaghetti on the way home from the grocery store).  She's definitely going to be ready for pre-K in a few weeks!

Good thing Hannah has been working on her reading (note the box of spaghetti on the way home from the grocery store). She’s definitely going to be ready for pre-K in a few weeks!

Sunday: Leftovers. We ran a little (a lot) late going to the grocery store. We didn’t make it there until almost 1pm! We usually make it there by 11am. Needless to say our whole schedule for the day was thrown off so we didn’t have time to make dinner before church. We peeked in the fridge and realized we had leftovers. Score! Lifesaver!

Monday: Skinny Thai Chicken Meatballs with Peanut Sauce with Edamame. This was SO fun to make! Do you have any kitchen gadgets that you love to use? For me it is my cookie scooper. I think I love to harness my inner lunch lady. I used my 2 tablespoon cookie scoop to scoop up the meatballs. It really was a win-win since I didn’t get my hands icky (this is always good when the three kiddos are running rampant) and it portioned the meatballs evenly. Love that! I kept half of the meatballs out of the sauce so that the kids would have some that were not spicy and they tore it up. I forgot how edamame obsessed Ryan is and only had one bag of the steamable edamame. Ryan let the rest of us have a few, luckily. Big thank you to JoCooks.com for the awesome recipe!

Anything that allows me to use my cookie scoop is a winner for me.  I LOVE meatballs!!!!

Anything that allows me to use my cookie scoop is a winner for me. I LOVE meatballs!!!!

Tuesday: Aleppo Pepper-Roasted Pork with Shallot Vinaigrette, Pasta Salad with Walnuts, Gorgonzola and Mozzarella and Salted Chocolate Chunk Peanut Butter Cookies. I recently decided that weeknights are the best nights evahhhh for entertaining. I picked a recipe this time that hubby hadn’t had yet since I made it for my fam when I was visiting them in May. This pork is a must-try. Really. Super easy since you just prep the rub the night before and then just pop it in the oven. While it roasted I was able to make the vinaigrette, prep the pasta, bake cookies and even clean up a little. 🙂 The cookies are a must try, too. Kinda like a Reese’s cup in cookie form with some salt…yum!

Wednesday: Kielbasa and ‘Kraut. This was a Rachael Ray recipe that I really liked but hubby didn’t dig so much. Everyone ate the kielbasa and onions. Ryan was weirded out that our apples got mushy. He also did not approve of the ‘kraut on his potatoes. We ended up with tons of potatoes and ‘kraut left and ran out of kielbasa. Ugh. I thought it was good, but not as good as my fave slow cooker recipe with pierogis. And with hubs not liking it we ended up just deleting this one from my recipe organizer. So sad.

Daddy had a tough job while I made the kielbasa and 'kraut: snuggling the littlest angel.

Daddy had a tough job while I made the kielbasa and ‘kraut: snuggling the littlest angel.

Thursday: Carrabba’s Chicken Bryan, Pasta with Herb Sauce and Salad. This is hubby’s fave meal and he wanted to have it earlier in the week but I had already had the beginning of the week planned so we just filled it in for Thursday. We have made it so many times that it is pretty easy for us to pull it together. The pasta is one we found in the Joy of Cooking a looooong time ago and have made so many times. I really need to make sure I plant some oregano, marjoram and chives in my herb garden next year.

Friday: Date night. Hubby wasn’t feeling good and got progressively worse throughout the day so we ended up just having leftovers. At least we had one of his fave meals on Thursday so leftovers were not too shabby.

Saturday: Leftovers. We still had a lot of random bits of dinners from the week left so we decided to just take it easy and have leftovers. Thank goodness we had some good food this week!

She IS so cute it's scary!  Guess I should actually put this shirt away now that it is past Halloween.  If anyone is interested in this cute shirt it is a 9 mo size...send me a message on my "contact me" page and it's yours!

She IS so cute it’s scary! Guess I should actually put this shirt away now that it is past Halloween. If anyone is interested in this cute shirt it is a 9 mo size…send me a message on my “contact me” page and it’s yours!

How did your dinners go this week?  What is your favorite day of the week to entertain?  I’d love to know in the comments section below!

 

 

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Happy Halloween!

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This week has flown by and it makes me feel so OLD to say that! I suppose having Halloween fall on a weekend made me pretend it wasn’t coming most of the week and then whamo! Halloween came and went and I am still not sure where Chloe’s costume is that I bought last year for her when I was pregnant. I am pretty sure it is a giraffe. Luckily I did at least pay attention when I was putting away most of our other holiday stuff in our storage closet and remembered exactly where the big kiddos trick-or-treating buckets were. I snagged them right before we headed out the door so they didn’t glow in the dark, but at least we had them!

Thank goodness for the fennel and onions in the pork dish!

Thank goodness for the fennel and onions in the pork dish!

Thursday: Pork Chops Simmered in Spiced Tomato Sauce with pasta and salad. I really had high hopes for this one and it just fell flat. I usually love the combination of pork and tomatoes and none of us really liked this. I was hoping that more of the spice flavors from the curry powder and coriander would come through. Hubby bubby said it tasted just like a pork chop with a jar of tomato sauce poured on it. I have to agree. The good thing was that it had fennel and onion in it and I love me some fennel and onion with pasta so I hoarded all of the veggie part for myself.

The pork chops started off so well.  Look at that sear!  I LOVE my Le Creuset skillet!

The pork chops started off so well. Look at that sear! I LOVE my Le Creuset skillet!

Friday: Skinny Thai Chicken Meatballs with Peanut Sauce, Cucumber Salad and Edamame. I had great intentions of making this when I went to the grocery store on Thursday and grabbed some ***frozen*** packages of ground chicken. Uh. Woopsie. The store doesn’t have fresh ground chicken and I hadn’t bought it earlier in the week. When I checked it Friday morning it was rock hard. I have had bad luck with defrosting in the microwave (cooking some of the meat while the rest of the meat is still frozen and then the microwave smells like funk). We are also trying to be more Euro and are watching our water consumption so thawing under running water did not seem like a feasible option. Hubby bubby had a late lunch at work so he wasn’t super hungry and the rest of us just had leftovers. Hopefully the meat with thaw in time for us to have this on Sunday!

First trunk or treat then trick or treat...then home to have Germans trick or treat at our house!  I didn't realize they adopted this tradition!

First trunk or treat then trick or treat…then home to have Germans trick or treat at our house! I didn’t realize they adopted this tradition!

Our little Elmo fell asleep on the way to trick or treat.  So cute!

Our little Elmo fell asleep on the way to trick or treat. So cute!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Saturday: Happy Halloween! Since we had leftovers last night we decided to get some Chinese take-out. It was passable, but has nothin’ on Chengtu in East Syracuse, NY or Tsao’s Cuisine in Fairborn, Ohio. I guess I will just stick with my take-out fake out meals made at home for now. At least there was some great candy to be had. I definitely consumed my fair share of Reese’s peanut butter cup pumpkins. I bought six bags of them when I found them at the store the other day. I think I have a problem. Very not dietitian-like! 

I told myself that I needed enough to last me until the Reese's Christmas trees come out.

I told myself that I needed enough to last me until the Reese’s Christmas trees come out.

What was your best Halloween find this year? I’d love to know in the comments section below!
Check back soon to see what we are cookin’ up next week!

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Yummy Blog Food

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Hannah enjoyed some apfelschorle (apple juice mixed with sparkling water) at the castle.

Hannah enjoyed some apfelschorle (apple juice mixed with sparkling water) at the castle.

Hubby bubby was out of town last week and we survived our first week with me as the solo parent of the three kiddos. The hardest part of him being gone was that the dogs ignored me every time I wanted them to come inside. Am I the only one this happens to? I guess hubby bubby is their only pack leader. Ugh, oh well! The kids and I had fun making food together and taking a road trip to a castle. It is so fun that there are castles all around here in Germany! I should have known better than to take all three kids on a guided castle tour…Ryan was so loud! He kept yelling, “DANKE! BITTE!” (thank you, please). Oy vey. Should I at least be happy he was using some German? Now that hubs is back and we are feeling more settled we are going to start having people over and he is back to brewing beer. So fun! Here is what we’ll be having for our family dinners this week.

Sunday: Boiled dinner. We started this one off on the stove and finished it in the slow cooker so we could head to church (without hubby bubby, so proud of myself!). Hannah loved all of it, but Ryan ate mostly the ham and potatoes. I’m not sure if that was because he didn’t want the rest or if he was just too busy giggling about how he pulled his pants down in church. He really went there. I hope the little girl sitting next to us is not scarred for life!

My mom used to always make boiled dinner (ham, cabbage, carrots, potatoes) for us when I was growing up. Still such a comfort food!

My mom used to always make boiled dinner (ham, cabbage, carrots, potatoes) for us when I was growing up. Still such a comfort food!

Monday: Hearty Pumpkin Potato Soup. This one was a recipe I just downloaded from one of my new favorite blogs, betterinbulk.net. It was amazing! It was packed with veggies and sausage and was a cinch to make. Ryan doesn’t like wilted spinach so I left the spinach in leaves so it was easier for him to eat around it without whining. It felt like a yummy soup you could get from Panera. Mmm. I am calling dibs on this for leftover night!

Tuesday: Beer Braised Chicken and Peas, Giada’s Mashed Potatoes, Carrot Salad (we call them “Bobby carrots”), Romaine Salad with Parmesan Vinaigrette (but without Romaine) and Healthy Dark Chocolate Chunk Oatmeal Cookie bars. We had some friends over to celebrate hubby bubby’s first brewing session in our new house and somehow I actually managed to stick to the menu that I planned. Miracle! I thinned out some potatoes for Chloe and she gobbled them up. Overall I think everything turned out pretty good. I think my favorites are the Bobby carrots and the cookie bars. Yum! The cookie bar recipe is one I have now made probably about thirty times and is from another of my fave blogs, halfbakedharvest.com.

Wednesday: Leftovers. I doubled the salad dressing yesterday so that I can just toss it on some spinach (Ryan recently decided he loves spinach salads) and have that to go along with everything else. I am kicking myself that I haven’t gotten the most adorable Polish pottery soup and salad/sandwich plates. How cute would that be: some pumpkin potato soup and spinach salad on some new Polish pottery? I guess there is always next week.

This hearty pumpkin potato soup was perfect for Fall.

This hearty pumpkin potato soup was perfect for Fall.

Thursday: Pork Chops Simmered in Spiced Tomato Sauce with pasta and salad. Hubby bubby loves pork so I am trying to include lean pork in our menus more often. We all love pasta so it should be a hit. If all else fails I’ll at least have some spinach for Ryan’s salad. 🙂

Friday: Skinny Thai Chicken Meatballs with Peanut Sauce, Cucumber Salad and Edamame. It just hit me that I planned a week of meals with recipes from tons of great blogs. The thai chicken meatballs are from jocooks.com. The pictures look SO good! I definitely do not have the food styling skills like a lot of other bloggers out there. I love having Asian food on Fridays and who doesn’t love a meatball?

This little angel is 8 months old already! I cannot believe it! (Said like Quincy from Little Einsteins. :) )

This little angel is 8 months old already! I cannot believe it! (Said like Quincy from Little Einsteins. 🙂 )

Saturday: Happy Halloween! I am not sure what we’ll have for dinner on Halloween. I’m hoping we’ll have enough leftovers left that we can just eat a quick bite of leftovers before trick-or-treating and then sustain ourselves on Reese’s pumpkins the rest of the evening.

 Happy Halloween! What are you planning for your dinners this week? Is there an awesome food blog you love? I’d love to know in the comments section below!

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I heart routines!

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After a whirlwind of our first few months in Germany I am loving being back in a routine. Sure, I like excitement and travel, but there is something really comforting and cozy about Fall that I just adore. We definitely did some splurging over the last few months and now that we are really starting to feel settled we are eating more like our “normal” with meal planning and most of our meals being healthy options. Lucky for me Chloe is still breastfeeding, but for hubby bubby with a PT (physical fitness) test coming up (aren’t they always?!) he is happy that we are having healthier meals so it is easier for him to get back to his usual fitness level. Here is what we will be cookin’ up this week:

We'll definitely have some salad or a veggie to help keep our portion sizes in check for our heartier meals this week.

We’ll definitely have some salad or a veggie to help keep our portion sizes in check for our heartier meals this week.

Sunday: Skirt Steak Fajitas with Grilled Cabbage and Scallions. We just had these last night and they are now my very favorite ever steak fajitas. The marinade was SO good. I think the smoked paprika is what clinched it for all of us. It was not spicy, but just the right amount of smoky yumminess. We all devoured this. I was feeding Chloe while the rest of the fam was digging in and Ryan kept asking me if he could have some of my steak…gotta keep an eye on that one!

Monday: Penne alla Senese with salad or green beans. Remember that whole “we’re back to eating healthy” thing I mentioned? That doesn’t apply to this meal. Ya gotta live a little, right? As every great dietitian says, “there is room for anything in a healthy diet”…just not a lot of it. Portion sizes will be key for this pasta as it contains not only sausage and heavy cream, but some parmesan and mascarpone to boot. I can’t wait!

This little angel loves eating and wearing her fruit!

This little angel loves eating and wearing her fruit!

Tuesday: Slow-Roasted Pork Shoulder with Mustard and Sage, Salad, Giada’s Mashed Potatoes. We are home all afternoon this Tuesday so it is the perfect day for a slow-roasted pork dish. I have been trying to break our chicken and beef rut with a variety of proteins so hopefully I won’t disappoint myself with this pork shoulder. I keep thinking that a lot of the fat will melt away as it roasts, but I do keep second-guessing if I should have just opted for leaner pork loin. We shall see.

Wednesday: Leftovers. Wednesday is definitely our busiest day of the week so it is the perfect day for us to have leftovers. Both big kids have activities in the morning and then part-day preschool in the afternoon followed by swimming lessons. Hopefully we’ll actually have enough leftovers this week that this plan doesn’t go awry. The last few weeks we have been eating too much so we have only scraps left by leftover day. If that happens again it’ll be PBJ night!

Go Gators!  Our newest little Gator fan is almost big enough for her cheerleader outfit.  Yay!

Go Gators! Our newest little Gator fan is almost big enough for her cheerleader outfit. Yay!

Thursday: Spanish Stew Chicken Thighs with crusty bread. Hannah helped make the meal plan this week and wanted “chicken and pasta” for most nights. I gave her some choices and read off the ingredients in a few things and she wanted this one because it has celery in it and “celery is my favorite vegetable ever” she says. I don’t think there is a vegetable that she doesn’t like, but I think radishes’ feelings might be a little hurt these days.

Friday: Beef Noodle Soup. This is an Asian inspired noodle soup. I am a HUGE phan (hehe) of pho so I am hoping it is a little reminiscent of that. Hubby will be home late so I’m hoping we can sneak this one by him. At least I can say Hannah picked it, right?

Saturday: Slow Cooker Texas Smoked Beef Brisket. Hooray for college football! We FINALLY have internet and FINALLY have some television again. With the package of channels we are using the local stations of the major networks are from Miami so they will hopefully play lots of Florida Gator games. We are planning to do a little tailgate at home and the main dish will be the brisket. At some point I’ll figure out what to have with it.

I'm praying the beef noodle soup is almost as good as this pho from Linh's restaurant in Riverside, Ohio.  Theirs is amazing!

I’m praying the beef noodle soup is almost as good as this pho from Linh’s restaurant in Riverside, Ohio. Theirs is amazing!

What are you up to this week? Are you cookin’ up anything new or stickin’ with tried and true recipes? Let me know what recipes I should be trying in the comments section below. Have a great week!

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Back to school!

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Whew! I am sad to see our fun summer start to fade away, but am very much looking forward to wearing sweaters, eating stews and all things Fall. From what I hear my fave season is done right by Germans. I can’t wait to explore all of the markets and attend some pumpkin fests! We were able to get our big kiddos into preschool after much finagling and they are happy to start this week. Here’s what we’ll be up to this week:

Yummy doner box from Quda. Mmm.

Yummy doner box from Quda. Mmm.

Sunday: Quda. We were back from our trip after our usual dinner time so we decided to grab a quick dinner at the local kebab place. My favorite is the doner box which is a salad of cabbage and other veggies topped with some shaved chicken kebab and yogurt sauce. Yum!

Monday: Steak with potatoes and asparagus. Hubby was in the mood for steak so we made a quick trip to be store to grab the essentials. I like to tell myself that we buy the filet because it is such a lean cut. It also happens to be delicious! Hubby bubby made a quick rub for the steak and then grilled some little potatoes and asparagus. Our kiddos were fighting over the asparagus. I love when that happens! Ryan will surely be an expensive teenager. He ate about 6 ounces of filet! Yowza! Can’t say I blame him.

This little angel is so excited to be eating more purées at our mealtimes!

This little angel is so excited to be eating more purées at our mealtimes!

Tuesday: Cajun beans with chicken. I was not feeling so good so hubby bubby busted out the pressure cooker and grabbed a bag of beans from the pantry. It smelled so good, but I could only eat a few bites. At least it’ll make great leftovers for when I’m feeling better.

Wednesday: Out to dinner with friends! This is also the big kiddos’ first day of school! We are so lucky that some of our favorite people in Ohio also had the good fortune to get sent to Germany. They arrived a few days ago so we are going to show them our favorite Greek restaurant. The kids love the appetizer platter with grilled zucchini and eggplant. Ryan referred to them as pickles the last time we were there and was mad that I ate some. Guess I will have to leave them all for him his time!

Thursday: One-Pot Pork with Apple Cider & Potatoes. I am praying that there will actually be apple cider at the store because I really want to have this. A one-pot meal that has tons of Fall flavors (I shouldn’t rush Fall, but I can’t help it!) is just what I am craving.

These two are very excited to go back to school this week! Hard to believe this is the last year before Hannah goes to Kindergarten!

These two are very excited to go back to school this week! Hard to believe this is the last year before Hannah goes to Kindergarten!

Friday: Date night! We have found a babysitter! Hallelujah! Hopefully our silly kiddos and crazy dogs don’t scare her off. Now that the Germans’ summer holiday is over we are hoping to hit up a fun restaurant in Kaiserslautern.

Saturday: Indian Masala Chili. Another one-pot meal, but this time a hearty stew with warming Indian spices. There should be some fun festivals going on so I am planning to prep it early in the day and let it simmer in my new shiny 220volt slow cooker.

What are you up to this week? Are you looking forward to Fall foods or clinging to the last bit of summery weather and foods? I’d love to know what your fave summer dish is! Let me know in the comments section below. Thanks for reading and have a great week!

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