Archive | EAT

NOVEMBER DINNERS

Seems like we’ve skipped the second half of fall and went straight to winter, and not just because of the bins of Christmas decorations sitting in our family room. It actually snowed over the weekend, which is not normal but does make turning on the oven that much more appealing! This morning we whipped up a batch of breakfast cookies and plan on making baked pasta tonight.

Here are a few other dinners on our menu plan this November!

12 DINNERS TO MAKE IN NOVEMBER

EASY

  • nachos (try this recipe!)
  • panini sandwiches
  • chicken fried rice (use a store-bought rotisserie chicken to save time!)
  • flatbread, french bread, or pita pizzas (just to mix things up a bit :)

MAKE AHEAD OR BAKED

30-45 MINS

Quick question for you guys… do you prefer the weekly meal plans with lunch, breakfast and snack ideas too (like this post), or a list of dinners for the month (like above)!?

Happy Hump Day!

xo, Rae

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BUTTERNUT SQUASH PASTA CARBONARA + 12 OCTOBER DINNERS

I may not be 100% ready to say goodbye to the summer heat and sunshine, but am fully ready to embrace all the yummy fall flavors and scents. Last night I made butternut squash pasta carbonara, a family favorite (6 out of 7 of us anyway!) this time of year, and wanted to share the recipe with you along with a list of other dinner ideas. My hope is that the list below helps inspire and make October meal planning a cinch!

Warm and cozy fall comfort foods, here we come!

PASTA CARBONARA WITH BUTTERNUT SQUASH SAUCE, takes 45 mins + serves 4-6

You’ll Need:

  • 3 cups cubed butternut squash, about 1 small squash
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons dried or fresh sage, optional
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • salt + pepper to taste
  • 1 teaspoon nutmeg (or more to taste)
  • 1-14oz can chicken broth
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream (1/2 + 1/2 or whole milk)
  • 8 (or more slices) of bacon, cooked and roughly chopped
  • 16oz. pasta of choice (linguini pictured)

Here’s How:

  1. Chop squash (here’s a handy video), onion and garlic and cook noodles according to package directions. Reserve 1 cup pasta water before draining and set aside (for sauce if needed). Cook bacon as desired and set aside.
  2. To make the sauce, heat oil in a large stockpot and add squash, onion and garlic. Add sage (optional), salt, pepper and nutmeg to taste. Sauté for 10 minutes. Add chicken broth and bring to a light boil for another 10 minutes. Stir in cream and remove from heat. Use an emersion blender (one of my favorite kitchen tools– so handy for soups and sauces and easy to clean!!!) to cream sauce or use a regular blender (just be sure to only fill 1/2 way when working with hot liquids so may need to blend in batches). If needed, add more chicken stock or pasta water to thin sauce.
  3. In the large stockpot, toss together noodles and sauce. Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste. Dish onto plates and top with bacon and parmesan.

So goooooood!

Anytime red sauce or pesto are involved my pasta of choice is usually penne so it’s easier and less messy for the kids to eat, but this butternut sauce is the perfect color and consistency for slurping, twirling and finger eating!

A list of 12 dinners that will be on rotation at our house this October below…

12 DINNERS TO MAKE IN OCTOBER

EASY

MAKE AHEAD 

30-45 MINS

(*perfect for halloween!)

What’s your favorite fall dinner?

Feeling so much better today…. thanks for all the well wishes! You guys are the best!

xo, Rae

 

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LUNCHBOX BITES: CHOCOLATE CHIP PUMPKIN PANCAKES FOR 2ND BREAKFAST

“Don’t forget your lunch!” season is in full swing around here. On top of that it seems the further we get into the school year the more rushed our mornings are. To make things easier I’ve been trying to whip up simple lunches that the kids are too excited about to not grab on their way out the door.

Leftovers are the first thing to pop in my head when I think about easy lunches, but they’re often not my kids’ favorite. However, last week I layered our pumpkin chocolate chip pancakes from breakfast (recipe below if you missed it on Instagram stories!) with cream cheese to make little sandwiches and they loved it… 2nd breakfast for lunch? Yes please!

Peep the pumpkin pancake recipe below and another little morning tip for you at the bottom of this post!

CHOCOLATE CHIP PUMPKIN PANCAKES

You’ll Need:

  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 cup whole or other milk
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup pure pumpkin
  • cinnamon, all spice and/or pumpkin pie spice (whatever you have on hand!), to taste!
  • chocolate chips as desired
  • whip cream, syrup, or cream cheese to top!

Here’s How:

  1. In a large mixing bowl, combine and mix all ingredients. (Side note: sometimes I’ll save the chocolate chips on the side  and sprinkle over the top of each pancake as I pour the batter)
  2. Spray or grease griddle and heat to med-low. Using a 1/4 measuring cup, pour batter and cook until sides of pancakes start to look cooked (the middle will still look gooey) and then flip. Cook other side until browned and middle is cooked through. If pancakes start to burn but the middle is still gooey, lower the heat on your griddle.
  3. Serve warm. Save leftovers for lunch or snack!

(bento lunch container, lunch bag, bento eye picks and alphabet picks)

Yesterday morning as we waited in the drop-off line at school I asked the kids, “What’s one or more things we were awesome at this morning and whats one thing we can be better about tomorrow?”

Their responses were so great and instead of feeling like, ugh, moms not happy with us this morning as they hopped out of the car they were laughing and happy and I think we were all excited to be able to try again the next morning. We’ll see if any of it sticks but I’m hopeful!

Do you guys have any tips for slowing down in the morning?

I’ll be sharing a couple more lunch ideas, that my kids love, that use leftovers over the next few weeks so stay tuned!

xo, Rae

TILLY | lunchbox by state, backpack from Rockets of Awesome, jacket from Peek Kids, tee is old from Peek Kids, leather (ochre color) hair clip from Ryan and Wren, converse from Nordstrom

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WE MADE IT + CREAMY PEANUT BUTTER APPLE DIP RECIPE

Cheeeyeck!

We made it though the first full week of back to school and I don’t think I’ve ever been so excited for FRI-YAYAYAYAYAY!

A quick recap of how things have been going… The kids love their teachers and I love hearing all about their day when they get home. The whole concept of having to go to school 5 days in a row has Griffin a bit confused, but every morning he gets up and is such a trooper and every night he falls asleep super fast. Tilly’s anxiety levels are at an all time high (or after a long beautiful summer, I just forgot how bad it gets) and no one but Ozzie and Espen seem to be able to stay asleep and in their own beds at night. Clearly we have some work to do, but I am feeling extra lucky these days to be doing life with them, their big brudder and their daddy too!!

With the weather getting colder and rain in the forecast next week, we decided to take advantage of the sunshine so packed up our after school snack and headed to a wooded trail area just a few minutes from our home.

Are you guys ready for a mind blowing apple dip? Make it this weekend and I promise you’ll have your family and guests singing your praises. Here’s a few other apple dip options.

PEANUT BUTTER APPLE DIP

  • 1/2 cup peanut butter
  • 8 oz cream cheese (pull from fridge 30 minutes or so before making so it’s warmed up a bit)
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  1. In a medium bowl, combine ingredients and then use a hand or stand mixer to whip together.
  2. Serve with sliced apples! Cover leftovers and store in the fridge.

I read somewhere this week that the outdoors makes the best playroom and I couldn’t agree more.

Griffey sandwich :) So fun to have all three of them at the same school this year.

Hope you all had the best week. Cheers to a fun weekend!

xo, Rae

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LITTLE BITES: UNICORN CRACKERS

If you have kids, chances are they’ve asked you for a snack all day everyday during the summer. It get’s a little tricky staying inspired while constantly feeding people for those couple months, but with school starting for my kids tomorrow, snack time is about to feel extra special. Having something fun to eat always seems to help get their attention while I ask a million questions about their day. ;)

A couple weeks ago I posted a quick snack tutorial on Instagram Stories (@raeannkelly) for making Unicorn Crackers and you guys loved the idea! Since stories are only available for 24 hours tho, I’ve been getting some DMs asking for the details again so thought I would share the how-to here. It also seems fitting with it being Back to School season — I mean, who doesn’t want to come home to Unicorn Crackers!?

UNICORN CRACKERS

You’ll Need:

Here’s How:

  1. Divide cream cheese into 4 bowls. Set 1 aside so you have white. Add food coloring to 3 other bowls according to package directions (I added 1/2 tsp of ours). Mix colors, but leave some streaks of darker and lighter shades.
  2. Using separate knives for each color, spread cream cheese onto crackers. Play around until you like how they look.
  3. Add sprinkles if you feel like it ;) + serve!

Don’t they look cute and delicious!? Be sure to share with friends and pin for safe keeping!

We’re headed to get haricuts this morning and then finish up some shopping for BTS. Can’t believe tomorrow is the big day and keep getting choked up over the smallest things. Gosh I’m going to miss my babies and probably even their request for a snack every 10 minutes, LOL.

I hope back to school season has been going smoothly for you guys!

xo, Rae

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FAVORITE GRILLED CHEESE SANDWICHES + A MEAL PLAN

(Griffin’s cute tee is 15% off through Labor Day weekend at GrilledCheeseFriday with code: GCF15)

Remember our Beecher’s grilled cheese at Pike Place Market, fail? Well, we made up for it by playing around with different grilled cheese combos at home. Sharing our favorites below, but first a meal plan for next week!

MONDAY | steak (this recipe looks yummy!), roasted potatoes, salad or green veggie

TUESDAY | salmon tacos (be sure to buy wild salmon!)

WEDNESDAYsalmon chowder

THURSDAY | thai turkey lettuce cups

FRIDAY | grilled cheese bar (see combo ideas below!)

BREAKKIE | breakfast burrito / taquito, cereal, hardboiled eggs

SNACK | popcorn, fresh fruit, cucumbers (from gigi + papa’s garden!), yogurt, edamame, hardboiled eggs

LUNCH | raviolis, PB+J’s and snacks from list above

I find menu planning is easier when there’s a theme for each night of the week. Can you guess what the themes are for next week?

Man Meat Monday | Taco Tuesday | Warm + Cozy Wednesday | Thai Food Thursday | Grilled Cheese Friday :)

Pretty tempted to make Fridays grilled cheese night this fall — a welcome change from pizza and it pairs so well with soup which is my personal favorite thing to make, eat and keep on hand once the weather cools off.

Don’t you love, love Griffin’s tee!? If you missed the details above — All Grilled Cheese Friday tees are 15% off through Labor Day weekend at with code: GCF15

Now for some yummy butter, bread, and cheesy combos!

CLASSIC GRILLED CHEESE using extra sharp white cheddar… the traditional orange kind has dye in it!

CAPRESE GRILLED CHEESE with pesto, basil, mozzarella and roma tomatoes.

DESSERT GRILLED CHEESE with brie, semi-sweet (or favorite) chocolate chips, and raspberries or strawberries on the side… inspired by a recipe that came with my Giada panini maker.

APPLE + HAM GRILLED CHEESE does not disappoint! Use  thin slices of apple, lots of white cheddar and sliced ham. It’s so good and gooey!

What’s your favorite way to make a grilled cheese?

Do you have dinner themes for different nights of the week?

Happy Friday loves!

xo . Rae

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DECORATED STORE BOUGHT ICE CREAM SANDWICHES + A MEAL PLAN

It’s Friday!!! We’re celebrating with an easy kitchen activity that you can do (and eat ;) with the kids and a meal plan — because getting a jumpstart on next week felt like a really good idea!

You guys know I love anything with googly eyes on it, but aren’t these decorated ice cream sandwiches cute? I had originally planned on making them for Griffin’s party, to match the cake, but ran out of time. So earlier this week, since I had all the supplies on hand, the kids and I threw some together for fun. They hardly require directions, but here’s the DIY details…

DECORATED ICE CREAM SANDWICHES

  • Straight from the freezer, dip the top of your ice cream sandwiches in sprinkles…. you don’t need to wait until they soften or melt for the sprinkles to stick.
  • “Glue” the candy eyes on with icing.
  • Return to the freezer or eat up!

Now for a meal plan… Next week is looking really yummy!

MONDAY | salmon cakes and garden salad

TUESDAY | black bean quinoa salad with chipotle steak

WEDNESDAYone pot chicken + veggies chow mein

THURSDAY | huevos rancheros

FRIDAY | ravioli + a yummy salad… my favorite lately is to toss together the following: arugula, quinoa, grape tomatoes, slivered almonds, whatever protein I have on hand and pesto with a red wine vinaigrette or coconut oil and lime juice

BREAKKIE | chilled summer overnight oats, smoothies + protein shakes, continental breakfast (yogurt, granola, fresh fruit, cereal, hardboiled eggs, peanut butter toast, etc.)

SNACK | frozen yogurt dots, chips + guac, tuna salad + crackers

Have a great weekend friends!

xo, Rae

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MEALTIME MANNERS + A MEAL PLAN

Yesterday, Poppy and I spent the bulk of the day watching Oz play baseball while Johan had the other two at Espen’s games (where there are lots of other siblings to play with!). Our day included a couple hours of driving which gave Poppy a chance to nap and me a chance to catch up with Ozzie which is rare these days now that he is driving. A big win, win! On the way home we stopped at a favorite outdoor spot in Gig Harbor, JW @ the boatyard, for dinner. It was such a great day but our dinner out got me thinking about two things I wanted to share and also chat with you guys about:

1. What are we going to eat this week? (simple meal plan below) and 2. How can I encourage (instead of nag) good table manners during the next few months when meals are eaten picnic style, with friends, or out and about?

With the 4th happening tomorrow and our home looking like a complete disaster at the moment, I’m keeping things super simple this week. Here’s what we’ll be eating:

MONDAY | medeteranian orzo pasta salad (add chicken and it’s a complete meal!!!)

TUESDAY | 4th of July grub!

WEDNESDAY | leftovers or takeout

THURSDAY | Cold sesame chicken and noodle salad

FRIDAY | caprese grilled cheese sandwiches and a salad

SATURDAY | salmon tacos

SUNDAY | salmon corn chowder with leftovers 

Poppy insisted on squeezing out her own ketchup packets, ha! By the time she was done, Oz was almost finished with his tacos :)

Good job Pop!

Aren’t they cute together? Best buds. Even with the huge age gap. But snuggling at the dinner table at home isn’t really allowed… hence my dilemma!

A few of the things we are usually consistent about even when eating away from our own kitchen table is saying a prayer, sharing our highs and a low from the day, and clearing our spots (if that’s an option).

If you guys haven’t heard of highs and lows (or happy and crappy for mature audiences), Oh Joy wrote about it here. We’ve been doing it for years and it’s easily a highlight of my day!

 

How do you guys encourage good table manners, especially during the summer months when routines look a little different? Do you have any mealtime games or traditions? PLEASE share in the comments.

Have a very happy and safe 4th of July holiday you guys!!!

xo, Rae

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PANTRY PARTY MIX, GRAPE (CATERPILLAR) KABOBS, A MEAL PLAN, + A FEW PICS FROM OUR WEEKEND

We spent the weekend in our old college town (WSU in Pullman, WA) watching Ozzie play baseball on the same field he used to run bases around along with the college players post-game, as a curly-headed toddler. It was the sweetest most sentimental thing to see him as a player with that same big head of curly hair. Gah! Time is a crazy (biznich) thing but I’ll stop right there before I start crying… :)

Anyway, aside from cheering on big brother, we had a blast swimming at the hotel pool, eating at a couple of our favorite spots, and walking around our old stomping ground. Knowing that we would be spending a majority of our time watching baseball or running around town, I threw a bunch of opened bags of snacks into a tote before we left and stopped by the store once we arrived for yogurt, deli meat and fruit so we weren’t eating out for all meals and snacks. Between all that and a bag of peanut butter m&m’s we threw together a fun snack mix and grape kabobs turned caterpillars that the kids loved. They don’t require a recipe (or much prep hallelujah!) and since snack and meal ideas are always helpful during the summer months, I thought I’d share more diy details and a meal plan below!

PANTRY SNACK MIX – Grab all the half-eaten boxes and bags of snack foods from the pantry (pirate booty, popcorn, pretzels, fish crackers, bunny crackers, etc.), nuts, seeds, and dried fruit and mix together. Divide into bowls or containers and top with something sweet like sprinkles, m&m’s, and/or chocolate chips.

CATERPILLAR GRAPE KABOBS – Slide grapes onto wood skewers and then use icing to add candy eyes! (I linked to amazon so you could see what I’m talking about but usually buy at Target… although those candy eyes look like a good deal!)

MONDAY | Something from Costco because unpacking, and husband at work and really, who wants to start the week with dishes? Ha!

TUESDAY | Turkey lettuce wraps

WEDNESDAYMexi-quinoa buddha bowls

THURSDAY | FIELD DAY at the elementary school so, pulled pork sandwiches in the crock pot with blue slaw and sweet potato fries will be a nice (and easy-ish) way to end the day!

FRIDAY | homemade mac and cheese… kid request!

SATURDAY | pizza picnic or dinner with friends

SUNDAY | Thai green coconut curry so good!  (I use coconut oil and omit the cuttlefish balls and fish sauce)

BREAKKIE, LUNCH + SNACK | It’s the last week of school and only break I’ll be getting from the kitchen for awhile so we will be eating hot lunches, cereal, apples and popcorn for all other meals :)

Always celebrating this hands-on and always entertaining daddy of their’s but especially on Father’s Day. Even though he was the one that brought me coffee in bed Sunday morning (oops!). I blame Poppy who was up at least 6 times the night before. You just never know who is and isn’t going to sleep when away from home!

I think her personality is growing as fast as her little body… I love you Poppy! (her shorts from childhoods and purse from swankaroo in size L, 6-8)

Proof of the sidewalk meltdown I mentioned on instagram yesterday… still have no idea what she was upset about but luckily she bounces back quickly! A friend pointed out that it might have something to do with being the 5th child? You either bounce back or you miss out on the action i guess!?

Also, tell me Espen doesn’t look like he would fit right in with the cast from Sandlot? And I mean that in the best way. He and Tilly are knee deep in that awkward stage that lasts through 6th or 7th grade (right?) and I can’t get enough of it. It reminds me of that newborn stage where they are just too scrumptious not to adore but haven’t totally grown into their features. Ha! I have mom-goggles for sure.

The very first time I met Johan was in this coffee shop. We had both stopped in to say “HI!” to my cousin Erin who worked there. I walked through the door with Oz in a stroller and couldn’t wait to give her a hug after being gone all summer and Johan was sitting at the counter trying to mooch a free peanut butter frost (which he of course did successfully). Erin introduced us but it was almost a year before out paths crossed again. After so many years of marriage, I love thinking about all the details of our relationship and what it took God to get us together!

THE GOOD LIFE ^^^ on the hunt for ice cream!

Of all the sports my kids play, I think the baseball dugout is my favorite part!

Griff patiently waited for the coach to leave the dugout so he could hang with his big brother. He and Poppy for sure treat Oz like a celebrity.

But seriously… I grew that big man-child in my belly 16 years ago when life was hard and scary and so uncertain. The craziness of how far we’ve come never escapes me. God is so good you guys.

Okay, enough of my rambling! Hope you guys have an amazing start to your week!

xo, Rae

P.S. – Thoughts on wide leg jeans? I’m a sucker for a new trend but after seeing them in photos, I can’t decide. Some angles aren’t that flattering, but they are really fun to wear… and breezy for the summer!

 

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LITTLE BITES: CHUNKY MONKEY PROTEIN SHAKE

I think the anticipation of summer with kids is a lot like the beginning of pregnancy… you get so excited about all the fun parts that you forget about how much work it is! One of hardest parts about summer for me is actually keeping everyone fed. Especially on days we’re home. Because our schedule stays pretty loose, there is a ton of snacking going on between breakfast and dinner (lots of fruit, popcorn, edamame, hummus and guac happening) which makes it hard to tell who is eating what and if anyone is actually full.

Anytime I need a break from hearing the words, “I’m hungry” (which I hear more than, “I’m bored”), or from tidying up the kitchen that is honestly never clean during the summer, I have two options 1) I can make an actual lunch meal and make everyone sit together and eat or I can 2) make a protein shake I know they’ll love that also fills them up and that’s portable.

Most of the time it’s a no-brainer and I go for the shake. I’ll share our go-to combo below! Oh, and I got a lot of questions about what blender and protein (that isn’t chalky) we use in my last smoothie post so will add those links below too.

CHUNKY MONKEY PROTEIN SHAKE

serves 2 adults or 4 kids

  • 2 scoops of chocolate protein powder (if you have vanilla, add 1 to 2 tablespoons of cocoa powder)
  • 16 ounces milk of your choice (we usually use almond milk)
  • 1/2 banana (frozen or room temp)
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons of peanut butter
  • ice cubes to taste (we start with 10 cubes and then add as needed)
  • sprinkles and chocolate chips to garnish, optional

Place first 4 ingredients in blender and blend until combined, but not frothy. Add ice to taste and desired thickness and blend. Pour in cups and garnish with sprinkles and chocolate chips! Serve to your monkeys or enjoy yourself!

Favorite protein mix is THIS. It’s spendy, but if you break it down per serving and the fact that it’s almost a meal replacement for the little ones, it makes it feel more reasonable. The flavor pictured is extreme milk chocolate and it’s a hit in our home. As far as blenders go, we’ve used a ninja for years. It worked great at first but the blades dulled quickly and we’ve just been putting up with it. Johan’s been wanting to buy a vitamix and there is a great deal on one at Costco right now ($350!) but with all of our summer expenses (camps, swimming, Birthdays, etc.) I talked him into THIS kitchen aid blender and it works great so far!

Everyone’s reaction to the blender turning on, HA! Growing up my mom would always put her hand on the blender lid while it was on. If I remember correctly, the stopper part was loose and would fly off if she didn’t, but

Sprinkles makes everything more appetizing and fun to eat… not that these yummy shakes need any help. It’s really so good.

Happy Friday loves!

xo, Rae

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WATERMELON PIZZA, LEMON SPRITZER + A MEAL PLAN

Happy Monday after Mother’s Day! I hope everyone was able to celebrate the beautiful women in their lives either in person, over FaceTime, or in memory and that all you mamas felt extra loved.  Johan was at the fire station all weekend so Sunday looked a little different for us this year, but the kids stepped up their game and made me feel like a million bucks with handmade gifts (aren’t fill-in the blank “all about my mom” worksheets not the best thing ever!?), maple bars for breakfast, and slightly better behavior than usual for at least the first part of the day :)

As a belated Mama’s Day gift, I’m sharing a simple meal plan (full of classic crowd-pleasers) and the recipes for watermelon pizza and a lemon and thyme spritzer for Friday night happy hours!

WATERMELON PIZZA – Slice watermelon into rounds, spread a layer of honey or vanilla yogurt (I like to use greek because it has a thicker texture) over the top, then let the kids ‘decorate’ with favorite berries and fruits. Garnish with mint for fun!

LEMON, THYME + TEQUILA SPRITZER, (makes 4 cocktails) – For the simple syrup, add zest from 1 lemon, 3 sprigs of thyme, 1-1/2 cups sugar, and 1-1/2 cups water to a saucepan. Stir often while bringing to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer for about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and let sit for 10 minutes, then strain into a pitcher or large jar. Stir in juice from 4 lemons, 1/2 cup silver tequila, 3 cups seltzer water (lemon le crouix is my fave!), and let chill in refrigerator. Pour over ice and garnish with sprigs of thyme and lemon.

Sip while snacking on watermelon pizza, chips and guacamole for a yummy happy hour that just might be filling enough (with the help of a few quesadillas) to bail on dinner plans!

 

Here’s what we’re eating this week:

MONDAY | bbq chicken cobb salad

TUESDAY | burrito bowls

WEDNESDAY | favorite spaghetti recipe + broccoli

THURSDAY | takeout, please.

FRIDAY | breakfast for dinner (french toast maybe!?)

SATURDAY | slow cooker french dip sandwiches, fries or chips, raw veggie plate

SUNDAY | eat-out or takeout.

BREAKKIE | egg tacos, smoothies, cereal, and lots of fruit!

LUNCH | leftovers, PB&J

SNACK | watermelon pizza, veggies + dip, no-bake energy bites or zbars

After last week (which was crazy with work, baseball, appointments, and family stuff), I’m ready for some downtime, routine, and a return to basics. Which is the inspiration for the meal plan… how about you guys? What’s on your classic dinner menu?

xo, Rae

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