Archive | recipe

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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2

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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1

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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2

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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0

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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6

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

8

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

4

LITTLE BITES: OUR 5 FAVORITE SMOOTHIE RECIPES

Smoothies might just be the best culinary creation ever to happen to motherhood. (Either that or baby food pouches, amiright?) The refreshing, slushy, delicious and lightly sweetened concoction is the best way I know to stuff my kids (even the pickiest one!) full of whole foods, healthy fats, protein, vitamins, and fiber. They also take away the mom-guilt that comes from letting them consume one too many donuts, cake pops, or french fries.

If only they had the same effect for me, LOL!

Even though smoothie season is a year round thing, our blender game is stronger in the spring and summer months. Lately we’ve been trying new combinations so I thought I would share some of our favorites along with a few pics from snack time last night at Ozzie’s baseball game!

When it comes to mixing up smoothies I do a lot of eyeing and tossing ingredients into the blender, but tried to break things down into measurements. You may need to adjust the amount of ice, liquids, and sweeteners (yogurt, honey, + banana) to desired taste and thickness.

Makes approx. 32 oz. which Serve 2-4 people

POPPY’S PINK BERRY SMOOTHIE – 1 cup Orange Juice, 1/2 cup frozen raspberries, 1/2 cup frozen strawberries (or sub for mixed berries), 1 or 1/2 of a banana, 1/4 cup of vanilla greek yogurt, 8 ice cubes

ESPEN + GRIFFIN’S PEANUT BUTTER + COCOA LOCO PROTEIN SHAKE – 2 cups almond (or other) milk, 2 scoops favorite chocolate protein powder (or vanilla protein powder and add tablespoon of cocoa powder), 2 tablespoons peanut butter, 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon (optional), 8 ice cubes

JOHAN’S GREEN GOD(ESS) SMOOTHIE – 1 cup coconut or almond milk, 1 cup kale or spinach, 1 cup frozen pineapple, 1 cup frozen mango, 1 tablespoon lemon juice, drizzle of honey to taste (optional), 1 tablespoon chia seeds (optional)

RAE’S COCO-NUT – 2 cups almond milk, 1 to 2 tablespoons almond butter, 2 tablespoons unsweetened shredded coconut, 2 scoops favorite vanilla protein powder, 2 tablespoons flaxseeds (optional), 1 tablespoon chia seeds (optional), 8 ice cubes

OZZIE + TILLY’S MANGO TANGO SMOOTHIE – 1 cup coconut (or other) milk, 1 cup frozen mango, 1 cup frozen pineapple, 1/2 banana, 1/2 cup vanilla greek yogurt, drizzle of honey to taste (optional)

*Often times we’ll make the fruitier drinks ‘dirty’ (especially in the morning) by throwing in a handful of spinach, rolled oats, and a couple tablespoons of flax or chia seeds… but the kids prefer them ‘clean’. :) 

(top-knot envy!)

    

If you watched any of my Instagram stories since last night, you may have caught Tilly’s (strong) reaction to my coconut shake… She’s not a fan and the video is pretty entertaining if you want to go check it out. Also, I promise the recipe tastes nothing like “rotten eggs”. Ha!

A few items we keep stocked to make smoothie mixing easy: lots of frozen fruit, almond and/or coconut milk, greek yogurt, bananas, orange juice, flax seed, chia seeds, Baobab superfruit powder (from costco), and these plastic cups with lids for when we are on the go!

What are your favorite smoothie combos and ingredients?!!!

xo, Rae

3

AMAZING EASTER CANDY COOKIE BARS + A MEAL PLAN

Playing catchup today after a whirlwind week and weekend, and still have lots to do to get our easter outfits, baskets and egg hunts pulled together for the big day this Sunday. Soooo am going to keep this short and sweet with a favorite festive cookie treat that might just change your life. No joke. They are so good and making bars instead of individual cookies eliminates so much of the hands-on time… Perfect for a busy holiday week!

CHOCOLATE CHIP + EASTER CANDY COOKIE BARS, makes one 9×13-inch pan of cookies

You’ll Need:

  • 1 cup butter, softened 
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup white sugar
  • 2 tsp. vanilla
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 cups flour
  • 3/4 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 cup Easter candy, roughly chopped or crumbled
  • 1 cup chocolate chips 

Here’s How:

  1. Grease 9×13-inch pan and preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Cream butter, sugar, brown sugar, vanilla and eggs.
  3. Mix in flour and baking soda.
  4. Stir in candy and chocolate chips.
  5. Scoop into prepared pan and spread into an even layer. Bake for approx. 20 minutes, checking after 18. Remove when golden brown around edges and middle looks slightly undercooked. Cut into bars and serve! TIP: for straight clean lines, allow to cool completely before cutting!

The cookies are even better warm, with a scoop of ice cream and candy sprinkles on top! Making them on day 5 of my 10 day cleanse over the weekend was not the smartest tho. Thought I could resist but ended up sneaking a bite or two. Or three. Ha! Should have known better, but it was worth it!

Here’s what’s on our menu this week:

MONDAY | tuna melt sandwiches (this one looks good!), chips, crudités with ranch or hummus and above cookies for dessert!

TUESDAY | chicken tortilla soup

WEDNESDAY | baked salmon and veggies in parchment pockets

THURSDAY | breakfast burritos

FRIDAY | eat out or takeout while watching a baseball game — currently craving Thai food!

SATURDAY | BBQ chicken,  quinoa, and zucchini fritters

SUNDAY | it’s Easter and we’ll be running around at church services most of the morning and then meeting up with my parents and brother after. No idea what we’ll be eating yet, but I will for sure be ordering some festive donuts for the kids (wink, wink) to wake up to :)

Keeping all other meals simple this week and going with the staples!

BREAKKIE | Cereal, oatmeal, fruit and/or fried eggs.

LUNCH | PB&J or salami, cheese + crackers, edamame and strawberries or apples and peanut butter, bunny crackers or pirate booty.

SNACKS |  some combo of the lunch options!

Hop, hop, hooray for a week of Easter prep and celebrations. It’s going to be an amazing Sunday. I can just feel it. Now if I can just get my stufffff together sometime before then, lol!

I’ll see you back here on Wednesday with some bunny fun for the littles!

xo, Rae

2

CREAMY ROTISSERIE CHICKEN + CORN CHOWDER RECIPE + A MEAL PLAN

OMGee it was a good weekend, friends. Super low-key and just what we needed. Nothing but a couple baseball practices, church, a revolving door of kids and sleepovers (coming and going), laundry catch-up, and some car shopping. I also managed to make a meal plan and convince Ozzie to turn his culinary class assignment into our dinner. #momhack

I didn’t think dinnertime could get any better than when cooking while sipping on a glass of wine, until I experienced helping someone else make dinner while sipping on a glass of wine. It was thoroughly enjoyable and I’m going to be lobbying hard for it to be a new Sunday tradition. Wish me luck!

Oz did a great job making my favorite creamy corn chowder with rotisserie chicken. It tasted like spring and was hearty enough to serve as a main course with a couple garnishes and tortilla chips. The recipe and our meal plan for the week is below!

CREAMY CORN CHOWDER WITH ROTISSERIE CHICKEN

takes 45 minutes start to finish, serves 6

  • 2 cups rotisserie chicken, cubed or shredded
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1 large red bell pepper, diced (approx. 1-1/2 cups)
  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced (approx. 1-1/4 cups)
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 6 cups chicken broth
  • 3 medium russet potatoes, peeled and diced (approx. 3 cups)
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 2-1/2 cups fresh or frozen corn
  • 1-1/2 cups half and half
  • 8 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled
  • Cilantro and jalapeños seeded and finely chopped, for serving (optional)
  1. Melt butter in a large soup pot over medium heat. Add red bell pepper and onions and saute until tender, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook for another minute. Slowly pour in flour, and stir for additional 3 minutes. Slowly add in chicken broth. Stir or whisk until well blended.
  2. Add potatoes and season soup with salt and pepper to taste. Bring to a boil stirring frequently, then reduce heat to medium-low and cook, uncovered for 10 minutes or just until potatoes are tender.
  3. Stir in cooked chicken, corn and 1/2 and 1/2 and simmer, uncovered 10 – 15 minutes longer. Dish into bowls, top with bacon, cilantro, and jalapeño peppers, as desired.

MONDAY | chicken and corn chowder (using rotisserie chicken, recipe above)

TUESDAY | chicken enchiladas (using rotisserie chicken), scroll to part 2 of the post

WEDNESDAY | baked potato bar

THURSDAY | egg and sausage breakfast sandwiches

FRIDAY + ST. PATRICK’S DAY | wish I had an amazing holiday themed recipe to share but this will most likely be our takeout night… crossing my fingers it’s pizza for the kids and a sushi date night for the adults!

SATURDAY | teriyaki  rice bowls, made this for the first time last week and it was a big hit!

SUNDAY | stuffed bell peppers

BREAKKIE | smoothies, hard boiled eggs, energy bites (or these!), grapefruit

LUNCH | bagel sandwiches, diced mango or apples, baby carrots or cucumber, popcorn or kale chips

SNACK | bananas or apples and peanut butter, energy bites (or these!), ants on a log, pretzels, popcorn

What have you guys been eating/making/craving lately?

Hope your weekend was just what you needed and that your week if off to a great start!

XO, Rae

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SWEET BITES: HOMEMADE SODAS

I don’t know about you guys but February is seriously kicking my butt. Not sure if it’s the lack of sun, daylight or warmth that has me feeling so blah and it probably hits me around this time every year and I forget, but OMGeeee! Spring cannot get here too soon. And I am not one that usually wishes for time to hurry.

A few of the things that seem to be helping with the winter blues lately: copious dance parties, getting out of the house, and playing with the kids in the kitchen. Thought I would share our latest cooking session recipe with you, inspired by the last few hipster-ish restaurants we’ve grubbed at  that have handcrafted sodas on the menu instead of sprite and root beer. While nothing can really replace a good old fashioned Shirley Temple, these homemade sodas are delicious and less sugary. Plus the fancy flavors and garnishes make them feel extra special.

Our DIY version is a mix of sparkling water and homemade simple syrups. Here’s the how-to…

YOU’LL NEED:

  • 1-1/2 to 2 cups fresh fruit
  • 1 cup sugar of choice (modify measurement for stevia or splenda)
  • 1 cup water
  • sparkling or flavored water (like pellegrino or la croix)
  • mint, basil, lemon, lime, berries, etc., for garnish
  • lemon and lime juice (optional)

TO MAKE SIMPLE SYRUPS:

  1. Dice or slice fruit if needed – for instance mango or strawberries.
  2. Heat 1 cup water and 1 cup sugar over med-high heat. Stir until sugar is melted.
  3. Add fruit and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for another 5 to 10 minutes or until the sugar mixture is a deep color that matches the fruit.
  4. Remove from heat and pour mixture through a fine mesh strainer into another pot or heat safe bowl. Resist the urge to press down on the strained fruit to try and get more juice out :) it just makes the syrup chunky and cloudy.
  5. Let syrup cool completely then poor into mason jars or other airtight containers in the fridge. Should keep for a few weeks.

TO MIX THE SODAS:

  1. Set out syrups, sparkling water options, and garnishes.
  2. Pour sparkling soda in each cup. Add syrup and garnishes to taste. We used approx.  a 1:4 ratio of syrup to water (1/4 cup of syrup for every cup of sparkling water… maybe a little less syrup than that).
  3. Tip: a little splash of lemon or lime juice tastes so good in the sodas!

 

These yummy drinks may not make spring arrive any sooner but they will add a little fun to your day and fancy to your tastebuds.

How has February been treating you? Have any tricks for beating the winter blues? I probably should have added Netflix to my list of tricks above :)

If you love this time of year please spill all your secrets and then move next door so your happy winter vibes can rub off on me.

Happy hump day friend!!!

xo, Rae

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