Archive | EAT

WEEKLY MEAL PLAN, FEBRUARY WK 2

(image from our snowman marshmallow recipe from last week!)

We’re still hunkered down and enjoying snow days here in the PNW! The kids went to school one day last week and are home again today after a fresh 4+ inches of snow last night. I’ve said it so many times I’m annoying myself but, you guys this snow situation is unreal! Reminds me of my childhood in Chicago (minus the below zero temps thank God, ha!). Anyways, since I’ve been doing a lot of feeding people (playing in the snow really works up an appetite!) I tried to make this weeks meal plan super simple with easy substitutes.

M | california chicken caesar salad (just add avocado to your favorite recipe or try these: here and here. rotisserie chicken is always a good addition too!)

T | kids pick! (here’s hoping they pick something easy! ha!)

W | quinoa stuffed peppers (the costco version is delicious too!)

TH | hubby picks for Valentine’s Day and then we can cook together… maybe we’ll even feed the kids pizza, tuck them in early and enjoy a date night in!

F |honey mustard chicken (insta pot or scroll to the bottom for a slow cooker option)

S | smokey beef + black bean chili (if we’re home on a sunday I’ll make a pot of chili or soup right when we get home from church so people can eat whenever their tummy growls and I only have to make one meal :)

BREAKKIE | emoji pancakes (we made them last year for Valentine’s Day and the kids loved it!), dreaming of a trip to Paris so also craving croissants (lol), yogurt parfait ideas here

LUNCH | a lunch version of a cutie (charcuterie) platter – sliced baguette, cheese, meat, fruit, nuts, etc., planning a trip to Trader Joe’s this week and will be grabbing tabouleh and california rolls from the coolers (yum!), cookie cutter sandwiches are always fun for Valentine’s day lunches – just ordered this one and love having these for their monogram :)

SNACK | homemade popcorn + strawberry milk (pink for v-day and there are lots of healthy version out there!), bread pretzels are easy to make with pre-made pizza dough – here’s a basic recipe, knead cheese in if desired, shape into hearts and dip in favorite red sauce if desired! Don’t forget to try our marshmallows recipe too!

Do you guys have plans for Valentine’s Day?

Johan almost always works so we usually celebrate on a different night. This year he’s home but I think we’ll stick to our tradish and avoid the dinner crowds slash overwhelmed staff.

xo, Rae

0

MINI MAKERS: HOMEMADE MARSHMALLOW SNOWMEN

Whatever your personal feelings are about marshmallows I urge you to set them aside and try this recipe asap! They taste like sweet, fluffy clouds and are the perfect addition to a winter hot cocoa routine. We turned this batch into snowmen using icing but have also used candy eyes and are dreaming up ways to embellish them for Valentines day too.

There’s a recipe and video below to help with steps and show the consistency of each mixture. Just to clear up any possible confusion, we recorded this video in October hoping to get a “ghost marshmallows and hot cocoa” post up before Halloween but ran out of time. Then last month I thought, gosh it would be fun to make “marshmallow snowmen” and decided to take pics to share with you guys BUT forgot to get any images of the steps (oops!). So, we pulled footage (just off my iPhone, lol) and pieced it together. YAY! Consider yourself warned, tho. You know those sweet “cooking with kids” episodes and segments where the children stand looking prim and proper, waiting patiently for their turn to add ingredients or be in charge of whisking? Welllll, this is not one of those videos, lol. When the kids get involved in the cooking in our home, things get silly and messy in a hurry! I’m sure you can relate!?

These images crack me up because I seem to be smiling through the chaos, but I honestly don’t remember Espen and Poppy pestering each other like the pics imply. Anyways, if inviting kids into the kitchen with you sounds more overwhelming than fun, I highly suggest having them take turns being your sous-chef. Things tend to escalate quickly when there’s more than one helping!

HOMEMADE MARSHMALLOW RECIPE

You’ll Need:

  • 1 cup water, divided into 1/2 cups
  • 3 packets unflavored gelatin
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1/2 cup light corn syrup
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla (optional)
  • cooking spray
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/2 cup corn starch
  • optional: sprinkles, food coloring, icing gel or pens, candy eyes

Here’s How:

  1. Butter the inside of a 9×9 inch pan and set aside. In the bowl of a stand mixer, add 1/2 cup of water and sprinkle all 3 envelopes of gelatin over the top. Let sit.
  2. In a medium saucepan, add remaining 1/2 cup of water, sugar, corn syrup and salt. Stir to combine and then bring to a rolling boil. Continue boiling for about 1 minute or until a candy thermometer reads 240 degrees F. No need to stir while it boils and be very careful not to spill or splash (and keep kids in a safe spot) as it is so, so hot!
  3. Next mix gelatin mixture just enough to break up clumps. Slowly (and carefully) pour in sugar syrup. Turn mixer to high (make sure it doesn’t splash!), add vanilla and whip until thick and gooey/fluffy (see video for reference). Approx 10 minutes. You can also add food coloring or sprinkles towards the end of this step too!
  4. Using a spatula, scrape into prepared pan and spread evenly. Grease a square piece of plastic wrap using cooking spray and cover the marshmallows (so the mallow and wrap are touching). Let sit for 6 hours to overnight.
  5. When ready, whisk together the corn starch and sugar and sprinkle the powder mix over your work surface (a tray or cutting board would work). Run knife around the edges of the pan to loosen and then turn out marshmallow slab on top. Sprinkle the top with powder mix. Lightly grease a knife with cooking spray and cut marshmallows as desired. (Or use cookie cutters!)

Serve immediately or store in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks.

We’re prepping for a big snowstorm over the weekend so you can bet these will be on our menu and activity list.

What’s the weather like where you live?

xo, Rae

7

WEEKLY MEAL PLAN, FEBRUARY WK 1

Ohhhh, I have a good and easy week of meals for you guys! Planned everything with busy evenings, snow days (yay!), big flavors and healthy immune systems in mind. Hope it makes your week a little easier and a lot more delicious.

Here’s whats on the menu…

TU | carne asada street tacos (simplify by using the carne asada steak at costco… it does not disappoint!)

W | poke bowls (optional, buy fish from local sushi restaurant or sub for other seafood/meat)

TH | slow cooker bbq chicken sandwiches

F | bbq chicken flatbread pizza

SU |mini muffin tin turkey meatloaves

BREAKKIE, LUNCH, SNACK | chunky monkey protein shake, after school fondu, immune boost smoothie (lots to choose from here! Also found this to be a good reminder for keeping the fam bam healthy as there’s been a nasty stomach bug going around the kids’ schools)

Would love to know if you’ve been following along with meal plans or have any feedback for me… let’s chat in comments!

xo, Rae

5

WEEKLY MEAL PLAN JANUARY, WEEK 4

Please tell me you guys tried the mozzarella chicken meatballs from last week’s menu? If not, swap them out for one of the dinners this week! They’re that good.

Here’s what’s on the menu this week…

M | BLTA + favorite soup

W | sheet pan crispy parm garlic chicken

TH | slow cooker beef + broccoli

F | fish taco bowls (so many options out there… we’re going to try this one!) + margaritas (if you have a fave margarita recipe please share in the comments)

SU | slow cooker black bean chili for the super bowl (or your favorite meat filled chili!)

BREAKKIE | mini veggie frittatas, peanut butter breakfast cookies

LUNCH | spring rolls (an oldie but a goodie from my armommy days!)

SNACK | cheese cake cookie bars, pantry party mix

Hope you had a wonderful and restful weekend!

XO, Rae

0

WEEKLY SPREADS ON INSTAGRAM STORIES

You guys, I have a couple new things planned for this year but my favorite might just be bringing back some weekly meal plan inspiration! I was initially just going to share on Instagram Stories every Sunday and then save them to highlights (behind today because we haven’t had power the last couple days!) but don’t want to leave anyone out… also wanted to make sure it was easy to find links while I wait to hit that coveted 10K on Instagram, HA!

m | 30 min. chicken in coconut mango verde sauce — so sad we won’t actually be making this tonight because of a power outage, but I can’t wait to swap it out for one of our takeout nights!

th | slow cooker white chicken chili… so easy and my go to when feeding a crowd

f | this arugula salad is still my favorite plus it’s easy to make and goes with just about anything adult or kid friendly!

su | we might opt for an easy store-bought french dip sandwich but if not, you really can’t go wrong with the pioneer woman’s version

BREAKKIE | protein pancakes, freezable breakfast taquitos

LUNCH | copycat bistro box

SNACK | no bake energy balls, yogurt parfaits (these are so good too!)

So excited to be better at meal planning this year and heard from several of you who are wanting to do the same… Let me know in the comments if you have any questions!

xo, Rae

 

1

THEME NIGHTS FOR OCTOBER DINNERS

(PICTURED | latte bowls and spoon (old) from anthropologie, enamel tray from amazon (came with dings/character), soup is white bean and chicken chili)

I have a love hate relationship with themes. On one hand they help limit the possibilities so decisions are easier to make and options are easier to find. On the other hand, they can also feel limiting. So in any given situation it all comes down to what is needed the most – structure or freedom – and this month for dinners I’m definitely feeling a need for a little more of the first. Which is kinda shocking considering the rest of our life is so structured lately, you’d think I’d be craving a little more creativity and endless possibilities. However, 30 days isn’t very much of a commitment and will also get us through most of soccer, football and track season on a much better diet than where my creativity would lead me, lol.

Here’s the breakdown of the theme night dinners I picked, but would be easy to switch for your family.

SALAD OR SOUP + SANDWICH MONDAY |

TACO TUESDAY | PSA, national taco day is on Friday!

BREAKKIE FOR DINNER WEDNESDAY | aside from pancakes, waffles or baked french toast

ASIAN FUSION THURSDAYthink spring rolls, curry, anything with coconut, rice noodles, etc. Here’s a few favorites!

FREE DAY FRIDAY | whatever your little heart desires. pizza, pasta (must make this ASAP), grilled cheese (the best combos here!), takeout, eat out, game day food, cereal, ice cream… (see how I’m progressively going downhill, lol.)… it all goes.

CROCKPOT SATURDAY | it’s pretty slim pickings around here when it comes to crock pot dishes but here are a few goodies.

  • this is a good make ahead dish and could work for Thursday dinner too!
  • making a batch of shredded chicken and then adding to dinners and lunches all week!
  • this apricot chicken is so good.
  • most of the soups above can be made in the crockpot too!

SHEET PAN SUNDAY | this isn’t something I’ve done a lot of but the fewer the dishes the better and I could eat roasted veggies for any meal so let’s do this sheet pan thang!

Ok, now I’m just supper hungry. And need to make a shopping list.

Let me know if you are going to join us for theme night dinners for October!!! Even if it’s not the same themes, it would still be fun. Will try and share on Instagram stories too.

XO, Rae

4

A MONTH OF SCHOOL LUNCHBOX IDEAS + PRINTABLE NOTE CARDS

YOU GUYS!!! It’s the first TGIF of the bts season and it honestly feels so amazing. Lots of emotions and excitement around our home since the kids started on Wednesday. Espen and Tilly basically poured themselves into bed last night around 8:30PM and fell asleep before Johan + I made it to their bed for prayers and back tickles. They are also the two kids who have experienced the most change this year and that seems to be overwhelming and exhausting. So hard to watch them feel “out of place” but I also know that it’s going to be such a great year for both of them!!!

In other news, there are some really cute and simple lunchbox notes (that can also be used for just about anything!) I made for the kids that you can download below AND this morning I kicked off a “what’s in the lunchbox” or “WITL” (ha!) post on Instagram Stories. I’ll be sharing what the kids are taking to school for lunch on the daily (minus wednesdays) in hopes that it’ll encourage me to be better about not wasting food while also keeping things stocked to make packing easier. I’m sure there will be many basic lunch days and some that look more like cafeteria money, but nonetheless, I think it’s going to be fun! Already got lots of messages back about it (you can see my intro here — will also add to a “lunchbox” highlight) so I’m thinking it might even turn into a thing and we can do it together!

(YESTERDAY’S LUNCH | TJ’s meatballs, carrots + ranch, string cheese, apricots, TJ’s spud crunchies (Griffin loves these… they look like french fries), TJ’s sparkling apple juice (sparkling water + juice mix = less sugar!).

CLICK TO DOWNLOAD, LUNCHBOX NOTES PDF | the cards are 3.5″ x 5″, download and print onto card stock or text weight paper, cut along dashed lines, add your message and slip into a backpack or lunchbox! Could also be used for thank you or teacher notes.

How do you feel about packing lunch!? Aside from mornings that we’re short on time, I really enjoy packing lunches!!! It’s the grocery list making and shopping that I dread (save me)… Wondering if I’m in the minority?

XO, Rae

4

AUGUST MEALS + A DONUT RECIPE

Ever go on a trip, plan on visiting, eating or shopping somewhere, but put it off until the last day only to discover that it’s closed!? That was us last week while in Corvallis where there is this really fun donut shop called Benny’s Donuts that was recommended to us. So bummed that we missed out on a local favorite, but it’s also what inspired todays kitchen concoction which was delicious and fun too so I can’t be too mad about it!

Recipe and details below along with our meal plan for August!

VANILLA BAKED DONUTSmakes 12

You’ll Need:

  • 2 cups flour
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 4 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 2 eggs
  • 3/4 cup milk (whole, skim or anything in-between)
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • *a donut pan (mini muffin pan would work too)

Here’s How:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray donut pan with cooking spray.
  2. Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and whisk together.
  3. Spoon batter into donut pan, filling 3/4 of the way — Or pour batter into a ziplock and cut the corner to pipe the batter into donut cavities.
  4. Bake for 8-10 minutes, then get started on the glaze (details below) and set out the toppings.
  5. Remove from oven and let cool in the pan. Transfer to a plate or cooling rack.
  6. Once completely cool, dip into glaze (recipe details below) and then toppings. Let glaze set for 30 minutes before storing or stacking.

DONUT GLAZE 3 WAYS

You’ll Need:

  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 to 4 tablespoons milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 drop of food coloring
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons of cocoa powder
  • 2 tablespoons of maple syrup
  • toppings and sprinkles — animal cookies, sprinkles, chocolate chips, coconut flakes, favorite cereal, cookie crumbles, bacon, etc.

Here’s How:

  1. For the glaze whisk together sugar, milk and vanilla extract. If needed, add milk in small amounts until you have desired consistency. Divided into 3 bowls.
  2. For vanilla glaze you can leave as is or add a drop or food coloring.
  3. For chocolate glaze, add 1 to 2 tablespoons of coco powder to taste and mix well.
  4. For maple glaze, add 2 tablespoons of maple syrup, to taste.
  5. Follow directions above to glaze and top your donuts!

(Poppy’s cute play gown from Plain Jane… also Jane is my mom’s name and Tilly’s middle name so their dresses are even harder for us to resist!)

Eating, I mean, taste testing as soon as the donuts are topped… no waiting for the glaze to set around here, LOL!

Here’s what’s on our menu this month:

12 DINNERS TO MAKE IN AUGUST

EASY

MAKE AHEAD OR BAKED

30-45 MINS

BREAKFAST, LUNCH + SNACK IDEAS

Hoping to draw summer out until the very end and that includes mealtime :) So, share your favorites in the comments!

XO, Rae

1

NO BAKE SUMMER RECIPE: MAGNOLIA’S BANANA PUDDING (WITH TOPPINGS)

They say necessity is the mother of invention – so we give it (and the magnolia bakery cookbook) all the credit for this recipe. I’ve been dying to make magnolia’s famous banana pudding but bananas are  a polarizing ingredient in our family and who wants to make a dessert that isn’t enjoyed by all? So instead of sticking to the traditional bananas we included a few other topping options and it turned out so, so good.

The recipe and some silly pics below — because cooking with kids is highly entertaining.

(Griffin’s v. appropriate banana shirt  from zara and on sale!)

Griffin LOVES to cook and be in the kitchen but is so funny and picky about food. He ended up being a fan, but instead of layering in a cup he would dip the wafers in the pudding to eat.

OUR VERSION of MAGNOLIA BAKERY’S FAMOUS BANANA PUDDING (adapted from this cookbook)

You’ll Need:

  • 1-14 oz. can of sweetened condensed milk
  • 1-1/2 cups cold water
  • 1-3.4 oz. box instant vanilla pudding mix
  • 3 cups heavy whipping cream
  • 1-12 oz. box nilla wafers (reserve some to crumble for topping)
  • TOPPINGS: sliced bananas, sliced strawberries (or other berries), crushed nilla wafers, sprinkles, chocolate chips, anything fun you have on hand!

Here’s How:

  1. In a large mixing bowl, mix sweetened condensed milk and water together. Add pudding mix and beat until well combined. Cover and chill for 4 hours or overnight.
  2. In another large mixing bowl, whip cream until peaks form.
  3. Remove pudding from refrigerator and add whip cream. Fold into the pudding until well combined.
  4. Spoon into individual cups or bowls and layer with nilla wafers, fruit and other toppings!

Two pics up — when everyone decided they needed a beater to lick but there’s only 2, ha! A familiar scene anytime we make dessert.

Whipping the cream was pretty funny because the kids kept dipping their finger into taste and were super confused by the lack of sweetness… whipped cream that tastes like fluffy milk? Weird.

It tastes so good. And rich. And the kids are already talking about what other versions we could make. I’m definitely saying yes to all the entertaining summer activities that we can do together, don’t require an oven and result in something edible.

What’s your favorite thing to whip up in the kitchen with kids?

Oh, and here’s another good banana recipe that’s perfect for summer!

Speaking of bananas, where does your family fall on the banana debate? Or pudding for that matter…?

I hadn’t had pudding since I was in the hospital after having Poppy… even the store-bought stuff tastes good when your starving and just gave birth, LOL.

xo, Rae

3

FRESH PRODUCE + FRESH BUTTON DOWNS FOR SUMMER

I know I’ve mentioned this before, but my no. 1 mom tip for getting out of any kind of rut is to simply mix things up a bit…  So when league play for baseball ended last week, after a long rut-inducing 3 months, I decided to take my own advice and add a few new things to make our daily grind less grind-ish and more fun.

We started with a trip to the produce stand by our house where we spent $17 for a fridge full of local and organic produce!? This part always blows my mind and is a good enough reason to add it to our errands when possible. I also managed to throw on a button down (or is it button-up?) instead of a t-shirt and try two new dinner recipes! Feeling way less blah-ish as a result so am going to leave this post right here to remind myself of how simple it is… Lord knows I’m going to need it about halfway through summer when the kids start bickering and I’m tired of picking up alllllllll the wet towels and swimmers.

A few more pics from the produce stand and outfit details below. Oh, and I saved the new recipes to my “eat” highlight on Instagram if you’re interested!

Does this not make you want a giant fridge with glass doors so you can write where everything goes? And little notes like “don’t touch the whip cream!” or “but first, veggies!” or “save room for tacos”. And then also have enough room for ALL the drink options too?

A girl can dream. But then I should also dream of hiring someone that can keep it fully stocked and organized, LOL. It would be a full time job in our house!

Quick question. Mini carts… God-send or help me Jesus?

The strawberries were tiny but sooooo tasty!

  MY OUTFIT | top from J.Crew (on sale and comes in pink too), jeans (similar fit or similar wash), hat from Nordstrom, shoes are old but similar from urban outfitters

POPPY OUTFIT | top and shorts from J.Crew (she would live in this t-shirt), shoes from Target (they’re comfy too… no sore ankles of heels!)

How do you guys like to mix things up!?

I love turning pizza nights into picnics and adding yoga/mindfulness into our bedtime routine.

XO, Rae

PS – If there is anything that you need to stock up on for summer or vacay, everything at J.Crew is 30% off right now!

2

MAY MEALS, TAKEOUT TIPS + SNACK IDEAS

We’ve been making these fun apple-almond (or peanut) butter monster mouths a lot lately, after my friend suggested it, and they are so, so good and fun to make! Although I found peanut butter smeared in random-ish places, the kids were able to put them together themselves for the most part and were completely occupied which is always a bonus. Just thought I’d pass the idea along if you’re looking for something creative to snack on.

Dinners, on the other hand, have looked a lot less creative which is why I didn’t share a menu last month. But with the start of May has come sunshine, a less hectic baseball schedule (no rainouts!), and less needy kids (yay outside playtime!). All of which are game changers, but lets be honest, whether your kids are little and needing hands-on attention, or older and in evening activities, there is no amount of sunshine or meal planning that will make dinnertime easy, so I’m still going to keep things pretty simple this month. Keep scrolling to find my best tips for getting takeout, picnic ideas, a list of v. easy dinners and our go-to filling snacks!

MONSTER MOUTHS | Spread favorite nut butter on one side of your apple slices. Line one apple slice with a row of marshmallows. Top with other slice. Use peanut butter to add candy eyes and eat!

TAKEOUT IDEAS

  • Tired of pizza and sandwiches for takeout? Try ordering from your favorite Thai, Sushi, Indian restaurant or that cute little Italian place down the street…
  • Look for specials on certain nights of the week — for instance, Monday’s are double points at Jersey Mike’s so that’s been our go-to… every other visit our order is half priced!
  • Do 1/2 and 1/2 — for example, make a big salad at home and order your favorite crab fritters (or whatever) to go!
  • Grab some grocery store takeout from the deli/coolers — Trader Joe’s has yummy stuff, but most places offer more than jo-jos and corndogs these days :)

PICNIC DINNERS

  • Copycat Starbucks Bistro Boxes
  • This caprese sandwich looks delish and very packable
  • Mediterranean chicken pasta salad (I use rotisserie chicken or salami in a pinch!)
  • Charcuterie platter
  • Sandwich or antipasto skewers
  • Any chopped salad (my fave), Goddess bowl or quinoa salad (this one looks yum) in a mason jar
  • Chicken fried rice is a picnic win for us. This recipe is similar to the one we use, but I usually swap out the peas for chopped broccoli or whatever else is in the fridge. It’s also a great way to use up leftover chicken breast or a rotisserie.
  • Favorite pizza
  • TIP: I usually pack things up in tupperware, but when I want to avoid them getting left at the field or in the car for too many days, THESE are handy, compostable containers. We’ve gotten THESE for parties before too and enjoy when we have extras to use. Definitely nice to have options!

REALLY EASY DINNERS

  • Anything in a bowl — goddess bowls, burrito bowls, etc.
  • French bread pizza
  • Tuna melts
  • Egg and sausage breakfast sandwiches — add pesto, avocado, basil, fancy cheeses (like the coconut gouda at TJ’s) to spice things up!
  • French dip sandwiches
  • These enchiladas are the best! Although they aren’t the easiest or fastest, they are easy to make ahead and the bake time helps with clean up.
  • Tomato pesto spaghetti florentine
  • Store-bought, ready to grill, kabobs
  • Quesadillas with black beans, avocado, etc.
  • The stuffed bell peppers from Costco
  • Baked potatoes
  • Nachos
  • Crockpot shredded chicken or pork for throwing together tacos, salads, soups, etc.

FILLING SNACKS

Yesterday while looking for meal ideas, I stumbled upon a few recipe cards given to me by a family friend during my kitchen themed bridal shower. They read:

 

“AH-SO ON THE GO”

1) enter your favorite chinese takeout phone number here _____________.

2) Call.

“DOUGH ON A ROLL”

1) Enter favorite pizza joint phone number here _____________.

2) Call.

and

“IF YOU MUST, CHICKEN BUST”

1) Chicken breasts.

2) Favorite bottle of BBQ sauce, put on chicken

3) BBQ until done.

I loved finding these cards among all the trusted, handed down and detailed recipes. It reminded me not to be so “all or nothing” when it comes to feeding the fam and that on those nights or seasons when life is crazy or I just don’t want to cook, there are other options and no need to feel guilty about it. Just hope all the lists above help a little!

XO, Rae

8