Paleo Favorites – Recipe Roundup

This past month we’ve been trying our best to stick to the Whole30 diet. For me, it’s really a mental struggle to break the habits of stress eating or lazy eating…grabbing the easiest thing when I’m on the go.  Success comes a little easier by sharing what I’m doing with friends and co-workers….I will not grab that coke at work when everyone knows I’ve given up sugar. Planning ahead and utilizing my meal planner has also been key to sticking to it.

Here are three o my favorite go to paleo recipes.  I’ll share more as we continue our journey.

Czech Meatballs from Well FedOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThese are awesome…the baby LOVES them, plus it’s an easy make ahead. Roll out the meatballs and place on a parchment lined baking sheet. Freeze for 1-2 hours until solid and then place the frozen meatballs in a freezer bag.  When you’re ready to use, cook as directed in the recipe…they only take 15-20 minutes depending on how big you make your meatballs. Pair with Cauliflower rice or zoodles.

Cauliflower Rice from Nom Nom PaleoThe great thing about cauliflower rice is that it’s quick and you can do so many different things to add variety.  Add veggies and egg for fried rice. Add some tomato paste, garlic, onion and cumin for a Mexican flavor. Don’t want to deal with ricing your cauliflower?  I’ve found it at Trader Joe’s and QFC already riced.

This week I added ground pork, water chestnuts, bamboo shoots, onion and shredded carrot with some Chinese five spice to create the filling for lettuce wraps.  Yum!

Scotch Eggs from Well FedscotcheggsAwesome breakfast on the go, but honestly I’ve eaten these tasty babies at all times of the day.

Do you have a favorite Paleo or Grain Free recipe that I should try?

The Jellyfish Book Review #3

It’s that time again…well actually well past the time.  Jellyfish had this book review done weeks ago but lately I haven’t been able to drag myself to the computer at home after being on one all day at work.

JELLYFISH BOOK REVIEW #3 – March
Jellyfish Favorite of the month…

Tuck Everlasting ~by Natalie Babbit

Jellyfish Rating – 3 Hearts, Loved It!

Tuck Everlasting is a great book because it is full of mystery.  Winnie Foster goes into the forest and finds a new friend in a boy named Jesse. He and his family have a BIG secret.  There is a man who wears a yellow jacket that is determined to find out the secret, but no one knows who he is.  This book is wonderful and full of adventure.  You’re sure to get lost in the story.

Other reads this month…

Ramona and Her Mother ~by Beverly Cleary

Jellyfish Rating – 2 Hearts, Liked It!

Poppy’s Return ~by Avi

Jellyfish Rating – 3 Hearts, Loved It!

Thea Stilton: The Mysterious Love Letter ~by Geronimo Stilton

Get your copies here…

Quick and Easy Spring Project – Mason Jar Flowers

Ever have a great idea for a project that you think will keep the kids busy for a while and it ends up taking….oh, five minutes or less?  That happened to me a few weekends ago.  My nieces were coming over and with to my two that adds up to 4 sweet..scratch that…loud and energetic little girls running around my house.  I thought to myself, I’d better have an activity planned.

So out came the potting soil, English Daisy seeds, Mason jars, ribbon and letter stickers to keep track of which jar belongs to which girl…These things are important.

Don’t get me wrong, this project was fun and the girls all loved planting their own flowers but seriously it only took five minutes.

Flexibility is key to a joyful heart.

Instead of having a keep them busy craft, we had a quick and easy spring project. Now just need to see those little sprouts come up and bloom.

Ever have an idea for a project that turns out completely different that you planned?

12 Ways I Use Command Hooks at Home and Office

Wow – it’s been a while since I posted.  I knew I was busy but didn’t realize how long it had been until I logged in and looked at the date of my last post.  Have you missed me?

This post may sound like an advertorial, but I swear I am not being paid to post my thoughts or sell you on anything (though it would be nice if I were).  I honestly use these Command Hooks and Strips all over my home and office….and even if I were being paid, I’d only give you my honest opinion.

I like using command hooks because they are easy to use but most importantly they are movable and don’t leave holes in your walls like nails do.  I tend to reorganize every 2-3 months so using these keeps my walls from looking like Swiss cheese. :O)

Command Hooks at Home

Command hooks in use

  1. Hooks placed at kid height lets those little ones take responsibility for hanging up their own coats and backpacks
  2. Mr. is an amazing helpmate but even super-daddy needs help.  I set out baby’s outfit each night so that the mornings are easy-peasy for him.
  3. Hook on the back of the bathroom door for Jellyfish to hang her bathrobe.
  4. Small clear hook on the back of the front door to hang seasonal decor.
  5. Small clear hooks on the brick fireplace to hang banners
  6. Large heavy-duty hook for Jellyfish’s school backpack.  Man that thing is heavy.
  7. Small clear hooks inside the kitchen spice cabinet for measuring spoons and measuring cups.  I used to have these piled in a drawer but love having them close and easy to grab.  See the missing measuring cup–proof I’m not perfect and all of my dishes weren’t clean when taking pics for this post.
  8. Small hook holds a little bucket of pens and dry erase markers next to our school calendar.  Pens for the calendar, dry erase markers for my weekly meal plan
  9. Hooks to hold up indoor Christmas lights around the kitchen.

Command Hooks at the Office

  1. Small hook to hang DND sign on office doors.
  2. Same hooks used for Christmas lights are awesome to keep cords off the floors and pinned to the wall.
  3. Medium hook to hang my scarves, jackets or purse

Besides hooks you can also get all kinds of picture hangers.  LOVE IT!

There are affiliate links in this post.  If you happen to click and make a purchase, I could get a small kick back from Amazon to help support the blog.

I think that’s proof enough that I’m slightly addicted to these things.  Do you have anything you use all the time and every where to help you organize your home?

Roasted Veggies

Confession Time- I love to get breakfast from the hot bar at PCC or Whole Foods. It’s quick and tasty but as with any salad or hot bar it’s way overpriced. One of the things I love to get is the mixed roasted veggies. But at $8.99/pound you’re paying a premium for that zucchini, onion, mushroom, pepper or squash which would otherwise cost you under $2.00/pound. To purge myself of the guilt, this week I made a big tray of roasted veggies at home that I will use for quick healthy to-go food or as additions to the meals of the week.

Ingredients:

Zucchini, Mushrooms, Yellow Squash, Onion, Bell Pepper

Roasted Vegetables
Before Cooking – So Pretty and Organized
Method:

Chop veggies (make sure they’re similar in size so you get even cooking). Drizzle with olive oil.  Sprinkle salt, pepper, thyme (or any other herbs you like)  Bake at 4256 for 15-20 minutes (or until desired tenderness).  I like to leave a little crunch to mine.  Nothing worse than soggy zucchini.

Now it’s your turn to confess….

The Jellyfish Book Review #2

Well, it’s that time again…time for the second Jellyfish Book Review. Jellyfish read 5 books in February. Her ratings and favorite are listed below.
Other exciting news from last month….Jellyfish turned 9!  Happy Birthday!

JELLYFISH BOOK REVIEW #2 – February
Jellyfish Favorite of the month…
Beezus and Ramona ~By Beverly Cleary

Jellyfish Rating – 3 Hearts, Loved It!

Beezus and Ramona is the first book in a series.  Ramona is a trouble maker.  Her sister, Beezus, whose real name is actually Beatrice calls Ramona a pest.  Ramona doesn’t think she’s a pest. In this book she gets in trouble and ruins her sister’s birthday cake…..twice.  There are eight great Ramona books.  Ramona goes to school, plays with friends and has all kinds of adventures.

Other Reads of the month…
Nancy Drew Diaries: Mystery of the Midnight Rider ~by Carolyn Keene

Jellyfish Rating – 2 Hearts, Liked It!
Bad Kitty: Puppy’s Big Day ~by Nick Brul


Whatever After: Sugar and Spice ~by Sarah Mlynowski
Jellyfish Rating – 3 Hearts, Loved It!
Billie B Mysteries: Spooky House ~by Sally Rippin
Jellyfish Rating – 2 Hearts, Liked It!
Do you have any book suggestions for Jellyfish to read this month?

5 Ways to Make Meal Prep Work For You

For me it seems to be a constant challenge to make week night meals at home and healthy without feeling stressed and rushed.  We usually get home around between 430-500 and little Armadillo is climbing my legs starving to death like she hasn’t eaten in two days at 530.  So without snacking her until she won’t eat her dinner, I’ve had to figure out how to make yummy quick meals that are healthy and no too complicated during the week.  These tips aren’t new or ground breaking, but hey, they’re doing the trick for us. :o)

What's for dinner?
Weekly Meal Plan
  1. PLAN PLAN PLAN.  I created a weekly meal plan template, laminated it and stuck it to my refrigerator.  It’s right next to my grocery list and monthly school lunch menu.  The week’s where I don’t take the time to plan are AWFUL.  Without the plan, my shopping is unguided and I end up with a bunch of mismatched groceries that somehow never strike my fancy when it comes time to cook.  There’s nothing worse than staring into the refrigerator with no idea what you’re doing for the dinner and the kids beginning to circle.  I also have a spot on my plan for Snacks/Breakfasts so that I know what I’m baking on the weekend to have ready-to-go during the week.  Even if you don’t plan out the entire week, but just get a few days ahead of yourself, this is going to help.
  2. DOUBLE DUTY.  Make your food work for you.  When you’re writing your weekly meal plan be intentional about creating meals that feed into one another.  This can cut down on cooking time and helps on the really busy nights.  For example this week I have taco night and chili on the menu.  When I make my pot of chili I will brown double the amount of meat needed and reserve half of it for taco night.  There are lots of ways to do this…extra Baked Chicken can be used later in the week for chicken enchiladas, chicken tortilla soup, chicken salad for lunches, taquitos, etc…I think you get the point.
  3. WEEKEND PREP.  Make time to prep one extra meal on the weekend that will serve you during the week.  I use this time to make a quiche, muffins, or a casserole that can be used for on-the-go breakfasts or a quick reheat dinner.  While my baking is in the oven I look over my weekly meals…do I have multiple meals that need chopped veggies, garlic, onions?  If so, I chop up the 2-3 onions that I’ll need and put them in bags or containers in the refrigerator so they’re ready to use.  Chop veggies for quick go-to snacks.  I’ll be honest with you….I don’t do this every weekend, but I should because when I do it my week night evenings run much smoother.
  4. MULTI-TASK.  Make two dinners at once….or at least parts of the second dinner.  Sometimes I know that there will be a night that we have lots of errands to run that will make cooking a chore so the day before I do a little extra work.   Tonight while I was making dinner on the stove, I threw chicken into the oven that will serve tomorrow’s dinner.  I also boiled some eggs for breakfast the rest of the week.
  5. MAKE MORE.  Making a pot of soup, chili or a casserole?  Make enough to freeze a portion for a dinner later on.  I do this every time we make soup, chili or lentils.  Soup and salad makes a quick healthy meal and keeps us for hoping on the dominos app.  Making pancakes?  Double the batch.  Lay the extras on a cookie sheet, freeze and once frozen store in a freezer bag.  These heat up in a minute for breakfast or breakfast for dinner.
Meal Planning Center - Refrigerator
Refrigerator Command Center

What do you do to make week-night meal prep easier for you and your family?

Want a free copy of my meal-planner?  Subscribe to the blog and leave a comment and I’ll send you a PDF so you can begin planning today.

OverDrive – My Audio Book Heroine Fix

Kids, home and work keep me so busy I don’t often have time to sit down and read…here comes OverDrive to the rescue!

Wow.  That title is a little strong, but I hope it grabbed your attention.

One of the things that brings me great joy is getting lost in a good book. It’s not unusual for me to reread a favorite book over and over.  To me it’s like a visit with an old friend.   Right now…a very neglected friend.

As a busy working mom reading is one thing that I struggle to make time for.  Until recently I’d never been big on the idea of audio books.  So ignorant I was.  My dad finally convinced me to give them and try and it has turned my world around.  I am hooked!  I mean it…hooked. Now every day on my commute to and from work which is anywhere from 1 to 2 hours a day depending on traffic, I am listening to books.  Sometimes I pop my headphones on and slip my phone in my pocket to listen while I’m folding laundry or cooking dinner.  Since I started listing in the fall, I’ve listed to at least 10 books.  Guess how many I’ve had time to sit down and read….0.

There are lots of ways to access audio books but I’m a big fan of free stuff so I use the OverDrive app on my phone.  It connects to my local library (library card required) and I can borrow an audio book at no cost for 7-21 days.

Don’t get me wrong…listening to audio books won’t take place of my love of actually sitting down with book in hand, but it’s a fair substitute when you don’t seem to have the time to sit.

In my dream house I will have a reading nook something like this. Maybe add a curtain so I can hide in there. :o)

Comfy nook surrounded by books.
Dream House Book Nook

What’s your favorite hobby and how do you make time for it as a busy mom?

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Treasuring the Moments

Choose joy over worry and make time to treasure the moments

As a working mom sometimes I find myself stressing, worrying, obsessing (whatever you want to call it) over the lack of time that I have with my kids.  I get up and head out early to beat traffic seeing them only for a few minutes as I rush to get ready and out the door.  After work I pick them up from school, we run a few errands and we’re home for dinner, homework, etc.  Armadillo is only 18 months so she’s in bed around 630. Jellyfish goes to bed around 8 so some nights we have less than an hour to actually enjoy each other.  Sometimes we’re doing chores right up to bedtime.  On those days I struggle….wishing I didn’t have to work so much…fantasizing about winning the lottery.  Wondering if I’m doing a good enough job as a mom.  Wondering if the kiddos feel loved and treasured.  I know there are so many of you moms out there that can relate to this struggle.

Choose Joy Over Worry and Make Time to Treasure the Moments

Moments

Last week Jellyfish made this picture for me.  That’s a picture of a little basket full of “moments.”  I hung it up on my wall at work so when I’m at work wishing I was home, I look at this and remember that I just need to do my best and be purposeful about treasuring each moment that we do have together.

I close my eyes, take a deep breath, choose joy over worry and carry on.

What do you do to make sure that you are treasuring the moments with your little ones?

No Fail Banana Bread

This no fail recipe has saved my bananas many a time when I let them sit on the counter too long. The kids love it too and it’s easy enough for them to help.

I’m not a huge fan of bananas.  I know they are good for you, yada yada, but I really do have to force myself to eat them.  That said, I buy them because they’re good for you and the kids eat them but sometimes…okay…quite often they sit on the counter and over-ripen. I HATE throwing away food.  It just seems so wrong when there are people all around the world going without.

Banana Bread to the rescue!

These banana muffins disappear in no time.

My mom gave me this recipe and it is super.  Whether it’s in the shape of muffins or loaves of bread it always turns out great!  The kids love it and I love it because it is simple and tasty.  Jellyfish (my daughter) also loves to put her apron on and help with this one.  There’s something about smashing (bananas) that just makes you feel good.

Ingredients

  • 4-5 Bananas (ripe and smashed)
  • 1/2 C Butter (soft)
  • 1 C Sugar
  • 2 Eggs
  • 2 C Flour
  • 1 t Baking Soda
  • 1/4 t Salt
  • OPTIONAL ADD-INS (1 or two at the max)
  • 1/2 C Walnuts (chopped)
  • 1/2 C Chocolate Chips
  • 1/2 C Peanut Butter Chips
  • 1/2 C Oatmeal

Method

  1. Cream butter & sugar.
  2. Add eggs one at a time and beat well
  3. Add bananas and any add-ins and stir
  4. Combine dry ingredients in a separate bowl
  5. Add slowly to wet mixture
  6. Pour mix into muffin tins or greased loaf pan
  7. Bake at 350 degrees.  20 minutes for muffins, 60 minutes for loaf or until bread is golden and toothpick comes out clean.
Banana Muffins
Golden Brown and Delicious

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What’s your favorite recipe to cook with your kids?

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