Sunday, January 21, 2018

No-Peek Beef TIps

Kellen started a basketball program at the Y. The program is for fun and to introduce the kids to the basics. Kellen is the youngest in the program for 5&6 year old kids, but he is the tallest of the group. I am not surprised that Kellen is tall for his age because I am 5'10" and Ron is over 6 foot. In the past few weeks I have run back to stores to return 8 different pairs of jeans to before finally finding a pair that fits his frame. Kellen needs the length of a size 8, but the wait size of a size 6. I finally found that Target's Cat and Jack brand size 7 slim works for Kellen. Thanks goodness because his pants could have reached high-water status pretty soon. 

Since I have a pair of boys with never ending growth spurts I love finding meals that all 3 of my boys love. This recipe is from Sarah at A Taste of Home Cooking and after her rave review it was on my meal plan. I made a small few adjustments to the recipe. I omitted the mushrooms because Ron is not a fan (I so wish he loved mushrooms!), used low sodium beef broth, and I cook mine in a dutch oven versus a casserole dish. I have not made this in a slow-cooker, but I imagine that it would be yummy. I like to serve this with mashed potatoes, but egg noodles or rice would also be delicious (I am actually making this tonight and serving with rice for the boys). I normally serve a roasted veggie on the side (green beans are the boys current favorite). 

Last night Ron and I had a date night! We grabbed dinner at a bar close to the house and I had a delicious wrap with smoked turkey, avocado, bacon, jalapeno wrapped in a cheddar jalapeno wrap- so good. We went to see a the movie The Commuter after dinner, and really enjoyed it. We like Liam Neeson and got hooked on his action movies after watching Taken when it was released. Today I am headed to Pure Barre, and then a Target run before coming home because my groceries are getting delivered. Have you used a grocery delivery service ever? Ah-maz-ing! We use Shipt, but I know there are a lot of different options out there. 

Have a great Sunday everyone! 


Ingredients

2 1/2 - 3 lb beef chuck roast or chuck eye, trimmed of fat and cubed 
12 ounces white button mushrooms, cleaned and sliced (Optional)
1 (10.5 oz) can cream of mushroom soup
1 (0.87 oz) packet brown gravy mix
1 (1.25 oz) packet Lipton dry onion soup mix
1 cup reduced-sodium beef broth


Instructions

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees. Place cubed meat  in a 9 x 13 baking dish or a medium dutch oven.

In a large bowl mix the soup, gravy mix, onion soup mix and water together. Pour over the meat and toss to combine. Cover the dish tightly with foil or cover with dutch oven lid. Bake for 3 hours. Remember, no peeking! 

Sunday, January 7, 2018

Weekly Meal Plan 1/7 - 1/13

Happy New Year my friends! 

Do you like New Year resolutions? I am all about them if they are reasonable and, for me, they have been good motivators. That being said, I am not one of those people who makes drastic changes for the New Year- just little adjustments.  So, for 2018 I have two resolutions and a couple bucket list items for the year. Resolution 1 is to get back blogging 3 times a week! I have had to put a lot on the back burner when transitioning from working to school, and unfortunately one of those things was blogging. Resolution 2 is to reach 500 Pure Barre classes in 2018. I completed 250 in September after doing barre for about 16 months, and I am hoping I can reach my goal in late 2018! Other things on my 2018 bucket list are a short vacation with Ron, getting our house ready to sell (eeekkkk), and try a cycling class.  Nothing to crazy over here! 

So what is new with me? My kids are growing like crazy and it is going too fast. Kellen turned 5 in December and Rowan will be 2 in April.....where does time go? School is going great and my fall semester was completed mid December and right now I am in the middle of what is called J-Term and it's not so fun. Currently, I am taking 6 credits and J-Term is 3 weeks..... it is a lot of work, but it will be nice to have the credits completed, but it is a lot of work over a short period of time. The more I experience in the education program the more it enforces what a good this decision was for me and my family. I have gotten to spend so much time with my boys, and that has been wonderful. 

So, that was a quick little update, but I wanted to share what is new in our lives and my meal plan! I received and Insta Pot for Christmas and am excited to break it out and give it a try this week! 

Here is what is on tap:

Sunday: Lasagna, Side Salads, and Garlic Bread
Monday:  Insta Pot Baby Back Ribs and Potato Salad
Tuesday: Taco Ranch Chicken Burrito Bowls
Wednesday: Leftover
Thursday: Meatloaf, Mashed Potatoes, and Peas
Friday: Pizza
Saturday: Holiday/New Year Party with Family

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Weekly Meal Plan 11/12 - 11/18

Hello Friends!

Long time no chat! After my last post in October, Hand, Foot and Mouth infiltrated our house starting with my 18 month-old on a Monday evening. It just happened to be a very busy week at school for me because we had a group of 5th graders coming to have a tour (by group I mean there were 800 of them from local grade schools). Ron and I split childcare since Rowan was home from school till his fever was down and blisters started to heal. We spent the days cleaning every toy, vacuuming and sanitizing. Kellen had this virus when we was about that same age as Rowan and it was a pain and thankfully Kellen stuck to the table and living room to steer clear of Rowan. However, that following it got worse....Ron got it. My husband is wonderful at many things, but being sick if not one of them. It is somewhat of a running joke between both our families at Ron's behavior when he is ill. I should say that this virus is pretty horrible for adults and this time is was not unwarranted. So Ron was out of commission and I was by myself to keep everything Rowan AND Ron touched clean. I think I went through 8 cans of Lysol and 5 big things of Clorox wipes....who knows what brain damage I gave us with that. I was doing all the childcare, cleaning/sanitizing, meals, and laundry over the next week and a half and was exhausted by the end.  Right when we thought we were in the clear, Kellen puked at school and had to come home. Thankfully I think Kellen's was a fluke, but two days later Ron got a 12 hour stomach bug....and another round of wiping everything down again.  Fast forward to today I think, knock on wood, we are all doing much better. 

I had a few exams this past week which hopefully went well considering out home turmoil. I was able to get out of the house and attend a Board and Brush with some friends. I made a cute stocking holder for the holidays. I love the board projects. They take awhile, but turn out so cute! 
Ron and I also had dinner with my Dad on Friday while my in-laws watched the boys for a much needed break after the past 3 1/2 weeks! Saturday was for sleeping for some, but I was up early for a Pure Barre Empower class before running errands for the week. Kellen brings snack for the class this week so it is always a big shopping weekend when it is our turn.  Today, I am heading over the the barre studio shortly and then finishing Kellen's snack list before coming home for the Packer game at noon. Since Rogers got hurt we have not been doing great, but maybe this week will turn around. 

This week is thankfully pretty slow and later in the week we have Kellen's conferences and are going to attend the tree lighting and the Holiday parade!

Here is what is on tap: 

Sunday: One Pot Baked Ziti, Salad and Garlic Bread
Monday: Pizza
Tuesday: Chicken and Wild Rice Casserole and Peas
Wednesday: Bacon Pierogie Bake and Green Beans
Thursday: Weeknight White Chicken Chili
Friday: Leftovers
Saturday: Dinner at a friend's house!

Saturday, October 21, 2017

Loaded Beer Cheese Potato Soup #SoupSwappers

It is time for the October Soup Swap is here and I am the host this month! 

I selected the theme, "Soups from your State (Regional Soups)". I know there are so many types of soups or flavor combos unique to the different participants, and was excited to see what everyone came up with. 

I decided to make a variation of a beer cheese soup. Beer cheese is, not surprisingly, a popular soup in Wisconsin. It is frequently on restaurant menus using various types of local beers and cheeses.  The beer cheese combo isn't limited to soup in my neck of the woods. It is not uncommon to see if as a sauce for a burger or a dip. In Wisconsin, we are so luck to have a plethora of delicious local cheeses and beer right at our finger tips.  For this soup, I used Wisconsin's Spotted Cow and sharp cheddar from Steve's Cheese. I also decided to load this soup up and pair the beer cheese with a loaded baked potato. This soup is delicious and a perfect blend of a few of my favorite Wisco flavors. 

I am so excited to see what everyone else made from their regions! 



Ingredients

1 tsp olive oil
2 lb russet potato, peeled and chopped (set 1 cup aside)
1/2 cup carrot, chopped
2 stalks of celery,chopped
1/2 onion, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, minced 
4 cup reduced sodium chicken broth
1 cup milk 
1 cup beer (I do not recommend using a dark beer)
1 1/2 cups grated sharp cheddar cheese (plus extra for topping)
4 slices of bacon, cooked and crumbled (plus extra for topping)
3 green onions sliced
Sour Cream
Salt and Pepper


Instructions

Saute potatoes (minus one reserved cup), carrots, celery, onion, and garlic in a soup pot. When vegetables begin to soften and onions become translucent add chicken broth and milk. Simmer till veggies are soft. Blend soup with an immersion blender or in a stand blender. You do not need to blend the soup, but it will result in a much thinner consistency.  Add the remaining potatoes to the blended soup. Add a the beer and cook till the potatoes are soft. Once the potatoes are soft stir in cheese and bacon.  Season with salt and pepper. Top with additional crumbled bacon, shredded cheese, sour cream, and sliced green onions.  

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Weekly Meal Plan 10/8 - 10/14

Well I am a little late on my meal plan this week! I had a few exams last week and two over the weekend in my online courses and I was a bit behind to start my week.  This pas weekend we started by going for pizza and to the play Charlotte's Web with friends. On Saturday, I had barre class and after Kellen, Rowan and I bet our friends at a pumpkin festival for games, pumpkins and cookies. Afterwards, Rowan went for a nap and Kellen and I went to a local craft store for a Halloween slime making craft. Sidebar, how do you say Halloween? I say Haalloween and Kellen keeps correcting me and telling me to say Holloween. He is probably right.... Anyways, on Sunday, I went to another barre class and headed to kid's day at a local haunted house with my sister and friend Emily. The haunted house is for adults, but two days in October they cover up all the gory things and have kid volunteers scare the little ones with all the lights on- with a candy bag at the end! Kellen really enjoys it and it is fun to see all the kids volunteering and working hard to make sure it is fun for everyone coming for a scare. Afterwards we headed to my parent's for the Packer game.  That game was stressful, but thankfully the Packer's won with a minute left to play. 

This week we had swim on Monday and met a few friends for burgers at a place near by the pool. Rowan is enjoying class and is one of the younger kids so some of the skills are a little hard for him still, but he is getting comfortable blowing bubbles and laying on his back (this is very hit or miss for him). Next week the kids get a little playtime since it is his last lesson for the session.  This week for meals are a mix of going out and trying a few new recipes. I am especially excited to try Sarah's chicken stew on Friday! 

Have a great week everyone! 

Sunday: Spaghetti and Meat Sauce with Salad and Garlic Bread
Monday: Culver's after swim
Tuesday: Loaded Beer Cheese Potato Soup and Rolls
Wednesday: Brown Sugar Crockpot Pork Chops, Herbed Rice and Roasted Cauliflower
Thursday: Subs
Friday: Indian Spiced Chicken Stew with Potatoes
Saturday: Out after Pumpkin Patch

Monday, October 2, 2017

Weekly Meal Plan 10/1 - 10/7

Happy Monday!

This weekend Ron and I were lucky to have a break from our boys and they had a visit with my in-laws on Saturday night. Ron and I attended one of my former co-worker's wedding. Sunday we got to sleep in (which is not that late for us because our bodies are now wired to get up super early) and I went to a barre class. After barre, and while Ron was still sleeping, I grabbed brunch with my sister and a few girlfriends. I had a few delicious mimosas and a smoked salmon eggs benedict with a salsa verde- so delicious.  I also ran a bunch of errands and we were ready to hang out with the boys when they finally got home. There was no Packer game this Sunday so we relaxed and home and I made a pot of lasagna soup. 

Today I got to go with Kellen and his class to the planetarium! Opportunities like this make me feel fortunate to be able to take a break, work on my license and spend a little more time with my kids. Tonight we had Rowan's swim class and popped over to Culver's for burgers and custard.  Boys are currently in bed and Ron and I are watching the news coverage from Las Vegas feeling tremendously saddened by what happened. It made me hug my boys and husband tighter tonight. 

This week I have my usual classes and tutoring. I also have a few exams this week so it will be full! We are also going to see a local theater production of Charlotte's Web on Friday- I think Kellen will love the show! 

This is also, hopefully, the last week of this 80 degree weather in October trash......

Have a great week everyone! 

Sunday: Lasagna Soup
Monday: Out for Culver's
Tuesday: Grilled BBQ Chicken and Smoked Sausage, Mac and Cheese, Salad and Peas
Wednesday: Old-Fashioned Beef Stew and Crusty Bread
Thursday: French Onion Chicken and Rice Casserole with Green Beans
Friday: Out
Saturday: Pizza

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Warm Mediterranean Orzo Salad

It is no secret that I love olives and all things briny in flavor. Las week I made pesto marinated grilled pork chops and we needed a side dish to serve with our pork chops.  I had some feta to use and happened to have some orzo in our pantry. This is a very easy dish to make and since it is all made in the same pot that means minimal dishes!  This is not a vegetarian dish because I used chicken broth, but subbing in vegetable broth or stock out be delicious as well. 

School is going well! Thanks for your nice encouraging e-mails and messages!  I am approaching a few exams next week and this week have started tutoring in a high school personal financial literacy class and am enjoying being in the schools! I am hoping to be done with my program by fall (potentially summer) of 2018! 

This weekend we have a date night on Saturday and are attending a friends wedding! I am also planning a few barre classes and potentially bottomless mimosas to follow. Of course there will be some homework in there as well. One of my new favorite brunch places is The Cannery. I am obsessed with their smoked salmon eggs benedict with salsa verde....yum. 

Currently, Ron and I are watching the Packer/Bear game. The Pack is up by 14 points- Go Pack Go! We also started Homeland (and the new season of Survivor) this week and really like it so far- have you guys watched this series?


Ingredients

2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp olive oil
1 cup uncooked orzo
2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1/4 tsp pepper 
1/4 tsp onion powder 
1/2 tsp dried orgeano
1/2 cup halved kalmata olives
1 roasted red pepper, chopped 
1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese, plus a little extra for topping
1/3 cup halved tomatoes


Instructions

Heat olive oil in large rimmed skillet over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook about a minute. Add the orzo and stir to coat in the oil. Add pepper, onion powder and oregano and stir. Add the broth is a half cup as a time as each each half cup is absorbed.  and allow mixture to slightly simmer.  With the last half cup for broth add the olives, pepper, cheese and tomatoes. Cook till broth is absorbed and orzo is tender. If you need to add additional broth that is not a problem, but add slowly so there is not too much liquid.  Remove from heat and serve. Top with additional feta if desired.