Sunday, September 11, 2016

Brownie Oatmeal Cookies #SecretRecipeClub

Welcome to September's Secret Recipe Club reveal day! 


This month I received Amy's blog: Amy's Cooking Adventures. Amy, like me, has two little boys and loves cooking and baking for her family. Amy's love of cooking was sparked after having her first child and wanting to experiment more in her kitchen. One of her goals is to make meals her family loves while expanding their palates. That is certainly an goal I can get behind. I also like her method of getting her kids to at least try one bite...something we struggle with in our house from time to time! 

Amy has so many wonderful recipes it was hard to pick one! I loved the sound of the Slow Cooker Chicken Mole, Slow Cooker Teriyaki Beef Tips, and Creamy Tomato Basil Soup with Sausage.  Ultimately, I decided to make Brownie Oatmeal Cookies after my little guy saw the photo while I was scrolling the recipes. It is hard to say no to that sweet face especially when his little eyes get wide with excitement over chocolate (I am really talking about Ron and not Kellen- just kidding). This recipe is sooooo easy and the cookies are amazing. The only change I made was to keep the oats whole and not ground. This was mainly due to the fact I have a sleeping baby and was afraid my food processor would wake him. I found the keeping the oats whole still resulted in a delicious cookie. Kellen was all about the mini m&m's and loved this recipe. I can't wait to make this recipe again to share with friends around the holidays- yum!

Thank you Amy for a delicious sweet treat! 



Ingredients

1 box brownie mix
11/4 cup rolled oats
½ cup vegetable oil
1 tbsp water
2 eggs
½ cup mini chocolate chips
½ cup mini M&Ms


Instructions

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.

Place the brownie mix, oats, oil, water, and eggs in a large bowl.  Mix until combined (the batter will be quite thick).

Fold in the chocolate chips and M&Ms.  Drop 2 tablespoon spoonfuls on the prepared cookies sheets.

Bake for 12 minutes or until just set in the center.  Cool for 10 minutes on the pans, then move to wire racks and cool completely.

Makes about 2 1/2 - 3 dozen cookies


Sunday, August 28, 2016

Slowcooker Chicken Caesar Sandwiches #SRCbacktoschool

Today is a special Secret Recipe Club Back to School reveal! 
We are focusing on quick breakfast or dinner recipes, after school snack, or even a creative lunchbox meal! This is the perfect time of year for this challenge as I get ready for my little boys first day of pre-school next week (how did he get so big!). I am a big fan of quick weekday meals and was on the hunt for a crockpot, quick breakfast, or a one-pot meal for this challenge! 
I received Heather's blog Join Us Pull, Up A Chair. Heather grew up loving to cook and bake and has a plethora of delicious recipes on her blog. Heather also works full-time and has her own business in addition to blogging! She is one busy (and talented) lady! I had a hard time narrowing down my selections while reading Heather's blog. There were so many recipes perfect for our Back to School theme. A few of my favorites were: Greek Cucumber Salad, Summer Corn Chowder, Braided Pesto Bread, and Pumpkin Breakfast Cookies. Ultimately, I decided to make Chicken Caesar Sandwiches. I selected this because it is a crockpot recipe and my crockpot is my immediate go to for busy nights! My family loves shredded chicken sandwiches and I knew that these were perfect for a weeknight meal. I also love crockpot recipes because they are easy for Kellen to help with because they, many time, just require pouring ingredients into the crockpot! 
These sandwiches were delicious and I loved the flavorful caesar flavors paired with the cheese and crisp romaine. I served these sandwiches with fresh grapes and potato salad, and it was a hit with my family!
Thank you Heather for a delicious new recipe my entire family enjoyed!

Ingredients

3 (1 1/4 lb) boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 1/2 cups reduced sodium chicken broth
1 cup Caesar dressing 
3/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese, divided
1/4 tsp dried parsley 


Instructions

Add the chicken breasts and chicken broth to the slow cooker. Cook on low for 6 hours. Remove from the slow cooker, shred the chicken and return to the slow cooker.

Add the dressing, 1/2 cup cheese, parsley and season with salt and pepper (if desired). Cook for an additional 30 minutes. Serve on rolls with Romaine lettuce and a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese.


Weekly Meal Plan 8/29 - 9/4

The last week of August...... I don't know about you, but my summer has flown by faster than ever before.  My life has been adjusting to two children over the past 5 months and many things have fallen by the wayside, but my family is doing well and we are all finding out roles as a party of 4. 

This weekend was a relaxing weekend for mom and dad. My mom was nice enough to bring Kellen to their cottage in Door County Friday and Saturday night and that meant that we were down a child for the weekend. I never realized how busy we were until we just had Rowan to focus on this weekend. On Friday, we had dinner at one of our favorite places, Nicky's and relaxed at home with an early bedtime. 

Saturday morning I went to my Pure Barre class and got my shake on. I absolutely adore this class and love the owner and her instructors. Pure Barre is challenging, but I have noticed such a positive difference in my body and have become positively addicted. Ron headed down to Milwaukee for his fantasy football draft and I did a few chores around the house and made a big batch of freezer salsa. In the evening we grilled steaks and I headed to see Bad Moms  with my friend Emily. She is due with her second in a few weeks and we are getting in our adult time as we can! 

Sunday morning I went to my other weekly Pure Barre class with two friends and we bummed around Target afterwards. This afternoon has been filled with grocery shopping and meal prepping for the week. Kellen is on his way home from the cottage and we are planning to grill burgers and a trip to the park is hopefully in the cards to finish off the weekend. 

This coming week Kellen is ending his summer program at Montessori and will be on break for a few days. I am still so happy we made the change from Kellen's daycare to this model of learning. Kellen really seems to love it and I am so happy to see him learning so many new and fun things (this past week was space week!). 

Here are a few snaps from this week:



Here is what is on tap for meals this week:

Monday: One-Pot Chicken Feta Alfredo and Salad
Tuesday: Taco Rice Bake
Wednesday: Thai Take-Out
Thursday: Grilled Chicken Caprese, Cous Cous and Salad
Friday: Pizza
Saturday: Dinner in Door County
Sunday: Grilled Brats, Potato Salad, Baked Beans and Corn

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Weekly Meal Plan 8/15 - 8/21

Woohoo! I finally got my butt in gear and posted our meal plan. Running after 2 kids in no joke....

This weekend we spent most of our time in Door County at our cottage. My cousins were in town and the weather was perfect. We swam, grilled and enjoyed being together. Kellen is just getting old enough to really enjoy playing with his cousins, but his favorite was when Mom got into the water to splash and play with him. 

In between cottage time, I got in a few Pure Barre classes. I absolutely adore this workout. If you have a studio in your city check it out. I have never done a low impact workout that was so effective and fast paced. 

This week I am taking a few Barre classes and have a short week at work! I am planning to enjoy sometime with the kiddos and enjoy sometime to myself as well. My sister and I are going to a movie on Wednesday- Jaws. the theater is doing a Spielberg month and Jaws is one of the selected films.  Later in week we are planning a day trip to our cottage to play in the water (perfect after Jaws) and visit with out cousins again. 

I feel like this summer is just flying by..... maybe it is having another child but I feel like life hit the fast forward button on me! I can't believe there are a few weeks left of August! 

Kellen is loving his Montessori summer program and in a few weeks my boy will start Preschool! Like I said, time is flying. 

This week I am trying a few new to us recipes, but since we will be in and out a few days there will likely be an ordered sub and leftover night. 

Here are a few snaps from the weekend:





Have a great week everyone! 

Monday: Out
Tuesday:  One Pot Chicken Fajita Pasta and Salad
Wednesday: Out
Thursday: Slowcooker Italian Beef Sandwiches and Fruit
Friday: Out
Saturday: Door County for Day- likely grilling
Sunday:  Grilled Rosemary Ranch Chicken, Cheesy Zucchini Rice and Fruit

Sunday, August 7, 2016

Italian Breakfast Casserole #SecretRecipeClub

Time for August Secret Recipe Club reveal! 


This month I received a jackpot of recipes from 2 Cookin' Mamas. The authors of the blog are Linda and Christina, a mother daughter team- they even have co-authored a cookbook! They specialize in my favorite type of meals- quick and healthy. Their blog is full of delicious recipes and I had a terrible time picking a recipe because there was so much yumminess to choose from like: Icebox Key Lime Pie Bites, Wine Slushies, Mandarin Chicken Salad, and Carrot Cake Smoothie. I ultimately decided to make Italian Breakfast Casserole. I love preparing baked egg casseroles on the weekend and this one is a little outside the box of our normal eggs and bacon combination. The recipe calls for smoked ham, salami and zesty pepperoni. Add in mozzarella and provolone with a few roasted red peppers and you have a delicious alternative to your everyday breakfast casserole. The original recipe called for roasted red pepper halves and when I purchased mine I didn't realize that I had grabbed chopped roasted red peppers- oops.  

The flavors of this casserole are delicious. The different meats with the cheesy eggs and potatoes makes a delicious and filling breakfast. My family loved this- even my non-egg lover, Kellen! 

Thank you for a new delicious recipe Linda and Christina! 

Tonight my family and I are tuned into the Olympics! We love watching swimming and really get into the competition and were happy to see gold for the United States! 


Ingredients

1 20 oz pkg Simply Potatoes hash browns 
1 tsp Italian seasoning
1 tsp garlic powder
1/4 cup olive oil
6 slices deli ham
6 slices Provolone cheese
16 slices genoa salami rounds
1 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
35 slices small pepperoni rounds
1 jar flame roasted peppers, drained (about 3-4 large), cut peppers to lay flat (or 1/2 cup diced flame roasted peppers)
6 eggs
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
Black pepper, to taste


Instructions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9×13-inch casserole dish with nonstick spray.

Mix hash browns with Italian seasoning, garlic powder olive oil and press into bottom of casserole dish. Bake in oven for 30 minutes or until it starts to brown.

Remove from oven. Layer ham slices on top of potatoes, followed by the Provolone cheese. Next, layer the salami then sprinkle with mozzarella cheese. Top with pepperoni and roasted peppers.

In a medium bowl, whisk eggs, Parmesan cheese, and pepper together Pour evenly over the top of the casserole. 

Bake uncovered for 40-50 minutes or until top is browned and eggs are set. Allow casserole to rest for about 5 minutes before serving.


Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Weekly Meal Plan 7/25 - 7/31

Happy...errr....Wednesday! 

I am so sorry that I have been so behind posting meal plans because I know how much you like them! Summer has been busy and we have had a few busy weekends and blogging fell by the wayside a bit. I look at my past blogging history and it seems that there are little dips during the summer months. Normally, I like to blog in the evening after the kids are in bed, but with pumping and getting everything prepped for the next day I get a little burned out by the time 10 o'clock rolls around, and many times want to spend a little time watching a show or chatting with Ron.  However, I am trying to get better about it and that may mean a meal plan mid-week on  a Wednesday!  I also have a few weekend chats drafted and need to make a few finishing touches, but hopefully they will be up this weekend- it is discussing my favorite baby products in the first few months! 

So what has been new at our house? I guess nothing brand new, but I have been doing Pure Barre 3-4 times a week for the past month. You guys I am becoming an addict. I really really like it and look forward to my upcoming classes. I have always enjoyed working out because I enjoy the challenge and goal oriented nature of exercise, but with 2 little kids finding the time is hard. I made a commitment to Pure Barre and am loving the classes. I normally attend with a friend and enjoy a weekend coffee date after class as well. The staff is amazing, kind, and patient. I always feel welcome and comfortable when I am there. The workout is very challenging. I am noticing differences in my body and ability to do certain moves after my first month and love that I found this workout! 

Other than Barre over the past few weeks there have been a few fun happenings! Ron and I had our first date night since Rowan was born and went out to enjoy Restaurant week. I also got to meet my girlfriends for Restaurant week as well. I love getting to go and try different dished and support area restaurants! 

Kellen started a new school and is enjoying their summer program. Kellen was previously in a daycare and we really liked it there but were wanting to try a different structure. We have a few friends that attend Royal Montessori and love it. We decided to check it out and I really liked the curriculum and the leaning structure. The summer program had themed weeks and I felt it was a good way for Kellen to get use to a new school before the school year began. Kellen also has a a few little friends in his class. Kellen is really enjoying the program so far and we are really happy with the school. 

This week I am doing a few Barre Classes, we are celebrating my friend Emily and her baby with a little surprise on Saturday, and we are taking Kellen to his first "Packer game" (and first tailgate!) for the Family Night event. This week is not all fun. Tonight I am attending a memorial and "clinking of glasses" for my dear friend's mother who passed away last Thursday.  We grew up together and her mother was like a second mom to me. My entire family is heartbroken and we want to be there for her daughter in any way that we possibly can. Tonight we will be filled with wonderful stories, wine, and a few tears I am sure. She was an exceptional woman. 

We are still cooking a lot at our house and I have a bunch of yumminess in my drafts to share! 

Here is what is on tap this week:

Monday: Grilled Tomato Basil Chicken, Rice and Salad
Tuesday:  One Pot  Taco Orzo and Salad
Wednesday: Bacon Pierogie Bake and Peas
Thursday: One Pot Cheesy Meatball and Tortellini, Garlic Bread and Salad
Friday: Leftovers with the Boys....Ron is golfing
Saturday: Out with the Girls/ Subs for Boys
Sunday: Packer Family Night! Tailgating!

Monday, July 25, 2016

New Mama Energy Bites (Freezer Friendly Recipe)

Calling all my mama friends and readers! 

Golden Girl Granola contacted me awhile ago and gave me information on their 2nd Annual Blogger Recipe Challenge.  I love playing around with different ingredients and creating recipe and I love granola and was excited to try a new product (part of the contest included a complimentary bag of granola for entering the contest). 

Golden Girl Granola Golden Girl Granola is a family business based in Shirley, MA.  They make and sell loose granola in a variety of sizes in New England stores and you can purchase  products online. The company emphasizes on local products made by hand with the highest quality ingredients. They have a wonderful selection of different types of granola such as, The Original (honey, almond and coconut), Forest Maple (maple and almonds), Chocolate Decadence (cranberries, coconut, and almond), and Truly Tropical (mango, coconut, and cashews).  

I opted to try The Original flavor and brainstormed with a few friends on the perfect recipe.  As you know, I am a new mom (hence my inconsistent posting as of late...I will get better I promise) and always looking for new ways to boost my energy in our fast paced life. I made an energy bite with my granola with a few special ingredients for mamas like me. I am breastfeeding my baby and I added a few ingredients that are know to give little supply boosts like oats, ground flax, and brewer's yeast. I also added yummy peanut butter and mini chocolate chips, and paired with the coconut it is delicious. A perfect sweet treat for me after dinner in between bedtime, laundry, and spending a little time with my husband.  One of my other favorite times to grab one of these to-go treats is on the way to my Pure Barre classes for a little extra boost! 

Thank you Golden Girl Granola for sharing your product with me- it is very delicious!






Ingredients

2 cup Golden Girl Granola- 'The Original' (any loose granola will work)
1 cup creamy peanut butter
1/3 cup ground flax
2 Tbl brewer's yeast
1/2 cup honey
1/2 tsp vanilla 
1/2 cup mini chocolate chips 


Instructions

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together peanut butter, honey, flax, yeast, and vanilla. Gently stir in the granola and chocolate chips until evenly mixed. 

Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside. Roll heaping tablespoons into tight balls (it helps to squeeze slightly so they stick) and place on the lined baking sheet. 

Refrigerate an hour until set and store in an airtight container up to two weeks. If freezer, place baking sheet in freeze for 30 minutes until set and store in a freezer resealable bag. Remove bites as desired and allow to thaw in fridge or counter top.