Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Weekly Meal Plan 11/21 - 11/27

Wisconsin finally had it's first cold snap! Living in Green Bay it is not abnormal to have a 20 degree temp drop in a day, but from Friday to Saturday it was almost 40 degree drop! On Friday, Kellen was in our backyard playing with a friend with no jacket.... fast forward to Saturday morning there was snow and it was 28 degrees.... whoa.

We are gearing up for a Thanksgiving celebration this week with both of our families onThursday. I am excited to cook for everyone again and can't wait to dig into our traditional meal. Over the years, we have fine tuned our thanksgiving menu with our favorites, and we (especially my sister and I) get really excited about the Thanksgiving meal.

This week I am also doing lots of Pure Barre classes to off-set the feasting, and am loving that a few of my friends have taken the plunge to join at the barre. It is so fun to have my friends in class.

This week meals and cooking are a little sparse because I know I will be cooking up a storm on Thursday and will  appriciate a little cooking break prior to turkey day.

In other news we are planning a trip to Disney in April! I had no idea how much was involved with this process. I hired a Disney travel agent to help me and I am so thankful to have her for questions as I work my way around dining reservations, fast passes and transportation! I am so excited for the trip, but whew! If anyone has Disney reccomendations I would love to hear them!

Happy Thanksgiving week everyone!

Monday: Porcupine Meatballs, Rice and Peas
Tuesday: Out for Tacos
Wednesday: Subs
Thursday: Happy Thanksgiving: Roast Turkey, Dad's Stuffing, Mashed Potatoes, Sweet Potato Casserole, Homemade Green Bean Casserole, Cabernet Mushrooms, Mac and Cheese, and Pumpkin Pie
Friday: Leftovers
Saturday: Out
Sunday: Lasagna, Garlic Bread and Salad

Sunday, November 13, 2016

M&M Oreo Cookie Bars #SecretRecipeClub

Welcome to the final Group B Secret Recipe Club reveal.

I am sad that this is the final reveal because I have enjoyed this group so much and have gotten to try so many delicious recipes. I feel very lucky that I was part of this group and was able to share my creations and in return meet a dynamic group of bloggers. I will miss you all! 

A few of my favorites from reveals over the past few years:
Pumpkin Chili
Green Onion Spread
Ham Salad

Just to name a few of my favorites- there are so many!

This final month I was given Nicola's blog, Lemon and Cheese. Nicola lives in London, England and is a librarian. Her blog is named after two of her favorite things- lemons and cheese. I also love both of these things and that was a great way to start! Nicola has a large variety of different dishes on her blog and many ingredients I am not familiar working (she even has a recipe using shark steak).  I debated between Cannelloni Nicoise Style, Yellow Thai Chicken Soup, and Cheesy Potato and Sausage Bake. I ultimately let Kellen help me make the pick and he had his heart set on M&M Oreo Cookie Bars. These bars are so easy to make and require minimal dishes, minimal fussing with layers, and a short baking time! I loved these bars (and they were great to use extra Halloween candy- yes we still have some). I also loved that this was a recipe for an 8 x 8 pan. Many time, I feel like dessert recipes make so many portions it either, does not get eaten, or we over eat in effort not to waste it. However, we can take care of an 8 x 8 pan!

Thank you for sharing this delicious recipe Nicola!

Thank you to everyone who made the Secret Recipe Club a success. I will miss it very much, but am so happy that I had the opportunity! 


1 stick butter
1 egg
1 cup brown sugar
1 Tbl vanilla extract
1 cup all-purpose flour
18 Oreo cookies, chopped
1/2 cup M&M's


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line an 8 x 8 baking pan with foil and grease with cooking spray. 

Melt the butter and wait a few minutes for it to cool. Add the egg, brown sugar and vanilla and whisk until smooth.

Add the flour and fold in to batter- do not over mix. Stir in the chopped Oreos.

Spread the batter into the prepared baking dish, smoothing the top lightly with a spatula.

Evenly sprinkle the M&Ms over the top, lightly pressing them down into the batter with a spatula.

Bake for about 20 to 22 mins, until a toothpick comes out clean. Allow to cool in the pan for 30 mins before slicing.

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Weekly Meal Plan 10/31/16 - 11/6

Happy.....er....Wednesday- better late than never! 

This past Monday we celebrated Halloween and it was so much fun. Kellen is finally to the age that he can enjoy trick or treating. It was so fun to see him run from house to house.  We have a few fun trick or treat traditions- mummy dogs (I made spiders this year!) and pizza. This year we had a house full of people and it made it a lot of fun.  My friend Emily and her daughter came with us, my sister and nephew and 4 women from Myanmar who are currently staying with my parents till election day to learn about the American political process. Full house!  By the end of the evening my Kellen's listening ears had fallen off and died somewhere in the bottom of his candy bag and I was happy to go home, get my pumpkins to bed, and relax with Ron. 

Here are a few snaps from our Halloween (Kellen would not stop for a photo, but he was Spiderman!):

Cutest pumpkin ever!

My sister and Emily being prehistoric!

3 years of Kellen's candy haul!

This week we are winding down from Halloween. I have a few barre classes scheduled and this weekend I am going a wine for mom & movies for kids evening with a few girlfriends. I am also planning to get to the party office to get a list of phone calls to make for GOTV. 

Have a great week!

Monday: Trick or Treat! Mummy Dogs and Pizza
Tuesday: Poppy Seed Chicken Casserole, Rice and Peas
Wednesday: Subs
Thursday: Grilled Shrimp, Pesto Risotto with Tomatoes & Feta and Salad
Friday: Chicken Chili Chowder
Saturday: Mom and Kid Movie Night at a Friends- Pizza on the Menu!
Sunday: Packer Game! Taco Bar! 

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Pumpkin Chili #SecretRecipeClub

Happy Halloween and to celebrate I am bringing you a special Secret Recipe Club Reveal: Fall Dishes!

Our theme is all about fall: bonfires, pumpkin everything, crisp air, and warm meals. Fall is my favorite season and I love fall traditions with my family, and I  especially love Halloween! 

For our swap I received Nichole's blog Cookaholic Wife. I was excited to get Nichole's blog because we have been in a cooking board together for a few years. Nichole lives in Maryland with her husband a her kitties (a fellow cat lover!). She loves feeding her family and hosts them for holidays. I can attest, since I have read Nichole's blog for a number of years, her recipes are fantastic.  A few of my favorites are: Vanilla Bourbon Pumpkin PiePumpkin & Sausage PennePumpkin Mac & Cheese, and Spaghetti Squash with Pancetta and Peas. Can you see my mind was on all things pumpkin? I know there are jokes about pumpkin and predictable holiday choices....basic...whatever.... I love pumpkin.  So what pumpkin/squash recipe did I pick? Pumpkin Chili- oh my was this delicious. 

The original recipe called for can of tomato soup and I opted to use a can of tomato sauce and a can of petite diced tomatoes. The swap was an accident because I made the soup for Kellen for lunch the previous day not even thinking that I had the chili on the menu the following evening! Oops!  I actually liked the swap because I think the condensed soup might have made it a little sweet for me and this flavor was absolutely perfect! I loved that I could get hints of pumpkin, but not overpowered- even using an entire can! 

Thank you Nichole for a wonderful recipe! I already have my family asking me for this new family favorite! 

Happy Halloween everyone! 


1 lb lean ground beef
1 onion, diced
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 1/2 Tbl chili powder
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1 tsp salt
2 cans kidney beans, rinsed and drained
15 oz can pumpkin puree
1 can petite diced tomatoes
1 can tomato sauce
1/2 can of water
Cheese, Sour Cream, and Crackers for Garnish


In a pot, brown ground beef till not longer pink. Add onion and pepper and cook till slightly tender.

Stir in the spices to evenly coat the meat.  Add kidney beans, pumpkin puree, tomatoes, tomato sauce, and water (you can add a little more water if the chili is too thick). Reduce the heat to low and allow to simmer for 20-30 minutes.

Serve in bowls. Top with sour cream and cheese, if desired. 

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Weekly Meal Plan 10/17- 10/23

Happy Tuesday folks!

Yesterday was a bit of a busy day for me and I hadn't gotten my menu together for the week!

We had a very full and very fun weekend. I think I am still recovering- Ha.

On Saturday, I went to my morning barre class and then ran home to change and head to Bellevue's Trick or Treat Trail with my sister and friend Emily. The kids were absolutely adorable in their costumes (especially this little Spiderman!).

The trail was a blast and the kids loved getting sweet treats along the way. They also loved the bouncy house at the end! There was a little congestion in the middle of the trail and I wonder if, since you must register for the trail, time slots would work to reduce that problem. 

After the trail, we grabbed Noodles & Co and my sister and I ran to the store for chili supplies for dinner later that evening before heading home for naps.  Later in the day my cousin's arrived and we headed to the NEW Zoo for the annual ZooBoo Halloween event. It was so much fun and the kids loved it! We ended the night at my parents house with big bowls of chili. 

The following morning, my cousin joined me at my barre class! I think she liked it, but told me she was a bit sore the next day- it is a hard work out! 

My co-workers were having a tailgate before the game and I was planning to join, but the day got a little too crazy and I stayed at my parents house with the boys for the game and we all enjoyed a big taco bar to make up for the Packer loss (such a frustrating game). 

This week I have a few fun happenings. Last night I presented with my friend Amanda on women in politics to the local AAUW chapter.  Tonight, I am going to barre class and tomorrow it is our family pictures! Kellen has told me that he will be making a zombie smile. I asked him what a zombie smile is and he has informed me that he will not tell me and it is a surprise. Great. Just great...... I will report back on what it means to zombie smile later this week.... 

Have a great week everyone!

Monday: Subs
Tuesday:  Chicken Chili Chowder
Wednesday: Out for pizza after Family Photos
Thursday: Taco Bar for Packer Game
Friday: Grilled Steaks or Shrimp, Baked Potatoes and Asparagus
Saturday: Out
Sunday: Beef and Rice Casserole and Green Beans

Friday, October 14, 2016

Slowcooker Chicken Parmesan Sandwiches

Happy Friday  folks! 

I am always so happy when the weekend rolls around because it means time with my boys, family and friends (and now football too!). 

This weekend is filled with fun Fall/Halloween actives. Our house loves Halloween and we have been getting into the spirt since mid-September- haha!  Kellen loves reading his various Halloween books and has been really into all things “spooky”.  This weekend I am doing a barre class in the morning and then we are headed to a Trick or Treat Trail in our neighborhood.  We did this with Kellen 2 years ago and it was so fun. The trail is in a local part and in the woods. You have to register in advance so the take-homes of the kids are always pretty nice and it is not overly crowded.  Later in the day my cousins are coming to town and we are heading to our local zoo of the ZooBoo event and haunted hay ride with bowls of chili to follow.  Both of these events equal costumes for Kellen and he is sooooo excited to be Spiderman this year! This is his first year that mom did not pick out his costume, and he is thrilled (to be fair I have picked him nice costumes!). 

On Sunday I am doing a Pure Barre class with my cousin before heading to a little tailgate with my co-workers before the game with the boys. We are watching the game with my parents and having a taco bar!  Fingers crossed for a Packer win! 

On to the food,  the recipe I am sharing with you is a great weeknight meal. Ron loves chicken parmesan and I decided that I wanted to make a slow cooker sandwich version for us to enjoy on the weeknights.  This recipe is so easy and the chicken is very flavorful from the marinara and spices. I opted to sandwich ours between sub roll made into garlic bread.  Kellen, Ron and I loved these sandwiches and they made wonderful leftovers for lunch the following day.  I use a jarred pasta sauce for this recipe, but you can use homemade or a different type of tomato sauce than marinara. 

I hope everyone has an amazing weekend! 


2 lbs boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 (24 oz) jar marinara sauce
2/3 cup chicken broth
1 tsp dried basil1
 tsp garlic powder
½ tsp salt
¼ cup melted butter
½ tsp dried parsley
½ tsp garlic powder
6 bolillo rolls (or other medium sized sub roll)
12 slices mozzarella cheese


Place chicken into the crockpot. In a medium bowl, mix together marinara, broth, basil, garlic and ½ tsp salt.  Pour over chicken and stir to coat. Cook on low 5-6 hours.  Remove chicken from crockpot, shred, and return to crockpot; stirring the chicken to coat in the sauce. 

Heat oven to 350 degrees.  Mix together melted butter, garlic, and parsley.  Slice rolls in half and place on foil-lined cookie sheets. Brush each roll half with butter mixture.  Toast in over for 3-4 minutes to lightly toast.  Remove from oven and portion chicken on one half of each sandwich. Top with 2 slices of cheese and the other half of the sliced roll.  Cut in half and serve. 

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Red Curry Risotto with Grilled Shrimp

You guys I have a delicious recipe to share with you today! 

I made this a while ago,  but am so excited to finally share it with you because it may be one of my favorite recipes. 

I love Thai curry and especially love red curry made with coconut milk. So creamy, so spicy, and so delicious.  As you know, my household loves risotto of all kinds and we love to play around with different flavors to mix-up our dinner!  We have made all types from Creamy Tomato Basil, Chicken Piccata, and Eggs Benedict.  This time I decided to make a risotto using my favorite flavors- shrimp coconut red curry.  I used flavors from spicy red curry paste, coconut milk, chicken stock, basil, and garlic  and the smells while is cooked were incredible.  I opted to top mine with a few grilled shrimp, but you could use grilled chicken or another protein option (extra veggies even?)- or just have it plain. 

My family and I loved this recipe, and I was thrilled when Kellen inhaled his portion. He was not into trying the shrimp (I am working on seafood with him), but loved the rice and veggies. Kellen’s favorite veggies are tomatoes and green beans, and I sure you can imagine his delight to find a lots in his dish.  This warmed nicely for lunch the next day and felt like eating delicious Thai leftovers.  I can’t wait to make this one again! 

This week I have been trying to be mindful of time in and out of the house. Sometimes I feel like I am taking on too much (especially with it being our busy season at work) and appreciate time to step back to get life in order.  I am trying to spend the week focusing on putting my emphasis and priority on the things that make me happy and feel at ease.  For example, I have made a big effort to do a load of laundry each night in efforts to stop the mountains from forming in out rooms. Normally, I would ignore it, but I am trying to make it part of the evening and have found the overwhelming feeling of laundry to be much less even though it is happening more often.  Don’t get me wrong- doing laundry does not make me happy, but the feeling of it being done does. I am also attending my Pure Barre classes, but this is pretty normal for me but I am enjoying taking the 55 minutes for myself to exercise and work my body.  I am also taking the time to rock my boys an extra few minutes at bedtime because snuggles from those kiddos are worth their weight in gold. I have found the feeling that I need to rush out of the room to do dishes has created a routine that I do not like.  Finally, I am focusing on getting 2 new blog posts published for the week. I love blogging, but in the evening I felt so drained I could not imagine typing, but each time I finish a post I remember how happy it makes me because I love sharing what is going on in my kitchen and our lives. 

What makes you happy? What types of things do you do to re-center your life?  

Tonight my happiness if coming from a Pure Barre class, sub sandwich night with my family (yay- no dishes), and Chicago PD with my husband. 


2 Tbl olive oil
½ medium onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced 
1 1/4 cup Arborio rice 
4  cup chicken stock 
1 (13.66 oz) can coconut milk
3 Tbl Thai red curry paste 
3/4 cup halved cherry tomatoes
1/2 cup green beans (cut into 1 ½  - 2 inch pieces)  
1/2 cup asparagus (cut into 1 ½  - 2 inch pieces)  
1 1/2 cup fresh spinach 
1 Tbl fresh chopped basil 
16 cleaned jumbo shrimp 
Wooden skewers soaked in water for 30 minutes prior to grilling


Heat grill to medium high heat. Skewer about 6 shrimp (through top and tail), onto each skewer, without leaving space between shrimp. Brush lightly with olive oil and season lightly with salt and pepper. Set aside. 

Place stock in a medium saucepan. Bring  to a simmer (do not boil). Keep warm over low-medium heat.

Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add olive oil to pan; swirl to coat. Add onions; cook 1-2 minutes and add garlic. Stir in rice, and cook for 1-2 minutes, stirring constantly. Increase heat to medium and add stock, 1/2 cup at a time, stirring constantly until each portion of stock is absorbed before adding the next.   With the last portion of stock stir in the coconut milk and curry paste.  Stir well and add tomatoes, green beans, asparagus, spinach, and basil.  Gently stir, season with salt (if desired) and remove from heat.  Cover to allow veggies to seam as  you grill the shrimp.  

Grilled shrimp on prepared grill 1-2 minutes per side.  Remove from heat and remove shrimp from skewer (if desired).  Serve risotto and top with grilled shrimp.