Photo by Chunky Monkey Photography

Friday, November 30, 2012

Meal Planning?

I've been off the meal planning wagon for a while.  It's time to get back on it.  It is so much easier to have a healthy, balanced diet when you plan in advance.  It also saves money!  While I don't have a full menu plan yet... I do know we'll be having the Kale and Potato Soup again this coming week.  I'm also going to cook a grilled chicken and goat cheese fettucini.  I bought some rapini broccoli to try but I have no idea what to do with it yet.  Whatever I do I'm sure it will go good with grilled chicken.  :)  Do you have any tried and true freezer meals? What's on your menu?  I need more ideas!

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Chops & Sweet Potatoes

I failed to prepare in advance for supper tonight so I grabbed a bag of boneless pork chops from the freezer (they thaw quickly).  Unfortunately it only had 4 in it so I had to share with the baby. (Dad is at work tonight).  I seasoned them with lawry's, garlic powder, and a little black pepper and tossed them in a skillet with olive oil.  Then topped them each with a green apple slice and a handful of cranberries (the dried sweetened kind but I'm certain fresh would be just as or even tastier!).  When they were done, I moved them to another plate, added a tablespoon of butter to the skillet and put in a diced sweet potato, salt, and pepper.  YUM.  I am already a huge fan of cranberries and pork so this is right up my alley It was delicious!  All the kids liked it, too.  And... it's healthy.  Big score in my home!  I only got a crappy cell phone picture but here it is. 

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Our Garden: Almost 3 Months

I took some pics of the garden last week.  I forgot the brussels sprouts and cauliflower but here is the broccoli, the cabbage, and the carrots. 

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Creamy Chicken Chili

My family really loved the Slow Cooker Cream Cheese Chicken Chili recipe I tried out a while back.  The last couple of times I made it, I adapted it to be "from scratch." (not use the prepackaged seasoning mixes).  We loved it even more this way!  Here is the recipe I came up with... I hope you enjoy it as much as my family does!

Creamy Chicken Chili

1 can black beans
2 cups of frozen corn (or fresh if you have it!)
1 can Rotel, undrained
1 cup water or chicken stock
1 ½ tsp cumin
1 Tbsp chili powder
1 tsp onion powder
½ tsp garlic powder
¼ tsp crushed red pepper
½ tsp dried oregano
¾  tsp paprika
1 tsp salt (optional)
1 tsp black pepper (optional)
1 tbsp parsley
½ tsp dill
2-3 shakes of Worcestershire sauce
1 8 oz package light cream cheese
4 chicken breasts halves – boneless/skinless
2 green onions, diced
½ bunch of fresh cilantro, coarsely chopped

Drain and rinse black beans. Place chicken at bottom of pot, then pour on whole can of corn, rotel, and black beans. Top with seasonings and Worcestershire sauce. Stir together. Place cream cheese on top. Cover with lid and cook until chicken is done. Stir in cream cheese. Use 2 forks to shred chicken (or just take the chicken out and chop it). Add a little water or chicken stock if it needs more liquid. About 20 minutes before serving, mix in cilantro and green onions.  Serve with shredded cheddar and diced avocado. 

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Kale and Cool Weather

Not only is kale a beautiful vegetable, it's packed full of nutrients!  I've tried it a couple of ways and it was okay.  The recipe we added it to today was delicious!  My kids loved it.  The kale was not hidden and yet my kids Gobbled. It. Up. 
The weather has finally cooled off.  Not just a little cold front in the 80's but like real cool weather that makes you want to snuggle up with a bowl of hot soup in front of a fire.  To celebrate, I made a pot of soup!  My aunt gave me the recipe over a year ago.  It calls for spinach but she suggested kale and well, it was perfect.  I'll share the exact recipe I cooked then I'll link the original recipe. 

Potato & Kale Soup

1/2 lb breakfast sausage (like Jimmy Dean)
1 tsp crushed red pepper
3 slices bacon
1 Tbsp onion powder
1 Tbsp minced garlic
1 15 oz box of chicken broth
3 medium/large russet potatoes, peeled and sliced thin
1/2 c milk
1 head of kale, stems removed
Salt & Pepper to taste

Brown sausage with crushed red pepper in dutch oven.  Drain and set aside.  Cook bacon in dutch oven.  Drain, leaving about a tablespoon of drippings in pot.  Crumble bacon.  Pour chicken broth in dutch oven.  Add potato slices, sausage, bacon, garlic, and onion powder.  Bring to a boil and simmer until potatoes are fork tender.  Reduce heat and add kale and milk.  Cook until kale is just wilted.  Season to taste with salt & pepper and serve!

Adapted from

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Journey to Fitness

I'm journaling my adventure to being healthy and fit HERE <----Click if you are interested in following that.  I'll try to figure out how to put a link at the top of this blog later.

Our Garden: 2 Months

Our radishes are just about done... I think we have a couple more left to harvest soon.  The peas are not really growing like we excpected but we are seeing a couple of pods.  I think that row needed more water.  Or maybe it got too much?  I don't really know.  The broccoli plants are HUGE!

 I can't wait til they start showing some actual broccoli.  The cabbage is also doing really well except one plant that seems to have gotten bugs or something... it hasn't spread to the others so we're not treating them with anything for now. 

The carrots and cauliflower are doing great, too. You can actually see the carrots now!

I am most excited about the brussels sprouts though!  They are growing pretty good they have a long way to go.  I can't wait to harvest them...  my mouth is watering for some carmelized brussels sprouts with bacon and garlic.   YUM!!!


We had a wonderful vacation/field trip in October. We went to Florida and spent a few days on the beach.  It was still warm, the beach was almost empty of tourists, and the one day of rough waters while there washed up thousands of seashells!  We collected so many pretty shells... even a couple of whole shells! 

This prompted us to skip our Apologia astronomy science for a week and learn about seashells!  We first learned about the different types of seashells and the boys divided ours into two categories representing the most common types:  Univalve & Bivalve

I didn't take pics of the rest of the lessons BUT, we learned the names of some of the shells.  We have one slipper shell, a spiny jewel box, lettered olive, part of a shark eye (or moon snail), a couple of fighting conches, a little Florida cerith, one half of an angel wing, several scallop halves, egg cockle halves, imperial venus, jingles (these are nearly clear!), possibly a beaded periwinkle... and our favorite find:  Lightning Welks!  The lightning welk is the Texas state seashell.  We never would have known that if it wasn't for this little adventure away from our regular curriculum.  This website has the names and pictures of all the seashells listed above along with many more.