Monday, April 24, 2017

What We Ate Last Week - April 2017 Week 3

Hey-a friends!

Just another week here at the Gunnell house.  Calvin has been enjoying the spoils of Easter with a little candy after almost every lunch and dinner (I'm not above a little bribery to get him to try "thank you bites" of what I make for dinner...).  We've also been watching a lot of Moana...  It's pretty cute to hear Cal walking around the house singing "you're welcome, you're welcome". 😍  Brent only has 6 weeks of classes left and then it's off to an internship or a job.  We're still waiting to hear about the Lacey/Olympia job opening back up, but until then he's continuing to apply for jobs back East and in the MIdwest.

We ate some pretty tasty things this week - I highly recommend the Thai Beef Bowls and the Apricot Balsamic Chicken if you're looking to try something new!  Here's the rest of the menu - enjoy!

Monday 4/17
Breakfast:  Avocado Toast and Fruit
Lunch:  Leftovers
Dinner:  Fruit, Salad, Broccoli Bacon Mac & Cheese - This was pretty tasty.  I never really measure cheese out for recipes, so I'm fairly certain I used more than it called for.  Not a problem here though - we like cheese. 😁 My finished product looked a lot more brown than the pictures in the recipe, so it didn't look amazing...but it tasted good!  We served peas on the side and both ended up mixing them in, so next time I'll probably just add peas into the recipe.

Tuesday 4/18
Breakfast:  Fruit, Yogurt, Pumpkin Pecan Baked Steel Cut Oats - I know a lot of people view pumpkin as a fall only thing, but I love pumpkin all year round!😁  This recipe is super yummy and is freezes and reheats well.
Lunch:  Salad, Leftovers
Dinner:  Fruit, Salad, Leftovers

Wednesday 4/19
Breakfast:  Frittata and Fruit
Lunch:  Fruit, Thai Beef Bowls - holy yum, Batman!  This was really good.  I think it could use a little more peanut butter in the sauce (and the sauce is a little spicy), but other than that I think it's fine as is.  I used cilantro and basil for my fresh herbs.
Dinner:  Salad, Apricot Balsamic Chicken - This was tasty too!  I used spinach instead of arugula, since we prefer spinach.  I think next time I would use brown rice instead of couscous.  I don't feel like I'd be missing out on anything flavor wise and the texture of couscous is just annoying.  It's so small and it falls of your fork and gets all over the table and your lap and...yeah....brown rice it is, lol.

Thursday 4/20
Breakfast:  Fruit, Yogurt, Oatmeal
Lunch:  Salad, Sandwiches, Chips
Dinner:  Salad, Fruit, Leftovers

Friday 4/21
Breakfast:  Frittata and Fruit
Lunch:  Salad, Sandwiches, Chips
Dinner:  Salad and Baked Fish & Chips - I forgot to pull the fish out of the freezer and we still had lots of leftovers to eat, so we'll try this a different time.

Saturday 4/22
Breakfast:  Fruit, Panakes
Lunch:  Salad and Caramelized Onion Flatbread - This was pretty tasty!  I used Pilsbury Thin Crust and a tub of storebought pesto.  I think it would be better with a homemade pizza dough.  It also wouldn't be bad if you added a little rotisserie chicken to add some protein.  Still, pretty tasty and I'll probably make it again.  Oh, I also caramelized my onions WAY longer than the recipe said to.  I like my caramelized onions and lot darker and softer.
Dinner:  Fruit and Leftovers

Sunday 4/23
Breakfast:  Fruit, Yogurt, Pancakes
Lunch:  Sandwiches and Fruit
Dinner:  Easter Dinner 2.0 at Caitlin and Kyle's

Well, there ya have it!  I hope you like these recipes as much as we did, if you try them!

Keep giggling!
Michelle

Monday, April 17, 2017

What We Ate Last Week - April 2017 Week 2

Hello friends!

It's been a pretty good week here.  My youngest sister, Sarah, was home for a few days on her spring break from BYU-Idaho, so we did a lot of family dinners at the beginning of the week.  On Monday evening we went over to Caitlin and Kyle's house (my middle sister and her hubby) for a soup and salad dinner with most of local family.  Then, on Tuesday evening, I picked Sarah up and she spent the night and spent all day Wednesday with us.  We went to Trader Joe's, Foley's (a local produce stand) and The Nutty Squirrel for gelato - yumm!  The rest of the day we just spent at our house hanging out.  Then we met most of the same group from Monday night at Rio Blanco down in Auburn.  It's our family's favorite restaurant and we go there for lots of birthday celebrations.  Their Carne Asada is so yummy!  Sarah went back to Caitlin and Kyle's after Rio Blanco and then she headed back to Idaho Thursday morning.  It was nice to have her home for a few days.  I sure do like that kid. 😁

Brent only has 7 more weeks of school left!  Whoop whoop!  He hadn't heard anything back about a job interview so he emailed the recruiter to follow up and she told him that they're actually in a hiring freeze right now.  She said that when it lifts they'll be hiring for two positions and she'll let him know when that happens.  We're still hopeful that it could work out, but kinda bummed that it's fallen through for right now.  So, Brent will keep applying for jobs and internships.  It sounds like he has a pretty good chance of getting an internship at Madigan (the hopsital on base) since he has a specialized biomed tech interest.  We'll see how everything pans out over the next two months!  

So, that's what we've been up to the last week, and here's what we've been eating!

Monday 4/10
Breakfast:  Eggs and Toast
Lunch:  Leftovers and Salad
Dinner:  Family dinner at Caitlin and Kyle's because Sarah is home for a few days between semesters!!! - We brought these fudgy brownies.  They are delicious and a top contender in my quest for the perfect brownie.  Highly recommend!

Tuesday 4/11
Breakfast:  Fruit and Broccoli Cheddar Spinach Frittata - It turns out that all of the flooding in Southern California is negatively impacting the broccoli crops down there and the broccoli has been really low quality.  Ours went bad really quick, so I didn't have any for this.  I just winged it and added orange bell pepper, extra spinach, a few quartered cherry tomatoes and a little bacon bits.  Yummo!
Lunch:  Salad and Leftovers
Dinner:  Fruit and Turkey and Butternut Squash Curry - This was really good!  I upped the curry powder a little and added some garam masala.  It was a little spicy so I'd add less cayenne powder next time.

Wednesday 4/12
Breakfast:  Yogurt and Apple Peanut Butter Toast
Lunch:  PB&J, Fruit, Chips
Dinner:  Rio Blanco with the fam to celebrate Sarah being home!! - Rio Blanco is my family's favorite restaurant.  It's a family owned Mexican place in Auburn and it's delicious.  The house I grew up in is a 10 minute drive/15 minute walk away.  We go there for lots of family celebrations.  If you're ever in Auburn and need some yummy food, check it out in the shopping center at A St and 41st St.

Thursday 4/13
Breakfast:  Fruit, Frittata
Lunch:  Salad and Chicken Spinach Meatball Soup with Rice - I was really looking forward to this, but Thursday was kind of a lazy day and it didn't happen.  I'll probably just make the meatballs this week and then freeze them.  That way it's super easy to pull it out for lunch sometime later this month.
Dinner:  Salad and Cheesy Broccoli Chicken Casserole - Lazy day prevailed again and we had leftover curry for dinner.  We had this on Friday instead since we fed the missionaries and I knew a casserole would be enough food.  We had fruit salad, an Asian salad kit from the store, and ice cream with strawberries and hot fudge for dessert.  I wish I had added the full amount of garlic, but I thought it sounded like a little much.  I think a sharp cheddar would've been nice too.

Friday 4/14
Breakfast:  Apple Peanut Butter Toast
Lunch  Salad and Leftovers
Dinner:  Chips, Guac, and Fish Taco Rice Bowls - We ended up feeding the missionaries on Friday and I didn't have enough fish, so we switched things around and had Cheesy Broccoli Chicken Casserole instead (but we did have this on Saturday).  I improvised a little since I didn't want to pickle onions and I didn't want to buy a jicama for such a small amount.  So, I cooked the fish as directed, made my own guac and made a homemade mango salsa with some spiced frozen mangoes.  We still served it over rice and had purple cabbage, diced tomatoes, and chopped cilantro.  It was pretty dang good!

Saturday 4/15
Breakfast:  Fruit and Whole Grain Pancakes
Lunch:  Grilled Chicken and Orange Strawberry Avocado Salad - lazy day again and leftovers in the fridge that needed to be eaten.
Dinner:  Fruit, Salad, and Leftovers

Easter Sunday 4/16
Breakfast:  Fruit and Pancakes
Lunch:  Sandwiches
Dinner:  Barrett Family Easter Dinner

Monday, April 10, 2017

What We Ate Last Week - April 2017 Week 1

Can you believe we're a quarter of the way through the year already?!  Time sure does fly - and the older I get, the faster it's flying...

Brent only has eight more weeks of classes and then it's off to an internship or a job!  He's been applying for jobs as a dialysis biomedical tech, but there's not a whole lot of openings on the West coast unless we want to live in the LA area, which we don't.  So, he's been applying for a lot of jobs back east:  North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Indiana, Wisconsin, etc.  He hasn't heard anything back besides the automated rejection reply, but we kind of expected that since he still has two months of school left and we're all the way on the other side of the country.  Last week he did hear back from a regional recruiter for one company though who wanted to talk to him about a job here in Washington.  After a day of phone tag, he talked to her for a bit last week and she said she'd pass on his info to a hiring manager out here and that he'll probably have an interview in the next week or two.  We're still waiting to hear back on the interview, but still!  We got a bite and it's exciting - especially since it would mean we could stay in state.  We're definitely willing to move where ever the right job is, but since the majority of both of our families are here it would be really nice to stay in Western Washington.

Also on the (potentially) exciting news front - we bought big boy underwear and a toilet insert for Calvin...he's not super interested yet, but he's starting to show interest and tell us when he needs a diaper change, so I'm pretty sure potty training is coming up soon for us.  Wish us luck!

Here's our menu for last week.  Brent finally kicked his cold and my back is feeling much better, so we actually stuck pretty close to our plan for the week.

Monday 4/3
Breakfast:  Leftover Muffins, Yogurt and Fruit
Lunch:  Grilled Turkey Patties and Salad
Dinner:  Salad and Baked Potato

Tuesday 4/4
Breakfast:  Yogurt and Grapefruit Yogurt Coffee Cake - This was okay.  It's a little underwhelming though.  The grapefruit flavor could be stronger and/or it could be a little sweeter.  I think if you upped the grapefruit it wouldn't need to be sweeter and if you upped the sweetness you wouldn't need to up the citrus because it would taste like cake.  I think I'd prefer more grapefruit.  I wonder if reducing the juice down would help...
Lunch:  Salad and Leftovers
Dinner:  Fruit, Chips, and Pesto Avocado Chicken Salad Sandwiches - These were so good!  I used butter lettuce instead of arugula since it's what we had on hand and arugula isn't my favorite.  It would probably be good on these sandwiches though.  I ate the leftovers the next day in a whole wheat wrap.  These will definitely make an appearance on the menu this summer when it's too hot to cook. :)

Wednesday 4/5
Breakfast:  Fruit and Avocado Toast
Lunch:  Tuna Sandwiches, Chips, and Salad
Dinner:  Salad and Migas - I forgot to get cilantro and jalapeno, which are key components of this recipe.  So sad!  We love these though.  Make them! :)

Thursday 4/6
Breakfast:  Yogurt and Grapefruit Coffee Cake
Lunch:  Grilled Turkey Patties and Salad
Dinner:  Fruit, Salad, and Leftovers

Friday 4/7
Breakfast:  Scrambled Eggs, Fruit, and Grapefruit Coffee Cake
Lunch:  Tuna Wrap, Chips, and Fruit
Dinner:  Salad, Fruit, and Avocado Tuna Cakes - We've had these before and they're tasty!

Saturday 4/8
Breakfast:  Fruit and Whole Grain Pancakes - The usual Saturday morning breakfast, made by Calvin and Brent as usual. :)
Lunch:  Fruit and Broccoli Pizza - We ran out of time for these on Saturday since we needed to go get some interview clothes for Brent.
Dinner:  Salad and Leftovers

Sunday 4/9
Breakfast:  Fruit and Pancakes
Lunch:  Sandwiches
Dinner:  Gunnell Family Dinner

There ya go!  I hope everyone had a great week!

Keep giggling,
Michelle

Monday, April 3, 2017

What We Ate Last Week - March 2017 Week 4

Here's our menu for last week, although we didn't make everything.  I hurt my back on Sunday and that, combined with Brent still being sick and starting school, kind of threw  meals for a loop.  I'm working on our menu plan for April though, so most of the things we didn't get to in March will just be pushed forward to April.


Monday 3/27
Breakfast:  Fruit, Frittatas
Lunch:  Fruit, Leftovers
Dinner:  Fruit, Avocado Toast

Tuesday 3/28
Breakfast:  Yogurt, Caramelized Banana Peanut Butter Toast - Another menu item lost to our stinky week. :(
Lunch:  Grilled Chicken, Orange Strawberry Avocado Salad with Citrus Poppyseed Dressing - This one is supposed to be inspired by my favorite salad from Panera Bread, so I'm really looking forward to putting this on the menu again and actually trying it.
Dinner:  Fruit, Chips, Guac, Fish Taco Bowls - Didn't get around to this one, but it'll reappear soon!

Wednesday 3/29
Breakfast:  Strawberry Cheesecake Toast - I was in too much pain to make/couldn't find brioche, so this one didn't get made.  I found a recipe to make my own though, so I'll definitely be making this soon!
Lunch:  Salad, Leftovers
Dinner:  Salad, Fruit, Rice, Slow Cooker Chicken Curry - This smelled really good while it was cooking in the slow cooker - my house (and fingers) still smell like curry!  Unfortunately, the curry flavor wasn't strong enough for me.  It was overpowered by the taste of jalapeno, which could be because I tossed it in the food processor with the coconut milk and spices.  Maybe I'll try it again, but cut the jalapeno in a few big chunks and fish them out afterwards.  That would probably help cut down the spice a little too.  it wasn't too spicy, but the leftovers will be spicier and we're kind of wussy when it comes to spicy things.  I'd probably up the curry powder and garam masala too...and the ginger.

Thursday 3/30
Breakfast:  Fruit, Yogurt, Grapefruit Yogurt Coffee Cake - I was all set to make this and realized I was missing the yogurt...whomp whomp.
Lunch:  Grilled Chicken, Orange Strawberry Avocado Salad
Dinner:  Fruit and Cottage Cheese, Baked Potatoes

Friday 3/31
Breakfast:  Yogurt, Caramelized Banana Peanut Butter Toast
Lunch:  Salad, Leftovers
Dinner:  Pancakes, Fruit

Saturday 4/1
Breakfast:  Gunnell Family Brunch between sessions of General Conference
Lunch:  Salad, Leftovers
Dinner:  Fruit, Salad, Leftovers

Sunday 4/2
Breakfast:  Barrett Family Brunch between sessions of General Conference - We brought muffins over to my dad's on Sunday.  I made banana (I'll share my banana bread recipe on here some day...) and these Rhubarb Streusel Muffins which were quite good.  I think they need a little bit of tweaking though, mainly some spices in the actual muffin batter.
Lunch:  Salad, Leftovers
Dinner:  Salad, Fruit, Leftovers

Let me know what you think if you try anything!

Keep giggling!
Michelle

Monday, March 27, 2017

What We Ate Last Week - March 2017 Week 3

Here's last weeks menu, complete with thoughts and changes.  We were sick this week, so things didn't necessarily get made on their scheduled day - or at all in some cases...

Monday 3/20
Breakfast:  Fruit, Yogurt, Toast
Lunch:  Fruit, Sweet Potato and Green Rice Bowls - These were really good!  I wish I had cut the sweet potatoes smaller than suggested, so that it felt like there were more of them.  I used chicken broth, since I had that on hand, but I followed the recipe otherwise.  Just a warning, the spicy smell of the green puree will kick you in the nose when you open the blender.  It mellows out a lot during the cooking though, but I would not have minded if it kept a little more zing.  The recipe says it serves 4, but I feel like 5 servings would be better - or even 6 if you served something else alongside. 4 servings were just way too big, neither of us could finish them...
Dinner:  Fruit, Whole Grain Pancakes

Tuesday 3/21
Breakfast:  Pancakes, Fruit, Yogurt
Lunch:  Fruit, and Leftovers or Sandwiches
Dinner:  Fruit, Toasty Bread, Grilled/Baked Chicken, Roasted Garlic Spaghetti Squash - We didn't actually make this due to sickness.  We still want to try it though!

Wednesday 3/22
Breakfast:  Mini Frittatas, Fruit,Yogurt
Lunch:  Salad, Fruit, Leftovers
Dinner:  Salad, Tortilla Chips, Slow Cooker Cheesy Chicken Fajita Soup - This was pretty dang tasty!  I made it pretty much exactly as written and served it with green onions, diced tomatoes, avocados, and crushed tortilla chips

Thursday 3/23
Breakfast:  Muffins, Fruit, Yogurt
Lunch:  Salad, Ground Turkey with Potatoes and Peas - I was curious how this one would turn out and was quite pleased.  I used two Yukon potatoes and thickened the sauce with a cornstarch slurry.  We served it over brown rice with shredded cheddar, but it the leftovers were also good served over crushed tortilla chips
Dinner:  Salad, Fruit, Leftovers

Friday 3/24
Breakfast:  Frittatas, Fruit, Muffins
Lunch:  Salad, Fruit, Leftovers
Dinner:  Fruit, Broccoli Pizza  - Another recipe ignored because we were sick. :(

Saturday 3/25
Breakfast:  Fruit, Whole Grain Pancakes
Lunch:  Salad, Fruit, Leftovers
Dinner:  Salad, Chicken Fajita Soup, Sweet Potato and Black Bean Quesadillas  - These were quite tasty!  They'd be good with a little shredded chicken if you wanted to bulk them up to be a solo meal.

Sunday 3/26
Breakfast:  Fruit, Pancakes
Lunch:  Sandwiches, Chips, Fruit
Dinner:  Birthday dinner for our niece, Charlotte!

I hope you enjoy anything you decide to try!

Keep giggling!
Michelle

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

In Which We Catch Up.

So, here's a rambling little post about what's going on in our lives since I haven't posted in almost 3 years.

Brent:  When last I posted, Brent was working as a valet team captain at a nice hotel in downtown Bellevue.  After a long and crazy three years there, he quit in the middle March of 2016 and went back to school at the end of the month.  He's been working hard on his Biomedical Technician degree and will start his final semester at the end of this month, finishing up around Memorial Day.  From there, he'll either internship or start a job - we're hoping his networking will help him get a job right away, but an internship will be a good experience for him too.  Other than school, he's just busy being an awesome dad and husband, trying his best to fulfill his church responsibilities, and playing basketball two nights a week with some guys from church.

Michelle:  I've been living the stay-at-home mom life and loving it (for the most part, haha)!  Cal and I pretty much just hang out at home all day.  We were meeting up for mall walking with friends or family for a while there, but we've fallen off that wagon...  With Brent in school, funds have been a wee tight, so I've picked up a couple seasonal jobs when I can.  I worked at the Puyallup Fair Washington State Fair with my step-mom and one of my sisters and then I worked at Coach Outlet for the holiday season with my other sister and some former co-workers from my Eddie Bauer days.  Now, it's back to the full-time stay-at-home gig while Brent enters the homestretch for school.  I don't mind being at home, though it was nice to work a little bit last year and get some adult interaction, lol.  Calvin is a pretty chill kid though, so being home is usually pretty easy.  I have really expanded my cooking skills the last couple of years (hence the What We Ate Last Week posts and any recipe posts I might share) and that's been fun.  I've also been reading a lot.  Sometimes Calvin will just play or color while I read, sometimes he'll sit next to me and "read" his books, and sometimes reading doesn't work out so well because he needs attention.  Last year I set a goal to read 30 books and passed that, so I set a goal of reading 40 this year.  So far, I've read eight, but I"m close to finishing one and I just started another.  If you have any recommendations, I'd love to hear them. :)  Same with recipes!  I made a goal to try 52 new recipes this year, as well as find the perfect brownie. :D  So far, we've tried 30 new recipes, including two new brownie recipes (one of which, was pretty darn tasty!), and most of them have been pretty good!

Calvin:  Calvin, Calvin, Calvin...where to start.  Well, last time I posted, he wasn't even born yet and now he's quickly approaching 3 (middle of June)!  I'm not quite sure how that happened.  As I mentioned earlier, he's a pretty chill kid.  Pretty good at self-directed play about 90% of the time, but also a good snuggler.  He is such a sweet boy, always giving us hugs and kisses and telling us he loves us.  He is currently obsessed with Daniel Tiger, Mickey Mouse, tractors, firetrucks and his toy cars.  He loves to "read" (just like his Mommy), color, play cars, go for walks outside, play in the backyard, help switch the laundry over, help unload the dishwasher, and help Daddy make pancakes every Saturday morning.  He also loves going to Nursery (the Sunday school class for 1.5-3yrs old) on Sundays and does a pretty good job being reverent at home for family prayers and scriptures reading.  He's a silly boy and loves to play and laugh with us.  He also loves his blue puppy and his penguin stuffed animals - they come just about everywhere with us, though they often stay in the car when we're out and about.

So, there you go.  A little update on our lives.  It's a goal of mine to be better about updating our blog this year, especially since the latter half of the year is so up in the air.  Who knows where Brent will get a job and where we'll end up!  If I make this a habit then, hopefully, it'll be easier to stay up-to-date with everyone if we end up having to move away.  We'll deal with that when and if it happens though - we'll keep you posted! :)

In the mean time, keep giggling!
Michelle

Monday, March 20, 2017

What We Ate Last Week - March 2017 Week 2

Here's our menu for last week, along with our thoughts or any changes we made! :)

Monday 3/13
Breakfast:  Apple Steel Cut Oatmeal from last week
Lunch:  Orange Strawberry Avocado Salad with Citrus Poppy Seed Dressinig and leftovers
Dinner:  Salad, Fruit, Rice and Slow Cooker Chicken Curry - The chicken thighs ended up being the funny smell in the fridge, so we pushed this back to later in the month and had Migas and fruit instead.  Migas are delicious, so it wasn't a complete disappointment. :)

Tuesday 3/14
Breakfast:  Yogurt and Caramelized Banana Oatmeal - I still had oatmeal leftover from last week so I didn't actually make this...
Lunch:  Salad, Chicken Salad Sandwiches and Chips
Dinner:  Salad, Chicken Pot Pie and Butterscotch Pie - The chicken pot pie was SO GOOD!  I did a separate post to share the recipe since I made some changes and we loved it so much!  The butterscotch pie was also really good!  It's tastes more like a brown sugar caramel than a commercial butterscotch.

Wednesday 3/15
Breakfast:  Fruit, Yogurt, and Spiced Orange Carrot Whole Wheat Muffins - These were pretty good!  I might up the spice and rub the orange zest in with the sugar next time, but they're good and I'll make them again!
Lunch:  Salad, Fruit, and Avocado Tuna Cakes - I've made these before and they're quite good on a salad or plain.  I bet they'd be good on a bun with some mayo, lettuce and tomato!
Dinner:  Salad, Bread, and Slow Cooker Chicken Corn Chowder - This stuff is delicious!  It makes a ton - my 6 quart slow cooker is full almost the top!

Thursday 3/16
Breakfast:  Oatmeal, Fruit, and Yogurt
Lunch:  Chicken Salad Sandwiches, Fruit, and Veggies
Dinner:  Salad, Fruit, and Leftovers

Friday 3/17
Breakfast:  LUCKY CHARMS!! or Muffins, Fruit, and Yogurt
Lunch:  Salad, Fruit, and leftovers
Dinner:  Fiesta Friday!  Tostadas, Chips, and Guac

Saturday 3/18
Breakfast:  Fruit and Whole Grain Oatmeal Pancakes
Lunch:  Salad, Fruit, and Leftovers
Dinner:  Salad and Leftovers

Sunday 3/19
Breakfast:  Pancakes or Muffins or Oatmeal
Lunch:  Sandwiches or Leftovers
Dinner:  Family Dinner at Dad's - I made these Key Lime Pie Bars and they were sooo good!  Make them!

Let us know if you try any of the recipes - we hope you enjoy them as much as we do!

Keep giggling!
Michelle