Monday, May 15, 2017

What We Ate Last Week - May 2017 Week 2

So, this was kind of an exciting week on the job hunt front...

Brent was contacted on Monday by someone form DaVita and had a phone interview Monday afternoon.  The rep emailed him a couple things to study and then set up an interview for Thursday morning.  Brent said the second interview went okay.  He doesn't think he rocked it, but he thinks he might still be in the running.  They have other candidates to interview and then they'll (hopefully) get back to him about a third interview.  Fingers crossed.  Even if nothing else comes of it, it was nice to finally get a positive response back after all of the jobs that he's applied for with DaVita.  Also, nice to get a better idea of what the interview process is going to look like so it's not as nerve-wracking the next time.

As far as other leads, Brent is still waiting to hear about the Lacey/Olympia job opening back up, which would be awesome.  He never did hear back about his in-person interview, but we're not too terribly upset or surprised about that one.  Brent's instructors are also working with on a few internship options, so if he doesn't get a job right away he'll still be able to get some good experience (which could lead to a job).

We had plenty of leftovers this week, and we both kind of hit a wall energy-wise over the weekend.  So, we mostly did leftovers or stuff from the freezer for meals.  I did try a new muffin recipe this week though!  These Blueberry Almond Muffins were pretty tasty!  They're not very sweet, so I'd most likely add a little more honey next time I make them.  I liked how filling they were with all the oats, almond butter and almond meal.  I don't think Calvin was a huge fan of them though.  Ah well.

I hope you all had wonderful week and a great Mother's Day.

Keep giggling!
Michelle

Monday, May 8, 2017

What We Ate Last Week - May 2017 Week 1

Brent had his interview in Seattle this week and it went okay.  It would appear that it's actually more of a data-entry position and less of an actual Biomed Tech job, so that's kind of a bummer.  Given that little detail, they're also not really wanting to pay as much as we would like Brent to make if he was working/commuting in Seattle.  He hasn't heard back from them one way or the other, but he did send them a thank you email a day or two after his interview.  So, it's back to applying for jobs all over the country and hoping/praying that the Lacey/Olympia job opens back up soon and wants him.  We'll keep you all posted and ask for your continued prayers and good thoughts. :)

In the meantime, here's what we ate last week!

Monday 5/1
Breakfast:  Fruit, Yogurt, Carrot Cake Muffins - These were pretty good, I think...  Calvin needed a diaper change while they were baking, so I ended up accidentally over-baking them.  They were a little dark and dry, but the flavor seemed good.  I'll have to try them again.
Lunch:   Leftovers
Dinner:   Salad, Garlic Bread, Pressure Cooker Split Pea Soup - I'm borrowing a pressure cooker from my mom and was really excited to use it, but then I read in the manual that you shouldn't cook split peas in it because they foam too much.  So, I ended up cooking it on the stove, which took forever.  My grocery store didn't have any ham bones and I didn't want to buy a whole ham, so I bought a package of smoked ham hocks from the freezer section.  The soup was good, but it was too smokey and not as good as my mom's.  Kind of anti-climactic after all the time on the stove and all the time/effort to get the meat off of the ham hocks...ugh.  I'd like to try making it again, because I do like split pea soup.  I'll just have to either plan a ham dinner sometime before I want soup, or find our nearest Honey Baked Ham and buy a soup bone from them.

Tuesday 5/2
Breakfast:  Fruit, Avocado Toast
Lunch:   Sandwiches, Chips, Fruit
Dinner:  Salad, Birdseye Frozen Fajita Skillet Meal - Love these things!  We've tried a few flavors and they're nice to have in the freezer for those nights you don't feel like anything else.

Wednesday 5/3
Breakfast:  Fruit, Yogurt, Muffins
Lunch:   Sandwiches, Fruit
Dinner:  Salad, Leftovers

Thursday 5/4
Breakfast:  Fruit, Yogurt, Muffins
Lunch:  Sandwiches, Chips
Dinner:   Toasty Bread, Grilled chicken, Strawberry Poppyseed Salad - This was super yummy!  Our feta was old and not so good, so we skipped that. 🙁 I'm sure it would be really good though!  I added a little avocado and that was delish!

Friday 5/5
Breakfast:  Scrambled eggs
Lunch:   Leftovers
Dinner:   Fiesta Friday!!  Tacos!

Saturday 5/6
Breakfast:  Pancakes
Lunch:   Leftovers
Dinner:   Fruit, Turkey Avocado Bacon Ranch Wraps - We ended up spending the afternoon and evening with family, so just had hot dogs and boxed mac & cheese.  Oh yeah! lol.

Sunday 5/7
Breakfast:  Pancakes
Lunch:  Car snack on the way to church
Dinner:   Salad, Fruit, Roasted Broccoli, Cheddar and Sweet Potato Stuffed BBQ Turkey Meatloaf - This was really good!  We invited Brent's parents over for dinner and we all enjoyed it!  I was worried about it being dry since the turkey was pretty lean and the only added moisture was from an egg and some bbq sauce, but it was plenty moist!  I'll definitely make it again!  In addition to what's already listed, we also had garlic bread since there was a loaf on the bakery clearance at Fred Meyer this week. :D

Well, it looks like we should have some more nice weather the first half of this week.  I hope you all get a chance to enjoy it!

Have a great week and keep giggling!
Michelle

Monday, May 1, 2017

What We Ate Last Week - April 2017 Week 4 / And a Little Update! :)

I feel like we've been busy this week, but it was really only Friday and Saturday that were busy.

Brent had a random bonus day off on Friday, so we enjoyed having him home an extra day.  While he was home, he got a call from Fred Hutch in Seattle to come in for an interview!!  We've been kind of playing the waiting game ever since he found out that there's a hiring freeze for the job in the Olympia/Lacey area, so it was nice to get a positive response back after all the applications he's been sending out.  So, he's going in on Tuesday for a job interview in Seattle - any and all prayers/good thoughts/positive vibes/etc. would be much appreciated.  He's only got 5 more weeks of classes left and then it's off to work (hopefully) or an internship.
On Friday we also went down to Auburn to have a family dinner at Rio Blanco to surprise my Aunt Linda for her birthday, which was Thursday.  I love going to Rio Blanco - it's so yummy!  It's my family's favorite restaurant, so it's a fairly common pick for special family dinners.  It's nice to be able to live so close to extended family and be able to celebrate with them!  I'm really hoping that Brent can get a job locally so we can still be around the majority of our family.

On Saturday, we had a family BBQ to celebrate my Grandpa's birthday!  Grandpa is my dad's dad, and he turns 94 today (May 1st)!!  As usual, his birthday "cake" was strawberry shortcake - it's his favorite dessert!  We also brought some A&W root beer.  His mom used to work for A&W, so it's his favorite brand. :)
Saturday was also a special day in our little family!  6 years ago, on April 29, 2011, Brent and I went on our very first date.  It was half blind date since I knew who I was meeting up with, but Brent didn't.  He had suspicions, due to the mutual friend who set us up, but wasn't 100% sure.  Some day I'll have to put our story on here. :)

Here's what we ate this last week, enjoy!

Monday 4/24
Breakfast:  Oatmeal, Fruit, Yogurt
Lunch:  Salad, Fruit, Leftovers
Dinner:  Salad, Garlic Bread, Spaghetti Squash Casserole - This is one of my favorite ways to eat spaghetti squash. I crushed some croutons up and sprinkled those on top with the cheese that's called for and broiled it for a few minutes at the end.  Yummo!

Tuesday 4/25
Breakfast:  Frittata and Fruit
Lunch:  Fruit, Chips, Tuna Sandwiches
Dinner:  Fruit, Salad, Leftovers

Wednesday 4/26
Breakfast:  Avocado Toast and Fruit
Lunch:  Salad and Leftovers
Dinner:  Salad and Hawaiian Hamburger Steaks - These were pretty good, although I'm not sure how I liked the Italian seasoning in there...it makes me feel like I'm eating meatloaf with pineapple, which is a little weird...  Still good though!

Thursday 4/27
Breakfast:  Fruit, Yogurt, Oatmeal
Lunch:  Fruit and Leftovers
Dinner:  Leftovers/Clean the fridge!

Friday 4/28
Breakfast:  Fruit, Yogurt, Oatmeal
Lunch:  Salad, Sandwiches, Chips
Dinner:  Family Dinner at Rio Blanco to celebrate Aunt Linda's birthday!

Saturday 4/29
Breakfast:  Fruit and Pancakes
Lunch:  Birthday BBQ lunch for Grandpa!
Dinner:  Leftovers

Sunday 4/30
Breakfast:  Fruit, Pancakes, Yogurt
Lunch:  Sandwiches and Chips
Dinner:  Migas!!

Well, we're off to a new week friends!  If the weather report holds any truth, we should actually start to feel like spring this week - there's even a chance of hitting the high 70s!  I hope you can get out and enjoy the spring, wherever you are!

Have a great week, and keep giggling!
Michelle

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

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

In Which We Celebrate Pi Day!

Let me just preface our nerdy food celebration by saying that I am not a numbers person.  Math is not, and has not ever been, my favorite subject.  The joke goes that there are three types of people in this world:  those who can work with numbers and those who can't...  Get it?  Got it.  Good. (bonus points for anyone who catches the movie reference with the "Get it? Got it. Good." bit.)

That being said, we love food around here.  We also love to celebrate all the things!  So, Pi Day celebrations happen.  So do all sorts of other random food holidays (when I remember them...).  So, when I sat down to plan out the menu this month, I made sure to plan pies for today.  Two pies that I've never made before, just in case motherhood isn't enough of a challenge.  Luckily, it's Brent's spring break and Cal is a pretty chill kiddo, so the whole cooking with a toddler in the house thing isn't usually too much of an issue.  He actually was fairly clingy today, but he was perfectly content with Daddy snuggles. :)

Anyways, pie.  I've never made chicken pot pie before, but I've eaten it.  A lot.  I love those little freezer ones you can get at Costco...so good, but not so good for you.  Not that chicken pot pie is supposed to be a health food or anything.  It's just nice to make it at home and know exactly what is in it.  Plus, I added extra veggies, so it's totally healthy now..right?  Right.  Thanks for agree with me, friends. :)

Well, here's the recipe for dinner.  If dessert turns out good (it sure smelled good), I'll post that too!






Chicken Pot Pie
Adapted from:  Sally's Baking Addiction

Ingredients:
2 pie crusts (I used store-bought refrigerated, but feel free to use your favorite recipe)
1 lb boneless skinless chicken breasts (or turkey, that was my original plan)
2 medium-large carrots, peeled and chopped
1 stalk celery, chopped
2 medium yukon gold potatoes
1 bay leaf
1/3 cup unsalted butter
1/2 large onion, diced (about 1/3 cup)
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1 3/4 cups chicken broth (If you use canned broth, use the whole can.)
2/3 to 1 cup half-and-half
1 cup frozen mixed vegetables (mine had corn, peas, carrots and green beans)
1 large egg

Directions:
1 - If you're making your own pie dough, do so.  If you're using store bought, pull it out when the gravy starts to simmer so it can soften a little.
2 - In a large pot combine the chicken, carrots, celery, potatoes, bay leaf and a few grinds of salt and pepper.  Add enough water to cover everything and bring to a boil.  Cover and boil for 12-15 minutes, until chicken is done.  Remove from heat, drain, and set chicken aside to cool.  Discard bay leaf.
3 - In a large skillet, melt butter over medium heat.  Add onions and garlic and saute until the onions soften and the garlic starts to brown.  Whisk in flour, salt, pepper, and thyme until combined.  Whisk in broth and 2/3 cup half-and-half.  Bring to a boil and reduce heat to medium-low.  Let simmer for about 10 minutes to thicken up, stirring often.  Taste and adjust seasoning as needed.  Add additional 1/3 cup half-and-half if your gravy seems too thick.  Remove from heat and set aside
4 - While the gravy simmers, chop chicken into bite sized bites.  Stir into together with the carrots, celery and potatoes.  Set aside.
5 - Preheat oven to 425ᣞF.
6 - Carefully fit your pie dough into a 9 inch pie dish.  I used a ceramic deep dish pie plate and and had to roll my bottom crust a little to fit right.
7 - Layer chicken mixture in the bottom of your crust.  Sprinkle frozen veggies on top and pour the gravy over the top of it all.
8 - Roll your second crust out just a little and lay over the top of your pie.  Fold the edges of both crusts together and tuck under, on the lip of your pie plate.  Crimp or flute the edges however you'd like.  Vent your top crust, making a few slits with a sharp knife.  Beat the egg together and, using a pastry brush, brush the egg on the crust and edges.
9 - Place your pie pan on a foil lined baking sheet, just in case it bubbles over.  Place in the oven and bake 30-35 minutes, until golden brown and heated through.
10 - Let pie cool for about 10 minutes after removing from the oven.  Serve and enjoy!

Well friends, I hope you love this recipe as much as we did!

Keep giggling (and celebrating nerdy holidays 😉)!
Michelle

Monday, March 13, 2017

What We Ate Last Week - March 2017 Week 1

After my last post,I decided to post our menu weekly instead of monthly, and to post them at the end of the week.  That way it will be 4-5 smaller posts instead of 1 long post.  Plus, I won't have to keep updating the same post all month long.  And hey...maybe, since I'll (in theory) be posting weekly, I'll actually do real, here's-what's-going-on-in-our-lives posts more often.  Maybe...let's not make any crazy promises...

Anyway, here's our menu for this week, March 6-12th (I'm one of those weirdos who plans the week out Monday through Sunday...I think I picked that up while serving my LDS mission...).

Monday 3/6
Breakfast:  Crepes, Yogurt, Fruit
Lunch:  Sandwiches, Fruit
Dinner:  Leftover Banh Mi Rice Bowls

Tuesday 3/7
Breakfast:  Cereal
Lunch:  Leftover Spaghetti/Lasagna
Dinner:  Out for Tracy's Birthday!! Calvin was sick so we stayed home

Wednesday 3/8
Breakfast:  Avocado Toast, Fruit, Yogurt
Lunch:  Leftover Spaghetti/Lasagna
Dinner:  Sandwiches or Cereal

Thursday 3/9
Breakfast:  Peanut Butter Toast with Skillet Cinnamon Apples - I love this toast!
Lunch:  Sandwiches, Chips, Fruit
Dinner:  Fruit, Roasted Broccoli, Brown Rice, Apricot Chicken - this was so yummy!  I have a cranberry chicken recipe that is very similar and one of our favorites!  I love that this is made in the slow cooker and will definitely remember that next time I make cranberry chicken - it should work just the same!

Friday 3/10
Breakfast:  Apple Steel Cut Oats, Yogurt - These oats are so good!  I do add a few spices when I toast the oats (cinnamon, cardamom, allspice and cloves) and I use 3:1 water to milk ratio instead of all water.
Lunch:  Fruit, Salad, Sandwiches, Chips
Dinner:  Salad, Chips, Greek Turkey Burgers - These burgers are soooo delicious!  We don't have a grill so we cook them on our George Foreman and they stay so moist and yummy!

Saturday 3/11
Breakfast:  Fruit, Whole Grain Oatmeal Pancakes - This is our go-to scratch pancake recipe - so good and pretty darn healthy, as far as pancakes go.  Brent and Calvin make these for our breakfast every Saturday morning. :)
Lunch:  Salad, Leftovers
Dinner:  Salad, Fruit, BBQ Chicken Pizza

Sunday 3/12
Breakfast:  Fruit, Pancakes
Lunch:  Sandwiches OR Leftovers
Dinner:  Mac & Cheese night at Caitlin and Kyle's, we brought Avocado Mac & Cheese, which is delicious!

If you try anything, I hope you'll like it as much as we did!

Keep giggling!
Michelle

Thursday, March 9, 2017

In Which We Discover the Gunnells Are Still Alive...

I'd be surprised if anyone actually checks this anymore since it's been almost 3 years since I've updated...  I'll try and do a HUGE life update here soon, but we all know how well that's worked out in the past.  I have an idea though and I wanted to get it down in here before I get distracted by life again. :)

Since Brent has been in school and money has gotten a little tight around here, I've been trying really hard to be on top of menu planning.  I started out with just doing a week at a time, but decided to bump it up to two weeks at a time to cut down on grocery store trips and hopefully stretch our grocery budget a little farther.  We've done really well at that for the last few months, so this month I decided it was time to plan a month of meals out.  I know a lot of people do this for their dinners, my sister included, so I knew it was doable.  After planning two weeks for so long, it's actually been a pretty easy switch for me.  The hardest part is planning a month's worth of lunches since Cal and I are home all day.  Breakfast and dinner = easy peasy.  Lunch = what do we eat??!

Anyways, in an effort to help myself out in the future, I thought I'd post our monthly menu on the blog (maybe by weeks though?).  I have a Food I've Actually Made board on Pinterest where I keep track of recipes I've made and make notes on changes, but you're only allowed so many characters and some times my changes or ideas are a little more extensive than they allow.  Plus, that's just full of recipe links, not actual meal plans.  I also have a spreadsheet on Google Sheets that I make our meal plans in, and it is fairly organized, but in order to keep the spreadsheet neat and pretty I don't detail a lot of changes in there (I'm realizing this all makes me sound a little obsessive about menu planning, lol).  I figured by posting my menu on here, I'd have easy access to our menu plans AND I'd have unlimited space to detail changes/gripes/ideas for next time.

So...COMING SOON...our monthly menu plan and (hopefully) a little update about our lives!

Until then, keep giggling!
Michelle