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!

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!

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!

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 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

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

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 😉)!

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!

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!