meal plan . . . this week

Our week is pretty mellow.  David is in town, and he does all the kids driving.  I'm going to sit around and eat Bon Bons and watch Real Housewives.  But, I will be cooking dinner and here's what's on the menu. MONDAY: Smothered Chicken with a yummy romaine lettuce salad.  I am really trying to perfect my 'wing-it' salad dressing skills.  David bought me some new balsamic so I will probably blend that with olive oil, parm, salt, pepper and maybe some roasted red peppers.  Fingers crossed.

TUESDAY:  We didn't BBQ Sunday night.  So we are doing steak tonight.  Two flank steaks is almost enough to feed all of us.  Plus I'm going to try these Tornado Potatoes.  I also bought a bag of pre-cut broccoli, cauliflower and carrots.  I've never done this before, but I thought it would be so easy in a pinch.  I'm going to toss the veggies with olive oil, salt, pepper and the herbs left over from Thanksgiving and roast it.

WEDNESDAY:  Time to use the leftover turkey form Thanksgiving.  So tonight we will have Turkey Chili from the Food Network.  I'm going to serve it will all the fixins.

THURSDAY:  I will be busy selling my book at the Saint Thomas Moore School Holiday Bazaar.  If you are in Portland come on by from 5:30PM to 9PM.  The family will be eating Curry Chicken.  I use Trader Joe's Curry sauce with a can of coconut milk, add three chicken breasts to the slow cooker and cook for four hours on HIGH.  I toss in extra veggies when I have them, red peppers, tomatoes, potatoes, onion, cabbage, etc.  I serve it over and rice and that's dinner.

FRIDAY: Osso Bucco and a salad.  Again, I will be at Saint Thomas Moore today selling my book for their Holiday Bazaar so I needed something that would require little work from me.  This seemed like the perfect recipe.

Saturday and Sunday have proved to be useless days for me to meal plan.  Our plans always get in the way of me preparing dinner.  Unless we have planned to have guests over, I don't plan our weekend dinners.  Plus I love taking the kids out to eat.  It's always an adventure.


Happy Cooking - XO

meal plan

It's Friday 11/17/17 I am writing up our meal plan and ordering our groceries on line at the same time. MONDAY - I'm on TV in the afternoon, KATU Afternoon Live with Tra'Renee and I have a meeting at the kids school from 5:00PM - 6:00PM.  NO TIME TO COOK DINNER.  Plus, Ian is eating dinner out, Murphy, Harvey and Teddy are taking dinner (sandwiches) to school with them because they will be in aftercare until 6PM.  I'm not cooking a big meal for the babies and our nanny.  Two year olds and a nanny eat the equivalent of 1.2 servings.  Cheese, crackers, fruit and veggies for them.

TUESDAY - This week is a week to dial down the cooking and empty out the fridge for all the leftovers we will have after Thanksgiving.  I'm recording a podcast today, it won't take a ton of time, but you never know.  So I have turned to Betty Crocker to feed the team.  Check out this recipe Chicken, Spinach, Artichoke and Pasta Bake.  These kind of dishes aren't always my favorite, but my family loves them.  I'll serve it with a salad.

WEDNESDAY - We are headed to Grand Central Bowl for bowling and dinner.  No cooking tonight.

THURSDAY - You know the drill.  Happy Thanksgiving!

FRIDAY - We have family in town, so we will either eat leftovers or head out to dinner.  My in-laws love Lucca.  I am calling this week to make an early reservation.  Taking kids to dinner is no joke.  I use to order our the kids food before we arrived.  So the kids were happy the minute we arrived.  I don't do it anymore.  The twins know the drill, sit and stare at other people quietly or you are going home.  :)

SATURDAY - I'm going to see what everyone feels like.  It might be one of those BBQ nights.  Steak, mashed potatoes, salad, sauteed mushrooms and a crispy bread.

SUNDAY - Shhhhhh there's a birthday in our household.  I'm cooking a surprise dinner for her.

meal plan

This week seems a bit busier than most.  We are going out Monday, having people over Wednesday and Thursday.  So our dinner menu is a bit different this week.  However, the nights I am actually cooking I'll be using Paleo Cooking from Elana's Pantry.  We don't normally eat Paleo, but I thought this cookbook looked good and healthy.  I have only cooked from this cookbook once.  I'm excited to try more recipes. MONDAY: David and I are going out so the kids will be eating pasta with pesto sauce and a salad.

TUESDAY: Bacon Tart page 79 and Balsamic Rosemary Beets page 53.

WEDNESDAY: I'm having a bunch of ladies over tonight to check out the purses I designed.  Everyone is coming during the dinner hour.  So I'm going to make up a bunch of turkey and ham sandwiches ahead of time for the kids.  I'm serving the sandwiches with fruit.

THURSDAY: I'm having two friends over to see if we want to start a little supper club.  We were all suppose to choose a recipe that intimidates us.  I choose a five layer pumpkin cake.  I'm not a baker so mine should be an adventure.  I don't know what else we are having, but we will all be cooking together.  I need to have the kitchen clean and dishwashers empty, so the kids dinner needs to be simple.  They will be having pizza and salad.

FRIDAY: Chicken Marbella page 68 with sliced cucumber and a salad.

SATURDAY: Colorful Winter Salad on page 48 with a variety of cheese, salami and crackers.

SUNDAY: We are eating on the go.  The kids have a Winter Carnival at their school and then sports in the late afternoon.  I'll pack about ten peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, cut them in 1/4ths and the kids can have those for dinner in between our events.

Have a great week!

Meal Plan

My blog schedule is a bit screwy this week.  I haven't used Word Press in over three years.  I will get all the kinks out. Last week I met this great gal Kate Bethell.  She is the author of a new blog, ladies and laddles.  Unless otherwise noted, I am cooking all of our recipes from Kate's blog.

Monday I am making enchiladas.  Instead of buying pre-cooked meat, I bought a whole chicken added carrots, onion, garlic, peppercorns, salt, dill, thyme and celery and made about 14 cups of chicken broth.  Today I will cut up the chicken to use in the enchiladas.  I'm serving salad and fruit with dinner.

Tuesday - Pork Egg Roll in a Bowl.

Wednesday - Nachos.  This isn't from Kate's site.  And it isn't pretty.  I use a cookie sheet, spread out a bag of chips, a can of good chili, diced bell peppers and tomatoes, top it with cheese.  Pop it in the oven until the cheese melts.  I put the pan on the kitchen table and it's a free-for-all.  I know it's not the most nutritious meal, but my kids love it and dinner is always a fun one on Nacho Night.

Thursday - Simple Sesame Chicken with sliced oranges (from Kate's blog).

Friday - Harvey's (friend) Birthday Party, we are ordering pizza.

Saturday - Dinner is TBD.  However we will be making Kate's blondies today.  Can't wait!

Sunday - Harvey's (family) birthday.  We are headed to an Art Studio.  Harvey will get to see all of try our hand at one of his favorite hobbies . . . art!  We will order dinner in at the studio.

remember these . . .

It's time to eat healthy as we gear up for all the holiday treats.  Think about these veggies that we often forget about.

  1. Peas.  Eaten hot or cold.  Remember that 80's bacon, pea, cheddar cheese salad.  This would be great to add to kids lunches.
  2. Artichokes.  For a nice long relaxing dinner.  Serve artichokes it will keep everyone busy as they munch away.  Or make artichoke dip, add spinach and have it for dinner with crackers and fruit.
  3. Spinach & Kale.  I chop these up and add them to EVERYTHING!  Smoothies, eggs, anything in the slow cooker, butter noodles, pesto pasta . . . list goes on and on.
  4. Carrots - Just chop them up and serve them cold with dinner.  And if you want to be creative chop them up so they are as long as straws, your kids will enjoy it!
  5. Cucumbers.  Harvey could eat two whole cucumbers as long as I keep serving them with soy sauce.  Remember that yummy cucumber tea sandwich?  A little mayo and salt, yum.
  6. Beets.  Slice and boil them until they are soft, add some parm and balsamic.  Make sure you let your kids stamp the slices on paper before you boil them.  They will make cool pictures and be more likely to eat them.
  7. Spaghetti squash.  Add butter, pesto or spaghetti sauce.  So good, so healthy.
  8. I'm making a salad for dinner tonight with green beans, broccoli and celery.  I parboiled the beans and broccoli and slice the celery up small.  I'll add a yummy balsamic right before I serve it.  I had to get rid of these veggies to make room in my fridge for the thanksgiving fixings.


Happy healthy eating . . . XO

recipe share . . .


1 lb chicken breasts

6 slices bacon, cooked and diced

2 to 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped

1 package (1 oz) ranch dressing and seasoning mix

1 can (10.75 oz) condensed cream of chicken soup

1 cup sour cream

½ teaspoon pepper

½ cup water

8 oz spaghetti, cooked (OR ANY OTHER COOKED GRAIN, I USED RICE)

1 bunch of kale, diced very small



Spray 4-quart slow cooker with cooking spray; place chicken breasts in cooker.


In medium bowl, mix remaining ingredients except spaghetti and kale. Pour over top of chicken.


Cover; cook on Low heat setting 6 hours or on High heat setting 3 to 4 hours.


When about 15 minutes are left, cook and drain spaghetti as directed on package. And add kale to slow cooker.


Just before serving, shred chicken with 2 forks, and toss creamy chicken mixture with cooked spaghetti.


* If you aren’t going to eat everything this is a great recipe to freeze.

avocado . . . again

We are getting a lot of avocado in our produce delivery bin.  First I will tell you one of my favorite sandwiches is . . .

  • toasted sourdough bread
  • mayo
  • s & p
  • avocado slices
  • jack cheese slices
  • hot or cold this baby is delicious

Second, last time I mentioned I added avocado to our spaghetti sauce with NO complaints.  Tonight I added it to our chili.  I am sure most of you have done this, but I thought I would share it anyway.  It was yummy!

And since I am talking about avocados here are some other creative ways to use them . . .

  1. bake an egg in a cored avocado
  2. make avocado chocolate mousse
  3. make avocado ice cream
  4. grill an avocado
  5. avocado mac and cheese
  6. add avocado to your smoothie
  7. avocado popsicles
  8. avocado margaritas
  9. baked avocado with cheese and lime
  10. caesar avocado dressing
  11. avocado oil is great for your skin
  12. there is a TON of uses for avocados


Happy avocado and happy friday.


Dessert . . .

Who doesn't LOVE dessert?!  I DO.  Here is a tasty dessert I love! It's called CHOCOLATE ECLAIR CAKE and it requires no baking.  Our cousins made this a few times this summer and I think ended up eating a whole cake myself!  Yes, it's good.

Screen shot 2014-03-18 at 2.11.14 PM



3 box(es) 3.5 oz instant vanilla pudding

3 cup(s) Milk

1 container(s) 8oz cool whip

Graham crackers, 1 box


1 container of prepared chocolate frosting (8 ounces)



  1. Combine pudding mix & milk.  Beat in Cool Whip.
  2. Place a layer of graham crackers in bottom of 9x13 dish. Spread 1/2 filling mixture on top. Repeat with another layer of graham crackers, add the rest of filling, top with final layer of graham crackers.


  1. Microwave the frosting in it’s container for 30 seconds and pour over the graham crackers.
  2. Refrigerate at least two hours.


smoothies . . .

Hola it's FRIDAY.  Make a smoothie!  Add all the veggies in your fridge and then add 1 teaspoon of cinnamon and you won't even know you are drinking brussel sprouts!  Strawberries and bananas are such powerful flavors in a smoothie they also will mask the green peppers you added to your drink.  Here are some crazy foods we add to our smoothies . . .

  • cucumbers
  • mint
  • basil
  • nuts (any kind)
  • coconut oil
  • flax seed
  • chia seeds
  • peanut butter
  • olive oil
  • probiotics
  • melons (any kind)
  • yams
  • sweet potatoes (I don't even peel them)
  • carrots
  • cucumbers
  • kale
  • spinach
  • celery (but it is VERY strong)
  • zucchini
  • flavored fish oils
  • ANY fruit
  • dates
  • honey
  • spinach
  • spirulina
  • coffee

Go crazy add whatever!  Have a great one!  XO



Meal Plan . . .

This week I did NOT choose a fancy chef!  Instead I searched our kitchen HIGH and LOW for all of the random foods that need to be used up.  I then dug around on the internet to find recipes to match what I wanted to use up in our kitchen.  Here is my list of food to use up . . .

  • onion soup mix
  • canned pumpkin
  • garbanzo beans (canned)
  • dried lentils
  • arborio rice
  • tuna
  • oatmeal
  • plain nonfat yogurt
  • frozen peas

Here's the plan . . .

MONDAY: tikka masala (uses plain nonfat yogurt) & green salad

TUESDAY: savory lo mein (onion soup mix) & frozen peas & oatmeal cookies

WEDNESDAY: date night, I'll put the 4 year old in charge ;)

THURSDAY:  fettuccine w/ pumpkin sauce, asparagus & pumpkin muffins

FRIDAY:  arborio rice and lentil & garbanzo bean salad

SATURDAY:  curry tuna melts served with chips and fruit

SUNDAY:  we are going out or the 13 year old is cooking dinner!

MONDAY . . . I had planned on cooking the Tikka Masala on Halloween.  I forgot about this little equation KIDS + HALLOWEEN = CRACK.  There was NOT a chance in H3LL my kids were going to wait for a fancy dinner.  They wanted pizza, ringing doorbells and SCREEEAMING trick or treat.  So . . . I will try out this recipe on Monday.

Here is the link . . . again  I am going to serve it with a 'run of the mill' green salad.  And since I can't stand store bought salad dressing I always make my own.  Don't you dare think I get fancy here.  Olive oil, balsamic (I buy good stuff and use it only for salad dressings) and then I always throw in something random like . . . milk or lemon or soy sauce or a fresh herb I have laying around or garlic (if I cut up too much for dinner, I never cut it up specifically for salad dressing) or some random spice or parm or mustard.  Have fun with this, have your kids make it for you!

TUESDAY . . . This recipe looks interesting.  I have not tried it before.  The ingredients looked fine, but the instructions did not seem correct to me.  So I completely changed it all, I made it easier to cook (not that it was hard before) and added a lot more vegetables.

I am serving this with the frozen peas that have been taking up space in our freezer for too long!

Savory Lo Mein


  • 2 T vegetable oil
  • 1 garlic clove, chopped
  • 5 cups thinly sliced spinach
  • ½ cup shredded carrots
  • ½ cup shredded zucchini
  • 1 envelop Lipton Recipe Secrets Onion Soup Mix
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 T Sherry (optional)
  • 1 t soy sauce
  • ¼ t ground ginger
  • 8 ounces of pasta
  • 1 T toasted sesame seeds

Cook pasta according to package directions.  Heat oil in 12-inch skillet over medium heat and cook garlic and spinach, stirring frequently, 5 minutes.  Stir carrots and zucchini until completely mixed and remove from heat. Mix Lipton® Recipe Secrets® Onion Soup Mix with water, sherry, soy sauce and ginger, and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to low and simmer, stirring occasionally, 5 minutes. Toss all ingredients with hot linguine. Sprinkle, if desired, with toasted sesame seeds.

 WEDNESDAY . . . It's date night.  And I wasn't kidding about putting the four year old in charge of dinner.  He makes his own lunch for school, sandwich and all.  So I am SERIOUSLY putting him in charge of dinner.  Maybe I will have him toss an extra multi-vitamin on everyone's plate.


THURSDAY . . . I have a huge can of pumpkin.  I do not make pumpkin pie from scratch because all groceries stores do it perfectly.  So I need to use this thing up!  I have made the recipe for the muffins below, but the pasta recipe is a new one for me.  I hope it's good.

Screen shot 2013-11-02 at 5.59.23 AM

Screen shot 2013-11-02 at 5.58.38 AM

I am going to serve this with asparagus.  And then after dinner I will have these yummy muffins for dessert!


  • 1 box yellow cake mix
  • 15 ounces canned pumpkin
  • 1/4 cup water
  • additional ingredients you can add to up the HEALTHY factor, add about a 1/2 a cup TOTAL of any of the following; blue berries, any kind of chopped nuts, flax seeds, cranberries, blueberries, raisins, etc etc

Spray muffin tins with non-stick cooking spray, pour batter into muffin till, filling 1/2-way.  Bake according to cake box package directions.

FRIDAY . . . I have so much Arborio Rice.  I obviously bought it for a recipe and then bought another container.  This recipe I found on the good old world wide web, I doctored it up a bit.  Let's hope it's good too!

Crock Pot Arborio Rice

  • 1 ¼ cup uncooked Arborio Rice
  • ¼ cup Olive Oil
  • ¼ white wine (to skip this, just increase your broth by ¼ cup)
  • 3 ¾ cups broth (your choice veggie or chicken)
  • 3 cloves of garlic chopped
  • ½ t salt and pepper
  • 2 cups fresh spinach, diced small
  • ¼ cup fresh basil, diced small
  • ¼ cup parm
  • meat, if you have anything left over, chop it up and dump it in!

Throw the first 6 ingredients in the crock pot, stir and cook on HIGH for two hours.  An hour and a half into the cooking time, chop up your spinach, basil, meat if you are using it and grate your parm.  Dump your last 4 ingredients, stir them up really well.  Cook for 10 minutes and serve!

Lentil & Garbonzo Salad

I am going to wing this one!  I am going to cook the 1/2 of a package of dried lentils according to the package directions.  Then I am going to add the following; 1 can of garbanzo beans, 2 sliced green onions, 1/2 orange bell pepper and 1/2 a cup of feta.  For the dressing I am going to whisk the following and pour it over the mixed veggies . . . 1/2 a lemon juiced, 1/4 cup of olive oil, 1/4 cup of white wine, 1/2 teaspoon black pepper and some red pepper flakes OR a few dashes of tabasco.  Mix it all together and serve.

SATURDAY . . . This recipe may not go over too well, but I want to use up that tuna.  Food sitting in my cabinet drives me nuts.  I don't like clutter and food collecting dust in our kitchen is clutter!  I am going to serve this interesting dinner with fruit and chips.

Here is the link to the recipe!  Enjoy . . .

SUNDAY . . . Like I mentioned above, it's either the 13 year old finishing up his two hours of Sunday chores by cooking the family dinner or we are going out.  As I like to say . . . 'mama is OFF-DUTY.'

Have a great week everyone!  I am still compiling recipes for my blog reader week of meals, so send your in.  You can send them to my email address  And I am also gathering recipes for an entire week of crock pot recipes!  And then I have another plan to do a week of cooking from Trader Joe's.  If you have anything you would like to contribute.  Please do so!  Have a great finish to your weekend.


recipe . . . FRIDAY

Alright so it's the day after eating ten plus mini candies which we all know totals two KING size candy bars.  So here is a healthy recipe passed along to me by a friend, Tess.  Tess swears by this recipe!  She says her husband who is a meat eater loves these tacos. And don't be surprised if you also see this recipe in next weeks meal plan!  Have a great sugar hangover!  Kysa


Prep time 30min Makes 6-8 servings

1 lb (2 8oz pkgs) tempeh 2 tbs of olive oil divided 2 t salt 1/4 c. lime juice 1 T chili powder or taco seasoning 1 onion, chopped 1/4 c. fresh cilantro (I use more!) 12 taco shells 

Optional: avocado slices, grated cheese, salsa, sour cream, shredded lettuce, etc

Crumble or chop tempeh into small pieces and place in a large mixing bowl.  Combine 1 T of olive oil, salt, lime juice and chili powder into a small bowl, mix, and pour over the tempeh and stir/toss.  Let stand 10-30 minutes....the longer it's left to sit...the better....but still good if made right away.

Heat the remaining oil in a large skillet.  Add onion and saute till soft.  Add marinated tempeh and keep mixture moving in the pan until tempeh turns golden brown.  Add cilantro just prior to serving.  Warm taco shells and fill with tempeh mixture and top with your favorite toppings.

recipe FRIDAY . . . cream cheese

Here are two great simple, quick and inexpensive appetizer recipes. Screen shot 2013-10-25 at 6.48.22 AM

1.  Take a block of cream cheese (8 oz.), take it out of the foil, put it on a nice place.  Pour about 1/3 cup (depending on the size of your place) of soy sauce over the top, not so much so it's spilling over the top of the plate.  Then cover the cream cheese GENEROUSLY with sesame seeds.  Serve with water crackers.


2.  Take a block of cream cheese (8 oz.), take it out of the foil, put it on a nice place.  Pour 3/4 jar of spicy jalapeno jelly over the top.  Serve with crackers.


1.  The Curtiss Stone Chili was great, but it made a ton.  The recipe said 8 servings, I think I got more like 10-12 servings.  So I took a batch over to the neighbors and froze what we didn't eat.

2.  The Chicken Cacciatore was great, but again the recipe said it serves four.  I served 3 adults and 3 kids with a TON left over.  So I chopped up the chicken into bite size pieces, added it with the yummy sauce, threw in the pancetta and some of the basil and parsley.  I put it all in a ziplock back and put it in the freezer.  I wrote on the freezer back 'serve over pasta.'  So thanks to cooking with Curtiss, I have gotten 4 meals out of cooking two!  Woo hoo.

3.  We will not be cooking the Frittata tomorrow night, I will most likely be cooking it tonight.  We have a new sitter with an old family tradition she would like to do with our family.  So tomorrow night we will go to the grocery store to buy our Halloween candy and then we are going to get Chinese Take-out.  After our yummy dinner we are going to watch a Halloween movie.  Should be fun!

meal plan . . . Curtis Stone

Screen shot 2013-10-19 at 8.53.06 PM Curtis Stone is this week's chef.  I chose him because I really wanted to make Korean tacos and his recipe was the first recipe to pop up when I googled 'Korean tacos.'



w e d n e s d a y :  DATE NIGHT, pizza, fruit and veggies

t h u r s d a y :  CHICKEN CACCIATORE & green salad



s u n d a y :  TBD


Here is the link for Korean's tacos.  These look delicious!  I am going to cheat a little bit with these tacos.  I have some leftover frozen teriyaki chicken that I need to use up, so I am going to defrost that for the meat.  I also am going to cook a huge batch of black beans in the crock pot all day long and I am going to add those to the tacos.  Then I am going to use the black beans for tomorrow nights chili!  I am serving dinner with a little sliced up pineapple and some tortilla chips.  

Here is a great and easy black bean crock pot recipe.

Screen shot 2013-10-19 at 8.28.19 PM


Curtiss' Chili looks like it might be a lot of work, but it looks really good.  Have you ever had chili with fennel in it?  Me neither . . . should be interesting!  I am going to serve the chili with yummy cheese and crackers.  And again, I am going to cheat here.  I cooked the black beans last night so I could use a cup or so with the tacos.  So I am going to skip the 1 1/2 hours of cooking the beans in this recipe since I already have it done!  Woo hoo!  Also, I am going to freeze any leftover chili and use it for baked potato topping with melted cheese on top in the future.

Screen shot 2013-10-19 at 8.33.10 PM

Here is the link to his chili . . .


Date night!  Pizza for the kids and some fruit and veggies too!


Tonight is Chef Stone's Chicken Cacciatore.  I haven't ever made this before, but I am excited!  I am going to serve it with a green salad.

Screen shot 2013-10-19 at 8.38.48 PM

Here is the link . . .


This looks too easy . . . BBQ Chicken Quesadillas.  I don't think we need a recipe here, but I will pass it along anyway.  I am serving this with green peas and I will probably use up the fruit from the week and make a little fruit salad.  And if you want to cheat here you can buy the pre-made rotisserie chicken at your local grocery store!


Screen shot 2013-10-19 at 8.43.41 PM

This looks great.  And it is screaming to be served with asparagus, but I am going to keep plugging along with Curtis and serve it with his brussel sprouts  Here are the links.,-Thyme-and-Honey-Caramelized-Brussels.aspx


I am not sure what I am going to make.  Curtis doesn't really have anything else that looks appetizing to me (at least right now).  So I am either going to whip something up from what is leftover in the fridge or round up the crew and head out.  Have a great week everyone!  XO  And please feel free to send me your favorite chef or cookbook.  I will use it!  Thank you.

meal plan . . . Ina Garten

Screen shot 2013-10-12 at 8.17.38 PM Hi.  I enjoyed cooking last week with recipes from April Bloomsfield.  So this week I have decided to cook with recipes from Ina Garten AKA Barefoot Contessa.

Here's the Ina Garten Menu for the week.

monday: celery salad* & weeknight bolognese*

tuesday: lemon chicken*, green beans and lentil puree

wednesday: date night

thursday: garlic roasted cauliflower* & pasta (my creation)

friday: zucchini gratin* & asparagus

saturday: peas with prosciutto*, tomato feta* salad and french bread

sunday: goin' out to eat


* recipes by Ina


weeknight bolognese

celery salad


lemon chicken

green beans


Date night . . . I am serving the kiddos Quorn nuggets (they are made out of mushrooms) and the kids love them.  I will probably serve it up with some veggies and fruit.


Garlic Roasted Cauliflower

Then I am going to whip a random pasta dish.  I am going to cook up pasta (according to package directions) and then add crumbled cooked bacon, chopped parsley, shredded parm, shredded zucchini, a few squirts of fresh lemon and then drizzle it with olive oil.


Zucchini Gratin

Asparagus.  I like to cook up the asparagus in boiling water for about a minute or two.  Then I saute up a little butter, 1 tablespoon or so of soy sauce, add some teriyaki if you have that too.  Then add the asparagus to the pan to heat it up and serve.


Peas and Prosciutto

Tomato & Feta Salad

French Bread


I know I said I was going to cook with the family every Sunday night.  But it's not in the cards for us this Sunday, so we are going out!  I think . . . we may have people over.  We'll see.

meal plan . . .

2013-10-06 06.52.17 HDR  2013-10-06 19.59.44 HDR

Hi.  Long time no write!  As some of you may have noticed I have been out of commission.  My week of writing about kids didn't get much traction.  Sorry about that.  I had a very close friend in town visiting for the week.  We basically kicked it, hung with the kiddos and went out to great restaurants around town.  The photo above is a cookbook from the same friend, and the second photo is the cookbook signed by the chef April Bloomfield.  Pretty exciting!  So this week my menu plan will consist of dishes from the book.  I hope everyone has a great week.  Happy cooking!

MONDAY: green pea soup*, brie and french bread


TUESDAY: radish salad* & flank steak


WEDNESDAY: date night . . . pizza for the kiddos


THURSDAY:  pesto pasta, lentil puree* & french bread


FRIDAY:  pot stickers, rice, oranges & peanuts*


SATURDAY:  roast chicken* & caesar salad*


SUNDAY:  lentil salad* & bratwursts


* dishes from the COOKBOOK A Girl and Her Pig, by April Bloomfield.



Pea Soup:  This dish looks awesome.  I started the broth tonight (it cooks for five hours, but you don't have to do a thing)!  Here is the link to the recipe.  I am excited for dinner tomorrow night.  As mentioned above I am serving it with french bread and brie.  Enjoy.

Screen shot 2013-10-06 at 8.25.32 PM



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We eat a lot of flank steak.  It's so easy!  I marinate the flank steak all day and then crank on the broiler.  I broil the steak for 7 minutes each side.  It's done!  



Date night.  I am serving pizza, maybe fresh, maybe frozen and some fresh veggies.  Yum!  Yum!



Tonight is pesto pasta.  The kids favorite and a great way for me to add in tons of veggies.  As you may have previously read I like to make my own pesto, but if I don't have time store bought is JUST fine!  I basically whip up your basic pesto sauce and then add in spinach, some carrots and some lemon juice.  Nothing like a few extra veggies.  I am serving our pesto over cheese tortellini.  A great pesto recipe to get you started is Ina Garten's . . . 

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I am also making April's Lentil Puree and serving everything with french bread. 

  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds, toasted
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 7 medium garlic cloves, peeled
  • 3/4 cup Puy lentils, rinsed & picked over 
  • about 3 tablespoons fresh squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 heaping tablespoon of flaky salt, (April prefers Maldon)
  • 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil

Combine cumin, cream, garlic and lentils with 1 1/2 cups of water.  Bring to a vigorous simmer and then turn the heat to low for about 35 minutes.  Then pour everything into a blender or food processor and add olive oil, salt and lemon juice.  Blend until it's completely smooth.  It will keep in the fridge for up to 2 days.



Costo pot stickers, jasmine rice and oranges.  And because I am trying something from April's cookbook almost everyday I added in this peanut recipe.

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Two recipes from April today.  Roast chicken and Caesar Salad.  I haven't ever cooked a whole chicken!

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April's roast chicken recipe is pretty simple.  Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.  Get a 4-pound chicken, pat it dry.  Let the chicken sit at room temperature for 15 minutes.  Cover the inside and outside generously with salt.  Let the chicken sit for another 15 minutes at room temperature.  Put the chicken in a roasting pan or baking dish.  Drizzle with 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil.  Roast the chicken for 30 minutes, then reduce the oven temperature to 400 degrees and cook for about another 20 minutes (until the skin is light golden brown and the juices run clear when you pierce the thickest part of the thigh).  Transfer the chicken to a cutting board and let it rest for another 15 minutes.  Enjoy!



For the time being I am going to steer away from going out to restaurants with the family and get the kids in the kitchen cooking with me!  Sunday night we will be having brats with yummy buns and lentil salad from April's cookbook.

Lentil and Chickpea Salad with Feta and Tahini
Bloomfield says, "you might be tempted to follow a recipe loosely --I know I often am-- but on your first go, please try it my way. Then once you've made it two or three times, feel free to tweak as you like." 

For the lentils:
Scant 1 cup dried Puy or Casteluccio lentils, picked and rinsed over
2 large garlic cloves, halved lengthwise
2 sage sprigs
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

For the dressing and salad
2 teaspoons coriander seeds, toasted and ground
1 teaspoon cumin seeds, toasted and ground
1/2 large garlic clove
maldon or another flaky sea salt
2 tablespoons well stirred tahini paste
about 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
1 and 3/4 cups drained chickpeas, low sodium if canned
1/2 small preserved lemon, pith and flesh discarded, rind finely diced
1 very small red onion, thinly sliced into half-moons
A handful of small, delicate cilantro sprigs
A scant 1/4 cup feta, preferably goat's milk
1 and 1/2 tablespoons raw sesame seeds, toasted in a dry pan till a shade or two darker

Make the lentils: Put the lentils, garlic, sage, and olive oil in a small pot, along with 2 cups cold water, and set it over medium heat. Let the water come to a simmer (don't let it boil), then turn the heat to low and cook the lentils in a very gentle simmer just until they are tender  -- about 25 minutes. Take the pan off the heat and let the lentils cool, then drain them very well and pick out and discard the sage and garlic. You'll have about 2 cups cooked lentils.

Make the dressing: Mix together the ground coriander and cumin in a small bowl. Mash the garlic clove to a paste with 1 teaspoon salt in a mortar. Combine the mashed garlic, the tahini paste, 3 tablespoons of the lemon juice, 2 tablespoons of the olive oil, 1 teaspoon of the ground spice mixture, and 2 tablespoons water in a bowl. Stir the mixture well. Have a taste and consider adding another teaspoon of lemon.

Assemble the salad: Toss the lentils with the drained chickpeas, preserved lemon rind, and 1 teaspoon salt in a large mixing bowl. Pour in the tahini dressing and toss it all together really well.
Put the onion slices in a medium bowl and break them up with your fingers. Sprinkle in 2 good pinches of salt, then add two teaspoons of lemon juice. Add the 2 remaining teaspoons olive oil and the cilantro and toss gently but well. Crumble in the cheese. Give it another gentle toss.
Scatter a few handfuls of the chickpea-lentil mixture onto a large platter in one layer. Scrape the onion and cheese mixture into the bowl with the rest of the lentils and chickpeas and toss it gently so the ingredients are well distributed but the cilantro stays pert. Scatter this mixture on top of the lentils and chickpeas on the platter. Sprinkle on some of the remaining spice mixture and then the sesame seeds and serve.

Have a great week everyone!

meal plan . . .

MONDAY - chicken & rice casserole with salad

TUESDAY - swiss chard pie & bake mashed potatoes

WEDNESDAY - (date night) corn dogs and peas

THURSDAY - tangy chicken & crock pot black beans

FRIDAY - spaghetti (left over sauce) and french bread

SATURDAY - creamy crock pot chicken over rice and cut up veggies

SUNDAY - go out to dinner


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TUESDAY - swiss chard pie & baked mashed potatoes

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from Real Simple . . .

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WEDNESDAY - it's our date night, so as usual it's a very simple night of cooking for me!

Trader Joe's corn dogs and big favorite around here!  We had them last Wednesday.

Frozen peas  :)

THURSDAY - Tangy BBQ chicken, rice & crock pot black beans (the leftover beans will be used in Saturday nights meal)

I got this recipe from Elle magazine.  When I start the black beans (6 hours before dinner) I am going to make the marinade so the chicken has plenty of time to marinate.  It seems like this

may be too spicy for the kids, but I am going to go for it anyway.  I may have to serve them cheese and crackers along with the black beans.  We shall see!!  Also, don't forget to make your rice!

  • 4 chicken thighs (I am going to use breasts)
  • 2-7.5 ounce cans of chipotle peppers in adobo
  • 8 large garlic cloves
  • 2 Tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 cup BBQ sauce
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 lime, juiced
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/4 cup Jack Daniels or other whiskey

Combine ALL ingredients (except chicken) in food processor or blender and blend until smooth.  In a zip lock bag add the chicken and pour the marinate over the top.  Let it sit.  An hour before dinner heat up the oven to 350 degrees.  Place the chicken and sauce in a baking dish and bake for 45 minutes.  Plate the chicken over white rice or serve solo.

BLACK BEANS - This is so easy!  Grab the following . . . 1 pound of dried black beans, 1 white onion, 2 cloves of garlic, 1 tablespoon of salt, 1 bay leaf and 6 cups of water.  Rinse your beans and remove and rocks or debris.  Chop up the onion into BIG chunks, throw in the crock pot with everything but the salt.  Cook on HIGH for 3-4 hours on LOW for 6-8 hours.  In the last 20-30 minutes of cooking add the salt.  That's it!

 FRIDAY - Spaghetti and french bread

I made spaghetti sauce a few weeks ago and froze it.  So I am going to pull this out, boil up some noodles and serve.  When I make spaghetti sauce I doctor up the yummy jarred stuff.  So I usually add grated zucchini, diced up spinach, canned diced tomatoes, one pound of ground beef, a diced carrot, two cloves of diced garlic and a diced bell pepper.  It tastes great and is so healthy.  I serve with City Sour French Bread I buy from Costco.  I simply heat it up in the oven.


Here's where we use the leftover beans from Thursday night.  Serve this dish over rice or pasta.

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meal plan . . .

MONDAY:  teriyaki marinated flank stead, roasted potatoes and salad


TUESDAY:  chili in the can doctored up w/ veggies, bread and sliced cheese


WEDNESDAY:  corn dogs (from Trader Joe's) & veggie sticks


THURSDAY: broccoli and chicken alfredo


FRIDAY:  snack plate


SATURDAY:  crock pot sesame chicken and sliced oranges


SUNDAY:  kids cooking . . . black bean sweet potato enchiladas


m o n d a y

FLANK STEAK: Marinate flank steak in teriyaki sauce all day.  Broil flank steak on a broil pan for 7 minutes on each side.

POTATOES:  Slice one pound of baby potatoes in half, add a few tablespoons of olive oil and salt and pepper if you are feelin' fancy.  Spray a cookie sheet with pam and roast the potatoes (flat side down) at 450 degrees for 20-30 minutes.

SALAD:  Grab a bag of salad, add some chopped veggies and add dressing.


t u e s d a y

CHILI:  Here is my plan . . . I ordered 3 cans of vegetarian mild Amy's chili.  In the crock pot an hour before dinner, I am going to dump the chili in with 1 cup of chopped spinach, 1 can of diced tomatoes, 1 clove of diced garlic, 1 bell pepper diced (orange or yellow), 1/2 an onion diced.  I'm gonna let it heat up and serve it with french bread and sliced cheese.


w e d n e s d a y

This morning I swam early and then swapped the kiddos with my husband.  He went to play tennis and we went to Trader Joe's.  We don't go often so when we do it's a food adventure.  We picked up TJ turkey corn dogs.  Since it's date night, I am cooking those up with some sliced up veggies.


t h u r s d a y

Don't be too impressed here, but this just looked so good on this rainy Portland day.  I am going to doctor this up with some shredded zucchini and green bell pepper.


f r i d a y

I wasn't sure of our plans for the afternoon and since we just made a huge hall at Trader Joe's I thought a snack plate would be perfect for dinner.  So I am going pull out all our yummy healthy food, plate it up like a caterer and serve.


s a t u r d a y

SESAME CHICKEN IN THE CROCK POT and I am serving it with sliced oranges.  I am also substituting the tomato sauce for ketchup.

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s u n d a y

Normally we go out to dinner as a family, but I really want to get the kids cooking in the kitchen.  So tonight my step-son and I will be cooking Sweet Potato and Black Bean Enchiladas with chips and salsa.

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Have a great week everyone!  And please feel free to share recipes.  XO

meal plan . . .

Have a yummy week of eating everyone!  Here are some GREAT recipes.  Enjoy!

MONDAY: baked garlic brown sugar chicken and asparagus

TUESDAY:  pasta with pesto sauce w/ chopped up cucumber, celery, carrots and ranch dressing

WEDNESDAY:  cheese pizza

THURSDAY:  meatloaf & roasted potatoes

FRIDAY:  broccoli & beef OVER rice

SATURDAY:  shrimp and pea pasta w/ a fresh herb dressing & spinach salad (you have to try this salad!)

SUNDAY:  going out to eat!

H E R E    A R E    T H E    R E C I P E S !

MONDAY - I haven't cooked this chicken recipe before, but it looks so good.  I found the recipe on line.  I have cooked this asparagus recipe before and it's AWESOME!

Here is the link to the chicken recipe.

Asparagus:  One pound of asparagus trimmed and tossed with 2 tablespoons of olive oil and salt and pepper.  Bake at 400 degrees for 25 minutes.  Enjoy!

TUESDAY - Pasta with pesto sauce and chopped up veggies with ranch for dipping.

I like to make my own pasta sauce.  It's so easy and I can doctor it up with tons of extra veggies.  Ina Garten has a great pesto recipe  You can add shredded zucchini and chopped spinach to the food processor to add some extra veggies and still have great flavor.

WEDNESDAY - It's date night for us, so the kiddos will be enjoying frozen cheese pizza for dinner.    :)


THURSDAY - meatloaf & roasted potatoes

Meatloaf - This a great recipe that has evolved over time.  My husband doesn't care for meatloaf, but when I made this years ago he loved it.  Give it a try!

  • 1 1/2 - 2 pounds of ground beef or sirloin
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 4 cups spinach, chopped very small
  • 1 cup flat leaf parsley, chopped
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat bread crumbs or panko
  • 2 tablespoons dijon
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 - 1/2 cup of ketchup
  1. Heat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Mix all the ingredients (except for the ketchup) together in a large bowl.
  3. On a broil pan, form a 10 inch loaf with your meat mixture.
  4. Spread ketchup on top of loaf.
  5. Bake for 45 - 50 minutes.


  • 1 pound mini red potatoes, sliced in half
  • 3 tablespoons oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoons pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  1. Heat oven to 450 degrees
  2. Mix oil and spices together.
  3. In a large bowl combine potatoes and oil mixture and mix.
  4. Place potatoes on a cookie sheet, flat size down.
  5. Bake 30 minutes, check after 20 minutes.

FRIDAY - broccoli & beef served over rice serve over rice

SATURDAY - both these recipes are AWESOME!

Pasta recipe (I just use any type of pasta) -

Salad recipe -


Have a great week everyone!