Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Workout Wednesday: 90-day Slimdown Postponed

Tummy bug + migraine = no Workout Wednesday

Once my system is clear, I'll head out for a long walk, maybe a short run.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Tackle-It Tuesday: Paint Supplies

We've been updating the kids rooms over the past few months, which means painting projects both large and small.  Our paint supplies, however, were a mess.  The garage (which is also a mess) has become the dumping ground for everything we're too lazy to find a home for.  And with only one shelf unit, nothing is organized.  I'm going to tackle the entire garage at some point this fall.  For now, I'm just trying to get all the paint supplies in one place!

First, I went through the entire garage and pulled all of our supplies together.  See what I mean?  We've bought rollers and painters tape multiple times, simply because we couldn't find it.  Big waste of $$$ and time.

Next, I pulled an empty storage bin from the basement.  Putting like items together, I was able to fit all our supplies (even the drop cloths!) into the bin,

which fits nicely onto the shelf.  Now when we start a painting job, all we have to do is grab the bin and get started :D

All in all, this project took me maybe 10 minutes. What was I waiting for?!

Next week I'm putting the finishing touches on a chalkboard for our daughter's room.  Stay tuned!

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Menu Plan Monday (10/14)

Even though this is a short week, it is CRAZY busy.  Sports practices + business trips + meetings = lots of love for the crock pot and go-to easy favorites :) 

Monday - Spaghetti with Chicken Meatballs

Tuesday - Slow Cooker White Bean Soup

Wednesday - "Bangers and Mash" (aka Aidell's Turkey/Apple sausage links over Mashed Potatoes)

Thursday - Taco Chicken Bowls

Friday - Leftovers and/or Freezer Pick

Saturday - Chili

Sunday - Crock Pot Baked Potato Bar

Chili -  My chili recipe could not be easier.

1 lb ground turkey
medium onion diced
large green pepper diced
2 cans diced tomatoes (no salt added)
2 cans pinto beans
1 pkg Carol Shelby's chili mix

Saute the turkey, onion and green pepper until brown.  Add all other ingredients plus 1 cup water.  Simmer as long as you like.

Some people make their own chili mix (and that is great!) but I find the Carol Shelby mix to be flavorful, inexpensive and quick.  Which is exactly what I need on weeks like this one!

At least once a month (usually when the hubs is on a business trip), we do a leftover/freezer pick night to clean out the fridge and use up what we have. The kids like getting to pick their own dinner (there aren't really any rules on freezer pick night) and I like using up things that would normally go to waste. Win-win!

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Thirsty Thursday

Wednesday is "date night" at our house.  With our crazy schedules and non-unlimited budget, it is more often that not a "date night in".  We put the kiddos to bed and enjoy drinks and tasty take-out. My sweet husband likes to play bartender.  Last night he created this little beauty. 

A twist on the Tom Collins, it is sweet and sour with a hint of spice that makes me think of fall.  Even my creepy raven looks like he want a sip. 

To make one of your own, mix together:

2 oz gin
1/2 oz fresh lemon juice
1 tbsp apricot preserves
2 dashes angostura bitters

Shake and strain into a collins glass filled with ice.  Top with tonic and a lemon slice.  Enjoy!

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Workout Wednesday

Back in March I started a 90-day slimdown plan.  I really liked it and was cruising along...until I dropped a weight on my foot and broke my toe.  Not fun.  Also not an excuse for taking 7 months off before getting back into the workout routine.  So next week I'll be climbing back on the workout wagon and starting the 90-day slimdown plan - from square one - again. 

It's not quitting if you keep trying, right?

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Tackle-It Tuesday: Halloween Decorating

I love Halloween!  It is one of my favorite holidays, during my favorite season, and it kicks off all the wonderful holidays to come in November and December.  As soon as October hits, I pull out my box of Halloween decorations and sprinkle a little Halloween love all around the house.

We don't really do too much on the front porch - no scary spiders or ghouls.  Friends host a Halloween party every year, so we trick-or-treat in another neighborhood.  And our house is deep in the neighborhood, on a cul-de-sac, so we don't get many trick-or-treaters.  Our October wreath is one I made a few years ago.

It's very basic - just a grapevine wreath spray-painted black with webs attached.  A few spider rings and we're good to go.  My bow is looking a wee bit sad this year.  Probably need to upgrade to something fuller.

Inside the house, we have a few items sprinkled about. 

Some vintage decorations, a cute plate I found at Home Goods and a pumpkin jar full of dried black beans with spooky eyes peeking out.  I use black beans in my hurricane vases too.  Cheap, easy and reusable.

**Please excuse the horrible photography - bad camera, even worse camera operator.

The kids have a Halloween tree that they decorate (like an Easter tree, but with ghosts and ghouls).  We'll add pumpkins to the hearth and porch over the next few weeks.  Here in the south, it's not wise to get your pumpkins too early.  They rot in the heat.  Spooky - but gross.

All these little touches signal that the Halloween season is here, but don't take too much time to pull out or put away when November 1st rolls around.  That makes the transition to Thanksgiving easy!

Monday, October 7, 2013

Menu Plan Monday

I know, menu planning is a chore.  But that 20 minutes of planning makes the weeknights go smoother and saves you money.  It's worth it - trust me.

Monday - Mar-A-Lago burgers with Sweet Potato Fries
Tuesday - Pasta with Meat Sauce
Wednesday - Caribbean Chicken with Rice and Veggies
Thursday - Sausage, Sweet Potato and Kale Stew
Friday - Date Night In
Saturday - Roasted Salmon with Wild Rice and Veggies
Sunday - Grilled Flat Iron Steak with Mashed Potatoes and Veggies

Mar-A-Lago Burgers - The recipe calls for 8 oz burgers (huge!) and a ton of salt -  I make much smaller burgers and use almost no salt. 

Pasta with Meat Sauce - this is a go-to favorite.  It comes together quickly and just gets better the longer you cook it.  Depending on my schedule, I've been known to start it at 10 am and let it simmer all day.  Yummy!  I make mine with turkey, but beef works just as well.  Just make sure to skim off any extra fat before adding the tomatoes.

1 lb ground turkey
2-3 links turkey italian sausage  removed from casing (hot or sweet)
medium onion, diced
4 garlic cloves, diced
28 oz diced tomatoes (no salt added)
6 oz can tomato paste
1 tbsp brown sugar
1 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp oregano
1/4 tsp thyme
1 bay leaf

Brown meat, onion and garlic.  Add all other ingredients, plus 1-2 cups water.  Simmer 1-2 hrs.  Serve over your favorite pasta with parmesan cheese and garlic bread.

Caribbean Chicken - Years ago, we had one of those "freezer meal" stores where you can put together 4-5 meals at a time.  This recipe was one of my favorites.  When the owner told me they were closing, I made sure to note the recipe and I've been using it ever since.  It is great for batch freezer cooking - especially when bone-in chicken goes on sale!

Whole Chicken (cut into pieces)
Lemon wedge
Orange wedge
1/2 cup orange juice
1/4 cup lime juice
1/4 tsp red pepper flake
2 tbsp olive oil
2-3 scallions, chopped
medium onion, diced
3-4 garlic cloves, diced
large handful cilantro, diced
salt and pepper, to taste

Dump all ingredients in a large ziploc bag and marinate 4-6 hours (or freeze).  Dump into large baking dish and bake at 400' for 1 hr.  Serve with rice and a green salad.

Links to all other recipes are provided above.