Monday, February 22, 2016

Do You Have Any More of That Green Stuff?

That's what the Reedster asked me at breakfast this morning.  And my visions of sitting at the lunch table with a good book and a huge bowl of soup withered away.  Being a Mama equals sharing your food.  Even the green stuff.

I've been getting back to a Whole30/Paleoish diet because honestly I am struggling big time with my weight.  I weigh forty pounds more than I did when we got married and although every single pound is worth it because I have the three most precious children that ever lived, it still stinks.  I'm literally self conscious to go to the gym.

But.  I bought some new workout clothes, did a 3 day cleanse and I feel like I am back on track.  I'm tracking my calories in My Fitness Pal, drinking more water and feeling hopeful.  

This soup makes me hopeful.  Real food tastes real good my friends.  

Make this today.  Seriously.  And I would double it because your 3 year old is going to want to eat the green stuff too.

That Green Stuff Soup

1 Tbsp olive oil
1 onion, chopped
2 garlic clothes, minced
1 lb asparagus, chopped
2 cups packed fresh spinach
1/2 cup fresh parsley, chipped
1 scallion, chopped
1 avocado
2 Tbsp lemon juice (fresh is best but use what you have!)
11/2 tsp sea salt
black pepper to taste
2 cups chicken broth

In a large pot saute your chopped onions and garlic in olive oil.  Add the asparagus, spinach and scallion. Saute until they are soft.  

Meanwhile in the blender add the chopped parsley (must be fresh!!), lemon juice, avocado, chicken broth, sea salt and pepper.  

Once you've finished your veggies turn off the heat and transfer to the blender.  Close your blender and here is the most important step.  Grab a dishtowel and cover your blender!!!!  Otherwise when you blend that hot liquid will spew up everywhere.  Trust me on this one!

Transfer back to pot and heat.  Serve.

The original recipe called for an avocado crema on top but honestly I don't think you need it.  I topped my first bowl with a little bit of goal cheese and crispy prosciutto.  But honestly?  it didn't need it.  It was so darn good without!  If you don't have prosciutto and want a little something you could top with bacon crumbles.  The goat cheese was a good pairing but again not necessary.

The soup was thicker so I think it would also make a great sauce for chicken, fish or rice.  It's such a great way to get veggies in!!  Plus it is SO healthy!!!

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Spark Joy

Spark Joy, the latest by Marie Kondo, has certainly sparked me to action!  Her second book goes into fantastic detail (complete with illustrations) on how you can "konmari" your house and spark joy in the process!

Kondo focuses on each step of her 5 step process and give the reader a visual guide so you can fold, organize and toss like a pro!

I LOVED this book.  I struggle with organization and with attachment to things.  It is often hard for me to get rid of something because I can remember where I was wearing it, or who gave it to me.  Kondo gives practical tips for helping you decide what to hold on to and what to get rid of.  I started with my clothes and will now move on to my books!

If you are looking for a way to gain control over things and mess and stuff....this book is for you!!

Friday, February 5, 2016

Do You Blue Apron?

I've been seeing lots of home meal delivery options pop up all over the internet.  So when a girl in a Mom's group posted about trying one out for free I jumped at the opportunity!  It's no secret that I've been in a major cooking rut for a while.  I hoped this would jumpstart my desire to get in the kitchen again and even give me some new recipe ideas.

We got our box last Friday while I was out of town.  I was impressed with the way it was packaged.  The ingredients were labeled well which is important if you don't cook a lot.  Everything was still very fresh (I opened it on Sunday evening to look at it) and appeared to be good quality.

I made our first meal on Monday evening.  I had a horrible migraine and honestly on a regular night we might have ended up eating PB&J or macaroni.  But the ingredients were pre portioned so I set out to make the first dish!

The first dish was Beef Grinders with Potato Wedges.  I added a couple extra potatoes to make sure we had enough to share with the boys.  The grinders were super easy.  Chop & onion and mushrooms.  Saute with the beef.  Then make a quick cheese sauce!

The food was good.  It wasn't the best I've ever had, but I would make it again.  I do think the directions could be hard for someone who hasn't cooked before.  Occasionally it would tell you to "season" the meat or the sauce.  And if you aren't familiar with salt you could WAY overseason or under-season.

The portion sizes were large and we definitely could have had enough to make small sandwiches for each of the boys as well.

The second meal was probably our least favorite.  It was a Chicken Pot Pie.  Instead of pie crust it had buttermilk drop biscuits on top.  It had carrots, turnips, celery & chicken.  Honestly it was just ok.  I make a fabulous chicken pot pie so my expectations were high.  It didn't taste bad, but it wasn't anything I would ever make again.

Apparently the third time is a charm.  Because this Shrimp & Pineapple Jasmine Rice was to die for.  It was so easy and I could have eaten about 14 bowls.  I guess it's good that it was pre portioned or I just might have!!

The rice bowl had garlic rice, pineapple, shrimp, carrots, scallions and cashews.  It was flavored with lime, soy and an Indonesian chile sauce called sambal oelek.  I'll share this recipe because it is one that I'll definitely make again!

Shrimp & Pineapple Fried Rice
10 oz shrimp
1/2 cup Jasmine Rice
1 Carrot
4 Oz cubed pineapple
2 cloves garlic
2 scallions (chopped)
1 lime
2 T Soy Sauce
2 T Cashews
2 Tsp Sambal Oelek

Peel and mince the garlic.  I use a easy!  Chop the pineapple, scallions and carrot.  Roughly chop the cashews.

Heat 2 tsp of oil.  Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute.  Add the rice, a pinch of salt and a cup and a half of water.  Boil, cover and reduce the heat to low.  Simmer for 11-13 minutes.  Remove from heat and stir in 2 tsps of lime zest.

Toast the cashews and remove from the pan.

Heat another 2 tsps of oil and cook the carrot and scallions.  Add the shrimp, pineapple and saute until the shrimp is pink.  Add the garlic-lime rice, soy sauce, cashews, the juice of two lime wedges and as much of the sambal oelek as you like.  I suggest adding just a small amount first and then tasting.  It's definitely a hot pepper!

Stir until thoroughly combine and heated through.  season with salt and pepper to taste.  Garnish with the green tops of scallions and lime wedges.


The produce we received was beautiful!

We're trying one more week of Blue Apron because honestly I forgot to cancel.  I'm excited to taste a couple more recipes and I think the service ultimately is great!  I don't think it is worth ordering each week (it's $60 per week for 3 meals that serve 2 people) but I would totally use it on a week that I knew we were going to be super busy.  It would also be a great way to send meals to someone!  You can cancel meals as often as you like (like Amazon Subscribe and Save).  I didn't get a reminder email this week to update my choices so I definitely would like to see that feature.  Overall if you are busy or a budding cook, I would definitely give the service a try!

Don't forget to check out Mica's recipe of the week!! 

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Insanity at IKEA

Remember that time you thought it would be a good idea to go to IKEA by yourself with all three kids, at lunchtime, without a stroller?

Yeah me neither.   Because why would anyone ever think that was a good idea??

It all started when I took all three kids to the dentist this morning.  They did such a great job.  I did have to hold Kelsey while the dentist examined her, but the boys did fabulously.  Reed wore sunglasses the whole time and Stafford made sure to tell the dentist that he forgot to brush this morning.  Overall though, the visit was a win.  And I got cocky.

So we set off to STL to return a coat to the Carters store.  I took Kelsey in the stroller and promised the boys a trip to Trader Joe's if they were on their best behavior.  Reed spent his time picking out fedoras and necklaces for Kelsey and Stafford spent his time trying to make Kelsey behave.  It wasn't the best of visits but it wasn't the worst.  

We returned to the car and I realized we had two shirts in the stroller that we hadn't purchased.  So we got everyone out of the car again and went back to the store.  Once we were back inside Reed revealed a set of hairbows he had conveniently placed into the stroller pocket for Kelsey.  So thankfully we managed to escape without shoplifting anything.

We made it in and out of Trader Joe's easily and the boys had fun pushing their own carts.  And that's when I got the bright idea to stop by IKEA on the way home.

I hadn't packed a lunch and I really wanted to pick up some plastic dinnerware that we never seem to have enough of.  So we pulled into the parking lot (that Stafford interestingly referred to as "nice and cozy") and got out of the car.  It's not like this is the first time that I've taken all three kids to a store.
In fact, I actually take them shopping pretty often.  But IKEA.  I was not prepared for IKEA.

As soon as we walked in the kids were enthralled by the large TV screen.  And if I had been smart I would have dropped them off at childcare.  But I knew they needed to eat so we headed up the escalator.

The cafeteria at this IKEA is beautiful with big picture windows and a special kid section.  We made our way to the line and as I was telling the servers what we'd like Kelsey makes a beeline for the stairs as fast as she can.  With one shoe on.  I instruct the boys to wait by our tray and I literally RUN after her.  I managed to pay and get us all to a table in the kids section.  

The boys and I start to eat and I tried to feed Kelsey.  She managed to get a little food on her face so I asked Stafford to get napkins.  He was gone a LONG time.  (In his defense when I finally got up to look for them I couldn't find them either).  He returns finally with THREE BOTTLES OF WATER that we clearly hadn't paid for.  And by this time Reed had followed him and had one of his own.  I jumped out of my seat (which was practically on the floor since there were no adult size tables left in the kid section) and told the boys that the needed to put the water back.  I turn around and there is Kelsey, walking away from the table with an ENTIRE piece of chocolate cake in her hands.  Oh my word.  I look up and every single lady at every single table is laughing in a "oh my word I am SO glad I am not that Mom" kind of way.  Thankfully one of them was nice enough to give me some wipes because not only did I not bring a stroller but I came in without my purse as well.  

Kelsey was so proud of herself.  One of her favorite words is "cake" and she went right for it.  She then proceeded to try to eat all of the macaroni and cheese from a fellow shoppers plate.  This little girl wasn't into sharing her lunch (who would blame her) and I managed to finally wrangle Kelsey back to our table.  

We finished up rather rapidly and headed to the bathroom to clean up.  Thankfully the rest of our visit was without much drama.  We spent our seven dollars and hightailed it out of there!

So lesson learned.  Just because you can make it through the dentist or the DMV or the commissary does NOT mean you should take your kids to eat at IKEA!


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