Tired of the Weeknight Dinner Rotation?

It’s warming up. There are thunderstorms and new puppies and kids counting down days until summer break.  It’s the “I’m tired”, unmotivated, “are we there yet?” time of year.

I’ve been in that sleepy, tired, this again tread for a while. It’s so hard to be conscientious when being lazy is soooo much easier. It’s so hard to eat wholesome when processed is so much more convenient. Then I will find some new stuff to try, and it pulls me from the rut. Here’s a few recipes to mix up the monotony and bring a life back to the weekly dinner rotation.

Grilled Hamburgers with Faux Fried Okra

Not feeling the grill, but longing for summer BBQs?
Oven Baked BBQ Chicken with Squash Casserole
Oven bake some chicken at 375 until done, but before it’s done, slather on your favorite BBQ sauce. Add yummy squash casserole, and dinner bakes while you play! I butterflied chicken breasts so everything cooked at the same temperature for the same amount of time.

Sick of the piles of dishes? No one will ever guess this meal comes from dirtying just one pot.
Pasta Wonderpot – This recipe from Martha Stewart Living is a shoe-in for a permanent spot in my recipe box. Sooooo simple, such good flavor. I added subbed out some of the water for 1/4 cup of white wine and 2 cups of low-sodium chicken broth. I recommend using half of the onion. A whole one was a bit much.

I sautéed chicken cutlets to serve over the pasta, but I could see dropping in some Italian sausage or mushrooms to cook right in the pot with everything else.

Try these super easy lettuce wraps from The Complete Savorist.  They are quick, yummy, and I added some sautéed coleslaw mix and shredded carrot for an extra healthy punch. When you must get out of the kitchen, meet some friends for some Asian diner food. Take the kids and embrace the chaos. Everyone needs a break sometimes (& some other adults to talk with)!

Worn plum out?
About thirteen years ago, I was a consultant for Pampered Chef. Every once in a while when I’m dead on my feet, I wake up in front of the prepared crescent dough and find myself serving Chicken and Broccoli Braid or Taco Ring for dinner.

Looking at an overstuffed schedule? Cook one night, and have leftovers to eat on the rest of the week!
Tex-Mex
Teriyaki
Mediterranean

Try taking time over the weekend and prep ahead some crock pot meals. Start them in the morning when you are READY-to-GO! and they will be smelling great and ready to serve by the time mom runs out of gas. I’m currently obsessed with trying all the ideas over at New Leaf Wellness.

Still feeling blue?
Meet some friends for to meet you for some Asian diner food or Sunday brunch. Everyone needs a break sometimes!

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Raising kids of a different generation

Every day we are reminded how different life for our kids is compared to our childhood and especially that of our parents and grandparents. Sometimes it’s little things that dawn on me our kids will never do.

Other times its things I never even thought about as a child. Last year, the announcement of the end of elephants in the circus.
Today, Seaworld is ending their Orca/killer whale breeding programs and theatrical shows. Some say the changes currently effecting our society are positive, others argue they are negative.

I say either side is witness to what will be a huge generation gap. The current global climate creates even more reasons to seek out shared experiences with our children. It necessitates invested parenting and intentional decisions.

A letter to my daughter on running and love

My sweet baby girl,

It is my hope that one day (a long time from now), a man will sit across from you with a beautiful ring, and ask you to be his wife.  Sweetheart, please do me a favor.  Stare into his eyes for a few moments and imagine yourself running a marathon with this man.

Will he push you to be a better version of yourself?  Help you up if you slip and fall down?  Think to carry enough water to share if you run short?  Will you laugh together along the route?  Is he strong enough to take the lead if you lose your way?

In young love, it can be hard to see the whole race.  The wall when you run short on energy, the hills, the curves, and the sore muscles.  It’s fun to admire the diamond as it twinkles in the sun, select the wedding dress of your childhood dreams, plan the parties, and open the gifts at the shower. I know it’s even harder to imagine, but one day that lovely dress may not fit.  Will he still think the girl is as beautiful as today?  The ring may not slide over your knuckle after that second baby, will he still honor the promises it represents?  Your little boy may break your beautiful porcelain making invisible ink, the spoons will accidentally get tossed with the trash, and the little apartment you are planning to decorate will become a distant memory.  Will you both grow together and work to keep similar interests?  You will lose loved ones, watch your children grow and leave home, change jobs, homes, maybe even states.  You will change until some days you don’t quite recognize yourself.  Will he still find time to surprise you, make you feel precious and special?  Will your goals and achievements become his?  Will his ambitions become yours?

Outlast the shower gifts, look forward to life together after the children are grown, build something together, and be the kind of running partner you would want by your side.  Sometimes love isn’t dressing up and going to a fancy restaurant.  Sometimes it’s circling the park on a bike while pulling the kids in a trailer, so he can check on you while you train for a goal of yours.  It’s standing on the side of the road with signs cheering you to finish your race.  Remember my precious one – the most important part – he’s running the race too, so support him.  Cheer for him, inspire him, honor your promises to him and make him feel cherished.

That’s what marriage is.  A marathon.  Others will line up to cheer you on and there may even be a few wise coaches to seek advice from.  In the end, you are running a marathon with this man.  God willing, as you near the finish line, you will still have each other –  along with amazing memories of the journey.

I ran my first half marathon yesterday.  Not everyone understood my goal, or the commitment it took from my family to achieve it.  Man rocked it.  He was all in on the “mom support team” from day one.  He was there on the long runs every weekend, at the finish line to catch a pic of me crossing, and all the little hills in between.  I’m so grateful to him for being my main supporter.  He made a fuss and celebrated my goal with the same enthusiasm he would celebrate one of his own.  He’s the best kind of running buddy a girl could ask for. 

So I’m in to salad lately…

I’ve been training for a half marathon. It’s been in the high seventies in Texas. It feels like spring, so I’ve been into salads. Lovely colorful salads. And running in the sunshine….aaaaaahhhh. I do love Texas.

 Pecan Crusted Chicken Berry Salad

Sally’s Baking Addiction’s pecan crusted chicken. (Totally worth the effort to make a big batch) layered on organic mixed baby greens, honey goat cheese, atrawberries, blackberries, avocados. Balsamic drizzle. 

Oh my, craveable.

Steak & Quinoa Salad

Butter lettuce
pecans, dried cranberries, chopped apples, avocado, red quinoa, grilled steak. 

Yummy, simple, and kid approved!

Could Not Be Easier Chicken Salad

Shredded chicken breast, juice of one lime, small handful cilantro, one ripe avocado, few dashes of Pickapeppa sauce on a bed of sweet kale greens.

Delicious and guilt-free!

The mom pregame

In college, the term pregaming was thrown around before every sorority formal or Thursday bar night. Im a featherweight drinker, so this always seemed a bit ridiculous to me. Any who. Man had a boys’ night out awhile back and there it was again. “we were getting in a little pregame at So-in-So’s house”….flashback 15 years…Pregaming. 

Then, a few days later, I had a moms’ free for dinner night out with one of my friends. We started the night at Target. We visited, roamed the departments and enjoyed the quiet. Then we remembered, “why are we standing in Target talking, we can talk more at dinner”! It was fabulous.

This all got me to thinking…the mom pregame: Target alone, with a friend.

Love this: The 4 types of Mom’s You See at Target by Love and Marriage Blog

So I went in for groceries

Sometimes grocery shopping is a beating.
Sometimes I give up and give the Baby Girl my phone and the boys my Kindle so I can actually go to the store and think while I shop.
Sometimes I make a menu and grocery list. Rarely do I actually stick to it.
Which brings me to today.
I ran to the store to grab some food for this weekend.

Menu
Southwest Egg Bake
Grilled Pork Chops and Green Vegetable
Roasted Chicken with salad greens
Venison

New Menu
Southwest Egg Bake – which I STILL haven’t made
Homemade Supreme Pizza with Italian Sausage, uncured pepperoni, bell pepper, green olives, and sliced mushrooms and Easy Chocolate Truffles
Grilled Porterhouse Pork Chops with Beurre Blanc, a sauté of Broccoli Crowns and Green Beans & Heart Shaped Strawberries drizzled with milk chocolate (who has time to dip a bunch of strawberries)
Chipotle Lime Marinated Chicken Breasts for easy toquitos and to mix with salad greens for a quick lunch
Taco Ring – one of Man’s favorites from Pampered Chef

And that’s how my grocery trips go.
80% of the time.
How about you?
Stick to the list?
How do you entertain the kids while you try to shop?

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