7 February 2017
Hi, friends! Thank you SO much to everyone who has taken my 2017 survey! I have loved hearing from more than 140 of you so far. The polls are open until Friday (when I’ll draw the $50 gift card winner!), so go leave your feedback here if you haven’t already. Looking forward to sharing some of the results, too!
In the meantime, I thought it would be fun to share what we ate in January. It can be hard to get inspired to cook in the winter, when it’s cold and produce is a little lame, so I’m supplying you with 31 options :) A few notes:
— I’ve linked to recipes where I have them, which is most places – we are not the type of cooks who can just throw things together in the kitchen!!
— I’ve marked with an asterisk any recipe we were making for the first time.
Photo from Design Mom
Sunday, January 1: homemade ramen (John uses only the ramen noodles from the $.20 packets and adds frozen peas, soy sauce, an egg, cashews, etc.)
Monday, January 2: roasted butternut squash soup, salad, and baguette (Whole30 people, I’m pretty sure this is approved, and it is delicious and so easy!!)*
Tuesday, January 3: burrito bowls (we do quinoa rice, pinto and black beans, sauteed green bell peppers and onions, canned diced green chiles, salsa, and Greek yogurt)
Wednesday, January 4: kielbasa, crispy smashed potatoes with avocado aioli, and salad
Thursday, January 5: chana masala, rice, and naan
Friday, January 6: three pepper pizza and salad (we use Whole Foods dough (in the refrigerated/prepared foods section), jarred sauce, Monterey Jack cheese, and chopped up red bell pepper, poblano pepper, pepperoncinis, and red onion)
Saturday, January 7: lasagna, salad, and garlic bread (the absolute BEST lasagna, in my opinion!)
Sunday, January 8: easy chicken pot pie*
Monday, January 9: leftovers
Tuesday, January 10: leftovers
Wednesday, January 11: chili mac and cheese*
Thursday, January 12: BBQ takeout
Friday, January 13: three pepper pizza and salad
Saturday, January 14: kale sausage chick pea pasta (this is a recipe from our friends the Henrys that has become a staple in our house. I may share it in a separate post sometime because it is delicious!)
Sunday, January 15: sheet pan tenderloin and roasted veggies*
Monday, January 16: taco soup
Tuesday, January 17: Articles Club! Homemade ramen for John
Wednesday, January 18: leftovers
Thursday, January 19: butter chicken, rice, and naan
Friday, January 20: Chick-fil-a :)
Saturday, January 21: veggie burgers and frozen sweet potato fries
Sunday, January 22: zucchini meatballs, Marcella Hazan’s tomato sauce, spaghetti, and salad
Monday, January 23: Chipotle (we had meetings at church)
Tuesday, January 24: quesadillas on the grill (we do pinto beans and sauteed peppers and onions)
Wednesday, January 25: pork lettuce wraps
Thursday, January 26: farfalle with pancetta and peas
Friday, January 27: buffalo chicken pizza (we do Whole Foods dough, frozen buffalo chicken, chopped red onion, shredded cheese, and Whole Foods 365 blue cheese sauce) and Asian charred broccoli
Saturday, January 28: Chinese takeout for Lunar New Year!
Sunday, January 29: chicken noodle soup
Monday, January 30: chickpea shawarma pitas
Tuesday, January 31: chicken and broccoli stir fry
If this was helpful, I’d love to do posts for other seasons, since our go-to meals change a lot with the weather! Let me know what you think, and I’d also love to hear if you have a favorite recipe for the winter!
P.S. I wrote a post a few years ago about how we meal plan – considering writing a follow-up since our process has changed a bit!
14 December 2016
I’ve been following along with Victoria’s fun Christmas link-up, and wanted to pop in today to share a few of my favorite Christmas recipes! Though out of the five I’m going to share, all but one is a dessert, or almost a dessert… I promise I do eat real food in December :)
I’ll move from the oldest holiday favorite to the most recent addition, which means starting with peanut butter balls. Possibly the most homely of treats, but my Mom’s are legendary. So much so, that I can’t give you the recipe :) When my sisters and I were in high school, she would make dozens and dozens and dozens to give to friends, family, teachers, mailmen, coworkers, Coast Guard cadets, and anyone else who stopped by and looked hungry. She even made 300 (!!) for our wedding, making batches over the course of a few weeks and freezing them until the big day. Moms are the best.
Every Christmas morning we eat monkey bread – ooey, gooey, possibly slightly raw, always delicious. Here’s our version – no fancy caramel sauce or raisins need apply. Cut four cans of biscuits in quarters. Mix cinnamon and sugar. Shake biscuit quarters in cinnamon sugar. Arrange in a 13×9 pan (better than a bundt pan – helps it to cook more evenly!). Melt some (?) butter and pour over the top. Bake at 350 for 20 minutes.
John’s Mom started making chewy chocolate-gingerbread cookies back in high school, and I was immediately hooked (as was the rest of his family). They’ve since become a staple of the holidays, and were also served at our wedding! Bonus: they freeze well, so we usually get to take a container home with us whenever we visit :)
The year we got married, I started making this toffee recipe and handing out the goods to our garbage men, mail lady, post office peeps, oil change guys, etc. – maybe my version of PB balls. June’s teachers have been added to the list this year! It really is delicious, and easy – just follow the peanut butter trick.
Finally, for the last few years, Jenny’s beef ragu has been the centerpiece of all sorts of special occasions, including Christmas dinner 2015 when we hosted John’s family. Aside from being deeeeeelicious, it makes your house smell marvelous.
I would love to hear: what are your favorite Christmas foods? (Almost) all sweets like me, or something more substantial? :)
Linking up with Victoria and Sarah!
Photos from their sources except for monkey bread and ginger cookies (photo by Tanja Lippert from our reception)
26 September 2016
Last week, I made apple cider scones and brought them into school for June’s teachers on the first day of fall. The scones were really delicious, if I do say so myself, and her teachers were really touched by them!
It was a really good reminder for me. Sometimes I see things on Instagram or a blog and think, I could never have time to do that. I wonder if anyone thought the same thing when I posted on Thursday. But the truth is, from start to finish, the whole project took about an hour. I bought the ingredients with the rest of our groceries, I made the scones after June went to bed, and it took just a few minutes to find my white paint pen and draw the designs on the kraft paper bags. If I had bought a treat instead of making it, my time would have been down to about ten minutes. (BTW, store-bought treats are totally legit – no shame here!)
And you know the best part? The scones were delicious, but it was hands-down the personalized bags. The teachers were so wowed and clearly touched by them. I’m not saying that to toot my own horn (ha!), but because it’s a lesson I learned right after we had June. Lots of people brought us food, and we were grateful for ALL of it. But one friend went above and beyond in terms of presentation — she wrapped the Rice Krispees treats in parchment paper and twine, she poured the blueberries into a mason jar, the chicken salad and rolls were in a kraft paper box, and she even added a bottle of sparkling cider. I was blown away!
I have brought food to lots of people over the years, but it had honestly never occurred to me to do anything special with the presentation (and good presentation is practically what I do for a living!!). No more. My friend’s extra touches made me feel so taken care of and thought of and loved that ever since, I’ve tried to add a little beauty just because whenever I can.
The easiest way to do this? Make it easy! Keep simple supplies on hand, like ribbon, glassine bags, washi tape, fun pens, and kraft paper boxes. It sounds obvious, but once you have a collection, it only takes a few more minutes to make something pretty. I got a lot of mine from Jenny Hobick’s store (and it’s only appropriate that my scone recipe was from her, too, because she is the poster child for elevating everyday occasions! Lots of inspiration on her blog.).
Go forth and make things beautiful, friends! You are guaranteed to make someone’s day in the process :)
22 February 2016
I don’t know about you, but there are several types of recipes I tend to pin over and over: quick and healthy Mexican dishes, things with sweet potatoes, delicious-sounding soups, and yes, skillet chocolate chip cookies. Until a few weeks ago, banana bread (one of my favorite things!) was also in this category, but not anymore! I’ve found what I think is the perfect recipe, and I’m done looking.
Here it is (her photo above!). The recipe comes together easily, and, thanks to the addition of sour cream, is ridiculously moist. I make it just as the author suggests, except I replace one 1/2 cup of white flour with whole wheat flour, and add a handful of mini chocolate chips :) If you’re an banana bread fan and are still looking for a end all-be all recipe, I nominate this one!
Tell me: is there a food/meal/item which has you constantly on the hunt for its holy grail recipe/version?