Meal Plan Monday #2

Welcome to the second installment of Meal Plan Monday. Just like last week, the post is sprinkled with photos from the weekend, which I’ll briefly recap first.

Ethan and I met Sara and Erin at a pumpkin patch on Friday. All the little cuties were so darling!

car   punkin

Sadly there wasn’t much time to chat since one toddler wanted to play with the water toys, and another wanted to play in the sand box. Ethan wasn’t content to be any one place in particular but rather pushing this little car around the entire farm.

ethanMore fall fun ensued on Saturday. Kevin and I brought E to Windy Hill Apple Orchard and Cider Mill for their annual fall harvest festival. It was fun, but we had to leave just as our other friends were arriving. Nap attack!

pigsThe hard cider was pretty good. Kevin and I split a flight, but we both preferred the basic cider or slightly hopped cider, as opposed to the fruity ones, such as pomegranate and strawberry.

ciderOkay, so onto the meal plan…

  • Sunday: baked salmon, asparagus, and quinoa
  • Monday: slow cooker apple butternut squash and chicken (because I need to photograph it this time – turns out it was totally recipe worthy!)
  • Tuesday: roast pork loin, Brussels sprouts, and roast potato
  • Wednesday: taco chicken rice bowls with pepper, onion, beans, and salsa
  • Thursday: not sure, perhaps homemade pizzas or something quick from TJs
  • Friday: out!
  • Saturday: depends on Thursday’s TJ’s haul (maybe pumpkin chili)

Thurs-Sat is a little up in the air because Kevin is out of town. No, no, no. If you’re a creep, don’t come stalk me thinking I’m all alone. I’ll have family in town to keep me company. (which is why you see so many dinners out and easy meals)

ethanAs for the other meals… (plus unmentioned snacks, desserts, or whatever Ethan doesn’t finish that I usually devour)

  • Breakfast: eggs, bell pepper, and maybe toast
  • Lunch: chicken chili meatloaf muffins with steamed broccoli
  • Snack: apple and pb or cheese

Yup, that pretty much sums it up! If you’re looking for more meal ideas, check out Meal Plan Monday #1 or my previous WIAW posts.

  • What’s on your meal plan this week?
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Friday Five!

How about a handy-dandy “Friday Five” post? I feel like I’ve got a million things rattling around in this head of mine, so I’m going to try and narrow it down to five share-worthy things.

1. Halloween candy. Why did I have to buy my favorite candy for the trick or treaters? Why didn’t I just get them Jolly Ranchers, Smarties, or something else that wouldn’t tempt me? Anywho, so I finally dug into 2 Reese’s cups that were supposed to be for trick or treaters and I kinda felt like this.

elf gif

Just me n’ my Reese’s cups

2. Treat Yo’self. I had a wee bit of food guilt about the candy, but I got over it by reminding myself that as a SAHM I’m missing out on all the work treats I used to enjoy. You know, the Friday bagels, birthday cupcakes, or whatever the heck else someone left in the break room.

running gif

When someone tells me there’s food in the break room

3. Blogger Food. I need this chocolate pie. It’s made with beer. It has chocolate. ‘Nuff said. I also need this slow cooker chicken tikka masala. Who wants to come cook for me?

4. This Pampers commercial from Japan. Watch it, but don’t forget a tissue!

5. Fall Fun! A couple other mom bloggers and I are headed to a pumpkin patch with the little ones this morning, and I’m meeting some non-mom friends at an apple orchard tomorrow. Such fun! Perhaps I’ll be inspired to make an apple crisp or more pumpkin bread.

pumpkins

  • What are you getting into this weekend?
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Mama’s Thinking Out Loud

It’s time for a little Thinking Out Loud, mama style! I don’t even remember half the junk that goes on in my head during the day. While yes, pregnancy brain is totally a thing, mommy brain is too!

1. “It’s only pee.” I can’t tell you how many times I’ve said that in the past year. I’m getting better about not getting peed on, but it still happens now and again. And no, it doesn’t even gross me out anymore.

2. “Would you rather change his diaper or clean up the cat puke?” Me to the hubby on a typical Saturday morning. Long hair cats = lots of hairballs

ethan3. “I can’t make it; that’s nap time.” I sometimes get the impression that working moms think SAHMs hang out all the time, but it’s not the case for me and a lot of my mama friends. Nap times hardly align, and when the flood waters recede, the clouds part, and miracles happen (aka: when all children are well-rested and not too fussy for public), one of them is bound have a cold, family in town, a dr checkup, or some other prior engagement.

4. On the phone – “I’ll bring his food to the restaurant from home because I prefer that he usually eats organic… {background} ETHAN NO, put DOWN the cat food. DON’T eat it. SPIT that out!!!”

5. After hanging up the phone – “Just hang up and text me. Don’t people know I don’t have time for phone calls?!?!”

6. “If only I had known…” I beat myself up about decisions. Any decision. Every decision. “If I had known he was going to take a short nap, I would have let him sleep in the car on the way to XYZ instead of rushing home for naptime.” or “If I had known he was going to be so messy, I would have made him eat dinner naked.” From the important things to the silly stuff, every other sentence begins with, “If only I had known…”

ethan7. “Yeah, I can totally meet you out for dinner. How does 5:45 sound?” Gee, maybe we’ll get the early bird special too.

8. “Catching mid-stream pee in a dirty diaper is like peeling a tricky orange in one peel.” Boy mamas have my back on this one, and I said that to Kevin last Friday.

9. “12 months, 2 weeks, and 4 days.” Okay, this one is a slight exaggeration, but it’s hard not to tell strangers exactly how old my child is. Luckily now that he’s 12 months, I can just say 1 year. Last week a mom told me her son was “23 weeks old” and even I thought that sounded silly.

ethan10. “He’s soooo cute!” I knew I’d say this, but I didn’t realize I’d say it on a daily basis. Yup, I’ll probably say it again tomorrow.

thinking out loudAnd I think 10 is a good number to end on, dontcha think? Thanks for hosting another linkup party Amanda!

  • What have you been saying lately that you never imagined you’d say?
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The Return of the Gym Selfie

Oh yes, you read that correctly. It’s the return of the gym selfie! Isn’t it funny how popular gym selfies have become? We’re out there photographing our sweaty, no-makeup selves in the wee hours of the morning or tired hours after work like our own private paparazzi.

Hey, I’m not bashing it. Guilty as charged!

gym selfieEthan is over a year old. I should be able to leave him with someone other than his father or his grandparents, and that person should be able to handle it. Right? I figured it was time to give gym child care another shot.

*I had a falling out of sorts with my gym’s child care about 5-6 months ago, or something like that, so I’ve really really really missed my gym workouts.

I was so happy to see new staff in the kids area. The two ladies were sweet, and they actually seemed to care about my son. Amazing! When I picked him up, they told me how cuddly and well behaved he was. Ethan was also the only kid there. Yaaaaaaayyyyyyyyyyy!

I don’t want to get too excited about a full return to the gym just yet, but needless to say, we’ll be back. I don’t think I’d ever been so happy to use an elliptical.

gymIn other news, Ethan has been a handful lately. Literally. He’s upped his screaming and his tantrums, but, when he’s not pitching a fit, he’s perfectly content to snuggle in my arms. I’m not one to ever turn down snuggles, but lemme’ tell ya – this kid gets heavy!

After the gym yesterday, I was carrying Ethan upstairs, and he just passed out in my arms. Hmmm… okay. That was odd. I sat down in the glider in his nursery and let him have a little mini nap. Growth spurt? Teething? Still achy from his vaccinations last week?

strollerOh well, at least he’s cute.

  • What are some of your favorite quickie gym workouts? I just did 20 min + cool down on elliptical, then leg press, leg extension machine, and stability ball bridge lift with roll-in. I’ll stay a little longer once I feel more comfortable.
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Shepherd’s Pie

Hiya! I’m back today with a new recipe. This one isn’t on this week’s meal plan, but I made it last week. I love one-pot meals, such as skillet meals and casseroles, but I try and shy away from can-of-whatever soup.

So this was my attempt at a comforting casserole that’s all-natural but still budget-friendly. Oh, and while the potatoes would have been better with half a cup of butter, and the sauce would have been undoubtedly tastier if started with bacon grease, I kept it simple and healthy. Your welcome. (<– my response to your waistline thanking me)

shepherd's pieLittle-known fact: the first time I visited Kevin’s family back in our college years, his mom made shepherd’s pie. I hadn’t ever had it before, and though it isn’t something Kevin requests (he doesn’t request much of anything except mac n’ cheese), it is stuck in my head as one of his from-home comforts.

shepherd's pie

No one can make it like mom. Truth. Perhaps Ethan will one day say, “I used to love my mom’s shepherd’s pie.” (or butternut squash mac, or lasagna, or meatloaf, or whatever he’s into) shepherd's pie

Shepherd's Pie
Author: 
 
Ingredients
  • 2 medium baking potatoes
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 TBS Parmesan cheese
  • ¼ cup broth and ½ cup skim milk (or all broth or all milk)
  • dash of nutmeg
  • 1 lb 93% lean ground beef
  • 2 TBS whole wheat flour (or all-purpose)
  • 1 cup broth (**see note)
  • 16-oz bag mixed frozen vegetables
  • 2 tsp dried sage
  • 1 tsp dried ground mustard
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350F.
  2. Wash, peel, and quarter potatoes. Boil potatoes in a large pot of water until starting to soften, then add the frozen vegetables. Boil until potatoes have finished cooking.
  3. Drain Pot, and pull out potato pieces. Mash potatoes with a potato masher, hand mixer, or fork. Stir in salt, cheese, ¼ cup broth, ¼ cup milk, and a dash of nutmeg. Set aside.
  4. In a large skillet, brown the ground beef. Once browned, remove beef from pan, and reserve 2 TBS of the liquid. If you used very lean beef and do not quite have 2 TBS liquid, you can make up the difference with butter or vegetable oil.
  5. Spread the 2 TBS of grease over pan heated to medium and whisk in 2 TBS flour. Continue whisking while you slowly pour in 1 cup of broth. Keep whisking and cooking a few minutes until sauce thickens just a bit. Whisk in sage and mustard. Once cooked a few minutes, stir in the defrosted vegetables and the cooked ground beef.
  6. Pour beef and vegetable sauce mixture into casserole dish. Top with mashed potatoes. Since the ingredients are already hot, this only needs to bake about 20-25 minutes.

*Note: I highly recommend Trader Joe’s organic low-sodium vegetable broth. It’s fantastic! If you can’t get your hands on it, I think low-sodium beef broth is probably better than your average veg broth.

I don’t think anyone makes better meatloaf or lasagna than my mom, even restaurants. So hopefully I’ll at least make one thing the kid grows to cherish.

shepherd's pieThough we’re so far, so good with this recipe. It turns out that Ethan loves shepherd’s pie already. Of course, with beef, potatoes, peas, and carrots (some of his favorite things), what’s not to love?

  • What does your mom make better than anyone else in the world?
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