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Meal Plan for the Week

Heyo!

This post is going to be short and sweet with no pictures. Aren’t you excited to read it? Ha! I’m writing this in my iPad which is basically a first world form of torture so I can only handle short and sweet :).

Anyway, I’ve been thinking about our grocery budget recently because I feel like it’s (once again) getting a bit out of hand. To be fair to us, we basically never eat out so we are spending money on food we eat for every meal. But still, I think there are ways to shave down the monthly/weekly bills.

So, I wanted to try actually planning out our meals or at least, dinners. Dinners are always the meal I struggle the most with so literally planning each one out should make things a bit easier.

I didn’t plan for every single night this week because I wasn’t sure I wanted to buy everything today. I planned from last night through Wednesday. Here’s the plan:

Pulled Pork Taco Salads– I bought a pork shoulder last week and slow cooked it a few days ago so we have lots of meat to go through.

Elk Steak Fajitas– Using some elk meat we already have.

Spaghetti with Ground Meat Sauce– This is a great meal for us because the kiddos love the noodles and I make zucchini noodles for me! If I’m feeling lazy I eat it over spinach unseat (that’s good too).

Spaghetti Squash Pizza Bake– I’ve made this before but its been a while. So, it’s basically cooked spaghetti squash, Italian ground meat, pizza sauce, veggies, and cheese. Good stuff and low carb! You can add whatever veggies you want, just like pizza.

 

I’m hoping we will have leftovers too so maybe Thursday night we will have something already planned. We’ll see! I’ll keep you posted on recipes and how the food stretching is going.

Do you plan your meals for the week?

 

Blackberry Chia Jam *Recipe*

I’m really holding on to summer over here!!

I was driving home today and actually saw some yellow leaves. What are you doing here yellow leaves? Get lost!! It is NOT fall yet so you simmer down.

Anyway, like I said in the last post, it’s definitely still warm. Yummy summer fruits and veggies are still plenty abundant too so I’m happy. Blackberries are on major sale right now where I live so I stocked up buying 5 (small) packs.

my little blackberry monster

my little blackberry monster

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We have absolutely no problem poppin’ berries in our mouthes, but I also like to try different things with them when I have a bunch around. This time, I threw together some healthy chia jam!

blackberries

blackberries1

If you’ve never experimented with chia seeds before, they’re pretty fun. Chia seeds are really healthy packing tons of fiber, healthy fats (Omega-3’s), and protein. They’re said to do a million other things too like lower blood pressure and reduce food cravings, but I’m not sure any of that is proven. Regardless, they’re for sure a health food.

You can use chia seeds in tons of different ways, but when you add them to liquid substances, they thicken them up almost in a gel-like way. You may have seen chia pudding before (thickens it up like pudding) and it works great for jams, giving it that nice jelly texture.

Anyway, on to the recipe!

Blackberry Chia Seed Jam

  • 1 cup blackberries
  • 1/2 tsp lemon juice
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp of honey
  • 2 Tbsp chia seeds

 

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So, I did this the lazy/easy way.

First, I mixed the honey and lemon with the blackberries.

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Next, I microwaved the berries for 1 minute.

After that first minute, I mashed everything up a bit with a fork then microwaved another 30 seconds.

Once it was all mushed and mixed together, I added the chia seeds and let it cool off. Once it cooled a little,  I stuck it in the fridge.

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While it was cooling you could even see how it was starting to thicken up. Mmm good stuff.

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You can absolutely sub in different berries and by all means, try a different sweetener if you’d like. This is another great recipe you can kind of try along the way and tweak things to your liking.

 

Do you use chia seeds? What’s your favorite way to use them?

 

Healthier Pork Fried Rice *Recipe*

Hey guys! What’s goin’ on?

First and foremost, I’m watching Fear the Walking Dead. Man..intense.

Anyway, we’ve been taking it easy over here and just trying to enjoy the last few weeks of summer. The mornings are starting to get colder so I know fall, and then of course winter, will be here before I know it. Ugh.

It’s still plenty warm outside though so no complaints.

Brooke and Willow. Matchy matchy!

Brooke and Willow. Matchy matchy!

A little more matchy matchy

A little more matchy matchy

It’s just too tempting not to dress sister’s in the same outfits. They’re just too cute.

bandwillow2

So, all is well on the home front. The kitchen front, is a different story.

I have been soooo lazy lately. I basically just want someone to cook for me…is that too much to ask? Any takers? No? Ok fine.

As tempted as I am to buy rotisserie chickens 6 times a week, I guess I could cook a few meals. If I must.

So, I’m trying to find some inspiration. I found some…just a little..in the newest issue of Women’s Health magazine.

New Women's Health with miss Khloe on the cover!

New Women’s Health with miss Khloe on the cover!

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The original recipe in the magazine was for millet pork “fried rice.” I made a few changes based on the ingredients I had so here we go!

**This recipe uses ground pork, but you can definitely sub in ground turkey, chicken, beef, or just slice up some tofu**

Healthier Pork Fried Rice

(adapted from Women’s Health magazine September 2015 issue)

  • 1 1/2 tsp sesame oil
  • 2 Tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped brussels sprouts
  • 1 Tbsp avocado oil
  • 2 cloves chopped garlic
  • 8 ounces 95% lean ground pork
  • 1 can mushrooms (or fresh)
  • chopped carrots (didn’t measure out)
  • 2 Tbsp fish sauce
  • 2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 egg plus 2 egg whites, beaten
  • 2-7.4 ounce containers of cooked brown rice OR 3/4 cup millet/ 3/4 cup brown rice
  • chopped cilantro to taste

So, this might come across as more complicated than it was; it’s actually very easy!

First, I cooked all the veggies (garlic, onion, brussels, carrots, and mushrooms).

friedrice3

friedrice2

Once the veggies were cooked pretty well, I moved them to a bowl. Then, I added the ground pork and cooked it thoroughly, then transferred to a bowl.

Next, I added the eggs and scrambled them up.

Sorry for the gross picture..I swear it's good!! Scrambling some eggies.

Sorry for the gross picture..I swear it’s good!! Scrambling some eggies.

Next, I added the rice. The rice I’m referring to is already precooked so it’s the ultimate lazy woman (or man’s) dream. I think I probably could have used less, but it’s all good.

precooked brown rice from costco

precooked brown rice from costco

Precooked, organic, brown rice. Costco, I love you.

Finally, I poured everything back into the pan (included the sauces) and let it simmer on low for about ten minutes.

To top it off, I added cilantro, some sriracha, and some Enlightened wasabi roasted broad beans for crunch.

Enlightened Wasabi Roasted Broad Beans

Enlightened Wasabi Roasted Broad Beans

Healthier Pork Fried Rice

Healthier Pork Fried Rice

I love this kind of meal because you can add any and as many veggies as you want. I absolutely would have added peas (and thought I had some) but alas, I did not.

I’d love to try this again with millet and probably tofu. I just really like the texture of tofu!  Some cashews and water chestnuts would be good too for more crunch.

 

What are your go-to dinners? I need more ideas!

 

For the Love of Podcasts

I’ve briefly mentioned that we live far from town. Like, really far. I’m talkin’ 50 minutes from cell reception. Yeah, the real deal.

Sometimes this hellacious drive is a blessing in disguise though. It gives me the chance to listen to audiobooks (since real person books have mysteriously vanished from my life) AND podcasts.

I was first introduced to podcasts through Serial (yes, me and everyone else in the world). So, thanks Serial! If you haven’t listened to Serial yet, check it out! It’s a pretty interesting and mysterious story.

I thought it would be fun to share some of the podcasts that I listen to. I love to hear what other people listen to, so if I can help broaden your podcast horizon, then my work here is done.

(I literally took pictures of my podcast list on my phone so we will go in the order they appear).

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Wine for Normal People

I go in and out of a love affair with wine. Actually, that’s not true. I love it all the time. Rather, I love Sauvignon Blanc all the time and tolerate the other’s if that’s all there is to drink.

All that being said, I would love to learn about wine. Like, actually understand what different red wines taste like based on the grape, where they’re from, what year, etc. SO many things to learn it’s nuts.

Anyway, this podcast is kind of fun. The hosts seem to know a lot but aren’t pretentious at all. It’s pretty new to my podcast list but so far I’m enjoying it! (I’m thinking you can listen to all the wine podcasts in the world, but the only way to know wine is to DRINK :) ).

Definitely recommend if you like wine and want to learn more.

Build a Badass Business with Diane Sanfillippo 

This podcast is new to me too although I’m already convinced I’m gonna love it.

I really enjoy entrepreneurial/business podcasts. Do I have a business? Nope :). But listening to these kinds of podcasts sort of inspires me. I may not technically have a business now, but I might someday?

Dianne (if you don’t know her) is the author of Practical Paleo and the 21 Day Sugar Detox Diet. I believe she writes a blog and just generally has a great social media presence, so a lot of the podcast is geared towards that kind of stuff i.e. building an online presence/business, getting over fears, etc.

Still new, but would recommend giving it a try if you’re an entrepreneur or wanna-be entrepreneur. :)

Sex with Emily

Did this blog just go from PG-13 to R? Yes, yes it did.

So, here’s the thing about Sex with Emily: I was curious one day, ok?! Don’t judge me. On a side note, there are like, a million sex podcasts out there so I’m not the only creep.

Anyway, I decided why not? I don’t really know what a sexologist does or is, so let’s see if I learn something.

Well, it’s entertaining….I give you that Emily. I’ve only listened to like, 2 of the shows and they were sort of fascinating/funny. One got to a point where I couldn’t listen anymore because it was getting way too weird for me (people talking clown sex). I try to keep an open mind, but clown sex is just something I don’t care to hear about.

So, would I recommend it? Ummm I don’t know..maybe not? I guess it’s not bad. All depends on what you want to listen to…or what “turns you on”…or “floats your boat” (shall I keep going?).  If clown sex does, this might be the podcast for you. :)

I’ll leave it at: I don’t subscribe. So, that’s that.

How to Be Amazing with Michael Ian Black

The name of this podcast might be a little deceiving. It isn’t necessarily a how-to show, it’s an interview show hosted by comedian Michael Ian Black. So, in case you don’t know who Michael Ian Black is..you actually do:

mib

Right?

Anyway, he’s a comedian but this show is an interview style show. The concept is, he interviews people who are amazing.  I’ve only listened to a few episodes of this too but have enjoyed the interviews. He interviews Amy Schumer, who I love, so I naturally had to listen.

amyschumer

She’s hilarious.

So, I would recommend this podcast. He’s pretty funny and does have some interesting people on the show. Another episode was with Bob Odenkirk from Breaking Bad/Better Call Saul.

I would recommend!

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Now come the hoards of Paleo/Food podcasts!

Nom Nom Paleo

For those who don’t know Michelle, she’s the author of the blog (and book) Nom Nom Paleo. She’s got an awesome Paleo blog if you were looking to try any recipes and I’ve heard nothing but good things about her book.

Her podcast is pretty fun! It’s actually the whole family (husband and two boys too). They talk about what they ate that they loved that week, then go on to a topic for that show. For example, one show was on quick Paleo dinners which I’m constantly trying to figure out.

I definitely recommend this podcast if you’re interested in Paleo eating or really just food in general. It might technically be a Paleo podcast, but she really covers a lot about food and cooking in general.

America’s Test Kitchen

This is a great podcast!! It covers all things cooking. They take questions from listeners, try and review different products (like Mexican beers for for example), then have a topic they discuss. There is a lot covered!

If you love food, you’ll love the podcast. Even if you don’t consider yourself a “foodie” I’m sure you’d enjoy it. For example, one I listened to was about NYC during prohibition. They actually went on a tour of one of its most famous speakeasies. So, it’s a fun one to listen to!

Recommend!

Harder to Kill

Haven’t actually listened to entire episode yet so I’ll be back later with an update!

Balanced Bites

My favorite! This is a Paleo podcast hosted by Diane Sanfillippo and Liz Wolfe (author of Eat the Yolks).  They talk about a few things relevant in the paleo community, but mostly answer people’s questions.

So, I love hearing the answers to the questions they receive, but what I really love is their banter. They’re so funny I swear I feel like we’d be best friends in real life.

I totally recommend it and look forward to it every week (each Thursday!),

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The following three I haven’t listened to yet…oops:

Total Human Optimization (sounds pretty intense)

Modern Farm Girls (I’m debating whether or not I am one)

Live Love Teach (yoga classes! Haven’t found a moment to try one)

The Late Show Podcast

I heard Stephen Colbert. Like, really. He is my favorite person. I miss The Colbert Report so much and can’t wait for his new CBS show!

This podcast is sort of a behind the scenes of the new show. The shows are pretty short..which makes me sad…but that means you can listen to them whenever.

They aren’t mind blowing podcasts, but if you love Stephen like I do, you’ll enjoy them.

 

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Fat Burning Man

Another paleo podcast with some fitness aspects mixed in. Abel James is the host and there’s just something about him I really like. He always sounds like he’s smiling. Maybe he is!

Anyway, he is usually interviewing someone like doctors, paleo experts, fitness experts, etc. For example, the last one I listened to he interviewed Jackie Warner (celebrity trainer) who I really like.

Definitely recommend, especially if you’re paleo.

The Joe Rogan Experience

I’m sure you all know Joe Rogan (used to host Fear Factor back in the day).

He does strictly interview shows. Long interview shows.  He typically interviews other comedians, actors, professors, nutritionists…the list goes on.

I don’t listen to his podcast regularly (my husband does). I tend to listen when I really want to hear an interview with someone in particular. He has long podcasts (like a couple hours) so I just feel like I never finish them unless I’m on a road trip.

If you have the time, the podcast is pretty entertaining and sometimes educational! They have some good conversations. There is definitely language though, so head’s up!

The Rich Roll Podcast

Rich Roll is such an inspiring person. So, (I don’t know how many years exactly) but like, 10 years ago he was overweight and just unhealthy. One day he decided to do something about it.

Rich became a vegan and started exercising. Now, he’s like, a super freak ultramarathoner and cyclist. He’s the real deal athlete AND he’s vegan.

I know, I listen to a vegan and Paleo podcasts. They have more in common than you’d think!

I like his podcasts because they’re very inspirational. He does a lot of interviews, but also does solo show’s and brings his wife on.

Whenever I listen to the show, I just want to drink green smoothies and do yoga. :)

Recommend!

Build Your Tribe

Miss Chalene!

Some of you may know Chalene Johnson from workout DVD’s like PiYo and TurboFire. She’s a big time fitness buff but also an incredible business woman.

Her Build Your Tribe podcast is strictly a business podcast. If you have a blog, a website, or just social media accounts, you might want to listen to her show. She gives lots of advice on strategically using social media, internet marketing, building email lists, etc. Lots of good stuff!

Recommend!

 

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The James Altucher Show

Another entrepreneur! James is pretty interesting because he’s gone from super rich, to totally broke, to finding his feet again.

He does mostly interviews with incredibly interesting and successful people like Mark Cuban, Tim Ferris, and Rich Roll (just to name a few).

He is basically a super nerd but you can’t help but love him. Look at that pic hah super nerd! Love him.

Recommend.

The Chalene Show

Yep, Chalene has two shows.

This show is more about life topics in general. Sometimes she talk about fitness, other times it’s family, business, building confidence, anything and everything!

I used to listen to every episode, now I kind of pick and choose. Sometimes I get a little “Chalened” out.

It’s a great show though. Chalene has a such an awesome attitude; she’s very motivating. Sometimes when I feel like fear is getting in my way, her shows kind of help me through.

Recommend!

Bulletproof Radio

You’ve all heard of Bulletproof coffee by now right? Well, Dave Asprey, the host of this show, coined that phrase (he also has a book).

This show isn’t strictly about food and diet though, it’s about any and everything regarding human performance. Basically, how can you become better and more efficient at everything in your life?

It can be really interesting sometimes, other times Dave annoys me (not gonna lie). He does mostly interviews and the topics are totally off the wall.

Like I said, topics are not strictly diet related, for example one episode was about dementia and how to possibly prevent it. Of course, take everything on any podcast with a grain of salt!

I would recommend this podcast. It’s pretty interesting. Sometimes a bit much but overall pretty good.

The Tim Ferriss Show

Time Ferriss is quite an interesting character. He’s the author of the 4 Hour Workweek, 4 Hour Body, blogger, and just self described “human guinea pig.”

This show is focused on (usually) his interviews with, again, incredible people. He DOES get some incredible people too.

His goal for this show is to deconstruct the habits, tools, etc. of these successful people. A couple examples of interviews are one with Arnold Schwarzenegger (my favorite), Glenn Beck, and Laird Hamilton (surfer).

Lots of variety with his interviews but all truly remarkable people.

I, of course, think Tim is pretty amazing so I love to hear what his tools, habits, etc. are. Definitely recommend!

 

Ohhhhhh man. I had way more podcasts on here than I thought. This post took me like, three days haha. In those three days I added another wine podcast: 3 Wine Guys. I listened to a couple episodes today and really enjoyed it.

Now it’s your turn!! What are some podcasts you listen to? Clearly I need to add more.

 

 

 

 

California Trip and Jamie Eason’s Lemon Protein Bars

Hey ya’ll! How are things?

So, we are officially out of beach life and back into the real world. Ugh..sigh. Don’t get me wrong, I love me some real world, but I was really enjoying the beach.

cheers!

cheers!

We had a great trip!! There were a few bumps and hiccups with the kiddos…but aren’t there always? Basically, we had a couple rough nights, so lack of sleep plus lots of sun equals especially tired babies. That being said, they had an awesome time.

Brooke (almost 3) was loving everything about the beach. The water, the wet sand, the dry sand-everything! I was so proud of her! I thought the water might be a turn off but she loved splashin’ even after a wave knocked her down.

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beach

little muffin

little muffin

The little one (1 year) loved it too. She was definitely all about the sand.

beach3

beach4

sand queen

sand queen

So, how do people get good pictures with babies and toddlers? I have yet to figure that out.

family picture fail

family picture fail

Ahhh vacations. Love ’em.

 

Now that we are getting back into our regular routine, I decided to do a little baking today!! I feel like its been too long. It’s tough to bake I guess when it’s toasty outside….but aren’t baked goods just the best? Sometimes you need something doughy.

Today, I tried Jamie Eason’s Lemon Protein Bars. I’ve tried her pumpkin bars before and like them a lot! I checked the reviews on the lemon bars and they are pretty darn good so I decided to give them a try.

my random ingredients

my random ingredients

They are kind of interesting because they use Crystal Light Pure for the lemon flavor. I did see some reviewers said they used lemon juice instead of the Crystal Light…just an FYI (I might try that next time). Anyway, Crystal Light Pure has Truvia instead of the other artificial sweetener they typically use.

A couple other key ingredients: oat flour (ground up oats), applesauce (calls for baby applesauce but I used the squeeze sauces), and vanilla protein powder.

Jamie recommends using Stevia or splenda for a sweetener. I used a Splenda/Brown Sugar blend (<—I’ve used this before and really like it!).

lemonbar1

lemonbar2

The color of these bars was unfortunate. I used Vega Vanilla Protein powder and it kind of gave it a greenish tint….so just ignore that. :)

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lemonbar6

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(Sorry these pics look so weird. I took them with my phone and for some reason they aren’t looking right).

Anyway, I like the bars! They do have a bit of that artificially sweetener taste, not gonna lie. But, I don’t really mind it too much. I’m sure it depends on the sweetener you use, if you use the Crystal Light, and probably your protein powder choice. I would recommend them!

I think one thing to keep in mind with these types of recipes is that they’re a much healthier version of your standard treat (in this case, a lemon bar). They do taste different. I think they taste pretty good but just keep in mind, they are not the real deal. But, the real deal also has tons and tons of sugar in it so it’s a trade off.

 

Do you make protein packed treats? Any good recipe recommendations?

 

 

 

Soybu Tank Giveaway Winner

Hi guys! We just got back from our trip to California. It, of course, flew by way too quickly. I just want to lay on the beach every day….is that too much to ask?

Anyway, I wanted to pop in, say hi, and announce the giveaway winner!

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Congrats to MJ! I’ll shoot you an email.

thank you all for entering the giveaway!

Soybu Review and Workout Tank Top *Giveaway*

I am so glad workout clothes are becoming stylish. I am all about comfort so naturally, exercise clothes are a go-to for me. Stylish workout clothes are more of a recent trend and I have to say, I’m really enjoying it.

I discovered the Soybu line back in May when I attended the Blend Retreat. They were nice enough to provide us with a pair of pants (the killer caboose pant to be exact). I was honestly surprised how much I liked the pants. They actually do give you a killer caboose (AKA they’re super flattering!) :).

I like the Soybu line because: 1. It’s cute, 2. It’s affordable!! I think we all know there are plenty of workout clothes out there that are cute, yes, but also ridiculously expensive. I’m actually sort of shocked sometimes that I’ve somehow been convinced to drop $100 on a pair of yoga pants. Craziness. Anyway, Soybu has lots of cute stuff and everything is reasonably priced.

They have plenty of workout clothing options, but also a lot of sporty, everyday clothes like dresses, skirts, sweaters, etc. They do a great job of making comfort cute.

Since I loved their killer caboose pant so much, I agreed to review a couple more items for them AND giveaway my favorite piece. Here’s the outfit I chose:

soybu

 

My (almost) three year old giving lots of attitude!

The Allegro Capri in Black Halftone

allegro

 

Regularly $49.00, $29.40 right now!

These are really light weight carpis. They’re a nice change from your typical heavy yoga pant. They’re actually 44% recycled polyester so they’re a great eco-friendly option.  They also come in a TON of different patterns. I love some of their colored options but wanted my pant to match my tank :). Duh.

The Ariel Tank in Charcoal

arieltank

Normally $60.00, now $45.00

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This is my fave! This, my friends, is what I’ll be giving away! It is super cute, flattering, feels great, and has a really pretty back.

arieltankback

Right? I love it. You will too.

soybu2

The Meryl Wrap in Black 

merylwrap

$48.00

I was actually surprised how much I liked this. It’s definitely the material. It’s really light and has a nice stretch to it. I actually needed a lightweight sweater/wrap for summer time; this is perfect!

soybu3

 

On to the giveaway!!

One reader will win an Ariel Tank!  In order to enter the giveaway, we ask that you:

That’s it!

*All entrants must live within the U.S. and prize color/style may vary on based on size.

 

I will pick a winner on Tuesday. Good luck!

 

 

Using a Rotisserie Chicken, Giveaway Winner, and Recent Workouts

I am so, so guilty of buying rotisserie chickens from the store like, several times a week. Does anyone else do this? They’re just so awesome to have around (in my opinion). My husband, on the other hand, rolls his eyes every time I bring one home. God bless those rotisserie chickens. My family would probably eat cereal or peanut butter and jelly’s for dinner if it wasn’t for them.

Usually, I’m uber lazy and just eat them as is with a couple sides of whatever. Last night, however, I was inspired to use them in a different way. I whipped up a BBQ chicken salad and it was delicious. Ironically, it was the one time my husband wasn’t here for dinner for he has yet to see my creativity.

That being said, this isn’t anything new or unique so don’t get too excited, but if you’re like me, you probably fall into a rut with dinners. Chicken can especially become boring and bland (at least how I cook it).

Have you ever had the BBQ chicken salad from California Pizza Kitchen? Because it is major yums. This salad was inspired by that (and by a close friend of mine who made it once for me).

The best part is, I had most of the ingredients on hand already. All I needed to pick up was some cilantro and of course, the beloved rotisserie chicken. You can absolutely use whatever chicken you have on hand or even sub in ground or shredded meats (or more beans!). Here’s the “recipe” (can I call it that? Sure, why not).

BBQ Rotisserie Chicken Salad

  • 1 rotisserie chicken
  • head of lettuce
  • 1 can of sweet corn
  • 1 can of black beans
  • chopped cilantro
  • small handful of shredded jack cheese
  • caramelized onions to taste (or chopped red would be yummy too)
  • BBQ sauce
  • Light ranch dressing
BBQ chicken salad

BBQ chicken salad

You could also add jicama, crunched up tortilla chips, salsa, or Rotel…lots of yummy variations.

I love cilantro. That’s just a side note. Oh, and I happened to have caramelized onions on hand (I usually don’t). They’re time consuming to make but man they are good.

 

On to my workouts!!

I had family visiting for a couple weeks AND got LASIK eye surgery (ummm amazing. My life has changed), so I haven’t been working out a ton. Now that everyone’s gone though, I’m getting back into the groove of things. I’m leaving on Saturday for California so hopefully I can keep up the pace while out at the beach.

Have you guys heard of Kayla Itsines? She’s a personal trainer from Australia who makes Bikini Body Guides (workout programs). I’ve seen her around on instagram mostly and sort of brushed it off as spammy (not that I would really know). Then a few of my friends started using her guides and actually said they’re pretty good so I’ve been giving it a try. They are hard! I totally underestimated them.

kayla

(source)

So far, I’ve only tried a couple of days (legs, arms, and a full body day). I’ve been sore every time! I will write another post detailing the program but just wanted to mention it in case anyone else out there is a fan.

 

Finally, our giveaway winner!!

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Congrats Dandi D!! I hope you make lots of delicious goodies with your new set of jars for canning :). Feel free to send me some.

 

What’s your latest go-to workout? Weight lifting? Yoga? Running? Tire flipping? Children chasing? All the above? 

 

Horse Rides, Can-It-Forward Day, and a *Giveaway*

Hey ya’ll! I think that’s an appropriate greeting given my recent adventures in the mountains. We have been crazy busy over here with family. All of my husband’s family have been in town over the past two weeks. We also celebrated a big birthday!

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My little baby Willow turned 1! She is officially the cutest and sweetest baby on the planet…although I might be biased.

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I also got the opportunity to go on a horse ride with my Cowboy husband and sister in law.

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Check out my brave (almost) three year old riding by herself!


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This was only my second ride since moving out to the mountains. We had a really great time; I’d love to do it more often!

 

So, let’s talk about Can-It-Forward Day!

I am certainly not a canning expert (only canned once). But, I’d like to think one day I will be. What can I say, I dream big. I just love the idea of canning fresh jams, pickled foods, and dare I say, meats? I think I’ll start with fruits and veggies and maybe graduate to meats someday.

I’ve canned applesauce and it took a little time, but it was a fairly simple process. I used Ball’s Home Canning Discovery Kit. It has all the tools I would possibly need while canning and the Amazon reviews to back it up (includes canning rack with lifter, 3 regular mouth pint jars, and recipes).

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So, Can-It- Forward Day actually sounds pretty cool for anyone who cans or is interested in starting to can or preserve. It’s a webcast that will broadcast live online at FreshPreserving.com from 11 AM-4PM Eastern. It will include a chat function so viewers can submit questions and receive their answers in real time. There will also be a celebrity mason jar auction unveiled during the broadcast involving reality starts and celebrity chefs!

I think my first question would be what are the best recipes or foods for canning beginners? I’m guessing applesauce, pickles, maybe some salsas or chutneys?

The Ball folks were nice enough to send me the Home Canning Discovery Kit, Design Series Lids with Bands (in red…ooo la la), this awesome Guide to Preserving book, and Fiesta Salsa Mix.

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I need to get my buns to a farmer’s market and get to work! Better yet, grow myself a garden and can it all up.

Anyway, giveaway time!

One reader will receive a coupon for a free case of jars!! 

To enter the giveaway, just leave me a comment. Any comment. Do you can? Do you want to can? Do you like the color red? Whatever you’d like!

Don’t forget to check out FreshPreserving.com from 11 AM-4PM Eastern for the canning webinar!

Tips for Traveling with Small Children

Here’s tip #1: stay home. Ha, just kidding. Sort of.

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I’m definitely not a world traveler or anything, but I do feel like I have quite a bit of experience traveling with kiddos. A decent amount of my trips have been solo too so they’re especially fun :).

Just to give you a little background, we live in rural Colorado so the closest airport is either Denver, which is 3 hours away (and also hell on earth), or Grand Junction, which is 2ish hours away. So, when I say we travel, it’s an all day affair no matter where we are going. Our kids are about 1 and 3.

I recently took our kids to Phoenix for a week by myself so this fresh in my memory. Here are a couple ways I try to numb the pain:

  • Pack Snacks: If you have kids already, or you’re a normal human being traveling by yourself, you probably already know snacks are a must. This gets a little tricky the more kids you have. Let’s just say your shoulders will be screaming by the end of the day (so much crap in your bag!). I usually pack snacks for the car ride and sometimes sandwiches too. Once we are at the airport through security I’ll get the kids a snack.  A “new snack” is more exciting for some reason and kind of keeps them busy while we wait to board.
  • Allow Lots of Time: The Denver airport is a nightmare. It takes forever to get through that place no matter what time of day or year. I think it took me an hour and 15 min. this past time through. That’s nuts. It took me 20 minutes to get to my gate in Phoenix. Anyway, since Denver is horrible, we allow for LOTS of time. Security with 2 kids is a little complicated since I have to hold the baby and walk through.

I’ve seen a lot of parents take babies through airports in a carrier which definitely seems like a great idea. It probably depends on your baby and their age. My little one is at the age where she wants to move around constantly and the carrier I have (Ergo) keeps her so close to my body I think it drives her nuts. So, I use a stroller.

  • Use the infant car seat/stroller combo- I  like the stroller/infant seat combo because I need the car seat anyway, it keeps the baby off of me, I can use the space below the stroller to carry stuff, and I can check all of it at the gate. If my baby’s going to fall asleep, she falls asleep easier in the stroller than in a carrier. Again, I’m sure this depends on your babies age and probably the carrier. The challenge with a stroller is I have to take it apart during security. It’s not horrible, but I have to keep the 3 year old near me, take the seat off, fold the stroller, take the baby out, then place the seat on the security belt. Usually, there are people around to help out. I still prefer this method to the carrier. So, if I’m traveling by myself, I usually have 1 rolling bag, the stroller/car seat, and diaper bag. I check the bag no matter what because I cannot deal with all the crap. Then check the stroller/car seat at the gate. If the flights not full, they usually let you take the car seat on the plane if you wanted to try and have your baby sleep.

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  • Use a harness. Or as I like to call it, a leash–  We’ve all seen those parents walking through airports or theme parks with their kids on leashes and I TOTALLY GET IT. This idea is genius. I’ve absolutely made fun of these people at some point in my life, but what an awesome idea! 2 or 3 year olds can be erratic little crazy people. Airports are not the place to lose a toddler. I call our 3 year old’s a backpack (because it is essentially) and she actually likes it. She has a little pocket where she can put stuff like stickers, snacks, or books. It’s a great way to hide little surprises and get them out during the plane ride. It also keeps your kid near you! If you’re traveling solo, it’s a life saver.
my child on a leash!

my child on a leash!

On the plane:

  • Entertainment for your toddler– I really tried to avoid gluing our oldest child to cartoons during plane rides but eventually, I caved. I’m not sure why I didn’t do it sooner? Plane rides are basically tough on everyone so why not just ease the pain a little? I download episodes of her favorite cartoons or Sesame Street and set her up on my Ipad (risky) during the flight. She will usually sit back and watch her shows almost the whole ride.
  • Window Seats- Our toddler always gets the window seat. It kind of contains her in a way. She usually doesn’t show much interest in looking outside but she actually did this past trip to Phoenix. We looked at other planes driving around then at the clouds. She liked waving goodbye as we left too.
  • Lollypops– These are my secret weapon. I give my toddler a lollypop when we’re taking off. I think it helps with the ear situation since she’s swallowing a lot. I also know that she will absolutely eat it. I can’t guarantee she will drink water, but I know she will suck on a lollypop. It also keeps her busy for a while.
  • Breastfeed or Bottle for the Baby-I’m not longer breastfeeding, but if you are, breastfeed that baby! That used to always guarantee that they would fall asleep. I never loved getting my boobs out but I’m telling you it’s worth it. Luckily, our baby girl will take a bottle so I bottle fed her throughout the plane ride. She never fell asleep, but at least she was full and didn’t have any ear problems.
  • Play with the Plane– Babies are so into seeing and touching everything so I just look around and use what I got on a plane ride.  For example, I take out the magazines and the flip through the pages which totally entertained her. Then I’d rip out a page and crinkle it up. Ask the stewardess for a cup. Babies like those plastic cups! When my toddler was a little older (maybe like, a year and a half or 2) we would look through SkyMall like, nonstop finding pictures of dogs and cats. Seriously, it’s the little things.
  • Show baby the people on the plane- I did this with both of my kids. When the baby gets kind of fussy, I lift her up over the seat so she can look behind us at all the people. Our 1 year old loved this this past week. People interact with them (or don’t) and they just love to look around. It’s almost like peak a boo if you lift them up and down. Just don’t bang their head into the ceiling (my husband did that with our first and you could hear the gasps behind us hah!).

Some things I still haven’t conquered:

  • Seat Belts-Sometimes I can get the toddler to put her seatbelt on, but most of the time, she squirms out. The stewardess’ always ask me to get her belted and when I’m traveling alone, I literally have no idea how I’m supposed to do that. I usually just fake it and hold her down.
  • Getting out of her seat–  She’s contained next to the window, but sometimes she will get out of her seat and down on the floor. Since I have a baby in my lap, it’s basically impossible to get Brooke off the floor. Eventually she gets back up.

Probably others too but my 1 year old is being a crazy person so I gotta wrap it up!

 

Bottom line is: be patient and remember that it will be over before you know it! It can be pretty awful, but we all get through it. Don’t worry too much about the other people on the plane, they will be fine!!

If all else fails, Tylenol PM ought to do the trick.  Either for you or the kids :). (Kidding of course).

 

What are your tricks when traveling with small kids?