Sunday, November 12, 2017

Weekly Meal Plan 11/12 - 11/18

Hello Friends!

Long time no chat! After my last post in October, Hand, Foot and Mouth infiltrated our house starting with my 18 month-old on a Monday evening. It just happened to be a very busy week at school for me because we had a group of 5th graders coming to have a tour (by group I mean there were 800 of them from local grade schools). Ron and I split childcare since Rowan was home from school till his fever was down and blisters started to heal. We spent the days cleaning every toy, vacuuming and sanitizing. Kellen had this virus when we was about that same age as Rowan and it was a pain and thankfully Kellen stuck to the table and living room to steer clear of Rowan. However, that following it got worse....Ron got it. My husband is wonderful at many things, but being sick if not one of them. It is somewhat of a running joke between both our families at Ron's behavior when he is ill. I should say that this virus is pretty horrible for adults and this time is was not unwarranted. So Ron was out of commission and I was by myself to keep everything Rowan AND Ron touched clean. I think I went through 8 cans of Lysol and 5 big things of Clorox wipes....who knows what brain damage I gave us with that. I was doing all the childcare, cleaning/sanitizing, meals, and laundry over the next week and a half and was exhausted by the end.  Right when we thought we were in the clear, Kellen puked at school and had to come home. Thankfully I think Kellen's was a fluke, but two days later Ron got a 12 hour stomach bug....and another round of wiping everything down again.  Fast forward to today I think, knock on wood, we are all doing much better. 

I had a few exams this past week which hopefully went well considering out home turmoil. I was able to get out of the house and attend a Board and Brush with some friends. I made a cute stocking holder for the holidays. I love the board projects. They take awhile, but turn out so cute! 
Ron and I also had dinner with my Dad on Friday while my in-laws watched the boys for a much needed break after the past 3 1/2 weeks! Saturday was for sleeping for some, but I was up early for a Pure Barre Empower class before running errands for the week. Kellen brings snack for the class this week so it is always a big shopping weekend when it is our turn.  Today, I am heading over the the barre studio shortly and then finishing Kellen's snack list before coming home for the Packer game at noon. Since Rogers got hurt we have not been doing great, but maybe this week will turn around. 

This week is thankfully pretty slow and later in the week we have Kellen's conferences and are going to attend the tree lighting and the Holiday parade!

Here is what is on tap: 

Sunday: One Pot Baked Ziti, Salad and Garlic Bread
Monday: Pizza
Tuesday: Chicken and Wild Rice Casserole and Peas
Wednesday: Bacon Pierogie Bake and Green Beans
Thursday: Weeknight White Chicken Chili
Friday: Leftovers
Saturday: Dinner at a friend's house!

Saturday, October 21, 2017

Loaded Beer Cheese Potato Soup #SoupSwappers

It is time for the October Soup Swap is here and I am the host this month! 

I selected the theme, "Soups from your State (Regional Soups)". I know there are so many types of soups or flavor combos unique to the different participants, and was excited to see what everyone came up with. 

I decided to make a variation of a beer cheese soup. Beer cheese is, not surprisingly, a popular soup in Wisconsin. It is frequently on restaurant menus using various types of local beers and cheeses.  The beer cheese combo isn't limited to soup in my neck of the woods. It is not uncommon to see if as a sauce for a burger or a dip. In Wisconsin, we are so luck to have a plethora of delicious local cheeses and beer right at our finger tips.  For this soup, I used Wisconsin's Spotted Cow and sharp cheddar from Steve's Cheese. I also decided to load this soup up and pair the beer cheese with a loaded baked potato. This soup is delicious and a perfect blend of a few of my favorite Wisco flavors. 

I am so excited to see what everyone else made from their regions! 



Ingredients

1 tsp olive oil
2 lb russet potato, peeled and chopped (set 1 cup aside)
1/2 cup carrot, chopped
2 stalks of celery,chopped
1/2 onion, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, minced 
4 cup reduced sodium chicken broth
1 cup milk 
1 cup beer (I do not recommend using a dark beer)
1 1/2 cups grated sharp cheddar cheese (plus extra for topping)
4 slices of bacon, cooked and crumbled (plus extra for topping)
3 green onions sliced
Sour Cream
Salt and Pepper


Instructions

Saute potatoes (minus one reserved cup), carrots, celery, onion, and garlic in a soup pot. When vegetables begin to soften and onions become translucent add chicken broth and milk. Simmer till veggies are soft. Blend soup with an immersion blender or in a stand blender. You do not need to blend the soup, but it will result in a much thinner consistency.  Add the remaining potatoes to the blended soup. Add a the beer and cook till the potatoes are soft. Once the potatoes are soft stir in cheese and bacon.  Season with salt and pepper. Top with additional crumbled bacon, shredded cheese, sour cream, and sliced green onions.  

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Weekly Meal Plan 10/8 - 10/14

Well I am a little late on my meal plan this week! I had a few exams last week and two over the weekend in my online courses and I was a bit behind to start my week.  This pas weekend we started by going for pizza and to the play Charlotte's Web with friends. On Saturday, I had barre class and after Kellen, Rowan and I bet our friends at a pumpkin festival for games, pumpkins and cookies. Afterwards, Rowan went for a nap and Kellen and I went to a local craft store for a Halloween slime making craft. Sidebar, how do you say Halloween? I say Haalloween and Kellen keeps correcting me and telling me to say Holloween. He is probably right.... Anyways, on Sunday, I went to another barre class and headed to kid's day at a local haunted house with my sister and friend Emily. The haunted house is for adults, but two days in October they cover up all the gory things and have kid volunteers scare the little ones with all the lights on- with a candy bag at the end! Kellen really enjoys it and it is fun to see all the kids volunteering and working hard to make sure it is fun for everyone coming for a scare. Afterwards we headed to my parent's for the Packer game.  That game was stressful, but thankfully the Packer's won with a minute left to play. 

This week we had swim on Monday and met a few friends for burgers at a place near by the pool. Rowan is enjoying class and is one of the younger kids so some of the skills are a little hard for him still, but he is getting comfortable blowing bubbles and laying on his back (this is very hit or miss for him). Next week the kids get a little playtime since it is his last lesson for the session.  This week for meals are a mix of going out and trying a few new recipes. I am especially excited to try Sarah's chicken stew on Friday! 

Have a great week everyone! 

Sunday: Spaghetti and Meat Sauce with Salad and Garlic Bread
Monday: Culver's after swim
Tuesday: Loaded Beer Cheese Potato Soup and Rolls
Wednesday: Brown Sugar Crockpot Pork Chops, Herbed Rice and Roasted Cauliflower
Thursday: Subs
Friday: Indian Spiced Chicken Stew with Potatoes
Saturday: Out after Pumpkin Patch

Monday, October 2, 2017

Weekly Meal Plan 10/1 - 10/7

Happy Monday!

This weekend Ron and I were lucky to have a break from our boys and they had a visit with my in-laws on Saturday night. Ron and I attended one of my former co-worker's wedding. Sunday we got to sleep in (which is not that late for us because our bodies are now wired to get up super early) and I went to a barre class. After barre, and while Ron was still sleeping, I grabbed brunch with my sister and a few girlfriends. I had a few delicious mimosas and a smoked salmon eggs benedict with a salsa verde- so delicious.  I also ran a bunch of errands and we were ready to hang out with the boys when they finally got home. There was no Packer game this Sunday so we relaxed and home and I made a pot of lasagna soup. 

Today I got to go with Kellen and his class to the planetarium! Opportunities like this make me feel fortunate to be able to take a break, work on my license and spend a little more time with my kids. Tonight we had Rowan's swim class and popped over to Culver's for burgers and custard.  Boys are currently in bed and Ron and I are watching the news coverage from Las Vegas feeling tremendously saddened by what happened. It made me hug my boys and husband tighter tonight. 

This week I have my usual classes and tutoring. I also have a few exams this week so it will be full! We are also going to see a local theater production of Charlotte's Web on Friday- I think Kellen will love the show! 

This is also, hopefully, the last week of this 80 degree weather in October trash......

Have a great week everyone! 

Sunday: Lasagna Soup
Monday: Out for Culver's
Tuesday: Grilled BBQ Chicken and Smoked Sausage, Mac and Cheese, Salad and Peas
Wednesday: Old-Fashioned Beef Stew and Crusty Bread
Thursday: French Onion Chicken and Rice Casserole with Green Beans
Friday: Out
Saturday: Pizza

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Warm Mediterranean Orzo Salad

It is no secret that I love olives and all things briny in flavor. Las week I made pesto marinated grilled pork chops and we needed a side dish to serve with our pork chops.  I had some feta to use and happened to have some orzo in our pantry. This is a very easy dish to make and since it is all made in the same pot that means minimal dishes!  This is not a vegetarian dish because I used chicken broth, but subbing in vegetable broth or stock out be delicious as well. 

School is going well! Thanks for your nice encouraging e-mails and messages!  I am approaching a few exams next week and this week have started tutoring in a high school personal financial literacy class and am enjoying being in the schools! I am hoping to be done with my program by fall (potentially summer) of 2018! 

This weekend we have a date night on Saturday and are attending a friends wedding! I am also planning a few barre classes and potentially bottomless mimosas to follow. Of course there will be some homework in there as well. One of my new favorite brunch places is The Cannery. I am obsessed with their smoked salmon eggs benedict with salsa verde....yum. 

Currently, Ron and I are watching the Packer/Bear game. The Pack is up by 14 points- Go Pack Go! We also started Homeland (and the new season of Survivor) this week and really like it so far- have you guys watched this series?


Ingredients

2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp olive oil
1 cup uncooked orzo
2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1/4 tsp pepper 
1/4 tsp onion powder 
1/2 tsp dried orgeano
1/2 cup halved kalmata olives
1 roasted red pepper, chopped 
1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese, plus a little extra for topping
1/3 cup halved tomatoes


Instructions

Heat olive oil in large rimmed skillet over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook about a minute. Add the orzo and stir to coat in the oil. Add pepper, onion powder and oregano and stir. Add the broth is a half cup as a time as each each half cup is absorbed.  and allow mixture to slightly simmer.  With the last half cup for broth add the olives, pepper, cheese and tomatoes. Cook till broth is absorbed and orzo is tender. If you need to add additional broth that is not a problem, but add slowly so there is not too much liquid.  Remove from heat and serve. Top with additional feta if desired. 

Friday, September 22, 2017

Italian Sub Pasta Salad and a Life Update!

TGIF Everyone (do people still say that?)!

I am sharing a delicious pasta salad recipe because if you're experiencing the late September heat wave like Wisconsin is you can appreciate a cool dinner late in the season. 

I love cold Italian subs. Meaty and filling with crisp veggies and a zesty dressing....maybe add a few spicy peppers ass well- yum. This pasta salad is really easy and is a crowd  pleaser. The only thing that takes a little bit of time is the chopping, but it is worth the time! The dressing has a red wine vinegar and olive oil base and I dress it up with some oregano and a little garlic. I like to use a shaped pasta like radiatore (pictured below) because I feel that it grabs all the flavors and herbs in the nooks and crannies.  I like veggies in my pasta salad to balance the spice from the hard salami and zesty dressing and peppers. I like bell peppers, banana peppers, tomatoes, olives, and green onion. If my husband was not eating this I would certainly add some mushrooms as well! 

So what else is new in my world? Well, I left my job of about 7 years in August to return to school! I desperately needed more time with my children, and unfortunately those weren't options for me if I stayed at my former job.  I did a lot of thinking over the past 7 months, and after meeting with my licensing program, lots of talking with my family, and lots of personal contemplation- I left my job.  I enjoyed my previous job, but it wasn't my passion but I happened to be really good at it. I am currently taking classes to get my license to teach Social Studies. Since I already have a bachelor's in a related field I will not have to be in school for long. Right now I am taking classes and tutoring at my Alma Mater in Green Bay. Civics and history are a true passion of mine, and I am enjoying learning more. I am also looking forward to having summers and time during the holidays with my boys while having a challenging career.  This transition has given me a lot of perspective and I didn't realizing how much I was missing. I didn't realize how my life was comprised of going through the motions and rushing all day long.  

I will give you more updates on school as I chug along on this new adventure!


Ingredients

for dressing:
1/2 cup olive oil
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp oregano 
1 tsp basil 
1/4 tsp salt 
1/4 tsp pepper 

Whisk together and set aside

1 lb shaped pasta, cooked according to package instructions
2 bell peppers (I used yellow and orange), chopped
1/3 cup sliced black olives
6 oz hard salami chopped
1/3 cup sliced green onions 
1/2 pint cherry tomatoes, halved 
8 oz mozzarella petals, halved
1/2 cup chopped banana peppers


Instructions

In  large bowl, add pasta and all veggies, meat and cheese. Pour dressing over the top and stir gently to evenly mix all ingredients. 

Cover and store in the fridge about 30 minutes before serving. 

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Slowcooker Beefy Taco Noodle Soup

Hey everyone! 

Popping in to share a delicious weeknight soup with you! I am part of a soup swap and I have sadly had a mediocre showing with providing recipes, but this month the theme was "Quick Weeknight Soups". That is a theme I can get behind with school in full swing. This month Amy author of Amy's Cooking Adventures is our host and many thanks to her for organizing! Next month I am hosting so I had better get my butt in gear! 

I decided to make a slowcooker soup for the swap. My kids love tacos and I like to make different dishes using taco flavors because I know they will love it. I also added a few noodles because it is another food my children love! I added two different types of beans to make the soup even heartier. This soup is so easy and it is nice to get home and not worry about cooking dinner. 

We have had a few life changes I alluded to a few months ago and I will post more details on that later this week to give you guys an update! 

I also have to add it is ironic that I am sharing a soup today because it is 85 degrees today! However, this soup does not require your stove to simmer the soup so your house can stay cool!  


Ingredients

1 lb lean ground beef
1/2 a medium onion, diced
1 (15 oz) can black beans, rinsed
1 (15 oz ) can pinto beans, rinsed 
1 (4 oz) can diced green chilis
1 can original Rotel
1 taco seasoning packet 
1 ranch seasoning packet
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp ground cumin
5 cups low sodium chicken broth 
2/3 cup frozen corn
2/3 cup uncooked elbow noodles

Grated cheese, sour cream and corn chips for toppings


Instructions

Brown ground beef with onion. Drain.

Add to the slowcooker, beef/onion mixture and all remaining ingredients with exception of corn and noodles. Cook on low 4-5 hours.  During the last 30 minutes of cooking add the corn and the noodles. Stir and replace the cover of the slowcooker. Cook till noodles are tender.  Salt to taste. 

Serve and garlic with cheese,  sour cream and corn chips

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Weekly Meal Plan 6/25 - 7/1

Hello friends!

I have really been inconsistent lately and I have so many recipes to share with you I need to get blogging! The past few weeks have been crazy with work for Ron and I, but it seems that there is light at the end of the tunnel! I am so late with this meal plan, but I wanted to give you snap shot of our dinner table this week! 

This past weekend my co-worker had an apparel sale and we brought clothes ad hung out. Kellen got a little deep in the pool and I got to jump in after him- scary for both of us, but he was ready to get back in the next day. Later in the day we also sipped on ZIMA with Jolly Rancher (hello high school!). On Sunday, my sister, her boyfriend, my friend Emily and I went to see 47 Meters Down...... Oh. My.God. 90 minute anxiety attack.  

We have taken it a bit east this week because Ron has been slammed at work, but we are both really looking forward to a long weekend in Door County.  I love summer, but I always get a little sad because I wish we had more time to spend with the kids.  We got to have dinner with Ron's parents, sister, brother in law, and brother on Tuesday and that was awesome, as always, we have a lot of fun together. Pure Barre is doing a summer challenge and it has been a lot of fun. The goal is to do 40 classed in 60 days- whew! I am chugging along and hope I can get them all in! 

Have a great week everyone!

Sunday: Bacon Pierogie Bake and Salad
Monday: Tater Tot Casserole and Green Beans
Tuesday:  Out
Wednesday: Subs
Thursday:  Crockpot Italian Pork and Olives with Rice and Asparagus
Friday: Out for Pizza
Saturday: Grilled BBQ Chicken, Mac and Cheese and Peas

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Weekly Meal Plan 6/11 - 6/17

What a fun weekend- I am sad it is over!

Friday was Kellen's last day of school and we went out for pizza to celebrate. Earlier in the day the school had a nice little lunch for us to share with the kids, and it was a wonderful mid-day break. 

First day to last day (plus a little extra confidence and attitude- haha).


Saturday I headed to a Pure Barre class to get my seat kicked! I am so in-love with Pure Barre. I think it is harder each time I do it, but it is such a great workout. After class Kellen and I did a little shopping and made a Costco run. Kellen was just in it for the pizza.


Later in the afternoon we headed to the pool with friends and swam for a few hours. Rowan stayed home for a nap, but Kellen loved showing off his skills. In the evening we headed to the fireworks to celebrate Bay Beach's 125th anniversary. 


Today, I did a little more Pure Barre and relaxed at home.  Kellen was hanging out with Ron's parents so Rowan and I headed to dinner with may parents. Rowan was a little charmer- loving all the attention on him! Tonight I am working on a little homework and, but wanted to sneak in a quick post on our weekend!

This week Pure Barre is starting their summer challenge! 40 classes in 60 days....whew! Wish me luck with that! I am also looking forward to a short week and a trip to Chicago to see the Jurassic World exhibit!

Have a great week!


Sunday: Out
Monday: Sloppy Joe's, Chips and Watermelon
Tuesday:  Tuna Noodle Pasta Salad
Wednesday: Grilled Steaks and Grilled Asparagus
Thursday: Out
Friday: Out for Fish
Saturday: Grilled Kielbasa, Mac and Cheese and Peas


Thursday, June 8, 2017

Slow Cooker Jalapeno Popper Dip

How is it possible that I have not done an Improv Cooking Challenge in months!!! This is one of my favorite challenges because it pairs two ingredients and allows creativity to take over. It is fun because people make all sorts of things and there is always a different preparation I would not have thought to make.  The ingredients for this month are:  Jalapenos and Cheese.  I am finally getting my taste for spicy food back after it was completely dialed down to nothing while I was pregnant with my sweet Rowan.

I have actually had this recipe sitting in que for a while because I wanted to post it for this challenge, but it was hard to wait because it was so delicious.

I opted to make a slowcooker dip because it is so convenient and doesn’t use heat up the house with a warm oven to create a melty cheesy dip for a crowd.  This is a dip that is certainly work making. In fact, I entered it in my work’s appetizer contest and it won! It is spicy, smoky, cheesy and creamy….so yummy. This recipe makes a large amount and it can be cut in half, but I would make sure that you slightly reduce the cooking time to avoid any potential scorches to the dip. I use one sliced jalapeno on top, but if you want more heat you can scatter more fresh jalapenos on top.

Thanks to Nichole of Cookaholic Wife for organizing these challenges!  Next month the theme is berries and balsamic and I have a tasty ideas in mind!

I think I mentioned before that I am taking a class and it has taken up a lot of my time! I am entering the final week and will, thankfully have a little more time to devote to sharing more recipes with all of you! 



Ingredients

4  (8 oz) blocks of cream cheese, room temperature
1 cup sour cream
1 dry ranch dressing packet
2 (4 oz) cans diced jalapeño
1 cup chopped bacon, reserve 1/3 cup for topping
1 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese, reserve 1/2 cup for topping
1 fresh jalapeño , sliced


Instructions

In a medium bowl, mix together cream cheese, sour cream, ranch packet, diced  jalapeño, 2/3 cup bacon, and 1 cup cheese.  Spread evenly into a slowcooker. Top with remaining cheese and bacon. Arrange jalapeño slices on top. Cook on low 3 hours.

Friday, May 26, 2017

Slow Cooker Coconut Curry Chicken and Veggies

Man oh man I have been a slacker this week.  My meal plan was really not very exciting- burgers, tacos, subs, and out for pizza.....snooze!  I planned pretty light because I started a 4 week class called Cultural Images in Media for Children and Adolescents. The first week we are studying institutional racism and focusing on historical events leading to many of the current day issues. It is a lot of work, but some of that I gather is due to the fact I haven't taken an official class in over 10 years. However, I have enjoyed the first week immensely. 

If I planned ahead properly I would have put this slow cooker meal on my menu! I love easy weeknight dinners and this fits the bill. This meal is packed with lean chicken and veggies, but has a nice rich quality and spice from the coconut milk and curry paste. I love red curry, but I think you could easily sub green or yellow curry paste depending on what you like best. 

My friend Emily owns Green Bay Douals and this week we worked together to feature easy dinner recipes on her blog. I included some of my (and your) favorites and added freezer modifications if you are prepping for a new baby! Click here to check it out!

I have a winner selected for the giveaway- Congrats to Eva Bakes! 

I am really looking forward to a long weekend. We are staying around Saturday and I will do a little Pure Barre and some much needed yard work. Sunday we are heading to Door County for the day and hoping to catch the firework show in Green Bay in the evening, but we will see what time we get home from Door County. I am looking forward to the first visit to The Farm of 2017! Monday we are planning a relaxing day and grilling in the evening. 

Have a wonderful long and relaxing weekend everyone!




Ingredients

1 1/2 lb chicken breasts
1 can coconut milk
1/4 cup chicken broth
1 (14.5 oz) can diced tomatoes, drained
2 1/2 Tbl red curry paste 
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp dried basil 
1 (16 oz) bag of frozen stir fry veggies
Salt, to taste


Instructions

In a medium bowl, mix together coconut milk, broth, tomatoes, and the spices. Place chicken into the slowcooker and pour the coconut mixture over the chicken.  Cook on low for 6 hours. Remove chicken and shred or cut it into bite sized pieces. Add frozen vegetables and cook for an additional 30 minutes. Season with salt if desired. Serve with rice. 

Friday, May 19, 2017

Ginger Lime Summer Hummer #SharpenYourKitchenIQ & A Giveaway!

Happy Friday everyone!

We are going to have some fun today because today I am sharing two products given to me my KitchenIQ. I was given these kitchen products to review, but opinions are my own.  

V-etched Better Zester is the first kitchen tool I want to talk about because it is ah-maz-ing. 


I have a zester that I thought was awesome, but the Better Zester is even better. I made an Instagram video earlier this week that you can check out here and talked a little bit about some of the unique features of this zester. The Better Zester has a protective cover to protect the microplane from dulling and wearing faster than it should. The Better Zester has a unique curved shape and I really like how it allowed me to get a good angel on my citrus fruits to efficiently get as much zest as possible. My only complaint is that it is a little larger and fits a little awkwardly in my drawer- I almost wish is folded.  My favorite feature was the fresh zest storage container. I  make a mess when I zest and think helped to reduce my zest waste significantly. I find that it is many time the small conveniences that get me to experiment in my kitchen. The Better Zesters consumer friendly feature make it a happy addition to my kitchen. 

The Grate Ginger Tool is the second kitchen tool I received from KitchenIQ. This is another amazing product I am so excited to share with you. 

Truth be told ginger is not something I use often in my kitchen. Many time I avoid it because it can be a pain to prep. I was excited to try this tool because I am all about simplifying prep work whenever possible - #worksmarter! Click here for my Instagram video of this The Grate going to town and peeling the ginger! The Grate peels, grates, slices and extracts juice. It is a small size and does not take up a lot of space for all the jobs it does. My test of this product was peeling and I could not believe how fast and easy it made peeling ginger. The peeler is almost like a little spoon and got the job done so quickly! I also loved the slicer. Think of it as a mini mandolin- it is sharp so watch your fingers.  This is another product that I absolutely loved. If you use ginger this is a must have for your kitchen. It is easy to use (and washes well too- a must for this mom).  I think it is worth noting that this product can work with more than ginger because it will likely attract more folks to give it a try knowing it is versatile enough to work with just about any root vegetable. 

I wanted to create something taste using my new kitchen tools. What better way to celebrate summer on the horizon than a refreshing cocktail.  I love Moscow Mules and Summer Hummers, and decided to make combine my favorite flavors from these drinks. First, I made an easy Ginger Lime Syrup to sweeten my drink. 

Ginger Lime Syrup


Ingredients

Zest and Juice 1 medium Lime
2 inch piece fresh ginger, peeled sliced 
1 1/2 cup water
2/3 cup sugar 

Instructions

Place all ingredients in a small pot. Simmer for 10 minutes. Remove from heat. Strain, cool and pour into a jar. Store in fridge up to 1-2 weeks. 


So, next we come the cocktail. The best part. Like I said my inspiration was a cross between a Moscow Mule and a Summer Hummer. I opted for a vodka cocktail and I used limeade versus the traditional lemon is a summer hummer. I used a store bought limeade (I used Simply Limeade), but you could make your own. So how was the finished product? Delicious. The flavors works really well together and the drink was so refreshing.  The recipe below is for 1 drink, but I would say the recipe for the syrup will make about 5 drinks. 


Ingredients

1 1/2 - 2 shots vodka
1 1/2 shot ginger lime syrup (recipe above)
1/2  cup limeade (store bought or homemade)
Ice & fresh lime wedges

Instructions

Fill glass with ice and pour vodka over ice. Top with syrup and limeade. Stir with straw and garnish with a fresh lime wedge. 


KitchenIQ has been generous enough to offer a giveaway to my readers!  The prize pack is both the kitchen tools reviewed in this post and the V-etched Spice Grater! Enter in the Rafflecopter tool below and  I winner will be randomly selected next Friday! 
This contest is only valid for U.S.  residents. 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Weekly Meal Planning 5/14 - 5/20

Whew, I am late to the party with this post! I was sick almost all of last week and into the weekend and am playing catch-up this week. And by "catch-up" I mean starring at my now enormous pile of laundry and empty refrigerator.... Thankfully I was feeling pretty much back to normal by Mother's Day.  

How did your spend your Mother' Day? I started my day with Pure Barre and then we picked up my mom and had a long morning at the park. I grabbed Kellen McDonald's for lunch and went home for naps. I relaxed and watched t.v. and Ron cleaned-up the house. In the evening we headed to my parents for pizza and more playing outside. I kicked Ron's ass at Horse and that was an awesome win.

Look at this sweet pic:



This week has been pretty low key so far since last week was so up in the air. I did a Pure Barre class and will do another tonight. I am also planning to see the new movie in the Alien franchise with my Dad and Ron on Sunday. I am so excited to see it! Saturday is my sister's birthday and we are planning a little family dinner to celebrate! 

This weekend was also my friend Emily's  No Child Wet Behind diaper drive. They collected 23,000 diapers!! The hustle is strong with that one. 

In other news, Cheese Curd In Paradise now has it's own Instagram account! Click here to follow. I previously had all my blog related posts filter in my personal account, but that seemed a bit too much to have them combined.  If you want to follow my personal Instagram you can click here

Have a great week everyone and stay tuned for a giveaway post on Friday!

Sunday: Out
Monday: Grilled Cheese and Tomato Soup
Tuesday: Goulash and Peas
Wednesday: Leftovers/ Subs
Thursday:  Crock Pot Pork Verde Tacos with Jalapeno Sauce with Corn, Tomato and Avocado Salad
Friday: Grilled BBQ Chicken, Rice and Grilled Asparagus
Saturday: Out for my Sister's birthday

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Cheesecakes Cupcakes

Did you know that I use to hate cheesecake? It's true. Hated it. When Ron and I started dating I founf out he loooovvveeeddd cheesecake and it was early in our relationship that I wanted to do things like bake for him....I don't do that anymore- now I make him play Trivial Pursuit with me so I can win.  I learn to like cheesecake I decided that I needed to learn to make it. The more I made it the more I liked it. My parents never made cheesecake and prior t learning to make it I assumed it was the out of the box stuff. Oh I was wrong...and no offense to you boxed no-bake people...actually that's a lie...the no bake stuff if gross or at least I think so, but I always hated cheesecake and probably shouldn't be trusted with those kind of opinions. 

Since trying many cheesecake recipe you can find these lovelies on here:


I think my favorite is the Triple Chocolate. It as the first one I really "mastered". I also  lllooovvveeeee the Chocolate Peanut Butter one as well.  I have made a few that I never photographed and need to re-make as well. I made a Mile High New York Style and a fresh strawberry, but they were eaten too quickly. 

I have been on a kick with mini cheesecakes lately. The main reason I really like making them is because much of my baking is after kids are in bed and the minis bake/cook faster so I can get them in the fridge to chill before midnight....we have all had that cheesecake that just won't get done.... They aso don't need a water bath to bake....double awesome....but I normally do everything in my power to avoid water baths because I hate them for some reason. I have a lot of strong feeling surrounding cheesecake apparently.....

I want to make plain mini cheesecakes for Easter this year and found this recipe. I made my own sauce from Door County cherries and made a few adjustments, and the end result was delicious! I think this is one of the easier cheesecake recipes I have made and they turned out perfectly.  The one downside of minis is they are less forgiving than a large cheesecake. It is very easy to over bake them. I think that is why I made a lot of large ones first to get a good feel for when they are truly done. If you make this recipe keep a close eye from about 17 minutes on to make sure the center is slightly jiggly. If you over bake they crack and if you under bake they sink. No good. There is not a hard and fast rule and mainly you just need to keep a close eye. 

Like I said, I used cherry, but the original recipe provides a recipe for a strawberry or salted caramel topping and they both sound delicious. 

Tonight we are relaxing around the house. I really need to ut mulch down in my front yard so it doesn't look like a jungle like last year....I give myself a break because I had just birthed another human... This year will be the year the yard looks better! We will see if that actually happens....

Enjoy the cheesecake an have a great week my friends!


Ingredients

15 sheet of graham crackers
7 Tbsp salted butter, melted
4 (8 oz) pkg cream cheese, softened
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
3 Tbsp all-purpose flour
4 large eggs
2 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
2/3 cup sour cream


Instructions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. 

Place graham crackers in a food processor and crush. Pour in melted butter and as the food processor crushed the crackers. If you do not have a food processor a sealable bag and a rolling pin or heavy can will do the trick.  Divide graham cracker mixture among 24 paper lined muffin cups (about 1 1/2 Tbl per liner) . Press mixture into an even layer. Bake in preheated oven 5 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool while preparing filling.

In the mixing bowl, whisk together 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar with 3 Tbsp flour until well blended. Add softened cream cheese to a to the mixing bowl of a stand mixer (you can do this by hand too and pour sugar mixture over top. Mix mixture on low speed until smooth. Mix in eggs one at a time and blend on low speed, while scrapping sides and bottom of bowl and mixing just until combined after each addition. Add vanilla and sour cream and mix just until combined. Tap mixing bowl against counter top about 30 times to release some of the air bubbles. Divide mixture among muffin cups filling each cup nearly full. Bake in preheated oven 18 - 23 minutes (mine were done in 19 minutes), centers should still jiggle slightly, don't overbake (if they begin to crack they are starting to become overbaked). Remove from oven and allow to cool 1 hour. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator; chill 2 hours. Store in an airtight container in refrigerator or freeze.

Monday, May 8, 2017

Weekly Meal Plan 5/7 - 5/13

I lost my voice on Friday (likely a minor cold) and it is now finally returning..... no cool at all. It was a bit of a bummer because I had a brunch for an AAUW group I am in and had to whisper to people! Fortunately everyone understood and I got to sit in silence and enjoy the meeting and program....sign.  After the Saturday brunch and naps, we headed to Bay Beach for opening day. Kellen and his friend loved the ride and screamed their heads off then entire time. After Bay Beach, we headed home with our friends to grill burgers and relax. 


On Sunday, I headed to a barre class and in the afternoon the boys headed to my in-laws and we went to see Alton Brown with my parents. Prior to the show we stopped at The Cannery for dinner. We shared a delicious cheese board and cheese curds. I had a pork and apple crepe and a side ofgrilled asparagus...so yummy. 



It was so strange getting ready this morning with no kids around. I actually went into work an hour early..... It is crazy how much time I use to have... 

This week I am doing a few barre classes and my friend Emily's  No Child Wet Behind walk is on Saturday!  The walk collects diapers to donate to families in need and they already have thousands of diapers from people who already donated! I am helping with registration and I know Kellen will be sooooo excited over the fire truck! 

Also check out this awesome find!


Here is  what is on tap!

Sunday: Out
Monday: One-Pot Pasta Primavera with Grilled Shrimp and Salad
Tuesday: Goulash and Peas
Wednesday: Subs/Leftovers
Thursday: Grilled Cheese Sandwiches and Tomato Soup with Green Beans
Friday: Grilled Cheeseburgers, Pasta Salad and Baked Beans
Saturday: Pizza

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Buffalo Chicken Roll-Ups

I spent the entire day thinking that today was Wednesday. I was mainly excited about it being Wednesday because Survivor is on Wednesday but, alas, it is Tuesday. On the bright side I got to play volleyball tonight and I always enjoy that (even if we lost tonight....boo).

Has anyone watch The Handmaid's Tale on Hulu? I just finished the first episode and am enjoying it. The Handmaid's Tale is one of my favorite books. I have a few books that I periodically re-read because I love them and every time I re-read them I notice something new, contemplate a different idea, or have a different take-away. The Handmaid's Tale, Animal Farm, 1984, The Hobbit, Lord of the Rings, A Time to Kill, To Kill a Mocking Bird, A Man with Out a Country, and Ovid Metamorphoses. Those are just a few in a long list of favorite, but I find myself re-reading these stories and always enjoying them. I also really like Elizabeth Moss as Offred. I wasn't sure how this character would be cast because I oddly do not have a distinct image of her in my mind. 

I wanted to share a taste bite sized appetizer with you tonight.  I am currently loving buffalo chicken after a hiatus while I was pregnant with Rowan and was not a fan of heat...thankfully that love for spice is back.  These are so easy to make and this recipe makes a lot of roll-ups. The recipe is easy to cut in half or even quarter if you are not preparing them for a large crowd. The trick to pinwheels or roll-ups is to wrap them in plastic wrap and chill them before slicing. It allows you to get clean small sliced that do not get flattened when you slice them. It also allows for you to get a thinner slice for appetizer portions.  I used ranch dressing in my roll-ups, but blue cheese dressing or a few blue cheese crumbles would be a tasty addition. 

I am off to bed and ready to call it a night- after I wash all the sand off of course!


Ingredients

2 cups finely chopped cooked chicken
2 (12 oz) container whipped cream cheese 
1/4 cup sour cream
2/3 cup ranch dressing
1/2 cup buffalo wing sauce 
1 1/4 shredded Monterey jack cheese (or pepper jack for an extra bite)
10 8-inch flour tortillas 


Instructions

In a medium mixing bowl, mix together chicken, cream cheese, sour cream, ranch, buffalo sauce, and cheese.  Spread about 1/4 -1/3 cup of the mixture (depending on how “filled” you want your roll-up) on the tortilla leaving about 2-3 inches bare on one side of the tortilla (as you roll the tortilla the spread will fill in this part).  Starting on the side with the chicken spread, roll the tortilla tightly. Wrap with plastic wrap and chill in the fridge for 2 hours (or overnight).  Remove from fridge and remove the plastic wrap. Slice into 1 ½- 2 inch slices and serve. 

Monday, May 1, 2017

Weekly Meal Plan 4/30- 5/6

My baby took 3 big boy steps tonight. Then I pushed him over because he s not allowed to walk yet....just kidding....I guess. I continue to be in awe at how fast my boys are growing. I wish there was a pause button.  However, when Kellen really gets crazy 4 year old on me......ugh....I likely eat my words in that moment.  Kellen s incredibly independent and self-assured. I know later in life this will serve him well, but holy shit dude.....some days are so exhausting.  We have entered the stage of "I don't have to listen" and "don't talk to me like that"..... sigh.... Such a little person with such confidence, but it can be such a struggle. I hear tis gets better as they get old...I hope that's not something they say just to make you feel better in the moment.

This weekend was a lots of fun- besides a bossy, but cute 4 year old. Friday we made pasta and had friends over. Saturday I went to Pure Barre, McDonald's playland and a Costco/Target run.  Saturday night I met up with a few girlfriends for dinner and drinks.  Sunday was more Pure Bare, a movie date to see Boss Baby (so funny), and dinner with Ron's family!

This week I have a few barre classes (a hardcore intensive on Friday!), a volleyball game, AAUW brunch, and Alton Brown on Sunday! Ron and I saw Alton Brown in Chicago and loved the show. We were so excited when we heard he was coming to Green Bay!

This week's menu is lots of quick meal. I find myself short on time at night and love something quick and easy to we can enjoy our night. 

Sunday: Out
Monday: Cheesy Sausage Tortellini, Salad and Green Beans
Tuesday: Tex Mex Slow Cooker Chicken Bowls with Cilantro Lime Rice
Wednesday: Leftovers/Subs
Thursday: Grilled Pesto Burgers Burgers with Roasted Red Pepper Garlic Mayo and Salad
Friday: Out
Saturday: Spicy Beef Tacos and Margaritas

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Weekly Meal Plan 4/24 - 4/29

What is on our table this week?  Lots of yummy things. Many of the yummy things spilled over to this week because our entire house, minus Kellen and the cats, had a stomach bug. Now that the grossness has left we can return to meal normalcy. 

This weekend the weather was beautiful and we went to the park to play and headed to the county wildlife sanctuary for an Earth Day event. Kellen and Rowan both loved the outdoor time and watching all of the animals. We also grabbed dinner with my parents at a local broasted chicken restaurant on Sunday. The icing on the cake was beating Ron at Trivial Pursuit. 

This week work is busy with presentations and training, but we have a pretty easy week at home. I am doing a few Pure Barre classes, a volleyball game and a dinner with a few friends on Saturday night. I am also hoping to get the kids outside to play and hoping to start doing a little yard clearing before things get out of hand and it looks like a dump (aka my outdoor space all last year....I blame the baby). 

Have a wonderful week everyone- I will be back tomorrow with a delicious treat to share!


Monday: Chicken Enchiladas, Rice and Beans
Tuesday:  Italian Olive Pork Tenderloin, Rice and Green Beans
Wednesday: Subs
Thursday:  Creamy Taco Mac and Salad
Friday: Grilled Pesto Burgers Burgers with Roasted Red Pepper Garlic Mayo and Salad
Saturday: Out
Sunday: Spicy Beef Chili

Friday, April 21, 2017

One Pot Pesto Feta Pasta with Asparagus

TGIF!

I am really tired today.... I went to see Tesla, Poison and Def Leppard on Wednesday night and I am still recovering from being up till midnight and getting up at my normal 5:00 AM alarm. Now that I am not 22 anymore apparently I can't hang. Sigh. Either way the concert was awesome and I got to drink beer. Double win. 

I love asparagus and when the season starts we eat it like crazy. It obviously has but started popping up in Wisconsin, but it is more readily available making the grocery store prices super cheap. I decided I wanted to make a one-pot pasta with asparagus and my favorite combo: feta and pesto. I threw in a little tomato and bacon because why not? This recipe take about 30 minutes to make which makes it weeknight friendly and those, as you know, are my very favorite recipes of all.  The great thing about this recipe is you can add different mix-ins if your family likes something additional like mushrooms or spinach. My family loved this pasta and, to my surprise, Kellen declared it was the best ever. At 4 years old Kellen is a good eater, but like to have his picky days. However, he seems to have developed a love for all things pesto.....

Tonight we are planning to go out for fish and then a relaxing night at home. I have my fingers crossed for an early bedtime so Ron and I can watch a movie. I think we might watch something new.... but perhaps will re-watch Patriot Games with Harrison Ford and Sean Bean (if you haven't see this before it is great as is Clear and Present Danger).  Speaking of movies, I am so excited for the new Alien movie. So. Excited. I love that franchise and sci-fi.....I have already informed Ron that he is taking me on opening day- my Dad will come too.

Have a happy Friday friends and a great weekend!  


Ingredients

1/2 small onion, diced 
1 tsp olive oil
1 lb dry shaped pasta (a "thicker"  shape like gemelli or radiatori) 
2 cups low sodium chicken broth
2 3/4 cup milk (I use whole)
2/3 cup pesto 
1/2 tsp black pepper 
3 oz feta cheese (1/2 a regular container), reserve remainder for topping 
1 lb asparagus, ends trimmed and chopped 
1/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese 
8 pieces of bacon cooked crisp and chopped 
Tomatoes chopped, garnish 


Instructions

In a pot, saute onion in olive oil till tender.  Add pasta, broth, milk, pesto, pepper, and feta. Simmer until pasta is tender and sauce reduced. Reduce heat to low and stir in Parmesan cheese, asparagus (this will work best with a thin to medium stalk) and 3/4 of the chopped bacon (reserve the rest for topping). Allow asparagus to soften in the warm pasta for 2-3 minutes. 

Portion the pasta and top with feta, bacon and chopped tomatoes.