Monday, June 18, 2018

Homemade Hoagie Rolls

So full disclosure, we have owned a Kitchenmaid mixer for years, and I have never used it.  It has always intimidated me and I have left it for the hubby to use.  It's heavy and bulky and complicated, and I never liked it. Until now.

You guys, these homemade rolls were everything.  They were so easy, especially with the mixer, and I will never by store made rolls again.  Ever.  I'm going to expand my Kitchenmaid skills into different types of rolls, bread, buns, etc so stay tuned.



Here is the recipe I used from A Sweet Pea Chef

And on to my resolutions...

As for my resolutions...

1. Read a minimum of 20 mins per day - 103 out of 168 days

2. Read a minimum of 1 book per month -
March - Lost Echoes
April - The Magic by Rhonda Byrne
Loving What Is by Byron Katie (I highly recommend this book, I'm reading it again to make sure it all sinks in)
May - Judgment Detox by Gabrielle Bernstein
June - Bag of Bones by Stephen King

3. Drink 80oz of water per day - 48 out of 168 days, an embarrassment

4. Get in a minimum of 10,000 steps daily - 115 out of 168 days

5. Post on this blog weekly - 16 out of 25 weeks

6. Lose the baby weight and get into the best shape of my life - working on it!

7. Get rid of 52 things -
1-6. Books given to my daughter's friend, they were duplicates that I didn't need to hang on to
7. Threw out some cleaning products and knick knacks that were under the kitchen sink
8. Got rid of some baby clothes that we had been given by a friend - they were all boys clothes
(since we thought we were having a boy) - I kept some neutral items and brought the rest to Once
Upon A Child for some cash
9. Got rid of all the old tupperware (and bought a new set - does that count? I'm going to say yes
because in the past I would have kept the old & the new)
10. Dumped all of the expired vitamins and medicine that we had (some dating as far back as 2010!!) - more on that below
11.  Possibly TMI but I got rid of a ton of old underwear - now I have to replace them, which is always fun.
12. I sold Brie's bassinet this week, $60 in my pocket and one less thing to hang on to
13. Gave two huge bags of clothes to Value Village
14. Got rid of a travel bottle warmer and some bottles to someone who needed them on LetGo
15. Got rid of 2 bags of the hubbies clothes (donated)
16. Got rid of a bag of boys baby clothes (gave to my friend)

8. Organize/clean 52 areas (that I wouldn't normally clean during my daily/weekly routines)
1. Organized my book shelves by giving away duplicate books, grouping the self-help novels together, grouping authors together that I have huge collections of, and alphabetizing the remaining books
2. Cleaned the area underneath the kitchen sink - it was a disaster. Now everything is organized
and accounted for
3. I cleaned the top of the hallway closet and threw out winter gear that had no matches along with
other little things that had no business being there (or anywhere). A small project, but a needed
one! (see pictures below)
4. I cleaned our "medicine cabinet" - we have a section of shelving in our kitchen where we keep vitamins and medicine. Most of the bottles were expired, and it was a mess up there. See before and after pics above. And yes, I am still taking prenatal vitamins. We plan on having one more baby so might as well stay healthy for that. To be honest I think I'll continue taking them indefinitely - they are great.
5. I finally cleaned my linen closet and got rid of a ton of things we didn't need.  Check out the before and after pics below- we now have a whole empty shelf to fill up!  I think we will use it for toilet paper and paper towel which is currently stuffed in the spare bedroom's closet.  That will be my next task to tackle.
6. Check out the before and after pics below of my linen closet.  So glad I got to this one!
7. I also cleaned up my coffee table shelves, pics below

11. Email or call my Grandma weekly - I still need to get a long distance phone plan to call her in New Jersey.  We are visiting next weekend, I can't wait.  In the meantime I have been texting pics & videos to my Uncle who shares them with her

12.  Do things to get me out of my comfort zone
1. I attended a mom/baby fitness class, and loved it so much that I'll be going weekly (with a friend     of mine pictured above)
2. Joined another mommy/baby fitness class (salsa) that I haven't started yet - it begins on Thursday and it's an hour away.  I joined with the same friend who comes to my neck of the woods once a week for the other classes we are doing.  This is out of my comfort zone for two reasons - the obvious one is attending and trying a new class, but also the fact that it is so far away.  I usually don't venture too far out of my bubble.  I'll be able to walk around after each class and explore a new city, so that'll be fun, and an added bonus.
3. I started going to a chiropractor for my achy back.  This is big for me - I don't like to be touched by strangers.  So yea, this is huge
4.  I went to the dentist.  After 9 years.  Yes you read that right. No cavities, just tartar build up so I have to go back to have them freeze me and do a cleaning that will take an hour.  I'm going back May 1st.  I'm afraid of the dentist (hence the 9 year hiatus) so this qualifies as being outside of my comfort zone.
5. As a follow up to my visit to the dentist, I returned to get needles (eek!) to freeze my gums and do a one hour cleaning on the right side of my mouth.  Today I go for the left side.  In the past I would have avoided this all together and just not shown up.

13. Go on the treadmill for a minimum of 20 minutes daily - 37 out of 71 days

And some cute pics from Father's Day this past weekend...
We went to our favorite restaurant (Jake's Grill & Oyster House) after spending a few hours in the scorching sun watching the hubby's soccer game



Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Butter Chicken And The Usual

I was feeling for some East Indian flavors this week, and boy did this recipe do the trick!  It was fairly easy to put together, and really hit the spot.  I had mine with mashed cauliflower to cut the carb count, and the rest of the family had rice.  Butter chicken is East Indian comfort food for sure.  So creamy and rich.  Delicious!!

The chicken before putting it in the oven

The sauce simmering (before the addition of cream)

The final product, over mashed cauliflower

This is the recipe I used

As for my resolutions...

1. Read a minimum of 20 mins per day - 98 out of 163 days

2. Read a minimum of 1 book per month -
March - Lost Echoes
April - The Magic by Rhonda Byrne
Loving What Is by Byron Katie (I highly recommend this book, I'm reading it again to make sure it all sinks in)
May - Judgement Detox by Gabrielle Bernstein
June - Bag of Bones by Stephen King

3. Drink 80oz of water per day - 45 out of 163 days, an embarrassment

4. Get in a minimum of 10,000 steps daily - 111 out of 163 days

5. Post on this blog weekly - 15 out of 23 weeks

6. Lose the baby weight and get into the best shape of my life - working on it!

7. Get rid of 52 things -
1-6. Books given to my daughter's friend, they were duplicates that I didn't need to hang on to
7. Threw out some cleaning products and knick knacks that were under the kitchen sink
8. Got rid of some baby clothes that we had been given by a friend - they were all boys clothes
(since we thought we were having a boy) - I kept some neutral items and brought the rest to Once
Upon A Child for some cash
9. Got rid of all the old tupperware (and bought a new set - does that count? I'm going to say yes
because in the past I would have kept the old & the new)
10. Dumped all of the expired vitamins and medicine that we had (some dating as far back as 2010!!) - more on that below
11.  Possibly TMI but I got rid of a ton of old underwear - now I have to replace them, which is always fun.
12. I sold Brie's bassinet this week, $60 in my pocket and one less thing to hang on to
13. Gave two huge bags of clothes to Value Village
14. Got rid of a travel bottle warmer and some bottles to someone who needed them on LetGo
15. Got rid of 2 bags of the hubbies clothes (donated)
16. Got rid of a bag of boys baby clothes (gave to my friend)

8. Organize/clean 52 areas (that I wouldn't normally clean during my daily/weekly routines)
1. Organized my book shelves by giving away duplicate books, grouping the self-help novels together, grouping authors together that I have huge collections of, and alphabetizing the remaining books
2. Cleaned the area underneath the kitchen sink - it was a disaster. Now everything is organized
and accounted for
3. I cleaned the top of the hallway closet and threw out winter gear that had no matches along with
other little things that had no business being there (or anywhere). A small project, but a needed
one! (see pictures below)
4. I cleaned our "medicine cabinet" - we have a section of shelving in our kitchen where we keep vitamins and medicine. Most of the bottles were expired, and it was a mess up there. See before and after pics above. And yes, I am still taking prenatal vitamins. We plan on having one more baby so might as well stay healthy for that. To be honest I think I'll continue taking them indefinitely - they are great.
5. I finally cleaned my linen closet and got rid of a ton of things we didn't need.  Check out the before and after pics below- we now have a whole empty shelf to fill up!  I think we will use it for toilet paper and paper towel which is currently stuffed in the spare bedroom's closet.  That will be my next task to tackle.
6. Check out the before and after pics below of my linen closet.  So glad I got to this one!
7. I also cleaned up my coffee table shelves, pics below

11. Email or call my Grandma weekly - I still need to get a long distance phone plan to call her in New Jersey.  We are visiting next weekend, I can't wait.  In the meantime I have been texting pics & videos to my Uncle who shares them with her

12.  Do things to get me out of my comfort zone
1. I attended a mom/baby fitness class, and loved it so much that I'll be going weekly (with a friend     of mine pictured above)
2. Joined another mommy/baby fitness class (salsa) that I haven't started yet - it begins on Thursday and it's an hour away.  I joined with the same friend who comes to my neck of the woods once a week for the other classes we are doing.  This is out of my comfort zone for two reasons - the obvious one is attending and trying a new class, but also the fact that it is so far away.  I usually don't venture too far out of my bubble.  I'll be able to walk around after each class and explore a new city, so that'll be fun, and an added bonus.
3. I started going to a chiropractor for my achy back.  This is big for me - I don't like to be touched by strangers.  So yea, this is huge
4.  I went to the dentist.  After 9 years.  Yes you read that right. No cavities, just tartar build up so I have to go back to have them freeze me and do a cleaning that will take an hour.  I'm going back May 1st.  I'm afraid of the dentist (hence the 9 year hiatus) so this qualifies as being outside of my comfort zone.
5. As a follow up to my visit to the dentist, I returned to get needles (eek!) to freeze my gums and do a one hour cleaning on the right side of my mouth.  Today I go for the left side.  In the past I would have avoided this all together and just not shown up.

13. Do back exercises dailyI'm getting rid of this one, it isn't working for me

14. Workout for a minimum of 20 minutes dailyAlso getting rid of this one - I walk for a minimum of an hour a day and attend fitness classes as time permits, so I'm ok with this

15. Go on the treadmill for a minimum of 20 minutes daily - 33 out of 65 days

I'll end this post with some pics from our recent family trip to New Jersey to visit family...





Thursday, May 31, 2018

Flourless Banana Chocolate Protein Muffins

Hello!

I had quite the sweet tooth this week, so I decided to make something that I would feel comfortable eating, and not too guilty about it.  Enter these muffins.  I experimented with the original recipe a bit and they came out divine!!


I used this recipe but added a package of soft tofu as well as about a 1/4 cup of almond milk to help blend the ingredients.  I also topped them with chopped up milk chocolate.  Yum.  They needed an extra 15 minutes in the oven because of the added moisture but they were so damn good.

I haven't been doing great with my resolutions.  There has been a ton going on in my personal life, but that's no excuse.  I'll try harder, and do better.

1. Read a minimum of 20 mins per day - 90 out of 151 days

2. Read a minimum of 1 book per month -
March - Lost Echoes
April - The Magic by Rhonda Byrne
Loving What Is by Byron Katie (I highly recommend this book, I'm reading it again to make sure it all sinks in)
May - nothing yet but almost finished two books, hopefully one will be done today

3. Drink 80oz of water per day - 42 out of 151 days, an embarrassment

4. Get in a minimum of 10,000 steps daily - 101 out of 151 days

5. Post on this blog weekly - 14 out of 22 weeks

6. Lose the baby weight and get into the best shape of my life - working on it!

7. Get rid of 52 things -
1-6. Books given to my daughter's friend, they were duplicates that I didn't need to hang on to
7. Threw out some cleaning products and knick knacks that were under the kitchen sink
8. Got rid of some baby clothes that we had been given by a friend - they were all boys clothes
(since we thought we were having a boy) - I kept some neutral items and brought the rest to Once
Upon A Child for some cash
9. Got rid of all the old tupperware (and bought a new set - does that count? I'm going to say yes
because in the past I would have kept the old & the new)
10. Dumped all of the expired vitamins and medicine that we had (some dating as far back as 2010!!) - more on that below
11.  Possibly TMI but I got rid of a ton of old underwear - now I have to replace them, which is always fun.
12. I sold Brie's bassinet this week, $60 in my pocket and one less thing to hang on to
13. Gave two huge bags of clothes to Value Village
14. Got rid of a travel bottle warmer and some bottles to someone who needed them on LetGo

8. Organize/clean 52 areas (that I wouldn't normally clean during my daily/weekly routines)
1. Organized my book shelves by giving away duplicate books, grouping the self-help novels together, grouping authors together that I have huge collections of, and alphabetizing the remaining books
2. Cleaned the area underneath the kitchen sink - it was a disaster. Now everything is organized
and accounted for
3. I cleaned the top of the hallway closet and threw out winter gear that had no matches along with
other little things that had no business being there (or anywhere). A small project, but a needed
one! (see pictures below)
4. I cleaned our "medicine cabinet" - we have a section of shelving in our kitchen where we keep vitamins and medicine. Most of the bottles were expired, and it was a mess up there. See before and after pics above. And yes, I am still taking prenatal vitamins. We plan on having one more baby so might as well stay healthy for that. To be honest I think I'll continue taking them indefinitely - they are great.
5. I finally cleaned my linen closet and got rid of a ton of things we didn't need.  Check out the before and after pics below- we now have a whole empty shelf to fill up!  I think we will use it for toilet paper and paper towel which is currently stuffed in the spare bedroom's closet.  That will be my next task to tackle.
6. Check out the before and after pics below of my linen closet.  So glad I got to this one!
7. I also cleaned up my coffee table shelves, pics below

11. Email or call my Grandma weekly - I still need to get a long distance phone plan to call her in New Jersey.  We are visiting next weekend, I can't wait.  In the meantime I have been texting pics & videos to my Uncle who shares them with her

12.  Do things to get me out of my comfort zone
1. I attended a mom/baby fitness class, and loved it so much that I'll be going weekly (with a friend     of mine pictured above)
2. Joined another mommy/baby fitness class (salsa) that I haven't started yet - it begins on Thursday and it's an hour away.  I joined with the same friend who comes to my neck of the woods once a week for the other classes we are doing.  This is out of my comfort zone for two reasons - the obvious one is attending and trying a new class, but also the fact that it is so far away.  I usually don't venture too far out of my bubble.  I'll be able to walk around after each class and explore a new city, so that'll be fun, and an added bonus.
3. I started going to a chiropractor for my achy back.  This is big for me - I don't like to be touched by strangers.  So yea, this is huge
4.  I went to the dentist.  After 9 years.  Yes you read that right. No cavities, just tartar build up so I have to go back to have them freeze me and do a cleaning that will take an hour.  I'm going back May 1st.  I'm afraid of the dentist (hence the 9 year hiatus) so this qualifies as being outside of my comfort zone.
5. As a follow up to my visit to the dentist, I returned to get needles (eek!) to freeze my gums and do a one hour cleaning on the right side of my mouth.  Today I go for the left side.  In the past I would have avoided this all together and just not shown up.

13. Do back exercises daily - 13 out of 52 days, I need to get on this

14. Workout for a minimum of 20 minutes daily - 22 out of 52 days, not great

15. Go on the treadmill for a minimum of 20 minutes daily - 28 out of 52 days

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Potato Bread, Penne a la Vodka & The Regular Ramble

We went to our friends house for dinner recently, and they made penne a la vodka (to DIE for) and homemade potato bread.  I went home that evening thinking I would give the bread a try.  We will definitely be making the pasta, but more on that later.

The next day I woke up bright eyed and bushy tailed ready to start baking.  Until I realized that we didn't have any yeast.  No big deal right?  Ya, ok. I decided to try making the bread anyways, and I googled what I could use as a substitute for yeast.  I found a website that said I could mix equal parts baking soda & lemon juice to make the amount of yeast required.  Awesome.  The other thing I didn't do was use our Kitchenaid mixer.  It's heavy and intimidates me, so I avoid it at all costs.

Here's the recipe I used for the bread 
It truly would have been amazing had I used yeast, and the mixer, like our friends did.  Instead I got a very dense, yellowish loaf, and some rolls.


I have never been one to waste food, so I've been eating my heavy yellow bread all week, and I must say it's pretty good.  And it makes a mean breakfast sandwich



Next time I'll make it properly...or not :)

As for the penne a la vodka, it's definitely being added to our dinner rotation.  It was so easy, and there was no recipe for it.  Our friend fried up some bacon pieces, then removed them from the pan.  In the bacon grease she cooked up some chopped onions and garlic, some vodka, then added in tomato paste & stirred to combine.  After a few minutes she added in heavy cream, and the cooked bacon.  She then tossed the sauce with cooked penne and voila!  A super simple recipe using quality ingredients.  It came out so rich and decadent, and can easily be served to a crowd.


And on to the resolutions...

1. Read a minimum of 20 mins per day - 69 out of 108 days, getting better

2. Read a minimum of 1 book per month -
March - Lost Echoes
April - The Magic by Rhonda Byrne
Loving What Is by Byron Katie (I highly recommend this book, I'm reading it again to make sure it all sinks in)

3. Drink 80oz of water per day - 29 out of 108 days, an embarrassment

4. Get in a minimum of 10,000 steps daily - 72 out of 108 days, also getting better

5. Post on this blog weekly - so far so good, 13 out of 16 weeks

6. Lose the baby weight and get into the best shape of my life - working on it!

7. Get rid of 52 things -
1-6. Books given to my daughter's friend, they were duplicates that I didn't need to hang on to
7. Threw out some cleaning products and knick knacks that were under the kitchen sink
8. Got rid of some baby clothes that we had been given by a friend - they were all boys clothes
(since we thought we were having a boy) - I kept some neutral items and brought the rest to Once
Upon A Child for some cash
9. Got rid of all the old tupperware (and bought a new set - does that count? I'm going to say yes
because in the past I would have kept the old & the new)
10. Dumped all of the expired vitamins and medicine that we had (some dating as far back as 2010!!) - more on that below
11.  Possibly TMI but I got rid of a ton of old underwear - now I have to replace them, which is always fun.
12. I sold Brie's bassinet this week, $60 in my pocket and one less thing to hang on to

8. Organize/clean 52 areas (that I wouldn't normally clean during my daily/weekly routines)
1. Organized my book shelves by giving away duplicate books, grouping the self-help novels together, grouping authors together that I have huge collections of, and alphabetizing the remaining books
2. Cleaned the area underneath the kitchen sink - it was a disaster. Now everything is organized
and accounted for
3. I cleaned the top of the hallway closet and threw out winter gear that had no matches along with
other little things that had no business being there (or anywhere). A small project, but a needed
one! (see pictures below)
4. I cleaned our "medicine cabinet" - we have a section of shelving in our kitchen where we keep vitamins and medicine. Most of the bottles were expired, and it was a mess up there. See before and after pics above. And yes, I am still taking prenatal vitamins. We plan on having one more baby so might as well stay healthy for that. To be honest I think I'll continue taking them indefinitely - they are great.
5. I finally cleaned my linen closet and got rid of a ton of things we didn't need.  Check out the before and after pics below- we now have a whole empty shelf to fill up!  I think we will use it for toilet paper and paper towel which is currently stuffed in the spare bedroom's closet.  That will be my next task to tackle.
6. Check out the before and after pics below of my linen closet.  So glad I got to this one!
7. I also cleaned up my coffee table shelves, pics below

11. Email or call my Grandma weekly - My Grandma just moved from Florida to New Jersey, and she chose not to bring her laptop with her (and really, at 90 years old, can you blame her?) so I will be texting pics to my uncle to share with her, and I will invest this week in a long distance phone plan so that I can call her weekly

12.  Do things to get me out of my comfort zone
1. I attended a mom/baby fitness class, and loved it so much that I'll be going weekly (with a friend     of mine pictured above)
2. Joined another mommy/baby fitness class (salsa) that I haven't started yet - it begins on Thursday and it's an hour away.  I joined with the same friend who comes to my neck of the woods once a week for the other classes we are doing.  This is out of my comfort zone for two reasons - the obvious one is attending and trying a new class, but also the fact that it is so far away.  I usually don't venture too far out of my bubble.  I'll be able to walk around after each class and explore a new city, so that'll be fun, and an added bonus.
3. I started going to a chiropractor for my achy back.  This is big for me - I don't like to be touched by strangers.  So yea, this is huge
4.  I went to the dentist.  After 9 years.  Yes you read that right. No cavities, just tartar build up so I have to go back to have them freeze me and do a cleaning that will take an hour.  I'm going back May 1st.  I'm afraid of the dentist (hence the 9 year hiatus) so this qualifies as being outside of my comfort zone.

13. Do back exercises daily - 5 out of 11 days, not too bad

14. Workout for a minimum of 20 minutes daily - 7 out of 11 days, not terrible

15. Go on the treadmill for a minimum of 20 minutes daily - 5 out of 11 days, not too bad

And some pics to end the post...

We celebrated 10 years this week!

What a handsome guy

Our beauties







That's it, that's all!  Enjoy your week!


Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Jerk Pork With Mango Salad and Rice & Peas

Here's another older post that I found that didn't quite make it to the "publish" stage.  The funny thing is that now we have jerk pork at least once a month.  It's the only way that I cook pork shoulder now, and we love it!!!



We got an amazing deal on a pork shoulder the other day so we grabbed it and brought that baby home to cook.  Normally I do pulled pork in the slow cooker with this cut of meat, but I was craving West Indian food, and had a few mangoes to use up - so why not do some jerk pork with mango salad?  So easy, and so delicious!



For the pork, I rubbed it with seasoning salt and some dry Caribbean seasoning, then with a wet jerk rub.  I let it sit for about an hour, then popped it in the oven, uncovered, at 425 for 30 minutes.  I then lowered the temp to 325 and covered it, and let it cook for another 3 hours.  The high temp allows a crust to be formed and the low temp ensures that it doesn't dry it.  Works perfectly every time!

For the rice and peas, I would normally use kidney beans but didn't have any, so black beans it was! Use what's in your pantry people!  Put 5 cups of rice and 8 cups of water in a pot, along with a can of rinsed black beans.  Salt the water and put it on high.  Add a nice chunk of creamed coconut and let the water boil.  Once boiling, mix it up slightly so the coconut is evenly distributed, put a lid on the pot, and turn the heat off completely.  Leave it alone, and you'll have perfectly cooked rice in about 45 minutes.

For the mango salad, dice up a couple of mangoes, 1/4 of a red onion, and a good bunch of cilantro. Put everything in a container with a lid, squeeze a lime over top, mix it up and put it in the fridge until you're ready to eat.

A feast of a meal with only about 10 minutes prep time.  Love it!



And on to the resolutions...



1. Read a minimum of 20 mins per day - 62 out of 99 days, getting better

2. Read a minimum of 1 book per month -
March - Lost Echoes

3. Drink 80oz of water per day - 26 out of 99 days, an embarrassment

4. Get in a minimum of 10,000 steps daily - 66 out of 99 days, also getting better

5. Post on this blog weekly - so far so good, although I did miss last week, so I'm at 12 out of 15 weeks

6. Lose the baby weight and get into the best shape of my life - working on it! - I also added 3 more resolutions to keep on track with this one, see below

7. Have 12 no spend weeks - I'm gonna go ahead and delete this one.  With a baby there is no way I can do a no spend week.  I will however be doing a pantry challenge, likely in May

8. Write for 30 mins per week - I'm also deleting this one.  It isn't making me happy, and I'm not going to work on a resolution that doesn't contribute to my happiness and well-being

9. Get rid of 52 things -
1-6. Books given to my daughter's friend, they were duplicates that I didn't need to hang on to
7. Threw out some cleaning products and knick knacks that were under the kitchen sink
8. Got rid of some baby clothes that we had been given by a friend - they were all boys clothes
(since we thought we were having a boy) - I kept some neutral items and brought the rest to Once
Upon A Child for some cash
9. Got rid of all the old tupperware (and bought a new set - does that count? I'm going to say yes
because in the past I would have kept the old & the new)
10. Dumped all of the expired vitamins and medicine that we had (some dating as far back as 2010!!) - more on that below
11.  Possibly TMI but I got rid of a ton of old underwear - now I have to replace them, which is always fun.
12. I sold Brie's bassinet this week, $60 in my pocket and one less thing to hang on to

10. Organize/clean 52 areas (that I wouldn't normally clean during my daily/weekly routines)
1. Organized my book shelves by giving away duplicate books, grouping the self-help novels together, grouping authors together that I have huge collections of, and alphabetizing the remaining books
2. Cleaned the area underneath the kitchen sink - it was a disaster. Now everything is organized
and accounted for
3. I cleaned the top of the hallway closet and threw out winter gear that had no matches along with
other little things that had no business being there (or anywhere). A small project, but a needed
one! (see pictures below)
4. I cleaned our "medicine cabinet" - we have a section of shelving in our kitchen where we keep vitamins and medicine. Most of the bottles were expired, and it was a mess up there. See before and after pics above. And yes, I am still taking prenatal vitamins. We plan on having one more baby so might as well stay healthy for that. To be honest I think I'll continue taking them indefinitely - they are great.
5. I finally cleaned my linen closet and got rid of a ton of things we didn't need.  Check out the before and after pics below- we now have a whole empty shelf to fill up!  I think we will use it for toilet paper and paper towel which is currently stuffed in the spare bedroom's closet.  That will be my next task to tackle.
6. Check out the before and after pics below of my linen closet.  So glad I got to this one!



7. I also cleaned up my coffee table shelves, pics below






11. Email or call my Grandma weekly - My Grandma just moved from Florida to New Jersey, and she chose not to bring her laptop with her (and really, at 90 years old, can you blame her?) so I will be texting pics to my uncle to share with her, and I will invest this week in a long distance phone plan so that I can call her weekly

12.  Do things to get me out of my comfort zone
1. I attended a mom/baby fitness class, and loved it so much that I'll be going weekly (with a friend     of mine pictured above)
2. Joined another mommy/baby fitness class (salsa) that I haven't started yet - it begins on Thursday and it's an hour away.  I joined with the same friend who comes to my neck of the woods once a week for the other classes we are doing.  This is out of my comfort zone for two reasons - the obvious one is attending and trying a new class, but also the fact that it is so far away.  I usually don't venture too far out of my bubble.  I'll be able to walk around after each class and explore a new city, so that'll be fun, and an added bonus.
3. I started going to a chiropractor for my achy back.  This is big for me - I don't like to be touched by strangers.  So yea, this is huge

13. Do back exercises daily - My back is TERRIBLE, and Brie isn't getting any lighter, so it's time I take charge and do everything I can to fix this.  I have started doing 20 minute back videos daily - I'm at 2 out of 2 days.

14. Workout for a minimum of 20 minutes daily - This includes youtube videos and the classes I attend, but not walks outside or on the treadmill (that's a separate resolution to ensure I am active for at least 40 mins a day) - 2 out of 2 days so far

15. Go on the treadmill for a minimum of 20 minutes daily - or walk outside when the weather gets warmer.  1 out of 2 days so far.

And some pics of my sweet baby girl...

Enjoying the sunshine with the baby

Brie and J hanging out

She seems to make friends wherever she goes!

Look at that face!


That's it, that's all!  Enjoy your week!

Saturday, March 24, 2018

Dad's Slow Cooked Brisket & Brie's Visit to the Doctor

This is an older post that I wrote but never published, so thought I would publish it now.  It's a great recipe, and is perfect for Passover (or Easter!)

My updated resolutions and regular Brielle talk is added below.  Enjoy!



My Dad has been making brisket for special family dinners for years.  It always comes out perfect, and we love when it's on the menu, it's such a treat!  I had always been too intimidated to make it myself, until recently when I decided to finally put on my big girl pants and give it a try.

The actual cut is hard to come by and can be pretty pricey.  My Dad buys it from Costco in the Yonge/Bathurst area for anywhere from 10.99 - 14.99/lb depending on the time of year.  I however, am lucky enough to have a customer who sells it for an incredible price, and it's locally grown with no hormones or antibiotics.

If you're ever in the Waterloo area, check out Vincenzo's - they sell a huge variety of hard to find specialty groceries, make the most amazing salads and sandwiches for your lunch, and have a butcher counter selling only local, antibiotic free, grain fed meat.  Oh and don't get me start on the cheese counter - the choices are incredible!!!  I get my brisket from Vincenzo's for 9.99/lb and the quality is unbelievable.

After discussing with my parents, it dawned on me that although the process is quite time consuming, the actual method to making a perfect brisket is super easy.  My Dad's tried and true recipe is below.  I encourage you to pick up a piece of this beautiful beef cut and give it a try!!

Dad's Slow Cooked Brisket
2 large onions
1 bottle of Heinz Chili Sauce
1 envelope of Lipton Onion Soup Mix
1/4c apple cider vinegar
1/4c of your favorite bbq sauce
3 T garlic powder
2 T paprika
1/2 tsp salt
4 to 4 1/2 pound brisket

Slice onions into thick slices.  Mix all of your ingredients together, including onions, rub all over brisket, wrap in saran wrap and let marinate in fridge for 24 hours.



I pour the excess sauce into a jar and refrigerate - I use it later for cooking the meat.  When ready to cook, put into a large pan, pour remaining sauce all over, cover tightly with foil, and cook at 350 for 4 to 4 1/2 hours.



When done, you can slice against the grain and eat immediately, or follow my parents instructions and refrigerate for a day.  They slice it while cold, add some apple juice to the sauce and reheat at 350 for about 45 minutes, covered.  This allows the sauce to soak back into the meat, and it's much easier to cut while cold.



So your choice, it can either be a two day or three day process but trust me when I tell you it is well worth it.  We like to serve this with macaroni and cheese, mashed potatoes, or risotto.  It makes a lovely gravy and leftovers are fantastic all week - make some brisket sandwiches for lunch the next day....so good.


As for current news, Brielle got her 4 month old shots last week.  She took them like a champ, as always, but thank goodness Daddy was there to cheer her on.





And on to the resolutions...

1. Read a minimum of 20 mins per day - 52 out of 82 days, getting better

2. Read a minimum of 1 book per month -
January - The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin
February - The Buddha and The Borderline
March - Lost Echoes

3. Drink 80oz of water per day - 24 out of 82 days, an embarassment

4. Get in a minimum of 10,000 steps daily - 59 out of 82 days, also getting better

5. Post on this blog weekly - so far so good

6. Lose the baby weight and get into the best shape of my life - working on it!

7. Have 12 no spend weeks - This isn't going so well. I'll keep trying

8. Write for 30 mins per week - 6 out of 10 weeks, getting there

9. Get rid of 52 things -
1-6. Books given to my daughter's friend, they were duplicates that I didn't need to hang on to
7. Threw out some cleaning products and knick knacks that were under the kitchen sink
8. Got rid of some baby clothes that we had been given by a friend - they were all boys clothes
(since we thought we were having a boy) - I kept some neutral items and brought the rest to Once
Upon A Child for some cash
9. Got rid of all the old tupperware (and bought a new set - does that count? I'm going to say yes
because in the past I would have kept the old & the new)
10. Dumped all of the expired vitamins and medicine that we had (some dating as far back as 2010!!) - more on that below
11.  Possibly TMI but I got rid of a ton of old underwear - now I have to replace them, which is always fun.
12. I sold Brie's bassinet this week, $60 in my pocket and one less thing to hang on to

10. Organize/clean 52 areas (that I wouldn't normally clean during my daily/weekly routines)
1. Organized my book shelves by giving away duplicate books, grouping the self-help novels together, grouping authors together that I have huge collections of, and alphabetizing the remaining books
2. Cleaned the area underneath the kitchen sink - it was a disaster. Now everything is organized
and accounted for
3. I cleaned the top of the hallway closet and threw out winter gear that had no matches along with
other little things that had no business being there (or anywhere). A small project, but a needed
one! (see pictures below)
4. I cleaned our "medicine cabinet" - we have a section of shelving in our kitchen where we keep vitamins and medicine. Most of the bottles were expired, and it was a mess up there. See before and after pics above. And yes, I am still taking prenatal vitamins. We plan on having one more baby so might as well stay healthy for that. To be honest I think I'll continue taking them indefinitely - they are great.
5. I finally cleaned my linen closet and got rid of a ton of things we didn't need.  Check out the before and after pics below- we now have a whole empty shelf to fill up!  I think we will use it for toilet paper and paper towel which is currently stuffed in the spare bedroom's closet.  That will be my next task to tackle.

Embarrassed to even show this!

And voila!  Love it


11. Email or call my Grandma weekly - Doing well with this one

12.  Do things to get me out of my comfort zone
1. I attended a mom/baby fitness class, and loved it so much that I'll be going weekly (with a friend     of mine pictured above)
2. Joined another mommy/baby fitness class (salsa) that I haven't started yet - it begins on Thursday and it's an hour away.  I joined with the same friend who comes to my neck of the woods once a week for the other classes we are doing.  This is out of my comfort zone for two reasons - the obvious one is attending and trying a new class, but also the fact that it is so far away.  I usually don't venture too far out of my bubble.  I'll be able to walk around after each class and explore a new city, so that'll be fun, and an added bonus.
3. I started going to a chiropractor for my achy back.  This is big for me - I don't like to be touched by strangers.  So yea, this is huge

That's it, that's all!  Enjoy your week!


Monday, March 12, 2018

Weekly Meal Prep - Jerk Pork, Roasted Chicken, Muffin Pan Meatloaf

Hi all!

Hope you had a great week.  Mine was chalk full of eating out & spending money - not proud to admit it, but it is what it is!

The hubby and I went out on Tuesday night (Montanas) and ordered in on Thursday (chicken wings from Axia).  I went out to lunch twice with my friend who I attend the fitness classes with (both lunches were delicious, especially the one from Soulyve in Orangeville, a West Indian restaurant with delicious food).  This week I am determined to live frugally, and I am attempting a no-spend week (see resolutions) since there is nothing that I desperately need.

For meal prep this week I made a Jerk Pork Roast, Roasted Chicken, and Muffin Pan Meatloaf. 


Jerk Pork is one of our favorite ways to prepare pork shoulder.  It's cheap, easy, and full of flavor.  All I did here was season the shoulder the night before with both dry & wet store bought jerk seasoning.  The next day I threw it in the oven at 450 for 30 mins (this helps create an awesome crust), and then poured some water in the bottom of the pan, covered it and let it continue cooking at 325 for 3 hours.  As always, it came out perfect.  This can be eaten with rice or a salad.


For the my super juicy roasted chicken, I took some back-attach (thigh/legs still attached) and put them in a brine of sugar, salt and water overnight.  For my brine I used 1/2c of sugar, 1/2c salt and 6c of water.  This results in amazingly moist chicken every single time.  Seriously, you can't mess up chicken that has been brined.  I'm a believer, you should be too.  The next day I rinsed off the chicken and pat it dry.  I seasoned it with seasoning salt, black pepper, paprika, garlic powder and some cayenne and put it in the oven on a foil-lined baking sheet at 425 for 40 minutes.  This came out great, and of course can be eaten with your favorite side. 

I didn't get a picture of the muffin tin meatloaf but it's our favorite go-to when we have ground beef.  Just use any meatloaf recipe and put it in a muffin tin, bake at 375 for 30 minutes, add bbq sauce on top, and bake another 10 minutes.  We like them because they are portable and can just be grabbed from the fridge and eaten with anything.  I don't use eggs or breadcrumbs, just the beef and seasoning.

So there you have it, 3 meals done in one day (Sunday) so that we are good for the week.  No more eating out, I swear.

And on to the resolutions...

1. Read a minimum of 20 mins per day - 43 out of 70 days, not great

2. Read a minimum of 1 book per month -
January - The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin
February - The Buddha and The Borderline
March - Lost Echoes

3. Drink 80oz of water per day - 20 out of 70 days - to be honest I think I forgot to record  few days, but this still needs major improvement

4. Get in a minimum of 10,000 steps daily - 50 out of 70 days, and I joined another Stepbet so that will keep me motivated

5. Post on this blog weekly - so far so good

6. Lose the baby weight and get into the best shape of my life - working on it!

7. Have 12 no spend weeks - This isn't going so well. I'll keep trying

8. Write for 30 mins per week - 6 out of weeks, getting there

9. Get rid of 52 things -
1-6. Books given to my daughter's friend, they were duplicates that I didn't need to hang on to
7. Threw out some cleaning products and knick knacks that were under the kitchen sink
8. Got rid of some baby clothes that we had been given by a friend - they were all boys clothes
(since we thought we were having a boy) - I kept some neutral items and brought the rest to Once
Upon A Child for some cash
9. Got rid of all the old tupperware (and bought a new set - does that count? I'm going to say yes
because in the past I would have kept the old & the new)
10. Dumped all of the expired vitamins and medicine that we had (some dating as far back as 2010!!) - more on that below
11.  Possibly TMI but I got rid of a ton of old underwear - now I have to replace them, which is always fun.

10. Organize/clean 52 areas (that I wouldn't normally clean during my daily/weekly routines)
1. Organized my book shelves by giving away duplicate books, grouping the self-help novels together, grouping authors together that I have huge collections of, and alphabetizing the remaining books
2. Cleaned the area underneath the kitchen sink - it was a disaster. Now everything is organized
and accounted for
3. I cleaned the top of the hallway closet and threw out winter gear that had no matches along with
other little things that had no business being there (or anywhere). A small project, but a needed
one! (see pictures below)
4. I cleaned our "medicine cabinet" - we have a section of shelving in our kitchen where we keep vitamins and medicine. Most of the bottles were expired, and it was a mess up there. See before and after pics above. And yes, I am still taking prenatal vitamins. We plan on having one more baby so might as well stay healthy for that. To be honest I think I'll continue taking them indefinitely - they are great.

11. Email or call my Grandma weekly - Doing well with this one

12.  Do things to get me out of my comfort zone
1. I attended a mom/baby fitness class, and loved it so much that I'll be going weekly (with a friend     of mine pictured above)
2. Joined another mommy/baby fitness class (salsa) that I haven't started yet - it begins on Thursday and it's an hour away.  I joined with the same friend who comes to my neck of the woods once a week for the other classes we are doing.  This is out of my comfort zone for two reasons - the obvious one is attending and trying a new class, but also the fact that it is so far away.  I usually don't venture too far out of my bubble.  I'll be able to walk around after each class and explore a new city, so that'll be fun, and an added bonus.


Have a great week!