Yeah, I have been focusing more on making our meals lately, whether it's simply packing a healthier lunch or trying out some new recipe (or even an old one). Mostly, it's because I've been trying to mix things up for my family. Hopefully, they will end up eating a little better... that we aren't swinging by a fast-food place or calling in take-out as often as we have in the past. So far, it is going much better not eating so much fast food. No, we aren't the most healthy eaters. I will admit that, but we aren't the worst, either. We do eat things we like, but I'm working on substituting better ingredients and, of course, I read food labels and try to make better choices. I think there are plenty of us trying to find the healthier/better alternatives to some of our families' favorite (convenience) foods. There's so much information to digest (LOL). Hopefully, this will impact my family's health in the long run by making some changes (even little by little) to our food/eating habits .
Something new that I tried was a pumpkin oatmeal recipe in my crock-pot/slow-cooker. I liked it a lot. Some of the reviews I read said that is was much too sweet for their taste, so I reduced the sugar by half. Then I served it with milk and a little more brown sugar sprinkled on top. I love pumpkin…especially around autumn. If you like steel cut oats and pumpkin - give this recipe a try.
Since it had been a while, a few nights ago, I made some beef stroganoff (using organic lean ground beef), seasonings (garlic, onions, etc.), reduced fat cream of mushroom soup, sour cream from our local Smith Brothers Farms (yay! for deliveries), and a sprinkling of parmesan cheese on top. This was served over egg noodles. It turned out SO good. Yum!!! My husband was super happy with his dinner.
I tried another new recipe yesterday… or maybe it's more of a regular recipe, but that I'd never made it in my crock-pot before. We had made something similar in one of our Dutch ovens, so I figured it was worth a shot. Yep, I would make this again. Basically a breakfast casserole. Hash browns/breakfast potatoes of some sort, ham (or other cooked meat of your liking), cheese, and scrambled eggs all in one dish. The basic recipe I found online is entitled Slow Cooker Western Omelet, although I don't personally think it is "western" since it doesn't have chiles or tomatoes, beans, corn, or anything that screams "western" to me. However, I did top mine with sour cream & salsa when serving it. I do love ham & cheese omelets, though, and this was like that only cooked longer…more baked like a frittata. For mine, I used potatoes O'Brien, a Mexican blend of shredded cheese, dried onion, cubed ham, egg substitute & a little milk. Layer everything but the egg & milk (starting with potatoes). Mix the egg & milk together, pour over the layers and let cook. So simple. This would be great to have for breakfast the next morning since this can cook on low for a long time. Mine cooked all day and we had it for dinner instead. Like I said, I'm trying to mix things up a bit for my family. :)
Using my favorite Betty Crocker banana bread recipe, I made some banana-nut bread for this morning. This time I threw in some fun mini chocolate chips for more sweetness. Mmm…
happy kids = happy mama.
Breakfast for lunch - bento style
Yep, kids get tired of the same ol', same ol' real quick. This morning, I decided to make some cute shaped hard-boiled eggs using some egg molds I purchased a while back off Amazon. What's breakfast without some OJ-type beverage (my kids love the SunnyD bottles on the go) and some fruit?!? Sliced apples (I cheated & used pre-packaged), grapes, and some strawberry yogurt for dipping. Plus, I thew in a cute little wooden "fork" to help dip the fruit. French toast that I cut into "sticks" (with a pizza cutter) and maple syrup to dip them in. Thanks to the little SOLO containers & lids this wasn't a big sticky mess to pack. Of course, I aanted to make sure they had some protein in there, so you can't forget the cute hard-boiled eggs that I got going first thing. Bonus for me…all three lunches were ready to go super quick since I was making them all the same.
Of course, the best part was the thanks I got from all three of my kids. :)
Getting the kids into their new school routines feels a little rough. Three kids to going to three different schools. Plus, my husband recently changed jobs and we are trying to get used to the slightly different schedule he has. Although I am missing the freedom of summer, the school-year and routines are nice in their own way, too.
So, while they are busy at school, I am keeping busy at home. Trying to catch-up on some house-hold chores I let slide a bit during summer while also trying to make sure to have dinner ready when my husband gets home. Yep, it might seem a little traditional or old-fashioned to some, but since I am able to, I stay at home so that we can have that kind of life-style.
So for something other than the summertime cuisine of burgers, grilled dogs, and pasta salads, I thought it was time for something a little different. What I made is very similar to a recipe for "Stupid Easy Chicken" posted on Crock Pot Divas Facebook page. Basically, the same thing with a few tweaks. Spiral pasta instead of Bow-Tie and I used Lipton's Onion Soup Mix instead of the Garlic & Herb Soup Mix. Since I didn't have any Italian tomatoes, I used regular diced canned tomatoes and added Italian seasoning and extra garlic powder.
Don't forget the dessert
Since I was heading to a meeting later. I thought I would make some dessert for my family and some of my PTO friends. Tried the Petite Chocolate Cherry Cheesecakes from an older Pampered Chef Recipe Book I have. Yum! We all liked them & I would make them again.
The end of summer crept up on me, but I wasn't quite ready to let go. Headed up to our trailer and spent some time doing a puzzle with my sweet husband. Ahhh…it was nice to spend some time together & relax.
I sure do love my coffee! My old Keurig went "ka-poot!" So, it was time for a new Keurig machine. This is so convenient for just a cup or two. It's great! Mmm...
My "baby" turned TEN! It feels so weird to realize he was born a decade ago! Yikes! Way to make a mama feel that much older. LOL
In August, I signed up to become an Independent Scentsy Consultant! Mmm… my house smells so good all the time. If you aren't familiar with their products (wax warmers and scented wax), check out my website or let me know & I will fill you in.
I had a lovely visitor for a couple of weeks over the summer. My niece wrote me this cute note when we were up camping. She wrote it on a napkin and put it with a coffee cup for my morning brew. So sweet.
While my niece was here, we also did some nail painting. Stripes for her. Watermelon for me! My girls had some fun with the polish, too. We just didn't get any pics of theirs. That's ok - we are always painting nails, it seems. :)
My name is Candie. Many labels describe me including wife, mom, friend, and independent consultant. However, alone, none of them capture all that I am or love and there are too many to list. Some of my likes include cooking, crafting, and creating. Reading, camping, and spending time with my family also bring me joy. I love my life...