Category Archives: Food

The first time I made my Avocado Bacon Grilled Cheese for my husband it was love at first bite.  Between bites he said, “Where has this been all my life?”

Several days ago as I was working on my meal plan for the week,  I told him that I would be making his favorite sandwich this weekend.  He was super excited and has been looking forward to it all week.  I’m not going to lie, I’ve been looking forward to it too! This sandwich is so scrumptiously delicious I wish I could eat it every day.

I cooked pancakes and bacon for breakfast this morning, so I cooked a few extra slices to use later for the sandwiches.  I love eating bacon, but despise actually cooking it.  That’s probably the reason we don’t eat these sandwiches more often.

When it came time to cook up the sandwiches, my little sous chef was eager to help.  Kora likes any excuse to be able to use a knife (“I’ll be carefully Mom”), so she buttered the bread for me. Then she spotted the cut up avocado and decided she needed a little snack!

I like my grilled cheese sandwiches extra cheesy, so I used two slices of cheese – one slice of cheddar and one slice of Monterrey Jack.  I top the cheese with sliced bacon and avocado and then cook it on a griddle until it’s nice and golden and melty.

And then comes the best part – sinking your teeth into that crunchy bacon, buttery avocado, and gooey cheese! The clouds part and angels sing! Such deliciousness!

Go and make yourself this yummy sandwich and you too will be asking yourself, “Where has this been all my life?”

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I’m currently reading the memoir of chef Marcus Samuelson, and something he wrote has really got me thinking. He wrote about chefs having a signature dish – “one you create or execute in a way that becomes forever associated with you.” Thinking about the food I regularly cook for my family, I realized that I really don’t have a dish that is uniquely mine. I want a signature dish and I’m now on a mission to find it. 
Here is the short list of dishes that I’m considering:
1. Lasagna

2. Enchiladas

3. Risotto

4. Gnocchi

5. Spaghetti carbonara 
My signature dish will probably end up being some sort of gnocchi dish. I feel like I have more ways to make gnocchi uniquely mine than either lasagna or enchiladas. There are many ways to cook risotto, but I love the way I cook it – with lots of blue cheese! The blue cheese keeps my family away from the deliciousness, but I’m okay with that. More for me!
Gnocchi can be used in soup or as a substitute for noodles in macaroni. I will do a little gnocchi research and probably search Pinterest for a little inspiration. Then I will start experimenting with some dishes in a quest to create my signature dish. I will post the recipe once I have perfected my dish and received my family’s approval. 
Do you have a signature dish? Leave a comment telling me what it is. 


Go into any elementary school teacher’s classroom and I’m sure you’ll find a stash of stickers – “Good Job,” “Awesome!,” “Way to Go”.  My students always loved it when I handed back their papers and there was a sticker on it.  They always seems so proud of their sticker.  Even before kids are in school adults use stickers to motivate children into doing certain tasks – parents use sticker charts for chores, potty training, etc.  Adults use stickers to praise children and show their appreciation for what the child has done.

As children age, they receive fewer and fewer stickers until one day they are adults and BOOM, no more stickers.  It’s a sad day.  Adults still crave the praise and recognition that a sticker represents – a verbal sticker if you will.  A genuine compliment can make someone’s day.

” I can live two months on a good compliment” – Mark Twain

When we accomplish something that we are proud of we want others to acknowledge our hard work and give us those gold star stickers we feel we deserve. We want gold stars from our spouses, our children, friends, and even strangers.

Sometimes I feel like a little kid trying to collect my gold stars.  I don’t just want praise for any big accomplishment, I want a gold star for doing the dishes instead of “letting them soak.” Got the kids dressed and fed today? Two gold stars!

Today I have a recipe for a scrumptious broccoli salad that will surely get you a gold star at any potluck.  I have taken this dish to a couple of potlucks and I always get asked for the recipe.  I consider that a gold star.

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For this salad, I buy a couple of heads of broccoli and chop it into florets.  I then toss in some chopped bacon, some thinly sliced red onion, and about a handful each of cranberries and chopped cashews.  I don’t really like to measure out these ingredients.  I just eyeball it and make sure it looks like I would get a little of everything with each bite.

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For the dressing, I whisk the mayo, sugar, and apple cider vinegar together until smooth.  Then just pour it over the broccoli mixture.

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That’s it.  Easy and delicious. Take it to your next family gathering or work potluck and you are sure to have someone asking for the recipe.

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Once you try this salad, please feel free to leave any gold stars in the comments!

 

(This recipe is actually a copycat recipe of Sweet Tomatoes’ Broccoli Madness Salad.  I found the recipe here.)

 


Everyday I watch my two daughters play and see the pure joy in their eyes – playing all day without a care in the world.  I love to listen to them giggle as they play together.  It just warms the cockles of my heart.

Sometimes I wish I could live my life without worry.  I want to live in the moment instead of thinking about my growing to-do list.  It’s easy to be in the moment during the eventful days – birthdays, vacations, zoo trips, etc.  It’s far harder to be truly present during uneventful days.  And there are far more uneventful days in the year.

So, what am I going to do about it? I’m going to make life more fun.  I’m going to start celebrating the nothing days.  (I guess it’s because Mary Tyler Moore just recently passed away, but I’ve got the theme song of her show stuck in my head and I think it’s fitting for this post.)
“Who can take a nothing day, and suddenly make it all seem worthwhile?
Well it’s you girl, and you should know it”                 – Sonny Curtis

I’m going to start taking nothing days and making them seem worthwhile. How am I going to do that you ask? I’m going to not only celebrate traditional holidays like Thanksgiving and Christmas, but I’m going to start celebrating the silly holidays like Talk like a Pirate Day on September 19th.

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A quick Google search generated approximately 18,400,000 results in 0.59 seconds. It is unreasonable to think that I can celebrate one of these obscure holidays everyday, but I do want to try to celebrate at least one a month.

Depending on the holiday, my family might go all out with our celebration – decorations, crafts, etc – or we may just go to Sonic to eat a corn dog on Corn Dog Day.

I’m hoping that these little celebrations of the everyday will help me be more engaged with my children during the humdrum days.  I like to think that they will add a little spice to our life!

This past week I saw this post by Sandra Boynton, (I follow her because I love to see her random cartoons pop up on my Facebook feed) and I decided that this would be our first silly holiday to celebrate.

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So how should we celebrate National Peanut Butter Day? With a toast to peanut butter, of course!  I mean, with peanut butter toast, of course! Kora and I made toast and slathered it with peanut butter.  I have to say that I had never eaten peanut butter toast before, but I will be eating it again.  Delicious!

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And messy! I should have known to fix Kora’s hair before eating our toast! She had peanut butter everywhere! Shirt? Check! Hair? Check! But it was a fun way to start our day!

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I fully intend to celebrate many more of these silly holidays with my family and then report back to you here. And I suggest you do the same thing.  Make life more fun by celebrating some silly holidays!

 


Meal planning can be a daunting task at times.  It requires coming up with a list of meals to feed your family for the week and then making your shopping list for your necessary ingredients.  In the past I would go to the grocery store without a plan – I would just buy a lot of food in hopes that I would be able to put together dinner.  This shopping technique usually ended up with too may canned goods (at one point I had like 8 cans of chickpeas in my pantry!) and left me every night wondering “What’s for dinner?”.

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Shopping without a plan was exhausting and I had to change my ways.  I found an amazing app called MealBoard that makes my meal planning a breeze. I add my favorite recipes, including its ingredients to the apps database.  This initial step can be a little time consuming, but its so worth it. I love that I can add a picture to each recipe too.

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Before I go grocery shopping, I open MealBoard and plan out my meals for the week.  I always check my calendar for any dates that might affect my meal plan (weekends out of town, evening events, etc.),  and I add those to my MealBoard.  Once any mealtime conflicts are added, I start plugging in meals.

The first couple days of the week are the meals that I really want to cook or eat.  I then throw in a day of ‘Leftovers’.  When I first started meal planning, I would forget to take leftovers into consideration.  I would plan a new meal for everyday which resulted in way too much food!  Now I make sure to plan for leftovers to be dinner at least one or two nights a week.

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As I add meals to my MealBoard meal plan, I indicate whether the meal is for breakfast, lunch, dinner, or snack.  There is also a ‘none’ indicator.  I use this for times that I won’t be cooking.  Each category is color coded which makes my meal plan visually appealing.

Once I have my weekly meals planned, I can use the shopping tab to see my shopping list.  All of the ingredients from my recipes are consolidated into a checklist I can use at the store.  It’s super awesome!

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One of my favorite features of MealBoard is the notification feature.  Any recipe that requires advanced preparation, such as thawing or soaking, can have a reminder notification added to it.  As the scheduled date of a meal approaches, I get a reminder to do the necessary prep work.

MealBoard is a fantastic app that has simplified my life.  I love how easy it is to use and that I can quickly make changes to my meal plan if necessary.  It not only helps me get my shopping list organized resulting in buying fewer groceries, but it helps me answer the age old question, “What’s for dinner?”!