Sunday, September 15, 2013

It's Pumpkin Season!

Oh Fall... I love Fall. I love pumpkins. I love scarves. I love Halloween. I love pumpkin tasting everything! So naturally I bought my first can of Pumpkin the second I saw them in the grocery store, and of course I had to make something immediately with my can of Pumpkin. Behold the Low-Fat Pumpkin Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Muffin! So yummy when warmed up with a smear of butter on it... Very glad I have left overs!

We have been having a lot of rain lately, so I bought some Borax to make Halloween Orange Gak with my son... very easy to make. Unfortunately, my son was NOT a fan. Hopefully your kid will like it!

Low-Fat Pumpkin Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Muffins


- 1 1/2 cup flour (plus 1 1/4 tbsp. at high altitude)
- 1 cup oatmeal
- 1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
- 1/2 tsp. baking soda
- 2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
- 1 cup Pumpkin
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 1/3 cup brown sugar
- 2 egg whites, beaten
- 2/3 cup Almond milk, unsweetened
- 1/3 cup applesauce
- 1/2 banana, mashed
- 1/2 cup chocolate chips
*optional - extra oatmeal to sprinkle on top of muffins

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray your muffin pan with non-stick cooking spray.
2. In a large bowl mix flour, baking powder, baking soda, pumpkin pie spice, salt, and oatmeal together.
3. In your Kitchenaide mixer mix pumpkin, brown sugar, egg whites, almond milk, applesauce, and banana.
4. Slowly add the flour mixture.
5. Fold in chocolate chips.
6. Fill muffin pan 3/4 full. Sprinkle extra oatmeal on top of muffins.
7. Bake for 20-23 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of a muffin comes out clean. (Mine took 20 minutes)

 First Can of Pumpkin!

 Muffin Mixture

 Muffins out of the oven

Low-Cal Pumpkin Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Muffins

Halloween Orange Gak


- 1 tsp. Borax
- 1/2 cup warm water
- 2 bottles of glue (about 8 oz.)
- Orange food coloring

1. Dissolve borax in warm water.
2. In a large bowl empty glue entirely and add some food coloring.
3. Add borax/water to the glue mixture and stir with a spoon until gak forms.

 Food coloring, Borax and 7.625 fl. oz. of glue

 Glue in the Bowl

 Adding Orange Food Coloring

 Mixing it all together...

Not a fan of Gak! (Look at that face!)


Tuesday, September 10, 2013

A Week of Meals

I gave myself a challenge: to make a weeks worth of meals/new recipes! What I found is that it took me TWO weeks to do this because I had so many leftovers! I finally finished my last two recipes this week and just uploaded all the pictures this morning. I did not get around to taking step-by-step pictures, but I will include a link to each recipe, and will list all ingredients used with directions. I did make an awesome roast in my CrockPot for a dinner guest, but forgot to take a picture! So I will just add a link to the recipe because I recommend it. Lots of leftovers and the meat was very tender!

Meal #1: Slow Cooker Balsamic Pot Roast


- 4-5 lb. pot roast (mine was 3.7 lbs)
- 2 cups beef broth
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 1/4 cup Balsamic vinegar
- 1 tbsp. soy sauce
- 1 tsp. salt
- 1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes
- 3 cloves of garlic, minced
- zest of half an orange
- 6-8 red potatoes, washed

1. Place meat and potatoes in a crock pot on low heat.
2. Whisk together all the sauce ingredients and pour on top of the meat.
3. Cook on low for 6-8 hours. I cooked mine for about 5 hours because I was scared to dry out the meat!

Meal #2: BBQ Chicken and Pineapple Quesadillas


- 10 in. tortillas
- 1/4 cup cheddar cheese
- 1/4 cup jack cheese
- 1/4 cup shredded chicken, cooked (I used a rotisserie chicken)
- 2 tbsp. BBQ sauce
- 1/4 cup pineapple
- cherry tomatoes, halved, optional
*cilantro and jalapeno pepper optional

1. Warm a large skillet over medium heat.
2. Place one tortilla in the pan and sprinkle ingredients inside. You can use another tortilla on top or fold your original tortilla in half.
3. Heat both sides until golden brown or until cheese has melted.

 Tortilla with ingredients

Quesadilla! Great flavor with the BBQ sauce and pineapple and super easy to throw together!

Meal #3: Homemade Chicken-Sausage Soup


- 4 cups chicken broth
- 3 carrots, chopped
- 3 celery stalks, chopped
- 1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped
- 6 red potatoes, cut in half
- 1lb. chicken tenderloins, cut and cooked
- 1 lb. sausage, cooked
- egg noodles
- salt and pepper to taste

*My son was sick and requested chicken soup with sausage (?!). So I made homemade chicken soup with sausage! Enjoy!

1. Mix everything up in a big pot and leave to simmer for 1-2 hours. 
2. Serve hot with some bread. 

Homemade Chicken-Sausage Soup

My husband is a huge Asian food fan. This recipe is tasty and authentic without all the grease. It was perfect with the brown rice and a side salad. 


For the Chicken:
- 1 egg
- 2 tbsp. cornstarch 
- 1 lb. boneless chicken thighs
- 1 pinch salt and pepper
- 2 tbsp. vegetable oil, for frying chicken

For the Sauce:
- 2 tbsp. soy sauce
- 1 tbsp. water
- 1/2 tsp. sesame oil
- 1 1/2 tbsp. brown sugar
- 1 1/2 tbsp. rice vinegar
- 1 inch fresh ginger, grated
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 2 tbsp. sesame seeds
- 1 tbsp. cornstarch

1. Heat large frying pan with vegetable oil over medium heat. 
2. Mix egg, cornstarch and salt and pepper together and pour over chicken in the pan. 
3. Cook chicken until no longer pink in the middle.
4. Mix sauce ingredients together and pour over the chicken. Leave to simmer for 10 minutes.
5. Serve with Jasmine rice, or brown rice like I did with some scallions on top.

Easy Sesame Chicken - such good flavor!

If you like garlic - and lots of it - this recipe it for you! I loved it, my husband is not a huge shrimp fan, but I think this is an exception.


- 2 tsp. olive oil
- 2 lbs. shrimp, deveined and shelled  
- 6 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1/3 cup fresh cilantro
- 1 lime
- salt and pepper
- 6 cups of green beans

1. Heat a large frying pan at medium-high heat and add the oil and shrimp. 
2. Season with salt and pepper. Flip shrimp to the other side after 2 minutes and add 4 cloves of garlic.
3. Saute until cooked through, do not overcook. 
4. Remove from heat and add fresh squeezed lime and toss with cilantro.
5. In a separate pan, add the green beans and 2 cloves of garlic. Season with salt and pepper. 
6. Cook on high heat for 2 minutes. Add 1/2 cup of water and cover green beans and cook for 8 minutes. 
7. Remove cover and cook green beans until water evaporates. Serve next to the shrimp. 

Cilantro Lime Shrimp with Green Beans

Meal #6: Yakisoba

I lived in Okinawa, Japan for 3 years as a kid and I remember going to dinner at the USO and having Yakisoba and teriyaki chicken on a stick. So good - I was thrilled to come across this recipe and even more thrilled that my 2.5 year old loved it. He even asked for seconds!


- 1 chicken breast, cooked and shredded (I used portabello mushrooms, instead)
- 1/2 head green cabbage, chopped
- 2 carrots, chopped or shredded
- 1 medium yellow onion
- 1 small crown of broccoli
- 2 inches fresh ginger
- 2 tbsp. vegetable oil
- 2 packages ramen noodles, sauce packet discarded
- 1 tsp. sesame oil
- 1/4 cup soy sauce
- 1/4 cup Worcheshire sauce
- 2 tbsp. ketchup
- 1/2 or 1 tbsp. Siracha
- 1 tbsp. sugar

1. Heat a large skillet over medium heat and add cabbage, onion, broccoli, ginger, and carrots. Add 1/2 cup of water, cover, and cook through for 10-12 minutes.
2. Cook ramen noodles according to package, drain and set aside.
3. In a separate bowl whisk oil, sesame oil, soy sauce, Worcheshire sauce, ketchup, Sriracha and sugar together.
4. Pour on top of vegetables. Simmer for 5 minutes.
5. In a large bowl mix noodles, chicken and vegetable mixture together. Serve hot.


Meal #7: Stromboli

This recipe is easy, tastes great, and if you use pre-made pizza dough you can whip it up in about 20 minutes. My son loved it and it was easy for him to pick up and eat. Next time I make this I will add some marinara sauce on the side for dipping.


- package of salami
- package of provolone cheese
- 1/4 cup banana peppers
- 1 tsp. Italian seasoning
- 2 tbsp. olive oil
- pizza dough, I used Pilsbury Whole Grain Pizza Crust

1. Preheat oven according to pizza dough instructions.
2. Roll out your pizza dough. Brush with 1 tbsp. of olive oil.
3. Place a layer of salami, a layer of provolone and a layer of banana peppers on top of the dough.
4. Roll up the dough and place on a large, greased baking sheet.
5. Brush with the remaining olive oil and sprinkle with the Italian seasoning.
6. Bake for 14-16 minutes, or until dough is golden brown.


 Pizza dough with layer of salami, layer of provolone and layer of banana peppers

 Baked Stromboli

Sliced Stromboli

Phew! I hope you enjoy these meals, we sure did and I look forward to making some of these again! 


Monday, September 9, 2013

Time for... Preschool!

My sweet little boy started Preschool today. I think tears would have been shed if he hadn't acted like a crazy person getting ready this morning... but I am so proud of him for getting through his first day with a lot of new distractions and big changes in his schedule. Education is extremely important to my husband and me, so we are thrilled he was old enough to start in a 2.5 year old class this year. Now if only I knew what to do to make the time away from him pass by! I think I will frequent the gym some more. But it was really nice to run errands and enjoy coffee INSIDE the Starbucks with my mommy friends and our babies! One thing that I don't think I will ever get used to is feeling like I am forgetting someone... or how much I really missed Kinley. My heart totally melted when he ran into my arms when I came to pick him up today!

So, of course I had to take tons of pictures this morning to document this special day. I found an awesome blog where you can print off a "It's My First Day of ____" sign to take pictures with. I will most likely use one every year until my son is too embarrassed... hopefully not until he reaches High School, though!

The Sign - used a piece of construction paper and an 8"x10" frame

 Kinley holding his sign!

 Carter, Marley, and Kinley totally over taking pictures before school started

 Me and my Big Boy Preschooler!