Today is not my tomorrow

My minion alarm went off this morning at 4:53am.  It was too early, and he is too loud.  After a quick shower, I rallied a smile for my little men, and started the day.

While sitting with my coffee in the dark, my mind was already on all that I had to accomplish.  Making mental notes, talking to myself, and moving from thought to thought.  It seemed like as soon as it began, I was already longing for the day to be over, and for some rest.

I am over committed, and exhausted.  I apologize often.  I have 4303 emails in my gmail inbox.  That is with filters ON that file away things like coupons, recipes and purchase receipts.  My to do list ALWAYS includes going through my email to make sure that something did not slip in that requires attention.  I cannot ever seem to get past the daily fires to get to most things on my list.  I actually confess to people often, that if they need to reach me, they will need to hunt me down.  I give people permission to stalk me.  How sad.

The last year and a half has been a blur.  I am grateful for the fuzzy memories, as I know in the deepest parts of my soul that this season has not been filled with my most shining moments.  I was not the best mom, wife, employee or friend.  I was just surviving in each role.  I humbly AM still just surviving in each role.

At the beginning of the year, we were consumed by worry about Trevor’s developmental progress.  Both language and motor delays had us running from assessment to assessment, and doctor to doctor.  The Google machine on my computer was also working overtime.  The choices, the appointments, the home therapy meetings, and the hours spent in the waiting room chasing Lucas are finally starting to wind down.

It is hard to truly know what made the most impact on his development, but this swamp is slowly drying.  Was it the group speech classes, the individual speech therapy, the holistic therapies, the elimination of chemicals in our home and food?  In all honestly, I do not care.  None of the things we did  caused additional harm.  I am over the obsessing.

As a mom that is prone to worry, it is hard to see light.  It feels so lonely to carry the burdens of the minutia of running a home and little lives.  Couple the worry with lack of sleep, and it really does feel like whatever milestone you are trying to reach will.never.come.

Raising littles is a series of groundhog days.  While it appears that each day is the same, and I will never emerge from the weeds, I have to believe that new days come.  In the moment of crisis (or perceived crisis), the situation seems so very permanent.  I remember thinking my kid will never sleep through the night, will never walk, will never talk.   Logic gets lost.  Time S L O W S.

I need to really believe that it is all just a series of seasons, and remember that each new day brings hope of milestones met.  I need faith to believe that today is not my tomorrow.  After all, we are overdue to begin potty training and at some point we will have to move Trevor from a crib to a toddler bed.  Just pray.

Dinner Menu for the week of October 27th

I am running on fumes.  Dave was out of town for most of the week.  My housekeeper came on Wednesday, and my house was a shit-show by Friday morning.  I stand in AWE of single parents.  You just plain rule.

Pity party is over, so moving on to the re-cap.

The soup rocked my world, and is now occupying much of the deep freezer space.

I forgot to go to the store/was too embarrassed to go in public unshowered, and in the same clothes from the day prior/could not bear to muscle two toddlers into the car, so I did not get to eat my yummy salmon on Tuesday.  Pretty sure I ate the remainder of the kids meal for my dinner.  Since I cannot recall what it was, it was clearly amazing.

By Wednesday, I had a bit of a second wind, and I made the kids chicken tenders for dinner.  They were SO awesome!  Really cool because they can be frozen and then just re-heated when needed.  I see this getting added to my next cookapalooza weekend.

I know that I keep telling you about this chicken in the crock pot, so I will not go on and on and on about its deliciousness. Moved it to tonight because the bird was not quite defrosted.  I decided to roast some veggies (sweet potatoes, carrots, and zucchini) to go with the chicken, and found a recipe that suggested tossing the veggies in some bacon grease prior to roasting.  I thought….well, I DO happen to have some saved bacon grease.  I mean, why am I saving it, if I was not planning to use it to cook something.  It was the most humongous hit ever.  Between the chicken and the veggies, I have never seen the boys eat so much.  (Lets hope full bellies means sleeping past 6 am!)

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Here is what we are planning to make this week:

Sunday: Tomato basil chicken stew using the left over crock pot chicken

Monday: Left over soup

Tuesday:  Ready to harvest more peppers from the garden!  Making southwestern stuffed peppers.

Wednesday:  Dave’s birthday, so we are going out to dinner!

Thursday: Chicken and avocado salad

Friday:  Pizza night!

Saturday: Sausage, egg, and biscuit casserole.  Adapted from this recipe, but plan to make my own biscuit dough.

This week I am also going to stock up on some muffins for the freezer.  We go through them SO fast.  I am planning to make cinnamony apple pie muffins, whole wheat carrot applesauce muffins and another round of pumpkin muffins.

Hope everyone has a safe and FUN Halloween!

Dinner Menu for the week of October 20th

Getting right to it tonight with last week’s highlights.

The shrimp tacos were great, but the big winner was the meatballs!  I thought I would have enough to freeze, but only 3 ended up making it to the fridge.  Made a mental note to double the recipe next time.

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I finally got around to making the pumpkin muffins this afternoon.  On a whim, I used a different recipe.  What a great decision!  Now…I have had some really amazing pumpkin muffins, but these really are the very best I have EVER had.  Ever.  Trevor was sneaking them off the cooling rack.

In addition to what was on the menu, in keeping with my pumpkin obsession, I made pumpkin french toast on Sat morning.  I subbed in maple syrup for the brown sugar in the recipe.  Honestly, you could leave that out altogether, and it would still taste great.  Trevor and I loved it, but Lucas and Dave were not terribly impressed.

This week is going to be a bit wonky due to some commitments that will take one or both of us out of the house for dinner.  Here we go…

Sunday:  We skipped seafood tonight because I needed to re-stock the kitchen with my favorite soup.  This chicken enchilada soup is SO versatile, and freezes great.  I used a huge red pepper from our garden, two large sweet potatoes instead of russet, and tossed in a jalapeno.  I did not have any butternut squash, so I used the acorn squash that did not get used last week.  (Ahem)  Instead of transferring to a blender in batches, I used my immersion blender.  So much easier.  This will do a really good job stocking the freezer.  YAY!

Monday:  Soup made on Sunday.

Tuesday:  Moving seafood to Tuesday, and cooking up some baked lemon salmon with asparagus

Wednesday:  Cobb salad with hard boiled egg, bacon and avocado

Thursday:  Whole chicken in the crock pot, steamed broccoli and wild rice.  I get two whole pastured chickens a month, and this not only feeds us for several days, it also makes delicious stock!  If you have not yet tried to cook a whole chicken in a crock pot…it is time.  You will not believe that it took you this long.

Friday:  Open face chicken melts using the left over chicken

Saturday:  Avocado Bacon Breakfast wrap

Looking forward to more pumpkin recipe hunting on pinterest this week!  Enjoy your cooking adventures.

Dinner Menu for the week of October 13th

We took a trip to the pumpkin patch today over by the coast.  The air was crisp, and being surrounded by pumpkins made me feel all happy and content.  Pretty sure I have mentioned before, but I sure do love fall.

The boys had SO much fun running around, and taking a ride on the train.  We brought our new wagon for two that Trevor’s Mimi got him for his birthday.  It has a small caboose that hitches on behind, and it was just what we needed to pull around our pumpkins.

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The big winner from last week was the chipotle chicken sweet potatoes.  Yum.  Knowing Dave is not a sweet potato fanatic, I made his on regular potatoes.  Both of them turned out delicious, and they were really easy to make too!  The boys ate the innards for lunch the following day.

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The second winner from this week’s adventures in cooking was an impromptu batch of peanut butter chocolate granola.  MAKE THIS PEOPLE!!!

Sunday:  Honey Lime shrimp tacos on home made corn tortillas

Monday: Left over shrimp tacos

Tuesday:  Quinoa stuffed acorn squash inspired by a recipe in this post.   Side story here.  I accidentally neglected my CSA customization last week, and an acorn squash was in my box.  Hmmm.  Never in my life…  This could be the hot mess of the week/month/ever.

Wednesday:  Grilled cheese and tomato bisque

Thursday: Chopped salad with quinoa, sweet potatoes and apples

Friday: Parmigiana meatballs over whole wheat spaghetti

Saturday:  Poached eggs over asparagus.  We usually serve this with bacon.

My pumpkin adventures this week will include pumpkin granola bars, and pumpkin muffins.  YAY!!!

Enjoy cooking this week everyone!

Dinner Menu for the week of October 6th

Oy…October snuck up on me.  But, since it is here, I must confess…I love Fall.  I love everything about Fall.  I love pumpkins, and mulling spices, and the color orange.  It is time for warm sweaters, and cute knee high boots, and scarfs.  And, check out this AMAZING pumpkin latte recipe!!!.

I spent a long weekend with a friend down in San Diego.  We stayed up late chatting, drank some wine, and squeezed in a few hours of amazing training on some chemical free products.  It was a nice little break from the norm.  Breaks from the norm make dinner menus LATE.  This creature of habit is out of whack.

Last week’s menu winner was the quinoa bake.  It was SO easy, and was really tasty.  I blessed another family that welcomed a new little one with this meal as well, and they were impressed.  If you you are even slightly open to cooking with quinoa, this one is a fabulous place to start.

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This week’s menu:

Sunday:  We actually got take out from Chipotle.  Food Babe recently did a piece on what to eat at Chipotle, and I feel semi-ok with their menu.

Monday:  Potato Soup (out of the freezer)

Tuesday: Mexi-Chicken with black beans and brown rice

Wednesday: Chipotle Chicken sweet potato skins.  Sweet potatoes are a very close second to anything that is pumpkin flavored.  Could be that they are both orange.  Regardless….I am anticipating this meal most.

Thursday:  Parmesan Asparagus Orzo and a side salad

Friday:  Fish taco bowls.  We have been talking about this dish since the last time it made it on a menu.  It was time.

Saturday:   Pumpkin pancakes. (You knew it was coming.)  Subbing in maple syrup for the brown sugar, and will make enough to freeze.

Given my love/obsession with pumpkin, I am planning to give these pumpkin muffins a go this week as well.  Can.not.wait.  For real.

Hope you all have a fabulous week!

Dinner Menu for the week of September 29th

Highlights from last week’s menu:

Quinoa stuffed peppers we really yummy and SO easy to make.  I had some extra filling, so I delivered this meal on Tuesday to a new mama in our mother’s club.  She also raved about its deliciousness.  (Picture does not do it justice.)

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Thursday morning, Trevor helped make yummy banana pancakes for a birthday treat.  He is always so very eager to help.

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I thought the penne pasta we had for dinner Thursday night was amazing,  I kept refilling my bowl.  but Dave was not as much of a fan.  He still ate it though.  🙂

Sat evening, we had family over to celebrate our sweet three year old.  He was the center of attention, and loved every minute.  We decided to make a self serve burrito bar, and made this super easy crock pot salsa chicken.  We have a ton of left overs, so I will be putting some of the meat in the freezer for dinners in the future.

This week is another wonky one because I have trainings or commitments that will mean I am gone for dinner.  Boooo.  I plan to cook a bunch of things ahead to prepare.

Sunday:  Due to the excess chicken, we are going to rock some chicken burritos tonight.  Or some chicken nachos.  Will depend on the mood.

Monday:  Might be ambitious, but I am giving it a go.  Minestrone in the crock pot

Tuesday:  Spinach quinoa bake.  I am doing another new mama meal delivery this evening, and it looks like this recipe will make plenty for both families.  Hope it is yummy!

Wednesday:  I am heading out for the evening to a training dinner, so Dave will be heating up some soup from the freezer.  Either potato or chicken enchilada.

Thursday:  Spinach Strawberry and Avocado salad

Friday: Grilled steak, mashed potatoes and asparagus

Saturday:  Left over steak and potatoes

Have a great week everyone!

Dinner Menu for the week of September 22nd

Forgive the delay in posting this week’s menu.  A short day trip to see my sister, and some personal defeats have put me a few days behind.  Mercies are new every morning…

Last week’s menu favorites:

Sunday we ate my most favorite fish tacos.  Complete with homemade corn tortillas.  The meal was SUCH a delight.  Witness the beauty!  Make these.

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The second winner of the week was the chicken broccoli pockets.  We swapped the whole chicken night, and moved the pockets to Friday.  They were full of amazing.  Made way more filling than intended, and had enough to eat for dinner tonight.  I made a crust sourced from this post.  Fully intend on making these “pop-tarts” at some point too!

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Did not get a chance to make the stuffed red peppers, so they are moved to this Monday.

The menu normalcy is in flux this week due to some planned activities.  We will give this menu a go…

Sunday:  Left over chicken bakes

Monday:  Quinoa stuffed red peppers

Tuesday:  Chili from the freezer and cornbread

Wednesday:  Pizza night!  We will get creative with the toppings.

Thursday:  Penne pasta with sundried tomato cream sauce

Friday:  Sauted scallops and quinoa with orange and avocado salsa

Saturday:  We are having a family gathering to celebrate my sweet boy’s 3rd birthday!  We are making burgers on the grill.  Yummo!

I will leave you with a bit of encouragement for your week.  Mainly because I am the one that needs to be encouraged. I heard this quote last weekend while at a conference.  It has been running through my mind ever since because I am prone to worry and fear.  I have to remember to persist and stay the course.  In all things.

Maybe you think you think you cannot spend the time needed to eat real food.  Maybe you think your spouse/kids will never go for it.  Maybe you think you will not see results.  Maybe….just maybe you should just give it a try.  🙂

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Dinner Menu for the week of September 15th

Last week’s menu recap.

I thought Sunday’s quinoa and salmon salad was good.  In fact, I ate mine sitting on the couch while the boys both acted like little birdies with open mouths.  They ended up eating a second dinner off my plate.  Dave on the other hand did NOT like this meal.  He is not a huge balsamic vinegar fan, and he claims his salmon was over cooked.  Bummer!

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The chicken marsala meal was the week’s winner.  So tasty, and fairly simple to make.  It will go into my recipe circulation for sure.

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Cheeseburgers with yummy because we added bacon and avocados.  Yay.

Did not snap a pic of any other meals this week, but we did not have any other whammies.

Coming up this week…

Sunday: Spicy fish tacos!!!  SO excited to make these again!

Monday:  Strawberry Avocado Spinach salad

Tuesday:  Creamy Chicken Broccoli Pie Pockets using chicken from my very favorite whole chicken in a crock pot.

Wednesday:  Left over chicken used in open face melted sandwiches

Thursday:  A lemon shrimp salad inspired by this recipe, but changed to sub honey for sugar.

Friday:  I am going to try my hand at these Quinoa stuffed peppers.  Wish me luck.

Saturday:  Scrambled eggs and Breakfast Potatoes

I will leave you with a photo that is unrelated to food.  We had a HUGE victory this week as Trevor graduated to a main stream pre-school.  YAY for our sweet speech-delayed boy, and his progress!

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Dinner Menu for the week of September 8th

Last week’s menu recap:

The apple and bacon stuffed pork chops were really tasty.  If it were not for all of the “meat handling” in this recipe, it would be a keeper.  If you do not mind the meat handling aspect, or if you do not have minions that need attention during meal prep, than it should be something you try for sure.

The tostadas ended up being chicken sandwiches, and the irish nachos became baked potato slices and shredded chicken left overs.  Both nights, I ended up having business meetings, and I was unable to complete either meal.  I am SO grateful for the chicken in the crock pot though because it fed us for two nights, and made yummy stock!

The rest of the menu items were good, but do not need extra praise.  They are staples.  🙂

Before getting to the items for this week, I have a quick garden update.

My monster zucchini plant met the compost bin yesterday.  It was trying to take over the ENTIRE box, and the leaves were getting this funky white fungus-y looking fuzz on them.  It was just better to call it a total loss.  The lettuce was also pulled after fulfilling its duty to provide us with many salads.

The remaining watermelon, basil, kale, cucumber and peppers are still doing well.  In fact, the jalapeno plant is producing WAY more jalapenos than this mama needs.  I mean taco bell mild sauce is too spicy for my liking.  Ya dig?  Trevor thinks it is fun to “help” in the garden by picking the peppers.  Here are some that were picked before their prime.  Oh well.

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I am eagerly anticipating the bell pepper harvest.  I have several LARGE peppers that are looking amazing.  This particular pepper grows big and green, but turns red as soon as it is ripe.  I cannot imagine that they will get much bigger, but they are all still green.  CANNOT wait!

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Here is our plan for the week:

Sunday:  Quinoa and Salmon salad

Monday:  Chicken enchilada soup from the freezer

Tuesday:  Chicken Marsala pasta with asparagus

Wednesday: Cheeseburgers with roasted sweet potato squares

Thursday:  Cheesy broccoli orzo and a garden salad

Friday:  Chicken couscous salad

Saturday:  Potato breakfast casserole thing inspired by this recipe.  I will change it up and use local sausage, freshly diced potatoes and just might add some bell peppers.

Happy eating everyone!

Dinner Menu for the week of September 1st

Last week’s menu recap:

Whole foods was all out of scallops (grrrrrr) so I made the orzo with shrimp instead.  SO flippin’ glad I did, because it was amazing.

I ended up making Monday night a scrounge night, and moved the one pot wonder to weds.  It was just ok.  A bit slimy for my liking, and I put in too many red pepper flakes.  Spicy!!!

Back to Tuesday.  I have decided that recipes that require excessive “meat handling” are not my fave.  The chicken was really good, but who wants to wash their hands 75 times during meal prep?  It went something like:  Pull one chicken breast from package, and put into the ziplock, wash up, grab the mallet and pound said chicken, then remove to a plate, wash, rescue child from top of kitchen table, start on the next chicken breast, wash, mallet, plate, wash, stop child from emptying ziplock box contents…

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Anywho…you get the idea.  Just the prep alone seemed to last an hour due to the constant stop and start and hand washing.  Here is the finished work of art heading into the oven.  (Finally)

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The rest of the week did not go according to plan.  Our CSA was out of spinach, so the salad planned for Thurs ended up being Amy’s burritos.  Friday, Dave went to a baseball game with a buddy, and I think I made a PB and Honey sandwich for myself.  Yum.  Since we still have the pork chops and bacon, they are on the menu for Sunday.

Here is the full menu for the week:

Sunday: Apple and bacon stuffed pork chops.

Monday:  Chicken tostadas using chicken from the crock pot.

Tuesday:  I am going to give irish nachos a go using the remainder of our shredded chicken.  Should be interesting!  I am using this recipe for inspiration, but making a few changes.

Wednesday:  Quinoa summer salad

Thursday:  Grilled steak with wild rice and honey roasted carrots

Friday:   Left over steak will be used to make cheesesteak sandwiches.  Have I mentioned that everyone needs a toaster oven?

Saturday:  Filled pancakes.  I will have both strawberries and blueberries.

Hope everyone gets to enjoy a long weekend!