Menus of a Mom

Just trying to get the family fed!


Sadly Sayonara

I think it’s time I hang this thing up.  Just short of 100 posts!  It’s been a lot of fun, sharing my triumphs and defeats with everyone, and getting to talk about some of my favorite topics, my daughter and food!  However, I’ve been struggling to devote time to it and I don’t think I’m adding much to the discussion any longer.

I hope someone somewhere has picked up a few tips that help them to create homemade meals for themselves or their families.  I hope someone realizes that it can be done, at least some of the time.  My biggest hope, though, is that we’ve learned that “homemade” is however you define it.  For me, homemade means made with love, and sometimes that means all fresh, organic ingredients, sweated over for hours.  But sometimes that means food that comes from a box, so I’m in a happy place and so I have a few more minutes to spend with my daughter.

Maybe I’ll pop in and post once in a while, and I still plan to answer questions and comments.  Also, I think it will be weird not taking pictures of our dinner every night now that I’m so used to it, so there could still be some random dinner photo dumps 🙂

It’s been kind of a crazy year, with a lot of ups and downs, a bit of an emotional roller coaster, and this has been, as silly as it may sound, pretty cathartic.  And now I can add being a blogger to my list of random…talents?… that’s not the right word.  My list of random labels, even if it was only for a short while.  Thanks everyone for reading!

Boog says bye-bye!


Recap Week of 11/5/12

LOVING this November weather, but not loving that Husband now has the flu.  Could we just have a bit of a break between illnesses, please?  So, if anyone has some positive energy out there to send our way, it would certainly be appreciated.  I’m also hoping that he’s got a strain included in this year’s vaccine, since both Boog and I have been vaccinated.  Just in case, he still has to maintain a 2 ft minimum perimeter at all times.  Just kidding…sort of.

Anyway, he seemed happy with the dinners all week….but maybe that was just because he can’t really taste anything?  Hmm…

Monday, 11/5: Oh-Honey-Honey Boneless BBQ Wings with sweet potato fries

What we having? Chicken nuggets and french fries.  Win!  Husband loved these.  I think I put a in more Frank’s than last time, because Boog said they were spicy.  But she seems okay with a little extra spice, as long as she has a big glass of milk.

Tuesday, 11/6: Southwest Chicken Chowder

The picture makes it seem like it’s more watery than it was.  I opted out of the chipotle peppers, but had planned to add a little chipotle pepper powder.  However, I forgot.  So, this was really mild.  I think that part disappointed Husband, but Boog ate her entire bowl, except the onions and most of the red peppers.  I say it’s a keeper…and a safe slow cooker recipe.

Wednesday, 11/7: Potato and Pea Frittata from Peri’s Spice Ladle

This is so yummy and relatively simple!  The first time I made it, I sliced my potatoes and had these really large, hard to handle slices.  (I failed to look at the pictures provided on the blog the first time…oops!) With that, and my general tendency to be impatient, I ended up have some potatoes that were still a bit crunchy.  But this time… I used the mandolin to cut the potatoes french fry style, which made them easier to handle in the pan, and it cooked a little faster.  So, I got to really experience this dish as it’s supposed to be, I think.  Loved it!  Husband loved it!  Boog loved it! Though, for her, I called it eggs, french fries, and peas.  She declared that she liked peas, so it’s a win, no matter the name.

Thursday, 11/8: Beef and Bean Taco Salad

Simple and delicious! I made some modifications…let’s see.  I used ground turkey breast instead of beef.  I cooked the red onion with the turkey breast.  The onion was super pungent and I couldn’t handle it anymore!  I bought a 4-pk of Wholly Guacamole at Costco last weekend, so we had that instead of a fresh avocado.  I used some leftover baked tostada shells hanging around the house instead of tortilla strips.  It was really tasty, and Boog ate quite a bit of the meat/bean mixture.  And all of the “chips”, of course.

Friday, 11/9: Peanut Noodles with Edamame


Ok, yum!  I made the sauce in the blender the night before, popped the whole blender into the refrigerator overnight and just whirred it up while I cooked the rest.  This was seriously tasty and everyone raved.  Boog was covered in peanut sauce by the time dinner was over, which is always considered a compliment to the chef in my book.  This reminds me of a Publix recipe that I used to make, but this was much easier.  I included the chicken, but I think next time, I would either omit it, or have cooked, shredded chicken to just throw in, to make it an even easier meal.


Very Inspiring Blogger Award!

Thanks Viniti of vinicooksveg for the award!

It’s my first blog award.  Woot woot!

The rules of the award are as follows:

1. Visit and thank the blogger who nominated you.
2. Acknowledge that blogger on your blog and link back.
3. Share 7 random things about yourself.
4. Select 15 blogs for the award.

Some things about me:

1. I’m a CPA now, but I was originally a pre-med student.

2. I loved organic chemistry, so no, that’s not why I quit.

3. I was the pickiest eater growing up.  Like picky picky.  I once went to Taco Bell with a friend’s family and ordered a little cup of shredded cheese because I was too scared to try anything else.

4. Until my daughter was born, I didn’t really cook.  I could ruin a pot of boiling noodles.  Well…I can still do that, but sometimes I hit it out of the ballpark too.  So it balances out.

5. Despite being a completely unhealthy couch potato several years ago, I got in shape and completed two triathlons and a half-marathon before my daughter was born.

6. I was the testimonial and before/after picture on a Lifestyle Family Fitness mailer once.

7. My dad passed away when I was 14, which is still a defining moment in making me, me.

And the nominees are, in no particular order:


Texana’s Kitchen

Peri’s Spice Ladle

The Crafty Cook Nook

Savy Naturalista

No Fries for 365

Simple Life Mom

Did You Know?

Recipes Happen

Thoughts Appear

rona black photography

The Modern Home Kitchen

Frugal Feeding

Canadian Hiking Photography

The True Power of Parenting

Thanks !

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Menu – Week of 11/5/12

Can you believe it’s NOVEMBER, already?  This is the time of year when we blink and it’s going to be a new year and we’ll all wonder how we missed the last three months.  Personally, I’m just hoping to get through this Tuesday.  Living in a swing state, I’m really over the calls, the knocks on the door, the ads on my TV, facebook, Pandora…they’re everywhere!  Way scarier than Halloween in my opinion.


Monday: Oh-Honey-Honey Boneless BBQ Wings with sweet potato fries

Tuesday: Southwest Chicken Chowder

Wednesday: Potato and Pea Frittata

Thursday: Beef and Bean Taco Salad (made with ground turkey breast)

Friday: Peanut Noodles with Edamame


I have to buy:

  • chicken broth
  • black beans
  • cream corn
  • red bell pepper
  • cilantro
  • potatoes
  • frozen peas
  • ginger
  • eggs
  • milk
  • cheddar cheese
  • ground turkey breast
  • pinto beans
  • salsa
  • shredded lettuce
  • avocado
  • tomato
  • red onion
  • tortilla strips
  • edamame
  • snow peas
  • cabbage
  • peanuts

I already have on hand:

  • flour
  • salt and pepper
  • chicken
  • Egg Beaters
  • BBQ sauce
  • honey
  • Frank’s RedHot (from last week’s chili)
  • garlic powder
  • sweet potato fries
  • onion
  • milk
  • cumin
  • mashed potato flakes
  • sour cream
  • turmeric
  • chili powder
  • lime juice
  • spaghetti
  • peanut butter
  • rice vinegar
  • soy sauce
  • brown sugar
  • sesame oil



  • Organize the RR cabinet
  • Get the chicken out of the freezer
  • Dice chicken for “wings” and the peanut noodles
  • Dice bell pepper for the chowder


After work: Assemble and bake the BBQ wings and sweet potato fries.


Before work: Throw everything in the crock pot.

After work Add the final touches to the chicken chowder.

Late night: Slice the potatoes for the frittata.


After work: Prep the frittata.

Late night: Make a bunch of zucchini muffins for a bake sale at work.


After work: Make the “beef” and bean taco salad.


After work: Make the peanut noodles with edamame.


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Recap Week of 10/29/12

Happy Halloween!  I hope everyone had a safe and happy holiday!  We did, my little garden gnome has been all candy-crazed since Halloween for sure.  Now I remember why she doesn’t get sweets a whole lot…

Other than all of the candy, we had a great food week:

Monday, 10/29: Twice Baked Spaghetti Squash

It was tasty and pretty easy.  I told Boog we were having “Spaghetti Boats” for dinner and she ate it right up.

Tuesday, 10/30: Buffalo Chicken Chili

This was pretty easy made in the crock pot.  LOVED it!  Husband raved and had to take leftovers to his buddy at the shop.  Boog asked, “What’s this?  Is it a carrot?  Mmm, I like carrots.”  She asked for more carrots and more beans.  What?!?  This is a definite winner in my house, and the only prep was to chop some veggies the night before.

Wednesday, 10/31: HALLOWEEN! Creamy Chipotle Chicken

Husband was wound up about this one too.  While it was pretty tasty, I might keep some of this on hand in a bind, but probably won’t keep the Campbell’s skillet sauces in a normal rotation.  It’s a prepackaged sauce so the stats (read: SODIUM!) are a bit horrendous.

Thursday, 11/1: Crowd Pleasing Vegetable Casserole

Ok, I get that this is definitely not a “virtuous” recipe, but anything that gets my two-year old to hork down an entire bowl of vegetables can’t be all bad, right?  Seriously, this was delicious…with no prep…and less than an hour of bake time.  Yeah.  Winner Winner Vegetable Dinner.

Friday, 11/2: Chili Mac (made with our leftover Doc’s Chili)

I know, I took super healthy chili and dumped it over carbs and added cheese on top.  But it was good.  And at least I started with healthy chili…?  Again, a hit with the Boog, but it’s “skyettee” so how could it not be.  My favorite thing about this is that the preparation was already done.

In other news, the fever is gone, but I’m still feeling a little wiped out.  So, this will be the new format for the foreseeable future, unless I get struck by some extra energy and amazing words come to me…but probably not 🙂

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Menu – Week of 10/29/12

Here’s the plan, but we’ll see what the week brings us!  Happy Halloween!


Monday: Twice Baked Spaghetti Squash 

Tuesday: Buffalo Chicken Chili

Wednesday: Creamy Chipotle Chicken (Campbell’s Skillet Sauce) over rice 

Thursday: Crowd Pleasing Vegetable Casserole

Friday: Chili Mac (made with our leftover Doc’s Chili)


I have to buy:

  • spaghetti squash
  • tomato bisque
  • Laughing Cow wedges
  • basil
  • mozzarella cheese
  • cannellini beans
  • celery
  • Frank’s Red Hot
  • blue cheese
  • cream of mushroom soup
  • sour cream
  • frozen vegetables
  • french fried onions

I already have on hand:

  • garlic
  • onion
  • Italian seasoning
  • black pepper
  • frozen spinach
  • chicken
  • salt
  • chicken broth
  • carrots
  • onion
  • garlic
  • chili powder
  • cumin
  • frozen pepper/onion mix
  • rice
  • Campbell’s Skillet Sauce Creamy Chipotle w/ Roasted Corn & Black Beans
  • spaghetti




  • Organize the RR cabinet.
  • Pull chicken and chili out of the freezer.
  • “Once-bake” the spaghetti squash and get it ready for the “twice-bake” part.


After work: “Twice-bake” the spaghetti squash.

Late night: Chop the celery, carrots, and onion for the chili.


Before work Put ingredients in the crock pot.

After work: Put the finishing touches on the chili.

Late night: Dice chicken for the skillet.


After work: Cook the chicken with a frozen pepper/onion blend and the skillet sauce.  Heat rice in the microwave.  Trick or Treat!


After work: Assemble the casserole and bake.


After work: Cook the spaghetti and re-heat the chili.



It’s Been A Long Long Time

Ok, maybe not that long, but it has been a while… Remember how I mentioned when to get back into working out after being sick?  Too soon or too late?  My answer was too soon.  I’ve just hit two weeks with a fever, including a full week on antibiotics due to an ear infection.  Since I’m still not feeling better, I’m not sure if I’ll be posting back on a normal schedule this week or not, but I wanted to at least get caught up…

Thursday, 10/18: Chicken with Zucchini Chile-Cheddar Mash

Yes, the chicken was a bit, ahem, done.  But, Boog ate every bit of her chicken and a small bite of her mash.  I think I added too much cheese this time (dare I say!)

Friday, 10/19: It was supposed to be date night.  Yucky fever = a night in ordering pizza with Grandma.  The pizza and company were wonderful, but I’m always sad to pass up a date night.

Saturday, 10/20: Pumpkin Festival!

Don’t try to take that bag away from Boog

Yes, we ate food besides just kettle corn.  There was also homemade ice cream, hand-rolled soft pretzels, roasted corn… Actually we did find a good choice in chicken and vegetable stir-fry.  I just wish I had more energy that day and could have enjoyed myself a bit more.

Monday, 10/22: Gnocchi with Spinach and Gorgonzola Sauce

Boog LOVED this; she even ate some of the spinach.  Husband thought it was great.  It was highly decadent.  But, I probably won’t be making this again.  It’s just so rich!

Tuesday, 10/23Corn & Bean Pockets with Pear and Banana

I’m not sure what I did this time around with these (maybe extra salsa?), but husband raved about them.  Boog ate most of her pocket, but was really happy about the pear and banana.

Wednesday, 10/24: Just couldn’t do it this day, so we had subs from Publix.  Boog had a bit of my turkey and cheese sub and her own special treat – one of those snack servings of Sabra’s hummus with pretzel crisps.  She was in heaven, dipping her pretzels and her sandwich (and eventually her fingers) in the hummus.

Thursday, 10/25: Cashew Chicken

The night before, we cut the onion and chicken and I mixed the sauce, which made for pretty short prep time.  Boog enjoyed it and husband liked it.  This will make it into the rotation.

Friday, 10/26: Mexican Meatloaf and Veggies

I mixed up the meatloaf the night before, so I just had to pop it in the oven on Friday.  The recipe makes two meatloaves, but I never pay attention to the details until it’s too late.  So I made it with 1.25 lbs of ground turkey breast, all the other ingredients the same, and just made one huge meatloaf.  I had to cook it for an extra 10 minutes or so.

The picture does not do it justice (I felt pretty cruddy last night, so I barely remembered to take a picture and I didn’t eat a whole lot.)  Boog kept calling it her “favorite”, which is pretty impressive because she’s not usually a cheeseburger/meatloaf/meatball fan.  Husband raved and raved.  It is pretty good.  I plan to have a sandwich with the leftovers for lunch, in just a few minutes.

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BBQ and Green Beans

More good news!  Well, mostly…

Last night, we had the Carolina-style shredded chicken sandwiches and green beans for dinner – delish.  But, as I picked Boog up from school, she was insistent that she needed a snack and that she wanted crackers.  Hmm, I knew we actually had crackers in the house, so I thought, what the heck.  Sure, you can have crackers for dinner, but you have to dip them in your chicken.  She seemed excited about it, so we had relative peace on the way home.

Searching through the freezer, I decided on some green beans for the side and popped them into the microwave.  Boog was pretty impatient and a bit whiny asking about her crackers, but I assured her, dinner was coming and on a monkey plate!  When I mentioned the green beans, she lit up and got excited about taking the balls out.

Boog’s deconstructed BBQ sandwich!

When everything was ready and I took her plate to her, she was so excited.  She did a great job of dipping her crackers into her chicken and she ate EVERY green bean on her plate, asking for more.  Why don’t I have these more often? I had no idea of her love, ha!

Tonight, the plan was to have the leftover barbecue chicken over a salad.  But, it wasn’t the plan when I actually did the grocery shopping.  So, what we ended up with was a bowl with:

Leftover barbecue chicken: self-explanatory

Fresh spinach: originally for a gnocchi dish that was moved to next week

Onions: always available in our home

Cooked green beans: Boog specifically asked for green beans for dinner, what!

Slivered almonds: The only green beans left in the house was one of those Green Giant boxes (love them) Green Beans with Almonds

Italian Parmesan Chex mix: She also asked for crackers, which I thought we had, but Husband finished them off last night.  I had already promised crackers on the car ride again, so…  I just threw some in the salads as well.

For the record, Italian Parmesan Chex mix makes some killer croutons!

Boog again did a great job eating her dinner tonight. She even ate a fresh spinach leaf!  She did call it a green bean…but whatever.  She has had some form of “green beans” every night this week.

On the fitness front, a victory and some disappointments.

Husband and I had another family walking date planned for tonight.  I tried texting him a couple of times today to confirm that we were still on, because I knew I could pick up Boog on the bike if we weren’t going to go walking.  Well, he finally called me back right after picking her up, in the car, and said he had to work late.  Argh.

I also had a killer headache all day and am feeling a bit rundown.  But, Boog and I still went for a walk after our dinner.  Victory!  The best part?  Husband found us mid-walk and at least joined us for a couple of laps.

The only bad thing is I was having a really hard time of it tonight and started to get a bit down.  I couldn’t jog as fast or as far as I could even a week ago.  But, I did my best to keep all that negativity down and be happy that we made it out 🙂


Record of Triumphs

I was a bit of a Debbie Downer last week.  (Why is that a saying? Every Debbie I have known has been perfectly lovely)  So, I thought I’d rattle off some recent successes.

First, before we got sick last week, we had a pretty good track record for exercise.  Sunday, Boog and I went for a bike ride to and from the playground. That’s when we snapped the new profile pic.  Monday and Wednesday nights both included family walk/jogs on the track in our neighborhood. With a promise of the playground afterwards, Boog actually stayed in the jogging stroller.

Then we got sick.  And I always have a hard time judging when to go back to it. Too soon, and I’m not rested or well enough.  Too late and I’m just using another excuse.

So, after resting on Sunday, Husband and I set a date for a family walk on Monday night.  Plans for a good night, healthy Doc’s Chili for dinner and a family walk.

Fast forward to Monday morning.  I get to work, look at my calendar. I have a girls’ night planned!  How could I have forgotten?  These ladies, there are 6 of us including myself, have known each other since college.  A couple of years after we graduated, we started getting together about once a month for dinner, brunch, something.  As we started having kids, as you can imagine, it has become tougher and tougher to get all 6 of us together.  The kids range in age from 5 months to almost 5 years.  We all have at least one child, up to two children with a third on the way.  And the last time we got together was FEBRUARY.  We had been trying to find a weekend to have dinner, before the holidays and before another newborn pops into the picture in approximately 7 weeks, but it was proving impossible.  So, we finally decided on a Monday night, kids optional, dinner.  Yay!

But I had forgotten!  So, after a call to Husband to see if he could still be home in time to watch the Boog so I could make the restaurant on time, and remembering that their dinner was already made, I was excited to see my ladies.  But, I was disappointed in missing out on the family walk.  Another excuse. Ugh.

Then, an idea.  I drove home and grabbed the bike to pick up Boog from school.  I knew I wouldn’t have enough time to gussy up (i.e. shower and put something besides a t-shirt and bike shorts on) for dinner, but friends are friends and love you as you are.  No excuses.  Got to see my friends (and an adorable little 5 month old man), got to spend some time with my Boog, and got some exercise in.

Now on to the chili!  Unfortunately, I didn’t get great pictures of it, but trust me it was delicious!  I enjoyed it for lunch today.  And Boog, she ate her whole bowl of it, except the onions and a few of the tomatoes that she decided to pick out.  She called all of the beans “green beans”, which is pretty funny.  She also ate some grapes, a whole pear, and a whole banana last night.  I’m not sure where she put all of it, but if she’s going to eat that much in a night, I like her choices.

Does not do this chili justice 😦 Also, the yellow is from turmeric

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Menu – Week of 10/15/12

I’ve had a hard time deciding on things this week – I think I changed my mind about 3 times and rearranged even more.  The good news is that 1) I ended up with an easy prep week, 2) I have 3 meals figured out for next week already, and 3) I worked in some Doc’s Chili.  I’ve been waiting for it to cool down to make this recipe, but I give up 🙂

Also, Saturday we’re going to the pumpkin festival!  Can’t wait!


Monday: Doc’s Chili – This is from one of The Biggest Loser cookbooks

Tuesday: Caroline-Style Shredded BBQ Sandwiches and Veggies

Wednesday: Caroline-Style Shredded BBQ over salad 

Thursday: Grilled Chicken Breast with Zucchini Chile-Cheddar Mash

Friday: Grandma’s visiting so she can go to the pumpkin festival on Saturday – there may be a date night for Mommy and Daddy.


I have to buy:

  • onions
  • ground turkey breast
  • pinto beans
  • spinach and veggies for the salad
  • zucchini
  • green chiles

I already have on hand:

  • diced tomatoes
  • black beans
  • broth
  • garlic
  • chili powder
  • dried oregano
  • cumin
  • mustard
  • cilantro paste and lime juice (we add these to our Doc’s Chili)
  • chicken
  • sandwich thins
  • sliced cheese
  • frozen veggies
  • Carolina-style BBQ sauce (I picked this up at Target a few weeks ago on a whim)
  • oil
  • salt
  • shredded cheese



  • Organize the RR cabinet
  • Dice onions for the week
  • Make the doc’s chili. (It always tastes better the longer the flavors have to come together)


After work: Heat up the doc’s chili.  Freeze leftovers to be used in Chili-Mac next week


Before work: Put chicken breast, BBQ sauce, onions, and some water in the crock pot

After work Microwave some frozen veggies and assemble the sandwiches.


After work: Heat up the leftover shredded chicken and serve over spinach with other salad veggies.

Late night: Slice the zucchini for the mash.  Dice the chicken for easy cooking.


After work: Prep the zucchini chile-cheddar mash and cook the chicken.


After work: Date night, or big family dinner night, or pizza night – something fun!

Told you it was an easy week.