Monday, February 29, 2016

Meal Plan Monday: Cooking light 2016 Annual Recipes

I am so excited to be cooking from Cooking Light: Annual Recipes 2016.

I cooked from this cookbook once before already, details here, and enjoyed everything. The cookbook is broken down by month so this time I'm cooking from the March section. We will not officially be in March until tomorrow but I'm out of town all week, for work, so I picked this cookbook because of the labels at the top of each recipe which outlines if a dish is Make-Ahead friendly. So important for me this week.

Here is the plan for the week (Monday - Friday are all dishes that I have already made in advance!)

  • Beef Chorizo Tacos with Cabbage Slaw (p.56) and Guacamole 
  • Quick Chicken Curry (p.63) over Brown Rice
  • One Pot Pasta with Spinach and Tomatoes (p.54)
  • Shrimp and Chicken Gumbo (p.61)
  • Leftovers
  • Chicken, Broccoli and Brown Rice Casserole (p.58)
  • Moroccan-Spiced Pork Chops with Smashed Sweet Potatoes (p.69) 
  • Lemony Green Beans (p.69) 

Saturday, February 27, 2016

8x8 Cookbook: Recap

Last week I cooked from the 8x8 Cookbook that I had been given for Christmas and I have to say that I am a hug fan.

A few times I even doubled the recipe so that we would have enough for leftovers/lunches the following day.

Here are all of the yummy dishes that I made:

MONDAY: Honey-Glazed Chicken with Root Vegetables (p.7) -- I doubled the recipe for this one and used boneless-skinless chicken thighs in place of drumsticks. SOOO perfect! This would be a great meal for company

TUESDAY: Turkey-Stuffed Zucchini (p.21) --Made this the night before up until the point where you put it in the oven. I knew that we were going to have a lot going on this afternoon so it was nice to know that the meal was mostly ready. Everyone loved this meal... It was a lot like a stuffed pepper but with yummy zucchini!

WEDNESDAY: Hot Ham and Cheese Sliders (p.27)-- Gibson had physical therapy this night so it was so easy to assemble before the therapist came and I just popped into the oven after she left... be sure to buy DILL pickles, as the recipe calls for, I accidentally bought bread and butter pickles. EWWW. Next time I would add more cheese and  use a honey mustard.

THURSDAY: Leftovers for the family while I was out saying good-bye to a friend that is taking the plunge and moving to California!

FRIDAY: Pan Roasted Pork Chops with Apples and Couscous (p.25) -- I love a combination of pork chops and apple! WINNING... I used Israeli Couscous. 

SATURDAY: Roasted Cod with Gremolata and Lemony Orzo (p.37)-- Made this when we had company. It was really yummy... forgot to take a photo though. SAD FACE... but here are some pretty flowers that I arranged for the table.

We had leftovers on Sunday to clear out our fridge before we went out of town to Colorado for the week!!! Photos from the trip tomorrow!

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Skinnytaste - Part Three Re-cap

As always The Skinnytaste Cookbook did not disappoint last week. If you only buy one cookbook this year this is the one that I would recommend! Just look at all of this mouth-watering goodness!

Here us what I ended up making this week:

  • BREAKFAST: Corny Banana-Blueberry Pancakes (p.48) - Didn't love these... a little too corny for me.
  • LUNCH: Turkey Santa Fe Taco Salad with Avocado Crema (p.137)- LOVED this salad. I actually even used the turkey/corn mixture on a quesadilla later in the week... YUMMY!!!
  • SUPER BOWL SNACK: Caliente Bean and Queso Dip (p.101) - Yummy and SUPER easy. I would drain the chiles and salsa the next time that I make this. It was just a little too soupy but GOOD.

  • Pizza night... no energy to cook after I had done so much the day before and I was packing
  • Slow Cooker Santa Fe Chicken (p.73) ... made in advance

  • "Un" Stuffed Cabbage Soup (p.63)- Make in advance... was SOOOO good! I'm a big fan of cabbage so this was my jam.

  • Matt went out with a co-worker and My mom watched the kiddos so no dinner at home... it was going to be leftovers anyway.
  • Chicken Philly Cheesesteaks (p.84) - Also made the insides of these ahead of time. Used Red bell pepper because I'm not a green bell pepper fan.

  • Chinese Food
  • BREAKFAST: Dad's Jammin' Crepes (p.51) - AMAZEBALLS! I cheated a bit and put some Nutella in the middle! Two items to mention... the cinnamon in the mixture was key AND I totally failed at my first crepe but nailed the second... so don't give up if the first is funky! I'm going to add these into our weekend breakfast rotation!
  • DINNER: Kiss My (Shrimp and) Grits (p.219) - A great Valentine's Day dinner! As a southern girl this has my heart!
  • Cinnamon-Roasted Butternut Squash Soup (p.61)  - Didn't do the toasted coconut flakes on top. Very yummy though. Would be an easy one to make ahead and freeze.

  • Coco-Loco Mango Green Smoothie (p.24) - Hunter was not a fan of this one but that was good news for me... I could drink it all! Two alterations to the recipe... I didn't have coconut milk so I used vanilla greek yogurt and I didn't add coconut shavings.  

Monday, February 15, 2016

EASY DIY Lip Gloss

A few weeks ago I shared a two ingredient lip gloss and declared that Emma would be handing out these to her friends for Valentine's Day. When I approached Emma with the idea she was a bit less enthusiastic but I'm happy to say that I won her over as soon as she saw how EASY it was and that it only had TWO ingredients!

  • Vaseline
  • Kool-Aid
Place Vaseline in a microwave safe bowl and microwave for 30 seconds at a time stirring in-between until it is smooth.

Add a packet of Kool-Aid and wisk


Next, I added the liquid mixture to a pastry pipping bag and cut a small slit at the bottom

Next, I slowly poured the mixture into the small containers (5 Gram plastic containers that I purchased from Amazon) 

 I printed out little Valentine Tags from here

I think that they turned out GREAT! 

Monday Meal Plan: The 8x8 Cookbook

This week I will be cooking from The 8x8 Cookbook. I received this as a Christmas gift from a friend who knows the way to my heart! COOKBOOKS!

The cookbook is all about preparing yummy dishes in an 8x8 inch dish and I am ALL about a one dish meal so I cannot wait to give this a shot! 

Here is the game plan for the week... p.s. - I'm actually home all week- YAHOO!

  • Honey-Glazed Chicken with Root Vegetables (p.7) 
  • Turkey-Stuffed Zucchini (p.21) 
  • Pan Roasted Pork Chops with Apples and Couscous (p.25) 
  • Leftovers for the family while I'm out with a girlfriend! 
  • Hot Ham and Cheese Sliders (p.27)
  • Roasted Cod with Gremolata and Lemony Orzo (p.37)

  • Triple Chocolate Saucepan Brownies (p.127) 

Friday, February 12, 2016

Meal Plan Monday: Skinny Taste Cookbook - Part THREE

This week I've been cooking from The Skinnytaste Cookbook (My third week cooking from this)

Here is what is on my menu... Full disclosure I actually made just about everything up until Friday ahead of time

I've been in Brussels until this evening... The Saturday and Sunday plans are what I hope to make this weekend.

  • BREAKFAST: Corny Banana-Blueberry Pancakes (p.48) 
  • LUNCH: Turkey Santa Fe Taco Salad with Avocado Crema (p.137)
  • SUPER BOWL SNACK: Caliente Bean and Queso Dip (p.101)
  • Pizza night... no energy to cook after I had done so much the day before and I was packing
  • Slow Cooker Santa Fe Chicken (p.73)
  • "Un" Stuffed Cabbage Soup (p.63)
  • Left Overs
  • Chicken Philly Cheesesteaks (p.84)
  • BREAKFAST: Dad's Jammin' Crepes (p.51)
  • DINNER: Easy Broccolini Flounder Bake (p.216) 
  • BREAKFAST: Winter Potato, Kale, and Sausage (p.35)
  • DINNER: Kiss My (Shrimp and) Grits (p.219)

  • Double chocolate Chunk Walnut Cookies (p.292)
  • Coco-Loco Mango Green Smoothie (p.24)

Monday, February 8, 2016

Cooking Light Recap

This last week I cooked from  2016 Cooking Light Annual Recipes book and I LOVED IT! I already gushed all about how the cookbook is formatted HERE

Here is what I ended up making this week!

  • Halibut with Balsamic Cherry Tomatoes (p.47) So good and really easy and quick!
  • Radish and Avocado Quinoa (p.44)  - I elevated my plating game with this by using a cooking round to perfectly shape the side dish!

  • Caramelized Onion Burgers (p.24)  - I was out of town so I made these burgers on the stove before heading out of town. Matt just needed to reheat and add to some buns.

  • Asian Beef Stew -Friend made this for the family to eat while I was out of town and it was sooo yummy. I stole a bowl when I got home from my work trip

  • Italian Turkey and Orzo Soup (p.45)  - Made this in advance for Matt to just heat up while I was out of town. -- No photo sorry
  • Ate dinner with my parents
  • Butternut Squash, Kale, and Black Bean Quesadillas (p.47) - I thought that these were okay but the family was not impressed... made them for lunch

  • Chicken with Artichoke Pan Sauce (p.33)  This is going to become a regular in the Park household and I think that I will likely cook it again the next time that we host people for dinner.

  • PB and Banana Milkshakes (p.27) - I thought that these were going to be a hit with the kiddos but they ended up being a bust

At the end of the week I was really wishing that I had a chance to make even more... just ran out of time.

Check back in tomorrow to see what is on the menu for this week!

Saturday, February 6, 2016

February Goals & January Recap

So many goals for the month of FEB but I am most excited about the week that I have off at the end of the month! Major family time in the next two months!
 and here is how I did in January...
I made the little window garden that Matt got me for Christmas (full details on a later blog... if the plants actually grow)

I worked out and blogged a little but not as much as I would have liked too.

Had some great mini dates with my family members... even if it was just a walk around the neighborhood alone with just one kiddo it was nice to spend some individual time with each one

100 items went off to Salvation Army, just this morning.

We are GREATLY looking forward to a family ski trip to Colorado at the end of this month. It will provide some much needed family time.

For Spring break... we were originally planning a trip to Mexico and I had made all the arrangements HOWEVER now we have shifted to a trip to CA. The trip will just include Emma, my mom, and me.

Christmas decoration were all packed up early in the month but just last week I FINALLY got around to putting them away in storage.

Not too shabby. 

Friday, February 5, 2016

Favorite Things Friday

Here are a few items that have caught my eye this week!

This Acrylic Wall Calendar is the biggest thing that I am drooling over right now!

How fun is this Star Wars room decor? I feel like this is something that Emma would love to have in her room and something that she can make herself!

This diy abacus is amazing.

The second I saw the Hungover Cookbook on Amazon I instantly bought three. One for myself and two to give as hostess gifts! I cannot wait to see what is inside!

I've shared previously that I LOVE some guacamole, mine is badass! Well, this week in San Diego I had an opportunity to try Guacamole with Pomegranate. It was AMAZING and I plan to throw some seeds into my own recipe the next time that I make it!

Obsessed with the Co-Ed Wood themed baby shower ... need someone to throw a shower for though!

Also you need to stop by this blog to get some great tips for taking photos of kiddos.

Monday, February 1, 2016

Meal Plan Monday: Cooking Light 2016 Annual Recipes

This week I'm cooking from a GREAT new cookbook that I received as a Christmas gift from my good friend Kim. It is the 2016 Cooking Light Annual Recipes book and I LOVE IT! I plan to cook from this year-round as it is broken up by month. So you can expect to see this cookbook for one week out of every month.

The months are broken down by themes and the JAN/FEB theme centers around Starting your Year off Light!

It even includes a recommended meal plan for the ENTIRE month of January to jump start the year and helpful tips to keep you on track to live a healthy lifestyle.

One of my FAVORITE features though would be the toppers on each recipe that outline if a meal is:
  • Kid friendly
  • Vegetarian
  • Quick & Easy 
  • Freezable
  • Make Ahead
  • Gluten Free 

AND the cookbook gives you nutritional information for each and every recipe... Super helpful if you are trying to eat healthier.

Now that have gushed about how much I love this cookbook and why I think that everyone of you should buy it... here is what I'm cooking this week!

  • Halibut with Balsamic Cherry Tomatoes (p.47) 
  • Radish and Avocado Quinoa (p.44)  
TUESDAY - Out of town so I will make in advance
  • Caramelized Onion Burgers (p.24) 
 WEDNESDAY - Out of town
  • Meal made by a good friend - LOVE my sister wife, Stephanie, who goes above an beyond to help keep my family fed while I'm on the road. SHE IS AMAZING! 
THURSDAY - Out of town so I will make in advance
  • Italian Turkey and Orzo Soup (p.45)  
  • Left Overs 

  • Lunch: Butternut Squash, Kale, and Black Bean Quesadillas (p.47) 
  • Dinner: Chicken with Artichoke Pan Sauce (p.33) 
  • Orange-Ginger Fizz (p.27) 
  • Cocoa-Hazelnut Truffles (p.28) 
  • PB and Banana Milkshakes (p.27)