Multitasking Monday

One week into the new year…can you believe it?  Where does the week go?  Seems like just yesterday, I was hosting a fry party and now I’m running around my house making food for the week, searching for my lost marriage licenses, and listening to some new podcasts.  I am multitasking like crazy, trying to make the most of this Monday after a fun and busy weekend!

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Saturday morning, the BOY and I were back at the gym after the last two holiday weekends, training together with free weights and dumbbells.  We left with some serious sore arms and made our weekly trip to the Target before running a few other errands.  I refueled with a ginormo latte!

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We spent the afternoon cleaning our garage to fit in a car and then napping before getting dressed up for sushi date night.

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Sunday morning was another early wake up.  I drove into the city to meet my mom and some friends for a yoga class. 

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I forgot my phone so here is a recycled picture from the same studio.  Ironically, it was take exactly 1 year ago and the day looked quite similar : )

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After yoga, I met some of my old coworkers for a fun brunch, catching up over coffee and omelets.  Then, I was back home to scoop up the BOY for dinner with his parents.  On the way, we stopped by my parents house quickly to say goodbye to my dad who leaves for Florida today and have a quick pre dinner glass of wine with my mom’s new wine glasses.  When I woke up this morning, it occurred to me that I did not get close to what I wanted to get done this weekend…hence the busy day today. 

Cooper’s view on Mondays…ha ha!

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It was tough for all of us to get up and moving today!  And then it took me extra time to get myself pulled together and out the door.  My first stop was the gym for an intense training session.  My biceps were still sore from Saturday and the resisted burpees were brutal, but it was a GREAT workout.  Afterwards,  I hung around for a yoga class.

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I don’t typically double up on workouts, but I have been wanting to take the Monday morning teacher’s class for awhile.  With a busy week ahead, today was the perfect day to get there.  The class was tough, not just because I was tired, but absolutely incredible and inspiring.  I left the yoga studio feeling invigorated for the week ahead and at peace with the week behind.  I ran a few more errands, including the grocery store where I stocked up on fresh produce and meat for this week’s meal plan.

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I made lunch and then began the serious multitasking with laundry, meal planning, and initial packing piles.  And continued to look for our marriage licenses which now appear to be totally gone.  Ugh!  In the kitchen, I put tomorrow’s dinner in the crockpot and began pealing carrots.

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For lunch this week, I decided to try Candice Kumai’s cleansing soup.  I love starting the year with a warm and hearty clean soup!

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The soup was fairly easy to make until the end.  My food processor isn’t big enough to hold everything, so I did it in batches.  However, they turned out inconsistent, so I ended up taking my immersion blender to the entire bowl in the end.

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Which made a HUGE mess, but worked like a charm.

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I spent the rest of the afternoon working away on a variety of things including making a batch of Fig and Date Energy Balls and trying on my bathing suits before going back to the kitchen to make dinner.

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Since my crockpot was in use, I washed my Dutch Oven for it’s next job.  For the second week in a row, Cooper kept me company while he begged for his dinner.

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I accomplished a whole bunch of stuff today, so as always on Monday nights, I happily collapsed onto my couch for a bit of down time before bed.  After packing up tomorrow’s lunch, of course.

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Do you multitask?  I do it ALL the time…even right now : )

Meal Planning 1/11/15

Monday: Turkey Meatballs (recipe to come)

Tuesday: Slow Cooker Island Pulled Chicken

Wednesday: Feta and Spinach Chicken Burgers and Broccoli

Thursday: Pork and Veggies

 

Cleansing Carrot Ginger Soup

From Candice Kumai

Ingredients

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

1  yellow onion, finely diced

2  pounds organic carrots (2 bags) scrubbed, peeled, rough chopped

4 garlic cloves, crushed

1 bay leaf, dried

2-3 tablespoons ginger, freshly grated

6-8 cups low-sodium vegetable or chicken stock (*depending on desired consistency)

1⁄2 teaspoon nutmeg

1⁄2 teaspoon sea salt, to taste

Directions

In a large stockpot, over medium heat, add the olive oil and sauté the onions just until soft and fragrant, approximately 8 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Add carrots, garlic, bay leaf, ginger and sauté for an- other 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Add in the stock and turn the heat up to medium (a mild simmer). Cook carrots and onion until soft, approximately 20 additional minutes. Remove the bay leaf, discard.

Carefully add the soup to a food processor or blender (an immersion/handheld blender works, as well). Pulse until well combined and a pureed soup forms. Season nutmeg and sea salt. Ladle into soup bowls and serve hot. If desired add a bit of extra ginger, or orange zest to top off soup.

*For a thick soup opt for 6 cups of stock; for a thinner soup go for 8 cups.

Sickness Needs Soup

It’s no secret that I love soups and chilis and this blog is full of recipes for them.  I eat soup year round but like to make it almost every week in the winter time.  This December has been odd (50 degrees and rain), and my soup/chili make has been a little less frequent.  However, when I came down with a full on sinus infection this weekend, I knew I needed some soup.

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And I knew I wanted to make it in my brand new Dutch oven!!!

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It had to be a flavorful one since my taste is a bit off from congestion.  I found a recipe chock full of veggies and nutrients on the Goop website, so I had to give it a try.

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I knew right away that the BOY was not going to eat it, which gave me freedom to add in whatever I wanted!

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My big substitute was taking out the farro and throwing in some chicken sausage that I had in the fridge.

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I had soup made before lunch time with more than enough for the week ahead.

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The BOY made plans to come home a little earlier, so I had dinner (and dessert) made and picked up the new Mission Impossible movie at the Redbox for us.  We ate an early dinner and then settled in for a quiet night with plans to get back into our normal routine tomorrow.

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What do you make when you are sick?

 

Winter Minestrone Soup

Slightly Adapted from GOOP

Ingredients

3 tablespoons olive oil

1 medium red onion, finely-diced

1 large carrot, peeled and diced

2 celery stalks, diced

3 garlic cloves, minced

3 precooked chicken sausages, diced

2 teaspoons rosemary, finely-chopped (I used dried)

1 teaspoon thyme, finely-chopped (I used dried)

2 tablespoons tomato paste

4 cups chicken stock

2 cups water

2 cups packed chopped kale

1 15-ounce can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed

1 large zucchini, diced

salt and pepper

 

Directions

1. Heat olive oil in a pot of dutch oven over medium heat. Add onion, carrot, celery, garlic and a large pinch of salt and sauté 5 minutes.

2. Add sausage, rosemary, thyme, tomato paste, and another generous pinch of salt and cook 2 more minutes.

3. Add chicken stock and water, bring the mixture up to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 10 minutes.

4. Add kale, beans, and another pinch of salt and return to a boil.

5. Reduce heat and simmer another 10 minutes.

6. Add diced zucchini, turn off the heat, and let zucchini cook in the warm broth for 1 minute.

7. Taste for seasoning and add salt and pepper if needed.

8. Serve hot garnished with crushed red chili flakes and pesto, if desired.

Very Bad News

Did I tell you about the time before the wedding when I called the BOY at work and said in my most dramatic voice that I had ‘Very bad news’?  His mind immediately went to our family, ‘Is everyone okay?’ and then to the wedding ‘Did the DJ quit?

No, I told him with continued sadness.  My crockpot is broken…

Obviously, he laughed at me and told me that he had to go back to work, not quite experiencing or appreciating my level of pain.

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But my pain was real, and I had no idea what to do with my cracked crockpot base?!  Of course, I used it to make my planned chili and then sent off an email to All Clad having no idea what they’d say.  They responded immediately requesting more information and pictures. 

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I showed them the damage with a heart felt plea to help (I mean this isn’t that old of a crockpot) and the day before the wedding got the most unexpected gift…an email stating a new liner would be on it’s way in 10-14 days.  I happily returned from Door County to find my new crockpot base and immediately unpacked it, washed it, and put it to work. 

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All of this fall weather had me craving tortilla soup, so I found this recipe on my way back from Wisconsin and was ready to pick up ingredients when we stopped at the store.  Unfortunately, I forgot to get a new container of chicken broth.

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Fortunately, I had about 2 cups left in my fridge.  I made a few changes to the original recipe (no corn, a little extra chicken, and the broth situation), and was floored with how flavorful this hearty soup turned out.

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I ate it for lunch this week with a farm fresh sweet potato and smothered in avocado…Mmm!  And then the BOY and I had it for dinner tonight. He raved about the flavor and I am bummed that I don’t have a better picture for you.  But I guess a picture won’t really show you how tasty this soup is so you’ll just have to trust me and try it for yourselves!  Happy Fall Friday!

More Fall Favorites

Chicken Posole Crockpot Soup

Crockpot Chickpea, Butternut Squash, and Red Lentil Stew

Crockpot Vegetarian Chili

Jen’s Jumbo

Poblano Turkey Sausage Chili

Thank goodness for my new crockpot liner…

What’s your favorite fall soup? 

What kitchen appliance would you be most upset about breaking?

Tortilla Chicken Soup

Adapted Slightly From Skinny Mom

Ingredients

  • 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts (I used 1 1/2)
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 15-ounce can reduced sodium black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 8-ounce can tomato sauce
  • Two, 10-ounce cans Ro*Tel® Original Mile Diced Tomatoes & Green Chilies
  • 4.5-ounce can chopped green chilies
  • 1-ounce less sodium taco seasoning
  • 32-ounces Pacific® Organic Low Sodium Chicken Broth (I only used 16 ounces)
  • *Optional toppings like cheese, tortilla strips, or avocado

Directions

  1. Place the chicken on the bottom of slow cooker, sprayed with cooking spray.
  2. Add the onion, black beans, tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, green chilies, taco seasoning, and chicken broth. Stir to combine.
  3. Cover and cook for 4 hours on high or 8 hours on low.
  4. Remove the chicken and shred. Return the shredded chicken to the slow cooker and mix well.
  5. To serve, ladle the soup into bowls and, garnish with optional toppings.

Getting into the Pumpkin Spirit

I love pumpkin just as much as the next blogger and even though I’m a little late to the pumpkin game, I dove right into the spirit with a few orange recipes this week.

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To start, I made a pumpkin chili in the crockpot.  With talk of the first PV (polar vortex) of the season on the horizon, I knew that I would want some chili this week.  Last year, I made an awesome Pumpkin Quinoa Chili, so I was willing to give the combo another try.

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After I got everything in the crockpot, I busted out my food processor (I swear my kitchen does not have enough counter space or outlets to support all my toys).  I have been wanting to make some raw energy balls to bring into the office for an afternoon pick me up.

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Of course I went with the pumpkin ones.  Although my texture was a little off, the flavor of these balls was great!  I will have to try them again…

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You can check out this website for the full Pumpkin Pie Energy Bites Recipe.  If they turn out a little gooey, then I suggest freezing them. It worked like a charm!  Back to the chili…my pumpkin chili turned out thick and spicy!  I happen to love it, but it has a mushy texture.  So if you don’t like that kind of thing in your chili, then add in some extra beans or lentils.

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And although they look pretty funny, check out the Whoopie Pies I made for the BOY’s 33rd Birthday today!  He ate 4 of them!

Recipe to come…

 

Meal Planning 11/11/14

Monday: Chinese Leftovers

Tuesday: Crockpot Pork

Wednesday: Turkey Tacos

Thursday: Leftovers

 

What was the first pumpkin recipe you made this fall?

Turkey Pumpkin Chili

Adapted Slightly From Garnish with Lemon

Ingredients

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 small onion, diced

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 pound ground turkey (lean)

2 – 15 oz cans diced tomatoes (drained lightly)

2 – 15 oz cans pumpkin puree

1 15-ounce can tomato sauce

4 tablespoons chili powder

1 teaspoon dried oregano

3 tablespoons cumin

2 chipotle peppers in adobe sauce, chopped

Directions

In a large fry pan, cook onion and garlic in olive oil over medium heat until translucent. Add turkey and cook until meat is no longer pink.

Spray the bottom of a crockpot and add the turkey mixture.  Layer on the tomatoes, sauce, pumpkin, spices, and chipotle peppers.  Stir and cook on low for 4-5 hours.

Serve with avocado, cheese, sour cream, chips or corn bread.

The Return of MM

Not Marvelous Monday (although today was pretty awesome)…but, Meatless Monday!

I woke up early yesterday morning and got my meals all planned out for the week.  With the chill in the air, I was ready for some autumn recipes!

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My meals have been lacking in the greens and veggies this past week, so I stocked up!

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This morning, I headed to the gym for a workout.  My trainer actually got a promotion so I started with a new trainer today.  It was a good workout, but I could definitely tell that I am not fully recovered from last week’s illness.  Even more reason to be eating lots of vitamins and veggies!

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After my workout, I swung by Whole Foods to pick up a probiotic (Good Belly is my favorite and I am hoping that it will get my stomach back under control).  My store just opened a smoothie bar and I happily sucked down a Caribbean Green post-workout drink on my way back home.

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While the BOY clicked away on his computer, I got started on fall soup.   It was exciting to pull out my soup pot again!

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This recipe is chock full of veggies, beans, and lentils complete with kale and cabbage.

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Perfect to keep you warm on those chilly fall days!

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Unfortunately, this pictures doesn’t do the soup justice because we rushed out of the house this afternoon to head downtown to meet with a photographer for our wedding.  I am confident that his photos will be much better looking than mine : )

Combined with this Autumn Chopped Salad, it’s going to be an exciting week of fall eats!

What is your favorite soup recipe?

What do you eat for Meatless Monday?

 

Meal Planning 10/05/14

Sunday: Buffalo Turkey Chili

Monday: Out to Eat

Tuesday: Sweet Potato Bar (with chicken and broccoli)

Wednesday: BBQ Pork and Veggies

Thursday: Leftovers

 

Lentil, Bean, and Kale Soup (aka Autumn Soup)

Slightly adapted from Glow Kitchen

Ingredients

1 bunch kale leaves

1 can (15-1/2 ounces) black eyed peas, rinsed

¼ cup red lentils

¼ cup green lentils

1 medium onion, diced

3 small carrots, diced

1/2 cabbage, chopped

2 garlic cloves, whole (or chopped)

1/2 red bell pepper, diced

28 ounces canned crushed tomato

3 tablespoons tomato paste

2 tablespoons soy sauce

1 teaspoon dried oregano

1 teaspoon dried basil

1 teaspoon cumin

1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes

Salt and pepper to taste

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 -3 cups water (or veggie stock)

Directions

Sauté the diced onions, carrots, cabbage, and red pepper with garlic cloves in olive oil until they start becoming soft. Chop kale leaves and add them to the pan. Sauté another 5 minutes. The kale leaves will lose their volume. Next add tomato paste, mashing it with a spatula to disperse throughout. Once evenly combined, add the crushed tomatoes, lentils, and beans. Season with salt, pepper, oregano, basil, cumin, red pepper flakes, and soy sauce.

Add water/veggie stock so that there is a 2-inch difference between the top of the water and the top of the mixture. Bring to a boil.  Then lower to a simmer cooking for 50-60 minutes until carrot and kale leafs are soft enough to eat.

Serve warm with crusty bread or freeze for later.

Day Light Savings Monday

One of the best things about the blog world is learning that I am not the only one who is struggling with the time change!  I slept until 9am on Monday morning (and was in bed by 10 last night) and I should confess that the BOY isn’t even awake yet (as of 10am).

 

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Sleeping Early Sunday Night

 

Cooper on the other hand seems to be adjusting just fine and was more annoyed than anything as he pounded his 11.2# body against our door this morning in request of breakfast, which eventually I provided.  To him and to myself…

I ate a quick breakfast of rye toast and an egg with spinach and then changed into these awesome new workout tights that I bought at the GAP yesterday.  I mean, yes they are awesome because they are bright and obnoxious, but even more so because they only cost me 5 dollars and some change.  I like the GAP workout clothes and I got two other adorable long sleeve shirts on major sale too!

 

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This morning’s workout was another tough one, but I think my arm muscles are starting to emerge.  Woo Hoo!

The rest of the afternoon was jam packed.  I met a friend and her little one for lunch and then raced back home for the BOY and my 3pm court time at the tennis gym.  It was great to try out my new racket and I learned that in tennis, like biking, the right (and possibly more expensive) equipment can help a beginner look better : )

 

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The BOY and I followed up tennis with our weekly grocery store run.  I swear I spend way more when he comes with me than when I go alone.  I had a plan, but apparently the BOY had a different plan for this week.  I had totally forgotten that it is his spring break, so I picked up some things that he could make for dinner while I was working.  When I got back home, I was starving!  I snacked on some cheese and crackers while unpacking our groceries and putting chili in the crockpot for this week’s lunch.

 

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I cheated a little bit and bought pre cut sweet potato, and it made this recipe come together really quickly!  We had the most beautiful day today, finally, and so I almost didn’t want to make chili.  I eat chili all year long, but just like everyone else, I am craving some warm weather and spring foods! 

 

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That being said, I like having a healthy and tasty lunch and knew that this would do the trick.  While my chili simmered in the crockpot, the BOY made an awesome dinner tonight.

 

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We had our first taste of spring today and with the time change, there will be more sunshine ahead (I hope!)

 

Did you have trouble adjusting to the time change?

 

Meal Planning 3/10/14

Monday: Shrimp and Pasta

 

Tuesday: Crockpot Chicken Pesto

 

Wednesday: Salmon (for me) and Lamb Chops (for the BOY) + Veggies

 

Thursday: Pork Tenderloin with Broccoli

 

Lunch: Sweet Potato and Quinoa Chili

 

 

Crockpot Sweet Potato and Quinoa Chili

From Iowa Girl Eats

 

Ingredients:
1lb ground turkey
1 small onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
3 cups chicken broth
28oz can crushed tomatoes
15oz can beans (I used black beans, rinsed and drained)
1 cup uncooked quinoa, rinsed
1 large sweet potato (about 1lb,) peeled and chopped small
2 Tablespoons chili powder
1 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon red chili pepper flakes

 

Directions: 

Add ground turkey and onion to a large skillet over medium-high heat. Cook until no longer pink, breaking turkey up as it cooks. Add garlic then cook for 30 more seconds then add to a 6 quart crock pot. Add remaining ingredients, except toppings, into crock pot then cook on high for 3 hours, or low for 5-6 hours, or until sweet potatoes are tender. Serve with your favorite toppings.

Pulled Pork Chili

It was another busy Monday here that involved a lot of running around.

 

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This weekend involved a lot of fun and a little less sleep.  So I crashed last night and was less than happy when my alarm went off this morning.  I started moving at 8am and just stopped to collapse on my couch around 9:30 tonight.  First up…after tea of course, the crockpot meal of the week.

 

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I’ve been wanting to make this recipe from How Sweet Eats and just needed the time to pull it all together.  This morning, I put my meat and beer in the crockpot and then forgot all about it.

 

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I had a session with my trainer.  She worked me hard!  And told me that I was strong.  Lifting weights and powering through burpees, I actually felt strong (Hello Bad Ass Warrior)!  Then I had a meeting to prepare for an upcoming presentation.  On my way home, I swung by the grocery store.  At which point, I remembered my pork.  I was afraid that I would walk in and find a tough piece of meat in the crockpot.  I grabbed the tongs and almost before I touched the meat, it crumbled apart into juicy goodness.  I added in the other ingredients that I had picked up at the grocery store.  Unfortunately, I didn’t have any chipotle seasoning, so I used some chipotle Tabasco instead of the red pepper flakes and chipotle seasonings.

 

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The result…a powerful and unique chili!

 

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The BOY (and of course Cooper) agreed!  Check out his cute little tongue!

 

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We had our second tennis lesson tonight.  Although it reaffirmed that I am pretty bad at tennis, it was a lot of fun!  The BOY is thrilled to be getting in a workout and we are really trying to find a place to practice on the weekends that doesn’t cost a lot of money.  Maybe one of these days, the snow will melt and we can return to the outdoor tennis courts.  Although it’s not looking like that will happen any time soon as there is more snow moving in overnight.  Stay warm my friends and make some chili!!!

 

Meal Planning 1/20/14

Monday: You Pick Two (Soup* Salad and Sandwiches)

 

Tuesday: Pork Chops with mushrooms

 

Wednesday: Chicken Parm Burgers

 

Thursday: Pasta with Meat Sauce?

 

Friday: TBD

 

Lunch: Crockpot Pulled Pork Chili

 

*Not just any soup…my dad’s famous chicken noodle soup!

 

Don’t forget to take a look at this flavor packed chili on How Good Eats!