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Monday Menu Musings

Hey guys! Long time no…….type.

I know it’s been, like…FOREVER, since I last posted and SOOOOOO much has changed.

(But we’ll get to all that later)

For now, I wanted to just bring you a quick little post with my current weekly menu.

I’ve gotten back on the ‘healthy eating’ train

(again….tell ya more later)

and I have all my peeps at my Weight Watchers meetings counting on me to actually post regularly!

So, without further ado I start you off this week with this delicious sounding menu in all it’s springtime gloriousness!

PNG Menu

And I ask you to join me in my endeavor for better health and an increasingly shrinking waistline!

I hope to see you around the blog and remember to c...

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HomeSpun Gourmet Candy Peanut Brittle

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This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Homemade Candy Peanut Brittle. All opinions are 100% mine.

What is it about the holidays that makes me instantly think of cookies, candy, and peanut brittle? Perhaps it’s all those marvelous memories I have of being a young girl, tree lights sparkling magically in the living room corner, while Mom made extraordinary smells emerge from the oven at astonishing speeds. Her homemade cookies, hand rolled truffles, and lovingly poured peanut brittle knew no equals.

Fast forward 20 years, and I can’t seem to recreate those memories no matter how hard I try! I make some darn good cookies, and every so often I can pull off a hand rolled truffle that...

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WIAW: Figure Friendly Spinach Mushroom Smothered Chicken

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This post may contain affiliate links, which means by clicking on them you help support a homeschooling mom and her incredibly overworked husband! We appreciate each and every click!

You know something’s good when you make it more than once in two-week time period (and when you find yourself eating the leftovers every day afterwards until it’s literally all gone).

This is exactly what happened when I found myself standing in front of the fridge one night a few weeks ago, scratching my head, trying to scrounge up something for dinner...

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Heaven by the Microwave Light- Chocolate Peanut Butter Mug Cake

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This post may contain affiliate links, which means by clicking on them you help support a homeschooling mom and her incredibly overworked husband! We appreciate each and every click!

OMG y’all. I seriously think I may have just died and gone to Heaven.

No kidding.

And here’s why…

I  have just discovered mug cakes!


I know most of you are sitting there thinking, ‘Geez, Jenn- really? That mug cake sensation is almost yesterday’s news! Exactly what rock HAVE you been living under?’

So ok, maybe I misspoke mistyped. I have known about mug cakes long before now- but they were all ordinary, run of the mill, not gonna ring my bell mug cakes.

Until this one.

This mug cake, my friends, will bring...

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The Baking Bug is Biting….

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For some reason, I am going through a massive urge to bake lately. Perhaps it’s due to necessity, since I’m forcing myself to make more of our snacks at home to cut down on all the processed foods that we eat around here. Maybe, an old flame who’s coals have long been banked is just finally being rekindled (I did originally start going to college to train to be a pastry chef- but my plans just changed over time).

Whatever the reason, the baking bug always seems to bite me at ~12:30-1:00 in the morning…every morning. Seriously! My family comes out most mornings interested to see what yummy goodie the ‘baking elves’ (not to be confused with those sell-out Keebler guys) has left on our kitchen counter. Let me entice you with what’s been smellin’ up my kitchen lately….

The first thing I whipped up was homemade granola bars. My kids are constantly bargaining for a ‘nack’ and man, do we go through pop-tarts, fruit snacks, granola bars, and the like! Even with coupons I can still spend my weight in ‘nack food’ for their hungry ‘lil tummies, so I knew there had to be a better way. A quick trip to Google (and help from StacyMakesCents.com) and I found out I was right! A healthier, CHEAPER version was close at hand with ingredients I already had in my pantry- who knew?!

Looks like birdseed but tastes soooooo much better!

 

I got aggravated after I had already creamed together the butter and brown sugar when I realized I didn’t have old-fashioned oats on hand- only quick oats. No matter- in recipes where you are baking things like this, just sub one for the other! Crisis averted! I decided to double the recipe but for some reason didn’t change the size pan I used to bake it (i.e. 8×8 vs. 9×13) so I wound up with really thick chunky bars instead of thinner more numerous bars. Regardless, I still had plenty with which to fill my large tupperware container!

Overall, I think they turned out fairly tasty but I would do some things differently next time. I’d use a bigger pan (duh!) and I’d probably toast the oats- it would bring out a yummy nuttiness that I feel is lacking greatly. But Tim and the kids loved ‘em and the tupperware is esssentially empty, so I guess they couldn’t have been too bad!

Next, I decided to dabble with fruit as I have a bunch of frozen blackberries that I wanted to use up- enter Blackberry Oatmeal Breakfast Bars (courtesy of FriendsFoodFamily.com). Talk about melt in your mouth scrumptiousness!! How can you go wrong with oats, brown sugar, butter, and cinnamon topped with a blackberry sugar reduction and then more brown sugar streusel? HEA-VEN!!!!!

YUM-O!

 

There’s nothing I would do differently next time other than make sure I have more blackberries on hand so that I can totally double or triple this recipe. It makes a gracious 32 bars (or 16 if you want them to be bigger like I did) and if you put the computer down right now and go in your kitchen to make these I swear you won’t be sorry. Just promise you’ll come back and finish reading my post when you’re done.

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Weigh-In Wednesday-#5 & #6- A Starting All Over Again Twofer…

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So, if there are any of you out there who keep up with me and my weigh-ins (and I’m sure you are few and far between), then you probably noticed that I haven’t actually posted the last few Wednesdays. This was not a slip up or oversight on my part- I actually did remember to weigh. I just didn’t post because I was totally embarrassed about the actual amount of weight I managed to gain. I don’t know why it was such a problem for me to post- the whole point of this blog is to be an accounting of EVERYTHING… good, bad, AND ugly. And lemme tell you… the past few weeks’ weight gain has been UUUUUUG-LY!

BUT, I am totally OVER my pity party. I was actually over it last Wednesday when I weighed in at 373.4 and realized I wasn’t just back up to my original starting weight but had actually managed to surpass it! I was so utterly frustrated that I wanted to scream. I jumped back in the saddle that very day- I just haven’t had the time to post about it yet because of being so busy- hence the Weigh-In Wednesday Twofer!

It’s still been a busy time in our lives- my Mom’s been in the midst of buying a new house (yay!), we’re still working on the craziness that is our backyard (a piece of the Amazon Rainforest transplanted in NC), we adopted a new puppy, and we just celebrated a certain 5-year-olds birthday (Hey Ro!). Plus I’ve been feeling uber-crafty (I’m sure you’ll see the posts soon), so I’ve got 400 projects in various stages of completion lying around the house. (Remember that whole 85% girl thing? Yeah, it’s rearing it’s head…)

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What I COOKED Wednesday-FREEZER PLEASERS!

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It’s a WIAW first! Normally, my #WIAW posts involve a whole lot of…well… the things I ate on Wednesday. But I realized that lately on my Weigh-In Wednesday posts {dang, I post a lot on Wednesdays!} I’ve been doing a lot of complaining about being so busy and having that prevent me from eating properly. I finally came to the realization that it was time to quit bellyaching and ‘pony up to the bar’- I needed to DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT! Making the decision to do so doesn’t necessarily mean that all of a sudden my schedule cleared up, we came into beaucoup amounts of money, or the hubs was given 3 straight weeks off of work and unearthed a heretofore unknown fountain of youthful energy with which to pull off all of our DIY projects. What it did do, however, was give me the desire to find a better way to manage our food so that I could pull off healthy meals each day and not resort to eating out, ordering in, or grabbing something quick (but inevitably unhealthy) to shove in my mouth in an effort to fill the ache in my tummy! After bumping around in blogland and checking out various other sites, I ran across Karrie @ Happy Money Saver and her post about the day she made freezer meals. EUREKA!  I found my answer! I suddenly realized that my problem wasn’t just about making bad food choices- it was about terrible time management as well. I knew that if I followed Karrie’s example, bit the bullet, sequestered myself in the kitchen, and cooked my tushie off making a ton of freezer meals- then dinners would be a SNAP to pull off any given night of the week! That way, I could still be terrible at managing my time yet stay on a pretty straight and narrow eating plan. Yay me!

My ‘smaller than I thought it would be’ shopping list

I did a bit of Googling and found several sites with tons of freezer meal ideas (which I quickly bookmarked) but decided to initially go with Leanne Ely’s ‘5 for the Freezer‘ recipes (which I promptly adjusted and made my own). I chose her recipes though, because I love how she not only breaks each recipe down for you, with shopping lists and everything, but gives you side dish suggestions and more! It’s dummy proof (and if you know me, you know why that’s important!) I had several requirements of the recipes I chose- they had to be relatively few ingredients (that my kids would actually be willing to try/eat), the ingredients had to be fairly inexpensive and relatively easy to purchase (I’m not in a huge city), and it had to be fast and simple to pull together and/or cook. I printed out a stack of recipes as thick as my fist, sat down, and made my shopping list (which I honestly thought would be MUCH longer) and headed for the store. It took $200 and a trip to Sam’s Club, Aldi, and Harris Teeter before everything was bought and ready to cook- my kitchen table was completely covered and there wasn’t an ounce of room in our fridge! But man, the amount of food I was able to whip up! All told, to date I’ve made 35 ‘Freezer Pleasers’ (I’m totally trademarking that name) and I’m already chomping at the bit to make more. (I know, I’m a total glutton for punishment). It’s such a joy to know those 35 meals are sitting pretty in my freezer and you can’t imagine the relief I feel knowing that if I went on strike and didn’t lift a single spatula or wooden spoon for the next month (literally a whole month!), not a one of us would go hungry or gain 30 lbs. from eating McDonald’s every night!

I did my best to make a variety of meals so that we wouldn’t get bogged down by too many pork dishes or an overabundance of chicken. I even managed to make them fit into the daily meal categories that my kids find so amusing:

 

  • Meatless Mondays (Vegetarian)
  • Tasty Travels Tuesdays (Ethnic)
  • Wet N Wild Wednesdays (Seafood)
  • Throwback Thursdays (Comfort food)
  • Pizza Fridays (Pizza, duh!)
  • Souper Saturdays (Soups/Chilis)
  • Slow Cooker Sundays (Crockpot Cooking)
{Can you tell I’m a sucker for alliteration?!}

Here’s what I made (and yes, you can click the title to get the recipe!):

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WIAW-#1 (What I Ate Wednesday)

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I’ve finally decided to jump on the #WIAW (What I Ate Wednesday) bandwagon. WIAW is a weekly food diary (a bit voyeuristic in nature) run by my friend Jenn (great name!) over at the blog Peas and Crayons.

As Jenn puts it, ‘it’s a great way to reflect on my eating habits and spot out patterns, slip-ups, and successes!’ No matter what type of Wednesday I’m having- be it a school day, a lazy day, or a DIY the house day- it’ll be different and I’ll learn something new about my eating habits every time!

So, the way it works is I’ll take pictures of everything I eat each Wednesday- the good, the bad, and the ugly (yep, even the ugly) I’ll even include some recipes for the eats t...

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My Week in Food- Week #1

As a self-professed ‘Queen of Procrastination’, it should come as no surprise to any of you that this post is actually about 1 1/2 weeks late. What can I say?! Dieting is time-consuming! Be that as it may, I try to live by one of my favorite mantras ‘better late than never’ and I truly feel like as long as this gets posted sometime within the 365 days that make up the year 2013- well, then I’m doing pretty good!

I have to say that this first week was a pretty great week all around for food stuffs here. I’ll admit it was a bit more work than usual, as this time around I have decided to cook all 3 meals from scratch each day instead of just dinner...

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