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#SouperSaturday: Cheesy Cauliflower Potato Soup

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I don’t know about y’all, but I have had the hardest time staying warm this winter!

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Temperatures outside have varied so widely,
{t-shirts one day, mukluks the next!}
and because our house is 100+ years old, it’s so stinkin’ drafty!

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We’ve spent the winter holed up in two rooms huddled under piles of blankets,
doors closed, and space heaters running.
And that’s barely taken the edge off!

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Because of all this bone-chilling cold, all I seem to be craving is soup.
Warming, he...

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#SouperSaturday: Smoky Farro & Chickpea Soup

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!

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Oh my gosh, y’all!

This has been the most confusing winter I think I’ve ever experienced!
Bitterly cold for 2 or 3 days, then 60’s & sunny for 2, then back to ice and snow for another 4.
I guess it’s a good thing we never packed away our summer wardrobe this year!!

It also hasn’t helped in keeping us well…the ENTIRE family had the flu for Christmas.
And now we just keep passing around sore throats & stuffy noses.
I sure will be glad when Spring gets here!

Right now, we’re dealing with ice ...

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Weigh-In Wednesday…It’s Been a Long Time Comin’

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I cannot BELIEVE how long it has been since I’ve typed a single word here on this blog.
It’s amazing how quickly time can pass when life gets in the way.
I think it’s way past time to show my poor little blog some long overdue love and attention.

2016 was a rough year for me.
Dealing with my mother’s passing…
Starting a new business in direct sales
Being diagnosed with PCOS…
Having unexpected emergency surgery due to that PCOS diagnosis…
Gaining 60+ lbs thanks to that surgery/recovery and the hormone pills I have to take…

Yeah- it’s been difficult to say the least.

I want to send a BIG thanks to all my readers and followers who have reached out during this time…making su...

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Tasty Travels Tuesday: Green Curry 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!

Welcome to Tuesday…Tasty Travels Tuesday, that is!

This is the day each week that I make an ethnic dish of some sort. My goal in this attempt is to introduce my kids to unique and interesting cuisines they may never experience otherwise.

Growing up in the South, I cut my teeth on soul food, comfort food, and sweet tea. And while these are all still my favorites (much to the chagrin of my waistline), I knew I needed to branch out beyond standard ethnic fare...

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Throwback Thursday: Turkey & Quinoa Meatloaf

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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!

Hi guys!

Welcome to Throwback Thursday!

This week I’m cooking a delicious, healthy take on a family favorite…

MEATLOAF!

Don’t get me wrong…I LOOOOOVE regular meatloaf.

But it’s not exactly figure friendly.

Breadcrumbs, full fat ground beef, whole eggs…you get the gist.

So imagine my delight when I came across a recipe for Turkey & Quinoa Meatloaf in my new ‘Love It, Cook It, Eat It’ cookbook by Weight Watchers!

(you can find the recipe here)

I’ll admit I was a little unsure of the ingredients at first.

(think c...

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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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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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