Monday, December 23, 2013

Menu Plan Monday #32 +holiday meal planning help and a weekend recap

Hello, Everyone!!! We are just two days away from Christmas! Can you even believe it?! By now, most of you should have your Christmas menu planned. If you don't here are a few resources to help you plan it...better late than never right?!




Now, for us, we are actually going to go our for dinner. I cooked a huge meal back in October for Thanksgiving and I still have leftovers frozen in the freezer! So, we decided we would go out since some places are going to be open we figure we would go and give those waiters and waitresses some business and tip them quite well and bring some fun baked goods along with us.

This past weekend was a fairly busy one....


We started off the day with a trip to the coffee shop, then we headed out for lunch where the kiddo and the husband were goofy as ever! Their faces depict how we were all feeling for sure. Then, the kiddo dared her Dad to eat a lime. He started to not take it then she accused him of being boring so he did it. He obviously hates limes lol The winter punch was the best thing I ate at that meal so it is what got featured! We then finished getting all of the kiddo's snow boarding gear, will talk more about that in the future as that has been quite the learning experience! After that 4 hour trip we headed out to our friends house, they live in the suburbs so it's a bit of a drive. We stopped at her salon because the husband needed a haircut and we all had a glass of wine while she snipped away. It was fantastic. They cooked us a great meal and then we all drove around checking out the Christmas lights in the area. We saw some really great ones, many of them were to benefit the Children's hospital, which is wonderful! 
Sunday, we lied around and hardly moved from the couch. We watched the entire first season of Breaking Bad...it's kind of depressing and I can't say I am a fan. But, typically unless it's funny or talks about history I tend to not be a fan. Any Breaking Bad fans out there? Should I stick with the next four season?

Now, let's move along to what you are all here for....



Breakfast ideas: cream of wheat, eggs & bacon, pancakes, waffles, Cinnamon Buns for Christmas Day, leftovers

Lunch ideas: leftovers, grilled cheese, soup, baked potatoes

Dinner:

Monday: Stuffed, twice baked potatoes
Tuesday: Chicken alfredo bake and salad
Wednesday: (Christmas) Currently planning on eating out, may possibly make steak, prawns, and lobster with corn and salad though
Thursday: Slow cooked BBQ beef with corn and salad, possibly some rolls
Friday: Smothered Chicken with mixed veggies and salad
Saturday: Date night with friends, going to share a plate of Korean BBQ
Sunday: Calzones with salad

Here is the set up of my menu board:
I really love this because it is just to the right of my bedroom door so when I come out in the morning I can look right at it and I'm not guessing about breakfast and it reminds me to take the meat out of the freezer if need be or to run to the market to grab some fresh.

Happy Monday, y'all! I hope you all have a great week and a very Merry Christmas if you are celebrating it!




Friday, December 20, 2013

Family Favorites Friday!!! #2

I was a bit disorganized last week and didn't get a Family Favorites Friday post up! Oh well, those things happen.

This past weekend though, during my baking I found a new family favorite: FUDGE!!!   It is so gooey and delicious, it really cannot be beat. Plus, it is super, duper easy!


Ingredients
  • -1.5 cups sugar (regular, old fashioned white sugar)
  • -5 ounces evaporated milk (full fat)
  • -1/2 cup of butter
  • -2 cups of small marshmallows
  • -1 heaping cup semisweet chocolate chips
  • -1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • Process
  • 1. Line and 8x8 square pan with parchment. Make sure it comes up and crosses over the the edges, you may have to criss-cross the parchment.
  • 2. Butter a non-stick sauce pan (2 qt). Combine The sugar, evaporated milk, and butter. Cook and stir over medium-high heat until boiling (around 10 minutes). Reduce heat to medium. Stir constantly for the next 6 minutes (set your timer). Really, continue stirring or it will get stuck to the sides and burn...ick.
  • 3. Remove from heat. Add marshmallows, chocolate chips, and vanilla. Stir until the marshmallows and chocolate chips are all melted.
  • 4. Spread mixture into the parchment lined pan. To get the look I have cover with sprinkles and tiny marshmallows on top. Put in the fridge and let cool. At least 2-3 hours.
  • 5. After that time, when it feels firm enough, take it out of the pan and cut into small squares and store in an air tight container.

This is a super yummy recipe and I 100% recommend making this ASAP....especially if your Santa is a fudge fan, s/he'd be ever so grateful! ;)

Make sure to check out the other recipes I've posted this week:

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Birthday Cake Pancakes!!!!! (& a sleepover organization tip!)

This past weekend was my daughter's birthday. Normally we are huge, huge on birthdays. I mean the day of we celebrate the heck out of that person but this birthday was a crazy one and we celebrated her literally all weekend long!

It started with a big surprise party with 10 of her closest friends from school (how they all kept it secret I will never know, but boy was she surprised!). This was a total surprise to her. We had told her that due to our family Christmas gift we couldn't really afford the big party she originally wanted to she could invite a girlfriend or two to spend the night. Well, immediately after that I decided to coordinate the surprise party. I am so happy it worked out. The girls were so sweet and made it so special for her. I unfortunately didn't get the "surprise" on video, but here is on of them singing to her.

video


Then, on Saturday we let her have a sleep over since that was her "original" birthday party  with three of her girlfriends. I made homemade pizza, ribs, and peas (the mom in me can't go without a veggie on their plates; and contrary to what the USDA believes I don't count tomato sauce as a veggie). I don't buy paper plates or plastic cups so our cups were going to get used up very quickly with six of us in the house so I decided a bit of organization was in order. I thought at first about writing on the cups with dry erase marker, but was slightly worried that it would rub off and they'd still get them confused. So, I came up with this....

It was super easy. Just used a few post it notes, wrote their name on them and put the cups where they belonged! They could come out and grab a little water or soda, take a swig and either rinse it an put it down, or if it still had stuff in it just put it down over their name! They loved it and even thought it was a great idea!!

Now on to what you really came here for...

Birthday Cake Pancakes!!!

The original recipe that I used is here. I did mostly the same stuff. Here is what I did...
Ingredients
-Betty Crocker Party Rainbow Chip Cake Mix
-3 Eggs
-1 Cup of Water
-1/3 Cup of Melted Coconut Oil

First, I poured in the cake mix and took a wooden spoon to it to break up any lumps. Next, I added the eggs, water and oil and mixed it up, just until mixed. I also smoothed out any large lumps. I found since this is a cake mix it all mixed together pretty smoothly and I had no lumps.  


Once I got toward then end I poured them all willy nilly in the bottom just to get them made...after all I had four very hungry teenage girls! 

But, as you can see most of them I made quite nicely. See how beautifully they brown up? I pour a little maple syrup over top with some sprinkles. The original recipe shows using icing, but my kiddo isn't a huge fan so I avoided it. The other girls here didn't actually use anything at all to top their pancakes they were sweet enough without it.

All lit up!!!

The Birthday Girl blowing out her candles!

These made amazing pancakes. I couldn't even eat a whole one though, they are quite filling and a very special treat for a birthday boy or girl! I think these will definitely be a tradition in our house!

Does your family have any fun birthday traditions?




Tuesday, December 17, 2013

WIAW #20ish +the week in workouts!

Welcome to the 20th-ish edition of What I Ate Wednesday!





I say 20th-ish because I didn't label some of them, the last one I labeled was #17 so I think I am around #20! I have also remembered to take more pictures of what I've been eating since I've really upped my greens and other veggies and fruits!

First, let's address the workouts this week. Even though we are close to Christmas I have tried so hard to finish out this T25 strong and so far I have done great. I seriously haven't missed a single day in all 10 weeks! I am so proud!

My workouts this last week were as follows:
Wednesday: Speed 2.0 & Upper Focus
Thursday: Rest day
Friday: Core Cardio
Saturday: Dynamic Core
Sunday: Stretch day
Monday: Rip't Circuit
Tuesday: Core Cardio
Today: Rip't Circuit (again)

I will say now that I am in the 10th week of this programme I can definitely see and feel a major difference in my core. There is a lot more definition and I can do all of the exercises as instructed. I am feeling strong and awesome!

Now on to the food!!!!  

Almond Butter and banana slices and some chocolate Shakeology.

On this day I was clearly in dire need of that coffee. Instead of pouring the grounds into the press, I poured them straight into my cup. :-/

As part of our advent calendar we made gingerbread cookies.

Some hard boiled eggs I made for snacks for the week!

Yum! Paleo hot cocoa with some vegan friendly marshmallows as a treat!

Protein balls!!! These are so yummy! I made mine with vanilla protein powder.

This was part of our advent again...Red & Green themed dinner!! Spaghetti squash with homemade meat sauce & cucumbers!

This was after the kiddo's cheer competition, we had dinner at Red Robin. I healthied it up as much as possible with a Caesar salad and a lettuce wrapped turkey burger.

A spinach and butter lettuce vegan riblet salad. It was really tasty!

S'mores Pops! (Go check 'em out!)

Just a nice basic salad in a delcious apple cider vinegar italian dressing!

This was the small spread at the kiddo's sleepover. It was quite tasty, they all enjoyed it!

Finishing with some vanilla shakeology! Yum!

So, that is it for What I Ate Wednesday! What was your favorite meal of the week???

S'mores pops! Anybody want a s'mores pop???

This past weekend , since we didn't do a whole lot outside of the house I made myself super busy inside the house! Last year I was more of a store bought cookie kind of gal because it was super difficult for me to get used to the dark dreary days of living in the PACNW. This year however I was determined to make things different and decided to cook up some treats!

Here is the first of the treats I made. It is super simple and requires very little actual cooking.


S'mores Treat Pops
-Candy lollipop sticks
-Large Marshmallows
-Semi-sweet chocolate chips
-Graham Cracker Crumbs
-Milk
-Large, parchment covered plate
Optional: Washi tape

1. The first thing I did was decide how many pops I actually wanted to make. My bag of pop sticks came with 50 so I decided 25 would be enough so I had 25 sticks for a later project. I picked out my 25 & covered them in various colours and patterns of washi.

2. Take a pop stick and stick it into a marshmallow, repeat this for however many marshmallows you choose to make.

3. Measure out half a cup (1 cup) of chocolate chips, add a dash of milk (1/2  tablespoon or so, add slowly because you can always add more, but can't take it away). Melt in microwave in 10-15 second increments and stir until smooth. (Be very careful not to overheat as then you will have something that resembles burnt fudge and that is no bueno.)

4. Pour a bit of graham cracker crumbs into a dish. Make sure they cover the bottom of the dish you are using. I would say you'll need at least a half cup of crumbs. Also, get out a large size plate and cover it with parchment paper or wax paper.

5. Take one marshmallow and dip it into the melted chocolate, then dip it into the graham cracker crumbs. Place it on the parchment covered plate to harden. Repeat this until you have covered as many marshmallows as you want! If it is fairly warm in your home (we keep ours set at Caribbean) you may want to place your plate in the fridge for a bit so the chocolate can harden.

6. For storage I have mine on the kitchen counter in plastic bags and they are doing great! If you wanted to give these as a gift you could easily cover them with some saran and a piece of ribbon, especially if you coordinated it all to your washi!



What is your favourite no-bake holiday treat????

Monday, December 16, 2013

Menu Plan Monday #31 and weekend recap

Happy Monday, everyone! This is coming a bit late. I took my Sunday and got almost all the way through Janet Evanovich's Fearless Fourteen! I love these books, they are so hysterical. I started reading them a few years ago but thanks to all our moves and work and whatnot it has taken me a while to get through all of them. I am so glad too because I love how much they make me laugh. Plus, my hubby is on holiday this week (and for the two weeks after that lol) so I was busy spending so much time with him, it's been great!

Anyway, this weekend we had a quite a busy weekend with a Surprise party for our daughter on Friday night, a Christmas party that same night, a sleepover for the kiddo's birthday, and her cheer practice and a dinner for her birthday! Here are a few pics from our weekend...they are totally random and have hardly anything to do with this last paragraph...

As part of her birthday present I did the kiddo's chores for her on Friday...after picking up her bathroom I did a little towel origami. It was supposed to be a swan...since it looks more like a snake I obviously have a lot more practice to do! hahaha but it was so fun!

We learned the grinch lives in our strata building.....and he is redundant lol

During her surprise party her girlfriends graffiti'd her mirror...so sweet!

The hubby and I at his Christmas party. It was a fun time, roaring 20's theme so there were some interesting cocktails to be had!

Now on to my menu. I will say, last week I finally started using my menu board again. This was honestly the best thing I have ever made for myself. When I have my meals written out right in front of me where I walk past it every morning I honestly can't forget to take out what I need for dinner or what my amazing breakfast ideas were during a Sunday afternoon but can't seem to pull out of my brain at seven am on a weekday.

For ideas like mine go see other menus at Org Junkie!!!

Breakfast
Monday: Coffee shop, hubby needed us out of the house
Tuesday: A hard boiled egg and cream of wheat/creamy rice
Wednesday: Eggs, bacon/back bacon, banana bread slice
Thursday: Egg in a basket with back bacon
Friday: Banana bread slice with hard boiled egg
Saturday: Omelette, bacon/back bacon, cinnamon toast/bread rolls
Sunday: Homemade doughnut holes with a fruit spread

Lunch
Monday: Out for subs at Urban Fare
Tuesday: Going to see The Hobbit so we will just grab a Japadog/chicken salad for the kiddo with nuts, cheese cubes, and some dried fruit.
Wednesday: Leftover stew from the freezer for the kiddo/juice for me/grilled cheese for hubby
Thursday: Chicken wings for the husband/carrot chicken soup for the kiddo and I with a side salad
Friday: Popcorn, fruit, veggies, cheese plate/juice
Saturday: Homemade chicken nuggets (will do a large batch to freeze) with bacon green beans
Sunday: Nuts, hard boiled eggs, popcorn, and veggie spread

Dinner
Monday: Hamburger helper with salad & corn
Tuesday: Coconut shrimp & mango salsa with mixed veggies & beans/steak bites with raclette and corn
Wednesday: BBQ pulled pork with salad and carrots
Thursday: New Recipe: Easy Cheeseburger Sliders with yam fries & regular fries, and corn and salad
Friday: Chicken breasts with corn and zucchini  
Saturday: We have a double date planned so New Restaurant Friday will be New Restaurant Saturday
Sunday: Three cheese pasta bake with salad

My menu has a lot of modifications this week as I am really concentrating on making our diet better for the kiddo and I. I don't want to go into the New Year feeling bloated and icky, so I figure I will keep things as clean as possible for right now. 

I hope everyone has a great week!


Monday, December 9, 2013

Maple VoxBox!

I was a very, very happy girl a few weeks ago when I got my maple voxbox in the mail! Can ya tell I was just a little excited?! 


I took this in the lobby of our building...our concierge was looking at me a bit funny, but I was so excited!

This is what the box looked like up opening. So many goodies! Skinny cow, impress, NYC, Ice Breakers...so exciting!

Here is my video of me unboxing it. Bear with me as this was my very first video I have ever done. It was also done today, so it was after I ate my skinny cow stuff (I will admit I broke into those as soon as I had the box open) I didn't realize Influenster would want us to do video's but now I know for next time! Live and learn, right?!


Yes, I put snowflakes over it because it was snowing today!!

Over the next week I will have more in depth reviews coming of each product!

I do want to add I received these products free through the Influenster Maple Voxbox Programme.

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Menu Plan Monday #30 +the obligatory weekend recap

Welcome back to Monday!!! 16 days until Christmas and just 6 days until my "baby" is 14!!! Where has the time gone?! I used to get so annoyed at my mother for saying that, but geez, now that I'm an adult I say it all the time. So, sorry, Mom-I totally feel ya now!

Anyway, this weekend was a big weekend for my daughter, she had her first cheer competition of the season. They didn't win this one, but they know what their deductions are to work on for the next time...biggest tip: make sure everyone's shoes are tied well! Here's the weekend in pictures....

So her competition was at the Olympic Oval in Richmond, BC. Gorgeous facility and area. We took the skytrain and this was just about a 10 min walk from the train. It was so cold, but I'm pretty sure with the way the lines were to pay for parking on the way out we saved ourselves a solid hour at least by taking the train!

The girls after they performed! They did amazing. So proud!

Her new t-shirt, she was super stoked to get it!

Went grocery shopping to start my holiday eat good challenge this week. I even managed to turn grocery shopping into a workout. I even took the hilliest way home possible to work up a sweat! 

After dinner, the advent calendar activity was to bake gingerbread men. Aren't they cute? We used up the last of our Halloween candy to decorate them! hehehe ;)

Now that you know what we've been up to, let's move on to a very important part of starting our week off on the right foot....


This week I am starting my first clean eating support group, so my meals will reflect our clean eating. Eating good, clean foods is so important for our health and overall fitness. In fact, it may be even more important than your actual workout because we all know that no matter how much you workout, you can't outwork a bad diet.

Breakfast
Monday: Kiddo: Cereal with banana Me: Green Juice & 2 hard boiled eggs
Tuesday: Kiddo: French toast bites, hard boiled egg, and apple slices Me: Big Ass Pancake with nut butter and banana
Wednesday: Charity Breakfast
Thursday: Same as Monday
Friday: Same as Tuesday
Saturday: Omelette's with bacon and back bacon
Sunday: Treats from yoga ;)

Lunch:
Monday: Leftovers from Saturday's meal
Tuesday: Veggie burrito bowls
Wednesday: Leftover's of some kind
Thursday: Kiddo: Grilled Cheese bites and soup Me: Beet Juice and hard boiled eggs
Friday: Kiddo: Philly cheese steak kebabs with peppers and carrots Me: Beet Juice and hard boiled eggs
Saturday: Grilled cheese, cucumber bites, and soup
Sunday: Bacon and cheese potato rounds/sweet potato rounds, salad

Dinner:
Monday: (Red and Green Themed Dinner) Spaghetti with salad (traditional and spaghetti squash)
Tuesday: Chicken Wings/chickpea nuggets with veggies 
Wednesday: BBQ cheese burgers, zucchini, corn, carrot mash
Thursday: Taco's with salad
Friday: Ribs with potato and sweet potato wedges with roasted carrots
Saturday: Make your own pizza's with salad
Sunday: Dinner out at Hamburger Mary's for her big 1-4 (New Restaurant Friday "throw back")!

Snacks: Fruit, veggies, hummus and lentil chips,  and protein balls, and Shakeology

Come on over and follow me on Instagram as I will be posting pictures & recipes of my dinner's all week to keep me accountable and following my menu...if you come connect over on Facebook, tell me about your menu or show me pictures!

So, this is what we are planning for the week; lots of homemade, delicious food. What sort of yummies do you have on your menu? Trying any new recipes? 

Monday, December 2, 2013

Menu Plan Monday #29 + a small weekend recap

Good Monday Morning! I hope everyone had a fantastic weekend! Ours wasn't too busy for once we mostly just hung out at home. The husband caught up on some gaming, I got quite a few projects completed, we decorated the house for Christmas and did the laundry! Here is what it looked like in pictures...

For New Restaurant Friday we went to a place called Abode. It is close to our house located in the Blue Horizon Hotel. Those chicken wings were amazing (the sauce they come with was bleh, don't eat that), the steak and frites was good (especially the frites), the buger and salad I had were amazing as well. Although that took some squishing and cutting to get one bite in my mouth! ha! Don't know if we will go back any time soon, but it was enjoyable if you are in the area.

This was the rest of our weekend Saturday my daughter's gym had their showcase. First competition is next weekend, we are so excited! Then I worked on her advent calendar, I made some yarn covered "sticks"  (tutorial to come), I worked on a wreath, and did some yoga! It was a fabulous weekend all-in-all and can't wait to do it in 4 more days!

Now though it's time to get down to business for the week...

Go check out all the other menu's linked up at Org Junkie!

Breakfast Options:
Hard boiled eggs, overnight oats, muffins, pancakes, sweet potato/potato hash

Lunch Options:
Leftovers, egg muffins, salad, philly roll ups

Dinner:
Monday: Pizza Burgers with salad
Tuesday: Beef stew with rolls or cornbread
Wednesday: Leftovers/Breakfast for dinner
Thursday: Pork chops with carrots, squash, corn
Friday: New Restaurant Friday
Saturday: Sausage and peppers with roast potato & sweet potato pieces
Sunday: Chicken breasts with corn, sauteed pears or pear sauce, and squash

So, that is it for me today! What are you doing to get ready for the holidays? 


Saturday, November 30, 2013

DIY: Christmas Countdown Calendar (Advent Calendar) +free printable!

I don't normally do much posting on the weekend, but this project has been in the works for a few days and with December 1 pending tomorrow I decided to make sure this got up today!

Now that American Thanksgiving is over, the holiday's are officially in full swing for my family! Even up here in Canada they had several "Black Friday" sales, it was fun to get out and pick up some goodies to put under the tree! I had also been working on getting something special prepped for my teenager for the holiday's. 

We always do some sort of advent/countdown calendar. I wanted this year's to be about more than just candy, but I also didn't want to give little trinkets that would just take up space and clutter up our small apartment. So, I came up with some clutter-less activities that allow us to spend time together as a family and give to those around us. Here is how I did it...

Supplies
  • Advent Activities printed on Sticker paper
  • Something to put the candy/activities in
  • 1" punch
  • Small Candy


I gathered my advent calendar, the printable I made, my 1" punch, and some Hershey's kisses.

I used these kisses:
They were all my Shopper's had...and they are amazing!



Above is the 1" punch I use. If you don't have one but you craft a lot I highly recommend this one by EK Success. It is compact, it is an "easy punch", and it can be used for a variety of things...namely bottle cap crafts! So, take this punch and turn it upside down like this: 


Centre it over the words and wreath, and punch! I punched all of mine out first... 

....and then stuck it to the bottom of the Hershey's Kiss!


Cute, huh?!

Then I put it behind the appropriate door! 

Now, something to keep in mind when deciding which activities to use is check your calendar. Some of the activities are quite easy and can be done even on a busy day. For example one is read a holiday book, another is have dinner in front of the Christmas Tree, have a red & green themed dinner. Those are things that don't really take any extra effort, but can go a long way in making great memories!

I printed this calendar and as I put the activities in the box, I wrote down what was being done on each day so that way each evening I can look ahead to what activity is on schedule for the next day so if it involves pancakes, waffles, hot cocoa, etc I can make sure those are prepped the night before; or, if it involves going somewhere I can make sure I tell everyone to be on schedule!

Now, how did I come up with the activity ideas? I tried to choose things that were cheap, mostly clutter-less, and ones that could help my teenager think of others. I scoured pinterest, facebook, and and several blogs looking for ideas, but most of them are unique because honestly most of the ideas I found involved a lot of "stuff" or expense. 

Here are the ideas I used and what I am doing for each one:

Hot Cocoa Breakfast with cookies
Holiday Light Displays
Ice Skating-Sundae Bar
See a parade
Reflect on the year
Commemorate the day in video or pics
Look at neighborhood lights
Play Charades
Red & Green Themed Dinner
RAK Day
Have a dance party
Sing Carols
Game night
Snowboarding
Go play in the snow
Roast marshmallows in the fire
Go see a holiday movie in theater
Make goals for next year
Popcorn Garland
Mail Xmas Cards to friends
Xmas Trivia
Popcorn & Movie
Look @ Xmas Lights
Merry Christmas
Tree Lighting & Carol Ships (this is unique to our city, but your city may have a tree lighting)
Donate coats to a charity
Night Before Christmas (movie/book)
Donate a toy to charity
Bake Gingerbread Men
Make Fudge
Make puff pain snowflakes
Candle light dinner
Polar Express (movie/book)
Make mom & dad a present
Pancakes & Cocoa
Open Presents
Dress fancy for dinner
Bake Spritz Cookies
Write to Santa
Visit holiday attraction at a museum
Take a cookie basket to friends (use the cookies you've baked earlier in the countdown)
Do something nice for Mom & Dad
Magic Cookie Bars
Waffles & Cocoa
Living room fort
PJ Party
Christmas Market
Visit Santa
Dinner in front of Xmas Tree
Breakfast in front of Xmas Tree
List what you are thankful for
Craft Day
How the Grinch Stole Xmas
Send hug to out of town family
Look at the holiday window displays
Holiday Book
Xmas Movie

On Friday's and the days my teen is on holiday break I put in two activities because I really wanted us to be doing a lot together. I think this will be so fun.

Some ideas in the event you don't have an advent calendar like I do above....pin socks to a line of string hung on the wall, hang numbered socks on the tree and the let the kids pick them off each day, hang a string or string of lights and use numbered clothespins to pin pieces of paper with the day's activity to it. Think outside the box, have fun with it!

How do you kick off your holiday season???

I would love to see your holiday activities! Leave a link in the comments or some share with us on facebook!