Slow Cooker Pesto Bread

Consider this the recipe of the week! You guys, this No-Rise Slow Cooker Basil Pesto Bread is where it’s at! I made this deliciousness after seeing one of those little videos on Facebook. Let’s break it down. Yeast, sugar, water, flour, olive oil and pesto. That’s it. Continue reading


Meal Plan Monday

I was a planning and prepping madwoman yesterday and today! The serious OCD/AR tendencies I have are totally paying off for meal planning…both in the scale department and the wallet. When I have a plan to stick to, or a list to stick to, I have something to check off. I rarely have that “I don’t know what to make” moment in the kitchen. I don’t have time for that. So I plan…and prep. And you know what…I’m totally going to win that $ in that DietBet I’m doing. I’ve got 3 weeks left in it to lose about 2 pounds more and maintain! I like earning money for something that I was already doing! Anyway, back to what I’m stuffing my face with this week!

It’s all about eating the rainbow this week—with my veggies and fruit and using my colored containers! So, what am I making and prepping?

Today, I prepped: quinoa, my breakfasts, roasted veggies, easy proteins. My veggies were red beets, orange butternut squash, yellow squash, green zucchini, purple Brussels sprouts, and brown cremini mushrooms. I bought purple brussels sprouts in an effort to get my kid to eat them since her favorite color is purple. It DID NOT WORK.

What’s on the menu this week:
Breakfasts: veggie scrambles and spinach and tomato quinoa cassserole

Lunch: quinoa veggie bowls with chicken (basically just throw quinoa or whole wheat couscous in a bowl with a serving of veggies and top with chicken. Dressing is usually just lemon and olive oil.

Snacks: a shakeology every day with spinach blended in for that veggie bump, and apple cinnamon quesadillas.

Dinners: Beef Stew with Sweet Potatoes, Turkey Chili, Oven Fried Chicken with Spinach Salad, Chicken Vesuvio (again because the chicken is so flavorful). Sunday is our family dinner with my parents. Let’s see if we make it this week. The past two weeks we have canceled because of the plague going around!

Soup’s On

It’s Winter, which means comforting food in the form of soups and stews. Bonus, if the recipes are easy and you can throw them in the crock pot or InstantPot. We all have our go to’s for soups but sometime you have a craving for a secific soup. That was us, this week. I got it into my head that I wanted Chicken and Wild Rice Soup. But I didn’t want to have a soup with heavy cream, or cream of anything soup added to it to make it thick. I’m trying to be healthy over here and make good choices (and win my DietBet). A quick look on Pinterest and I found a great recipe. What I loved even more is the use of ingredients from Trader Joe’s (meaning I wouldn’t have to go to another store for ingredients that Trader Joe’s doesn’t have, since it’s really the only place I shop). Note that I used my Instant Pot and it was super easy. But it’s also written for the crockpot! So here it is, doesn’t it look yummy (please excuse my iPhone picture quality…I have a 2 month old and can’t be bothered to use my nice camera with my backdrops):

Instant Pot Chicken and Wild Rice Soup

Chicken and Wild Rice Soup

Here’s a few links to other soup favorites around here:

Beefy Tomato Soup (or as my daughter calls it…elephant ear soup—we use orichetti pasta)

Slow Cooker Nacho SoupItalian Sausage SoupWhat are you favorite soup recipes?

Meal Plan Monday

Well, heeey there!  It’s meal plan monday around here.  I have been killing the meal planning game lately, if I do say so myself.  Why, you may ask?  Well, I was finally cleared to exercise again (shh…I started about 10 days before my official appointment) but only because my appointment was at 7.5 weeks postpartum due to the holidays.  So, back to exercising and a good clean meal plan (NOT DIET).  I’ve got some good goals and a plan for how to get there.  Well, really, just 1 goal…fit in to my pre-pregnancy pants.  So, how am I going to do this?

First, I’m back on the workout train.  I use Beachbody, and I love that there are so many different options for different levels.  If you are interested or curious about it let me know.  It

Second, I’m eating and fueling my body right.  I’ve never really followed the “meal plans” that come along with the workout programs.  I eat a pretty clean diet, but I decided to jump in full force to help me reach my goal  So, I used the little formula to figure out where I needed to be calorie wise, and then added 500 more calories to that since I am breastfeeding.  Now, the meal plan isn’t a diet at all, more like a guideline for proper portions,  I’ve been at it for 2 weeks and I feel great.

Last, I’ve got some big motivation!  I’ve got my challenge group that I am a part of, but I also signed up for DietBet.  I’m not dieting, by any means.  Just eating right and exercising.  This is just extra motivation, and I’m going to be running one of my own in about a month with my challengers in my challenge group.  You guys, I have 4 weeks to lose 4% of my body weight, and if I meet that goal I get $$$.  I like that motivation.

Now that I’ve bored you with my plan, let’s get to what I’m eating this week:

Breakfasts: Overnight oats.  Easy to prepare, and oatmeal is good for my milk supply.  So is dark beer, by the way, but I hear it’s frowned upon to have beer on your breath first thing in the morning.  Especially if you’re a mom of littles.  These can be prepped in advance for the week, and that’s what I’ll be doing today.

Lunches: Lentil and Feta Salad.  This recipe is from the recipe guide that goes along with one of the workout programs that I have access to, being a coach and Beachbody on Demand member.  It’s so good.  One recipe of this makes 5 days of lunches for me.  Easy to prep ahead and the flavors get better as it sits.


Snacks: Shakeology made with spinach (a great way to sneak in a serving a veggies and doesn’t affect the flavor at all), fruit, yogurt and multi-grain crackers.  I use plain yogurt and stir in a teaspoon or so of a nut butter.  If I’m feeling like I need a little something sweet, I throw some cocoa nibs in there.  It’s so good!

Dinners: Sloppy Joes with salad and fruit (I’m pulling this from my freezer prepped meals I did when I was pregnant), Roasted Vegetables with Chicken Sausage (a perfect one pan meal), shrimp tacos, Chicken Schwarma Bowls, and Vegetarian Lentil Tortilla Soup.  How amazing does this soup look?

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(picture and recipe via

What’s on your menu for the week? 



Catching Up

Sooo….I’ve totally been MIA for a LONG time.  Must have been that whole end of pregnancy, birth of my daughter, and general non-motivation to come up with inventive meal plans.  Plus, we had company for two weeks after my daughter was born.  But, I’m baack!  I thought I’d share some recipes that I have made that we have loved over here.

Here’s a few we made in the past week:

  • We made these last night and they were so satisfying.  Bonus points if you make your own enchilada sauce (psst…it’s so easy and it’s nice knowing exactly what is going into the sauce).  Clean Eating Slow Cooker Enchiladas
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photo via
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photo via
  • Brussels Sprouts, Cranberry and Quinoa Salad was the perfect make ahead for lunches for the week.  Can add chicken for extra protein, but I just ate it as is.  I may have added feta to it too.  So delicious, and holds up for a few days thanks to the hearty brussels sprouts.
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    photo via


  • Slow Cooker Fajitas were also made because nothing is easier than minimal prep and letting the crock pot do all the work.  Do yourself a favor and make these.  So easy and so tasty.  Also make your own fajita seasoning to control that sodium intake.  We used chicken, and can’t wait to try them with steak later.

Other than these, we’ve been living on our go to easy recipes (roasted veggies with sausage, easy soups made in the Instant Pot, etc) as well as the freezer meals that I prepped knowing that I would have no motivation/energy to cook with a newborn.

Let me know what you’ve been making lately!

Meal Plan Monday

I have a secret…I planned on Sunday. Shhh….don't tell.

We got back from a week long vacation in San Diego late Saturday night. That meant that there was no food in the fridge. Well, there was food, but nothing to really make meals with. My daughter wanted pancakes in bed on Sunday morning, so I sent hubby to the store at 10:45 at night to get milk so I could make said pancakes the next day. Sunday consisted of planning meals and grocery shopping. These are things I usually do on Monday, so I'm a little off. And, *gasp* I went to a regular grocery store instead of my beloved Trader Joe's this week. I'll be back there next week, but I wanted to go get groceries quickly, and Trader Joe's on a weekend is not quick. It felt good to load the cart up with lots and lots of produce in preparation for the week. And, bonus, it was actually a pretty quick trip…aka I didn't wander around lost like I usually do since I rarely go to the regular 'big' grocery store. Anyway, let's get to it…here's what's happening in my kitchen this week.

Sunday: We skipped our usual family dinner with my parents in favor of a mellow night at home. We just picked up our dog from where he was while we were gone and I felt bad about leaving him just for dinner. Plus, my daughter made a request for dinner. She wanted "lasagna soup with elephant ear noodles and garlic bread". I couldn't turn her down after she was so specific. So, our last "splurge" meal of the week was made. I follow THIS RECIPE and it's so yummy. I made a huge arugula salad for me and the hubs to eat prior to the soup so we weren't carb eating that much.

Monday: Sheet Pan Tuscan Chicken Gotta love a one pan meal. Haven't tried this before, but I've got high hopes. It's some of our favorite flavors. I saw it on one of the blogs I read, and was immediately all in. I mean, look at it (picture via I'll keep you posted on how it comes out.

Tuesday: Roasted Veggie Couscous Salad. I am essentially just going to roast up our favorite veggies (or grill up, I haven't decided) and toss them with couscous and some arugula and call it a meal. Dressing will probably be simple lemon juice and olive oil–my go to for any salad or dressing for salads. I will probably toss in a bit of feta cheese too, because feta makes everything better.

Wednesday: This Light Thai Chicken Peanut Flatbread (picture via I made the chicken in the crockpot yesterday and it smelled heavenly in my kitchen. I am also using the chicken in lunches this week–aka quick salad bowls. Nothing goes to waste around here.

Thursday: I'm making that quick 30 minute clean eating chili that I made before. It's tasty and comforting…and easy.

Friday: Leftovers day. Let's face it…I can't cook every single day. And with these meals there are bound to be leftovers.

Saturday: To be determined…we've been wanting to try this Gyro place by us. It's all about the 80/20 balance, right. That being said, I will have stuff on hand to make a giant tasty salad in case we don't feel like take out.

I may be testing out another recipe this week too, so stay tuned!

Deconstructed Ratatouille

Dinner last night was fantastic. It was easy to prepare, simple and delicious ingredients, perfect for summer and meatless! I used to be better about including a vegetarian or vegan meal to my dinner menu once a week, but I've gotten away from that lately. If it was my choice, right now, we'd only eat steak. That's one preggo dinner craving that isn't going away! Anyway, back to dinner.

This one is a breeze to put together. I originally got the recipe from one of our Hello Fresh deliveries, but saved the recipe and have made it several times now. I make the 4 person serving because the leftovers are so good for lunch. The original recipe is posted below, but I don't really follow it. We are not eggplant fans around here, so I omit that and substitute yellow squash. I be you could even substitute portobello mushrooms too, and it would be just as yummy! I also have subbed red bell peppers for the yellow because it's what I have on hand. Give it a try and let me know what you think!

Deconstructed Ratatouille with Balsamic Tomatoes, Feta, and Garlic Ciabatta (why are their recipe names so LOOOONG)
Recipe via Hello Fresh
Prep: 15 minutes, Total: 35 minutes
Serves: 4 People

1 red onion
2 yellow bell peppers
1 med-large eggplant
8 oz. Grape tomatoes
2 tbsp. Italian Seasoning
2 Zucchini
4 tbsp. Balsamic vinegar
4 ciabatta rolls (or you could sub whole wheat baguette)
1/2 cup feta cheese
1/2 oz basil
2 cloves garlic
6 tbsp olive oil

1. Prep: Wash and dry all produce. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Halve, peel, and cut the onion into 1/2 inch wedges. Core, seed, and thinly slice the bell pepper. Trim the eggplant, then slice into 1/2 inch strips lengthwise. Cut each strip in half width wise. Cut the zucchini into 3 inch sticks. Roughly chop the basil leaves.

2. Roast the vegetables: Toss the onion, pepper, and half the grape tomatoes on a baking sheet with a drizzle of olive oil, the Italian seasoning, and a pinch of salt and pepper. Place in the oven for 20 minutes, tossing once, until softened and beginning to char.

3. Marinate the tomatoes: Cut the remaining tomatoes in half. Toss in a small bowl with the balsamic vinegar, a drizzle of olive oil, and a pinch of salt and pepper. (I added a bit of basil, because it's yummy and pretty).

4. Cook the eggplant and zucchini: Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large pan over medium-high heat. Working in batches, add the eggplant to the pan in a single layer. Cook 3-4 minutes per side, until slightly charred and soft. Set aside and cover and keep warm. Add the zucchini to the pan in a single layer. You may need to work in batches for zucchini too. Cook 3-4 minutes per side, until slightly golden brown.

5. Toast the bread: Halve the ciabattas. Place in the over to toast 4-5 minutes. Cut the garlic cloves in half. Once the ciabatta is toasted, rub the cut side of the garlic onto the cut side of each toast. Drizze with olive oil, and season with salt and pepper.

6. Finish the plate: On the baking sheet, toss the fetes cheese and half the basil with the roasted onion, pepper and tomatoes. Plate the ciabatta toasts. Top with eggplants slices, roasted veggie mixture, zucchini slices, and marinated tomatoes. Sprinkle with remaining basil. Optional: drizzle with balsamic glaze. (You can also make it into a yummy sandwich). Enjoy!

Shortcut tips: I do it a bit different because I have a 4 year old that likes to help make dinner and I'm busy and don't have time for "batches" of things on the stove. Plus, I'm a big fan of one pan clean ups. So here's my shortcuts:

* I use one of those food chopper thingies. Yo know, the ones that look like big alligator mouths with the grate in the base so you just push on the handle and it cuts things. I have a blade that does like 2 inch by 1/2 inch sticks. I just chop into larger pieces, and my daughter is in charge of chopping into sticks.

* Roast all the veggies together. I mean, they're are all going onto the same piece of bread, so why not? I be you could grill them too and it would be delicious!

* Top with a bit of balsamic drizzle for extra flavor. I get mine at Trader Joe's.

If you use the roast all your veggies tip, dinner is ready in no time at all it seams, because the oven is doing the work. You can clean up while you wait, or play SNAP, which is what I did.

Hope you like it as much as we do. My hubby was impressed with this one. He's never had it…he's always traveling when I make it.