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Spaghetti Squash Pomodoro

I worked this recipe into our menu a couple weeks ago and it was rather tasty! Spaghetti squash is all over the place when Fall hits and I love eating it but I feel like I run out of ideas sometimes and there it sits on the counter for ump-teen weeks!

I took a simple Pomodoro recipe from the @tasty app and added some ground beef to make it a well-rounded meal for us. Bonus –> it’s toddler approved!

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Spaghetti Squash Pomodoro

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 15 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 Spaghetti Squash
  • 3/4 lb Ground Beef
  • 1/2 cup Spaghetti Sauce
  • 1/2 cup Grape Tomatoes; halved
  • 1/2 cup Peas
  • Mozzarella
  • Salt & Pepper

Instructions

  1. Slice spaghetti squash in half and scoop out seeds. Lay cut side down in baking pan with water and bake 400 degrees for 30-40 minutes until fork tender. Allow to cool.

  2. While squash is cooling, cook meat fully and drain if greasy.

  3. Scoop the spaghetti squash out and mix in a bowl with meat, sauce, salt and pepper. Split mixture and add back to squash shells. Top with tomatoes, peas and cheese.

  4. Bake 400 degrees for 25-30 minutes uncovered until cheese melts and is bubbling.

Recipe Notes

Spaghetti squash can be cooked and scooped ahead of time. Refrigerate up to five days until ready to cook.

Recipe used in menu in this post.

Weekend Breakfast Tacos

The first thing I think about when I wake up on a weekend is “what the heck are we having for breakfast?”. A couple other things cross through my mind….typically because Brandon woke us up before 6am AND requires three-courses before 630am. Anyway, I have high hopes of creating something really neat and fancy and blah blah blah but in reality, I just want something and I want something quick! That something typically consists eggs, beans and sausage or bacon. These tacos are a new favorite thanks to my Mother-in-law.

Anything breakfast related consists of the same ingredients, used in a different way! For these tacos, I thawed some hash browns (Trader Joe’s has the best) and throw those into an oiled pan with onions and black beans, stirring until heated through. I added corn to this as well because Brandon won’t eat egg unless I put corn in it. ::Insert emoji shrug:: I whisk eggs with a splash of milk, salt and pepper. Once the veggies are cooked through, add eggs and stir continuously until no longer runny. Warm up a tortilla for a few seconds and fill with egg mixture, cheese, hot sauce and sour cream.

So. So. SO. Yummy!

Bowls large // medium // small
Measuring spoons
Egg crate small // large

Breakfast Enchiladas

I would say these breakfast enchiladas are in our rotation at least once, sometimes twice a month because of how EASY and delicious they are. I don’t think I shared a recipe on them yet and my apologies on that. The funny thing is, sometimes it’s hard to share a recipe because I change how I make meals all the time! It’s based on what’s on sale, what we have/don’t have, what I forgot at the store or how saucy I’m feeling! I made them a little differently this week by adding chick peas and tomatoes…only because I had some leftover from a previous meal.

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Breakfast Enchiladas

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Servings 8 servings

Ingredients

  • 1 lb ground breakfast sausage
  • 1 cup shredded cheese
  • 8 flour tortillas
  • 8-10 eggs; beaten
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • salt + pepper
  • cooking spray

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees and liberally spray 8 x 13" pan with cooking spray. I've tried butter and oil and they both leave most of my enchilada attached to the pan.

  2. Cook sausage while breaking up with spatula; drain.

  3. Lay tortillas on a work surface and fill with 1/4c sausage and generous pinch of cheese. Roll up and line in the pan.

  4. Beat eggs with milk, salt and pepper and pour over the tortillas. Top with cheese.

  5. Bake covered for 15 minutes; uncover, cook another 7-8 minutes until egg is set and tortillas begin to rise.

Recipe Notes

This is the base recipe, feel free to add or omit ingredients!

I prefer Jones sausage because it tastes good and is already out of casing, making this recipe even easier.

Meal Prepping Oct 30-Nov 3

Day 1
Breakfast: Breakfast Enchiladas
Snack: Cinnamon Raisin English Muffin with Cream Cheese
Lunch: Buffalo Chicken Wrap
Dinner: Pomodoro Spaghetti Squash with Beef

Day 2
Breakfast: Breakfast Enchiladas
Snack: Cinnamon Raisin English Muffin with Cream Cheese
Lunch: Buffalo Chicken Wrap
Dinner: One-Pot Cajun Pasta

Day 3
Breakfast: Breakfast Enchiladas
Snack: Cinnamon Raisin English Muffin with Cream Cheese
Lunch: Buffalo Chicken Wrap
Dinner: Butternut Squash Pasta

Day 4
Breakfast: Breakfast Enchiladas
Snack: Yogurt & BearNaked Granola
Lunch: BBQ Chicken Wrap
Dinner: Ground Sausage & Peppers

Day 5
Breakfast: Breakfast Enchiladas
Snack: Yogurt & BearNaked Granola
Lunch: BBQ Chicken Wrap
Dinner: Sweet & Sour Meatballs

Shopping this week was also pretty simple ( besides the fact that I didn’t have to cart the family with me and I could focus on sales and coupons a little better ). My grocery bill came to $100 and after all the sales and coupons I ended up paying $70 –> this is my golden number lately.

Scores:
Apple Juice $0.49
Chicken 50% off
Tomatoes BOGO
Pasta $0.88 + $3 in coupons
Tea $0.50
Half & Half 40% off + $1 off/2
Shower Gel Free
Cracker Barrel Cheese 70% off

Bonus Scores:
Ibotta app // $3.25 savings

10-Minute Olive Oyl Costume

Here’s a character I have been wanting to be for years and years! I am finally sucking up my dislike for all things Halloween and doing it…and it’s beyond simple.

What you probably have: black skirt (H&M $6), red shirt (Kohl’s $7), brown boots (Uggs will work)
What you will need to get: white and yellow electrical tape, white felt (Michael’s $0.39), glue gun

Step 1. I put the skirt on and wrapped myself in two layers of yellow electrical tape. It stretches so don’t worry about it being too tight.

Step 2. Lay shirt flat and wrap tape around each sleeve of the shirt – can use short sleeve too!

Step 3. Put felt under shirt neckline and trace with a pen the outline of the shirt. Then place felt on top of the shirt and begin making the scoops to your preference ( large, small, close together or far apart ). I used a drinking glass and made the middle scallop first and then went out from that point.

Step 4.  Cut out your neck piece.

Step 5. Glue neck piece to shirt and allow to dry!

And there you have the easiest Olive Oyl costume EVER!!!! I wrapped my hair in a low bun and let it fall out a little to kind of ‘stick’ out of my head.

 

Follow me on Instagram ( @livinglarochelife ) or Snapchat ( setme25 ) on Tuesday for the finished look!

Halloween Goodies

It’s official, Halloween is upon us so if you don’t have your goodies yet keep reading!

Brandon’s daycare has a little gift exchange for Halloween and I always try to make it a little extra special. Granted, I cringe at the thought of spending money on anything for the holiday but I did ( run, don’t walk to your nearest Michael’s and scoop up all their Halloween crafts for 70% off ).

I’ve been grabbing things over the last few weeks that I thought would be appropriate for kids about 1-4 years old. Target and Michael’s were the hotpots. I got a little pumpkin doodle pad and spiral notebooks from Target along with fruit snacks and stickers! I had glow sticks and crayons and Michael’s offered the stickers for $0.30! The best part is, all of these things come in packs so the stickers I split for six kids, along with the note pads and glow sticks. These fun trick-or-treats cost me less than $10 for six kids!

I had twine already and also found these cute “to & from” pins at Michael’s too. I made two bags age-appropriate (for children under 1) by adding fruit pouches instead of fruit snacks!

I hope this gives you a fun idea if you’re needing one for the festivities in less than 3 days!!

Shopping trip and Meal Planning

Meals this week brought to you by the @tasty app because 25 second recipe videos are pretty much the best thing ever.

Day 1
Breakfast: Egg Scramble & Cinnamon English Muffin w/ cream cheese
Snack: Nutella and Raspberry Overnight Oats
Lunch: Crockpot Chicken Meatball Soup
Dinner: Beef Stroganoff Ravioli

Day 2
Breakfast: Egg Scramble & Cinnamon English Muffin w/ cream cheese
Snack: Nutella and Raspberry Overnight Oats
Lunch: Crockpot Chicken Meatball Soup
Dinner: Shrimp Po-boy Sandwich with Fancy Sauce

Day 3
Breakfast: Egg Scramble & Cinnamon English Muffin w/ cream cheese
Snack: Peanut Butter and Banana Overnight Oats
Lunch: Crockpot Chicken Meatball Soup
Dinner: Inside out Burger Bake

Day 4
Breakfast: Egg Scramble & Cinnamon English Muffin w/ cream cheese
Snack: Peanut Butter and Banana Overnight Oats
Lunch: Beef Stroganoff Ravioli
Dinner: Baked Caprese Chicken

Day 5
Breakfast: Egg Scramble & Cinnamon English Muffin w/ cream cheese
Snack: Peanut Butter and Banana Overnight Oats
Lunch: Inside out Burger Bake
Dinner: Pizza Baked Chicken

Shopping this week was pretty easy. I felt like I went into the store with a better plan than I typically do. Sometimes I don’t have breakfast or lunch ‘planned’ so I wing it. There wasn’t much second guessing at items and I left with a $70 bill which is a win in my book!

Scores:
English Muffins BOG2
Mozzarella BOGO
Shredded Cheese 50% off
Tomatoes BOGO

5 from 1 vote
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Shrimp Po'boy

Course Main Course
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes
Servings 3

Ingredients

  • 1/2 lb Raw Shrimp; peeled ( medium size about 20 shrimp )
  • 1/2 cup Corn Meal
  • 1 Egg; beaten ( or 2 egg whites )
  • 2 Rolls or a Large Baguette
  • 1/2 cup Lettuce; shredded
  • 1 Tomato; chopped
  • 4 Pickle spears; cut lengthwise
  • Mayonnaise

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees

  2. Roll shrimp in egg, then corn meal and lay on a cooling rack on a cookie sheet. Bake for 15 minutes, flipping once.

  3. While shrimp cooks, shred lettuce, slice and dice tomatoes and pickles.

  4. Spread rolls with mayonnaise and top with shrimp, lettuce, tomatoes and pickles.

  5. Optional sauce: make 'fancy sauce' with 2 parts mayonnaise or plain Greek yogurt and 1 part Sriracha.

Recipe Notes

Make Shrimp Po'boy kid friendly, use hot dog bun or omit the roll all together. Serve tomatoes, pickles and shrimp together with sauce on the side.

5 from 1 vote
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Beef Stroganoff Ravioli

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes
Servings 4 servings

Ingredients

  • 2 T Butter or Olive Oil
  • 1/2 Onion; chopped
  • 1 cup Mushrooms; sliced
  • 1 package Frozen Beef Ravioli
  • 3/4 cup Beef Broth
  • 1/3 cup Heavy Cream
  • 1/2 cup Sour Cream
  • Salt and Pepper

Instructions

  1. Heat butter in a pan and cook onion until translucent. Add mushrooms and cook 5 minutes until soft.

  2. Allow ravioli to thaw slightly and simmer with broth for a couple minutes until reduced by half.


  3. Add salt and pepper to taste and heavy cream. Remove from heat and stir in sour cream. Serve immediately.

Recipe Notes

I couldn't find meat ravioli so I cooked 3/4lb ground beef, strained it and added to the pan at step 2.

5 from 1 vote
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Pizza Baked Chicken

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes
Servings 4 servings

Ingredients

  • 4 Chicken Breasts
  • 1 cup Mushrooms; sliced
  • 1/4 cup Olives; diced
  • 1.5 cup Marinara Sauce
  • Pepperoni
  • Mozzarella

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

  2. Heat oil in an oven safe pan and cook chicken. Once chicken is cooked, add mushrooms, olives, pepperoni, sauce and cheese.

  3. Bake for 20 minutes until cheese is melted.

  4. Serve with rice or pasta.

Touch-a-Truck

Seems like all the events we always want to participate in happen when we’re away or if we are around, we somehow miss the memo! Not this weekend! Kevin was away for the weekend so my Mom came to visit for a couple days ( aka keep Brandon entertained ). I saw an ad for Touch-a-Truck a few towns away which was a fundraiser for an Elementary School. We have been wanting to take Brandon to one for months now! I think the pictures explain his joy.

camo gussets

We arrived as soon as the event opened and had first pick of the trucks! Naturally we checked out the Excavator first followed by the Front Loader, Firetruck, Police Cars and Coast Guard Boat. Brandon had so much fun ‘driving’ and pressing all of the buttons he could find. The afternoon was followed up with some carnival games, a bounce house and fresh baked goods. Can we freeze time?

Half-off Grocery Savings

I may have been AWOL over the last year but don’t think I haven’t been saving money and couponing because that’s basically in my blood. Last weekend I did my typical grocery shopping but mid-week realized I needed a couple things ( and stock up on great sales ).

I bought:

English Muffins (qty3) // $4.39
Cream Cheese // $5.59
Arnold Sandwich Thins // $4.29
Brown Paper Bags // $2.79
Tide Detergent // $4.49
Taco Seasoning // $0.99
Total // $31.32 ( which is ridiculous! )

Sales and Savings:

English Muffins (qty3) // buy 1 get 2 free // $0.55 coupon that doubles to $1.10 // $3.29
Cream Cheese // $5.59 // $5.19
Arnold Sandwich Thins // $4.29  // $3.99 // $0.55 coupon that doubles to $1.10 // $2.89
Brown Paper Bags // $2.79
Tide Detergent // $4.49 // $1.99 // load to card coupon $1.00 // $0.99
Taco Seasoning // $0.99
Total // $16.14

I could have saved even more if I had a Tide coupon which come out pretty frequently and a cream cheese coupon which I don’t usually see.

With a little wise shopping and checking out coupon fliers I was able to save half off my shopping bill for a handful of items that are pretty costly full price. Not everything I need every week is on sale and that’s OK. I try to shop the sales when I can and buy the larger sizes of items we go through often. A huge lifesaver has been the load to card option for digital coupons. It takes me two minutes to scan the app and load anything I might buy.

** added bonus, apps such as Checkout51 or Ibotta allow you even more savings by uploading your receipt ( or linking a loyalty card ) and taking advantage of items they have available that week.

Potty Training before Two!

Potty training is something no book or website can teach you how to do. I know there are articles “potty train in three days!” and good for you if that worked! However, I don’t think it’s something that can be done so easily. Here’s how we potty trained Brandon before his second birthday. I’ve been writing this throughout our whole training process as to not forget anything!

1 – Interest! // Brandon showed a lot of interest in the bathroom as a whole starting around 18 months or so. He wanted to be in there with Kevin and I, he wanted to flush, he wanted to “see” and just be a part of the entire event. This was the first step towards us deciding we would give it a shot. We put him on the potty a few times here and there early on just to get him used to it but we did not start right away.

2 – Timing! // You know what they say, timing is everything. It’s not everything in this case, but it is important. Kevin and I decided to begin potty training over Thanksgiving week/weekend.  We were home for four days straight with no plans to leave the house. You need to stay close to that potty!

3 – What? // I talked to a couple of friends about how they potty trained and what they used to potty train. Some suggested the training potty that sat on the floor so their little ones could do it themselves and others suggested the cover to fit over your existing toilet (boy mama’s make sure you have the shield!). We ended up having both options but used the cover on our existing toilet mostly because that is what our Daycare uses and we wanted to stay as close as possible to what he had already seen. During the first 6 months Brandon went gone back and forth about which potty he uses. I didn’t particularly like the small one on the floor (besides having to wash it) because he’s too excited to stand up and see his accomplishment he doesn’t finish completely; whereas on the big potty, he’s stuck there until we get him off.

4 – How? // This is where some of those tips & tricks came in handy for us.
* Remove all diapers, underwear and pants. Brandon needed to be free to pee at any moment, unnecessary clothing needs to be off. Plus, he loved being naked! We do live in the northeast so it wasn’t optimal temperature to be naked – long socks help keep legs and feet warm!
* Set a timer. We set a timer for 30 minutes and every time it went off, we put Brandon on the potty and read a potty book. Doesn’t matter what book, just read something! If nothing else, it makes them comfortable sitting on the potty for a period of time and not wanting to jump off.
* Clap! Jump! Congratulate! Do whatever you can in a loud obnoxious way when they do something good. This encourages them to keep doing what they’re doing. If there are other people in the house, get them in on the action too. Since we potty trained over a holiday, we had a full-house – making the Grandparents happy helped encourage Brandon to keep going. A naked toddler at the dinner table isn’t ideal, but sometimes ya gotta do what ya gotta do!
* Give treats. Everyone handles this differently. Some do stickers, some do toys, some do charts… this is all your preference. We did one goldfish or cookie for a pee and two for a poop. The poop eventually turned into a mini train, coined “poo-poo choo-choo”…but to be honest, Brandon didn’t care one bit about the toy, he wanted the food.

5 – Accept. // Accept the fact that there are going to accidents. There are going to be A LOT of accidents – especially this early in the game. Yes, we cleaned up a lot of pee off the floor, carpet and clothes and that’s OK! We never forced him to sit on the potty, we never yelled at him when he had an accident and even to this day we don’t get mad or yell.

( chalkboard similar here and here )

It’s been almost a year since we started potty training and happy to say we are fully trained and it feels so great. Brandon was potty trained before his second birthday – meaning he was wearing underwear all day and going on the potty. Yes, of course he had accidents and came home from Daycare in different clothes at least once a week! He was wearing pull-ups during his nap as well as all night and that stopped on his terms. A couple months after his birthday we were getting ready for a nap and got his pull-up and he said “don’t need that”, we told him he has to stay dry….and he did, and has been dry ever since. Night time was also on his terms. While getting his pull-up ready for bed he said “don’t need pull-up”. We weren’t so quick to drop this one since he hadn’t woken up dry yet. We made a small chart and told him 5 days of a dry diaper and he can throw them away. Just like that, he was dry! So before 2.5 years old Brandon was potty trained. Of course he wets the bed once in a while – he sleeps real hard, or longer than usual, drinks a lot too late or refuses to pee before bed. It happens. And it’s fine! We put down pads ( which are also great if you’re pregnant and think your water breaking in bed sounds terrible ) for accidents and go about our lives. I’ll do an extra load of laundry if it means no more diapers!