Monthly Archives: May 2016

Recipes to Finish off the Month

Day1 (lunch)Stuffed Pepper Sandwiches

Prep – 10 minutes / Cook – 0 minutes


Bell Pepper (halved and seeded)
**Roll 2-3 slices of deli meat inside pepper, top with condiment of choice and lettuce. Place top back on pepper and enjoy.

sunday meal prep: slice/seed peppers
Day 1 (dinner) – Crockpot Pork Sandwiches with Cole Slaw

Prep – 10 minutes / Cook – 8 hours on low

DSC_0580Ingredients (for pork)

Pork Loin (shoulder or butt will also work)
Season of Choice:We used Salt, Pepper, Ginger and Coconut Aminos
Ciabatta Roll

Ingredients for (cole slaw)
shredded cabbage
onion chopped
2T vegetable oil
1/8c cider vinegar
1/4-1/2c mayo
1T Sugar
**For cole slaw, mix everything together and let sit in fridge for one hour or up to a week. Prep crockpot by placing pork in and topping with spices. Cook on low 8 hours. Shred or slice and place on roll, topped with cole slaw and BBQ sauce

sunday meal prep: make cole slaw, prep crockpot
Day2 – Non Veggie, Veggie Burger

DSC_0582Prep – 10 minutes / Cook – 15-20 minutes


Ground Beef (turkey or chicken)
Garlic Powder, Cumin, Paprika, S+P
Onions / Peppers / Mushrooms / Zucchini / Cheese (optional)
Bun/Roll or Rice
**Mix meat with any spices you like and grill patties until desired done-ness. Meanwhile, saute veggies in olive oil or coconut oil until softened. Top burger with cheese until melted. Assemble burgers with veggies, avocado and condiments. Serve with leftover cole slaw, sweet potato fries or rice.

sunday meal prep: make patties, cook veggies
Bonus – Breakfast – Egg in a Pepper

IMG_8193Prep – 5 minutes / Cook – 10 minutes


Bell Peppers
**Cut tops of peppers off and remove seeds. Slice horizontally to form rings, about 3/4″-1″ thick. Spray pan with cooking spray and lay rings on medium/high heat. Crack egg in the center of the pepper and cook 3 minutes, flip, cook another 3 minutes depending on how you prefer the yolk. Top with avocado and hot sauce.

sunday meal prep: cook entire recipe
Bonus – Snack – Banana and PB Wrap

DSC_0586Prep – 5 minutes / Cook – 0 minutes


Wrap/Tortilla of choice
Peanut Butter/Almond Butter/Nutella
**Smear fat of choice along the center of wrap (we use wheat). Lay banana along the sweet goodness and roll. Microwave for 15-20 seconds and enjoy. (use two wraps and you can make a quesadilla).

Some recipes above adapted from Lauren Gleisberg

Brandon’s Summer Wardrobe

I’ll be the first one to admit that buying clothes at full price for Brandon is not something I do. He grows out of things as quickly as he grows in them so I am open arms to hand-me-downs. However, I do like to splurge on a handful of things each season. Here’s a peak at some goodies I have grabbed for Brandon, as well as some picks for the little girl in your life – Mama too! Scroll down for a special discount code, good through the end of August.

BrandonSummerLittleFacesApparel / Mocassins

GirlSummer LittleFacesApparel / Mocassins

The clothes are SO cute, well made and nice breathable material for Spring and Summer when the temps are high and the sun is shining. Take a peak over at their collection and if you see something you like, use code “setme25” for 10% off any order from now through August.

Pantry Staples

Along with the menu plan, meal prep and recipe post I have shared each week, I have also tried to include some type of tip or trick to help in planning. I shared some ways to plan your meals easier, how to freeze bulk items into easy to grab ice cubes and some apps to deliver savings while you shop. Today I want to share some items which I think you should ALWAYS have in your pantry. Keeping this selection on hand will ensure you will not be scrambling to figure out what to eat last minute because it will be your fail safe.

Proteins: Tuna / Chicken / Ground Turkey / Beans / Eggs / Greek Yogurt

DSC_0573Carbohydrate: Pasta / Rice / Wrap or Tortilla / Naan

DSC_0575Extra: Diced Tomatoes or Rotel / Cheese / Condiment

DSC_0579The amount of dishes you can create from these 10(ish) items is crazy, not to mention whatever else you may have laying around. I will leave the ‘condiment’ open since that depends on your taste. I always have mustard, ketchup, mayo, sriracha and salad dressings on hand which help in adding flavor where it may be lacking (Greek Yogurt mixed with another condiment is another way to add flavor and protein while staying figure friendly).

Five Quick-Fix Meals with 5 Ingredients or Less

  1. Eggs – cook Rotel or Diced Tomatoes, add beans, make a well for egg, cook, top with cheese
  2. Chicken Quesadilla – chicken, tortilla, beans, cheese / condiment
  3. Taco Bowl – Ground turkey, eggs, rice, yogurt + ketchup (healthy Thousand Island)
  4. Pizza – Naan, chicken, beans, diced tomatoes, cheese
  5. Pasta – Pasta, tuna, diced tomatoes, cheese

Disclaimer: all products were already in my house. i was not paid to promote the above products nor am I being reimbursed. i talk to you from the heart and not talking about products just for a kickback. thanks for reading!

Couponing Experience

IMG_8178I am not going to be one of those crazy couponers that post 24/7 about how they got a ton of items for next to nothing. What I WILL do is just share a little glimpse of how I got all of these items (over $90 value) for only $20.

Diapers – these are always one of the easiest items to get at a great discounted price, usually at a drugstore. I have never purchased diapers at full price because there’s absolutely no need to. They are usually $12.99 full price – every couple of weeks they go on sale for $8.99, for some people that’s good enough. This week I purchased them for $8.99 each ($26.97 for 3), I had three manufacturer coupons for $5.00 ($21.97), PLUS, between two apps I mentioned here, I saved an additional $4.50! I got away with three packages of diapers for $17.47 (about 14 cents per diaper depending on the size). This is a great time to stock up on the next size of diapers or prepare for another baby for the future (or buy them for a friend)!

Tissues – when did these stupid pieces of cotton get to be SO expensive? I find it difficult to find a good sale on these babes. They were on sale 2/$3 – I then used $0.25 coupon, each box was $1.40.

Toilet Paper – Another item, along with Paper Towels, that I just hate handing money over for! TP and PT were on sale for $5.99 each, $0.20 manufacturers coupon for a total of $5.29 (88 cents per roll).

Desitin – Can you ever have enough? Especially when Daycare somehow seems to go through a tube every other week! These were Buy One, get One 50% off – $8.49 each – $12.74 for 2, $1.50 manufacturers coupon off 2, $10.73 for 2.

Shampoo + Conditioner – You can get S+C for rock bottom prices if you shop the sales, and use every coupon you can find! L’oreal was $4.99 each, with $4 Manufacturers coupon, $5.98/2 plus $4 ExtraCare Bucks for buying 2 which made these $0.99 each.

Colgate – Toothpaste is another little guy you can usually get for free and sometimes MAKE money off of. This was $3.49, $2 manufacturers coupon and $2.50 coupon from the kiosk put $1.01 back in my pocket AND I got $2.50 ExtraCare Bucks for next time.

Razor – This was neither needed or wanted; however, Gillette sent me a coupon to try the razor or FREE (a 12.99 value).

Visine – I needed this; although I did have $1.00 manufacturers coupon.

Aside from the above, I had a store coupon for 10% off the entire order ($2.70 was applied), $5 off $15 coupon which was sent to my email. I also went shopping last week for some deals and had $28 in Extracare Bucks from that order, bringing my grand total before tax to $22.29.

Hips, Hops and Lollipops

We took our annual family vacation to Boston this past weekend and it did not disappoint. No matter how many times we visit, there is always something new to see or do!

IMG_8184The week started off on Wednesday when my Mom, Brandon and I drove into Boston for the night. The drive was quick, we settled in, met up with my Brother and had some dinner. We had a long day and being in a new place Brandon had a little trouble sleeping well throughout the night – I was one tired Mama. Thursday morning reared it’s ugly head too quickly – we all had to be up, dressed, fed and out the door by 7:45am. Luckily, we all slept like crap so this was a nonissue. Our first stop on the Boston-Train was at the Children’s Hospital for some Xrays and checkups. My little man did so well with all the commotion and being prodded. His little hips look great and bonus, he did not have the ear infection we all thought he had! My hips are looking great as well.

IMG_8096Our other halves arrived later that day and in the blink of an eye we went from a party of three to a party of five and dinners just got a whole lot more hectic! We have connecting rooms which made naps and Brandon’s early bedtime a little easier so we didn’t have to tiptoe around for hours upon hours.

Friday was absolutely gorgeous so we ventured out early in the morning to check out the New England Aquarium which was a few steps from our hotel and then onto lunch at the Barking Crab which was a short walk beyond. The day was just amazing, we all had a blast watching the fish and turtles, see the sea lions play and the eels swim around but I think our all time favorite were the little penguins happy to greet when we walked in the door. Of course, this Mama had to touch those stingrays because that’s just what I do! Lobster Rolls, Fish Sandwiches and Tacos were on the menu for lunch and the walk back put Brandon right to sleep. We were able to get back to the hotel and put him in the crib for a proper nap, he was tuckered out!

IMG_8185 IMG_8113IMG_8123Saturday was time for Kevin and I to head back to CT. But first, Mom and I made our way around the Farmer’s Market right outside our hotel to grab some goodies for cheap, cheap cheap!  We woke up, had our breakfast, took Brandon for a stroll, had a yummy lunch and hit the road on a dreary day with out eyelids barely staying open.

IMG_8132 IMG_8130 IMG_8141We just love these annual trips to Boston when we get to see my Brother, do some shopping and eat at new restaurants we’ve never tried before. A HUMONGOUS thanks to my parents for inviting our chaotic family-of-three to join in the festivities even if can get a little crazy.

IMG_8146 IMG_8145 IMG_8182 IMG_8151

Week Four #GreatAmericanCookIn

DSC_0540Happy Weekend everyone! I hope you’re ready for our last week of the #GreatAmericanCookIn If you remember from last week, I made a huge shopping trip to prepare for two weeks worth of meals as we were away over the weekend. Just a little prepping on Sunday and I’m good to go! Make your menu, make your shopping list and get prepping. Checkout this cute weekly planner too. There’s not a ton of space to plan 5 meals a day – but it’ll help get you started if you’re just planning dinner.

DSC_0549As always, the crockpot will be making an appearance to help with Tuesday’s dinner of pulled pork sandwiches topped with coleslaw. I also have a few newbies showing up to the party like the Cali Burger and Pepper Sandwiches. Hummus was on sale so we have plenty of that and few other easy goodies. Stay tuned for Five Quick-Fix Meals with 5 Ingredients or Less coming midweek along with the top 10 items to always have in your pantry.

Lets finish the month out strong and keep these meals prepped, quick and healthy!

Recipes for Week 3

Day1 – Portabello Sandwiches with Spicy Goat Cheese Spread

Prep – 5 minutes / Cook – 10-15 minutes


2 Portabello Mushrooms
1 Yellow Squash or Zucchini (thinly sliced)
1 Red Onion (thinly sliced)
2oz Goat Cheese
Cherry Peppers
Ciabatta Bread
**Arrange all vegetables on a baking sheet or cutting board and drizzle with oil, salt and pepper. Grill, bake or cook in a frying pan until all vegetables are soft and cooked through. Meanwhile, blend goat cheese and peppers in a food processor until most of the peppers are chopped up and well incorporated. Toast bread. Spread goat cheese on bread and top with vegetables. (makes 1 sandwich)

sunday meal prep: slice vegetables, make goat cheese spread
Day2 – Sausage Stuffed Squash

DSC_0566Prep – 5 minutes / Cook – 35 minutes


2 Yellow Squash (or zucchini)
2 Italian Sausage (turkey or chicken)
Diced Tomatoes (or salsa)
Crushed Red Pepper
**Remove casing from sausage and cook through completely (chop up to make small pieces). Drain if sausage looks too greasy. Cut squash and scoop out insides with a spoon. Mix the insides with the sausage and then add the “stuffing” back in the squash boat. Top with sauce and cheese or mix inside also. Bake for 20-25 at 375 minutes until squash is soft..

sunday meal prep: cut/scoop squash, cook/drain sausage
Breakfast – Protein Granola

Prep – 5 minutes / Cook – 0 minutes


Granola (try for low sugar options)
Almond/Coconut Milk
**Mix in a bowl and enjoy

sunday meal prep: wash and chop fruit
Breakfast – Egg Cups

Prep – 15 minutes / Cook – 25-30 minutes


6 Eggs
1c Egg Whites
1/4c Milk / heavy cream / half + half
Bacon/Ham/Sausage  (cooked and chopped)
**Arrange Bacon on a rack over baking sheet lined with foil and bake 375 for 10-15 minutes. Chop vegetables and cook until soft and translucent, allow to cool. While bacon and vegetables are cooking, crack eggs into a dish, add egg white, milk and beat. Once vegetables and meat are cooked and semi-cooled, add everything to the beaten eggs and mix. Spray a muffin pan generously with coconut oil and fill each cup 3/4 of the way with egg mixture (I use 1/2c measuring up so there’s less mess). Top with cheese of choice. Bake 375 for 20-25 minutes until egg is cooked through. Remove egg immediately from pan to help from sticking. Egg cups can be stored for 7-10 days in refrigerator.

sunday meal prep: chop and cook vegetables and bacon, make cups
Lunch – English Muffin Pizza

Prep – 5 minutes / Cook – 10 minutes


1 English Muffin
2 Sauce Cubes (Ice Cube Post)
1 Slice Mozzarella
6-8 Pepperoni (any topping you want)
**Thaw sauce. Top each muffin half with sauce, cheese and pepperoni. Put in toaster oven for 5-8 minutes until cheese melts. (i throw sauce, cheese and toppings all in one bowl for easy transport to work)

sunday meal prep: freeze sauce
Lunch / Dinner – Cajun Shrimp Salad

Prep – 5 minutes – Cook – 5 minutes


Cajun Seasoning (or any spices you like)Salad Makings and Toppings
Homemade Dijon Dressing (see below)
**Peel shrimp, toss in seasonings of choice and cook 2-3 minutes on each side until pink. Make salad and top with shrimp, feta and dressing. (can easily be thrown into a tortilla or wrap).
Homemade Dijon Vinaigrette


Good Seasons Bottle (or any glass bottle with tight fitting lid or mason jar)
1/4c Vegetable Oil
1/8c Water
1/4c Red Wine or Cider Vinegar
1T Shallot
1 clove Garlic
1.5T (heaping) Dijon Mustard
1T Lemon Juice
1tsp Agave Syrup
Basil / Parsley
**(If you have the Good Seasons Bottle, follow the measurements for O, W and V). Add all ingredients into the bottle and shake vigorously until well blended. Store in fridge. When ready to use, let sit at room temperature for 5-10 minutes to allow oil to blend back in easily. (seasonings and measurements are at your own level of taste)


Our (one year) Routine

Routine Routine Routine. I was the girl who rolled her eyes anytime someone said “I can’t because it’s during nap time” or whatever the story was. It drove me nuts every single time, I wasn’t mad, I just hated hearing that because I felt like, so what? Here we are, almost 14 months into this parent thing and yea, I get it. We aren’t nearly as crazy about sticking to a routine anymore but straying from it can sometimes be detrimental. Here’s what our typical day looks like (when Brandon isn’t in Daycare).

I don’t sleep in anymore, not like I ever really did, but I’m usually awake around 6-6:30am and I try with every piece of me  not step on the sections of floor that creek (that’s a joke because the entire upstairs is loud as can be!), and hope Zoe doesn’t decide to meow her head off before I get down to feed her. If It’s Friday I usually brew my coffee and open my computer to do some work before everyone gets up. It it’s the weekend, I head right out the door and get to the gym by 7am when they open. Kevin and Brandon are usually close behind and come down anytime between 7-8. Brandon eats right away while we make our breakfast.

After Kevin heads off to work I finish some work, clean up the kitchen and get my sh*t together to go run errands or whatever is planned for the day. I hit the grocery store, go shopping, get coffee, have a play date (eat snack) or hit the beach between 9-1130. We get home, Brandon gets lunch and takes a nap anytime around 1130-2 – if he falls asleep in the car during errands everything gets thrown off.

While Brandon naps, I do more work, prep dinner, clean up, shower or just relax and await his little voice. If it’s nice outside we go and play, run anymore errands, have an afternoon snack and wait for Kevin to get home around 4:45. I get dinner prepped and cooked to eat by 6. We clean up (pack lunch if it’s a week night), and have about an hour and a half to play with Brandon – whether we bike ride, play outside, go to a book class at the library or just play around the house. We start reading around 7:30, Brandon gets a bath around 7:50 (every other night) and is in bed around 8pm. I’m usually not far behind!

The only thing that really differs when Brandon is in Daycare is that we all wake up a little sooner, I’m out the door by 6:45, Kevin gets Brandon up, dressed, fed and off to Daycare around 8 and he gets picked up around 430.

It’s nice to have a routine and know that even on the worst days, that nap and that 8pm bedtime are in sight. We have really let Brandon dictate his own schedule. We never forced him down for naps or forced him to bed because that just never seemed to work. He slept better on his terms and that was fine with us. When we started incorporating his nighttime routine “bath, bottle, bed” it helped SO much and he would pretty much tell us “ok, it’s time to get this show on the road” which started around 630 at night so it was a TOTAL chaotic mess trying to get home cook, clean up and get him read for bed. Now that he’s older his bedtime has morphed, again, on his terms. If he’s the life of the party I’m not going to put him to bed at 7:30pm because I think it’ll take him a while to whined down.

Apps and Savings

I wanted to share a couple ways I save money other than store fliers and manufacturers coupons. While those options are great way to plan meals and save money I also use a couple Apps on my phone to boost my savings even more.

There are LOADS of Apps that you can use to save money, some require the savings to be loaded to your account and then scan the phone or card prior to checking out and others only need a snap of your receipt. I stumbled on one through a magazine article years ago and have stuck with it ever since. I average $0.25-$1.00 a week using Checkout21 since the product options are not items I typically buy, but something is better than nothing, right?

checkThe second App, a little different, is for savings at liquor stores and restaurants. When I was on the hunt for Tequila a few weeks ago I ended up frozen in the aisle looking at 15 different kinds ranging from $20-$80+. Since I’m really trying to stay within budget lately (but trying NOT to skimp on taste) I opted for the brand that had a $4 rebate associated with it (didn’t hurt that it was the “Manager’s Pick” as well). bevRAGE (use code YXGNQMLO)is currently my newest app-session!! I grabbed tequila and wine (decent wine I might add) and got $6 put right back into my pocket. I like this app because not only does it have deals within the store, but there’s also an option for money savings at restaurants and bars. For example, in my location (which is where the deals are based), if I have an Absolute Vodka Cocktail, I can cash in on $4! Budweiser Draft = $3. Be sure to check it out regularly as the deals are constantly changing.

bevI would love to hear about apps that you use? I also know of Cartwheel, and ibotta, but I hardly ever go to Target so I don’t even have the app. Do you? Do you like it? Many savings apps have bonuses for signing up, and an additional bonus when you make your first purchase within 10 days! Free. Money.

This post was done entirely by me and I was not paid to talk about any of these apps.

Week Three Menu Planning

This is going up later than I wanted, but it was a little bit of a hectic weekend over here so….better late than never. I hope you enjoy the third week of menu planning and meals. I’m leaving mid-week for Boston for an annual vaca/doctor appointment but I will try to throw in some recipe freebies so you don’t feel gypped.

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  I made a fairly large shopping trip this week because I did menu planning for the next two weeks. We have some traveling going on so it’s better to have the food on hand already so I don’t have to run out the day we get back to grocery shop. Been there. Done that. It also keeps us on track with our eating and not grabbing for something unhealthy. I shopped the sales big time! London Broil, Pork loin and Italian Sausages were on mega sale so I stocked up. This is what I meant in a prior post when talking about buying items that aren’t necessarily on the menu for that week; however, because the sale is so great I can buy it, freeze it, and use it in a few weeks and save $$.

DSC_0542I head out of town on Wednesday afternoon and Kevin will come Thursday night so we’re only really eating as a family for 3.5 days. The ham & egg cups were prepped ahead of time, English muffin pizzas are super easy with my frozen sauce cubes (and muffins which were BOGO this week). I boiled a bunch of eggs for a quick grab and go snack and the rest is history.

DSC_0538Happy Mid-May. I hope you’re all enjoying my meal prep and have kept up with me during weeks one and two. I promise to share some quick breakfast and lunch ideas this week.