Monthly Archives: August 2016

Crockpot BBQ Chicken and Pineapple

IMG_9021Crockpot BBQ Chicken with Pineapples

Prep – 10 minutes / Cook – 6-8 hours ( low )

6 Chicken Breasts or Boneless Skinless Thighs
1/2 cup BBQ Sauce
1 can Pineapple Slices ( drained )

  1. Place chicken in the bottom of the crockpot

IMG_90142. Drizzle ( aka douse ) BBQ sauce to cover chicken

IMG_90153. Layer pineapple slices on top of chicken

IMG_90164. Cook on low for 6-8 hours

IMG_9022I like to to serve rice on the side, but you can do roasted potatoes or double the veggies.

*sorry for the photo quality, I was in a RUSH so snapped these up with my phone before heading out the door for work.

Zucchini Fritters

I mentioned before about the veggies we receive every week from a local farm. We love supporting anything local but besides that, the farm fresh flavor is above anything you’ve ever had. However, it ALSO means we get loads of corn, zucchini, yellow squash and carrots every week and sometimes it’s hard to eat everything up before it goes bad! I just showed you zucchini noodles, now here are some zucchini fritters we make on Sunday and enjoy for lunch all week by themselves, on a bun or on top of a salad.

Zucchini Fritters

DSC_0030Prep – 10 minutes / Cook – 12-15 minutes


2 large Zucchini or Yellow Squash
1/2c Breadcrumbs or 1/8c Rice Flour/Oat Flour1 egg ( if necessary )
Parsley / Salt / Pepper / Paprika

*Shred or grate zucchini ( I like the food processor attachment ). Allow zucchini to drain or squeeze liquid out with a towel. Add breadcrumbs, egg and spices and mix. Heat oil on medium high. Form patties with the zucchini mixture and place on pan. Wait until just about golden and flip.

DSC_0031Double Griddle

Fritters can be stored up to a week in the refrigerator. We like to top ours with fancy sauce          ( sriracha and mayo) or a lime/cayenne/mayo sauce. These are so delicious and another great way to get vegetables into our diet. Make this into dinner by adding ground chicken or turkey to the patties.

Marg, Margar, Margarit, Margaritas

After our week long Cinco de Mayo celebration, I was pretty sure margaritas would be put on the back burner for a while…and they were. However, last weekend was gorgeous and what made sitting by the pool a LITTLE better? That delicious Jalapeno Margarita! We aren’t fussy when it comes to tequila, mainly because when you mix it with limeade the real taste isn’t important so there’s no reason to splurge on something costly. I tried Sauza Tequila this time, mainly because they had a $5 rebate through iBotta App ( other money saving apps ). If you follow me in Instagram ( @livinglarochelife ) you already saw this little gem. Makes me drool every time.

Jalapenos – sliced
Frozen Limeade
Limes – sliced in a wedge

First, I like to infuse my tequila with the jalapenos ( you can choose to add the jalapeno directly to the drinks, but you don’t get the same spicy bite as when it has been infusing for a while ). We don’t have tequila any other way, so a bottle of spicy tequila never goes to waste. Slice 1/2 – 1 whole jalapeno and add it to the tequila. Allow to infuse at least 30 minutes. Prepare the limeade as directed on package.

DSC_0003Fill a shaker with ice, add 1 1/2 oz jalapeno infused tequila, 8 oz of prepared limeade, juice from a slice of lime and shake. Pour into a solo cup and jump in the pool!


Friday ( Fall ) Favorites

Is September really RIGHT around the corner? I have seen so many posts about the joys of cool crisp air, PSL at Starbucks and flannel shirt season. Me on the other hand, NOT looking forward to the end of warm weather at all. Granted, I love wearing vests, they’re like my second layer of skin but I would REALLY rather be in a bikini for a little longer. Oh well. Fall is coming and there is nothing I can do to change that. Instead, I have rounded up a couple cozy finds to flip your house from summer beach to cool and breezy pumpkin patch.

DSC_0410After Brandon goes to bed and we are cozied up on the couch, I have already found myself grabbing for a blanket to throw over my legs! One night in the 60’s and I’m freezing. Update your cozy-collection with this Pompon Throw, it’s so cute and adds a little something-something to the average throw blanket.

Pumpkins are always going to be a fall favorite ( for obvious reasons! ) and I like to change those up every couple of years. I thought these cuties would look adorable on our landing and white resin pumpkins down the center of the table ( hobby lobby is having a crazy sale going on right now )

Candles, candles, candles! I love this jar candle too! Need I say more? Next month I will be featuring one of my longtime friend’s shop and may even have a candle or two for you!

Freshen up your bedroom with a new duvet, decorative pillow and front door mat.

Enjoy the last few nights sitting outdoors under a blanket and drape globe string lights around the patio while sipping on warm cider out of these tumblers. I LOVE those drinking glasses and might stock up on different colors to enjoy for every season! How cute would the blue ones be for a summer party? Grab a couple lanterns to sit on the ground or line a walkway. I ordered this lantern in small and medium and cannot wait to set them out ( bonus, they’re also on sale right now ).

DSC_0455Looking forward to taking these same pictures in a few weeks and seeing how much little man has grown!

Many of the products I mentioned are on super sale right now as summer ends and fall beings, back to school is happening and Labor Day is coming up. Grab the deals before they sell out! Stay tuned for some upcoming posts on Small Shops I will be featuring along with awesome GIVEAWAYS to kick off the first day of Fall ( September 22nd ).


Eggplant Meatballs and Zoodles

Oodles and Oodles of Zucchini Noodles! We get so many fresh veggies in our weekly CSA share that sometimes we need to be extra creative. That’s when I turn to Pinterest and do some searching until something peaks my interest…I look at the recipe…see if I have all the ingredients…see if there is anything I need to substitute and then make it my own. Last week we got about 7 skinny mini eggplant and another five yellow squash and zucchini. I originally thought chicken parm with eggplant…I know, boooorrrring. Instead, I pulled the trigger and ordered a Spiralizer to hop on the zoodle bandwagon! It was a pleasant surprise to see it was on sale AND had an additional discount!!

DSC_0061Eggplant Meatballs with Zoodles

Prep – 30 minutes / Cook – 20 minutes

7 small or 1 large Eggplant – cubed
1 small Onion – chopped
Garlic – chopped
Chickpeas – rinsed & drained
1/4 – 1/2c Breadcrumbs
2-3 small Zucchini – spiralized
Tomato Sauce
Olive Oil

DSC_0041DSC_0042Heat olive oil in pan on medium high heat and cook eggplant, onions and garlic about 10 minutes until just about tender / remove from heat and let cool slightly / in a food processor, add the eggplant mixture and 1/4c breadcrumbs pulse until everything is incorporated ( like a ground meat texture )

DSC_0053Adjust liquid or breadcrumbs so the mixture is easy to form into balls / roll into about 1-1 1/2″ “meatballs” and saute in pan of oil until brown on all sides / meanwhile, make zoodles ( or thin slices on a mandolin ) and allow to drain

DSC_0065 DSC_0062Spiralizer (other options here, here and here)

After eggplant balls are brown on all sides, remove from heat and add the zoodles to an oiled pan and cook 2-3 minutes until slightly tender

DSC_0067Add sauce to zoodles until warm / top zucchini noodles with eggplant balls and serve, topped with cheese if desired

DSC_0070We were so happy with how this meal turned out! It is a little more work and prep than I would prefer, but really not bad at all. I cooked the eggplant, pureed it and formed balls the night before. After work the next night, all Kevin had to do was make the zoodles and heat everything through. This was so delicious and a great way to get veggies into us and our kids! Adding the beans to the eggplant balls gives a little more texture and protein. Definitely something we will be making more often!

If there are any recipes you want to see or an item you want to see me incorporate in a meal, let me know!

Dinner for $10

I may be the oddball here, but I actually enjoy Grocery Shopping. I like to shop the sales and see how cheap I can make my shopping trip every week. However, that does not mean I skimp on quality or taste. Here is a full meal for two adults and a toddler for $10, not per person – total! The items you should have in the pantry are not included in the cost.

DSC_0011Chicken Cordon Bleu with Roasted Sweet Potatoes and Balsamic Glazed Wax Beans

Chicken Cordon Bleu
5 Boneless Skinless Chicken Thighs – $6.23
1/4lb Low Sodium Deli Ham – $1.30
1/4lb Swiss Cheese – $1.89

Roasted Sweet Potato
1 Large Sweet Potato – < $0.79

Balsamic Glazed Wax Beans
1lb Wax Beans – from our CSA – ( ~$1.99 typically)
Balsamic Vinegar
Butterfly chicken. Place one piece of ham and one piece of cheese on top, roll the chicken / dip in egg / dip in breadcrumbs / use a toothpick to secure if necessary / lay seam side down on a greased baking sheet / sprinkle with Mrs. Dash no salt seasoning / peel and cube sweet potato / drizzle with olive oil and spread on same pan with chicken / bake 350 degrees for 35 minutes.

Boil wax beans just until tender / drain and add back the pan with a drizzle of vinegar / let simmer for 5-10 minutes and serve immediately.

The above was enough food for three of us, plus two lunches for the following day. Cooking healthy does not have to break the bank. If you pay attention and shop the sales it can be extremely affordable – or buying just what you need! The chicken was on sale this week “buy 1 get 1 free” so technically the above package cost me just over $3 and I have another package for later. Cold cuts tend to go to waste in our house so I chose to buy only what we needed for this meal which was just enough! Shopping a little differently can save you time and money in the end.

DSC_0013I always try to have potatoes (regular and sweet) in the pantry along with vinegar and sauces, spices, eggs and breadcrumbs because they can be so versatile to make a basic dish much more tasty!

Brandon Paul

DSC_0047As we round the corner to the halfway point between One and Two, this little man NEVER seizes to amaze us. This week marks 17 months since Brandon has come earth-side and life has never been more fun than it has over the last couple of months. With this being our first child, there’s not a lot to compare to, but I have a feeling we broke the mold with this one. Some days I think he’s more like three years old with the things he does and understands. I expect him to spit out full sentences and conversation then reality hits again and I realize he’s still a baby. He’s the smartest little boy (I know, every parent thinks that), knows and understands everything we say and ask him to do. Seeing him interact with other/older children is so much fun!

DSC_0026DSC_0027He begs to throw his diaper in the garbage and help put powder on instead of smearing poop all over the wall.
He wants to turn every light switch, floor fan, ceiling fan, nightlight and monitor on and off instead of opening cabinets and playing with chemicals.
He would rather turn on the faucet and open the drain than splash in the bathtub at night with toys.
He chooses to put his crayons in and out of the container instead of coloring on the table or walls ( or paper ).
He takes his bib off and hangs it on the chair, moves his plate away from him when he’s finished eating and wipes his hands and mouth, instead of throwing food on the floor.
945 toys and he wants to play with the bottle of sunblock or tube of lotion – putting the cap on and off.
He refuses pool floats instead he wants to swim and jump in by himself with water over his head.

He eats deviled eggs and guacamole, dips everything in ketchup, puts his dishes in the sink when he’s done, throws plastic in the recycling bin, loves bubbles, plays with ‘his‘ cell phone and says “cheese” for pictures, wants to type on Daddy’s laptop and opens the bathroom door when we scoop Zoe’s litter. He’s done ‘pee-pee’ on the potty and knows ALL of his body parts…

He eats all day long, is determined to figure things out by himself, watches our every move and pays attention to our mouth when we talk to him. He applauds himself when he does something good and grunts when he gets in trouble. He loves his blankie and Mr. Racoon, pulling wipes out of the container after his nap and brushing his teeth ( except he doesn’t like that AT ALL! )

DSC_0028We both feel like Daycare has helped Brandon develop so much and he has learned so much being around older kids or kids in general. He can be a little devil child but has a sweet heart to even everything out. He makes me laugh multiple times a day…even when he’s being reprimanded and I can’t help but to laugh. He pushes our buttons, but gives hugs and kisses five minutes later. Some days we throw our hands up and just go with the flow…if that means three snacks before dinner, then that’s what has to happen so we don’t lose our mind! This little boy has my heart.


Kickin’ It Into Gear

Let’s talk fitness for a second. I have totally fallen off the bandwagon over the last couple of weeks months. It’s normal. It’s natural. It happens and I’m OK with it. It’s summer and I’m enjoying the weather and family time. Taking Brandon to the beach or splashing around in the pool is more important than being in the gym. Sure, I’m the first one to say that Mom’s need to put themselves first and I still believe that, completely. However, sometimes other things are more important at that particular moment in our lives.

I’m deciding to head back to the gym today (and trying not to dread it), and what gets me most excited about working out? New gear!!! I’ve seen a lot of fitness clothing/accessories on sale lately as we head towards Fall so what better time to stock up on this stuff than right now!

fitnessHeadband / Tank / Shorts / Shorts / Sportsbra / Capris / Roshe – Men’s / LunarTempo – Women’s / Free – Women’s / Sportsbra

Watching the Olympics doesn’t make me feel any better about myself not going to the gym. Sitting on the couch, watching drooling over Beach Volleyball bodies while I stuff my face with ice cream. I’m perfectly ok with this! I have always wanted to try the Nike Free but my wallet just woudn’t let me! Use code “BTS20” by Aug 16 for an extra 20% off clearance! Which brings those kicks to JUST over $50.

BBQ Chicken Naan Pizza

Pizza has never been food that got me excited. I probably fall within a small fraction of people that could take it or leave it (mostly leave it). However, we discovered Naan Pizza a few years ago and is easily something we make multiple times a week. I had to laugh thinking Brandon will go to a friends house one day, they’ll have pizza and he won’t know what it is because Naan will be “pizza” to him. #poorkid

We make lots of different varieties of pizza but this has got to be one of the staples (besides buffalo chicken!)

DSC_0048BBQ Chicken Naan Pizza
Prep – 5 minutes / Cook – 15 minutes

Chicken / cooked and diced or shredded
Black Beans / drained
BBQ Sauce (recipe below)
Shredded Cheese

DSC_0038Top Naan with cooked chicken, black beans, bbq sauce and cheese / bake at 425 degrees for 15 minutes // or grill for 15-20 minutes until bread is crispy and cheese has melted.

DSC_0041 DSC_0043 DSC_0049**tip / short on time? use frozen (and cooked) chicken tenders or rotisserie chicken. What else you can do with Stonefire Naan and Flatbreads, get inspired!

30 Random Facts About Me!

There’s only so much I can say in 60 characters about myself so I figured today I would go a little more in depth of what makes me, me!

IMG_55731 / i love the smell of fresh cut grass first thing in the morning
2 / birds are so annoying
3 / i have two tattoos, one was spur of the moment in college and the other has more meaning – both are hidden. i want more
4 / i’ve been the height i am now since about Middle School – being almost 5’8″ at age 12 is kind of freak status
5 / because of said height, i never got comfortable wearing high heels
6 / i’ve had three major reconstructive hip surgeries (and 3 minor ones to go along with them), read about that here

hipw 2013-17 / i grew up in New York / i don’t like Cheesecake
8 / i could (and do) eat tossed salad everyday of my life
9 / i don’t like cake or pie or any sweets really
10 / i’m too organized

IMG_377511 / i love musicals
12 / my middle name is Renee
13 / public speaking to any extent makes me want to keel over and die
14 / my parents will be married 48 years in October
15 / Kevin usually cuts my hair for me because I can’t see spending $ on something like that
16 / i have a Forensic Science Degree and I work in a Chemistry Lab
17 / i don’t like to cuddle
18 / my favorite job was working as a camp counselor
19 / i wear my Grandma’s Family Ring everyday
20 / my favorite girls name has always been Olivia…until it became the most popular for the last five years and I’ve never had a favorite boys name

DSCN858921 / i had braces and am obsessed with checking my teeth after every meal
22 / DKNY was my favorite brand for years and years
23 / coconut makes me want to gouge out my eyeballs with a grapefruit spoon
24 / i don’t like bacon or (cooked) spinach
25 / i hate roller coasters or any ride that makes my stomach flip flop
26 / i have an older brother
27 / i’m a Sagittarius
28 / people are usually a little intimidated when they first meet me but I promise I’m really nice
29 / i love camouflage
30 / i was an athlete in school and miss playing sports big time