A Wife Loved Like The Church

Posts Tagged ‘Good eats

Whew. Maybe I should don the moniker “The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest”.

But moving on, let’s talk about what’s been going on around these parts. Last week, the kids and I decided to go park hunting. What’s park hunting you ask? Well, that’s when you drive around town looking for the best park.

The idea was more fun than the execution. Before we even left our neighborhood, the girls lamented that they were starving. We pushed through with snacks and the promise of fun. The first park we found proved promising. But the 100* weather and rumbling stomachs started to get the better of us. We abandoned ship and went in search of food.

There was much rejoicing when we chose Homeslice Pizza. A favorite of mine, this was the girls’ first experience. They were amazed at being given a slice of pizza that was the size of their heads.

The trip to Homeslice proved to be a thousand times better than any park scene. Which further proves that my children take after me and enjoy good food to just about anything. And if that food is pizza? Even better.

While eating lunch, we spotted this ::

Oh you know, just some people walking their horses through Austin. Just another reason I think Austin is the coolest. Also? That restaurant in the background {Guero’s} has some pretty rockin’ good Mexican food. Just random information if you ever find yourself on South Congress.

We washed our pizza down with a sweetberry and Michael Jackson cupcake from Hey Cupcake!, winning me the Mom of the Year award.

All three kids passed out on our way home, transferred smoothly from the van to their beds, and we all took naps. Yeah, it was a good day.

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I first heard about eMeals from Amanda. The idea was intriguing, but I held fast to my own meal ideas. In the last year, I’ve been hit or miss on whether I make a weekly menu, or, frankly, even get all the items I need from the store {I tend to forget what I don’t write down}.

Two weeks ago, I waved my menu planning white flag and bought a 3 month subscription to eMeals.

There are tons of great options, ranging from gluten free to vegetarian; portion control to family favorites. They have seven meals planed out {as shown above} and then give you a list of what you need from the store ::

Since joining, we’ve been doing the natural and organic plan. But we just switched over to the clean eating plan. Based on the sample menu, the clean eating plan more closely matched our family’s eating habits {more produce, fresh foods versus pre-package foods, even the organic ones}.

So far I’ve loved the service. We don’t usually make all seven meals, because weekends tend to lend to eating out, with friends, or lighter meals than during the week. But, we consistently have four to five of the preplanned meals a week. Having everything laid out for me has been such a relief. I grab what I need and don’t think about it again until it’s time to make dinner. Love that!

However, there has been some draw backs – some weeks have been meat heavy, which isn’t really budget friendly. Another week relied a lot on prepackaged foods {though “organic”} which I really don’t like {so made things fresh instead}. But, eMeals just introduced their clean eating plan, so I’m hopeful that this will solve any issues I have. We are in the middle of our week, so won’t try out the new plan until next week.

Even with some minor draw backs, I highly recommend eMeals. It’s easy, fast and has given us some yummy meals {hello chicken curry soup!}. I love not putting so much effort into meal planning and not worrying about what’s for dinner each night.

The cost is $17 for a 3-month subscription. Because you can download each week’s menu, I’m saving them on my computer as we go for future reference – in case we cancel in the future.

*UPDATED INFORMATION* 5/17/12

As I mentioned, we were switching to the Cleaning Eating Menu. We are entering our second week of that menu and I LOVE IT! So far, all the meals have proven to abide by the rule of shopping the perimeter of the store, so we are eating a lot of fresh foods {asparagus, corn, broccoli, etc}. If you’re looking for a healthy option, I’d recommend the cleaning eating over the natural and organic!

Have you ever tried eMeals or any other meal planning service?

Visit Kristen at We are THAT Family for more Works for Me Wednesday.

I don’t know why certain foods seem so complicated and difficult to make. Maybe it’s the fancy smancy name. Or the fact that I’m convinced I can’t make food better than a restaurant. Whatever the case may be, I’ve always wanted to make tomato bisque soup but have been too scared to try it.


Jonathan and I went for a date to La Madeleine a few weeks back. I ordered a side of tomato basil soup. It was divine. Over dinner I mentioned how I’ve always wanted to make tomato bisque but was too scared to try. So Jonathan challenged me – make it by the end of the week.

I did some research and found this delicious and easy number::

Tomato Bisque

  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 1 stalk celery, finely chopped
  • 1 carrot, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 3 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 2 (14.5 ounce) cans fire roasted diced tomatoes, drained
  • 3 tablespoons white sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • salt and black pepper to taste
  1. Melt the butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Stir in the onion, celery, carrot, and garlic. Cook and stir until the vegetables are tender and beginning to brown, about 8 minutes. Stir in the flour and cook 1 minute longer, stirring constantly.
  2. Stir in the tomato paste, chicken broth, tomatoes, sugar, and nutmeg. Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer 15 minutes until the vegetables are very tender.
  3. Pour half to three-quarters of the soup into a blender-depending on how chunky you want it-filling the pitcher no more than halfway full. Hold down the lid of the blender with a folded kitchen towel, and carefully start the blender, using a few quick pulses to get the soup moving before leaving it on to puree. Alternately, you can use a stick blender and puree the soup in the saucepan.
  4. Return the pureed soup to the saucepan and stir in the cream. Cook over medium heat until the soup is hot. Season with salt and pepper to taste before serving.

Aside from the very unusual, but thankfully short, protest of dislike from Julia, the meal was a hit. The recipe made enough that Jonathan and I both had seconds and there were still some leftovers. Double score!

Bon Appetit!

Visit Alicia at Alicia’s Homemaking for more Try New Adventures Thursday.

I’m a big cookie fan. Actually, if you add sugar to any food product and I’m a big fan. Cookies just happen to be at the top of the list. And while I will eat and enjoy just about every cookie I come across, chocolate chip cookies hold a special place in my heart.

While chocolate chip cookies flood me with numerous memories, one of my favorites is when I made them one parentless afternoon with my brother Jesse. I must have been about 9, he was about 14, and we made a batch of chocolate chip cookies while our parents were gone for the day. The best part? We never even cooked them, just ate the batter. Every kids dream.

I’ve tried chocolate chip cookie recipe after recipe, and hands down this is my favorite ::

Betty Crocker Picture Cookbook Chocolate Chip Cookies

1/2 cup butter, softened

1/4 cup brown sugar

1/2 cup white sugar

1 egg

1 tsp vanilla

1 1/8 cup flour, sifted

1/2 tsp salt

1/4 tsp baking soda

3/4 cup chocolate chips

Mix butter, sugar, egg and vanilla together until creamy. Add flour, salt and soda. Mix until smooth. Stir in chocolate chips. Drop by tablespoon on cookie sheet. Bake at 375 for 8-10 minutes. Cool on wire rack.

Preferably eat while warm with a large glass of milk.

 

Visit Jill at Diaper Diaries for more Things I Love Thursday.

Have you met my good friend Pinterest? What’s that? A website can’t be a friend? Au contraire. Pinterest has been a great source of inspiration for me over the last couple of months.

1. Joseph’s name banner

2. Dry erase message board for the girls

3. Race bib display

4. Major awesome onesie for Joseph

5. Fall mantle decorations

6. Quote for the girls’ room {I printed out and framed}

{Pinterest via Jayme Roth Coonce}

7. S’mores, oh the s’mores

{Pinterest via Molly Weesner}

8. Peanut butter ice cream 

{Pinterest via Mandi Holcombe}

9. Cloth Wipes

10. Yummy, yummy pancakes 

{Pinterest via Tammie Mosley}

How has Pinterest inspired you lately?

Visit Amanda at Oh Amanda for more Top Ten Tuesday.



As I round out the end of this pregnancy {just over 2 weeks till EDD}, I’m finding myself grumbling a lot more. Joseph is determined to already prove he is different from his sisters, and as such, has brought on some random, highly uncomfortable, end of pregnancy issues I never dealt with during my previous pregnancies. But really, I have so much to be grateful for, that grumbling just doesn’t seem right. I loved Alicia’s gratitude post and thought I’d do my own.

1. Cooler weather {specifically cooler nights} and being able to leave our windows open.

{photo credit}

2. Good friends who threw a Dr. Seuss themed baby shower for us.

3. Jonathan’s new job – Oh yeah, did I forget to mention Jonathan got a new job? Well, he did. And now he’s working two days from home {score!!}.

4. My daughters – Their lives, their laughter, their overwhelming love for each other.

5. Starting my Bible Study Fellowship class last week.

6. Having the energy to make homemade bread {I highly recommend this recipe}

7. My mom and her mothering {even when you’re nearly 30, it’s still nice having a mom who looks after you}.

8. Getting all the finishing touches taken care of in Joseph’s room.

9. Listening to the girls sing.

10. Julia’s constant request to hear David Crowder Band How He Loves Us – and the reminder of just how much He really does love us.

 

What are you grateful for this week?

 

Visit Amanda at Oh Amanda for more Top Ten Tuesday.

I’ve flirted with vegetarianism since high school. By flirting, I mean, I’d try it out for a while but never fully commit. Over the last few years I’ve given it a lot of consideration. However, Jonathan loves meat and doesn’t find a meal to be complete without chicken/beef/fish. We’ve made some compromises over time with having vegetarian meals throughout the week, but they weren’t always the biggest hits. A few weeks back, I told Jonathan I wanted to go forward to being vegetarian but wasn’t asking him to come along. Just me. Then I got Eating Animals from Kelsey, to help me better explore vegetarianism. I’ll continue making meals with meat for the family, while I cut out my own. I’m turning into Lisa Simpson; a sole vegetarian in a family of meat eaters.

{photo credit}

Currently, I’ve cut meat out of two of my days. I don’t eat any meat at breakfast, lunch or dinner on those days. I’m trying to plan what days to cut out based on how easy it will be to make a vegetarian option for dinner. Meat and pasta? Then I make it a no meat day, since I can easily make a vegetarian option. Fried chicken? Well, I’m southern, so of course I will be eating chicken. By September, I want to be eating 3 days of exclusively vegetarian meals.

I’m giving myself to the end of the year to have a mostly vegetarian diet. Mostly vegetarian because I will continue to eat fish. I’m sure some vegetarians out there will immediately tell me fish is meat and therefore I’m not actually vegetarian. True, true. However, I have some pretty strong feelings about eating fish over other meats. I won’t expound in this post, but will answer any questions someone might have.

Surprisingly, throughout my pregnancy I’ve seen just how easily you can become vegetarian without the sacrifice of vital nutrients. Most people immediately think that meat is their only option for high protein, but that’s really not true. Between beans, yogurt, milk and cheese alone, you open yourself to a huge world of high protein foods. Add in whole grains and in one snack, I can knock back 15 grams+ of protein. Pretty great if you ask me.

I’ve decided to take baby steps toward becoming vegetarian so that my body doesn’t kick into fight or flight and I stand a better chance of making the transition smoother and long lasting. Here’s to becoming a vegetarian!

Are you vegetarian? Or have you ever tried being vegetarian? Do you have any great recipes to pass along?

Visit Alicia at Alicia’s Homemaking for more Try New Adventures Thursday.


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