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Menu Board Inspiration

Every night before we begin bedtime routine, I cram as much chocolate into my mouth as possible. Why? So that I begin bedtime routine with a smile on my face.

Emotional eating happens. Acknowledge and move on. And this is one of those times where it just works.

After a fun and busy weekend with the kiddos, it’s time to get back at it. This summer, we have tried so so so so hard to keep us on some type of schedule so we don’t get too crazy, but that went out the window about 2 weeks into summer break. If you can’t beat em, join em.

This weeks menu is: 

Monday: Pork Tacos

Tuesday: Beef Stroganoff (Campbell’s Soup Meal Prep)

Wednesday: BLT’s and Soup

Thursday: Buffalo Chicken Salad

Friday: Chicken Cordon Bleu

Saturday: Leftover

Sunday: Homemade Pizza

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Giveaway Alert!

To say THANKS! For the more than 2,000 visits, 900 Facebook click throughs and visits from 25 different countries, I’m mailing out these herb scissors from my favorite place, Olbrich Gardens! Just like this post on FB or WordPress and leave a comment! You can also find me on Instagram!

Winner will be selected LIVE tonight.

Weeknight Dinners

Gigi’s Weeknight BBQ Ribs

Growing up, my parents worked a LOT. Dinner was always about fast, simple and easy. There were no frills. The spice cabinet contained salt, pepper, Lawry’s season salt and italian herb mix. 

Basic. 

In fact, many of our meals were hamburger helper, over cooked chicken stir-fry or sweet and sour meatballs.

My parents didn’t come from families that cooked a lot, so all of the things we had, they learned how to make themselves. They did a pretty good job for having little cooking experience.

I still LOVE my mom’s BBQ ribs. 

Ingredients

  • One rack of ribs
  • One bottle of favorite BBQ sauce, like sweet baby Ray’s
  • One extra large glass pyrex 
  • Foil
  • Lawry’s season salt
  • Spray pam

Directions

  1. Remove the membrane from the ribs, if you want.
  2. Heat your oven to 425°
  3. Line your oven safe dish with foil. Use pam spray to spray both sides of foil (incase you have a tear in the foil, it won’t stick to the pan)
  4. Place ribs into pan
  5. Sprinkle Lawry’s salt over lightly on both sides
  6. Squeeze entire bottle of BBQ sauce over ribs, coat evenly + cover with foil.
  7. Cook for 1 hour at 425°
  8. Remove after 1 hour and remove foil over top of ribs. Use brush to redistribute sauce. Cook for 10 more minutes.
  9. Turn on broiler for 5 minutes to crisp up.
  10. Serve.
  11. Yield: 5-6
Weeknight Dinners

Italian One Pot Pasta

If you don’t like to cook, don’t think you can cook, don’t want to cook, have a case of the Mondays (Tuesdays – Fridays for that matter) or just need something to feed your family or yourself, this is it. 

It’s super fast, and packed full of flavor. We made it on a Monday and it was amazing. Plus, if you have fresh herbs growing, it’s a great way to use up LOTS of basil. If you don’t grow basil, pick up one of those little plants in the produce department at your grocery store. It’s worth it!

Ingredients

  • 1 pound spaghetti
  • 1 (12oz) smoked andouille sausage (any sausage will work, we just browned off some spicy Italian ground beef)
  • 1 large onion, sliced
  • 3 cups grape tomatoes, halved
  • 2 cups basil, loosely packed
  • 4 cloves garlic (or 2 tbsp powdered)
  • Kosher salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 cup grated Parmesan
  • 1/2 cup red wine

Directions

  1. In a large dutch oven, combine all ingredients, plus 4 cups of water. 
  2. Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 8 to 10 minutes until spaghetti is cooked.
  3. Sprinkle with Parmesan + stir to thicken.
  4. Enjoy! 
  5. Yield: 5-6
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Movies in the 608

One of my favorite things to do is go to the movies. It’s special to see a new movie on a huge screen, eat some popcorn and be “out” with friends and family. 

One of the challenges we face is cross contact of food at the movie theater. This is the entire reason we can’t see a Milwaukee Brewer Game. Peanuts everywhere. Although a brewer game is significantly more risky for us to attend than a movie since AMC doesn’t serve giant bags of nuts.

After a few conversations at the AMC Fitchburg and the AMC Dine-In, I have learned a lot.

AMC Fichburg ( recently under new ownership, NewVision Theater)

  • Does not fry popcorn in peanut oil, just canola or vegetable oil.
  • Almost all of their candy is nut-free. The exceptions are Boxed Chocolate Almonds and the possibility of cross contact with the Raisinettes for chocolate covered raisins (not safe, btw).
  • They clean the theater after the show. I also do my own cleaning before we sit down. I also have my little lady wear leggings and a tunic so that she doesn’t have a chance to get peanut/nut dust on her. We also wash hands a LOT.
  • They have allergy menus to look at.

AMC – Dine in or the old Sundance at Hilldale

  • Offers an entire menu of food.
  • Has a complete top 8 allergy menu readily available.
  • Staff was very knowledgeable about food allergies.
  • Regular menu available for pickup if you stop in while shopping at Hilldale.
  • For a nut allergic person, allenu items are safe, except the shakes and Asian shrimp dish.

What do we usually get at the movies?

The first few movies we went to, I took a backpack to with two epi pens, chewable Benadryl and my own snacks. We had BoomChickaPop, Sprite in mini cans, and fruit snacks. 

Now, I’m getting brave. Last time we went to the movies, we saw Despicable Me 3 and we ordered a jumbo popcorn, soft drinks, Junior mints, sour patch kids and pretzels for my hubs. Probably over did-it on the snacks, but it was my husbands birthday, after all. Movie snacks are expensive! 

Anyway, if you have food allergies, be cautious, not scared. Plan ahead and tell your kids what the game plan is once you enter the theater. First we get tickets,then we can pick  a snack, then we wash our hands and  keep our hand to ourselves, and once we find out seat, I will wipe it down, then we can  enjoy the show. 

My kids do great when they know the plan.

If something doesn’t feel right or it gets to be too much (watching for signs of anaphylaxis in a dark movie theater is challenging!!), you can always leave and try something else, like the drive-in movie theater in the Wisconsin Dells! 

Uncategorized, Weeknight Dinners

Cilantro Lime Chicken (Crock pot)

Cilantro Lime Chicken did not disappoint last week – and the good news is that it made a lot of food to eat several different ways. We had two dinners from it and lunch leftovers. This dish can be eaten plain, over jasmine rice, with tortillas chips, as a huge nacho plate with extra olives, cheese and fixins, as burritos, tacos, and quesadillas with red onion and sour cream.

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This recipe is flexible. It can be frozen for a few weeks if you’re planning on making this ahead of time. Our family loves easy slow cooker meals that are full of flavor. Clean up is simple and I didn’t have to think about “what’s for dinner” at all the entire day! And my whole house smelled good while it was slow cooking – like I was actually Momming?!

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Ingredients:

  • 1.5# of boneless, skinless, organic-free range chicken (that’s a tall order, hey?), cubed or cut into small pieces
  • 1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 can of diced tomatoes + green chiles
  • 1 can of fire roasted corn (or plain corn is fine too)
  • 1/2 cup salsa – I like mild or medium store bought salsa so the kids enjoy it too
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves (I actually hate cilantro, but dont mind it in this dish.)
  • 1/2 red onion perfectly Diced Onion
  • 1 diced jalapeno
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 2 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 4 cloves garlic or 2 tbsp garlic powder
  • salt and pepper
  • juice of two limes

Directions:

  1. If you’re freezing this, just put all the contents of this recipe into a freezer zip top bag and place in your freezer, up to two months.
  2. If you’re not freezing, place all the ingredients in to your slow cooker on low up to 8 hours. My slow cooker cooks things quickly, mine was done in 5 hours, but I also cubed the chicken.

We are BIG Wisconsin Football fans, I plan on using this for Packer parties, Badger Tailgates and long winter weekends with family. What goes better with Wisconsin Football than beer? Nothing. Nothing goes better together. Well, you could throw in some cheese and sausage.

One of my favorite drinks with Mexican food is a Michelada. * This is an alcoholic beverage*

Ingredients:

  • chili-salt blend for the rim of the glass
  • Kosher or sea salt
  • 2 ounces fresh juice from 2 limes
  • 2 teaspoons hot sauce
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 (12-ounce) can or bottle light Mexican beer, such as Modelo, Pacífico, Tecate, Victoria, or Corona, well chilled

After you prepare your glass, then mix all of these ingredients together.

This is one of my favorite summer time sippers since it reminds me of the time my hubs and I went to Mexico. I was out of vacation time at work and had to “cough-cough” call in sick for one of the days I was gone. The Michelada was my drink of choice on this trip, and I thoroughly remember swinging and sipping while staring at the ocean. So relaxing!

Enjoy the recipe – I hope you have a great week!

 

 

Mom Things, Uncategorized, Weeknight Dinners

Quick Meals

Hey there – it’s been a Monday! Today was full of crazy, but I’ve found the silver lining. I was able to talk to not one, but two of my cousins today. It’s been a while since I’ve talked to them and it was nice to catch up, connect. It’s nice to know family always has your back. Even if it’s been a while since the last time you talked, it’s family, and family is #1.

This week I’m behind.

Of course.

My usual weekend planning didn’t happen since we were out of town so here’s what I’ve come up with for quick meals in the past 15 minutes while I ordered my groceries online. Hy-Vee allows me to do aisles online and pick up the next day for no fee! It’s amazing. I use this service a lot in winter when it’s super cold. But this week is just nuts busy, so I’m using it so that my kids and I are at home having more fun, rather than stomping thru a grocery store wandering aimlessly. Plus, I’m sick of the car cart already! Can school start yet?!

Monday – Today we had Benvenutos. I love this place because THEY DELIVER! and they are cautious about being nut-free for my daughter. Plus, they use all organic, non-hormone based chicken, and we eat a lot of chicken.

Tuesday – Fajitas. We had some chicken thawed and found a Lawry’s Fajita season packet in our spice cabinet + we had some tortillas left over.

Wednesday – One Pot Pasta. I’ll be blogging about this one. It’s a first-time recipe for me, and it uses gobs of fresh basil, which I have on my porch, and Italian sausage, onion and spaghetti. These are those pretty pictures you see on Pinterest where the pasta, and all the ingredients look so nice all in one Le Creuset!

Thursday – Cilantro Lime Chicken Nachos. This is a make ahead, slow-cooker meal. I’m so happy I found it on my favorite blog, Damn Delicious. I’ll post this recipe and pic too.

Friday – Doug’s Birthday! WOOT. I think we’re going out to dinner. Family fun night.

Saturday – Date night, pizza for the kiddies + Gigi.

Sunday – My little guys birthday – dinner will be Mushroom Ravioli (pre-made, store bought) with Classico Alfredo (totally nut-free) sauce and roasted broccoli.

Here is the food bloggers conference I was talking about a few weeks ago: fablogcon

Thinking about checking out the forum for new food allergy information and samples of non nut-based butters. Some great speakers on the panel this year for sure. We shall see!

Have a great week – and enjoy the sunshine!