Menu Planning Help – Create a List of Favorite Meals

For years, Hubby and I have had a great system for getting dinner on the table.  I would get home and cook dinner.  Or I would put food in the slow cooker before work.

This year, my schedule has changed.  I begin work 20 minutes later and as a result I get off of work 20 minutes later.  I won’t be home until almost the time I would typically have to have dinner on the table so that Hubby could leave for work.  (He works evenings.)  He’s going to be in charge of getting the boys’ dinner which is going to be an interesting experience.

Continue reading “Menu Planning Help – Create a List of Favorite Meals”

Poached Chicken in the Instant Pot (GF, W30, DF)

As I stated in my Menu Planning blog post, I’m part of the launch party for Eat at Home’s newest cookbook.  (For more information about the cookbook, click here.)

Tonight Hubby and the boys are going to have the Memphis BBQ Chicken Tacos before heading to either work or our town’s block party.  The recipe calls for cooked chicken.  I used my Instant Pot to poach the chicken.

Since our area has a heat advisory, it was nice not having to warm up the kitchen in order to poach the chicken.

I used fresh chicken breasts today but you can use frozen chicken breasts instead.

What is needed for this recipe:

    • chicken breast or thighs, fresh or frozen
    • water or chicken broth
    • seasoning:  21 Seasoning Salute, Trader Joe’s seasoning salt, Everything but the bagel seasoning, or salt and pepper



Poached Chicken

  • Difficulty: very easy
  • Print


  • 1 lb. chicken breasts or thights
  • 1 c. water or chicken broth
  • 1/2 Tbsp. to 1 Tbsp. seasoning (See What is needed for this recipe for ideas)


  1. Place chicken breasts in Instant Pot.
  2. Sprinkle with seasoning.
  3. Pour water or broth over the chicken.
  4. Manually set the Instant Pot for 10 minutes or 12 minutes.  (10 minutes for fresh, 12 minutes for frozen)
  5. Once cooked, allow the pressure to naturally release.
  6. Shred with forks or use your Kitchen Aid.
  7. Enjoy in your favorite recipe.

Have a magical day,

Black Bean and Corn Mexican Lettuce Salad (V, GF)

Last week, my friend Molly came to visit me. Instead of eating out all the time, we ate salads for 3 of our lunches.

I came up with this salad. Molly could not stop raving about this salad, so I decided to put it on my blog.

I had bought meal prep bowls. In each bowl, I put some of the lettuce, black beans, and corn. I used small containers for the dressing and cheese. We assembled the salads when it was time to eat. We topped the salads with tortilla strips.

What is needed for this salad:

  • Lettuce – I used the Aldi’s artisan lettuce and mixed green mix for the salads.
  • Black Beans – drained and rinsed
  • Corn – I used roasted frozen corn from Trader Joe’s.
  • Queso Fresco Cheese, crumbled, or Cotija Cheese
  • Ranch or Avocado Cilantro Greek Yogurt Dressing (from Lifehouse)
  • Pico de Gallo or Salsa
  • Tortilla Strips – I got mine at Aldi’s.
  • Optional: Avocado Slices
  • Optional: Sour Cream


Black Bean and Corn Mexican Lettuce Salad

  • Servings: 2
  • Difficulty: very easy
  • Print


  • 2 c. lettuce blend
  • ¼ to ½ c. black beans
  • ¼ to ½ c. frozen corn, defrosted
  • ½ c. queso fresco cheese or cotija cheese
  • 4 Tbsp. ranch or avocado cilantro Greek yogurt dressing
  • ¼ to ½ c. pico de gallo or salsa
  • ¼ c. tortilla strips
  • Optional: sliced avocado or sour cream


  1. Place ½ of the lettuce blend in each bowl. Top with black beans and corn.
  2. In small containers, place the cheese, dressing, and Pico de gallo. (6 total containers)
  3. When it’s time to eat, assemble the salads and top with the tortilla strips, sliced avocado, or sour cream (if using those toppings)
  4. Enjoy!

We ate these salads overlooking a river, in the car during a thunderstorm, and in the picnic area of the Ohio Caverns.

Happy eating,

Mom, What’s For Dinner – Weeks of June 17 and 24th, 2018

This morning I was up early before the family.  I watched 2 episodes of Grey’s Anatomy before heading outside with a cup of coffee.  While I was outside, I sat down and menu planned for the next two weeks.


After menu planning, I headed to the grocery store so that I could be ready for the week.

Here are some things I had to take into consideration when creating the menus:

  1. The boys will be at day camp all this week during the day.  I’m going to either be going on some day trips or at work for professional development.
  2. Molly will be visiting next week so some of the meals are mere ideas of what we are going to eat.  They are not set in stone.
  3. The Wee One will be at overnight camp next week so there is one less person to feed.
  4. The Wee One turns 13 on Friday so I’m leaving the meal up to him.  We are going to go out to eat and then watch the Incredibles 2 for his birthday.

So without much further ado, here is the menus for the next two weeks:

Menu Plan Monday - June 17

Menu Plan Monday - June 24

Happy eating,

Molly and My EPIC Adventure #4 Plans

This summer, I’m not taking a vacation.  Last summer, I took 1 vacation, 1 EPIC adventure, and 1 road trip.

This summer I’m going to have an EPIC adventure.  Plans have been put into place.  Both Molly and  I are excited for the 4.5 days she will be here because they are jam packed.

She arrives on the 24th at 2ish in the afternoon.  Day 1 is only going to be driving around to where I grew up, work, and where my sister is buried.  Mom is going to be going along on this drive because she can give more detail about the history of some of the places.

We’ll eat dinner at my place that night and either swim or get into the hot tub.

On Monday morning, we are going to get up early and hit the road.  She had never been to Kentucky before so we are traveling down to Louisville.

While in Louisville, we are going to the Ali Center, the Louisville Slugger Museum, the Kentucky Derby Museum, and taking a boat cruise in the evening.

(Tuesday)  Since she had never been to Indiana either, we are traveling back to Ohio via Indiana.  We found a roadside attraction in Versailles, Indiana that we are going to try to find called Paulhedge.  I have only been to the part of Indiana that is along I-70 and Indianapolis and northern Indiana.  I’ve never been to south east Indiana.

We are going to go to Jungle Jim‘s on our way back and depending on how tired we feel we may also head over to Lebanon to see the Golden Lamb.  The rest of the evening will be spent relaxing.

On Wednesday, we are going to eat breakfast at one of my favorite brunch spots.  Then we are heading to Carillon Park and Hawthorn Hill.  Afterwards we are going to hit up a donut shop, a coffee shop, a quick service restaurant featuring gourmet hot dogs, and a store that specializes in chocolate.

After going home for a rest, we are going to a baseball game in downtown Dayton.

On Thursday of that trip, we are heading north east to see the Ohio Caverns and maybe a castle.

On our way home, we are going to eat ice cream at Young’s Dairy and once again explore Yellow Springs.

She is leaving Friday morning.  (Insert sad face)

After I drop her off at the airport, the Imaginative One and I are heading down to King’s Island for a day of fun.

All this fun during the week is the reason we call it EPIC adventures.

There is so much more I would love to do with her but there is not enough time.

Have a magical day,


My Top Ten Breakfast Foods

Today I’m back with my Top Ten List. I know it’s been about a year since I posted one.

Today I’m going to share my Top Ten Breakfast Foods

Hopefully this list will help you when you are trying to decide what to eat for breakfast.

1. Yogurt Parfait – Greek Yogurt, sometimes honey, granola, fruit

yogurt parfait
Yogurt Parfait ready to be eaten

2. Green Smoothie – Juice (oj), spinach, and frozen fruit – That is all that is needed to make a green smoothie.

Power Up Green Smoothie

3. Granola

4. Chocolate Croissant – Especially when I’m at Disney.  For some reason, I love them there.

5. Eggs – Scrambled or Fried – If I have fried eggs, I like to eat butter toast with it.

6. Cottage Cheese with canned peaches – Yum!

7. Granola bar with string cheese and fruit – Usually a quick breakfast on the go!  Kashi bars or some of the granola bars from Aldi are usually my go to for the granola bars.

8. Lara bar with string cheese and fruit – A variation of #7.

9. Hard boiled eggs with string cheese and fruit – I like Trader Joe’s Everything But the Bagel seasoning on my hard-boiled eggs.

10. Waffles especially at hotels – Yum!


Some other contenders for the top 10 list are:

Overnight Oatmeal


What are your top breakfast foods?

Have a magical day!

Quick and Easy Stir Fry Sauce and a Very Veggie Stir Fry (GF and Vegetarian)

When my aunt was here, we cleaned out my fridge. I had a bunch of veggies that needed to be used up, so I decided to make a stir fry. This is the quick and easy stir fry sauce that I used when cooking the stir fry.

Here is what you need:
  • Soy Sauce, gluten free soy sauce, or coconut aminos
  • Sesame Oil
  • Corn Starch
  • 2 to 4 c. veggies (I used snow peas, broccoli slaw, onions, mushrooms, and green beans.)
  • Cooking oil

Quick and Easy Stir Fry Sauce

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print


Stir Fry Sauce:

  • 1/3 c. plus 2 Tbsp. soy sauce, gluten free soy sauce, or coconut aminos
  • ¼ c. sesame oil
  • 1 Tbsp. cornstarch

Stir Fry:

  • 2 to 4 c. veggies – snow peas, carrots, broccoli, mushrooms, onions, broccoli slaw, etc . . . (Use whatever you need to use up.)
  • 1 to 2 Tbsp. water or cooking oil


  1. Add ingredients to a mason jar. Place the lid on the jar and then shake to combine. OR Add ingredients to a blender. Blend until combined.

To Make the Stir Fry:

  1. Heat a medium to large skillet or wok over medium high heat. Add either 1 to 2 Tbsp. of water or cooking oil to the skillet or wok.
  2. Add the veggies to the skillet. Allow to cook until tender crisp (5 to 10 minutes depending on the veggies you use).
  3. Pour the stir fry sauce over the veggies. Cook for an additional 3 to 5 minutes or until sauce has thickened.
  4. Enjoy over rice.

You could add a protein if you would like. If it is a raw protein, cook it up first, remove from the pan, and then add it back to the pan when you add the stir fry sauce.

Have a magical day,

Source of recipe