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Sunday, November 11, 2018

What's cooking this week?

Dear El + Em,
We took some family photos this weekend. We also put up the Christmas tree so that all we need to do is decorate it when we get back from NY.  Ella, you keep asking if we could put the "organments" on. I think we'll wait so we could have the whole festive experience...with Christmas movies and hot cocoa! The rest of the weekend will be spent getting ready for our big trip. I know that's not too fun for you both, but luckily you're entertaining each other by destroying the family room with Teenie Genies and Shopkins. Just a typical Sunday!
XO, Mom
What's cooking?

Monday: Hummus Pizza (Yes, again.)
Tuesday: Roasted Broccoli and Chick Pea Tacos (Sounds weird, but I promise it's good...inspired by this Thug Kitchen recipe.)
Wednesday: Veggie Pizza for me and Steak for Hubs
Thursday: Black bean and sweet potato veggie bowls
Friday: Buffalo cauliflower wraps

Although I do cook veggie/plant based meals ALL the time, it's usually not every day of the week. I try to break it up a little more, however I'm going heavy this week in order to balance out all the food I'll be consuming while we're on vacation. That's how it works, right?
Hoping you all have a fantastic Sunday!

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Monday, November 5, 2018

Black Beans "1905"

Dear Em, 
You were in my tummy when I went to the Columbia restaurant in St. Augustine and had this fantastic dish! Daddy and I had JUST found out that you were in there just a day or two prior! The whole experience was very memorable, especially the part where I just couldn't stand the idea of eating meat (blehhh)! Maybe this is why you love beans so much?! I've tried my best to recreate this very special meal, for my very special little girl...and Big Sis loves it too! BONUS!
XO, Mom
Ingredients:
1 lb. dried black beans
1 small onion - diced
1 clove of garlic - crushed
3 cups of low sodium chicken broth
3 - 4 cups of water
2 tbsp. cumin
1 tbsp. sweet paprika
2 bay leaves
salt and pepper to taste

For the "1905" Dressing
2 garlic cloves - crushed
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 -3 tbsp of white wine vinegar
1 tbsp. oregano
salt and pepper to taste

To Finish it off:
diced tomatoes
sliced red onion
cooked brown rice
shredded cheddar
sliced avocado
crumbled up tortilla chips - the kids LOVE this

Directions
1. Rinse the beans well, pick out any yucky stuff. Soak the beans overnight in a large bowl with water. I cover the beans with water and then some, to allow room for expansion. Usually I make sure the water comes up to about an inch or two above the beans. 
2. In the morning, strain the beans and give them another good rinse. Put the beans, diced onion, garlic, chicken broth, water, cumin, paprika, bay leaves, salt and pepper into a crock pot and let it cook for 8 hours on low.
When it's about that time to eat....
3. Whisk together all of the ingredients for the dressing.
4. I added the dressing to the diced tomatoes and red onion and let it marinate for about 20 minutes...but you could skip this if you're short on time and didn't read this recipe through beforehand like I normally forget to do.
5. Assemble! I topped the brown rice with the beans, then added cheese, and avocado, a generous amount of dressing with the tomato/onion mixture and sprinkled some tortilla chips on top for some crunch! (I picked the red onions out for the girlies...the grown up version is pictured below.)
El + Em are decent eaters...sometimes. The onions that cook with the black beans in the crock pot are fine since they can't see those. Mama isn't pushing her luck with raw onions though. We are not quite there yet!
I hope you enjoy this meal like we all do!
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Sunday, October 21, 2018

What's cooking this week?

Dear El + Em,
We went to the pumpkin patch yesterday for some "Fall fun". It was somewhere around 150 degrees but felt "Halloweeny" nonetheless. Today, the temps have finally dropped ...Mommy is making chili and I'm pretty sure we will all be bundled up under a blanket watching movies for a good part of the day! 
XO, Mom
(Side note - the temperature is currently 71 and the high is going to be 79, but I'll take it!)
Here's what's cooking!

Sunday: I went into the archives for this Turkey Veggie Chili (I think I need a do-over on this recipe, the pic is sooooo unappetizing)
Monday: Hummus Pizza (pretty sure this is officially a "thing" now)
Tuesday: "Tostada Tuesday"
Wednesday: Healthy Cream of Broccoli Soup and Steak for Hubs
Thursday: Fettuccini with Creamy Pumpkin Sauce (Spaghetti Squash for Mommy) 
Friday: French Bread Pizza Mummies

I'm hoping that the girls eat the pumpkin pasta on Thursday. You just NEVER know with them....they are so inconsistent. If one eats it then usually the other will too, but it's a guessing game. This morning we made these yummy Pumpkin Banana Pancakes, and I've got a bunch of pumpkin puree leftover so I figured it was worth trying.
Wishing you all a very sweet Sunday!

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Sunday, October 14, 2018

What's cooking this week?

Dear El + Em,
This weekend you got a big box of Halloween goodies from Grandma and Grandpa in New York. These crowns, tiaras and bracelets were picked out by Gramps! You loved them so much that you wore them to the craft stores yesterday. It was a fun family outing picking out Halloween decorations for outside....until....the sun was in Emmy's eyes on the way home and she screamed the entire way.
"All that screaming "noises" me". -Ella
You two sure know how to keep things interesting. 
XO, Mom
Yay for community yard sales! We participated in one on Saturday, and it felt good to get rid of a ton of stuff. Whatever didn't sell, Hubby brought straight to Goodwill. There's so much room for activities in our garage now. Just kidding, we still have enough stuff that we could pull together for another yard sale in OUR community in 2 weeks...which we just might do! 

Anyway, let's get to the point...what's cooking?

Monday: Crock Pot Creamy Tomato Soup and Cheesy Bread
Tuesday: Fiesta Chicken Cutlets & Black Beans
Wednesday: Baked Spaghetti
Thursday: Broccoli Pizza w/ fresh mozz!
Friday: Fresh Market Little Big Meal - Burgers!

Last week I went slightly off course due to a late night at work. The only thing I didn't get to make was the buffalo cauliflower flatbread and then my cauliflower went bad (worst smell everrrrrr)! Oh well, it happens. That's why this is just a plan. Sometimes we need to improvise! Hopefully this week I'll be able to stay on track. Luckily, I don't have 14 meetings to prep paperwork for! 

Have a wonderful Sunday, friends!
Emmy's face after the sun pissed her off. 
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Sunday, October 7, 2018

What's cooking this week?

Dear El + Em,
There's an endless list of the things each of you do and say that make me proud! High on that list is your love for tacos! I must be doing something right!
XO, Mom
On Friday night (Saturday morning?) Emmy woke up with a yucky tummy bug which led us into another lazy weekend. I don't want to jinx it, but we seem to be in the clear. Besides a little sleep deprivation, we're all good. This morning I woke up to Emmy screaming "Daddyyyyy....are you coming? Mommy....I make good choices". She's a character. El and Em had a rough start after Ella slammed the bathroom door in Emmy's face shouting "I need privacy"! It's been touch and go ever since but we are moving past it. It's probably for the best that we're getting out of the house this afternoon and heading over to my parent's house for some yummy dinner. Ella and I might even sneak over to the pool at some point....not very "Fallish" but I could use a little sun so why not!?

Sunday: Mom & Dad's house.....Baked Ziti....but I'm bringing this incredible looking Fall salad
Monday: Probably hummus pizza again - it's just so easy and they both eat it
Wednesday: Buffalo Cauliflower Flatbread and Steak for Hubs
Thursday: Turkey Meatball Stroganoff
Friday: Pretzel Bun TBLTAC (Turkey Bacon Lettuce Tomato Avocado and Cheese)

All set for another week! Hope you all have a great one! 
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Sunday, September 30, 2018

What's cooking this week?

Dear El + Em,
Don't be fooled by the loving looks you're giving one another in this photo. Of course you love each other, but this picture perfect moment is not exactly how things are on the regular! My camera roll is full of several "duds" before I get the right shot! A good part of the day is usually spent ripping toys out of each others hands, chasing your sister around and screaming "it's MINE" and sitting or standing on each other. Honestly, either of you could be guilty in any of these scenarios despite the three year age gap. This is what having a sister is all about (or so I'm told), and it sure keeps things interesting. This weekend has certainly been VERY interesting...and of course I wouldn't change a thing! 
XO, Mom
Another brewing ear infection for Little E = a pretty low-key weekend for the rest of us. It's nice and early, the meal plan is set, the list is made and I'm ready to enjoy this sweet little Sunday, especially after I get a little work out of the way. Here's the plan...

Sunday: Grilled Chicken and this crazy, amazing-looking Honeycrisp Kale Salad
Monday: Flatbread Pizza
Thursday: Vegan Corn Chowder and Steak for Hubs (Ha, that seems like an oxymoron)

It seems simple enough! Well, that's the hope. This upcoming week is VERY busy...but as usual, having the meals planned out SHOULD help. Fingers crossed! Have a wonderful Sunday! 
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Sunday, September 9, 2018

What's cooking this week?

I haven't done one of these in FOREVER....haven't done much of anything in forever as far as this place goes. In honor of the fact that I very ambitiously planned a week full of yumminess...I thought this was in order. Also, the girls are painting nicely and I thought I'd take advantage of the next four minutes to myself! 
There's paint on Emmy's elbows...so let me make this snappy....
Sunday: Grandpa's Marinara and salad
Monday: Hummus Pizza
Tuesday: Crock Pot Black Beans and rice

We'll see if I actually follow this plan. The past two months have been so hectic, I would plan and then make changes along the way. That's normal but week by week, it was all so unpredictable that when planning, I gave up on trying anything new. I guess the good news is that there's still a "plan". If there wasn't, I'd definitely be rotating tacos and hot dogs....which isn't too far off from how we've been living since this school year started! 

For today, we are having a home day. We're still in recovery mode since last week and all of the birthday celebrations. Emmy is fighting a NASTY cough, the girls are still tearing into all of their new toys and I'm running into work for a few hours....so a simple marinara will have to do! 

Soooo....there is now paint on Emmy's face....I'm gonna go....it's been fun Blogland! (Is this thing even still on?)
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Sunday, July 8, 2018

Cheesy Peach Pizza

Dear El + Em, 
For some reason, in which I do NOT understand....neither of you were digging this incredibly delicious pizza tonight. You both like when I make plain white pizza. You both love peaches. I'm confused, but then again you were both ganging up on Daddy and I today in an effort to drive us nuts. Congrats, you both succeeded in doing so. The rest of us gobbled this pizza up (of course)!!! I will be making this again, and something tells me that you both will have a change of heart as long as you aren't wearing your cranky pants!
Ingredients:
Pizza Dough (I buy mine from the bakery section at Publix)
Extra Virgin Olive Oil - 1 tbsp.
Ricotta - 1 1/2 cups 
Parmesan Cheese - 3 tbsp (grated)
1 Clove of garlic - crushed
Fresh Mozzarella - Sliced 
1 Peach - Sliced
Salt and Pepper 
Fresh (or dried) Herbs - basil, thyme, oregano - whatever you have on hand
1 peach - sliced

Directions:
1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
2. Roll out the dough. I usually like to make my pizza pretty thin so there's more surface area for cheese!
3. Brush the dough with extra virgin olive oil.
4. In a bowl, combine ricotta, grated parmesan cheese, crushed garlic, salt and pepper to taste, and whatever herbs you have on hand (I save some herbs for garnish when the pizza is done. 
5. Generously put dollops of ricotta mixture on pizza dough.
6. Top with sliced fresh mozzarella and sliced peaches. 
7. Cook for 18-25 minutes. I use a pampered chef pizza stone, and in about 23 minutes my thin pizza crust was nice and crunchy!
8. Sprinkle with additional herbs for garnish and ENJOY!

***Side note - this would probably be amazing with a drizzle of reduced balsamic vinegar! I didn't have any for tonight...but next time! (Ooooooh maybe that's what the girls were missing!!!)
Seeeeee! Ella was VERY excited about these peaches a little more than 24 hours prior! She  literally begged to take them home!
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Monday, April 16, 2018

Rainbow Quinoa Salad

Give me all the quinoa! I love this one because you could make a giant batch and just eat it all week long. Coming from a girl that's not a huge fan of leftovers, that's saying a lot! Maybe it was the microwaved leftover spaghetti every Tuesday that scarred me for life? Sorry Mom! It was incredible the first time around I swear! This bowl of colorful goodness gets better by the day....and no need to heat it up, it's served cold. It's super easy to throw together too! 
Rainbow Quinoa Salad
3 cups of cooked quinoa (I found it best to cook the quinoa the night before and refrigerate it so it was nice and cold before adding the rest of the ingredients.)
As much of the following as you'd like....
Shelled edamame
Halved grape tomatoes
Diced red bell pepper (in retrospect, yellow would have made this more colorful!)
Diced cucumber (seeded)
Sliced red cabbage
Grated carrot
Sliced Almonds
Craisins
Green onion - thinly sliced
*Toasted sesame seeds - for topping when serving.

Dressing 
1/4 cup of extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 tsp. of sesame seed oil
1 tbsp. of red wine vinegar 
1 tbsp. of rice vinegar
1 tsp. of tahini
1 tsp. of agave
Juice of 1/2 lemon
Salt and pepper to taste

Directions
1. Combine all of the ingredients for the quinoa salad in a large bowl and mix well. 
2. Whisk together the ingredients for the dressing and then pour over the quinoa salad.
3. Mix, mix, mix.
4. Serve cold, and top with toasted sesame seeds.

Enjoy!!!
#EllaApproved
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Saturday, March 24, 2018

Black Bean Quinoa Burger Salad

OMG, a recipe! I'm a little rusty, friends...so let's ease into this. I'm tired of feeling guilty every time a new recipe of mine goes unposted! Yes, I've been cooking and not sharing. My bad. Super selfish, I know! Don't get me wrong....most of our weekly menus have consisted of taco nights, pizza nights...the usual. My creative touch has been thrown in there from time to time, but maybeeeee not as much as it used to. Turns out that trying to mom, wife and school counselor (all verbs in this case) at the same time is very time consuming. Time consuming. Energy draining. Rewarding (duh). Did I say anything that indicates I'm tired yet? Oh hey there, I'm tired. Yes, all of these things. 

I'm nowhere near being on my "A-Game"....living moment to moment has been a means of survival around here for a while now. Hubby and I are nailing it (in my opinion) but it's a mess. An all over the place, mess. Love it, but mamma is tired. Hubs is too....but I couldn't do it without my other half! He rocks...and this is the time of year that he is seriously carrying the team! Okay, you feel me. Turns out the struggle IS real, but we've got this. I'll be over here enjoying the journey, and sharing when possible! 
Soooooooo, here it is! You might be thinking...."where is the meat at, Steph?" Lately we've been doing A LOT of meatless meals for a lot of reasons:
1. It's easier to not have to deal with that part of the meal - it's just a whole thing and frankly my meatless meals take much less time to prepare. 
2. I was trying to do some more budget friendly meals, and while working lots of beans and grains into the rotation it just sort of happened. 
3. I love the idea of a plant based diet. I see us fading meat out more and more...maybe not completely...but it has been happening for a while now. 

There's a new restaurant that opened up in my town, and "YAY" is all I could say. So fresh, so yummy and SO up my alley. They have a salad that is my absolute fave, and inspired this fun little dinner right here. 

I literally have NO measurements so this is a total estimate but you can't mess this up, at least I don't think you can. 
(*Just because I changed the name of my blog, doesn't mean that I changed....it's still going to always be - Never The Same Spice Twice).

Black Bean Burgers
2 cans of Black Beans drained and rinsed (I used a can and about 2-ish cups of black beans that I made in the crock pot which I'd say probably equals about 2 cans)
1.5 cups of cooked quinoa
1 cup of whole wheat panko bread crumbs
1/2 tsp. cumin
1/2 tsp. chili powder
salt & pepper to taste

*Mix all of the ingredients together until the beans are slightly mushed up - but still about 40% whole  (how is that for precision?) - add more bread crumbs if you feel like you need it to stick together better. Make burger patties and then grill them in some olive oil on medium heat until slightly browned. 

Salad
Greens (I used romaine lettuce and baby kale that I had on hand but use whatevs)
Diced Avocado
Diced Tomato
Diced Cucumber
Red Onion
Sliced Red Bell Pepper

*Assemble in the typical way one would put together a salad. You've got this. 

Dressing
Red Wine Vinegar
Extra Virgin Olive Oil (I usually do more olive oil than red wine vinegar)
Oregano
Salt and Pepper to taste

*Whisk it all together and mix it in with the salad. 
**Throw that yummy "burger" on top and you're done! But wait.......

Sriracha Mayo
BONUS - not pictured, but it definitely happened when I went back inside to join the family after taking food photos. Mayo mixed with as much sriracha as you could handle! OMGGGG, drizzle it over the burger....crazy good!

Can you still call this a recipe? I'm going to say "yes" and still pat myself on the back for this one. It's good, it's easy and you can't really mess it up - I promise! Enjoy! 
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