Weekend Wrap Up

We had a productive weekend of working on some house projects, but we also did some non-chore activities. We even made it out to our basketball court to shoot baskets. The most festive thing we did was decorate pumpkins! Ken let his artistic side shine and did a Day of the Dead pumpkin. I decorated a couple with teal paint, and one with stripes and dots since I’m not too artistic. This year we are participating in The Teal Pumpkin Project, which is where you display a teal pumpkin to let trick-or-treaters know this is a house with non-food treats for those with food allergies. This allows all kids to experience trick-or-treating and have something fun when they would not otherwise have anything since they cannot eat candy. 

Southern Charm

Southern Charm isn’t just a show I love on Bravo, but was the theme of our first dinner party at the new house. We finally felt the house was somewhat presentable and invited Rick and Mary over for Friday night dinner & drinks. I had mentioned earlier in the week we could have bbq chicken, so with that thought in my mind I started flipping through my original recipe book for inspiration. Side note, this recipe book is more like a scrapbook of recipes I’ve clipped over the years in hope I would one day make, or ones I love and make on repeat. From the recipe book I found some things that would compliment the bbq chicken and round out a southern theme. Up first is an appetizer of chicken and waffles paired with mint juleps, then with  dinner, roasted green beans with gremolata,  bbq chicken and the salad and steak Rick and Mary brought. To finish off the night was snickerdoodle cheesecake!

 

Here are some snaps of our living spaces and food!

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Dining Room
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Room we have dubbed “the drinking room” because that’s where our wine hutch and bar hutch are located.
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Ken’s mint julep made from a recipe out of a cocktail book published in 1985.
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Mini waffles and chicken nuggets. In retrospect these needed more sauce and would be best eaten warm. I made two sauces: honey mustard and spicy honey with Frank’s.
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Green beans with gremolata. Along with the mini waffles and chicken nuggets, I’ve had this recipe for years and never made it before. I don’t know why I’ve waited for so long! I will be preparing green beans this was more often! You take 2 lbs green beans and one red onion quartered and coat them with 3 tbsp olive oil. Salt and pepper then roast at 425 for 25 minutes. Plate, then drizzle with juice from half an orange and gremolata made from 1 tbsp parsley, oregano, garlic and zest from half and orange.

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Recipe for cheesecake and chicken and waffles.

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Balsamic Mushroom Chicken Skillet

In case you were wondering what I had for dinner as Ken was diving into his lasagna, here is a go-to quick favorite of mine. I don’t usually make two dinners each night, but Ken never complains about eating according to my dietary restrictions so sometimes I like to be able to make him something special of his own (see prior post for that!). Tonight I made a pan of balsamic mushroom chicken cooked all in one pan so easy clean up! And I have plenty left over for the next few days for lunch. I modified the recipe below to fit my needs, such as I served it over a bed of green beans instead of rice/pasta, and I omitted the butter and  used half the olive oil and garlic. 

 https://cookiesandcups.com/skillet-balsamic-garlic-chicken/ 

Ravioli Lasagna! 

Recently Ken has been hinting he wanted this dish by saying things like “Honey, do you remember that ravioli lasagna you used to make?”. So I finally accumulated the ingredients and made him up his very own pan of lasagna! This is by far the easiest lasagna you will ever make. The ravioli acts as the noodles and ricotta in a traditional lasagna so that cuts down on a step in the layering process. You can even customize this based on what you like. For example, you could do a healthier version with ground turkey and low-fat cheese as the orignal recipe I used years ago called for. I would have preferred to get gluten free ravioli this time, but I have yet to come across any that are prepared. 

To make this version I used:

  • 1 lb ground pork
  • 1 jar Raos artichoke marinara sauce
  • 8 oz shredded mozzarella 
  • 1/4 c grated Parmesan 
  • 24 oz cheese ravioli from freeser section
  • Seaonings such as Italian blend, salt, pepper and red pepper flake

 To assemble, I preheated oven to 350, meanwhile browned the pork and set a pot of water on to boil. Once the pork is cooked through I turned off the stove and  I added my seasonings then mixed in the jar of marinara. Once the water comes to a boil I add in the ravioli and cook according to the instructions and drain. In a casserole dish I started with a thin layer of the meat sauce then added half the cooked ravioli. On top of the ravioli I put half of the remaining meat sauce then added half the mozzarella and half the Parmesan. Repeat thhe process with remaining ingredients. I baked this covered for 45 minutes then uncovered for an additional 15. Once out of the oven I let it sit for 30 minutes so thhe lasagna comes together and is not a runny mess.

Ingredients assembled and ready to cook!

First layer of ravioli on top of thin layer of meat sauce

Meat sauce layer on next
Assembled lasagna ready for the oven
Fresh out of the oven
Ready for Ken to eat dinner! Don’t worry he rounded out his plate with green beans and sauerkraut.

Costco!

We definitely made up for our day off yesterday and have been super busy today. After Ken spent the morning working from his home office we joined Costco and finally bought our new TV and stocked up on some items. I did some batch cooking and prepped food for the week. 

I cut up strawberries and portioned out into easy to grab containers. Also marinated Persian cucumbers for easy side dish.
Made a chimichurri with cilantro and parsley that were about to turn.
Fridge is now stocked with buys from Costco like Ken’s favorite frappuccinos and iced tea
Batch cooking for this week’s lunches: ground turkey and vegetable soup with bone broth for extra protein.

Our new TV! Now we just need to get it on the wall by Thursday for our cable installation appointment.

I was finally able to get some Halloween decorations out as boxes were unpacked, but pictures still need to be hanged.

Guest Post: Cards

In life we are dealt a hand…some hands are better than others, but what matters most is how you play the hand you are dealt. I am in constant awe at how my wife lives her life. She is amazing! She faces her challenges head on and doesn’t allow anything to limit what she wants to do. We have gone through many life changes lately…from moving to Arizona, to escaping an unfortunate rental situation, to living in an Air BnB, to renovating a house, to moving (for the umph-teen time), and to dealing with her husband! And trust me, the last is probably the biggest challenge.  Through all we have been through, we needed a break. Today, we needed a mimosa sunday, fun day! So regardless of all the (unfun) things we probably should have accomplished today, we had fun! Mimosas in bed while watching re-runs of Wings, to carpool karaoke with Foo-Fighters, to swimming in our pool, and to soaking in the rays on our very own pool deck!  In October!! I also took a stab at making diet friendly chicken strips…turned out okay if you ask me! And at the end of our night Elise, Gibbs, and I ended up snuggling up, all cozy in bed. I’d post a picture of that, but Elise and Gibbs are asleep and she’d probably ‘Jillian Michaels’ my a$$ if I did, but trust me its beautiful! Ultimately, I feel pretty lucky with my cards.

– Ken


Rant!

I’m sorry but I just have to rant! In our household we need at least two toilets to function. Because even though I’m in remission you never know when nature is going to strike and sometimes it may be all day long, so having only one toilet at your disposal (don’t mind my pun) is unacceptable. Unfortunately I just had to witness Ken have a 30 minute conversation with the flooring guy who kept insisting the uneven floors were not the cause of his shoddy flooring installation, but the toilet wobbling and that is was Ken/the plumber’s fault.  Take a look for yourself. The flooring guy filled the gap between the floor andthe  toilet with grout to prevent the toilet from wobbling. The last house we bought, we replaced all the toilets and somehow didn’t encounter this problem. Renovation are frustrating without good help!!!!! And still without functioning toilets!