Our Meal Plan ~ March 9th-15th

meal plan main collage (1)

I’ve been doing pretty good with my healthy eating. I lost another 1.2 pounds for a total of 9 POUNDS! I am so excited and feel great. I love the feeling of being in control of food and eating healthy food that doesn’t make me sick. Plus cutting out those modified foods, processed foods, and switching tomatoes for tomato sauce has made me feel better. 

So now onto our meals for last week. I was recently asked why I post meals that are a week behind. Though it would be easier to list our meal plan for the current week, I prefer to show you what our meal plan was last week, how the meals went, and if Dino approved. I also like to show our lunches and how we are sticking to a plan and eating healthy. 

Mar 9th-15th

Sun  Daddy and Dino Dinner
Mon  grilled cheese and soup
Tues   shells, tomatoes, peas, beans, and parmesan cheese
Wed    smoked sausage, peppers, onions, rice 
Thurs leftovers                                        
Fri  Rigatoni and broccoli                                               
Sat  fish, potatoes, string beans


Sunday – Daddy and Dino Dinner (Mommy had a girl’s day and came home after dinner. Turns out that Dino and Daddy had a visit from hubby’s parents. So Dino got lots of attention from his Daddy, Grandma, and Grandpa)

Monday – Originally Grilled Cheese and Soup, but switched to Leftover Homemade Chinese Food 

monday dinner Collage

Tuesday– Pasta, Peas, Tomatoes, Onions, and Parmesean Cheese

pasta tomatoes and peas Collage

Wednesday – Smoked Sausage, Rice, and Veggies 

sausage and rice Collage

Thursday – Leftovers  

Friday – Pasta, Broccoli and cauliflower (forgot to take a pic…it was just SO GOOD!)

Saturday – I was alone Saturday night…it was glorious. I had a beautiful lunch with my sister at the EverReady Diner. I got the BIG APPLE WRAP. I wish I had taken a pic, it was delicious and yummy. I ate half at the diner and half for dinner. 



Between using EasyLunchBoxes  and planning what I eat ahead of time, I am in control at work and I know Dino is eating healthy at school. 


lunch Mon

Mommy-mini pita with turkey, swiss, and veggies, balsamic vinegar, nutri grain bar, tomatoes, strawberries, and pretzel thins
Dino-chips, red pepper hummus, string cheese, strawberries, pretzel thins

Dino Morning Snack-french toast, grapes

lunch Tue

Mommy-leftover roasted veggies, swiss, turkey, and avocado, grapes, and pickles (pretzels and granola bar in bag)  
Dino-ham and cheese sandwich, pickles, tomatoes, fruit cup
Dino Morning Snack– cheese stick, hard boiled egg, grapes (not very creative when making his morning snack (fruit bar and cheez-its for the afternoon)  

lunch wed

Mommy– chicken salad with veggies in mini pita, carrots, grapes, pears, one granola bar
Dino-wanted to order pizza from school so he’ll have grapes and carrots along with his pizza
Dino Morning Snack-nutri-grain bar, cinnanmon teddy grahams, pears 


lunch thurs

Mommy-leftover pasta and tomato dinner, strawberries, and carrots (banana, peanut butter on celery, and pretzels for snacks)
Dino-cheese and tomato quesadilla, pasta and tomato leftovers, strawberries 
Dino Morning Snack-toaster strudel and half a banana 

lunch fri

Mommy-broccoli and cheese quesadilla, peanut butter, celery, grapes, apples, egg salad, tortilla chips, and pretzels
Dino-broccoli and cheese quesadilla, hummus, tortilla chips, grapes, Extra Snacks fruit snack, cheez-its with tomato and celery on bread, grapes, pretzels, and apple slices.
Dino Morning Snack-french toast, apples, jelly 

Mommy-(eating on my own. Daddy was camping and Dino was with my parents, LaLa and PopPop) I met my sister for lunch at the Eveready Diner and had an awesome meal. I had the “Big Apple Wrap.” It was a spinach wrap with apples, chicken breast, pecans, cranberries, blue cheese, and honey mustard vinaigrette. Can you say DELICIOUS? It was so big that I ate half there and saved the other half for dinner. 


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The Best is Yet to Come

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Finish the Sentence Friday

Okay, as I sit here trying to decide what to write I’m stumped.  I mean, I’m 38 years old, I’ve had some good years that I could write about. Or should I write about some decades before my time that I would have loved to have been a part of?  WARNING…you know this was a last minute post because of the lack of photos! 

After a good twenty minutes of searching for ideas and links to some favorite movies and TV shows I decided that I could NOT stick to one decade.

Seriously, the 70’s were pretty darn good, I mean I was born and so was my hubby!

Then, even though I resented her for many years, the 80’s DID bring my sister.

Though I hated my time in elementary school, I did graduate in ’89, so that made the ending of the 80’s perfect.

Even though I was so weird and annoying, I did graduate high school in ’93 and start college in ’95. Hell I spend the rest of the 1990’s in college and started teaching. So that was a pretty awesome decade.  

I continued to teach and earn my Master’s in ’00 and got married in ’01, so that was amazing as well. But then as we tried to become parents that didn’t go so well. I Those were some dark years, but at the end of the decade we finally became parents. In ’09 we we had our miracle, so what a way to end the decade, right? 

DO YOU SEE WHAT I MEAN? How could I just pick one decade to say was the best. I could say Dino’s decade rocked out all the others, but all those years brought us together. So without my childhood, awkward teens, college years and marriage, and infertility I may very well not have had Dino. 

Though, I am looking forward to the current decade. Dino will be starting kindergarten in the fall and leaving the day care he has known since he’s been 6 months. I was laid off and now am working again and despite the stinky commute do love what I do. There are so many things to look forward to, so many journeys to take, experiences to discover, and joys to feel I am looking forward to the decades yet to come. I miss my little baby, but can’t wait to see the man Dino will become. I know he is going to make the world a better place and I will watch with rapt attention and love. 

“My favorite decades are the ones yet to come.” 

Our Meal Plan Feb 23rd – March 1st

meal plan main collage

  • Sun  Italian Bread Pizza      
  • Mon  Penne, tomatoes, and peas with parmesan sauce – original recipe here
  • Tues   Chicken and Veggie Stir Fry                                                   
  • Wed   French onion soup, cannellini beans, shells, cheese         
  • Thurs  leftovers
  • Fri       Rice and Beans with cheese                                             
  • Sat    Potato Casserole: ground pork, green beans, mushrooms, potato gnochi


On Sunday, we had our favorite most versatile meal, Italian Bread Pizza…I swear I could eat this every night and it would be so different based on the toppings. 

Italian pizza CollageOn Monday night, we had Pasta shells with sauteed peas and tomatoes. Tomato sauce makes me sick, but fresh tomatoes seasoned and sauteed I can handle. Even better when mixed with frozen peas and a bit of diced onion…the taste is amazing. After the veggies were done and the pasta was cooked, I tossed the veggies over the pasta and mixed it all up. Then I sprinkled a bit of Parmesan and mozzarella cheese on top. I didn’t over do it on the cheese, just a bit..enough for some stickiness and flavor.

Dino ate every last bite of his dinner…it was easy and a BIG hit.

pasta pea CollageOn Tuesday we had homemade Chinese Food and it rocked. We recently bought Chinese food and it was too expensive and the amount in each container shrunk. Janine suggested making our own, so I did. Thanks for the idea babe. I used white rice, frozen Asian stir fry veggies, and chicken breasts which I marinated. I baked the chicken and veggies in our cast iron skillet. The meal was PERFECT and a new family favorite. We are going to make it again next week.

chinese food CollageOn Wednesday, I decided to just throw the leftover pasta, tomatoes and peas in the French Onion Soup with with Cannellini Beans.

On Thursday we had leftover pizza…mmmmm…still so good.

On Friday, I made another favorite, rice and beans.

rice bean CollageOn Saturday I experimented with potato gnochi and ground pork casserole. I LOVED it, Dino thought it was okay, Hubby ate bowl full, but didn’t ask for more. Well at least the leftovers are all mine.

I cooked the ground pork, broccoli, and cauliflower in the cast iron skillet. Then added it to the tray. Then I sprinkled the onion, mushroom seasoning on top of the pork mixture. Next I scooped the half cooked gnochi on top. After fully cooked in oven, sprinkle with cheese and let melt.

In retrospect, I could have mixed it all together in the cast iron skillet…oh well.

gnochi Collage

What meals did you plan? How did they work out? Did you change plans?

Who else has had it with the snow?

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Two Great Meals: One Meatless, One Casserole

Sorry I have been absent…but I am back and hoping to keep on my schedule. There are so many blog hops I would like to join on Tuesdays, but it is easier for me to join the ones that post on Monday night.

meal lan collageI am trying to save money, eat healthier, and stay organized. I will post my meal plans on subsequent Tuesdays with all the meals I have cooked with that plan. Two of the meals will  be meatless…it just saves money. I could eat roast beef sandwiches and chicken parm every day…seriously I love meat and chicken, but it costs money.

two meal collage 

MEATLESS: Pasta, Chick Peas and Veggies

  • 2 boxes PastaRoni (I use almond milk and dairy free butter for preparation)
  • frozen broccoli, cauliflower, and sliced carrots
  • can of chick peas
  • goya seasoning


  • bake veggies and chick peas first (brush with olive oil and season with goya mix)
  • make PastaRoni according to instructions
  • After pasta is done, mix veggie and chick peas into pasta, let set ten minutes and serve

meatless pastaDino loved it…when he first saw it he said it looked amazing. I then told him that the chick peas would make his muscles and brain grow faster…he of course ate it.

meatless pasta2CASSEROLE: Ground pork and Hashbrown

  • ground pork
  • goya sesasoning
  • frozen peas, carrots, and corn
  • can of cream of mushroom
  • hashbrowns


  • stir fry frozen hash browns on stove top (I prefer them a bit crunchier and they taste better this way)
  • coat pan with olive oil, crumble raw, ground pork in pan and sprinkle with seasoning
  • layer frozen veggies on top then scoop cream of mushroom on top of veggies
  • spread half cooked hash browns on top
  • bake at 350 for 40 minutes
  • turn oven off, sprinkle cheese on top and put pan back in oven to melt cheese

Another meal Dino loved…he devoured just about every bite. He even ate all the peas and most of the corn. I think this meal rocked, was easy, healthy, and very frugal.


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Lunch, Dinner, Leftovers, or ALL of the above?


PicMonkey Collage

I had a few food related things to post about…so why not just do it all at once? Right?

To start off with I need to start capturing more of our lunches. This will help me record what ideas I have and keep me from overloading my own lunch bag.

One of my lunches: sandwich, veggie sticks, peanut butter and jelly crackers, NutriGrain bar, pretzels, and apples. mommy lunchTwo of Dino’s lunches

sandwich, carrots with ranch dressing, raisins veggie sticks, cheese sticks, fishies, and flavored water. He gets a lunch, morning snack and afternoon snack. They also provide snacks there on occasion and get gets a bottle of water in which they refill as often as needed.

dino lunch1 Another lunch…carrots with ranch dressing, flavored water, apples, pretzels, fishies, and going to add oatmeal in the am.

dino lunchNow you are probably wondering about the sandwiches…well I am glad you asked. Now I try to eat healthier bread, sometimes I do and other times I give in have the white bread that Daddy and Dino love. Instead of mayo though, Dino and I LOVE hummus on our bread. That’s right…HUMMUS instead of mayo. It’s tastier and healthier.

sandwich collageThis post is also about dinner…now while in the middle of the fridge disaster (that will be a future post as soon as it is settled). I made a BIG dinner. I had to get rid of some things and not have to worry about cooking as much for the next day.

We had meatballs and pasta I made the night before

meatballsChicken parm tenderloins I made that night

chicken cutletsMommy knows it’s a good meal when everyone is too busy eating to talk or play. Dino had to be like his daddy and sit on the couch and eat. (If you don’t already know we have a super small apt and the other chairs for our table is the couch).


boys eating2 boys eatingNow we have TONS of leftovers for the next day…heck we can even made them into meatball or chicken sandwiches.



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Way Back When…

way back when Collage

Finish the Sentence FridayThis week’s sentence is ”One of my favorite childhood memories is…

bagels every Sunday. Every Sunday my dad would go out and get the papers, bagels, and rolls. It was our family tradition to sit around, read the paper, dunk our bagels/rolls in coffee. Hey don’t knock it…it’s beyond yummy and the coffee afterwards is divine. Whenever I do this it always brings me back to being at home, when times were simple and there were no worries in my world.

Now there are no photos of that…but my father found a BUNCH of old photos that really blew my mind. Wow…time flies way too fast.

Now I look at my son…WOW…I am where my parents were thirty years ago. Boy how time flies and lives change. It seems like only yesterday I was a little girl playing with my toys…now I have a child of my own. One day he will look back at pictures of himself as a young child…and what will I feel? What will I think? What do my parents feel right now?

do you see my horrible hair-fro…if only I could go back in time with my hair products…sighs. I’m guessing this is Christmas morning or close to it.

me and my sisterlook at my hipster parents…LOL.

me and my parents

Me with both set of Grandparents…

all grandparentsMy dad’s parents Grandpa Freddy and Grandma Angie

granpa fred and grandma angie karenMy mom’s parents Grandpa Tommy and Grandma Betty

dessert with GT GBcake

Is that a dog sitting between us?

me and momEnjoying a vacation with my dad…

with dad in holderI see my son’s silly smile in my face…wow.

me smilingMy parents sill have Rudolph…me and tree

playdough creation anthony tree

Growing Dinosaur

CollageMommy says my body and brain is growing. I am getting stronger and smarter, I agree.

I create really cool and amazing things with my LEGOS.

lego collageI’m creating lots of cool things in school. My teacher helps me, but I am getting better at doing more and more on my own. Look at my ghost, pumpkin book, and bat.

school work







I’m coloring better and TRYING to stay in the lines. Mommy says I have to color lighter, when I push the crayon too hard it hurts my hand. I was a good boy while I ate at the Cheesecake Factory with Mommy and Aunt Janet. I also put my clothes on all by myself, even if I get my pants backwards sometimes…but I STILL look cool.


How can you tell that your body and brain are growing?

Chilling with Balboa and Mommy

It’s Saturday and time for my story once again.

CollageThis week I’ve been doing a lot of chilling with my dog, Balboa. He can be grumpy sometimes, but other times he just wants to lay next to me, watch TV, and see if he can sniff an extra crumb of food.

I need to relax after working hard all week. Remember last time I got to blog and told you how much work I am doing in school…well it continues. My brain keeps growing. Do you think I might run out of space for all the new things I am learning?

I think I work even harder than Mommy and Daddy, but when Mommy picks me up she won’t let me play for a few extra minutes. That’s not fair. Can one of you talk to her about that?

Even though she won’t give me those extra few minutes to play (and she left my lunch box and water at school) I still love her. We have fun taking pictures and Mommy lets me look at them to see which are my favorites. I love being silly with Mommy.

mommy Collage



38 Years and Halloween Memories

main CollageFinish the Sentence Friday

This week’s sentence is ”One Halloween I…celebrated as a mom.

When you are trying to have a child and it doesn’t work, you think about every special moment and holiday you will never experience as a mom. But that first Halloween with my little monkey was beautiful. Of course everything is a joyous moment when you are a mom…but even more so that I finally got to experience it. Sure he was almost 5 months old, but it was beautiful.

He was adorable in his monkey costume…so happy just to see mommy laugh and act silly. Did he understand what was going on? NOPE. Did he get to go trick or treating? NOPE Did he eat any candy? NOPE. Did I celebrate like mad, enjoying every moment? YOU BET YOUR @SS I DID!

monkey collageBesides, just a few days before Halloween is my bday…so I got to celebrate my birthday as a mom…another even made special all because of a beautiful boy.

Speaking of BIRTHDAYS……

cake Today I am 38 years old…yes 38 and in two years I’ll be 40 and I’m looking forward to it. Age is just a number, but I am more confident and secure than I was ten years ago….

At 38 years old I’ve

survived my teen years and some tremendously stupid choices and actions

graduated high school and earned a Masters Degree

got married and despite our ups and downs, we’ve been together 18 years and married 12 years.

have a son, despite all those years of heartache and fear, I am a MOM

became a teacher, then due to budget cuts lost my job and condo

found another teaching job and slowly rebuilding and re-imagining our dreams

hated myself, tried to changed who I was, then realized I was too special and finally love who I am

lost friends I wish were still around, lost friends who weren’t friends at all, and made friends who will always be a part of my heart

started blogging, then stopped, then started blogging again

My birthday gift to myself???? Superhero Family Car Decals….YES, I’M A GEEK and I love it…At least they aren’t Twilight decals. 

car decals

What Halloween memory do you have?

BACK TO BASICS: Goya Chicken, Rice, and Lentil Soup

foodCollageIt’s been easier making dinner and getting ready for work at night. I’ve been sticking to a routine and even with a few unplanned events, it still works. Even Dino knows the routine which is a blessing. I’ve been sleeping a bit better by drinking a half of glass of red wine before bed. It’s not to put me to sleep, but to keep me sleeping…but no worries I can still hear Dino if he needs me. I actually had dreams for the last three nights, though I don’t remember what they were…but I was definitely dreaming.

Now on to the meal, while slow cooker meals are great, they are not always practical and going back to what works is always best. I made a simple dinner and it was perfect since Dino was not feeling well it was perfect for him. How do I know Dino was sick? He laid down on the couch and didn’t move unless to use the bathroom. I got a few silly faces, but there were no roars, screams, jumping, and he only played with his cars or ten minutes. So this back to basic meal was great.

Goya Chicken, White Rice, and Lentil Soup.

I added olive oil, Goya Seasoning, and water to the bag with the raw chicken breasts…when ready to cook toss in some bread crumbs and shake it up. Then place in the cast iron and skillet and bake in the oven.

The Lentils Soup was from a can and the white rice from a bag (which I always add olive oil and Goya to the water). I must keep it simple!

The chicken came out perfect…always a big hit and the lentils were a nice touch with the rice. Sick Dino even ate his bowl of rice and lentils.

Tired Mommy APPROVED


Picky Hubby APPROVED

boy Collage

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