What’s For Dinner…? #22 (Gluten Free Dinner Plan)

What' for Dinner

Have I mentioned that I love simple meals? I love Summer meals because I can get away with making salads for a main dish and my husband is okay with that.

I love using the grill and not heating up the house. Unfortunately, we currently have a birds nest in our grill….with birds eggs not hatched yet….so we have to wait until the eggs hatch and we can safely remove the nest.

Secretly, I was hoping we could just get a whole new grill, as our grill only half works anyway. But we have several projects that are bigger priorities this Summer. Maybe next year. For now, I can’t wait to get the grill cleaned out, power washed and ready to use.

In the meantime, here is this week’s simple dinner plan…

Thursday: Cobb Salad with sweet potato fries

Friday: Homemade Pizza (I have a gluten free pizza crust mix from Aldi)

Saturday: Leftovers and a Grad Party

Sunday: Homemade Chicken Patty Sandwiches (recipe from Heavenly Homemaker) with potato salad, fresh fruit and veggies (I will just be eating the Chicken Patty without the bun to make it GF!)

Monday: Sausage Spinach Pasta

Tuesday:  Cool Ranch Taco’s  (recipe from Plain Chicken) with Rice and fresh fruit

Wednesday: Leftovers

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Slow Cooked Chicken Caesar Salad

Slow Cooked Chicken Caesar Salad from An Everyday Blessing - Just 5 ingredients!

Do you love simple meals? Meals that take little effort and few ingredients to put together? I know I do. And if you’re like me, then this meal is for you.

Summer is coming, at least I hope it is anyway.

Summer is the time that I loving having cold meals for dinner. I love making all kinds of salads: chicken salad, taco salad, chicken caesar sale.

Summer is also the time that I do my best to turn on the oven only when it is absolutely necessary. Even using the stove top can heat up the room more than I want. So if I’m not using the grill, then I use the slow cooker.

Our Sunday’s are really busy. It’s also a day where we have our biggest meal, our dinner, at lunch time. Since we are at church all morning, I like to have the dinner mostly made the night before. This week was no exception.

So Saturday night, I pulled out my slow cooker and put a couple pieces of chicken in it for a few hours. Before I went to bed, I pulled the chicken out. Since it only cooked for a little over 3 hours, it was perfectly moist, not at all dried out! I shredded the chicken and then placed it in the refrigerator.

On Sunday, when we got home from church, I pulled out the chicken, the lettuce (I bought chopped salad in a bag), along with the other few ingredients and mixed them all up. In less than five minutes we were eating our Chicken Caesar Salad.

Chicken Caesar Salad - 5 ingredient meal from An Everyday Blessing

My favorite things about this meal are:

1. It only has five ingredients (plus a 1/2 cup of water)

2. I can make the chicken the night before. Simply throw the chicken in the crockpot at dinner time and take it out before I go to bed.

3. It took very little effort to make!

Slow Cooked Chicken Caesar Salad

  • 1 1/2 lbs boneless skinless chicken breast
  • 1/2 tsp garlic salt
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 10 cups chopped romaine
  • 3/4 cup to 1 cup caesar dressing
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese

Directions

  1. Sprinkle chicken with garlic salt. Place in slow cooker and add water. Cook on low for 3-4 hours, or until chicken is no longer pink in the middle. (Three hours is perfect for my slow cooker)
  2. Remove chicken from crockpot. Once it is cool enough to touch, shred the chicken into small pieces.
  3. In a large bowl, combine the chicken, lettuce, caesar dressing and parmesan. Toss ingredients together with tongs until the dressing evenly coats the chicken and salad.
  4. Enjoy!

(I linked with these blog parties)

Recipes You May Also Like:

Ranch Chicken with Potatoes & Green Beans

Ranch Chicken

Chicken Broccoli Alfredo

Chicken Alfredo with Broccoli (gluten free)

The Perfect Rice Krispie Treat

Secret to the Perfect Rice Krispie Treat

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Thrifty Summer Fun for Toddlers and Kids

Thrifty Summer Fun

This past week I was excited to have one whole week of warmer weather. It was so nice to not hear the furnace running, and instead have windows open.

One of my favorite things about our home is that we have a large completely enclosed deck off our kitchen. This feature is perfect for my two year old. The deck is like having my kitchen extended.

I can send my son out to play, yet I can see him from my kitchen window and patio door. We can talk to each other. He’s in his glory playing outside, and this mama is getting work done. It’s a win, win!!

This week I put his bike out on the deck, a little lawn mower, a large bottle of bubbles, a few balls, a shovel to dig in the dirt, just to name a few.

Keeping Toddlers busy

And did I mention, I also get a good workout in as I run outside and down the deck steps a million times to retrieve whatever item got dropped or thrown over?

Thursday was a really warm day. It actually reached 88 by us. I got a kick out of Facebook status’ that read, “I don’t want to hear any complaining about this warm weather after the winter we had.” Did you see some of those too?

I was busy pulling things together for a garage sale and wanted to keep my son entertained and cooled off at the same time. So I pulled out a cooler that we had and filled it with water.

Keeping Toddlers Busy This Summer

I gave my son a pitcher, some bath toy fish with a little fishing pole, and a plastic cup. He loved it.

Keeping Toddlers Busy this Summer

Best thing yet, it didn’t cost me any money! I used things that I had around the house.

And then this weekend, as my sister and I were having a garage sale, I pulled the cooler to the front of the house and my five year old niece kept herself entertained for quite awhile.

Keeping Kids Busy this Summer

What are some thrifty fun ideas you have for kids? Would love to hear them!!

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What’s For Dinner…? #21 (Gluten Free Menu Plan)

What' for Dinner

This week was an exciting grocery shopping week for me. Aldi had a special buy of Gluten Free items.

Aldi Gluten Free products

I admit. I was tempted to buy all of them, but I refrained. Typically I make a lot from scratch and do my best to avoid processed food. I think the best diet, gluten free or not, is to stick to the fresh foods like fruits, vegetables, dairy and meat. So when it came to choosing my gluten free items, I asked myself the question, “Would I buy this if it were not g-free?”

For instance, I rarely buy brownie or cake mixes since I make them from scratch. And I already have an amazing (and super easy) gluten free brown recipe! Although if it’s available next week, I may try the vanilla cake mix…

I also don’t buy hot pockets, so why would I buy a g-free version?

There are a few things that I may pick up on my next visit to Aldi, but this week I just bought three items:  Brown Rice Pasta, pizza crust mix, and Sea Salt Crackers.

I have yet to try the Brown Rice Pasta or the pizza crust, but the Sea Salt Crackers were delicious. I loved that I could pronounce each ingredient the product contained, and I knew what it was. I hope Aldi considers adding a permanent gluten free line of foods!

Here’s this week’s Gluten Free Dinner Plan…

Thursday:  Cheddar Ranch Burgers with fries and salad

Friday:  Dinner with friends

Saturday:  Homemade Pizza, salad and fruit (I picked up a GF pizza crust mix from Aldi)

Sunday:  Mother’s Day Lunch

Monday:  Sausage Spinach Pasta (with G-Free pasta)

Tuesday:  Homemade Swedish Meatballs with mashed potatoes and green beans

Wednesday:  Leftovers

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Sometimes You Just Need to Stop & Play with Play Dough

Sometimes You Just Need to stop and play with play dough

Ever have one of those busy, non-stop week’s? Ever wonder if life will ever slow down? I have resolved that life never really does slow down, but that I need to be purposeful about creating slower moments.

Friday is one of my favorite days of the week…and not because it means the weekend is coming. Friday means “Free Friend Friday” at the Sportsplex where my parents work out. Not only do I get to workout with my mom and sister, but the childcare is also free.  It’s also the one day of the week where I get a really good workout. Seriously, my mom could really be a personal fitness trainer. And she is, to me and my sister anyway.

But this week, as Friday came along, I had to make a choice.

Our last few weeks have been incredibly crazy. I’ve had late nights and early mornings, literally running all day long. Then this Wednesday and Thursday were non-stop, running to several places each day and being gone way longer than anticipated. My home was a mess, my body was physically exhausted, my brain was completely worn out, and I knew my son needed some one-on-one time.

So we stayed home. Oh what a wonderful day at home it was.

My home slowly got put back together. My son and I sat and read books together. We colored big pictures together. We had fun making snakes, “pizzas” and snowmen out of play dough.

Sometimes you just need to stop and play with play dough

And I even got a bit of a nap in while my son watched an episode of Curious George. By the time dinner came along, I decided to order pizza. The thought of having to clean-up the kitchen after dinner was just exhausting to me.

The past few months, I’ve had to learn to say “no” to some things, knowing that if I said “yes” I would be over-extending myself. Sometimes those things are good things. But it doesn’t always mean it is a good thing for me for that day or this time in my life.

Saturday, I woke up with clearer thinking. Though still tired from having a son that has not slept through the night in months, I felt reenergized. I could focus on the tasks that needed to get done that day.

It’s true that maybe I didn’t get done everything that I wanted or needed to get done on Friday, but having a slower day recharged me so I could get more done the next day. It’s okay to have a day (or part of a day) to just stop and play with play dough, take time to color (it’s so relaxing), and even take a nap.

Having an unhurried day benefited my health and well-being. It gave me more quality time with my son. While I was rolling out play dough pizzas with him, I wasn’t thinking about the pile of dishes that needed to get done, or the loads of laundry that needed to be folded. I was focused on my time with him.

No, not every day will be like Friday, having an entire day of slow moments. But I know I need to be purposeful about taking time to create slower moments through out my day and week. It’s vital for my health, (my sanity), and my relationship with my family.

What can you do today to create a slow moment for you?

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What’s For Dinner…? #20 (A Gluten Free Menu Plan)

What' for Dinner

It’s been a few weeks since I last posted our weekly dinner plan. The last few weeks have been crazy to say the least. I am drained! Completely wiped out. And that’s okay.

We have had a great couple of weeks celebrating the resurrection of our Lord, followed by my son’s birthday. Creating memories with family is well worth the exhaustion. Although I probably wouldn’t be so exhausted if my son would just start sleeping through the night again…

This week I am excited to have a second attempt at creating a White Chicken Enchilada Casserole. I made one this past week, and it actually was quite delicious (ask my two year old…he kept saying “it’s AHHH-Lish-OUS” while eating it), but I wanted to change one thing to it to make it more enjoyable for my husband. Hopefully I will be able to share this new creation with you soon!

Here’s what we plan on having this week….

Thursday:  Italian Dinner (at a local Christian school)

Friday:  White Chicken Enchilada Casserole

Saturday:  Leftovers

Sunday:  Roast Beef with mashed potatoes and green beans

Monday:  Broccoli Cheese Soup

Tuesday:  Tangy Apricot Chicken with rice and broccoli

Wednesday:  Leftovers

What about you? What’s on your dinner menu this week?

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Curious George Birthday Party Food

Curious George Birthday Party Food

Last Saturday I threw a Simple Curious George Birthday Party for my son’s 2nd birthday. Yesterday I shared our simple party decorations, and today I thought I’d share our simple party menu!

Appetizers

Sadly, I somehow missed getting a picture of our appetizer table. But this is what we had…

  • Homemade Queso Dip (recipe coming soon)
  • Chips and Salsa
  • Spinach Dip with Hawaiian Bread
  • Veggie Tray
  • Mexican Cheese Dip (the one with cream cheese, beanless Chili and Mexican cheese)

Main Meal

For our main meal I decided to have a taco theme!

Birthday Party Food Taco Bar

I made both soft shell tacos, as well as some Baked Tacos. My husband always wrinkles his nose when I want hard shelled tacos, so I was so surprised how many people were excited to have them!

Baked Tacos

For side dishes I made some rice and my sister brought a crockpot of homemade refried beans. I also made this awesome Fruit Salad. It was a huge hit!

Amaziing Fruit Salad

Dessert

For dessert I made some delicious cupcakes….both chocolate and vanilla (my favorite recipes will be coming soon).

Curious George Birthday Party cupcakes 2

And since we had a Curious George themed birthday, I thought a Banana Split Bar would be fun to have.

Banana Split Ice Cream Sundae Bar

This also was a huge it! And it was super easy for me because everyone dished up their own ice cream. Toppings included Chocolate Fudge Topping, cherries, whip cream, sprinkles, gummy bears and bananas. I also had vanilla wafers, but totally forgot to put them out!

Whew! That’s a lot of food. But we had 24 people to feed. And thankfully, my family pitched in to bring some of the appetizers and sides.

What about you? What are some of your favorite party foods? Please share!!

You May Also Like:

A Simple Curious George Birthday Party

Simple & cute Curious George Birthday Party

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A Simple Curious George Birthday Party

Simple & cute Curious George Birthday Party

Last week we celebrated my son’s 2nd birthday. Since he loves Curious George so much, I decided to throw him a Curious George themed birthday party.

For several nights I scoured Pinterest and googled Curious George ideas. Oh, how overwhelming it was. The details that people put into parties is so unbelievable. Maybe you’re one of them! However, I am not so artistic, and while Etsy has so many super cute ideas, I just couldn’t afford to buy every banner and cute Curious George decorations that I saw. I also knew that, as always, we had a lot going on and my time was limited. I wanted to keep it simple. So I narrowed down my choices.

First things first were the cupcakes!

Birthday Cupcake

I found the sprinkles and cupcake liners at Walmart and used them to set the color scheme.

Curious George Birthday Party

I purchased balloons and streamers from Party City, and found some super cute favor bags at Michael’s Craft Store. The Curious George tags were purchased from Etsy.

Curious George Birthday 2

Then I found these Curious George masks on Amazon (I had gift cards that I earned through Swagbucks so I didn’t really have to use any of our own money), although you can order them from Party City as well (I couldn’t find them in the store).

Curious George Birthday Party masks

I found the Cupcake Toppers on Etsy (these are what I used for the favor bags as well).

A Simle Curious George Birthday

This week I’ll be sharing our Curious George Party Menu, as well as recipes for the perfect chocolate and vanilla cupcakes. So stay tuned! You can follow me on Facebook or subscribe to receive email updates if you don’t want to miss out on posts.

(I link up to these Blog Parties)

You May Also Enjoy:

Curious George Birthday Party Food

Curious George Birthday Party Food

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