Sunday, February 28, 2016

What's cooking this week?

Happy Sunday...and HAPPY BIRTHDAY to Hubs! We're having a low-key day...and if you ask me, it's much needed! Yesterday we went to Epcot and had lunch at Teppan Edo with family. Great times! When we got home, I had to run out to get some last minute gifts for Stephen. It's been that kind of week! Today we are just relaxing, may go for a walk to the park....maybe Best Buy for a new bluetooth speaker and then I'll make him a yummy birthday meal (hopefully to the sound of some sick beats from Hubby's new speaker). I'm letting Hubs call the shots for the day, but honestly I'm glad he is opting for a "homey" day! 
Here's the plan....
Sunday: Stuffed Shells for the Birthday Boy!
Tuesday: Crockpot Turkey (maybe "Turkey-less") and Veggie Chili
Wednesday: Loaded Baked Sweet Potatoes 
Thursday: Steak for Hubs and leftover potato quinoa soup (I have to post this recipe!)
Friday: Grilled Chicken and Puerto Rican Beans 

Pregnancy #2 Fun Fact: My meal plans are not as diverse as I usually try to make them. Most weeks I try to make an effort to really mix it up....not just throughout the week, but the goal is to also make it different from the week prior. Lately, meat does not really appeal to me. I have never been much of a steak person, but even chicken, pork and even on some occasions any kind of ground meat has been a stretch. It's not that I CAN'T do it, or even that it will make me feel sick. I would just be fine without it.

When I'm making the plan, I'm really struggling with this because right now at 10:40 in the morning it all sounds heavy and I don't want any of it. What DO I want? Or, what am I okay with? Salad is usually safe, soups, beans, and veggies....anything Mexican (duh), cereal, and sandwiches. Pasta is just okay, but not my favorite unless it's loaded with cheese. It sounds like a lot but it's been limiting me. You may have noticed some of these things are not the most healthy. Hopefully this phase of "pickiness" passes soon! Maybe it will be over with just in time for with my Pampered Chef order arrives. It's hard to explain, but I'm working through it.
This pic of these two cuties was from yesterday at Epcot! I'm going to get back to our day of spoiling this sweet man who we couldn't possibly love any more! Happy 32nd Birthday to my amazing Hubby! Ella Rose and I love you MUCHO! XOXO
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Saturday, February 27, 2016

A Pampered Chef Party

Last night I hosted a Pampered Chef party at my house. Thanks SO much to everyone that came over for some DELICIOUS food and especially for purchasing all of those wonderful Pampered Chef goodies! I wish I had some photos to share from the night, but you know how it is when you're in "hostess-mode". Seriously though, the chicken enchilada pizza and lava cake that was demonstrated were insane!

The party will remain open through tomorrow night...so get your orders in! 
HERE is the link to purchase from my show. 
If you spend $75 you get one of these free items as well...

I just love their products and can't wait to get all of my new stoneware! I've seen it all in action twice and I'm impressed! At the last party I went to, I ordered my MFP ("Manuel"...my manual food processor), the garlic press and this awesome utensil I "selfied" with last night.
It's called the "mix n' chop"....and it's my new addition to Taco Tuesday. It perfectly crumbles and grounds meat really fine without scratching my non-stick pans. LOVE! No more hacking at ground meat with a wooden spatula, because this bad boy gets the job done!

I haven't finalized my order from this party yet, but here are a few items that I have my sights set on...
White Large Round Stone
Large Baker

Deep Covered Baker
Citrus Press
Silicone Oven Mitts
I pretty much want it ALL, not going to lie! Browsing the catalog makes me want to stay home all day and COOK! For today though, we are heading over to Epcot for lunch with family....so tomorrow will be the cooking day! What will I make? Stay tuned! Happy Saturday! 
Ella hosted a party too last night....with my friend Rachel's beautiful girls!

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Sunday, February 21, 2016

What's cooking this week?

Wow, just glanced at the time and realized it's only 8:00 as I'm typing this! I usually like to procrastinate a bit before getting to my "to-do" list on a Sunday morning...but today I've got SO much to do in order to prepare for the week. Most importantly, part of my day will be spent putting the finishing touches on coordinating the ESOL testing we have happening all next week. The tricky part will be squeezing that all in during nap time! Challenge accepted! 
The plan is...
Sunday: In honor of ESOL testing, I'll be making my friend Elysia's Potato Quinoa Soup (she's our ESOL aide and her cooking is PHENOM!)
Monday: A playdate with Mal Smiles and Collins - I'm thinking tacos (shocking). This hasn't been discussed with her since she is out running all over Disney at the moment, something tells me my friend won't object!
Tuesday: Hasselback Chicken
Wednesday: Lentil Soup (I've got lentils for days in my pantry for some reason)
Thursday: Steak for Hubs and Greek Salad for me
Friday: Not planning any family meals because I'll be having a Pampered Chef party!

I feel like a huge weight has been lifted now that the BIG news of Baby #2 is out! My eating has been so off. I've been planning meals and either cooking them and not eating, or putting it off for days OR even into the next week. I guess that's why it's just a plan...but man, it has been a challenge! More on my totally wacked-out appetite another day. I need to get moving!
This pic was from last night, right before we went out to run some errands and then to dinner at Carrabba's with friends. It was the perfect Saturday night! 
I hope you all have a wonderful Sunday! 
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Saturday, February 20, 2016

A Big Sister!

Oh, just some news. No sense hiding it anymore! The day after Christmas, Hubs and I found out that Baby Sko #2 is on the way! We're excited to welcome another sweet baby into the family. "Sko Dos" is estimated to arrive around September 5th. That puts Ella and her little sib almost (maybe even to the day) exactly 3 years apart! Ella's birthday is September 3rd, so we'll see if she ends up with a birthday bud!
It's going to be so fun to watch Ella be a big sister! Something tells me she's going to be amazing at it! It turns out that our little loud-mouth has been talking about her new upcoming role at school...so obviously she's psyched! We all are! 
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Sunday, February 14, 2016

What's Cooking This Week?

Happy Valentine's Day! Welcome to a late night edition of "What's Cooking"! This weekend FLEW by just like they always do....but, BONUS...I have tomorrow off for President's Day! Three words are coming to mind...JAMMIES ALL DAY! 
Here's the plan for dinner:
Monday: Not cooking...having leftover avocado artichoke enchiladas from Cantina Laredo (delish)
Tuesday: TACOS!
Wednesday: Pulled Pork and Mashed Sweet Potatoes
Thursday: BBQ Chicken Fajita Pitas
Friday: Turkey BLTs

Saturday I went to the Tampa outlets with two friends and did some serious damage on new clothes for work. The sun was shining when we woke up this morning...and since the three of us seem to be getting over these yucky colds we've had all week long - we decided a Disney day was in order! We got ready real quick and went over to Epcot for a bit. We did a lot in the short amount of time we were there, even got to meet with Minnie, Mickey and Goofy and have lunch with friends!
By the time we got home it was about 4:30 and I had nothing in the house in the way of groceries. Or so I thought! I ended up making this delicious Stracciatella soup. I had all of the ingredients on hand so no one had to make a special trip to the store. Score! I added in some pastina...actually I added way too much pastina and it ended up not being very soupy at all! It was still good but next time I'll be extra careful that it comes out more like soup! It seemed as though Ella really enjoyed her special treat - a chocolate heart lollipop from Grandma Sko...
I hope you all had a fabulous Valentine's Day with your loved ones!
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Sunday, February 7, 2016

What's cooking this week?

Another busy week has gone by....it's Sunday again! Yesterday was a cold and rainy day...ALL day. I took Ella to the library while Stephen went to work. When he came home, I went into work for a bit to get a few things ready for testing this upcoming week. Since the day was nothing exciting or special, I thought it would be nice to go out to dinner just the three of us. We tried out a yummy Italian place nearby. As soon as I walked in and saw a man playing the guitar and singing "that's amore"....it felt like home (New York, baby)! The food was delicious too...we will be back for sure!

As you could probably imagine, last night what somewhat of a "cheat meal"! I had baked ravioli and it was totally worth the splurge. I'll have to get back on track with some healthier choices this week....
Here's the plan:
Sunday: Grandpa's Marinara + Baked Eggplant Parmesan
Monday: Not cooking (having leftovers)
Tuesday: Black Bean Veggie Quesadillas
Wednesday: Apple Cheddar Spinach Panini (+Steak for Hubs)
Thursday: One-Pot Caprese Pasta (there always seems to be one meal from the week before, I don't quite get to)
Friday: Chicken and Lentil Soup (in crockpot)

We are sticking close to home again today. Maybe we will take Ella for a ride in her wagon to the park up the road, but that's it. Staying home, cooking sauce and watching movies sounds like just the right kind of Sunday for me! I have leftover gingerbread mix and snowflake sprinkles...maybe I'll have her help me make gingerbread snowflakes. That's the extent of my baking! Ella had a blast making cookies during December, I said I would try to do it more "year-round"! I don't have a sweet tooth, so cookies aren't typically a threat to my healthy eating!

I love creating opportunities for this little sweetie to help me in the kitchen (don't mind all the stuff on the counter, #reallife)! We bought her the cutest step stool that has two steps! It brings her up to the perfect height! The other night she watched me make white chicken chili and I let her rinse the beans. I caught this little thief sneaking beans out of the strainer more than once! 
That's about it over here! I hope you all enjoy the rest of the weekend!
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Thursday, February 4, 2016

Brie, Pear & Arugula Flatbread

Will this still be a food blog? Who knows? Let's face it....I lost touch with all the recipe posting longggg before I decided to take a break. I haven't actually stopped cooking though. Sometimes I need to "re-up" on the inspiration, but it doesn't mean I ever stopped getting experimental in the kitchen. I still hate to measure AND I still loosely follow almost EVERY recipe I attempt to make.  The recipe below is a prime example of that. THIS is the original recipe I set out to make when somehow things took the typical turn. I ended up going more with a combo of that grape/brie one and a favorite flatbread recipe from a restaurant by me called City Fire that uses pears. I guess that's where this creation was born. In my very own and specific words...the best that I can remember 5 days ago...here is the recipe for this yummy deliciousness!  
Ingredients:
1/3 cup of extra-virgin olive oil
1 tbsp. of whole grain mustard
1 tsp. of dijon mustard
1 tbsp. of honey
Pizza dough (I get mine in a case by the deli section of our grocery store)
8 oz. of brie cheese - sliced thin
2 pears - peeled and sliced thin (you may not need ALL of this)
Arugula

Directions:
1. Pre-heat your oven according to the directions on your dough (I think the Publix dough is 450 degrees... but I'm not 100% sure).
2. Whisk together the extra-virgin olive oil, whole grain mustard, dijon mustard and honey. 
3. Roll out your dough. We take ours out of the fridge about 15 minutes before we are ready to start rolling. We also spread some cornmeal on the counter so it doesn't stick and roll it out pretty thin. (I don't know why I'm saying "we"...Hubby is the dough roller in the house.)
4. I (this would be my job) brush the dough generously with the honey mustard mixture. Save a little bit to drizzle over the top when it's done. 
5. Top the pizza with the brie cheese. 
6. Cook your pizza part of the way - then take it out and add the pears to finish it off. (My pizza cooked for about 20 minutes, after 10 minutes is when I added the pears...the last 10 minutes was a perfect amount - you may need to use your judgement).
7. When it's all done and the crust is cooked to perfection....top the pizza with arugula and then drizzle it with the rest of the honey mustard mix. Make more if you need to...because chances are good that I way underestimated my measurements. SORRY, I'll get better at this!
Enjoy! It's CRAZY good...we will definitely be making it again!
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