Easy Spring Vegetable Frittata

One of my most recent breakfast favorites has been a hearty frittata, cooked for only a few minutes on the stovetop. More often than not, I crave savory foods for breakfast, so my go-tos are always avocado toast, eggs over easy with a vegetable hash, or this super simple frittata. The recipe is fail-proof and easy to make any way you like, but today I'm sharing a recipe that includes a few delicious veggies that are currently in season. You could substitute for almost any vegetables you like - or add meat - but the same basic recipe is the same. If you enjoy hearty, yet simple breakfast, I hope you enjoy this recipe!

Easy Spring Vegetable Breakfast Frittata

I never know how to describe how many servings a recipe makes, because honestly this could feed one hungry person, or two people. Or, you could eat half and save the other half for the next day! This keeps very well in the fridge, and is easily heated up in the microwave.

Spring Vegetable Frittata Recipe
15-20 minutes
serves 1-2

You will need:
A medium non-stick skillet with a lid
Spatula
Cutting board & knife
Bowl & whisk

Ingredients:
3-4 eggs
2 TBSP butter or cooking oil of choice
4-5 stalks fresh asparagus
3 whole white button mushrooms
1 shallot
salt & pepper to taste
fresh chives for garnish (optional)

Directions:
1. Wash all vegetables and herbs thoroughly before beginning!
2. Finely chop the shallot and remove stem from mushrooms and thinly slice.
3. Bend asparagus slightly toward the end of the stalk until it breaks, then cut each stalk into 1 inch pieces.
4. Add butter or the cooking oil of your choice to the skillet, and put it on the stove over medium heat
5. Let the butter melt or the oil heat up, and then add the asparagus and shallot. Cook over medium heat until vegetables are semi-soft.
6. Once asparagus has softened, add the mushrooms.
7. Meanwhile, beat 3-4 eggs in a bowl and season with salt and pepper. Once vegetables are cooked, pour the eggs into the skillet and make sure they are evenly distributed over top of the vegetables.
8. Turn the heat down to low (almost the lowest setting) and put the lid on the skillet. Let the frittata cook until cooked through - about 15 minutes - egg white should be opaque, yolk should have no visible liquid. Cooking the frittata this way over low heat and covered ensures that it cooks the whole way through but doesn't burn on the bottom.
9. Cut into 4ths and serve. Wrap any leftovers in foil and store in the fridge.

Easy Spring Vegetable Breakfast Frittata

This breakfast is so fast and simple, and can be made with any ingredients you have on hand. I've even put leftover taco meat inside, along with a chopped bell pepper and onion, and topped with cheese - it was really good! It's a great way to use up vegetables in the fridge and get in a serving of vegetables in the morning. Ezra loves these combinations as well! This is a great recipe to share with your toddler.

If you're not a fan of asparagus, or just want a different filling to try, three of my favorite combinations are:

1. Yellow onion, green bell pepper, and mushroom

2. Broccoli, green onion and mushroom

3. Brussels sprouts, sausage and potato

Easy Spring Vegetable Breakfast Frittata



3 Alternative Easter Traditions To Start With Your Kids

I can't be the only person hesitant to put together an Easter basket for my 2 year old. Somewhere in the midst of packing up and moving 3 times in 6 months, I realized that I might lose my mind if we accumulate one more "toy" in the name of ceremony. Call me a "mean mom", but there's nothing magical about watching my son tear apart a basket of dollar-store items - or better yet, expensive items - only to forget about them 2 seconds later and go back to playing with a pack of highlighters he found on my bedside table. I know it looks great on social media (doesn't everything these days?) coordinating baskets and all, but I cannot be the only parent who just doesn't see a reason to give gifts for every single holiday year-round. He's got enough stuff he doesn't need...someone back me up on this?

I understand the tradition, and whether you're religious or not, I don't see anything wrong with it as a whole. In fact, my sister and I were raised in a Christian household, and we always received an Easter basket growing up. Easter morning consisted of finding our hidden baskets, followed by a trip to church, it was just what we expected. But now as a parent myself, I realized that I would rather fill the place of the Easter basket with a tradition more meaningful. As a Christian, it's important to us to teach Ezra why we celebrate Easter - it's OK to have fun with it, but for my own sanity, I think I'm going to leave out the gifts. If you're like me and you want to do the same, here are 3 easy ideas for something ELSE to do to celebrate Easter.


The Easter Story Egg - this is the one we've chosen for our family, and I was so excited to find this on Amazon during my search. Similar to the Resurrection Eggs, each nesting egg has a design painted on it that corresponds with a specific part of the biblical Easter story. As you open each nesting egg, you can read along with the Easter Story book (or read straight from the Bible). For Ezra, I think we are going to incorporate this nesting egg into an egg hunt. We are going to hide plastic eggs around the house along with the big wooden egg. Finding it will be part of the fun, and then once he finds it, we can go right into the Easter story!

Easter Story Egg Everyday Kate Blog

Resurrection Egg Hunt - Hide eggs around your home or yard that contain the elements of Resurrection Eggs. Once they find them all, take turns opening them and go through the story. As the years go on and the kids learn the story, give them each a chance to tell part of it as they open the eggs. Here's a fun set I found on Amazon!
Resurrection Eggs Amazon | Everyday Kate Blog


If you aren't religious, another fun option is to put together an Easter tree, similar to a Christmas Tree. This blog has instructions for how to make your own. You could put one ornament on each day of April leading up to Easter. You could treat it similar to an "advent" calendar - each day the kids could put an ornament on, and maybe have one task to do that day, whether it be an act of kindness, serving another person or just an encouraging word for the day. You don't need to wait until November to be thankful! 😉

There is still time to purchase or put together any of the above, or come up with your own! Are you and your family going the Easter basket route, or trying something different?

3 Alternative Easter Traditions To Start With Your Kids | Everyday Kate Blog

Amazon Finds: 9 Christian Books For Kids & Toddlers

This post contains affiliate links, which means if you purchase something within this post, I may receive a small commission, at no additional cost to you. I will only ever link to products I believe fit the purpose and mission of Everyday Kate. Thanks for supporting the brands I truly love! Full disclosure policy here.

I was browsing Amazon the other day for some Christian-based books to buy for Ezra, and during my search I came across quite a few that caught my eye. As you probably know if you follow me regularly, our Christian faith is very important to us, which is why I was really scouring hard to find some Easter books that don't have a bunny as the main character. Of course all of the bunnies and springtime elements of Easter are fun to incorporate into every celebration, but as a Christian the holiday means so, so much more. I always hope and pray that Jack and I's faith can be an example for Ezra (and our children after him), and that he too can believe and trust in Christ. As his parents, we have the privilege and opportunity to point him in the right direction, even as a toddler.

I haven't purchased all of these books, but after looking through the listing, reading reviews, and hearing word-of-mouth recommendations for several of these books, I wanted to compile a list for those of you who are also trying to incorporate more faith-based books into your toddler or child's library. A fun bonus: some of these are perfect for Easter!


amazon finds christian book list












Will you be picking up any of these books for your child?


Spring Cleaning 101 - What's Your Decluttering Personality?


spring cleaning stock photo fresh and clean
photo by Heather Ford via Unsplash

There's just something about spring that really gets my cleaning motivation into full gear. I think part of it is being able to open doors and windows and let fresh, warm air blow through while I'm tidying and cleaning up. You just don't get the same effect in the winter when you have to keep everything closed up and protected from the bitter cold. Not only am I looking forward to spring cleaning, but also decluttering and organizing. Thankfully, due to our recent move, I've had a chance to really, REALLY sort through our belongings and eliminate things that leave our home cluttered.

I've learned what it takes for ME personally to get myself into gear, and it inspired me to help YOU figure out what type of organizer you are, and how you can benefit from your strengths (and weaknesses) when it comes to eliminating physical, mental and even digital clutter from your home & your life. So, in addition to today's blog post, I wanted to create a fun little quiz, along with some personalized advice for each "type" of personality when it comes to decluttering, cleaning and organizing.

spring cleaning 101 decluttering pinterest image

MY 3 SIMPLE TIPS

1. When trying to decide whether you want to give something away or get rid of it, look at that item in the light of your current lifestyle and be honest with yourself about the value that item has now. 

2. Once you put something into a trash or donation bag - don't take it back out! Don't let yourself second-guess your gut feeling. Most things can be replaced, and for your items that do have significant sentimental value, there is a way to organize and store those things. No one is forcing you to throw away truly meaningful items. But for the things you feel you can part with, don't let yourself go back to them and consider taking them back. Break up with those things for good!

3. If you haven't reached for something in 6 months or more (sometimes less), chances are, you don't need it. The exception to this tip is of course seasonal clothes and decor items such as coats, Christmas ornaments and decor. For example, I recently gave away my Crock-Pot because I hadn't reached for it in over a year. It was a pretty big appliance taking up space in a bin in our closet. Yeah, it's a good appliance to have, but I hadn't used it, so why keep it? I haven't even missed it. 😊


TAKE THE QUIZ
Keep track of your answers, and see below for the results!


1. The current state of your home is...?
a. spotless (mostly)!
b. pretty cluttered...but it's all stuff that I NEED
c. some areas are messier than others.
d. chaos - always chaos

2. When it comes to tidying up, you...
a. feel the need to clean/tidy constantly!
b. attempt, but nothing ever feels organized
c. can never seem to find the time
d. have no idea where to start

3. Which of these stresses you out the most?
a. not being able to keep up with everyday clutter
b. having to part with anything I love
c. not having the time to effectively organize/clean
d. having no method or idea as to what works for me or my family/home

4. Think of the most peaceful area of your home, what makes it that way?
a. it's clean and clutter-free
b. it holds everything I love (sentimental items!)
c. it doesn't demand a lot of attention from me
d. I don't know

5. You are probably most famous for saying:
a. "We don't need ONE more piece of junk in this house..."
b. "Save that! We might need it eventually..."
c. "I'll get it done later."
d. "Who on earth is Marie Kondo??"

RESULTS

mostly A - purger

mostly B - hoarder

mostly C - procrastinator

mostly D - dazed & confused


green cleaning bottles upsplash image
photo by Daiga Ellaby via Unsplash


THE PURGER

       As a purger, you have NO problem getting rid of stuff and eliminating clutter in your life & home. But a problem you often run into, is that ANY type of clutter or mess gets you annoyed and stressed out. As someone who loves things to be tidy, you get bogged down with cleaning up and feel like you spend more time worrying about the state of your home than you do enjoying living in it.

     TRY THIS:

       Keep a cleaning schedule in view, and give yourself grace when it comes to letting things get a little bit messy. Focus on one area of the home, or one cleaning task per day. If there are larger areas of your home that get cluttered more easily, make those a monthly focus. Rome wasn't built in a day; having a healthy rotation of cleaning & decluttering different areas of your home will allow you to get the job done without feeling like it all has to be done RIGHT NOW. 


THE HOARDER

         I'm using this scary term lightheartedly here - surely you're not a true hoarder, but you HATE getting rid of stuff (but you know you need to) - clothes, toys, even things like receipts and kids craft projects or artwork. You're a sentimental person who sees possibility in everything, and hates to throw away stuff that COULD potentially have meaning or purpose. But deep down, you know that this accumulation of "things" doesn't make you any more happy, or make your home feel more peaceful. Something needs to change, but you're unsure of what to do.

       TRY THIS:
       
        Work on one area at a time, starting with the area in your home where you want to feel the most peace - the place where you choose to relax most often. For me, a clean & tidy bedroom means I can relax and sleep peacefully knowing I'm not surrounded by clutter. Then, break it down by section, depending on how much you have stored in that specific room. For example, if your first place is your bedroom, start on your bedroom closet, and then choose one thing to start with (shoes, clothes, or anything else stored in the closet). Follow tip number 1 about being honest with yourself about what is important, then throw it away (or donate) and never look at it again!


THE PROCRASTINATOR

          You know you're living in a bit more clutter than you'd like to, and you have an idea of what needs done around your home, but you just can't seem to find or make the time to get into a solid routine and eliminate that clutter. Whether you're a busy mom, working long hours, or just tired after a long day, you always find excuses - which are valid, by the way! - that hinder you from taking care of some much needed tidying in your home and your life. You lack motivation!

         TRY THIS:
      
         Try to see the end result - the product of your hard work - and how your life might change if you DID take the time to do a little bit per day. It doesn't have to require hours of your time per week, or even per month! Use those "if, then" statements as your motivation. For example, IF you go through the stack of junk mail at the dining room table, THEN you will have more space to all sit down as a family for breakfast/lunch/dinner. IF you go through your child's baby clothes and donate or throw away things that are old or unneeded, THEN there will be more space in their closet, and less items to go through later on as they get older and bigger. Start with small tasks.

THE DAZED & CONFUSED

        All you know is that your life is cluttered, and that's about it. You have no idea what to do about anything, you might not even know that this whole "decluttering" thing is pretty much a trend right now. All you know is that something should probably be done about all of the "stuff" that's taking up space in your home and life. 

         TRY THIS:
     
         Start with what you DO know. What feels most cluttered on a daily basis, and what constantly annoys you? Start there, and then figure out why it bothers you - too cluttered with junk? Important or meaningful things that need organized? Begin in the area of your home that you use the most, or where you find yourself most often getting frustrated. Once you figure out why it bothers you, use the tips above to eliminate trash, donate items that you no longer use, and then find the best way to re-organize. It doesn't have to be a time-consuming or confusing process, all you need to do is take it step by step!


Which personality type are you? Did you find these tips helpful?

March Favorites - Home, Baby, Skincare & More

I haven't shared a favorites post in a while, so I thought I would create a post detailing a few things I loved in the month of March!

madewell top

This post may contain affiliate links, which means if you purchase something within this post, I may receive a small commission, at no additional cost to you. I will only ever link to products I believe fit the purpose and mission of Everyday Kate. Thanks for supporting the brands I truly love! Full disclosure policy here.

I LOVE this top I picked up from Madewell earlier this month. It's my favorite item in my closet and it was worth the splurge.

This dry texture spray from the Kristen Ess line at Target. I asked you on Instagram if this was good (since it always seemed to be sold out) and I ended up loving it! The bottle lasts a long time as well.

The Lotus Youth Preserve Moisturizer by Fresh. I bought this upon recommendation from one of my favorite bloggers, and it did not disappoint! The price tag is a little hefty for my liking, but I do really enjoy the product.

The Suspect by Fiona Barton - I surprisingly loved this book. I picked it up on a whim after storytime one day, and once I got into it, I had a hard time putting it down.

Surprize by Stride Rite - These are my favorite shoes to get for Ezra. They are amazing quality and have shoes to accomodate so many stages of walking. I just bought him some at Target earlier this month to use as "play shoes", and they seem to be comfortable and supportive for him.

My favorite breakfast this month has either been frittata, or muesli with greek yogurt with honey and roasted cacao chips. Both are so delicious and satisfying no matter if I'm craving something savory or sweet for breakfast.

Cabbage is definitely having a moment in our household. I've made this soup twice over the last two weeks; we have been absolutely loving the Detoxing Cabbage Soup by The Defined Dish. If you're a cabbage lover like we are, you'll love this comforting and delicious soup.

If you follow on Instagram, you know I cleaned our oven earlier this month using this recipe I found on Pinterest. It actually worked really well, and it only contained a few ingredients.

I included the Covergirl Exhibitionist Mascara in my beauty routine I posted earlier this month, and I've really enjoyed using it as part of my routine. Mascara is a staple for me, so it always helps to have a great one as part of my routine.

My Daytime Skincare Routine & Easy Makeup

This post may contain affiliate links, which means if you purchase something within this post, I may receive a small commission, at no additional cost to you. I will only ever link to products I believe fit the purpose and mission of Everyday Kate. Thanks for supporting the brands I truly love! Full disclosure policy here.

I'll be the first to tell you that I'm no beauty guru, but I do occasionally find the need to put on a bit of makeup, so I can look (and feel) human when leaving the house. As a teen and in my early 20's, I used to spend up to an hour getting ready for the day - and now as a mom, I just don't have that kind of time. I've come up with a daily skincare and makeup routine that requires little effort, and still leaves me feeling and looking refreshed.

Daytime Makeup

My skin seems to be on the normal/oily side almost year-round. I hardly ever find myself suffering from dry skin on my face. That being said, I've found my current skincare & makeup routine to work well with my oily skin and keep hormonal breakouts at bay. In this post I've listed all the things I use specifically for daytime, I use a few different things at night!

simple easy makeup and daytime skincare


In the morning I find that washing my face makes it feel tight, so instead I rinse with warm water and use the Thayers Witch Hazel Rose Petal Facial Toner to quickly cleanse my face with a cotton pad. I love using this over any other astringent or toner because it's so gentle, and it's great at calming any redness on my face due to irritation or breakouts.

Next, I use the Physicians Formula Rosé All Day serum to moisturize and prime my skin for makeup application. I love this serum because not only is it hydrating, it smells amazing and it's non-greasy. It also gives my skin a nice glow, so sometimes if I go without foundation for the day, I'll put this on and be ready to go.


My Daytime Skincare Routine & Easy Makeup

I've also been testing out a sample of the iT Cosmetics Confidence in a Gel Lotion face moisturizer, but haven't formed an opinion on it yet, other than it goes great under the foundation!

I just recently purchased a brand new product from iT Cosmetics, the Confidence In A Foundation. I had never used any iT Cosmetics products before, but I know the brand is known and trusted for being not only good for your skin, but providing products that let your natural beauty shine through. I definitely feel that way about this foundation! It has the capability of being full-coverage, but for someone like me who doesn't need a full "mask", 1/2 pump of foundation is enough to provide a flawless base while still letting my real skin show. I apply with the iT Cosmetics foundation buffing brush.

My Daytime Skincare Routine & Easy Makeup

I follow up my foundation with the Milani Silky Matte bronzer in the shade "Sun Light"; I love how matte and natural-looking this bronzer is, and the light shade is perfect for my skin tone. I also apply a Tarte Amazonian Clay blush in the shade "feisty", which has since been discontinued. In their current line, the shade "glisten" is very similar!

My Daytime Skincare Routine & Easy Makeup

Next, I use the Maybelline Brow Precise gel, my holy-grail brow product. It's a fibrous gel that you apply with a spoolie-type applicator to the brows. It's perfect for those of you who don't need (or want) to fill in your brows with a powder or pencil, but instead just want to add definition to your natural brow hairs and shape.

Lastly I curl my lashes and apply mascara, lately I've been enjoying the Covergirl Exhibitionist mascara. It gets the job done and makes my lashes look great!

My Daytime Skincare Routine & Easy Makeup

This is all I do for a normal day - staying home or going out - but occasionally I will do a little bit more to add definition to my eyes. I love the Tartlette In Bloom palette because the colors are pretty and neutral, and allow me to still look natural instead of going full glam (but you can do that too if you wanted to!)

My Daytime Skincare Routine & Easy Makeup

My Daytime Skincare Routine & Easy Makeup

Before makeup & skincare

My Daytime Skincare Routine & Easy Makeup


After!


Hope you enjoyed a peek into my daily routine, should I do a nighttime skincare routine post? Sound off in the comments below!

DIY Pom-Pom Storage Basket

DIY pom pom storage basket

   Hey friends! Today I wanted to share a simple DIY for a cute pom-pom embellished storage basket. This style is all the rage right now, and personally I find it SO cute, especially for kids rooms or toy storage. With the right color palette, it can even add interesting texture and color to any home decor landscape. You don't need to be a craft connoisseur to be able to complete this project; if you have access to scissors, yarn, cardboard, and thread and needle, you can do this in a matter of minutes!

DIY Pom Pom Basket Pin

WHAT YOU'LL NEED

Yarn
Scissors
3in. x 5in. piece of cardboard (or a pom-pom tool)
Thread
Sewing Needle
Storage Basket


WHAT TO DO

The first step is to make the pom-poms. I have a little wooden tool that came with a weaving loom I purchased a while ago, but you can also make your own using a small piece of cardboard. All you need is a rectangle piece of cardboard to start. Cut a smaller rectangular piece out of the middle, so the tool resembles a long, rectangular "C" shape, like how my tool is shaped in the photo below:

DIY Pom Pom Basket Supplies


Once you have your tool, begin wrapping the yarn around the width of the tool. The more you wrap, the puffier the pom-pom will be.

Make DIY Pom Pom

Once you have it wrapped, cut a separate piece of yarn and tie it around the center of the bundle.

DIY Pom Pom

Remove the yarn from the tool. You'll notice you have loops on both sides. Put your scissors through the loops and cut to separate them. Your cuts don't have to be perfect!

Finished Pom Pom

Fluff up the pom-pom with your hands, and use the scissors to cut any long pieces. That's all there is to it! Once you have the desired number of pom-poms made, the next step is to attach them to the basket.

I got my basket from the Target dollar spot, but you can find this type of cotton woven basket pretty much anywhere. This could also work with a jute material as well, just use a color of thread that will blend in with the color of the basket!

Thread the needle and tie a knot at the end of the string. Hold the pom-pom onto the basket where you wish to sew it on. Insert the needle through the front of the pom-pom, and pull it through the basket. Continue by threading the needle into the basket, and out through the pom-pom, etc. You only need a few stitches to secure the pom-pom onto the basket. The last time you thread the needle through to the inside of the basket, cut the string and tie the loose ends to secure the thread. Repeat this process with each pom-pom you wish to attach.

Sew Pom Poms On To Basket

DIY Pom Pom Basket Babys Room

DIY Pom Pom Basket Babys Room

Now you have your very own pom-pom embellished basket! I think I'm going to use this one for Ezra's easter basket. What will you use yours for?

7 Simple & Healthy Toddler Meal Ideas


kids meal breakfast

   Recently a few of you have been asking me to share the meals I give Ezra, as well as other "ideas" for toddler meals! The truth is, not TOO much thought goes into his meals because for a while now, he's been eating exactly what we're eating, although for breakfast and lunch, I will usually make him something separate from what I'm eating. If you've been following along for a while, you know Ezra tested positive for a whole-egg allergy at 9 months old, so we did need to modify some meals for him for a while. 9 months later, he's gotten over that allergy on his own, and can now fully eat whatever we're having at any given time.

With that being said, I want to share some of what we do for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and hopefully provide some helpful insight and ideas for you & your own toddler! I can do a separate post on feeding, snacks and how we got Ezra to be open to all kinds of food, but for now I just wanted to share a few meal ideas that can even be modified for picky eaters, as well as a few bonus tips on how to sneakily add fruits & veggies onto a picky eater's plate.

simple toddler meal ideas pinBREAKFAST:

Waffle with avocado & banana
Probably one of Ezra's most frequent breakfasts. You can do homemade waffles or store bought. Although avocado is technically a fruit, I try to include a fruit, and something green on his plate for every meal.

Scrambled egg with cheese and raspberries
A bit of chopped spinach mixed in with the eggs is an easy way to get veggies in. If your toddler gets wary at the sight of green, you could "rice" cauliflower and broccoli in a food processor and mix a little bit of that in as well, and it might be harder for them to notice.


Related Post // How To Engage Your Kids At The Grocery Store



LUNCH:

Mac & cheese, peas, and a yogurt
What toddler doesn't love mac & cheese? Ezra eats this for lunch once a week (sometimes twice) and I always add peas for added protein. There are lots of kids yogurts out there that don't include added sugar and/or are naturally flavored - he loves the Happy Baby brand!

Turkey burger with avocado and quinoa
Trader Joe's sells frozen turkey burgers that don't include any artificial additives or added sugar - I LOVE giving these to Ezra, and they only take a few minutes to cook on the stove. Quinoa gets messy but it's good for him, so I approach it with grace haha.

Leftovers
This is probably what Ezra eats most days of the week - dinner leftovers. Anything from soup to chicken and roasted vegetables. To make them last a little longer, I'll add rice or quinoa and give him something else on the side like fruit or a cheese stick.

toddler eating breakfast

DINNER:
As I said earlier, Ezra usually eats whatever we eat. Here are two of the more basic meals that we eat that I think would be toddler-friendly even if it wasn't something we were ALL having.

Roasted Sausage & Veggies
Delicious and colorful!

Chili
Ezra hasn't quite mastered soup-eating but chili is chunky enough & packed full of vegetables and beans that I usually just strain it and give it to him that way.

Bonus Tips:

I'm not a nutritionist or feeding expert, BUT here are some tips based on what I've seen with our 18 month old!

#1 - If your toddler seems to be dissatisfied with something on their plate, pay attention to HOW they are reacting to that thing.

Is it the taste? Is it the texture? Sometimes Ezra will pick up a big piece of kale and quickly put it down again because I'm assuming he's overwhelmed by either the size, or the wet, flimsy texture of it. In that case, I will try cutting it up and he will usually go back to eating it like normal. Whether it's the taste or texture they don't like, try offering it a few different times and watch their reaction to see if it truly is a taste thing, or solely dependent on the preparation of the food itself.


Related Post // Realistic Trader Joe's Shopping List + 5-Day Meal Plan


#2 - Put some vegetables into a food processor & add to baked goods like muffins, pancakes, etc.

 I love doing this with the pulp from my juicer! I've added beets, carrots, orange and cucumber to Ezra's pancakes & muffins just from using pulp from my juicer. You can also make your own puree with a food processor or blender and add them that way.

#3 - Start introducing a variety of foods while they are still young. 

I think part of the reason Ezra eats *almost* anything (there ARE some things he just doesn't like!) is that we don't feed him "kid food" by default. He LOVES chicken nuggets, mac & cheese and hot dogs, but those things aren't the norm in our house, so they're not the norm for him. Of course everything can be enjoyed in moderation! But by introducing a variety early on, you can teach your kids what the "norm" is in your household when it comes to food.

Were these tips helpful to you? Let me know in the comments below!

My 5 Step Week-By-Week Meal Planning Strategy

weekly list mean planning

     I have to admit the title of this post is a little bit clickbait-ish, because truthfully I don't really know what meal planning the "hard way" would look like. I get quite a few questions about meal planning, and occasionally I will see one of my friends asking their Instagram friends & family how to meal plan, because the concept just confuses and overwhelms them.

 I started meal-planning when Jack and I got married, and have been doing it ever since, but it DID take a while to get into the natural rhythm of doing it every week. There are quite a few other resources for meal planning out there, but I wanted to just share my basic process, hopefully to help someone who is sick of over-spending at the store multiple days a week, eating out all the time, and/or just looking for a starting point to meal planning! I think you'll find that it's a lot more simple than you may think.

how to meal plan


#1 - Define Your Budget

    This is the first and most important step in getting into a regular habit of meal-planning, simply because this will define your menu & grocery list moving forward. And the easy part: you only need to figure this out once (unless of course in the future your budget changes). Once you figure out how much you want to spend per week, you can move forward with your menu.


#2 - Determine Where To Shop To Get The Best Deals AND What You Need

    This is probably the part that takes the most time, and for me, this step came with a lot of trial and error. If I go to one grocery store, sometimes the prices are jacked up so much that I can walk out with 5 things, having spent $60. Other places, I can spend $60 on most (if not all) of my shopping list. It all depends on what stores are in your area, and what kind of deals AND products they offer.

Trader Joe's is my store of choice for a number of reasons: they are consistent in quality, their prices are reasonable for what they're offering, and I can buy everything I need in one location. However, since many of their products are store brand, they do not offer store coupons (they DO however accept manufacturer coupons!). Stores like Sprouts, Harris Teeter, and Food Lion offer weekly deals, store coupons AND accept manufacturer coupons, and also most likely have a deli counter and hot foods, which Trader Joe's does not offer at this time (at least that I know of!) SO, with all of that being said, find what works best for you & your budget.




#3 - Put Your Week In Writing

    This is the easiest part of the whole thing. You don't need a checklist, a printed-out calendar, a shopping list with 156 tiny checkboxes, all you need is a notebook and a pen. This is exactly what I do:
how to meal plan


   If I'm going shopping on a Saturday, I begin with Saturday, because that night's meal is going to be dependent on the groceries I get on that shopping trip. Got a soccer game on Tuesday and have to eat out? Put it on your plan. Got a work meeting that will run a little later than usual? Put it on your plan. Anything that's going to either interfere with or determine your dinner plans for that night, write it down.

how to meal plan


#4 - Decide What You Want To Eat

   This is the part where a lot of people get hung up...because what if you change your mind? What if you don't WANT to eat THAT specific thing on THAT specific day? What if something unexpected happens and you have to eat out? All of those things are totally fine, which is why we're writing this on a piece of paper and not etching it into concrete, ha. You are allowed to switch these meals around, or make one meal on a different day if that works better for you. There's no right or wrong way to do this step, all you need to know is what you & your family like to eat.

   If it's easiest for you, start on the days where you KNOW your regular dinner time will be compromised. If you're going to be getting home later than usual, plan a crockpot meal for that day that can be cooking all day while you're at work. If you have a short amount of time for dinner before rushing out of the house again, maybe choose a meal that is simple with a quick cooking time (like chicken fajitas or personal pizzas).

     Once you have those special days taken care of, the rest is a breeze. What does your family like to eat? Is there a day of the week that will give you enough time to try a new or more involved recipe? For example, I LOVE making a whole roasted chicken on Sundays. It takes a few hours to cook in the oven, which is why it's perfect for a slow Sunday afternoon; I've got plenty of time to prepare it and let it cook. You don't have to plan lavish meals or a 4 course dinner for every weeknight. Just figure out what your family likes to eat and write that down - see my example list below!

how to meal plan

#5 - Make Your Shopping List

     If you're new to meal planning you might be wondering why this is the last step, but this step is actually KEY in making sure you follow through with step 1, and stay within your budget. If you make your shopping list before you meal plan (or not at all) you may find yourself spending WAY more than is necessary. The same is true when you wait until the last minute and make a hurried trip to the store after work to get ingredients for a meal.

Once your meal plan is completed, go down your list and write down every ingredient you will need for that specific meal. Don't forget to do a quick inventory to see what you already have - most likely you won't need to purchase EVERY single ingredient you need for every single meal.

I like to separate mine into three different sections - meat, vegetables, and everything else - but you can do more or less if you need. Don't forget to include things that you might need but that aren't necessarily part of your meal plan (like eggs, milk, bread, household cleaner, etc.) If you're a snacker, don't write down the snacks you need or want (unless you're entertaining guests that week, for example, and it's a necessity!) I always wait until I'm at the store and have everything else in my cart BEFORE picking up any snacks (this goes back to being sure I'm staying within budget!)

   It's possible to do this for the entire month, and it's also possible to prep food ahead of time (such as freezer meals), but neither of those things are valuable to me and my personal family life. You can absolutely use this method to plan your meals for the month, AND you can use this when determining what freezer meals to prep for the week ahead - this is just meant to be an easy, step-by-step guide to how I meal-plan weekly. Feel free to adapt this strategy according to what works best for you!

Husband-Approved Greek Chicken & Quinoa Salad

chicken and quinoa salad


    Today I wanted to share one of my favorite recipes I've been making for dinner recently! Sometimes I just get a major craving for salad, and although I don't think my husband could say the same, this has become a meal he gets excited about! Juicy, baked, seasoned chicken thighs (or breasts) are the perfect compliment to this hearty salad loaded with veggies and protein-filled quinoa. Topped with a simple oil and vinegar based dressing, this meal is delicious and satisfying even for people (like my husband) who don't usually choose a salad for their main course.

      As I've mentioned before on the blog and in my Instagram stories, Jack and I eat A LOT, and I mean a lot. And now with a growing little boy in our family, I find myself even making more food than I was previously. Not only that, I try to also make enough for Jack to take in his lunch the next day, so he can avoid buying something at work if possible. This recipe could feed as many as six individuals, OR 2-4 hungry people WITH some leftover.

greek chicken and quinoa salad pinterest


    I like using bone-in and skin-on chicken thighs because you can get a nice sear on the outside beforehand, leaving you with a crispy skin, sealing all of the flavor inside. You can also use skinless and boneless chicken breasts or thighs if that's more your style. With those you don't necessarily need to sear, you can just put those right into the oven. If you are going this route though, I would maybe marinate the chicken in the seasoning mixture with some olive oil beforehand, just so it has time to soak up all of that flavor and spice!

I seasoned the chicken with oregano, garlic powder, onion powder, a pinch of turmeric, salt and pepper. My recommendation would be to add the salt afterward, and only a little at a time. The last time I made this, I added a bit too much salt, and that's pretty much the point of no return. 

    After baking at 375 degrees for around 30 minutes, the chicken is finally complete - a technique I learned recently from one of my favorite food bloggers and Instagram foodie, Teri from No Crumbs Left - I like to baste the chicken in it's own juices. No flavor gets left behind!

baked chicken thighs


    While the chicken is baking, this is the perfect time to cook the quinoa and put together your salad. My building blocks for a perfect Greek-style salad are some fresh spring mix, Kalamata olives, chopped tomato and cucumber, artichoke hearts and big chunks of feta cheese. This salad is made complete with tri-color quinoa  (or any other kind) which makes it extra filling! I also usually add a bit of chopped red onion, but I didn't have any this time!

   To top it all off, I mixed some red wine vinegar, olive oil, dried oregano, grated garlic, salt and pepper into a mason jar with a lid, and gave it a good shake. This easy concoction was the perfect addition to this salad!

    This meal is so delicious and even my 18 month old son enjoyed the chicken and quinoa, with some veggies on the side (cooked separately for him, he's not big into salad). Even if you're not usually a "salad" person - or maybe your spouse isn't - this particular meal is filling, flavorful, and not just filled with lettuce that will leave you wanting more. Check out the recipe below, and don't forget to click the link to print for future use! Hope you enjoy!

feeds 6 or 2-4 with leftovers
prep time: 7 minutes | cook time: 30-35 minutes

chicken and quinoa salad


INGREDIENTS
CHICKEN:
6 bone-in and skin-on chicken thighs
1 tbsp oregano
1 tsp onion powder
1-2 garlic cloves grated or minced
pinch of turmeric
salt & pepper to taste

SALAD:
1/2 dry cup of quinoa
1-2 bags of spring mix greens
1 14oz can of quartered artichoke hearts
pitted Kalamata olives
diced red onion
diced hothouse cucumber
cherry tomatoes, halved
feta cheese

DRESSING:
This is my best approximation, I usually just sprinkle and pour until it "looks about right" hahaha.
3 TBSP red wine vinegar
1.5 TBSP olive oil
1 TBSP oregano
1 pinch of salt (you can always add more later)
1/4 TSP black pepper
1 TSP garlic powder
1 TSP onion powder
Shake vigorously to combine! If you have leftover dressing, you can leave it in a sealed container on the counter for up to 3 days (if you refrigerate it, the oil will solidify).

INSTRUCTIONS:

1. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper & set oven to 375 degrees.

2. Combine chicken seasonings in a small bowl. Rinse chicken thighs & pat dry, then carefully sprinkle the seasoning mixture onto both sides of each thigh. Place onto the parchment paper.

3. Once chicken thighs are seasoned, put the tray into the oven for 25-30 minutes, OR until a thermometer reads 165 degrees when inserted (without touching bone).

4. Meanwhile, cook quinoa according to package instructions.

5. Assemble the salad dressing ingredients in your jar or other container with a lid. Shake vigorously to combine.

6. Add spring mix into a large serving bowl. Dice red onion, tomatoes, cucumber, artichoke hearts & add to the salad. Sprinkle feta cheese over the top. You can add the dressing now, or once it is served.

7. Once the quinoa is finished, you can allow it to cool before adding it to the salad, OR add immediately.

8. Once chicken is done in the oven, take it out and pick up the juices from the tray, using a basting brush. Brush the juices onto the chicken thighs, and let them rest for 5 minutes.

9. Serve & enjoy!






How to Engage Your Kids At The Grocery Store (+ Free Printables!)

basket of fruit and vegetables

    To some, grocery shopping is a mini-getaway. A leisurely walk through the store, sniffing the fresh bread, moseying through each aisle with a (hot) coffee in hand, reading labels, carefully weighing & bagging bulk granola (if this is you, God bless you). For others, it's a mad dash through sliding doors, one kid already tripping over untied shoes, while another is seen bumping into strangers on their way to the baked goods. A scribbled, barely legible grocery list is clenched in a tight fist as you make your way aisle through aisle, grabbing the first box of cereal, bag of vegetables, & frozen waffles you can get your hands on. Although my one-and-only child is young enough to hardly cause issue at the grocery store YET (except for the occasional scream-heard-round-the-world), I understand that for many moms, a trip to the store can look a lot like the latter.

REALISTIC Trader Joe's Shopping List & 5-Day Meal Plan

vegetable flat lay

Earlier today I was watching a YouTube video about a $120 grocery haul from Aldi. I was intrigued because although I don't typically spend that amount on groceries, I always like to watch grocery hauls to get more meal and snack ideas. Well, her video basically included a bunch of snacks and ingredients for literally ONE meal. I was discouraged because I thought, "seriously? $120 and ONE meal idea out of all that?" I get it, not everyone has time to cook dinner every single night, especially if you're a mom. Honestly my meal plans don't look perfectly planned out every single week. Sometimes "grab-and-go" is more your style, whether you have kids or not, and that is perfectly fine. I am always an advocate for finding what works best for you.

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