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Mexican Street Corn

One of the challenges with my kids is finding vegetables that everyone will eat without complaint. It’s not always possible to please everyone but I try to please at least a couple of them with each dinner. The others just have to deal with it. One vegetable that all my kids agree on is corn but I get bored with the same old corn, which is how this Mexican Street Corn happened!

Ingredients:
6 ears of corn, cooked
1/2 tsp chili powder
1/4 tsp garlic powder
3 Tbsp mayo
1/2 cup feta cheese
1 Tbsp lime juice

Directions:
1. Mix together the mayo and garlic powder.
2. Brush over cooked corn.
3. Roll the corn in the feta cheese, pressing down lightly to coat.
4. Sprinkle with chili powder.
5. Drizzle with lime juice.

Mexican Street Corn
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Ingredients
  1. 6 ears of corn, cooked
  2. 1/2 tsp chili powder
  3. 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  4. 3 Tbsp mayo
  5. 1/2 cup feta cheese
  6. 1 Tbsp lime juice
Instructions
  1. Mix together the mayo and garlic powder.
  2. Brush over cooked corn.
  3. Roll the corn in the feta cheese, pressing down lightly to coat.
  4. Sprinkle with chili powder.
  5. Drizzle with lime juice.
Confessions of a Semi-Domesticated Mama http://semidomesticatedmama.com/



Book Review: Evvie Drake Starts Over

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Evvie Drake Starts Over by Linda Holmes– In a small town in Maine, recently widowed Eveleth “Evvie” Drake rarely leaves her house. Everyone in town, including her best friend, Andy, thinks grief keeps her locked inside, and she doesn’t correct them. In New York, Dean Tenney, former major-league pitcher and Andy’s childhood friend, is struggling with a case of the “yips”: he can’t throw straight anymore, and he can’t figure out why. An invitation from Andy to stay in Maine for a few months seems like the perfect chance to hit the reset button.

When Dean moves into an apartment at the back of Evvie’s house, the two make a deal: Dean won’t ask about Evvie’s late husband, and Evvie won’t ask about Dean’s baseball career. Rules, though, have a funny way of being broken–and what starts as an unexpected friendship soon turns into something more. But before they can find out what might lie ahead, they’ll have to wrestle a few demons: the bonds they’ve broken, the plans they’ve changed, and the secrets they’ve kept. They’ll need a lot of help, but in life, as in baseball, there’s always a chance–right up until the last out.

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Published: June 25, 2019

Acquired: Public library e-book

Series: Standalone

My Rating: 4 Stars

My Thoughts: Charming and real are the best ways I can think to describe this story. Evvie Drake is the woman everyone in town wants to feel sorry for because they don’t know the full story. They only see her as the widow who lost her husband too soon. They don’t know that her marriage was over and she can’t figure out how to live her life without exposing the truth to those close to her. I’ve seen this book compared to a Hallmark movie and I don’t disagree but there was definitely more substance and more raw real life lived within the pages than you typically find in a Hallmark movie. 

I enjoyed the connection between Evvie and Dean. They formed a solid friendship based on a very particular set of rules that worked for them. It was more of a slow burn fall into romance but it worked for this story. If I had any gripes at all about the story it would be Andy, the best friend of Evvie. I found him selfish and a bit too quick to dismiss the friendship for a “best friend”. By far my favorite thing about this book was the grown up thoughts, feelings, and actions. There was no juvenile over-the-top drama or crazy antics thrown in just to have a conflict. The conflict that did exist was organic to the story and was handled like adults would handle it in real life. I definitely recommend this book!



Meal Prep & Planning 101: How I Meal Prep

Last week I shared my meal planning process with you. This week I want to share how I meal prep. I split my meal prep into two different days. I do all my produce and fruit prep on Friday mornings after I grocery shop on Thursdays. I do everything else that requires cooking on Sunday mornings. I used to do it all on Sunday’s but it’s football season now and I’m going to be parked on my couch watching football at 1pm on Sundays. It’s tradition. 

First, let’s talk about the produce and fruit prep. I try to buy the vegetables and fruit that are in season to keep the costs down and I almost always buy the weekly specials at ALDI. The kids take at least one fruit every day for lunch and they also like to eat them as snacks so I do buy a wide variety of fruits. This past week I bought strawberries, blueberries, pears, clementines, plums, red and green apples, and red grapes. For our dinner prep, I bought brussel sprouts, squash, zucchini, sweet potatoes, broccoli, and green beans. 

 

I bought these amazing containers to help extend the freshness of our produce. I got tired of throwing away fruit and vegetables that went bad after a few days because the kids didn’t eat it fast enough. I found some on sale at ALDI for $5.99 and I bought the rest on Amazon. I bought the small size to hold berries, baby carrots, cucumbers, etc. and I bought the large size to hold dinner vegetables and larger quantities of fruits. I can’t believe how much longer our fruits and vegetables last now! Every Friday morning I wash the fruits and vegetables that need washing, slice the ones that need slicing, and put them into containers. I have a drawer dedicated to fruit in my fridge for the stuff that doesn’t need a container such as pears, apples, clementines, plums, peaches, etc. It only takes me half an hour at most. 

On Sunday mornings I get up early to get my weekly prep done. I tend to make similar things every week so it doesn’t take as long now that I have a routine. This week I prepped a large container of spaghetti, a large container of macaroni & cheese with turkey dogs cut up, a large container of white cheddar shells, a large container of Big Mac Sloppy Joe meat, a large container of Italian pasta salad, a large container of tossed salad, 24 mini egg quiche muffins, and 36 Bacon cheeseburger puffs.

Pro Tip: Use one pot to make all the pastas to save on dishes. I make all my pasta dishes back to back with the exception of the spaghetti because it gets made in the Instant Pot. First I boil the noodles for the pasta salad. While the noodles are boiling I cut the vegetables so when the noodles are done I can drain them and pour them immediately into a container where I mix all the other ingredients. I start more water boiling in the same pot for the macaroni and cheese. When the macaroni noodles are done boiling I drain them and pour them into a container where I’ll add the butter, milk, and cheeses to mix so the main pot doesn’t get dirty. Then I can go ahead and start the water boiling for the white cheddar shells and I repeat the same process. After the pasta dishes are done I use the same pot to cook the ground beef. I normally cook 3lbs of ground beef every week. One pound goes into the spaghetti and the other 2 pounds get turned into taco meat or Big Mac Sloppy Joe meat.

The kids eat on the dishes I prep all week long for lunches and for snacks after school or our Find Your Own/Fridge Clean Out dinner nights. I’ve found that this is a really cost effective way to feed my kids. First, having ready made foods they like in the fridge makes them less likely to try and eat the lunch snacks. Second, making everything instead of buying pre-made convenience items is way cheaper. It costs me approximately $4.80 to make a very large container of spaghetti that lasts 4-5 days. And I sneak more vegetables into the spaghetti so it’s healthier than frozen hot pockets and pizza rolls. 

It makes me happy to see my fridge stocked with healthy and easy options for the kids to eat during the week. A little bit of effort on my part has made such a difference in our household. The kids are in much better moods in the early evenings because they can eat a substantial snack when they get home that holds them over until dinner. We typically don’t eat dinner until 6:30-7 so a good snack is vital to the mood stability in my house. Hungry tweens and teens are a bad bad idea.

I don’t place restrictions on the prepped food. If one of my kids is hungry at 9pm then they know it’s perfectly fine for them to come get a bowl of spaghetti or macaroni and cheese. One of mine doesn’t eat breakfast because it hurts her stomach. So she takes an extra snack to school and will eat a large bowl of one of the pasta dishes as soon as she gets home from school. We don’t participate in the clean plate club at our house. I don’t believe anyone should be forced to eat. I require the kids to take at least 2 decent sized bites of whatever vegetable I serve that night but I never force them to clean their plates. Teaching healthy eating habits is important to me because I’ve always had a very complicated relationship with food and I don’t want my kids to follow down that path.

Come back next week to read the first post in my Lunch Prep and Planning series! 



New Releases This Week {9.17.19}

These are the new releases for the week of September 17 that I’m adding to my wish lists.

Save Your Breath by Melinda Leigh– When true-crime writer Olivia Cruz disappears with no signs of foul play, her new boyfriend, Lincoln Sharp, suspects the worst. He knows she didn’t leave willingly and turns to attorney Morgan Dane and PI Lance Kruger to find her before it’s too late. As they dig through Olivia’s life, they are shocked to discover a connection between her current book research on two cold murder cases and the suicide of one of Morgan’s prospective clients. As Morgan and Lance investigate, the number of suspects grows, but time is running out to find Olivia alive. When danger comes knocking at their door, Morgan and Lance realize that they may be the killer’s next targets.

The Stranger Inside by Lisa Unger– Twelve-year-old Rain Winter narrowly escaped an abduction while walking to a friend’s house. Her two best friends, Tess and Hank, were not as lucky. Tess never came home, and Hank was held in captivity before managing to escape. Their abductor was sent to prison but years later was released. Then someone delivered real justice—and killed him in cold blood. Now Rain is living the perfect suburban life, her dark childhood buried deep. She spends her days as a stay-at-home mom, having put aside her career as a hard-hitting journalist to care for her infant daughter. But when another brutal murderer who escaped justice is found dead, Rain is unexpectedly drawn into the case. Eerie similarities to the murder of her friends’ abductor force Rain to revisit memories she’s worked hard to leave behind. Is there a vigilante at work? Who is the next target? Why can’t Rain just let it go?

Winter in Paradise by Elin Hilderbrand– Irene Steele shares her idyllic life in a beautiful Iowa City Victorian house with a husband who loves her to sky-writing, sentimental extremes. But as she rings in the new year one cold and snowy night, everything she thought she knew falls to pieces with a shocking phone call: her beloved husband, away on business, has been killed in a plane crash. Before Irene can even process the news, she must first confront the perplexing details of her husband’s death on the distant Caribbean island of St. John. After Irene and her sons arrive at this faraway paradise, they make yet another shocking discovery: her husband had been living a secret life. As Irene untangles a web of intrigue and deceit, and as she and her sons find themselves drawn into the vibrant island culture, they have to face the truth about their family, and about their own futures. 

Met Her Match by Jude Deveraux– Terri Rayburn is a girl with a reputation. She doesn’t deserve it, but having grown up on the outskirts of Summer Hill, Virginia, she knows how small towns work. The only way to deal with vicious gossip is to ignore it. So she keeps to herself as she runs the summer resort on Lake Kissel.When she returns home from a short trip to find a handsome stranger living in her house, she smells a rat. Someone is trying to fix her up, and she has to admit that Nate Taggert is just her type. However, Nate is engaged to the daughter of the mayor and strictly off-limits.Nate and Terri form an unlikely friendship while he throws himself into life at the lake. As Nate starts to hear rumors about Terri he’s confused. Knowing how smart, beautiful and strong she is, he’s determined to discover the source of the gossip. Terri doesn’t want to revisit the past, but Nate won’t stop until he discovers the truth–even if the truth might be more than either of them can handle.

Strangers She Knows by Christina Dodd– I have three deadly problems: 1. I’ve seriously offended a maniacal killer. 2. I just had a bullet removed from my brain. 3. My new daughter is growing up too fast–and she’s in the line of fire. Living on an obscure, technology-free island off California means safety from the murderer who hunts Kellen Adams and her new family…. Or does it? Family time becomes terror-time, and at last, alone, Kellen faces a killer playing a cruel game. Only one can survive, and Kellen knows who must win…and who must die.



Meal Prep Monday {9.16.19}

 Each Monday I share a weekly menu plan and what I’m prepping for the week. I plan 4 dinners a week, we have 2 leftover/Fridge clean out nights, and we make Take ‘n Bake pizzas on Saturday nights. My kids take lunch to school 5 days a week. You can read more about my meal planning and prep HERE. Please feel free to share with anyone you know who needs some dinner or lunch inspiration and don’t forget to pin on Pinterest for later! 

Dinner #1:

Honey Glazed Baked Chicken Legs, Cheesy Garlic Roasted Asparagus, Baked Potatoes

Dinner #2:

Parmesan Crusted Tilapia, Yellow Rice, Garlic Roasted Cauliflower

Dinner #3:

Brown Sugar Dijon Glazed Pork Loin, Sweet Potato Slices, Roasted Broccoli

Dinner #4:

Lasagna Stuffed Chicken Breasts, Butter Herb Rice, Corn on Cob

 

Each week I prep all the produce and fruits ahead of time for the week. I also stock the lunch prep fridge and pantry for the kids’ lunches. I have specific containers that I use for food prep that are designed to maximize the life of the produce which helps when I only shop once a week. You can read more about my process and see pictures of my fridges HERE

This week for the meal produce I transferred the fresh Corn on Cob, Broccoli, Cauliflower, and Asparagus to the veggie containers. For fruit I prepped strawberries, blueberries, green grapes, clementines, and peaches. I added baby carrots, cut celery, and mini cucumbers as well for lunches.

This week I prepped a large container of spaghetti, a large container of macaroni & cheese with turkey dogs cut up, a large container of taco meat, a large container of Greek pasta salad, a large container of Teriyaki chicken and rice, 24 mini egg quiche muffins, and 24 baked ham and cheese pinwheels. The kids eat these as snacks, for lunches, and on leftover/clean out the fridge nights.