Tag Archives: joes

No Restaurant Challenge

This 4-day weekend {kids had a furlough day on Friday and Jay took it off} we decided to stick close to home and not make any major plans since the past few weekends have been beautifully busy. We also made an agreement not to eat out at all.

That’s a biggie.

We enjoy eating out a little on the weekends whether it be trying out a new restaurant or revisiting one of our old favorites.

So, I did a Trader Joe’s and Vons run and stocked up on fruits, veggies, meats, etc.

I do love to cook and bake, but with 12 meals over the long weekend, that means a lot of messes and a LOT of dishes!

BUT, we did save a lot of money and enjoyed later, leisurely dinners as a result.

Tonight we tried a recipe that Jay spotted in the June issue of Sunset magazine ~ STEAK a la PLANCHA.

I’d never had chimichurri, but have always wanted to try it. I found a beautiful tri tip and Jay got that marinating yesterday overnight for grilling this evening.


1 bison or beef tri-tip 1.5″-1.75″ thick and about 2 pounds, trimmed of fat {we stuck with beef}

3/4 cup olive oil

Juice of 1/2 lemon

1 tbsp. granulated garlic or garlic powder

1 tbsp. freshly cracked pepper

1 1/2 tsp. sea salt

1. Combine tri-tip with oil and seasonings in a 1-gallon resealable plastic bag. Chill about 24 hours.

2. Take bag from refrigerator about 1 hour before cooking. Meanwhile, set a cast-iron griddle or large cast-iron skillet on a grill and heat grill to high {450*to 550*}. Jay just used our Weber charcoal grill.

3. Lay tri-tip on hot griddle. Cover grill and cook, turning once or twice, until meat is deep brown and an instant-read thermometer reaches 130*{medium-rare; don’t overcook}, 15-20 minutes total.

4. Transfer tri-tip to a board, tent with foil, and let rest for 10 minutes. Slice across the grain and serve with chimichurri.


In a food processor, pulse 2 tbsp. balsamic vinegar, 1/2 cup packed parsley sprigs {I used Italian/flat leaf parsley}, 7 garlic cloves {I used about 12-14}, 1/3 cup packed fresh rosemary leaves, 2 tbsp. fresh oregano leaves, 1 tbsp. lemon juice, and 1 1/2 tsp. each red chile flakes and sea salt to coarsely chop. While pulsing, pour in 2/3 cup EVOO. Let sauce rest at least 1 hour; or chill up to 3 days, then bring to room temp.


This meal was perfection. The spicy, fresh flavor of the sauce is so different. I loved the extra garlic!!

We’ll be enjoying the rest as leftovers and lunches this week and will definitely be making this again ~ possibly with flank steak next time.


I can’t get enough sweet white corn at this time of year.

While I was choosing my ears of corn, a nice little older woman told me to look for smaller kernels that are in a straight line for your best corn experience. Just pull down the husk and check it out in the store…I suggest leaving the husks on if you’re going to grill. Be sure and soak them in water first and grill for 15 minutes, turning along the way ~ that’s it! Oh, and mark my words, you’re going to want to drizzle a little chimichurri sauce on your corn. Yup.

I call this the K.I.S.S. salad. Keep It Simple Salad. I am always trying to add so many ingredients into our salads that sometimes I get stressed out and we may not even have a salad! This was a sample at Trader Joe’s…sweet butter lettuce, halved grape tomatoes and their Hummus dressing. That’s it. The hummus dressing is amazing and can be found in the produce section with all the other refrigerated dressings. {Elliott even liked it!}

Part of our big grocery shopping trip was a HUGE container of strawberries. I cut several up, added just a little sugar and let them macerate overnight, made biscuits {just good ol Bisquick} and had rustic strawberry shortcakes for dessert tonight, too!

Talk about summer on a plate…


We may have not gone out of town this weekend, but we ate GOOD!

Eating IN certainly does have it’s benefits ~ it’s a lot less expensive and you can control what you put into your food and how much you eat.

We’re going to try to keep this up until Father’s Day ~ Sunday, June 16th.


Tomorrow we’re meeting some friends at the park and then having a little Memorial Day get together on our block. Not sure what dish I’m bringing yet, but I am going to throw together some red, white & blue sangria ~ 2 bottles Chardonnay, 1-liter Fresca {or ginger ale or lemon lime soda}, 1/2 cup triple sec, strawberries, white peaches or nectarines {if available} and blueberries.

I hope you all have a blessed day and remember our {fAllEn HeRoEs} as you celebrate with friends and family.

Smooth Sailing

Hi friends!

Happy Humpday.

Hope your week has been smooth so far. Mine has been drama-free thus far and I have been able to get up to the gym the last couple nights which was always good for me and seems to make life smoother.

Last week I {invented} a little breakfast smoothie with one of my new finds via Instagram. A friend posted some {Cookie Butter} from Trader Joe’s during Lent and I immediately fetched a jar to enjoy on/after Easter! It is fabulous alone on a spoon, on bagels, Ezekiel toast and graham crackers, but I thought I’d incorporate it into a smoothie in place of peanut butter and see what happened!

{Cookies & Cream} and Banana Smoothie

You will need: 2 cups crushed ice, 1/2 cup almond coconut milk, 1/2 cup plain low fat yogurt, 1 banana, 1 tbsp ground flax {flax meal} and 1 tbsp. TJ’s cookie butter

Place all into a blender and blend ’til smooth!

Pour into a glass, add a straw and enjoy!


And speaking of {sailing}, we plan to take a quick little trip to the beach this weekend.

Last time we went to the beach {in January!} Jay captured some cute pics of the kids just frolicking in the sand…this time I wanted to plan a little better with their wardrobes and hair and have a little Nautical inspired photo shoot at the shore.

I had originally picked up the anchor tee for a gift for a little girl….when the guy rang it up, it came up as boy’s. I thought it’d be cute on Holden so I set out to find something complementary for Elliott and stumbled upon this little striped number with the big bow on the shoulder. Both of them will wear rolled up jeans and bare feet ~ I think it’ll be perfect for some fun photos to get us excited for summer.


Make the most of the rest of your week…Saturday and Sunday will be here before you know it!


Prelude To The Turkey

Last Friday while doing my weekly grocery shopping, I remembered it was a {short week} and that took the pressure off a little as far as meal planning and packing lunches go. I gave in and purchased two Lunchables for Elliott for Monday and Tuesday, but made up for it with our dinners!

We tried several new recipes this week that I wanted to pass along…are you ready?

French Onion Soup {a favorite of Jay’s}

This was my first ever attempt at this soup. I looked at several recipes before settling on the one from Epicurious…very pleased with the way it turned out, though. I found the little ramekins at Ross for $1.99 each. They were the perfect size for two ladles of soup and two baguette croutons. Gruyere is about $20 a pound, but so worth it {I got 8 ounces at Sprouts for a little over $10}!

BLT Pasta Salad {via Pinterest}

Spotted this and realized I had every single ingredient ~ the perfect way to use up several tomatoes on the vine, some center cut bacon, a head of romaine, some green onions {in place of the chives} and the last of some light sour cream! I even had a box of whole wheat penne in the pantry. This could totally pass for a main course salad.

Bombay Sloppy Joes {courtesy of cute Aarti from Food Network}

Sloppy Joe goes exotic! When I first spotted these, I filed them away in my mental food rolodex. I love Indian flavors and knew that these would be right up  my alley. The slight sweetness comes from just a bit of honey and raisins and the kick comes from serrano peppers! The house smelled divine as this was cooking up. I will never buy Manwich again. We’ve been making Rachael Ray’s homemade sloppy joes for years, but these are a nice twist.

Cinnamon Roll Pancakes {again, via Pinterest}

Not a great pic, but they were soooo yummy. We had our neighbors over in their pajamas this morning, brewed a huge pot of coffee and enjoyed these. This was one of the new traditions on this year’s holiday list {click on the link if you want to see how the pancakes are really supposed to look ~ ha!}. You could certainly use pancake mix, but I made this from scratch as the recipe suggests and it was a cinch. I made mini silver dollar size by using a tablespoon to measure out the batter. The cream cheese drizzle puts them over the top!


Looking forward to Mr. Turkey and all his side dish friends tomorrow.

I am learning that a lot of people don’t care for the green bean casserole with the dried onions….I love it! It kind of wouldn’t be Thanksgiving without it.

What is the one thing that is a must on your Turkey Day table?

The Memo

Hmmm, apparently Summer didn’t receive the memo that we’ve moved into Fall.

It was over 100* here again today and it’s not supposed to cool down anytime soon as far as the little weather widget on our computer is concerned.

I was SO ready for Fall.

Earlier this week I was inspired to make a chicken pot pie. Couldn’t stop thinking about it…I’ve never made one so I was excited to give it a shot.

I wanted to use fresh veggies and the tail end of a bag of peas at the bottom of my freezer. I just sauteed some sliced baby carrots, diced onion, halved haricot verts {thin green beans}, and some fresh thyme in a little butter, salt and pepper for about 10 minutes. I then added a little chicken stock and cooked that off for another couple minutes and added the frozen peas at the last minute to help them keep their bright green color. I then cheated and used a can of undiluted cream of mushroom soup and added that to the veggies.

In the meantime, I baked off some chicken tenderloins that I had defrosted and drizzled with a little olive oil, salt and pepper. {350 for about 3o minutes}. Chopped them up and added them to the veggie mixture.

For the crust, I purchased 2 pre-made frozen pie crusts from Trader Joe’s and defrosted them at room temperature for about an hour. I used my old trusty dusty 9X9 Corningware and put one crust down on the bottom and fit it to the corners of the dish. I then dumped all the chicken/veggie mixture on top of that and then laid the other crust on top and tried to crimp the edges as pretty as possible {it looked a little more rustic than I wanted it to}. I cut a few slits in the top to let out the steam.

Bake at 425* for about 35 minutes until crust is golden brown and inside is bubbling.

I must say I was a little nervous about how this was going to turn out. But let me just say that it was D-E-L-I-S-H. The crust was super flaky and done to perfection. I cannot wait to make it again. Next time I think I’ll add some fresh mushrooms, use cream of potato soup and a little white wine instead of the chicken stock. Yum!

So, take that Summer.

We’re going to enjoy some comfort food despite your lingering temperatures.

I HIGHLY suggest whipping one of these up. You could certainly use a rotisserie chicken and some frozen veggies to speed up the prep time and enjoy it quicker. Would also be great with leftover turkey from Thanksgiving!

So glad to have a new favorite to add to our Fall menu favorites.


Here’s to a comfy, cozy weekend no matter what type of weather you’re experiencing!

Mmmmmm & Oooowww!

I love me some sloppy joes.

I used to think that the only way to make them is to buy a can of Manwich and brown some ground meat. But then I came across RR’s recipe for “Super Sloppy Joes”. I think the preceding “Super” is unnecessary and sounds silly, so I will just call them:

Sloppy Joes From Scratch

They are so delish ~ you will never want to buy another can of Manwich ever again. When I first read the recipe I was a little “huh?” … the red wine vinegar and brown sugar threw me off, but I went ahead and moved forward. They were fabulous! I have served them at 2 birthday parties as minis with little potato or dinner rolls and they were a big hit. I do use ground turkey rather than the ground beef, though. I love that there is a whole red pepper in the sauce…I throw a whole, seeded pepper in my mini processor and get it all finely chopped and it just blends in with the tomato sauce ~ the kids won’t even know it’s in there, folks!

Here is the line up:

Here is the meaty goodness:

And here is the final ‘wich:

So yummy I could’ve eaten another….but I didn’t because I had to go to “Boot Camp With Carmen” this evening!

That is where the “Oooowww!” comes in.

Ay Carmencita! It is night one and I am already feeling it.

OK, this may sound lame, but the whole time I was there, I was pretending that I was on Biggest Loser and that I was on camera. I made certain that my form was on point ~ standing with my stomach in, knees slightly bent, the whole nine. This really worked. I held the full body plank extra long because, afterall, I was on television in front of millions and I wanted to look like a rock star. Held the lunge like a statue because I didn’t want to look weak.

But then I reminded myself THAT THIS IS THE FIRST DAY and that it’s OK to have something to improve upon for goodness sake!

I did learn 2 things, however:

1. I have absolutely NO core strength!


2. I def need a better bra!

Jumping jacks and I have never been the best of friends, but if I’m going to turn this boot camp out, I need to invest in some serious sports bras. I’d better do it quick because I report back on Wednesday night to do it all over again!

A far cry from Jillian, but I think if I put my all into it I will see some good results after 7 weeks with Señorita Carmen.

Man, I must be a glutton for punishment this week ~ 2 nights of boot camp, a mammogram tomorrow morning and a scheduled 13.1 on the elliptical tomorrow night.

Ay Caramba!

Tuesday Tidbit

New Trader Joe’s discovery thanks to my friend, Janet!

Red Pepper Spread with Eggplant & Garlic….it’s great on all sorts of sandwiches, especially turkey and avocado! I have started using it in place of mayo. I love mayo on my sammies and prefer to use the full fat stuff rather than the light, but this new “wonder condiment” totally gives the old white goo favorite a run for it’s money.

According to TJ’s it’s a “seasonal” item, so if you try it and LOVE it like me, then be sure and grab an extra jar or two for when they don’t carry it. You will miss it on your ‘wiches once you introduce yourself to it!

Here’s the breakdown per Tablespoon:
Mayo 100 cal, 11 g fat
Spread 15 cal, 0.5 g fat

I’ll save the mayo calories for my tuna or egg salad!