Thursday, February 19, 2015

Simple Chicken Noodle Soup


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It's snow day 3.5 and it's cold out so I was having a hankering for some good ol' fashion chicken noodle soup. The girls have been tracked out for 2.5 weeks only to return to school 0.5 days before they called it early to due to snow/ice, which means by now I'm pretty tired of cooking! So, soup, but easy soup was on mind. Here's that easy soup. It hit the spot. :)

Simple Chicken Noodle Soup
by happyvballgirl of @MyEpicureanAdventures

INGREDIENTS:
4 cups low sodium chicken broth
1/2 cup finely diced onions
1/2 cup diced carrots (I buy shredded carrots and then further chop them up)
1/2 cooked, chopped chicken (rotissery chicken works great here!)
1/3 cup uncooked small sized pasta (simply balanced organic ditalini pasta from Target used here)
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 - 3/4 tsp salt (or to taste)
a pinch or two of black pepper

DIRECTIONS:
Simply combine all the ingredients in a large sauce pan/pot and bring to boil. Once it's boiling, reduce heat to med-low to low and simmer until the veggies are tender.

Enjoy!

Makes about 4 servings.

To further spice things up, I also add a couple turns of this Organic All Purpose Seasoning (with no salt added) from Earth's Pride Organics. I believe I found this bottle at BJ's Warehouse. This season-all is simply a mix of various organic dehydrated vegetables including onion, garlic, carrot, red bell pepper), organic mustard spice and organic lemon peel. I find that it rounds off this soup quite nicely, but the soup is just dandy without it, too. :)


Thanks so much for stopping by and please feel free to make my day by leaving me a comment, joining my blog in the top right corner or liking my on Facebook at MyEpicureanAdventures - the more the merrier! :)

Christine, aka happyvballgirl :)

Here are some items used in this post. To see a full list of my favorite bento gear and such, just visit my "Products I Love" page! :) Any purchases made through these links earns me a little extra cash to support my bento habit, which my hubby would really appreciate. haha! So thank you!!! if you choose to use any of 'em! :)

Handy Kitchen Tools:
Vitamix - what can I say but I love it! You can enjoy free shipping when purchasing one through their website using this coupon code: 06-009331 (or just click on the hyperlink or button below) or get one from Amazon. :)

vitamix.com Products 

    

Disclosure: Affiliate links are used on this blog. :)

Friday, February 13, 2015

Spinach and Mushroom Frittata


I just made my first frittata this morning and I'm happy to say that it was deeeee-licious!! I sauteed all the veggies and ham in my cast iron skillet and then just stuck it right in the oven. I just love that! And paired with some grape tomatoes and a quick cafe Americano using our espresso machine, I was a happy camper. :)

Heres' a link to the recipe I used: Culinary Arts' Spinach Frittata, but added a few things of my own:

INGREDIENTS
8 eggs
½ cup whole milk
1 cup fresh spinach, chopped
3 slices ham, diced (bacon is awesome in here, too, about 6 slices, crumbled up)
½ large onion, diced
½ green pepper, diced
1 cup fresh mushrooms, diced 
1 cup shredded Mexican cheese
1 tbsp cooking oil (I use grapeseed oil)
Kosher salt, to taste

DIRECTIONS:
  1. Preheat oven to 450°F. 
  2. In a glass mixing bowl, thoroughly beat the eggs until frothy. Add milk and stir until combined. Season to taste with salt and set side.
  3. In a 10" cast iron skillet over medium heat, sauté onion and green peppers for 2 to 3 minutes or until it's slightly translucent. 
  4. Add mushrooms and ham and sauté for about 2 to 3 minutes longer.
  5. Add spinach and sauté for 2 to 3 minutes longer, or until just wilted.
  6. Pour the egg mixture into the skillet and mix all the ingredients together evenly.
  7. Cook for about 5 minutes or until the egg begins to set. Don't stir!
  8. Add the shredded cheese, sprinkling it evenly across the top, and then place the skillet in the oven. Bake 10 to 15 minutes or until the eggs are fully cooked.
Tada!

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I'm excited about the leftovers I stuck in one of my Pyrex dishes. Makes for an easy breakfast tomorrow morning!

Thanks so much for stopping by and please feel free to make my day by leaving me a comment, joining my blog in the top right corner or liking my on Facebook at MyEpicureanAdventures - the more the merrier! :)

Christine, aka happyvballgirl :)

Here are some items used in this post. To see a full list of my favorite bento gear and such, just visit my "Products I Love" page! :) Any purchases made through these links earns me a little extra cash to support my bento habit, which my hubby would really appreciate. haha! So thank you!!! if you choose to use any of 'em! :)

      

Disclosure: Affiliate links are used on this blog. :)

Monday, February 9, 2015

Kids' Meals: Cheese and Crackers Lunch

The girls are still tracked out and you know what that means... time to schedule all those doctor's appointments! lol.  To the girls' dismay, they both had their annual check ups this morning. Little Sis got off easy, but Big Sis had to get 2 shots and was not terribly pleased about it. The appointments went fine, but the doctor did tell Big Sis that in order to keep growing taller and stronger, she needs to try to get more protein in her. This probably has something to do with the fact that at age 11, she's in the 53rd percentile for height but only in the 9th percentile for weight. Little Sis, 3 years younger, is quickly catching up in height and has surpassed her Big Sis in weight by a couple pounds with her consistent 97th+ percentile showing. Little Sis is lucky because growing just comes easy for her, because she loves to eat, and pretty healthy at that. She reeeeeeally enjoys her food and quite often prefers the healthy stuff over the less-healthy, minus her undying love of all things pasta.

Conversely, it's not easy to get lots of protein in a kid (Big Sis) that just doesn't eat a whole lot to begin with and when she IS hungry, she'd far prefer carbs and junk over the healthy stuff. But that's what we parents are for and try really hard to mix in the good stuff along with the not-so-good. She luckily eats her veggies without much fuss or effort but those fresh fruits? Forget it, beyond the maybe 4 kinds she'll even consider eating!

So after our appointments, we made a stop at Trader Joe's for a little grocery shopping and then headed home for lunch. Here's the lunch I made for them. We've learned that with Big Sis, it's best to give her light meals as that minuscule tummy of hers just doesn't hold a whole lot at one time. Plus, this way, she has a fighting chance of actually finishing what's on her plate. And if you're still hungry afterwards? Of course you can have seconds (and thirds), just like Little Sis did.


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In this lunch:
  1. Organic Golden Crackers from Whole Foods
  2. Applegate Roast Turkey and Muenster Cheese
  3. Trader Joe's Mac and Cheese
  4. Avocado cubes
  5. Organic carrot stubs (or whatever they're called) cut into hearts :)
... oh yeah, baby cut carrots! They were cut on a slant and stuck together with a dab of ranch dressing because picks just don't pierce carrots very easily!

Here they are, enjoying their meal and I'm happy to say that both cleaned their plates (minus a couple avocado cubes that Big Sis left because their playdate arrived before she finished). Rest assured, she'll be seeing them again come snack time. :)


* "Kids' Meals" is a series of plated lunch/dinners that I serve at home.

Thanks so much for stopping by and please feel free to make my day by leaving me a comment, joining my blog in the top right corner or liking my on Facebook at MyEpicureanAdventures - the more the merrier! :)

Christine, aka happyvballgirl :)

Here are some items used in this post. To see a full list of my favorite bento gear and such, just visit my "Products I Love" page! :) Any purchases made through these links earns me a little extra cash to support my bento habit, which my hubby would really appreciate. haha! So thank you!!! if you choose to use any of 'em! :)

   

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Disclosure: Affiliate links are used on this blog. :)

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Sandwiches on Sticks Before Track Out

It's the last day before we track out for 2.5 weeks and the girls got sandwiches on sticks today. Mostly because I just could NOT drag myself out of bed this morning until way too late and was pressed for time! Quick and easy, fun and yummy. That's not too shabby for packing lunch in less than 10 mins! :) I have to say, I'm really looking forward to our break because I'm kinda tired of getting up and packing lunches. lol.


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In these lunches:
  1. Sandwiches on sticks using Nature's Own 100% Whole Wheat Bread and Applegate Roasted Turkey and Muenster Cheese (and Kraft's Mayo on Big Sis')
  2. "Man Chips" aka Pringles Sour Cream Potato Chips
  3. Organic carrot chips sliced using my pampered chef wiggley cutter (not the official name - lol) along with Marzetti's Simply Dressed Ranch Dressing
  4. GoGo Squeez AppleGrape and AppleCinnamon Applesauce Pouches
  5. Cascadian Farm Organic Granola Bars - White Chocolate Chip for Little Sis and Chocolate Chip for Big Sis
Here's a close up of Big Sis':


Thanks so much for stopping by and please feel free to make my day by leaving me a comment, joining my blog in the top right corner or liking my on Facebook at MyEpicureanAdventures - the more the merrier! :)

Christine, aka happyvballgirl :)

Here are some items used in this post. To see a full list of my favorite bento gear and such, just visit my "Products I Love" page! :) Any purchases made through these links earns me a little extra cash to support my bento habit, which my hubby would really appreciate. haha! So thank you!!! if you choose to use any of 'em! :)

    

My favorite Bento supplier @ All Things For Sale.  Just click on the pix to view/purchase now! :)

Japanese Bento Accessories Sauce Container set of 4 Lovely Mayo Cup Food Decorating Pick Long Pix Stix Assorted

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Disclosure: Affiliate links are used on this blog. :)

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Another Pizza Lunchable with Garden Veggie Sticks

Nuthin' fancy here. Just another Pizza Lunchable that Big Sis requested to take last week. :)


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In this lunch:
  1. Nature's Own Whole Wheat Flat Sandwich Rounds
  2. Trader Joe's Pizza Sauce and shredded mozzarella cheese
  3. Carrot Chips with Marzetti's Simply Dressed Ranch Dresssing
  4. Snyder's of Hanover's eatsmart Naturals Garden Veggie Sticks
  5. Homemade Chocolate Chip Cookie Cake left over for Little Sis' Birthday
Thanks so much for stopping by and please feel free to make my day by leaving me a comment, joining my blog in the top right corner or liking my on Facebook at MyEpicureanAdventures - the more the merrier! :)

Christine, aka happyvballgirl :)

Here are some items used in this post. To see a full list of my favorite bento gear and such, just visit my "Products I Love" page! :) Any purchases made through these links earns me a little extra cash to support my bento habit, which my hubby would really appreciate. haha! So thank you!!! if you choose to use any of 'em! :)

   

My favorite Bento supplier @ All Things For Sale.  Just click on the pix to view/purchase now! :)

Japanese Bento Accessories Sauce Container set of 4 Lovely Mayo Cup 


Disclosure: Affiliate links are used on this blog. :)

Monday, January 19, 2015

Fun with Jars and Labels

Is it just me or does seeing this just make you want to cook more, too? :) I can't help but smile a little when I open my spice cabinet now. It's the little things like this that make cooking that much more enjoyable for me. Silly but true.


Let me start out by saying that I don't think that I'm one of those hyper-organized neat-freak type people that makes other people feel bad about themselves when they come into my house. If you were to stop by for an unexpected visit, most likely you will find a nice layer of dust on at least 60% of surfaces, playmobil worlds set up in at least a couple living areas while a nice rockin' American girl party is raging in in another and other little fun and not-so-fun disasters. I have clutter. Lots of it. I love my stuff but do not like the messiness of it, so admittedly, I do love to organize things, whether they be notebook binders, toys (though the upkeep is largely out of my control), baskets for papers and stuff, lists in Excel spreadsheets, you name it. And, if my organizing of such things happen to occasionally arouse a little envy or slight feelings of inadequacy, I promise you, I have plenty of dust bunnies lurking in dark corners, not-so-neat piles of paper litter the kitchen island, miscellaneous stuff cluttering up my dining room table and plenty more. Somethings are just too hard to fight, ya know?


My most recent organizy thing has been to store stuff in mason jars. It first started with salt, kind of inspired by The Pioneer Woman, as I just love how she grabs pinches from an open bowl of salt and other basic spices while she's cooking. Of course that's not really practical in my every day life, as I don't have nearly the counter space as she does, but I made it work for me using mason jars. I've expanded to some more spices, based on all of the following criteria:
  1. how often I used it
  2. how much of it is typically called for in a recipe, ie my tablespoon measuring spoons don't fit into the standard spice jars and it drives me bonkers!
  3. how often do I like to use pinches of it, because pinching it out of a mason jar is much more fun than pinching it out of a standard spice jar
  4. how much cabinet space I have to store it
  5. how painful is the original packaging (kinda goes back to #3)
Here are the list of spices and such I've put into my mason jars:

Ball Jar Crystal Jelly Jars with Lids and Bands, 8-Ounce, Quilted
  1. Salt (love to pinch it)
  2. Italian Seasoning (love to pinch and sprinkle abundant amounts of it)
  3. Cinnamon (often use tablespoonfuls of it)
  4. Chili Powder (use tablespoonfuls of it)
  5. Cinnamon Sugar (use tablespoons of it, plus I mix it myself)
  6. Corn Starch (the organic stuff comes in painful packaging)
  7. Baking Powder (thinking about moving it to a mason jar)
  8. Baking Soda (thinking about moving it to a mason jar)
Ball Wide Mouth 16 oz container:
  1. Girls' Chewable Vitamins (painful child-proof packaging and will turn sticky if not airtight)
  2. Brown Sugar (the most painful packaging of all cause it's so darned messy!)
  3. Tea bags (I use 'em enough that I don't always want to go to the pantry for them)
Oggi Acrylic Airtight Canister with Clamp, 51-Ounce:
  1. flour
  2. oatmeal
  3. sugar
All of these mason jars were bought years ago for other various purposes. The canisters I've owned since my early married years, some 17+ years ago, but all have been spruced up by these cool chalk board labels you see running rampant on Pinterest. Funny how something so simple can give old things a new life.

I bought my set of chalkboard labels on Amazon from MagicMil - Set of 48 writable chalkboard labels and white pen. This set had lots of awesome reviews and lots of varying sizes and are freezer and dishwasher safe.


If you want them all the same size and shape, you might want something like this set of uniform labels instead, but double check on dishwasher/freezer usage. I kind of like it that mine are all slightly different, though. :) The pen that came with this set was too thick for my taste plus it was erasable, so I went and found myself a more permanent pen: American Craft Medium Point White Chalk Marker. I've tested it and it won't wipe off with soap and water but it will come off with dry erase cleaner and a paper towel. Sweet!

It's the little things like this that help me feel a little bit in control when sometimes the rest seems like it's spiraling out, you know what I mean? And you know what they say: If mama's happy... ;)

Thanks so much for stopping by and please feel free to make my day by leaving me a comment, joining my blog in the top right corner or liking my on Facebook at MyEpicureanAdventures - the more the merrier! :)

Christine, aka happyvballgirl :)

Here are some items used in this post. To see a full list of my favorite bento gear and such, just visit my "Products I Love" page! :) Any purchases made through these links earns me a little extra cash to support my bento habit, which my hubby would really appreciate. haha! So thank you!!! if you choose to use any of 'em! :)

Storage Containers:




Disclosure: Affiliate links are used on this blog. :)

Friday, January 16, 2015

Turkey and Cheese Sliders

I guess I've been into mini things lately because we've been enjoying these mini buns in addition to our mini bagels. ;) Here are two lunches I made this week for the girls.

Note that Little Sis has some leftover Homemade Chocolate Chip Cookie Cake in her lunch while sadly, Big Sis did not because she ate her treat without eating enough of her lunch the day before. She wasn't very happy about that, but those are the breaks, sista! However, she was given a second chance to get her treat after school, provided she did a better job on lunch that day, and that she did. Yay!



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In this lunch:
  1. Applegate Turkey and Muenster Cheese Sliders on King's Hawaiin Sweet Rolls (with lettuce too for Big Sis)
  2. Carrot chips with Marzetti's Simpy Dressed Ranch Dressing
  3. Homemade Dilly Snack mix
  4. Kiwi for Little Sis and Peeled Snacks' Apple Clusters for Big Sis
  5. Annie's Homegrown Cheddar Bunnies
  6. Cliff Kids' ZBar Protein Bar
Thanks so much for stopping by and please feel free to make my day by leaving me a comment, joining my blog in the top right corner or liking my on Facebook at MyEpicureanAdventures - the more the merrier! :)

Christine, aka happyvballgirl :)

Here are some items used in this post. To see a full list of my favorite bento gear and such, just visit my "Products I Love" page! :) Any purchases made through these links earns me a little extra cash to support my bento habit, which my hubby would really appreciate. haha! So thank you!!! if you choose to use any of 'em! :)

    

My favorite Bento supplier @ All Things For Sale.  Just click on the pix to view/purchase now! :)

Japanese Bento Accessories Sauce Container set of 4 Lovely Mayo Cup Japanese Bento Accessories Silicone Colorful Food Cup 6P 

Disclosure: Affiliate links are used on this blog. :)