Posted in Uncategorized

Favorite Blogs

After starting a blog, I realized there are many people who may not read any blogs…ever…so I thought I’d share a few of my favorites.

The first two blogs are ones that I have been reading for years…and I’m not sure how I stumbled upon either one…but I love them both.

Mix and Match Mama is one of my favorite blogs to read. The author is Shay Shull, and her brother Sean was one of the Bachelors on ABC. She’s the mom to four kids, two of whom are adopted. Her posts on adoption have really opened my eyes to that aspect of parenting. She’s certainly an inspiration as she shares her stories about all of her kids! Also, she has several cookbooks. Her cookbook Simmers is something I use at least once a week! I always thought using the crockpot was only for pot roasts (which isn’t a fave food of mine), but she has SO MANY wonderful recipes. Some of the recipes I’ve probably made fifty times! The King Ranch Joe (chicken recipe w/ corn bread), Chicken Tortilla Soup, Old-Fashioned Sloppy Joes, and Beef Enchilada Tacos are all family favorites in my house.

The Kids in the Kitchen cookbook is fun. We don’t use it often, but I usually let the kids choose a recipe or two to try ….usually a dessert, and we will make that on a Sunday afternoon. The Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins, Baked Pizza Pasta Casserole, and S’mores Pie have all been a hit! (**You can find both cookbooks on Amazon.)

Also, on Mondays, she always includes multiple recipes for “Meal Planning Monday.” I usually get my groceries on Sunday, so I usually get a few ideas for the next week which is awesome because when the next weekend rolls around, I already have at least one dinner idea!

Besides cooking, she shares about her family, what she wears (which has led to my love of Nordstrom), books she’s read (I get so many ideas from her!), and about the awesome vacations she and her family go on. (She also owns the Mix and Match Travel Agency.) She posts daily (M-F) which I love, and she’s one of the first blogs I read every day.

Another blog I’ve been reading forrrrevvver is BevCooks.com. Bev Weidner is hilarious! Like laugh out loud funny. She’s a Kansas City based blogger. She posts a couple of recipes throughout the week, and there isn’t one that I’ve made that I didn’t love. Then, on Friday, she always posts a “Friday Flotsam” with random pics and thoughts (and questions!) that always have me smiling.

She has also been on the Food Network show The Kitchen cooking various recipes and has an online Food Network show called Mom Wins with quick and easy tips and recipes your kids would love.

Speaking of kids, she’s the mom to boy/girl twins and started her blog before having the kids and struggling with infertility. I connected with her on that level but also the fact that she keeps it real…all of the time…the good, the bad, and the ugly of life.

Lastly, her Instagram stories are awesome. She’s just so funny and light hearted that it’s easy to connect with her. Recently, she’s started a “book club” where she reads books and shares about them with the viewers. I’ve gotten many recipe and book ideas from her along with a good chuckle or two!

Momfessionals is another blog I love reading. Andrea is the author and mom to three kids and full time middle school math teacher. I believe she started her blog years ago as a way to keep family members up to date with her growing family, but she shares so many other aspects of her life like educational toys and games, recipes, and teacher resources.

She is so artistic and will occasionally post some of her drawings as printables for kids to color. At Christmas time, she had a whole village with various houses and buildings…they were absolutely incredible and a fun way to give your kids something to do as well as let them be creative as well.

She spends so much time with her kids. I can tell that she’s a very hands on mom but sets clear boundaries for her kids while also letting each one of her kids be individuals, and she definitely embraces that. One of her recent posts was about her driving three hours round trip to pick up a bearded dragon for her son!

Other blogs that I love to read but don’t read as often are:

Living with Landyn, Kristy Wicks, Cotton Stem, and A Little Bit of Everything

I know everyone is super busy but these blogs have added to my life–whether it’s a recipe, a parenting hack, a book idea, or looking at life in a different way, and I hope my blog can be a source like that as well.

One last thing–I started an Instagram acct for this blog– @showmeandsweettea To be honest, it may all be too much to juggle–Facebook, Instagram, blog, (and school is about to start!) etc…but I figure it can be a public acct and a way to let you know when I’ve created a new post.

Happy reading!

Posted in Meals and Recipes, Uncategorized

Monday Meals: Pasta Dinner x 2

Happy Monday! The weekend seemed to fly by! The sun was shining all weekend, and it felt like a taste of spring!

Last Monday, I made both of these pasta meals for my family. I had picked up the gnocchi a few weeks ago and needed to use it. Since I was uncertain if the kids would like it, I decided to make them bow tie pasta with Alfredo sauce because I knew they loved it. A couple of months ago, I bought jarred Alfredo on a whim and made this quick pasta (the second recipe) and they scarfed it down. Believe it or not, but I think it’s the first time they’d had Alfredo sauce! They thought I was the best mom ever. haha

That being said, I’m no short order cook; the kids eat what I make them for dinner…like it or not. But, I knew these were quick dishes, and they would provide leftovers for Tuesday night, so went ahead and made both.

Gnocchi and Marinara Sauce

Ingredients:

  • 1 package of gnocchi
  • Trader Joe’s Three Cheese Pasta Sauce (or any marinara sauce)
  • 1 lb Italian sausage
  • Shaved Parm (or grated)

Instructions:

  • Bring pot of water to boil, add a heavy pinch of salt, and follow instructions for cooking the gnocchi. (Only a few minutes in the boiling water)
  • Brown the sausage in a skillet. (I browned it all and used 3/4 of it for the gnocchi recipe and the other 1/4 for the Alfredo recipe)
  • Once the sausage is browned, drain any grease.
  • Add in sauce and let simmer for a few minutes.
  • Add cooked gnocchi into the sauce and stir to incorporate ingredients.
  • Serve in a bowl and top with Parm.
  • Enjoy!

Chicken, Bacon, Sausage in Alfredo Sauce

Ingredients:

  • Farfalle (bow tie) pasta (or any shaped pasta)
  • Jar of Alfredo Sauce
  • 4-5 slices bacon (Short cut: microwave bacon)
  • Chicken (Short cut: Perdue Carved Chicken Breast strips)
  • Cooked Italian Sausage (if desired)
  • Grated Parm (or shaved Parm—I just know my kids love grated parm)

Instructions:

  • Bring pot of water to boil, add heavy pinch of salt, and cook according to directions.
  • Cook the bacon in the microwave according to directions and then chop into small pieces.
  • Cut the chicken strips into desired bite size and set aside.
  • In a medium sauce pan, heat up Alfredo Sauce.
  • Add in chicken and warm it for a couple of minutes.
  • Add in cooked pasta and bacon. (and sausage if you’d like–that wasn’t a part of my original plan–but since I had the leftover sausage from meal 1, I decided to use that 1/4 lb because I knew the kids would like it)
  • Stir to incorporate ingredients.
  • Serve in a bowl and top with Parm.
  • Enjoy!
  • Also, last time I made this, I added frozen peas to it when I incorporated the pasta into the sauce–my kids love peas!

I could have added chopped parsley to both for a finishing touch, but I’m not a professional! haha

Also, side note: The Perdue Chicken Breasts (or similar brand) are something I use often. I add the chicken to my bagged salads for lunch or dinner, I cut the chicken strips into bite size pieces to use for chicken quesadillas, and obviously I also use the chicken in pasta dishes as well.

As a busy working mom with two busy kids, I do still like to make dinner as often as possible…but I also like to make something my family will enjoy as quickly as possible!

I hope you enjoy these recipes!

Have a great week!

Jen

Instagram: @showmeandsweettea

Facebook Page: Show Me and Sweet Tea