Happy 2018!

Friday Favorites

It’s good to be back with some Friday Favorites for you all today! This week, I have a podcast that I look forward to every week, a fashion item that pulls together an outfit like none other and a recipe that blew my skirt up indeed.

Watch What Crappens Podcast:

I’m proud to admit that I’m only watching a bit of trashy Bravo television these days. Real Housewives (of Beverly Hills) is a perennial favorite and I’m anticipating the return of Real Housewives of New York next month. Oh, and I’m also looking forward to the return of Southern Charm. But, aside from those shows, I’ve cut back significantly on “junk food” tv.

That said: I LURVE the “junk food” tv that I do still watch. The bad news is that no one else in my real life watches the same junk as me. What’s more fun than watching “junk food” tv? Talking about it with your friends! Enter: Watch What Crappens.

I don’t remember how I found this podcast, but it’s two guys who completely rehash each episode of most every Bravo tv show a few days after it’s aired. The guys are hilarious and spot-on on their assessments of what’s going on on these shows. It’s just like having these wonderful gay friends who share your passion for Real Housewives to chat with every week.

I treat myself to this podcast when I’m walking the dog and I often have to stop, mid-walk, to double over and discretely grab my lady-bits so as not to wet myself from laughing so hard at an impersonation of a Housewife or other snarky comment from the episode. Watch What Crappens is often the highlight of my day. And this is everything that’s wrong with my life.

Kendra Scott “Elle” Earrings:

I can hear a collective groan across the internet right now. “Is she REALLY talking about earrings that were popular, like 7 years ago?” Yes, yes I am.

I bought my Kendra Scott Earrings about 4 years ago and have worn them so much. They go with everything and they make an outfit “pop” like none other. Now that my hair is short, I wear them even more because they’re easily seen. And, say what you want about my out-of-style earrings, but I get complimented on them almost every time I wear them. So there!

I like the “Elle” style because they’re a bit smaller, but I know lots of people who prefer the Danielle because they’re bigger and look better with long hair. I will tell you this: I rented the Danielle earrings in cobalt blue from Rent The Runway one time and thought that my ear holes would tear, they were so heavy! I know that you can buy special support earring backs from Kendra Scott, so that might’ve helped but the Elle style is much more comfortable for me and appropriate for my hair length and face shape.

Here they are in a pretty mother of pearl color (if you click on the link, you’ll see many of the colors that they’re available in):

Kendra Scott “Signature” Elle Gold plated Ivory Mother-of-Pearl Drop Earrings

(Affiliate link above)

These earrings come in every color under the sun. I’ve rented the magenta Kendra Scott earrings from Rent The Runway a couple of times and I really love them too. In fact, I wore them to a wedding in the fall and a woman came from across the other side of the church to comment on them. It was flattering and very sweet, however, I was certain that everybody and their dog knew about Kendra Scott by now?

Dress and earrings from Rent The Runway. I adore Rent The Runway…have you tried it?


Lastly, a recipe that rocked my world:

Old Fashioned Donut Muffins

My Jack and I are obsessed with the Old Fashioned Donuts from Starbucks. Before he started school, we’d often drop Anna off at school and then go to Starbucks for a treat. The Old Fashioned Donuts were always our favorite. Now that we’ve tightened our purse strings a bit, we haven’t been to Starbucks for a treat in probably a year, so when I saw this recipe on Pinterest, I had high hopes that it would offer a bit of a treat for us.

It did not fail to please. It was easy to make and tasted so dang good. I’m not going to lie and tell you that, because these have the word “muffin” in the title that they’re healthy, but I will tell you this: They’re delicious and use ingredients that you probably already have on hand.

I would make these for a brunch spread or even as a treat to take to a neighbor after an illness. They’re portion-controlled (assuming that you can eat just one) and great with coffee or after dinner. Make these and you won’t be disappointed! Promise!

What are your favorites this Friday?

Happy 2018!

4 things that I’ve learned by NOT dining out

Right after the New Year, we decided to tighten up our budget and one of the first things to go was dining out. We vowed not to eat out for the entire month of January. It worked out so well for us, that we’ve just kept on going. As of today, we’ve eaten in a restaurant exactly once (as a family) since January 1 (and we were treated to that meal by my father and stepmother).

Here are a few things that I’ve noticed since we quit dining in restaurants.

1: Restaurant food can be pretty “Meh”:

…but the company is good

If you allow yourself to be honest, restaurant food just really isn’t that great all of the time. When I sat down and thought about it, I realized that 9 times out of 10, I walk out of a restaurant thinking, “Well, that was pretty good.” That’s not an acceptable reaction to just having paid anywhere from $50 to $100 for a meal for 4 people. Now that we’re not eating out as much, when we do eat out, we will choose only the restaurants that we know are a home-run for us–the ones that never disappoint.

2: Overeating is (mostly) a thing of the past:

Here’s what a typical weeknight dinner serving looks like at our home.

How many times have you walked out of a restaurant and felt almost sick because you’ve waaaaaay overeaten? We don’t overeat as badly when we eat at home. That one restaurant meal that we had in January was Mexican food. While Mexican food certainly isn’t known for being a “light lunch” this particular meal was super heavy. I ordered some gigantic burrito, smothered in cheese. The first few bites were delicious, but then, after a while, it began to feel like a chore to eat–which is CRAZY to look back on and think about. Why didn’t I just stop eating? When I eat at a restaurant, for reasons too many to name, I feel like I need to clean my plate if possible. Being a people pleaser by nature, maybe I dread the waiter looking at my half-eaten plate, asking, “was your meal ok, ma’am?” I also have a weird relationship with taking home leftovers from a restaurant. There are precious few meals from restaurants that actually reheat well at home the next day. Many times, my half-eaten restaurant meal sits in the fridge for a days, awaiting its ultimate demise in the trashcan. Such a waste.

3: “Making do” and getting creative in the kitchen:

“Making do” in the kitchen is how my now-famous homemade pizza recipe was born–our new Friday night tradition. Recipe HERE.


When eating out isn’t an option, we’re much more willing to figure out something for dinner. The best part is that I’ve finally come to terms with the idea that we don’t all even have to eat the same thing! If there’s a dab of leftovers, a can of soup and a few frozen chicken tenders in the freezer, we can eat “potluck” style–which actually makes everyone happy. We can also make a killer gourmet grilled cheese sandwich in a pinch. Not only does it feel good to be utilizing our groceries, but it also clears space in the fridge and pantry for the new grocery items that are on my list to be purchased during the next shopping visit.

4: Wearing jammies at the dinner table is a real possibility

Valentine’s day dinner at home, in our comfy clothes

When you’re eating at home, there’s no need to dress up. There were many times in the past that I gritted my teeth when it was time to go out to eat and I had to change out of my comfy “house clothes” and into something a bit more presentable. These days, since we’re eating every meal at home–I get to stay in my comfy jammies if I want. This probably makes me happiest of all.

The funniest thing to come from this whole ‘experiment” is that, while it was only supposed to last for the month of January, we’ve decided to make it our personal mission to see how far we can go with it. The children are even on-board with it. It’s changed the way that we think about the money that we spend dining out and it’s made us be more conscious of how much stuff costs. It’s been the ultimate “reset” for our family. I highly recommend trying a similar experiment out for yourselves!

Have you ever tried to reign in your dining out habits? Tell us how it worked out in the comments below. Or, do you have any tips and tricks for those who are currently trying it out? 

Happy 2018!

Frugal Friday Favorites

So, I have 3 Frugal Friday Favorites for you this week. One is a game-changer recipe. One is a favorite bargain shopping haven and one is a favorite cleaning product.

(This post contains affiliate links which help to support this website. Thanks!)

First up is a homemade pizza crust:

Confession time:

I’m not a baker. A cook, yes, but baking scares the pants off of me. If I see a recipe that calls for dough or yeast, I’m immediately like, “Nope…too bad. That would’ve probably been delicious too.


image courtesy of: www.teaspoonofgoodness.com

Recipe HERE

So, imagine my surprise when I stumbled upon this recipe for homemade pizza dough recently and discovered that we had all of the ingredients (which, really is only 2 items) and decided to go for it. I had a store-bought pizza crust waiting in the pantry in case this was a huge fail, so I decided to give it a whirl.

It turns out? It is the easiest. You really and truly can not mess this pizza dough up (because, believe this…if anyone COULD it would be ME).

Since you only need flour and yeast (and water) to make it, it costs pennies to make and comes together quickly with little forethought or advanced planning. I’ve declared that every Friday will be homemade pizza night in our house. This week, I’m trying my hand at homemade pizza sauce. This recipe is a contender.

Next up:

My favorite place to bargain shop:

Image courtesy of www.nerdwallet.com

I’ve talked about TJ Maxx here before. It’s my go-to; my end-all; my soul-mate. If there’s ever anything that I need, I typically head to TJ Maxx first because, 9 times out of 10, they have it and it’s way better and way cuter and way cheaper than anywhere else.

Hear this: I don’t love Homegoods (TJ Maxx’s sister company) as much as TJ Maxx and here’s why–I love me some home furnishings, oh, hell yes, but sometimes I like to look at beauty products, shoes, clothes and purses too. Give me all of that under one roof and I’m a happy girl.

Now that we’re doing a pretty major “Budget Bootcamp,” I haven’t been to TJ Maxx in months. (I know, right?) But, I was running dangerously low on hand soap for the kitchen this week and TJ Maxx is the best place to buy hand soap, in case you didn’t know. So, I carefully proceeded to TJ Maxx with a very short list of my “needs” and a firm grip on my cash, lest I lose my damn mind in there.

Here’s what I came out with:

A makeup brush cleaner $5.99 |  hand soap $5.99 | Dr. Bronner’s Castile soap $4.99


I’m always amazed when people say that they’ve never shopped at a TJ Maxx. There’s something for everyone there. And their merchandise turns over constantly, so it’s the type of place where it pays to stop in often.

Last, a cleaning product that saved the day this week:


Bar Keepers Friend® Cleanser & Polish: 12 OZ

Where we live, we have hard water. Even with a whole-house water softener, we still get soap scum and hard water stains in the bathrooms and kitchen. We have a glass shower in our master bath and, due to a number of circumstances (a few of these “circumstances” perhaps being laziness and/or Real Housewives of Beverly Hills marathons on Bravo) I had let our shower get a bit out of control.

Here’s the thing with our shower: Our bathroom has poor ventilation. There are no windows in our bathroom (oh, how I love windows in bathrooms) and this makes it really tricky to climb into a glass shower stall and scrub the bejeezus out of it with lots of effective, albeit TOXIC AS SHIT chemicals. I’ve made myself dizzy and sick a few times attempting this maneuver.

So, lately, I’ve taken to half-heartedly squirting a vinegar solution on the water stains every couple of weeks or so and also largely ignoring them. Spoiler alert: this is a wholly ineffective method for glass shower cleaning. #themoreyouknow

Today, I got a wild hair and decided to tackle our gross shower once and for all. I started digging for long-forgotten cleaning products from under the kitchen sink and found a can of Bar Keeper’s Friend that I don’t even remember purchasing. I decided to give it a go in our shower.

First of all, this stuff is non-toxic, so I was able to sit, closed up in my shower, for an hour, scrubbing away at the tile AND the glass with Bar Keeper’s Friend, with nary a hallucination nor an asthma attack. It also didn’t leave my hands red and raw like other cleaners do.

Secondly, holy moly, this stuff worked! It got rid of the hard water spots, the mold and mildew and soap scum too. Sure, I scrubbed it hard–so it wasn’t without effort, but it worked so well and I didn’t have to worry about breathing in chemicals. I can’t wait to try Bar Keeper’s Friend in other parts of the house.

Please share your own Frugal Friday Favorites below or chime in on the ones that I discussed today…any tips for using Bar Keeper’s Friend that I need to know about?

Happy 2018!

Life lately

The past few weeks have been a bit of a fuzzy blur around here. I thought I’d use today’s post to catch you up on all of our happenings.

The Lion King:

A couple of weeks ago, Anna participated in a production of The Lion King. They began rehearsals in September, so it was a big commitment for the whole family, shuttling her to and from rehearsals for 4 months.

She had a small role, but she was happy not to have to a speaking role and she was really happy to get to be a BLUE bird (blue is her favorite color). I also got to hone my stage-makeup skills, which was pretty fun, once I got the hang of working with stage makeup.

After it was all said and done, she had a ball. She really enjoyed the performances, even though she was exhausted after doing 3 performances in 2 days time (we all were).

Then, after a weekend of Lion King madness, we were really looking forward to a quiet weekend with no obligations this past weekend. We got exactly that.

Return to the Library:

On Saturday, we made a family trip to the public library to renew my library card, get everyone else their own card and get our Kindles connected to the library’s online lending software.

About every 2 years or so, I re-discovered the library. I get super excited at the prospect of reading all of the books I could possibly ever want to read–not to mention movies, magazines and even a calendar of events to attend! Then, after a few months of active library use, I get disenchanted with something (likely a random late fee or stressing about a lost book) and then I go off of the library again. But, with our newfound “Budget Bootcamp” mode and with one child who’s a voracious reader–who’s single-handedly busting our Amazon Prime budget up with her constant need for a new book to read because she’s read everything over the course of a weekend–we found ourselves back at the library.

Luckily, we all walked out with books that we were excited about. I checked out several, but immediately got sucked into A Summer Affair by Elin Hilderbrand.

I thought I’d read all of Hilderbrand’s books, so I was excited to find one that I hadn’t read. As with all of her books, I picked it up and have been looking forward to my bedtime reading every night since. (The links above are affiliate links)

Another exciting library happening: (if you follow me on Instagram you saw this already)

This roadrunner was outside of the library, pecking at himself in the windows. Being the certified “bird nerd” that I am, I got way more excited than I probably should’ve and giggled and squealed and snapped pics. Ugh. Bless my heart.

Then Sunday.

We went to church (more on this in an upcoming post) then came home to begin preparing Superbowl snacks. We made a rule for Superbowl this year that we’d eat what we already had in the freezer, fridge and pantry. We had cream cheese, sausage and crescent rolls, lunch meat and cheese so I made the following goodies:

Cubano sandwiches: image courtesy of Pillsbury

Recipe HERE

These were yummy and used up 2 cans of crescent rolls and a lot of the turkey and ham that I’d purchased for Anna’s post-Lion King party that we hosted. Everyone in the house enjoyed these (which is a rarity).

We also made this:

Image courtesy of: www.plainchicken.com

Recipe HERE

I went to lunch with friends last week and had deviled eggs with bacon jam on top. Oh. My. Word. So, I had a hankerin’ for more of those and figured that we could replicate them at home. So, we attempted this recipe for Bacon Jam.

Image courtesy of www.allrecipes.com

It’s with a broken heart that I have to report to you that this was a colossal fail. I’m not going to blame the cook (who was Kevin) but something went terribly, terribly wrong and we ended up with a charred blob of black goop. There were some tears shed, but my deviled eggs went on, albeit without bacon jam.

After spending lunchtime in the kitchen cooking our snacks, we settled in to watch the Kitten Bowl and then the big game.

Captain Thunderpants settling in to watch The Kitten Bowl


So, that’s what my life has looked like lately. What’s going on in your world?

Happy 2018!

Frugal Friday Favorites

Since we’ve tightened up our budget and, based on the responses that I got from my last Frugal Friday Favorites post (link HERE), a lot of you are in budget-mode too, I’m continuing on with free or inexpensive favorites this week. I’d love to hear yours too!

First up is my homemade facial cleanser. It contains 2 ingredients…yes, 2. And costs very little to make. Also, I love the way it makes my skin feel. Winning!


Castor Oil

Coconut Oil

Depending on your skin, you might start with equal parts castor oil and coconut oil (this is what I do for my normal skin). If you have oily skin, you’ll want to do 1 part coconut oil to 3 parts castor oil. For dry skin, do 3 parts coconut oil to 1 part castor oil.

Here’s how I use it: I keep my jar of the oil cleanser next to my sink in the bathroom. I take a fingerful of the goop and smear it on my face. Then I brush my teeth, letting the oil sit on my face. After that, I get in the shower and use a how, wet washcloth to gently begin wiping the cleanser off. Along with it, the dirt and makeup comes off as well.

With all of this oil, you’d think that you’d get out of the shower feeling like a greasy-ball, huh? Amazingly enough, no. My skin always feels plump and hydrated (like after a facial) but not at all greasy. In fact, I’m typically ready to put my various night serums, lotions and potions on shortly thereafter.

Next up is a recipe that I made this week that cost me nothing to make! We had all of the ingredients on hand–and the family devoured it.


It also fed us for two dinners and was great for reheating for hurried before-after-school-activities-meals. Link HERE

Image courtesy of: http://www.5dollardinners.com/cheeseburger-skillet/


Finally, a workout program that costs only $2 a month:

Image courtesy of www.mommastrong.com


I’ve talked about Momma Strong before. It’s an online workout (geared towards women–moms specifically–but there’s also now a Papa Strong workout for the menfolk) that is only $2 a month. I’ve been doing the Daily 15 workouts for many months, but fell off the wagon over the Holidays (and, for only $2 a month, I didn’t feel too bad about jumping ship). At the beginning of this month, I was really ready to get back to the program. I started The Hook–a 28 day strength challenge earlier this month. It’s also a 15 minute a day workout. This, coupled with my daily dog hike, has gotten me back on track.

It’s also good to sign up for and honor a commitment. Another integral part of the whole Momma Strong community is an active Facebook group, where you can ask questions and get accountability buddies. It’s an incredible group of people who are supportive and at all different levels of health and fitness. Again…all of this is included in the $2 a month fee.

What are your current Frugal Friday Favorites? 

Continue reading “Frugal Friday Favorites”

Happy 2018!

2017 goals

I’m an action-oriented, list-making type of person, so I enjoy the beginning of a new year and all of the promise and potential that it holds. I’ve never really been a resolution-maker but lately, I’ve grown accustomed to setting some goals and intentions for myself at the beginning of the year. 

This year, I have some goals and I thought I’d share them here, in the hopes that they’ll inspire you and also hold me accountable.

Without further ado, here are my goals for 2017…

Continue reading “2017 goals”

Happy 2018!

Friday Favorites–Christmas 2016 successes

Whew! Christmas was a whirlwind around here…how ’bout for you?

Every year, it takes me by surprise how much planning we (I) put into everything–all for approximately 2 days of enjoyment. I spent countless time and energy on menu-planning, home decorating and gift selecting. I love it all so much, but man alive, does it go by quickly!

So, after having a few days to marinate on our Christmas, I thought I’d do a round-up of our Christmas 2016 successes today–from gifts to recipes.

Continue reading “Friday Favorites–Christmas 2016 successes”

Happy 2018!

Taco Tuesday No More!

It’s been a rough couple of weeks in the kitchen, y’all!

Between evening choir and 4th grade musical performances at the school and a party that we hosted, I haven’t had much inclination to do my usual meal-planning and cooking routine. I’m guessing a lot of you are in the same boat. 

This week isn’t looking much better either and the only meal planning that I’m up for right now is trying to puzzle through what we’ll be eating for Christmas Eve, (typically we do a spread of finger foods, appetizers and cheese-ball type stuff) Christmas morning, (my husband wants to attempt The Pioneer Woman’s infamous cinnamon rolls) and Christmas dinner. What are you serving? I need some inspiration…

I did manage to crank out one successful, healthy Cook Smarts meal for my family last week, amidst all of the Holiday hullaboloo and wanted to share it with you today. 

(Image courtesy of Cook Smarts, because we gobbled ours down too quickly to snap a picture of the finished product)


I made Chicken with Mushroom White Wine Sauce for dinner on a busy school night. It came together rather easily and was healthy and delicious. Here’s what was in it:

Ingredients: Mushrooms, 2 chicken breasts, cream, thyme, white wine, shallots and chicken broth


I’ve spent years avoiding mushrooms, thinking that I didn’t like them. Thanks to Cook Smarts, I’ve learned that I do, in fact, like mushrooms! Cook Smarts is a weekly meal planning subscription program that provides you with menus, grocery lists and prep ideas to make getting a healthy meal on your family’s table easy and cost-effective each week.

From now through December 23, enjoy 15% off of meal plan gift certificates with the code: GIVECOMFORT at Cook Smarts. 

After the Holidays, I can’t wait to dive back into Cook Smarts meal plans. I always crave order (not to mention VEGETABLES) after the Holidays are over and Cook Smarts is the best tool in my arsenal for getting us back on track in the kitchen.

Speaking of food successes lately: For our little party that we had last week, I put together a cheese tray for noshing on when our guests arrived. It turned out pretty cute and was easy peasy to put together. You might want to give it a whirl at your own Holiday get togethers.

4 different types of cheese cubes from the deli, green and red grapes, celery for the tree trunk and rosemary for garnish.


Please share what’s on your Holiday menu this week to give us some inspo and ideas! 

Happy 2018!

A sober holiday gift guide

Sober gift guide

This time of the year, alcohol is front and center–have you noticed?

Whether it’s the assumption of alcohol-fueled festivities or the giving of every kind of alcohol (and alcohol accessory) as a gift, for a non-drinker, it can feel as though the cards are stacked against you when trying to find a gift that doesn’t involve alcohol.

Let’s face it: giving alcohol as a gift is sometimes a no-brainer. Who doesn’t want to receive a nice bottle of something? A person who doesn’t drink–that’s who.

From elaborate wine bags for gifting bottles of wine, to gift sets that include flasks, martini shakers and fancy glasses–at every turn, all you see are alcohol-themed gifts–many of them making light of alcohol abuse.


Hilarious to some, but a stark reality to many.

Now, (this is disputable to be sure) I’m not a fuddy-duddy AND–get this–I’ve even been known to give alcohol as a gift since I’ve been sober, but it can also feel very daunting to think of a gift to give a non-drinker this time of year when you’d rather encourage healthy habits. Also, if you’re newly sober and trying to find gifts to give to your friends and family who do drink alcohol, you certainly wouldn’t want to trigger your own demons by going on a shopping spree at the local liquor store in order to make your friends and family happy.

So, to help you, I’ve compiled a few gift ideas for non-drinkers that will delight everyone on your list–drinkers or not.





1: Teavana

Maybe, like me, you’ve passed Teavana in your local mall or shopping area. It’s a quaint, adorable shop that smells lovely–like the most fragrant teas on the planet. Maybe, (also like me) you’ve thought, “What a bizarre thing to sell in the mall.” In my opinion, there isn’t anything wrong with buying your tea–you know…like the rest of the country–in your local grocery store. Ain’t nothing wrong with a little Celestial Seasonings, amIright?

So, when I visited my dear friend this fall and she pulled out her collection of beautiful Teavana tins, full of the most lovely-smelling herbal teas I’d every sniffed, I opened my eyes to Teavana (and ended up leaving her city with a nice supply of newly-purchased Teavana teas to take home with me).

The best holiday gifts are those that the recipient might not buy for themselves and Teavana definitely fits this bill. Their teas feel decadent and the packaging is beautiful.

2: Erin Condren planner

I know that once I got sober, I really craved lots of order and planning-ahead in my life. I liked to feel like I was in control of my life (in every aspect). One thing that I did right away was buy a planner and got my life in order. I still live and die by my calendar/planner, despite my husband’s head-scratching over why I won’t just embrace Google Calendar for once and for all.

Erin Condren makes a lovely, personalized planner that you can “pimp out” with all kinds of add-ons and stickers. It’s a bit pricey, so that really makes it a lovely gift for someone who might not want to spend that kind of money on themselves. Plus, if it’s a gift that they end up enjoying, you’ve got a built-in gift for next year as well.

3: Art Naturals Essential Oil Diffuser 

Essential oils are everywhere these days. Just ask any oil aficionado and they’ll give you a “recipe” for which oils to diffuse, given any obstacle. Apparently, there’s even an oil blend for sobriety.

An Essential Oil Diffuser and some essential oils are a brilliant gift to give someone who needs a little clarity, relaxation and peace in their life.

4: Spotify

I love music and music has gotten me through some rough patches in my life for sure. But, do you know that I still won’t pay for Spotify and instead suffer through the annoying ads every 30 minutes? How nice would it be to give someone the gift of a Spotify membership?

5: Cook Smarts

You know how I feel about Cook Smarts. Did you know that you can gift someone with a subscription to their meal planning service? What a wonderful gift for someone who’s interested in cooking more in the New Year but is intimidated by meal planning and cooking techniques.

Cook Smarts also has a fabulous 2017 Cook Smarts Calendar. It’s like gifting 13 beautifully designed, colorful cooking lessons for less than $12.00! This calendar would be lovely stand-alone gift, or a really nice add-on (and something to wrap up) to give along with a Cook Smarts subscription.

6: Momma Strong

I’ve talked about my love for Momma Strong here before. It’s an efficient, personalized workout, geared toward moms (but anyone can do it). There are varying degrees of difficulty, so even someone who is new to working out can feel stronger after doing one of the Momma Strong workouts. And, at only $2 a month, you can give your sober friend a great jump start on good health in the New Year.

Now, go forth and shop–knowing that, whether you’re a non-drinker or buying for a non-drinker, you’re giving the gift of health, clarity and love this Holiday season. 


Happy 2018!

Taco Tuesday No More!

…a weekly meal planning post. 


Last week, knowing that I had several Thanksgiving dishes to prepare, I did not have any interest in cooking meals for my family. I was in a rut. Big time. So, when I got the Cook Smarts email, announcing that week’s menu, I wasn’t as excited as I usually am. 

But, I also knew that, regardless of how much Thanksgiving prep I had to do, that pesky family of mine would need to, you know, eat and stuff too, so I picked a couple of Cook Smarts meals to make.

It just so happens that I’m SO happy that I did because they turned out beautifully and tasted so good–when, otherwise, I probably would’ve gotten us something quick and easy (and unhealthy) like fast food. 

I made the Sausage and Shrimp Gumbo with Brown Rice last week. 

gumbo ingredients

We’re lucky because, living where we do, we have a pretty steady supply of venison meat that’s given to us often and we always have a freezer full of really tasty venison sausage, so I used that in this recipe. Also, I had forgotten how much I love okra until this recipe last week. 

gumo pot

The recipe called for a roux–which, I’m not gonna lie–intimidates the pants off of me. But! It was so easy! The smell of gumbo bubbling on the stovetop was heavenly.  

gumbo bowl

The gumbo turned out wonderful! Hearty and perfect for a chilly night. It also tasted so good ahead of a week full of gluttony and sugar. The protein from the shrimp and sausage really packed a punch and even a small bowl stuck with me for a long time. 

Now, here’s some great news for you…

Cook Smarts

From now through December 6, 2016, Cook Smarts is offering a 40% off all meal plan subscriptions AND gift certificates with the code HAPPYCOOKING. What a fabulous Holiday gift for someone who enjoys healthy food–or, for someone who might want to explore healthier options in the New Year! 

I love gifts that don’t take up space in my home, and gifts that offer an “experience” for the recipient are such a fun thing. You could also plan ahead for the New Year and treat yourself (and your family) to stress-free, organized meal plans for next year.. 

You can read more about my experiences with Cook Smarts HERE and HERE


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