Meal planning for a busy week

On Sundays I am always thinking about what we are going to eat for meals that week. When the boys are napping I scribble out a list of meals and things I need to buy at the store. I got all of the items at the store yesterday for under $100- which isn’t bad considering I bought lunch and snack items too! Here the meals I am going to make this week:

– Creamy chicken soup with crescent rolls. I love that veggies and protein are all in one pot. And leftovers are great for lunches the next day.

– Chopped salad with gorgonzola and avocado. I put a balsamic vinaigrette on this- so yummy.

– Quick spaghetti bolognese. I cheat on this dish and dress up my favorite store-bought marinara sauce with ground beef, shredded carrots and onions and red wine. A rich, hearty meal.

– Thai chicken curry. One of our favorite meals! Coconut milk, lime and red curry. I serve it over basmati rice.

– Stir fried rice. The cheapest, easiest meal! Use the leftover rice from the curry, and veggies you have around. I use carrots, onions, garlic and chives. Topped with soy sauce, lemon and butter- I real treat!

I am going to post the recipes throughout the week! But if you interested here is what you will need at the grocery store:

Creamy chicken soup- bacon- optional, olive oil, butter, chicken breasts, Mrs. Dash garlic and herb seasoning, paprika, salt, pepper, onions, yellow potatoes, carrots, celery, garlic, flour, vermouth or white wine, chicken stock, half and half, and crescent rolls.

Chopped salad with gorgonzola and avocado- olive oil, balsamic vinegar, honey, salt, pepper, romaine lettuce, red onions, bacon, avocado, lemon and tortilla chips. French bread- optional.

Quick spaghetti bolognese– Spaghetti, onion, carrot, garlic, ground beef, salt, pepper, fresh thyme and or rosemary or Italian seasoning, red wine, marinara sauce and sugar.

Thai chicken curry- Basmati rice, chicken broth, olive oil, chicken, curry powder, salt, pepper, onions, red pepper, garlic, ginger, red curry paste, coconut milk, lime and sugar.

Stir-fried rice- Vegetable oil, butter, eggs-optional, onions, carrots, garlic, Rice- leftover or fresh, soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, lemon, pepper, chives.

Later today I will be posting the creamy chicken soup recipe. This is a quick soup that can be done from chopping to eating in one hour.

Happy meal planning! These recipes I am posting this week are all sure family pleasers that are easy! If I can do it with two into everything little boys- anyone can =)

Cinco de Mayo Dinner- Fresh Mexican Salad

With two children under three I am constantly cooking dinner in under 30 minutes, and with a child screaming at me. It sometimes has to be a quick, simple dinner. Of course there are special dinners- I love cooking those! The children are sleeping or being entertained by husband, and I can cook in peace. That is a treat. But on those ordinary days fresh mexican salad is an easy, yummy meal that my husband and I love!

Fresh Mexican Salad

For the dressing:                                                                                                                   1/2 cup salsa                                                                                                                               2 teaspoons red wine vinegar                                                                                             3/4 teaspoon sugar                                                                                                           Juice of 1/2 a lime divided                                                                                                       2 tablespoons olive oil                                                                                                         1/4 teaspoon salt                                                                                                                   1/4 teaspoon pepper

For the salad:                                                                                                                          3 cups lettuce- a combination of romaine and iceberg                                                 1/4 of a red onion chopped                                                                                                     1/2 cup corn frozen corn defrosted                                                                                   1/4 cup chopped fresh pineapple                                                                                       1/4 cup canned black beans drained                                                                                     1  avacado chopped                                                                                                           Juice of 1/2 a lime                                                                                                       optional 1 tablespoon fresh cilantro                                                                                 1/3 cup shredded cheddar cheese                                                                                     1/2 cup tortilla chips crunched

– Combine all of the salad ingredients with the dressing. Toss and serve.

Dinner is complete!
Dinner is complete!

It doesn’t get much easier than that! Here are some add in ideas: BBQ or saute chicken that is sprinkled with paprika, garlic powder, salt and pepper. Right after cooked top with some lime juice. Or you could add a different cheese- colby jack or cotija would be yummy. Also I love to grill the corn instead of using frozen corn. It takes longer but is so good. Put olive oil, salt and pepper on a husked corn ear. Grill till brown. Cut the corn from the cob and viola. It gives the corn a sweetness that is so good. You could also grill the pineapple.

This meal is so easy- it is great for weekday lunches, those essential quick meals or part of a delicious Cinco de Mayo feast. Hope you enjoy!

My quick makeup pick me up

Some mornings are hard- as we all know! On Sunday night my one year old decided to wake up at least four times. Then my three year old woke up at 6. This would be okay if I hadn’t gone to bed past midnight- darn Mad Men!

My children were grumpy and I was feeling blah. I wanted to feel more awake. I did a couple quick on demand workouts and then I decided to get ready. With two whinny toddlers it had to be a quick getting ready.

I started with my favorite face cream- Eucerin Q10 anti-wrinkle- sensitive skin. It does not irritate my skin and keeps my skin moisturized for the whole day. I didn’t put any foundation or other face make up on. It is just one of those days =)

My favorite cream!
My favorite cream!
My favorites for a quick look!
My favorites for a quick look!

Then I did my perfect quick eyes– but with no eyeliner on my lids- just under the eyes. I used Maybelline great last mascara– I have loved this product for years. It stays on forever and comes off easy. Love.

Then I needed color! I put Bareminerals lipstick in rose crepe on my lips. It is a great neutral pink. It is matte like and again stays on for a long time. It also moisturizes the lips too. Great product. Unfortunately I can’t find this color in stores anymore-  but Make Your Move color of the Marvelous Moxie Lipstick would be a close comparison.

The Bareminerals lipstick.
The Bareminerals lipstick.
Before- feeling blah!
Before- feeling blah!
Three minuted later with just a couple items!
Three minutes later with just a couple items!

Then I felt more alive and ready to face the day with my boys in a more awake state! And it isn’t turning out to be a bad day at all!

What is your quick makeup routine?

Easy Comfort Food

My husbands favorite meal is pasta with pesto. I make it for him all of the time! Ordinarily I make homemade pesto. I couldn’t make it homemade yesterday for our special pasta dinner because we currently don’t have a food processor! We are in the Boston area for three months for my husband’s job- and don’t have most of our belongings with us.
Using store bought pesto makes this meal super easy. I love that this meal includes carbs, veggies and protein. Everything you need in one pot. I recommend you make a big pot of it- and save the leftovers for weekly lunches. The recipe serves 4- but the servings are very large!

Easy chicken pesto with mushrooms and asparagus
1 pound box of farfalle pasta (bowties) or any other type of pasta of your choice
2 boneless skinless chicken breasts- cut into bite sized pieces
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoons butter divided
1 bundle of asparagus cut into 1 inch pieces
8 ounce pack of button mushrooms- chopped
2 cloves garlic chopped                                                                                                       1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese divided                                                                         1/4 cup half and half                                                                                                                8 ounce container store bought pesto

The veggies all chopped. I buy the sliced mushrooms and chop them smaller.
The veggies all chopped. I buy the packaged sliced mushrooms and chop them smaller.

-Put a large pot of salted water on to boil for the pasta. Add pasta and cook according to directions. Take 1-2 minutes off the cooking time for al dente.

The pasta. We do Barilla Plus a lot of the time for added protein.
The pasta. We do Barilla Plus a lot of the time for added protein.

– Sprinkle the salt, pepper, paprika, and garlic powder on the chicken.

– In a large pan melt 1/2 tablespoon butter and 1/2 tablespoon olive oil. Add the chicken. Spread it out and don’t stir for a while to get the chicken browned. Remove when fully cooked. Set aside.

– In the same pan add the remaining olive oil and 1/2 tablespoon butter. Add the mushrooms. Cook for 3 minutes, then add the asparagus. Brown and cook for 5 more minutes. Add the garlic and cook 2 minutes. Sprinkle with the remaining salt and pepper.

Veggies browning. Make sure to get color on the mushrooms. It brings out so much flavor when they are caramelized.
Veggies browning. Make sure to get color on the mushrooms. It brings out so much flavor when they are caramelized.

– In the pasta pot add the cooked pasta. Top with the remaining butter and 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese. Stir and add the pesto and 1/2 and 1/2.  Add the chicken and veggies and stir. Top with remaining Parmesan cheese.

Stirring everything together.
Stirring everything together.
Dinner!
Dinner!

Optional- Add crispy bacon for a smoky flavor. Substitute or add onions, peas or whatever other veggies you like. Shallots would be great.

Taming the Frizz

We had a pretty lazy weekend in my house. I was getting over a little bug- but that didn’t stop me from straightening my hair. I was anxious to try out a new product I bought- Garnier Fructis Sleek & Shine Moroccan Sleek. I have big, frizzy, wavy hair that I am always looking to tame! I wanted something to use on my hair after I straighten it to calm the frizz.

The oil treatment. It comes in a fairly small bottle- but since you only need a little at a time it will last a long time!
The oil treatment. It comes in a fairly small bottle- but since you only need a little at a time it will last a long time!
The product!
The product!

It has a very thin consistency- a lot thinner than Moroccanoil. Because of this it comes fast out of the bottle. I accidently used about the size of a quarter on my very thick hair and it was way too much! It made my hair greasy. I recommend only using a few drops- that is plenty! It did make a lot of the frizz go away though.

My hair after using the product. As you can see it made it look sleek- but still some frizz.
My hair right after using the product. As you can see it made it look sleek- but still some frizz.
My hair the next day after using the product. It is a lot greasier than it would have been if I hadn't used it. Don't use too much of it!
My hair the next day after using the product. It is a lot greasier than it would have been if I hadn’t used it. Don’t use too much of it!

So I think this product is great in extremely small doses. It lives up to it’s name and makes your hair sleek- just maybe a little too sleek!

Playing with a MAC eyeshadow palette

I am a mom who loves a good deal. If something is 30 percent off it automatically appeals to me more. I was so proud of myself when I got both of my children a 2 pack of pajamas- that are cute!- for $20. That’s $5 a pair! Love! So when I saw eye shadow palettes at the MAC store for almost %50 off I couldn’t say no. So I bought my first MAC eyeshadow palette.

MAC eye shadow palette in cool neutral.
MAC eye shadow palette in cool neutral.

It was the most expensive single piece of makeup I have ever bought- but how could I resist. I love the quality of MAC make-up. These eye shadows stay on a long time and are vibrant. I wish that the colors in the palette were brighter and more exciting- but these are great for every day use. I love there are lighter colors like Flounce- a white and Pick Me Up- a pink, that you can use to highlight. And there are dark ones, like Black Tied and Blackberry that you can line your eyes with. It has everything you need.

I am known as the make up aunt with my nieces so I had to experiment with the palette on one my nieces. I used the Flounce and Pick Me Up and lined with Black Tied.

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Makes her brown eyes pop.
Makes her brown eyes pop.

I also tried it out on my sister. She has hazel green so I put After Dusk in the corners. I highlighted with Flounce.

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Makes her pretty eyes look greener.
Makes her pretty eyes look greener.

This palette is great for someone starting out with make-up- because you would have a lot you need for eyes in one. Also it is just fun to play with! All and all a great present to myself that I hope will last a longtime!

Perfect Quick Eyes

On a whim when I was at Ulta a few months ago I picked out a Bare Minerals eye shadow duo. There was a Bare Minerals free gift- and I am a sucker for a free gift! Well this on a whim purchase has become one of my favorite on the go eye shadow tricks.

When I have to do my eyes quick the first thing I do is line the lids with a black eye liner- my favorite is Lancome Le Crayon Khol Eyeliner. Blog post to follow soon about this amazing eyeliner. I go to as close to the lash line as I can.

My favorite eyeliner! Lancome Le Crayon!
My favorite eyeliner! Lancome Le Crayon!
Eyes lined!
Eyes lined!

Then I use my secret weapon- Bare Minerals eye shadow duo in The Hollywood Ending. I use the little sponge brush that is included and put the light color- Promise- all over the lid and below the eye brow. Then I take the darker color- Dazzle and go over the eyeliner with it. I also fill in the outside corner of my eyelid with it. I love this step. It adds this beautiful color to the eyes and it also fixes and blends the quick eye liner job I just did!

The beautiful eye shadow colors- Bare Mineral eye shadow duo in The Hollywood Ending.
The beautiful eye shadow colors- Bare Mineral eye shadow duo in The Hollywood Ending.
Eye shadows applied!
Eye shadows applied!
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Disregard my crazy hair and the rest of my face! The only make up I have on is eyes. I did add the eye liner on the bottom part of my eye lid and mascara.

I recommend the Bare Minerals ready eye shadow duo. Easy application and beautiful colors. The loose Bare Minerals eye shadow makes a big mess and aren’t so easy to put on. I prefer the ready eye shadow! I think the dazzle- blue green eye shadow color goes really well with my hazzle/ brown eyes. A purchase that was well worth it!

Breaking the Bare Minerals Rules

Today was a crazy day. We woke up at 6:30- thanks to two energetic boys who like to wake up when the sun comes up. We went into Boston for the day. Our boys rode the T for the first time and it was a fun, exhausting day.  Boston Common Park, Quincy Market and lots of walking were on the list.

I wanted my make up to stay on for a long time- so I went with an old favorite. Liquid foundation with Bare Minerals bronzer and blush.

I first started using Bare Minerals years ago. When I purchased my first set they walked me through all of  “the rules.”

Swirl the Bare Minerals brush in whatever powder you are using and then do the tap several times. Don’t use too much product. Use the specific Bare Minerals brush for use.

Well  I am a rule breaker! I thought I love this brush- I am going to use it with other products. And I love the Bare Minerals blush I am going to use it with liquid foundation. I loved the results.

One of my favorite things to do is use the Bare Minerals bronzer warmth and blush in aubergine with liquid foundation and studio fix powder.

Warmth bronzer and blush in aubergine.

Today I started with Clinique Moisture Surge and Bare Minerals prime time primer. I wanted to have a smooth base because Clinique skin perfecting foundation/concealer is heavy and needs a moisturized base to go on well. Then I used my favorite MAC studio fix power in N5 and the Bare Minerals products. I used the bronzer in warmth all over my face and the blush in aubergine on my cheek bones and the apple of my cheeks. I normally would finish with Bare Minerals clear radiance, but I didn’t have it with me today.

Before the Bare Minerals products (just with foundation and powder.)
Before the Bare Minerals products (just with foundation and powder.)
With the Bare Mineral bronzer and blush- brightens me up!
With the Bare Mineral bronzer and blush- brightens me up!

I love the colors Bare Minerals offers. They give that glow we all want, more so than most other brands I have tried. I have found you can mix and match Bare Minerals with other brands and the outcome is great. Breaking the rules sometimes works!

Trying out Clinique beyond perfecting fondation/concealer

I am a mom of two energetic, sweet, emotional toddler boys. They are 1 and 3 and take up most of my time. I am thankful for that, and I thank God for it. It doesn’t always leave me a lot of time for me. As most moms know- me time is important!

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I am simple- although my husband probably wouldn’t agree with that statement! If I have 15 minutes of peace to get ready in the morning it is a treat and makes me feel awake and ready for the day. It doesn’t happen everyday- but when it does it makes a difference.

I have been on the hunt for a long wearing, fuller coverage foundation, so I can put it on in those fifteen minutes and not worry about it the whole day. I have sensitive skin and that irritates easily- so finding one isn’t always easy.

I went with my sister and a dear friend and we had a kid free lunch and shopping afternoon. It was rejuvenating and wonderful. Macy’s was having free gift time with Clinique- so I decided to try a foundation I had heard buzz about- beyond perfecting foundation/concealer.

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Clinique beyond perfecting foundation/concealer in alabaster.

I was disappointed in the color selection- nothing fit my skin tone perfectly- but I got one none the less.  The options were too light or too orange- so I went with too light for my skin tone- alabaster was the shade.

It definitely covers really well and stays on for a long time. Just what any mom needs!  You can really put it on and not worry about your face make up for the whole day. And I apply it with my hands! Easy- it takes like two minutes to apply.  The part I like most about it is that it doesn’t irritate my skin. My face feels great after wearing it.

The color was really not right for me- but as you can see in the following pictures- with the rest of the make up on it works okay. I used MAC studio fix in N5 and MAC scene to be seen mineralize skin finish on my face. In addition I used some of the other things that are in the pink clinique bonus.  The 04 pink blush, 16 day into date and 14 strawberry fudge duo eyeshadows, and 33 rasberry glace different lipstick and 12 kissy fit long last glosswear.

For me this all works! I wish they had a shade that fit my skin tone better- but I love wearing make up that stays on for so long- it is worth it.

Me with no make up on. I am just wearing a moisturizer I like- no primer.
Me with no make up on. I am just wearing a moisturizer I like- no primer.
Me just with the foundation on. No concealer or anything else. It cover really well- but you can see how washed out I am.
Me just with the foundation on. No concealer or anything else. It cover really well- but you can see how washed out I am.
With some blush and powder- brightens it up a bit!
With some blush and powder- brightens it up a bit!
Added eye makeup, lip and hair down.
Added eye makeup, lip and hair down.