I’m back….kind of…

A few life moments were celebrated these last few weeks:

I celebrated my 1 year wedding anniversary and this year has sure put us to the test…But we stay strong, like always and most of the time become stronger. Its been one heck of a roller coaster ride

We celebrated the life of my Father in Law, Anthony…who unfortunately passed away the beginning of October. I say celebrated life because I don’t believe you should continue to mourn. I understand people need different amounts of time to mourn, but I try to stay positive and look at things in a different light. He was an incredible man, who touched the lives of so many people. I was able to read his eulogy in front of hundreds of people and tell his life story. This man did not have the life of a 5 minute Eulogy either. I was able to stand up there and read a 10 minute life story of a very loved man. And I was able to support my husband throughout. Which is a big accomplishment because that’s what marriage is all about and our first year was definitely put to the test!

And I celebrated my 29th birthday…every other year our city holds a Columbus Day parade and this year fell right on my birthday! It’s a fun time of food, drinks, friends and family. The love being with kids and taking pictures of everyone. And this year was definitely special because the parade also celebrated my father in law! Sings, banners, and everyone cheering…what’s better than that?!?

So, Let me get my life back on track this week and I’ll be making sure to get my menu ready with some new recipes, and some cool Halloween decorations, and maybe a fall inspired fashion post. Let’s see what I can come up with!!

Sunday Prep

Hey Guys!! Sorry I went on a 2 week hiatus. Blogging is tough when life gets hectic and my house has sure been hectic!!! With that said, today it my 1 year wedding anniversary. So we did it married style….with food shopping. Of course we have exciting dinner plans for later, but I wanted to make sure to get back in touch with Olives and Polka Dots…

 

I started taking Spanish classes after work on Mondays, so I needed to make sure to have something substantial to hold me over in between meals…so my Monday snack looks like this:

I made Mondays lunch easy, just cereal with coconut milk and hard-boiled eggs for protein. Especially because I’m going to have such a hefty snack in the afternoon.

I also made an asparagus, egg, and bacon salad with a Honey Dijon dressing for Tuesday lunch: Asparagus, Egg, and Bacon salad

Last week I made a delicious dish that I wanted to make sure to share with everyone!!!

This was easy to make and delicious!!! I took the asparagus and made bundles of 4. Then I sprayed them with Whole Foods Olive oil spray, seasoned with salt and pepper, and then wrapped with the prosciutto. Then I cooked it on 400 for 20 minutes, or until the asparagus was tender. To make it fit in my lunch container, I had to cut them in half. I also made my favorite salad: cucumber and tomato salad with mayo and a little siracha sauce. And I added blueberries for dessert!! Yummy!!!

So, that is this weeks meals, sorry to keep it brief, but I need to go beautify myself for a special date tonight!!! See you soon…no more hiatus’ either!!!!

Rotisserie Chicken Meals

I love buying rotisserie chickens, from one chicken I am able to usually get 6 meals from it! It’s easy to just pick up on busy night and not have to “cook” anything! I just shred the chicken and then make whatever meals I can. Here’s what I made with my last rotisserie chicken:

  • BBQ Chicken– I put BBQ sauce over the shredded chicken and mix it up. Anthony makes a BBQ chicken pizza on NAAN bread with cheese and red onion and I put mine over salad with a little extra BBQ sauce for salad dressing.
  •  Chicken Salad- I make this for lunch for both of us. I mixed the shredded chicken with paleo compliant mayo, red onion, and celery. Anthony will toast an english muffin and put his chicken salad on that as a sandwich. I put mine in a lettuce wrap and pack veggies to nibble on too!
  • Buffalo Chicken Mac n Cheese for Anthony:  I followed this easy recipe Betty Crockers Mac and Cheese. I cut the recipe in half since I don’t eat it and then Anthony will still have another serving to bring for lunch the next day.
  • Pesto Chicken “Pasta”: I made the zucchini noodles again (How to make Zucchini Noodles) and sautéed them with shredded chicken and pesto sauce. This is another quick and easy meal and takes less than 20 minutes to make.

After I shred the whole chicken, I take the bones and put them in the freezer.  Then over the weekend, or when I have a chance, I make fresh chicken broth with the bones. Here’ the recipe I use: Crock Pot Chicken Broth. Its pretty easy to make and I love fresh chicken broth because it taste so much better than store-bought brands. Plus, I can freeze it and keep it for a long time for quick soups in the winter!

So for a $10 rotisserie chicken, I have 6 meals we can eat now, probably 4 servings of broth for soup for later, and I didn’t even really have to make a mess in the kitchen! Now that’s Easy Peasy!!!!

62 Wharf and Wine Bar

Last night was Girls Night and they said I should start reviewing the restaurants we go to on my blog!! (Want to see how Girls Night started?? Check out my first blog post about it: Isn’t it quaint?) What a great idea?!?! Do you guys want to see restaurant reviews? Let me know!!

So last night we went to 62 Wharf and Wine bar in Salem, Ma. 62 Wharf and Wine Bar   It was Annette’s birthday and I happen to have a gift card to 62 Wharf, I figured we could use it to celebrate! The menu looked great.

For appetizers

  • We started with the Arancini: Small size and delicious. It came with three, but the waitress said we could add-on one more. (There are 4 of us that go out). They also brought over fresh bread and oil when our arancini came out.

For the entrée:

  • Two of us had the gnocchi with short ribs. The short ribs were so good, they practically melted in your mouth and the gnocchi was cooked to perfection. Sometimes gnocchi can get a little mushy, this was not. The sauce was mild and it was an all around delicious dish. Very filling and the portion size was perfect. Jamie also got the rosemary roasted potatoes as a side those were very good as well!
  • The other two had Lobster Pappardelle. They both liked their dishes, but the lobster came in the shell. They thought it would have been like lazy man lobster and  it was a little more messy work than they were anticipating. The pasta was pretty thick as well. Annette had the spicy broccoli rabe and Mandy and I split asparagus as a sides. The sides were a larger, share-able portions.

For Dessert: 

  • We each chose one and then tried each others
    • Warm Toffee pudding was delicious. It had a nice toffee syrup and a little piece of chocolate cake. It was warm and perfect in every way!
    • Chocolate was chocolate cake with hazelnut gelato and that was also delicious! It had little pieces of grounded espresso beans, and I didn’t really love that part because I had little pieces stuck in my teeth afterwards!
    • Strawberry Rhubarb Crostada was pretty delicious as well and my friend seemed pretty happy with it. I have never had this type of dish before, so it is hard to compare what I imagined it would be like.
    • And last but not least: Just gelato. She had hazelnut and vanilla and enjoyed it as well.

I mean its dessert…how can you not enjoy all of it?

Experience/Atmosphere: 

  • The atmosphere was definitely a little fancier than I had expected. It was “Modern Italian Food” with tapas size dishes. Usually, I think, Italian means big plates and lots of leftovers, but we all felt like we had the perfect sized entrée. The waitress also let us know that anything on the menu could be adjusted to your liking and you could swap anything you wanted. They had a gluten-free menu and all of the pasta is hand-made as well. They brought water over to the table and left a large “jug” of water for us. We had iced tea and seltzer water as well. We were all starving when we arrived and they asked if we wanted bread but it didn’t come out right away, it came out when we had our appetizer. We waited a little bit longer than usual in between the appetizer and our main dishes, but once they arrived it was so delicious we didn’t really notice. The waitress was really nice and one of us is a pescatarian (a vegetarian that eats fish) and she let her know she could customize the dishes to her liking. Also, I booked on Opentable and left a note that one of us were celebrating a birthday and they were very accommodating to make sure she had a special dessert and candle to blow-out for the occasion.

Final decision:                                                              8 out of 10

  • All around we really enjoyed it. I think this is better for a fancier dinner, like an anniversary or birthday celebration, and I would recommend it to someone who was looking for that type of elegant environment. However, I wouldn’t necessarily recommend to everyone. If you have picky eaters (like Anthony) this may be a tough spot; even though you can mix and match and make it your liking, it’s definitely a different type of style. The food was absolutely delicious, however I was disappointed in the wait time between asking for bread and the actual arrival and the fact that we waited so long in between appetizers and the entrée. Even though the food was absolutely delicious, I was a tiny, tiny bit disappointed with the service.

2 Meals in 1- Easy Skillet Lasagna & Zucchini Noodles with Meat Sauce

I try to cook dinner every night. I make a weekly menu for us, so it takes the “What do you want to have dinner? I don’t know what do you want for dinner?” factor out of planning. The decisions already made for us. When I make my menus, I try to make sure I have a good rotation between chicken, hamburger, pork chops, and other meats. However Anthony and I have a little bit of a different taste palate. I try to stay consistent with Paleo….he’s a meat and rice guy with a side of Italian! Sometimes I make 2 separate meals, but I always try to make them have a similar base.

Tonight, I made an Easy Skillet Lasagna for Anthony and a Meat sauce and Zucchini Noodles for myself. This is a pretty easy combo to make. Before I started Paleo, I had the Easy Skillet Lasagna recipe…Easy Skillet Lasagna

So I changed a few things to make this work for me:

  • I followed steps 1, 2, & 3 exactly. (Just sautéing the garlic, onion, and browning the hamburger)
  • Step 4- I added different tomatoes: one 15 ounce can tomato sauce and one 15 ounce  diced tomato with italian herbs. No chicken broth, and I cooked the ravioli’s in a separate pot…So I didn’t “contaminate” my part of the sauce.
  • Step 5, 6, & 7- I didn’t add any cheese. Anthony adds his own, once he makes his dish. If you eat dairy, you can add the cheese as it gets really “melty” and kind of makes a thicker sauce. I let it boil while I cooked the ravioli’s. About 20 minutes.

While everything is cooking, I made my zucchini pasta. This is so easy to make since I bought my new tool: The Veggetti!  All I did was cut the ends off of the zucchini, then spun it into this little contraption and OUT COMES ZUCCHINI PASTA!!! It takes less than 2 minutes to spin it out. Then, I sautée it for 6 minutes in olive oil, put a little meat sauce over it, and my “pasta” is ready.

The even better part of this meal?!? Anthony takes the rest of the ravioli’s for lunch tomorrow!

Next,  a little Thirsty Thursday to end a short week! Take care…

Labor Day Prep

Since I had Sunday and Monday off from work, I used Monday to make my lunches fresh for the week.

First I made Tuesday’s Lunch: Spicy tuna cakes with tomato & cucumber salad and grapes: Spicy Tuna cakes from Nom Nom Paleo

tuna cakes

I put the sweet potato in the microwave so it would be quick, then I made the spicy tuna cakes and threw them in the oven. While they cooked, I chopped up tomatoes and cucumbers and made my favorite side dish, Cucumber and Tomato salad. I put the chopped up the veggies (sometimes I put in a little chopped onion too) and mix in 1 tablespoon of paleo compliant mayo and a little siracha sauce. Then I added some grapes and put the spicy tuna cakes in once they were done! Prefect Monday Lunch

Then I made Wednesday’s lunch: Egg Salad & Veggie bites with blueberries

Bento box

The egg salad is pretty simple. I have tried a few different ways to make hardboiled eggs and i find that my full proof method to always get perfect hardboiled eggs is to cover them with cold water, bring to a boil for 15 minutes, drain and then cover back in cold water and let them sit. Then i added a tablespoon of the paleo mayo, a little paprika, pepper, and salt. All done! The veggies I already had chopped up still from game night and I added my fruit!

I also made Tuesday’s breakfast which consisted of some left over veggies, a half of a chicken sausage, and two eggs. I had on the menu 2 eggs with bacon, but I try not waste food, so all of those leftover veggies from Game Night will get used one way or another. I also made a few containers of fruit so if I want a quick snack I can grab and go! I also made some home-made salsa because it was all gone from game night and it so too delicious not to make more.

Then for dinner I made carnita’s!!! Soooo good. They are pretty easy to make: Carnitas     Anthony had his over jambalaya rice and I had mine over a salad with salsa and guacamole!!

And that’s it for Labor Day Prep!! Up and coming posts will be 2 meals in one, I’m going to make an easy skillet lasagna for Anthony and a zucchini noodles & meat sauce  for myself from the same dish! Plus another Thirsty Thursday! See you all soon.

Game Night- Part 3

Game Night has finally arrived! (See: Game Night- Part 1  &  Game Night- Part 2 with menu) I went to the grocery store right after work on Friday and picked up almost everything on my list. (OOPS! I did forgot the sour cream though…) I came home, cleaned up and prepped a few of my food items. Then, I tidied up the kitchen and put out my serving dishes. On Saturday morning, I cooked the chicken wings and then covered them up and left them on stove. I made the kielbasa bites in the crock pot and left it on warm when they were done. I made the dips, finished cleaning the kitchen, and got myself ready!

We decided to play Guys vs. Girls!! So I made a scoreboard and hooked my computer up to the TV with a HDMI cable. (Anthony’s always proud when I know technical stuff!)

Game Night Scoreboard

I also made some cute Decorations!! I found an old game I had with cool pieces, so I put everything in a little vase and wrapped twinkle lights around it!! Quick, easy, cheap, and adorable….

Game Night Decor

These we my serving dishes. When I registered for my wedding, I picked out a lot of entertaining pieces. Specifically B. Smith from Bed, Bath, and Beyond. I love the style of her dishes and it always looks good! Plus almost everything is dishwasher safe. So at the end of the night I can rinse everything out, put it right into the dishwasher, and turn it on so in the morning everything is clean!  B Smith- Bed, Bath, & Beyond

Once people started arriving, I put the veggies, chips and dip out. I started mingling right away and totally forgot to take pictures of everything!! Once everyone was there, I put out the chicken wings, pizza, and kielbasa bites! Almost everything went. My friend, Jamie, brought tripe chocolate chip cookies…wow!!!

Never expect anything to run on time or things to work perfectly as planned. We didn’t start playing games until about 10:00. Everyone was chit-chatting and telling stories. It had been awhile since some of us had gotten together, so we needed time to catch-up. Once a few of us sat on the couch I took out my phone and we started to play Heads Up, which is an app on my phone! Once a few of us started getting loud and laughing, everyone came over and wanted to join in. All-in-all, a pretty successful event! And definitely want to plan another game night soon.