Chicken chili and “1 minute” quinoa

Instapot use #2 and #3 yesterday.

The first thing was quinoa. And I was pretty excited because it said it cooks for ONE MINUTE. Quinoa is one of the only grains I eat on the regular so that sounded incredible. Little did I know, it takes a few minutes to heat the instapot and then after the one minute, you let it sit to “naturally” let the steam out for ten minutes. Not quite one minute quinoa, but I was able to prep the rest while it cooked.

I chopped up tomatoes, yellow pepper and cucumber and added it to the cooked quinoa (from the instapot cookbook) and it was delicious! I paired it with the barbacoa meat that I made the night before for a pretty delicious lunch!

For dinner, I made the following chicken chili. This was much more successful from a saving time standpoint. Typically with a chicken chili, I cook the chicken, add the rest and then get it nice and warm.

Taco chicken chili

This called for a sauté of the onion but then everything else just gets thrown in. I was hesitant on throwing in the bean juice, but I listened. This is so good. I will make it again and again! I used Whole Foods brand of ingredients because I ordered them for 2 hour delivery through Amazon Prime in Nashville, which is a life saver.

Instapot for the win! Barbacoa beef

Some days, you win and others you just take different! Today was a little bit of both. I told myself yesterday I would be in bed earlier and set goals and pull up my boot straps and knock things out. Today was a day of a million tasks and ending with a feeling that left me unsure if I actually accomplished anything. Tonight looked a lot like me pouring a glass of wine and turning The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel on Amazon prime video and just enjoying the feeling of relaxing. Well… almost as I still had my computer out for work but was doing a little of both and didn’t go to bed until 12:30 am. As a traveling, working mom with a three and a half year old, Mrs Maisel resonates with me on so many levels. Tonight’s favorite (and in my opinion not a spoiler) was the ridiculous itinerary she hands out for the schedule of her children while she is traveling. My child literally has a packed carry on when I leave for two days.

Cute photo from tonight just because.


I bought an instapot with the rest of the world on Black Friday and so far… I’m pretty impressed!

Here’s the recipe I made tonight.

In typically fashion, I completely forgot the bay leaves and I didn’t have the crushed cloves, but it was still delicious! I put a few videos of it being made in my Instagram highlight titled Instapot (@leah2486). As I try more this week and whatever else is good, I will add them there and throw something up here.

Best parts of an instapot:

  • It’s sooooo much easier to clean!! Things didn’t sit in it for hours just cooking.
  • It’s so fast. I never remember to crockpot in the morning
  • The flavor was good! Might have been the sear but still!
  • It’s a one pot meal! Okay maybe this is because for sides my son had raw broccoli and cheese, but there needs to be a little balance here.

This turned out delicious!

Applying my job to my life

I manage things for a living — ERP implementation projects, employees, timelines, development, you name it.  But somehow at the end of the day, I look at the things in my life that aren’t work and I throw my hands in the air and make excuses.

  • I don’t have time.
  • I shouldn’t have to deal with this.
  • Does anyone actually do that?
  • That can wait until tomorrow.

But the truth is, I don’t make these same excuses for my job.  At the end of the day, where do I want my priorities to be? I love my job.  I love what I do and I see immediate rewards by checking off tasks after task on my list. But…

Cut the bullshit.  I can make time. I can prioritize the things that I need to provide balance to my life.

It’s not New Year’s Resolution time yet but something tells me that this year, I am going to have my fair share of ideas, for the first time in a long time.

First “resolution” = always be in bed by 11 pm. 

Not getting ready for bed, but actually going to sleep.  I’m horrible at this, which is a little comical considering I am narcoleptic. I will see the kitchen is a wreck and start cleaning the house and end up going to bed at 3 am, which is a horrible cycle.  I am choosing to prioritize rest!

Cheers to the things to come!  You can expect a lot more here about how to make your life work, especially for working moms and working moms with a “modern family”, if you will. (There is a story there as there always is. But writing single parent just doesn’t fit).  This week will include details on short cutting Christmas cards and meals with an Instapot!

As for a quick life update, we added a puppy to the craziness that Eli and myself were already up to. Jackson, named after the Johnny Cash song, is a joy! She is a Schnoodle in case you are in the market or just wonder what such a cute creature is called. On the flip side, potty training sucks. But she is getting there and actually entertains the idea of listening to me sometimes, only two weeks in.

She is best buds with Eli and I couldn’t be more thrilled about it! Eli loves to play “bad guys” and run in circles chasing each other and Jackson jumps right in!

now have have 17 minutes to unpack and get in bed.  Game on!

Throughout the puppy training so far, I engage Eli in as much as possible.  Jackson doesn’t listen to the little human as well, in general, but they will get there.

I am getting close to that 11 pm mark so it’s time to shut it down and get some sleep!

The New Year – YES, it’s February

When the new year occurs, everyone decides to be healthy. Okay… maybe not everyone but it’s definitely more than the average amount of people that are trying to be healthy.

The gyms are full.

Stores carry more protein powder.

Active wear sells through the roof.

And I’ve jumped on the same trend.

The truth of it all though is that 99.99% of your look is what you eat. Over the last year, we started eating healthier. Pretty much no breads (other than pizza, obviously) and lots of protein and veggies!

Walt typically cooks while I pick up Eli from daycare. Definitely not complaining there!

The latest for dinner tonight was Carne Asada tacos on a sweet potato tortilla. I did make the guacamole! 🙂 Give this one a shot! You won’t be disappointed!


Carne Asada

Sweet potato tortillas

Christmas for Eli 2018


It’s crazy the amount that changes in a year!!! For a quick flash back, this popped up on my Timehop today and pretty much made me melt. Eli has grown so much in the last year.


This year is a whole new ball game! Eli is interested in Santa. We have to drive by the house with the Santa on the roof every night and more often than not, a few times. I can’t wait to go to Opryland and show Eli the Christmas lights. Being in Nashville for the first time for the holidays is really striking a sentimental note with me.  It brings back my childhood memories in a way that it hasn’t in the past. And for the first time since Walt and I have been married, I think Christmas day is going to be a little slower.

In the past, we would start out at Walt’s parents, then lunch at my family’s house, dinner at Walt’s and then back out to a movie with my family.  We spent the whole day feeling like a ping pong ball.  For the first time in ever, we will wake up in our own home on Christmas morning and the cherry on top is that it will be with Santa bringing toys to Eli.  We will do lunch at Walt’s and dinner with my family.  I can’t wait! I am working on finding healthier approaches to all aspects of my life and am pretty happy with this one!

We are working to get rid of, donate or sell a lot of what Eli already has.  He is one blessed kid and we try to keep things kinda simple so that he doesn’t just have a bunch of stuff! It’s overwhelming for his age and wasteful.

We got Eli two things that Santa will have brought and will be setup when he wakes up and we tried to really think about what he would love.  Last year, we got him the house that is still in our living room and he plays with daily.  He is half awake in the picture below, but he has loved it!

We are adding to it this year. Eli loves to “shop”.  He asks almost every morning if we can go to Target after daycare…. It only happens about once a week but he would live there if he could.

We went with the following for the big gifts this year. The other things, I got throughout the year when they were on good sales!

For this one… prepare yourself for the obnixous amount of Instagram photos that I am going to post with him pushing his puppy, kitty cat, and sheepie around the house in this! (yes…. the list of stuffed animals keeps growing. Note, there are NO stuffed animals on his Christmas list this year).

Little Tykes.png

The second item that we got is a coffee shop! Eli loves playing check out and saying that he is “Open for business” so I think this will be the perfect gift.  I am counting on this providing hours of self entertainment….

Step coffee bar.png

(This one is Amazon prime if you are really feeling desperate for the main gift for your kid!

Here is what I got him from when Toys R Us was closing and it was clearance and the rewards from hosting an Usbourne book party. I am aware that the writing books say 4+ for age…. I am one of those parents that buys things above my kids age range and pushes them to grow into it…..


Then there is the practical, “You needed shoes anyway, but it’s a Christmas gift” items. Side note, Eli LOVES these Bogs boots.

More than anything, I hope that the holidays will be a time that Eli cherishes with family and doesn’t ever grow to dread the family obligations that come with it.  It’s a time to be thankfully a million times over that we are blessed to have those that love us and we get to spend the holidays with them!

It’s tough to think about all the things that Eli is going to receive on Christmas day.  We spend some time going to Target this year and picking out things for a children on the Angel tree from Eli’s daycare. I know that he is only 2, but I want him to remember that things aren’t just about him and that it’s important to care for others. When we have been provided for and blessed, we should pass that long!  It’s so hard to find the balance especially when he is very privileged… I think I am going to be working on that one the rest of my life.






Meals for the week of Aug 26th

The plan for this week is easy! My mom heads home tomorrow and it’s going to be my husband, me (three days post knee surgery with my leg in a straight brace), and our two year old.  Our Hungry Harvest options included spaghetti squash this week.  Since those can get kinda pricy, I went ahead and got three of them!  Below are the options I chose from Hungry Harvest this week. It’s an incredible way to help reduce food waste and save money on produce. They have organic options too if you are looking for that!

Hungry Harvest

We have been using Hungry Harvest for a couple of months now. We are able to plan our meals around the produce we get and it allows us to have most of what we need delivered to our door each Saturday!

Here is the order that we received this week – item on the left and quantity on the right! We are set for the week including fruit and carrots to snack on for less than $35 ($34.95 to be exact)!  I customize what we get each week so there is a $1.50 upcharge included in mine.

Hungry Harvest

Meals by day


Bolognese over spaghetti squash noodles

This recipe comes from the Practical Paleo recipe book that we love!  We cook at least two or three things from this every week.


Chicken Apple Sweet Potato Skillet

We have had this one multiple times! This week, we have a lot of butternut squash left over from Hungry Harvest so we are going to use the squash instead of the sweet potatoes. Seriously, this is soo good! I know it’s a little bit of a fall dish, but we are getting close. And the bacon in it… 🙂


Taco bowls over quinoa

This one is not something that I have a recipe for.  We take ground chicken and cook it in a skillet and then add this sauce.  We cook some quinoa to serve it over and then top it with whatever we have on hand! This week, we will have cherry tomatoes, avocado and hopefully some queso fresco!


Honey Sriracha Meatballs with quinoa

Typing this, I realized that we have two quinoa meals right beside each other. So the order will probably change a little! Maybe Tuesday’s meal will be on Monday. But the concepts are still the same.


Dairy-free Chicken Parmesan with spaghetti squash noodles

This is another recipe from Practical Paleo.  It’s so good! We have done it in the past over carrot noodles as well.  You just use a potato peeler if you don’t have a vegetable spiralizer and get some thin ribbons. Saute those in a pan, and you have noodles!  Since we will have already roasted a spaghetti squash earlier in the week, we will have enough left overs to use for this meal too!


Loaded BBQ Sweet Potato Nachos

I CRAVE these! These are one of my favorites. The challenge is not burning my husband out with how much I love them.  There are two key ingredients.  I haven’t looked for substitutes but you need the Trader Joe’s Sriracha BBQ sauce and the Trader Joe’s sweet and spicy jalapenos. Trust me, they are worth the trip!

Happy eating! 🙂



Not the week I expected

To say this week hasn’t been as expected is the understatement of the last ten years.

Rewind with me to high school. It’s almost Thanksgiving break in my Junior year of high school. I’m excited about the upcoming show choir shows and enjoying the holidays with my family and friends. One evening playing video games with my boyfriend at the time (yes… now husband. Get all the squeals about high school sweethearts out :-P), I was sitting with my left leg bent and tucked under me. NEVER DO THIS! It’s horrible for your knees… When I pulled it out from under my leg, it caught and wouldn’t go back. My meniscus (Info here) had a lateral tear and had bucket handled. Google that one if you want to think about a painful feeling in your knee. It meant my leg was locked bent and I was unable to even think about straightening without pretty serious pain.

Fast forward to Monday of this week. I enjoyed a work day in the office with my crew as we are training on a new technology and my mom happened to be in town to help us get our house ready to sell! We walked over to the library with E after work and picked out some books and a movie. E wanted to watch the movie so I squatted down by the Xbox to put it in. When I began to stand up – it happened. The same thing I have feared since high school happened again. Silver lining, I knew exactly what it was. And it bucket handled again… Needless to say, the xbox and I are not on friendly terms after it has been the common link in two knee surgeries.

It’s been a long three days with an always present and nagging pain in my knee. I was unable to engage the muscles in my leg without substantial pain so my mom or husband had to lift my leg by the calf instead. Post surgery, I have a bit of a road ahead of me but can very happily report that I can move a sore leg and engage my muscles without closing my eyes and rolling them back in my head. I’ll take the progress.

Shout out to my husband and mom for still managing to get the house clean to have pictures taken to get our house on the market, preparing meals, watching our 2 year old son and waiting on me hand and foot. I even have some beautiful flowers on the counter from my job.

Making banana pancakes

Saturday morning is getting groceries and Chocolate milk from the Starbucks inside Target. It’s “basic bitch” stuff, but it means we have food for the week and E is happy running through Target.

Sunday for the last year, often means pancakes. E loves them and I know he got that from me. I can eat more pancakes than someone four times my size.

Fast forward to now… we are being healthy. My typically white flour delicious pancakes don’t fit into that on a weekly basis. With these pancakes, I actually don’t miss the other ones. I love the oats and bananas! The website alludes to there being a muffin version too.

I tried these this morning. A couple modifications – I couldn’t find my nutmeg… so I did 1 tsp total cinnamon without it. I didn’t have yogurt, so I used a cup of applesauce. And of course, I added chocolate chips. I’m also way too lazy to hand mash bananas. I threw those into my ninja in half and it worked great.

This may or may not be my child drinking syrup… 🙄 in the middle of a messy kitchen in a house that goes on the market this month! Eekkk! Yes, that’s a towel under my dishwasher. The plumber comes Monday.

As for the syrup, I knew he would do it, so trust me, it’s not much.

Here’s the link to the pancakes. So yummy!

Amazon favorites!

While sitting and waiting on a form to compile and crossing my fingers that it won’t have any errors…. I wanted to put together some of the things from Amazon that I love — either because they are a good deal, make our lives easier or it’s toy that E loves to play with.

What are your favorite things to get on Amazon?

1. This is the most convenient thing that I get from Amazon on subscribe & save.  We get the sensitive because it seems like E’s skin does better with it!

Pampers Sensitive Wipes

2. This is another subscribe and save item! When you have multiple things in your monthly shipment, you get an extra discount! I buy these anyway and this is about the lowest I get them in price.

Cascade Complete Dishwasher tabs

3.  You might be able to find these a little cheaper elsewhere, but I have them in my auto ship and they stay together well and have a pleasant smell.

Glad Hawaiian Aloha trash bags

4.  It takes some serious convincing to get E to take a bath… And even then, I typically can’t get him to actually sit in the tub.  He has the most fun with these tablets when he can mix the colors! These are half the price of the Crayola brand!

Color changing bath tablets

5. I have linked this book before but it really is my favorite!
Practical Paleo

6.  I am a big fan of toys that E can grow with and play multiple ways – especially if it is imaginative!  He had these at school and loved them so much, we got them for the house.

Smart Max Start Magnetic blocks

7.  E has loved this game! He wants to play it every day and lets us know that he wants the “Boo (blue) game” or “Purple game” depending on the color that he wants to play for the day.  It helps teach memory, colors, animals, food, shapes, and more!

Seek-a-Boo Game

Week of July 30th Meals

Here is the run down on what we have planned for the week!  A lot of these are from the cookbook Practical Paleo from Amazon.  We have the paperback version. It’s a thick paperback and will hold up well!  There is also an extra $1.40 coupon on Amazon for it currently.

Sunday – Italian style Stuffed Bell Peppers from Practical Paleo

Monday – Green sauce marinated steak & plantain bowl from Practical Paleo.

If you haven’t ever cooked plantain chips, you are missing out! These have a little cinnamon and coconut oil.

Tuesday – Chicken stir fry with Trader Joe’s Soyaki sauce over sautéed cauliflower rice.

We don’t have a recipe for this. We cook cubed chicken with salt and pepper, sauté some veggies and throw it all together with the TJ sauce. Typically it’s over cauliflower rice (which is crazy easy to make!!)

Wednesday – Souvlaki kabobs from Practical Paleo.

These are delicious and easy! We have made them once before and just throw it all on a sheet pan and roast it instead of putting it on skewers.

Thursday – Prosciutto & caramel iced onion burgers with roasted garlic aioli.

We are modifying this one a little to work with the groceries that we have. We are skipping the prosciutto and doing ground chicken instead of beef.

Friday – Unplanned! Maybe this will be pizza 🙂 A girl can dream.

We do have cauliflower pizza crusts from our local grocery store (Giant) and they are good! If you guys are interested in the brand, let me know and I can grab a photo and add it to Instagram.  I hear that Trader Joe’s has a good frozen cauliflower crust too!

Happy Sunday night! Here’s to a good week.