Monday, October 6, 2014

This Week's Menu {October 6 - 12}

Our Weekly Meal Plan

Monday - Whatever we can find in the kitchen.  :)

Tuesday - New England Blam Chowder from The Sexy Vegan Cookbook

Wednesday Bowtie Chicken Alfredo (healthy version?) with Steamed Broccoli

Thursday - Farewell Dinner with Family

Friday - Herb and Citrus Roasted Chicken with Mashed Potatoes with Raw Tuscan Kale Salad

Saturday - Quinoa Enchilada Casserole

Sunday - Dinner at Home Group (taking either 7 Spice Roast or Oklahoma Cheesecake)


I also want to try out these Carrot Cake Bites this week!

Even though we have a menu for the week, it's honestly pretty up in the air because my husband's parents are moving to Hawaii (i.e. the Oregon Trail), and they fly out on Friday.  We've been helping them empty their house and clean it and etc., so we may end up in Omaha some of these evenings besides our farewell dinner on Thursday.  I'd be lying if I said I wasn't mourning for the loss of them being so close and Baby Prez and Miss Coco getting to see their grandparents frequently.




Find previous meal plans here.
**Linking up at I'm an Organizing Junkie for Meal Plan Monday**

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Monday, September 29, 2014

Weekly Goals for September 29th - October 2nd

Last Week’s 10 Goals

  1. Write 5+ pages for my breadth review.  - I wrote some, but I'm not sure it was 5 pages.
  2. Finish 2 blog posts. - Yes!  Meal plan and Lincoln Children's Zoo
  3. Do something special for Mr. Harvey.
  4. Find new curtains for living room and hang. - In progress
  5. Grocery shop on Monday.
  6. Organize coupons from recycle bin diving. - I may have given up on this.  Ha!
  7. Decorate the house for fall (my favorite season) - In progress
  8. Create chore chart for Miss Coco. - In progress
  9. Organize buffet counter. - In progress
  10. Sort 3 basement boxes.

At this end of this week, we will be receiving a lot of furniture from my husband's parents who are moving to Hawaii.  Personally, I'd rather have them still here than get new furniture because we have been SO blessed to have them near.  They have been such an incredible support system over the past two years, and a very important piece of our lives will be 3,779 miles away.  So...we get another blessing in that they are allowing us to have some of their furniture that isn't going across the ocean with them.  That means that I have A LOT of work to do before Sunday.


This Week’s 10 Goals

  1. Prep house for influx of new-to-us furniture by Thursday evening.  
  2. Write 5+ pages for my breadth review. 
  3. Publish 2 blog posts.
  4. Do something special for Mr. Harvey.
  5. Find new curtains for living room and hang.
  6. Grocery shop on Monday.
  7. Organize coupons from recycle bin diving.
  8. Finish decorating the house for fall 
  9. Finish creating chore chart for Miss Coco.
  10. Finish organizing buffet counter.

Have a fantastic week!


This Week's Meal Plan {September 19 - October 3}

My experimentation with cashew cream has continued, and it is amazing.  Seriously, amazing.  In the past few weeks, I've made healthy versions of some of our favorite meals that I honestly thought we might never get to eat again.  Two weeks, I created a recipe for Healthy Cheesy Potato Soup, and last week, I made Healthy Chicken Tikka Masala (recipe coming soon).  Like I said last week, cashews are my new best friend.

We also tried Broccoli Cheese Stuffed Potatoes and Raw Tuscan Kale Salad last week, and they were a success with the family, too.  I especially liked the kale salad.  So delicious and nothing but kale and homemade dressing.  But, I nixed the Zucchini Fritters last week.  I just couldn't convince myself that they would be good.  They probably are, but oh well.

Our Weekly Meal Plan

Monday - Burritos

Tuesday - Moroccan-Style Chickpeas with Saffron Rice (from Fresh & Fast Vegan)

Wednesday Bowtie Chicken Alfredo (healthy version?) with with Raw Tuscan Kale Salad

Thursday - Taco Soup

Friday - Dinner with Family

Saturday - Dinner with Family

Sunday - Dinner with Family


We (mostly my hubby) are helping his parents move their furniture into a storage unit next weekend, and then a few days later, they will be flying out to Hawaii (or in other words, the Oregon Trail).  But we have been blessed to get to spend time with them over the past few weekends before they leave.




Find previous meal plans here.
**Linking up at I'm an Organizing Junkie for Meal Plan Monday**

This post contains affiliate links.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Labor Day at the Lincoln Children's Zoo

The Harvey family was blessed to get to spend time with both sides of our family over Labor Day this year.  The Johansens drove up to Nebraska from Oklahoma on Friday, and stayed until Monday.  Baby President was so excited to get to see Grandpa, Gramma, and Aunt Kiley!

The big event of the weekend was taking Baby Prez to the zoo for the first time.  After lunch, we all loaded up and headed to the Lincoln Children's Zoo.

We arrived at the zoo just in time to watch the Humboldt Penguins get fed.  Baby Prez had a great view from Daddy's shoulders.  Then we checked out the Amur Leopard!  Baby President wasn't sure whether he should be excited or scared, but Miss Coco was right there with him and they looked at the leopard together.

Watching the penguin feeding Lincoln Children's Zoo.

Kids checking out the leopard at Lincoln Children's Zoo

Two cuties at Lincoln Children's Zoo

Miss Coco got to feed the Dromedary Camels and the Nubian and Pigmy Goats. And she had the chance to pet a Frilled Lizard, several different turtles, a rabbit and goats. She thought the lizard was pretty neat and wants to volunteer at the zoo next summer once she's old enough!  She also found a real bald eagle nest.  It was huge and pretty cool!

Feeding the goats at Lincoln Children's Zoo

Miss Coco is a frog at Lincoln Children's Zoo!

Miss Coco in an Eagle's Nest at Lincoln Children's Zoo

In the butterfly house, Baby Prez thought the rocks were way cooler than the butterflies!  We also saw a momma ring-tailed lemur with her babies hanging out on her back.  They were just adorable.  There's nothing like the love between a momma and her babies.

Rocks are cooler than butterflies Lincoln Children's Zoo!

Ring-tailed lemur at the Lincoln Children's Zoo

Feeding the goats was one of Baby President's favorite parts of the afternoon.  Gramma helped him out and showed him how to feed them. He was fascinated by the goats and was surprised when they ate the food out of his hand!  We also enjoyed watching the squirrel monkeys.  Daddy propped Baby Prez so that he could get a front-row seat!

Feeding the goats Lincoln Children's Zoo

feeding the goats at Lincoln Children's Zoo

Daddy and son looking at the squirrel monkeys at Lincoln Children's Zoo

We tried to find the lion, but it turned out to be a fake plastic lion that "eats" trash. Not cool.  Instead, we walked over to the aviary to see the Snowy Egret, Wood Duck, Tawny Frogmouth, Scarlet Ibis, and the Great Malay Argus Pheasant, where Miss Coco tried to scare the birds and then got scared of them herself.  Silly girl!  And Baby Prez tried to escape into the habitat by limboing under the rope barrier.  Silly boy.  (Later, he tried to jump into the koi pond, so this was a recurring theme).

Aunt Kiley and Baby Prez at Lincoln Children's Zoo

Our first trip to the zoo with Baby Prez was a success.  I love the Henry Doorly Zoo in Omaha, but the Lincoln Children's Zoo was perfect for our family.  (Luckily, we had a great navigator who loved reading the guide map.)  We got to see some great animals, and it was the perfect size for an afternoon with a toddler.  Baby Prez saw everything without getting too tired and cranky.  And it wasn't too busy.  Baby President walked around most of the zoo, and we only used the stroller a few times.  I would definitely recommend the Lincoln Children's Zoo to families with small children.  

Baby Prez at the Lincoln Children's Zoo

Baby Prez at the Lincoln Children's Zoo

Harvey Family at the Lincoln Children's Zoo

Have a fantastic day!  Bye, bye!

Daddy and son at the Lincoln Children's Zoo



Monday, September 22, 2014

Weekly Goals {Week of September 22nd}

Last Week’s 10 Goals

  1. Write 5+ pages for my breadth review. - 3 pages done
  2. Finish 2 blog posts. - 1) Menu and 2) Healthy Cheesy Potato Soup Recipe
  3. Do something special for Mr. Harvey. - Movie (at home) Date
  4. Plan weekly menu + school lunches based on grocery store deals.               (Weekly budget = $80) - Done!
  5. Grocery shop before Thursday. Done!
  6. Organize coupons from recycle bin diving last week. - In progress
  7. Catch up on laundry from our weekend trip; then do one load per day. - Done!
  8. Create chore chart for Miss Coco. - In progress
  9. Organize buffet counter. - In progress
  10. Sort 3 basement boxes. - Not even started.

This week, I need to really focus on these goals and not allow myself to become distracted by other things, but overall, I'm pleased with how last week went.  Meal planning is becoming easier each week as well as grocery/deal shopping!


This Week’s 10 Goals

  1. Write 5+ pages for my breadth review. 
  2. Finish 2 blog posts.
  3. Do something special for Mr. Harvey.
  4. Find new curtains for living room and hang.
  5. Grocery shop on Monday.
  6. Organize coupons from recycle bin diving.
  7. Decorate the house for fall (my favorite season)
  8. Create chore chart for Miss Coco.
  9. Organize buffet counter.
  10. Sort 3 basement boxes.

Have a fantastic week!


This Week's Meal Plan {Week of September 22nd}

Last week, I experimented and created an amazing and healthy recipe for Healthy Cheesy Potato Soup.  Cashew cream is substituted for the milk/heavy cream, which is the major healthy food no-no of the original recipe.  My family, including my foodie husband, couldn't tell a difference at all between the healthy version and the original version.  Cashews may be my new best friend.  This week, I'm going to experiment with another favorite that had been set aside when we started to try to eat healthy.

The other new recipe from last week was Zucchini Bread Baked Oatmeal.  The family enjoyed it, especially Baby Prez!  I love finding good recipes to sneak zucchini into!

Our Weekly Meal Plan

Monday - Broccoli Cheese Stuffed Potatoes with Raw Tuscan Kale Salad and Sauteed Zucchini

Tuesday Zucchini Fritters with Roasted Potatoes and leftover Kale Salad

Wednesday - Chicken Tikka Masala (with Cashew Cream) and Brown Rice

Thursday - Spaghetti with Salad Greens

Friday - Dinner with Family

Saturday - Dinner with Family

Sunday - Potluck at HOME Group (probably contributing a dessert)


I'm hoping to see some ripe tomatoes on the vines this week, but in the meantime, we'll be trying to use up more zucchini, kale, and broccoli!  I usually try to sneak more veggies into the spaghetti sauce like zucchini, mushrooms, and whatever else I have in the refrigerator or garden!

And if the cashew cream tikka masala is successful, I will post the adapted recipe next week!




Find previous meal plans here.

**Linking up at I'm an Organizing Junkie for Meal Plan Monday**

Friday, September 19, 2014

Mom's Healthy Cheesy Potato Soup

Mom's Healthy Cheesy Potato Soup
There's nothing like a good bowl of soup on a cold day.  I remember so many delicious soups from my childhood.  Taco soup, white chili, traditional chili, and mom's cheesy potato soup were my favorites.  My mom's cheesy potato soup is hearty and filling, especially with a side of cornbread.  

Mom's Healthy Cheesy Potato Soup

But, the soup calls for milk or heavy cream plus Velveeta.  I love this recipe, but eating healthier means cutting the unhealthy food, even when it is a favorite comfort food.  So, I thought I would have to save my mom's cheesy potato soup for special occasions.  But then I made a vegan zucchini bisque using cashews to add creaminess.  I was skeptical, but the cashews really did make it creamy.  Nevertheless, the soup tasted really healthy and was just missing something.  With this in mind, I decided to adapt my mom's cheesy potato soup recipe into a healthy version, but to balance the healthy changes while maintaining the original flavor.  The cashew cream takes the place of the milk or heavy cream, but this is not a vegan recipe because I kept the Velveeta instead of using a vegan cheese substitute. 

The new and improved version of Mom's healthy cheesy potato soup was an absolute success with my husband and kiddos!  It will be added back into the regular rotation of soups this fall and winter!

Mom's Healthy Cheesy Potato Soup

Mom's Healthy Cheesy Potato Soup 

Ingredients
3-4 potatoes, chopped into cubes
2 celery stalks, chopped
2 carrots, sliced
1/2 onion, diced
2 c. water
1 chicken bouillon cube
1 t. parsley flakes
rosemary
thyme
salt
pepper
2-3 inches Velveeta loaf

Cashew Cream
1 c. cashews
1 1/2 - 2 c. water

Directions
In large soup pot, combine potatoes, celery, carrots, onion, water, and bouillon.  Add parsley, rosemary, thyme, salt, and pepper to taste.  Simmer 15-20 minutes or until potatoes and carrots are tender.  

In the meantime, boil cashews with water just covering the nuts.  Simmer for 15-20 minutes.  The cashews will plump up and be ready to be made into cream.

Using a food processor or blender, blend the simmered cashews with water.  Use leftover water from boiling.  Blend until smooth.  Continue adding water until mixture reaches a consistency that is near heavy cream or whole milk.  (I used a magic bullet and did this step in batches.  In all, I added about 1 1/2 cups of water.)   You should end up with about 2 cups of cashew cream/milk.  

Add the cashew cream/milk to the vegetables and stir.  Add 2-3 inches of a Velveeta loaf.  This works best if the cheese is cubed first.  Stir until melted.  

Variations and Additions
1/2 c. mushrooms
1 c. fresh spinach or kale
1 can sweet corn kernels 

Mom's Healthy Cheesy Potato Soup

I could not tell a difference between using milk, cream, or cashews.  And if you're not convinced yet, Mom's Healthy Cheesy Potato Soup has been endorsed by Baby Prez!

Baby Prez Endorses Mom's Healthy Cheesy Potato Soup





 






*The post "Mom's Healthy Cheesy Potato Soup" originally appeared on HarveyEverAfter.com*

Monday, September 15, 2014

This Week's Menu {September 15-21}

This past weekend, the hubby and I were on a mini vacation and the kids stayed with Mimi and Grandad, so last week I didn't have to plan weekend meals, which was really nice!

This week it is supposed to be stay cool through Monday and then get into the 70s for the rest of the week.  So we are starting off our weekly meal plan with soup.  I love soup, especially on chilly days and all through the winter.  There's just something special about soup on a cold day.  Yum!

Our Weekly Meal Plan

Monday - Cheesy Potato Soup

Tuesday - Breakfast for Dinner (Zucchini Bread Baked Oatmeal, Eggs & Turkey Bacon)

Wednesday Broccoli Cheese Stuffed Potatoes with Raw Tuscan Kale Salad and Sauteed Zucchini

Thursday - Couscous Black Bean Salad with Cheese Quesadillas

Friday Chipotle Turkey Burgers with PW's Kale Pasta Salad and Sauteed Zucchini

Saturday - Zucchini Fritters with leftover Kale Pasta Salad

Sunday - Quinoa Enchilada Casserole


Monday's soup will be a bit of an experiment.  (Wish me luck!)  I'm going to use regular Velveeta cheese, but instead of milk or cream, I'm going to attempt to use a cashew cream to keep the soup healthy.  I read on a message board that simmering the cashews for 15-20 works better for a cream than soaking them for hours, so I'll be trying that.  If it works, I will post the recipe next week!  

I'll also continue using as much garden produce as possible this week.  It's starting to get cold, so I'd like to use as much as we can while it's fresh, but the we'll can or freeze whatever we can to get us through the winter.   






**Linking up at I'm an Organizing Junkie for Meal Plan Monday**