Quarantine Eats

I feel like “quarantine is about the become the new most hated buzz word… We can add it to the list with self care, girl boss, and spirit animal. But nonetheless, it’s an appropriate title to share use when sharing our dinners and lunches these past few weeks.

I’ve always cooked. I’ve always baked. That said, I’m definitely doing it MORE now that we’re under a stay home order. We still door dash and get take out, but we’ve been cooking a bunch and I figured I’d share some of the successful recipes with you.

These are all pretty dang simple. I’m not a complex chef. I’m a human with limited time and skill 😬

I keep a fairly stocked house so I’ll also let you know what “extra” ingredients I needed.

Eggroll in a Bowl. I only had to snag two things from the grocery store: coleslaw mix & sausage. I changed two things… I finely chopped the garlic (vs mincing it) and I did 1/4 c soy sauce and 1/4 cup teriyaki sauce. Also, I added a dash of sesame oil toward the end.

Slow Cooker Peanut Butter Chicken. I bought chicken- I had everything else. The recipe I found online isn’t the same as what I did so here it is:

  • 4 lrg chicken breasts
  • 1/2 c peanut butter (crunchy or smooth)
  • 1/4 c soy sauce
  • 1/4 c honey
  • 1/4 c rice vinegar or white wine vinegar
  • 1/2 c chicken broth
  • 3 lrg garlic cloves (I used garlic powder b/c I ran out of cloves)
  • 1 T crushed red pepper (optional– I skipped this)
  • 1 T lime juice.

Put your chicken in the crock pot, mix those other ingredients and for over the meat, cook on low for 4 hours, serve over rice or greens (for a salad). We did rice. SO good!

Creamy Chicken Fajita Pasta. This is one of our FAVORITES. I bought chicken, peppers, and fajita seasoning from the store. Minor changes: I use all the fajita seasoning in the packet because yolo. Lol. Usually we use penne but this time we used linguine. I think it just depends on how starchy you want it.

We’ve also had pancakes (this kind), egg scrambles with mushrooms, peppers, spinach, etc. left over from dinner prep, stuffed peppers (I don’t go off a recipe), and sandwiches & salads.

I also made these Chocolate Chip Cookies and they were GREAT. The recipe came from the back of a Ghirardelli Grand Chips bag. I don’t even know how that ended up in my cupboard. I changed one thing (soften butter vs their suggested melted & cooled butter).

  • 2 c flour
  • 1/2 t baking soda
  • 1/2 t salt
  • 3/4 c unsalted butter (softened)
  • 1/3 c granulated sugar
  • 2/3 c brown sugar
  • 1 large egg & 1 egg yolk
  • 1 & 1/2 t vanilla extract
  • 11 oz. bag of semi-sweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 375º. In medium bowl combin flour, baking soda, & salt. In mixing bowl beat butter and both sugars on medium for 2 minutes. Add egg & yolk & vanilla until well combined. Then add dry ingredients in thirds until just combined. Fold in chocolate. Drop scoops of dough on ungreased cookie sheet. Bake 8-10 minutes until edges just brown. Let sit on sheet a minute or 2 and transfer to wire rack.

What have you been cooking during isolation? I have a ton of printed Pinterest recipes from ambitious meal prepping that I haven’t made. I want to tackle them and file them into win or fail during this time!

Fake News

Well hey there. Turns out when I get overwhelming busy I also drop the ball here in Blogland. Our summer workload is always pretty nuts and the heat tends to zap my energy so those are my two major excuses. Now let’s get on with the show.

I saw this tweet a few weeks ago and really took it to heart:

I have not had Wendy’s, T Bell, or McDonald’s in WEEKS. (One exception- after the NASCAR race we needed food and stopped at a late-hour McDonald’s. My brother bought my meal.) Maybe you don’t normally eat at these places, but I do.

So like I said, I have not had any of these foods since the beginning of August and, honestly, it’s been so dang tough. Who knew I had such an unhealthy addiction to McDonald’s? (I did. I knew.)

But then I found THIS ARTICLE. Guys… being fiscally responsible when it comes to consumerism and knowing who/what/where your money is going is HARD.

I’m already careful to only buy cruelty-free, avoid any and all P&G products (because of animal testing), and stay vigilant as far as large company support goes (like Yeti vs. the NRA). The whole “who gives $$$ to what candidate” is an extremely exhausting avenue to take… Trust me, I tumbled down that rabbit hole after reading the tweet above.

So where do we draw the line? Some companies outwardly proclaim their ideology. Chick-fil-a and Hobby Lobby have been in the news for their stances. Employee conditions at Amazon and Walmart are always under a microscope. Have you noticed that Forever 21 has a Bible verse on their shopping bags? (I’m not condemning that- I’m just pointing it out.)

Anyway… lining up OUR beliefs with the companies and brands we financially support is tough- probably impossible, actually. So what do we do?

Honestly, I don’t know.

When I went to my first PRIDE parade last year I took note of which companies marched and who was represented. I know which vodka gives back to animals (it’s Tito’s). I try really, really hard to make good choices when spending my money.


How do you approach “responsible spending”? I’m not looking to judge anyone. I know some people focus on shopping local, some people don’t pay attention to cruelty-free things, etc. I’m genuinely curious if this is something you worry about.

In the meantime, I think I’m still going to ban McDonald’s- mainly because I’ve broken my addiction and I want to see how long I can keep it up. I’m going to be a little pickier about my spending in the future with some other brands, too.

But tell me… what do you value and how much time/energy/thought do you put into where you spend money?

Meal Planning (or “How to Keep Most of Your Groceries From Going Bad”)

Hiii (*waves nervously*) Let’s kick this off with the confession that I am not a foodie or a chef or a professional meal planner. I’m a newbie who still let’s the milk go bad and forgets to use the bananas before they’re squishy and grey.

Alright. Now that my credentials are out of the way…

*In between starting this post and finish it I went through our pasta cabinet and threw out so much expired food. Pasta, graham crackers, panko breading. Not a few months expired… years. Please note: All of that was purchase pre-meal planning. #oops

Toward the end of last year I started meal planning for our family of two. At the start of 2017 I made the lax resolution to meal plan every week. Surprisingly, I’m actually carrying this out with moderate success. A fellow blogger (Carolann, I think?) suggested I talk about my methods. So I thought, ‘Sure! Why not?!’

To be frank, I’m not even 100% sure I do this right. Critique me if you feel so inclined. I have thick skin; I can handle it.

Step 1

Pick three meals for the week.

Three?? But Audrey! Surely you’ll starve!

Fear not, my friends. We utilize the luxury of takeout and/or dining out at least once a week. (*cough*still working on budgeting*cough*)

Honestly, though. On Fridays we’re usually out with my parents and on Sundays we typically have dinner at my grandparents. Mix in one night of take out and fill that fourth night with leftovers and we’ve got three days left for home cooked meals.

… perhaps I’m not so qualified to write this post.

Stick with me, friends. Pick three meals from anywhere. I usually search Pinterest. Sometimes it’s not a recipe meal- sometimes it’s just burgers and veggies on the grill. It doesn’t matter… it still counts.

Ok. Got your three meals? I’m going to play along here and pick three, too.

  1. One Pan Sausage & Veggies (+ egg noddles with butter #healthy)
  2. Chicken Fajita Pasta (so good!! if this isn’t one of your 3 you should change that)
  3. Steak & veggies on the grill (+ mashed red potatoes left over from meal #1)

Step 2

Make a grocery list with the ingredients you don’t have.

can we ignore the “egg noddles”? oops

Now double check your kitchen for the ingredients you might actually have, but you put on the list anyway because you weren’t sure and you were too lazy to go look in the cabinet to check. (Oh. Just me? ) Cross those ones off.

Step 3

Go grocery shopping. I prefer Sunday afternoons because for some reason it’s a ghost town at the market but everything is all stocked for the week.

Obviously if there’s an afternoon NASCAR race this gets bumped to Monday night (which becomes the takeout night).

Step 4

Prep stuff if you feel so inclined.

Often I do not.

This is a good time to figure out WHEN you’re eating your meals. I don’t like to keep asparagus or steak too long so we’ll have those on Monday or Tuesday. If we don’t plan to make something until the weekend or we get busy and have to skip a meal I throw the appropriate meat in the freezer.

Boom Bang Ba-Da-Done.

the chicken fajita pasta… seriously- SO good

Some amateur tips:

  • if you never go out to eat plan for four nights
  • if you have a super busy week aim for two nights and make enough for leftovers
  • this doesn’t include lunch… and if you eat leftovers for lunch, go with 4 meals
  • make that Chicken Fajita Pasta… you won’t regret it

Was that even helpful…? Hahaha. Honestly, I never meal planned before this year but now that I do it’s pretty easy to stick with. This is probably a good gateway to meal prepping, too, but I don’t wanna demand too much of myself…

So tell me… do you meal plan? If so, what am I doing wrong? 🙂 If you don’t plan does this make you want to…?

Add It To My (Super Random) List

By skipping Mondays I lose my opportunity to recap my weekend. If you were curious, I had a good one 🙂 Fun fact: I spent every weekend in February out of town. First Cleveland, then San Antonio, then Columbus, and then Cleveland again last weekend. Some trips for business, some for pleasure. This weekend Kayla and I visited Aubrey and her fiance Alyssa because Aubs is recovering from surgery and we went up to celebrate her transformation and keep her company. (You can follow her story/creep on her here. She’s #InstaFamous)

life_as_louise_favorites

In an attempt to stay hip and trendy I’m trying to keep track of the fun link-ups that go on in the blog world. I managed to jot down the schedule for the Add It To My List link-up with Lauren and Bre, so here we are.

Firstly, these three products were recommended by other bloggers:

I’m easily influence by others… I went out and bought this stuff immediately because I was in the market for some quality polish and comfy shoes for work. (The polish remover is cruelty-free & I needed that toiletry in c.f. form.) All three have my seal of approval!

Bamboo bedding…
Two years ago my grandparents gifted K and I some bamboo bedding. GUYS- we fell in love with it immediately. They’d bought it from Marshalls, so obviously I’ve never come across it again. Then last week this idiot (me) remembered Amazon exists and I have a Prime account. So I ordered some sheets. (How many pairs of sheets do you have for your bed? We have two. I always have to be on my laundry A-game, especially when I peel the sheets right before vacation and make the bed for the dogsitter, then come home and remember that now both sheets are dirty and I’m too exhausted to do laundry.)
I digress. Bamboo sheets are the softest and most comfy sheets ever. Go get some.

On to another random thing…

Go make this recipe:

One-Pan Veggies & Sausage

sausage-bake

I made this last week and it was a hit (with all two of us). It’s crazy simple- the “hardest” part was chopping all the veggies. We had rice with it. (I also made Brussels sprouts separately because they looked so good at the store and K doesn’t like them so I couldn’t mix them in. But then he ate some so…. that was a minor victory in my kitchen.)

(I’m pretty sure I took this recipe and another one (this!) from Nadine’s Pinterest!)

. . .

This fall K and I are planning to visit Disney. I’ve been there a handful of time, but I’ve never planned the trip. (I was a child and/or a band student on prior trips.) Kyle has never been to the happiest place on Earth, so I’m hoping to show him a good time. I’m looking for tips, tricks, and advice right now. I know how to “do” Disney, but any reminders or travel tidbits would be helpful. 🙂

Enjoy these last two days of February!

signatureEat, Drink, and Be Lauren

Holiday (or any day) Recipes link-up

Today I’m linking up real fast with Julie & Jacqui to share some quick, easy, smaller-portion recipes for those spending the holidays with a smaller crowd- think one to three people. I don’t usually do recipe posts, but these are go-to ones for me that come in handy when you’ve got some leftover ham or chicken and you’re hurting for a side dish.

Honey-Glazed Carrots

In a pan melt about 2 tablespoons of butter. Add a handful of baby carrots- essentially as many as you’ll want to eat because this doesn’t keep well. Drizzle honey over carrots. Sprinkle a small handful of brown sugar over carrots. Mix. Cook until carrots are soft, stirring occasionally (~15 min). Serve immediately.

. . .

Smashed Potatoes

This one comes from the talented Pioneer Woman herself. Salt the water & boil some red potatoes until they’re soft (~12 min). Only boil as many as you’ll eat… I typically consume two or three. Remove from water and place on an oil-drizzled cooking sheet. Smash the potatoes twice in a crisscross pattern, flattening them and making a mark/breaking the skin. Brush each potato with melted butter and sprinkle generously with kosher salt (and maybe add a seasoning of your choice- rosemary, thyme, etc.) and bake at 450 degree on the top rack for 20 minutes. Done!

. . .

Roasted Veggies

You can roast anything, guys. Here are two of my favs, both roasted at 425 degrees:
Cauliflower – Cut up some florets, toss on rimmed baking sheet and drizzle with oil, sprinkle some thyme, season with salt and pepper, and stick them in the oven for 35 minutes. Pull ’em out, sprinkle on some Parmesan cheese and toss, then slide them back into the hotbox for 10 minutes.
Asparagus – Toss the stalks in some olive oil, teriyaki sauce, and soy sauce. Put some foil on a baking sheet, spread the asparagus out so it’s not stacked, sprinkle some garlic powder over it, and roast those puppies for 12 to 15 minutes. SO GOOD.

. . .

Viola! Super hard to mess up and super yummy to eat!

Checkout the link-up for other tasty recipes!

audielou.com_signature