The Harried Mom’s “Perfect” #SundaySauce

One of the moms from my book club recently had twins.  Between recovering from giving birth, taking care of two newborns, tending to her older daughter and oh yeah, don’t forget her husband and the house, I know it’s been an exhausting and overwhelming few weeks…and it’s just starting!

To help our mommy pal out our book club organized a meal train.  I had never heard of a meal train before, but I love its purpose.

A meal train is organized meal giving.  For example if someone is ill, elderly or has a new baby (or two!), caring friends, family, co-workers, neighbors or pretty much anyone who wants to show their excitement or compassion prepares and brings a meal to the family in need on an assigned day.   These are “drop off” ready meals – ones that the family can either pop in the oven to reheat or just stick in a fork in and start eating.

Taking into consideration my friend’s family dietary restrictions/preferences, I settled on making a spinach lasagna since I know it can freeze well if they decide they don’t want to eat it that day.  It’s also easy to prepare so I could double up on ingredients and stash a lasagna in my own freezer for a tasty homemade meal to reheat in less than an hour on a crazy weeknight.

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I think the secret to making a great pasta meal — whether its spaghetti, lasagna or ravioli — is that is has to have a great sauce.  Being Italian I’ll admit that I’m pretty good at making #SundaySauce.  It’s so good that it’s been known to be called “perfect” by my close friends and family.

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Have a Family #MovieNight4Less With Orville Redenbacher’s Popcorn, M&M’s® & Warner Brothers

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I love watching movies. However, going out to the movie theater these days can be a pretty expensive proposition. Movie tickets range from $8-14 each depending upon where you live (where I live it’s about $12). Add in a soda and a snack you could be talking around than $30 for just one person! Bring the kids and you could be spending close to $100 to see the latest blockbuster.

There are ways though to indulge your love of film without emptying your wallet, such as hosting a family movie night at home.

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Super Heroes Love M&M Treats – #HeroesEatMMs

This shop has been compensated by #CollectiveBias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone.

THM-Heroes-Eat-MMs-Captain-America-Popcorn-Candy-BallsLook out! Zap! Pow! Whoosh! Whether it’s cartoons, movies, and toys, toys and more toys, everywhere you look in our house it’s clear that we’ve been invaded by super heroes! In fact, we have so many colorful caped crusaders hanging around that if I didn’t know better, I’d suspect that The Hubs was a secret super villain in disguise!

The most popular super hero around here is Captain America, the iconic patriotic Star-Spangled Avenger. My daughter not only has several t-shirts featuring Cap and his shield, it’s nearly impossible to get her Captain America doll out of her hands! Not only does he spend a lot of time with his crime-fighting super buddies including Iron Man, Spider Man and Wolverine, but he also seems to hang out a lot with the cast of “Frozen”—personally, I think he’s got a secret crush on Elsa!

To surprise my daughter, we had a family movie night to watch Captain America: Winter Soldier which just came out on Blu-ray/DVD. For our movie treat, I served up a delicious M&M® inspired treat, because you know, #HeroesEatMMs.

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How Green Is Your Garden? 6 Easy Steps For Drying Herbs

THM_DryingHerbs_1I love gardens, filled with beautiful and colorful flowers, but truth be told I don’t have much of a green thumb.

Either I don’t plant them properly such as not having the proper soil pH level or I commit the mortal sin of forgetting (or am too tired) to water them. That was even one of the reasons we got an automated sprinkler system!  So flowers at my house are pretty much regulated to the kind you buy at the florist  and put into a pretty vase and our landscaping consists of grass, trees and hearty shrubs that I can’t kill!

However, when it comes to my herb garden, I’m a whiz!

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A Berry Good (And No Bake!) Dessert – Blueberry Love

It’s no secret that I love to cook (you can see all my Harried Mom recipes here), but truth be told, I’ve never been much of a baker.  It’s not because I’m more of a savory over sweet gal – because anyone who knows me knows that I cannot resist a good sweet treat or dessert! I think it’s because baking is so precise.  Now while I use recipes when I cook, I tend to think of them more as “suggestions” in creating a dish.  I like to use my own culinary instincts to develop a dish and sometimes wind up improvising by adding herbs and spices or substituting ingredients to create a new flavor profile.  Apparently that doesn’t work so well when baking.  Adding a dash more or a splash of something to a baking recipe can make cookies turn into lumps of coal or cakes into bricks, both of which have happened to me many times.

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So when I was asked to create and share a dessert recipe using Reddi-wip® whipped topping, I decided to go with one that involve absolutely no baking on my end.

Right now there are lots of yummy and wonderful berries in season and they can make an easy and healthy dessert.

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Eggplant Parm Roll-Ups, A New Tra-Dish With Ragú

I’ve always loved my Italian heritage. To me, it means strong values rooted in both family and food and those are traditions The Hubs and I are passing to our own kidlets! Ragú® recently challenged bloggers to put their own spin on one of their classic dishes to create, what they call, a #NewTraDish for their families. I decided to take on their Eggplant Parmesan recipe and gave it a healthier twist by not frying or breading the eggplant.

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My Eggplant Parm Roll-Ups are super easy for either a kitchen vet or newbie chef to create! Using Ragú® Old World Style® Traditional Sauce, which is made with 11 ripe juicy tomatoes making it richest, thickest recipe*, means you won’t need to slave over the stove all day to create a flavorful sauce. You can put this entire meal together in about an hour – so it’s the perfect weeknight recipe to make and enjoy.

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Make Dinner Tonight With Campbell’s Skillet Sauces #EasyPrepMeals

I am a member of Collective Bias® Social Fabric® Community. This shop has been compensated as part of a social shopper amplification for Collective Bias and its advertiser. All opinions within this sponsored post are my own and not edited by Collective Bias in any manner. #EasyPrepMeals #CollectiveBias

 

I absolutely love to cook, but it isn’t always my favorite thing to do after a long day at the office.   Most weeknights The Hubs and I get home from work late time and we look forward to spending some quality time talking, playing and reading with our kidlets before their bedtime. Once we have them safely nestled into their beds it’s usually well after 8 pm.  While we’re both ravenous by that time, neither one of us is in the mood to start thinking about dinner ideas and making a meal that has a long prep or cook time.

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That’s why I love #EasyPrepMeals — fast and easy dinners that I can make on nights when I don’t have the time or energy to cook a meal from scratch. I always try to keep my pantry and fridge stocked with some food basics so I can always create a delicious meal on a moment’s notice.

This past weeknight I made an awesome and romantic dinner for The Hubs and I in under 30 minutes with the help of Campbell’s Skillet Sauces. This is a new line of Campbell’s sauces where all you have to do is pick your protein and/or vegetable, add a Skillet Sauce and you can have a tasty and healthy dinner for four (we had enough for leftovers the next night!) on the table in no time at all!

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All Good April

Since The Hubs and I started living the pescatarian lifestyle earlier this year, we’ve been experimenting with of new foods. I’ve learned all about vegetarian meat AKA mock meats — foods make to look like various meats, but made from soy, gluten, eggs, veggies or a combo of those ingredients — and that kale is the new spinach! Most recently I learned about the many health benefits of coconut oil and flax seeds to a persons daily diet, courtesy of a care package from Carrington Farms for #AllGoodApril month.

THM_CarringtonFarms_AllGoodApril_1My Carrington Farms “All Good April” care package included Liquid Coconut Cooking Oil, Organic Extra Virgin Coconut Oil tub & Organic Milled Flax Seeds

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Meatless Meals – Veggie Quiche

Most weeknights The Hubs and I don’t get home until after 6:30 pm from work.   Once we do get home we try to spend as much time as possible hanging out with the kidlets before they go to bed.  That means we play board games, build LEGOs, play with Super Heroes/Disney Princesses, read books or if it’s Wednesday night, give the kidlets baths!  By the time 8 pm rolls around the kidlets are safely snuggled into bed and The Hubs and I are starving!  But who wants to start cooking a meal at 8 pm to eat at 9 pm and then go to bed not too long after?  Not this gal – so lately I’ve been making extra meals/dishes on Sundays that we can just re-heat during the week.

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One of my current favorites is making quiche.  This might be a little rudimentary, but I have had people ask me what it is — a quiche is an open-faced pastry crust with a savory filling thickened with eggs. I like quiches because they are so versatile. You can fill them with just about anything you have in the fridge — cheese, meat, seafood or vegetables — and you can serve it either hot or cold.   They are the perfect meal to make in advance, store in either the fridge or freezer and pop out when needed.

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Getting Ready For the Big Game – Super Bowl Appetizer Recipes

This year the Super Bowl is a big deal in our house.  See, The Hubs is originally from Colorado and grew up a Denver Broncos fan, which means he’s been united in orange his entire life and not just some guy jumping on the Peyton Manning bandwagon.

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The Hubs was a long-suffering Broncos fan until John Elway stepped onto the field in Mile High Stadium as a rookie in 1983 and eventually led them to 5 AFC championships and two Super Bowl wins. Continue reading ⇒