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Five on Friday {Birthday Party Weekend}

Happy Friday and what a nice week it’s been!  The kids went back to school Tuesday and we are back in our normal routine.  I missed last week’s Five on Friday post.  With the kids home for spring break and my son being sick for several of those days, blogging had to take a backseat. This weekend plans to be a busy one.  Saturday is the first day of soccer season for my son.  We are then going to the Sheep-to-Shawl Festival later in the day.  Sunday the kids have their last CCD class of the year and then we are hosting my daughter’s 11th birthday party for friends.  My daughter loves games of any kind so we are having a Minute To Win It themed party.  While the show isn’t on anymore, the games don’t lose their fun factor!  Here are five from this week:

1. Birthday Celebrating – My daughter’s actual birthday was last Friday.  Since she had off from school we started with breakfast out and then went to the movies.  Later, we met my husband for a linner (late lunch/dinner).  This year, she wanted soup dumplings for her birthday dinner.  So we found a restaurant in Westchester that served them and had a great meal.  Then went out for T-Swirl Crepe for dessert!

2. Easter – Since my daughter’s birthday is so close to Easter we hosted a joint Easter/birthday celebration for our families.  It was a low-key but fun day.  My husband cooked a ham for dinner and we ended with an Oreo Cookie ice cream cake.

3. Cooking – This week was all about using up the leftover ham from Easter.  Did I mention that my son hates leftovers of any kind?!!  We only had straight up leftovers with sides one night.  I then tried to use the leftover ham in other dishes so they didn’t look or taste like leftovers.  Not sure how successful I was, but the rest of us enjoyed this Cheesy Ham Chowder.  You can get the recipe link and see the rest of what was on our menu this past week on Monday’s weekly meal plan post!

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4. Reading – I just finished I Liked My Life by Abby Fabiaschi and really enjoyed it!  I linked to the goodreads page.  It’s an emotional, contemporary fiction book that I highly recommend if you like this genre of books!

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5. Watching – We went to the movies on my daughter’s birthday and saw Boss Baby, at her request.  The kids enjoyed it…..and that’s what matters, right?!! LOL!  This past week we also watched Moana for the first time as a family and really liked it.  My son has been playing the songs nonstop on his iPod!

ICYI this week on the blog:

2017 calendar
Monday
I shared our weekly meal plan.

Wednesday I wrote about the Walkway Over the Hudson State Historic Park.

Linking up with Katie, Andrea and April!  Have a great weekend!

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Walkway Over the Hudson State Historic Park

Beautiful, scenic river views, exercise, and outdoor family fun.  A visit to Poughkeepsie, New York, isn’t complete without a trip to the Walkway Over the Hudson State Historic Park where you can experience it all!  Spanning 1.28 miles long, the Walkway is the longest elevated pedestrian bridge in the world.  Walkway Over the Hudson opened in October 2009 and is a New York State park.

The bridge sits 212 feet above the Hudson River and offers spectacular scenic views.  Bike riding, roller blading and skateboarding are all permitted on the bridge. Dogs on a six foot lead are also welcome.  With the beautiful spring weather we’ve been experiencing, there’s no better time to visit the Walkway!

Our family has visited the Walkway twice now.  Our first visit was in the summer and it was hot!  So hot, that there was a warning posted that dogs should not walk on the bridge, as the temperature was over 100 degrees! That first visit our daughter rode her bike while we walked.  However, we didn’t even make it across the entire bridge as we were so hot and hungry!

Our second visit was on a breezy, sunny, spring day.  It was a perfect day for walking across the bridge and taking in the views.  We walked the entire bridge and back, with a few photo stops in between.  For our family 2.56 miles was plenty of walking!  If you prefer a longer walk or run there’s a 4.4 mile loop trail that crosses the Mid-Hudson Bridge.

There are picnic tables at both entrances of the walkway if you want to bring lunch or snacks and make a longer day out of your visit.  During our summer visit there was a hot dog truck at the Poughkeepsie entrance.  On our spring visit, there was a snack stand open at the Highland entrance selling kettle corn, beverages and other snacks. There are beverage vending machines as well.

On the walkway closer to the Poughkeepsie entrance there’s a glass-enclosed 21-story elevator operated by a NYS park employee which leads down to the waterfront.

Within walking distance is the Poughkeepsie train station, the Mid-Hudson Children’s Museum,the Poughkeepsie Ice House on the Hudson restaurant and more.

Other important things to note is that there are bathrooms at both entrances that house self-composting toilets with hand sanitizer only, no sinks or running water.  There were no changing tables for babies and toddlers.

Although the bridge isn’t that long, if walking it with kids be ready to take frequent breaks! Strollers and wagons are allowed on the walkway.  There are benches in a couple of spots along the bridge that are great photo spots as well as a place to rest tired feet for a few minutes.  Bring quarters and your kids can enjoy using the coin operated binoculars.  I also recommend bringing water or beverages (or be prepared to purchase them!), as from personal experience, your kids will get thirsty, especially if it’s hot!

Spend an hour or a day visiting the Walkway Over the Hudson!  As you can see in the picture below, there is lots to do in the area.  Regardless, the walkway is a Hudson Valley experience you should not miss!

The Details:

Walkway Over the Hudson State Historic Park

Poughkeepsie Entrance:
61 Parker Avenue
Poughkeepsie, NY 12601

Highland Entrance:
87 Haviland Road
Highland, NY 12528

Hours:  6:30 AM to sunset (varies depending on the month – check here for the schedule)
Elevator operates from 9 AM to one hour before park closing

Parking:  $5 (for four hours) to park in the New York State parking lot
Empire passes are accepted
There is a free parking lot on Parker Avenue, before the state parking lot entrance

The bridge is 1.28 miles long and is 212 feet above the Hudson River.

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Weekly Meal Plan {Week 74}

2017 calendar

Happy Monday!  I hope everyone had a Happy Easter.  Yesterday we hosted both sides of the family and had a joint Easter/11th birthday celebration for our daughter.  It was a great day with family and delicious food!  The kids are enjoying one more day off of school.  I enjoyed a week of not having to wake up at 6 AM and being on a schedule.  However, I’m ready for them to go back! LOL!!  Monday means that it’s time for another weekly meal plan.  If you are looking for some dinner time inspiration, my weekly meal plan is the place for you.  Each week I showcase what was on my previous week’s meal plan, with pictures, recipe links and most importantly, my family’s review of each dish.  There are so many food blogs, cookbooks and recipes out there and I am always on the lookout for new family-friendly recipes that are quick and easy!  If you are new to meal planning, read more about how I make my weekly meal plan.

Here is a look at what was on our menu this past week:

Saturday:  We were up in Poughkeepsie for the day and had a late lunch.  We got home and weren’t super hungry for dinner.  The kids just had a yogurt and I had some leftovers at 9 PM!

Sunday:  We had beef burritos.  Nothing fancy, just refried beans, taco seasoned ground beef, rice and cheese in a tortilla.  I didn’t have sour cream, so we ate these with just salsa.  We were outside most of the day doing yard work.  I was just happy we were able to find enough ingredients at home to make something for dinner!!

Monday:  We were supposed to go to my husband’s family Passover Seder.  However, our son ended up with a stomach bug.  I stayed home with him while my husband and daughter went to the Seder.  My son had some soup for dinner and I ended up eating leftovers.  I of course requested that my husband bring me home some Matzoh Ball Soup!  They did even better by bringing us back soup and a container full of desserts!

Tuesday: I made Greek Turkey Meatballs from Damn Delicious.  I served these with couscous and salad.  These meatballs were so tasty!  The tzatziki sauce was a must!  I would eat a piece of meatball with some couscous and the sauce in one bite and it was delicious!  These were easy to make and a dish that I’d cook again!  My son was still sick and not eating much, but my daughter really enjoyed these.

Wednesday:  I made Weeknight Pasta with Sausage and Broccoli Raab from Love and Olive Oil.  This is a classic dish that I’ve made numerous times.  It was the first time using this particular recipe though.  I liked the addition of wine and blanching the broccoli raab.  This was a quick and easy pasta dish that the family enjoyed.

Thursday:  I made homemade pizza and topped it with pepperoni and leftover broccoli raab.  As usual, this was quick, easy and tasty!

Friday:  Today was my daughter’s 11th birthday!  She requested soup dumplings for dinner this year.  So I found a restaurant in Westchester that serves them.  We basically had dim sum for dinner including soup dumplings, fried dumplings, steamed pork buns, pork belly in a chili garlic sauce and a fried appetizer platter with spring rolls, chicken wings, curry puffs and crab rangoon.  It was all really good and my daughter was very happy and full!

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March 2017 Reads

Life According to Steph

It’s the second Tuesday of the month which means that it’s time for Steph and Jana’s monthly Show Us Your Books link up.  This is where I share my monthly reads, visit a bunch of other blogs and add to my ever-growing to read list! I have to say I had a pretty good month of reading, with almost all of my reads being 4 stars.  However, after writing the summaries, I realized I read a lot of depressing, but good books!  LOL!    Here are my March 2017 reads listed in order of least to most liked.

3 Stars

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It’s Not Okay by Andi Dorfman – If you have not seen Andi Dorfman on The Bachelor and then on The Bachelorette, then this book is not for you!  If you are a fan of the shows, then I recommend this read.  Dorfman spills about her broken engagement with Josh (#26).  I enjoyed learning about what happened to her relationship with Josh after The Bachelorette and getting behind the scenes info about the show production itself.

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Westminster Abby by Micol Ostow – Abby is a high school student spending a semester studying in London.  She has overprotective parents and after a breakup with a cheating ex-boyfriend she’s looking for a little adventure.  This book is part of the YA series Students Across the Seven Seas (S.A.S.S.).  This was the first book I’ve read in the series and my daughter is currently reading the book now.  I felt it was a good intro to English culture but could have been more descriptive of places instead of being what felt like a laundry list of tourist stops.

4 Stars

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Booked by Kwame Alexander – Told in verse,  this book is about 8th grader Nick Hall who loves soccer.  His parents are having marital problems, he competes against his best friend in a soccer league and he’s trying to impress April, a girl he has a crush on.  So, normal middle school stuff.  The poetry format makes for a quick read.  I’m always on the search for new books for my kids to read.  Although he’s only 8 1/2, I got this book with my son in mind, since he enjoys playing soccer.  While he didn’t enjoy the book as much as I did, I think it’s a great book for middle grade readers.

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Close Enough To Touch by Colleen Oakley – Jubilee Jenkins suffers from a rare medical condition in which she is allergic to human touch.  For nine years she has lived alone, never leaving her house. When she’s forced to get a job she ends up working at the town library.  It’s there that she meets Eric and his adopted son Aja, whom she forms a special connection with.  I knew nothing about this book before starting to read it, so went in with no expectations.  Some of the characters were definitely quirky but endearing, especially after learning their backstories.  It was an enjoyable read that interested me enough that I want to read Oakley’s other book Before I Go.  She also gets bonus points for commenting on my Instagram post!

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Escape from Mr. Lemoncello’s Library by Chris Grabenstein – The new town library is opening and 12, twelve-year-old children will be chosen for a library lock-in experience before it officially opens to the public. It turns out the lock-in is actually a game.  Using clues, the children have to find a way to escape from the library (not using the same way they came in), with big prizes for the winner. The book is filled with puzzles and lots of book references.  This book will appeal to children who love puzzles and reading!  My daughter owns this book and has read it several times.  My son and I read this book together over a course of about a month and we both really enjoyed it.  There are two other books in this series that we will be checking out soon!

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Maybe In Another Life by Taylor Jenkins Reid – At 29, not sure of what she wants to do with herself, Hannah returns to her hometown of Los Angeles where her best friend Gabby lives.  At a bar one evening she bumps into her old high school boyfriend, Ethan.  He offers to give her a ride home at the end of the night.  From there, two different story lines play out in alternating chapters.  One where she goes home with Gabby as planned and the other where she leaves with Ethan.  This was my third Taylor Jenkins Reid book.  I really enjoy her storytelling and she’s become a favorite author.  This wasn’t my favorite book of hers but was entertaining, nonetheless.

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The Memory Book by Lara Avery – High school senior Sammie McCoy is valedictorian and a star member of the debate team.  She’s planning to attend NYU in the fall and life is looking pretty good.  But then she discovers that she has a rare genetic disorder Niemann-Peck (NPK) which will lead to her losing her memory, motor function and eventually death.  So, she creates this memory book to help her remember her life.  While coming to terms with her diagnosis she also navigates friendships and romantic relationships while trying to beat the disease.  This was another engaging, emotional YA read.

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The Sun Is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon – Natasha’s family is being deported back to Jamaica later in the evening and she’s doing everything she can including making a trip to an immigration attorney to plead her case.  Daniel is on his way to get his hair cut for an alumni admission interview for Yale  later that day when he first notices Natasha.  Of course, possibly by fate?, the two end up meeting and spending a perfect day together.  The story is told from multiple points of view over the course of the day.  While the idea of instant love is hard to believe, this story is so much more than a teen romance.  The book deals with immigration, race, having different life expectations from your parents and more.  A quick, enjoyable YA read.

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When We Collided by Emery Lord – Jonah, one of six siblings, is helping to take care of his younger brothers and sisters.  Since their dad died, their mom rarely leaves her bedroom.  So, the older siblings have to juggle running the family restaurant and taking care of the house.  Vivi has moved to Verona Cove from Seattle and works in the local pottery shop.  It is here that she meets Jonah and his youngest sister.  The two form a relationship, with Vivi bringing spontaneity and fun to his life.  This YA book was a quick, emotional read. Although I’m not very familiar with bipolar disorder, I feel like Lord did a good job of depicting mental illness and the impact it has on others.

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With Love From the Inside by Angela Pisel – Grace Bradshaw has been on death row for 17 years after being found guilty for murdering her baby son.  With her execution date set, her one wish is to reconnect with her estranged daughter Sophie.  But Sophie has created a new life for herself where even her husband knows nothing about her past.  When Sophie finally visits her mother, she has a lot of soul searching and decisions to make.  This was an emotional tearjerker of a read that had me engaged from the start.

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Weekly Meal Plan {Week 73}

2017 calendar
Oh Monday, here you are again!  Luckily, this week is spring break and we have a nice, relaxing week planned. For everyone who celebrates, Happy Passover!  We are celebrating Passover tonight at a Seder with my husband’s side of the family.  Monday means that it’s time for another weekly meal plan.  If you are looking for some dinner time inspiration, my weekly meal plan is the place for you.  Each week I showcase what was on my previous week’s meal plan, with pictures, recipe links and most importantly, my family’s review of each dish.  There are so many food blogs, cookbooks and recipes out there and I am always on the lookout for new family-friendly recipes that are quick and easy!  If you are new to meal planning, read more about how I make my weekly meal plan.

Here’s a look at what was on our menu this past week:

Saturday – Earlier in the week I had made a visit to HMart, a Korean grocery store.  I stocked up on sauces and other staples, but also couldn’t leave without picking up some marinated pork belly.  My husband cooked it up while I made some Doenjang-Glazed Broiled Eggplant from the cookbook Korean Food Made Simple by Judy Joo.  We had it with some rice.  This was such a tasty dinner!

Sunday – My parents took our family out for an early anniversary celebration.  My husband and I celebrated our 13th wedding anniversary on Wednesday, the 4th.  We had a great dinner at Julianna’s where I had this White Lasagna with Polenta Sticks.

Monday – I made Sausage, Spinach and Apple Breakfast Sandwiches from Cooking Light, March 2017.  We love breakfast for dinner and this meal was a winner! I made a couple of adaptations to the recipe.  First, I used maple flavored breakfast sausage.  Second, I used Thomas’ Corn English Muffins instead of the recommended whole-wheat in the recipe.  The maple sausage paired with the sweet corn muffin made a great flavor combination.  Everyone devoured these!  I served the breakfast sandwiches with Parmesan-and-Herb Roasted Potatoes from the same Cooking Light issue.

Tuesday – I made an adapted version of Krazy Korean Burgers from Judy Joo’s Korean Food Made Simple cookbook.  These were a bit on the spicy side even though I decreased the amount of gochujang sauce and didn’t add the chili pepper flakes!  I also didn’t make the Doenjang Mayo or gochujang ketchup.  I wasn’t a big fan of these and prefer the Asian style burgers that I make with hoisin sauce.  I served the burgers with fries.

Wednesday – I made Spicy Fried Chicken Bites from Kimichi Mom.  These chicken bites are supposed to be a mash up of Korean and Japanese fried chicken.  This was one of those instances where I didn’t read the recipe before starting dinner….and should have!  The chicken had to marinate for 20 minutes in the sauce.  Plus, it took me some time to cut the chicken thighs up.  Add in the flouring and the frying and it took me about an hour to get this chicken cooked.  I only sauced half the chicken, since the kids tried some with the sauce on  and found it a bit spicy.  This chicken was really good and definitely worth the time invested.  If I had known it would take so long, I would have either started earlier or made this on a weekend instead.  I served this with Cucumbers in Garlic Sauce from A Thought For Food and rice. This was a kid-approved meal!  My husband has already requested that we shorten the cooking time by working together to cook it so we can have this again soon!

Thursday – I made Chinese Stir Fried Sticky Rice Cakes (Nian Gao) from Steamy Kitchen.  This was my first time cooking with rice cakes.  The rice cakes started out as hard little ovals but after soaking and cooking ended up with a soft, chewy texture.  My husband did all the prep work for this dish and when I got home with the kids from piano lessons I finished cooking it.  This was a tasty dish, though our ratio of rice cakes (too many) and pork (not enough) was off.  The kids ate this, but weren’t big fans.
Friday – I made Caramelized Balsamic Goat Cheese Pasta from Half Baked Harvest.  I roasted the beets earlier in the afternoon and the rest of the cooking was quick and easy.   I think this dish was super tasty and a great addition to Meatless Mondays.  While my kids aren’t the biggest fan of beets and mushrooms, they enjoyed the pasta and goat cheese!  I omitted the pomegranate arils, as it’s no longer pomegranate season.

What is on your menu this week?

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Five on Friday {Start of Spring Break}

And just like that it’s Friday again!  This week feels like it’s flown by!  This weekend starts the kids’ spring break.  As of now we don’t have big plans.  However, I’m sure we will fill the week with fun.  Here’s a look at five from this week:

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1. Reading – I am half-way through reading Behind Her Eyes by Sarah Pinborough.  This is a suspense/thriller read that is holding my interest.  I haven’t found a lot of reading time this week but hope to finish it this weekend.

2. Watching – I’m excited that new seasons of both The Real Housewives of Potomac and New York City started this week.  Beverly Hills is still on as well, so I am in Real Housewives heaven!

3. Celebrating – Tuesday my husband and I celebrated our 13th wedding anniversary.  My parents took us out for dinner on Sunday evening to celebrate. Since weeknights are not great nights for celebrating my husband and I met up for a lunch date yesterday.  We had a delicious meal, pictured above!

4. Family Fun – My husband recently founded the Westchester chapter of the Binghamton University Alumni Association.  Last weekend they held a family event at the Westchester Knicks game.  It was the last game of the season and although the Knicks lost, we had a fun time.

5.  Cooking –  Last week I went to HMart, a Korean grocery store and stocked up on some staple sauces and such.  Since then, I’ve been on a Korean cooking kick.  Check out Monday’s weekly meal plan post to see what I cooked up this past week!  I had some ripe bananas that needed to be used up so I made these Banana Sour Cream Muffins from epicurious as well.  We’ve enjoyed them for breakfast and there were some extras that I put in the freezer for another time.

ICYMI this week on the blog:

2017 calendar
Monday
I shared our weekly meal plan.

Currently 2017

Wednesday I shared my April Currently and joined the monthly link up.

Thursday I posted a Thirsty Thursday review of Keegan Ales Old Capital.

Linking up with Katie, Andrea and April!  Hope you have a great weekend!

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Keegan Ales: Old Capital {Thirsty Thursday}

Today on Thirsty Thursday I’m featuring a beer from a local Hudson Valley brewery.  Keegan Ales was founded in 2003 in Kingston, New York.  The brewery has one many awards including 2009 Best Brewery in the Hudson Valley, 2009 Best Brewery in New York State as well as 2009 Best Craft-Brewed Beer in New York State. If you’re in the area, you can get a free tour of the brewery.  Tours are given at the top of the hour from 1-6 PM, Friday through Sunday.  Even better, you can have a meal at the restaurant, which serves fare including appetizers, salads and sandwiches.

Disclaimer:  I am not a beer drinker.  I’ll take a hard cider or fruity cocktail over a beer any day.  My husband who enjoys a beer now and then is by no means a craft beer expert.  However, he enjoys trying new beers and volunteering his thoughts in our Thirsty Thursday posts! 

Keegan Ales brews six beers as well as the occasional seasonal and specialty beer. Today, I’m featuring their Old Capital.  Kingston became New York’s first capital in 1777 and is where the first New York State Senate was established.  Old Capital pays homage to Kingston’s historical significance.  It’s a traditional, golden ale with a slight malty, citrus aroma.  I poured the beer into a Food Network Craft Pub glass.  I’m not sure if it’s the glass, or more likely the way that I poured the beer, but as seen in the photo, there was a HUGE foam head on the beer.  After a little research, I discovered that it’s definitely the way that I poured the beer!

I bought this beer at Acme, where they have a build-your-own six-pack for $11.99.  While they have a limited selection of craft beer and ciders, they almost always have a couple of different beers from local breweries available.  Old Capital is available in bottles throughout the tri-state area (New York, New Jersey and Connecticut).

Verdict:  Recommend.  While there’s nothing particularly noteworthy about this ale, it’s pleasant tasting and my husband would drink it again.

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Currently April 2017

Currently 2017
Happy April!  I am ready for some April Showers and warmer weather.  April is a busy month for us as we celebrate my wedding anniversary, my daughter’s birthday, Passover and Easter.  I am joining Anne and Jess once again for the monthly Currently link up.  Make sure to join us next month,  Wednesday May 3, when I co-host with Anne and we share what we are currently baking, listening, loving, planting and remembering!  For April, here is what I’m currently:

Accomplishing – I am accomplishing lots of birthday planning.  We are celebrating my daughter’s 11th birthday with the family on Easter.  So, with some input from her, my husband and I are working on getting the menu finalized.  She’s also having her friends party the weekend after.  Since she’s a game lover, she’s having a Minute To Win It themed party with lots of games.  There’s definitely lots of planning that needs to be finalized for this party.

Feeling – lucky.  My husband and I just celebrated our 13th wedding anniversary yesterday.  While 13 may be considered an unlucky number to some, we are feeling very lucky.  We have created a beautiful family and wonderful life together over these years and can’t wait to create lots more memories.  To celebrate, my parents took us out to dinner this past weekend and we have a belated lunch date tomorrow!

Needing – to eat healthier.  Spring is here!  While I belong to the gym and have been taking lots of classes, I haven’t been the best about eating healthy.   My husband and I have agreed that for the next few months, while eating at home we are going to make healthier choices.  However, all bets are off when we go out!  LOL!

Practicing – shopping restraint.  It’s so easy to run into the store to buy something I need and come out with a bunch of other things that I didn’t!  While I pride myself on being a bargain shopper and getting a good deal, we are trying to cut down on extraneous spending.  So, I’ve really been trying to stick to the shopping list!

Pinning – lots of recipes, as usual, as well as NY focused travel pins.  This summer I’m planning on taking the kids on some road trips around the state.  Some of the stops include Albany, Niagara Falls, Lake George and the Catskill Mountains.  Plus, lots of day trips around the area and NYC.  I love living in NY state and it has so much to see and do.  I figured this summer is a great time to explore the state before we venture out further in our travels.

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Weekly Meal Plan {Week 72}

2017 calendar
Happy Monday!  I hope you had a great weekend and are ready to rock another week!  Monday means that it’s time for another meal plan. If you are looking for some dinner time inspiration, my weekly meal plan is the place for you.  Each week I showcase what was on my previous week’s meal plan, with pictures, recipe links and most importantly, my family’s review of each dish.  There are so many food blogs, cookbooks and recipes out there and I am always on the lookout for new family-friendly recipes that are quick and easy!  If you are new to meal planning, read more about how I make my weekly meal plan.  Here’s a look at what was on our menu this past week:

Saturday: We hosted our monthly supper club this month.  This month’s theme was Polish cuisine.  I bought some kielbasa from the Polish deli and made homemade pierogies.  It was very labor intensive, but oh so good!  And my husband made stuffed cabbage rolls.  It was a delicious dinner!

Sunday: My husband made a roast that I had picked up earlier in the week.  He cooked it a perfect medium.  He used the leftover potato pierogi filling and made croquettes to go with.  He served with some broccoli to round out the meal.

Monday:  We had so many stuffed cabbage rolls left from Saturday that we had the extras for dinner.  Sadly, I do not have a picture of them.  While they are a Polish staple, they weren’t my favorite.

Tuesday: My kids helped me make Zia Donatella’s Gumbo by Giada De Laurentiis.  It’s on a recipe card from her children’s chapter book New Orleans!  in her Recipe for Adventure series.  The andouille sausage in this recipe gave this dish a surprising amount of heat.  While probably not authentic New Orleans gumbo, this is a Giada De Laurentiis recipe and it was very good!  I’m not quite sure that I’ve ever had gumbo to have something to compare it to.  The kids ate it, spice and all!  While still tasty the next day, the gumbo did not get its soupy texture back.  So, I’d recommend eating the first day!

Wednesday: I made Cilantro Lime Chicken with Rice Skillet from A Kitchen Addiction.  I don’t make a lot of brown rice and this recipe uses instant.  So neither my kids or I were a fan of the rice in this dish.  I used chicken thighs instead of breasts, but otherwise made the recipe as directed.  The lime flavor was noticeable.  While this dish was light and easy to make, it’s not on my repeat list.

Thursday: I made Chorizo and Fried Egg Breakfast Tacos from How Sweet It Is.  I ended up making scrambled eggs instead.  Breakfast for dinner is always a hit at our house and both my kids had two of these tacos.

Friday:  We ended the week with our usual homemade pizza.  This week was another plain cheese pizza.  Super quick, easy and tasty!

What is on your menu this week?

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Shamrock Farms Cold Brew Coffee & Milk {Thirsty Thursday}

Today’s Thirsty Thursday review is all about coffee!  Cold-brewed coffee to be more exact.  Cold brew coffee is made just as the name implies, it’s brewed cold.  Fans of cold-brew coffee enjoy the decreased acidity and smoother flavor the coffee has over regular, hot-brewed coffee.  For myself the type of brewing doesn’t really matter, I just need the caffeine first thing in the morning!

Shamrock Farms is a family-owned and -operated dairy farm located in Stanfield, Arizona.  Founded in 1922, the farm has a herd of over 10,000 cows and produces a full line of dairy products including milk, sour cream, cottage cheese and more, as well as cold brew coffee.  The cows are never treated with growth hormones and Shamrock Farms uses sustainable practices like 100% recyclable packaging, a manure management system on the farm and a waste-water pre-treatment system at its manufacturing plant.

To make their cold brew coffee, Shamrock Farms brews 100% Colombian beans that they ground and steep in cold water and then add to their milk.  The cold brew coffee line was launched this past fall in Arizona and has been available nationally since early 2017.  I bought this coffee drink at Shoprite but it’s also available at many grocery stores including Albertsons, Safeway, Tops, and Publix.

Review:  My husband and I shared a 12 ounce bottle of cold brew.  We tried the vanilla flavor, but it also comes in original and mocha.  We both found the consistency of the beverage to be surprisingly thick.  I enjoyed the flavor of the coffee more than my husband did.  With 22 grams of sugar, this is definitely on the sweet side and not something that I’d drink every day.  However, the sweetness isn’t overly powering. I find the $2.99 retail price a bit steep for a 12 ounce bottle.  However, Shamrock Farms offers a $1.00 off coupon on their site.

Verdict:  Worth a try.  Not something to drink every day, but good for an occasional treat, especially when you need a caffeine fix on the go.