A Week of Pinterest: Pass or Fail!

This week was our Spring Break from school and work and we decided to stay home instead of travel. While I would have all this time at home, I realized it would be a great time to get creative!

So I scanned my Pinterest boards and found  few things I wanted to try and share the process with all of you! Below are my five days of testing our Pinterest projects, from makeup to DIY art.

Monday

I’m a huge fan of makeup because I love playing with colors and creating new looks. It’s amazing what you can do with a little eyeshadow and some brushes. To me it’s similar to painting a canvas, except that it’s your face. I attempted a smokey eye look and shared my thoughts.

Tuesday

The next day I chose a DIY art project that I’ve seen float through my pins from day one on Pinterest. Melted crayon art looks so cool and yet could go so horribly wrong so I wanted to take a stab at it and see if I could create something beautiful.

Wednesday

One of the biggest boards I have on Pinterest is my cooking board. There I pin all the yummy recipes I want to make and some of them I do attempt. But I hadn’t yet made a fried recipe so I pulled one of the most repinned chicken dishes on my board.

Thursday

With three passes under our belt, my son and I attempted another DIY art project that I had seen many times on Pinterest. Around Christmas time we had actually thought to try these as gifts. BOY am I glad we didn’t do that. These were not quite a pass or fail but they definitely didn’t come out as we had hoped.

Friday

On our final day I really wanted to make some cool bath bombs so that we could relax in the bath with some soothing peppermint scented fizziness. Sadly I think I messed these up so I may attempt them again when summer comes and I have some more free time on my hands.

Our five days are up and I’m thrilled to say we had three passes and only two fails. And the two fails are something I’m interested in going back and trying again. It was also a great bonding experience for Jake and myself. We had fun making the videos and also discussing what worked and what didn’t. I think we’d be up for trying more Pinterests projects this summer!

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Meal Prep Monday: Instant Pot Magic

Instant pots cropped up in my world around Christmas time. Many friends were gifted the magical pot that cooked instantly and can cook just about everything.

Having a kitchen full of items, I wasn’t really jumping at the idea of adding another one to my arsenal. While all the food cooked in it looked great and seemed like this incredible, too good to be true item, I just couldn’t bring myself to buy one.

Luckily for me, my mom has one. She’s had it for a while now. Except she always referred to it as her pressure cooker. She even suggested it give it a go at some point because she felt that I would like it.

As my media feeds were food with pictures and posts of this cooking revolution, I asked my mom if her cooker was the same and she told me that yes, the one she had been using for some time is the same one that everyone was in love with now.

So, I borrowed it. And this weekend I made a few meals to help me make it through the week with healthy options.

Our first attempt was simple. Steaming some green beans coated in a little oil and salt and pepper.

These didn’t last long once they came out because my husband started eating them like candy. So I’d say they were a success.

My next recipe was a whole meal with honey teriyaki chicken and carrots. I got to use the sauté function and brown the chicken then pressure cooked the whole thing together. It came out great! So good that AGAIN I had to hide it from my husband. Within minutes of it being out of the cooker (while I was making the sauce thicken up a bit) he had devoured a whole chicken breast.

See?! I’m not lying. He totally nommed on a whole breast while I was busy stirring.

My last effort to play with the instant pot was cooking a whole spaghetti squash.  Now I’ve never had a spaghetti squash before but I’ve aways heard great things about it working well as a low calorie option for pasta.

Initially it took 15 minutes to soften but it didn’t feel completely cooked through so I put it back in for another 5 minutes. After that second round it was perfect. I carefully took it out and cut it open to pull apart the meat.

For lunch I made a spaghetti squash, green bean, and chicken sausage bowl and it was good. Not great, but good. I’d have to say that the spaghetti squash was definitely something I’ll have to get used to but it’s nice to have some different options for healthy eating.

So far my first foray into the instant pot has been successful. I’m fascinated by the process and I think my husband is too. He’s been very hands on with helping me cook and test out new recipes, although his favorite job in my kitchen is taste testing. I can’t wait to try it again, maybe with a meat sauce to go with my spaghetti squash.

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What’s Cookin’ Good Lookin’

Not too long ago I wrote about a change in our habits. We were going from a general meal prep household (where a whole day was spent preparing meals for the whole week) to a meal a night. At first I didn’t want to make the switch. Preparing meals was much, much easier at one time then having to get up the energy to cook a full dinner throughout the week.

I had some great suggestions to keep with preparing certain things on Sunday but adding the prepared foods to new meals every other night. I took all the suggestions and starting figuring out how I wanted to go about feeding my family. Since I’m the one responsible for cooking and the shopping, it’s a big weight on my shoulders and after a long day of teaching, I’m not always ready to get in the kitchen and make a full meal.

My shopping list stayed the same but I did freeze a few items that I wasn;t going to need right away. This has been a problem in the past. I’ll intend to make dinner but will forget to set out the meat or some other important item so that it will be thawed by the time I’m ready to cook. So I’m going to have to adjust my brain there and remember to set everything up before work.

The first meal I made last week were turkey burgers! Using my skillets, I sauteed some peppers with garlic in one and cooked the turkey burgers in the other. My turkey burgers were a mix of turkey meat, panko crumbs, seasonings, and a little salt. I pressed each patty in my handy dandy hamburger press so that they would all be the same size and thickness. It was the first time using them and I’m glad I have it. It made cooking the meat much easier.

The burgers were a hit! My son loved them, my brother in law loved them, and my husband did too. I made enough to have left overs for a night or two and there were a few ways to eat it. It could be eaten like usual, on a bun with all the fixings. Or if you wanted a lighter meal you could skip the bun and eat it wrapped in some lettuce. Another option would be to crumble the burger over some rice or lettuce, too!

My next attempt was a chicken Parmesan skillet meal. I browned some chicken tenders in butter with garlic and onions for flavor. Once the chicken was properly cooked through, I poured a jar of marinara sauce over the whole meal and let it simmer on low for a few minutes. When it was almost time to serve I sprinkled some hand-shredded Parmesan and Romano cheese over the top.

It was a lot of cheesy goodness and made the house smell amazing! We served over some whole wheat penne pasta and have enjoyed the leftovers served with rice or pasta.

We had a craving for ravioli during the week, too, so I grabbed some to heat up and serve to the guys. This was a simple meal and required nothing more than heating and serving but it gave us a great meal and enough leftovers for lunch or dinner for an extra day or two. Plus it helped that they were heart shaped and super cute!

Our little Moo Cow loved the raviolis too!

This week I’m going to attempt the turkey burgers again and this time pay attention to my measurements and the process so I can post a recipe for my fellow kitchen hobbyist!

I’ll share any of my successful meals!

Meal Prep Monday: Stir Fry Chicken and Veggies

Don’t you just love a meal that comes together easily and can work in a number of ways? Making rice one day and using it throughout the week is one of my favorite things to do for my meal prep.

Now usually I use brown rice but we were short so I went with what I had in the effort to conserve money. This rice went with any of the protein I made during the week but this post if particularly about a nice chicken stir fry meal I made.

Using some pre-cut tenders and the rice I made in my rice cooker earlier in the week, I made a healthy and tasty meal that worked for both lunch and dinner as either a salad or a chicken and rice bowl.

After cutting the chicken into smaller bites, I seasoned and cooked them with some ground cumin, crushed red pepper flakes, and a good dose of Bragg’s soy sauce alternative. I also chopped up some garlic and sprinkled a little sea salt.

I decided to add a little honey to the chicken once it was mostly cooked and lowered the heat to allow it all to simmer together.

Tasty chicken!!

Once everything was cooked through I added in some veggies and gave it all a good mixing.

Along with the veggies, I chopped up some colorful bell peppers and threw it in. VOILA!

This lasted us maybe 3 days, for three people and two meals a day that’s not bad! The boys liked it and it was great on it’s own, over rice, or even topped on a salad.

Check out our side bar for some other great blogs and link-ups! This post is linked up at And Sew We Craft Together and Peeled Wellness.

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Meal Prep Monday: Crock Pot Salsa Chicken

Years ago when I was in college, my cooking skills were very simple. I could make eggs and that was about it! But I started trying to make simple meals for me and a roommate or two to improve.

One of the first dishes I made was from a recipe my mom passed onto me. It’s simple: a jar of salsa (level of spiciness is up to you), two tablespoons of spicy mustard and a tablespoon of brown sugar. Mix this together and then bake some chicken breasts in this sauce until tender and juicy.

To this day, I still use this recipe to make a batch of shredded chicken for the week. It’s a nice spicy and sweet mixture that is great over rice or on a salad. The only change I’ve made is to throw it in the crock pot and let it cook throughout the day.

For the crock pot I throw in 5 froze chicken breasts with the ingredients listed above.

I cooked this batch on HIGH for 4 hours and let it sit on WARM for an hour, but on a longer day you can go low for 6-8 hours. After it cooks I shred it up with a fork and then let it sit until we are ready to serve.

It cooks so well and is so juicy that shredding the chicken is ridiculously easy. It literally falls off my fork as I pull it apart.

I will make this small disclaimer, this is not a hit in my house but mostly because the guys found out what is in it. Neither of them like mustard OR salsa so when they discovered what the ingredients were they instantly disliked this chicken… Ugh! It’s so good, so spicy and sweet! I don’t know WHAT they are thinking!?!

If you are looking for a sweet and spicy way to make a batch of chicken for your weekly meal prep, check this super simple recipe out and enjoy!

Meal Prep Monday: Cilantro Lime Chicken

Every once in a while, I make a meal and realize “DANG IT! I should have been documenting this for the blog! It’s great!”

This happened last week when I threw together some left over cilantro and chicken with a squeeze of lime over all of it. What came out was a delicious chicken with a citrusy kick.

Being the blogger that I am, I decided to make it again and this time get some pictures so I could share my experiment with you all!

With this in mind, I picked up some fresh cilantro, a ripe lime, and some chicken tenders. I like cooking with tenders because it feels like they go further. Instead of cutting into a larger chicken breast, we can scoop out a few tenders to add to a salad or to put over rice.

When I made this last week, I cooked it in my favorite avocado oil but this week I pulled out my favorite butter instead. I find this Plugra butter cooks chicken like a dream. The chicken browns smoothly and ends up juicy and flavorful.

While the butter heats in the pan, I seasoned my chicken tenders in some Garlic Lovers seasoning from Flavor Gods. I toss them around in a generous coating and drop them into the pan when the butter is good and melted.

 

Cooking the chicken tenders on medium in the butter, I chop up the cilantro and slice the lim in half. I don’t cook the chicken in the cilantro for very long. I fact, I leave the cilantro and lime for the very end after both sides of the chicken have browned.

It takes maybe 5-6 minutes on each side in the Plugra to get the right brown coloring and the chicken is about 95% cooked through. THEN I throw on the cilantro. Right towards the end.

As the cilantro starts to wilt a little I squeeze the lime over the chicken and then turn the chicken over one last time.

In the end I’m left with tender, juicy, flavorful chicken cooked perfectly and ready for our lunches for the week!

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Meal Prep Monday: Almond Chicken Tenders

We recently did a week off from breads, sugars, and dairy. We wanted to see how we would do without certain foods that tend to trigger issues relating to our health. It was meant to be a full 30 days but we lasted only 7. After awhile the restrictions made us grumpy.

During that time I had to get creative with our meals. Just plain ol’ chicken got old real fast. Knowing I couldn’t bread the chicken I had to make substitutions like almond meal for breading or panko crust. Except I didn’t have any almond meal. I did have almonds, though.

With my handy little processor I ground up a few cups of almonds to create a nice fine crumble that I added some seasonings to.

Just a healthy sprinkling of my garlic lovers seasoning to give it some flavor. I left off any salt or pepper so we could season it as we each needed.

I rolled my chicken tenders into the almond meal mixture and through it into the frying pan with some butter. I let each tender brown and cut into each to check that they were each cooked through.

I have to say, this dish came out beautifully. The little one didn’t appreciate the nutty flavor that the almond meal added to the chicken and my husband found it interesting. I, on the other hand, loved it.

I made up a side of veggies and added some butternut squash cooked with bacon to mix it up. I’ll have to post that recipe also because it is DEVINE!

 

Meal Prep Monday: Garlic Chipotle Chicken Tenders

Lately I’ve been in a cooking funk. Cooking the same things over and over. I’ve haven’t been thinking outside the box.

Seeing as we’ve been slogging through my cooking funk, we’ve fallen back on some unhealthy habits. I haven’t been cooking as much as I usually do so we buy dinner out or throw together sandwiches.

This slip up has caused my husband and I talk seriously about cleaning up our diets and cutting out the processed things and sugar. We’ve been reading up on different meal plans like paleo cooking and taking a few notes from the Whole30.

Starting September 1st, we’re starting a cleaner, whole foods approach to eating. Which means I need to kick it up a notch and start cooking again! More meal planning and prep on the weekends to include all our good veggies and fruits and proteins to keep us on track.

To add to our already lacking refrigerator, I made up some simple, tasty garlic and chipotle chicken tenders with vegetables.

I love my avocado oil and I hope to visit the downtown market before the end of its season so I can get another bottle. I recently discovered pre-minced garlic. Where have you been ALL MY LIFE? I mean I love fresh stuff but if I can have it already cut for me, yes please!

We keep a few packs of frozen veggies although I also buy fresh when I can. I like the crunch of the water chestnuts in this pack. It’s a nice change from the peas and carrots.

I like cooking with tenders because they are smaller and can be used in a number of ways. They can be eaten on their own, on a salad, in a rice bowl, or even shredded in a burrito.  You can do the same with a chicken breast but I find having the smaller sized cuts makes it more time efficient when portioning the chicken out.

While the oil and the garlic cook over medium heat, I coat the chicken in some Flavor God chipotle seasonings. Because they are low in sodium, I don’t feel that you can over flavor them so I’m pretty liberal with the seasonings.

I decided to mix it up the seasonings with the veggies and add in some Garlic Lover.

In the end, I mashed some potatoes with thyme, parmesan cheese, and butter to balance out dinner that night and we loved it. The chipotle seasoning really added a smokey kick that went well with both the veggies and the mashed potatoes.

By just mixing up the seasonings, this chicken was a change up from other chicken I’ve made. You can eat healthy and stick to what you know but having a options for seasonings really helps to change it up so things don’t get boring. Playing in the kitchen is one of my favorite things while sharing what I discover is my second favorite thing!

Thanks for popping by today. Don’t forget to check out our most recent podcast, episode #12!

Meal Prep Monday: Lemon and Garlic Marinated Chicken 

It’s been a while since I had something new to post from my kitchen. I’ve been sticking to the same things and haven’t really changed it up much. You could say I’m in a bit of a rut.

This weekend we had company over so I searched Pinterest for recipes that I could make to feed my guests. I figured anything I made could turn into food for the week, that is if anything was left over.  I started out with this recipe for a Lemon and Garlic grilled chicken. It sounded really tasty. But I noticed the pin I shared with this recipe said that they used Italian seasonings instead. So I did a quick check of my spice cabinet and realized I had something different although, my Italian salad dressing mix. These packets come in handy fairly often so I keep a few on hand. Before I had even started cooking, I was already making adjustments to the recipe.
I ended up tweaking the recipe to my own liking. First I let the breasts marinate for over 24 hours. And every once in a while I’d go into the refrigerator and flip the bags around, moving the chicken inside the bags and giving them a good toss.

Also I didn’t flatten the chicken and I made two baggies with three breasts in each. Pounding out each breast sounds like a great way to relieve tension but I didn’t have the tools nor the time to do so.  I think separating them into two bags and letting the sit over night worked out perfectly.I decided, after the whole thing, that I would use less oil. I’m a fan of olive oil but sometimes it can be too strong. In this case it was a bit too much and I would rather taste all the other ingredients rather than the oil. Just a note for the next time I make this.

Even the little guy got into the mixing action. Once the chicken made it into the baggies, we gave them a good shake, rattle, and roll. I may not have flatten them out with a mallet but I did massage those seasonings into them through the bags.

CHICKEN!

Now for the recipe I ended up using. I doubled this recipe and divided it into two baggies.

6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (3 breasts per baggie)
6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 large garlic cloves, minced
1 packet of Italian salad seasonings mix
salt and pepper to taste
1-1/2 teaspoons lemon zest, from one lemon

In the end these chicken breasts came out moist, juicy, and super flavorful. That lemon zest really comes out in the flavors.

We had more than chicken on the grill so we had a lot left over to eat the rest of the week. I’m curious how this recipe would turn out in the oven so I mat attempt it again this time with thinner chicken tender pieces.

 

Ahhhh, the smell of the grill! We made chicken, sausages, and some carne asada. Carne is a must at every barbecue. Even though I cooked and prepped for a get together, in the end  we have enough food already made that I turned out to be a meal prep for the week!

And we all had a great time. Lots of laughs, great food,a nd great people all together just because.

Meal Prep Monday: Shredded Chicken

I hate to waste food. It’s one of my biggest pet-peeves. The idea of buying food then not getting to eat it in time drives me bats.

So I’ve made it a goal of mine to not allow that to happen. We’re not rolling in cash so all money put into food needs to be made worth it.

Last week I prepped my famous chili and some simple chicken breasts baked in butter and some Flavor God seasonings. The chili went fast but the chicken lingered and I began to worry that they would go uneaten.

It wasn’t that no one liked the chicken it was just that the chili really hit the spot and that was what everyone wanted to eat. When I saw that my chicken was just sitting there waiting to be eaten, I decided to make a move and use them.

Using a jar of mild salsa with some chicken broth, chopped onions, chopped peppers and some black beans, I cooked the chicken breasts in the mixture until tender. Then I shredded the chicken with a fork for burritos and rice bowls.

This week I’m doing the same with the last chicken breasts. This time I’m going more Italian with some garlic diced tomatoes, corn, and black beans. It has a very garlicky taste to it (which I LOVE) and I’m letting them simmer in the mixture for another shredded chicken dish.

The chicken goes well with potatoes, rice, and even on some shredded lettuce. Or even on its own! And it provides protein and lots of hearty flavor so it doesn’t get boring.

If you missed our last podcast, check it out!

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Hobbies Up To Here: Episode #4

Peeled Wellness