Sunday stuff! (or fun in the park and a little bit of food prep)

Hello, hello!

I know I said I was back last week but, apparently, I wasn’t ready. I needed a little bit more time to focus inward and just be.

It was definitely a needed break!

What really made things better was having Thing 1 come home for a few days.

It was really nice to have her home. I mean, the last time I saw her was in May!!

We hung out, we went shopping, we dined on Chipotle….. #winning


We also went out for a little photo shoot in the park with our favorite photographer. ❤

More pictures to come later!


Oh, look, there’s a wall over there! I must practice my handstands! #crossfitaddict



There may or may not have also been some planking and some push ups. 🙂

Then, I got down to business with my Sunday food prep.

Which, honestly, wasn’t as much as normal.  There’s some travelling going on this week and a little bit of extra time at home (don’t forget to thank a veteran!) so I didn’t need as much prepared food in the fridge.

I do, however, need to go to the grocery store because I went to make some quinoa for quick, healthy breakfasts and the box was pretty darned empty. 😦

I only got enough quinoa to try this recipe once this week.


Then, I made a loaf of sandwich bread, perfect for toast and, well, sandwiches. 😉

Apparently, the yeast were (hyper)active and the bread hit a growth spurt in the oven. #milehighbread


Then, for dinner, I was craving some comfort food so I made some Skinny Shepherd’s Pie. YUM!

The best part is the leftovers!


And today, there’s a pork butt in my crockpot and its destiny is to become carnitas tacos for dinner. Stay tuned for the recipe!

So, want to know what happens when you take a little bit of time off from blogging?

180 spam comments in the queue, that’s what.


One hundred. And. Eighty.


The best one?


Really. That’s all the comment was.

Maybe they thought my Cinnamon Buns should be a staple in all households?

Well, that spam bot is right! 😉

Talk to me: What’s your favorite way to use quinoa? What’s your favorite comfort food?

– jennifer

Sunday food prep (3) – what went down in my kitchen


Happy Monday!

I was getting ready for work this morning, brushing my teeth, and I happened to look out the bathroom window into the back yard.

I saw some random orange spots on our fence and it dawned (ha! no pun intended. yes, I’m a dork.) on me what it was.

I went out to the front and was graced with this beautiful sight!


I’m taking the gorgeous sunrise as a sign of a good week to follow.

My foot is feeling better, the swelling has diminished substantially, and I’m looking forward to getting in some good workouts, regardless of the stinkin’ boot. 🙂

So, I didn’t really do any food prep last weekend – that was PRE-boot – but this weekend I hopped (on one foot) right back into it.

I knocked out a loaf of my favorite sandwich bread.

It’s so easy and delicious!



I roasted a chicken the last time I prepped and we used every little bit of it during the week so I decided to do another one.

I was really excited about the thought of roasted chicken sandwiches on homemade bread!!!!



Ran a couple of errands while it was in the crockpot and MAN, did it smell amazing when we got home!

5 hours on high and it literally fell apart when I tried to take it out of the crockpot. No shredding necessary.

I made a paste with olive oil, fresh minced garlic (about 3 cloves), 1 teaspoon dried thyme, 1 teaspoon dried oregano, 1 teaspoon smoked paprika, 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper, and some salt and pepper and rubbed it all over the bird. I stuffed the cavity with some onion and garlic cloves.

If you have a rack, put that in your crockpot to allow the heat to circulate all the way around the bird while it’s cooking. If you don’t have a rack, you can MacGyver one (yes, that’s a verb) by making a few aluminum foil balls and setting the chicken on them. (Got that tip from Lindsay at The Lean Green Bean!)

We totally gobbled up all the trail mix I made the last time so I decided to make some more.



I wanted to make it a little different to keep it interesting. 🙂



These little jars are just PERFECT for storing trail mix at my desk. Or, if you’re like my sailor, in your car because you keep forgetting to take it inside with you.

I decided it was high time I tried my hand at some homemade almond butter, seeing as I eat it practically every day – in my oatmeal, on bananas and/or apples, in smoothies, on a spoon…….

Besides, I don’t use my kick butt food processor as often as I probably should so I really wanted to break it out! 🙂

I grabbed some Blue Diamond Honey Roasted Almonds for something different and dumped about 1 1/2 cups into the bowl.

I pulsed until the almonds looked like this.



Then, I set the speed to low and, about 5-6 minutes later (with stopping to push the almonds down from the side of the bowl), I ended up with beautiful almond butter!



The bonus is – it’s actually cheaper to make your own than buy a jar! For reals.

I’m totally going to be trying some new things – like buying raw almonds, roasted them myself (maybe with some local raw honey?), and then going from there. I’m definitely going to do my own peanut butter, too. So worth it! I can’t even begin to describe the smell of the almonds going from crumbs to butter. I was practically drooling all over the machine!

 Then, I used my fresh almond butter instead of peanut butter in these Oatmeal Breakfast Bars from Erin at The Law Student’s Wife.



Had one for breakfast this morning (warmed it up about 15 seconds) topped with Greek yogurt and blueberries.


So, that should keep us pretty set for the week. I did buy a couple of cans of Amy’s Organic Chilis for my sailor for quick lunches or dinners (can you say chili dogs?) when I’m at CrossFit. Plus, we have plenty of yummus hummus and veggies and fruit for snacks.

Talk to me: What’s on your menu for the week?

– jennifer

The best sandwich bread in the history of the world

Hi there!


So, I’ve been making my own bread lately in an effort to save some money and make sure we aren’t eating any funky stuff.

Seriously, those breads that you buy at the store aren’t all they’re cracked up to be.

They seem like they should be good, all healthy and cracked wheat and nuts and seeds and all.


Some really weird stuff allowed in there.

Look it up but consider yourself warned.



You should just trust me and bake your own.

Besides, there’s something calming and fabulous about making your own bread.

Now, I know what you’re thinking.

Really, I do!

It’s a gift, actually.

You’re thinking that baking bread takes ALL DAY.


Um, I got your back. 🙂

You’re looking at about a 2 hour time investment.

That’s all.

For freshly baked bread.

From your own oven.

loaf pan

The smell of bread baking can fill more than just a house – it can fill your soul.

I mean, just think about the times you’ve walked past a bakery, whether it be in a grocery store or out on a quaint main street, and smelled freshly baked bread.

It’s like heaven!

You know your nose tipped up and wanted to follow those amazing wafting odors like your feet were floating just above the ground and had a mind of their own.



So, when I recreated a recipe (of course, I recreated it.  This is ME we’re talking about here!) that received a hearty stamp of approval, I’ve been sticking with it. Haven’t bought a loaf of bread in a couple of months, actually. 🙂

This bread is PERFECT for sandwiches of all kinds!


Or, you could just toast up a slice and slather it with some peanut butter.

pb toast

So. Amazing.

And so much better than anything you’ll find wrapped in plastic with a date stamped on it.

I promise. 🙂

Om nom nom!

The Best Sandwich Bread
makes 1 loaf

2 – 2 1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups white whole wheat flour (I use King Arthur for both)
2 tablespoons toasted wheat germ
1 tablespoon chia seeds
2 teaspoons salt
1 cup warm milk (about 110 degrees) (I use 1% but you can use what you have)
1/3 cup warm water (about 110 degrees)
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
3 tablespoons raw honey
1 envelope (about 2 1/4 teaspoons) instant yeast

1. Adjust an oven rack to the lowest position and heat the oven to 200 degrees. Once the oven temperature reaches 200 degrees, maintain the heat for 10 minutes, then turn off the oven.

2. Mix 2 cups unbleached flour, 1 1/2 cups white whole wheat flour, wheat germ, chia seeds, and salt in the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the dough hook. Mix the milk, water, butter, honey, and yeast in a 4-cup liquid measuring cup. Turn the mixer on to low and slowly add the liquid to the flour mixture. When the dough comes together, increase the speed to medium and mix unit the dough is smooth and satiny, stopping the machine two or three times to scrape dough from the hook, if necessary, about 10 minutes. If, after 5 minutes of kneading, the dough is still sticking to the sides of the bowl, add the remaining flour, 1 tablespoon at a time and up to 1/4 cup total, until the dough is no longer sticky. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface; knead to form a smooth, round ball, about 15 seconds.

3. Place the dough in a very lightly oiled large bowl, rubbing the dough around the bowl to coat lightly. Cover with plastic wrap and place in the warmed oven until the dough doubles in size, 40 to 50 minutes.

4. Gently pat the dough into an 8-inch square that measures 1-inch thick. Starting front the side farthest away from you, roll the dough firmly into a cylinder, pressing with your fingers to make sure the dough sticks to itself. Turn the dough seam-side up and pinch it closed. Place the dough seam-side down in a greased 9 x 5-inch loaf pan and press it gently so it touches all sides of the pan. Cover pan with plastic wrap and set aside until the dough almost doubles, 20 to 30 minutes.

5. Keep one oven rack at the lowest position and place the other at the middle position and heat the oven to 350 degrees. Bring 2 cups of water to a boil and pour into an empty baking pan. Place on bottom rack of oven and set the loaf pan on the middle rack. Bake until an instant-read thermometer inserted at an angle from the short end just above the pan rim into the center of the loaf reads 195 degrees, about 40 to 50 minutes. Remove the bread from the pan, transfer to a wire rack and cool to room temperature.

full loaf

6. Enjoy!

*Recipe adapted from Cook’s Illustrated

Talk to me – What’s your favorite sandwich? Do you pile it high like a Dagwood or do you believe in “less is more?”

– jennifer