Tasty Traditions we can’t live without at Christmas!

Hello, hello!

Happy Christmas Eve Eve! 🙂

Can you believe Christmas is seriously only 2 days away?

Will you be tracking Santa this year?

Gosh, the internet is such a wonderful thing! Remember when we were kids and we just had to cross our fingers and hope that Santa was going to make it around the world in time, wondering where he was right at that very moment, trying to stay awake so we could hear the reindeer land on the roof?

We hoped our carefully handwritten letters were mailed on time, that the Santa in the mall remembered to pass along our whispered Christmas wishes to the elves, and boy, oh boy, what were we going to do now that we’ve moved into a house with no chimney!

Now, we can email Santa and track his every movement. Nope, that’s not creepy at all. 🙂

Do you bake cookies for Santa?

We never really did that – probably because the dogs would have eaten the cookies before Santa showed up, anyway.

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Anyhoo, in honor of it being Tasty Tuesday (you almost forgot, didn’t you?!),

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I thought I would share some of our Tasty Christmas Traditions.

Christmas Eve Dinner

We always go out for breakfast for dinner.

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We’ve been doing that since Thing 2 was a tiny little Thing. It’s so fun! It’s nice and relaxing and easy. Our challenge, because we were always moving, was finding the place that both served breakfast all day and stayed open on Christmas Eve. Thanks to the internet, that’s so much easier these days. 🙂  Then, we go and check out the Christmas lights. 🙂

Christmas Morning

I don’t remember when it started but for many, many years now, I make these muffins on Christmas morning.

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They are the Cinnamon Cobblestone Crunch Muffins from The Pampered Chef®.

I typically pre-prep the cinnamon pecan mixture the night before and get up early and get them in the oven. We eat them warm, drink OJ or mimosas and coffee (adults only!) and take our time getting to the presents. The Things didn’t enjoy the waiting so much when they were little but, after a few years, they saw how fun it was to just hang out as a family before the madness started. 🙂

Mimosas!

Pool-side Mimosas at The Standard Hotel

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Need I say more?

Christmas Dinner

For Christmas dinner, we either do a ham or a turkey (depends on what happened at Thanksgiving) but either way, they’re ALWAYS cooked on the grill.

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When I was growing up, I didn’t like turkey. Strange, right? Well, I didn’t. So, my mom always had a ham slice for me. Then, one year, my dad grilled the turkey.

Holy. Moly.

I was hooked and it became a thing that always had to happen. I’ve never once cooked a turkey in the oven. I don’t care if there’s a blizzard outside, if we’re having turkey, we’re grilling it. Om. Nom. Nom.

Talk to me: Do you have any tasty Christmas traditions? What are you most looking forward to?

– jennifer

Sunday food prep – what went down in my kitchen

Hello!

Happy Monday!

(wait, is there such a thing?)

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So, did you have a good weekend?  What did you do?

After Saturday’s long run, I went and got myself a new do!

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Sometimes, a girl just needs to be sassy. 😉

Then, I pretty much watched the CrossFit games all weekend.

Those athletes are amaze-balls. Every. Single. One. of. Them.

I actually (briefly) considered, after this 50k, just training and seeing how I could do in 2016.

I’d be in a whole new age group category!

Yes, that means I’m old. Old enough to be in the Masters grouping, that is.

I don’t know. We’ll see. I picked 2016 because there are still so many things I have to work on.

It might be fun! 😉

Anyway, on Sunday, while watching the Games, I food prepped all day.

With me at the 6pm CrossFit classes these days, I’m not usually home until 7:45 – 8:00pm and that’s just too late to cook dinner.

I was setting things up for my sailor to cook but his work life has gotten busier and last week, sometimes I beat him home! Plus, he doesn’t always remember to pack a lunch so he’s eating fast food or not eating at all. That will not do!

I figured if we discussed it all and food prepped together, then he would know what we have and be more prepared to take a lunch AND we’d have things we could toss together for dinner in a hurry.

So, here are some things that went down in our kitchen yesterday:

one whole cut-up chicken, roasted.

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This was SUPER easy. I would have purchased a whole chicken but I didn’t get to the Farmer’s Market on Saturday and the Harris Teeter only had organic chickens cut-up. So, I bought it.

Here’s what you do:

 Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Put the chicken pieces in a pan (I used 9×13), rub all over with olive oil and season liberally with salt and pepper. Roast for 30 minutes. Turn the heat down to 350 degrees and roast 10-40 minutes more, depending on the size of the chicken pieces.  I took the wings, thighs and drumsticks out after 50 total minutes but the breasts had longer to go.

Once cooled, shred and use on sandwiches, salads, in pasta sauces, whatever. 🙂

(you can shred it when it’s hot, if you want to. just don’t be mad at me when you burn your fingers.)

Then, we got some chili going in the crockpot!

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I used this recipe from PaleoGrubs but I left out the adobo sauce and added some Chipotle chili pepper for some smoky heat.

Chili is perfect on top of a sweet tater with some avocado (that may or may not have been my lunch today), or just heated up and served with cheese and Fritos or whatever you choose.

Of course, I had to make some of my triple chocolate avocado brownies. 🙂

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Left the chia seeds out this time.

Okay, honestly, I needed to save them for my overnight oats in a jar. 🙂

And, for quick  breakfasts (I’m the only one who doesn’t forget to eat breakfast. How a person can FORGET to eat breakfast is beyond me!! Umm..doesn’t your stomach tell you it’s hungry?!?!) and/or snacks, I decided to make some of Lindsay’s Peanut Butter Banana Oat Muffins.

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Holy YUM!

As you can see, I had one to sustain me while I was cooking. 😉

I have one today for my pm snack. Also have some fresh cherries. Om nom nom!

Not pictured are the overnight oats and the chopped veggies for lunches (mostly mine).

And last night, after all that, I made some “deconstructed enchiladas” with this green chili enchilada sauce.

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I used a can of black beans, added some of the chicken we had roasted, and poured in the sauce. Heat over low heat about 10-15 minutes. Serve over rice.

So. Stinkin’. Delicious!

Too good for pictures, obviously. What can I say – we were hungry!!

And, the bonus is, there’s at least one serving left for a lunch or dinner later in the week! #winning

I’ve done food prep before but then, I’ve gotten lazy and fallen off the wagon.

It was definitely better with help!

And, the benefit is, everyone is invested and knows what’s in the fridge so there will be less uneaten food.

Pretty sure we’re going to make this a habit. 🙂

Talk to me: Do you food prep? What are your go-to recipe choices? Do you prep more for lunches or dinners?

– jennifer

Oatmeal Blueberry Muffins!

Hello!

Are you snowed in, too?

Bah. I’m so totally OVER this whole winter business.

We got about 3-4 inches of snow yesterday and last night. It was preceded by sleet. And the temperatures made a steady drop yesterday so there was no chance of the salt or sand doing any good. Can you say icy roads? Fun, right? Not!

But, the bonus is I got my first snow day from work!

Okay, I actually really like my job so it’s not like a breather – more like an opportunity to get some cleaning done during the middle of the week. More fun, right? 🙂

Schools were closed too so Thing 2 was home until she had to go to work. McDonald’s apparently doesn’t give snow days.

But, the YMCA was open and we were finally able to get our membership cards and take advantage!

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We got a quick workout in (treadmill + planks FTW!) before she had to work and I had chores to do. 🙂

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I started veggie chili in the crockpot, made a grocery run, done some dishes, some laundry, and some vacuuming.

I also watched a little Ink Masters. All work and no play….. 😉

Cornbread is on deck to go with the chili and, per my norm (snow day + super cold outside = I must bake), I made Oatmeal Blueberry Muffins!

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I found a great recipe for oatmeal muffins and thought it would be fun to use the dried blueberries I just snagged at the store.

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I heart blueberries!

These muffins are super easy to make and definitely not blueberry muffin bombs packed with fat and loaded with sugar.

I found the original recipe at And Then We Saved and you KNOW I had to make a few tweaks. 🙂

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I wouldn’t be me if I didn’t!

Feel free to make your own adjustments, if you want. Remember, recipes are mostly suggestions!

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Oatmeal Blueberry Muffins
makes 12 muffins

1 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk
1 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
1 egg
1/4 cup coconut oil
1 cup white whole wheat flour
1/4 organic pure cane sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons toasted wheat germ
1/2 to 3/4 cup dried blueberries

1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Spray muffin pan with nonstick spray or line with cupcake liners.

2. Combine milk and oats in a small bowl. Let stand 15 minutes.

3. In a large bowl, whisk egg and coconut oil. Add oatmeal mixture and stir to combine.

4. In another small bowl, sift together flour, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt. Stir in toasted wheat germ.

5. Add flour to oatmeal egg mixture and stir until just combined. Fold in blueberries.

6. Fill muffin cups about 2/3 full. Bake for 15-20 minutes until a toothpick/cake tester inserted into a muffin comes out clean. Remove from pan and cool on wire baking rack.

7. Gobble them down!

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Talk to me: What’s your favorite fruit? Muffins – love ’em or leave ’em?

– jennifer