Why Meal Plan?

“Boss up and change your life”, that’s legit my favorite line from one of Lizzo’s popular songs. Why? Because that line is such a true statement, the only person responsible for your life is you! Sure there are environmental influences and we cannot change the inevitable, but ultimately, like Charles R. Swindoll said, “Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react to it”. Bottomline, you’re responsible for your own happiness, no one else, and no one else can “make you” do anything, or, not do something. Sure, we make excuses sometimes, and sometimes we are just so frickin tired, am I right mommas?!  So where am I going with this? Once we realize no one else is responsible for our happiness or lack thereof, or the choices we make when it comes to our health, what we eat, and when we eat, then, and only then can we boss up and change our lives. Thus, after 3 cups of coffee and listening to Lizzo essentials on Itunes for an hour I decided to boss up and change my life! 

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Low-Carb Eggplant Roll-Ups

Looking for clever ways to incorporate more veggies into your kiddo’s diet? Perhaps you’re looking for ways to stretch what little meat you were able to score at the grocery store?  Or, maybe you just wanna get out of that meal planning rut? Whatever your reason for trying these Low-Carb Eggplant Roll-Ups I can guarantee you one thing, they will go fast!


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5 Tips for Healthy After School Snacks

Omg! I drop off little, sweet, Angels at school in the morning & come 3:30pm I’m picking up cranky, hangry, feral animals! Like seriously, as soon as we step foot in the house they are trampling over one another to get to the kitchen…if I didn’t unlock the door fast enough I’m pretty sure they would knock it down or eat it, lol!!  

Here are 5 simple tips for healthy after school snacks:

1. Prepare snacking foods ahead of time

We want our kiddos to make healthy choices when it comes to their afterschool snack. We would much rather have them reaching for celery sticks & peanut butter or hummus than that processed bag of chips. However, convenience plays a huge role. If the celery isn’t cleaned and cut, ready for consumption, then chances are they will grab that bag of chips instead. Prepare healthy snacking foods ahead of time. Clean and cut fresh fruits & veggies and have them in easily accessible containers.

2. Don’t bring it in the house

Speaking of that bag of chips, lol! If we don’t want our kiddos consuming high-sugar, trans-fat-laden, processed foods, we can’t bring them into your house…let’s be honest, if we do it’s just too darn tempting.

3. Watch portion sizes

Even the healthiest, organic, GMO-free snacks can sabotage healthy eating when portion sizes are not monitored. Encourage kiddos to read the nutrition labels and take special consideration of the serving size.

4. Provide variety

Children, like adults, get bored with food easily. Have a variety of snacking foods on hand—whole fruits, veggies, hardboiled eggs, smoothies, mixed nuts, frozen bananas covered w/Pb & sprinkles, potato wedges w/ketchup, trail mix, yogurt parfaits, fruit kabobs, etc.

These almond flour, sugar-free, homemade waffle corners are a huge hit in our house:

3 cups almond flour

1/4 tsp. baking soda

1/4 tsp. vanilla extract

2 eggs

1 cup buttermilk

2 Tbs. olive oil

Mix ingredients together and follow waffle maker directions. Makes 6 waffles.

5. Choose healthy fast foods

Despite our best efforts, sometimes we do forget the snacks at home and find ourselves with a car full of hungry kiddos with back-to-back extracurricular activities. A fast-food chain might be your only option. When this happens seek heathier choices, like Chick-fil-a grilled nuggets, McDonald’s oatmeal and/or yogurt parfaits, etc.

Are your kiddos hangry after school? What’s your go-to after school snack?

Red Lobster: Where Moms Vacation!

At 7:30am every morning like clockwork my 5 yrs. old son asks the same question, “What’s for dinner?” Seriously!?!  And to think I was pretty impressed with the fact that I was able to come up with something for breakfast. Meal planning is exhausting. I added it up the other day and it turns out, between breakfasts, lunches, and dinners I prepare over 950 meals a year, give or take a few.  I am sure many moms are feeling the same exhaustion and pressure. The pressure to prepare healthy meals that the entire family will enjoy and not get stuck in a meal rut is overwhelming.  I am not getting paid enough for this gig! After all I am no Giada, Sara Snow, or Rachel Ray (by the way, that girl is a genius, who else could make money off a garbage bowl?).

So, what’s the solution? Go out to eat, of course! But, the cost to go out to eat can be just as overwhelming. It seems like a family of five practically has to apply for a loan in order to go out to a nice sit-down restaurant.  And if you’re fortunate enough to be approved for that loan the thought of taking 3 young kiddos out to a restaurant is enough to bring even the most prepared mother into a full fledge panic attack.  A mother’s mind floods with all the ‘what ifs’…what if the baby won’t stop crying…what if the toddler pees her pants, or worse, poops!…what if she throws a tantrum…what if your husband’s boss is sitting next to you…then upon witnessing the madness determines your husband clearly can’t oversee a firm if he can’t even control his own family, and fires him right on the spot… all because you wanted to go out to eat! Yep, as ridiculous as these ‘what ifs’ may sound these are the crazy questions and scenarios that run through my mind.

Okay so hypothetically speaking, let’s say you have bypassed the ‘what ifs’ and have been approved for that loan, next challenge, the menu? Why is it every restaurant, no matter what ethnicity assumes you want to feed your child fried chicken strips, French fries, pizza, or grilled imitation cheese sandwich!! Why must they fry everything? Shoot, at one restaurant we went to the children’s menu actually had fried mac & cheese.  Perhaps the restaurants are in cahoots with the pharmaceutical drug manufacturers.  Because at the rate they are frying everything there will be a need for a child’s Lipitor! Why can’t they have healthier options for children?

Pardon me as I step up onto my soap box….

I just want a break! I want someone else to plan, prepare, and cook the meal. I want someone else to serve, clean, and cater to my family’s needs so I can enjoy my meal while it is hot! I want affordable and healthy menu options! And lastly, if possible, maybe someone else could entertain the children. Are all these demands possible? I suppose if my husband took on another wife, but I am not down with the whole sister wives thing (the show is very entertaining this is true, but the lifestyle is not for me). Perhaps there is another option that can meet all these demands that doesn’t involve polygamy? Two words, Red Lobster!

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I vacationed ate there last week and it was A-Mazing!

I was surprised to find that Red Lobster offers so many family friendly and affordable options. In fact, nearly 60% of the dishes on the new menu are under $15 – making Red Lobster a perfect destination for a family dinner out.

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Additional menu highlights include:

•The $7.99 weekday lunch special – Weekdays 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., certain lunch sandwiches, salads and soups are just $7.99. This offer includes four varieties of lunch entrees – like the new Spicy Shrimp Tacos and Wood-Grilled Burger – three types of salads and a soup & salad combo, all served with Red Lobster’s signature Cheddar Bay Biscuits. (Hello….can we say future mommy and me lunch date?)

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•Also, 5 for $5 ‘til 6 – Guests can enjoy select appetizers for $5 from 3 to 6 p.m. on weekdays. Selections include new menu items like the Sweet Chili Shrimp and Southwest Chicken Pizza, and Spicy Buffalo Chicken Bites, among others. At select locations, $4 wines and $3 beers will also be available (void where prohibited by law).  (Yep…putting that down as a Moms Night Out!! WooHoo!!  And yes, our nights end very early)

•Seasonal specials, like the current 30 shrimp for $11.99 and the upcoming Lobsterfest.  (More like Lentfest…am I right fellow Catholics?)

•As well as lighter menu options (under 500 calories) as part of there LightHouse menu. (For all you Mommas who have been sticking to your New Year’s resolutions)

  • And a kid’s menu that is beyond fish sticks. (Take that Lipitor!!)

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Are you salivating yet? No!! Well then take this……and I got to eat them when they were all warm right out of the oven!

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I ordered the Mahi Mahi with shrimp and Broccoli that wasn’t smothered in salt or butter, it was awesome! I did almost lose the Mahi Mahi to ketchup that my toddler so graciously wanted to share, but I caught it just in time!

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Red Lobster met ALL my demands; even occupied the kiddos with the activities on the kids menu, score! The experience was so relaxing, the food was so delicious, and it was an all-around memorable family outing to which the only word that really does it justice is, vacation! So, think twice before you book your next Carnival Cruise, Red Lobster is definitely the way to go!!

Disclosure: Red Lobster provided me with a gift card to try out their new and improved menu. No additional compensation was received and all opinions expressed are my own.