Quick Family Meal Ideas

*This post is sponsored by Foodie and Mode.  All opinions are mine.  And I will be making all of these meals for my family.  Because they are fast, delicious and I’m fairly lazy so I don’t want to spend a lot of time in the kitchen.

Check out 14 Quick Family Meals

by Sharon Garofalow (Cupcakes and Cutlery) at Foodie.com

How is it possible that school is starting soon!  Ok, I guess we have a month left of summer.  But when I look at my calendar, its FULL.  We have so much to do in this month I know it is just going to fly by.  With our days jam-packed full of super fun things, I’m having a really hard time planning dinner.  We don’t eat out much but I REALLY don’t want to be in the kitchen.  And I’m not paying attention to what time we are leaving activities.  So we get home way later than we usually would which leaves much less time for the preparation of dinner.

My favorite quick family meal is to bake everything on a few cookie sheets.  I do simply seasoned chicken breasts, broccoli and some sort of chopped potatoes.  The clean up is easy, they all cook at relatively the same time and it is super healthy.  But that can get really boring. And I need to have enough time to allow for baking.  I gathered up these quick family meal ideas for myself.  But you can use them too.  I won’t be selfish with them. I don’t want you to have to be in the kitchen forever either.  These recipes or recipe ideas are all really simple and I know I can modify the ingredients to suit my family’s tastes.

Most of the recipes from this collection are pretty healthy or can be made more healthy by leaving out cheese (WHY?!) or subbing ingredients like in this Chicken Parmesan Bake.  And these Chicken Lettuce Bowls (use store-bought rotisserie chicken to keep you from having to cook the chicken ahead of time – ain’t no one got time for that…) would let your family members create their own meal which I find gets my kids more involved and then they eat more.  And then there is this Chili Dog Casserole…Not healthy at all. But to me, this sounds like the perfect Friday night dinner. Toss some Fritos on top…Dang. I might eat this for breakfast.

What is your go-to quick family meal idea?

Body Image : Shorts or No Shorts?

Short black romper with geometric clutch. // www.cupcakesandcutlery.comSo, I guess I’m really going for it this summer with all these posts about myself.  I mean, I showed you my big old face last week, wrinkles and all.  I’ve shared my scars with you.  Well today I’m sharing my cellulite, stretch marks and body image issues with you.  If you are a regular reader, you know I like to keep it real.  But I also think it is really healthy for me to share this stuff with you.  For years I wouldn’t leave the house without blow drying and straightening my hair.  But I am WAY past that now and it has been very freeing.  Ok, well I still always have makeup but my hair is air dried.  But I have another goal for myself.  One that I think many other people also have.  So let’s encourage each other and see if we can all free one of our body image phobias.  It has been YEARS since I’ve worn shorts.  Yes, I wore them once last summer in Palm Springs.  And guess what, I wore them a few Saturdays ago to the grocery store.  But I’d really like to get to a place where I feel confidant enough to through them on whenever it’s hot out.  When was the last time you wore shorts?  Are you afraid of them like I am?

Black shorts romper.  My goal is to wear shorts this summer. // www.cupcakesandcutlery.comI bought this CUTE black shorts romper from Old Navy while on a vacation in May.  I have not worn it yet except to take these pictures in the safety of Lauren’s back yard.  I didn’t even wear it home.  I changed back in to my other clothes before I left.  Why does it have to be this way?  For me, I think my image issues are two-fold.  Half of it is man-made (ie my cellulite from my love affair with Pop Tarts and my love handles from all those desserts) and the stretch marks I had no control over from growing very fast.  The chalk-white skin doesn’t help anything but since worshipping the sun is out for me, I can only rely on creams to give them color (if I want a nice orangey hue).  I see all kinds of people wearing shorts and it is encouraging to me that one day I’ll be able to wear them too without a second thought.  And since I had a trip to Mexico coming up, where it is like a trillion degrees, I knew that I would HAVE to wear shorts.  

Body image.  How come I can't wear shorts?  // www.cupcakesandcutlery.comIt took all my effort to play it cool standing still for Lauren to take these photos.  Sitting is a whole other problem.  I was so uncomfortable sitting in these shorts!  I know that we always see our flaws in a much more pronounced way than others.  I’m choosing to share these photos on here in an effort to help myself overcome my fear of people judging my flaws, which most people wouldn’t do unless they are total a-holes.  Since the beginning of June, I have really changed my diet and have started seeing some crazy improvements.  It really is true, diet and exercise works.  I haven’t put too much emphasis on the exercise portion yet, but the diet has helped me start to improve my body from the inside out.  As well as how I view my body.  I don’t have a scale so I can only go by how my clothes are fitting and the fact that my muffin top is almost gone!  Huzzah!  So the other day when it was super hot and I had to run out to the store, I felt like I could finally reach for a pair of shorts.  I texted 3 different people to let them know I was outside in shorts and I climbed in my car to do my grocery shopping.  Guess what?  No one laughed at me or my legs.  Liberating.  I felt proud that I had really made a difference with my lifestyle for the better and was able to change some of my problem areas just with making better choices.  And there are things that I can do for the stretch marks as well.  I can’t wait to try out this body scrub from Frank which targets cellulite, stretch marks, eczema and more.  I get that it will take more than just a scrub to completely erase my trouble areas, but it is nice to know there are things, especially made from natural ingredients, that might help them out. 

Black ruffle shorts with t-shirt.  // www.cupcakesandcutlery.comBefore I left for Mexico I got a spray tan since I knew it would help me feel more confidant in my shorts and DEFINITELY in my swimsuit.  Our first full day there, I wore shorts.  And I didn’t hate it!  I made Lauren take a picture as proof.  This is my best Giselle pose.  Because I am sure she throws herself in to a corner to get THE shot.  We walked around town all day and I ended up loving wearing the shorts.  I felt like a huge hurdle was cleared.  I wore shorts the next day as well.  And when I got home, I didn’t hesitate to put on shorts.  As my tan is gone at this point, I do feel a little more self conscious about wearing them.  But it is WAY less than it was at the start of summer.  I’m going to keep up with my healthy eating and perhaps add in a little more exercise.  Perhaps.  But I have some bad news to report.  I wore those adorable ruffled black shorts one time and since they got ocean water on them I washed them when I got home.  I hand washed them and hung them to dry.  They totally shrunk!  Such a bummer!  I think I can still wear them but only to the pool.  I would NEVER go to the store in them now as I think they may frown on actually seeing that much of a woman’s bum.

We see our flaws.  Other people wouldn't agree with them.  // www.cupcakesandcutlery.comNow can we talk for a second about my man hands?  This is another problem area for me.  I mean, look at that dainty little wrist.  And then look at that gorilla hand hanging off of it.

Don't touch my punch bowl. I mean, a girl should be able to drink out of a punchbowl and not feel like she is in a Seinfeld episode.  I was going to share this image last year on Instagram but didn’t because my man hand was just too much to share.  So here it is.  Although diet is not going to change my opinion or size of my hands, I’m going to let my insecurities about them go.  What are the insecurities you need to let go of?  Will you pledge to wear shorts with me this summer and beyond?

Best Hat for Summer

*I was sent this hat by Goorin Bros. but they didn’t sponsor this post. You know I’m a fan of floppy hats.  And this one is perfect for summer travel! I just had to share it! The perfect travel hat for summer vacations.  // www.cupcakesandcutlery.comI’m going to be honest with you right now.  My head is odd shaped and I have big ears.  I’m okay with both of these things.  However these issues really limit my hat choices.  Similarly, I can’t usually wear headbands.  They pop right off the top of my cone-shaped head.   I’d love to wear a jaunty fedora or cool Panama hat.  It just isn’t in the cards for me.  But I can and do wear floppy hats.  With my basal cell I need something between me and the sun.  And while the hat doesn’t totally protect me, it definitely helps to keep the sun off my face which is really important.  This Sun Kissed black and white striped hat from Goorin Bros. is my new fave (similar style here the Sun Kissed is sold out for the season! Boo!).  Full disclosure: they sent it to me. But guess what, I would have totally bought it otherwise.  It really is the best hat for summer. 

What to pack for a beach summer vacation. Including this cute hat c/o @goorinbros  // www.cupcakesandcutlery.comI can’t wait to share all the details from my Mexico trip soon but I knew that this hat would be perfect to take with me. I think black and white stripes, like leopard print, are a neutral so it would go with everything.  And look how perfect it went with my new bikini top.  I’m drawn to black and white but this small stripe is a really summery way to wear it.  

The Sun Kissed from @goorinbros.  // www.cupcakesandcutlery.comI can’t believe how well it traveled.  I’m not the kind of gal to carry on a hat.  So I packed it in my suitcase.  Tip: I crammed the part that sits on your head with all my undergarments and slips to make sure the shape would keep.  I was a little less careful on my return trip and it still held up like a champ! I will be taking this with me on all my summer vacations!  I even carried this in a tote bag one day and it still didn’t get messed up. That is the kind of quality product I need in my life. 

The Sun Kissed from @goorinbros is the best black and white stripe floppy hat to take on vacation!  It's super versatile and goes with everything!  // www.cupcakesandcutlery.comIt even looks cute on a cactus.  

This striped floppy hat from @goorinbros travels so well!  Perfect for a Mexican getaway!  // www.cupcakesandcutlery.comI stinking love this hat and am grateful that Grooin Bros. sent it to me.  Thank you Goorin Bros! Be sure to check out their site to see their full selection of hats.  They literally have styles to suit everyone!  And check out their stores if you happen to be in the area, they have them all around the US and Canada.

Walking by the mission in Loreto, Mexico. #vdplfam

Follow Goorin Bros. around the web: Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google +

Breakfast Date and Oatmeal Recipe from Corner Bakery

*My son and I were treated to breakfast at our local Corner Bakery.  And I enjoyed my oatmeal so much I’m sharing the recipe with you. All opinions are mine. The most delicious Chilled Berry Almond Swiss Oats (and recipe!) from Corner Bakery.  A delicious breakfast! #sponsored //  www.cupcakesandcutlery.comIs it odd to say that I miss my youngest son? I’ve been with both my kids all summer, every day, except for a few quick trips. But I miss my baby. Although he was in preschool a few days a week, we still had a few days where we would run errands together, hang out together and do projects together. But since my other son is out of school too, they play more together and I do more chores around the house or errands by myself on the weekends. I miss my little buddy! So I decided to take him on a breakfast date with me to Corner Bakery. A month ago I got invited to a media event at our local restaurant. I couldn’t make that event so they sent me gift certificates so I could try out their featured menu items on my own. It was the perfect opportunity for me to reconnect with my little guy who starts kindergarten this fall!

And the Chilled Berry Almond Swiss Oatmeal blew my mind! That is not an exaggeration. I REALLY liked it! And I get to share the recipe with you. But first, more on my breakfast date…

Apple hand pie from @cornerbakery #sponsored // www.cupcakesandcutlery.comI got totally duped by this amazing looking bakery treat.  I thought it was a pop tart so I told my son he could have it. Then, when we were asking about the flavors, I was told it was an Apple Hand Pie… So my son got pie for breakfast…This breakfast date was all about making memories so I just rolled with it. And he was delighted to get a hot chocolate too. And I got to eat some too. The pie was delicious.

Bacon and apple hand pie from @cornerbakery for a mommy and son breakfast date. #sponsored // www.cupcakesandcutlery.comWe worked the hand pie in to more of a full breakfast by adding on a side of bacon.  Breakfast of champions, right here.

Bacon and palm trees. // www.cupcakesandcutlery.comThis one suddenly loves bacon.  Look how happy it makes him.

Breakfast Selfie! // www.cupcakesandcutlery.comAnd when they ask to take selfies, you always say yes.  I just knew I would have to delete about 30 of the same exact photo.

A mommy and son breakfast date to @cornerbakery #sponsored // www.cupcakesandcutlery.comIt was so fun to be able to have a leisurely breakfast and chat with my son.  We were not at all rushed and had a great time just hanging out.  I think it is so good to be able to spend one on one time with your kids when you can. It is sometimes really hard to fit in but it is so important.  I can’t wait to schedule something with my oldest!

Tic Tac Toe on kid's menu from  @CornerBakery for our breakfast date.  The perfect way to spend one on one time with a child.  #sponsored //  www.cupcakesandcutlery.comAfter breakfast we played a very artistic version of tic tac toe.  My son was more interested in us creating designs than actually playing.

Customizing coffee cup sleeves at @cornerbakery on our breakfast date.  #sponsored // www.cupcakesandcutlery.comAnd then he decided he wanted to customize our coffee cup sleeves. I love his use of color.

Chilled Berry Almond Swiss Oatmeal Recipe from @cornerbakery SO good! #sponsored // www.cupcakesandcutlery.comBut back to this oatmeal. This chilled oatmeal is the perfect oatmeal for summer.  The Berry Almond Swiss Oats is a seasonal item on the Corner Bakery menu so hurry in to try it before its gone.  Or you can use this oatmeal recipe at home, all year round!

Corner Bakery's Chilled Berry Almond Swiss Oatmeal Recipe

Ingredients

  • 6 oz. Old fashioned rolled oats
  • 1/4 cup Dried cranberries
  • 1/4 cup Currants or raisins
  • 1 TBSP sugar (or to taste based on sweetness)
  • 2 cups Low Fat vanilla yogurt
  • 1 1/2 cups Skim milk
  • Granny Smith apple, medium sized, chopped
  • Banana, medium sized, chopped
  • 1/4 cup fresh strawberries chopped
  • 1/4 cup fresh blueberries
  • 1/8 cup sliced toasted almonds

Instructions

  1. Mix oats, cranberries, currants and sugar in a large bowl.
  2. Add yogurt and skim milk, mix well and let sit 15 minutes.
  3. Dice the apple and banana, add to oats mixture and let sit another 15-30 minutes.
  4. Top with fresh strawberries, blueberries and toasted almonds.
  5. Serve chilled.
http://www.cupcakesandcutlery.com/oatmeal-recipe-from-corner-bakery/

While in the restaurant be sure to try some of their new menu items, released at the beginning of July, the Buttermilk Pancakes with Berries and the Spicy Asian Pork Hot Toasted Sandwich!

Thanks for breakfast Corner Bakery! We really enjoyed it!

 

Cucumber Margarita for National #TequilaDay

*I was sent Casa Noble tequila. I am very grateful for liquor companies that send me product so that I can share the cocktail posts that I would share with you anyway.  Do you know how much it costs to buy a bottle of liquor just for one post?  BTW, Casa Noble is delicious. But as always, all opinions are my own. Awesome recipe for cucumber margaritas!  Perfect for #TequilaDay  // www.cupcakesandcutlery.comYou HAVE to make this drink! Aside from being crazy delicious, it is also a drink that was made for us on my recent trip to Villa del PalMar in Loreto, Mexico. Don’t worry.  I’ll have a full post soon on why I love it there so much but in the mean time, I thought I would share this Cucumber Margarita recipe. After all, today is National #TequilaDay. I was really inspired by a lot of different things on our trip. And when I got home I found that I was missing the food and drinks and have been trying to recreate them.  This drink has tons of memories tied to it from the trip. One of my favorite things about it is that it was made by a bartender who grew up about 15 minutes from where I did! Every single staff member was amazing and Jorge was no exception. I really enjoyed hearing his story and finding out how he ended up in Baja California. And he made a mean cucumber margarita.

What you need to make a delicious cucumber margarita for #TequilaDay  // www.cupcakesandcutlery.comTo make your own cucumber margarita, you will need a gorgeous tequila, like this one from Casa Noble, Triple Sec, a fresh cucumber, fresh squeezed lime juice, a lime wedge and some Tajin. What is Tajin, you ask? It’s a seasoning. All I know is Jorge rimmed my glass with it for the cucumber margarita and I’m addicted. I am not a salt on my margarita glass gal but THIS is delicious!  This is totally not sponsored it is just a new product that I found and love and you need to know about. (Damn, this disclosure stuff is the pits). On my first grocery store trip after I got home, I walked in to the market and there was a table set up with tons of Tajin and a rep. Of course I made a beeline for the table. I took that as a sign that I was supposed to buy some. It is easy to find in the Mexican section of most grocery stores. Or maybe it is just easy for me since I’m in So Cal. I’m certain you can buy it online if you have to.  And you HAVE to.

Fresh cucumber and lime juice make this cucumber margarita super flavorful and fresh tasting.  #TequilaDay  // www.cupcakesandcutlery.comIs there anything quite as refreshing as cucumber? I think not. And fresh lime is my jam. I have limes around my house at all times. Just in case. Right now I’ve been using a half of fresh squeezed lime juice and a drizzle of good olive oil as my salad dressing of choice. So good.

Use a blender to get tons of flavor and a great consistency.  // www.cupcakesandcutlery.comWhen Jorge brought out the blender for our cucumber margaritas, Dinah and I just about jumped over the counter at him.  We do not like a blended margarita. He assured us that we would like the final product.  And he was right. You simply blend the cucumber, lime juice and liquors together.  The cucumbers do not get totally pureed so it leaves little bits of the fresh cucumber throughout your drink which I loved. You could probably get a similar flavor if you muddled the cucumber and lime instead of blending, but I think this method is best. If you don’t have a Ninja yet, just get up, get your keys and purse and go get one. Best thing to ever happen to me (I was sent one to review for another site so I will disclose to you that I didn’t buy it but they are not sponsoring this post. It’s seriously a life changer and I use it for EVERYTHING.  But I digress…)

Rub your cocktail glass in lime juice and Tajin for an unexpected twist on a margarita.  // www.cupcakesandcutlery.comYou can’t drink this cucumber margarita without rimming the glass with Tajin. I mean, I guess you can. But it won’t be the full experience. But do what you want to do. I can’t force you…But if you are a rule follower, like me, then you will do it. To rim a glass, in case you are living under a rock (I’m not judging, but really you should get out more), just take a wedge of lime and rub it on the rim of the glass.  Then pour out some Tajin on a plate and run the rim of the glass in it.  The lime helps the seasoning adhere to the glass.

Rim a cocktail glass in Tajin.  // www.cupcakesandcutlery.comSee, like this.

kids-and-blog-postsOh hey.  There’s my son.  Like a moth to a flame, when I’m shooting cocktail posts this one shows up.  He demands I take a photo and he’ll finally move on.  He’s 5 1/2 years old and in a full on baby phase right now. It’s probably why more cocktail posts have been showing up on the blog lately…

Fresh cucumber margarita recipe inspired by one I had at @villadelpalmarl //  www.cupcakesandcutlery.comNow back to the world’s best cucumber margarita.  Absolute perfection.  I have to say, the Casa Noble tequila was clean and smooth with a silky quality. I don’t know much about the different types of tequila but I can tell you that I am a BIG fan of the Crystal variety.

Delicious cucumber margarita recipe. #TequilaDay // www.cupcakesandcutlery.comFloat a cucumber right on top for an added dose of cucumber.

Summer dress and margaritas. #TequilaDay  //  www.cupcakesandcutlery.comAnd then drink it up. Responsibly, of course.  Thank you for introducing this fine cocktail to us Jorge!

Casa Noble Tequila for #TequilaDay  // www.cupcakesandcutlery.comDo you celebrate National #TequilaDay? I never have before but I think I will be adding it to my calendar for the future. I don’t drink a lot in the week, but it just feels wrong not to when it is a National “day.”

Tequila shots with lime for National #TequilaDay // www.cupcakesandcutlery.comMaybe you aren’t going to make a cucumber margarita but I encourage you to at least take some tequila shots today. FYI, no one licks salt off anything in Mexico when doing a shot. I didn’t think about that until I was putting this post together and was like what kind of salt do I use, on account of the fact that I am that much of a tequila shot novice. A good tequila, some fresh lime. Done.

Tequila shot for National #TequilaDay! // www.cupcakesandcutlery.comHappy  National #TequilaDay!  Need more drink ideas? Check out this great pin from Casa Noble! And be sure to follow them on Facebook, Twitter, Google + and Instagram!

Cucumber Margarita for National #TequilaDay

Ingredients

  • 4 slices fresh cucumber, skin removed (3 for the drink, one for floating on top to make it look pretty)
  • 1 oz. fresh lime juice
  • 1 oz Triple Sec
  • 1 1/2 oz. Tequila
  • Ice
  • Lime Wedge
  • Tajin to rim the glass

Instructions

  1. Add cucumber slices, lime juice, Triple Sec and Tequila to a blender and blend well.
  2. Rim cocktail glass with Tajin by rubbing first with lime.
  3. Add ice to the glass.
  4. Pour mixture from blender over ice.
  5. Top with cucumber slice.
  6. Makes one drink.
  7. To make 4 servings (or 2 very large cucumber margaritas - party time!):
http://www.cupcakesandcutlery.com/cucumber-margarita-national-tequila-day/

Thank you for supporting brands like Casa Noble who send me stuff so that I can pass along my favorite recipes to you! Cheers!