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Monday Morning Glory Oatmeal Casserole

The worst realization on a Sunday night is that you are not a stay-at-home mom, and that in a few short hours, you will be squeezing your very tired tootsies into unforgiving heels and stiff clothes. Pair that with the sound of the alarm clock and people who do not know how to merge onto the busy bypass, and you have the reasons why I long for retirement…

On a sleepy Monday morning, the next best thing to my principal calling to tell me that it would be completely appropriate to wear yoga pants and flip flops to work, is something yummy and warm to eat for breakfast. Enter my Monday Morning Glory Oatmeal Casserole.

I do not have one extra second in the morning. I have my routine down to a pretty smooth system, except for the 3-4 days a week that I cannot find my keys, so I need breakfast that is super quick. What I believe is the best thing about this recipe is that you make it Sunday night, and go to bed in the yummiest smelling house on the planet. Then, pack it in individual servings so that you can just pop it into the microwave before work and feed your body something much better than a meal bar and a cup of coffee.

The recipe is posted below. Please try it; be creative. If you do not like the ingredients that I used, switch them out for what you do like. Your body and mind will be happy that you did 🙂

Ingredients:

1 cup of steel cut oats
2 Tbsp. flax seeds
3 1/2 cups of milk (any variety, but I prefer coconut or almond milk)
1 tsp. of vanilla extract
1/2 tsp. of pumpkin pie spice
1/3 cup of chopped pecans
1/4 cup of pumpkin seeds
1/3 cup of dried cherries
**you can change up the added nuts and berries to your liking

Preparation:

1. Grease an 8×8 baking dish
2. In a mixing bowl, combine all ingredients.
3. Pour into the baking dish and bake for 45 minutes at 350 degrees

** serve immediately or refrigerate for later.
*** when reheating, place in a microwave safe bowl, drizzle with milk or half and half, sprinkle with pumpkin pie spice and re-heat for 30 seconds. Enjoy with a nice warm cup of coffee or tea.

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Chicken and Orzo Soup

 

OK…So it is Sunday, my husband is gone all day at the Eagles game, and I am quarantined at home with one barfy child, and two healthy, but very bored other children.

I should take this opportunity to clean my very messy house, and when I say messy, I mean laundry hurricane, tornado looking destruction! I should maybe also grade the papers that I collected on Friday, or organize the garage, which also looks like it has endured a not so natural disaster. But, I will not do any of these things. Today, I have other plans.

On Friday, at work, a colleague told me about a book she was reading. It is called The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin. I read a few lines and decided that I needed to read this book ASAP!

Just to clarify, I believe that I am a happy person. I have a beautiful family, the best friends on the planet, a rewarding career that I really enjoy, a nice house, my health…all the things that I attribute to a happy life. But, I also feel like the ring master at the circus some days, and I catch myself forgetting to appreciate what is really important.

So, when I got a call at 5:00 this morning from my sister to come get my vomiting middle daughter from her sleepover, I started to grumble over what was not going to get done today. Then the words from chapter one of this book started to creep into my head. It was then and there, on a dark back road, dodging deer, and listening to the whimper of my sick little duck in the backseat, that I decided that I would start my “happiness project”.

Today, I will not clean my house! I will let the mess go, and I am just going to love my kids. We are going to snuggle on the couch, make brownies, watch movies, and eat soup! Today is not just about healing my sick baby, but celebrating happiness.

So if there should be some emergency between now and tomorrow, please don’t judge me by the state of cleanliness in my home. Know that the mess is a symbol of how happy we were today. A mama and her girls on a day-long quest to find happy!

Find happy, heal the soul, and eat soup.

Ingredients

  • 6 cups of chicken stock
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 3/4 pounds of chicken, cut into small pieces
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup onion, chopped
  • 2 carrots, chopped
  • 2 ribs of celery, chopped
  • 2/3 cup orzo pasta
  • 2 cups arugula, chopped
  • 1 cup fresh basil leaves, shredded
  • Grated Parmesan cheese to sprinkle on top

Directions

In a medium stock pot, bring the chicken stock to a low boil.
Meanwhile, in larger pot, sauté the chicken in the olive oil until browned, about 5 minutes.


Add the thyme and bay leaf, then stir in the onion, carrots, and celery.

Season with salt and pepper.


Cover the pan and cook the vegetables until softened, about 5 more minutes.
Add the stock to the vegetables and bring to a boil.


Stir in the orzo and cook until al dente, about 8 minutes.
Remove from the heat and add the arugula and basil to wilt.


discard the bay leaf and season with salt and pepper.
Serve with lots of grated cheese at the table.

*** you can use leftover grilled, cooked, or rotisserie chicken

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Misery Meatloaf

Misery Meatloaf

A new fangled twist
On an old beef tradition
Will cause you to crave
This modern rendition

Once upon a time, I was a meatloaf hater! I didn’t want to make it, eat it, or even look at it.
But, about 15 years ago my sister changed me. She shared a recipe for “Misery Meatloaf” and insisted that I try it. Well, I did, and I instantly changed in to a meatloaf lover…but only my own creation.


Well, unfortunately, I lost the pathetic scrap of paper that this recipe was hastily jotted on, and I was forced to try to recreate my favorite meal from a sketchy memory. Apparently, I forgot a few details along the way and so it was never as good as the original.
Then, when we moved into a new house, the recipe reappeared, and I made “Misery Meatloaf” correctly, thus renewing my love for this bar-b-que wonder. But, sadly, it then disappeared once again.
Time marched on, and 2 babies later, we moved again. Miracle of all miracles, the recipe fluttered out of a cookbook as I was unpacking my new kitchen! (I have a tendency to put important things in “safe places”, never to find them again)
But…before I could make it again, the recipe disappeared AGAIN! (Seriously, I’m not kidding) I called my sister, desperately seeking the recipe and vowing to keep it safe from this point forward. (Kitchen Tip: tape your most favorite recipes inside of your spice cabinet)

Unfortunately, my sister did not remember the recipe and insisted that she had never heard of it. I tried Googling the ingredients and name with no luck. I simply gave up.

Then…during my most recent kitchen renovation, I came home from the grocery store to find the most coveted slip of paper on the counter! My wonderful husband, and a very helpful neighbor, found it under the refrigerator while they were ripping my old floor out. WOOOO WHOOOO!!!

So, in an effort to stop the crazy meatloaf roller coaster, I am posting the recipe, so that it may live in digital eternity, and I can retire the crinkled, faded slip of a recipe that likes to play hide & seek.

Misery Meatloaf

***I am not sure how this meal got its name, but I surely know that its constant disappearing act made me pretty miserable!

Ingredients:
3lbs. ground beef or chicken
3 eggs
1 1/2 C. Seasoned bread crumbs
4Tbsp. Shredded Parmesan cheese
2Tbsp. Balsamic vinegar
1/4 C. Finely chopped Spanish onion
2tsp. Minced Garlic

Preparation:

The Meatloaf

  • Combine all ingredients, mixing well. (I use my stand mixer on low)
  • Form into an oval loaf with a uniform thickness, and place in a roasting pan or casserole dish
  • Bake in an oven at 350 degrees for about 40 minutes
  • Slice across the top of the meatloaf and baste with the sauce.
  • Return the meatloaf to the oven and cook for 20 more minutes.
  • Remove from the oven and let rest for 15 minutes before serving.

The Sauce

1C. Ketchup
3Tbsp. Brown sugar
2Tbsp. Worcester sauce
2Tbsp. Balsamic vinegar
2Tsp. Minced garlic
3Tbsp. Shredded Parmesan cheese

  • Combine the ingredients below in a saucepan and simmer until well combined.

** you can double the sauce recipe and reserve some for dipping.

The photo above shows Misery Meatloaf served with mashed potatoes and roasted Brussels sprouts with kale.