Week Two Meal Planning

Week Two Dinner Meal Plan with Recipes
Welcome to week two of dinner meal planning. I think you and your family will enjoy these meals.
Our meals this week are:

  1. Chicken Noodle Soup
  2. BBQ Pulled Pork Sandwiches with Tater Tots
  3. Peppers and Sausage with Rice
  4. Grilled Cheese / Grilled Ham and Cheese Sandwiches
  5. Build Your Own Nacho’s
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Chicken Noodle Soup

Chicken Noodle Soup
There are several great things about this recipe. You can scale it up or down depending on your needs. You can add all different types of vegetables and it freezes great. My trick for freezing is you don’t add the noodles to the soup you are freezing, so no soggy noodles.
4-8 cups Chicken Broth
Sliced Carrots
Celery
Full head of Green Cabbage
Salt and Pepper to taste
3 Chicken Breasts baked and cubed Season with Salt Pepper and Paprika
2 cups Egg noodles or Noodles of your choice
Baked Chicken Breast

  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees
  2. Trim fat from chicken breasts
  3. Season breasts with salt, pepper, and paprika – both sides
  4. Line a baking sheet with foil
  5. Place chicken in preheated oven for 20 minutes or until internal temperature reaches 165 degrees.
  6. Let cool slightly and cube. Add to chicken broth and vegetables.

Chicken Noodle Soup

  1. Bring Chicken Broth to a low boil.
  2. Add all the other ingredients. Cook over low- medium heat until vegetables are done to your liking.
  3. Cook noodles per package directions.
  4. Once the large batch of soup is complete, separate out the amount of soup for the meal and left overs for the next day.
  5. Add noodles to meal portion.
  6. Cool remaining soup on stove top while eating your meal.
  7. Portion soup into freezer containers.
  8. Cool completely in the refrigerator before putting it in the freezer.

Note:When I portion out the leftover soup for freezing I make one – two portions for another night’s dinner and I make a few single serving portions that I can pack in lunches.
Using frozen soup

  1. Defrost in the refrigerator overnight.
  2. Remove soup from container and add to pot.
  3. Add the desired amount of chicken stock. I recommend 1-2 cups.
  4. Bring soup to a boil and add 2 cups of noodles.
  5. Reduce heat to low-medium.
  6. Cook until the noodles are done.
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BBQ Pulled Pork with Tater Tots

BBQ Pulled Pork Sandwiches with Tater Tots- Instapot Recipe
1-2 pound Pork loin
1 can Dr.Pepper
2 ½ cups BBQ Sauce
⅓ cup Brown Sugar
4 Tbsp Apple Cider Vinegar
2 tsp Garlic Powder
1 tsp Onion Powder
Rolls for Sandwiches

  1. Place pork and soda in pot
  2. In medium bowl mix – 2 cups bbq sauce, brown sugar, apple cider vinegar, garlic powder, and onion powder.
  3. Pour mixture over pork.
  4. Set the instapot to manual for 45 minutes.
  5. Natural release for 10 minutes, then quick release.
  6. Shred meat in the pot. Once shredded remove pork to a serving dish.
  7. Add the remaining ½ cup of BBQ sauce to the meat.
  8. Assemble sandwich.

Note: To help with the carb count on this meal I use a low carb tortilla and make a wrap.

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Sausage and Peppers Skillet

 

Sausage and Peppers Skillet with Rice
This recipe is a family favorite. It also can be sized up very easily for bigger families or gatherings.
2 packs Sausage (28oz)
1 bag Frozen Peppers and Onions mix or 3 cups Fresh Bell Peppers and White onions cut into strips.
2 cups Rice or Cauliflower Rice per package instructions.

  1. Slice sausage into rounds.
  2. Heat a large skillet to medium heat and add sausage.
  3. Heat sausage through for about 3-4 minutes.
  4. Add pepper and onion mix. Place the lid on the skillet for 2-3 minutes.
  5. Stir mixture regularly until cooked to your liking.
  6. Serve over rice or cauliflower rice.

Grilled Cheese / Grilled Ham and Cheese Sandwiches with Fries
This meal is very kid friendly as well as an adult favorite. We typically have this meal on a Friday or Saturday night when we watch a family movie.
White Bread (2 per sandwich)
Margarine or Butter
Sliced Cheese of your Choice
Sliced Ham of your choice
French Fries or other frozen potato (Oven or airfryer) per bag instructions.

  1. Lightly butter one side of each piece of bread.
  2. Heat skillet or flat grill to medium.
  3. Place bread buttered side down and place one slice of cheese on each side.
  4. Once the buttered side of bread is lightly browned, flip one piece of cheese bread on to the other so the cheese meets.
  5. Continue grilling until desired color of brown.
  6. If making a grilled ham and cheese sandwich you’ll need an additional small skillet to heat the ham. Heat the small skillet to medium and add the ham. Heat through and add to one slice on cheesed bread. Then place the other cheesed bread slice on top.

Build Your Own Nachos
Who doesn’t like nachos, right? I’m sure there are people out there that don’t. We do Mexican Tuesday in our house instead of Taco Tuesday so we don’t burn out of tacos. But don’t worry tacos are in the rotation regularly.
Basic ingredients for nachos
Tortilla Chips – traditional, hint of lime, ect
Meat – Taco meat, carne asada, fajita chicken
Refried Beans
Cilantro Rice
Nacho Cheese or Shredded Cheese
Sour Cream
Salsa or Pico
Guacamole

I hope you’ve been inspired by some of these meals to include in your family dinners.

Follow me on Instagram @beinglaurakmarshall

It’s Vegas Baby!

Coke Museum and Store, Vegas Baby! With my husband

It had been twenty years since I had last been in Vegas and my husband was experiencing it for the first time this last October. We both were wowing at the sights for very different reasons. I was amazed at how much it had changed but some aspects had stayed the same. My husband couldn’t believe all that was going on.

The great thing about Vegas is that it’s ever changing. New improvements to the guest experience. Need a new hotel and casino, build one. If there isn’t space, implode an old one. I was amazed at how many more things had been crammed into the stripe. In the 90’s the casinos had grand sweeping pieces of real-estate that guests had to travel through to get to the casino. It was all part of the experience. Now that real-estate has other small hotels on it, or retail shops and drink carts to get your adult beverage as you walk the strip.

Jason’s first pull on a slot machine

Walking the strip has become a lot easier. I love the pedestrian bridges that are at almost every intersection.Now you don’t have to worry, as much, by getting hit by a car when crossing the street. You just take a bridge over. Even on street level there is a barrier between the side walks and the street. Depending on the time of day there are still a ton of people walking and that makes it a challenge to walk around but over all a lot easier to explore.

My husband and I had a great time walking the strip. We wondered in and out of casinos, played the slots, ate and drank. It was a fun experience. Every once and a while we would get behind some one who was smoking pot, which is legal in Nevada. That wasn’t a pleasant experience but there was always room to get around them or just pop into a casino.

If you haven’t been to Vegas in a while, or have never been, take a trip and experience it. It’s like no other place. It’s Vegas Baby.

Until next time.

Follow on Instagram @beinglaurakmarshall

Our arrival at the Vegas Airport

Gingerbread Adventures

Recently the family and I visited OMSI (Oregon Museum of Science and Industry) for two different exhibits taking place. The big featured exhibit was Exquisite Creatures and the second was Gingerbread Adventures. Gingerbread adventures was more than a gingerbread building contest, it was also a look at the science behind gingerbread houses and other creations. Using the current Exquisites Creatures exhibits as inspiration four local teams of expert bakers, architects, designers, and construction firms worked together to make these holiday treats. Except for the bases and structural supports, each sculpture was built with edible materials.

Let’s dive in to the competitors entries. The entrants will be reviewed in the order they were presented.

First up is Holiday on the Bayou by SFA Design and Safeway. The birds, snakes, frogs, turtles, and dragonflies are excited to share their holiday cheer. The alligator is covered in pear jellybeans. Little Beatles work to decorate their home on the Bayou. I enjoyed the detail given to the bugs and amphibians that live in the bayou.

Second up is Life in Contrast by WRK Engineers, Ankrom Moisa Architects and Zest Bakery. A veiled chameleon attempts to bring down a dragonfly for dinner. Butterflies rise from light to dark. I was drawn to the colorful chameleon covered in sweet tarts and skittles. It’s tongue is made from sour stripes. I then saw the massive dragonfly followed by the butterflies.

Third up is Jingle in the Jungle by Scott Edwards Architecture and Sugar Cubed Cakes. Gillian Gecko is throwing a party and were all invited. Detail is everywhere in this display. From the animals, bugs, lizards, and frogs, to the furniture and landscaping. There is even an Exquisite Creatures gallery in a log with mini artwork. Absolutely amazing.

Fourth and final entrant is Arborvitae by LRS Architects and New Seasons Market. The tree of life. From gingerbread sand to lofty branches this tree gives life and protection to the animals that depend on it.

After viewing all four displays we were invited to vote for our favorite. I voted for Jingle in the Jungle. There was so much to look at from every angle. While voting I opted in for an email to tell me the winner of the contest. We’ll find out the winner at the beginning of January. Good luck to all the entrants.

This exhibit runs until January 2nd, 2020.

Follow me on Instagram @beinglaurakmarshall for more of my daily adventures.

Until next time.

Crunchy Taco Ring

Crunchy Taco Ring

I recently made this Crunchy Taco Ring recipe for my family. It is very similar to another family favorite, The Cheeseburger Ring. Which I’ll post that recipe later. I figured I would give it a try. Overall it was tasty. The family enjoyed eating it and it was great as a left over for lunch the next day.

Give it a try and let me know what you think.

Crunchy Taco Ring

1 pound ground meat

1 packet taco seasoning mix

1 cup crushed corn chips

1 1/2 cups shredded cheddar plus , 1/2 cup cheese to top ring

2 tubes of Crescent rolls

Guacamole

Sour Cream

Salsa

Shredded Lettuce

1. Preheat oven to 375

2. Brown ground meat and drain

3. Stir in taco seasoning and water. Cook for several minutes to incorporate and thicken

4. Make crescent roll ring

5. Add corn chips and cheese to meat combine well

6. Put mixture on crescent roll ring

7. Fold points over mixture to create ring

8. Bake for 18-20 minutes on middle rack

9. Let sit a minute or two before cutting. Sprinkle 1/2 cup cheese over ring

10. Serve with guacamole, sour cream, salsa, and lettuce

I made a salad for a side item with the shredded lettuce.Until next time keep up with me on Instagram @beinglaurakmarshall

Pull points over the meat mixture to create a ring
Crunchy Taco Ring is ready to go into the oven

Making things happen

We recently moved in with my father and in that process we got rid of a lot of stuff. Then the first two weeks we were here, we got rid of even more stuff. Then more time went by and we got rid of even more stuff. We donated to local charities and sent other things to the auction house. There is still more stuff to go through. I have been consistently going through all of our belongings in an attempt to organize and get things in there new home. But in this process I’m still donating items and there will be more items in the future.

But what’s got me thinking is the two pods worth of stuff still to be unpacked once the addition is finished. The addition is another story. There is furniture for the boys rooms and other miscellaneous items for the house. My mind keeps going to the “do we need, or want, all those items in the pods?” And I keep thinking, “probably not”.

It seems kind of backwards to me that I want to reduce the amount of things I have but we’re adding about 900 square feet to the house which will end up with stuff. The space were adding is for bedrooms, not just to have more space for stuff. But it does feel a tad counter productive.

I look around and see my belongings and that of my families. Some of the stuff is useful, some meaningful, and other things that are just there. Some of the items will have a home in the addition and are hanging out in an odd spot, but I feel others may be moving on to new homes.

There will be a lot of work going on in the coming months to pear down the things and lots of construction of the new area. But when the addition is ready to move in to I will have to face the pods and all that they hold. I think that will be a true test of what items I want to keep in my life and which items I will bid a fond farewell too.

How do you feel about your space and your belongings in it?

Until next time keep up with me on Instagram @beinglaurakmarshall

Summer Enrichment Planning

While other teachers are counting down to summer break. I’m ramping up for the Summer Enrichment Program. Don’t get me wrong, I’m counting down to the end of the school year also. The enrichment program is a totally different curriculum than my school year teaching.

I get to teach S.T.E.M all day long, four days a week. Then the fifth day we go swimming and play cranium busters. Cranium busters are fun games to expand your brain.

This program gives the students the opportunity to get hands on in a lot of different educational situations. Not only do I get to do tons of science with them, they do art, crafts, writing, drawing, physical activity and we get to go on some pretty awesome field trips.

I love how the students introduce me to their parents as the science lady. The kids are always so excited to do experiments. Sometimes they are so excited the experiments go off track. But I always remind them their is no such thing as a failed experiment, just an opportunity to discover something unexpected.

We are T-minus five weeks until the summer program starts. I’m getting closer to being ready. There are a lot of fun and exciting things planned and I can’t wait to experience them with the kids.

Are you working a summer program this year? If you are good luck and have fun.

Follow me on Instagram @beinglaurakmarshall

Until next time.

The Purge

When I was in middle school I read a collection of stories about people who gave up all their worldly possessions to live a simple life. That simple life was in different forms. I remember thinking who in the world would do that? All of their stuff. Only crazy people do that.

Well call me crazy but I’ve been purging a lot of stuff lately. Car loads of stuff to our local charity. And I was reminded of those stories. My life had been taken over by stuff. And most of that stuff didn’t have any meaning for me. The thought of having meaningless stuff just hanging around, weighing  me down, was a horrible feeling. That’s when I started going through everything.

I’ve gotten rid of a lot of things and I don’t even miss the stuff. Which I thought I would, but I’m loving the feeling of being free from stuff. A weight has truly been lifted. Believe me I still have a lot of things, but I’m going through them. I have a goal of once a week to make a drop off trip to the charity. The charity also does pickups so I’ll be using that as well.

When I’m deciding if an item will stay or go I ask myself a few questions.

  1. Have I used this lately
  2. Does it give me joy
  3. Is it meaningful

It’s been hard for some items and to be honest, there are items that have made it through a few rounds because I can’t seem to let them go. And there were others that were really easy to say good-bye to. But oh what a feeling of knowing  others will enjoy and benefit from the items. That makes me feel good.

Have any of you gone through this or are currently purging stuff out of your life? I would love to hear about it.

If you’re interested in my daily journey please follow me on Instagram @beinglaurakmarshall

Have a great day and see you soon.

July Book Sale

Well hello happy people. I know July is almost over but it’s never too late to let you know about a book sale.

Every year Smashwords hosts a very large sale on books. Books are up to 75% off and some are even free. Can’t beat free with a stick people. The author’s who participate in this sale do so voluntarily with the hopes their stories and their voice will be read by those who may not have considered their work in the past.

I have several books for 75% off and some free ones as well in the sale.

If your interested in checking out some of my work or the work of other authors please head on over to Smashwords. You can search me Laura K Marshall or LKMarshall to find my full catalog of work.

Hope you all are having a wonderful day and as always follow me on Instagram for updates on being me. Search beinglaurakmarshall to follow.

SWRCover
The Starving Writer Review Collection

Long Time No See

I had this really long post written about all the stuff that has gone on with me over the last several months since I posted last. Then I realized when it came down to it there were only two life things that were big for me. We all celebrated October through December holidays in our own way then came January through May, but two big things in my life that has moved my journey forward. In November I turned forty and in February I officially became debt free. These two events really mean something in my journey. I have been a slave to the norm, work a job, pay bills, be responsible, etc., etc. I knew deep down there was more. I love being creative either through writing, crafts, painting or drawing. Those things enrich my life more than my day job of contributing to the obesity problem ever has. Reaching those mile stones has really opened up possibilities for me that I never considered. Always sometime in the future or that would be nice but. Well hell, but nothing. I am actively now engaging in the realities of creating the life I want. Not settling for the day to day survival. I am actively moving in the direction of change and creating new goals. What are those goals you may ask?

My life goal is to travel and live a full enriched life through creativity and helping others.

How does that look in reality? I’m not sure but I’m figuring it out. Day by day I get more insight into how I am going to be able to live my dreams and reach my goals.

What are you working toward in your life? I challenge you to ask yourself that question. You may be surprised in what you find.

If you’re interested in my daily journey please follow me on Instagram @beinglaurakmarshall

Book Sale

You've Decided to be a Writer, Now What?
You’ve Decided to be a Writer, Now What?

You read that correctly, Book Sale! I have a great deal of my titles on sale this month on Smashwords. Here is your opportunity to check out my writing for up to 75% off.

Here is just a sampling of the titles available during this sale:

Mighty Magnificent Book of Prompts

Solar System Lesson Plan Workbook

Short Story Crash Course

I Love to Read and Write

Journaling Guide and Course Work

Reading is Fun – At Home Activities for Beginning Readers

Aunt Millie’s Dairy Farm

You’ve Decided to be a Writer, Now What?

Mr. Quipsters Tales

And so many more.

I am very excited to be sharing my work with all of you. So hop on over to Smashwords and check out the Book Sale.

If you’d like to see my daily journey please follow me on twitter @beinglkm or on Instagram beinglaurakmarshall