how I made housework something to look forward to

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As I was sitting folding laundry today I realized that I didn’t hate it. And that is definitely not the norm when it comes to laundry. Typically I feel this overwhelming sense of dread when I get around to mundane house tasks, but I actually didn’t mind it this time. Then I got to thinking about other household tasks. Normally I tend to put them off until the last minute and only do the least amount that I have to (wash dishes but leave them on the counter to dry, spot sweep, pick up toys but leave clothes laying around, etc.), but things have changed. Now I feel extra good about helping out my family with the work I do to make our living space better for us. Want to know what I realized?

The housework is my job I signed up for in our marriage.  It’s the job I chose when I was blessed to stay home with the kids.

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I knew it was my job all along, but finally it clicked in my head and I look forward to doing these tasks that not only keep our house a touch nicer (don’t be fooled, it will never be one of those pristine houses), but I know my husband will come home to a comfortable place instead of a home where he feels he needs to pick up and clean after a long stressful day of work. I want him to feel that he can actually relax in our home without a chaotic mess all around.

Growing up in school when all the feminist talk was going on I remember hearing so much about ‘marriages being equal’ and ‘men need to do half the work around the house’ like it was bad that women kept houses clean. Jacob is the leader in our house and by me contributing I can not only serve him but bless our house.  I’m not saying I don’t appreciate when Jacob helps around the house (he still does daily but I try my best to get as much done as I can so he doesn’t need to), but for me I don’t want to feel like he needs to. I don’t want to resent doing dishes nightly, instead I want to feel like I’m fulfilling my duty to serve my house how I chose to and how I am blessed to do.

Let me tell you, it’s amazing and freeing finally realizing this. It’s the slightest shift in mindset but for me it’s made such a difference.

Where do you stand on household tasks? Dread them or enjoy them?

Heather

baked pumpkin spice oatmeal {SRC}

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Hello and welcome to a fresh week!  Today I spent all of the kid’s nap time doing food prep for the week.  Here’s what I prepped:

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  • roasted tomatillos and onions to be blended for a sauce
  • cleaned and chopped grapes, strawberries, red cabbage, celery, carrots and onion for munching and cooking
  • made a batch of peanut butter coconut hemp-oatmeal bars
  • chopped pork for dinner
  • hardboiled then peeled eggs
  • made a batch of cheddar broccoli egg muffins
  • baked salmon for lunches throughout the week
  • made a snack box for the hubs (grapes, cheddar sticks and celery with peanut butter)

It’s going to be so nice to have all the fruits and veggies chopped along with other easy to grab snacks.

On to more food prep with my Secret Recipe Club reveal!  I was assigned Amy’s Cooking Adventure.  Amy is a mama of two like me!  Here’s what she says about herself: “I’m a SAHM of two, foodie blogger, & lover of books.  I cook healthy meals, but I always save room for dessert!”  Her family is just too cute, you’ve gotta check em out.

So as I was perusing her recipes I decided I needed a breakfast recipe.  I was immediately drawn to the green pancakes but ultimately decided on the baked pumpkin spice oatmeal for two reasons.  First I already had a can of pumpkin open in the fridge, and secondly once a week I leave the house early before the kids are awake so I like to have breakfast prepped the night before so I don’t have to cook in the morning.  Okay and thirdly I really wanted to bake in these adorable individual polish pottery bowls my brother gave me.  They are my favorite and I use them pretty much every single day.

IMG_4744The oatmeal batter came together super quickly and since I already had the oven going for dinner, I just threw them in with it.  The substitutions I made were to use a chopped up ripe banana in place of the honey, and I also did not add the chocolate chips or walnuts.  I really try to keep breakfast sugar free since we don’t need it and I find for myself extra sugar first thing in the morning will make me want more of it throughout the day.  Plus the banana added just the right amount of sweetness.  My little kiddos know no difference so they don’t mind. :)

IMG_4749The texture was perfect and the flavor spot on.  I ate mine (rewarmed up) with a spoonful of almond butter.  I loved that it was way less messy than oatmeal for Zoe since she normally eats our standard custard oats with her hands.  The time savings alone in the morning makes me want to add baked oatmeal to my food prep routine.  I’m thinking little muffins though instead of individual ramekins.  It was an awesome recipe I’d definitely make again!

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Baked Pumpkin Spice Oatmeal

serves 2

recipe adapted from here

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup plus 2 tbsp old fashioned oats
  • 3/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/4 tsp ground cloves
  • 1/8 tsp sea salt
  • 3/4 cup milk (I used whole milk)
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tbsp unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 ripe banana, diced

 Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Coat 2 ramekins with oil spray.
  2. In a large bowl combine the oats, spices and baking powder.  In a smaller bowl whisk the milk, pumpkin, egg and butter together.
  3. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and stir until combined.  Stir in the diced banana.
  4. Divide the batter between the two ramekins.  Bake for 30-33 minutes or until the tops are slightly golden and the oats have set. Remove and allow to cool slightly before eating.

What are your go-to oatmeal flavors?  Have you ever tried baked oatmeal?  Do you prefer regular cooked oatmeal or baked oatmeal? 

Heather

baby-led weaning: toddler vs baby

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Hello there!  Hope Thursday is going superb for you.  It’s my extra fun and busy day with many classes to teach.  Today I’m joining in on Munchkin Meals with Brittany from A Healthy Slice of Life.  I wanted to talk about baby-led weaning for toddlers versus babies.  But first, I just have to give a shout out to Brittany.  She just released the book A Mom’s Practical Guide to Baby-Led Weaning.

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I am so excited for her!  First off, I think it’s going to be a well used and much needed book for parents interested in baby-led weaning.  Now that I’ve been doing the whole BLW thing for a while, it’s much easier, but for first time moms beginning to feed their kids it would be a super helpful resource.  Heck, I’m sure there are things in it that I would totally use and benefit to read about now too.  It’s going on my must read list and I can’t wait to get my hands on it.  Congrats to you Brittany!

Now onto toddler versus baby feeding.

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Since Hunter is 2.5 years old, I really don’t call his eating baby-led weaning.  He’s fully weaned and really it should just be called eating, cause that’s what it is.  He is still a wonderful eater (as he always has been).  He eats fruit, veggies, meats, breads, grains, nuts, seeds, drinks whatever he can get his hands on (which is usually just water) and is normally willing to try new foods.  His favorite meal is breakfast.  That boy puts so much food down.  More recently he’s been eating crunchier foods like seeds and nuts.

Also more recently he’s been voicing his opinions more about food.  He is getting somewhat pickier, but honestly I think it’s more of a control thing.  Sometimes he’ll say he doesn’t like something before even trying it, Jacob or I will get him to try it, then he says ‘that’s good!’.  I don’t make him eat everything, but I do make him at least try a bit because normally he’ll eat more of it.  He eats breakfast, a snack mid morning, lunch, maybe an afternoon snack, then dinner.  Dinner is always when we have the most challenge, but I try and look at the balanced day.

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Zoe is 11 months old and devours everything.  She LOVES food.  Sometimes she even eats more than Hunter.  Actually, pretty much every dinner she eats more food than Hunter.  This girl loves dinner and eats so much that I’m sure her stomach is just about to explode when she finishes.  Since she still has no teeth everything needs to be gummable.  I feed her mostly soft foods of whatever we are eating.  If I’m giving her something that’s not very soft (like bell peppers) I chop them up into small pieces.

She is at the stage of throwing food, but it’s only when she doesn’t like things, or she’s just over eating them.  Last night we had tofu, udon noodles in peanut sauce, sauted kale, pear and black beans.  She shoveled everything into her mouth, but then once she wasn’t as hungry, she would pick and choose what she really wanted and anytime tofu was back in front of her she would just chuck it.

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She eats everything with her hands and is insanely messy.  The hardest part right now is eating away from home and trying to keep her mess under control.  Thankfully almost all meals are at the table.  Zoe eats breakfast + nurses, lunch, an afternoon snack + nurses, dinner and then nurses before bed.  I’ve been working hard to cut her nursing down from about 6 to 3 times this last month.  She loves food and also loves to nurse.  I’m glad she is such a great eater!  I feel so blessed by our great eaters, but I also believe in the baby-led weaning approach.

More of my previous baby-led weaning posts here:

Plan for introducing solids

Baby-led weaning part 1

Baby-led weaning part 2

Baby-led weaning Zoe at 7 months

What feeding stage (or stages) are you in?  What areas are easier or harder?  What are some of your kid’s new favorite foods right now? 

Hunter has been loving walnuts, almonds and we just made some almond crackers he (and I) really, really like.  Zoe turns nothing down, but she recently tried wheat berries and sauted mushrooms and could not get enough of them.

Heather

10 of my favorite fats

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One thing I’ve noticed with my eating is that I really enjoy more fats in my diet.  Fats keep me fuller longer, I become naturally full while eating (when I eat slowly), they make food taste fabulous, they make me feel great, and they are so good for your body too.  Not all fats are created equally though.  I keep trans-fats away from my diet and stick to natural forms that come from plants and animals, not from a lab.  And that includes saturated fats and cholesterol for sure.  And in case you wondered, no they are not bad for you like it has been said in the past.

Here are 10 fat filled foods that I love and keep as staples in my diet.

coconut oil

use for cooking/baking + stir into warm oatmeal

try this recipe for peanut butter coconut no bake oat bars

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organic unsalted butter

use for cooking/baking and spreading on yummy bread

try this recipe for whole wheat cheddar crackers

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extra virgin olive oil

use for cooking/baking

try this recipe for sweet and salty olive oil granola

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nuts/seeds

use for snacks, add to salads, use in cooking/baking, top warm breakfast bowls

try this recipe for almond, date and coconut energy balls

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hemp seed

sprinkle on salads, add to baked goods, stir into oatmeal

try this recipe for fluffy chia and hemp seed breakfast quinoa

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chia seed

sprinkle over oatmeal, add to smoothies, use to thicken dishes, use with overnight oatmeal

try this recipe for blueberry chia seed baked oatmeal

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nut butters

slather on bread, stir into oatmeal, make a savory sauce/dressing

try this recipe for 3 ingredient peanut butter cookies

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avocado

eat as is, put on toast, make guacamole, put on basically anything and everything

try this recipe for chocolate avocado pudding

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fatty fish

go for salmon, tuna, trout, herring, sardines and mackerel

try this recipe for savory tuna and cheddar quinoa patties

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whole eggs

scramble, make into an omelet, poach, fry, cook into your oatmeal, add to cooking/baking

try this recipe for cheddar broccoli egg muffins

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BONUS: olives

I am not really a fan of olives, but my kids love them and it’s easy for their little fingers to grab

What are some of YOUR favorite fats?  Do you make an effort to include fats in your diet?  How do they make you feel?

Heather

what we ate jan 25-31, 2015

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Hello!  Hope your weekend was great! We had a fabulous weekend with no real plans on our agenda, which is a pretty great way to start the weekend. We went on a coupon family walks, went to river maiden for coffee and hot cocoa (my first time checking it out), got Hunter his first fish (a betta named Bruce) and I went to my friend’s GRIT strength filming to get my butt officially kicked in 30 minutes flat.  It was pretty much just perfect.

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It’s time for another edition of what we ate last week! I tried to throw a bit more variety into our meals while also using ingredients we already had in the cupboard and/or in the freezer.  I’ve linked to a couple recipes I used, but I mostly just threw the meals together from my head and prayed they turned out well.  And thankfully they did!!

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Sunday – dinner at in-laws – they served up pork + salad + bread + steamed veggies

Monday – bobotie (made with beef) + quinoa + sauted mushrooms

Tuesday – BBQ beef meatballs + cheesy potato and cauliflower bake + cucumbers

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Wednesday – almond dijon crusted salmon + edamame sesame soba noodles + kale chips

Thursday – blueberry yogurt whole wheat pancakes

Friday – hawaiian pulled pork (crockpot meat portion from this recipe) tacos with avocado and cheese, + roasted brussel sprouts

Saturday – homemade pizza topped with leftover pork, green bell peppers, onions and mozzarella + fresh salad with vinaigrette

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How was your weekend?  Do you typically follow recipes or end up cooking from your brain?

Heather

Previous what we ate posts:

January 18-24, 2015

friday favorites

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Hi!  Happy almost weekend!  Today I wanted to share five things I’ve been loving lately.  Some are new, some are not, but all are pretty great!

Biokleen

My friend Megan told me about this brand and I’m so hooked on it now.  Biokleen is a natural cleaning product line.  Plus it is a local to Vancouver (made about 10 minutes from my house!) and I love supporting local businesses when I can.  The Bac-Out stain and odor remover works so well!  Our dog Joe is always getting the couch dirty and Zoe stains her clothes constantly so I’ve been using Bac-Out like a mad lady.  It smells amazing and works way better than anything else I’ve tried for stains.  If you’re local and like Biokleen, Chuck’s Produce sometimes puts their products on sale.  I first bought them when there was a 30% off sale going on and can’t wait for another sale to stock up.  I’m loving all their products I’ve tried so far.

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Granola

My sister in law made us a batch of this maple nut butter granola for Christmas and I had to get the recipe from her.  We have all been loving it in our house.  Jacob eats it pretty much every morning for breakfast with yogurt, which says a lot since he’s not a breakfast eater.  It makes a ton and is just so delicious plus it is not high in sugar.

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Shampoo

I’ve been slowly trying to switch/incorporate more and more natural products into our house.  I picked this shampoo up on a whim and have been loving it.  The tea tree oil makes me feel like I’m showering in a spa.

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Body pump

Have you tried the latest release yet?  Body Pump 92 is a killer!  The combinations put together during the workout really challenged my muscles and left me with a new level or soreness.  And if you haven’t tried the alternate back track, it has to be one of my new all time favorite back tracks.  If you aren’t an instructor, tell yours to do it. :)

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Homemade yogurt

This isn’t new, but still a long time favorite.  I love making my own yogurt in the crockpot.  Here are the original instructions and here are the instructions for turning it into thick greek yogurt.  I use the strained whey for pancakes so there is no waste!

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And in case you needed a smile this Friday, here you go.

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What are some of your favorites lately?

Heather

2015 vancouver lake half marathon

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Hello! Hope your Wednesday is going great.  I taught Body Combat this morning and had a sweaty good time with my class (as always).  I just love how no matter how challenging (or great) my morning starts out, I always leave class happier, a bit saner and have a general feeling of awesomeness.

So like I mentioned I ran my fourth half marathon on Sunday, yay!  [Side note: a new gal came to my combat class today and told me she is a big time runner and ran 22 half marathons last year.  That is nuts!]  Back to Sunday.  I ran the 13.1 mile Vancouver Lake Half Marathon with my gal pals Megan and Laura.  I was so much fun running with these ladies!  My mom came to cheer us on and captured pictures.  There are so many reasons I like this race (it was my 3rd time running it).  Let me tell you five of them:

  • super flat course
  • about 5 minutes from my house
  • the way the course is laid out with 3 out and backs lets you see your cheerleaders a lot without them having to move around to different spots
  • it’s inexpensive
  • it’s a small race

Megan and I we were super stoked and ready to go.  The temperature was perfect – about mid to upper 40s I believe plus fog – no rain!  IMG_4485We met up with Laura and took our spot in the port-a-potty line.  Pre-run necessity.

IMG_4496A few minutes after that it was race time!  I just love how Laura and I are getting our dance on right at the start of the race.  Best way to start it!

IMG_4495The first out and back took us to 3 miles.  I tossed my long sleeve shirt to my mom and we all gave the double thumbs up.  Feeling good and energized.

IMG_4494Our next out and back added 6 more miles on.  Double thumbs up continue!  I was still feeling great, except I could tell my bladder was filling up.  Gummy bears were around the corner and I was so thankful for that since I forgot to bring any dried fruit to snack on.

IMG_4499We pushed through another 3 mile out and back taking us to 12 miles.  I was right by the potties but with only a mile to go I knew I couldn’t stop.  We were so close!  Although my hips, knees and ankles were hurting, it wasn’t as bad as I remember it being years back.  I never felt like I needed to give up.

IMG_4492As we ran through the park we saw our cheering crowd and got excited since the end was so near!

IMG_4490 IMG_4487When we were coming around the final bend we saw that the time was 1:59:45 – time to sprint it to the finish!  I pushed as hard and fast as I could and came in at 1:59:59!

IMG_4515IMG_4486Megan and Laura finished seconds after.

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This definitely felt like my strongest half marathon.  While it wasn’t my fastest (although it was my second fastest), I physically felt like I was able to handle it really well.  My body recovered super well from it and I didn’t have major soreness.  Even though my training started only 10 weeks before the race and my training was spotty at best (1-2 runs a week with some time skipped while on vacation), I felt really good running it.  So even though my running training was mediocre, my well rounded fitness routine stayed consistent and continued to challenge my body.  Personally I feel like the combination of fitness yoga 3-4x a week, body pump/strength 3x a week and combat 1x a week helped my body to be ready for the physical demand that 13.1 miles puts on it.  Throw in the training runs and increased mileage and I was ready for it!  I still feel so excited about how great I felt after.  Also, the massage I got yesterday sure didn’t hurt. :)

What is your workout routine like?  Heavy in certain areas or balanced?  I’d love to hear about it!

Heather

what we ate January 18-24, 2015

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After the cruise it felt a little weird getting back into planning and cooking meals again. I’ll admit, I totally enjoyed not having to think about what we were going to eat. Don’t get me wrong, I love-love-looooove to cook, but every now and then it’s so nice to just not have to. But back in reality land, we must eat and that happens by me making food, so let me tell you what we ate last week! I’m hoping you can pull and idea or two for your own dinner plans. I’ve included links to recipes when they’re available.

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Sunday – salmon sushi bowls (this recipe but subbed in freshly cooked salmon for the tuna)

Monday – crockpot teriyaki brisket + rice/wheat berries + cheesy cauliflower mash

Tuesday – spaghetti squash pizza pie

Wednesday – cheese and chicken sausage omelets + roasted potatoes, sweet potatoes and brussel sprouts + bacon on the side

Thursday – Greek beef burgers with all the fixings (pictures above without the beef burger patties)

Friday – date night out to Hopworks Urban Brewing! Beer samplers + hummus plate + pizza. Love.

Saturday – spicy sausage, potato and kale soup + crusty dutch oven bread + dark greens salad with pepitas, feta, pear and a vinaigrette + great company over with us

My top 3 meals of the week were the sushi bowls, omelet night and the Greek burgers. Mmmm, all so tasty!

In other exciting news, I ran my fourth half marathon yesterday!  It was so much fun running with 2 awesome lady friends.  More pics to come!

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What was your favorite dinner time meal last week? Links welcome!

Heather

savory tuna & cheddar quinoa patties

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With the new year into full force now, a lot of people make resolutions to improve their life.  I just love that.  Maybe those changes are for your health, or maybe like me you want to actually keep your house clean and organized.  The struggle is real over here you guys.  It’s real.  But if unlike me you aren’t as focused on the dust piling up, maybe you’re looking to improve your eating.  I am always all about eating for health.  Every day I work to keep it balanced by eating more good for me foods than those that are not so good for me.  After Christmas and all the holidays my sweet consumption was up a lot more.  I haven’t sworn it off completely, but I am finding ways to keep it more in check.  One way is with more protein and fat.  It helps me stay fuller longer so I become less nibbly.

I’m super excited about this Bubble Bee® campaign I was selected to create a recipe for.  A little bit about Bubble Bee Seafoods if you aren’t familiar: Available in can or pouch, each Bumble Bee® product is an easy and delicious way to add a variety of nutrients to your diet, including lean protein, healthy fat, and important vitamins and minerals.

I created these awesome savory patties using tuna, quinoa, spinach, cheddar cheese and eggs along with a few other ingredients to hold them in patty form.  The combination of tuna, quinoa, cheese and eggs will definitely keep your belly fuller for longer from all of the great protein and fats.  And an added bonus, they came together so easily and were a hit with everyone in the house (including a 2.5 year old and 10 month old!).  The batch made around a dozen and they are quickly already gone.  We ate them as part of lunch and I’ve munched on a few for a quick protein packed snack after a workout.

Here’s how you can make them too!

Start by finding all your ingredients, then get to cooking.

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Preheat a large skillet over medium heat.  Add 1 tbsp olive oil into the pan along with the red onion.  Saute for 3 minutes to soften, then add the garlic and spinach in.  Saute for 1-2 more minutes until the spinach begins to wilt.  Remove from heat and pour the cooked vegetables into a large bowl.

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Preheat griddle to 350 degrees F, or a large skillet to medium-high heat.  Add the cheddar, quinoa, tuna, panko, sea salt and pepper into the bowl with the vegetables.  Using a fork, mix everything together.  Once combined, add the 4 eggs in and stir with a fork until the eggs are incorporated.

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Add the remaining 1/2 tbsp olive oil to the preheated griddle (if you use a skillet you may need more).  Use a 1/4 cup measuring cup to scoop the mixture and place mounds onto griddle.  Flatten slightly.  Cook for 4 minutes, or until the bottom side is golden.  Flip, press down slightly again, then cook for 3 more minutes on the second side, or until both are golden.  Remove and enjoy now or later!

IMG_4360So tasty!  I hope you’ll try them out.  They are awesome anytime; hot, cold or room temperature!  Let me know if you try them!

 

 

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Savory Tuna & Cheddar Quinoa Patties

makes about 12 patties

Ingredients

  • 1 + 1/2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1/3 cup red onion, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 cup spinach, chopped
  • 1 cup sharp cheddar, grated
  • 1 cup cooked quinoa
  • 3 packs Bumble Bee premium light tuna in water
  • 1/3 cup panko breadcrumbs
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt and pepper
  • 4 eggs

Directions

  1. Preheat a large skillet over medium heat.  Add 1 tbsp olive oil into the pan along with the red onion.  Saute for 3 minutes to soften, then add the garlic and spinach in.  Saute for 1-2 more minutes until the spinach begins to wilt.  Remove from heat and pour the cooked vegetables into a large bowl.
  2. Preheat griddle to 350 degrees F, or a large skillet to medium-high heat.
  3. Add the cheddar, quinoa, tuna, panko, sea salt and pepper into the bowl with the vegetables.  Using a fork, mix everything together.  Once combined, add the 4 eggs in and stir with a fork until the eggs are incorporated.
  4. Add the remaining 1/2 tbsp olive oil to the preheated griddle (if you use a skillet you may need more).  Use a 1/4 cup measuring cup to scoop the mixture and place mounds onto griddle.  Flatten slightly.  Cook for 4 minutes, or until the bottom side is golden.  Flip, press down slightly again, then cook for 3 more minutes on the second side, or until both are golden.  Remove and enjoy now or later!

In case you are looking for more tuna filled recipes, check these out!

Did you make any new years resolutions?  Do you have a favorite Bumble Bee tuna recipe?  Share in the comments!

Have a great night!

Heather

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

2015 caribbean cruise

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Hello!  It’s been waaaay more than a minute since I’ve been here.  To be exact, December 19th was when I last posted about some yummy and healthier dips.  Then Christmas came (merry christmas!) and new years (happy new year!) and then we went on a cruise (whoop!).  The past 3 weeks have been jam packed like crazy with tons of family get together and of course, traveling. We arrived back home from our trip Saturday evening and I finally feel back on our timezone and like my brain is out of the jet lag fog.  Today it’s all about the cruise to the caribbean and of course, tons of pictures.  I hope you enjoy it!

On a Friday we woke super early (2am yuck!) to catch an early morning flight from Portland, OR to Denver, CO, then from Denver to Ft Lauderdale, FL.

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We stayed at a hotel that night and the next morning headed to the cruise ship!  ‘We’ included my little family (Jacob, Hunter, Zoe and myself), my parents, my 3 brothers, my 2 sisters-in-law, my nephew, my 2 nieces and an aunt and uncle, for a grand total of 16!  My parents are cruising pros and showed us the ropes + we tagged along with them and got to go through all the fast access ‘preferred lines’.  And of course we all joked about being ‘preferred’ and super cool because of that.

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Our 7 day voyage was with the Princess Cruise line.  I didn’t get many pictures of our room but here’s one. We had the 2 twin beds put together and a pack in play for Hunter next to us + one for Zoe in the closet near the bathroom.  It was actually more spacious than I expected it to be!

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We sailed out on Saturday, and on Sunday we arrived at the bahamas for some beach time.  The water was amazing and temp in the low 80’s.  I had been sick on the flight over and felt crummy the first few days and Zoe sprung a fever the night before the bahamas, so our beach time was limited.

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Monday we had a day at sea and all slept a lot if I remember right (still adjusting to the time change).  I’m sure we played games and all that fun stuff but without pictures I just can’t remember!

Tuesday we arrived at St. Maarten.  Jacob, the kids and I were slow moving that morning and headed onto the island later than the rest of our group so we ended up finding a beach near by and played there, then had lunch at a small BBQ spot.  Delicious!  I had my first plantain (fried, mmmm) and it was fantastic.  We also wandered around the little markets there too and took the taxi boat to and from the cruise ship to the beach near by.

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Wednesday we docked at St. Thomas where we had an excursion planned to go to Coral World and also a semi-sub underwater fish watching adventure.  The semi-sub was not as cool as I though it was going to be (we saw 4 or so different fish) but Coral World was great!  We got to pet sting ray, watch a sea lion show, feed birds, check out a huge turtle, see little sharks and lots of other fish.  Hunter had a blast there.  There was a beach right by it that we so wanted to go to, but we ran out of time and also didn’t want to pay the extra crazy amount it would be to taxi back to the ship.

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Thursday we went to Grand Turk.  Such a beautiful island!  It was our absolute favorite.  We spent our time on the beach and swam in the ocean.  We did a bit of snorkeling there too.  The water was just perfection.  Warm and salty so you can easily just float around.  We were pretty tired that evening and had room service delivered for dinner and watched a movie in our room.  It was nice and relaxing and the perfect way to end a fun day.

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Friday we were at sea and spent time playing games together as a family and going to a couple different cruise activities.  Throughout all the days there were tons of activities on the cruise ship like bingo, trivia, minute-to-win-it, sport competitions, fruit carving and so much more.  In the evenings there was normally a show (we say the comedian a couple times).  The dinners were sit down all together in the formal dining area.  We had 2 tables between all of us.  They would usually last 60-90 minutes which with little kids was kind of tough sometimes.  Breakfast and lunches were almost always at the buffet.  Two of the nights were formal so we all got dressed up and fancy.  They took pictures and we loved ours so we bought it to hang on our wall at home.

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Saturday we left the ship, but not before letting all the kids run and play like crazy.  We left around 10am and since a ton of people had already left it wasn’t as crowded as usual so they got to be wild.  We loved all the time with family and it truly flew by.

 

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Our return flights (FL–>TX–>OR) were a bit more challenging for the kids (mostly Zoe during the second flight), but all in all flying with kids was not bad at all.

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I’d say 3 out of our 4 flights total looked like this.  So much sweet cuddling. :)

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Now that we’re home I’m glad to be getting back into my rhythm of things again.  And that means here as well!  Hope you enjoyed seeing our fun family adventure!

So tell me, how are you all?!  Any fun traveling happening or anything exciting going on so far this new year?  Have you ever been on a cruise?  If so, where?

Heather