Lunch for Busy Days #MealPrepMadness

Lunch has become the most difficult meal of the day for me. Jake needs to eat at 11:30 or we start running into hangry, I-need-a-nap territory. And if we have anything going on in the morning, it’s hard to be home and get it on the table before the meltdowns start. Add in a newborn who wants to be fed/changed/cuddled and I was ready to rip my hair out – not to mention the fact that I’d end up just eating whatever I could shove in my face fastest. So not ideal.

I ended up buying these containers on Amazon and they’ve become our “lunch boxes”. They don’t snap tight, but since we’re usually eating lunch at home and  don’t transport them, that’s fine for us.


I fill them up with whatever leftovers we need to use up first. This week it was some broccoli salad, chopped salad and breadsticks. Then, I fill in with other stuff. Jake’s lunches (bottom row) are often deconstructed – bread with rolled-up cold cuts is a favorite. I’ve been sticking with sandwiches or salads.

It’s working out well. When they’re pre-made, it’s easy to pop one out of the refrigerator for Jake as soon as we walk in the door and it’s been keeping me from grabbing junk food to fill me up instead of making myself a meal. A win all around!

Our Toddler Snack Bin #MealPrepMadness

One of the things I struggled with right after Julie was born was snack time for Jake. It seemed like every time I sat down to nurse her, he’d start begging for a snack. And, oh, the meltdown if I grabbed the wrong snack!

My solution was to make him his own snack bin. I filled it with pre-portioned snacks I was okay with him helping himself to.

Here’s what’s in the snack basket this week:


The snacks in plastic bags are ones we buy in bulk. It takes me just a few minutes to grab a handful and add them to the bags – and is way easier than trying to get Jake not to eat an entire 1 lb. bag of yogurt raisins.

Here’s what everything looks like in the basket:


The basket lives on the lowest shelf in our pantry. Jake can open the pantry to get to the snacks on his own, but 90% of the time he still needs help opening the packaging. This is proving to be the best of both worlds – he feels like he’s in control, but he still brings it to be before eating so I can monitor.

How do you handle kid snacks at your house?

Stocking the Freezer Pre-Baby, Take 2 #MealPrepMadness

Two years ago when Jake was born, we stocked the freezer with dinners we could throw together. It worked amazing so we knew we’d do it again – but this time, I had a different approach.

With Jake, we were only feeding ourselves – so I could wait until my husband came home from work if the baby was fussy or I wasn’t feeling it. That just doesn’t fly when you have a toddler that wants to eat at 5 pm on the dot so this time I concentrated on meals that I could pull out of the freezer and pop right into the oven or slow cooker.

It’s worked really well. I’m still finding a chance to make dinner 2-3 nights a week but it’s been so nice to have the freezer stash for nights that are a disaster!


Here’s what we had in the freezer when Julie was born:

Chicken Broccoli Rice Casserole
Oven Fajitas
Cheddar Ranch Chicken Thighs
Pineapple Teriyaki Chicken Thighs
Creamy Chicken Taquitos
Slow Cooker Cranberry Pork Roast
Slow Cooker Hawaiian Hula Pork
Chicken Potstickers
Spinach Prosciutto Lasagna
Taco Stuffed Shells

We also loaded up on bags of veggies and rice that we could throw in the microwave and a few frozen meals from Trader Joes. And, of course, Girl Scout Cookies.

Welcome to #CookoutWeek + the chance to win an awesome prize pack!


Guys, this is going to be such a fun week around here! I’ve joined forces with around 50 of our blogging friends for #CookoutWeek – an entire week filled with yummy summer recipes perfect for your next cookout, along with a fun giveaway, courtesy of some awesome sponsors.

If you’ve been hanging around here for any amount of time, you know I love a summer cookout. Grilling weather is my favorite and I’m happy to get outside for a meal – whether it’s just the three of us or we’re hanging out with family and friends. Summer was just made for cooking and dining al fresco!

So, let’s talk about that prize – because you know you want it. It’s super easy to enter and one lucky winner will get:

It’s pretty much everything you need to host an awesome cookout this summer. It’s a prize pack worth over $300! Thank you so much to all of the wonderful sponsors listed above, who have made #CookoutWeek possible.

Enter now:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

As #CookoutWeek rolls on, I won’t be the only one posting #CookoutWeek recipes – there are nearly 50 bloggers signed on to make this week a real party! Make sure you check in with them to see what they’re dishing up. Here’s the full list of participating bloggers:

The PinterTest Kitchen2 Cookin’ MamasA Day in the Life on the Farmaddicted 2 recipesAimee Broussard & Co.Amy’s Cooking AdventuresAngels Home Sweet HomesteadBakin’ and EggcerptsBalancing MotherhoodBody RebootedCheese Curd In ParadiseCindy’s Recipes and WritingsCook With 5 KidsCook. Craft. Love.Cookaholic WifeCricket’s ConfectionsCrumb: A Food BlogEat, Drink, Be Healthy!Everyday EileenFairyburgerFood ParsedGet the Good Stuff!Goodie GodmotherHezzi-D’s Books and CooksHome in the Finger LakesJennifer CooksJessie WeaverKate’s Recipe BoxLife on FoodLittle House Big AlaskaLittle Scratch KitchenMaking MiraclesMoore or Less CookingRhubarb and HoneySavvy In The KitchenSeduction in the KitchenSimple Food 365Style IslandThanks for Cookin’!The Food Hunter’s Guide To CuisineThe Hungary Buddha Eats the WorldThe Spiffy CookieThe Weekday GourmetThis is How I CookTramplingroseVintage KittyWest Via Midwest

Check back every day this week for some awesome cookout recipes – I’m really excited about what I’ll be sharing! And happy summer!

What’s Baking Roundup: Doughnuts


I mentioned on Friday that I was the host of the latest round of What’s Baking. The theme was baked doughnuts and I was drooling as everyone emailed me their submissions. A new, delicious doughnut in your inbox every day can be a dangerous thing.

I love the What’s Baking rounds because I love seeing what everyone did with the theme – there’s always so much variation. This round brought together any kind of doughnut you could want. Something perfect for Spring? Try Lemon Blueberry Dounuts. Want something indulgent? Double Chocolate is the way to go. You can check out everyone’s creations below!


Baked Double Chocolate Donuts from Eva at Eva Bakes

Baked Sour Cream Donuts from Jaida at Sweet Beginnings

Brownie Donuts with Peanut Butter Glaze from Nicole at Cookies on Friday

S’mores Donuts from Coleen at The Redhead Baker

Brown Butter and Bourbon Maple Glazed Doughnuts from Nicole at Cookaholic Wife

Baked Lemon Blueberry Donuts from Heather at Hezzi D’s Books and Cooks


Mini Baked Donuts with Raspberry Glaze from Kylee

Cinnamon Sugar Doughnuts from Me

Thank you, everyone, for baking up some doughnuts with me this round!

Gifts for Foodies that Do Good

Today is Giving Tuesday – a day for giving back and donating after the crazy consumerism of Black Friday and Cyber Monday. This year, instead of highlighting cool kitchen gifts, I wanted to showcase some gifts that will make a difference in someone’s life. These are all reputable groups that help a variety of causes – perfect for the foodies on your list.

Virtual Gifts


International Rescue Committee is on the ground across the world helping in a variety of humanitarian crises, including the current Syrian refugee crisis. You can support their efforts by buying a symbolic Rescue Gift this holiday season. For $53, you can provide emergency cook stoves to eight uprooted families. $68 will provide a month of emergency food packets for 50 children. $135 will provide a refugee farmer with the tools needed to start a farmers’ market stand. IRC will send a card announcing the gift to the recipient.


Mercy Corps works throughout the world helping those suffering poverty and rebuilding communities. They’re also assisting with the Syria refugee crisis both in and outside of Syria, in addition to helping provide food security in Mali and Niger, giving mobile technology to farmers in Indonesia and Uganda and other efforts.  Their symbolic gifs – called Mercy Corps Gifts – also send a card to the recipient.  A donation of $25 supplies an entrepreneur with the equipment needed to run a Tea Booth. $30 helps grow an acre of rice in a community. Or, you can equip a bakery for just $65.


Oxfam is working toward a world without poverty in more than 90 countries. In the US, works to expose the injustice of poverty and offer solutions. Their symbolic gifts include a pair of chickens to help feed a family for $18 and, for $30, the resources to plant a vegetable garden.  All gifts are acknowledged with a card.


Feeding America does exactly what their name suggests. They run a variety of programs to combat hunger in the US. A donation through their gift catalogue goes to providing nutritious food through their food bank network.

Gifts that Give Back


Unicef strives to give all children a fair chance at life through programs that combat hunger, provide immunizations and support education. Gifts purchased through the Unicef Market benefits children in need around their world and they have a variety of great options to dress up your table. The purchase of this pitcher, for example, can provide 141 sachets of oral rehydration salts, which can help children combat dehydration and diarrhea.


Feed My Starving Children helps feed malnourished children and has worked in nearly 70 countries. 92% of their donations go directly into the food program. Their marketplace has a variety of gifts that support their programs. These spoons, handmade by artisans in Swaziland, provides 62 meals to children in need.


FEED raises money through their product lines to provide meals. They help fund school meals, emergency relief, mother-child nutrition and man more projects. Their signature bags make great shopping totes but they also have wine totes, which would be great for holiday gifting, and beautiful kitchen gifts including this cutting board.


All Across Africa is a benefit corporation that creates market-driven employment opportunities to improve and empower the lives of rural and poor people across Africa. They have a whole shop of beautiful, fair-trade kitchen items, including these gorgeous baskets made in Rwanda.

Food for a Cause


OneHope Wine gives a portion of their sales to charitable causes – each bottle helps something different. Their California White Blend helps fight cancer while their Pinot Noir helps get clean water to people who need it. Or, this gorgeous, glittery bottle of sparkling wine provides 15 meals to a child in need.


That’s Caring donates one weekend’s worth of meals to a food insecure child in the US for every gift basket purchased. Why weekend bags? Students that rely on school lunches don’t have access to those resources during the weekends – and these help fill the gaps. Their wine and cheese baskets are a great option to send to far-flung foodie friends.


Lambs Farm creates a safe working and living environment for people with developmental disabilities. All of their products are made by the people of Lambs Farm and support their programs. They have fudge, preserves and even treats for the foodie fido!


Cookies for Kids’ Cancer helps fund research on pediatric cancers. Cookies ship the same day they’re baked – a great holiday treat. Order a package of your favorite flavor or join the cookie of the month club.


Women’s Bean Project employs chronically unemployed and impoverished women through transitional employment. Their products include soup mixes, baking mixes and fun gift bundles. They are made by women in the program and help support the program’s future.

9 More Meatless Dinner Ideas for Lent

Sharing meatless meals on Fridays during Lent has become my favorite blog series over the years. I love finding new things to try and love hearing that the ideas help others break out of the stereotypical pizza or pasta with tomato sauce rut. And the annual Ash Wednesday post rounding up some of my favorite meatless meals from the previous year has been some of the most popular posts on my blog.

Today is Ash Wednesday so, of course, I’m sharing the annual round-up. And Friday will kick off the Lenten dinner series for this year.

If you’re looking for additional dinner ideas, check out my previous posts: 16 Meatless Dinner Ideas for Lent and 16 More Meatless Dinner Ideas for Lent.


Bang Bang Cauliflower

Caprese Quiche

Thai Veggie Burgers

Vegetable Minestrone

Crisp Black Bean and Rice Burritos

Sweet Potato, Black Bean and Quinoa Jar Salads

Grilled Pizza

Eggplant Parm Burgers

Black Bean Fajitas

Freezer Meal Ideas

On Saturday, Eat at Home is hosting a Virtual Freezer Cooking Party on Facebook. So fun! This is a great excuse to try out some new recipes, fill up your freezer and get to chat with other people while you do it. We stocked the freezer before Jake was born and it was so, so helpful that I’ve kept it going. The last few weeks have been busy so we’ve depleting our stash fast. I’m so excited for this excuse to restock!

I haven’t narrowed down exactly what I’ll make for this party, yet, put I did pull together some of my favorite freezer-friendly recipes on the blog for inspiration. If you’re looking for some new or different freezer recipes, this should give you some ideas!


Dump-and-Freeze Crockpot Recipes
For all of these, you can add all the ingredients straight to a gallon freezer bag and pop in the freezer. They can go straight from the bag to the slow cooker!

Drip Beef
French Dip Sandwiches 
Crystal’s Pulled Pork
Asian Style Pulled Pork
Chicken Caesar Sandwiches
Café Rio Chicken Tacos
Chicken Gyros

Freezable Casseroles
Casseroles are just perfect for the freezer. Prep up until the final baking step, then toss in the freezer.

Rattlesnake Pasta
Stuffed Shells 
Baked Ziti with Sausage
Chicken Spaghetti
Pepperoni Pizza Casserole
Homemade Manicotti 
Lazy Lasagna Bake
Taco Stuffed Shells
Pizza Cobbler
Chiles Rellenos Casserole
Enchilada Casserole

Freezable Burritos and Enchiladas
Tex-Mex is my go-to freezer food cuisine. Enchiladas I’ll divide into smaller pans with 2-3 servings. Burritos I’ll wrap individually in foil and then group in a gallon freezer bag. Many of these start with cooked, shredded chicken – it’s easy to throw in the crockpot and cook the night before so you have less to do during your big freezer-cooking day.

Garlic Beef Enchiladas
Bean and Rice Burritos
Roasted Vegetable and Black Bean Burritos 
Spicy Bean and Rice Burritos
BBQ Pork Enchiladas
Buffalo Chicken Enchiladas
Potato Enchiladas
Baked Chicken Mole Enchiladas 
Baked Chicken Burritos
Honey-Lime Chicken Enchiladas

Burger Patties and Sandwiches You Can Make and Freeze
I often freeze extra burger patties so we can enjoy the meal again later. I will prepare the patties, wrap them in freezer paper individually and then place them in sandwich or quart size bags. Buns go into another bag – as will any sliced cheese or other freezable toppings. I’ll group all of these bags into one gallon bag so that the whole sandwich stays together in the freezer.

Hawaiian Hula Pork for Sandwiches
Barbecue Chicken Burgers
Chicken Parm Burgers 
Kickin’ Chicken Burgers
Teriyaki Chicken Burgers
Chicken Caesar Burgers
Jalapeno Popper Burgers
Black Bean Burgers
Greek Turkey Burgers

Freezable Breakfasts
These can all be baked and frozen – reheat for an easy morning meal.

Baked Oatmeal 
Mini Broccoli Bacon Quiches
Peanut Butter Banana Muffins
Strawberry Banana Baked Oatmeal
Apple Cinnamon Raisin Baked Oatmeal
Zucchini Quiche

Easy-Freeze Sweets
Get these baked or prepped and package them by individual servings before freezing for easy treats.

Chocolate Caramel Pretzel Bars
Mini Chocolate Thin Mint Cookie Pies
“Fried” Ice Cream
No-Bake Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Granola Bars
Monster Magic Cookie Bars 
Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookies

New recipe index!

If you’ve tried to use the recipe index page in the last year or so, you’ve probably noticed it was a hot mess. It was ugly, hard to navigate and updated incredibly infrequently. I apologize if it annoyed you – it annoyed me too.

So, I spent a whole bunch of time and moved everything over to Pinterest to create a visual index. Now you can browse a variety of categories with colorful pictures, instead of just the recipe name. And in addition to the basic categories I’ve been using – Breakfast, Dessert, etc. – I’ve created a slew of new ones, including one devoted entirely to pizza. Yes.

As an added bonus, if you’re a Pinterest user, this will make it super easy to follow every recipe I post and pin your favorites!

I’m a visual person so this works for me. I hope it works for you guys, too.

Clicking “Recipe Index” at the top of the page will take you there. Or, click here to check it out.

If you run into screwy links or anything, let me know and I’ll get them fixed up. And let me know if there are other categories you’d like to be able to browse by. I’d love to hear your thoughts on it in general, too!