Just Another Manic Monday – Recipe: Cajun Chicken Pasta Primavera

My sister told me something today that I will remember.  Each Monday takes us one week closer to the summer break…well, my niece actually decided that we should take one step at a time and count down to Thanksgiving break first.  Works for me.  So, I will think of that on Mondays now.  Each Monday brings us one week closer to Thanksgiving break.  Not that I am trying to rush time, because I am definitely not.  I just really, really, really love having my littles at home with me.

And, another great thing about this Monday…Hexbugs Nano.  Until Ethan got one for his birthday yesterday, I had never even heard of them.  Let me tell you…they are just about the cutest things ever.  All three of the littles love them.  They loved Ethan’s so much that I had to break my “no presents until Christmas” rule and go buy one for each of them today, in their colors (blue, green, and pink), so that they could all play with them together.  I just could not help it.  And, it was so worth it.  Watching them play with them after school just made my day.

If it is possible for two things to make my day, the other one was Ethan’s visit to the pediatrician.  We go to a big practice, where we can see any of the doctors.  Summer had a great experience last spring with a wonderful, kind doctor, so I decided to have her see Ethan today.  She was so incredibly great with him.  I told her when she walked in that he was primarily non-verbal.  So, he proceeded to “talk” to her, interact with her, and answer all of her questions.  She was quite amused with him…more of that charming magic that he has.  Before we left, she said, “To be non-verbal, he communicates quite well.”  Oh, how that made me smile.  I had been so worried about taking him to a doctor who did not know him…because….trust me, we have seen the good, the bad, and the ugly.  This one was good and beautiful in every way, just like my Ethan.

To top off this Monday…this Monday that puts us one week closer to Thanksgiving…we had pasta for dinner.  Since Ethan chose spaghetti for his birthday dinner last night, my Monday pasta meal was thrown off a bit.  But, as soon as I saw Pioneer Woman’s post on her Cajun Chicken Pasta, I knew that we would have a variation of that for dinner.  I have made her Cajun Chicken Pasta before, and it was a hit. So, I adapted it according to what we had in the refrigerator and pantry, and I made it gluten and dairy free.  It did not fail to disappoint a hungry family on this Monday.

Cajun Chicken Pasta Primavera

Cajun Chicken Pasta Primavera

Ingredients

1 tablespoon of olive oil

2 cloves of garlic, minced

3-4 boneless skinless chicken breast, cut into cubes

1 yellow bell pepper, seeded and sliced

1 red bell pepper, seeded and sliced

1 cup broccoli, fresh or frozen

1 cup corn, fresh or frozen

1 cup chicken broth

1/2 cup soy milk

2 tablespoons corn starch

2 tablespoons Old Bay Seasoning

salt, to taste

pepper, to taste

Pasta

Instructions

  1. Heat olive oil in skillet over medium high heat. Add the chicken and cook for about 4 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for another minute. Once the chicken is almost cooked through, add the bell peppers, broccoli, and corn. Cook for another 3-4 minutes.
  2. As the chicken and vegetable mixture is cooking, prepare pasta according to package directions. Drain and rinse with hot water.
  3. Mix together the chicken broth, soy milk, Old Bay Seasoning, and corn starch.
  4. Add the milk mixture to the chicken mixture, and cook until it starts to thicken, about 2 minutes.
  5. Pour the chicken mixture over the pasta and toss together. Add more salt, pepper, and Old Bay Seasoning, according to taste.
http://cookingformykids.com/2011/09/19/just-another-manic-monday-recipe-cajun-chicken-pasta-primavera/

Adapted from Pioneer Woman’s Cajun Chicken Pasta

Enjoy your week!

Balance – Recipe: Strawberry Chocolate Smoothies

As a wife and mom, balance is one of the things that I always seek in my life.

I want to balance work with play.

I want to balance being a wife and being a mom.

I want to balance big celebrations with little events.

And, I want to balance good, fun treats with healthy, yummy food.

While I do spend part of my time baking Summer Sweets for people, I also spend part of my time making sure that my family has a healthy, balanced meal….sometimes followed by a not-so-healthy dessert.

It is all about the balance.

I created these smoothies yesterday morning. I had chosen an unhealthy breakfast first thing in the morning, and I needed to balance that out with something good and healthy, a little pick-me-up.  These smoothies did the trick!  In the midst of balancing work with play, it gave me the energy that I needed to complete it all.

Strawberry Chocolate Smoothies

Strawberry Chocolate Smoothies

Ingredients

16 oz. vanilla coconut yogurt

10 strawberries, sliced

1 scoop of Super Greens - chocolate flavored (I used this one, but there are many others on the market, as well.)

1/4 cup almond milk

1/4 cup ice

Instructions

  1. Put everything in the blender, and blend until smooth and mixed thoroughly.
http://cookingformykids.com/2011/09/14/balance-recipe-strawberry-chocolate-smoothies/

Have one for breakfast, have one for an after-school snack….have one when you need to recapture your balance in the day.

Life is Good – Recipe: Almond Butter Cereal Treats

Life is good when two brothers know how to truly wake me up each school morning by happily playing on their bikes.  It makes me smile.

Life is good when my little girl asks if she can do chalk on the sidewalk.  And, when I look up to see what she has drawn she says, “It is you and me, Momma.  I drew it for you to thank you for all of the nice things that you do for me.”

Life is good when I walk outside to see the boys happily jumping on the trampoline together, just enjoying a brotherly moment together.

Life is good when I get a new dryer, to go with the new washer, and the littles are just as excited about the dryer as they were the washer.

Life is good when I go to bed with a cute little dog each night…and a sweet husband, of course.

Life is good when I walk into a room and find all three of my littles snuggled up together watching a movie.

Life is good when I decide to throw together a quick afternoon snack for the littles, and I am thanked with warm smiles of delight.

Almond Butter Cereal Treats

Almond Butter Cereal Treats

Growing up, we called these treats "Special K Treats" and made them with Special K cereal and peanut butter. I adapted them to make them gluten and peanut free.

Ingredients

1 cup sugar

1 cup Karo (it no longer contains high fructose corn syrup)

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 cup almond butter

1/2 cup sunbutter

4 cups Rice Krispies cereal

Instructions

  1. Add the sugar, Karo, vanilla, almond butter, and sunbutter to a medium pan, and cook over medium heat until melted.
  2. Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla.
  3. Add the Rice Krispies cereal and mix together.
  4. Lightly grease a muffin pan, and add a giant spoonful of the mixture to each muffin cup.
http://cookingformykids.com/2011/09/13/life-is-good-recipe-almond-butter-cereal-treats/

Once cooled, serve to happy littles.  And, yes, I confess….I did have one for breakfast.  I had a smoothie, too, though, so that still counts as healthy.  Right?!