Happy Fall Ya’ll! Just kidding, I don’t even say ya’ll, I cannot pull it off, pretend it never happened. But I am sure you will get a feel for my excitement about the change of seasons by the ridiculous and unnecessary amount of pumpkin recipes you will find on this post. Who am I kidding, pumpkin is always necessary.
For those of you following along for the past few posts here and/or on instagram, Our family recently made a cross country move from California to Minnesota, hold the cold jokes please, I am still in denial about the winter we are about to face. In other moving news, I had forgotten how much I hate unpacking. Last time I had the help of family and this time we are on our own and it is SLOOOOOOW going my friends. I am beginning to think I will just always have boxes pushed into corners of every room.
I cannot, for the LIFE of me, find my cutting boards and cookie sheets! Downside of having a moving company pack your house…I KNOW they are here because I found one, yes just one, in a random household items box. The other’s, which came out of the same cupboard are still MIA. My suspicion is they are packed at the bottom of one of my decor boxes, which means I have to unpack every single one of those to MAYBE find my cookie sheets. Why oh whyyyyy!
I am fully aware that big picture, this is not going to ruin my life, but I just want to make cookies in my new oven! To offset my whining I have compiled a list of the 10 best things about our move so far. My personal goal this month has been to pay attention to my blessings, no matter how small.
AS WE SPEAK a Chick Fil A is being built less than a mile from my house. This makes my chicken loving life
The gym we have decided to join has all the fitness classes I could ever want, a well run daycare, and the place is squeaky clean. You can’t even wear your outdoor shoes past the entrance.
The city library is HUGE. They have programs and engaging activities for all different ages and an entire wing dedicated just to the children’s section. The back of that wing has interactive play stations for the littles. We will be spending a lot of time there I suspect.
While we were here house hunting on the company’s dime, we ate at some of the best restaurants I have been to. Because of the Mayo Clinic that is located here, Rochester take’s pride in hosting out of towners and their dining establishments reflect that. Lucky for me!
I moved to Minnesota, I’m fully aware I am going to freeze off my hind quarters in a few short months. Downtown Rochester has compensated for that by building indoor has sky walkways to almost every building. I can get from one side of downtown to the other without even going outside. Neat!
Our church building is within walking distance. This is usually unheard of unless you live in Utah.
I have a laundry room and a cold storage room in my basement. I have waited so long to have a room just dedicated to cleaning clothes and storing gift wrap and cleaning supplies!
Our neighborhood is lined with trees with a sidewalk on each side. It’s a thing I have dreamed about since owning a home ever entered my mind. A neighborhood with character really makes a difference to me.
My husband will have a home office and work in our basement when he is not traveling to meet with builders. I will be less likely to constantly distract him if I pretend he isn’t here but there is a lot of comfort that comes from having him down there in case of an emergency.
People here have customer service built into their DNA. Every business interaction we have had has been unusually more pleasant than what we are accustomed to. People are so friendly and welcoming. Four of our neighbors came to introduce themselves within the first two days we were here. I can’t wait to smother them with baked goods.
Shelf Cooking – I thoroughly enjoy meal planning (duh read my blog) but I also believe in saving money and not wasting, so I think I’ve found the happy medium for my own family. My invitation, and what I will be doing with my own meal planning from now on is this, whatever time period you meal plan for (two weeks, a month, whatever,) IN ADDITION to your leftover nights, plan at least one or two meals to be “Shelf Cooking” (phrase coined by blogger Jordan Page from Fun Cheap or Free) nights. Meaning, USE WHAT YA ALREADY GOT! Yes you will have to get creative, but that is TWO less meals you have to buy groceries for, or eat out for. Not having to throw out wasted food is a plus as well in my book.
Sugar Substitutes – When a recipe calls for cane or brown sugar I almost ALWAYS use a stevia baking blend or just plain Stevia. I take comfort in knowing I am feeding my family that much less sugar… plus it means I can have seconds guilt free. Winning!
I will no longer be adding the tag “GF” to any of the meals. Everything I make now must be gluten free so if the dish’s original recipe uses a gluten containing substance I will explain how and what I substitute to make it GF.
Snacks & Sweets – Below the dinners I hope you’ll be as thrilled as I to see a Snacks & Sweets section. Some of the recipes in this section I already absolutely love, and some I have yet to try. Some are guilt free and some are reserved for cheat days. Happy snacking!
*-Tried and true family favorite.
B4D-Breakfast for Dinner (There isn’t lot of time in the mornings and we love breakfast food so we eat it for dinner instead)
YoYo- You’re on your own. (Because I don’t believe that someone should have to cook every day of the week)
Not sold on meal planning yet? Check out my crash course guide and I’ll have you convinced!
Shelf Cooking – see “Noted” Section for explanation
B4D – Pumpkin Pie French Toast / Turkey Sausage Patties / *Green Smoothies
GF note: We just Udi’s whole wheat GF bread
B4D – Pumpkin Scones with Cinnamon Glaze / Scrambled Cheesy Eggs / Turkey Bacon
Homemade Pizza / Side Salad
*Tikka Masala / Rice / Roasted Green Beans
Trader Joe’s has a canned Tikka Masala sauce that we love. I empty the can into a crockpot with about three chicken breasts and let it cook on low for 6-8 hours. The sauce is a bit too spicy for us so I add some plain greek yogurt. It makes it creamier and must tastier as well.
*Vegetarian Chili / *Cornbread
I FINALLY found a GF cornbread recipe that we like. It comes from Elizabeth Barbone’s- How to Cook Gluten-Free
1 c gluten free cornmeal 1/2 c white rice flour (I use brown rice)
1/2 c sweet rice flour 1/4 c granulated sugar (I use half of this in Stevia)
1 tbsp baking powder 1/2 tsp salt (omit this if using salted butter)
1/4 tsp xanthan gum 2 large eggs
1 c milk 2 tbsp unsalted butter, melted
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease an 8-inch baking pan with spray. Whisk together the dry ingredients in a medium bowl. Add the wet ingredients and mix until the batter is smooth. Pour into the pan and bake for 30-35 minutes until golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean
*Ground Beef Stroganoff / Noodles / Peas
GF note: Use any type of gf noodle and use this recipe instead of canned mushroom soup
*Gluten Free Swedish Meatballs / Mashed Potatoes / Steamed Carrots
Million Dollar Macaroni and Cheese / Grilled Chicken / Grilled Zucchini
GF note: use GF noodles and all purpose flour blend and go without the panko crumbs
Slow Cooker Lemon Garlic Chicken/ Buttered Noodles / Roasted Broccoli
Snacks & Sweets
This is my favorite pumpkin recipe. It’s fluffy and doesn’t dry out like gluten free baked goods can sometimes do. Always my go to holiday potluck contribution.