Weekly Cookup: Week of February 7, 2016

Hey guys! This week went by so fast! AH! STOP!

Tonight, I’m sitting down with a glass of vino, a handful of dark chocolate chips (judge me), and a couple brand spankin’ new cookbooks to pick out a few recipes. I just came across this excerpt in Easy Paleo Meals by Kelly Brozyna, which was a total sign and I knew I HAD to share it with you:

To meal plan or not to meal plan?

Maybe a little of both. Being organized isn’t about perfection, and neither is meal planning. Meal planning is just another tool to make your life easier. But some weeks, it’s like, “Forget it. I just can’t do it. Let’s go to Chipotle!” When you feel this way, don’t beat yourself up! No one is perfect. I certainly have weeks when I make nothing but scrambled eggs or pancakes and go out to eat. Then, after giving myself a break, I can get back in the kitchen again. It’s okay.

How’s that for getting real and in your face? Have we not all been there?! Sometimes I have family in town, sometimes I have events or meetings or other commitments on the weeknights, and sometimes Tim goes out of town for work, and sometimes I have all three of those things and more going on in a single week, which makes the typical weekly meal plan not make so much sense for me. This week happens to be one of those weeks, so guess what? Tonight, I’ll finish off my vino and my chocolate chips, go to bed early, and skip the plan all together this week, knowing I’ll be relying on a couple staples I have in the freezer, probably some scrambled eggs, and definitely a visit to Chipotle (that sounded like a good idea!). Next week, I’ll come back fresh and ready for ya.

The good news is, my paleo cookbook bundle arrived today in the mail, which means we’ll be testing out recipes from three brand new books! So stay tuned!



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Weekly Cookup: Week of January 31, 2016

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YO! It’s Friday again, you know what that means! A delicious round-up of good-for-you recipes the whole fam will love.

What have your faves been so far? I am obsessed with the No Clay Pot Chicken and the Pepperoni Pizza “Pasta”… both of those will be making reappearances in this house! I also loved the BBQ Chicken Chopped Salads from this past week. I totally took the easy route on that one and shredded up an organic Salt & Pepper rotisserie chicken from Whole Foods to make throwing the salads together WAY simple. Plus, chopping up all the veggies at the end of an exhausting day was kind of therapeutic! Anyone with me on that one? ;)

(P.S. On that note…did you guys see this meme floating around Facebook yesterday? I died laughing because, not gonna lie, this is totally me!)

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Could this be more accurate?

SO, at some point by now, I’m sure you’ve said to yourself, Man, this is kiiiind of a lot of cooking. So I feel like maybe I should’ve had a disclaimer somewhere that, yeah, it is. Here’s the thing, I love to cook. Like I mentioned above with the vegetable-chopping, something about it is therapeutic to me. It’s almost like a meditation, because it consumes my attention and I focus less on other stuff that is weighing my mind down. We’ve gotten into a routine at my house where Tim can be hanging out with Lennon, giving her a bath or playing in another room or whatever, while I spent some “alone time” in the kitchen, which he honestly loves at the end of the day. I get that this may not work for everyone, I totally do. We all have different routines. So, taking that into consideration, this week I’ve added a note of EASY or MODERATE difficulty levels to give you a heads up of what you’re getting into… maybe planning the easy recipes for nights you know you’ll be pressed for time, and saving the more labor-intense ones for the weekend or your day off. Hopefully, this little note will make it easier to pick at least one or two new recipes to try this week!

Here’s what we’ve got coming up:

Paleo Pad Thai [MODERATE – there are a lot of things that go into this one, so if you’re nervous, try it on the weekend or on a day when you have a little more time. Definitely try this one, though! I’ve made it SEVERAL times, it’s great for guests, and it can be made vegetarian (just leave out the chicken and serve on the side)… and it is SO DAMN GOOD – everyone always loves it! I WILL SAY, this is a LOT easier to throw together if you plan ahead a little and have your spaghetti squash roasted, your chicken cooked and chopped, and your sauce pre-made. If you want to have this dish on a weeknight, maybe do those things on the weekend so throwing it together on a weeknight is super easy.]

Scotch Eggs with Braised Red Cabbage [MODERATE/EASY– if you buy pre-made sausage to wrap your eggs, then I would say these recipes, both the Scotch Eggs and the Cabbage, are pretty EASY. Just hard-boil your eggs in advance!]

Savory Steak and Mushrooms with Roasted Garlic Mashed Cauliflower [EASY – you can make this one in minutes, just be sure to get your cauliflower and garlic roasting ahead of preparing the steak and mushrooms.]

Blue Ribbon Country Captain Chicken (with leftover Roasted Garlic Mashed Cauliflower) [MODERATE – there are a few more steps to this one, but don’t be intimidated! Use up that leftover cauliflower or braised cabbage with tonight’s meal!]

Tangy Pineapple Pork with White Rice [EASY – throw this one in your slow cooker, and make your white rice on the stove.]

Get your recipes for this week right here

And your shopping list, here.

Enjoy! Let me know what you think!



Weekly Cookup: Week of January 24, 2016

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Heyyyy-ohhh. Here we are again, with five recipes guaranteed to tickle your tastebuds. I’m whittling it down to five recipes instead of six, because from the feedback I’ve received, most of you aren’t cooking all six recipes every week. (Um, newsflash, me neither!) I would hate for us not to have a recipe in the rotation for several weeks when none of us even cooked it! Let’s not miss out on some of those good ones.

How are you all liking this? What have you made? What have you loved (or hated!)? So far, the favorites have included the Pepperoni Pizza Pasta, the Buffalo Chicken Casserole, and the Chicken Chowder. Oh man, YUM. The best part about all this delicious food is that it’s GOOD FOR YOU!

Here’s what’s on the menu this week:

Sunday: Smoky Bacon Chili

Monday: Cinnamon Grilled Pork Chops with Erin’s Famous Massaged Kale Salad

Tuesday: Mexican Burgers with Guacamole & Roasted Sweet Potatoes

Wednesday: Barbecue Chicken Chopped Salads

Thursday: Fish Tacos with Mango Pineapple Salsa

Want the recipes? Get them right here!
And your printable shopping list right here!

Bon appetit!



Weekly Cookup: 1/16-1/22/16

SO, one of my New Year’s resolutions for 2016 was to actually start COOKING ACTUAL RECIPES out of the approximately one-million cookbooks that I own. Have I told you how happy I am to have you here, holding me accountable for this? I have had so much fun picking out recipes to try, and even if I don’t get to every single one of them each week, it’s awesome to try at least 5 new meals on the menu that we’ve never had before.

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The weather dipped into the 50s and 60s this week in South Florida, which is what we charmingly refer to as “winter”. (You northerners can insert the side-eye emoticon here!) We dug out the scarves and boots (I know, I know) and I got all excited to put a bunch of soups and comfort food on the menu. Here’s what I have for you to try this week:

Saturday: Buffalo Chicken Casserole

Sunday: Irish Stew

Monday: Thai Coconut Soup

Tuesday: No-Clay-Pot Chicken

Wednesday: Shrimp-Stuffed Baked Sweet Potatoes

Thursday: Chicken Chowder

Friday: DATE NIGHT! Dinner out or in, your choice! ;)

If this menu sounds good to you, sit tight… pretty soon you’ll be able to get menus like this plus recipes and shopping lists delivered right to your inbox every week! So stay tuned!




Weekly Cookup: 1/9 – 1/15/16

HOORAY! I’m so glad you’re here because HERE IT IS!! Your first of many weekly menus for the week of January 9 through January 15, 2016.

I’m so excited we’re doing this… thanks for being here and for allowing me to share my nerd-level love of food, cooking and nutrition with you! This is so much fun for me! Are all the exclamation points accurately expressing the magnitude of my enthusiasm?!!! ;)

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This week’s recipes come from two of my favorite cookbooks, One Pot Paleo by Jenny Castaneda, and Danielle Walker’s Meals Made Simple. Since the weather has finally cooled down a little bit, I’ve been craving more comfort food, which is why you’ll see classics like Open Faced Sloppy Joes, plus two “pasta” dishes on the menu. Mid-week, I’m still clinging to a more tropical vibe with Hawaiian Chicken Burgers which are topped with grilled pineapple! Oh Pool Boy! Bring me a frozen drink with a little umbrella! (RIGHT?!)

Back to reality! I’ve listed only 6 recipes but here’s the deal… weekly, I usually only end up using 5 anyway. Here’s why: after a few days of cooking we usually have enough leftovers to have a “smorgasbord” meal mid-week. And by the end of the week, I’m ready for a night off of cooking… so I use that as an excuse to either order our favorite takeout or make my hubby take me out for dinner (I mean, come on, I totally earned it AND what better excuse to call the babysitter, amiright?!). ANYWAY – you’ll need to decide what works for you to make the most of the food you have in your fridge and minimize waste.

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Use each recipe on whatever day you choose, omit one or more, or swap something out and mix in your own recipes! Get creative, have fun, and make up your own rules — it’s all about making the menu plan work for you!

I would love for this to be a collaborative effort, so let me know this week what is working for you or any comments or suggestions or things you want to see on future menus! Have fun cooking this week!!

Saturday: California Chicken Wraps

Sunday: Pesto “Pasta” with Scallops

Monday: Open-Faced Portobello Sloppy Joes

Tuesday: Brussels Sprouts Favorite

Wednesday: Hawaiian Chicken Burgers

Thursday: Pepperoni Pizza “Pasta”

Friday: Date night out with my honey… CALL THE SITTER!! ;)


Sound good? Thought so! If you want the recipes for this menu, complete with a printable shopping list for the week, HANG ON! I’m working on a newsletter signup option where you’ll get every weekly menu plus recipes and shopping lists delivered right to your inbox every Friday. So come on, this is going to be fun! Let’s cook through some of my favorite cookbooks!



Grain-Free Blueberry Mini-Muffins

You ask, I deliver.

Yesterday, I posted a photo of some delicious and adorable little blueberry mini muffins on Facebook and Instagram, and turns out, some people wanted to know how I did it. Grain-free? Gluten-free? Nut-free? Delicious? Toddler-approved and not totally laden with sugar and chemicals? BUT HOW?

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Here’s how, kids. Knock yourselves out.

Grain-Free Blueberry Mini-Muffins 

3 organic eggs

3 Tbsp coconut oil (or butter… or Nutiva shortening, which is what I used)

2 Tbsp honey (or other natural sweetener like organic grade B maple syrup)

1/8 tsp almond extract (OR your favorite essential oils! I’ve made these with Lemon and they are amazing! Orange would also be bomb.)

1/4 tsp sea salt

1/8 tsp baking soda

1/4 cup coconut flour

Approximately 1/3 cup fresh or frozen blueberries

Preheat oven to 400. Lightly grease a mini muffin tin with butter or Trader Joe’s (or other) coconut oil cooking spray. OR you can use liners, up to you. If you’re using big organic blueberries, place a single berry in the bottom of each muffin cup (wild blueberries are smaller so use a few).

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Melt the coconut oil/butter/shortening and mix in the honey, almond extract, and sea salt. Add the eggs, coconut flour, and baking soda and blend in a small blender or with a hand mixer until very smooth. Work quickly because the oil will start to firm up again once it hits the cold eggs (which is fine, don’t panic! Just don’t let it sit there forever). Spoon batter evenly between the muffin cups (over the berries) and top each with a few more berries*.

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Bake for 8-10 minutes or until muffins are set and enjoy warm with a big pat of butter!!

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*If you’re using wild blueberries, they tend to be much smaller so you can get away with sprinkling them on top to your heart’s content. In the batch pictured, I used organic berries which were ginormous, and made the mistake of topping my muffins off with three as opposed to two… what can I say, I got excited?! Anyway, I had to keep increasing my bake-time because the berries kept the centers of my muffins from cooking through. Not a big deal, I just had to watch them a little more closely, and the edges got a little brown. Lucky for me, I’m not a muffin-snob (at least not when it comes to these babies!). 

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These little cuties are not too sweet, but just sweet enough, and are perfect alongside your morning coffee. Be careful around the kiddos, though… I honestly have to make sure Lennon is not in the same room when I eat one, otherwise she whines and begs until I share. The good news is, I don’t have to feel bad about dropping everything to have a kitchen floor picnic with her because these muffins are squeaky clean. Phew!




A Word on Perfection.

Jeez, it’s been a while.

My thoughts are racing. I have so much I want to write, so much I’ve wanted to write for a while… months (obviously, my last post was in June!). Every day, multiple times a day, for months, the thought has crossed my mind, “I could write about this” or “I should write about this” or “Dang, this would be a great post”… and then an inner monologue ensues for the next several minutes, writing the post in my head, and I decide that one day I will invent a brain chip or some kind of device that will record this stream-of-consciousness-style dictation and set it all up, nice and pretty, in a blog post, ready for editing and publishing at the press of a button. Has someone invented that yet? Where can I get one?

I digress.

What’s been holding me back? Hm. Well, ladies and gentlemen… that would be perfectionism, plain and simple. Perfectionism has been holding me back. And it’s been holding me back for a long time. It’s what held me back from that dance recital and piano recital when I was little (seriously, I remember these things vividly), and it’s what still holds me back today. Sometimes I hide behind the notion of perfection, that I DO have all my ducks in line and all my shit together, when really, I’m kind of a hot mess with a million things on my plate, none of which are truly quenching my appetite for creativity because I’m not devoting enough time to any single one of them. And perhaps if I were just honest and fully out there and vulnerable about where I stand, perhaps then I could breathe more deeply, chill the F out, and realize that I’m human and it’s not the end of the world if people see my wounds or my imperfections and that whole “being perfect” thing would magically no longer be necessary. And maybe that honestly and vulnerability would strike a chord with other imperfect humans. (Duh.)

As I sat down to write this post, I first took a second to look at the blog, scan the headers and buttons, and almost fell down the rabbit hole of reorganizing, deleting, “making pretty”… but is that what I came here to do? No. I want to write, and I need to get into the habit of actually writing, versus waiting for the perfect time, the perfect idea for a post, the perfect language to come to me, or worrying that the blog site itself isn’t perfect, that I don’t have the right camera or the right links or the right web design or hosting or stats… gah! It’s overwhelming, and it’s no wonder why I haven’t been back for a while. Why do we put so much pressure on ourselves to be perfect? What is “perfect” even? Who decides?

I was reading an article the other day which mentioned how the employment model is changing, how people can’t stand to be employees any longer and how more and more people are becoming entrepreneurs. But then, once they become entrepreneurs, they fall into the bad habit of creating a start-up by following the same ol’ money-seeking model, much like the company they left to become an entrepreneur, simply because it’s what they know. And the cycle continues. What does this have to do with my blog?

The Heyday Diaries is small. I would love for it to be bigger, to have a following. I would love for it to be pretty, like other mom blogs, fashion blogs, lifestyle blogs, food blogs… pick one. It’s just not right now, and maybe it won’t ever be. But maybe that’s not a bad thing. Maybe I don’t have to follow the models set before me. Maybe I write about what real life is for me. Maybe I take pictures with my phone. Maybe I misspell things (the horror!) or have misplaced modifiers or dangling prepositions or run-on sentences in my writing. Maybe I share things that I like because I think other humans might like them, too. Maybe I just do it because I want to do it, and see what happens. Maybe I’m not perfect, and maybe I’m totally okay with that.

What do you think? Do I stand a chance?

I said I had a million things to say… and I will. Stay tuned.