Friday Love 9.14.18

We’ve had a pretty crazy week around here so I’m looking forward to some major relaxation this evening with the hubs and our girls. The temps didn’t get above 80 here the past couple of days and that has really put me in the mood for all things Fall! One of the things I love most about Northern California is the presence of actual seasons. I did not have that growing up in Florida, it was pretty much just hot all the time. Now, it won’t get really cold here until end of October/November but this little sneak peek of lower temps has me feelin’ pretty good, happy Friday!

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FALL DECOR

A couple of years ago, I decorated my house for Fall in September, took it down in October and put up Halloween, then took that down and put up Fall/Thanksgiving in November, and of course Christmas in December! It was quite a bit of work and so I didn’t do it last year but I found myself missing my decorations. Sophie and I got our Fall stuff out this week and it makes me so happy to see it, it’s Fall Y’all!

 

FALL COFFEE MUG

I’ve been on the search for a Fall mug. I have a Halloween mug and a Christmas mug but not one for Fall. Now my sensible husband couldn’t understand why I wouldn’t just get a regular mug that could last all year long… now what fun would that be? With a plethora of Fall mugs available at Target, Marshalls and Michaels, it took me a while to look around but I finally found it. This little cup makes me so, so happy. And the price (only $4 at Marshalls) made me even happier!

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CLASSES AT THE GRAND

We’ve been taking music classes at the Grand Theatre Center for the Arts since we moved to Tracy back in 2014. I cannot say enough good things about their art education program.  My girls just started two new classes there, well new to us. Lyla has wanted to take acting class for a few years now but was never old enough (age to start is 9). We gifted her with acting classes for her birthday this year and so far, she really loves it. Sophie started a pottery for preschoolers class and had her first session yesterday. I think it’s going be just like everything else they offer, great!

 

NEW MAKEUP FROM ULTA

I’ve used the Bare Minerals foundation powder for longer than I can remember. I really love that product but I’ve wanted to try something different for a while now. I feel like my skin has changed a lot and what I’m using now isn’t the right product for my face anymore. I worked for Clinique while I was in college and was pretty knowledgeable about makeup back then. Fast forward many years, and I feel like I know nothing at all! I headed into Ulta this week and after a great consultation, I left with three new products. I absolutely love them all! I decided to try a tinted moisturizer type of foundation and it’s working out wonderfully for me. I rely heavily on concealer and used to use a Bare Minerals one but the Ulta brand full coverage liquid concealer is awesome. I also picked up a hydrating face primer. This has been a game changer for me. It has helped my makeup and skin look so fresh. My budget for makeup is not what it used to be, nor would I want to spend a fortune on product these days anyways so the Ulta brand is perfect. They are high-quality products with an amazing price point. I’ve been loving putting on my makeup in the morning!

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HOMEMADE TUNA HELPER

I’ve always loved Tuna Helper. It’s a nostalgia thing – my stepdad would make it whenever my mom was out of town for work. I wanted to make a homemade version since we try not to eat many processed foods so I went searching online. This recipe was a hit with my family. I was worried how my kids would feel about it but my four year old even asked to eat it the next morning at 9am! I followed the recipe exactly but used whole milk instead of cream. It was so good.

 

 

 

 

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Quick salmon cakes.

We have salmon once a week, every week. It’s one of my favorite types of fish. We had quite a bit leftover the other night and I saved it so I could have a salmon salad the next day. Well the next day came and I wasn’t quite in the mood for a salmon salad. I love crab cakes so I thought, why not try the same method with my leftover salmon?

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These cakes were super easy to make and clean-up was a breeze because I prepared them in just one bowl. All I did was flake up the salmon with a fork, add one egg, sprinkle in a bit of bread crumbs and Parmesan cheese until the mixture wasn’t too wet or too dry, add some seasonings (minced garlic, sea salt and pepper), shape into patties, cook in a skillet, and that was it, done.

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I couldn’t decide if I wanted a salmon cake sandwich or salad so I made both – I was taste testing my recipe 🙂 In the end, I preferred the sandwich. I made a simple aioli using mayo and seasonings and added lettuce and tomato. Typically, I do not eat big lunches or things that take long to prepare so this was a nice break from my standard lunch fare.

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My Italian pot roast.

I am extremely proud of this recipe because I sort of created all by myself. That is a big deal for me. A little background on meal time in our house – I haven’t always been the one doing the cooking. When we were both working, and for years prior, my husband cooked dinner every single night. The deal was, he would cook and I would clean up because a) he is an amazing cook, seriously, I’m not just saying that. His mother is Italian and he can cook, period. He doesn’t really ever use recipes, and everything he makes comes out so good. He kills it on the grill and can cook for large groups of people (like 30) and have everything done at the same time and serve it hot, to me that’s an art, sorry I digress… and b) I can clean and I love to do it. It just worked for us.

But now that I am home full-time, I do all of the cooking. Mainly during the week because on the weekends my hubby still loves to cook. He really enjoys making good food and seeing people enjoy it. I, on the other hand, have learned to love it. I never really cooked at all and if I did, I HAD to follow a recipe. Now I find that I’m really starting to love it. I love to plan out our weekly menu, I love to grocery shop and I really love to cook. I had a bit of a learning curve in the beginning but now I’m really starting to get into a groove in the kitchen and this recipe is proof of that. This roast came out so good and I made it using items I had on hand in my pantry or fridge. Before, I never would have been able to think of a meal based on what we had lying around and just wing it! I don’t have exact portions or measurements, I kind of just used what I thought would work. I got lucky this time because it came out amazing.

Italian Pot Roast

Ingredients:

1 (2-to-3 lb) boneless chuck roast

4 large garlic cloves

1 white onion (I used less than half)

2 sprigs fresh rosemary

Pinch or two basil

2 Roma tomatoes

1 can beef broth

1 can tomato sauce

Extra virgin olive oil

Sea salt and pepper

Directions:

Finely chop garlic, onion and fresh rosemary, and transfer to small bowl. Add olive oil (maybe a couple tablespoons) and basil. Set aside.

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Chop tomatoes and set aside as well.

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Next, season the roast generously with sea salt and black pepper. Place into a lightly oiled, hot skillet and brown on both sides. This takes about five minutes on each side.

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My little assistant was hanging out right near me while I was prepping the roast. She even brought me some groceries, how sweet!

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Back to the recipe…

Place the browned roast in the crock pot and pour/rub the garlic, onion, rosemary and basil oil all over it. FYI – this was my first time using a slow cooker liner and, let me tell you, clean-up was a breeze. I got this tip from an awesome blogger whose blog I read daily, and I’ve learned that as a full-time stay-at-home mom, I need everything to be done quick and fast, including clean-up. So thank you, Mix Match Mama for the great tip.

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Then add the beef broth, tomato sauce and fresh tomatoes and you are ready to cover and cook on low for 8 hours. The smell throughout the house is amazing – enjoy!

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Egg white scramble.

Back when I was training for a triathlon, this was my go to breakfast. Every Saturday, I would swim (really early) and bike, and would come home ravenous. I wanted something warm, satisfying and healthy, good fuel for my body. I am a creature of habit and would use spinach, tomato and cheese in my scramble every Saturday but you could add turkey sausage or bacon, broccoli and different types of cheeses to switch it up. I usually use whatever cheese is in my fridge and two to three egg whites. Lately, I’ve been reading about how great egg yolks are so I’ll leave in one or two yolks (like in the pictures below) along with the egg whites. I pair this with a slice of whole wheat toast or whole wheat tortilla (again whatever I have on hand) and breakfast or lunch, is served!

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