Partly Paleo Thanksgiving Plan

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Yeah, it totally snowed. Pippa and I saw it on Instagram. And we’re not ready to face the reality. Haha. I learned last year that I could do that. Wake up, and look  on Instagram to see if it actually snowed. Of course, last year I was hoping for snow days since I was teaching in a public school. This year, I get to stay indoors either way!!! See, I’m not outdoorsy. I don’t deserve to live in Colorado, right? :)

So we’re hanging out this AM and planning Thanksgiving. I will be cooking for a party of five, although I always try to invite more people so you never know!! I’m definitely not going 100% paleo, but as I’ve mentioned, I feel like I’m really on a roll, so I don’t want to go completely crazy.

I’m thinking of having Kevin make bacon-wrapped turkey like so:

Bacon-Wrapped-Chicken-1

 (via Paleo Parents)

It’s pictured here with chicken, but they said it would work with turkey too as long as you don’t put it on until the last 45 minutes or so.

paleo thanksgiving sides

Paleo Caramelized Onion & Sausage Stuffing & Cherry, Pecan, & Goat Cheese Salad (for mom & me)

Slow-Cooker-Garlic-Mashed-Sweet-Potatoes

I’m thinking about making this recipe for slow cooker mashed garlic sweet potatoes from Skinny Taste, but I’m not committed yet. I typically like roasted sweet potatoes better than mashed sweet potatoes.

thanksgiving carbs for kidsSome Thanksgiving carbs for the kids (Kevin, Josiah, and AJ!). Classic mashed potatoes, StoveTop Stuffing, and Mason Jar Mac ‘n’ Cheese.

paleo cran cherry sauce

Paleo Cran-Cherry Sauce. I think my mom will really like this!!!

thanksgiving desserts

I definitely want a chocolate cake for dessert. I’ve been thinking about them a lot lately. Chocolate Oreo Cream Cake sounds delicious, but I might try it with some special holiday oreos. I’d like to try making a meringue pie, but I’m not really sure how the pie-eaters feel about this so I’ll let them decide!

We’re definitely going to need some bread too, but I’m undecided if I’m going to try to go healthy-ish on that or get my mom to make some of her famous crescent rolls. I’m probably going to need an appetizer or two as well, but I’ll probably do something kid & Kevin-friendly. Maybe something involving CHEESE!

Josiah, Kevin, Mom, & AJ, you’ll have to comment if I’m missing something important that you want!!

Would you rather cook or let someone else be in charge of Thanksgiving Dinner? I never trust anyone else to make enough food — except for Grandma Mary Kay! She always used to make a lot of mashed potatoes for the McMillin kids. Plus I always like to try new things. But Kevin is definitely in charge of the turkey!!!

What time of day do you think is perfect for Thanksgiving Dinner? I’m a fan of mid-afternoon myself, but Kelly Ripa has been pushing for dinner at actual dinnertime. But for us that would be like 8:30PM! Not happening!!

Related: 5 Things You Should Do Now To Prepare For Thanksgiving

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sweet potato mac ‘n’ cheese

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Hehehe. I tricked Kevin into saying he liked something with sweet potatoes in it!!! I’m so happy!

I even made him taste it before we added jalapeños so he couldn’t blame it on that.

sweet potato mac n cheese

I used this recipe for Sweet Potato & Spinach Mac ‘n’ Cheese but decided to forego the spinach this time. Also, I only had plain old 2% sharp cheddar cheese so I used that. I really don’t keep a lot of cheese in the house. I used plain unsweetened almond milk since we were out of our usual skim. Wow. I was out of milk and cheese and still decided to make it. Haha. And it’s was the BEST homemade mac ‘n’ cheese I’ve ever made!! Very creamy!

And no, it didn’t taste like sweet potatoes. Although I will say, I’m not shy with the garlic and pepper so that probably didn’t hurt.

Kevin ate a whole bowl before I confessed. I could barely hold it in that long. I’m sensing a theme here. Not great at keeping secrets. :)

pink argyle socks nikes

Another day, another cute socks & shoes combo! I wore shorts today!! Hooray!!! I love warmer weather. I’ve really made it a goal to get outside with Pippa every day so I’m really thankful when the weather cooperates. In fact, we decided to do a little more than our morning 5k and hit 5 miles! :)

pippa dog yoga mat

I tried to do some strength training afterwards. Every time my circuit took me off the mat… Pippa took over. The dogs are so obsessed with being comfortable. They will lie on anything! Today Boyd was sleeping with his head on a little plate and napkin! (Good thing he didn’t eat the napkin – he usually tries to!) I accidentally disrupted him before I got a picture.

boyd ottoman

Okay, so I propped Boyd up on our new ottoman. That’s what was in Kevin’s box!!!!

Yes, Kevin loves it!! Pippa chewed up his old one in a fit of anxiety when she was locked in a room apart from me. No, he probably wouldn’t have chosen the orange polka dot. But he loves orange too and cares more about having a place to put his feet up!

The good news is that Boyd hated standing on it! It has a different kind of filling that makes it difficult to balance. But he did it for a little crust of bread.

Other big news of the day: Kevin got an iPhone!! Not the 5 — the free one! But he’s still so excited, and now we’re basically completely an Apple family. And I can use it to take pictures when my phone battery runs out. That’s basically the biggest perk!

What food do you think you’ve eaten the most of in your life? I was thinking that today about mac ‘n’ cheese. It’s possible. I ate a lot of those blue boxes as a child and young adult. Second place would be french fries!

P.S. @mysisterhannah, I’m going to make you eat this when you come visit me in January. And this. And probably a lot of other things!!

Cheesy Carboliciousness + Yay Boykins!

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Today’s workout: 4.08 mile run while watching Jeopardy! (How did she not know superbug?!)

We love to tease our baby Boyd!

I think we got a little too much entertainment from plastering our furball with stickers. He had no clue!

We eventually had to take them off at bedtime so he wouldn’t eat them.

Don’t feel too bad for him!

The weather was so nice that I took him to the park for over an hour so we could stay out of his dad’s hair while he was trying to do homework!

I love a colorful variety plate. Nothing like throwing together everything your fridge for a quick lunch!

And my co-workers brought in a stash of Cuties this morning! Aren’t they the best?

But I’m not going to act like I’ve been an innocent little angel. Kevin and I have been scarfing the comfort foods!

And by comfort foods, we mean any form of pasta topped with cheese!

The other night I made us some Baked Buffalo Chicken Mac ‘n’ Cheese. You just can’t argue with the idea of buffalo chicken + mac ‘n’ cheese. I tried to blame this meal on Kevin, but I was totally craving it. Let’s be honest!

Wow. That looks familiar!! Tonight I made a version of Taco Stuffed Pasta Shells. The shells weren’t super cooperative. So it was more like Shells Topped With Taco Meat & Cheese.

Such cozy little meals. I’m sure they could be incorporated into a health lifestyle. If you exercised a little portion control. When I contemplated the nutritional value of the buffalo chicken mac ‘n’ cheese, I made sure to feed all of the leftovers to Kevin!! I’m going to need to hit up the produce aisle tomorrow and do some damage control!

Favorite comfort food? Cheesy pastas. And papas fritas!

Do you like Cuties?! Full disclosure: Kevin consumed one whole yesterday. I just love the teeny tiny little slices.

What’s your mood face today?

I’m still looking for “hungry for a chocolate bar”, but I’ll choose “hopeful.”

What Goes With Mac ‘n’ Cheese?

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The answer may surprise you, but growing up in the McMillin household it was always….

Baked beans!! Back in the day we would serve our Kraft’s with our Busch’s and swirl it all in together. Now that I’m grown up and sophisticated, I serve them in separate bowls.

And we eat Annie’s! It was $10/10 this week. I don’t know how we resisted buying 10!

Other things that go particularly well with mac ‘n cheese:

  • PB&J
  • French Fries
  • Chicken Strips
  • Avocado – I’m guessing. It goes well with everything!

My day started at 5:30 AM this morning when Kevin mumbled “cinnamon rolls” to me.

Our Best Bites Overnight Cinnamon Rolls! One of my sweet co-workers has been in chronic muscle pain this week since she kind of threw out her neck. Since my one of my spiritual gifts is memorizing their food preferences, I knew cinnamon rolls were her fave. I personally thought they were a little dry, and I was VERY close to not bringing them in and trying again tomorrow. But I’m glad I just went with it, because everyone claimed to love them. I know – I’m my own worst critic! I will say that the best perk is that they made our apartment smell AMAZING!

Look what I got on sale today:

Peanut Butter Cheerios. I had to test them in the car. They’re amazing. I love them! I had been waiting so patiently and today they were only $2.25! I packed some up for an afternoon snack at work.

Today’s workout: Finally nice out so we got to take it outside!

Don’t think I’m ready for the Cross Fit challenges where you have to do major monkey bars. I could barely make 2! Have I mentioned how sore my arms have been ever since that burpee challenge!? The last two days I’ve been having trouble putting away dishes and opening doors!! I kid you not. So of course last night, I decided to focus on lower body and did 5.68 miles of stairs. My legs aren’t actually sore today (they really are MACHINES compared to my upper body), but they just felt tired. Will I ever learn to do a normal amount of something? Haha.

We let the Boykin tag along for two miles. He was a pain like always, but it was fun playing with him at the park. We hurtled him down a slide a few times which he was okay with. But no luck with the jungle gym or the baby swing!

Kevin and I – the Fanta twins – ran just over 5 miles in 45 minutes. Good for tonight! I know. You don’t have to say it. We look a little like we could be brother/sister. Haha. You wouldn’t say that if you knew how close I actually look to my sibs.


We celebrated Leap Day with fro-yo! What else? Plus Yogurtini was having a sale – 29 cents an ounce! I wasn’t going to pass that up! Tonight I realized how much I love the plain vanilla. I don’t think I had ever tasted it before because I get very caught up in the specialty flavors.

I thought about Leap Day allll day, but I didn’t really think of any other awesome ways to celebrate it. But it was still pretty exciting for me. Kevin is still getting used to my need to celebrate every tiny little thing. :)

What goes with mac ‘n’ cheese!?!Baked beans. Or broccoli.

Favorite kind of Cheerios? PB or frosted. I’m curious about the Dulce de Leche flavor also, but I didn’t buy it.

Can you do monkey bars? I mean, they’re hard!!!!!!

Favorite piece of playground equipment? Well, definitely the swings. And the merry-go-rounds. And teeter-totters!

 

Denver Date Night: La Polleria

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It took something special to get us to venture out on a snowy night like tonight!

Gourmet brick oven chicken with spicy sauce! La Polleria is a darling Peruvian Style Chicken restaurant that is family-owned, and I love that they are totally upfront about the ingredients they use. Most of them are displayed in the front of the store!

La Polleria serves authentic “pollo a la brasa” also known as Peruvian Style Chicken that is roasted in an imported brick lined charcoal fired rotissere oven from Peru. We start with fresh all natural Red Bird Farms chicken that is then marinated with a special family recipe.

The menu.

I couldn’t resist starting with an empanada!! I never ate them when I had on a street stand practically on my front stoop, but I was dying to have one after all these months. Apparently Kevin never got to taste one when he visited me in the Dominican Republic. I was probably in a fight with the empanada guy at the time.

The empanada came dusted with powdered sugar!  It was a chicken-stuffed empanada so that was a little different for me, but we really enjoyed it. Kevin asked me how it was different from Dominican street empanadas. I laughed and said,”This is like a gourmet empanada.” The Dominican empanadas I’ve had are delicious but flat as a pancake and super fried. I loved the pizza flavor and I always recommended it to bystanders when I was hanging at the corne stand with my home boys.

I tackled the fries first. I honestly do not like meat that is attached to the bone. It just grosses me out. But I have a nice husband who put it on his plate and gave me little tidbits without yucky skin or bones. The flavor was insanely good.

Mmmm…. aji sauce! Spicy!

My second side was mac ‘n’ cheese. (At least it was made with organic pasta!!). I love any restaurant that serves mac ‘n’ cheese!

I’m pretty sure I deserve this less-than-flattering photo that my cute husband took of me. I figured I might as well post it since this is basically how I always look….

The interior of the restaurant was simple but cozy. We were extremely content in our cute little booth. The service was amazing! Two brothers were running the restuarant. How cute is that!? They were both very courteous and the food came quickly and was hot & fresh. :)

SNOWING! It’s supposed to snow like crazy!

The pollo & me!

Flashback to Chicken Day in the DR!

Down there the sides were yucca and tostones!

And maybe some corn!

Speaking of which…

I got my passport photo retaken. Man, I am freakishly pale!! I can’t believe how many chores there are to do when you move multiple times and get married. And I know by the time we get it all done… we’ll be moving again. Our lease is up this summer and I don’t see us staying in a cramped 1-bedroom now that we sold our house (yay!).

Are you getting a snow day tomorrow?!!? I’m sure it’ll be an easy day anyways.

Check out my kettlebell workout… you’re going to need it if you want to scarf that many fries! Or the gigantic cookies I have coming up for Cookie Friday!

Skinny No-Bake Cookies & BBQ Chicken Pizza Pot Pies

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I spotted this recipe on SkinnyTaste last week, and I instantly knew that I would make these. Kevin’s really more the cookie person, but I’m crazy for no-bakes!!! I think it’s more like eating the cookie dough, which really is the best part anyways!!! I madea few little tweaks because of what I had on hand, and they turned out beautifully!

Skinny No-Bake Cookies (via Skinnytaste)
Servings: 20 • Size: 2 cookies, 1 tbsp each • Old Points: 2 pts • Points+: 3 pts
Calories: 105.9 • Fat: 2.3 g • Carbs: 18.8 • Fiber: 2.3 • Protein: 3.1 g • Sugar: 7.9
Sodium: 12.2 mg 
 
Ingredients:

  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa
  • 2 tbsp Smart Balance Light butter   —-> I subbed the butter substitute Melt
  • 1/2 cup fat free milk
  • 2 1/2 cups quick oats (for gluten free, use gluten free oats)
  • 3/4 cup Better’n Peanut Butter   —-> I used PB2, the regular flavor
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • powdered sugar, cocoa powder (optional)

Directions:

Combine the first 4 ingredients (sugar through milk) and boil in a small sauce pan for 2 minutes.

Remove from heat and mix in oatmeal, Better n’ Peanut Butter and vanilla.

Drop by tablespoons onto a wax paper or roll into balls with slightly moist hands and refrigerate overnight.

The next day you can roll them in powdered sugar or cocoa powder if desired. Keep refrigerated if storing for several days.

Did they taste like regular no-bakes? Not exactly. It definitely cut the sweetness factor, but I totally don’t mind that. Kevin was a huge fan of them as well.

By the way, have you tried Melt?

I think I saw it first in a blog somewhere. I filed it away, and the other week I insisted on buying it a the grocery store. We’ve used it for paninis and a few other things, and I really like it. And it worked great in this recipe. I guess it’s made of coconut oil. That makes it cool, right? :)

Here I am sweetly exclaiming to Boyd that dogs are allergic to chocolate. Naa naa a booo booo!!! I said that part too. Lol.

Kevin has been stuck at work late this week because of projects. That means I’m stuck too!! I think there was only one other person left on the 12th floor by the time we got out of there today!! We totally missed our class at the gym. I’ve been wanting to take this Sports Training class. They do it in the gym and they do all sorts of drills and stuff! It looks fun!! But we totally missed it. I don’t understand how people make it to 5:30 classes. We’re super close to the gym and we can barely swing it!

We got home so late that Kevin needed to get cracking on his homework so I hit our apartment gym solo. I ran 4.14 miles @ 8:18 pace and did a 30-minute NTC circuit workout called the Curve Carver.

I had this idea to make BBQ Chicken Pot Pie Pizzas. I made a little pizza crust and then layered mozz cheese, bbq chicken, onions, and spinach on the bottom of the ramekin. The crust went on top.

But when the moment of truth came…  I did not like them. It was something with the chicken or the onions. Or maybe the overwhelming smell in the kitchen just made me hate it. I don’t know. I had a little taste which totally grossed me out.

And then I did what any cool kid like me would do.

I made some mac ‘n’ cheese.

It always pays to have some Annie’s on hand. Kevin’s going to eat my pot pie for leftovers tomorrow. Yay!! He liked it. I think he actually really loved it. Lucky for me!! This time I forced Kevin to eat some of the mac ‘n’ cheese so I wouldn’t eat the whole box again.

What’s your back-up food? Mac ‘n’ cheese every time. Or it would be McDonald’s back in the old days. :) I still say that like if I have to go to someone else’s house for dinner. Like,”If I don’t like it, can we get McDonald’s afterwards?” Haha. It’s rough being a picky eater.

Do you ever not like what you cook? Usually I can get a good idea and make things a way I’ll like them, but there was just some flavor tonight I couldn’t get over. I’m definitely a lot more judgmental of my cooking than Kevin is. Which is typical. And nice.

Try making those skinny no-bakes! You won’t regret it! I think this is where I first saw Melt — Love from the Oven made White Chocolate Peppermint Crunch Oatmeal Cookies with it!

 

Pros, Cons, & Towel Thievery

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I always think it’s amazing when I see these ungodly hours so I can’t help but snap a photo. Kevin and I are on Day 2 of our trial at Gym Prospect #2. I need to scope out all times of day for busyness levels and possible group fitness classes. One of the things I’m most excited about is dragging Kevin with me to group fitness classes. It’ll be like a “free” date.

This was my first time ever in a spinning class in English! I’m going to have to admit that it was way less entertaining.  Also nobody clapped, danced, or really seemed very awake. In fact, somebody turned the lights off so it was pretty dark. I guess we kind of got to watch the sun rise. I got a really good workout – mostly because my legs are totally NOT adjusted to the biking motion (see Tina’s fascinating post on the principle of specifity… it really IS fascinating). The instructor was really sweet, but the music was b-oring! In the end, I enjoyed it. And I know an evening class would be more lively! It also made me want to be a spin instructor because I would be cracking the whip!

I stole a towel. Walked right out the front door with it. I’ve never stolen anything else in my life, but I’m a total klepto when it comes to gym towels. I probably stole one daily when I went to the Cielo gym, and I never remembered to take them back either so they all got left in the apartment when we moved out.

For lunch we had some Healthy Choice Steamers. Those things aren’t too shabby. We just happened to have some because they were part of this big promotion at our grocery store. And Kevin ate all the leftovers! If we’re going to stick to our grocery budget, we’re going to have to stop eating so much! I really only plan dinners and buy a few odds & ends (flatout wraps, avocados) for lunches. It usually works.

Greek yogurt is the best 4PM desk food ever. I think you guys should know that today I made my very own Excel spreadsheet. That’s right. I had Kevin teach me a few tricks during lunch so I could look like an Excel wizard and totally wow my boss! :) He got all excited and wanted to teach me some other stuff, but I had to cut him off. I can only spare so much of my brain for that nerdy accounting stuff.

I resisted the urge to turn my pros & cons list into an Excel spreadsheet. The red pen was close enough!! I wanted the membership consultant to look at my list and convince me that it was the gym for us. She failed miserably. Sorry to say it. Her ultimate fail was when she asked if we had looked at other places. I mentioned the other option we have in mind and she said,”Oh, that is going to be WAY more expensive.” When she showed us the brochure, I pointed out as nicely as I could that it was $10 cheaper per month. It’s still in the running, however, because the “pros” are pretty good and it’s not like I have to workout with the membership consultants.

Kevin James left me all alone to watch football with some guys from church. I decided to get a few miles in on our apartment treadmill since I don’t know my way home from our trial membership gym. I ran 4 miles plus .6 before spin class.

And then I ate an entire box of Annie’s mac ‘n’ cheese. Minus a noodle or two I lovingly sacrificed to Boyd. His begging totally annoys me, but I’m totally fueling the fire with all the human snacks I give him. I can’t resist. Also, I’m a very messy cook so he gets scraps anyways!

My next-up book: (if I ever get around to reading!)


I hope it doesn’t actually talk about the details of being a midwife…. Scary. They didn’t have any of my other picks available at the library. Maybe they know I have $1.60 in fines and are just hiding all the good ones until I cough it up.

Have you ever inadvertently stolen something? At least 15 towels. Okay. At least 10 though!!

Have you ever eaten an entire box of mac ‘n’ cheese? Just confess. I don’t think I could actually scarf a whole box of Kraft, but the Annie’s just seems smaller. It could be my imagination. It’s been a long day. :)