Avocado & Egg Toast

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Okay Friends,

I’m here with another Step Momma Meals. This one is super easy, but it has changed my life.

We use fresh farm eggs in our house, so sometimes they are itty bitty. So I use two eggs when making my avocado and eggs.IMG_8715

And I use one half of a ripened avocado.IMG_8717IMG_8719

First things first. Cook your eggs. I like mine to be fried- though i should admit that my first fried egg was only about one month ago.IMG_8720

While your egg is frying, put your whole wheat slice of toast in the toaster for about 2 minutes. I like mine crispier because the eggs and avocado are so mushy. Then take one half of your avocado (the pit-less one). With a fork, mash it up inside of the avocado. IMG_8724

When your toast is done, skip the butter! Put your mashed avocado directly on your toast like so.IMG_8726IMG_8728

Top with your fried egg and hope it doesn’t look like a scrambled egg like mine 🙂IMG_8729IMG_8730

Eat with a fork. It’s delicious, nutritious and very simple to make!

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Tip:

Take your leftover half of avocado and drizzle OLIVE OIL on the bright green center. Cover it completely. Wrap tight with either plastic wrap or a plastic bag that is free of air. It should keep your avocado for up to 72 hours once placed back in the fridge.

This simple meal makes for an easy breakfast. I usually will be blending my morning protein shake while making this and by the time the toast pops, i have a shake in hand and am ready to take the day head on. It’s so incredibly filling and leaves you feeling GOOD instead of wanting more or greasy, like a granola bar or hash brown may do to you.

New Years Check In

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I am slow to post these days and I am fine with it.
I am spending my days at work a lot busier (most of the time).
I am spending my lunch hours raising the bar and lifting weights.
I am spending my evenings taking walks with my husband and recouping from the day. Cooking more. Cleaning. Enjoying my time with him when it is there.
So blogging is low on the priority list and I hope I haven’t upset you by not being here.

I realized I’ve only checked in once on my 2017 goals and now is a great time to do so again!

The StepMomma’s 2017 Goals:

  1. Decluttering
  2. Fixing up House A
  3. Fixing up House B
  4. Making healthier food and life choices
  5. Saving more moolah
  6. Paying off all debt (excluding student loans, mortgages)
  7. Weekly Bible Studies with the kiddos
  8. Reading my entire bible all the way through
  9. Hosting a Bible study in our home
  10. Becoming a DBA and LLC for my personal business
  11. More family time
  12. Learning to cook one decent meal for the family
  13. Only wearing jeans one day/week…
  14. Read more.

Some of these are a work in progress- like decluttering, making healthy choices, saving money, and having more family time. They always will be. As long as there is progress in these areas, I am so happy.

We have been boxing up as much as we can. We’ve found a couple items we wished we wouldnt have boxed up yet, but we will NOT pull them back out. Prince Charming almost boxed up our TV, but I’m not ready for that. We like watching movies on the weekends and we love our Wii lately.

Two weeks ago I talked to my dad on the phone and somehow he suggested we do a weight loss challenge, because my entire family is overweight, unhealthy, and making no signs of positive changes. I jumped on it. I like challenges and I need someone to hold me accountable. I invited my husband to join in and he will, once school is over. So right now, my dad, husband and I are in the battle of the fittest. Except we are all going to win if we commit to making better choices. I don’t really care about a certain number that I get down to- but I did set a goal for myself. I’m happy to see myself change. The first week I lost 10 pounds! Then another five, but those came back. So i have steadily lost 10 pounds in 2.5 weeks and I am happy about that. If I know that I am eating better foods and I am working out steadily- I don’t really care what my scale says. I know that I am doing good things because I can lift more than I did last week and I can drum longer without stopping for a drink. I can see change in this short amount of time and that in itself is encouraging. I have been to the gym 12 times in 2.5 weeks and the days I didn’t hit the gym, I worked out at home or went for walks with my husband. I think there’s only been one day of inactivity and in reality, I got my butt kicked at work that day and was lifting heavy equipment all day long- I count it as a workout almost.

We have successfully paid off all but one debt (which we are making payments on) and are now working toward student loan debt, too. It is so exciting to get statements with zeros on them! It’s tough to do when both of us aren’t working full time, but I am so grateful for even widdling them down.

We have spent a LOT of time together as a family lately. So much that I have been in need of some real s.p.a.c.e. lately. or a lot of time with just my husband. one or the other is rejuvenating to me. Two weeks ago we had the younger two kids on our Wednesday, the weekend, the following Monday. Then 17 came over on Tuesday, we had the youngest two on Wednesday and 20 came over, too. The two youngest came again on Thursday. So we had them every day for an entire week and I almost lost it. It’s so hard for me to not get a break. It’s so hard to come home and be drained from work and feel no release or sense of rest. To not be able to put a load of laundry in the washer without being nagged.. it can be daunting. I feel awful about it, but I can’t help it. My Prince questions whether I truly want a family. If I want kids of my own. And I can’t explain to him enough that it will not be the same. He just doesn’t get it. There is a difference in the longing that kids have for their mother and the type of attention they crave from me. It is so incredibly different that I can’t even explain it. They crave time with me but when they realize it’s happening, they put up walls and they scoot away. I do the same thing.

They get excited and want to share with me or play with me and I sort of freak out over the type of intimacy that I’m experiencing with them. Afraid that they’ll shut me out again or their mom will rip them from me, their dad will interfere. That they’ll look up and realize I’m not their parent and they shouldn’t be giggling with me so much. I don’t want to do that to my kids. But it’s how I function.

I have mastered a few meals! I just had my dad over on Sunday and cooked Honey Balsalmic Chicken and green beans for him. Prince Charming made some potatoes and a tarte for them. My dad was so pleased. he was so impressed to see me cooking something and that the seasoning that went on the chicken was homemade, not from a bottle. That i blended spices together to get this delicious tasting sauce to coat the chicken and beans in. It was so good. I felt so accomplished.

I haven’t worn jeans since January.

I have still only read two books this year, but I am working on a third and just taking my time doing so. What recommendations do you have?

 

how are your goals coming along?

Honey Balsamic Chicken

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Ok y’all, I found a new favorite chicken and I can’t wait to share it with you.

You have to forgive me, as I am still nervous to use my camera in the kitchen and get laughed at. so i sneak phone pics 🙂

So today on TheStepMomma Meals we are going to bake honey balsamic chicken. It’s so good. So easy. The kids liked it and so did my Prince, so I’m considering it a crowd favorite and never letting it go.

Here’s your ingredients! (Serves 4):

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1 pound of boneless, skinless chicken breast
1 pound brussels sprouts, cut in half, lengthwise
3 tablespoons olive oil (we use extra virgin)
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
S&P to taste
1 cup balsamic vinegar
4 tablespoons honey
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon salt

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I’m serious, you’re going to love this. It’s sweet and tangy and even better- HEALTHY.

Before we get too far, preheat your oven to 400 degrees. 20170308_17401920170308_174135

Arrange your chicken and brussels sprouts on 1 sheet pan. Sometimes the seasonings stick better if you toss your food items in oil first (be careful not to mix raw chicken with other foods though! I do chicken last- always.) Season chicken & brussels with italian seasoning and salt and pepper. Transfer to oven and bake for 15-20 minutes, or until chicken is cooked through and sprouts are tender.

While this is happening, you can prepare your glaze!

Add balsamic vinegar to a medium sized sauce pan and bring to a boil over medium heat. Boil for 6-8 minutes, you should notice the sauce will reduce to about half the original volume.

Remove from heat, transfer to a bowl to allow to cool and stir in honey, garlic powder and salt.

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After the sprouts and chicken have baked for about 15-20 minutes, switch to broil for about 5 minutes, but pay attention to the sprouts so they don’t burn! (easier said than done). Remove pan from oven and drizzle with balsamic glaze. Or if you’re like me CAKE THAT GLAZE ON. I drench my chicken in whatever glazes or dressings I find.

Use your meat thermometer to ensure your chicken is at 160 degrees F and ready to eat, garnish your chicken with cracked pepper and thyme.

Eat!

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I must say, no one liked the “Baked” brussels at our dinner. If I made this again, my family has requested that the sprouts be steamed and then drizzled. I LOVED them, but 3 out of 4 voted otherwise. My perfect husband took one bite of this chicken and his eyes got huge. He lit up. He loved it. He saved the leftover glaze for us to use later.

Voila!

New Years Check in-2

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Checking in and keeping you updated on my New Years Progress is a really great way to hold myself accountable. If I’d written my goals down just for myself, I probably would have already lost the paper and forgotten my goals. Yay technology! Here they are:

The StepMomma’s 2017 Goals:

  1. Decluttering
  2. Fixing up House A
  3. Fixing up House B
  4. Making healthier food and life choices
  5. Saving more moolah
  6. Paying off all debt (excluding student loans, mortgages)
  7. Weekly Bible Studies with the kiddos
  8. Reading my entire bible all the way through
  9. Hosting a Bible study in our home
  10. Becoming a DBA and LLC for my personal business
  11. More family time
  12. Learning to cook one decent meal for the family
  13. Only wearing jeans one day/week…
  14. Read more.

in February’s Post you saw me do most of these things, the ones marked in yellow were already achieved or are things that are a work in progress. Decluttering, making healthy choices, saving money, pursuing my LLC (now that i’m a DBA), all things that are daily choices.

number 11 is something new, though. With 17 committing 6 nights/month to us, it’s really helped us to spend time together. The younger two are so happy to have a committed night with gbaby- i think this will be so good. now just to get 20 on a regular basis! I keep suggesting to PC that we ask 20 to come to ONE of the every other friday nights that 17 and gbaby are over, one night per month. all four kids and the g baby. it would be so nice.

I’ve successfully cooked 4 new dishes that i have never attempted before. Honey Garlic Baked Chicken , Italian Chicken, bread dip, hand pies, mmm., home made hamburgers with sweet potato fries (that was the new thing) and asparagus, and last night I made pasta salad with chicken and homemade bread. it was so good. I took step by step photos and then ran out of time and forgot to take a final photo. I was going to take a leftover photo but THERE WAS NONE! 17 ate 3 helpings of it and took every last noodle. so. good. i dont even like pasta salad! until now 🙂

I’m reading more- I’ve finished two books this year, which isn’t crazy, but I am in the process of my third book! I’m just happy to be able to dedicate some spare time to something I enjoy and not have to write book reports or take quizzes on it!

Can’t say I’ve read my bible all the way through this year yet, but i’ve been doing The Matthew Challenge and that’s kept my nose in the book.. most days. We’re also pursuing the home bible study, but it won’t be feasible until the summer.

it’s exciting to check in and see more things marked off the list or areas that I’ve made progress on!

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how are your new years’ goals? still attainable? or did you throw ’em away a while ago? happy wednesday, y’all!

Honey Garlic Baked Chicken

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Ok guys. It happened again. and this time, it was really tasty. Like, I openly, blatantly took photos of this entire meal because it looked THAT good. I sent pictures to my dad and posted them on my Instagram before I told anyone our food was ready and I am darn proud of this meal. One- because I changed the recipe up and it didn’t ruin the meal. Two- because it was delicious on all accounts. Also it was super simple.

Going into this, you should know that I hate skin on chicken. I only eat boneless, skinless chicken. So this recipe was perfect.

What you will need:

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For the chicken/glaze:
2 lbs of boneless, skinless chicken
1-2 tablespoons Garlic (I used minced, you could do 2-3 cloves).
2 tablespoons olive oil- we use extra virgin but you don’t have to.
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
2 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon oregano
1/2 teaspoon basil
S&P as you wish
2 tablespoons parsley (for garnishing, optional.)

For the green beans/veggies/sides:
12 oz of your fav. green vegetable (I used green beans because I am quite possibly obsessed with them.)
1 tablespoon olive oil
S&P
Parsley

You can serve this meal on one pan!

So here it is. It’s so simple mamas:

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.

To give your chicken a nice color, do this little trick. Get oil hot in a pan, add chicken, let it sear one side for about 3 minutes. It should be an even golden color when it is ready.20170224_17174420170224_17203620170224_172042

Lightly grease a rimmed baking sheet with nonstick cooking spray. You could cover your sheet with foil and grease that for easy clean up, too!

In a small bowl, put all of your chicken/glaze ingredients together (excluding chicken). Add S&P to taste and put this aside.
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Put your chicken on the baking sheet and use a spoon to cover it with the glaze you have just made. Do not contaminate the remaining glaze with raw chicken- use a separate utensil to remove from bowl than you will to spread it on your chicken. Raw chicken is dangerous!
How much you cover it is really up to you. I practically caked mine on there, making sure it was in every nook and cranny. Results were delicious.

Put chicken in oven and roast for 20 minutes.

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I’m a neat freak, so I use bake time as a way to clean up the mess I’ve begun to make. Spices go back in the cabinet, counter gets wiped down for step 2, Dirty dishes get rinsed and put in the sink. Clear surface- clear mind in my world.

When your workspace is tidy and you are ready to proceed, grab your veggies! Chop off the tails/vines. Cover them with the chicken glaze (and a clean spoon). Be generous. I used every drop of glaze I could. It spread well, it was thick, it is so delicious, i can’t wait to eat it again.

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When your timer goes off for the chicken, add your green beans to the same baking tray. Bake for about 15 minutes.

You will have a sloppy mess of a glaze dripping all over your pan. Use this. Dip your chicken in it, pour it on your veggies. Do not let this go to waste. It is so good.

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We had ONE piece of chicken left over after everyone had seconds. I never have received as many compliments on a dish as i did this one. You will LOVE it.

Bon Apetit!

Recipe Adopted From

Forgive me for crappy photos, all i had was my terrible phone.

 

Italian Chicken, bread dip, hand pies, mmm.

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So last night was clearly a sappy holiday, so i felt like trying to be a #goodwife and attempting to cook a meal for my dear husband. I also knew i was alone in the house for 2 hours, so i could photograph every step of the way.

I am 100% not a cook. I need step-by-step-by-step instructions. Your “Dash of Basil” does me no good. I need precise measurements. I like baking for that reason. So here we go: This is the part where I teach you how to cook Italian Chicken with bread sauce and hand pies.

First, thaw chicken. We used about 1 pound of meat and probably could have used half of it and had plenty. Prince Charming left this out for me in the morning so I could come home and be ready to go.

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Italian Seasoning consists of:

Parsley- 3 tablespoons
Basil- 3 tablespoons
Garlic powder- 1 tsp
Rosemary-1 tsp
Onion Powder- 1 tsp
Oregano- 2.5 tsp
Thyme-1 tsp
Red pepper- .5 tsp
Black pepper- .25tsp

Or if you did like me and sifted through the entire cabinet only to find there is no thyme or rosemary, you can use pre-made italian seasoning, which i also didn’t know we had.img_0100 img_0102

For best results, lay chicken flat on surface and cover evenly with italian seasoning, salt & pepper, and garlic powder. Flip over and do the same to the other side. For even better results, do this in a bowl with the other items you will be eating, so they all get the same, even flavor.

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This is where I went wrong.
Learning Point #1. Do not put veggies in at the same time as the raw meat. Raw meat will take much longer to cook than veggies, but hyperactive brain does not compute that.
I sprinkled some onion & garlic powder on the asparagus we ate, after cutting off the woody side.. which is the stalk side, so I learned. You can take about 3 inches off. I picked up each piece and just bent it til it snapped- it naturally breaks where it needs to usually. img_0107img_0109img_0110img_0112img_0111

A regular cooking time for this would be 4 hours on low in your crockpot, but we didn’t have all night- so I cranked it up to high and cooked it for about 2.5 hours. Only after realizing that it was on warm for 45 minutes, i think it would naturally only take 2 hours on high to cook properly.

Hand pies:

Cheat. Use the pre-made, store-bought pie crusts. It’s so simple. I bought them on my lunch for $2.99 and let them sit in my car to thaw out until I got home. It’s okay if they don’t fall out of the pan perfectly, you’re going to use a rolling pin on them to flatten them anyway 🙂

Don’t forget to preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

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because it was Valentines Day, of course my hand pies were heart shaped. I used a heart cookie cutter that was about 3.5 inches wide. My two pie crusts made 4 hand pies and 4 leftover crust pieces that i brought to my coworker who loves pie crust, but not pie. I hate it all, so this works for me.img_0119

Just like cookies, rip the excess crust away from the cutter and roll back into a ball, then re-roll it and flatten to use again.img_0115

You’re supposed to use JAM for this but we only had jelly. i dont see the difference and PC didn’t mind. Take 1 generous scoop of jelly and put in the center of your heart. spread evenly, but dont get toooo close to the edge or you’ll have a sloppy jelly mess. But i guess that isn’t really a bad thing.

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The fun part: take a second heart and place on top of the jelly covered heart. line them up and press to seal it shut around edges with fingers. (I usually skipped that step). Then grab a fork and add some detail to the edge. This really seals the jelly into place and also adds a fun and cute detail to the edges that makes it look like you spent a LOT of time on…… when really it takes about 1 minute per heart (if that).img_0121img_0123img_0125img_0126img_0127img_0128

To make your hand pies golden brown, do this simple trick.

Use 1 egg Learning point 2: 2 eggs is too many for this small amount of pies, even if they’re the tiny farm eggs. just. use. one.

Use 1 egg and add a tiny bit of water to it. Whisk until it is an even yellow and even consistency. Take this egg mix and cover your pies with it. I used a wadded up paper towel, you can use your hands, you can use a brush, whatever you need- just be sure to cover the entire surface so it is evenly brown.img_0129img_0131

The final touch: Icing.

This is so simple guys. Use about 3 tablespoons of milk, 1 teaspoon of vanilla and 1/2 to 1 cup of powdered sugar (depending on how much icing you like). Stir them together. They start to thicken and form an easy icing. It tastes SO GOOD. I had to try it, but can’t have any milk-based items, so i only got a little bit.img_0132img_0133img_0134img_0135img_0136img_0137

Pop these bad boys into the oven for 20-30 minutes and voila.

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I attempted to make a bread oil, but we aren’t sure about it yet.
Take about 6 tablespoons of minced garlic
1 cup of extra virgin oil
3 tablespoons of basil
2-3 tablespoons of oregano
Parmesan cheese to top it.
Stir- yummy bread oil at your fingertips

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Add some candy hearts as a pretty centerpiece. Complete with your husband’s favorite chocolate. img_0139img_0140

Decorate with the giant bouquet of flowers he got you.img_0141img_0142

EAT.

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(PC was home, I had to sneak final pics with my phone so he didnt think I was weird)

 

and, ok y’all. these are original images and i had a lot of fun taking them. you can use them, but please just give credit where it is due. these are images of my real life home and my real life messy kitchen and the flowers are the ones my husband chose just for me. these things mean something to me, so just take a second and don’t just steal my things 😀

Recipe Roundup: January

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Alright Step Monsters, I need your help:

For this edition of “Recipe Roundup” I am requesting your favorite slow-cooker meals!

Prince Charming has just requested that I become the family chef during this upcoming semester, as he has too many credits and not enough time.
I laughed, because cooking is a disaster when I’m in charge. He told me he’d even bake the chicken we’ll eat tonight if I’ll steam the veggies. if I what? huh? i don’t know how to do anything cooking related. So we’ll see how this goes.

My hope of crockpot meals is that I’ll be able to have everything ready when we come home and take less time away from the other household chores and of course, time away from the kiddos.

Please remember that I am lactose intolerant, so no milk products in the meals (unless it can be substituted by dairy free milk..).

You guys, I already have crippling anxiety over what to make all weekend and hump day isn’t even over yet. I might die of fear of the kitchen, so if you don’t hear from me- send my dear husband a sympathy card.

 

Thank you all for your help!

thestepmomma