Menu Monday

Needing some dinner inspiration? Look no further! Take some ideas from our menu for this week.

MONDAY – Breakfast for dinner! β€” Some favorites for us include scrambled eggs with avocado toast (I love topping my avocado toast with Trader Joe’s Everything but the Bagel seasoning!), red pepper, ham, and spinach quiche, and almond flour pancakes (these pancakes are not the prettiest, but they sure are tasty!).

TUESDAYSlow-Cooker Cilantro Lime Chicken Tacos β€” I made this recipe for the first time a couple of weeks ago, and it was delicious! This week we are eating leftovers from the freezer, and I am looking forward to seeing how well it reheats.

WEDNESDAYOne-Pot Pasta with Spinach and Tomatoes

THURSDAYRoasted Chicken and Vegetables served with baked sweet potatoes (I do not use the full amount of black pepper called for in this recipe; I usually just do salt & pepper to taste)

FRIDAYSlow-Cooker Whole Chicken with potatoes and vegetables β€” **New recipe for us this week! I am excited to use the leftovers from this recipe for others in the future.

Happy Cooking πŸ™‚

Menu Monday

Happy Monday πŸ™‚ Spring finally decided to make its appearance in NYC, and the sunshine and 60 degree temps have helped make this Monday cheery! I hope these recipes give you some good dinner inspiration for this week.

MONDAYBroccoli Cheddar Chicken Pasta β€” This meal is a staple at our house, but I’m making a few changes this time around. I am using Banza pasta and will add in some edamame as well.

TUESDAYAsian Turkey Meatballs served with rice and sautΓ©ed veggies (carrots, edamame, and green beans β€” feel free to substitute with your favorite veggies!)

WEDNESDAYEnchilada Skillet β€” My aunt gave me a great idea for this recipeΒ β€” subbing the rice for cauliflower rice! I love adding in extra veggies when I can and will definitely make this substitution next time I make this recipe. (For this dinner, we are eating leftovers that we have in the freezer.)

THURSDAY – Cilantro Chicken Wantons served with rice and sautΓ©ed veggies (zucchini, red pepper, onion, and carrot) β€” The cilantro chicken wantons are a new Trader Joe’s frozen product for us! We have heard quite a few people say good things about it, and not to mention, we are always excited to try something new from TJ. πŸ˜‰

FRIDAY – Burgers served with pasta salad (this one is a favorite!) and fruit β€” Ryan and I are headed to Maryland this weekend, and we are planning on meeting up with some good friends for dinner! We take advantage of any opportunity we get to grill, since we don’t have access to one at our apartment in NYC.

Happy Cooking πŸ™‚

UK Trip: Ireland

Our trip was quickly coming to a close, but we still had one stop left β€” Ireland. We were especially excited about this stop because we were going to see our friends, Josh and Annie. Josh and I were neighbors growing up, and our families have continued to stay friends throughout the years. Ryan and I joked with Josh and Annie a few years ago that we were waiting to take our UK trip until they made it to Ireland so we could visit them at the same time. Isn’t it great when a plan works out?! πŸ˜‰

We made it to the airport in Glasgow, Scotland, returned the rental car, and took a short flight over to Dublin. We landed in Dublin around 5:30 pm and had a 2 1/2 hour drive to our friends’ house. It was a little crazy getting out of the city of Dublin, especially with once again having to acclimate to driving on the other side of the road, but the drive eased up significantly once we left the city. We arrived late that evening and headed to bed pretty quickly in anticipation of a full day of sightseeing the next day.

We did not make too many plans for our time in Ireland, since the main item on our agenda was catching up with our friends! We were only spending 3 full days there, so we decided to give free rein to Josh to show us around some of his favorite spots in the area. Our first stop was Rosses Point, which had beautiful ocean views and gorgeous green landscape. We thought it was pretty cool to say we had seen the other side of the Atlantic Ocean!

IMG_5160DSC01729

After our time at Rosses Point, we decided to head to Strandhill to eat lunch at Shells Cafe, one of Josh and Annie’s favorite little cafes. Along the way, Josh took us on a quick pit stop to check out the grave of William Butler Yeats (a very well-known Irish poet).

As we were waiting for a table at Shells Cafe, we decided to check out the beach right outside of the restaurant. We truly enjoyed seeing more of the area where our friends live, and not having to plan the sightseeing made for such a relaxing day! Our meal was amazing; by far one of the best of our whole trip! The whole cafe smelled like coconut from their coffee bar, so naturally Ryan and I had to get some coffee to go. (It was delicious, in case you were wondering πŸ˜‰ Ryan got an Americano, and I decided on a coconut latteΒ β€” coconut is one of myΒ favorite flavors!)

DSC01739

IMG_5164
Nothing like a windy coffee selfie πŸ˜‰

We finished our day in the town of Sligo and spent time looking around at the shops and indulging in some delicious gelato.Β  Sligo is such a cute town, and you could tell it is a hub for locals. Josh introduced us to a woodworker who had his own shop in Sligo. We had a blast talking to him and listening to his stories. He even made us a woodcarving to take home from one of the scraps he had lying around his shop!

DSC01748

The next day we attended church with Josh and Annie. Josh is the pastor at Carrick Baptist Church, and we were so thankful for the opportunity to worship together with the believers there. The people at the church made us feel so welcome, and we truly enjoyed the opportunity to get to know them! This was definitely a highlight of our trip, and we would LOVE to make it back again soon.

IMG_5170
Ryan and me with Josh, Annie, and Eva (unfortunately, Cian did not make it into the picture since he was napping πŸ™‚ )
IMG_5171
We saw SO many rainbows during our stay in Ireland. This one was probably our favorite though!

Ryan and I left Josh and Annie’s house the next morning to head into Dublin for the day. We decided to spend the night before our flight in Dublin so we wouldn’t have to make the 2 1/2 hour drive the morning of our flight. Ryan was excited to explore Dublin a little, and thanks to Josh and Annie, we had a lot of great tips on where to go and what to see!

Our time in Dublin was a little limited, but some of the highlights were Trinity College, St. Patrick’s Cathedral, and the Ha’penny Bridge. First we made our way to Trinity College to check out this famous campus. Unfortunately, we did not arrive in time to see the Book of Kells (next trip πŸ˜‰ ), but we still enjoyed walking around and admiring the incredible architecture. Next, we saw St. Patrick’s Cathedral. This was a special site for us since St. Patrick’s Cathedral here in NYC was modeled after the one in Dublin. We were excited to get back to the States and check out the similarities! Finally, we ended the day by strolling along the river and checking out the numerous bridges in the city β€”the Ha’penny Bridge was my favorite for sure!

DSC01764
Trinity College
DSC01778
St. Patrick’s Cathedral
DSC01794
The Ha’penny Bridge
IMG_5175
I could not let our time in Dublin go without quoting one of my favorite movies: “Dublin is a city of chancers and cheats and backstabbing snakes.” – Leap Year

And with that our trip to the UK and Ireland came to a close. The next day was a full, exhausting day of traveling back home.

Thanks so much for following along on our adventure. This trip was absolutely incredible; it will definitely be one that we will remember forever.

If you missed any of my earlier posts, check out the links below!

UK Trip: London
UK Trip: Edinburgh, Scotland
UK Trip: Scotland Road Trip (Part 1)
UK Trip: Isle of Skye
UK Trip: Scotland Road Trip (Part 2)

Menu Monday

Happy Monday! Here is a little dinner inspiration for your week!

MONDAY – Sloppy Joes served with green beans and mashed potatoes β€” We tried the frozen mashed potatoes from Trader Joe’s a few weeks ago, and they taste great and heat up quickly! However, we both do prefer the frozen mashed sweet potatoes from Trader Joe’s.

TUESDAYSlow Cooker Chicken Burrito BowlsΒ β€” These leftovers freeze really well! We are actually having reheated leftovers for dinner this night, and it makes for such a quick weeknight meal.

WEDNESDAYOne Pot Teriyaki Rice with Chicken and VegetablesΒ β€” **NEW recipe for us this week! Really excited to try this recipe!

THURSDAYSlow Cooker Cilantro Lime Chicken TacosΒ β€” **NEW recipe for us this week! I am going to add black beans to this recipe and top these tacos with diced tomatoes, shredded lettuce, guacamole, and shredded cheese.

FRIDAYPulled Pork served with Trader Joe’s sweet potato gnocchi and green beans

Happy Cooking πŸ™‚

Menu Monday

Happy Monday! I don’t know about you, but I am SO ready for spring. Here is hoping spring decides to show up this week! Until then, here is some dinner inspiration for your week.

MONDAY – Spaghetti made with whole wheat pasta and served with roasted broccoli and zucchini β€” Whole wheat pasta has become a staple in our house over the last year. I will admit that it did take us some time to grow accustomed to the taste and texture, but now there is no going back!

TUESDAY – Breakfast for dinner! This is definitely a favorite for Ryan and me. I am planning on making some scrambled eggs, avocado toast (made with sprouted multi-grain bread from Trader Joe’s), and leftover roasted zucchini and broccoli from Monday night’s dinner.

WEDNESDAYEnchilada Skillet β€” We LOVE to eat this recipe as nachos with multigrain tortilla chips (these ones from ALDI are great! The sweet potato tortilla chips from Trader Joe’s are also a favorite in our house).

THURSDAYCrockpot Meatball Subs served with mashed potatoes and green beans β€” Crockpot meals are a staple in our house. If you need some ideas, check out this post with some of my favorites!

FRIDAY – *RYAN’s BIRTHDAY* β€” This weekend will be ALL about celebrating Ryan (and I cannot wait πŸ˜‰ ). We are planning on heading to dinner in the city Friday night and finishing the night at our favorite bakery in Forest Hills. Seriously, if you are ever visiting NYC, you NEED to come out to Queens and try something from Martha’s Country Bakery.

Happy Cooking πŸ™‚

Skip the Salon

Don’t get me wrong; one of my favorite things to do is getting my nails done. One of the first things people tend to notice about me is that I ALWAYS have my nails polished. During my freshman year at college, I started experimenting with nail polish and fell in love with not only painting my nails but also the process of prepping them for the polish.

I have learned quite a few tips and tricks for making my at-home manicure last for a decent amount of time throughout the years. So today, I am going to share those with you! I hope these tips and products make your at-home manicure feel a little more upscale πŸ˜‰

Tools
Nail Polish Remover
Nail Clippers
Glass Nail File (or an emery board)
Cuticle Tool
Buffing Block
CND Stickey Base Coat
Polish
Sally Hansen Insta-Dri Anti-Chip Top Coat
*Patience*

I begin by removing my polish from the previous week. Be sure to use a non-acetone polish remover like this one that I have been using for years. After the old polish is removed, I clip my nails to the desired length. (I play the piano, so I tend to keep my nails shorter.) I don’t take too long with the clipping process because I file my nails immediately after to shape them. (I tend to shape my nails as more of a square/oval. Here is a chart if you are curious about the different ways to shape your nails.) I have just started using a glass nail file within the last few months, and I absolutely love it! You can read all about the benefits of a glass nail file over an emery board here and decide for yourself whether you will make the switch or not. (For those of you wondering, I found my glass nail file at Bed, Bath & Beyond. It was not very expensive at all, maybe less than $5 and it has been working really well!)

After I shape my nails how I want, I soak them in warm water for 30-60 seconds and use my cuticle tool (similar to this one) to gently push back my cuticles. I have heard of others using cuticle oil on their nails instead of soaking them in water before pushing back the cuticles, so if you feel like giving that a try, go for it! (I’m still on the hunt for a good cuticle oil, so when I find one I will be sure to update this post.) The final step before the polishing process begins is to use a buffing block to smooth out my nails to prep them for the polish.

Those may seem like a lot of steps, but trust me, your nails will thank you for taking the time to properly prep them for the polish. Over the years, I have found this process very relaxing for myself. I know that everyone doesn’t feel the same way, but for me, I actually look forward to my nail painting process each week. πŸ™‚ Once your nails are prepped for polish, you need to make sure you are using quality products in order for your polish to last as long as possible.

I begin by applying one coat of Stickey Base Coat to my nails and let dry for a little (it doesn’t need much time). My aunt introduced me to CND Stickey Base Coat years ago, and this was a game changer for me! This base coat is designed to keep the polish from chipping so quickly. Now it’s not a miracle worker…you will still get some chips throughout the week, but I have found that I get significantly fewer chips when I use this base coat. You can find this base coat in stores at Ulta or online (Amazon, Walmart, etc.). Next I apply two thin coats of polish to my nails being sure to let the polish dry between coats. Everyone is different, but I have found that OPI nail polish gives me the longest wear on a regular basis. It is definitely my favorite brand of nail polish with Butter London as a close second (Butter London also gives me consistently long wear, but has a higher price tag than OPI). I finish off the polishing process with a quick-dry top coat. About 2 years ago or so, another one of my aunts told me about Sally Hansen Insta-Dri Top Coat, and I have been using it ever since. Have you ever painted your nails at night only to wake up the next morning with little lines imprinted on your freshly painted nails? I had this happen too often and couldn’t figure out how to prevent it. That is when my aunt told me that using a quick-dry top coat (another of my aunts uses Seche Vite) helps to prevent those lines from forming! It also helps to prevent smudging freshly painted nails. Once again, this top coat is a game-changer! Now, a quick-dry top coat won’t prevent all smudges. You still need to give the polish time to set before doing anything too crazy. Typically, I wait about an hour before trying to tackle anything too extensive.

That was a lot of information, and I hope it wasn’t too overwhelming. I truly enjoy the whole process of painting my nails, and my hope is that I can pass on even a little bit of that enjoyment to you. If you have any questions, feel free to leave me a comment below!

Menu Monday

I’m sorry that I have been MIA for the last month or so. Between being without cooking gas for three weeks and traveling for my sister’s wedding, March flew by in a blur! I am excited to get back to sharing my meal plans each week with you all!

MONDAYSlow Cooker Chicken Burrito Bowls (This recipe has made an appearance many, many times, but we eat this on a regular basis because it is so good!)

TUESDAYPulled Pork served with mashed potatoes and green beans (I am excited to try out Trader Joe’s Frozen Mashed Potatoes this week! We love the Frozen Mashed Sweet Potatoes and really hope these will be similar.)

WEDNESDAYCilantro-Lime Chicken Meatball Bowls (**NEW Recipe for us this week! This recipe calls for cauliflower rice, but if your family isn’t a fan, you can easily swap out the cauliflower rice with white or brown rice.)

THURSDAYSlow Cooker Hawaiian Shredded Chicken served over rice.

FRIDAYItalian Orzo Spinach Soup (This soup is one of my favorites! It is very filling due to the whole wheat orzo!)

Happy Cooking πŸ™‚