Dream Dinners: Now Booking In-Store Events!

This is some pretty cool news! Dream Dinners is launching its new Meal Prep Workshop program in August!
This is an exciting new twist on their in-store party and it’s a great opportunity for you to introduce your friends to Dream Dinners and earn fun rewards!
Here’s how it works:
As the host, you attend the workshop for free! This includes three pre-prepped medium-size meals, our grill marinade trio, and a private, in-store event with your friends. You also have the opportunity to earn up to $75 in host rewards! You can bring wine, Dream Dinners will make appetizers and you can enjoy your evening!

Your friends pay $50 to attend and learn about Dream Dinners. They’ll each receive three pre-prepped medium-size meals (Each meal feeds 2-3 people) and assemble a seasonal grill marinade trio, plus they’ll enjoy delicious samples of our food. We also have some exciting perks for them if they place an order at the workshop!

That’s $50 for three meals and 3 marinades!
One of the best parts of the new Meal Prep Workshops is that you and your friends get to share an experience with our exclusive seasonal workshop! Our theme for August Workshops is Summer Grilling and we’ll be making a grill marinade trio that Chef Laura created just for these events.

This is a great chance for you to get out of the house and have a fun night out with friends!
Space is limited, so if you are interested, contact your local Dream Dinners for more information and to book your Meal Prep Workshop.

Here in East County, it’s the La Mesa location.  Call or Text (619) 460-6800 or email: lamesaca@dreamdinners.com

If you are located in East County and want to join a Meal Prep Workshop, I’ll be planning one in the coming weeks. Drop me a comment or PM via Facebook or Instagram and I’ll get you an invite once I get the event set up.

7/26/2021 Weekly Meal Plan

0a5e9dab796cea8a07eabe4eb4795b9e.jpgThis week we are planning some fun activities to get us out of the house: Going to the zoo, meeting up with some friends to play and have lunch.

The kids have been digging the free school lunches- It’s a great way to encourage them to try new foods. That’s great because the price of groceries has gone up exponentially over the past few months. We’ve been eating less meat to save money, and I’m leaning more on stores that have good deals like Grocery Outlet, and using my cashback apps like Fetch Rewards. I’ve been cashing out Fetch rewards for Target Gift Cards. I’ve been combining the Target Gift Cards with grocery sales and deals in the Target app, and picking up via curbside pick up. It’s a great option if you’ve got kids and you’ve got a busy summer.

And I’ve been getting a lot of really great freebies from Social Nature lately too. It’s fun to try new foods.

The CSA Box arrives in a few hours, but they send an email over a few days before with a sneak peek of what’s going into the box. This helps me meal plan for the week.

Veggies and fruit are delivered each Monday by Yasukochi Family Farms CSA. For $25, it’s a great deal. I don’t have to pick anything, go to the store, or carry it upstairs. I can’t go to the store and get the same amount we get weekly for $25. Seriously. It’s a deal. I spend about an hour on Monday afternoon cleaning and prepping veggies for the rest of the week.

I cleaned out the fridge last night and that really helped me figure out what to plan for the week. I’m trying to use up what we’ve got. I need to make a small trip to the store to get more milk, bread, and a few other things for our snack bag.

For those of you that are new to meal planning, I’ve got an easy 101 style post here with super easy tips and steps. After you get that down, here is info about batch or freezer cooking.

I’ve gotten a pretty good inventory of the pantry, freezer, and fridge done (I try to update it after every shopping trip), so I’m able to plan meals and use up what we’ve got with little waste. If you are looking for a kitchen inventory printable, I have made my own and you can find them for sale here on my Etsy Store.

I only post our dinner plans for the week, because our other meals are usually the same each day.

Breakfast: Coffee with 1/2 and 1/2  for me, and pancakes or something along those lines for the kids.  The kids are nuts about pancakes. The Big Kid has been on a protein shake kick in the AM.

Lunch: We pick up free school lunches during the summer for the kids, I also have a plastic tote in the cupboard full of self-serve snacks. I buy treats and snacks in bulk and fill up snack-sized zip-top bags.

Dinner: Usually, I do a crockpot meal on Mondays, but now that we are home all the time, we’ve been having an odd combination of fully home-cooked, scratch meals, and frozen entrees and veggies. I have been posting our meal plans on Instagram too- As well as pics of stuff we are doing to keep busy.

  • Sunday: Leftovers (We had so many random leftovers)
  • Monday: Pasta, Roasted Veggies, Salad
  • Tuesday:  Fritatta, Fruit Salad, Toast
  • Wednesday:  Nugget night: Nuggets, crackers, cheese, fruit
  • Thursday: Bean, Rice, and Cheese Burritos, Roasted veggies
  • Friday:  Takeout Night
  • Saturday: Leftovers, fruit, salad

Please stay safe you guys!

Talk Back: What are you cooking for dinner this week?

Recipe: Crispy Onion Chicken

This is a delicious, easy recipe. And kids love it too!

Crispy Onion Chicken

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb boneless, skinless chicken (your choice, I like breasts or thighs)
  • 2 cups French Fried Onions, crushed
  • 2 T. flour
  • dash freshly ground pepper
  • 1/2 cup butter, melted (You can use coconut oil or margarine if you are dairy free)

 

Directions:

  1. Place onions in a Ziploc bag and crush onions with a rolling pin (or a bottle of wine, whichever is handy)
  2. Pour crushed onions, flour, and pepper in a flat dish, mix thoroughly.
  3. Dip each piece of chicken in melted butter, and rolleach buttery piece in onion/flour mixture.
  4. Place each piece in a greased baking dish and bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes, or until chicken is cooked throughout.

I like to serve these with mashed potatoes, and a green salad (I really like this one).

 

Dream Dinners: Host an event, get rewarded!

Dream Dinners is one of my favorite ways to save time and get tasty, healthy meals on the table in 45 minutes or less! And now you can win a prize when you share Dream Dinners with family and friends!

Host an event with Dream Dinners this summer and be rewarded with an Exclusive Summer Essential Kit full of fun gifts and exclusive summer recipes (a $50 value). Plus, you will earn up to $75 in store credit to get more dinners for your family.

Interested in hosting an event and earning a Summer Essentials Kit? Spaces are limited, contact your local Dream Dinners today. For most of my readers, the La Mesa Dream Dinners is the closest.

Dream Dinners La Mesa Call: 619-460-6800 Email: lamesaca@dreamdinners.com

7/11/2021 Weekly Meal Plan

0a5e9dab796cea8a07eabe4eb4795b9e.jpgThis week the big kid and I will start going to the gym in the afternoon with my dad. We all need to work off our quarantine chub and strengthen our bodies again.

I’m hoping this week will be more chill, last week was NUTS. I need some time to process and get stuff finished from last week.

The kids have been digging the free school lunches- It’s a great way to encourage them to try new foods. That’s great because the price of groceries has gone up exponentially over the past few months. We’ve been eating less meat to save money, and I’m leaning more on stores that have good deals like Grocery Outlet, and using my cashback apps like Fetch Rewards. I’ve been cashing out Fetch rewards for Target Gift Cards. I’ve been combining the Target Gift Cards with grocery sales and deals in the Target app, and picking up via curbside pick up. It’s a great option if you’ve got kids and you’ve got a busy summer.

And I’ve been getting a lot of really great freebies from Social Nature lately too. It’s fun to try new foods.

The CSA Box arrives tomorrow AM, but they send an email over a few days before with a sneak peek of what’s going into the box. This helps me meal plan for the week.

Veggies and fruit are delivered each Monday by Yasukochi Family Farms CSA. For $25, it’s a great deal. I don’t have to pick anything, go to the store, or carry it upstairs. I can’t go to the store and get the same amount we get weekly for $25. Seriously. It’s a deal. I spend about an hour on Monday afternoon cleaning and prepping veggies for the rest of the week.

I did a little bit of meal prep today: I made a batch of homemade applesauce. It’s been too hot to bake- I may make some drop cookies tomorrow. I also cleaned out the fridge today.

For those of you that are new to meal planning, I’ve got an easy 101 style post here with super easy tips and steps. After you get that down, here is info about batch or freezer cooking.

I’ve gotten a pretty good inventory of the pantry, freezer, and fridge done (I try to update it after every shopping trip), so I’m able to plan meals and use up what we’ve got with little waste. If you are looking for a kitchen inventory printable, I have made my own and you can find them for sale here om my Etsy Store.

I only post our dinner plans for the week, because our other meals are usually the same each day.

Breakfast: Coffee with 1/2 and 1/2  for me, and pancakes or something along those lines for the kids.  The kids are nuts about pancakes. The Big Kid has been on a protein shake kick in the AM.

Lunch: We pick up free school lunches during the summer for the kids, I also have a plastic tote in the cupboard full of self-serve snacks. I buy treats and snacks in bulk and fill up snack-sized zip-top bags.

Dinner: Usually, I do a crockpot meal on Mondays, but now that we are home all the time, we’ve been having an odd combination of fully home-cooked, scratch meals, and frozen entrees and veggies. I have been posting our meal plans on Instagram too- As well as pics of stuff we are doing to keep busy.

  • Sunday: Chicken Fajitas Soup (I’ll post a recipe this week)
  • Monday: Breakfast for Dinner (pancakes, bacon, eggs, and fruit salad)
  • Tuesday:  Steak with caramelized onions and red wine pan sauce, baked potatoes, roasted vegetables
  • Wednesday:  Nugget night: Nuggets, crackers, cheese, fruit
  • Thursday:  Chef Salad, Garlic Bread
  • Friday:  Takeout Night
  • Saturday: Leftovers, fruit, salad

Please stay safe you guys!

Talk Back: What are you cooking for dinner this week?

7/5/2021 Weekly Meal Plan

0a5e9dab796cea8a07eabe4eb4795b9e.jpgYesterday we saw family and friends we haven’t seen in over a year. There were lots of hugs and the kids played (and shot archery). There was a lot of good food, and homemade cider. Today is a holiday here in the US. It’s the observance of Independence Day, so there are a lot of places that are closed (including banks and post offices).

The kids have been digging the free school lunches- It’s a great way to encourage them to try new foods. That’s great because the price of groceries has gone up exponentially over the past few months. We’ve been eating less meat to save money, and I’m leaning more on stores that have good deals like Grocery Outlet, and using my cashback apps like Fetch Rewards. I’ve been cashing out Fetch rewards for Target Gift Cards. I’ve been combining the Target Gift Cards with grocery sales and deals in the Target app, and picking up via curbside pick up. It’s a great option if you’ve got kids and you’ve got a busy summer.

And I’ve been getting a lot of really great freebies from Social Nature lately too. It’s fun to try new foods.

We usually get a CSA box on Mondays, but I am skipping this week. We still have a lot of veggies and fruit from last week, and I’ll be using the fruit up this week in a fruit salad, and the veggies will be in our Chef Salad, and the pasta bake (which I’ll be posting a recipe of later this week).

Veggies and fruit are delivered each Monday by Yasukochi Family Farms CSA. For $25, it’s a great deal. I don’t have to pick anything, go to the store, or carry it upstairs. I can’t go to the store and get the same amount we get weekly for $25. Seriously. It’s a deal. I spend about an hour on Monday afternoon cleaning and prepping veggies for the rest of the week.

I’m doing some meal prep today: A batch of cookies, roasting veggies, and cooking bacon in the oven.

For those of you that are new to meal planning, I’ve got an easy 101 style post here with super easy tips and steps. After you get that down, here is info about batch or freezer cooking.

I’ve gotten a pretty good inventory of the pantry, freezer, and fridge done (I try to update it after every shopping trip), so I’m able to plan meals and use up what we’ve got with little waste. If you are looking for a kitchen inventory printable, I have made my own and I’ll be posting them for sale in my Etsy Store later this week.

I only post our dinner plans for the week, because our other meals are usually the same each day.

Breakfast: Coffee with 1/2 and 1/2  for me, and pancakes or something along those lines for the kids.  The kids are nuts about pancakes. The Big Kid has been on a protein shake kick in the AM.

Lunch: We pick up free school lunches during the summer for the kids, I also have a plastic tote in the cupboard full of self-serve snacks. I buy treats and snacks in bulk and fill up snack-sized zip-top bags.

Dinner: Usually, I do a crockpot meal on Mondays, but now that we are home all the time, we’ve been having an odd combination of fully home-cooked, scratch meals, and frozen entrees and veggies. I have been posting our meal plans on Instagram too- As well as pics of stuff we are doing to keep busy.

  • Sunday: Family BBQ/potluck dinner.
  • Monday: Chef Salad (We’ve got a lot of salad fixings to eat up)
  • Tuesday:  Breakfast for Dinner (Waffles, bacon, eggs, and fruit salad)
  • Wednesday:  Nugget night: Nuggets, crackers, cheese, fruit
  • Thursday:  Baked Pasta- I’ll be posting the recipe later this week.
  • Friday:  Takeout Night
  • Saturday: Leftovers, fruit, salad

Please stay safe you guys!

Talk Back: What are you cooking for dinner this week?

Family Recipe: DIY Salad Bar

The post is dedicated to Souplantation/Sweet Tomatoes… RIP.

One of our family favorite restaurants pre-pandemic was Souplantation. So many great veggie and salad options all in one place. This summer I’m trying to find easy, simple lunch options for the family, so this week I’m making a salad bar.

It might sound like a lot of work, but I spend about an hour a week prepping veggies as soon as the CSA box arrives, so it’s just a slightly different prep this week.

First I got out our Rubbermaid reusable containers and lids, and I chopped the various ingredients. At lunchtime, I’ll set all of the containers out, and put the salad greens in a large bowl that is nestled in a baking dish full of ice to keep the greens crisp.

If you are having a salad bar for your July Fourth celebration, consider using a cold ingredient caddy like this one.

It keeps the components cold and at their preferred temperature for an extended period of time.

Here are just a few of the ingredients that we’ll be featuring in our DIY salad bar:

  • Salad greens (spinach, romaine lettuce, butter bibb lettuce, mixed greens, kale)
  • Radishes
  • Brocolli
  • Cauliflower
  • Carrots
  • Cucumbers
  • Celery
  • Red onions
  • Green apples
  • Strawberries
  • Beets (raw or pickled)
  • Bell pepper or other sweet peppers
  • Pickled veggies
  • Capers
  • Nuts
  • Dried fruit
  • Hard-boiled eggs
  • Cheese cubes (or crumbled feta or goat cheese)
  • Diced ham or diced turkey breast lunchmeat
  • Croutons
  • Salad Dressing- I like this vinagrette, and this one, and this ranch.

What do you like on your salads?

Have Your Hot Girl Summer on a Budget

I’m sure by now everyone has heard the phrase “Hot Girl Summer”, but do you know what it means? The phrase can be traced back to a Megan Thee Stallion song a few years ago.

On Twitter, she explained: “Being a Hot Girl is about being unapologetically YOU, having fun, being confident, living YOUR truth, being the life of the party, etc.”

A couple of my friends have embraced it, and I think that it’s a pretty amazing outlook to have, especially since last summer was, well, Sad Trombone Noise? I know the kids are looking forward to having fun, more adventures, and getting out of the house. Here are a couple ways I’m bringing Hot Girl Summer (and sharing it with the fam).

New Bathing Suits. Kids grow, but what about me? Well after having the same swimsuits for 3 years, it’s time. Especially since we swim daily.  I bought a few new suits from Amazon. Since I’m fair-skinned I picked up one with long sleeves, the kids tease me about working at SeaWorld. This is just one of the many suits I’ve got. It’s perfect for prime sun time.

 

New Pool Bag and New Pool Toys. Every Summer it seems, we need new pool toys and a new pool bag. The Chlorine wrecks our bag (which is mesh- this helps the pool toys dry quickly), and daily use of toys leaves them.. wrecked. Dollar Tree has a great selection of sturdy pool toys, including inflatables for kids (We have a cool cookie ring that has a “bite” taken out of it). For me, I picked up a sweet inflatable float pool chair. 

Plans to meet up with friends. Now that most people have access to the vaccine, getting together with friends is a lot more feasible. We are still limiting ourselves and staying away from large gatherings where we don’t know everyone, but dinner and drinks with friends sound amazing. I’m hosting dinners a couple times a month over the summer for a few reasons: 1. To keep all of our costs down (Dinner out with drinks costs $$$ these days), and honestly, I don’t feel super safe going out for dinner all that often, especially now that there are no mask regulations in our state. And I’m having a weekend getaway with some girlfriends in a few weeks. I am really looking forward to a weekend away in a vacation rental doing a whole lot of nothing!

Take Advantage of the season: What does that mean? Summer has all sorts of fun advantages: Long days, Amazing fruit and veggies are in season, nice weather. Spend time outside (poolside, at the beach, exploring nature), enjoy a big bowl of fruit salad, make a huge salad! Community events are starting to come back (with limited event sizes), and there are lots of free events throughout the summer. EventBrite is a great place to find community events.

Make Time for You: I know… So many blogs and social media tell you to get self-care time and spend time doing things that you love, but as a parent, it can be hard without staying up late or waking up before dawn. Finding a sitter can be tough too. It’s ok to lean on family and friends. The past year has been exponentially tough on parents, and you need time to yourself. Swap child care with friends, or if you want to have a night out, split the cost of a sitter. Your kids can hang out together, while you and your friends get some time away.

Take Care of Yourself: And I don’t mean the stereotypical self-care of putting on a mud mask and drinking water with lemon slices. That’s fun, but I mean the simple acts that we often overlook as caregivers.

  • Sunscreen for your face and any exposed areas when you’ll be outside for more than 10 minutes during peak sun hours (usually 10am-4pm). Don’t forget the tops of your ears. Being super fair-skinned I also wear a sun hat too. Not super sexy, but I don’t want skin cancer.
  • Take something to drink with you. I know most of you pack snacks for your kids when you leave home, but take a few extra minutes to make yourself something that you like (bonus if it’s a snack that your kids do not like- No sharing!), and fill your water bottle. This is the water bottle I use. If you like fruit-infused water, bottles like this are great.  You can also opt for an infuser to go into your favorite bottle or insulated cup.
  • Find Something to Keep You Occupied.  Besides your kids. Pick up a book, grab a craft kit (I like embroidery- it’s easy and portable), Craftsy has some cool online classes to get you started.

I’d love to hear about how you are bringing Hot Girl Summer. Leave a comment below!

 

 

 

6/27/2021 Weekly Meal Plan

0a5e9dab796cea8a07eabe4eb4795b9e.jpgThis week have some fun afternoon plans: Swimming, hanging out with friends, a trip to get fro yo, and our weekly library trip. We’re working our way across the county libraries.

The kids have been digging the free school lunches- It’s a great way to encourage them to try new foods. That’s great because the price of groceries has gone up exponentially over the past few weeks, so I’m leaning more on stores that have good deals like Grocery Outlet, and using my cashback apps like Fetch Rewards. I’ve been cashing out Fetch rewards for Target Gift Cards. I’ve been combining the Target Gift Cards with grocery sales and deals in the Target app, and picking up via curbside pick up. It’s a great option if you’ve got kids and you’ve got a busy summer.

And I’ve been getting a lot of really great freebies from Social Nature lately too. It’s fun to try new foods.

The CSA Box comes tomorrow AM, but they send out a preview email over the weekend. It is very helpful for menu planning.

Veggies and fruit are delivered each Monday by Yasukochi Family Farms CSA. For $25, it’s a great deal. I don’t have to pick anything, go to the store, or carry it upstairs. I can’t go to the store and get the same amount we get weekly for $25. Seriously. It’s a deal. I spend about an hour on Monday afternoon cleaning and prepping veggies for the rest of the week.

I’m doing some meal prep today: A batch of cookies, roasting zucchini, defrosting and marinating chicken, and defrosting ground beef so tomorrow I can make a big batch of red sauce.

For those of you that are new to meal planning, I’ve got an easy 101 style post here with super easy tips and steps. After you get that down, here is info about batch or freezer cooking.

I’ve gotten a pretty good inventory of the pantry, freezer, and fridge done (I try to update it after every shopping trip), so I’m able to plan meals and use up what we’ve got with little waste. If you are looking for a kitchen inventory printable, I like the kitchen inventories here. They are great printables.

I only post our dinner plans for the week, because our other meals are usually the same each day.

Breakfast: Coffee with 1/2 and 1/2  for me, and pancakes or something along those lines for the kids.  The kids are nuts about pancakes. The Big Kid has been on a protein shake kick in the AM.

Lunch: We pick up free school lunches during the summer for the kids, I also have a plastic tote in the cupboard full of self-serve snacks. I buy treats and snacks in bulk and fill up snack-sized zip-top bags.

Dinner: Usually, I do a crockpot meal on Mondays, but now that we are home all the time, we’ve been having an odd combination of fully home-cooked, scratch meals, and frozen entrees and veggies. I have been posting our meal plans on Instagram too- As well as pics of stuff we are doing to keep busy.

  • Sunday: Pulled BBQ chicken, rice, salad.
  • Monday: Spaghetti with red sauce (I am making some without meat for my vegetarian kiddo).
  • Tuesday:  Breakfast for Dinner (pancakes, bacon, and fruit-probably melon)
  • Wednesday:  Nugget night: Nuggets, crackers, cheese, fruit
  • Thursday: Italian Herb and Lemon chicken, rice, salad, roasted corn
  • Friday:  Takeout Night
  • Saturday: Leftovers, fruit, salad

Please stay safe you guys!

Talk Back: What are you cooking for dinner this week?

6/21/2021 Weekly Meal Plan

0a5e9dab796cea8a07eabe4eb4795b9e.jpgThis week marks the first week of summer school for the big kid and a reading summer program for the little one. I’m excited for them to get out of the house and be with other kids.

We hit up the county library last week and picked up our summer reading stuff and checked out a huge stack of books.

Last weeks’ trip to the grocery store combined with the free summer lunches meals that I didn’t have to go to the grocery store over the weekend for this week. That’s great because the price of groceries has gone up exponentially over the past few weeks, so I’m leaning more on stores that have good deals like Grocery Outlet, and using my cashback apps like Fetch Rewards.

We usually get a CSA box on Mondays, but I opted to skip this week because we have so much leftover from last week.

Veggies and fruit are delivered each Monday by Yasukochi Family Farms CSA. For $25, it’s a great deal. I don’t have to pick anything, go to the store, or carry it upstairs. I can’t go to the store and get the same amount we get weekly for $25. Seriously. It’s a deal. I spend about an hour on Monday afternoon cleaning and prepping veggies for the rest of the week.

I did a little meal prep over the weekend, mostly cutting up melons, making salads, and cooking a batch of beans and rice for lunch this week.

For those of you that are new to meal planning, I’ve got an easy 101 style post here with super easy tips and steps. After you get that down, here is info about batch or freezer cooking.

I’ve gotten a pretty good inventory of the pantry, freezer, and fridge done (I try to update it after every shopping trip), so I’m able to plan meals and use up what we’ve got with little waste. If you are looking for a kitchen inventory printable, I like the kitchen inventories here. They are great printables.

I only post our dinner plans for the week, because our other meals are usually the same each day.

Breakfast: Coffee with 1/2 and 1/2  for me, and pancakes or something along those lines for the kids.  The kids are nuts about pancakes. The Big Kid has been on a protein shake kick in the AM.

Lunch: We pick up free school lunches during the summer for the kids, I also have a plastic tote in the cupboard full of self-serve snacks. I buy treats and snacks in bulk and fill up snack-sized zip-top bags.

Dinner: Usually, I do a crockpot meal on Mondays, but now that we are home all the time, we’ve been having an odd combination of fully home-cooked, scratch meals, and frozen entrees and veggies. I have been posting our meal plans on Instagram too- As well as pics of stuff we are doing to keep busy.

  • Sunday: Burgers and fries
  • Monday: Spinach Salad, Chicken Tikka Masala, rice
  • Tuesday:   Pulled BBQ chicken, roasted veg, noodles
  • Wednesday:  Meal o’ snacks: Fruits, crackers, cheese, granola bars
  • Thursday: Breakfast for Dinner (pancakes, bacon, and fruit)
  • Friday:  Takeout Night
  • Saturday: Leftovers, fruit, salad

Please stay safe you guys!

Talk Back: What are you cooking for dinner this week?