Tag Archives: Food

The Vacation Allens

Do you become a different person on vacation? Maybe you’re not a different person, per say, maybe just a more restful, relaxed version of yourself. After all, that’s what vacation is for, right? To RELAX, to decompress from real life, to take a break from the rigorous daily routine, to enjoy the fruits of our labor. We work hard for that vacation so we want to enjoy it!


(Those smug rednecks. Look how relaxed they look.)

When our family goes on vacation, we turn into the Vacation Allens. If you’ve never met these Allens, you’re missing out. They are just the most fun. They are up for anything, will wake up extra early for adventure, and they spare no expense. They are easy-going, go-with-the-flow people. They want to pack it all in because they’ve decided they’ll sleep when they’re dead. They haven’t a care in the world, these Vacation Allens.

The only people who hate the Vacation Allens are the Brentwood Allens. They think the Vacation Allens are self-absorbed punks. They’re selfish, they have ALL the fun, and they use the Brentwood Allens credit card to fund it all.


They eat at nice restaurants, not even looking at the right side of the menu, buy all the souvenirs, buy all the entertainment and a month later, the Brentwood Allens are left to foot the bill like a couple of schmucks. What do they think; the Brentwood Allens have a money tree in their backyard? And not only do they leave them to carry the financial burden of all their vacay fun, they also force them to carry the weight. No really, like the actual pounds gained while they feasted on whatever their little hearts desired on vacation. Those Vacation Allens say yes to ALL THE FOOD. Mainly the carbs because screw the Brentwood Allens who try to eat healthy and work out; we’re on VACATION! Bread? YES! Ice cream? YES! Pizza? YES! Chips, salsa, guacamole? YES! YES! YES! The Vacation Allens have zero self-control and have deluded themselves into believing they have the metabolism of a 10 year old with ADHD. It’s pathetic. The Brentwood Allens are left to curse their soft bellies and sausage arms. Thanks a lot Vacation Allens.

I feel bad for the Brentwood Allens always having to pay for the sins of their alter egos. It isn’t fair. But I must say, since we are going on vacation soon, I’m a little giddy for Vacation Court. She is going to have a blast pounding carbs and pretending they don’t affect her body in the least. It’s a blissful time. The backlash will be brutal but Vacation Court will go hard before she goes home. She’s not a quitter. She will eat the last bite/last roll/last piece of cake and will feel zero shame about it. It’s gonna be amazing.

Anybody else have vacation alter egos?


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Judgy dieting


(Don’t let those little smiles fool you, they gag when told sweet potato chips and dried mangoes are substitutes for chips and dessert. They’re no dummies.)

Dieting. The word alone makes me cringe. That word also makes me want to open a bag of Cheetos and go to town. (On a side note: I was watching the Martha Stewart show many, many moons ago and she claimed she didn’t know what a Cheeto was. Really Martha? How out of touch can you be? You live in America and have never had a Cheeto? I digress…) So dieting…or as people in the business say, “It’s not a diet, it’s a lifestyle.” Gag. I know that lifestyle of which you speak. If social media serves correctly (and doesn’t it always?) this “lifestyle” is full of TIGHT athletic wear showing off perfectly toned abs, green smoothies, mirror selfies, and yoga poses overlooking the Grand Canyon. Basically identical to my current life, except the opposite. Although I do love a green smoothie. Even if it has kale. Look at me, guys, I’m growing!

Anyway, when I attempt to make healthier food choices, I’ll admit I tend to become a bit of a judgy dieter. On my first day, I like to sit on top of my mountain on my high horse and look down on those eating their processed food. “How can they eat that Chick fil A sandwich and fries?! Don’t they know how bad that is for them? But I guess if they’re going to eat fried chicken, at least it’s the Lord’s chicken.” The whole time I’m thinking these things, I’m reminiscing about pounding a #1 with a half and half tea just the week before. Ahh, the good old days. I may even watch in horror as the person in the car next to me downs a milkshake from Sonic. Oh the sugar and the fat in those! Does she know what she’s doing to her body! And I drive off in all my self-righteousness, trying not to remember how smooth a peanut butter fudge shake goes down.

Day 1 is when I’m most judgy. I’m always good on day 1. Day 1 I can’t be tempted. What am I…WEAK? No. Day 1 I’m ALL IN!! I’ve got my meals planned out, my exercise on, and I can’t be stopped.

Fast forward to Day 4: I will cut you for a brownie. I’d give my right arm for a piece of pizza. I will try sneaking Hot Tamales out of my kids’ candy stash. I am JONESING for junk food. I had no idea that tall mountain I was on was actually a glass house…maybe I shouldn’t be throwing quite so many stones. And usually by Day 7 I’m bingeing on chips and I’ve gone to buy a cake in a cup from Puffy Muffin. This is my cycle. Until recently.

Just a few months ago I had a very hurtful experience. It had been going on for some time but I finally had to address it. My jeans were cutting into my stomach. They did it over and over, unapologetically, every day. The jerks. So I finally made the decision to start eating healthier. We don’t talk a lot about dieting in our house but we do talk about making “healthier food choices” which my children just adore. What kids don’t love when their moms start buying healthier snacks at the store?

“You want chips, honey? Oh sorry, we don’t have those but you should try one of these multigrain flax and chia seed crackers! It’s basically the same! And I know you like fruit roll ups but how about one of these tasty dried apricots? Yummmm!” At least I know my kids will not be played for fools when they get older. They don’t buy into this nonsense one bit.

So over the last month or two I’ve changed up my eating, knowing full well I could cave at any point, which has made me a little less judgmental. I’ve had a few hiccups (I went on a trip to Chicago with a girlfriend and enjoyed ALL. THE. FOOD. And it was magical. I feel certain they will serve the pasta and deep dish pizza inside the pearly gates. It was just that good.) but for the most part it’s been really good. And bonus: my jeans aren’t being such jerks anymore! For those of you who are dieting/making healthy food choices, press on. It’s not for the faint of heart. Or the faint of gut. May all your protein bars taste like chocolate chip cookies and your smoothies like milkshakes and may God have mercy on your waistline.


P.S. If you’re like me and don’t see much change in that number on the scale but have noticed your clothes fit better, you have my sympathies. The scale is a punk.

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Does this picture bother anyone else?

I was told recently that I may or may not have OCD because I like my socks to match. Can this be right? I would never consider myself one to be obsessive or compulsive about anything. Well, anything but food that is. I can become very obsessed with the thought of food and extremely compulsive trying to get it in my belly. But that’s everyone, right?

I chewed on this OCD idea a couple of days and tried to think of other things in my life that I like to be a certain way.

1. I rearrange the dishwasher when other people put things in the “wrong” way. (I like to maximize my space; doesn’t everyone do this?)

2. I don’t like other people in my family to fold clothes because I like the way I fold  them.

3. I hide food. (Wait, I think that might be a different disorder.)

4. It stresses me out to look in my kids’ drawers because now that they put away their own clothes, they’re basically crumpled up and thrown in a drawer. (How hard is it just to lay them in there? They’re already folded! Wouldn’t it be more work to crumple them up?!)

5. When traveling, I don’t ever want to share a suitcase with my husband. We could be going somewhere for one night and I still want my own bag.

6. I’m pretty neat when I cook/bake. I put ingredients away as I go because I don’t like to have a huge mess when I’m finished. (Oddly enough, I’m not OCD about my kitchen being spotless. I think I just don’t like food being out. You’d think by the looks of my kitchen that I love paper. Sooo many papers. I’m so afraid I’m going to throw away an important one that I keep them all, but really, I hate papers.)

7. When I shower, I wash everything in same order every time. (But that’s more like habit, right? I guess I could try starting with my feet and not my face but that would be so weird.)

8. I kind of freak out if my kids eat fruit that hasn’t been washed. (But I don’t freak out if they haven’t washed their hands before they eat. Hmmm, something’s wrong here.)

9. I can’t go to bed with make up on my face. Even if I’m not wearing eye make up, I still have to wash my face.

10. If candy has a cream/gooey filled center, I can’t eat it in one bite. I have to bite just enough to suck out the goo/cream. (I’m a psycho.)


After reading this list, I’m aware of 3 things:

  1. I’m neurotic about doing laundry my way.
  2. I’m only OCD about certain aspects of cleanliness, not all aspects.
  3. I really like food.


I’m not a psych/neuro person so I don’t know what classifies someone as OCD, but I feel like maybe we’re all a little bit this way about certain things. Maybe I’m trying to rationalize my own quirks. Whatever. All I know is don’t touch my laundry, don’t eat dirty fruit, and give me all the candy. This pretty much sums it up.


Anyone else have any OCD tendencies they’re willing to share?


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Quick & Easy.

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Fiesta Quinoa Enchilada

Fiesta Quinoa Enchilada Bake from skinnytaste.com

So I’m switching it up a bit today and sharing a recipe I tried on my family this week. So, for the 4 dudes who read this, please feel free to space out now, because I know ya’ll don’t cook (I only know this because they’re related to me). I found this recipe on www.skinnytaste.com. I’ve tried several of her recipes before and have usually been pleased. Some of her stuff is a little out there for my picky ones but this dinner was a hit. And by hit, I mean, 2 out of 3 kids cleaned their plates. This is a magnificent feat in my house. If you don’t have picky eaters, feel very VERY blessed. To be a person that likes to cook and have children that don’t eat much is my cross to bear. Feel very sorry for me. I’m a modern day martyr.

So a couple of things, I let my kids eat this with tortilla chips. They liked the idea of “dip” for dinner so I went with it. That was an easy battle to lose. It’s a healthy meal so I didn’t feel too bad about the chips. Also, I noticed in the comments on the website that people were getting confused about the enchilada sauce. In her recipe she makes her own with tomato sauce, garlic, adobo sauce, and cumin. So when it says to spread the enchilada sauce, it’s talking about the tomato sauce you just made. Serve it up with some broccoli and you’ve got your meal. This served my family of five with leftovers for another day. We really enjoyed it and I thought you might too! Let me know if you like it and if you would like me to post more recipes I try on my family. I always love having new recipes to try so if you’re the same way let me know in the comments section. Thanks!

Here’s the linky-loo to the recipe: http://www.skinnytaste.com/2014/10/quinoa-fiesta-enchilada-bake.html 

Any tried and true recipes that you love?


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Dinner Shenanigans


(Warning: This post has nothing to do with the game of Life)

One thing you may not know about me is that I love to cook/bake. Something about bringing single ingredients together to make something delicious is good for my soul. When I have time I love to try new recipes out on my family. My husband loves when it’s new recipe week….unless we’re dieting, then he pretty much chokes down the rubber chicken because he’s a real gem. His fave is when I bring out any of Pioneer Woman’s recipes because she.is.the.bomb.diggidy.

My kids have a vastly different view of my cooking. I usually do make relatively healthy meals when I cook for my family which would explain why my children think I’m a terrible “cooker”. You see, they’re allergic to healthy food. And I had no idea that allergies to food could be so contagious because as soon as one of them says it’s gross they all develop the allergy.

That’s when we start the game we play every night I cook dinner. It’s called “How Many Bites Til I Can Get Up?”. I know, I think the title is a bit long too. And don’t let the whiny voices fool you, they love this game. I mean, why else would we play it so much?

The best part of the game is watching the kids’ facial expressions as they eat the given number of bites. Because I sit across from my oldest, I see his face the most and not gonna lie, I have to look away or I would laugh right in his face. You know, because all good moms laugh when their children are in pain. The furrowed brow. The flared nostrils. The ever so slight convulsions that come from holding back the gag reflex. It’s truly a sight to behold. My husband videoed it once without our oldest knowing (because we’re good parents) and I must say, it was material for America’s Funniest Videos. Watching someone eating something they don’t like and ALMOST tossing their cookies will bring tears to your eyes. This video is probably close to 2 minutes long and I don’t know about you, but if I was chewing something that long I’d probably gag too.

Another fun part of this game is watching to see how small a bite the kids can get on their fork and still have it count as a bite. We got wise to that one quickly. “No, sweet, just because you mashed up that piece of broccoli into 3 pieces, it doesn’t count for 3 bites. But bonus points for creativity.” Oh, one of the most important rules of the game is, if they spit out their bite it doesn’t count. They have to swallow their food for it to count as a bite. We’re nasty parents, aren’t we? And, no, they may not go to the bathroom with a bite in their mouth. We had to make that rule after finding chewed up who knows what in the bathroom sink more than once. One point for sneakiness, 0 points for execution.

So I know all of you are just dying to incorporate this game into family dinners if you aren’t doing so already. I’ve asked around and it seems it’s a pretty popular game. Let me warn you, it can be as exhausting as a game of Monopoly. And really there are no winners when you’re throwing away half a plate of perfectly good food. Try not to think about the starving children in the world as you scrape the food into the trashcan, or you might go ape crazy on your kids about how ungrateful they are getting to eat 3 meals a day when some kids don’t even get one. Not that I’ve done that or anything. I’ve just heard about it from a friend….

And I know some of you are thinking I should go ahead a rename the blog: #becauseimagoodmom. Because clearly I have so many good parenting tips. I’m seriously considering it.  #thesarcasmisreal

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Grocery Store Magic



Ah, the grocery store. Deep down, I love the grocery store (obviously I love it more when I can stroll the store by myself. Grocery store with kids? That’s a post for another day). If the bible is true that “where your treasure is there your heart will be also”, then my heart is in the grocery store. If I never had to worry about money, I would spend a fortune on food. And clothes from Anthro. I would shop at Fresh Market where the produce is way overpriced but looks amazing, so I would justify it. Same for the fresh meat. I would tell Kyle, “Hun, it’s okay that the 1 lb of beef was $10 because it’s organic, grass-fed, free range, no antibiotics, no hormones, no GMOs, Grade A beef.” Let’s face it, the grocery store makes all that healthy food look delish. The eggplants are the richest purple. The tomatoes are juicy and plump. The lettuce has ne’er a tear in its leaves. When I’m there, I want to try one of everything then come home and find some Pinterest recipes to use up all of my amazing finds at the store.

While looking at the rainbow of fruits and vegetables, I find myself scoffing at the thought of perusing the evil middle aisles. The aisles where high fructose corn syrup and artificial additives abound. I wouldn’t dream of browsing those aisles if it weren’t “for the kids”. Because in my mind they might die of snack starvation if they don’t have goldfish and gummy snacks. Of course if it weren’t “for them”, I’d never leave the perimeter of the grocery store. It’s magical, that grocery store.

But tell me if this happens to you.

Something happens to my healthy food on the way home from the store. It’s like the magical grocery dust is shaken off my produce, because when I get home and start putting my groceries away, I notice something. When I put my vegetables in the crisper drawer, they don’t look the same. They look….average. At the store they were pristine and now, sitting next to the half-eaten bag of baby carrots, they’re not as enticing. Maybe it’s because they’re sitting in a bit of week old carrot juice that somehow found its way out of the sealed bag. And as I look upon all my ordinary vegetables I realize I’m starting to get hungry. One would think I would go straight to those bright, green cukes I just purchased. One would be wrong.



This. This is what I reach for. Because they truly are magically delicious. But, in my opinion, they have way too much oat cereal and not nearly enough marshmallows. Let’s be honest, we’re all in it for the marshmallows. When my kids eat it, I tell them not to just eat the marshmallows, then I grab a handful and do just that. Of course, I turn around and don’t let my kids see, because I’m a good mother.

And it’s not just Lucky Charms. It could be any food that comes in a box with preservatives and artificial flavoring. It’s like my pantry has its own magical dust for junk food. And let’s face it, junk food is my jam. I can show restraint until about 4:00pm. Then it’s on like Donkey Kong. And I justify eating my weight in Cheezits by telling myself I was really good and ate a healthy breakfast and lunch. After I’ve eaten about 3 servings of Cheezits (does anybody eat just 1 serving?), my sweet tooth kicks in. Good thing I bought that candy corn from the middles aisle, telling myself all the while it was for the kids.

Soon after I’ve put myself into a sugar coma, it’s time for dinner. And of course, I have to eat all my dinner, even though I’m not hungry, to set a good example for the kids. I wouldn’t want them to think I’m a hypocrite. Let them figure out later that I hoarded chocolate in my nightstand and ate ice cream after they went to bed. They can hash that out in the “Mommy issues” portion of the counseling they’re bound to have. I digress.

As any good example would, I made a happy plate and ate all my healthy food. By this time, I’m as full as a tick (such a gross analogy). But don’t worry, little dears, come 9:00 I’ll be scrounging for more food. I know what you’re thinking, “She’ll probably pull out some tasty, raw broccoli for a late night snack. I mean, she was just talking about how amazing all the produce looked at the grocery store.” Sigh. Wrong again.

Broccoli? At 9:00pm? I’d rather eat cardboard.

Late night snacks are usually in the form of ice cream or chocolate. And the next morning, it all starts again. So, score one for the magic pantry dust. And magic grocery dust, you need to come up with a longer shelf life.

Comment and tell me if your pantry has magic dust too!