Lamb Kofta with Pistachios and Herb Salad


After the first of the year I decided to try one of the services that provide a “meal in a box” to add some diversity into our menu as well as to try and eat healthier.

The service that offers meals that most closely matches our food choices is a company called Plated. The gist is that you select three different meals of two “plates” each. The meals are then delivered on the date you choose ad contain everything you need to make the meal.

Overall we absolutely love it, I’ll be writing more about in in-depth later but I did want to share one of the recent meals that I made and absolutely loved!

This Lamb Kofta reminds me a bit of a gyro but not quite. It has a fairly mild but flavorful taste.  There are a number of ingredients but overall it was pretty easy to make and took 30 minutes from start to finish.

Weekly Menu and Goals

Mayan pyramid at Coba

Mayan pyramid at Coba

In case you were wondering where I’ve been, we just returned from our vacation.  I had such plans of having a bunch of posts scheduled so you wouldn’t even know I was gone – and then life happened.

Mike and I took the kids on a cruise down to the Caribbean.  It wasn’t our best vacation but it was really nice to get out of the freezing cold and enjoy some sunshine.  Of course, Today it’s back to the grind!

The highlight of the trip was climbing the pyramid in Coba Mexico (even though Belle was sick and puking the whole day).  It was truly awe inspiring and we feel very fortunate to have been able to experience it with our kids.

Once I get through the pictures I’ll share some of the highlights with you.

Rosemary Garlic Mashed Potatoes


Considering that this is our go to mashed potato recipe (when I’m not using a dehydrated bag that is :) ) I can’t believe I haven’t shared this recipe with you!  As I was looking through old recipes I noticed I had shared it so bonus points for me this week for having a super easy post on a Friday!

These potatoes freeze and re-heat really well so I make a large batch and portion up what we don’t eat in freezer bags.  When you’re looking for quick sides to pull out this is a great one.

Rosemary Garlic Mashed Potatoes

  • 2 lbs red potatoes
  • 1 stick butter
  • 8 oz cream cheese
  • Rosemary (fresh or dried)
  • Garlic (fresh or dries)
  • Salt and Pepper
  • Milk

Wash and quarter potatoes. Bring to boil and cook until they are pierced easily with a fork. I prefer to boil them with the skins on and then peel them off afterwards. If you prefer, peel potatoes prior to boiling.

Once potatoes are boiled, peel the skin off and add to mixing bowl. With this recipe it doesn’t matter if there is still some peel left, in fact I purposely leave some of the peel on so that it’s visible in the finished potatoes. Using a mixer, mix potatoes on low to medium speed until they are mashed but still lumpy.  Of course, if you prefer you can use a hand masher as well.

Finely chop rosemary and garlic. When chopping rosemary you will want to pull the leaves from the stem and chop those, discarding the stem.

Add half of your prepared butter, cream cheese, garlic, rosemary, salt and pepper to mixture. Add the balance of ingredients as necessary to achieve your desired consistency and taste. If potatoes seem a little thick you can add milk sparingly. Do not over beat potatoes.

When warming up in the microwave I usually add a little butter as well.


One Way I Deal With Chronic Pain


Anyone who is a regular visitor here has heard me mention my back going out.  While I typically only mention it when it’s quite bad and affecting my ability to do things, I do have a chronic condition that I’ve had to learn to manage over the years.

Quite a number of years ago (at least 10) I slung a 50 lb bag of dog food onto my shoulder while wearing stiletto heels and bending over my trunk.  Although I didn’t feel the pain instantly, it turns out I broke off one of my discs causing it to push against my nerves resulting in a significant injury.  Later that day I was in so much pain I wasn’t able to walk, I ended up missing over a week of work due to the injury.  It was probably a good month or two before I felt good.

Throughout the years I have aggravated it to the point where I’d be completely unable to function.  Fortunately the severe recurrences (I classify severe as needing to see the doctor) were happening less than once a year so the surgeon that I consulted with recommended that I find ways to mitigate the flair ups instead of opting for surgery.

Weekly Menu and Goals

Triple Chocolate Cupcake - CCTNT

Any time that the Wonder Woman complex rears it’s ugly head my back likes to slap it down.  I had a marathon baking day yesterday which I should know I need to stop doing.  All day on my feet cooking and baking on top of the other stuff I got done just isn’t feasible any more.  I guess I’m still a work in progress.

I ended baking 9 dozen cupcakes yesterday for Mike to take to work.  My co-workers like when I do this because I end up sticking some aside for them.  Yesterday I did the Triple Chocolate pictured above plus my carrot cake.

Weekly Menu and Goals

Everyone watch the Superbowl?  I’m not a big football fan and typically don’t watch the games but boy, was that a heart breaker for Seattle fans!  As a Packer fan I felt their pain, to have a game snatched from you like that.  It certainly made for an exciting ending.

Other than the game our week was pretty quiet – really not a lot going on.  Belle and I had a chick flick movie night on Friday and earlier in the week I tried out a new wine bar with a friend of mine.  I think that was the extent of my excitement.

Is Kindle Unlimited Worth the Money?

Financial Series Picture

The advent of e-readers has opened up the door to a plethora of additional reading options. Before the invention of this technology, if you wanted to get your reading fix you would go to a bookstore, a library or borrow books from friends.

For many years I resisted getting a Kindle but finally did cave after hearing all the rave reviews. My personal preference is to hold a real live book in my hands; however I will admit that Kindles do have their place.

The Importance of Retirement Planning

Financial Series Picture

Remember – I’m not a financial planner, just giving you my thoughts.  A professional can guide you with your personal situation.

For many of us, retirement feels like a long ways off. Unfortunately (or fortunately depending upon how you look at it) retirement will be upon us before we know what hits us. Are you prepared for that day?

As I sat down to write this post I did a quick Google search to see if I could find what the average retirement savings was for most Americans. I got to tell you, the numbers are a little scary. 36% of US workers have less than $1,000 saved for retirement (excluding any pensions). Given that defined pensions are going the way of the dinosaur that doesn’t bode well for a lot of us. If you’re interested in reading the article from USA Today you can find it here.

There are a variety of things to take into account when it comes to retirement.

4 Ideas for Quick Budget Fixes

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Everyone is trying to stretch a buck these days. If cost savings for 2015 is in your plan it’s best to implement as many of them at the beginning of the year so you can maximize your savings. Of course, cost savings can be done at any time but why put off getting more money in your pocket?

I took some costs out of my budget last year but I’m looking to do better this year. We’ll talk later about other ways to drive costs out of your budgets, however here are four low hanging options that I’m looking to implement as soon as possible.