Marin mama's weekly dinner menu for November 24thI almost didn’t publish a weekly menu this week, as it’s a holiday week and I know most of you are just concentrating on what to make for Thanksgiving and are probably in vacation mode, but I’m a creature of habit, so I’m just going to post one anyway for those of you that are interested.  I mean Thanksgiving is on Thursday and we still have to cook Sunday through Wednesday, right?  BTW, if you’re eyeballing that above cranberry sauce, I have the recipe on my blog.  It’s super easy to whip up and tastes so much better than the canned variety. It also makes a great hostess gift. We like to put the cranberry sauce into little glass jars, tie them with a cute bow and give them away throughout the holiday season. Oh, for those of you that are interested in trying to eat a bit healthier, I have a recipe for chia pudding embedded in this post, so you’re not only getting a weekly menu, but a recipe as well.  Bonus!  Oh, and I’m also sharing with you some of the healthier things I’ve been trying to eat for lunch as well, so welcome to the world of Jackie and her attempts at trying to eat healthier throughout the day.

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acorn squash stuffed with quinoa and roasted almondsSome of you who have followed my blog from the beginning may recognize this recipe, as it’s one of the first ones I posted on the blog.  I decided to re-post it as I made a few changes to the recipe and updated all the photos, plus I feel like it’s a wonderful recipe to share with you all this time of year as acorn squash is in season and Thanksgiving is just around the corner.  This is a great meatless alternative for Thanksgiving or you can serve these up as a healthy side dish.  You can even make these vegan by adding nutritional yeast in lieu of the feta.

I love this recipe and make it up quite often for lunch in the fall.  I say lunch because my kids are not fans of quinoa and squash, so I really can’t make this up for dinner as my kids would not be happy campers.  This is more of a “mommy and daddy” meal in my house.

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Marin mama's weekly dinner menu for November 17thThere’s my gorgeous ballerina Zoe! Zoe had her ballet rehearsal last night and I had to grab a quick shot of her before she left.  I love the pairing of the sweatshirt with the big pink tutu, as it captures who Zoe is, she’s sporty but yet also has her girly side.  I simply adore her and I love the person she is growing up to be.

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coconut-lime pork tacos

coconut-lime pork tacos I know the name for these tacos sounds a bit strange, but believe me, they don’t taste strange, in fact they taste pretty darn amazing.  I never thought coconut milk, lime and pineapple juice would be a winning combination with ground pork, but they really compliment the pork, and add a nice tropical flavor. The coconut milk while adding flavor and richness to the ground pork, also helps to keep it moist. These tacos may look complicated, but they’re not.  You can have these on the table in less than 30 minutes, making them another easy weeknight meal.  Who doesn’t love that?  Please don’t be scared off by the long list of ingredients listed below, most of the ingredients are spices, in fact, I had most of the ingredients on hand the first time I made these up, except the pork, coconut milk and pineapple juice.

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Marin mama's weekly dinner menu for November 10thSo I’m happy to say that I did much better on keeping in line with my weekly dinner menu this past week.  Actually Zoe was the one who made me stick to it.  She took a look at Sunday’s weekly menu post, and was so giddy at what I was planning on making for the week.  She couldn’t wait for the buffalo burgers with the chipotle mayo. Oh my goodness, those burgers were so good. We all seriously stopped speaking as we ate. I put in 1/2 cup of sharp grated cheddar cheese into the patties, topped them with the chipotle mayo, put the burger between two grilled brioche buns, and it was pure burger bliss.  BTW, if any of you are wondering what’s in the top photo, it was my lunch on Tuesday.  I had a lemon and thyme popover (recipe soon) and a spinach power smoothie.

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kale salad with brussels sprouts and toasted almondsSo, yes, this is another kale salad recipe, (sorry for all of the kale recipes lately folks) but it has Brussels sprouts in it, so you’re getting 2 amazing veggies in one salad!  Bonus!  My foodie friend Carolyn passed this recipe onto me and told me I had to try it.  I totally trust Carolyn, and when she tells me that I need to try something, I do, no questions asked. I was nervous to have the kids try this because Eli despises Brussels sprouts, like totally gags on them.  So the first time I made this up, I didn’t tell him that there were Brussels sprouts in it (I know, I’m a mean and sneaky mama).  He ate the salad and really liked it. I then told him after he finished that he just ate some Brussels sprouts, and you know what, he said he liked them raw mixed in with the kale!  Sometimes you just have to be a bit sneaky moms!

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Marin mama's weekly dinner menu for November 3rdSo I want to start out this post by making a confession to you all.  I can’t and don’t always follow my weekly menu. There are some weeks, like last week, where life is just too hectic and I don’t even have time to hit the grocery store. Last week the Italian wedding soup that I was craving on Sunday never got made. Our Sunday was filled with soccer and baseball games, as well as a soccer party, and by the time we all got home, we we’re wiped, so we just opened the fridge and had a dinner of leftovers.  On Monday I had a meeting for a new work venture I’m starting, so I didn’t even have time to hit the grocery store.  Eli had a family baseball game and Zoe had dance, so I ended up feeding her a boxed pasta from Annie’s, and John and Eli picked up dinner on the way home.  Zoe looked at me as I made up the pasta and laughed because she hadn’t had that pasta in years. I felt frazzled and stressed and realized that if I’m going to work outside the home a bit, then I really need to come up with a better plan, get more organized as far as stocking my fridge and pantry, so when those crazy nights come up, I have a pantry and fridge full of  items that I can toss together for a satisfying and tasty meal.  The reason I’m telling you all this is because I don’t want to ever come off as someone who has it all together, because I really don’t.  I get frazzled and stressed and feed my kids boxed pasta once and while and that’s ok!  We have to make short cuts in life once in a while to keep our sanity, right?   As much as I preach about keeping a well stocked pantry and fridge, I don’t always follow my own advice, and sometimes I need reminders like last week to get my game on again, so game on!

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marin mama's favorite kale recipesIt’s the day after Halloween and I don’t know about you, but I’m in the mood for some healthier fare today.  When I need to detox from too many sweets, wine and pizza, I tend to gravitate towards something made with kale, whether it be a smoothie or salad.  So today I thought I would share with you my favorite kale recipes from the blog in-case you were looking to detox with some kale as well.

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pasta with kale, lemon and toasted walnutsToday I’m giving you all a tasty, healthy, easy, family approved and under 30 minute weeknight pasta two ways (whew, that was a lot in one sentence).  I mean who doesn’t love that?  It’s actually the same recipe, but I’m using two different types of pastas as well as cheeses.  The family approved and kid friendly version uses regular spaghetti and grated parmesan.  The “mommy” and teenage (I say teenage because Zoe loves this version as well) version uses whole-wheat spaghetti and Pecorino Romano cheese.  Both ways are tasty, it’s just an individual preference.  I love both versions, but prefer the whole-wheat version because the pasta has a great nutty flavor and is a bit chewy, but chewy in a good way, and the Pecorino Romano cheese adds a bit of salty flavor to the whole-wheat pasta.

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Marin mama's weekly dinner menu for October 27thSurprise, surprise, I made up another kale salad this week. My girlfriend Carolyn sent me the recipe and I just had to try it. You all know that I just can’t resist new kale recipes.  It’s a kale salad with roasted almonds and Brussels sprouts. It was so good and I promise to make it this week so that I can photograph it and get it out to you all.  I’m think I’m going to make up this salad along with my kale salad with pear and aged gouda for Thanksgiving.

So last weekend Eli and I took a road trip along with my friend Yvonne and her boys to Carmel Valley, to visit our friend Hilary.  Hilary had moved from Marin to Carmel a few months ago and we were missing her tons, so we headed down for the night.  I had to take a photo of the back of my car as we were heading out.  Yep, this is how Yvonne and I pack for a night away.  It looks like we’re packing for a week long trip instead of just a night (#packratmamas).  Mind you there were 5 of us, but still!

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popovers with rosemary and sea saltWe’re a total popover loving family. We love the traditional popovers, sugar-crusted popovers and now these rosemary and sea salt popovers. Popovers are my carb of choice because they’re SO easy to make up and require a few simple pantry ingredients.  They may look all fancy and formal with their big puffy tops and seem difficult to make, but let me tell you, they’re one of the easiest recipes to make. They even have an exact cooking time which makes them even easier to make up.

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