Not quite the final kitchen update…

Well it’s officially 4 months this week since we demolished our old kitchen back in May, it’s been along process with lots of bumps in the road, but this weekend was the last Birthday of the year in our house, it always ends our summer, begins our Fall and this year it was the first Birthday we have been able to spend in our new kitchen… yay!


We now have a working stove top, oven, microwave and dishwasher, our farmhouse sink is installed at long last and fitted out with a faucet, so no more trips upstairs to the bathroom to wash anything up, although it’s become a habit it’s hard to break out of.  With the nights getting darker earlier we are thankful we now have lighting in the kitchen, as I type my kitchen island lights are being installed, it seems so long ago that my Mum and I found the newly open Restoration Hardware outlet store, it was the first day of Summer break, I dropped M to the lake to hang out with her friends, then we headed out… we had Shake Shack for lunch and I found these cool cage hanging lights, I had forgotten what they looked like until I just had to make the decision how long I wanted them to be… decisions, decisions.

I have spent the last two years planning my new kitchen, I’ve browsed Pinterest so many times creating boards with my inspiration, when the time actually came to buy the kitchen I knew exactly how I wanted it to look, light, bright, farmhouse style, subway tiles with a darker gray grout, wood and light Quartz, black handles, white ceramic sink and silver taps… I had the plan but I didn’t realize how difficult all the decisions along the way would be… small handles, big handles? One handle or two on each drawer? How wide to have the grout lines in the tile? White or silver recess lighting? Long or short pendant lighting?  The list is endless, but now the kitchen is coming together I’m very pleased, it may be just an IKEA kitchen but it’s what you do with it in the end.

We have had a slight setback this weekend, some wall water pipes had been drilled through when cabinets were installed causing a leak in the basement, this has now been fixed, and is drying out, so there is still some more work to be completed, but we are almost there now, it’s been a hard summer dealing with contractors, problems and cooking on the grill on the deck, but it could have been worse, Summer was the perfect time to be without a kitchen, no lighting, no problem we sat on the deck anyway, no cooker, no problem we love to grill in the Summer months and some of the Fall too, I think the hardest part was no sink, my potted plants suffered as I couldn’t fill my watering can so easily, we have lived with disposable everything, not very environmentally green, which I hate, but you have to do what you have to do.  

Now it is time to unpack all of the boxes of kitchen stuff and decorate this light and airy kitchen… my favorite part, we’ve already chosen the wall color, we have bought an 1800’s train station bench to renovate, we have old meat scales from the 1800’s which were from a local farm, so  very cool, we will be hanging them in the kitchen and I managed to buy some old farmhouse shutters that need a little crackle glaze and whitewash to bring them to life… oh happy days 🌞

Sunday afternoon…

I have been contemplating for quite a while where I could go for a little antiquing fun, in England we visited all over on our antiquing quests, Lewes near Brighton in Sussex was my favorite little town to visit, I could spend hours just wandering around the little antique stores scattered around.

This past Sunday we decided to brunch in our little neighbouring town, the cutest little lunching place was our destination, we were hoping to get there for breakfast but our timekeeping was not great, we did manage to get there for lunch though,  stuffed mushrooms for me with salad on the side and a huge sandwich for Paul, our babies had a firm favorite of grilled cheese sandwiches… the atmosphere was relaxing and the food was comforting.  What I had forgotten about this town was how abundant it was in antique shops… yay a win for me.


Lunch was fun but shopping was even more fun, I told both F and T not to touch anything, they could look but not touch and I have say they were both so good, several people commented on how good they were, they loved looking at all the old things, asking questions and just looking with very little touch ‘I’m just rocking the baby Mom’ Tate said in the cutest little voice. Paul and I love browsing the old antiques, we look at very different things then occasionally we find an item we both love.  I could have spent so much money, I’m a little bit addicted to all this old ‘junk’, old crates, glass bottles and jars, weighing scales and old ladders, I want it all… but I did not see an old farmhouse table, one thing I really need, but I did buy some old farmhouse meat weighing scales, did I need them, no, did Paul and I love them… yes, so now they will be hanging in my new kitchen, much to my fussy daughters disgust, she does not take after me for my love of old things… maybe one day.

On our way home we called into a weekend Antique sale at a local storage place… lucky we did or I wouldn’t have found my old 1800’s bus shelter bench… I saw it from the car and knew it had to be mine, luckily Paul loved it too, several people looked at it, but I knew I wanted it… perfect when bought back to life with a farmhouse table in my bay window… I’m so excited… luckily it got mostly good reviews in my house, apart from my teenage daughter who as I have said absolutely hates old junk… I think she lives in the wrong house 😃

Paleo lifestyle

Ive been playing around with a Paleo lifestyle for a while, it’s hard when you have no kitchen to be fully into it, it’s so easy to say I’ll grill some sausages and stick them in a bun just because you don’t have countertops, an oven, Stove top or dishwasher, but really right now I’m a little more equipped to start it full time, I have some countertops, soon to be a a lot of countertop space, I have the grill, a microwave and a multi task slow cooker, what more does a girl want?  My kitchen stuff is all still packed away, but I now have pantry space to buy and store ingredients like apple cider vinegar, coconut oil and all the staples for nutrition that I have there to hand usually, and my refrigerator is looking more sparse now I have cleared out all the pantry stuff I had no storage space for.

Against all grains blueberry pancakes.

I am resuming my organic delivery once again this week Door to Door Organics, I love  to buy organic when I can and this delivery service is great for all things organic, I’ve been putting it on hold most weeks but it’s time to get my Paleo lifestyle kicked up a notch.

I’ve also cheated a little bit with my menu planning, I found a website with some Paleo recipes and I have just used these, so here we go, here is my menu plan for the coming week…

Deconstructed hamburger salad

Mexican breakfast for dinner

Easy taco soup

Loaded nachos 

Tomato basil chicken

Spicy sausage soup

Left over night… My favorite night.

As with everything in life, things are never easy, and my family don’t make cooking for them easy at all, I have several picky eaters, myself who doesn’t really eat meat and then others who eat everything.  How do I cope with this I hear you ask when you are cooking for such a large family, well I have just learnt to adapt my cooking technique, meat cooked separately and added after to soups and some casseroles, veggies added after I’m dished up certain meals… You do what you can, and I will try to simplify this menu and make it work for everyone and their tastes as I go along.

Of course not everyone in my family wants to be Paleo, and although I think everyone will benefit from a little of this in their diet, I fully understand that I need to add a carbohydrate to our protein and veggies, so I will serve up a separate side dish with every meal, sometimes it will be noodles, other times rice, tortilla chips or even bread, whatever suits the meal I’m serving and also makes my life easier.

Feeding a large family the healthy way can be a challenge sometimes, but with a little planning it can work out in the end.

Late Summer fun…

I love to get out and about, see new places, experience new things, it’s difficult trying to juggle house renovations and getting out whilst this weather is so beautiful.  I don’t know about you but I think life’s too short not to be out there experiencing the world around us, even if it’s just local there are always new things to do and see.

Now that the busy summer season is over and Labor Day is behind us, it’s time to get out there and visit some local places with relative quietness around us, I am not one for crowds so I love this time of year.  We decided to start homeschooling this week leaving last week and the fantastic weather for a little bit of late summer fun at the lake.  We are lucky to have several beautiful lakes in our town, the beaches at the lakes are safe, clean and very picturesque… A magical way to spend a sunny, warm September afternoon.

The forecast for this last weekend was good, we had plans to go to the shore, sometimes having teenage children with their commitments can change those plans though… As was the case this past weekend, oh well those changed plans meant we got to experience the beauty that is High Point State Park.  We have never been to High Point but this past Summer saw a couple of friends visiting it, it looked stunning so we thought we would see for ourselves.  The beach was closed, but you could still use it, there just was no lifeguard on duty, but that was fine we just walked on the sand, played in the park and then drove up to the monument, 1803 feet above sea level, this elevation has fantastic views all the way round as far as you can see, just amazing on a clear day.  It was extremely windy, but this was the best part of the afternoon for my little ones, they ran around the monument, hair, dresses and t-shirts lifting up in the gusty wind, they loved it so much they didn’t want to leave.

Back to homeschooling began yesterday with a field trip, original planned for later in the week, but again having older children changed my plans, I needed to collect something for my son and it was in the direction of the farm and some apple picking fun.  Our Theme at the moment is Frozen the movie, our letter of the week is Aa and our numbers are 1 to 5. Apple picking was a perfect way to kick off our week looking at the letter Aa in more detail.  We rode the hay wagon, picked some juicy apples, of course you have to try them first before you pick them, we picked some huge furry soft peaches and visited with the animals, it was hot dusty but oh so much fun.


This coming weekend looks beautiful again… Plans are already in the making for one day in the house catching up on chores and the other day, who knows where we will be?

Summer is drawing to an end…

Well who agrees with me, Summer went so fast… One minute my children were finishing school and we were all looking forward to switching off our alarms and laying in bed in the mornings with no real plans for the day, then just like that it’s August, back to alarms as Heat Week kicked off, then early morning soccer practice every day, followed by thoughts of school buses, school supplies and back to school haircuts.

Summer for us always begins early, we are so lucky to have good friends with a beautiful pool… Once the weather turns and Spring is in full bloom, we are in the pool, and this has become over the years a big part of our Summer fun.  We usually visit two or three times a week, sometimes we stay for a BBQ too, but this year it’s been much more difficult to juggle with our kitchen renovation, we’ve managed it somehow and it has been so worth it, Florrie is now swimming without her armbands and Tate has gained so much confidence it’s crazy, he loves jumping in now and going under, it’s a pleasure to watch them.

 

We kicked off our Summer with some fruit picking at a local farm, it was a hot and dusty day, but we all had fun, ate way too many raspberries and Florrie discovered she loved fresh peas straight out of the pod… This made me very happy.

When we arrived in England earlier this year we discovered everyone was drinking Prosecco, what? It had become a craze, and I’m not going to lie we thought it was crazy, but as in all crazes we got hooked on our return home, this Summer has become a Summer of drinking Prosecco on the deck, with no kitchen to speak of we have grilled and grilled on our brand new BBQ and drunk copious bottles of Prosecco.


  

We Spent our Fourth of July at our friends pool, we had a BBQ too, then grabbed our suitcases and caught our late flight Down to Jacksonville, Florida for our 10 day vacation.  First stop the beautiful town of Saint Augustine, it was VERY hot, extremely picturesque and so busy, but we had a fantastic time, our condo was beautiful, the pool was warm and it was so much fun to swim every evening before dinner.  Next stop a flying visit to Daytona Beach on our way to Orlando, home to the Happiest place on earth… Disney World, it was extremely hot 103f, extremely busy but it was so magical to watch Florrie and Tate’s faces take in the whole experience that is Disney.  The first of our two days in Orlando was spent in Magic Kingdom and the second was spent in a slightly quieter Hollywood Studios, both very full long days, two days was more than enough time for me in theme parks, next year I’m taking a year off from them completely.


On our return from Florida the kitchen renovation kicked up a notch, permits were attained and contractors began to arrive, also Summer Birthday Season began with Jordan’s 26th celebration, a quiet one at home, followed by Farrel’s 22nd, Mabel’s 15th and Blu’s 17th Birthdays.  Farrel was flying to Arizona on his special day, so we had a Birthday Starbucks for breakfast before he left, then Both Mabel and Blu had soccer practice on their Birthdays so we celebrated around the coming and going that is August Soccer, Mabel with Hibachi and Blu with smokin BBQ.  Mabels friends also organized a surprise Beach party for her, which of course involved some parent help too… The sun shone, Mabel was totally surprised and had a fantastic time.

The first week in August came and it meant that my Mum was going home, with kitchen contractors in most days it was difficult to get out and make the most of her last few days here.  We did manage an afternoon at Dingmans Falls, it was a beautiful stroll through cool woodland, the Falls were relaxing to say the least.  The first weekend of August was Lumineers weekend, 6 tickets were purchased for the Stone Pony concert arena in Asbury Park, our car was loaded with beach stuff and people, the day did not disappoint even though we got absolutely soaking wet when a short heavy storm came in. I sat in the outdoor free concert on the beach with my Mum, Florrie and Tate, whilst the others all stood for hours and watched the show from inside the outdoor arena.


The last part of the Summer has been quiet for us, lots of swimming in the pool, eating Rita’s custard ice happiness, Florence’s absolute favorite, soccer practice, dinners with friends, contractors coming and going, trips to IKEA for kitchen parts, family BBQ and prosecco time on the deck, the Great British Bake Off on a Sunday evening, shopping with Dom for vacation clothes, including lunch at the Cheesecake Factory, Moms Taxi rides and let’s not forget the Sunflower Maze, a family tradition for us year after year, we love the sunflowers and getting lost in the maze, it’s always so hot in there so of course after numerous photos being taken I bribe Florrie with ice cream for just a few more shots, it works and I snap a few more before we buy sunflowers to take home and head off in the direction of something cooler.

…And that was our Summer 2016, almost over for another year, just a few more things to do on this holiday weekend. ✨

IKEA kitchen from start to not quite finished yet.

We seem to be at a standstill right now as far as the kitchen goes, it was all go, go, go for one week, now we are on a go extremely slow. We are at the end of August which means I have not had a kitchen now for 3 months, I think we have managed quite well with grilling outside on the deck, the thing I have missed the most is the sink, it has surprised me how much we rely on our kitchen sink, even in this world of automation and dishwashers, the sink is a mainstay of our kitchen and can never be fully replaced.

Installing IKEA kitchens and using there installation services is a little complicated just as there flat packed cabinets have a lot of components so does this service… It’s taken me almost three months to understand the way things work, I think, so let me try to explain… IKEA itself sells you the kitchen, the kitchen is made up of many, many, many components, on a $14,000 kitchen expect to have at least 250 boxes be delivered, there are screws, hinges, drawer fronts, side panels, handles, countertop, appliances, the list goes on, and within 48 hours you are expected to check a receipt that has a list of foreign names and complicated numbers that is at least 3 ft long over and match it with a garage full of boxes that have been delivered to you, sometimes in two or three deliveries and as it turns out one box can contain several items, if you don’t check this and report any missed items or damaged items within 48 hours they can refuse to refund these items to you at a later date, even if you are using there recommended contracting service.

Once you have purchased your kitchen and you decided to use their installation service you move onto their company called Traemand, now it has taken me a while to realize they only deal with cabinet making, installation, countertops and dry fitting of appliances, be warned to check the invoice thoroughly before you sign it, little things like fitting toe kick boards on a 47 linear foot kitchen cost $980 to fit, making your less expensive IKEA cabinets more expensive in the long run.  Be warned the invoice only says it’s an estimate and can change at any time without you even realizing it, ours increased by $300 and they didn’t even tell us why and I’m still trying to work out why exactly.  The cost of fitting our cabinets, butcher countertop and dry installation of appliances was $4400 and is now $4700 plus now we have added different toe kick boards and different end panels adding a total of $1200… In total installation is $5900.

Now we move onto almost everything else… I decided to use IKEA design service for our kitchen, the cost of this is $199, I am not a kitchen designer, I had an idea in mind how I wanted my kitchen to look but I didn’t want the responsibility of the final design and cabinets that did not fit in because I did not know what I was doing.  Traemand sub contract out to different contracting companies depending on the area you live, our IKEA use a company called Best Carpenters, their project manager was our kitchen designer… Enter Oleg, he wears many hats from design to project management.  Best Carpenters basically do anything else you need or want done, so we signed into a contract for them to complete our electrics, plumbing, Sheetrock and tiling.  This is where it gets complicated, Best Carpenters also fit the cabinets and install them too, it gets complicated because at this point you are not sure who you are dealing with for different things, should you speak to Traemand because of the cabinets or Best Carpenters because they are managing the whole project… Who, tell me!!!


The Friday before last after a busy week of cabinet installation we were asked to complete a completion form, I was skeptical of signing it, but it was 8pm, the light in the kitchen was fading, still no lights fitted, my younger children were hungry and tired as we were waiting for the kitchen guys to leave, it seemed weird to be signing a completion form when our kitchen looked like the above photos but I did it and instantly regretted it, I emailed over the weekend to Best Carpenters and Traemand to retract my signature but it made no difference, two days later Traemand tried to take the full amount plus more of the final payment on installation, luckily the money was in a different account and it did not go out, they didn’t send me an invoice to check, they didn’t ask how I wanted to pay they just tried to take the money as according to the Best Carpenter guys my cabinets were installed and my dry fit of appliances were in place… Well as you can see the cabinets were definitely not completed, there are still many boxes of components hidden in cabinets, appliances are nowhere to be seen, but they still wanted the final payment in full plus more with no invoice sent to explain the extra charges

There is a fourth part to the component of a Kitchen installation, the Quartz countertop people, you purchase the Quartz countertop in store then you call a different department for the template to be made, be warned the store told me that they would be out the next day if I needed it, but in reality they work on appointments a week to a week and a half in advance.  The cabinets need to be fully in place, appliances need to be fitted and after you have taken full responsibility for the template they draw up, it takes about 10 to 15 days to get your new countertop. 

After taking our old kitchen out three months ago I now have cabinets, not finished yet, some countertops but no stove top cut into them, I have a fully installed and working microwave, the dishwasher and oven are in place but not working yet, our refrigerator is in place and we had it before the whole new kitchen thing so that is still working, we have our template being drawn up for the Quartz on our island this Wednesday coming and I am making my third trip to IKEA this week to change and return parts… It’s been quite an experience, I’m hoping it will all be worth it in the end, by the time it is finished snow will be on the ground And I will have to relearn how to cook it’s been so long 😃

Just an idea…

I have fallen in love with photography… I have always loved to take photos, but mainly of my family and in the main when I processed my little roll of film some would be good and a lot would be bad.  In 2007 we moved over to the US and that was the year I got a DSLR, I think it was at that point my love of photography changed, the Internet was sitting there, there were websites like KODAK to share albums of photos to family and friends around the world, I think that was the change for me and little did I know back then how much I would grow to love this new world.


My family feel I post way too many photos on a daily basis and I will admit to being a little addicted.  So I was talking to Jordan the other day and he had the idea that I could set up a website gallery just for photography, he was saying he thought it would be good to just showcase a few of my very best photos, or the ones I thought were my best, I loved this idea instantly and have since been mulling it over in my mind… Ok I know I’m not the best photographer in the world, but some of my photos are decent, or at least I think they are.

Photography to me is like a link to my past, with 8 children I’m always so busy and I easily forget things, to me my photos link me to things I may forget, this sunflower for instance reminds me of two hot children wandering around a maze and a drip of sweat dripping down my back as the realization came to me that the day had turned out much hotter than I had expected it to be… Life 🌻

Cowboy contractor

Well it’s officially been two months since we demo’d our kitchen, I have to tell you I really thought I would have my new one by now, but I guess it wasn’t meant to be.

There was a miscommunication between myself and our contractor that led to a delay in obtaining our permits, then we went on vacation and here we are today, still no kitchen but it’s getting there slowly.

Flooring is so incredibly expensive, I had not realized just how expensive until we started this process, we have swung from replacing our whole 600 square feet room flooring, to tiling just the kitchen area and then just sanding our original pine flooring and restainining, well the cost for replacing the wood floor alone was $6000 and that was with a reasonably priced wood floor, to tile just the kitchen area was another $6000, and as much as I would love to do this I think a tile accent at a later date will be the way we will proceed.  We have settled for the bargain priced sanding and restainining of our original floor boards, it’s half the price of the other options but still in my opinion an expensive option at $3000.  We hired a flooring contractor recommended by our project manager, not thinking about how it all works in the US, we took this guy at his word, I’m not a stupid person but in this case I feel very idiotic, he wrote a number on a scrap piece of paper as a quote, we wrote him a check for $500 and then another one for $750 a few days later even though he hadn’t started any work.  One month later he started work on our floor, he was late every single day, not just 30 minutes either, he was 5 hours late some days, when he did eventually arrive he would unload his limited equipment and kind of work for about an hour, then there was always an excuse why he had to leave… A 2 day job was taking 6 days and counting.  After a couple of days and a couple of hours of work he asked for another check this time for $1250, of course he didn’t give us a receipt again, he also wanted another check at the end of this week for another $1250, he explained the wood he placed into our floor had escalated from $400 to over $1000, even though he only bought approx 30ft of wood at $2.65 a foot,  I was totally against paying him more money, but Paul wrote him the check and I, a couple of days later stopped that check, thankfully. His time keeping was terrible, his work ethic was horrible, he diluted the stain with mineral oil and emulsifier, it was so diluted the floor looked like it hadn’t had any stain on it the following morning to him applying it, even the second coat is a totally different color from the one he showed us.  It took him 20 minutes to stain our 600 square foot room, in out and gone, I looked at him mopping the watery stain on the floor one day and thought, I could do that myself.   I approached him about the mineral oil added to the stain and he assured me he wasn’t duping me, he had been doing this for 32 years, he knew what he was doing.


The worst thing he did in my opinion was lie to us about the stain he was using, he assured us he was using a water based stain, because the smell of oil was overpowering and not good for us to be living in the house, Paul and I had gone backwards and forwards over an oil based stain over a water based one, I had somewhere to stay whilst it was being done with our children if we used the oil based stain, in the end we decided on the water based stain, as he recommended it would be best, unfortunately he was a liar, he used a cheap oil based stain diluted with mineral oil paint cleaner, the smell was intoxicating, he did not warn us to ventilate the house properly, he did not open a window or door in our kitchen, he just left letting us think he had used a low odor water based stain, of course we ventilated the house as best we could, but we slept in the house with these horrible fumes, I allowed my 2 and 5 year old to breathe in these toxic fumes, we suffered from headaches, irritability, and breathing difficulties.  He had to apply this stain twice as he had diluted it so much the first time, and on both occasions he did not inform us or ventilate in any way, in my opinion causing damage to our health.

I have since fired him and I am in the process of retreiving our money, thankfully I stopped the second check, when he found out he was not happy.  After some research I have found out that in the State of New Jersey you need to be registered with the state to be able to do any kind of construction work here, you need to fully disclose your State registration number, your business name and address and proof of liability insurance, you also need to provide a written quote for anything over $500, he did not fulfill any of these requirements, I have since asked for this information and he hasn’t supplied it, so I’m guessing he is not registered and if so I am fully within my rights to report him to the New Jersey Department for Law and Safety, they will then prosecute him for my loss of money and the first fine he will receive is $10,000.  I have one thing to thank him for, I now know my rights and that I need to make sure anyone we use in the future has all the States requirements before we hire them.


This is my finished kitchen floor and it doesn’t match the color of the other end of the room at all.

A much needed vacation…

We have been back from our vacation for a week now and I am ready for my next one… Seriously you don’t realize you need to get away from life until you actually do it!


The problem with a vacation is its never long enough, Saint Augustine, Florida 2016 flew by… It took a lot of organization getting all 8 of us on the plane, settled in our condo, driving around in our rental cars and then onto Disney World… I was a tad frazzled by the time we parked our car at the airport on Monday evening, I had been packing, organizing and checking everything was in place for our trip away, it took me quite a few days to relax and enjoy.

 
We were very lucky our condo was fantastic, it was set in beautiful grounds with a gorgeous pool.  Historic Saint Augustine was a 20 minute drive away, well worth the visit, we chose to ride the trolley car, just so we could see everything in the extreme heat wave that was happening whilst we were there, although I have to say riding the trolley car to get around and see everything wouldn’t have been my choice had it not been so hot, I love taking photos and this method of being a tourist is very restrictive for someone with a love of photography.

Not to sound like a tourist guide, but if you ever get the chance to go to Saint Augustine Florida take it, but be sure to avoid July and August, it’s hot and crowded, it is truly beautiful though!
I had planned our vacation with a trip to Orlando, specifically Disney World, this was such a mistake, in hindsight we should have done this first, it was so busy and so hot it was exhausting, we needed a vacation from our two days in Disney.  I love all things Disney, unfortunately some people in our party didn’t feel the same, it was hot crowded, but in my mind Disney is where we all become children again and seeing Florence and Tate’s faces were just the most magical experience in themselves… It was worth every moment of the heat and the crowds…

On our last day in Orland we chose a slightly quieter option, when I say slightly I mean very slightly… Hollywood Studios was our destination for the day.  We got to sit down in the cool quite a lot which was a bonus and we got front row seats for the excellent Beauty and the Beast show, being a huge fan this was so magical and to just watch Florries face was just amazing.


The question now is ‘where shall we go to next?’

Happy Summer everyone 😍

No kitchen, eight children and trying to eat healthy. 

What do you do when your kitchen is demolished and awaiting renovation, you have eight children who need to eat, your Mum is staying with you and you still want to eat healthily… You change up your menu planning and cheat just a little bit! 

As you all know I love to eat healthily and having a limited, very limited kitchen does not mean I want to eat out all the time, I’m useless when we dine out, I always feel it’s like a treat and eat the worst foods, I can’t justify a salad as I could easily make that myself at home and sometimes I wonder if salads are as full of calories as some of the other dishes… I love me some dressing.

So that’s when my menu plan idea struck me, why not cheat a little… And Costco is the best place for that, they make great ready cooked meals that I could add a simple healthy side to.  So with my limited cooking aids I set about a healthy’ish menu plan for this week…

Today… Chicken curry, jasmine rice and naan bread

Costco have a great chicken curry dish, I add a little more rotisserie chicken breast and some frozen organic veggies into the slow cooker to heat through slowly, I can then warm the naan breads on the grill and serve with a simple green salad of spring mix and cucumber sticks.

Monday… Chicken and cheese quesadilla with healthy hemp and sweet potato chips, guacamole and organic fresh salsa

Costco’s are now selling a pack of fresh rotisserie chicken breast, it’s not organic but it’s fresh, lean and moist chicken breast that is easy to use in many dishes, we will chop up the chicken, add ready shredded Mexican cheese blends, again from Costco, place into warm flour and corn tortillas for the gluten free people in my house, I will then add the fresh organic salsa and warm on the grill until the cheese is nice and melted.  This will be served with ready made guacamole and my new favorite from Costco sweet potato and hemp chips, also add a bowl of salsa into the mix too.

Tuesday… Chicken, kale and mozzarella burgers, green salad and salsa

Costco has a good choice of fresh burgers, these are new, organic and gluten free, these go on the grill, served with a green salad, cucumber sticks and fresh salsa… So easy.

Wednesday… Chicken kebabs and salad

This one is quite possibly the easiest meal of the week, ready cooked chicken kebabs, again Costco’s finest, served with a green salad, more chips and salsa… Easy Peasy and very healthy.

Thursday… Turkey burgers served in rolls with grilled corn on the Cobb.

Costco sells a pretty good frozen turkey patty, cooked on the grill together with cheese and salad, and also some grilled corn on the Cobb… Lean, delicious and healthy.

Friday… Meatball subs and salad

Have you tried Costco’s fresh organic chicken, basil meatballs, if you haven’t you should, they are yummy and make delicious sub sandwiches, just heat and add your favorite jarred marinara sauce, warm your rolls on the grill… Then add saucy meatballs,top with shredded cheese and serve with a fresh green salad and some salsa… A favorite in my house!

Saturday… Tortellini and fresh pesto with grilled chicken

I always like to keep a jar of Costco fresh pesto in my refrigerator, it tastes so fresh, it’s a lovely bright green color and adds flavor to so many dishes and sandwiches, I have bought fresh tortellini from Costco, and for those of us that are GF, plain pasta is a good alternative with the pesto and grilled ready cooked chicken, throw in some organic peas and top with a little shredded cheese… Another healthy easy dish.

I have to add I hate disposable plates and cutlery, but needs must when you don’t have a sink in your kitchen and washing up space is at a minimum, it makes life so much easier, so I have relented and bought disposable everything.  

Living through a kitchen renovation is never easy, especially when you have a large family who all need feeding but I feel my foolproof plan for continuing to eat healthily is working, it may be difficult on the days we have the floors refinished and the cabinets go in, but for now it’s working, we are still healthy and it’s making me happy 😍