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Quick, Low-Carb One-Pot Meal

One of the best things about coming home from work is having a plan in place for dinner.  This is extremely important to help maintain your sense of balance between work and home life.  In addition to this, having a simple, tasty, one-pot meal ready to go is an added bonus!  This meal is very quick to throw together and it includes healthy vegetables like cauliflower and kale.  The shrimp adds protein and sweetness to the dish while I spice it up with some crushed red pepper.  This is a great low-carb dish that will leave you satisfied and full without any of the regret.  It uses only one pot and is super quick on the stove top where it only takes about 20 minutes.

Low carb diet recipes including low carb ideas, meals, dinner and food.

Here’s what you will need for this Shrimp and Veggie saute:

  • 1 Package of frozen 26/30 shrimp thawed with tails removed
    • I use this size because they are hearty yet reasonably priced at my store
    • I remove the tails prior to cooking because it makes it easier when it comes time to eat
  • 2-3 green onions
    • diced
  • 2 vine ripened tomatoes
    • seeds removed and diced
  • 1 10 oz frozen package of riced cauliflower
    • you can use any brand with or without additional flavorings
    • the one I used had some additional garlic flavoring
  • 1 frozen 10 oz package of chopped kale
  • 3 Tbsp of butter
  • 2 tsp of garlic oil
  • 2 tsp of minced garlic
  • 1/4 tsp of Italian seasoning
  • 1/4 tsp of red pepper flakes- more if you like it hot
  • 1/4 tsp of black pepper
  • a healthy pinch of pink Himalayan salt to taste


Into a dutch oven on medium heat, melt the butter then add garlic oil, red pepper, black pepper, Italian spices, and salt.  I use my Lodge enameled dutch oven.  This is used so much that I do not even remove it from my stove top!  Once the butter is completely melted and the spices have had time to ‘mingle’, add the frozen packages of kale and riced cauliflower.  Cover the pot and turn the heat down to medium/low for about 10 minutes.  This will give the veggies time to thaw and cook.  Remove the lid and add the shrimp, diced tomatoes, and scallions.  Stir and add a healthy pinch of salt to taste.  You can put the lid back on for a few more minutes to get everything heated through.

The great thing about this meal is that it is super quick and easy to clean up.  Additionally, for those not on a low carb diet, it can be served with warm rolls or ready made, microwavable, seasoned rice.  It is very versatile and you can scale this dish up to accommodate the number of people in your family.  As written, this serves four in my family.  I hope you enjoy!

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All For Not?

Did you ever wake up and think to yourself: When I leave my child to go to work, do the lessons I try to teach them and show them get through?  I often think about this very subject during many early mornings.  I know that my older son is certainly on the right track but I was home a lot more with him as he was growing up.  My daughter is much younger and has seen me work away from the home through out most of her life.  This includes long hours, plentiful work trips, and an MBA to boot.  She is growing up in a completely different generation from her brother.  She actually makes him feel old!

Life Goals

Realistically, we all know that time is limited with all things- even people.  It is a precious commodity that once is gone, you cannot get back.  Sometimes, before getting out of bed, I lie there hoping that I have instilled important life lessons to both of my kids.  Especially my youngest who is still in her formative years.   The other week, I had a business trip and I didn’t see her for almost 24 hours.  Come to think of it, I didn’t even have time to talk to her.  It was a few days later when I was contemplating work and family that I come across proof that somehow, in some way she hears me.  My daughter is listening- even when she looks like she’s tuned me out.

I found her Boogie Board that she occasionally uses for notes and drawing when paper is not convenient or easily found.   These are great on trips or in the car.  It is essentially an electric piece of paper that erases with the touch of a button.  What I read on that that board, honestly makes it all worth it and reinforces the path I am on.  Ella had divided the board into two categories:  Weekly Goals and Key.

Ella’s Weekly Goals:

  • Eat Healthy
  • Exercise More
  • Make Better Decisions

Ella’s Key:

  • Be Happy
  • Be Responsible
  • Be Kind


What else is there to write?  She sums it up nicely.  Not only does she share how to become a better person, but also what it takes to get there.  This little late night writing means the world to me.  As working Moms, sometimes we are our own worst enemy when it comes to wondering if we are doing the right thing by our kids.  Think about it.  Every morning we bring our kids to school or to daycare and we entrust them to others for over eight hours a day! By the time we Moms get home, its supper and bedtime.  Have we done enough to instill anything of ourselves into our kids?

Heck Yes!!

It is time that we start deleting these negative comments in our head.  Kids are sponges in the way they absorb everything around them.  They see the way we handle ourselves through various situations, how we treat people we interact with, and they benefit from this exposure.  They also benefit from those they are around while we are at work.  Whether, they are at school, daycare or with a trusted family member or friend.  The saying is true: it does take a village- the right village.  I am so glad that my daughter is exposed to different people and experiences.  She understands compassion and empathy, fortitude, gratitude, and possesses an openness to new experiences, people, and adventures.

The next time thoughts come into your head about working and not being there every minute with your children, delete it.  Do not give those thoughts credence.  Instead concentrate on all of the great opportunities your are exposing to your children.  Yes, time goes by quickly so we have to make the most of what we have with them and trust that our children gain so much from us- even when we are not looking.

Now go ahead and do as Ella says and “Be Happy”.



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Quick and Easy Sheet Pan Dinner

When working full-time, one thing that is very important to maintain balance is being able to make quick meals that are healthy and that all members of my family will love.  While it may be easier to swing by a local pizza shop or restaurant on my way home from work, it will be more expensive and not as healthy.  I know I cannot get out of my local pizza place under $40 and under $50 for my local Chinese food restaurant.  That money spent certainly can add up.

This recipe is something my family loves.  I love it too because it only takes about 10 minutes of prep and 35 minutes to cook.  Also, it’s a sheet pan recipe so I only have to clean one pan.  Genius!

Here’s what you will need for this Kielbasa and Sweet Potato sheet pan recipe:

  • Kielbasa 1 or 2 packages
    • I love Kayem brand.  I realize that this is probably a regional thing (being from the Northeast) but it is THE BEST kielbasa.  Phenomenal flavor and not at all salty.
    • For my family of 4, 1 package was enough
  • 3 sweet potatoes
    • washed and patted dry
  • Spices
    • garlic powder- 1 tsp
    • salt- to taste
      • I use Sherpa Pink Himalayan
      • this salt is delicious and has trace minerals that iodized salt cannot provide
    • pepper- to taste
    • cinnamon- 1 tsp
  • Olive Oil- 2 Tbsp

Pre-heat your oven to 350 degrees F.  If you have a convection oven, pre-heat it to 325 degrees F.  Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.  You want to make sure that the sheet pan is large enough to fit the food in one layer.  Preferably, there should be enough room around each delicious morsel so that the air can circulate.  That’s the secret to a crispy outer skin.  When you crowd the pan, your items will more likely steam and become soggy.


  • Peel the sweet potatoes and chop off each end
    • Don’t go crazy on peeling every little piece of skin
    • Quite frankly, I am lazy- who’s got time for that?  I do a quick once over with the peeler and what’s left behind, is added fiber!
  • Once these are peeled, go ahead and slice these into 1 inch pieces
  • Place the sweet potatoes onto the baking pan
    • Drizzle with the olive oil and sprinkle with all of the spices
    • Then get your hands dirty and mix it all around so that each piece of potato has a coating of the spice mixture
      • You can do this step in a big bowl and mix with a spoon but it does add to the dish count!
    • Once coated, spread the sweet potato on half the baking sheet taking care that they are in a single layer with room around each piece
  • Chop the kielbasa into 1 inch pieces and spread on the other half of the lined sheet pan
    • These should also be uniform pieces around the same size as the sweet potatoes
    • This helps everything cook at an even rate
    • Also, remember to leave space in between for a delicious, crispy skin
  • Bake in the oven for about 30-35 minutes until the kielbasa is cooked through and the sweet potatoes are crispy on the outside and soft on the inside

This meal is so delicious.  The sweet potatoes are amazing because they caramelize during the cooking process and when you combine that with the most flavorful kielbasa- oh my!  Amazing!  It is a terrific, home-cooked meal for those busy nights.  It has a quick prep and cook time and also lends itself to easy cleanup.

This is definitely something you can feel good about feeding your family!  What sheet pan meal do you and your family like?  I would love to hear!

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Easter and April Fool’s: What a combo!!

I am not sure if this has ever happened before but having Easter Sunday and April Fool’s Day celebrated on the same day is a double whammy.  Additionally, since I grew up Catholic it gives me angst to think about practical jokes on the day Jesus rose.  But I digress.  To quote the much overused saying: “it is what it is”.  To that end, my daughter, Ella, enjoys celebrating Easter Sunday as a time to be with family and enjoy her visit from the Easter Bunny.  She also really enjoys April Fool’s Day.  As a matter of fact, she talks about it all year!  Ella still remembers the time she was in her first grade classroom and it was snack time.  Well, it was April Fool’s, so I replaced her Dum Dum lollipop head with a clove of garlic!  It was so realistic looking.  She was truly so excited at what an awesome mom I was for giving her a lollipop for snack!.  Then she unwrapped it.  Yep- the joke was on her.

So this year having both Holidays on the same day, I thought I would show what I am putting in my kid’s Easter baskets.  Additionally, I will share some of the April Fool’s pranks I plan for Ella.

The Baskets

The first basket is for my 22 YO son.  I know, I know- he doesn’t need an Easter basket but it’s fun for me.  Even though he is older, he still appreciates the thought.  For his basket, I gave him some Funyuns, a Nerd-filled Easter egg, a few packs of Juicy Fruit, and some scratch tickets.  He really isn’t into chocolate so I didn’t add any to his basket.  Being that he is older, I just tried to stick to items that he would use in his day to day.  In addition to these, some additional ideas are car air fresheners, gift cards to restaurants, movies or coffee shops, gift certificates to car washes, and even an iTunes card.  Personally, I think you are never to old for a basket!

My daughter’s basket contains quite a bit more candy!  She does love her chocolate (kind of like her Mom).  The big gift for her are some Pokemon cards.  She loves these cards and knows many of the characters, their special talents and even their evolved form.  I know she will love this!  I also gave her Flamin’ Hot Cheetos, Lindt chocolate lambs, a Kinder Easter egg, a Nerd-filled Easter egg, a pack of Juicy Fruit, hand sanitizer, and an Emoji lip balm.  This will definitely make her day!

The actual baskets that I use are the same baskets I have been using for many, many years.  I just store them when Easter is over and get them ready for filling the night before.  I love being able to fill my kid’s Easter baskets with things they like.  This way there is no waste of money and I don’t have to go store to store searching for a basket that already incorporates things they like.  It is a time saver and helps me maintain balance.  In addition, you can get really creative with any age group.

April Fool’s Pranks

If there’s anything you have to know about my Daughter, she expects to be pranked on April Fools’ Day.  I have been doing it every year since she was in Kindergarten -except one year.  That year, I had a business trip and my Hubs just didn’t have the bandwidth for the creativity.  I however, enjoy thinking about this and often scroll Pinterest for some great ideas.

The first prank of the day will be delivered during breakfast.  Here, I took 1 package of Gelatin and some orange juice.  I followed the package directions so that her ‘juice’ will be a solid mass!  This probably won’t take her long to figure out but having it happen first thing in the AM will be a great start!

The second prank has to deal with her electronics.  Back story here.  I have told her multiple times not to leave her Switch or her iPad on the floor.  We have a dog, Oreo.  I don’t want the dog stepping on the devices and I also don’t want the dog to ruin them.  Sometimes, she has a sensitive stomach and does occasionally vomit.

Therefore, I got some Elmer’s glue, some green food coloring, wax paper, and some of my dog’s food.  I mixed up the glue and the food coloring so that it was the color of bile (sorry if this is graphic – being a nurse, this doesn’t phase me).  Once I was happy with the color, I spread it onto the wax paper and placed some crunched up dog food in the puddle.  It takes at least 24 hours to set but once it does I will have dog puke!  My plan is to place these on the floor and on her electronics so that she thinks the dog vomited on her devices.  I am totally setting up my dog for the fall but it is worth it!  Just make sure you use a disposable cup and spoon for the mixing!


The last trick that I have planned out is already in motion.  You see, as I stated above, she loves chocolate just like me.  So, I bought some beautiful chocolate Easter eggs and I have already placed

them in the candy dish she made a few years back.  As a matter of fact, as soon as she came home after school today, she saw them and already popped one in her mouth.  Well, on Sunday, these chocolate eggs will instead be grapes! Yep.. grapes.  They are the same exact shape! So Saturday night, I will carefully unwrap some of these chocolates and use that same wrapper to wrap up individual grapes.

All in all this should be a successful day on both the Easter front and on the April Fool’s Day front.  I cannot wait! What items are in your Easter baskets? If you are also celebrating April Fool’s Day, what is your favorite trick?


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Quick, One-Day Flight: What’s in My Work Bag

Traveling for work is something I have been doing for many years.  I actually love it.  Please don’t tell the hubs!  Outwardly, I whine and complain but inside I am giddy and excited to dodge my regular household chores!  I truly believe it makes me a better person.  At least, its what I tell myself and the hubs.  It allows me to meet new people, see new places and forces me to spend some serious time alone with my thoughts and come up with ideas like this blog!  For me, one of the harder trips to pack for are the quick ones where you fly out early in the AM and return by night.  I anticipate a flurry of activities with no real down time- except during the flight.  As I go through and systematically pack my bag, I am sharing with you what’s in my work bag.

The Bag

Since I am flying out early int he AM and returning the same day, I really do not need to pack very much.  Completely different story if I am spending a night or two!  This is why I will be carrying my Henri Bendel Gotham Tote.  It is made out of beautiful, black pebbled leather with gold hardware.  It has a brown silken lining with several pockets – including 2 that are zippered.  Oh and the smell: leather!  It’s just divine.  Although this bag was from a collection a few years back and no longer available, I have linked a similar tote with the same beautiful pebbled leather.  This is the best work bag I have ever purchased.  I used to buy the ones you see at TJ Max and it would last me about 2 months (if I was lucky) before strings would fray, zippers would break, or the “leather” would crack.  That does not look very professional.  I would then have to start searching for another bag all over again.

I decided to go all in and make an investment in my bag rationalizing that the life span of  Henri Bendel at full use should be about 3 years before any major flaws occurred.  Mathematically, that comes out to .59 cents a day! The investment made total sense.  A cheap bag shows wear after 2 months and would cost about .75 cents per day.  Did I tell you that I can rationalize anything?

Pro Tip

One thing I will use to create additional organization within my bag will be the Ipsy bags I used to receive with my subscription box.  They are just the right size to contain a lot of different necessities so that you stay organized, stylish, and discreet.  I have one to hold my cords and power-banks. One will also hold feminine products and the other will hold a variety of items that I may need to freshen up during the day.  These little bags are amazing in all of their potential uses.

The Notebook

I suggest you invest in a really good notebook.  When in meetings, there is always something you may need to write down and it shows that you are prepared.  There is nothing worse than being in a meeting and looking unprepared by asking for a pen or paper.  For my notebook, I chose the Circa line from Levenger.  Shown is my Bomber Jacket Circa made from beautiful soft-grain leather upon which I have my name stamped on the front cover.  Oh and the leather smell!  The paper is amazingly thick (no ink bleed through) and I love the versatility of the various types of note-taking formats available.


What Else will my Gotham Tote Contain

Again, since this is such a short business trip, I will pack very minimally.  Here is the full list:

  • Good Vibes Only Mini Bag
    • Feminine products (you just never know)
  • Black / Gold Mini Bag
    • Tresemme Hair spray
    • The Body Shoppe Hand Cream in Almond Milk & Honey
    • Bath and Body Works Hand Sanitizer
    • Soap & Glory Extreme Plump Lip Gloss
      • It does feel really weird when applied but it gives a little bit of pucker to the lips
    • Rimmel’s Kate Moss lipstick in the color 08 pink
      • It gives me just a touch of color
    • Covergirl Tru Blend Face Powder
      • This is a matt finish that does not look cakey
      • It will help me look refreshed and not oily after my flight
    • Wet Ones
      • You never know
    • Hair ties and bobby pins
      • in case my hair is extra crazy
  • Blue/Orange Mini Bag
    • Cube
    • lightning cable/earbuds
    • Charger
      • I really like the style pictured because I can plug my phone into it and  I don’t have to fumble with a cord or second device as it is all attached
  • Food
  • Gum
    • Not pictured and always needed

So, as you can see, I will only be bringing the necessities on this trip.  I will not need my laptop or iPad so I am going to keep it as light as possible.  What are your go-to necessities on a short day trip for work?  Let me know in the comments!

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