Category: Food & Drink

Eating Lately via My iPhone

Eating Lately via My iPhone

Like everyone during quarantine, we’ve been doing a lot of cooking and baking! It’s been so fun to find new meals, work with what we have, and bake tasty (well-deserved) treats. I was inspired by Communikait and her “what I’m eating lately via my iPhone” posts. They’re simple photos of meals she’s had and a little description about the recipe. I made a lot of Cravings recipes since my last What I’m Eating Lately, which were in a dedicated post, but we’ve made a lot of other things in between that will be included here. I’ll also be including more Cravings recipes since that roundup!  I bought some fresh lobster from my friend’s dad’s seafood shop/deli a month or two ago because Chris was craving lobster pasta. We have a favorite local spot that has a suuuuper creamy lobster pasta – it’s really good but just too much sometimes. I decided to do a really simple and light one with butter, lemon juice, crushed red pepper, etc. This was our Cinco de Mayo meal of chimichangas with all of the usual dips and sauces. I think I shared this back then but whatever. I also made jalapeno margaritas, which were so delicious. We’ve gotten in the habit of making tasty, huge breakfasts on the weekend since we don’t usually have plans right away. This was a huge, loaded breakfast sandwich that we made a month or so ago. It was so tasty. We made our first journey out to a really tasty ice cream […]

Full Day of Eating Cravings by Chrissy Teigan Recipes (and a Bunch More Since!)

Full Day of Eating Cravings by Chrissy Teigan Recipes (and a Bunch More Since!)

It’s not a secret that we’ve been super into cooking and baking lately, so I decided to go ahead and finally purchase the Cravings cookbook by Chrissy Teigan. After legit hugging it all weekend, reading the recipes and her funny stories, listing the recipes I could make from what I have on hand, and meal planning over the upcoming weeks, I decided we should do a full day of Cravings recipes to kick off this new obsession. I also immediately bought her second cookbook, FWIW. Some recipes come from book one and some are book two! It’s interesting timing as well because I had drafted this post a couple of weeks ago, not realizing that Chrissy Teigan would end up with a shitstorm of nonsense. I’m happy to make this post now so hopefully you can see the tasty recipes she’s developed all by herself and with her mother. Everything we made has been utterly delicious and just a slight step up from what I might usually make, meaning it challenges me enough to feel like I’m learning something new and trying something super tasty… while not being too overwhelming. These two cookbooks are exactly what I’m looking for in a cookbook, basically. A Sunday of Cravings Breakfast I started Sunday with her Dutch Baby Pancake, which is truly one of the easiest breakfasts I’ve made. Way easier than normal pancakes! You need a cast iron skillet or oven-safe pan and some basic pancake ingredients. You blend it together, pour it […]

Eating Lately via My iPhone

Eating Lately via My iPhone

Like everyone during quarantine, we’ve been doing a lot of cooking and baking! It’s been so fun to find new meals, work with what we have, and bake tasty (well-deserved) treats. I was inspired by Communikait and her “what I’m eating lately via my iPhone” posts. They’re simple photos of meals she’s had and a little description about the recipe. We made deep dish pizza in a springform pan after watching a video on all the ways to make pizza – it was so fun! I used the classic WW two-ingredient dough (I had to do a 1.5 cup version, using that much flour and yogurt) to get the right amount to fill the pan. I baked the dough in the pan for about 20 minutes around 425 to get it crispy first. I then added my (already warm from the crockpot) homemade marinara sauce (fit about 1.5 cups of sauce too), mixed in chopped pepperoni, and topped with cheese. I put it back in on a higher temperature until the cheese was warm. So good! Yes, I went and made the whipped coffee to try! Without a hand mixer I definitely would never have bothered whisking forever and ever. I used vanilla almond milk on the bottom and the same ratio as everyone else for the top (2 tbsp instant coffee, 2 tbsp sugar, 2 tbsp hot water). The pictured coffee had less sugar to try to be healthy but that was a big mistake lol. I made french toast one morning because we had […]

Following a Skinnytaste Meal Plan

Following a Skinnytaste Meal Plan

I’ve followed Skinnytaste for a long time now because her recipes are so dang good and healthy! She was a go-to when I was doing WW because she includes the points (and calories, which helps me now) for her meals. I’ve always kept an eye on her weekly FREE meal plans and debated trying one out. There often was a meal or two that didn’t look great to me, or I didn’t want to buy all the groceries, or whatever other excuse I could come up with. I finally decided, after my grocery challenge was over, that I would follow a week of her meal plan for Chris and I to eat. I figured my house was fairly empty of food and waiting for a real grocery trip, so why not? I looked at the most recent meal plan at the time (she had it slated for 2/24-3/1 but I started it on 3/2 instead, since I was finishing my grocery challenge at the end of the month). Most of the recipes looked good to us, with only two really “out of our comfort zone” but not bad! I’ve never made a creamy soup before or cooked with tofu, but we were open to trying them out. This was the perfect meal plan to begin with. Here’s how I approached it and how it went! Prepwork I printed out the recipes, calendar, and grocery shopping list for the week and started looking it over. She has it set up so […]

February Grocery Challenge: Weeks 3-4 & Wrap-Up

February Grocery Challenge: Weeks 3-4 & Wrap-Up

You saw recently how I made a February Grocery Challenge to use food up that I had on hand and stick to a $20 per week (sometimes $25 if needed) grocery budget for the entire month of February. I shared my reasons for doing it, the rules I developed for the challenge, and tracked ALL of the things we ate and bought throughout February from a food perspective. The post got quite long as a result so I thought I would split my posts up a bit and share the overall results and lessons learned in a separate post. The Results Week Three (2/17 through 2/23) Monday EATS: As I mentioned in the last post a couple weeks ago, we had leftover meatloaf with green beans and mashed potatoes for lunch. I decided to actually do a planned Meatless Monday for dinner with some of the new groceries I bought. I found a recipe for an eggplant caprese (I didn’t grill the eggplant but I did use the grill pan on the stove instead, which was fine!) and made an Italian-style quinoa (including fire-roasted tomatoes, zucchini, and sun-dried tomatoes) to get some protein and more veggies on the side. SHOPPING: Okay SO I decided to go rogue and do my final two grocery shops for the month in one fell swoop. I wanted to keep close to the budget, get everything at once, and do Walmart pickup instead of going into a store and spending too much money. Their minimum for pickup is $30 so I […]

February Grocery Challenge: Rules & Weeks 1-2

February Grocery Challenge: Rules & Weeks 1-2

I spoke a while back about how randomly I got obsessed with Jordan Page’s videos. She’s a specialist in being frugal, budgeting, paying off debt, scheduling, productivity… all that good stuff. While I’ve heard some so-so things about her since (just google it), a lot of her videos and blog posts have inspired me in my house and life. The main ones here related to the #Shelftember and #Stocktober challenges. You limit grocery spending in September to $25/week and eat from your pantry, fridge, and freezer as much as you possibly can. In October, you stock back up on the essentials. I realized in January how I spend SO much money on groceries. I only grocery shop during my lunch break because I’m in a town with way more options (Trader Joe’s!) than the town I live in. I tend to buy smaller bits of groceries throughout the week but sometimes find myself going WAY over budget because of so many small trips to different stores. Can’t get Velveeta for the Superbowl at Trader Joe’s? Guess I’ll also stop at Stop & Shop and oh wait they have all these other things I may need sometime soonish! – me all the damn time. Believe me, it’s good for my computer-facing eyeballs to leave the office at lunch (and during the warm weather I love to just read a book outside!), but I don’t need to go to a STORE multiple times each week. Enough was enough – we have an expensive […]

Summer of Lobster Rolls (Bucket List & TBR Update)

Summer of Lobster Rolls (Bucket List & TBR Update)

While I created a whole bucket list and TBR for the summer, the goal I was most excited for was about FOOD. I made it a goal to eat 10 lobster rolls in the summer of 2019. I initially planned to literally just eat 10+ of them without caring where they came from, but I ended up with so many suggestions on where to go from people! Chris and I both love seafood and trying new places to eat, so I turned my general goal into an actual Lobster Roll Bucket List with 10+ different restaurants or seafood shacks to try this summer. I’ll go through the delicious list and photos, then recap on my TBR progress and how I did on the rest of my bucket list afterwards. 1. Jessica’s Garden We kicked off the list with Jessica’s Garden, a place I’ve been meaning to try since I saw it in a few articles in the past couple of years. It was an adorable place with ice cream, smoothies, hot dogs, mac and cheese, and lobster rolls (of course!). As you’ll see when we go through the list, I’m a bigger fan of cold lobster rolls (lobster salad with mayo) than hot with butter. 2. The Blue Oar There’s this gorgeous restaurant by a boat launch, right on the water of the Connecticut River, that we enjoyed early in the summer. I took some time off for Fourth of July because Chris gets that week off, and we made […]

Favorite Food and Drinks Lately

Favorite Food and Drinks Lately

Because I’ve cooked a LOT of great things in the last 1-2 months, I thought I’d do a little round-up here instead of having a million things in the food section of Lauren Lately. My favorite thing to do while cooking is make things as easy as humanly possible, so most of these recipes will be super simple, as the header suggests 😉 Homemade Crunchwrap Supremes | I found a WW-friendly version of this recipe and it was so good! I tried to buy tostadas online because no store carried them locally, and then they got crushed in transit. I made homemade ones with small tortillas and they were just as good! Buffalo Chicken Chili | God this was amazing; I already want to make it again. I’ve been seeking out Crockpot and Instant Pot recipes like crazy and this one was a major win. I ended up using HALF the amount of cream cheese it called for to make it a little lighter and it was still super creamy and delicious. Chai lattes at home | I was in the mood to get something nice and cozy for the weekends, instead of only having hot chocolate, so I grabbed this one from Target. It’s sugar free so the only WW points are for mixing it with milk, and I use skim milk anyways. SO GOOD! Blue Steak Wraps | This is a simple recipe that I was itching to make to use up the million containers of blue cheese I somehow acquired. It […]

My Go-To Trader Joe’s Shopping List

My Go-To Trader Joe’s Shopping List

I have been loving Trader Joe’s for a long time, but the closest one in Connecticut was 40 minutes away when I lived there initially. When we moved to to Maine, there was a Trader Joe’s right down the street. I got used to shopping there for probably 75% of our groceries and reserved most meats and quick trips for the Hannaford within walking distance. I was sad to move back to Connecticut and leave my favorite grocery store behind but we FINALLY got one in the same town that I work in! In honor of this big milestone in my life (lol), I thought I would round up some of my favorite Trader Joe’s foods  for you. I recently did a grocery store analysis to share if online shopping for snacks and non-perishables was worth it, and there were quite a few categories where surprisingly TJ’s was the cheapest option! One thing about TJ’s is that they rotate their stock seasonally A LOT. There are some things you can always find there, for sure, but a lot that comes and goes. They don’t have a full website of products either so I had to be creative when finding images. Most of these were taken by me in my many trips to the freakin store.   Pita Bite Crackers with Olive Tapenade This is my number one go-to snack in general, let alone from Trader Joe’s. I would save up calories all day to snack on this at the end […]

Grocery Shopping Online vs. In-Store

Grocery Shopping Online vs. In-Store

I’ve noticed recently that there’s a big trend toward doing grocery shopping online instead of going to a store. This is typically for non-perishable items like canned food, snacks, sauces, etc. Most people still seem to get veggies, meats, and frozen stuff in-store (with a few exceptions!). I’ve been wanting to do an analysis to see what actually makes the most sense from a financial perspective. Influencers have talked about a few different websites for grocery shopping, so I wanted to compare prices between them and see what makes sense for a few of the items I buy regularly. I’m not going to analyze Amazon Pantry or Fresh because I don’t qualify for most of it in my area. My Shopping Situation I typically do my shopping at Trader Joe’s, Stop & Shop (local to the northeast I believe?), and/or Target. My friend’s father owns a meat and seafood store that I want to be better about visiting because he has some good deals as well. We have a local farmer’s market in our town that sells ALL kinds of things but I usually treat that as a special occasion kind of place. I’d go broke if I bought everything from there! My perfect world, shopping-wise, would be to find the best place to get all of my canned food, snacks, and other non-perishable items from, then using a separate place for grabbing fresh meat and/or veggies/fruits each week. I envision myself getting things from one of the online stores […]