Meal Share Monday

There are a few dinners I have come across and make regularly–some I have been for awhile, some are more new recipes to me–that are just SO GOOD I feel like I need to share them (not that posting them here is really sharing at this point, ha).

So my first share is definitely one of the best things ever.

Macaroni and Cheese with Barbecued Tofu

So I first came across the recipe as this:

But here is how I make it:

  • Make BBQ sauce (here’s the recipe I use, plus I add a spoonful of blackstrap molasses):
  • Meanwhile, press your tofu
  • Cook 1 lb. of macaroni
  • Mix tofu with 1/2 c. bbq sauce, stick in oven at 400 for 10 minutes.  Then stir it.  Then leave it in another 10 minutes.
  • Make cheese sauce: make a roux with 1/4 c. butter and flour, then add 2 c. milk and some salt, pepper, and garlic powder.  Heat until thickened, then add however much cheddar shredding 1/2 lb.(+) makes.
  • Mix macaroni and cheese together, then mix another 1/2 c. bbq with the baked tofu, then put some on top of your bowl of macaroni.


TWO Years Old!

I’m a week late, but on the 12th M turned 2.  What up with that?  I guess I haven’t written about it because I really am not in the mood for thinking and writing lately.  Too stressed out all the time!

So here is a bit about 2-year-old M:

  • She’s quite the talker.  She somehow knows the word for almost everything and speaks in complete sentences regularly.  She also pronounced a lot of things pretty much as cutely as possible.
  • Her favorite toys are dolls and toy food.  She has always loved to pretend she was cooking or having a tea party and she will spend most of her playing time doing this.  Her dolls (her stuffed Ernie and her “toddler Elsa” doll) she must have with her to go to sleep, and I made her a doll-sized mei tai that she likes to wear them in. :)
  • She loves to color!  She could color all day.  In fact, she used to try and she colored on EVERYTHING.  There is crayon on like all of the walls that I haven’t tried to get off yet, meh, but when she colored on the TV screen she was cut off from crayons until further notice.  But whenever B is doing his homework, she sits at the table with him and colors.
  • She loves her brother!  She copies everything he does, loves to sit next to him in the chair and watch videos or games, and loves to play with him–except when he starts grabbing onto her and not letting go of her, in which case she will scream bloody murder.
  • She’s pretty dramatic.  She cries way harder than seems necessary, makes the best grumpy face, and when I tell her she can’t do something she wants to do she starts yelling things she wants. “I want Daddy! I want a banana!  I want to watch Shaun the Sheep!”
  • She loves Shaun the Sheep, Elmo, Thomas, Frozen, Peg + Cat.  She loves to sing and for the last few days always wants me to play a specific aria sung by Joyce DiDonato (one of my favorite opera singers). (OMG I tweeted about that the other day and Joyce DiDonato actually responded to it BEST DAY EVER).
  • She’s a little turkey.  She gets into stuff she’s not supposed to, then when you go to stop her she’ll run to the other side of the room to get into something over there.  She plans it, I know it.
  • Her favorite foods are macaroni and cheese and broccoli.  She eats lots of other stuff, but those she will eat tons of.  She doesn’t eat tons of anything else, it really seems like she hardly eats anything and instead still plays with her food and makes a giant mess.  Ugh.
  • She won’t sleep well if she’s not touching me still, nor is a big fan of being out of my sight.  She’s still pretty clingy… has to stop sometime, right?!
  • She loves snow.  Unfortunately she also loves to take her socks, boots, hat, and mittens off.
  • She loves to brush her teeth!  She’s always trying to sneak into the bathroom to do it on her own.
  • She is such a goofy kid!  She has such a bright, joyous smile, and purposely does things to be silly and funny.  It brightens your day!

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Remembering Eleanor


I knew today was August 1st, but I didn’t even remember the significance of this date until I was reminded by a shared article on Facebook of a somewhat artsy description of going through miscarriage.  The author described her vision of her baby she had so early on, who she knew was a girl named Eleanor.

I have an Eleanor.  She also was going to have curls and big brown eyes.  I could picture her as a toddler so clearly in my head, laughing and playing in the grass.  She was my first baby, and I miscarried her on August 1st, 7 years ago.

I feel guilty that I didn’t remember until this evening.  I know in part it’s because I’m in such a better place now, since M, and prefer not to dwell on the grief I had to live with for too long.  I also have so many dates to remember.  But I am thankful for having seen that article so that I was reminded to spend some time remembering my Eleanor.  I am the only one who can remember her.



So I’ve never been a girly girl, and when I was a kid up into college even I actively disliked girly things just because. I used to worry about ever having a girly daughter because I didn’t think I could get into that. I surprised myself by actually liking to get pink and purple baby things for M, and M being girly (as much a 1 year old can be, which turns out to be a surprising amount) is actually being fun for me! It’s funny, really, that M is making me get into girly things.

Like, not super frilly, I still don’t like that. She’s never had any headbands with flowers anywhere near the size of her head. But I will put a random tutu on her, she now has a Disney Princess potty seat, and it’s very hard to not buy her ALL the pretty clothes.

No really, my hobby lately is Matilda Jane. Which is expensive. Especially if you pine for something that is sold out. There’s this one outfit that’s like the cutest thing ever, but the dress is sold out in M’s size and the leggings are sold out completely. I can find them on ebay occasionally, or on a BST (buy/sell/trade) group, but they’re each like $55+. NOPE. I wish I could throw that kind of cash around…

So I feel silly now, all fawning over articles of boutique clothing. I mean, it’s clothes. But they’re just soooo pretty and soooo cute. Totally addicted now, le sigh. So far all I have for M is an older dress I got during a clearance sale for $15, and an older outfit (skirt + shirt) that I got on sale at a secondhand store and then from a seller in a FB group. I have started a fund for any spare money or money from making an art sale as my MJ fund. Hahaha! I’m currently trying to find some ruffle pants for me for less than retail… I don’t want to spend retail price if I don’t have to!

Aaaaand I’m totally going to have a Girly Party for my birthday, I have decided. As in, add birthday money to my MJ Fund and have a Trunk Show. It makes me laugh because it so doesn’t sound like me! But it’s all novel, so it’s still fun.  I’m disappointed I have to wait all the way until October! :)



ETA: Ohhhh man I found a new MJ outfit for M that I am majorly swooning over! And all the pieces are still in stock in her size!  It’s 3 pieces though–leggings, long-sleeved shirt, knot top.  I’d try to aquire them in that order. ;)

18 Months (and 1 week)

I haven’t done a general M update in awhile, and figure 18 months is a good milestone to do that.  Yes, 18 months!  Crazy.  She still seems like such a baby to me, but she really is getting to be such a big girl!  She is such a ball of sunshine!  She’s so happy and silly!  Some things about her:

At her appointment last week she was almost 28 lbs. (90th%) and 32 1/2″ (75-80th%).  And some of her favorite things: dolls and stuffed animals (all of which she calls “Ernie”), getting dressed, putting on shoes, socks (“zzzAH!”), pink things, farm animals, crackers, chips, pretzels, anything you’re eating, putting things in other things, purses and tote bags, tea parties, chasing B around while making high pitched noises, folding diapers, when people come on down on The Price is Right, building block towers, crushing crackers with a toy screwdriver, the Cozy Coupe, books, picking apart the desk chair, baths, singing and dancing, yelling “poo” when she gets her diaper changed, Princessy things (oy, who woulda thunk it), absconding with electronic devices, and of course mamanumsnuggles.

She’s starting to talk a lot!  She’ll say 3-4 word sentences.  Like “I wan seel” (I want cereal) or “I no wan down.”  She’s a smart cookie!

Here are some of her 18 month pictures I took (at 17 months).  Such a cheeseball.

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Healthy Banana Oat Muffins

I wanted to share a recipe I altered, and oh well if it doesn’t technically fit this blog!  Both of my kids love them, so there’s that.  There are a few recipes I’ve switched up for us that I’d like a place to share, so a few more may be coming. :)

For today, here are our family’s current favorite snack:

Healthy Banana Oat Muffin

The original recipe can be found here, at Mindfully Frugal Mom.  You can of course use her suggestion of making it sugar-free by using honey (she forgot to mention in the directions where to put the honey–it would go in the wet ingredients) and dairy-free by using your non-dairy milk of choice.  But here is my version, which is kept egg-free (the main attraction for me!) and I made oil-free.


Healthy Banana Oat Muffins


  • 1 1/4 c. whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 c. rolled oats
  • 2 1/2 t. baking powder
  • 3/4 t. salt
  • 1 T. ground flax
  • 2 T. water
  • 1/2 c. Stoneyfield Banilla Yogurt (plain, vanilla, or Greek would work too)
  • 1/3 c. applesauce
  • 1/4 c. sugar
  • 2 very ripe bananas


1. Combine all of the dry ingredients besides sugar in a large bowl.

2. Put the ground flax and water into your mixing bowl.  Add the rest of the wet ingredients plus sugar and blend well.

3. Add dry to wet until just mixed.

4. Put big spoonfulls into a greased muffin pan (should make 1 dozen).  Bake at 375 for about 15 minutes.


Ta-da!  I love to eat them spread with peanut butter.  You could add cinnamon, walnuts, chocolate chips, or whatever to it too.


So I’ve never been a huge fan of meat, and then since having B I’ve been grossed out by it a little more (as well as milk and eggs) and more.  Pretty much if it’s raw when I cook it, I can’t eat it, with the exception of ground turkey.  I’d still make meat on occasion for N and B though.  A few weeks (or months?) ago, I decided to stop fighting it and started looking up what non-meat proteins we should up and more non-meat recipes to try.  On top of that I also got back to my keeping the sugar intake down and sticking mainly to healthier sugary alternatives when I do want something of that nature (homemade date-nut bars.  Pretzels in melted almond butter/dark chocolate.  NOM).  Oh, and I started remembering to take my vitamins again.

After a week I felt SO much better!  My digestive system was happier, I felt like I had more energy, and I felt more positive.  I’m not sure which it was, or if it was a combination of everything.  But anyway, we’ve stuck to it ever since!  And I have to say, I don’t know why I didn’t do this a long time ago.  Meat.  Ew. :)

Heck, the only bad thing about it is that everything tastes SO GOOD.  Ha!  I’ve found some amazing new favorite recipes.  Roasted Garbanzo Bean Fajitas.  As well as altered some that I used to like so that they’re meat-less.  Sweet and Sour Tofu with Veggie Fried Rice.  Just sayin’.

Anyway, I’m not entirely vegetarian.  Just somewhat.  I’ll still use meat broths in cooking, or eat meat cooked by someone else, or eat lunchmeat/hotdog/sausage type things.  For that matter I guess I could call myself Somewhat-Vegan too.  I’ve mostly given up on eggs and cow’s milk.  I use cow milk for my coffee and in some cooking, but otherwise we (being B and I) drink almond milk.  And I use coconut milk on cereal.  And I’ll bake and cook with eggs, but can’t just cook them and eat them anymore.  I still do plenty of yogurt and cheese too, those don’t bother me.

Poor N, he likes meat.  Too bad for him, he’ll have to eat it elsewhere!  I have been trying to make a sausage-related food weekly since I can do that just fine.  I love those Apple Chicken sausages.

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