Tuesday, January 24, 2023

eating and listening


Happy Tuesday, friends! Before I get started, what are you having for dinner tonight? I'd love to hear from you, so be thinking about that! Here's what we've been eating lately.

Buffalo chicken with roasted potatoes was a favorite last week! I put chicken tenderloins in the crockpot and cooked them on high for three hours, using just buffalo sauce and some chunks of sharp cheese to cook them in. I also added a drizzle of ranch dressing toward the end. We ate that with oven roasted potatoes, that I tossed in olive oil, salt, garlic powder and some Cajun seasoning we have in the cabinet.

Quinoa bowls—we've eaten these all the different ways, but a standout to us is with taco meat, black beans, my best friend's salsa that she gave us for Christmas (it's THE BEST), guacamole, lettuce, and a drizzle of white queso. I like to garnish mine with more salsa, sour cream, and crushed tortilla chips.

We love taco soup, and I made a big pot of it recently. I cook a pound of ground beef, drain it, and add taco seasoning. To that I use one box of beef or vegetable broth, two cans each of corn, black beans, pinto beans, kidney beans, a cup or two of hot water and a TBSP of ranch dressing. We garnish with crushed tortilla chips. 

This buffalo chicken pizza with spinach was another favorite last week. Our crust was made from cauliflower, and on the same night, each of the guys made their own personal pizzas. This will definitely be on repeat again soon! The base was olive oil, then I added a bunch of spinach, buffalo chicken, two pieces of provolone cheese sectioned into little pieces, more buffalo sauce, and a drizzle of blue cheese dressing at the end. I ate my leftover slice Sunday night.

Other favorite things we eat often are the quiche I always talk about (I'm making two more this week), beer cheddar Joe's (we'll eat ours over quinoa), and snack boards with meats and cheeses. Last night we had Greek (?) tzatziki bowls, thanks to a post Amy shared a week ago.  It was rotisserie chicken that I shredded, grape tomatoes, cucumber, red onion and homemade tzatziki sauce (plain nonfat Greek yogurt, dill seasoning, lemon juice, salt & pepper, garlic powder, diced dill pickles and pickle juice) on top. It was delicious! 

Todd and I have been going out for date nights every two weeks, on Saturday nights. We choose restaurants that have food we can eat that's good for us, then we always end the night by eating frozen yogurt. So far we've had Vietnamese food twice, and we went to a place in our midtown area called Bosco's. Todd had pizza with a whole wheat crust, and I had pan seared chicken with sweet potato fries and roasted Brussel sprouts. 

(At the Vietnamese restaurants, I had  a vermicelli bowl (the top picture above), then pho, and then my dinner when we ate out this weekend. All of this was amazing! 

The reason that I connected the two subjects of eating and listening is because the two of them ease my mind. By that I mean that when I know what's for dinner all week, I rest assured that I don't have to rush about trying to figure out what to eat at the last minute. I don't know how people live without planning meals! It's also good for me mentally and emotionally to know that Todd and I are going to go somewhere new and different the next time we go out to eat together. It's good to have things to look forward to for our emotional and mental wellbeing, which segues perfectly into the musical portion of this post. 

Did you know this about music and the benefits that are behind listening to it often? I've seen and witnessed it with my own eyes. Even my dad has said something about this on Fridays when he's here, and how he thinks music helps our dogs to relax. I agree and also think that having music on for them while I'm away helps to keep them calmer. They're not as jumpy and they're more likely to nap. I've started leaving K-Love playing for them through the app on our TV lately. Even when I'm home, I have music going all the time. I have different playlists for different parts of the day and for the seasons. I'll give you examples of what I listen to and when.

I don't like anything loud or too upbeat in the mornings, so often times I listen to something like this playlist below in the mornings. I like things kind of chill and quiet when I get up at five, or before five on some days. 

And then sometimes I will transition over to podcasts. This is a great podcast, for my married friends! Dave and Ashley Willis are a godly couple that have written books and who give conferences pretty often. I follow them on Instagram and Spotify and always love what they have to say. I also love The Big Boo Cast with Sophie Hudson and Melanie Shankle, I love The Besties Breakdown, and I love Tim Keller, Tony Evans and Francis Chan. (Out of those, the two women ones are funny and frivolous, while all the others are more serious.) 

These next couple are what I listen to throughout the day if I'm home, or as I'm getting dressed.

And these last ones are what I'll listen to as I cook dinner, clean up afterward, and while I'm out. I have Android Auto for my car (it's Apple Car Play for iPhones), so I listen to Spotify in my car as well. I listen to quiet instrumental music when I read, and while Dad is here, we listen to something that's jazzy. He loves jazz, particularly things that remind him of Louie Armstrong (sp?). He also loves worship music and Kristin Chenoweth. 

After the radio that we had bit the dust, Todd bought me a Bluetooth speaker. I loved that thing and carried it with me all over the house, so after a couple of years, he ended up buying Google mini nests for us to use instead. One stays in the kitchen and the other stays in our bathroom. In the living room we have something called a Google Hub (or something like that), so I can tell Google to play something on Spotify downstairs (the kitchen and the living room) or on home, which is both levels in our home. I love hearing music all over the house! Do you like music and listen to it like this? I listened to many hours of it last year, according to my Spotify end of year review. What's your favorite music to listen to? Music enhances our memories and brings them back to mind. That's one of my favorite things about it, honestly. *We use a family Spotify account that's less than $15 a month, but you can also listen through YouTube or apps on your TV, like the K-Love app I mentioned. It's a free app! You just add it to your list of free channels if you stream your TV watching like we do, then click "play". There may be other free radio apps as well, I just haven't looked into them.

I'd love to hear from you now! I asked a question all the way at the beginning that I still want to know—what's for dinner at your house tonight? And what is your favorite go to music? Thanks for reading my blog, friends. Love to all! 


  1. You have been making some meals that sound really good! We are having leftover soup for dinner and I am excited about that (about the leftover part!!). It is pasta e fagioli soup, a copy cat of Olive Garden's. I also made homemade breadsticks and they were a bit disappointing. Great texture but the taste was a little bland. We have leftovers of those as well. The meal yesterday was time consuming and it will be so nice to devote almost zero time to dinner tonight! I listen to podcasts more than I listen to music. Regarding the latter, I will listen to my favorite local station on my phone. I don't use Spotify. I am stuck in the 80's and 90's I guess with my radio listening (though listening to it on my phone at least makes that portion of it this century!). Have a great Tuesday!

  2. You've been eating great and not sacrificing taste! I think the mindset of look at all the wonderful things I can eat really helps. So glad you liked the greek bowls!
    I need to play more music in my classroom and at home. I love yacht rock. I like playing the youtube playlists in my classroom while the kids are working but I forget to do it. I am intentional and play lots of songs and we fill in lyrics but I think it would be good to play more background music, too.

  3. Thanks, Maria! Your soup from last night and for tonight sounds amazing. I love that soup from Olive Garden! I love leftovers for that reason. I'm making quiche for tonight, but I also need to make one small trip back to Kroger. I forgot to see if I had enough eggs when I ordered our groceries this weekend.

    We ended up being talked into Spotify by our oldest son, Graham. He worked at our church doing the tech ministry for youth at the time and was able to use their Spotify account while he was there, and he asked Todd if we could get their family account. So that's what we have! I don't know how much it is a month, but it's worth it, because we all listen to it nonstop. I know it's less than $15 a month, whatever the price is, but the six of us have our own accounts. We love having it and using it daily!

    Any music is better than no music, in my opinion. I hope you have a great day, my friend!

  4. Amy, it's so true! Eating healthy isn't boring and tasteless, that is for sure. The Greek bowls were delicious! I had to play around with the Tzatziki sauce to get it right, though...the flavors were never strong enough for me. I added a few more ingredients to help and it worked some, but we both enjoyed dinner.

    I use YouTube for music too! Sometimes I can find stuff there that I can't find on Spotify. I really do think mellow background music helps us relax...they may end up loving it, if you decide to try that with them. Have a great day, my friend!

  5. Your meals sound fantastic! We are having peppered beef and broccoli tonight!

  6. Thanks, Holly! They've been really good lately, thanks to friends who blog and inspiration from emails, websites, and Pinterest. That sounds delicious!

  7. Salisbury Steak (frozen from Banquet) homemade mashed potatoes and hubby will have brussel sprouts and I'll have cauliflower with light cheese sauce. These are comfort foods for us when it's cold outside. I'm also going to try your taco soup recipe.

  8. Thank you for the dinner and listening recommendations. I hope you have a wonderful first week in your new position!

  9. Cathy, that sounds delicious! It's perfect weather for soup. I hope you like it when you try the taco soup!

  10. Thanks, Tanya! I can't wait to give an update!

  11. That slow cooker meal sounds good! I made a beef/pepper soup tonight. It was so cold, so seemed like a good soup night! Did you read that CeCe is coming to Hope Church? Excited for your day tomorrow!

  12. It was so good, Marilyn! Yours sounds good too. I love soup and could it every night. I did! I'm going with a couple of friends from church. You should too! Thanks, my friend! ❤️

  13. Well - boo. I left a message earlier and I see it went into the mist. Why? Maybe I overshared - lol. I was saying that my husband does not like music. So sad but totally true. We do not listen to music at dinner. We don't even listen to music in the car. Hard to believe (and to endure) but we've made it work all these years!!:) Anyhoo, your meals look wonderful. I was stopping by (again....I did come by earlier) because I wanted to see how your first day went!! WooHoo!! I hope it was amazing!

  14. Jennifer, that just happened to my blog post I'd written and scheduled for Wednesday. It totally disappeared! That's so crazy. I know there are people who are indifferent to music as well, and though I can't imagine it, to each his own!

    Thank you for that, my friend!


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