Tuesday, August 1, 2023

food inspiration -- tips & tricks


Happy Tuesday, friends! I thought I'd share some inspiration for snacks, drinks, and maybe a meal or two, whether at home or if you're out. I'm going to ask you to share some inspiration with me at the end, because who doesn't need that from time to time?

I'll start with dinner out. When I eat out, I always order water to drink for two reasons: it's free and it's better for me than anything sweet or a diet drink. I do sometimes order a margarita if I'm craving one when we're at a Mexican restaurant. I also love to eat Mexican food, because it's easier for me to eat healthier there. I order things like what you see below. These are the street tacos I had when I met my friend Marilyn a few weeks ago. The tortillas are corn, which are better for you, and it's just that and lean meat and veggies. Even partaking in chips and salsa isn't that bad for you, since the chips are made from corn tortillas and because of the veggies in the salsa. I just try to order smart and healthy.

I order this tortilla soup that I've mentioned before, for the same reasons. It's broth, lean meat, and veggies. It's healthier and delicious than eating anything else on the menu, and it's better, in my humble opinion. Something I rarely eat at a Mexican restaurants are the sides of rice and beans. They feel very heavy and they make me too full. 

Todd and I love to order our favorite sushi and bring it home every once in a while. We probably do this once every 4 to 6 weeks, but it's something that is practically guilt free. I know there's rice around each piece, but it's so little that we don't feel bad about our choice of takeout.

Amy  is the one who mentioned mixing coffee with a protein drink, so that's what I started doing a couple of weeks ago when my coffee stopped tasting good to me. It's tasting better again, but I have kept this up each morning. Most of you know that I am not a breakfast eater, and I never wake up hungry. That being said, the older I get, the more I realize that I have to eat something, and because I don't want to do that, I drink my breakfast. 

We buy the Orgain brand of protein drinks from Costco, so I fill this jar with ice, pour the drink over it, and fill it up the rest of the way with coffee. I usually take a drink and then add more ice. Additionally, if I want something sweet at night, I brew some coffee in my Keurig and do the same thing with this jar—fill it with ice, pour in the cooled off coffee, and add two tablespoons of chocolate syrup and a quick pour of some sweetened creamer from my fridge. I made these for Graham and Jonah on Saturday, using peppermint mocha flavored creamer and they were delicious. You can use less or more of the chocolate syrup, depending on your own taste. You should give it a try! It tastes like a mocha Frappuccino from McDonald's or Starbucks, but I think it's better. 

I love to order groceries on Sunday and I pick them up on Monday. In doing that, I also meal plan as I order. This week for dinner we are having taco salad, air fried chicken with bacon around each piece and served with broccoli and potatoes, and we're having quiche. I am also making tuna and chicken salad, so we'll have that on the nights when I don't cook or if it ends up being just me here to eat. I like to keep options that are easy for those nights, and we always eat on the leftovers throughout the week. Probably on the night that I make taco salad, I'll make beer cheddar Joe's for the guys. It's a recipe from Shay Shull, and it's one that we have loved for years. 

I had these chicken fritters (?) for dinner Sunday night. They are DELICIOUS and super easy. I'll tell you what I did: I used one can of Tyson chicken that I drained very well, and to that I added one egg, and two tablespoons of buffalo sauce. I stirred it together really well, but when it was too runny, I crumbled in a small handful of tortilla chips. I used a spoon to get some out and pressed each spoonful into a patty. I cooked them in our air fryer on 385 for about ten minutes. This time may vary, depending on how crispy you prefer them, but you could dip these into buffalo sauce or blue cheese dressing, or eat them plain like I did. They're no carb, high protein, and low in fat. 

What's for dinner at your house this week? I'd love to hear from you so that I can be inspired for next week! Thanks for reading my blog, friends. Love to all! 


  1. Ok now I am starving- ha! Love your choices-we definitely have similar tastes!

  2. Holly, you just made me laugh! I did sort of make myself hungry last night when I talked about some of these meals. 🤣 Are you back home now? I can't wait to hear about your trip to NYC!

  3. Those chicken fritters are very creative! I need to get an air fryer!

    A staple at our house, at least once a week, is beef patties, mashed potatoes and a veggie. This is my husband's favorite. We love sloppy joes, spaghetti, beef stew, chicken and rice and roast.

    One meal that is super simple and makes a lot is a dish I started making after discovering Orzo. I take some ground beef or sausage, brown it with onion in a large skillet. Drain the grease, then pour in a half box of Orzo (pasta rice), one can of Rotel tomatoes, seasonings, water or beef broth and let simmer until the Orzo is tender. I love this dish! It makes a full pan and would feed your crew with some buttered bread, cornbread or rolls. I also love to eat it the next morning or for lunch. I think I'll make this today :)

  4. I will have to make those chicken fritters for lunch - do you think they would reheat ok in a microwave? Erica and I love buffalo stuff. I make birdballs: https://themudhustler.com/birdballs

    and I have a side of buffalo sauce and homemade low cal ranch and celery and serve it with cauliflower rice and this is one of our favorite school lunches.
    I need to buy more Orgain or Fairlife instead of Premier. I take the iced coffee to school and sip on it in the morning. Then, I have my breakfast at some point and a banana for a snack. I also bought Chomps at Costco because I love those.

  5. Debbie, I used to make those hamburger patties all the time when the boys were younger. That was a favorite of theirs! I served it with gravy to top the patties and mashed potatoes, and I made it with green beans. The orzo dish sounds DELICIOUS! I could see me wanting to make that in the fall or winter, because it sounds hearty. Yum! Thank you for sharing some inspiration!

  6. Amy, you should try them! I think if you get them crispy enough, they should reheat well without getting soggy, as long as you warm them up in 30 second intervals. I would reheat for 30 seconds, and turn them over, and repeat until they're the desired temp. The fritters would be so good with that sauce and some celery! I may have that for dinner tonight. YUM!

    If you try the Orgain, know that they're nowhere near as sweet as the Premier brand. The one turquoise colored box of Orgain is sweet, but too much so, which is why I started your trick and pouring it over ice and adding coffee.

  7. Great suggestions- I think I'm going to make Debbie's orzo beef this week. I have thawed beef in the refrigerator and wasn't sure what to do with it. This sounds different and really good. My meals have felt off lately and I know I need to try some new things. Thanks for the post and inspiring others to share ideas! I unfortunately don't have much to add as, like I said, I feel like my meals have been more miss than hit lately which is not a good feeling.

  8. Thanks for the inspiration! I try to order water when we go out to eat, but sometimes I just need some caffeination! ;)

  9. Thanks, Maria! Debbie's orzo sounded good to me as well, I'll just make it when it's cooler outside. I tend to eat lighter fare when it's hot outside. I understand about being in a rut, and that's usually how I feel. I am glad you were inspired!

  10. You're welcome, Tanya! I certainly understand that- it's like me wanting a margarita with my Mexican food sometimes. 🤣

  11. I always order water to drink when we're out at restaurants too but that's pretty much all I drink anywhere anyway since I don't like soda or coffee or tea. I often order a garden salad of some sort with either grilled chicken or fish (dressing on the side), or a lean protein with 2 hot veggie sides. I look for the words baked or steamed or grilled and I always ask for my food to be prepare without butter or oil. I don't think I have ever eaten at a Mexican food restaurant (I know-- BUT we don't really have any around here!).

  12. Joanne, that's great advice. Thank you! Also, my mouth dropped over your last sentence. Bless! Of course, if you've never had it, you don't know what you're missing. 😉


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