The Best Chicken Salad Sandwich

My kids spill their drinks everyday.

Every. Single. Day.

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On a day when it's almost bed time and the spill hasn't happened, I literally visualize the calm before the storm. A few weeks ago we went out to eat with the kids and ordered a large lemonade.

First mistake.

 Somehow the restaurant messed up and they brought us three. THREE large lemonades on a table with three kids.

Second mistake.

We let the kids all have sips.

Third Mistake.

Then...Each cup of lemonade was knocked at some point during the dinner and proceeded to spill  all over the floor, table, their clothes, my purse, my pride...

After the first spill we removed the remaining two lemonades to the other side of the table. My husband got up to go to the bathroom and some how his butt knocked the other cup off the table. The third happened when we were getting out of the booth and my 3 year old grabbed the large cup when I wasn't looking and dropped it everywhere.

You guys!! Who gave us children?!  

In my defense, I helped the waiters clean up each mess as I jokingly said we shouldn't be allowed outside and each time not one of them laughed...BECAUSE WHY WOULD THEY?

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What does this have to do with chicken salad sandwiches you might ask?

Nothing.

It's just an easy dinner for a tired mom who is holding a mop and regretting throwing away the sippy cups.

I love chicken salad sandwiches for dinner because it comes together SO easy and I don’t have to turn on my oven. It’s versatile and you could add what ever you have on hand, but the touch of fresh herbs and lemon juice take this meal over the top! Trust me, everyone will ask you for the recipe! I cannot take full credit for this recipe, because the amazing blog How To Feed a Loon came up with the original recipe. I adapted it a little to what I had on hand.

The Best Chicken Salad Sandwich

Ingredients:

1 rotisserie chicken, shredded

1 cup purple grapes halved

3 small or 2 large celery stalks chopped

3 scallions sliced

1 cup  candied pecans

1 cup mayo or plain greek yogurt, or half yogurt/half mayo for a lighter version 

1 1/2 TB. ground mustard

2 TB. finely chopped dill

1 TB. finely chopped Italian parsley 

Juice of 1 juicy lemon

1/2-3/4 tsp. salt

lots of fresh ground pepper ;)

Directions:

1. In a large bowl toss together the chicken, grapes, celery, scallions, and pecans together.

2. In a separate bowl, whisk together the mayo or yogurt. Add chopped herbs, lemon juice, salt, and pepper. 

3. Pour dressing over salad and mix to combine. 

4. Let set in the fridge for at least an hour if able. 

5. Serve and enjoy!

Original Recipe From How To Feed A Loon

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One Pan Baked Chicken, Butternut, and Pecan Dinner with Orange Dijon Maple Glaze


My ‘One Pan Baked Chicken, Butternut, and Pecan Dinner’ is going to be your new dinner favorite! This dinner is on repeat weekly at my house. It’s made in one pan, which makes cleanup amazing. It also all comes together in about 30 minutes! Lifesaver
— (Me)-Ari

This week marked the first week my three year old started preschool. Before she started I began to realize it was the first time in 7 years I wouldn't have a child attached to my hip for a couple of hours every day.

Sheer panic set in because I don't think I know how to do anything without someone saying,"Mom.Mom.Mom.Mom.Mom!!!!" 56 times while I'm taking a shower. How will I learn to make decisions when I am not under an extreme amount pressure?? 

Like, how am I supposed to brush my teeth, hair, and wash my face without a toddler screaming, a 5 year old who refuses to get her shoes on no matter how many times I ask her to, and a 7 year old yelling, "MOM! We are going to be late AGAIN!"

I.Cannot.Function.Without.Stress.

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My husband. Bless his 1950's heart, told me that now that I have a few hours without the kids I can actually get stuff done.

He's hilarious. And dead to me.

But in all actuality, I'm really quite sad. As hard as motherhood is, it's almost harder to not be in 100% control..For me at least. I can't be a helicopter parent when they are at schoo!l! Unless...I spy on them through the parking lot while they are at recess. Or, I call the secretary to make sure my daughter made it to class even though I walked her in. 

You guys. ISSUES!!

I'm not always that bad, but I think some time alone will do me some good. Give me time to chill, relax, recharge...and watch Bachelor alone.

(And obviously come up with yummy recipes like these, which make life easier!)

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One Pan Baked Chicken, Butternut, and Pecan Dinner with Orange Dijon Maple Glaze

Ingredients:

3-4 boneless skinless chicken breast one inch thick, or more if you can fit them the plan

(Salt/pepper to season chicken + EVOO to cook)

3 cups chopped butternut squash

1 cup pecans

2 TB. melted butter

2 TB. pure maple syrup

salt

(Orange Dijon Maple Sauce)

1/3 c. pure maple syrup

2 TB. whole grain dijon mustard

juice and zest of 1 orange

1 TB. cornstarch mixed with 1 TB. cold water

Directions:

1. Preheat the oven to 357 degrees. 

2. Cover a large baking sheet with tin foil. In a bowl, mix together squash, pecans, and a nice sprinkle of salt. Add to one side of the baking sheet and place in the oven.

3. Heat a skillet on med/low heat with 1-2 TB. EVOO. Season both sides of a chicken breast with salt and pepper. Make sure your breast are about 1 inch thick. Pound with a meat mallet to thin out if needed.

4. Cook chicken on both sides, 3 minutes. Set aside. Continue to cook each chicken, same amount of time, until you've cooked all of the chicken. Pull the pan out of the oven and add the chicken breast to it. Cook for 15 minutes.

5. Before the chicken is almost done, make the sauce. In a small sauce pan add all of the ingredients, minus the cornstarch mixture. Heat on low/medium hit until the mixture begins to bubble slightly. Add the cornstarch mixture, bring to a bubble and allow the mixture to thicken. Set aside.

6. Remove the pan from the oven. Check to see if the butternut squash is soft enough. If it's not, remove the chicken and cover it in foil and set on a plate, and place the pan back in the oven until the squash is tender. 

7. Once everything is done, drizzle it with the sauce, serve over rice if wanted, and enjoy!


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Now, share with my your motherhood craziness! Like, do you spy on your kids at recess. Pop in unexpected at lunch time to make sure no little punk kid is being a bully to your baby? 

2017 Thanksgiving Recipe Roundup

Yea! Thanksgiving is ALMOST here!

As I was compiling the list on my site of all the best Thanksgiving style recipes I realized I didn't have that many. Things will have to change! In the mean time, below are 22 recipes that you can bring to your Thanksgiving dinner and wow your guests! 

Just click the picture or link below the pictures to get the recipe!







Zucchini, Pumpkin, and Butternut Squash Lasagna

I lived off of this dish for an entire week. Breakfast, why not? Lunch...hell ya! Dinner, don't have to ask me twice. Grab a fork before bed time and dig in...calm down there sweetie.

I was obsessed.

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I love this time of year because my favorite vegetable season is the one where I wear black leggings every day with a hideous old t-shirt underneath a nice cozy sweater. I love looking like I'm going to bed. Is that sad?

No, it's #goals. 

But enough about living the dream...

This lasagna will fill your house with those cozy fall scents, give you that nice taste of total comfort food, all without weighing you down. I replaced the lasagna noodles with zucchini noodles, which has never been heard of in this year of 2017. 

Then I whipped up my FAVORITE Pumpkin Cream Sauce to go along with it, plus nice flavorful chunks of roasted butternut squash. I. Cant.Even. 

I hate when people say that.


 Zucchini, Pumpkin, and Butternut Squash Lasagna

Ingredients:

1 Recipe Pumpkin Cream Sauce

8 oz fresh grated mozzarella

1/2 large butternut squash. skin removed, then chopped

3/4 medium zucchini, sliced into 1/4 inch layers

-(Ricotta Layer)-

16oz. ricotta

1 egg

1 TB. fresh rosemary

2 tsp. Italian seasonings

1/4 c. parmesan cheese

salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

1. Preheat the oven for 400 degrees. Place chopped squash onto a baking sheet. Drizzle with a little EVOO, and a sprinkle of salt and pepper. Cook in the oven for 25 minutes. Toss every so often. 

2. While the squash is roasting, make the pumpkin sauce. Allow the sauce to cool once done.

3. As the sauce and the squash are cooling down, make your ricotta mixture by mixing all the ingredients for the ricotta layer.

4. Begin to assemble the lasagna as follows: Sauce, zucchini slices, ricotta, butternut squash, cheese. Repeat one more time.

5. Bake for 15-20 minutes.

6. Serve immediately and enjoy!


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Do you have a favorite fall comfort dish? Maybe a favorite fall dessert? Share your ideas below!

 

Heart Shaped Turkey Meatloaf

*These Heart Shaped Turkey Meatloaves are the perfect meal to make your family on Valentine's Day! It comes together so easy, and everyone will love seeing a cute little heart on their plate!*

Listen. I'm not going to lie to you. Making dinner just sucks.

Heart Shaped Turkey Meatloaf via The Diva Dish
Heart Shaped Turkey Meatloaf via The Diva Dish

Does anybody really enjoy making dinner for a family who 75% of the time won't touch it? Is it worth the hassle of even checking Pinterest for a 'weeknight meal' only to have the energy for Cheerios?

I mean, I get home at 4 from getting my daughter from school. FOUR! That's basically when I have to start preparing dinner, but who can mentally prepare for that after you do school pick up. With homework, or dance, or soccer, or the 'I can't find my dance shoes'  dilemma...Dinner is just so inconvenient ;).

Heart Shaped Turkey Meatloaf via The Diva Dish
Heart Shaped Turkey Meatloaf via The Diva Dish

So I won't lie and say that every night is a Pinterest night. I just have to mentally tell my self no and save myself the headache. Especially when my husband get's off work at 8, I just.can.not.

But on the nights where I do try a little harder, the reward is so great. Not for the kids, but for me. Usually that means leftovers, and leftovers means mommy's lunch, and having something other than your child's left over sandwich is the best thing ever!

Heart Shaped Turkey Meatloaf via The Diva Dish
Heart Shaped Turkey Meatloaf via The Diva Dish

I will say though, that my oldest two each ate a full sized heart of these cute little meat loafs, which made me re-consider my anti Pinterest dinners...Almost.

Heart Shaped Turkey Meatloaf via The Diva Dish
Heart Shaped Turkey Meatloaf via The Diva Dish

Heart Shaped Turkey Meatloaf

Ingredients

  • A little more than 1 1/2 pounds of ground turkey
  • 1/2 c. parmesan
  • 1/2 c. breadcrumbs
  • 1 package organic ranch dressing seasoning packet
  • 1 egg
  • 2 large cloves of garlic, pressed or chopped
  • 1/4 c. milk
  • 1 TB. worcestershire sauce
  • light sprinkle of salt and pepper
  • (Topping Spread)
  • 3/4 c. ketchup
  • 2 TB. mustard
  • 2 TB. coconut sugar
  • 1 TB. worcestershire sauce

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven In a bowl, fold together the ingredients for the meatloaf.
  2. Prepare a baking sheet with parchment paper. Using a heart shaped cookie cutter, press the meatloaf into the cutter. Then press the meat out onto the parchment paper.
  3. Bake the meatloaf for 20-25 minutes. (You want the meatloaf to be almost done, but not quite yet.
  4. While the meatloaf is cooking, mix together the sauce for the topping. When you pull the meatloaf out, spread the sauce on top of the hearts.
  5. Return to the oven and bake for an additional 5 minutes, or until done.

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Heart Shaped Turkey Meatloaf via The Diva Dish
Heart Shaped Turkey Meatloaf via The Diva Dish
Heart Shaped Turkey Meatloaf via The Diva Dish
Heart Shaped Turkey Meatloaf via The Diva Dish

So what is your favorite weeknight meal that's quick, easy, and everybody loves?! Do they exist?!

Healthier Sweet Potato and Pumpkin Casserole

There are a handful of reasons why there is no need to make anything healthy when it comes to Holiday dinners. For starters, its a Holiday. Splurge, go all out, pull a Joey and wear maternity pants! We all have that one dish we look forward to every Holiday dinner. Mine are the rolls and mashed potatoes. Two of the healthiest things on the menu. Wheat and vegetables as I like to call it.

HEALTHIER SWEET POTATO CASSEROLE VIA THE DIVA DISH
HEALTHIER SWEET POTATO CASSEROLE VIA THE DIVA DISH

But you see, sometimes it's a good idea to balance out the indulgent recipes and healthier recipes...for me at least. For my husband, hecks no.

So let me tell you what happened the other day...

I was at the library with all three of my kids at 4:30 in the afternoon. I know. Anyways, I was doing my best to lasso them up so we could leave when a lady came up to me and said, "Excuse me..."

In my mind I had figured she was going to say one of two things,  "Your kids are just so cute, I don't know how to do it raising three good little obedient girls!" Or...

"Girl, what the hell were you thinking! Get these kids in check!"

HEALTHIER SWEET POTATO CASSEROLE VIA THE DIVA DISH
HEALTHIER SWEET POTATO CASSEROLE VIA THE DIVA DISH

Instead she said...

"So, I'm not a lesbian or anything but girl you have a nice ass! You've got a big booty, I'm so jealous!"

I was so flattered and kind of embarrassed thinking those tight Lululemon leggings were a mistake, but I quickly replied, " Oh if I could, I would give my big booty to you!"

In a non sexual way. Like a plastic surgical kind of way. I need to leave. Immediately.

HEALTHIER SWEET POTATO CASSEROLE VIA THE DIVA DISH
HEALTHIER SWEET POTATO CASSEROLE VIA THE DIVA DISH

I'm not quite sure what it necessarily has to do with this Healthier Sweet Potato Casserole, but let's just assume for a second that sometimes when you've been blessed with extra junk in the trunk...I'm all for a healthier side dish at Thanksgiving!

HEALTHIER SWEET POTATO CASSEROLE VIA THE DIVA DISH
HEALTHIER SWEET POTATO CASSEROLE VIA THE DIVA DISH

Healthier Sweet Potato and Pumpkin Casserole

Ingredients

  • 2-3 large sweet potatoes
  • 1 c. pumpkin puree
  • 1 TB. molasses
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1 c. milk of choice
  • 1 tsp.pumpkin pie spice
  • sprinkle of salt and pepper
  • 1/2 c. coconut sugar
  • (For the topping)
  • 2 TB. softened/room temp coconut oil
  • 3 TB. coconut sugar
  • 1 heaping TB. flour
  • 1/4 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/4 c. pecans, measured, then finely chopped
  • 1/2 c. mini marshmallows

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 375.
  2. Wash your sweet potatoes, stab them with a fork multiple times, and bake them in the oven for 20-30 minutes, or until soft. You can also skin, dice, and boil your sweet potatoes until soft as well!
  3. Once they are cooked and cooled, remove the skin (if you roasted them), and place in a medium bowl. Mash them together. You want about 2 cups of puree.
  4. Add in the rest of your ingredients, minus the toppings.
  5. Mash together until smooth.
  6. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  7. Grease a 8x8 baking dish, and add your sweet potato mixture to it. Gently smooth it on top.
  8. In a separate bowl, add your toppings (minus marshmallows) and mash together with a fork.
  9. Sprinkle toppings evenly on top of casserole.
  10. Bake for 20, remove from the oven, then sprinkle marshmallows on top, and place back in the oven for 10 more minutes.
  11. Once done, remove and let cool slightly! Then serve and enjoy!

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I hope everyone has a great Thanksgiving Holiday!!

Pumpkin Butternut Chicken Noodle Soup

We all know that when it comes to accomplishing certain tasks, if you throw a few children in the mix things can tend to get...tricky. For example, walking out the door. What should be a simple thing which requires little to no brain activity can turn into one of the biggest trials of November. One lost shoe, 15 minutes late, someone has a dirty diaper, you just noticed you aren't wearing a bra...and then FUDGE! Where are your keys?

Every parent says FUDGE when they want to swear but can't. Unless your me, then you say shit. Then your baby says shit. That your 6 your old says, "Mom! The baby said shit!"

FUDGE.

Pumpkin Butternut Chicken Noodle Soup via The Diva Dish
Pumpkin Butternut Chicken Noodle Soup via The Diva Dish

Let me talk about this morning for example. We've all been so lucky to get that extra hour of sleep this weekend, unless you have children. Because now they wake up at 5:45 instead of 6:45, and you went to bed at 10:45...(technically 11:45, but you figured you would get that extra hour in the morning.) Think.Again.

We just happened to have an extra hour this morning before we had to leave for school! An extra hour never happens, and then your mind starts to wonder about all of the marvelous things you could accomplish if you had time like this EVERY DAY!

You could shower, curl your hair, wear matching clothes, find your kids shoes in time...

cute baby messy kitchen
cute baby messy kitchen
naughty baby
naughty baby

I decided to do a yoga video. I'm trying to embrace Yoga as of lately because of stress. I'm hoping it will calm me, as well as get me toned in all the areas that seem to have just given up.

So I popped in a TWENTY minute yoga video. To some, this seems so insignificant, but to a busy mom, twenty minutes is basically like asking for Milo Ventimiglia from 'This Is Us' to show up at your door unannounced with chocolate. (P.S. why do I want to say his last name all the time?)

5 minutes in, things got dark. The baby was SCREAMING. I have no idea, but I'm pretty sure it was for no reason at all. She climbed all over me yelling in my ear as I tried my best to twist side to side and feel that deep stretch. In between screams I could hear, "Ahhhh. Just breath..."

And then, just like that, with FOUR minutes to spare I hear a cry up stairs, "MMOOOOM! COME WIPE ME!" For real.

"Honey, I can't! I'm "exercising!" Give me 4 minutes!"

"But it's DIARRHEA!!"

Baby screaming. Lady breathing. Kid yelling.

FUDGE.

Pumpkin Butternut Chicken Noodle Soup
Pumpkin Butternut Chicken Noodle Soup

This is why I make soup. Why, you ask? Because soup is something I love, something that comes together SO quickly. I can make a big pot with whatever vegetables I want and can store it in the fridge for a few days of lunch. Then I can store the other half in the freezer for my lunches next week.

Because sometimes as a mom, you don't have time to think about yourself. Sometimes, it's nice to have a meal ready for you in the fridge when you need it. So, hence this soup. It's warm, comforting, and has vegetables in it! Just make sure everyone is wiped and the baby is napping before you sit down to eat...because we all know what happens when moms try to sit down...

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Pumpkin Butternut Chicken Noodle Soup

Ingredients

  • 2 TB. olive oil
  • 1/2 large sweet onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 1/2 c. chopped carrots
  • 3 c. diced butternut squash
  • 1/2 c. milk of choice
  • 1 c. pumpkin puree
  • 12 cups water
  • 6 boullion cubes
  • 1 rotisserie chicken, shredded
  • 7-14 oz pasta
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • dash of pumpkin pie spice

Instructions

  1. In a large pot, heat olive oil.
  2. Add onions and garlic. Cook until translucent.
  3. Add carrots and butternut. Continue to toss and cook for 5 minutes.
  4. Add in milk, pumpkin puree, water, and boullion cubes.
  5. Stir and come to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Cover and let cook for about 15-20 minutes, or until vegetables are soft. Next add in pasta and chicken, along with spices. Cook until pasta is slightly undercooked/al dente. (The pasta will continue to retain water as it sits.)
  6. Serve hot and enjoy!
  7. (The pasta I used was rather large and took about a lot of the soup, that's why I say 7 oz-14 oz, depending on pasta size and shape.)

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pasta
pasta

The pasta I used was this CUTE pasta I purchased from Trader Joes! Those little pumpkins were the perfect match for this soup. But If you do use this pasta, be careful because it get's rather large. I think next time I might only use 3/4 of the bag. To find the pasta, you can purchase it here: (affiliate link)

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So tell me busy moms/dads/persons, what do you do to find time for YOU? I specifically struggling when it comes to exercise, so let me know when and how you fit it in! Have a great week!!

Pumpkin Cream Sauce + Pumpkin Pizza

I don't remember ever eating anything pumpkin flavored as a child. I remember pop tarts and lucky charms... But I don't think I ever even dared to try pumpkin pie at Thanksgiving, nor did I ever smell pumpkin bread baking in the oven. And I definitely don't remember pumpkin bagels with pumpkin cream cheese, pumpkin flavored hot chocolate and spiced pumpkin whipped cream.

Pumpkin Cream Sauce + Pumpkin Pizza via The Diva Dish
Pumpkin Cream Sauce + Pumpkin Pizza via The Diva Dish

Oddly enough, I can't stop shoving pumpkin flavored shenanigans down my family's faces and throats. Pumpkin cookies? Pumpkin pasta? How about a pumpkin smoothie?

You know what would taste good with that? Let me just sprinkle a bit of pumpkin pie spice right on top of your dinner there!

It doesn't go over well and I don't understand...

Pumpkin Cream Sauce + Pumpkin Pizza via The Diva Dish
Pumpkin Cream Sauce + Pumpkin Pizza via The Diva Dish
Pumpkin Cream Sauce + Pumpkin Pizza via The Diva Dish
Pumpkin Cream Sauce + Pumpkin Pizza via The Diva Dish

Shockingly when I announced we would be having pumpkin pizza, I was expecting a full blown expression of love but instead I got SO.MUCH.HATE.

I promised they would love it, if they just trusted me. They didn't and my husband started to cry for Papa Johns...But I stood my ground because dang it! It's 2016!! EMBRACE THE PUMPKIN!

Pumpkin Cream Sauce + Pumpkin Pizza via The Diva Dish
Pumpkin Cream Sauce + Pumpkin Pizza via The Diva Dish

The star of the show is this Pumpkin Cream sauce which could be consumed alone! It's so easy and comes together in under 10 minutes, and you could put it on top of any pasta dish! Or on your face! Or on your husbands face! Get pumpkin freaky.

Too far.

Pumpkin Cream Sauce + Pumpkin Pizza via The Diva Dish
Pumpkin Cream Sauce + Pumpkin Pizza via The Diva Dish

Pumpkin Cream Sauce

Ingredients

  • 2 TB. olive oil
  • 1 TB. chopped garlic
  • 2 TB. shallots
  • 1 TB. chopped fresh sage
  • 1/2 cream (can sub coconut milk for dairy free, or a non dairy milk for a lighter version)
  • 1 c. pumpkin puree
  • 1/4 c. parmesan cheese, opt. if you want to keep this dairy free
  • 1/2 tsp. pepper
  • 1/2-3/4 tsp. salt (or to taste)
  • 1/4 tsp. nutmeg
  • 1 tsp. coconut sugar, or brown sugar
  • 1/4-1/2 veggie broth(Depending on how thick you want your sauce. The sauce will thicken once in the fridge, so you can add the broth later on if needed, or all at once.)

Instructions

  1. In a sauce pan, heat your olive oil on med heat. Add garlic and shallots, toss and cook for 2-3 minutes.
  2. Next add in fresh sage and stir. Cook for about 1 minute.
  3. Slowly add in cream, while stirring. Then add in pumpkin puree, spices, sugar, and broth if needed.
  4. Remove from heat.
  5. Use for pastas, pizza, etc. The sauce will thicken in the fridge, so if you like the consistency, keep that in mind. To thin add, drizzle a little more broth or cream till desired consistency is reached. May need to adjust spices.

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Pumpkin Cream Sauce + Pumpkin Pizza via The Diva Dish
Pumpkin Cream Sauce + Pumpkin Pizza via The Diva Dish

And then we have this...

This pizza. You see that savory pumpkin cream sauce just oozing off the pizza with cheese?! I promise you, this will be a pizza to remember!

Also, we tried are darnedest to make this a 'Jack-O-Lantern' face...I blame my 5 year old.

Pumpkin Cream Sauce + Pumpkin Pizza via The Diva Dish
Pumpkin Cream Sauce + Pumpkin Pizza via The Diva Dish

Pumpkin Pizza w/ Butternut Squash, Tomatoes, and Herbs

Ingredients

  • 1 recipe pizza crust, I use [url href="http://www.howsweeteats.com/2012/03/garlic-bread-pizza-crust/"]THIS[/url] recipe all the time!
  • 1 recipe Pumpkin Cream Sauce
  • 1 c. roasted butternut squash
  • 1/2 c. baby tomatoes, cut in half
  • 1 TB. fresh sage, chopped
  • 1 TB. fresh basil, chopped
  • 1/2 c. parmesan cheese
  • 1-1 1/2 c. shredded mozzarella cheese

Instructions

  1. Prepare pizza crust according to directions.
  2. Preheat oven to 500 degrees.
  3. Roll out your dough onto your baking sheet or pizza stone.
  4. Add your pumpkin sauce and spread evenly throughout pizza.
  5. Spinkle on cheese, then the rest of the toppings. (Herbs, tomatoes, and butternut squash)
  6. (Toppings aren't necessary but do add a delicious touch!)
  7. Cook for 10-20 minutes, or until crust is golden and cheese is nice and bubbly!
  8. Serve and enjoy!

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Pumpkin Cream Sauce + Pumpkin Pizza via The Diva Dish
Pumpkin Cream Sauce + Pumpkin Pizza via The Diva Dish

Savory pumpkin recipes may be my new favorite thing! What are your favorite pumpkin recipes, and do you have links to share?

I have about 17 cans of pumpkin puree needing to be used so....

Lemon Chickpea Noodle Soup (Vegetarian/Vegan)

*This Lemon Chickpea Noodle Soup is my vegetarian version of Chicken Noodle soup with a citrus touch. The lemon is SO perfect and pairs so well with all of the flavors, and gives it such a comforting and light taste! It's perfect to warm your soul on a cold day, with a kick of vitamin C to knock any cold!*  ______________________________________________________________________

My husband LOVES soup! So much that he just gets so tickled when I tell him to hurry home from work because there is a nice warm bowl awaiting his hungry belly!  Not before he makes a pit stop at Taco Bell (true story) because he actually hates soup and every other meal that I declare healthy and delish.

Lemon Chickpea Noodle Soup via The Diva Dish
Lemon Chickpea Noodle Soup via The Diva Dish

I think he doesn't love soup because it doesn't satisfy his fast food taste bud. It doesn't come in a cardboard box, greasy paper bag, with a scent of regret.

It may clean your intestines some what the way a meal from any fast food joint may do, but it won't make you re think every life decision you've ever made at 3 in the morning from fast food hallucinations...

I kid....in a way.

Lemon Chickpea Noodle Soup
Lemon Chickpea Noodle Soup

Come fall, or the spirit of fall shall we say, I tend to throw all that's in my fridge in a pot with a cups of broth, grab a sweater and count down for Christmas! It's healthy.  Despite it being 99 degrees all this week, I keep embracing the fact that I am over with summer and I'm ready for leggings!

I guess my delusions of Fall go hand in hand with my husbands acceptance and delusions of Fast Food...

And if that doesn't make us a strong, #GOALS type of couple, then I don't know what will!

Lemon Chickpea Noodle Soup
Lemon Chickpea Noodle Soup

Lemon Chickpea Noodle Soup

Ingredients

  • 2 TB. olive oil
  • 1/2 yellow onion, diced
  • 4 large cloves, diced
  • 3 large carrots, sliced semi thin
  • 3 sticks celery, diced
  • 8 cups vegetable broth, or chicken for a non vegan/veg soup
  • 1 can drained and rinsed chickpeas OR one can of white beans for a softer bean
  • 2 cups cooked pasta noodles of choice
  • juice of 2 lemons (Mine weren't super juicy, so start with one and add more lemon juice if desired)
  • 1 TB. dried Italian seasonings
  • 1/4 tsp. tumeric, optional for color
  • salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. Heat a large pot over the stove on medium heat. Add the olive oil, and heat. Add the onions and garlic. Cook for 3-5 minutes, or until the onions are translucent.
  2. Add in the carrots and celery and toss.
  3. Cook for an additional 3-5 minutes.
  4. Next add in the broth and chickpeas, followed by the lemon juice and seasonings.
  5. Once the vegetables have softened, add the cooked pasta. You can add un cooked pasta, but add 2 cups more broth for the pasta to soak.
  6. Serve with lemon slices, fresh parsley, and parmesan cheese on top if desired! Enjoy!

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This soup is SO good! If you love chicken noodle soup, you will love this variation. The lemon is the perfect twist and adds an extra level of comfort! Let's not forget the vitamin C punch that would be perfect for any cold!

Lemon Chickpea Noodle Soup via The Diva Dish
Lemon Chickpea Noodle Soup via The Diva Dish

I'm determined to find a soup that my husband will love, even though the task might be impossible. I'm thinking a beefy baja chalupa soup might be right up his alley....

Skillet Artichoke Chicken Marinara Dish

*This dish comes together in under 30 minutes! It's a quick and easy dish, perfect to spoon over pasta, crunchy bread, or just plain if you are watching your carb intake. It's loaded with summer vegetables, but they can easily be changed to what you have on hand!* _________________________________________________________________________

I remember my first crush like it was yesterday. His name was Joshua, he had dark curly hair and for some reason, I knew I would marry him. (I didn't.)

I remember sitting in the back seat of my dad's car with my friends and shouting, "I LOVE JOSHUA!" My dad looked at my oddly, probably because I was only 5 and he didn't expect raging love hormones at such a young age...

Skillet Chicken Marinara Dish
Skillet Chicken Marinara Dish

Sadly, Joshua moved away when I was in 1st grade to a small town in Idaho and the dreams of our future together seemed nearly impossible. But then, when I was in high school my parents got a call that Joshua and his family were in town and wanted to stop by and say hi.

I remember running upstairs and putting on my best clothes, getting my makeup just right, and giving a few flirty smiles to myself in the mirror. The man I was going to marry was coming back to get me, and darn it, I was going to be ready!!

Skillet Chicken Marinara Dish via The Diva Dish
Skillet Chicken Marinara Dish via The Diva Dish

I'll never forget when we opened the door and standing right in front of me was Joshua...wearing overalls.

For some reason his curly hair wasn't so cute any more, he had a hick like accent and well...the sparks were just not flying! I was immediately crushed because I figured our story would be the most romantic one to tell our friends and future children. But I just couldn't get past...the overalls.

Skillet Chicken Marinara Dish via The Diva Dish
Skillet Chicken Marinara Dish via The Diva Dish

Odd because my husband wears overalls every weekend like it's his job! ;)

Things haven't changed much when it comes to young girls and raging love hormones in this house. Every time we sit down to dinner, my girls pull out their pretend cell phones and start talking to their imaginary boyfriends. They laugh as my husband "pretends" to get upset as they repeatedly say, "Oh Cruz, I just love you so much! Muah Muah Muah!"

Obviously family dinners will change in the next 15 years because my husband won't be pretending any more, and most likely we will lock them under out stairs till they are 25...

Don't worry, we will let them out to eat. That's it though.

Skillet Chicken Marinara Dish via The Diva Dish
Skillet Chicken Marinara Dish via The Diva Dish

Skillet Artichoke Chicken Marinara Dish

Ingredients

  • 3 TB. extra virgin olive oil
  • 10 ounces canned artichokes
  • 1 large or two small yellow squash, cut into chunks
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1 28 ounce can whole peeled tomatoes
  • 1/4 c. water
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. ground pepper
  • 3 cups shredded chicken
  • 1/3 cup chopped basil, plus more for topping
  • 2 slices seed whole wheat bread,I used Dave's Bread
  • 4 ounces sliced mozzarella
  • 1/3 c. freshly grated parmesan plus more for topping

Instructions

  1. Preheat the broiler.
  2. In a skillet, heat the olive oil to medium heat. Add in the garlic, artichokes, and squash. Cook until brown spots appear, about 5 minutes. Toss while cooking.
  3. Add the tomatoes, water, salt, and pepper. Stir and bring the mixture to a boil then reduce to simmer. Allow the sauce to thicken, stirring occasionally. This should take about 10 minutes.
  4. During this time, add the bread to a baking sheet and place under the broiler for a few minutes until the bread has toasted. Break up into crunchy breadcrumbs.
  5. Add in the chicken and basil to the marinara sauce.
  6. Then stir in the 1/3 c. grated parmesan. Sprinkle the top with the bread crumbs, lay the sliced mozzarella on top, plus a little more parmesan cheese.
  7. Add the skillet to the broiler, and cook until the cheese begins to bubble, about 3-5 minutes.
  8. Take out of the oven, top with more fresh basil.
  9. Serve over pasta, crusty bread, or just eat as it!

3.5.3208

Skillet Chicken Marinara Dish via The Diva Dish
Skillet Chicken Marinara Dish via The Diva Dish

Literally as I am trying this my 3 year old just told my 5 year old, "No I like the guy with dark hair and white pants..."

Kids. Under the stairs. NOW!

My Favorite Vegetarian (naan bread) Pizza

Have you ever tried to convince someone to do something, but they rejected you? Then later on someone else ask that person to do the same thing, and they are all on board...

My Favorite Vegetarian Pizza via The Diva Dish
My Favorite Vegetarian Pizza via The Diva Dish

So this past week I got so mad at my husband. I gave that man the best silent treatment known to man, followed by a few side eyes just to make sure he got the point I was pissed.

All over a vegetarian pizza. #wifegoals

My Favorite Vegetarian Pizza via The Diva Dish
My Favorite Vegetarian Pizza via The Diva Dish
My Favorite Vegetarian Pizza via The Diva Dish
My Favorite Vegetarian Pizza via The Diva Dish

I've always been a dramatic person, I won't deny that ok. I won't deny that maybe I shouldn't have gotten so upset. BUT you guys, my husband...Dog House.

You see, for YEARS I've been trying to convince my husband to try and challenge himself to eat vegan/vegetarian for a solid week. He loves his fast food/junk food, because we are polar opposites when it comes to our appetites. So i figured, if he gave it a solid week he would all of the sudden love healthy food and we would eat at vegan restaurants on date night...

Or something like that.

My Favorite Vegetarian Pizza via The Diva Dish
My Favorite Vegetarian Pizza via The Diva Dish

So fast forward to this week when I make this pizza, aka my FAVORITE vegetarian pizza, and my husband is taking picture of it. Wait what? He never does this, what's going on? I quickly asked him, expecting to hear him tell me he is posting it on social media to tell all his friends what a dang good cook I am...

But no. He is sending it to his co-workers because they are going to do a VEGETARIAN challenge at work coming up, and he wants to motivate them and tell them it's do-able.

Dead.

Immediately I'm mad wife status, feeling all the feels of betrayal. He doesn't notice as he scarfs down the deliciousness, but I subtly try and change that. A look there, shutting the cabinet door just a tad harder here...

My Favorite Vegetarian Pizza via The Diva Dish
My Favorite Vegetarian Pizza via The Diva Dish

My poor husband.

He is just so understand to my ways..He promised me that it was my idea all along and that his co-workers just gave him that extra motivation...I admitted to being a tad overdramaticitisthattimeofthemonth status, and all was well...

He told me maybe I should go run that night at the gym to have some time to myself and de-stress from the day. Obviously he was calling me fat right?

So about that pizza....

My Favorite Vegetarian Pizza via The Diva Dish
My Favorite Vegetarian Pizza via The Diva Dish

My Favorite Vegetarian Pizza

Not only is this pizza one of the best vegetarian pizzas that even meat lovers will crave, it's also the easiest to put together! No need to make a homemade crust, because naan bread is the perfect quick and easy substitute! You can use whole wheat naan bread for a healthier substitute too. As for the flavor combination, it's amazing! This pizza is based off of my favorite pizza called Jack Sprat from Gourmet Pizza Shoppe in Redlands, Ca.

Ingredients

  • 2 pieces naan bread
  • 1/2 cup - 1 c. marinara sauce
  • 1/3 c. sliced black olive
  • 1/3 c. sliced pimento olives
  • 1 roma tomato, thinly sliced
  • 2 TB. extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 TB. chopped onion
  • 2 TB. chopped garlic
  • heaping 1/2 cup broccoli, cut into small florets
  • 1/3 of a green pepper, diced
  • dash of salt and pepper
  • 1/3 cup salted and roasted halved cashews
  • 1-2 TB. Italian seasoning
  • 1/4 c. freshly grated parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 c. (or more) mozzarella cheese, cheddar cheese, or a combination of both

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 475 degrees.
  2. Place the naan bread on a baking sheet and set aside.
  3. In a sauce pan, heat the olive oil. Then add in the onions and garlic, cooking about 2-3 minutes. Next add the green bell pepper and broccoli, tossing to cook about 4-5 minutes. Sprinkle a little salt and pepper on top.
  4. While the mixture is cooking, spread the marinara sauce on both of the crusts, followed by the olives, and sliced tomato.
  5. When the vegetables are done, and have cooled a little. Divide the mixture into two, and sprinkle on top of the pizza. Next add the cashews.
  6. Sprinkle the Italian seasoning on both pizzas, followed by parmesan cheese, and the mozzarella cheese.
  7. Bake in the oven for 15-20 minutes.
  8. Enjoy!

3.5.3208

My Favorite Vegetarian Pizza via The Diva Dish
My Favorite Vegetarian Pizza via The Diva Dish
My Favorite Vegetarian Pizza via The Diva Dish
My Favorite Vegetarian Pizza via The Diva Dish

I actually did end up going to the gym that night because my friend text me she was going and asked me to join. Turned out to be a great way to destress and have time to myself! Who would have thought?!

;)

Meatball and Spaghetti Soup

*This is comfort food at it's finest. Meatball and Spaghetti Soup is the perfect combination of two comfort foods, soup and pasta, mixed into one! It's a quick and easy dish, and it's hearty and filling. Your kids will love slurping up the noodles! And maybe adults too ;)* *******************************************************************************************

Here's the deal. I know reading blogs is a thing of the past. So 2012. 2010? Either way, we are a visualworld. I know that most of you might just scroll past this and not even read what I'm writing, look at a few of the pics, and go right down to the recipe. You will check the ingredients and then, "Hmmm that sounds doable...I'll have to remember that, Oh wait! I have a new Instagram notification!"

Meatball and Spaghetti Soup from The Diva Dish
Meatball and Spaghetti Soup from The Diva Dish

So basically, I could really say whatever the flying fargin bastage I want. I could tell you the most embarrassing story about my husband, and no one would know. Except my mom, because I think she still reads my blog? Maybe.

Meatball and Spaghetti Soup from The Diva Dish
Meatball and Spaghetti Soup from The Diva Dish

So for now, mom, and maybe some random person from France, thank you for getting to this point. I know it was painful, and excruciating. Have you ever typed out excruciating? It's excruciating.

I'm sorry there is no clever hilarious story, but I'm going to be honest. This day light savings thing has me screwed up and Real Housewives of Atlanta is on. I am not thinking straight.

Here is the recipe you've all been waiting for....The End.

Meatball and Spaghetti Soup from The Diva Dish
Meatball and Spaghetti Soup from The Diva Dish

Meatball and Spaghetti Soup

Ingredients

  • 1/2 yellow onion, diced
  • 3-4 cloves garlic, diced
  • 2 TB. olive oil
  • 3 TB. tomato paste
  • 1 can crushed tomatoes
  • 3 c. marinara sauce (jarred or homemade)
  • 4 c. vegetable broth
  • 1 1/2 TB. dried basil
  • 1 1/2 TB. dried parsley
  • 1 tsp. garlic powder
  • 12 oz. thin spaghetti, uncooked
  • 18-20 cooked meatballs, I used the following recipe:
  • http://thediva-dish.com/dinner/hubby-meals-simple-turkey-meatballs-over-spaghetti-squash/
  • (Can sub for vegetarian meatballs)
  • Parmesan cheese, for topping

Instructions

  1. In a saucepan over medium heat, add the olive oil.
  2. Then add in the onions and garlic. Stir and cook down the mixture until the onions are translucent.
  3. Next add in your tomato paste. Mix it around for about 30 seconds, then add in your crushed tomatoes, marinara sauce, broth, spices, and spaghetti.
  4. Cover and cook soup until the spaghetti is al dente.
  5. Add in the cooked meatballs, cook for an additional 5-10 minutes on low heat, covered.
  6. Serve with parmesan cheese on top, and enjoy!

3.5.3208

Meatball and Spaghetti Soup from The Diva Dish
Meatball and Spaghetti Soup from The Diva Dish

A little about this soup. It's the perfect combination of 2 comfort foods, soup and spaghetti. It makes a lot of leftovers if you have children who eat like birds, which makes for a perfect mommy/daddy lunch!

Don't forget a side salad to add some veggies to this heavier carb dish, because you also can't forget the garlic bread! If you make your own meatballs, I LOVE this recipe. It's my go-to every time. I made the meatballs while the soup was cooking, and then threw them in at the end! It also has veggies in the meatballs, tomato veggie soup, and if you include a side salad, you are on track! It's the perfect Sunday dinner meal or when you are having guests over. This is a really long paragraph, so hopefully you get my point :).

Meatball and Spaghetti Soup from The Diva Dish
Meatball and Spaghetti Soup from The Diva Dish

If you made it this far, go ahead and eat some chocolate. You deserve you unique one of a kind son of a gun! Bonjour! xo

Do Over + Weekly Menu and Workout Schedule

Ok my friends! I've been planning this post FOR A LONG TIME.

But I have been procrastinating because of FEAR. It's so scary to put yourself out there, expose your faults, share your passions, and express your feelings. But I've had this little voice in my head that has told me not to be afraid, and that's why this post exist today.

I've explained a lot in this crazy video that follows, but here is a quick summary. I have not been the best healthy living/lifestyle gal for a while... I just haven't. I think when we experience hard times/good times, we grow and we learn from these experiences. Having babies, going through personal struggles, being a mama, and everything in between hasn't always been easy, but I have loved every.single.part. My life, my kids, and my husband are my greatest blessings. But a long the way, especially having 3 kids under 5, I have had to do some 're-learning' so to speak. Figuring out how to live healthy when things are different or challenging.

So watch the video to get more of the details! I feel so happy to share this with you, and I hope this brings us closer and lets you know that we all struggle, and we all aren't perfect! And we can come back!

So, what do you think!

Do over
Do over

In order to be held accountable, and to show you what I'll be doing to get back on track, I've decided that on Monday's I'll include my weekly workout schedule and our family's weekly dinner plan. Planning is key, and when it's all written out for you, I know it can be a lot easier to succeed. It may not be a perfect workout week, or the best menu, but it's the reality of what I'm doing. I'm not going to sugar coat it and tell you I'm doing 1 thing, when I'm really not. :) Not cool guys. Not cool.

So let's do this together!

weekly workout.
weekly workout.

Monday: Cardio

-5/10 minute warm up

-30 minutes elliptical

-5 minute cool down

Tuesday: Tone It Up Legs for Days Workout (Choose 2 workouts)

Busy Babe Abs

Wednesday: Cardio

-5/10 minute warm up

-20 minute jog

-5/10 minute cool down

Thursday:Blogilates 6 minute arms

Blogilates 6 minute abs

Friday:Rest Day (But do moms really rest?)

Saturday: Family Walk

weekly menu
weekly menu

Monday: Pizza Night with Salad & Fruit

Tuesday: Hearty Chicken Tortilla Soup

Wednesday: Slow Cooker Chili with Cornbread

Thursday: Cheese Enchiladas w/ Homemade Sauce, Rice, Roasted Corn

Friday: Breakfast for Dinner! (Mama lifesaver!)

Saturday: Night off cooking!

Can't wait to start this week! Thanks for all of your support!!

White Bean and Chicken Soup

I know that I only have a few sentences to grab your attention, because let's be honest. Reading blogs is all about visual. Pictures. Pictures. And Pictures. So here goes nothing:

I had a dream that Christian Bale and I were eating soup on the set of Little Women, wearing old fashioned gowns. Not him. Me. I also carried a cute white umbrella over my should while he was wearing his batman suit.

Talk about fantasies right?

Long story short, we were eating this soup.

White Bean and Chicken Soup
White Bean and Chicken Soup

Actually no. None of that happened. But I did watch Little Women this weekend and was reminded why I love find interest in Christian. (First name basis relationship, ya feel me.) I'm also married and love my husband. (Side note.) I beg him every day to grow his hair out longer and talk with a deep batman like voice and rent THE suit. He won't do it.

Why? I don't know. It's football season, so he doesn't really know what's happening around him. Unless I show him a little 'side nursing boob', then pretty much I can get him to do anything I want.

Ahhh, marriage.

White Bean and Chicken Soup
White Bean and Chicken Soup

So about this soup. It's a chilly 70 degrees here in the desert, so of course our winter parkas have made their way back into our lives. I would say this is probably my favorite soup to date, mostly because it has a lot of my favorite, as well as my families favorite ingredients in it.

I guess you could say each ingredient holds a special place in each members heart, therefore creating the perfect family.

Now you really need to try it huh?

You see the white beans are for me, the chicken and the corn are my girls, and the green chilies and spices are my husband.

White Bean and Chicken Soup
White Bean and Chicken Soup

I made Ambitious Kitchens Pumpkin Honey Cornbread Muffins to go along side, with a little honey butter, and BAM.

Perfect Sunday dinner.

All that's missing was Christian...

White Bean and Chicken Soup
White Bean and Chicken Soup

White Bean and Chicken Soup

Ingredients

  • 2 TB. EVOO
  • 1/2 onion
  • 2 TB. chopped garlic
  • 3 TB. butter
  • 3 TB. flour
  • 1 c. milk mixed with 4 c. chicken broth
  • 2 cans cannelini beans, drain and rinse
  • 1 can navy beans, drain and rinse
  • 2 c. shredded chicken
  • 1 can diced green chilies
  • 1 c. frozen corn
  • 1 tsp. chili powder
  • 1 tsp. cumin
  • salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. In a large pot, heat the olive oil. Add the onions are cook on medium heat, while staring frequently. After a few minutes add the garlic.
  2. Cook until the onions are translucent, and then add the butter and melt it while continually mixing with a whisk.
  3. Next whisk in the flour. Whisk for about 1 minute, then mix in the milk and chicken broth.
  4. Then add in the chicken, chilies, corn, and seasonings.
  5. Let the soup cook for about 10-15 minutes on medium low heat.
  6. Eat immediately and enjoy!
  7. (Optional: You can whisk in a little greek yogurt to each serving to add creaminess. Make sure the soup isn't super hot, or else the yogurt will separate.You might have to adjust the seasonings.)

3.3.3077

White Bean and Chicken Soup
White Bean and Chicken Soup

Now, aren't you glad you read that story? :)