Year in Review

The next time you read one of my blog posts I will be one year older. Yep, my “day of me” is 4/18 and I will be thirty eight years young. Hard to believe, honestly. As of now, numbers don’t bother me so much. As long as I’m alive and kicking I’ll take it. I’m trying to think back to this time last year and to tell you the truth, I can’t really remember much up until I started the blog. Not sure what that says about my 37th year from April – August but oh well. Now from August to current, that I remember. I was gifted two huge surprises during my 37th year – my blog and my family. Let’s start with the blog. I can not put into words, although I will certainly try, how exhilarating, terrifying, frustrating, time-consuming, rewarding and powerful Dinner with the Duffys has been for me. I never in a million years would have imagined I would have the courage to put my thoughts on paper for all of you to read. A gift I hadn’t realized I so badly needed. Something just for me. Something that was only mine. And not a new dress or a piece of jewelry, no. Something to help me grow from the inside out. Blogging has been such an adventure and it will most definitely go down as my number two all time from my 37th year. On to number one – family. My family grew quite a bit during my 37th year. As most of you know, I located and connected with my biological family a few months back. Hands down the best thing that happened to me this year. I started my 37th as an only child, not knowing a thing about myself, biologically, but will close with three half siblings, more familial knowledge than I could have dreamed of and a family that has welcomed me with open arms. What a gift. Love. I was gifted additional love this year, y’all. For those dying to know, I have made a real connection with my maternal fam and we are all meeting up this summer. Wild, right? You just never know. #1 thing I learned in my 37th year – you have to learn to leap if you really want to live. I’m so damn glad I leaped.

365 days y’all. Each year we are gifted 365 days of wonder. How spectacular. What will you do with yours? I plan to challenge myself a bit in my 38th year. I want to be bolder, stronger, less concerned with what people think – hell, not concerned at ALL about what people think. I want to take more risks. Live in the moment. Dance in the rain…all of that stuff. My birthday wishes for myself. Let’s just hope I can blow out all of the candles!

MEAL PLAN FOR THE WEEK OF 4/14

Sunday, April 14th – Mediterranean Tuna Salad – My mom broker her back last week – she’s OK now, thank God, but I need to make her something that will travel well and please a crowd. Enter this recipe! I have been waiting for a good reason to make this – awesome twist on your typical tuna noodle cass.

Monday, April 15th – Pepper Steak Stir-Fry – Perfect Monday meal. Crazy easy to throw together and NO marinating necessary. My favorite kind of meat dish. Serve with brown rice!

Tuesday, April 16th – Mediterranean Grilled Chicken + Dill Greek Yogurt Sauce – I love dill. Weird because I don’t love pickles. Go figure. This recipe does require you to marinate – sorry. Try to do it the night before and make the sauce too. I’ll serve ours over lettuce!

Wednesday, April 17th – Skinnytaste Turkey Meatloaf – Skinnytaste does everything delicious. Honestly. Gina Homolka is a genius. Great family friendly option here. Serve with a veg and call it a day.

Thursday, APRIL 18TH – (AKA -BEST DAY OF THE YEAR) – Cajun Asparagus and Sausage Skillet – No, I’m not cooking tonight. My friends are taking me out for a night on the town. P will be home cooking and enjoying this healthy and hearty dish!

Friday, April 19th – Chopped Turkey Burger with Thousand Island Dressing – I can’t get that light Caesar, from last week, off of the brain, y’all. It was bananas good. I’m giving this burger salad a try – will sub greek yogurt for mayo.

Happy, Healthy Eating Friends. Cheers to you!

XO ~ Kelly D.

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Mandatory Appraisals?

This was a busy week, y’all. I know, every week is a busy week but this one was particularly busy for me. It was supposed to be a short week, as my office was closed on Monday, but Regs had a field trip so instead of sleeping in until 8, I was walking the streets of downtown Charleston with twenty-five 4th graders. Am I coming across as bitter? Apologies. Truth is it was a fantastic field trip and I thoroughly enjoyed spending time with my oldest but a “me” day would have been equally as nice. Probably a wee bit better if I’m being honest. Any who, field trip on Monday, two work events and our appraisal this week sent me into a tizzy. Really, it was the appraisal. I’ve had my entire family on clean lockdown for a week or so. I know appraisals have nothing to do with how clean ones house is but I wasn’t taking any chances. I realized I went way overboard when Regan and Ava purposefully woke at 5:15, the morning of the appraisal, to do last minute cleaning. I kid you not. I felt awful until I saw they had cleaned off their dressers, which I’ve been asking them to do for years. Ava asked if this “appraiser dude” was going to search her drawers and if she needed to clean those out too? I’m kind of wishing I had said yes. Maybe I’m really onto something here. I mean, even Patrick bought in. He planted plants, put out pine straw, had the house power washed AND cleaned his bed side table area which always looks like an explosion of shoes and I’m not quite sure what else. I even ventured into the playroom to clean well enough to dust. DUST. Not sure that room has been dusted….ever. Hopefully the cleaning worked and this dream kitchen of mine can become a reality in the next eight to twelve weeks. In the meantime, I’m starting to think bi-annual appraisals aren’t a bad idea. I could get used to checking off some of my honey-do’s…..

Photo Cred ~ EatWell101

Meal Plan For The Week of 4/7

Sunday, April 7th – Grilled Vegetable Quesadillas – My best friends little girl is being baptized this morning so we are heading to brunch with them and then to dinner to celebrate my cousins 37th bday. My point – no cooking for Kelly today. BUT, if I was, I would be making these quesadillas. Not exactly “cheaty” but they take a little longer to prep so it’s a perfect Sunday meal. This is one of my very favorite recipes because it’s extremely unassuming but overwhelmingly delicious!

Monday, April 8th – Cajun Baked Salmon – I have been craving salmon ever since I snuck a piece of my neighbor, Randy’s, perfectly cooked dinner the other night. He has yet to send me his recipe but this Cajun spiced option looks pretty yummy! We will serve ours with quinoa or whatever else I have in the house.

Tuesday, April 9th – Chicken Casserole with Pickled Chili, Mozzarella and Pepper Jack – Stay with me. This is the dish pictured above. Don’t freak because of the pickled chili piece. You use banana peppers, not spicy peppers. You can certainly sub for spicy peppers but the bananas offer the perfect tang! I’ll serve over cauli rice.

Wednesday, April 10th – One Pan Chicken Sausage and Veggies – This is a good re-set meal for mid week. Crazy easy and healthy. If you find you need more bulk, add some potatoes. You can’t mess this one up.

Thursday, April 11th – Kale Caesar Salad – Don’t get angry. I promise this is delicious. And so much healthier than your typical caesar because the dressing isn’t mayo based – but still crazy yummy. I’ll add chicken to ours and loose the croutons!!

Friday, April 12th – Sirloin Skillet with Vegetables – Just meat and veggies, y’all. This site gives a great explanation on how to “shave” your sirloin but it requires extra steps. I’m just slicing and cooking.

Happy, Healthy Eating Friends!!

XO ~ Kelly D.