2019: My Word is Movement

For 2018, I chose the word intention as a basis for my goals. Then I proceeded to have the best intentions in the world and very little action or follow through on those intentions. I did some of them, not regularly, not consistently. But I thought about it all the time. I had great intentions! I was the best at intending, all year long.

I’ve decided for 2019 my goals will remain fairly similar, they were good ones, I know, I thought about them often.  In 2019, my goals will persist and I will complete them because this year I will have action built on a year of intentions. Action alone is not complete. It isn’t whole. It is the fact or process of doing something, typically to achieve an aim. I want my continual life growth to be more than completing a checklist. I want my word to reflect progress along a lifetime journey. With this in mind, the word Movement jumped out at me. Movement is progressive development. Of a song. Of a poem. Of a race. Of a life story. Of me. There is fluctuation and change. There is building. After last year’s intentions, this year I will experience Movement.

  1. Try four new things every month.  This could be a new restaurant, a new recipe, or a new hike. A new anything. I am open to the world of possibilities and excited of where this movement may lead me. Four new things, every single month.
  2. Read one new book each month.  I used to read every night before I went to bed. I’d like to spend my down time moving through more written pages and away from less interactive screen time.
  3. Replace 6 items in my home with a more natural, toxin-free option.  I already focus on purchasing cleaning products that are relatively safer for my pets. I could do better for the people in my life too, myself included. I’d like to move toward a more natural life.
  4. Run 5 miles without feeling like I’m going to die.  Could the application of movement be more literal than this? An act of changing physical location or position or of having this changed. I would like to be able to move my body at a jog for 5 miles while maintaining a conversation the whole time. A few years ago I had surgery on my knee and have never gotten back in to it. I actually don’t even like running, but I love how I feel when I’m done. It’s like dishes. If doing dishes also cleared your mind and helped you sleep. Time to get moving on this one immediately!
  5. Donate or sell 10 items a month. In an effort to simplify my life and home, I’ll move things out, pare down, clear the clutter, and organize in the process. I’m already eager to go through closets and drawers, find things I’ve tucked away, and either keep to use or give to others. Use it or lose it.
  6. Use all my expired Groupons.  They are still worth the amount I paid. And I have several. The emotional burden of a mis-managed deal weighs on me. My expired groupons are the baggage of an unrealized good time. Just like my niece singing passionately as Elsa, I’m going to Let It Go. I’m going to get what I paid for out of them and move them from an intention to an experience.
  7. Get out of town four times.  Getting out of my daily routine and into new surroundings and experiences always helps to reset my body and mind. Even a day or two away has led me in the past to discover crazy fun putt-putt courses, incredible restaurants, and a millions laughs. This is a must in life. I’m excited to plan this physical movement to a different place, outside of my town and outside of my routine.

What is something you want to do this year?  What is your word?

Christmas Day After Deals

Shopping the day after a holiday can yield some incredible savings. What stores in your area put all of their holiday items on sale the next day? Most sales will last through New Years Eve as stores make room for spring inventory.  I went out shopping this morning as soon as the stores were open to see what I could score for as little as possible.

Here are some things to look for:

*Items you know you will use on the next holiday. Purchase and set aside rather than pay full price in 11 months. Themed paper plates and decorations, wrapping paper, boxes and bows, household decor, lights, gift bags and cards. I like to add to my Christmas lights a little bit each year.  

*Materials you can use year round. Do the colors match any part of your home? Always look for wrapping paper the day after Christmas that isn’t Christmas specific that can be used for upcoming birthdays, anniversaries, etc. I like to look for stickers and embellishments I can use in my scrapbooking and crafting projects.  It’s a great time to get coffee mugs and table linens.

*Clothing and Electronics.  Many stores have sales through New Years Eve and extra discounts on clearance items.  JCPenny, Kohls, Walmart, Macys, Best Buy and more!  Remember if you are going to shop online to use Ebates to get money back.  If you don’t have an Ebates account, it is free to sign up and you get a $10 gift card or cash bonus with your first purchase.  

Here is a sampling of the goodies I purchased while out and about this morning.

Target 50% off:

I was still pretty well stocked on Christmas paper, so I picked up this cute unicorn paper my niece will love, timeless polka dots, and who wouldn’t want a gift wrapped in pizza paper!  I price my paper against dollar tree, 9 yards for $1.  This is better quality and at 30 yards for $2.50 (after the 50% discount), it is a better price too.  The gift tags came in four styles to a box, two were Christmas themed and two could absolutely be used for any gift, like the triangles pictured above.

While at Target, I ran into a friend’s folks who were out getting deals on lights to start replacing ones they had had for 20+ years that were just starting to die.  I got these cute stakes made to look like branches for $12.50, net lights for $4, and this super luxe, fluffy tree skirt for $22.50.  I’ve been searching for the perfect skirt for a couple years, but haven’t exactly been dedicated to the task, so my tree skirt has been a bedsheet for the last few years.  I just can’t bring myself to pay full price!  I can’t outdo the Griswolds yet, but I get closer each year.

Roz & Ali:

Everything pictured here was on clearance and an additional 75% off the lowest price.  In total the four pairs of pants, one skirt, one jacket, one tank, and two long sleeve plaid shirts cost $82.  I basically don’t have to do laundry for a week now.

Home Depot 50% off:

Last year I got a doe in this same exact style that bobs her head to the ground as if she is nibbling on grass.  I was excited to score this buck to keep lookout while the lady snacks. 

Tell me where you are finding deals this season.

My Word is Intention

While I am not big on new years resolutions, I do like the feeling of new beginnings.  Like a new haircut, it feels fresh.  I have liked a lot of posts I have been seeing online that talk about rather than choosing a resolution such as, “I am going to fit back in to my wedding dress,” just choose a word.  One word to live by.  I thought about the last year.  My favorite moments, things I would like to change, and I noticed a common thread.  The best times I had were intentional.  The things I wished I had accomplished and didn’t, they seemed to just slip by with time.  My honey and I went on an incredible vacation to Jamaica.  We planned it for months, there was specific purpose there and it was rejuvenating.

I didn’t read or exercise as much as I would have liked last year.  I meant to, things just seemed to come up.  Would I have read more books if I hadn’t spent Saturday afternoon with SVU reruns playing in the background?  Would I have exercised more if I had packed a workout bag or at least laid out clothes on my bed so I saw them as soon as I got home from work?  I want to make my choices this year with more attention to the details.  I want less wasted opportunities to slip by.  My word is intention.  With that in mind I’ve set the following goals for myself this month.  I will print off my list, stick it to the fridge, and check in monthly with my progress.  Sharing my intentions here will help keep me accountable.

  1. Try four new things every month.  This could be a new restaurant, a new workout or walk, a new product, a new recipe, anything, four of them, every single month.
  2. Read one new book each month.  I used to read every night before I went to bed.  I’d like to spend my down time reading more and watching TV less.
  3. Replace 6 items in my home with a more natural, chemical-free option.  I already buy cleaning products that won’t harm my cats.  I could do better for the people in my life too.
  4. Run 5 miles without feeling like I’m going to die.  I would like to be able to jog for 5 miles while maintaining a conversation the whole time.  A few years ago I had surgery on my knee and have never gotten back in to it.  I actually don’t even like running, but I love how I feel when I’m done.  It’s like dishes.  If doing dishes also cleared your mind and helped you sleep.
  5. Create a tradition of charity in our home.  My honey and I have our individual moments of altruism, we would like to expand on that and include his child.  We want giving back to be a part of life and an act that unites our home.
  6. Use all my expired Groupons.  They are still worth the amount I paid.  And I have tons!  I’m going to get what I paid for out of them.  This also applies to gift cards or filled out punch cards that may be sitting in the bottom of my bag.  I’ll have to go through my wallet.
  7. Get out of town four times this year.  I always feel refreshed when I come home after having gone out of town for a wedding or to visit family.  I find a little break from the day to day re-centering. A weekend away, even to a town a couple hours away, can be had on the cheap.  And every city has something to offer and to see.  A crazy putt-putt course, a great restaurant, a sports game, a concert, a museum, anything is fun if you are with somebody fun.

What is something you want to do this year?  What is your word?

Monday Night Dinner: Thai Glazed Zucchini Noodles

The summer solstice has passed, summer is officially here and it is hot in the Pacific Northwest.  This is not the time to be spending hours working the stove and oven.  And after a long day at work, who wants that anyway?  Not me.  Miss Mioux and I want quick, delicious, nutritious food that does not require a lot of cook time.  Enter the spiralizer and ever popular zucchini noodle.

Click to view on Amazon.


I got my spiralizer for Christmas from my mom, and Miss Mioux bought Continue reading “Monday Night Dinner: Thai Glazed Zucchini Noodles”

Asparagus, Tomato, and Walnut Salad with Balsamic Vinaigrette

Spring has officially sprung and seasonal veggies are hitting the market.  Asparagus is ready for harvest from March to June, depending on your region.  Contrary to popular belief, the skinnier spears are not necessarily more tender.  In fact the thickness does not indicate tenderness at all.  The tenderness of asparagus is determined by how it is grown and how quickly after harvest it is eaten.  Asparagus should be stored on your counter but I keep mine in the fridge because I do not need my cats messing with it while I’m at work.  If your asparagus has wilted, trim the ends, place upright in a glass with a little water in the bottom and it will perk right up.

This recipe is refreshing and flavorful.  A quality balsamic will make all the difference in the world.  It is worth it to spring for the good stuff.  Leftovers are still delicious the next day.  Try mixing it up by adding slices of kielbasa, or putting it on bruschetta toasts with a crumble of feta.  What is your favorite asparagus recipe?


  • One 10oz package of cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 lb asparagus, tough ends trimmed, chopped into one inch pieces
  • 3/4 cup walnuts
  • 6 tsp balsamic vinegar
  • 4 tsp avocado oil (olive oil would work just fine as well)
  • 2 tsp dijon mustard
  • salt and pepper to taste
  1. In a medium sized bowl mix together the tomatoes, asparagus, and walnuts.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together the dressing of balsamic, oil, mustard, and salt and pepper.
  3. Drizzle the vinaigrette over the salad, tossing lightly.

Take it to the next level: Add in grilled sliced kielbasa or top bruschetta toasts with salad and add a little crumble of cheese.



Monday Night Dinner: One-Pot Paprika Dusted Chicken with Bacon in a Honey Mustard Yogurt Sauce

Miss Mioux has been diggin’ on yogurt-based salad dressings lately, Bolthouse Farm’s Ceasar specifically.  These yogurt-based salad dressings pack a lot a flavor and save big time on calories, I love it!  This honey mustard yogurt-based dressing is only 34 calories per tablespoon.  You can burn that off by walking for 6 minutes.  That is less time that it takes to carry in groceries from the car.

Now you know how sometimes you go to the store, and it’s Sunday morning, and it’s just slammed?  Not even the cute firefighters, who also grocery shop early Sunday morning, make you want to hang around longer than necessary, or so Miss Mioux tells me.  Anyhow, Miss Mioux needs more caesar, and she isn’t interested in firefighters in this crowd on this particular morning, so she is in and out.  Mission accomplished.  At home, she unpacks and finds she still needs ceasar salad dressing because in her haste she grabbed honey mustard.  She almost went back to exchange it, but the firefighters would be gone and the store would still be crazy busy.  Not worth the mileage.  She does not want it on her lunchtime salads so we gotta do something with it.

We came up with this recipe below because it allowed us to feel like we were eating something indulgent, something creamy.  Who doesn’t like sauce? And hello…bacon!  With the yogurt-based dressing rather than heavy cream for the sauce it allows us to stay well within our healthy lifestyle goals.  And this dinner will show you how to turn a bottle into a killer pan sauce.

PRO-TIP: When I was a crazy couponer, I would use free salad dressing as a chicken breast marinade often.  Italian salad dressing is a great marinade to add a little more moisture and flavor to chicken breast.  And if you purchase your meat in bulk you can add it to your freezer bag with the raw chicken before you put it in the freezer.



  • 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • 5 slices of bacon
  • 1/2 white or yellow onion, chopped (about 1 cup)
  • 2 tbsp sweet paprika
  • 2 tbsp ground mustard
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 1/4 cup chicken broth
  • 1 bottle of Bolthouse Honey Mustard Yogurt dressing
  • 8 oz crimini mushrooms, sliced (about 10 mushrooms)
  1. Heat a large skillet on medium and cook bacon until it starts to brown.
  2. While bacon is cooking, in a small bowl, mix the paprika, mustard, salt, and pepper.
  3. When bacon is browned, remove and set aside, leaving bacon fat in skillet.  Add chopped onion to the skillet and cook in bacon fat until soft.  Set aside onion with bacon.
  4. Rub paprika-mustard mix into sides of chicken breast and place in skillet. We had a little bacon fat left in the skillet.  If your skillet is dry, add a tablespoon of olive oil. Cook each side 1-2 minutes to get a nice sear on the chicken.  It will not be cooked all the way the way through.
  5. Add the bacon and onion back to the skillet, along with the chicken broth, bottle of dressing, and mushrooms.  Stir to combine, lower heat to a simmer, and cover for 10 minutes.
  6. Uncover skillet and simmer another 10 minutes to let the sauce reduce.  Go ahead an taste it though, it’s delicious!  Chicken will be cooked through and no longer pink in the center.  Serve with side of choice and drizzle sauce on everything.




I get my chicken from a company called Zaycon.  They are a farm to table company that delivers to your town at prices that beat the grocery store big time.  You purchase in bulk and items available are based on the schedule for your area.  They are nation-wide.  I have often split orders with family or friends because 40lbs of chicken can be a lot for a three person household that includes a child that doesn’t eat much.  To check if they are in your area, create an account here.  You can also sign up for emails to be made aware of future events in your area.  Over time I have ordered:

  • Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts
  • Pork Tenderloins
  • Boneless Skinless Chicken Thighs
  • 90/10 Ground Turkey
  • and waiting for delivery now…Premium Skirt Steaks

Miss Mioux has ordered:

  • Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts
  • Polish Kielbasa Sausages
  • Bacon Wrapped Pork Loins
  • Italian Mozzarella Chicken Sausages








Fred Meyer Freebie: TOSTITOS Salsa Dip

Today Fred Meyer (and other stores listed below) are offering a FREE 15.5 oz jar of Tostitos Salsa Dip.  Load the coupon to your card today and use by April 9th, 2017.  I think I will put my jar in my InstaPot with some Zaycon boneless, skinless chicken breasts.  Shred it when it is done cooking and then make some enchiladas!  Today before midnight PST you can get $20 off $100 order on Zaycon with code DEAL20.


With your store loyalty card, you can register on the app, and download coupons to your loyalty card.  Every Friday, Fred Meyers releases a FREE ITEM coupon that is only available on Friday and only to the first 25,000 people to load it to their account.  The coupons are good for a couple of weeks.  It also applies to other Kroger stores.  You can even get an announcement text sent to you each Friday.


Monday Night Dinner: Cauliflower Grilled Cheese and Bell Pepper Soup

When Miss Mioux and I first started cooking together, there were not a lot of vegetables she liked because there were not a lot of vegetables she had tried.  She knew she liked cauliflower, so we made cauliflower everything:

Pizza Crust
Fried “Rice”

Each dish continued to surprise and be delicious.  We talked about revisiting them until we saw a recipe for Cauliflower Grilled Cheese.  Oh. My. Damn.  Low carb and cheesy?  Heck yeah!  And if you are having grilled cheese, you need soup to dip.

I found cauliflower grilled cheese on Kirbie’s Cravings.  My favorite part is the methodology.  Anyone who has tried to make cauliflower pizza crust has had to wring the water out of crumb sized pieces of steamed cauliflower, and personally I think it is a giant messy pain.  This recipe dries the cauliflower out in the microwave.  I am telling you this is a game changer!  The soup recipe is from Cookin Canuck and is a nod to Miss Mioux’s Canadian heritage.  It turned me on to the book Eating Clean by Amie Valpone.  The ginger cashew pesto in it sounds amazing.



  • 1 head of cauliflower, stem removed and cut into small florets
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 cup shredded parmesan cheese
  • 1 tsp Italian herb seasoning
  • 4 deli slices of muenster
  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.  Place cauliflower into food processor and pulse until it is in rice-sized pieces.
  2. Place cauliflower into a large microwave safe bowl and microwave for two minutes.  Stir the cauliflower and place it back in the microwave for three minutes.  (At this point if you want to wring the water out of the cauliflower be my guest, from this day forward I will choose to use the microwave to dry out my cauliflower.)  Remove and stir again so all the cauliflower cooks evenly.  Place back into the microwave and cook for 5 minutes.  At this point, you will start to see the cauliflower dry out.  Mix and place back for a final five minutes.  Pro Tip: With the moisture released from the cauliflower, this is a good time to wipe down the inside of your microwave with a paper towel to clean it, after you have removed the cauliflower.
  3. Allow the cauliflower to cool for a few minutes.  If you have ever used the wringing method, by now it should look the same, but SO much less fuss.  Can you tell I am excited by this?  Innovative I tell you!
  4. Add in egg, parmesan, and seasoning.  Stir to combine until smooth.  Divide the dough into four equal parts.  Place onto a large baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a Silpat mat.  Having neither at that moment, we just sprayed a glass baking pan.  Using your hands, shape the dough into square “bread slices.”  Bake for about 15-18 minutes or until golden brown.  Remove from the oven and let cool a few minutes.
  5. The cauliflower crust is too delicate to flip on the stove, so put two slices of muenster cheese on two slices of cauliflower “bread.”  Using a spatula, place the other slice of “bread” on top, sliding it back into the oven until cheese begins to melt, just a few minutes.  If you were working with a harder cheese, like a thick hunk of cheddar, I would set it to broil for 5 to 10 minutes to get the cheese melty.  For a softer cheese like muenster, just placing it back in the oven works fine.



  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced
  • 2 medium carrots, peeled and diced
  • 1 celery stalk diced
  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper , to taste
  • 8 yellow, red, and/or orange bell peppers, chopped
  • 1 large sleet potato, peeled and chopped
  • 4 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
  • 6 tsp dried marjoram
  • Fage greek yogurt, for garnish
  • croutons, for garnish
  • sliced avocado, for garnish
  1. In a large pot, heat the oil over medium heat.  Add the onion, carrot, celery, and a pinch of salt and black pepper.  Cook until vegetables are tender, about 4 minutes.
  2. Add the bell peppers and cook until soft, about 6 minutes.
  3. Add the sweet potatoes and broth.  Season with salt and black pepper, cover the pot.
  4. Bring to a boil then lower the heat and add the marjoram.  Simmer until the vegetables are tender, about 20 minutes.
  5. Let the soup cool slightly, and then in batches, transfer to a blender and puree until smooth.  If needed, thin the soup with water.  Adjust the seasoning with salt and black pepper if necessary.  Return the soup to the pot to keep warm until serving.  Serve garnished with a sprinkling croutons, a dollop of the Fage, and avocado slices.

The “bread” firms up well, considering each slice is basically just a quarter head of cauliflower.


Snuggling with Miss Mioux’s kitty, Olive.  She likes my hair.


Creamy Broccoli Apple Salad

For the office St. Patrick’s Day potluck, it was a green theme.  There were green deviled eggs and green rice krispie treats, along with shepherd’s pie and cabbage rolls.  I needed a recipe with some green, some health, and some quickness.  This salad from Turning Back the Clock fit all my needs.  I adapted the recipe to omit the mayonnaise and got tons of compliments on the dressing.  I doubled the recipe and it came together quickly and easily, and fit in with our office Get Fit Challenge.  Perfection.



  • 4 cups broccoli florets and stalks (If you don’t like the stalks you don’t have to use them but why not?) about three small heads
  • 2 large apples, chopped
  • 1/2 cup chopped carrots
  • 1/2 dried cranberries
  • 1/4 red onion, chopped
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans
  • 2 tbsp. lemon juice, about half a lemon
  • 1 cup Fage plain greek yogurt (you can use any plain greek yogurt, I just love Fage, tastes the closest to sour cream and if you get the 0% there is no fat)
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/8 tsp. pepper
  1. In a large bowl, mix the broccoli, apples, carrots, cranberries, onion, and pecans together.
  2. In a small bowl, mix the Fage, lemon juice, salt, and pepper together.
  3. Pour the dressing over the salad and mix to combine evenly.  Saran wrap for the next day work potluck or dish up a bowl right away.

Monday Night Dinner: Three Cheese Spaghetti Squash


Miss Mioux and I have been challenging each other to be healthier.  We started a daily plank challenge March 1st.  For all our belly slimming efforts, I have been craving something cheesy in a big way.  Miss Mioux is right there with me.  I am going on a trip to Jamaica and in an effort to get swimsuit-ready, I have cut out pizza, fast food, and most takeout.  My body needs cheese.  I balance this need by pairing it with veggies – lots of veggies.  And it is delicious!  Serve with a crisp green salad and crusty bread.


  • 1 medium spaghetti squash
  • 3 tbsp minced garlic
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 3 handfuls of spinach
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1 tbsp cornstarch
  • 2 tbsp cream cheese
  • 1/2 cup shredded mozzarella
  • 1/2 cup shredded colby jack
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan
  • 1/2 panko bread crumbs
  • salt and pepper to taste
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Microwave the spaghetti squash whole for 3-4 minutes to help it slice in half more easily.  Cut it in half lengthwise and scoop out the seeds.  Rub the inside of the squash with a little olive oil and place skin side up, squash side down in a baking dish.  Bake for 40 minutes.  While the squash is baking, prepare the sauce.
  3. In a medium pot, heat the olive oil.  Add the garlic and sauté until fragrant.  Add the spinach and stir until wilted.  Add cream cheese, milk, and cheese (set aside a few pinches of each type of cheese to mix with the panko bread crumbs).  Stir until the cheese is melted.  Whisk in cornstarch. Add salt and pepper to taste.  When the sauce has thickened, remove it from heat.
  4. Once the squash is done roasting, allow it to cool to touch or use an oven mitt.  Reduce the oven temperature to 350.  Using a fork, scrape the spaghetti strings of squash out, creating a squash boat.  Mix the spaghetti squash with the sauce and fill the squash boats back up.
  5. Mix the reserved cheese with the panko and sprinkle the crust evenly on top.  Bake at 350 for 20 minutes or until heated through.

Dig in guilt free!

If you are pressed for time, you can roast the squash ahead of time, bake for only 30-35 minutes and refrigerate.  When you are ready to eat, scoop the squash out while the sauce comes together, mix, add back to the bowls and finish cooking.

Feel free to substitute your favorite green, such as mustard, kale, or chard.  Diced cooked chicken, sautéed shrimp, bacon or sausage crumbles would add protein.  Any number of additional veggies would be delicious add-ins, such as mushrooms, bell pepper, or broccoli.  Follow your heart.

Miss Mioux and I were full with a quarter the squash, salad, and a couple pieces of bread.  Plus we both wanted leftovers.  I packed my leftovers in my Hunny’s lunch bag the next day.  Having never had spaghetti squash before, he thought it was great.  He described it as satisfying and rich without making him feel overly full.  He had the idea of cooking the spaghetti squash with cheese in place of hashbrowns*.  A stuffed hashbrown version with spaghetti squash in place of potatoes will be a thing we will have to try out…

*In a nod to Miss Mioux’s Canadian heritage, we spell hashbrown as one word.