Menu Plan

Menu Plan | thepajamachef.com

I realize this is Tuesday, but better late than never, right!? :)

Week of July 6

Monday: spaghetti, salad, bread
Tuesday: shrimp pad thai
Wednesday: leftovers
Thursday: out to eat
Friday: homemade chicken nuggets, green beans, potatoes
Saturday: grilling out!
Sunday: breakfast for dinner, maybe.

What I’m Into (June 2015)

The year is HALFWAY over. Oh man! What a year this has been! :)

What’s Been Happening

Lots of unpacking! And yard work. Our yard is a jungle, for serious. We got most everything unpacked and put away this month. It feels SO goodto get our house in order. I also was a bachelorette for a week, as Ben flew to LA to visit his brother. The kitties kept me good company! :) We also went to Indiana for Father’s Day weekend… it was great to see everyone, including my nephew, grandpa, and great aunt… and to spend Father’s Day with my Dad of course!

Oh rats! Someone's not very happy even with Auntie Sarah! 😭👶

A photo posted by Sarah K. // The Pajama Chef (@thepajamachef) on

One highlight of our weekend in Indiana was eating at allll my favorite local places, including the local ice cream shop. My photo [with my best high school pals] was STILL on the wall. So fun!

Ice cream selfie with dad haha! 🍦#westlafayettefieldtrip #icecream

A photo posted by Sarah K. // The Pajama Chef (@thepajamachef) on

Another highlight of the month has been the countless hours I’ve spent at the pool in our neighborhood. It’s been super hot, so of course I need to lay out and read, get in the pool, and repeat. Over and over again. :) I took the past week [leading up to the 4th of July] off from work so it’s been awesome to hang out at the pool and relaxxxx.

What I’m Reading

This month I’ve gotten my reading going again. Yay!

June 2015 Reads on thepajamachef.com

Really, every book I read was good. Some better than others, but you’ll have that. You can see my reviews on Goodreads [follow me?]… but the best one was, by far, The Indifferent Stars Above. If you were an Oregon Trail junkie like me, or are fascinated by the Donner Party but want to know a more humanized version of the events, READ THIS! It’s non-fiction but more addictive than a novel. Seriously! I’m still a little short on my reading goal for the year but I think I’ll make it up at the pool over the next two months. :)

I’ve also made a point to save some of the great articles I read online to share here… so in no real order you should check out these articles:

  • Why cursive mattered – interesting, especially since my husband taught computer programming to 5th graders this year at a charter school focused on science and programming. The kids’ handwriting was atrocious. Though my cursive is a bit rusty I think it was a valuable skill to learn.
  • Why you hate Comcast – because it’s a necessary evil. So true! Read this!
  • The internet can’t replace libraries – YES YES YES!
  • 6 wrong reasons to check your phone in the morning – guilty! “What we want in our morning routine is to be filled with the Holy Spirit. We want something that gives us a zeal for the glory of Christ for the day’s work. We want to be strengthened to face whatever the day may bring. We want something that gives us joyful courage to resolve to count others better than ourselves and pursue true greatness, like Jesus said, by becoming the servant of all (Matthew 20:26–28). That is our real agenda in the morning.”

What I’ve Been Cooking

Lots of blueberry stuff. I bought a ton early in June, and at the end of June, we went berry picking. So blueberry pancakes, blueberry muffins, and yogurt bowls with blueberries have been on constant rotation in our house. :) I also made a big batch of black bean burgers. I hope to share the recipe soon! Other than that, summer means easy meals here! Like black beans and rice, breakfast sandwiches [bacon + fried egg + english muffin + avocado], baked potatoes, etc. Ha!

What’s On The Blog

My most popular new recipe of the month was Southwestern Cilantro Mac & Cheese. Can’t go wrong with that cheesy goodness!

Southwest Cilantro Mac and Cheese for #HotSummerEats on thepajamachef.com

My top three popular recipes from the archives were: Cinnamon Sugar Apple Cake, Buffalo Pretzels, and
Funfetti Cookies. Again! They are pretty good. :)

What were you into in June?

Linking up with Leigh Kramer to share what I’ve been into lately. 

Book Review: A Love Like Ours

Finally! Another book review featuring a book from one of my favorite authors, Becky Wade. I’ve reviewed her others books on the blog before–My Stubborn Heart, Undeniably Yours, and Meant to Be Mine. Her first novel is a standalone book, but the last three, A Love Like Ours included, are part of the Porter Family Series. I would want to be part of the Porter family if I wasn’t part of my family, so I was thrilled to read and review the latest tale of this great family.

A Love LIke Ours - a book review on thepajamachef.com

First, the description of the book from the publisher:

Former Marine Jake Porter has far deeper scars than the one that marks his face. He struggles with symptoms of PTSD, lives a solitary life, and avoids relationships.

When Lyndie James, Jake’s childhood best friend, lands back in Holley, Texas, Jake cautiously hires her to exercise his Thoroughbreds. Lyndie is tender-hearted, fiercely determined, and afraid of nothing, just like she was as a child. Jake pairs her with Silver Leaf, a horse full of promise but lacking in results, hoping she can solve the mystery of the stallion’s reluctance to run.

Though Jake and Lyndie have grown into very different adults, the bond that existed during their childhood still ties them together. Against Jake’s will, Lyndie’s sparkling, optimistic personality begins to tear down the walls he’s built around his heart. A glimmer of the hope he’d thought he’d lost returns, but fears and regrets still plague him. Will Jake ever be able to love Lyndie like she deserves, or is his heart too shattered to mend?

My five point review:

  • Finally! If you’ve read any of the other Porter Family novels, you’ve heard about Jake. Now we finally get to meet him. And meet him we do. Jake is a man with a past, deeply affected by his military service and subsequent struggles with PTSD. I was super impressed with how Becky Wade handled this seriously, sensitively, and thoughtfully. She was very respectful but also thorough in sharing Jake’s struggles, especially through flashbacks. Some talented writing there.
  • Moving onto the female lead… Lyndie! She’s as sweet as can be, but don’t worry. She isn’t sugary sweet to the point of ridiculousness, but rather, relatable and strong, with enough tough life situations of her own to keep her normal. Lyndie is the caretaker of her family, thrust into that role as she grew up with a sister with cystic fibrosis.
  • Though I don’t know anything about horse racing, reading about life on a horse farm, life at the racetrack, and Silver Leaf was awesome. I took horseback riding lessons for a couple years, so I’m no stranger to horses, though I haven’t ridden for a few years. This was just such a unique setting for a romance novel. I love it! The sense of place was incredible.
  • There was one element of this novel that I didn’t like. Though I can’t get into it too much without spoiling the story, I was disappointed in the ending. Though relationships do require sacrifice I wasn’t impressed with this level of sacrifice. I didn’t think it was truly necessary. Despite that, the romance was believable, fun, and cute. Jake + Lyndie 4eva!! Ha ha ha! :)
  • Overall though, I loved this book. I constantly was laughing and wishing I was part of this sweet little world. Becky Wade has a magical way with words. If you like to read, you’ll love this book!

What are you reading lately?

Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this book from Bethany House Publishers. However, I was not required to write a positive review. The thoughts expressed above are entirely my own. Thanks to Bethany House for the chance to read this great book!

SRC: Iced Coconut Mocha

Creamy coconut meets an iced mocha for a delightful summer treat… plus this drink is made with a SECRET INGREDIENT. Ooooh! What more can you ask for?!
Iced Coconut Mocha from thepajamachef.com #secretrecipeclub

Iced coffee is my drink of choice in the summer. I LOVE making a batch of cold brew coffee to have a special treat in the afternoons [my simple method: make a pot of french press coffee as usual, same ratio of coffee to water, but use cold water. Place in the fridge or on countertop overnight to brew for at least 12 hours, up to 24. Press as usual, then store in the fridge.]. Lately I’ve been enjoying my coffee with half and half and some mint simple syrup. But I love ANYTHING coconut so when I saw this iced coconut mocha on Happy Go Lucky, my blog assignment for this month’s edition of Secret Recipe Club, I was awestruck. Mmm! Kara has a great blog full of awesome DIY projects and yummy recipes–like this BLT chicken salad, s’mores brownies, or Hawaiian grilled cheese. Kara lives with her family in Virginia Beach, a city that holds special memories since Ben and I got engaged there when I spent the summer on the beach with Cru for a summer project in 2008. I loved checking out Kara’s blog–so much goodness there!

Iced Coconut Mocha from thepajamachef.com #secretrecipeclubSince you’re dying to know, the secret ingredient in this iced coconut mocha is a coconut POPSICLE! How genius is that?!? I meant to buy some at the grocery store to make this coffee drink, but I forgot… so I made my own. :) Ha! And guess what? They worked perfectly! You can make this drink in several ways–hot coffee with cold popsicle, cold brew coffee with leftover coconut popsicle “batter,” or blending it all together, frappe style. No matter how you mix it, this drink is a fabulous pick-me-up… It’s sweet and creamy, with lots of chocolate and coconut flavor. No need to go to the coffee shop when you have this in your repertoire.

Iced Coconut Mocha from thepajamachef.com #secretrecipeclub

I will be making this mocha ALL summer long. Thanks, Kara!

one year ago: Mango Coconut Muffins
two years ago: Double Chocolate Strawberry Shortcakes
three years ago: Banana Crumb Muffins
four years ago: Creamy Taco Mac

Iced Coconut Mocha

  • Servings: 1
  • Time: 5 minutes
  • Print

from Happy Go Lucky

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup strong brewed coffee – hot or cold
  • 1 coconut popsicle – storebought or homemade
  • chocolate syrup
  • sugar, to taste
  • whipped cream
  • toasted coconut
  • ice cubes- made with coffee, if you can!

Directions:

There are three ways to make this delicious drink!

Method 1, from Kara: brew coffee. Place about 2 tablespoons chocolate syrup in the bottom of a glass, then top with 8 ounces hot coffee. Sweeten to taste, then add 1 popsicle. It will melt and cool down the drink. Stir then add ice. Top with whipped cream, more chocolate syrup, and toasted coconut.

Method 2, I made homemade coconut popsicles from the link above [1 can coconut milk + 1/3 cup coconut flakes + 1/2 tablespoon agave, pulsed in a blender, then frozen in popsicle molds.] I had about 1/2 cup coconut milk mixture left so I added 1/2 cup coconut milk mixture to a jar with 1 cup cold brew coffee and 2 tablespoons chocolate syrup, then shook it all up and poured into a glass. Add ice, then top with whipped cream, more chocolate syrup, and toasted coconut.

Method 3, that I haven’t tried but seems like it would work. Place 1 cup coffee [cooled a bit if not using cold brew] in a blender with ice, the coconut popsicle, and 2 tablespoons chocolate syrup. Pulse until combined, then top with whipped cream, more chocolate syrup, and toasted coconut.

Enjoy!

Check out more recipes from other members of the Secret Recipe Club below!