Balsamic Chicken and Veggie Pan Bake

Since Jay and I have been trying to eat healthier, we’ve been making a more conscious effort to eat at home more often. We eat a lot of eggs/egg whites for breakfast and a lot of tuna for lunch, which has led me to discover the gloriousness of putting hot sauce on everything (yeah, it’s even awesome in tuna!).  Our weeknight dinners tend to be the Costco salmon with spinach salad and some form of either chicken or shrimp with veggies or a whole grain quinoa/rice mixture we get from Target’s Simply Balanced line. We’ve also done turkey sausage and peppers and we still make the Tex Mex Stuffed Peppers (Zach’s favorite!!), only with less cheese on Jay’s, since cheese has a lot of Weight Watcher’s points and Jay gets a lot fewer points than I do (because I’m nursing). I’ve saved a bunch of the better recipes to make posts about them, so stay tuned.

Anyways (ding), we’re constantly on the lookout for healthy meals that are low in Weight Watchers points. Big shout out to Mandi for sending me a link to a website that has some great recipes. I also turned to Pinterest and found this recipe for a balsamic chicken pan bake that looked intriguing. I modified it a bit to fit our family’s tastes, but I’d still put it at around 6-7 Weight Watchers points in total, and that’s honestly overshooting it. The only thing in this meal that has points is the balsamic dressing and the extra virgin olive oil. Another plus is that this is gluten-free and dairy-free.

Jay told me that it’s his favorite thing I’ve made so far. I made four pieces of chicken. Jay and Zach liked it so much that they split the last piece. I regret not making more so there would be leftovers.

Here’s the way that I made it:

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup of balsamic vinegar 
  • 1/3 cup of olive oil
  • Chopped broccoli
  • 3 peeled medium carrots, cut into sticks
  • Green beans
  • Sliced red/yellow/orange peppers
  • 1 small red onion, diced* (I bought the onion but totally forgot to cut it. I’m going to use it next time!)
  • Minced garlic (to taste)
  • 3-4 tbsp. of finely chopped fresh basil
  • 1 tsp. fresh thyme (1/2 tsp. dried)
  • Sea Salt (to taste)
  • Pepper (to taste)

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Preheat oven to 400℉. 
  2. Combine the balsamic vinegar, EVOO, garlic, basil, thyme, salt, and pepper. Whisk to make a sauce.
  3. Place chicken in zip-lock bag with 2 spoonfuls of the balsamic sauce. Toss and move chicken breast around to coat. Set in fridge to marinate for however long you want it to (I did 2 hours).
  4. Chop veggies.
  5. Place veggies on the sheet pan. Pour remaining balsamic sauce over veggies and toss veggies to coat.
  6. Remove chicken from the zip-lock bag. Put chicken on the same pan as the veggies.
  7. Bake for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes, remove from oven toss veggies. Place back into the oven.
  8. Bake for an additional 7-10 minutes or until chicken is cooked through. This will depend on the thickness of the chicken and your oven.
  9. Remove from oven and enjoy!

 

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Obligatory 8-1-8-1-8 Post

Well, take three. I started this post on 8/1, then went back to it to post on 8/11, and now it’s 8/18. Oops. I’m the worst. Still works, though! I love the fun numbers days. I love when the dates make a palindrome or pattern of some sort. I’ve been a bad blogger over the last few months and need to get back into it. I think it’s a sign that it’s 8/1/18 8/11/18 8/18/18, hehe.

So what have I been up to over the summer so far? San Diego Comic-Con, Long Island for my niece’s first birthday, lots of movies with Jay. I’ve also been walking/hiking a lot in Umstead State Park and am one trail away from hiking the entire thing. I know every route I could possibly take to get home from work if I ever had to walk home, haha. My office is close to one of the park entrances on the opposite end of the one I live close to. I don’t know, I think it’s cool to know every trail and how it connects to other trails. I am my father’s daughter.

Kids! Alex is already 6-months-old, which is insane to me and Jay’s 3-month paternity leave ended two weeks ago, so he’s in daycare full-time now. Zachary starts Pre-K in September. My niece, Evangeline, turned one on August 1. Eva was just over 6 months when Alex was born, and now Alex is the same age that she was when he was born. Crazy. I became an aunt again last Thursday when my sister-in-law gave birth to her first baby, a lovely little girl named Ava. All in all, things are great on the family front.

What else is going on? The Broadcast is still going strong. Last Friday, I made my first-ever donation to the Wake Med Mother’s Milk Bank with a grand total of 131 ounces of breast milk. I also donated blood for the first time in years last Thursday. Jay and I have been doing Weight Watchers. He’s had more luck than I have had with it because he is waaaaay more disciplined than I am (and he also doesn’t like beer, hahaha). I have lost 4 of the 9lbs that plagued me postpartum, though. That’s been nice because I gained an extra 10lbs last spring when I was on Sertraline (generic Zoloft) and was hopeful that I’d lose it after Alex was born thanks to nursing and go back to my “normal” weight. When I stopped losing weight with an extra 9 of those 10lbs, I figured this was my new normal because I’m in my mid-30s now and I’d never get to wear some of my old clothing again. Hopefully, by the end of the year, I can get rid of the last 5lbs.

What lies ahead for me? I’m still working on my 2017 scrapbook, haha. I want to finish that and then work on some other arts & crafts stuff. I’m still all into my “bullet” journaling. I say that in quotes because I’ve somewhat modified it because while I like being organized and keeping track of stuff, I hate drawing things so I don’t have cute little drawings. I do, however, have clean-looking, organized calendar, list, and chart printouts to keep track of things like money stuffz, birthdays, exercising, overall health, etc. I am also going to read the Saga graphic novel series this week, thanks go Jay’s recommendation. I’ll have to do a review on it here once I am finished.

Speaking of, I would definitely like to blog more. I was in a good rhythm for a while but fell off once I was able to exercise again. I have a few ideas for weekly topcs and what not. Even though I’ve been a bad blogger over the last few years, I’ve still taken pictures and had intentions to post about different things. I should go back and get those off of my phone and do whichever ones are still timely, haha. I don’t know. Stay tuned! Thanks for reading!

Here’s a cute picture of my boys “playing” together this morning. We just set that up for Alex yesterday and he’s obsessed with it.

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The Broadcast Ep. 3.7 “Airbnb for Booty Calls”

It’s been several months since I’ve made a post about my podcast, but The Broadcast is still going strong. We’re seven episodes into season 3 already. The most recent episode, which was released this past Friday, is called “Airbnb for Booty Calls.”

On this episode, at the urging of a friend and listener, we watch and give a review of the movie, “The Apartment.” While drinking Fresh Bong Water, Shandy laments about how small jean pockets are for women (it’s a conspiracy!), I ask for recommendations about a good fitness waist trainer to help stabilize my abs while working out, and Amanda reflects on the high cost of living and ownership vs. renting depending on where you live. We also talk about the Kickstarter for the feminist horror anthology “Betty Bites Back” and get a little too serious when asked to share some of our pet peeves.

You can listen to the latest episode via jayandjack.comiTunes, SpreakerStitcherGoogle Play/Android, etc. Happy Listening and thanks for listening.

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Happiness.

I found this graphic two years ago after one of the absolute worst days of my life, and even then, it took me another several months to really understand and appreciate its lesson. I’ve held onto it on my desktop as a reminder that only I am responsible for my reactions to things and my own happiness. It was a powerful realization for me to figure this out. I think it’s made me a better person to view life from this perspective. If you’re out there and life is difficult right now, I hope this is a gentle reminder and inspiration for you too. It always gets better.


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20 Years is a Long Time

And just like that, 20 long years have gone by. I cannot believe it. We continue to miss you, my friend. I hope you’re still singing away with the angels in heaven.

12.20.1983-5.17.1998
Nothing ever so common.
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Back to Work…

It’s back to work today. I can’t believe it’s been 13 weeks already. I have had such a positive maternity leave and have clicked so much with Alexander that the idea of leaving him when I know he depends on me so much is making me sick to my stomach. Not gonna lie, I have had several moments over the last few weeks where I’ve looked at his little face and burst into tears that our precious, precious time together has come to an end. Even as I type this now, my eyes well with tears. ALL OF THE FEELS.

I genuinely cannot even begin to describe all of the emotions I’m feeling right now. While I love my job and want to go back to work, I’m just not ready to go back to it yet. I wish I had another three months at home. I’m probably not going to do this baby thing ever again, and my heart breaks when Alex looks up at me and smiles at me like I’m his whole world. He’s such a happy baby. I’m going to miss our daily routine of his different playtimes and our “chats” and working out “together.” He’s also an excellent helper while shopping and all-around good company.

I also spent Tuesdays and Thursdays with Zachary. We have had a lot of really great times and grown closer as well. I was trying to go over everything that we’ve done over the past few months and was surprised at just how action-packed it’s been. I’m going to miss these times. I did a decent job blogging about them in the beginning but slacked off over the last month. I wish I had done an even better job to capture those memories in writing as they were happening. From weekly trips to the bouncy house and story time with animals to simple Target and Harris Teeter trips, Zach, Alex and I have had a really great time together.

All in all, it really has been a wonderful three months and I am so sad that it’s over. I love my boys. I’m so grateful that I was able to have three full months with them.

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The Broadcast Ep. 2.35 “I’m Not Eating That”

A new episode of The Broadcast will be out today, April 13. Are you current? I think that episode 2.35 is one of my Top 5 favorite episodes. That’s right. Top 5, baby.

On this episode, I tell the story of the mail truck that caught fire on the back/side/front of my house and crowdsource an upcoming decision. We also get a very powerful voicemail from Maggie, who was at the March for Our Lives in Washington, D.C. This voicemail is incredible and not only did I cry listening to it, several listeners have sent in feedback saying that they cried as well. The show does a hard pivot at the end with a very funny, but very adult/gross voicemail.

You can listen to the latest episode via BlogTalk Radiojayandjack.comiTunesStitcherGoogle Play/Android, etc. Happy Listening and thanks for listening.

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Alex is 2-months-old!

On Monday, April 9, our sweet Alexander Thomas turned two-months-old. I cannot believe it has already been two months. It feels like just yesterday that I was lamenting that he was taking too long to be born. Crazy.

At his two-month checkup, Alex was 22 1/4 inches long and weighed in at 10lbs 10 oz. He’s in the 17 percentile for both height and weight, but the 43 percentile overall. His head circumference was in the 93 percentile, though, so clearly, he has Jay’s head. 😉

Alexander is a sweet, happy baby. He loves to converse with you if you engage him. He coos and smiles a lot. We think he’s going to be a good storyteller. He loves playing on his playmats or watching the mobile in his crib. He figured out how to make the little animals on the attachment for the rock ‘n’ play move by rocking it with his feet. He’s so smart! He also likes watching Mommy do an exercise video and will hang out in the same room with her while she does it. He only ever gets fussy within the last five minutes of one. Mommy is grateful for that.

He’s also a pretty good snuggler…

Baby ATG also loves listening to music and remains a good sleeper. He is a big fan of the Beatles and his daddy’s guitar playing. Most nights, he sleeps from around 9 p.m to around 2:30-3:00 a.m., and then again around 5:30 a.m. and 8-8:30 a.m. Mommy is also grateful for that. [Note: Now that I’ve typed this out, I’ve probably jinxed him to wake up every two hours, including for good at 6 a.m., lol.]

Alex’s dislikes include sleeping flat on his back (he gets bad gas so he sleeps primarily in his rock ‘n’ play, with some pack ‘n’ play and swing naps during the day), dairy (again, see: gas), and being outside in the backyard (you can put him in the stroller in the front yard and he’s fine, but bring him around back and noooope lol). He also cries a lot when he is overtired at night. Luckily, he’s started having different cries, which helps us identify the problem a lot quicker now.

Alex gets along great with his big brother, Zachary, and of course, he loves his daddy. He will coo and laugh for Jay whenever he gets home from work like he’s telling him about his day. Zach is a loving brother and Alex enjoys engaging with him while he’s playing. He even smiled at him this morning. And Zoe! Zoe is obsessed with watching Alex. She has even nuzzled his head a few times during feedings. She sleeps at the end of the bed in between me and him, like she’s comfortably protecting and watching over both of us. Her attitude towards Zach has even improved. All is well so far in G-land.

We love this little dude so much and are so happy that he’s a part of our family!

Pictures from the last month:

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NC TOYCON!

If you are in the Raleigh NC area this Saturday, April 7, come check out NCTOYCON, Jay’s newest project.  It’s from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.at the Hampton Inn & Suites Raleigh-Durham Airport-Brier Creek. Tickets are $5 for anyone over age 13. You can buy tickets in advance here or purchase them at the door. Check out their website for more information, including toy dealers who will be attending.

It is going to be a really great event. Hope anyone in the area who is interested in collecting cool toys will come check it out. Never too early for Christmas or birthday gifts!

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The Broadcast Ep. 2.34 “Speedboating”


I started editing the most recent episode of The Broadcast and realized that I never posted anything about our last episode, which was released two weeks ago. We took last week off because it was Jay’s birthday on Tuesday (the day we usually record) and I needed a mental health week.

The episode is good though! Shandy talks about her experience at the open call for Big Little Lies extras in Monterey, take a Harry Potter character quiz, solve the mystery behind Shandy’s mysterious children’s toy, and have a discussion on what is theft and what is not.

The theft discussion has garnered a lot of feedback so far. Since there was so much of it, we did not get to it on this week’s episode (2.35). We will be covering it next week, so you have time to listen and get your own feedback in if you want to. (And judging by the amount of emails and Facebook comments we’ve received so far about the topic, you may want to weigh in, haha).

You can listen to the latest episode via BlogTalk Radiojayandjack.comiTunesStitcherGoogle Play/Android, etc. Happy Listening and thanks for listening.

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