food, Recipes

Crockpot Turkey Chili

It sure doesn’t feel like fall in Grand Rapids with these temps approaching 90 degrees this week, but that hasn’t stopped me from busting out my Crockpot!

Now that I’m working in an office and not from home, I really need to be on top of meal planning so we don’t fall into a habit of getting takeout all the time.  The Crockpot gives me a guarantee that my family will have a healthy dinner ready when we get home in the evening.

Turkey chili is one of my favorite easy Crockpot recipes to throw together.  Here’s how I make mine!

turkeychiliingredients
Lots of seasonings- season your food, y’all!

Ingredients:

1 lb ground turkey

1 can black beans

1 can kidney beans

1 can diced tomatoes (I like Ro-Tel because they are spicier with the green chilis added)

Chili powder

Onion powder

Salt

Pepper

Garlic powder

Cumin

Aleppo Pepper (optional if you like more spice)

Cinnamon- Trust me!

 

Step 1:

groundturkeycook

Cook the ground turkey over medium high heat with a little non stick spray or olive oil.  Season with salt, pepper, garlic, onion powder, and Aleppo Pepper.

Step 2:

turkeychilicrockpot_2

Dump all of your ingredients into the crock pot, including your remaining seasonings. (Chili powder, Cumin, and Cinnamon)

If you’ve never used Cinnamon in your chili, you need to try it.  It’s a game changer.  Trophy Husband introduced me to this a while back and I’ve never looked back.  (sidebar: he’s the real chef in this relationship.  I just pretend that I know what I’m doing!) I’d suggest starting with about a tablespoon of cinnamon, and taste after the chili has been simmering for a while to see if you want to add more.  You don’t need a ton, but it really adds to the flavors.

Once you’ve dumped your ingredients, just let it cook on low for 8-10 hours and you’ll have a healthy and filling meal ready for you at the end of the day.

Enjoy!

 

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Cleaning and Organizing

The Great Closet Clean Out: Pants Edition

Getting rid of pants today was surprisingly satisfying!  Almost all of the pants that I removed from my closet were removed because they are too big!  The scale hasn’t budged much in the past few months, but it is clear that I have lost some inches thanks to all of the strength workouts I’ve been doing.

A reminder of the questions I’m asking myself as I go through clothes in my closet:

  1. Have I worn it in the last year?
  2. Do I love it?
  3. Does it fit?
  4. Do I feel great in it?

If I answer “no” to any of above, the pants got the ax.

Here are a couple “nos”.  The grey pants on the left are WAY too big in the waist!  They definitely had to go!  The olive green jeans on the right may look like they fit, but they are SO stretchy that once I wear them for 10 minutes, they are falling down.  Not a good look!

too small jeans
I won’t subject you to seeing how small these are on me! Straight to the “no” pile!

Here are a couple BIG wins! Both of these pairs of jeans would not even pull up over my thighs at the beginning of this year.  This is why the scale is a liar!  I’m only 3 pounds less than I was in February, but I can now fit into so many pairs of pants now that were not even close just 6 months ago.

The black jeans are still a bit tighter than I’m comfortable with wearing, but they technically “fit” and I love them, so I’m keeping them as I continue my weight loss process.  The dark blue ones, though… holy moly! They not only fit, but I can fit my thumb in the waistband.  p.s. these have NO stretch in them!

 

I actually didn’t purge as many pants as I was expecting to.  This is a good thing because in trying all of  my pants on, I discovered multiple pairs of pants that have been too small for years but now fit!  Because of this, I won’t have to go out and buy any pants, which I was totally anticipating.  Yay for money in my bank account!

Total purge count: 10 pairs- 8 too big, and 2 too small.

Since I’m definitely not done losing weight, I expect to repeat this process with pants in another 6 months.  My hope is that I will have a lot more that are too big!

Here is my before and after.  I kind of hate those multi-hangers, so I think I’m going to switch out to individual hangers for each pant now that I have the space to do so.

Thanks for following me on this mission to pare down my wardrobe! If you are cleaning your closet as well, please post some photos on Instagram and use #trophywifegreatclosetcleanout!

 

Cleaning and Organizing

The Great Closet Clean Out- Dress Edition

I’m making some great progress on my closet clean out project! Today I worked on dresses.  This was actually much easier than I was expecting.  I already had in my head the ones that I wanted to get rid of, so it was just a matter of removing them from my closet.

 

When going through the dresses, I asked myself the following questions:

  1. Have I worn it in the past year?
  2. Do I love it?
  3. Does it fit?
  4. Do I feel great in it?

If the answer was “no” to any of these questions, the item under consideration had to go.

Here are some hits and misses:

too tight dress
Is it the 80’s? Are we in a Robert Palmer video?
zara dress
This dress has not been a twinkle in my eye for years. By the time it fits again, it will be WAY out of style! Buh-bye!

 

shift dress
We have a winner! In fashion, great fit, super comfy! Love this Old Navy shift dress!

 

In all, I purged 12 dresses and two skirts.  (note to self- stop buying skirts.  You never wear them!)  I also was able to hang every dress on the same type of hanger, rather than the mish-mosh of different hangers I had.  I think matching hangers make a closet look so much more put together!

Here’s the before and after!

dresses beforedresses after

I’m so glad to have tackled this part of the project!  Stay tuned for the next step- pants!

Cleaning and Organizing

Trophy Wife Tips: How to Clean your Keurig

Friends, I am a coffee addict.  I start my day with a cup every day and continue to refill said cup multiple times a day.  When I still worked a corporate job, I’d spend upwards of $50 a week at the Starbucks in the lobby!  Thankfully, I work from home now, but that means that my Keurig 2.0 gets quite the workout!  In order to keep it functioning and pumping out that magic liquid, I try to clean it periodically.  It’s super easy to do and I’m going to tell you how!

So, how do you know when it’s time to clean your Keurig?  For me, it was when I noticed it wasn’t brewing full cups anymore.  At first I thought it was malfunctioning, but after a simple google search, I read  that you should actually clean the inside of the machine, not just the outside parts.

Here’s how you do it…

First, remove the little tray thingy (technical term) that holds the K-cup and wash it in warm soapy water.  Be careful- there are sharp needles that can poke you in there.

keurig 4

Next, fill the reservoir with 50% water at 50% white distilled vinegar.

keurig 1

 

Next, place a cup under the spout and set the machine to dispense hot water.  Unfortunately, the Keurig 2.0 only allows you to make 6 oz of hot water at a time, so you will have to do this several times until the reservoir is empty.  Grab a chair and a book and sit next to your Keurig.

keurig 2

keurig 3
Ew. And this was my third cup that I ran through!

 

Once you’ve emptied the reservoir, remove it from the machine and wash in warm soapy water to rinse out any vinegar residue. (unless, of course, you like pickle flavored coffee)

Once the reservoir is cleaned, fill with water and repeat the process of dispensing hot water one cup at a time. (no vinegar this time- just water)  I usually do this twice to avoid aforementioned pickle coffee.  Once may be enough, but I don’t like to take any chances with my brewed goodness.

You should probably complete this cleaning process once every 2-3 months to keep your Keurig running well.  Admittedly, I only do it once or twice a year (oops!) but I definitely need to do it more often.

I hope this Trophy Wife Tip was helpful!  Please follow me on Instagram @trophywife_balancedlife for more!

 

Cleaning and Organizing

The Great Closet Clean Out – Shoes and Accessories Edition

Hello readers! As I mentioned here I’m doing a huge closet clean out.  I have a tendency to hold onto clothes and shoes way longer than I should, so I decided to put a plan in place to purge the items that I don’t wear or don’t love, and potentially replace some items with more quality/classic pieces.

I started last week with shoes, which in retrospect should have been my last step because holy moly did this take forever.  I’m a shoe hoarder.  I have a huge problem.  I’ve worked in retail my whole life, including stores and buying offices, and most of my career was spent in the shoe department.  Let’s just say I’ve definitely taken my work home with me over the years and accrued upwards of 100 pair.

I started the shoe purge process early last week and it took me a full week to get through it all.  Choosing to get rid of shoes, even if they were too small or hadn’t been worn in years was like getting rid of children.

shoe progress_2
Just a few of my sacrificial babies!

I started by removing all of the shoes that I knew were too small for me.  Age and pregnancy have made my feet expand over the years and most of my fun sneakers are way too tight.  I was able to sell a lot of them on Facebook Marketplace, since many were in like new condition and kept in the boxes.

I then went through and trashed any shoes that were in disrepair. (think worn out Old Navy flip flops, running shoes with worn down soles, etc.)

Next I removed duplicates.  I had two pairs of nude pumps, two pairs of identical black pointy toed ankle boots from Nine West, and three pairs of very similar black pumps. I kept the pair that was in the best condition and fit the best and put the duplicates in the sell/donate pile.

Next I took an honest inventory of the shoes that I own and tried to date the last time I wore them.  If I haven’t worn them in a year, they got the boot. (no pun intended) A few exceptions were made for special occasion shoes and shoes that I love too much to part with.  The latter category is going to be revisited in six months, though.  If I still haven’t worn them at that point, then they don’t need to be taking up space in my closet!

I then took all of the shoes out of boxes and displayed them on the shelves so I could actually see what I have.  I put the shoes that I wear the least often on the higher shelves and the ones that I wear most frequently on the more accessible shelves.  Again, a few exceptions were made.  Tall boots are staying in boxes for now until I can find a way to store them while still keeping their shape.  Also, some of my more collectible sneakers are staying in boxes to preserve their resale value if I decide to sell more later.

In all, I purged about 30 pairs of shoes!  As I mentioned, I have already sold a few pair on Facebook Marketplace.  The remaining will be taken to a consignment store and whatever they don’t take will be dropped off at Goodwill.

Here are some before and afters!

closet2
Shoe disaster!
Shoes after 2
Nice and neat and room to add one more pair… 🙂

 

I felt so accomplished after getting the shoes in order that I decided to jump ahead to accessories.

I didn’t have a lot to purge here, but I wanted to get my purses out of the laundry basket on the floor and onto a shelf.  Purging so many shoes made room to do just that.

Before and after pics of the purses:

closet5
Yikes!
Shoes after 1
So much better! Now I can see what I have!

 

I’m still working on this closet project and hope to have it done in the next two weeks! Stay tuned for the next installment in the series- Dresses!

P.s. I hope you will join me in this closet clean out project! If you are on instagram, please take photos and use #trophywifegreatclosetcleanout so I can keep up with your progress and we can hold each other accountable!

 

food, Recipes

Crockpot Stuffed Turkey Meatballs

September is here, which means fall weather is coming and my Crockpot goes into heavy rotation.  It is so nice to throw something in before starting my day and know that I don’t have to worry about getting dinner on the table after a long day of Trophy Wifing.

I LOVE meatballs and would normally use ground beef, veal, and pork sausage for this recipe, but I’m making it a mission to serve my family healthier meals, so I created a lightened up version of my fave recipe using ground turkey and turkey Italian sausage.

These meatballs are SO delicious to use with pasta, zoodles (zuchinni “noodles” made in a spiraler), or on sandwiches and using turkey makes them feel guilt-free.

Here’s the recipe!

turkeymeatballingredients

Ingredients:

1 lb Ground Turkey

Turkey Sausage Links (4-5)

1 Egg

Fresh Mozzarella Cheese

1 Cup Bread Crumbs

Salt

Pepper

Onion powder

Granulated garlic

Italian seasoning

1 Jar Marinara sauce (or your favorite pasta sauce)

**Note on seasonings- I don’t measure them, which is why I don’t typically include the measurements in my recipe.  Use the amount that suits your taste, and omit anything you don’t like, but PLEASE season your food, y’all!**

Step 1:  In a large bowl, combine ground turkey, turkey sausage (casings removed), egg, bread crumbs, seasonings, and egg.  Get in there and use your hands to combine.

turkeymeatballeggandbreadcrumbs

 

Step 2: Divide into 12 equal portions- lay them out on a cutting board so they look a bit like sliders and stuff them with cheese.

turkeymeatballstuff

If you’re a normal person, you’ll do this two handed and make nice neat balls.  If you’re a beginner mommy blogger who has to use one hand to take her own crappy iPhone photos, you’ll do this one handed.

Trophy Wife Tip:  These little prepackaged mozzarella cheese balls are perfect for this recipe!  I get them at Costco.  Each little package has three small balls for a 70 calorie snack, or each ball is the perfect size to stuff these meatballs!

mozzcheese

 

Step 3:

Heat up olive oil in a cast iron skillet (or whatever type of skillet you own) and sear the meatballs on all sides.  Don’t worry about cooking all the way through- you just want them a little brown on each side.

turkeymeatballsear

Step 4:  Transfer meatballs to Crockpot and cover in sauce.  I like this Trader Joe’s Marinara because it is low in sugar compared to any other brand I’ve seen. (only 3g of sugar per serving vs. 9g or more in most other brands)

turkeymeatballsauce

Step 5: cook on low for 8-10 hours.

turkeymeatballcrockpot

 

Enjoy!

food, Recipes, Uncategorized

Freezer Breakfast Burritos

When times are tough- us moms have to stick together, right?

A former coworker just gave birth to twins a couple weeks ago.  She also has an adorable 20 month old girl that was in my son’s daycare class before we transferred locations.

Twins + Toddler = no time to cook (or sleep, or shower, or anything else)

A group of us moms have gotten together to make some freezer meals for this sweet family and my contribution is breakfast burritos.

I’m making two different kinds- one with turkey sausage, cheese, and potatoes, and one with black beans, cheese, and potatoes.  These are super easy to make and so convenient to have in the freezer for a quick morning meal.

Ingredients: (for 16 burritos- 8 sausage, 8 bean)

12 eggs

Milk (just a splash)

Sour cream (about 3 tablespoons- optional)

1 pound turkey sausage

1 can of black beans

1/2 bag of shredded cheese

1/2 bag of frozen hash browns

Butter or Ghee (about 2 tablespoons for cooking the eggs)

Salt

Pepper

Onion Powder

 

Directions:

Brown sausage in a bit of olive oil or non-stick spray.  Set aside.

 

turkey sausage

Brown potatoes in olive oil or non-stick spray.  Add salt and pepper. (sidebar- season your food, y’all! salt and pepper goes so far!)

hashbrowns

Combine eggs, milk, sour cream, and seasonings and whisk until blended.

eggs

Now, let’s talk scrambled eggs.  Please, please, please do not cook your eggs too hot too fast!  They come out sooooo much better when you cook them low and slow.  Seriously.  no more than 50% heat on your stove, and only stir them occasionally.  My husband, who is a much better cook than I am, taught me this technique and I’ve never looked back.  I have enjoyed my eggs so much more over the past 9 years since I met that man.

Again, turn on the stove to no more than 50% heat and add your butter or ghee.  (highly recommend ghee)

ghee

Then add your eggs.  Cook them sloooooooooooooow.  If there’s any brown on them, they are overcooked!

Halfway there!

scrambled eggs 1

And Done!

scrambled eggs 2

Now it’s time to build your burritos.  Add your ingredients, roll your burritos tight, and wrap in plastic.

build bean burritos

 

Now, let’s talk plastic.  I know it’s not exactly popular these days to use plastic wrap due to sustainability and health.  I don’t normally like to use plastic wrap, but I have not had success freezing these in foil.  I’d love to hear some suggestions on how my readers have made foil work for freezing and/or if you have other non-plastic tricks.

Once you have these wrapped, just throw in the freezer until you are ready to eat!

To warm up, the best technique in my experience is to leave in the plastic and warm up in the microwave for about 90 seconds.  This keeps the tortilla from drying out.  If you’re iffy about the plastic in the microwave, I’d suggest wrapping in a damp paper towel and placing on a microwave safe dish for 90 seconds.  The paper towel will help the tortilla retain it’s moisture.

I hope you enjoy these breakfast burritos!  If you make them, let me know how you like them!

I especially hope my friend and her family enjoy these and that it helps take a little bit of stress away from them as they care for their sweet family!

Cleaning and Organizing

The Great Closet Clean Out Series

I’ve been avoiding this project for months, but the time has come to tackle my closet disaster.  I have way too many clothes and shoes that I don’t wear.  Some things are too big, some are too small, some are just out of date and I haven’t let them go.

This is going to be a huge project, so I’m taking it in stages. Here is my strategy:

Step 1: Shoes and Accessories

My goal is to purge all shoes that I haven’t worn in at least a year, shoes that are out of style, or shoes that I have duplicates of. (how many pairs of black pumps does one person need?)

I also want to get all of the shoes out of boxes so that I can display them and see what I have when putting outfits together.

Another challenge is storage for purses and scarves.  Right now they are in a laundry basked on the floor.  Not ideal!  I’d like to get them displayed on shelves or hangers and off the floor.

Step 2: Dresses

I love dresses! They are my go-to in the summer time to just throw on and be comfortable.  That being said, I have way too many.  Some are too short, some are not in fashion, some are too tight, and some are just unflattering.  I also have some bridesmaid dresses that I’m holding onto for no apparent reason.

My goal is to purge at least half of my dresses and only keep the ones that I love and feel great in!

closet3

Step 3: Pants

Pants are going to be the hardest part of this process.  I have so many pairs of pants that are ill fitting for different reasons.  I’ve held onto many pairs of jeans from my early 20’s hoping that they fit again and/or come back into style.  It’s time to just be real and get rid of the jeans, even though I paid a STUPID amount of money for them.

Since having my son, my body shape has changed drastically.  I used to carry most of my weight in my hips/thighs/butt, but now my booty has flattened out and I’m carrying a lot of extra weight in my stomach area.  This shift in my body shape has made all of my pants look weird on me.  I’ve got to try on every single pair and get rid of the ones that are too loose in the hips and butt area.  They are SO not flattering!

I’m planning to be really honest with myself on pants day, even though it will be a bit of a blow to my self esteem.  I only want clothes that I feel great in, not any that are a reminder that my body is not what I want it to be.

Step 4: Tops

Tops are going to be the most time consuming of the process because I have SO many to try on.  My challenge here is that I have held onto too many tops that I used to love, but didn’t fit after I gained weight.  Most of those tops fit now, as I’m 20 pounds under my pre-pregnancy weight (still would like to lose about 25 more), but a lot of them are not on trend, so they just need to stop taking up space.

closet1

Step 5: Sell and Donate

Depending on the item, I plan to sell on Ebay or Facebook Marketplace, sell to a consignment store, or donate to Goodwill.

Step 6:  Shop!

This is the fun part!  Once I rid myself of all the clothing that I own that is either out of style or doesn’t fit, I will assess what pieces I need to replace and shop for some new things.  I am going to be very strategic about what I buy, and only bring things into my house that I love and I know I will get a lot of wear out of.  My plan is to still maintain a closet that is not quite minimalist (I love clothes and shoes too much for that!) but not stuffed to the max like it is now.

 

So, there’s my six step plan to get my closet cleaned and organized! This will take me several weeks, but I will continue to update you on my progress!

Wish me luck!

food, Recipes

Make Ahead Egg Cups

I’ve been very focused on meal prepping, as my husband and I are both trying to watch our waistlines.  I try to pack breakfast and lunch for him to take to work, and even though I work from home most days, I find it easier to stay on track if I “pack” my food as well.  When I’m ready for a break, I can just grab one of my containers from the fridge and have a no-brainer healthy meal.

One of our staple breakfasts are egg muffins, or egg cups.  These are a great low carb option packed with protein to keep you full.  You can play with the ingredients to suit your tastes.  Today’s recipe includes sausage, cheese, and spinach, but you can put together any combination that you like to have in your omelettes.

Here’s the recipe!

To make 12 muffins, use the following ingredients:

4 Large Eggs

1 cup liquid egg whites (you can change ratio of eggs to egg whites- you want the equivalent of about 10 eggs)

1 cup spinach, chopped

1/2 tube of breakfast sausage (I used pork because it was lower in sugar, turkey sausage is a lower calorie and fat option)

1/2 cup shredded cheese (or more to taste)

1/4 cup sour cream

Salt to taste

Pepper to taste

Onion powder to taste

 

Preheat oven to 325 if you plan to make ahead and warm up later.  If you are planning to eat immediately, preheat to 350.

Crumble and brown sausage in a skillet.  Set aside on a paper towel to eliminate some of the grease.

Combine eggs, egg whites, sour cream, and seasonings in a large bowl and scramble.

Add cooked sausage, spinach, and cheese and stir together.

Spray muffin tin with non-stick spray and use a 1/4 cup measuring cup to distribute mixture into even servings.

IMG_2935[1]

If making ahead to warm up in the future, bake at 325 for 25 minutes.  You want them to be a little “under” baked so that they don’t dry out when you microwave them.

If you just can’t wait to eat them and want to have them right away, bake at 350 for 30 minutes.

Enjoy!

 

 

 

Uncategorized

Welcome!

Welcome to Trophy Wife, Balanced Life!

I’m a happily married mom to one energetic toddler boy.  I’ve started this blog to document my struggles to end my yo-yo dieting cycle, feel better in my skin, step up my style game, and keep my house in order.

I love good food, craft beer, fashion, working out, and am slowly starting to enjoy cleaning and organizing my home. (slowly…)

I’m not an expert at anything, including diet, exercise, home organization, or style.  This blog is intended to document my attempts at self improvement through crappy iPhone photography and a lot of sarcasm.  Please don’t take any of my advice as fact, I simply am sharing what works and doesn’t work for ME.

I hope you enjoy reading!

Cheers!