Sunday, April 28, 2013

Sunday Supper Plans...

Last week, I posted my meal plan for the week and it really helped to keep me on track.  My favorite recipe from last week was the Blackened Chicken with Quinoa.  It was heavenly!! I thought I'd go for it again this week!

Monday:  Tostadas, Spanish Rice and Chips and Salsa

Tuesday:  Chicken Shawarma, Middle Eastern Zucchini Cakes and Fattoush Salad

Wednesday:  Pasta and Meatballs and Salad
I'm also planning to make this yummy looking Quinoa and Sugar Snap Pea Salad for lunch!

Thursday:  Tuna Melts (Grandma Bell's Recipe!) Mac N Cheese (I'm actually going to make the same recipe I did last week; but, I'll substitute a different kind of pasta.  It was really good and I have plenty of leftovers cheeses that I hate to waste) and steamed broccoli.

Friday, Saturday, Sunday:  I'm headed out of town for a crafty girls weekend!  I've got burgers, chicken and shrimp for Matt and the kids so they can decide what they feel like each night.

You can check out my Weekly Menu board here.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

A Fast Read and a Slow Knit

I checked out Gone Girl from the library after noticing that just about everyone had read it except me.  I wouldn't say I'm on the edge of my seat; but, it's pretty good so far.  I'm still working on the lace shawl pattern that I started a few weeks ago.  I'm meeting up with my knitting girls this week so I'm hoping to get a little further along!

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

The Shiny Red Wagon

This week's Iron Craft theme was "Playtime".  I decided to make Annalise a little "Shiny Red Wagon" hair clip for summer.  I suppose my inspiration was the 400 ride-on toys I moved today so I could sweep out the garage! :)  

What's one more!?!

Monday, April 22, 2013

Earth Muffins in the House!

Happy Earth Day All!

I know you're all busy recycling and composting away out there today, so I'll be brief!  Just wanted to share these fun Earth Muffins we had for breakfast this morning.  They were inspired by these cupcakes I saw last week.  I thought muffins would be a teensy bit healthier for us.

Annalise was a big fan of Earth Day breakfast.  "Mmmm, happy cake!", she declared and then ate two- and-a-half muffins.  Aidan decided we should invite the guest of honor to join us for breakfast.  Adelaide pointed out that her muffin wasn't as tender as usual; but, she'd go ahead and eat it.


In other Earthy news, we made these fun "Oceans in a Bottle".  They were easy to make and the kids really liked them.  Even Annalise, had a teeny tiny one. (I eventually got rid of hers when she wasn't looking.  Any story involving a two-year-old with a bottle of oil and food coloring is bound to end badly.)  I also checked  out some of the books listed in the instructions for the kids to enjoy this week.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Sunday Supper and a Plan

Lately, I've gotten pretty lazy about meal planning. We still manage to eat something every night; but, I feel a bit disorganized going into dinnertime. I've also found that without a good plan, I end up wasting  oddball veggies that end up shoved to the back of the fridge and forgotten .

In order to get a little more organized, I decided to start a weekly board with recipes I find online that I'd like to make in the upcoming week that will utilize the veggies and meat I have on hand.  Everything else I find, I just pin to my regular recipe board to sort through later.  I still flip through my stacks of cookbooks when I have spare time or am looking for a particular recipe; but, I find that just about every recipe is online now anyway and it gives me a simpler way to organize.

Next, I put together some meal ideas using the recipes I'd like to try, the ingredients and easy sides I have on hand or in the freezer. I make my shopping list for the weekend and hit the farmer's market and grocery store to pick up my missing ingredients plus staples for the week.

Finally, I put a dry erase board on the fridge and sort out which meals would fit best into which slots in our weekly schedule.  Some days I have more time to prep and cook than others so I plan my more complicated meals for those days.  Nights that we have events or activities, I keep it simple with a meal from my freezer that just needs a quick warm up.  

I thought I'd start sharing my weekly plans here to encourage me to keep it up... and to keep me honest!  Having a plan has helped me insure that I'm not missing little odds and ends that keep me from making a recipe.  It also reminds me to pull things out of the freezer in time to thaw for the next day.  Feel free to share your plans for the week or any great recipes you've found in the comments below.

The Plan

Sunday:  Tonight for dinner, we grilled steaks (I've decided to embrace Spring, even if it is still snowing.)  I also baked the braided country bread above from my favorite bread book, Beard on Bread.  I had some chioggia beets in the fridge that I wasn't quite sure what to do with so I found this recipe for a Badass Beet Salad and gave it a go.  It was pretty interesting:  raw beets, endamame, oranges and goat cheese in a citrus vinaigrette.  I'm getting over a cold so I couldn't taste much; but Matt assured me everything was yummy. (Well, except the goat cheese.  He's not a lover of the goat cheese.)

Monday:  We've got LOTS going on Monday so I am keeping it super simple with a giant lasagna from GFS. Those lasagnas are REALLY BIG.  All of you are welcome to join us!  I might go all out and make a salad... time will tell.

Tuesday:  Chicken with Fennel, Mashed Potatoes and these yummy looking Zucchini Fritters.

Wednesday:  Another busy night, so we're having Chicken Stir Fry (from the freezer... thanks, Mom!) and Fried Rice.

Thursday:  I'm trying this recipe for Blackened Chicken with Quinoa (I've had a few run-ins with quinoa in the past that didn't go well; but, I have a few friends who assure me I will like it if it's cooked just right.  Hope I cook it just right!)  I'm also making these yummy snap peas.

Friday:  PW's Beef with Snow Peas.  I've made this before and it's yummy!  I figured we could have our leftover rice from Wednesday.

Saturday:  Fried Fish (caught by my awesome Uncle Bill), Swiss Chard and this heart-attack inducing Gnocchi Mac and Cheese.  

So... that's my plan.  We'll see how it goes.  You know the old saying, "The best laid plans of mice and men often go to Buddy's Pizza..."

Thursday, April 18, 2013

The Chicken That Never Dies

In my opinion, EVERY SINGLE BUSINESS on the face of the earth, should offer drive-thru service.   It's not that I'm lazy.  It's that I have children... and car seats.  I don't mind putting them in their ONCE; but, that's all the fight I have in me on any given day.  However, try as I might, sometimes I have to run an errand and sometimes that errand requires us to actually get out of the car.  

Today, we had to go to the bank.  Now, they actually have a drive-thru (this branch was obviously started by another tired mother); but, I could not take advantage of it this time.  We had to go inside.  We were actually the only ones in the bank when we arrived so the kids felt it was their duty to really fill the lobby with some hustle and bustle.  They messed with the Keurig machine, kicked at one another, screamed, shoved and at some point, Annalise removed her shoes.  Ordinarily, I would have been doing my very best to keep them calm, quiet and under control.  However, this was my third trip to the bank (with kids in tow) for the very same issue so I had already decided that I really didn't care in the least what we broke or who we disturbed along the way.  That may not have been the best attitude; but, it was MY attitude.  

While I was discussing my "issue" with one of the tellers, the very nice bank manager came out to see just what was going on in the lobby.  She decided to engage the kids in a friendly light-hearted chit chat which very quickly progressed to Aidan and Adelaide enumerating the many ways in which our chickens have met their Maker.  They told her each grisly detail:  raccoon, coyote, fox, and what we can only assume to have been natural causes.  She smiled, nodded and slightly paled. 

Over the past few years, we've purchased several beautiful chickens.  There was Blanche, Shirley, Helen, Lucky, Sara, several other old lady names I can't remember and of course, good old Maude.  She's the only original chicken still with us and everyone's favorite.  "They're all dead except Maude," Aidan told her, with the air of a nostalgic World War II pilot that's seen it all and lived to tell about it. (Not true, by the way, we have managed to still keep three of them alive.)   Addie added, "She's a special kind of chicken....that NEVER dies!"  And with that, the world's greatest farmers promptly headed back to their car.

Death-Defying Maude

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Takeout Ponies!

This week's Iron Craft theme was Ethnic Crafting.  We were supposed to make something inspired by a country other than our own.  I tossed around several different ideas.  I thought some teeny tiny French berets for my chickens would be cute.  BUT, since I'm already the "crazy chicken lady" in the neighborhood,  I didn't know if I should add berets into the equation.

We also had a super busy week working around the house.  We've been moving in some new furniture and bedding, reorganizing and doing some overdue patching and painting.  I found myself a bit short on time so I decided to go with a quick project.  I found this super easy tutorial over at Sew Can Do (one of my favorite craft blogs).  I knew I had some fun ethnic food buttons that I'd been saving for just the right project.  So, I made Chinese Takeout Ponies and Taco Ponies for the the girls!  

These came together really quickly.  I'm planning to sort through my buttons to make a few more sets for the girls for the summer.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Two Dresses and a Bow Tie

I wanted to share the Easter dresses I made for my girls this year.  I'm so happy with they way they turned out and thrilled that I actually had time to finish dresses for both Adelaide AND Annalise.  I used the apron knot dress from the Claire pattern by Portabellopixie.  The fabric is called Cuzco.  I  made Aidan a matching bow tie with some leftover fabric at the last minute (Might be this week's crafty obsession!) and some matching flowers for the girls' hair.  

I had hoped to take lots of great spring pictures at our traditional spot.  Every year, after Mass, we head to Daffodil Hill for Easter pics.  This year, there wasn't a daffodil in sight and my poor Addie was home with Grandma and Papa covered in hives.  We still dragged Aidan and Annalise out of the car for a few chilly pics in the rain!  I was only able to get Aidan out of the car with the promise that after ten shots he could get right back in and finish reading his Make Magazine.   Thankfully, I had a few nice pictures I had taken of everyone together in line to see the Easter Bunny at the mall.  I'll share a few of those, too!