Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Some days...

...I'm just in awe.

I don't know what I did to get so lucky. Being the mom of such a sweet, funny, loving little girl is the most amazing gift God has ever given me.

We had a picnic in the back yard.

It was her first peanut butter & jelly sandwich. (No allergic reaction, thank goodness.)

She devoured it.

She made silly faces.

She did some exploring.

She drank almost all of my iced tea.

But that's okay. I don't mind sharing with my very best friend.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Menu Plan Monday: 5/23 - 5/29

What a weekend! Things were pretty hectic around here, but lots of fun. I ran a 5k Saturday morning. Then, we attended the wedding of my husband's uncle Saturday evening. Sunday was church and lots of hurried gardening as we tried to beat the thunderstorms.

We tried several new recipes last week. The Chipotle Sloppy Joes were a HUGE hit and we really liked the Makeover Poppy Seed Chicken. The Ravioli with Pumpkin Sauce, not so much. I don't think it's because the recipe was bad. I think we've just decided that we're not fans of pumpkin in savory dishes. If you are, this one might be worth a shot.

Here's our menu for this week. A few are new recipes and a few are tried-and-true favorites.

Monday: Taco Salad with beef/black bean mixture

Tuesday: Pork Lo Mein (from the Weight Watchers Ready, Set, Go cookbook)

Wednesday: Feta-Stuffed Chicken Breasts (also from Weight Watchers Ready, Set, Go), salad

Thursday: leftovers in a hurry (church league softball night for my husband)

Friday: Campanelle with Zucchini, Ham, Yogurt & Scallions (subbing whole wheat rotini for the campanelle)

Saturday: Homemade Pizza (fresh mozzarella, basil & tomatoes)

Sunday: Cheeseburgers & French Fries

Hope your week is off to a great start! And I hope that everyone living in an area affected by these storms is safe.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Menu Plan Monday: 5/16 - 5/22

Happy Monday! After a week of warmer temperatures, we're back in the 40s. It was chilly and rainy yesterday when I was doing our menu plannning and I think that may have influenced my decisions. Most of the dishes this week seem comfort food-ish to me.

Monday: Makeover Poppy Seed Chicken, brown rice, salad

Tuesday: Chipotle Sloppy Joes, Simple Cole Slaw

Wednesday: Cheese Ravioli with Pumpkin Sauce, green beans or corn

Thursday: Tuna Salad on sandwiches (for my husband) or salad (for me)

Friday: leftovers

Saturday: wedding reception

Sunday: Cheeseburgers, french fries, salad

We may flip-flop Friday and Sunday if my husband's in the mood to grill when he gets home from work on Friday. Seems like he has been the last few weeks and I'm not one to argue when he volunteers to make dinner. :)

Do you ever plan your meals around the weather?

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Good to the Last Drop

I hate to see anything go to waste. I definitely inherited this from my father. He grew up with absolutely nothing and the habits he learned in his youth to get by carried over into his adult life. I remember him always making sure he got every penny's worth out of every single thing. He'd rinse the bottom of the spaghetti sauce jar out with a little water and pour it in the pot, just to make sure no sauce was wasted. Usually resorting to a spatula, you have never seen a man work so hard to get every single itty bitty last scrape of peanut butter or jelly out of the jar. He was freecycling way before anyone knew what that meant. He merrily accepted anything someone was getting rid and was constantly coming home with things people had set out on the curb marked as "trash." Okay, so maybe that second part is more dumpster diving than freecycling. Potato. Potahtoe. :) Some people snickered at his extreme efforts to save a dime or get something for nothing, but I always found it endearing.

A couple months ago, my husband came across an article in Readers Digest about ways to stretch your dollar in the kitchen. He chuckled when he showed me the article and said "This is so you!"

You bet your bottom dollar it was! One of the suggestions was to use the last bits of mustard in the bottle to make a vinaigrette salad dressing. Just because you can't squeeze anything else out doesn't mean there's nothing left!

You'll need:

  • a jar of mustard you *thought* was empty
  • balsamic vinegar
  • seasonings and herbs to your liking (I used garlic powder, Italian seasoning & onion powder)
  1. Remove the lid from your mustard container. Add in the desired amount of seasonings. (I used 2 teaspoons of each spice.)
  2. I made a little funnel out of a leftover grocery list. This made adding the spices a lot easier and a whole lot less messy.
  3.  Pour the balsamic vinegar into the mustard container. I added enough to nearly fill the jar, but not quite to the top so there was still room for everything to mix together.
  4. Shake like crazy to combine all ingredients.
  5.  Taste and add more spices as desired.
I'd also recommend labeling your creation. I don't know about you, but someone reaching in the fridge thinking they were getting mustard and accidentally putting vinaigrette on their sandwhich would NOT go over well in my house. :)

We usually buy our balsamic vinegar in bulk so that does help with the cost-effectiveness of this project. Otherwise, I don't think salad dressing really costs much more per ounce than the balsamic vinegar to make this version. Besides just price, I do like that it's using up leftover mustard that would normally go to waste and that there's more control over the flavor to suit personal tastes. I had a little of my creation on a salad at lunch today and it's really tasty!

Monday, May 2, 2011

Menu Plan Monday: 5/2 - 5/8

It's good to be back! We just wrapped up another round of meal swap with the families at church. It was a little different this time in that we didn't do a planning session at the beginning since we already knew likes/dislikes of the other families. It still worked well, but I couldn't really post my menus because I had no clue what we were getting until we got together to swap on Tuesdays.
I'm back to planning weekly menus for just our family and I'm hoping to keep up with posting them. Here's what we're having this week:

Monday: Spicy Beef Noodles

Tuesday: Ground Turkey Chili (recipe from The New Rules of Lifting for Women)

Wednesday: Weight Watchers Salmon Patties, Dijon-Roasted New Potatoes

Thursday: Tex-Mex Tostadas

Friday: cheeseburgers, chips

Saturday: dinner out before a concert at church

Sunday: leftovers
Hope everyone has a great start to the week!