Sunday, January 23, 2011

menus and why we plan

We're sitting here watching football.  Yes, we watch football occasionally.  Me?  Not so much.  I'll sit here and pretend like I'm into it, I'll snack on the mass amounts of football food that I've prepared, and I'll surf the internet, because really anything on the internet is more interesting than football on Canadian television.  Today, I was bad.  I went with prepared food.  We were at Costco and I couldn't help but think of the things that I could be doing, rather than sitting in the kitchen slaving away over greasy, fatty, stomach turning football food.  So, I picked up and heated up some Hum bao, vegetable spring rolls.  Set out a plate of crackers, warmed pita,  and Spinach Artichoke Parmesan dip.  Mixed up some salmon and mayo.  Opened a couple of bags of chips and called it good.  Oh, and "football" food isn't complete without a Corona.  Personally, I would have paired this all with a Session, but I'm not into football and the man get his choice today.

I've been picking away at weekly dinner menus and probably next month I'll line it up for a few months like I usually do.  But for now, I will lay out what we had last week for ya, and then throw together the upcoming week's menu.  I found that with planning our menus out, I make fewer trips to the grocery store and I don't have that last minute panic attack over what to cook for the gang.  So not only is it going to help save money, but your sanity as well.

I usually have the kids (yes, all four of them) write out (the youngin's with the help of the older kids) their top seven favorite dinners to have at home.  I then mark off the repeats and work out a menu for the week with what we already have on hand.  Checking the refrigerator and freezers to make sure that we have enough to accommodate a meal or more.  I like to make extra for lunch for the next day, but it doesn't always work out that way.  Usually, someone finishes it off by the end of the night.  We rarely deal with leftovers, and if we do, it's gone within a few days.

Last weeks menu:

Monday:  Chicken vegetable stir fry over rice
Tuesday:  Crockpot shredded beef sandwiches
Wednesday:  Spaghetti
Thursday:  Hamburgers & salad
Friday:  Pizza
Saturday: Mashed potatoes, ground beef gravy, steamed broccoli with mizithrah cheese

This coming weeks' menu:

Sunday: Leftover hangover from football food
Monday:  taco salads
Tuesday:  grilled cheese sandwiches & tomato soup
Wednesday: Beef enchiladas
Thursday:  Tuna noodle casserole
Friday:  Children will fend for themselves.  Gma & Gpa will feed them, 'cause me & the hubs are heading to Victoria, BC ALONE.  For the weekend!

Crockpot shredded beef sammies

A quickie and simple dinner idea is the Crockpot shredded beef sandwiches.  I take a frozen beef pot roast.  sear the sides of it in a cast iron fry pan.  I then sprinkle it with salt and pepper and douse it with worcester sauce.  When the outsides of the roast have a nice crisp brown to it, remove and put in the crockpot.

I then add some onion (dried or fresh chopped), more worcester sauce, and a package of (dare I say it's processed) au jus gravy mix.  Yep, I do keep this on hand.  The flavor is one that I haven't been able to reproduce and we all just love it so much.... sorry.  Add a cup of water and close that puppy up, set it to low for at least six hours.  The aroma that is about to fill your home is mouthwatering and coma inducing.  Come dinner time the family is practically climbing the walls and I have to slap their fingers/hands to keep them from tasting too early.  Here is where I like to remind my husband how much I like jewely, his eyes are always glazed over and he nods his head a lot.  I think bits and pieces get through, but time will tell.

I pull it out and put it on a plate to sit for about 20 minutes before shredding it up with a fork.  I put out hoagie rolls, mayo, worcester, and A1 sauce.  I personally only need mayo on my hoagie.  A delicious side to go with this and on your hoagie is COLESLAW!  I have yet to find the perfect recipe, so if you have a favorite, send it my way.  But I definitely love the crunch that goes along with my sandwich.  YUM!

Here is where I lack in my commitment.... I always forget to take pictures of the finished product.  I will I promise.  It's a favorite here so I have many more opportunities.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

a rambling, outright, nonsense post filled with fantastic information

BTW.... there are no pictures in this post.  gasp.

I had given myself a break from blogging, baking, and all around domestic duties for a couple of weeks now, and it has been pointed out to me that I better get my ass in gear before it all takes on a mind of its own.

Over the break I baked many dozens of my infamous cinnamon rolls.  I made mucho amounts of no bake cookies -aka Gramma Lamb-a-Ding-Dong's Oatmeal Fudgies -recipe to come.  Not to mention secret recipe banana bread and lemon poppyseed loaves of bread for gifts.  My husband even got involved and prepared many loaves of his buried family secret Cardamom Bread -to.die.for.  Really.  So, now that we have finally come off of our sugar high, it's time to get back to work.  Woo hoo!

As I type this up, I am munching on a simple snack.  Simple.  Cheese, crackers, and apple slices.  I bake and cook up crazy amounts of food, some that take all day.  And yet, we are eating cheese, crackers, and apple slices.  It really is amazing how the simple things are most satisfying.  Keep your Diet Real has some fantastic ideas on simple, good for you snacks.  I worked up a quick easy dinner menu for this week, so I'll have that at the end of this post as well as a new recipe, because I love you.  Really.  Deep, I know.

Now that my husband and I are finished with our downstairs remodel, we have been going through things that just don't have a place anymore.  For some reason I want to hold on to things that I feel would have a purpose in the future.  I'm not up for the next episode of Hoarders or anything that extreme, and I most certainly don't have any problem throwing things out -unless, I feel that it could be recycled by us or someone else.  I'm a huge fan of Craigslist and Freecycle - I use both sites almost weekly, but as much as I send out I also bring home.  I might send out a bag of infant toys only to replace them with a bag of Barbies for the little girls or a few cookies sheets for the kitchen.  Needless to say, I've got several bags, boxes, bins to go through in the garage and I'm dragging my feet.  No reason other than I've been putting these particular ones off for quite awhile.  They are the little girls' outgrown clothes and shoes.  Yes, I still hold out hope that we might actually be able to add on to this family even more someday.  I've taken step one and that was load three bags of clothes into the back of the van for donation.  Next is going through the shoes.  Baby steps I tell ya, baby steps.

Have you ever rolled a hula hoop across your waist?  Not, with your kids' Walmart hoop.  A seriously large, purpose made hula hoop?  I can now check it off my list.  My husband bought me my first hoop for Christmas.  I ordered it from Hoop Mama on  A customized 40 inch, collapsible, Happy Hippie.  The day it arrived I stalked our mail lady.  When she pulled up the house, I could see it in the back.  As she walked up giggling, she said that she had to fight everyone off because they all wanted to give a spin before she delivered it.  I was so excited.  I unwrapped the bubble wrap and tape and place it on my hips to give it a whirl.  That fucker fell to the floor.  I picked it up and whipped it again.  Floor.  What was I doing wrong?  I got on the internet and brought up many of my favorite sites.  First Hoop City, I watched a few videos.  Not much help.  Then, Hoopaholics.  Yikes, I was beginning to think I was in serious trouble.  I kept at it.  Then my big kids got home and had to try it out.  Sure as fuck they got it right off the bat.  I started to think that I got the wrong size or that I just wasn't cut out for it.  Then I remembered a couple of blogs that got me hooked in the first place.  Sara over at the Happy Hoop and Rebecca over at Hoopenanigans.  They both had posted about their earlier experiences and it gave me that little bit of confidence that I needed.  I know I'm not going to be doing any isolations or shoulder rolls anytime soon, but if I could just get the core going, then I'd be happy with that.

I did it.  It was awesome.  Now I can keep it up and move it up and down from my waist to my chest with little effort and it's only been just over a week.  I think I'll be just fine with daily practice and when spring arrives we'll move it outside.  yes.

Oddly enough, I made this:  Top 50 Urban Farming blogs from Masters in Public Health.  I thank you and graciously accept my place on your Top 50.  I have been placed among the best.  *bows and dips head*

Our dinner menu this week is very simple and quite honestly if you can't come up with six days worth of dinner meals on your own, you are better off eating out.

Sunday: Hamburgers & green salad

Monday: Broccoli Beef with rice

Tuesday: Soup & Salad

Wednesday: Tuna noodle casserole

Thursday: Buttermilk pancakes

Friday: Pizza -either homemade or Costco :)

And now without further adieu.....

Grandma Lamb-a-ding-dong's oatmeal fudgies

2 cups sugar
1/2 cup margarine (I use butter)
1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup cocoa powder (I used hershey's baking cocoa)

Combine in a large saucepan and bring to a boil.  Boil for a 2 minutes then remove from burner and add:

2/3 cup peanut butter (I use chunky, cause I can)
1 tsp. vanilla (please don't use imitation, you're so much better than that)
3 cups rolled oats (not instant -sick)

Stir it up all together and drop by the spoonful (or 2 tablespoonfuls) onto a preppped cookie sheet -greased, wax paper, parchment paper, silpat, what have ya- and chill until set.

Simple. Delish. Gone.

much loves, tory