Tuesday, May 31, 2011

June Menu

Summer vacation is here.  It has thrown me for a loop.  In reality, this is the first time I have really experienced having all 3 kids ALL the time!  The older two littles were in school when Miss H was born three months ago, and even though they didn't go every day, I had 2 days a week where it was just H & I.  Those were the days I dedicated to organizing the house & running errands like the dreaded grocery shopping.  This past week has me shaking my head in wonder.


I love all my kids dearly, but they are very needy individuals.  Granted, the older two can entertain themselves for long periods of time, but there are the "help me mommy" moments, the "I'm thirsty" moments, the "she hit me or he took my toy" break up the fight moments...etc.  It makes it impossible for me to focus on a task for any amount of time.

Needless to say, there is nothing in the fridge for dinner tonight.  But, I am not grocery shopping today.  This morning was out- I didn't shower till 10:30 because the baby was cranky.  By the time I was ready, it was lunch time.  Right after lunch, the older two take a nap.  I don't skip naps...If my kids skip nap, the devil takes over their little souls & turns them into the whiniest, most dramatic kids on the face of this earth.  Don't believe me??  Feel free to borrow them for a day & don't give them a nap.  Do it.  You'll understand.

Anyways, I feel somewhat accomplished today (after a mini breakdown to my husband in which I may have told him supper was not happening today).  I got diapers washed.  They are hanging on the line in the glorious sunshine that we actually have today.  Of course that sunshine is partnered with 125 mph winds...I'm praying the clothesline doesn't decide to take flight and head to Wyoming.

I also made out my June menu.  I usually only plan one week at a time, but I decided I was going to write out the whole month & then when grocery shopping time came, I would just have to look at the calendar & go from there.  Genius, right??  So, I thought I would share with you what I came up with for my June menu.
Forgive me, I don't know how to make a calendar to put in here...

  1. Turkey Meatballs with peanut sauce, rice, edamame
  2. Tacos
  3. Grilled chicken legs, roasted potatoes, corn
  4. Coffee rubbed flank steak with a chimichurri sauce, sweet potato fries
  5. Popcorn night!
  6. Fish sandwiches, waffle fries, salad
  7. Breakfast casserole, fresh fruit
  8. Turkey strombolis, roasted veggies
  9. Beef & Broccoli, rice, egg rolls
  10. Chicken spaghetti, garlic bread, green beans
  11. Pork chops, Crash potatoes, salad
  12. Popcorn night!
  13. Asparagus primavera over couscous
  14. Spicy pork roast with coleslaw and corn tortillas
  15. Pizza muffins, salad
  16. Cheese burgers on the grill, Mac & cheese, raw veggies
  17. Smothered chicken breasts, hash browns, broccoli
  18. Meatloaf, stuffing, corn
  19. Popcorn night!
  20. Honey glazed salmon, lemon creme pasta, spinach salad
  21. Pork tenderloin sandwiches, fresh fruit, french fries
  22. Beer chicken in the crock pot, rice, corn
  23. Sour cream noodle bake, green beans
  24. BBQ chicken legs, cheesy potatoes, roasted carrots
  25. Grilled individual pizzas
  26. Popcorn night!
  27. Pasta with bacon & leeks, spinach salad
  28. BLTs, pasta salad, steamed asparagus
  29. Thai turkey lettuce wraps
  30. Steak & egg bistro salad
That's it!  We actually are planning a mini vacation, so not all of these meals will actually happen, but if something comes up & we don't go- I still have meals planned.  And yes, as you can tell we are a meat and potatoes family.  Sundays are popcorn night- its a family tradition from my side going back a couple of generations.  Mondays are always meatless or fish.  I try to have a variety of protein the rest of the week.  The hubby likes his beef & pork.  :)   

Well that is the menu for the month!  I linked some of the recipes & if there is another that you would like a recipe for, just let me know.  Most of these I make from memory, but I can type out the recipe if you would like it.  

I must go.  O woke up from nap & is having an "I'm thirsty" moment.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Tatortots & Jello give away

My blog cohort at Tatertots & Jello is having a giveaway for one of these:

Want to know what it does?  Go here.

I'm blogging about it so I have a chance to win.  Call me guilty, but I hope you don't want one.  Or never read this...It ups my chances that way.  Just sayin.  But if like me, you are also drooling over the possibilities of what a Silhouette machine could do for you, I suppose I will let you enter too.  But if you win, I will hold a grudge. :)

Recipes of Love.

May 2 was a tough day for us as a family.  The Husband was out of town on business- 4 hours away.  He got a call no one wants to get.  His grandmother, Alice, had passed suddenly.  It was a shock to our family.  Alice hadn't been ill at all.

The next few days were a whirlwind.  Travelling to NE, helping the family plan services, going through Alice's small, quaint apartment, and remembering a feisty lady who we all dearly loved.  In the nearly 11 years that I have been part of my husband's family, Alice had become my grandmother as well.

She was spunky in all sense of the word.  Wasn't afraid to tell it how it was, whether you wanted to hear it or not.  Loved to play card games & dice games, though she had certain games that she would only play with certain people.  She lovingly referred to me as her "Little $hi#" after I surprised her one evening when she was not expecting me.  It was our little joke for years.  I loved all the talks we had.  She was opinionated, stubborn, and one of the most caring people I have ever known.  Not a birthday, anniversary, or special event was overlooked.  We always received a card in the mail and a phone call.

When going through Alice's apartment with the family, there were many tears shed as we would find something that would touch our hearts.  Often it was photographs (and there were MANY!), or words that she had written.  We found birthday cards for 2 of her great grand kids, not yet sent- but already filled with her love.  One of those was for my son- whose birthday is today.  Alice was at his birth & was the first to hold O, when he was just minutes old.  
Alice & Owen 5/18/07
We found many trinkets and treasures that held memories.  We discovered things that made us laugh through the pain, and sometimes wonder what she was thinking.  But, when her kitchen cabinets were cleared out, I jumped at the opportunity to have this:
Alice's recipe box
I love recipe boxes.  Especially ones that have been filled with recipes from years ago.  Recipes handed down over generations, ones from newspapers, now yellowed with age.  Recipes written in the familiar graceful scrawl of a woman we loved.  Sometimes there is a random note, or words of wisdom.  I didn't know for sure what I would find in Alice's recipe box, but I knew I wouldn't be disappointed.  
 I found this notepad, which had the date 1960.  There were several recipes on brittle pages, worn with age, and stained with evidence that these were recipes she called on often. 
 This recipe for "Idiot Rolls" from a friend of Alice's.  The notation on the back said "So easy an idiot could make them"  It made me chuckle, knowing this was something Alice would say.  

 Many many recipes of all the baked goods that her family remembers her making- prior to an injury that left her limited mobility in her dominant arm.  Recipes with notations of how good they were: "!!!Excellent!!!" Gingersnaps, and "Delicious" chocolate crinkles.  "So & So's favorite". Some more visibly older than others. 
 newspaper clippings so old they were almost brittle to the touch.
 Easy Rye Bread that apparently appeals to men.  I wonder how many gentleman callers she had when the smell of this baked good was wafting out her windows?  And was she trying to impress someone when she came across this several years ago??  The thought made me smile.  
Tips and tricks on how to get rid of mice, ants, and roaches.  Because, simply, you never know when you will need advice like this.  
 We also came across a few of these- stacked neatly and tucked away in a corner. Only one was written in.  
It was to be my Christmas present this year.  

The recipe box has become a treasure of mine.  I love it as much as I love my own grandmother's- which I received when she passed several years ago.  Timeless treasures that I hope someday will continue to be passed on.  

We love you & miss you Grandma Alice.  
I feel the need to make a Strawberry Rhubarb pie.  According to the recipe card, it's my husband's favorite! :)

Friday, May 13, 2011

Friday the WHA???

I am not having a good day.  It started okay- alarm went off at 5:10 am.  Got up to go to the gym.  Renewed gym membership.  Went down hall to Spinning room.  Had an INTENSE workout.  Sweat dripping off tip of nose intense.  All good and dandy.

Returned home at 6:35 am.  Joined the husband back in bed.  Played some words with friends.  Kind of drifted off.  Kissed husband goodbye as he left for work.  Fell back into a DEEP sleep.  Here is where it gets interesting.

Woke up at 8:45 to the two oldest littles poking me & saying they want breakfast.  Me= doing all sorts of facial contortions to try to see as my contacts had glued themselves to my eyeballs.  "huh? "What time is it??"  I grab my phone.  See that its 8:45.  Crap.  Late start (On Fridays I let the littles sleep in as long as they want & I usually am up having coffee & some quiet time before the chaos begins.) Let the dog out <--remember this for later.  Get the kids breakfast.  Use some eye drops.  More facial contortions, followed by poking myself in the eye to dislodge left contact which has now moved into my brain cavity.  Give in.  Remove offending contacts (the left one needed rinsing as I'm pretty sure there was some gray matter on it) & put on glasses.  Let dog back in.

Baby wakes & begins crying.  Change baby, feed baby.  Baby won't stop crying.  Baby lets out HUGE fart.  Stops crying for a bit.  bit= 5.198367 seconds.  Commences crying.

Tune out baby, or try to.  She is #3 & screams at a decibel that makes dogs howl.  It ensures that she is not overlooked.  Survival of the fittest or something like that.  Try to quickly clean up kitchen.  Open cabinet to put away plates.  Rooster cookie jar that I use for decoration purposes above my cupboards comes flying down at my head.  Brushes my ear. Shatters on counter top.  Yay me.  Sigh, clean up the little shards of ceramic and piece the head back together.

Baby still screaming.  I vow to never eat brussel sprouts again.  Or at least until she is off the boob.  Take two tylenol.  Drink a cup of coffee.  Have a moment of peace.  Feed baby. O then announces that the dog had pooped in the mud room.  AFTER she had been let outside.  Apparently the wet grass is too gross for her to do her business outside & she has found the need to Crap on my floor 3 of the past 4 days.  I clean up the poop mess, gagging the whole time.  Grab the stupid mutt & put her outside AGAIN.  She will be outside all day.  She is not in my good graces.

Break up fight between O & N over a puzzle piece.  Really?  Have 2nd cup of coffee.  Check facebook.  Blogger is still being a pain & won't load properly.  Kids say they are hungry.  Really??  Already??  What time is it?  Crud.  Its 12:30.  Make lunch.  Feed kids.  Baby starts fussing again.  Change her, feed her.  Still crying.  Administer Gripe Water to help her tummy again.  Curse myself for trying something new for supper.  Get kids cleaned up from lunch, send them to their rooms for nap time.  Finally get baby to sleep.  Go to bedroom & get clothes laid out for after my shower (yes it was 1 and I hadn't showered yet.  Don't judge.)  Grab robe & towel.  Head to bathroom to find N looking over the toilet saying " I dropped a deuce & it won't flush".  Grab plunger, dislodge turd.  Flush turd successfully.  Send N back to her room for nap.  Take quick shower while all 3 are sleeping.  Get dressed.  Collapse on couch.  It is only 2.  I'm ready for bed.

Baby is fussing again.  Guess the day isn't over yet.  I am done with Friday.  TGI WHAT??  Nope.  I want to skip today.  Fast forward.  Please let it be Saturday.  please?? pretty please with a cherry on top??????


Thursday, May 12, 2011

The chore I detest the most.

You would think it would be scrubbing the bathroom.  Laundry perhaps?  Nope- the husband does the majority of the laundry. (be jealous, its okay)  Dusting?  Vacuuming??  Picking up the kid's rooms?  Nope. Nope. Nope.

My least favorite, most hated, detestable chore is........grocery shopping.
This guy looks way too jolly to be grocery shopping.

I can't explain why I don't like it.  It may be that it takes me forever to plan out a menu.  I have kids.  Picky kids.  Not as picky as some kids, but they only like certain foods.  I can only tolerate sloppy joes, tacos, pizza, spaghetti, and Cheez-it chicken so many times.  So, I try to find new, kid friendly recipes.  Something to give the husband and I a little variety.  Husband & I like to try new things.  Earlier in our marriage, I loved to try new recipes.  Some worked, some failed miserably.  But we had the option of trying.  Now- I have 2 other additional people to please (baby 3 still gets the boob).   Man, are they demanding.

I am not, however, a short order cook.  They get what we get & if they don't eat it- too bad.  They won't starve between dinner and breakfast.  I'm not going to be the mom who gives in.  Even if they won't eat my more exotic meals, they will at least try them.  They must take at least 2 bites before saying they are done.  Yes, there have been some gags (specifically from N).  There also have been times where they THOUGHT they wouldn't like a certain food & ended up really liking it!

So here is my routine.  I sit down- sometimes with the computer, sometimes with a food magazine.  I plan my menu & then I create my list- broken down in these categories:  Dry, Meat, Dairy, Produce, Frozen, & Other. I find when I break down my list like this, I have less of a chance to overlook items.  I know exactly what I need when I'm standing in the various sections of the store.   I also try as much as possible to stick to my list.  Sure there are items I forget I need & add them to the cart when I run across it.  No biggie.

I try to grocery shop on Tues or Thursdays since those are the days where both of the older kids are in school.  1 kid (baby, strapped in car seat or Moby wrap)  = somewhat enjoyable, though still detested shopping experience.  3 kids (baby + 2 that do okay, but have a tendency to touch EVERYTHING) = mommy needing a nap [or a xanax...]

 So, how do you do your grocery shopping?  Do you plan out meals before hand, or just wing it?  Do you even make a list?  Are you an every day shopper?? (AKA- Craaaaaazy!!!!!)  I'm wondering if everyone else despises grocery shopping as much as I do.  Because really, I would scrub your toilet if you went shopping for me.  Or send my hubby to do your laundry.....maybe I better check with him first before offering that service.

For your curiosity:  Here is what is planned for this week's menu.

Thurs- Turkey meatballs with peanut sauce, rice, roasted brussel sprouts (the hubby said he would try them.  It will be an experiment)

Fri- pork tenderloin sandwiches, waffle fries, carrot sticks

Sat- Beef & asparagus negimaki over noodles (a Rachael Ray recipe- I got the magazine subscription as a gift from my mom & dad)

Sun- Usual popcorn night.  Family tradition.

Mon- Super Nachos (husband will be out of town, so this is my kid friendly, super easy meal)

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Turkey Stromboli

Well, I did it.  I cooked for celebrities!  Well, not anyone like George Clooney or Brad Pitt, but I did cook for some A-MAZ-ING artists.  Sunday evening, Big Daddy Weave, Chris Sligh, & Luminate put on an incredible concert at our church that helped benefit the Christian school my 2 oldest littles attend along with a project our church has been working on.
 Big Daddy Weave
 Chris Sligh

I volunteered to cook the after show hot appetizer for the bands.  We weren't given any suggestions, so after carefully considering my options & reviewing several recipes, I settled on my turkey strombolis.  I say MY, because this is one of the few recipes that is actually mine!  Its a variation of a dish I had at a bridal shower years ago, but I have modified it over time to be easier & more family friendly.  It is my go to dish to make for friends who have  just had a baby, a surgery, or a family hardship.  I have been asked several times for the recipe after making it, so now that it is somewhat "famous" (hee hee), I will share it with all, uh, 12 11 blog followers.


1 lb. ground turkey
1/2 green pepper
1/2 red pepper
1/2 c. mayo or miracle whip- whichever floats your boat.
1/2 c. parmesan cheese + 1/4 cup. separated. (use the real grated stuff, please) 
2 Tbs. Italian seasoning
1 tsp. minced garlic- aprox 2 cloves
pinch of red pepper flakes (optional)
 1 egg white
either refrigerated pizza crust or you can make your own.  I use this crust recipe:

4 cups flour
1 1/2 c. warm water
1 tsp. yeast
1/3 c. olive oil + more for drizzling
1 tsp. salt.  
1 tsp. sugar

Combine water & yeast in small bowl- set aside
Mix flour/sugar/salt in a large mixing bowl or bowl from your stand mixer
with mixer on low (with a dough hook) drizzle in olive oil until incorporated.  
gently stir yeast/water mixture & slowly add to flour mixture, until dough forms ball around hook.
Remove dough, place in a bowl greased with olive oil & cover with a towel.  Place in a warm spot to rise

*This dough recipe will make enough for the strombolis PLUS a pizza, so make sure you cut the dough in half if you are just doing the strombolis or double the filling recipe.  

Preheat oven to 375*

Brown turkey and drain. finely mince the peppers.  Mix all ingredients, reserving the 1/4 c. of parm. cheese.  
Roll out dough or cut dough into rectangles- aprox. 6 in by 8 in  Put 1/3 cup of the mixture in the middle & fold into thirds, pinching the ends closed or crimping them with a fork.  Brush with an egg white & sprinkle with remaining parm cheese.  Bake until golden brown.  

OR:  appetizer version- 
Cut dough into small squares & press into a greased muffin tin.  Place a scoop of filling in the center & top with a little parmesan cheese.  Bake until crust is golden.  Chiffinade some fresh basil to sprinkle on top.  

  So there you have it.  Enjoy!  This recipe is very family friendly & I usually serve it with a lettuce salad & fresh fruit.  Word from my friend Kayla, who is a teacher at the little's school & the person "in charge" of the hospitality for the bands was that the guys of the bands loved them & devoured them in mere minutes.  I'm pretty proud.  :)