Sunday, January 29, 2012

MPM--Happy New (New) Year!

For some reason, the Chinese New Year really caught our attention this year. Maybe it's our older son's interest in stretching his palate. Maybe it's the emphasis on the Year of the Dragon. Maybe it's just winter and fun to have something else happy to focus on. Either way, we enjoyed our own versions of Chinese food last week (Pacific Rim Pork) and hope to keep going with it this week (stir fry).

Monday: chicken and mushrooms, rice, crack broccoli (seriously, it's happening this time. I kept putting it with other things that needed the oven)

Tuesday: Taco Tuesday

Wednesday: leftovers from Monday and the weekend (lasagne, slow cooker honey beans and spinach)

Thursday: stir fry (frozen veggies from Trader Joe's, some meat that looks good); or maybe I'll lo mein it like Anjali.

Friday: Moms' Night Out--woohoo! Boys, you are on your own.

I think I can actually stick with this this week. I have realized that with the kids' activities and my schedule, I'm really out of cooking mojo by Wednesday. Well--I could cook on Wed. but we don't get home until 5:30 so it has to be something superfast and with no real kitchen time because I'm also trying to corral homework, etc. So something like the sausage bake works, but anything that needs babysitting at the stove? Forget it. I think I can pull off stir fry though.

Something new I tried last week was beans in my crockpot. I used a few different places for info. I had two bags of cannellini beans, and soaked them for what turned out to be about 30 hours (whoops). I am perhaps not the brightest bulb in the shed but I truly did not realize how much water they would absorb! I was glad I "only" made two bags because more would not have fit in my crockpot (6 quart). Some of the sites' authors were saying how they always make a couple of bags at a time, but either they meant literally a couple, or they have giant crock pots! My other surprise shows just how uneducated I am on beans. I read over and over again how it's probably best to just buy canned kidney beans, because dry ones can harbor a toxin that is killed by boiling but only encouraged to grow by barely-sub-boiling temperatures. I felt very smug with my little white beans in the crock pot, only to read somewhere that cannelini beans are also known as... you guessed it... white kidney beans. So, I dug in my drawer, found a thermometer, and measured carefully until the temp was up to an actual 100 Celsius for 10 minutes and then felt a little better about the whole thing.

When they were done, they were good. I had some out of the pot, and I'm not sure I had ever done that before...they were very creamy and filling and enjoyable in a small portion with salt and pepper. I bagged four bags of the equivalent of a can of beans, made a bean hummus with some and kept playing with them for lunches and other things through the week. So far, so good with the toxin (or lack thereof), so live and learn, I guess.

Still working on better eating mentality, though. I had a dermatologist appointment last week, because I had this thing on my leg for forever (it looked like a mosquito bite, but it didn't itch and never went away), and suddenly it started changing so I did what you are supposed to do and got it checked out. It wasn't anything scary yet, but they wanted to remove it anyway, so two needles, one slice, and two stitches later, I was done. But I was still feeling jittery, and while I want to be one of those people who writes, So I came home and prepared myself a nourishing meal of apples and spinach to promote healing, the actual story is: I was still a little freaked out so I came home and had a Mexican (sugar) coke and some goldfish to make myself feel better. This is not optimal. At least I am aware of it (and did get myself the apple, once I thought of it, and consoled myself that standing and cooking with the stitches was probably not optimal either). Forty-three years of conditioning are hard to overcome.

In better nutritional news, I also made the honey beans and spinach recipe in the crock pot; next time I will skip the cream cheese, which "broke" (is that what they call it when it doesn't go bad but breaks in to clumps?); I didn't see where it affected the taste all that much. Without it, it's vegan, sort of somewhere between curry and Mexican in flavor, and my husband and I both really enjoyed it. We made it over rice, and the boys ate the rice at least.

Wishing you a great week! For lots more menus, try I'm an Organizing Junkie!


Anjali said...

I have a fairly large crockpot, but it can hold, at most, 2 pounds of beans. Haven't had cannelini beans in a while...Not sure why, because I LOVE them. Thanks for the reminder. Might have to toss them with some pasta or something.

Mom24 said...

Sorry about your leg. Hope you're on the mend. I completely relate to the comfort vs. healing food battle.

Not in the crock pot, but I cooked dried garbanzo beans this week for the first time ever. Delicious! I used them to make falafel and loved it. So did the veggie son and the veggie-in-the-making (God forbid!) son. I was amazed at how much better than canned they were.

Hope your week's good. Have fun Friday!