Hi everyone! I hope everyone has had a nice long weekend (well, my US readers at least--hi, you two from Canada!). We had a fun week last week--details below. This week:
Monday: Block party! Not sure what I'm bringing. Dogs and burgers are provided; I will probably marinate some portobello mushrooms for those veggie-inclined folks, and some salad (an excellent opportunity for the massive quinoa salad from Mom2My4). Not sure if we'll do fireworks this year--but maybe! It's been a big summer of growing up--in good ways--for my younger son...he liked the fireworks at the baseball game, he went in the ocean, and he has started eating cucumbers! None of which he has done since he was a baby. So we'll see how things go.
Tuesday: my moms' group is touring Great Decks of Our County and the first stop is tonight. Not sure what the boys will do. Usually I'd say hot dogs and corn on the cob, but lately, after camp and the pool, the little boys are ready for dinner by 4:30pm. But they do willingly (even eagerly!) eat again at dinner, so I think I'll make apricot chicken, salad, cucumbers, and berries. Last week, we also welcomed our third new baby boy cousin this summer (yay!) this week so I'll double it and take some to the new parents.
Wednesday: pork tenderloin from Kelly's Korner's recipe blog, green beans, and red potatoes in two mustards (link to recipe below with yogurt marinated chicken). I'll link next week if that works out.
Thursday: grilling, if the weather is good. I'm really working hard on using the things in the house so I'm going to try the Pioneer Woman's steak rub recipe and we'll grill it if the weather is good and pan fry if not. I always have the Lawry's for my mac & cheese, and I have lemon pepper hanging around from...something. So this could work well.
Friday: Probably leftovers, or we'll flip the grilling. We're also looking to try the yogurt-marinated grilled chicken from Dinner: A Love Story, but we'll see if I'm overambitious.
Last week we stuck to the plan, such as it was, for the most part, but did throw in a few things based on the CSA box. We got a ton of potatoes, so I decided to try the Lemony Potato Smash, from my blog crush, Dinner: A Love Story, again. We tried it a while ago with some Yukon golds that had been hanging around for a little while, and weren't crazy about the lemon/potato combo. But these were some lovely little red potatoes, and I thought I'd try it again. This time--excellent. Loved them. Ate them all. And I also loved that my computer was still open to the recipe at the dining room table when it was time to serve them, and my husband called the kids over and said, "Boys! Look at that! Doesn't this look just like the picture? Isn't that cool how Mommy did that? She read and followed the directions, and here it is!" And they were only mildly impressed, but I was pleased, and they did start to connect that "if you can read, you can cook." So that was a winner all around.
The other thing that made me laugh was that my son tried a cucumber, as I mentioned, for the first time in years. Years! Other than pesto, nothing green has crossed those lips since long before 2010, that's for sure. But somehow, he's ready to make all these leaps right now and shed that little boy persona a little. Not the snuggles, thankfully, but he is far more ready to try some new experiences. And one was a cuke. He didn't love the first bite, but agreed to a second when I offered it with some sea salt. And then...HUGE smiles, and requests for more. And to my immense shock, at dinner, he ate three bites of hot dog and then said, "I would really like more cucumber with salt, please." And who am I to say no? So we are trying a new game here for the summer--the Very Hungry Caterpillar. I cut out lots of circles. The boys made their own caterpillar heads. And each new food they try this summer, they get to write on a circle and add to the caterpillar. A very creative mom I know has been doing this for years, and I always thought it was awesome, but my kids were not impressed. Suddenly, though, they are interested. And I can't wait to see how it works and how big a caterpillar we can create for each boy. I'm hoping it doesn't backfire; my older one is a very adventuresome eater and is willing to try anything, and I fear the shorter caterpillar will discourage my little guy. I'll keep you posted.
Meanwhile, the roasted carrots with cumin are still a huge hit with my first son. I put them out on the table to cool to room temperature before dinner, and by the time dinner started, more than half were gone. And that had been a one-pound bag! Awesome. He can eat all the carrots he wants and I will not complain.
I made the chicken with snap peas and mushrooms from NoTakeOut, and it was a big hit with the grownups. My older guy enjoyed it, but didn't eat much of it. I also made it with an orzo pilaf instead of what they recommended, because I am trying to use the CSA veggies. That was good and I would eat it for dinner; I love it when orzo comes out like risotto. Alas, the youngest called the chicken "green" and wouldn't eat it because he only likes brown chicken. Noted. I might make the recipe again BUT--who cuts up snap peas?! I won't do that again. If it's just the mushrooms that need cutting, prep time is truly minimal. It's a nice blog, but not family-friendly enough for this time in my life I think.
Because we were overrun with cucumbers, I also made two soups. One was the detox soup from Dinner: A Love Story (I'm a little obsessed, sorry), which I loved and loved doubly for using up my buttermilk. I also made some of the Real Simple cucumber soup as long as the food processor was out and about. The RS one was interesting, with the little kick of heat in the cool from the cayenne and the vinegar. But the detox was heaven, cool and creamy and just awesome. Makes me want to try one of those fancy avocado popsicle recipes I keep seeing around, but then I wouldn't have my soup.
I also tried the Kelly's Korner coconut cake, with blueberries and strawberries added for that festive July 4 touch, and made my classic zucchini, corn, tomato pie for several occasions. That one is so worth the effort. I took it to our town picnic and had so many compliments, I was very happy. Even more so because I had subbed in some frozen corn when the fresh ears were small. Still delish!
Below, the recipe from my CSA for the orzo pilaf:
ORZO PILAF WITH GREEN ONIONS AND PARMESAN CHEESE
3 1/4 cups (or more) canned low-salt chicken broth
1 pound orzo (rice-shaped pasta)
5 green onions, thinly sliced
3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Bring 3 1/4 cups broth to boil in heavy large saucepan over medium-high heat. Mix in orzo and simmer uncovered until just tender but still firm to bite and some broth still remains, stirring occasionally, about 8 minutes.
Remove from heat. Add green onions and cheese and stir to blend. Season pilaf to taste with salt and pepper. Rewarm over low heat, if necessary, and mix in more broth by 1/4 cupfuls if pilaf is dry. Transfer pilaf to large bowl and serve.
Enjoy the week, everyone, and stay cool! For some more great menus, check out I'm an Organizing Junkie!