Monday, December 26, 2011

MPM--Closing Out the Year

And what a year. It's always interesting to see what the trip around the sun brings. What a great Christmas! The boys are still full believers (and why not? Santa comes to the bedroom here to say Merry Christmas and take the elves home--it's hard to argue with that) and knowing it might be the last year made it all the sweeter.

Looking at pictures--I barely got out anything compared to past years. I never found my Christmas clothes. The box of master bathroom decor never made it down. And Christmas came just the same. While so much is out of storage anyway, I'm purging what's left. Some didn't come out because it's breakable and we have boys but I hope someday it makes its way back out. Others...not so much.

Holiday roundup below. This week:

Monday: Boxing Day. Leftover party food, including cioppino from Christmas Eve.

Tuesday: Spaghetti with red sauce or pesto.

Wednesday: I'm leaving this open; we are probably going to be in the city and will get something there.

Thursday: Freezer food. Oh, how I have LOVED having freezer meals in these last few weeks.

Friday: Out. I love break but I know I will be d-o-n-e.

Christmas, we brought a bunch of things to the open house--chicken nuggets, this Smitten Kitchen recipe for mushrooms, pizza dip, mac and cheese, and carrot mousse.

For Boxing Day, we went with a brunch. My mother-in-law made all savory things (quiches & meats) so I made an apple-cranberry crumble. I used this recipe and made it on Christmas Day while we were winding down from Presentpalooza. It was terrific and a great color for the holiday!

There was more but I'm feeling holiday lazy in a great way. See you in 2012! And check out I'm an Organizing Junkie for more motivated meal plans!

Sunday, December 18, 2011

MPM--It's Not Just the Goose Getting Fat

I wish I had pregnancy as an excuse, but I do not. It is pure holiday gain, which I rarely succumb to. (I just stay at holiday weight year-round.) But with a week to go, I'm just trying to be careful from here on out.

I have stocked up on my favorite easy light lunch (Trader Joe's chicken-cilantro wontons and chicken broth), and I am hoping to make the bean and cabbage dish later to have this week for lunches and mom-alternatives to other dinners this week. But I'm also hoping to just not worry about it with the magic of the season upon us.

One fun piece of magic from last week's sprint of the season: Little Mr. Picky ate a spinach stromboli! Wonders may never cease. Many thanks to the intrepid hosts (from Fever) for an amazing party and Christmas miracle of food.

It was a great week, full of train rides and Santa visits and cookie decorating and pretzel hugs-making, and all kinds of goodness. The trees are up, if not decorated, but Christmas will come just the same. Here's wishing a great week to you and yours. And for my many friends who are missing someone this year, permanently or temporarily--I am holding you in my heart in a special way.

Monday: Apple-Sausage-Potato Bake. It's the second grade party and I know it's all I'll be up for. (I do love "Place ingredients in vessel; bake" recipes.)

Tuesday: Oh, alas, as the year comes to a close...Taco Tuesday might close too. My taco-loving guy has decided that if it isn't a hard-shell taco, he's not interested. Mom considers hard-shell tacos to be an every-once-in-a-while treat. The snits are not pretty. But for this week--still with the tacos.

Wednesday: I had this awesome crockpot pork at a party this week and would like to replicate it. Leftover macaroni & cheese; beets.

Thursday: Last day of school! Cranberry brisket, baked potatoes, some vegetable. I hope. If I get my act together.

Friday: Not sure. The boys have been grooving on pesto quinoa lately so hopefully leftovers + that will get us to the weekend.

Saturday: Feast of the 7 Fishes, MemeGRL's family style. We do a family take on it. We cheat with cioppino (getting scallops, shrimp, anchovies, cod, and mussels in one take), lobster bisque, canned oysters on crackers, and salmon for those who do not enjoy oysters or lobster bisque. And, to keep it totally traditional, we have pizza for the boys.

And that's as far as I can go right now. I think I made other things this week but the only item of note for here: I tried these three-ingredient Nutella cookies. They were easy but I did find I had to knead the dough by hand, not spoon. The original recipe may have worked better (though yum--they were delicious). There were others that I can't remember right now...and oh, I had a great non-cooking weekend, taking advantage of her and her generosity and yumminess. Thanks, blogfriends! I loved seeing so many online friends in person.

Have a wonderful week, everyone. See you on the other side of the holiday! Check out I'm an Organizing Junkie for more menus.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

MPM--The Whirl Continues....

I cringe in the general direction of this week. This is the marathon before the stillness of the holiday. It's all fun but it's all this week!

Monday: Gymnastics until 6, then Chinese carnitas (from the freezer), kale chips, and rice.

Tuesday: Taco Tuesday, thank goodness.

Wednesday: Cookie swap night! Sausage-apple-potato bake and a green side to be determined. (Peas, probably, a rediscovered favorite of the veggie eating son.)

Thursday: Hoagies. I'm hosting book group, and we read Bossypants by Tina Fey, so we're eating our favorite food of the Philadelphia area. I'll get hoagies from my favorite place and dips from another and that will be about enough for me. Since the boys don't eat hoagies (why? they are denying themselves their birthright!) they'll probably have mushroom truffle flatbread.

Friday: Boys are on their own; I have a party to attend that's a reunion of my nursing moms' counselors group and I'm bringing a side dish to be named later. Probably mac & cheese but we'll see what I'm up for at this point in the week.

In the midst of the freezer cleanout, I couldn't resist this recipe and I'm glad I didn't. It was an easy roast chicken recipe and with veggies from my favorite veggie stand, it was cheap and delicious. I didn't have the spinach, but I had everything else. I used boneless skinless breasts and two regular thighs, but it wasn't as juicy. Also--my baster developed a hole (it was due) so I couldn't really baste it. But we will do this again, using a ton more tomatoes and I will peel the garlic next time. Highly recommended.

We also had fun this week making pretzel hugs for CCD teachers, friends, and babysitters. The element of danger in the hot candy made it especially attractive. I will note too that boys' pretzel hugs don't look like girls'. I'm just saying. But if you at all enjoy chocolate pretzels...let's just say that looks don't matter.

There are some good looking meals over at I'm an Organizing Junkie! The unstuffed shells from last week look awesome and easy. I hope you have a good week, doing whatever holiday fun or prep is on your list!

Sunday, December 4, 2011

MPM--I Don't Know Who We Are Anymore

Ho Ho Ho! Merry birthdays! What a whirlwind of a week. We started at the Eagles game (lousy--the Patriots put on a clinic of How to Dismantle a Disfunctional Defense--but hey, how often do you see a future Hall of Famer? From a box? With awesome food?) for my husband's birthday due to a very generous gift of tix from my sister in law. We rounded out the week at a cook-in-front-of-you (Benihana style) Japanese restaurant, which the kids loved (well, Mr. Picky only loved the first few bites of rice but hey, it's a start). In between, we cleaned out behind and under the stove (thanks to an errant toy car), blitz-cleaned the basement, inventoried and wrapped the Christmas presents, put away Thanksgiving, and started Christmas a-creeping in. I also went through a ton of clothes with the boys and got them set for the winter season (if it ever comes, both days this weekend were 50-something and warming isn't all bad). We also got to see Shane Victorino on my birthday, and since he's my favorite player, that was awesome. The best, though, was the breakfast in bed from my boys. My youngest came up with a pencil tucked behind his ear and a paper on which he wrote my order...they came up with an unbelievable breakfast--eggs, bacon, grapefruit, was awesome and incredibly sweet. I loved it. No meal can top that, but alas, we will need to eat again...

So now the whirl has officially begun...

Monday: elementary school fundraiser at an indoor playground space; will buy the gross dinner there for the kids since that's part of the fundraising. I'll bring ... something. Banana. Whatever.

Tuesday: Lego build. We'll eat at the Mall. Ugh. My stomach turns at what we'll be eating two nights straight. I'll work on good stuff to bring for the line (z-bars, squeezable applesauce...).

Wednesday: I can't resist this roast chicken recipe from Cup and Table (channelling Jamie Oliver).

Thursday: Taco Thursday, of course.

Friday: Leftovers, and collapsing in a heap.

Last week was a great week. The runaway hit of the week was the Autumn Pork Roast. It was a great use of my butternut squash and the pork was delicious. A winner all around. And otherwise, we ate from the freezer and cabinets, which was awesome. In a rare moment, I found myself in front of Whole Foods and walked out with only three boxes of truffles (hostess presents for upcoming parties) and some bulk quinoa. We're really overstocked here and I want to work it down. It's going well so far.

Wishing you a wonderful week as times get merrier! Check out I'm an Organizing Junkie for more great recipes on the web!