Sunday, February 26, 2012

MPM--Marching Along

And here we go in to Leap Week. I used to hate February but when it's sunny and in the 50s and crocuses are blooming (and I don't have a job that makes me work 18 hours a day), meh, it's not so bad. The concussion recovery is painfully slow, though happily, fairly pain-free. But the boy is still clumsy, emotional, and unable to focus on anything (which makes it a great week for standardized testing, right? ugh). So we're limping along a little. And I have a terrible sinus infection, which is a totally new-to-me thing. My empathy meter is now off the charts for my friends who struggle with these often.

My recipes folder on Chrome is so big it stops my computer if I try to open it, so I went through and thinned the herd. Wow, I have a lot of cookie recipes I never, ever make. So this week I'm trying some things I haven't before, but nothing too taxing.

This week:

Monday: leftover Chinese food (we got Chinese food for Oscar watching), plus noodles for the picky boy.

Tuesday: Taco Tuesday

Wednesday: slow cooker curry chicken (I'm on a curry kick), rice

Thursday: lemon and rosemary chicken, rice, kale salad

Friday: Boys are on their own, I am out to dinner. Cannot. Wait.

Last week on Ash Wednesday, I had some time to actually cook since Concussed Boy was not at fencing. So I made lots of veggies that were in the house (the rest of a bag of spinach, a bag of Brussels sprouts, etc.) and then tried the Martha Stewart mushroom and scallion frittata. I am not sure how I would do this differently, because I did like it, but I think I would do still more scallion (though I don't think I had as many as the recipe technically called for). It was easy and dramatic (I took a picture and if I can figure out how to upload it, you can check out the huge bubble), and while the boys were uninterested (eggs-scallions-mushrooms = 3 strikes), my husband and I enjoyed them that day and the next. I should have added some of the dill that was liquifying in the drawer; next time.

Also? Our new dishwasher was installed. Whoa. Our stuff looks much better now. Noted.

Looking for more inspiration? Try I'm an Organizing Junkie! And have a great week. I'll write more when I'm not sick.  Really.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

MPM--Back in the Saddle

So, when I needed distraction last week, I got it in the form of a child with a concussion. Treatment for a concussion involves "no mental strain," which means no TV or other screens, no reading, no games, and no running, balls in the air, or activities which require a helmet. Alas, Xanax is frowned upon, leading the frantic parents to come up with their own ways of entertaining the kids without damaging their bruised brains. This is not an easy feat. So, back to something semi-easy: dinner. (By the way, a shout-out to Squidoo for the only page of "post-concussion-safe activities for kids" we found but--make rope? What? What we came up with: Legos, music/CDs of kiddo books--picture books, nothing heavy, walks to get smoothies, walks to get pizza, walks to get out of the house. Everywhere suggested cooking but alas, he is not in a sous-chef stage. So, my own plans:)

Monday: We're off our usual schedule this week, so Monday Tacos, including leftover chicken from last week (see below!) which I froze (clever me).

Tuesday: Mardi Gras! Pancake supper at church (if I get my act together on tickets) or at home (if I don't).

Wednesday: Ash Wednesday so soup for husband and me and something for the kids.

Thursday: We are joining The Bitten Word's pantry/freezer challenge this week and it is way too easy. (But I also bought eggs and veggies at the beginning of the week, and will of course get milk.) The freezer is loaded with Trader Joe's Indian foods and Italian meals. I think I'm going to make space for some other stuff by clearing them on out.

Friday: Lenten Fridays = no meat and for me, no pizza (too easy). Probably pesto quinoa for kids, TJ's fettucini alfredo for us. (I'm so excited, our BJ's sells quinoa now. Score!)

I knew Valentine's Day would be crazy--two school parties, one of which I was in charge of, with mom volunteers dropping like flies (strep! pinched disc! younger child with stomach bug!) so I tried the crockpot chicken taco recipe someone linked to on Pinterest. (Must. Not. Join. Too much computer timesuck already.) Foolish, in a way, because I thought I'd end up making the beef too. But I was thinking about Things That Are Red for Valentine's Day, and boy howdy, it was so easy: one jar + leftover salsa in the fridge, plus the packet of taco seasoning that's been hanging around. Dump. Pour. Walk away.

And? It was AWESOME. Spicier than we usually do but the three of us who eat actual tacos (as opposed to cheese wrapped in a tortilla) snarfed them down and came back for leftovers. And there was plenty to freeze for next week! Score! Huge hit. I never even made the beef. My beef loving son snarfed down the chicken and begged for more. Woohoo! (Alas, that, I forgot to freeze. Whoops.)

The other huge hit from somewhere on Pinterest (BooMama maybe?) was, ahem, only a hit with me because I didn't share it. That was the mozzarella-avocado-tomato salad. My husband might have liked it but we may never know. To be fair, I didn't have enough ingredients to actually make the full recipe. But next time I do--this is on the menu. So good. But really, how can you go wrong with avocado-tomato-mozzarella? Add lemon juice, olive oil, parsley, basil, salt, and pepper and poof--really yummy lunch.

Lastly, I'm on an omelet kick. I am intrigued by the poached-scrambled eggs recipe (also Bitten Word), enough so that I had the goat cheese, but not enough to actually do the stuff needed to make them. So they might come along on Ash Wednesday, but meanwhile, I had two great omelets this weekend, one with cherry tomatoes, asparagus, and goat cheese, and the other with spinach and cherry tomatoes and goat cheese. I didn't try the fold-over omelets, just the flip-over ones, so they were pretty easy and very good. I had some basil for the top I was using up too and that was a nice change from parsley. I wish my kids would eat eggs.

We also cleaned out the garage this weekend (wow, can we rock a holiday or what?) and I found a crate of my old Mad Magazine books. They weren't ever my favorites, but the boys are all on the sofa cracking up at them. I might regret it later but for now, it's a beautiful sight to see.

Wishing you yummy meals and beautiful sights of your own! For more inspiration, try I'm an Organizing Junkie! and have a good week!

Sunday, February 12, 2012

MPM--Ah Het Valentine's Day Edition

Growing up, in our adolescent moodiness, my best friend and I would affect southern accents and pout, "Ah het Valentine's Day." It wounded our pride and made us wonder if we'd ever find The One(s).

Of course we did, eventually, but alas, I have found something Ah het more than Valentine's Day: lung nodules. My best friend, the person besides my husband who knows me best in all the world, has moved on to the third stage of her inflammatory breast cancer as it has moved in to her lungs. This is beyond not good. And I am distracted beyond measure, trying to figure out a way to stop time right here, while she is still well, while she is still here, to hold my memories and make more.

Sorry for the downer of an opening but I'm really not myself right now. She was good friends with Susan of Team WhyMommy, because they shared the same cancer, and I'm just horrified that this disease continues to rampage.

On the good side: another friend, from Lemonade & Kidneys, is having her long-awaited kidney transplant this week. I am beyond excited for her and am trying to remember: modern medicine does sometimes deliver miracles.

This week:

Monday: if they still have the Italian pork roast at the Co-op, that wins. Otherwise, pork tenderloin with creamy mustard sauce; baked potatoes; brussels sprouts.

Tuesday: Taco Tuesday, of course, Valentine's Day notwithstanding. Kids will get heart shaped muffins in their lunches and that's about all the cute I can pull off this year.

Wednesday: leftovers, or if it's getting skimpy, I will make the slow cooker chicken curry.

Thursday: pizza fundraiser at Tony Rony's near us. Local peeps: if you are interested let me know and I'll send you details. Pick up, delivery, or eat-in.

Friday: we'll see. Kids have off and I might be flying to see my friend.

I apologize for the tone of the post. I will try to pull myself together for next week. I feel horrible that I'm so distracted from this that I can't even focus on the fun things: the awesome Wednesday Spaghetti that saved my bacon this week, or the gigantic party that went to the Japanese place that cooks in front of you (party of 19 + 2 high chairs...that was 8 adults and a whole mess o' kids--unbelievably fun), or the awesome friends who, out of nowhere, asked if they could take our kids to brunch on Sunday and gave us an unexpected three hour date. I do believe that God sends His angels and that sometimes, you get what you need. Wishing you what you need, and good health and joy to all you love. And for less distracted meal plans, try I'm An Organizing Junkie! where there are lots of good things going on.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

MPM--Hits and Misses

We're getting eager for pitchers and catchers to report (have you seen but there were lots of new things this week, including a 3 star broccoli. Read on...

Monday: Deferred stir-fry from last week. (I forgot to get a protein for it so we had quinoa instead.) But, my one little guy had a tummy bug this weekend so a stir fry may not work...gentle chicken of some kind, let's put it that way.

Tuesday: Lego build! Out to dinner with boys. Them: Chik-Fil-A. Me: Saladworks. Dad: on his own.

Wednesday: Taco Tuesday Wednesday

Thursday: Thursday Wednesday Spaghetti

Friday: Pizza at school fundraiser Bingo Night. Woohoo!

Last Monday, I thought I was so clever, pre-prepping everything for dinner so we could eat early. Thank goodness I did, because the boys' activities let out 30 minutes late so it was still a mewly scramble to dinner. I made the chicken in white wine and garlic-mushroom sauce and alas, it was not a hit. Neither boy at the chicken at all. I thought I got the same kind of chicken but perhaps not, or maybe I had it in the oven too long. But the leek-sundried tomato version from MLK Day was much better.

Another disappointing miss: I made the boys the Trader Joe's falafel they adored two weeks ago. Both of them looked repulsed that I would even ask them to be in the same room with it. It was a hungry night for the boys. I don't get how they love it one week and gag at it the next. Sigh.

However, I finally did make the crack broccoli. Boy howdy--I think I could quintuple that recipe and not have extra. There is shrinkage, but it's also just that good. I had it with and without lemon juice and it is equally excellent both ways. Three out of four of us adored it and--well, Mr. Picky tried it, which is light years ahead of usual. I think watching the other three of us gobble from the bowl convinced him. And he was his usual self in the evaluation: "Well, at first, I liked the flavor on my tongue. Then it started really tasting like broccoli and I didn't like it again." Fair enough. But it was a big week for him: he also tried a dried beef dip, and loved it, and taco meat, which he said he will try again next week, when I make it without the onion, which really skeeved him. But he actually ate some beef in his taco! This is serious progress.

On one of my at-home days, I felt like a light lunch and made Heidi Swanson's herb cream cheese scrambled eggs. This is not a ground-breaking, can't find it anywhere else recipe, but it's a good one and it works. I used an ounce of cream cheese and two eggs, because that's what I had, and dill, parsley, and scallions, because that's what I had. And it was perfect for what I needed on a chilly morning that turned in to a winterspring day.

In the egg mode, I tried the bacon and apple quiche from the New York Times. I have to just stop. These things sound so awesome but I do not have the touch with quiche. The dough dies on me, so I use the frozen ones. Then it's clear that if I use all the filling it calls for, there is no room for the eggs and cream, so I use two, but then there's not enough eggs and cream. Plus, how do you tell when blue cheese has gone bad? Fear not, you can tell. That's why it's not called "slimy cheese." I salvaged enough. But then the cookie sheet warped in the oven...and that's all I'll say about that. Whining aside: they were delicious. But they grouched me out, so they are off the rotation.

Finally, I also made Anjali's "Giving In" soup but with modifications...I used canned beans, which I don't think helped. We are also not a tofu/tempeh family so I skipped that...I think I will add some of the beans I made to thicken up the rest a bit, but it was still a nice option on a chilly night at home.

Have a great week, all, and remember to check out the options at I'm an Organizing Junkie!

Oh...and speaking of that Organizing Junkie...I am taking inspiration from her 29 days of Organizing...I love that she picks the short month, it seems less intimidating! It's beyond time to move our son from his "nursery" (ahem, 8 years later) in to his big-kid (and straight through) bedroom, but the holdup is the room that will be his is currently the office. Or was. It's really just a disaster storage area now. If I get the nerve to share photos I will. But I will probably do photos at the end.