Sunday, August 26, 2012

MPM--Last Gasps of Summer

I wasn't thinking this way when I chose the title for the week, but it has been that kind of summer. I was diagnosed with asthma this summer and while I am really bummed out to now be a person who will not be able to answer "none" when a doctor asks for any medicines I take, I am relieved that my breathing issues have a name, and more importantly, a solution. I like (liked) being a person who surprised new doctors by not being on any meds, but I like breathing more. But it's been that kind of summer, dubbed Healthcare Tour 2012 by our beloved former babysitter. Emergency room visits, surgeries, not just us but many of our friends...I have loved summer but I am so hoping to be changing luck as we are getting in to fall.

Last Friday was National Waffle Day, and since the scrimmage didn't serve food, we had toasted freezer waffles for dinner, continuing the eating down the freezer theme for me. I am getting so spoiled by the scrimmages. There is easy parking and the kids can go play anywhere and I can find them easily. Love that. And I'm also getting spoiled by the Eating What's In the House. I love that my freezer and cabinets are empty enough that I can see what I have. There is a lesson in there for me.

So, last days of summer meal plan:

Monday: I haven't made my corn-zucchini-tomato thing all summer so tonight is the night. I might augment with a Dinner A'Fare meal (I thought I'd overdone it on those but you know what? It's been just right. Note to self: start stocking for summer next March or April and you will thank yourself in the lean weeks of August.)

Tuesday: Don't mess with success: Taco Tuesday. (Last week, the taco-off was amazing with two high school football players and my oldest boy--three pounds of ground beef, 36 taco shells, and almost nothing left over but lettuce. I'm glad I didn't make a fourth pound of meat.)

Wednesday: Freezer meal and CSA veggies.

Thursday: First grade orientation! Probably quinoa pesto for the boys and leftovers for the grownups.

Friday: The night before the first grader's first football game--it has to be a pasta dinner, right?

Last week, we still had the high school football player here so it was a little off. My husband got an extra set of chicken and in a total whiff, I forgot I could actually freeze it and instead made chicken with leeks (which PickyBoy decided he no longer eats, sigh) and I tried a chicken curry with apples from Time for Dinner, which was easy and another oh-wow-I-have-all-these-ingredients-booyah things. Three of four of us ate it, so we'll call it a success. I wish I had time to make rice, but you can't have everything. The curry recipe was so basic (brown some chicken; remove from pan and sautee onions in that pan; add apples and curry powder to the onions and sautee a few more minutes; pour in coconut milk and add back chicken. Done. Put cashews on top if you feel like it. We also added green beans and I was thinking I might do this without chicken and with chick peas instead.

I also tried to make my favorite roasted tomato sauce with some Roma tomatoes but alas it didn't work. They didn't shed their skins, and it wasn't the success they usually are. I'm trying to reconcile myself to the end of the season but I'm in denial. I bought a flat of peaches to freeze and we ate them all instead.

Oh--we went out to dinner last week to celebrate a friend's birthday (here, locals) and it was unreal--so good, and the final dessert course included grilled fruits but a crazy good tomato and peach tart with basil ice cream. It sounds gross but the acids and sugars played so well together, it was an ideal end to an August meal.

Wishing you whatever looks like an ideal end to your August. As far as meals go--I'm an Organizing Junkie! has some great ideas. And as the song says--see you in September.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

MPM--Summer Winds

Oh, end of August, I welcome you with open arms. While I am thrilled with how the summer has gone, I am excited for paychecks to start arriving again. Next year we will budget better. This year, I could weep with joy for my prescience in going to Dinner A'Fare way back when I had cash so I could eat this month.

Oh, that's overly dramatic when we're really doing fine. I know better for next year what to do, and for this year, we really are ok. Having a high school football player stay with us during two a days threw me off this week but otherwise, life is good. We spent last week at home, playing with (cleaning out) toys and working on not failing at being grownups (working on finances).

Monday: we did a big grilling day on Sunday so probably pork kebabs from the grill, plus roasted carrots and potatoes (also from yesterday), or a quinoa salad (I made lots of extra this weekend).

Tuesday: Taco Tuesday. And let the record show, last week, there was a taco-off between my taco lover and the high schooler. Both ate 10 (TEN!) tacos and only stopped because we were out of shells and meat. I am flattered but not sure I want to be that good a cook. Stopping after 2 or 3 seems totally fine to me. Lesson learned: one box of shells (and no teenager) this week.

Wednesday: chicken from the grilling day, veggies from the CSA

Thursday: if we get corn in the CSA box, my shrimp and corn stir fry. If not--I'll vamp. I have freezer things I can make instead.

Friday: Football scrimmage! Woo! Must be fall.

We are almost a three team house at this point--our visiting high schooler, one on a community flag team, and one on a CYO team. So I'm getting ready to start packing a lot of dinners to watch during practice.

We're kissing summer goodbye with a head shaved into a starfish, a cancelled trip to the beach and an added trip to a museum, new bureaus in two rooms, and excitement for the last two weeks of unstructured time (interrupted with some tantrums, but we're trying to keep those to a minimum). Hope your summer is ending how you want it to; meanwhile, check out I'm an Organizing Junkie! for some amazing ideas.

Monday, August 13, 2012

MPM--On Vacation Time

No, we're not on vacation this week. That was last week. It was bliss. We had a great week on the mountain top, with just enough balance between time with lots of the family and time with just our family and the grandparents. It was a great opportunity for my husband to recover from his surgery, and for us to all hang out.

This week, we have a teenager visiting with us, which is awesome but changing the food landscape. There are two football camps (one for the teenage, which is why he's here), last days at the pool to get in, and all kinds of other craziness. Here's hoping you are pulling out the last days of summer in to whatever makes you happy. We're certainly working on it here!

Monday: Out to dinner and back to school shopping.

Tuesday: Taco Tuesday, with double the usual meat.

Wednesday: chicken roll ups, lots of veggies from the CSA (we are solo-ing on the box this week so it will be a bumper crop!)

Thursday:  Crockpot pork tenderloin. First time recipe so I'll link after I try it.

Friday: Hmm, I'm a little put out. I was going to make my shrimp-corn-tomato thing but of all the things in the box--no corn. So I'll have to figure something else out. Hopefully by Friday I'll have some new ideas.

Wishing you an August that goes fast or slow, whichever you wish! Check out I'm an Organizing Junkie! for more recipes and meal plans.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

MPM--Sometimes the Math is Not Your Friend

Oh, August, you are such a tease.

My younger son was so excited for it to be August--he has several friends with August birthdays (ok, three are triplets, but still), and there was an August 1 playdate he was looking forward to. Then he asked, "When does school start?" and when I answered "September 4," his face crumpled in horror. "That's only...35 days away!" So much for the joy of August. And welcome to the joy of August! It all depends on your age.

Last week, we had a breakthrough with Mr. Picky on Taco Tuesday; I forgot to chop the onions for the tacos, and I had not a lot of extra stuff in the fridge, so when young Picky asked resignedly whether he was having cheese or chicken, the answer was "neither." And miracle of miracles, his father made him a taco with cheese and seasoned beef in a shell and he ate it. No sauce, no veggies, no matter. He ate cheese and beef in a shell. We all had the same dinner. I'll take it.

We also had a night when Mr. Picky was out with Dad, and my older one asked, "Can we try fish nuggets?" He loved them. I'm so happy. I love fish and if this is a gateway for him to white fish--I'm all in.

This week:

Monday: baseball! So I'm off the hook for the night.

Tuesday: Not messing with a good thing: Taco Tuesday.

Wednesday: grilling night. I can't believe it's been weeks since we've made the yogurt chicken so that has to come back out. Probably corn and tomatoes in the box too so we'll see how that works out.

Thursday: grill once, cook twice. I will also hope to be making the bourbon-marinated pork tenderloin (maybe with some grilled peaches?) while the grill is up and going, and whatever's in the box. TBD...last week it was more eggplant and red okra. Oh, and potatoes. Those have been going well for me. (The purple ones especially are awesome.) And my neighbors, who have been crazy-helpful this summer, love okra so they have been the recipients. (I don't mind okra, but they love it, and they have been so great to us this summer I am sorry I don't have a garden of it to give them.)

Friday: Pizza Friday probably, though it feels decadent with the Monday baseball game.

So we'll see how things go this week. Our younger son threw us a curve ball and announced he's interested in football, so we're scrambling to make that work. Those 6-8pm practices are brutal on timing...they come home starving and tired and dirty, and it's a crunch to get dinner ready by 5. And otherwise, we're working on some playdates, some things from our annual summer ideas poster...we'll keep you posted next week as we let these last 35 days play out!

Check out I'm an Organizing Junkie! for some excellent menu planning ideas!