Sunday, December 30, 2012

MPM--Last Post of 2012!

I am just a horror of a person about the "last times!" and "first times!" and "last time this year!"s. I drive my kids crazy with that. But for time-challenged me, I think it helps.

We are ending 2012 with an uninvited guest: I almost stepped on a mouse on my way down the steps to the laundry. The dog was psyched but since the mouse was not moving (but alive) I didn't want her anywhere near it. So we're doing still more dry-good removal this week.

Monday: What are you doing New Year's Eve? We have a kids' party to go to and then I think we will come home and enjoy the Wii that Santa brought. (Oh, that Santa.) Growing up, our family's tradition was lobster tails on New Year's Eve. I don't see it happening for us. I made some leek potato soup and we will augment that with...something.

Tuesday: Happy new year! We are hosting the birthday party for my father-in-law, a New Year's Day baby. Pulled pork (from my standby crockpot recipe on sidebar), potato salad (from Colonial Village), more pizza dip (last time! this finishes all the extra ingredients around the house for the year). I might also make meatballs (see below...) and there will be creamed onions, his favorite, and some other good things, I hope.

Wednesday: Back to school, but my husband and I have off so a little pressure off as well. Dare I say it? We are thinking of doing a Wednesday spaghetti for our neighbors and check that off the list for 2013 in a hurry. Here's hoping by putting it down I actually do it!

Thursday: Taco Thursday (maybe a new thing for 2013?)

Friday: Now, finally, the last of the freezer cleanout. We are getting rolling on our home renovations and I need to clear the shelves, both frozen and traditional. So it should be an interesting meal...probably some chicken fingers, some soup, and not sure what else!

Holiday Wrap-Up: For Christmas hors d'ouvres fest, we brought a cheese plate (my picky boy son fell in love with Seven Sisters cheese, I enjoyed the Tallegio, and so we vamped and got some).

The cranberry-pecan dip I made was really more of a garlic-rosemary dip, but in my world, that's a fine thing. It wasn't a hit with the family, but I liked it. And hot pizza dip (see sidebar) never goes wrong and mac and cheese (ditto). I also did the rosemary bean spread, and that worked too.

Our seven fishes this year: tinned smoked oysters; Trader Joe's bacon-wrapped scallops; Co-Op sushi and lobster mac & cheese (uh, yum); shrimp cocktail; salmon; and crabcakes. Next year I need to remember sauces for things (tartar, cocktail, etc.), but otherwise, it was very good. Boys had pizza, of course.

Looking for more new year planning ideas? Try I'm an Organizing Junkie, and best wishes for 2013!

Sunday, December 23, 2012

MPM--The Crowning of the Year

I have Percy Faith's "Happy Holidays" ringing through my head, and I am trying to get in the spirit of the season, but it is hard. Hard from last week, hard because my best friend's father died (on her birthday no less), but still: it is Christmas. We've made our house fair as we are able (and I thank my internet blogfriends for that); we made pretzel hugs, salted pecans, and the mac and cheese is next; other stuff is in the freezer, just awaiting defrosting and we'll be set.

And to be fair, we had an amazing, magical season. Both boys are still believers, which helps SO much. This is a good sweet spot of parenting, and I love being here.

This week:

Monday: Christmas Eve--our version of seven fishes, down to the traditional pizza for the boys. This year: smoked oysters (from a tin), scallops wrapped in bacon (from Trader Joe's), California rolls (from the Co-op), and from my seafood place: shrimp cocktail, lobster bisque, crabcakes, and salmon. Broccoli on the side; cannoli from the Reading Terminal Market for dessert. And of course--cookies for Santa and carrots for the reindeer!

Tuesday: Christmas dinner. My sisters-in-law insist that "everyone" likes appetizers and desserts better than a full sit down meal. I agree that the "sit down" part is a challenge with all of us (40ish?) together and I do love the snacks for dinner. We are bringing frozen cream puffs from BJs, hot pizza dip (see sidebar) and a new cranberry dip recipe that looked irresistible to me at least. I am also hoping to make the cannelini bean dip (heat some oil with rosemary; remove rosemary; add oil to beans and whir in food processor to creamy).

Wednesday: Boxing Day. Usually we have a very casual "from a box" Boxing Day brunch. This year, we have four grownups who have to work that day so it moved to dinner, and my mother in law is thrilled and making roast beef and ham and a proper Christmas dinner. I'm all for it. We'll bring mac and cheese and if I can get my full sized food processor going, carrot mousse.

Thursday: Collapse in a heap day. You don't think a week goes by without tacos, do you?

Friday: Oh, Friday. This is the night of the viewing. I will eat out; boys will be on their own. Fortunately they are having pizza for lunch so with any luck we will just order big and have extra.

Wishing you a week full of light and love and whatever makes this season one of comfort and joy for you. Thank you for reading. You inspire me to stay organized and to take good care of my family in a way that doesn't come naturally to me (planning ahead, for one, and cooking, for another). See you on New Year's Eve! And if you need other ideas for your next few days, try the astounding list at I'm an Organizing Junkie!

Sunday, December 16, 2012

MPM--Round Numbers

Last week's misbegotten efforts from the phone? Post number 500. 

Hearts broken last Friday? Infinite. 

I have so many teachers in my family...and so many who were so influential in my life and in the lives of my kids. If I can work my way up to it, I will do a post in their honor. But for now...all I can do is plan to get through the week and hope to keep things holiday appropriate for my kids.

If you have a moment, spare a thought for one of my blogging and real-life friends, whose close friend lost a child in Sandy Hook last week. This child had visited her home as recently as the summer. My heart breaks with hers, and she represents thousands upon thousands of us as she goes to grieve with and support the family. I ache for them all.

This week:

Monday: Kids' Night Out with the elementary school. I'll buy dinner. I'm still feeling generous. (Last Friday was, I think, the kids' favorite night ever. Cookies for snack? Sure! Popcorn for dinner? Sounds good! Snuggling on the sofa for Christmas specials marathon? You got it.) 

Tuesday: Taco Tuesday

Wednesday: probably Crazy Jane's chicken, broccoli, some starch. Potato? Unclear.

Thursday: Another freezer meal--I am truly embarrassed at how many months that took. Not like I was eating every day from the freezer, but every week there was something.

Friday: Not sure--could be spaghetti and meatballs, could be more freezer food. 

Using lots of nuts for the holidays has helped with the freezer. So has the butter.

Wishing you a week with good meals with your family and other loved ones. Go to I'm an Organizing Junkie for more ideas for your family's meals. And do thank a teacher today.

Monday, December 10, 2012

MPM--Not as Thoroughly Modern Maybe

Well. I've never posted from my phone before and I am not eager to do it again, but I'm in a pinch. 
So I'll keep it short. Last week I got to the autumn salad and the adults enjoyed. The pork was a moderate hit. And the freezer is down to staples and stuff for Christmas and one meal. Woohoo!

Monday: Chinese fundraiser, yeah!

Tuesday: pizza fundraiser--I could get used to this. 

Wednesday: leftovers--takeout and weekend pork, pesto quinoa

Thursday: taco Thursday

Friday: that last freezer meal

Really will have to do this later but needed to think it through. Happy week all! Go see I'm an Organizing Junkie for more normal entries!

Sunday, December 2, 2012

MPM--Well, December Just Sneaked Right On Up On Me

Yeah, it's time. I'm going there.

Merry Advent! We had a good week last week. I decided to clean out the fridge in addition to the freezer and spent a cold Sunday doing roast-a-rama--beets I forgot I had, carrots, brussels sprouts; and then I made a leek-potato-carrot soup out of the Bittman How to Cook Everything. That made a ton of soup, and it was bland but a great base for whatever we felt like sprinkling on it. That set us up for a good week. Oh, and I cooked down the onions and fennel into the caramelized wonder (see sidebar). Delicious. It looked awful but I ate it all so it didn't matter! Alliums FTW.

This week: hoping for another good week!

Monday: Happy birthday to me! I'm not cooking. We're trying a new-to-us pizza place that supposedly invented the stromboli. New restaurant? Check. Easy on a school night? Check. Cheap in the schema of restaurants? Check. Yay!

Tuesday: And twice in a row, we're out, woohoo! Lego build calls.

Wednesday: Unclear. We might sneak out for a midweek date and if we do, it'll include dinner and kids will have defrosted buffalo chicken meatballs from Trader Joe's. If not, I didn't make the pork tenderloin last week, so it's time this week.

Thursday: Taco Tuesday makes me happy too. Of course this is a day that I am having some dental work done, so I'm not sure what I'll be eating, but tacos will work for everyone else.

Friday: Unclear. The pork tenderloins are high on the list if they don't happen Wednesday.

So, last week was a good week, overall. We went out for my husband's birthday, so we had leftovers, which is how the pork is getting bumped to this week. The teriyaki beef was ok, certainly couldn't have been any easier, but was only a hit with the grownups and only a moderate hit at that. I froze most to give to Aid for Friends. I also used Soy Vey Teriyaki sauce and another sauce might work better in this case. I also have half a bottle left so if anyone has a great Soy Vey recipe to recommend, I'm all ears for next week.

Wishing you a great Advent, if you celebrate, and a Happy Hannukah, if you celebrate. Have a great week, and check I'm an Organizing Junkie! for better menus!