Monday, April 26, 2010

Meal Planning - April 26

Happy birthday to my husband this week! In honor of his birthday, he got busy signing up for e-clubs at various restaurants last week, so thanks to some timely coupons for free entrees we will definitely be eating out a couple times this week. Yay :-)

This is especially timely since the poor guy always has his birthday during TAKS week here in Texas - who wants to give their students a big, hairy test on their birthday?

So here's what's on the menu:

Monday - Steak & Pasta Soup (made ahead & frozen)

Tuesday - Zuppa Toscana (made ahead & frozen)

Wednesday - Abuelo's (Birthday Dinner #1)

Thursday - Spaghetti

Friday - Tortilla Chicken (made ahead & frozen)
The last time I made this, I didn't have any leftovers for lunch the next day - the boys inhaled it all and asked for thirds!

Saturday - Fuddrucker's (Birthday Dinner #2)

Sunday - King Ranch Chicken Casserole (made ahead & frozen)

For more menu options, check out I'm an Organizing Junkie's Menu Plan Mondays, where hundreds of other bloggers link up their menus. It's delicious!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Would This Make You Cry?

I seriously, no joke, bawled like a small child this evening. Thursday is generally the one day of the week my husband and Monkey get home before me, as my last client's session goes until 5:45. My husband had texted me around 5:30 ("I'm getting pizza for dinner") so I was actually looking forward to kitchen-stress-free evening. Imagine my surprise when I got home, went to get a drink of water, and found the top of my beloved blender sitting on top of the left rear element of the stove, completely *MELTED*!!! The worst part, other than no breakfast smoothie tomorrow morning? We are now down to only 2 working burners on the stove, as one of the other burners received a similar treatment (involving a plastic bag, though) about six months ago. Between this and the lack of counter space in our teeny-tiny apartment, I'm about to go over the domestic edge.

Does anyone know how much burner elements cost these days? :-(

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Meal Planning - April 19

I'm happy to report that I am not making dinner tonight. Instead of making sweet & sour chicken, as planned, my wonderful husband volunteered to make beef burritos this evening. Since I've been doing freeze-ahead cooking all day, it's nice to take a break from the kitchen for other pursuits (like laundry, LOL!) and save the sweet & sour chicken for next weekend, when my freeze-ahead plans only include a monster batch of spaghetti sauce. I may even remember to write down my recipe as I make it! Here's what we're planning to eat this week:

Monday - Salsa Chicken (made ahead today & waiting in the fridge - can also be frozen)

Tuesday - Hungarian Pot Roast (made ahead & frozen)

Wednesday - Artichoke Chicken (made ahead & frozen; my husband will be having fast food. He tried this recipe last time and didn't care for it at all, so it will not be making another appearance on our meal plan!)

Thursday - Spaghetti with Meat Sauce

Friday - Zuppa Toscana (made ahead & frozen)

Saturday - King Ranch Chicken Casserole (made ahead & frozen; thanks to my friend Virginia Wine Girl for the recipe!)

Sunday - Sweet & Sour Chicken (and possibly some Mongolian Beef, if I can find the recipe!)

Need more ideas for delicious dinners your family will love? Head on over to I'm an Organizing Junkie's Menu Plan Monday event, where hundreds of other bloggers link their menus and recipes. It's delicious!

Sunday Wrap Up

Well, clearly I've been neglecting my blog lately. On the upside, I have been getting a lot done at work and with my family, if not so much blogging or housework, LOL! This weekend has been enjoyable. Friday evening the three of us decided to run wild and go out to dinner (always an adventure with a preschooler), then stayed up about an hour later than usual (read: 10 pm), just hanging out. Saturday morning we had planned to sleep in (until 7:00 - I know, we're wild!) but we all woke up around 5:45 am, so we just went with. My husband headed to the barbershop and Monkey and I enjoyed a leisurely breakfast before taking off a little earlier than usual for dance class, as we were swinging by the gymnastics place to pick up his birthday party invitations. Saturday afternoon we attended a fundraiser carnival at one of the elementary schools I serve, got caught in a torrential downpour (gotta love Texas weather!), and then took Monkey to the barbershop to shear down his curly locks a bit. He definitely has mixed baby hair - lots of fine strands of curly hair that grows like wildfire!

This morning we again tried to sleep in, and again woke up around 6:00 am. What can you do? If you can't beat 'em, join 'em, right? So we headed out to the grocery store to get the weekly shopping done. I was reluctant to leave the house but, as my husband pointed out, "You'll be happy in a couple hours that you've already gotten the groceries!" How did I end up marrying such a smart man? He was right, of course :-)

The rest of the day has been spent cleaning, organizing and cooking. So far, I have the salsa chicken (1 serving, slow cooker recipe), zuppa toscana (3 servings) and tortilla chicken (2 servings) in the freezer. The second serving of salsa chicken is sitting happily in the fridge, waiting to be devoured by my boys for dinner tomorrow night. The scenario went something like this:

Husband: What is that? It smells great!

Me: It's salsa chicken. I'm cooking it to put in the freezer.

Husband: When will it be ready?

Me:, why?

Husband: [getting plate out of cupboard]

I convinced him to wait until tomorrow, as he was already planning on making us beef burritos tonight, and far be it for me to discourage him from cooking! Husband also scoured both bathrooms earlier today and vacuumed the whole apartment, so he's pretty much the perfect spouse today :-)

My Hungarian pot roast (2 servings) is currently in the slow cooker and I have chicken boiling on the stove to make King Ranch chicken casseroles (2 servings, maybe 3...depends how big it looks in the mixing bowl!). After that, only 2 more recipes to go. I may actually get 6, or even all 7, recipes done today! I'm also simultaneously baking four batches of brownies for my husband's students. Apparently, they did a great job on fractions last week. Ah, the glamorous life of being married to a math teacher!

In other news, I recently found out I'm one of the winners of a 3-Day Cleanse book giveaway over on the Adventures of Paul & Natalie blog. This is one of my favorite blogs to follow and Natalie always has fun giveaways going on. Check it out!

Monday, April 12, 2010

Meal Planning - April 12

Clearly, I'm a little behind on posting my meal plan this week. If you had a smell-o-meter in your computer screen, you'd know just how behind, as tonight's dinner is on the stove, hee hee :-)

Anyhow, here it is:

Monday - Baby Burgers

Tuesday - Basil & Bacon Chicken (made ahead & frozen)

Wednesday - Taco Soup (made ahead & frozen)

Thursday - Spaghetti

Friday - Stuffed BBQ Potatoes (pork made ahead & frozen)

Saturday - Eat Out

Sunday - Sweet & Sour Chicken

If you want more yummy dinner ideas, check out I'm an Organizing Junkie, where hundreds of other bloggers link up their meal plans every Monday!

Sunday, April 4, 2010

My Favorite Easter Hymn

Having been brought up in a Lutheran church, religion and music have always been synonymous to me. So it's not surprising that the first thing on my mind this morning, other than making sure Monkey's shoes are tied and his face is washed, is reflecting on the music which always puts me in the Easter spirit. My top choice for this year? Christ the Lord is Risen Today, which, oddly, is also sometimes written as Jesus Christ is Risen Today. For us, it seems to be a matter of which hymnal is being used. Easter also reminds me of my maternal grandfather's favorite hymn, Low in the Grave He Lay. If you are unfamiliar with this hymn, give it a listen. My grandfather died when I was barely older than Monkey is now, and we lived thousands of miles apart when he was alive, so the only real connections I have with him are this hymn and a blue and white checked handkerchief. Not a lot, but both meaningful, for different reasons. The words of the refrain, which express my Easter joy so much better than I ever could:

Up from the grave He arose,
With a mighty triumph o'er His foes,
He arose a Victor from the dark domain,
And He lives forever, with His saints to reign.
He arose! He arose!
Hallelujah! Christ arose!

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Meal Planning - April 5

My cooking day is being pushed back until next weekend as this weekend is all about itemizing my business expenses so we can get our taxes done. I know, the least I finally understand what it feels like *not* to do your taxes the first week of February, LOL!

Here's what our family will be eating this week:

Monday - Sesame Beef Stir Fry (scroll down for recipe)

Tuesday - Meatball Soup (made ahead & frozen; I add the noodles while reheating)

Wednesday - Basil & Bacon Chicken (made ahead & frozen; note that I substituted meats due to food allergies in our family)

Thursday - Spaghetti (sauce made ahead & frozen)

Friday - Potato Soup (made ahead & frozen)

Saturday - BBQ Potatoes (pork made ahead & frozen; potatoes will be cooked on Saturday)

Sunday - Baby Burgers

Looking for more meal planning ideas? Visit I'm an Organizing Junkie's Menu-Plan-Monday section for links to hundreds of other bloggers' menus and recipes.

*****Sesame Beef Stir Fry*****


5 T dark soy sauce
8 T vegetable oil
2 t honey
2 t dijon mustard
1/2 t red pepper flakes
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 t fresh ginger, minced
1 medium onion, diced
1 red pepper, diced
1 green pepper, diced
chopped broccoli (to taste - we like a lot!)
1 can sliced water chestnuts, 8 oz.
3 T toasted sesame seeds

Whisk together soy sauce, half the oil, honey, mustard and red pepper flakes. Add steak and stir until coated. Marinate, covered, at room temperature for 15 minutes (if you are preparing the meal in advance, this would be the point at which to freeze the meat). In a wok or heavy skillet, heat 2 T oil over moderately high heat until hot and saute garlic, ginger, onion, bell peppers and broccoli, stirring 5-7 minutes. Transfer to another dish. Heat 2 T oil in the same wok or heavy skillet until hot and saute steak, stirring, about 2 minutes. Stir in sauteed vegetables, water chestnuts and sesame seeds until heated through. Serve over steamed rice with additional soy sauce.

Easter Egg Hunts

This morning I decided to ignore the fact that my To Do list this weekend includes doing our taxes, cooking several nights worth of dinners to freeze, multiple loads of laundry, catching up on paperwork for work, etc. and took Monkey Boy (my son) to two Easter egg hunts. The first, at 8 am, was at our local Sprouts Farmers Market and was quite enjoyable. I loved that it was indoors, since it was still a little chilly when we arrived at 7:45. We invited another family from church, who have twin girls one year older than Monkey, to join us, so it was a merry bunch. The employees had set up the egg hunt in the bakery section and were very well organized in directing the kids where to go. After our little munchkins had filled their baskets, we proceeded to the back of the store, where tables were set up with crayons and markers for a coloring contest and bins of ice held little cartons of orange juice and chocolate milk. One of the employees did some face painting. Monkey requested this purple flower for his cheek. Sorry it's blurry - it's hard to get a preschool boy to sit still!

After a quick trip home for a potty break and to drop of the eggs from Sprouts, we headed over to our church, arriving just in time for the 10 am Easter egg hunt. The high school youth had been hard at work all morning, hiding eggs for the grade schoolers on one side of the church yard and "hiding" eggs for the Kindergarteners and younger on the other. Monkey was overjoyed to see his friends, the twins, twice in one day. All the kids gathered in the fellowship room for a group picture before heading out to fill their baskets. Monkey was, as usual, an aggressive hunter of eggs. One of the twins and he even insisted on checking the flower beds at the front of the church (picture to the left), even after the high schoolers assured them there were no eggs there.

Once all the eggs had been "found," we returned to the fellowship room where all the kids picked a special egg out of a large basket. Each of these eggs had a number inside, which corresponded to a bigger set of prizes. Monkey was very pleased with his Disney Princess bouncy balls and bendy bunny rabbit set.

Monkey also got to try his hand at cracking confetti eggs. Have you ever seen these things? It was a first for me today. They are apparently a Mexican tradition and, in my opinion, pretty darn awesome - as long as you're outside! Only one egg exploded inside the church, luckily. If you're interested in learning more about this craft, which apparently if fairly easy to make at home, check out this Associated Content article or this article on eHow. Here Monkey is practicing his skills on one of the very patient high school boys at our church. You gotta love it :-)

Once the egg hunt was over, most people headed out, but I had to stick around for church choir practice. Gotta get those Hallelujahs perfect for Easter morning services, right? Monkey headed down to the park adjacent our church with some of the other little people (supervised by the high school youth) and we got down to business. The best part of my morning, completely unexpected, happened when the whole thing was over and Monkey proudly presented me with the bouquet of dandelions he had picked me in the park. Talk about a perfect day with my sweet boy. Now, off to have lunch and to see if I can get Monkey settled down to take a little rest afterward, if not a real nap. Hope you all are enjoying a peaceful and sunny Saturday!