Saturday, January 31, 2009


This is actually the menu from last week. I mostly made up this stuff, so I will only put down the recipes that were successes. I won't bother to write down the ones that were failures.
Sunday: ginger mushroom-potato soup, Greek salad
Monday: poppyseed chicken casserole with rice, green beans with shallots
Tuesday: mango chicken pasta
Wednesday: Chinese broccoli beef (SUPER YUMMY!)
Thursday: lemon-garlic chicken, spaghetti-basil soup
Friday: Thai green curry

Ginger Mushroom and Potato Soup serves 2-3
8-10 oz of sliced mushrooms (about 2 ½ cups)
½ red onion, diced
1 Tbsp butter
2 cloves garlic, pressed
½ pint whipping cream (1 cup)
1 large baking potato (1 ½ cups)
1 can beef broth (2 cups)
1 ½ tsp ginger
salt and freshly ground black pepper
Heat butter over medium heat and sauté mushrooms and onion till tender, about 10 minutes. Peel, wash, and cut potato into small chunks, about 1½ cups. Heat beef broth in a pot over medium heat. Add potatoes and bring to a boil. Boil till potato is tender, about 10 minutes. Turn heat to simmer. Add cooked mushrooms and onions to the potatoes. Stir in cream and ginger. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Greek Salad serves 3-4
1 head of romaine, red leaf, or green leaf lettuce
6 large fresh basil leaves
½ cucumber
2 Roma tomatoes
2 slices of red onion
1/3 cup Kalamata olives, pitted
1/3 cup feta cheese
3 Tbsp olive oil
2 Tbsp red wine vinegar
salt and freshly ground black pepper
Wash and spin (or let dry) the lettuce. Tear or cut into bite-sized pieces. Place on a plate. Peel and dice the cucumber and sprinkle over the lettuce. Dice the tomatoes and sprinkle over cucumber. Take the onion slices and cut into 1-inch pieces; add to salad. Cut the olives in half length-wise and add to salad. Sprinkle 1/3 cup feta cheese over the top. Finely chop the basil leaves and add to the top of the salad. Cover and refrigerate till ready to serve.
For the dressing, whisk together the olive oil and the vinegar. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and whisk again.

Poppy Seed Chicken Casserole serves 4-6
4 large chicken breasts
freshly ground black pepper
1 (10 ½ oz) can cream of mushroom soup
1 (10 ½ oz) can cream of chicken soup
1 (16 oz) carton of sour cream
3 Tbsp poppy seeds
1 sleeve Ritz (or similar) crackers, crushed
1/2 cup melted butter
Heat oven to 375. Cut chicken into strips or bite sized pieces and place on the bottom of a 9x13 glass baking dish. Sprinkle the chicken with black pepper. In a bowl, combine the soups, the sour cream, and the poppy seeds. Pour this mixture over the chicken.
Cook at 375 for 30-35 minutes, till chicken is cooked through. Turn oven down to 350. Take baking dish out of oven and sprinkle the crushed crackers over the top. Drizzle the butter over the crackers. Return to oven for 5 minutes; then remove.
Serve over rice.

Green Beans with Shallots serves 3-4
1 bag frozen green beans
2 shallots
1 clove garlic
1 Tbsp butter
salt and freshly ground black pepper
Place beans in a pot with about 2 inches of water. Bring to a boil. Boil until beans are tender, about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Meanwhile, heat butter in a frying pan, and slice shallots. Saute shallots over low heat. Just before shallots are done, add one pressed clove garlic to the pan.
When beans are done, drain and return to pot. Add the shallots and garlic to the beans. Sprinkle with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Stir and serve.

Mango Chicken Pasta serves 3-4
½ lb whole wheat rotelle (spiral) pasta
2 large chicken breasts
2 fresh mangoes
½ cup + 2 Tbsp mayonnaise
½ cup sweet mango chutney
2 green onions
¼ cup chopped cilantro
freshly ground black pepper
Heat oven to 350. Place chicken breasts in a baking pan and drizzle both sides with olive oil. Sprinkle both sides with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Bake in oven for 20 minutes. Take out, turn the breasts over and cook 15 minutes more. Place aside.
Meanwhile, cook pasta according to directions on package. Drain and place in a bowl (or return to pot). Dice chicken into bite-sized pieces and add to the pasta. Peel mangoes and dice; add to pasta. Add mayonnaise and chutney (you can vary amounts to your taste), green onions, and cilantro. Mix together well. Sprinkle with pepper, mix again, and serve either hot or cold.

Chinese Broccoli and Beef      A NEW FAVORITE      serves 3-4
1/3 cup soy sauce
1 Tbsp oil
2 shallots
2 lbs beef chuck steak (or similar)
2 cups frozen (or fresh broccoli), cut
1/3 cup stir fry sauce
Trim fat off of steak and cut into 2-inch long slices, as thinly as possible. Place the meat onto a plate. Pour soy sauce over meat and mix. Return to refrigerator and let it marinate for at least one hour (or overnight).
Place broccoli in a pot with 2 inches of water. Bring to a boil, cover, and let steam till broccoli is tender. Drain.
Heat oil in a large pan. Slice shallots and add to pan. Cook for one minute before adding beef (drain soy sauce from beef first). Cook beef until no longer pink in the middle, (8-10 minutes). Shallots will be soft by this point.
Add broccoli to beef. Pour stir fry sauce over beef and broccoli. Cook 2 minutes more; remove from heat. Serve over rice.

Lemon-Garlic Chicken
FAILURE. It was way too dry, so I'll have to try that one again...

Spaghetti Soup with Basil serves 2-4
5 oz spaghetti, broken in half twice
¼ onion (white or yellow)
2 cloves garlic
¼ cup fresh basil, chopped
1 Tbsp butter
freshly ground black pepper
Cook spaghetti according to package instructions. Drain, return to pot, and cover with lid.
While spaghetti is cooking, dice onion and press garlic cloves. Heat butter in a pan, and sauté onion and garlic until tender (about 7 minutes).
Add chicken broth to the pot of spaghetti. Add in onions and garlic and bring to a simmer. Add in basil and pepper to taste; stir.

Thai Green Curry
We tried this pre-made jarred curry from Trader Joe's. It was too spicy for me, but really flavorful. We ate it over chicken, rice, and broccoli.

Friday, January 23, 2009

The week in pictures

Last Saturday, we went to a friend's birthday party at Chuck E Cheese. Here's Chad and Benji having a grand ol' time.
Ethan eats a cupcake and is able to enjoy it more thoroughly by letting his face taste it as well.
On Monday, the boys wear matching outfits. Oh no, have I turned into one of THOSE moms? But they look so cute, do they not?
On Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday, we have cooler weather, some of it rainy. Here's Ethan in a warm jacket playing transformers outside before it started raining.
On Thursday, after it started raining, I took the boys to run some errands at Lowe's and Michael's to get MOPS craft supplies. WHAT WAS I THINKING?? And then we went to Chick Fil A to play inside. Chick Fil A makes me very happy. I hope they have their deluxe chicken sandwiches with Chick Fil A sauce in Heaven...
Here's Benji modeling a hooded shirt and chewing on stuff--that's what he does best--chewing on stuff, I mean, not modeling.
On Friday, Ethan eats raisins without spitting them out for the first time!
I get fed up with bad hair days, such as this one, and make an appointment for next Wednesday to have it all removed, or at least to have it cut very short.
Also notice that obnoxious fever blister that has been aggravating me for 9 days now.
By Friday, you can really see how visible Benji's first two teeth are.
What exciting things are in store for us next week?

I now have two things to catch up on. First of all, Jackie Lynn has given me the "I Love Your Blog Award." Thanks, Jackie Lynn, that makes me feel really special! With the award, I have to answer the following questions with one word only:
1. Where is your phone? charging
2. Where is your significant other? working
3 .Your hair color? mousy
4. Your Mother? gentle
5. Your Father? doctor
6. Your favorite thing? chocolate
7. Your dream last night? dunno
8. Your goal? Christian
9. The room you're in? "office"
10. Your hobby? reading
11. Your fear? spiders
12. Where do you want to be in 6 years? house
13. Where were you last night? home
14. What you're not? rich
15. One of your wish-list items? clothes
16. Where you grew up? Zimbabwe
17. The last thing you ate? macaroons
18. What are you wearing? clothes (I should hope so!)
19. Your TV? off
20. Your pet? annoying
21. Your computer? MAC!
22. Your mood? moody
23. Missing someone? yes
24. Your car? 1988! (I'm not joking)
25. Something you're not wearing? earrings
26. Favorite store? Target
27. Your Summer? busy
28. Love someone? family
29. Your favorite color? two
30. When was the last time you laughed? morning
31. Last time you cried? Tuesday
32.Something you crave? chocolate
33. Why you blog? release

I now give the "I Love Your Blog Award" to Michelle P and Jessica for "The Native Expatriate."

And, finally, Rachel tagged me on this fun game: Open the 4th folder where you keep your photos. Choose the 4th photo without editing it! Explain the photo. Luckily, this is not embarrassing or hard. Here's one of Benji's 6-month pictures I took. Aw, isn't he cute?

Monday, January 19, 2009


Alas, my friends, I have FAILED. I spent $30 on the groceries this week (see previous post). I wasn't thinking about other important essentials, like bread and fruit, baby food and salad dressing. I needed vinegar to clean out my water filter, which is growing algae, and that was 1.89, and I needed lemon juice, and that was 2.99. Oh well, I still spent a lot less this week than usual.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

The Great Kitchen Challenge

Okay, folks, I’ve been spending too much money trying out so many new recipes. So, this week, I’m going to give myself a crazy challenge: only spend $20 on groceries. The only reason I think it can work is because I have a ton of stuff in my freezer and my pantry. This could also be called The Great Pantry Clean-Out. I am only slightly more excited about this week than I would be about a root canal.
I have a big bag of frozen chicken, frozen green beans, tons of frozen broccoli, plenty of canned goods, seasoning packets, rice, frozen hamburger patties, and pasta. I’m only purchasing about 5 items (not including WIC items … God bless WIC).
Here’s the plan:
Sunday: tuna casserole (yes, people, even I will eat such items)
Monday: poppy seed chicken casserole with rice and frozen green beans
Tuesday: spiral pasta, broccoli, and chicken with pesto sauce
Wednesday: bean and cheese quesadillas
Thursday: hamburgers and green salad
Friday: curry potatoes, broccoli, and carrots
Saturday: leftovers

Tuna Casserole
1 box mac ‘n’ cheese
1 can peas
1-2 cans tuna, drained
1 can cream of mushroom soup
Make box of mac ‘n’ cheese according to instructions. Put mac in a 9x13 pan. Mix in peas, tuna, and soup. Heat in 350 oven for 20-25 minutes.

Poppyseed chicken casserole
4 chicken breasts
¼ tsp pepper
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 can cream of chicken soup
6 oz shredded mozzerella or cheddar
1 (8-oz) carton sour cream
3 Tbsp poppy seeds
1 ½ cups crushed cornflakes
¾ cup melted butter
Spray 9x13 glass baking dish with nonstick spray. Lay chicken breasts in pan. In separate bowl, mix pepper, soups, sour cream, cheese, and poppy seeds. Pour this over the chicken. Bake at 350 for 40 minutes. While it’s baking, mix crushed cornflakes and melted butter in a bowl.
Sprinkle cornflakes over the top of the casserole and return to oven for another 5 minutes.

Spiral pasta, broccoli, and chicken with pesto sauce
½ lb (8 oz) spiral pasta
2 cups broccoli (fresh or frozen)
2 small chicken breasts
Place chicken in baking pan. Rub olive oil on both sides and sprinkle both sides with salt and pepper. Bake for 20 minutes at 350 degrees. Turn chicken over and bake 15 minutes more. Let cool, then dice.
In large pot, cook pasta according to directions on package. Drain and return to pot. In another pot, steam broccoli till soft; drain. Add broccoli and diced chicken to pasta.
Make pesto sauce (I’ll use Knorr’s pesto sauce mix), and add to the pasta mixture.

Bean and cheese quesadillas
Makes 2
1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
¼ cup diced green onions
½ cup diced tomatoes
4 tortillas
Spray skillet with non-stick cooking spray. Heat to medium heat. Place one tortilla in the skillet. Sprinkle with half the beans, half the cheese, half the onions, and half the tomatoes. Top with another tortilla. Grill on one side for 3-5 minutes, then flip over and grill the other side till cheese is melted and outside of tortilla is slightly blackened.
Repeat with other tortillas.

Chad will grill the hamburgers. We’ll have green salad with ‘em.

Curry Potatoes, broccoli, and carrots
1 bag tri-color potatoes
2 cups broccoli
1 cup sliced carrots
Trader Joe’s yellow or red curry sauce
Clean and cut potatoes into chunks. Place in a baking pan and drizzle with olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place in 350 degree oven for 20 minutes. Take out and stir. Return to oven for another 25 minutes.
In the meantime, steam carrots and broccoli till soft.
Mix all vegetable together and serve with warmed curry sauce.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Kids say the darndest things

Hope: Ethan, did you have fun at your party last night?
Ethan: Yes.
Hope: Did you like your yummy cupcake?
Ethan: Yes. And my hotdogs.
Hope: Yeah, I know, you ate two hotdogs! That's pretty amazing.
Ethan: It was amazing in my tummy.