Monday, April 30, 2012

Mealplan Monday #6 and Jalapeno Bacon Poppers

One more oven meal left to go and I am closing down the oven - except maybe for the occasional 10 minute pan of freezer cookies.  This week is much like last, with the exception of my mother coming to town today for the eye doctor - which means I will hit the streets running early to get the house clean and shopping done before her lunchtime appointment.
Jalapeno Bacon Poppers
******
Monday - Cilantro Lime Chicken, leftover homemade mac and cheese, green beans
Tuesday - Pork and Peppers crock pot, rice
Wednesday - Tex Mex Skillet Casserole, refrieds, salad
Thursday - Grilled cheese sammies on Texas toast bread, soup
Friday - Stir Fry pork and ramen bowls, Chubby Hubby bars (leftover) with ice cream
Saturday - Dad grills
Sunday - probably order pizza, salad
******
One of favorite things to grill are these little bundles of jalapenos, stuffed with cream cheese and wrapped in bacon.  We discovered them on  a family vacation in Port Aransas years ago.  The recipe is simple:  halve the jalapenos, scrape out the seeds and membrane with a spoon, put about 1 teaspoon cream cheese in each one and wrap with a half slice of bacon.  I can get 28 poppers with 14 jalapenos, a pound of bacon, and a block of cream cheese.  I make them on Friday and hubby grills them for dinner on Saturday.  So good!




Friday, April 27, 2012

Drought recovery

We're still way behind where we should be at this time of year for rainfall,
but Central Texas has been blessed with some mild temps and a little bit of rain that has
helped my yard discover it wants to live!
One day I mercilessly trimmed the landscaping and re-mulched.  
Everything is coming back so pretty! 
The lantana is spilling over to the sidewalk.
 
 You can't kill Wandering Jew - it's an invasive species here and once you plant it, 
you've got it.  But I love it, so I don't mind it one bit.
These salvia plants I thought were goners for sure. 
And now they look like they are spreading.
All the sage required was a trim and they filled out nicely.
Pretty soon they will be attracting hummingbirds and bumblebees.
And butterflies! They are everywhere!
The jasmine the neighbor planted on a trellis scents my yard with the most incredible perfume.
I feel a little guilty that we're the ones getting to enjoy it. 
 The fig tree has gone wacko. 
Really, at the end of the last two summers I thought it was dead. 
 And that was with me watering it a lot...
More Wandering Jew.  I love it under the trees.
*****
I still have a lot of lawn maintenance to do - spreading top soil and seeding some bare spots.  But if this trend of a little rain here and there keeps up, we should be able to hang on to our yard fairly easily this summer.



Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Den lamp re-do

The den project is slow going, but eventually, when I'm not working all these extra hours at work, I will have a couple of days in a row to get it done.  I hate doing a big project piecemeal.  It just feels so frustrating not to see enough progress to visualize the end result!  Plus, I'm lazy and tend to want to do it NOW as opposed to taking my time and doing it right.  Guess it's good I haven't had time to get it all done. (:
One of the maintenance things I wanted to do in this room is give the lamp a new coat of paint.  It was a solid brass lamp that I spray  painted  black.  Hubby has had this since college, I think.  It's got some wear and tear on it since the first paint job several years ago...
 It normally stands at one end of the leather couch - that shade could use some spiffin', too.
 I took it out to the patio and gave it a light sanding, primed it, then painted with ORB spray paint.
 I didn't even bother to tape off the glass table insert.  Dry spray paint scrapes off like a charm.
 While it dried, I gathered some sage green burlap and craft glue.
 Painted the shade with glue and wrapped the burlap on.  Trimmed it up a bit and tucked the edges under.
 Here it is drying on the kitchen counter with clips to help it stay put.
 After;  a nice ORB metallic sheen on the base with no nicks or chips.  Better!
 See?  The paint scraped right off with a widget.  I use that widget scraper for so many little jobs like this - if you don't have one, get one.  I promise you will use it a bunch.

Put back together and waiting for me to get going on the rest of the room.  
It's has a softer glow when turned on and I love the texture the burlap gives.
Might need to finish off the edge with some pretty trim. 
Whatcha think? 



Monday, April 23, 2012

Mealplan Monday #5 and feeling tired...

This week, as last, I will be working about 11 hours extra.  I have to make sure I stay organized and plan in advance.  I purposely chose a menu that was relatively pain-free.  In other words, I'm not trying many new things.  Oh, well...the objective is to get people fed with minimum fuss.  And to wind down the use of the oven so that we are only cooking on the stove or with the crock pot by May 1st.
Rustown Art

******
Monday - Chicken Sausage Stew (from The Houston Chronicle)
Tuesday - Ham and Cheese Party Rolls, chips, mini bakery brownies with frozen yogurt
Wednesday - Easy Slow Cooker A1 Swiss Steak, instant mashed potatoes, peas and carrots
Thursday - One Pot Spagetti, green beans
Friday - Eat Out In Night - probably pizza with a bagged salad
Saturday - Dad Grills
Sunday - Dr. Martin's Mix*, corn


******
Wish me luck this week - I'm starting to feel super tired, but trying to hang in there!




Saturday, April 21, 2012

Lord, Thank You

I'm not particularly church-y, but I do have a thankful heart.
 Every now and then I have to remind myself that, in the midst of my stressful life,
 I am truly blessed.  And, even though I can't go to church with my family as often as I like, I think we are all on the right track with our heads screwed on straight.
But it never hurts to say an extra Thank You, now and again...
******
Lord, Thank You
 For this pile of dirty dishes, the overflowing kitchen recycle bin, and my dirty oven and fridge...we have plenty to eat.
For these unmade beds...we all have a cozy warm place to sleep at night.  
I know that many have no bed.
For this dirty bathroom with it's splattered mirror, toothpaste-speckled sink, hot water and soap, grimy towels...
it is so convenient.
For the grass that must be raked, mowed, weeded, and watered...
our family enjoys having our yard.
And for that old van that's still chuggin' along!
 For the screen door that has been slammed so many times it is bent and banging from kids running outside to play...
my children have all been healthy and strong.
For my family, who though we may sometimes not all get along, all love each other dearly and will pull together in good times and in bad.  
We are a family, and that's what matters!
Amen!





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Friday, April 20, 2012

WTH Wednesday

OK, first off:  Don't be alarmed by the scary Halloween eye.  It feels like nothing and apparently, amounts to nothing as well.  But I managed to FUBAR my day as I had all kinds of industrious plans for whittling down my "To Do" list on my last day off until Monday. 
Maybe I'm psychic as I predicted on Monday that there would be scant time for frivolity this week...
Trust me, yes, I shrieked when I caught sight of myself in the mirror as I was preparing to move on with my happy little day after having cleaned the house and gotten a handle on the laundry.  In a panic, I called Hubby, blubbering incoherently about my bloody eye.  (Have I mentioned this has NEVER happened to me?)  I guess I've lived the Princess Life up until now.  Hubby is one of those "ultra cautious, let's hear what a real doctor has to say about this" types.  So off we went to the ER, only to be told $125 later that it was a subconjunctival hemorrage and would likely resolve on its own.  Oh, and go see an eye doc.  Today.  Aaanndd...after an hour at the eye doc and $35,  I was told there was 1. nothing I could do about it, 2. no way to keep it from happening again, and 3. It would just go away by itself in a couple of weeks.
******
But there is something I can do to ease the stress of the day and try to relax a little:
I'm not ashamed to say I ran to Walgreen's for booze.  
WTH, Wednesday?



Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Glazed Yogurt Cake

I found this recipe by Isabelleathome
on Tasty Kitchen and had to try it.
 
Yum - anything made with orange marmalade has to be good!
 It took 10 minutes to put together, 45 minutes to cook and was easy.

Glazed Yogurt Cake
 

1 1/2 c. flour
2 t. baking powder
1 t. salt
1 cup plain Greek yogurt
1 c. sugar
3 whole eggs
2 T orange zest (from 1 orange)
1 t. almond extract
1/2 c. canola oil
1/3 c. orange marmalade
2 T orange juice

Pre-heat oven to 350 and grease a loaf pan (I used my bundt pan).
Zest the orange, then juice it.  Set both zest and juice aside.  In another bowl mix flour, baking powder, and salt.  In a second bowl mix yogurt and sugar til smooth.  To that, add the eggs once at a time, whisking til smooth, then add the orange zest and the extract.  Now whisk in the oil.  Finally, add all of the flour mixture to the wet  mixture and  stir gently til well incorporated.  Do not overmix.  Pour the batter into the greased pan and bake 50-60 minutes.  *note* I baked mine for less time - I like a really moist cake.  Adjust your baking time to the pan you are using.
Once the cake is out of oven, mix the marmalade and 
2 T. fresh OJ in a pot on low heat til syrupy. 
Poke a few holes in the top of warm cake and gently spoon on the glaze. 
Let cool completely and serve.
We spooned sliced strawberries over each slice and enjoyed it with vanilla bean ice cream and it was wonderful - like a pound cake in texture.   
******
With the weather getting warmer, my baking days are coming to an end.   
That, and using the dryer...hello, clothesline and stove!



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Monday, April 16, 2012

Mealplan Monday #4 with Mrs. Ringle's Brisket

This week is all about "the easy" as I am picking up extra time at work and the boys go camping on Friday.  So, I will be using up some leftovers during the week, and picking up dinner for myself on Saturday.  Mama has to have her little rewards...
 ******
Monday - Freezer Meal:  Roast pork shepherd's pie (Easter leftovers), salad
Tuesday - Brown Sugar Chicken, rice, carrots
Wednesday - Bean and BBQ chicken crock pot, Cheesey Bacon Ranch Bread
Thursday - Another Freezer  meal - there's a lot of food still in there...
Friday - Crock Pot brisket for sammies* for the boys, potato salad
Saturday - mom eats out, everyone else either camping, working, or at school.
Sunday - Weeknight Lasagna Toss, garlic bread, salad
******

*Mrs. Ringle's Brisket
1 4-6# brisket
Prepared yellow mustard
1 envelope Lipton onion soup mix
Slather mustard all over brisket.  Sprinkle onion soup over it.  Place in greased crock pot with a scant amount of water (1/4 c.) Cook on low 8-10 hours.
Shred and serve on buns.
******
I won't get too many creative things done this week, unless you count shopping, cooking, cleaning, and all-around general juggling.  But I have big plans that involve Hubby and that back yard deck that needs repair...so the extra hours will come in handy!



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