Monday, April 29, 2013

Mealplan Monday #58 with randomness

Last week was so random.  Some good.  Some terrible.  A mish-mash of stuff all crammed into four days off;  not a stand-out day among them.
This jar of Biscoff disappeared.  What IS this stuff?  Jam? Butter? Whatever it is, it's highly addictive and doesn't last long at my house.
 I made beans in the crock pot and turned half of them into fabulous refrieds on Thursday.  Can't think of a better way to cook beans - no soaking required.
 Ugh.  Need to work on the Tech Ladder notebook.  It's like the working woman's version of the term paper.  I am long over college.  No wanna.
 The view from our back door, sans bee hive from hoarder neighbor.  Plus, she moved and took all her crap with her.  Glorious.
Monday - Freezer clean out (prob beans and leftover taco meat with buttery cornbread)
Tuesday - Orange Chicken, noodles or rice, veggie
Wednesday - Healthier Smothered Sweet Potatoe Fries, Salad
Thursday - Grilled Easter ham and cheese sammies, some nice soup
Friday - Fish of some sort - Haven't figured this out yet...
Saturday - Dad Grill
Sunday - Freezer meal (prob Lasagna) and a veggie
Dessert this week is Cherry Cobbler a la mode
 A group of sprigs from the neighbor's jasmine I was trying to coax into blooming.  
They didn't.
 Chocolate chip pancakes that took the blahs out of a sleepy school morning.
Oh joy.  TAKS last week.
 A visit to my mother followed by a ridiculously good lunch of pasta, Italian meatloaf, and creamy mushroom soup.
Babies on my mother's lime tree.  
If it seems like I am phoning it in from last week - I am.  But this week I am hoping for better days, with a touch of of clarity and a lot more happy.
Where did April go?

Friday, April 26, 2013

Botanical chair pads

I visited my mother yesterday and took her long-awaited birthday (83) present:
 Remember the lovely tablecloth from HomeGoods? $15 and it is spill-proof, which I think will make it perfect for covering chair pads.
 On the left is the fabric, stretched and stapled over the old chair pad. It looks about 100% better than the striped sateen that was on there - and its a lot more practical.
These chairs have some lovely carved detail.  When she told me how much they cost, I was shocked.  Um, its for sure I will never spend that on chairs for my kitchen...and that was 11 years ago!
 Goodness they were dirty!
 It took me about an hour and a half to cover all four of them, including cleaning them with Murphy's Oil Soap and water.  Then I vacuumed the kitchen of loose staples and thread strings that her terrier might eat... Here she waits patiently for me so we can go eat lunch.
I really love the botanical fruit branches with butterflies and how they complement the chairs.  It goes well with the rest of the kitchen, too.
 So pretty.  
I told her I wanted them to be "perfect" and I felt I hadn't done a perfect job.  She assured me that she was thrilled with them.  I hope the fabric holds up and she enjoys them for  quite a while.  Now, to pick out a Mother's Day present for her...

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Sheath Cake

A rainy cold day was a good excuse to bake a cake for my peeps.  Even if it was the second dessert we've had in a week.  So much for resolutions...

Sheath Cake (by Marie Cannary)
1 c. sugar
1 c. flour
1/2 stick butter
1/4 c. oil
2 T cocoa powder
1/2 water
1/4 c. buttermilk*
1 egg
1/2 t. each baking soda and vanilla

Heat oven to 400.  Mix flour and sugar in a medium mixing bowl.  In a saucepan heat the butter, oil, cocoa, and water to a boil.  Pour over the flour mixture and stir well.  Add the buttermilk, egg, soda, and vanilla.  Pour into well-greased 8x8 glass pan and bake 20 minutes.  While the cake is baking, make the frosting and apply while cake is hot.
1/2 stick butter
2 t cocoa
3 T milk or buttermilk
Bring to a full boil then remove from heat and add 1 c. powdered sugar, 1/2 t. vanilla, 1/2 c. nuts.  Mix well and spread on cake.  Cool and slice. *Double this recipe for a 13x9, but this size is perfect for 6 people.
*make your own: 1T vinegar added to 1 c.milk.  Let sit at room temp until thickened.
All we seem to do around here is eat - not surprising given the Growing Male population at my house.  Makes it fun to cook for them, though. (:

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Monday, April 22, 2013

Mealplan Monday #57 and a sussie for The Girl

Last week I packaged up a sweet little sussie for The Girl, who is finishing up her 4th semester at Baylor.  How is that possible and why does time fly so fast?!
Monday - Whole wheat pasta with beef and spinach
Tuesday - Sweet and Sour Chicken, rice, snow peas
Wednesday - Mom and Dad out; boys get tacos with the fixin's
Thursday - Empty the Fridge Strata
Friday - Chicken Bacon Subs, celery/carrots
Saturday - Dad grill
Sunday - Eggplant Parmesan, salad
Dessert this week is Lemon Sheet Cake
I packed her a "Sweet Dreams" pillowcase like the one I made her cousin,along with some Gardetto's, beef jerky, cute nail polish, Ritter with hazelnuts, Werther's, and some chocolate chip pancake mix.  Sounds random, but they are all things she enjoys!
Turkey Trot 2012

I miss my girlie.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Turkey Pesto Meatballs

We had some of the best turkey meatballs I have ever fixed the other night, so I just have to share!
 The  recipe is on the Crumbs and Chaos blog, and I made a  minor change or two. 

Turkey Pesto Meatballs
For the sauce:
1 t. olive oil
1/2 onion, diced
1/2 t. salt
1 garlic clove, chopped
2 8 oz. cans of no-salt tomatoe sauce
1 t. honey
1 package Knorr pesto sauce, prepared

For the meatballs:
1 pound ground turkey
1/4 c. of the prepared pesto sauce
1/4 dry bread crumbs
1/4 c. grated parmesan
1/2 t. salt
Pasta of your choice

Heat the small amount of oil in a saucepan and saute the onion and garlic a few minutes.  Add  3/4 c. of the prepared pesto sauce, the honey, and the tomato sauce.  Cover and simmer on low while you make the meatballs.  Pre-heat the oven to 350.  Mix all of the meatball ingredients and roll into medium size balls - I made two per person (10), which was plenty.  Place in a 13x9 dish, pour the sauce over, cover with foil, and bake  for 20-25 minutes while you cook some pasta al dente and fix a salad.  When the pasta is done, drain it.  Then pour the meatballs and sauce over it hot from the oven, sprinkle on some more cheese and call "CHOW CALL!"
It was so very good!  A keeper of a recipe and I made only minor adjustments, such as less turkey meat, a packaged sauce, and light on the salt.  Thanks for sharing this recipe, Megan!

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Wednesday, April 17, 2013

April Thrifting

Most of the "thrifting" I will do in the month of April will be getting clearance and sale items for Firstborn's first apartment.  Yesterday I bought him some soap, shampoo, towels, rug, and a shower curtain.  But recently, I had a fun day shopping with no particular plan in mind.
At HomeGoods I found wrapping paper for $1, some scented votives for $5, and this gorgeous tablecloth for $15.  
It's not going to stay a tablecloth for long - it's destined to cover the seats of my mother's kitchen chairs.  At the Chinese grocery store I bought Sriracha and my favorite soaps, then visited the cafe next door for Spicy Garlic Eggplant - so good.   And at Salvation Army I found a large canning jar, a like-new silverware tray, and this sweet lidded pottery dish - total spent there was $4 and tax.
A fun day out bopping around, wasting all kinds of time.  I sure needed that!

Monday, April 15, 2013

Mealplan Monday #56, faux plants, and a soup recipe!

I don't mind faux plants one bit.  Cat proof, require no watering, can be enjoyed for years, can be re-potted and arranged, no problem.  I know some people think of them as too fakey.
With a little dusting, they stay pretty. 
But have you noticed how dang expensive they are now?  I went to Michael's to see about getting a plant for the copper pot below - $30.  On sale. For faux plants?
Joann and Hob Lob weren't any cheaper.  Geez.
Um, no thank you.  I will just root around in my decor stash and pull out enough foliage bunches to make my own design.  Then put a little moss in to disguise that I used pine cones to fill my pot around the base of the plants.  Cost me nothing but a little time.
Monday - Dopiaza Curry chicken, brown rice, zucchini
Tuesday - Turkey Pesto Meatballs with penne, salad
Wednesday - Clean out the freezer night - smorgasbord!
Thursday -Mom p/u BBQ
Friday - Salmon with Avocado Salsa, black beans 
Saturday - Dad grills
Sunday - Chicken Taco Soup*
Dessert this week is Pear Cake

*Chicken Taco Soup Rustown
1 onion, diced
1 can of pinto beans, drained
1 c. leftover black beans from Friday
1 can corn, drained
1 small can tomato sauce
1 cup water and 1 cube chicken boullion
2 cans Rotel
1 taco seasoning packet (I might just make my own)
Leftover cooked and cut up chicken (from previous grill nights)
My plan is to put all of this in a large zip-loc and freeze.  Around 3 p.m.on Sunday, Hubby can pop it into the crock pot frozen and cook it on low 5 hours.

This week is all about lowering my grocery bill, believe it or not - we have a lot of the ingredients for this menu already on hand.  And gradually, I've managed to limit the rice, potatoes, bread, bacon, and cheese.  Hubby is the only one who has noticed...
 Recycled flowers from the Fall front door arrangement coordinate with the burgundy on our bedroom,
 some recycled ivy and a bird from Pottery barn are cheery in the kitchen,
 and a little fern from IKEA, wrapped in burlap is sweet in the den bookcase. Yep, I like the "natural look" of greenery in the house - and I love that they are low maintenance, too.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

More random annoyances

It's Saturday, and I don't usually post on Saturdays, but it has been such a craptastic week, I just felt like I should share.  It started out with IBS rearing it's ugly head after several years of blissful peace last Saturday.  As of Friday night, it has slacked off.  My whole abdomen is still achey and sore.
Only old people has so many pills to take each day that they have to organize them and set them out so they don't forget.  This week we also learned that Hubby's cholesterol is elevated and he's got to take major steps to improve it before summer camp.  He is resistant to adding even one more pill to his day, so we are making dietary changes.  I may as well, too, as I am 9 points over the recommended level.  Would you look at that fish oil capsule?  Horrifying.  I hate hate hate swallowing pills.
It's a well known fact that once you start posting your lab results on the inside of a medicine cabinet on multiple sticky notes that you are old. 
And if you run out of room to organize your pill bottles.  This is the little basket that used to have one or two bottles in it, like Motrin and vitamins.  It sits by the coffeepot.  It's almost not big enough now. This is like right out of my grandmother's kitchen. 
 I spent two hours of one of my precious days off cleaning the closet and it looks the same.  It's just that now all the stacks of crap are neater, and I vacuumed.
That didn't stop Hubby from complaining he couldn't find his stuff.  Are you kidding me? It was barely controlled chaos, how did he find it before?  And I hate that metal shelf.  When Firstborn goes, I am officially getting my walk-in closet back, complete with pretty light fixture, no metal shelves allowed.  Also, all the photo albums are going.
This week has been all about my nagging and pestering and cajoling and bugging my kids, too.  On Thursday, Bubbie shopped with another scout for food for this weekend's campout.  I was there in the store checking in on them now and again, making suggestions.  Yet, you are looking at all the food they purchased, save a quart of OJ and a package of wienies. 99% carbs.  I'm sure he will return on Sunday very hungry.  I am getting so tired of debating with my people over random things - broken phones, bedtimes, proper nutrition, homework, teeth brushing, getting a shower, helping with chores.  That, plus the awesomeness of feeling sick all week has me burnt.  The only bright ray here is that Hubby finally filed the tax return.  With 3 days til the deadline.  
OK, I'm done now.  I could go on forever.  Time to put my feet up with my wine and pet the cat.
Happy weekend,

Friday, April 12, 2013

Baked Ziti

This is a good recipe to freeze, it makes a lot, and is very tasty.  Next time I will divide it into two 8x8 pans as I am on an anti-leftovers track here.  Just look at all that cheese!  You could also add mini meatballs or cooked and seasoned ground beef if you aren't into that meatless thing...

Baked Ziti
1/2 pound ziti pasta
16 oz. small curd cottage cheese
3 c. shredded mozzarella
3 c. marinara sauce - homemade or jarred
1/2 c. grated parmesan

Boil ziti in salted water til al dente and drain. Mix it with 1/2 the mozzarella and all of the cottage cheese.  Spray a 13x9 pan (or two 8x8's) with Pam.  Pour 1/2 the sauce into the dish.  Layer in the ziti.  Top with the second half of sauce.  Sprinkle with parmesan and rest of mozzarella.  *Cover with Pam sprayed foil and freeze here*
Admire your handiwork - this is gonna be good!
To cook:  Thaw in fridge.  Uncover and bake at 350 for 30-40 minutes til bubbly.

Yum.  Cheesy saucy pasta served with a salad and a smile  (:


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