Saturday, October 12, 2013

Sophmore Slump?

I really fell off the wagon this week.  We ate out three nights in a row.  My digestive track is NOT happy about it. 

We are back on the wagon today, kind of.  I made steaks, stuffing & mixed vegetables tonight.  More of a "warm the food" meal than cooking, but at least we ate at home.  Charles normally doesn't care for stuffing, but I got the savory herbs variety this time, and I think it was a reasonable hit.

I am trying to line up some crockpot cooking to get us back on track, especially with the weather turning colder.  I still have a boston butt to make pulled pork from, and I am starting to collect the ingredients for the vegetable beef soup.  Both make a huge amount, but freeze well. 

I have just one week to go, and I'll add 20 lbs of chicken breasts to my freezer.  I went in with a friend on a Zaycon food buy of 40 lbs of chicken breasts.   It was $1.84 a pound, which was a good price.  I am still trying to shop smarter.

I have started getting my produce deliveries every other week.  Backyard Produce allows you to put your order on "hold" which is what I have done.  With this slump in cooking, I had food going bad.  Plus the selection is not as good with it getting later in fall.  This week we got mostly fruit in our order:  a couple of oranges, grapes, and pears, plus a couple of cucumbers.

Today was an interesting mail day as well -- I got FOUR magazines in the mail.  There were several interesting stuffing recipes.  I have added them to Pepperplate to try later. 

Speaking of magazines, and food.... anyone need a boy scout to buy popcorn from?   Connor is selling this month, and would love your support.  Click here to buy online!  His school is selling magazines... if you have one to renew, let me know that too!

Off to the fair tomorrow!

Saturday, October 05, 2013

And then the wheels fell off the bus...

I really have much better intentions.  Even though I know I need to do this just for me, sometimes I'm vain human and wish I'd get a comment or two.

The last bit of September was incredibly busy.  We are still trying hard to eat more at home.  Hasn't been as easy lately, but I will not give up.  Duncan and Connor are settling into a school routine, although both are struggling with a subject.  Mama-san is having to get busy and nudge them back to better habits and a better grade.

Tomorrow is a rare "free" Saturday.  We have many tentative plans -- movie, bluegrass concert, cleaning off my scrapbook desk.  I just have to hope I feel ok when I wake up and can get motivated.

G'nite Blog!

Monday, September 09, 2013

New Week, Old Food

This past weekend was interesting.  Saturday I repeated the broccoli casserole and Blackened Tilapia with Secret Hobo Spices.  The casserole was much better.   The tilapia was our only new recipe for the week.  Everyone liked the fish, but no one cared for the seasoning.  It was WAY too spicy, even for me. 

I did make it to Williams Sonoma and bought a new slicer.  I'm not sure I would have bought it if not for the 20% off one item sale they were having.  This one slices in four thicknesses, as well as julienne cuts and french fry cuts. 

Sunday I made lunch for my crew with a batch of Twice Baked Potatoes and Fried Round Steak.  The cubed steak (round) wasn't as good this time, not sure what I did.  I then used my new slicer and did up four cucumbers and an onion for a Cool Cucumber Salad to take to the Youth Kickoff Picnic at church.  Cutting the onion was a dream.  The cucumber was ok -- the food holder didn't work as well with a tall item.  I am so ready to try dicing an onion.

I also subscribed to a new service this week, Backyard Produce.  I keep running out of an item here, an item there, especially produce.  This is a weekly delivery from local farms.  I started with their "Flying Solo" package.  This week I chose zucchini, squash, onion, and red potatoes.  I'm not sure which day of Tues - Thurs I'll get my delivery.

Today I pulled out the huge back of frozen spaghetti sauce from my freezer.  I made baked spaghetti for dinner; the boys practically licked the pan clean.  After I returned from scouts, I cooked another batch of noodles and made a second one and put it in the freezer for another day.  YAY me.  I purchased some aluminum serving pans (10x12) and lids at Sam's Club so I had the perfect pan to put it in the freezer.  Then I can just wash the sauce pot, and add the ingredients for the next batch of sauce to the shopping list. 

Tomorrow I am cooking one of the two Boston Butt pieces I purchased at Sam's Club ($1.58 / lb) with the Crock Pot Pulled Pork recipe everyone liked so much.  It will give me dinner tomorrow, and a batch to freeze for later. 

Sorry for the ramblings.  At the Youth picnic, someone brought what was basically a Tabouli recipe, but they used Quinoa instead of bulgar wheat.  It was positively delicious.  That's made my to-do list for the week.  1)  Finding a Tabouli recipe, and 2)  Looking for Quinoa recipes.

Thursday, September 05, 2013

Redemption Repeats and Gadgets

How's that for a title?

After the disappointment earlier, I have swung back to good food.  We repeated the Chicken Cacciatore.  Oh my stars but that chicken was DELICIOUS!  Even better than last time.  I also used a pepper mix this time.  YUM.  Last night we went shoe shopping with the difficult child, and then headed to Olive Garden for another shot at their Never Ending Pasta Bowl.  I didn't get my money's worth, but Connor sure did.  FIVE bowls, and he's only 12.

Tonite I repeated Mom's Shrimp Creole, but switched from salad sized shrimp to Medium (60-80 ct).  Very, VERY tasty.  I also went ahead and used my new vegetable peeler on two cucumbers for tomorrow's Cool Cucumber Salad.
I tell you, these new/replaced tools are making a world of difference.  It took half the time to peel the cucumbers compared to using a paring knife.  Unfortunately my list of tools to get is growing.   I am looking for my chopper (the kind you slap) but so far no luck.  I am also trying to decide if I need a new slicer.  I currently have a Pampered Chef Slicer similar to this one
but I wish it would be both thinner and thicker slices.  Anyone got a slicer they love?  Someone at work showed me his new Garlic Dicer -- it looks like a Moon Rover or something.  I am almost afraid to keep looking into tools!

Monday, September 02, 2013

Labor Day Food

Today's dinner was a disappointment.   I made Oven Fry chicken, which I've made several times before, as well as a new recipe, Creamy Herb Potatoes.  The potatoes had to sit for 15 minutes after they came out of the oven, so I cooked them first and then the chicken.  Both dishes came out a bit undercooked.  The potatoes was more of an alfredo sauce, and I really am not a cream sauce fan.  Charles complained that the herbs in the recipe made him think he kept hitting twigs.  Connor ate seconds though.    I had high hopes for the potatoes, so I was pretty disappointed.   At least I can say I've tried a new recipe this week, right?

In better news, I have arrived firmly in the 21st century with an iPhone 4!  My old Huawei Ascend was almost 30 months old, and had terrible battery life.  We went to the mall today to pick up an Otterbox Defender case for it.  I feel... spoiled. 

I am kind of working on my menu for this week.  I have boneless chicken breasts thawed, it is just a matter of whether to do Chicken Casserole or Chicken Cacciatore with them.  I have the ingredients for Shrimp Creole, broccoli casserole, and a repeated potato dish.  This week will be light on activities, with just two nights of TKD required.  I want to try and put up at least a meal or two for busier weeks.  Right now the only frozen meal I have is spaghetti sauce.  We ate the leftover BBQ pulled pork on buns last week.  I need to pick up another boston butt and do another batch of that to freeze.  I also need to get baking potatoes and make another batch of twice baked potatoes.

Yesterday evening I made Bisquick Sausage and Cheese balls.  I had been craving them and could not remember the last time I made them.  I don't remember them being quite that doughy, but they were good.  When I reheated some for breakfast today, they seemed better.  Is it possible I used to fry them?

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

A Week of Firsts

And it's not all food!  This was back to school week for us.  Here are my newly minted 7th and 11th graders:

In honor of back to school, I have been trying really hard to COOK.  Monday we ate chuck eye steaks and a Bag & Season mix for potatoes, as well as a mix of asparagus, corn & carrots.  Tuesday was a first for me, I actually cooked salmon.  I used a McCormick marinade for it, then sauteed it in a pan, as I was making Crash Hot Potatoes in the oven.  I added a little cheese on top of the potatoes right at the end of the cooking time.  While the salmon was very well cooked (if I do say so myself), it wasn't my favorite.  I've never been a big fan, although the boys ATE IT UP.  We will definitely do that one again.

Tonite we repeated the Apple & Sage pork chops, and I made the Cool Cucumber Salad again but without the dill.  Again, there was very little left.  Duncan actually complained when his dad tried to eat the one piece of leftover salmon for lunch!!