Sunday, April 29, 2012

Train of Tears

FIRST DRAFT: Train cake with much loved "James" engine on top

FINAL: Train cake with "James" engine in sobbing 2-year-old's hands—generic engine substituted on cake top

Friday, April 27, 2012

Week 121—Birthday and Pre-Wedding Week

Mon – Grilled chicken, salad, peas/corn
Tues – Corn chowder w/biscuits, fried turkey sausage
Weds – Goulash
Thurs Road food
Fri rehearsal dinner (A time to privately toast the fact that we will never have to go through the hell of being the bride and groom again! Joy!)
Alts – Sunday hot dog roast and birthday cake
I like to celebrate people's birthdays on their actual birthdays, even if it's inconveniently located in the middle of a busy week. So it is with some foot-dragging on my part that we've decided NOT to celebrate my son's 2nd birthday in the van en route to Iowa this coming Thursday. Instead, we will celebrate with a proper weenie roast (as he has chosen) in our backyard on Sunday evening.

Happy birthday to you, though it's in a day or two...

It's going to be a busy week! At least the menu is planned. Just heard my husband come home with the groceries. Praise the Lord. Happy cooking.

Thursday, April 26, 2012


Gave some veggies a facelift last week. Love to say that the kids were involved, but I pretty much did this one just to entertain myself. Whee!

Monday, April 23, 2012

Week 120—Grilled Rigatoni Wild Rice Salmon Pizza

Mon – Mixed grill (chicken, hot dogs, steak) w/snow peas and Indian side
Tues – Salmon w/sweet potato fries and salad
Weds – Rigatoni Isabella
Thurs – Wild rice soup from cooking exchange w/bread and salad
Fri – Spaghetti w/tarted up jar sauce
Alts – Pizza
This weeks' menu is closely related to last week's menu because a) I am lacking mealtime creativity this week and b) everyone really liked what we ate last week. Thursday is a repeat on the cooking exchange meal since both people made a different wild rice recipe. I'll feel like a State Fair judge that night, weighing texture, flavor, and...whatever else they do. Happy cooking.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Coffee Mugs

Ah, coffee mugs. The slightly more adult-version of a t-shirt collection. They tell where we've been (Circus World), places we love (McNulty's Coffee), places we spend too much money (Freewheel Bike), people we love (corny kid-pictures), and family heirlooms (Disney mug I gave my parents 22 years ago and is now in MY cupboard). 

A few years ago my mother-in-law decided to organize her coffee mugs. She purged all the random ones she had collected over the years, leaving a set that matched the rest of her dishes. You need to know 2 things about this gal: 1) She drinks A LOT of coffee; and 2) she has a lot of people over that drink a lot of coffee. Within a few weeks she discovered the gift that a mis-matched collection of mugs brings: it's easy to tell whose is whose when they're perched around the house full of inky-black energy. I've taken that lesson to heart, and embraced my own random collection.

That snowman cup on the piano? That's mine. I know it's late April, but at least I know no one will confuse my 80-20 milk-coffee mixture for their own.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Week 119—Plan in the Trash

Mon – Spaghetti (shells picked by kids; hamburger added to jar sauce)
Tues – IKEA (kids eat free Tuesdays, and parents don't have to clean the kitchen/dining room)
Weds – Rigatoni Isabella
Thurs Wild rice soup from cooking exchange w/bread and salad
Fri – Road food (Mom, can we get a Happy Meal???????? A greater expression of joy and hopefulness is not to be found.)
Alts – Chicken stir-fry
I put a meal plan together for the week and got groceries early Saturday AM. Then the list got thrown away, and I'm trying to piece together what it is I had planned to make. This week's plan is my best recollection, aided by the fact that we're eating out at least 2x this week.

Regarding the cooking exchange soup on Thursday. A couple friends and I have met a few times now to exchange entrees. We pick something to make, freeze it, and bring it for a meal swap. I've really enjoyed this. I get to try foods that are inevitably prepared differently than I cook, which is sort of like eating out at home. Different flavors, recipes I haven't had before, or variations on how I have made them. Really fun, and such a gift to have meals ready to go in the freezer. It's always a little bit of a scramble to cook in quantity ahead (ok, even if it is only the night before...) but has been so worthwhile in the end. Happy cooking.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Yummy-Creepy. More Easter images.

Thank you, Kowalski's. This was delish, and oh-so-cute. 
Thank you, eldest daughter. This was creepy, weird,  and gave me a good laugh.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Ham & Barley Soup

Tried this recipe with our left-over ham tonight. Delish!
Ham & Barley Soup (epicurious)

Monday, April 9, 2012

Menu of Forgotten Items

Most people are probably eating left-overs from family gatherings this week, particularly if you hosted. In our case, we not only hosted, but were sufficiently disorganized as well as completely spoiled by generous guests that we simply neglected to make 2 entire dishes (salmon and creamed corn), and forgot to set out some special cheeses, salad ingredients, and munchies we'd bought for Easter.

So tonight, while I said we'd be eating left-overs, in fact, we had a meal composed almost entirely of "new" items that were lost in the fridge over the weekend. We had salmon, a parmesan + arugula + golden raisin salad with chipotle cream dressing, some nice cheese and crackers, plus a few left-over items.

Side note for those that know I have a kid that has survived on an 80% oatmeal, yogurt, and oj diet for 2 years: he ate some arugula with dressing tonight and asked for MORE. Cool.

Stay tuned for an image later this week, continuing along the "scenes from Easter" theme. It's horrifying and precious all at once. Someone is paying attention to details around here...

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Easter Colors

Pistachio cheesecake in progress. A more beautiful shade of green is not to be found.

Black, white, and tan. Chocolatey snack bliss.

16 colorful eggs. I think 116 would not be too many. Always fun!

Left-overs from brunch. Favorite: the earless bunny.
Cream-colored fresh eggs from…

a red-headed speckled hen named Rosie.
Newborn  babies and Easter: two times we will always have colorful flowers on the table.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Easter Menu Recipes

Cream Corn Like No Other
Brown Sugar Glazed Sweet Potatoes
Easter Ham
Hot Cross Buns

- cheesecake
- lemon bars
- appetizers (low-prep)

Other meals:
- spinach quiche
- rainbow quiche

- veggie tray
- fruit salad
- broccoli salad
- deviled eggs
- cherry pastry bars
- appetizer

What am I supposed to do with this?

I have an itch to make creamed corn for this weekend's Easter feed. I've never made it, so Googled "creamed corn recipe." This was the result:

Note the prevalence of 5-star ratings. NOT helpful when trying to winnow the field. I guess I'll dive in and pick one for this year, and sample others in the future. Good news would appear to be that you can't really go wrong!

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Menu anyone?

I have been cooking these past two weeks...just haven't posted a meal plan. I admit, I have been winging it this week with no planning whatsoever. CRAZY, I know.

So where IS my time going? Let's see:

- busy w/freelance projects
- distracted by getting ready to host a few family members for Easter this weekend
- helping our [temporary] pet chicken find worms in the garden
- spending all my time outside in this gorgeous spring weather, pretending to "landscape"
- napping on the sunny back steps