Thursday, November 29, 2012

Recipe: Breakfast Hash Brown crockpot casserole

Here's another "tweaked from Pinterest" recipe, though I haven't made it yet. I'll be making this on Sunday and will report back (with pictures if I'm not too sleepy to remember!) with results. But the idea is such:

Friday/Early saturday: 
Shred potatoes. Soak in salt water until ready to assemble to reduce browning.
Dice onions, maybe some bell peppers and mushrooms, bacon, whatever looks good.
Brown any meat going in.

Saturday, right before bed (ish):
Drain potatoes. Put in crockpot.
Mix in any veggies and meat.
Layer with a can of cream of mushroom soup, and a cup of milk (maybe I should mix this up?).
Top with shredded cheddar cheese.
Turn on crockpot to low, cook for about 8 hours.

Sunday:
Turn off, wrap in towel and/or put in thermal bag, take to Football Brunch. Serve and enjoy.
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I suppose we shall see how it goes, eh? Are you using Pinterest for any good dishes lately?

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Recipe: "Peppered Egg Nest"

I love Pinterest. And unlike what seems to be the internet trope, I do actually create a good number of the things I see on there. I've used it as inspiration for at least 15 of menu items in the last three months, if nothing else, and discovered some awesome cleaning tricks along the way. Even some natural home remedies for illness, which I'll be discussing at a later point.

One of the most recent things that I got to use from Pinterest was a low-carb egg-in-a-basket/nest recipe, using a bell pepper ring instead of bread. I showed Mr. Moon, he made it for me for breakfast, and presented me with this:

Saying as he did so, "Believe it or not I am NOT the embodiment of Pinterest, and it's not as pretty as the one you showed me."

Well it was delicious. But I'm going to share a recipe with a few tweaks of my own to make it even better (and prettier!) than Mr. Moon's first attempt, which I must say was VERY well done from just a picture with no directions.

Peppered Egg Nest:

  • Frying pan with a well-fitting lid (preferably glass lid!)
  • Olive oil or butter
  • 2 bell pepper rings, about 1/2 in thick
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tbls water
  • Salt & Pepper, whatever other seasonings you prefer to taste
  • Sriracha (optional, I guess)
Heat pan over medium heat, and add oil or butter. When fat is melted/shimmering, add the pepper rings, season with salt & pepper, and sear for about 1 minute (maybe 90 seconds?). Flip, sear for another minute or so. Lower heat a to medium-low, and crack one egg into each ring. Season if desired.

Add 1 tbls water and IMMEDIATELY close lid (I like to put the water in the lid so it gets added right as the lid goes on). If you don't have a lid or think you can flip easily, you CAN flip them halfway through cooking to get the other side, but this is my cheater's way of getting "over"-easy eggs. Cook until desired doneness of the yolks, for this I like them still a little translucent but not really "goopy" (medium-hard). 

Serve, preferably drizzled in the hot sauce of your choice or sprinkled with a dash of smoked paprika. Wonderful with a side of fresh tomato slices/wedges, a tomato/avocado chunk salad, hash browns, fried onions, toast, I'm sure you can think of more. 

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Menu for November 25-December 2; Planning ahead for vacation

In three weeks, I'm headed on vacation for three weeks to see blood- and chosen-family over the holidays. Mr. Moon will at that point be committing to commuting 13 miles each way by bike to work for what will presumably be 3 days a week if the schedule stays roughly the same, and so I'm anticipating he will be low on energy and definitely lower on time than we have right now. So we are spending these next three weeks planning ahead so that the meals while I'm gone are taken care of. Freezer meals that can be re-heated in the crockpot and oven as soups and casseroles, mostly. Things that even on the worst days, anyone can pull out and cook with less effort than picking up take-out. And only a couple that will require prepping sides to go with.

Rather than make it more difficult on ourselves, it means that over the next couple weeks we will also be having some of these items for dinner. But it's a switch in thinking that I'd like to get everyone else used to doing, so that beyond the two "On Your Own" nights a week we will also have at least one or two easy freezer meals a week. I feel like I've been saying this since March, but it's starting to come together.
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Vacation menu plan is presumably set up as weekly menus, but it's going to be pretty much done ahead of time so that they can mix them up as desired according to Mr. Moon's work schedule.

Week 1: 

  • Broccoli Mac; pull out of freezer, bake until hot. 
  • Split pea soup; pull out of freezer, dump in crockpot on low, eat when hot.
  • Meat Loaf; pull out of freezer, bake until hot, make sides to go with; should be enough for a couple leftover sandwiches for lunches. 
  • Baked Potato Soup; pull out of freezer, dump in crockpot on low, eat when hot. Have some cheese grated, top with bacon bits and sour cream. 
  • Spaghetti night!--Mom doesn't mind boiling pasta and heating up sauce except her very worst days, so a little labor is OK. 


Week 2:

  • Chicken Stew; pull out of freezer, dump in crockpot on low, eat when hot; maybe mix up some biscuit mix and drop in dumplings for the last two hours, maybe thaw out completely and dump in a pie crust if they feel like homemade pot pies, but also easily done as simply a stew. 
  • Mushroom barley soup; pull out of freezer, dump in crockpot on low, eat when hot. 
  • Corn beef; quarter a head of cabbage, chunk some potatoes, dump in some carrots, drop the corned beef on top and cover with water, cook on low for 6-8 hours--so, a little more labor-intensive the day of, but still something Mr. Moon can throw in before work and have ready for dinner time even if he's not here. 
  • Sloppy Joe; pull out of freezer, dump in crockpot on low, eat when hot. 
  • "Spaghetti" night, though they'll probably end up switching up the pasta and maybe even the sauce. I'm making sure to have an alfredo sauce available for them if desired, and there will be bags of shredded chicken available so it won't be any more work to make chicken alfredo than regular spaghetti. 


Week 3:

  • Broccoli Chicken & Rice; a make-ahead or day of, but not frozen casserole; toss in some rice, diced onion, cheese, mushroom soup, broccoli, shredded chicken, stir, top with cheese. Bake until bubbly. 
  • Cottage Pie; shepherd's pie with beef, pull from freezer and bake until hot. 
  • Meat loaf; pull from freezer and bake until hot, add sides. 
  • Clam chowder; pull out of freezer, dump in crockpot on low, eat when hot. 
  • Spaghetti night!

And then two "on your own" nights each week. All of this requires a bit of prep ahead of time, which we're doing over this week and next.
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On the menu for this week:

Breakfasts: Peppered eggs, recipe to follow this week!, egg sandwiches, smoothies; we are making a hashbrown crockpot casserole for Sunday brunch, since the game is early and we're not hosting this week so we wanted something we could wake up and throw in the car and would be ready when we got there. Recipe to follow this week!

Lunches: Quesadillas, tuna melts, pasta salad, turkey sandwiches, and at least one day I'm making a kale ceasar salad because I have all the ingredients and I'm craving it.

Dinners:
Monday: We didn't have the menu put together because Sunday was a rough day and then I spent the day in the ER with an asthma attack, so everyone just kind of had leftovers. We finished up the rest of Thanksgiving stuff with a bowl of ramen noodles which really helped loosen my chest up.

Tuesday: Broccoli Mac & Cheese, the last one in the freezer; we will have to have this again soon so I can make an extra batch or two for the vacation plan.

  • Food prep day, postponed from Monday: chop veggies for snacks, pickle zucchini, put away a lot of dried bulk goods from stocking up, roast a chicken; pasta salad? 

Wednesday: Meatloaf; it's food prep day, so we are making three meat loafs; one for dinner, two for vacation. We may even get crazy and make a bunch of mashed potatoes to freeze, because we bought a 50 lbs box of potatoes for $4 the week of Thanksgiving. Steamed broccoli as a side.

  • Food Prep day! Extra meat loaf; orange slaw for Friday; chop tomatoes for Friday; pull chicken, make stock out of bones; chop potatoes for clam chowder on Saturday; dice a bunch of onions and freeze; soak beans for rice & beans; make kombucha; start sourdough. 

Thursday: On Your Own night; something easy, maybe ramen or the last box of mac & cheese. Mr. Moon will probably have leftovers.

Friday: Fish Tacos with beans & rice.

Saturday: Clam Chowder in the crockpot, using up salmon stock from the freezer; freeze some for vacation.
* Tip: Lots of recipes these days suggest substituting milk for the cream in traditional recipes, in an effort to cut the fat. You can just as easily use less cream and dilute with water or stock of some kind to get the same flavor as milk, but cream won't curdle if you get it too hot the way milk does. 
Sunday: On Your Own night; If there aren't leftovers to eat, there's always stuff around for chips & dip, or pork ribs.


Saturday, November 17, 2012

Sometimes the best progress for which you can hope is simply not moving backward

They say life is all about the little things. The small decisions we make every day that suddenly become a lifestyle. The little looks, kisses, the seemingly meaningless conversations that add up to a relationship. The choices and actions we make every day that define who we are.

But then they say "don't sweat the small stuff." They say that your kids will remember you spending time with them, not how messy the house looked. That your partner remembers the big gestures more than the small ones. That where you live, how you live, what you wear doesn't define who you are.

These theories are not simply incompatible, they're directly contradictory. Sometimes I get stuck thinking I can strike a balance in the middle. That I can somehow maximize the daily small stuff and balance that with the grand life gestures. Then I think I should choose one or the other as a philosophy and stick to it. It's like trying to balance the lessons from the past, hopes for the future, and appreciating the present moment for whatever it is. I just feel like I'm failing on all counts.

We aren't making as much progress on our larger, more visible goals as we had hoped to when we moved in. The fact that it's not because of too many hours spent working for a paycheck is largely ironic. Some of it is just that the daily chores are so time-consuming. Some of it is a lack of focus. Some of it is Mr. Moon still recovering from his car accident in June; you wouldn't think that getting bounced around in a car with no skeletal injuries would take its toll for so long. Much of it is my inability to help as much as I'd like; I still have an image in my head of the girl I was in high school sleeping 2 hours a night and the typical type-A personality. Well the personality is still in there, but the body isn't up to the tasks I want to set for it. Accepting this situation has been difficult, both in how it affects the big picture and the daily routines.

Right now, we just aren't making any progress on things around the house in any way that's possible to share. But we are making progress in improving our daily life! The kitchen looks amazing pretty much all the time, the carpets get vacuumed regularly which is really helping my asthma, and we've even started having friends over regularly! Lots of meals are getting cooked from scratch and we're drastically reducing our trash-waste and even compost-waste. I have been working on projects with kombucha and mozzarella cheese, even some recipes that I think are fun, but I keep forgetting to take pictures so I can share them. There are only so many hand-written white-board menu plans a girl can share before even *I* think this blog is boring!

I will say that I am looking forward to the next few weeks. Thanksgiving is coming with a bit of a non-traditional meal, since we are having Prime Rib instead of turkey. Mr. Moon is going to focus as much as he can on doing yard work for the next few weeks, and then power through re-arranging the garage into a livable space while I'm gone on vacation over Christmas. Then hopefully in the new year we can focus on making our bedroom a little more live-able rather than lived-in. In the meantime I am working on finding peace and grace within myself to accept the progress we're making rather than dwelling on the progress we haven't. Sometimes it's like playing tug of war with myself!

Monday, November 12, 2012

Menu Plan: Nov 11-18

After a long, busy week leading up to a very important birthday party, we are headed into a much calmer schedule this week. Next week we will be prepping for Thanksgiving, but it looks like Mr. Moon is coming down with a cold so the focus is all on comfort foods and resting for now. Just in time for the 'Rents to go on vacation, so we get some time to ourselves. I'm looking forward to a little break in routine!

Without further ado, the menu plan for the week!

Breakfasts: Smoothies and bagels, maybe some cottage cheese and pineapple.

Lunches: Finishing off the pasta salad from last week and using up the odds and ends of stuff we have around.


Monday: Steak. Of some kind. For date night. I'm thinking fajitas sounds good. [freezer; meat; date night]

Tuesday: Cheddar broccoli soup, bumped from last week. The broccoli has fared well since being prepped for it, and we otherwise have all the ingredients on hand. I suspect Mr. Moon will enjoy a nice comforting soup to ease his chest congestion. [vegetarian; scratch]

Wednesday: Tikka Masala. I've been craving Indian food, this is my ultimate favorite dish, and I'd like to make and freeze some masala sauce for the future. I keep randomly wanting it but it's $5 per jar! And no wonder, the recipes I found seemed like a lot of ingredients and a little time-intensive. [chicken; batch; crockpot]

Thursday: On Your Own night. There's split pea soup in the freezer for mum and pops to have a nice home-cooked, low-intensity meal. Mr. Moon has a serving of chili saved up, and there should be just enough extra to steal a scoop for me to have the chili dogs I've been craving. [OYO; freezer]

Friday: Slumgullion. My mom has a recipe her mom gave to her, and I've tweaked it along the way for some better ingredients. Campbell's no longer has high fructose corn syrup in their cream of mushroom soup, so I'm going to cheat and use that, although I've made it with a nice home-made from scratch option before. The method for this recipe is even more important than the ingredients. Mr. Moon loves it, and I've craving a taste of home. [meat; family recipes]

Saturday: Salmon & Rice casserole. Mr. Moon works, but I didn't want another crockpot meal on the menu. So we needed something we could prep ahead and either Mum or myself could throw in the oven whenever she and Pops are ready for dinner, which also allows Mr. Moon and myself to customize our own casseroles with our own ingredients as desired. I'm thinking I'm going for herb & mustard salmon, he's thinking about a teriyaki option, and we will probably stick with a more traditional butter lemon dill topping for the 'Rents. [fish; rice; casserole]

Sunday: On Your Own night. I'm making pork ribs and Mr. Moon is probably finishing off some leftovers. [OYO; meat; freezer]


Sunday, November 11, 2012

Recipe: Quiche!

Quiche is a very versatile food. Perfect for small handfuls of leftovers, nicely customizable, and easy. Remove the crust and you have frittata. I've made a couple of them for our Sunday football brunches, and my future brother in law asked for the recipe for the broccoli quiche I made today! It's always a little gratifying when people like my food. 

And in this case a little ironic because despite my best efforts, I just don't like quiche. Or frittatas. Or omelets. Something about mixing overcooked scrambled eggs with other stuff just hits my brain as wrong. I love them next to each other though!


Quiche:

1 average-sized (10 inch?) pie crust
8 eggs
1/2 cup milk or cream
seasonings
cheese
various meats/veggies for stuffing

1.) Pre-heat oven to 350

2.) Chop meats and veggies into smaller-than-bite-sized pieces (small to medium dice). Place loosely into bottom of pie, do not pack tightly. Top with a small amount of shredded or chopped cheese.

3.) In a bowl, whip eggs and milk/cream together with seasonings that will taste good with your stuffing. Pour over stuffing, being sure to cover everything. If some of the stuffing isn't covered (common with broccoli florets), kind of stir/flip them around so they covered in egg batter. 

4.) Top with a hefty sprinkling of cheese. Bake at 350 for about 30-45 minutes, until the outer 2/3 is set (there should be about a 3 inch section in the middle that's still a bit jiggly). Pull and let rest for 5-10 minutes, until the center is set. 



For Broccoli quiche:
I used about a cup and a half of broccoli, and cheddar cheese. Seasonings were a hefty dash of garlic power (1/2 teaspoon?) salt, pepper, and some lemon pepper seasoning (1/4 teaspoon?). 

Other ideas:
  • Spinach and swiss cheese, make sure you put some nutmeg in the seasonings; 
  • Bacon, caramelized onion and ANY kind of cheese, gouda would richy-rich it up a bit; 
  • Crab and cottage cheese? or mascarpone; 
  • Chorizo, green/red pepper, and white cheese. 


I'll be back later with the menu plan, maybe not until tomorrow. It's Pops' birthday party today, so we are relaxing (and possibly the dining room table where we do the plan has already been set). 
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What do you put in your quiche?

Thursday, November 8, 2012

De-cluttering: being gentle on myself and others

With Pops' birthday party on Sunday, it got sprung on us last Sunday that we would be having a major event here in... well, now, about two days. I'm struggling with the frustration that with a little more notice, we would have prioritized things like carpet shampooing to be this week instead of the week before Thanksgiving when we will, now ironically, have fewer people here. (Let's just say, clumsy adults + clumsy cat + WHITE carpets + said carpets are past double their life expectancy = Needs regular shampooing.)

We have been here officially for 8 and a half months now, and the garage has not yet been set up into the lounge sanctuary that was intended to be our stress-relief area. Everything Else keeps getting prioritized ahead of the garage, and now it is in a stage that Pops' participation is required to continue at all, which means we are at the whim of his condition. It just so happens that if we can get the current stage of sorting done before Sunday, then some of the stuff out there will be Going Away at that time.

And so you may imagine my frustration when somehow, with me curled up in bed with a cold and not involved in house cleaning for the party, the mess that is dining room bookshelves got prioritized above the garage again today. Knowing that they couldn't possibly be finished before this weekend, it seems silly to do something that will actually just make the unfinished job look worse than simply leaving it for the time being--it's like the empty space and lack of dust just highlights the dust and clutter in the rest of the room. Something that could have been avoided by sticking to the plan of using Pops' limited energy for sorting the tools in the garage so that his children can remove some of the excess over the weekend.

If the usual chores are still getting done, does it really matter where else progress is getting made? I'm trying to convince myself to be grateful for any decluttering that's happening at all, regardless of the outcome. I'm trying to find the peace to be gentle on myself and the people in my home when we don't accomplish everything we'd like to as fast as we'd desire. I feel guilty for not celebrating more the progress that was made. Shouldn't I be rejoicing in even partial projects? Is the logic about it looking "worse" now just my guilt at my slob brain being able to see the rest for what it is, and knowing others will too?

My moment of grace today: Mr. Moon managed to get all the food prep done on our list while I took a nap this evening. That simple fact, showing that the communication and organization is working even when I'm not there to micromanage it, makes up for any frustration about the rest of the day.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Food prep: the logical second step of meal planning

Mr. Moon and I are testing out a new theory, that we can prep foods ahead of time for quicker turn-around on meals. Given how the schedule changes every week, we can't designate a specific day (or two) for it the way we would with a typical 9-5 job or steady set schedule. So it's a floating thing, depending on the schedule.

Since Mr. Moon had the day off, today was that day. Problem was it was such a nice day that it was really important to get as much yard work done as he could. And my knee wasn't cooperating with much, so I was kind of down for the count. I was able to get some laundry washed and dried, though! I went to an appointment while he pruned butterfly bushes and trimmed them down for stakes (totally for vampires, not at all for tying back roses bushes). Once the sun went down, it was time to clean up from that project and get to work on food prep.

Our list for the day:
Chop veggies for soup; zucchini, tomato, onion
Soak beans for soup
Meatballs for soup
Blend peanut butter
Pasta salad for lunches
Broccoli & cauliflower for dinner
Veggie snacks for the next couple days

We got off so lucky. 

  • We didn't end up going grocery shopping today, which means that lunches and snacks and dinners are entirely based on what's in the house, which is fine--the only thing we "needed" for tomorrow was zucchini, and I ended up deciding that it gets too mushy in the crockpot so I removed it from the soup equation anyway. 
  • Onions for the soup were already cut last week and not used for whatever we'd planned. Tomatoes in house were spoken for for lunches, not great for soup or veggie snacks anyway, so I'll use one of my stashed cans of diced ones. 
  • Beans got started soaking early in the day, right on time. (3 minutes)
  • Meat for meatballs got thawed, and mixed up; we just need to throw them in the oven when we get home after Mr. Moon gets off work tomorrow. (10 minutes)
  • Peanut butter: We got some of the stuff you need to stir, and it settled out. Last jar we discovered the immersion blender works great on it, we just needed to do it. So we did! Took about 10 minutes. But that's why we've switched to the "no stir" kind. 
  • Pasta salad is totally prepped for a few lunches this week. Penne pasta, diced green peppers, diced onion, a can of fire roasted diced tomatoes, and italian dressing. Chopped up some peppered italian salami to go on top, but I didn't want it marinating together. (10 minutes, but that includes some dinner prep)
  • Dinner was cancelled on account of no one wanting salmon. Broccoli and cauliflower got mushy even just since yesterday, too mushy/slimy/moldy to eat. Composted! (1 minute!)
  • Veggie snacks was a bust, the tomatoes and cucumbers were either gone or spoken for, so we pushed that to Thursday. (0 minutes)
  • BONUS: Chicken roasted for pulling later (for adding to pasta salad, easy meals while I'm on vacation, that sort of thing). (about 10 minutes of active time)

Grocery shopping got pushed to Wednesday. So our prep list for Thursday includes:

  • Pull chicken (Wednesday). (45 minutes)
  • Grate a block of cheddar cheese (we don't buy it grated at the store, I don't like the starch on the outside and it's cheaper in a block). (5 minutes, using the kitchenaid)
  • Make a batch of fresh mozzarella; maybe take the right pictures this time and blog about it. (30 minutes, but half of that is during other stuff)
  • Chop broccoli for soup. (10 minutes)
  • Veggie snacks! (10 minutes)
  • Thaw pork roast, chicken, and tilapia for the last half of the week's dinners. (2 minutes)
  • Prep whatever we decide is going into the quiche for Sunday brunch. (10-20 minutes)
  • Clean green beans for Sunday dinner. (15 minutes)

Whew! It almost seems like a lot and not much at the same time. But a little forethought should have us ready for everything that comes for the rest of this busy week. Since most of this is pretty simple, I don't actually expect food prep to take more than an hour or two on Thursday. Today it was about an hour, and that included cooking dinner!

Next week will be a better test. We do have some freezer meals to cycle through, and now that we have a bit of a stash we can start doing that more. It's been a constant struggle with that freezer, trying to get through old stuff and create a variety of options from which to choose; trying to take advantage of sales and fresh batch-foods without over-packing it! But we are making progress. A lot of the processed food has been cycled out, and home-made options are taking its place. So these are changes I feel proud of us for making.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Menu: Nov 4-11; updated white board system again!

After a couple weeks of menu planning but not posting it, I'm back to blogging and excited about the new white board set-up.

The white board has been working great for Mr. Moon and myself, but we were running out of space to get our WHOLE to-do list onto it. The 'Rents still don't really look at it, but having to communicate with other people in the house while they're not there isn't exactly something they've had to do for years. Organizing meal plans and chores, from the look and sounds of it, isn't anything they've ever done. So it's definitely an adjustment for them.

We rotated the board! We had a lot of wasted space in the shopping list section, removed the project list. It's now a piece of paper in a sleeve on the back that we slip out for project planning, but right now the focus is pretty much all yard and garage work anyway. We added a section for things that need to be retrieved from the garage (which was actually ages ago, I just haven't posted about it).

New this week is a list of food to prep on two prep days throughout the week, so we can save on time and dishes by, say, not chopping an onion every day and having to wash the cutting board and knife 5 times. Plus it will give us a day to set up things like pasta salad for lunches, and chop up fresh veggies for lunches and snacks. A little forethought should help make the rest of the week go more smoothly. That's the basis of meal planning, now it's time to extend that a little further with the planning ahead.

Here's a little closer look at that to-do section. You'll notice we still have two Sundays, so that we can update "today" and still plan through next week. The weather plays a more important role in our to-do list than the menu plan, so we put them together. We ended up with so much more space, so now I can include things like phone calls that need to be made, or errands to run. If you notice the little "A" on the first Sunday, we switched some of the chores to be alternating weeks, to save some time. The every-week to-dos have both listed, and I just star the appropriate one each week.
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But what's for dinner?

The focus on breakfasts and lunches this week is "fast." We cooked up bacon today for "Bacon Cucumber & Tomato" sandwiches a couple times this week. Smoothies are a frequent breakfast feature. Pasta salad will be a side and a meal a few times. Cheese will be grated ahead of time for quesadillas so they're still fast but a warm-meal option.

Dinners is all about using up what we've got. 

Sunday: Leftovers! We've got a few things that won't freeze well for later, so they're going to have to get eaten sooner rather than later. [leftovers]

Monday: Salmon has gotten bumped the last couple weeks, and I think this uses up the last of our stock of salmon steaks. I'll be having herb-and-mustard salmon, and making it more plain for the 'Rents. Side of couscous, using up some lackluster leftovers of broccoli and cauliflower, covering up the lackluster-ness with a bunch of cheese. [leftovers; freezer; fish]

Tuesday: Pops is out for dinner, Mr. Moon works so a crockpot meal was the best plan. Mum requested bean soup, and we'll make some venison (from the freezer) meatballs for it for Mr. Moon and myself. [freezer; crockpot]

Wednesday: Date night, so the 'Rents are on their own for dinner. Mr. Moon and I will be having haggis and roasted potatoes, should probably have some sort of veggie with that. [freezer]

Thursday: "Veal" parmigiana. We have leftover breaded mystery meat that could be veal or chicken cordon bleu, and both are fantastic as parmigiana, so we will have that with some whole wheat penne, homemade marinara and fresh mozzarella. [freezer; meat; chicken]

Friday: Mr. Moon and I will be out or eating a late quick meal, so Mum and Pops are on their own. We have a whole Tilapia in the freezer that isn't enough for all of us, so she's going to make something with that for her and Pops, with stashed rice-a-roni and peas. [freezer; backstock; fish]

Saturday: We've all been craving a nice, hearty cheddar broccoli soup, so that's definitely happening Saturday when Mr. Moon has to work. [vegetarian; crockpot; batch?]

Sunday: Pops' 70th birthday! We will be having our usual Sunday Football Brunch, I'll make some quiche for everyone else and probably just a fried egg for me (although I've been craving eggs benedict...). After our football crowd leaves, it's family dinner night with pork roast, chicken roast, mashed potatoes, and green beans almondine. Sherry's pies for dessert. [meat; chicken; freezer]
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I'll be linking up to orgjunkie.com at Menu Plan Monday. If you need menu ideas, head over to the link-up page! 


What's on your menu this week? Any fun projects ahead? Battling down the hatches for winter, or just gearing up for summer? Chat with us!

Friday, November 2, 2012

31 days of blogging: Well that was a bust

I made it 14 days which is admittedly the longest I've ever made on these kinds of challenges. I'd love to say there were lame excuses like the ones Nony blogged about all month for why I fell off the face of the planet and didn't post my menu plan or any of my dinners for two to three weeks. Really I was struggling with a major bout of depression, the weather changes plays havoc on my joints, and I had doctor's appointments two to three times a week for the whole month. Whew! For once I'm not beating myself up about having made a goal and failing at it. There were days I COULD have taken a picture of my dinner and posted it, but I decided that I needed to be gentle on myself, give myself some time and space to just be in the moment, to accept the situation. It was oddly clarifying.

Mr. Moon and I took a trip to Seattle for Halloween to see some friends. We'd been squirreling away our date-night money for a few months in anticipation of this trip, and we managed to stay under budget. During the three hour car ride each way, we had a lot of good discussions. Checking in on how this whole situation is wearing on us; how we feel about our relationship and life goals and how those mesh; ideas for scheduling and to-do-listing that might work better for us right now. It made me realize how much I missed the weekly drives we made for two months in the moving process, where we would just talk about whatever was bothering us. Somehow the open road and the quiet car just made for a safe space where we felt comfortable even just thinking out loud and saying things that weren't fully formed into how to say things while minimizing hurt feelings. And the hurt feelings were few and far between, because we knew we were on the same team.

We came up with some ideas for scheduling chores and to-do lists and menu planning, so I'll be posting about those as we implement them over the next couple weeks. Gardening ideas are in the works, some projects are getting finished while others are put on hold (I'm starting to think we may never get a lounge set up in the garage), and lots of new cookbooks are getting sorted through for menu ideas.
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It was a nice break, and I'm excited to be back. What have you all been up to the last couple weeks?
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