Thursday, January 28, 2010

Crazy Day!

CRAZY day:


comfort crying/coughing/snotting/ear-achy kiddo

try to steam her in the shower, have her hide her face in a towel as she doesn’t like the steam on her face

feed her a breakfast she vetoes

have power go out while hair is still wet

freeze, fret, call DH if he can see what’s up as I have no internet, freeze more

DD2 wakes, start gas burner with match (eep!) feed her breakfast which she happily eats

dress girls, fold laundry and put away

Power back on! wooo!! Quick! Dry hair

laundry in washer

off to doctor-now 2 girls with ear infections

to Target to fill script, more Puffs plus, vicks plug in things, acetaminophen and ibuprofen and juice

grab taco Bell, have girls take 3 bites then cry, get Goosie in PJs, tuck them into beds, retuck Peanut who doesn’t stay in, throw laundry in dryer

write Round Robin letter, read on Rav, start mom’s email

have girlies wake, come down, discuss otitis media, how we hear, sinuses, marvel again at the internet
get snacks, turn on Scooby, get water and a spoonful of Nutella-why, hello stress eating

To do:
really decide dinner-I bought tortillas, black beans and Ro-Tel tomatoes-I sense a theme, but not really. Think I want buffalo chicken wraps. But I want to cook with wine so I can drink some…hmm…. ;P

finish mom’s email

post this list on the blog-heheh

post on Chore Wars



finish drinking water-behind today but went way over yesterday-yay!

fold towels and put away

knit-why yes, I did put that twice.

really think more about that wine.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

It's a Crock Mondays: Ham and Scalloped Potato Edition

But on Tuesday, because of technical difficulties yesterday-my apologies.

We've been sick here, starting last week Thursday night when Peanut started coughing. By Friday morning, she was very sick, Derek and I were too, but Goosie was ok. She went to school, Derek stayed home. I went shopping after I dropped her off and picked up 4 boxes of Puffs Plus. By Saturday we'd gone through all 4. Ugh. The worst part was that we had to cancel Goosie's 5th birthday party. She was such a good sport about it, but man I feel so bad for her. We were redoing parts of her room, so we spent some time doing that over the weekend, which made her awfully happy. We'll reschedule her party when everyone is healthy. It may have not been so bad if she was sick too! But she was still fine at that point.

So, come Monday, I'd not planned the weekly menu, hadn't grocery shopped. I checked the freezer and pantry and decided it was time for scalloped potatoes with ham in the crock pot. I busted out the mandolin and sliced three potatoes-not too thinly, as they were going to cook on high for about 3 hours. I'd say I sliced them about 1/8" thick. I drizzled olive oil into the pot. Layered the potatoes with half an onion, slice more thinly than the potatoes. I did four total layers, then added the ham pieces.

In a sauce pan, I mixed 3 TBLS flour with 3/4 cup milk (I used 2%) and 3/4 cup chicken stock (I had homemade). Seasoned with a bit of salt and pepper and 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese and about 1/4 cup shredded parmesan cheese (Parmigiano reggiano), and let it get all good and melty. Then I poured it over the potato-onion layers and covered it and let it go!

Ham and scalloped potatoes
It really turned out great, though I was nervous because this is not a favorite in our household. (Well, I love it, but...) Derek ended up having seconds. Goosie didn't like the potatoes, so I whipped out a secret weapon--seasoned rice vinegar! She ate all she had, then had seconds! It was really tasty, like warm German potato salad. MMM

I really think the homemade cream sauce, with the homemade chicken stock made a huge difference too.

As dinner was cooking, I took Peanut to the doctor. She has an ear infection.

Poor baby

Off to Target we went to fill her prescription and get a bunch of stuff to make everyone feel better. Like new crayons, and a yoyo ball for Peanut. After dinner, a dose of her medicine and a dose of pain reducer, refilling all the humidifiers, Vicks plug in vaporizer nightlight things, glasses of water, Puffs Plus at bedside, we tucked the girls in and expected the girls to drop right off.

Goosie did. Peanut did not.

I hope everyone has a good week. I hope if anyone else is sick, you start feeling better. I hope if you are caring for someone who is sick, you get some time off! Be well!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Goosie Turns Five!

Today our Goosie turned 5! She got to celebrate at school with her friends~how exciting! For her family party, she wants a Hello Kitty cake, and I thought she'd want to do Hello Kitty cupcakes for her class. Alas, she said "Well, there are a lot of boys in my class and I think they wouldn't like Hello Kitty cupcakes." So, she chose a funfetti cake mix and frosting, helped me make them and was very proud to bring them to school today.
Class cupcakes

She also put together goodie bags for her friends. I wasn't too excited about this, but I think we kept it simple and she was excited to do them. We chose mini Tootsie pops, a candy necklace kit that you have to string yourself first, either a Cars or a princess temporary tattoo, and then Goosie made bookmarks for all her friends. She also made a bag for her teachers.
Goosie's goodie bags

After school, and lunch, we opened some gifts from Grandma Sharon, Grandma Sue, Peanut and from Derek and me.
Hello Kitty card from little sister
Yoyo ball
Kit books!
Hello Kitty purse!

For dinner she wanted "Chinese noodles", so we made chicken lo mein. I added bok choy and Rooibos tea. She and Peanut helped shred the vegetables. It was tasty!
Birthday Dinner

Mmm tea!
Tea lover

Or juice!
I had juice :)

Finally, we had the birthday cupcake. Yes, she had 2 cupcakes today. The official cake will be Saturday. Make a wish!
Make a wish!

You too Peanut, big sister wanted you to have a wish too. :)
Peanuts got a wish too

My sweet girls.

How can my Goosie be 5?

Monday, January 18, 2010

It's a Crock Mondays: Risotto Edition

Hello and happy Monday. I've mentioned already that I'm going to be using the crock pot on Mondays, and this week I chose to make Parmesan Risotto from the "Not Your Mother's Slow Cooker" cookbook. I was thinking it probably wouldn't be creamy or my crock pot would burn it, so I was rather anxious about it. Luckily, the recipe calls for dry white wine, so I was forced to sample the wine, as any good cook would, to make sure it was up to par. It was. And it was on sale, so double bonus.

It turned out to be wonderful! Oh so creamy and bitey with the wine and the parmesan (the real stuff folks, Parmigiano Reggiano). Nutty and perfect! It's really hard to get a nice shot of risotto though, at 5:30, in the winter, in Michigan, in a black crock pot. But here it is:

Parmesan Risotto
The large strips are parmesan ribbons I shaved off with my vegetable peeler. MMMM

To go with this, I decided to roast a chicken, as I needed stock and more chicken throughout the week's menu. I prepped it, washed in and out, patted dry, seasoned the cavity and put in shallots and rosemary. Made a wet rub of balsamic vinegar, dijon mustard, salt and pepper, olive oil and rosemary. Loosened the skin, seasoned that...and set it in to roast at 450 degrees for an hour. It was beautiful! Nice crispy skin (which I did cover at about 45 minutes) and it smelled heavenly. But, I did one big bonehead move. (I really can't believe I did this-I've never done something this dumb in the kitchen. Well except that time I had a plate on the stovetop and turned on the wrong burner.) I roasted that beautiful chicken breast side down. So just about everything was cooked except the breast! I couldn't believe it. So I deskinned the breasts, because it was all fatty and gross now, not crispy and good, and threw it back in the oven. 35 minutes later I declared "That it! Everyone get your coats on, we're going out to eat." Outback had wonderful lamb tonight. And the Fosters was good too.

What is it with me and roasting chickens? I had great success at one time with them. I can roast a turkey like no one's business. But chicken has plagued me the last few times. Remember this post? Not good then either. So, more chicken cooking to happen tomorrow and I'm thinking I'll have some risotto for breakfast.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Just a ramble

Hello there! There's been so much chatter about the cold that is gripping the nation-world!- but it doesn't feel all that different here in Michigan. Just feels like winter. But it seems like we've been getting more sunshine, which is great for me. It really brightens my day, wakes me up and adjusts my attitude. I'm just glad to have it.

Today the girls and I are hanging out, I've got some dusting and vacuuming to do and we're waiting for a package to come. Then, if that package comes at a good time, we'll be heading to Target for a birthday gift for a neighbor and a card for my niece. Derek will be home a little later a couple days this week, so we'll be eating dinners without him, and having some girly fun.

I've started this thing I'm calling "It's a Crock Mondays" when I use the crockpot for dinners on Mondays. It's because I have trouble admitting it is a Monday, that the weekend is over, that we have to get back to routine. It's going well so far, it allows me to have Monday as my heavier cleaning day, to focus on getting places on time after no rushing on the weekend. So far the meals have been good, though I had to seriously doctor one last night. It was called "Moroccan Chicken with Chickpeas" from the "Not your Mother's Crockpot" cookbook. It was just bland. I added salt, pepper, turmeric, garlic, cinnamon, paprika. It ended up tasting good, but there is another recipe I do for Moroccan chicken that we prefer, so I'll save that recipe for a different day! I really liked the idea of the chickpeas in this dish though. I do love chickpeas!

I plan on making muffins-perhaps today as the girls did not dig the Coco Wheats cereal for breakfast. I have some frozen zucchini and sweet potato that I can throw into the batter.

Exciting stuff huh? I'm just a bit antsy, ready to be able to reorganize and declutter and clean really really well, but I'm still under restrictions and trying to be good. I hope to have those restrictions lifted next week, but you know by then I'll not feel the need to do all I want to do now! haha, isn't that always the way? I'm anxious to get back to biking and exercising too. I miss it and can really feel a difference. Soon! Soon!

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Bento Boxes!

Well hello there. No, I haven't posted in a while. Yes, I thought I might have. But you know how it goes. Christmas was wonderful and now we're back to normal, almost. I'll say Happy New Year to you but I'm not listing anything, and I'm not complaining about how bad last year was nor how I'm glad to see it go. It was a great year and it helped my family grow into who we all are today, and good or bad events aside, it was our life. So I'm blessed and thankful and I've grown because of it.

But let us get to the good part of this post. There were many wonderful things received for Christmas and we've been playing for weeks now. But these gifts, for the girls? Awesome fun for me too. The girls' uncle Steve and his girlfriend Kelly got the girls Bento boxes and accessories. (They have given us all these accessories, but the some of the chopsticks before this Christmas). Look at this stuff, and forgive the flashy flash:

Boxes and accessories

Cups and containers

How awesome are those? And that panda bear--those eyebrows on the band slay me. So I've been packing the girls lunches and snacks in these boxes and they L-O-V-E them (just look)
Best snack ever!
More chewing
Bento snacks
Chewing :)

and I'm getting addicted to seeing what I can do with these, really. So I've been looking online at other blogs, getting ideas, recipes and just getting way too excited about packing lunches! I want to see what I can pull off here. Maybe all our meals in Bento boxes! Maybe birthday cake Bento boxes! Maybe I can even get Derek to do lunch in one! Would it be enough? Could I lose weight this way? Wait, that's off topic.

But really, look at some of these sites. Biggie writes the Lunch in a Box blog and is in San Francisco and has all sorts of menus, packing ideas, food safety ideas, tips, and even forums.

Just Bento also has tasty looking ideas, and seriously, this Day at the Farm theme, with the sheep and bunnies is too cute.

Laptop Lunches has Americanized Bento box menu ideas, but with a healthy outlook.

One of the things I've been trying to change in our menus is getting away from what is traditionally eaten when. For instance, eggs are "breakfast food." Well, they can be. But they can also be for lunch or dinner. Seeing the menus on these sites are really inspiring to me. You don't have to have a sandwich for lunch. Have steamed asparagus and blueberries with some cashews and a hard boiled egg. Have noodles with fruit and spinach.

So, I'm having a great time thinking about this, about feeding my family healthy food and about playing with it! I totally need to get some small cookie cutters so that they'll fit in the boxes though. I have a bazillion cookie cutters and most are too big. I used a shot glass today to cut the tortilla and cheese slices! ;) Really, that's why we have shot glasses around.

For more Bento box fun, check out the flickr group. Cute stuff!

One last thing to share, because it's been 4 years in the making, at least. My Christmas Cactus bloomed!! Finally! On New Years Day! Poor confused little cactus. But it sure is beautiful, and I snapped this pic on my phone today, as the sun was shining and big fluffy snowflakes fell.

Christmas Cactus Blooms Finally 2010!