Slow Cooking Thursday: Pepper Steak


I made this for dinner the other night and even the boys ate it (minus the peppers), so I consider it a success! A couple notes: I only used 1 pepper and thought it was enough, but if you really like peppers, you can certainly add more. Also, I did not have cornstarch so I substituted Wondra and it worked perfectly!

Slow Cooker Pepper Steak

Slow Cooker Pepper Steak

2 Tbsp. oil
2 lbs. sirloin steak, cut into strips
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1 med. onion, chopped
1/3 c. reduced-sodium soy sauce
2 tsp. sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. ground ginger
1/2 tsp. black pepper
1-2 green bell peppers, cut into strips
1/4 cup cold water
1 Tbsp. cornstarch
hot cooked white rice

Heat oil in large skillet over medium heat. Add garlic and steak. Cook until steak is browned. Transfer meat and pan juices to slow cooker. Add onion, soy sauce, sugar, salt, ginger, and black pepper. Mix well. Cover. Cook on low for 6-8 hours or until meat is tender. In final hour of cooking, add bell pepper strips. Before serving, mix together water and cornstarch; stir into slow cooker. Cook on high for 10 minutes or until thickened. Serve over hot rice.

For more great slow cooker recipes, check out Slow Cooking Thursday over at Diary of a SAHM!

I’m Melting Here

Oh my Lord, the last few days have been so humid here. It’s not even all that hot, really, but the humidity is making me feel so gross. It’s just after 9 a.m. here and already I’m sweating buckets. I’m not sure what’s worse — this weather, or the cool, rainy days we had back in June. Sigh… Always something to complain about I guess. You’ll have to forgive me because I’ve just been very grumpy lately. Not sure exactly why. Anyway, I guess the upside to the humidity is that it’s better for my skin than super dry weather. In the wintertime I’m always looking up night cream reviews, trying to find something that will moisturize my skin, but not make me break out. At least now I don’t have to worry about that. There is plenty of moisture in the air.

Not much else is going on. I have a recipe for Slow Cooking Thursday that I will post later, so be sure to check back for that!

Dental Drama

Yesterday I went to the dentist. It’s been a long, time I’ll admit that, but still I was surprised by what happened. See, for the past 33 years I’ve been proud of my strong chompers. I’ve never had a cavity and never had any problems with my teeth (except for some orthadontia as a kid.)

It’s been about five years. The last time I went to a weird dentist in Pleasantville, NY when Jake was one. I specifically asked about a certain funny-looking wisdom tooth, but he assured me it was fine.

Wrong. So wrong.

As it turns out, I have to have my two wisdom teeth pulled because they have a lot of decay. In addition, I have five very small cavities that need to be filled. To say I was upset is putting it mildly. I wanted to cry on the way home! I go back on Friday for my deep-cleaning and then I’ll start making the appointments for the other stuff. I could deal with the fillings, but yikes — I’m so nervous about getting my teeth pulled. I had four molars pulled when I was in the 7th grade before I got my braces, so if I could do it then I know I can do it now, but… Now I also have three kids and a home to take care of. Hopefully the extractions will be easy since the teeth aren’t impacted or anything, and that will mean an easier recovery. But still. Way to start the week.

Week’s Eats


Well, last week’s menu didn’t exactly go off as planned. Monday and Friday we ended up eating out. I didn’t make the soup because we got fewer zucchini and squash from the farm share than I expected. Instead of Buffalo chicken bites I ended up making chicken curry. I did make the quiche, and everyone liked that. I used Swiss chard from our CSA. And instead of burgers on Saturday we grilled the sausages I had planned on using Friday. So it still all worked out. I’m still craving Indian food, but I don’t have any in the works this week. I’ve bookmarked quite a few recipes that call for cardamom pods lately, and I’m not sure where to get them. I suppose I’ll have to check online. Maybe even look at some free online auctions — I might find a good price, who knows? Anyway, let’s see what happens this week.

Sunday: Take-out
Monday: Chicken cordon bleu (frozen), green beans, egg noodles
Tuesday: Pepper steak, rice, green beans
Wednesday: Meatballs & sausage, spaghetti, salad
Thursday: Grilled chicken breasts, grilled squash & zucchini, salad
Friday: Homemade pizza, salad
Saturday: Cheeseburgers, chips, some kind of veggie

Be sure to check out Organizing Junkie’s Menu Plan Monday feature for more ideas.

CSA 2009: Fifth Share

CSA 2009: Fifth Share

Yesterday was a rainy, rainy day so unfortunately my photo of the beautiful farm share we received this week doesn’t do it justice. We got more escarole (I don’t think they planted this last year), two heads of lettuce, swiss chard, summer squash, carrots, onions, dill, basil, green beans, and garlic. I plan to use some of the chard and onions in my quiche tomorrow night. I think I just might have to make some dilly beans this weekend with those snappy grean beans. The escarole soup was a huge success last time, but I think I might try just sauteeing it this week. Years ago Drew and I celebrated my birthday at a restaurant in Ossining, NY called Guida’s (I think it’s gone now), and I had the best escarole (pronounced ” ‘shcarole” if you want to do it with an Italian flair). I think I’m going to try this recipe for “Venice in Your Mouth Escarole”. The same blog has a recipe for chard and walnuts which is very simple and sounds yummy. I’m also thinking of making some onion soup, maybe and having a French bistro night a la Tyler Florence. Otherwise, it’s just kitchen basics. We’ve been eating lots of salads lately so I’m sure the lettuce will be gone in no time. And I’m thrilled to get good garlic again. I’ve been spoiled by the farm; the stuff from the supermarket just doesn’t compare. Maybe I’ll plant a couple cloves at the end of the season. I gave my dad a couple to plant and his garlic seems to be coming up well! At any rate, lots of good eats in the next week or so 🙂

Week’s Eats


Another week, another menu. My problem this week is that there are too many things I want to make. I’ve been finding so many new and delicious-sounding recipes, and I want to try them all but I just can’t do an entire week of new meals — I need to keep some family favorites mixed in there, too. (Otherwise, I think I’d need a good life insurance plan, because the boys would revolt, LOL!) So I’m only trying one (maybe two) new recipes this week.

Sunday: Calzones, grilled squash & zucchini

Monday: Meatloaf, green beans, buttered egg noodles

Tuesday : Buffalo chicken bites, french fries, peas & carrots, salad

Wednesday: Slow cooker Italian vegetable soup, grilled cheese sandwiches

Thursday: Quiche, tossed salad

Friday: Sausage & peppers, cole slaw

Saturday: Burgers, pasta salad, steamed broccoli

Be sure to check out Organizing Junkie’s Meal Plan Monday feature for more ideas. Read More

Saturday Chit-Chat

hostaAh, the weekend! I know people say that once you have kids all the days are the same, and to an extent that’s true I guess. But to me there is still just something special about the weekend 🙂 Today is gorgeous outside! A little humid, maybe, but the sun is shining and it’s not terribly hot. Though man — did we get some serious rain storms last night! It was like a monsoon out there with the wind and all.

What are you all doing this weekend? This afternoon we’re going to a birthday party at a nearby park. Go figure, I’ve never been there, so it’ll be fun to check out a new place. There’s a swimming lake there so if it’s nice, that might be something to do on warmer days. We shall see. Other than that, I plan to work on addressing Laura’s birth announcements. She’s 6 weeks old and so I feel awful that I don’t have them mailed out already. Oh well. They’re very cute, though!

Maybe tomorrow I’ll make another attempt at grilled pizza. The last time I tried this, the pizza didn’t come out so good. My crochet bag is coming along well. The boys both love it because it’s so colorful. Noah said, “Wow, your bag is mega pretty!” LOL!

I guess that’s about it. Time to start thinking about lunch. I think I’ll have some of the leftover slow cooker fried chicken drumsticks I made the other day. The flavor is fantastic! But they weren’t very crispy. Maybe a warm-up in the toaster oven will help. I really liked them and so did Jake. Drew didn’t try them (he’s not crazy about meat on a bone) and Noah ate them, but with much coercion. Anyhow… have a great day!

Slow Cooking Thursday


With three little ones running around (well, two are running, one is being carried, LOL…), I’m finding that on the days that Drew goes into the office (rather than telecommuting), my old friend the Crock Pot makes life so much easier! So I’m trying to make better use of it. Yesterday I figured that I should do something with the escarole we got in our last CSA share, so after looking at a couple recipes, I made up this soup. You could easily vary it by using mini meatballs instead of the sausage, or leaving out the meat entirely and adding mushrooms and using vegetable broth for a vegetarian meal.

Escarole, White Bean, and Sausage Soup

escarole, white bean, and sausage soup

1 lb. sweet Italian sausage
4 to 5 cups chicken broth
1/2 cup onion, chopped
1 head of escarole, torn or chopped into small pieces
1 15-oz. can of cannellini beans
1 tsp. garlic powder
ground black pepper (as desired)
Feta cheese (optional) for garnish

1) Brown sausage on stovetop. Drain off the grease and pat with a paper towel. Put into slow cooker.
2) Put the escarole, beans, onion, broth, and spices in the slow cooker.
3) Cook on low for 8 hours or high for 4 hours.
4) Top with crumbed feta before serving, if desired.

For more great slow cooker recipes, check out Slow Cooker Thursday over at Diary of a SAHM!

The days just fly…

I keep meaning to be a better blogger, and I honestly don’t know what happens, but it seems I just never quite get around to it. Summer is just flying by, as it often does. July has been beautiful here weather-wise. Cool nights (sometimes dipping into the 40s!) and days that reach the high 70’s or low 80’s. I think I could live with a year of this! Of course, I’m sure we’ll be in for the dreaded heat and humidity eventually. Let’s see, what’s been going on? The house is nearly all stained! I am just in love with the color. Here’s a shot I took this morning:

stain going up on house

And here’s one just of two of the dormers. You can see how faded the siding was! Granted, the new stain is a redder shade than the old one, but still… the house was never that light!

old & busted | new hotness

My dining room is nearly back in order. There still are some things to put away, but at least it’s not jam-packed anymore. I think I might even be able to see a little bit of the surface of the dining room table! 🙂 The boys’ rooms are all decorated and basically finished. Laura’s room is getting there, and our room will just have to wait. Although I am very excited about my new sewing desk in our room! It’s actually the desk that used to be in the kitchen, but we’ve been rearranging furniture and found it a new home. I hated having the sewing machine on the dining room table, yet I hated putting it in the box every night, too. This should be great!

I’m still working on this crochet bag from Attic24. I haven’t had tons of craft time lately (understandably, I would think!), but it’s working up nicely. I’m excited to do a little more on it. Other than that, it’s just business as usual here! Diapers and dishes, LOL. I’ll leave you with a recipe I tried last week for Indian Spiced Kale & Chick Peas. While I like kale well enough, I don’t love it. If we didn’t get it from our CSA I probably would not go out of my way to buy it, but this recipe was a good use for it. I used less kale than the recipe called for and should have cut down on the broth accordingly. It made for a more soupy dish. I’m not sure if I’d make it again, but if you enjoy kale and Indian flavors, chances are you will love this!

Indian Spiced Kale & Chick Peas

indian spiced kale & chick peas

1 Tbsp. olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 pound kale, ribs removed, coarsely chopped
1 cup reduced-sodium chicken broth or vegetable broth
1 tsp. ground coriander
1/2 tsp. ground cumin
1/4 tsp. garam masala
1/4 tsp. salt
1 15-ounce can chickpeas, rinsed

Heat oil in a Dutch oven over medium heat. Add garlic and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add kale and cook, tossing with two large spoons, until bright green, about 1 minute. Add broth, coriander, cumin, garam masala and salt. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until the kale is tender, 8 to 10 minutes. Stir in chickpeas; cover and cook until the chickpeas are heated through, 1 to 2 minutes.

Week’s Eats


Well, now that I am totally back up and at ’em, it’s time to start meal planning again! I have lots of ideas and hopefully this will be a stress-free, easy week and I stick to my menu. Here you go:

Sun: Take-out
Mon: Homemade pizza, salad
Tue: Turkey tacos
Wed: Escarole & white bean soup with mini sausage meatballs (a.k.a. “beans & greens”)
Thu: Jammin’ Jerk Chicken (this is SO good!), steamed veggies, cole slaw
Fri: Chopped steak with sauteed onions and mushrooms, cole slaw, veggies, oven fries
Sat: Chicken Ceasar salad

For more menu planning ideas, be sure to visit Organizing Junkie.