Monthly Archives: January 2010

freezer cooking challenge – day 1

Wow, I managed to accomplish a lot more than I thought I would today. The grocery store was a bit frustrating and I wasn’t sure this was the right day for it, but everything came around. I decided to switch up a few things. I opted to not make the Salisbury steaks because ground beef was a little to pricey this week. I also opted to cook and shred the BBQ chicken before freezing it instead of freezing it raw with the sauce.

So. Let’s talk about what I got done, shall we? In the freezer I currently have:

  • Chicken oreganata
  • Pineapple lemon chicken
  • 1 lb. turkey taco meat
  • Italian dressing marinated chicken
  • Cooked, shredded BBQ chicken
  • Sausage, egg & cheese breakfast sandwiches (x6)

Right now I have applesauce cooking overnight in the Crock Pot, so that will be ready in the morning (my four-year-old is thrilled about this!). I wasn’t sure if I was going to make it or not, but they had apples on the discounted produce rack. So since they were the deal of the day, I knew I had to make applesauce with them. Tomorrow I’ll tackle the baked oatmeal, French toast sticks, apple handpies, and chicken stock. I might have to put off the pea soup; my freezer is looking a little packed already.

But now I’m off to wind down with a cup of tea and a paczki. I think I’ve earned it!

february freezer challenge

february freezer cooking plan

For the past few months I’ve wanted to participate in Money Saving Mom‘s baking days, but they always snuck up on me and I wasn’t prepared. Not this time! I’m up for the February Freezer challenge hosted by MSM and FishMama. I’m spreading the cooking out over the weekend. Hopefully that will make it a little easier for me since I do have three kids running around and a couple articles to write. This morning I cleaned my kitchen to get it ready and finalized my list. Here’s the plan:

Main Dishes

  • Chicken Oreganata
  • Pineapple Lemon Chicken
  • Salisbury Steak
  • 1 lb. Turkey Taco Meat
  • Marinated Chicken x 2 (1 Italian, 1 BBQ)
  • Cooked, shredded chicken


  • Chicken stock
  • Split pea soup


  • Baked oatmeal
  • French toast sticks
  • Sausage, egg & cheese breakfast sandwiches


  • Apple handpies

Extras, if I get around to them

  • Mashed potatoes
  • Shredded Cheese
  • Broccoli rice casserole
  • Applesauce

So you may be wondering how I decided on what to make? Well, first I looked at what I had in the freezer (sausage, ground turkey, white bread, English muffins), remembered that it’s Cheap Chicken Friday at Stop & Shop — rotisserie chickens are 2 for $10 (so I can cheat and get the shredded chicken done faster as well as a head start for my chicken stock), looked at what’s on sale, then looked at my freezer cooking cookbooks.

I’m about to leave for the grocery store to pick up a few items that I need and then I will get to it! Wish me luck, and I’ll be blogging and tweeting about it as I go. I hope you’ll follow along and even join in!

menu plan monday, better late than never


As I’m typing up this entry, Monday night’s dinner is just about done. I just haven’t had a chance to get to it until now. Not too much going on this week, so I’m looking forward to some relaxing meals. Tonight’s BBQ ribs are an experiment. I’m not the greatest at cooking ribs; I think I’m just too much of a Yankee to get it right 😉 Nevertheless I researched the topic and hopefully did it right. We’ll find out in about 10-15 minutes! I’m also making sweet potato rolls, but I’m not too confident in them. I tried to cheat and use my bread machine to make the dough. They just don’t seem right, but I baked them anyway. Fingers crossed! Here’s the rest of my plan:

Sunday: Spaghetti and meatballs, salad
Monday: Honey chipotle BBQ ribs, mac & cheese, broccoli, sweet potato rolls
Tuesday: Turkey tacos, Mexican rice
Wednesday: Dinner out
Thursday: Baked breaded chicken, stuffing, carrots and green beans, salad
Friday: Fish sandwiches, oven fries, broccoli
Saturday: Pepperoni pizza, salad

Visit Organizing Junkie for more menu ideas.

the trouble with going away…

… is that everything annoys you when you get home. Laura and I went for a quick overnight visit to see my parents. It was lovely going away with just one child. We had a great visit and it was very relaxing for me. Of course I came home to dirty dishes in the sink, paperwork all over the table, and toys all over the floor. Ah, welcome home! For what’s it’s worth, Drew did do the dishes and the boys (mostly) picked up the toys so I can’t really complain.

It’s like when you go anywhere on vacation. This summer we’ll probably spend some time down in Raleigh again and I just know that while we’re there I’ll be all ready to price out Blue Cross Blue Shield North Carolina quotes because it’s so nice to be away someplace different. But by the time the week is over, I am usually more than ready to go home.

Anyway… all this is to say that I have a tremendous amount of clutter to clean up tomorrow. As much as I will not feel like doing it, I will because it would be nice to start the week with a clean kitchen 🙂

gummy joe

Poor little Laura. Teething has been hard for her and it’s been going on for a couple months now. She has several teeth right below the surface of the gum — you can feel them right there — but they just won’t poke through. I wonder if this is indicative of a stubborn nature? Last night she had such trouble sleeping. She was kind of asleep, but moaning and crying at the same time. And today there were such dark circles under her eyes. If only there were some kind of safe sleep pills for babies to help them rest. Alas, there’s no such thing (aside from cuddling and rocking I guess). She seemed to perk up a bit around dinner and after she ate I was able to get her to bed pretty easily. Hopefully tonight will be a better night and those teeth will just come in already!

spam & eggs

I’m cleaning out my e-mail’s “in box” and the spam folder currently has 612 pieces of e-mail in there. And that’s just the stuff that gets filtered. I guess people actually buy into this stuff, but I don’t understand how. I mean, some of the stuff they’re selling I’m familiar with (a certain… ahem… male enhancement pill). Then there are weird-sounding chemical-esque things that are beyond me. What the heck is argireline anyway? There’s just so much time and energy wasted on this stuff that could be going toward better causes. Drives me bonkers.

rainy tuesday

It’s a dreary gray morning out there. It was raining a little when I was waiting for the bus with Jake, but at least the temperature was somewhat warm (all things considered). Today I need to go to the library to return some books and DVDs. I love our little library. They have a monthly fiber arts night that I really want to start attending. They have spinning too (as in spinning yarn, not the exercise, LOL!). I think that’s cool. Our library is super small and not exactly the hang-out place that the public library was in my hometown. A friend eventually became an assistant librarian there and would tell me some of things she overheard teenagers saying. I seem to remember her once telling me she heard a girl talking about simplex herpes. Gotta wonder what that was all about! I doubt that our librarians hear much of that, LOL.

So yeah, I need to head to the library and then the grocery store when Laura wakes up from her nap. I also want to reorganize her dresser today. She still wears a lot of 3-6 month clothes, but the 6-9 month clothes are beginning to fit her and not everything fits in just one drawer anymore. Oh, and I also want to set the bed with the new sheets and bedspread. It is super pretty! I will be sure to post a photo later today. I think I might have to crochet a couple coordinating throw pillows 😉

Speaking of crochet I am going to be posting a pattern for some washcloths that I’ve been making. The credit goes to my mom, actually, and I’m not sure if it’s a stitch or what, but it’s easy and pretty and I love, love, love it so I decided to share. I just want to make another cloth or two to make sure I’ve got it all right. It’s simple but I’ve never written down a pattern before. And last night I bought the last skein of wool I need for Colonnade, so I will be casting on for that today as well. Here’s a peek at the yarn I’m using:

casting on for colonnade

I bought those two hanks of wool from Briar Rose Fibers at the first Sheep & Wool festival I attended three (four?) years ago! They’ve been waiting for a special project and I think this is it. The solid is just Patons Wool in the “mercury” colorway. I am really excited about this project! I think I’m going to work on the shawl for a few days and then go back to Laura’s dress. After a setback (no matter how minor) I like to do something else for a bit and then go back to the project.

Well, I should do something productive like wash the dishes or fold the laundry while Laura is still sleeping!

hello, monday

amaryllisFor some reason, today feels like the longest day. I’m sure it has something to do with everyone being home 😉 I did a good bit of cleaning today, as well as cranking out an article or two. I’ve also tried to catch up on the comment moderation on my blog. I use the plugin Spam Karma and for the most part it works well, but every so often something sneaks through. I hate the ones that just contain URLs. I mean, just because I write about food, there’s not necessarily a reason for someone (or, more likely, a bot) to comment with

Anyway. My good friend the UPS man delivered my new bedspread today! Our old comforter has seen better days. Plus, I never put the bed skirt on after we set our room up when the addition was complete. Bed skirts are such a pain, don’t you think? Well, with the bedspread it won’t even be an issue. Tomorrow I’ll wash our new fleece sheets and set the bed with all our new bedding. Yay! Now I just need to be able to get some actual sleep so I can enjoy it all.

Let’s see, what else is new? Well, this weekend I completed the first of the two yokes I need to crochet for Laura’s dress. Yay, right? Well, as I was starting the second one I noticed a little bit of the pattern I hadn’t noticed before; I needed to alternately SC into the back look and front loop every other row. I hadn’t done that. So now I get to do it over. This is why I started early, right? Right.

Since I have no crochet progress of my own to show you, I’ll share a photo my dad e-mailed me. This is a sweater my mom just completed for Laura. I’m going to help her with the hood this weekend, but isn’t it adorable? I can’t wait until Laura is big enough to wear it. Way to go, Mom!

sweater made by my mom

menu plan monday


Blargh. I ate way too much chocolate today (yes, it is possible), and barely feel like thinking about a menu for the week, but I must. I have a couple more recipes to type up and post from last week (an updated version of my favorite macaroni & cheese recipe, as well as a recipe for Indian-spiced chicken burgers). We’ve been eating pretty well here — no use for diet aids in this house (well, except for today’s random chocolate binge).

Today Drew made up a big batch of marinara sauce, so I’ll be using that as the base for many of our meals this week. Friday night will be “three cool guys” around here, since I plan on taking Laura up to visit my family up in WMass. They can fend for themselves 😉 Here’s the plan:

Monday: Penne with sauce and turkey sausage

Tuesday: Something in the Crock Pot (LOL…)

Wednesday: Meatloaf melts, oven-baked french fries, salad

Thursday: Baked breaded chicken, sweet potato rolls, broccoli, salad

Friday: Guy’s night

Saturday: Out (?)

For more ideas, be sure to visit the blogs that participate in Menu Plan Monday.

what a week

What day is it today? Wednesday? I don’t even know. It’s been quite the week. Jake lost a tooth (his third one) and Noah was diagnosed with (get ready for it…) Lyme Disease. Yes, in the middle of winter! Last week his knee swelled up and it hurt him to straighten out his leg so we took him to the pediatrician. She found nothing wrong with the joint based on her examination, but suggested we run bloodwork for Lyme Disease since he had a tick bite early in December. (Of course on the one nice, warm day that month.) That was last Wednesday. Over the weekend there was no change. It didn’t get more or less swollen. It didn’t bruise. I was starting to think that maybe it really was LD. Monday morning we got the call confirming it. Crazy!

At any rate, we now have a three-week course of antibiotics and already we’re seeing a difference in his knee, so that’s good. The antibiotic is just amoxicillin, nothing too strong. When I had LD they put me on doxycycline, but you can’t put children on that. I was concerned what they’d give him because some drugs for the most basic things have weird effects. I mean, some of theAccutane side effects (for acne) are nosebleeds and conjunctivits.) But he’s never had a reaction to amoxycillin, and so far so good.

I’m totally exhausted today because I had a Rough (with a capital “R”) night with Laura. I have no idea what was going on with her, but her already bad sleep was even worse. Finally around 2:30 I took her downstairs and she fell asleep. I put her in her crib at 3 and she slept until nearly 6 a.m.! Unheard of! Sleep has been a struggle with all of our kids in this last half of their first year, but Laura seems especially challenging. Drew tells me that I just don’t remember how bad the other two were, LOL! 😉

Finally, as promised, I have updated my recipe blog! I made this the other night and it was deee-licious!

Rosemary & Garlic Roast Pork

rosemary and garlic roast pork

I haven’t gotten very far at all crocheting the dress. The next couple of days are going to be busy (I have a lot of writing to do and I have to get a couple cavities filled — boo!), but I’m going to try to squirrel out a few moments here and there. It keeps staring at me, begging me to pick up my hook! I’ll give in eventually…