Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Sunday DInner and Thursday Dinner

A while back my Dad and I went through some of my mom's recipes and I brought some home, including her lasagna, cheesecake and caramel corn. I made the lasagna for Sunday dinner, along with some salad and cheese buns. 

Her lasagna is ridiculously delicious and quite simple.  We love it.

For dessert I made a recipe I ripped out of a Bon Appetit magazine more than a decade ago - Eva Marie Saint's Apple Pie.  This is easy and super delicious.  My Mother In Law requested a copy of the recipe to take home and to my knowledge, she is not a regular baker.

The following Thursday I made Asian Style Chicken Bunwiches with Ginger Sauce from The Great Rotisserie Chicken Cookbook.  They were super good and the ginger sauce was amazing.

We had raw veggies and fries and saved some room for a delicious dessert - Chocolate Chip Cream Cheese Spice Cake.  It was a big hit, especially with my Dad, who would have taken the whole cake home if I'd let him.

Sunday, March 25, 2018

Book Club - Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan

"Welcome to Singapore, Rachael - where arguing about food is the national pastime"

"This isn't a palace.  It's just a big house."

"They sailed past Lantau Island, Charlie bowing respectfully to the giant Buddha at its peak, and skirted past tiny picturesque islands like Aizhou and Sanmen,with their rugged outcroppings and hiddlen inlets."


Why - I saw this on a list of books to read before the movie comes out.  There are 2 sequels and I am looking forward to seeing the movie. 

Friday, March 23, 2018

2 Hour Buns

I have been getting back into bread baking.  Had some triumphs and also some....not failures, but not triumphs either.   These buns are definitely a winner. I found the recipe over at Dinner with Julie, and it made me think of a recipe from an old friend that I need to see if it survived my recipe purge  but I do not know where my stack of saved recipes currently is.

So these are easy,  and you get really nice buns in......2 promised in the title of the recipe.

Fresh baked bread is pretty much the only thing I can count on my Fam to inhale when I make it.  The aren't always enthused about my cookies and squares (weirdos) but they do love homemade bread.  These disappear fast in our house.
I've been marking up some new recipes to try - a soda bread, a no knead bread, potato bread, maybe some savory doughnuts or hush puppies - or both!  The Fam will be pleased.

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Journalling - take 3 (or 74)

I am trying journalling again to keep organized, and well, it's sort of working? A little? Mostly, I just get more anxious that I am not getting anything I have listed down actually done. So that's fun.

I am using a (new since last time) dollar store notebook, and doing  a calendar page for each month to note things happening, a to-do page for each month, where nothing gets crossed off....and then pages for lists I need in the month.  Like this list for a potluck in December.

Each month I start a new set of calendar pages and a new to do list, and transfer all the undone to do's to the new list.  And then close the book and run away.

I also have some pages set aside for books I want to read, things to research, recipes to try.  I tried menu planning in the notebook as well, but that didn't work for me.

I fell off the wagon the past couple of months, but am trying to get back to it.  It is pretty satisfying to cross things off the to-do list page, I must say.
Another wagon I fell off of hard is the fitness/healthy weight wagon, and that one has been verrrrrry difficult to get back on track.  (Spoiler alert - I am not back on track.)  I wondered if some sort of exercise/healthy habit tracking page might help?
I found a recent layout for tracking health/mental health that I have just started to try.
It's too early to say if it's having a positive impact, but we'll see. 
Anyone out there  got some good inspiration for health tracker layouts for journals - or any inspiration at all - let me know!

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Last weeks menu plan - what we ate

 Still lots of snow up in Aberdeen on the Highlands Trail!  

Sunday - I made my mom's lasagna recipe which is THE BEST.  Salad and bread too.  Apple pie and ice cream for dessert.
Monday - my sweet, sweet Boo made us a batch of Brown Stew Chicken, a Jamaican dish that is totally amazing.
Tuesday - Met The Fam at Costco after work.  Hot dogs and fries after shopping.
Wednesday -  Leftover night.  The Fam ate the last of the lasagne, I had old pizza.
Thursday -  The Grandfather came over for dinner and I made chicken sandwiches and more cake. 
Friday - We had to go shoe shopping so we hit the mall after work.  Got each kid a new pair of shoes, used my last book store gift card to buy everyone a book, and ate at the food court.  The kids shared a plate from the chinese food place, the parents had Opa.
Saturday -Tried a new casserole recipe - Ham and Cheese Hashbrown Casserole to use up some ham and browns in the freezer.  I didn't have as much potato as called for in the recipe, so I cut back on the amount of soup, and I don't think it was as creamy as the original, but it was tasty.  The kids were pretty meh on it, which is and isn't a surprise, as they do love ham and cheese and hash browns, but they also pretty much dislike anything we make them and how annoying is that.  The Mister loved it - LOVED IT - and stood in the kitchen picking at the (big) dish of leftovers, saying "I can't stop eating this." which is good because he will be eating it all week for lunch.

Monday, March 19, 2018

Grocery Shop March 17

Pizza Goldfish crackers (blech), ketchup, canned tomatos, corn, cream of mushroom soup, cream of potato soup (makin casseroles!), tomato paste, rice vinegar, sour cream, tater tots, eggos, grapes, thyme, cucumbers, asparagus, brussel sprouts, stew meat, ground beef, taco seasoning, clamato, ice tea


Sunday, March 18, 2018

Book Club - Artemis by Andy Weir

"That's the thing about crying yourself to sleep.  When you wake up, the problems are still there."

"The sky is not the limit."

"I forgive you, buddy.  For everything.  Goodbye."


I bought this one because I really liked The Martian.  I liked this one too, but man, he goes heavy on the technical details. That is not a criticism though.  He puts a lot into his books.
I gave this one to my dad when I was done, but no word on if he's read it yet.

Friday, March 16, 2018

Meatball Bake

I think this one might have been a Buzzfeed recipe too (the chances are good) - meatballs tossed with sauce and cut pieces of baguette, covered with cheese and baked.  I fancy-pantsed it a little by tossing the bread cubes with melted butter and garlic and toasting them before mixing them with the rest of the ingredients and baking.

Can't go wrong with garlic bread in any form, am I right?

Meatballs - already cooked, thawed if frozen
Pasta sauce
Salt and Pepper
Cheese - mozza or parm or both

Heat your oven to broil and mix some melted butter and chopped garlic with a bit of S&P.  Toss the chunked baguette with the butter, spread out on a pan and broil until toasted, turning once or twice.
Remove the garlic toast chunks from the oven and lower the heat to 400'.
In a large bowl mix the meatballs and sauce together, add in the bread.  Make it as saucy as you like.
Pour into a baking dish, arrange balls and bread to get a good ratio all over the pan if necessary.
Top with shredded cheese, and bake until heated through and the cheese is melty and lovely.

Monday, March 12, 2018

Gratitude more often

A few years back at a rough time in my life my Boo gave me a Gratitude jar - slips of paper to write things I am grateful for on, with a pen (to write with!) and a pretty glass jar to keep the notes in.  It was hard some days, to think of something to be grateful for.  But if you think about it, there is always something.

It can be hard to look past the big things (losing my mom ) that there is nothing grateful in, and the not so big things that seem big (will this freaking winter never ever end????) that there is nothing grateful in, but I found some stuff this week.

I am always grateful for The Mister, and our babies, and my dad.
I am grateful that The Mother In Law came out for a visit - the kids were wild to see her.
I am grateful to have My Boo - a truly wonderful friend is a real gift.
I am grateful that I reconnected with some family members.  Our family is cuckoo sometimes (whose isn't?) but family is family and life is short and if you keep putting things off there is a good chance they won't happen.
I am grateful for the blue skies that appeared this past weekend.  I feel like a little bit of stress and sadness has lifted along with the clouds.
I am grateful for the work we've done the past few months cleaning junk out of our house.  We've taken countess loads of stuff to various thrift shops and donation centers, and broken stuff to the dump.  The house looks infinitely better, and we've still got some work to do.
I am grateful for all the people who tell me I look like my mom.

Thursday, March 08, 2018

Book Club - One Kick by Chelsea Cain

"Smile and wave."

I picked this one from the book exchange at my work.  
Not my usual genre, I don't enjoy crime/detective books very much.  

Wednesday, March 07, 2018

Easy Dinner - Burrito Bowl

I am sure I have mentioned it many MANY times, but my kids are suuuuuper picky eaters right now (for years).
There is no rhyme or reason, no consistency (except for The Boy's hatred of mushrooms and tomatos) to their madness. A food that is loved and readily eaten for days, weeks, or months suddenly becomes the most hated terrible food ever in the blink of an eye.  Whyyyyyyyyyyyy.

This was a fast weeknight meal that had components that each kid would eat that day- rice  (this was a Mexican infused one- Uncle Bens?), refried beans, leftover chicken that I heated up in some chicken broth to make it nice and flavorful, and cheese, sour cream, guac and salsa.  The kids picked their way though a bit while The Mister and I inhaled ours.

Monday, March 05, 2018

Ugly dinner - bundt pan lasagna

So this isn't a happy memory for me, but frankly the photos are too hilarious not to post. 
Last Fall some time I saw  this Buzzfeed video for lasagna party ring.  I thought it looked like a fun twist on lasagna - something we like- and decided to make it for Christmas Eve dinner, and I could take some to my Mom and Dad in  the hospital for their dinner.  
Then life went rotten and by the time Christmas came, we were spending our last days with my Mom before she passed away.  But when you have small kids you have to try to keep some normalcy about their lives, so I continued with our plans as best I could.

So!  This lasagne is made in a bundt pan.  
I watched the video multiple times and thought - how hard could it be?


You boil up your noodles, grease up you bundt, and start laying the noodles down in the pan with the edges hanging over the sides so you can cover the bottom layer with the edge noodles.  
This nearly did me in, seriously.  My noodles would NOT stay in place, they kept slithering down in the pan.  And it seemed so bulky, so much noodle - where would the sauce and cheese go?  I whispered-screamed while I fought with those effing noodles and tried not to cry.
Here's my end result. 

I know.  I KNOW.
Before I started battling with the noodles, I made the very delicious meat sauce, and then carefully layered cheese, noodles and sauce into the dish.
I felt a little better - it didn't look so bad now!

Yikes.  Well, at least that is the bottom.....

Heyyyyyy - looking good! 

It had some time to cool, and the I popped it out of the pan, and ....... ummmmmm.

Is that not hideous looking?  It looks like a raw sweaty chicken.
And when I cut a piece to take to my dad, it slowly started to collapse.

Not my best result in the kitchen, to be sure.  The Mister and the kids said it tasted fine, but it sure won't be making a repeat performance at our house.  
Filed under: kitchen disasters

Friday, March 02, 2018

Book Club - Beartown by Fredrik Backman

"Bobo is the biggest of them, as wide as a barn door and ugly enough to make rats move house."

"But what the hell is life, Peter, apart from moments?"


I bought this one with a gift card, I was wanting a new fiction book to read but nothing was jumping out at me, so I got this one based on the reviews and the fact that my mom liked his book A Man Called Ove.  I read this after my mom had passed away, and it was hard to concentrate so I had trouble keeping some of the characters straight, but it was good.