Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Mac's birthday

My sweet Mac turned two last week! He doesn't talk much, but he can say "yes" and "no", so we quizzed him on what he'd like to do for his special day. All sorts of stuff was mentioned--the fountains, the zoo, Honey's house, and the park (all favorites). But, he picked a surprising one--the pet store. So, that morning, off to the pet store we went. We browsed and looked at every animal they had.

On Saturdays, this store hosts a foster/rescue pet society, so there are lots of cats and dogs around. Mac was in heaven. He's definitely my animal lover.

We headed home that afternoon to have Mac's choice for supper. The little boys got these fun blue drinks, the adults got party cups, and my boys helped make everything festive with Cars stickers.

Cupcakes decorated with Cars, and the plate decorated with construction vehicles.

Mac's very favorite food is fruit, so I made a big fruit salad.

And we had a very kid friendly meal--sloppy joes, chips, and fruit salad. He loved it.

Not sure what to think about candles just for him.

But, he quickly figured out the icing part. Last year, we couldn't get him to take even one bite until all our guests had gone home. This year, he's a big boy, and he knows all about treats.
This is the reason Mac knows all about treats. Will has taken it on as his job to educate Mac, and treats have been at the top of that list. "But, Mac, it's goooood!"

Baby Marshall a little unsure about the whole shebang.

I think all three are already dreaming of the next cupcake event.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010


Sunday nights are breakfast for supper nights in my house. It's ordinarily because I'm exhausted by the end of the weekend, and I need something quick and easy to make. Plus, who doesn't love breakfast for supper?

So, this week, I made migas tacos. It's a pretty starch heavy meal, but for lunch, I ate cucumbers, tomatoes, and cottage cheese, so it all evens out.

I hope.

The farmers' market (both the real one and the international market that bills itself a farmers' market) had beautiful produce this week. Eggs are always a good place to showcase some great vegetables. I had local potatoes, Vidalia onions, 3 types of peppers, local oyster mushrooms, cherry tomatoes in lots of colors, cilantro, lime, and fresh, warm tortillas.

Migas are probably best made with stale tortillas, but you make due. These were fresh tortillas, and they did fine. I cubed the tortillas and fried them in a little butter with half an onion and the 3 chiles.
Then, I added the cherry tomatoes and oyster mushrooms. I probably should have halved the tomatoes, but they worked out fine.
Then, I added scrambled eggs to the pan and cooked until done.
Meanwhile, in a separate pan, I made home fries with onions and potatoes. I forgot the pictures, but use your imagination.
Heated some corn tortillas.
Until they all looked like this.
We ate this as tacos, with the potatoes, egg mixture, then topped with cilantro, diced onion, a squeeze of lime, and hot sauce.
This is a great, easy, fast meal that we all love.

As an aside, Mike takes leftovers every day for lunch. Eggs don't work so well, so for his leftovers, I made extra home fries that I combined with some browned sausage from the freezer. I sent some corn tortillas on the side. He'll eat those as potato tacos, with hot sauce.
Enjoy your migas!
I'm linking this week to Tasty Tuesday over at Balancing Beauty and Bedlam. So many good ideas! Join us over there to showcase some of your own.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Meal Plan Monday

My new baby is almost 6 weeks old! What a whirlwind this past month has been, as we get used to him, and he gets used to us. He's such a good, sweet baby, and his presence has really enhanced our lives. I love, love, love having him around, and I think everyone should have a third baby! By this time, I can honestly tell you that I'm appreciating babyhood as very fleeting, and I am taking every opportunity I can to smell his baby smell and snuggle his baby head.

This year, we opted to spend most of our vacation fund on increasing my grocery budget. Sounds crazy, doesn't it? I'm sure that my sweet husband at first thought so, too. (I do the money, and I usually come up with schemes, then "convince" him to get on board.) The extra cushion in our food budget has been nice, to allow for some easier foods and a few nights of take-out. I think I even have enough left of the vacation fund to go camping for a couple of nights and maybe stay in a hotel one night at Christmas time. My boys are little enough that one night in a hotel is a huge treat.

In the meantime, we're doing what works for us, and that means lots of take out and freezer meals in the season of a new baby.

BUT... he's on a more predictable routine now, and the produce of summer is in full swing. I'm going to attempt to cook a little more this week. We'll see how that goes. What's the old saying... "we make plans, and God laughs"? That's the story of my life!

Friday--take out (but planned this time!) calzones
Saturday--birthday celebration--sloppy joes, chips, fruit salad, cupcakes
Sunday--chili dogs (lunch), migas (supper)
Monday--vegetable plate--fried okra, yellow squash, steamed cauliflower, cucumbers, white lady peas
Tuesday--catfish creole over rice, salad
Wednesday--chicken, swiss chard, and roasted poblanos in crema (a new recipe), as tacos
Thursday--brunswick stew (from the freezer)
As always, check out hundreds of other meal plans from orgjunkie. Sure to get you out of a supper rut!

Sunday, July 25, 2010

New haircut

I splurged a little this weekend and took the time to get a new haircut. It was at the local beauty school, and it took TWO hours. Totally worth it, though, and a true bargain at only $14.
(you pay for it with your time, though)
Nothing better than a new haircut to give you a fresh outlook on life!

Thursday, July 8, 2010


A local grocery store had blueberries on sale for $0.99/pint this week. This is cheaper than the you-pick price, and I despise picking blueberries (anyone that knows me knows that I'm not one for standing outside in the hottest part of the summer doing anything at all). So, I scooped up a ton of blueberries. My children love, love, love them. Yesterday, the middle child ate an entire pint for breakfast. I've frozen 2 gallons, and we've eaten tons.

But, this morning, I saw I had 3 pints left in the fridge. That means one thing.


I found a recipe in my trusty Ball Blue Book for blueberry lime jam, and I was off.

Mac is a little under the weather, so he took an early nap, which left me with two helpers. This one wasn't much help.


This one mashed blueberries and counted scoops of sugar and helped stir, stir, stir.

And we ended up with six half pints of beautiful jam.

That, of course, needed to be taste tested as soon as it was cool enough to not burn our tongues.


Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Date Night

My boys have decided that they don't need to go to bed at seven p.m anymore. Ah, I could mourn for a long time on this change!! But, every once in a while, the stars align just right, and they actually go to bed easily. We're committed to date night, though, and we have a bunch of little boys running around, which makes getting out of the house and paying for a babysitter more and more difficult. So, on Saturdays, we try to plan out our whole day to include an early bedtime. Sometimes (okay, often), the grownups in the house need an afternoon coffee in order to keep up with the energy of little boys, but it almost always works.

This week was no exception. We hit a parade, lots of candy, we ate out at a favorite family place for lunch, and we went shopping at the big international market.

By night time, the boys were exhausted, and they went to bed at six-thirty. Ah, quiet time with my man! And, this week's menu was one we were looking forward to.

I have a sweet spot for my hometown, and I frequently read their paper online. And, because it's a college town, there are no shortage of bars on every corner. This week, I was reading an article in the paper, and it mentioned a Cheerwine cocktail at a local bar. Well, I had Cheerwine in the house, and I decided this was the perfect night for it. Alas, the local bar has no website, so I had nothing to go on for ingredients. A quick google search turned up The Lee Bros. Cheerwine cocktail. It called for gin, which I had none of in the house, either, but hey, that wasn't going to stop me. The Lee Bros. have never led me astray--all of their recipes turn out well, if a little non-traditional and interesting. Long way to say, I added a little lime simple syrup and a bit of seltzer to Cheerwine, and a cocktail was born.

The color was beautiful, too, which is always a plus.

I'm still in my babymoon phase, and I'm not cooking everything from scratch. Boy, how I do love my freezer! I pulled out some smoked pork (already chopped, even), and I reheated it in a cast iron skillet. The edges got crispy like carnitas.Yum!

I also reheated some pinto beans.
To this, I just added everything I could find in the fridge--cucumbers, onions, corn kernels, and lime wedges.
The old staples--cilantro and hot peppers. And, delicious sauteed zucchini.
We ate this as burritos, on flour tortillas, with a tiny sprinkle of monterey jack cheese.

We even watched a cheesy movie about a country music singer before collapsing in exhaustion from trying to wear out our boys! Ah, fun times. My oldest son tells me that he gets more energy by running (he has "getting your energy out" confused with getting more energy). Maybe I ought to take up marathons. :)

Friday, July 2, 2010

Squash casserole

I love squash casserole. I am from Georgia, and I grew up in the church. I've eaten my share of casseroles. It comes in lots of variations (most of which I like--especially the Mexican cornbread and the Pepperidge Farm stuffing ones). But, my favorite starts with a pure throw-away.

Cracker crumbs.

I store my crackers (chiefly saltines and Ritz) in this jar all year. Crumbs accumulate in the bottom, and I save them for squash season. Whoa to the man who tries to help me "clean" by tossing my cracker crumbs. Those things are precious! They also mean that, while you could substitute smushed whole crackers, I usually don't, and this casserole is a once a year treat.

I also add cheese. About 4 ounces. Squash and cheese is a marriage made in heaven.

All casseroles need something to bind them. I opted for sour cream, but a white sauce, mayonnaise, heavy cream, or even a can of soup would work, too. I also added a couple of eggs to tie everything together.

Then, add the cooked squash and onions. Mine has tiny bits of green in it. I was out of onions, so I had to use the (usually leftover) onions I had frozen. Some of them had cilantro mixed in. We couldn't really taste it, but, hey, it might be a good addition to add even more!

I season liberally with pepper and Tony Cachere's cajun seasoning mix (in place of salt). Mix well, then bake for about 30 minutes.

Squash casserole! Yum. A little taste of summer on the plate.

This post is linked to Balancing Beauty and Bedlam's Tasty Tuesday (and since, having a 3rd newborn around means a bit of bedlam right now....this post is on Friday instead of Tuesday). It's also linked to The Grocery Cart Challenge's Recipe Swap. There are lots of great dishes in both spots. Check it out!!