Thursday, April 28, 2011

Recent date night

We have had a really pretty spring this year. Lots of warm weather, lots of sunshine, and we've spent lots (just seeing how many times I could use that word) of time outside.

For this date night, we enjoyed our camp chairs in the backyard. We live next door to a little league field, and they were having live music as part of their opening day celebration. Woohoo! Live music for us.

It's the little things.

Yummy toasted saltines with butter, garlic, and parsley.

And lemonade flavored with the end of last season's blueberry lime jam. So good. I don't love this jam on toast (though my kids do), but I really love it in drinks and yogurt. Good stuff.

And that's all it takes. Snacks, special drinks, eavesdropping on music, and great conversation in the backyard with my favorite person. I'm a lucky girl.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Menu Plan April 25

Last week, we celebrated Easter with my extended family, and we had a ham. A very good ham, I might add, but ham nonetheless. I also swung by Honey Baked Ham this week to buy a bone to make my red beans and rice. So, with all that ham, I decided we'd have something else for Easter dinner. I settled on a slow roasted eye of round roast I saw on America's Test Kitchen. They called it oven roast on a pot roast budget. It was an odd, odd recipe, but it turned out really well, and we loved it. I'll definitely make it again.

Our greens have also prodouced really well this year. I just harvested the last of the lettuce yesterday. I've got collards, chard, kohlrabi, and cabbage in the fridge right now, as well as the lettuce. Lots of greens. :)

Fri-(our last meatless Friday!) bean burritos
Sat-birthday party (lunch), take out (supper)
Sun-ham omelets, home fries, fruit salad (lunch), roast beef , salad, asparagus, sweet potatoes, french bread, watergate salad (Easter dinner)
Mon-red beans and rice (they got bumped last week), salad
Tues-something that involves leftover roast beef and greens, as yet undecided
Wed-meatballs in brown gravy over rice, stir fried broccoli and greens
Thurs-black beans, rice, and chicken, collards of some sort (I bet all this will end up tasting Mexican inspired)

As always, I am linked to orgjunkie's Menu Plan Monday.

Happy Easter!


As always, a picture with 3 little boys, in a hurry on the way to church, was probably not my best idea. But, they were so darn cute, even if the picture doesn't do them justice. And we thoroughly enjoyed celebrating our special day.

He is risen! He is risen indeed!
Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Menu Plan April 18

It's been a busy two weeks around here. Some spring cleaning, breaking into two new playgroups (!), and just the general call of the outdoors. So, a tiny bit neglectful of my blog. Ah, well, life happens, right?

I still menu plan, though. It helps to get my thoughts out, make sure that we're eating things I like, and it certainly helps with the "who can think in this chaos" 5pm blues. This is a good thing.

Friday--beans and greens with farfelle pasta (cannelini beans and spinach)
Saturday--birthday lunch at my mom's, fajitas (supper)
Sunday--hot dogs (lunch), frozen Chinese food (yes, it was bad), eggrolls, stir fry of zuchinni, red pepper, and basil
Monday--Thai chicken salad
Tuesday--Italian sausages, sauteed onions and peppers, pasta, salad
Wednesday--Mike's birthday. Old El Paso style tacos, with ground beef and refried beans, lemon cupcakes, and limeade
Thursday--red beans and rice with ham and andouille, salad, bread

And, even though it's a day late, I'm still linked to Orgjunkie's Menu Plan Monday. Tuesday works, too.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Chicken and sausage etouffee

I love cajun and creole flavors. So cozy, so warming, so good. This is a great one to make for a night when you need a meal in a hurry that tastes like it took all day to make.

It starts with a roux, of course. This is a fairly light colored roux. Just this side of peanut butter colored, I'd say. I make my roux with White Lily flour and canola oil. I just think it tastes better that way.
Once the roux is done, add all the good stuff. Onions and andouille.
Celery with the leaves.
And peppers. I usually use bell peppers, but this time, I had a poblano. That works, too.
Mix all that up, let it cook for a while, then add cooked chicken to the pot. I also added a jar of tomatoes, cause I add tomatoes to everything. I prefer home-canned to this or whole tomatoes, crushed yourself, because they don't stay in pieces like commercially canned diced tomatoes do. They sort of melt into the sauce. Simmer until everything is warm and the flavors have melded, about 20 minutes or so.
Just enough time for a pot of rice to cook. Enjoy!

Chicken and sausage etouffee

1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup oil
1 onion, chopped
1 cup chopped celery
1 bell pepper, chopped
1/2 lb andouille, chopped
2 cups cooked chicken
1 28 oz can whole tomatoes, crushed with your hands
hot cooked rice for serving

First you make a roux. Mix the oil and flour together, whisking continually, and cook until it is almost peanut butter colored. Add the andouille, celery, onions, and pepper, and cook until vegetables are tender and sausage is browned on the edges. Add the chicken and tomatoes. Simmer for 20 minutes. Serve over rice.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Menu Plan April 4

I'm so excited that it's April. I love this month, almost as much as September, when all the harvest is rolling in. I think I love the change of seasons most of all. April is also a very sweet month for us, with my parents' anniversary, and the birthdays of three of my favorite people--my sweet Tomato King, my mom, and my stepdad. So, lots of cake this month. Yay! I am rolling around some dairy free options for Mike's birthday, and I can't wait to try them out. This is also the first year that my 4 year old has some understanding of Easter, and he's very excited. I'm loving hearing him tell me all about Easter and why we celebrate.

With the change of seasons, we also change the way we eat a little bit. Less oven meals (too hot!) and more main dish salads. I do a few set meals each week , and I think I'm going to change one of them to a salad meal. We'll see. We're also still in Lent, and our family is doing meat-less Fridays, which has been a blessing to us this year.

This week, we are also taking our first camping trip of the season. Two years ago, we bought a new-to-us-but-really-well-used pop up camper. We had a great time in it. Last summer, though, I was pregnant, then had a newborn, plus we moved, so we never made it camping. This year, we have great plans for several trips. This is the first one, to south Georgia, and I'm excited. We're meeting my sister-in-law there, too, so I'm looking forward to seeing her (she's not into camping, so she's going to just come see us and sleep in her comfortable hotel bed.. I'm not sure if I should call her a wimp or brilliant! ~smile~)

But, without further ado, here's the plan for the next 2 weeks:

Friday--omelets with red peppers and chard, home fries, toast

Saturday--leftovers (lunch), sushi (supper)

Sunday--main dish salads with chicken, black beans, and corn (lunch), brunswick stew (supper)--this was a hold over from last week, but I'm glad I finally got to it. Such a hit with our family every time, plus we have leftovers for the freezer

Monday--stuffed peppers, salad, roasted potatoes, beets

Tuesday--pork stir fry with baby bok choy, chard, beet greens, and whatever else I can find over ramen

Wednesday--chicken, sausage, okra gumbo over rice

Thursday--lunch with my mom to celebrate her birthday, then chicken cutlets with mushroom sauce, buttered pasta, salad, any greens left from the week (an easy meal to use up any perishables before we leave for the weekend)

Friday--camping--bean burritos (lunch), vegetarian chili (supper)

Saturday--eggs, sausage, biscuits (breakfast), quesadillas or chicken salad (lunch), hamburgers (supper)

Sunday--pancakes, sausage (breakfast), fast food (lunch), frozen soup (supper)--I'm no fool! Coming home from camping is exhausting, and I need the easiest thing I can muster this night

Monday--black beans and rice and chicken, salad

Tuesday--tortilla soup

Wednesday--salmon croquettes, rice, salad, some sort of vegetable


As always, I'm linked to Menu Plan Monday at orgjunkie. Lots of great ideas if you need something new!