Friday, May 31, 2013

Behind the curve

Somehow Holiday weekends always make me feel like I am behind the curve.  Kind of like a horse watching the race from the starting gate.....and the race is almost over.

So much of my mental well-being depends on me getting myself shopping.

If those aren't done, I feel incomplete and just plain behind.

So, Monday....we came home from a long weekend away with my sisters and their kids.  Had a wonderful time.  Wouldn't trade a moment for anything.  LOVED it all....nieces doing girl stuff....nephews doing boy stuff (at both ends of the range)....and my children mixing with their cousins the way my sisters and I did when we were kids.

Bonds made to span a lifetime.

Cannot wait for August when we get 2 whole weeks together....annoying each learning.

But, back to this week.  I optimistically started laundry when we got home Monday night.  There is currently a load in the washer and one in the dryer....with two more to start.  NOT my usual "get it done on Monday" groove.

I finally did my menu on Tuesday afternoon.  There is a heat wave coming this week....which means getting into "summer cooking"......trying to keep the extra heat in the house to a minimum when it's hotter (i.e., during dinner time).

And here I am on Thursday night/Friday morning finally getting my menu posted.  It's always there....even if it's not posted.

Tuesday - baseball (ended up getting rained good day for the stew)
Cranberry orange pork stew....I do it in the slow cooker.  Sear off the pork cubes in a pan.  Then make the sauce in the pan....bring to a boil and dump it over the pork in the slow cooker

Picnic all-star pasta salad with grilled chicken - new Cooking Light recipe.....with a homemade pasta salad dressing added (it was a hit) - it had pasta, red peppers, corn, red onion, bacon, avocado, chicken, fresh mozzarella, and a honey lime vinaigrette

Thursday – soccer practice
Thai steak salad – new Cooking Light recipe (also a hit)

Friday - baseball 
Spicy grilled shrimp with quinoa salad – also a new Cooking Light recipe

Saturday – baseball
New burgers with roasted potato salad

Grilled pork chops with avocado corn salsa and baked potatoes

Monday, May 20, 2013

Start of summer weekend!!!!! - Monday's menu

This week we are starting the little guy on a more advanced soccer team....and so begins the two-times a week practice.  I'd forgotten how it changes everything.  We are also headed "down the shore" with my sisters and their families...our house here will be fully occupied by our now-21-year-old and his friends.

Here's this week's menu....designed to make 14 people happy over the weekend....all with dietary issues and restrictions.  SIGH.

If you need ideas, check out

Black bean burritos – with queso fresco

Tuesday – soccer practice
Take grown man/boy out to dinner to celebrate his birthday


Thursday – soccer practice

Friday – heading to shore
BBQ chicken and rice - a meal my mom made for us when we were kids...she tore it out of a magazine ad for Kraft BBQ sauce in 1970-something

Saturday – beaching it
Spaghetti meatballs garlic bread and bag salad

Sunday - still hanging with the fam in the sand
Burgers, BP, garlic corn, and baked beans

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Beer braised sausage and onions

This is one of my husband's favorites.


  • 1 lb sausage (sweet or hot)
  • 1 large onion thinly sliced
  • 1 tsp oil (I always use olive oil)
  • 1 Tbsp brown 
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 1 tsp hot sauce (I used sriracha)
  • 1 tsp worchestershire
  • 1 beer (almost anything on hand is fine)

Heat the oil in a pan and add the onions.  Cook the onions until they are translucent and just starting to caramelize.  They should look something like below.

Add in the salt, pepper, brown sugar, worcestershire, hot sauce, and sausage.

Add the beer and stir it all together.

Cover and cook 20 minutes.  Turn sausage about half-way through.

After the 20 minutes, remove cover and let the whole thing reduce a bit (about 5 minutes).

Can serve over mashed potatoes or in a roll.  YUM.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Menu and more

Last weekend was jam packed full of stuff.  All fun.  All enjoyable.  All good.

But, I am thoroughly enjoying the fact that the only thing on my calendar today is some work, laundry, a bit of cleaning, a dentist appointment for my little guy, and dinner.

This week my husband is traveling. So, that means the little guy and I get to do some fun stuff just camp out in the family room, picnic dinner at a playground, etc.

Here is this week's menu.  If you need ideas, visit

Sausages and onions braised in beer, baked potatoes, roasted broccoli

Tuesday – p.m. meeting and baseball
Packed sandwiches
Beet, orange, and goat cheese salad with honey lime dressing

Pasta Primavera (moved from last week – it was too hot to cook on Friday)

Thursday – Saturday (Husband away – make junk for dinner, order chinese, picnic)

Chicken mole casserole (moved from last week…..forgot it was Mother’s day….and DUH…I was SO not cooking)

Monday, May 6, 2013

Monday - The Start of a New Week...and a new menu plan

Last week I overextended myself with over-volunteering.  I am reminding myself to start checking the rest of the week before committing to anything....even if THAT particular day looks clear.

I will be doing lots and lots of resting this week.....but first thing's first....I got my menu done.

Here's how my week is shaking out.....go to for ideas.


BBQ pork nachos – using leftover meat from yesterday

Wednesday – soccer practice followed by baseball game – packable dinner
Make black beans for Thursday
Sandwiches with cucumber salad

Thursday - Moms Night Out

Friday – at-home date night
Pasta primavera – asparagus and mushrooms

Saturday – party at neighbors
Hot onion dip and chips
Bbq meatballs
Make chicken for tomorrow in slow cooker

Sunday – baby V’s first birthday party
Chicken mole casserole (make ahead and put in the oven when we get home)

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Cinco de Mayo is coming

Tonight while pre-cooking something for Cinco de Mayo, I splashed some bean cooking liquid in my eye.  I put it on FB and a friend asked for the recipe.  So much for sympathy, right ??? ;)

But it got me to thinking.  The particular meal that I am making is one of my and my sweet husband's favorites.

A couple years ago, I combined a few things I'd come across and made one of the best meals I have ever eaten.....let alone cooked.  It was SO GOOD that I went into a food depression for a while.  I felt like I had created the best thing I was ever going to cook, so why bother with anything else.  It really had me bummed.

Luckily I have come across some other things that have also become my "best thing ever."  So, the food depression is over.

But, here is my Cinco de Mayo meal....started in advance.

Originally, I found a recipe for Black Beans on Homesick Texan.  But, at this point, I have made enough changes that I almost consider it my own.

Here is how I make the black beans.

You will need:

  • 1 lb dried black beans
  • water
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 carrot, grated
  • 6 garlic cloves
  • 1 tbsp chipotle powder
  • 1 tbsp cumin.
  • 3 cups of low sodium chicken broth
  • 3 tbsp bbq sauce
  • 4 tbsp lime juice
  • 1 tsp salt

Take 1 lb of dried black beans.  Put them in a 2 qt or larger pot.  Cover them with water and cover the pot.  Bring to a boil and turn off, leaving them covered and on the burner.

After an hour, drain and rinse and they are ready to use.

In a pressure cooker, saute up 1 chopped onion in 1 tbsp of olive oil.  While that's cooking, grate 1 carrot.  Also, clean 6 cloves of garlic and run them through a garlic press.  After the onions start to caramelize a bit, add in the grated carrot and pressed garlic.  Cook for 2 minutes more.

Add in 1 tablespoon chipotle (1/2 tablespoon if you don't like spicy beans) and 1 tablespoon of cumin.  Saute for 1 more minute.

Add in 3 cups of low sodium chicken broth and the drained and rinsed beans.

Put lid on pressure cooker.  Lock in place.  Bring to pressure and cook for 10 minutes (maintaining pressure).

After 10 minutes, turn off. and let cook until pressure drops.  Add in bbq sauce, lime juice, and salt.  Cook uncovered for 30 minutes.  Mash about half of the beans and it's ready to serve.


Really simple.

  • pork roast
  • salt and pepper
  • splash of hot sauce
  • can of diced  green chiles
  • 12 oz bottle of beer
Put pork roast into slow cooker. 
Add salt and pepper to taste.  
Add splash of hot sauce.
Top with entire can of green chiles.
Pour beer over whole thing.
Cover and cook on low for at least 6 hours or high for 3.
Shred meat and serve.


Preheat oven to 425.
Use pizza cutter or kitchen scissors to quarter tortillas.
Brush with olive oil.
Sprinkle with salt.
Bake at 425 for 9 minutes.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013


This week is insane.  I am co-ordinating our elementary school's plant sale.  Orders were due yesterday....getting delivered tomorrow.  Last night someone found 4 orders that had been placed in the wrong bin.  This is currently my biggest fear and is giving me nightmares.  I am terrified that someone's order has been missed.

Luckily, we do business with a VERY local garden center.  And they have been awesome.  I got nothing but kindness and support....even though they had started gathering our order already.  There really are some major advantages to doing business with local mom and pop places.  REALLY.

In the WAY cool part of my day, I just found small lettuce sproutlets in my pallet garden.  I was so excited that my husband thought something major was wrong.


Here's my little babies!!!!!  You might have to look REALLY closely.