Monday, May 31, 2010

20 Things About This Weekend

1..... I am blogging to avoid eating chocolate.

2. We planted flowers at the factory in the blazing heat.

3.  We took the kids to see the Cubs.

4.  They ate all the snacks I brought plus peanuts.

5.  Thank God for Les our favorite beer man.

6.  I met a man who polishes his toenails gold.

7.  It weirded me out.

8.  The kids went to the carnival on Western Ave on the hottest day.

9. I avoided the carnies thanks to our sitter.

10.  An aging Barbie propositioned my hubby at the bbq last night.

11.  It caused quite a stir....I was amused, sort of.

12.  My 4 year old daughter knows the words to Beyonce's "All the Single Ladies".

13.  All our plans fell through today because of the stormy weather.

14.  I was a little grateful...

15.  We made Shrinky Dinks.

16.  I forgot how fun they are to make.

17.  We went to see Shrek.

18.  My favorite line was,  "Do the Roar!"

19.  I made spaghetti & meatballs from scratch.

20.  It tasted good with 2002 David Arthur Meritaggio.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

A really good Mother's far

Once I crossed the divide to motherhood, I eagerly looked forward to Mother's Day as my right to be pampered, relaxed and carefree for a day. 

Of course, some years that didn't happen since I was hosting a brunch and ended up planning, cooking and cleaning up the whole mess. 

Then I wised up and made brunch reservations..aha!  Someone else to cook and wash the it! 

I was looking forward to that this week, with perhaps a massage or manicure thrown in, when I learned that not only was brunch at a nice restaurant

a delusion all my own,

but that also any hope of relaxation was a joke, indeed. 

It seemed that the needs of our little start up company far surpassed my selfish desires to kick back and do as I pleased. 

We have to complete a swat truck by early next week and all hands are on deck. 

They are welding the puzzle pieces together with awesome precision, thanks to the massive laser cutter that is computer guided. 

All the guys wear numerous hats at they work to build the first truck from scratch. 

So, in what universe do I have the audacity to whimper that I am due for a pedicure? 

None in this galaxy... 

All in good time will things fall into place....

I just wish it were sooner! 

So, to  make myself feel better I picked flowers. 

Two doors down is a rental house and those boys don't know nor care that this gigantic patch of lily of the valley grows in their yard. 

Lily of the valley is my favorite spring bloom...the fragrance is intoxicating!  So I walked over and picked a massive bunch. 

Now my back yard looks like Chernobyl from our construction disaster (see my January blog) but the snowball bush and lilac have survived. 

I picked a bouquet worthy of a florist's nod.  Ahhh, fragrant flowers in the house...that feels better! 

Postscript Sunday morning.....  Hubby and kids cooked up a lovely breakfast in bed, complete with heartfelt cards. 

And then the day, miraculously, got even better.  A friend suggested I drop the kids off at Pump It Up for a couple of hours.  They were having a Mother's Day event. 

The kids were so excited to finally go to the mystical Pump It Up, paradise of jumpy things and climbing walls, and I found myself leisurely strolling the aisles of the Whole Foods flagship store. 

The kids has two hours of good, clean jumpin' fun and the free time was a luxury for me. 

This Mother's day is shaping up!   

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Staying Sane...

Baseball season is here and those twice a week practices and weekly games really put my schedule into high gear.  Making sure the kids still go to their other after school activities, get fed something decent (sometimes not!) along with all the other demand's of a mom's life can be daunting at times.  I know, I am one among millions with this daily juggle.  My husband is in full speed at our new start up company, Heat Armor and he is gone 24/7.  So, it's up to me to keep it all together and on a tight budget.  One way to keep me sane and to feel a teensy bit in control is to meal plan each week.  This way, I know what's for dinner each night, I can plan ahead a little bit the night before, the grocery bill is more manageable and there is less food waste.  Easier said than done at times, when I am tired or out of ideas.  Overall, though, it works very well.  Some of my friends have glimpsed my weekly "menus" and have asked for me to share them, so I thought I'd give it a go and see what you all think.  PLEASE provide your comments, as I have no way of knowing, otherwise....  I will provide the menu, recipes and grocery list.  Our house is dairy free, so I'll provide the dairy and non dairy options where needed.

Week of May 9th
SUNDAY:   It's Mother's Day!  If your spouse or kids don't make or take you to dinner, go on STRIKE!

MONDAY:                        Baked Chicken w/ Honey Mustard Sauce

TUESDAY:                        Good Old Fashioned Burgers
                                          French Fries
                                          Baked Beans
                                          Sliced Apples

WEDNESDAY:                Chinese Night!  Chicken Fried Rice
                                          Fortune Cookies

THURSDAY:                    Emeril's Chicken Patty Pita Pockets
                                        Pudding Parfaits

FRIDAY:                         Roast Pork Wraps

SATURDAY:                 Grilled Morrocan Chicken
                                      Couscous salad with dates
                                      Zucchini Cupcakes with Chocolate Chips

Monday:  The baked chicken recipe comes from Lucinda Scala Quinn's new book, Mad Hungry  It's on page 122.  This cookbook is the BEST!

Here's the recipe: 

8 chicken thighs
1/2 C olive oil
1 lemon, juiced
Salt & pepper to taste
Some fresh herbs, if you have them

1T whole grain mustard ( plus maple mustard & dijon)
1 or 2 T honey
a little olive oil
a little salt & pepper

Marinate the chicken in olive oil, lemon juice, salt pepper and herbs, for at least one hour and up to a day.  preheat oven to 375degrees.  Rub big baking pan with olive oil or butter, place thighs, skin side down.

Bake fr 20-25 minutes and turn skin side up.  Bake for 10 minutes more.  To make glaze, add mustard, honey and oil in a blow in that order, whicsk, add salt and pepper, wisk some more.  Apply glaze with brush and broil for 5 min.

Take out and let rest for a second and make sure you save all those delicious, lemony chickeny juices that collected in the pan.  This chicken rocks!
For dessert, make or buy some brownies.  I like the Fudge brownie mix from Trader Joe's.....yum!

Tuesdays are super busy after school, so I need to make a quick easy dinner.  Omaha Steaks have great premade burgers, but use what you like.  I dress 'em up with a little Montreal Steak Seasoning and warm up the buns, slice some apples, and throw some frozen french fries into the oven.  My baked beans are easy:

Mix one can of your favorite pork and beans, 3 T of catsup, 1 T of mustard, 1/4 tsp of Liquid Smoke, 1/8 C of brown sugar,  a few shakes of dried onion, salt and pepper.  Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.

Wednesday will be Chinese Night, aka, Thank God for Trader Joes!  I buy the frozen chicken fried rice, the frozen potstickers and the frozen edamame and cook them all according to their directions.  If I have some leftover roasted chicken and an egg or two, I add them to the rice, too.  So easy and tasty!!!  Toss the kids a couple of fortune cookies after the meal and it's a done deal!

Thursday...heading to the home stretch!  Emeril's chicken patty pita pockets are easy and really good.  My husband likes most of the meals I make, but he raved over this one.  Here is the link to the recipe:
Slice some lovely juicy red strawberries and make a little puddin' for dessert.  We like Dr. Oetker's, since it's dairy free, but good old Jello brand is great.  I sprinkle a few chocolate chips on top and chill in the fridge until dessert is served.
TGIF!  Thursday night I'll toss a pork roast in the oven.  You can use any type you like, pre-marinated or marinated on your own.  Once it's baked and in the fridge overnight then you can slice or shred it for a quick easy meal on the go.  Friday night means baseball practice at our house, so we are eating in the car or on the baseball field.  The food's gotta be portable!    In the wraps I add julienned carrots, thinly sliced lettuce and a little dairy free ranch dressing.  Voila!  Toss in a bag of chips, a banana and a couple of cookies you like.  Friday's done, except for the post game Budweiser at home......
Saturday we don't do date nights these days, given Tom's crazy work life and our general destitute condition.  So, we might as well eat like kings at home!  This Morrocan chicken and couscous recipe is good enough for entertaining.  See the link for the recipes:
Slice up a pineapple, and if you want to gild the lily, make these scrumptious cupcakes...


Whew!  So here is your grocery list for the week:
(Amounts are for 2 adults, 2 kids) I am going to, maybe wrongly, assume you have some staples in your pantry such as olive oil, flour, sugar, eggs, etc.  If not, check the recipes to make sure you have everything.)
broccoli (1 lg)
pineapple (1)
zucchini (1)
lemon (2)
lime (1)
fresh dates (5)
green onions
flat leaf parsley
cucumber (1)
tomatoes (1)
carrots (1)
chicken thighs (8)
ground chicken or turkey (1lb)
hamburger patties (5)
1 roast pork tenderloin
1/2 cut up chicken
1 can baked beans
pita pockets
hamburger buns
frozen french fries
frozen chicken fried rice
frozen edamame
frozen potstickers
pudding mix
whole grain mustard
red wine vinegar
plain yogurt
slivered almonds
ground cardamom
1 box couscous
chocolate chips
cocoa powder

Ok, so this is what the Herlihy's are having next week for dinner, barring any unforseen changes to the schedule or whatever the fates throw at us!  If you give all or a portion of my plan a try, let me know how it goes!  Have a happy, tasty and healthy week!!