Tuesday, March 16, 2010

The do it now principle and what you should never do

I just spent the better part of this beautiful (50 + degrees here in ME)afternoon, cooking. First I baked a loaf of bread, then put the ingredients for crescent rolls in the bread machine set on the dough setting. While that was doing it's business, I put together two different meatloaf recipes and baked them, even though something totally different is for dinner. I figured why freeze the meat when I want to serve meatloaf for dinner in the next night or two, plus meatloaf tastes better the second day anyway. When those were done baking and the crescent dough was done in the bread machine, I put together a breakfast pizza for breakfast tomorrow. Half of the crescent dough made the crust for the pizza, the other half I made into crescent rolls to have with dinner. Which by the way is pasta with garlic, chicken and broccoli with olive oil, salad and the crescent rolls. Those are baking right now.

The do it now principle comes into play.....the dishes! I don't normally clean up my mess as soon as I am done cooking, I don't have a reason or excuse why not, I just don't seem to do it. Today I decided that I didn't want to have to cook dinner in a messy, gross kitchen and find out that all the pots, pans, utensils, etc were dirty. So, I applied the do it now principle, and GASP....starting cleaning up my huge mess. When I made the meatloaves I took off my wedding ring, because how gross is it to leave it on and find all that meatloaf icky stuff stuck to it later. I set it on the counter.....I know I know I have a perfectly good ring holder that sits on top of the breadbox not even five feet away. So, back to the cleaning up, I was clearing the counter where I made the meatloaf of the dirty dishes so I could wash them and I noticed my ring wasn't on the counter anymore! After crawling around on the floor for a few minutes with the flashlight and then asking each of the four wild Indians (oops...I mean my wonderfully well behaved children) if they had touched it. I resorted to digging in the garbage can. Thank goodness my hubby took out the very full (spewing on the floor) garbage out last night and there was a fresh bag in there with only coffee grounds, nine or so egg shells, the ground meat wrapper and a few other miscellaneous things. I started digging with one hand while holding the flashlight with the other and that's where I found my very treasured ring.

So after I calmed down and finished cleaning the kitchen, I gave my ring a proper shining with a toothbrush and toothpaste and now it is all shiny and pretty. The ring holder will be used faithfully after this little accident so there will be no more of these horrible scary episodes for my ring....or for me.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

New Recipe

We have been improvising dinner all week long here.....we have had snow since Tuesday night and have somewhere around the two foot mark, plus or minus....I didn't measure, just guessing. I have tried to keep up with plowing the driveway, but this is the weirdest snow i've ever tried to drive on, it's very slippery and packs instantly, but then fills the packed spot with water and it is very very heavy. So I plowed the first foot with almost no problems and the next four or five inches weren't too bad either, but then it rained! That was the end of the easy plowing, it's a fight just to drive through it nevermind get behind it and push it. So, as I type this the plow truck is sitting in the middle of the hill and that is where it is going to stay until my hubby comes back from Connecticut in the middle of the week.

As I was saying, dinners haven't been normal due to the snow storm, we have had no power more than we have had power,we do have a back up generator, but that doesn't run the stove or microwave. Luckily on Monday I made a large batch of spaghetti sauce in the crockpot and 4 loaves of banana bread, other than 2 loaves of the bread, everything went in the freezer. It started snowing harder Wednesday.

Thursday we woke up to a foot of snow and no power. I improvised and made chicken with stuffing in the crockpot, but daughter #1 does not like food that has been cooked in the crockpot. She ate it, but not without looks of death every once in a while. The power came back on for about 3 hours, so I scrambled around in the kitchen, I cooked a pound of pasta, a loaf of bread and almost a pound of bacon minus a few slices. I figured, I could thaw out one batch of spaghetti sauce in the crockpot and add the already cooked pasta to heat it all together. The bread and the bacon could be for lunch, blt's minus the l and t. We had banana bread for breakfast.

Last night we ate the pasta, it wasn't bad, but it wasn't fresh cooked either. The bacon sandwiches were delish as was the banana bread. The power came on for a little while but I used that time to do a load of laundry and by the time the dryer was done drying the power went out again. In the middle of the night it came back on, I can tell you this because all of a sudden it was daytime in my bedroom, i'm guessing the kids had the lights on when the power went out. It has stayed on all day, it has been a productive day in the kitchen and the laundry room.

The first thing I did this morning was run the dishwasher, boy I didn't realize how much I would miss doing the dishes and the laundry. Then I made granola to go with yogurt for breakfast, then baked 2 loaves of bread, may as well have some in reserve. Tonight for dinner I wasn't sure what to make, I dug around in the freezer a few hours before dinner-time and came up with a package of tortellini, a little bit of leftover ravioli and a package of chopped spinach, to that I added a cream sauce that I made up the recipe for, with the ingredients I found in the pantry, fridge and freezer, I'll post the recipe below. Everyone ate it and i'm shocked....they all said they liked it!

Creamy Garlic Sauce

3 Tbsp butter
6 cloves of garlic, sliced
4 Tbsp all-purpose flour
2 1/2 cups heavy cream
1 tsp dried basil
salt and pepper to taste

Melt the butter in a sauce pan over medium heat, add the garlic when the butter is melted and let it cook for a few minutes, then whisk in the flour, let it cook for 2 minutes. Slowly, whisk in the heavy cream, then add the basil, salt and pepper. Stir and cook over medium heat until it thickens. You can serve it over any kind of pasta, stuffed or not.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Tasty Thursday

I have finally found a few minutes to sit and post our menu....even though we have already eaten most of it...lol.

Sunday- Creamy Meatball Soup with homemade buns

Monday- Shrimp with lemon butter garlic sauce over pasta (I also threw in some artichoke hearts)

Tuesday- Honey Mustard Chicken, Mashed potatoes, peas and spinach salad

Wednesday- Scalloped Potatoes with ham and cheese

Thursday- Hot roast beef sandwiches (I cooked the beef in a jar of peppercini peppers, juice included)

Friday- Veal Parmesan with pasta and homemade buns

Saturday- Fried Chicken, roasted potatoes and carrots

Sunday- ???....my husband is coming home! Something special for dinner for sure!

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Why is it??.....

Why is it as soon as everyone has been tucked into bed and kissed goodnight, there is all of a sudden a million and one things everyone needs or wants?? It is just about 10 pm here and 2 out of the 4 kids are still not sleeping. First, it's can I have a drink of water, then it's I need ____________(fill in the blank with animal, blankie, etc), then you just get the diaper on the little one and all of a sudden NOW she wants to go pee in the potty! What do you say no??? After all you are trying to potty train her and if you told her no then you would have to start all over at square one right? Some night's bedtime is pretty easy and then you have nights like tonight where you wonder if they will ever get in bed and stay there. I think a lot has to do with the full moon we have tonight, I think it makes it even more crazy and chaotic than normal.

I worked on my menu plan for the week, last night and tonight and by tomorrow night it will be complete. Tonight we had kielbasa, potato and sour kraut bake with home-made honey mustard sauce on top....YUM! This was a rare night that everyone ate dinner and for the most part liked it. That doesn't happen here very often there is usually one or two out of six that doesn't like something about dinner. The recipe is very easy......

1 lb kielbasa, cut into bite size pieces
5-7 russet potatoes, unpeeled and cut into bite size pieces
1 can sour kraut
1 pkg onion soup mix
1/4 c oil (I used less)

mix all ingredients together and bake for an hour or until potatoes are tender and cooked at 425 degrees F.

That's it! I'm off to relax with a shower and then a netflix movie.

Friday, January 29, 2010

First Post

Hi! My name is Jen and I thought it would be neat to document my daily happenings here. I am not going to pick any one topic to ramble on about. Just normal life stuff. Family life, Marriage, Cooking, etc. I have 4 children so there is never a boring moment around here.....or a quiet one for that matter. I love the chaos of it all and wouldn't trade it for anything....although it is nice to have a quiet moment or two, once in a while. Right now I am running solo here in Maine, my husband is in Connecticut for one more week. We bought our home here in Maine in August of 2008, we completed the inside with flooring, finishing trim and paint by November of 2008, in October of 2009 we put our home in Connecticut on the market, with high hopes to sell it. The kids and I moved here at the end of October (it's much easier to have a "show" ready home while living in another home), my husband stayed behind in Connecticut to finish packing and take care of the house until we found a buyer. We finally closed on it today! We are no longer the proud owners of a house we don't love. It hasn't been an easy time, but it has been a learning experience for me, the kids and my husband. It's true that love grows stronger when you are apart and I can't wait to see dh! I have been responsible for running the show while dh has been in CT, I have become quite talented at wood splitting, we have an outdoor wood furnace that heats our home and if you want to be warm, which we do here in Maine, you learn quickly how to have the most accurate aim you possibly can. I have also learned how to snow plow....otherwise we would be starving by now, it is our responsibility to plow the dirt road we live on, which is a half a mile from the tar road to our dooryard. I have also done the cooking, cleaning and schooling. I am looking forward to a little break, but that doesn't mean I won't ever split wood or plow the driveway again, just not for a couple of days. I have a goal to lose 20 pounds by the end of the year and due to all the physical activity that I do everyday I am 6.4 pounds closer to that goal. Another one of my goals is to eat healthier with the help of my family, we all work on the menu planning and we haven't eaten take out since last year! Tonight for dinner we are having ravioli w/ crockpot spaghetti sauce that is thawing out. I think the kids and I will sit down later and plan next week's menu. With the exception of milk and fresh produce I don't think there will be much on the shopping list. Which is great! The freezer is pretty well stocked with healthy dinner choices, as well as the pantry. I will post our menu tomorrow for next week. That's all for now, I am going to enjoy my cup of coffee and then get dinner going. Tonight is a netflix movie, and a big bowl of popcorn to go with it!