UPDATED- Meal plan #20180122

It has been approximately 10,572 since I posted a meal plan. Here we go!

  • Monday is our weekly friends dinner. We rotate hosting with five other families, so I have to cook a huge meal about once a month on a Monday, and the rest of the time I just go show up at a friends house and get to eat. We have a shared calendar to keep track of where to go, and this week is one of those just-show-up-and-eat Mondays. I’m pretty psyched. UPDATE: we got a ton of snow, so I picked up the kids at 3PM and we stayed home shoveling rather than venturing out for dinner with friends. We rewarded ourselves for shoveling with plenty of hot cocoa, then had pizza, apple slices, nachos with leftover chicken for dinner at home. There ended up being more than a foot of snow, and some school buses in St. Paul were still dropping off kids at 11PM. It was nuts!
  • Tuesday UPDATE- There was no school so we hung out, built snow forts, and had a great time. Dinner plans stayed the same and as promised we had cheeseburgers. Mine was  loaded up with sauteed mushrooms & shallots, mozzarella cheese, parmesan, and marinara. The kid had cheddar cheese, ketchup, and sweet chili sauce. Fries and Caesar salad on the side in memory of trips to The Convention Grill.
  • Wednesday Coconut curry chicken with veggies! I use this green curry paste from Arroy D and serve it over rice. Please note: chicken thighs are a must for this dish. Please also note: there will be cauliflower, broccoli, carrots, snow peas, green onions, and cilantro too. This is my absolute favorite type of leftovers, so I’ll be making a huge batch.
  • Thursday Baked fish with lemon pepper/garlic/butter sauce- I bake thawed fillets with the sauce on top in a pyrex dish at 350 for 10-15 minutes. The time is a guess, I just check to see if they’re done and cooked through while I do other stuff in the kitchen. Served with plenty of lemon slices at the table, green beans and garlic bread on the side.
  • Friday we have the day off! As long as they make snow at Afton Alps, we are going with the snowboarding/skiing club from Capitol Hill. There’s a 75% chance of us going to Culvers or Snuffy’s for dinner that night, and a 25% chance that I’ll make Calzones at home for dinner.

So there it is! As always, this menu is not contractually binding and will be changed at my discretion. At some point next weekend I’d also like to make some pie, but I’m not quite ready to commit to getting it done.

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Beep beep boop #20150921

Do you get it, fellow WordPress friends? That’s the thing they show when you make a new post! Do you get it now? Do you?! I was entertained. Because this is a new post. Beep beep boop.

Anyway, something changed in the internet-universe, and now I see my little “wordpress” bar at the top of so many sites. Observe below:

Wordpress is everywhere

Has this been around forever? It’s not just on my good friend P-Dub’s website. I’ve also seen it on other websites, though I can’t recall other specific examples. I’m curious to find out if it’s a setting on *my* wordpress profile, or if that’s something that’s on *their* wordpress profile. I’m not actually curious enough to do any real research at this time, but if you know the solution then hit me with a comment! Please and thank you!

This is where I would traditionally insert a meal plan. But guess what?! I’ve been interested in dividing this here website-cookie into bite sized pieces, and so that particular bite will follow at a later date. As in, tomorrow. After I have a chance to think about it a bit more.

Life Plan #20150112

Lessons learned last week:

  • Meal planning does in fact save my butt and make life easier. I should keep doing it.
  • I’m not great at using free time for something other than work and grocery shopping… but I also squeezed in a haircut and managed to feel relaxed & appreciative of my alone time! Definitely a step in the right direction.
  • Both kids played in their basketball league last Saturday and it was madness and wonderful all at the same time. This coming Saturday will be the last one that the boys both have bball games, then Kimathi’s season ends and it will just be Darian.
  • My first strawberry pie ever is delicious, but I seriously need to improve my blind baked pie crust. Rave reviews in spite of the crust not being just right.
  • Snow + above zero temps = Darian snowboarding (such joy).

Ok! So! I’m short on time. But here we go.

Life plan: Regular school/work/homework during the week but Darian’s school carnival is happening this Friday while Kimathi is snowboarding. I *will* be present and thankful for the opportunity to get him extra time with his school friends. I *will not* freak out, give in to my introverted tenancies, and conveniently “forget” about it.

Now, on to the Meal Plan. No pictures/graphics. No time. Ok, I lied….

Pictureless

  • Monday Pot roast I cooked yesterday (so good!) reheated with some extra liquid, served over mashed potatoes, broccoli on the side. And probably some rolls too. Because juices.
  • Tuesday Grilled Chicken burritos, guac, bean and rice, fresh salsa, with a chopped salad of some sort on the side. Kid-less and spicy!
  • Wednesday Pasta with smoked sausage, peppers and onions, and a side salad.
  • Thursday Chicken Pot Pie casserole, biscuits, broccoli on the side.
  • Friday *Crossroads Carnival* we’ll be buying burgers and hot dogs. Fresh fruit in the car on the drive there to balance it out.
  • Weekend I have to make pancakes Saturday morning or there will be a riot. Birthday dinner out with a friend on Saturday! I’m also planning on making burgers and fries at some point. And chocolate chip cookies.

Well there you have it. The briefest life plan in the history of me posting life plans. Not that there’s a lot to go off of, statistically speaking. Have a great week, friends!

Fireworks and Mandatory Park Visit

This may come as a shock to you, but last Friday was Independence Day here in the good old U. S. of A. My little family celebrated the 4th by going to a family cook-out, and then going to see fireworks up close and personal in Roseville, MN.

Roseville

This was our first time going to see fireworks there, and I was pleasantly surprised by how un-crowded it was. Families were spread out, and we got to set up on the side of a small lake path. It felt a lot more relaxed than our usual experience in St. Paul or Stillwater and it is by far our new favorite spot.

On our way driving there, I spotted a park I had never been to: The Central Park Nature Conservitory! Yes, that’s how they really spell it on Google Maps, so I’m going with it. It’s right above the word “Fireworks” in that handy map I have above.

Less than ten measly minutes from my home, there is 52 acres public green space and 1.34 miles of trails to explore. And Google Maps tells me that the Harriet Alexander Nature Center is there too, so that’s definitely what we’re doing on Saturday.

This made me wonder- what other parks are right under my nose in the Minneapolis/St.. Paul area? Let me know some of your favorites please, I’d love to explore the cities and any place with walking trails is where I want to be.

As usual, because I can’t help myself and my week doesn’t feel right without it, here is my menu plan:

  • Monday: Sauteed Tilapia with creamy dill pan sauce, corn on the cob, green beans and garlicky rice.
  • Tuesday: Stir fried rice noodles with chicken and mixed veggies.
  • Wednesday: Meatball Subs with pasta salad and cantaloupe on the side.
  • Thursday: Spinach leaves tossed with this “Summer Chickpea Salad with Honey Garlic Lime Vinaigrette” and topped with marinated chicken.
  • Friday: Turkey keilbasa sliced, seared, and mixed with pepper & onions. Served over rice pilaf with a side of broccoli.
  • Saturday: For brunch I’ll be making a Dutch Baby, because no (sweet) breakfast food makes me any happier. We’ll have fruit on the side and a turkey sausage/potato breakfast hash. We’ll pack sandwiches and carrot sticks for the hike. Saturday night, we’re grilling out at the Drive In for a friend’s birthday and I expect it to be amazing.
  • Sunday: Breakfast will be plain old oatmeal, home made and delicious. Lunch will be some odd combination of leftovers . Dinner will be homemade veggie sushi, edamame pods, and teriyaki beef skewers.

PS: Last weekend I made cheese enchiladas inspired by this lovely recipe [I used a a mix of monterey jack, sharp cheddar, and queso fresco in the filling, and used fresh fire roasted poblanos instead of canned chiles]. I also made a braised chicken in a tomato/cumin sauce, cilantro lime rice, black beans, roasted corn/grape tomato/queso fresco/cilatro/green onion salad, guac and sour cream. It was fairly epic, and I definitely recommend it.

Minnehaha Falls: Then and Now

What a difference (nearly) two years makes. This past weekend, we made the trip to visit Minnehaha Falls. We do it often, I take pictures each time, and it’s always a blast. Except for the part where I get all choked up because they’re trying something new, or they’re just SO much bigger than the last time we were there. We go there at least once a month, so realistically it can’t be that big of a difference.

Minnehaha20140628_1

This time however, I went far enough back to see a BIG difference. Not only a difference in the boys (sniff), but a difference in the falls themselves. In November of 2012 we were at the end of a season of drought. The boys were playing in a dry creek bed, and they were so itty bitty that I just can’t take it.

Minnehaha20121117_1

They even found ice in the shallow pools and happily smashed it to bits!

Minnehaha20121117_4

Minnehaha20121117_3 Minnehaha20121117_2

Fast forward to last Saturday, and the water level had changed almost as much as the boys had.

Minnehaha20140628_3

They were wading with whitewater rapids it the background. And looking far too grown up for my taste. Has anyone discovered a way to rewind kids back to being baby sized?

Minnehaha20140628_2

The water had even eaten up part of the path, so we didn’t go all the way to the Mississippi like we usually do.

Minnehaha20140628_4

Also- do you see how the water is basically up to the top of that bridge? Here’s the boys playing under it in 2012:

Minnehaha20121117_5   Minnehaha20121117_6

One last one of then…

Minnehaha20121117_7 And now…

Minnehaha20140628_5

They’re so big and brave! Which is awesome. But I would like it to stop now, please.

[Insert sobbing here]

Back to business. Here is the deal: I have 10 million things to do around the house, outside of the house, and with the boys this week. There’s no Tee Ball or Near Ball because it’s a holiday week. There’s also no school or work on Friday, so the law states that we have to go swimming.

What does this all mean? It means I don’t want to cook this week. At all. But since that’s not actually realistic or affordable, here is the plan.

  • Monday Chicken with mustard-cream sauce, rice pilaf, green beans.
  • Tuesday Stir fried rice noodles with soy/sesame, beef, broccoli, carrots, and whatever other veggies I can throw at em.
  • Wednesday Cheese Enchiladas, salad, beans and rice.
  • Thursday Chicken thighs topped with peppers, onions and cheese. Served with Mashed potatoes and broccoli. This is faster and easier than it sounds, and only uses two pans, a cutting board, and a single knife when I do it right. It’s on the table in about 22 minutes.
  • Friday Burgers, corn, veggies and dip. The buns will be these overnight refrigerator rolls, made to the size of burger buns and topped with sesame seeds.
  • Weekend I have no idea. This past weekend I ended up making a delicious crockpot meatloaf recipe, so I’ll probably experiment with other crockpot options.

That’s all folks! Any tips on how to not turn into a blubbering mess every time I see old pictures? It would be much appreciated.

Tee Ball Season

Tis the season fo-or Tee Ball, fa la la la la, I have no time!

Monday Tee Ball, Tuesday Near Ball, fa la la la la, I have no time.

So-o now I cook ahead now, fa la la, fa la la, there’s no time!

Here’s my menu, mostly pre-cooked. Fa la la la la, I have no time.

  • Monday Chicken/Veggie stirfry over rice (already cooked, heat and eat)
  • Tuesday Sloppy Joes & salad (already cooked and/or cut up, heat and eat)
  • Wednesday If I actually survive Monday and Tuesday, I’ll make chicken lettuce wraps with curry rice noodles and fresh veggies. 
  • Thursday Baked fish, broccoli, buns.
  • Friday Stuffed shells (ricotta, spinach, etc) with meat sauce (already made), and garlic bread.
  • Weekend Buttermilk pancakes and fresh fruit for breakfast on Saturday. I’ll deal with the rest of the weekend once I actually get through this week.

Did I mention that my microwave broke, and that work is crazy busy, and that I am still getting caught up from camping over Father’s day weekend and have ten million things to do? Because I do.

Busyness and Business

Life has recently taken over my life.

There has been all sorts of busyness with home stuff, family stuff, and work stuff. Business is booming at my job (yay), and on top of that we’re moving (yay again). It’s only across the hall, but there is construction, painting, new carpet and more going on to make it ours. I think the new space is going to work really well for us, and I’m pretty pumped. I also like meetings, so I guess this just confirms that I’m a little odd when it comes to work/everything in else in the world.

So! For Father’s day weekend we went camping at Wild River State Park here in MN with a few family friends. It was wonderful, but it rained so so much. Except for when it was time to leave, then it cleared up and was sunny and warm. It was a lot of fun in spite of the rain, and only about an hour drive from the cities. I took the day off Friday, and we arrived back yesterday.

There are two morals to this story: 1. You should go to Wild River State Park if you’re in MN because it’s pretty great, and 2. I have zero grocery shopping done so I’m kind of winging it with this menu plan based off of what’s in my freezer & what I can pickup easily at my neighborhood store.

The last few menu-plan-less weeks were ok-ish, we survived and ate generally nutritious foods, but it sure is a lot more mental anguish trying to figure out what to feed folks on the fly. Without further ado, I bring you this week’s menu!

  • Monday Cheater Chicken Parmesan: Sauteed chicken breast, topped with marinara (chunked up with bell peppers), a layer of mozzarella cheese, and a breadcrumb/Parmesan mixture, broiled til breadcrumbs are golden. Served with garlicky rice pilaf and a side of spinach.
  • Tuesday Pan cooked Steelhead Trout with a garlic/lemon/dill/cream sauce, baked breaded shrimp, green beans, and twice baked potatoes.
  • Wednesday Taco bowls with chicken, cilantro lime rice, black beans, lettuce and fresh salsa
  • Thursday Sloppy Joe’s, corn on the cob, broccoli slaw with shredded cheddar cheese and balsamic dressing.
  • Friday Movie night! Our church is showing The Lego Movie at 6:30, so we’ll be grabbing some sandwiches on the way there.
  • Weekend
    • Saturday brunch will be a french toast extravaganza! Turkey breakfast sausage, grapes, and a fricking toppings bar: strawberries, whipped cream,  bananas, chocolate sauce, maple syrup, and whatever else I can think up.
    • I’m making pasties this weekend, because I’ve been wanting them for months and just haven’t gotten around to it. I’m not sure which day it will happen, but it will happen this time.
    • Meaty marinara- whichever day I make pasties, I’ll also make a batch of meaty marinara sauce. The pasties will use 2 out of 3 lbs of beef I have, and the other pound will be made into red sauce to use at some point next week.
    • Whichever day doesn’t get pasties, I’m going to make chicken pot pie casserole. Shredded chicken in a homemade creamy gravy, with carrots, onions, celery, and topped with buttered bread crumbs. We skip the peas due to a few picky eaters, but they certainly belong here if your crew will eat them! Served over rice, with a side of green veggies. This makes excellent lunch leftovers with a small green salad, and I always cook up extra chicken when I make this for other grab n go meals.

Welp, that’s all I’ve got. Have a good one folks!