Tuesday, September 03, 2013

Weekly Meals


I haven't planned meals in months, but with the start of school and a routine, I knew I needed to get back into it to help calm the chaos.  It's been so easy and fun!  An unanticipated benefit has been how excited the kids are.  They were asking everyday, "What's for dinner?" so I finally started writing it down and posting it on the fridge.  They talk about it a lot during the week; when their favorite meal is happening, meals they want to help me cook, ideas for dishes, etc . . . Dinner has once again become an event to look forward to.  It's hard to sit down with lots of kids at dinner; it's noisy, it's chaotic, there are often tears and spills and fights.  But as the kids are getting older and can carry on intelligent conversations, it's becoming so fun!  We still have the occasional spills and fights, but we also share news about our day, what we are learning, something interesting we saw, family memories.  In full disclosure, we don't sit down together every night.  One night each week we have lessons and scouts and church activities, so I set up dinner buffet style and people eat as they come and go.  Another night, Josh and I go out, so the kids are on their own.

Here's what we've been eating:

Monday:
Chicken Katsu with Bulldog sauce
Rice
Edamame

Tuesday:
Spaghetti with Tomato Basil Sauce
Salad

Wednesday:
Chicken Salad and Croissants
Vegetable Tray

Thursday:
Pork Dumplings
Rice

Friday:
Mac n' Cheese

Saturday:
Hot Dogs on the grill
Watermelon

Sunday:
Homemade Pizza
Marinated Olives

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Summer Corn Chowder



This week summer produce is at its best and it was rainy.  Perfect time to make summer soup!  This recipe comes from Martha Stewart Living July/August 1997.  The recipe calls for fresh thyme, but I didn't have any so I used oregano.  Thyme is such a fall flavor, I don't like using in the summer as much.  Oregano tastes much more summery to me.  I have two kinds of oregano in my garden, which I didn't know until it really started to grow.  One is lighter green and grows close to the ground.  The other is darker green and grows tall.   The contrast of the sweet corn with the slightly spicy poblano pepper is just about the best combination ever.

This soup takes about 30 minutes to put together.  I served it with homemade biscuits.

Summer Corn Chowder (serves 4-6)
4 slices of bacon, cut into 1/4 inch pieces

1 small onion, diced (1 cup)
2 ribs of celery, cut into 1/2 inch dice (3/4 c.)
8 sprigs oregano (or thyme)
3 c. chicken stock
3 ears yellow corn, kernels removed (about 2 1/2 cups)
5 oz. small fingerling potatoes, cut into 1/4 inch slices
1 poblano chile, seeded and cut into 1/2 inch dice
1 1/2 cups half-n-half

1. Place bacon in small stockpot over medium-high heat.  Cook, stirring occasionally, until bacon is deep golden brown.  Remove with slotted spoon to paper towel. Discard all but 2 T. fat.
2. Add onions, celery, oregano and salt and pepper to taste to stockpot; cook about 8 minutes, until translucent.  Add stock, bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to medium; simmer 15 minutes.
3. Add corn, potatoes, and chile; cook until potatoes are tender, 8 to 10 minutes. Remove and discard oregano.  Add half-n-half, and simmer until soup is hot.  Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper, and garnish with reserved bacon.



Thursday, April 18, 2013

Homemade Instant Oatmeal

My kids love to eat instant oatmeal for breakfast, but I hate all the junk in it.  In the October Martha Stewart there was this recipe for homemade instant oatmeal.  We are loving it.  They suggested mix-ins like dried apricots, coconut, flax seed, almonds, dried cranberries, etc . . . I made it without any mix-ins and we've been eating it with fresh fruits; bananas, apples, pears.  It's easy and so much yummier than the store bought version.

Yield Makes 3-4 cups

  • 4 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 1/4 cup light-brown sugar (I doubled the sugar to 1/2 cup, it wasn't sweet at all)
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons coarse salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spread oats on a rimmed baking sheet; bake until lightly toasted but not browned, about 15 minutes. Let cool. Pulse in a food processor until coarsely chopped. Mix in 1 cup of a combination of add-ins (see our suggestions below), and stir in sugar, salt, and cinnamon, or more to taste, before storing in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks.
  2. To Serve, stir in boiling water until desired consistency is reached. Let stand 2 to 3 minutes. (We add a little milk or cream in it at this point, but you don't have to)

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Music Lessons



We've slowly been adding to our office/band room; piano, drum set, guitar, amp, microphone, speaker. Roxcy and her friends have formed a band called 5x Unique. They are playing a Taylor Swift song in the school talent show this week. Roxcy is loving her guitar and piano lessons so we decided to sign her up for voice lessons as well. She just wrote a song that is so sweet and cute and 12, all about beautiful sun filled days and making the most of today. She's also started playing hymns.

Jonah is plugging away at piano, he doesn't love it yet, but he will. He's zipping through his books. He recently started drums. Rhythm comes very naturally for him. (Famous Juddy of Erik the Red is both Roxcy's guitar teacher and Jonah's drum teacher. EtR just released their first CD, you can hear it on their website: eriktheredmusic.com)

Colin had been asking to take piano for several months but I didn't take him seriously. I guess because Jonah didn't start until he was 9, it didn't occur to me that Colin might be different. We started lessons together a few months ago and he's already finished his first set of books. He's doing really well and I love the one-on-one time I get with him.

Petrea and Julian have been particpating in a co-op kind of music class that I organized. They loved it, but it got to be a bit much so we stopped doing it a few months ago. We try to do songs and games a few times a week. Julian especially loves to dance, whenever he hears music coming from the office he runs in and starts dancing or trying to play with the musician.

I love to see my kids taking pleasure in music and being able to make music independently.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Colin

Yesterday, while playing basketball in the street, Colin fell.



A trip to instacare fixed him all up good. He was the best patient.





This morning he assembled valentines for his classmates. Red for the boys, pink for the girls.