Friday, September 18, 2015

What's for supper?, you don't know my LYFE edition

Saturday: I made sort of mushroom-pork-rice stir-fry deal. Previously this had been pork chops, mushroom sauce, and rice on the side, but I hate having random dregs of leftover rice so I just threw it all together. Bonus: Since the pork is pre-cubed, we don't have to make the baby ragey by using steak knives in front of him without letting him use one. WE'RE SO MEAN.

Sunday: Leftovers.

Monday: Chicken leg quarters and red potatoes, coated in olive oil + spices and roasted in the oven. Except it turned out I only had four (itty-bitty!) potatoes and I also realized as I was putting the food in the oven that I didn't include any kind of non-starchy vegetable with this meal. So basically we ate a few cubes of potato and some giant slabs of meat for dinner.

Tuesday: Chili and cornbread. No unpleasant realizations occurred during meal prep (tomato sauce is too a vegetable), but I was still vaguely irritated by the time we sat down to eat because it turns out that making hearty soups does not in fact force the weather to become appropriately autumnal and I get cranky when I'm all sweaty from being in the kitchen when it's 90 degrees out. (Seriously, September, what is wrong with you?)

Wednesday: Hey, I have a picture for this one!

I made slow-cooker pork loin and homemade gravy from the juices and mashed potatoes and roasted cauliflower. I was immensely proud of myself both for making such a "fancy" dinner (side dishes!) and for trying cauliflower for the first time ever. (It was delicious.)

However, Scott didn't care for the cauliflower ("It's very...cauliflowery.") and Tad didn't eat his dinner at all--though when he begged for food at 9:30 and I gave him his plate again, he ate all the potatoes and about half of the pork. (That's his plate pictured above; I'm sure the "proper" thing to do is to give him only a tablespoon or so of potatoes instead of a quarter cup so he will be forced by sheer hunger to try the cauliflower, but whatever. He has another 24 years to get around to trying cauliflower if he wants to beat my record.)

Thursday: I made Southwest Chicken (salsa on the side). Tad happily noshed on some chicken while the grownups dished up their portions but then as soon as we sat down he was saying "All done! All done!" So in a fit of inspiration I sat him in a regular chair at the big table instead of in his high chair and he happily ate several more bites of dinner before getting distracted because I was taking his picture.

(I could post a picture here too but I'd have to upload it from my camera and that seems like too much work. Just imagine a tiny little toddler sitting in a regular chair all serious-like.)

Friday: I have veggie soup going in the crockpot (I have been a crockpotting fiend lately) and will of course be making biscuits later. So on the one hand we will be catching up on our veggies but on the other hand I plan to thoroughly stuff my face with CARBS.


See Simcha for more meals that are judging you for your life choices.

Friday, September 11, 2015

Master Schedule

I am a boring person but not quite so boring as to have yet another post about food. So here is one about chores!

I initially hashed out this schedule in April when a friend did a 30-day housekeeping challenge. It was the first time I ever felt on top of chores in my entire adult life (let alone since I had a baby) and that's a heady feeling so I have tried to preserve and adapt the schedule as our needs change.

Currently my goal is to have less than 3 hours of housework per day. These 3 hours of productive work usually take me the entire 9 hours Scott is gone for his day job, because I have a toddler "helping" me. Theoretically, anything left over when Scott gets back from work is divided evenly between the two of us because Momming Is A Real Job etc. Also theoretically, Saturday chores would be split evenly between us but I have managed to arrange things in such a way that there is almost nothing left to do on Saturdays. I really do prefer to use our limited family time for fun stuff and right now I'm at a season in my life where I CAN get everything done during the workday if I put my mind to it. (If we had a newborn the theoretical chore-sharing would become a lot less theoretical.)

Time given for a chore is "active" time; so for example it takes around 2 hours altogether to wash and dry a load of laundry but there is nothing stopping me from unloading and reloading the dishwasher while the clothes are in the dryer so I only count the time it takes to actually move them over.

And the 30 minutes for dinner prep is basically just a shot in the dark; I do too many different dinners and sometimes avail myself of my wonderful crockpot (in which case there is usually only about 5-10 minutes of active work) but for the purposes of argument we'll accept 30 minutes as an average.

Oh, and we never actually do monthly or seasonal chores unless you count filing our taxes. But we COULD be doing them.

Unload + reload dishwasher (20 min)
Handwash (5 min)
Take out trash (5 min)
Pick up toys (10 min)
Total: 40 min

Wash and dry laundry (15 min)
Clean office (15 min)
Enter data in budget (15 min)
Cook dinner (30 min)
Total: 1 hr 15 min (1 hr 55 min)

Put away laundry (30 min)
Meal plan + make grocery list (30 min)
Clean kitchen (15 min)
Cook dinner (30 min)
Total: 1 hr 45 min (2 hr 25 min)

Grocery shopping + other errands (2 hr)
Clean bedroom (15 min)
Total: 2 hr 15 min (2 hr 55 min)

Do laundry (15 min)
Check + sort mail (5 min)
Clean living + dining rooms (30 min)
Make dinner (30 min)
Total: 1 hr 20 min (2 hr)
Do any errands that were left over after 2 hours on Wednesday (up to 1 hr)

Put away laundry (30 min)
Pay bills (5 min)
Clean bathrooms (30 min)
Make dinner (30 min)
Total: 1 hr 35 min (2 hr 15 min)

Dinner (30 min)
Catch up any undone daily/weekly chores
Do monthly or seasonal chores

Friday, September 4, 2015

What's for supper?

Saturday: Chicken broccoli pasta--you cook a bunch of chicken in a stick of butter and a couple teaspoons each of basil, oregano, and minced garlic. Then you add broccoli and keep cooking until the broccoli is done. And while you're doing all that you cook some pasta on the side and then you mix them all together.

It's actually much simpler than it sounds; I make it as a quick-and-easy meal for when I can't think of anything else. But on Saturday Scott made it so it took an hour and a half and a lot of effort. Hey, you can't learn if you don't try, right?

Sunday: Leftovers.

Monday: Drunken meatballs. I was going to make spaghetti but ran out of stuff, as explained in the other post, so I made this. I roasted up the leftover half-bag of broccoli with olive oil, garlic powder, salt, and pepper so that we'd have a vegetable.

Tuesday: Ham and bean soup. This time we did not lock ourselves out of our car and get home an hour later than usual, so the veggies were kind of crunchy. Hey, you can't learn if you don't try, right?

Wednesday: Leftovers again.

Thursday: Roast chicken and vegetables in the crockpot. (Scott has been working late recently because of an Upgrade so I've been putting the crockpot through its paces.) The chicken was so tender that it fell apart and I had to take it out of the crockpot in about 8 pieces and then fish the veggies out of the stew of juices and little bits of skin and chicken bones that ended up at the bottom of the crockpot. It didn't look pretty but it sure tasted good.

My chicken spice rub was a conglomeration of a few different sources and went like this:
3 tsp salt
2 tsp paprika
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp Italian seasoning
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp black pepper

Once we were done gobbling up all the meat we could hold, I put the big pieces in a dish in the fridge for Saturday lunch (we can't eat them today because Friday, weep weep) and all the little pieces in a dish in the freezer so I could make chicken noodle soup sometime next week. (I also put most of the bones in the freezer.)

Friday: Macaroni and cheese, except I forgot to get shredded cheddar at Aldi when I was there so Tad and I will have to walk to Kroger after his nap and get some. This hurts my miserly heart because the Kroger cheese is 1.67 for 8 ounces and the Aldi cheese is 2.99 for 16 ounces, but let's pretend I would be using at least 35 cents in gas to get to Aldi so I can justify not wanting to put Tad into and out of his carseat for 1 thing.

[insert pause here]

Actually, I just went to this site and apparently gas to drive the 4 miles to Aldi would cost at least 60 cents, even assuming good highway driving mpg. So, am being frugal!

See Simcha for more eating of food.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Drunken Meatballs

I was supposed to make spaghetti for dinner last night, but I ran out of parmesan and only had one 8-oz can of tomato sauce, so that plan got scrapped. Instead I invented a recipe using this Swedish meatball recipe as an inspiration.

1 lb ground beef
1/4 c ground oatmeal
1 large egg
3/4 tsp Italian seasoning
1/2 tsp onion powder
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper

1/2 c cooking sherry
1/2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce

1 1/2 tbsp flour
1/3 c plain full fat yogurt

Combine beef through pepper until uniform in consistency; shape into balls and set aside. (And then wash your hands.)

Add sherry and Worcestershire sauce to crockpot, then arrange meatballs in layers. You will probably have two layers.

Cook on low for about 4 hours.

Carefully remove meatballs with a slotted spoon and then add flour and yogurt to sauce. Stir until well combined and then add meatballs back in.

Cook on low for another hour.

Serve over pasta or rice.

Friday, August 28, 2015

What's for supper?

Because this linkup is even easier than Seven Quick Takes, which means it's about my speed.

For those of you who are new here, I am cooking for a 26-year-old dudeperson, a 25-year-old ladyperson, and a 21-month-old vortex of hunger. The adult people have assorted health problems that mean we have to eat a lot of meat. Also we just like meat. The little vortex likes meat too.

Saturday: Ham and bean soup. I was going to make this on the stovetop, as one does, but Scott wanted to go to Confession so I converted it to a crockpot soup and got it all ready before we left for Confession and the Vigil Mass. And then I locked my keys in the car so we didn't get home until 7 p.m. and the carrots were kind of mushy but man were we glad for that soup.

Sunday: We had leftovers. We always have leftovers on Sunday because I don't cook because I am more pious than you.

Monday: Chicken alfredo. This alfredo sauce, linguine, chicken, and a couple handfuls of spinach from the bag of spinach I keep in the freezer for emergencies. And when I say "emergencies" I mean "days where I want to feel sanctimonious about our vegetable eating and so put spinach in random stuff."

Tuesday: Beef stroganoff. I put too much salt in it (to compensate for not putting enough salt in the chicken pot pie last week--because that's totally how cooking works) but everybody liked it anyway. Also green beans.

Wednesday: More leftovers!

Thursday: Pork stew. I use this recipe except I use regular potatoes and leave out the ginger and recently leave out the bay leaves as well because I ran out a couple months ago and haven't gotten around to buying more and use a boneless pork loin and substitute half a tablespoon of Italian seasoning for the thyme and allspice and don't really follow the directions except don't forget that sneaky "2 cups of water" because otherwise the stew turns out gummy and gross.

So, yeah, love that recipe. Five stars.

Friday: Stuffed shells. Right now it's 2:30 and I have already mixed up the filling and pretty soon I will cook and stuff the pasta because I want this to be ready to pop into the oven the second we get home from picking Scott up. Complicated Friday dinners are no bueno in this household because we all get super hangry without enough animal flesh and yet for some reason persist in keeping meatless Fridays year round.

See Simcha for more questionable food choices!

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Experimental Cookery

Two recipes for y'all today, both of which will probably be edited without comment as I refine them with further experimentation.

Both of these meals were inspired by, "I have a tight grocery budget so I'm going to use up random things I dig out of the freezer."


Pork and rice stir fry

2 cups rice
A splash of olive oil
2 lbs pork, cubed
2 carrots
1 head broccoli
4 oz mushrooms
1 onion
2 cloves garlic
1 cup chicken broth
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce

Cook rice in a smallish pot

In a large skillet, cook pork in olive oil

Add vegetables and spices and cook covered for about 20 minutes

Add broth, sauces, and cooked rice and cook uncovered for about 10 minutes

(My husband says that I should buy teriyaki sauce or something like that, considering I don't like the taste of straight-up soy sauce but Worcestershire sauce isn't very Asian.)


Ham and bean soup

1 ham bone with meat on it
10 c water
1 carrot
1 stalk celery
1 onion
2 cloves garlic
1 1/2 tbsp salt
3 carrots
3 stalks celery
1 onion
2 tbsp parsley
3 cups cooked beans

Add ham bone through salt to crockpot and cook on low for 4-6 hours.

Put a strainer in a big bowl and pour contents of crockpot into it so that the broth is retained in the bowl and the solid pieces are in the strainer.

Return broth to crockpot; pick meat off hambone and add to broth. Discard bone, vegetables, etc.

Chop additional carrots, celery, and onion and add to ham/broth mixture along with parsley. Cook on low another 3-4 hours.

Add beans and cook for about 15 minutes.

Friday, August 21, 2015

Tad in sentences

The Great Language Explosion of 2015 seems to be slowing down a bit. Tad now has a little more than 60 words; a month ago he had hardly more than 20.

Despite this, overgeneralization is still very much a thing he does. For example, any kind of lotion or soap or cream is "coconut" (well, "cokie") because I put coconut oil on him during diaper changes.

During his most recent diaper change, I made the mistake of asking "Do you want coconut oil?" and he replied cheerfully, "No cokie!"


Combining things in two-word phrases is not new; but for the most part I have been somewhat hesitant to count them as "sentences." I mean, do "Toe kick kick!" and "Car beep beep!" really count as sentences? Yes, he uses all four words separately from each other, it's not a fixed phrase like "All done" or "What's that?" but is it really combining two concepts when the concepts in question are so similar?

Anyway, a few minutes after his "No cokie!" declaration, Tad was drinking out of a black water bottle and seemed to be experiencing some difficulty. Guessing that the water bottle was empty, I asked him, "Do you want more water?"

Instead of doing the trusty point-and-grunt or even just saying "More," Tad thought it over for a second and then said in a slightly anxious tone, "Ah duh cuppie; ah duh cuppie." (All done cup; all done cup.)

Reader, I gave him more water. :)