Monday, July 29, 2013

Eating Healthy! Menu Plan Monday

It's Monday!  Time to join in her Menu Plan Monday link-up.

This week is focused on Mom and Dad eating yummy but lower calorie food whilst keeping the kiddos full. (For instance, all the egg dishes are "whites only" for the grown ups and a mix of whole and whites for the children.) Focus Two? Meals that are a "flash in the pan;" it's too blasted hot for long-cooking recipes. I'm spending more time drinking ice tea and a lot less standing over the stove!

If you stay in my home, you quickly realize I make a lot of new recipes. We have our "tried and true," of course, but I love new recipes. I picked up a book at Weight Watchers called What to Eat NowMany of these meals are from that book although I have been able to find links elsewhere. And for your viewing pleasure, in getting a link for the book, I discovered a two-season BBC series by the same name. BBC and documentary?  Count me in!

Florentine Omelette (4), fruit
Lemony Hummus and Goat Cheese pitas (5)
Beef and Broccoli Stir Fry,(5) brown rice

Quick Berry Blintzes (4)
Ham and Swiss Pannini with Red Pepper Mayo (6), Fire and Ice Cukes
Chicken and Rice Burritos (8), fat-free refried beans

Greek Yogurt and Figs (6)
Chicken Tomato Quesadilla (8), Corn Salad, Salsa
Thai Style Beef Salad (4), edamame, bread for the kiddies

Thursday (usually "Pasta Day" but Polenta is a good foil for pasta:
Top of the Morning Smoothie (6)
Meditteranean Salmon Wraps (8), fresh fruit
Polenta with Sausage and Peppers (7)

Friday is "Sandwich Day":
Egg and Cheese Burrito Roll (6)
Easy Lobster Rolls (6). cole slaw
Three Cheese Potato Tacos (15 ()using pre-made taco shells), Frijoles de la Olla (3) Iceburg Salad, Fruit Salad

(Picnic breakfast) Yogurt, granola bars, slushy juice packs and trail mix
Snack Plate
Low Cal Filet Mignon, Sauteed Zucchini (5) and Brown Rice (Sirloin for the kiddos)

Eggs and lox scramble (6) (plus toast for the kiddies)
Weight Watcher's Reuben Sands (8), pickles, Strawberries
Pork Chops w/ Cherry Pan Sauce ( 7), pureed sweet potatoes, Broccoli Romanesco

Here is my prep list for the week, all of which I will complete on Sunday. I made a page of "Save" stickers to keep the family out of my ingredients! I have a special shelf in my freezer for the items I will use this week so it's easy to just grab them the night before. When I do my prep, I will clean and organize the produce drawer and make "grab and go" snack bags of gapes, tomatoes and baby carrots.

Make 32 crepes, cool.
Make red pepper mayo
Cook 6 chicken breast for quesadilla, shred, freeze
Chop 36 olives, store in brine in fridge (will use 1/3 of them for sausage & polenta dish)
Chop 6 stalks celery
Prep mayo-sauce for lobster rolls
Prep tomato mix for pitas
Pre-cook sirloin, slice, freeze
Slice round steak (1.5) pounds
Slice 4 bell peppers
Make "fire and ice" cukes (equal parts water and vinegar, several packets truvia)
Grab and go bags

What's cooking at your house?

Friday, July 26, 2013

Party Giant Subs

Sometimes I write blog posts so I can find the information again when I need it.  This is such a post.

For Sunshine's "beach birthday" we made giant Italian subs. It would up being a "rained in at the house" birthday but the sandwiches were fine.  Here is the formula (though if your loaves are bigger or smaller than ours, you'll obviously need to adjust!)

For every 5 - 6 people:

1 Italian loaf of bread
1-1/2 pounds deli ham (sliced very thin)
1/2 pound Genoa Salami (sliced very thin)
3/4 pound Provolne cheese
7 to 12 dill "stackers"
1/3 jar sandwich pepper rings
1 to 1-1/2 cups sandwich spread*
1/3 head of red or green "leaf" lettuce (click the link for a lettuce prep tip)
Cocktail picks

Just increase the recipe as many fold as you have folks. 5 loaves fed 26 hungry teens and adults€ well.
Here is the assembly process:

Slice open and hollow out the top of each loaf.
 Lay out your loaves and all the ingredients
 Spread the bread with the sandwich spread, then top with cheese (both sides of the loaf).  The cheese helps keep the bread from soaking up too much juice.
 Continue layering on the ingredients on the non-hollow side of the loaf, starting with ham, ending with pickles, pepper slices and then lettuce.

Wrap the whole thing tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate. It will stay crisp for a few hours. To serve, place 6 or 7 cocktail picks down each long edge of the loaf and slice in between the picks.  Serve!

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Sweet Things and a Few Photos

The Blitz is finally getting the idea of a dream versus a story. The other morning, sleepy eyed, he said, "I had a sweet dream, Mama. I was climbing a tree and I climbed way out and then I slipped and I fell. I was floating and didn't get hurt." I loved that he called it a "sweet" (pronounced "thweet") dream.

Tonight at the table, he said "I'm going to tell a story.  Begin . . . " and when he got done, he said, "End."  So funny.

This is the look. It means everything you think it does. I wish that this picture showed his "lobster jams." He loves lobsters for some reason. The first night he wore, them, Tinker accidentally called the lobster a "crab," and he yelled, "It's not crabby!" then threw himself on the floor and had a fit. Nut.

The Littles were jealous when Ms. Colleen brought Sunshine a birthday balloon so I took them out on Friday and bought them each one.  Tinker picked "La La Loopsie" of whom I'd never heard. Later, I asked her how she knew the name of the character.  "Oh, Mom," she said, "You have to remember a cute name like that!"

The Captain gets allowance now that he's six. He puts 25% in his piggy bank and 10% in the offering plate and the rest he gets to spend. I have been carrying "the rest" in my purse for weeks. He wants to spend it but can't quite part with it. It's adorable. Oh and he is just the best big brother ever. He told The Blitz, "It's okay if you're short, brother, I am looking out for you." And he is! Tinker's future suitors better look out.  (I don't remember why the Captain's shirt is so wet. It's hot here. They play in the water a lot.)

Pepper just got home from teaming Cross Training. She loves it so much. I'm grateful that she has a job that allows her to take time off to serve.  She really loves her "recruits" and I am praying she gets to be Sergeant Major next year because it's the only way you get to be on team after you graduate.

Sunshine had a ball on her mission trip to Denver. She came home both sick and tired, though, and is still recovering from the cold. She recently said, "Mom those little kids we served taught me a lot about being charitable."  Awww!

Bless my Bigs and their big hearts!

The Captain was bike riding and the other two were playing a hysterical game in which they tried to do a "cartwheel" --aka somersault -- at the exact moment he passed by on the bike. They were having so much fun. It was crazy.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Old Fashioned Comfort Food

My return to "outside" work and my local public radio station becoming an "all news" station happened to conicide in time. So on the rare days I drive myself to work, I get to listen to a bit of news which I love. One day recently, they were doing a piece called "Found Recipes," stories from cooks about foods which have "surprised or delighted them." The story I heard was about blueberry dumplings.

I decided to make these dumplings for the 4th of July. It sounded perfect for our old-fashioned fourth. They were amazing. A-maze-ing. I could not stop thinking about them. That said, I should warn you that either the recipe has an error or I made one, because my dough was not a soft batter but I actually picked it up and rolled it into balls. Even so they were fantastic. I am going to try again this week and if my batter is thick, I will increase the milk until it is soft. The blueberry sauce is more scarce than I'd have imagined; the dumplings truly are the star of the show.  Try it and let me know what you think.

Dumplings (Adapted from the NPR recipe)
2 cups flour
1 tblsp. sugar (the original calls for a teaspoon)
2 tsp. baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup shortening
1/4 cup butter (the author used all shortening)
6-8 Tblsp. milk (This is the error, I think. I am going to add enough to make it soft enough to  scoop)

Mix the dry ingredients together and cut in the shortening and butter.  Add milk gently until it becomes a very soft dough.

Stewed Blueberries
2 cups blueberries
3/4 cup water (author used 1/2)
1/4 cup sugar
Heavy cream (We used whipped cream)

Bring the blueberries sugar and water to a boil; don't walk off this happens fast! Drop the dumplings on top. Lower heat to a simmer and cover pan. Steam for 12 minutes. Serve warm, pouring cream over the top for serving.

Monday, July 1, 2013

A few Snapshots on a Monday

I am headed out to work today but for your viewing pleasure, here are a few snapshots.

Sunshine; just looking cute on a summer day. This is the shot she liked.

Here is my pick.

 The Captain was supposed to be showing off his two missing teeth but didn't get the memo.
 Ah, here you are. What good is a camera if you can't have a few "up the nose" shots?
 Pepper ready for prom
 Our sweet friend Becca. A sweet teen from a great family.
Sunshine has a lot of good friends but Becca is one who will stick for a lifetime. 

Sunshine.  She left the tiara in the car but I loved it.

All three girls had a ball at the prom.  Can't believe how grown-up they are!

Tink's new school has uniforms. Do you think she has a future as a model?
My coworker and her daughter joined us for Memorial Day. She fit right in. The kids can't wait to meet up again on the 4th.