Thursday, March 3, 2011

Supermom! -- a confession

I always have to giggle. I can't tell you how many times I've been called "Supermom", or asked "how on earth do you do it all?"

My response? I don't.

Being a mom is such a competitive sport. We compare ourselves to our friends to see if we are "as good" as everyone else. But being a mom is also complicated. We all have our strengths and we all have our weaknesses. But you have to admit, we often tout our accomplishments, but how often do we publicize our weaknesses?

When you think a mom is just so darn perfect, often times, she's not!

I'll admit, I'm great with money, and I'm pretty killer in the kitchen. But I HATE to clean. And with 3 kids in the house, it is a rarity that the living room is clean 10 minutes after I've picked up. My kitchen? Never fully clean for very long.
I have a pile of paperwork stashed in the dining room that gets shoved into a box in the basement whenever we have company. And we live out of a clean clothes hamper for a week until either my husband or I get entirely too sick of it and have a mass folding session while watching Battlestar Galactica when the kids have gone to bed. Only to start THAT never-ending cycle all over again.

I even admitted to a mom yesterday that my kids don't get bathed as much as I'd like - and she didn't look at me like an alien! Now THAT was refreshing. (I mean, it is winter, how dirty can they get? And do you KNOW what a production getting 3 kids bathed is?) Now, don't get me wrong, my kids aren't disgusting, we are excellent about hand washing, cleaning up before and after meals, and teeth brushing, but full on baths are not a daily occurrence around these parts.

We all just have different priorities.I homeschool, focus on kitchen skills and enjoy crafts. We've cut down on extra-curriculars to the things we enjoy the most. With all the things I DO, do, I don't have time to be a Soccer coach, keep an immaculate house, take my kids to every lesson on the planet, or volunteer at any of the number of things I probably could. I have my priorities and everything else is just noise.

And you know what? That's just fine with me. My time with my kids is all I need. :)

~~** D **~~

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Menu Plan Monday - 2/28/11

Ok, here's my menu plan for the upcoming week. I'm working on cleaning out our freezer in preparation for recieving our 1/2 beeve at the end of March.
In a few days I'll hopefully be posting about my kitchen adventures from last week. I did a lot of sourdough baking - some really successful, and some not so. It was an interesting week to say the least!

So, up on deck:

Monday: Shredded Salsa Beef served over rice

Tuesday: Pork Chops/Lamb Chops with Barley and Veggies (I have 2 rogue pork chops and 2 small lamb chops from school, so it'll be a mix and match night)

Wednesday: Spinach Lasagna - from Don't Panic, Dinner's in the Freezer

Thursday: London Broil

Friday: Sesame Chicken Stir Fry with Steamed Veggies and Rice

Saturday: Cheeseburgers with Fermented French Fries and Homemade naturally fermented ketchup. I haven't decided what type of "bun" I'm going to use, but I'm leaning towards doing them in Sourdough pita bread - we'll see what happens!
The Fermented French Fries and ketchup comes from a free mini-lesson from Nourished Kitchen. I thought it'd be interested to test out -- we'll see how THAT goes!

~~** D **~~

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Menu Plan... Tuesday?

Ok, so I'm a slacker. I had a wicked cold this weekend and I'm still trying to sleep myself better. It'd be easier if I wasn't up nursing in the night!

So, here's our menu plan for this week:

Monday: Sausage and Spinach Pizza on Sourdough crust
    This was a huge hit. I made a double batch of sourdough pizza crust over the weekend during the periods when I was feeling ok. Half got thrown in the freezer and half in the fridge for last night.
I rolled and pre-baked the crust for 7 minutes, then topped with some pizza sauce. Then I put a layer of baby spinach and topped that with mozz cheese and cooked, crumbled sausage. Another 25 minutes in the oven, and it was browned perfectly. It was a great way to sneak in both sourdough and spinach - no complaints from the kids!

Tuesday: Chicken Poblano Quesadillas with Sourdough Tortillas - I have the dough souring right now, I'll let you know how it turns out!

Wednesday (school night): BBQ chicken with Barley and Cauliflower with a cheese bechamel sauce.

Thursday: Italian Stuffed Meatloaf (from Don't Panic, Dinner's in the Freezer) served with Sourdough Pasta (from Sourdough e-course)

Friday: Crawfish Macaroni and Cheese (I have some frozen crawfish tails I need to use up!)

Saturday: Mexican Pizza on Sourdough Flatbread (from the Gnowfglins e-course)

~~** D **~~

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

It's alive!

After much reading and research, I've decided to try my hand at sourdough bread.
The first step is making a starter - which my 5 year old and I started yesterday.
We fed it last night and this morning, with not much progress, but then after dinner....

We have life!!

Just when I thought that we weren't going to see any progress and that we were going to have to start over again, our starter nearly quadrupled in size!

In just a week or so we'll be able to start cooking some basic recipes -- I'm so excited!

~~** D **~~

Monday, February 7, 2011

Menu Plan Monday - 2/6/11

And it's that time again for the menu of the week!
I had to make a couple of adjustments to my menu plan for this week. I switched some recipes that I had scheduled for later in the month in order to use up some produce that I had on hand (namely, potatoes!)

I did a pretty good job of staying on track last week - I only missed one day due to being sick - but we had plenty of leftovers to get through it!

So here's what this week's menu looks like:

Sunday: Scalloped Potatoes w/ Ham

Monday: Baked Ziti

Tuesday: Orange Chicken - I have some Iron Chef marinades in my pantry I'm trying to use up, so this isn't exactly "real" food, but at least the marinade doesn't have MSG or HFCS in it!

Wednesday: Chicken Pot Pie (I've made some adjustments to this recipe, but this is the base recipe I use!) We used this recipe for our Thanksgiving leftovers, and it was a HUGE hit.

Thursday: Taco Salad (an adaptation from a menu plan from Cooking During Stolen Moments)

Friday: Pepperoni French Bread Pizza

Saturday: Fettucini Alfredo - I use a recipe from an old weight watchers cookboook (which is surprisingly good). We are going to a dinner at our church, so this will be our contribution.

I've got a chicken from my farmer defrsoting for the orange chicken. I'll take out the breasts and maybe the thighs, and throw the rest in the crock pot. Once cooked, I'll take whatever meat that is left and use it in the chicken pot pie on Wednesday. I've got some turkey bones from school in the freezer, so I'll add those to the chicken bones and replentish my stock supply, which I'll use for soup or rice one of these weeks.

This post is linked to Menu Plan Monday at Org Junkie.
~~** D **~~

Monday, January 31, 2011

My pickle rant.

So, I've made a pretty strict grocery budget for myself this month, and I'm determined to stick to it! It did mean that I was wandering around the grocery store with a calculator to make sure I was under budget. (And I was under by $14!)

Putting myself on this budget means I have to be conscientious about what items are important for me to get organic, and which ones are ok to buy conventional.

Which brings me to my jar of pickles. It wasn't a MUST-have on my list, but I love pickles on my sandwiches. The organic section only had whole dills, and they weren't exactly cheap. So I thought, it's just pickled cucumbers, how bad could the conventional ones be?

Well, the shelved ones (Vlassic, Wegmans brand) all had YELLOW dye in them. Are they serious? Why do we have to put coloring in PICKLES?!? I just don't get it.
Well, then I saw the refrigerated ones that had floating seasonings, and thought, these MUST be better! (These were the Claussen brand and Wegmans version). Well, no dyes here, but instead? High Fructose Corn Syrup.

Let's just say I splurged on the organic pickles. Next summer? I'll be pickling my own.

It's just amazing the stuff you'll find food coloring and HFCS in these days. Unbelievable.

~~** D **~~

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Menu Plan Monday - 1/31/11

Wow, I had a very productive week! We had a snow storm come through, which was fantastic: It meant school was cancelled, so I could get some work done around here! (Can we say tackling the massive pile of laundry that needed to be folded?) I had been doing pretty well with my menu planning, but I kept thinking it could be easier. So I have now switched to a monthly menu plan! I spent my night off of school planning my next menu, and I'm pretty happy with the results.

I printed out a calendar for February and began assigning "theme" nights. I figured it would make things a bit easier for me this first time. I then printed/photocopied all of the recipes and placed them into a 3 ring binder in order for easy reference.

So here's the dinner theme breakdown for February:

Sundays: Something New/Mom's choice
*Mondays: Italian Night
Tuesdays: Asian/Stir-Fry Night
*Wednesdays: Soup/Crock Pot Night
Thursdays: Mexican Night
*Fridays: Pizza Night
Saturdays: Leftovers/Y.O.Y.O. (You're on you're own)

*(School Nights)

I'm also going to set up a weekly breakfast list: (Each day is accompanied by fruit)
Sunday: Leftover Waffles/Pancakes from earlier in the week
Monday: Smoothies, Parfaits orMuffins
Tuesday: Waffles
Wednesday: Veggie Omelets & Sausage
Thursday: Shirred Eggs
Friday: Pancakes
Saturday: French Toast

So, here is the lineup for this week's Dinners:

Sunday: 30 minute One Pan Chicken Meal

Monday: Spinach Stuffed Shells

Tuesday: Asian Beef and Veggie Quinoa Bowl

Wednesday: Simple, Hearty, Chicken and Rice Soup

Thursday: Nachos

Friday: Stromboli

Now that the plan is in place, all I have to do is follow it... now let's see how THAT goes!

For more menu plan ideas head over to Org Junkie's site.

~~** D **~~