Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Wordless Wednesday - YARRRRRRRRR! I Be Sleepy!

Monday, February 27, 2012

One Kitchen, Many Hearts (A Beginning)

When The Husband told me, quite a few years ago now, that we were going to an ASU game with someone he met through one of his professional online chat boards, I was quite certain that we were in the hands of a wily mad ax murderer who utilized 50-gallon drums to dispose of his victims.
But clearly that didn't happen; we're still here, sans 50-gallon drums, and we have become extremely good friends with The Husband's online buddy and his entire family.
But this post really isn't about that friendship (although we could discuss how this very same family was kind enough to send my 3YO a vuvuzela).  It's about the friendship that I have made with another group of people I have only met online - my "sisters from other misters" who brought you Pie Week, Cookie Week, and Cake Week.  In this last year, we have become fast friends who joke with one another, send encouragement for special events, and even plan out virtual runs sometimes.  This is a group of ladies I would love to live on the same street with.

Clockwise, from top left:
Mads, Kirsten, Megan, Kat, me, Jeanne
Kat, Kirsten, Jeanne, Mads, Megan, and I all live in different areas of the country, so we use "teh interwebz" to get together in our virtual kitchen, which I imagine is as clean and airy (and full of windows showing a lovely view) as Paula Deen's but has more cutting boards than Kitchen Stadium.
Recently, we started talking about sharing more than pictures and a common theme.  Being in different parts of the country as we do, we have our various Favorite Things to Use in each of our actual kitchens with which the rest of us probably aren't that familiar.  Thus a little "care package" project was born.
This year, we'll be taking turns sending each other some special gifts from our home area that are part those Favorites and part "Hmm, That Looks Like Something (Recipient) Would Really Like."
This month, I received a wonderful package from Mads over at La Petite Pancake, who somehow manages to blog while going through the rigors of grad school, so I can't really complain (although I do) about blogging while working full time and having HRH as my COO.
Mads is a Trader Joe's fiend.  She loves it, and she has a tradition of buying one novelty item each week.  This could go either way, and she certainly has had her share of both "OMG, this is awesome" and "OMG, this is awful" moments.
But I certainly lucked out, as I received her favorite salsa!

This guy and I have a special date with a bag of chips,.
Now, Trader Joe's is a nationwide company, and there are stores here in the Valley.  But I have to admit that I can't recall the last time I went to one.  The closest one is out of the way enough to make it inconvenient for popping by, especially on a weekly basis, so this is an exciting treat.  I just hope it's not TOO addictive, as I have been known to go out of my way for such addictive treats before (ice cream).
In addition, Mads sent me garlic-roasted pistachios and banana-carb granola bars from her local farmers' market.  Neither of these made the photo lineup, and I apologize, but drastic measures had to be taken.  As I was looking for a treat one afternoon, I discovered that half of the granola bars had "mysteriously disappeared."  To make sure that the other bar didn't end up in someone else's belly, I took swift - and tummy-satisfying - action.  They were for refueling after running, but I again, time was of the essence here.  I can tell you, though, that had I had the opportunity to try them after a run, they would have been extremely revitalizing - great crunch, some sweet (from the banana especially), and filling - it would be perfect after a long run day.
I had to turn similar attention to the pistachios.  The Husband likes nothing more than plunking himself down in front of some sporting event on the television and eating himself sick on pistachios.  I knew as soon as he saw them, his eyes would start to gleam like the dad in A Christmas Story gets around turkey.  So basically the second I saw what was in the box, I devoured all the pistachios.  It had to be done.  You understand, I'm sure.
But that wasn't enough for Mads.  She knows that I'm 1) a runner, 2) a dog lover, and 3) someone who loves reading, so she sent me something that made my heart go pitter pat - a NEW BOOK!

Look - it's so shiny and new!
I haven't had the opportunity to crack it open yet, as I want to be able to enjoy it completely.  But this certainly can take a place in my Twelve for 12 project (#10, to be exact), so you knew that I unpacked this with a few squees of joy.
I want to extend a huge thanks to Mads for basically reading my mind and knowing the Perfect Things to Send!  It was so much fun to both send (see below) and to receive! :)

If you want to see what else everyone sent along, check out my BBFFs' (best blogging friends forever) sites:
Kat at Tenaciously Yours,
Kirsten at Comfortably Domestic
Jeanne at Inside NanaBread's Head (she received my package)
Mads at La Petite Pancake
Megan at Wanna Be a Country Cleaver

What do you and your close circle of friends do to keep in touch when you are far away from one another?  Does the internet help you keep in communication with people you might otherwise lose contact with?

Saturday, February 25, 2012

You've Got Food on Your Face!

One of my biggest battles in the Philistine house is getting HRH to eat healthy food.  I've noted before that she would gladly live off nothing but chocolate and Goldfish crackers if she had her way, but if I can't do that, neither can she.
So it was with great interest that Food Network's Healthy Eats blog posted an entry about getting picky eaters to chow down (here is a bit more information, although it's not the full article, which I'm pretty sure is all science-y and stuff).  This information was far more valuable to me than the websites that say "Have your child help you in the kitchen," or "Be patient; be persistent."  First of all, I'm not patient.  Furthermore, while I can see that my kid is outgrowing all the clothes and shoes we buy her at a rate that will have us in the poorhouse in no time, I do always have that nagging voice in the back of my head, suggesting that HRH might be growing, but she's not entirely nourished.
Oh, and as for helping me in the kitchen - she's great with that.  But just don't ask her to EAT what we just made.  Unless it's a cookie.  With chocolate.  Then we're cool.
Instead of being patient, the study shows that kids like more colors and in a creative manner.  So instead of the basic My Plate design (which, like most government designs, still wants for some "oomph"), simply making the food smile back or be in  familiar shapes can make that food more palatable.
Who knew?
To say that kids are more inclined to eat something when it's presented in an artsy-fartsy way was pretty exciting to me.  I'm not extremely artistic in the slightest, but I can make little designs, and I know my way around the cookie cutter drawer, if you know what I mean.
So, I pulled out those cookie cutters (thank goodness for impulse buys in the baking aisle of the local craft store, right?), googled the heck out of "creative food presentation kids," and got to work.  The results have been paying off.

  • Cheese slices - much tastier when those pesky edges are taken away to make the forms of a dog, a cat, a bunny, or a flower.
  • Peanut butter and pickle sandwiches (which always comes back with the single pickle still uneaten, yet she always has to have it) - so much more fun to devour when it's crustless (more on this in a minute) and in the shape of a fish.
  • Apple slices - no longer slices but cars when two toothpicks and four blueberries are utilized.
  • Strawberries - slice them up and put them on toothpicks, and it's like they are made of chocolate.

I even found some great blogs that are dedicated to making creative lunches for kids, like Bent on Better Lunches (most of these blog use the bento box as their inspiration, which I just love).
Oh, and the best thing ever, when you are three and want to be a picky-pants?


Friday, February 24, 2012


I have been sick for nearly a week now; like usual, my tonsils (especially my left one) have been swollen to the size of basketballs, which has made that lovely crackling sound happen deep within my ear canal.  Once again, I have been finding myself contemplating a self-tonsillectomy each time I open the silverware drawer.
I was actually talking complaining to a friend about how I probably have never taken better care of myself in my life, and yet I've been sick more this year than I can remember ever being, and she suggested that maybe I'm detoxing from all the crap that I used to eat.  That got me thinking.  Maybe.  I just hope I'm about done with that.  Otherwise, I'll have to go back to killing myself with Dr. Pepper.
The worst part of being sick is not having the energy to run, but it's not like I only lack the energy to run.  I have absolutely NO desire to cook anything.  Making toast is a herculean effort.
Am I overly dramatic?  Probably.  But now isn't the time to analyze my sick behavior.
Needless to say (why do I say that when I know I'm going to say it anyway?), my menu plan was shot.  We got through Mardi Gras Monday, but for the rest of the week, the leftover king cake, heated in the microwave, was the only thing on my menu.
Enter The Soup.
Chicken soup has been a staple of sickies for ages.  To be honest with you, though, while I love a good matzo ball soup, I usually don't go head over heels for the stuff.
No.  I need something hotter.
Enter the local Korean restaurant, Cho Dang Tofu and BBQ (there isn't a website, even though it's part of a Southern California chain).  I can't remember when The Husband discovered it, but we go there often enough to just say "let's get Korean."
Last time we went (when we were both actually sick), I got a soup that was so good but so hot that it melted my mouth.  Especially the next day - it was like the peppers in the soup had little pepper babies overnight.  But oh, did my sinuses clear out like the room after Zooey's gotten her paws on some forbidden wheat-filled food item.
This week, I went with a similar soup - rice noodle, beef, green onion, and mushroom - but requested that the chef dial back the heat factor.
It was excellent yesterday.
Today it was perfect.
I finally feel like I'm on the mend.  My throat is still a little sore, but after letting the peppers kill everything between my teeth and stomach, I'll be shocked if I'm still feeling poorly on Monday.
Of course, now that I'm starting to feel better, it's time to get back in the kitchen and fill my belly with cold and flu busting goodness.  Heaven knows we have plenty of veggies in the crisper.

Are you a "baby" when you're sick?
Do you prefer hot and spicy foods to soothe a sore throat, or do prefer something cool?
Do you take supplements to keep from getting sick or to get over the sickness sooner?

Spicy kimchi, which comes with the soup

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Laissez Les Bon Temps Rouler!!!!

New Orleans is one of my "bucket list" Locations To Visit.  While part of me would rather visit during a less crazy time, there is something intriguing about heading there for the biggest party of the year.
Since The Husband and I are both busy, especially on a week that begins for us on a Tuesday, we celebrated Mardi Gras on Monday - Lundi Gras!

Our appetizer was orange-glazed beets.  This is definitely an 11/10, and I was left wishing we had a LOT more beets.  The original recipe calls for canned beets, but I would recommend using fresh and roasting them in a bit of extra virgin olive oil to get that caramelization that only roasting can give you; it adds some amazing depth and texture.

Then... slow cooker red beans and rice.  I really liked this recipe - and The Husband went back for seconds!  WOO HOO!  I used a red onion, green red onions, and green garlic for the added veggies, but I definitely think that this is a recipe that's versatile, and I also think that next time I might add another tablespoon of Tony Chachere's (I think I may have accidentally inhaled too much of it - hello, runny nose!).

And finally, the pièce de résistance (hey, we're going with a French theme here) - the King Cake.
I used a dried kidney bean for the Cake Baby.  The thought of baking a piece of plastic into my cake kind of freaked me out.
HRH's favorite part was the colored sugar sprinkles, but I love that since this is a yeast-based cake, and one that really isn't too sweet (unless you drown it in the icing), I can use it for French toast or even a sandwich should I feel the urge.  I did use dried cranberries and apricots instead of the candied citron, and I used less nutmeg than called for but added a good deal of cinnamon for a flavor that both The Husband and I would like (HRH just likes cake in general; she wasn't going to complain).

Sadly, I didn't get any beignets or even Pazcki, but there's always next year.  Or later this week. :)

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Monday Meal Planning on Sunday - Week 5

I realized last week that I was getting a bit too adventurous in my weekday meal planning.  When The Husband comes home late, the last thing I want to do is try out something that 1) is a new recipe and 2) has 15 different steps.  So this week, even though I am off Monday, I'm pulling back and looking for recipes that aren't that labor intensive.  Honestly, I need to get a few more slow cooker books in order to utilize Forrest (my Crock Pot) much more than I do right now.
  • Monday - slow cooker red beans and rice with orange-glazed beets and a king cake to celebrate Mardi Gras a day early.  I wasn't able to find a king cake baby, but I'll put in a dried bean instead (probably safer all around, to be honest).
  • Tuesday - seared cauliflower with quinoa cakes - a redo from last week because we didn't manage to get it in (but since we have a small head of cauliflower, I'll also be using a bit of cauliflower's green cousin broccoli).
  • Wednesday - chickpea and fennel salad - another redo from last week
  • Thursday - cabbage salad with sauteed tofu - I'm working on a healthier version of this favorite recipe (I'll be using the one my mother-in-law wrote up for me), usually made with ramen noodles.  The Universe must have known, as we got a nice big head of cabbage in our CSA share this week.
  • Friday - TBD - I've found that planning all five days plus the weekend means that I don't have the flexibility that I need.  Considering we didn't manage two recipes from last week, I think it will be helpful for the inevitable "let's just have popcorn" night.
So... that's what's on the menu at Chez Philistines this week.  What are the specialties of your house?

Friday, February 17, 2012

For the Love of Dog

As soon as my bloggy besties and I  decided on cakes for our next round of a theme week, I knew where I was going to turn - pupcakes.  Kat would say that The Universe was telling me to do it.  And honestly - when The Universe says jump... 
Since The Husband isn’t a fan of cake but HRH and I are, I knew that having human cakes in the house was just going to be a Bad Idea.  But pupcakes... I can NOT eat those all day!  And, when stored in an area that requires opposable thumbs to enter (a.k.a. the pantry), they can be meted out to those non-thumb-owning beings (coughZooeycough) in an appropriate manner instead of all at once like some nameless coonhounds would prefer to do.
But here’s the thing.  I lavish love on Zooey all the time.  Sometimes it’s in the form of dehydrated cow heart.  Sometimes it’s in the form of a run along the canal.  Sometimes it’s in the form of making eyepatches with her ears to turn her into Pirate Zooey (yarrrr!).  But the important thing is that she is loved every day (yes, I know Cesar tells us that affection is given only after exercise and discipline, but I don’t think you want to read about all the times Zooey has been held in an alpha roll for some transgression).
So when I decided to make pupcakes, I actually had an entirely different audience in mind: the dogs at the Beagles of Arizona Rescue Club (BARC).  This group rescues beagles, tall hounds, and beagle or hound mixes in Arizona.  It is one of the few rescues in the state that helps rescue coonhounds.  I discovered BARC when Zooey was a puppy; I took her to PetSmart (an Arizona-based company) to have her picture taken with Santa, and BARC was the group running the Santa pictures as one of their fundraisers.  Cynthia, one of BARC’s main volunteers, immediately recognized Zooey as a coonhound, which basically sealed the deal - usually people ask if she is a Doberman and give me weird looks when I say the word coonhound.
Many of the dogs at BARC have been abandoned or abused, and some have had to have life-saving surgery (one little guy they have right now had to have his leg amputated after being hit by a car).  Most of them have probably never known what it’s like to get onto the bed to snuggle with loving humans.  Many of them, too, are underweight or have other health issues related to abuse and neglect.  These are the dogs for whom I made my pupcakes, those pups who need to know that not all humans are unkind.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Cake Week - An Anthem

Photo courtesy (and copyright)
Comfortably Domestic
If you didn't know it already, it's Cake Week, hosted once again by my bloggy besties (a.k.a. sisters from other misters), Kirsten, Mads, Jeanne, Kat, and Megan.  And once again, we are having a riot, thinking that we are soooooooooooooooo funny with our tweets and emails and posts.
Somewhere in this silliness, we started reworking lyrics to favorite songs to make them more applicable to our cake theme.  This might have started when Mads tweeted this:

I catch myself daily, singing "My dog is a crazy dog" to the tune of "Our God is an Awesome God" #bizarre #sundayschoolruinedme

Anyway, we started bantering about reworked lyrics (because I totally sing that same exact song to myself about Zooey), and it all went downhill from there.

A Random Fact About Me: for the past couple of years, I have done our state testing in the town of Maricopa.  Because I didn't want to go there, I decided to make the best of it, and when other colleagues posted their "I'll be out of the office" emails, I felt compelled to shake things up.
Hence Barry Manilow died a little when my "out of office" email contained the completely reworked lyrics to "Copa Cabana."  It's something I'm kind of proud of, to tell the truth.

Anyway, back to Cake Week.  Between "Icing, Icing, Baby" and "Top It Like It's Hot" (because NO ONE can work Snoop Dogg lyrics like a bunch of white girls thinking about cake), I decided that Something Needed To Be Done.

So, without further ado, I give you... Our Cake Week Anthem (with major apologies to my 206 homie, Sir Mix-a-Lot)!

I like big cakes, and I cannot lie!
You other sisters can’t deny -
that when a cake has been all buttercream-iced
plus some sprinkles to be nice,
you chow down, wanna toss out your fork,
‘cause you know that takes lots more work.
Grabbin’ a handful and feeding -
I’m hooked and I can’t stop eating.
Oh, cupcakes, I wanna eat you all
(But I’d like my waist to stay small).
My homegirls tried to warn me
That right out the oven it might burn me!
Ooh, mini-Bundt, too -
molten lava, I’m lookin’ at you
sayin’ “Eat me, eat me,
grab some ice cream to complete me.”
We ain’t no rookies -
to hell with those cookies!
Let’s bake cake
and eat it till our bellies ache.
I’m tired of magazines
Sayin’ whoopie pie’s "the Thing" -
‘cause the Cos, Dr. Oz*
are saying it’s food of the gods.
So, ladies! (Yeah!) Ladies! (Yeah)
Wanna eat cake instead of play with the baby? (Hell yeah!)
Then bake it up! Cool it down!
Eat that tasty treat.
Yummy good cake!

**Just as a side note, I'm pretty sure that Dr. Oz does NOT say that cake is the food of the gods, but I needed something that rhymed with "the Cos."
And one final note - all of the lyrics here were made up by me this morning while I was sitting in bed drinking my coffee.  The lyrics were intended in no way to take away from the creative genius of Sir Mix-a-Lot but rather pay homage to both him and cake in a fun way.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Ten Things I Like About You - Running

I suppose I should probably wax poetic on something more, um, romantic than running today.  But if you want to know the truth, Valentine's Day makes me want to barf.  I'd write a post about that, but An Island Mom already beat me to the punch.  To me, there is nothing remotely romantic about a forced show of affection, although if The Husband were to come home bearing cupcakes, you would not hear me complaining.
But I digress.
I'm actually thinking of making top ten lists Something I Do here on this little blog.  I like making lists, especially when they aren't Things That Must Be Done, so maybe I'm onto something here.
And yet again I digress.
I just had a friend ask me for advice for her first 5K run.  Had I not been so comfortably still-ensconced in my bed, I might have fallen over.  Who asks me for running advice?  Running and I haven't even celebrated our two-year "cotton" anniversary yet, so I still feel like a newbie to this whole relationship.  And we did have a bit of a "break" last year, although it's not like that whole Ross-Rachel break.  I didn't go hiking or take up P90X while we were apart; I was just lazy and didn't do anything.
But the fact of the matter is that I do love running.  Only running can get me out of bed at 4:30 in the morning (well, running and an excited coonhound).  Only running can get me excited about compression gear (especially socks - be still my beating heart).  Only running can make me think that Miley Cyrus's music isn't that bad (that was a scary moment, people).
So what is there to love about running?  What is so great about an activity that makes people look like they are in such agony when you pass them in your nice, comfy car?
I'm not sure what other people love about running, but here is why I love it:
  1. It's "me time."  I don't run with HRH or The Husband.  It's just me.  And the hound, but she doesn't talk, and she prefers to keep going rather than be "all done" like HRH was when I ran that one 5K with her in the stroller (never again, kid).
  2. My legs.  Yep, that's right.  I love how my legs look.  I mean, I should also love how they feel (strong), but I don't see how they feel in the mirror.
  3. A tired coonhound is a good coonhound.  Sure, I love running for me.  But I have a high energy dog, so I love what running does for Zooey as much as I love what it does for me.
  4. I get a chance to listen to music that I want to hear, not The "Itsy Bitsy Spider" or (horror of horrors) the Dora the Explorer theme song.
  5. What woman doesn't love shoe shopping?  Sure, they aren't sparkly (well, some are) or pointy, but the whole experience of being fitted for a new pair of running shoes brings as much satisfaction as when I bought my wedding Blahniks.  And now that I think of it, I'm sure I can bedazzle the hell out of my Sauconys!
  6. The stink of sweat.  No, bear with me - that whole men's locker room smell is kind of pretty really gross, but I can't lie; it's something I look forward to - the tangible evidence that I just worked my tail off.  It also gives me first dibs to the shower when I get back on the weekends, since no one wants to be around me until I'm clean again.
  7. I can finish what I start.  Yes, there are plenty of people who DNF and even DNS, but so far I have been fortunate enough that my bossy self is able to tell my wanna-quit self to shut up and keep running.  For someone who is a procrastinator on a lot of things, having the follow through is  an accomplishment in itself.
  8. Smaller pants.  I'm pretty sure I don't need to elaborate on this one.
  9. My running helps others.  I love how many events to benefit various causes include walks and runs.  It's a way for me to focus my love of running to help those who might be struggling to take a few steps away from a hospital bed.  It's a way to keep myself healthy but at the same time do something that is far greater than myself.  It's a humbling understanding, and I wouldn't have it any other way.
  10. Have I mentioned the smaller pants?

Monday, February 13, 2012

Monday Meal Planning (Week 4) and a Plug for Cake Week

OK, let's just get one thing straight before I set forth my plans for our dinners this week: we shall NEVER speak of bok choy in coconut milk EVER again.  It has been a very long time since I could not bring myself to choke down food.  I'm sure there is someone who loves it.  That someone is just not me.  I'm seriously getting the dry heaves just thinking about it.
Additionally, since last week was rife with late meetings for The Husband and a Girls' Night In for me, we didn't have everything that I planned, but that's OK.  I'm making up for it this week.

  • Monday - vegetarian slow cooker satay over brown rice - this way I have leftovers for lunch this week.  Please, dear gods of the slow cooker, make this turn out delicious and crave-worthy.
  • Tuesday - vegetarian bibimbap - this is the recipe I had planned for last week, but it never came to fruition. I used some of the broccoli in a smoothie the other day, but I think this will a better use for it.  Yes, I know Tuesday is Valentine's Day, but I'm not really concerned about making something "special."  Besides, what better way to tell The Husband I love him than make something that uses fresh, healthy veggies and our favorite Asian seasonings?
  • Wednesday - fennel and chickpea salad - I am thinking I might want something warm to go with this, too, but we'll see; the recipe sounds/looks pretty filling on its own.
  • Thursday - Mark Bittman's seared cauliflower with lemon/olive quinoa cakes - I almost bought some quinoa cakes at Whole Foods on Saturday, but the salmon cake looked too tasty to pass up, so I'm glad to find this recipe at a site I love anyway.
  • Friday - I have a long weekend this week, so I'm not planning anything for dinner should we be out and about.  If we are home, we'll have something simple that uses up any veggies we didn't use beforehand.  If not, well... c'est la vie.
My main hope for this week is that I don't end up throwing an entire dish out for it being unpalatable.  Seriously, I wouldn't even offer that stuff to Zooey, and she eats everything.
Oh - before I forget - it's CAKE WEEK!!!!  My girls and I are having another week of themed posts, but the most exciting part is the link party that Kirsten kicked off yesterday - you can participate in our fun by sharing with us!.  Just click here to add your favorite cake!  And make sure that you check out all the Cake Week posts from Kirsten, Jeanne, Kat, Mads, Megan, and me - I'm sure you'll be needing a slice before long.  Enjoy!

Friday, February 10, 2012

Whoever Loveth Me, Loveth My Hound**

My girl in the sun
This evening, as HRH (finally) takes her bath and heads to bed, Zooey is already snoring on her bed.  I can't say as I blame her; HRH was chastised no fewer than ten times for harassing Zooey today.  Most of the infractions were for throwing a blanket over Zooey, calling it a "saddle" and attempting to ride her like she was a pack mule, although there was also the whole rolling the yoga ball on top of the dog incident.
Through all of this pint-sized misconduct, the only action Zooey took was to look pitifully at the adults as if to ask, "Why is she doing this to me?  Please make it stop."  Sometimes she walked slowly away, but unless she went outside, there was really no escaping the toddler torrent.  She didn't growl; she didn't snap; she certainly didn't bite.  She took it like a champ (I think the peanut butter I gave her helped).
Goofing off with the hose
I bring this up because - and my friends know I say this all the time - it just goes to show how wonderful a coonhound can be for a family pet.
Bred to hunt raccoons and other large game (I have a former student whose family has 25 couples - 50 hounds - who help protect their cattle ranch from mountain lions), coonhounds are loud, mouthy, and boisterous.  They are also independent and stubborn.  Some of the coonhound people I know talk about their hounds "closing their ears."  When a scent hound is on the trail, she doesn't hear or listen to you, and it's almost impossible to call her off; Zooey can ignore me with the best of them.  No amount of calling and begging and cajoling will distract her.  That's great if we're out on a hunt.  Not so super when I am just hoping for a stroll through the neighborhood and she suddenly realizes that we're two houses away from a discarded McDonald's bag.
They also make great pillows.
What makes a coonhound the perfect family pet is the fact that they are pack animals.  Coonhounds, beagles, bassets, and their other scent hound kin hunt in packs.  The Husband, HRH, and I are Zooey's pack (Holden is, too, but he won't admit it).  She loves being around us; when we are downstairs, so is Zooey.  When it's time for bed, she goes upstairs with us.  When I'm working during the week, she's generally asleep on the couch behind me (that's "her" couch - the only one she is allowed to be on on a regular basis) or under my desk.  When I take out the trash, Zooey has to follow me.  Of course, this means that I tend to trip over her, as she's always underfoot.  Especially in the kitchen.  But I love that she is always so happy to see me, even when I just run across the street to get the mail.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Monday Meal Planning (Week 3)

This week's meal plan is somewhat delayed.  I'm blaming our friends who are in town from DC and the Superbowl party at said friend's parents' house yesterday.  Because we were busily noshing, running after wee ones of various sizes, and watching the game with varying degrees of interest (I had to ask who won), I didn't get in my Sunday afternoon ritual of sitting in bed surrounded by cookbooks and the internet to scope out recipes that will make great use of our weekly allotment of delicious veggies.
So this week - I'll be honest with you - has been kind of thrown together with little consultation on The Husband's work week plans.  Bear with me - I found some fantastic sounding stuff, but I'm not sure it will all come to fruition the way I'm envisioning it.

  • Monday - mac-and-cheese style cauliflower, courtesy Vegetarian Times magazine (it was this month's cover model) - since dinner is already over, I'll let you know that since our head of cauliflower was smaller than what the recipe likely called for, I also threw in a head of broccoli that we had leftover from last week (how I missed it, I have NO idea).  I loved the nutritional yeast in this recipe, and I think I might start adding that to my original recipe to make up for everything else that gets added.
  • Tuesday - I'll be honest - The Husband has a late meeting, and I have an all-day meeting, so HRH and I might just have a Momma-Daughter dinner out.  By dinner I mean ice cream.  But whatever.  I'm not planning anything on this night, as we have plenty of items in the fridge that can be eaten instead (like the leftover mac-and-cheese style cauliflower; yeah, I planned that).
  • Wednesday (or Thursday) - baby bok choy in coconut milk with slow cooker rice and lentils - doesn't that just sound GREAT??????  I love bok choy, but I've been getting a little tired of just finding stir fry recipes, so I'm anxious to see how these combos - marked with cumin, turmeric, and other Indian flavors - turns out.
  • Thursday (or Wednesday) - baked tilapia with lettuce sauce and turnip greens - we have some red leaf lettuce that I'll use for the sauce, which will go over, I admit, pre-packaged, pre-breaded tilapia.  I know that if I look at the ingredient list again I might have a panic attack, but it needs to be eaten, and the addition of a fresh sauce and some nicely sauteed greens will definitely boost the nutritional value.
  • Friday - vegetarian bibimbap with broccoli, turnips, and mushrooms - Autumn at Food Wise Nutrition  (she's in Seattle, my friends - look her up!) mentioned this via Instagram when both of us dined on Korean food in the same evening, and I happened to stumble across this recipe, for which we have nearly all the ingredients (or appropriate substitutes).  I've never had bibimbap (its literal translation is mixed meal), but it's certainly intriguing enough for me to want to try it!

Of course, with friends in town and possible "surprise" late meeting nights on the table, this is a "I have my fingers crossed that we can at least get three of these in" menu.

Now, the only issue with this menu is that it does not take into account the spinach, kale, carrots, or cilantro that we also received this week (OK, OK - I bought the kale extra, as I'm still loving the smoothies).  My thoughts on those are that the kale and spinach will be good additions to smoothies throughout this week, and HRH usually eats carrots (the one veggie she will allow to cross her lips), so I don't want to waste them on silly little things like a salad.  The cilantro, as many herbs will, poses the biggest problem.  Thankfully, Vlad, my dehydrator, is still sitting out on the counter, so Wednesday I'll set out to dehydrate both the dill and cilantro that are hiding in the crisper.
So... what's on your menu this week?

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Thirsty Thursday - Taste of the Tropics

I've been on kind of a smoothie kick this week, thanks to my pre-race breakfast beverage on Saturday and my realization that I just just enough kale left to make a green smoothie and a subsequent bag of spinach from our CSA to get me through the remainder of the week.
For most of the week, I've been keeping my blender working on something similar to this smoothie recipe, although the measuring of things has, of course, gone completely out the window.
But last night, as I made Thai Fried Quinoa, I realized that I was going to have both leftover coconut milk AND leftover pineapple.  Well, clearly that was A Sign.

Behold!  I give you The Best Smoothie I Have Ever Had!

Totally simple, not totally creative - I blended the leftover coconut milk, pineapple (including the juice), and a banana together before inhaling its tropical deliciousness.
What I liked about this was that the sugars were countered by the fats in the coconut milk, although I did also have leftover scrambled tofu in a breakfast burrito (with some chipotle salsa, the only way to go in my book), so I had plenty of protein to go with that liquid lusciousness.  Together, they were a wonderful post-first-run-post-half-marathon breakfast
I'm kind of sad that I used all my leftover ingredients in that one smoothie, but at the same time, it really is so delicious that it should be a rare-ish treat.
I'll wait until this weekend.

(PS - I literally loved this so much that I had to add it to Tidy Mom's "I'm Lovin' It'" linky party.  It's just that good.)