Monday, January 31, 2011

A New Vibe and Some Energy

Today I got crafty with my blog (it was feeling a little tired to me) revamping it and giving it a whole new vibe... I'd love to hear what do you think. I made the Header and Buttons myself on and found the background at Hot Bliggity Blog, I LOVED so many of their backgrounds, it was hard to choose. I will be editing and tweaking things over the next few days so keep coming back to see the end result.

I also made this week's baking: Energy Bars. They were a snap to make (no baking required), but I found that they were a little too gooey to be called a bar per-say, more like a gooey peanut butter honey fudge. I think they need more "stuff". I had added 1/2 Cup raisins already, so to that I would add another 1/2 Cup Oatmeal or some Toasted O Cereal. I have a bag of Heritage O's Ancients Grains Kamut, Spelt and Quinoa O's that would be awesome in this bar! I will definitely be trying this again with my additions. 

Meal Plan Month 2 ~ 2011 - February

It's a new Chapter, new Format kind of day here... 

Lost are the days of the weekly meal plans. To cut back on time spent blogging I will be posting monthly plans. I will be including some old favourite meals (which I will not be re-reviewing) and a few new comers. The old standbys will have a link to my last review followed by a link to the recipe, new recipes will be reviewed in a timely manner. With going back to work full time, my husband has agreed to cook dinner every Wednesday to give me some time with our boys. 

As this is my first full month plan, please comment and let me know what you think, I'd love to hear from you! 

Welcome to "Link-a-palozza"... :)

Monday Jan 31 - Prosciutto Chicken served with Mashed Potatoes and Broccoli
Tuesday Feb 1 - Parmesan Bow-Tie Skillet served with Tossed Salad - new
Wednesday Feb 2 - Crispy Fish Bake served with Tossed Salad
Thursday Feb 3 - Cheese Enchilada Verde served with Couscous and Veg
Saturday Feb 5 - 4 Cheese Penne (Dashing Dishes Meal)
Sunday Feb 6 - Mushroom Smothered Salisbury Steak served with Mashed Potatoes and Veg
Weekly Baking - Energy Bars - new

Monday Feb 7 - Oriental Chicken Salad
Tuesday Feb 8 - Totally Tubular Pasta served with Tossed Salad
Wednesday Feb 9 - Perogies and Sausage (no recipe)
Friday Feb 11 - Chickpea and Tomato Curry served with Rice
Saturday Feb 12 - Speedy Sausage and Bean Ragout served with Salad
Sunday Feb 13 - Pork and Peanut Skillet - new

Monday Feb 14 - Mandarin Chicken (Dashing Dishes Meal)
Tuesday Feb 15 - Hay and Straw Pasta served with Salad
Wednesday Feb 16 - Spanish Rice (my Husband's Specialty - no recipe)
Thursday Feb 17 - Grilled Cheese Sandwich and Tomato Bean Soup (no recipe)
Friday Feb 18 - Tuna Cakes Served with Rice and Corn
Saturday Feb 19 - Veggie Burgers, Cabbage and Carrot Stirfry and Sweet Potato Fries
Sunday Feb 20 - Broccoli Cheddar Chicken Bundles served with Mashed Potatoes and Veg
Weekly Baking - Chocolate Zucchini Bread -new

Monday Feb 21 - Lentil Sloppy "Jo's" (Dashing Dishes Meal)
Tuesday Feb 22 - Southwest Chicken Pizza
Wednesday Feb 23 - Kitchen Sink Stirfry
Thursday Feb 24 - Chicken with Balsamic Vinegar Glaze served with Quinoa and Lentils - new
Friday Feb 25 - Lemon Pepper Orange Roughy served with Baby Potatoes and Broccoli- new
Saturday Feb 26 - Korean Pork with Asian Slaw served with Rice
Sunday Feb 27 - Meatloaf (no recipe) served with Mashed Potatoes and Creamed Corn
Weekly Baking - Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins

If you haven't subscribed to Meal Plan-it yet, this is a taste of what you missed last week. Be sure to click "Like" or "Subscribe" to follow me and get all my updates in real time. :)
Have a fabulous week!

for more meal plans and organization advice visit Organizing Junkie!


Sunday, January 30, 2011

Thai-Style Coconut Chicken

I love ethnic cuisine! I mean ALL different kinds. Not only does the meal usually taste fabulous, the aromas that circulate my house while I am cooking are amazing. Tonight was coconut, lime and cilantro which made me think of the song "Lime in the Coconut" which I still cannot get out of my head. This was a super speedy, VERY tasty and refreshing dish. I used boneless, skinless chicken thighs in place of the breast and I found the meat was quite moist.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Sweet Potato Mac and Cheese

I'm so clever!!! ha ha ha! This was a fabulous alternative to the box of florescent orange noodles and cheese sauce that my son has come to cherish. I knew that he would pick out the peas, but he had no idea that he ate sweet potatoes with every bite! It was quite tasty, but I think I may add a few spices to it next time as the flavour was a little flat for my liking. Mustard powder and paprika might brighten it up a bit. 
If you have a child who LOVES cheesy noodles, this is a perfect recipe for you to try. (P.S. I used my pre-frozen puree) All I did was roast the potatoes with skin on for about 50 minutes (until soft) let them cool to the touch and then the skin just peeled right off and there was no waste. Pureed them and put 1/2 cup portions in zip top bags and froze. When it came to making supper tonight I just thawed 2 bags and, viola, supper was done in 20 minutes. :)

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Easy Ham Pot Pie and Banana Bread (with Cauliflower)

Tonight's meal came about because I had a tube of refrigerated biscuits and some ham steaks. Those coupled with broccoli and Cheez Whiz was all this "recipe" needed. And it tasted exactly like you would imagine. I highly doubt this meal will ever make another appearance. 

On a side note I was able to FINALLY make that Banana Bread from Jessica Seinfeld's Book - Deceptively Delicious that has cauliflower puree in it from Week 4 Meal Plan. It turned out great; Really moist and yummy! You can get a tiny hint of the veggie in the after taste but if you don't know it's in there you could never tell. The only issue is that it didn't rise really high for me, so it is quite dense, but tasty none the less.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Meal Assembly Journey - Part 2 ~ The Doing

Couple weeks ago I decided that rather than spending 2 full days in my kitchen cooking/prepping to fill my freezer with meals prior to my return to work that I would sign up for a Meal Assembly Company. Last you heard of this I had researched the local companies and chose Dashing Dishes for the reasons that their meals sound delicious and that I got to be hands on with the prep of my meals. So I signed up (which was a breeze). 

Then I waited...

Last night I packed up my cooler and went to my session. The location was easy to find and once inside the building I felt like "Toucan Sam" and followed my nose to the spacious room. The fragrance was awesome; garlic, ginger, spices...mmmm...

The staff were incredibly nice, helpful and attentive. They got me in my apron and bandana and standing at my first station in no time. The format of the meal assembly is you go to a station and fill Ziptop bags with the ingredients needed for a full meal, put on an instruction label and put it in your cooler. Then on to the next... SUPER easy! I had chosen 8 meals and opted for for the "split in half" option (which was no charge). I am glad I did because the portions are HUGE - so at the end of an hour I had 16 meals for my freezer all prepped and ready to go.  FABULOUS!!!! 

Oh, did I forget to mention that they carried my cooler out to my car when I was all done?... :)

Here are the meals that I made last night:

~ Black Bean Linguine
~ Four Cheese Penne with Tomatoes
~ Korean Beef with Noodles
~ Lentil Sloppy "Jo's" with Tortillas
~ Mandarin Chicken
~ Pork Chops with Feta and Olive
~ Red Currant Slow Braised Pork with Thyme
~ Roasted Red Pepper Pasta with Sausage

Don't they sound scrumptious???? I can't wait to try one/all of my meals!

So, if you are a Mom without a lot of time to cook, or a single person who loathes cooking for one. Really anyone who who like to go spend an hour having some fun, go home and sigh a breath of relief because you have a freezer full of nutritious meals - the idea of meal assembly is PERFECT for you to try. And if doing the work isn't up your alley, they'll do it for you, you just pick it up. Seriously couldn't be easier!!! 

Next time you hear about this I will be letting you know how the meals taste... oh I can't wait!! 


This series will also be featured in the Kids in Cowtown Blog

Monday, January 24, 2011

Indian Lentils and Rice served with Chapati Bread

This was a super tasty and filling meal, but one that my son wanted nothing to do with. My husband and I thoroughly enjoyed the surprising combination of yogurt, mint leaves, coconut and spice. The homemade Chapati Bread was a prefect fishing touch. If you are stuck and looking for something new and different I think you should give this meatless, ethnic meal a try. 

Meal Plan ~ Week 5 - 2011

Well some of you may recall that my family has started on a journey toward eating more ethically. As I had mentioned before it is not something to take lightly and it is not something to just jump into, it's a gradual process. So here are the steps we have taken so far... 

1 - All dairy is organic and eggs are to be free run  - looking into getting our eggs farm fresh
2 - I will be planning 2 meals a week that are meat free
3 - I am researching seasonally appropriate recipes and resources
4 - I am researching natural, organic and humanely treated protein sources and looking into getting our protein straight from local family producers. 
5 - Start purchasing organic produce

It's a lot of ground work right now, but I feel wonderful with the steps we have achieved in only 2 short weeks. Once we get the steps above into our routine, we will look at cutting processed food out of our diet as much as possible.

One major hurdle that I have come across (and it's a great one to have) is that is we have too many choices in family run protein producers. Living in Alberta means having access to world class beef and it is so hard to choose the right fit. I did find a wonderful resource that has a huge database of farms in our region, check it out here.

Well enough blabbing from me... let's get to what you're really here for! This week's meal plan! 

Tuesday ~ Mom out (Meal Assembly Session!) Boys have Leftovers

Wednesday ~ Family out for Grandma's birthday dinner

Thursday ~ Easy Ham Pot Pie served with Salad

Friday ~ Sweet Potato Mac and Cheese served with Salad

Saturday ~ Homemade Burgers (no recipe) served with Crispy Parm Potatoes and Steamed Broccoli

Sunday ~ Thai-Style Coconut Chicken served with Rice

If you haven't subscribed to Meal Plan-it yet, this is a taste of what you missed last week. Be sure to click "Like" or "Subscribe" to follow me and get all my updates in real time. :)
Have a fabulous week!

for more meal plans and organization advice visit Organizing Junkie!

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Barley Ricotta Cabbage Rolls

Honestly if you have the time, try this recipe it is a remarkable twist on an old favourite comfort food. This was the first time I have ever made honest-to-goodness cabbage rolls and I do have a new found respect for anyone who makes/made real cabbage rolls and now understand why there are so many "fast cabbage roll casserole" recipes. This recipe was majorly labour intensive, but worth every second. SO Fabulous!! The flavours were incredible and everyone thoroughly enjoyed them. I made a few "meat logs" without the cabbage for my sons and that was a hit. There are left overs for lunch today and I am pretty excited to see how they taste the next day. You can also make this as a freezer meal so I think next time that I have some time I will make a double batch and put them in the freezer. 

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Pan and Tuna Cakes

The other day I whipped up a batch of Homemade Pancake Mix and I will NEVER buy mix again. It took me a whole 5 minutes to do. I made it according to the following recipe, but added 1/4 Cup Wheat Germ then put it in a Ziptop Bag, wrote the cooking instructions on the outside and put it in my cupboard until today. This morning I mashed 1/2 banana in a bowl and made the pancakes according to the directions on the recipe and they tuned out PERFECT!! I did find them to be a little sweet, so next time I am going to half the sugar and see how it goes, but they fluffed up nice and big and light. A HUGE winner!!! 

For supper we had Tuna Cakes, a meal that we have had numerous times and I just LOVE them. They are easy, they have veggies hidden within AND my son loves them. We always have leftover so we individually wrap them and freeze them for future lunches. I think I may whip up a couple batches just for my freezer before I go back to work... easy and versatile, they have yet to fail me... 

It was a love, love day here! HOORAY!! 

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Aloha Chicken Kebabs with Sweet Potato, Mozzarella Sticks with Cauliflower and Ketchup with Carrots

Tonight I cooked from the book of Jessica Seinfeld called Deceptively Delicious in an attempt to sneak some veggies into my son's stomach. The story that unfolded at our dinner table was a good news, bad news one ... I will start with the good. 
My son ate more Chicken Kebabs than I and declared that they were his most favourite ever and wants them for lunch tomorrow (there was left overs) That made me happy because they had sweet potatoes and pineapple on them so he got one veggie... Now here comes the bad... 
They were SO labour intensive! I must admit they were awesome, so worth the effort, but I would not dream of making these on a weeknight or for company. The Mozzarella Sticks with Cauliflower were a colossal FAIL! They started out great, until I cooked them, then they turned into little piles of hot mess. My son took one bite and said - YUCK! :( As for the "Ketchup" with Carrots - Even if you had no idea what ketchup was, you would know that this was not it. It turned out to basically be a dish of tomato paste with a hint of spice.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Pineapple-Picante Stir fried Pork with Cabbage

When I was looking up recipes for this week's meal plan, I came across this recipe and the ingredient combination sounded so bizarre to me that I just had to give it a whirl. And you know what? I REALLY enjoyed it! I am the kind of person who LOVES trying new things and some times it really pays off! (Some times not so much) I would NEVER have guessed to mix Picante Sauce and pineapples and combine it with cabbage, but it works great and it is quite filling too. (Not to mention super quick) I definitely recommend it if you are in the mood for something a little off the beaten track.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Spaghetti Pie

One word sums up this meal... Disappointed. After 45 minutes in the convection oven, the meatballs were still raw and the sauce was barely warm in the center. Not sure WHAT I did wrong, but after 50 minutes the boys were getting antsy for supper so I took the meatballs off and cooked them separately and put the sauce in a pot to simmer for 10 minutes. The flavour was okay but I personally like my own spaghetti sauce which has zucchini and carrots "snuck in" already so I think this recipe will be filed away to be used again, well... never... Sorry Jessica Seinfeld.

Meal Plan ~ Week 4 - 2011

This week our family is starting to make baby steps toward our journey of becoming more aware of where our food comes from and choosing ethical options. We are not taking this lightly because eating ethically does not necessarily equate to eating economically. We are amazed at the plethora of information and options out there, and are feeling a little overwhelmed at the moment, but are learning more and more everyday.

If the concept of ethical eating interests you, you can get more general info at Eat Kind. For information on Slow Food in America check out Local Harvest and for listings of Farmer's Markets in America check this out. For listings of Farmer's Markets across Canada check out Homemakers who also have a great article on 5 eco-friendly eating habits that is worth a look at. And finally for more Alberta and Calgary specific resources check out  Slow Food and Calgary Farmer Market.  I will post more links and ideas as I come across them. Please feel free to share any information that you may have as well!!

And here begins the week where I start to honestly deceive my son into eating his veggies thanks to Jessica Seinfeld and her Cook Book Deceptively Delicious. Wish me luck!

Monday ~ Spaghetti Pie served with Tossed Salad

Wednesday ~ Tuna Cakes served with Tossed Salad, Rice and Corn

Thursday ~ Aloha Chicken Kebabs, Mozzarella Sticks served with Steamed Broccoli

Saturday ~ Bolognese Style Penne served with Tossed Salad

Sunday ~ Company Coming - Parmesan Artichoke Dip, Shepard's Pie (no recipe) and Monkey Bread

Sometime this week I'll be making Deception Banana Bread, Deceiving Ketchup and Homemade Pancake Mix

Did you miss last week's reviews? Here is a taste of what happened... Follow me on Facebook to stay in the loop! 

For more meal plans and organization advise, visit Organizing Junkie

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Sweet Citrus Chicken

CALL THE PRESS!!! ... And tell them that I don't know what to say...

The chicken was nice and moist and fairly tasty. The problem lies with the stuffing mix. It had a decent flavour, but you could tell it was Stovetop Mix, and it was "baby food" goopy in some spots and "cut your gums" crunchy in others. This meal wasn't horrible, but I think I'll spend my effort on other recipes before I do this one again.

Meal Assembly Journey - Part 1 ~ The Sign up

My return to work after a year on Mat Leave is looming. This is my second swing at the bat so I have a pretty good idea of what the first few weeks of routine change will be like. I know that the schedule change from being at home 24/7 to being out of the house 9 hours a day/5 days a week will be a big one for the whole family and I know getting delicious and nutritious meals to the table on time will be a challenge until we get into "our groove".

The first time I went back to work after Mat Leave I went through a library of recipes and decided which ones would be good to freeze. I then purchased oven ready containers, made a master list of all the ingredients and spent 2 full days in the kitchen while I prepped and cooked enough meals to fill my freezer. A lot of work to say the least, but it DID save us BIG TIME when it came to the first few weeks back to work. (I did this when I was leaving for my Maternity Leaves as well so I had LOTS of food in my freezer for when the babes came - a HUGE lifesaver!) 

This time will be different...

I decided to try something I have been wanting to try for AGES... A Meal Assembly Company.

In my search I found many choices for companies that have ready made meals that you can pick up or have delivered (all of which look fabulous) and if you are not one to cook this may be the best option for you, but I love to cook so I chose Dashing Dishes of Calgary because they had a location close to my home, their meals sounded delicious as well as kid-friendly and nutritious and finally, I get to be a part of the process. 

Here are the other wonderful looking companies in Calgary that I found: 

Dashing Dishes (yup, they'll do all the work if you want - you just stop by to pick it up)

First Step with Dashing Dishes was to sign up online (which was a snap and took 2 minutes) you pick a session you would like to attend. The next step was to pick the meals you want to make out of their 14 choices; either 8 or 12 (or more, up to 24) THAT was the hard part because they all sounded so yummy! Each meal serves 4-6 people and you can also split your meals in half for no charge! (I opted for that choice, because my sons are not quite full portions yet). 

Now that all that is completed I just sit and wait for my session. I will be going on January 25th and will write about how my experience was and then finally I will write my humble reviews of the meals themselves. Be sure to come back and check out how the journey unfolds! 

This series will also be featured in the Kids in Cowtown Blog starting Jan 19th

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Sole with Lemon-Ginger Sauce

This recipe is from the book Crazy Plates by Janet and Greta Podleski. The sauce was bursting with a tangy flavour with a hint of sweet which would be just as tasty on chicken, but there is a but...

By no fault of the recipe, the fish shrunk to almost nothing. I have cooked with Sole Fillets before and I recall some shrinkage, but this was crazy ~ they almost disappeared... so needless to say this meal was tasty but left us hungry.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Turkey Stew with Biscuits

As I mentioned on my Meal Plan this week - I was just going to "wing" tonight's dinner so I don't have a recipe for you, but I will lay out the steps I took to get to the end result. It was very tasty, but didn't turn out exactly like I hoped, but a good starting point for next time. 
Now some of you may recall I didn't make Christmas Dinner; it was made by someone else in my home. So we ended up with some of the leftovers (some meat and the wings) but not the carcass. This is what I did with them...

Step 1 ~ I put the wings in a pot of water with large chunks of onion, some fresh parsley, some spices, a couple bay leaves, and a couple mushrooms chopped up. I brought that to a boil and let it simmer for about an hour under cover. I then let it cool until I could handle it and then strained the broth. 

Step 2 ~ I poured the liquid back into the pot and chopped up the meat, picked the meat from the wings and chopped it, added chopped carrot, celery, and a couple peeled and diced potatoes. I added lots of seasoning and covered the pot with a lid and simmered that for about an hour (until the potatoes and carrots were tender). I then added corn and peas and brought it to a boil, adding cornstarch to thicken it. 

Step 3 ~ Once it was thickened I poured it into a oven proof pot and laid Refrigerated Pillsbury biscuits on top and baked in a 375*F oven for about 30 minutes (until biscuits were browned). 

The flavour was fabulous (an experiment, so I tasted it MANY times along the way and added many different spices - you just have to be able to play with it) but it was a bit runny, so more like a soup than a stew. Everyone in the family loved it anyway and it was a nice, comforting way to use up some leftovers from Christmas.

Hope you enjoy! 


Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Broccoli Cheddar Chicken Bundles

Savour this description for a moment... "Chicken stuffed with cheddar, bacon and broccoli then coated with Shake'n'Bake" and baked until crispy.


Yup, it's that good. It takes a little bit of prep, but these fab little bundles of deliciousness are awesome! I used the "Southern Fried" style of Shake'n'Bake and it tasted terrific! I also swapped out the "cook and chop bacon" step with bacon bits (REAL) AND to top it off, my deception began tonight by me pulling the wool over my hubby's eyes and mixing 1/2 Cup cauliflower in with the mashed potatoes. It was super tasty and he had NO idea! *insert evil cackle here*

Go to Recipe! (You're going to want to!)

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

New Orleans Grilled Pork and Beans and Puree Prep

I have one word for this meal.. meh... I decided to roast the tenderloin rather than grill and they did turn out very moist and tender, but the sauce left lots to be desired. My son gobbled up all his meat, but he also dipped it in BBQ sauce. With the meat not being cooked on the grill, I opted to cook the bean mixture in a pot on the stove. It was tasty, but so is a plain tin of beans in tomato sauce without all the additions. This meal MIGHT taste better cooked on the grill outside, but I doubt it. It's kind of a bummer that this did not turn out as well as I hoped because I want to find a good recipe that incorporates beans in tomato sauce.


Now onto my Puree Prep. Some of you may recall that I received a copy of Deceptively Delicious and that I was going to blog about my veggie concealing journey. You may wonder why I spending so much time on this one book; it's because you have to think about your eating habits, look at all the recipes you want to cook and prep for them before you can even think about making them otherwise you'll spend a lot of time prepping daily.

Today I decided to prep a bunch of the required purees and have them ready in my freezer for when I start to make the recipes that I want to try. In 2 short hours I was able to prep, chop, steam, roast, microwave, blend and puree 28 - 1/2 cup portions of different veggies. Very Important - DO NOT OVER COOK THE VEG! You'll lose lots of the nutrients.

I ended up with 4 peas, 5 sweet potato, 6 carrots, 5 cauliflower, 2 zucchini, and 6 broccoli: plenty to start! I purchased the Ziplock brand "100 Calorie Snack Bags" (they work PERFECT) and wrote the type of veg on the bag with a Sharpie. I measured 1/2 Cup portions into each bag and then once they were cool, I sealed them and placed them by type into larger Ziplock bags and popped them in the freezer. Now I'm good to go to the next step - Listing the recipes I can't wait to try then start the deception. :)

Monday, January 10, 2011

Taco Bake and AWESOME Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

Tonight's meal is an old forgotten fave in this house we haven't had it in AGES. Not healthy at all, but super speedy and super tasty. Tonight I tried something a little different and shredded 2 carrots finely and put it in with the taco seasoning and my son had no idea. For an added crunch I added crushed tortilla chips on top with the cheese and salsa... mmmm...

I also made a batch of Oatmeal Raisin Cookies from the cook book Deceptively Delicious. They were a HUGE hit! I had a play date over at my house and the whole batch was gone between the kids, moms and my husband. So AWESOME and you really have no idea that there was zucchini in them. My only complaint was that they were a little "weak" in that they fell apart easily and when on the plate, they kind of "meshed" together. I may try to bake them a couple minutes longer next time I make them to see if that strengthens them up, and you can BET that I will be making these again and again. 

Meal Plan ~ Week 3 - 2010

This week is another one of those "use up what I have in the pantry" weeks. I have a lot of things in my pantry that were left over from the holidays and there were no good sales on this week. The great thing is is that I was able to find new recipes for my "old" ingredients, so let's see if any of these are any good...

Monday ~ Taco Bake served with Tossed Salad

Tuesday ~ New Orleans Grilled Pork and Beans served with Rice

Wednesday ~ Broccoli, Cheddar Chicken Bundles served with Mashed Potatoes

Thursday ~ Turkey Stew with Biscuits (Gonna "wing" this one; ha ha)

Friday ~ Family out for Dinner

Saturday ~ Sole with Lemon-Ginger Sauce (from Crazy Plates) served with Corn and Rice

Sunday ~ Sweet Citrus Chicken served with Quinoa and Steamed Veg

Some of you may recall I was recently given a copy of Deceptively Delicious by Jessica Seinfeld. I have gone through it and will be prepping some of the vegetable purees this week along with trying one cookie recipe - Oatmeal Raisin Cookies. Next week I look forward to the deception beginning!

I hope you have a fabulous week!


for more meal plan and organization advise, visit Organizing Junkie

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Creamy Beef and Noodle Bake

I didn't notice the reviews when I chose this meal last Sunday so when I looked at the recipe on the Kraft Site tonight and saw that not many people were pleased with it I knew I had to do some tweaking. Here is what I did differently than the recipe. I cooked the noodles as per the package directions. I cooked the ground beef and onions, but added some spices like garlic, seasoning salt, Italian spice, ground pepper, and chili powder. I only used 1 1/2 Cup veggies and thawed them first and lastly I only used 1 cup milk and 1/2 cup water. It turned out good; the boys devoured it without question. My husband said he thought it was so so and I thought it was adeqaut so I blended half of it up to make my 10 month old some portions and the rest was portioned for my preschooler and put them all in the freezer.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Sweet and Sticky Orange Chicken and some Future Deception

I need to start off by saying that my husband cooked tonight's meal and he did a great job. This was very tasty and although it took my preschooler a while to warm up to it, he ate most of his supper! My little 10 month old found it to be a touch spicy. There was some sweetness to it, but not a lot of sticky, the oranges added a nice burst of flavour. The bright colours make it a very pretty dish. I think this will make it's way to our table again someday. 

On a side note, my friend Jennifer of Chipperfield Photography recently gave me a copy of Deceptively Delicious by Jessica Seinfeld and I just can't wait to crack it open and start deceiving my son. 
Now I know there are 2 trains of thought on feeding children their veggies. One says to do what you can to get them to eat them and hide them if you have to and the other says that you have to get your child to appreciate veggies for what they look like and what they are or they will never eat them. 
Well, I have spent the last 2 1/2 years doing it the latter way and he started off strong, but now my son shirks almost all veggies. So now I'm on to the sneaky way!
Over the next few weeks I'll be going through the book and posting my thoughts along the way. Cross your fingers that it works!  


Thursday, January 6, 2011

Cheese, Brown Sugar and Kid's Scissors

Hello! It's time to catch up!
All the meals so far this week have not had recipes per say, I just make them out of my head and they vary each time. 

Tonight's meal was Sugar Ham, Cheesy Scalloped Potatoes, and Steamed Broccoli. For the Ham I mixed brown sugar, Dijon mustard and a little maple syrup and then poured the mixture over smoked ham that I had roughly chopped in 2 bite sized chunks. The Scalloped potatoes are made in a casserole dish which are alternating layers of (1) thinly sliced potatoes, (2) shredded cheddar, finely diced onions with dollops of Velveeta, and (3) a mixture of cheddar cheese soup mixed with sour cream, milk and water. I cover and bake my scalloped potatoes for about 1 1/2 hour at 350*. It's a slow process, but this meal is DELICIOUS. Not the most healthy, so I served a tossed salad on the side. 

My son and I also made a fun winter craft. A scissor skill pair of mittens. My son had a blast with this and I just kept drizzling the glue and letting him pile the bits of tissue paper and then we added a few sparkly "snow flakes" on top. It was easy and a lot of fun and it's nice to add a dash of colour and sparkle to the house after all the Christmas Decorations have been taken down. BTW - child safe scissors are key!

If you get a chance to make this craft share a photo on my Facebook page! :) 


Monday, January 3, 2011

Meal Plan ~ Week 2 - 2011

Well, the beginning of the transition from Stay at Home Mom to Working Full Time has begun, only in thought and early preparation this week, but a start none the less. I will probably be planning and executing a "fill my freezer" big cook sometime in the next couple weeks, so if that happens I will post my ideas, and recipes as time permits. 
There is going to be a lot of closet cleaning and organizing happening here so with simplicity in mind, many of my meals in the coming weeks are old family faves that don't have recipes to link to, but in my reviews I will let you know how I make them so be sure to follow my blog or visit me on Facebook for updates. :) 

Big changes are "a brewin'" both with my blog and our home life so be sure to continue coming back to check it out!

Monday ~ Perogies and Farmer's Sausage (my Son's fave and his request) - No recipe

Tuesday ~ Mom and Dad out for dinner with friends :)

Wednesday ~ BIG pot of Spaghetti and Meat Sauce (Some for my freezer) - No recipe
Thursday ~ Slow Cooker Honey Ham served with Cheesy Scalloped Potatoes and Broccoli - No recipe

Friday ~ Sweet and Sticky Orange Chicken served with Rice and Veggie

Saturday ~ BBQ Steak served with Roasted Baby Potatoes and Honey Carrots - No recipe

Enjoy your week!

for more meal plans and organizing advise, visit Organizing Junkie

Sunday, January 2, 2011

My own twist on 3 Cheese Beef Pasta Shells

Not pretty to look at, but pretty tasty to eat!

Well I was looking forward to making this meal all week, but when it came right down to it - I just didn't feel like stuffing a bunch of shells so I tweaked the recipe and it turned out pretty darn tasty and a whole lot easier (maybe not very pretty though) :) 
First I cooked Rigatoni noodles as per the package instructions. Next I browned Ground Beef and added Parsley and Garlic. Once it was no longer pink I took it off the heat and let it cool for 5 minutes. I then added in the Pasta Sauce, Cream Cheese, Parmesan Cheese, Egg, and Shredded Cheese. Once it was all combined I added it to the cooked pasta and mixed; then put it in a 9x13" pan that I sprayed with Cooking Spray and sprinkled 1/2 Cup Shredded Cheese on top. I covered it with tinfoil and baked at 350* for 40 minutes. 
No the fastest pasta casserole dish, but pretty easy to whip together. 
If you decide to make this recipe and stuff the shells, you'll have to let me know how it turned out! 

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Bonus Post - Your Ticket on the Digital Scrapbook Blog Train!!

Happy New Year!! 

I just HAD to share with you that today there is a Digital Scrapbook Blog Train - Woo Hooo!!! If you are a digital scrapbooker and want oodles of ideas and mini kits stop on by the Blog Train. Taking a look at the list, there is just under 100 participants!! 

Have a great day and enjoy your ride on the Blog Train... Choo Choo!!


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