Monday, January 26, 2009

Menu Plan Monday

This should be a pretty simple and easy menu this week as hubby won't be home for dinner most nights and I'll be taking care of the munchkin all day. I figure it's better to plan super simple things than to end up not eating because I don't have a plan! And with a four month old...if I'm not organized things just don't get done!

Monday: Breakfast for Dinner (eggs on toast, sausage, hash brown)
Tuesday: Tomato soup and grilled cheese sandwich
Wednesday: mini homemade pizza...or a frozen pizza if I'm feeling really lazy!
Thursday: Fish, rice, and veggies
Friday: Chicken caesar salad
Saturday: Roasted chicken, rice or mashed potatoes, veggies
Sunday: Most likely leftovers

It should be an easy week dinner-wise...and I think the Munchkin and I are going to have a fun week together! She's even coming in to work with me a couple times!

Friday, January 23, 2009

Company Girl Coffee 1.23.09

Good Morning Girls!

This week did not start off great for me. I should start off by saying that ten years ago my husband (then my boyfriend) and I bought our very first pet. It was our first pet together, but it was also my very first pet EVER. He was a little tiny black dwarf rabbit, and we named him Midnight. He was the best rabbit ever. We trained him to use a litter box, and later when we got Duke (our German Shepherd) the two of them were the cutest pair! You wouldn't think a tiny dwarf rabbit and a German Shepherd would be friends, but they were. They'd chase each other around the yard (yes, chase each other. Midnight would actually try to chase Duke. It was hilarious). Midnight was also very particular about how his cage was set up. He had to have his little house (a little wooden structure Ben built for him, he usually slept in there and occasionally chewed on it) in the back corner and he couldn't have too many shavings in there. On days when I'd clean his cage out we'd play a game where I'd fill his little house up with shavings and he'd dive in and shovel it all out with his paws.

Last Thursday when I fed Midnight I noticed that he seemed to be getting thinner and wasn't as active as he usually is. I figured I'd give it a day and see if maybe he was just having a lazy day, which he's done before - he just sort of hangs out and relaxes instead of hopping all over the place. So Friday came and he didn't look any better, I could feel his little spine and when he'd lay down he had trouble getting back up. It was like half of his body wasn't working, and he'd sort of scramble to try to get up and just not make it. So, since he's rather old I decided to make him an appointment at the vet just in case there was something wrong, and he was supposed to go to the vet on Tuesday (after the holiday). Well...Monday morning I got up and went to see him and he seemed to be about the same. He looked like he'd lost some weight, and when I picked him up and snuggled him he didn't want to get down. Usually he'll let me snuggle him for a few minutes, but then he gets fidgety and wants to hop around and play. It wasn't like that Monday morning. After awhile I went back upstairs to take care of the baby while Ben plowed the driveway.

When I went back downstairs a couple hours later to help Ben finish the plowing, I went over to check on Midnight. I guess he had just waited until he'd gotten some morning snuggles before he went into his "house" and passed away. He looked peaceful in there, just laying down like he'd gone to take a nap...

Ben found some wood and we made his little house into a coffin. I wrapped him up in some fabric and we put some carrots in, and said a little prayer. And Ben dug a hole out back where Midnight used to go and eat clovers and we buried him up on that hill. I miss that little bun. In the spring I think we'll put up a little plaque and I'll plant some flowers.

Farewell my little friend. You were a very loved little bunny.

So, aside from that, my week has been fairly calm. I made some fantastic toffee (has anyone ever had the toffee that includes Saltines? You wouldn't think it would work, but it does!) and had lots of fun playing with the Munchkin. She's learned how to roll over and has now figured out that if she continues to roll in the same direction she can roll herself across the room! Only occasionally does she get hung up - if she manages to change direction and roll into one of the support things on her jungle gym she gets stuck there, which is rather amusing.

I hope everyone else had a great week and you're not as snowed in as we are!

Monday, January 19, 2009

Menu Plan Monday

This will be a quick post since Ben's home today so we're going to hang out together! This week I made a big list of what we have in the fridge/freezer/cupboards and then let Ben decide which meals he'd like, and then figured out where those meals fit into our schedule. So, this week we're having:

Monday: cheese tortellini with tomato sauce, garlic bread, salad

Tuesday: sweet & sour pork (with leftovers from Sunday's pork roast), rice, veggies

Wednesday: steak and cheese sandwiches, onion rings, salad

Thursday: New England boiled dinner (corned beef, potatoes, cabbage)

Friday: Cheeseburger macaroni (I've had a box of Hamburger Helper in the cupboard for awhile, and I don't love it, but I figure we'd better eat it up before it expires...)

Saturday: BBQ chicken and caramelized onion pizza

Sunday: Breakfast

Visit I'm an Organizing Junkie for more!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Homemade Brownies

I have to admit that I for a long time I could not make homemade brownies that were as good as what I could make out of a box. They always had the wrong consistency, or they didn't taste chocolately enough...or hubby just didn't like them! I've finally made some that I love - and it only gets one dish dirty! Yay!

Chocolate Brownies
4 squares unsweetened chocolate
3/4 cup butter (1.5 sticks)
2 cups sugar
3 eggs
dash of vanilla (I never measure this. maybe a teaspoon?)(mint extract is also a yummy option)
1 cup flour
You could add a cup of nuts or chocolate chips or whatever, but Ben likes his brownies plain.

Melt the chocolate and butter together in a pan over low-medium heat (you could also do this in the microwave, but I'm sort of anti-microwave for cooking. I'm weird.). Stir in the sugar. Add the eggs and vanilla and stir until it's well blended. Stir in the flour. Pour into a greased 13x9 pan and bake at 350 for 30 minutes. Let it cool in the pan and then cut.

I made these last night and then sort of forgot that I left them on the they stayed out all night and I had a hard time getting them out of the pan this morning...and getting the dog to stay away while I dropped brownie crumbs all over the kitchen floor.

Macaroni and Cheese

So far this week's menu is working out very well! So I thought I'd share some of my recipes...

Homemade Macaroni and Cheese
2 cups uncooked elbow macaroni (or use whatever pasta you like)
Bacon - a few slices
1/2 a medium onion, diced
flour - a couple tablespoons
milk - 2 cups-ish
shredded sharp cheddar cheese - 1.5 - 2 cups

You can see I don't really measure when I cook...

So! Boil the macaroni for about 10 minutes or until al dente (or a little more, my hubby likes it just past al dente but before it gets mushy). While the macaroni is boiling:

Cook the bacon, reserving a couple tablespoons of the rendered fat. Crumble the bacon on the side (or, if you don't want bacon in your mac and cheese you can save it for something else). Saute the onions in the reserved bacon fat (you can omit the bacon totally and use a couple tablespoons of butter for this if you want). When those are nice and translucent add a couple tablespoons of flour - enough to make a pastey consistency with the bacon fat/butter. Stir that around for a minute or two. Slowly add 1.5 to 2 cups of milk and whisk. Keep whisking until the mixture starts to thicken and then add the cheddar cheese. Whisk it all together until the cheese is melted and the sauce is nice and thick. Your cheese sauce is all done!

Drain the pasta and put it into a casserole dish (I think I usually use a 2 qt one) and pour the cheese sauce over. If you want bacon in there add it now. Stir everything together. You can eat it at this point if you like, but I like mine backed with a little bit of crunchiness so I usually add some bread crumbs - or - I've recently discovered that stuffing mix is delicious on top! Stick it in the oven at about 350 for half an hour or so until the top is all nice and crunchy. Dinner's ready!

Monday, January 12, 2009

Menu Plan Monday

Good Morning!

Ben helped with menu planning again this week! We're trying even harder to budget now that I'm working only part-time. For this week we have planned:

Monday: Homemade macaroni and cheese (It's already put together and in the fridge so Ben can pop it in the oven before I get home from work)

Tuesday: Chicken Stir-Fry

Wednesday: Cheeseburger meatloaf, scalloped potatoes, steamed veggies

Thursday: Breakfast for Dinner (eggs, bacon, toast, hash browns or corned beef hash)

Friday: Baked chicken, rice, steamed veggies

Saturday: Hamburgers, steak fries, salad

Nothing particularly exciting or new this week, just trying to use up what we already have in the freezer and the cupboards.

Visit Laura over at I'm an Organizing Junkie for lots more Menu Plan Mondays!

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Menu Plan Monday, er, Wednesday

Dudes, I am so late with everything so far! So much for New Years Resolutions! Wait, I didn't resolve to stay punctual with anything! Maybe I ought to...

I actually planned our menu for the week on Sunday, and then did about a month's worth of plans on Monday. How those fit into the rotation will more or less depend on what's on sale at the time. Anyhow, Ben actually helped a lot with the menu planning this week! We came up with lots of different meals so now I have about a months worth of menus to work with. I try not to plan too far ahead, and usually finalize my plans on Sunday so that I can incorporate whatever is on sale at the grocery store that week. But having a rough idea works great for me because it's one less thing I have to worry about during the day!

Monday: Stuffed Peppers. This was a "Make Again" meal for Ben.

Tuesday: Penne with meatballs and sauce, garlic bread. Another "Make Again."

Wednesday: Breakfast for Dinner - bacon, eggs on toast, hash browns

Thursday: Honey Mustard Chicken, potatoes (mashed I think), steamed veggies

Friday: BBQ Chicken Pizza with Caramelized Onions

Saturday: Fish, rice and veggies

Sunday: Taco Salads

Today I MUST put away the four loads of laundry that are sitting in the guest bedroom. I have no idea how we produce as much laundry as we do. It's ridiculous. And by the time I manage to get it all clean and dried I'm so tired that I have no energy to put it away. But today - I will! Because tomorrow - my aunt is coming to spend the night and the guest bed is currently covered in laundry! :)

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year!
I'm a little late in posting as of late, but I finally have a few minutes for a quick update!
Our Christmas was fantastic. I love having everybody at the house, and I'm so glad that our new(ish) house has plenty of room for everybody to spend the night without being on top of one another.
One of my favorite Christmas gifts this year:
Now let me explain it. :) A couple years ago, when Ben was deployed, my brother, Allen, and I went to my parents house and we baked Christmas cookies together. But, because while we strictly adhere to traditions (like baking cookies together) we aren't exactly always traditional in what we make. That year we had the drunk Christmas penguin, a Christmas fried egg, and Christmas Pac Man and Ghosts, and, our favorite, Stuart the Christmas Elephant (I have no idea how we came up with Stuart's name, it just happened). That Christmas Allen shellacked Stuart, put a ribbon on him, and gave him to me for my Christmas tree. And for two years Stuart proudly hung on the tree...until this year. This year he came out of the ornament box...a little fuzzy. And green. I suppose when you use actual cookie dough rather than dough intended for ornaments mold is perhaps inevitable. And with the baby I didn't want to keep anything moldy hanging around on the tree (or anywhere else for that matter...). So Stuart ended up in the trash. I wrote my brother a sad little email about how I had to get rid of Stuart...and this year I got the ornament above. That is a picture of the actual Stuart the Christmas Elephant (apparently we thought it was so funny that we took a picture of the cookie), in a Seasons Greetings frame that Allen made, with a ribbon to hang on the tree. The back of it says:
"Stuart The Ghost of Christmas Elephants Past, 2008." I think it's hilarious and thoughtful. I love my brother. :)
Madelyn got a new hat (amongst a trove of other clothes and toys). I just thought the picture was hilarious.

And eventually she got sick of the whole Christmas thing and just needed a nap:
So now, onward to the new year! I've resolved to try harder to keep up with the Small Things, and to do a little extra every day. And I'm trying hard to get into some sort of household routine so that the laundry gets done, and the bathrooms get cleaned and my house doesn't generally fall apart. :) I read someplace that it takes 21 days to get into a new habit, so I'm resolving to start 12 new healthy habits this year (just small ones, nothing huge) - one per month. I figure that way I can get into the habit of one of those, and then once it's already a part of my life - I can start another one. We're talking really small though. This month's is to bring up the yucky dishcloth & kitchen towel every night and throw it in the laundry (or at least the laundry pile) so that it doesn't get stinky in the kitchen sink. :) See? SMALL.

In current, and totally unrelated to anything, knitting news - I haven't finished a darn thing. Go figure. I'm partway through the foot of the blue and brown socks (which are someone's Christmas gift for next year), and working on the heel of the pink and blue socks (another gift, although I'm not sure for who yet...), and still working on the mittens from Karen's homespun. I have finished nothing. Maybe I should incorporate knitting into my new years resolutions somehow....