Sunday, March 28, 2010

Menu Plan Monday--March 28, 2010

I forgot to defrost the steaks last week so it rolls over to this week. Here's what we plan to eat this week:

Sunday: hamburgers, mac n cheese, veggies
Monday: grilled teriyaki chicken with a Lipton side dish
Tueday: steak, twice baked potatoes, veggies
Wednesday: chicken stir fry and white rice
Thursday: pork tenderloin, mashed potatoes, veggies*
Good Friday: fish for hubby, pizza for me

*Easiest pork tenderloin recipe ever: Cook a 3 to 5 lb pork tenderloin, uncovered, at 325 degrees for 2 and a half to 3 hours. (All I do is season with salt and pepper and plop the meat in a 13x9 casserole-type dish.) With about half an hour of cooking time remaining, you'll make a glaze: combine 1/3 cup horseradish mustard and 12 oz. pineapple preserves (jam, jelly, whatever), in a saucepan and heat it up on the stove. When there's 15 minutes of cooking time remaining, brush the glaze onto the roast (I just pour it all over and let it drip down into a puddle) and return it to the oven. Easy, yummy, impossible to mess up. Enjoy!

To see what others are eating this week, visit Organizing Junkie.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

TILT--Stuff for $1

Today I'm sharing a bunch of little things for Things I Love Thursday hosted by the Diaper Diaries. Each of these things cost me a single dollar yet has made my life easier.
First (top left), I got that little timer at Dollar Tree. Traditionally I've used the timer feature on my microwave, but at some point it became apparent that I needed an additional timer (e.g. timing the rice while cooking something else in the microwave). Now I use my portable little timer all the time whether it's to limit the time I spend on the internet or giving myself 15 minutes to clean/declutter. Very handy.
Next to that (top right) is a nifty dry-erase weekly calendar I got at Target's dollar area about a year ago (during gardening season). At the time I had been using this printable from
Organized Home. She has tons of great printables, check it out! It worked great, but I was going through a lot of paper, so when I saw this I had to have it. I love it! Every week (I mean to do it on Sunday, but it's usually Monday) I put recurring events (school and speech) on their correct days, then I look at my main calendar and add any additional events or reminders. If I've planned meals for the week (and hopefully I have) that day's meal is listed as well. Just basic, easy for me to see and not get ahead of myself, just one week at a time.
Below that (bottom right) is a butterfly net my son chose from the dollar area of Target one day while we were shopping (again around gardening season). It entertained him all while shopping and for hours of play since then. The bonus that I've found is I use it all the time to grab things that are out of reach, such as toys stuck under the couch or pacifiers under T's crib. You can't see from the picture but it has a nice long handle so it's been really handy. Love it!
Finally (bottom left) I'm sure you'll recognize one of those knee pads for gardening (again from the dollar area of Target). This I use for my knees while giving my kids baths. Works great, but as you can see, I've worn dents into it over the course of the year and just bought a new one from Dollar Tree to replace it. A dollar per year seems like a reasonable cost to spare my knees.
So that's what I'm loving this week--$1 home helpers. Check out what others love at Diaper Diaries. What $1 finds help you around the house?
PS Sorry for all the dashes between paragraphs, sometimes blogger doesn't recognize my paragraphs. Argh. Anyone know how to fix that?!

Monday, March 22, 2010

Menu Plan Monday--March 22nd

I am joining the Organizing Junkie today for Menu Plan Monday. Here's what we're eating this week.

Sunday: Mexican grilled chicken

Monday: Burritos

Tuesday: Sausage pasta bake

Wednesday: Crockpot Curry Chicken

Thursday: Steak

Friday: Fish/pizza

Mexican grilled chicken. My husband found this recipe online and we love it. It's just a great-tasting marinade and then we grill it outside. Check it out here. I eat it like a fajita--tortilla plus chicken plus cheese. My husband makes a burrito with beans, avocado, the works.

Burritos. There are a thousand ways to make burritos, here's my easy way of doing it. Brown and season ground beef--I use pepper, red pepper flakes, cayenne, cumin, chili powder, garlic powder. When my husband makes it (which he usually does) I think he uses paprika and cilantro as well. Use your imagination. Once the beef is cooked through and drained, add in a can of diced tomatoes with green chilies (I prefer tomatoes with jalapenos but I can never find that product anymore, darn it, tell me if you know a place that sells it), bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes. Done. Serve with tortillas, beans, cheese, whatever.

I didn't mean to have two burrito-esque meals in a row, but I can't change the other meals around this week. That's okay, we love southwestern fare.

Sausage pasta bake. This is another one that everyone has their way of doing it. Here's mine. I brown some Italian sausage. Ideally I find hot italian sausage in bulk, but if I have to buy mild or in the casing that's fine too. If it's in a casing I just remove it. I pre-cook my penne pasta by boiling it 8 or 9 minutes rather than the full amount of time recommended on the package. I saute frozen pepper strips. I assemble the ingredients in a corningware dish--penne, sausage, peppers, a jar of marinara sauce, then top with mozzarella. Bake in a 350-degree oven covered with foil for 30 minutes, remove the foil and bake 10 minutes more. Then I usually give it a couple minutes under the broiler. Voila.

Crockpot Curry Chicken. Super easy: put vegetables in the crockpot (I use frozen pepper strips, pre-cut mushrooms, baby carrots, frozen broccoli); add chicken (in our case, that's two boneless skinless breasts); cover with sauce; cook on low till for 8 to 10 hours. For my curry crockpot, we like this stuff. It's a solid, but it becomes a sauce when mixed with 2 and 1/2 cups of warm water. And if I can only find medium rather than hot, I'll add some red Thai curry paste (in our opinion, the medium tastes mild and the hot tastes medium). So veggies + chicken + sauce = dinner. Easy. We serve this with white rice. You can use this "recipe" with any kind of sauce. I use marinara sauce and call it cacciatore.

Steak. This one speaks for itself, my husband will grill them outside, we'll eat it with mashed potatoes and one of these.

Fish/pizza. It's a Friday in Lent so we abstain from meat. My husband will make himself something seafood and I'll have a frozen cheese pizza. Yum.

To see what others are cooking this week, head over here. Thanks for stopping by, happy cooking!

Friday, March 19, 2010

Picture My Memories--Long Skirts

Today I'm joining Tanna at Complete Organizing Solutions for her new link-up, Picture My Memories. In her words, "I strongly believe in passing on memories to future generations instead of STUFF."

I took this picture when I was finally able to part with some of my favorite skirts. It was the beginning of '08 and I was gathering stuff to donate to one of those charities that sends you a card when they will be on your street. Don't you love that?! It doesn't get any easier than that. At that point, it had been several years since I'd worn any of these skirts, but I loved them and I loved the skinnier, more carefree girl I was in them (back in the day). When I'd donated clothes in the past, I had not been willing to part with them. This time, however, I had an epiphany. Take a picture. So I took this picture and sent the skirts to a new home. :-)The skirt on the left (navy with pink flowers) was the beginning of my love affair with long skirts. I remember buying it with my BFF, I think in my early college days. It was so long ago, I don't even remember which store. I wore it with a long-sleeved pink shirt. I wore it for my birthday once in college--the year we went to the chocolate brunch. Yum. Okay that makes it 1994. When I got married in the fall of '98, it was my "wave goodbye" outfit at our reception.
I don't know how you did it, but toward the end of our reception, I went in a room across the hall and changed out of my enormous wedding gown so my mom could take it home and we could head off to our honeymoon. I changed into this skirt and shirt and returned briefly to the reception before we said our goodbyes and headed off into the sunset.-

I bought the white/cream skirt with blue and brown flowers in 1995 for my summer job in the accounting department of a law firm. I love the blue and brown color combination. I shopped with my mom and we paired it with a blue vest that I grew to hate. I soon found a different blue top to go with this skirt and it became one of my favorite outfits. I remember I wore it in spring 1997 for a choir concert. I have a video of that concert and oh how I envy how thin I was back then.
The blue skirt I remember buying at Casual Corner, though I don't know when. I remember I wore it to see the musical "Chicago," so that would've been during law school and I also wore it to my sister's college granduation in (the worst year of my life) 1999. I wore it with a cute cream colored top and it became another favorite outfit.
I remember shopping for the pink skirt in the summer of 1998. I was interning at a law firm and we had a party coming up. A fellow intern shopped with me at Express and we found this skirt. Loved it! Finding a top to match was challenging but we found a cami and short-sleeved sweater top ina light olive green. Another outfit I loved. The last time I squeezed into it was 2000 or 2001.
So lots of good times were had in these beautiful skirts, but I'd outgrown them by several sizes and they'd just been taking up closet space for several years. I'm glad they have moved on to new homes and I'm glad I have the picture to remember them by.
For more Picture My Memories, head here. Thanks for stopping by!