Monday, March 30, 2009

It's Not A Cafeteria

The credit for this goes to LOL Saints. Go there. Seriously.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Picture Thoughts to Share

I promise.....even though he's giving that look, he LOVES the bath. He splashes, and splashes, and splashes. Hee hee.

And this is me with my babies. One slung on front, one on the back. And my "baby" there in the back who is starting to look more and more like a man than a boy.

Flower has hair. And she's sooooo cute. :) I love her to pieces.

And my little man helping out and holding My Lovey so I could do some much needed cleaning. Thanks bud.

And my yarn. I over-dyed it again with more red, blue, and a purple-y blue. It's gorgeous!! I love it and can't wait to knit Flower's mittens.
You can find me on Ravelry as MamaMidwife if you want to see what else I've been up to knitting. I finished Lovey's sweater and a pair of shorties.


Saturday, March 21, 2009

Week 2

The menu continues to go long as I keep up.

Shopping has been a breeze and the leftovers are welcome escapes for trying to figure out what to do for lunch everyday.

I did finally get too busy one day and "skipped" a day of dinner. That is a bad idea, and not something I will repeat. It makes it far too easy to continue skipping dinners as you try to figure out when to make the missed meal.

Wednesday, the day after I skipped said meal, my husband went to the fridge and then gave me a strange look. Then he looked at the calendar, with my menu on it, and looked in the fridge again. Another strange look shot I was (sorry, we're watching Star Wars this morning).

He said, "Hmmm. Where's the mexican rice?" I told him I skipped it....too busy to cook last night.

"Well, why bother having a calendar if we're not going to keep to it? You know I have a calendar up there for work with my schedule on it. What if I decide to just 'skip' a day? Can I do that? *shakes head* Then why can you??"

He had a good point.


Friday, March 20, 2009

I've Been Busy

Dying that is.


That's the wool with some Berry Blue Kool-Aid on it and "Warm Red", which is Blastin' Berry Cherry with a packet of tangerine.

I tried to mix them to make purple, and got brown. I tried again and got black. I decided I'd just have red, white, and blue yarn. So I put it in the oven.....

And then I had an epiphany. I mixed just a little, itty-bitty bit of Cherry with a whole packet of Berry Blue. Voila! A midnight blue/violety color. I pulled the wool out of the oven and put it into all the white spots (as much as I could).

This is the end result from the oven. Still a little white. I'm hoping it knits up nice. These are for Flower's mittens.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

You know....

You know you're in a weird nursing position when your child unlatches from your breast after the let down and milk sprays YOU in the face.


Sunday, March 8, 2009

Week 1...

My husband has missed most of this week's meals. He has worked four 12 hour shifts since Thursday and doesn't really care what's being made. On Friday, when I made my Bean and Portabella Mushroom Enchiladas (recipe to follow), he politely asked for some cheese sandwiches and microwave popcorn to take to work. Hmm.

So far I like this menu planning. We'll see if I get sick of eating the same thing every week. Every. E-V-E-R-Y. Doesn't that word look weird?? It doesn't seem right. You know how if you focus too long on how a word is spelled and sounds it starts to sound and look funny. Say it with me - every. Every. Every. Every. E-very. "ee" "vary"???? I know I'm off track - THIS IS HOW MY BRAIN WORKS PEOPLE.

Right now, I'm chomping on some leftover meatloaf and potatoes from last night. Yummy.

I stuck to the plan all week and forced myself to cook meals (as planned) even on nights when I did NOT feel like cooking, or cleaning up the kitchen to cook for that matter. The only night I skipped was tonight. Seeing all the leftovers in the fridge made me think better than to add another log to the fire. Maybe I'll have to incorporate a "leftover night" in next month's menu.

Pros and Cons from this week.


  • Cooking this often has forced me to do dishes more often, therefore resulting in (slightly) cleaner kitchen
  • Making a menu and planning ahead has made me think more about what we're eating
  • Planning necessitates organization


  • Cooking this often has forced me to do dishes more often, therefore resulting in (slightly) cleaner kitchen
  • Making a menu and planning ahead has made me think more about what we're eating
  • Planning necessitates organization

Yes, I realize the same thing is on both lists. I did that on purpose. It's supposed to be funny. No, I'm not nuts.

Ok, a real con - Cutting corners by using some processed foods to save time ('cause I got a baby and a toddler, not to mention more kids) has caused an interesting smell to creep into our home. Namely, flatulence. Really yucky, stinky-smelling, everyone-thinks-Dad-did-it-but-he's-at-work, flatulence. We are all laughing right now.

Doing extra dishes does kind of suck, but it's kind of nice too. Another pro is not thinking about "what's for dinner?" I hate doing that and this eliminates that issue.

My last big goal for this week is going to be to make an inventory list of my kitchen that I can print and fill out each week before I go shopping to see what I already have vs. what I need.

Recipe, as promised:

Bean and Portabella Mushroom Enchiladas

1 can refried beans (15 oz.-ish)

1 can enchilada sauce (15 oz.-ish, I like Old El Paso)

6 flour or corn tortillas, 6 inch

1 8 oz bag shredded cheese (we like Kraft "Taco" cheese, it's got seasonings in it, and probably some MSG, but hey, it's good)

2-3 Portabella Mushroom Caps (these I found regular priced for $2.49 for 14 oz. at the big city's grocery store!! the 2-3 were leftover from the strogonoff I made on Wednesday, the original plan was just bean enchiladas)

Oven 350

Slice portabellas to thickness you like. Spread beans, sprinkle cheese, lay mushrooms, and spoon enchilada sauce into the center of each tortilla. Roll up and place seam side down in 8x8 baking pan. Pour remaining sauce (about 1/2 the can should be left) over enchiladas. Sprinkle insane ample amount of cheese over sauce. Bake for 20 minutes OR cover with plastic/foil/lid and put in freezer (which is what I did) for another night. Take out in the morning to thaw and then put in 350 oven for 25 minutes.

Inhale Eat enchiladas at leisure.

Double recipe for 9x13 pan.

Goes great with my step-mother's authentic Mexican Rice -

1 small white or yellow onion

4 on-the-vine tomatoes

2 tablespoons tomato boullion (yes it has MSG, yes it's delicious, no I don't think about it)

2 cups medium grain white rice (I like Goya)

2-3 tablespoons corn oil (must be corn oil, it gives it some of it's flavor)

4 cups VERY HOT water

In a large-ish, high sided, 12 inch (or bigger) frying-type pan (can I be a little more indistinct??) heat oil and uncooked rice over medium high heat, stirring constantly until rice is a beautiful golden brown. DO NOT skip this step. It is boring, but it makes your rice taste awesome. Meanwhile ('cause you've got 4 hands, right?), wash the tomatoes (T-O-M-A-T-O, this one's wrong too, tomato, to-mat-o). Cut into quarters and place in food processor OR blender. Peel and quarter the onion. Put onion and tomato boullion in the food processor OR blender. If using food processor, let 'er rip. If using a blender, add about half of the VERY HOT water and let 'er rip. Turn the heat down on the pan. FP - pour contents into pan at the same time as VERY HOT water. B - pour contents in and add the rest of the VERY HOT water. Turn heat up to high & bring to a boil. Cover and simmer over very low heat for about 1/2 hour, or until all the water is absorbed, stirring once or twice during cooking. It will be hot, hot, hot so let it sit for about 10 minutes with the lid off away from heat before you dig in or you'll scorch your tongue.


Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Monthly Menu Experiment

My friend suggested that I conquer the kitchen and my sanity by planning a menu. I've done this before without great results. Her suggestion was to pick 7 meals that everyone will eat and remake the same 7 meals each week. Easy shopping, easy cooking, easy organizing.

This is week 1 of the experiment. This month's menu is:

Sunday - Spaghetti Bake (noodles (wheels, penne, etc.), sauce, meat, shredded cheese, baked until bubbly)
Monday - Spaghetti with Meat Sauce
Tuesday - Homemade Mexican Rice, with seasoned beef, cheese, sour cream, salsa and tortilla chips
Wednesday - Beef and Mushroom Strogonoff
Thursday - Chicken Teriyaki Rice
Friday (it's Lent folks) - Alternate Bean & Mushroom Enchiladas OR Mushroom Alfredo (which would normally be Chicken & Mushroom Alfredo)
Saturday - Meatloaf w/Mashed Potatoes

I took stock of my pantry, refrigerator, and freezer......and made a list. I only bought the things on my list. I also included items for lunch. A common lunch that lasts all week is Chicken & Broccoli Alfredo. But mostly, lunch will be leftovers. Breakfast is either eggs, waffles, or cereal. My secret snack is homemade granola.

I am curious to see if I can keep up with the planning and stay on track. I posted my monthly menu on a bulletin board and taped the weekly menu, complete with breakfast, lunch, and dinner, on the door of my pantry. I bought two weeks worth of groceries and should only have to refill things like eggs, milk, and produce next week, which will hopefully make for a short, inexpensive shopping trip.

My same friend suggested that I think about what is reasonable to spend on groceries for a week, a month, a day, etc. I have always struggled with this. Am I spending too much? Not enough? Does what I spend make sense for us?

She had heard that a good amount is $4/day/person - $.50 for breakfast, $1.00 for lunch, $1.50 for dinner, and $.50 for snacks (2/day).

For my family of 7, which is sometimes only 5, that comes to: $20/day x 2 weeks = $280 and $8/day x 1 week = $56 (they're only here 7 out of 14 days)....grand total $336/2 weeks or $168/week.

I was surprised to find once I used this formula that I actually do spend a reasonable amount of income on groceries most of the time. To keep it in check, I need to make sure I bring a list, only buy what's necessary, and stay away from tempting, easy fix items like pizza rolls and cookies. Keeping staples in stock by buying in bulk is helping too. I always have enough flour, sugar, butter, oats, dried fruit, chocolate chips, etc., to make cookies, granola, waffles, cake (which I have not had in over a week!!), pancakes, or any other baked good my family desires.

I'll keep you posted on the menu experiment. I wonder how my family will like it?