Dinner menu for the week of May 27th

This whole meal planning thing is starting to get a bit easier.  Having said that, it does seem like every week, something comes up that changes my plan.

Last week, we skipped the salad night on Thursday, because I went out to dinner with some of my sweet girlfriends.  It was SO nice to have a night out.  With a daily goal of 90% real food, and 10% everything else, I spent pretty much ALL of my 10% on an amazing dark chocolate brownie topped with ice cream and drizzled dark chocolate sauce.  It may have been closer to 20% though.   Shhhhhhh.

Saturday, I had every intention of making the poached eggs with bacon and asparagus, but the bacon jumped out of the package onto the kitchen floor earlier that morning.  It was a total loss.  I decided to combine the asparagus that was on the menu, with the salmon planned for tonight (Sunday).  It turned out amazing!

salmon

BTW, Dave said that I have to acknowledge that HE cooked this masterpiece.  He reminded me that I always have to credit the chef.

Even though the salmon ruled, both the chicken parmigiana, and the taquitos were the stars of last week’s menu.  Actually…the wild rice soup was awesome too.  It is really great when there are no whammies on a menu.  All the recipe links are here.

It is the last week in May, and I am WAY over my grocery budget already.  I was hoping to get back on track by making smoothies instead of juice, but it has been a harder transition than I had hoped.  I have a freezer full of frozen fruit for smoothies, but have been buying tons of fresh stuff to accommodate Trevor’s desire for “doooooooce”.  It is hard for me argue with a 2yo that begs for kale, spinach, beet, celery, carrot, orange and apple juice.  I mean honestly.

So, I am resolved this week to only use items that I have on hand in order to give the bank account a break.  Yikes!  This will mean smoothies (sorry Trevor) using the frozen fruit, and only trips to the store for milk.  This should work given that we plan to skip eating at home two of the seven nights.

Monday:  Happy Memorial Day!!!  We will be going somewhere to eat some BBQ most likely.

Tuesday:  Salsa chicken tacos.  We will use corn tortillas, and add avocados, cheese and tomatoes.

Wednesday:  Creamy chicken and wild rice soup.  Replay from last week.  It was so good, AND this is a “use it up” week for us.

Thursday:  Dave and I will be going out to dinner for our 4th wedding anniversary.  Yay for date night!

Friday: Cheesy pesto chicken bake.  I will be making my own pesto in the Vitamix.  Hope it turns out well!

Saturday:  French toast with carmalized bananas.  Inspired by this recipe, but I will be using whole grain bread and whole milk for the egg mixture.

Sunday:  We do not have any seafood on hand except some frozen pub battered halibut that has been in the freezer for longer than I care to admit.  Not a real food option sadly.  We will be having soup again (ya know…to use it up) that I will pull from the freezer.  Can I tell you how much I appreciate having cooked ahead?!?

In closing, I am reflecting on Memorial Day, and how its significance reaches far beyond the BBQs, and the day we get off work.  I am humbled by the service and sacrifice of those that have made the US safer.  May we never forget what you have done for us, and may we live lives worthy of your gift.

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Being present

Last week Dave and I finished a 13 week course called “It takes two to talk”.  The course is for parents of kids with speech delays, and it is designed to give you skills to help encourage language development at home.  There were five other couples going through the course with us.

The very first week of the course, we discussed how to “OWL”.  It emphasized the importance of Observing, Waiting and Listening.  The premise is that we need to give kids a chance to initiate language.  We need to WAIT on them to communicate, and take the time to really understand what they are trying to say.  Sometimes, this means playing in silence until they have something to communicate, while still giving them cues to take their turn.  It was such a departure from what I knew.  I thought you were supposed to fill the void with words and descriptions, and sounds.    Of every lesson we learned…the very first is still my biggest challenge.  The other topics were equally valuable, but weaved throughout every single class….the speech therapist would remind us be OWLing at home.

On the 10th of May, we went for a six month follow-up appointment with the developmental clinic that originally referred Trevor to speech therapy back in December.  It was a LONG appointment with tests, and questions, and other gross and fine motor type activities.  During the appointment, while I was encouraged with much of Trevor’s progress in his gross motor skills, there was a noticeable delay or lack of response to many receptive language exercises.  Also, he is still not joining two words together consistently.  I left the appointment feeling pretty mixed.  It had been officially six months since we began all of the appointments and meetings, and I had hoped we would be farther along.

Just a few days  later on the 14th, we finished up our “It takes two to talk” class.  Dave hung with the boys while I attended solo.  Good thing he did, since I was a hot mess.  Because it was the last night, we spent some time watching videos of the kids, and parents shared about successes we’ve had as a result of what we had learned throughout the course.  It was really hard for me to hear about the strides everyone else was making, while it appeared that we were not much farther than when we started.  This, combined with the assessment a few days prior, was crushing.  I stayed a bit after class with the teacher, expressing my concerns through tears.  She was very gracious, and helped me understand that the going can be quite slow, but we WERE making progress.  She pointed out that Trevor is saying over 200 words now, and was only saying about 80 when we started the class.  Even though he is still not joining words (which typically starts when a child reaches 50 words), she thinks that he has come far.  I left there feeling better, but I still cried all the way home because she again reminded me to OWL every chance I get.

My dilemma…  I am SO VERY distracted.  My co-worker once said that her husband wins arguments by throwing balled up foil in her line of sight.  That is ME!!!!  I was ADD before it was diagnosed.  With work, and home stuff, and cooking, and my sweet Lucas doing things like this….

Lucas

…I do not give Trevor the time he needs.  I am not fully present even when I am physically with him.  My phone buzzes, or the timer goes off, or someone just drives by on our street (for.the.love) and my OWLing is over.  He gets a partial presence at best most days.

It would be easy for me to say this is how I have always been, or give some other excuse about not having enough time in the day, etc.  Life leaves me little time to just observe, and WAIT for him to point out what he sees, or what he wants to say.

But I need to remind myself that it is not about me.  It was never about me.

I can see that Trevor wants SO very much to speak to everyone.  He looks right at you, and you can see him try to find the words.  Often, I end up asking him to show me what he is trying to communicate to reduce his frustration.  Sometimes, the struggle is really hard to watch.

My “Operation Presence” plan is not formed yet, but maybe I do not need a plan.  (Wait…does Pinterest have such things?!?)  I digress.

Maybe that is the issue.  All of my planning is leaving me with little unplanned time to get on the floor and play.  To walk aimlessly at the park with his favorite truck (aka cruck) while daddy plays with the teeny guy.  With no agenda.

Tiny

I know he is making small strides.  And I LOVE to witness the joy on his face when he repeats a new word, or when he does utter the rare two word phrase.  The little victories are encouraging.

Until I invent a device that allows me more than 24 hours in a day, our future might look a little like: less time in front of the TV, less faces in cell phone screens, less comparing to other kids.  I see more one on one dates, more legos, more train chugging, more previously cooked meals pulled out of the freezer, and more PRAYER!  For those others out there that pray, send a few our direction.  We need unity, endurance, patience, and most of all, we need to not allow discouragement to creep in.

Thanks for loving us.

~S

Dinner Menu for the week of May 20th

Before I get into the menu for this week, I have a request for you…  Please make these fajitas, and then make them again.  They were on last week’s menu, and they turned out so amazing.

It is shaping up to be a busy week for me, so many of the items on this week’s menu will be easy ones.

Here we gooooooo……

Monday:  Fajita chicken burritos from the freezer and a fresh green salad.

Tuesday:  Chicken Parmigiana cutlets over whole wheat spaghetti.  YUM!

Wednesday: Creamy chicken and wild rice soup.  Leftovers will go into the freezer for another night.

Thursday:  Mexican-Style quinoa salad.  Leaving out the onions/shallots, and using diced roma tomatoes since that is what I will have on hand.

Friday:  Beef taquitos.  Did not have a chance to rock some fresh corn tortillas last week, so maybe this will be my chance?

Saturday:  Poached eggs with Asparagus.  I am planning to use bacon instead.

Sunday:  Blackened Salmon with mango avocado salsa and steamed broccoli

BTW, still warming up to my Vitamix.  Cannot get used to the smoothie consistency, so  Juicy will not be retired just yet.  :/  “Vita” (her new name) may be redeemed when the dry container is delivered this week.  Hoping to begin grinding my own wheat and corn.

Happy cooking friends!

Dinner menu for the week of May 13th

Another week of meal planning is here. Already.

On Friday, my little sis and her family came up to visit.  It was a great weekend of fun and relaxing with a teeny tiny break from real food, though I did still try to make good choices when available.

In other news, Juicy may be on her way out in favor of my new VITAMIX!!!  It is so very different, in both good and bad ways.  I really do prefer actual juice over smoothies, but there is so much less waste with my new tool.  It should reduce our fresh produce spending drastically.  It is not only me that misses the pure Juicy kind of juice.  Trevor has left several full glasses of green smoothie juice around the house.  Hope I can get the consistency and taste right in the coming week.

These are the items on our dinner menu:

Monday:  Left over chicken.

Tuesday:  Chicken pot pie.   Like most things, I modify this recipe.  I make my own whole wheat crust, I use whole wheat flour in the filling, and I will be using chicken that cooked most of the day in the crock pot.  Hands down, the very best whole chicken I have ever made!  I will use the carcass to make stock overnight.

Wednesday:  Salad with black beans, quinoa, apples and almonds.  I  will try to find a suitable dressing to make, or it may end up being oil and balsamic vinegar.

Thursday:  Potato soup made in the Vitamix on Sunday with BLTA sandwiches.

Friday:  Grilled steak and veggie fajitas.  I might try to make some corn tortillas from scratch.  Emphasis on might given how the flour ones turned out.  :/

Saturday:  We did not have dinner at home on Saturday last week, so I will be giving the quiches another go.

Sunday: Lemon garlic salmon steamed in foil on the BBQ with brown rice and zucchini.

Every week there seems to be something that makes it on menu that I cannot wait to cook up.  This week it is the fajitas.  Last week it was the shrimp and quinoa with avocado and orange salsa.  It was SO amazing.  Lived up to the dreams that I had been dreaming about the dish.   Both visually appealing, and terrific flavor!

ShrimpQuinoa

 

For those that are mothers, I hope you had a wonderful Mother’s Day, and that you were celebrated today!  Enjoy your week!

Menu for May 6th – 12th

I am SO aware that this post is a day late.  Being gone for several days requires some rest before jumping right back into the swing of things.

Here is what is in the dinner plan for this week.  Several of these things are new to my recipe box, so I am excited to experiment.

Monday – We had defrosted and re-heated chicken burritos.

Tuesday – Honey lime pork tenderloin with wild rice and either asparagus or broccoli.  Leaving out the sesame oil, and subbing olive oil for the processed canola.

Wednesday – Chef salad with diced ham, egg, avocado, cheese and avocado dressing.  Dressing will be made with organic greek yogurt instead of mayo, and a bit less oil.

Thursday – Potato soup with whole wheat biscuits

Friday – Chicken with beans, tomatoes and corn grilled in foil.  I will be changing this up a bit.  I plan to use fresh tomatoes instead of canned, whole fat jersey cheddar, and olive oil instead of pam.

Saturday – Quiche with cheese and bacon

Sunday –  Sauteed shrimp over orange/avocado quinoa.  Cannot wait to see how this turns out!

Here’s to a great week with no whammies!

Cookapalooza

There is something about pressure that makes me react. I am best in the space between the very last minute, and a deadline. I was always the kid that did not do homework until the night before it was due. You would have thought that the many long nights would have taught me to plan better.

I knew about my impending four day conference for months. As the days drew near, I began to make lists of the many things that needed to be accomplished prior to getting on that plane. While I started on the laundry and packing, and other tasks, I left the cooking for the Sunday before I left. It was a LONG day, but it made me feel like there were solid options available for my boys to eat while I was gone.

Here is what was made and the links to the recipes used.

  • Refried beans that cooked overnight Sat night, and were ready first thing in the morning.  Used the beans in the burritos below, and put some in the freezer.
  • Chicken in the crock pot used for burritos
  • Another batch of granola (Some for home and some to bring with me on the trip)
  • Zucchini muffins For the freezer
  • Whole wheat waffles Divided into quarters and put in the freezer
  • Chicken Enchilada soup Put in quart ziplock freezer bags.  Uh…make this people.  Delish!  Just a few changes made to the recipe though, mainly because of what I had on hand.  I used three potatoes and one sweet potato.  I used cannellini beans for the white beans, and I used a homemade taco seasoning.  SO much cheaper than store bought, and I know what it contains.  Also, skip the transfer-to-a-blender step, and use an immersion blender.
  • Quinoa bites  These turned out SO fabulous, and all three boys really like them.  How cute are they?!?!

quinoabites

Sadly, there was one notable epic fail.  I was very excited to try out my new tortilla press and cast iron skillet for making whole wheat tortillas.  I did something so, so wrong.  It could have been that I added too much oil, or that I let them sit out too long before cooking, but they were hard, and stiff, and greasy.  Booo.  I am determined to make them again, so stay tuned for stories of success next time.

I was feeling quite accomplished, until the time came to clean.  Ugh.  No thanks….

mess

After all of the cooking (and cleaning) was done for the day, we had broiled scallops and Parmesan Zucchini for dinner in an effort to cook up the remaining fresh items from the farmers market trip the day before.  Both items were amazing and required almost no additional cleaning!

In the days before I left, I cooked up some chicken breast for the boys, assembled the burritos using the chicken above, and set aside several food items to take on my trip.

I have been here in Salt Lake City for two full days. Man…sure is HARD to eat clean while away from home.  I did bring a few things that work for breakfast, and there are some good fruit options for lunch.  Dinner has been a real challenge.

Heading home Sunday afternoon, where the week and menu planning begins again.  Cannot wait to hug those men of mine, and to fire up Juicy.