Sunday, January 12, 2014

Planning: January 12 - 17, 2014

It's been cold here.  Really cold.  And icy.  This weekend, there's been a melt, and we're hoping that perhaps the above freezing/no rain will at least last until the ice is off the sidewalks.  Cold weather makes me want to stay in and eat things covered with melted cheese.  So there's some of that this week.
As well, I've come to the conclusion that we really need to work on eating to the bottom of the chest freezer.  I found 6 packages of burgers that I would have portioned out this summer.  We need to start using up the frozen meat from around here.
As a result, this week is more simple, filling stuff that we like and can make quickly.  and contains melty cheese.  Well, sometimes that's true.
Here's what's on tap this week:
Sunday:  I was looking for recipes and found one in The Looneyspoons Collection that sounded good.  I'm not making it, per se because there are some things in my fridge that need to be used up, but it was the inspiration for pizza.
Monday:  Our favourite dinner salad, the Chicken Fajita salad and garlic bread.
Tuesday:  Baked ham, mashed potatoes and broccoli.  I found the ham while freezer diving.
Wednesday:  Leftovers
Thursday:  Burgers.  We need to start somewhere.
Friday:  Not sure.  There are options, mostly involving pasta.
Sounds like a good week at home.  We'll see how it goes.

Friday, January 10, 2014

Winter Meal: Italian Wedding Soup

It's cold here.  I know it's winter and all that, but it's freakishly cold.  Like, don't go outside cold.  So other than me going to work, J, the cat and I have been hiding out in our family room here on the mountain in front of the gas fireplace. 
Last night, the cat didn't even wait for the family room to cool off  like she normally she does.  She followed me up to bed, and snuggled down between J and I so she was completely wrapped in the duvet that she'd pulled off of me.  A fool she is not.
And what does cold weather call for?  Warm, steamy meals that are easy, tasty, and that make leftovers that we can eat for lunch the next day or two.
This is a recipe from Rachel Ray.  I'm not huge on her recipes, but this one is a winner that I've made for a long time from one of her 30 Minute Meals cookbooks.  She lies, though...this takes 45 minutes or so.  But no matter.  Make this.  It's delicious.
I present to you now Rachel Ray's Meatball and Macaroni Soup:

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Easy Freezer Lunch: Bean Burritos (Magazine Challenge)

This is a recipe that is good on a whole lot of fronts:  it's meatless, easy to pull out of the freezer and reheat, and delicious.  What's not to love?  They're also very versatile, seeing as you can change things to suit your preferences in terms of vegetables and whatnot.  I also find them very filling.  I can put one in my lunch bag in the morning, and it's defrosted by the time I'm ready for lunch. 
The one thing that I'm not very good at is burrito rolling, but my technique is improving. This video from Martha Stewart will take you through the steps.  It's actually the same recipe (more or less) that you'll find here.  Please come back and see what I did too!
I present to you now from the November 2005 issue of Everyday Food Bean Burritos:

Monday, January 6, 2014

Magazine Challenge? Steakhouse Spinach Salad

This started out as a Magazine Challenge recipe that took on a life of its own.  While the bones are the same, I added a couple of things that I think improved the salad.
I like serving dinner salads.  J enjoys a variety of vegetables, and I like the one plate complete meal idea.  I also am more prone to eat more vegetables when they are presented in dinner form like this.  While many of the salads that I find recipes for use different lettuces as a base, I almost always reach for baby spinach.  There's more fiber, more colour, and a sturdier leaf with baby spinach.  It also holds up well to a dressing with lots of flavour.
That's what we're about around here.  Lots of flavour.
This was originally in the December 2005 Everyday Food Cooking for One section as the Chili-Rubbed Steak and Salad.  I present to you now the Steakhouse Spinach Salad:

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Planning: January 5 - 10, 2014

It's a little crazy that it's 2014.  I was reading a Buzzfeed thing the other day that was something along the lines of "20 Things that will Make You Feel Ancient", and many of them did; but the most telling was the one that announced that children born in the year 2000 are graduating out of Grade 8 this Spring.  Yikes.  I had been teaching a couple of years when they started school.  That's crazy too.
What's not crazy is the fact that J and I are back trying to eat at home and making a classic along with a couple of new things this week.
Here's what's up for dinner this week:

Sunday:  It's soup weather, and J has requested Italian Wedding soup, which I haven't made in forever.  So that's what we're having.  That will make lunches for this week too.
Monday:  I have a parent council meeting, assuming there's school (Snowmageddon is supposed to arrive Sunday night - fingers crossed...fingers crossed) so we're grilling burgers for something easy.
Tuesday:  It's been forever since I made anything from the Looneyspoons Collection so I cracked it open this weekend for meal planning. I've come up with 2 for this week.  The first is Chicken Pot Pie.  J says he doesn't like chicken pot pie, so we'll see what happens.
Wednesday:  Leftovers
Thursday:  Another Looneyspoons recipe, an Asian-inspired dinner salad with leftovers for Friday lunch. 

Looks like a good week!  Full steam ahead!

Thursday, January 2, 2014

New Year, New Revolution

I said that I was going to write my resolutions and directions today, and I will.  I'm not great on the keeping the resolution thing but I think that making them is important - keeping yourself on track and all that.  Last year, my big resolution here was to make 6 recipes per month from the year 2005's issues of Everyday Food.  While I didn't make it, I did make a pile of new things that were yummy.  I have more years of EDF that are wildly under used.  Likewise, there are a couple of things that I'd like to do for me that fall into the food vein, and one things that has a lot to do with my house, but little to do with food.
To that end, I present this year's resolutions:
  1. 6 Recipes per issue of Everyday Food from 2006.  I've already marked the recipes from Jan/Feb.  Beyond that with the blog, I'd like to post new content Monday, Wednesday and Friday plus weekend planning.  I also intend to continue with Pintertest Kitchen.
  2. Stop drinking pop.  2 years ago, I started down this road.  I lost weight.  Fast.  It was shocking.  Then I backslid and started again.  Maybe it was the bubbles, maybe it was my genuine love of gingerale, but I started drinking it again.  Pop is liquid candy.  I need to stop.
  3. Eat breakfast.  I don't do this daily, usually because I stay in bed too long.  But with a job that doesn't allow me to eat regularly, I need a better start to the day.  I've been looking at baked oatmeal.  We'll see what happens.
  4. Finally, I've signed up to do 365 Spring Cleaning.  I'm sucky about cleaning and thankfully have a spouse who can't see the dust as well as I can.  I'm hoping to at least do some of my scary clutter areas in a way that makes sense.  The first project:  Organizing my office by January 31.  
I think that's enough.  Hopefully writing things down will help them come to fruition.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Retrospective: 2013 in Review

I can't believe that we're already here at the beginning of a new year, looking ahead to what is to come and looking back at what we did.  I've been watching the news this week with their little retrospectives of things that happened, and there are things that I would tell you were longer ago - or that I completely forgot about.  Frankly, I can't believe that we've finally arrived here.
Personally, 2013 has been a good year, but it had its challenges.  I changed schools, which I think is all for the good.  I turned 40.  We went to NYC for a week, which was amazing.  We renovated the kitchen and the pool and while neither of those things qualify as amazing the results do.  I love my new kitchen and the space and counters.
Speaking of the kitchen, I spent a great deal of cooking this year.  I'd like to spend even more time in 2014 doing the same.  According to the stats on my blog, I made 63 new recipes this year.  That's not completely true.  I have 9 recipes that I haven't blogged, and a few more that didn't make the cut.  The exciting thing about this is that even with the kitchen hiatus I made more than 1 new recipe per week.  I participated in 7 Pintertest Kitchens, and discovered a new favourite website, Budget Bytes.  I also blogged in the Pintester Movement once and saw a spike to over 1000 views that month with my Buffalo Chicken Lasagna. 
I also made 32 recipes in the Magazine Challenge.  With 10 issues, that's less than 6 per magazine but it's not too bad.  I made nothing out of one issue and 8 out of another.  I'm so glad I went back and visited these issues.  I'd only made 1 thing, Cornmeal Blueberry Muffins, out of 2005 up until now.  I can't say that anymore.  For the amount of money that was sunk into a subscription back in the day I'm glad I finally got around to using these magazines. 
Tomorrow, I'll give you some ideas of where we're headed in the coming year.  But I present to you now the Best and Worst of 2013 after the jump: