Sunday, October 24, 2010

Menu Plan for Week of October 24, 2010

We have been busy lately, I have been working on report cards so most of the meals I had planned for last week didn't get made.  We had a lot of sandwiches, cereal and take-out.  I'm almost finished the reports so I'm hoping to actually follow this plan this week:
Sunday: Grilled Chicken Kebobs, Potatoes and Baby Bok Choy
Monday: Fresh Pear and Curry Pasta
Tuesday: Pasta with Shrimp and Broccoli
Wednesday: Simple Vegetable Curry (from Everyday Food Magazine, October 2010)
Thursday: Birthday Boy's Choice! (Thing 2's Fifth Birthday)
Friday: Spicy Garlic Shrimp with Coconut Rice
Saturday: Slow Cooked Pot Roast with Mini Potatoes

Here are a couple soups I hope I have time to make this week.  I really enjoy soup in the Fall!
Black Bean Soup

Apple and Butternut Squash Soup

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Menu Plan for Week of October 17, 2010

Life is crazy, work is overwhelming, and it's getting more and more difficult to make a healthy meal each night for dinner. 

Sunday: Grilled Steaks, Potatoes and Veggies
Monday: Fresh Pear and Curry Pasta 
Tuesday: Spaghetti with Pasta (sauce in freezer)
Wednesday: Simple Vegetable Curry
Thursday: Pizza or Sandwiches
Friday: Spicy Garlic Shrimp with Coconut Rice
Saturday: Slow Cooked Pot Roast with Mini Potatoes

I'm hoping to have time to try the Roasted Chicken and Butternut Squash Soup  (Everyday Food Magazine, October 2010) next weekend or sometime soon.  It looks delicious!!

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Menu Plan for Week of October 3, 2010

Last week was hectic, so we didn't get to try the Baked Egg Cups. I'm hoping to make them tomorrow for a quick and light supper, and am hoping they will be a hit with the kids.

Sunday: Crockpot Chicken Tacos
Monday: Baked Egg Cups
Tuesday: Meal from Freezer (mommy at a meeting)
Wednesday: Shrimp and Mushroom Linguine
Thursday: Pesto Grilled Cheese Sandwiches with Soup
Friday: Cayenne-Rubbed Chicken with Avocado Salsa
Saturday: Slow Cooked Pot Roast with Mini Potatoes

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Men Plan for Week of September 26, 2010

Fall is here, and we are slowly including more cold weather food choices in our menu plan!

: Hurried Goulash with Egg Noodles and Peas
Monday: Teriyaki Chicken, rice, and veggies
Tuesday: Tacos
Wednesday: Pasta with Spaghetti Sauce
Thursday: Baked Egg Cups
Friday: Crockpot Chicken Tacos
Saturday: Slow Cooked Pot Roast with Mini Potatoes

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Menu Plan for Week of September 19, 2010

Another week under our belt, and some more growing pains along the way. Suppertime is definitely difficult, however, we are still managing to stick to our menu plan. I don't really know how we would cope otherwise. I had requests for shrimp from everyone in my house this week, so I've put it on our agenda for Monday. I'm also throwing in a couple slow cooker recipes, as fall weather has hit Ottawa and most nights there is a definite chill in the air.

: Crockpot Taco Soup
Monday: Spicy Garlic Shrimp with Coconut Rice
Tuesday: Irish Beef Stew (from freezer)
Wednesday: Pasta with Spaghetti Sauce
Thursday: Pizza & Salad (Mommy at meeting at school)
Friday: Hurried Goulash with Egg Noodles and Peas
Saturday: Slow Cooked Pot Roast with Mini Potatoes

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Menu Plan for Week of September 12, 2010

The first week of school for everyone was hectic and insane, but for the most part we managed to stick to our menu plan and eat healthily. It is A LOT of work. It is exhausting cooking a meal after working a long day and picking up my children at daycare. Evenings are spent preparing and chopping food for lunches the next day. But, so far so good. Maybe the reason I didn't die from exhaustion is because I was eating healthy :)

This week's meals are foods I can prepare quickly and easily, or else make the night before.

: Barbecue Hamburgers and Hotdogs, fresh tomato salad
Monday: Layered Mexican Bake
Tuesday: Fish (haddock) and Chips
Wednesday: Bacon and Cheese Omelet
Thursday: Pizza & Salad (mommy works late at staff meeting)
Friday: Crockpot Taco Soup
Saturday: Grilled Steak, Potatoes and Veggies

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Menu Plan for Week of September 5, 2010

Trying for a fairly simple menu this week for the first week back at school. We did quite well last week, aside from one rough day where we threw in the towel and went out for dinner at our neighbourhood pub.

This week I am aiming for meals that are fast to prepare, and that are tried and true favourites. No surprises - we won't have time!

: BBQ Ribs
Monday: Pasta with Shrimp and Broccoli
Tuesday: Tacos
Wednesday: Grilled Salmon with Potatoes
Thursday: Spicy, Sauteed Chickpeas, Beef and Cilantro
Friday: Pizza and Salad
Saturday: Neighbourhood Corn Roast

Monday, August 30, 2010

Menu Plan for Week of August 30, 2010

The results are in . . . and we did pretty well this week. Menu planning definitely helped life run smoother this week, although supper time is still rushed and busy. I can't imagine any way to change that right now, with three young children and two adults working full time. I was only working mornings last week, and even that was a big change for all of us.

This week I am working mostly full days, and then school starts in a week, which means I'll be busy teaching and Things 1 and 2 will both be back in their classrooms. I'm hoping this week will be a good test run for us to see how we can cope with meal times . . . and continue eating healthy meals and snacks instead of falling back on processed and quick meals.

: Leftovers
Monday: Tacos
Tuesday: Chicken Tenders with Creamy Honey Mustard
Wednesday: Pesto Cheese and Turkey Sandwiches
Thursday: Couscous Salad with Black Beans, Mushrooms, and Corn
Friday: Pasta with Pesto and Tomatoes
Saturday: BBQ Ribs

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Menu Plan for Week of August 22, 2010

I truly neglected my menu-planning this summer. And in all fairness, we didn't do a lot of eating at home. We went camping, visited family near Toronto, did some cottaging, took vacation in Nova Scotia, and I even spent a few days in New York City.

But as I gear up to say goodbye to summer, I also bid adieu to any extra time I may have had in the kitchen. Starting in September I am returning to work full-time. As a teacher who has been out of the workforce for 6.5 years, I expect to be extremely busy and frazzled. One of my key objectives is to figure out how to keep us all eating healthy meals and snacks. Where do I find the time to shop for, prepare, cook, and clean up all the food? How do I manage to not cave under all the extra pressure and order pizza for my family four nights a week?

By the way, if I figure any of this out, you'll be the first to know.

Since I am starting back at school a few hours a day this week, I want to jump right back in with the menu planning, because that's one thing that certainly helps make life easier.

: Leftovers
Monday: Emeril's Oven-Roasted Chicken Wings and Mexicana Chopped Salad
Tuesday: Easy Spaghetti and Meatballs
Wednesday: Cayenne-Rubbed Chicken with Avocado Salsa
Thursday: Couscous Salad with Black Beans, Mushrooms, and Corn
Friday: Pasta with Pesto and Tomatoes
Saturday: Fajitas

Since I have more basil than I know what to do with, I'm going to make a couple batches of this Basil Pesto so I can freeze it in small portions and have it ready to add to pasta on a busy weeknight.

I'm also using up a gazillion blueberries in several batches of these Blueberry Coffee-Cake Muffins, which are significantly less healthy than my usual Lemon Blueberry Muffins. I did cut the sugar quantity and added some whole wheat flour and flaxseed, to make myself feel slightly less guilty about giving muffins that are essentially "cake" to my children.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Menu Plan for Week of June 6, 2010

It's been a while since I updated my menu plan here. I started the South Beach diet at the end of April, and followed it strictly for several weeks. And although I'm still eating fewer carbs, I'm able to be more flexible with my meal plans now. I will usually eat what the rest of the family eats, although I will eliminate the pasta, potatoes, or bread. And while I have successfully lost ten pounds (would like to lose a few more, but it's not totally necessary), I am feeling so fantastic and have noticed such drastic changes in myself both physically and emotionally, that I am planning to continue eating like this for as long as I can.

: Sweet Potato Fries and Roast Chicken
Monday: Spring Vegetable Coucous with Chicken (May 2010 Everyday Food Magazine)
Tuesday: Fish and Veggies
Wednesday: Leftovers/Sandwiches
Thursday: Beef, Snap Pea and Asparagus Stir-Fry (June 2010 Everyday Food Magazine)
Friday: Grilled Chicken Taco Salad
Saturday: Home-made Pizza

One of the biggest changes I've made in how I eat is the fact that I eat a salad almost every day for lunch now - in the past I would have a salad WITH something else but I now eat a large salad with protein and some healthy fats, and I feel fantastic all afternoon. I'm hoping to try out these
Black Beans with Cilantro this week as something a little different at lunch time!

Many of the recipes I've been eating for the past month or so can be found at the Ottawa Life Organic blog - for those who don't know, I write a weekly post there which includes recipes for the produce delivered in each week's Harvest Box.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Salt and Vinegar Kale Chips

I found Kalyn's recipe for Kale Chips when I was perusing her site for South Beach diet recipes. We made them yesterday afternoon . . . and the entire tray was gone in about 2 minutes! Even my kids ate them. They were FANTASTIC.

This recipe is almost exactly like the recipe on her blog.

one small bunch of kale, about 6 oz.
1 T extra-virgin olive oil
1 T vinegar (any vinegar you like will work)
sea salt to taste

Preheat oven to 300.

Cut kale from stalks and tear into small pieces (chip-sized is good!). Wash torn kale pieces and spin dry in a salad spinner or dry with paper towels until they're very dry.

Put kale pieces into a large Ziploc bag. Add half of the 1 T of olive oil, seal bag, and squeeze the bag so the oil gets distributed evenly on the kale pieces. Add the other half tablespoon of oil and squeeze the bag more, until all kale pieces are evenly coated with oil and slightly "massaged."

Open the Ziploc bag and sprinkle the 1 T vinegar over the kale leaves, then seal bag and shake to spread the vinegar out over all the leaves.

Arrange kale leaves in a single layer on a baking sheet, then roast until they are mostly crisp, about 35 minutes. Be sure to check them every 10 minutes or so, to make sure they aren't over-cooked.

When chips are done to your liking, sprinkle with a generous amount of sea salt and eat immediately.

My husband was suggesting we try other flavours next time, so I think we'll give it a go!

Let me know if you give this a try - I can assure you, you will not be disappointed!

Friday, April 23, 2010

Menu Plan for April 25, 2010

I ended up switching one of our meals last week and making these Grill Master Chicken Wings for some friends who were coming over for a barbecue. They were delicious, a huge hit, and disappeared in no time. The flavour was spectacular, and were tangy and moist without being overly spicy. Two of my three Things ate them, so that is always a win in my book! I served the wings with roasted potatoes and a spinach, strawberry, and goat cheese salad.

My kid-friendlier meals are working!! Most nights the kids are eating everything I make. I'm finding it a lot less stressful - for everyone. Less bickering and whining, more eating. And I feel better knowing that at least if we're having the dreaded chicken nuggets for supper, they are hand-made by me and I know all the ingredients going into them. And, for the record, last week's Chicken Tenders with Creamy Honey Mustard were a big success here! My other strategy is to get the kids helping and more involved in the cooking. They love grating cheese, stirring, and with assistance, chopping vegetables. Setting the table is another great task for kids, and it's really making all of us happier to have everyone involved.

Here's a look at my meal plan for this week:

Sunday: Leftovers, Salad
Monday: Salsa Chicken Tostadas
Tuesday: Taco Pasta
Wednesday: Leftovers/Sandwiches
Thursday: Sesame Beef and Broccoli
Friday: Out for dinner
Saturday: Grilled Steak, BBQ Potatoes, Salad

I did make the Tzatziki Sauce I mentioned a couple weeks ago. I think I was the only one who enjoyed it - the kids really didn't eat it. I'm not sure if it was how I made it or if they are just not fans of tzatziki. I'll have to try a store-bought version and see if they like it.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Menu Plan for Week of April 18, 2010

I've noticed that I can no longer link to Martha's recipes from her Everyday Food Magazine anymore - so I'm not able to include the links to the recipes I've included below.

Last week I ended up being away most of the week (a long story, which I will get into on my other blog) so I am adding a couple of last week's recipes along with some new ones that I am excited about. So far so good with making simpler meals that the kids will eat - for the most part I have been pretty successful!

Monday: Easy Spaghetti and Meatballs
Tuesday: Emeril's Kicked-Up Tuna Melts (from the April Everyday Food Mag)
Wednesday: Penne with Cream, Smoked Salmon and Chives (from the April Everyday Food Mag)
Thursday: Chicken Tenders with Creamy Honey Mustard
Friday: Salsa Chicken Tostadas
Saturday: Spinach and Meatball Calzones (from the April Everyday Food Mag)

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Menu Plan for Week of April 11, 2010

In an effort to make sure that more meals that I cook get eaten by everyone in our family, I am going to focus even more on making healthy, kid-friendly meals. I don't have the time to make a meal for my husband and I, only to then find out the kids don't like it and and then I have to recreate something else for them (and I don't do that all the time, but if they truly don't like a meal and I feel that their distaste is reasonable, then I do sometimes offer them something else).

So you'll notice more and more simple, healthy meals for kids in my meal plans over the coming weeks. I want to have a big list compiled of all of our favourites before I go back to work in September, so that I can easily make meal plans for next year that we all can agree to.

Sunday: Pierogies and Veggies
Monday: Cayenne-Rubbed Chicken with Avocado Salsa
Tuesday: Freezer Meal or Leftovers (Mom out for the evening)
Wednesday: Mini Bacon and Cheese Toasts (from March 2010 Everyday Food Magazine)
Thursday: Chicken Tenders with Creamy Honey Mustard
Friday: Beef Tacos
Saturday: Easy Spaghetti and Meatballs

My lovely sister and her family were visiting this past weekend and she shared with me a secret she has for getting her two children to eat lots of raw veggies. She serves them with tzatziki sauce for them to dip the veggies in. Much healthier than some of the processed dips and dressings (yuck!) I sometimes give my three Things, so I want to give it a try. I found this straightforward recipe for Tzatziki Sauce and I really think it might be a hit around here.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Menu Plan for Week of April 5, 2010

It's been a little while since I kept up with my menu planning. Sometimes it seems like too much and I feel like I am too busy to do it - but I am once again realizing that 15 minutes of planning saves me hours of work and stress during the week. I am not someone who is good with last minute planning, so when we have a busy afternoon outside (and the weather has been fantastic so we have been outside often) I am not able to pop into the kitchen and whip something up last minute.

So since my sister and brother-in-law and their kids are coming to visit this week, I thought there would be no better time to get back at it!

: Roasted Marinated Lamb with Lemon and Rosemary Potatoes, Cauliflower with Golden Raisins and Almonds, Asparagus with Breadcrumbs and Parmesan
Monday: Easter Dinner at Granny's House
Tuesday: Leftovers
Wednesday: Chicken Quesadillas
Thursday: Chicken Tenders Parmesan with Penne and Broccoli
Friday: Home-made Pizza
Saturday: Pulled-Pork Sandwiches with Coleslaw (recipe in my April Everyday Food Magazine)

Monday, April 5, 2010

Roasted Marinated Lamb with Lemon and Rosemary Potatoes

I made this roasted lamb for Easter dinner. It was truly divine. It was my first time roasting a lamb, and I will definitely be doing it again. It was easy and delicious, rich in flavour and yet light at the same time.

**Adapted from Martha Stewart's Everyday Food Magazine, April 2010**

Zest and juice from two lemons
1 head of garlic, cloves chopped
2 T chopped fresh rosemary leaves
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil4 lb leg of lamb
coarse salt and ground pepper
4 lbs small Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled

1. Grate lemon zest. In a medium bowl, combine lemon zest and juice, garlic, and rosemary. Whisk in oil. Pat lamb dry and season with salt and pepper. Place lamb in a bag and pour in marinade. Seal bag, pressing to remove as much air as possible. Let sit for at least one hour, flipping bag halfway through.

2. Preheat oven to 450. Place potatoes in a large pot and cover with cold water by 2 inches. Season with salt. Bring to a boil; reduce to a simmer and cook until potatoes are tender, about 15 mins. Drain potatoes.

3. Remove lamb from marinade. Place lamb on a plate; season with salt and pepper.

Pour marinade into a roasting pan, add potatoes. (I used my Le Creuset Dutch Oven instead of a roasting pan.) Cook 15 mins. Push potatoes to edge of pan, place lamb in center. Roast 15 mins. Reduce temperature to 300 and cook until medium-rare, 1 - 1 1/4 hours. Toss potatoes halfway through.

4. Tent pan loosely with foil and let lamb rest for 20 mins before slicing. Toss potatoes in pan juices and serve along side lamb.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Easy and Tasty Grilled Sweet Potatoes

While there are dozens and dozens of sweet potato recipes I have not had the chance to try yet, this one was definitely a favourite at our house over the Easter long weekend.

We chose the grilled sweet potato packets. I found grilling them in the packets really sealed in the taste and the potatoes tasted just glorious.

First thing you do is peel your sweet potatoes and slice them into 1/4 inch slices.

Turn your barbecue on and get it ready for grilling.

Place your potato slices on four 14x12-inch sheets of tin foil. Brush the tops and sides with olive oil to prevent drying. You can season them any way you like, I added freshly grated pepper and salt, a bit of garlic, and some cayenne pepper.

Wrap in foil using the following technique: Bring the 2 long sides of the foil together above potatoes; fold down in a series of locked folds, allowing for heat circulation and expansion.

Fold the short ends up and over again. Crimp closed to seal the foil

Place foil packets on preheated grill. Grill packets, on covered grill, over medium heat 25 to 30 minutes or until potatoes are fork-tender. Open packet carefully and serve hot.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Fresh Pear and Curry Pasta

This recipe is adapted from The Best of The Best of Bridge cookbook. It's full of flavourful and not-too-difficult recipes. This pasta dish is simple, healthy, and light. Our family loves it!

Fresh Pear and Curry Pasta

1/2 small onion, chopped
2 T oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 T medium curry paste
1 tsp tomato paste
2 T honey
2 cups chicken broth
1 unpeeled ripe pear, sliced in thin wedges
2 Roma tomatoes, chopped
2 T cream or milk
3 T chopped cilantro
Rotini, bow tie or shells pasta

In a frying pan over medium heat, saute onion in oil until soft. Add garlic and curry paste and stir 2-3 minutes. Add tomato paste and honey and stir another 2 minutes. Add broth, increase heat to medium high and boil gently, reducing liquid to less than 1 cup. (This takes about 15 minutes - now is a good time to start cooking the pasta).

Add pear slices and cook for one minute. Add tomatoes and cream and stir another 2 minutes. Stir in chopped cilantro. Pour over pasta and toss gently.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Week of February 1, 2010

Although I've been slacking lately in the menu-planning department, it isn't because I haven't been cooking. Quite the contrary, actually. I've been cooking - and baking - lots, I just don't seem to have had the time to get organized enough to type everything out.

However . . . here's a look at our menu for this week.

: Roast Chicken, Potatoes, Carrots
Monday: Chicken Quesadillas (with leftover chicken)
Tuesday: Pasta with Shrimp and Broccoli
Wednesday: Chicken Enchilada Chili
Thursday: Leftovers
Friday: Pasta with Eggplant
Saturday: Beef Stew

With a few over-ripe bananas lying around my kitchen counter, I'm hoping to make Beach Mama's banana bread in the next day or two. I just have to get rid of all this coffee cake lying around our house, first. My husband demanded I make another after my book club nearly devoured all of the first one!

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Ina Garten's Sour Cream Coffee Cake

This coffee cake is truly beautiful. My husband and I both fell in love with it. I made it to serve to my book club on Tuesday and my family has demanded I make it again.


It is by no means low fat or low calorie, but it lacks nothing in taste and exquisiteness.

This recipe is from Ina Garten's
Barefoot Contessa Parties.

Ina Garten's Sour Cream Coffee Cake

  • 12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 3 large eggs at room temperature
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1 1/4 cups sour cream
  • 2 1/2 cups cake flour (not self-rising)
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

For the streusel:

  • 1/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 3 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces
  • 3/4 cup chopped walnuts, optional

For the glaze:

  • 1/2 cup confectioners' sugar
  • 2 tablespoons real maple syrup

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour a 10-inch tube pan.

Cream the butter and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment for 4 to 5 minutes, until light. Add the eggs 1 at a time, then add the vanilla and sour cream. In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. With the mixer on low, add the flour mixture to the batter until just combined. Finish stirring with a spatula to be sure the batter is completely mixed.

For the streusel, place the brown sugar, flour, cinnamon, salt, and butter in a bowl and pinch together with your fingers until it forms a crumble. Mix in the walnuts, if desired.

Spoon half the batter into the pan and spread it out with a knife. Sprinkle with 3/4 cup streusel. Spoon the rest of the batter in the pan, spread it out, and scatter the remaining streusel on top. Bake for 50 to 60 minutes, until a cake tester comes out clean.

Let cool on a wire rack for at least 30 minutes. Carefully transfer the cake, streusel side up, onto a serving plate. Whisk the confectioners' sugar and maple syrup together, adding a few drops of water if necessary, to make the glaze runny. Drizzle as much as you like over the cake with a fork or spoon.

Then eat. Lots of it!

Slow Cooker Yam and Red Pepper Soup

This soup is absolutely divine!! It is so easy to make (slow cooker - so perfect for my life - chop it up in the morning and dinner is ready at supper time with no effort!) it is not funny. Most of my soups I tend to pour into the blender and mix in batches, but this one I just used my hand blender right inside the crock pot!

Can you tell I'm excited?

Slow Cooker Yam and Red Pepper Soup

Makes 6 to 8 servings

2 lbs yams, peeled and cubed

1 large red bell pepper, seeded and cubed

1/2 medium onion, chopped

2 tablespoons chopped fresh ginger

2 garlic cloves, minced

2 teaspoons ground cumin

3/4 teaspoon ground coriander

1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1/2 cup orange juice mixed with 2 tablespoons flour

5 1/2 cups chicken stock

salt and pepper to taste

whipping cream

Combine the first 10 ingredients in the slow cooker. Cover and cook on low setting 4 hours. (I actually left it a couple hours longer, and it tasted fantastic.)

Puree the soup with a hand-held blender.

Season the soup with salt and pepper. Garnish servings of the soup with a drizzle of the cream.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Kitchen Sink Cookies

These cookies are a family favourite and are absolutely delicious!!! Packed with everything except the "kitchen sink" . . .

Kitchen Sink Cookies (adapted from Martha Stewart)
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 cup unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 1 cup packed light-brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons light corn syrup
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup semisweet chocolate chunks
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans or other nuts
  • 1/2 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper; set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, salt, baking powder, nutmeg and baking soda.
  3. Using an electric mixer, beat together butter, sugar, corn syrup, and vanilla until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs, one at a time, until well incorporated. Gradually beat flour mixture into butter mixture just until combined.
  4. With a rubber spatula, fold in chocolate chunks, raisins, pecans, and oats.
  5. Drop 2-inch balls of dough, spaced 2 inches apart, onto baking sheets. Flatten slightly. Bake 12 to 16 minutes, or until cookies are lightly browned, rotating sheets halfway through.
  6. Cool 5 minutes on sheets; transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Birthday Cake

Thing 3 had her birthday on Friday and I decided to bake her a birthday cake. I started baking birthday cakes a couple years ago after I realized that it was MUCH cheaper than buying one and usually tasted better too.

Well, not always, but I am certainly getting better at baking cakes!

I went with this sheet cake recipe from Ina Garten. It turned out far from perfect but tasted quite yummy. I even borrowed my MIL's stand mixer so that I could follow all the steps to a "T".

The actual cake part turned out fairly bumpy - I wondered if it was because the size of my pan was slightly smaller than what they called for (I assure you, this is a gigantic cake).

Then I whipped up the icing - which also tasted delicious but was a little liquidy when I spread it. It firmed up nicely after I put it in the garage for 30 minutes.

I wanted to add cute pink letters for her on top of the cake. Yeah, that idea went down the drain as I remembered how hard it is to print with ICING.

But, all in all, the cake was delicious and she had a lovely little birthday.

I don't recommend you bake this cake unless you are having an actual birthday party with many kids attending. It's one BIG cake. We will be eating for days to come!

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Week of January 10, 2010

The weather is cold and I'm really looking forward to some warm, toasty crock pot meals this week! I have a couple new recipes on the menu this week, as I was in the mood to try something new.

I'm going to make a batch of these Kitchen Sink Cookies for the family this week - hopefully I will be able to keep my own fingers out of the cookie jar!

Sunday: Seared Beef and Oranges with Arugula
Monday: Crock Pot Chicken Chili
Tuesday: BLT Salad
Wednesday: Seared Red Chard, Crackers and Parmesan-Crusted Fish Fillets
Thursday: Leftovers/Freezer meal
Friday: Beef Stew
Saturday: Out for dinner

Monday, January 4, 2010

Week of January 4, 2010

Late getting my Menu Plan Monday in this week . . . been busy trying to get life all organized for the New Year! Most of these menus are for my kids and husband as I am trying to do a healthy detox plan for the next few days. We'll see how THAT works out (coming from the ultimate food lover!).

Monday: Macaroni and Cheese
Tuesday: Quesadillas
Wednesday: Easy and Kid-Friendly Spaghetti and Meatballs
Thursday: Chili (from freezer)
Friday: Salmon Pasta
Saturday: Seared Beef and Oranges with Arugula