Saturday, March 21, 2015

This Week's Menu & Goals

We've had a couple of weeks straight of almost non-stop events, banquets, and celebrations. This is nothing to complain about, of course, but it's been a lot for this home body introvert. I'm glad to get mostly back to my schedule and regular dinners.

Sat -- Burritos
Sun -- Cookout -- burgers, hot dogs, beans, toppings
Mon -- Chili, corn muffins, toppings
Tue -- Scrambled eggs, cinnamon bread, fruit salad
Wed -- Salad bar
Thu -- Sandwich night
Fri -- Pizza

Breakfasts -- three grain cereal (similar to this recipe), banana bread, yogurt

Lunches -- Salad, leftovers, cheese and crackers

Linked to: Menu Plan Monday

1) Ironing
2) Read & review one book
3) Get Easter baskets together
4) Finalize summer camp forms

Have a great week!

Friday, March 20, 2015

Cooking With Kids: Pizza Dough Cinnamon Rolls

My son had to bring a dessert to a banquet last week. We decided on these pizza dough cinnamon rolls, and they were a hit!

We followed the recipe as written except we only baked for 20 minutes, and we didn't need all of the icing. The rolls were different from traditional cinnamon rolls. Instead of being soft they were more like a cross between a pastry and a cinnamon roll. They tasted great both warm and at room temperature. We can't wait to make them again!

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

2015 Gardening Plans

I'm on a roll now with my summer garden. I know where things go; I know when to plant things; I know what works in my yard. I decided it was time to start tracking my input and output to see how much of a money saver this gardening thing is. I'm going to track things here on my blog.

I started a few months ago by ordering seeds, and we started them on a snow day. Most have popped up now. We'll do another round of seedlings in early April.

Here's where things stand at the beginning of the 2015 gardening season:

Seeds from $44

None so far

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Quick Lit March 2015

My back yard looked like this through much of February, so I got a lot of reading done.

My Favorite Reads:

If you are blessed with the kind of marriage where one partner is constantly talking about pie-in-the-sky dreams like building boats or whatever, so you ignore him or her when he or she says they're going to open a pizza parlor, and then suddenly you co-own a pizza parlor you'll relate to Delancey.

I love the partnership of Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes in this series, and enjoyed hearing about their adventures in Japan. Dreaming Spies isn't an edge of your seat suspense novel, but it moves well enough, and the characters are great.

I tried to read The Rosie Effect, but abandoned it. I decided to try it as an audiobook and loved it! I agree with many who say this wasn't as good as the first, but it worked in audio.
Read Out Loud:
I was thrilled to introduce my son to choose your own adventure books with The Oregon Trail: An Interactive History Adventure (You Choose: History).
Reading Challenge Books:
A book in a genre you don't typically read - Can't We Talk about Something More Pleasant?: A Memoir (Graphic novel)
A book by a favorite author - On Writing: 10th Anniversary Edition: A Memoir of the Craft by Stephen King
Visit The Modern Mrs. Darcy's monthly reading link up to see what this is all about.  If you want to see all of the books I've read this year (28 so far!) check out my Pinterest page.
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Wednesday, March 11, 2015

The Memory of Soup

Years ago, I think it was 1993 or 1994, I was on a high school exchange trip to New Jersey. After a day we got news of a surprise storm making its way up the Eastern seaboard and our chaperones made the decision that we would leave early the next day to drive home to Boston in an effort to beat the storm. The storm came in faster than predicted and we ended up getting stranded on the road. We were lucky in that we got stranded right outside of a hotel, and they had a room for us. They did have some bad news though. The only thing they had to eat was soup and bread that they had made for the staff earlier. Happy to be under a roof and not freezing in the car, we gladly accepted.

I'll tell you, that soup and bread was the best thing I had ever tasted in my life. The chicken noodle soup was perfect - the broth tasted real, not like the canned stuff I was used to. And the bread was amazing. It was the first time I had tasted warm homemade bread fresh from the oven. Over the years, whenever it has snowed, I have thought about that soup, and wished I could recreate it. I've never been able to get the broth right, until now.

During our last snow storm for the year (I hope) I read The B.T.C. Old-Fashioned Grocery Cookbook: Recipes and Stories from a Southern Revival, and ran across a broth recipe that intrigued me. It included a lemon, which I had never heard of before. It was the broth! It was a memory in a pan, and I didn't even mind at all that it took two days to make.

B.T.C. Chicken Stock

1 5 lb hen
1 large onion, quartered
2 medium carrots, cut in half
1 lemon, cut in half
2 garlic cloves
10 sprigs fresh parsley
10 sprigs fresh thyme
1 T kosher salt
8 whole black peppercorns

Put all of the ingredients in a 8-10 qt stockpot. Cover with water, bring to a simmer, and cook, uncovered, for 4 hours.

Remove the chicken and set it aside to cool. Strain the stock through a colander into a bowl and discard the solids. Pour the stock into a container and refrigerate overnight.

Pick the chicken meat off the bones. 
Use the stock and meat to make chicken noodle soup with carrots, onions, and celery and some nice wide noodles. Serve with homemade white bread.

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Friday, March 6, 2015

Let It Go And Let It Snow

5 snow days, 2 snow storms, 2 ice storms, all in 2 weeks. Who cares? It's March. I'm enjoying this last bit of winter!

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Just Finish It

This week, in between ice storms, water main breaks, and all sorts of disrupted schedules that are wearing us all thin, I started listening to What I Talk About When I Talk About Running by Haruki Murakami. I fell in love. I picked this book up because I want to read more about fitness this year in the wake of some pretty difficult hikes coming up this summer. I had no idea this book was also about writing, another topic I want to learn more about.

The topic of running and writing in the hands of such a talented author is way more than the sum of its parts because of the interesting ways in which they intersect.

When I hike no one expects me to set and sort of speed record or break a new route. I am not a world class hiker; I'm just a mom with a backpack who likes to get out. I simply want to challenge myself and finish my hike. This is a concept that is easy for me to embrace when hiking. Murakami takes the just finish approach to marathon running as well as writing.

Really it's applicable to any unpaid project we choose to challenge ourselves with. Don't worry about doing the thing better than anyone else because that kind of thinking can stop you in your tracks faster than a blister on your heel. Instead worry about finishing the thing.

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