Thursday, February 26, 2015

Freezer Cooking This Month

I've fallen out of the habit of freezer cooking monthly, but due to an unfortunate incident with the plug my freezer is empty. Sad face. Here's how I plan on re-filling it:

Crockpot chicken chili x 2
Crockpot beef fajitas x 2
Easy slow cooked beef ragu
Taco meat & beans x 2
Meatloaf x 2
Banana bread x 4
Mac n cheese x 2
Honey garlic pork chops x 2

Any one else freezer cooking this weekend?

Monday, February 23, 2015

Mt. Rushmore of Books

When people ask me what my favorite books is, like for many book lovers, it's a complicated question, and I usually don't have an answer. That's why I decided to take the Mt. Rushmore path and choose four favorites in a number of different categories.

Today we have the Mt. Rushmore of books I read for work. These are in alphabetical order. In order for a book to be helpful at work I need in to be topical, practical, quotable, and useful.





Give and Take: Why Helping Others Drives Our Success has practical advice on giving in your everyday work. It also was my first introduction to information discrepancy - the idea that people only know what they're doing so they tend to assume they're working harder than anyone else.



You don't have to be a writer or a fan of Stephen King to enjoy On Writing. I think the best parts of this book are about habit formation and the creative process.



I talk about The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business a lot. It has applications to many areas of life, but I think the most powerful chapters are about the habits of successful companies.



StrengthsFinder 2.0 is one to own and refer back to every time you have an interview or a performance review.

What is your Mt. Rushmore of books for success at work?

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Menu & Goals This Week

We finally got some snow, and have spent most of the week being reminded of the disruptions that it causes. When everything shuts down it's fun, but when everything opens again except the school who insist on 2 hour delays and closings for days and days after it kind of throws me for a loop. I didn't even plan a menu last week. I'm determined to get back on track this week.

Menu:

Sat -- turkey chili, salad, corn bread
Sun -- Pork chops, mashed potatoes, veg
Mon -- Chicken noodle soup, rolls
Tue -- Stir fry with chicken
Wed -- Scrambled eggs and bacon, toast, fruit
Thu -- Pizza & salad
Fri -- Out for dinner

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

Lunches -- Salad, leftovers, cheese and crackers

Linked to: Menu Plan Monday

Goals from 2 weeks ago:

1) Ironing
2) Clean up home office
3) Make peppermint patties for kids for Valentine's Day {Make Tic-Tac-Toe boards instead}
4) Make eye & dental appointments {Made and had my eye appointment, called dentist twice but no one answered -- have they closed or are they suffering from the weather as I am?}

This Week's Goals:

1) Read one review book
2) Plant seeds
3) Go through son's Spring clothes
4) Finalize tax papers

Have a great week! Stay warm and dry!

Friday, February 20, 2015

Influences

Like a lot of people between the ages of about 15 and 65 I spent countless nights of my youth huddled in front of the TV watching Saturday Night Live and memorizing the jokes so I could repeat them to my friends on Monday morning. Well, I guess kids now don't wait until Monday; they tweet them right away. But, I suspect they're still watching and repeating the jokes. Either way I devoured the anniversary special last Sunday, and have spent time this week watching some of the clips I couldn't stay awake for. (I'm getting old.)

It was so cool to see so many people who have made me laugh all in one room. My favorite part was seeing the people I grew up watching reacting to seeing the performers they grew up watching all the while performers my age reacted to the performers we grew up watching and performers younger than me watched the whole thing in awe. That's a confusing sentence, but I hope it represents the enormous swirl of people influencing each other all in one room. And that was all before they started the show.

My big influences ages 15-18: my parents, Stephen King, Eddie Murphy and Arsenio Hall and all of their jokes from Coming To America, Phil Hartman, and NASA from the 60's as seen in Apollo 13.

My influences age now: my parents still along with my brothers who are younger than me but still try to boss me around and whom I run all big and little decisions by, still Stephen King but now more through his excellent manual On Writing than through his early novels - but I still love The Stand and The Dark Tower series, Brian Koppleman through his podcast, and various self-help authors.

I can't imagine what would happen if I had all of these people in the same room at once.

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Valentine's Dinner Menu

I've been teaching the kids to cook this year. Today we're going to see what they can do. We decided on an extra fancy menu to make our Saturday lunch seem just like a restaurant (without the crowds, prices, or having to go out in the freezing cold.)

Here's what we're making:

Field greens tossed with vinaigrette
Osso Buco With Gremolata
Mashed potatoes
Rosemary Olive Oil Bread
Homemade vanilla pudding topped with macerated berries and frosted sugar cookies on the side

Happy Valentine's Day!

Friday, February 13, 2015

Quick Lit Feb. 2015

It's about 2 billion below zero here with a wind chill of infinity. It seemed like a good time to post a picture of flowers and talk about books.

Here are some of my favorites from the month, plus some categories I've checked off from Modern Mrs. Darcy's 2015 Reading Challenge.

Favorite Reads This Month:



The Pearl That Broke Its Shell is hard to describe - part empowering, part disturbing. It's about two women in Afghanistan at different times. Their lives change when they are forced to play the role of men, and they change once again when they are forced to go back to being women. This is a long book, but the pages fly by. Don't start it before bed time because you'll have a hard time putting it down. Actually, I thought of a way to describe this book: powerful. Just read it.



Jessica Fisher's first book Not Your Mother's Make-Ahead and Freeze Cookbook is on my Mount Rushmore of cookbooks, so I had to go a head and check Good Cheap Eats out. We enjoyed the dishes that we made, and really loved the pineapple bbq sauce. This is back at the library now, but I think I'll put it on my amazon.com wish list.



Dear Mr. Knightley was some light fun that came along just at the right time. If you don't try to take it too seriously you'll enjoy it.

Read Out Louds:



I was expecting Heidi to grow up and marry Peter at the end. Was it just me? Either way I was glad for a girl heroine with brown curly hair. (I love you Elsa, but enough is enough.)



Sideways Stories from Wayside School was the perfect read out loud to tickle my son's first grade funny bone. We enjoyed it a lot.

Reading Challenge:
(3 of 12 completed)

Book written in a different language: Heidi
A book published this year: I Take You (ARC courtesy of Library Thing)
A book "everyone" has read but you: Me Before You (***CAUTION*** Don't rear reviews of this book if you don't want to be spoiled!!!)

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 (20 so far!) check out my Pinterest page.

{Note: Links to amazon.com are affiliate links. Thanks for your support.}

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

My Kind of Spring Cleaning

I need to do a better job of blooming where I'm planted - case in point I'm not a big fan of living in DC, and I often let it show. But when you get a 63 degree day while your family up north is buried under 5 feet of snow with 2 more on the way it's easy to appreciate your circumstances. We spent hours outside doing Spring clean up this Sunday and appreciated every minute of it. We even got the fire pit going and grilled our lunch.