Monday, June 29, 2015

Weekly Meal Plan

Being summer and the fact that we are traveling a bit... and are WAY less scheduled, my meal plans are going to be sporadic at best. BUT here's this week! We are going to be working through our freezer as best we can.

SUNDAY was...
Low Country Boil and pool party with some college friends

MONDAY
Corned Beef, potatoes, and carrots (from the garden!)

TUESDAY
Shrimp & grits (with the leftover shrimp and sausage from our Low Country Boil)

WEDNESDAY
Grilled Steaks, courtesy of my mother-in-law... and probably some corn and green beans from the garden

THURSDAY
Homemade spaghetti sauce (from our garden grown tomatoes) with grilled Italian sausage (from the freezer)


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Thursday, June 25, 2015

Our Garden ::. The Fourth Month


Ok, technically this will be the 3rd AND 4th months post... because time got away from me with the end of school and vacation and I never got around to writing it.

Last month we tore out the depleted green bean plants and quite woodsy lettuce plants and planted black beans, more green beans, a few sun flowers (the girls begged us!), cucumber that we started from seed in those little starter cups and zucchini that we started from seed directly into the garden bed... and some flower seeds that Charlotte got from her teacher in school.

After a short time, everything seemed to be sprouting and growing well...


We pulled ALL the onions...


Picked most of the carrots -- but they were hidden by our extremely overgrown tomato plants so they didn't fare overly well... but still... kind of fun! Our tomatoes have been hit with a few rounds of bug issues and fungus... but after some seven dust and some other organic spray for the fungus... they continue to produce. We've gotten at least 2 red, yellow, and orange... and lots of green bell peppers.


AND THEN the girls and I went on a 2 week road trip and between heat (gotta love Florida summer... and the direct sun), lack of attention by someone who shall not be named (ahem, ahem), or something... we lost our cucumbers AND zucchini, our tomato plants exploded and were bug filled, and we lost several belle peppers to the bugs.

Lost cucumbers and zucchini
On the bright side, we still have some peppers growing...


  The green beans are producing ...


The tomatoes are still coming in...


And Charlotte's flowers from school are doing great.


Oh... and our sunflowers are ginormous!!!


Here is the current garden.


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Monday, June 1, 2015

Weekly Meal Plan ::. Last week of school!

It is the last week of school! Woo hoo! AND the last week of our weekly activities; soccer came to an end this past Saturday and gymnastics is stopping this Tuesday (for a summer/travel hiatus) - bring on the lazy summer days.

SUNDAY was ...
Takeout chinese food after a day on the boat

MONDAY
Taco Night
Ground beef in the freezer, an abundance of tomatoes from the garden, shredded cheese leftover from my mother in laws BBQ, avocados in a bag ripening, and lettuce in the fridge... we are good to go!

TUESDAY
Caprese Chicken Dinner
Did I mention an abundance of tomatoes?!

WEDNESDAY
Last day of school = waterslide potluck dinner at a friends house!
Maybe I'll bring this: Caprese Garlic Bread
or maybe this... Loaded Baked Potato salad

THURSDAY
Homemade pizza night
Spicy Chicken and Pepper jack pizza
Chicken from the freezer, bell peppers from the garden!

FRIDAY
Planned boat day -- so crockpot something or other, or mother-in-law is prepping something

SATURDAY
Gnocchi Skillet with Sausage and Cherry Tomatoes
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Friday, May 29, 2015

April's Cookie Trial ::. Twix Thumbprint Cookies

I saw the recipe for these Twix Thumbprint Cookies over at The Recipe Critic and decided I needed to try these. I think I could have thrown a bit more chocolate on there, but I liked these a lot! I think the hubby thought they were a little bit too sweet.


In case this recipe gets lost on unlinked... here is the recipe:
Twix Thumbprint Cookies
Src: The Recipe Critic
PREP TIME:  15 MINS
COOK TIME:  10 MINS
TOTAL TIME:  25 MINS
SERVES: 24

A delicious thumbprint cookie that tastes exactly like a Twix! A shortbread layer, a caramel filled center and chocolate drizzled on top!
INGREDIENTS
Shortbread Layer:
⅔ cup Unsalted Butter, softened
½ cup sugar
2 Eggs (yolks only)
1 teaspoon vanilla
1½ cups all-purpose flour
Caramel Filling:
14 soft caramel candies (like Kraft Caramels)
3 T. heavy cream
Chocolate Drizzle:
6 ounce milk chocolate chips

INSTRUCTIONS
To make the shortbread layer: Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a medium sized bowl, combine ⅔ cup butter, sugar, egg yolks and vanilla in bowl. Beat at medium speed, scraping bowl often, until creamy. Add flour; beat at low speed until well mixed. Cover and refrigerate at least 1 hour or until firm.
Shape dough into 1-inch balls. Place 2 inches apart onto ungreased cookie sheets. Make indentation in center of each cookie with thumb or end of wooden spoon handle. Bake 7-10 minutes or until edges begin to brown. Cool completely.
To make the caramel filling: Melt the caramel and heavy cream in the microwave stirring every 30 seconds until it is fully melted. Using a teaspoon fill each indentation with the caramel.
To make the chocolate drizzle: Melt the chocolate in the microwave stirring 30 seconds at a time until smooth, and scoop into a ziplock bag. Barely snip the corner and drizzle over the cookies.

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Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Weekly Meal Plan

SUNDAY
Mothers Day! This mama is not cooking :)

MONDAY
Junior League Meeting for mama
Pesto Chicken Bake

TUESDAY
gymnastics AND new photography class for mama
Crockpot Mexican Stuffed Peppers (from garden)
This is a hold over from last weeks meal plan that we didn't get around to

WEDNESDAY
late soccer night
Tuscan Sausage Soup from the freezer
This is one of our "keeper recipes"

THURSDAY
*new* Ritzy Cheddar Baked Chicken

FRIDAY
Family homemade pizza night

SATURDAY
Caprese Avocado Salad

Marinated Flank Steak

Andouille Sausage, red beans, and rice

Taco Night

Ground Beef Casserole

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Sunday, May 10, 2015

Our raised garden ::. The Second Month

Here's my belated post about month 2.
Click here for all garden related posts.

After 2 months:
I need to remember to actually water the garden. The hubby (if you remember, the person whose idea this garden was) had foot surgery so garden tending has been handed over to yours truly. I think I'm doing pretty good. I go out at least once a day to check on the garden. The girls LOVE LOVE to go see if there are any strawberries ready to be picked, they have taken over the strawberry job. Also, they enjoy green bean picking too.

I'm really having fun with this garden thing... but I kind of slacked and didn't actually take a full garden picture this month.

What have we learned:
Picking green beans actually causes more to grow... and we should have picked them a whole lot sooner.  The bush green bean plant has a maturity date of 55-60 days. While we got TONS of green beans, I had high hopes of giving some to friends and freezing a lot... but by the time we got around to that a lot of them were turning yellow and overripe.  All that said, I'm quite impressed how well these did since we grew them from seeds!

We should have planted our tomato plants WAY further apart. They are so crowded we can't get in there to see if we even have tomatoes. Also, I'm afraid the crowding was encouraging bugs and fungus.

Bell Pepper plants ALL grow green and only change colors (yellow, red, orange in our garden) when they are ripe. We were a little confused when the peppers on ALL our plants were green... fingers crossed we get some to change color.

Head lettuce likes shade and will not actually form a head if it's too sunny or hot. SOOO.... that was kind of a bust. We did not get ANY yield from our head lettuce - it was "bolting" I think and shooting straight up... so we pulled that.
Not-so-much-of-a-head head lettuce
Our red romaine lettuce, on the other hand, gave us quite a yield; We tried both tearing off the outside leaves and cutting the whole heart to the ground and letting it grow back. Nearing month 2, I felt like I couldn't keep up with the number of plants that we planted... and it too was beginning to shoot straight up and flower. I was told that once your lettuce flowers, it becomes bitter... so after 2 months (and a few days) we ended up pulling the red romaine. We may try this again in the fall.
Red romaine

I've also learned that me and herbs are not friends -- I can not keep those things alive to save my life. Except for mint... turns out I really have no use for mint... I am pregnant so mojitos are out of the question... and this herb grows like a weed and is trying to take over the herb section of our garden - YIKES!

This months yield:

LOTS Red Romaine Lettuce -- we had a salad at least every other day (sometimes daily) for a month and a half
Green beans, green beans, and MORE green beans

A few green bell peppers
Some tomatoes (that didn't get destroyed by bugs)
Strawberries every so often
And ONE onion (which I apparently picked too soon and wrong -- which was another thing we learned!)

Stay tuned for next months update.
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Monday, May 4, 2015

Weekly Meal Plan

SUNDAY was...
Grilled marinated flank steak with mac n cheese and (garden grown) salad

MONDAY
Andouille Sausage, red beans, and rice

TUESDAY
CINCO DE MAYO
Tacos... of course! with some black bean hummus

WEDNESDAY
Late soccer night
Ground Beef Casserole

THURSDAY
Crockpot Mexican Stuffed bell peppers (from our garden!)

FRIDAY
Garlic Parmesean Crusted Chicken

SATURDAY
Homemade pizza night

Grilled Chicken, green beans, and mac n cheese

Grilled Flank Steak with black beans, corn, and tomatoes

Chicken and spinach stuffed shells

Roasted Garlic, Pesto, and Chicken Pizza

Corned Beef, potatoes, and cabbage

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