Wednesday, October 31

Well Fed

Halloween Dinner

My meal planning system has been working for me. We've had a Mom approved dinner on the table (or in the picnic basket, as the case may be) each night with out any last minute frenzies. YES! I'm so much happier and the family is well fed- everybody wins!

Sunday, they boys came home from the woods dirty, tired and hungry. I greeted them with a feast. The smells from the kitchen got their mouths watering and I was barely able to hold them off until dinner was ready.

Tonight we had a quick and fun meal to get us ready for a night of trick-or-treating. Theme dinners are a little silly at times but so much fun, too.

Saturday, Chaz cooks. He's planned the menu, picked the recipes and made his grocery list. It's going to be good, I'm sure of it.

Roast Chicken
Roasted Root Vegetables
Pennsylvania Dutch Tea Rolls
Sour Cream Apple Pie with Streusel Topping

Sauerkraut with Bacon and Apples
Grilled Sausages

Chicken Soup with Mushrooms
Spinach, Pear and Goat Cheese Salad with Balsamic Vinaigrette

Wednesday Halloween!
Mummy Dogs
Hallow-bean Salad
Surprise Orange Milk Shakes

Thursday and Friday
Baseball Team Parties

Saturday Chaz Cooks!
Garlic and Herb Angel Hair
Sesame Broccoli
Pumpkin Squares

Monday, October 29


Baseball season is coming to a close. Something that has us all cheering for a wide variety of reasons. Major League Baseball finished it's season last night with a very exciting 4 game sweep by the Red Sox (I was on the edge of my seat!) We are celebrating today and some of us can happily go to bed a little earlier now.

Little League Baseball is wrapping up tomorrow night. It's been a fun season but it's been a very hectic and overwhelming season. We are all looking forward to a little more freedom. The boys are looking forward to being able to just play. So often this Fall, they haven't been able to go out an run and play and just be. There were always games and practices to rush off to. We have two more games tonight and our final game tomorrow. Then there will be more celebrating.

A few of my favorite photos from the season:

Baseball - Topher
Topher playing for the Hooks.

Baseball - Edmund
Edmund playing for the River Cats.

Baseball - Chaz
Chaz playing for the White Sox.

And just so you know - only 153 days until the official start of baseball season!

Friday, October 26

Weekend Plans

Weekend Projects

Chris and the boys are off to the woods for a weekend of camping with the Cub Scouts. I'm staying behind and I've got my own plans for the weekend. I can't wait!

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, October 24

Judge's Choice

Making cakes

Last night was our Cub Scout Pack's annual "Feller Cake Bake". The boys always really look forward to this event. There are several categories and this year they thought they might try to win "Smallest Cake" so they made cupcakes. They each made the same basic design - skulls - but they made them as individual as they are.

Edmund's eyes were Junior Mints, the nose was 2 chocolate chips nestled closely together and he drew teeth that were a bit vampire-ish. Chaz also used the Junior Mints and chocolate chips, however he sunk them in so just the little round bottoms showed and then he made big monkey lips. Topher opted for smaller M&M eyes, only 1 chocolate chip for the nose and a more traditional skeleton mouth. They did a great job!


There were a lot of great entries, including a very realistic looking kitty litter cake! (that one took "Most Disgusting"). The boys did not win "Smallest Cake". Would you believe there was a cake the size of a thimble?? I think it may have been a little mound of frosting with a sprinkle on top. It was very cute.

We did not come home empty handed, though. The boys ended up with "Judge's Choice"! Chris and I had to nudge the boys to go up to get their award. I think they were in disbelief! We came home very excited, very proud and already planning next year's entry.

Judges Choice

Tuesday, October 23

Menu + A Recipe

Asparagus Orzotto

I'm getting back in to the cooking and meal planning groove. (Finally!) The kids have been helping a bit too, suggesting meals and even planning an entire meal on their own - complete with a shopping list. They are learning.

The boys are saving their dinner menus for now. They plan on doing the cooking on those nights so we are waiting for the chaos of their baseball season to end (soon!!)

This week:

Grilled Chicken and Mozzarella Ravioli
Browned Butter and Garlic Sauce
Green Salad

Grilled Fish Tacos

Asparagus Orzotto

Thai Style Pork
Basmati Rice
Steamed Broccoli and Cauliflower

Turkey Samosas
Chopped Salad Cups

Friday and Saturday
Chris is taking the boys camping with the Cub Scouts. I'm on my own!


Tonight's dinner was wonderful! It was also pretty simple and on the table within about 30 minutes (a big plus!). It uses orzo instead of rice to cut down on the cooking time.

Asparagus Orzotto
from Vegetarian Times

3 cups vegetable broth
1 Tbls olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 lbs asparagus cut in to 1 inch pieces
1 lb orzo pasta
2/3 cup dry white wine
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup fresh basil cut in to thin strips
1 Tbls butter

Place the broth and 3 cups of water in a large glass measuring cup and heat to boiling in the microwave, about 5 minutes.

Heat oil in a deep skillet over medium heat. Add onion and garlic and saute 6 minutes, until tender. Add asparagus and saute about 2 minutes until bright green.

Stir in orzo and toss to coat with oil, about 2 minutes. Stir in wine and cook about 3 minutes or until liquid is almost completely absorbed, stirring constantly. Pour in 1 cup of hot broth. Cook until liquid is mostly absorbed, stirring constantly. Continue to add broth 1/2 cup at a time, stirring constantly until absorbed before adding more. Stir in Parmasan cheese, butter and basil. Season with salt and pepper.


Sunday, October 21

Pumpkin Picking Time

Pumpkin Patch

It's a little odd for us to make a trip to the pumpkin patch wearing shorts and sandals. Usually we are bundled up wearing hats, mittens and coats, clutching warm cups of hot cider and bracing ourselves against the damp wind that bites our noses. We have a new home so we have new adventures.

So far this year, we have made the trip out to the pumpkin patch twice. We've gone on hay rides (and then suffered from countless chigger bites!), explored the corn maze, played in the pumpkin house, looked at (but did not feed) the horses, snacked on fresh kettle corn and carefully hunted for just the right pumpkins.

If they could, I think the boys would go to the pumpkin patch every weekend in October!

Spooky Tree

Carved tree.

Silly Train Ride

Chaz and Topher being silly! (Edmund sitting behind them)

The Boys at the Pumpkin Patch

The boys.

Heavy Pumpkin

Topher's pumpkin.

Pumpkins in a Wagon

We came home with 3 large pumpkins, 2 small pumpkins, 4 bags of kettle corn, 2 jars of homemade zucchini bread and butter pickles and 1 jar of homemade fig preserves. As well as a little dirty, a little tired and very happy.

Friday, October 19

Halloween Corsages

Halloween Corsages

I've been playing around with a few project ideas lately. Some are hits and some (unfortunately) are misses need more tweaking.

A couple of my recent hits are these fabric corsages. I just love them! One is made with felt, a little fabric yo-yo, and some baby rick rack and the other is fabric scraps cut in strips. Both are topped with a pretty little button. These were sent off to two very special people and I hope they have fun with them. Another picture here

I know I'll be making more of these. I see Fall fabrics, or even Christmas colors. The possibilities are endless. Maybe I'll add some to the shop.

Grrr... Blogger Glitch!

UGH! UGH! UGH! My blog header suddenly just dissapeared! I can't figure out how to get it back - nothing I do seems to work. If there is anyone that might be able to offer up some words of wisdom, I would really really appreciate it!

In the mean time, I'm very very frustrated!

Thursday, October 18

Seared Beef Soup

Soup Beginnings

Here's a wonderful recipe from last week's menu. It was a HUGE hit with everyone! Chris and I had a little Sake with ours. So good!

Seared Beef Soup

8 oz angel hair pasta, cooked al dente
1.25 lbs beef sirlion cut in 1 in pieces
2 Tbls olive oil
10 oz sliced mushrooms (your favorite variety)
2 cloves garlic, minced
8 cups beef stock
3 Tbls soy sauce
2 tsp rice wine vinegar
2 carrots, julliened
1/2 head Napa cabbage, shredded
2 scallions thinly sliced
1 cup bean sprouts

Season beef with a little salt and pepper and 1 Tbls olive oil. In a large saucepan over medium-high heat, sear beef until nicely browned. Remove the beef and set it aside. Reduce the heat to medium, add remaining oil, mushrooms and garlic. Cook until tender, scraping up any browned beef bits. Add stock, soy sauce, and vinegar and bring to a boil. Remove from heat and stir in carrots, cabbage, scallions and bean sprouts. Then add beef and noodles.


Wednesday, October 17

Menu Planning Woes


Dinner has been a real struggle around here lately. I just can't seem to get back in to a good meal planning routine. The boys are all playing Fall baseball and they have pretty intense schedules (another issue I have!). We have to eat on the go 5(!) nights a week and the other two nights usually have to be quick cook meals. Because of this, I am making far too many trips to the grocery store which, really, is just a waste of my time (and more money spent than is necessary).

I've been given a few well intentioned tricks and tips but they all involve frozen meals and take-out. I just can't do that - especially not 5 times a week! Dinner time is so important to me - it's family time. and I NEED to cook for my family.

Fall ball is winding down, our schedules are easing up, the weather is cooling off (just slightly) and I'm starting to get my mojo back. I printed a copy of the week's calendar (I keep our calendar on the computer, color coded and always open) and marked the types of meals we need each night - on the go, quick cook, crockpot, etc. Then I pulled out a couple of my favorite, never-let-me-down cookbooks and filled it in. Finally, I made a grocery list from my menu. The menu is posted on the fridge and I am able to look at it each morning and figure out what I can prep ahead while I clean up the breakfast dishes. So far, so good! I'm also going to keep my weekly menus in a notebook so I can refer back to them. Less work for me later!

*If anyone has an tips, tricks or meal suggestions (especially on the go ideas), I would really love them!

Here is this week's menu:
Chili Cheese Dogs
Raw Veggies

Roasted Corn and Veggie Quesadillas
Tossed Salad with Lime Vinaigrette

Salisbury Steaks with Wild Mushroom and Onion Gravy
Sour Cream Mashed Potatoes
Roasted Asparagus

Pizza Night

Pretzel Crusted Chicken Tenders with
Chipotle Dipping Sauce
Roasted Veggie Chips

Barley Beef Soup
Buttermilk Potato Bread

Our plans were up in the air until last night. I'll figure this one out today.

Saturday, October 6

Grand Opening!

Trick-or-Treat Totes

The shop is now officially open for business! I am so very excited about this new adventure. I've started small but I've got plans....

Please stop by, say "hi" and let me know what you think.

Friday, October 5


Well my little shop opening is being delayed. I'm having a little technical difficulty but I WILL have it all resolved soon. The shop will be open by Monday!

Wednesday, October 3

Coming Soon!


The shop is scheduled to open on Friday 10/5!