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Archive for the ‘food’ Category

Have I told you about Mission:  Organized?  I am working hard to get our cozy house organized and functional, which often means a bigger mess is created as sorting and purging and moving of stuff take place.  Our upstairs office space is a constant work in progress, as is the kitchen.  Last week, I took everything out of the “pantry” cabinet (yes, cabinet; no, not a closet) and threw away the stale crackers and out-of-date baking supplies.  Then I reorganized the items by type and put them in nifty baskets.  Sweet Birdie’s Nest purchased a laminator, so I’m going to make and laminate labels for those baskets, too!  This week, I tackled the refrigerator and freezer.  I did NOT take pictures before or during the task, because, well…I just didn’t want to expose myself that much.  Believe me when I say it was not pretty.

I felt like we had SO much in the fridge and freezer, yet we could never use the items while we were cooking.  The first thing I did was take everything out of the fridge (well, almost everything – there is one drawer that doesn’t come out without the help of a sumo wrestler, so it stayed), wipe off the shelves, wall, and the door and the purge the out-of-date food and restock the fridge with what was left.  Then, I did the same with the freezer.

I may have found the following items in my fridge or freezer while completing this project:

-frozen french fries that expired in January of 2010

-a frozen pie crust that should have been used in January of 2008.  {Yes, that’s an 8}

-1 box of Girl Scout cookies, unopened; 2 sleeve of Girl Scout cookies, unopened; and 1 sleeve of Girl Scout cookies, opened

-peanut butter pie filling from ???  {I can’t remember when I made it last, but it was for someone’s birthday}

-6 bags of frozen berries, 4 of them opened

-4 bags of frozen corn

-2 bottles of open vodka

-random frozen chicken breasts in multiple Ziploc baggies, none of which were dated

-ground turkey from 2009 {I tried, but just don’t like it unless it’s in chili}

-something in a disposable casserole dish that was dated Aug/2009

-2 opened loaves of garlic bread

-mayonnaise and multiple salad dressings that expired in 2008, 2009, and 2010

-corn dip from Jim’s birthday party {I was relatively excited about this find because it’s from just two months ago!}

Instead of being embarrassed about this confession {I know I should be, but I refuse}, I am going to move forward with the knowledge that when I see “clean out fridge” on my weekly cleaning checklist, I should really just clean out the fridge and throw out anything past its prime.  I did find some beef stew that we can still eat, frozen mangoes that MJ might enjoy, and frozen garlic fries that we bought last month that I forgot we had.

{Oh, and I kept the unopened Girl Scout cookies and the vodka.}

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On Christmas Eve, Jim had not finished icing and putting away the Christmas cookies before Molly woke up from her nap and I swear she could smell those things before we even opened her door.

She now asks for cookies constantly…and if an object is even remotely cookie-shaped or cookie-colored, she starts with the “cookie, cookie” chant.  It’s really quite hilarious, and she’s so hard to deny!  Unfortunately, since everyone else indulges her, I am the bad guy that says, “No, you can’t have a cookie for breakfast.”  Or, “No, you can’t have another cookie since you’ve already had 12.”

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Last week, we traveled to Ohio to be with Jim’s family for the Thanksgiving holiday.  When we started out, the weather was a balmy 80 degrees but four states and nine hours away, it was 32 degrees.  Hello, winter!  We planned to run/walk in the Turkey Trot but it was pouring rain and Molly only slept about two hours on Wednesday night, so we thought she might be too tired to run.  Ha!  Molly was a total sweetheart in the car but didn’t sleep a wink, and then she wasn’t too happy about sleeping her pack ‘n play, so Jim and I finally relented and let her sleep in the bed with us for the first time ever.  I can totally see why families do that – it’s so sweet and cozy and after hours of screaming, quiet.

Peaches got to spend quality time with her aunts and uncles and grandparents and although it took her some time to warm up, she was her usual charming self by Thursday and was even giving out hugs and high-fives on Friday.  She also got to experience some true winter weather and we had to buy her a winter coat at Target on Wednesday.  We took several jackets for her, but they just weren’t going to cut it in the Ohio wind.

Although Molly didn’t eat any turkey or yummy side dishes from Thanksgiving dinner, we did find out that she likes McDonald’s and Wendy’s chicken nuggets.  Go figure!  Jim made fun of me because I picked the fried skin off of the nuggets, and several people have pointed out that’s probably the most “real” part of them.

We drove home Saturday in time to put Molly to sleep in her own bed and she was out within minutes.  Jim and I unpacked and went to bed ourselves to prepare for Sunday – I had an 11 mile training run and we celebrated my dad’s birthday with family dinner at our favorite Sunday place, Hawthorne’s.  This week is the last week of the fall semester for me, so I’m busy with final grading and preparing the exams.  We got our Christmas tree last night and Jim managed to get the lights on it for us; we were hoping for more of a reaction for Molly but she just looked at it for a minute and then grabbed a book.  Hopefully she’ll be more interested once it’s fully decorated!

We’re looking forward to this Christmas season and seeing Molly’s reaction to the decorations, lights, and festive holiday events.  It’s so fun to watch her experience things for the first time.  Although this isn’t her first Christmas, she’s so much more aware of everything now so I’m expecting a lot of fun “firsts!”

 

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{Appetizer} Corn Dip

This cream, spicy, warm corn dip is perfect for tailgates and other fall parties.  I stole it from a friend who stole it from a friend…I remember having it for the first time a few years ago at a Cinqo de Mayo party, and now Caroline and Meredith have made it since then for get-togethers.  I made it myself for the first time recently for supper club and it was a huge hit!

 

8 oz cream cheese
4 T butter
2 T milk
1 1/2 t garlic salt
1 lb bag frozen white corn
2 T chopped jalapeno (I like it hot, so I put more in)
1/2 can green chiles (I use the whole can b/c what am I going to do with the half can left over?!)
Melt butter and cream cheese over medium heat.  Add remaining ingredients.  The longer you heat it, the spicier it will be.  Serve with tortilla chips.

 

 

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I love my Real Simple magazine.  Every month, I love the organization articles and the recipes; we always find at least one or two or ten to try.  Several months ago, they did a feature on ten ways to make ravioli, and this is one of our favorites.  It’s so easy and delicious (that’s what I actually wrote on the magazine page!).  An added bonus:  It’s meatless!

Ravioli with Spicy Cauliflower

1 package of fresh or frozen ravioli

1 head coarsely chopped cauliflower

2 cloves sliced garlic

1/4 t of crushed red pepper

3/4 c pitted green olives (halved)

Cook the cauliflower, garlic and crushed pepper in olive oil over medium heat until the cauliflower is tender and brown.  Season with salt.

Cook ravioli according to package directions, reserving 1/4 pasta water.

Mix the ravioli, cauliflower mixture, green olives, and pasta water.  Serve.

See?  I told you it was easy!

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Over the summer, as Molly got more mobile and interested in things other than her own feet and hands, I resisted buying any new toys, knowing that her birthday was coming up (and knowing that we had no where to actually PUT the toys).  I had gotten her one new thing in the spring – that she was obsessed with at a friend’s house and then was utterly unimpressed by when it appeared at our house – and we made do with plastic food storage containers, her trusty Leapfrog table, and lots of books.  (For the record, books aren’t toys, so I buy many new books every week.)  Two weeks before her birthday, Jim and I went on a toy-shopping date (not as fun as it was supposed to be since I was developing dry sockets from my wisdom tooth extraction) and picked out the perfect gifts for our Peach.  She loves the play camera we got her, thinks the puzzles taste delicious, and finds it hilarious when she holds up a farm animal and I moo like a cow or baa like a sheep.

However, we could have saved a lot of money.  Because guess what we should have given her instead?

Dog bowls.  Especially one full of water.

She thinks those dog bowls are awesome.  And she’s starting to come around to the baby dolls that I keep forcing on her.  I have been trying to teach her how hug the dolls, so I hug the doll and then give the doll to her and say, “Give her some love.”  Molly usually just tosses the doll aside and heads straight for the dog bowls.  I finally decided to pick the bowls up from the floor when Allie’s not eating (Genius idea, you say?  Thanks.  It only took me two weeks to figure that one out!) so now Molly has to play with her toys or sit alone in the kitchen.  The other day, I pointed at one of her dolls and told her to give the doll some love.  Molly looked at me and then handed me the doll, as if to say, “YOU give her some love; I don’t want to.”

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My dear husband pointed out to me on Wednesday that I have already shared the Mexican Casserole with you.  So you can take that two ways:  1) we really, really like it   OR  2)  I don’t have a lot of recipes in my cooking arsenal.

Sorry for the repeat – I’ll try to come up with something NEW next time!

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Jim and I were doing so well for a while, making our meals during the week at home and looking at our coupons and grocery store ads to make our weekly menu and shopping list.  I also had a totally nifty notepad from MomAgenda that we used to post the menu on the fridge.  Well, the notepad ran out of paper and I started back to work in the spring and we’ve been terribly unoriginal about our meal planning ever since.  After noticing (yet again) how much money we spend on eating out and watching my waistline slowly expand, this week I decided was the week to get back on track making healthy meals at home.  Most of the time, anyway.  Monday, we had a yummy honey-soy glazed salmon; last night we had goat cheese and spinach stuffed chicken; and tonight we’re having Mexican casserole.  My neighbor, Merritt, brought this casserole to us after Peaches was born and I immediately emailed her for the recipe.  It’s so easy and it makes enough to share, freeze, or for leftovers.

So, without further ado, Merritt’s Mexican Casserole:

2 cups cooked brown rice

1 can corn, drained

1 can black beans, rinsed and drained

1 can tomatoes and green chiles (Rotel, anyone?)

1 8 oz container fat-free sour cream

1 8 oz jar salsa

2 cups fat free shredded cheddar cheese

1/4 tsp pepper

1 bunch green onions, chopped

1 small can sliced ripe olives

1 8 oz package fat free Monterey Jack shredded cheese

Combine the first 8 ingredients into a lightly greased 13 x 9 inch baking dish.  Sprinkle with remaining ingredients.  Bake at 350 degrees for 50 minutes.

*We use two 8 x8 pans and freeze one.  For just the two of us, one pan is still enough for two nights of dinner or dinner and lunch.  Add a green salad and some  tortilla chips for a complete meal!

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