Monday, 6 January 2014

Menu Monday

Welcome to my first edition of:


I figured I might as well align my blogging with my weekly responsibilities, and in this case I review my weekly meal plans on Monday so I can go shopping on Tuesday.
I say review instead of create because I actually create my meal plans monthly.  I sit down with a calendar and a piece of paper and some cookbooks and map out a month of meals. It's really not as hard as it sounds, especially when you factor in at least one leftover dinner a week to clean out the fridge.
 I also try to do a couple meals a month that I can make a big batch of and freeze for an easy meal the next month.  I think this month is more on the freezer cleaning out than the stocking, however.
Our busy nights (Monday and Wednesday right now) I try to use the slow-cooker to make my life that much easier in the hectic afternoons.  Okay, enough preamble, onto the menu:


Slow-cooker Mushroom-Sauced Pot Roast (click for a link to the recipe)
I got this recipe from an impulse purchase of a Better Homes and Gardens magazine "All-time Favorites Slow-cooker". It's from 2004, but I think they do something similar fairly frequently.  Of course, I think you can get most of their recipes online now, anyhow, if you know what to look for.
In this recipe I replace the packaged veggies with fresh, and as I am out of cream of mushroom soup, I'll use this little beauty I found on Pinterest.


Another Pinterest find: Lentil Soup with Chickpeas & Quinoa


Slow-cooker Chicken Stew with Rosmary Dumplings from the cookbook 300 Slow-cooker Favorites. I picked it up a couple of years ago in the bargain book section and get some good inspiration from it.
This is my first time making this recipe, the usual Chicken and Dumpling one I use is from the Better Homes and Gardens, so we'll see how it goes.

Chicken Stew with Rosemary Dumpling
adapted slightly from 300 Slow-cooker Favorites

1/2 c. all purpose flour
1 t. salt
1/2 t. fresh ground pepper
1 whole chicken cut into pieces (about 3 lbs)
1 T. vegetable oil
4 large carrots, peeled and sliced into 1" pieces
2 stalks of celery, sliced into 1/2" pieces
1 onion thinly sliced (for our family I cut the onions really small so they can add flavour 
without the kids freaking out that there are onions in their meal)
1 t. dried rosemary
2 c. chicken stock, divided
1 c. frozen peas

1 c. all purpose flour
2 t. baking powder
1/2 t dried rosemary
1/2 t. salt
1/2 c. milk
1 egg, lightly beaten

Fresh rosemary sprigs (garnish)

1. In a heavy plastic bag combine flour, salt and pepper. Add chicken in batches, tossing to coat.
2. In a large skillet, heat oil over medium high heat. Add chicken and brown on all sides (about 8-10 mins). Set aside.
3. Add vegetables and rosemary to slow cooker and set chicken pieces on top.
4. Pour 1/2 c. stock into skillet and cook over medium high heat, scraping to deglaze the pan. Pour pan juices and remaining stock over the chicken.
5. Cover and cook on Low for 8-10 hours or High 4-6 hours until vegetables are tender and stew is bubbling. Add peas and stir to combine.
6. Dumplings: in a bowl sift the dry ingredients together. In another dish combine mils and egg, mix well. Add wet ingredients to dry and stir with a fork to make a lumpy dough.  Do not over mix, you want some lumps left. Drop dumpling mixture over chicken pieces by the spoonful. Cover and cook on High for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the dumpling comes out clean.

Garnish dishes with fresh rosemary and Serve. (Serves 4-6)


Pork Tenderloin (probably done in soy, ginger and garlic) with a side of rice and our standard steamed broccoli and cauliflower.


Turkey soup from the freezer (thank you Christmas leftovers!) possibly with some baking powder biscuits, if I'm feeling ambitious.


is our leftover/Fridge clean out meal


Lamb Shanks (from Jamie Oliver's Naked Chef cookbook that we got as a wedding gift) with mashed potatoes and roasted zucchini.  

And there you have it, my week in food. You may notice that the more intensive meals happen early in the week, with the quicker, easier stuff later.  Let's face it, first week back to school, I'm going to be wiped by Friday, so I worked it into my plan!  Enjoy your food this week!

Thursday, 2 January 2014


How fast the time flies!  I can't believe that 2013 has come and gone and I did a whopping total of 2 posts.  Ah, well, that's what New Year's Resolutions are for, right?

My resolutions for 2014 are:

1. Yell less.  I'd love to stop yelling all together, and model the control I keep telling my monkeys to have, so I will be reading more on this:

I will also be rereading the book Stop Reacting and Start Responding.  I read it last year and made it almost a month with no yelling, then life got crazy, and I used it as an excuse to stop pushing myself.  Well, no more.

2. Journal more.  That includes this here blog.  I also write little notes and anecdotes from the day in a daytimer that I have.  I don't know why I got out of practice with that last year (oh wait, new baby in the house might have had a little to do with it)  With my memory being in the horrible state that it is I need these things to help me look back and see just how far my monkeys and I have come.

3. Get the kids on track.  I know, this probably doesn't seem like it should be my resolution, but it really is up to me to follow up on the kids chores and what not.  We've been using for our chore tracking (at least for Princess and Peanut) but I have to remember to give them time to do the recording every evening and encouraging them to get their stuff complete.  

4. Pray more.  I have been really negligent in my conversations with God and I really am so very thankful for all the wonderful blessing He has given me, so I need to tell Him. Everyday.

5. Read more.  Since Bean has been born I think I have read a total of 5 books.  And 2 of those were on a big family vacation where there were other hands to corral the kids.  BK (Before Kids) I was reading about 5 books a month, so the lack of brain food is starting to take its toll.  I'm thinking that to help motivate me I'll try to review a book here once a month. (I'd love to do once a week, but let's be realistic here)

6. Spend Less.  I came to a discovery last year as I did our first ever budget (if you haven't done one, sit down and write down all your expenses. You will probably be surprised at how much goes out every month), we are living way to close to the line.  We need to go through our expenses and try to trim down in some areas. I know it can be done, we just have to buckle down and do it!

7. Don't Forget the Small Stuff. A girlfriend of mine told me of this resolution of hers and I'm adopting it.  Remembering to drink enough water and take my vitamins, and to take a couple of minutes for myself everyday.  All this will help me to be a better Mom to my monkeys.

Okay, so that's a start!  There's always the every day and every week renewals of staying on top of housework and packing better lunches and so on, but that's what life is all about, right?