Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Busy Week(end) and a Menu: Harvest Time!

I feel like life is going full-steam-ahead, but my brain wants to nap in a hammock for a few days. And I don't even have a hammock! Oh well.

This week/weekend I did quite a bit of preserving. I've finally, FINALLY got tomatoes ripening, and a few peppers too. The sweet chocolates are coming along nicely. Nothing else pepper-wise seems to be ready yet. I made 3 pints of pizza sauce, a quart and a pint of lacto-fermented salsa from Nourishing Traditions and 2 1/2 pints of freezer peach jam from farmers' market peaches.

Also, I recently won a $60 gift certificate for CSN Stores from the Green Bag Lady and used it to get a dehydrator. I'm so excited :) Despite my desires for an excalibur, I decided to bite the bullet and use this opportunity to get one that's not quite so awesome, but still great. I got a Nesco American Harvest. I decided to splurge and get the square one. At the CSN store, the round one would have been just under my $60 and shipped for free. But, the square one cost me $12.99 with free ground shipping. It wasn't too hard to convince my Hubby to agree on the extra $$. One word: jerky :) I was really excited too when I got an email telling me that they had upgraded my shipping for free and I got it in just a few days! Awesome! I've already got a load of tomatoes dehydrating. And I promise, there will be pictures soon.

This weekend was also the CornFest in my little village. I didn't get to experience it much though. I played in the volleyball tournament, from 9am until 3pm. LONG day. Oh, yeah, and it rained the whole time. I was soaked, completely soaked to the bone. After the first few games, I had to continue to wring my hair and my clothes out. The sand became concrete by the end. It started out fun, but by the end I was just tired and hungry. It did let up finally after I was home and clean and dry, but by that time my feet hurt so bad that the last thing I wanted to do was walk around! I did get to enjoy a funnel cake during a break in the games though, so I got what I wanted ;)

There was also a sad time this weekend. I had to put my sourdough starter in the compost :( I'm not sure if it was completely dead or not, but I neglected it for way too long. It was starting to smell a little funny, and somehow fruit flies were invading. None of these thing are good. However, I've resigned to start a new starter and attempt to keep it in the fridge and only bring it out and feed it when I need it. It will take a little more planning ahead, but I think it will be better in the long run. I think I'll take pictures this time too!

Now, on to the menu! This week is a not-so-busy week schedule wise, but there is a lot I want to get done. Plus, I think we're having a party at our house on Sunday for our fantasy football draft, so I need to get a little cleaning done!

Monday - hamburger gravy over mashed potatoes. I also cooked up extra ground beef for Wednesday and 2 lbs with taco seasoning to make enchiladas for the freezer. 3 lbs were vacuum sealed for the freezer. I cut and packaged a bunch of chicken for the freezer too, including marinating some for Tuesday.
Tuesday - chicken stirfry with pac choi, peas and carrots and a side of couscous. Make enchilada sauce at least, if not enchiladas for the freezer. Make cookies.
Wednesday - spaghetti with meat sauce. Hubby requests no weird stuff like veggies in the sauce, just sauce...? I'm hoping I can use the tomatoes from my garden and simmer the sauce while I run! Cleaning time! Finish enchiladas if I haven't already.
Thursday -  fried chicken nuggets with butternut squash fries. More cleaning.
Friday - beef fajitas? Not sure what we're doing yet.
Saturday - pizza
Sunday - cookout, potluck style!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Menu Monday

I'm late again. Yesterday was a busy day, and I just didn't get to posting. I DID create a menu plan, just didn't get it up.

Monday - fried chicken nuggets with veggie stirfry
Tuesday - Tacos (& make freezer enchiladas)
Wednesday - Pot roast with carrots
Thursday - BBQ beef sandwiches and corn on the cob
Friday - dinner with friends
Saturday - birthday party
Sunday - Oven fried chicken

Tonight, however, is probably going to be reworked. My cousin who lives in Georgia is in town! I haven't even met his little boy yet, and I can't wait to do so. It's been way to long since I've seen them! So, we'll probably end up going out to eat...

Friday will most likely be grocery day. I plan on going at lunch time maybe, unless I end up meeting my Aunt for lunch.

Over the weekend I managed to get chicken stock done and pressure-canned, granola made, bread made and dog biscuits made. The granola bars didn't harden, though they're very good. I'm just calling it sticky granola :)

Friday, August 6, 2010

Adventures with Summer Squash: Recipe

I don't have any pictures for this one, but it was very delicious! Hubby didn't care for it so much. He said he was tired of chicken stirfry. Whatever. I loved it. I mentioned it a couple of weeks ago.

1 c quinoa, soaked and rinsed
1 lb chicken, cut to strips
1 3/4 c chicken stock
1 c peas (I used my snow peas)
3 cloves of garlic, minced
3 T olive oil
1 T white wine
2 T tomato paste
1/2 c finely grated Romano cheese
salt and pepper to taste

I found this recipe (or the recipe this was loosely based on) because I had things on hand that needed to be used: chicken, a summer squash, tomato paste and mozzarella cheese. So I added some mozz and only put a little bit of the romano in. I also cut up the squash and added it, along with some fresh basil and oregano. It made it a little more Italian tasting!

The original recipe said to marinate the chicken in the oil, salt, pepper and garlic for about 20 minutes. I didn't really have the time, so I just sauted the garlic with the onion and cooked the chicken after that with the salt and pepper added to it. Deglaze the pan with the white wine (I think I used more like 1/4-1/2 cup, because I had just a little left in the bottle), then add the tomato paste and mix. Add the quinoa, veggies and stock. Simmer about 15 minutes. Mix in cheese and any additional spices. Serve.

It warmed up pretty well for lunch the next two days too.

This post is a part of the Simple Lives Thursday blog hop, The Pennywise Platter, and, because I got it up late, the Friendly Friday blog hop!

Monday, August 2, 2010

Menu Monday

Last week didn't go as planned, but I should plan for that any week!

Things I didn't do:

  • make granola bars
  • make burritos for the freezer
  • blanch and freeze carrots
  • eat with friends on Friday - we just ate leftovers instead
  • cook on Sunday - we went out for wings
  • make icecream
  • make buns
  • make dog treats
  • make peanut butter
  • replant the peas - though I did rip out the dying ones
  • work on the berry patches
Things I did differently:
  • made tortellini on Wednesday, not Thursday
  • made chicken Enchiladas on Thursday
  • spent Saturday in the basement of my shed cleaning it out (more on that later!) since it was supposed to rain...it didnt.
  • painted the fence on Sunday instead. But it is done, woohoo!!
Things that went right:
  • Monday, Tuesday and Saturday meal plans
  • the fence DID get painted, did I mention that yet?
  • made a very yummy chocolate zucchini bread. I will definitely be making this again, maybe in a muffin form for portability. It's very good with a little cream cheese, which is what contributed to the next item
  • managed to only spend like $7 on groceries (cream cheese for bread, dip for all the carrots, and 2-liter of Diet Dr. Pepper in a moment of weakness!)
  • blanched and froze the broccoli, which is good since that won't last like the carrots will
  • soaked and dried the oats for the bars
  • I won TWO different giveaways on blogland this past week. Which is awesome. I will definitely be writing about them both when I get the goodies!
Anyway, onward and upward. This Week's menu is as follows:
  • Monday - beef stew. It was supposed to be in the crockpot already, but since I didn't get up until almost 7:30 this morning, it didn't happen. I will start it on the stove before volleyball tonight, and then eat when I get home!
  • Tuesday - Breakfast! Sourdough waffles and bacon. I plan on making extra waffles for the freezer. I also hope to get some beef enchiladas made for the freezer. Hubby really like the chicken ones, but thinks beef will be even better. Better than the burritos.
  • Wednesday - Chicken stew in the crockpot. I'm making a large batch, and the leftovers will go to make some pasty-type things for the freezer.
  • Thursday - Chicken nuggets with...probably broccoli since we have a bunch. Maybe some corn-on-the-cob if I get to the farm stand! I will finally have some money in the budget for grocery shopping, so this will happen today. I'm pretty excited! We have a local butcher I have yet to get to and I want to go on my lunch break, then the farm stand, and then the grocery store for a few other essentials...like light bulbs!
  • Friday - still up in the air again this week. I will plan on grilling out. Burgers and corn. We'll see.
  • Saturday - Busy, busy day of cookouts, etc. Nothing planned.
  • Sunday - pizza! My to-do list for Sunday consists of everything on the not done list above :)

That's my menu for this week. Check out more menu's at The Organizing Junkie.