Vacation hours well spent

Last week I used almost a whole day of vacation hours to stay home and clean.  Loads and loads of laundry, changed sheets, swiffered under the beds and couches, cleaned the fridge….  It felt good to get it done.  I miss having that bonus time around the house!  Remember when you had your first baby and they said, “Relax your standards, and sleep when the baby sleeps.”  And you thought, “Yeah, right, no way am I relaxing my standards.”  I think that talk should be saved for when you have a house full of teenagers.  My standards are sooooo relaxed now, and my sleep may actually be more interrupted with teenage drivers than with newborns….

I feel like that little gift of found time sparked my creativity with meal planning.  Here’s what we’re eating this week:

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  • Friday night we treated ourselves to fish (fresh mahimahi was on sale) in a ginger soy sauce, with a loaf of fresh hot sourdough wheat bread and kale salad.
  • Last night was roasted sweet potato and broccoli with wild rice and miso dressing.  Yummy welcome-to-fall dinner.  We served it over greens from the garden, with toasted pepitas on top.  I’d make it again, but add more ginger and miso and less tahini.
  • Since we have miso on hand, we’ll make miso soup with tofu one night this week for an easy meal.  Yes, adding the kombu and bonito makes a big difference.  Maybe stir fry the extra tofu to go with it.
  • Potato and leek soup.  (Is there a soup theme going on here?)
  • Brussel sprouts and butternut squash were on sale, so I bought both.  I’m thinking I’ll roast chicken legs and brussel sprouts one night, and roast the squash another night for a big fall salad.  Or, if I want to keep with the soup theme, butternut squash soup sounds good too.
  • Easy pasta dish with Italian sausage and tomato sauce.
  • If I can find the time (and energy) I’m hoping to add some treats to the menu this week:  pumpkin roll, apple crisp, apple cookies, matzoh crunch….

Thursday was senior parents night at John’s last home soccer game of the season.  Four years of high school varsity soccer for my little (big) guy.  What a great athlete, and all around nice young man he is 🙂

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Have a great week!  xo M.

Vacation hours well spent

Feeding Fifty

Last week I fed an extra 50 mouths or so for dinner.  We hosted Mara’s soccer team one night and John’s team the next night.  They chose the menu, which was fun, and a nice departure from the traditional pasta-bread-salad team dinner.

Mara had chicken and cheese quesadillas, veggie &fruit tray, chips & salsa, and ice cream sundaes for dessert:

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John wanted carnitas tacos, rice, black beans and a huge Caesar salad.  Pumpkin pie and cookies for dessert.  (Wish I had taken some pics of the finished products and his team eating, but they devoured the food before I had a chance to find my phone!  Here’s what 8 pounds of pork butt looks like going into the oven, thanks to Alex!)

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The rest of the week is sort of a blur….  John’s birthday was in there somewhere and we had a fantastic dinner to celebrate.  I realized this week that I’ve been cooking and planning meals from my head and not from any fancy book or magazine.  I was browsing through some foodie magazines in the grocery store line the other day, and realized i already have most of them at home in that ubiquitous pile on my kitchen counter!  I’ll get to them, one day….   In the meantime, here’s some of some of the things we’ve been eating recently:

  • Corn and potato chowder
  • Chicken stuffed with sausage (a Marcella Hazan recipe from a book that is sadly no longer in print), Bita rice, kale salad (John’s choice for his bday)
  • Lots of salad with peppery greens from the garden – salad with poached eggs, salad with roasted beets and butternut squash, salad with smoked salmon and green beans, salad with goat cheese and dried cranberries….
  • Quesadillas with spinach, cheese and tomatoes
  • When all else fails and someone can stop by the grocery store on the way home from work, we seem to go for grilled steak seasoned with Borsari, a big green salad and a fresh baguette with butter.

Have a great weekend!  xo M.

Feeding Fifty