Tuesday, September 22, 2009

menu planning monday (on Tuesday)

The usual menu plan sponsored by orgjunkie.com
Monday -- hidden bean chili* and fried potatoes
Tuesday -- chicken burgers
Wednesday -- meet the teacher night at school, dinner there
Thursday -- Crock Pot Maggie soup
Friday -- Tacos
Saturday -- DS is away, so we'll treat DD out

*Hidden bean chili explanation: One of the great things about chili is the beans -- they're loaded with fibre and good for you. My family doesn't like them though. So, sneaky me, I use my food chopper and chop up canned kidney and navy beans and add them to the chili. When they're all chopped up they look like hamburger and you can't tell they're in there. They regularly tell me they like my chili better than anyone else's 'cause mine doesn't have "yucky beans." I just smile 'cause what they don't know is good for them!
This is a trick I use for many recipes -- you can hide flax seed meal in almost anything. Also carrot or sweet potato puree works well in meatloaf and spaghetti sauce. I put mushrooms in my spaghetti sauce (though all 3 claim they've never eaten a mushroom!)

i'm not a redneck

DH took the kids to the Outdoor Farm Show last week. They took my dad with them. Great bonding opportunity...
Except -- they came home with a manure spreader and antique tractor. It was a good deal, I'm told. They bought the spreader and got the tractor free. You can imagine then, how great the tractor is. The thing is about a the "good deal" is that it may have been a good deal for someone who had, say, manure to spread, or acreage to put it on. We have neither. What we now have is an odd lawn ornament. It's like one of those pathetic emails that come around with the subject "you know you're a redneck when..."
'Cause you know you are a redneck when you have a *&%$ spreader in your driveway AND YOU LIVE IN TOWN! All I need to do now is plant flowers in it. Then I'll undo my top button, and suck back a cold one whilst sitting on a lawnchair, resting my feet on the tractor tire, and burping the alphabet.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

deep thoughts

I'm reading a brand new "feel good" book that Library Lynn recommended. It's a novel by Claire Cook called the Wildwater Walking Club. It's about 4 ordinary ladies who connect as they meet on their daily walks. The walking becomes a daily ritual they look forward to in their lives. It's a quick, happy read.
In it one of the characters says " Sometimes you only get one good minute a day...You just have to make the most of it." This thought has stuck with me for 2 busy days, so I think that makes it "blog worthy." I have had the best sleeps the last two nights because I've drifted off thinking about how blessed I am that I can honestly say that I have many, many good minutes in that day; and when I recount them I get a great feeling of peace. I'm waiting for the day (and it will come) when I'll feel like I've only had one good minute -- and then I'll try to be thankful for that, and I'll try to make the most of it.

Monday, September 14, 2009

menu planning monday

The usual menu plan as organized by orgjunkie.com/

Monday -- One-Pan Roasted Pork Supper ( recipe below)
Tuesday -- I'm at a meeting, DH, DD and DS will have to fend for themselves
Wednesday -- leftover potato soup with cheese bread and a salad
Thursday -- ham steaks with scalloped potatoes
Friday -- Chili and homemade fries
Saturday -- we'll be at the local fair all day, so supper will likely come from a booth there....

One-Pan Roasted Pork Supper
(this is a new one from a Kraft What's Cooking magazine. It's going into the Favourites book!)

1 pound potatoes (or sweet potatoes) peeled and cubed
1 large red onion, cut into wedges
1/2 cup Kraft Catalina dressing
1 1/2 tsp dried thyme leaves, divided
1 pkg Stove Top Stuffing for Chicken
1 1/2 cups water
2 small pork tenderloins (~ 1 1/2 pounds)

Preheat over to 375F. Toss potatoes and onions with dressing and 1/2 tsp of the thyme. Arrange in greased 9 x 13 inch pan. Bake 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, combine stuffing mix with water. Cut each tenderloin diagonally into thirds. Push vegetable mixture to edges of pan. Spoon stuffing down the centre of the pan; top with meat. Sprinkle remaining 1 tsp of thyme over meat.

Bake 45-50 min or until cooked through.

note: I think next time I make this I may put about 1/4 cup Catalina over the meat and thyme part way through cooking, just to make a bit more sauce for the pork.

Sunday, September 13, 2009


I don't hang my undies on the clothesline to dry.
I am all for conserving energy -- and use the clothesline in good weather for just about everything else, but I don't hang my underwear out.
This has nothing to do with modesty and everything to do with competition. A competition that is likely only in my head, and one that I can't win. My neighbour (I won't say who) has really nice gitch, and she hangs it on the line. This is the kind of underwear that I only see in movies and at La Vie En Rose. You know, coral and peach, pink, black, stripey blue, all matching bras and panties. I don't own that much underwear, and I'm lucky that mine's clean, never mind all matchy-matchy.
So, I don't hang mine out. The world can just imagine that mine's too nice, too delicate, to expose to the elements.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

perfect mate?

DH and I recently had our 17th wedding anniversary, but we've been together for more than 20 years. We had a conversation recently about "perfect mates." The crux of the conversation being the question of whether great partnerships are just natural-soul-mates-finding-each-other or is every pairing hard work. No great wisdom came of that conversation.

BUT, DH did tell me that if I only fixed qualities A and B, then I'd be perfect. ( I won't name or describe these character traits or you will discover my flaws too). The surprise to me was not the naming of the flaws -- I know I don't possess A or B, nor the desire to acquire them (no they are not breasts!) -- the surprise was that there were only 2 items on DH's perfect mate list.
My response to DH's comment about my lack of A and B was that it was a good thing I lacked such qualities, otherwise I may not be able to put up with his lack of A to Z.... (Good thing sense of humour is one of the qualities I most admire about the man.)

Monday, September 7, 2009

menu planning monday

Check out other menu plans at orgjunkie.com/

Monday -- Labour Day holiday campfire fair -- s'mores, hotdogs, and pie irons
Tuesday -- grilled BBQ pizza
Wednesday -- Saucy Beef Patties (the new one, I'll let you know how it goes) with mashed potatoes and corn on the cob
Thursday -- Hawaiian Ham Steaks* with baked potatoes
Friday -- Crockpot Baked Beans with ham chunks (left over from Thursday)
Saturday -- left overs -- likely chili made with left over baked beans.

*Hawaiian Ham Steaks (from Quick Cooking magazine, Oct 2003)
2 Boneless fully cooked ham steaks
2 tbsp brown sugar
1 tbsp prepared mustard
pineapple slices

Cut each ham steak into 2 or 3 serving sized pieces. Combine brown sugar and mustard; spread over ham. Top each piece with a pineapple slice. Place in a greased 15 x10 inch baking pan. BAke at 375F for 10 minutes or until heated through.
(I've also done this one on the BBQ.)

Sunday, September 6, 2009

sleeping in

It has taken nearly 11 years, but somehow we've taught the kids the art of sleeping in. Once upon a time they had me thinking that 6am was sleeping in, but no more. Yesterday I was allowed the extreme pleasure of my comfy bed until 8:45am! Several times over the summer we didn't rise til 9am. What joy!
There is something really blissful about waking on your own, without the squawk of an alarm clock or child. My slow return to consciousness yesterday put me in a great mood for the entire day -- and I got so much done without the sound of the energy-sapping beep beep of the clock to start the day.
I've had that wee taste of snoozing late and I crave more -- and I know that such peace will be denied on a relatively regular basis, especially once hockey season starts!

Saturday, September 5, 2009

bathroom reno

It's amazing to me how small, ordinary things bring joy. These are photos of my new bathroom. We did the work ourselves (except for the mudding 'cause neither DH nor I have the patience for such a tedious job) in the spring. My bathroom makes me happy.

To understand why you need to know what I had before.
When we first moved in 1996 my bathroom had peach and black tiles on the walls, a brown shag carpet, BUBBLE GUM PINK countertop, and large lime, pink and peach peony wallpaper. It was not a place in which one could relax.

I lived with the garden-gone-wrong look for about a year, then in rebellion I painted everything white. I'd already torn out the carpet (on moving day). I was quite happy with the white institutional look -- mostly because it wasn't lime, pink, peach and black anymore. What I couldn't live with was the bathtub. It had been installed when the previous owner did the room over -- in 1957 so there was no finish left in the tub. If I scrubbed too hard with a coloured sponge I stained the porcelain. In April I issued the ultimatum "we get a new tub or I will NEVER clean that bathroom again." I got the go ahead for the bathroom remodel the following week.

So now I have all the elements I required -- new tub, huge linen closet, new toilet, vanity with 6 drawers, new everything really. DH got his request -- a hotel shower curtain rod so the shower curtain doesn't stick to him (in the photo above you can see that the rod bends out to give more room in the shower).

It's been 3 1/2 months since our project was finished and I still smile whenever I walk in. It's (easy to) clean, and organized. And that small thing brings me great joy.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009


We're right back into the swing of school routines. We have a morning protocol that's worked for the 7 years DS has been in school, but any attempt I've made at altering that routine has been a dismal failure. It's like my body is so programmed to the timing that it is hopeless to vary from that schedule. I even practiced last week -- ya wouldn't know it yesterday morning or this. I had sincerely planned on getting up 20 minutes earlier every day -- do some blogging, maybe fold some laundry... Nope, instead of hitting "snooze" once, I hit it 3 times this morning. So 6:15 it is.
Even the kids are right into the routine. If DH is home, he completely screws up the process. His comments are usually to the effect that "how do we ever get out the door in the morning." And I can see his point -- but if he's not there, like a sudden extra cog in the wheel, we do ok.
I haven't given up hope yet -- we're only 2 days into the school year, but I'm honestly thinking my goal of a half hour work out before I wake the others is a distant dream. Maybe if I switch my motivator-- I get a chocolate donut as soon as my feet the floor will do the trick?