Wednesday, February 27, 2013

More Meatless Meals

Detailed menu planning as you can see. Yes we eat on the weekend,
I just don't always get around to planning it in advance.

Another week of meatless meals around here (go here for last week's menu):

Chana Masala
Aloo Ghobi
Mango Lassi
Naan (from my favorite bread book)

Burritos (with refried beans, Mexican rice, lettuce, cilantro, green onions, guacamole, and cheese)

Broccoli Potato Soup (from Marcella Cucina, a cookbook we got as a wedding present)

Salmon with a maple-soy glaze (follow the cooking directions for salmon here--the rest of this recipe is awesome too by the way--and then brush with a mixture of 2 parts maple syrup or brown sugar to one part soy sauce reduced by about half)
Brown Rice
Green Beans

Pesto Ravioli (Just frozen cheese ravioli with pesto sauce that I made and froze last summer when basil was growing in my garden.)

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Lenten Reading (or at least what I'm reading right now when it happens to be Lent)

I've heard it said that one should read good Catholic authors during Lent. Taking this to heart, I headed over to Amazon and ordered Will Mrs. Major Go to Hell?

Many years ago, when I was but a young lass, I used to hide behind the chair in the living room and read National Review.* Though I mostly read the cartoons, The Week, and Notes & Asides, my favorite thing and the only one I can still practically quote from, unlike anything I ever read by her brother Bill, was the annual publication of a Christmas article by Aloise Buckley Heath, a woman with to my young mind an absolutely astounding number of children (10). Who knew then that these formative ventures into reading were not only molding me politically, but also would one day see me a Catholic convert with seven children screaming through the house and climbing the walls?

One might suggest that something that makes you guffaw while still just reading the dust jacket isn't typical Lenten fare, which is probably true, but for now it's what is on the bedside table. I'll just keep snickering along while reading things like this, "Tommy's mother went to Hell/ On the Donkey ticket. / And Now she knows a Johnson vote/ Is very, very wicked." Remember, St. Francis de Sales said that "A sad saint would be a sorry saint."

* This is not to suggest that in my childhood home, one found it necessary to hide whilst reading such magazines as NR. My parents, of course, were the ones with the subscription. I just liked sitting behind the arm chair and flipping through magazines.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Lenten Disciplines -- Meatless Meals

During Lent one tries to discipline oneself in various ways. I've been getting up a bit earlier in the mornings and praying Lauds. I love having the iBreviary app to make that easier, because I am consistently baffled by all the ribbons, especially before seven in the morning.

I'm also taking a daytime Facebook break and concentrating on all the other people and things around here that need attention. Like the one with his head on  my lap saying, "I want water." Excuse me.

And now I'm back without your even missing me. Ahem.

We also try to do a few things as a family for Lent. As much as possible, barring sick children and the like, we go every Friday evening to pray Stations of the Cross. We've been praying the rosary as a family every night, and we've been abstaining from candy and meat. Yes, meat. All week long, though we will eat it on Sundays.

I thought I'd share our meal plans since Ash Wednesday last week through this Friday, just in case you are interested. If you aren't interested, move along.

Ash Wednesday:
Since this was a fast day, I made a hearty loaf of bread with whole wheat flour, rye flour, wheat berries, and oatmeal, mostly following the Vollkorn Brot recipe from Healthy Bread in Five Minutes a Day. The kids weren't fasting, but that was a pretty sustaining bread for my breakfast and lunch. For dinner, we had split pea soup (using water rather than broth).

Pita bread
I was going to make tabbouleh as well, but ran out of time. So we just had some greens from the garden (and I can't even really believe I'm still able to pick fresh greens from the garden).

Black bean enchiladas (I have no recipe for this online, because I used a chicken enchilada with a white cream sauce recipe, but substituted black beans and zucchini for the chicken.)
Mexican rice (made with water rather than broth)


Our day to eat meat. I made a Thai chicken recipe from an old well-loved cookbook, and Pad See Ew.

Mattar Paneer (my recipe actually comes from 660 Curries)
Curried Vegetables (from Royal Indian Cookery)
mango lassi

Although I have a favorite barley soup recipe from Twelve Months of Monastery Soups, I decided to try this Barley soup recipe and it was delicious.
Bread from Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day

Black bean chili (from Not Your Mother's Slow Cooker Cookbook)

Baked potatoes that will probably get topped with leftover black bean chili.

Tuna noodle casserole (gussied up a bit, because the sauce for this recipe has goat cheese in it)
Green beans, sauteed with herbs and garlic

What's up for next week? I haven't figured that out yet. But I am perusing the meals posted at Tales from Astoria for good ideas. What about you?

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Time to Eat the Doughnuts!

It has become the family tradition to make doughnuts on Fat Tuesday ever since, thanks to Healthy Breads in Five Minutes a Day, I discovered that making doughnuts isn't all that hard. Especially when I realized I even already had a doughnut cutter.

It takes a bit of planning though. First you have to mix up the dough, which I did yesterday afternoon. You need a brioche or challah dough. These are sweetened with some honey, but yield a lightly sweetened doughnut, not the Krispy Kreme style.

After letting the dough rise and chill in the refrigerator, you roll it out:

Cut it:

Heat up oil to instant death levels (360-370 degrees) and fry them for a minute or so per side:

Then roll in sugar:

And enjoy. Today, at least, my six year old ranked Fat Tuesday slightly above Christmas, though I suspect that isn't a long term ranking.

Saturday, February 02, 2013

Coloring Pages

A few years ago for Little Flowers, I drew a bunch of coloring pages, which I put up on Scribd and linked here. Then Scribd went to a pay for download model and moved/deleted a bunch of the files, so they disappeared and the links didn't work. After being too pregnant and tired (or lazy) to deal with it at all, I eventually took down the links from my page altogether. But now I have finally moved all the files to Google Drive, so if you were dying to find any of the following coloring pages, they are back. I'm including the links here and you can find them on a page up above.


Friday, February 01, 2013

Quick Takes

In reference to her brother, the ten year old announced at dinner the other night, "He's drunk the Doctor Who-laid." But it isn't like she isn't slightly insane herself.

"Mom?" questioned my six year old, "A long time ago when George Washington was alive, did they have to use the old red kind of plunger that isn't as good?" When I explained more, he was kind of grossed out by the standard facilities of colonial times.

Maybe potty-training would go better if he wore the underwear a different way?
Toilets? Potty Training? It stinks. Literally and figuratively. After two weeks of not getting it, I've backed off for a while. I'll keep trying, but I ordered these Flip trainers. Not quite underwear, more like a cloth diaper. They just came today, so I don't know if they will be helpful, but I can't take the urine soaked pants (and furniture) much longer.

Really, my preferred training method is the same as Margaret's, but for some reason I tried to branch out with this kid and I really am wondering why.

The Husband and I have discovered some excellent French movies on Netflix. Not artsy flicks that make one want to smoke in a cafe all day whist wearing black, but movies that are just fun to watch even if you have to read subtitles. First, he watched Anthony Zimmer, which I hear is a terrific action movie, but I don't watch action movies, so you'd have to judge for yourself. Then we watched Romantics Anonymous, in which two of the most socially awkward people you've ever seen fall in love. Hilarity ensues. And finally, last week we watched I Do. When the mother and five domineering sisters of a middle-aged single guy decide it is high time he gets married, he decides to hire the sister of a friend to get them off his back. And hilarity ensues. 

Movies like these will make you forget that you might once have referred to the French as "cheese-eating surrender monkeys."

The fireplace guys are here today rebuilding the firebox (that actually wasn't part of the work made necessary by our little fire, the mortar was just deteriorating and needed to be fixed -- yay! warranty!). We are undecided on what to do about the tile, once that part is done. We can't decide between marble tile (little white ones) or an antique style ceramic in something like gold or celadon. Neither is exactly what is on the other fireplaces in our house, but I think either would be acceptably historically suitable.

I am grateful that today has been uneventful thus far.

Yesterday, I overslept and when I came out of my room, the two year old greeted me with the news he'd wet his bed. Then the thirteen year old came in with a wet spot on his side. He'd slept with the two year old. Later, I found the same two year old sprinkling my makeup all over the bathroom. The eight year old announced her stomach hurt right at her belly button and started crying hard. I ordered pizza for dinner, since my husband was working late for the third night in a row. The two year old peed on the dining room chair during dinner, and as the eight year old kept crying about stomach pain, I began to fear appendicitis. Then she threw up and felt much, much better, thank goodness.  I never thought I'd be glad about vomit, but after keeping an eye on her all night and having no more pain or nausea, it seems to be just a passing stomach bug.

This episode of nausea and vomiting meant that for the third month in a row my kids and I missed our homeschooling group's First Friday Mass and play time due to a sick child. I think I miss it as much as the kids, but obviously no one wants to share our germs, so we stayed away.

Duplo-playing baby cuteness. We start them on Lego products early around here.

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