Menu Planning Monday

Our kitchen has been TORN UP for a few weeks since we started the backsplash tiling and then subsequently hired professional painters for the cabinets. Needless to say, not a whole lot of cooking (or meal planning) was going on during that time. But I am sick and tired of eating out and spending too much money, so this week it’s back to it regardless of what state the kitchen’s in! :)

For the week of May 31...

Monday: Not sure yet...we’re pretty busy today working on the nursery so I haven’t given much thought to dinner. Happy Memorial Day!
Tuesday: black bean and quinoa bowls
Wednesday: roasted chicken and spicy peanut soba noodles
Thursday: tacos or chili (haven’t decided yet)
Friday: zippy chicken and mushroom soup (a recipe that my friend Melissa’s mom passed along a while back, but I’ve yet to try)
Saturday: ham-stuffed manicotti (loosely based off of this recipe) - yep, we’re still working our way through that ham from a few weeks ago! Might make a double-batch of this and keep one dinner in the freezer (is it too early to start stocking the freezer with post-baby food??)
Sunday: eat out (we’ve got a baby shower at our house and our Bradley classes that evening – no time to cook!)

What are you eating this week?

New recipe review:
Even though I haven’t posted meal plans for the last several weeks, I have cooked on occasion. One of the new recipes I tried was chicken and sun-dried tomato orzo. Verdict? This was good, although I’d make a few changes to make it a bit more flavorful and easy. Specifically...more sun-dried tomatoes and garlic, chop the chicken and mix it into the sauce to avoid the step of reserving some of the sauce and spooning it over the whole chicken breasts, using half the chicken called for (still gives you plenty of oomph from the protein but cuts down on the cost and on your meat consumption, if you are interested in that sort of thing) and also sprinkling fresh basil over the whole dish. Cooked to the letter of the recipe, I’d give this one 3 out of 4 stars.


Mission Organization: Baby Clothes

We have some VERY generous friends who happen to have 2 growing boys, and in addition to giving us lots of their gently used baby gear...they've also given us LOTS of baby clothes for when the little guy gets a little bit older! We've also gotten several clothes in the newborn - 6 months range, and we've got those ready to go in the dresser (whenever the dresser is ready, that is).

This morning I sorted all of the clothes by size and then put the 6+ month clothes in labeled tubs so when our little guy is ready to fit into the bigger clothes we'll know exactly where to go. We are totally set on onesies, footed PJ's and sleep sacks for at least the next year! There are also some other super cute outfits and lots and lots of bibs, burp clothes and receiving blankets (all of which will be put to use immediately after the babe is here, I'm sure).

Thanks so much, Leslie and Dan...you rock! :)


nursery sneak peaks

As promised, here are a few sneak peaks of our very much still in-progress nursery.

First up, the crib and crib skirt. Karl built the crib and I sewed the crib skirt, and it took me about twice as long as I'd expected because (a) I winged it instead of using a pattern (as usual), and (b) I decided to put a box pleat in the middle of each long side with a fun orange fabric peaking out from behind the pleat.

Next is the coordinating laundry basket. Does that frame look familiar, Mom? It should, because it's the laundry bag/frame that I've had since high school - we painted the frame brown and I tore apart the original laundry bag to use as a pattern. I love the way it turned out, even if I did have to rip out and re-sew on those darn handles three times before I got the spacing right!

And that's all of the polka dot fabric I had, so the rest of the projects won't be so matchy-matchy but will instead (hopefully) just all fit together and be cute and original. :)



I know, I know...I skipped a week of meal planning! We've been too busy with TCB (takin' care of business) around here for a stinkin' meal plan! :)

We really have been TCB. Behold...

* Sold a bunch of stuff on my company's classified ads. Got full asking price for nearly all of it, and I didn't have to worry about any crazy Craigslist psychos!

* Prepared 6 boxes of stuff to drop off at Goodwill. Man alive, I love clearing out clutter!

* Weeded, dug in, composted and planted 6 of our 7 raised garden beds. Still have one bed left to do, and that one's going to hold my pumpkin experiment. Also still need to plant 2 of the potato bins and weed/till/compost/plant the original non-raised bed (that one's going to be a real bugger, as it's almost completely overgrown with weeds).

* Had an ultrasound to check on the little guy's kidneys. All looks good and he's currently head-down. Still didn't get a good look at his face because of the way he was positioned. Guess he wants us to wait until we meet him in person for us to see what he looks like!

* Found a daycare. WOOHOOOOO!!!! After our ultrasound, Karl and I toured/interviewed a daycare that had a lot of promise. Turns out we liked them just as much in person as we did on the phone, they have infant openings when we want them, they are really close to my office and their price (while still on the high end) is within the range that I was willing to pay. I can't even tell you what a relief it is to finally have daycare locked down!

* Set up interviews with a potential doula (birthing coach) and a potential pediatrician. Fingers crossed that both of these work out.

* Cleaned out and completely organized our laundry room.

* Painted the living room side of our new(ish) wall, moved a bunch of furniture around and finally settled on a layout that we really like. Bonus: the furniture switcheroo cleared out a bunch of space in the nursery so we can start moving stuff in there.

* As I type this, Karl's on Day 2 of putting up the backsplash tile in our kitchen. I am LOVING it so far, and I can't wait to see what it looks like when we've cleaned everything up and grouted. We went with 1x2 glass tiles in a few shades of ivory and tan, and we splurged a little bit to put up a taller backsplash all the way around the kitchen. Yummy.

* There's probably more I'm forgetting, but man...am I tired! And so is the hubby - he's been working his tail off to try and get as many items checked off the list before we have a baby shower at our house in a few weekends. I'm excited to show off the house to our friends and family, but part of me also wonders if I completely lost my mind when I volunteered up our house to my girlfriends for our baby shower. Oh well, it is definitely providing lots of motivation to wrap up some projects!

Happy Sunday! Coming up soon, some nursery sneak peaks...



Just like last year, we went to the Seattle Tilth edible plant sale this past weekend. It was so much better than last year as far as crowd management went, we were able to find parking that was fairly close and we got all of the plants that we wanted. Winner winner, chicken dinner!

See all the veggies, all lined up in our cute green garden wagon just waiting to be planted? Well it’s not quite warm enough for most of them yet, but I also have a massive amount of weeding to do before I can dig in the compost and transplant the veggies. Too bad my nieces and nephews don’t live a little closer, or I’d see if I could tempt them into being hired as my weeders...I’d pay top dollar!

I exhibited *some* restraint and only plan to put 16 tomato plants in the ground this year (as opposed to 28 last year). Hopefully we’ll still have enough to enjoy fresh tomatoes in the summer and put up lots of tomatoes for the fall/winter/spring. We’re still working our way through the jars of tomatoes from 2009, but I doubt they will last all the way until the 2010 tomatoes are ready to eat. I’ve also got a giant jack-o-lantern pumpkin, lettuce, chard, broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, peas, zucchini, summer squash, acorn squash and green beans all ready to go...just have to get the garden beds prepared. It's a good thing I've still got plenty of energy despite being in my third trimester!

I can’t wait for veg garden 2010 to take off!


Menu Planning Monday

I gotta say, I just ran the numbers for our April budget...and this meal planning thing seems to be working! We spent less on food during April than we did in any of the 9 months prior to that (which is how long I have on my current tracking spreadsheet). Granted, we did have a few weeks where we ate out more than my goal of 1x per week, but overall we did SO MUCH better than we have been and we don’t feel like we sacrificed anything in the food department. Now I just have to keep that up and work harder toward achieving our eating out goals, and I think we’ll have a recipe for long-term success on our hands. Love it!

For the week of May 3...

Monday: chicken soft tacos (taco meat from the freezer)
Tuesday: eggs in a basket with roasted broccoli
Wednesday: black bean and quinoa bowls (Happy Cinco de Mayo!)
Thursday: rotisserie chicken with mushroom risotto and sauteed rainbow chard
Friday: spinach ravioli with homemade tomato sauce and roasted cauliflower
Saturday: eat out
Sunday: taco night

What are you eating this week?

New Recipe Review:
Last week I tried out this peanut noodle vegetable soup, and it was DELICIOUS! I believe the exact words Karl used were “It’s like a culinary explosion in your mouth!” We’ll probably be adding this one in to the rotation on a monthly basis. I added 1 chicken breast, boiled and chopped, and used whole wheat spaghetti instead of the vermicelli rice noodles called for in the recipe. This made 4 large serving sizes, and each one had 26 grams of protein (if I did my math correctly)...which is a great amount of protein!