Sunday, May 30, 2010

Menu Plan Monday - fifth edition!

This is a hurried menu this week - I'd hope to get the month done all today but it just wasn't happening! We didn't eat everything according to menu this week, the weather wasn't all that cooperative (it rained and rained and then it SNOWED) so I adapted a few things to make the menu less summery and more "seasonal" to go along with the snow!

I'm not as detailed this week as TroubleMaker is on a 'sleeping strike' and I can't get him to go to bed so I'm trying to get this posted at least before I head to bed with him so we can both catch up on some missed sleep!

Here are our dinners at a glance!

Monday: Baked Tortellini w/ homemade meat sauce
Tuesday: Stir Fry veggies and stir fry rice (from May 30)
Wednesday: Chili & buns (from May 28)
Thursday: Farmer's Breakfast (recipe below)
Friday: Two step honey dijon chicken (from May ??)
Saturday: Birthday BBQ at my Dad's to celebrate my brother's 40th!
Sunday: Crockpot ham & scalloped potatoes (from early May)

Crackers & Cheese, Cottage cheese, leftovers, yogurt, cereal bar

Breakfasts: Eggos (Frozen pancakes), Banana muffins & cheese cubes, toast, bagels & cream cheese, cheese toast

I hope to do a few more posts this week - last week was just one of those weeks! Enjoy and look for more great menu planning ideas, check out Org Junkie!

Farmer's Breakfast (this is slight adaptation of an old family favourite)
500g hash browns
6 to 8 eggs
1/2 to 1 pound bacon
1 large onion, diced
1 green pepper, diced
other things (broccoli, mushrooms)!
various seasonings

Chop bacon and saute until mostly cooked, add chopped onions and green peppers (and mushrooms if desired), saute until soft. Add hash browns and season to taste with parsley, season salt, onion & garlic powder, & pepper. Once the hash browns are cooked through and lightly browned, (if adding broc, add now) crack and beat eggs in a bowl with some milk. Add to hash browns and mix through. cook until set.

Serve topped with shredded cheddar cheese.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Menu Plan Monday - fourth edition

Well… This week was a new experience! I started my new job and as you know, I planned simple, quick meals. Using the transit system actually allowed me more time at home than ever before and we were able to have dinner every night by 5:30pm. Yeah for us! That meant more time for playing and visiting and connecting as family!

Unfortunately, my barbeque menu plans have been pretty much rained out so we’ve rearranged a few meals and even ended up having an impromptu Saturday Night Pizza Party! I wish every Saturday night could be a pizza party but then it wouldn’t be special, would it? This time, we ordered in pizza and it is always a huge disappointment but the eating in front of the TV and watching movies (in our case a kid’s DVD) is always lots of fun and TroubleMaker only had one spill!

This week’s menu is a good one. I’m looking forward to trying a make-at-home taco salad with a yummy ‘homemade’ taco seasoning recipe and fresh made salsa. I’m on the fence about Monday’s dinner because the rain has delayed all our plans this weekend if it is nice tomorrow, I’m not sure I want to spend any of the day inside prepping the easy and yummy salad – I’d rather just come in at dinner time and cook a quickie meal.

Here is the week at a glance! Underlined recipes are available for download in PDF format below!

Monday: BBQ Steak with Creamy Primavera Tortellini Salad
Tuesday: Taco Salad with Homemade Taco Seasoning
Wednesday: Chicken burgers with coleslaw
Thursday: KD & Fish sticks
Friday: Chili & buns
Saturday: Easy Hot Wings, veggies n' dip
Sunday: Stir fry veggies with my fried rice

On tap for breakfasts this week:
Bacon & Eggs
English muffins with cheese
Jam toast
Scrambled Eggs
PB Toast

And lunches:
Crackers & cheese
Leftover pasta salad
PB Sandwiches
Yogurt with cereal bars

Find more great menu planning ideas at the Org Junkie’s Menu Plan Mondays!

BD MPM Recipes May 24 to 30

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Snip-it #1 - SUCCESS!

I went home last night and almost forgot about my commitment to clean out one cabinet... As I stood talking to my husband, in front of the stove, I remembered my plight. I grabbed a chair and up I went... And up came TroubleMaker - he wanted to help!

We dumped the following open liquor down the drain (sorry fishes, I hope you can swim straight):
1- 1/4 full "Mickey" of white rum
1- 1/2 full "26er" of amber rum
1- 1/2 full "Mickey" of Brandy (why we had brandy, neither of us could recall)
1- 1/2 full bottle of Triple Sec
1- 1/4 full bottle of Grand Marnier
1- 1/4 full bottle of Kahlua
1- 1/4 full bottle of Bailey's Irish Cream

We kept three closed bottles of liquor. I'm not sure when we'll ever drink them but the cupboard is clean, organized and tidy! Wednesday's "Snip-it" was a success!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Baby steps!

I’m back at work full time and this does not leave me much time to write or to organize, but I’m going to try and do ‘snip-its’ – little organizing tasks that I can get done in an hour.

I wrote before about getting distracted and off task pretty easily. In part because it’s hard to purge, clean and organize your life. I think by nature we all hoard stuff. “Stuff” makes us feel better, “stuff:” brings us peace, gratification and sanity. Albeit short term but it provides something somewhere deep inside us and it’s difficult to look inward and realize that the 17 mixing bowls may have been purchased because you like to bake but the other half of the equation is usually found in some deeply rooted need to get self gratification of one kind or another.

And I don’t mean that in a bad way really. I know in my past, I made myself feel better by buying – it is the nature of consumerism. Without consumerism, the world doesn’t spin (or so we are told) but really, 17 mixing bowls? Now that I ‘feel better’ I realize I’d feel even better if I hadn’t spent all that money on those bowls! In all reality, there are three that get used once every couple of weeks and one that may get used monthly. The others just sit in the cupboard with more stuff stacked on top that I don’t use.

I think I need to develop a small plan of snip-its – something I can get done in ½ an hour or less (especially on weeknights). Set some small, tiny goals that I know I can manage quickly to gain the confidence and sense of accomplishment.
When I look at my kitchen (I am determined to get this room completed – I have too, I started it three weeks ago and have made no progress), there are 12 upper cabinets and nine lower cabinets (I think) and seven drawers. Let’s start with the uppers (because they are really driving me nuts).

Snip-it #1:
Cabinets 1 and 2 are over the stove:

They difficult to reach and there is the big box in the middle for the vent of the hood fan. We’ve only ever put liquor bottles, a thermos and a big bottle of vinegar in those cupboards.

Solution: Purge any open containers of liquor. Wipe down any remaining objects, wipe down cabinet. Sort and replace all items.

That is my goal for tonight after work! I’ll let you know how I made out tomorrow!

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Menu Plan Monday - third edition!

Well... This week marks the start of my new job. Five weeks ago, I quit my job of six years. I took three weeks off between jobs and now, I'm heading to the new place tomorrow morning...

So this week, since my schedule will be all new, I've tried to do 'easy' suppers - ones that I know will cook up quickly and easily. I'll be taking public transit to work - something I've never done before (save for the few years I took it when I went to college). And I've got the added challenge of having to transfer part way and catch a train!

I'm trying to add a few new vegetables to our routine. I get tired of the usual green beans, peas and the like so I'm going to try sauteing baby zucchini with garlic and butter (light on the butter) with fresh ground pepper. I really like cooked zucchini but I don't think it's something Hubby will be too keen on. TroubleMaker ate it readily when he was an infant but I find some of the things he ate well as a little baby aren't so well received now as a toddler!

The weather is warming up too and thankfully, the May long weekend is coming up! It's the week before the US long weekend and isn't met with the rampant fanfare the US holidays are... But it the 'official' start to the Canadian summer so I this menu involves a lot of goodies for Hubby to BBQ!

Without further adue, here is this weeks Dinners at a glance!

Monday: Tuna Melts and soup
Tuesday: Fettuccine Alfredo w baby zucchini
Wednesday: Sloppy joes
Thursday: BBQ chicken with Spanish rice
Friday: BBQ Hamburgers with chips
Saturday: BBQ Pork chops with BBQ veggies
Sunday: 2 Step Honey Dijon Chicken with egg noddles

Instead of embedding my weekly menu, this week, I thought I'd just do a quick run down of our breakfasts and lunches...

Breakfasts: Bagels & cream cheese, PB toast, Hard boiled eggs, muffins & cheese, cinnamon toast
Lunches: Cottage cheese, left overs, yogurt smoothies

Looking for more great menu planning ideas? Check out Menu Plan Monday

Monday, May 10, 2010

A Discovery of the Strange Kind

I'm having a great time visiting at my Mom's house... There is nothing like staying with your Mom for a few days to relax and be pampered. My Mom is great - she takes care of me, does all the dishes, tidies up after me (and my son) and there is always an endless supply of clean towels and a fridge that some how always has my favourite things stocked in it. She and my step Dad have a huge yard with a slide for TroubleMaker and lots of room to run and play and a great trail around the yard to walk.

This morning, I needed to let a hem down on TroubleMaker's jeans. I was supposed to do it before I left home but I ran out of time. Knowing my Mom is the crafty type, I knew she had seam ripper in her sewing basket. As she dashed off to shower, I requested the seam ripper. She looked at me sheepishy and said "Oh, it's in the futon room closet... I'll go..." she winced slightly. "No, Mom - I'll find it, I just wanted to know where your sewing basket is." I got up off the floor where I'd been playing blocks with TroubleMaker. "No, no... I'll go." She insisted.

"Mom - seriously, I'll get it. Go shower." I turned to go. "Corrie... I just shoved stuff in there the other day. It's a mess."

Now, I know my mother and messy she is not. Her idea of a mess is most peoples idea of clean. She is meticulous, organized and detail oriented. Everything has a place and a place for everything - she is just like her mother (which I know is the eventual curse of every woman). Nothing is ever out of place - including her perfectly cut hair. My mom embodies organized.

With TroubleMaker in tow, off to the room we went. I opened one side of the closet and didn't see the basket - then I opened the other side and spied the basket about half way down the enormous, but very neatly stacked PILE.

I went and got my camera as I had to get a picture of this. My penchant for stacking and piling had been discovered.

I am a piler... And so is my Mother. She is just better at it than I am.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Menu Plan Monday - second edition!

Last week I posted my first Menu Plan Monday and it worked out well... I was so excited to get it posted and share it with my friends and family on Facebook. I'm beginning to love planning and organizing and I was so excited!

Last week, on our first night, we ended up ordering in - we were both happy and excited about my blog and some work Hubby was doing - so we celebrated! Then on Tuesday, we did chicken salad sandwiches with Gardenay Roasted red pepper and tomato soup. Then we got back on track and had spaghetti on Wednesday and Egg wraps on Thursday. Then it was off to Grammy/Mom's house for a week of Mom's great cooking!

I plan a month in advance, so I'm all ready to go anyway! So hopefully, something on our menu will excite you!

Our week's dinners at a glance:

Monday: Grilled Ham & Cheese with Chicken noodle soup
Tuesday: Slow cooker pork with rice
Wednesday: Perogies & sausage
Thurday: Mushroom & Chicken linguine
Friday: Ham broccoli braid with spinach salad
Saturday: Enchilada-Casserole
Sunday: BBQ Salmon with rice pilaf

This Weeks Menu (in detail, including breakfasts & lunches):
Click below to open a PDF file
Menu Plan May 10 to May 16


Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Reflections of a job well done

I've had a few days to sit back and really enjoy my revamped back entry way. It's so much easier when we leave the house - coats are easy to find, keys aren't falling to the ground as we try to get the right set for the car. The nice thing is TroubleMaker has seemingly learned that we take our shoes of nicely and place them together, as a pair, on the boot mat. He has done it with whatever pair of shoes he is wearing, every time! Prior to this, he'd stand and kick his feet until his shoes would go flying and our tempers flew with the shoes!

It is definitely a fantastic bonus to see our little boy making an effort to keep the back door tidy! I noticed Hubby even wiped Max, our 10 year old Standard Schnauzer's feet when they came in from working in the wet yard! And we are all making an effort to not dump our tissues or random slips of paper on the closet shelf.

So I've learned that organization = willingness to keep it clean. Or at least it seems that way so far!

With Mother's Day approaching and my eventual return to work, I realize that I've not made much more progress on my quest to clean and tidy the whole house. When I started down this road, I'd just left my job of six years and was starting three weeks vacation. At that point, three weeks seemed like a lifetime to get everything done (I had a list of 15 things before I even started the first day and then the 'organize your life' campaign came into my head). Now that I'm 1.5 weeks away from starting my new job, I feel like I've got very little accomplished - except of course being able to spend so much extra time with my son, which is worth more to me than any clean and organized space!

I'm heading out of town to my Mom's for a few days to share a couple of family birthday's and Mother's day but I will be thinking and formulating my next spree of clean... The spice cupboard!

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Menu Plan Monday - first edition!

Organizing Junkie's Menu Plan Monday - I started following this blog some time ago in a way to find new “foods” to feed my family. I was tired of my regular routine of recipes and dinners and hoped to find “new” and “exciting” ideas that would help me start to better control our grocery budget.

This is my first time posting my weekly menu – it has been in my plans for a long time but now, as I work to get other areas of my life ‘organized’, I’m taking the plunge!

First, a little about me and where my menu planning comes from! I’ve “menu planned” for years – starting with writing on little slips of scrap paper while wheeling my cart around in the sewing supply warehouse I worked at in the late ‘90’s. I remember writing steaks in mushroom soup, green beans, potatoes. I cooked a lot with mushroom soup because it was cheap and cooking meat in it guaranteed even the toughest cut of meat would be reasonably tender after an hour or so of cooking! I know I used instant mashed potatoes as I didn’t get home until after 6 and I wanted dinner FAST! We also ate plenty of green beans – but I never minded because they are one of my favourite vegetables!

Now, 10+ years later, I have a spreadsheet outlining all the meals I cook (for all three meals of the day) and a detailed meal planning chart. I do two “big shops” a month planned around my paycheques and we do two smaller “in fill” shops on the odd weeks. I am currently working (ok, dreaming) of getting all my recipes organized in one place – I’m big on Googling a recipe, printing it, and trying it… So I have a big stack of recipes (like about a 4” high stack) plus a counter full of recipe books & magazines!

My planning works fairly well, although some weeks I’m hard pressed to get the menu posted on the fridge for my husband on Monday morning! Those are the days my cooking-challenged husband looks at me with “big eyes” and I suggest a few interesting choices off the top of my head.

He smiles and says “we’ve got lots of peanut butter, right?”

Our week's dinners at a glance:
Monday: Homemade chicken nuggets & fries
Tuesday: Spaghetti with meat sauce
Wednesday: Egg wraps with tater tots
Thurday: BBQ Steak with potato salad
Friday: Kraft Dinner & fish sticks
Saturday: BBQ Smokies with veggies & dip
Sunday: Crockpot ham & scalloped potatoes

This Weeks Menu (in detail, including breakfasts & lunches):
Click below to open a PDF file

May 3 to May 9 Menu

This Week's Recipes


Saturday, May 1, 2010

The Toppling Tower

Although I had great intentions of finishing my spice cupboard this morning, I realized that I hadn’t properly planned the building of my spice rack and as I stared at the pile of found things to create from, my hubby chimed in with his ideas. So I shelved the plans and decided to tackle something else, something smaller – something I could get cleaned an organized in a morning.

I’ve had plans in the work for our back door closet for nearly the entire six years we’ve lived here. It’s a nice back entry – huge window above the door for natural light and open closet. Over the years, things just get stacked on the shelf… Higher and higher and higher! We pull from the bottom of the pile and stack all the things that fall that we don’t want back on top, it’s a great system, really, but I felt it was lacking…

Back Closet BEFORE

As hubby went out to get the gardening supplies we needed for later in the day, TroubleMaker and I tackled the closet. It started easily enough – taking out all the winter coats. It’s May 1 and although severe spring storms are not unheard of in May, they generally don’t happen until the May long weekend so for the next three weeks, I won’t need any of the winter wear. Next, empty the shelf… So I take TroubleMaker off the step ladder and up I go. And down I go. And up. And down. And up. And down.

Seven pairs of gloves for hubby, six toques for TroubleMaker. Did I mention that hubby only has two hands and TroubleMaker only has one head? As I piled the toques on the floor, TroubleMaker found it necessary to take off his ball cap and try on each toque.


I also found: Three rocks. A ticket stub to a university hockey game. An sticky note grocery list. Two throat lozenges. Six tennis balls. Seventeen mini dog biscuits. Suntan lotion, bug spray and three different bottles of bubbles. As I tossed, TroubleMaker found two pennies. So off the ladder I came again so we could put the found coins in his piggy banks.

Exploring the loot

Now it was empty. And dirty. So after a wash I realized that the mini shelf we have (to hang the dog leashes from) was dirty as was the key rack. So then I organized the key rack. We had eight unidentifiable keys.

With everything sparkling clean, I started organizing the stuff. I found three Ikea storage bins we’d used to organize kids toys (as he’s grown, so have his toys). I quickly filled those and then discovered two empty bins from TroubleMaker’s “Mega Bloks”! Score – more organizational tools and they are free! I then dug out the label maker we borrowed oh-so-many-weeks ago from my parents. “Hubby’s Winter Wear” I typed and clicked print. It ran out of labels. Oh well, I’ll remember, I hope!

Back closet AFTER


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