Thursday, May 27, 2010

Where to Start?

Over the past few years, I have collected many, many recipes from various magazines (my magazine obsession will have to be the topic of another posting). As I find them, I rip the page out of the magazine and add it to my recipe binder (the binder contains recipes from and spawned off of the binder created Creative Cooking class in high school (10 years ago!) although I have since moved up to a much larger, pink binder). This collection has begun to get out of control and I'm struggling with deciding how to organize it.

A few years ago, I organized the binder into sections: Appetizers, Baked Goods, Chicken, Pasta, Veggie Dishes and a few more categories. I've been good about sticking to those categories, but I've added so many recipes since then and they're not all organized. I think what I want to do now is create 2 binders - one for Tried and True Recipes and the other for Recipes to Try. Part of what's overwhelming me here is that the current binder has both types of recipes all mixed together and there are just soooo many, that it's a daunting task.

I also decided when I took my 2 binders out today that this is definitely a nap-time project and it definitely will not be done in a day... maybe not even a week.

Another organization idea I'm having trouble with is exactly how to categorize certain recipes. Some recipes can fit into multiple categories... how do I determine which is the best?

I've also considered typing the recipes once I have them all organized, but that is a HUGE project. I think, however, that if I do decide to type, I will only type the Tried and True recipes, and somehow, I would like to include any photos contained in the original recipe's write-up. I have a scanner, so that's a possibility.

Not only do I have a collection of recipes from magazines, but a collection of actual cooking magazines, as well, and I can't bring myself to tear out the pages of the magazines. Maybe someday.... I don't want to get too far ahead of myself.

As for today... after attempting this project, things just went downhill from there. I seriously only looked at 3 or 4 recipes before I was overwhelmed.... We had plans for this morning, but they ended up being cancelled. I was fine with this - it was a playdate with my cousin and her kids, which I love, but her dad made a surprise visit and they weren't able to come over, so it was very understandable. To get out of the house, I strapped Charlie into the stroller, Isaac to my chest and Peanut to her leash and we headed out for a 45-minute walk. Chris and I had leftover stuffed peppers for lunch and shortly after that, Charlie went down for his nap. I sat outside for a bit and read until I, too, fell asleep and eventually moved inside to the couch. We ended up veering off the week's menu and ordered Chinese because I just didn't want to cook.

We are off to the camp tomorrow and I'm looking forward to getting away for a few days and having extra hands to help with the boys a bit more. It should be a beautiful weekend of sun and relaxation so by Tuesday, I hope to be back on track!

Off to bed for me.... hoping I can sleep as well as this one!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Hot, Hot, Hot!!!

I hate the heat! Give me a fall day where I can be comfortable in jeans and a cozy sweatshirt any day! I think I'd rather be cold than hot, because you can always put more clothes on!

We started the day out nice and early again - 6am. Got a load of laundry in, had breakfast and hopped in the shower before heading to Crystal's house for the morning. It was so hot out this morning, before 9am, that I was sweating as I was hanging the laundry. Blech!

Master Charles was quite a whine-bag today. Whined and cried throughout our shower and whined as soon as he woke from his nap this afternoon. Even cuddling on the couch with Tootsie Pops didn't really help cure his whine-itis. In between the whining, he was a little turd - taking toys from the other kids at Crystal's and just being a general 2-year-old. He did take a nap this afternoon - I think one of my favorite things to hear out of his mouth at certain times of the day is "I want to nap, Mi" as he did as I got him out of the car this afternoon. Isaac kinda napped at the same time as Charlie, but was up a bit, too, so he and I were able to play. I love that just talking to him will put a smile on his chubba face.

The best part of my day occurred when both boys were napping! I snuck out to the pool and swam by myself! The water was up to 76 degrees and felt wonderful! I took full advantage of being alone with no one to watch (I just had to listen to them on the monitor) and no one to kick me as I help him swim and got in a little pool workout. I did some walking laps around the circumference of the pool and some kicks holding on to the edge as well as a few laps across the pool. I miss swimming and it felt great to work my muscles in a way that differs from how they're worked while walking or using the elliptical.

Tonight's dinner was not on the menu. I knew Chris would be at a tool show all day and had therefore planned to eat leftovers, but I changed my mind and made a box of mac & cheese to share with Charlie. I will eat last night's leftovers for lunch tomorrow and plan to thoroughly enjoy it. We had Cranberry Bulgur Stuffed Peppers and they are amazing!

I ate almost non-stop at Crystal's house, but for the most part, it was healthy - carrots, bell peppers, cheese sticks, granola bar and some of Josh's pasta salad for lunch. After my little pool workout, I was so hungry, my stomach was on the verge of growling, so I had my new favorite snack: chocolate rice cakes with Greek yogurt and sliced strawberries. So good! I've even gotten Crystal and her Papa addicted.

Haddock is the plan for tomorrow. As for the rest of tonight, Chris plans to take over the television to watch the Celtics game (I'm very grateful he doesn't normally watch sports), so I'm going to head into our air conditioned bedroom and relax with a book and magazine.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Failure in the Kitchen

We had a busy, yet fun, weekend this past weekend! I already posted about the zoo, but on Sunday, we had Chris' Aunt Pam, Uncle John, cousin Josh, sister Jenn and Jenn's baby Asher (15 days younger than Isaac) over for a little cookout. It was very relaxing and the day was just beautiful!

I made Pineapple Chicken Kabobs and Macaroni Tomato Casserole as well as a Boston Creme Pie for dessert. Aunt Pam made her homemade Baked Beans, which were amazing, and Josh, who went to culinary school, made the first pasta salad I've ever actually liked! He made it with a Cranberry Almond Salad dressing and it was amazing! I also got a much-needed impromptu cutting lesson from him. We ate, we talked, we sat in the sun. Charlie found a new buddy in Josh and I'm curious to know if Josh was as tired out as Charlie was - passed out on the couch at 5pm for the night! (I did eventually move him into his bed.)

Yesterday was a pretty low-key lazy day. With all of the weekend events, I didn't get to plan out the week's menus or start my grocery list, so I ended up doing that Monday morning and shopping Monday afternoon. I HATE grocery shopping in the afternoon! I know this and yet I was still crazy enough to do it. I didn't even need anything for last night's dinner and I still went because I wanted to get it done. I really need to be better about the menu planning! I did get to take full advantage of the beautiful weather in terms of a big load of laundry though!

Chris pulled the solar cover off the pool this afternoon when he came home at lunch, so the boys and I had a nice little dip to cool off. Isaac didn't like it too much. Charlie, on the other hand, is my little fish!

Unfortunately, rather than tiring Charlie out and making nap time easier, it had the opposite effect! He did eventually take a nap, but it was quite a fight. Isaac went down a bit easier (he's going to be rolling over before I know it!).

Isaac slept through the night last night - about 11pm until about 6 (he started to stir around 5 so I grabbed him and put him in our bed so Charlie wouldn't wake up, but he didn't actually wake up to eat until 6) - so I actually got up with him for good at 6 and it was nice to start the day, especially since we actually had somewhere to be at an earlier time - we had our last storytime until fall this morning. I decided to get a loaf of bread started in the machine before we left so it would be ready when we arrived home. The cycle was done when I got home, but the dough was not dough. It was a sticky blob and I ended up tossing it. The second round didn't go much better though. The dough looked better but was horribly sticky when I was attempting to roll it out, even with a ton of additional flour. I put it in the pan to rise and when I took it out to cook it, it deflated! LOL I baked it anyway and it tastes good (nice and doughy - hehe), but it's nowhere near as pretty as my first loaf. I think I may try again tonight since I'm going to need bread to make it through the week. I'm wondering if the extreme heat was part of the issue - it was in the 90s today!

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Family Trip to the Zoo

So tired, but we had a great day!

We went down to Providence, RI, for a visit to the Roger Williams Park & Zoo with my girlfriend Jen, her fiance Steve and Steve's son Rowan, who is a few months older than Charlie. When I told Charlie where we were going and asked him what animals he wanted to see, he told me chickens! LOL Unfortunately, there were no chickens at the zoo (although they're expecting some before the end of the month), but we saw giraffes, zebras, elephants, camels, a sloth and so many more. We had a great picnic lunch, courtesy of Jen, and a so-so dinner of fast food on the way home. The boys were great together, holding hands as we walked around the zoo, and Isaac was good, too.

Lucky boy got to be carried around the zoo in the front pack first by me, then Jen, then Daddy.

We've got big plans tomorrow, too. Chris' Aunt, Uncle and cousin are coming up for a cook-out lunch. We rarely get to see them so this will be their first time meeting Isaac and I'm quite excited. We're too beat to do much tonight, but the plan is to get up at a decent time tomorrow to get things started. We still need to tidy up the house a bit and hit the dump and Market Basket. I'm going to make Pineapple Chicken Kabobs, a recipe I found a few years ago in Taste of Home magazine. It's quite yummy. :) I think I'm also going to whip up a quick Macaroni & Tomato Casserole and a Boston Creme Pie for dessert. I would have loved to have some of the Chocolate Chip Cookies Charlie and I made the other day, but there are only about 10 left! They were soooo good!

In other news, my baby is sleeping in the crib for the second night in a row! He settled in really easily last night and again tonight. I'm thinking he was getting too big for his bassinet.

Too soon for another? LOL

Thursday, May 20, 2010

The Premier Post!

It's been years since I've regularly had a blog and I haven't quite determined exactly what I want to write about here. I'm considered chronicling the day-to-day events of our family and I'm also considering creating an "Eat Like Me" type blog, a la Cristin on There are moments where I feel like my entire day revolves around food. What I'm going to eat, when I'm going to eat, what I'm going to feed my family (including Master Charles, whose diet consists of PB&J, chicken nuggets and mac & cheese) and when I'm going to work out to burn off some of those calories I've consumed! I'll probably do a combination of family and food since they are so intertwined!

I love food and love to share the foods I've enjoyed with others. I really strive to eat healthy foods because I know how much healthier and more energetic I feel when I do! However, I typically fall victim to my cravings for junk and I certainly eat to soothe my emotions. I love to eat!

Today has been quite the day of food! I started this morning somewhat early for once (it's hard to get myself out of bed after being up to feed the baby during the night!). I started out by pureeing 2 lbs of strawberries in the blender to make strawberry fruit roll-ups in the dehydrator and then moved on to put ingredients for Light Wheat Bread into the bread machine.

Both recipes courtesy of an old, yet found-again friend at Life and love in the country. Once both machines were running (and after hanging our bed sheets out on the line to dry on this BEAUTIFUL day!), I decided it was time to have breakfast.

Master Charles has quite surprised me the past few days with how much he's enjoyed the Banana Muffins I made earlier in the week (recipe found via I made 12 regular-sized muffins (6 with walnuts and 6 without for the hubby) and 10 mini-muffins and Charlie scarfed down 3 of the minis this morning and yesterday! (Note: I honestly am not sure whether or not I followed the recipe correctly - but the muffins did come out well. The markings on my dry measuring cups are wearing off and I may have used the 1/3 cup instead of the 1/2 cup measure... I only say this because when I was putting dishes away after they had been washed and dried, I noticed that the 1/2 cup measure was already in the drawer. Oops.) I had one of the muffins with nuts along with a handful of blackberries, some strawberries and an egg scrambled up with some yellow pepper and skim milk, served on top of some wilted baby spinach and topped with a sprinkling of shredded Parm. Yum!

Tonight's dinner is still a toss-up. I didn't plan out our weekly menu like I normally do. I'm still getting used to having a refrigerator again after 9 days without! I'm considering making haddock in foil packets on the grill but we just had some last week so I'm not so sure. Grilled shrimp would be super yummy, too, but we don't have much shrimp left... Whatever I do decide on though, I can guarantee it will be on the grill. It's just too beautiful not to! Oh, and I have some butter outside on the deck softening up so that I can make chocolate chip cookies. Homemade ice cream sandwiches for dessert tonight?