Monday, January 30

Mommy Cooks: Week of January 30

Did you miss me last week? I couldn’t possibly share my menu plan for a week of mac and cheese, ghetto English muffin cheese sandwiches, and take out. My husband was away for training and these weeks are always an exercise in keeping myself sane, the kids entertained, and my responsibilities simple.
This week is a whole new week though.
Monday – Korean Short Ribs – These are a husband favorite. I’m not a fan of ribs but I actually enjoy these. Serve with rice.
Tuesday – Leftovers
Wednesday – Pancakes – I go for ease with these and stick with a simple mix as I have to prepare two types. We use Cherrybrook Kitchen’s for my son. He likes them with Enjoy Life chocolate chips.This is one of his favorite meals and it’s great that we can eat the ‘same but not quite the same’ thing. Flipping two types of pancakes on two different griddles while keeping everything separate is…not easy so forgive me while I just add water.
Thursday – Cincinnati Chili – Our favorite meal. I serve with whole wheat pasta, cheddar cheese, and tortilla chips. It has root beer in it. Do I have to say more?
Friday – Shrimp and Avocado Tostadas
Do two of these recipes sound familiar? We ended up not eating them the week before last and so I was ready to go with most of the ingredients.

Have you joined the craze at Pinterest yet? That’s where I get most of my inspiration for meal planning.

Tuesday, January 17

Mommy Cooks: Recipe Binder and Week of January 16

After a weekend of visiting family and birthday celebrations, we are ready for some home-cooked meals. Yesterday was a holiday and with loads of party food still left over, we ate our way through a full refrigerator. Now after a mountain of laundry that was put off because of our guests, the requisite cleaning that comes with having three extra people in the house, and the relief that comes with two successful birthday parties, I was wiped out and in no mood to menu plan before grocery shopping this week.

imageThat’s where my new handy dandy recipe binder is coming to great use. As I combed Pinterest right after Christmas looking for new ways to control the chaos in my life, I found some ideas on how to organize my recipes. Now a few years ago, I had this great idea to scrapbook all of those recipes you pull out of magazines that end up getting splattered with grease. Unfortunately, I don’t always refer to it and I end up forgetting which recipes I liked and which I didn’t. Sooo I needed a new plan.

This is where my new recipe binder came in. I grabbed page protectors and an old binder I already had. Instead of throwing down a ton of money on something I wasn’t sure would work, I’ve repurposed office supplies I already had and got to work printing out recipes for the first few weeks of the year. Each recipe gets it’s own protector and slips into the binder. Sticking with ease over perfection, I’m not organizing them into categories. As I prepare old standbys and new favorites, I’m printing and cutting recipes into an 8 1/2 by 11 size. Now all I have to do is open my recipe binder, choose the four to five recipes I want to make for the week and place them in my folder for the week (blog post coming soon on my new file system).

Here’s our menu for the week:

Monday – Leftovers

Tuesday – Shrimp and Avocado Tostadas

Wednesday – Spicy Beef Pitzas (we are substituting ground turkey for the ground beef)

Thursday – Pasta with Sausage and Tomatoes

Friday – Crock Pot Korean Ribs (I don’t even like ribs and I love these.)

Monday, January 9

Mommy Cooks: Week of January 9

I’m going to preface this new series of recipe sharing posts with two big caveats. One is that despite my extreme obsession with Top Chef, Top Chef Masters, Top Chef All Stars, The Next Food Network Star, Hell’s Kitchen, MasterChef, etc, I am not a very proficient cook. I try. Some days harder than others. I have pushed myself to try new recipes and learn new techniques. My goal is to try one new recipe a week but holidays, busy schedules do get in the way and sometimes I resort to things like frozen chicken pot pies (gotta love Mrs. Budd) and take out.

My second caveat is that I might not always cook the healthiest of meals. I have three very difficult mouths to feed. My husband doesn’t eat cheese and is not the biggest veggie eater. My oldest son is six. Do I need to say more than that? My youngest son has very severe food allergies and generally does not eat what we are eating. If I post or link to a recipe here, it means it was easy, tasty and generally enjoyed by my guys. (The baby is still slowly getting introduced to solids.) I try to keep everything we eat in moderation but if a special/healthful/low caloric diet is what you’re searching for. This is not the place to find it.

This week we have a very special Fifth birthday to celebrate so we’ll be having a rare dinner out during the week.

Monday – Chorizo and Eggs ( This is so basic. I’m also embarrassed to share but so yummy and a crowd-pleaser. Grab a pound of chorizo and cook it in a sauce pan for around 5 minutes or until done. I try to buy turkey chorizo but any kind will do. If you have a lot of grease, use a paper towel to soak up. Once the chorizo is cooked through, add eggs. Mix until the eggs are cooked through. Meanwhile, heat flour tortillas in the microwave or on the stovetop. You can get fancy and add cheese, mushrooms, or onions but we like them plain. Throw the chorizo and eggs in to the warm tortillas. Roll and enjoy)

Tuesday – Slow Cooker Thai Beef (I’ve made this a few times. The hubs loves it. Leaves plenty of leftovers for the next day. I like it with bread but my husband prefers the rice.

Wednesday – Leftovers

Thursday – Birthday Meal

Friday – Thai Pork and Noodle Soup (You’ve got to make this. A few extra steps but this soup is really, really good. We had trouble finding the wonton wrappers. You can substitute rice noodles from the Asian aisle or regular old egg noodles.  I'm subbing ground pork with ground turkey. We’ll see how it works.)

For more meal inspiration, check out Pinterest. You can follow me under my alter ego, Christine Flynn.

Wednesday, January 4

Mommy Writes: A New Series

4772858837_b3cf3f03f5As long as I’ve been writing, I’ve been searching online for answers to how moms, like me, found time to write. Honestly, I was looking for the answer before I had it in my head that I wanted to write. I just knew that I spent my days cleaning the house, cooking dinner, educating my children, and still falling to bed exhausted at night. How was I going to fit in time to write, plot, edit, build a platform, submit, query, etc.?

More than two years later and I still don’t have all the answers. Some days are more productive than others. Some days I go to sleep guilty that I haven’t written enough, I’ve let too many things on my to do list hang, or we ordered out again because I wasn’t organized enough to have dinner on the table in time. Balance is a difficult goal to have but one worthy enough for most moms to reach for. Just Google home organization and you’ll be buried under links for home management notebooks, cleaning schedules, once-a-month cooking, etc. Balance means juggling the most important things in my life, my children, my husband, my home, and my dreams. It also means knowing which balls to drop when my son is sick again or the baby had a rough night or my husband wants to spend quality time together or I’m burned out and need Jersey Shore more than I need anything else.

In my pledge to blog more often, I’ve decided to share some of the things that have worked for me in my attempt at balancing mommy with writer. I’ll be sharing recipes for quick meals, the steps I’m taking to clean house, and spend quality, intentional time with my family.

Photo of 40+251 Done-ish courtesy of bark.