Wednesday, January 21, 2009

WW: Views of my kitchen

Here are some views from my kitchen this past week.

One of the parents at the kids' school who knows I always order tea instead of coffee when I go out gave me this box of tea from her family restaurant. I guess they had received several boxes of it by mistake and it wasn't selling so she gave me an extra box. Good thing I am not hyper-sensitive ...Read the label carefully.:-)

The apartment was chilly the other day and it was downright cold outside. (OK, it was just below freezing so I know that is a heat wave to my Michigan friends .... but it is cold for Madrid) so I pulled out my big Tupperware bowl and made homemade bread for supper. YUM

Today I went to the outdoor market for the first time since before Christmas. Here is the haul for today .... 2 kilos zuchini, 2 kilos lemons, 4 kilos granny smith apples, 3 small trays of cherry tomatoes (in the white bowl), 2 kilos cucumbers, 2 heads of iceburg lettuce and 3 bags of "gourmet" salad greens. Any guesses on the grand total for this (aprox 25 lbs of produce)? (Reminder for you non-metric readers: 1 kilo = 2.2 pounds)

Monday, January 12, 2009

Monday Menu and back to blogging

It's Monday and I have finally crossed the last of the holiday parties and events off the calendar. We had to reschedule the teen Christmas party that was supposed to have been at our house on the 27th because we had the stomach flu in our home at that time, and the following weekend too. We moved the location of the party to the church which removed the stress of having to get the house cleaned up and company ready but added the stress of having to transport all the food and serving dishes to the church. The menu was a success -- tortilla roll-ups, Jewish hotdogs, and my mother-in-law's warm from the oven ham and cheese on a bun sandwhiches, chips, olives, the famous (or should I say infamous?) punch (1 liter of red berry juice, 1 liter pineapple juice, 2 liters lemon/lime soda and a few scoops of vanilla ice cream). Everyone loves it. Desserts were a platter of lemon bars, another of chocolate mayonaise cake which came out almost like brownies this time, and a platter of all the Christmas cookies that were still hanging around in tupperware in my house. There were a few shortbread cookies, some Choco-mint snappers, a slew of spritz cookies and then my husband had the nerve to put the last of the peanut-butter bonbons on the tray. He is much more spiritual than I am. I was planning on keeping those last 9 bonbons in the tupperware at home for a day when I really needed them. Oh well. That's life.
Rachel, over at Home Sanctuary gave us a challenge the other day regarding our meal planning. Spurred on by the promise of 100 points towards my Company Girl total, I came up with 6 meal categories (one for each day of the week other than Friday which will remain Pizza night) and then wrote down 4 main dishes for each category. So, in theory I have 28 days of meals planned, right? Well...... maybe. I still need to come up with lunches, side dishes, breakfasts and snacks. And, I need to go shopping to make sure I have the ingredients for these meals or I will end up staring at the list, realizing I am missing an ingredient for all the possibilities and making peanut butter and jelly again.
Here are the daily categories I came up with for this month and we will see if they need some tweaking before February.
Monday- Crock pot meal (so I can be free to spend my energy cleaning up after the weekend and doing laundry) This one didn't work out today but it is the "general plan" Ended up making hamburgers today and heating up leftover soup.
Tuesday- Oven meal. I normally am home on Tuesdays so I think it is the best day to plan a more labor intensive meal or at least one that cooks in the oven.
Wednesday-- Quick pasta meal. Hopefully this will help with the "get me to the church on time" run around on prayer meeting night.
Thursday-- Egg dishes My plan to still eat well despite the economic "crisis".
Friday-- Still Pizza night. I value my life.
Saturday-- depending on our schedule for the week it will be leftovers or perhaps the chance to try out a new recipe.
Sunday-- I am working on coming up with a list of 6 or 8 meals that work for our crazy Sunday schedule. It is a rare Sunday that we get home from church before 2:30pm and it is usually closer to 3pm. We are all ready to eat RIGHT AWAY so I need to have things that cook up super fast, or meals that have been prepped the night before and can be heated quickly in the microwave. Also crockpot meals work well here. I would love to just buy the rotisserie chicken from our local chicken place a block away. His prices are still the best around, but even so, we need to cut back on spending.

This week's tentative plans for each main meal (sometimes mid-day meal, other times evening meal depending on my husband's work schedule) is as follows:
Mon -- Had cheeseburgers and leftovers. No time or ingredients to mess in the kitchen this morning.
Tuesday-- homemade macaroni and cheese with ham cubes, salad?
Wednesday --Baked bean casserole. (switching pasta to Tuesday so as not to have 2 ground beef meals back to back)
Thursday-- broccoli casserole (uses frozen broccoli, cottage cheese and eggs)
Friday-- homemade pizza
Sunday-- Hubby wants chinese food for his birthday lunch after church and then wants me to cook the roast I bought (per his wishes) for dinner. If this ends up seeming like 2 big meals for one day we may move the roast dinner to Saturday's meal.

Check out Laura's blog to see what everyone else has on their menu for the week.

Friday, January 2, 2009

An extra long unplanned blogging break

I had such great plans with the Holiday Bites and thought that the blogging of my little bites at the holiday preparation would be a good thing. However, a few things beyond my control brought it all to a screeching halt. A trojan virus infected my computer and made me quite paranoid about going online until I could take care of it. It took a few weeks (since I was so busy with the Holidays and many other things took priority of my time) to get a new harddrive (1 TB -- WOW) and transfer all my pictures from the laptop (I was basically out of memory on the laptop hd) and any other documents that I would be upset to lose, should the virus on my laptop cause a crash. Praise the Lord, the laptop did not crash, no files were lost, I have freed up plenty of space on the laptop and I am back online, safely this time. But, this all took over two weeks. Include the fact that I have been fighting with the flu for a week, starting on the 26th, and 4 other members of the family have had it too, and that makes for little time or energy to blog.
We still have another 5 days of vacation and "holidays" here in Spain, with three Kings' Day coming on Tuesday the 6th. We plan to go to some friends' home to see the parade on the eve of the 5th, then stay the night so the kids can go to bed and the adults can stay up playing Rook till the wee hours of the morning, and then we will have a small gift exchange and fellowship together on the 6th. The kids head back to school on the 8th and I imagine that I will get back into a regular blogging schedule then.
I have to admit that during those two weeks of not having internet connection, I kind of liked not being sidetracked and sucked into blogs, facebook and wasting time on the computer when I could and should be doing other things. Now that I can get back online I need to figure out how to be disciplined to limit my time online and still accomplish the important things each day. I'll let you know if I figure it all out. :-)