Monday, June 22, 2015

Food This Week 6/22

Oh food inspiration.  This week I'm making a chicken sausage paella, because I saw it on Gilmore Girls, because I'm finally finishing the series for the first time (and on a side note when you're already super broody about beginnings and endings PLEASE don't watch the end of a sappy series.  Not my best move).  But PAELLA.  Yum idea.

Last week I pretty much heated up things from TJs.  Spanikopita, lasagna, coconut shrimp.  Not so fancy when it's from a freezer box but SO good and sometimes we all need a few freezer boxes in our lives.  Thanks TJs, again.

This week I'm trying to get back at it.  The 90 heat and all the rain makes it hard.  Rain makes me lazy.  But I'm trying!  And we have indian food for days after over ordering for Father's Day lunch.

Chicken Sausage and shrimp Paella.  My kids love rice and anything in sausage form so I'm hoping this will be a hit.

Leftover hashbrown casserole and some kind of chicken.  Crock pot?  Baked tenders?  not sure yet.

Turkey Meatballs and Spaghetti.  I'm not usually a bit turkey subbed for ground beef fan but sometimes you just need to do what's right.  We'll see how we like them.

Stuffed Baked Potatoes, either with ham or leftover crock pot chicken.

Tune Melts.  We love them!

Broccoli Rice and more chicken sausages or the other kind of chicken that I don't make with the potatoes. I'm on my second box of delicious chicken sausages from Costco.  I love me some good easy proteins!

Ian's heading to a baseball game tonight so I'll probably just make something basic for the kids.  They love spaghetti so perhaps that.  I'm loosening up a whole lot in my old age with food. I figure as long as we're getting quality protein and lots of fruit and veggies in every day I'm doing alright.

Happy Summer Cooking!

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Loving on Summer

Oops Im sorry, is this the THIRD post I've written about the start to summer? we're terribly confused over here.  And it's not even technically summer right?  Double whoops.

At any rate, this summer feels so incredible.  Last summer was just downright depressing for me.  This summer?  It's just incredible, did I already say that?

Last week Ainsley was home with Felix and I while Louise went to preschool camp in the mornings. We had a great week.  Aside from regular errands and fun we hooked up the burley and Ainsley rode with Felix and I to her favorite park.  She made about a million tiny elastic bracelets for everyone she knows.  We even biked to pick Louise up from school one way (which backfired when Felix fell asleep then lost his mind the whole way home when he woke up). It was so fun to have just Felix and Ainsley together for a change.  They're pretty cute together.

Our weekend was pretty great.  The highlight was going strawberry picking.  We got four giant quarts and a few great things from the farm store (pickled beets!!!!).  It's always so nice to get out of the city for a bit and breathe some fresh calm air.`
I also got lots of organizing in which I like (when I'm in the mood).  I'm in a big clean out mode over here so I'm trying to take advantage.
We had lots of rain as well so it was nice to hunker down a bit. The kids watched some movies, played LOTS of "shop" with each other.  Ah, I love weekends.

The girls are both in summer camp this week and next.  Summer camp is the best thing ever invented.  I love that they are both happily occupied in the mornings and that we have all afternoon to play and lounge and do whatever we want.
Felix and I are getting right back into our groove of morning togetherness.  This morning we went to a toddler park, bought Ian some new work clothes (because that boy won't do it himself), got the girls new jump ropes and sunglasses for me, some early birthday shopping done for Louise AND wrapping and cleaning and playing at home for a bit.  It's amazing how much we can fit into 3 hours.

Today is just the most gorgeous day.  A slightly cool breeze, bright sun and blue skies.

And for all those other days this week that have been riddled with rain?  A few new Ed Emberley drawing books (and brainquest books the girls are loving!), a new tent, yarn to wind and music to listen to have suited us just fine.

Loving this start to summer with my little people.  Can't wait for more.

Monday, June 8, 2015

Food This Week (6/8)

I'm very excited about food this week.  I bought a new cookbooks (Silver Palate) after a friends made us a delicious pasta from it and Ian paged through and landed on the exact same recipe for his request this week so the sauce is currently marinating on the counter.  I'm very excited for dinner.  The weather is hot and summery and I shopped with relative abandon with Ainsley and Felix today, so our kitchen is well stocked and ready.

Summer Pasta with heirloom tomatoes, brie, and basil - I'm going to brown up some chicken sausages from costco to go on the side

Marinated chicken with scandinavian potato salad (another recipe from silver palate)

Black Bean and Pork Tenderloin chili with tortilla chips and corn - an old crock pot favorite

Almond chicken with rice ad green beans - a recipe my mom used to make that I haven't made in years.  I'm excited

Tortellini pasta salad - thrown together and served with more chicken sausages or marinated fish

I'm sure that we'll be grilling this weekend if the weather is nice.  Perhaps burgers or marinated pork tenderloin?

Happy cooking!

End of School, Summer's Start

It's been a very full few weeks...

The end of spring is so very full with big important things.  Louise's last day of preschool was almost two weeks ago, Ainsley's was last Friday.  
Today marks our first official day of family summer.  Louise is in her second week of preschool camp (and LOVING it) I have just Ainsley and Felix all morning while she's gone this week and next week Ainsley joins her in the mornings M-Th for two more weeks of preschool camp fun.  
Today has been wonderful.  The morning was very full with errands, groceries and Costco for new puddle jumpers for Felix for the pool.  Dinner is marinating on the counter and I feel ready for a fun start to this season.  I am so enjoying Felix and Ainsley together and am glad to have errands out of the way so we can really enjoy this rare week of just those two together in the mornings.
I see lots of pool visits in our future, LOTS of swinging on our new swing set in the backyard, lots of Ainsey pumping music on headphones from the iPad (somebody get that girl an iPod of her own!)
I feel like life is easing up on us a bit and we're able to breathe here together.  I'm feeling very thankful for that today.
Happy start of summer to you all!

Friday, June 5, 2015

Summer Food

I'm sitting here finding myself with a bit of time (please don't jinx myself!).  Louise fell asleep on the couch while I took a quick shower and Felix is still napping, 51 minutes until we need to leave to get Ainsley.  Let's see!

I get so antsy sometimes in the afternoons.  As much as I love nap time it can be hard when I can't do exactly what I want with that time because of quiet sleeping people.  So I guess I'm thinking about summer food, because why the heck not.

I'm remembering my groove from last summer fondly.  Lots of marinated things to grill (inside or out), with sides I make in bulk to eat throughout the week (ooh, calico beans, potato and pasta salads).  I think my new favorite this year may be this lentil salad I just made from Moosewood, thanks to a recommendation.  I can't believe I've had that recipe sitting in my cabinet all these years and had yet to make it.  Yum!

I'm trying to think of some dairy light meals, mainly because Ian is thinking it's irritating his stomach and because I think I rely too heavily on cheese sometimes for protein in meat free meals.

We'll always have eggs, frittatas, in tomato sauce, over easy over hashes.  We love zucchini pancakes.   Ooh that reminds me that I need to order more of my favorite penzys spice for those.

I think I'm in the market for a new cookbook.  We ate at a friends house recently and they raved about this one.

Last year I also remember loving the crock pot.  It doesn't heat the house up quite so much, but summery crock pot dishes are tricky to find (plus, how many chicken tacos can I really make?)

I'm learning to take this cooking thing a week, even a day or two at a time.  While I prefer to be pretty rigid with planning, mainly so I don't have to go to the store so much I do kind of enjoy sporadicly made delicious food.  We are lucky to live within walking distance to a couple of good groceries and honestly it can be nice to fill a morning up with a walk there and back to get a few extra things.

Can I also just mention how thankful I am for this mild cooler spring and start to summer?  Our little house heats up so quickly and it makes cooking that much harder.  We have central air (thank goodness!) but even so, the SUN in that afternoon kitchen.  Oh my.  Today I am thankful for cool breezes, summer food ideas and lots of time to figure it all out.

Happy summer cooking!  And please share if you have a summer favorite go to.  I'm always in need of help with that!

Start of Summer

There are many times this past week that I wish I'd had my camera with me.  Wednesday and Thursday in particular.

On Wednesday we were out and about after school, a rarity for us these days.  Ainsley had left her tiny new purse at the library so we needed to get that first.  One of my least favorite things with all of the kids in tow are quick in and outs like that, mainly because they are never quick, or easy, like I feel they should be.  So this time we tried something new.  I pulled right up in front and let Ainsley hop out to retrieve her purse on her own.  It felt bizarre and nerve-wracking to be sitting in the car with Felix and Louise alone waiting for her, but she did just great.  That beam on her face when she came running out minutes later with her purse, that's what it's all about right there.
Then we went to one our favorite chill time parks.  It's a bit more old school, with a huge open field and trees and tiny hills.  Ainsley was reticent to go because she was so zonked after school but I coaxed her with a backpack full of quiet things to occupy her.  We all played a bit, then she went and found her perfect spot and colored happy calm drawings and strung beads.  She drew the tree she was sitting under and birds and the field.  We all joined her at the end and watched a youth baseball game get underway.  Felix REALLY wanted to "try too!" Someday little buddy.  Ian beat us home we were having so much fun.  It made me really excited for summer with all three.

Yesterday I had a great morning with Felix.  I had some things on my list and we ended up being out the whole three hours that Louise was in school.  First stop was the Economy Shop (a great unique second hand shop that's winding down for the summer=amazing deals).  I'm in the midst of backyard redo, mainly trying to find ways to entertain the kids back there a bit better, and one idea I'm stuck on is making a mud pie kitchen.  I found the perfect $5 cart to serve as the kitchen and oodles of spoons, sifters, measuring cups, bowls, pans and trays all for $2.10!).  I filled up the water table, helped dig up some dirt and that kitchen got hours of use in its first day.  Lovely.
Then we headed to our local knit shop which is closing :o( and it wasn't open yet so we killed an hour shopping around a bit.  I found the girls capris and jean shorts in the consignment section of a local boutique and Felix talked me into a toy banjo, after all I had yet to get him anything with birthday money and he's been pretty insistent about a stringed instrument for some time.  That boy is IN LOVE.  I'm glad I gave in. We spent 20 minutes just playing and singing on a street bench.  It was so very urban of us.  Then I got our new book club book and somehow managed to read almost 100 pages in between caring for children yesterday (thanks mud kitchen!)
The knitting shop ended up not having anything I needed so we headed over to Louise's summer camp to watch her play she was performing with her classmates.  It was the cutest and she got to be and elephant!  She was so proud and cute.  I'm so glad we did preschool camp this year.  It's been the best.
So, note to self this summer, bring camera more is good and I liked capturing it!

Today is the last day of kindergarten.  Ainsley is kind of all over the place with emotion about it.  I'm trying my best to just keep it a normal day and focus on all the fun in the next 36 hours (school wide dance party, birthday party, block party! preschool end of the year party..LOTS of parties!).  She's been feverishly working on a book for her beloved teacher, pretty much writing I LOVE YOU and I WILL MISS YOU on every page.  Along with the occasional joke of course "Why did Miss Heaphy cross the road?  Because she had a rooster!"  She's sad school is ending, worried about first grade (why can't I just skip and go to second?) missing her friends and her teacher.  She's loved LOVED school.  I have big shoes to fill this summer.

I am so so thankful for preschool camps in June, a big trip to Minnesota, our mud pie kitchen, the pool up the block (I've already done it once with all three by myself, summer splashing here we come!), splash pads, parks, fun easy crafting with the kids (already did this this morning...SO FUN), the library reading program, our new swing set we're setting up today, and my new walking shoes to get it all done.  Summer is going to be GOOD.

Wishing a happy end of the school year to you all. I'll catch you on the flip side of this very busy weekend hopefully with oodles of photos of fun.