Menus of a Mom

Just trying to get the family fed!

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Spaghetti is Nice, Black Beans are Not?

Nothing too exciting to report so far this week.  My daughter was pretty cute on Sunday.  We were talking to her about going to school on Monday and she asked if I would be picking her up on the bicycle.  Not Monday, but the rest of the week, we’ll see Boog, we’ll see.

Monday’s meal was a hit because it’s spaghetti, though I found the Vitamix recipe needed to be doctored up a bit.   Thank goodness I had about a 1/2 cup of tomato sauce in the fridge, just to bring it around.

Today, the black bean tostadas were super simple and pretty tasty, though I have to admit that I like the butternut squash version so much more!  Boog, however, wouldn’t even try it, which is disappointing as she likes all of the ingredients, except maybe the avocado.

She actually got away with just eating the “chips” though, the stinker.  I was just ready to go to swim class and so darn proud of her after picking her up from school.  When I walked in, something was going on and it took me a bit to figure out what was happening.  She was facing away from me and a little boy in her class, Jack, was standing next to her and I could see them talking.  Now, last week, someone pushed her down and I think it was Jack (though 2 year olds tell stories, so who knows).  She had a scratch on her face, apparently at the hands of Jack.  When I came in, she was telling him, in no uncertain terms, finger in his chest: Not nice!  Say you’re sorry!  That’s not nice!

Aww, my baby girl, previously the biter kid in class, didn’t retaliate, didn’t just take it, and didn’t “snitch” as my husband so eloquently put it.  I was really proud that she stood up for herself without being aggressive.  Maybe she listens to what I say after all.


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Menu – Week of 7/30/12

Trying to keep it low key this week!


Monday: Pasta with Tomato Alfredo Sauce (Vitamix Recipe), Ground Turkey, and Vegetables

Tuesday: Black Bean Tostadas (no recipe, just kind of winging it)

Wednesday: Chicken with Tomato Couscous

Thursday: Turkey Burgers and Sweet Potato Fries

Friday: Chicken and Black Bean Pie



  • Organize the RR cabinet
  • Dice onions and bell peppers
  • Pull chicken (already diced) out of the freezer

MondayAfter work: Boil pasta, brown meat and onions, microwave veggie blend, and make sauce in the Vitamix.

Tuesday: After work:  Saute onions with the black beans and some taco seasoning.  Mash.  Top tostadas with black bean mixture, avocado slices, and shredded cheese

WednesdayAfter work: Cook the chicken and couscous according to the recipe.

Late night: Make the turkey burger patties (ground turkey breast, salt, pepper, diced onion, diced bell pepper, worcestshire sauce, one egg) and press between wax paper.

ThursdayAfter work:  Throw the sweet potato fries in the oven while cooking the burgers on the stove.

Late Night: Boil and shred the chicken for Friday’s meal.

Friday: After work: Finish prepping the Chicken and Black Bean Pie and bake.

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Dinner? Exercise? Persistence?

Check. Check. And Check.

Last night I put together the Shepherd’s Pie after Boog went to bed.  So, this afternoon when I came home from work, I popped it in the oven and set off on the bicycle to the daycare to pick her up.

Flat tire.

Not to be deterred, I searched for the air compressor in the garage that I think my husband has showed me how to use a hundred times, but I still can’t figure it out.  It seems simple enough, but I’m staring at this thing and seeing no hose. Hmmm, air has to come out of it into my tire somehow…

<I vaguely remember when I was a self-sufficient strong woman, what the heck happened?>

I’m sweating at this point and starting to think, does this count as exercise?

Finally, I give in and call my husband.  He attempts to tell me about his day.  No, no, there’s no time – I’m sorry, I know you’ve told me how to use this thing, but I’m just stupid.

It was literally a Laurel & Hardy act on the phone.  There’s a lever by the gauge, turn it.  I am and I’m telling you that nothing is happening. Is it plugged in?  Yes, its plugged in.  Is there a switch for the outlet?  Not that I know of, are you sure you’re flipping the right lever? I only see one lever that matches all of the descriptions we’ve exchanged about the appearance of the lever.  

And so on and so on.

At this point I’m starting to panic as my best intentions have failed me once again.  I’m starting to devise plans to drive and park a little bit away from the day care, so I can jog or something, but remember, no, I’ll have a toddler with me and that plan just seems silly.

Finally, we realize that I don’t have to turn the compressor on – there’s already enough air in the tank, which is why it’s not flipping on.  Ok, so where’s the hose?  Another comedy routine and I’m finally giving up.  And then I find it underneath one of the motorcycles! I find it!

In the end, I was able to pick up the Boog on the bike (woohoo!).  The 5 miles, while tough, was easier than last time for sure.  And we had a yummy dinner waiting on us when we got home, even if the Boog didn’t appreciate all of its finer points, including the velvety mashed cauliflower on top, YUM!

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Dopiaza and Frittata

Wednesday was one of those days when you wonder if your toddler’s head is going to start spinning around and projectile vomiting pea soup.  I mean, Boog woke up yelling NOOOOOOOOO.  Picking her up from school didn’t go much better, as she was initially happy to see me, but then we had this conversation going out to the car…

Boog: What we having?

Me: Chicken and rice [I’ve learned recently to avoid the fun words like Dopiaza and just go with familiar things that she likes]

Boog: Don’t want rice.  Don’t want rice!  Want eat PASTA!

Me: Well, honey, we’re having chicken and rice tonight.

Boog: I HATE RICE!!  [She doesn’t hate rice…she rather likes it actually, when her head isn’t spinning around]  DON’T WANT IT! 

This led to a struggle to get her into her carseat…you know the one, a body slam into the seat and then folding her in half while trying to buckle her in and not pinch anything [hopefully everyone knows what I mean here and knows that I didn’t actually body slam my 2 year old…though, to a passerby hearing the screams, it probably sounded like I had body slammed her]

Me: <pleasant wave to the other parents picking up their children…> nothing to see here folks

But then, as is often the case with toddler mood swings, she was perfectly pleasant when I served up the Dopiaza chicken.  The naan bread bribe couldn’t have hurt.  Funny enough, she immediately scooped up a spoonful of plain rice and ate it.  Maybe she got confused by the meaning of the word hate.  She sometimes gets on and off mixed up… hmmm.  At any rate, she put a bit of baby corn in her mouth, then pulled it out to inspect it.

Boog: Mommy, what is it?

Me: That’s corn – baby corn

Boog: <trying it>  Mmmm, I like corn.

Progress!  There was a sugar snap pea in her bowl too, so I thought, I’m going to get two vegetables in her tonight, score!  She asked me to open it so she could count the green balls as they came out, but she didn’t actually eat it.  Then she ate a piece of chicken, chewed it up completely, and then spit it out.  Aaah, table manners at their finest.  But she knows how to use a napkin, so that has to count for something right?  I guess this is why I have dogs, to not waste the food she partially breaks down but doesn’t actually ingest.

Tonight was the night for the frittata.  I was a little frazzled this evening and I didn’t do any of the prep work the night before, so I wasn’t paying as much attention to what I was doing as I should have been.  This is proven by the fact that I shaved off the very tippity tip of my thumb while slicing the potatoes…oops!

And, unfortunately, I didn’t cut my potato slices into smaller bits and make sure they were all unstuck from one another as I should have.  The result?  There were some parts of the frittata that the potatoes were still a bit crunchy, not awful, but not quite there.  That being said, this was awesome!  The parts that were completely cooked through and soft were del.i.cious!  Warm and comforting with the turmeric and set off with the cilantro – yum!  Husband liked it too.

The Boog, on the other hand, isn’t a huge fan of potatoes, except in french fry form, so she wasn’t excited about it.  I even tried to sell it as eggs, peas, and french fries and gave her ketchup to dip it.  She just kept dipping one piece of potato over and over again and eating just the ketchup.  Still a win as ketchup is considered a vegetable by some, right? 😉

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Snacks and Eggs for Dinner

Monday was hectic trying to fit grocery shopping in before I picked up the Boog from school.  I ended up picking her up later than normal, so she was a little on the cranky side.  We had our usual conversation with her asking what we were having for dinner, and me saying Spaghetti Squash Pie.  Well…this sort of set her off so the entire car ride home she was insisting that she didn’t want that, that she didn’t want dinner and that she was going to eat a snack.

So, when we got home, I told her that was fine, that she was going to eat a snack and proceeded to give her the Spaghetti Squash Pie.  It. Was. A. Hit.  She ate two and half bowls of it (Boog-sized, of course).   She was so excited to have a snack and she tore it up.  As always, this one is a keeper!

Tonight we had the Devil-icious Egg Salad.  While it was good, it was also a lot of prep, and in my opinion, not special enough to warrant it.  My husband thought it was awesome, but my daughter spit it out.  That’s a shame because I know she likes hard-boiled eggs – I wish I had made a couple of extra to give to her.  Ultimately, this one is not making the Binder. (I do most of the cooking, so I have final veto power.)

Since Boog tried it and didn’t like it, I made her a chicken and cheese sandwich on one of the pitas, and we had sugar snap peas on the side.  At first, she told me she didn’t like them.  But then…I showed her how you can open them and pop little green balls out (I know, I know, not the best table manners).  After that, she took each one apart, ate the little “green balls” and the shells and then asked for more.  She kept yelling, I tried it…I like it!  Now I can’t get Yo Gabba Gabba out of my head!


Menu – Week of 7/23/12

I know I’m late in posting the menu… After eating leftovers all last week and being out of town all weekend, I’m pretty much behind in everything!  For whatever reason, the menu is really heavy on eggs and cauliflower this week.  Maybe I was subconsciously craving those?


Monday: Spaghetti Squash Pie (carryover from last week)

Tuesday: Devil-icious Egg White Salad on pita with a side of vegetables

Wednesday: Dopiaza Curry Chicken with Vegetables, Rice, and Naan (carryover from last week)

Thursday: Potato and Pea Frittata (my first time trying out a recipe I’ve gotten from a fellow blogger – I hope I can do it justice!)

Friday: Shepherd’s Pie – my own healthy version


Sunday: Prepare the Spaghetti Squash Pie up to the point of baking it.  I follow the recipe except I use ground turkey breast and add diced onion.

MondayAfter work: Set the pie to bake while I went grocery shopping.

While eating dinner: Boil the eggs for the egg salad.

Late night: Prepare the egg salad.  I made a few modifications – I used two bags of frozen garlic cauliflower instead of a fresh head, I used 1/2 mayo and 1/2 miracle whip, I added some onion powder, and used dijon mustard instead of yellow.

Tuesday: After work:  Microwave a bag of frozen vegetables and pile the egg salad on some whole wheat pitas.

Late night: Dice the chicken for the Dopiaza, dice two onions and two bell peppers for the Dopiaza and the shepherd’s pie.

WednesdayAfter work: Cook the chicken according to the directions on the jar of sauce, microwave some vegetables and rice, toast the naan.

Late night: Slice the potatoes and some carrots for the frittata.  I’m adding carrots because I love color and I’m still working through the bounty from the garden!

ThursdayAfter work:  Prep the frittata (I’m excited to try it!)

Late Night: Prep the Shepherd’s Pie to the point of baking:

  • Brown ground turkey breast with diced onions and bell peppers until cooked through. Salt and pepper to taste.
  • Put a bag of mixed veggies (carrots, corn, peas or limas, green beans) and gravy into the meat mixture and simmer until the vegetables are warmed through.
  • Microwave two bags of frozen garlic cauliflower and puree in a blender.
  • Pour the meat mixture into a 9×13 pan sprayed with olive oil (glass works best)
  • Sprinkle with shredded cheddar cheese if desired (cheese makes everything better!)
  • Spread the mashed cauliflower over the meat mixture.
  • I like to put a topping on it… usually onion flakes and paprika, but sometimes it’s bread crumbs, grated parmesan, whatever I’m in the mood for.


Friday: Bake the shepherds pie until bubbly – I usually bake at 350 for 20 minutes if prepping and making the same night.  Since I will have prepped the night before, I’ll probably kick it up to about 30 minutes.


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Curve Balls and Cheesy Snakes

I picked the perfect week to go low-key.  Remember in my last post I mentioned that Life sometimes has other ideas when you make plans?  Sometimes Life throws you a curve ball.  Boy, did my family get hit with a whopper this week.

We were reminded that, at any moment, on any day, when you’re least expecting it, you can get a phone call that rocks your world.  A phone call that means you don’t get to tell someone you love good-bye or that you’re sorry for your past wrongs or that you forgive them for theirs or that you love them.

That’s what happened to us in the wee hours Tuesday morning.  I wanted to write a post last night, to find some humor in a silly story, to take my mind off the reality that we still haven’t completely absorbed, but I couldn’t.  Every time I started thinking about what I would write, it sounded more like a diary entry than a blog post.

Having a young child at a time like this can at times feel like a challenge and at times be a blessing.  She isn’t self-sufficient, so we can’t just roll up in a ball under the covers and block out the world, even if that’s all we want to do.  I guess that falls in both categories, as it keeps us going.  She can’t comprehend it, so, while I can explain that her aunt is gone, that she won’t see her anymore, it won’t stop her in a few days and weeks from asking where her aunt is.  But, because she can’t comprehend it, she’s not sad and she’s not in shock.  She’s just as spunky as if it was any other day.  And that can be a blessing in the form of a welcome distraction and some unexpected but comforting laughs.

And that brings us to dinner.

What a great night for some home-cooking comfort food.  Pot roast isn’t in my top ten favorites by any means, but it was really tasty last night.  The carrots were from our garden, so I believe they were sweeter than normal.  The meat was tender and tasty and the potatoes were soft and buttery.

To entice the Boog, I sprinkled some grated parmesan cheese on top of her bowl.  At first, she turned her nose up to whole thing and only wanted to eat her roll, but when I showed her the snakes, she got excited.  You see, Boog calls everything that is long and skinny a “sssssnake! hiss hiss!”.  So I pulled off some of the meat, made sure it had cheese, and asked her to try a cheesy snake and she obliged.  She ate all of her cheesy snakes and a second helping of cheesy snakes.  I honestly can’t remember all of the little things she said or did to make me smile, but I know that I did and that’s all that matters.

Tonight, we had cheesy snakes with pasta and ketchup, which she happily ate as well and it only required boiling some penne on my part.  She even did a few happy dances at the table.

Thank goodness for that and for her.  I’m happy that we get to go visit Grandma this weekend, where Boog can hopefully dole out some more much-needed smiles.

The Boog and her Aunt